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. Phil,

    A very sensible post. I should point out DM was favoured 22% to EM’s 19%. But this does not take a away from your comment.

  2. New Ipsos-Mori poll out

    Detail (this poll)
    Source: ht tp://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/poll.aspx?oItemId=2672
    Published: 2010-09-16
    Fieldwork dates: 2010-09-10 to 2010-09-12
    Population: those who are absolutely certain to vote (UK? GB? E&W?)
    Voting intention: CON 37%, LAB 37%, LIB 15%
    Change on previous poll: CON -3, LAB -1, LIB +1
    Change on general election: CON -0.1, LAB +7.3, LIB -8.6

    Janet and John bit
    The executive summary says “The Labour Party has pulled level with the Conservatives for the first time since January 2008. The Conservatives, at 37%, are holding their May general election share, while Labour is up seven points, the Liberal Democrats are down eight, a 3.5% swing back to Labour. The government now has a negative satisfaction rating – the first time this has happened since the election.”

    Detail (previous poll)
    Source: ht tp://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/poll.aspx?oItemId=2609&view=wide
    Published: 2010-07-25
    Population: those who are absolutely certain to vote (UK? GB? E&W?)
    Voting intention: CON 40%, LAB 38%, LIB 14%

    Detail (general election according to Ipsos-Mori)
    Source: ht tp://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/poll.aspx?oItemId=2609&view=wide
    Published: n/a
    Population: those who voted (UK? GB? E&W?)
    Voting intention: CON 36.9% LAB 29.7% LIB 23.6%

    Detail (general election according to Wikipedia)
    Source: ht tp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_general_election,_2010
    Published: 2010-05-06
    Population: those who voted (UK)
    Voting intention: CON 36.1% LAB 29.0% LIB 23.0%

    Regards,
    Martyn

  3. This is off topic so I apologise but ask for your indulgence and tolerance please. If AW decides to stop it I will understand.

    There has been some recent discussion on this thread and at other times on other threads, about governments deliberately raising more in taxes than they plan in the Budget to spend in the fiscal year. The idea being that the gov squirrels away the excess for a rainy day.

    Personally I don’t think this is possible, and have repeatedly said so. I mean, any Chancellor of whatever political hue proposing this would be shredded by the HoC and the media.

    However, let’s look at a different scenario. Suppose that instead of requiring the Bank of England to move the base rate to squeeze inflation out of the UK economy the gov is able to vary at a moment’s notice the rates etc of income tax and national insurance contributions so that rather than people paying more in interest to the beastly banks they pay more taxes direct to the Treasury. The mechanisms to give effect to this are plausible and deliverable. Of course, the additional taxes would be over and above those Budgeted for.

    So, how would you as a taxpayer react if the gov operated such a mechanism and took more in taxes than was Budgeted for instead of allowing the banks to gain a windfall?

  4. Is this the fastest loss of a lead in the polls for any new government? Surprising as we have had only talk of cuts and no action – yet.

  5. MIKEN

    “any Chancellor of whatever political hue proposing this would be shredded by the HoC and the media. ”

    “…..In our first year the deficit was reduced by 19 billion pounds.
    In my Budget last year, I promised we would reduce the deficit further.
    As a result of our prudence, our first two years’ spending is 2 billion pounds lower than the spending plans we inherited.
    This year, the Budget will be in surplus. The current surplus this year is forecast to be 4 billion pounds”

    Gordon Brown CoE Budget Statement 9/3/99

    “.In the last Budget I forecast a current surplus for the financial year 2000-2001 at 14 billion pounds. I now forecast this surplus to be 23 billions pounds, and in successive years the current surpluses are projected to be 17, 15, 8, 9 and 9.”

    Gordon Brown CoE Budget speech 7/3/2001

  6. The whole “if Labour elects Ed Miliband, the Party will disintegrate and Cameron will reign for a thousand years” thing that we’ve been seeing from the Press, the New Labour establishment and even from one or two of the more excitable commenters on here, is a bit silly. I can’t help thinking that most of the electorate don’t see much difference between the two brothers.

    This is confirmed by these recent polls. The ComRes poll of Labour voters showed around 40% with absolutely no opinion at all in any of the questions about the possible party leader. David has a good lead among those with an opinion, but that may reflect no more than name recognition and a casual reading of the papers. Similarly in Ipsos-MORI there’s very little difference between the two in best PM terms.

    The YouGov poll showed that, while the party membership was split about 50-50 on the balance of benefit of the New Labour legacy, only 5% (pro) and 11% (anti) were hardline either way. The rest were happy to pick and choose.

    It may be all the “New Labour or Death” posturing in the media is aimed mainly at the MPs and MEPs who have such a disproportionate input into the vote. Does anyone know if they can leave their vote to the last minute at Conference and, more to the point are they likely to? Anyway the only certainty is that they can’t be predicted.

    One technical thing that is interesting is the ability to vote over teh internets (as several commenters have reported doing). I assume this is the first time a major Party has done this – presumably ERS are running the whole thing. It’ll be interesting to see if this increases turnout (the YouGov poll suggests it already has) , but it might also lead to a higher number of people leaving to last minutes. I’d also be curious about security, paper trails etc.

    One further point about the YouGov poll, which is the only one to give us information about the actual electorate. I don’t know if it picks up the 20% or so of Labour members new since May, who seem to be more Ed people than David people? (I did ask Anthony but he probably missed the question). In such a close race it might make the difference.

  7. @Colin
    Interesting, so perhaps I’m wrong about the shredding. But forecasting a surplus of say £8 billion is IMO simply a margin of erro for fluctuations in expenditure or revenue. And I suppose that the surplus is simply carried forward from one fiscal year to the next. Whereas saying you’re going to simply lock the surplus away for a rainy day is different.

    Anyway, how would you respond to the scenario?

  8. JOHNC

    “Surprising as we have had only talk of cuts and no action – yet.”

    I suggest it is entirely unsurprising.

    All the talk is of cuts & their adverse effects.
    The BBC coverage is all about adverse effects.
    The TUC Conference is all about job losses.
    THe Police are getting their retaliation in first.

    THe whole of the Public Sector-aided by the media-is sounding off about the fact that it will lose people, and it’s managers are going to have to do what their counterparts in Private Sector do every day of their lives-manage resources for best cost effectiveness.

    THere is no counter argument to this yet.

    I presume when GO actually gives us the facts -he will put that counter argument.

  9. MIKEN

    I have to go out shortly-but briefly I think you are comaparing apples & oranges.

    Interest rates & Tax revenues-different things. Different purposes,

  10. MIKEN

    ” And I suppose that the surplus is simply carried forward from one fiscal year to the next”

    No

    It pays down cumulative debt……….deficits add to cumulative debt.

    Then you start all over again next year , starting with the new debt figure.

    The debt is financed by Gilt sales.

  11. @Colin

    I’m interested in hearing further on this from you. I’m not looking for an argument – I’m just interested in people’s views on this.

    Thanks

  12. Mike N

    In a Budget with a “surplus”, all the Chancellor would do would be to increase the amount of debt being paid off or money put into contingency funds or reserves or whatever. The Budget itself, of course, always balances.

    We actually have had budgets like that in the Isle of Man, where money has gone into reserves, so it isn’t either legally or politically impossible. Whether it’s likely is another matter.

    Your variable tax/NI rates however sound like a disaster. The only good thing would be that everyone would hate it equally.

  13. @Colin

    I recall GB saying in a Budget statement that the UK debt had been paid off.

  14. @Roger Mexico
    Thanks
    Why do you thnk it would be a disaster?

  15. @ mike n

    It takes a Herculean mental effort on my part to dredge up positive things to say about GB but here goes…….
    His decision as CofE to officially adopt the Golden Rule was a very very sound and sensible move IMO (there, I’ve said it, must lie down now)

    In the early days it was the clearest demonstration that he was serious and committed to ending boom and bust, and he rightly earned high praise for it.
    If he had stuck to it up to the point of the crunch then I think he would have been able to escape much more of the criticism he received.
    The problem was he was already breaching it by 2005, trying to pull more crowd-pleasing rabbits out of the Treasury red box, and not considering Off balance sheet items like PFI, which in theory should be ok, but not when the likes of metronet crystalise as a whopping liability…..

    I think after all of the current economic problems are stabilised the then CofE would be very wise to reinstate it.
    It doesn’t solve everything and can’t deal with a crisis this magnitude but at least means the UK balance sheet is more robust entering difficult times.

  16. @Hoodedman
    Thanks for reply.

    So, in response to the scenario I gave in my post at 2.39 pm how would you as a taxpayer react if the gov operated such a mechanism and took more in taxes than was Budgeted for instead of allowing the banks to gain a windfall?

  17. @mike n
    I can only think you are reading about GB writing off third world debt?The national debt is around a trillion currently off the top of my head.

  18. @mike n
    I’m no economist, so I would not be able to give you a detailed answer.
    Suffice to say, monetary policy and fiscal policy are two entirely different beasts and trying to play one off against the other cannot be done.

    Not that I would advocate it due to the likely consequences, but your suggestion seems to be equally well achieved with a windfall tax on banks?

  19. @Hoodedman
    No, this is not connected with GB or third world debt.

    Recently HMRC published a discussion document setting out the possibility of replacing PAYE with what it called ‘centralised deductions’. I think the Con manifesto set out some commitment to improviing operation of PAYE.

    It occurred to me that, though it was not mentioned in the discussion document, centralised deductions could enable changes ot tax and NICs rates etc during the tax year – perhaps in response to movement in inflation.

    So I wanted to know how people here my view this.

  20. Mike N

    With regard to paying off the UK paying of its debt, I think it’s always had loads – so no luck there. I do vaguely recall saying something about finally paying off the debt from World War II. One of the financial gurus on this site will know.

    The instantly variable tax rates would be a disaster from both sides of the equation. Employers, employees and tax and NI administrators would not know what they were doing from one week to the next and neither businesses nor individuals could plan ahead. The same would apply on the banks side and those they lend to and borrow from. And as pointed out the two sides don’t necessarily even equate. Never

    There is of course the point you’re implying about the relationship with the banks and how they have benefited from interest rate policy over that years, without passing those benefits on to customers (not to mention “quantitative easing” solely to rebuild bank balance sheets). That’s an argument for tighter regulation and taxes on banks, rather than complicated systems to transfer money. Banks like complicated systems and without regulation they’d just whack up the money they take from customers by twice what they need anyway.

  21. @Roger
    Thanks

  22. Mike N

    Cnetralised deductions already happens for some occupations. Quite a lot of my income in ‘taxed at source’. It has its problems because it doesnt factor in PTA. Added to that it does not take account of your code.. it assumes we are all or a 605L or something close to that. With these letters from HMRC notifying millions of new codes for next year it would be very difficult to institute. I spend every year trying to hound them for monies over taxed.

  23. Martyn
    In your contribution you queried if the Mori poll was UK wide or a portion. I can’t see how the results obtained could be any other than from a GB sample. I mean, who in Norfolk or Devon responds that he is voting Plaid or SNP? As there are no repondents for SF, I assume it is GB only, not UK.

  24. Howard/Martyn,

    Yes they exclude NI for these VI polls. We make little difference to the overall figures anyway i s’pose.

  25. Eoin
    What HMRC and the gov have in mind is really radical. It would change so many things if it were introduced.

    Beyond resolvng various problems with income tax collection, it has other potential applications. It would accommodate graduate tax, student loan recovery, multiple employments, pension income, other souces of income, Scottish income tax, tax on social security benefits.

    And as I suggested it could allow for movements in tax rates when inflation moved. But that’s me being hypothetical.

  26. Mike N,

    Thankyou-very interesting and sounds plausible. Forgive the luddite in me but it wouldn’t cost public sector jobs would it?

    It might also take a centralised computer system for tax which they do not yet have. What would the data protection issues be there? None theorectically (since the individual areas have the data already) but i just mean security of storage etc.

    I am paid through five different tax regions and unless I tell them about each other none seem to know about the other. Those P535 or P60s on a taxed at source job seem to escape the notice of the guys dealing with the PAYE. I found them to be disorgansied at best, shambolic at worse.

  27. Mike N,

    A clairification on the centralised system. They dont have a single record per employee. The sub folders seem to be linked to place of residual occupation. If you have a another job it is contained in another sub-folder presumably under that place of work. You would think a query on an NI number should pull these toghether but it doesnt.

  28. Eoin
    Data protection should not be an issue. If there is any problem the gov changes the law to eliminate it.

    Probably jobs at HMRC would go. Some jobs elewhere in the public sector, but also jobs in the private sector. But we’re talking some five or more years yet and the new radical system might not get introduced anyway.

    Two years ago HMRC finally implemented a new computer system to handle taxation of income tax. It brought together tax record sfrom soem 15 difefrent databases. So, HMRC shoudl now be holding a single record detailing employments and income for each taxpayer. If you contact HMRC they can now look at all your different sources of income whereas before this was not possible. Sorting out your tax code etc should be simpler now.

  29. Mike N,

    Thanks for that. So can I chase them up mid year for over charged taxes or do they still insist I wait to year end? The latter I presume…

  30. @Amber
    Loved your comment made me smile.

    @Old Nat

    Pedant alert.
    Isn’t the queen head of two churches? She ‘s Head of C of E and C of Scotland….one with bishops one without!!! and though in Scotland and therefore preactises according to her local church, she’s still Head,,,or Supreme Governor of the other.

  31. Eoin

    Talk to them. But they may still say you have to complete a tax return.

  32. @ Roger Mexico – “… they can leave their vote to the last minute”

    From Labour list:
    Abbott 11 MPs
    Burnham 24+1MEP
    Balls 37
    Ed Miliband 73+6
    David Miliband 104+6

    A dozen MPs and 3MEPs missing from that count.

    Possible any late voting may think there is a momentum for Ed and fall into line behind him, just as likely they will think it no better than 50-50 in the other colleges and vote as they please.
    What we don’t know for sure is if these figures are accurate to the actual voting pattern, or how the second preferences will fall.

  33. Colin – I haven’t caught up with the entire thread, so forgive me if this has all been said already.

    I sucked it up and handed my pound over to Murdoch.

    You might be surprised to find I’m torn.

    I truly think IDS is a man of conviction. I think HIS vision for reforming benefits could just be visionary, practical and the idea of a generation. I actually think it is almost apolitical, that he has formulated his plans based on what he truly thinks will help.

    Now the problem will be if Osborne tries to water it down and make it a cost saving exercise. It seems he will have a willing partner in Clegg, I’m not too sure about DC.

    Having read the article, I would say NC is ALREADY way to the right of DC. Strange how things go.

    The line you obviously thought Labour would use as a sledgehammer (and let’s face it, it was ill-considered, practically 19th century) was obviously that “The state must not compensate the poor for their predicament”. Good lord above, what will his party make of that?

    All in all though, if IDS was given free reign he could be the politician of his time. He’s certainly fighting tooth and nail for his vision.

    Will Osborne and Clegg leave him to it?

    DC is no doubt clever enough to see that if IDS pulls this off, it could be the making of the gov. (imo)

    But is GO?

  34. OldNat,

    Not sure if you followed Benny’s homily. Alex Salmond was very pleased with himself, and rightly so. Wot with the Gallic and referring & treating you as a separate entity to the sassenach

  35. @ Old Nat

    As the Pope is meeting her in Scotland, he’s only meeting the head of state.
    ——————————————-
    Right enough, I meant ‘a’ head of church. 8-)

  36. @ mike n

    apologies, I had to dash to meeting, so didn’t answer your question. 

    Once we reach more stable economic climes, in principle I have no problem with the govt deliberately setting out to create a surplus if this means they have headroom to meet in-year fiscal targets, or to provide ballast if choppier economic waters are forecast  further ahead. And I think the country would respond favourably to that now they see the measures that are required to bring the deficit under control, and the corresponding impact on our lives, but more importantly the problems we have created for future generations. 
    The crisis was way too big to plan for, but the principle of holding reserves or storing capital is one that all businesses adopt as a precaution against downturns, and exactly what is being demanded of those ‘foolish’ banks now.

    I think GO should look to tax as a route to soften the spending stance. It’s hard for a Labour govt to get elected on a platform of taxing the middle classes (and them it must be) as it plays too easily to ‘tax and spend’ prejudices (just as a blue manifesto with NHS cuts would never win an election). But middle England would trust GO to bring taxes back lower when he could, and they would be more inclined to accept it for a period IMO.  

    I realise that UK plc is not directly comparable to business, but like businesses with surplus cash distributing divis, buying back shares or increasing investment, all govts like to hand out goodies in tax cuts, or significantly increase spending in ‘flagship’ areas and that ought to still be done when the time is right,  but the overarching principle underpinning fiscal policy needs to be one of ‘prudence’ and we all know whose favourite word that *used* to be!! ;-)

    Borrowing too much during the trumpeted growth boom was ultimately Labour’s downfall.
    And it’s not the spending I ‘ideologically’ object to, it’s not bringing in the revenue to pay for it. GB tried to marry labour spending philosophies with Tory tax philosophies – divorce was inevitable.

    Mike N, if you can come up with a politically, fiscally and economically viable proposal for a flexible and responsive taxation system then you should be CofE….. :-)        

  37. Sue

    Glad you read it.

    Thanks for your thoughtful response to it.

    Very interesting thoughts.

    Yes that was the line I had in mind.

    IDS has ( as you once said of me !) “done a good job” on NC I think. I just hope IDS doesn’t try something which is too dramatic/ quick, which leaves huge cracks through which people will fall.

    The Treasury clearly think its all totally impractical.

    But the main thing about the article was NC invoking Grimond-I thought that most significant.

    I think ,make your mind up time is coming for his party if he sticks to this -no doubt you will heartily approve ;-)

  38. NC’s words are entirely consistent with Liberal thought. But what about the Social democrat wing?

  39. John Murphy

    “Isn’t the queen head of two churches?”

    I’ve no idea. But if she is, then the Kirk of Scotland isn’t one of them!

    This from the monarchy’s own website –

    “In Scotland, there is a division of powers by which Church and State are each supreme in their own sphere. The Church is self-governing in all that concerns its own activities.

    Its supreme authority is the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, presided over by a Moderator chosen each year by the Assembly itself.

    The monarch takes an oath to preserve the Church of Scotland at the meeting of the Privy Council immediately following his or her accession.

    The Crown is represented at the Assembly, sometimes by the monarch in person, but more often by a Lord High Commissioner appointed each year by The Queen.

    Provided that it acts within the law of the land, the Assembly has the power to pass resolutions which can have effect without Royal Assent.”

  40. Clegg political strategy is ambarrassingly transparent. When New Labour moved to far to the right (supporting a Republican president), Labour voters shifted to the Dems – many have commented that the Dem manifesto 2010 was to the left of Labour.

    Clegg has now sensed that David Cameron, IDS etc. have moved too far to the Left for many die-hard Tories.

    Clegg has lost the left – they’ve gone home to Labour. Now his strategy is to attract the disaffected libertarian right (yes, right) of the Tory Party – & more importantly – some of their big donors.

    And if, like Éoin, you want to admire a politician for his convictions, Clegg will ensure you are never bored… he has a new set of convictions every 6 months or so.
    8-)

  41. I think Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms tackle a lot of problems very well, but there’s a problem with it: Simplifying the benefits system may well encourage people to claim more benefits. DLA for example is a very complicated and bureaucratic benefit. There’s a 40 page form, you need statements from your doctor and someone else, possibly a CPN or someone involved in your care, then there’s a visit from a doctor in a few weeks, and even then, you normally have to go through the whole thing again in 3 years time. As a result about 40 percent of people with a disability don’t even bother trying to claim.

    He seems to understand that a tapering off of benefits will cost more at least in the short term, (and I think in the long term too), but nobody is mentioning if they think simplifying them will result in more people claiming.

  42. Amber – In fact yes, that was more what I was getting at. I think Clegg is way to the right of DC and IDS.

    You could be right about him attracting the right of the Cons. It’s all getting so confusing.

    My compass is spinning so fast I can’t keep up!!

  43. @ Sue

    The polls are catching up with the voters, IMO. That’s an ICM & a MORI that have Labour level your devil with the Tories.

    We’ll see the ‘red flag’ flying on UKPR soon. ;-)

  44. Yes Amber, but when Labour are in the lead polls mean nothing! ATTAD remember!

    I can’t WAIT for the LibDem conference. (Has that sentence ever been put together before? I’m not sure.)

  45. ‘But what about the Social democrat wing’ (of the LDs)?

    You mean CK Eoin? I think the rest already left.

    USA stats report one in seven under the poverty line (44million). They clearly need Nick’s advice.

    I actually think the UN definition of national poverty is meaningless (under half the average wage). It’s a measure of inequality within a nation but not poverty. That word used thus is an insult to the world’s really poor.

  46. Having read Clegg’s articles in the Times and the various bits of accompanying commentary, it seems to me that he has an almost irrational dislike/hatred of the Labour Party.

    I think he is going to get into terrible trouble with his party partly as a result of his inability to be objective about the choices facing a third party in our political system. He is not the right leader for a Liberal Democratic Party which is going to have to make objective and balanced judgements about how it is going to best preserve its influence (and its numbers of MPs and Councillors) as we go forward.

  47. MIKEN

    You have had many splendid resonses which have no doubt helped you.

    Perhaps I could put this government debt thing into some sort of context.

    In GO’s June Emergency Budget he set out what the difference between Government Spending & Tax Revenues would be over the parliament.

    They are all deficits-allbeit reducing as fiscal tightening is implemented & the economy grows .

    The figures are :
    £bn Deficit
    2010/11 149
    2011/12 116
    2012/13 89
    2013/14 60
    2014/15 37
    2015/16 20

    So -as you can see, the Budget plan is to nearly ( but not quite) eliminate annual deficits by the end of the parliament.

    As you can also see, over the parliament the total Government cumulative Debt will continue to rise because of these deficits.

    Prior to the credit crash/recession , total Government Debt was around £500bn. By end 2009 this had risen to over £800bn.
    As Budgeted by GO in June-because of the deficits forecast as above . Total Government Debt will be £1316 bn by end 2015/16

    So Total Government debt will have risen by some £800 bn through the crash & recession BEFORE balanced annual budgets are in prospect.

    Debt interest for 2010/11 will consume more taxes than the Defence budget. The interest bill will continue to rise as deficits continue to pile up more debt. If interest rates rise dramatically away from current & budgeted levels, this will squeeze further departmental spending out to pay more interest..

    Prior to the crash/recession total government debt was around 35% of GDP. It will peak ( as Budgeted) at 70% of ( future) GDP

    So-ask yourself the question-in 2016 or so with the economy growing, and significant deficits a thing of the past-will the then Chancellor wish to run balanced budgets & leave total debt & debt interest unreduced -or run budget surpluses to get debt & debt interest back to pre crash proportionate levels ?

    What would you do?

  48. “That word used thus is an insult to the world’s really poor.”

    Absolutely.

  49. @ Amber

    “We’ll see the ‘red flag’ flying on UKPR soon”

    What do you mean “soon” !

    The thing has been waving furiously here ever since the election

    ;-)

  50. @ Colin

    :-) LOL :-)

    I actually meant the header block, when it’s not a hung parliament – We’ve seen the Conservative Tree a few times, I seem to remember – but not the Labour Rose.
    8-)

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