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. Pete B

    I’m not sure which section of the LDs you are referring to with “beard and sandals”.

    I was in the old Scottish Liberal Party in the 60s. I don’t remember anyone who would fit that description.

    I’ve followed Scottish politics pretty closely ever since, and I can’t think of any group within the Scottish Limerals or Scottish Social Democrats or any combination thereof that would fit that description.

    So you need to enlighten me as to what the gestalt of that particular group would be. Clearly, you know exactly their characteristics, but I am a mere neophyte seeking enlightenment.

    I am sure you will fill the gap in my knowledge.

  2. Bill Patrick
    I had to look up what a Georgist was, but it seems a pretty good philosophy to me. I wouldn’t mind paying tax on my modest landholding instead of income tax, so long as it didn’t mean that ramblers could come through my back garden.

  3. Bill Patrick

    Since the Tories in Scotland are ardent believers in the Union with England, you would be hard pressed to find a “Tartan Tory” in the SNP!

  4. RinN
    The blue propaganda machine has decided that ed is the weak link for labour. There is going to be a drip drip campaign comparing him to DC lots of questions about his suitability for pm and try to keep the “betrayal” of his brother in the public mind. They want any election to be about personalities not policies.

    As you are aware the personalities of both Coalition Leaders have been discussed endlessly on this site, rarely in a positive light.

    As a Coalition enthusiast, I hope the GE will be on Policy, because I believe our economic policy is right, and the Labour Party’s is heavily flawed.

  5. Oldnat
    This may come as a surprise to you, but I was not specifically targetting Scottish Libs or whatever they call themselves nowadays.

    “Beard and Sandals” is a well-known shorthand phrase for a particular strand of old-time Liberals (in England at least). Here’s a link that might help:

    h
    ttp://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tobyyoung/100066797/nick-clegg-has-to-hold-his-nerve-on-tuition-fees/

  6. RE LABOUR ON TUITION FEES

    Some new developments tonight concerning the Labour Party’s position on tuition fees. If a newspaper article is considered as a reliable source then Labour have just announced that it would cap the tuition fees at £6k. This would be paid for by raising interest rates for students earning £65k a year or more. A sort of graduate tax mixed with the current system.

    It is not as far reaching or radical as the graduate tax idea but I think they are playing on this in hope they can get some financial and economic crediablity concerning how they pay for tuition fees while trying to brush off criticism by opponents of the graduate tax.

    On a personal note I think it is very disappointing and it raises something that I mentioned in previous threads about EM’s lack of judgment and not sticking to his own leadership promises. I think the Trade Unions and youth vote will be kicing themselves now. I certainly know I am. I think the knifes will be out soon for Ed although sadly the only replacement will be his brother who I doubt would even consider reversing the previous tuition fees policies.

  7. Pete B

    I said that I presumed that you were referring to a strand within the English LDs. Hence my comments to correct such a description of the rapidly reducing Scottish LDs.

    In response you post a Telegraph article that simply perpetuates a stereotype with no explanation.

    So, yet again, what did you mean by the “beard and sandals brigade”? What policy positions do they occupy within the English LDs? Whos is their spokesperson within the party?

    Obviously, you know of all of these things and are just teasing a seeker after truth.

    But I really want to know. What did you mean?

  8. Oldnat,

    That’s where the “Tartan” comes in. Tartan Tory = right wing Scottish nationalist.

    Pete B,

    I would prefer land taxation to income taxation, but the Georgist arguments for a land value tax I’ve heard tend to confuse land-as-space and land-as-capital. An LTV doesn’t disincentivise the existence of land (like, say, a capital gains tax disincentivises the formation of capital) but it does penalise the development of land. It’s not clear why a farmer who develops some land over many years has less of a right of ownership of that land than an industrialist who develops a factory over many years. Both are taking a risk that may or may not pay off in the future.

    Georgists also greatly overstate the benefits of land taxation. It is possible to believe that LTV would have benefits, compared with many other forms of taxation, without believing that it’s a pancea for all economic ills.

    My personal favourite tax is a progressive consumption tax (income tax with no deductions except for investments). One of the problems with many contemporary economies (including the UK) is that they are labour-rich and capital-poor, which- quite aside from efficiency- is bad for the share of profits between labour and capital.

  9. Old Nat

    I’m not sure which section of the LDs you are referring to with “beard and sandals”.

    Oh dear, my little group of Liberals in the seventies very much reflected Pete B’s picture; a number of us were college lecturers (not me), and pretty scruffy. The young Libs were mostly students and the scruffiest of us all. Our meetings would always ramble off onto obscure but very interesting discussions on all sorts of issues , when we should have been talking membership and canvassing. I did not wear sandals but I had long hair and wore an old and very tattered duffel coat over my suit for work.

    I worked in Waterloo at the time, and I remember there were alot of complaints by staff being stopped by tramps for money or cigs. I was never stopped in my duffel; I was a bit like Harry Potter in his invisibilty cloak.

    Happy days

  10. Bill Patrick

    “Tory” seems a fairly crap description then!

    John Swinney is a fiscal conservative, but a social radical. How do you want to classify him? The tired “Tartan” appellation doesn’t really work. How about “Harris Tweed” for a change, or even “Scots”!!!

  11. Bill Patrick

    We really need a range of taxes. I disagree with the SNP & LDs that property taxes (aka council tax currently) should be dispensed with.

    There needs to be a range of taxes across property and all forms of income/economic activity.

    When considering only land tax, the Scottish Green policy has a lot to recommend it,

  12. Henry

    Thanks for that.

    So the reference is simply to dress in the 70s and not policy. I wore a duffel coat then! Do I qualify?

  13. Oldnat
    I don’t think there is a spokesperson. There is a (probably reducing) strand of the LibDems in England who are hippie-types – the sort of people who protest at ‘traveller’ sites and climb trees or dig tunnels to prevent road construction.

    I am not saying that they are good or bad, or whether I agree with them or not, simply that they are people who see the LDs (in England, if you like) as a repository for a protest vote, and have no interest in actually gaining power. Apart from Labour tactical voters, these are the people that the Coalition with the Tories is most likely to alienate. I would guess that many may have already moved to the Greens, but don’t ask me to quote an authority for that because I don’t have one.

    I am not a LD myself, though I have occasionally voted for them so I can’t be more specific.

    If I may say so, you display an awful ignorance of common British idioms for an intelligent man, which you obviously are. Either that or you have deliberately isolated yourself for many years from any communications medium that is not specifically Scottish.

  14. Henry
    Thanks for first-hand confirmation that I wasn’t inventing the “beard and sandals” mem.

  15. Henry

    Yes indeed and I fully expect labour will focus its attacks on NC, but I think the blue strategy will be “who will make the best prime minister” in that game their are only two runners which will marginalize the dems. When it comes to the election we will not be in this together. That’s the trouble with FPTP, winner takes all. Of course at this time of night I tend to write the first thing that comes into my head. So I wouldn’t take too much notice.

  16. Pete B

    “you display an awful ignorance of common British idioms for an intelligent man, which you obviously are”

    Thanks for the compliment. However, “common British idioms” are frequently used by “common British idiots” who repetitively replicate stereotypes without any understanding of what they are saying.

    You have now reassured me that you ain’t an idiot! :-) You are simply referring to the Green strand within the LDs.

    Wouldn’t it have been easier to say that in the first place?

  17. Oldnat
    I might have done if I had realised that that was what they were. Thank you for helping to clarify my thoughts. I.m off to bed now. Goodnight all.

  18. Old Nat
    Thanks for that. So the reference is simply to dress in the 70s and not policy. I wore a duffel coat then! Do I qualify?

    No I think it had alot to do with individualism. But if your duffel was slightly tatty and you were willing to join in our rambling discussions, you would have been most welcome to join us down at the Liberal Bookshop.

    I would say a typical member was someone like George in Posy Simmonds.

    Of course this was just one ward, and even in our local party there were people who were quite different. As for the SDP – smartly dressed, organised and centrist, they brought a totally new air of professionalism to our local Party.

  19. RinN

    Henry

    Yes indeed and I fully expect labour will focus its attacks on NC, but I think the blue strategy will be “who will make the best prime minister” in that game their are only two runners …

    I’m not sure there will be that many.

  20. @Richard in Norway

    The tactics (as used by the Tory press) that you refer to are the tactics that they have always used against *any* Labour leader. The sole exception being NI’s “benign” treatment of TB whilst the Tories were still completely unelectable.

    -:)

    FrederickL (also in Norway – as it so happens!)

  21. I note with some interest the *very* substantial “would never” figure for the Tories. If this is an accurate reflection of underlying public attitudes to the Conservative party then the Thatcher/Major years may have done them even more lasting damage than had been apparent. It certainly would seem to suggest that they have a hell of hill to climb if they really hope to obtain a majority at the next GE – regardless of how they “massage” the constituency boundaries.

  22. Henry

    “I would say a typical member was someone like George in Posy Simmonds”

    Sorry, that reference completely eludes me.

    If it wasn’t already obvious, my dislike is of trite (usually meaningless) stereotypical characterisations of political positions.

    Otherwise, I wouldn’t have bothered to question an attack on LDs (when their further fall can only benefit my side of the constitutional debate).

  23. Oldnat,

    Perhaps “Liberal Nationalist” would be appropriate. Or even “Gladstonian Nationalist”.

    I agree on property taxation; my preference is for taxing consumption (especially socially costly consumption like alcohol, cigarrettes, narcotics and hydrocarbons) but property taxation has certain other advantages e.g. it is hard to avoid. Payroll taxes, if not too excessive, also have a role to play. I don’t like any taxes on income, whether in the form of wages or profits, since they incentivise consumption over investment.

    Pete B,

    Oldnat simply enjoys putting the needle in. It’s a fun sport and very easy to play if you’re Scottish, though it is a somewhat bloodthirsty sport for my tastes.

  24. FrederickL

    GE – regardless of how they “massage” the constituency boundaries.

    As a LD I would say that the reduction in number of MPs, and equalisation in the size of consituencies, together with the reform of the House Lords (replacing toadies by elected members) and introduction of a better electoral system (failed but at least offered to the public), reflect a reforming Coalition Govt, and not one as you suggest whose main aim is gerrymandering.

  25. Frederick

    Where in Norway, I’m in aalesund

  26. OldNat

    Thanks I realise that this was your aim and my confirmation that perhaps there was some distant basis for the generalisation did not mean to undermine you. The LDs of today and for many years are pretty professional and efficient.

    Posy Simmonds wrote a cartoon strip for the Guardian for many years, and George and his wife were two of the characters, who were thinking, caring, and because they could always see both sides of the arguement inclined to sit on the fence.

  27. Bill Patrick

    :-) I agree, it’s so easy! (Probably all those long years of Presbyterian schism to blame) – or possibly just an addiction to logic – another feature of Scottish education through the centuries.

    The serious side, however, is that the shallow characterisations, that are accepted as normal in UK politics, actually debase political debate. As such, they deserve derision.

  28. Henry

    Ta for the explanation.

  29. Frederickl

    My rersponse to your comments on boundary changes has gone to moderation. But I wanted to say that the Coalition by equalising the size of the constituencies was trying to improve the democratic process and IMO not as you suggest.

  30. Oldnat,

    Both logic and the Wee Frees vs. Free Wees etc. are important; I don’t think logic has much of a role. I suspect that the salient factor, however, is an awareness of difference. Every Scot who takes an interest in politics is aware that many of the political debates on TV and in newspapers in the UK have very little relation to modern Scotland. It’s always fun to remind others that the world isn’t as simple as they assume.

    Now, imagine what it’s like having one foot in Scotland the other in Ulster!

  31. * and the other.

  32. Bill Patrick

    “Now, imagine what it’s like having one foot in Scotland the other in Ulster!”

    :-)

    However, you may have noticed recent research that suggests there was never any invasion of “Scots” from Ulster to Dalriada. That seems to have been a bit of political spin by Bede.

    Instead, there seems to have been a single seafaring society of unspecified coastal areas across northern Ireland and western Scotland, who were known by the Romans as Scoti (pirates).

    While I would hesitate to describe you as a pirate ….. :-)

  33. @ Top Hat (from the last thread)

    “There has been a steady decline in the two-party vote up until now, but that doesn’t mean reverse isn’t impossible. After all, twixt 1906 and 1950, we went from three party to two party! YouGov polling puts the Conservatives and Labour combined at 86%, which would be their highest since 1970 – which was most definitely still part of the two-party politics era.

    I don’t think that’s a good thing – I like the Liberal Democrats as a party and would once have voted for them (2005. I am still a huge Kennedy fan) – but I think at this point it is almost certain that the next election will essentially be along two party lines.”

    I’m just curious to find out how many times you’ve had true three party politics. And what I mean by that is elections where any of the three main party leaders stood a chance at being PM or at least getting their party into government (like the Lib Dems did in 2010). I’m also curious to get your opinion on whether true three party politics winds up leading to two party politics (if the British public has only a limited appetite for true three party politics).

    The U.S. has had successful national third parties emerge in the past despite the nature of the two party system. But basically they emerged and replaced another party (that was usually dying) and recreated the two party system.

  34. @ Old Nat

    “I was in the old Scottish Liberal Party in the 60s. I don’t remember anyone who would fit that description.”

    You were? No wonder we get along so well. You’re a fellow Liberal! :)

  35. @ Old Nat

    “The Daily Mail is “reporting” (I can’t think of an alternative word that wouldn’t offend ChrisLane ) a BPIX poll”

    Yeah, that doesn’t look particularly good for Ed. And yeah, that article does seem like a bunch of incoherent ramblings.

    “Labour has no leader in Scotland – sorry, that’s wrong. Ed is their glorious leader here.”

    Couldn’t you say that JM is kind of their defacto leader? It seems like Scottish Labourites pay attention to him more and like him more than either Ed Miliband or Iain Gray.

    Poor Iain, he should have taken some lessons from his cousin Vince. :)

    @ Henry

    “A truly independent Liberal Party in the Gladstonian sense is not really so different from what the modern day Conservative Party is.”

    It seems to me that on social issues, David Cameron is a Liberal Democrat. He fully supports a woman’s right to choose, he supports marriage equality, and he’s open about his past drug usage. Say whatever you will about linguistic and cultural differences and all that other bs, the man is a social liberal. Now on economic/fiscal issues, he’s clearly a conservative. Clegg may be a Liberal Democrat, but on economic and fiscal issues, he is a Tory.

    And quite frankly, I think this benefits and pleases Cameron. He can basically push forward his agenda and whatever socially conservative wings of his party dislike him, he’s got the Lib Dems in government to back him up and support him.

  36. @ Ann in Wales and Old Nat

    Re: Courtesy

    Common courtesy should never be confused for gender discrimination. :) It’s a sign of gender equality when people, regardless of age, help others and act courteously towards another (without consideration of gender or traditional gender roles).

    As Ruth Bader Ginsburg is (or was) fond of saying, “it’s not women’s equality, it’s gender equality.” She lived up to that saying too. Most of her litigants challenging gender discrimination were men.

  37. @Richard in Norway

    Considerably further north than you! Tromsø to be precise. How do you get on with Ålesund dialect? I used to work along side a young man from that town and it took me sixth months to get a handle on his accent and delivery. The only local accent/dialect I have had more trouble with was that of a very nice chap from a little village just north of Trondhjem – it was his manner and body language that told me that he was a nice guy as it took me most of a year before I consistently understood what he was saying!

  38. On tuition fees, although I would prefer university to be “free” in the sense it should be paid for out of taxes raised (the rich already pay higher rates…why tax graduates at different rates than non-graduates?), Labour has to tread very carefully on all this financial.

    If the Tories (and Lib Dems) can find any holes in the budget for any raised taxation you can imagine the campaign.

  39. Surely it’s equality of the sexes, not genders?

    Gender is a grammatical term, is it not? When did it become a synonym for “sex”?

    I can just about get “gender” being used for groups, but then we end up with male, female, transexual (pre and post) and preumably a whole host to come…and I assume no more “neuter”.

    Still language is nothing if not alive so the boat has probably sailed on this one.

  40. OLD NAT

    I think you may not be at the neophyte stage of mystagogia, politically

    Probably still at the catechumen stage.

    Incidentally, with matters pertaining to the Union, Simon Jenkins has written a fine article in the BBC History magazine about the inevitability of scottish independence, paralleling this movement with the movement to bring Ireland independence.

    But you may also know that in 1886 the majority of scottish MP’s voted against Gladstone’s Home Rule for Ireland Bill. The Grand Old Man warned that a storm was coming: Ireland Unfree will never be at Peace

  41. An interesting tweet from Gaby Hinscliff;

    “…surprising amount of policy detail for so early in opposition (as with energy price thing today) but ‘vision thing’ still a bit blurry?”

    Adds a little to the debate on here about how Labour should play things.

    Re the Tories attacking Ed and comparing to Cameron – I would be careful. Underestimating Ed is something that his opponents have often tripped up on, and the leader comparison thing is only a banker if your own leader is bomb proof. I don’t think Cameron will be by the time of the next GE.

    @Andy C – re tuition fees. I understand your point about backtracking on scrapping fees, but you need to accept that there is always an element of policy change in opposition to accomodate new circumstance. Personally, I suspect this move is clever on a number of counts. It appears to a fully funded promise, with the cost falling squarely on the shoulders of the wealthy and with no deficit implications. Secondly, it’s a big cut – it looks good. Thirdly, it’s a policy the coalition can’t steal. Clegg in particular expended so much political capital in pushing this through that there is no circumstance in which he could justifiably adopt Labour’s idea.

    Ed has now distinguished himself clearly from the government amongst a large section of the electorate with a big headline policy that the government will find hard to answer. It’s a smart move, in my book. He ensuring students never go back to the Lib Dems.

  42. It’ll be interesting to see the tables for this poll –
    The 2010 LD figure will be interesting, but hopefully it also has breakdowns for left/centre/right (I doubt it, but who knows). Regional breakdowns also important – if the midlands has become anti-tory or anti-labour it’ll make the next general election difficult for either (since either parties need the midlands to win).
    The figures for x voters who’d consider voting y would also be good – it’d give us a rough indication of the potential swings between parties.

    Since 58% would consider voting Tory, the current polling (36) would put the Tories at 62.1% of their potential vote.
    70% for Labour would put them at 60% of their potential vote.
    64% for the Libs would put them at 17.2% of their potential vote.

    So while the Tories have it harder, in the sense that there’s a much smaller ‘market’ for the Tories, they’re still doing well within that market.

  43. SOCIAL LIBERAL.
    Good Morning! Just off to sing latin in church in a minute! Credo

    The word which is surely offensive, to people on a site here, is the gerundive of the churchillian salute, which comes from Agincourt bowmen, i think!

    And someone calling himself a tory, delivered it.

    But the etymological root of tory is the whig insult- irish horse thief, I think. So that nmaybe explains it.

    Ed miliband making his move. He may have got on to a good issue, but a long way to go.

    Remember Labour has never got rid of a leader, except of course, Tony Blair- three times a winner. (I know Lansbury is a grey area.)

  44. “Ed has now distinguished himself clearly from the government amongst a large section of the electorate with a big headline policy that the government will find hard to answer. It’s a smart move, in my book. He ensuring students never go back to the Lib Dems.”
    The reaction I’ve seen has been largely negative.
    While it is a good tactical move – the gov now can’t push for £6000 fees without Labour claiming credit (much like the ‘Plan B’ narratives, etc – Labour’s boxing the gov in to a corner), students and lefties generally aren’t happy with the proposal.

    The left/centre-left, as far as I can see, are after something radical and so far Miliband is all bark and no bite.
    He talks about taking on the vested interests of the nation, talks about ripping up the neoliberal rulebook, etc, etc but it looks like his policies are ‘same as the Tories, only not as bad’ and by allowing himself to accept the narrative framework of the Tories (something that Labour seem to find themselves doing so often) the Tories ultimately win.

  45. @ALEC

    “Thirdly, it’s a policy the coalition can’t steal. Clegg in particular expended so much political capital in pushing this through that there is no circumstance in which he could justifiably adopt Labour’s idea.

    Ed has now distinguished himself clearly from the government amongst a large section of the electorate with a big headline policy that the government will find hard to answer. It’s a smart move, in my book. He ensuring students never go back to the Lib Dems.”

    I think that that is very likely right. Plus that given that Clegg was revealed to have been *very* “economical with the actualité” in this particular area in the aftermath of the GE it is policy where the current administration have deeply damaged credibility with the electorate. Quite frankly I think that EM has done well to put forward a policy that will chime well with the electorate, will be seen to be properly funded (as you pointed out) and in a policy field where the coalition have already comprehensively shot their own fox.

  46. Alec

    I have seen Milliband’s statement and I do not understand about the Tory’s cutting the bankers tax; have I missed something or is it just sleight of hand.

    Opening the cheque book, probably mine, seems to be the answer to everything.

    The cost of University is in my view too high. The higher education system is really messed up.

    Many degrees should be completed in two years with shorter holidays, many students should be taking apprenticeships or other forms of higher education, to maximise their expetise and skills rather than following a political dream that everyone must go to university.

    Many posters seem to have written off the LDs, but I think that this is the time that the LDs should really be trying to challenge and replace Labour. The key is of coursevpolitical funding but I suspect the LDs would be unwilling to work with the Tories to address this issue.

  47. “Many posters seem to have written off the LDs, but I think that this is the time that the LDs should really be trying to challenge and replace Labour.”
    Without a swing to the left, that’s going to be very, very difficult.

    Of course, this was a position that the LDs were working toward pre-2010 and succeeding somewhat – between 1997 and 2005, the party changes were –
    Lab -8%
    Libs +5.2%
    Con +1.7%
    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.

  48. Frederick

    Tromsø, oh boy yoy must be very tough to survive the long dark cold winter, is it 2 months of darkness you lot get?

    I have no trouble with the aalesund ascent cos they speak bokmal, but I live on an island about a hour from the town and here they speak a form of nynorsk. And that was very difficult and still is sometimes if I’m talking to old folks. Of course you must be fluent in sami as well as norsk.

  49. Times headline:

    Milliband in pledge to reduce tuition fee cap to £6000.

    might be more accurately have been:

    Labour policy U turn – Milliband now agrees with the coalition that higher university fees are the right policy.

    Who said the Times was biased against Labour?

  50. Here is a link talking about the situation for ordinary Greeks, it does not sound too bad until you think about being in that situation yourself with all your family and friends in the same boat, then its horrific. It really puts out cut into perspective.

    http://www.presseurop.eu/en/content/article/978261-financial-genocide

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