Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sunday Times has topline figures of CON 38%, LAB 39%, LDEM 10%. It’s the second 1 point lead YouGov have shown this week, prior to that Labour’s lead had not falling that low since January.

Up until a fortnight ago YouGov was showing steady Labour leads of around 7-9 points, with Labour on around 43-44%, the Conservatives on 35-36%. Since then the lead has narrowed, with Labour dropping a couple of points, the Conservatives gaining slightly: polls since then have shown leads between 1 and 6 points, suggesting an underlying Labour lead of around 3-4 points.

Full report to follow tomorrow when the tables are published.

85 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 38, LAB 39, LDEM 10”

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  1. “If Miliband has a conference season” should read “bad conference season”

  2. @ Anthony Wells


    Is this YouGov poll for real?

  3. On to polling –
    30-day Weighted figures (vs Last week)-
    Con – 36.3 (+0.4)
    Lab – 42.3 (-0.6)
    Lib – 9.4 (nc)

    Unweighted weekly figures –
    Con – 37.5 (+0.9)
    Lab – 40.75 (-2.05)
    Lib – 10 (+1)
    Absolutely shocking drop for Labour – but we have only had 4 polls (with relatively huge variation) this week, rather than 5 (usually with less).

    Weighted weekly figures – against past 4 weeks.
    Con – 36.5 (+0.6)
    Lab – 42.2 (-0.7)
    Lib – 9.5 (+0.2)

    Approval figures –
    Cameron -9 (+1)
    Miliband -24 (-1)
    Clegg – 42 (+3)
    Still no huge jump in approval for Cameron – seems odd considering how well he’s done recently.
    Barely been any shift in 4 weeks – when the Tories were doing relatively badly and Labour on a high.

    Weighted approval figures –
    Cameron -10.3 (+1.2)
    Miliband -22 (-0.7)
    Clegg -44 (+1.9)

    If none of the party leaders start to shift in approval, could we see 3 new party leaders in 2015? ;)

  4. SoCal –

  5. @Tingedfringe

    I can’t see Cameron going. On the other hand EdM & Clegg must keep their friends close and enemies closer.

  6. Back from hols and trying to catch up with so many things.

    Observations on the YG VI figures etc..

    In a way these are unsurprising. DC and the Cons have still not done anything “wrong”. They have pretty much stuck to the plans across a range of key issues (benefits, immigration, economy).

    If the Cons were in gov by themselves, would it be reasonable to say that they might have “lost” more support to LD and Lab by now? Is the LD presence and influence in gov continuing to provide a shield for DC and the Cons?

    The media has focused on the riots and events in Libya avoiding the economic gloom, disarray in gov policies (eg immigration, economy). (And Darling’s memoirs will also hurt Lab.)

    So, DC should be really pleased. He can go to the Con conference and inevitably receive rapturous applause.

    Goodness knows what reception EM and NC will get at their conferences. And casting a cloud over the events will be (some of) the boundaries review announcements and their implications.

    Earlier this year I said the Cons would get an OM in a GE if held this year. Nothing has changed my view on this.

  7. @ Mike N

    Totally agree. What is most remarkable is how the Tory support has stayed absolutely solid around its GE levels.

    Many of the expressions of support for Labour in the polls will be down to a knee jerk reaction against the government because of the very necessary cuts, not a considered opinion on who which party would really form the best government after another GE.

    The rest of the world has now fallen into step with the deficit reduction plan A and Darling’s revelations about the denial of GB and by association Balls as the the economic realities of spend, spend , spend Lab’s plan B economic strategy is now dead in the water.

    As you say Cameron must be quite looking forward to conference season. The Conservatives go last which is always an advantage and if Cameron can pull off one of his better speeches then the Tories may well be back in the lead in the polls by November.

  8. Would the Tories risk a general election to get a full majority, arguing that the ‘soft on crime, soft on reform’ LibDems (esp if they make conference noise) are holding them back?”

    I would be very surprised and disappointed if he did do that & it would destroy his credibility. Of course if he lost that would be the end for him. One attribute I think that he does have is integrity,; It’s against what he is wanting to do with the fixed term parliament issue, which is to take the shenanigans out of politics & he would become just another opportunistic politician & would probably lose my vote.

    In my view he’s doing just fine, please don’t send me to UKIP.

  9. John Fletcher

    The Tories “rock solid GE level” support is nowhere near enough to win even a 1 seat majority.

    There is no sign as yet (nor since last year) of it increasing above this election non-winning position.

    We have had wild variation this week: when we have had a steady 1-2 per cent labour lead for 10 days or more then we can call a trend. You as a blue are making the same mistake reds made last year whe we had the odd labour lead but before the polls actually turned.

    As AW points out the lead is most probably at 3-4 per cent (enough for a working majority even under changed boundaries)- at a moment in the policy cycle when only elements of he governments policy agenda have reared their head

    As for “the rest of the world falling into step with deficit reduction” a large helping of “IMHO” please.

    IMHO central banks, stock markets and national leaders are waking up to the distinct possibility that fiscal austerity (excessively deep and speedy in some countries) has thrown boteconomies and nationaleconomies onto the cusp of a new recession. Alternatives- a changed approach- are clearly being considered across the global economy (just watch CNBC for a few hours.

    On other matters good to see Clark clearly this weekend laying the foundation of another U turn – this one on the NPPF.

    In hindsight it beggars belief how Cameron et al thought they could get “automatic permission to develop” via a planning system reduced to the function of a mere rubber stamp, past the blue rinse and barbour jacket brigade (let alone the sustainability professions who actually know what they are talking about).

  10. Rather amusing to hear Robert describing Cameron as
    wishing to take the shenanigans out of politics.Has he ever seen him at PMQs?

  11. “New Labour’s involvement with the US’s extraordinary rendition.”

    It is not easy to underestimate the extent to which UK intelligence apparatus has become subordinated to US operational control over the years, and the problems this presents for politicians on this side of the Atlantic when there is a rogue administration in the Washington.

    Here is David Miliband’s position set out five days after George Bush left power:


    It should be noted that the Obama administration was still putting pressure on the FO not to release details of historical instances of extraordinary rendition.

  12. @ John Fletcher

    “The rest of the world has now fallen into step with the deficit reduction plan A and Darling’s revelations about the denial of GB and by association Balls as the the economic realities of spend, spend , spend Lab’s plan B economic strategy is now dead in the water.”

    I think that is correct.

    Darling’s revelations about Brown’s economic strategy ( the recession will last 6 months-spending cuts are not needed) ; and his chaotic lack of organisational skills, provide good ammo for Cons.

    I don’t see any immediate effect on VI-but the question “would you really trust these people again” will have more mileage

    .That “these people” still included EB , Brown’s favoured candidate to oust the “overcautious” Darling, and still the author of Labour’s economic strategy is a godsend for GO, who will not fail to use it when the right time comes.

    After AW, reminder of MOE effect , we seem to be anywhere between even stevens & 6% gap.

    An average of 3% lead is a 7% gain on where I thought we would be by now.

    The post Conference Polls will be interesting.

  13. I’m sure I’ll be corrected if I’m wrong about this, but YG’s methodology (especially other than in the run up to a GE) tends to overstate the Lab VI by some 4% and understate the Con VI by some 1%. So, on these latest poll figs, if a GE were called, Cons would be ahead of Lab. (I think.)

    As I’ve said in posts earlier this year, 2011 could be as good as it gets for the Cons and be their best opportunity for an OM were a GE called.

  14. Mike n

    Re: YG

    WTF ?!?!

  15. Rob
    YG adopts a different method for assessing level of votng at a GE in the weeks prior to a GE. This particularly reflects the greater likelihood of Lab suppoters not voting. IIRC, AW posted something along these lines on a thread recently.

  16. @John Fletcher – “The rest of the world has now fallen into step with the deficit reduction plan…”

    Ahem – wildly inaccurate statement. The rest of the world (governments from US to Europe to China) the IMF, the markets the majority of commentators) have suddenly woken up to the fact that the austerity based deficit reduction plans were fatally flawed and that they have collectively collapsed growth and created another credit crisis. Three cheers for austerity.

    A much more centrist view is that the initial deficit reduction plans were far too stringent and that a longer glide path to deficit reduction was more appropriate, with a greater emphasis being placed on growth in the intervening years.

    Instead, we are witnessing the rapid collapse of the global economy, particularly the indebted western ones where the deficit reduction plans have been most severe, and we will see rising deficits and increasing impacts on the real economy in due course.

    Austerity has never worked without growth. People now realise that the deficit reduction plans as currently constututed have been an utter disaster.

    I have an economics A level and I read the papers, and today I am a smug g*t as this is precisely what I said would happen two years ago. Maybe I should have applied to run the IMF?

  17. Based on those numbers, and adding the scottish westminster poll (‘all giving a voting intention’) figures, we get a hung parliament with Labour short of 18 seats.

    That doen’t take into account MIKE N’s thoughts on Yougov methodologies on Lab and Con VI. In the case of -4 and +1 respectively, we would have a hung parliament with Con short of 19 seats.

  18. Mike N – it doesn’t make that much difference. It’s one two points difference to the lead, not 5!

  19. I think Ed Miliband is going to make changes to the shadow cabinet before the party conference. It will be interesting to see if he moves Harriet Harman to another role and does not have a woman as his deputy. I think MP’s voted recently to give the leader the power to elect their team, instead of having to choose from those favoured by Labour MP’s in a vote.

    In regard to the polling, leading Tories have had more media coverage concerning recent events and I think these have reduced focus on how bad the economy is performing. Leading Labour figures (apart from Darling selling his book) have been fairly quiet and have not had much to say. Although I am forgetting that Harriet Harman did feature after the riots and was not helpful to Labour. For this reason, I am pretty sure she will be dropped by Ed and be moved to a party organisational role of some kind.

  20. @Colin – “Darling’s revelations about Brown’s economic strategy ( the recession will last 6 months-spending cuts are not needed) ; and his chaotic lack of organisational skills, provide good ammo for Cons.”

    I guess they do, but I do wonder how useful this would actually be to them? In 1992 Labour tried various ways to link John Major to Thatcher. There was certainly plenty of ammunition, as Major was Thatcher’s golden boy and chosen heir and successor, but all it did was allow Major to demonstrate how different the party was now Thatcher was gone.

    Personally, I rather think that if the Tories go all out on attacking the Brown administration Ed M will quite happily shrug his shoulders and say ‘God yes, it was awful, isn’t it good that we’ve changed’, which is basically what he has already been doing.

    If I was a Labour supporter I would be much more worried about things like revelations of collaboration with Libya, but even here, Labour chose the right person. Ed M has a real advantage in not having been in one of the big three cabinet posts and in many ways can agree with any criticism of his predecessor and use the old judo trick of using your enemies momentum to your own advantage.

  21. AW
    Ah, ok, thanks. My memory fading by the day.

  22. Colin

    As you know I am on record (from a long way back) as stating that the peculiar circumstances of this “coaliton” parliament (and the return to two party electoral politics) make leads of 8-9% or more very unlikely IMHO- and where they are achieved are not sustainable for more than a short period/ are no more than upper moe.

    Anyone who asserts that “labour should be 10 or 15 points ahead” clearly is making a party political point . If labour were 10-15 points ahead such people would now be saying with oh-so-much sincerity that they “should be 20 or 25 points ahead” ;-)

    If we are at a 3% labour lead for the moment then that is precisely where I would expect labour under EdM to be at this stage of the electoral-policy cycle: remember a 3% Labour lead is almost definitely enough for labour to win a small but workable majority!

    Without EdM I’d expect Labour to be around 6% ahead- BUT as long as they picked a leader with PMQ and TV prescence.

    As far as austerity and ‘blame’ goes: if it carries on like this and we have either sluggish growth (0 – 1.9%) all the way through to 2013/2015 or- please not- another recession, then the voters are much more likely to say to themselves something like “and we thought the previous bunch had cocked it up but then this lot…..”: and vote accordingly.

  23. @Mike N

    “2011 could be as good as it gets for the Cons and be their best opportunity for an OM were a GE called.”

    Why does this keep getting raised? Even before the passing of the Act providing for fixed term parliaments, Cameron doesn’t have the ability to call an election. He can only ask the Queen to dissolve parliament on the basis that he does not wish to continue to form a government and that there is no alternative – but since there *is* an alternative, and she cannot simply dissolve parliament until that option has been explored.

    If DC tried to walk away from the coalition, current LD VI share would force them to try to form a government with Labour ( for them to allow an election to occur would be turkeys voting for Xmas), and there is probably (just) enough support for such a coalition to pass a Queens Speech.

  24. @Rob Sheffiled – re the planning proposals. You posted a lot on this and clearly know something about planning, so you might be able to help me.

    My initial understanding (from the spin only, so I didn’t necessarily trust it) was that the new framework would only contain the presumption of development if there was no local policy in force that specifically prevents it. In this way so the argument runs, if local communities want to protect open spaces they simply need to write a policy into planning guidance and they have their protection.

    I couldn’t really grasp this, as this is precisely the planning framework we have now, more or less, with areas zoned for certain types of development or protection etc.

    So I’m assuming this was just spin and the new legislation would prevent such blanket protections? I also note that English Heritage are now advising the government that the framework could do untold damage to listed sites through multiple small impacts allowable under the proposals, which represents a pretty damning professional judgement against the plans.

    Just wondered what your take was on how the technicalities are proposed to work?

  25. Alec

    “maybe I should have applied to run the IMF”

    Indeed- I note that Lagarde is now-in effect- arguing that austerity has been “too deep too fast”.

    When will George make the turn I wonder- he’s first and foremost an electoral tactician rather than a Chancellor.

    The opposite of Darling in fact in that regard.

  26. Ann
    Rather amusing to hear Robert describing Cameron as
    wishing to take the shenanigans out of politics.Has he ever seen him at PMQs?

    Yes, watch it every week, some weeks he is good some weeks not. I do get frustrated that Ed often doesn’t listen to the answers given though & merely ploughs on with his pre set questions regardless. It’s not unknown for me to shout at the tv which the boss says is the start of the slippery slope!

  27. Robin

    I understand what you’re saying about the fixed term, but it remains possible for a GE to be called at any time if Parliament agrees (by the prescribed majority).

    In the event that the Coalition collapses, and DC were to tender his resignation as PM to the Q (a move which could occur were a minority Con gov prove to be unable to function), the Q might consider the viability of a ‘rainbow coalition’ but it seems to me improbable that EM could put together an alternative government when faced with such a large Con contingent of MPs.

    But 2011 is IMO as good as it gets for the Cons.

  28. @Rob Sheffield – indeed. Where I think @John Fletcher is completely wrong is that there is indeed a consensus emerging, but it is in fact far more in tune with Labour’s general policy tone than with the unadulterated austerity programmes.

    I’m not saying this by way of praising Labour – I don’t think they had much of a growth policy other than short term fiscal stimuli and the ‘too far too fast’ mantra was more of an electoral slogan than any defined policy plan, but the central core of the thinking was much more appropriate on a global scale. Take more time to bring spending under control and concentrate on both spending reduction measures alongside measures to boost growth.

  29. Rob
    “indeed- I note that Lagarde is now-in effect- arguing that austerity has been “too deep too fast”.

    Yes, it’s funny how people change their stance when they get a different hat to wear, isn’t it?

    Incidentally, Sarkozy is trying to set a trap for the opposition by seeking their support to passing into law, a ‘Golden Rule’, to the effect that the budget must always be in balance in future.

    Will George do something similar when the time is right?

  30. @Robert – “Incidentally, Sarkozy is trying to set a trap for the opposition by seeking their support to passing into law, a ‘Golden Rule’, to the effect that the budget must always be in balance in future.”

    I love those Golden Rules. I just wonder what Churchill would have said in 1939 to the Poles? ‘Terribly sorry chaps, but we can’t join the fight against global fascism as it might mean we have to break our Golden Rule’.

    This kind of daft thinking is currently being applied in the US, where the House Republicans are arguing that the emergency spending clearing up after hurricane Irene (0.2% of federal annual budget) needs to be paid for by equivalent cuts elsewhere.

  31. Robert @ R Huckle

    “Well I suppose when the horse is dead, you stop flogging it and buy a new one. Will re-branding work? Are there any examples anywhere, where it has happened successfully in the political field.”

    To stick with your metaphor, I’ve been saying for years that it’s the right diagnosis and treatment but you don’t have to be a pessimist or opposed to the Cons to think the patient may be too far gone for the treatment to work.

    Sixty years of unremitting decline with the root cause unaddressed can’t easily or quickly be reversed. Maybe it can’t be done at all but it’s the last and only hope and has to be tried.

    Too big a dose of the medicine – Scottish Independence – would kill the patient.

    The DDR Communists rebranded having destroyed the country, and got a share of the poll in the first elections in the reunified Germany which Scottish Conservatves would rightly be more than pleased with now.

  32. statgeek

    “Based on those numbers, and adding the scottish westminster poll (‘all giving a voting intention’) figures, we get a hung parliament with Labour short of 18 seats.”

    Is that with 34 SNP + PC available for coalition for S&C?

    Life would be easier for Labour if they lost quite badly rather than that they had to face that Faustian choice.

  33. Statgeek

    Between now and the election, that 34 could fall to 20 if OldNat’s speculation about the post 2010 VI for the SP election is correct.

    Equally, it could rise to 40 if it was a rising trend which (for whatever reason) did not initially show in polls and the SP election was simply a point on the graph.

    If the latter, the Unionists might as well give up and accept the inevitable.

    It could be either or anywhere in between. Until we have at least two more polls we know nothing.

  34. “Too far to fast” or “deficit are a drag on the economy” is an absurd debate. We are in a trap and no policy can prevent the continuation of the global economic meltdown, but how are we going to organize the world economy after the depression has passed it’s deepest point would be a worthwhile debate. One thing is certain we can’t continue the way we have.

    We need to have a proper debate on,

    The creation of money, who has the legal right to create money and under which restrictions. Are the banks going to continue creating money as debt, will the present 30+ leverage continue. Are we going to see the return of “sound money” ie gold($1875 a troy oz at the moment, a lot of folk are betting on a new gold standard)

    How should capital markets be organized to best promote a stable and dynamic world economy, which might be hard if we believe that stable and dynamic are opposites.

    How should we organize welfare in an age where part time work has become normal and lifelong learning has become essential

  35. @ Alec, Colin and Rob S.

    Thank you for you comments on my post.

    Was going to spend the morning on line, but at the last moment we escaped the City and drove out to the Garden of England for a picnic. Got rained on though. :)

    Despite the variety of opinions in your replies I think it would be difficult, regardless of political views, to disagree that it is Cameron who is coming back from the summer break and into conference season with a smile on his face.

    This must be a particular disappointment for Lab. EdM did a good job maximising the Tories discomfort over Hackgate, but the riots, the world economy and Libya have bought Hackgate back into its true perspective i.e. it is not really very important at all.

    On the other hand he EdM did not gauge the public mood correctly by trying to mix the riots up with bankers and the cuts. He could do little about Libya and Darling’s revelations really do question Ball’s economic competence.

    Clegg must be a little happier than a few months ago. I sense that the LD’s are being see as the credible opposition ( even though they are in Govt) because they can actually affect policy, whereas Lab just sand on the sidelines whinging.

    But as I said, Cameron must be the happier of the 3 right now having weathered the summer storms.

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