The Sun’s YouGov questions todayfound 55% of people supported £6 billion in spending cuts being carried out this year, with 28% thinking they should be delayed till next year amd 6% opposing them completely. Of course, non-specific cuts are likely to be more popular than whatever the government eventually decide to cut. YouGov also asked specifically about the expected rise in VAT to 20% – this was far less popular, only 31% saif they supported it, with 63% opposed.

The tables for YouGov’s Sunday Times poll are also up on the website here. Amongst other things they include a voting intention question, showing topline figures of CON 37%, LAB 34%, LDEM 21%. This is in line with the weekend polls from ICM and ComRes which also showed a shift of about 3 points from the Liberal Democrats to Labour since the general election.

On other questions, Prime Ministerial approval ratings for David Cameron and Deputy PM approval ratings for Nick Clegg were both pretty much as you’d expect in a honeymoon period: good net positives (+36 for Cameron and +32 for Clegg), but with high levels of don’t knows for both (40% in each case) as people haven’t really had much time to judge yet. Other questions on the coalition were pretty much in line with the findings we’ve seen elsewhere – people are broadly positive, but don’t expect it to last 5 years.

YouGov also asked about the Labour leadership, and like the companies found David Miliband in the lead, in this case on 29% compared to 7% for Ed Miliband and 6% for Ed Balls. YouGov also asked which candidate would make respondents least likely to vote Labour, and found Ed Balls the clear leader on 27% of all voters, and perhaps most importantly, amongst current Labout voters, 20% of whom said Ed Balls would be the leader least likely to make them vote Labour.

On unrelated matters, I have updated the lists of target seats to base them on the 2010 election results (Conservative target seats here, Labour here, Liberal Democrats targets here. They are all academic to a large extent, since the government propose to start a boundary review that will report in time for the next election, but they’ll do for now. If the government do hope their boundary review will report in time for 2015, then they will probably have to start the review as soon as possible, so for the psephologically minded one thing to look out for in the Queen’s speech next week will be whether the bill to reduce the number of MPs is there (and when the Bill itself arrives, how it changes the rules the Boundary Commissions operate upon). Since I’ve veered slightly off topic, I may as well take the opportunity to heartily endorse Sunder Katwala’s post on why it is a tragedy that Phil Cowley’s research on Parliamentary rebellions has still not received new funding.


405 Responses to “More YouGov polling on the coalition”

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  1. Oh come on, enough of this YouGov?sun propaganda. YouGOv was woefully wrong on the final outcome of the election (in terms of seat numbers and percentage shares) so it should be ignored in my opinion. They interview far too small a sample, and they mostly represent the white middle class bluerinse brigade

  2. I didn’t need YouGov to confirm that Ed Balls would be unpopular with voters.

    He nearly lost one of the safest labour seats in Leeds at the election. I know the area of Morley quite well, and only a divisive figure could do so poorly in such a working class area.

  3. @MAC

    YouGov is one of the most accurate pollsters. As for the GE VI polls, YG’s last was Con 35, Lab 28, LD 28. The actual result (excluding NI) was 37, 30, 23. So whereas the LD figure was overstated, the Con/Lab scores were pretty accurate, and the differential exactly right – 7%. As for seat projections, a week out Peter Kellner predicted: Con 290,Lab 240 (and incidentally Con 36%, Lab 29%). He overstimated the Libs however.

    Now back to the article, the “cuts” poll is unsurprising, with supporters of the coalition supporting them, and labour supporters opposed. It would be interesting what the result of this poll would have been had the Libs gone into opposition – as they were strongly opposed to 6bn cuts in this financial year.

    The VAT figures present a dilemma for the Coalition. VAT hits everyone in a rather sneaky and invidious way. In fact it hits the poorest hardest, as it is not based on earnings, or ability to pay. DC also raged during the campaign against accusations the Tories would put up VAT. However, it’s almost certain to happen, so he had better go into damage limitation mode – pronto.

    Ed Balls must think a lot of Ed Balls, as no-one else appears to see him as anything other than a liability. I suppose this rules out Yvette Cooper, which is a shame, as she seems to be someone who could have curried favour with both the left and the centre, and beyond the Party.

  4. @Richard O

    Especially when Labour were doing pretty well in other working class areas.
    I wonder if one of our Labour posters can tell us why Balls thinks having a marginal seat will not be a handicap, when Cruddas appears to have ruled himself out for that very reason.

  5. @ RAF

    My guess – as heir to Mandelson ;-) – Balls knows he cannot win so he will try to garner as many supporters as possible. He will then endeavour to persuade his backers to eventually back his choice from the other candidates.

    I’ll get my tinfoil hat….

  6. ….it is a tragedy that Phil Cowley’s research on Parliamentary rebellions has still not received new funding.
    ————————————————————–
    In the New Politics, Anthony, rebellions won’t be allowed – so no need for research about them :-(

    Seriously, it is extremely disappointing that his funding has not been renewed.

  7. mac – most of the pollsters were within each other’s margins of error, so hats off to ICM for having the lowest average error amongst the main pollsters, but none of the established pollsters was spectacularly worse than anyone else. Why polling companies as a whole overestimated the Lib Dems is an open question, and one we’ll no doubt return to once pollsters start reviewing their methodology and coming to proper conclusions about what went on.

    YouGov’s standard sample size is around 1,400 for the daily polling and for all voting intention questions, 800 for snap one-day questions. In comparison ComRes, MORI and ICM tend to have samples of 1000, Populus tend to have samples of 1,500. All pollsters weight their samples by social class, so none will be skewed towards the middle class.

    Raf – having a marginal seat shouldn’t be a particular problem. New party leaders almost always outperform their parties national performance. Before the election just gone I think every new party leader since the war outperformed their party’s national performance at the subsequent election and only one (David Owen) saw his vote fall, though even then it fell less than the SDP did on average. I haven’t checked the performances of Cameron, Brown and Clegg at this election, but from memory they all did very well so I expect it remains true. By becoming leader Ed Balls would probably pretty much secure his seat.

  8. @ Amber
    “My guess – as heir to Mandelson”

    The Dark Lord is unique. His nefarious achievements will never be surpassed :) But seroiusly, Mandelson’s are rare. And I rather suspect that Balls has neither the skill, nor the guile to effectively market and butress a successful political movement in the manner that Mandelson was able to do. There’s a lot of jealousy and cynicism surrounding the Dark Lord. But his ability to direct and glue together the most fractious of political parties for the best part of a decade is often downplayed.

    “Balls knows he cannot win so he will try to garner as many supporters as possible. He will then endeavour to persuade his backers to eventually back his choice from the other candidates
    I’ll get my tinfoil hat… ”

    You’re suggesting he’ll be reasonably well backed. By who? Those who dislike the “Miliband of Brothers”? What is his constituency within the Labour Party? And does he have the necessary loyal following to direct them as he choses?

  9. @ Anthony,

    For the first time, ever, I am going to resolutely take the opposite position from yours.

    Increasing a good majority to a commanding majority in one’s constituency is not so difficult (Brown, Cameron, Clegg).

    Turning a 1000 vote majority into a commanding lead is much more difficult; Labour would be mad to take a gamble on Ed B, given the existing scenario. Throw AV into the mix, it could be a recipe for disaster.

    Ed B is standing for ‘strategic’ reasons, IMO.

  10. Anthony Wells

    Thanks for this fantastic website and for your hard work with all the stats etc.

    Re your lists of target seats, did you know that when you go to Labour no. 137 (Shrewsbury) it brings up Sheffield S-E; and for 146 (Sittingbourne) you get Sheffield Hallam?

    Don’t know if there are others but you might like to correct these when you get a minute. I was quite confused for a second!

  11. @ RAF

    You’re suggesting he’ll be reasonably well backed. By who? Those who dislike the “Miliband of Brothers”? What is his constituency within the Labour Party? And does he have the necessary loyal following to direct them as he choses?
    —————————————————
    Ed B has 15 backers at the moment… He needs 34 to even go forward in the contest (one eighth – 12.5% of Labour MPs).

    I would suggest that, by standing, Ed is attempting to obtain answers to the very questions you have posed ;-)

    And my apologies for the Mandelson thing – it is a running joke I have with Sue Marsh & others :-)

  12. Amber Star

    How tall are the Millibands? ;-)
    As a 45yo David would have a slight edge over Dave and Nick

  13. @ Anthony

    Thanks for the updated table. It’s quite interesting (with the background).

  14. So the Conservatives’ rating is much as it was just before the election whilst labour has jumped up to levels not seen for months and Lib Dem are almost back to where they were before the Clegg bounce. Why the high rating for Labour? People obviously didn’t like them enough to vote for them. Is it a farewell to Brown or just Anti-tory sentement?

  15. I rather like opposition.

  16. I guess – the latter one. With not wanting Tories either.

  17. @ Sue Marsh

    Well it was said that this election was a good one to lose !
    Which for you as a Labour Supporter ( I think I got that right apols if not) will make the next few years fun .

    For me as an LD less so I think.

  18. Colin Green – Labour were polling 34s for a while before the campaign proper started. Fairly consistently.
    Seems to me there were a significant percentage of people who really weren’t sure.
    Think of the press over the campaign.
    May I tell a little story?
    I was a teller at a very, very, working class polling station in Brighton on May 6th. Obviously by that stage it was illegal for me to give an opinion, but MANY voters tried to ask me what they should do!! (Imagine how bitten my tongue was….)
    One 70 year old man came out from voting looking really very distressed. He listed all the things Labour had done for HIM. He also listed several rather intelligent reasons why he liked GB. (low interest rates, low inflation, honesty.)
    In the end he kind of blurted “I went blue!!” He was very upset.
    I told him I hoped it was the right decision, but he nearly cried!!
    I asked him why he changed and he said “It’s time for change…. isn’t it??” There was a plea in his voice.
    He told me he was a Sun reader and they represented the working man. Didn’t they???
    I knew then the writing was on the wall.
    I DO believe Labour made mistakes, but this campaign really was a sham from start to finish and the odd results up and down the country reflected this IMO. It was nearly impossible to get our message across against the onslaught of media hype, but it still wasn’t quite enough to persuade the nation convincingly that the “change” would be a good idea.
    I feel (OK, instinctively) that there might be many people like my old voter who worry they have made a terrible mistake.

  19. Laszlo – I think just the opposite. I think when Brown went and Cameggery went centre stage people might have gone….. Oh.

  20. @ Sue Marsh

    I know the feeling – I have seen it in my home country in 1990. Virgil keeps coming up to mind (I’m sorry, I’m not that posh).

    But look at the detailed tables. It’s actually not much different demographically than before the elections. There is a definite squeeze on the LibDems and on the others. I just started it, so it’s very superficial. It does suggest that Labour has a dual task to get the polls higher (the coalition will help no doubt) because the voting base is geographical, generational and skill based.

  21. Tell me more Laszlo – Would you elaborate? I’d be fascinated. :)

    Those last two questions made me laugh out loud. When asked will it all be OK, they said, “Probably, yes”. When asked if it wouldn’t they said, “Probably yes”.

  22. Ricahrd Dawson – Could be a brilliant time to be a Lib IMO, though not necessarily a Clegg.

    If you maintain a distinct voice and challenge the Conservatives on the issues that just don’t work for you, the public would have respect for that. I think THAT is what they voted for.

  23. I was wondering whether you intend Anthony to increase LibDem target seats to 100 or just leave at 50 please? Thanking you

  24. Women, I see, are overwhelmingly reserving their judgement ;)

  25. @ Sue Marsh

    I have to go to make some dinner. If you are not here when I come back, please check back next time, I’ll answer sometime tonight.

  26. Sue Marsh

    Your post makes for quite heartbreaking reading. One of my ex-neighbours who I keep up with is in her eighties and has seen a lot of hardships in her life. I have sat and listened many times to her say she has never had it so good, doesn’t complain because the government has looked after her. She can afford to keep warm in winter and not worry. Last time I saw her she seemed a bit ashamed/confused about her choice in the election. Labour got wiped out in Medway, which has to have been one of the hardest hit areas in the south east during the 80s. Everyone just soaks up Sky, and, controversially, because of lowest house prices withinin 50ml radius of London it has changed beyond recognition in the space of 4 years from immigration and London overspill.

  27. @Sue Marsh

    Thanks Sue I always enjoy your posts so much.

    Yes we LDs need to get used to being in govt and the narrative that goes with that something I think as a Labour person you at least have recent experience to draw on !

    One thing is for sure its not going to be dull

  28. @Anthony,

    On your target lists for Lab and LD, the asterisks are missing. I see that, where the party in question is not second, you have given the swing from the incumbent party required to win the seat, which (IIRC) is an improvement over the previous lists. However, in these cases, the seat could be won with a smaller combined swing. E.g. in Hampstead & Kilburn, your list shows that a 1.51% swing from Lab (1st) to LD (3rd) would give a LD win, but LD could win with a combined swing of 1.04% (0.56% from Lab and 0.48% from Con).

  29. Amber – I think it holds true even when new party leaders have quite slender majorities (From memory Ted Heath’s seat was a marginal when he became leader, Michael Howard’s seat was a Lib Dem target when he did. I’m sure there are other examples). I haven’t a clue what Ed Balls motivations are, not who Labour members will vote for, but if he did become leader I expect he’d hold the seat comfortably.

    Peter election follower – the reason it’s only 50 is actually because I was doing it in a hurry yesterday evening with an appointment to go to, otherwise it would have stayed 100! I might well bump it up to 100 when I get chance :)

    Sue – it’s a consistent finding in most political polling, women tend to be more likely to say don’t know.

  30. Anthony Wells – Remind me why we don’t run the country again?? ;)

  31. @Sue,

    In respect of your note, well, I have never been a big fan of the media and to be honest all forms of mass communication propaganda (hence my dislike for Campbell).

    In fact, I have even taken to reading the Guardian now to give myself, as a Conservative, an opposite left wing point of view.

    Having said all of this, if you cast your mind back to 1996/7, the media gave John Major, personally a very decent man, and his Govt (several ministers less so), terrible stick. It was day after day in all papers. He even got character assasination on the TV. It was frustrating to see this constant negative slant, despite the fact the economy was absolutely booming!

    Therefore, the time for a change cliche works both ways.

    rich

  32. Howdie folks.
    Been away for a bit because ther is not much on in terms of polling. I will probaly just make the rare peep above the parapit now and then.
    So on terms of voting intention it seems that there is not much evidence of a Honeymoon, but under the dirt, it suggests there is one. Very confusing. I persume that voting intention isnt that important because we just had an election. The press would report the positive net ratings.

    Happy poll gazing.

  33. No surprises from the polling figures, they’re pretty much what you’d expect given the political situation. It will be interesting to see how long the ‘disloyal Lib Dem’ vote lasts though – my personal instinct is that as long as the Lib Dems maintain a strong voice in the coalition, those who now say they back Labour will probably drift back within a year so. But that could just be wishful thinking on my part. Time will tell.

    As far as the Labour leadership is concerned, I’m stunned Harriet Harman isn’t standing. I mean yes, she has her critics, but I suspect most of them wouldn’t vote for Labour regardless. Her style would play well against Cameron and Clegg, while I suspect that either Miliband would just look like more of the same, not the best position for an opposition leader to be in. Admittedly, I’m somebody who’d be unlikely to vote Labour under any leader, but she certainly seems to me to be by far the best candidate for the job.

  34. @Anthony,

    Howard’s majority pre-2005 was 12.88%, substantially safer than Balls’ 2.25%. Heath only had a 4.26% majority after 1966. I don’t know what it was before, but it couldn’t have increased by a huge amount.

  35. @ Richard O
    “Having said all of this, if you cast your mind back to 1996/7, the media gave John Major, personally a very decent man, and his Govt (several ministers less so), terrible stick. It was day after day in all papers. He even got character assasination on the TV. It was frustrating to see this constant negative slant, despite the fact the economy was absolutely booming!”

    Hehe that reminded me. My (at the time VERY) little sister always felt sorry for him when he appeared on TV particularly when it was clips of him being heckled at PMQs. She used to run up and kiss his image on the television :P

  36. Anthony Wells

    ‘…women tend to be more likely to say don’t know’

    Ther must have been some thought on the part of the pollsters about adjusting questions/techniques in order to help overcome reluctance to express opinion.

  37. @Simon M,

    I really like Darling, but he is off to the back benches, which is a shame. Harman’s not too bad I agree, also agree that it offers a starker contrast to Cameron & Clegg, who are even starting to look alike.

    I think the problem Labour have with D.Milliband, is that he has a real Tory feel about him.

    Rich

  38. My reading of the coalition agreement is that the boundary review will be included in the AV referendum, ie will only come into effect if the referendum passes. Am I misreading that paragraph?

  39. @ David North

    Howard’s majority pre-2005 was 12.88%, substantially safer than Balls’ 2.25%. Heath only had a 4.26% majority after 1966. I don’t know what it was before, but it couldn’t have increased by a huge amount.
    ————————————————-

    Thank you, I was trying to find that information :-)

  40. @Richard Gadsden

    I think you are misreading it. It looks to me that the reduction and equalisation of constituencies will be included in the same bill as the referendum, rather than being dependent on its outcome.

  41. Labour seem to be gobbling up spare LibDem voters here, and thus giving Labour an overall swing from the Conservatives of about 2%. This is just a bit more than Neil Kinnock achieved during the 80’s in 1987 and 1992 elections. I’m thinking that unless it’s Ed Balls or worse (!) then whoever is in charge next time around will probably (or at least ought to) do a bit better than Kinnock.

  42. @ Richard O
    Careful reading the Guardian. Steve Bell and Doonesbury are very addictive…..

  43. Congratulations Anthony on producing the tables of target seats. Is it just me or are there more marginal seats than ever before?
    I agree fully about Ed Balls getting a likely boost in his constituency from becoming party leader. Harold Wilson in Ormskirk/Huyton is another example of this favourite son effect (using “son” deliberately – Finchley was an exception).

  44. @Richard O

    Have read the Grauniad for ten years, always worth understanding both sides of a debate.

    Never yet made any sense of Toynbee and Ashley though. Both regularly state without irony that DC “blows with the wind”, “what does he stand for”, etc, while they alternated between one week “Brown must go” to “this is Brown’s time” back to “that’s it, Brown has to go”.
    They’ll keep you laughing…………….

  45. @Hooded Man,

    From reading the Guardian quite a bit, I would say they effectivelly dropped Brown several months before the election. I noticed the paper getting rather anti-Labour at times.

    rich

  46. Try the Mirror guys. Very enlightening) ;

  47. @sue

    agreed, very frightening as you say :-)

    the inestimable K Maguire ;-)

  48. @Richard o

    editorially perhaps, but Ms PT particularly never quite settled which way she wanted to go. Private Eye particularly annotated her capacity for flip-flopping over GB.

  49. AMBER STAR:

    Michael Howard’s majority was 5,907 in 2001, which more than doubled in 2005 to 11,680

    Charles Kennedy before he became LibDem leader (in 1999) had majority of 4,019 in 1997, which trebled to 12,952 in 2001.

    David Cameron in 2005 had 14,156 majority which increased to 22,740 this year. He became Leader Dec 2005.

    Nick Clegg in 2005 had 8,682 majority which increased to 5,284 this year. He became Leader Dec 2007.

    Tony Blair in 1992 had 14,859, which increased to 25,143 in 1997. He became Leader in July 1994.

  50. @ Sue Marsh
    “@Richard Dawson – Could be a brilliant time to be a Lib IMO, though not necessarily a Clegg
    If you maintain a distinct voice and challenge the Conservatives on the issues that just don’t work for you, the public would have respect for that. I think THAT is what they voted for May”

    The problem with that idea is collective cabinet responsibility. It will be very difficult, if not impossible for those LDs that are now members of the government to dissent on any major issues. Sure, there will be the odd free vote, but in general LDs will not speak out of turn.

    The fear is that the lack of a ‘distictive voice’ could see the LDs lose their…erm…distinctiveness, and end of merging once again with the Tories as per the Liberal Unionists and National Unionists. PR would prevent this, but AV would not.

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