The full tables for the YouGov/Sunday Times poll are on their website here.

On the regular trackers Gordon Brown’s job approval rating is down since a fortnight ago (a net rating of -28, from -24) and Cameron up to +10 from +4. With the Lib Dems still enjoying higher ratings than YouGov were showing before their spring conference, Nick Clegg’s approval rating is at +20 from +12 a fortnight ago, the second highest YouGov have ever given him.

YouGov asked a series of questions on trade unions and Unite. 49% of people thought that Unite had a great deal or a fair amount of influence over the government. 17% though it was ever thus – that Labour had always been controlled by the unions, 28% thought Labour had distanced itself, but control was now shifting back. 32% thought that Labour used to be controlled by the unions but no longer was (including a majority of Labour supporters). More generally, 22% of people think trade unions are too powerful in Britain today, 19% thinki they are not powerful enough with 45% thinking they have about the right level of power.

Asked specifically about the BA strike, 35% of respondents thought the government should have condemned the strike more strongly, 18% thought the government got their criticism about right (a sum of 53% supporting the government criticising the strike). 30% said the government should not have taken sides, with 4% saying the government should have supported the strike.

Hardly anyone says the strike would actually change their vote at the election (and most of those that do can be dismissed – the 4% who say it makes them less likely to vote Labour are mostly Conservative voters anyway, while most of the 1% who say it makes them more likely to vote Labour are already Labour voters). However, while it may not be a direct consideration, it could still have an indirect effect in terms of the government’s response and the effect upon their party image.

Moving on, YouGov also asked about the budget. Only 25% of people said they expected Alistair Darling to tell to truth about Labour’s plans for the economy in the budget, with 64% saying he would not. Taken alone that sounds like a very negative finding for the government… but when asked the same question about George Osborne the figures are much the same, 24% expect him to tell the truth, 62% do not.

Finally there were questions on Methedrone (63% think it should be banned), and Gordon Brown’s comments on defence spending at the Chilcot Inquiry (64% agree with the criticism that he underfunded defence).

290 Responses to “More from the YouGov/Sunday Times poll”

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  1. Howard – crossbreaks are not internally weighted, so pop out strange results sometimes.

    35% of women liking Rugby is probably fine, but I would recommend ignoring regional cross breaks on voting intention – sample sizes are too small and they are not internally weighted, hence odd results sometimes like the Scottish ones in this poll.

    Providing cross breaks by the Midlands or Wales would just encourage people to read stuff into them when they shouldn’t! Cross breaks for minor parties would have sample sizes so low as to make them worthless.

  2. Mark Johnson – Chadderton – Lancashire

    Got to agree with you 100% there.

    The polls seem to lag a few days behind news articles etc so, I’ll expect a further movement away from labour towards the Thursday nights results from YouGov

  3. How ever many times a poster complains about the silly comment section EG “the Tories will win by 175 seats” or “by April the 9th Labour will be 10 points ahead”, we still get them on a daily basis. I cannot see the point of this kind of thing other than to show the “other side” how lacking in confidence you really

    One point I am going to reiterate is that some of the little tit bits on PB that Mr Smithson comes up with often, certainly do not provide much hope for G Brown fans. These are of course based on the relevant stats rather than the sort of nonsense described above.

  4. Just popped in to say thanks to Wolf and Anthony. Also I think Anthony’s answer shows we must be very careful to take the national poll other than an indication of generalised movement in the polls.

    I think some of us think that this election will point the need to carry out regional polling (with sufficient sample) in future. Of course if a more or less UNS is recorded in the GE that will be the end of that theory and thus the desire to do that !!

  5. @Roland,

    I have to disagree with you.

    The April 9 speculation is not necessarily unscientific…

    Darling’s budgets and pre budgets have consistnetly cost labour 3%points in the polls…

    Also, a series of bad news stories have a cumulative effect…

    It is perfectly objecitve and rational to hypothesise the extent to which this will have a negative impact on poll ratings….

    Of course, te first comment- Tories will win by 175 seats well that is just baloney….

    but we are running out of time now and a 3-4% swing towards tories on top of what appears to be a 7% lead would be catastrophic

  6. Mark Johnson, sounds like wishful thinking. Perhaps the thing that will move the polls more in the opposite direction is the perception of a lack of authenticity from the Conservative leader. He is seen as having tried out too many cloaks, be it environmental issues or hugging hoodies. People are beginning to wonder if there is substance behind the spin. That is the Tory weakness.

  7. @EOIN
    Yes, except one of us is daft. I am saying comments which foretell a10% Labour LEAD by early April are pie in the sky as much as those who predict huge Tory wins.

  8. @LIN REES
    Rather than making your customery anti -Tory comments Lin, check on PB to see M Smithsons post regarding party leader popularity ratings and which direction they are travelling in. BTW, the data is YG,

  9. @Roland,

    yes i see now, forgive me :) Switching from Basque history to Uk politics has thrown me this morning…..

  10. @Roland Haines – “One point I am going to reiterate is that some of the little tit bits on PB that Mr Smithson comes up with often, certainly do not provide much hope for G Brown fans. These are of course based on the relevant stats rather than the sort of nonsense described above.”
    I have been intriuged by Mike on PB for some time. My rwading of hios posts are that, while they are sometimes based on statistical analysis (often however, highly assumption based) very often he makes some completely unsupportable and slightly weird comments. Almost invariably, he seems to choose an editorial line that is heavily in favour of the Tories. A recent example was a post about whether ‘Glamsam’ would win the election for the Tories. It linked to a Mail story showing ‘glamorous’ photos of Samantha Cameron. Frankly, it was somewhat embarrasing and quite what I would expect from the Mail and I wondered why on earth Mike would bother referencing such claptrap.
    I know Mike is a Lib Dem and I won’t accuse PB of deliberate anti Labour biase, but as an independent observer it’s clear to me that in both his edictorial selection and analysis the site leans heavily towards the Tories. Perhaps this is explained by the balance of contributors to the site. There may be some people out there who might think that its part of a betting industry campaign to ensure most punters get the GE result wrong, saving the industry millions, but I couldn’t possibly comment.

  11. Anthony:

    the following from the Scotsman blog will amuse you:

    ” …. a few very dodgy polls, mainly from yougov for which Chief Executive Peter Kellner apologises as their figures were at least 3 points too many for Labour in Scotland and 3 points too few for the SNP.”

    Actually I regard all polls, indeed all data, as potentially “dodgy” but that is probably a consequence of the amount of time I spent in auditing.

  12. Regarding Smithson and PB-

    He strieks me as an Eastenders eidtor… the night before we find out Bradley dunnit- it oculd have been anyone…

    I could spin stats all sourts of directs eg..

    The gap between Labour and Tories has dropped 400% in less than a year (technically correct)

    Brown’s unpopulairty halves since August coup (tecnically correct)

    Or Darling already 25% on his way to meeting his promise ot halve the 178Bn as Britian undershoot on lending…

    This kinda stuff is drivel…

    Brown is unpopular, Tories are ahead, and we are sooo in debt to our eyeballs…

    Propagandists can do whatever they wish to create a narrative… hell beofre you know it Stacey will do a Richard Hillman in revenge…

  13. I say we play the smithson game- make up narratives, which technically have some merit in statistics but in reality are waffle? anyone interested…..?

  14. Does anyone know if we wil be treated to a ‘marginal’ poll in the near future?

    I am sure there could well be some revealing changes with all the recent developments acting on the electorate in these constituences and, some even better news for Cameron.

  15. Actually I think the reason behind some of Mike’s slightly more eccentric articles are volume of comments. Mike tries to put up at least three articles a day so that he doesn’t get comment threads of 1000+, there are times when he just resorts to putting up “continuation threads”, but obviosuly that’s a last resort and most of the time he tries to put up a proper article at the top.

    Getting three substantive articles a day though is not necessarily an easy thing to do, so some of them end up being what John Rentoul calls “Questions to which the answer is no” – so of course photos of Samantha Cameron won’t swing the election, and I’m sure Mike doesn’t think they will, but it suffices to start a new discussion.

    (And Eoin – no, let’s not, I like Mike and I don’t really want my comments section used to poke fun at him)

  16. On the issue of the £18m ‘given’ to Unite by the taxpayer and the subsequent media stories about money merry go rounds and ‘money laundering’, could I suggest that all posters take media reports with a pinch of salt and try to look through the headlines a little?
    The £18m comes from the Union Learning Fund – this is a fund set up to pay for projects run by unions to train individual members in lifelong learning. Things like improving numeracy, literacy and employability skills. It’s aimed at producing a better equipped workforce and improving individuals career prospects. All the sort of stuff Cameron is extremely keen on we are told – using the community based not for profit sector to deliver government funded social programmes.
    I cannot see any connection whatsoever with the Unite donations to Labour – these are entirely from the political levy on individual members and any transfer of the £18m to the political fund would be fraudulent as far as I can see.
    Although I haven’t seen it in action, the Union learning Fund strikes me as a great way to develop peer to peer eductaion in the workplace and deliver the fabled knowledge economy everyone says we need. I know politics is a dirty business, but that doesn’t mean we all have to fall for it.

  17. @AW,


  18. @ALEC
    I certainly get your drift squire and do not find much fault in you, however, you will note I am and have previously, only recommended extracts which have serious statistical back up. Also to be entirely fair to Mike, I have oft times seen him somewhat non-plused at the betting odds favouring the Tories to the extent they do, in the light of tightening polls.

  19. @Roland – thanks, and take your point. I think you’re right in that Mike’s commentary doesn’t reflect the odds.

  20. @AW
    Well SamCam has certainly turned my head. As you know I was a member of the Militant Maoists until I saw todays Telegraph.

  21. Looks like you’ve stunned everyone into silence, Roland – no new comments for half an hour!

  22. Morning All,

    I posted this question earlier, well in the small hours in fact, so I hope people will forgive me asking it a again. Does anyone have a list of what polls are due today besides YG?

  23. Looking at the YG tables, there are interesting stats for the replies to the Q “If you had to choose, which would you prefer to see after the next election, a Conservative government led by David Cameron or a Labour government led by Gordon Brown?”

    The LD voters seem to prefer GB to be PM over DC by a significant margin: 43% to 26%. Does this give further credence to the notion that LDs may vote tactically in the GE?

  24. @mike,

    YG and others have consistently returned these types of figures for grass roots LD’s.

    If there is the hint that the race is tight I can see some tempoarily swithcing to Labour, bu thtis will begin to manifesto itslef in clsoing polls rather than a last minute upset…

    more importantly though, is there many constituencies where this will make much of an impact?

    The Daily Telegraph have an excellent facility on thei rwebsite, which allows to view majoirites and vote breakdown seat by seat… I tried trawling it to reach preliminary conclusions but i found it tough going….

  25. And on a completely different track…what happens if GB announces that he is or will be giving up leadership of the Lab party? I know he’s said he wants to carry on but he might change his mind (or perhaps fall ill). Is there any accepted practice in such a rare event? I assume at this stage it would be more damaging for Lab if it were to happenin the weeks ahead.

  26. @Mike

    Brown’s position comes into play if Libs consider a pact.

    If he manages to get 280 seats then it owuld be viewed by some as a good performance. Note that Labour were doing poorly before Brown came along. It may even be seenthat he steadied the ship. Those who saved their seats say 40 MPs, who could reasonably have expected to be out of a job, and also new candidates ( I am not sure of the number) well they will owe a lot of loyalty to Brown. Thus, if he digs in he might reasonably stay…..

  27. Mike N – I generally doubt that ‘tactical voting’ will be a major effect in this GE, it may of course occur in one or two seats where other underlying factors sway an electorate. For ‘tactical voting’ to have any real impact it would have to be fairly well organised as well.

    It should be remembered that the LD’s are after ‘holding’ the seats they already have, and for the LD leadership to suggest or even hint at tactical voting would weaken their base in their own seats by indicating that a vote for LD is a wasted vote (something both Conservative and Labour camps will try to imply if not come out with directly).

    The polling result could indicate that the LD support this election has mainly come from Labour supporters rather than Conservative supporters, those no longer wanting a Labour Government but not willing to cross the floor all the way to the Conservatives and have thus chosen a ‘half-way house’ in supporting the LD’s. This is quite likely as the mood of the general public has reorientated to the right, so the movement is for previous Labour supporters sway towards the LD’s and previous LD supporters sway towards the Conservatives. This scenario brings about another headache for Labour, for it is in traditionally Labour strongholds that the racist party has found most support at the cost of mainly Labour. This means that the Labour vote is being squeezed at both ends of its traditional base.

    Mike, I like your question, analysing it and answering it has actually clarified in my mind the movements shown in the polls.

  28. I’m a Labour voter but the Tories look certain to be the largest party.Surely then it’s going to be a Tory/LibDem ‘coalition’ and a car crash of a government for 18 months.

  29. A Populus poll – now a little out of date fieldwork March 10-11

    Con 38 Lab 31 LD 21 Others 10

    see press release

  30. It seems there was a Populus poll this month, carried out on 10/11th March, which produce a result of Conservative 38%, Labour 31%, Lib Dem 21%, Others 10%.

  31. Bill O’Connor,

    I’m not so sure that the Tories will be the largest party. The average of the last 4 opinion polls shows Conservatives having 10 more seats than Labour but the trend over the last few months shows that lead narrowing by the week. If you extrapolate the trend (ignoring for now the effect of the budget and such), the polls will start to show Labour as the largest party before the election happens.

  32. I’m not sure the trend is moving like that. Anthony’s rolling average had Labour on 32% a fortnight ago.

  33. “A Populus poll – now a little out of date fieldwork March 10-11

    Con 38 Lab 31 LD 21 Others 10”

    Right in the middle of the pack for that time in March. Exactly the same results as ICM on the 11th.

  34. Populus confirms what ICM and YG have been showing

    A decline in the Tory vote.
    40% is a distant memory in all of the polling companies now….

    36-38% seems the norm…

  35. All the polling companies are in broad agreement on the Tory share of the vote. No-one has them at 40, not even Angus Reid

  36. Colin,

    You are ignoring one important point – all current evidence suggests that the Tories are doing well in the marginal seats, where most of their pre-election efforts have been targeted. It has been reported (i.e. in reputable newspapers such as the Economist, broadsheets etc.) that the Tories currently would have a greater swing in the marginals than the polls in general. In fact, if the polls and marginal seat evidence is anything to go by, then it is pretty unlikely (although not impossible) that Labour will win the election – by a majority or minority. Things can obviously change though.

  37. I wouldn’t really trust a poll that was conducted way back on the 10th/11th of March – when Tory support was falling anyway.

  38. ANy evidence, other than wishful thinking, of C panic after one or more rogue polls? After all both Anthony and I agree that the underyling CLead is around 7%.

  39. @MATT
    There are some marginal polls due according to PB.
    So it probably means AR. Nothing wrong with that, except the blood spitting and flashing blue lights such polls will create if the Tories are up say 3% over ONS in 120 seats or so. It is interesting how people who seem otherwise well informed about polling, love to quote ONS to prove how well their party is doing. As has been stated and discussed over and over, the marginals are the win and lose seats.

  40. Colin Green – I have posted previously that I would suggest you use the last poll shown by individual pollsters for the previous week as a more accurate figure. May I humbly suggest that ‘choosing’ a selected set of polls to support your theory is an erronious methodology.

    As of the news of the moment, even the BBC are saying that the ‘cab for hire’ scandel is the worst thing that could have occurred for Labour. GB has rejected calls for an enquiry – so much for him wanting to clean up government/parliament and be transparent! I cannot think of a PM who has been so inept as a leader as GB. I wonder what piece of office furniture was thrown across the room when this broke?

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