Tonight’s YouGov/Sun poll has topline figures of CON 37%, LAB 42%, LDEM 10%. The Labour lead is obvously bigger than the 1 point lead yesterday, but it remains much lower than YouGov have been showing for most of August and July.

Throughout most of the last two months (in fact, pretty much since the phone hacking scandal broke) YouGov’s daily polling has been showing a steady Labour lead of around about 7-9 points. We’ve now had four YouGov polls in a row showing a Labour lead below that, between 1-5 points. My impression is that there has been a genuine shift, that the underlying lead has narrowed to something closer to 3-5 points.

The natural reaction when there is a shift in the polls is to ask why – see Paul Waugh and James Kirkup for example, pondering about whether it might be a Libya bounce or a law-and-order effect after the riots. I’m slightly dubious about either explanation – the narrowing in the polls seems too delayed to be a riot effect, and I’m always doubtful about the impact of foreign affairs stories – true, more people think Cameron’s handled Libya well than badly, but Cameron’s general approval ratings and perceptions of his qualities haven’t particularly changed. That said, I don’t really have any better explanation to offer up, and the timing appears to chime with Libya – perhaps the government’s handling of the riots and Libya have just given a generally more competent image, or perhaps it’s merely an absence of conspicous bad news for a few weeks.


210 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 37, LAB 42, LDEM 10”

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  1. “merely an absence of conspicous bad news for a few weeks.”

    Aye.

  2. It could be a combination effect. The riots made people a bit more favourably disposed to Cameron without shifting opinions too much. When the apparent success of the Libyan strategy became apparent, some more favourbaly inclined voters changed their party preference. Add that to a relatively quiet Opposition ,who aren’t articulating any arguments too dissimilar to the Government’s on either Libya or the riots, and you have a narrowing of thr polls.

  3. If I were pushed, I’d say it’s a little bit of a Libya bounce, a little bit of ‘law and order’ feeding into that hawkishness too, and a big dose of a false-spring effect from people thinking the cuts aren’t as bad as they feared despite them not really coming into effect fully yet.

  4. I really should be more accurate with my typing – fingers too big for the keyboard.

  5. It all seems rather strange.Perhaps Parliament not being
    in session,somehow I do not feel that this is Libya or the
    riots,but who knows .What I do think is that we are a long
    way from a general election,so it is all to play for.Exciting!

  6. Sally Bercow being better known than Yvette Cooper probably doesn’t help.

  7. Oh.

    Looked for a moment like it was getting interesting. Not as bad for the Tories as the 8% gap they’ve been facing for a while, but when the Labour lead has been locked at 8% for a few weeks then 6% for a few weeks, 5% isn’t much to get bothered about, at least not this far from any elections.

    I’m more interesting in these polls showing rises in Lib Dem votes right now. Since they’re not showing up in YouGov it sound like a lot of previous LD voters are going from Labour to Don’t Know (Anthony?), so if this trend keeps up it’s possible that the Lib Dems’ change to a “business-like relationship” may be starting to pay off.

    Oh well, things should get more interesting in Party Conference season. Anyone know when the leader speeches are so I can arrange days off on the right days?

  8. @Wolf

    “Sally Bercow being better known than Yvette Cooper probably doesn’t help.”

    Being known isn’t necessarily a good thing if it’s through Big Brother. I’m still traumatised by George Galloway in that leotard.

  9. Well,I think Sally Bercow is splendid.At least she has a
    sense of humour and presumably her husband too.At
    least I hope he has.

  10. I don’t deny she has a sense of humour, but I was dreading some cringeworthy undignified task coming to light in the next few days, in the style of the cat stunt.

    I can’t help thinking that the John Bercow is secretly relieved with his wife’s early eviction.

  11. Think the 1% definitely bliplet… Back to 5

  12. Anthony

    “It’s the economy stupid”

    The public have seen America’s credit rating downgraded and watching the Euro currency teeter closer and closer to the edge of collapse. The public must be thinking that actually we seem pretty safe in comparison and the gov’s economic policies are to do with this. The fact we are making these big cutbacks unlike America or Greece, Spain Italy etc

  13. Without wanting to indulge in a bout of that well known polling game called “spot the outlier”, I had a feeling that yesterday’s poll showing the Tories at 39% was an obvious sore thumb. No other poll has had them anywhere near that figure for some time now and, whilst they’ve no doubt had a slight up-tick since their hard-line reaction to the riots and the favourable turn of events in Libya, I think those developments have dented Labour support more than boosted the Tories, hence the narrowing of the gap between the two main parties detected in the last few polls.

    Labour subsidence more than Tory surge is how I read the recent tightening, although Miliband will be a tad relieved to see his party touching 42% again in tonight’s poll, especially when they’ve been nigh on politically invisible over the last two weeks. Maybe that’s the secret!! lol

  14. Also, the economic growth while slow, isn’t static or negative, fears of a double dip are becoming more and more unrealistic, so a lot of the fears Labour was playing on have been dismissed or are fading

  15. That old bank holiday polling magic.

    Clearly will be disappointing for the Tories to be back in the 37% range but they can be consolled with some shrinking of the lead. And the 1% certainly helped bring out a few blue posters.

    Proof if ever that the general political tone of the site really doesn’t come down to either side being bullied off the board – it’s just at any given time whichever side is losing tends to not want to play. But we know they’re still watching proceedings closely, waiting for that one golden poll…..

  16. Perhaps the utter invisibility of Labour from the news agenda in the last week has been a factor – coupled with Cameron looking in control and taking charge. A slight shift – but a detectable one.

    Is Ed on holiday? Who exactly is holding the fort if he is? Apart from a couple of Douglas Alexander sightings the entire Labour front bench appears to be having a late summer nap!

  17. Crossbat
    No other poll has had them anywhere near that figure for some time now and …

    Except Comres (38) and ICM (37)

  18. @Alec

    “…………. – it’s just at any given time whichever side is losing tends to not want to play.”

    The old phrase used to be “fair-weather friends” and, if we’re being honest, we all have tendencies to be a little fickle every now and again.

  19. ICEMAN

    Yes, the Labour Front bench is poor.

    ANN in Wales

    The figures are exciting for Tories. A 5% deficit in the polls for the Tories is very good news for them. When Labour last won power in a GE 1997 and 1964, from the Tories they were well ahead in the polls

  20. @ Max

    Economy is virtually static! ( 0.17% growth over 9 months to end of June and a mixed bag since but seemingly sluggish to static signs ). That in itself will not harm Tories, however, – no-one expected anything else – and many still blame Brown! The Tories are doing what they said on the tin. The proof will come when the strikes hit, public services slide back to the dismal quality we had up to around 2,000 and this stagnation grinds endlessly – as I fear it must.

    A harder task then to hold on to 2010 voters and the coalition – rougher seas ahead ( late 2012 – late 2013 key – if this proves to be a period of significant recovery at above trend then the Tories have a very good chance of keeping their 2010 vote share which may be enough to keep another coalition government in – if not I can’t see anything other than a Labour victory)

  21. Rather as I said, Parliament is not in session, so therefore
    the Goverment will obviously call the shots with decisive
    actions on riots, Libya etc.

  22. Well the “polldrums” seem to be abating but instead we have some references to “Attad”.

    With acknowledgement to Amber! :-)

  23. Maybe the right wing press play a part in giving a boost. They (particularly Mail and DT) do not like Cameron and hate the Coalition (due to the yellow influence). They have been hammering him for months.

    They appear keen on war, and praise DC’s handling of Libya situation, even more they believe in severe treatment of criminals, and therefore are pleased so many rioters and looters were prosecuted and that their sentences were quite severe.

    Many of their readers who, who I believe predominately vote Tory, have been fed continuous criticism of DC since he formed the Coalition, but they are now told that DC is doing well in fighting ccrime and leading campaigns against our foreign enemy of the day.

  24. chris Lane, the polls are exciting for anyone whatever
    party they support, because they are so close and there
    are so many variables that could still influence events.For
    instance the long threatened epidemic of bird flu,is being
    threatened yet again.Three years is a very long time indeed,in politics.

  25. ICEMAN

    The proof will come when the strikes hit, public services slide back to the dismal quality we had up to around 2,000 and this stagnation grinds endlessly – as I fear it must.

    I suspect strikes will be playing into DCs hands; at a difficult time the rioters certainly did not hinder the Tories popularity and probably helped.

  26. Ann (in Wales)
    chris Lane, the polls are exciting for anyone whatever
    party they support, because they are so close and thereare so many variables that could still influence events.Forinstance the long threatened epidemic of bird flu,is beingthreatened yet again.Three years is a very long time indeed,in politics

    I agree. I think bird flu is a nasty for govt. If you buy vacine and the flu is not too bad you are accused of wasting money. If you don’t buy the vacine and it is worse than expected you are accused of poor planning or even neglect.

    Mind you Darling’s revelations may embarass the opposition

  27. http://today.yougov.co.uk/sites/today.yougov.co.uk/files/yg-archives-pol-sun-results-310811.pdf

    This is the data for tonights poll.

    Still think that the riot response is the factor this is narrowing the Lab-Tory gap. If you look back when Labour had a 8 point lead prior to the riots, they were leading in the 25-39 age group and in London by quite a large margin. Then the riots happened and some did not like Labours liberal approach. I think this will only affect Labours polling temporarily, as I am sure by the time parliament returns, Labour will have sorted out a slightly better response to the social issues affecting the country.

  28. Henry,with respect, strikes are not the same as riots.People are able to differentiate between genuine
    grievance and mindless violence.

  29. …or Darling’s memoirs will remind everybody that the flawed and dysfunctional Labour machine knew what they were doing, and the the lightweight Tories are sinking into their own lack of belief.

  30. Alec

    Proof if ever that the general political tone of the site really doesn’t come down to either side being bullied off the board – it’s just at any given time whichever side is losing tends to not want to play. But we know they’re still watching proceedings closely, waiting for that one golden poll…..

    OK Colin might get chirpy if the Tories poll gets the boost, and I was delighted a few weeks back when the LDs seemed to be recovering a bit; but lets face it on this site either Tory or LD supporters are few and far between, whatever the polls are saying.

  31. Ann (in Wales)

    Henry,with respect, strikes are not the same as riots.People are able to differentiate between genuine
    grievance and mindless violence

    You have a point, but I recall that a number of posters were suggesting when the riots first occurred that this would damge the Tories. I am suggesting that people are not that much fond of strikes either although I agree the difference.

    I could be wrong and the strikes could damage the Tories. But I believe it is likely to be seen as political and damage Labour.

  32. Nick Poole

    or Darling’s memoirs will remind everybody that the flawed and dysfunctional Labour machine knew what they were doing, and the the lightweight Tories are sinking into their own lack of belief.

    I don’t really understand your point. However, any revelation by a politician usually embarasses his/her own side rather than opponents. However, you may know more about the revelations than me.

    I thought Darling was quite a capable Chancellor; he just inherited a nasty situation.

  33. More interesting will be the next non-YG polls. The last time the YG polls were 37C / 42L / LD10, ICM, Ipsos and the like gave the Conservative 34C / 39L / LD9.

    I doubt it will be quite that way this time.

  34. Just returned from watching “Transfer Deadline Day Countdown” (another Sky TV confection to go with “Showdown Sunday” and the “Big Four”) and I was delighted with Villa’s two last minute additions. This should hold us in good stead to compete in what’s left of the proper First Division which obviously excludes the quasi-global corporations that now masquerade as football clubs now competing in the ghastly Sky Sports “Top Four”. Most genuine football fans couldn’t give a toss for that money-laced farce. Long live the likes of FC Manchester and AFC Wimbledon, I say; clubs who are leading the way for the game’s eventual salvation (excellent article by John Harris in today’s Guardian, by the way, banging on in a similar vein).

    Rant over, and back to the polls. I’m just a tad surprised that the Tories haven’t blipped a bit higher, to be honest. I always felt that the political weather of the last few weeks has been particularly favourable for them and I expected to see a short-lived bounce that would see a run of low 40s, maybe even producing a narrow Tory lead for a while. Therefore, I rather thought the Bank Holiday weekend polls were precursors for a short Tory honeymoon and the reappearance of a 5% Labour lead so quickly is not what I expected to see at all, I have to say

  35. I hope any perceived narrowing is a real kick up the behind for Labour. Read in the Observer last week that Labour’s amazing new strategy for attacking the Tories was to point out the Coalition is actually quite right wing! If that’s the best they can come up with Cameron might as well start planning the post-election victory party right now.

  36. @Berious

    “……………..If that’s the best they can come up with Cameron might as well start planning the post-election victory party right now.”

    You may well be right that the Labour strategy turns out to be a bit of a pig in a poke, but I think your description of it may be bordering on parody. I too read the Observer article and the strategy it described was a little more subtle than you claim. Essentially, and I think there may be some eventual political mileage in this approach, they want to draw attention to the difference between the Cameron he wanted the electorate to see before the election and the Cameron he has become once in power. Compassionate Conservatism, so the line of attack would claim, has given way to a more right-wing and populist crowd pleasing politics; one that sings the old tunes of glory that give right-wing Conservatives a nice warm feeling inside. In other words, he’s retreating to safe Tory ground on law and order, social policy, environment and the economy, shedding the hoodies and huskies as he goes.

    In other words, will the real David Cameron please stand up.

  37. @ crossbat –

    I think any tory vi figures in low 40’s at moment are unrealistic – regardless of the short term beneficial news agenda. Dangers aplenty for Tories – Libya may descend into chaos, or human rights abuses ( so far unconfirmed rumours) may turn out to be true against the Rebel ( NTC) forces – especially given the possible racist attacks on Black Africans. The Coulson trial could be huge embarrassment ( The whole hacking scandal has potential to damage many Labour figures from last government but none are now active). Strikes.
    Economic stagnation. Cameron will have to do very well or be extremely lucky to hold on to what he has electorally.

    @ Chrislane

    I don’t actually think Labour front bench are poor. They are off the pace on the news agenda at times but are generally reasonably competent. I have been disappointed by Ed Balls as shadow chancellor – maybe Ed M’s reluctance to put him there was sound. Perhaps he could get him to swap jobs with Yvette – I feel that each could do the other’s jobs better,

    The Tory front bench outside of Cameron and Hague – both of whom are highly effective – has performed pretty poorly too. Not sure why anyone thinks GO is doing well though mood music is that way. Lansbury, Willetts, Gove come across as divisive ideologues whose reforms are descending into bitterness and chaotic recrimination.

    The Libdems are frankly all out of their depth. Vince is the ultimate loose cannon, Danny Alexander looks like a little boy lost, ( his seat is lost into 4th place no matter how they redraw it – next GE) Huhne has sunk into the mire of deceit, and NC has become a popular hate figure.

    So while I believe the Labour front bench has been posted awol of late and they lack a bit of savvy I think “poor” would be overstating it. Uninspired and generally worthy might be closer.

  38. @crossbat – If you really despair of the corporatisation of Football, then do the decent thing and cancel your Sky sports subscription – you won’t miss it! ( you will for a bit actually – not so much the football but the cricket! And I would like to see Andy in the US open – and I even miss the midweek speedway) Who am I kidding – of course you will miss it. I cancelled mine last year when I moved house – was forced to: no cable and a listed building so no dish allowed either!

    Still at least i can watch the fabulously insightful Kay Burley on SKY news!

  39. Let’s hear it for AmbivalentSupporter

    […] I do think that Yougov will be showing Lab 42 Cons 37 Libs 9 by the end of this week. There almost certainly has been a narrowing in the lead with Yougov from around 8-9% a few weeks ago, but the latest two Yougov polls seem to be overdoing it for me. (August 30th, 2011 at 10:52 pm)

    The other answers in tonight’s poll show a similar slight closing of Labour’s lead from what what it was, but not to the extent of the previous two. Miliband and co need to start raising their profile rather than, as some have been advising, keep quiet and wait for things to go wrong.

    There are two open goals at the moment. The first is the Health Bill, where the complicated structures proposed and proposed hands off position of the DoH will make no one happy except lawyers. The second is bank regulation where even the timid proposed changes are being whinged about by the bankers and the CBI.

    Both have the potential to split the coalition and cause dissatisfaction on the Tory backbenches. Labour should be causing ructions on them now, not saving things up for Party Conference or worrying about defending its past record. They should just say “We were wrong, and events have proved we were. But to repeat and redouble our mistakes would be criminal rather than just foolish”.

    Incidentally (actually far from incidentally as I posted on it at great and tedious length) I see that Downing Street is now saying that it will advise Conservatives to oppose the Dorries-Field amendments. That slightly surprises me as I had wondered if they had hoped to use these to distract from the other failings of the Bill and would wait till just before the debates to do this.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/aug/31/downing-street-uturn-abortion-proposals

    If Miliband is clever he will be praising Cameron for this ‘wise decision’ aka u-turn. There are ways of doing this without making abortion ‘political’ and still make Cameron look like a weather vane.

  40. crossbat11

    Long live the likes of FC Manchester and AFC Wimbledon

    Fun fact of the night: AFC Wimbledon’s first ever goal was score by a certain Glenn Mulcaire.

    This is why phonehacking keeps bouncing back like Dracula on a pogo stick. It gets everywhere

  41. Roger Mexico

    38degrees has always seemed to me to be a rather Anglo-centric organisation since it concentrates so heavily on English issues. However, they do seem to have realised the folly of the current constitutional system of non-English MPs voting on English issues.

    Their latest email says

    “At the moment the government’s plans only directly impact England. But they could be infectious, setting a dangerous precedent that could threaten the future of the NHS in the rest of the UK.

    Some MPs outside England decide not to vote on issues that only affect England directly, and they may choose not to get involved. But many other MPs from outside England will vote – and they are being told by the government that the NHS is safe. If they read our evidence they’ll know that the spin doesn’t stand up.

    We can put them under massive pressure to vote to save our NHS. So we need to work together to get the legal advice to our MPs right now!”

    I was particularly taken by their “But they could be infectious, setting a dangerous precedent that could threaten the future of the NHS in the rest of the UK.”

    I’m sure that they aren’t aware of the humour (since they have largely ignored Scottish issues) that Westmister is a crazed diseased beast that will spread terror and disease throughout the UK (while carefully not infecting the IoM or the Channel Islands).

    Personally, I consider it better to shoot a mad dog (or on a more humanitarian attitude, collar it and put it permanently to sleep) !

  42. @ Chris Lane

    Yes, the Labour Front bench is poor.
    ———————————–
    Well, we can’t all be millionaires like the Tories front-benchers are. ;-) LOL

  43. http://www.acslaw.org/acsblog/calif-commission-confirms-liu%E2%80%99s-nomination-to-state-supreme-court

    For the first time in over 10 years, a Liberal will sit on the California Supreme Court. Color me happy and excited! :)

    On the subject for which this site is for, I am surprised that the polls have tightened. There seemingly isn’t any reason for it. My only thought is that perhaps Labour’s gain a month or so ago was due to phone hacking and maybe that’s out of the news. On the other hand, Labour didn’t gain all that much in the polls from the phone hacking scandal.

    Nor was there any big shift during the riots (even though people seemed to be unhappy with David Cameron’s handling of it). So color me confused.

  44. @ Henry

    Mind you Darling’s revelations may embarass the opposition…
    ————————————————-
    Yes, because it will reveal a big secret: that Darling & Brown didn’t really get along… who saved the banks & the Uk economy: Brown, Darling or Ed Balls?

    Here’s the thing, Darling was popular outside Labour but resigned his cabinet post & didn’t stand for re-election. Why? Inside Labour a lot of us (maybe not a plurality but a significant minority) believe it was Darling – not Brown – who cost Labour the 2010 election.

    And all the Labour x-ministers who’ve published ‘kiss & tell’ books have embarassed themselves more than the Party.
    8-)

  45. @ Amber Star

    “Well, we can’t all be millionaires like the Tories front-benchers are. LOL”

    Nancy Pelosi has a higher networth than any of the Tory front benchers. Just sayin’. :)

    I’ve never voted against anyone because I thought they had too much money but I think it’s important to have diversity in public office and too many millionaires can present a problem for public policy making. The U.S. Senate is becoming a millionaire’s club and I think that it may be hurting us.

    I think the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court is dominated by those only with law degrees from Harvard and Yale is hurting the Court and as a result is hurting the U.S. Judges play an important role and diversity is critical in order to best represent alternative viewpoints and prevent groupthink.

  46. SoCalLiberal

    “I think the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court is dominated by those only with law degrees from Harvard and Yale is hurting the Court and as a result is hurting the U.S. Judges play an important role and diversity is critical in order to best represent alternative viewpoints and prevent groupthink.”

    But isn’t that normal in an Empire (I know you don’t like that description – that’s why I use it! :-) ) that is reaching its final stages?

    Instead of using the resources of all its people, it creates an oligarchy which uses the institutions of the Empire to keep control for their class.

  47. @ SoCaL

    Nancy Pelosi has a higher networth than any of the Tory front benchers. Just sayin’.
    —————————————————
    I’m going to ask her to donate to the Uk Labour Party; begging e-mails will, by me, be sent. ;-)

  48. @ Amber Star

    “And all the Labour x-ministers who’ve published ‘kiss & tell’ books have embarassed themselves more than the Party.”

    Can I say something here? (And hopefully not provoke you). I read Peter Mandelson’s kiss and tell book last summer and I thought it was the most politically creative and ingenious thing I’d ever seen. Because while it was put forward as a kiss and tell book (and it was), it actually portrayed all the main Labour players in extremely positive and sympathetic lights. It was like the reverse of a backhanded compliment. I thought to myself then, if only I could grow up to be like Mandelson some day and be as politically genious as he is. :)

    I can’t think of any American politicos who are quite like him….James Carville, Rahm Emmanuel, Larry Summers….they’ve all got similarities but major differences.

  49. @ SoCaL

    Mr Liu looks young & fit (all meanings of the word!); is it potentially a life-time appointment like the Supremes?
    8-)

  50. @ SoCaL

    The adverts Peter did were really corny; he was obviously playing for irony/ vamping but it went over most people’s heads. I don’t think the book sold particularly well either. :-)

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