YouGov have some new questions up on their website on Afghanistan, the alternative vote and – most topically – the government’s spending cuts. These are all questions that will be part of YouGov’s regular trackers over coming months, replacing some of the pre-election trackers that were very election campaign orientated.

Voting intention for the referendum on switching to Alternative Vote currently stands at YES 44%, NO 34%, wouldn’t vote 5% and don’t know 17%. A lead for alternative vote, but not a particularly large one. Prior to the question wording being decided, the yes and no campaigns being organised, and the public being exposed to many arguments for or against AV, I think we can only conclude that the referendum could easily go either way whenever it is called.

On Afghanistan the public have actually become rather more positive since the same questions were asked last year. 25% think British troops should be withdrawn immediately (down from 35% last year), 42% think they should be withdrawn within a year or so, and 24% are happy for them to stay for as long as the Afghan government needs them. Asked if victory over the Taliban is possible 40% think so, compared to 33% last year. 46% think it is not, down from 57%.

The most topical questions at the moment are on the government plans to cut the deficit. 49% think this will be good for the economy, with 31% thinking it will be bad. The public are more evenly divided over whether the government will make the cuts in a fair fashion – 37% think it will be done fairly, 33% unfairly. 48% of people say that the cuts are already having an impact on their own lives. The government does seem to be in strong position to blame their predecessors for harsh cuts though, asked who they blame for the cuts in public spending, 48% say the last Labour government, compared to 17% who blame the coalition (19% blame both, 9% neither).

Today YouGov also published results on what the public consider the important issues facing the country – unsurprisingly the economic remains the most important issue by far (80%), followed as usual by immigration (53%), with other issues a long way behind. Compare this, however, with a second question that asked people the most important issues facing the respondents and their families. The economy remains top by far (64%), but is now followed by tax (34%), health (32%), pensions (32%), family and childcare issues (17%) and education (16%). Immigration is right down on 12%.

265 Responses to “Latest YouGov trackers”

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  1. It appauling the way the public are now genuinly seeing the economic mess as a Government failire, rather than a market failure!!
    Its actually absurd and disgraceful, the people responsible are getting off scott free and those that saved the UK economy from a depressin get the blame.

  2. No real surprise here, although changes in views on Afghanistan are interesting. Do we feel better about being at war under a Tory government than a Labour one? Do we trust them to run a military campaign better?

  3. Fascinating. It is strange that immigration drops as an issue when a party perceived as strong on immigration assumes power even though they have yet to do anything. Equally, a party perceived to be weak on health assumes power and correspondingly health increases.

    This is th elong term can only be good news for Labour. If the areas they are perceived to be weak in slip and the areas the are perceived to be strong in climb (in importance) they surely their message, campaign, style of opposition should resonate more.

    The slow burn of unpopularity for blue in many ways looks inevitable. But for now at least, it is indeed a slowwwwwwww burn.

  4. I think we all wish to get out of Afghanistan as soon as possible, with none of Blair’s ideas of Westernising them.

    The electorate voted for a hung Parliment, that is what they got and are reasonably happy. No one in their right minds denies we have a debt crisis and just wants to get it over with as soon as possible.

    The interminable leadership election process of the socialist’s seem to go on and on and will bore the electoate to tears and they will become irrelevent as there will not be an election for a little under 5 years.

    The next election will take place against an air of prosperity and while the coalition will suffer, and possibly stagger in the first 3 years they will come back strongly and overtake the socialists at the finish.

    I genuinely do not have any idea how the end game will be for the Liberals, but it will be interesting.

    As to electorial changes, I am not sure. Will a referendum be won either way, I am not sure there even will be one if there were a free vote, I remain to be convinced. Other interesting changes in the system could lead to Scottish and Welsh Federation leading to an English Parliment ?

    There are so many possiblilities in this new political environment

    Lets get the economy back to rights and watch with fascination.

  5. @Otto

    I think you’re spectacularly wrong on the Labour Leadership contest being ‘boring’ and ‘irrelevant’. I think you’ll find the press have a rather good hook for the story’s relevancy to the upcoming AV referendum, by using it as a demonstration of preferential voting systems.

  6. The unemployment figures out today are interesting. Better than expected.

    Along with other recent data on borrowing, it would seem that the coalition has in fact inherited a better economy than they expected, but they are still able to convince nearly 50% of the elctorate that cuts are the fault of the previous Labour administration.

    DC looked very relaxed and in control at todays PMQ’s IMO and Harriet did not put him under any kind of pressure at all.

    This is looking like a long honeymoon to me.

  7. I think the Labour leadership election will galvanise support for them in the short term, whoever wins. A fresh face tends to get a positive response, I think.


    no, england are probably playing football again

  9. Richard,

    I only watch the Italy games, hence I am here.

  10. I don’t watch any football. I like reading through Historic Hansard. I have to be in the mood for it though.

  11. Kyle,

    When you are in the mood for it check out 1931. Labour and the Libs passed AV through the commons only for it ot be rejected by the Lords. The bit you will find most interesting is that the speaker REFUSED to allow anyone to discuss STV.

  12. Crystal balls all over the place tonight!

  13. I’m glad i’m not the only one not bothered about football

    is the budget tomorrow, CGT is what i’ll be looking for. i’m pretty sure that laws was sacrificed to keep CGT rises

  14. eoin

    When you are in the mood for it check out 1931. Labour and the Libs passed AV through the commons only for it ot be rejected by the Lords. The bit you will find most interesting is that the speaker REFUSED to allow anyone to discuss STV

    thanks i didn’t know that. do you think it could happen again. is the speaker allowed to do that, i didn’t think they had so much power

  15. Richard,

    It is not until next week… CGT hmm… I think there has already been a fudge on it. Otherwise we would have heard more from Redwood and co.

    I expect almost nothing to be announced in the budget. A phantom budget of sorts, which delays everything until after the spending review. They will probably reannounce a lot of the green jobs spending that Darling set aside…. maybe some targetted tax rises on airlines etc. Blues will want to be seen as environmentally freindly.

    As for VAT I suspect there will be no uniform increase in VAT.

  16. Here is the link to Historic Hansard. I find it a very useful and important site and I would describe it as my political bible ;)

    h t t p://

  17. Lord Derby the longest serving blue PM began life as a whig (Liberal).

    So did Joseph Chamberlain, Lloyd George, Winston Churchill and as I have recently found out – Michael Hesaltine. I intend to keep digging…

    Hmm…. was George Canning once a whig? He was quite a chilled out sort of fella

  18. It appears both George Canning and Edmund Burke both began as Whigs. Quite a list is developing… they all seem to turn Blue in their late 40s lol.

  19. eion

    ågree no vat, too much too soon.but a real budget of sorts it must be, after all the fanfare they have to have more than one shock headline or the will look like wimps

  20. This one is a little pedantic I accept but Lord North was a Whig or at least began as a whig before becomming a blue PM…

    Why did anyone ever consider it likely that yellows would do a deal with red? They are up to their neck in blue historical links…

  21. I was thinking the same Eoin – The “Democrat” bit appears to have simply been a modern illusion.

  22. socialist in your teens
    nu labour in your twenties
    liberal in your thirties
    tory in your forties

    “i hope i die before i get old”

  23. J Harold Wilson treasurer of the Liberal Eighty Club whilst at Oxford 1935-38.

  24. Not to be unkind to the yellows three Prime Minister’s actually took the other trip that is from blue to yellow.

    Lord Amberdeen
    and Peel

    Thus off the top of my head about half of the Prime Ministers between 1770s to the 1950s had served as blues and yellows at one time or another

    The following list of Prime ministers served as both yellows and blues

    Lord North
    George Canning
    Ld Derby
    Ld Aberdeen
    Viscount Castlereagh
    Lord Palmerston
    Viscount Melbourne

    (it is harder to find PMs who did not represent both yellow and blue)

    in addition the very prominent Ld Landsowne, John Bright, Joe Chamberlain and later Michael Hesaltine also shared yellow and blue robes…

  25. Richard,

    If it any consolation the decline does not take effect in all of us… my blood is still a nice shade of rouge :)

  26. BillyB,

    Does that mean that Charlie K might come over to reds one day? Now that would make my day :)

  27. eoin

    i think you find what you’re looking for

    also you have to see this against a backdrop of 300+ years, where politics have moved almost constantly leftwards. since the 1970s politics have been moving to the right. in my view at a frightening pace, and not just in the uk

  28. Michael Foot also an undergraduate Liberal. (Liberal Party adopted Keynesian, Yellow Book policies for the 1929 elections)

  29. BillyB

    I admire your endeavour but the guys I listed served as MPs for both sets of blue an red…. joining a book lcub aint quite the same thing…. pity ind you..

  30. Why do you keep claiming that Winston Churchill began life as a Liberal. He was first elected as a Conservative MP!!

  31. @Kyle Downing
    Thank you for sharing… have made a note… something to brighten the long winter nights :)

  32. Churchill started as a Conservative swapped to Liberal and went back to Conservative as Liberals faded from relevance.

    A number of politicians abandoned the liberals for both Conservatives and Labour in the 1920’s and 30’s.

    Frank Field was a Conservative at university before leaving other the party’s stance on South Africa. As well as slightly more infamously today, Nick Clegg and Ed Balls.

    There has, historically, been more cross-pollination between our 33 great political traditions than people have perhaps thought.

    More on the subject of the polls. It’s interesting that the question about a person and their families’ issues gives up different results to the usual survey. it seems to more reflect what people vote about than the usual poll.

    People talk about immigration as a general problem but as the fail of Tory’s ’05 campaign shows not that many people actually care enough to vote about it.

  33. Eoin… do you like Harley… he was a PM really, for a while, and showed some kindness to Dean Swift

  34. @Eoin
    On the previous thread you ask whether any previous incoming Government has ever increased their vote on a subsequent election. The ones I can find are
    1955 Tories increased vote on 1951
    1966 Labour landslide after narrow majority in 1964
    October 1974 very marginal increase in Labour vote.

    The odd one is 1951 – when Labour increased their vote, got more than the Tories and National Liberals combined, but still lost – and were out for 13 years.

    As far as I can see the only case in which a Government has been thrown out after a single election success was Ted Heath in 1974 – and he called an unnecessary election, got more votes than Labour, and narrowly lost.

    So, if the past is any guide to the future, which it isn’t – Cameron is likely to win in 2015.

  35. Switching party allegiances can be a very complex phenomenon, and sometimes one has to change their political affiliation in order to stay faithful to their ideas. Francois Mitterand, the most important socialist leader of modern France, belonged to the radical right during his youth, whereas Angela Merkel was a communist in East Germany. Andreas Papandreou, a major figure of the Greek center-left, was a trotskyst in his youth, and so was Lionel Jospin, former socialist PM of France (1997-2002). When I was a student at the Sorbonne, I participated in the trotskyst list at the university election, because it was the only way to defeat the extreme right, which back in the 80s was a real threat (the official left and the liberal right could not even file candidates!!). In the GE I have almost always voted for the socialists, but in the European Election I switch between Socialists, Greens and independent left lists and in the Regional Election between various alliances and combinations of the former. If I voted, let’ say in Slovakia, I would vote for the liberals, in Cyprus for the communists, in the UK for Labour, in Germany for the Greens, in Italy for Left and Freedom, in Romania for no one, etc., for specific reasons in each country. Yet in my mind I belong to the broader area of progressive center-left, with emphasis in social justice and above all human rights, civil liberties, gender equality, LGBT rights, minorities rights and so on. Of course I do not speak here of pure opportunism that drives some people from one direction to the other, but of certain fundamental beliefs combined to an independence of thinking.

  36. @ Eoin, splendid lists. Let’s not forget the Duke of Portland, an absolutely classic “yellow to blue”. In fact Prime Minister (or 1st Lord if the Treasury at least) for both sides!

  37. before the 1970s politics had a leftwards drift, hence defections to the right mostly. since the 70s politics have moved to the right, therefor defections to the left are more likely. those that defect are people who don’t want to change their views.

    IF libdems split most will go left, at least 2\3 i would think

  38. Daniel,

    Portland has been added thank you…


    Did you know Lord Derby was Winston’s grandfather? Check his political lineage out…

    As for Winston he was a lib until at least 1923- he served in Asquith’s lib government post 1910 election (first lord of the admiralty in 1915)….

    I am afraid he cannot erase that aspect of his career.

  39. Richard,

    Of the 57 Libs at the moment less than 20 would go left I think… check out the Beveridge Group’s memebrship list. It is a good indicator………

  40. There has been quite a lot of discussion about the possibility of LibCon candidates….. (quite a lot of disagreement too). It is not off the wall by any means to suggest it is a possibility.

    google the coupon election

    or alternatively see below (copied and pasted)

    The ‘Coupon Election’ was on December 14th, 1918. The ‘Coupon Election’ is so-called as those candidates for the Liberal Party who had supported the coalition government of David Lloyd George during World War One were issued with a letter of support signed by both Lloyd George and Andrew Bonar Law, leader of the Conservative Party. This was seen as being a mark of approval for those candidates. Herbert Asquith, the official leader of the Liberals, referred to the letter as a “coupon” and the title stuck with regards to the name of the actual election in 1918. 159 Liberal candidates received the ‘coupon’.

    Where a ‘Coupon’ Liberal stood for election, no Conservative challenged him. Where a Conservative stood, no ‘Coupon’ Liberal challenged him. Therefore there was no chance of coalition candidate competing against another.

  41. eoin

    what about the membership and the core vote, the MPs will think about that

    also do you agree that the movements from lib to con are explained by the leftward drift of politics

  42. @ Vergilio

    Haven’t you just described your voting as an ABC (Anyone But Conservatives) pattern? I know quite a few people whose support, voting and even membership has migrated like that.

    @ Eoin Clarke

    I should think it’s hard to define “Blues” and “Yellows” until at least the Tamworth Manifesto.

    If anything, I’d say the switching of sides reflects the volatility of parties of that time as a whole; hard to stand still if your party beneath your feet isn’t, e.g. the collapse of the Liberal party in the 30s, the Liberal Unionists after Gladstone converted to Home Rule, etc, etc.

  43. Shaun Woodward, Con to Lab

  44. @Eoin
    You are really confusing me! The Duke of Marlborough was Churchill’s grandfather. Churchill himself was born at Blenheim. Not sure why that is an issue anyway – or where Lord Derby comes into things.

    Winson’s father, Randolph, was a Conservative – Chancellor of the Exchequer and Leader of the House of Commons.

    On the issue of his political allegiance – nobody disputes his Liberal phase, and his close relationship with Lloyd George which endured into the 1930’s – but – Churchill entered the Commons as the Conservtive MP for Oldham in 1900. He crossed the floor in 1904 and joined the Liberals.

  45. Richard,

    The peelites actually joined with the yellows in the end and they being the architects of Tamworth make that quite an arbitrary vut off point. Especially when one considers that blueys were quite starkly split between the reactionary right later in 1828 the Tory Ultras and as you know the Canningites (the lovely bunch that they were- provided they left Caroline alone).

    Essentially politics was quite well defined by 1815… dont forget we had our luddites, peterloo, your Orators of the this world as well of course the great reform act…

    Thus, I humbly suggest that pre 1834 it is quite easy to spot a yellow and a blue..

    if you had said 1815 or 1800 I would have agreed more strongly…

  46. wasn’t peter hain atory or am i thinking of someone else

  47. @Richard
    Peter Hain was a Young Liberal leader in the 1960’s – and a very rebellious one at that. Lost all credibility when he defended the Iraq war!

  48. Johnty,

    I posted a longer response to your Winstonisms last night…. on th eother thread – you didnt reply..

    Firslty – yes Winston’s grandfather served in Derby’s cabinet – he is of course not derby himself. (my apoligies for that) He very kindly served as chief secretary to Ireland, which is where my love affair for the ***** began.

    Now please, I am all winstoned out….
    As for Winston himself…. you are most likely being deliberately pedantic…. Winston served as a yellow for approximately 20 years in a variety of guises. That he was as you say a bluey in his youth I see as imaterial… you are not suggesting 20 years is not significant?

    As for Randloph, Blenheim Palace and his Orange card….. well he can go and ahem.

  49. There must be a psycological study somewhere (Principled Antagonism?) of the scores of rightwing journalists/commentators who have made a long trek from the revolutionary left of the 60s and 70s

  50. @Eoin
    Didn’t think that your previous post required an answer.
    I am suggesting that Churchill’s background was firmly Conservative – the grandson of a Duke for heavens sake, with no empathy for nonconformity or temperance! You can imagine his reaction when the Government got King George V to agree to give up alcohol for the duration of the war in the expectation that the Cabinet would follow suit! To suggest that he came into politics as a Liberal is very misleading. It is probably true to say that party ties were always less important to him than his own advancement.

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