YouGov’s poll in the Sun today has topline figures of CON 41%, LAB 31%, LDEM 18%, so little change in the Conservative lead as we head towards the election.

This poll has a significant methodological change, albeit one which has made hardly any difference to the topline figures. Unlike nearly all of the other pollsters YouGov do not normally take into account likelihood to vote in their topline figures – based I believe on the theory that away from elections polls are snapshots, rather than predictions.

In 2005 in YouGov’s final pre-election poll they did factor in likelihood to vote, which decreased the Labour lead slightly and made YouGov’s final prediction more accurate. At this election YouGov have decided to factor it in from the start of the campaign, so on the assumption that Brown will call the election tomorrow, they are now in election mode and the figures are weighted by likelihood to vote in the same way that Populus do.

This actually makes very little difference to the figures. Without weighting by likelihood to vote the figures would have been CON 40%(+1), LAB 31%(+2), LDEM 18%(-2), so all the likelihood weighting did was push up the Conservatives by one point (which, I should add is pretty typical of the testing we’ve done over the last month. It’s never made more than 1 point difference).

Methodological discussion aside, YouGov’s poll shows Labour rising at the expense of the Liberal Democrats, though obviously the lead has a rather greater contrast! Given the normal doubts about polls over bank holidays, I think the chances are that YouGov or ICM have got a strange bank holiday sample (Opinium don’t have any political weighting, so are likely to be a bit erratic anyway).

With recent polls coming together somewhat around a Conservative lead of around 10 points or just below, it’s probably better to be sceptical of the ICM poll until and unless other pollsters show a similar narrowing of the lead. I expect we’ll have no shortage of polling over the next few days to enlighten us.

528 Responses to “YouGov show 10 point Conservative lead”

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  1. I wonder if, with a collective anxiety about how the economy is to be handled, we will see a continuous swinging back and forth right up until the election; support swelling, then deflating.

    Perhaps with the tories hitting the 40 mark, we will see a drop in support again, with people panicking over the prospect of what the tories will do to the economy. And then, in reaction to this, it rising again, with people panicking over the prospect of what labour will do to the economy.

    If this is the case, I’d imagine we will see an even tighter election result than has been predicting, with people at last minute, returning to who they have voted for in the past. I’d imagine we’d also then see a better result for Labour as being the incumbent government, they could be seen as the safest vote.

  2. one other matter

    2005’s combined blue and red % was between 68-9%

    are we now saying it is 72%,

    i happen to agree, but this is the first polling company suggesting such

  3. Somewhat surprised at ICM, they are a pollster I tend to pay quite a bit of attention to. Within the lower limit of the MOE, but it seems inconsistent with the rest over the past 4-5 days, and indeed with ICM’s own previous poll on Friday giving the Tories +9. Is there a general consensus thet this is a rogue???? Perhaps a lot of potential reasondants were away for the weekend???

    I would recon the YouGov tonight is fairly accurate, and the Opinium, whilst I know little of their methodology, I cite this as back up confirmation, given they both paint a roughly similar picture.

    From my rough scribbles, 39 is really the threshold for a majority, possibly just scraping by at 38 but certinly no lower than that. 40+ is really moving into “reasonable-comfortable” working majority territory.

    A somewhat sleepless night for GB. The weight of his heart will no doubt be backbreaking for him as he tackles the steps up to the palace- the end of a myserable easter holiday at the Labour camp.

  4. Re peterbell. The electorate are not on the whole that stupid, the nics move in my view just “cattle prodded” everyone who was starting to believe lab spin about Tories not being for many, but few and also labour being party for jobs/business into realising what labour has really delivered v promised and who are partly culpable for the mess we are in…….

  5. “I await a populus and Ipsos Mori but I have the Tory lead at 8-9%”

    I think that is a fair estimate. Both the Tory’s and Labour’s share of the vote tonight were higher at the expense of the Lib Dems. This probably merely reflects the fact that the Lib Dems haven’t really been in the news much in the past 7 days.

  6. @DAVID B
    Exactly, and will Labour provide more helicoptors and 81mm mortars for British Forces in Helmand. I think we should be told,
    not mispeaked.

  7. @colin G

    What do you consider to be an acceptable margin or error please?

  8. Anthony

    So likelihood to vote makes little difference in GB YG polls.

    I wonder whether the same is true of Scottish YG polls?

    I’d like to see some details of the Age Concern poll as the previous (non-likelihood to vote Scottish poll) showed the age differential in VI as

    Party, Lab, SNP, Con, LD
    18-34, 35, 23, 17, 18
    35-55, 45, 20, 18, 13
    55+, 32, 30, 20, 13

    I suppose we’ll need to wait for some other randomly commissioned Scottish poll, hope that it’s likelihood to vote weighted and see what the consequences are.

    VERY unsatisfactory!

  9. DavidB – you are obviously trying to make this rumour viral with no supporting evidence whatsoever! This I think is the third time you have posted this today.


    AW – Now I can put my calculator away, temporarily of course. :)

  10. I find it amazing that voters can still think that Labour could be a safe pair of hands. How Labour can still be in with a shout after what they have done to this country over the past 13 years, suggests to me that voters have lost their way.

  11. Come on, let’s all be honest, none of us REALLY know what’s going on out there and that’s what makes this election, potentially, one of the most interesting for 30 or 40 years. Both of tonight’s polls ICM and YouGov) are legitimate “snapshot” reflections of public opinion and to try and rubbish one vis-a-vis the other is just the sort of straw-clutching, partisan nonsense that, on occasions, makes this comment page almost unbearable.

    My feel for the current situation, based on the polling evidence of the last 6 weeks and what I’m picking up on the ground) is this. Opinion is volatile and very susceptible to the fluctuations and vagaries of daily events. I think there’s a high proportion of undecided and, possibly, apathetic voters with very little, if any, particular party affiliation or loyalty. There’a a lot of cynicism too and this is potentially dangerous for both of the two main parties. All in all, anybody who pretends they can predict the eventual outcome of this election (along the lines of the inane “Cameron’s a shoo-in” and “Brown’s toast” blah de blah de blah) is either a charlatan or a blinkered partisan or, very likely, both!

    What’s truly wonderful about all this is that we have an election approaching that’s impossible to accurately call. How refreshing and, quite possibly, how invigorating for our sclerotic and near moribund political culture. Crikey, could we even get a 62% turn out!!??

  12. David B

    for instance it’s almost certain that the Tory’s will increase prescription charges to £10.00 and it would be interesting to know how people would react to a question such as ‘would you be prepared to see prescription charges increased to £10.00 if that would help protect frontline services in the NHS?’

    Are the Tories really saying this?

  13. John Fletcher

    “What do you consider to be an acceptable margin or error please?”

    +/- 3% is about the average isn’t it? I’d go by whatever the pollster quotes themselves. Certainly I wouldn’t get excited about a 1 point change from the previous poll until I had the next poll result too.

    A poll result’s margin of error means this: If an infinite number of polls were done just like this one on the same day, 95% of them would be within the quoted margin of error of the truth.

    From the available data, I would guess that the Conservatives are on about 39% of the vote today. ICM’s poll of 37 is 2 points off from this which is inside the margin of error. There have been 27 polls since the 20th of March and they follow a linear trend starting at 36 and ending today on 39. My number crunching colleagues at work tell me that a sample should contain 33 data points to get a reasonable analysis but we work to 6 sigma (99.8% confidence IIRC) where as polls are happy with 2 sigma (95% confidence)

  14. Ooo! We’re better than I thought. 6 sigma is actually 99.9997% confidence. Personally, I’m not that confident about anything!

  15. Others at 9-10 in You Gov and ICM, even Optimumshould them down to 15. The way coverage during an election is organised I think it will be difficult for others to recover overall, although I still see the affects being ver mixed.

  16. This proves my theory that ICM are bias towards Labour. GE has been confirmed it will be called tomorrow and I now am certain of a Tory majority.

    What a great night.

    “I find it amazing that voters can still think that Labour could be a safe pair of hands. How Labour can still be in with a shout after what they have done to this country over the past 13 years, suggests to me that voters have lost their way.”

    A rather biased comment in the extreme. It very much depends where you are coming from. Many of us feel exactly the same way about the 18 years of tory government and are fearful of a repeat.

  18. craig u

    “This proves my theory that ICM are bias towards Labour.”

    Oh do come along!

  19. Anthony – do you know what the raw data for this poll was? Am I right in assuming it was the unweighted numbers you quote above? Or is there other weighting that goes on?

  20. Someone speculates … “without wondering where the Tory cuts will fall.”

    No one knows where anyone’s cuts will fall. There have been leaks that under Labour there would be £20 billion of cuts and ward closures. BTW – hardly anyone actually pays for prescriptions, certainly not the sick.

    All this polling is confusing enough. Will someone care to define what is a super marginal?

  21. “All this polling is confusing enough. Will someone care to define what is a super marginal?”

    I don’t know but I’m betting that Solihull counts (notional Maj 17)

  22. @Colin G

    I suppose if the Tory vote was out by -3% and the Labour vote was out by +3% then you would reduce the 10% lead the tories have in the other polls to only the 4% ICM show, but it is at the limits is it not?

  23. @ Spinaker

    “I find it amazing that voters can still think that Labour could be a safe pair of hands. How Labour can still be in with a shout after what they have done to this country over the past 13 years, suggests to me that voters have lost their way.”

    Regarding your first point, i don’t think all that many people think that Labour are “a safe pair of hands”, but quite a few people will probably vote Labour because they know what they are getting. As for your second point, well, that’s your opinion.


    One of the best posts I’ve read on this site for some time- thank you!


    I’ve been accused of trying to spread a malicious rumour about possible Tory plans to raise prescription charges to £10.00 in order, allegedly, to help fund NHS frontine services. I have no written evidence about this and neither has anyone else but I have had to emailed communications from two contacts who say they have picked this up from people who work at Tory HQ. Now, they may indeed be spreading rumours or this may be just the sort of policy which an incoming Tory government might implement; maybe I’m biased but i do remember that the Thatcher government increased prescription charges pretty quickly in 79-80.

  25. I think the Tory’s should be concerned as electorate usually swings back to governing party during campaign.

  26. @DAVIDB………..Thanks for that ! I seem to recall you criticising this site for not sticking to its remit, what was the word you used….vapid ! :-)

  27. @Howard I think it would be wrong of me to post my usual 40 30 20 10 tonight now!

    I feel I must revise my GE Prediction (just for the fun)

    So here it is:

    Con 41

    Lab 29

    LD 21

    Conservative majority 20-40 (marginals effect)

    Good night (good week) for the Conservatives :o

    GB off to Her Majesty tomorrow and then theres nothing at all he can do about it – it’s all up to us The Electorate :o

    Good Night Everyone :o

  28. Talk of marginals or supermarginals is interesting. The Tories only need a swing of 4% in Lab-Con marginals to take 50 seats of Labour. Given recent polling I think we can safely assume if you are a Labour MP in the first 50 Tory targets you should start looking for alternative employement.

    I think the Tories will defintley take 75 from Lab/SNP/LD combined. The real seats to watch are from 90-140 on Tory target list.

  29. Heading back towards Conservative overall majority situation here. Need some consistent polling for that to firmly be the case.

    Has everyone forgotten the UKIP view of the tax/spend/pay off the national debt question? Leave Europe and get all that lovely money to do all those things at once with no problems. Well, perhaps no immediate problems. That’s going to be an attractive idea methinks.

  30. @Keith…………..We could renegotiate our financial contribution in the case of a national emergency. :-)

  31. @keith

    Its only attractive if it ever had a chance of happening.

    On the day many a supposed UKIP voter will hold their nose and vote Tory especially in the marginals. The greater the chance of DC winning and outright majority the more of them will vote Tory methinks

  32. The Conservative capacity to capture seats, based on the three polls tonight, and assuming that none are rogues, is somewhat better than the figures suggest.
    The Others figure has fallen from its very high levels, but I would still expect it to fall a bit further helping the Tories more (mainly UKIP and BNP voters who are unlikely to go to Labour). Second, if we take Scotland out of the reckoning the Tory lead in England and Wales rises substantially. Of course this means ‘abandoning’ Scotland, but there are proportionately far more marginals which the Tories could capture in England and Wales than in Scotland. The Conservatives tonight are in a very strong position, and I would expect them to win anyway because of their long-term ratings. Labour is in a very weak position.

  33. Very excited now. Booked the 7th May off work so can stay up all night and watch it.

    The paradox to my view that this site is great, is that I am still none the wiser as to what is going to exactly happen, other than the Conservatives should poll some sort of lead.

    Will I be able to call Mr Cameron my leader. :-)

  34. I do wonder where the UKIP & BNP voters are geographically in terms of seats. If they are mostly voting in Tory or Labour heartland seats, they could get quite a few percentage votes without any real impact on the GE result in terms of seats.

    I’m not sure likelihood to vote is very relevant this far from an election, especially as floating voters are the main volatile ones.

  35. @Marco

    **Second, if we take Scotland out of the reckoning the Tory lead in England and Wales rises substantially**

    Anthony Wells said recently that taking Scotland out of the polling figures would add about 0.4% to the Tory share.

  36. It has gone extraordinarily quiet on here considering we have three poll results and news being broadcast that the GE is to be called for the 6th May.

    Battle grounds that may yet affect the GE results and polls (though not as much as the economy) are NHS, Law & Order, Immigration, Education, on which the LibDems and Conservatives will both attack the Labour Party on, they being the incumbant have a record to defend and cannot attack their opponents on their record.

    I am glad YG have decided to change their weighting method for ‘likelihood to vote’, it now brings them inline with all other major pollsters except AR who I think still do not weight their results for it. If YG had waited until during the campaign proper then their headline numbers would have seemed ‘questionable’ by the public so now was exactly the right time in my opinion to make such a change, and I congratulate them again for being transparent and up-front on their methodology.

  37. Tom Curtis – are you actually being serious? If you are, I condemn your words in the strongest possible terms.

    Spinaker – read the comments policy. If you feel you can’t abide by it, then take your comments elsewhere.

    Glen – I never recall you saying ICM were biased against Labour before. Only now that they have a lead which is smaller than the others!

    The rest of you, some interesting comments. At least the Tory lead hasn’t actually grown any further in the YouGov poll and there may be some cause for Labour to hope it may go down a smidgen tomorrow. For now, ICM notwithstanding, the Tories have every reason to be confident.

  38. KEN

    If you’d seen my earlier post about this you’d be aware that I was suggesting that it would be interesting if polling around issues and choices could take place. I gave an example of respondents being asked whether they would support an increase in prescription charges to £10.00 if the additional funding was used to support NHS frontline services. I see nothing partisan or off-topic about this.

  39. Hi all

    Long time reader, first time poster (I’m afraid that I wont be able to keep my partisan comments to myself, so I tend to just shut up and read! But this is all about the polls!)

    I’m getting fed up (as I expect Anthony is) with people not understanding what a rogue is (and calling anything they don’t like a rouge), and I just wanted to clarify my understanding…

    A rouge is where a poll falls outside the MOE (3%), and 1 in 20 polls is going to be a rouge (long term average).

    So, let’s just say that the true Con support is 38% – that means we can expect polls to show anywhere from 35% to 41% (and there have only been 2 polls this year that have been outside that range!)

    Let’s say the Lab support is 30% – we can expect polls to show 27-33%. In the past 2 weeks we’ve only seen 2 polls outside this.

    Let’s say the Con lead is 7% (I know that doesn’t agree with the above, but I’m using the rounded figures!), we can expect polls to show anywhere from 4-10%. Again, in the last 2 weeks, only 2 polls outside this (and in opposite directions – Angus Reed showing 11% on 1st Apr and YouGov showing 2% on 24th).

    Whilst it does appear to be some recent widening of the polls (following a bit of a narrowing), I’d say that all the pollsters are doing a fairly decent job, and actually showing some fairly consistent figures.

    The Cons haven’t really shown any volatility in their support, Labour seem to be much more up and down.

  40. I’m not sure why its meant to be so extraordinary or unlikely that icm have a 4% gap …when 4% was the consisent gap in yougov’s polls every day for several days up until last weekend and the post budget news coverage. Surely its the increase in the conservative lead over the past 7 days or so which can just as easily be seen as going against the general picture/trend?

    Perhaps ICM are just first to detect a slipping back now that the news has moved on a bit….

  41. “I have no written evidence about this and neither has anyone else but I have had to emailed communications from two contacts who say they have picked this up from people who work at Tory HQ. ”

    And I have heard from a mate whose ex-girlfriend works at Labour HQ who told me that GB eats babies.

    Oh – and a taxi driver in Iraq told MI6 that some general in the back of his cab said that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction that could be launched at the UK within 45 minutes.

    I’m sure all three statements are absolutely true and we should act on them, but it’s always better to work from attributable primary sources of information (as the Iraq “war” showed).

  42. @Tom Curtis

    **People on benefits shouldn’t be allowed to vote. That would keep Labour out for good**

    So you obviously don’t believe in democracy -what are you doing on a polling site then?

  43. Keith little prospect of a UKIP pick-up. While the Tories & other parties have not yet attacked UKIP regarding the very serious slease “evidence” in the Sunday Times regarding the current UKIP leader I am sure that if UKIP picks up in the polls it will be exploited!

  44. AW – Could you please look into DavidB’s constant posting (5 now today) about the mythical prescription charge increase. As you will be aware this will be logged by search engines like Google and multiple references like this is a classic method to try and get something virally adopted by the search engines generally, thus giving an untrue story some form of respectability on the internet.

  45. I wish people would stop accusing Polling companies of bias.
    All companies are going to get it wrong sometime, some more often than others.

    Cons around 8% lead, beginings of a trend?
    Lab share, all over the place.

    Final result = God knows.

    (For my personal opinion, I want a small Conservative majority so Gordon goes, followed by a hung Parliment for voting reform, followed by well that’s a secret…)

  46. @Bill Roy
    I suspect someone will be mischievously raising the subject of Europe too

  47. @DAVIDB………….I just don’t understand the relevance of the mythical £10. :-)

  48. Can somebody explain to me what happens in terms of Whitehall support etc when an election is called. I read somewhere that somebody said Mr Brown loses certain powers/privileges.

    Does the incumbent Govt lose certain powers?, not withstanding it is still in charge and would need to be in the event of emergencies etc


    Notwithstanding your rather unhelpful initial comments, I absolutely agree that unattributable statements need to be dealt with very cautiously. All I have ever said about the alleged Tory proposal to raise prescription charges to £10.00 is that it doesn’t seem entirely unlikely given the record of previous Tory governments in this area. Given the costs of NHS medicines retail it could even be taken as a sensible revenue raiser given the likely pressures on NHS funding although it could also be seen as a consequence of having to fill a revenue gap left by GO’s proposals to reduce the 2011 NI increase.

  50. @DavidB,

    Please stop constantly posting the same note about the prescription charges. You know very well there are no plans whatsoever for the Conservatives to increase them.


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