Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sunday Times has voting intention figures of CON 37%, LAB 43%, LDEM 9%. The fieldwork for the poll was roughly half on Thursday night, half during Friday, so is roughly half/half before and after news of the UN resolution on Libya broke, and wholly before news of the Libyan “ceasefire” or the start of military action today. While the Labour lead is down slightly, I wouldn’t read anything into that – it is too early to have really registered and the changes are well within normal sample error.

I’ll update tomorrow once the tables are out. I don’t know of any other polls tonight, but will write about them tomorrow if they are – after an afternoon of getting the website up and running again, I’m having a night off tonight!


76 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 37, LAB 43, LD 9”

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  1. @ Neil A

    “Would Sarkozy have been against military intervention if he was 20% ahead in the polls? Who knows. It is a kneejerk reaction to accuse any leader initiating military action of seeking a “Falklands factor”. All we know for certain is that in the end Sarkozy’s position was widely supported, in all sorts of countries, by all political strands of leader, whether they were popular with their electorates or not.”

    In fairness to Maggie, she didn’t seek out the Falklands War. It came to her when the Argentines, unprovoked, invaded your sovereign territory. Territory which is populated by people who self-identify as Brits. And I think she would have won in 1983 anyway given the economic recovery and the splits among the opposition.

    Maybe Sarkozy is doing this for political reasons (I hope he’s not). But Obama and Cameron are not. So I’ll leave it at that.

  2. @ Peter Bell

    Ethnic group would be the key factor here.
    —————————————-
    In what way is ‘ethnic group’ the key factor here?
    8-)

  3. @ Neil A

    Oh and be nice to Amber. I don’t think this is about politics. I was pissed off at Obama when I thought he was going to ignore this situation. I think he’s a very good president and I want him reelected but I wouldn’t turn a blind eye and say “he made the right decision” simply because he made it. Similarly, my support for this intervention is not because Obama has decided to commit U.S. forces so therefore I support it.

  4. I’m inclined to agree with Amber that the UN definition of genocide isn’t met in Libya. Interestingly in reading the wiki entry for genocide I discovered something I didn’t know, which is that the original draft of the convention included political groups (which would cover Libya) but Stalin had it amended. That makes sense. You don’t want to agree to something that might affect your own plans for wanton slaughter.

    However, it does rather cut across the debate a day or so ago, when some people were effectively arguing that Tripolitania and Cyrenaica were seperate entities with different peoples, who were arbitrarily shoehorned together by the Italians. If that were true (which I argued it wasn’t, and strongly believe it isn’t) then Peter would be right and the current situation would involve a potential genocide.

  5. @ Amber Star

    “I am for humanitarian intervention.

    I am not always against politicians doing the right thing for the wrong reason. But when they do, the mission itself is more likely to go wrong. I believe I have legitimate concerns. Polling, so far anyway, shows that many UK voters share my concerns.

    I am worried that the anti-Gadaffi coalition are rushing to get this done before they lose the limited public support they have. And still the BBC is reporting that nobody really knows who the ‘rebels’ are & how they plan to govern Libya.”

    I think the rush here is due to the realization that if we wait any longer (if it’s not too late already), Ghadaffi will finish off the rebels and slaughter everyone in Benghazi as well as other rebel cities that he also doesn’t actually control, notwithstanding his claims.

    The rebels appear to be those who favor democratic self-governance. This all started when citizens in Tripoli, inspired by their neighbors in Egypt and Tunisia, protested for democratic reforms and were slaughtered by Ghadaffi’s snipers. This led to citizens in other parts of the country breaking into rebellion against the regime and soldiers in Libya’s army defecting. Ghadaffi though has reclaimed control by bringing in outside mercenaries and pounding untrained and poorly armed rebels with artillery, tanks, and aircraft.

    As for how they govern, we know that transitions to democracy are not always easy and smooth (every international observer thought we were going to head into civil war in 1801….didn’t happen). So things may not be all beer and Skittles for Libya after they get rid of Ghadaffi but that’s the risk of democratic self governance. They deserve to have a go at it and at the very least, we can prevent them all from being slaughtered for attempting to have democratic self-government.

  6. h ttp://www.cnn.com/2011/US/03/19/us.libya.action/index.html?hpt=T1

    Interesting article. I can’t believe that Samantha Power and I are on the same page on this (I’ve not always been a fan, kind of a walking Harvard stereotype who loves the sound of her own voice). I really like Susan Rice, she is extraordinarily intelligent and capable. I’m glad she’s got a Cabinet position (and if Hillary is serious about not doing another 4 year term as SOS, a likely replacement).

  7. @ Neil A

    “However, it does rather cut across the debate a day or so ago, when some people were effectively arguing that Tripolitania and Cyrenaica were seperate entities with different peoples, who were arbitrarily shoehorned together by the Italians. If that were true (which I argued it wasn’t, and strongly believe it isn’t) then Peter would be right and the current situation would involve a potential genocide.”

    Even if they were shoehorned together by Italy, are they really different ethnic groups?

    Either way, Ghadaffi is attacking his own people. He’s in violation of Resolution 1973. His declaration of a “ceasefire” is meaningless. It’s not a ceasefire if you continue to attack your citizens. Does he think we’re all stupid and don’t know what’s going on? We have international media, we have recon planes. Are the people in his cities bombing, shelling, and firing on themselves?

  8. @ Neil A

    If that were true (which I argued it wasn’t, and strongly believe it isn’t) then Peter would be right and the current situation would involve a potential genocide.
    ————————————————-
    I’m glad we agree on something – but that’s not going to stop me nit-picking a bit.

    Genocide is not only about actions & outcomes, it is about intent. The principle case underpinning this is the ruling of the Legal Bureau of the Canadian Foreign Affairs Department (1999) regarding the Kosovar Albanians: “Ethnic Albanians are being killed and injured in order to drive them from their homes, not in order to destroy them as a group, in whole or in part”.

    And in reporting whether genocide had occurred in Darfur, the Commission of Inquiry concluded the Government of Sudan had not pursued a policy of genocide as follows: “Generally speaking, the policy of attacking, killing and forcibly displacing members of some tribes does not evince a specific intent to annihilate, in whole or in part, a group distinguished on racial, ethnic, national or religious grounds. Rather it would seem that those who planned and organized attacks on villages pursued the intent to drive the victims from their homes, primarily for the purposes of counter-insurgency warfare.”

    There have been occasions when the ICJ has attempted to expand the definition of genocidal intent after the fact & to rule that genocide was inherent in the actions due to the outcome. As far as I’m aware, there are no cases where this survived appeal.
    8-)

  9. @ SoCaL

    The Shadow UK Defence Secretary, Jim Murphy, tells the BBC that he believes it is unlikely that foreign troops will need to invade Libya. “We are trying to achieve something relatively precise, which is to stop Gaddafi, his military, his heavy artillery, his tanks, his aeroplanes from being able to make attacks upon civilian centres. And I think that can be done in the way in which the UN has outlined. It won’t happen immediately, but I think it can be done.”
    8-)

  10. @ Amber

    “The Shadow UK Defence Secretary, Jim Murphy, tells the BBC that he believes it is unlikely that foreign troops will need to invade Libya. “We are trying to achieve something relatively precise, which is to stop Gaddafi, his military, his heavy artillery, his tanks, his aeroplanes from being able to make attacks upon civilian centres. And I think that can be done in the way in which the UN has outlined. It won’t happen immediately, but I think it can be done.””

    Thanks for the update. :) He’s absolutely right (he’s very smart). This was done under far more difficult circumstances in Kosovo. And ground troops are not needed there (nor do we want to send them). We’re simply removing his ability to kill his own people.

    I think a lot of the anti-aircraft systems have been taken out by all the missiles launched earlier today. Apparently some of our stealth bombers have been bombing targets in Tripoli already.

    Btw, I was reading some recent articles on JM. In one, he was described as an “accidental politician” and seemed to express some embarassment. He should feel no shame over that. Some of the greatest political leaders in the U.S. today are those who were accidental politicians when first elected. Why a few accidental politicians who come to mind include Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein, and Kirsten Gillibrand. Even Bill Clinton was quasi-accidental in winning the Democratic presidential nomination in 1992.

    Allright, now I’m going to bed.

  11. YouGov have now published the detailed findings:

    http://today.yougov.co.uk/sites/today.yougov.co.uk/files/yg-archives-pol-st-results-18-200311.pdf

    The Scottish split (+/- change from UK GE 2010):

    Lab 40% (-2)
    SNP 26% (+6)
    Con 19% (+2)
    LD 8% (-11)
    oth 9%

    Yet another grim poll, in a long long series of grim polls, for Clifton Terrace.

  12. Neil A.

    Thank-you as always for a straigtforward answer.

    My point and question was narrow and in response to many posts about the defecit. You have acknowledged the Osborne pledge and that it was in your opinion a mistake and will give Labour some cover, although how much we may disagree about but in truth neither of us know.

    You and I disagree over the budget deficit now and then are never going to change each others’s mind that was not my intention when responding to the posts from others.

    JJB – agree re mismanagement of spending increases.

  13. Scotland looks keenest on AV:

    AV Referendum voting intention – Net Yes

    Scotland +7
    North +4
    Rest of South +3
    London +/-0
    Midlands/Wales -2

    Great Britain +2

    … but is the least keen on the Lib-Con pact:

    Net UK Govt approval

    Rest of South -10
    London -18
    Midlands/Wales -26
    North -34
    Scotland -48

    Great Britain -23

  14. Increasingly disappointed by the Coalition.

    Why are we getting involved in yet another conflict following on from Iraq and Afganistan. In my view this has more to do with Oil as opposed to any genuine high minded principles. I also find it completely absurd that this country gets itself embroiled in another dangerous conflict with many unknown and potentially nasty ramifications further down the line, at the same time as slashing the defence budget. Inevitably, therefore, those sent to fight on our behalf will be under resourced and without the proper equipment ( e.g. Tornado’s flying dangerously long distances when you could have had harriers flying off an aircraft carrier stationed much closer to the targets, and so on)

    In my opinion, if Mr Cameron is unwilling to provide this country with a properly funded Army, Navy, and Airforce, then he should stay out of international conflicts. Soon, we will have so little left re military hardware, he will have little choice. All he will have left is his mouth and nobody is going to be too worried about high minded speeches when there is nothing left to back them up

  15. Despite my negative feelings for President Sarkozy and his policies, both on economic and on cultural-ideological level, I feel I must support the involvement of my country in Libya. Letting tyrants get their way only makes them bolder and nastier, and Gaddafi is worse than Milosevic or any other of this kind. By this I do not mean I trust completely the heads of the rebels, I am not sure of what they really intend to do, yet all these people, from Tunis and Bahrain to Yemen and Jordan, are ready to die for the ideals of democracy and freedom that we Westerners are supposed to defend. We were told that these are backwater countries and that Arabs are submissive and do not deserve democracy, but I think that if they ready to die for it, then of course they deserve it, and maybe more than many Westerners who are completely indifferent to democratic procedures, out of boredom or discontent.

  16. Lots of interesting stuff in the details of the YouGov/ST poll. The responses to all questions have been split into pre- and post-7am 18th March, presumably to allow for different responses after the news of the UN resolution and the possible attack on Libya came through.

    On the whole it makes little difference. Of course any effect might be confused by responses from the evening normally being different from those in the morning/afternoon (the latter less likely to work full time for instance). I don’t know if Anthony will consider this in his “More from ..” post.

    In any case it seems to make little difference – if anything the later responses might be slightly more anti-government. However the exception as you might expect, is to How well or badly do you think David Cameron has responded to the situation
    in Libya?
    , where his ‘Total Well’ rating jumps from 33% (versus 46%) to 40% (v 43%) – mostly from Don’t knows.

    It’s worth pointing out that most of the anti-Cameron opposition on this topic may be partisan rather than considered. Among Labour voters it is 19% versus 67% against; but asked about specific policies towards Libya, there is amazingly little difference between Party supporters. If anything Lib Dems seem the most warlike – small samples, I know, but the previous polling on Libya showed that too. It probably reflects general Lib Dem support for UN action and other multilateral initiatives.

    What the polls do show though is very little enthusiasm across the board for any further action beyond the no-fly zone. Even Providing arms to the Libyan rebels is opposed 61% versus 17% – though support grows slightly in the later part of the poll.

  17. Perhaps Amber might be interested in this, given her queries about the Provisional National Council.

    In the Sunday Times , Hala Jaber ( she has a Wiki, so you can make your own mind up about her) describes the PNC.

    Named individuals are :-

    Mustafa Abdul Jalil ( 58) -Chairman-A judge who resigned as Justice Minister after the uprising.

    Mahmoud Jebril (60)-reformist lawyer.

    Ali Aziz al-Eisawi -former ambassador to India.Former Economy Minister.

    General Abdul Fatah Unis ( 67) -Former Interior Minister.

    Kahlifa Huftar ( 65)-Retired former General.

    Omar Hariri ( 67 )-former minister.

    The Council has 31 members -the rest of whom are desribed as ” mainly lawyers, doctors, teachers & intellectuals”.

    This last group description reminds me of the young Egyption revolutionary leaders. I have been following the excellent coverage on Al-Jazeera of the enthusiastic debates about Egypt’s Constitutional Referendum. They are of a high quality, and the participants mirror the sort of young professionals which Hala Jaber describes in Libya

    I saw the Egtyptian revolutionaries described by one far left commentator as ” the bourgeoisie”.
    I took that to be a critical & dismissive description-and for me it went some way towards explaining the tortured ambivalence & downright hostility shown by some on the UK Left towards the Egyptian & Libyan uprisings.

  18. VIRGILIO

    “We were told that these are backwater countries and that Arabs are submissive and do not deserve democracy, but I think that if they ready to die for it, then of course they deserve it,”

    Very observant & true Virgilio.

    Whilst one gets the feeling that some of the revolutions may turn out to be based on religious sectarianism, we in the West have some soul searching to do-having kept some of these despots in place for years.

    It is a wonderful thing to see young educated muslims putting their lives at risk in the cause of democratic freedoms.

  19. There was a fair chunk of outright party-partisan economic debate here – including people playing at being Jeremy Paxman and demanding answers from the “other side”. I’m pruned some, and shall politely remind everyone of the comments policy.

    (Plus, just because something isn’t untrue does mean it’s non-partisan! If the main thrust of your post is to criticise another political party or to defend the party you support, then it is de facto party partisan)

  20. @Virgilio

    The Bundesländer polls are coming thick and fast now

    Green support seems to be hardening up in RLP at 14% and also in BW back in 2nd place at 25% presumably due to the nuclear issue.

  21. On another topic, related to the other great issue of actuality beside Libya, the nuclear accident in Japan seems to have had its first (political) victim, and this is Frau Merkel. In fact the German Greens, that before the accident were beginning to lose steam, now are strongly back again, and what is more important, their increase does not come from the Social Democrats, but from all the other parties, so the center-left alliance is now stronger in the polls. The latest poll is from Enmid, and was carried out after the Japan events and published today. Greens are up 3 from their previous poll (from 15 to 18) and reds are stable at 28, so the center-left coalition is at 46 (+3). Christian Democrats are at 34 (-1), Liberals at 5 (-1) and again very close to the fatal threshold of exclusion, so the governing coalition is now again below 40. The Left has also lost a point (from 10 to 9). As per these results, center-left secures simple majority and is very close to OM. Still more spectacular are the findings of Emnid’s poll for State Election in Baden-Wurttenberg scheduled for next Sunday. CDU 38 + FDP 6 = 44, Green 25 + Red 22 = 47. If this is confirmed in election day, it will be the first time that BW will have a center-left administration after the war!! And since no other party, according to the same poll, will cross the 5% threshold (Left is at 4%), 47% gives OM – and probably with a Green president! So watch this very close, if Frau Merkel is associated with such an epochal defeat, it means her days as head of Germany are counted

  22. I find it difficult to see how a government who claims that it must cut all services and increase taxation to address an unprecendented national debt (an approach which I accept but according to the polls is unpopular with most voters) can afford to take a leading role in policing Libya.

    It would be ironic but quite possible or even probable that this apparent inconsistency is rewarded in the polls.

    What is consistent is that whether the government is red, blue or rainbow it feels it must strut the world stage while at home providing poorer health, education and social care than much of Europe and even some countries that till recently were considered third world.

    This will continue so long as government’s perceive this as a vote winner. Why it is I do not understand.

  23. @A. Brown
    I had already begun to write my previous post, and then I read yours!!! We were apparently thinking the same thing at the same time (synchronicity??) Anyway, there is a State Election in Saxony-Anhalt today, but its political significance is minor, because the outgoing administration is a grand coalition between CDU and SPD, and according to all polls it will be reelected comfortably (unless if a coalition SPD-Linke becomes arithmetically possible, because of the slight rise in SPD score, yet this seems politically unlikely since there seems to be a “conventio ad excludendum” in regard to the Left.)

  24. @Virgilio

    Not sure I would read everying into it nationally as the SPD has to get 30%+ to have any chance in 2013 even if it means problems in the Bundesrat.

    There is also a Bavaria poll which has the CSU on 46% (+2.6% from the awful 2008 result) which makes better reading for Merkel.

  25. @SoCalLiberal – “… the money has already been spent to make them. We might as well use them for a good purpose.”

    Another source gives $1,400,000 – average unit cost (TY$).

    Some sources give a figure of more like 2 million each including warhead.

    Also we are in “china shop” territory now (you pay for what you break).

    During the invasion of Iraq there was a 10 day “pause” to allow for re-stocking… let’s hope it doesn’t come to that (though the more missiles that are fired, the more production runs and the lower real unit costs become as a proportion of total program cost).

    Also we are in “china shop” territory now (you pay for what you break).

    Watching Obama yesterday many will have been as sad as he obviously was to have been rail-roaded into this “text book” use of the UN.

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