Tonight’s YouGov poll has topline figures of CON 36%, LAB 43%, LDEM 9% – a seven point Labour lead, so pretty much par for the course in YouGov’s recent daily polls. Full update to follow tomorrow once the tables are up.


50 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 36, LAB 43, LDEM 9”

  1. Ballpark trend VI- what was the net approval this time?

  2. -27%

  3. how many governments at this stage of their term have had poll leads.

  4. Ta- slightly worse government negative than we have seen of late…

  5. Surprised to see the Tory VI holding up so well after what the Telegraph editorial calls “an accident filled week for David Cameron”:

    “There is a danger that, if the Coalition’s behaviour is seen as being too erratic, too often, the opposition’s claims about its lack of competence will begin to stick, and to wound.”

  6. Government approval slipping again. VI pretty stuck.

    Given the negatives around at the moment, I am really surprised this lead isn’t opening up.

    Two interesting stories in the papers today:-

    An Ipsos Mori study of Labour’s £25m Find Your Talent initiative , on “removing barriers to access” to cultural experience for children from poor backgrounds, found that older boys, ethnic minority groups and those eligible for free school meals were least likely to participate… while younger children, girls and those from white and less deprived backgrounds were most likely to do so.’

    Professor Alan Smithers, director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at Buckingham University, said: ‘It’s difficult to intervene in this way as you are relying on parents to take the opportunity for their children. The middle-class parents are more likely to be able to see the opportunity and seize it while too many parents of poor children and also from certain ethnic minorities are indifferent so their sons and daughters will miss out.’

    Doh…!.

    Labour’s £55 bn BSF programme “wasted” 30% of it’s cash according to an independent report.
    [snip – AW]

  7. ….I wonder whether people really are nervous about the prospect of Balls in charge of the economy again?

    I mean is it really credible for him to tell GO to limit his support for Portugal, when the rules were set up under Labour?

    I know EB has a thick skin & focuses on attacking Tories to the exclusion of all else……but surely you have to make some effort to seem credible ?

  8. Colin

    Of course, Smithers is right. That’s always the case with such programmes.

    But would Labour be concerned about these outcomes? Their whole thrust in this century has been to assume the support of their core vote (and they have taken certain measures to shore that up) while making inroads to Middle England.

  9. @ Colin,

    Find Your Talent initiative , on “removing barriers to access” to cultural experience.

    So now we know how difficult it can be for older boys & children of certain ethnic groups to gain access to such experiences.

    So what have we learnt? That those children need access to valuable experiences through school or other means. That reliance on parents, who may themselves have been cut-off from such experiences, may not be the best way to assist these children.

    Like I said, if we hadn’t tried, we wouldn’t know.
    8-)

  10. OldNat

    THanks

    If you are suggesting they are hopelessly naive at dreaming up these schemes -and totally incapable of managing any significant spending ( MoD !!!) , then I can only agree with you.

    But why would they not be concerned ? You imply that their “core vote” couldn’t care less about how they spend taxpayers money. I,m not sure if that would really be true…but Middle England surely encompasses groups who are very attuned to value for money?

    Maybe I misunderstood you ?

  11. Amber

    I ( & a few million others) could have told them -for £25, let alone £ 25m-that it’s the quality of parenting , not the social or financial background which influences a child’s interests & enthusiasms.

  12. Will read any responses in the morning-long day with two grandchildren in residence -a week of it to come.

    Great-but knackering :-)

  13. Colin

    My guess would be that Labour wouldn’t be bothered about those parts of Middle England most concerned about cutting public spending, but keen to get the votes of those who have managed to access it for their own benefit.

    Have fun with the grandkids (my 2nd should be born on Thursday!)

  14. @ Colin

    I’m going to contradict you & be thankful that, when I was a child, nobody asked you if it was worth spending money on cultural experiences for the likes of me.

    The access i had to books, art, dance, music & drama, via libraries, school, summer schools & other inclusion initiatives still means the world to me many years down the line.

    As to it depending on the parent(s), my mother had five kids & was working two manual jobs. How sharp do you think her elbows were?
    8-)

  15. @Colin – “Two interesting stories in the papers today:-…”

    There were a lot more than two interesting stories – and some of them were critical of the government!.

    [My favourite – the one in the Telegraph that describes Cameron’s NHS plans as ‘FUBAR’. In the Telegraph!. Whatever next?]

  16. Amber

    It’s dangerous to argue from the personal to the general.

    A bit of work I did a few years ago in a very deprived Scottish town showed that those kids whose parents made a placing request for them (normally from one Primary school serving an area of deprivation to a similar one) had higher attainment.

    While I couldn’t get funding to take the research further, my hypothesis was that the simple fact that their was parental concern and care created a family environment that nurtured success.

    I’ll retract my approval of Smithers above somewhat, because it seems more likely that class is not the significant variable, but is simply correlated with it.

    Deprived areas have higher levels of stressed and/or “chaotic” families than more affluent ones.

    Without targetted interventions for those kids who need enrichment most, enrichment programmes will be accessed by those who are already advantaged by a stable and caring background.

  17. I imagine that a well-specified building constructed according to exacting specifications and intended to last another 30-50 years probably costs substantially more than a jerry-built prefab that will blow down in a light breeze. But why should state school oiks have access to proper classrooms, when they can all be crammed into a cheap shed at much lower cost to the public purse?

  18. @Robin – funny you should mention ‘jerry built prefabs’.

    Having just skimmed through the James review its main recommendations are for greater central purchasing, standardised school designs and increased use of ‘off site construction’.

    I’m just wondering how centrally defined criteria fits with localism.

  19. @OldNat

    [carried over from previous thread]

    “A cautionary tale. 40 years ago (when the SNP were still a minor party), a number of members stood for councils for exactly that reason. When lots of them were elected you could almost hear the collective “Oh sh!t” from the new Councillors.”

    The last time the seat was contested in 2007, the approximate vote was 48-4-48. Even allowing an optimistic 50% of the previous LD vote switching to Labour (giving 48-28-24), that would still require an additional 10% Con-to-Lab swing. I’m feeling fairly safe :-)

    And if I do win, I will console myself with the thought that very few Tories or LibDems retained their seats anywhere in the country wherever there was a Labour candidate standing.

  20. @Colin

    “The middle-class parents are more likely to be able to see the opportunity and seize it while too many parents of poor children and also from certain ethnic minorities are indifferent so their sons and daughters will miss out.’

    and

    “….it’s the quality of parenting ,not the social or financial background which influences a child’s interests & enthusiasms”

    ***

    The operative two words within these passages of yours are ‘MIDDLE’ and ‘CLASS’.

    What Labour tried to do (in this century *as well* as previous centuries) was reduce the impact of your accident of birth- by both social and economic policy- on your life chances.

    Take just one (of a panoply of recent measures)- the much maligned (and threatened) SureStart. The National Evaluation of Sure Start (NESS) recently stated:

    “For the time being, it remains plausible, even if by no means certain, that the differences in findings across the first and second phases of the NESS Impact Study reflect actual changes in the impact of SSLPs resulting from;

    * the increasing quality of service provision
    * greater attention to the hard to reach and the move to Children’s Centres
    *as well as the greater exposure to the programme of children and families in the latest phase of the impact evaluation.”

    But crikey- those middle and upper class parental elbows sure don’t want to make it easy for us working class kiddoes who might best their little darlings.

    Twas always so unfortunately: for our society and economy as well as vast swathes of the population: the soon-to-be (again) ‘undeserving poor’).

    It was so even when I was a nipper and made it to grammar school in the late 1970’s. To be surrounded by the offspring of sharp elbows who’d paid huge amounts to have them coached for the exams for years beforehand.

    I got the bus fare from my mum to get to the hall on the day of the entrance exam.

    ;-)

  21. @ Old Nat

    It’s dangerous to argue from the personal to the general.
    ———————————————————–
    But I didn’t.

    I responded to Colin’s comment about the initiative & the Mori Poll findings, saying it improves our [empirical] knowledge of the situation.

    Colin then moves to the anecodotal i.e. he says he could’ve told the government what the outcome would be for £25 & saved us some money.

    As Colin had moved the debate to an emotive level, I engaged with him on those terms in my next comment.
    8-)

  22. Julie Burchill- a fellow Bristolian with working class roots- wrote a piece in the wake of ‘intern-gate’ that touches on some of the things discussed above. Particularly how it’s fashionable for the middle and upper classes to condescend to the working class: even when relying on them for ideas or credibility (some might say leeching).

    Its worth the read IMHO

    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/columnists/julie-burchill/julie-burchill-the-unions-have-been-demonised-so-the-bullies-have-taken-their-place-2264134.html

  23. Amber

    Ah! I misunderstood.

  24. Amber

    Scotland on Sunday doesn’t seem to be impressed by the Labour strategy

    http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/opinion/Leader-Insult-to-voters.6749056.jp

    “This is not a Westminster election, this is an election for the Scottish Parliament. This is not Labour against the Tory cuts, they are already against the Tory/Lib Dem cuts in Westminster and a fat lot of good it is doing anyone. Labour’s anti-Thatcher crusade did it a turn at last year’s Westminster election and you can see why they would be keen to rally that support again, but it is cynical opportunisism and lays bare their view of the electorate.”

  25. @Oldnat

    Interesting that. The Scotsman said today:

    “The SNP has been accused of misleading voters after it emerged that its plans for a local income tax would leave a shortfall of nearly £800 million.

    That means the new tax would have to be higher than the 3p promised by the party to ensure that it matches the total amount currently collected from the council tax.

    First Minister Alex Salmond has *gone to court to prevent publication of a separate paper* prepared by government chief economist Andrew Goudie setting out the impact of the tax, after information commissioner Kevin Dunion ruled that it should be made public. However, the costs emerged in a leaked report yesterday.”

    Covered with prominence in the Daily Record as well….

    Nothing like freedom of information and transparent and honest government huh LOL !!!

  26. @ Alec

    ‘off site construction’
    —————————–
    That’s pre-fabs, yes?

  27. @Amber

    I think that was Alec’s point. And I thought I was being facetious in my post, but apparently not.

  28. >Common factor?-Mr “spend spend spend “Balls

    Isn’t this well over the line into political hyperbole? I come here to read about poll results not rhetoric.

  29. Rob Sheffield

    Of course, they covered the story. That’s what papers are supposed to do. Just like they covered the Iain Grey running away from protesters story, and the Danny Alexander not backing the LD version of privatising Scottish Water debt, and industry not supporting the Tory/LD ideas of pupils leaving school at 16.

    As to the Record, you might like to compare their version of the Iain Grey story with everyone else’s – and even the comments on the story on the online version.

    With the Record, there is no difference between their editorials and their “reporting”. Newspapers are different.

  30. Correction

    Tory/LD ideas of pupils leaving school at 14

  31. @ Old Nat

    Yes, Scotland on Sunday have picked up on the point that I made in my comment to you. It’s a straight up or down strategy; voters will either like it or loathe it. It’s not long ’til we find out.
    8-)

  32. Amber

    More appropriately, some voters will like it and others won’t. The question is how many of each?

    Did you see the report of George Galloway’s campaign launch?

    He’d make an ideal SLAB leader –

    “I’m agin everything. I’ll shout and I’ll roar, and I’ll thcream and I’ll thcream till I’m thick” but [quote] “I’m not saying if we get in we’ll be able to build houses for people who need them or fill in the potholes.”

  33. @ Old Nat

    “He’d make an ideal SLAB leader -”

    I suppose if you wanted to keep the SNP in power for a really long time. Or split apart the Labour Party in Scotland, I mean he’d be great for that. Lol. :)

    That guy is to Labour what Marion Berry is to the Democratic Party.

  34. @ Old Nat

    ““This is not a Westminster election, this is an election for the Scottish Parliament. This is not Labour against the Tory cuts, they are already against the Tory/Lib Dem cuts in Westminster and a fat lot of good it is doing anyone. Labour’s anti-Thatcher crusade did it a turn at last year’s Westminster election and you can see why they would be keen to rally that support again, but it is cynical opportunisism and lays bare their view of the electorate.””

    The first part of the paragraph is important. Labour can’t run against what’s not there (well they can try and they might succeed if voters aren’t paying attention). However successful their lines against the Tories might be, those lines don’t work against an SNP that is largely opposed to the Tory agenda just as much as Labour is.

  35. OldNat

    Thanks-& congratulations-another tiny bundle of pleasure & lifetime expense :-)

    Amber

    Thank you. I remember your childhood story-your mother sounds a fantastic person.

    She quite clearly did not have the indifference to your future which Smithers refered to. The sad thing for the children who missed out was that the money was made available-but they didn’t have parents like your mother.
    They didn’t need sharp elbowed parents-just parents with imagination with dedication to their children which transended their lack of money-like yours, & mine.

    Alec

    Good research-I walked into that one:-)

    I think you will find that the criticisms of BSF school design predate this review. They centre on the design aspect-over engineering, arty architecture , impractical design outcomes, and all the consultancy fees which go with it-together with a very bureacractic approval system which cost LAs considerable sums of money.

    I must away & find a source of my contention with humble working class credentials :-)

  36. Alec

    “There were a lot more than two interesting stories – and some of them were critical of the government!.”

    Your quite right.

    It has been a very bad period for the Government.

    I am really surprised that VI hasn’t moved more dramatically against them.

    I was always hopeful that the Balls appointment to shadow GO would produce a a dramatic faux pas / implosion at some stage for Labour.

    But I’m beginning to feel that sight & sound of Ballsian hypocricy , selective memory & eye bulging aggression is building up a more gradual & sustainable effect ;-)

  37. @ colin

    I am really surprised that VI hasn’t moved more dramatically against them.

    __________________________________________

    Probably offset by DC and Samanth slumming it on Ryaniar.

    “Were all it it together”

    :D

  38. @Colin – I’m sure there as waste in the BSF program, even though the aims were laudable and there have been some pretty stunning sucess stories alongside other tales of woe. Equally, I’m sure the James review isn’t an out and out assasination attempt on the program and does have some validity.

    However, I was unimpressed by the section on my own area – energy consumption. It implied that BSF schools have rising energy costs but the analysis was poor, appeared to be somewhat selective and offered little in depth explanation and no means to check the vailidity of the conslusions. Energy costs were based on total spend with no apparent attempt to normalise the figures to account for unit cost increases. They imply that BSF schools suffer increasing energy costs but they offer no analysis of things like opening hours, usage or changes in facilities such as increased computer numbers etc. This section of the report at least looks pretty shoddy, but I can’t comment on the rest.

    I smiled at the recommendations to use centrally standardised designs and prefab construction as a healthy chunk of my turnover these last three years has been working on energy efficiency in schools. These have mainly fallen into two categories – solid brick Victorian buildings and 1950 – 1970 standard prefab construction ‘CLASP’ designs.

    The Victorian ones can be treated, although it can get quite expensive. The CLASP buildings are by and large a disaster zone – if you’re lucky you can leave the steel frame and rebuild the walls, but otherwise it’s a total rebuild.

    They were state of the art once, designed centrally without any teachers and parents ‘visioning’ exercises(those pesky expensive things that BSF wasted their money on but told designers what schools actually wanted) and were built for speed of construction and low capital cost.

    Ho hum – perhaps in twenty years time I’ll keep my business going with more remedial work on quick built, centraly designed schools?

  39. @Colin – re VI and the Tories.

    I suspect it would have moved much harder against them had there not been a coalition – if the Lib Dems had been a half way house for anti government protests.

    While the VI slip for Cameron isn’t on the face of it too bad, we should remember that we are less than a year since a thumping defeat of Labour. I would also be very worried as a Tory by flicking through the news reports and seeing just how many times the word ‘incompetent’ keeps cropping up. I’ve seen it in four seperate papers this wekend alone.

    They are getting a reputation (well deserved in my view) as hapless – this could easily turn into something terminal and is remarkable (and possibly unique) for a PM in post for just 11 months.

  40. So far UK polling shows a relative stability of the political system, with a swift recovery for Labour at the expense of LD (this was expected after the latters’ “treason”, but maybe not so quickly) and a more or less stable Tory VI. What emerges, though, from the other three major EU countries (Germany, France, Italy) is a picture showing signs of disintegration of the center-right. In France, Sarkozy is struggling in the polls with Marine LePen for the second place, and minor centrist candidates now plan to form a centrist alliance around J.L. Borloo (whose centrist “Radical Party”, the older French party in fact, decided to abandon its partnership with Sarkozy’s UMP). In such a scenario, UMP risks to plunge below 20%, which will be unheard of for a major French center-right party. In Germany the incumbent coalition seems already doomed, and for the first time the sum of Greens+SPD exceeds 50% in two distinct April polls. Berlusconi’s government is artificially maintained alive (through a bunch of deserters from various parties, presumably “selling” their votes to Il Cavaliere), but the polls are for the first time disastrous: The center-left alliance seems now to have a lead even without a broader alliance with the centrist pole, and in some polls the Democratic Party is now first, ahead of Berlusconi’s PDL, where many dissonant voices are now heard. There are even two polls showing that center-left could take Milan from the center-right in next May’s mayoral election, and if this happens, it will be a real earthquake, as Milan is the capital of the Berlusconian Empire and has never seen a progressive mayor since SB’s involvement in politics (if this circus can be still call politics!).

  41. Alec

    thanks

    You clearly have experience of construction criteria-I don’t.

    Let’s just say that my very clear impression is that Labour concentrated on school buildings ( which were sorely needed) to the detriment of school teaching.
    Ultimately it is the education which children get which matters to them. Labour’s record speaks for itself.

    THanks for your tip on government “incompetence”. I don’t keep too keen an eye out for it as I know that you will have a comprehensive record :-)-though I agree that there are signs of things not being handled as best they could…….alongside much that I like in a daunting programme of necessary change from the results of what went before.

  42. @Virgilio

    Interesting what you said about Italy considering the BBC said the left was in a’ bad state’ there.

    Germany is very interesting. In most polls the SPD is barely ahead of the Greens nationally with the CDU/CSU on 33 but there is a clear centre -left majority. So there could possibly be an SPD chancellor on a poor vote share.

    One factor which has not been picked up on is the stagnation of die linke who are now below their 2005 level.

  43. Rob

    “To be surrounded by the offspring of sharp elbows who’d paid huge amounts to have them coached for the exams for years beforehand.”

    I’ve been thinking about this remark during a pre-breakfast game of cricket (!)

    My experience was totally unlike yours.

    I went to Grammar School from a council house.
    My classmates included the children of farmers , hoteliers & shopkeepers, as well as those from very humble dwellings indeed. There was no sense of difference between us. I played with these children at their homes & counted them as friends.
    My mother took in sewing & dressmaking from the owner of a very large country house ( now one of NT’s most spectacular properties). She counted the lady owner as a friend-who came to my father’s funeral unbidden & unexpectedly.

    I have no childhood recollections of class divide whatsoever.

    How to explain such different experiences?

    I can only think of two reasons :-

    THe decade in which I went to Grammar School was probably a good deal earlier than you, and I see it now as a kind of age of innocence, compared with the aggressive loadsamoney attitudes which sit side by side with institutionalised dependency & victimhood today.

    Secondly-this was in the rural southwest. I don’t know your childhood background-but if it was in an urban environment, perhaps there was a “harder edge” there, than in the environment of my country childhood.

    All very interesting-these things shape us .

  44. @Colin – as ever with these things, it’s either all or nothing with the media. It does look like they have turned somewhat against the new government, and this just makes life harder, even when you do good things.

    I read one news article with an apocryphal story about Neil Kinnock’s media advisers working out what they would need to do to get some good press coverage. In the end they decided he had to walk on water, so he duly walked across the Thames. The next days Sun headline was ‘Kinnock Fails to Swim River’.

    My view is that while the government has plenty of ideas, some of which are good, in common with his time in opposition, there is a lack of forward thinking. They just don’t seem to appreciate what events will flow from which decisions and genuinely seem unprepared for government, even when they try and do the right thing.

  45. Update on pension reforms; I posted on an earlier thread about the risk to the state second pension from the new proposals and it looks like I was mistaken. The announcement is clear that any entitlements to SP2 will be honoured, meaning that in effect there will be a two tier pension scheme.

    The pension increase overall will be around £3 pw in practical terms, with no facility to increase this via the second pension, with no consequent cut in NI payments it seems. In effect, it’s a huge cut in pension entitlement, not the big boost that has been spun.

    To get an idea how big a cut this is, for someone working 40 years on £10,000 pa they would have qualified for an additional £60pw under the SP2 (todays money) on top of the basic state pension. Now they won’t, and will only be £3PW over the current guaranteed minimum instead of £25 previously, so a loss of over £20 pw.

  46. Alec

    Maybe-or maybe the huge agenda of fundamental change, across the board which they see as necessary ( & whether one agrees or not is merely politics) was always going to throw up mistakes & problems.

    Was it ever possible to pre-plan with exactitude for addressing :-

    The biggest public finances imbalance for *( put your own number in ) years.
    An economy losing 5% plus in it’s unsustainable FS content.
    Failing Educational standards..
    Mass immigration with structural youth unemployment.
    A Welfare dependency crisis.
    Defence spending out of control.

    ….. ?

    Must go now-the beach beckons :-)

  47. @Colin and Rob Sheffield

    I found this from Colin’s post very interesting and hints at a different perspective on social mobility – “THe decade in which I went to Grammar School was probably a good deal earlier than you, and I see it now as a kind of age of innocence, compared with the aggressive loadsamoney attitudes which sit side by side with institutionalised dependency & victimhood today.”

    Firstly, I have to make the point that grammar schools did not improve social mobility. They benefited some people, but at the expense of the 75% who went to secondary moderns, and while there was a major and oft quoted study that suggested they aided mobility overall, this has been widely criticised and the same evidence has been re evaluated by other researchers who have found no evidence that social mobility overall declined with the loss of grammar schools. It seems clear that those who benefited from going to grammar schools also benefit from going to comprehensives.

    My main point though, and the one that Colin might unconsciously have hinted at, is the fact that we are obsessed with the methods of achieving social mobility (grammar schools, benefits, Sure Start etc) but not the landscape in which these schemes operate. The larger the gap, the fewer people will be able to traverse it – increasing social mobility is dependent on reducing the disparity in wealth between the richest and the poorest.

    In the heyday of grammar schools this gap was much smaller, and much easier to cross than it is today. Similarly the fear amongst those at the top that they might slip down the ladder was much less. I don’t recall the frenzy among middle class parents to buy a house in the right school catchment area or pay for additional tuition in my youth, for example.

    All the efforts at improving social mobility are focused on the bottom end of the spectrum. In my view, we need a comprehensive approach to this that also tackles the excess at the top. Cabinet Ministers giving up their tax free trust funds would be a good example to start with.

    There is a myriad of solid research evidence that shows social mobility, crime rates, poverty and social unrest all decline as the income and wealth gap grows – this should be the central message on the topic of social mobility.

  48. ALEC
    They are getting a reputation (well deserved in my view) as hapless – this could easily turn into something terminal and is remarkable (and possibly unique) for a PM in post for just 11 months.

    Astonishing how quickly you’ve forgotten Cameron’s predecessor! Two in a row just might be unique!

  49. @Barbaznzero – fair cop. I should have said ‘a government in post for just 11 months’, which was my intended meaning.

  50. Alec

    You are right about bridging the gap.

    Over much of Scotland’s history the gap was even smaller for even the rich were mostly relatively poor.

    Important though primogeniture was, the gene pool was small and limited by geography Social mobility in both directions via a generation in the clergy – was common.