Tonight’s YouGov/Sun voting intention figures are CON 36%, LAB 43%, LDEM 10%, Others 11%. It’s the second time we’ve seen Labour get a seven point lead, though it well within the margin of error of the five point Labour lead that seems to have become the underlying position in YouGov’s daily poll.

Also worth looking at are some questions about the NHS from yesterday’s YouGov poll. On the back of David Cameron’s statement about not wanting the NHS to be second best, we asked about the public’s perception of how the NHS compared to other the health services of other European countries – 29% thought the NHS was better than most other European countries, 23% that it was worse and 32% about the same.

Asked about whether they supported or opposed the government’s plans to restructure the NHS, people were pretty evenly split – 34% supported the policy, 37% opposed it. Unsurprisingly given that I doubt many of us who don’t work in the NHS have the faintest clue exactly how NHS trusts, GP consortiums or commissioning of health services in general work, 30% said they didn’t know.

More generally, asked how much they trusted the coalition government to deliver high quality NHS services only 36% said a lot or a little. 57% said not a lot or not at all.


104 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – 36/43/10”

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  1. Colin Green

    “Did the voting public not know what they were voting for?”

    Without being too partisan [snip – AW]

    But it was always going to be worse in actuality than just to talk about. Cuts are fine until you see the effects going on around you. Labour might be lucky they lost the last one, and even luckier that both the other parties are in government.

  2. Ed Balls/Alan Johnson were discussed on QT last
    night but the issues that enthused the audience were
    EMA and the National Health.The latter has a place in most peoples lives in some way.I feel that this will effect the polls far more than who is shadow chancellor four
    years before the next election.

  3. The odd thing about some Conservative reaction seems to be that they are making the same mistakes as Guido… Deciding that the best way to attack Ed Balls will be to play up his connections to Gordon Brown. Missing out that Gordon Brown is becoming less and less relevant to current politics as time goes on. This is a combination of “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”, and “meet the new boss, same as the old boss” sentiments. Attacks now on Gordon Brown are not only a waste of time, but generate a image of spitefulness.

  4. @Colin Green and Anthony Wells

    Colin wrote Did the voting public not know what they were voting for?
    The answer ‘no’ is not only evidenced by Anthony’s post but also by the NHS answers where the majority of voters think they know whether the NHS is better than a basket of European health services, without having the faintest idea about why.

    My anecdote was when standing for the LDs in an election I won. One of my ‘supporters’ said to me ‘yeah I’ll vote Lib Dem, and then we can get rid of the n*gn*gs’.

    He actually rushed back from his job as a lorry driver and voted for me at 2050 (polls closed at 2100) giving me the thumbs up as he went in. They all count.

  5. Robin Howard

    “Given that UK expenditure on health in 2008 was 8.7% of GDP compared to an average of 9.1% for all other OECD countries, including 11.2% in France and 10.5% in Germany, do you think the UK health service is excellent/ good/ OK/ poor/ very poor?”

    I’d expect that sort of difference to exist if the standard of service were broadly the same. With an insurance
    based ppay-and-recover system the entire cost of the insurance companies, costing, marketing, billing and not last, fraud has to be part of the overall cost.

    In England (less so Scotland) the artifice of internal markets has added new costs.

    For 17 years was the Treasurer of a small Health Board with 9 staff, 3 of whom did payroll and data-related personnel work.

    20 years on, in place of the other 6, there are18, and an entirely additional and new HR department has 25.

    I have no doubt these people all working hard. They need to deal with PRP, short term contracts, targets the internal market and other new things.

    If I were in the NHS today I would try to void lookng at any unaudited data that was used for PRP, targets or evaluation in case I believed it.

    It’s not smart to work hard. Some find it hard to work smart.

  6. is it me or have the LD’s “bottomed out”?

    I doubt their share can go a lot lower.

  7. Coulson to resign his post.

  8. KeithP

    Looking at the polling results for the last few weeks, I’d say the Lib Dems have bottomed out at 8.6%. The leveling off started in December at about the same time the Tory vote started to drop.

    Something that interests me are council byelections. There have been over 100 since may and the Lib Dems have won 2 more than they’ve lost in that time, in the face of opionion poll ratings that have halved. Is it a fair indication that national polls don’t predict council elections?

  9. Tom Watson’s source in No 10 said Coulson would resign on Jan 25 (and a possible snap GE in May).

  10. @ TheGreenBenches

    Dave still playing his game of “anything you can do…” ;)

  11. Personal experience of NHS; perfect, including emergency wards following finger trauma, appendix with son last year. No reason to change. I dont want choice (who came up with that bizarre idea?); I just want to go the local GP and the local hospital (if I need to) and they do a fine job. And they did.

    Tory policy impact on me? It’s alraedy working fine, why muck it up?

    (My wife’s involved with education which gets a continual overload of halfbaked idea continuing under the tories and the NHS also sufferes from the same pethora of idiotic change for change sake.)

  12. @ Billy Bob – Tom Watson’s source in No 10 said Coulson would resign on Jan 25 (and a possible snap GE in May).

    Was that before they knew that Blair was to be recalled on the 21st?? ;-)

  13. Billy Bob

    “Tom Watson’s source in No 10 said Coulson would resign on Jan 25 (and a possible snap GE in May).”

    Gary Gatter

    “Coulson resigns”

    So when’s the snap GE going to be called then? ;)

  14. BillyBob/Woodsman – Cameron calling a May 2011 election is an absurd idea anyway, but the idea of Cameron calling a May 2011 election with Labour ahead in the polls is utter-away-with-the-fairies-bonkers.

  15. AW – agreed, it had never struck me a plausible. My comment was more to address the choice of day to bury bad news.

    Odd though that if DC knew it was coming there isn’t a replacement all ready to be announced….

  16. AW we are still only in January, if December’s Labour lead had proved to be a blip, who knows. If cracks widen in the coalition Cameron will want to be seen as bold and decisive, not at the mercy of events. But as you say, always a fanciful idea, nevertheless it will have been discussed.

    @Woodsman – good day to bury bad news? (Usually comes in threes?)

  17. Coulson resigns

    Attempting to do it under cover of Johnson’s resignation?

  18. AW – Indeed.

    The Guardian is quoting a lawyer for clients against the NOW as saying.

    “It is curious that he has resigned – because nothing is happening in the legal cases today, except for the fact that the ‘rogue reporter’ defence given by the News of the World is unravelling.”

    They also say that News of the World sources are saying the paper knew nothing about the Coulson decision today.

    It will be interesting to see if Coulson really does trump Blair on the evening news….

  19. HOW exciting.This story has been smouldering for a long
    time,something must have fanned the flames.

  20. AW

    Given the extraordinary months long stonewalling over this Coulson business, I’d say it was certainly forced

    If the sources are correct, it indicates a lack of common sense from the PM. I sometimes think it would be better as PM to run the whole thing from Chequers with a few telephones and remove the whole No 10 organisation to the Isle of Wight.

    Lord Salisbury just used to slip out the back into a coach to Kings Cross and was home at Hatfield House for dinner.

    An excellent way to ‘run the country’.

  21. Does this mean not just Cable is not able to judge the Murdoch bid…but the whole Cameron Government is now compromised?

    Those Christmas drinkies with Ms Brookes look a bit more poor judgement at the very least.

  22. I don’t think Johnson’s resignation will affect the polls, Ed Balls appointement will. Not sure whether it will be negative or positive, it depends on how the Tory press will play it.

    I think Coulson’s resignation will be positive for Cameron though, he was seen as a liability.

  23. No…Cameron should have dumped him in May.

    This is going to hurt him personally big time. Watch his personal ratings fall.

  24. ^I’d have thought if Coulson was going to have an impact on his personal ratings, it would already have happened.

  25. Well if it’s being released on the ‘good day to bury bad news’ principle, it doesn’t seem to be working (unless they know Tony Blair is going to confess all at the Iraq inqiry, throw off all his clothes, run naked into Parliament Square and beg for forgiveness at the feet of Brian Haw).

    The real suprise is that Cameron kept him on so long. This scandal was always going to keep coming back. Although the main causes for concern lie primarily with the police and secondarily with the Press, it does put the PM’s judgement in doubt. It’s now being mentioned that Coulson did not want to go into Downing Street after the election and had to be persuaded – which makes Cameron look over-dependant on him as well.

    This won’t have a permanent efffect on the Government’s popularity – in some way it’s the archetypal Westminster bubble story – but it will add to an impression of sleeze and spin, of which they were supposed to mark the end. It may also make the decision on the BSkyB deal more difficult. It may also make the media keener to go after the government.

  26. @ John B Dick

    “They need to deal with PRP, short term contracts, targets the internal market and other new things”

    Indeed, markets need bureaucracy. In all former state socialist countries the proportion of clerical employees in firms increased after collapse of planned economy, though “common sense” would suggest the opposite.

  27. @Roger

    Friday is always the best day to deliver bad news in politics. The ‘tide of attention’ towards news always seems to be at it’s low point on Fridays/Saturdays. So while a lot of places will cover the story, it might not make much impact on polling. The Whitehouse press corps used to call Friday “Trash Day” because it would be the day bad news would be left on the curb.

  28. The ‘Coulson’ story will damage DC – but perhaps more so within his own party.

    I see EM has already called DC’s judgment into
    question.

  29. Jack

    “Personal experience of NHS; perfect, including emergency wards following finger trauma, appendix with son last year. No reason to change. I dont want choice (who came up with that bizarre idea?); I just want to go the local GP and the local hospital (if I need to) and they do a fine job. And they did.

    Tory policy impact on me? It’s alraedy working fine, why muck it up?”

    Count yourself lucky – but don’t make silly assumptions that everyone else has had the same experience therefore don’t change it.

    NHS could well be renamed No Hope Service by many people. Personally I have not got on too bad at all but I know plenty of people who haven’t. Of course i am nervous about the reforms like everyone else, but i want them to succeed unlike many posters on here and elsewhere. The NHS needs reforming to create a genuine worldclass service in ALL areas not just some (if you’re in the right place at the right time).

    This is not to slate individuals who work for this vast organisation, but we have got so used to certain standards they have become ‘normal’.

    You have also missed or ignored one of Cameron’s fundamental points in his speech this week viz, that the NHS as it is currently is unsustainable and unaffordable (not to mention unmanageable and inefficient) – this is surely regardless of whetehr it gives a brilliant service or not, i.e. whether you are of my opinion or yours.

    P.S. After all the money poured into it, you jolly well should get a top service like the one you experienced. But it often isn’t the case, especially, but not by any means only,for more complex cases.
    If it really was the Gold Standard of care then it would be a little easier to not bemoan the huge deficit racked up by the last government as we could at least see something for our money.

  30. I think the damage will be rather limited in terms of VI. It’s not something that most people are interested and even if they do, it fits the perceptions/prejudices.

    More important is the loosing of a media operator at a time when the coalition (and some personalities in the government) desparately needs a coherent narrative…

  31. Much as I’d like to see the Tories take a big hit in the polls as much as the next student, I can’t help but feel that the public didn’t care about the No 10 Director of Communications before and they won’t now.

  32. Jay Blanc

    “The odd thing about some Conservative reaction seems to be that they are making the same mistakes as Guido… Deciding that the best way to attack Ed Balls will be to play up his connections to Gordon Brown. Missing out that Gordon Brown is becoming less and less relevant to current politics as time goes on. This is a combination of “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”, and “meet the new boss, same as the old boss” sentiments. Attacks now on Gordon Brown are not only a waste of time, but generate a image of spitefulness.”

    I know I won’t change your mind but I totally disagree. It’s since the givernment stopped going on about the last government and reminding everyone whose fault the various messes – especially the economy – are, that they have slipped in the polls. Their link-up may not be such a strong argument as if EM had put Balls there when he first became leader, but it is still a good one to remind people Balls is a Gordon Brown clone.

    That won’t stop him from making life miserable for the government frequently of course! :)

  33. @ BT Says

    ” The NHS needs reforming to create a genuine worldclass service in ALL areas not just some (if you’re in the right place at the right time). ”

    To provide for every citizen that worldclass service, it would need massively larger resources – instead it’s cut. The “reforms” are not about improving service, but cutting cost – in the short term, long term: could be increasing the cost. It is also a flawed concept as the cost structure of the NHS (in particular the fixed cost) does not allow a fair competition with specialist suppliers. It will be like the credit card companies: you will have 0% (low cost) for a while then a whopping 29% (when the NHS is made effectively bankrupt).

    ” but i want them to succeed unlike many posters on here and elsewhere”

    I cannot vouch for people, but I doubt if those critical of the reform are against a world class service provider. Also, and shame on Labour for this, nobody has questioned how the proposed reform addresses the stated problem (it does not, so there is no argument there). This is why it’s a largely ideological reform with some genuine frustration with changing such a massive organisation as the NHS.

  34. It does play into the continuing “Cameron’s judgement called into question” narrative.

    As for the rumours of a May Election, perhaps a stalking horse to scare the conservative rebels straight? Perhaps unwise, since many might think they could still win an election if they just went full tilt right wing?

  35. @BT

    I think you must be seeing a different Conservative party than I am. They’re *still* blaming Labour for all the things they are “forced to do”, it’s still the party line and still brought up on things like Newsnight and This Week. It’s just not working as well any more.

  36. Burying the news of Coulson’s resignation on a Friday will also fail if Cameron can’t announce a replacement by the end of Saturday. Sunday and Monday are peak news interest, and announcing a replacement then would bring people’s full attention onto the resignation. He could wait till next Friday, but then risks being seen to ‘dither’, and it would leave his media office in disarray after what has been his worst week so far.

  37. I found this report on the Guardian site very amusing…

    “The Lib Dems, coalition partners to the Tories, have issued a statement…
    Andy Coulson played a crucial role with great professionalism in successfully establishing the coalition government.”

    Is that condemnation (no pun)? No, of course not.

  38. Coulson’s departure leaves trendy and liberal [small L] as the prominent spin-doctor. A victory for centrists.

  39. *Steve Hilton of course ;)

  40. Mike N

    :-)

    Actuall,y how acutely embarrassing to read that. Why say anything? Oh dear, I am back to depressed mode as i was at the time of Cable’s faux pas with the Telegraph lovelies.

    Whatever will such statements do to our core vote, like mine?

  41. Eoin/TGB

    Well Coulson was always going to lose the SHAC war as the swinging axe got ever closer to Coulson’s head. The question now is will that loss make the Tory backbenchers fear that Downing Street will lose its populist touch?

    There’s a lot of restiveness already, though that may be quietened by falling poll ratings (unless they really go through the floor).

  42. Howard
    But you’re still smiling ! And retaining a sense of humour.

  43. JayBlank

    Does the “Friday is always the best day to deliver bad news” apply as much in the UK – particularly while Parliament is sitting the next week?

    Friday revelations are followed by the expanded Saturday papers for coverage. Then the separately-run Sunday papers give extra analysis and speculation – and maybe extra ‘scooped’ details. Then the Sunday morning political programmes are on, where interviews may produce more facts. These in turn may propel the story into Monday’s notoriously quiet papers.

    I’m not saying that isn’t the conventional wisdom, and of course the weekend media do get drowned in sport and the evil spawn of Simon Cowell. I just can’t see quiet burials always happening.

  44. My bet is that the polls out Sunday will show a narrowing of the gap between Labour and Tories. This will be down to the select committee evidence this week from the most senior treasury official, that spending ran out of control in three departments during the mid 1990’s. I think most of the media picked this up and this might influence polling more than other issues.

    But then there is the NHS changes planned? The Tories deliberately did not talk about the changes at the election, to avoid people being frightened off from voting from them. Some people might feel that they have been mislead and that the changes might affect the quality of services provided. If this is so, then this might be more of a concern to swing votes, than any other issue that has been aired this week.

  45. doh. I meant mid 2000’s.

  46. “My bet is that the polls out Sunday will show a narrowing of the gap between Labour and Tories. This will be down to the select committee evidence this week from the most senior treasury official”

    Seriously, what proportion of the general public do you think noticed this? They’ve spoken of nothing else round the watercooler at YouGov towers.

    I normally have to spend my time convincing people that political gaffes that make the front page and dominate news bulletins actually have little effect. Select committee evidence from Treasury mandarins really, really, really doesn’t have any effect.

  47. I am just going to get my youngest son from Primary School and I know that the topic of conversation from the waiting parents will be the treasury report on spending in the mid 2000s.
    On the other hand what Jonny and Mary are having for tea and what happened on East-Enders may be in vogue.
    People, though, are talking about Fuel prices and there is one poster (can’t rememeber who) who used to give massive significance to this as affecting the feeling of well being, therefore optimism and a few %age off VI for the Gov’t.
    This and VAT ( a little NHS) are the main reasons for Lab lead widening imo.

  48. Anthony

    So media coverage is irrelevant ?

    It is purely about politics and what people perceive as being in their interests in terms of direction of policies? Plus how they feel about the personalities of the main policiticians leading the parties ?

  49. R Huckle, my FWIW is that media coverage can affect VI but things like the report mentioned is just to dry an issue. Of course close to a GE during the phoney war and actual campaign these kinds of things are covered more, watched more and have more impact.
    I always feel that peoples experience have more impact than media coverage. E.g infaltion numbers out for December and splashed all over the media imo have little impact on VI as people on typical incomes have been aware of price increases for a few months and any feeling of being less well off which may impact VI is not affected by the Inflation figures.
    Education/Health operate in the same way as Gordon found to his cost annoncement fatigue sets in. Any negative impact of the health stories this week is a ‘why another change’ negativity.

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