Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 38%, LAB 41%, LDEM 9%, Others 12%. A three point Labour lead, but not out of line with the average Labour lead of five points or so that we’ve seen of late. Note that the fieldwork of YouGov’s daily polls goes from roughly 5pm each day to around about 3pm the next day, so the overwhelming majority of the fieldwork for this poll was done before George Osborne’s autumn statement – if you are looking for any impact in the polls it’s tomorrow’s poll and those in the days following you’ll need to look at.


134 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 38, LAB 41, LD 9”

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  1. @ Chris Lane

    “You are very young I think. I am 56. We do not know the name of the next Labour PM.

    Possibly CHUKKA?

    1983/ 1987/ 1992: GE’s exemplify how Tories out perform mid term polls anyway.
    1964 also was like that.

    Labour needs a policy and a philosophy and a likeable leadership team, that looks and sounds normal and is attractive.”

    I agree with you on criteria. I think Jim Murphy (and yes I know, I’m biased in his favor) might be your next Labour PM. It seems to me that the reasons for which people say he can’t be Labour leader or Prime Minister are pretty specious: he’s Scottish, he’s Catholic, and he’s got an Irish last name. Those aren’t real reasons as to why someone should or shouldn’t be Prime Minister. Even though he has no economic background, I have a feeliing that the man could articulate a true Labour economic policy and sell it to the voters.

  2. “Blair was a winner.”
    We keep coming back to this –
    But Blair’s post-1997 victories were down to poor conservative voting –
    2001 – Lab 24.1% (-6.7%), Con 18.8% (-3%)
    2005 – Lab 21.6% (-2.5%), Con 19.9% (+1%)
    Compare these elections to previous elections –
    1992 – Lab 26.7%, 1987 – Lab – 23.1%

    Had the Tories had any sort of decent recovery – like the +3.6 from Cameron in 2010 (23.5%) (or the +3.5 and +3.1 from Kinnock), 2001 would have been extremely close and 2005 would have been an easy Tory win.

    Even 1997 was down mostly to the Tories losing (-10.6%) rather than Labour gaining (+4.1%).

    The narrative of ‘the amazing Blair’ only works if you fudge the figures and completely ignore all those who just don’t bother voting (the largest gainer in 1997 and 2001 (+18.3% between 1992 and 2001)).

    Now whether that means that Labour is best to go after Tory votes is another thing – their best bet, IMHO, is to hold on to the LibDem-NowLabour voters or try to find out the politics of people who don’t vote now and go after them.

    Reducing the Tories to 2005 levels and increasing Labour votes by the same proportion will only bring Lab up to about 22.5% (+3.6) of the electorate.

    If Libs go to the electorate and have 9% of voters [1], that’s -9.1% of the electorate. Holding on to half of that (i.e the LibDems recover to 16% of voters) would put Lab on 23.3% of the electorate, which is 35.9% of voters. [1]
    This might not get them a majority of seats (or even the largest party), but it would be a very close election and would be a +4.5% of the electorate [1] vs +4.1% from Blair in 1997.
    If Labour were to manage to get the 40% they’re now polling [1] (which I’m now finding to be an extremely dubious figure – sub 35% seems more likely), they’d gain +7.1% of the electorate [1], near to rivalling Thatcher (+7.3%) in 1979 (with the added difficulty of third-parties going from 3.3% of the electorate (1979) to 8.7% (in this model – 2015).

    So who do they go after? Dwindling ‘Tory voters’, meaning little gain.. non-voters (which could mean absolutely huge gains, but is extremely risky due to the nature of non-voters) or Ex-LibDems (which means being centre-left and liberal)?

    Hopefully this post was polling centric enough.

    [1] Assuming equal turnout with 2010.

  3. TINGEDFRINGE
    But Blair’s post-1997 victories were down to poor conservative voting
    I disagree… Clearly the current situation shows how hard it is for Labour to make the running…The economy is tanking,the chancellor clearly made a bad judgement…Yet the Conservative poll numbers hold up…And Blair took the initiative and made Major look like an amateur…I have no doubt that Labour would have had a fourth term with Blair as PM…When people compared Blair vs Cameron,they would have gone for the original rather than the young pretender

  4. I’m watching my local news and staying up late as the news editions roll on past their scheduled time to report on the eviction of Occupy LA. There are literally thousands of officers staging in the Dodger Stadium parking lot and getting ready to head down to City Hall.

    I find this upsetting for a number of reasons. With any luck, it will mostly be peaceful. But this is costly and it’s bad for the city. But worst of all, I wonder why there is a compelling need to shut down a political protest (a peaceful one at that). I wonder what the rest of the world must think of us. We strut around the world lecturing others about the importance of free speech and free assembly. Yet we don’t practice what we preach.

  5. SMUKESH
    Had Labour won in 2010 (either by majority or coalition), it would have had to have been on 2005 numbers – which would have been about 33% of the 2010 electorate (unless you’re assuming that Blair would have done better than 2005, post-2005 crash).
    Had that happened, the Tories and the press would have gone absolutely barmy.

    ‘We got 36% of the vote, they got 33%!’ and the Tories would have romped home to victory at the next election (probably in the same year).

  6. @ Smukesh

    “I disagree… Clearly the current situation shows how hard it is for Labour to make the running…The economy is tanking,the chancellor clearly made a bad judgement…Yet the Conservative poll numbers hold up…And Blair took the initiative and made Major look like an amateur…I have no doubt that Labour would have had a fourth term with Blair as PM…When people compared Blair vs Cameron,they would have gone for the original rather than the young pretender”

    I agree with you. Tinged Fringe is great and most of the time, he’s got great insight but here I respectfully disagree with him and I agree with you.

    I think Blair would have gotten a fourth term had he politely refused to enter the Iraq War. He would have won a much stronger (though it was still historically strong) victory in 2005. He probably would have won again though voters would have started to tire of him and eventually he would have left before the completion of his 4th term (going out on top is what many smart politicians do).

  7. “(going out on top is what many smart politicians do).”
    Which is exactly what Blair did – left before the legality of Iraq and economic mess hit the fan.

  8. TINGEDFRINGE
    With all due respect,you are making assumptions…The Tory vote rose because some Labour voters put off by Brown voted Tory…Had Blair been the PM,the rise may not have been as dramatic…Besides,I thought in 2005,Labour won 35% to 33% to Tories…I do believe that one of the reasons Blair went was because he had promised to go in his third term(eventhough he had changed his mind and would have fought a fourth term if Brown had allowed him to renege on his promise

  9. Jay, hooded

    The reason that benefits were increased in line with official inflation is simple

    Inflation is running at more than 10% for benefit claimants, so even this raise is a real terms(for those affected) cut of at least 5%, those on benefits are by and large unlikely to find work in the present envionment and this lack of hope combined with a drastically falling standard of living could lead to violent disorder which would be unfortunate when police numbers are being cut.

  10. Not more bliar nonsense, the man is a scoundrel which is well known by most of the country, he used up all his political capital with iraq. No one trusted him after that. If he had still been leader in 2010 he would have been total trashed by the expenses scandal and the ongoing investigations into irak. Shame really that he wasn’t still leader cos our lot could have won the election outright against him.

    Ask yourself this, how energized would labour activists been to go out and campaign for tony, libdems would have been extra motivated to kick out bliar.

  11. Time to put public service pensions into persepctive.

    The average public service pension is £5600 a year. Just over 100 a week.

    The mantra on the right seems to be “private sector pensions have got worse” and someone yesterday said, “Doctors, Lawyers and accountants don’t strike,” Hmmmm … yes, but their pensions are probably a good deal better than that.

  12. ADRIAN B

    @”The average public service pension is £5600 a year. Just over 100 a week.”

    Absolutely meaningless & uninformative statistic without knowing :-

    * Level in payment , or indexed?
    *Widows benefits-or not?
    * Guarantee period in payment-or not.
    *Length of pensionable service.
    * Proportion of Final Salary
    *Employee contributions made

    Answer those & you can make a comparison with any other pension rights.

    Without-your number means nothing.

    It could be for a high paid executive with a lifetime of pensionable service-ie bloody awful

    or for a low paid worker with short pensionable service-ie bloody good.

  13. @ Old Nat

    “Presbyterianism actually originated in Geneva, through the thinking of Jean Cauvin – a French Protestant whose name is normally Anglicised to John Calvin – hence “Calvinism” though I imagine that most American Presbytrian churches do have Scottish roots.

    As I understand the proposals for same sex marriage (and we have discussd the Scottish system of consultations prior to legislation before), it is that marriage between same sex partners should be legal in Scotland, if conducted by a person already entitled to do so for current marriages.

    Civil marriages (conducted by a registrar) would be automatic – as employees of the Scottish state, they would not have any new conscience clause – as they didn’t previously. Religious same-sex marriages would also be legal,but, as at present, the state would not force a minister or priest to conduct a marriage that they thought unacceptable.”

    Thank you for the history lesson on Calvinism. Either way, I’m not a Presbyterian but I am pro-Presbyterian.

    As for the marriage laws, they sound reasonable and pretty much exactly the same as here.

  14. @ Tinged Fringe

    I think Blair’s popular vote totals were fairly low (relative to other winners and losers in the past) because of the fact that his three elections were not perceived as close and he was expected to win all three. Because of that, turnout was not as high. Also, because of his New Labour message, he didn’t get as high a turnout in traditional Labour strongholds, taking down his levels of support.

    I don’t think low Conservative voter turnout was what hurt Blair. Because had that been the case, Blair would not have done as well as he did in traditionally Tory constituencies. Clearly he won over a lot of ex Tories and unaffiliated voters.

  15. Socal Liberal – you probably want to listen to this programme on the BBC World Service:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00lqpcp

    “Richard Coles confronts accusations that the West is attempting to force gay rights on Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

    Most Western states are keen to spread gay equality around the globe.

    But some local political and religious leaders often claim that homosexuality is a foreign import – leading to charges that the West is engaged in a new form of imperialism.

    Looking to the past, Richard Coles attempts to sort out historical fact from political propaganda – exploring the degree to which modern gay identity is a Western construct which has no place beyond Europe and North America.”

    Enjoy!

  16. I continue to be surprised that the Conservative support appears to be holding up in the polls.

    until people actually say that they are going to vote differently the government may as well do what it likes.
    they appear to have adopted this strategy and fair play to them. If people want a change in direction they know what they can do at the next election

  17. TINGED FRINGE and SMUKESH.

    I have no doubt that Blair would have won in 2010 with an increased majority for the Labour Party. It was a sad day for him and the country and the party when he pre announced his retirement before the 2005 GE. But he was under pressure from Brown, the War and the personal crisis.

    I am not clever enough to calculate the precise figures on which he would have won the General Election. The Conservatives were delighted when he resigned.

    SOCIAL LIBERAL.
    Jim Murphy?
    Have you read ‘THE LAST ACCEPTABLE PREJUDICE’ by Philip Jenkins? It is published by OUP.

    I really rate Jim Murphy. He may lack the ruthless edge to seize the crown from Balls or Cooper in 2015 when facing a new Coalition (National) Government.

  18. Adrian B
    ‘Time to put public service pensions into persepctive.
    The average public service pension is £5600 a year. Just over 100 a week.’

    ‘The mantra on the right seems to be “private sector pensions have got worse” and someone yesterday said, “Doctors, Lawyers and accountants don’t strike,” Hmmmm … yes, but their pensions are probably a good deal better than that.

    Why are you comparing lowest paid public sector workers (whose pensions are not affected anyway) and top paid private sector such as lawyers?

    Are you suggesting that private pensions are not much worse than they used to be? I retired form a FTSE 100 (ex public sector firm) a few years back on final salary pension; this has been no longer available to new entrants quite a few years ago; many other companies have changed from final salary to annuity based pensions that pay a fraction of what used to be provided in pension.

  19. OldNat

    Happy St Andrew’s Day. Though the timing of your comments suggests that if you were wishing yourself it, you were three minutes too early. And if you were greeting those of us back in the British Isles, you forgot about it like everyone else does.[1] :)

    While the Kirk has, at least in the past, gone the some length to have itself declared to to be not-the official state religion, it should be remembered that the world is full of countries where ultra-powerful religions technically don’t have that role (think of Ireland in the Fifties). So you can forgive people for being suspicious.

    You’re actually wrong about the Church of England which historically isn’t Lutheran. Technically it is a ‘Reformed’ church (I’ve read my Diarmaid MacCulloch), though its history and current practice do give the impression of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Lutheran.

    I always thought that Scotland only had one teaching union, and to some extent that had helped in establishing the status of teaching. Has this always been the case? It certainly must help with its bargaining position. (Cynically I wonder if these things are related).

    [1] No I don’t know when St Maughold’s festal day is (well I do – 27 April – because google is my friend), but it doesn’t matter because some countries have proper National Days.

  20. I’m bemused by some of the more hysterical comments about Lib Dem prospects from Labour supporters on this site.

    For the record:

    I listened to Danny Alexander’s Newsnight interview with Jeremy Paxman last night. I think he was saying that our 2015 manifesto will need to be consistent with our record in government. There doesn’t seem to me to be anything earth-shattering about that. It certainly doesn’t amount to an abandonment of equidistance.

    There is no prospect whatsoever of an electoral pact between Lib Dems and Tories in 2015.

    There is no prospect whatsoever of the Lib Dems and Tories merging.

    The real story of post-war British politics has been the long, slow demise of the two-party system. The Lib Dems (and their Liberal/SDP predecessors) have been in the vanguard of that process, and I believe that long-term trend will continue.

    2015 will be a difficult election for the Lib Dems but it won’t be Armageddon. As both Henry and Amber Star have predicted, there is every prospect of a Lib Dem recovery. The only question is when it will start and how big it will be.

  21. @ Mountain Ash

    It’s not ‘gay equality’, it’s sexual orientation equality. There are LGBT people across every corner of the globe. The fact that they are suppressed does not mean they do not exist or that western governments invent them. After all, LGBT people didn’t “exist” in Western Europe or North America either at one point.

    I need to go to bed, it’s late, but I will listen later.

    @ Chris Lane

    “Jim Murphy?”

    Yes. :)

    “Have you read ‘THE LAST ACCEPTABLE PREJUDICE’ by Philip Jenkins? It is published by OUP.”

    I have not. What’s it about?

    “I really rate Jim Murphy. He may lack the ruthless edge to seize the crown from Balls or Cooper in 2015 when facing a new Coalition (National) Government.”

    What do you mean by “rate” him? I think he’s got some ruthlessness. He was once described as ‘ruthless but likeable.’ That’s my personal goal in life though it’s a really hard one.

    I find him very appealling but sometimes I think that perhaps he was born in the wrong country. What appeals to me might not appeal to Brits.

    I do think he has the ability to appeal to wide swaths of voters given his background and given his Blairite nature. Also, if he was to become a leader, he would represent a significant change from current major party leadership and offer a contrast from Cameron and Clegg. He did not go to Oxford or Cambridge, did not attend elite preparatory school, and was not destined for the top hierarchy of British society upon the mere occassion of his birth. I think that might be refreshing to some voters.

    If Scotland does go independent though, the first thing that Alex Salmond should do as newly elected King of Scotland is appoint Murphy ambassador to the U.S. :)

  22. @Adrian B, Colin,

    The £5,600 is the median figure as set out by the Hutton Report. The same report shows the mean as £7,800 which sounds more realistic. I’d certainly like to see a link to the data that supports the figures, and so far I can’t find one (Google is stuffed with people quoting the figures, but nothing on its origin). I know that (pre-commutation) the average police pension in payment must be something in the order of £20,000 pa. I appreciate that the police pension scheme is better than most, but those tens of thousands of pensioners would be in the “pot” from which the mean is drawn, along with a lot of retired teachers, doctors, lawyers, managers etc.

    Like Colin I’d like to see what is included. Hutton talks about the averages of “pensions currently in payment”, which suggests to me that the figures are for all retirees regardless of length of service or hours worked when employed, and subsequent to any commuted lump-sum.

    For me the more truthful statistic would be a pre-commutation figure, adjusted pro rata to reflect what it would be worth to a full-time employee who served a full career period (30 or 40 years or whatever the amount is for the scheme concerned is).

    Also, do the figures avoid double counting? There are quite a few individuals out there in receipt of two public sector pensions, perhaps as a consequence of spending say 25 years as a policman followed by 20 years as a local government officer. Would that count as “one big pension” in the figures or two small ones?

  23. @ Old Nat

    “I forgot to explain St Andrew’s Day.

    St Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland (as well as of various other places).

    You will know of St Patrick’s Day in Ireland – it’s much the same.

    Given our climate, the Scopttish Government and tourist industry have cleverly collaborated in creating our Winter Festival – from Halloween, St Andrew’s Day, Hogmanay, to Burns Night – to create a vibrant tourist draw across the winter months.”

    Well I wish you a Happy St. Andrew’s Day.

    I assume there are still snakes in Scotland. So perhaps St. Andrew is responsible for bringing in Deep Fried Mars Bars? Or introducing golf? If so, he can join St. Francis, the patron saint of San Francisco, who reportedly introduced sourdough bread to the people of the Bay Area.

    St. Patrick’s Day is really not that big a holiday (well where I’m from). I mean it’s nothing like Cinqo De Mayo. In fact, I used to make sure to not wear green on St. Patrick’s Day. For St. Andrew’s Day, is one required to wear blue? (I ask cause’ of the flag).

  24. @ Roger Mexico

    “Happy St Andrew’s Day. Though the timing of your comments suggests that if you were wishing yourself it, you were three minutes too early. And if you were greeting those of us back in the British Isles, you forgot about it like everyone else does.”

    I heard that Brits celebrate Thanksgiving except you guys call it “Get the h*** off the island day”. :)

    @ D Abrahams

    “There is no prospect whatsoever of the Lib Dems and Tories merging.”

    I agree.

  25. One of my Facebook friends (a regular business traveller) has just changed his status thus;

    To my surprise Heathrow immigration was faster than usual. The temp civil servants were courteous and efficient. Even for a full 380!

  26. D Abrahams
    ‘2015 will be a difficult election for the Lib Dems but it won’t be Armageddon. As both Henry and Amber Star have predicted, there is every prospect of a Lib Dem recovery. The only question is when it will start and how big it will be.’

    I agree with the whole post. The LDs have annoyed many in the Labour Party, and while our poll ratings are currently languishing, it is this annoyance, more than anythng else which is driving many posters to comment about the demise of the LDs.

  27. @Neil A,

    I quote from the BBC: ” A sum up of the airport situation. Chief Operating Officer Scott Stanley from Gatwick says passengers are still passing through border controls with no delay, passengers at Heathrow Airport are also largely unaffected and Birmingham Airport says it’s business as usual.” And unrelated to air travel: “The Cabinet Office says according to “early indications”, significantly less than a third of civil servants are taking strike action today.”

    So I am unsure as to whether the figure of 2 million will materialise, if that’s one example of strike attendance rates.

  28. SoCalLiberal

    The bizarre thing about the Act that introduced civil partnerships in the UK was that it allowed them to happen anywhere licenced for marriages except places of worship. This was seen as a nice simple way to keep the Churches quiet. Unfortunately they forgot the possibility that some religious organisations might actually want to perform such ceremonies (Unitarians, Quakers, Liberal Jews – the usual trouble makers). This was another wonderful example of the tendency of politicians not to think reforms through (oddly enough lawyer politicians such as Blair seem to be the worst offenders).

    It’s complicated in England by the fact you have the legal right to get married in your local Church of England Parish Church. There are certain preconditions and you have to pay the fees of course. In addition the incumbent can refuse to marry people who have been divorced and a similar exemption is proposed to cope with gay marriages.

    However I suspect the Church of England leadership know that this would cause all sorts of internal problems and they would be unable to maintain church discipline to prevent some gay marriages taking place with the support of clergy and congregation. Followed by the usual ructions over other people’s sex lives that modern Christianity is so fond of.

    The Richard Coles programme that mountain_ash recommends was part of a series he did on BBC Radio 3:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006tnwp/episodes/player

    All four parts are still available, though I don’t know for how long as for some reason Radio 3 doesn’t keep an accessible archive of the excellent Sunday Feature series (Radio 4 seems to keep things available for ever). Coles by the way is both a Church of England vicar (see how this post hangs together) and a gay Eighties popstar. Not, as he remarks, the largest of demographics.

  29. Comments about the LibDems being bound to the Tories well beyond the next election all assume that the party will continue to allow itself to be led by Clegg, Alexander et al. I think that is now a good deal less likely and that at some point a serious Leadership challenge will materialise which could pull the rug from the Coalition’.Unlike Labour the LibDems can be ruthless with their leaders – witness what happened to Kennedy and Campbell.

  30. Well it’s interesting.

    If you assume that there will be no real growth now until the public sector job cuts are done, that takes us into 2017, well past the the next election date. You can also safely assume that there will be hardly any reduction in either deficit or debt, as unemployment benefits will gobble it all up.

    So in 2015 the very best that the Government can hope is to continue to convince those that voted for it in 2010 that there was/is no alternative to the strategy of cutting public spending and waiting for the private sector to expand and fill the void. If voting follows the same pattern as 2010 then the Tories (with the new boundaries and reduced seat numbers) will get a tiny majority and will probably still need the Lib Dems (slightly less seats) to govern.

    How likely is that? Dunno.

    But what will the Tories and Lib Dems campaign upon in those seats where they oppose each other directly?

    What is Labour’s strategy? Well we’ve heard Ed B et al and the “too far and too fast” mantra now has some traction, I think.

    Now we have two scenarios for what happens in Europe. Meltdown or recovery. It’s possible that, from a re-election point of view, the Tories best scenario is meltdown. It would be a disaster in every other way, but at least GO can go on about safe havens and lower interest rates than Germany etc etc. But what happens if the Germans agree to print money and issue Eurobonds and the weaker parts of the Eurozone either ease out or begin a process of reform, supported by the Central Bank?

    What happens if we see growth in Europe in 2014-15 and none here?

    The other thing is, the failure to reform or regulate the banks especially in the UK means we might have to either bail them out again or let them go bust, either of which is complete meltdown here too.

    How much of GO’s strongarm of the public sector was actually strutting for the Markets? What happens next time he stands up to say that borrowing is up and GDP forecasts are going down?

    The real nightmare for that is that his austerity measures and choked growth lead to the very outcome he says he wants to avoid: Markets get reluctant to invest. Specially if the Eurozone recovers. We might be better joining it then!

    The only way that the Tories or even the Coalition can win next time is if borrowing goes down and growth goes up.

    If Balls is right, that requires a change in course. But is he?

    It appears we will find out, but if he IS right we are in for successive and deeper cuts before it is conclusively proved that cuts cannot create growth.

  31. An interesting article ‘Life after the end of economic growth’ on the website that cannot be mentioned…about economic growth and whether it is sustainable.

    An extract “Financial markets have a hair trigger, and fears about flagging growth could bring down governments and banks.”

  32. Graham
    ‘Comments about the LibDems being bound to the Tories well beyond the next election all assume that the party will continue to allow itself to be led by Clegg, Alexander et al.’

    Thank you for providing another alternative to the common thread of opinion that ‘the LDs are all doomed’. I don’t think it will happen before 2015, and rather believe that after some time when the LD support has been constant, it will gradually edge up and the predicted political disaster will not occur.

    All to play for I say, and perhaps the Labour Party should concentrate on its own problems, including a lack of charisma in its leadership, a lack of trust in the shadow Chancellor, a tiny lead in opinions polls at a time when it should be streets ahead and an overdependence on Union cash at a time when political donations are likely to be reformed.

  33. I very much agree with NickP. Everything depends on the eurozone. If it survives it will break British politics wide open as the issue of our relative performance and potential isolation, or liberation will become acute, destroying the coalition.

  34. @ D Abrahams – “I listened to Danny Alexander’s Newsnight interview with Jeremy Paxman last night. I think he was saying that our 2015 manifesto will need to be consistent with our record in government. There doesn’t seem to me to be anything earth-shattering about that. It certainly doesn’t amount to an abandonment of equidistance.
    There is no prospect whatsoever of an electoral pact between Lib Dems and Tories in 2015.”

    Danny Alexander on Newsnight promised to publish before the next election a joint post election LD-Tory programme of detailed spending cuts of £15bn.

    Hard to see how that will be equidistant….

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