The monthly Populus poll for the Times has topline figures of CON 39%(+2), LAB 40%(+1), LDEM 9%(-2). This is the lowest level of Lib Dem support that Populus have shown so far, and the first time they’ve shown them dropping into single figures (YouGov have regularly shown single figure Lib Dem scores, but Populus have tended to show them a couple of points higher).

Populus also asked whether people trusted Miliband & Balls or Cameron, Osborne & Clegg to run the economy better. Cameron, Osborne and Clegg led Miliband & Balls by 41% to 23%, a significant shift from when Populus last asked the question in March when the lead was 44% to 33%.


258 Responses to “Populus/Times – CON 39, LAB 40, LDEM 9”

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  1. Does anybody have the tables?

  2. I wonder what moved the Labour economic trust rating by ten points?

    Did Balls say something ?

  3. Colin,
    I would suggest that the lack of any sort of Labour economic policy would cause the decline.
    There’s only so long you could back no policy over (in the view of the people who backed them before) bad policy.

    If it were that the Tory policy looked more palatable, there’d surely be an increase in preference for the Tories?

  4. Please tell me this isn’t a telephone poll? The economy.numbers are just plain loopy. Labour lead but the Tories have a 2-1 advantage on the economy? Really?

    If YG show a widening of the Lab lead tonight (which I expect, after the biggest government U-turn since the Yew-turn, Populus are going to look rather silly.

  5. @colin
    IMF I should think.

  6. @RAF
    Do you remember just a week ago the IMF told Balls he was wrong and told Osborn he was right. What else does the average punter have to go on ? Just because you don’t like it, inaccuracy does not naturally follow.

  7. @LordTory
    I neither like nor dislike it. A poll is a poll. But it’s a wacky poll. How can the tories be 20pc ahead on the main issue of the day, yet be behind on VI?

  8. @RAF
    Quite easily, Tory government hurts. We should be going more slowly, more cautiously, less brutally. But in their hearts a majority don’t believe it, even if they would love to believe it. The IMF have just confirmed matters.

  9. Who were the polling company behind Lord Ashcroft’s “Tory 2015 majority” report? Since in that it shown a fairly large Tory – Labour gap on handling of the economy (larger than the one shown here in fact).

    So the handling of the economy figure could definitely be right; and perhaps the Tory support is simply lower due to the barrage of negative headlines, and people believing that Tory policies on (say) the NHS are/were wrong for the country?

  10. @TRISTAN PERRY
    Just so, Tristan. Speaking of the NHS, 9% does not suggest that Clegg is getting much credit for saving it. Indeed, Populus have been more generous to the LDs than other pollsters in the recent past.

  11. @LordTory and Tristan Perry
    I hear what you say and it’s undoubtedly true that the Tories have a lead across all pollsters on the economy. But I still find it illogical that a 20pc advantage nationally on such a crucial issue would not lead to la VI lead.

    Either the VI is suspect, or the economy numbers are.

  12. @LordTory
    Yep that is a good point; you would have expected to see a Lib Dem bounce (or perhaps their former voters are so ‘turned off’ from the Lib Dems that ‘only’ the NHS reforms isn’t enough to get them back onboard?)

    To all: The Ashcroft polling I referred to was:

    http://www.lordashcroft.com/pdf/14052011_project_blueprint.pdf

    Turns out it isn’t a full weighted poll, but is instead a poll of various groups (Tory voters, first-time 2010 Tory voters, and possible Tory voters). It’s showing a 48% Tory-Labour economic lead (page 25), which is probably a ‘tad’ too high.. but it might well be the case that the Tories are leading Labour by a double digit amount on the economy (but simply not at the Ashcroft poll levels).

  13. (Should have been cleared – when I said “probably a tad too high”, I was being sarcastic! I can’t imagine the true lead is anything like that high)

  14. Valerie and Colin
    Profound thanks

  15. LibDems had John Pugh on the NHS on TV today – he was awful. Apparently he;s 63 years old and looks 80. Come back Lembit all is forgiven

  16. I think it is the IMF stuff. They have previous, of course in recommending austerity only to bring in disaster. I think these figures will flip by mid 2012 – when the deficit keeps growing an economy remains stagnant. Labour do have a policy – essentially Darling’s that they lost the election on – it was right then, right now.

  17. @lordtory

    Do you remember just a week ago the IMF told Balls he was wrong and told Osborn he was right…

    Out in the real world I can’t imagine the IMF has much influence on what people think. Most people probably think it (IMF) is a new kind of drug or an Italian football team!

    If the figures are moving in favour of the Conservatives it is probably because – thus far – things have not been as bad as expected for a lot of people.

    Whether this will change or not remains to be seen.

  18. Whether the Tory vote would stay at 37-39% if they called a general election, of course is a different matter altogether. I suspect that if a general election were called today, they’d manage a small majority.

    Overall, the Tories would be delighted with how things are going. They’d be even more delighted if they could stay on at least 36% in the next 36 months.

  19. Interesting to see the Liberals are still plunging to new depths this late a stage in the game…

  20. YouGov/Sun results 13th June

    CON 37%, LAB 42%, LD 10%; APPROVAL -22

  21. So the 8 point Labour YouGov lead earlier last week was definitely an outlier. Taking all the pollsters into account, I’d say the lead is now probably around 3%.

  22. Barney

    “Valerie and Colin
    Profound thanks”

    I am also keen that you continue to post your views. :-)

  23. LordT

    Interesting observation on NHS & the LibDem VI.

    I think you’re right-all that crowing -won’t help them much.

    YG steady as she goes again-Approval not taking a dive either-thought it might. :-)

  24. Interesting YouGov data. Yep, the Labour lead does seem to be settling at around 4-5%. I thought that the Tory support would fall with Lib Dem support rising a couple of %. Seems that perhaps people have simply made up their minds (at this stage) and so a recent comment that the Labour lead will probably stay at 2-6% throughout 2011 might well turn out correct.

  25. @Colin,

    As a Tory, you should be delighted with how the polls have gone. I know I would be if I were a Tory.

    Labour needs to really lay bear its vision. That, and set out a viable financial plan.

  26. Ed M is going to build an alternative econoimic strategy in tune with increasingly bad economic news. A sensible approach in my view and indicative of a man who is not going to be hassled into changing his approach.

    I seem to be the only person on here who has had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Ed M and you’ll have to take my word for it but i found hinm to be an impressive guy.

  27. @Tristan,

    “Yep, the Labour lead does seem to be settling at around 4-5%”

    Only in Yougov polls. Across all pollsters, the lead is probably around 2-3% because other pollsters are typically showing a 0-3% lead.

  28. Today was the first significant policy statement from EM.

    It was on Welfare-clearly they had been told in their consultations that Labour let too many idle sods get away with it.

    It was a BIG signal -“Responsibility” the key word-repeated over & over again.

    But this just moves Labour onto ground already occupied by IDS-and ironically ground which Purnell wanted to occupy, but abandoned in frustration. It doesn’t open up a unique Labour position.

    So it was really just a mea culpa & a belated one at that.

    What will it do to Labour VI?

    Did many listen to it?
    Does anyone care?

    If the VI response is positive I suppose we will see more apologies & self flagellation.

    If the VI response is a lemon-what’s the point of more apologies?

    …………just thinking :-)

  29. @David,

    I’m not sure the economic news will get worst given what has come before. I think we will be seeing positive, albeit very slow growth in 2011. After that, I can see growth picking up, though I do expect a slow and drawn out recovery like all forecasts are predicting. Having said that, I do think things may get tougher, in many respects, for the average household for a while.

    It’s interesting that no economist is yet forecasting anything less than 2%+ growth by 2014. I know forecasts are subject to revision but it does indicate that despite the pessimism amongst many economists, they are still confident it will improve by the end of this government’s term in office. That is why I worry Labour has little chance at the next general election unless it gets stuck in now!

  30. Shame that neither the Populus nor the YouGov tables are yet available. I suspect that both will turn out to be pretty consistent once you allow for Populus’s turnout adjustment and their reallocation of don’t knows back to 2010 allegiances.

    Elsewhere, a real poll took place today, which hopefully will prompt a fuller update from Virgilio. In short, the Italian ultra version of our own modern day Flashman seems at last to be staring the exit door in the face, with another confidence vote looming on 22nd June.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/13/us-italy-referendum-idUSTRE75C2VD20110613

  31. AMBIVALENT

    “As a Tory, you should be delighted with how the polls have gone”

    I am certainly not delighted- because its just far too early. Delight would not feel right.

    The effect of the cuts will be cumulative over the Parliament. If Alec is to be believed the economy is going to tank. There is every chance that Cons can lose support badly.

    I certainly thought a bigger gap would be opening up-but I would take a big Labour lead now , if I could be sure that Economic Policy, Welfare Reform + Universal Credit, & Schools Reform will show positive outcomes by say 2013 :-)

    Things are marginally better than I thought they would be at this stage.

  32. @Colin – I guess opposition is about removing the negative perceptions of your own party and then hoping the government trips itself up. There isn’t a great deal more you can do, and this speech suggests Ed M is getting the first bit right.

    From the previous thread; when I suggested Osborne’s deficit reduction plans are falling by the wayside to a degree, it was based on Osborne himself. He has just allowed £45b more debt to be generated over the lifetime of this parliament due to the poorer projected growth figures. He has specifically stated that he won’t cut even deeper to plug this substantial gap to his original plans, but his original plans were meant to deliver a deficit reduction path that was critical to securing investor confidence.

  33. @ Colin

    It was on Welfare-clearly they had been told in their consultations that Labour let too many idle sods get away with it.

    So it was really just a mea culpa & a belated one at that.
    ————————————————————
    Ed M was reluctant to make a speech on this topic because he knew there was no way to it without it being mis-construed.

    In the end, he did it because it had to be done. And it is being mis-construed, so he wasn’t wrong.

    It was a necessary prelude to Labour laying out the wider plan for a system that is fairer. Ed M’s position is much closer to Andy Burnham’s aspirational/ responsible socialism than to James Purnell & IDS’s ideas.
    8-)

  34. CON 37%, LAB 42%, LD 10%; APPROVAL -22

    So, the “worst week for Labour and Miliband” since, well, the last “worst week for Labour and Miliband” has left the daily tracker polls unchanged. “Disastrous” monstering at PMQs by Cameron, “shocking revelations” in the Telegraph about dastardly Brown v Blair camp plots, “Labour big beasts” expressing severe doubts about Miliband, the “king across the water” David Miliband’s “mind-blowingly” revelatory victory-speech-that-never was, “IMF’s “complete vindication” of Osborne’s economic policy and “damning repudiation ” of Balls, Miliband’s “weirdness” as opposed to Cameron’s “innate likeability……………. blimey, I’m in danger of going into complete Telegraph/Express/Mail overdrive here, but you get my driftt.

    The Westminster Village piffle factory will no doubt go on apace and many people who should know better will continue to believe it’s all terribly significant and will draw all sorts of ludicrous conclusions from it all. Miliband’s “toast”. The next GE is “lost for Labour”. “If Labour aren’t on 58% for 10 weeks from January 2014 blah de blah de blah” However, reassuringly, as this poll confirms, the great British public continue to be preoccupied by more important matters.

    As for the current calibre of our seers and sages in the national print Press, did anybody see Anne Treneman’s performance on Andrew Marr’s show last Sunday? Apparently, she’s a sketchwriter in the Times and had been invited on to review the Sunday papers. I’ve never heard such a vacuous, inarticulate and shallow performance from a serious journalist in all my life. She literally had nothing remotely interesting or informative to say and spent most of the time blinking gormlessly at Marr and her fellow reviewer rather like a rabbit trapped in headlights. And these people, apparently, are the opinion formers in our political culture. Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

  35. @Ambivalentsupporter – “It’s interesting that no economist is yet forecasting anything less than 2%+ growth by 2014.”

    And it’s also interesting that a year ago no economist was forecasting 2011 growth of less than 2%+ either…….

    What you need to realise is that if growth isn’t 2%+ by 2014 it would be an absolute disaster – I don’t mean for Osborne, but for you and me. Post recession recoveries after large GDP falls really need to see 3 – 4% growth spurts and this is the normal response to cyclical recessions. A recovery hovering around 2% growth will feel like a continued recession in practice and will not present a good backdrop for a re election campaign in 2015.

    My sense of politics is that VI should be viewed more like a gearbox. You can drive along in one gear with the speed varying between certain limits, but all of a sudden you come across a twist in the road that needs a gear change and the whole balance of speed and revs changes.

    I’ve seen several memorable gear changes in politics that shifted the political revs from a relatively stable position. Black Wednesday was the classic I guess, when a decade long reputation of economic competence was destroyed in an afternoon. For Blair it was the Iraq war, although that was a slow burn. Brown had the bottled election.

    You can withstand a lot in politics if you avoid the sudden shift in perception. Economic growth could be Cameron’s weak spot, and an event that encapsulates a failed recovery could present such a shift in support.

  36. Alec

    I agree on EM-that was a good first move.

    “Investor confidence” is more nuanced than that I think. It is about intent over a period-and bondholders presumably understand the effects of external factors.

    The daft thing about the Labour mantra-too fast / too deep-is that it hasn’t moved with the times.

    Look at the numbers now ( well the 2011 Red Book anyway) & compare them with Labours rather worn & dog eared ” halve the deficit in four years”

    Deficit outcome FY 2009/10 £ 157 bn.

    Therefore Labour Plan is £78.5 bn in FY 2013/14
    Deficit FY 2013/14

    2011 Budget Red Book-Deficit FY 2013/14 £ 70bn

    Difference £8.5 bn pa or 1% of Total Government spend .

    This is MOE….rounding difference……….smoke & mirrors………..meaningless.

    There is no difference in the two parties policies.

  37. Amber
    Thanks

    I really haven’t the foggiest concept of what “Andy Burnham’s aspirational/ responsible socialism ” means.

    Can’t wait to be told :-)

  38. @Alec,

    Possibly, though it’s worth remembering that the public are pretty ignorant of economic matters. It’ll therefore all depend on how the growth is reported in the media. If it’s reported as neither totally negative nor positive it’ll probably be a close election.

    Anyway my point being is that Labour should be more pro-active otherwise it’s relying totally on the economy going wrong to get re-elected. I know this is true to a large extent anyway, but it should be highlighting an alternative plan where the major cuts to the public sector, public spending and benefits are not needed. This needs to sound economically viable too.

  39. @Crossbat – I had similar feelings regarding our great British media when hearing that the ‘Gay Girl in Damascus’ blog that had been quoted by bone idle journalists in print and on TV and radio has actually turned out to be written by an American PhD student at Edinburgh University.

    I suppose regurgitating false claims from the internet with no attempt at factual checking and corroboration is an example of low cost, efficient free market operations.

  40. Colin, and your conclusion is … Darling was right all along? Or Darling was cutting too much, we should go slower? Or, Darling was right then but not any more because times have changed? Or, Obsorne isn’t cutting enough, it’s only just above Darling’s plan? Or what?

  41. Old Nat
    Thanks
    Iceman
    On Darling quite right.
    Colin
    Similarity of Labour and Conservative outcomes?
    Take your point but surely if they are getting closer it is because the Tories don’t ever seem to do what they said they would do. They summon up for me a vision of Terry Thomas telling them all that the are “A shower. An absolute shower”
    Craig
    Craig
    Maybe the we are not at such a late stage. The trajectory of the Lib Dems is levelling but still going down. There is a by election due in a weekor so here and I think they may go from first to fourth.

  42. @Colin – “….and bondholders presumably understand the effects of external factors.”

    I doubt they understand anything. That’s why they bought shed loads of Greek, Irish and Portugese bonds. The minute Dublin guaranteed all Irish bank deposits I shifted the little I had with an Irish owned bank to a UK bank – it was an obvious disaster, but the bond investors kept on buying. Absolutely clueless.

    On Labour’s deficit plans, I agree – the difference is pretty marginal, especially now Osborne has had to let things slip quite a lot. The point is that Labour’s plans are only slogans, designed to lodge in voters minds rather than be part of a detailed deficit plan. If the economy tanks, Labour will repeat the ‘too far and too fast’ mantra endlessly, and many people will believe them.

    @Ambivsupporter – agree that labour needs some options, although they don’t need to be rolling out detailed policy now. What people want to hear is what an opposition would do to get us out of the mess, and what their vision is when we get to the good times. There is plenty of time for this, although it’s not like a tap – to be credible it has to have deep roots, and can’t just be turned on in a jiffy to suit the latest economic news.

  43. @ Crossbat11/Nick H

    “As for the current calibre of our seers and sages in the national print Press, did anybody see Anne Treneman’s performance on Andrew Marr’s show last Sunday? Apparently, she’s a sketchwriter in the Times and had been invited on to review the Sunday papers. I’ve never heard such a vacuous, inarticulate and shallow performance from a serious journalist in all my life. She literally had nothing remotely interesting or informative to say and spent most of the time blinking gormlessly at Marr and her fellow reviewer rather like a rabbit trapped in headlights. And these people, apparently, are the opinion formers in our political culture. Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!”

    I think the quality of journalism in the news media (and this appears to be true globally) has gone significantly downhill. I mean, look no further than the Amina Arraf charade that the news media accepted without doing any basic research. It’s not surprising when news media elites can’t even do basic fact checking, they can’t really seem to do political or legal reporting well either.

    “The Westminster Village piffle factory will no doubt go on apace and many people who should know better will continue to believe it’s all terribly significant and will draw all sorts of ludicrous conclusions from it all. Miliband’s “toast”. The next GE is “lost for Labour”. “If Labour aren’t on 58% for 10 weeks from January 2014 blah de blah de blah” However, reassuringly, as this poll confirms, the great British public continue to be preoccupied by more important matters.”

    Labour probably doesn’t want to be on 58% right now as they don’t want to peak too early.

    Suffice it to say, a lot of this reporting is kinda silly. It’s not as if people were unaware of the plots between Brownite and Blairite camps. And, as I said last night, perhaps instead of rehearsing his victory speech, David Miliband should have called some additional Blairite MPs who voted for his brother. If he had done that, he might be the Labour leader now instead of his younger brother.

  44. @Alec

    “I suppose regurgitating false claims from the internet with no attempt at factual checking and corroboration is an example of low cost, efficient free market operations.”

    Nice one, and how very true. Maybe we should call it the Fox News model of “lean journalism”!

    More seriously, I’m becoming increasingly worried about the blurring of opinion and fact in a lot of current journalism. Lazy use of statistical data, received wisdom passing as analysis (as typified in the current “debate” about issues like welfare, our EU membership, immigration etc), deliberate misinformation with the intent to defame, sub-criminal investigative techniques; the charge sheet goes on and on, and all of this presided over by an incestuously toothless Press Council. A sorry state of affairs indeed.

    I suppose, in many ways, we get the press we deserve, especially if we continue to watch, read and listen to their outputs, but I wish they’d re-learn the great C.P. Scott’s wise words; ” ‘Comment is free, but facts are sacred’

  45. Comparing weekly averages for Lab VI and government (dis)approval since the turn of the year, they track each either astonishingly closely – even more than I would have suspected. The closeness suggests that nothing else matters.

    And the current trend is a slow drip drip away from the government, a definite 2-point shift in the last month to match the 2 point shift in Lab VI. As cuts start to take hold, and the economy falters or slumps, I expect that trend to continue.

  46. Lansley pictured today looking a tad embarrased by the mess he made with the NHS bill.

    So much needs to be rewritten, that he might as well start again.

  47. @ Alec

    “I had similar feelings regarding our great British media when hearing that the ‘Gay Girl in Damascus’ blog that had been quoted by bone idle journalists in print and on TV and radio has actually turned out to be written by an American PhD student at Edinburgh University.”

    Jinx!!

    I just posted about that as you did, lol!

    Do you guys have privacy torts? I imagine that for that Croatian woman in London, she should have some legal recourse.

    I think though that we see the rise of blogs as a response to this. You can learn far more and get a far better report on political polling in the UK from Anthony than you can get from most of the regular political journalists on tv.

  48. So… a couple of people have mentioned the Populus poll: Labour are ahead (just) on VI whilst getting crushed on the economy.

    It makes me wonder, when Ed M says that people no longer view life through the prism of economics… could it be that he is actually right?
    8-)

  49. One way to construe at Ed’s performance today (no argument with what he said, why he felt he had to say it… it is more about the tone):

    “To you 14% of the electorate who, knowing what you now know would have voted Labour in 2010 (what other reason to have changed your VI?), why not vote Tory after all (at least they called it right).

    What were you expecting… that I should articulate your anger at what the Tories are doing to the country?”

    Something of a missed opportunity, knowing that he was guaranteed a soundbite on the evening news programmes.

  50. @ Colin

    Can’t wait to be told :-)
    —————————————–
    It will cause you angst, Colin. You will say to yourself:
    “This aspirational/ responsible socialism sounds rather good… maybe I should consider voting Labour.”

    Then Lord Tory will be all alone here, poor chap. :-(

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