Tonight’s YouGov poll shows the Lib Dem boost continuing. The topline figures are CON 32%(-1), LAB 26%(-3), LDEM 33%(+4), so following on from BPIX yesterday we now have YouGov putting the Lib Dems in the lead. The 32% is the lowest the Conservatives have been with YouGov since the election-that-never-was in 2007, 26% is the lowest Labour have been since the Conservative party conference boost last year.

The poll was conducted on Saturday and Sunday, so with the “Lib Dem breakthrough” dominating the media and the election narrative. It’s quite hard to guess what is going to happen next – on one hand the Lib Dems are likely to face a concerted attack from the other parties and hostile newspapers, on the other hand if they stay at this level there will be a snowballing effect of them being seen to be on a roll, the Lib Dem’s normal weaknesses of being seen as a wasted vote will be whittled away, and if the two main parties start focusing their fire upon the Lib Dems it may well backfire by making them seem negative and the Lib Dems as the real challenger.


840 Responses to “YouGov show Liberal Democrats ahead”

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  1. ICM 33-28-30

    on electoral calculus

    Lab 63 short

    Lab 263
    LD 101
    Con 254

  2. @Billy

    I posted on it while it was on.

  3. Éoin,

    I really envy your certainty, my friend. Since Friday night when the first of the extraordinary polls came in you have been absolutely solid in your belief about how thing will pan out over the next 18 days. You have stated several times that either Labour will start to climb again imminently or that the LD’s numbers have peaked and will soon come down again. So far neither has even begum to happen.

    We have Labour in the lead in terms of number of seats on UNS, true, but given that there has never been such a seismic shift in polling intentions like the one we have seen over the last few days, I don’t see the evidence that UNS should be trusted.

    How is it that you are quite so sure of yourself, when almost everyone else is showing varying degrees of “I dunno”?

  4. Steve

    “I don’t see how their support will ebb away considering there are 2 more leaders debates.”

    Me neither, my comment was aimed at the numerous people on here who instantly started to say it won’t last. In fact, the last 5 polls suggest NC’s support hasn’t yet peaked.

  5. @ Steve

    You are right.

    However, isn’t it interesting that the Guardian like the BBC and ITN aren’t interested in the shrinking Tory lead or Labour being the largest party? Their headline for days has been: OH MY GAWD LABOUR ARE IN THIRD.

    But the truth is: Labour are currently in first.

    Is this a liberal double-bluf? Play Labour down and the Party sneeks in? Seems too crude. But in this election anything’s possible …

  6. @Greengrass

    Ah okay, thank you! (Begins to check through comments)

  7. ICM – 33/28/30 – Labour third again, LDs up 10%

  8. Ian McKay “You feel the old man would have waited.”

    With the backing of the Murdoch media Lab would be ahead I reckon.

  9. Rob Sheffield – At least do me the curtosy of getting the figures right!

    My prediction still comes out at

    Conservatives = 37%
    Liberal Democrats = 29%
    Labour = 22%

    At least when you are trying to rubbish something make sure you know what you are trying to rubbish. ;)

  10. For everyone who has absolutely no idea what’s going on because of the LibDem post-debate bounce, it’s because you are not alone. Here in the states in 1960, the first US Presidential debates between JFK and Richard Nixon yielded exactly the same bewilderment. Nixon was perceived to have lost because of the sweat on his upper lip and brow, not because of substance. If you want to have some predictive capability on these debates, you just won’t get anything.

    Some cold comfort: at this point, debates between leaders in the US tend only to matter when someone screws up to a very large extent. So if you keep having them, eventually these giant swings will go away.

  11. Mitz,

    I value history.

    check the polls for

    march-may 1983
    march-may 1993
    march-may 2003

    then come back and we’ll talk :) :) :)

  12. My worry as a Labour Party member is that whilst more soft Tory support than soft Labour support has apparently gone LD in the last few days the soft Tory support is more likely to ease back.
    This could end up 36/28/28 or some such.

    Jeez I just did 36/28/28 on the swimgometer and Labour get 344 seats bizarre.

    UNs would not apply of colurse but still!!

  13. @Eoin

    Just on the subject of bearded patriarchs, is this the last Archbishop of Canterbury we are going to see of the old school?

    If I were in the General Synod I would vote for that nice Richard Coles from Bronski Beat. (see in Wikipedia that he had … appeared (as did Bronski Beat) in the Lesbian and Gay Youth Video Project film, Framed Youth: Revenge of The Teenage Perverts (winning documentary in the 1984 Grierson Awards). In 1985, Somerville left Bronski Beat to join Coles.

    He had a very rational debate with Peter Hitchens et al. on the new Philip Pullman book and he’s lovely when he fills in for Fi Glover on R4 in John Peel’s old space. (Talking of whom, think he’d be smiling now)

    Mind you, think Gerry Adams’ beard favours him – but then he’s not trying to be the patriarch, is he?

  14. Guardian claiming Tory support won’t go lower because they hit rock bottom at 31% in 1997 under Major. Also that the Lib Dems will be capped by Con/Lab tribalism.

    Major was 13 years ago. A lot of voters pass away in 13 years, and a lot more come of age.

    And what if the Lib Dems are reaching the non-voters and don’t knows? Nothing tribal about them.

    May be wishful thinking, but I think the Lib Dems just might keep this up.

  15. Libs gain about 17 seats from red under this

    Lab will be on the cresp on looking at a majority without Lib support

  16. Eoin to tell the truth I don’t have the faintest.

    To take an example I said above that these new polls would make current and target Liberal seats safe. But on reflection that may not even be true in all cases. Some of those seats the third party vote (usually Lab) may already be squeezed to its minimum. And the sort of people now being attracted to vote Lib Dem may have already been won over in such seats. This has long been something that has been noted for the Lib Dems.

    Again an awful lot of what were once Lab/Con marginals may now have a Lib Dem coming up through the middle. Will this lead to won seats or just wasted votes as happened to the Alliance in 1983.

    To confuse matters there’s also a lot of boundary changes, some fairly drastic particularly in London. A lot of people won’t even be sure what constituency they’re now in (after all they’ll probably still be voting at the same polling station).

    So the list of marginals that you’d have to poll (or do lots of different marginal polls of) becomes longer and more varied and more uncertain all the time.

    If you think the politicians are panicking, imagine how the pollsters feel.

  17. Bill roy

    “Conservatives = 37%
    Liberal Democrats = 29%
    Labour = 22%

    At least when you are trying to rubbish something make sure you know what you are trying to rubbish.”

    I think with that prediction you have done the best job anyone could do of covering yourself in garbage

    ;-)

  18. Sorry – I did not ‘submit query’

    36/28/28 gives Con 285, lab 250 LD 84 – a good result for LDs as they could choose.

  19. It’s interesting that their opponents are making much of the Cameron gaffe re China. I think that while Cameron was making a valid point – we are currently worried about Iran, and China over the next thirty years is something of an unknown – it was a schoolboy debating error in lumping the two together from a man who wants to be PM. I’m sure Brown will try to flag up this on Thursday as part of his ‘experience’ argument.

    I am struck by the Tories apparent insistence that once people know about Lib Dem policies they will change their minds about supporting them. This verges on the arrogant, and while Brown realised long ago he was in the fight of his political life and started reaching out for allies, there still seems to be a vestige of the ‘our right to govern’ about the Tory machine.

  20. the ironic thing is that now that the Labour vote is dipping under 30%,and they are in 3rd place they stand a better chance of forming the next goverment.

    Every poll since the leaders debate has put them as the largest party in a hung parliament.

  21. Éoin,

    How about we talk now, and you begin by telling me exactly what parallels you see between the three periods you mention and what is happening now?

  22. @Eoin – “Lab will be on the cresp on looking at a majority without Lib support”

    Great new word – love the combination of ‘crest’ and ‘cusp’ – another for the OED!

  23. @Roger,

    do you know something, i have the haunting feeling that all of their gain is slack…. ie… even less gain than UNS..

    its not in scotland, minimla in wales and london…

    NE- labour has huge majoriities so good luck to them up there (except newci, durham)

    If the make strides in the South East the tories will laugh as they have huge majorities there

    they are strong in SW anyway so there is little to be gained there…

    that leaves Ascroft’s marginals…. labour were always gonna lose them… the Bradfords, oldhams, derbys leicesters….

    Now I dont mean to play the race card but what do you think the chances are of immigration swaying people towards blue there, once they read the Tory manifesto…..

  24. Average of 7 polls since that first debate:

    Con 32.4%
    Lab 28%
    Lib Dem 30%

    4.1% swing from Con > L Dem since 2005
    7.78% swing from Lab > L Dem since 2005

    Putting those figures into Electoral calculus without entering a tactical unwind figure, which no doubt there will be:

    Labour 257 seats
    Con 225
    L Dem 136

    Add in a tactical unwind of 2% Labour go up to 267 seats Cons go down to 215 seats, L Dems remain on 136

  25. @Billy

    “It was the Sun wot lost it”

    I like it lol ;-)

  26. The increased volatility of the current polls is notable.

    What these polls will be very difficult to predict is turnout. If the increased share of LD vote is from otherwise apathetic voters, then those people may not actually get as far as the ballot box (if they’re registered at all; although I think most polls are now asking respondents if they’re registered now?)

  27. This result with UNS would be Lab 275, Con 245 and LD 99.

    Third place in votes first place in seats – hmm.

    I think some journo will nail NC if numbers tay simiar as the GE approaches about the bigger mandate seats or votes.

    Both are credible and the answer may be seats but if the vote gap is too big may be not.
    Part of the PR argument is that in seats where votes don’t count (safe labour in particular) turnout is low hence PR addresses.
    It is intellectually credible to say that Lab have a mandate even with lkess vote and the lower vote comes in part from the FPTP system that ‘we (LDs)would change.’

  28. Pardon me, I did the tactical unwind thing wrong, it’s this after a 2% tactical unwind:

    Cons 241 seats
    Lab 239 seats
    L Dems 138 seats

  29. @ SUE & AL J

    This is great – 1 poll in & Labour are holding on to the biggest party position (based on UNS).

    Sigh of relief #1 ;-)

  30. @Eoin
    Mitz-“you have been absolutely solid in your belief about how thing will pan out over the next 18 days. You have stated several times that either Labour will start to climb again imminently or that the LD’s numbers have peaked and will soon come down again. So far neither has even begum to happen”

    Stand your ground – as long as GB stands his :-)

  31. One thing I have been considering in recent days is that the people who moved to the LD’s actually were already supporting them or close to them before the debate, but didn’t consider them relevant or didn’t know enough about them to consider voting for them. The debate of course changed everything.
    If my analysis would be correct that would pretty much exclude the same sort of drastic movements after the other debates (unless someone does a meltdown, that is).

    and @ Roger Mexico, is your username a Pynchon reference?? I guess it must be

  32. The consistency of the LD surge is fascinating. No sign of it retreating at this stage. It’s not growing, but was this ever really a realistic possibility.

    Every day that passes with LD polls above 28% increases the “stickiness” of the vote for them. It’s likely to bounce around in the 28-32% range at least until the next debate.

    At this point, I predict that they will end up at 29%.

  33. Éoin,

    I hope you’re not getting me wrong. I’m not attacking you. I’m not even doubting that you are right. I am just flummoxed as to how and why you are so sure when what we are seeing now has no historical precedent.

  34. the trouble for Cameron is that he is now fighting a war on 2 fronts and as a result is floundering.

    what will the message “a vote for Clegg is a vote for Brown” actually achieve?

    If a lot of people think that a hung parliament would be the best option (and the evidence appears to be there) then they might continue to support the Lib Dems, to guarantee this.

  35. For what it’s worth still using the YouGov Scottish figures with ICM national, the UKPR enhanced now gives:

    Cons 248
    Lab 264
    L D 105

  36. @Interesting

    “Average of 7 polls since that first debate:

    Con 32.4%
    Lab 28%
    Lib Dem 30%

    4.1% swing from Con > L Dem since 2005
    7.78% swing from Lab > L Dem since 2005”

    More interesting (and useful given the volatitlity):

    Look at the swings since a week ago when we had 38.5/ 30.3/ 19.4

    8.35% swing from Con > L Dem since last monday
    6.45% swing from Lab > L Dem since last monday

    Diffferential between Con and Lab down from 8.2% to 4.4% since last Monday

  37. Nick Clegg will stick it to the other two parties on Iraq and being enslaved to the US (always a Tory policy just as much as Labour) and the voters who care hugely about Europe are mostly voting for UKIP or are Tory core supporters anyway.

    With our European partners helping us out with our Volcano-hit travellers, working more closely with other countries looks like a winner, not a loser at this point. Also, Clegg is offering an in/out referendum on Europe.

    I predict that the Lib Dems will end up this week at 35-36%, Tories 29%, Labour 25%.

  38. Lib Dems wont do particuly well in the Cardiff North area and is probably going to be a conservative gain. They wont do well because they want to close sucessful schools in the city for no reason at all which has made many familys all around Cardiff fuming at the council and the Lib Dems.

  39. ICM/Guardian poll now shows Con:33, Lab:28, LDem: 30.

    Flash in the pan, I don’t think.

  40. It is clear now how the Sky News editorial team have decided to play the Lib Dem surge.

    Not that the Con lead over Lab has shrunk; not that the swing from Con to LD is higher than from Lab to LD.

    Nope- its all “terrible news for Gordon Brown as another poll shows them in third place”.

  41. The ‘If we can get Rage Against the Machine to #1 then we can get the Lib Dems into Office’ Facebook group has just topped 100,000 members: http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=113749985304255&ref=ts

    Whatever happens in the next couple of leader debates it is clear that the Lib Dems have enjoyed a major morale boost which will inevitably increase both ‘online’ and on the ground activism. I would not overstate the impact of this but I certainly think it will have effect in helping them to outperform the polls particularly in their marginal seats.

  42. Eoin:

    “The times they are a changin'”

    [Oh, sorry. I’ve already done that one].

    If things always stayed as they historically were life would be very strange. It is, but they won’t.

    Those who say that because Clegg won the first debate he won’t win the others, he won’t be “new” any more etc, are guilty of appalling over-simplification. He won because he came over better and made good points: it’s therefore fairly probable that he will do so again.

    Do you really think that the Lib Dems haven’t considered that people will now scrutinise them more closely and that they aren’t both pleased and ready for that?

    Look forward to a photoop involving the return of the three lost boys from Spain – that should be worth a few votes.

  43. @ Rob Sheffield

    “More interesting (and useful given the volatitlity):

    Look at the swings since a week ago when we had 38.5/ 30.3/ 19.4

    8.35% swing from Con > L Dem since last monday
    6.45% swing from Lab > L Dem since last monday

    Diffferential between Con and Lab down from 8.2% to 4.4% since last Monday”

    Certainly interesting, however wouldn’t you agree the last election wasn’t last Monday, but in 2005?

  44. Lib Dems wont do well in the Welsh Capital and the only change expected in Cardiff is that Cardiff North will swtich to Conservative. The reason Lib Dems wont do well, as the council leaders they’ve decided to shut many sucessful schools in the Welsh Capital like Whitchurch High School and St Tielos and this has made many families in Cardiff fuming.

  45. Richard,

    Once more, please, but this time with feeling…

  46. In a FPTP electoral it is seats that are legitimate, not number of votes. Therefore a Lab/Lib ‘coalition’ could be seen as an equally valid representation of the wishes of the electorate as a Con/Lib ‘coalition’.

    This would be the case even if Labour polled the lowest % and had fewer seats than the Tories; a Lab/Lib coalition would be perfectly legitimate and valid. In terms of legitimacy, it would also pass the ‘% of the vote test’ as well, since the combined % of votes gained by the two parties would be over 50%. In fact it would be novelty to have a government reflecting the views of 50% plus of the electorate :)

    We elect representatives to represent our views, so you could argue that each individual MP should weigh his or her constituents wishes as well, however the nature of the party system will mitigate this.

    So, if there is hung parliament and Labour can get a majority with Lib Dem and others support, GB will go for a Queens Speech. This will put the Lib Dems in a very difficult position, do they risk voting it down? Can they really work with the Tories and support a Tory Queens Speech?

    People may not like it but it is the system we currently have.

  47. AMBER STAR
    “This is great – 1 poll in & Labour are holding on to the biggest party position….”
    I’m not so sure this is great in the long run to be the biggest party but be third in the popular vote. Can we be at least second please? ;)

  48. @ Mitz
    Sorry mistake thought it didn’t send first time as an error code appeared. Wasn’t meant on perpose.

  49. Rob S,

    Did Sky News even mention that on UNS Labour would be the largest party with these numbers? Perhaps they should read Yelland’s Guardian piece as well…

  50. @MITZ

    “I hope you’re not getting me wrong. I’m not attacking you. I’m not even doubting that you are right. I am just flummoxed as to how and why you are so sure when what we are seeing now has no historical precedent.”

    If I may be permitted to answer why LAB is in so much better shape and why LABs should be somewhat bouyant.

    1.) Libs cant garner enough seats for any real challenge at surpassing Lab in seat numbers, under any conceivable scenario really. On the other hand they can spot a number of seats from swinging to the Cons, espcially in Lib Con marginals but also in Lab Con marginals where the Libs also have a fair share of the vote. Think of marginals where a 5% swing is needed and then factor in that although Lab does lose 5%, 2% goes Lib rather then Con.

    2.) the Libs have had their best week, pretty much since they have been formed. However after this i cant see anything happing again that will give them the same equivalent boost. They will by and large maintain this lvl of support however – i am predicting an 28 to 29% final result. On the other hand, the next predictable events are all pro Lab, particularly the economic numbers about to be published on GDP, employment etc. The next debate will do little to sway things from the present situation. Both Lab and Con have little to lose and Libs might only lose slightly. It is the third debate which will be crucial and thats a Lab positive.

    3.) the Lib surge simple kills the Cons. they are no longer the party of change, they will have to focus attacks on Lib rather then Lab and doing so by shifting more to the right, losing further the centre ground. This leaves Lab some breathing space, giving them time to go after Cons.

    4.) Finally, and this will be something i predict no poll will be able to show, except for those maybe immediately preceding the 6th May, Economy, Recession, and Fragile Recovery will remain the big words in this election no matter what. this whole uncertainty actually place right into the Lab narrative that although the economy is recovering it remains fragile and it requires continuity which only Lab can offer. this insecurity will, come election day, move people to vote for stability. This will be a last minute if not last second decision, and that is why i think we will not see it show up in the polls.

    5.) who doesn’t love an underdog?

    6.) whilst Lab is slipping in the polls, and GB unfavourables remain high, he constantly is pointed out in polls and by most commentators as the most prim ministerial. The words PM and DC now seem as out of place put together as a BNP and Greens grand coalition.

    Once again i stick to my prediction of 33/31/29 Lab/Con/Lib result. That means Lab above 300 seats.

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