The weekly YouGov/Sunday Times poll tomorrow has topline figures of CON 36%, LAB 42%, LDEM 10%. The six point Labour lead YouGov was showing before the conference season remains unchanged – neither the Liberal Democrats not Labour have any obvious conference bounce.

This is the third conference season where YouGov have conducted daily polling. On the first two occasions there was an obvious pattern of each party in turn seeing a small (albeit temporary) boost in their support from the conference publicity and I did rather expect that to be the norm. However, so far neither the Lib Dems nor Labour have seen any sort of significant conference boost this year. Perhaps it’s just because there’s not much public interest – in 2009 it was the last conference before an election, Gordon Brown was on the ropes and David Cameron was the man who was likely to be Prime Minister in 7 months time. In 2010 Labour were unveiling a new leader and it was the first conference in coalition government for the other two parties. Perhaps there’s just no reason for the public to care much this time.

Still, one more conference to go. Full update on the Sunday Times questions to come tomorrow.

65 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 36%, LAB 42%, LDEM 10%”

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  1. Or perhaps neither of the conferences so far has contained anything to change the minds of the general public.

  2. I’m guessing there might be some kind of regional or demographic shift in VI atm.

    Might there be two distinct sample profiles, one producing the regular 6% Lab leads, the other showing equally regular 3% leads?

  3. This is going up and down like a seesaw.

  4. Henry,well how about that then?

  5. Conferences so far have been pretty boring. Can’t remember seeing the Lib Dems vote to legalise drugs this year, which they seem to do most years. Labour conference was a bit of a damp squib, with Ed M having to provide a translation of his speech during the days following.

    Perhaps the Tories can liven the conf season up a bit. There are a few Tories known for gaffes e.g. Grayling and Pickles.

  6. Hopefully the detailed tables will shed a bit of light tomorrow on what’s going on.

    In the previous poll, Miliband had achieved a significant bounce in his personal ratings in the middle of what was otherwise a poor(ish) poll for Labour. Does the corollary apply i.e. if his personal ratings worsen, Labour does better?

  7. @Billy Bob
    You may be on to something there. Looking at the by-election results, I wonder if the urban-rural balance in the sample (which is not controlled for by YouGov or I think anyone) is more important than factors which are controlled for by weighting (e.g. the regional balance).

  8. I had to do a bit of catching up & just got around to reading the Ashcroft polling of the marginals. It’s interesting that for an even VI, Labour have a distinct advantage in Con/ Lab marginals.

    Ashcroft’s polling also took a look at Dem/Con marginals & that seemed a bit better for Cons. But there was nothing on Dem/ Lab marginals. I’m guessing that Ashcroft is assuming they’ll go Lab unless the Tories get behind the Dems on an ABL basis. And that ain’t neccessarily going to happen. It didn’t in O&S.

    So, given Ashcroft’s marginal polling, even with boundary changes, I think +6 could be enough to see Labour get a majority.

  9. Read Andrew Rawnsley tomorrow, not that good is it,Henry/?

  10. There’s been little to change minds or move arguments. Milliband remains where he was….and like maybe Heath or Thatcher has positioned himself for a turn of tide but whether it will turn is altogether another matter. Strangely, I guess the same is true for the government but the longer it hangs on the hook of no plan B the more adopting one will look like a massive climb down. It slightly reminds me of Wilson’s no devaluation mantra….

    I just love the way the Tory Party wheels out money for weekly bin collections….one might have thought their ambitions for a party sweetner could have run to an aircraft carrier….how the mighty have fallen….

  11. @ John Murphy

    I just love the way the Tory Party wheels out money for weekly bin collections…
    The government will now get the blame when folks don’t get their bins emptied how & when they want them emptied. Politically, it’s a very naive move, IMO.

    Upping the speed limit wasn’t the sharpest idea either. If road deaths go up – for all roads, not just motorways – they’re going to get slapped around for that too.

  12. John Murphy , have not seen you on here for a while,but
    always value your contributions.Yes I agree,if all they can
    talk about is rubbish collections, well………

  13. Amber, they could abolish death and stuff every mouth with gold, and you’d still slap them around…

    I think they’ll rest easy.

    Cheap populism. Cynical mood-setters for the pre-conference weekend. Yes.

    Gunshot to own foot? I doubt it.

  14. Even assuming the package of “Jeremy Clarkson Appeal” policies… I’m still standing by my ‘holding pattern polling’. There is just too much cynicism about, and we’re getting weird circling around a Labour lead that’s fueled primarily by anti-incumbent sentiment.

    I do wonder why it looks like the Conservatives are willing to go for another round of announcing ‘government’ policies at conference that certainly couldn’t have been approved by their coalition partners. It’s almost like negotiating policy by a game of chicken, willing Clegg to steer out of the way before conflicting policies crash into each other. They keep doing this, and they *will* cause a break up of the coalition.

  15. @Amber Star – “…reading the Ashcroft polling”

    Tory marginals where in 2010 LDs were second, and Labour third:

    As of *now* Labour is polling 26% and LDs 18% in these seats.

    Once the secondary question “thinking about your constituency” is asked, the VI becomes… LD 31% and Labour 19% (presumably in the knowledge that they live in a Con/LD marginal).

    This is being trailed as good news for LDs, but in the long run I am not so sure.

  16. @ Neil A

    Amber, they could abolish death…
    Well they’ve abolished retirement, as of today. So I guess expecting people to keep right on working after they die could be next.

  17. I broadly agree with Anthony’s view that the Party Conferences, especially at this stage of the electoral cycle, tend to attract relatively little public interest. As R Huckle says, only some mega-gaffe or melodramatic announcement percolates beyond the political anoraks amongst us. That’s why talk of “disastrous” conferences and “ground-breaking” developments is so much wishful thinking and hot air.

    Let’s take events in Liverpool last week as a good example. Those who attended, and Amber Star gave us some interesting on-the-spot accounts of her experiences, were probably mildly encouraged and left with spirits raised and morale lifted. In that sense, it was a success and probably strengthened Miliband’s leadership position within the party. As a political event designed to improve Labour’s standing in the country, if indeed that was its overt purpose, it was probably less successful. Right wing observers, ill disposed to Labour anyway, painted it in the worst possible light and could well have written most of their derogatory comments before the conference started. Considering most of the media leans this way, Labour received some pretty negative press coverage. It was ever thus.

    Tonight’s YouGov weekend poll suggests that Labour were largely unharmed by their conference last week, and that hasn’t always been the case in the past, and Miliband can console himself that his radical speech, in content if not in delivery, has done him no harm. This gives him the licence to develop his message and themes, knowing that he might locate, eventually, a sympathetic audience. The music is good, but the musician needs to find more melodious notes.

    How worried the Tories are by what they saw of Labour last week will become known as their conference unfolds. If they monster Miliband at every opportunity, I suspect he’s scored some hits; if they ignore him, and his party, then he should be worried.
    My view? I expect a lot of Miliband bashing in Manchester next week.

  18. Ann (In Wales)
    Henry,well how about that then?

    I am not sure to which of my posts you are referring; but if it shows up some highly inaccurate prediction, I am grateful that you have not reposted it.

    However the LDs are up 1% according to YouGov, which in present times is a much valued 1%. Not time to dance in the streets or open my ‘victory champagne’ , but perhaps it will cheer up R in N who appears to have been down in the dumps.

    I expect Labour will be relieved by the 6%; shows nothing’s been lost from an inauspicious conference, unless this in an outlier and the next poll returns to 3/4% lead, in which case they should be concerned.

    Incidently I understand that October has delivered the hottest day in the UK since records began; clearly another Coalition success, and one that perhaps would not have been achieved without the benign influence of we LDs.

  19. @ Billy Bob

    Were you at conference? If not, I’ll mention something else which came up: “Access All Areas”. Basically, Labour are planning to fight every seat at every election. We’re not accepting that the Dems are our cousins on the center-left anymore; no more suggesting that people vote tactically, Labour will be in it to win it in every seat…

  20. @ Henry

    Incidently I understand that October has delivered the hottest day in the UK since records began; clearly another Coalition success, and one that perhaps would not have been achieved without the benign influence of we LDs.
    I’ve heard Osborne is again planning to blame the weather for the lack of growth. Everybody is sunbathing instead of shopping for winter clothes & Christmas presents. ;-)

  21. Amberstar
    Well they’ve abolished retirement, as of today. So I guess expecting people to keep right on working after they die could be next

    And it would have lost them alot of votes in Belfast in the 60s. When I was there the dead used to turn up to vote in bus loads. However, I understand things have improved since I left…

  22. I have no doubt that weekly bin collections will give David Cameron a conference bounce.

    Putting Mr Pickles to one side – the elephant in the room remains Europe – I wonder how that will play out?

  23. Get ready for massive protests within many western cities over the next few months. There is a growing movement of people via social networking who will target the major financial centres, as well as other major cities. Lets just hope that they are non violent. i.e don’t attract the usual anarchist nutters.

  24. Henry,you refer to our conference as inauspicious, I refer
    to yours as a complete non event. Perhaps we should
    leave it at that. However I congratulate you on your organisation of the weather!

  25. It’d be interesting to know whether there was generally no early-mid-term Conference Bounce in previous administrations.

    In the current circumstances, there is another potential reason for the lack of a bounce, beyond general ennui. Maybe opinions have already hardened.

  26. @Amber Star – “… at conference?”

    And exactly who would be feeding the cat?

    Incidentally, Alan Duncan pointedly did not join in the media trouncing of the Miliband productive/predator distinction on Any Questions(?) yesterday. He realises that Ed’s aim is true when it comes to weak spots in Tory philosophy.

  27. Theresa May wants to scrap the Human Rights act. Appears that some Tories are making speeches which do not concur with the coalition agreement. I suppose they can say what they like. It just won’t be government policy.

  28. @ Billy Bob

    And exactly who would be feeding the cat?
    I like cats. :-)

  29. @Henry – “Incidently I understand that October has delivered the hottest day in the UK since records began; clearly another Coalition success…..”

    In Gravesend. Heavy rain in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

    Clearly the coalition is only for the south.

  30. It continues to amaze me that people try to see effects from the daily polls that are bound to be within moe. Unless something really dramatic happens, it’s virtually impossible to see shifts or trends in the polls unless you take at least weekly averages.

    And if you take a weekly running average, what do you see?

    The LD conference was followed by a 1 point swing from LD to Con.
    Lab have already had a 0.5 point bump at the expense of Con, and the full effect of their conference has yet to work its way into the running averages.
    Lab have steadily been regaining VI since the dip at the time of Libya/bank hol (take your pick which you think was responsible), while LD stayed bumping along the bottom and Con VI declined (until their post LD conference boost).

    Any LDs who look at the evidence rather than believing their own rhetoric will be very worried. The Clegg plan of trying to attract moderate Tories is having the opposite effect – it simply induces right-leaning LD supporters to vote for the real thing rather than pale imitations of the Tories.

  31. Robin

    Any LDs who look at the evidence rather than believing their own rhetoric will be very worried. The Clegg plan of trying to attract moderate Tories is having the opposite effect – it simply induces right-leaning LD supporters to vote for the real thing rather than pale imitations of the Tories.

    Harsh words; however, ‘Pale Imitations’; with any luck the weather will address this shortcoming.

  32. Alex

    Are you saying that your namesake does not control the weather in Scotland.

  33. @Robin – “… it simply induces right-leaning LD supporters to vote for the real thing”

    And really, we are reaching the absolute limit of right/centre LDs available to defect to the Tories (15% of the 2010 LD vote in some YouGov tables).

    The current VI for LD (after upwards of a third defected to Labour) is still predominantly “left” with a small minority identifying themselves as “centre”.

  34. Whilst I agree that the Conference season so far has not attracted much public interest, I don’t think either the Lib Dems or Labour have tried that hard to whip up public interest. It’s been a lot more like manoeuvring for a long-term strategy.

    Most interesting development so far is that the Lib Dem mood (apart from Nick Clegg) is shifting back to Labour as a preferred coalition partner, and Labour seem in a mood to accept this provided Clegg is replaced as leader. That could get nasty in two or three years’ time.

  35. @Crossbat11
    “If they monster Miliband at every opportunity, I suspect he’s scored some hits; if they ignore him, and his party, then he should be worried.
    My view? I expect a lot of Miliband bashing in Manchester next week.”

    If they do that they are stupid. Whatever Lab supporters on here say, he is a liability for Labour, and the Tories should try to keep him in place for the next GE. He probably will be anyway, because apparently Labour never ditch leaders. I have my doubts about that – resigning under duress is much the same thing, and that has happened several times.

  36. Roger Rebel
    Are you saying that your namesake does not control the weather in Scotland.

    Ah Roger you picked up that it would have been totally unconstitutional for the Government to interfere with Scottish weather. It makes you wonder whether this is AS’s achiles heal.

  37. rogerrebel & Alex

    “Are you saying that your namesake does not control the weather in Scotland.”

    Of course he does,but Hydro power has been a little less this year and we need more rain to produce as much electricity as previous years.

  38. Henry

    Glad you’ve read the Scotland Act. Everything not specifically reserved is devolved.

  39. Interesting that Norman Tebbit agrees with Ed Miliband – that the center-ground has moved to the left. Mr Tebbit believes that Cameron could move the center right-wards, if he chose to do so…

    The Tory conference might not be as dull as I feared.

  40. I think the reason the voting intentions have remained stable is because their has been nothing new or enough in content to persaude people to vote otherwise or change their perpestive.

    It is still early days for all three political parties. The LibDems who are just dying in the polls just use the conference just to tell or perhaps even convince the party faithful “listen guys, I know we do not like the Tories and we are doing unpopular things but we are in government and some of our platforms are being set”. So much of the LD’s conference is just basically PR and mouthpiece to the members to say we need to keep to it.

    Labour, well, Ed has made it very clear that he is not going to give his hand and reveal any important or concrete policies until at least 2 years. I do not blame him really because what with the Eurozone crisis and America’s “rollcoaster” economy the situation by 2015 might be a lot different than what was meant to be set out by both Labour Govs. and the Coalitions Gov. had expected. Also, the fact they have been one year in opposition so the public are not at this point demanding detail policies, just q&aing the government and attacking policies. However, I still think speaking philsophically the public will need to know what Labour stands for and it’s values. As a Labour member I did not really say much of that in his speech although that is not to say it was not a promising start and I felt was actually a very good speech.

    The Conservatives, again, like the LD’s they have got to convince their Party faithful that this coalition and their policies will be worth it and should keep to the programme as well as celebrating their return to office after 13 years in their political wildiness. So another PR move to convince their members. Also, as its only been a year we should not expect much detail in policies or direction (considering both the LD’s and Tories are tied into a coalition). So not much radical policies will be on the table.

    I think overall so far the Labour conference has been good, although I think they really missed an opportunity for Labour to redefine what they stand for, realise some policies (that goes without saying Ed’s U-turn on tuition fees from his support of the graduate tax) and it could have been Labour’s chance to tell the public where Labour is set to go next, it’s future, it’s vision and ideas. Labour should not have to be so appolygetic all the time. That was last year, this is 2011. Labour should always remind themselves and the public the things they got wrong but they should have also used this year to remind what was popular (minimum wage, tax credits) and also set out a plan.

    Also both the Tories and the LD’s (since being tied up in a coalition) are not going to be revealing any radical ideas, policies or changes until at least 3 years because the two Parties have to now work together in a coalition. So I think the LD’s and the Tories conference up til at least 2013-14 will be very forgettable and I think 2012 needs to be the year Labour set out our agenda and ideas.

  41. Interesting change of tack from the Scottish Tories (well, at least their outgoing leader).

    “ANNABEL Goldie, the out-going leader of the Scots Tories, is to confront claims by English Tories today that Scotland is being subsidised by the rest of the UK.
    In an effort to quash growing claims south of the Border about Scotland’s spending, she will argue that the rest of the UK would end up worse off if Scotland became independent.”

  42. I may have missed it in today’s discussions (obviously I’ve been being particularly Manx this week), but YouGov put out a poll on Friday afternoon which covers some of the points which have been being talked about:

    It covers some of the issues around Miliband and Labour from pre- and post-conference polling. In particular the response to Do you think Ed Miliband is doing well or badly as leader of the Labour party improved from 26% to 33% for ‘well’ and declined from 59% to 50% for ‘badly’. But 50% is still more than 33%.

    There’s a lot of other interesting questions about policy positions which I’ll leave to examine (I also don’t know if Anthony wants to post on these results), but the general impression is that the public still see Miliband as an unknown quantity – despite the endless attacks he has received.

    Labour still caries a lot of baggage from the past for a lot of people. I suspect Miliband will need to break both with Labour’s past and with the narrative of the prevailing economic orthodoxies. Neither action will make him popular with the media or sections of his own Party.

    His one advantage is the disillusion of the public with the political process – I suspect this is the main reason for the limp response to the Party conferences. The public see them as discussing the exact shade of fabric required for the deckchairs on the Titanic.

  43. Roger Mexico

    Like you, I haven’t posted on that YouGov poll because I was awaiting a thread on it, but I was surprised to see YG’s Scottish sample (which tends to be biased towards selecting Labour voters, when you see the VI they normally show) being so generally negative about his leadership, and the state of the Labour Party.

    I don’t know if this is affected also by Scots perceptions of SLAB. I found this story in Scotland on Sunday interesting

    Johann Lamont would look to create a Shadow Cabinet where “anyone who backs the party’s aims, elected or not, will be considered for jobs in her top team.”

    Gordon Brown’s GOATS does not provide a reassuring precedent – since she can’t bump up anyone she wants into a second chamber, it sounds an even more disastrous idea.

  44. According to PB, Miliband’s ratings seem to have dropped even further

    28/9/11 : -17%
    30/9/11 : -33%

    I’ll look back tomorrow and see how this is going to be explained by those who were so publicly enthusiastic about Miliband’s Conference speech. :-)

  45. CROSS BAT 11
    Good morning as Wales beat fiji, and then wait for Ireland in the QF and England in the SF in the rugby world cup.

    Your commnent about the right wing press being anti Labour being ‘ever thus’

    In 1994, after the awful death of John Smith, which my wife told me about by phone when I was trying, and failing to write a school timetable, the Labour Party elected a new leader who did win over the press.

    He puzzled audiences when he said he wanted tories to vote Labour, that was the way to win elections, he explained.

    He did win- three times-then ‘The Movement’ sacked him, but they’ve got their party back now, so that is ok

  46. OldNat,
    23/9/11 -33% (26-59)
    30/9/11 -32% (28-60)
    +1, it’s an improvement ;)

    Labour should be deeply worried about these sorts of figures, but if the LibDems can hang on to Clegg at -41 (-1), who knows?

  47. “He did win- three times”
    Except that if the Tories had been stronger in that period, there’s no chance he would have.
    2005 would have been easily lost if the Tories would have gained slightly.

    We keep hearing this ‘It was Blair what won it’ but how about looking at the figures?
    1997 –
    Labour – 13.5 million votes (43.2% vote share)
    Tories – 9.6 million votes (30.7%)
    2001 –
    Labour – 10.7 million votes (-2.8m) (40.7% -2.5)
    Tories – 8.3 million votes (-1.3m) (31.7% +1)
    2005 –
    Labour – 9.5 million votes (-1.2m) (35.2% -5.5)
    Tories – 8.7 million votes (+0.4m) (32.4% +0.7)
    So in terms of votes, Labour did worse in 2005 than the Tories in 1997.
    They lost 4 million votes over that period and a vote share of 8%.

    Had the Tories returned to even 1997 levels, Labour would have been toast in 2005 and it would have been close in 2001.

    Blair didn’t win the elections, he just didn’t lose.

    And for comparison.
    2010 –
    Labour/Brown – 8.6 million (-0.9m) (29% -6.2%)
    Tories – 10.7 million (+2m) (36.1% +3.7)

    So Brown, the worst prime minister since time began (as the press like to cover him) lost less votes, in volume, than Blair did in either election.
    He reduced Labour vote share a fraction more than Blair did, before a financial crisis.

    Had the Tories received the number of 2010 votes in 2001, they could have possibly beaten Labour.

    Now, let’s see the LibDems over that period –
    1997 5.2m – 16.8%
    2001 4.8m (-0.4m) – 18.3% (+1.5)
    2005 5.9m (+1.1m) – 22% (+3.7)
    2010 6.8m (+0.9m) – 23% (+1)

    Had the Tories had the success of the LibDems –
    1997 – 9.6 million
    2001 – 9.2 million
    2005 – 10.3 million (Labour defeated)
    2010 – 11.2 million

    This Blair worship is an amazing narrative – it says that Labour, to win elections, must work *solely* within the political framework that the Tory party sets out.
    Essentially allowing the Tories to control the political landscape, even when out of power.

    Oh, I see.

    Good job, Tories.

  48. There’s an interesting question in the YouGov tables. Who do you think has gained most from coalition. Con thinks it is LD and LD think it is Con. They do say a good compromise is when no-one likes the outcome.


    What is your analysis of how many voters switched from Lab to LD from 2005 ?

    I suspect that because of the war on terror and other policies Lab were following that over a million voters switched to the LD’s.

    The question is how many will switch back to Lab at the next GE ?

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