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. @ Charles

    Au contraire, given just how authoritarian the Labour party has become in the last 15 years and how little they care for individual freedom vs state power, I think we have a huge amount to worry about!


    I could not agree with you more.

    Gordon Brown especially cared only for his core electorate of state employees and benefit receivers.

    His sole aim IMO was to increase the numbers of the recipents of his largess, regradless of the cost to the country or individual freedoms, in order it ensure his re-election and the perpetuation of his governement.

    In short the only raison d’etre of Labour has become its own promogation through an increase in the size of the state and is acolytes.

    I thank God daily that at last the tide has turned and we can put the state back in its (hopefully very small) box.

  2. Charles – May I respectfully suggest you read the comments policy linked just above?

  3. @ John Murphy

    I 100% agree with you. Most economic data reflects decisions 12 months old at least.

    So anyone discussing the impact of the Coalition budget can only be sure when we see what is happening next spring/summer.

    Any firm conclusion drawn prior to that is based on guesswork.

    Even the reaction of the city isn’t a guide either, as clearly on many occasions historically they haven’t see crashes coming. The city claim to be clever and know more than you or I, but I am not so sure they are!

  4. WAYNE

    I am amazed that anyone takes you seriously given the generally flippant tone of your comments. However, I am still looking forward to your lecture at Reading University in the Autumn and I do hope that you honour your promise to all your fans on this board to reveal the precise details of when and where.

    Given the fact that the LibDems could be down to single figures by Christmas, it is now possible that AV could turn out to be disaster for them. I foresee the possibility of people voting Labour or Tory (1), anyone else (2) and LibDem (3) – I could also imagine quite a few people voting Labour or Tory (1) , Tory or Labour (2), any one else (3) and LibDem not at all.

  5. @ DavidB

    While I can see where you are coming from, Wayne does add a certain colour to the site. I do respond, but I don’t take his views too seriously, but I find them mildly amusing.

  6. @David Blake’Question for Chris lane. Where’s the best place to check local government results nowadays?’

    David,a very good site run by a couple of folk down Plymouth way is,they review upcoming by elections and the results are updated very quickly,also the local govt section of Conhome is one of the best when it comes to results,lukesblog from Cllr Luke Ackhurst is also very good

  7. Ref DC foreign statements.

    Many seem to believe these are gaffs, However DC has shown himself to be the arch pragmatist.

    Looking at each case.

    1. USA. By describing us as the “junior partner” he is only stating the blooming obvious. It also makes the relationship sound less important to us, giving him the opportunity to distance himself from the USA in the future, particularly over Afganistan. IMO he is determined to have most of our troops uot by 2014 regardless.

    2. PAkistan. Again only stating the blooming obvious. Also who do you want to be on your side, India supposedly soon to be the fastest growing economy in the world, or a basket case state like Pakistan. Also gives good cover for pulling troops out of Afganistan blaming backstabbing elements in Pakistan establishment for any failure.

    3. Gaza. Well everyone hates Isreal anyway and they did let their spys use British passports whist on assasination missions. They deserve a slap in the face. IMO.

    By cosying up to Turkey he is also allying himself to a fast growing economy and distanceing himself from France and Gremany over Turkey’s entry into the EU which will please his backbenchers.

    All round I would say these are pretty effective Gaffs.

    Well done DC. :D

  8. A general point about this poll (non partisan):

    Can anyone envisage a scenario in which the Lib Dems don’t get a thorough beating at next May’s election? How do they get out of this trough?

  9. GARRY K

    Fair point- reminds me of Maggie’s oft quoted statement ‘we all need a Willy’ – message boards need the Waynes and Rolands.

  10. @ Garryk
    Can anyone envisage a scenario in which the Lib Dems don’t get a thorough beating at next May’s election? How do they get out of this trough?


    Pray for miracales such as Ed Balls gets elected Lab leader :D

  11. @DAVID B
    Yesterday you wanted me off of the board altogether and were never going to speak to me again. Now, the board needs me. Make your mind up.
    Furthermore, because I am a lifelong Tory with scant respect for the party you support, do not take it that I am some kind of mental defective. I am rather proud of the fact that I have embarked on a very comfortable retirement in a beautiful and expensive part of England. This has been entirely earned by my own achievements.

  12. Garry K – “Can anyone envisage a scenario in which the Lib Dems don’t get a thorough beating at next May’s election? How do they get out of this trough?”

    I have a perfect plan, but far be it for me to do Clegg’s job for him on a public forum.

  13. When, many years ago I served with an Independent Parachute Sqn of The Royal Engineers, we served cheek by jowl with The Parachute Regt. It was no good moaning about being cut off and surrounded, because Para’s are meant to be cut of and surrounded.
    In the same way, its no use moaning on this site about exhortations or dark depressions regarding daily or weekly poll movements, because that is what the site is for. I cannot tell where the Liberals are going and I am surprised they are not panicking. However, and no apologies for repeating this, things will get worse for the coalition in general before they get better. It will revolve around the economy of course.
    If you are certain Osbourne is wrong, Labour will win the next GE. If you think Osbourne is right they wont.

    In addition, those who think Trident is a goner, think again. We are still Tories.


    “The latest council by-elections support opinion poll suggestions of a surge for Labour but also cast doubt on findings of a Liberal Democrat slump to as low as 13% ………. A calculation based on 13 contests fought both times for the 2 major parties gives a line up of Con 34.7% Lab 33.8% LD 21.5% “

  15. oops quote slould say “by the 3 major parties “

  16. @ Roland

    I didn’t know you were Para as well.

    I was Para Sigs.

    Shame we can’t take some of them for a Tab up Long Valley. :D

  17. Sue Marsh ,
    I have already wagered money on net LD gains in next May’s local elections . My current forecast is
    Labour 500-600 gains from Conservative and 150-200 gains from LD
    LD 400-500 gains from Conservative .
    Conservatives are defending around 5,000 seats next May . They are currently losing 25% of the seats they are defending in council byelections .

    Its very funny and a bit spooky, I knew you were a soldier and I wondered if your were part of the Brotherhood. Your posts display the sort of self sufficiency and common sense that suggest it.
    Now, P company would be good for one or two of them and Breckin Beacons for the Welsh experts.

  19. ROLAND

    Unfortunately I have to break my self-denying ordnance of yesterday just this once.

    1) My view that message boards like this need the odd maverick like yourself to liven things up from time to time has nothing to do with my intention not to respond individually to your posts in future.

    2) I am pleased you are nicely settled in retirement in a lovely part of the country – well done – I’m sure the army pension helped. Just a bit of advice to see you through your last years – just try and be a little less smug and a little more welcoming in your tone and you might find that you actually start making friends again.

  20. @ Roland

    AHHHHHH. The view from the top of Pen y Fan eh!!!!

    or 300 foot above the North Sea from the door of a Hercules on the way to a night jump in Denmark

    Happy Days. !!!!!!!!

  21. @DAVID B
    I am not a maverick, I am a Conservative who dislikes the British Labour party very much. The Army pension is not that significant actually. I do not want to make friends, I want to keep Labour as far away from power as possible.

  22. @JOHN F
    “HERCULES”, I jumped from Beverly’s. You are clearly still a boy John. My son jumps from the Herc, they call it “Fat Albert”.

  23. @ Roland.

    You are clearly still a boy John

    Ok POPs

    Jumped Andovers on my first course which was at Abingdon in 71 before they moved to Brize. Also tailgated choppers with the Germans, and went out between the wings of the Rapide (a bi-plane) when I was doing my freefall course at Netheravon as well door jumps from Cesnas etc.

    An of course lots and lots of baloon jumps.

  24. @JOHN F
    Well the DH Dragon Rapide beats me for antiquity.
    Its pre WW2 of course. You weren’t at Arnhem were you? Only joking.

  25. @ Roland

    Is your boy a Sapper too?

  26. Keith in Bristol

    “Their [YouGov] survey software is definitely flaky though. I don’t have any faith in YouGov anymore.”

    The questions are poorly designed too.

    “Are you on a diet?”

    Yes. I am on a low salt and sugar diet. When you follow on to the rest of the questions it’s clear that they mean a WEIGHT LOSS diet.

    “Do you eat snacks?


    I’m diabetic, and medically advised to do so. I eat fruit between meals. The questions that followed were about the kind of snacks that nobody should be eating regulary. They never pass my lips.

    Yougov hasn’t adapted to devolution yet.

    Take the NHS, for example.

    My impression of the NHS in England comes frm the press and from the works of John Seddon, a magagement writer focused on the failings, misuses and abuses of the target culture.

    My knowledge of the Scottish NHS comes from a carreer as one of its Chief Financal Officers, as a patient and from 19thC history.

    If Yougov want my opinion of either they can have it, but they are not the same.

    The Scottish NHS has more money, higher levels of public support and satisfaction, and the current workaholic minister is the most widely respected and committed to its principles than any that I can recall in either system since Barbara Castle.

    I complained.

    I was trying to be helpful. GIGO [Garbage in Garbage out]

    I got a call-centre cut’n’paste answer to the entirely different and irrelevant issue of the list of choices which is not fully comprehensive.

    I don’t know whether this put-down means they are just too thick to understand or too lazy to care.

  27. It will be difficult for the Lib Dems to do well next May, though Scotland and Wales are different countries politically (the latest poll had them gaining seats in Wales, remember).

    However next May has the biggest Local Authority elections of the four year cycle in England (outside London). There will be a lot of worried Lib Dem councillors in Liverpool on 18 September for the Lib Dem conference.

    I’ve bored you all with my opinion too often before that the Lib Dems have only to really worry if the polls remain much below 15% for a prolonged period and I’d add to that, that the Summer months are notoriously bad for their ratings. So I won’t repeat myself. :D

    However irrespective of the polls, they need to show themselves independent; and, as several people have already pointed out here, Clegg in particular just isn’t. He’s going to have to become less consensual and attack particularly Osbourn to increase taxes on the rich and maintain high visibility spending.

    One of the nice things about these near-daily YouGov polls is that all sorts of supplementary questions get asked which normally might not be. How much coverage the more uncomfortable results may get in the Sun is another matter. If I was the involved in the Lib Dems I’d be looking through picking up topics and issues that matter to people, even if they don’t register (or register differently) inside the Westminster bubble.

  28. I predicted the coalition would be bad for the LDs before the polls showed it.
    I was right, as Wayne would say.
    What can they do to avoid disaster at the next elections?
    Simple. Fall out with the Tories and leave the coalition. IMO.

  29. Mark Senior and others;
    My source for election results is found by goole of ‘local authority by election results. It gives the following website: – Cached – Similar

  30. Anthony:

    Have you consdered that by snipping Wayne you may be falling into the same trap as his intended victims, those who post in support of his views?

    Surely he’s a wind up?

    He writes in a more educated style than The Oracle, but The Oracle’s language may have been in character. I’ve been wondering in what form The Oracle might return, but it could be Wayne.

    You mean Wayne is really a Labour supporter?
    I never thought of that.
    You could be right. ;)

  32. Come to think of it Roland could be too. No-one could be that stereotypically Tory, could they?

  33. Personally I think the Lib Dems will be net losers at the May elections but the losses may not be as great as many expect. However, I do think that the Lib Dems may well soon be back to the situation they were in for decades where they found it very difficult to translate local success into parliamentary success.

    I don’t think continuing to do OK in local by-elections means that the nation polls are wrong (as some seem to be suggesting). Without any form of PR I think the Lib Dems will struggle massively at the next general election. I personally think the AV referendum is lost because Nick Clegg (and I mean Nick Clegg personally) has alienated masses of Labour voters who might otherwise have supported it. The strategy mystifies me – go into a coalition with a party that will campaign vigorously against AV and alienate the party whose support you would need to win. Perhaps I am missing something

  34. Roland & John

    Actually we used to march off the back of Beverleys over the Brecon Beacons and Sailsbury Plain. I now perform Guards of Honour for the Lord Mayor of London in 16th Century Armour. In fact we were reviewed y the Queen in May.

  35. @George Gardiner

    Blimey. Here I am a middle of the road Labour supporter being told I’m of the ‘Hard Left’!

    For goodness sake.

    Are you the same bloke who used to be a tory MP?

  36. John B Dick and Julian Gilbert

    It is no ones business which politcal party I support!
    My comments are always non partisan, as required by this brilliant site that Anthony created !
    Now keep guessing as you wish, you will never squeeze this personal info from my mits !… Never you hear !!

  37. Re: Wayne

    I follow the advice of WML aka Howard on how to deal with ‘resident nutters’

    Just skip over their posts! :-)

  38. Valerie,

    Thank you for those calming words of support… I was so angry though!… How dare they

  39. Apologies folks:
    I have been rather busy – tied up on conferance calls etc this morning, with my political team.
    l will review the nuts and bolts of this poll in more detail later today. I will hopefully get back to you all this evening!

  40. @Roland

    And I certainly don’t see you in the same category.


    I am going to do my best to take your advice and ignore the posts from ‘the nutters’.

    I am however rather tickled by the thought that Roland Haines might be a wind-up merchant given his unbelievably stereotypical right wing comments.

  42. @ Olly

    No, I’m similarly confused. As the the chance of Lib Dems and Labour working together becomes ever more remote, so does the likelihood of the referendum passing.

    @ Wayne

    I’m surprised your tongue hasn’t worked its way through your cheek yet, Wayne.

    @ Valerie

    Hard left is now absolutely anyone opposed to unfettered neoliberalism.

  43. Well, I’m back after a couple of months advising the Falkland’s Islands Governments on things like recycling and human rights. They are dead worried down there at the possibilities of defence cuts and the withdrawal of the garrison along with FCO grants being reduced.

    Looking at how things have developed politically in the UK, I can’t say I’m surprised. Some of you might remember that I have always claimed to the only genuine English Democrat Party activist contibuting to this board and I am utterly dismayed by the very limited constitutional reform being proposed.

    We English Democrats really thought that a Tory government would take steps to loosen the Union but it seems the LibDems have stopped that – we can’t understand how short sighted English people are – getting rid of those excessive grants to the Scots, the Welsh and the Northern Irish would very considerably reduce the level of cuts in England.

    It’s hard being a REAL nationalist!

  44. For many Lib Dem MPs, the way out of this may well be defection to the Labour Party. It must seem increasingly tempting to them.

    They’re probably just waiting for David Miliband to become leader before they jump ship.

  45. Chris Lane
    Yes a good site though not quite up to date as they have not updated this week’s results yet . They get their results from the ALDC website .
    JAKOB – There is zero chance of any LibDem MP’s defecting to Labour in the near future . You are as deluded as those forecasting LibDem MP’s defecting to the Conservatives in the last Parliament .

  46. I agree with Mark Senior it’s either you hang together or all hang together.

  47. Mark Senior

    I prefer the ‘demon’ website since it gives the swings
    and numerical increases and decreases in party votes

  48. ARCHIE

    Welcome back – though to be honest I don’t have much recollection of your previous posts.

    It’s good to have someone from a minority party on the board, and I’d be interested to learn about what exactly English Democrats stand for outside the obvious. I have just checked, and at the GE the English Dems got 0.3% of the English vote, so there’s a long way to go.

    Sad that the most prominent English Democrat (peter Davies elected Mayor of Doncaster) has made such a hash of things and has now been supplanted although he refused to resign. I’ll be interested, Archie, in your thoughts about whether many English Democrat members are mainly right wing nutters.

  49. DAVIDB

    “I’ll be interested, Archie, in your thoughts about whether many English Democrat members are mainly right wing nutters”

    Could you-if you would be so kind-desist from using thw word “nutters” here.

    It is a very dangerous word-loaded as it is with intensely subjective & offensive opinion.

    I feel sure that you would not wish to encourage it’s use by those of us who sometimes struggle to express the essential characteristics of some Labour supporters here.

    Thanks. ;-)

  50. DAVIDB

    English Democrat members I know are an eclectic bunch – a few refugees from UKIP and the like but mostly ex-Tories who aren’y keen on the EU but reckon that Nigel Farage and his lot are just too ‘in your face’. I’m in my 50s and to be honest many English Democrats are older than me so what we really need is a rich benefactor to fund a high profile marketing campaign.

    As for policies, apart from the English Parliament we would take a tough line on the EU but in a more diplomatic way than UKIP and we would withdraw the top up grants to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We are also supporters of STV and the restoration of hunting with hounds. Hope this helps you understand us a bit better.

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