During the conference season YouGov repeated their occasional polling on how people perceive the parties and party leaders on the left right spectrum. As I normally point out on this question, a simple left-right scale on a single axis would be rather a simplistic way of categorising parties, however, it serves a useful function in showing how close people perceive the parties to be to themselves, and how extreme or centrist people see the parties.

YouGov asked people to rate each party on a left-right scale, from “very left wing”, through fairly left, slightly left of centre, centre, slightly right of centre and so on. They then give each answer a numerical value so each party can be given an average score from -100 (very left wing) to +100 (very right wing).

The Conservative party stands at +46, almost unchanged from the previous time the question was asked in January, but still significantly more right wing than when they were in opposition. At the beginning of Cameron’s leadership the party were rated at +53, by 2007-2009 they were into +37. Since the election they’ve moved out again. While David Cameron is seen as very marginally more centrist than his party on +43, the difference is not significant compared to in 2006-2007 when he was seen as far more centrist than they Tory party as a whole.

Perceptions of Labour are moving slowly leftwards. Their lastest rating is -41, from -39 last time, -37 last July and -27 before the election. Notice that while perceptions of the Labour party are that it is much more left wing than under Blair and Brown, it is still seen as slightly more centrist than the Tories, though the difference is far less than it once was. If we look back at the figures from 2006 and 2007 Labour were seen as far more centrist than the Tories (-19 vs +50 in 2006, -23 to +53 in 2007). These days they are far more balanced.

There is not much difference in Ed Miliband’s ratings: -42, compared to -45 in January. He is seen as pretty much as left wing as David Cameron is seen as right wing. However, this is again in stark contrast to his predecessors. Over the years Gordon Brown’s ratings ranged from -20 to -27. Tony Blair was normally perceived as slighty right of centre, with ratings from +3 to +7.

Finally we come to the Liberal Democrats, were we see the only really interesting movement since January. As one might have expected, perceptions of Clegg and the Lib Dems jumped rightwards after their entry into government. Before the election people had put Clegg at -13 on the left-right scale, by January they were putting him slightly right of centre on +10. There was a similar shift for the Lib Dems: prior to the election they were rating as slightly left of centre on -17, in January they had moved to almost exactly in the centre on +1. Since then perceptions have moved slightly leftwards again – Clegg is seen as bang on centre, with a score of 0 on the left-right scale, the Lib Dems as a whole have moved less, but have an average rating of minus 4.

460 Responses to “Latest left-right spectrum polling”

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  1. R in N

    I think most of my family is going to be chucked out of the UK.

    You have me really worried now and raise some interesting questions;

    Are we all to be asked these history questions (I’m relieved it is not physics or chemistry – I would definitely be out)? As Brit citizens which country will have us. The Scandinavian countries have a small population and could help. I think Norway is a fab country.

    Which brings me to my second question don’t you live in Norway?

    Lastly, I am not an eastender and therefore at risk; however my wife is keen on Eastenders and has promised to brief me on the latest stories, will that suffice?

  2. HENRY

    “Are we all to be asked these history questions”

    No Henry-existing residents under a given age will be provided with a certificate confirming that they studied Eastenders at school rather than History.

    Government teaching reforms & school supplyside reforms will correct the position , and Citizenship History exemption certificates will gradually be phased out.

  3. RinN

    I will definitely keep you on in the LD paradise (even if you insist on bringing DLG); your posts are always so interesting and amusing.

    Of course with their challenging posts Mike N and Nick P will be welcome anytime, albeit on temporary visas; this will enable we LDs to imprison and then deport them after a suitable time lapse(unless of course they own a cat).

  4. Henry

    Yes I live in Norway. My mother and some of my brothers and sisters have expressed an interest in moving here, I’m not that keen.

  5. Colin

    ‘No Henry-existing residents under a given age will be provided with a certificate confirming that they studied Eastenders at school rather than History’

    Will those over a certain age be exempt?

  6. Henry



  7. As it happens, todays press release from the Scottish Government which gives a “flavour” of the source of such economic growh as we have and illustrates the activities of the SNP’s main vote gatherer, Richard Lochhead.


    It mentions at the bottom McSweens of Edinburgh, the most renowned haggis maker. If you see haggis on the menu, and it is theirs, go for it.

    RH will be unknown to nearly all English posters. He is unknown to the majority of Scots. He should not be unknown to any who hope to understand the growth of the SNP in rural Scotland.

    As rural affairs minister, he is responsible for every non-human living thing in Scotland, that flies above it and swims in the seas around.

  8. Mike N

    “Large, hairy, hominid, beast-like in nature, living wild, and attracting a disproportionate amount of attention from the media…”

    Plase read the comments policy. This sort of remark abut Dr J G Brown is far too prevalent on this site.

  9. richard in norway

    I think most of my family is going to be chucked out of the UK, the new citizen test will include questions on British history.

    Is there room in Norway for 5 million Scots who, on the basis of earlier attempts will also fail.

    A gift to the SNP fo sure.

    If any such “British” test was translated into equivalent Scottish terminology the people who wrote the test would fail.

  10. Braehead Terrorists

    “Photography Policy Change

    We have listened to the very public debate surrounding our photography policy and as a result, with immediate effect, are changing the policy to allow family and friends to take photos in the mall.

    We will publicise this more clearly in the mall and on our website, and will reserve the right to challenge suspicious behaviour for the safety and enjoyment of our shoppers.

    We wish to apologise to Mr White for the distress we may have caused to him and his family and we will be in direct contact with him to apologise properly.”

    Wasting police time is an offence I understand.

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