Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 39%, LAB 41%, LDEM 9% – another two point lead. Since the local elections the average lead in YouGov’s daily polls has dropped to just over 3 points, compare that to a peak in YouGov’s polls of a 9-11 point Labour lead for a while in mid-March.

The pattern of a shrinking Labour lead is consistent across the polling companies, with all the regular pollsters now showing the Labour lead dropping to the low single figures. There appears to be a genuine tightening of the polls since February and March when the Labour lead was generally between 6 and 10 points. YouGov’s daily government approval also appears to have improved – back in mid-March it got as low as minus 30 on a couple of occassions, and the percentage of people thinking the government was doing a good job fell into the 20s. In the last week has been hovering around minus 20, with the percentage of people approving of the government back into the low 30s.

Part of this will be down to the halo effect of the local elections – rightly or wrongly it was seen as a disappointment for Labour and better for the Conservatives than had been expected. However, I think there may well be an economic factor too. Figures on economic confidence and how well people think the economy is doing remain atrocious… but not quite as atrocious as a couple of months ago. Through February and March 77-80% thought the economy was in a bad state. In the last three YouGov/Sunday Times polls that’s fallen to 73-74%. We see the same pattern with the “feel good factor” (the proportion of people who think their financial position is going to improve minus the proportion who think it will get worse) – between January and mid-March it was around minus 55, since mid-March it has dragged itself into the minus 40s and was -45/46 in the last two Sunday Times polls.

These figures are the sort of thing we were seeing back at the tail end of 2010 – so it looks as if what actually happened over the last few months is that the negative growth and bad economic news at the start of 2011 knocked government popularity and temporarily pushed Labour’s lead up into the high single figures… since then economic optimism (while still dire) has improved marginally, and so has government support. For Populus, ICM, MORI and YouGov at least, we are back in a position where the Conservatives are retaining their General Election support, and the only change since the election is the fracturing of Lib Dem support towards Labour.

Not, of course, that public opinion can be boiled down to a single economic cause. Other factors will be also be wider perceptions of the government’s competence and ability (the rows about privatising forests, for example, have faded away and the NHS reforms have been paused), there may also be an Ed Miliband factor, since his negative ratings seem to be becoming more entrenched. There are no doubt plenty of other possible explanations too.

Will it last? Probably not, a halo effect from the local elections is by definition short lived, the country is certainly not out of the woods in economic terms, and there are certainly many unpopular cuts that still need to be implemented. The Conservatives are doing better than one may have expected (certainly I’ve made many comments here saying I expected Labour to open up a bigger lead after the May elections – I got that one wrong!) but I expect the government’s real mid-term blues will show up sooner or later…


176 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 39 LAB 41 LD 9”

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  1. So the post May election polling suggests that the Tories’ fortunes are linked to slightly improving economic conditions while the LDs are receiving no such benefit.

    This tells us:

    1) When the economy improves – the Cons benefit and LDs don’t.
    2) The LD poll rating is doomed to remain very depressed as they have taken all the flack for their senior coalition partners.

    More simply, the LDs take all the blame and the Tories take all the credit……

  2. “The Conservatives are doing better than one may have expected (certainly I’ve made many comments here saying I expected Labour to open up a bigger lead after the May elections – I got that one wrong!) but I expect the government’s real mid-term blues will show up sooner or later…”

    Yes-that’s certainly how I feel Anthony. There should be no question of Con supporters thinking the game has changed.

    The country has much pain to go through & we must expect the Government to suffer for it.

    ……however, to the extent that a perceived tightening of the lead produces more outbreaks of colour coded factions , it is welcome.

    I wonder what effect the falling support for Lab in the Scotland subsample is having…..perhaps a % point ?

  3. Not only Scots moving to the SNP, but disgruntled Tories moving back from UKIP have helped tighten the polls.

  4. As history tells us, the junior partner in the coalition always takes the beating, and the Liberal Democrats are no exception.

    Labour can do little to change it’s position until it either sets out alternative policies (risky) or the government makes some fundamental mistake.

    Plenty to come.

  5. I think we have to be careful in expecting Labour to receive too much of a benefit from The Cuts.

    Most polls still show Labour is getting the blame for our economic situation and the cuts that are happening/are still to come.

    Of course the Conservatives will probably get more unpopular as we move into mid term, but until the public stop blaming Labour for whats going on (and until Ed Miliband starts becoming more popular) That unpopularity may not mainfest itself as automatic popularity for Labour.

  6. The Blessed Anthony lives. Praise be – what a relief.

    On the polls, I’m really interested in whether there has been any research into the consumer confidence numbers and whether they are an accurate predictor of actual economic outcomes.

    I remember in the early days of the recession it took consumers a long time to realise that things were extremely serious. At present, there isn’t anything in the economic numbers over the last 6 – 8 weeks to suggest the position is improving, with all the key indicators suggesting growth is slowing rather than accelerating, but consumers seem to think it is better than it was.

  7. I do not actually see mid term blues happening. In fact by mid term the economy will probably be doing a lot better and I expect a big tory lead by then and a possible election. That is unless the restructuring of Greek debt shortly puts us all back in financial meltdown, but hopefuly the markets can take it.

  8. Mid term blues are a dead cert. The NHS Bill will probably be the catalyst, but if not that then it will be something else.

  9. Well- Labour currently holding steady at their reduced post May elections 41/42 level.

    Tories benefiting from small LD leakage and- I am assuming- some from ‘OTHERS’ as well. I am assuming this is the UKIP temporary returnees. Temporary though of course in the sense that they seem to float off to UKIP in between elections only…and return to Tory fold when it is time to place a ‘X’ !!!

    I cannot see how anyone can expect “big leads” for Labour (or Tories if they overtake Labour at some point between now and the next election).

    Why?

    Because- for the first time since 1981 we are in a two party system where the vast majority of GE voter intention is shared between Tory and Labour.

    That one simple fact makes “big leads” highly unlikely :D

  10. Hmm,

    Rob, I agree that we are in for a few years of a relatively high Tory + Labour vote share, but I am not sure that this would in of itself lead to narrow leads. If the Others (including LDs) are very low then surely the ebb and flow will be between the Big Two, so if one or the other stumbles and loses popularity the other would rise by an equal amount. That is a potential recipe for big leads, not small ones.

  11. Compared to the weekend’s Sunday Times poll (the one that had a Labour lead of 5%) this one had a sample size that was 229 bigger (2515 compared to 2286).

    But a very high proportion of those extra 229 were previous Con supporters. i.e. the 229 included:
    – 106 more who said they voted Con in 2010
    – 33 more who said they voted Lab in 2010
    – 52 more who said they voted LD in 2010

    So most of the narrowing in this particular poll is down to sample effects.

  12. “there may also be an Ed Miliband factor, since his negative ratings seem to be becoming more entrenched.”

    Cameron has been all over the news lately and while opposition always has the disadvantage of not having such a bully pupit I would be amazed if there weren’t some questions to be answered as to why EdM just isn’t coming across as much or as strong as he needs to.

    Nobody thinks there aren’t other major electoral factors or denies that he is still relatively new, but I honestly can’t believe labour supporters aren’t aware that he just isn’t seen as an effective leader of the opposition yet. He might yet turn it around but he has to start that sometime.

    I find myself longing for the hard hitting labour oposition that had John Major on the ropes time and again. That was impressive and demanded respect. The contrast now with the endless triangulation, focus grouping and softening of the message is stark. Unless EdM finds a core of steel he will always struggle against Cameron and the tory press.

  13. 39% represents the maximum for Tories over the last three months… it also represtents the minimum of Labour support for period on YouGov (Con minimum=33%, Lab maximum=45%), LD has been in the 11-8% range.

  14. Neil A

    “the ebb and flow will be between the Big Two, so if one or the other stumbles and loses popularity the other would rise by an equal amount. That is a potential recipe for big leads, not small ones.”

    Far from it IMHO

    What causes 9/10% plus leads (which are for me “big leads”) for a party in our system is the vote against them being split in some configuration.

    For example assume a three ‘major party’ system: you can be on 42% and others/ minor parties on 10%. That means your two nearest opponents are splitting 48% between them.

    Case A = a three way system
    Case B = a two way system (I prefer 2.5 but nobody uses that nomenclature)

    Case A = 42- 32-16 = lead of 10%
    Case B = 42-39-9 = lead of 3%

    The winning/ leading party gets *exactly* the same but has a lead three times bigger and into double figures in the 2-party scenario.

    You are assuming that the 80% currently indicating for red/blue are somehow fluid. But they are not they are pretty fixed i.e. its a TWO party system.

    Movements such as there are are from LD’s and various others into/ out of Labour / Tory *not* between Labour/Tory.

    There won’t be big leads unless and until one of two things happens:

    1) the coalition breaks down and the Lib Dems can extricate themselves from the clutch of the Tories. Therein lies the blues best hope of a “big lead” and a majority at the next election = the centre left *may* well be diluted by the yellows claiming they are back as a ‘progressive party”. A big ‘if’, But the only scenario in this current parliament where anyone is going to get a “big lead”.

    or

    2) Labour can land some HUGE blows on the Tories meaning they get direct blue-red defection. This is why it is SO important to forget the ‘red only win if yellow go down’ nonsense and instead of picking on Clegg attack the Tories and especially Osborne.

    Have a look at the poll numbers for the late 60’s and the 70’s- they are instructive for scenarios where the liberals are below 13/14% ;–)

  15. Willie Rennie (new Scottish LD leader) may be sealing the fate of his party.

    On Newsnight Scotland, he has set out his stall –

    1. firmly in support of Nick Clegg and the Coalition
    2. against LD theoretical policy on Scotland and in favour of the deal with the other Unionist parties.

    There was an opportunity to create a unique niche within Scotland, and he has blown it.

  16. To clarify – YouGov over the last 3 months:

    Con 39-33%, Lab 45-39%, LD 11-8%.

  17. @Rob,

    That pre-supposes that there are solid blocks of support for both parties. I reality I think a good 20% of the electorate are genuinely swing voters (either through open-mindedness, or almost complete disinterest). There is every chance that Labour or Tory support could dip down towards the low thirties. If that happens then perhaps the LDs will be the beneficiaries, but it’s not at all impossible that voters could transfer straight from blue to red or red to blue. If 40 all goes to 35/45, you haven’t seen that much movement in either score, but the lead goes from nothing to massive….

  18. All the criticism of Ed Miliband simply highlights how high our expectations of him are.

    Let’s consider Alex Salmond, the popular Man of the Moment ;-) He was leader of the SNP for 10 years & they won nothing at all. He took a 3 year break & then stood for re-election as leader; 4 years later the SNP formed a minority administration in the Scottish Parliament. 14 years as leader to be First Minister of an MSP minority administration.

    Ed Miliband has had about 8 months as leader. I mean really, folks need to take a breath…..
    8-)

  19. Neil A

    “I reality I think a good 20% of the electorate are genuinely swing voters”

    In terms of a UK GE VI we currently have 20% not in the red or blue block.

    Moreover IMO the ‘swing voter’ scenario has been significantly diluted by the first UK coalition government for 90 odd years.

    Opinions pro/ anti the government have hardened very quickly and there is not much sign- as I said- of much movement at all between red or blue. Its all to/ from minor/NATS parties and the Lib Dems to either red OR blue.

    This may be temporary/ it may well be just a function of us having a coalition and that we are back- for the moment- to “two party politics”.

    But that is where we are and the- currently old- adage of ‘target the swing voter’ is much less influential than in recent times.

    On the other hand the notion of ‘marginal seats’ is of more importance than it has been for a long time. Once we have the new boundaries and notional majorities then we will know where they are.

    Targeting geographically rather than demographically is going to be mightily important at the next GE.
    ****

    “There is every chance that Labour or Tory support could dip down towards the low thirties”

    If the coalition holds I can’t see Labour or Tories (if we are talking YouGov) falling below 33/34% for more than a few weeks at a time and when one does the other one will be no more than 8/9% ahead.

    I expect the YouGov poll gap- by and large (for the majority of the time but not all the time)- range between a 8% Labour lead and a 4% Conservative lead.

    If the coalition holds to the next election I expect either red or blue to win by less than 3%….

  20. “1. firmly in support of Nick Clegg and the Coalition”

    Yes, I caught some of that and it was pretty incredible.
    You get the feeling the any Lib Dem who reaches a position of power has to swear an undying oaoth of fealty to Nick on pain of death now. Even Tavish at least tried to distance himself from Clegg. No doubt there will be some heated discussions among his fellow Lib Dem MSPs in their taxi about which direction to drive next. ;-)

    “2. against LD theoretical policy on Scotland and in favour of the deal with the other Unionist parties.”

    He hummed and hawed and spent more time avoiding questions than answering them on that subject. He didn’t sound like a man who knew very much about the negotiations or final policy stance to be honest.

    Reality might sink in eventually but Rennie isn’t even on conversational terms with it yet.

  21. @ Rob Sheffield
    Have a look at the poll numbers for the late 60?s and the 70?s- they are instructive for scenarios where the liberals are below 13/14% ;–)
    I agree with your analysis, and would like to see these 60-70’s polls that back it up, if you’ve got a link?

  22. Amber

    “All the criticism of Ed Miliband simply highlights how high our expectations of him are.”

    I agree with you. However, that is entirely the fault of the Labour Party. You have chosen the route (along with the other UK parties) that a leader failing to win an election must immediately perform ritual self-disembowelment.

    If you chose the best person to lead the party, why would the expectation be that they go and be replaced by someone less able?

    I think the last Labour leader to carry on after losing an election was Harold Wilson.

  23. “Ed Miliband has had about 8 months as leader. I mean really, folks need to take a breath…..”

    First impressions do count though. As Anthony says Ed Milibands unpopularity is becoming increasingly “entrenched” When that happens it can be really hard to break out of it, especially for a leader of the opposition, because theres nothing they can do to change the publics perception of them – Unlike when your in government and you do have the ways and means of changing how people feel about you over time.

  24. Oldnat, are you actually suggesting Labour should have let Gord continue as leader? :O

  25. GIN

    If he was the best they had, then yes. If he wasn’t it was fairly daft to let him be crowned leader.

    Clearly my memory goes back further than yours, though. :-)

  26. Just because a train is hurtling towards disaster, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good idea to step out in front of it and wave your arms about…

  27. GIN

    For example, Jack McConnell wasn’t charismatic, but he was infinitely better than Iain Grey.

    McConnell disembowelled himself. Scots voters disembowelled Grey much more severely.

  28. @all

    “Ed Milibands unpopularity is becoming increasingly “entrenched””

    Not really. Tories don’t like him. Big shock. LDs don’t like him. Big Shock. Some Labour like him, and some are still to make up their mind. Big Deal.

    -22 seems par for the course against that background.

    Let me cross-post from what I wrote in the previous thread:

    2010 Con voters are still voting Con (90%)
    2010 Lab voters are still voting Lab (91%)
    2010 LD voters are split 13-38-36 (Con-Lab-LD).

    This really hasn’t changed in weeks, and there is no sign whatsoever of it moving. Add in the fact that sitting governments never improve their vote, and it’s difficult to see how the Tories can possibly win the next election.

  29. “If he was the best they had, then yes. If he wasn’t it was fairly daft to let him be crowned leader.”

    You said it. ;)

    In decades and centuries from now, political historians will still wonder how it was the Labour Party got rid of their most successful election winning machine and replaced him, unopposed, with Gordon Brown.

  30. “Add in the fact that sitting governments never improve their vote, and it’s difficult to see how the Tories can possibly win the next election.”

    A sitting government improved its vote in 1955 and 1983. And of course, we’ve just seen it happen again in Scottish Parliament.

    Yes its rare, but it can and does happen.

  31. @Gin

    “In decades and centuries from now, political historians will still wonder how it was the Labour Party got rid of their most successful election winning machine and replaced him, unopposed, with Gordon Brown.”

    Perhaps in decades they will but for now and at the next GE it makes not the slightest bit of difference :D

  32. It’s obviously an unwritten part of the UK constitution that a party leader can only win three times before being totally repudiated by his / her own party and then going hopelessly mentally ill.

  33. “Perhaps in decades they will but for now and at the next GE it makes not the slightest bit of difference ”

    I’m not sure about that. I suspect the spectre of Brown and the economic disater that befell the nation will haunt Labour for a long time to come – Think how long the Tories managed to play on the Winter of Discontent. They were still playing on it in 1992 some 13 years after the fact.

  34. @Craig

    “I agree with your analysis, and would like to see these 60-70?s polls that back it up, if you’ve got a link?”

    Sorry- you’ll have to go to the nearest University library that has a politics department.

    If you can get to such a University (or like me work in one) look at these esteemed tomes:

    ‘The British General Election of 1966’ by David Butler

    – and the equivalents for 1970 / the two 1974 elections and the 1979 election.

    They aren’t online/ google books etc. Those detailed studies contain the polling numbers both for during the term as well as during the campaign ;-)

    Though just the results of the elections in this period (and seat tallies) tells you the first thing you need to know…

  35. Gin

    “I’m not sure about that. I suspect the spectre of Brown and the economic disater that befell the nation will haunt Labour for a long time to come”

    Ah.

    I see.

  36. Latest YouGov table are already up by the way:

    http://today.yougov.co.uk/sites/today.yougov.co.uk/files/yg-archives-pol-sun-results-170511.pdf

    With regard to the reasons for the Tory mini-surge, it’s instructive to see what is happening to those who voted for them a year ago. Compared to mid-April, when about 85%-87% were still faithful, it’s now around 90% of those intending to vote. There is about one point change from UKIP (dropping from 5 to 4) and the rest elsewhere.

    However, the main change seems to be in the number who are now non-voters – this has dropped 3-4 points.

    These aren’t massive changes, but they’re enough to put the Conservatives up a couple of points in the headline figures. What seems to have happened is that the actual process of an election solidifies the Conservative vote somewhat. Those feeling a bit dissatisfied and flirting with another Party or the possibility of not voting, finally decide to stick with what they know. Because Tories tend to be more reliable in turning up to vote, this effect may be stronger for them.

    It’s impossible to say whether this is a regular phenomenon or not – because YouGov’s ‘daily’ polls are so recent, we’ve only got a year of data, and such movements couldn’t really be measured before when most pollsters were sampling at most once or twice a month. There just weren’t enough data-points to illustrate this sort of thing.

    Once again I have to say that we don’t realise how much these frequent polls should change the way we look at opinion data in this country. It really is like moving from still photography to film. I’d love to think that dozens of researchers in university departments of politics are producing new theses from them at the moment (probably nothing so practical, alas).

  37. @Gin

    “A sitting government improved its vote in 1955 and 1983. And of course, we’ve just seen it happen again in Scottish Parliament.”

    1955 – yes, but it’s so long ago as to be pretty much irrelevant

    1979 – Con got 43.9% (13.7m)
    1983 – Con got 42.4% (13.0m)
    A strange “improvement”.

    Scotland 2011 – of questionable relevance to Westminster.

    “I’m not sure about that. I suspect the spectre of Brown and the economic disater that befell the nation will haunt Labour for a long time to come”

    Is this the haunting that gives Labour a consistent poll lead?

  38. @ Rob Sheffield
    I had a feeling you might say that; they’re difficult to come by – thanks the recommendations in any case.

    @ Gin
    In decades and centuries from now, political historians will still wonder how it was the Labour Party got rid of their most successful election winning machine and replaced him, unopposed, with Gordon Brown.
    Blair wouldn’t have saved them from the catastrophe that awaited the whole New Labour project, and if you look at the elections if followed – namely the 2007 locals, it’s very easy to see why they’d do so.

  39. OldNat

    I think the last Labour leader to carry on after losing an election was Harold Wilson.

    Kinnock actually after 1987. Heath in 1974 was the last PM and last Tory leader. Of course they tend to go off in huff/be defenestrated even faster than their Labour opponents.

    As far as Rennie goes, you must remember that he’s worked for the Lib Dems, in England and Scotland, for nearly all his adult life. Presumably he’s deeply entrapped in the Westminster Village mindset (branch offices Holyrood and Cardiff Bay) and Party unity is always the first principle (at least in public) there.

    Whether he will try to reinvigorate things behind the scenes and (re)built an independent Scottish Liberal Democrats, or just go listening to his master’s voice, is another matter.

  40. “Is this the haunting that gives Labour a consistent poll lead?”

    It’s always worth pointing that one out.
    However lacklustre EdM is in his formative year, unless that poll lead disappears and labour falls behind in the polls and stays there, then he is quite safe and will get a fair wind from his followers.

    The conservatives also can’t duck out of the fact that they are in power so it’s their economic policies that will be judged come the next election, not Brown’s. We already had that election and Brown lost.

  41. Anthony

    While I remember, can you thank whoever improved the navigation on the YouGov Politics archive? Now it doesn’t constantly revert to the latest page for the current year all the time and I don’t go insane trying to compare different polls. Thanks. :D

  42. @Rob Sheffield – “Labour can land some HUGE blows on the Tories meaning they get direct blue-red defection.”

    The “economic disaster that befell the nation” paradigm will eventually begin to wear thin for the chattering classes, but only when a new narrative emerges that better explains the events of 2007-08, the period 2008- May 2010 and then the progression May 2010 to the present (date tba) day.

  43. Re “Can a sitting government improve its vote share?”
    Some statistics from EU in the last decade or so (2000-2001)
    France: It happened in 1st round of 2007 GE (UMP: 39.5% = +6.2), but it was reversed in the 2nd round, and so the UMP got 44 MPs less than in 2002, so practically it’s a no.
    Spain: It happened in 2008, when the Socialist PSOE got 43.9 = +1.3
    Greece: It happened in 2000, when Socialist PASOK got 43.8 = + 2.3
    Eire: It happened in 2002, when FF got 41,5= + 2.2
    Sweden: It happened in 2010, when center-right coalition got 49.4 = + 1.2, yet lost OM because of the entry of far-right SD in Parliament.
    Hungary: It happened in 2006, when center-left coalition between Socialists and Liberals got 49.7% = + 2.1
    Latvia: It happened in a spectacular way in 2010, when V+ZZS center-right coalition got 50.9% = +17.8, passing from simple majority to OM.
    In the other EU countries I am almost sure it never happened in the last decade, incumbent govt.s either lose or are reelected with smaller vote shares.
    Anyway, the question is rather badly formulated. In fact, in next GE it is certain that incumbent coalition, i.e. Tory + LD will get a smaller percentage than 59%, which was the two parties’ total in 2010. The real question is: Will the SENIOR partner of the sitting government improve its share of vote? In this respect I can quote, apart from the examples given above, the recent (2010) Slovak GE, when the Social Democrats increased remarkably their vote share from 29 to 35, yet lost power because of the demise of their allies. Also in 2007 GE in Poland, governing PiS got 32% (+5), but was ousted because of its two minor allies’ annihilation.

  44. Roger Mexico

    Kinnock. Thanks.

    As for Rennie – I like the HMV reference :-) I think he actually is sitting by the phonograph. Tavish Scott (in desperation) came out with the “why would I listen to London” line. Rennie could have run with that, but chose to reject it. I really can’t see his approach resonating in either the Highlands & Islands, or the Borders, or Edinburgh, or Dunbartonshire. Having lived in Fife, I doubt it will resonate in the NE of the Kingdom either.

  45. Labour improved its vote as a sitting government in 1966 and October 1974. Perhaps these are irrelevant as well. However, moving onto the modern era, there have been no one-term governments since 1979 and in fact only two elections in which the incumbent has lost.

    In the post-war era, there has been only one one-term government which lost power in the most exceptional of circumstances and while winning a plurality of the popular vote.

    So we have a regularity that has been broken on three occasions since WWII and a regularity that has only been broken once since WWII*. Do I put much stock in either? Nope. Every election is different and has its own dynamics. The 2015 election will be the first Westminister general election at the end of a coalition in the modern era, so any speculation about it is very presumptuous at this stage.

    I remember Tories back in 2008 saying that there was absolutely no way that they couldn’t win in 2010.

  46. Bill Patrick

    “I remember Tories back in 2008 saying that there was absolutely no way that they couldn’t win in 2010.”

    And I remember Labour in 2011 (oops!) saying that there was absolutely no way that they couldn’t win in 2011.

    And I remember David Steele(?) saying Liberals should go back to their constituencies and prepare for government.

    And I remember an SNP guy talking about Scotland being “free by’93”! :-)

    That’s why we need polls to bring a touch of realism to political supporters.

  47. @ Amber Star

    “All the criticism of Ed Miliband simply highlights how high our expectations of him are.

    Let’s consider Alex Salmond, the popular Man of the Moment He was leader of the SNP for 10 years & they won nothing at all. He took a 3 year break & then stood for re-election as leader; 4 years later the SNP formed a minority administration in the Scottish Parliament. 14 years as leader to be First Minister of an MSP minority administration.

    Ed Miliband has had about 8 months as leader. I mean really, folks need to take a breath…..”

    I think that people need to step back and talke a big cup of “Simma Down Na.”

    I have a feeling that many of the Ed critics are those that didn’t really want Ed to be your leader in the first place and are looking for the first chance to criticize him and get rid of him.

    @ Old Nat

    “That’s why we need polls to bring a touch of realism to political supporters.”

    Or maybe just elections or in some cases completed vote counts. :)

  48. SoCalLiberal

    “Or maybe just elections”. But you have to feel a bit sorry for the Brits. No election till 2015, and only marginal shifts in YouGov daily polls to sustain them till then.

  49. I don’t think anyone has yet commented on the section of yesterday’s YouGov poll here:

    http://today.yougov.co.uk/sites/today.yougov.co.uk/files/yg-archives-pol-sun-results-160511.pdf

    which may be the most important for political success or failure. These are the regular set of questions about the way the government is cutting spending to reduce the government’s deficit and it’s the first time they have been asked for 4 weeks (Bank Holiday two weeks ago).

    With the slight increase in Conservative fortunes in the last month, it’s not surprising that most of the responses show similar small changes towards them. However most still appear to be, often heavily against the policies. 47% v 35% think them ‘Bad for the economy’; 58% v 30% say they are being done ‘Unfairly’; 47% v 38% think the cuts are ‘Too deep’; 53% v 37% say they are being done ‘Too quickly’. Typically even up to half of Lib Dems and around 20% of Tories are unhappy.

    The killer question though is whether the cuts are ‘Necessary’. Here the answer is 59% agreeing, including 95% of Conservatives, 74% of Lib Dems and even 30% of Labour supporters. Only 31% disagree.

    Once voters accept the necessary nature of the cuts, it does not matter if they disagree about how the details work out. They will in the end support the government because they support its main aim.

    This even applies to who they think responsible for the cuts, though as it happens blame goes 26% to the Government, 41% to Labour (23% to both).

    Until Labour is able to replace the narrative of the ‘necessary cuts’ with something different, they will not convince the voters to switch to them in large numbers. Suggesting they would do things in a slightly nicer way won’t work – why go through the uncertainty of a change in government for only a small change in policy?

    Waiting for the voters to come crying back home from the cruel coalition won’t work either. The electorate likes to make up its own mind and doesn’t see the Labour years as some lost paradise.

    Expecting the Lib Dems to break up the coalition and put themselves at Labour’s beck and call is even less likely.

    Magical psephology that guarantees an inevitable win at the next election without any effort, will unfortunately be subject to the effects of reality.

    What Labour needs is a way of talking about the economy that does not ignore the deficit but equally does not make it the be-all and end-all. It also needs a way of talking about the cuts that delegitimises them and removes the ‘necessary’ tag from them. But more of that at a more sensible time of day. [Always leave them wanting more, eh?]

  50. Roger Mexico,

    I’m not even sure if the economy should be Labour’s target. Apart from the 1970s, hasn’t Labour always won majorities on the basis of being the party putting forward an attractive vision of the public services? Labour have to be ready to trade punches on public service visions in 2015, because this is an obsession for Cameron.

    I thought that Labour might have missed a great opportunity with Andy Burnham, whose “Aspirational Socialism” had the beginnings of a mighty policy vision. I think that Labour’s policy review will have a big impact (one way or the other) on the 2015 election. Ed has to get it right in order to win decisively. Governments may lose elections, but oppositions never win them by default.

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