Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 41%, LAB 41%, LDEM 9%. This follows on from a small Tory lead yesterday.

The pattern is amusingly neat – in November we had violent student protests in Millbank, which were almost immediately followed by Labour taking the lead in YouGov’s daily polls. It lasted for three days, then the Conservatives moved ahead again. This month we’ve had violent student protests in Whitehall, which were almost immediately followed by Labour taking the lead in YouGov’s daily polls. It lasted for three days, then the Conservatives moved ahead again.

Of course, in reality all polls have a margin of error and these movements are well within it – the neatness in the way the polling response to the two protests mirror one another is almost certainly co-incidence. What is probably true is that the protests have some short term negative impact on government support (it reminds people of an unpopular policy and gives a generally negative air to the government), but as to what the underlying position is right now, we can only really conclude that the two main parties are pretty much neck and neck.


127 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – 41/41/9”

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  1. @ Amber Star and Howard

    “There is an L too many somewhere there SL.
    —————————————–
    LOL ”

    I don’t quite follow.

  2. @SOCALLIBERAL
    It took me a while to work out that it refers to a modification to the word ‘public’. So naughty !

  3. @Socalliberal – A bit like Joey laughing every time Ross says “homo-erectus” during the lecture. (Amber and Howard are snickering at “public”)

    Once watched a documentary about the full-time army of reseachers who spent 8 years digging for dirt on Clinton… the impeachment was pathetic.
    An impressive politician if you follow the story from his first entry into the Governor’s mansion in Arkansas.

    Some important memorable oratory too:

    “The anger you feel is valid, but you must not allow yourselves to be consumed by it. The hurt you feel must not be allowed to turn into hate, but instead into the search for justice.”

  4. I know this is off topic – but there is a very interesting poll in todays Irish Times. Dealing with the bailout etc.

  5. SoCal Liberal

    “If you have a local Labour councillor who does a really good job and is highly responsive to constituent needs, is it fair for them to get voted out because people want to punish a Labour government in Westminster or Holyrood that has nothing to do with them?”

    I can only speak for devolved PR four party Scotland where split voting is becoming so common that we soon won’t ask “Which party do you support” for there there is often no simple answer.

    Yes, it isn’t fair, and that’s why it often doesn’t happen when expected.

    Frederic Stansfield December 17th, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    noted that Electoral Calculus predicts that the LibDems would lose Cithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross where there is manifestly a high personal vote for John Thurso.

    John Thurso is only one of many Scotish Highland LibDem MP’s and MSP’s who are local, long serving, independent minded, active in matters important to their communities and have huge resilient majorities.

    The problem for the Libems is that sometimes the incumbent becomes complacent and lazy or old, and the majority melts away over time. Eventually the popular MP/MSP retires and the replacement is unknown or believed to be less effective.

    Ross, Skye and Lochaber is the one at risk.

    It is not simply that people vote for a well known popular individual, they vote for an individual proven to be competent, hard working, and well known.

    In these constituencies, student fees [for England only] will make litle difference (especially if the MP rebelled) even though the LibDems lose votes by the bucktload where they have no chance of getting elected anyway.

    It’s particularly a rural thing. Only LibDem and SNP are in the business of adressing issues that are exclusively Scottish rural issues. If voters give up on the incumbent, the alternative choice is plain, and it is never Lab or Con.

    That further accentuates the regional dominance of Labour in Glasgow, LibDem in the NW, SNP in the NE.

    In FPTP, the Greens and Conservatives are unfairly disadvantaged, and though change occurs over time the number of loseable marginals at any one election is always small.

  6. @Billy Bob

    “Once watched a documentary about the full-time army of reseachers who spent 8 years digging for dirt on Clinton… the impeachment was pathetic.
    An impressive politician if you follow the story from his first entry into the Governor’s mansion in Arkansas.”

    I think there is a strand in US politics, and SocialLiberal will be able to comment on this much better than me, where the more ultra conservative elements of the Republican party cannot accept and will not tolerate a Democrat Presidency. They regard it almost like an Un-American aberration and will do almost anything to bring it to an end. You can trace this strand back from the McCarthyite “Un-American activity” witch hunts to the implacable opposition that Kennedy, Carter, Clinton, and now Obama, all met during their time in office.

    As you say, the campaign to bring the Clinton Presidency to a premature end via impeachment was a particularly virulent and underhand one. The Whitewater and Lewinsky investigations were headed by an independent counsel called Kenneth Starr who almost single-handedly took on the role of Clinton’s bete noir and assassin-in-chief, goaded and abetted by an army of Republican sponsored dirt-diggers. They almost succeeded in getting rid of a popular and democratically elected President who was only just saved by a Senate vote not to impeach him. Had Starr and his powerful backers succeeded, and they very nearly did, we would have witnessed one of the great subversions of democracy in the so called free western world. Thank God they failed but I suspect Obama would testify to their lingering and malign power.

    Is the Tea Party Movement McCarthyism in a rather more benign and polished form?

  7. nick H

    the teabaggers started by sending teabags to their congressmen in protest at TARP

    the tea party movement was hijacked, it originally started as a protest against bank bailouts, or as tea party folk would put it “govt stealing money from taxpayers to give to criminally corrupt banks”. the guy who started the whole teabag think does not like sarah palin because she was in favour of bailouts and in support of changing laws to make foreclosures easier (you really should check out the whole forclosuegate thing)

  8. A poll to look forward to:

    “We have a ComRes opinion poll in The Independent on Sunday tomorrow, shared with the Sunday Mirror. It includes some interesting findings on the relative standings of the three party leaders.”
    (John Rentoul in the Independent today)

  9. It sounds like doctors are getting concerned about the potential for a major ‘flu crisis this winter as fewer people are getting the jab. There are already some political commentators suggesting it stems from a lack of government action on a vaccine campaign.

    I’ve no idea whether this is true of not, but if I were the coalition I would be extremely careful to avoid any hint of NHS crisis. They’ve promised so much on this, and are politically highly vulnerable if things are perceived to be going wrong.

    I think in the next 12 – 24 months the NHS will become a major battleground that will bring Labour a lot of traction.

  10. @Richard in Norway

    “……………(you really should check out the whole forclosuegate thing)

    Thanks for the tip off and I will go and have a further and deeper look. I don’t profess to know too much about the Tea Party movement, or teabaggers, but I think you’re right about the initial movement being hijacked by people and organisations with other agendas. This quite often happens with popular movements and politicians like Palin would see it more as a lever to obtain a power base in the Republican Party, thereby boosting her presidential ambitions, and other other interested parties may see it as a “Get Obama” vehicle. The teabaggers’ original raison d’etre has probably been subordinated now to these more nakedly political ambitions.

    Talking more generally though, isn’t the “birther” campaign, questioning Obama’s nationality and therefore his legitimacy to be President, a similar sort of exercise to that launched at Clinton? I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it was being inspired and hatched in very similar quarters too,

  11. @ALEC
    I do agree with the thrust of your comments. The Tories are “tender” on this issue and need to have a serious care about looking after the shop in this regard. However, your final comment, whilst potentially true does need a little circumspection. The marginal increase in inflation has created a situation that I dont for one moment blame Miliband for mentioning or giving a warning about. But the attempt to criminalise Cameron for being a penny short on his bus fare, was not clever tactics. It just makes Labour (and Mili) look a bit desperate. After all Cameron can just bring the extra penny tomorrow.

  12. nick

    i don’t know too much about the birther campaign but i would guess that it was started by misguided ev!l beings

    but on the other hand i’m trying to get a conspiracy theory off the ground concerning the Stockholm bomber. so i can see how one person having a misguided? but perfectly legitimate doubt could start a whole movement by accident

  13. Nigel wrote:
    It includes some interesting findings on the relative standings of the three party leaders.”

    Pity, I wanted to know what people think about Caroline Lucas.

    Just to start with, how many know who she is.

    On reflection, perhaps she isn’t a leader, they don’t have them in the Greens, do they? Good for them, if so, and how refreshing.

    When i went to NL in 1977 nobody referred to ‘leader’, only party policy. Now it has gone in the direction of president type politics but they are still behind us, except for the populist ones (who have to have an image).

  14. @ Alec

    “I’ve no idea whether this is true of not, but if I were the coalition I would be extremely careful to avoid any hint of NHS crisis.”

    I don’t either, though vaccination rates went down under Labour… Difficult to imagine that there is no increase there.

    It seems that the government is ready to throw some money in as dampening if the fire is too high and the backlash from media is likely to be strong – schools, local governments, transportation and probably health service too. It’s understandable, just does not solve things.

  15. I should be grateful if someone could tell me how many seats are held by each of the parties as of now after all the by-elections since the GE.

    If Reds win a number of the by-elections and the rebel Blues and Yellows join the Reds, is there a chance that the Coalition could end before 2015?

  16. @Liz

    “I should be grateful if someone could tell me how many seats are held by each of the parties as of now after all the by-elections since the GE.”

    There haven’t been any parliamentary by-elections since the GE, Liz, only local council ones. The first will be Oldham & Saddlewoth in January next year. Accordingly, the party standings in the Commons are still as they were after the GE in May.

  17. @ Nick Hadley

    Thanks Nick. Wishful thinking on my part.

  18. There are some minor changes to party standings since the election.

    1 seat (Phil Woolas) has become vacant.

    2 Labour MPs have had the Labour whip suspended while under criminal investigation over expenses (I think the Labour party’s rules are that you still have to obey the whip even though its suspended, but the House of Commons count them as Independents)

    2 Labour MPs and 1 Conservative MP have been elected as Deputy Speakers, so no longer vote in Commons divisions.

    Hence currently the changes since the general election are C down 1 (Evans elected deputy speaker), L down 5 (Woolas disq, MacShane & Illsey suspended, Hoyle & Primarolo elected deputy speakers), Ind up 2.

  19. @roland – to be honest, I wasn’t really thinking of whether of not Cameron meets his pledge on spending – largely because, as you say, he will, but also because it probably won’t stop major health problems developing.

    In it’s entire history the NHS has only ever had a single year of sub 1% real terms budget increases – under Thatcher, and that really hurt. Osborne is planning 5 years of 0.1% increases, while service demand based on population dynamics etc will need an annual 4% increase just to maitain current service levels.

    Efficiency savings will have some benefit, but nowhere near enough. Milliband knows the technical spending target will be met – that’s not what he’s gunning for. He anticipates that in 5 years time the NHS will feel like a disaster zone, and I have a feeling he might be right. Cameron won’t be able to argue it was because of Labour’s debt, because he said the NHS would be protected, and he’ll be snookered with his own argument.

    Far better to take the Lib Dem line and abandon protection of NHS budgets and accept some setbacks, but the weight of history terrified the the Tories and they felt they had to make a play on this, regardless of the trouble it would store up for them in 2015

  20. @Laszlo – “I don’t either, though vaccination rates went down under Labour…”

    Did they? I know MMR rates declined, but that was because of Daily mail induced bogus anti science hysteria that led lots of ‘concerned parents’ to expose their loved ones to crippling childhood diseases instead of simple vaccines.

    I thought ‘flu vaccine rates climbed

  21. @ANTHONY WELLS
    “There are some minor changes to party standings since the election.”

    Thanks for that. I am sorry my knowledge of the mechanics of government is very limited so I hope you don’t mind me asking the next naive question. Can a party refuse that have their members appointed as Speaker or Deputies? I ask because I can’t see the merit of having these posts if it means losing their votes.

  22. Liz – the convention is that you get two from each side, so their votes cancel each other out (the Speaker was originally a Conservative – hence overall the Speaker and his deputies are 2 Conservative and 2 Labour).

  23. @ Alec

    “I know MMR rates declined, but that was because of Daily mail induced bogus anti science hysteria that led lots of ‘concerned parents’ to expose their loved ones to crippling childhood diseases instead of simple vaccines.”

    The Daily Mail: here to make your life worse, and then blame the left for it ;)

  24. @ ANTHONY WELLS

    Thank you.

  25. @ Nick Hadley

    Sorry to respond so late (I’ve been running errands today and am now trying to bake cookies for a holiday party).

    “I think there is a strand in US politics, and SocialLiberal will be able to comment on this much better than me, where the more ultra conservative elements of the Republican party cannot accept and will not tolerate a Democrat Presidency. They regard it almost like an Un-American aberration and will do almost anything to bring it to an end. You can trace this strand back from the McCarthyite “Un-American activity” witch hunts to the implacable opposition that Kennedy, Carter, Clinton, and now Obama, all met during their time in office.

    As you say, the campaign to bring the Clinton Presidency to a premature end via impeachment was a particularly virulent and underhand one. The Whitewater and Lewinsky investigations were headed by an independent counsel called Kenneth Starr who almost single-handedly took on the role of Clinton’s bete noir and assassin-in-chief, goaded and abetted by an army of Republican sponsored dirt-diggers. They almost succeeded in getting rid of a popular and democratically elected President who was only just saved by a Senate vote not to impeach him. Had Starr and his powerful backers succeeded, and they very nearly did, we would have witnessed one of the great subversions of democracy in the so called free western world. Thank God they failed but I suspect Obama would testify to their lingering and malign power.

    Is the Tea Party Movement McCarthyism in a rather more benign and polished form?”

    Yes and no. Basically, after Republicans took the presidency in the 1980’s, many Republicans believed that the presidency was theirs to keep. And they did not think that there was any way George H.W. Bush would lose in 1992. He had won the Gulf War in 1991, people were voting in free and fair elections in places never thought possible, and the Soviet Union had collapsed. With a record high 91% approval rating, no one thought he would or could lose. And even adding to this was the fact that none of the Democrats considered potential strong challengers opted to run for president (like Al Gore and Mario Cuomo).

    Well Clinton ran and despite initial struggles, he won in spectacular fashion. Clinton was truly hateable to the right wing because he was a southern hillbilly but far smarter than they were (so much so that he could appeal to a lot of northerners who wouldn’t be naturally inclined to vote for someone with a southern twang). And while a southern hillbilly, he was socially liberal. Hillary’s independent feminist streak infuriated them too. Topping it all off was that Clinton won by doing what Blair did in the UK in 1997 (winning over moderate suburban voters that traditionally voted overwhelmingly Republican at the presidential level).

    They had a lot of excuses for why they lost. They blamed the voters for being stupid, they blamed Perot for being a spoiler (despite the fact that Perot voters split evenly between Clinton and Bush when asked who they would vote for if Perot was not in the race) to the moment where Bush looked at his watch during the presidential debates. This is why they impeached him and wnet after him from day one of his presidency and still hate him. The news media didn’t help either since they didn’t warm that much to Clinton (they were elite Ivy League types and Clinton was a southern hillbilly raised in a white trash family).

    Obama is a little different. There is a hatred and a belief that Republicans are entitled to the presidency by god given right but I don’t think they feel as if he stole the presidency from him. And the news media elites warmed to Obama a lot quicker than they did to Clinton.

    As for the teabaggers, they’re a bit different. Some of them are the same people who hated Clinton and believe that the presidency should only be Republican. But others are simply a loud minority of angry people who feel as if they have no control whatsoever over the country or politics. And that’s where their anger comes from.

    The strands of U.S. politics you mentioned of those who believe that the Republican Party is entitled to the presidency is really quite dangerous. The greatest legacy of the Federalists and John Adams in particular was his decision to step aside peacefully and gracefully after losing the election of 1800 in order to swear in Thomas Jefferson, his bitter rival, as president. They hated each other at the time and the campaign was bitter and nasty but power transferred hands peacefully (they later made up later in life and became good friends again). I wish some who believe certain parties or politicians are entitled to office would remember that lesson from time to time.

    @ Billy Bob

    “Once watched a documentary about the full-time army of reseachers who spent 8 years digging for dirt on Clinton… the impeachment was pathetic.
    An impressive politician if you follow the story from his first entry into the Governor’s mansion in Arkansas.”

    The impeachment was pathetic. And the 8 years spent digging up dirt on him was pathetic. And as far as impressive politicians go, those like Clinton are far and few between.

    @ Cozmo

    “It took me a while to work out that it refers to a modification to the word ‘public’. So naughty !”

    Thanks, I’m slow. :)

    @ John DIck

    The local elections and by-elections in the UK seem to act kind of like midterm Congressional elections int he U.S.

  26. @ Alec and Billy

    Can you remember a certain Tony B, who had a problem saying if his child was vaccinated?

    I don’t actually blame Labour, but it happened while they were in government.

    And I fully agree that NHS will be one of the main issues on which the next few years will be fought.

  27. John B Dick is quite right about LibDem local MPs/MSPs. Indeed, some time aog I posted some rather uncomfortable, in that I didn’t like saying what I felt should be said, comments on the Ross, Skye and Lochaber thread. Berwick Upon Tweed, where there was a heavy swing from Alan Beith to the Tories, is perhaps another seat which has been voting in line with John’s observations.

    SocialLiberal makes interesting observations about Washington DC. However, somewhat similar observations apply to safe Labour seats in Britain, at both Westminster and local level. This was particularly true in the 1980s when there was compulsory reselection for Labour MPs (whitness Cocks versus Benn in Bristol, for instance). Whist it has been made harder to instigate constituency movements to desect Labour MPs, the same comments may still apply at local level.

    Apparent Labour one-party areas can fall apart by the rise of challenging parties. Doncaster is perhaps a (rather unappetising to many of us) current example, which incidentally is particularly interesting given the organizational importance to the Labour Party of Doncaster’s MPs – the Party Leader and the Chief Whip.

    In the US a generation ago, it was almost taken for granted that every Senator and Congressman would be either Democrat or Republican; but now this has chnaged in Vermont. There is no logical reason why something similar could not happen in Washington DC, although I suspect that it is in actual fact unlikely in the forseeable future.

    The Conservative experiment of an open primary in Devon before the last election was interesting and popular. I would have thought it worth following up; but the problem is the large cost involved. Because of recent MPs’ expenses scandals, and for other reasons, I don’t think British voters would be happy to go the way of the US if it entailed heavy financial investment by hopefuls to get selected and then actually to run.

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