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. @Sean Fear

    And I can’t see that Labour can offer the DUP anything they would want without upsetting other allies in a minority administration.

  2. @Derek P,

    Let me put the LD vote share vs seat count into a different perspective…

    The LDs get far more seats per vote in elections where the Tories do badly (97, 01, 05) than they do in elections where the Tories do well (79, 83, 87, 92).

    If you believe the Tory vote will be comparitively low, then I’d say this election will see an increase in LD seats. I don’t necessarily think the Tory vote will be that low. I can actually forsee a lower LD seat per vote share than in the last election, particularly given that the only relevant polling we’ve had on the subject has the Tories outperforming UNS in LD targets seats (such as Bill Roy’s).


    I still see no evidence of this being a “youth” election, just your hypothesis. Has anyone had a look at “likelihood to vote” numbers for the age breaks in polling between now and the run up to the last election?

  3. @EOIN

    I have been telling the junior staff in the office to vote, non of the under 25’s intended to vote at all. I make a point that they should vote, reagrdless of anyone elses opinions, for who the believe can best represent them and this country.

    There is complete apathy from them. but the snap poll, of the 4 gave us 2 tories, 1 labour and 1 green.

  4. Having come in from getting the brambles before they get me (they did fight back) . I had a look at Blaydon, tough nut to crack that one. So few Tory voters to squeeze. Do you live in a three way then Bill or did I understand the mechanics wrongly?

  5. Bill Roy “…the LibDems will be toast…”

    I understand what you mean, but I just think that a really simple message delivered boldly that would appeal to voters. It would also chime with a feeling that change is needed and that much of the electorate is unhappy with both Lab and Con.

  6. On Apathy party, has anyone kept tabs on don’t knows, don’t cares in the various tables. Are they going up or down?

  7. @Trevorsden

    “LDs should be ignoring the Tories and attacking Labour and getting their vote. That way they can make a breakthrough. How do you make a breakthrough by attacking the party on 41? Surely they should be attacking the party on 31 and replacing them?”

    In a straight up-and-down comparison of basic party platforms there is much more overlap between Labour and LD than there is LD and Conservative. It would do the LD#s credibility damage to spend more time criticising a party that shares a great many of their beliefs as opposed to a party with which they have a great many conflicts.

    The LD’s will do much better in this election if they concentrate their fire on the Conservatives- particularly over the economy but also social inclusion policies (particularly education, health and housing).

  8. @Paul HJ

    ” This year, I believe that Lab will struggle to remain above 9m votes in total – a decline of 0.5m or 95% of their vote compared to 2005, especially as no poll in the past year has shown them above the actual result achieved in 2005. The Con vote on the other hand is likely to rise significantly, probably over the 10m mark (which would still be below the actual Con vote in every GE from 1950 to 1992) and perhaps higher. Most (but not all) of that increase will be in England – where it will deliver scores of seats from Lab to Con.”

    Appreciate the long manifesto but- amongst many- these two erroneous points stand out in particular:

    1) The 2005 Labour vote was seriously depleted by the Iraq war and Blair-fatigue: the better comparison- if you insist on predicating 95% support levels (without any empirical support)- is 2001. The Labour vote in 2001- on a *59%* turnout was 10.72 million i.e. 10.18 million as a 95% figure on a 40% vote. Given that this election is very likely- for a number of reasons but principally that the result counts and is also in doubt- to have a turnout higher than 59% (likely significantly higher) arguing that Labour is going to fall to 9m or even below is transparently wishful thinking rather than psephological analysis.

    2) It can be argued (and I was doing so in November 2009 on this site) that in the south east and east of England rural and suburban seats, vote-upon-useless-vote is going to be piling up on top of each other. It’s one of the reasons why 39.5% Vs 30.0% performance on a UNS does not get the Conservatives even a one seat majority. The idea that these piles of votes on top of each other in largely indistinguishable suburban and rural southern/ eastern English constituencies will “deliver scores of seats” is erroneous not just because there are relatively few Labour seats left to deliver in suburban and rural SE/ EE con areas but also because in the seats in EE/SE that are more demographically and ethnically mixed (and are still Labour) the Conservatives will find it much more difficult for to make inroads.

  9. @Bill Roy

    ” Just like the results last night showed the 40% barrier to be a myth it would seem from recent run of polls it would actually look as though the polls are widening than contracting the lead, hence exploding the myth of the inevitability of polls tightening.”

    One swallow does not make a spring and you really should know that !! But of course you do which is why its correct to point this out to you but more so for everyone else: there is no broken myth over 40%- not least because one was never constructed but also because one (or even five) polls at/over 40% when coexisting with poll numbers at significant variance to 40% and when the trended average is below 39 means that…the Tories have not ‘reached 40%’ in any meaningful statistical sense. Give me 7-14 days of polls where 8/10 of them are at or over 40% and I’ll change my mind.

    @Bill Roy part deaux

    ” I was expressing the fact that the LibDems should attack Labour where they would win more votes from previously voting Labour supporters than they would from previous voting Conservative supporters by attacking the Conservatives”

    WRONG- the way to get Labour supporters to vote for you (where Labour are not in contention) is to ATTACK the Conservatives !!! Give we know your constituency I think you’ll be a sad bloke on May 6th/7th- TV / LD solid support and leakage of Tories to UKIP to keep LD’s in your seat ! 2005 = LD winning margin was 984 and there were 3,784 votes for Labour…………….

  10. @NeilA

    ” I take it, as official LD spokesman on UKPR, that in agreeing with Amber’s post about Edinburgh you accept that the LDs are a “Leftie” party? That will be great news for my Tory activist colleagues campaigning in Newton Abbott, Torbay and North Devon!”

    Ahem: it will actually be great news for LD’s when the Labour vote vanishes and shifts en masse to them !!

  11. Bill Roy
    I agree with you. NC will never say what Mike N wants him to. For the simple reasons I outlined earlier. I have toyed with the idea myself as have all LD’s but then I would have a quick lie down and recover my composure. The time for the PR push is after the election, not before. You are right in that no poll puts fair votes as top issue. Mind i am not sure they put their questions in a way that would make a voter consider the issue.

  12. Rob,

    polls mostly show a very substantial net loss of 2005 voters from Labour to the Conservatives and Lib Dems.

    Non-voters from 2005, and new voters, may partly plug the gap, but for every former vote lost to a rival party, you need to get two new votes to make up the difference.

  13. Known unknowns

    TV debates, 15, 22 and 29/4
    Employment stats. 21/4
    Crime stats E&W 22/4
    Retail sales 22/4
    Public sector finance stats 22/4
    GDP Q1 stats 23/4
    G-20 Finance Ministers meeting Washington DC 23/4

    Any others?

  14. Howard “NC will never say what Mike N wants him to”

    Ah, but it would be so refreshingly different if he did!

    Back to the drawing board.

  15. I’m sorry if its been discussed but there I just can’t for one second imagine how Yougov has gone from 2-10 in about 10 days… when the labour vote was undented by varoius stories, including the ministers for cash scandal.
    Nothing has changes to lead to a doubling of the tory lead, nothing. So was Yougov wrong then or wrong now? Or a bit of both?
    Or anyone else?!

  16. Rob Sheffield – I was pointing out about the mythicallity of the 40% barrier as had been postulated on this blog by a few posters. As your assertion about ‘one swallow’ is absolutely correct, but can that not also apply to a certain poll last night concerning the narrowing of the polls?

    Concerning your other ‘points’, I will not even bother answering your ‘opinions’.

    Howard – it is a two way fight here in W&L, and it only requires a 0.9% swing to go back to Conservative.

  17. We’ll have the Times Populus poll out tomorrow evening, according to Peter Riddell.

    Polling takes place today and tomorrow morning.

  18. Howard – I think you may be pleasantly surprised just how popular electoral reform could be amoungst Conservatives, although obviously it may cost some Conservatives seats at the General Election after this one there is perhaps a better oportunity than ever before to get wide cross party support for it. We have a situation presently whereby AV on a constituency basis would undoubtedly be popular with voters. I do appreciate that maybe for 20-30 years it could produce coalition governments, but I think if ‘our’ politicians were placed in such a position we would have far more representative and accountable government.

  19. Mark Johnson Re your comment

    “How on earth do you arrive at ‘Labour & Tories will be in the mid 30s by the middle of next week and LDs on 21%’ ?

    What makes you think that and who have all the % gone to”

    My reading of this, is that a large percentage (20%) of those likely to vote have not made up their minds yet. The vote for the Tories is perhaps firmer as the ‘change’ candidates, but now the election has been called, wavering voters will be making up their minds. My opinion is the Labour and the Tories only have around 35% of the votes. The Lib Dems will be around 21-23%, when they have an equal chance to air their agenda. There is still a sizable part of the electorate who turned their back on the Tories in 1997 that still do not trust them to be a ‘one nation’ party.

    I don’t see this election as being 1997, when the swing was massive. I see the election being similar to 1992, with Labour hanging on by their finger nails.

  20. @greengrass: none of these stats will make any real difference unless there is a double-dip recesion (unlikely). The TV debates probably will – but I suspect they will just confirm opinion.

    @Jon: When YouGov gave a 2% lead on the 23rd the Weightred Moving Average was 5 so they were 3 points down – well within MoE. Now the WMA is about 8.5 so 9 is close. All polls are subject to random variation (“sampling error”) and variations in the lead of up to 5% will happen 95% of the time. 5% they will be even higher.

  21. Rob Sheffield,

    (1) If turnout were the same this year as in 2005, then – on current polls – Lab have lost approx 1/7 of its 2005 vote – ie it retains only about 85% of its 2005 support, and has lost some 1.4m votes to fall to just above 8m.

    Allowing for increased turnout, I think Lab will still make 9m (hence 95% of 2005 votes), but it will be a different set of people from the 9.5m obtained in 2005. Not only will it be different voters, it will have a different geographic distribution. This will however be a significantly lower % than that secured by Blair in 2001 or 1997.

    In 2001, Lab’s 10m was 42% of those who voted. Are you seriously suggesting that Lab will reach 42% in the next 4 weeks ? If Lab do reach 10m due to increased turnout, then the chances are that Cons will be above 12m – which is still below the level reached in any election since 1945 except 1974 or those which Lab won.

    (2) England covers far more than just SE. Yes, there are probably only 20-30 seats left in S England (o/s London) for Lab to lose. But there are still dozens of marginals in Midlands and North, and most of these are not in city centres. In many cases, Cons have already made inroads on the local councils, so undermines your demographic argument.

    I am not arguing that the election is already in the bag. But, based on where we are today both politically and psehologically, it is difficult to see how Brown can expect to remain as PM after 6th May.

  22. Bill Roy
    ‘It is a two way fight here in W&L, and it only requires a 0.9% swing to go back to Conservative.’

    It needs a site more than that Bill. Have a look at AW’s electoral map of the seat and side piece on boundary changes concerning the seat.
    If the Tories win that one and the other 116 seats, that are easier than it to win and don’t lose any, they will have a somewhat comfortable victory.

  23. Re young people voting. Don’t forget my teenage bullying campaign??? Remember I cook for them in exchange for them letting me nag them about politics.
    4 New Labour votes already :) Be afraid, be very afraid ;)

  24. Bill Roy,

    Having visited your constituency as a tourist at the weekend, and witnessed the ratio of Lib Dem to Tory posters, I’l say you have a difficult fight on your hands.

    The LDs appear very well organised, and well supported by farmers with good billboard sites!

  25. Sue
    4 down and just a few million to go. The last person who converted millions by making food go a long way was quite successful of course.

  26. I didn’t realise that Angela Merkel got to vote in this election.

  27. Statto

    Groan – back to anecdote and not even joking like Sue.

    I am disappointed that Lib Dem’s are resorting to posters in fields. Down here we say that cows and sheep don’t have the vote. ;-)

  28. Bill Roy,

    I’ve just spotted your candidate is banker with Morgan Stanley. I take it all back – it’s a shoe-in :-)

  29. Sean


    That’s the style.

  30. Upsetting Angela Merkel has got to be a plus for UKIP/Tory waverers?

  31. I’m sure the Tory PR machine has plenty of attack ads ready if other heads of state do Gordon Brown too many favours in the run up to the election.

  32. Foreign heads of government will keep their views to themselves during the election campaign – as they never know who they may have to deal with afterwards.

  33. @Sean, John Fletcher,

    Ulster politics is something I do know quite a bit about, having once held a leadership role with one of the parties.

    The UUP-Conservative alliance will with 100% certainty not get one allaince.

    Their best hope was Hermon’s seat, which will bow be split at least three ways possilbly four

    Foyle/South Down= SDLP
    West Tyrone/Mid Ulster/Fermanagh/West Belf/Newry = Sinn Féin

    south Belfast is a two way battle but that does not include Conservatives.

    Take it as a fact, the Conservative party has done a deal with the least popular of the four Ulster parties. Rather silly really….

  34. @BT

    How do you define single mum? I see a difference between someone who was married for several years, then seperated/divorced with kids and a 19yr old who shacked up with a guy.

  35. @matt,

    I was off out, sorry I could not get back to you.

    I accept all th eevidence points to the fact that grey’s vote more than youngsters…

    There is no substantive evidence to back up my point reference the youth voitng more…

    it was 100% hypothetical based upon a hunch that the last two elections at least wil have added very little youth vote to the electorate…

    there is also a precedent – 1918 but I accept that followed a war…. it did greatly upset poltiical balance though…

    bottom line Matt, you right and I am wrong :) :)

  36. Well, concerning W&L, it will be the people voting and unless someone else here is from the constituency then a the moment it is Cons 1 (2 if you permit my wife’s vote), Labour 0 and LibDems 0.

    AW the above was just for fun! :)

    We will have the YG figures in a few hours, up – down -static, none of us know, but one thing is for sure they will be interesting. Possibly a couple/few other polls may come out tonight.

    The interesting thing for pollsters should AV be selected is they would have a much harder job identifying likely outcome. Imagine the situation whereby the split was 40/30/20 (I know those figures will bring a smile to one posters face :) ), just imagine the complexity of working out whether the holder of 40% in the first round would indeed be able to get to 50% ahead of the one only holding 30% in the first round, and having to do this on every single constituency as local/personal issues played into the election even more. ;)

    Howard – glad you won your battle with the brambles by the way, I have yet to start tackling mine.

  37. I have been looking at propensity and potential for Hung Parliament since 1929. Despite several very close elections, we have only had the 1974 Hung Parliament.

    This can be attributed to one of two reasons.

    – Pure luck that despite the pretty large chance of hung parliaments in tight elections, it simply hasn’t happened.
    – The electorate don’t like/trust hung parliaments, and tend to make a decisive swing one way or the other.

    I really believe the latter is true of the British electorate, and for that reason, I am going to personally rule out a hung parliament now. I therefore strongly expect either a real tightening of the polls, or a further widening.

    My personal view is that I believe the latter will happen, with a consensus in the Country wanting change, not just from Labour, but also associating needing change with the overall last parliament, i.e. expenses, lobbying etc.


  38. @Paul, Rob Sheffield,

    Rob has answered it well Paul, but i will still get a proper answer to you in a bit….

  39. Did anyone see the below on political betting?

    “To put it into context the studies show that a massive 8 out of 10 (13.4 million) of over 55s said they would definitely vote in the General Election compared to less than one in two 18-24 year olds (2.5 million).”

    45-54 year olds 32% 38% 17% 13%
    55-64 year old 39% 27% 19% 15%
    All 55 and over 46% 24% 16% 14%
    All 65 and over 49% 23% 15% 13%
    All 18+ 37% 31% 19% 13%

    This gives 22% lead for Cons in the 55 and Over category/

  40. @TRUE BLUE
    It is exactly that point which I made to Eoin Clarke earlier when he was explaining how all the kids are going to vote and put Mr Brown back with a 97 seat majority. Mr Brown being so hip an all.

  41. @Eoin

    Look up about 12 messages, i said to BT i differentiate between two types of single mother.

  42. Eoin Clarke

    Take it as a fact, the Conservative party has done a deal with the least popular of the four Ulster parties. Rather silly really….


    Cameron’s foray into Ulster was supposed to be clever. It has turned itself to be utterly disastrous. Sylvia Hermon is winning in her own right – the official UCUNF losing this one. I suppose it is only in Strangford where they have an outside chance. The idea was that NI would be a top-up. So far, the top-up is likely to be zero.

  43. @ TRUE BLUE

    What’s the split between under-55 & over-55? PB is comparing an age span of 6 years to potentially 60 years (ok a bit of artistic license there!) Of course there will be many more in the >55 age bracket.

  44. Surbiton,

    As the Conservatives have currently no seats in Northern Ireland, how exactly have they lost out?

  45. @Tom Curtis,

    well my mum was in the 19 year old unmarried bracket….

    what does that change?

    Besides, I am unmarried and am a single father (primary carer)…..

    do you have absolutely any idea what you are tlaking about?

  46. I have just been on Facebook with my daughter. She is 20 and at college.

    She sais she and all her friends are going to vote Tory.

    Reason. They can’t stand GB. All they have ever know in Labour and they hate it. Quite like DC but love Samantha.

    Not scientific. Not PC, but certianly shows that not all the Yoof vote is Labour.

  47. @ ALL (Éoin & Sue especially)

    Can we agree not to feed the trolls? I confess, I fell for it last night but it’s like spitting into a hurricane ;-)

  48. For goodness sake, how many more Tories want to come on and say their kids will be voting Tory??? spot the obvious link anyone?

  49. @Amber,

    I reluctantly agree but the sexism knows no bounds….
    I reluctantly agree but the homophobia knows no bounds…
    I reluctantly agree but the anti-Celtic rants know no bounds…

    :) :) :) :) but yes I will not feed them….

  50. Amber – totally agree. Notice I haven’t said a word.

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