Following the ten point lead from ComRes yesterday tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 43%, LDEM 9%. This is the first time Labour have managed a double point lead from YouGov since March last year.

With any shift in the position in the polls it’s natural to look for an explanation, and there’s always a tendency to read what you want to see into the change. Far too often I see people in the comments here confidently ascribing any change in the polls to their own pet issue, or to what they’d most like the public to feel strongly about.

Right now we don’t really now what the cause is, though there are some obvious candidates. First we should consider the longer term trends – it’s always tempting to assume whatever has just happened explains movement, but remember there was already a trend towards Labour before the budget, be it the unwinding of the European “veto” effect, an improved performance by Ed Miliband or the increased prominence of the NHS as an issue.

Secondly there is are the issues in the budget, the two most unpopular being the 50p tax rate and the “granny tax”. Thirdly is the cash for access story that sprang up over the weekend. Fourthly there is the combined affect of all them, the culumulative image of a government in trouble you get when lots of bad news stories come all at once (take for example Labour’s “Black Wednesday” in April 2006 when they were hit with the foriegn prison scandal, John Prescott’s affair and Patricia Hewitt being heckled by nurses in a single day).

Right now we don’t really have enough evidence to judge by – you can’t ask people why they’ve changed their vote as most people are very poor at understanding or reporting their motivations. The best measure is proper tracking data on whether more people see the government as sleazy or corrupt, or close to the rich, or distant from pensioners than they did before. Hopefully that will come in time.

Personally my guess (and it’s not much more than a guess at this stage) is that the “granny tax” has done the most damage. Most people already saw the Conservatives as being more interested in the rich than people like themselves, and people have a low opinion on all the parties on issues of sleaze and favours for donors. In many ways these would only have confirmed and entrenched existing negative perceptions (the Pope does not suffer an anti-Catholic backlash when he talks about God, people tend to already see him as Catholic). However, in the past comparatively comfortable pensioners have been a bedrock of Conservative support – a tax hike specifically hitting a natural group of Conservative supporters who probably did see the Conservative party as one which looked out for people like them is liable to do damage… and lo and behold, in YouGov’s polls since the budget we’ve seen significantly lower Conservative leads in the over 60s break than we are used to (today the Conservatives have a six point lead amongst over 60s, better for them than yesterday, but before the budget double-point leads were the norm). That said there is never a single cause – I’m sure the other factors have made their own smaller contributions too.

592 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 33%, LAB 43%, LDEM 9%”

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  1. Yes some of the over 60’s who would have backed the Tories, appear to be flirting with UKIP.

  2. ATTAD alert!

  3. Bodes well for the local elections.

  4. Short term reaction to a tsunami of negative headlines, we’re getting rid of the bad news early, good strategy by G.O. 3 yrs to sort out the economy and get the voters back onside. Looking back through polling analysis, this isn’t new……, give it a couple of weeks, let the heat die down, and people will forget the mad March effect. :-)

  5. Not a surprise.The 60p stamp thing will not go down well
    with the over 60s, nor with business I would have thought.

  6. Thing is, it’s not a good idea to get rid of bad news when the local elections are coming. Dumping news when things like the Olympics are going on, or during the larger Jubilee set pieces, yes, but on an otherwise quiet month leading into a local election? That’s practically gifting Labour momentum.

  7. Pensions & Tax increase in importance as issues.

    Oldies flirting with UKIP.

    All recoverable .

  8. ¡Madre mía! A diez…

    That should teach me to be condescending towards Professor Curtice.

    And the Tories on 33%.

    The best thing about this for Tories is that we are so close to the Easter break. Then they have local elections,where,they may,fare badly, but they could more than offset and media flak by retaining (as wideley expected) the London mayoralty.

    (CAPTCHA “VC7F”, close to the initials of my team, Valencia Club de Fútbol)

  9. The Tories are leaving themselves a mountain to climb if they want an OM at the next election.

    In order of importance why they find themselves 7-10% behind I think it is the budget (granny tax, tax cuts for the rich), unemployment, petrol prices

    And no growth.

    And to a lesser extent the NHS, cash for access and horsegate.

  10. @Top Hat

    “Bodes well for the local elections.”

    My Con/Lab marginal will be interesting. Con held on by 0.3% last year. Mind you, 6 weeks is plenty of time for the other side to score an own goal. It’s the least popular on the day that counts.

  11. @ann miles

    “The 60p stamp thing will not go down well”

    It’s not the price hike that bothers me so much as the description ‘first class’ service.

  12. RAF

    London mayoral race is very close. Bad headlines for the Tories right before polling might be enough to swing it for Ken. That would certainly be a big fillip for Labour.

  13. In my opinion, it all is a storm in a teacup.
    Yes, definitely the Conservatives are losing some votes, because of this Cashgate, but the more they get hurt, the better they react. Cameron always gets complacent when everything is fine, when everything is normal: ed doing badly, conservatives comfortably at 3-5 points behind labour, nothing to worry about.
    Right now, the Conservatives are very clearly surrounded with negativity, hence the 2 10percent-Labour-leads in a row.
    I guess, the reaction of Cameron was not fully known, when this poll was taken, or was it?
    If I am right, we’ll have to wait ’till tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.

    Anyway, Cameron, in my humble opinion, seems to perform better when he is under pressure. That’s why I don’t think this will be an issue any longer than 1-2 weeks. Most people will have forgotten, if Cameron reacts properly, and transparently.

    As for the reactions on the so-called “Granny-Tax”:
    Some, mainly Labour people, seem to think hereby Miliband has sealed the deal, he has got the keys of Number 10 in his pocket. Let me tell you: Miliband has barely done anything, Osborne has made an presentational error. Remember, there will be three budgets (2013,2014,2015) left to restore the damage.
    Osborne will (probably) not make this mistake again.

  14. R Huckle.

    Two ways of reading this.

    1) In the broad sweep, it’s still business as usual. The Tories have pissed off half a million folk to the extent that they are (currently) prepared to say that they’d vote DK/UKIP. But they will probably go back to the Tories come Judgement Day.

    2) Aye, but. This is the way that Govt’s lose their core support. Not with a bang, but with a series of long, drawn out whimpers. GE15 was already looking like being a mighty close run thing. A few hundred thousand disillusioned erstwhile supporters who cast a protest vote or can’t be bothered to get down to the booth might yet make the difference.

  15. Not unexpected…The Telegraph is reporting that more planning concessions were made at the last minute to avoid more negative headlines today…Cameron is going to put away his strategy of being bold and daring for a while now unless it comes to the unions…Some political good will has undoubtedly been lost and the comfort blanket of a vulnerable Ed seems far away

  16. Of course it could be that when you boil it down, run it up the flagpole, put it on the back porch for the cat to lick, everyone has all of a sudden realised that Cameron is a slimy git!

  17. And by the way, I guess there will be some kind of positive boost for the incumbent government during the Jubilee and the Olympics. I dont think it’ll be significant, but quite probably there’ll be some kind of boost.

    This in reaction to some enthousiastic Labourites about the coming local elections.

  18. To be serious for a moment, Labour must be disappointed that they’re only on 43, last year they were regularly hitting 45, now, with all the events in their favour, I can only assume that it’s the Ed M effect.

  19. maxboere

    “Remember, there will be three budgets (2013,2014,2015) left to restore the damage.”

    Three budgets at the most.

  20. Bored so i thought I would comment…

    It’s obvious, the economy is tanking for most ordinary people whilst the 1% continue to do really really well – the budget just highlighted that!

  21. Maxboere,You say that Osborne will not make this mistake again.As he has been presented as some sort
    of tactical genius, one wonders why he made it in the
    first place!

  22. With both ComRes and YouGov now showing 10% Labour leads, I bet even ICM are down to only a 2% Tory lead now!

    The Bradford West by election on Thursday will be interesting when, for the first time this year, we will get the opportunity to see some real votes cast. It should be a safe Labour hold considering they won it in 2010 with a 3% swing and an increased majority, but they only won it by 3,000 in 2005 when it was a distant target seat (No 81) for the Tories in that General Election. Accordingly, it isn’t a complete Tory no-go area and it will be very interesting to see what happens to their vote in the light of their recent slide in the national opinion polls.

    After Bradford West, the caravan moves on to the local council elections some five weeks later. Cameron will hope Johnson hangs on in London because, if he doesn’t, there may well be blood on the carpet. Labour are gaining momentum at a very good time.

  23. well, the government have taken an absolute pounding, a relentless stream of problems, some one-off, some possibly not. GO is going to have to pull many rabbits out of the hat to wipe away the “Granny Tax” label.

    What is strange is that people have suddenly seem to have forgotten that this is a coalition government, yet only the Conservatives have taken any hit. LD’s seem to be keeping their heads down until the tumult subsides.

  24. I am certainly expecting losses in the locals, it’s normal for the incumbent to concede seats……….no news there. :-)

  25. @NickP

    Come on, of course you want Labour to get into Nr10
    Right? Okay, so just admit it.
    Of course, even you must know, that at a point when they are as unpopular as they are right know, that any sensible government will not, never, call an election.

    Of course the Liberals could prompt an election by withdrawing their support to the conservatives.
    But, at best they could get 15 percent, so no they wont.

    so, get real, there wont be an election anytime soon. As I said above, it’s much ado about nothing.

    If cameron reacts decisively most damage will be undone.

  26. @Ken;

    It’s not whether or not the Conservatives lose, it’s the scale of the losses.

  27. KEITHP
    ` yet only the Conservatives have taken any hit. LD’s seem to be keeping their heads down until the tumult subsides.`

    The Lib Dems showed that they are on the side of the working people by getting them a tax cut while it was clear that the Tories wanted the 50 p rate cut…So the Lib Dem strategy of differentiation worked to atleast keep their existing support

  28. Some polling companies have been putting Tory VI in the low-mid thirties for some considerable time… ICM and YouGov have generally had the Tories in the mid-high thirties.

    Whatever happens with Lab and LD VI, Tories can console themselves if they maintain the 2010 level – something will turn up to give them an OM in 2015.

    It could happen. But there is the unresolved question of how the coalition will come to an end.

    This has relevance for Cameron. He is a Conservative PM, but he is not the PM of a Conservative government.

    The transition to a post-coalition vision/direction for the party will be tricky, regardless of whether there is any disorderly fall-out from the coalition break-up.

  29. I hope all the Blues who were expecting Labour to lead by 10% by now are happy that their prediction has come true.

  30. keithp up until now its been the other way round with tories getting the credit for good things and libdems getting the blame. your point though is important as its a coalition not a tory government and tory supporters are forgetting that. the tories can’t just do what they want in government to win popularity as we get closer to an election because the libdems want the same thing for their party and voters.

  31. LIZH………..Ecstatic, the strategy is working. :-)

  32. KeithP: on LDs…

    They seem to have been hit by everything else recently, whilst the Conservatives benefited, you can only kick a man when he’s down so many times… They’re going to get punished at the locals, and I think the Conservative party won’t do spectacularly either (though not that badly – I think the Labour lead will have faded into around 5 points or so by then, so long as no other scandals erupt). Part of me is glad that the LDs get a little respite. Not much, I’ll grant, but there’s some sympathy there.

    The big issues before locals with be a resurgence of the NHS (risk registers), and the mayoral election (technically at the same time, but if polls show a Ken lead it’ll do damage).

  33. @Maxboer – “Osborne will (probably) not make this mistake again.”

    He got himself in a pickle today over pastys. Apparently you’ll be able to avoid paying VAT on them if you wait in the shop for them to cool a little, but because VAT will be on whether food is hotter than ‘ambient temperature’, a hot sausage roll in winter would be Vatable but might not be in summer.

    This is interesting, not for anything other than the way Osborne is being mocked. Something has changed and the media has awoken from it’s slumber. It took New Labour about 8 years and an ill judged/illegal* war [*delete as appropriate] for this to happen, and while not terminal, Cameron couldn’t win in 2010 and needs to keep all those voters plus add a few more.

    @Sergio – “…could you please confirm whether or not the Labour Party is funded to any significant extent by Unite?”

    The funding row is interesting, but most people see little comparison between a wealthy individual giving hundreds of thousands, or a company making a large donation without asking shareholders, and millions of working people voting to allow a small proportion of their working fees to go to a political party.

    You display a fundamental misconception over the mechanism behind union donations, which is why the recent report into party funding accepted that such donations were acceptable with certain safeguards.

  34. @ David

    I read snippets of this blog everyday after seeing how the land lies….and David, I have to say yours is the first post that has made me roll around the floor laughing out loud……..or as the youf would say… ROTFLOL!!!


  35. 33% – This is the lowest the Tories have been in a YG poll.

  36. @KeithP
    I’m not sure how much further the Liberals vote could go, realistically. At their nadir for Yougov, the rare 7 could be found, but that’s probably their absolute core vote.

  37. Alec

    “You display a fundamental misconception over the mechanism behind union donations, which is why the recent report into party funding accepted that such donations were acceptable with certain safeguards”

    So Labour are not funded by Unite. Thanks for clearing that up.

  38. @Paul

    A point very well made. There will come a time, even with a Clegg-led Lib Dem party, when their self interest will take over and they will want to increasingly differentiate themselves from their Conservative coalition partners. I suspect when we get within two years or so of the next General Election, circa 2013, this process will gather momentum and they will start to strike more overtly independent poses. This will be disruptive and could potentially destabilise the coalition, but they will probably want to distance themselves from what could be, by then, a re-toxified Tory Party.

    Could it be, therefore, that the happiest days for this coalition might well be behind them?

  39. @ann miles -“Osborne will not make this mistake again.”

    We had the Howe ’81 effort, now the Lawson ’88 style budget… we know he consulted all previous Tory chancellors (conscious of his perceived inexperience in economic matters), so who’s left?

    Major, Lamont – or perhaps cut to the chase and make Ken Clarke chancellor again. ;)

  40. the problem that i think labour will have at the general election is that not enough voters will see ed miliband as prime minister material and considering how successful the tv debates were last time it could prove important

  41. @MaxBoere

    The truth is none of us know what is going to happen. All we can currentky see from the polling is that the Tories are losing support overall, and also in a number of discrete policy areas.

    Are these loses large? Not yet. Are they recoverable? Certainly. But there is no law that says the Tories will or must recover losses. Or that Labour will.not find a way to break 43%. We simply do.not know.

  42. @ Ann Miles, Billy Bob,

    The 2012 budget will go down as a turning point in Osborne’s career. He got it badly wrong and one wonders whether the party will tolerate much more of him. DC is tarnished by association, although I don’t think he’s taken any direct hits yet.

  43. @Sergio

    In the Thatcher years, she came with a wheeze that she thought might bankrupt the Labour Party by starving them of union donations. The Trade Union Act of 1984 required trade unions to reballot their members on continuation of their political funds. All unions voted for retention.

    Damned annoying this democratic thing, isn’t it, especially when the vote doesn’t go the way you either want or expect!

  44. Billy Bob,A combination of arrogance and inexperience I
    would have thought.

  45. Crossbat,

    I’m a big fan of democracy – particularly the kind where everyone’s vote counts, unlike the system we enjoy in the UK.

  46. Sergio, Are you being deliberately obtuse?

    Unite is an affiliate to the Labour party. I believe both of its main amalgamated unions – TGWU and AUEW – were founders of the party, over a century ago. It pays membership fees for the number of members that pay the levy.

    Unite is a democratic organisation, which elects its leaders and produces policy through branch and conference decisions. It is legally obliged to hold regular ballots over whether it should have a political fund at all, but it is always backed by the members. Despite all this, for the usual reasons, conservatives insist on portraying all this as limitlessly evil and nefarious, as if some dreadful, barely understood, confidence trick was being played on the British people with the aim to Overthrow All Things Decent.

  47. James,the tv debates may not even happen.If they do
    remember that last time everyone thought that Cameron
    would win easily.EM is a good debater.PMQs have shown

  48. AMBER STAR……….Yep, a couple of times last March, Tories on 33, and Labour had an 11 point lead, 10/11 March 2011. A year is a long time in politics, 3yrs., a lifetime. :-)

    `PMQs have shown

    And that`s with Osborne by his side,feeding him gags…He
    got away with it in 2010,because he faced Brown

  50. labour will have a good chance of winning in 2015 i think but will ed will have a lot of work to do between now and then to convince people he would be a good prime minister

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