YouGov’s daily poll tonight has topline figures of CON 39%, LAB 39%, LDEM 13%. Other than a couple of polls straight after the general election, this is the first YouGov poll since the election to show the Conservatives below 40 since the coalition was formed and it makes YouGov the third pollster to show the parties neck and neck.

This is a continuation of the trend of a falling Conservative lead that we’ve seen throughout the summer. My guess is that we’ll almost certainly see a Labour lead in the polls during their conference next week (with the polls this close we may see one before that), though it may well disappear straight afterwards if the Conservatives get their own boost. To some extent it’s irrelevant anyway, whatever the standing in the polls at the beginning of October, we are rapidly heading towards the spending review and the point where the surprisingly popular abstract cuts that George Osborne announced in the budget are replaced with specific cuts that are less likely to go down positively. Once we get past that I’d expect some solid Labour leads in the polls.

On the subject of the economy and the spending cuts, YouGov’s trackers on the cuts this month have also shown some significant changes. For the first time, a plurality of respondents thought the cuts will be bad for the economy (by 43% to 40% who think they will be good – compare this to straight after the budget when 53% thought they would be good and only 28% bad). Also for the first time a majority (51%) also think the cuts are being done unfairly, compared to only 30% who think they are fair. That said, people are still more likely to blame the last Labour government for the cuts than the current government – 44% blame Labour the most, compared to only 21% blaming the coalition the most (22% blame them both).

320 Responses to “YouGov have Conservatives and Labour equal on 39%”

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  1. Well, the muck really starts to hit the fan.

    The Conservatives really need to get better at making the case for the cuts. Either that or seriously hunker down and try to ride out the storm until they are hopefully proved right and their polling hopefully recovers.

  2. The movement in the trackers on cuts is the big significant issue here. Cameron was clear that his strategy for the summer was to prepare the ground for the cuts announcements in October, ensure that TINA got a good airing and embed the idea that the cuts are Labour’s cuts.

    The clear evidence is that sentiment has been running the other way and this will make the coalition’s task much harder, especially if things start to go adrift with the wider economy.

  3. Yep, I think it’s fairly safe to say that the honeymoon is over.

    Not that we didn’t know that already….

  4. Bobby

    “the honeymoon is over.”

    Could you remind me when the honeymoon existed. ;-)

  5. Labour (imo mainly lead by Balls) has managed to get a debate going about whethers the defecit reduction. need to be as deep and as quick.
    I suspect that when cuts actually start to take effect the 80& cuts 20% tax balance will become an issue.

    Labour in the lead soon and for 2-3 years but can they build a big enough lead, personally I hope I am wrong but doubt it.
    I suspect the chance of GO balanceed budget by the end of 5 years has little chance and we will see a partial ‘U’ Turn.

  6. Interesting that the Lib Dems have shown basically no conference boost at all.

  7. Jim Jam

    “I suspect the chance of GO balanceed budget by the end of 5 years has little chance”

    He agrees.

    He didn’t budget for one at the end of this parliament.

  8. Talk about wasting public finances, did you see the Hampshire Police e-fit picture of a wanted burglar today?

    h ttp://

    They gave him green hair that looked like he had a lettuce on his head. What a Little Gem.

  9. This is arguably the most important poll since the election for the Liberal Deomcrat Party.

    1. They got their exposure
    2. They put their case
    3. Other parties tales were on the backburner.

    In the two polls since the conference speech by Clegg, LDs accrue 11% and 13%.

    Now I will repeat the argument I made in July. The old saying the exposure = gain for yellow, due to their normal absence from the major political narrative no longer follows. I think that yellows get more coverage than they ever got before. The difference now is that they are measured by their deeds not their words. I think any party measured by their deeds usually take a hit of a few % for two main reasons.

    1. Deeds are never as rosey and straightforward as words.

    2. We are a cyncial old bunch. We are relucntant to credit the good deeds with yellow (or blue for that matter) but we are ready and willing to blame any failings on them.

    So what went wrong?

    Well the thing is, the public dont pay much heed to Clegg’s words anymore. They did once upon a time mind you.

  10. I think we may see the Lib Dems going into single digits within the next week or two. Some Kennedyite Lib Dems who are not too keen on the coalition may switch their voting intentions to Labour in the aftermath of the leadership election results (albeit, maybe briefly).

  11. Do I detect Dems change of tack? Danny says decision not to join euro was right

  12. Do I detect Dems change of tack? Danny says decision not to join euro was right

    h ttp://

  13. Here comes a tough ride. The Conservative will survive. I see no Labour government until 2020 at the very least. Its going to be a Liberal Conservative coalition for the whole decade. They will reep rewards in 2015 for saving the economy and bring change to Britain while restoring our civil liberties. 2011-2013 though will be Labour leads. With gains in locals big time! But I will be voteing Conservative in 2015, I will never trust Labour again.

  14. Zeph,

    Red Cloaks (in the regal sense) have a powerful ability to change one’s ideology. Just ask Caesar.


    I disagree – a competently lead Labour Party with a good story to tell and a good way of telling it will do very well in 2015 (but probably before once the coalition fissures really explode).

  16. Zeph so no EU or AV?

    Not sure how many times I can say blimey in one month.

  17. To put this into perspective, after the not-very-good LD conference in 2009, the LDs got a percent boost of about 4 percent to around 20%.

  18. Eoin

    Caesar explained the reason succinctly

    “Infamy! Infamy! They’ve all got in in for me.”

  19. OldNat,

    Yes, I have read a few yellow posts exuding the persecution complex. It is going to be a good year for SNP one would imagine…

    scotland Labour will be smiling too I’d imagine. Danny Alexander’s majority is slimming, in perception, by the second I would think….

  20. Sue,

    1, no to Euro
    2. not fussed on AV
    3. tuition fees
    4. nuclear power
    5. trident
    6. immigration cap
    7. VAT 20%

    What is left?

  21. I’ve heard the story all before with Tony Blair in 1997. He lied. I wont believe a think which ever Milliband it is says. Many Conservatives will stay put as they really do hate Labour. I cant see the Tory vote falling below GE levels but Labour will go into the 40s for the time being. Labour won’t be relelected in 2015. Its going to take a decade for people to get over what you have done. The financial crisis and Gordon Brown will be looked by Middle class families like working class people looked on Thactcher. Will not be forgiven for a long time.

  22. Eoin “Fair stuff and like, you know, really big changes.

  23. Where were the rebellions we were al expecting at the LD conference?
    Even SH played along. LDs are probably happy about that.
    But IMO, rebellions are not always bad. They can be useful wake up calls sometimes.
    Keeping calm under fire is one thing, sleepwalking into battle is another.

  24. Julian – “The Liberal Lobotomy Conference”

    You can steal that too if you like :)

  25. @RICHARD – “The financial crisis and Gordon Brown will ……..will not be forgiven for a long time.”
    Without debating with you whether the financial crisis really was GB and Labour’s fault, (oh go on then. It wasn’t) unfortunately, the public is in the habit of blaming their present government for their difficulties.
    In the US, it’s Obama’s crisis now, not GWBush’s.
    Likewise, over here, in a few months time, it will be the coalition’s cuts, not Labour’s. IMO

  26. 52% still support the government. Not bad really.

  27. I should have said;
    Likewise, over here, in a few months time, the cuts will be the coalition’s fault, not Labour’s.

  28. Richard,

    It is good to see a blue (sorry if my presumption is wrong) posting. We seem to have so few these days. Our beef is on shoring up the left. You rightys are off the radar for me :)

  29. Richard, I agree largely, however the Lib Dems, despite NC’s admirable qualities as a politician, I believe will be hit hard. They will recieve absolutley no tatcical support from nose holding left wing reds voting ABC in the South, SE and SW where Labour are as much of a non-entity as the Tories are in Scotland. A political gift for the Conservatives really. A colleague of mine up in Scotland has suggested that the Tories and Liberal voters may well hold their nose and vote for (a slightly less extreme left when compared to Labour) SNP at next year’s Scottish elections despite opposing independance, the Lib Dems face a complete wipe out there not for no other reason than the fact they are in coalition with the Conservatives. Only a fool would believe otherwise. The minute scattering of Scottish right leaners seem to vote ABL as opposed to the Conservatives, and probably justifiably so.

    Scotland would grab independance with both arms and legs if Labour offered it to them on their natural hardened left platform now, recieving support from smaller parties who share common ground such as Solidarity (Tommy Sherriden) and the Communist party. A few folk I know from Glasgow have said similar. Would Cameron let Scotland become an independant nation and lurch to its aspirational left if Labour offered this? Interesting.

    Regarding the polls, Thatcher came from well behind in ’81/82 to sweep to victory in ’83, fell away in ’85 again, built up by late 86 and another triumph in ’87.

    A similar case this time around is very possible, especially when the boundaries are re arranged to aid a fairer system.

  30. ATTAD Alert, 11.18pm

  31. @Old Nat – “They’ve all got in in for me.”

    Including Polly Toynbee, she even ends with a joke!
    (btw Richard, she mentions Keynes’s “thrift paradox”)

    h ttp://

  32. Before people start singing the red flag, can I remind some of the more excitable people that there is still another 4 and a half years to go. No one can predict what the state of the country will be like by then.

  33. eoin & sue

    an end to child detention
    capital gains tax up
    50% income tax kept
    vat 20% BUT not extended to food or any thing else
    proper HoC reform
    fixed term Parliaments
    id cards scraped
    decision on trident postponed
    no govt subsidy for nuclear power = no nuclear power
    tax allowance up by £1000

  34. Thanks Eoin. Im actually a Libertarian. Conservative come closest to what I believe. However there is no Libertarian party here as we all know. This is what I mean Julian, your not accepting you are slightly to blame. Why did Tony Blair even come out and say the spending had to stop? If you cant balance the books in the good times, then when a recession comes around your in BIG trouble as tax revenues fall and spending increases to boost the economy. I got a degree in economics, I’ve looked at what Labour have done. I’ve looked at what Conservatives want to do. Im afraid I support the Conservatives, like it or not. Labour are partialy to blame along with the banks and to say otherwise is just showing me that you and your party are in denial. I know there is plenty of natual Labour voters I guess your one of them where you can’t forgive the Conservatives for the 80s and it’s just natual for you to be anti-tory. Fine. But to be in denial about your party being completely irresponsible in government is wrong. Labour did good things, no doubts there but they pushed it a bit with the spending.

  35. @ Sue

    ATTAD Alert, 11.18pm & “The Liberal Lobotomy Conference”
    RFLOL :-) & the Caring Conservative joke was a peach too. :-) 8-)

  36. Rob Leic – Nice try, but I don’t think anyone’s mentioned the Lab score at all. Not once. Except Anthony.

  37. Eoin
    “It is good to see a blue (sorry if my presumption is wrong) posting. We seem to have so few these days. ”

    I have noticed the leftie takeover in about the last year. Is it because most righties have real lives to get on with?

    Personally I’d like to see more posts from people wishing to leave the EU, bring back hunting and hanging, and abolish the dole.

  38. @Eoin Clarke

    You said “…This is arguably the most important poll since the election for the Liberal Democrat Party…”

    Not quite: the most important ones since the election for the LIBs will be the ones during the LAB conference.

    Like a saddo, I went thru Anthony’s archives from 1987 on and constructed the max and min poll ratings for each day for each party (LIB,LAB,CON,OTH) following an election, to see if there is some kind of electoral cycle. Since the election, the number of times LIBs has polled lower than their previous minimum for that day is ~1 (As a comparison, the number of times LAB has polled lower than their previous minimum for that day is ~5. The CONs are polling in their upper quartile, but since the CONs haven’t won an election outright since 1992, this is cold gruel).

    Now politics isn’t an absolute game, it’s a relative one, and the trick isn’t to get lots of votes, it’s to get more than your competitor. So this isn’t conclusive. But looking at the graphs, a couple of things jump out.

    * The support for OTH is unprecedently high for this part of the electoral cycle (9% at ~20weeks after an election!).
    * LIB are still higher than their minima for this part of the electoral cycle , but only just.
    * LAB are polling close to or below their minima for this part of the electoral cycle .
    * CON are polling in their upper quartile but consistently below their maxima for this part of the electoral cycle.
    * Nobody, not CON, LAB, nor LIB, are polling anywhere near enough to expect a majority (bear in mind that 39% are, in an absolute sense, terrible for both CON and LAB).

    I used to think the LIB defectors were going to LAB/CON at about 3LAB to 1CON. But now I’m not so sure – they may be going straight to OTH.

    But anyway – the reason why I think the most important poll for LIB will be during the LAB and CON conference season is what I’ll call the “Battle of Britain” scenario. The LIBs normally take ~~1yr to hit single figures, but they have gone down to 10 before that in previous years (~~week 20). So if they can hold at 10 or above, they can plausibly claim to have survived this – they’re polling above their minima (better than LAB in fact), nothing to see here, move along. But if they hit 9% this early in the cycle, then that *is* unusual (you spotted this some weeks back). In previous posts you set a tripwire of 9% by 30/9/2010 – I agree. The LAB Messerschmits have to shoot down the LIB Spitfires to on/below that level by then – if they don’t, the LIBs can claim to have won (or at least until the CSR is published on Oct 20, by which time all bets are off). And of course, the LAB conference ends on 30 Sept.

    So it’s simple: zer LAB young men haff to shoot down zer LIB young men to 9 or below by Sept 30. Otherwise Operation Sealion is over for another year.

    Cue Jeremy Clarkson impersonation… :-)

    Regards, Martyn

    (I’ll get the graphs up by the end of the week, to prove I’m not fibbing)

  39. sue

    i’m sorry but

    “The Liberal Lobotomy Conference”

    it’s just not funny

    you don’t need to be nasty, it doesn’t suit you

  40. @Richard

    Where do you keep the crystal ball? Or whose entrails are you studying?

  41. At the end of the day. The government is here to make the country work. Not to get votes. The Conservatives are making unpopuler choices because they believe they have to. To be fair they have the support of many many economists. I praise the Conservatives for doing the right thing for the country and not putting the country last for votes. I think they will recieve alot of credit in 2015. Labour will not win. I predicted a hung parliament a year ago despite big Tory poll leads because I predicted the economy would recover slightly as growth in Europe and American began again. One other thing, it was very disapointing that the U.K. was the last out of the developed countries to leave the recession. Gordon Brown comments about ending boom and bust and then I saved the world business was rubbish. If he led the world, we would of been the first country out of recession not the last.

  42. richard

    we are always the last ones out of recession

  43. Valerie no one predicted the global recession but the fact of the mater is this country should not of been running with a deficit twice that of what the EU recomended for sustainability. We shouldn’t have to rely on debt and deficits to fund our public services. You need to put in place inceitives to promote private sector work which would decrease the welfare bill increase tax revenues and grow our economy with a surplus. So when the bad times hit which they do always every decade our deficit would of not increased to levels like they are now.

  44. richard , you are falling into the trap of partizanship

    you are a conservative but thats irrelevant to the state of the polls as is your assertion it was all labours fault

    that is irrelevant

    the you gov polls are showing that despite you saying people do not trust labour , the people are swinging very much towards them

    this is just a few short months into the coalition

    can anyone find out when was the last time a new government lost support so quickly ?

    assuming we think the you gov polls are fairly accurate ?

  45. Hang on a minute Im not saying it’s all labours fault. Its the bankers iswell. People aren’t leaving the Conservatives to Labour. People are leaving the Lib Dems for Labour. The Tories are not the ones being rejected. Liberal Democrat voters were bount to feel cheated, many are anti Tory and did not plan on a Conservative government. So they left and shifted to Labour. The Conservative vote has increased not decreased. Labour is not taking Conservative votes wanderingwelshman.

  46. @ ROBLEC

    Before people start singing the red flag, can I remind some of the more excitable people that there is still another 4 and a half years to go. No one can predict what the state of the country will be like by then.
    Another 4.5 years to go…. not necessarily although the balance of probability is in your favour.

    The state of the country come 2015 isn’t the real issue. It is the state people perceive it to be in; & how it got there.

    1. Osborne has committed to eliminating the structural deficit; ordinary voters don’t understand that concept. There will probably still be a deficit & the Coalition will be perceived as having failed.
    2. The Coalition has – in the public’s mind – committed to replacing every public sector job lost with a greater number of private sector jobs. It’s not within the Coalition’s power to guarantee this – but the public believes they have!
    3. Labour is winning the narrative on cuts – theirs would have been fairer; & there is no way the Coalition can prove Labour wrong about this. That is the difference between government & opposition. Governments are judged by what they do, oppositions by what they say they could have done.

    There seems to acceptance by the blues that Labour will take a strong lead during the next 3 or 4 years, then will merrily relinquish it a few months before the G.E. Why would Labour do that?

    Labour has battle hardened politicians with years of government behind them. They’ve won a few elections too. Do you really believe they’ll stand idly by whilst the magic vote fairy whisks away their lead & bestows it on the Conservatives? 8-)

  47. I try to look at things with a realistic mind. Not what I want to happen. I’ve got a degree in economics and basicaly I know what Im talking about. The Conservatives are right and Labour is wrong. I could be wrong, other economists could be wrong too. But there is no excuse for running an economy on 6% deficits in good times. End of.

  48. Well, the glass is half full (or the ashtray).

    In 1979, the Conservative government was elected on May 4th, and fell behind after 6 weeks.
    The emergency budget in June was unpopular.

    To have made it til September (and it remains to be seen whether Labour are moving ahead), so I’d buy a pint.

  49. Yes, I think TINA has been a bit more reticent than I thought she might be, perhaps we will hear from her at the Conservative conference, this has allowed Labour to question whether she is needed. The talk of a possible double dip recession isn’t helping.

    No doubt there will be a bit of flailing around in the polls as the new Labour leader is announced, conferences come and go, etc, then specifics of spending cuts appear. I think we’ll have to wait for local elections next year for some clearer picture of whether the Libdems are going to be pummeled or not, and what their non-voters will do. If Labour picks up most of them – then that’s troublesome for the government.

    That 52% of notional government support isn’t what it seems: it contains a lot of wasted votes where one party in government fights another for the same seat, probably at least 25% of this “government support” is thus wasted. If this is the case then perhaps Labour and “the government parties” are effectively about neck and neck too.

    Yes it is 4-5 years (apparently) to the next election. This government needs to do something important other than cut things or else they’re doomed.

  50. richard , you are going off on one now

    there are many many economists who DONT support the level of cuts ..the IFS for example

    now ..if we can avoid the party politics and analyse the polls

    the fact is they are not good for a newly elected government

    the end

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