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. Meanwhile back on Planet Earth the ComRes guy just tweeted

    “ComRes/Independent: 37% of Tory voters think Govt should borrow more to stimulate growth”…

    So a Eurosceptic party in favour of Keynesian stimulus would walk a UK general election then :D

  2. Rob

    ” So a Eurosceptic party in favour of Keynesian stimulus would walk a UK general election then”

    That sounds like labour left or is it left labour?

  3. @statgeek (11.24)
    “Whatever else the polls tell us, the majority of the electorate are not pro-European.”

    Not surprising considering the rhetoric of most of the UK press. If a suitable set of questions could be formulated, it would be interesting to have a poll to determine to what extent the paper(s) determine a persons attitude to poltical events. I suspect the correlation between the papers perspective and the readers position on the subject would be very high

  4. Rob – yes, but 87% of them also thought the government shouldn’t borrow any more. Hence my deep love of questions asked as batteries of agree/disagree statements.

  5. @PETER BELL

    Many do not read the papers, but almost all watch, listen to, or get wind of the BBC. They are not part of the rhetoric to which you refer. Quite the opposite it seems.

  6. People polled on Cameron using the veto don’t understand what actually happened in Brussels. Cameron just walked away as he could not get a protocol to protect Londons financial centre. When people find out that the EU 27 members of this new fiscal arrangment will just make changes to move business away from London, reducing our GDP, they will learn the hard way. If you don’t negotiate properly and just take a stance to use a veto without thinking clearly, you are either cynical about the EU or just don’t understand consequences of actions. I don’t say this in a partisan way, but just that when polled, people are either automatically anti EU or don’t understand the issue they are asked about.

  7. @Peter Bell,

    “I suspect the correlation between the papers perspective and the readers position on the subject would be very high.”

    Probably true, but don’t forget the whole cause and effect thing. People often choose papers which support their political views too. A staunch Labour supporter, for instance, would be much more likely to be a Guardian reader than, say, a Daily Mail or Sun reader.

  8. AW- as I quoted from the episode script earlier- it is that West Wing adage again !

  9. PETER BELL

    ” it would be interesting to have a poll to determine to what extent the paper(s) determine a persons attitude to poltical events. I suspect the correlation between the papers perspective and the readers position on the subject would be very high”

    That rather reminds me of the numerous parents I interviewed when their kid had done something heinous. “It was their friends”, they would wail “s/he was led into this”. They happily ignored that their kid had made a concious decision to choose that set of friends.

    In the same way, you may wish to consider that your fictional reader doesn’t happen on a particular paper by chance, but makes a conscious decision to read the paper which simply reinforces their intrinsic political profile.

  10. @Oldnat,

    “In the same way, you may wish to consider that your fictional reader doesn’t happen on a particular paper by chance, but makes a conscious decision to read the paper which simply reinforces their intrinsic political profile.”

    Yes, I totally agree. Exactly my point above.

  11. AMBIVALENTSUPPORTER

    Yes. I was just more long winded than you! :-)

  12. Ah, chrislane1945, you know it did cross my mind today that we haven’t had a “Boo/Ed Miliband” post from you for a while (they were coming at the rate of one or two per day).

    “No, time for a novice”, and “…these two are not ready for government” were two phrases that echoed for me this week. But we can’t turn back the clock much as we might like to sometimes.

    The obsessional Brown war-gamed likely scenarios for days, working every last minute on the plane. Cameron gets sleep so that he is fresh… and now it is revealed preparation consists of chargiing the bladder to exactly the right pitch of tension… you cannot make this stuff up!

  13. @OldNat,

    “Yes. I was just more long winded than you! :-)”

    You explained it much better than I did. :-)

  14. @Robin,

    Remind me, who was it that signed us up to a treaty to extend QMV?

    Besides which, what “input from the UK” would there actually have been? France and Germany clearly didn’t want our input and any power we might have had to insist on having an input has already been negotiated away by allegedly less inept UK governments in the past.

    It’s a question of “I want green curtains, you want red curtains. If you don’t agree to green curtains I won’t let you help decide what shade of green. But actually, I’ve already put down a deposit on some green curtains I quite like”.

  15. Richard in Norway,

    I think Labour left Labour left behind long ago.

  16. Alec,

    I don’t think we were ever going to be leaders in Europe. You cannot be out of the eurozone and influential in Europe, as the last 12 years have proven. We’re a long way away from when a Prime Minister could claim to have won “Game, Set and Match” in Europe with a straight face.

    That said, I think that the UK can learn a lot from Sweden in many ways, and one is on how the Swedes quietly but efficiently neuter commands from Brussels.

  17. I do dislike this meme that “Europe isn’t a salient issue” to the British electorate when in actuality it is.

    The trouble with Europe is that it’s been going on for so long that it now has taken on a sort of form in voter’s consciousness that the project is ‘inevitable’ and so unresponsive it’s not worth bothering about.

    It’s lack of democracy is what contributes to it’s perceived lack of ‘saliency’ by Pollsters which is precisely the point at play. If more people were aware that it needn’t be inevitable and it could be stopped, then it would ignite greater passion & vitriol within the public at large and thus be reflected in polls.

    The Euro-federalists have killed the debate by making it seem impervious to public opinion & by sheer boredom.

  18. “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.”

    It’ll probably last as long as we keep saying No to Europe.

    “Europe is not generally a particular salient issue”

    It’s funny. Eurosceptics are always told “be quiet, Europe isn’t an issue voters care about. Look at the polls”. But the moment a party does something actually Eurosceptic, they get a 5% poll boost, despite some of the most one-sided BBC coverage I have seen on an issue for some time.

    Europe on its own may not be an issue. But European policy has everything to do with tax, the economy etc, all the stuff voters do say they care about, and I think that’s what’s being shown here.

  19. On the contrary, I think the EU is a very salient topic for UK voters. It’s just that the opportunity to voice an opinion on the issue rarely materialises. The electorate are told prior to elections that sovereignty will not be further transferred without a referendum, promises that are reneged upon by all the parties as soon as they assume power. Because people have continued to vote for the 3 main parties (although this pattern is changing), the political elite arrogantly assume they will always get away with it.

    As for the UK press being against the EU, I must have missed that one. The BBC gets the highest viewing figures and their response to the veto has been so blatantly biased that they have received huge numbers of complaints. The fact that pro-EU propaganda doesn’t sway the public simply shows that the benefits to EU membership are not convincing enough to the UK population.

    Besides, this is not a UK phenomenon. Anti-EU sentiment is evident in polls across EU nation states whose populations have repeatedly rejected power centralisation to the EU, only to be ignored.

    Finally, while some seek to frame it so, the EU is not a left versus right issue. High numbers of Lib Dem and Labour voters are also against transferring more sovereignty, so all round it is not a great vote winner.

  20. it was certainly a mistake for Milliband to throw his weight behind Merkel & co. Mind you he supported the public sector strikers as well. He seems determined to put voters off.

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