Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 35%, LAB 43%, LDEM 10%. This equals the highest Labour lead YouGov have recorded since the election, and the lowest Tory share of the vote.

More important though is the trend we’re seeing. I always urge caution about polls showing new highs and lows, they are almost by definition outliers. Looking at the broader picture though there has been a substantial change in YouGov’s daily polls over the last week: between early January and the start of February YouGov’s daily poll was pretty consistent in showing Labour five points ahead, as you’d expect there was random variation either side of the norm, but it was pretty evenly spaced around that mid point.

Since the beginning of Febuary Labour has consistently recorded leads between 6 and 8 points in YouGov’s daily polls. Three out of those five polls have shown the Tories at below the level of support they received at the general election, whereas previously only one YouGov poll since the election had shown them below 37%. It looks as though there has been a small but genuine drop in Tory support over last week. In contrast, Lib Dem support seems to have bottomed out somewhat since start of 2011 – whereas the junior partners in the coalition took all the pain in 2010, Tory support is now starting to flag.

54 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 35, LAB 43, LDEM 10”

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  1. When we get to 10, can we have an election?


  2. Just goes to show what threatening to sell off the forests can do for a party’s polling figures. You can close down the schools and the hospital wards and thats ok, but stop people wandering about in the woods, and its curtains Tories.

  3. It’s almost exactly the polling average. Nothing seismic. Just promising.

  4. Tories need to sort out crime, and cashflow to small businesses.
    The latter requires a strong financial sector – they need to make the case for it, instead of the current confused message.
    And avoid banana skins like forests.

    And although the overall message must be positive, it’s also necessary to remind voters that the party who’s activists only post when they are doing well in the polls is the one which caused these cuts
    (for example, by putting smart offices for extra hospital managers before patients).

    If they do this, they can regain support.
    If they don’t, Labour will be 15% ahead – a matter of time.

  5. ‘DAVID
    Just goes to show what threatening to sell off the forests can do for a party’s polling figures’

    Do you seriously think anyone cares? I think the normal person is way more concerned with being sacked, higher prices and the kids being ridiculously in debt after uni- and then they can have a mortgage. Get real.

    . Trees are for comfortable middle class with huge pensions. Trees had nothing to do with the results; it’s being poor as a family which matters.

    (And can we give a thought to Egypt where the Military dictator we have supported for 30 years has a family bank balance of 30 billion due to us , But that’s okay as he killed and tortured people rather than allowing democracy but he’s one of us so that’s ok. The sooner we allow democracy in Egypt the less chance we have of excessive Muslims taking control. The more we delay the less chance for moderates. You want another Iran? Don’t help the people now.

  6. And this despite Labour taking a hammering over Libya in last night’s news.

  7. I agree with davidb. Just for once a non-partisan comment. It’s as good an explanation as anything else.

    Perhaps the speech about ‘cultural’ problems was a panic reaction. If so the Con score could recover over the next few days, but perhaps UKIP could benefit from that more than Con.

  8. Jack
    Well, it is the Con vote that reduced, and they aren’t starving.

    They do care about the trees. I used to chair a branch of the tree huggers – mostly Tories, some LDs.

  9. Excellent summary by AW – hence the dog whistle speeches made over the weekend.

    Wonder if these speeches have driven moderates away.

  10. @Jack – “Trees are for comfortable middle class with huge pensions”.

    I don’t think you can dismiss apparently unimportant issues so easily. Apart from the small fact that leisure walking is the biggest participatory activity by a massive margin, with over 6m people walking/rambling on a regular basis, the forest issue touched a nerve among many beyond the direct effects of the proposal.

    It was an incompetent proposal, driven out of ideology, poorly presented and for no great gain (DEFRA’s own study showed it would actually cost more). It highlighted the deficiencies in the whole idea of the Big Society and rather neatly sums up what critics of the Tories have been saying for some time in one small, but highly emotive issue.

    Regarding class, there are scores of youngsters from less affluent backgrounds that go mountain biking in my local Forest Enterprise woodland. It’s up for sale as a commercial forest with the consultation stating that access could be restricted if it helps a sale.

    Tuition fees completely passed them by – university isn’t within their orbit. But they are livid about the forest sell off. It’s the first time I’ve ever heard politics discussed in the local youth clubs. Politics moves in odd ways sometimes.

  11. Not getting the message across?

    The messengers sound too out of touch, in some cases just plain weird.

    You and Yours (R4) spent an hour discussing library closures today. The fellow from the right-wing think tank, was saying things like… close all the libraries, turn them into volunteer BS hubs… throw out all the books… let granny use an SD card instead… give poor people free kindles.

  12. Despite the attempts by the Tories to find some issues to rally the troops, the substantive news issues in the past week have been pretty dire for them. Forestry sell-off, local government cuts, Big Society wash-out, police cuts…

    Libya is all well and good for point scoring (although I doubt that anyone was remotely surprised, it was all just a lot of synthetic anger), but frankly, who cares? It’s not like Megrahi was even guilty.

    And did today’s change to the bank tax look like a government in control, or a desperate attempt to catch some headlines?

    Since the start of December, the Tory vote has been trending at -2.0% per month (moe 0.5%), while Labour have been at +1.5% per month (moe 0.4%). The only issue for the foreseeable future seems to be how low Con will go before they bottom out. And at this rate we should be finding that out by the middle of the year…

  13. There is a very interesting article in the Guardian by
    Jonathan Friedland in which he proposes that the
    Conservatives are not doing the one thing that people
    would have thought that they would do,. which is conserving things.Selling off forests,closing down libraries etc is alienating their core vote,which is why I
    think they are dropping in the polls.Plus the daily drip,
    drip of news of job losses everywhere.

  14. In the last week of January the blues were averaging 38.3% with YouGov, this first week in February they are averaging 36.7%. All the online pollsters seem to be showing reds in the higher end of the low 40’s%, whilst the phone pollsters have the reds in the high high 30’s, except IpsosMori of course. All pollsters are now showing the blues at below their GE share.

  15. @Billy Bob – one of politics best kept secrets; three times more books are read via public libraries than are sold each year through retail book sellers.

    Right wing think tanks want to see public libraries cut, but making books and periodicals VAT eligible would bring in far more money.

    Books tend to be bought by middle class people. Library usage is dominated by the less well off.

    Join the dots.

  16. The other big u-turn was the coastal rescue thing. Some obvious corruption scuppered that…and everybody is realising that it made no sense to sell it off EXCEPT TO THOSE WHO WANT TO MAKE MONEY OUT OF IT.

    This is the suddenly dawning realisation round the country. All through the eighties people bought the greater efficiency of private companies line hook line and sinker cos they had just come out of the seventies oil price slup and into the North Sea oil glut.

    But now they are watching things being privatised and no figures anywhere showing a penny to be saved for the taxpayer and this time people are asking…why?

    Why introduce a market where none was required?

    Who stands to make money out of it?

    And the polls are going away from them fast…and the cuts haven’t even hit yet.

  17. The forest sell-off situation should tell the Conservatives to be very careful: allowing themselves to be labelled as “the odd & unworkable ideas party” is a lot worse electorally than “the nasty party”. The 80’s proved that conclusively.

    Not surprised Labour would want an election now. But would they really want to win it?

  18. It is nothing to do with forests, crime, schools etc – yes these have an effect but they key issue is the economy. The coalition has turned the recovery in a rout, and they have paid the price for that failure in the polls.

    If Q1 of 2011 is also -ve GDP then we are in an officail recession and they will find it very hard to recover. However they might do so by 2015, the world economy may pick up, and all will look bright. So look to a good night for Lab in May 2011, but there are still 4 years to go

    Unless the LibDems pull out of course

  19. What I find most intriguing about these polls is how, even with a relatively unknown/unpopular leader, the Labour party are managing respectably sizeable leads over the Tories. All I say is, how will the polls shift when EdMil becomes more of a household figure? If he becomes popular, will the lead get bigger or if he is a figure of negativity will he become the lifelines the Tories needed?

  20. In Slough we are opening 3 new Libraries and are offering to take all the books from other Councils to fill our shelves.

  21. well Ed Mil is going to have a hard time in PMQs tomorrow,
    as the Telegraph have gleefully got hold of a book of
    blank pages that were to be handed out for people to put
    their ideasin at labour party meetings.This is no more silly
    than Osbornes on line portal,but you can be sure that this
    an own goal for labour.

  22. @Ann (in Wales)

    I think that can be classified as “punch and judy” politics. I seem to remember someone saying they wanted an end to it? I doubt it will ever end.

  23. @Howard

    “I used to chair a branch of the tree huggers”

    It is probably because I have just rolled in from the pub, but I do love the idea of tree-huggers having branches!

  24. @Joshua
    It is worth noticing that the European socialist family is the one that has more profoundly renovated its leadership than any other during the last years. In fact, no less than 15 European Socialist leaders have been elected after 2007: Belgium/Flemish: C. Gennez, age 36, elected 2007, Czech Republic: B. Sobotka, 40, 2010. Estonia: S. Mikser, 38, 2010. Finland: J. Urpilainen, 37, 2008. Germany: S. Gabriel, 52, 2009. Hungary: A. Mesterhazy, 37, 2010. Iceland: J. Sigurdardottir, 69, 2009. Italy: R. Nencini, 52, 2008. Lithuania: A. Butkevicius, 53, 2010. Malta: J. Muscat, 37, 2008. Poland: G. Napieralski, 37, 2008. Romania: V. Ponta, 39, 2010. Switzerland: C. Levrat, 42, 2008. UK: Ed Miliband, 42, 2010 (plus the new Swedish Soc. Dem. leader who will be elected later this year). It is of course, impossible to predict which ones will have success in their respective countries (except Mrs. Sigurdardottir, who is already PM of Iceland), but the very fact of this renewal effort is, IMO, considerable.

  25. The intriguing thing about the current trend in the opinion polls is not so much what it might be saying about the likely outcome of a distant election – which is practically nothing by the way – but rather how it sets the political weather and, crucially, how the coalition reacts. I suspect the polls will get progressively grimmer for the government and, as they do, party morale will suffer and, as councillors, Euro MPs and parliamentary by-election candidates bite the dust, discordant noises off stage will become louder and shriller. The internal tensions in an already fragile coalition are bound to intensify and nerves will start to jangle and fray.

    Now, if a government has a clear purpose and a coherent strategy, knitted together by kindred spirits with a keen determination to deliver a mandate and programme, then the bad political weather can usually be navigated. Think Atlee, think Thatcher and, arguably, think early Blair. They came to power with a very clear idea of what they wanted to do for the country and no short term bouts of unpopularity were going to weaken their resolve. Cameron and Clegg, on the other hand? Cameron was famously lampooned by Nigel Farage as someone who had only believed in one thing his whole life; the keys to Number 10. Did he know what he wanted to do once he got there beyond the exercise of power? As for Clegg, he never expected to get anywhere near power. He was all journey and very little destination!

    If I was a supporter of this government my fear would be that its leadership is made up of people who may panic at the first real sound of gunfire and I rather feel we may already be witnessing the early tell-tale signs of this fragile resolve in the recent policy contortions and breakfast time budget announcements.

  26. I have to say that in my recent rather unscientific poll of public opinion (down the pub) the government was seen to have lost its way. Over the last week there seems to have been a flurry of issues raised and policies announced, changed or abandoned in an attempt to regain the initiative with the media.

    I wonder if Coulson is been missed sooner that any of us would have expected?

  27. You might have expected some slight boost in Tory support arising from the multiculturalism row over the weekend and possibly over Monday’s Lockerbie controversy (or did that occur towards the end of the fieldwork?) but no discernible indication of that from this poll.

    Today’s much publicised ‘bash the banks’ spectacle, although probably done for publicity purposes, will not have harmed the Tories either.

    Nonetheless, as we gradually head towards mid-term, it’s really a case of ‘managed decline’ for the Tories: they know they have to do their best to avert the poll drubbings of the next 2/3 years, but history shows that it’s pretty inevitable.

  28. @Ann (in Wales)
    well Ed Mil is going to have a hard time in PMQs tomorrow, as the Telegraph have gleefully got hold of a book of blank pages that were to be handed out for people to put their ideasin at labour party meetings.This is no more silly than Osbornes on line portal,but you can be sure that this an own goal for labour.
    I don’t think so, and if Cameron were foolish enough to raise this he would deserve to be laughed out of court.

    So the Telegraph are criticising Miliband because he is holding public meetings seeking fresh ideas at which he has the temerity to issue booklets with space for those ideas to be written down. What are the Telegraph suggesting as an alternative? Consultation with no opportunity for people to submit views? Or no consultation at all?

    Incidentally, on the grounds that this is an exercise in qualitative rather than quantative polling, here’s a bit more background on these events. I attended one of those fresh ideas meetings a few weeks back (the day Johnson resigned). Miliband spoke for just 3 minutes, then spent an hour discussing ad hoc the issues put forward from an audience of 200+ – probably about 30-40 questions in all. It was quite an impressive event, and was definitely not just one targeted at party members. l didn’t ask a question (although I had the opportunity) but chose instead to put my ideas down in writing in the booklets the Telegraph are finding an excuse to criticise. Maybe the Telegraph editorial staff are just a bit piqued that they weren’t invited.

  29. @Crossbat11

    I agree with every word you just said. The problem with this government is unlike Thatcher, Attlee or Blair this government has got no “balls” that not being Ed Balls but we have a populist Prime Minister and a populist government that just give up on tough political decisions on a whim. They simply have no consistency or backbone to just carry on with the program they have set out to do i.e. School For Sports U-turn, School Meals U-turn, possible Forest U-turn. It’s done so many turnarounds they’ve pratically made a roundabout.

    I know, I know some of you are probably shouting at me as being a Thatcherite tory with nothing else better to do that sing to the Daily Mail hym sheet and hates Cameron’s modern conservativism. Well, it may surprise you that I am a actually a Labour supporter that believes the deficit should be reduced slowly and less deep that is being proposed.

    However ideological governments make deficit reduction propsoals (either reducing the deficit quickly or slowly) at the end of the day markets need to be re-ensured, restored confidence and trust that any government program will STICK to it’s proposals. Unfortunately I believe this government will give up on some many of it’s programs for deficit reduction, spending cuts etc. that markets might start to flutter on whether this government is serious about bringing growth to the economy.

    I believe that come the next growth figures we could see the economy shrink again but my real worry and fear is that this government have pushed so many spending cuts proposals and will meet with so much hositlity and resentment that we could see this government will be planning up a Plan B lets say and stall on it’s deficit reduction.

    Do I believe the deficit should be reduced gradually with a lot more coming from taxation than is proposed…YES…BUT…this has been long over-due and if the government only decideds then to do an overhaul on it’s spending program then it makes the government look weak, inconsistent and reckless than due to a whim of public opposition they will U-turn on their so called “plan engraved in stone”.

    At the end of the day Markets need consistency, the knowledge that the government have a program that will be delievered, determinism to carry out that process and tbh how they reduce the deficit (even with higher taxation to some extent) does not matter to them. Thats why Attlee and Thatcher were able to secure a relatively sound economy given the economic inheritance. Despite two opposing ideologies they had a clear vision, clear program and we’re determined to meet that.

    Unfortunately this government I hate to agree with Mel Phillips from the mail is too “softy-touchy” when it comes to the deficit and public opposition. Trust me, another slight decline in the growth figures the gov will be doing a U-turn on it’s deficit reduce which is never good for markets. It’s too popularist.

  30. Oh I forget to add…why is it important that the government’s deficit reduction is consistent and should avoid any overhaul?? Mainly because markets are creatures of habbit, they need consistency, they liked things planned for them because they can plan ahead.

    Although I think from the start the government should have not have started the spending cuts until this year and at a much lower pace (say a 10 year program to have no deficit and possibly return to surplus starting in 2011) I do think it would be unwise, economically reckless and so expolsive in destroying the confidence in the markets that I could see the economy stalling further, unemployment creeping further, stocks falling, the CEO’s making their planned get-aways to invest in another country and growth being sluggish to almost flat come the future years.

    It would be very unwise to cheat the markets on economic policy. Yes to Tory voters Labour would have took longer to reduce the deficit, we’d still be paying a lot of debt and would have been taxing people more but at least Labour would have kept to that program.

  31. @ Raf

    May I ask why you have chosen a Conservative background. Is it the colour or the oak tree? it can’t be your politics…”

    At the risk of breaking Anthony’s rule of moving conversations forward from previous threads, I’ll answer your question. I am not a big fan of gray and I wanted to use a color. And to the extent that I have a political color, it is blue (I wore a beautiful blue tie to the Inaugural Ball for Obama’s inauguration). It’s not meant to mock the Tories though in any way.

    And the other colors didn’t quite fit. I could use Green since I have my own Green Party but I’m not a member and I haven’t voted for any of their candidates (I actually like the UK Greens better than the CA Greens). If I reregistered to vote in D.C. and joined the D.C. Statehood Party, I’d take the SNP gold colors (since if there is any American political party that shares any ideology or similarity with the SNP or Plaid Cymru, it would be the D.C. Statehood Party). And taking the Lib Dem yellowish Orange didn’t fit. If there was any UK Party that I would most relate to, it would probably be Labour (New Labour) but there’s something odd for me using Red as my political color.

    But yeah, given the confusion this creates, I probably will have to go back to gray.

    And as Anthony pointed out, our political colors are in reverse. I don’t think there are any left wing parties anywhere on the planet that use blue as their color (there are some that don’t use red, as Virgillio pointed out the Greeks Socialists use Green….I know the Mexican leftists in the PRD use Yellow). Similarly, I don’t think there are any right wing parties that use red (some don’t use blue like in Germany). Even the Canadian Liberals who are probably the closest to American Liberals use red as their color. We’re different, yes. But it works. One other thing, a lot of people have suggested that the association of U.S. political coverage goes back to the 2000 election. Only half true. I think the national mindset, it created the blue state-red state lexicon and image. The parties now use these colors. But actually long before that election, the Dems were consistently put in blue and Republicans in red by most news orgs (some orgs did used to alternate).

  32. @ Phil

    “And this despite Labour taking a hammering over Libya in last night’s news.”

    I don’t see why Labour should take a hammering over Al-Megrahi.

    Whatever the report shows about what the Labour government really wanted vis a vis Al Megrahi, they were not responsible for his release. The Scottish government wasn’t pressured or forced to make this decision by anyone in the UK government to do so. The report shows there wasn’t even contact between officials of the two governments.

    Now some people are saying that the UK government helped the Libyans use laws that they wouldn’t have otherwise known about. I think is such total bs. I’ve said this before but there is no secret menu of law (this isn’t like In and Out). Law is law. A good lawyer is going to figure out what the applicable law is (even if he’s Libyan or hired by the Libyans). A good lawyer is going to figure out what the precedents are. A good lawyer is going to develop the best strategy for his client. If the UK helped those efforts, that doesn’t equate with them getting him released.

    And some of the American criticism of the UK actions is off the mark. Al Megrahi was entitled to effective counsel (if the UK had the same legal system as the U.S., it would be required and likely at government expense). The lawyers for a defendant (or the lawyers who help advise those lawyers) do not become co-conspirators.

    Now if Labour campaigned against the SNP on this issue and claimed that they would not have released Al-Megrahi, then it does hurt them politically. But thus far, I’ve been less than impressed with coverage of this.

  33. @ Crossbat11/Nick Hadley

    I mostly agree with your assessment. Except for one small thing. Thatcher, Attlee, and Blair came into office with large mandates. As a result, they not only had clear ideas of what they wanted to do but they also had some room to fall and screw up. Cameron doesn’t have this. I think that it hurts him but it might also help him because voters may be far more willing to cut him some slack.

  34. I raised the question of the Government’s perceived competence several threads ago. So far the impression is not good (but I’m biased) and now Cameron wants to blame the Civil Service.

    It’s the economy, stupid. They have pinned everything on deficit reduction and the question HAS to be asked…what happens if we remain in recession when other economies continue to grow?

    Osborne needs some growth next quarter, however modest. Both politically and because his plans can’t work without growth.

    He’ll be biting his nails come April. What was Ferguson’s expression?

    Squeaky bum time.

  35. Why is the ‘latest voting intention’ stuck at a 3% lead when accompanying text shows an 8% lead and speculates that this is pretty near what is going on?

    This seems to be updated only when a low labour lead has been announced.

    In this case, I think you also explained that this low figure was due to a peculiarity of that particular poll and was in any case more likely to represent a 5% lead.

  36. PMQs content, or who ‘wins’ or ‘loses’, has absolutely no effect whatsoever on any polls, because it never changes anyone’s vote.
    To suggest otherwise – ever – is to fall for politician’s hype, no one else believes that any more.

  37. What does have an effect at least over time is the drip drip drip of association of negatives and positives with certain events or policies.

    Tha association of the Conservatives funding with the much hated bankers and city funds (whatever its rights or wrongs) is a very dangerous development for them, one they would do well to change or suffer the serious electoral consequences. The bankers/city are shown in polls to be even more unpopular than politicians, not a good combination.

    Similarly if the cuts in police numbers and other cuts to the justice system bite, it will affect everyone’s lives or at least perceptions, particularly those of a ‘natural’ conservative bent, which will if not move votes the disillusion will at least make many less likely to vote at all.

  38. @ian from Lichfield – “I wonder if Coulson is been missed sooner that any of us would have expected?”

    I think that is the wrong way round. As with Labour later on in the Blair years and throughout The problems are stemming from an obsession with getting the right daily headline at the expense of solid and coherent policy.

    Meanwhile, back in the forest…..My local paper this week runs with the story that the DEFRA consultation states that the community will be given 28 days to signal it can raise the £8m to buy our local forest before it goes onto the commercial market.

    In my long experience of major funding bids you would need to be working for at least 2 years to get any chance of putting together a multi million pound funding package, but even then the largest I’ve managed was under £3m, and that took 4 years in an age when there was actually some funding out there.

    As I said last night, people really shouldn’t dismiss the forests issue. The economy sets the mood, but for most people it’s just the background. Like food prices being the trigger for Egyptian unrest, voters here need an issue that gets them angry, even if it is a ‘small’ one. Forests have done that for many people and it has exposed real weaknesses in the government’s credibility.

  39. It seems to be accepted wisdom that the Tory/Lib Dem poll rating will dip through 2011 and then recover as we see growth return. But I don’t really follow this analysis, the historic precedents for a government with a majority of less than 50 winning a second term are not great in the UK unless there is material change in people’s standard of living or the opposition is seen as discredited.

    If Labour can look in even remotely credible, it seems that it would be miraculous for the Conservatives, without a majority in 2010, second coalition with the Lib Dems seems their best bet. The strategists in Con HQ (and Cowley St.) must be thinking the same thing.

    All indicators suggest sluggish growth over the next decade, and I do not think the slogan ‘we reduce the deficit by quite a lot’ will wash – most people couldn’t even tell you what the deficit is, they just want to see improvements to their communities or increases in pay – neither of which are deliverable by 2015.

    The coalition plan is to spread the cuts over the whole lifetime of the parliament, so can only hope to produce a giveaway budget in 2015 – too late surely for it to be seen as anything other than a gimmick.

  40. ‘As I said last night, people really shouldn’t dismiss the forests issue. The economy sets the mood, but for most people it’s just the background. Like food prices being the trigger for Egyptian unrest, voters here need an issue that gets them angry, even if it is a ‘small’ one. Forests have done that for many people and it has exposed real weaknesses in the government’s credibility.’

    Disgaree strongly. The economy is what matters to people; do I have a job?, can I afford my food? It’s far more important than arty farty stuff like who owns trees. That’s the preserve of comfortable middle class national trust members. And, to be honest, the NT has said it will buy it, so what’s the issue?

  41. For the purpose of record, I should point out to Joe that some Labour contributors here (for some reason he doesn’t mention the party by name) are here when the polls are bad as well as good. It is true of some Labour contributors, but there are many exceptions.

    It is interesting that Labour has been gaining ground slowly but surely against the Tories; I would like to think that this process started when Ed Miliband made what I think was the correct decision to stop referring to “the Coalition” and refer instead to the “Tory-led Government”. Before that, the LDs were suffering disproportionate damage for the decreasing popularity of the Government. They are still suffering – look at the Baguley by-election in Manchester a few days ago, down from 25% to under 4% – but now the Tories are clearly getting more flak than they were. Anthony has suggested that a good Labour night in May is likely to boost the party further. I don’t think the Libya issue is likely to inflict much damage on Labour either, indeed in the Scottish elections I’d have thought that if anyone suffers from it, it’s more likely to be the SNP.

  42. Alec,
    You and I have been in aggreement from the beginningof
    the importance of the forests story.It is a common
    denominator for all types of people irrespective of income.
    Agreed that PMQs is irrelevant to most people,but not to the press and very important for party morale.
    Well it will be interesting to see if it does come up.I think
    that Cameron will not be able to resist it.I was not criticising the idea which is sensible in the context of a meeting,but that following on from the blank sheet of paper it was an invitation for mockery.

  43. @Brooker

    Osborne is on record suggesting that growth will be such that they can start to scale back the cuts or reverse some of the tax rises in the 2014 budget. This, I think, is his strategy for a 2015 GE. The cuts are working and now we can slowly return to normal. Vote for us.

    As for a second coalition with the tories, I doubt it is in our best interests. It was the least bad option in 2010, please don’t let things be that bad in 2015 too.

  44. There is a good reason why I haven’t speculated about what the reasons for the drop might be – there is no good evidence, and plenty of current news stories and background trends on the economy and economic optimism that could explain or contribute to it.

    There is a danger of going down the route of thinking that “I care strongly about this issue, therefore the change in the polls must be down to that issue”. It should probably be avoided.

  45. The problem with tax cuts is that any Party can promise not to raise taxes or promise to match tax cuts or promise, different/ better targeted cuts.

    It is easy; & Labour can promise cuts for ‘you’, the squeezed middle, who took the Tory inflicted pain whilst e.g. the bankers did very nicely.

    So the 2015 GE (if that’s when it is) will not be about tax cuts. It will be about the economy & which Party is most credible regarding a future strategy.

  46. Phil,
    Well there it is.He was even waving the dammed thing
    around! However I thought EM was very good today ,not that anyone cares of course.

  47. It’s been my opinion that trend in the polls are usually more to do with the over-all narrative, than any single issue. In this case, it’s that a clear and rather well established narrative has built up around the current government. And I don’t really need to say what that narrative is at this point, as it’s pretty clear to all involved that they haven’t been able to present an image of strong government.

  48. @Jack

    Speaking as an arty-farty, middle-class, National Trust member – there are 3.5 million members and all have a vote.


  49. I suspect woods aren’t at the heart of the Tories problems. Could be the fact that the standard of living is falling. and the Tories don’t care. Normally that does a party in. Coming back to Lord Rooker in 1977 when he tabled his amendment real living standards fell by 7%..No surprise Labour didn’t win again until 1997 and then they had a leader who liked his cash.

  50. You’d be surprised how many go for a walk in the woods and a picnic, a cheap day out in these austere times.

    Agreed the standard of living is falling – people are being squeezed like I can’t remember ever before. Bills going up and pay freezes/cuts are a serious problem. It seems every week since the VAT increase there’s been someone telling me I’m having to pay more for their services. Unsurprisingly there is ever-increasing pressure on government popularity.

    Can’t help wondering what this will do to inflation: sooner or later those interest rates will have to go up at least to try to control it. This situation is nothing like Thatcher inherited, I cannot see oil prices dropping down to 40 dollars/barrel, quite the opposite. Difficult time to be in government.

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