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. russglass

    labour borrows to spend

    conservative borrow to cut taxes

    your both as bad as each other, never looking more than 18 months ahead

  2. Amber 11.52 – Thanks very much. That’s exactly it. I like trying to lighten things up on here when they get a bit heavy, and have been known to laugh equally heartily at a good Labour joke.

    I think things seem “meaner” when they are directed at your own party.

    I promise, the very next good Labour joke I hear, I’ll post it. :)

  3. Mike N and John F pointed out there are two issues here. One is what constituency sizes should be based on. If you look at AW’s map it’s nearly all blue in England so perhaps area is not a good one, unless we give cattle the vote.

    However I do not understand what is the case for basing on pop. It’s not that I disagree with it. It’s just that proponents have not explained why it is more sensible than voters. I assume they think it’s obvious but perhaps it could be spelt out for unaware people such as I.

    The second issue is EU citizens not able to vote in parliamentary elections but able to vote in local elections. I cannot see the logic of that either. I do not see the logic of making them wait 3 years either. I would go perhaps a year which is long enough to work out who the parties are and as they are similar throughout the EU it should not be a difficult task. It must be remembered that the EU person has lost the vote in the country from where he came (except here by that gerrymandering ‘conservatives abroad’ initiative).

    We really need to grow up here politically and culturally. Perhaps we deserve the Stena Line Chief’s words in all aspects, not just size and body decorations.

  4. I agree with Mrs Thatcher’s contention about balancing the books, but disagree with the way she went about dealing with the deficit.

    As far as I am concerned, not balancing (or controlling, at least) the budget during the good years has left us rather high and dry. Now is not really the best time to be cutting public spending from the point of providing essential services and general infrastructure. These cuts will have a long legacy. The next government will find its hands tied almost as badly as this one.

  5. @Eoin – “We avoided a coronation.”

    Good post. Some have thought the process interminable, however, there does seem to have been wisdom behind the timetable – for the reasons you outline.
    Added to that It could be a good psychological moment for reds to find their feet. They have had ‘me time’ to absorb the shock of defeat.
    Meanwhile the beast/chimera that is the coalition has been given space to assume its awful shape. The public have had an opportunity to take stock, and they appear to be reaffirming that the message of the election was not altogether unequivocal.

  6. John Fletcher – Hmmm, funny, we should have the same skill sets, but predict entirely different outcomes.

    It’s all a lottery as you well know, or there’d never be another crash again.

  7. @ nick headley
    Even after the splendidly patronising dissertation from you on page 3, it does not alter the fact that contary to your assertions, I have predicted this fall away from the Conservative Party in the polls for months, rather than becoming angry about it. This fact was backed by two stalwart Labour supporters who have graced this board for some considerable time. As far as grown up behaviour is concerned, the initial attacks you made on me were of the name calling 6 year old variety. Living in a glass house has its limitations Mr Headley.
    There are some very passionate people posting on this site from all serious parties, why pick on me? Because I am a Tory ? So much for your non partisan credentials.

  8. @Roger Mexico
    Thanks for amplification. And another v good post.

    “My other point was that, if you use population you may get distortion due to lots of non-voters in particular areas. Even if you restrict yourself to adult population, you might get an area with a lot of say Russians, Saudis and Filipinos – the voting occupants in that area would end up their votes worth more, in the same way pre-Civil War whites in the slave states did.”

    I don’t see “the voting occupants in that area would end up their votes worth more” as being pertinent or true. It’s still only one vote within the constituency.

    As regards counting the population I recognise both the difficulties and that using registered voters is straighforward. But simply because something (ie obtaining a reasonably satisfactory count of the population) is simple should not mean that one sticks with it if it is undemocratic/inappropriate.

  9. Richard in Norway – I’m really glad to see a Lib (hope I’m not wrong) posting delight about an aspect of their conference.

    Good for Vince I say and I’m not in any way being sarcastic.

  10. @ Wayne Timlick
    “…Let’s end this lib dem, tory crap and get labour bk in…The real government”.

    Well Wayne, we have a great right wing political philosopher on this board called Wayne. It now appears we have a brilliant left wing thinker also. After 50 years as a Tory, your comment has totally changed my thinking.


  11. @ Mike N

    It’s my invented term for a situation where one party wins by a landslide, giving them a virtually unassailable lead so when the next election rolls around, regardless of the narrow percentage of vote, they still get a comfortable majority. I’m thinking Labour 2001 – 2005 here but I’m sure there are other examples.

    @ Julian Gilbert

    “I’m crap at economics”

    Don’t worry about it – so are most economists ;)

  12. @ Roland

    It’s probably the same Wayne :)

  13. @Howard
    “However I do not understand what is the case for basing on pop. It’s not that I disagree with it. It’s just that proponents have not explained why it is more sensible than voters. I assume they think it’s obvious but perhaps it could be spelt out for unaware people such as I.”

    We know that not everyone eligible to vote actually registers. That failure to register affects therefore constituency sizes. Are some people and indeed groups or ‘classes’ ((sorry about that word, but couldn’t think of an alternative quickly)) of people in some parts of the UK more or less likely to register? If so, this distorts IMO the allocation of constituency boundares leading potentially to political advantage. So, rather than ‘permit’ this distortion it makes sense IMO to adopt population as the basis for constituency size.

    Furthermore, some parts of the UK may have greater numbers of people who are not eligible to vote. Is there evidence to support this? If there is no evidence either way, then the proposition may be true. You may say, so what? But IMO each constituency should be equalised according to population, otherwise there could be signficant imbalances. And IMO everyone, regardless of their age, country of origin, or circumstance should be counted for purposes of representation.

    I trust this helps.

  14. We should see the LD score begin to climb from tomorrow night so if it doesn’t – oh dear!

  15. @Billy

  16. @BILLY
    The thought had crossed my mind Bill.

  17. sue

    thanks for that

    yes this is one very happy libdemer after vince’s speech, it pushed all the right buttons for me

    in a way it was a bit like osborne promising to abolish inheritance tax at the tory conference. ie preaching to the converted

    sorry i was short with you last night. i’d made myself miserable reading CiF, some of the comments about libdems there are very nasty. i came back to UKPR for some civilised discourse but i had left my sense of humour behind, and so encountered your “lobotomy” comment.

    i’m in a much better mood today, but i still don’t find it funny. maybe i don’t have a sense of humour

  18. @ sue
    ‘ afternoon…

    I liked this one (which was apparently from one of his own supporters I hasten to add….)

    “How do you know when David Miliband is warming to you?”
    “When he stares down disinterestedly at your shoes rather than his!”

  19. Howard,

    M 3 year limit was simly tagged to current residency requirements. IF that was reduced then obviously it would make sense to reduce the period of making them wait.

  20. Eoin

    My point wasn’t against your conclusion – it was against your argument. If you base the franchise on the payment of taxes, you logically have to give the vote to those who pay and take it from those who don’t. That was the argument that survived in NI until the Civil Rights movement to justify Unionist dominance in nationalist areas (helped by some gerrymandering).

    If instead you base your qualification to vote on residency and nationality, you’re effectively measuring personal connection to that area and/or country rather than their wealth. Of course either system is logically consistent as a way to form an electorate. It’s just I prefer the second and I would assume that you would too.

    Of course your Poles (providing they have 3 months residence) are EU citizens and do have the vote for local elections because of that residency and Euro elections because of their citizenship. They can also vote for the Northern Ireland Assembly (it’s just taken me half an hour to confirm that, so I hope you’re grateful). To vote for the HoC they would have to show the extra commitment by becoming British or Irish citizens.

    Come to think of it, when are the British going to get the same rights to vote for the Dail as the Irish have had for the HoC since 1922? Just sayin’. ;)

  21. billy

    @ Julian Gilbert

    “I’m crap at economics”

    Don’t worry about it – so are most economists

    now, that made me laugh!

  22. Keep an eye out an ICM with the guardian it will be released at 7 I suspect. If not, then tomorrow night. I sincerely hope they ask an AV question in it.

    Clegg has about 12 months left as LD leader, in my humble opinion.

    Sepnding Review, AV, Holyrood and red resurgence and set to finish this party off.

  23. Mike N

    Thanks for that explanation of the supporting reasons for your view. I would need some quantitative data to make me ‘think on’ about it. Any examples?

    Would I not be right in thinking, given my ‘votes for cows’ argument against area based size of constituency (which is the strange basis for not bringing Scottish fringes into line), that the sort of places where there is significant under-registration, tend to be inner city Labour? Would I not be right in assuming, thus, that the effect of going over to a population-based system, would be stick more Labour voting areas into leafy fringe Con voter tending constituencies?

    So would I be right in thinking that this would benefit Labour, whilst not actually based on any logic on grounds of equity for doing it in the first place?

    Sounds like gerrymandering to me.

  24. Roger,

    You still dont get my argument- my fault I reckon.

    All UK adults of course should be allowed to vote.

    I am trying to win the argument for allowing immigrants to VOTE. If you read John F he is opposed to it. I am making the case that these people contribute to our economy…..

    If you disagree, can you find an alernative argument that will appease the John F’s?

  25. Nick Clegg is asked if he’s worried by the polls.
    He replies;
    Not at all. They did a really good job on my kitchen last year.

  26. @Howard

    And the grounds of equity for using registered voters are…?

    I don’t know what the outcome of using population would be. I recall that there is a drift from cities so this potentially would benefit C and perhaps the LDs. If so, that’s ok with me. .

    On the other hand, if there are large numbers of people in cities who are not registered or ineligible to register, do you think that it is fair and equitable to simply ignore them when determining the boundaries? And bear in mind that the intended changes to boundaries will adversely affect Lab when in fact it can be argued that this is gerrymandering.

    Moving to population cannot be gerrymandering because every constituency will be equal.

    ((And befiore anyone mentions it, yes I know the technically correct meaning of gerrymander.))

  27. I’m going dark now.

  28. Very good jokes!!

    Mike N – I love your “I’m going dark now’s”

    The one against my own side that REALLY made me ROFL was when Amber was looking for a collective name for those who opposed the current coalition.

    Oldnat very succinctly suggested “losers”

    :lol: :lol: :lol:

  29. @Hooded Man – you won’t be expecting a ROFL…
    perhaps a raised eyebrow and the merest flicker of a crooked grin?

  30. The lib dems are sure to rise now. They’ve had an extremely strong week! Clegg comes over as a statesman and very likeable. He should also get positive coverage at the UN too. Though the media may drown that out with the easier to cover labour leadership election. I hope they won’t because the UN summit is highly important even if our thicko journalists don’t understand all the nuances.

  31. @Rolly Hines

    Are you re-naming me after one of the all time cricketing greats, George Headley? While a little paler skinned than the great man (they called him the black Bradman) I am indeed greatly flattered by the connection. In fact, I cut my teeth as a youngster watching his son, Ron Headley, playing in that great Worcestershire side of the 1960s. Many a happy hour in the shade of the horse chestnut trees at New Road, the shimmering River Severn lazily passing by and the hourly chimes of the great cathedral bells in the background. Hazy, glorious summer days of my youth watching Headley, Kenyon, Graveney, Flavell and Coldwell play championship winning cricket. Thanks for stirring those great memories again, Rolly boy.

  32. Mike has gone but the ground (only ground singular actually) is that these totals are the best indication of how many people wish to engage in the democratic process. I agree, if some event caused all those to register who had not previously done so, it would skew matters until the next boundary review but so what? They would all vote on the issue that made them get off their rears and then presumably fall away again.

    The real problem with small constituencies and FPTP is that it would only be a ‘fair’ system if every constituency conformed to the picture of opinion our nightly YG poll gives us. In other words, it’s the fact that this is not so that gives rise to the meddling.

    Incidentally, my party would not even have one MP and neither would Labour (until next week when they would then take all of them!).

    Ann Widdecombe, whom I heard defending the system a while back, never got anywhere (look up her record) until she was given the plum of Maidstone and Weald (maj 10,000) for continued endeavour.

  33. @ billy bob
    Spot on…..the perfect accompaniments for another….”let me tell you what I stand for…….” moment…..

  34. @Mike N/ John F

    Having read the debate about whether constituency sizes should be based on population or registered voters it seems to me that population is the correct measure.

    Given that MPs represent everyone living in their constituencies it seems logical to me that each MP should represent an equal number of people but that only registered voters get to select who that MP should be.

    Unfortunately politicians of all stripes will seek to bend the rules to their own advantage.Could anyone enlighten me as to the reason we are embarking on an insignificant reduction in the number of MPs from 650 to 600 ? It will hardly solve the deficit crisis and I will take a lot of convinncing that someone somewhere hasn’t worked out that this is the number that best serves the conservative party’s interests.

    I will gladly concede the point if anyone can provide a credible alternative explanation!

  35. Mike N

    Re population versus voters – an example. Suppose you have a constituency called Chelski. It has a population of 100,000 consisting of 90% oligarchs, sheiks and Eurotrash plus their associated servants, hangers on etc. The remaining 10% are old money Brits who aren’t now members of the House of Lords.

    Next door is the constituency of Workingclassington with population 100,000; all voters as they are British or Commonwealth citizens.

    Both return one MP – only 10,000 can vote for the first, but 100,000 for the second. So the vote of a Chelski constituent is worth ten times that of a Workingclassington one.

    Obviously this is an extreme example, but it shows how a discrepancy can arise if you base constituencies on population.

    Rather like my discussion with Eoin above, I actually think the basic principle is more important. Those that have the connection through the relevant qualification for voting should be the basis for representation. Otherwise it is possible for it to end up being based on other criteria such as wealth, property, slaves, etc as we have seen historically – often by finding ways so that those who are counted towards representation don’t get to vote for it.


    The problem is with the ambiguities of the word “argument”. You “end” – that immigrants should be able to vote – is perfectly respectable. It was your “means” of getting there I thought was dodgy! :)

    As I implied the UK is probably more generous than most countries in the franchise rights it does give – especially as most have come from the Commonwealth and get the full voting package on settling here. Even with election to the main Parliament usually restricted to full nationals by most countries, the UK is more generous (hence my dig about the Dail). The main reason to deny this franchise to foreign nationals with residence qualifications, is lack of reciprocity.

  36. Can someone please enlighten me, when redrawing boundaries why should there be any consideration to any party. The idea is surely to equalise constituencies not party votes.

  37. Epochery

    There isn’t.

    The BC goes about its work with no such consideration being made.

  38. HOWARD

    I would hope so

  39. @ Mike N – For what it is worth, i agree with you about using population numbers rather than numbers of registered voters, to determine constituency size. Apart from anything else, I would guess that population size is likely to be more stable given the lack of house building currently. The now finished discussion above shows that redrawing constituency boundaries is not simple, which is why there has been an independent body, the Boundaries Commision who on average have taken 8 years to make their decisions.

    it seems that the Coalition want to sweep all that work aside and have new constituencies within 3 (I think) years, ready for the next GE… and without any consideration of natural communities of voters with common concerns eg. Isle of Wight. IMO, it is no wonder that accusations of gerrymandering have been made.

  40. Epochery – Doesn’t stop consecutive governments from telling them what to “consider” though…..

    This current lot have removed the right to appeal decisions.

  41. Ashley,

    If it was my party, i would have posted something as resolute as your good self. There has to be something beautiful about a Captain refusing to abandon a sinking ship! At leasy you will have the accolade of being one of the last people standing! :)

    Should we call Nick Clegg General Custer? :) :)

  42. Roger,

    Divulge you r ;means’ then? How do we ensure all those great additions to UK culture can be fully assimilated into UK life? There is no point in chastising a Kashmiri for being more inclined to tune into Al Jazeera, than Sky News unless we give him/her a stake in our deomcracy?

  43. Nick Hadley,

    Certainly not Dean Headley :P The batsman had more to fear from the clouds than that paceman.

  44. Ashley

    Don’t take any notice of Eoin – he’s a wicked fella and he’s uppity because he’s forecasted the Labour leadership wrongly.

    Shorts or socks this time Eoin?

    I did not get your name wrong on purpose, it is just that because I do not see you as much of a “contributor” I mistook your name.

    I dont give a tinkers cuss about cricket.

  46. Howard,

    I was being sincere to Ashley.

    Shorts and socks if you don’t mind :P

  47. Rolly – Don’t be so grumpy and indulge in a little snifter!

  48. Howard – “he’s forecasted” or “he forecast” ??


  49. Sue,

    both :) 58/422 TU (EM) 55/45 Party (EM) 52/48 MP/MEP (DM).

  50. Sue
    Probably has changed his mind. Is there not a past participle to forecast?

    I understand it is 1600 Saturday when you will all know. I won’t because I am exhibiting my project in Leafy Surrey (like entering the Russian zone for me).

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