YouGov’s voting intention figures for the Sunday Times tomorrow are CON 42%, LAB 38%, LDEM 12% (!). That is YouGov’s lowest score for the Liberal Democrats since October 2007 (and for the record, October 2007 saw them at 11%, immediately before and after Ming Campbell’s removal as leader).

Of course while we give a lot of attention to polls showing extremes, almost by definition they tend to be the outliers. That said, looking at the broader picture of YouGov’s daily polling the Liberal Democrats are definitely upon a downwards trend. In early July YouGov were putting them around 16-17%, in mid July they were pretty solidly on 15%, in the last week and a half we’ve frequently seen polls putting them at 14%, this is the second to put them below that.

I doubt this poll reflects a sudden drop in Lib Dem support – they’ll probably be back up around their current YouGov average of 14% on Monday – rather it’s a continuation of that downwards trend. Lib Dem ministers still don’t seem too worried about their position in the polls, commonly dismissing it as just what happens to a junior coalition partner until they find their voice, but presumably it will become a cause of concern for some point (not just for the Lib Dems, but presumably also for Conservatives who fear it placing pressure upon the coalition.

181 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – 42/38/12”

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  1. Labour not doing too badly- see polls and the local authority results

    Libs in trouble.

    Interesting article in the Guardian about the abolition of wage boards for agriculture

  2. The Lib Dem figure clearly can’t be dismissed (especially if you are defending a council seat next May!) but according to the last batch of local byelection results, the Lib Dems gained one seat and held three, losing none. I’ll settle for that rather than worry too much about You Gov

  3. Lab up 9%

    Con up 6%

    Lib down 11%

    That’s pretty brutal in just 3 months.

    I really want to see some tables. Other’s must be down 4% from this, so are the Libs actually overwhelmingly going to Labour with UKIP liking the cut of the coalition jib?

  4. Sue –

    Lab up 8,
    Con up 5,
    LD down 12.

    Opinion polls are GB only, so you need to compare to the share of the vote in Great Britain, not the share of the vote in the UK (which also deals with your question about Others – there is not a vast change there since the election).

  5. AW -aha, was I using the England figures then? still, until now, thought the Lib vote had split fairly evenly between Lab and Con? Are there tables?

  6. Oh no, I see, GB not UK

  7. Don’t think the figures are that surprising. The ST’s first poll of the month were C 42% L 36% LD 16%. So for Labour to have gained 2% and the LibDems to lose 4% isn’t stretching the realms of possibility. Especially with the revelation that Clegg didn’t believe in what he was telling the electorate that he did.

  8. C.L.A.D. – I think they’re very surprising. If someone had told me Labour would be polling 38 in 3 months I’d have thought they were mad.

  9. Labour will be polling 42% by November. There is some good news though. The Tories will be cancelling Trident in all but name and give the credit to the Liberals. Shame, Labour could not do it.

  10. ADDAT ALERT!!!!!!!!

    Check out the spin from the Telegraph :

    “The public seems happy, for the moment. The parties in the coalition enjoy a combined opinion poll lead of about 20 points over Labour, with the Tories two to six per cent higher than their general election score.”

    Now then, did we miss anything?

  11. @SUE -“ADDAT alert”
    Shouldn’t it be ATTAD?
    If the Telegraph is a convert to ATTAD, I presume they will be supporting the introduction of AV in the referendum.

  12. Am I the only one who hasn’t got a clue what either ADDAT or ATTAD mean? Is it some sort of Labour code?

  13. PETE B -“ATTAD …? Is it some sort of Labour code?”
    Sort of. Amber invented it.
    Add Together Tory And Dems (when Labour are doing well in the polls).

  14. @Anthony

    “Sue –

    Lab up 8,
    Con up 5,
    LD down 12.”


    I know which team I’d prefer to be backing…..and it is still the ‘honeymoon’ supposedly.

  15. Julian – thanks, It is a bit of a cheat isn’t it?

    I wonder whether the proposed electoral reforms – i.e. speeding up boundary commission, evening up seat sizes etc, will have the effect of reducing the percentage vote that the Tories will need in order to get a majority on their own? I suppose it all depends on the breakdown of the ‘Others’ (including Libs).

    Still, 42% seems pretty healthy for them.

  16. How long before single figures?

  17. One simple question.
    If it’s true the LDs aren’t panicking, shouldn’t they be?

  18. @PeteB

    “Still, 42% seems pretty healthy for them.”

    that is precisely what the LD’s (on here personified by WML/Howard) least want to hear..


    As Sandra Gidley said *(the defeated LD MP) it is looking clearly like the LD’s will ‘be toast’ if they continue on this “suicidal coalition”.

  19. @Sue M

    “Check out the spin from the Telegraph :

    “The public seems happy, for the moment. The parties in the coalition enjoy a combined opinion poll lead of about 20 points over Labour, with the Tories two to six per cent higher than their general election score.”

    Now then, did we miss anything?”

    yes- extremely amusing :-)

  20. The Telegraph article is somewhat far fetched, however the Conservatives do appear to be ahead of where they were in terms of seats at the election. Additionally, it is worth emphasising that Tories in Lib-Lab marginals will vote LibDem to keep a hard left Labour party away from the door, however in Con-Lib marginals, the hard left wont touch the Liberals with a 50 foot bargepole, hence allowing the Tories to sneak in by the back door. The analysis over on electoral calculus is interesting to say the least, the two party politics era is reborne, the Libereals haemoraging their right and centre support to the Tories whilst the left turn harder to the left and arrive at Labour.

  21. If 40% of LibDem voters at the GE are unhappy with the coalition (a previous post), then a fall to 12% seems less likely than a fall to 14%.

  22. GEORGE GARDNER -“….the left turn harder to the left and arrive at Labour.”
    So you think at the moment 38% of voters are ‘hard left’?

  23. I’d have more faith in YouGov polls if I hadn’t witnessed my wife trying vainly to complete the poll on Friday but getting an error message every time.

    I wonder if it was because she answered the questions ‘incorrectly’.

  24. @KEITH IN BRISTOL -“I wonder if it was because she answered the questions ‘incorrectly’.”

    Explain to me, please, what the reason would be for a polling company to want to ‘fix’ polls.

    And also if they did, what the ‘correct’ answers would be.

  25. That’s between her and YouGov. Their survey software is definitely flaky though. I don’t have any faith in YouGov anymore.

    You misunderstand me. The ‘incorrect’ answers are between your wife and YouGov.
    I’m asking what the ‘correct’ answers are. :)

  27. How would I know? I didn’t conduct the poll. :D

  28. Julian,

    If 38% of voters vote Labour, I would define them as being “hard left”, if it was the case for Lib Dem, I’d define them as “centre-left”, and for Tories in their current form as “centre”

  29. @George Gardner

    In your reality that may be the case but what matters is the real world and actions in the real world. The tories are centre-right and Labour centre-left, the interesting bit is placement of the LibDems. They’ve always rejected right-left labels in favour of “Liberal” but their recent actions show that their leadership at least is actually centre-right. Whereas all polls of their membership show that most define themselves as centre-left.

    The idea that Labour are hard-left is laughable but shows where your political spectrum is centred.

  30. The Lib Dems could well go down to single-digits once the cuts really kick in. A recent Ipsos-Mori poll shown that even in a 14% Lib Dem votership, a third were unhappy with the coalition’s actions so far.

  31. Question for Chris lane. Where’s the best place to check local government results nowadays?

  32. I have had a word with Wayne, who has informed me that without a doubt this poll spells disaster for Labour, and the Tories will be on 68% by next week……..;)

  33. @ David Blake.
    I google ‘local authority council by election results’

    It is a Lib Dem site and gives the swings, numbers, dates and gains/losses

  34. Lots of noise perhaps. I need a thorough run through this poll, before I comment fully. However it don’t look good for the Liberals. Torys still racing past 40. Labour doing not bad, due to them being leaderless (nothing different). I expect 45/30/15 by end of August!!

  35. The strange thing is that the worse the results are for the LD’s the stronger it makes the coalition.

    They have no choice but to hang on the their ministerial jobs and hope that once the worst of the cuts is over, the economy starts to improve, they gain some credit.

    IMO the most likely danger to the coalition now comes from the Tory right. It is worth remembering that the 1922 committee was formed to vioce oposition to another Con-Lib coalition.

    DC should remember the old maxim “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”

  36. John Fletcher,
    “when the economy starts to improve”
    It already has.. Last quarter figures were 1.1% growth. People are waiting to see more improvement next quarter, which despite all the doom mongers wanting the economy to slip back into recession, it ain’t gonna. Next quarter more growth and poll take off for the blues.. Listen to the master and learn!

  37. Wayne – I have no idea how serious you are when you post, but you can’t possibly think last quarter’s economic data had anything to do with the coalition can you?

    3 Months?

    You think we’ll see the effects of anything Osborne does in the first three months?

    Good grief.

  38. @ Wayne,

    I am not dis- agreeing with you about the economy and its current performance. Nor am I in any personal doubt about the long term success of the economic policy. I look forward to an economically successful country, paying its way and with a very very small government.

    What I am saying however is that at the moment those who tend towards the LD’s are reserving judgement until after the cuts take effect.

  39. “But the prospects for the rest of this year remain uncertain. Deep government spending cuts at home and abroad risk denting confidence and curtailing demand in the remainder of 2010.

    “There is a very real risk that the second quarter will be as good as it gets for the economy for the time being,” said Howard Archer, economist at IHS Global Insight.

    “Going forward, we expect growth to be relatively muted and bumpy in the face of serious headwinds, including major fiscal tightening increasingly starting to impact, the euro zone’s problems and pressure on consumers coming from high unemployment, muted wage growth and high debt levels.”

    Reuters, 22nd July 2010

  40. @ Sue Marsh

    Que Sera sera, whatever will be will be.

    You read your tea leaves I read mine.

    Only time will tell. :D

  41. Well, were now 3 months into the new Coalition Government and I think when political historians look back on it in years to come, Teresa Mays nauseating interview in this mornings News of World will mark both the end of its honeymoon period and unfortunately, the turning of the tide back in favour of Labour. One of the principal reasons why Labour lost the election was because the electorate wanted to see the end of the Police state it had created and the restoration of civil liberties in this country. Indeed, every time the tabloid press kicked up a fuss about something or other, Labour would introduce a new draconian sledgehammer to crack a nut type law in order to be seen to be doing something about it. And that’s how we ended up with 4000 new laws and a Police state. There was a great hullabaloo in the wake of the May 2010 election with Nick Clegg trumpeting that there would be a “Freedom Bill” introduced to undo all of Labours 4000 new laws and their Police state and all that. Rubbish – this is yet another example of a politician saying what he thinks the public wanted to hear. Nick Clegg will go down as yet another ‘phoney Blair’. The proof of that came this morning with the announcement that Labour’s Sarah’s Law is to be extended nationwide – a law under which in the trial period 90% of those reported upon by an assortment of nosy neighbours, local gossips, and the paranoid, were found to be guilty of nothing – perhaps one of the most sledgehammer to crack a nut and most intrusive of all of Labours laws. As for Nick Cleggs great new ‘Freedom Bill’, almost certainly were heading for a great damp squid. Indeed, what we have got here is yet another Government pandering to the tabloid press with more draconian laws and the consolidation of the Police state that Labour created. What a let down. Look’s like my vote was wasted. When I say, pandering to the tabloid press, you can’t do more than what the hopeless Teresa May did this morning than by sucking up to the News of the World with a filmed interview.

    As for this morning’s other news – the Liberal Democrats down to 12%. Absolutely disastrous. Economically, with all of the cuts, this country is going to have to endure a further 2-3 years at least of very hard times. In difficult circumstances like this, Governments have to be able to fall back upon the political stock they have built up with the public if they are to survive. That is, if a Government doesn’t get things right in those areas where it can succeed, then those who voted for them are going to be less forgiving when things go wrong economically. That is why the Coalition Government’s decision to go back on its promises on civil liberties is almost certainly going to haunt it and why Teresa Mays filmed interview of her sucking up to the News of the World will mark the turning point against it. With the Liberal Democrats down to 12%, it’s not going to be too long before this Coalition Government completely unravels. I think Liberal Democrat supporters will take the view that the longer they stay in this Government, the worse it will get for them and the sooner they get out of it, the better. That means another election at some point within the next 18 months. Some people will take the view that if one has to live under a Police state with whichever party you vote for, then they may as well vote Labour. At least Labour are honest about it and don’t go around pretending they support civil liberties just to get elected, and then go back on their promises 3 months later. As the old advert used to say – go for the real deal, accept no imitations.

    A bad day for civil liberties. However, at least it has shown up the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives for what they really are. Labour for me next time – at least you know what your going to get.

    A word of advice if your moving house soon. Once your in your lovely new home and one of the local kids accidentally kicks a football into your garden and comes knocking on your door for permission to retrieve it, whatever you do, don’t answer the door under any circumstances – if your seen by the local gossip, your likely to get a visit from the old bill….. And what a great start to a new life that would be!

  42. Sort of back to the 1979 ans post 83 scenario.

    The danger for the LibDems in surely that they’ve lost being seen to represent anything distinctive….like a wipeout of all the headway made in 1997 and after…

    Nothing in politics is irreversible…equally some trends seem to be self fulfilling. I think once there’s a new Labour leader…good or bad…and a sense of whether or not they can offer anything ‘new’…combined with VAT rise in January….the elections next May with or without the referendum….will be interesting.

    Also will this make bolder those Con MPs who for example don’t want the rferendum on the same day? Afterall where have the libs to go onthese polls if they were to walk from the coalition….

    Or could it be like the 1920s and 1930s when some walk, some stay and some dither…

    I think polls are one thing and elections another. A bad election result will test LibDem nerve.

    BTW their status a junior partner is already re-creating that old image of David Steel in David Owen’s top pocket….jokes abot Clegg being tea boy; Cameron’s fag; and conservative with a small’ ‘c ‘ abound on the media. In our age of image as Gordon Brown can testify an idea that takes hold can be difficult shake off. Mr clegg needs to think through his personal strategy very carefully…he’s coming over as too loyal and his jibes at Labour are consolidating anti-coalition forces in Labout that’s not to his party’s advantage.

    He’s going to struggle with the idea that things were so dire economically when all the figures point to an earlier recovery and less public debt before they’re policies have started to bite. What happends if necxt year there’s a dip and unemployment rises…who’ll get the blame…it may be the Lib Dems more than anyone.

  43. George Gardner – “Hard Left” would surely involve taking all utility companies back into State ownership, followed by all listed companies, putting the means of production into the hands of all, redistributing wealth savagely, perhaps with the re-introduction of 95% tax levels, mansion taxes that might force the wealthy to sell their homes, closing all public schools and private hospitals etc etc etc.

    It’s just silly to claim that everyone voting Labour is “Hard Left” under any definition. I’m sure there are some, just as I’m sure there are one or two fascists who vote Tory, but with Ed balls the most left-wing leadership candidate, I don’t think you have to worry too much.

  44. John, Sue . Others

    I am pleased that people are starting to come round to my way of thinking.
    We have to be positive about the economy in both the short and long term. The budget was fantastically received at home and globally.
    Cameron and co are busting a gut at the moment, touring the world for business!

  45. @ Wayne

    We seem to be cut from the same cloth.

    I have been saying for years that India is our natural trade ally.

    There are other areas we ought to explore.

    For instance there is a huge Colombian community here in England and thanks to the right wing government of Uribe and now the new president to be Santos, they are stable and the fastest growing ecconomy in South America. We should be using the home grown second generation Colombians as ambassadors to make inroads into their economy. The French invest hugely there. why not us?

    DC has made a start in putting us back on the economic world map at last. I hope the continue to pursue this policy with ever increasing vigor.

    IMO this is what governments are about, not social engineering and nanny stateism like the last lot.

  46. How anyone can attribute any of the current upturn in the economy to the coalition, shows two things.

    Their bias, which generally can be shown on the posts they do.

    Their complete lack of understanding of economic data. Their is a huge thing called the internet out there, go check how the data is formulated and when the data is taken from…..maybe then when you wont post complete and utter Osborne on economic data , people wont just ignore your posts as biased drivel and your lack of knowledge on the subject wont be so blatantly evident.

    It is for yours and the boards better interest.

  47. John Fletcher,

    Thank goodness I have found someone else with my level of political intelligence.
    You are totally right, governments should promote their country around the world to promote trade. [Snip – AW]

  48. @ Wayne

    The budget was fantastically received at home and globally.
    There are serious economic commentators who disagree with you. They seriously question whether the growth of private sector employment creation can offset the public sector losses among other things. The risk of a double dip recession and slump is also there if unemployment balloons and growth stagnates.

    Your are clearly optimistic from the posts you leave, but may I politely suggest respectfully that those glasses of yours may occasionally have a slightly less rosy tint.

  49. @ Wayne

    Perhaps I would perfer to use the term political intuition rather than intelligence.

    I try hard not to antagonise our left wing colleagues on this site :D


    Please excuse me if I mis-wrote but I do not believe anything of the immediate economic situation reflects anything that the coalition government has done.

    I hope this rather incoherent optimism lasts out the next 12 months.

    Nor do I beleive DC has played a blinder anywhere. If going to a country that has Nuclear Weapons to bad mouth its neighbour – another ally – with whom its fought a number of wars since Independence….is an example of either grown up politics or telling in how it is either the nursery food has been doctored with LSD or the speaker is delusional.

    I forbear from making a judgement as to which…

    None of which is really relevant to the LibDem position in the polls upon which I was trying but obviously not succeeding to make a small comment without too much rabid party politics.

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