Tonights’s Yougov tracker has topline figures of CON 37%(+1), LAB 33%(-1), LDEM 18%(+1), so the Tory lead goes back to four points. As I said yesterday, we’ll never know for sure whether yesterday’s two point lead was just an outlier, or whether it was a real narrowing reversed by the budget.

This poll was conducted between yesterday afternoon and this afternoon – so it is entirely after the Budget was delivered, but not necessarily after people had heard or read about it. Certainly many respondents would have answered the survey before having read the newspaper coverage of the budget this morning. While this first test of public opinion after the budget suggests it is not a game changer, there may well be more to come in the weekend polls.

My view is that the budget was more of a risk than an opportunity for Labour – Darling had no money for giveaways and the last two budgets had a strongly negative impact on Labour’s poll ratings. If Labour emerge unscathed, it’s probably good news for them… if they emerge unscathed – this is, after all, just one early poll and I expect we’ll have a lot more to digest over the weekend.

409 Responses to “YouGov Daily poll – 37/33/18”

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  1. Yes, I was right. It was a micro boost for the Tories and a micro slump for Labour. I think the wo point lead last night was a pre budget bounce, like the one reported for Ipsos Mori. (even though there wasn’t a change in the lead)

  2. They’re each one back from yesterday’s “extreme” so a total no change. An early indication that the budget hasn’t offended or enthused anyone.

  3. Conservative support still below 40% so still in hung parliament territory and still no real change in the polls in a couple of weeks!

    To be honest, the daily poring over the political entrails looks a bit empty when it seems that most stories have little or no effect on the daily polls.

  4. I agree with your accompanying comment – bet you’re pleased AW! I do think that we have enough evidence now not to dismiss the 36 44 as an outlier since one point difference tonight reinforces yesterday’s result rather than cast doubt on it and taking together the previous ones too.

    We have a needle match situation here in terms of seats and the question is whether the Lib Dem’s raise their game during the campaign and if so at whose expense.

  5. *sigh of relief*

    Thank God… I was seriously bracing myself for the prospect of a Labour lead…

    Anyways, it’s still a worryingly small lead for Cameron to go into an election campaign with though. If it weren’t for the debates I’d say that a hung parliament was now almost a certainty, but I suspect the debates will still cause some movement in the polls.

  6. I think the overall result of the budget will be no change in the polls – it didn’t offer anything, but didn’t really offer the tories a chance to make anything of it either. It may be that Darling’s interview about cuts post-election may have a bit of an effect. The two points yesterday was probably just noise/flucation from the 4 point lead.

    Great site, btw. Sorry if this is a stupid or answered question – but is the average of the polls weighted in such a way to prevent the daily you gov biasing the averages over polls that are taken less often but show a bigger difference?

  7. From memory, last year we had a couple of polls straight after the budget which looked OK for labour but the polls in the following few days showed a different story. Both the Tories and Lib Dems are mounting some effective attacks, but a problem particularly for Osborne is the question of what he would do differently. I guess todays story about ‘cuts being worse than Thatcher’ is a case in point. On first look you would assume this would hurt Labour, but we know Osborne wants to cut faster.
    My guess is that Labour will slip a little but while last year this coincided with some pretty relentless bad economic news, and lost ground could be temporary if there is some more positive news in the next few days.

  8. I have always thought that except that for the most explosive headlines/stories day to day headlines don’t shift the polls a jot. After wathching the last few weeks I am now sure. I am also beginning to think the polls are as much about luck as science.

  9. The next potential poll-changer will be the debates, however AD was grilled on BBC, C4 and ITV/ Scottish STV and has been criticised by the city for the budget contents, eagerly await tomorrow’s papers for full details.

    Bob Crow’s quote tonight was absolutley timeless “we wont go out over Easter”. Go out after easter when everybody is back at work!! The spring of discontent looms.

  10. So the lead is somewhere between two and four points?

    That seems better for labour than ‘about five’ which it was a week or so back. I think its the movement that s significant not the absolute value, and the general trend still seems to be towards labour.

  11. Rounding, dear boy, rounding!

    YouGov round to whole numbers, so yesterday might have been Con 36.4 : Lab 33.5. A shift of 0.2 would have produced Con 36.5 (37) : Lab 33.4 (34).

    You Brits are so excitable! Must be that Southern blood.

  12. @Martin Williams

    “So the lead is somewhere between two and four points”

    If I am may say so a bit of a limited viewpoint.

    What about all th other pollsters and the recent 7 point lead from you gov.

  13. @Oldnat

    :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

  14. Simon

    I agree – something I said a while back – that the polls (if they are to move at all) will move as a result of the debates.

    But I still don’t see a hung parliament. The tories have 37% per Yougov, 37% per the latest marginals and apparently 40% in London. If nationwide they get say around 38% – 39% I suspect that they will sneak enough marginals to get a majority. On the other hand if Brown can perform exceptionally in the debates, he could yet get Labour a majority.

  15. Regarding Alistair Darling in the news tonight, his honesty, transparencey and integrity when compared to his party “colleagues” impressed me.

    The “Deeper and more savage cuts than those seen under Thatcher” quote coupled with the announcement of Rail strikes on top of the damaging BA fiasco creates a far from positive forward vision.

  16. @Jakobs

    Please don’t tell me you’re going to watch these 3×90 minutes rehearsed diatribes, please tell me you have a pub t go to or a book to read.

    As I suspect the rest of the population will.

  17. Martin Williams and others.

    No direct disrespect to anybody intended, but it gets a tad wearing when people on this forum, on both sides, apply the Tunnel Vision philosophy and disregard any polls which give them an alternative interpretation to what they want to believe.

  18. Unlike other here I find it reassuring that public opinion isn’t massively changed by scandals and the like. None of us would change our vote for non-policy reasons so it is a little hypocritical to bemoan the fact that apolitical types act in the same way.

  19. The average of the last 10 polls is 36.3 – 31.1 – 18.2 which gives a Labour hung parliament, just. The linear trends from the start of the year shows no sign of halting. I agree that the debates will probably move things by a few points and that the budget and its responses are still to have their main effect but the polls do suggest that we’re drifting towards a Labour hung parliament.

  20. Bryan

    Thanks for the suggestion, and yes, as an avid reader, the debates will certainly have to compete with the current paperback. But I suspect the debates, being something new, will attract a significant viewing public – and may therefore change things or do precisely nothing.

  21. Just watched laughing boy George give his budget response. Sounds great on the surface for the “man in the street” and could increase the gap in the polls.

    However, if the general population has more intelligence than George gives them credit for, then they will see that he has again failed to discuss the harsh measures that the Tories plan to introduce. Thus an intelligent populace could see the Tory lead wiped out.

  22. WMA 36:32:18.
    No convincing short-term trends but the 42-day trend is down with an R2 of 0.66 and this WMA is right on it.

    Looking at the data there seems to have been a bit of a CLead revival from 23-Feb to 16-Mar and then another precipiate decline. Makes no political sense as far as I can see but we’ll have to wait for further data.

    The idea that 36:31:18 would give “a Labour hung parliament” is abusrd in my view BTW.

  23. @Simon M

    “*sigh of relief*
    Thank God… I was seriously bracing myself for the prospect of a Labour lead…”

    (applause) ha ha ha

    Nice one- but I’m not buying it mate- not one bit !

    Back to (what has become) busy-as-usual with this daily tracker and- along with the marginal poll from Mori today showing a small marginal ‘premium’ over UNS- yet more evidence of the trend towards a hung parliament.

    I would recommend *very* good polling article in the Guardian by Andy Beckett- well worth a read with lots of juicy quotes from all perspectives…

  24. Only tonight has the truth behind the budget come out – 25% departmental cuts under labour.

    The story behind these cuts (if the people see through them) is the total incompetence of Brown’s tenure as Chancellor.

    So IF the electorate see that – how will they vote?

    And if as reported by the BBC a large percentage of people believe that the debt can be wished away by a little bit of efficiency svings – well WILL the people believe the need for these cuts?

  25. I was worried incase Labour would have took the lead.

    However as pre-polls did predict, the majority of people said that they would not buy what Alistair darling would announce in his budget, and guess what? They haven’t!

  26. I tend to think that the budget response won’t be watched by as many people as the Budget itself. But I also have a hunch that Osborne isn’t a vote-winner in general, and that he depresses the CON ratings somewhat.

  27. George I do agree with your point and to that end looked back at my post as an audit of bias. I should clarify by saying that i omitted to remark that I was referring to YouGov polls. Of course there are wider gaps from the others and the general picture is as that outlined by Colin green. The rest of what I wrote stands as Colin points out.

    When we think back two months ago, the change is remarkable and my favorite acronym that mystifies everyone (FGF) is the chief explanation I can find plausible.

  28. Yakobs

    I recommend the “girl with the dragon tatto” by far the best book I’ve read in the last ten years.

    As for the debates I disagree with you peeps will look at the first twenty minutes of the first one then viewership plumetts, by the last one peeps will be hiding in cupboards to get away. Although if one of drops a right bollox………………………………………………

  29. One wonders if 2% may turn out to be as close as it gets.

    Labour won’t have liked itv1’s News At Ten coverage tonight. They buthchered the Budget after going hard on the rail strike.

    The Tories will be hoping it’s a drip, drip drip effect. That’s what happened in 92. No wonder they’ve brought back Saatchi.

  30. I posted this this morning, but it got lost as the final comment on yesterday’s yougov, so I’ll be vain enough to repost it here:-

    It’s probably not unreasonable to assume any expected shifts in party fortunes from the Budget would be expected to come not from the population sitting down and watching it live and in full, but from the way it is reported and spun by the media collectively.

    So its interesting to look at the front page headlines of all today’s dailies to pick up the general impression the passing and uncommitted members of the public would get of yesterday’s announcements.

    The non and anti Tory papers, few as they are, all have variations on the theme of safe pair of hands, steady as she goes, nothing to see here – please move along. General impression – nothing dramatic or bad happened yesterday.

    The much more numerous pro Tory press, more significantly all fall into one of two camps.
    They all either go with a palpable sense of frustration and anger that the chancellor announced nothing newly bad (General impression – again, there was no new bad news to get riled up about) OR they’ve gone for how he is villainously soaking the rich to appease the masses and/or bribing us “all” to win an election (general impression – he’s in some way given us all something yesterday and made the fat cats pay more)

    The spin – that its cynical or the politics of envy or election buying I would think would only play well with the committed conservatives. The impression of hte budget itself for the non political is that yesterday was either uneventful or involved goodies and giveaways.

    Its very hard to imagine how this collective interpretation would cause any movement in the polls, least of all from would be labour voters towards the conservative party.

  31. @ HOWARD

    I agree the FGF (AKA I still have a job & no mortgage arrears) is the driver of LAB recovery.

    That’s why the budget wasn’t important for the majority of people – except it reduces the FGF because any talk by any party about cuts & taxes is depressing!

  32. Sunbeam,

    I was reading about Saatchi in my free Evening Standard on the way back from London today. Does anybody think this will have an effect?

    I just don’t know what does anymore?!


  33. @Colin green

    “The average of the last 10 polls is 36.3 – 31.1 – 18.2 which gives a Labour hung parliament, just.”

    Whilst I truly applaud the sentiment those figures project- by my estimation that incorporates small levels of TV plus a generous marginal’s premium:

    326 seats for the Conservatives; 241 Labour; 50 LD 13 others plus NI = so a majority of 6 (with the UUP seat and the fact the 5 SF seats are never taken).

    That’s an upper ceiling with a generous ‘marginal’s premium’ BTW……it is not really a ‘workable majority’ it has to be said.

    ****In case it gets moderated to death due to a hpertext rlink within a previous post- read the Andy Beckett article at guardian online “What happens if Cameron loses”: lots of interesting quotes from all political sides and conjecture about the polls.

  34. “Labour won’t have liked itv1’s News At Ten coverage tonight”

    No need to add the word “tonight”!

    The more the Tory lead shrinks the more frustrated ITV news seems to get. They’d announce the onset of Spring as terrible news for Gordon Brown if they could. I often worry Tom Bradby’s blood pressure won’t be able to take much more disappointment.

  35. Bryan

    Was thinking of the latest Ian McEwan (Solar) that’s just hit the bookshops – but prefer something I can put in my back pocket – so will seriously consider your suggestion.

    So it’s a choice between a novel or novelty – and I think the lead for the former may be around 4%.

  36. @Trevorsden
    Well that depends how you see it, really. How would the deficit have looked without the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (supported with gusto by the Tories), and the Bank bailouts (which the Tories would also have supported).
    Osbourne wouls have looked just as incompetent had he been Chancellor, and would also have jumped at the slightest chance to deregulate futher the Banking and Finance sectors.
    The tories have simply had the good fortune not to have been in government when these events occurred.

  37. @Amber,

    I am off out so I wont get your reply until tomorrow.

    I am intrigued about Darling’s statement…………

    would Balls cut as much?

    I dont much like hearing the word cut…

    at the bottom of the lecturing univeristy ladder it would be a personal disaster.

  38. @Simon M

    “*sigh of relief*
    Thank God… I was seriously bracing myself for the prospect of a Labour lead…”

    (applause) Ha Ha Ha

    Nice one- but I’m not buying it mate- not one bit !

    Back to (what has become) busy-as-usual with this daily tracker and- along with the marginal poll from Mori today showing a small marginal ‘premium’ over UNS- yet more evidence of the trend towards a hung parliament though we are not quite there yet but on the true cusp.

  39. I am not surprised to see this at all.

    As you say, the budget was more of a risk for the Government.

    However, I think over the weekend we will see the Conservatives lead staying between 2 – 4 points, I don’t think the budget will have had much of a long term effect.

    Also, the media’s coverage of the Budget hasn’t exactly been impartial so no surprises here.


    I’ve been meaning to read Girl with… for ages. It’s raised a bit of controversy. Your recommendation has prompted me to order it so I will have a good read this weekend. Thanks.

  41. @Eoin Clarke

    “at the bottom of the lecturing university ladder it would be a personal disaster.”

    you are cheap then- as long as you have tenure and are not on a fixed-term you will be OK: its them and the 58 year olds and upwards who have the most to fear who are at top of scales and close to retirement.

    Plus those wanting to get a job as retirees and leavers won’t be replaced over the next 2 years.

    My place came out of Hefce letter relatively unscathed but expecting 2011-2012 to be very difficult.

    Darling has no choice but to say cuts are coming but not whilst the economy still teeters on the brink- i.e. after a autumn spending review.

    IMHO clearly the ‘early cuts’ Tory narrative has no legs- wait for the Euro referendum U turn to shore up the base as a ‘striking campaign announcement’.

    My take on the budget from reading FT today and catching world service and CNBC- is that unless you are listening to Tom Bradby or Jeff Randall and not reading any of the usual suspects is that it’s been a clear points win for the government. If Cameron’s screeching had turned any votes you would have seen a 6-8% temporary switch in the daily tracker- not just a return to business as usual from an obvious rogue last night.

  42. peterbell — the point is every govt of no matter what colour will have to introduce cuts. Labour have been pretending they were not needed but they have been exposed – by the BBC no less.

    As some bloke on QT points out these cuts only cover half the deficit. And as long as the deficit keeps rising we will be paying more in debt repayment.

    The issue beyond the cuts is to create a real economy (as opposed to Browns bogus one) where as it grows it generates the taxes that can sustain the public service ambitions of its people. Under Brown we have been lulled into thinking it was easy – but basically he funded his/our public service ambitions on a borrowing bubble and a junk economy.

    But the spending genie is out of the bottle – it will not be easy to persuade us we need a smaller govt, doing relatively more with less – but the quid pro pro would be lower PAYE and employment taxes making it worthwhile for the economically inactive NEETs to get back to work.

  43. peterbell

    In the budget it says in 2010 2011 there will be cuts of 30 billion pounds.

  44. @Rob Sheffield

    Buying what? Do you think my post was a desperate attempt to spin this polls as good news for the Tories? Or do you think I’m secretly a Labour supporter pretending to be Conservative to spread doom and gloom among their supporters?

    Seriously, what am I supposed to be selling that you’re not buying?


    I agree, a Tory vote share of 38/39 could see Cameron just about get a majority – but I’m not sure the Tories will get that. I suspect that Labour’s recent recovery has been the result of what might be termed ‘tactical rewind’, as Lib Dems bolt at the prospect of a Tory government – I’ve seen this in my seat, where the Uni’s Lib Dem soc has just thrown their weight behind the Labour candidate. Maybe I’m being overly pessimistic, but I suspect that this trend will continue, and that if the Lib Dem vote does pick up in the campaign, it will be by taking soft Tory voters. I don’t see Labour getting a majority though, whatever happens in the debates.

    In the immediate future, I think the rail strike is going to hurt Labour’s poll ratings – not because they will be blamed, but because the inconveniece they will inevitably cause will lower the national mood, and make people feel less generous towards the incumbant party – the 1970 football effect all over again.

  45. I don’t think this poll really tells us anything either way. I guess both sides might see the positives (Tories – lead back to 4 pts, Labour – the budget doesn’t seem to have done any significant damage).

    I get the feeling the polls are unchanged i.e. I think 2% was an outlier anyway). I guess, under the circumstances, most Tories will be slightly disappointed with this.

  46. @Simon M

    “Do you think my post was a desperate attempt to spin this polls as good news for the Tories?”


  47. @ Trevorsden (11.19)

    Agreed that major cuts will be necessary but GO did not outline thes in his response. Both Lab & Tory have failed to give the voter any idea of what they will cut. Only Vince Cable has started to highlight areas to be cut.

    As I said in my original post, anybody watching boy George would believe that they will not suffer under the Tories.

  48. @ Éoin

    The independent think tank, the Institute of Fiscal Studies, has noted that total public spending increased by an average of 1.1% a year in real terms over the Thatcher era. This is almost three times the increase of 0.4% a year that Alistair Darling has pencilled in for the next Parliament.

    Savage cuts? Probably not.

  49. @Peterbell

    “Agreed that major cuts will be necessary but GO did not outline thes in his response. Both Lab & Tory have failed to give the voter any idea of what they will cut. Only Vince Cable has started to highlight areas to be cut.”

    Agreed that the LD’s have come out the better on the economy debate over the last 3 months. Though Darling has not done that much less well. Only the DC/GO show have fumbled the ball.

    I would very much have liked to have seen the spending detail from Darling as I think this could have shifted the polls in the governments favour another couple of points and left the hollow echo of the Tories crying foul for the ‘no detail’ whilst offering zero detail themselves.

    But I guess the government took the judgement that- as the Tories are not going to give any detail (that is clear now- no shadow budget with dept spending levels set out is going to happen) they were leaving their goalposts untended by taking that option.

    So a predominantly political judgement rather than an economic one…..just like DC/GO. Hence the maintenance of the poll trend (rather than the further narrowing).

  50. @Amber Star

    In this budget ir says next year 30 billion pounnds of cuts

    Is that savage ?

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