The latest YouGov voting intentions are now up here, and show CON 41%, LAB 36%, LDEM 15%, Others 9%.

YouGov have been continuing daily polling since the election (and will continue doing so), but from this week have started putting out voting intention and government approval figures daily again. In fact, we’ve been asking them both daily for several weeks, but only putting them out in chunks now and again.

I’m not going to make a big fuss of the new figures each day – not least because one can only say “no significant change from yesterday” in a limited number of ways without repeating yourself. Voting intention only changes slowly over time, and outside an election campaign there no point pretending that every new figure is going to show something exciting. That doesn’t mean it isn’t important or interesting though – just that doing voting intention every day requires us to read it and use it somewhat differently.

There is a metaphor that Peter Kellner used to use many years ago when YouGov was relatively young, of how polling used to be regarded as a fine wine, or aged whisky – brought out only for special occassions and greatly revered by those who had paid a fortune for it. It would be much better if polling was like running water, cheap, easy to get and already ready and available to dip into whenever you wanted to know what the public thought.

That’s how you should treat the YouGov daily voting intention figures. Don’t pay attention to the daily movements, anything dramatic is probably sample error anyway – rather you should look at the bigger picture and watch how they develop over time. Don’t get excited over one day’s figures – Labour might be up 4 today or down 3 tomorrow, but the next election is 5 years away. What is really matters is the trend, the slow (or sometimes fast) tectonic movements in party support. With a week or a month’s worth of data we can watch a party’s support going up or down with confidence, rather than making guess from a once-a-month peek at public opinion.

What it is there for is context, background and analysis, whenever you want to know what the levels of party support are… you’ll be able to open it and see. Want to know what effect something had on party support – the figures will be there quietly ticking away. Want to look for a correlation between party support and something else, the back data is all there for you to analyse. Prefer to look at a 5 day rolling average, the figures are there for you to work out. Running water rather than Whisky :)

UPDATE: Changed this a bit, since several people were leaving commetns saying they disagreed…and that they thought what I had intended to write myself. Hopefully I’ve got it across more clearly now!

367 Responses to “Latest YouGov voting intention”

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  1. Amber/Barney,

    The word Tribal gets a bad name! :) I am quite proud of the fact that i am tribal :) Less likely to end up in some fudged coalition supporting 20% VAT.

    Three of my favourite mottos

    1. Never trust a convert for they have too much to prove! :(
    2. Beware of a smiling man bearing gifts! ;)
    3. Birds of a feather…. flock together :)

  2. Amber – Loved that post.

    The data tables are fascinating.. Labour overwhelmingly stopped appealing to women. The fact that so many of our policies were aimed at families and we have always championed women’s rights, makes it even more disappointing.

    Labour need to look at what that demographic REALLY thought and listen very carefully to how they feel let down IMO

    Few more women in government might help too.

  3. @ Barney Crockett

    To me, tribal = people with common aims standing together & refusing to be split by wedge issues that are often deliberately constructed to distract us from our goals.

    I do not believe a political party should be a branded, consumer item – created by adverts & focus groups – with a manifesto of clashing pick ‘n’ mix policies. 8-)

  4. @Barney Crocket

    Thanks for your comment. Hard not to agree with the Smart Bear ;) but despite years of discouragement I cheerfully persist in breaking the taboo, and work politics into my everyday conversations with strangers.

    It would be foolish to think that the overwhelming majority shares ones abiding interest or ones values… so for Labour it has to be the ‘art of the possible’, and working within that constraint. A difficult balance.

    @Sue Marsh, re Spending Consultation, on a flippant note… a comment following Steve Bell’s cartoon in The Guardian yesterday: Reminds me of the talking cow who wants to be eaten in Hitch Hiker’s guide – “May I draw your attention to my liver?”

  5. @ Sue

    I agree – women should be at least 50% of our ‘voting’ tribe.

    Three issues lost Labour the women’s vote, IMO.

    Housing – forget the buy-to-let effect, it is no coincidence that house values increased with the growth in women’s earnings. Boys buy toys – we want a home. Housing is a women’s issue!

    Taking care of the Bankers – who are all seen as being men. It was like a boy’s club with Gordon & Alistair & Mervyn & QE (whoever he is) all looking out for each other at our expense. Which brings me nicely to three:

    The Deficit – women are, IMO, much more afraid of being in debt than men are. Now that doesn’t mean women are less likely to be in debt – we can max out the credit cards too – but it worries women more than men.

    Labour got everything else connected with women & families pretty much spot on but they never really addressed the above 3 issues from a woman’s perspective. 8-)

  6. @ Billy Bob

    “May I draw your attention to my liver?”
    ROFL :-) And brilliant analogy too. 8-)

  7. Sue/Amber,

    the number one issue for women (I’ve some cheek since I aint one but it comes up time and time again when I interview women on these issues) is properly funded, affordable and available childcare..

    sure start and free nursery from 4 are two amazing developments as is Child Tax credits. They are the three Labour policies that I am most proud of.

    Sue mentioned the Cawly MP stepping down before the election (Moffat). I read up on her reasons- she has three children if my memory serves me correctly..

    The next big challenge for a Labour gov. should be fully flexible hours for all workers dad, single people, but especially mums…. When two parents have to work (which is increasingly necessary) they should not simply co-habit but get a chance to spend quality family time…

    In 2003/4 I worked more than 100 hours a week (including commuter time) you can imagine how much I seen my bambino… flexible housing which is affordable where you work is as Amber pointed out also crucial..

    Labour still has much to achieve in this area but I think it is safe to say that the last 10 years are the biggest improvement in family lifestyles in our nation’s history.

  8. Amber – Brilliant post! Couldn’t agree more.

    Also this sense of men talking to men on behalf of men. Then followed by eight men in a back room deciding the next 5 years)

    The minute any woman does well in politics, she’s called a bit of a “larf” :(

  9. Eoin – My area is considered very affluent, yet the median wage is just over 15k. The very cheapest family accommodation here will cost you £1000pm. (Inc Council tax)add in child care costs and most women are slogging away all day every day just to break even.

  10. @Sue

    “Labour overwhelmingly stopped appealing to women. The fact that so many of our policies were aimed at families and we have always championed women’s rights, makes it even more disappointing.”

    The interesting thing is that historically this is nothing abnormal. For many decades men were more likely to vote women than Labour. I think it is only in the last two decades or so that the tendency has been neutralised and in some cases reversed.

    The same was formerly true across Europe. In Spain the differential was sufficiently strong that it was said (correctly) that when the Spanish Socialist government gave women the vote (early ’30s), it was acting against its own party interest.

  11. @ Billy Bob

    It would be foolish to think that the overwhelming majority shares ones abiding interest or ones values… so for Labour it has to be the ‘art of the possible’, and working within that constraint. A difficult balance.
    You & Barney both make very valid points – but I think we have been brainwashed into believing that a small minority of purple people (mondeo man or whatever) are “the key to the marginals”!

    I believe their importance is over-stated. Get enough voters to join the tribe & there will be fewer marginals for these purple people to influence. 8-)

  12. Latest YouGov voting intention – CON 42%, LAB 34%, LDEM 17%

  13. @Amber Star – “…created by adverts”

    Two Lab maginals that went Tory, I am familiar with.
    I wonder whether the marked swing differential was in proportion to the actual Ashcroft LSD imput, or effectiveness thereof. :(
    Correction: I mean Poonds and Pence (not suggesting he put anything in the water :) ).

  14. @ Billy Bob

    I believe the advertising £s did have some effect. But Labour cannot beat the Tories by copying them – the Tories will always have the edge when it comes to funds.

    Labour needs to find another way to appeal to voters. I think that begins with the leader we choose. Which is where we started this debate – & you have given me a lot to think about too. 8-)

  15. @Eoin

    “The fundamental issue for women is child care”

    Er, shouldnt that read “mothers”?

  16. Valerie,

    Yes of couse- please accept my apol…..

    long days marking to blame

    did u know mother are twice as likely to vote (as non mothers)?

  17. @Eoin

    No apology necessary. Always enjoy yr posts :-)

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