YouGov’s fortnightly tracker of AV voting intention is in the Sun tomorrow. Voting intention is YES 34%(-3), NO 41%(+3), changes are from the last poll a fortnight ago.

Back then YouGov was showing a sharp tightening of the race, with Yes and No neck and neck (we suspected at the time it might have been a rogue poll, so ran it two days in a row. They both showed the same picture, so the tightening of the race was probably true). That was before the formal launch of the NO campaign, before Clegg and Cameron’s speeches and before the media started giving the referendum campaign some attention… and together it appears to have given the No campaign a boost.

We saw a similar pattern in ICM’s poll earlier this week. YouGov tend to show better results for NO than ICM do because YouGov’s question is prefaced by an explanation of what AV and FPTP are (something Populus also found when they asked two versions of the question to a split sample), but the trend in both YouGov and ICM is the same – a move towards No in the last fortnight.

UPDATE: YouGov daily figures are CON 37%, LAB 43%, LDEM 9%. The six point Labour lead is the same as yesterday’s.

226 Responses to “YouGov show NO campaign 7 points ahead”

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  1. Just shows negative campaigning works !

  2. MORI have an AV poll in the pipeline Reuters will publish it Friday midday most likely

  3. Negative campaigning is appropriate. There won’t be a FPTP box and an AV box on the ballot papers. The question is whether to adopt AV. It’s not for the NO camp to make the case in favour of FPTP. It’s their job to campaign against AV. I may lack imagination, but I can’t see many ways to campaign against something in a positive way.

    The shift in the polls, together with the differences in poll results depending on the wording of the question, may indicate that the more people know about AV the less they like it.

  4. New ROI poll Milward Brown

    Labour 20%
    FF 14%
    SF 11%
    FG 38%

  5. TGB

    That will only further muddy the waters. AV polling is all over the place. There are so many don’t knows and yet more floaters. And there are still many who don’t know how optional preference AV works, and whether it would be better or worse for their political persuasion.

  6. TGB

    Now, ROI polls are more consistent!

  7. I feel a strange detachment. Normally I have a little frisson of excitement if “my side” gets a good poll and a little sinking of the stomach if “my side” gets a bad one.

    I don’t have a side on AV. I see big changes in the polls and I feel like Catherine Tate. “Does my face look bothered?”

  8. Watching the Telly, and listening to gossip at work, and reading the odd rag, other than Clegg’s speech I have been aware of absolutely nothing from the YES side. All the background “noise” is from the NO campaign so far. Are the YES people holding their fire? – is Miliband going to come out fighting for it loud and clear and lead the YES campaign big time? Ratings suggest that Clegg is so compromised by preceived U-turns and backtracking in Govt, some might conclude the YES campaign would do better if Lord Rennard sat on him for a few weeks in the under stairs cupboard at Cowley Street!!!!?

  9. @Neil A
    I suppose that’s because your preferred outcome is for the system we already have. Difficult to get excited about the maintenance of the status quo.

    Unless we’re.talking forests.

  10. @Tony Dean
    I’m sure Lord Rennard has a cunning plan up his sleeve. He usually does at election time. Though not, I trust, as cunning as yours!

  11. Raf,

    AV polling is settling down now… all are trending towards the NO camp… MORI i expect wil show No in the lead also. And despite my support for AV, I have very little doubt that it will fail… referendums generally do fail… I’d love to see a statistic on the % of failed or successful referendums…

    That ROI poll is dodgy.. FF on 14% is fanciful.

  12. @TheGreenBenches
    So it seems that Fianna Fail’s attempt not to fall to 3d position is failing (no pun intended!). If this happens, it will be the second time in less than a year than the main governing party in an EU country does not fall in second place, as it usually happens when it loses the election, but drops further. The first case was in the Netherlands 2010 GE, when governing CDA fell form 1st to 4d place – there also, as in the FF case, it was the party that had governed almost with no interruption (except from the 1994-2002 period) since WWII with various coalition schemes. In all other recent cases (2009-2010) where the main gvt party lost, it came second (Socialists in Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary and UK, EPP in Greece and Flemish-speaking Belgium, Conservatives in CR, Liberals in French-speaking Belgium). We had even 2 cases (Sweden, Slovakia) where the senior gvt. partner remained in 1st position, but was sent in the opposition because of the poor showing of its allies and the emergence of a rival coalition.

  13. virgilion,

    Your pun though not intended was cracker..

    Fail is actually pronounced Foil [very Irish I Know] I know some of different dialectics might pronounce it Fall but they’re naff…

  14. @RAF,

    If my preference was for the system we already have, then I’d be a “No” supporter. It isn’t, and I’m not.

    I just add up the pros and cons of AV and FPTP and they seem to more or less balance out to me. Or least so close to balancing that I can’t bring myself to care.

  15. @Neil A
    Apologies for misrepresenting your view. I’m not overly enthusiastic about AV either. I’m only supporting it as there is a chance that the optional preference variant on the ballot paper may open the door for STV, or at encourage people in some small way to express their true preference with theit first vote, rather than the least worst option on the ballot paper.

  16. Virgilio

    In Sweden the senior government partner did, combined with their partners, lose their majority – but they increased their own share. Contrary to what you state, they are first by some way (ahead of the socialists who had virtually free reign for 70 years before 2006) and are still leading the government with the same Prime Minister – albeit now minority government as they don’t care for the support of the far right to prop them up.

  17. @ Neil A

    You pose an interesting stance on AV. One I feel that you share with many I know. Most folk in everyday real life don’t pay that much attention to the detail of politics until it is really hammered home by campaigning – and even then decision making is distorted through black propaganda on the issues used by both sides. What seems to be happening is as AV is described people are not so sure the change is that beneficial. Most have said to me that it is muddling, and had hoped “an alternative vote” meant something else – however, on specifics they are not sure what it was they hoped it was! Most of the early “Soft YES” which has drifted were eager for some “improvement” – but when described AV seems to be a disappointment. At work a few who had some hazy notion that it was going to be voting by preferences had thought each preference would be worth points – a sort of Borda count. I think the campaign so far has at least disabused them of that mistaken impression?
    Once the YES campaign actually start campaigning we may see a narrowing back to YES, however, at the moment it looks as if we will be fighting 2015 on FPTP.

  18. I think all is not lost for the AV camp and things are still in the balance but is true The Antis have been making mst of the noise lately with their misinformation. Howver, they could have a backlash from their sick ad which has changed some people’s minds on twitter. Is it too much to ask for some intelligent debate! It is my belief that AV would give voters more choice and make Mp’s more acccountable that have to reach out beyond their base. I realy do want meaningful political reform! Don’t forget that the Yes Camp is yet to officially launch.

  19. @TGB, Virgilio

    Do either of you really believe Labout and SF can push FF to 4th overall? Indeed, when push comes to shove, will Labour really beat FF for second place?

    Also what is the recent history of the accuracy of pre-election Irish polls (excluding exits). My memory is that there are always a number of surprises.

    Finally, do either of you know what happened to Dick Spring. I remember him being very popular a while ago, only to vanish from the scene.

  20. Dawve30
    Belated response
    Cowdenbeath? When I was a youth the town council was hung- 5 Labour, 5 Commmunist. In the vicinity you still have Councillor Willie Clark

    Local issues? I can’t comment except to say Aberdeen is a major centre for prostitution

  21. Barney

    It always amused me that Aberdeen’s most infamous “wifie o the nicht” shared her surname with the Provost who successfully bankrupted the city for his own profit.

    I’m sure that we could both construct modern analogies from our respective viewpoints. On this occasion we need not disagree. :-)

  22. Lib Dems at 9% tonight and 11% yesterday = an average of 10%…..which is basically exactly where they have been stuck (on YG) going all the way back to Christmas!

    The other pollsters have them basically exactly where they have had them since Christmas also (though slightly higher- as always- than the YouGov number).

    The fluctuations are between red and blue: blue has some bad headlines and drops to 7/8 behind on YG; blue does a mea culpa U turn or gets some decent headlines and pulls back to 5/6 behind on YG. That is the clear “trend” currently for anyone who cares to open their eyes.

    So I don’t know where some people get the idea that the Lib Dems are on the march and that the tactic of calling it a government rather than a coalition is doing anything other than demarcating clear lines between the party of the centre left and the parties of the centre right..

    Check the hard numbers; avoid the personal preference to always see the reds somehow underperforming….

  23. On the AV referendum I do wish Clegg would stop campaigning for it.

    He is clearly utterly tarnishing the brand and could well cost this country its first chance at “a happeth” of electoral reform.

    And another one won’t come around again for at least a decade.

  24. @Rob Sheffield

    Yep. I’m seeing nothing but one edge of the long term trend. At the moment we’re at the bottom, but give it a couple of weeks and we’ll be back at the top. And then back again. At some point a ceiling/floor is going to be reached, but there’s nothing yet to suggest we’re there – and I guess we won’t know until we’ve already been there for several weeks! But all we’re looking at at the moment is data noise, with possibly low level churn of ~1% of voters responding to that week’s headlines.

  25. @ Chris Davies

    I agree with your post entirely, and your conclusions about how people seem turned-off AV once it is explained. I hold no candle for AV – I am a pro-AMS man or no change – so it will be NO for me.

    However, what I do not approve of is the continuation of what voters hate about our system of politics and standard of political debate. There are first class arguments against AV – so why lie about it costing £250M when it clearly would not! Disingenuous negative campaigning may “work” – but it is unethical and brings politics into disrepute – even when it is done by the side I am supporting.
    And Anthony – why is your “neutral website” festooned with NO adverts continueing to peddle this untruth for the past few days?

  26. It would be nice to have some polling on why the ‘no’ voters don’t like AV.

    I suspect that voters dislike the idea of the votes rolling up & some voters’ second or third choices determining who wins.

  27. @ Amberstar

    That is exactly the feedback I have been getting at work, and yes, it would be very interesting to have some polling on this!

  28. Apart from the AV referendum what do people think about the leveling up of constituences to give them approx the same amount of votes? I do not suppose many Labour supporters will be happy about their advantage being taken away but do we have any polls on this issue?

  29. Tony – because they’ve bought the advertising space! Webhosting costs don’t pay themselves (nor, indeed, does my mortgage).

  30. Adam – no polling on it. Much though the subject fascinates me, I think it really is too niche too ask about! People will have so little awareness that the answer would be entirely down to how the question was asked.

  31. @Rob Sheffield

    Rob, I don’t think you can deny that ICM’s 18% for the LDs was encouraging, as was YG’s 11% last night.

    I’ve never denied that it’s good for Labour to be clearly ahead.

    I do think there is a case for saying that the LDs have hit the bottom of their slump in popularity. From here we’re far more likely to go up than down. The fact that the 7s and 8s from YG in January have now become 9s and 10s in February would seem to support that view.

  32. @Amber

    Or maybe as Hague put it: AV neither offers the decisiveness of FPTP, nor the propotionality of PR. Which is true albeit cheeky as Tories knew the LD’s wanted the latter option on the ballot but refused to let them have it.

  33. Sorry Anthony – I wasn’t having a “dig” at you. I really enjoy your site and am grateful for it. Negative campaigning is fine as long as it is squeaky clean – if it isn’t, it just enrages me!

  34. Anti-AV?
    People are primative.. and don’t have much time to think about things as esoteric as this. See Anthony’s fully-justified comment on his mortgage. The truth is that No support would rocket if the campaign made it explicit that the motive was to hurt Clegg. That everyone can understand and most support.
    BTW Neal Kinnock e-mailed me today to ask me to vote yes. I think that is about as far up the Labour food chain as it will go.
    Forget about it and concentrate on the elections for living candidates. There’s nothing else for it

  35. @Raf
    I do not know if the FF will be pushed as far back as the 4th place, but this is a statistical possibility based on actual polling and on the Dutch precedent of last year. 3d is more plausible to me, if not in number of votes, then almost certainly in number of seats, because I think that Labour will get more second preferences, e.g. from SF, ULA and all those who do not wish to see an OM FG gvt.
    In the last Irish GE (2007), the last Irish Times/MRBI poll predicted correctly that FF would garner 41% of the vote and be very close to OM, whilst previous polls tended to show a possible FG-Lab majority and FF at 65-70 seats.
    As for Dick Springs, he actually holds a directorship with FEXCO, a financial services company and leads a quite life, away from politics, with his American wife and their children. I also know that he was in some point involved in the Cyprus issue (which I follow to some extent, being half-Greek) as a UN envoy.

  36. Tony – political parties’ negative campaigning is probably kept in check a bit because they need to worry about their party image and doing permanent damage to it – being seen as negative and nasty.

    For a referendum, where the campaigns cease to exist on polling day, I suppose that is not quite so much of a consideration – people aren’t electing the actual people in the campaigns, so while not irrelevant (people will still like to vote with the good guys) it won’t be such an issue.

  37. @Barney Crockett
    Except that EM has very publically backed AV.

  38. Since we seem to be back on the pros and cons of AV here’s my take:

    It’s better than FPTP because:

    1) it largely eliminates the needs for tactical voting
    2) it ensures that an MP will be elected with the support of a majority of voters in their constituency (or something close to it)

    It still irritates me that my MP, Glenda Jackson, was elected with just 33% of the vote. I just don’t understand why people think that’s ok.

    STV is my favoured electoral system, but I’m sure AV is better that FPTP.

  39. @ Adam

    I do not suppose many Labour supporters will be happy about their advantage being taken away but do we have any polls on this issue?
    I would think you are correct, that Labour supporters would be against the changes – as are many MPs of all colours because their numbers are being reduced & their constituencies changed.

    Without AV, I suspect that the Dems could be hardest hit, proportionally speaking; many LD MPs are in marginal, ‘island’ constituencies surrounded by a sea of red or blue.

  40. The newly-launched “No to AV” campaign may have been part of the reason for the swing against “Yes”, but I suspect that David Cameron coming off the fence may have had some influence too. (Were the fieldwork dates after his speech?). His comments must surely have made a difference to tribally loyal Tory supporters – and it would not have put off Labour voters because they are as anti Nick Clegg (who gave a speech for the “Yes” campaign on the same day) as they are anti-Cameron.

    There is, however, one factor that could tip the balance in favour of the “Yes” campaign – and that is if/when Ed Miliband starts making high-profile speeches on the subject. Tribally loyal Labour supporters may well be swayed by this. (Witness the way that Harold Wilson’s influence swung Labour voters from being mostly “anti” to “pro” during the 1975 Common Market referendum).

    Shame really, because there are two good reasons why it would suit Ed Miliband for the electorate to return a “No” verdict: firstly, it might well undermine the unity of the coalition and secondly it would help Labour electorally if “first past the post” was retained. (After all, the party are not likely to be the beneficiaries of the reallocation of what is left of Lib Dem first preference votes, are they?).

    Of course, it might seem a tad opportunist for EM to change his stance on this now – but what’s wrong with a little opportunism if the result benefits the party?

  41. Raf
    Yes but it depends what you mean by very public. The demand above was for someone high profile other than Clegg to play the lead. I don’t think that will be Ed otherwise it would have been him rather than N Kinnock contacting me.

  42. Thanks Anthony and Amber for your feedback.

  43. @Rob Sheffield Nick Clegg could hardly stay silent when Liberal Democrats have been the main cheerleaders for electoral reform. However, as far as I understand it he won’t be playing a particularly active role in the campaign. on the other hand though Ed Milliband supports it and has the luxury of being an opposition leader don’t know that he’s going to go out of his way to maximise the chances.

  44. Robin Hood – yep, this was wholly after Cameron’s speech. ICM’s fieldwork started on the day of Cameron’s speech, so will have been either wholly or overwhelmingly after his speech.

  45. Adam/Amber – tomorrow, incidentally, is a big day for the boundary review. The updated electorate figures for 1st Dec 2010 are published, the ones that the review will be based upon – hence tomorrow we’ll find out the actual quota and how many seats each nation of the UK will receive.

  46. @Robin Hood
    “Of course, it might seem a tad opportunist for EM to change his stance on this now – but what’s wrong with a little opportunism if the result benefits the party?”

    Do you want to reflect on that comment a bit? Isn’t it greatly to EM’s credit that he puts renewing our democracy ahead of partisan advantage?

    Actually I’m not at all sure that you’re right about FPTP helping Labour. It’s no coincidence, in my view, that the Tories are solidly backing FPTP.

    I would have given Labour my 2nd preference last year, and might well do so again…

  47. What is left from the Lib Dems as a coalition party, if they lose the AV vote ?

    I can only see that it will become even more difficult for the Lib Dems in the coming years as the cuts really bite. All around the country, it is highly likely that they will lose councillors and some of these will not continue to support the party on the doorsteps at the next GE.

    The only hope for the Lib Dems in my opinion, is a turnaround in the economy within the next three years. If the economy starts to grow, with over a million jobs created, it is possible that the coalition may be able to loosen the purse strings, with extra spending on coalition pet projects and beneficial tax/benefits measures applied. This would needs to be done more than a year before the GE, so people can see the benefit.

  48. @Anthony
    Will it be broken down any further? Will all new constituencies be announced (subject to Boundary Commission reviews)?

  49. Raf – oh no, new constituencies won’t be finalised till 2013 (though provisional recommendations will hopefully arrive by September).

    These are just the figures they’ll work off (and there may be slight revisions – the legislation is a bit complicated and it’s late, but I think areas where there have been by-elections between July and December can use the register on 1st Feb rather than 1st Dec, and I’m not sure if tomorrow’s figures will reflect that yet).

  50. @R Huckle

    Would love to see a YES vote but I don’t think a NO will destabilise the coalition. I don’t think the Lib Dems will walk away from Government just because they haven’t got their way on AV – apart from anything else it would look very childish.

    I agree that economic recovery is crucial for both coalition parties. If the coalition is perceived to have wrecked the economy Labour will win in 2015.

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