Very little polling in this Sunday’s papers – all I can see is the weekly YouGov poll in the Sunday Times, which has topline figures of CON 41%, LAB 39%, LDEM 10%. No sign of the other questions from the poll on the YouGov website site yet.


87 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – 41/39/10”

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  1. @GrahamBC/Garry K

    I’m with Garry a bit on this one. The Thatcher years changed Britain utterly; economically, socially and politically in the similarly profound, if less benign, way that the Atlee Government had in 1945. Now we can bemoan that all we like, but the Labour Party had to adjust to the seismic changes too, just as the Tories had to in the 50s and 60s, post Atlee. I mean, MacMillan wouldn’t have got very far pledging to do away with the NHS, would he, even if it would have delighted some of the pre-war Tory backwoodsmen had he done so? Blair picked up on the Thatcherite legacy quicker than most on the left and, as much as this may grate with the more ideologically pure amongst us, his third way was probably the only way for a centre left party to succeed electorally in a post Thatcherite world.

    And here’s an interesting question. What works in a post Blairite world? Maybe Cameron cottoned on rather sooner than many of us thought and I gather Blair’s memoirs are mandatory reading in the current corridors of coalition power! An opportunity for Miliband, perhaps, to break away from the shadow of Blair (Brown never did), especially if Cameron starts to look a bit too Blair-like for comfort, which he sometimes does, but Ed M would be a fool to forget all the lessons from the old master. He made an awful habit of winning elections, you know!

  2. Martyn (and RH)
    i think the statistics are more supportive of my argument than you allow
    Scotland Red Yellow split? I think Labour have a 4:1 majority
    Wales? I think Labour have a 3:1 majority over Cons
    Yorkshire? Labour have 2:1 majority over Cons
    Also in Yorkshire half of the Cons seats are newly won and held by small majorities.
    In the East Midlands Cons have a 2:1 majority over Labour but Labour’s seats are concentrated in the northern part ajoining Yorkshire
    So I think the stats point to the Cons as the party of southern England.
    There are 2 points here. One easily contested but I still think true is that Labour is more of a national party than the Cons.
    The other, harder to deny, is that Labour and Cons have balancing problems. The Conservatives risk, by the kind of economic decisions they are prone to making, merely fortifying their existing areas of strength building bigger majorities but losing marginal constituencies to Labour. Labour on the other hand risk having growing votes in southern constituencies which they may still not win (a point made by Pete B late of this parish)
    Virgilio
    Fascinating and thank you

  3. Blair could have won 1997 without going so far right, maybe without so big a majority, but could have accomplished more. I am not under estimating some of the achievements from 1997 minimum wage sure start investment in Education and health etc, but these would have been protected better if he had not become an acolyte of deregulation. It is that deregulation that has got us into the mess we are in now, economically.

    They could have re nationalised the railways without losing support, regulated banks and the financial system much more etc.

    Now the Labour party has a golden opportunity to throw off free market economics and gain popularity by offering a real alternative . Even unilateral nuclear disarmament can be popular

  4. @GrahamBC

    “They could have re nationalised the railways without losing support, regulated banks and the financial system much more etc.
    Now the Labour party has a golden opportunity to throw off free market economics and gain popularity by offering a real alternative . Even unilateral nuclear disarmament can be popular”

    I agree with a lot of this and one of my criticisms of the 97-01 Blair Government was its timidity. They had a greater mandate for change than they thought and probably kowtowed too much to the media myth that was “middle England”, but they were right to reach out to middle class aspiration. If they hadn’t, they wouldn’t have been given permission to govern and bring in the many measures that helped the least well off in society which, in fairness to them, they did in many and varied, if slightly furtive and shy, ways. Ironically, because of this shyness, they probably didn’t get the credit they deserved.

  5. @barney crockett

    You make a good point about the geographic dist’n, tho’ we may be two bald men arguing over a comb: Blue are electorally irrelevant in Scotland and the North East, Red are electorally irrelevant in South East England and East of England, neither signify in Northern Ireland…it may be that there simply isn’t a national party… :-(

    As for the possibility of Blue policies just piling up votes in Blue strongholds, and/or Red policies just piling up votes in Red strongholds…good point, and it’s one that didn’t occur to me.

    An added complication will be the new 600 seat Commons…if Red piles up votes in (for example) Wales, but Wales suffers with the new constituencies, then the net gain is zero or even negative.

    We will, as ever, just have to see what happens…

    Regards, Martyn

  6. @GrahamBC and Nick,

    You gents are living proof of we Tories tend to believe (and tell the world) about Labour. That under a veneer of centrism the membership are red-blooded Socialists waiting for their moment. Please, please persuade your leadership of the merits of your case, so that we can have a true and honest battle of principle at the next GE.

  7. It is possible that the Tories have got the Lib Dems cornered –
    they lose another 20 – 25 seats, and this puts the Tories into a majority.
    And the LDs can’t pull out of the coalition because that sort of result looks highly likely now, but they may do a bit better in 4 or 5 years.

    But there are lots of other unknowns that could turn out different ways. If Labour has added on around 10 points as the LDs collapse, then that could put them in office instead – even if the Tories are up a bit aswell.

    Also, the honeymoon will wear off, and there must be a time when the Tories aswell as the LDs start to suffer from unpopular decisions.

    The economy, however, should gradually recover.

  8. @Neil A

    “You gents are living proof of we Tories tend to believe (and tell the world) about Labour. That under a veneer of centrism the membership are red-blooded Socialists waiting for their moment. Please, please persuade your leadership of the merits of your case, so that we can have a true and honest battle of principle at the next GE.”

    Steady on, I thought the wolf in sheep’s clothing was the current Tory Party! An eco-friendly, liberal penal policy leaning, gay friendly, euro neutral, bank taxing and ethnic minority loving public face and a membership and parliamentary party that doesn’t believe in a word of it. Come on Neil, let’s bring it on at the next General election so both parties can say what they really believe in, hey!!

  9. Hey, I’d never claim to be Euro-Neutral….

  10. If the economy is up at the time of the election, Con wins. If not, Lab wins.
    ——————————————————
    I do not know why people keep saying this.

    According to Ken Clarke, & many Tories, the economy was on the up in 1997. The Tories lost.

    You bring in plumbers to fix a leak. You don’t keep them around for the rest of the week. Once GO has ‘fixed’ the deficit, the UK won’t need the Tories anymore. The electorate doesn’t do gratitude much.

    And if you think a few pennies off tax, promised before the election will make any difference, what’s to stop Labour saying we’ll do the same; & bring in a living wage? Labour will say: The economy is doing well, Britain’s businesses can afford it. We all should share in the good times having been ‘in it together’ during the recession.
    8-)

  11. @ Neil A

    You gents are living proof of we Tories tend to believe (and tell the world) about Labour. That under a veneer of centrism the membership are red-blooded Socialists waiting for their moment. Please, please persuade your leadership of the merits of your case, so that we can have a true and honest battle of principle at the next GE.
    ————————————————————-
    How will you feel, when we win? ;-)

  12. @ Nick Hadley

    “I doubt it, to be honest. The unsung heroes for Labour in their long wilderness years were the Healeys, Hattersleys, Goulds, Smiths, Cunninghams and Kinnocks of this world, Labour moderates who fought the good fight to save the party they loved. 1982 was a seminal moment in Labour’s history. If a big hitter like Healey had gone over to the the SDP, and he was heavily wooed by Williams et al, then it might have been all over for them as a party. Many of these battle hardened heroes never saw the promised land but they fought long and bitter internal battles as well as taking on the all powerful Thatcher at the peak of her powers, and hung on in there, gradually reforming the party, dragging it back to the centre ground and building little bridgeheads at the 1987 and 1992 elections. When the history of the Labour Party in the 20th century is written, it should be kind to these often derided figures, many now long forgotten. They saved the day, just about kept the party in the game and allowed Blair and Brown to go on and enjoy unprecedented electoral success in 1997 and beyond. They proved the old dictum. Better fight than flight!”

    I brought up the example of Ronald Reagan switching political parties because it offers a big contrast to the SDP rebels. Whereas Labour’s defectors to the SDP (and to the Tories) left Labour because of Labour’s leftward movement on economic and international policies, Democrats who left the Democratic Party left because of their opposition to civil rights issues.

    In the case of Reagan and likeminded Dixiecrats, they never had any desire to return to their original party, their party never changed its positions on the policies they left over, and if anything, their new party had to change its tune on civil rights issues. But had they ever decided to return, they probably would not have been as welcomed.

    By contrast, those who left Labour over Labour’s infighting and leftward drift on economic and international policy saw Labour eventually move back towards the central ground on those issues. The party leaders never came back obviously but I’m sure a number of their voters ultimately did. And right now with the collapse of the Lib Dem vote, I wonder if the SDP wing is moving back to Labour even while the old Liberal wing is staying put.

  13. @ Amber Star

    “I do not know why people keep saying this.

    According to Ken Clarke, & many Tories, the economy was on the up in 1997. The Tories lost.

    You bring in plumbers to fix a leak. You don’t keep them around for the rest of the week. Once GO has ‘fixed’ the deficit, the UK won’t need the Tories anymore. The electorate doesn’t do gratitude much.

    And if you think a few pennies off tax, promised before the election will make any difference, what’s to stop Labour saying we’ll do the same; & bring in a living wage? Labour will say: The economy is doing well, Britain’s businesses can afford it. We all should share in the good times having been ‘in it together’ during the recession”

    British voters tend to be fairly sophisticated and far more critical of their governments even if the economic is doing well (at least in comparison to American voters).

    This is why I find it interesting (and inaccurate) that in American high school and college history courses, teachers and professors explain to students dumbfounded by the 1945 General Election Result that the Brits were more concerned with the economy. Brits have voted out incumbent governments even when economic times were good (not a historian or expert on UK politics but 1964, 1970, and 1997 come to mind………even this year, the economy of the UK was improving and doing far better than the rest of Europe’s).

  14. @ Nick Hadley

    “Steady on, I thought the wolf in sheep’s clothing was the current Tory Party! An eco-friendly, liberal penal policy leaning, gay friendly, euro neutral, bank taxing and ethnic minority loving public face and a membership and parliamentary party that doesn’t believe in a word of it. Come on Neil, let’s bring it on at the next General election so both parties can say what they really believe in, hey!!”

    If it makes you feel any better, I’m often accused of being a socialist even though I’m not one. :)

  15. Economic good news in 2015 might harm the Labour party if they haven’t been very deft in their footwork on the whole “End of the World is Nigh” issue.

    In general though a slimmed-down public sector is always good news for Labour as it provides the opportunity to inflate it again.

    @Amber,

    If you win you win, that’s democracy. It would be a simpler political world though if everyone pinned their hearts to their sleeves. That’s part of what attracts me to PR.

  16. Neil A
    When did the conservatives slim down the public sector?

  17. @ZEPH
    “I know of Winchester students who are protesting on behalf of the Labour party. I would questions the wisdom of patronising and underestimating them”.

    Nice to know hypocrisy is alive and well within Labour ranks Zeph. Why don’t they leave and attend Steve Biko Comprehensive. Their parents can then redirect the fees to the poor.

  18. While we were waiting for Anthony to get the details of the Sunday Times poll up (next time just send them to WikiLeaks – it’ll be quicker), I though I’d look at a recent Irish poll. It was done by RedC for the Irish edition of the Sun and published last Friday – a week after Sinn Fein’s byelection win in Donegal South West. Details are here:

    ht tp://www.redcresearch.ie/documents/TheIrishSun2ndDec2010PollReport.pdf

    Irish poll details aren’t in the same geekish minuteness as we are used to, but there’s some pretty extraordinary stuff here all the same. The ruling Party, Fianna Fail (FF) are currently lying fourth with a miserable 13%, while the Taoiseach (PM), poor old BIFFO, getting a miserable 8% as the preferred option for the job. I’m sure Virgilio or Laszlo may be able to bring up a counter-example, but has any ruling party ever been so down?

    RedC has introduced something called “the spiral of silence” – a more poetic version of shy Tories – where they reallocate some of the Don’t Knows etc (22%) to previous Party voted for, but even this only drags FF up to 16%

    FF’s time-honoured enemies Fine Gael (FG) are currently shown in the lead with 32% (though Labour’s leader is preferred as Taoiseach by far). Of course allegiance to the two main parties, FF and FG, has long been seen as tribal rather than political, going back to which side your (great-)grandfather fought in the Irish Civil War. (Apparently nobody’s ancestors just kept their heads down and hoped it would go away). The way in which this model is collapsing is shown by how FG’s vote is so much stronger among the over 55s. Indeed FF and FG between them can barely muster a third of the votes of the under 35s.

    There’s an interesting coda to this poll. An English Conservative MP, Mark Reckless, commissioned RedC to tag on the question In light of the current financial crisis, would you support Ireland leaving the Euro and re-establishing a link with the pound sterling, or not? 34% said Yes – including 43% of Sinn Fein voters! Full details are on Reckless’s website here:

    ht tp://markreckless.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/red-express-tabular-report-currency-dec-2010.pdf

    One interesting byproduct of this is it gives polling geeks to see RedC’s full analysis and how Irish polls can differ from British ones. They seem to use the same software as ICM (I think they were founded by an ex-ICM guy), but the categories they break population analysis down to are very different.

    Hat-tip to Slugger for the currency question and they have a discussion of it here:

    ht tp://sluggerotoole.com/2010/12/05/43-of-sinn-fein-voters-want-to-return-to-sterling-standard/

    After this morning’s Naughtie “slip-up” (which Andrew Marr managed to repeat an hour later in a discussion of Freudian slips), believers in what-can-go-wrong-does-go-wrong will be delighted to note that RedC’s title page for this analysis not only misspells “currency”, but also gets Mr Reckless’s name wrong.

  19. Roger – I’ll have you know I’m on holiday, or I’m sure the ST tabs would have been up ;)

    The “spiral of silence” adjustment is what ICM have always called their adjustment too (RedC was indeeded founded by an ICM chap, hence the similarity in methods). The term was coined by the matriarch of polling in Germany, Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann.

  20. I have to confess that I’ve never fully understood explanations on here about how the bailout of RoI would work in practice. Fortunately, I have come across a simple explanation whcih i wish to share with you – with AW’s indulgence of course.

    Bailing Out The Irish – Simples

    It is a slow day in a damp little Irish town.
    The rain is beating down and the streets are deserted.
    Times are tough, everybody is in debt and everybody lives on credit.
    On this particular day a rich German tourist is driving through the town, stops at the local hotel and lays a €100 note on the desk, telling the hotel owner he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one to spend the night.
    The owner gives him some keys and, as soon as the visitor has walked upstairs, the hotelier grabs the €100 note and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher.
    The butcher takes the €100 note and runs down the street to repay his debt to the pig farmer.
    The pig farmer takes the €100 note and heads off to pay his bill at the supplier of feed and fuel.
    The guy at the Farmers’ Co-op takes the €100 note and runs to pay his drinks bill at the pub.
    The publican slips the money along to the local prostitute drinking at the bar, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer him “services” on credit.
    The hooker then rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill to the hotel owner with the €100 note.
    The hotel proprietor then places the €100 note back on the counter so the rich traveller will not suspect anything.
    At that moment the traveller comes down the stairs, picks up the €100 note, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, pockets the money and leaves town. No one produced anything. No one earned anything. However, the whole town is now out of debt and looking to the future with a lot more optimism.

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the bailout package works.

  21. Anthony – You just can’t get the staff these days, can you? :)

    Tables are finally up on YouGov archive by the way:

    ht tp://today.yougov.co.uk/sites/today.yougov.co.uk/files/YG-Archives-Pol-ST-results-031210_0.pdf

    and Anthony is no doubt scratching his head trying to think of something new to say about WikiLeaks and FIFA (separately alas, WikiLeaks from FIFA would be fascinating).

  22. Also off thread, but just in case you missed the announcement about tax rates and bands etc for 2011/12 here is a link:
    w ww.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/rates_thresholds_tables.pdf

    Clarifies a few things about personal allowances and NICs changes..

  23. Slugger O’Toole has a thread on the Reckless question

  24. Just popped over to Political Betting and found an interesting article by ‘Johnathan’ compariing the 2010 GE result with that for 2001. The growth in the LD vote looks like it prevented DC and the Cons gaining an OM this year.

    So, one could imagine that the Cons’ heirarchy are contemplating the collapse of the LDs as the way to deliver a Con OM at the next GE…whenever that is.

  25. And it is widely reported today that Mike Crockart MP for Edinburgh West, will resign over the tuition fees U-turn by the Lib Dems. Crockart is the Parliamentary Private Secretary to Michael Moore.

    Once the first LD MP cuts and runs, more will follow quickly IMO.

  26. Norman Baker (Transport) also being reported as a likely resignation.

    It possibly only needs 2 or 3 more in quick succession and this could become a wholesale exodus of LDs from the government.

  27. I’ve always held the view that many LD MPs would need an issue on which they could put distance between themselves, the Cons and the coalition. This could be the one.

  28. @Mike N
    Your scenario is a smart one, but one cannot run the same election twice. Of course if the LDs were weaker back in May (it now seems very long ago), Cons. would probably have an OM, but now the weakening of the LDs a) is electorally beneficial to Labour and b) is politically detrimental to Tory. When a coalition collapses, all partners suffer, even the ones that seem better off, and this is why, IMO, Cons. and LDs will do their best to prevent theirs from breaking down, otherwise they will set in march the “machine a perdre”, (losing machine) as we say in France.

  29. Mike N

    “Mike Crockart MP for Edinburgh West, will resign over the tuition fees U-turn by the Lib Dems”

    It seems strange given Scottish devolution. If Crockart and a lot of other Scottish MPs vote against the English student fees package then the West Lothian question may again become a significant issue.

  30. Mike N

    Latest development re Crockart:-

    LibDemPress Lib Dem Press Office
    by SamCoatesTimes
    For the record – Lib Dem PPS Mike Crockart was not on Radio 4 resigning earlier, it was an impersonator (he wasn’t even Scottish)

  31. @Mike

    Re the ‘West Lothian question’ – I cannot see any of the main parties wanting to create an England parliament.

  32. @Mike
    “…it was an impersonator (he wasn’t even Scottish)”

    Seriously? You couldn’t make it up.

    Pathetic of Radio 4 to get this wrong.

  33. Mike N

    “Re the ‘West Lothian question’ – I cannot see any of the main parties wanting to create an England parliament”.

    Agreed but most Tories still wish to address the WL question and I understand a Commission is to be set up by the Coalition soon.

  34. @Mike

    “most Tories still wish to address the WL question and I understand a Commission is to be set up by the Coalition soon.”

    I can’t see what this will achieve, from a Tory perspective. The issue can only be resolved either by reversing devolution (an absolute non-starter IMHO) or by setting up regional or English parliaments. Either will be a driver for break-up of the union, and thereby antipathetic to most Tories, while the former is a LD/Lab rather than Con policy. (Don’t forget that Labour tried to introduce regional devolution, but this was thwarted by the failed referendum in the North.)

  35. @Mike N

    “Pathetic of Radio 4 to get this wrong.”

    It wasn’t Radio 4, it was the Evening Standard. OK, R4 might have gone back to Crockart for a second quote, but if the Standard was directly quoting (the allegedly) fake Crockart, it’s not unreasonable for them to recycle those quotes.

    In any case, are we sure it was really a fake, rather than this being backtracking by Crockart? If our earlier thoughts were right, that a number of resignations might bring down the whole house of cards, might he not have been persuaded that public utterances of this type weren’t helpful?

  36. Re Crockhart

    looks like the Beeb have screwed up.

    See h ttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1336145/BBC-broadcasts-interview-impostor-posing-Lib-Dem-MP-Michael-Crockart-day-gaffes.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

  37. Actually, it looks like the screw-up (if it was one) was by whoever produced the media directory. Both Evening Standard and Radio 4 were misled by the same ‘error’.

    That still leaves open the question of how the rumours started, thus prompting the media to contact Crockhart in the first place.

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