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. @EOIN
    If Clegg is Lt Col G.A. Custer, CO 7th LD Cavalry, facing annihilation on the Little Big Horn river, who is his boss General Crook, sitting in a warm office whilst Custer dies ? Surely you would not call Dave “General Crook”. However, you might call the Lakota Millibands
    Crazy Dave and Sitting Ed.

  2. Sorry for another post on a significantly lesser intellectual theme than the current debate but having tried earlier this week to ‘defend’ NC from the UKPR left onslaught, have just opened the ES to see the ‘least statesmanlike’ picture of a very senior politician since DM and the banana.
    ‘Cleggy meets Ban Ki’ (-moon)’

    He looks like someone who won a lottery to ‘meet their favourite football player’

    ps in an ideal world, IMO it should be based on ‘population eligible to vote’ which seems the right compromise but i appreciate the impracticality..

  3. Roland,

    Ulysses S Grant perhaps? (DC) I would say Robert Lee but he is ever so law-abiding. :)

  4. Blimey Eoin, didn’t know the TU vote carried such weight ;)

  5. Sue,

    Well in % terms that works out as follows

    53.66% = EM
    46.33% = DM

    My colours are firmly nailed to the mast (A red one I hope).

  6. You might have George Reno, Dave Benteen sitting on thier hands watching.

  7. you had EM getting 422% from the unions!!

  8. Roger Rebel,

    Now who might they be? Osborne and Hughes? ;)

  9. Sue,

    DM 42% from the unions (big fingers-small keyboard)

  10. testing stalker

  11. testing Hacked

  12. While Eoin works out that Sue was referring to his typo,
    will RR please tell me to whom he is referring or has he posted to the wrong list?

  13. Hmmmm, I can’t give figures, but I think DM will win the MPs, EM will win the unions, and it will come down to who wins the “party”. That’s the bit I wouldn’t like to predict.
    Instinct tells me it will be DM (not hope, instinct) but I can’t say whether it will be enough to outweigh the union vote which I think will be pretty conclusive.
    Incidentally, now it’s all over Eoin :


  14. eoin

    the curse of the fat finger

  15. Howard,

    junior members of Custer’s army.. a major and a captain (cavalry) I think.

  16. Richard,

    You are on my xmas card list, did I tell you? :)

  17. eoin

    that’s nice

    i’ll be sending an invite to my brithday/pre xmas bash

  18. Richard,

    Did I read in one of your recent posts you were considering joining a Sacandvain Liberal Party? (or equivalent) I would be interested to know. I am currently drawing up a policy comparison between several of Europe’s liberal parties. I want to see how many are ‘relieved’ not to be in the Euro :P

  19. Epochery – the boundary commission cannot pay any regard to the political make up of seats (though in practice the inquiry stage was dominated by the political parties – about 80% or so of witnesses are politically partisan, mostly MPs, councillors, party representatives or activists, or members of the public called by the parties to support their cases).

    Syzygy – the boundary commission don’t take 8 years to consider individual seats – rather the long length of time taken for reviews is because they only did 3 counties at a time (and the commissioners themselves are only part time, so met only every couple of months to consider reports). It was also delayed by local government boundary reviews, since the boundary commission waited for them to be completed to use the new wards. The actual process of reviewing any area was only a year or so (and could easily be faster with full-time commissioners, though the time saved by dropping inquiries will probably be cancelled out by tripling the time for consultation. The biggest time saving from the legislation is removing the consultation period for revised recommendations).

  20. Wouldn’t it be interesting if between the three electoral colleges, it came out 50/50 between the two Millibands.

    Is there any precedent for joint leadership?

    What a force that would be – and what a democratic Labour Party!!!

  21. Eoin,

    If you are correct about Clegg having only 12 months left as leader , it will give the LibDems the cover they need to pull out of – by that time – the unpopular Coalition!

  22. Graham,

    He might take half the party with him. The permeatations are very hard to play out but suffice to say that AV, CSR, Holyrood would be enough to challenge the most secure leader. In the face of rapidly declining polls, I suspect Clegg will find it almost impossible to retain LDs in their current format.

    12 moonths yesterday, I give them.

  23. Eoin,
    I don’t disagree with the 12 month prediction , but if it does come to pass I expect the consequences for the Coalition to be dire!

  24. Eoin

    Your obviously not following all the tedious detail I’m deluging you with. ;) Your hypothetical Kashmiri would have full voting rights as soon as s/he had leave to remain as a Commonwealth citizen.

    If say they were a Thai or Tajikistani they would have to wait before they became nationalised for them to be able to vote. This seems fairly reasonable, given that its what most countries do (and often make it harder to become a citizen than the UK)

  25. eoin


    yes i am thinking about joining the norwegian liberal party, cos i really want to campaign against the immigrant hostile, anti gay, anti tax, anti climate so called peoples party

    however although they have ruled out working with the “peoples party they haven’t ruled in working with parties to the left. until they can jump this fence i’ll be sitting on mine

    there is also the center party which is part of the red/green govt, but they are big on farming subs which i dislike

    as for Europe, norway is not a member of the EU, in spite of the fact that i am very pro Europe, i would not vote yes in a ref because the EU rules on competition would mean the end of norway’s excellent but restrictive alcohol policy

    saddened by the failure of minimum pricing in Scotland

  26. Sue – there isn’t currently a right to appeal decisions (well, people can and do take recommendations to court for judicial review, but that won’t change).

    The current situation is that the Commissioners make a recommendation, there is then a four week period for written representations. There is some trigger point that sets off an inquiry on the back of that, but it’s very low so in practice nearly every county has an inquiry.

    Local inquiries are chaired by assistant commissioners, who read the written representations, listen to all the evidence and then provide a written report. The inquiries are almost wholly dominated by political parties and their agents, but their great strength is that they allow the parties to cross-examine each other and criticise their counter-proposals, and result in a thorough and well argued report by an assistant commissioner.

    The boundary commissioners will then consider the report of the assistant commissioner and either reject or accept any recommendations they make (the majority of local inquiries result in minor or no changes anyway). If they recommend changes there then needs to be a second period of consultation, which hardly ever makes any difference.

    The changes the legislation will make are that the written consultation period goes from 4 weeks to 12 weeks, local inquiries are abolished, and there is no longer a consultation period for revised recommendations.

    Dropping the second consultation period is no great loss (it rarely had any impact at all anyway), the increase in time is a good thing, so the only troublesome bit is the lack of inquiries. Losing the inquiry itself is not a great loss – they were mostly a venue for political parties to twist the boundaries to their own ends – but it does have two big downsides. Firstly there is no chance for people to examine and criticise counter-proposals, secondly with no inquiry there is no statutory requirement for assistant commissioners to be appointed or to produce detailled reports examining responses to the consultation.

    In the case of the latter issue, the Boundary Commissions have indicated they still intend to appoint assistant commissioners who will still write the sort of detailled argument they did for inquiries based on the written submissions, though obviously it would be nicer if there was a firmer statutory footing making them do this.

    The second problem is trickier. Balinski, Johnston, McLean and Young wrote a good paper for the British Academy examining the Bill and recommended an amendment based on what happens in New Zealanswhere after the 12 week consultation period all submissions would be published and there would be a further 4 week consultation period to allow all parties to examine counter-proposals and comment on them, which seems like an excellent solution to me. I spoke to Ron Johnston at a conference last week and he was hopeful that the government might accept the amendments at committee stage – we shall see.

  27. Anthony

    I don’t know if you saw my two points in my 4:55pm comment about double registration and the possible electoral number changes from a move to individual registration. Do you know if anything is being done to address them?

  28. Anthoy “The changes the legislation will make are that the written consultation period goes from 4 weeks to 12 weeks, local inquiries are abolished, and there is no longer a consultation period for revised recommendations.”

    Yes, that’s what I meant ;)

    Thanks for the info.

  29. Well I don’t know if DC’s honeymoon is over, but mine definitely is. So now all you lefties can have another Tory voter to goad….

    The polling news is pretty much what I expected, oscillation around a small Tory lead over Labour, but with a gradual and inexorable trend towards Labour overhauling the Tories by the end of the year or sooner. I am a little surprised that the LibDem conference hasn’t generated any blip in their vote at all, but these are strange times for them. I am still of the view, overall, that when a party’s poll showing is at the extreme end of it’s range then regression to the mean makes a move back the other way the most likely prospect. There may well be one or two 8% or 9% showings in the LibDem future (probably in the fortnight after the new Labour leader is elected) but I think we’re more likely to see 18% scores than 8% scores over the next 12 months.

    Any Blue who didn’t factor in a massive dip in support once the cuts agenda came to dominate politics would have been a fool. As always I maintain that the government is doing what they are doing because they believe it is necessary, not because it gives them a party political advantage.

    I know this is a polling website and the poll numbers are all important, but those of partisan persuasion should be more reticent about assuming that the fact that there are shifts in public opinion against the government means that they are doing something wrong. So far I give the government a tentative two and a half cheers (well I would wouldn’t I) and the fact that many of my supremely knowledgeable, intelligent and completely clued up co-citizens doesn’t suprise or particularly demoralise me.

  30. My last sentence should of course read “the fact that many of my supremely knowledgeable, intelligent and completely clued up co-citizens don’t agree doesn’t surprise or particularly demoralise me.”

  31. Richard in Norway

    “saddened by the failure of minimum pricing in Scotland”

    I’m more furious than saddened!

    Still, what a great example of coalition in Scotland. The Con/Lab/LD grand alliance of petty little people.

  32. Neil A – Things could be quite different after the Conservative conference though. (I only go to the trouble of writing “Conservative” when I’m being nice to the one I’m posting too ;) )

    I WILL say that DC is rather good at the Statesman thing and if anyone can rally the troops, he probably will. The right of his party will probably be less likely to mumble than the left of the Libs and if they can pull off an optimistic, confident tone, then it might give them a bounce to counteract the CSR a bit.

  33. Roger – nothing about double registration as far as I know. For the shift to individual registration the government have said they won’t do anything on it until after the boundary review starts to make sure any drop in registrations such as happened in NI doesn’t unfairly affect boundaries.

    Of course, if the Bill goes through on time the boundaries will be based on the Dec 2010 register anyway, long before anything happens on individual registration.

  34. When will YG be out tonight? Will the Tories be back if front? 8-)

  35. Anthony
    To institute a one man one vote in one constituency, capable of being policed, we would need a national regiistration system, which would need DNA / thumbprint / iris print code to be stored to provide automatic anti-voter fraud mechanism as well as a legion of other benefits.

    Having spent teh money on it, we know where that idea is going don’t we?

  36. Talking of police welcome back to Neil A -you have been missed.

  37. Just for interest, and because there is nowhere else to place it

    The recent Australian elections

    – Labor had more of the two party preferred vote in the Lower House (under AV) and are in power. (Basically fair to say Labor lost the election but the conservatives also didn’t win it. Highlight- a Green elected in Victoria under AV; amazing)

    – The Upper House (Senate) which is basically PR by State gave overall results Conservatives 34, Labor 32 and Green 9, others 2. These are the combined results for those staying on and the new Senators. Upper House only loses half the seats each Lower House election. Winners clearly Greens; they had 3 Senators staying on but added 6 in the election.)

    Worth noting in the lower House 70% of Green vote went to Labor under AV.

    My view; Upper House clearly controlled by Labor / Green comfortable alliance (worth noting in Australia that the Tory is always in Coalition when in power since WW2).

    Lower House Labor has ‘moral’ aspect in that under final two party preference vote Labor had more.

    And, of course, finally Labor got enough ‘other’ candidate such as the Green to get into power again.

    Mind you, the next by-election will be interesting…

    Personally? More and more middle class non religious, non union vote Green.

  38. Howard

    “one man one vote”

    What have Sue and Amber done to deserve that?

  39. old nat

    considering the damage done by alcohol, i find it surprising that support for a more restrictive alcohol policy is not higher.
    but of course everyone says “i don’t have a problem, why should i be inconvenienced just because some else does”

    i read somewhere that in 90% of police work alcohol was a factor. not sure how much i belive that maybe neil A could shed some light on that

    neil A

    glad to have you back

  40. How anyone can actually predict what is a ridiculously undemocratic process i really don’t know. All we do know is that whoever wins the Labour leadership farce, won’t actually have the mandate of the leadership. Even the Tories are more democratic nowadays when elected their leader. Of course the Lib Dems are the most democratic by a long, long way. As for the new Labour leader taking attention from the Lib Dems. It’ll last briefly but the Lib Dems have a advantage now. They’re in power and events and announcements can quickly take attention away from oppositions. I think this week’s Lib Dem conference will go down in history as the moment they came of age. I’ve been very, very impressed not just by Clegg but by all their Cabinet ministers and junior ministers. What strikes you more than anything is how thoroughly grounded they are. And actually i feel (despite all the usual claptrap that they don’t stand for anything) they are more philosophically grounded than the other two. Liberalism is alive and the neo-cons in the Labour Party busy pretending to be socialists better watch out.

  41. Ashley – “They’re in power and events and announcements can quickly take attention away from oppositions.”

    That’s what most governments are afraid of!

  42. ashley

    you are so tribal

    i like it

    all we need now is a libdem wayne forever predicting
    a landslide victory at the next GE

    BTW are you new here

    ps, vince’s speech not bad eh

  43. Ashley
    get your Lib Dem scooter off Labour’s leadership lawn. We have our decisions the way we like it. if by any chance the winner is Ed M then rumour has it that CK will be leaving you now rather than later. Clegg (or Col Custer) has just told Seaman Oates (Ashdown) to go for a walk he may be sometime. Laws has (thank god) thrown in the towel on his “career”
    Roland Haines
    I fancy myself in a minor but distinguished role in the scalping line; Young man Afraid of his Horses or Chief Rain in the Face

  44. richard in norway

    “considering the damage done by alcohol, i find it surprising that support for a more restrictive alcohol policy is not higher.
    but of course everyone says “i don’t have a problem, why should i be inconvenienced just because some else does”

    Though there is increasing evidence that there is a genetic factor at work here (personally I blame rape by the Vikings).

    Labour, of course, blame caffeine instead.

  45. @Jack
    Re the surge of the Green vote, there is today a very interesting poll by Forsa in Germany ,that shows the Greens at 24%, i.e. equal to the Socialists. Greens and Socialist together thus total 48%, which gives them overall majority in next GE (Center-right coalition is at 34 = 29 Christian Dem. + 5 Liberals and the radical left is at 10%). It is the first time ever that center-left has such an advance over center-right, which falls to its all-time low. But most of all, the perspective of a Green PM (Chancellor) in the biggest EU country is in itself amazing (even if in next GE the Greens are behind the Social Democrats, their influence in the upcoming center-left government will be decisive).

    Neil A welcome back. At least with a Tory I still can discuss, even if we disagree, because we have democracy and human rights as a common ground, whilst the sarkozysts and the berlusconists have gone so far in the direction of populism and xenophobia that even a part of the moderate right in France and Italy cannot stand them anymore.

  46. Yougov con 43 lab 39 lib dem 14

  47. @ Daniel
    I was pleased til I realised that makes others 4?

  48. Meant to finish, “so that can’t be right?”

  49. It isn’t right – the figures are CON 43%, LAB 36%, LDEM 14%

  50. @ Anthony
    Thanks. Should have guessed by the deafening silence.

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