The Evening Standard have the lastest London data from YouGov’s daily polls, aggregated up and properly weighted to London demographics.

The topline figures are CON 38%(-2), LAB 35%(+4), LDEM 16%(+2). It is a significant narrowing of the Conservative lead in London since their last poll, though this one is a lot more in line with other YouGov polling. YouGov’s previous London poll showed a towering 8 point swing, whereas this one shows 5 point swing, much closer to what YouGov’s national polls are showing. On these figures, London seems to be behaving in a pretty similar fashion to the rest of the country.

(Incidentally, Joe Murphy’s commentary in the Standard takes a lot of trouble to make clear why some seats are a different colour to the party who the current MP represents due to boundary changes. I have the suspicion that there speaks a man who recieved lots of emails from readers last time round complaining about Croydon Central, etc, being the wrong colour)


140 Responses to “Latest YouGov figures for London”

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  1. I have to admit, I do wonder why the Boundary Commission doesn’t deliberately create more marginals by parcelling up bits of urban Britain with bits of rural Britain. This would create a more stable situation, both in terms of demographic shift and in terms of turnout rates. In practice they seem to do the opposite.

    For example in Plymouth they took all the Tory voting suburbs out of the city seats and bundled them up with “Bluer than Blue” rural seats. This created two pretty safe Labour seats where there had previously been one Labour seat and two fairly marginal ones. Exeter is the same, with the Tory suburbs hived off into neighbouring Tory rural seats to leave an urban Labour rump. Or the “York Doughnut”.

    I’d rather see “V” shaped seats where a slice of urban landscape forms the apex of a larger seat. Of course this would benefit the Tories, by making the vote share needed to get them a majority a little closer to Labour’s. I guess that’s why people oppose it.

    On the other hand it would mean that when Labour do well, large swathes of the Tory shires would turn red by virtue of the concrete toeholds in their corners.

  2. I’m waiting for a poll that does something remarkably different – like a narrow Labour lead or the Tories in the high teens – then we might see some panic tactics on behalf of the major parties.

    If the Lib Dems support crept over 25% as well that would set both Labour and Conservative alarm bells ringing!!

  3. @Roland

    “For the “assumptions” you Labourites are making, thinking that Clegg will get in bed with Gordon Brown is a very daft assumption”

    yep it’s time for one of those rare moments again……I could not agree with you more.

    It would be extremely hard for Clegg to justify (other than to his base) a formal agreement with Labour…..even were Labour the biggest party.

    In that scenario I could envisage at most a short term informal agreement on the economy (to accomplish the CSR and cuts programme) and one or two other matters but nothing else, before another election.

    The key reason for my view is that- even with Labour the biggest party- it is likely that the Conservatives will have *significantly* more votes than Labour.

    This is largely- but not entirely admittedly- due to all those blue votes piling up on top of each other in the SE England/ East England/ Outer London.

    The best scenario for Clegg is actually a result that makes it impossible for Labour + Lib Dem MP’s to make it past 326. This automatically rules a formal 2 party pact with Labour but leaves it open with Cameron.

    If Clegg agrees to support Cameron on key legislation he HAS to extract a referendum on voting reform and I think Cameron would give it to him.

    Amusingly a Cameron-Clegg pact of 9-15 months is also the best scenario for Labour as well. We’d be out of power with time to ditch Brown and elect someone younger and more swing-voter friendly whist the Conservatives and Lib Dems are busy cutting citizens services and making public servants (and private sector contractors for the public sector) redundant.

    Just in time for the next election 9- 15 months from May 6th……:-)

    @everyone else-

    that Oponium is also a pleasant surprise for me !!

  4. Just read this in PoliticsHome:

    After predicting the demise of the tactical vote – the tory website has this poll:

    Tactical voting may be on the rise

    One-fifth of the electorate could go into the voting booth more worried about stopping a party they reject than helping one they endorse
    New PoliticsHome research suggests that up to one in five voters may consider voting tactically – not backing their favourite party at the ballot box, but supporting whoever can keep a party that they dislike out of government.
    This would represent a doubling of tactical voting from the approximately 10 per cent estimated to have done so in the 1997, 2001 and 2005 elections.

    Liberal Democrat boost
    Labour supporters are almost twice as likely to vote tactically as Liberal Democrats or Conservatives.

    Liberal Democrat MPs whose main challenge comes from the Conservatives are most likely to benefit from such an outcome, as pro-Labour voters switch to Nick Clegg’s party to prevent a Tory government.

  5. @neil A – I think that’s a very reasoned assessment. It’s certainly the case that last year they assumed they would win and win well – Hague and one or two others publically said so. Where I might diverge from your analysis is that I don’t think it was just the impact on the polls of the austerity message. I’m pretty certain that they also were very surprised to find that the election would be fought against a backdrop of falling unemployment and lower than forecast deficit with some much more encouraging news on growth in general. Against this backdrop the out and out attacks on Brown were less effective so they felt they needed to have something more positive to say.
    This is also why I am becoming increasingly anti Tory […snipped]

  6. @Julian,

    No its not really birthrates, its population movement. If you think that tens of thousands of new houses are built every year, and the vast majority (for obvious reasons) are built in Tory-voting areas where there is land available, you can see that the population rise there will be greater than elsewhere.

    Plus, on the whole the people who sell up their flat in London/Manchester/Plymouth/Bristol/Norwich and move to a new-build 3 bed semi in Hertfordshire / Cheshire / South Devon /Somerset / Norfolk are probably more likely to fit a Tory-voting demographic than the folks they leave behind.

  7. Surbiton – Nope – He played a final one day friendly against the Duke of Norfolk 11 at Arundel. The sun shone all day and I got drunk and sunburned

  8. Andy W – certainly not an urban myth, given you an very easily check it by looking at the electorate figures for each seat! Conservative held seats do tend to be larger, mostly because the demographic trends in Britain are mostly people moving from inner city Labour seats out into suburban or rural Conservative seats. It is not, however, the main reason for Labour’s advantage in the electoral system which is just as much about low turnout in safe Labour seats and tactical voting against the Tories.

    Neil A – the Boundary Commission aren’t allowed to do such things. All they do is follow the rules on seat distribution as set out by statute, they are allowed to take account of equality of size, geographical considerations, local ties, local government boundaries and so on… but not the partisan effect of the changes.

  9. ROB

    Think you might be wrong about that – I can’t see Cameron ever giving the Lib Dems a referendum on electoral reform – he couldn’t risk that the referendum might be lost.

    Instead I think a Labour Lib Dem alliance actually offers them a massive opportunity. Labour have now put PR in their manifesto and committed to a referendum on AV next October so that would mean that both Labour and Lib Dems would be committed to campaigning for it.

    In the case of Cameron – even if he gave Clegg the referendum, which i doubt, most of the Tory party would probably campaign against it leaving the possibility that Cameron may even oppose PR in a referendum he has called.

  10. @Andy JS

    Your making me jealous….. I had to content myself with the Dean headleys and Alan Mulallys of this world

  11. Sue Marsh
    Surbiton – Nope – He played a final one day friendly against the Duke of Norfolk 11 at Arundel. The sun shone all day and I got drunk and sunburned
    ————-

    Lucky you ! I have never been to Arundel. Though I have been to Hove. Never saw a slope like that. If it snowed, you could ski on it !

  12. @Rob Sheffiled – “The best scenario for Clegg is actually a result that makes it impossible for Labour + Lib Dem MP’s to make it past 326”

    No it’s not. The best for Clegg is to have the option to get past 326 with either party. He then leverages the issue of voting reform, Cameron declines, so Clegg allows Brown to remain as a minority until he gets his reform.

  13. @AW,

    Yup, figured as much. But I’d love to have a quiet word with whoever re-carved Devon the last time around. We have a crazy Central Devon seat which basically consists of an uninhabited National Park with small towns dotted around the edge in a massive disc. We have all of the county’s major urban development shoehorned into four seats (PlymouthX2, Torbay, Exeter). It’s pretty odd. For example, a lot of the people who work in those urban constituencies don’t actually live there, creating a strange disconnect of interests.

    I hope that if the Tories get in and reduce the number of seats by 200, the resulting new constituencies are a bit more sensible.

  14. Surbiton – I was at Hove CC for a Labour fund-raiser last week and would you believe Elvis was there and he votes Labour?
    He sang “Always on my mind” for Mandy

  15. @Rob,

    I have to say your analysis is spot on….

    DC and NC fit well together…

    DC is the most prgmatic poltician since Disraeli, and look what the latter did during the Second Reform Act debates of 1866-7.

  16. Neil A – the resulting new constituencies will probably be sillier rather than more sensible, since the expectation is that the Conservatives will change the rules to prioritise seats with an equal sized electorate over all other considerations.

  17. With the Tory vote holding up as a percentage (always more decided voters), the Labour % improvement has to come from don’t knows making up their mind, with LD and Others between them also decreasing as a percentage. LD’s seem to be holding up reasonably too. So it would be interesting to see in the tables coming at us thick and fast, whether the undecideds are reducing as a percentage of the total canvassed. I understand that this is a historical fact in previous election campaigns and thus the analysis of these voters is something I intend to look at if they give us the data. They are required to publish the data aren’t they?

  18. @surbiton

    “Tactical voting may be on the rise”

    TV will play a role (possibly though not inevitably a significant role) in this election IMHO-

    In 1997 Curtice et al election study used exit polling which asked people who they supported and who they voted for:

    0.5% of Con vote went to LD;
    1.5 LD to LAB;
    2.5 LAB to LD

    These are national figures but of course TV is concentrated in constituencies where it is a two-horse race and your usual team are in third place. So those numbers would have been higher in the 2-way marginal’s.

    Curtice has also written an article in the indie a few days ago – as link not allowed here is the headline for google:

    “Party relies on Liberal Democrats voting with heads not hearts”

    His view is that TV is probable but that we don’t know to what extent or whether the 2010 GE will see an increase in TV in favour of the Conservatives i.e.

    “The phenomenon became more marked in 1997, by which time Paddy Ashdown had signalled he preferred Labour to the Conservatives. As much as 3 per cent of the vote often transferred from the Lib Dems to Labour in seats the Tories were defending against a Labour challenger. As many as 20 newly elected Labour MPs owed their victory to such tactical support.

    Meanwhile in 2001 there was yet a further 1 per cent or so switch of votes from the Lib Dems to Labour in some of the most marginal Lab/Con contests. More importantly, neither in that election nor in 2005 was there any evidence of past tactical support for Labour unwinding back towards the Lib Dems – even though by 2005 Labour was far less popular and relations between the two leaderships had cooled.

    So Labour has a substantial legacy of past tactical support it has to retain in many of its key marginal’s. If it were to unwind, the swing to the Tories in these seats would be above the national average, irrespective of whatever impact the controversial funds supplied to Tory challengers by Lord Ashcroft eventually have. “

  19. Just been reading up on this boundary commission/constituency size issue. Apparently, although there is an anti-Tory bias at the moment (as there was a hugely pro-Tory bias in the 1950s) it’s not quite that simple. As, I think Eoin said, the Labour vote is hugely efficient in comparison with the Conservatives who poll well in a narrow band of areas whereas the Labour vote is broader.

    Basically, we’re a nation in two parts: north and south. Only Tony Blair has really crossed the divide between the two (much more so than Thatcher did).

  20. @Alec

    “The best for Clegg is to have the option to get past 326 with either party. He then leverages the issue of voting reform, Cameron declines, so Clegg allows Brown to remain as a minority until he gets his reform.”

    that won’t happen IMHO: Cameron would give him a referendum on AV (which does not make a huge difference to overall seat tallies compared to FPTP)

    Clegg- at the minimum because of the ‘democratic mandate issue’ I pointed out above- will be trying to avoid any scenario that means him keeping Gordon Brown in power !!!

  21. Neil A and AW

    Sounds to me as though you are convinced that a PR system on a Group constituency basis would be more sensible as the demographics are ironed out and there is a good chance you get an MP who deals with your ‘commuting area’ and is of your persuasion because you will have at least one of each. Looking at York, you would not have this daft inner and outer situation, for instance.

  22. @Andy W,

    Not since Rutland and 20 other constieuncies where in the Duke of Newcastles hand have the tories made significant headway up north.

    I think rutland had 662 voters back then and each of them polled their vote in public under considerable pressure form the local gentry.

    pocket boroughs were a plenty and Lord liverpool’s government formed majorites with ease.

  23. Now that Labour have included both House of Commons and House of Lords reform in their manifesto along with AV and PR, this must surely make Lib Dems more comfortable to vote tactically? Whatever Clegg says, his party has the final say, so Amber tells me?

  24. Rob:

    I think there will be more Labour supporters voting Lib Dem than the other way round.

    Maybe, LD voters might split 60 – 40 but unlike Labour voters whose preference for denying the Tories a majority is only bettered by a Labour majority itself, will vote Lib Dem’s in those marginals in even greater numbers.

    What has been overlooked is that Labour voters had many years of training. It was the Thatcher years when they learnt this. Take , for example, Richmond Park. The Labour vote here is not 6% – but many years of practice has meant that they instinctively vote LD to keep the Tories out.

  25. “Tactical voting may be on the rise”

    Well, it had better get a move on. The last marginals poll found that 60% of voters did not know they were in one. Half of those swore blind they definitely were not in one.

    That naivety and lack of interest is the most effective weapon of the Conservatives.

  26. Gary

    “In the case of Cameron – even if he gave Clegg the referendum, which i doubt, most of the Tory party would probably campaign against it leaving the possibility that Cameron may even oppose PR in a referendum he has called.”

    I don’t think so.

    He just does what the wily old Harold Wilson did in the 1975 EU withdrawal referendum- allow a free vote.

    You had Tony Benn and Enoch Powell on the same platform in that referendum campaign.

    A perfectly legitimate (traditional) device which allows him to get the Clegg pact whilst his MP’s campaign however they like. Cameron himself would magisterially stand above the fray and campaign for neither side.

    Simple as that ;-)

  27. @Sue,

    If that’s true, its pretty cynical. As Brown has said on record in the past that he doesn’t agree with PR?

    In terms of House reform… Politics is always about rectifying problems after they happened. Both parties have done this for many years.

    We’ll never see expense claims from the 80s and 90s, but one suspects there is some outrageous stuff hidden for all eternity.

    rich

  28. Howard
    “Tactical voting may be on the rise”

    Well, it had better get a move on. The last marginals poll found that 60% of voters did not know they were in one. Half of those swore blind they definitely were not in one.

    That naivety and lack of interest is the most effective weapon of the Conservatives
    —————————————
    Howard, historically however it is the Labour voters who are more clued-on regarding their options than the Tories – who have not shown much interest, at least, so far.

  29. @howard/ Surbiton

    “Well, it had better get a move on. The last marginals poll found that 60% of voters did not know they were in one.”

    This is a point that curtice article I recommended makes:

    The boundary changes mean a not insiginificant amount of voters are either in a marginal and don’t know it/ or think they are but are not !!

    So there are more ‘untrained’ TV’ers in marginals and more ‘trained’ TVers in non-marginals.

    It was one of the rationales behind the Adonis interview…..

  30. Gary

    “In the case of Cameron – even if he gave Clegg the referendum, which i doubt, most of the Tory party would probably campaign against it leaving the possibility that Cameron may even oppose PR in a referendum he has called.”

    I don’t think so.

    He just does what the wily old Harold Wilson did in the 1975 EU withdrawal referendum- allow a free vote.

    You had people from opposite ends of the political spectrum on the same platform in that referendum campaign.

    A perfectly legitimate (traditional) device which allows him to get the Clegg pact whilst his MP’s campaign however they like. Cameron himself would magisterially stand above the fray and campaign for neither side.

    Simple as that ;-)

  31. Richard O – not really cynical. A referendum on a totally elected House of Lords under a PR system, and a referendum on AV for the Commons.
    This is in fact extremely radical and perhaps shouldn’t be lost in the general noise of manifestos and campaigns. It’s also a neat way of dealing with the expenses scandal as it does certainly give a radical shake up of the status quo. I suppose you could argue Brown only came to it when he knew there was a likelihood it might come in handy, but what government would do otherwise?

  32. @Sue,

    Come on, you can be more categorical than that. Brown would offer to close the entire NHS if it meant staying in power. ;-)

    Seriously though, I think there is a slight turn in the polls at the moment. I think YouGov tonight might be something along the lines of 32,37,20.

    rich

  33. ******alert********

    a new Scottish YouGov poll is out with the following score:

    Lab – 38,
    SNP – 24,
    Con – 17,
    LD – 16.

  34. @ ROB

    Please tell me that Scottish result = 0 Tory seats in Scotland ;-)

  35. I’m glad I’m not a Scottish Tory. To be stuck on 17% for the best part of 15 years
    is not a happy fate.

    Thatcher of course won 31%, 28% and 24% in her 3 elections as leader in Scotland.

  36. Standstill poll for Scotland tonight

    A Yougov poll of the regions last night showed the parties fighting each other to a standstill in Scotland.

    The poll of just over 800 people showed Labour on Labour on 38%, the SNP on 24%, Conservatives on 17% and Lib Dem on 16%.

    On that outcome the parties would come out with almost the same share of seats as the 2005 election.

    Labour have on 40 MPs, assuming they regain Glasgow East, and the SNP could go back up to 7 MPs if they gain Ochill and South Perthshire though Labour’s Gordon Banks is favourite to hold the seat.

    The Lib Dems would have 11 seats and the Tories would be stuck on one. Same old, same old.

  37. @Howard,

    Yup I have always favoured group constituencies, and have recently been converted to a STV voting system within them. My concerns about permanent coalition government have given way to a constant nagging feeling that the iniquities of FPTP are draining our system of legitimacy.

  38. “SNP could go back up to 7 MPs if they gain Ochill and South Perthshire though Labour’s Gordon Banks is favourite to hold the seat.”

    Isn’t Salmond claiming they will get 20 seats ?!!

  39. ROB SHEFFIELD
    “SNP could go back up to 7 MPs if they gain Ochill and South Perthshire though Labour’s Gordon Banks is favourite to hold the seat.”

    Isn’t Salmond claiming they will get 20 seats ?!!
    ———————————————
    Salmond’s bed-hopping with the Tories’ as far as the Westminster election goes may have advantages for the SNP but would not endear him to the Scottish population at large except the Scots Tories.

  40. @ Richard O (8.22pm)

    I think it is an interesting observation that “Brown would offer to close the entire NHS if it meant staying in power”.

    _ _ _ _

    I well remember sitting on the HoC Terrace back in ’98 (plus pint) discussing with, amongst others, a political journalist who claimed that GB had made a clear pact with Blair for GB to assume leadership by the end of the first term.

    He obviously got impatient as by 2005 GB orchestrated the ‘drumming out’ of Blair. It does show how GB yearns the top job and will obviously take some shifting.

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