Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 41%, LAB 39%, LDEM 10%, Others 10%. This is the first time that YouGov have shown a Conservative lead since December 2010. While I’ll add my normal caveat about a poll showing something unusual, it certainly looks as though the Conservatives have recieved a boost from David Cameron’s veto at the European summit. For the last month or so YouGov’s daily polls have been pretty steady in showing a Labour lead of five points of so. In the three YouGov polls conducted since the veto we’ve had two 1 point Labour leads, and now a 2 point Conservative lead.

There is also a new ComRes poll out tonight for the Independent which has topline figures of CON 38%(+1), LAB 38%(-1), LDEM 12%(+2) – also showing the two main parties effectively neck-and-neck.

There certainly appears to have been a boost for the Conservatives from the veto. How long it lasts it is a different question. Is is a brief spike in support from a populist action, or will it stick? We don’t know yet.

Europe is not generally a particular salient issue, most people vote on issues somewhat closer to home like the economy, health, pensions, tax and so on. In tonight’s YouGov poll 38% of people name Europe as an important issue facing the country… but only 11% pick it as an important issue for them and their family. In that sense, I wouldn’t expect it to make much long term difference. However, there are two possibilities that could lead to a lasting impact.

Firstly, for some people traditional right-wing issues are important, and some of narrowing in the polls appears to be UKIP voters returning to the Tory party. In previous months we’d seen a slow growth of UKIP support, getting up to 7% or so just after the Tory backbench rebellion over Europe. There are signs that much of this support has returned to the Tories, with UKIP back down to 3% in the latest YouGov poll. Will the summit convince right-wing voters that Cameron does share their instincts, or will they drift back again?

A second thing to look would be if the veto changes perceptions of David Cameron himself and his leadership. Europe may be on an issue many people don’t particularly care about, but if it makes people think David Cameron is a stronger leader who stands up for the country it may improve perceptions of him across the board. We don’t have any good before and after polling yet on perceptions of Cameron but watch them carefully when they do appear.


70 Responses to “YouGov show Tory lead, ComRes neck-and-neck”

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  1. I am so happy I have got to have first say.

  2. Hmm looks like I was wrong about it not hitting UKIP support.

    That’s a big positive for the Tories. UKIP VI looking very soft.

  3. ” We don’t have any good before and after polling yet on perceptions of Cameron but watch them carefully when they do appear.”

    I doubt if there will be much difference in Scotland. Of course, I might be wrong. His approval ratings might drop even further.

  4. The perception in parts of the country is that DC has won a war. Brits like winning a war when there is no cost. With an anti EU press this is hardly surprising.
    The problem for labour is that if the EU agreement unfolds DC really did do the right thing, we were on th winning side.
    Of course if investment switches to the EU then we are in the mire.

  5. Wow.

    I’m really surprised given the low priority “europe” is given for most important issues.

  6. So UKIP support is soft, Labour support is soft and Lib Dem support is soft. Tory support isn’t soft.

    I’ll take that.

  7. Those of us who used ATTAUK to judge underlying support for the cons would seem to have evidence to support our view.
    Early polls showing a Lab slip as well of 2-3% which could go back when the Euro stuff dies down.
    As Anthony suggets my guess is that the next set of trackers will have better scores for the PM on leadership issues etc.
    Long term will the isolation charge stick and cause damage, maybe?

  8. Outlier? Or just MOE movement? Of course the fabled idea of waiting for future polls to confirm etc.

    But the main message for tonight. CON majority nailed on! :)

  9. Looks like my Monday prediction has sailed in two days late! The truth about whether this suggests a longer term boost for the Tories or is merely polling ephemera and fluff that will blow away like yesterday’s newspapers may be put to the test as early as tomorrow’s by-election in Feltham where some real votes will be cast for the first time in six months.

    If the Tories perform well there then I may be persuaded that tonight’s 2% lead in YouGov, and a very rare 40%+ VI rating for them, is here to stay for a significant period of time.

    Roll on Feltham on Friday, I say!

  10. Give people what they want and the polls will take care of themselves. Simple business, politiccs.

  11. I said UKIP had been castrated two days ago. I hoped I was right and it seems I am. This is the Tory vote we are now looking at. Not 35 or 37% with 5% wasting their time on UKIP. Cameron needs to be mindful of this in future and realise that there are some things the LD’S will just have to live with.

    btw, AW very good report.

  12. It will be as usual, the fickle British voter responds to what is in the news currently and then they will drift back. If the right wing press were to properly report the true things this government are doing with the NHS and the way they are removing disability payments from children the way they report on Europe we would see a serious swing away from the Tories.

    Equally, if investors switch from investing in this country at the cost of jobs again, we would see a reversal of the Tories fortunes.

  13. This was always going to happen at some point. Even so, if this result were repeated in a GE, it would only just about put the Tories back in 1992 territory, They’d hardly have a comfortable majority.

    I think this boost will be pretty short-lived and we will be back to polldrums before long.

  14. Political Betting mob have suddenly decided that the “gold standard” is no longer ICM and is now YoGov :D

  15. Pro EU or anti-EU, it doesnt really matter. With Ed Miliband as leader, Labour will not get back into power.

    The 2015 election will be played as ‘Cameron vs Miliband’ and a straight choice between the two.

    There is only one winner in that choice.

    Short term, we will see Labour go back in front of the polls no doubt, but long term, it makes Cameron look like the one thing that the British people love in thier leaders ‘strong’.

  16. Tom G,

    I don’t see Cameron as a ‘strong’ leader. He has the pragmatism of John Major but also the ineffectualness of Edward Heath. I think people will gradually begin to realise this eventually.

  17. and this is the crux of the issue for me…

    you might get angry Liberal MEPs attacking the PM for last week, but fundamentally, we are a eurosceptic nation, so whether what he did is right or wrong in the long term, it’s actually democratically justifiable as it’s simply representing the prevailing view that the majority of the UK.

  18. Interesting.

    I don’t understand the mentality of the large majority of people who appear to be impressed with the UK’s isolation in Europe.

    Twenty years of Murdoch and DM anti European propaganda is paying dividends for the Tories.

    The poll also points to the fragility of Labour support – down to 39% which is 3% down on recent averages. That is something which must be troubling for Labour HQ.

    However, this moment is a bit of a rarity. You can’t keep wheeling out jingoistic, superficially attractive anti-EU policies. It can’t be done to a timetable.

    I don’t think the LDs will allow too much more of it either. It is no good for anybody except the Tories it seems.

    If pressed, I would guess that it will be a short-lived boost for the Tories. The reality of economic depression will soon reassert itself in reduced approval.

  19. It’s worth noting, before we all get over excited, that tonight’s YouGov and the ComRes poll show miniscule movement. The ComRes VI ratings have twitched within MOE and, while a Tory plus 40 and lead in a YouGov is significant, the movements are fairly moderate and could be down some MOE oscillation riding on the back of a small Tory boost. Interesting polls but we’re way way short of political earthquake country here. It’s the sort of mild boost that could be swept away at the first sight of a negative story on the economy. It’s highly fragile, I suspect

    As Anthony always advises, we need to study trends over time. If the Tories now move into sustained and growing leads across a multiplicity of pollsters and a good slice of the UKIP vote has come home, then the rules of engagement may well have changed. Unless and until that happens, I’d counsel caution, flavoured with a little dose of scepticism.

    As I said earlier, the Feltham by-election result is going to be even more interesting now.

  20. Crossbat,

    I think you need to define what “doing well” in Feltham means for the Tories. It has been a safe Labour seat since 1992 (in 97 Lab took 60% of the vote). At the 2010GE it was 44-34 to Lab. So, Lab are certain to win. The only question is by how much. As they are no longer a hated incumbent I would expect a minimum of 50% for Lab, whilst if the Tories can get close to 30% they would be satisfied. IMHO.

  21. After all those negative headlines, 10% for the Lib Dems from YouGov seems like pretty good news to me.

    A 2% opinion poll lead certainly isn’t going to send Cameron rushing to call a snap election…

  22. One issue I would point out that is not helping Labour, is that I follow politics very closely, and I honestly couldn’t tell you what their position is on Europe.

  23. @iananthonyjames – “You can’t keep wheeling out jingoistic, superficially attractive anti-EU policies”

    “UK’s isolation in Europe.”

    What price a poll boost?

  24. I think with the summit getting so much coverage with the eurozone crisis that has pushed up its salience.

    This may remain if the eurozone completely implodes. In some ways this would be a huge win for DC – it would enable him to say he’s been proved right about staying out of the “pact”, and also have a ready-made scapegoat for the double-dip recession that would no-doubt come. But generally for his government and their economic credibility that would be a disaster.

    The irony is that if Europe recedes from the front pages, it may well become the ticking time bomb for the coalition.

  25. AKMD
    ‘I don’t see Cameron as a ‘strong’ leader. He has the pragmatism of John Major but also the ineffectualness of Edward Heath. I think people will gradually begin to realise this eventually.’

    But Cameron is not trying to convince you; if he persuades his Tories, UKIP and some floating voters that is sufficient for a 2015 GE win. Early days yet.

    However the 41% Tory plus 10% Lib Dem in YG and 38% and 12% in COMRES , 50% plus is very good for the Coalition and I think will persduade both Parties they are on to a winner with the electorate.

  26. D Abrahams
    ‘After all those negative headlines, 10% for the Lib Dems from YouGov seems like pretty good news to me.’

    And 12% COMRES; I think most of those who remain LD voters will stick with LDs and they can start to build a decent support base upto GE 2015.

  27. @Billy Bob

    What price a poll boost?

    Good question.

    The price may be too high if the result of isolation leads to a very negative economic outcome.

    It is an enormous economic gamble by the coalition.

  28. “After all those negative headlines, 10% for the Lib Dems from YouGov seems like pretty good news to me.”

    I love to read a bit of Lib Dem optimism. 10% and still happy!

    What will they say at the next GE?

    Go back to your constituencies and prepare to be the ineffective and resented social conscience of an increasingly strident anti-EU Tory Party!

  29. The Tories have certianly controlled the narrative… Cameron had no choice but to wield the “veto” given, as YouGov put it, “other Eropean leaders refused to make concessions”.

    Paradoxically, if Cameron was indeed “nudged” into taking this stance at the summit by some carefully droped hints about a leadership challenge, his position may not in reality be strengthened by this poll boost. It strengthens the convictions of those in his party who believe moving to the right is the way to win a GE.

  30. @IanAnthonyJames,

    True, but don’t fall into the trap that a Euro-sceptic public would necessarily blame DC/the coalition if the Euro Zone/world economy goes belly up. If anything, it might just add to many people’s perception that Britain could do better outside Europe and was wrong to be playing such a big part in it in the first place. Once views on a political issue have become entrenched, they are notoriously hard to shift. The issue of Europe may be no different in that respect.

  31. @ Henry

    I’m not sure I feel quite as sanguine as you seem to be.

    I’m glad that Clegg has voiced publicly his concerns about the impact that Cameron’s playing to the Eurosceptic gallery could have on British growth and British jobs.

    But if a Eurozone collapse lands us in a double-dip recession the British public will, I expect, want to punish both governing parties.

    I suppose the Tories will hope for another 1992-style election where confidence in the opposition was so low that the Government was re-elected despite a poor economic situation.

    The Lib Dems just have to hang on in the hope that, over five years, they can demonstrate that coalition can work, even in very difficult circumstances, and that neither Labour nor Tories can muster sufficient electoral enthusiasm to gain an overall majority.

  32. Certainly a very disappointing poll for Labour supporters…After months of Labour leading the polls,Tories back in front for what appears to be a pyrrhic victory…There was nothing gained,something lost and yet the politics of symbolism changes public opinion…I wonder whether once they open the new shining christmas wrapping and find it empty,public opinion will revert back

  33. As I’ve previously said, I expect a good poll boost, but I expect rather short lived. All in all though, the entire news thread is ultimately very depressing.

    The European reactions to this are farcical. The British are now selfish for looking after their own national interest – whereas the French presumably are good Europeans for protecting their farmers and electricity companies. And the debate over whether the 26 should be allowed to use the EU institutions demonstrates the EUs ability to ignore legal and democratic accountability at will. Of course they shouldn’t. It hasn’t been agreed so it’s illegal.

    Equally, the poll boost is bad news for the UK. No one, not even the Tories, can explain what they have protected us from, but if governments think that an increasingly Eurosceptic populace will swing behind them if they look tough but ultimately meaningless on Europe, then we’re in for some really bad deals being made.

    Ultimately though, the real sadness of this is that the UK, in partnership with Sweden and small but growing group of allies, were beginning to craft a useful critique of what is wrong at the heart of the EU, and the EZ crisis has been a great opportunity for us as it demonstrates so much of what is wrong. We had a chance to stop ever closer union and start to develop an EU that properly represents what Europeans actually want.

    The veto, undoubtedly popular here, has scuppered that, for no material gain. The UK cannot now lead a new Europe movement, and that is very much to the detriment of all 27 nations.

  34. The polls are undoubtedly great news for the Tories. I expect the Yougov poll is a bit of an outlier (around a 1 point Labour lead), but it does demonstrate the fragility of the Labour vote/lead. It probably will change, and I expect Labour to be leading by 4 or 5 points again within a month or so, but it does indicate that Labour (and EM) are failing to make inroads with public opinion. Especially as we are currently experiencing such economic hardship, cuts, pension changes etc. Ed needs to do much better in 2012 IMO.

  35. @IanAnthonyJames

    ‘What will they say at the next GE?’

    That the Liberal Democrats have succeeded in anchoring the Conservatives firmly to the centre ground, at a time when an exhausted and unpopular Labour party thoroughly deserved to go into opposition. A Conservative government would have been considerably more right-wing and more dangerous than what we have now.

    My hunch is that there is a considerable proportion of the electorate (certainly more than 10%) that is receptive to that message.

  36. The numbers in the polls are not as important as a) the long term effect on people’s perceptions of DC’s leadership, and b) the clear demonstration that Labour’s vote is so soft.

    Even if, as expected, Labour goes 4-5 points ahead again within the next few months, it shows that its vote will likely remain soft, and that there is no justifiable reason not to suppose that the Tories can close the gap once again.

  37. It’s mixed news for the LDs really – more evidence that their vote has largely bottomed out/levelled out really but in my opinion it’s in their interest for Labour to remain ahead in the polls and the tories to remain divided.

    The LDs are looking weaker tonight even if things appeared to have stabilised for them recently.

  38. Richard O

    ” but fundamentally, we are a eurosceptic nation, so whether what he did is right or wrong in the long term, it’s actually democratically justifiable as it’s simply representing the prevailing view that the majority of the UK”

    Well I can’t disagree with that, you are 100% spot on, I think what he did was not just wrong but rotten. But if I could persuade the public of my case they would love David even more, I think. A lot of us that are pro Europe would vote out in a referendum just so we could escape the jingoism that surrounds the European debate

  39. AMBIVALENTSUPPORTER

    ” Labour’s vote is so soft.” Need that necessarily be the case? We haven’t seen the figures for the Don’t Knows yet. If the shift to the Tories has been from them, then it might be that the Tory vote is soft.

    (Actually, I reckon every party’s support has a significant level of softness – and if they don’t, they damn well should have!)

  40. Just reported on Newsnight. IPSOS-MORI poll puts Tories ahead for the first time this year.

    We are rapidly becoming “Little Englanders” or to keep Nat happy, “Little Brits”

  41. Awful lot of red posts in here. :)

    Whatever else the polls tell us, the majority of the electorate are not pro-European.

  42. @Oldnat,

    “(Actually, I reckon every party’s support has a significant level of softness – and if they don’t, they damn well should have!)”

    I agree.

  43. Newsnight just quoted a Reuters Ipsos Mori poll putting the Tories ahead as well. I found this on t’internet

    Con 41 +7
    Lab 39 -2
    LD 10 -1

    ATTAUK quite possibly = rather than Labour being soft its Cameron’s right flank- which (lets all be honest) he is very likely to disappoint over the coming months and years…

    Feltham is now VERY important – “real votes not polls” and all that !

    ***

    “BRITAIN’S Conservatives have overtaken the Labour opposition as the most popular party in the wake of Prime Minister David Cameron’s veto of a new European Union treaty, the latest Reuters/Ipsos MORI poll showed.

    The bounce in support for Cameron’s Conservatives is all the more remarkable given Britons’ increasing pessimism over the economy, with only 12 per cent expecting it to improve in the next year, the lowest figure since the credit crunch began to bite in September 2008.

    Support for the Conservatives rose by seven percentage points to 41 per cent, while backing for centre-left Labour slipped two points to 39 per cent. It is the first time this year that the Conservatives had been ahead in the poll.

    The poll could worry Labour leader Ed Miliband whose party is defending a parliamentary seat in a by-election in a West London suburban constituency on Thursday.

    The Liberal Democrats, the junior partners in the Conservative-led coalition which took power in May 2010, were on 11 per cent, down one point and less than half what they polled in the last election 18 months ago.

    Ipsos MORI polled around 1,000 Britons on December 10-12, after Cameron’s historic use of his veto last week prevented the EU from pushing ahead with a new treaty to tackle the eurozone crisis.”

  44. I’m pleased that a British PM has finally stood up to the EU, but I suspect it might just have been because he would have had to have held a referendum if a new treaty was in prospect.

  45. Before retiring, and after evening class teaching.

    Labour’s policy on any topic is un known

    Her principles are un known

    They sneer at the name of the only man who won them elections in the modern era.

    And tories in 1983, 87, 92, 64 and 1959 do better in GE’s than they do in any period of mid term.

    They should find a man who can speak to middle england, can emote britishness and yet be internationalist as well. A man who is compassionate and also understands the angers of men who work hard and expects everyone else to.

    Ed is not that man. He said so himself, and smiled as he said it.

    Greater love hath no man than to slag off the man who raised him up

  46. Newsnight just quoted a Reuters Ipsos Mori poll putting the Tories ahead as well. I found this

    Con 41 +7
    Lab 39 -2
    LD 10 -1

    ATTAUK quite possibly = rather than Labour being soft its Cameron’s right flank- which (lets all be honest) he is very likely to disappoint over the coming months and years…

    Feltham is now VERY important – “real votes not polls” and all that !

    ***

    “BRITAIN’S Conservatives have overtaken the Labour opposition as the most popular party in the wake of Prime Minister David Cameron’s veto of a new European Union treaty, the latest Reuters/Ipsos MORI poll showed.

    Support for the Conservatives rose by seven percentage points to 41 per cent, while backing for centre-left Labour slipped two points to 39 per cent. It is the first time this year that the Conservatives had been ahead in the poll.

    The Liberal Democrats, the junior partners in the Conservative-led coalition which took power in May 2010, were on 11 per cent, down one point and less than half what they polled in the last election 18 months ago.

    Ipsos MORI polled around 1,000 Britons on December 10-12, after Cameron’s historic use of his veto last week prevented the EU from pushing ahead with a new treaty to tackle the eurozone crisis.”

  47. PETER BELL

    Don’t worry about me. I’m quite happy for you to be “Little Englanders”. :-)

  48. Newsnight just quoted a Reuters Ipsos Mori poll putting the Tories ahead as well. I found this

    Con 41 +7
    Lab 39 -2
    LD 10 -1

    ATTAUK quite possibly = rather than Labour being soft its Cameron’s right flank- which (lets all be honest) he is very likely to disappoint over the coming months and years…

    Feltham is now VERY important – “real votes not polls” and all that !

    ***

    Ipsos MORI polled around 1,000 Britons on December 10-12, after Cameron’s historic use of his veto last week prevented the EU from pushing ahead with a new treaty to tackle the eurozone crisis.”

  49. @Alec – “It hasn’t been agreed so it’s illegal.”

    h
    ttp://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/13/us-eu-treaty-enforcement-idUSTRE7BC18S20111213

    There were reports today that UK goverment lawers are coming round to the opinion that Article 273 does allow for “institutions” to be used.

    The individual states are consenting to enforcement, which would only happen if one member state decided to take an action against another?

  50. CHRISLANE1945

    “They should find a man who can speak to middle england, can emote britishness and yet be internationalist as well.”

    Perhaps the last of those was a woman who died around 61AD?

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