Today’s YouGov voting intentions and government approval ratings are the worst for the Conservatives since the election. The net government approval rating is zero – 40% of people approve of the government’s performance, but 40% of people disapprove. On voting intention the Conservative lead is down to 2 points, the lowest since the election campaign. Topline figures are CON 41%, LAB 39%, LDEM 12%.

Government approval has been on a slow downwards trajectory since the its peak straight after the emergency budget in June. This has been partially down to Labour voters’ hardening disapproval of the government, and partially due to falling Liberal Democrat support. The remaining Liberal Democrat voters still say they approve of the governent’s performance, but there are far fewer of them.

In voting intention, the level of Conservative support actually remains strong. Our daily polling has shown them consistently at or above 40% since the budget, significantly above the 37% support they received at the general election. Their narrowing lead in the polls is actually down to Labour increasing their support off the back of the collapse in Liberal Democrat support. Labour are consistently polling at around 37%, up 7 from their general election score, while Liberal Democrat support stands at just over half their general election vote.

The drop in government approval is to be expected, with the exception of the Blair government after 1997 (and to some extent 2001, when the government’s approval dropped, but then spiked after the attack on the Twin Towers), no British government sustains a positive approval rating for long. The Conservatives rating in the polls remains quite positive, but I’d expect that to start falling at some point once the cuts really start to bite: again, it is clearly what they expect, the Conservative strategy appears to be to take the unpopularity to start with and hope to recover once the cuts have been digested and the economy is in better shape. Right now, the interesting poll rating is that of the Liberal Democrats – the Conservatives have 5 years to get over low poll ratings… unless the coalition falls apart. To date the Lib Dems have been pretty sanguine about the collapse in support, despite stories about Charles Kennedy’s non-defection or Simon Hughes’s semi-regular soundings off, there is no obvious sign of panic.

In a separate poll, YouGov have also released voting intention figures for Holyrood constituency vote carried out for the SNP. Topline figures are CON 14%, LAB 36%, LDEM 12%, SNP 35%. Full results here

301 Responses to “Latest YouGov voting intentions”

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  1. You’re not alone Eoin, I have believed for some time that a large part of the debt is structural anyway and would have faded with strong growth. Only small tweaking would have been required. The cuts themselves are I believe almost self justifying, in that such cuts will hamper growth making the deficit worse, therefore justifying the cuts. The unknown is how much the cuts will hit growth, will it be sufficient to produce the double dip and knock the government (IMO yes), will it be suffucient to increase the deficit not reduce it?

  2. @ Eoin

    4% APR? I would love that :-)

    I would have thought it would be around 14% MPR… One can get a paycheck loan for around 10% MPR…

    Think of all the nice letters the named bank is sending to you. Isn’t it worth the extra few percentage? :-( :-). Actually, the profitability of mortgage lending (after the previous government’s intervention) became improved a lot as the risk provisions are lower.

    But yes, banks’ balance sheets are improving…

    Switch to a bank that offers you base rate+2-2.25% (one of the state owned ones).

  3. eoin

    i’m always surprised that the laws on loan sharking are not applied to credit card companies

    there should be a legal limit to interest payments based on multiples of the base rate

    i don’t know what to call your bank, i’ve forgotten my spanish(i only have room for 1 and a half languages in my head) but what ever else you call them, they must be profitable at least

    maybe…..those dåmm spanish profitable båstårds

  4. Regarding threads dual debates about recession/ inflation:

    On policy induced second recession her eis today’s FT:

    “Britain faces a “significant” risk of a renewed slide into recession, a leading policymaker at the Bank of England warned yesterday. It would be “foolish” to rule out the possibility of a double-dip downturn, even if it was not the Bank’s central prediction, said Dr Martin Weale, the newest member of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC). He also feared that the Bank’s central outlook — which is for growth of about 2.8 per cent in 2011 and 3.2 per cent in 2012 — could be too optimistic.”

    On inflation- the tory rag DE screams

    “JUST when you thought there was no need to worry about inflation ever again the dreaded “I” word gets a mention on almost every finance programme. When the Bank of England decides to tackle inflation, it is inevitable that interest rates will have to go up. Some homeowners will have memories of the nightmarish events of 1992 when interest rates peaked at 15 per cent; that is also the rate many homeowners were paying on mortgages. Many were unable to maintain those penal rates of interests and had to sell up. That precipitated a downturn in the housing market.”

    BTW isn’t a recession plus inflation that 1970’s phenomenon stagflation that Dennis Healey cured…

  5. @ Frederic Stansfield

    If there is a change in the election system, it could happen (votes migrating to small parties).

    As to the rest, I share your feelings.

  6. Laszlo, Richard,

    In Gordon Brown’s last big speech before the election he pledged a cap on interest rates in the manner Richard describes. Have you heard if either blue or yellow are likely to take him up on it?

  7. @ Rob

    Thanks for the DE… Typical… They could have checked it… In 1994, the mortgage rates were at around 7.5%… And there were deals lower than that. What a bunch of… What would they make of the Swedish 150% overnight rate at the same time?…

    I don’t think stagflation (as a common phenomenon for most advanced capitalist economies) is a real possibility currently – there is too much competition for the Chinese market for that.

  8. GrahamBC,

    A double dip is a possibilty. We have had soem predict it in the first quarter 2011. I think it unlikely myself… before we go under there is often a surge in inflation.. at the mo it has been falling steadily… my peppers this week cost me 86p :) . I hope for all our sake we dont go under- but you correct to say it is not off the table yet.

    The betting man that I am says we will avoid it…..

  9. @ Eoin

    No… But to be quite honest I don’t remember a clear commitment to capping loan rates either, but that doesn not mean that it did not happen. But as you mentioned…

    In 2009 there were quite advanced plans in the Treasure to make banks utilities, bringing them under the same regulatory framework as gas, water etc. Actually even the timetable was ready….

  10. @GrahamBC

    I have believed for some time that a large part of the debt is structural anyway and would have faded with strong growth

    The ‘structural deficit’ is that part of the deficit that is *not* a function of the business cycle.

    However, it will be tempered if we can achieve significant growth and- importantly- if we keep unemployment low and can keep inflation below 3-4% (so welfare payments/ public sector pay increases don’t start that wage-price spiral of days gone by).

    But to reduce this current structural deficit completely will require a budget surplus for several years i.e. the government takes in more as income than it spends- the balance between tax rises and spending cuts here is a philosophical one….as is the necessity for the deficit to be ‘completely’ eradicated or alternatively significantly reduced to the historical average levels of the past 30 years i.e. those that existed up to 2008.

    There is a consensus across the political party leaderships (including four of the five Labour candidates- only the far left candidate disagrees) that the deficit has to be reduced.

  11. Laszlo – My memory for detail is useless as most on here will testify, but I remember reading a financial report in detail on the effect of interest rates going up a while ago.

    Mortgage multiples, the effect of the housing bubble and high rates of personal debt had made home-owners so vulnerable, that even 1 or 2 % rise in rates could be catastrophic. It concluded that we certainly couldn’t survive interest rates of 7 or 8%.

    The house-building sector hasn’t really recovered very well since the credit crunch. The confidence just never returned and I think most investors concluded that house prices had just risen too far and the prices were no longer sustainable. Despite considerable refinancing and mothballing of projects, i don’t believe many of the big house-builders would survive a double dip.

    I have a sneaking suspicion interest rates will stay low.

  12. @ Rob
    Thanks for picking that up I meant “not structural”

  13. @ Rob
    I did score -8.75 on the economic scale in our tests the other day (need a smiley here)

  14. Graham BC – How do you manage to be Graham BC and GrahamBC? Are you the same person?

  15. @ Sue

    I agree with you. I think even 6% would be a massive blow to the mortgage debt (my point to Richard was that on the Continent the exposure to mortgage is much lower than here and the interest rates are low there too. With 8% and the current drop in real incomes, the repossession rates of 1991 would be surpassed and those were awful. But there was no 15% mortgage rate as quoted by Rob from DE in 1992).

    Except if the government’s economic policies (related or unrelated to) economic problems I think the markets are right and around 3% in 2015 is the maximum.

  16. The LDs could see a sub-10% quicker than we thought- SamCam has popped her cherry so to speak.

  17. @ Rob and GrahamBC

    Structural deficit is an artificial figure deriving from a regression function between government deficit and GDP changes. Although it’s often presented as a causality (or lack of it: deficit that is independent of the economic cycle), in fact it is a mere historic correlation. There are a number of examples (Finnland, New Zealand, Switzerland, etc.) where sudden changes in the regression model invalidated the assumed structural deficit.

    But of course, politically it is very handy – pro and contra.

  18. Prediction for You Gov on Thursday Con 43 Lab 36 LD
    who cares. The reason. Dave and Sam new baby girl
    born by a section. AAhhhhhhh lovely.

  19. @ Eoin

    It’s nice that a new life comes to this world.

    But it’s a nice headline: Tory child causes further LibDem agony. If there is such an effect… I hope not… This is my romantic side :-)

  20. @ Sue
    Yes I am the same person when I entered my name on the laptop, I put a space, but missed the space on my desktop.

  21. Laszlo,

    “structural deficit”. I am glad you see it that way. At least the blues are true to form… they’ve been hardping on about deficits for a century (since the old Geddes Axe was swinging) but we reds should be ashamed of ourselves buying the tory narrative.

    Until a red leader changes our stance on ‘cuts’ I have no intention of directing criticism at other parties for it. It is hypocrisy of the highest order… Yes lament the choices of things to cut, but to criticise a cut simply because of its primary colour is disingenuous.

  22. “BTW isn’t a recession plus inflation that 1970’s phenomenon stagflation that Dennis Healey cured…”

    About the only thing Dennis Healey cured was people voting Labour for 18 years.

  23. @ Eoin

    I fully agree with you on Labour’s stance on cut and the resulting conclusion from this.

    It is interesting that while one can credit Brown and Darling for the handling of 2008 (although I think they missed a huge opportunity), it is when they completely lost the narrative…

  24. @roland haines

    Not sure its true…nice line though. Labour did for themselves after 1979…i think in the first by-election of the 79 Parliament…something says Southend but I may be wrong there was a huge swing to Labour. Then they defenistrated themselves over Militant and the PLP chose Michael Foot over Healey as leader to aapease the left. The Falkland’s war only brough forward the disater that was waiting to happen and it took three more electuion losses to recover.

    It may happen again .It may not. sometimes even politicians learn from history.

  25. @ Roland

    Interesting that a right wing Labour person cured people from voting for Labour :-).

    Healy has a particularly small place (non existent) in my heart. In 1946 he advised the Hungarian Social Democratic Party that Hungary should be (remain) a textile and food processing industry based economy and rely on importing machinery from England…

  26. Hypothetical question for you.

    Assume that in 2017 there were to be a massive economic shock to the world economy that threw us into recession (again).

    What would be the best policy for the UK government to have adopted in 2010?

  27. Enormous congratulations to Samantha Cameron. Nothing more wonderful.

  28. Laslzo,

    That is core-periphery economics at its very best… I think Mr Healy expected you to remain a feeder economy :(

  29. @ Neil A

    “Assume that in 2017 there were to be a massive economic shock to the world economy that threw us into recession (again).”

    If you take out the two world wars and the last 17 years, recessions come roughly every 8 years, so it is not really a hypothetical question. What makes it really tough if China falls in recession as it has become a capitalist economy (I don’t want it!!!!) – the effects it is just too bad to think about it Tuesday evening…

    But to answer: a policy that obstructs a massive scale, simultaneous renewal of machinery between 2011-13.

  30. LASZLO
    Healey was the classic Butskill politician of his day. Very able at letting the people down gently into a 5th rate power from “Great Britain”. We had been broken financially by the war but the masquerade of wealth must be kept up and the stupid “wot abaht the workers” questions should be answered by comforting lies. The Tories were marginally better. At least they believed in defending us and not ending up like your tragic homeland.

  31. @ Eoin

    Yes, he did. He also proposed that the HSDP should align with the Catholic Church (Mindszenty in particular). Wasn’t a particularly popular advice. Nice from an ex CP member…

  32. @ Roland

    I can’t judge this. But I have listened, read, watched about 4 of his speeches. They do fit with your post. Words vs. actions…

    I guess he would have been described as a “realistic politician”….

  33. neil A

    without doubt the present policy would be seen to be the correct one, this has been a Q that i have been thinking about as well. i begin to suspect that the major economy’s are preparing for such an eventuality

    also i think that worldwide economic policy is starting to be based upon the idea of keeping oil prices within the $70 to 90 range in order to avoid a crash

    did anyone notice US housing V bad news

  34. On the choice between ‘completely’ eradicating the structural deficit in four years on one hand, and reducing it to pre 2008 levels and over a longer period of time (the Labour view):

    Reported in Reuters today- Moodys credit agency (the bogeyman that the Conservatives- and Nick- always try to deploy) has something interesting to say about the notion of what-can-be-called ‘cutting too far and too fast’

    “… the credit ratings agency also says there was increased possibility of a downgrade due to “new challenges”. The challenges that Moody’s highlighted include the need to revive growth at a time when fiscal stimuli are effectively no longer available; regaining or preserving access to affordable funding through credible medium-term fiscal adjustment programs; and the limited amount of time that governments have to confront problems such as aging populations.”

    In other words- create a whole bunch of new-and serious- problems by cutting too fast and too far and we’ll have our credit rating downgraded: and our debt servicing costs will increase meaning more taxes increases and/or spending cuts etc etc etc.

    Now wouldn’t that be an irony for David, Nicholas, and George….

  35. @ Richard in Norway

    “did anyone notice US housing V bad news”

    Indeed. Won’t help US consumer spending… It’s not anymore a slowdown of the recovery, but a halt :-(

  36. @LASZLO
    I say “your tragic homeland,” of course I mean from Horthy to the fall of communism. Things must be so much better now. I might treat my wife and myself to a holiday at Lake Balaton. How do you think Hungary is today?

  37. Hmm, no, I didn’t read that quote as meaning anything of the sort Rob.

    Those new challenges exist irrespective of what happens to spending in my view. Not cutting the deficit would simply be an extra “new challenge”.

  38. I toured Eastern Europe with my brother 4 years ago. I have to say Budapest was my favourite city of all. Very like a small London I felt.

  39. Rob S,

    The difference between blue and red deficit reduction plans was not that great…

    Blue to begin in 2010
    Red to begin in 2011

    Both aim to half the deficit … one in 2014 …. one in 2015…

    You write about Darling’s plan like it aimed to get there in 9 years time….

  40. I thought GO was talking about eliminating the deficit by 2015? Or is that just the structural deficit?

  41. @ Roland

    “How do you think Hungary is today?”

    That requires a long answer and may not be really tolerated here (rightly). I’m sure that you would have a lovely time at the lake Balaton, especially if you choose the northern “shore”. Hospitality is really good nowadays.

    Very, very briefly. It has been a hectic 20 years, with lots of twists and turns. 1990-93 pretty awful, 1994-1998: hard, 1998-2006 easy, 2006- gradual decline.

    In many ways it’s an economy like the Irish: 70% is owned by foreign companies (through FDI and not share investment like in the UK), highly developed west, declining east, very tough life in the north-east.

    In values it’s social democratic (old labour) in economic terms and right of the Conservative Party in social terms. This creates a combination of waiting… not for Godot, but for a messianistic leader (they have at the moment, but his popularity has started to decline), so populism is a winning card. Racism (proper one) is a major issue and mourning about lost territories (after 90 years) is strong among fairly large strata of the society. Solidarity is very weak (even within families). Although the economy is vibrant, it has the lowest labour market participation rate in entire Europe, which is a major drawback. And the fortunes of the country depends on Germany.

    Well, it’s highly stereotyped and far too strong – I try to spend about a month there (but in 2008 I spent 5 months) and my family still lives there and I have daily contact with them.

  42. @Eoin

    “Until a red leader changes our stance on ‘cuts’

    would be a flying pig emoticon here if AW’s site could handle them

    I have no intention of directing criticism at other parties for it. It is hypocrisy of the highest order”

    Pretty pompous chum- you don’t own the key to the chest marked ‘this is what it means to be a red’ and therefore whether someone is a hypocrite or not.

    Social democrats and related leftists/ reds have never gone along with being illiterate about the economy (despite the warped view of history as depicted by Roland).

    I am a red and I say quite clearly- we have to reduce the structural deficit to the levels pre the credit crunch.

    Otherwise we really are in serious trouble.

    Now- HOW we do that is the actual matter of political and economic dispute (IMHO!) It is a dispute between blues/yellows, reds and far reds/ greens each of which three groupings currently has a different approach to that question (the latter not seeing a problem at all).

    The mainstream Left criticises the coalition because their approach is a ‘too fast too far’ approach- simply based on ideology not economic necessity.

    I suggest you re-read the section on the economy in ‘Aspirational Socialism’: because you have just called Andy Burnham a hypocrite :-)

  43. @NEIL A
    May I say how much I envy your mental stamina in contesting the issue of the British economy and the least worse way to achieve some correction. I have neither the patience nor the inclination to continue the debate with people, who are probably already working out their position and excuses, when Osbourn is proven right.

  44. @NeilA

    I thought GO was talking about eliminating the deficit by 2015? Or is that just the structural deficit?

    The coalition plans to clear (reduce completely) the structural deficit in four years with the cyclical element down to the vagaries business cycle.

    Labour planned to halve it at the election (so quite a difference in approaches in the manifestos actually).

    That difference is even more marked now as the consensus in labour is converging around a credit-rating worthy approach that seeks to reduce the deficit over at least two CSR’s i.e. a minimum of six years.

    Though whether that ends up being to 2008 levels or eradicated completely we won’t know until we know who the labour leader is!

  45. It’s not so much mental stamina, Roland, so much as a desire to engage in discussion. It seems to me that an obviously desirable destination is to be a country that has structural deficit, that borrows money when times are bad and then pays it back when times are good.

    I am on a quest to understand if or why this is foolish thinking!

  46. Robert Sheffield

    Tax Rises…. 38% in YG supported them. The are a generation sold accepted method of alleviating deficits. Reds have always been ready to avail of them. Gordon Brown proposed a National Insure rise in case you forget. I suggest an income tax rise.

    I repeat it again. It is hypocrisy to lambast blues for cuts when we were planning them too. To quote Allisdair Darling our cuts would be “worse than thatcher”. It is no secret that Ed Balls and Gordon Brown disagreed with him.

    I do too. :)

    P.s. You are not my chum :)

  47. Sorry of course I meant NO structural deficit.

  48. @ Neil A

    “I didn’t read that quote as meaning anything of the sort Rob”

    The article is here: ht tp://

    It does not say what Rob stated. But there is a vague connection with the austerity programmes especially in connection with this article a week later: ht tp:// So Rob did not misrepresent it.

  49. Rob S,

    Happy reading

    h ttp://

  50. Eoin

    It is hypocrisy to lambast blues for cuts when we were planning them too

    But thats not what Labour are doing though is it…. ;-)

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