Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sunday Times has topline figures of CON 36%, LAB 42%, LDEM 9%. Very much in line with the recent YouGov averages.

As usual, I’ll do a full post tomorrow when the full tables are up.


100 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 36, LAB 42, LDEM 9”

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  1. Since the election this must ne the longest period of very similar polls, seems a constant 5-6 pt. lead for labour

  2. Interesting story in the Observer tonight regarding the leaking of a letter from Eric Pickles Private Sec to Cameron’s, stating that the £26,000 benefit cap would make 20,000 people homeless and end up costing more than it would save as councils would have to find homes for these people.

    Two thoughts on this;

    1) If true, it shows yet another really badly constructed policy. Doesn’t Osborne’s Treasury team check policies with departments before they are announced? As ever with Osborne and Cameron, it seems 48hr news management trumps detailed policy planning.

    2) Someone is leaking this stuff. Go tell public servants they are dreadfully inefficient, are holding the country back and have unjustifiably big pensions and you’re going to p*ss a lot of them off. And they know just where all the bodies are.

  3. I’m wondering about questioning along the lines of “how likely are you to vote at the next election, and what is your current voting intention?”

    Has this been tried? Would it show any difference to “how would you vote if there was a GE tomorrow?”

    It might just remove some of the hypotheticality.

    At the moment we are seeing a discrepancy between YouGov and pollsters who apply a ten-out-of-ten “absolute certainty” of voting in a hypothetical GE.

    When we do see an election of some kind (excluding Scotland) we are seeing swings to Labour which seem more in line with what YouGov has been showing.

    Then again, it might be more down to the complexities of weighting. More people in the past “claimed to have voted Labour”: that is they “intended” to vote Labour, but in actual fact they voted LD… is it a fact that Tories didn’t do that too? Is this particular kind of false recall likely to fall out of the picture in future?

  4. Turns out the letter talks of 40,000 homeless people, as the DCLG letter talks of “the 20,000 additional acceptances [presumably for emergency accommodation] already anticipated as a result of other changes to the housing benefit.”

    So Pickles is expecting 40,000 new homeless people directly resulting from coalition housing policy, but he goes on the tell Cameron that “Initial analysis suggests that of the 56,000 new affordable rent units up to 23,000 could be lost, and reductions would disproportionately affect family homes rather than small flats.”

    So that’s 40,000 new homeless families and a 41% fall in new affordable rental homes predicted by the department responsible for these things.

    I try to stick with AW’s comments policies as far as possible, but there are sometimes limits. From a Tory government this kind of thing doesn’t really surprise me, but if there are any Lib Dems on the board tonight, I really think you should be ashamed of yourselves.

  5. Alec

    “Go tell public servants they are dreadfully inefficient, are holding the country back and have unjustifiably big pensions and you’re going to p*ss a lot of them off. And they know just where all the bodies are.”

    You’re doing it again! :-)

  6. Alec

    “if there are any Lib Dems on the board tonight, I really think you should be ashamed of yourselves.”

    Or ashamed of those that they elected, perhaps?

    The consequences you describe as having been leaked are for England only. However, since benefits apply UK wide, presumably there is a consequence for the devolved administrations as well? Or is this just down to higher rents in expensive areas of England?

  7. @Oldnat – “Or ashamed of those that they elected, perhaps?”

    Indeed. I was a little harsh.

  8. @Alec

    This story from a couple of days ago was down to committee scrutiny rather than a leak, but it shows the modus operandi of government departments atm:

    h
    ttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/8601830/Department-for-Work-and-Pensions-cost-cuts-set-to-be-train-crash.html

    A little trawl through reveals that the PCS Union started a month long over-time ban today (as a response to cuts in staffing levels):

    h
    ttp://www.pcs.org.uk/en/news_and_events/pcs_comment/index.cfm/id/AC3195E1-15EE-415B-9C1DDE13CE6EEEE0

  9. In chasing a 24 hour news cycle with sound-byte policy announcement, the government have produced a rod for their own back.

    It has become a bit of a standard template now, they announce a new policy, special interest groups and charities all start saying the policy would result in bad things happening, a government representative says “that’s simply not true”. Some time later as a bill, or ministerial action progresses on the policy, they’re forced to admit that it might actually be true.

    At this point, I would have to say that the image of Government has set, and is now curing to rock hardness. I would tentatively suggest that we should see Conservative VI when benefit of the doubt wears off, and their policies start turning into laws and regulations.

    I also have to be cynical about the timing of Cameron’s move to put immigration in the newspapers again…

  10. @Billy Bob

    While strikes get the big headlines, it’s work-to-rule that the Government should fear. Remember that a lot of cost saving behaviours usually rely on people taking on extra work, doing over time, and being more flexible.

  11. Here’s a killer statement from the letter from Pickles’ office to No10:

    “for example families with 4 children would be able to live in most parts of the country outside London and the South East”

    This is *after* the changes they are asking for. And implicit in the statement is that fmailies with 4 children will NOT be able to live in London and the SouthEast.

    This is going to be dynamite.

  12. JayBlanc

    “Remember that a lot of cost saving behaviours usually rely on people taking on extra work, doing over time, and being more flexible.”

    Translated as “working for less financial reward”. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing, but there is a limit on what people will accept in that regard.

  13. Robin

    Thanks for that. So the problem actually is the concentration of population in London and the South East of England, and the economic distortion that produces.

    I’m not sure that I understand why my taxes (from the 3rd highest productive UK “region”) should be going to pay for those unemployed in the two highest productive UK regions, just because England is so ludicrously over-centralised.

    That situation must be be even more ridiculous for the northern regions of England.

  14. Old Nat
    The benefit changes will have a huge imact on Scotland and its local councils as I said some time ago.
    The prevailing rent levels are only one aspect. There is also an assumption that accomodation of different types is readily available. For example, younger homeless will be expected to share but shared accommodation is not available. Private landlords are unwilling to rent to these clients on that basis. About a third of our single homeless have serious drink or drug problems. More amongst the younger cases.
    Old ladies in three or four bedroom accommodation will only receive benefit based on one bedroom. If they cannot pay the difference we will evict them and the will have to go in to hostels (non-eviction with mounting arrears is not an option). Drug addicts etc are to receive their benefit personally rather than their rent being paid straight to the council. As a housing manager said to me , “If its paying me or the fellow with the pit bull and the base-ball bat, who do you think will get paid?”
    As I said some time ago, I don’t think the policy makers realised that all councils are 100% reliant on housing benefit. The rhetoric was about rich private landlords. In my area and I am sure many others private landlords are not interested in housing benefit. Those from abroad and students pay better and are less trouble

  15. @OldNat

    “I’m not sure that I understand why my taxes (from the 3rd highest productive UK “region”) should be going to pay for those unemployed in the two highest productive UK regions”

    Actually, our taxes are being used to pay buy-to-let mortgages, enriching property speculators who (not unreasonably) reckoned they could make a profit by providing a scarce resource (i.e. housing to let).

    A direct consequence of council house sales.

    BTW a vast amount of housing benefit goes to support working but low-paid families. If they are forced out of London due to a cap on the available HB, (a) they will lose their jobs; and (b) who will do all those low paid jobs?

    Time to roll out the ‘living wage’ that featured heavily in the Labour leadership campaign, and that had a lot to do with EM winning…

  16. Barney

    Thanks for that.

    We may(!) have political differences, but I recognise your expertise in council matters.

  17. @ Alec

    Labour raised this issue at the time the benefit cap was announced. They predicted that it would cause thousands to become homeless and the Tories and Lib Dems denied this.

    This government comes up with ideas about how to save money, but they appear to be badly worked out. It is not just Cameron that does not have a grasp for the detail.

    I am a bit of a saddo that occasionally watches the parliament channel when a debate of interest is on. On so many occasions the Lords coalition front bench team is embarassed by the quality of bills from the HOC and Lords from all sides shake their heads in dismay at the lack of any proper consideration of fundemental issues.

  18. Robin

    “A direct consequence of council house sales.”

    Indeed, and there is another downside of them a generation on. Council houses purchased by the tenants, but when they died there was little market for the property and they were bought by the “buy to let” speculators that you mention, who care little or nothing about who they let to and what the consequences are for the area.

    Why has Labour never followed the SNP policy that “right to buy” won’t apply to new council house tenants?

  19. Given YG ‘polldrums’ Electoral Calculus released their monthly forecast yesterday:

    ***
    Current Prediction: Labour majority 22

    Prediction based on opinion polls from 10 Jun 11 to 30 Jun 11, sampling 8,226 people.

    Party Pred Votes Pred Seats
    CON 37.37% 272
    LAB 39.68% 336
    LIB 9.77% 12
    NAT 2.95% 12
    MIN 10.23% 18

  20. @OldNat

    “Why has Labour never followed the SNP policy that “right to buy” won’t apply to new council house tenants?”

    I suspect there would be many anomalies that would arise if one started to try to establish different classes of tenant. The greater failure was to adequately address the shortage of social housing stock. But with a PM who was more interested in the opinions of the Tory press than in shifting the centre of gravity of British politics, is this really any surprise?

  21. Robin

    “I suspect there would be many anomalies that would arise if one started to try to establish different classes of tenant.”

    Well we’ve done it in Scotland.

    No problems have arisen.

    You guys are just “pretendy Labour” if you haven’t even looked at the issues. Tory Blair = UKLAB.

  22. Anthony

    Sorry

    “Tory Blair = UKLAB.” was totally partisan. i might have as well have added “Nyah, nyah, nyah”

    So I will , then immediately withdraw both, :-)

  23. @OldNat

    “Well we’ve done it in Scotland.”

    Even if it works OK in Scotland (and I suspect that there hasn’t been time for potential anomalies to come to the fore) that doesn’t necessarily mean it would work well in other parts of the UK. And in any case, for some parts of the country the issue of right-to-buy has ceased to be a major issue since much of the desirable council housing stock has long since been sold, with much social housing now being provided by housing associations and the like.

    But I’ll admit that this is not an area of policy to which I’ve paid particular attention.

  24. Robin

    It may well be that English law has certain inadequacies in this area – though I suspect not.

    if you want to pay more attention to this area, you may like to take a look at the Scottish legislation

    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/asp/2010/17/part/14/enacted

  25. Leadership Approvals –
    Cameron -10 (nc)
    Miliband -34 (-2) (Caused by D/Ks switched to ‘Doing Badly)
    Clegg -51 (nc)
    Weighted over the past 4 weeks –
    Cameron -7.89 (-1.71)
    Miliband -30.93 (-3.38)
    Clegg -49.96 (+0.64)
    Miliband’s approvals still fall.. but Labour unaffected?
    However, Cameron’s approval correlates quite well with Tory VI and Gov approval.

    More proof that governments lose elections (rather than oppositions winning) or that because of the coalition set-up (and ‘unified left’), the pollsters will end up getting it wrong?

    Today’s figures weighted –
    30 Day –
    Con 36.69, Lab 42.28, Lib 9.00
    7 Day –
    Con 36.51, Lab 42.09, Lib 8.96

    Weekly figures –
    Unweighted –
    Con 36.6 (nc), Lab 42 (-0.4), Lib 9 (+0.2)
    Approval -25.6 (+0.6)

    7 Day Weighted –
    Con 36.57 (-0.18), Lab 42.2 (-0.14), Lib 9.02 (-0.04)
    Approval -25.63 (+0.33)

    30 Day Weighted –
    Con 36.76 (-0.18), Lab 42.30 (+0.01), Lib 9.02 (-0.01)
    Approval -24.65 (-0.95)

    So rounded figures all show –
    Con 37 (nc), Lab 42 (nc), Lib 9 (nc)
    But broadly the Con figures have been sliding away from a solid 37 toward 36 over the past few weeks.

  26. A bit weird – the public seem to be ever so slightly on the unions side (who’s most to blame, who’s being the most reasonable) but they vary from slightly to clearly opposing these strikes and generally agree with the government’s demands. Oh and they’ve become notably more liberal on who can strike since last month. Nuanced isn’t the word…

  27. So the Housing Benefit cap will result in homlessness and INCREASED COSTS to the taxpayer?

    What what what are they doing it for? When we are supposedly broke and saving money why are they pursuing policies which involve increased expenditure and in the case of the economy it appears no growth?

    I can only assume that the welfare cuts are being pursued because they are popular. But if evrybody ends up worse off, it’s irresponsible, no? And how long will they remain popular when the tax bill rises to pay for more homelessness and joblessness? Especially if the spike in burglary and robbery becomes an increase.

    What do they do now? Push ahead and hope for the best in the face of their own minister’s forebodings, or another u-turn?

    As Alec said, how long will the Lib Dems vote these things through?

  28. @Nick Poole –
    They’ll use the line ‘Why should hard-working tax-payers who commute to London fork out for those who can’t afford to live there?’

    When these changes were first announced, it was a case of ‘Why should poor people, who can’t afford to, live in nice areas?’

    And that will play not only with the classist rich (who want to get rid of the ‘riff raff’) but also with the poor working class who do live in poor areas – with a similar effect to the private vs public pensions thing.
    i.e
    ‘I have to live in a poor area, why should my taxes subsidise them living in a nice area?’
    So race to the bottom politics, again.

  29. And on the costs – much like the tuition fees (which may end up costing the country huge amounts extra), it doesn’t really matter –

    The spin always covers short-term costs, not the long-term problems and costs that are unintended consequences of the short-term savings.
    So sack police staff and crime goes up, costing more than those police staff did – but the spin will always be ‘we got rid of the waste and saved money’.

    However, the unintended consequences may then have an effect in other areas.
    Example – Crime is directly affected by poverty rates.
    Poverty increases, crime increases.
    But when crime increases, the public doesn’t focus on the poverty which causes the crime but on the crime itself – plugging in to the ‘We need to be tougher on crime!’ meme.

  30. But to be tougher on crime you need more prisons, more police, more courts, more civil servants etc

  31. The whole point of market/conservative liberalism that both the Tories and Liberals (and Labour) follow is it seeks to liberate us from the big state – whether it doesn’t save money or do their popularity any good is just unfortunate irrelevance. Once it’s out of the state’s responsibilities it’s out for good – as we’ve seen with our inefficient unpopular privatisations that no mainstream party wants to reverse.

  32. @Nick Poole,
    Like I said, unintended consequences.

    But the Tories are viewed as the natural ‘tough on crime’ party – so may still get the public’s support when crime rates increase.
    So they may take the blame, but be ‘the only ones who can sort it out’.

    There may also be a paradoxical effect, as under Labour, where crime rates fall but because of the increasing rarity of crime, the perception is that crime is increasing.
    Only in reverse, for the Tories.

    Much like it’s much safer to fly by plane (IIRC) but when plane crashes happen, it’s a much bigger story than the thousands who die in car crashes.

  33. I think @R Huckle’s comment on this is about right –

    “Labour raised this issue at the time the benefit cap was announced. They predicted that it would cause thousands to become homeless and the Tories and Lib Dems denied this.
    This government comes up with ideas about how to save money, but they appear to be badly worked out. It is not just Cameron that does not have a grasp for the detail.”

    Unlike as @Tingedfringe seems to imply, I actually think this is highly toxic for the government. Like Labour and tax rises, benefit cuts are an issue that strikes at the heart of Cameron’s attempt to rebrand his party. This story comes on a weekend where we have had the government being taken to court by numerous disabled charities and tomorrow’s Dilnot Commission report of care for the elderly, which Osborne seems determined to avoid acting on.

    The housing benefit story works for Labour on so many levels. Their questioning of the reforms turns out to be correct. Liam Byrne (not my favourite ex minister) has forced a series of dismissive Commons statements from various ministers on this issue that really now could be argued to be misleading the house (a very serious charge), the policy is seen to be poorly thought through by parts of the government itself, will significantly increase suffering and, crucially, will cost more, thus removing the justification given for the policy in the first place.

    On top of these direct issues you then get the general issue of government incompetence, the return of the nasty party and the unavoidable strains that this will place of the coalition. Make no mistake – Lib Dem MPs will be livid about this, wondering why this wasn’t worked out before and why they weren’t told about it before being sent out to defend it.

    Again, in itself, it’s not going to bring down a government or even move the VI polls. But it is another significant brick in the wall being built between the government and the electorate. You can always afford a number of mistakes in government, but once these form into a well defined pattern you will soon get into trouble.

    That pattern is now becoming increasingly clear – policy announcement – press fanfare- awkward details emerge – policy U turn. Dare I say it, but I flagged up Cameron’s lack of strategic vision and limited grasp of detail as a problem during his campaign for the Tory party leadership and I predicted that, even leaving politics aside, I thought he would be a really poor PM.

    So far I haven’t seen anything to make me review my initial judgements.

  34. @Tingedfringe – “So they [Tories] may take the blame, [for rising crime] but be ‘the only ones who can sort it out’.”

    It won’t work like this. The experience of the last 30 years won’t be forgotten and Tories will be associated with high crime levels.

    “Much like it’s much safer to fly by plane (IIRC) but when plane crashes happen, it’s a much bigger story than the thousands who die in car crashes.”

    Actually, this depends on how you construct the stats. Flying is safer in terms of deaths per mile travelled, but that’s because plane journies are very long. In terms of death per individual journey, driving is generally safer.

  35. @ Alec

    I don’t know in this particular case whether there was such a motivation in the civil servants concerned, but it is true that the government has massive problems with the civil service (and now in both the open structure and below).

    Right after the emergency budget (oh, it was only a year ago), but especially after the CSR, mainly because of the way these were designed, had a number of instances when the civil servants informed the ministers that the policy could not be implemented safely in their view. In such instances there is either a need for a direct order from the minister that includes the notion that they registered the civil service opinion but they overrule it (because of the personal responsibility ministers of the current government do not really use this) or there is a need for new legislation (this has been used, but there are so many of these instances due to the apparent incompetence when the CSR was put together, that simply makes it impossible to fit in the legislative timetable). Thus there is a general bargaining, mistrust and inactivity. In addition, the civil servants also have to cover their back as it seems that the ministers refuse to take responsibility for policy decisions.

    Eventually the PM will have to make a decision which one is more damaging in the medium term popularity: giving up a large proportion of the CSR (and return the drawing board) or the U turns (and giving Labour opportunities to attack – now almost daily).

  36. “if there are any Lib Dems on the board tonight, I really think you should be ashamed of yourselves.”

    The people who should be ashamed of themselves are the politicians who allowed our welfare benefit system to descend into the utter shambles which resulted in most new jobs going to immigrants because-as employers are now reminding IDS-our benefits system has produced a “poor work attitude & ethic” .

    -the politicians who oversaw an economy & tax revenues reliant on the financial services industry & Central London where house prices are now unaffordable for the ordinary worker.

    The Lib Dems should do what they have been doing-try to reconcile their political convictions with the reality of being in a government which finds itself with another Labour mess to sort out.

    They will of course be urged by the usual chorus of sanctimonious bleeting from those who engineered the problems which they are facing, to do nothing about them-what’s new ?

    I hope that DC sticks to the principal that it is not fair for the state to provide access to housing types , with the taxes of those who cannot themselves afford it.

    Perhaps he will consider the positive suggestions offered in the last three pragraphs of Nico Heslop’s DCLG letter .

  37. So, since we’re starting to wheel into partisanship –

    Does anybody want to explain the paradox of the inverse relationship between Miliband’s approval and Labour VI?

    Is it a case of ‘there’s nowhere else for the left to go’ or that the left see themselves more as a leaderless movement so it’s less important? Or something else?

  38. That ‘wheel in to partisanship’ comment was a ‘let’s try to move away from the partisanship’ rather than an invite to partisanship.
    Just to make that clear..

  39. @ Colin

    “I hope that DC sticks to the principal that it is not fair for the state to provide access to housing types , with the taxes of those who cannot themselves afford it.”

    The problem in my opinion with some of the coalitions reforms, is that they are essentially about fairness rather than saving money. To make these welfare changes, could actually cost the government a lot to implement, as they will need to have people on the ground offering assistance, with all the extra admin involved. It could take several years and a lot of upheaval before they save any money. So over this parliamentary term, they could end up spending more. Local authority budgets are already under massive strain and the knock on effect in funding other services could be massive.

    The government should concentrate on limiting spending increases, to help with the deficit. They need to apply budget praticality, rather than their view of what is ‘fair’. The public sector pensions issue is another which is basically about fairness and not affordability. The Hutton report pointed ot that the cost of pensions would reduce by half of one percent of GDP within the next decade, following changes already made. The government therefore changed tack, by pointing out that public sector pensions needed to change to reflect what had happened in the private sector. This is why the unions have kicked up so much fuss, because the pension changes the government want are not based on financial assessments. They have so far refused to provide full acturial assessments, for the talks they are having with the unions. I therefore don’t blame the unions, if they think the government are not being sincere with wanting a negotiated settlement.

  40. That response by Colin and Alec’s remark about the perception of Tories and crime leads me to believe that the next polling move will be away from blame and towards, who do we want to put this right?

    So the public might blame Labour to a greater or lesser extent, they might not like Milliband much…but will they want the welfare state, local services and free schooling, NHS etc?

    It’s possible the public might not like the Conservative “solution” and opt for Labour’s (if they can muster one up) even though they might not think Labour blameless in the first place.

  41. The other thing is, the public hear the Government say, “we can no longer afford the luxury of…” and nod their collective heads sagely, but the next thing they hear is that the alternative is MORE EXPENSIVE and comes with social risks and they not only don’t agree any more they also want it put back the way it was.

    A rational response, I wuld say. But once dismatled the truth is we probably can nether afford to put it back together, nor afford NOT to.

    Time for a “third way”?

  42. “Time for a “third way”?”
    As long as it isn’t described as ‘third way’ – the public have enough bad memories of Blair.

  43. That was sort of a joke.

  44. @TINGEDFRINGE

    “the public have enough bad memories of Blair.”

    Apart from Iraq, what bad memories ?

    You don’t win two elections with landslides and a third with a workable majority, if you are unpopular.

    It has become trendy in certain circles to hate the Blairs, but often it is just the case with all politicians and their spouses, that people ged fed up of seeing their faces. The same happened with the Thatchers, with Maggie losing the plot in the late 80’s and Dennis seen as a doddering old fool, that liked a tipple.

    Blair has actually started to make an impact with Gaza and the West Bank. Did you see the recent interview with John Sopel ?
    This showed Blair had assisted with helping them with various issues, which has made him popular with the locals. Whether his role comes out of regret for Iraq, it could be the case. But you have to have some respect for a man that is brave enough to take such a role. Not many people would be willing to involve themselves in the way that he has. And he has stuck at it, even when it has looked to be in trouble. He did the same with the Northern Ireland peace process.

  45. R Huckle –
    Do you think it was only Iraq that caused the 1997-2005 drop of 8% that mainly went to the LibDems over that period?

    You know, left-wing abandonment.
    It has returned, but only because there’s no alternative at the moment.
    If Labour essentially ignore this demographic, they haven’t learnt their lesson.

  46. @TINGEDFRINGE

    “Do you think it was only Iraq that caused the 1997-2005 drop of 8% that mainly went to the LibDems over that period?”

    You don’t win elections and therefore help those less priviledged, if you have left wing policies. You will know that elections are generally decided in less than 100 key marginals, which swing back and forwards Labour to Tory. If either party does not gain enough swing voters confidence in these key marginals, they don’t win.

    As for Labour losing 8% to the Lib Dems, some of this is to do with Iraq and some to do with other government policies e.g environment, energy/nuclear. I suspect that prior to 1997, Labour had recruited some LD’s and lost them for these reasons. There has always been a flow of support between LD and Labour. What has this got to do with Blair ? Not much in my opinion.

  47. [email protected]

    “1) As ever with Osborne and Cameron, it seems 48hr news management trumps detailed policy planning.”

    As they say in Gaelic speaking areas “What’s fresh?”

    Despite his background in PR, I was prepared to give DC the benefit of the doubt until he claimed to be “heir to Blair”. I blame Bernard Ingham for setting the pattern.

    2) Someone is leaking this stuff.

    Openness is a good principle as I said (c 1954) to the Father of the Nation when he assured me that a Home Rule parliament would have Principles, and a means of ensuring that it kept to them.

    SPICE briefing papers are available to all. A new MSP has said that he was impressed at how helpful, committed and enthusiastic parliament staff were.

    Whether you are managing a factory, a hospital, a battleship, a football team, an orchestra or a civil service department, you will fail if morale fails. To get the best out of people you need to convince them that they are good at what they do; that they will succeed because they are good, and that all are needed to contribute by doing their part to the highest possible standard.

    So how do you go about getting the worst out of people?

    Politics may be just about PMQ’s, but government is something else.

  48. @TingedFringe

    “Does anybody want to explain the paradox of the inverse relationship between Miliband’s approval and Labour VI?”

    Well, first you have to make the following assumptions

    1) Personal approval figures should be correlative to nationwide VI in a parliamentary election.
    2) Miliband’s personal approval figures are lower than should be expected from a new leader.

    The answer to 1) is clearly no, popularity of a party leader only has a minor effect on party VI, and they can and do move in different directions.

    The answer to 2) is also clearly no. David Cameron’s personal popularity was negative in 2007 up until October.

    “Do you think it was only Iraq that caused the 1997-2005 drop of 8% that mainly went to the LibDems over that period?

    You know, left-wing abandonment.
    It has returned, but only because there’s no alternative at the moment.
    If Labour essentially ignore this demographic, they haven’t learnt their lesson.”

    Considering the timing of how support moved, I do have to say a large part of it was over the Iraq War prior to 2008, and then the accusations of economic incompetence.

    Eliminate both, and add apparent inability to make a their voice heard *even when in government*, and it does not look like the Liberal Democrats will be able to hold onto that at all.

  49. R Huckle,
    Perhaps there’s been a miscommunication –
    I didn’t necessarily mean Blair himself was the complete cause, but that the ‘Blairite’ New Labour project was.
    Since Blair was, to public perceptions, the embodiment of New Labour, what New Labour ‘did wrong’ (to lose those voters) are what ‘Blair did wrong’.

    And I disagree with the statement ‘you don’t win if you have left-wing policies’..
    Minimum wage, human rights, increased NHS funding, sure start, etc
    All in my view, left wing policies – all policies which are vote winners and that the Tories largely now can’t turn away from for fear of losing those votes.

  50. @TingedFringe

    “Does anybody want to explain the paradox of the inverse relationship between Miliband’s approval and Labour VI?”

    I’ll have a go, although I’ve not got the time to look up the info to see if it holds water.

    Suppose that the change in EM’s ratings comes largely from those likely or certain to vote Labour. As EM positions himself nearer the centre, he may be more likely to pick up votes, but the left wing will disapprove more strongly. But, as you suggest, they have nowhere to go and so their disapproval has no impact on Labour VI.

    It would be interesting to try to break down which Labour voters are most likely to express disapproval. We have been assuming it is the Blairite wing, but perhaps that’s not the case.

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