This week’s YouGov poll for the Sunday Times has topline figures of CON 36%, LAB 42%, LDEM 11%. Eleven percent is actually the highest Lib Dem score that YouGov, who tend to show the lowest figures for the Lib Dems, have shown for just over a month. Nevertheless, it is less than stunning for a conference boost. As ever, I’ll post a full report when the tables appear tomorrow morning.

In the Sunday papers there are also some figures from a YouGov poll for IPPR in the Observer*, which asked how likely people were to vote for each party, giving us an idea of the core vote and the ceiling for each party. For the Conservatives 19% of people would always vote Tory, 42% would never vote Tory; for Labour 24% say they would always vote Labour, 30% would never vote for them; for the Lib Dems just 5% would always vote for them, 36% would never vote for them.

(*and for those somewhat surprised to find YouGov conducting telephone polls, it’s just a mistake in the Observer. It was an online poll as usual!)

134 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 36, LAB 42, LDEM 11”

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  1. Tinged Fringe

    So the Libs were largely reaping the benefits of Labour’s decline with left/centre-left voters.
    The current course isn’t going to win those or the extra who’ve left, back

    Thanks for your thoughtful, non-knee jerk action response.

    Your statistics are absolutely right, and Lib Dems did pick up protest votes and benefitted from tactical voting. Also i believe Iraq invasion gained the LDs many short term supporters.

    However I do not think the Party seriously challenged Labour, jnor tried to replace them. One reason given is that we are a bunch of losers, if LDs activists and MPs really wanted to win they would have joined Lab or Tory (I think it is a bit harsh but sometimes I wonder). Certainly there are quite a number in the Party who are close to Labour., and refuse to criticise them as a Party or talk of replacing them (to many this would be outragious) – they will of course criticise individual policies.

    Nick Clegg, it has been suggested by a poster is Conservative, perhaps Liberal Conservative, and this may be so; however before the election he was willing to attack the Conservative party.

    At the Conference Nick Clegg attacked Labour, and some in the Party felt he should have attacked GB and EB rather than Labour; Labour is ok but went down the wrong root approach. Perhaps NC has got the point – his arguement should be Labour cannot deliver a suitable alternative to the Tories but we can.

    If he continues this approach and survives then he will get resignations, because as I said there is a significant LD minority that believe it is wrong to try to replace the Labour Party.

    An alternative, which I would find equally acceptable would be to leave the left wing/right wing stuff to Labour and the Tories and just follow a Liberal agenda, concentrating on demcracy and opposing centrist agendas, and big business or govt big brother domination over the individual and his/her rights.

  2. @Alec;

    Anecdotal, I know, but most of my fellow students think the £6000 move was a rather empty gesture. We expected a graduate tax at the least, and now find Labour is essentially acting as Conservative-lite. It wasn’t the grandest gesture to fire up the base.

  3. “his arguement should be Labour cannot deliver a suitable alternative to the Tories but we can.”
    But that won’t work without a shift to the left – being a centrist party may push British politics in to pure three-party politics (Lab having left/centre-left, Libs having centre-left/centre/centre-right, Con having centre-right/right) but ‘replacing Lab’ is a no-go without unifying the left/centre-left under a single banner.

    The left tried sticking with a centrist party under New Labour and they left for the LibDems.

    Of course, a pure-three-party setup would be far more beneficial to the country and would be a welcomed change.
    Hopefully it’d also push Lab and Con (who would unlikely win majorities) in to accepting some form of proportional representation – and then we can move to a more representative multi-party democracy with parties representing the whole rainbow of ideologies.
    One can dream. ;)

  4. Where is all this talk of the lib dems trying to replace one of the other parties in a two party system, that’s not what I want, we need a good labour party and we need a good Tory party. But we also need a good far left party and a “good” far right party. I don’t want the liberal democrats to replace anyone, we will just end up being them. What I want is a real multi party democracy, where I can see what I’m voting for. I want the labour party to split and the Tories to split, 5 parties should be enough to be going on with

  5. I find myself interested in what the Labour leader will say at conference for the first time for many years.

    That might be me, of course.

    Will the real Ed Milliband stand up?

  6. “5 parties should be enough to be going on with”
    I disagree – we need declared coalitions but we need a *lot* more parties.
    Sure, a far-left party may cover the socialists and communists, a left-wing party the social democrats, etc – but what about the factions within them?
    The ‘Stalinist-left’ (which, okay, is rare – but if we’re talking about full representation) is far different from the anarchist-left.

    If we’re going to go for representation across both major scales (left-right, libertarian-authoritarian), we’d need at least 25 factions – that’s also completely ignoring if you think that green issues are separate from those two scales (I’d argue not, but there you go).
    Then the factions would form natural coalition blocs (left vs right when appropriate, libertarian vs authoritarian when appropriate).

  7. I’d still like free Uni, public utilities and a huge investment in jobs all paid for by a tax on properties over a miilion pounds but I suspect that ain’t a-happening any time soon.

  8. I wouldn’t look too closely into the presence or absence of a post-conference boost for the Lib Dems. It seems the big news the Lib Dems wanted out of this conference was for there to not be any big news, rather than have it dominated by a leadership struggle. As such, I doubt many Lib Dems were aiming for or expecting any real post-conference boost.

    If there’s one thing I’d worry about, it’s what happens if we get a hung Parliament with Labour as the largest party. After last year, many Lib Dem MPs would, I suspect, jump at the chance of a Lab-Lib coalition. However, whilst I think Labour is manoeuvring to forgive the Lib Dems (for coalition purposes at least), I suspect many Labour MPs won’t be so forgiving of Nick Clegg. As Nick Clegg used the resignation of a Labour Leader as a bargaining chip, I don’t think the Labour party will have any qualms about doing the same to him.

    So when much of the Lib Dem partying are moving into Tory-bashing mode, Nick Clegg is holding the ground of standing with his coalition partners. I can’t help wondering this is because Nick Clegg knows his only chance of surviving the next election is it stay in a Con/Lib coalition. Will the rest of the party accept this? If not, things could still get very ugly in 2014.

    The most famous “Beard & Sandals” jibe is in Orwell’s Road to Wigan Pier, where he argued that “ordinary” people thought “socialist” = “crank”.
    “We have reached a stage when the very word socialism calls up . . . a picture of vegetarians with wilting beards . . . or earnest ladies in sandals . . . .If only the sandals and pistachio-colored shirts could be put in a pile and burnt, and every vegetarian, teetotaler and creeping Jesus sent home to Welwyn Garden City to do his yoga exercises quietly. As with the Christian religion, the worst advertisement for Socialism is its adherents.”
    Labour much later turned the jibe against what they regarded as the impractical idealism of the Libs & it now seems to refer, among Lib-Dems, to left-leaning activists who have little or no symptahy with the right-wing Orange Bookers who now run the party.
    From a recent Lib-Dem blog.
    “The [2011] conference mood seemed strangely flat to me and with the disappearance of the familiar beards and sandals of past conferences I wonder whether that is because the Lib Dem activist base has largely disappeared” etc.

  10. Does anyone have any good resources for the estimated breakdowns of the last few elections by social class/gender etc?

  11. Tinged

    7 parties is difficult enough to keep up with, it took me years to understand norweigen politics and I still don’t properly understand. But 25 either your pulling my leg or your not thinking straight. We do have an 8th party the red alliance which is a group of hard left parties that fight election together but they only ever manage to get one seat if that. I would love to see your list of parties. I must ask Frederick which norweigen party he supports.

  12. This is the wiki list of parties standing in Scotland at the 2010 GE.

    There is no shortage of parties – but for most of them there is a shortage of voters.

    Scottish National Party : Centre-left, pro-Scottish Independence, Social Democracy
    Labour Party : Centre-left, Democratic socialism, Trade Unionism, pro-Unionist
    Conservative and Unionist Party : Centre-right, Conservatism, pro-Unionist
    Liberal Democrats : Centre to Centre-left, social liberalism, Federalism, pro-Unionist
    Scottish Green Party : Left-wing, Environmentalism, pro-Scottish Independence
    United Kingdom Independence Party : Right-wing, Euroscepticism, Populism, Conservatism
    British National Party : Far-right, British nationalism, Right-wing populism, Euroscepticism
    Scottish Socialist Party : Left-wing, Socialism, Environmentalism, Feminism, pro-Scottish Independence
    Socialist Labour Party : Left-Wing, Socialism, Trade Unionism, Euroscepticism
    Scottish Christian Party : Right-wing, Christianity, Christian right
    Liberal Party : Centre to Centre-left, Liberalism, Social Liberalism
    Scottish Jacobite Party : Pro-Scottish Independence
    Communist Party : Far-left, Communist, Marxism–Leninism
    Pirate Party : Copyright and patent reform

  13. RiN
    5×5 is 25 – if you want to cover all bases.
    Your ‘5 parties’ suggestion only covers the latter scale – my point was that the second scale can’t be ignored.

    The Anarchist-Left and Totalitarian-Right would be very, very small parties – but if you’re going for full inclusion. ;)

  14. @ ALEC

    “I do sometimes wonder quite which planet you are on”

    Funny you should say that Alec…………though I wouldn’t have mentioned it had you not done so first.


  15. @Richard in Norway

    “I must ask Frederick which norweigen party he supports.”

    Depending on the issues concerned I would say that my sympathies tend to lie with either Ap or Venstre. Ie. On many aspects of social policy – Ap, on issues of personal freedom – Venstre.


  16. Thank you, Anthony!

  17. Frederick

    I lean towards venstre but I like the centre party for its commitment to decentralized decision making. I quite like the govt we have now, at least they haven’t done anything really stupid. And having the idealistic socialist venstre in govt has turned out better than I expected. It seems that they keep the govt from being too cynical without making it impossibly impracticable. And the centre party is a good brake on the statist impulses of the other too. This is just my opinion of course. What do you think the chances are of a AP(labour) centre and venstre(liberal) coalition are after the next election, the alternative does not base thinking about!!

  18. Oldnat
    “Scottish National Party : Centre-left, pro-Scottish Independence, Social Democracy
    Labour Party : Centre-left, Democratic socialism, Trade Unionism, pro-Unionist”

    In revenge for you making me define ‘beards and sandals’, can you define the difference between ‘Social Democracy’ and ‘Democratic socialism’ please?

    In both a Scottish and UK context if possible, and if there is any subtle difference.

  19. RinN
    We need a good labour party and we need a good Tory party. But we also need a good far left party and a “good” far right party. I don’t want the liberal democrats to replace anyone, we will just end up being them. What I want is a real multi party democracy, where I can see what I’m voting for. I want the labour party to split and the Tories to split, 5 parties should be enough to be going on with

    There are a range of parties from far right to far left, already but so far in UK history with a FPTP, there have always been two dominating parties. IMO there is every reason why these two parties should be the Tories and the LDs (or liberal/social democrats). If the current LDs feel they are left of centre as opposed to the Tories right of centre then they need to replace Labour as one of the major parties.

    Alternatively there is a gaping hole waiting for a third party to fill, ‘ a true Liberal’ party, which is neither left or right wing. At the moment the name Liberal is held by the remnants of the old Liberals, but is not IMO Liberal at all, and I feel far more at home in the LDs. I feel that the current Liberal Party is a bit dog in the managerish; they are no longer Liberal but won’t leave and allow Liberals to adopt their name.

    So, simply my personal preference, I would really like

    A LD Party that actively tries to replace Labour as the centre left Party, being as ruthless as necessary in a nice liberal sort of way.

    The Labour Party admirers in the LDs to leave and the LDs become a Liberal Party looking for individual rights and democracy above Govt, big business and unions, with no left or right commitment. Sorry Shirley (I love you) but you are a socialist not a liberal.

    The remnant Liberal Party be transpormed into a real Liberal Party or a new Real Liberal Party be formed, to look after the interests of individuals against global business, govt, etc.

    It is now Labour’s week and it will be interesting to see whether EM and EB can get a better boost than the LDs by explaining how they intend to spend their way out of debt. Should be popular, as many people do not fancy the austerity that is needed to pay off our massive overdraft.

  20. PeteB,
    Social Democracy – what we have now, capitalist mode of production with a strong welfare state.
    Democratic Socialism – Socialist mode of production, with democratic (usually localised) councils controlling the means of production.

  21. Pete B

    I’m intrigued by the jacobite party. Do they want to put a Stuart on the throne of Scotland?

  22. @Colin – it was only because I have recently read some accounts of the terrible suffering that some US families mis sold sub prime mortgages have been through and the juxtaposition of this and your comments on the issue. I know you’re a decent bloke and while we haven’t heard too much of the impact of sub prime on the people directly affected, I know that had you seen these you would also be shocked and appalled at what the finance people did to those poor souls.

  23. RinN
    I’m intrigued by the jacobite party. Do they want to put a Stuart on the throne of Scotland

    I think they want to march down to London and put a Stuart into Buck Palace, something bonny Prince C failed to do.

  24. @Top Hat – I’m not too sure if the tuition fees proposal was actually aimed solely at students. I also think there is a need for realism. Once a government gets in and changes things it’s very rare for the opposition to hold to a previous policy – unravelling changes gets highly problematical.

    I don’t think there was ever any chance of Labour unwinding the tuition fee system back to their 2010 manifesto position, and a 30% cut in fees is a pretty good second option, especially when you think that fees prior to the changes hadn’t risen in line with inflation.

    Some one also discussed the future of higher education (@Henry possibly?). I think one point worth mentioning is that the coalitions new policy does score well in one regard, namely the equalizing of the approach to full and part time studies.

    Part time students got a far worse deal under the old system with much reduced access to any kind of finance. As we have the finest distance learning institution in the world (The Open University) which is listed much higher in terms of quality of teaching material than many high profile conventional universities, it would be sensible to promote this type of learning as one option.

    Most degrees will be out of date within 5 – 10 years now anyway, and things like the OU mean that learn as you earn is readily available to help people with career development and career switching. It’s far more cost effective than conventional residential degrees and broadens access to education at limited cost.

    I was pleased to see this element of higher education recieve more support under the new proposals.

  25. Of course any talk about tuition fees just reminds voters of the dem great betrayal, what ever you think about the policy no one can deny that it was one of the great political blunders of all time. It should have been voted down at the first go, and then reintroduced with modifications after an almighty row. Just thinking about it makes me depressed and I agreed with the policy(I don’t want to reopen that debate) but the damage is devastating and labour will use it as battering ram at the next GE. I feel sorry for those going out canvassing. Every third doorstep they will have to defend a policy that many of them are hostile to. I can’t imagine how the activists will keep their moral in the face of that.

  26. RinN

    Of course any talk about tuition fees just reminds voters of the dem great betrayal, what ever you think about the policy no one can deny that it was one of the great political blunders of all time.

    We agree on blunders, but as you know I think the blunder was making the promise in the first place. Labour now reckon they could work out a way to reduce fees to 6K, which shows how impractical the promise to scrap was.

    However, the electorate will have had 5 years to judge the actual LD performance against the previous 13, and I think that is more important, or at least I hope so.

  27. Henry

    I agree that the original promise was silly but once you have made that promise so publicly and so adamantly then you have to at least have the pretence of trying to honour it. So it was two great blunders. I don’t think it is going to go away with time, if the first vote had been lost then I think we could have been forgiven for voting for it the second time if the public thought that it was a matter of coalition survival. I still can’t believe that the leadership didn’t allow a bigger rebellion. And why it was VC that had to put the policy forward is beyond me. It would have been easier to deal with if a blue minister had been putting it forward. My great fear is that we will still be talking about this in ten years time. My greater fear is that we won’t be talking about it in ten years time because the libdems have become an irrelevant

  28. RinN

    My greater fear is that we won’t be talking about it in ten years time because the libdems have become an irrelevant

    On this occasion I do not share your pessimism

  29. Henry

    I doubt that you have ever had a pessimistic thought. You are a little libdem ray of sunshine.

  30. I find myself totally in agreement with Daniel Hannan in DT.

    He describes a Greek repudiation of half it’s debts , from within the Euro as the “worst of all possible worlds”:-

    Shut out of Commercial Credit Markets & reliant on EU lifeboat.

    Deprived of the gains in competitiveness from the devaluation it needs to rescue its economy.

    Let off the hook of reforming it’s dysfunctional public sector.

    The G20 meeting certainly seems to have applied enormous pressure on the Eurozone to get a final solution into place.

    But the noises off, and political discord about Greek default & EZ membership are still very much in evidence.

    The central problem of EU decision making is plain for all to see-glacial timescales. & disparate economic & political priorities.

    The vote ion the German Parliament on the new Super EFSF is going to be interesting-29Th of this month I think.

  31. Rin

    “I’m intrigued by the jacobite party. Do they want to put a Stuart on the throne of Scotland?”

    If I had a local candidate I’d probably vote for them because of the romantic associations.

    In the unlikely :-) event that none of the main parties had policies that appealed to me, of course.

  32. Oldnat,

    Several of my ancestors were pirates in the 17th century (from Dundee and Greenock; my other Scottish ancestors were from Kintyre and Ayr) so I’m comfortable with the description. I’ve also never taken exclusive Irish identity very seriously- as if there is some narrowly definable ethnic and cultural identity that is Irish and the Scots are just alien invaders.

    For this reason (and discomfort with Ulster unionism) I don’t have a strong instinctive inclination either way on the constitutional questions; the eurosceptic in me is unionist, and the Whig in me is nationalist. Now, if the SNP was ever to argue for independence in NAFTA…

  33. It seems to me that Ed Miliband’s proposals re good/bad businesses has caused a bit of a stir here if nowhere else. This must be right. I think this was an astute move – but time will tell.

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