Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 36%, LAB 41%, LDEM 11%. A five point Labour lead is larger than we’ve seen of late from YouGov (the last time they showed a lead that large was early February which, in hindsight, looked like a blip). Normal caveats apply: sure, it could be a sign of Labour’s lead growing beyond the point or two that YouGov have been averaging at of late, alternatively it could just be normal sample error.

There was also a Harris poll in the Metro this morning with some extremely odd figures. In the newspaper they are quoted as CON 32%, LAB 23%, LDEM 12%. There is no indication if the balance is others, don’t knows, won’t votes or whatever. I think I’ll come back to this one when the tables appear on Harris’s website.

UPDATE: The tabs for the Harris poll are here. The rather bonkers voting intention figures were, in fact, not really voting intention figures at all, but answers to a question on what party people were “most inclined to support” (the low percentages were, as many people guessed, because it included 19% who said “No party”).


121 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 36%, LAB 41%, LDEM 11%”

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  1. @ALAN

    If you think of It as just a standard bell curve (1-9) with the middle third being the 4-6. Since the outliers form only 29% of the sample (14.5% each side) it’s quite reasonable.

  2. @Crossbat11
    “Is Harris the new Gold Standard of polls, I wonder?”
    @Phil
    ” the Con lead must be in the ball park of a far more plausible 11% to 13% then, rather than a paltry 9%”
    ———————————————–
    :-) :-)
    Yep, on the Harris/Metro figures it does seem that Mr Cameron can look forward to a healthy overall majority at next GE. And LibDems must be elated to have soared to the dizzy heights of 12%.

    http://www.harrisinteractive.com/vault/HI_UK_News_Metropoll_UK_05-03-12.pdf

  3. Actually it’s 11 of 23. Thought there was something amiss. So 48% of the sample are outliers.

    Now I see where you’re coming from. The outliers aren’t polling outliers Per se, but statistical outliers, using the Med Abs Dev method. It’s basically a way of arriving at a more robust estimate of what’s going on (especially in crossbreaks).

    The MAD is calculated by taking the all the differences between the polls and the median of said polls. Then the median of all the differences is obtained. Then any of the differences that’s larger than the new median is an outlier.

    It’s designed to be a little more picky and less likely to be influenced by outliers (the Std Dev of the sample is 5.4, which is higher than the average).

  4. Great Harris poll, the others 33% UKIP on their way!!

    Seem to remember Harris used to do polls for the Observer years ago, they weren’t that good then.

  5. Lizh

    @”The main person on that video is a doctor with over 30 years experience in the NHS.”

    According to TGB he is” MPU president” Dr Ron Singer.

    Presumably the gentleman who is President of the Unite affiliate Medical Practitioners’ Union ( salaied GP’s union ):-

    A flavour of Dr. Singer’s views is to be found here :-

    http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/main-content/-/article_display_list/11011987/do-salaried-gps-need-a-new-union

  6. I’ve updated the main post – the Harris figures weren’t answers to a proper voting intention question.

  7. There seems to be some discussion about the Lib Dems trading dropping the 50% tax band in exchange for a “mansion” tax.

    Personally I think the wealth tax is a good idea, and property based is the easiest way. Will this be a cue for the little old lady defence mentioned on these pages ofttimes?

  8. According to Anthony’s table, Harris haven’t done a proper VI poll since August 2010, so I think we may assume that they are a little rusty. Though it’s worth pointing out that at least one other pollster uses the ‘inclined’ question as a ‘squeeze’ filter.

    Presumably Harris are mainly using their omnibus polls for consumer polling, so you do wonder about how representative their panel and adjustments are, as they will have had few chances to calibrate their political results against other pollsters responses or elections.

    Amber – let’s just say I wouldn’t break out the champagne just yet. Especially as we haven’t really seen the movement that Labour need on support against the cuts yet (mind you a coherent policy on the cuts might help).

  9. @NICKP

    “Personally I think the wealth tax is a good idea, and property based is the easiest way.”

    Should the little old lady be funding those who drink their cash?

  10. nickp

    There seems to be some discussion about the Lib Dems trading dropping the 50% tax band in exchange for a “mansion” tax.

    I think they’d be mad if they did – getting rid of the 50% is unpopular and getting more so and the Lib Dems will get the blame if it goes. It will also play nicely into Miliband’s “squeezed middle” narrative.

    Although a mansion tax does have support and is a generally good idea, the whole area of property pricing, banding, local government finance, stamp duty etc is now such a mess, that adding another tax will just make things worse. Hopefully we’ll see closing of the stamp duty loopholes though – even Boris is agitating for this.

    The Lib Dems won’t get credit for the new tax from those not affected and will get blame from those that are. As a lot of those may be in their SW London strongholds, it looks particularly self-defeating.

  11. The one interesting thing about the Harris poll is that this “most inclined to support” figure might work as a measure for how solid the opinion polls support is.

    If that the case, this would be a reason for the Conservatives to be cheerful, because it implies that out of the 37% the Conservatives are averaging, 32% are inclined to support the conservatives, whilst only 23% of the 39% for Labour are inclined that way. This could mean that a good chunk of Labour vote is only coming from people who choose Labour when forced to make up their mind with the “If there was an election tomorrow …” question, which one would think would be easier for the Tories to chip away. (The Lib Dems can also take some comfort that what’s left of their support seem to be die-hard LD loyalists who won’t be budging.)

    There again, you could just as easily argue there’s too many variables to draw any meaningful conclusions at all.

  12. Thanks to the link to Harris, Anthony. The question on party “inclination” comes after 46 questions on the merits of Ed Miliband vs his brother. From this order, it looks almost as though the poll was designed to achieve a result. And if this is indeed an internet poll, as someone mentioned above, is it not unusual for such a poll that the share of Labour voters has been reduced by weighting rather than increased?

  13. I think the Harris poll is a load of highly ripe manure. However, is it actually likely that Harris (or any other polling organization) would set out to wilfully mislead ?

    We know the Guardian and Daily Mail are capable of almost any bloody nonsense to sell their “newspaper”, but these people are professionals within their tight knit industry. Is it really likely they intentionally rig results ?

  14. @Roger Mexico
    “…getting rid of the 50% is unpopular and getting more so and the Lib Dems will get the blame if it goes. It will also play nicely into Miliband’s “squeezed middle” narrative.”
    ____

    Unfortunately, relying on their opponents to score an own goal is just about the only way that Labour seem capable of getting on the scoresheet at the moment.

    Of the issues around higher rate taxation, a wealth tax seems highly popular as is the 50% income rate, but retention of child benefit for high earners is not. So which issue does Balls choose to focus on? The latter. Such a sense of priorities sends out all the wrong signals to potential supporters.

    Thankfully, given the impending elections this year, Obama and Hollande have better gauged the public mood in terms of the need to extend taxation at the top end, and will reap the benefits.

  15. Over 40 questions about Labour and the Milibands. Then they ask about voting intention. By that time, you would have lost the will to live, let alone thinking about voting Labour.

    What a waste time and I doubt anyone will include the Harris poll in a poll of polls.

    In London, Harris has a slang meaning. Rather apt !!

  16. Phil

    Of the issues around higher rate taxation, a wealth tax seems highly popular as is the 50% income rate, but retention of child benefit for high earners is not. So which issue does Balls choose to focus on? The latter. Such a sense of priorities sends out all the wrong signals to potential supporters.

    I agree with you on priorities, but I think there is probably room for political capital on child benefit too. As I’ve pointed out before, although the ‘headline’ is highly popular, when the realities of how it operates are pointed out, opinion reverses and says it is unfair.

    This is partly because of the way it is unrelated to household income, but also because many people don’t realise the level at which withdrawal would take place. I suspect there may also be political capital to made from the extra work for business and just the general incompetence of how it was done.

    There’s probably a more general point to make on polling here. Questions on benefits rarely seem to mention the actual amounts involved, even though I think there is evidence that most people may not be aware of them. It would be interesting to know if there was any evidence if including such figures without any other changes in the question affects the results.

  17. @Phil

    I really cannot understand the wish to further penalise the highest earners in our society who are also by and large the wealth creators. The top 1% already pay 28% of income tax and the top 5% pay 45%. Do you want them all to leave the UK?

  18. I note the Guardian is now shwoing the video of Lansley’s recent hospital visit.

    It is a disgrace that the BBC has failed to show this. This blackout of negative news for the government is nothing short of the kind of thing we rage about if it happens overseas.

  19. THE OTHER HOWARD

    `Do you want them all to leave the UK?`

    None of the parties are saying it is permanent,only till the economy improves…Remember `We are all in this together` and that includes millions who have had their pay frozen and had below inflation pay increases meaning paycuts defacto and millions are unemployed

  20. I wonder what people make of the `Made in Britain` pitch made by Ed Milliband…To me,it sounds like another shift to the left…I am not sure this is what Blair has been telling him

  21. Smukesh
    I confess to being unsure about EM’s buy Brit stance.

    Setting aside the practical issues, does Buy British appeal at a wider level to people? In a way is it also about how we joe public are at the mercy of multinationals? Is it also about using British workers, too?

    If it leads into discussion about quality of UK products, does this also mean that the government is failing to provide the necessary investment to address the issues that cause poorer quality? These could be inadequate education and training?

    And is there also potential to argue that some British companies that have gone overseas should relocate home to enjoy tax breaks?

    I’m open minded.

  22. @The Other Howard.
    That is indeed further evidence that income inequality in the UK has reached levels not seen for several generations. We will just have to differ on whether that is a matter of concern.

    @Smukesh
    “…millions who have had their pay frozen and had below inflation pay increases”

    As opposed to an elite who awarded themselves annual increases averaging 50% over the course of a year. How would we cope without them?

  23. `Do you want them all to leave the UK?`

    As long as they pay their (new) property taxes I don’t much care.

  24. MIKE N

    `And is there also potential to argue that some British companies that have gone overseas should relocate home to enjoy tax breaks?

    I’m open minded.`

    In a globalised world,we buy goods made in China ans sell services to the rest of the world…After all ,3 quarters of Britain`s economic output is Services related.Out multinational businesses will not like what he`s just said…Hard to tell the British public to buy British goods when they would be far more expensive to make here

    Also,Obama who started this has already established his centrist credentials while Ed is in danger of being branded Red again after his speech on predator/producers

  25. @Mike N.
    It’s largely a matter of attitude. In France, they don’t have a “buy French” law. They just choose to buy French.

    I am already instinctively following the “Buy British” principle, having just presented my Welsh (emigre) father in law with a “Wales” mug emblazoned with all the usual proud symbols of his Celtic heritage, on return from a weekend trip to the Principality. I know, because it says “Made in England” on the bottom (as he insisted on pointing out).

  26. Regarding the video lizh linked to, I can see why it isn’t getting much attention – It is because it isn’t particularly newsworthy.

    Everyone now knows by now that there is a large part of the population including the medical professions who are against the NHS changes, so yet another instance documenting it is not news.

    It’s a case of “Dog bites Man” isn’t news. Now if Landsley had responded or gotten angry (“Man bites Dog”) then that would have been news

  27. Smukesh
    “After all ,3 quarters of Britain`s economic output is Services related.”

    But here’s the thing…if we the UK want to restructure the economy so that more reliance and emphasis is palced on manufacturing how does one achieve that?

    And is the time right for a growth in protectionism?

    Maybe we the UK should be penalising imports thereby creating the incentive for more products to be made here?

    I realise this is a very complicated situation, but at least EM has had the courage to open a discussion.

  28. MIKE N

    `Maybe we the UK should be penalising imports thereby creating the incentive for more products to be made here?`

    This is a debate right at the heart of globalisation…And my feeling is this will not work till wages in the developing world start to rise at which point it will be easier and economical to shift production back to developed countries.

    I don`t have a problem with Ed trying to debate the issues…But he needs to reassure the centrist voters he isn`t shifting left while doing so…Also I understand the `Buy British` campaign in the 60`s din`t work and eventually led to Thatcher`s far-reaching reforms.

  29. I would be interested in AW`s views on the Harris poll…Seems to be a case of dogwhistling about Ed being rubbish and then ask someone which party they would vote for

    And Conservatives appear to be leading in all age groups apart from the 25-34 and in all regions except North-East,Wales and Scotland

    Landslide???A Tory clean sweep of the 2015 elections on the cards

  30. MIKE N
    `It is a disgrace that the BBC has failed to show this. This blackout of negative news for the government is nothing short of the kind of thing we rage about if it happens overseas.

    You might be comforted that the video is on SkyNews at the moment…However knowing that the GP was not Royal Free staff and not part of a spontaneous reaction,I feel the BBC may be justified in not angering the government by displaying it.

  31. Well the Beeb has not been backward in coming forward about Vinces leaked criticisms

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17275884

  32. Phil – the direction of weighting on an internet poll is irrelevant, all it shows is what proportion of emails the pollster sent out in relation to their targets, so weighted Labour down just shows they recruited too many Labour people to start with.

    Smukesh – I expect what happened is that the question was asked solely to provide a cross-break, so they could say what Conservatives thought of Ed, or what Labour people thought of Ed. The newspaper has misinterpreted it as voting intention.

  33. Smukesh

    “…till wages in the developing world start to rise at which point it will be easier and economical to shift production back to developed countries.”
    Or perhaps the cost of transport (or import duties) make production overseas less competiive?

  34. Smukesh,
    You may be right about the BBC being justified not showing the clip and I tend towards Mr Weebels view that it is not big news, the kind of thing that might feature on a slow news day.
    But not airing because it is not a piece worth angering the Government over would be wrong; this should never be part of the consideration.
    Did you really mean that the way it appears?

  35. @ Smukesh

    “I wonder what people make of the `Made in Britain` pitch made by Ed Milliband…To me,it sounds like another shift to the left…I am not sure this is what Blair has been telling him”

    I don’t see what’s so wrong with it (I’m not even sure it’s something that’s that much of a leftward shift….I mean if it is, I’ll be glad to take it….much like I’m glad to take support for contraception as a leftist issue).

    I think where people miss the point with industrial manufacturing (at least in the U.S., Europe may be different) is that who owns the company is really irrelevant. What we know is that we like and we want manufacturing jobs and those types of jobs often can be placed anywhere in the world. Too often, there is a focus on the ownership of the company and a concern for keeping the ownership in the national name when really the concern needs to be on keeping the jobs on national soil. So “made in Britain” can include products from companies all over the world even if those companies are not British.

  36. Peston’s leak of the VC letter will cause ructions.

    Apart from VC’s ideas on splitting up RBS, he appears to criticise industrial policy -which is his own responsibility.

    Extraordinary.

    Why doesn’t he just resign ?

  37. @ Smukesh

    I’ll tell you something else. I’m fine with tax breaks to companies who relocate their jobs home. But I also advocate rewarding those who invest in those companies, whether they’re shareholders or regular lenders. None of these companies can start up or expand without outside capital. Those outside capitalists are taking a risk. If they’re willing to take a risk on something that produces manufacturing jobs (and in my U.S. proposal, I include other kinds of jobs….pharmaceutical research jobs, technology jobs, media jobs), they should be given extra reward for success (and I also think they should be allowed to write up their losses to a certain limit).

  38. @SMukesh – “… dogwhistling about Ed being rubbish”

    Strange poll.

    In 2007, when Cameron was least popular of the three party leaders, did pollsters regularly devote so much time to a ratings battle between him and Davis? Or in 2009, did they reheat the Clegg/Huhne rivalry?

    Both Labour and Tory leaderships are reported to be setting a lot of store by the psychological fallout of victory/defeat for their party in the mayoral election.
    Now we see a “bonkers” nationwide poll published (for lack of anything better) in a London only freesheet.

  39. This far out from an election any, ‘tittle tattle’ will cause blips and mood changes, I certainly wouldn’t put a penny on the 2015 election result at the moment, but what I would suggest is, that people bear in mind that ultimately, the government controls the narrative, the strategy it employs and the risks it is prepared to take will dictate the result……….it all comes down to integrity, is it prepared to, ‘buy’ a result. or will it stick to its’ guns………only time will tell, but I’m looking forward to a roller-coaster ride. :-)

  40. Squeaky bum time in the markets today as the, ‘haircut’ appointment for the Greek private creditors approached, this type of tonsure doesn’t result in a spring in the step and a happy smile, more of a Sweeney Todd induced grimace as the pudding basin is placed. :-) The markets are down !! :-(

  41. @Anthony Wells (re Harris)
    “weighted Labour down just shows they recruited too many Labour people to start with”

    We don’t know that for sure because they didn’t ask about 2010 voting to start with. I remain puzzled at the impact of the weighting because Harris downweighted significantly the AB social group and upweighted the C2 and DE groups, yet ended up with fewer Labour “inclined” supporters than they started with.

  42. Here are the widest leads in EU VI polls:
    ROMANIA 41
    USL (Soc.+Lib. Alliance) 59, PDL (center-right, incumbent) 18. Next GE: June 2012
    SLOVAKIA 30
    SMER (Soc.Dem, opp) 40, KDH (Chr. Dem, junior partner gvt) 10. Next GE: in 4 days.
    SPAIN 22
    PP (center-rightt, inc.) 46, PSOE (Soc. Opp.) 24. Next GE: 2015
    And the narrowest leads:
    NETHERLANDS: Tie
    VVD (Lib., inc.) 20, SP (Far Left, junior opp.) 20
    AUSTRIA 3
    SPOE (Soc.Dem, senior partn,) 29, OEVP (center-right, junior partner) 26. Next GE: 2013
    SWEDEN 4
    M (center-right, inc.) 33, S (Soc.Dem, opp.) 29. Next GE: 2014

  43. @AW – “proportion of emails the pollster sent out… they recruited too many Labour people to start with.

    Would the proportion of people who bail out of a poll (especially an internet poll) after answering the first few questions be a factor here?

    I’m presuming they would then be discounted from the poll, and wouldn’t get a “refused to answer” value for other questions. Is the proportion of “bail outs” actually significant/recorded (other than as a type of feedback for the pollster about survey design)?

  44. JIM JAM

    But not airing because it is not a piece worth angering the Government over would be wrong; this should never be part of the consideration.

    I agree with you but we all know that playing politics is a part of every organisation…And it would not be in the interest of the BBC to be seen as promoting resistance to the NHS reforms which are already facing headwinds

  45. MIKE
    SOCALIBERAL

    I understand that with tax cuts,some of the advantages of outsourcing can be neutralised but the wage bills are so considerably different in the developing world that I find it difficult to see this working at the present time

    I know Obama has talked about providing tax reliefs to American companies employing local people but am not sure whether he has gone ahead with this or not.
    When you are suggesting benefits for those who invest locally,what you suggest is a reversal of globalisation.I still think big shareholders are more likely to make big profits outsourcing and paying themselves big dividends from the profits rather than wait for small government sweeteners for investing locally.

  46. Was it the Metro which commissioned Harris to ask endless questions about Ed M v David M? Or did the Metro just report a poll which was commissioned by somebody else?

  47. @ Phil – I wonder when it will be safe to cartwheel?

    @ Roger – Thank you! Words of caution but not the stat equivalent of an ice-cube down my back. ;-)

  48. @ SoCaL

    You didn’t say which poll had you almost flipping cartwheels! A good one for the President?
    8-)

  49. “I wonder what people make of the `Made in Britain` pitch made by Ed Milliband…To me,it sounds like another shift to the left”
    Not sure it is a shift to the left – if Cameron had given a speech urging people to buy British, people would say it was a shift to the right.
    I think Labour are trying to copy Cameron’s veto popularity – make nationalist noises but not have any policy which is actually going to change anything.

  50. ANTHONY WELLS

    ` The newspaper has misinterpreted it as voting intention.`

    Thanks…Don`t we all know that Ed is rubbish already…I agree with others that it has appeared only in London at a convenient time when the mayoral polls are close and that seems ideal to influence a lot of people reading their free morning paper on the tube

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