YouGov’s daily poll for the Sun tonight has topline figures of CON 40%, LAB 39%, LDEM 12%. It’s the lowest lead YouGov have shown since the election (and, indeed, since the election-that-never-was), although ICM have already shown the two parties neck and neck.

We have been seeing the gap between Labour and the Conservatives gradually narrowing over the summer. We are rapidly heading towards the conference system, which looking at past elections has normally produced a lot of up and down in the polls as each party gets some sort of boost from the media coverage of their own conference – I’d be surprised if we didn’t get a poll showing Labour ahead during their conference if we don’t get one this week.

407 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – 40/39/12”

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  1. I do not understand Eoin’s motive either. He quotes no specific evidence for the Labour leader prediction and in a group as this is constituted, surely that is unacceptable. We often berate contributors for claiming ‘Con will be on 30% next year’ without a smidgen of evidence for it.

    From what I have learned from the evidence so far, it is the second choice of MPs that will be very significant. This is a sophisticated group of voters and has ability to dissemble to journalists.

  2. Sue, thanks for your reply, I have the same reservations as you about AV, albeit I do also think FPTP is somewhat crude. No easy solution.
    It would appear though that the tide has turned decisively against AV, and although the Libs could run an effective Yes campaign, if Tories are actively against and Labour perhaps only offering lukewarm support at most, then I can’t see it going through, so the debate will remain suspended in ‘theory’……..

  3. Indeed Billy B and that’s why I accept Sue’s point that cutting NHS staff just to save money is not on and could lead to even greater problems in the short term. But the job of government is to take strategic decisions and the fault of the last one was to accept that people should live unhealthily. This, in my view was because they recognised that dealing with the problem would alienate a large percentage of their own voters. Incidentally, if anyone thinks the LDs have a policy, just look at the girths at next week’s LD Conference. A greater proportion of porkers would be hard to find in any group.

    Imagine forcing Mondeo Man, by fiscal and investment policy, that he should take the bus to work or walk or cycle part of the way, that he should take an active holiday, that he should eat healthy food, and so on and not indulge in harmful substances.

    It would be a short road to 12% in the polls. ;-(

  4. @Howard

    There was a story on the news yesterday from the SW region, where the NHS were sending depressed people for a day surfing – boy they seemed to enjoy that… you could practically smell the endorphins. A cost benefit perhaps, but one that is unlikely to survive.

  5. Why isn’t Cameron meeting the Pope? Why is it Clegg? Anyone know?

  6. Wow!!

    Holy Moley as Amber would say.

    Nick Clegg’s article in The Times.

    Incendiary-brave-correct analysis.

    To invoke Grimond is eye opening . I didn’t realise he contrasted “welfare state” with “welfare society”.

    One sentence alone will bequoted by Labour unmercifully.

    It’s a challenge to all LibDems – Kennedy or Grimond -Social Democrat or Liberal.

    He has opened the books & stared into the welfare benefit black hole, and tried to find social moblility-& he can’t.

    A bleak & brave analysis-it will force his party to make their own.

    That LibDem Conference is going to be electric.

    By The Times today.

  7. Bernard Jenkin and Ming Campbell this morning on Today having what sounded like a more traditional party political exchange of veiws about Trident replacement. This coalition thing is not easy.

    Clegg’s an atheist but his children are Catholics?

  8. Sue,

    Is clegg a catholic?

    Either way despite all that big society stuff its a bit of a snubb…like it or not its meant to be a state visit.Maybe the catholics will be cooller towards filling the gaps in social policy through volunteering.

  9. Oh, Colin, you tease! I don’t subscribe online, is it worth going out and buying the Murdoch rag for?

  10. Sue

    Is Clegg a catholic?

    either way bit of a sunb for Benedict after all it’s a state visit. Hope Cameron isn’t relying on catholics to get involved in the big society when he’s given their leader a big two fingers!

  11. I don’t know John, seems very odd to me though.

  12. Howard,

    Everyone is entitled to an opinion. I base my for right or for wrong on polls. Disagree with my opinion by all means. But do not tell me I cant have it.

    On the 14 May, YG posted a poll asking which person Labour voters would most like to see as the new Labour leader

    48% said DM
    9% said EM

    *This was quite early on and not all had said they would enter.

    In July, YG conducted a poll on the Labour leadership.

    37% of Labour party MPs/ members and TUs said that they would vote DM

    29% of Labour party MPs/ members and TUs said that they would vote EM

    *Once the AV system kicked in DM’s 8% lead over his brother remained constant and the final figure was

    54% DM
    46% EM
    In September, YG polled the identical set of questions as July.

    This time 36% back DM first time (overall)
    This time 32% back EM first time (overall)
    Once the AV system kicked in the result played out that DM’s 4% lead evaporated and was replaced by a 2% EM lead
    Thus, DM’s first share preference has stagnated.
    EM’s has risen consistently.

    The mathematical calculation of momentum is quite straightforward in this instance. EM has momentum demonstrated over a near 150-day period.

    The second principle is polling accuracy. It is a near nigh fact that polling companies snapshots become a closer reflection of the likely outcome the closer a contest comes to its conclusion. Remember polls do not predict results they simply test opinion at the time which the fieldwork states.
    1. If one, applies these two principles together and then asks themselves the following question?

    2. If snapshots are showing DM stagnating, EM is closing the gap and secondary transfers going to him in greater numbers. What might a snapshot nine days on from the 7th September fieldwork tell us?

    3. Well if DM went 48%*(not the same question) to 37% to 36% we might say that DM is still roughly on 36/37% = stagnation.

    4. If EM went 9%* (not same question) to 29% to 32% we might speculate that EM is now a little higher perhaps 33%-…

    5. If secondary transfers played out under the AV system gave DM an 8% lead in July but EM reversed this by 10% to lead by 2% in September 7-9th. We might say that EM could now by leading by 3-4%.

    6. Momentum and the trend of YG’s snapshots inform my opinion that EM will be the next leader of the Labour Party.

  13. Eoin –

    1) You ignored ComRes
    2) You posted as though the race was over and the leader declared.

  14. Sue,

    I) ComRes in very ComRes manner did not poll those who got to vote in this contest. They polled instead Labour Voters. 44% replied dont know.

    2) Momentum has a tipping point where if it looks like one contender is going to win, voters rally round him to present unity. It is one of the reasons the fluctation of 10% was so big. my 3-4% estimated EM lead at this stage was very very conservative. In my eyes the contest is over. I presume readers are intelligent enough to know that the result will not be announced until 25/9

  15. Actually it is even worse than I thought.

    ComRes polled people who have voted labour once since 1992. That would include Colin.

    Gee that company gets worse

  16. @ Sue & Éoin

    One of Andy Burnham’s team called to ask if we’d be voting for him; I said 2 firsts in this house-hold. Is there anything we can do to help at this late stage?

    Unless we can persuade MPs, his team know he will not win but wants to get as many votes as possible. He can count on ours.

    I think I was first to predict (not fact, prediction) that Ed M would win – I got a heads up that he would have the support of the big unions before they declared.

    I also was first to say, I think, that there will be celebrations by the Milibands, whichever brother wins.

    Rob’s post saying that the brothers looked to be genuinely happy & relaxed with each other at the last hustings he watched, ’twas music to my ears.

    They have both said that they are putting each other as their second choice (probably irrelevant because they & their backers’ second choices are very unlikely to be counted); but nice to hear, all the same.

    Everybody in the Labour Party will stick together, I hope. Let’s be honest, whoever wins will be paying a great deal of attention to what the other has to say. I really think we could be on the verge of the best Labour Party we have seen for a long time. Let’s hope there’s no bickering when the Party has finally spoken. 8-)

  17. Re: Nick Clegg – he is an atheist; I believe his wife & children are Catholics.

    The Pope will meet the Queen – both as head of state & head of church; I do not think he will care about not meeting David Cameron. I doubt he will know the difference between Clegg & Cameron anyway; most of us don’t. ;-)


  18. Amber,

    Yes I agree. When Major stood down in 1997, Hesaltine Hurd Hogg and others were all rather getting on a bit… I remember think Stephen Dorrell, Liam fox, Hague, Portillo and Redwood were all that were left (even Portillo had to squeeze in via a By-election).

    That we have Yvette Cooper, Liam Byrne, DM, EM, AB, and EB is a veru strong team indeed. There are a few others I know but this core does strike me very competent.

    I have one fear. Some blue leaders had a tendancy to semi-demote their rivals. Liam Fox is one example. i hope this does not happen us.

  19. @amber

    I shouldn’t think DC will give a stuff about not meeting the Pope either ;-)

  20. Sue

    “Oh, Colin, you tease! I don’t subscribe online, is it worth going out and buying the Murdoch rag for?”

    Yes-absolutely-you must.

    I would have typed bit -but you need to read the whole.

    Its not a “rag”-Its an excellent paper.

  21. Eoin

    “That would include Colin”

    Yes- I know !!!

    mea culpa

  22. Good luck to Ed *if* he gets it. He will need a voice coach though, and sharpish.

  23. Sue

    I’m not on commission or anything ( ;-) )-but today’s times is full of NC stuff.

    A report by the Institute for Government on LibDems in the administration.

    A very interesting appreciation of Clegg & his outlook & what shaped it-as opposed to his two predecessors.

  24. Colin,

    In ten years time NC will be to the right of DC :) Would you ever remove Davie boy as leader and replace him with Clegg? (tongue in cheek of course)

  25. @ colin

    I’m shocked, I can’t believe a committed tory like yourself has a closet Labour past!
    Was it the “Second Coming” in 1997 that did it? ;-)
    And how quickly did you regret/recant it?

  26. Sue
    The Guardian covers NC’s article and it will be done to death by this weekend.

    I won’t have either Sky or a murdoch newspaper on principle. Gives me big pleasure that.

    Thanks for the analysis. As I posted at the time of the YG poll and now, the MPs are the key and YG has no idea how they will vote. They should be the key – on this occasion, I disagree with my own party. I believe that the leader should have the support of MPs (perhaps with PPCs too), as a back stop, always. In other words, the idea of the Leader not being supported in Parliament is a non-starter.

    So who knows how the Labour MPs have or will vote.

  27. Howard,

    Your point on the MPs backing being of paramount importance I am not sure about. But then again the Union backing I aint sure about either. Andrew C i think suggested open primaries up and down the country. That has to be the future. But then it might become even more Americanised. So all those procedural things are complicated and I have been very reluctant to comment on.

    MPs get 33% of the total 100%. I have always thought and still do that DM will get the the majority of them. In fact I happen to think he’ll even take the party memebrship vote. Although new members eem to be breaking in very high numbers for Ed. (anecdottaly of course).

    I have been very consistent that I think DM’s appalling showing in the Trade Union vote will be the death of him. This 1/3 is as important as any other third. But the overwhelming manner of his defeat in it will cost him.

    Now I know I posted that precise point to you before YG’s latest round of polling on the Labour Leadership. Low and behold, it showed a collapse in DM’s TU vote.

    The main point of my post is that whilst my phrasology is not to your taste, my rationale was formulated with impeccable transparency.

  28. On the TU vote:

    27-9 July David Milliband led Ed Miliband by 8% in the TU vote

    7-9 Sept. Ed Miliband led David Miliband by 7% in the TU vote

    That is just first preferences and shows a turnaround of 15% in more less 5 weeks.

  29. @Howard

    I thought that Prescott’s late endorsement of David last week was significant given his history as peacemaker within the party, and I agree with your opinion that MPs views should be (and probably will be) decisive.
    As for not giving the Murdoch fellow house-room…. However, Balls comments today about Brown and Blair pandering to the right-leaning press, while valid, could risk making unnecessary enemies before you have even started (they probably think of themselves as in the centre, so let them make up their own minds).

  30. In this perculiar college system of voting it seems not so much important as to who is number 1 but who you put first ed M or david M. I did not vote for either as my Number 1 but put Ed ahead of David. Excluding Dainne Abbott I could not choose anyone significantly over the other as I believe they are all very good candidates. I do believe at the end of the day it is the Parliamentary Party that will decide.

  31. Eoin – Even if Ed eventually *leads* by 15% in the trades union college, this could be more than compensated for by Balls/Burnham second preferences breaking predominantly for David.

  32. BillyB,

    It could Billy true.

    Except the 2nd pref polling by YG shows EM retaining the TU lead.

    Scarily for Dm at least, when second prefs are counted in … the turnaround was 26% (almost doubled) it is the exxagerate effect I tried to explain.

    In July after counting 2nd prefs…

    DM led EM by 12% in the TU vote
    Now EM leads DM by 14% in the TU vote.

    I did not post this earlier because I was being deliberately conservative…. the actual picture is much worse for DM that the raw 1st prefs show…

    A 26% turnaround in 5 weeks is momentum- you have to give EM at least that.

  33. My mistake Eoin – I meant to refer to MPs second preferences. I think a recent estimate had Diane Abbott on 8 first preferences, Andy Burnham on 24, Balls around 36-37. There has been some chatter that all(?) Burnham’s and most of Balls’ will break for David.

  34. BillyB,

    The simple answer is that I have not a dickie. I have always factored a DM win in the MEP/MPs into my calcs. The YG poll factored a 50-50 split. I dont think it will be a 50-50 split. I suspect a 60-40 split in favour of DM.

    The only caveat I would put on that is that 130 MPs owe their funding to UNITE. If charlie whelan leant on enough of them they could put ED down.

    On this matter and TU in general is the main reason I did not nor would ever vote for Ed M. I am willing to be persuaded a TU sponsored leader is a good thing but I am very sceptical.

  35. Amber Star

    Pedant Alert!

    “The Pope will meet the Queen – both as head of state & head of church”

    As the Pope is meeting her in Scotland, he’s only meeting the head of state.

  36. Thanks to eoin and billy for those comments – appreciated. The thing is that it is a secret ballot and my poiint is that one could disregard the supporters as publishes as one has not a clue what they will do privately.. I believe David Miliband supported Diane Abbot when it was uncertain she could get a nomination. That will not be forgotten by her, nor her friends. Just an example but it would not surprise me if, following JPs preference for David, that there would be an immense effect of that support and funnily enough, many consider the support of TB and PM to be death, but MPs will know that it’s about winning and will be influenced. That is ‘even’ understood by Dannis S for goodness sake.

    I am biased because I think DM will be best from my own perspective (not my party as DM could deliver an outright majority, also under AV) but I offer the above points more objectively I hope.

  37. Hooded Man

    “Was it the “Second Coming” in 1997 that did it?”

    Yes-plus the awful rabble which the Cons had become at that time.

    “And how quickly did you regret/recant it?”

    A gradual dawning, starting with Ecclestone, followed by years of self hate & despair ;-)

  38. Howard,

    Maybe… and I understand your rationale. Abbott though has intimated that DM is her least favourite candidate.

    h ttp://

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  39. Eoin

    “In ten years time NC will be to the right of DC ”


    THe article has made me realise why he & DC have so clearly “clicked”.

    He shows no signs of rowing back on his Liberalness.

    It is very interesting that he invokes Grimond-thus vaulting over the old farts, and ex Labourites.

    The point was made by someone in THe Times, that they spent their formative years fighting Conservatives governments.

    He has been fighting Labour Governments-and he doesn’t like them at all.

  40. Colin,

    I went for coffee and sneaked a glance at the article. At least the man has convictions. I always admire that. I dont think they match his parties mind you. But then good leaders can change and shape parties.. Blair did. So has Cameron.

    I do genuinely suspect he’ll end up further to the right of DC.


    for anyone that is interested they should plot that into a line graph. Ignore May’s data if you choose since it was not a proper poll in the sense that the nominations had not closed and the wording of the question is a bit different. But I myslef find it useful simply for assessing ‘momentum’ and I recognise May’s poll as a snapshot ‘of sorts’.
    May July Setember
    DAVID 48 54 49
    ED 9 46 51

  41. Reuters/Ipsos MORI

    Reds 37
    Blues 37
    Yellows 15

    Satisfaction – 43 yes 47 no 10 dk

  42. Michael


    h ttp://

  43. @Eoin

    Pay a little closer attention next time. YouGov explicitly have not polled the PLP, they relied on second hand reports of PLP dispositions from Left Foot Forward. And they did not have any second preference information to work with, so they just give EM and DM an even split of the PLP second preferences. I doubt that the PLP’s second preferences are going to go in EM’s favour, and a 50/50 split is unlikely.

  44. Eoin

    “At least the man has convictions. I always admire that.”

    Thats true-you have to give him that-& its fair of you to say so.

    ” I dont think they match his parties mind you”

    That is the Big Question.
    At present I can only judge by the LibDems on here. And my impression is that they are uncomfortable with this coalition. ie they are nearer to Labour. They seem to be in a strange limbo-some of the comments about their own government are quite cynical .

    So I am waiting with great interest for their Conference to see how a more representative group react.

    I would not be at all surprised if the Social Democrats start to move to Labour .

  45. Jay,

    You are downright rude. If you bothered to read this thread- I have pointed out many times that YG did not poll the PLP members. Your laziness should not permit you from periodically insulting me.

  46. Jay: For the avoidance of doubt I refer you to a post I sent on 13/09/10 (see below). Last week you done the same thing about Angus reid- accusing me of defending them. If you are going to allege something at least base it on fact.

    Eoin Clarke

    Your opinion please (and Anthony if you are about)?

    What is the likeliehood that the MP/MEPS will split 50-50? I am sure you noted the (**)?

    September 13th, 2010 at 5:28 pm

  47. @ colin
    thanks for reply, interesting. The overwhelming majority of regular UKPR posters seem fairly set in their political convictions (at least in respect of political allegiance before anyone reads that as ‘Ideologically inflexible’!)
    You hadn’t struck me as someone who would have bucked that trend ;-)

    I agree re the 1997 ‘rabble’ that was the Tory party. I have a *very* mild sense of shame that I still voted for my Tory, but I didn’t care much for TB even then. More of the sliver of regret I have is that Martin Linton who became MP then proved to be a very decent and principled parliamentarian (although John Bowis was a decent local MP too)

  48. should have said “party allegiance”

  49. Hooded Man


    re “You hadn’t struck me as someone who would have bucked that trend ”
    -perhaps a disastrous flirtation which was difficult to get out of ,makes one realise with even greater conviction , what it was you always believed in ?


  50. Some bits from the detail of the MORI poll….

    1. Clegg is now a lot more popular amongst Conservative voters than Liberals. (Comment informed by a touch of schadenfreude, I’m afraid).

    2. The % who think Cameron would make the best PM goes up from 49% if EM is Labour leader to 50% if DM is Labour leader. So it makes next to no difference to preferences who is chosen by Labour at this stage. So much for the earlier ComRes poll. The numbers will only be meaningful some time after either EM or DM has been elected and done enough of substance to allow people to form a proper opinion of them

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