Government Approval

YouGov’s daily voting intention figures today are CON 41%, LAB 37%, LDEM 15%. Government approval is at 41%, disapproval at 40%, giving a net value of just +1, the lowest it’s been since the general election. There is a slow downwards trend in the net score, so I’d expect to see a negative rating sooner rather than later.

To look a bit closer at the approval ratings, below is a graph of approval ratings since the election. The grey line is the net figure for all voters, the blue amongst Tory voters, red Labour voters and gold Lib Dem voters. You can see approval amongst Tories is (unsurprisingly) high and steady. Approval amongst Lib Dem voters is less strong (it averages around 53% approval and 18% disapproval) and underneath all that bouncing about (that’s because there are fewer Lib Dems, and a smaller sample is more volatile) is slowly declining. Finally Labour voters were initially only slightly negative as they gave the government the benefit of the doubt, but quickly became strongly negative – again, as one would expect.


So the main cause of the big decline from the high government approval ratings in the early days of the government is just Labour voters going from “don’t know” to disapprove – a rather inevitable change. More significant is the slow decline since then. This has mostly been amongst Lib Dem voters – both the very gradual decline on the graph, but more important something that isn’t shown on the graph – the change in the size of three groups that those lines represent. Lib Dem voters may be continuing to support the government, but at the same time the number of Lib Dems voters is in decline and that positive yellow line is representing fewer people.

257 Responses to “Government Approval”

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  1. Eoin

    Your figures prove my point. Among those currently still supporting the Lib Dems around 30% say “don’t Know” when asked if they support the (Coalition) Government. This compares with around 10% of Tories and Labour supporters who say “Don’t Know”

    Unsurprisingly the response to actions of the coalition at this point is similar, with figures usually much higher than the other parties.

    However go back to 2009 (I checked six polls in the second half of the year) and look at the ratings for “Do you approve of the [Labour]Government’s record to date”. You’ll see the “Don’t Know” figure for Lib Dem supporters averages only 15% – about the same as other Party supporters.

    Incidentally Government approval was at about 20% at the time, so the coalition have a way to fall.

    So Lib Dem voters are not inherently more likely to say “Don’t Know” normally. But at the moment perhaps 30% – compared to the usual 10% – are uncertain. Given this is the core vote, down by ten points from the GE result already, he does have a lot of work to do.

    And by the way when do I ask you difficult questions? You’re always asking me to find out things for you . :)

  2. Sorry. Cryptic as usual (and yet so wordy). When I said “he has a lot of work to do” I meant Clegg

  3. So the argument is that the present system is unfair because the Conservatives have to have a bigger percentage share of the vote to obtain the same number of seats as Labour.

    But what about the Lib/Dems and others?

    At the GE Cons won 306 seats with 36.9% of the vote – 1 seat for 0.119 % of the vote

    Labour won 258 seats with 29.7 “ “ – 1 seat for 0.115 % of the vote

    Lib/Dems won 57 seats with 23.6 “ – 1 seat for 0.414%

    Others 11 seats with 9.8 – 1 seat for 0.89%

    How can that be fair? Surely, it means the Conservatives are using percentages for political advantage? And I don’like the Lib/Dems.
    Hey, I’ve been number crunching! :-)

  4. @Roger Mexico – I’ve been meaning to ask you for a while, but I’ve assumed ‘Roger Mexico’ isn’t your real name.

    It sounds very like a call sign to me, so my question to you is whether you are related in any way to Victor Bravo?

  5. Roland

    You’re right about businessmen going into politics. Whichever Party it is, it never seems to work out well – I suspect the “charismatic” businessmen they choose are too used to getting their own way unquestioningly. When they come across people who argue back with evidence, which tends to happen in politics, they don’t know how to cope.

    I think Green is only producing a report for the Government on cost saving for October. I get the impression he will recommend reversing all the things they did five years ago to save money. This, I am assured, is how consultants make money. I suspect he’s not getting paid, but no doubt the ermine will be on its way.

    It’s a bit tactless using him, given that many people remember him avoiding the tax on a billion pounds by paying it to his wife – who is domiciled in Monaco. (I always wonder what would have happened if she had taken the money and run off with the gardener). Think how many playgrounds the tax on a billion could have paid for. Still, it didn’t stop Labour giving him a knighthood just after.


    It’s an obscure literary reference to a character in a novel by Thomas Pynchon called “Gravity’s Rainbow”. He’s a statistician, which my degree was partly in though I’ve never worked as one, so it seemed appropriate to this site. I wanted one that I could also use on sites where everyone uses pseudonyms. And I thought surely nobody’s called things like “Amber Star” and “Barney Crockett”. :D

  6. @Roger Mexico – that’s a great shame, as I had a message for Victor that his wife, Juliet Zulu, was going to be late home.

  7. Roger,

    “Do you approve of the Labour gov is a party specific question.

    Try some question sof pan-party policy such as the NHS or expenses?

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