I don’t normally do a post everyday on YouGov’s daily tracking figures – it is, after all, the trend that counts, not the change from day to day. This one is worth noting though. Following on from the net approval rating of zero yesterday, YouGov’s net approval for the government tonight is minus 2 – 39% approve of the government, 41% disapprove of the government. This is the first time the coalition have scored a negative approval rating.

Voting intention tonight is at CON 41%, LAB 38%, LDEM 13%

479 Responses to “YouGov’s government approval turns negative”

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  1. @Wayne “I realise that this is a site where mainly Labour people hang out and say what they like..”

    The good thing about the internet….it doesn’t matter if you can’t keep a straight face while you type.

    And I guess most of the worst tory-party-line types that were on here last year have slunk away after the election.

    @Eoin Re decimals….couldn’t it be up to a 1.9% difference…30.4 (30) down to 28.5 (29)

    It’s been said by many others & I reckon they’re right, the coalition is trying to get all the unpopularity out the way as soon as…

    Maybe it’s just me….but perhaps all parties might be better off without a hard and fast leader, other than selecting a PM when they win the election.

  2. Rob S,

    Picking one poll in Isolation will not get the required data.

    You need to examine 100s of them to determine a propoer trend.

    In 1992 you will note that red were high in 1996 but fell back

    In 1992 you will note that blues were riding low and made some recovery

    These trends are established over a year….

    The same occurred in 1997…. amazingly for all their unpopulairty blue made a bit of a recovery in the final year. It does mean the gov. always wins… of course they dont… but it does mean that AW’s original ariculation of blue’s potetnial strategy vis a vis cuts is grounded in historical precedent

  3. Eoin – “It is a warning not to expect a sustained pick up. As Amber said voters have already priced a DC win in.”

    Sorry, I don’t understand this last point?

  4. Colin,

    DC nearly blew it. I put it down to the fact that he looked worn out by May 2010. 4.5years of opposition withered him. His health (mental mostly) was shot… Voters almost saw him as the establishment before he’d even served in gov. In many ways I wonder are blues paying for that in gov. approv. now…?

  5. Eoin

    If you do the 6 month post election averages on ICM – as I did in a post to Nick above (for 1997 only)- you will find a similar pattern in relation to whether the governing party won the subsequent election juxtaposed to how quickly their lead diminished (or didn’t) in the period after the election.

    It’s not looking good for the Conservatives at this stage of the election cycle IMO.

    Furthermore the longer a poll number holds the ‘firmer’ it becomes- whether a good one or low one. Cameron only managed a fraction better in May 2010 than Blair did in 2005 so his ‘firm’ numbers were already at a low starting point. The longer Labour stays at 36- 39% (or above…) the harder and harder it is going to be for the Conservative to claw back to a level- irrespective of the impact of their boundary changes- where they will win.

    Plus- and this is the major imponderable in both our analyses- all the actual tangible severe struggle and pain is still to come over the next 36 months. Whatever happens is going to be of titanic historic proportions not seen in virtually anyone who is alive nows adult lifetime !

    I think your analysis is wrong but we all have a right to our own opinions :-)

  6. It is likely that NC will take some stick from his MPs and party members but I am not so sure that “the poor” will be stirred yet by the IFS verdict. Academics and political anoraks will find much to discuss but IMO the victims of the regressive measures will only react in any measure when they feel the effects for real, and this will be a gradual process. Most of the jargon will pass over their heads. RPI , CPI, IFS, LHA, CGT, regressive, progressive etc. Eyes will glaze over. Much yawning. But we will hear from them loud and clear when the regressive measures actually hit them in their pocket and opinion polls will eventually reflect their feelings.

  7. An obvious point, maybe, but a far as I can tell, the more emphatic the election victory, the more likely the government are to win the next election. I can’t check 1979, so perhaps this doesn’t always hold.

    The electorate were not convinced in 2010, they edged towards the Tories, but not enough to give them carte blanche in parliament.

    Was this a trust issue? Or did it simply reflect the gravity of the world situation? Was it actually a genuine call for consensual politics?

    I certainly wouldn’t make any guesses. I’ve consistently said I wouldn’t have a clue if the coalition will last or not.

    Maybe over the next five years people will like what they see, become convinced that the Tories had the answers all along. From memory, I seem to remember Maggie was a slow burner – became more popular in power than before.

    However, my instinct tells me that if a government never fully won the trust and hope of the electorate, it will make it much harder to do so in the future.

    Ironically, DC DOES seem to have changed in the public’s mind. Forming the coalition seems to have been his finest hour and those who judged him incompetent and lightweight before the election are now full of praise.

    If he can hold on to this new statesmanlike perception, he might just stand a chance.

    The equation as I see it is (assuming the coalition DO manage to pay down the deficit by 2014) = Was it worth it?

    How many will suffer in the process? Will they be magnanimous enough to see that losing their job, losing their home or reduced public services were worth the pain if the country is in better shape? History says they might, after all it is the economy stoopid. Or was there a ground shift in opinion back in 1997 that concluded attacks on public services and the grey drab UK we were left with are no longer a price worth paying? Is that why this Con party had to keep so many of the Lab pledges to convince the electorate at all?

  8. 1997 29.8
    1996 28
    1995 26.2
    1994 26.5

    Rob Sheffield

    (see above). It is the average polling rating for the then unpopular government (blue) between 1994-7. Note that my main proposition is 100% accurate.

    The closer the election gov. the incumbent parties ratings improved.

    As to why this happened is up for debate…. I think elections play into the incumbent party’s hands. That is to say that those among us with a nervous disposiiton conclude “better the devil you know”.

    How much is it worth in polling terms? My guesstimate 3-5% in the final 12 months.


  9. Cosmo,

    I agree… “bear and woods” will no doubt be foremost among their vocab.

  10. A speech that might interest some:

    (BBC) Labour leadership candidate David Miliband is to warn the party against retreating into a left-wing “comfort zone” if it wants to win back power.

  11. @Eoin Clarke

    I think there is a bit of “dead cat bounce” in your 1994 to 1997 ratings for the Major Government. Three week campaigns tribalise party politics and I’m sure some wavering Tories, still sceptical maybe, rallied to the flag late in the campaign to protect their party from wipe-out. I don’t think it can be portrayed as a recovery in support; more likely that the poor pre-1997 ratings were underplaying the real level of core, irreducible Tory support that, eventually, turned out in May 1997. Either way, their goose was cooked as far back as 1993/94. I think something very similar happened to Labour in May 2010. Do you remember the conventional wisdom that was formimg that the Lib Dems were about to displace them as the second party and that they were destined to finish a poor third. Indeed that political sage and seer, Paddy Ashdown said during the campaign, and it’s worth requoting this, “Labour are out of it. This is a straight fight between the Tories and the Lib Dems now!” In the light of what happened in the election, and more pertinently, afterwards, how ironic is that comment?

    By the way, Ashdown was the pundit who rubbished the YouGov and BBC exit poll on election night. After only a handful of results, he said “clearly, your exit poll is absolute rubbish…” As we know, it turned out to be uncannily accurate, on both vote share and seats gained.

    Good old Paddy; always adding to the gaiety of the nation!

  12. @Eoin
    ”bear and woods”
    I can see that governments of whatver colour can bounce back as elections approach but I am not so sure it will be quite so simple next time around. Rises in taxes can be reversed in giveaway budgets just before GE day but if you are still suffering as a result of regressive measures surely you would not be so forgiving? if you have been made redundant and are still out of work, lost your home, had to use a big chunk of your dole money to make up the shortfall in your housing benefit etc etc. then for you the pain has not gone away and a giveaway budget will not mend your life. Maybe you were lucky enough to avoid the lash – but someone close to you was not so fortunate. This could still change your voting intention. Whatever, but I do think that LD will pay a heavy price for helping to bring back Thatcherism.

  13. LibDems are perceived to be disunited therefore poll ratings are going down. Labour has managed to hold an election without being noticed so perceived as united therefore poll ratings going up.

  14. Cozmo,

    They’ll bounce back be sure of it. Nick H makes a good point.. (and I did make it in my very first post). If they are starting at a low base a bounce might not be enough….

    If they drop to 33% say, it will be tight when they bounce back

    If the ddrop to 29% say… they may be finished

    but reds went to 21% (2009)
    blues went to 18.5% (1995 I think)

    governments are akin to bungee jumpers

  15. @Eoin
    “governments are akin to bungee jumpers”
    Indeed. But is the coalition doing a 100ft jump with a 99ft rope ?

    Since many of the cuts will not even begin to bite for a year or two, and others will have a gradual effect beyond that, it may turn out that their ratings will bottom out too late for a full recovery. IMHO.

  16. of course this government will make mistakes as all governments do, and it will depend on how the public view them and how long they stay in the publics mind. Labour was behind in the polls before the recession and the expenses scandal, so I am not sure the economy was a driving reason the electorate had the mindset to turn. Eventually the recession sealed the deal. Personally I think the whole nanny state approach hurt Labour the most, along with Iraq and Immigration. It will be interesting to see on what issues the ConDems lose the publics support on.

  17. @Eoin
    When blue ratings sink below 35 then no doubt Wayne will do the honourable thing and eat his shorts. If I remember rightly you have some knowledge of this traditional ritual. Does he have to do this at a Manchester rail station or can it be at any station of his choice?

  18. Let me tell those who are not old enough to remember about “The Brothers TV show from the 70s. A group of brothers inherit a well run road haulage business.
    Quite soon they wreck it. One brother then gets serious and introduces unpopular measures which are tough and his choices are tough, but he makes the right ones. The loudest critics, are the brothers and WAGS, who made the balls up in the first instance.

  19. “testing”

  20. Alec
    As you maintain such high standards (I always look forward to your posts) I was intrigued that you are not a Labour supporter, as I had assumed you were champagne socialist. For that reason I was surprised by:
    ‘so there’s one less to complain about’ in your protest that there were not too many socialist contributors..

    By the way it’s ‘one fewer’ (can’t help it, I know I shouldn’t).

    I agree that the Conservatives will have difficulty refuting a report from an organisation they relied on to provide them with a means of attack when in opposition. This factor will only interest opinion leaders and not the man on the Clapham bus, but that is important when discussing possible splits and rebellions, which in turn affect polls.

    I looked up the Coalition Agreement to see if the ‘rushed discussions’ had produced something too woolly.I
    (We agree that there will need to be)
    •arrangements that will protect those on low incomes from the effect of public sector pay constraint and other spending constraints; and protection of jobs by stopping Labour’s proposed jobs tax.

    Interestingly the last is not to happen but simply be modified in its implementation with higher exemption start point and exemptions for start-up firms not in the SE Region.

    So the IFS report will be set against this clause in the agreement and it will be for the Government to do better than the bluster from Mr Hogan this morning, one suspects.

  21. @Roland

    So what you are saying is had the tories not made a mess of this country in the first we would not have been in this mess. :-)

    Seriously though the problem is polarisation and little middle ground although both parties claim to be parties of the centre it doesnt happen in reality.

  22. I should have said in the 80’s. It was meant as tongue in cheek however my point is valid because Labour had to invest heavily in schools, hospitals etc Had the tories done this instead of worrying about tax cuts then maybe labour would not needed to borrow so much.

  23. Cozmo,

    Since predictions on record are so readily disproved, I always have an admiration for anyone who is willing to put their neck on the line. I very much think it is a cultural thing… in my culture it is encouraged to make mistakes… we say it is the only way to learn…

    Thus I will eat wayne’s shorts for him- how is that as an offer…
    Picadilly Station i think, since the mancs are a fair lot and would appreciate the humour :)

  24. @Howard – “…I was intrigued that you are not a Labour supporter, as I had assumed you were champagne socialist.”

    Well, well – there is a first. Until recently I spent 20 years in the charitable sector earning £16,000K max and I’ve never been called a champagne socialist before. Although now I’m running my own company and my earnings put me well into the top 10% I’m aware that life can be a fragile thing and I will always remember life at the other end of the spectrum. I’m also not counting any chickens and I’m expecting a tough few years ahead.

    In terms of who I support, I am technically a party member for a UK party with some limited parliamentary representation but I disagree with large chuncks of ‘my’ parties manifesto.

  25. OldNat:

    No, the reference was to local resident Jimmy Reid who died on Wednesday 11th August.

    The warm-up man likened AS to Robert the Bruce, also a former Rothesay resident, and AS had the grace to add into the compliment ex-Communist, Ex-Labour, and latterly influential SNP member, JR.

    SNP ministers are working very hard to impress.They are trying so hard that I don’t think they can keep it up for another four years without some of them cracking up under the strain.

    They jump on any problem they can fix, and don’t waste any effort attempting the impossible for the sake of making a gesture to discomfit their opponents.

    I spoke with Richard Lochhead urging him to look at the geographical skew of the change in the Westminster voting patten, noted that his personal press coverage was almost entirely in trade and regional press and persuaded him to pass on to NS the thought that she too has a trade press and 4% of the population in work are in her industry.

    If you have a bad day at work frustrated by inept top management, you go home, kick the dog, and complain to friends and family. What happens when these frustrations are removed?

  26. @Cozmo

    ‘ But we will hear from them loud and clear when the regressive measures actually hit them in their pocket and opinion polls will eventually reflect their feelings.’

    A daily diet of ‘cuts’ stories has already affected those opinions. It does not require the actual measures. Speak to anyone on HB, LHA, JSA etc; they don’t need to know the details – they’re hardly expecting good news. In fact they are fearing the worst already. The opinion polls reflect their feelings. It is not surprising that the coalition approval rating is falling. I expect that trend to continue until the CSR.

  27. Jeremy Betham had an interesting quote… he was talking about utilitarianism which i see elements of in blue policy (for the record I am an opponent of Utilitarianism)…

    He asi it was like “A cold shower, terrifying in contemplation, yet invigourating in its effects”.

    I suspect that is the thinking behind early cuts.

  28. Alec
    You sound very much a man after my own heart (and mind). May you continue to prosper financially, even if you are a wino or teetotaller!

    By the way Sue, my scores in the quiz were minus 3.2 and minus 2,3. I think that I reported them without the – and thus possibly were taken as being plus. I think Eoin thought I must be an orange booker as a result. I think the American concentration on religion showed how they automatically assume that if you are aetheist then you must be a socialist (and other similar pre-conceived leading questions, I thought).

  29. Howard,

    I was about -1.87 ish on Social. So we were not that far out… of all the lefties my economics were not even in the top 5/6. But yes the questions were very American…

    My childhood days of Radio Moscow were not really tested in it :)

    I think the centre ground is not always the answer except in terms of pre election spiel. However the LDs should be able to help the Tories in that regard. Of course this board will discuss matters over and over, but I personaly have predicted the coalition losing popularity and support for weeks. The narative of the “visual media” is CUTS CUTS CUTS CUTS, and FURTHER CUTS. Not suprising this is the case, but not surprising its having a negative effect either.

  31. “A daily diet of ‘cuts’ stories has already affected those opinions. It does not require the actual measures.”

    I’m not sure that’s true.

    I’ve had conversations with those who believe the 2.5% VAT rise won’t really make much difference, it sounds so piffling or that freezing their benefits won’t make a difference. Others who believe they won’t lose their CTC.

    It is the cumulative effect of these small measures that add up. If you’re already watching every penny, then it isn’t until you find you can’t buy food at the end of the week, or pay your leccy bill or send your kid on the school trip that they really mean anything.

  32. ” Thus I will eat wayne’s shorts for him- how is that as an offer…Picadilly Station i think,”
    Such generosity ! I hope he appreciates it.

  33. @Aleksandar
    “A daily diet of ‘cuts’ stories has already affected those opinions. It does not require the actual measures.”
    I accept that the message has got through to some folk but I do encounter folk daily who live their lives in such a way that they are quite detached from the world of politics. Some regard the News on TV as an intrusion which get sin the way of the soaps and the mindless reality shows.

  34. Roland,

    I agree entirely.

    I have noted for some time that Robert Chote is penning more and more of the articles emanating form the IFS. Could anyone tell me who wrote this recent one? He used to be a columnist here in the Uk and his wife worked fro Blair I think… He’s an interesting character to say the least. The IFS has some of the countries top economic brains in it thats for sure.

  35. h ttp://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,712511,00.html

  36. Perhaps Eoin IS Wayne? The mystery double poster?

  37. @Sue

    ‘Perhaps Eoin IS Wayne? The mystery double poster?’

    Now that is funny.

  38. I see Ireland were downgraded yesterday again too over the state of their banks. Their growth has also been badly affected by austerity measures

  39. @SUE MARSH
    I cannot stand by and let Eoin take the blame. The Double Poster is Roland Haines and David B.

  40. Roland, Aleksander – lol. I’m Wayne and so is my wife :lol:

  41. I agree with those, who think that the vast majority of people still has not really got the point of cuts, but also as Roland said that media narrative is slowly slipping through.

    However, there is, I think, a little fallacy in these – underestimating the solidarity that exists in this society: many, many people think not only how the cuts would affect them, but also how they affect neighbours and people whom they know and are in a particular situation shared by many others and likely suffer. There will be a period until this solidarity (or empathy) can really be active, until the disgraceful enemel produced by certain “newspapers” that have been extremely keen to portray the loosers as scroungers (benefit receivers living on champagne and caviar in Monaco), rabbits (breeding for child benefit), leeches (living in mansions from housing benefit), etc is burnt off by individual and collective experiences.

    The catching up of the disproval of the government was largely a result of the “don’t knows” saying that they know now.

  42. @ Sue,

    I think Éoin put DC when he meant DM (David Miliband). I said, I don’t believe that Labour electing a leader will cause a bounce in the polls. I believe a DM victory is already ‘priced in’ (i.e. included in Labour’s polling numbers already).

    If anything, I expect electing a leader could be a small set-back, if enough Labour/ ex-Dem voters are disappointed by the winner. Most will get over it quickly, 1% – 2% may not.

    I think it could very much depend on a cracking acceptance speech & fair media coverage. 8-)

  43. Roland,

    DavidB wont like me saying this but you both have a few things in common. Set in your ways and strong enough of character not to wet the bed if your words are not popular.

    It is probably the main reason the two of you clash. The quality itself is very endearing.

  44. @COSMO
    Yer boring boring. Wat no slebs.

    Sadly your 12.40 pm is dead right. I am aware you are no political ally of mine, but please do pass this great truth on to Rob, Jay and others when things far less damaging than today’s “think tank” embarrassment occur. EG Clegg treads in dog dirt or some such thing.

  45. Sue
    Eire’s problems

    I noticed that Labour is now the largest party in Eire. I had to look up again to find out which of the other two is which. In fact I’ve forgotten again as I write. It’s not a question of translation. Even when they are translated, it tells you nothing (‘soldiers of freedom’ or somesuch).

  46. Eire
    I meant in the polls of course.

  47. The normal press fixations are with :
    leadership challenges and /or

    The IFS story has only one significance for these intellectual inadequates, which is to promote the second and thus even bring about the first.

    Policies are of no interest to journalists.

  48. Amber – Thanks for that.

    Eoin – “Set in your ways and strong enough of character not to wet the bed if your words are not popular.” Hear Hear! I have enormous respect for the transparency AND consistency of Roland’s opinion.

  49. Sue,

    Three good posts.

    Greece/Eire (and Colins post late last night) all tie in with each other.

    Is there soemthing brewing I wonder that austerity has backfired?

    There is a time lag with all economic data so often you find these things out a little later than you like… (also we should bear in mind strong quarterly growth). But is it appeating that consumer confidence is that weak that the slightest attempt to recoup by the gov. is causing trouble?

    For the record… Greece’s austerity package was not that austere… I often wondered in whoese interests it was to ‘big up’ the package.

    Fianna Fáil are psuedo republican and pseudo socialist. I have a soft spot for them but they are quite centre.

    Fine Gael (with clenched teeth) are blueshirts.

  50. Amber,

    Thanks for clearing up my mistype. I have a publication deadline of sept 15- so UKPR gets all my dispraxic blunders.

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