Tonight’s YouGov/Sunday Times voting intention figures are CON 39%, LAB 43%, LDEM 9%.

The poll was entirely conducted after Alan Johnson’s resignation and replacement by Ed Balls (though of course, that doesn’t mean respondents would automatically have been aware of it), and almost entirely before news of Andy Coulson’s resignation broke. It should go without saying that the four point Labour lead is in line with YouGov’s recent polling that has been showing a Labour lead of around about five points.

I’m not aware of any other polls out tonight, so I’ll update tomorrow morning with the other details of YouGov’s poll.


40 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – 39/43/9”

  1. All 3 seem to have moved back to the mean by a point. Almost a definition of no change. Maybe no-one cares if a shadow minister resigns.

  2. I suspect they don’t, especially when he resigned for family reasons and had no public visibility. The political mileage is still govts lose elections–so slashing cuts, job losses, student fees, continued waste of money on wars etc will always cause more impact. than an opposition mp quitting for a reason.

  3. No change for Labour – 43 again. Tory and LD change could be down to normal churn.

    Labour posting good solid figures – Coulson could cost Cons another 2 points I feel, but whether that goes to Labour is another matter.

  4. Blue average 39% on YG for the whole of Jan… Reds average 42%

  5. Looks like Anthony’s initial instincts were correct – neither the Johnson nor Coulson resignations look like being game changers.

    The question is – will the Coulson affair be the first in a series of banana skins for David Cameron’s premiership? If not, one suspects that it will take a long time for Labour to build up a large poll lead.

    Regarding Johnson, he has been replaced by someone who is more capable at the job but who is seen, rightly or wrongly, as being more culpable for our present economic woes. So once again, the change in shadow chancellor does not look, at this stage, like being a siginficant game changer.

    Who knows – perhaps there is some news story just round the corner that will shake up the current party configuration..?

  6. “Maybe no-one cares if a shadow minister resigns.”

    If a shadow cabinet minister resigns and there isn’t a press officer to hear it………..

  7. If the Tories spell out their case better (as they were doing last year),
    and they can dump some of these policies on crime,
    and emphasise help for businesses, and better education, all over the country,
    they can get back into the lead for a bit.

    But I think the Labour lead will widen soon after anyway, as more cuts take hold. (As in 1980).

    The longer term test is how the economy performs in the mid-term onwards up to the election.

  8. Mail sent to Chris Eynon of TNS-BMRB:

    “British Polling Council – Disclosure rules

    Hi Chris,

    Under BPC rules, I was under the impression that member firms must publish the detailed methodology and tables from all published polls within 24 hours. Is that incorrect?

    I cannot see that you have done so yet for your Herald poll published on Monday. Please remedy this as soon as possible.

    By the way, do tns-bmrb now weight your Scottish v.i. polls by past-vote? I understand that you do past-vote weight on GB-wide v.i. polls.”

    ht tp://www.tns-ri.co.uk/our-sector-focus/scottish-market_polling-results.aspx

  9. @JOE JAMES B “If the Tories spell out their case better”, the should be the Tory-led coalition I think? The LibDems are in there too.

  10. @Robin Hood
    Sorry to have to disagree with you, but I feel that Johnson’s resignation will indeed be a game changer once Balls gets into his stride. Balls seemed to be alone in mounting an effective argument against the government’s economic approach during the hiatus of the Labour leadership campaign and has been sorely missed since then.

  11. The decision of Nick Clegg to conduct disagreements in public, followed by the loss of his trusted advisor leaves Cameron looking less secure. Tory MPs already noticing a more conciliatory attitude from their leader.

    Press response to CSR/budget was respectful, LDs bore the brunt of reaction to tuition fees, but the NHS? It looks like a long long battle to gain approval.

    See the germ of a narrative developing among media opinion formers: Cameron was on the skids before Coulson’s arrival…

  12. Barney

    Resent away to your heart’s content.

    Your repetition is exactly the kind of petty partisan nonsense that Anthony rightly deplores on this site.

    You may think that you are making some clever political point.

    It isn’t clever, but it is party political.

  13. Balls has a coherent argument, perhaps, but that doesn’t mean he’s right, or that the rest of the Shadow Cabinet support it, or that the public will believe it.

  14. ‘Press response to CSR/budget was respectful, LDs bore the brunt of reaction to tuition fees, but the NHS? It looks like a long long battle to gain approval.’

    I have a hunch that this could NHS reforms the tories more than the lib dems but we’ll see.

  15. The above was meant for the previous thread.

    Apologies for dragging a response to a distasteful comment onto the new thread.

  16. Suart,

    Well done!

  17. Greenbenches
    What can be distasteful in asking a question which should have a simple answer?

  18. Barney

    When did you stop beating your wife?

  19. Tories are regularly around 38/39%. This is not bad considering all the bad press regarding cuts.

    Tories need to come out fighting and expose Labour’s big problem, ie there total lack of economic plan. If this is done in smart and sensible way lead could reduce .

  20. I think we can take it that A Salmond doesnt need to consider potential stirrings amongst his msps when considering any outcome following the forthcoming election. Thats my point

  21. Barney

    And your analysis of every other party’s situation in Scotland in similar circumstances – and any evidence for anything?

    On second thoughts – don’t bother.

  22. Sunday Telegraph are leading on their campaign “Save our Forests”

  23. I don’t think the Coulson effect will have hit. The NHS seems to have either not had an effect, or will kick in later.

    Or, a lot of people think it’s all a good a idea, what’s being done.

    Hard to believe, but there you go.

  24. “The poll was [almost] entirely conducted… before news of Andy Coulson’s resignation broke”

    That shoe has yet to drop.

  25. We’ll see. It’s been a frantic news cycle in the last two days and a range of things are competing for headlines, from Brian Cowen, to the Jo Yeates murder. Coulson’s ability to hurt the Tories is almost entirely based on the headlines it can draw.

  26. Irritatingly, I suspect Andy Coulson’s resignation won’t have an effect. As shady as the whole business is, it just doesn’t register highly as an issue among the general public.

    As far as NHS reform is concerned, I suspect that this will cause damage to the Coalition’s poll ratings – although most likely it will be a drip drip effect, as opposed to a sudden swing in the polls.

  27. Simon M

    NHS Reform

    While it will have little effect on the overall GB poll, YouGov and other pollsters will, no doubt, carry on their strange practice of asking the Scots and Welsh questions about English domestic policy – but without telling them that they apply only to England.

  28. @Phil

    Let’s hope so, although the evidence from their respective poll ratings does not seem to indicate that Balls is more popular than Johnson.

  29. @Joe James B

    “I think the Labour lead will widen soon (after) anyway, as more cuts take hold. (As in 1980). The longer term test is how the economy performs in the mid-term onwards up to the election.”

    IMO this line of argument does not stand up to several tests.

    Firstly, this government is not just about the economy it is also about a range of IMO ideological marketisations, abolitions and privatisations (the latest to be splashed over the media today- the selling off of the Forestry Commission).

    The impact of these will cost the government significant votes at the next election IMO irrespective of whether George has actually been able to reduce the deficit and promise post election tax cuts. Of similar relevance to voters is the fact that the conservative-led government actually implemented them in the first place without saying anything about most of them in either of its manifestos.

    Secondly the overused 1979- 1983 parliament ‘example’ is not instructive.

    For a start in early 1981 you had the splitting off from Labour of most of its centre left MP’s and support into the SDP who then went into alliance with the Liberals and received 26% of the vote at the subsequent general election. Their ancestors the Lib Dems will be lucky to get half that vote tally at the next election- and most of that differential is going to go to the only centre left party left standing: as the polls for 6 months now have illustrated.

    Furthermore- even with the two centre left/ left groupings hopelessly splitting the anti-Conservative vote the Government still managed to suffer a decline in its lead in the last year of the parliament. Yes EVEN after the fabled Falkland’s campaign:

    1979-1983 parliament:
    incumbent lead in the average of polls 12 months out (June 1982) = +20%;
    incumbent lead at the June 1983 GE +16%

    =-4 (negative claw back)

    In fact the average turnaround in the lead 1979-2010 (31 years) towards the incumbent from 12 months out is **only +3%** i.e. not significant.

    Though note that over the last eight parliaments (31 years) the opposition has only been in front in the polls 12 months out three times i.e. in five of the eight parliaments between 1979-2010 the government was already ahead 12 months out. So it did not matter that the claw back to the government was on average only 3%…..

    Furthermore note that Labours current polling performance (eight months after the election) is much better than the opposition average at this juncture in the election cycle over that 31 year period. Even better than the performance it had in the first year of Thatchers first administration (pre SDP split) when the January 1980 Ipsos average lead was +3% compared to the current 5% Labour lead we are seeing.

    Don’t underestimate that this coming election will likely be about ‘the economy stupid…but also all those other stupid things that they have done as well’: and in the context of the *first election* since 1979 when the centre left has not been divided between two separate main parties.

    It is now the centre right that is divided between two separate main parties! Uncharted territory…

  30. If ‘Google trends’ is anything to go by Coulson is the bigger story…

    h ttp://www.google.com/trends?q=%22alan+johnson%22%2C%22coulson%22&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0

  31. Oldnat – “… YouGov and other pollsters will, no doubt, carry on their strange practice of asking the Scots and Welsh questions about English domestic policy – but without telling them that they apply only to England.”

    Indeed.

    YouGov have an appalling record in that regard. Some of the questions they have asked Scottish and Welsh respondents are just preposterous. Eg. regarding the English school system, English NHS, or the E&W criminal justice/prisons system. Implying that those systems/policies apply to the whole UK.

    It has occurred to me to ask the BPC if telling porky pies in questions is a breach of their rules. Funnily enough, I don’t think it is: they seem to be primarily concerned about disclosure, not high moral probity or academic consistency.

    In the advertising world, ads must be “legal, decent, honest and truthful” (except, funnily enough, political advertising!) Shame that the market research industry does not take a page out of the advertisers’ book.

  32. YouGov have now published the detailed tables:

    ht tp://today.yougov.co.uk/sites/today.yougov.co.uk/files/YG-Archives-Pol-ST-results-21-230111.pdf

    UK Govt approval is at -22 (net):

    London -5
    Rest of South -12
    Midlands/Wales -22
    North -38
    Scotland -45

    Great Britain -22

    Nick Clegg is astonishingly unpopular north of the border, at -56 (net). And the Scottish Lib Dems are at just 4% (from the 19% they got at the UK GE in May).

    With Jamie Stone (Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross), John Farquhar Munro (Ross, Skye & Inverness West) and Nicol Stephen (Aberdeen South) all retiring, and some very ominous noises emanating from the 2 LibDem-held Edinburgh constituencies in particular (West and South), we could be about to witness some stunning results in certain Lib Dem held areas come May.

    Note: YouGov are not the only pollster showing dire numbers for the Scottish Lib Dems. The latest Ipsos MORI, TNS-BMRB, ComRes, Populus and Angus Reid polls make for equally agonising reading for the Clifton Terrace personnel.

  33. @Anthony

    Have just checked the Yougov poll for 20-21 Jan ie the one for Con 39 Lab 43.

    Are the VotingHeadline figs for London ans the South correct?
    They show London Con 50 and Lab 35
    They show Rest of South Con 43 Lab 36

    If correct this is an amazing turn-around in both London and in the Rest of the South. However I suspect a typo. In which case if the poll overall figures have been weighted this could also affect the ovewrall figs as well.

    [They should be correct (it would be difficult to accidentally switch round the columns). However, it would also be meaningless – as I’ve said a million times, regional cross breaks are not internally weighted and have small sample sizes, so produce very erratic results. You should not pay any attention to them – AW]

  34. Here’s a lovely bit of analysis – by Anthony – for YouGov:

    Ed Balls is seen as a stronger contender for Chancellor than his predecessor Alan Johnson, finds our poll for the Sunday Times. Balls immediately succeeded Johnson following the latter’s resignation on Thursday.

    24% of people think that Ed Balls’ appointment as Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer will strengthen Labour, Compared to 16% who think it will weaken them.

    Asked whether George Osborne or Ed Balls would make the better Chancellor the two men are equal, with 27% preferring Osborne and 27% preferring Balls. This compares to a slight advantage for Osborne when we asked the same question about Osborne or Alan Johnson a week ago, when Osborne was favoured over Johnson by 25% to 21%.

    However, this may reflect as much as lack of confidence in George Osborne as any great confidence in Ed Balls.

    In a separate question, only 31% of people said they had confidence in Osborne to make the right decisions on running the economy.

    Overall 40% of people said they had confidence in the Government’s ability to run the economy.

    In addition, 52% of people now think the Government is cutting too quickly and risk putting the country back into recession, with only 30% thinking they are right way of getting the economy.

    This suggests opinion has shifted against the cuts since we asked the same question in October when 38% thought the cuts were right and 46% thought they were too quick and risked a second recession.

  35. And Anthony has – at the end of his analysis – shown exactly why Ed M was now able to give Ed Balls the role as opposition Chancellor:

    “In addition, 52% of people now think the Government is cutting too quickly and risk putting the country back into recession, with only 30% thinking they are right way of getting the economy.

    This suggests opinion has shifted against the cuts since we asked the same question in October when 38% thought the cuts were right and 46% thought they were too quick and risked a second recession.”

    The voters have moved towards Ed B’s position in sufficient numbers to make his economic narrative an asset for Labour, rather than the potential liability it seemed to be a few months ago.
    8-)

    [No, they’ve moved toward Ed Miliband and Labour’s position that the cuts are necessary, but the way the government are doing them is too large or too quick. Ed Balls’ position (or at least, the way his position was percieved by the commentariat during the leadership election, I have no doubt it has nuances and that some compromise will have been necessary as part of his appointment as Shadow CotE) was that the cuts were not necessary at all. We know the public do not agree with this – AW]

  36. I would suggest a bit of caution before people assume there has been no Coulson effect.
    I’m not generally expecting a big impact, and there might be none at all (or at least something insufficiently large to stand out against normal background variation).

    However, we’ve now got Gordon Brown writing to the police alleging his phone was hacked and it’s clear that a storm is brewing around the met police at very senior level.

    Given the political connections, this can only be bad for the Tories. Apart from the somewhat sleazy impression this will create as a backdrop to a genuinely difficult period of government, it also risks contaminating coalition relations – of all the parties, the Lib Dems are by a country mile the least enamoured of Rupert Murdoch.

    There almost certainly won’t be a smoking gun linking No 10 to illegal activity, but this is going to be mood music for months to come, and I suspect it will help create the conditions for a steady loss of confidence in Cameron.

  37. If Gordon Brown’s phone WAS hacked on Coulson’s watch at News of the World that would be a game changer.

    Moves it straight from gossip to Watergate.

  38. Alec – of all the parties, the Lib Dems are by a country mile the least enamoured of Rupert Murdoch.

    I think we’ll some rowing back from the LDs on this to support their friends in government. NC has already said this morning that DC “quite rightly gave Andy Coulson a second chance” by appointing him to No.10.

    Otherwise I agree with you 100%

  39. It now seems impossible that the Tories kept him on all that time.

    Madness? Hubris? Thought he’d gotten away with it?

    Would have had far less impact if they’d let him go at the first whiff.

    Always assuming that it will impact on the Tory vote. Yet to see that. Next week maybe. I was wrong about the NHS effect.

  40. @ Anthony

    Thank you for the response, & acknowledging that the public perception is not necessarily Ed B’s position which was laid out in his Bloomberg speech last August. The relevant paragraphs being:

    “Of course we need to deal with the deficit and there is no doubt that we must cut waste where it is found. There is no dispute about that.

    “We do need a credible and medium-term plan to reduce the deficit and to reduce our level of national debt – a pre-announced plan for reducing the deficit based on a careful balance between employment, spending and taxation – but only once growth is fully secured and over a markedly longer period than the government is currently planning.”

    IMO, being shadow chancellor will allow Ed B to more clearly articulate his position; & his position on the economy is aligned with the opinion of the majority per YG’s polling.
    8-)