No sooner I write comments about things appearing to settle into a pattern of Con & Lab neck and neck it is almost inevitable a poll will come along to contradict me. Such is life! Anyway, tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 37%, LAB 42%, LDEM 9% – the highest Labour lead YouGov have shown since before David Cameron’s veto in December.

Usual caveats about any poll showing unusual movements apply – sure, it could be a sign that the narrowing of the polls has passed and we are headed back to the Labour leads of 5 points or so that we got used to last autumn… or it could be normal sample error, and we’ll be back to neck-and-neck tomorrow. Right now we can’t tell.

117 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 37%, LAB 42%, LDEM 9%”

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  1. @ Lefty Lampton

    “Thereafter, Smith, then Blair led Labour to leads of 30-40% over the Tories. Helped by the self destruction of the Tories in a series of lurid sexual affairs and sordid financial fiddlings. By 94, you were more likely to find someone admitting to sexual relations with small mammals than admitting to being a Tory supporter. And the piling companies found that only 30-ish% of people said they had voted Tory in 92, when the Tories had polled 41%.”

    Was that an issue of people actually leaving the Tories or people just not wanting to admit they were Tories? I think there’s got to be a difference there.

    I think the biggest difference between a British Conservative and an American Conservative is that a British Conservative has a sense of embarassment and shame and also lives in a reality based world whereas his American counterpart does not.

  2. Pete B

    Absolutely – exemplified by the inability to deport an Arab rabble-rouser (Abu Cattarrhda or something) because Europe says we can’t. Why don’t we just deport him anyway? What’s it got to do with the Europeans? Signing up to that European court was a bad move by whichever government did it.

    It was that nasty commie Winston Churchill. Oh wouldn’t things have been easier if that nice Mr Hitler had won the war :P

    As far as Abu Qatada goes the reason why the European Court of Human Rights ruling applies is that we signed up for it, nearly sixty years ago, presumably because we believe human rights matter. And Abu Qatada happens to be a human being, even if not a very nice one. That’s the thing about rights. If they’re going to be genuine they have to apply to everyone, not just people you like. I even believe they apply to members of the Conservative Party (I know that’s stretching it a bit).

    Incidentally I’m always amazed by those who would not dream of breaching the rules of their local golf club, British Legion, Freemasons or whatever, even if they disagreed with them, think that international treaties are much less important. Though of course as I’m judging this attitude from newspaper columnists and internet commentators it’s possible that they have been expelled and banned from every organisation within a 30 mile radius and now have nothing left to do but rant on the internet and in the Daily Telegraph.

    As to this particular case Abu Qatada was given asylum (under a Conservative government as it happens) because he had been tortured in Jordan (not quite his native country – he was born in Bethlehem when it was part of there, but no one thinks of it as Jordan now). The ECHR said he should not be deported to there because the evidence against him was tainted by torture. If you think this doesn’t matter, I’ll torture you for a few days to get evidence of the plot between you, Colin and Roland to blow up the Olympics on the grounds they were flying flags other than British ones. Then we can put you all away for 30 years and Britain will be saved. :D

    The real mystery behind all this is why the police/ security services/Daily Mail have had Mr Filistini[1] all this time and yet failed to find anything to convict him with. Given that he’s been here since 1993 and he’s supposed to be such a terrible person, you’d think he had done something. Given how widely terrorism legislation is drawn up (they’ve just put away a couple of Germans for having documents on there computer that are easily obtained over the internet) it shows considerable ineptness on the part of all concerned. Or maybe they just wanted another bogeyman to scare the gullible.

    [1] This is s actual name, Abu Qatada is an honorific.

  3. @ Amber Star

    Remember that video I shared with you of that guy who was running for Congress? It was a few months back I think and it was of him announcing his run. I actually donated to him.

    Well, tonight he announced by email that he’s dropping out. :(

  4. The regional x-breaks look more credible in this poll than the one yesterday, except London is once again looking too high for Labour.

    That’s been the story for a while now, starting small but now showing an 11 point gap that even I don’t really believe! Is there some sort of genuine Ken effect? Here’s hoping there’s another poll specifically about the coming election fairly soon.

  5. @ Roger Mexico

    The real mystery behind all this is why the police/ security services/Daily Mail have had Mr Filistini[1] all this time and yet failed to find anything to convict him with.
    Have they tried torturing him? I’ve heard that’s an almost infallible interview technique. :twisted:

  6. Sorry, that ‘humour’ was on the dark side, even by my standards.

  7. @ SoCal

    Well that’s a shame. Politics can be a tough game but still… not good to start into it then just drop out.

  8. An update for those of you following the Republican Presidential Primary. I find it hilarious that three states are “voting” today yet none of these contests will produce any actual delegates. It’s basically a big waste of time and money.

    Rick Santorum is likely to have a big night and win at least two contests. He’s got some big early leads in Missouri and Minnesota. How sad for him that the biggest and most successful night of his campaign might not actually mean anything?

  9. There we go, MSNBC projects Santorum has won in Missouri. I don’t think they exit polled (would have been a waste of money) so it might be a long wait for results but I guess it’s mathematics at this point in Missouri.

  10. @ Amber Star

    “Well that’s a shame. Politics can be a tough game but still… not good to start into it then just drop out.”

    I agree with you that it’s a shame. I think there’s no point though to being in a race you know you can’t win and to risk splitting your own party and alienating potential allies. He doesn’t seem like the type of guy who would drop out on a mere whim given his past of running as an underdog.

    Of course it is still disappointing that he couldn’t gain the traction.

    Think I should ask for my $25 back? ;)

  11. @Pete B

    You said “…Signing up to that European court was a bad move by whichever government did it…”

    It’s hard enough keeping up with the EU stuff, so Council of Europe is off my field of expertise[1], but if the wiki dates are correct, it would have been either Attlee, Churchill, Eden or Macmillan.

    * h ttp://
    * h ttp://

    You said “…What’s it got to do with the Europeans?…”

    You do know the ECHR contains more than Europe? Russia, Ukraine, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey are members.

    And speaking seriously, do you think the British government should have the authority to do what it likes to anybody? It’s a defensible argument (and parliamentary sovereignty is founded on it), but the whole point about World War II[2] is that governments, if left unchecked, do absolutely disgusting things. So international courts and conventions were created to prevent this: to establish a line governments should not cross and admonish them when they do.

    If I understand the present case correctly (I might not), the problem revolves around the ECHR preventing evidence derived by torture being admitted, since such admittance legitimises torture retrospectively and the ECHR prohibits torture. If that is the case, the ECHR is 100% correct IMHO.

    I know it’s fashionable to blame “Europe” for everything[3], but if my understanding is correct, it seems that they are dead right on this.

    Regards, Martyn

    [1]: OK, “slightly-better-informed mediocrity” might be more accurate
    [2]: and WWI, and…well, every war ever
    [3]: Something has happened. Quick, let’s blame Europe… :-)

  12. Yay!! Minnesota Caucus just projected for Rick Santorum!! He’s winning by a huge margin and some of you will be very happy that it appears that Ron Paul may finish second. He’s currently 11% ahead of Romney. :)

  13. I think sensibly we would say this is an outlier and need to wait for a clear trend before saying anything substantive.

    What will be interesting though will be the reaction of the media. Surely if the BBC was as left wing as people say then a 5 point Labour lead on a one-off poll will be leading the news as the Tory lead did a few weeks back.

    Also, I am struggling to find the leading headlines in any of the newspapers akin to those seen after that other 5 point lead.

    Perhaps part of the issue for Labour (Miliband popularity) and LD (everything) is due to the clear Tory bias across the media (even with the assumption the BBC is neutral!!!). In fact the LD are better off as the Guardian is still supporting strongly (in editorials)

  14. @ Peter Cairns

    Oddly enough in Scotland it is the SNP who have benefitted most of any UK party from changes in voting since 2010.

    Nice as it is I am not sure why…Discuss?
    Novelty factor, protest votes, Tory ABL vote, constant media attention generated by the independence debate. i.e. A whole raft of reasons which have little to do with the SNP actually being better for Scotland than the Labour Party.

    When the novelty wears off &/or if the Tories ‘win’ the independence referendum, have a surge of confidence & begin voting for their own again, the SNP will find a large hole where their support used to be.

  15. Well this is big news. Santorum is projected to win Colorado!! That makes him 3 for 3!!! Wow! This Santorum Surge is truly incredible! I wonder if this has anything to do with events today in Reinhardtistan. That news would help drive the fundamentalists out to vote although turnout was reportedly dramatically down.

    It looks now too that Paul will beat Romney for second place in Minnesota and by at least a decisive 10% margin (so all you Lib Dem Paul worshippers can be happy). Romney will come in third in a state he won in 2008. Santorum won Missouri by 30% and won every single county there. Incredible.

    I just want to take this time to admonish myself once again for not making political bets. I knew Santorum was going to win Colorado. I predicted it. Every pundit predicted Romney in Colorado. I could have made a boatload of money on this.

  16. leftylampton

    Labour has a strong message to peddle that the LDs have been snake oil salesmen for two generations, and have now been smoked out. With some skillful positioning, I see no reason why Labour shouldn’t expect to at least replace the LDs as main challengers across large parts of the south.

    Hmm “Vote for us – you’re a bunch of gullible fools” doesn’t sound like the most attractive sales pitch to me. Labour needs to make sure that it deals with the Lib Dems in a “more in sorrow than in anger” way if it wants to attract and retain these ex-Lib Dems. It should also be doing its best to get the votes of existing Lib Dems in Lab/Con marginals.

    The latest YouGov shows 32% of their 2010 voters still being non-voters. That’s more that Labour is currently attracting at 29% and many of the latter will be tactical Lib Dems anyway, in seats hopeless for Labour. They may decide to choose the lesser of two evils again when voting time comes around. Labour needs to consider why these people didn’t vote for them last time and many are still reluctant to do so even under current circumstances. Despite conventional Westminster wisdom I suspect “Because Labour aren’t more like the Tories” may not be the answer.

  17. red lead at night, no Sun delight
    red lead in morning pollster’s warning

    Or summat like that.

    Anyway, 5% Lab lead …luvly jubbly

    It’ll last all of a day.

  18. @LeftyLampton

    “It’d be interesting to look at the polling figures for southern constituencies back in the 60s, when the Liberals were all but irrelevant. When Labour polled neck and neck with the Tories, how many seats did they win darn sarf back then?”

    I suppose the electoral high water marks for Labour in the post war era have been 1966 and 1997 (2001 was just a replay of 1997 with a much reduced turnout). In both the 66 and 97 elections, Labour did very well in large parts of the South of England, although significant parts remained immune to the Wilsonian and Blairite charms and stayed firmly Tory and Lib Dem redoubts. I don’t think that’s going to change however unpopular the Tories might be, especially if you assume that 1997 was about as bad as it’s ever going to get for them. They may even make inroads into South Western Lib Dem heartlands in 2015, because most of those seats remain more winnable for the Tories rather than Labour.

    We live in a political world with an increasingly regionalised electoral map where election winners are probably now determined by which party can most effectively break out of its heartlands and capture support in historically hostile political terrain. Maybe we should look to the outcome of the next election with this in mind. Are the Tories more likely to make progress in Scotland, the North of England and Wales than Labour are in the rural and suburban South and East? What is the more likely scenario? Or will that area of the country so beloved of the swingometer acolytes, the “Midlands Marginals”, determine who gets the keys to the famous door in Downing Street in May 2015?

  19. CrossBat,
    I agree re Midland marginals with London and the NWest the next crucial battlegrounds.
    Plus if SNP cross the tipping point Lab losses in Scotland may be a factor.

  20. Roger. Even an unreconstituted professional Yorkshireman like me wouldn’t propose using THAT as an election slogan. I agree about the more in sorrow approach. Something like, “We all thought the LDs were anti-Tory – well NOW we know”.

    On another topic, I’m bemused on a 4 yearly cycle by the American electoral system. Opposition challengers flat each other alive before being expected to take on the incumbent. No wonder that, what? only 2 incumbents have been beaten since the War. I remember a Time front cover from 84. Cartoon pic of Walter Mondale slumped against the ropes of a boxing ring, beaten to a bloody pulp. As a smooth, slick, relaxed and fit looking Reagan got into the ring, Mondale’s corner man shouted, “You’ve won Walter! Now the fight starts.”

  21. Seems to be talk in Argentina of a new Falklands war. Even more than Germany Argentina is the country English people love to hate.Simon Weston has just been on the news calling the Argentinian leader ‘ a troubled woman’.

  22. “Flay”

    And I meant to note that the two beaten incumbents both lost at times of severe recession.

  23. PPS

    Of course it was THREE losing incumbents. I forgot about Ford, although those circumstances were perhaps the most unusual in American history.

  24. Crossbat

    On reflection, you’re almost certainly right. Swathes of the South are, and are likely to remain as barren for Labour as the post-industrial North is for the Tories. I guess what I meant was that in the battleground seats, predominantly across the Midlands and in the southern cities, Labour has little excuse for allowing the LDs a look in. Even where Labour is starting off in 3rd place.

  25. NHS effect? Or too early?

  26. Although I do not hold out any hope of it happening, if DC put Abu Qatada on a plane to Jordan, it would be Veto MkII, politically.

    Quentin Letts writes this morning of the sullen silence in the ranks of LibDems yesterday , as TM was roasted by Con backbenchers & Labour alike.


    Good Morning from a very cold south coast in England.

    I welcome Mr Santorum’s victory in the three primaries.

    Although I would vote Obama every time, of course, being a JFK generation man, aged 8 when he died and being told by my Irish Father to kneel down when Cardinal Spellmann said the requiem mass,
    I am pleased that the voice of people who believe in old values is being expressed by an uptogether politican

  28. I think my favourite quote about the Falklands went something like this:

    “When the Argentinians return to Spain and hand back the land to the descendants of the indigenous people their ancestors massacred, the penguins can have the Falklands back from the British.”

    I suppose if the US wants to show solidarity, they can start by handing Texas and California back to Mexico.

  29. Chris N-S

    I suppose that means we’d had to take our antipodean convicts back?

    I suspect that all this talk from the Argies is bluster to gain support back home, no clue how things will pan out in the UN, do the Falkland Is. even have a say in the UN about what happens to them. What gets me is the hypocracy of the language the Argies are using, “militarising the south atlantic one one time”. They do realise the last time we did this it was to remove a hostile invading force from a self determining territory.

    Surely we have a right to assess the risks or military might face and deploy whatever ships we like wherever we like to mitigate these risks? Frankly in the face of the recent hostile language of the argies, one destroyer doesn’t seem enough!

  30. The 2010 vote recall is definately dodgy.

    It has figures of Con 34% (-2%) Lab 30% (+1) Lib 25% (+2%) Other 11% (+2%) .

    Figues in () is difference in actual 2010 vote.

    Good indicator that this is definately an outliner in my view.

  31. So in other words its actually showing something more like

    Con: 39%
    Lab: 41%
    Lib 8%

    So its yougov messing around rather than an unusual lead… Labour are 1-2% infront atm

  32. @Mike N
    ” red lead at night, no Sun delight
    red lead in morning pollster’s warning”

    Ho ho…. twitter ye not, best forgot.

  33. SoCalLiberal

    Missouri was an non-binding affair, what happens with Colorado and Mississippi? Are the delegates free to follow their own consciences (if anyone can actually discover the republican conscience it’d probably be second only to discovering the Higgs’ Boson) and completely ignore the vote and just “get in line” with whoever leads the contest at the convention? IF Santorum is still in the running are they obliged to pick him? split their vote in a proportional manner? Pick whoever is polling best vs Obama?

    I guess the real answer is “who the hell knows”

    For a meaningless vote, it’s probably one of the more important ones as nooone can ignore Santorum now, I guess it’ll be his turn to face the spotlight of examination and see whether his campaign wilts in the face of that. If anything, it’ll only serve to extend the contest which is good news for those who are enjoying this rollercoaster. The longer it goes on the more clear it is no candidate is suitable for the job.

  34. Alan – it depends on the state. Some state’s delegates are compelled to vote for the candidate they are pledged to, other states they are technically free to vote differently.

    In practice once people drop out of the race they release their delegates, allowing them to vote for another candidate. By the time of the convention the candidate is normally obvious, other people have dropped out of the race and the delegates are mostly free to vote for the remaining candidate.

    I’m not sure when the last proper brokered convention was.

  35. Looked it up. In the 1984 Democratic convention Mondale was marginally short of pledged delegates as he went into the convention, but in practice he easily won on the first ballot.

    In the 1976 Republican convention Ford and Reagan were both still in the race and very close in number of delegates, but again Ford won on the first ballot.

    The 1968 Democratic convention delegates there were all sorts of unpledged delegates as Robert Kennedy had been assassinated and Humphrey hadn’t run in states with primaries, but in the event Humphrey won easily on the first ballot.

    The last *real* brokered convention, where they needed multiple votes to select a candidate, waas the 1952 Democratic convention.

  36. Lefty,

    Morning. Looking forward to your “My Country, Right or Left”….

    And enjoyed the ‘less Goodwin, more Dibnah’ angle……

    Unfortunately it’s several years too late for Dibnah to contribute, but if you get it finished quickly enough I’m sure you can get forewords from Harold Bird and William Rees-Mogg before they depart…. :-)

  37. @ Roger Mexico

    The latest YouGov shows 32% of their 2010 voters still being non-voters. That’s more that Labour is currently attracting at 29%
    I think this YG poll shows 43% of 2010 LD voting Labour with just 31% voting LD& 24% don’t knows.

    Maybe in London they like Ken Livingstone ;-)

  38. leftylampton

    AS well as your three, you also forgot Johnson who pulled out of re-election during the campaign and Truman who decided not to stand again. Johnson certainly and Truman possibly did so because they knew they could not win.

    Set against the five who were re-elected (Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, Bush 2) and it’s not much of a pattern is it?

  39. Amber

    Wrong! The poll shows 32% non-voters made up of 24% ‘don’t know’ and 8% ‘will not vote’ – though the fact the latter voted last time indicates they could change their mind. The 43% you quote is of the remaining 68% of 2010 Lib Dems and 43% of 68% is 29%.

    And call that black humour? Pearl grey more like it :P

  40. @Joe

    Is it that dodgy? It looks like margin of error to me.

    I suspect Santorum’s going to continue to rally in conservative Christian areas, because he is the genuine conservative Christian socially conservative candidate. Newt Gingrich is just an utterly hypocritical bigot, who has no shame about his own hypocrisy. You vote for Santorum because you’re socially conservative, you vote for Gingrich because your a racist who likes to be flattered in your racism. That’s why he did well in South Carolina (my only knowledge of the history of the place is from Wikipedia, but really), and may do in other parts of the deep south.

    RE: the Labour squeeze in the South. I think the real villain of the piece is first past the post. Once a party establishes themselves as the main left contender they essentially squeeze all the votes from the other left parties via tactical voting. This process is then incredibly difficult to reverse. I think a by-election in Eastleigh would be interesting for that reason. Labour would have everything to gain and nothing to lose from stepping on the throttle in the event of a by-election. Unlike a general election, whether the winner is Lib Dem or Conservative, would make no difference to the Government. A substantial surge for Labour would be a fillip for Ed Miliband, would maybe shake the Lib Dems out of their complaceny, in the event of a wipeout, and hold out the prospect, however small, of an upset.

  41. @ Lee Tay

    The 2010 vote recall is definately dodgy.

    It has figures of Con 34% (-2%) Lab 30% (+1) Lib 25% (+2%) Other 11% (+2%) .

    Figues in () is difference in actual 2010 vote.
    I think your arithmetic may be dodgy – & your spelling definitely is :-) I get the YG 2010 vote to be okay, allowing for roundings.

  42. @ Roger Mexico

    Do me a favour, please. Check the YG 2010 vote (ref Lee Tay) & see if you agree that it’s okay. :-)

  43. @Lefty L

    I share your views about the US electoral system, although I remain fascinated, impressed and appalled by it in equal measure. That’s why I find SocalLiberal’s observations from the inside so endlessly interesting. Santorum’s resurgence in the latest round of primaries is interesting, coming just at the time that you thought Romney was gaining irresistible momentum. Romney still looks the frontrunner but Santorum’s success exposes the fractious internal politics still churning away inside the Republican party. As you say, whilst Gingrich, Santorum and Romney are taking great big chunks out of each other, Obama’s re-election team must be rubbing their hands with glee. Gingrich’s recent attack ads on Romney must have already written a dozen Obama campaign speeches should Romney, which still looks the most likely candidate, ultimately become the Republican Presidential candidate.

    In defence of the US system, although I think the four year electoral cycle is too short, forever condemning their politics to eternal campaigning, the primaries do harden the candidates and expose them to real democratic accountability. An intriguing question. Would Miliband have been elected Labour leader had he had to go through a similar process?

    I leave that thought hanging in the air!

  44. @ Roger Mexico

    And I think they won’t vote, so it is 43% :razz:

    Just kidding.

  45. Wonderful that in the great US of A politicians don’t have the qualms that we have become fettered with in our P.C. country about faith playing an important part in their lives and even their policies, such as the quoted article below. These values underpin the country’s stability and what makes them enduringly great and prosperous notwithstanding the recent and previous recessions. Of course (economically even if not socially) China is catching up but look how many people they have. The article also makes a nonsense of the scaremongering claims make before Obama’s election about him being a sinister Islamist underneath. Here goes:

    “At the National Prayer Breakfast last Thursday, US President Barack Obama spoke to politicians and ecclesiastics of how he sees faith and government working together. His words received a standing ovation from those attending. Mr Obama spoke of praying with Billy Graham, adding, “I have fallen on my knees with great regularity since that moment. I wake up each morning and say a brief prayer and I spend a little time in scripture and devotion.” At a later point he said, “Our goal should not be to declare our policies as biblical. It is God who is infallible, not us. Michelle reminds me of this often.” Some present spoke of the ease with which the President made his case for merging his faith and policy. Professor Stephen Schneck from Catholic University said, “Each time that I have listened to the President reflect on his Christian faith, I’m struck by the quiet poignancy of his words as he speaks from the heart … the way he spoke of his concern for the poor and marginalized, and the personal responsibility he felt to serve these ‘least among us’.” “

  46. Note to the Labour supporters ‘celebrating’ one good set of figures from YouGov whose one claim to fame is certainly not consistency – your problem is that Ed [Miliband] and the two Balls (Mr and Mrs) are so mistrusted by the electorate after denying everything they ever did in Government that they will never win an election. The only hope for Labour is a new leader and front-bench team who have no baggage to incumber them. It also needs bearing in mind 1) that the whole country south of Watford (apart from some areas of London) would vote for a blue monkey (and indeed do!)and 2) that people vote for Lib Dem MPs and councillors because they like them, not because they are necessarily Lib Dems. So Lib Dem MPs are harder to shift than you think no matter what polls say.

  47. Amber,

    FWIW Lefty and I agreed last night it’s a sample that favours Labour on the face of it (AW always assures that it is correctly weighted to party ID, but has referred to possible ‘normal sample error’ above )

    Leetay’s numbers look about right to me…..

    I’ve got a fiver that says Phil would agree as well….. :-)

  48. @Amberstar

    I will admit that I need to correct the figures slightly because I knocked off 10% instead off for don’t knows by mistake.

    The correct figures are Con 33% (-3%) Lab 29% (0) Lib 25% (2%) Other 12% (+1)

    There were 1651 people polled if you allow for the 8% that didn’t vote you have 1515 people left therefore the sums are:

    Con 505/1515 = 33.33%
    Lab 442/1515= 29.17%
    Lib 379/1515 = 25.01
    Other 189/1515 = 12.47%

    For the 2010 recall to be correct the figures should be around Con 530-535, Lab 430-435, Lib 345-350, Other 165-170

  49. @Amberstar

    I will admit that I need to correct the figures slightly because I knocked off 10% instead of 8% for don’t knows by mistake.

    The correct figures are Con 33% (-3%) Lab 29% (0) Lib 25% (2%) Other 12% (+1)

    There were 1651 people polled if you allow for the 8% that didn’t vote you have 1515 people left therefore the sums are:

    Con 505/1515 = 33.33%
    Lab 442/1515= 29.17%
    Lib 379/1515 = 25.01
    Other 189/1515 = 12.47%

    For the 2010 recall to be correct the figures should be around Con 530-535, Lab 430-435, Lib 345-350, Other 165-170

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