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. MikeMS

    “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.”

    Replace the words “conservatives” with “labour” and there you have Labour’s reaction to Cameron having dinner with legitimate party donors.

    It’s quite interesting how “Dinnergate” has almost entirely disappeared from the Guardian and BBC websites, almost as if it never really mattered.

  2. UKPR glitch alert:

    Clicking on YouGov (Poll Graphs) leads to a “YouGov – Brown would beat Davis or Clarke” thread from 2005.

    Is it just me?

  3. Very interesting. There can be little doubt that Labour have moved into a clear lead in all but ICM polls now. Whether this makes Boris Johnson’s task harder remains to be seen, though; it’s only London, but there will be a lot of publicity about that election.

  4. @KEN
    “LIZH………..Ecstatic, the strategy is working.”

    Tell your leader to keep reminding us what the Tories are like and Labour might even reach the dizzy heights of a lead of 15%-20% }:->

  5. Alec,

    As ever, your modus operandi is to patronise anyone’s views that are not your own.

    The Tories are willing to agree a cap on funding – the principle is accepted, the amount is in discussion, and there would be a significant reduction in Tory funding, whatever the cap. And I state that as a fact only, rather than a political point.

    So if, as you suggest, the Union funding of Labour is simply an altruistic gesture by “millions of working people voting to allow a small proportion of their working fees to go to a political party” then why is the LP squarely against introducing the opt-in rule? It would suggest that there must be something considerable to lose if it was enacted. As you well know……….

  6. Tomorrow`s Sun headlines are not looking good for the chancellor…This could get ugly soon

  7. yes I did see the suggestions to avoid VAT by waiting for the food to go cold. Faintly amusing that a tax could thus be so easily avoided. I wonder what the minimum temperature is?

    `I wonder what the minimum temperature is?`

    It depends on the room temperature

  9. Barnaby,

    The budget must, surely, have made things harder for Boris. What was looking like a comfortable win is now back in the mixer. Not sure George is Boris’s best buddy right now.

  10. Why would anyone with any idea about good food, eat a pasty anyway ? :-)

  11. Smukesh,

    Could it be that Murdoch has anointed Ed as his winner already? That would make things interesting.

  12. SERGIO
    `That would make things interesting.`

    Makes you wonder,doesn`t it?You may disagree but IMO, someone greatly dependent on PR cannot win without News International support.

  13. KEN
    The Tories are struggling enough.
    Are you trying to lose the Cornish vote?

  14. Smukesh

    Not only do I agree but I would say that it is impossible for anyone to win an election without Murdoch’s support. Hasn’t been done yet, after all.

  15. SERGIO
    `Hasn’t been done yet, after all.`

    Gotta watch this space I think

  16. The problem for the Conservatives was that they put all their eggs in one electoral basket – the better-off over-60s. Of course you’re always going to do something in the end to anger any group and something like the “granny tax” was bound to happen – even though the actual change is quite modest and sensible if truth be told.

    What makes it particularly bad for the Tories is that this group is highly beloved of the Press – mainly because they’re the group that still buys daily papers. Also because they haven’t been demonised by the Media in the same way as other vulnerable groups (no stories about ‘bogus’ OAPs who are really all 35) the public still think highly of them too.

    Boris however should worry less because London actually has a much lower proportion of the over-60s than any other region.

  17. Stockport and Ken,

    The Cornish are bemused by all this pasty VAT nonsense anyway. They get exiled to Devon If they are caught eating a pasty that’s warm.

  18. For those of us that don’t get all partisan on each poll. ;)

    Just highlighting thtat seventeen of the thirty one samples (parties across six regions) are outliers, based on my 60-poll median absolute deviation method. To be frank, one would expect a shift in VI to appear as an outlier, so while normally I might suggest caution, I’m more inclined to simply wait and see how the next half a dozen polls turn out.

    Additionally, I plan to change to a 30-poll MAD method, as sixty polls takes us back twelve weeks, and if a week is a long time in politics, three months is an eternity. Thirty polls will equate to around six weeks, which is far more appropriate. One wants to have as many samples as possible, but there needs to be a balance between sample quantity and quality (thanks to the poster who first made this point; I forget your name).

    Also highlighting the sample sizes to the averages. These are generally not too important, but I noted that London’s sample is 15% lower than average.

  19. Ithink the fact that the press has turned against the tories is more significant than any poll results, or indeed any single event like teh budget and the Crudas scandal..

    This would not happen unless the papers had detected a shift in the wind direction, and their antennae are a lot more sensitive than any polls

    Given that even with a generally favourable press, the tories have not managed a sustained lead, I think their future with a hostile press is likely to be pretty grim. In due course, the polls will no doubt reflect this..

  20. @SMukesh – “… someone greatly dependent on PR cannot win without News International support.”

    It seems that The Sun, Telegraph and Daily Mail are dialing up the heat on Cameron and Osborne. I am yet to be convinced that there is anything in this for Ed – though if by any chance the Tories do end up with a more avowedly Thatcherite/UKIP leader before the next election it could help him.

    In other Chipping Norton set developements: Elizabeth Murdoch is reported to have had a reconciliation with Rebekah Brooks following the spectacular falling out last Summer.

  21. How many times can the Tories boost their VI? Four times in the last year, they’ve had a boost from one thing or another, the ‘veto’ being the event with the strongest effect, but on every occasion the benefit has eventually dissipated and they drop back to 35-36.

    From the outside, this looks like bursts of hope from the Tory-inclined, followed by dissapointment and a steady drift away again. That can’t go on forever. At some point no amount of headline-catching initiatives will be enough to draw people into the fold, even temporarily You can only disappont people so many times before they give up on you permanently.

    And if in the meantime you also thoroughly p*** off sections of your core support…

  22. The subject of VAT and takeaway food is one of those rare topics that combine pedantry and populism and so an endless source of argument. I’m sure I can remember similar problems in the distant past when VAT was introduced and distinguishing between take-away food and food is a minefield and I think an attempt then to make hot=VAT failed.

    I assume this ‘new’ tax was introduced in reaction to the ruling about a year ago from the ECJ in relation to the case of Manfred Bog and others[1] where ‘minimal preparation of food’ was considered to not amount to supplying a service. I suppose they’re scared of retrospective claims as well.

    But the effect is of an attack on the sort of people who eat at Greigs from the sort of people who eat at the Ivy and plays all too well into the current anti-Tory narrative.

    [1] I am not making this up.

  23. Well- they are probably very worried in Dave’s private office at the moment. Having had a long honeymoon with the electorate (post becoming PM rather than when he ascended to the leadership)- when he appeared a natural as PM- Cameron really seems to have lost his magic in the last 2 months.

    FWIW my immediate and long term (historical methodology) causes of the Labour poll bounce are:

    *LONG TERM*:

    ** Cameron = the electorate never liked him before May 2010 and the Private Eye ‘Lord Snooty’ moniker had some traction. But after entering No. 10 he was a great contrast to Brown- dare I say it (for fear of unleashing the wrath of the ‘cult of Ed’ peeps on here) because he reminded most nonaligned voters of Blair- and appeared a personable charismatic natural PM. But he has gradually begun to grate with the ‘person on the Clapham omnibus’ and really seems to have lost his powers in the last two months.

    ** Summit Walk out/ the-veto-that-was-never-a-veto = it has become gradually obvious (to those who did not call it for what it was at the time) that the summit walk out was almost entirely theatrical and designed to head of the Eurosceptic majority in the PCP from flexing their muscles and damaging Cameron before the all-important xmas TV image period. The Conservatives have not only leaked some support back to UKIP on this but to other parties as it has become transparent that the non-veto has melted into air and it was all rather manipulative smoke and mirrors. People- generally- don’t like to believe that they were purposely misled. But they/ we all were.

    ** Electoral longevity = it is becoming less and less viable to place front and centre in your governing strategy the notion ‘it’s all the last governments fault’. The power of that propaganda device was always going to limit itself automatically over time and as we approach the 2 year mark it has started to eat into the Conservative party. The state of the country is increasingly being seen as a Conservative ‘gripped’ (to use one of Dave’s favourite words)/ caused situation

    ** Coalitionism = the novelty to the electorate (which gave ATTAD a major boost in the first 6 months especially but has had a residual impact ever since) of coalition politics has begun to wear off with an accelerating pace in the last 6 months. It has also worn out for the party members (on both sides) and increasingly worn off for the back benchers on both sides. That is only going to get worse and worse and it has already manifested itself to the electorate in recent months as an unhealthy image.


    ** Budget = really this should be a series of separate short term causes: so badly thought out, presented and considered was it. A real corker of a lemon. So take your pick:

    -Greggs Pie and pasty gate;
    -40k tax cut to millionaires gate;
    -Unspecified but pencilled in MASSIVE expenditure cuts punted to long grass of 2016-2018 gate
    -Granny tax gate.

    It’s shaping up to be one of the worst received budgets (in both electoral politics and economic management terms) for decades. That is a major achievement from Osborne the so called ‘political wunderkind’. I wonder if ‘the green benches’ is still in awe of him !

    ** Horsegate- no need to say anything else

    ** Donorgate- Cameron’s very own Bernie Ecclestone moment- oh the irony!! Blues on here will at their peril underestimate this ‘event’

    IMHO these short term and long term causes give us the 6-10 point lead across all posters we have arrived at for the moment.

    But several of these causes will weaken/ ebb-and-flow in their power to impact VI over the coming months and some will gradually fade into the background/ be addressed by Cameron. Labour still do not have policies in important areas (all the most crucial ones have a Blank EdM slate STILL) and EdM still does not convince the electorate- and that is something that is still going to need to be addressed (one-way-or-the-other…) by early 2014

    I am going to enjoy these Labours leads because they won’t last.

    Sometime between next Month and Conference season we will be back to leads of 2-5 points with the occasional events-induced Tory lead. Everything (especially with EdMs personals where they consistently are) suggests we are in hung parliament territory for the next election.

    There are short and long term issues at play for EdM and the Labour leadership as well: red posters on here would be wise to keep that in their mind whilst they buy another treble!

  24. There are definitely signs that this is more than a continuation of a medium term trend towards Labour. The Conservative vote is on 33%, when it’s only been that low, with Yougov, one other time during this parliament. Also a (uniquely?) low 2010 voter retention of 79% and approval of -35%, it’s dire reading all round for the Conservatives.

  25. People seem to forget that older people are more reliant upon the NHS and need more heating in their homes. They also want well funded policing so that they can feel safe. They also receive terrible interest rates on their savings.

    They are also seeing grandchildren hit by a lack of job opportunities and high tuition fees.

    The cumulative effect of the NHS bill + Granny Tax + Police cuts + high fuel bills + low interest rates = loss of OAP Tory voters.

    Don’t forget that Labour introduced the winter fuel allowance and free OAP bus travel. Cuts to those will push more OAPs away from the Tories.

    The Tory vote is dying, quite literally. Therefore, the Tories will be finished within 20 years.

  26. So, ATTAD, that has been a while, welcome for some of us. Cameron must be worried the knives will be out. The realisation of the NHS, budgets, Cameron’s tea parties, anyone’s guess, but this is still mid term. What Iam pondring is how the LibDems are going respond.

  27. The Conservatives have got themselves out of bigger holes than this. It’s mid-term blues.
    People will remember that the last Labour government’s mismanagement of the economy is the reason the current government is having to enact these unpopular policies. And elderly people have done well out of budgets in recent years. As soon as its their round everyone is making a song and dance about it.

  28. One thing that worries me about the near-partisan comments is that both sides are so convinced by their own hype that they think that ‘keep calm and carry on’ is the best course of action – this goes for Tory, Labour and LibDem folk.

    Ignoring problems and hoping that they go away in 3 years time is probably the best way to lose an election.. I just hope that the party strategists aren’t of the same attitude.

  29. Good Morning All, on a bright day already.

    Thank you very much for a terrific analysis at the start of thie thread on the 10% lead.

    On the polling on the Pope, and people tending to think the Pope is a Catholic, very good. But in 1982 the polling became much more favourable to John Paul 11 during his visit.

  30. “Labour still do not have policies in important areas (all the most crucial ones have a Blank EdM slate STILL)”
    Hopefully this won’t sound too partisan (I am a tactical Labour supporter..), but I think the problem with Labour’s policy is that when they do finally announce them, they’re fiddling in the margins and there’s no ‘big idea’ policies.

    The LibDems had the anti-war, tuition fees and electoral reform voters – all big issues. But Ed is going for the ‘capping fare increases’ and ‘stop companies with rip-off fees’ vote, both of which could easily be adopted by the coalition.
    Until Labour come out with something more meaty than a vague ‘we’re for the squeezed middle’, they aren’t going to do any lasting damage to the Tories.

  31. Rob – nice analysis.

    Most of us on here believe that most of the DKs and Con-UKIP movers will come back to the Cons at a GE if not before.
    The significance, though, is that the Conservatives have to do things to bring them back which may make it more difficult to get the extra votes they need to get an OM.

    Re early GE – I can’t see the LDs pulling out but if they do surely it would be before the new boundaries and seat reductions which hurt their chances take place. Perhaps once they are in place the conservatives will make things harder for them to stay in trying to engineer and earlier GE; depends on how Ashcroft’s polls look perhaps?

    I can’t see the Cons wanting to contest a GE for 650 seats with current boundaries and will humour the LDs enough until the changes are in place.


    I agree fully with your analysis of ED M’s challenge: to have some coherent messages on policy direction.

    The Labour Party cannot just rely on the Conservative and Lib Democrat alliance to hand them power.

  33. Sergio,

    You started out by implying that there was something illegitimate about unions affiliating to the Labour party.

    When I asked you about it, you prefer to change the subject and assume that I am a Labour supporter, when I am not particularly.

    Why are you trolling people here? If you can’t support your arguments about the unions, don’t make them in the first place. What exactly is a) wrong with unions affiliating to a party and b) the similarity between millions of small individual contibutions and one contibutioin of millions and c) why you seem to favour the latter, but oppose the former?

  34. On the unions being affiliated…how come big business can give money (and sometimes overt support) to the Tories without taking a vote from the shareholders…and of course only if there is a 50% or more turnout as well as a majority should they deem the matter agreed.

  35. HoodedMan

    ‘So if, as you suggest, the Union funding of Labour is simply an altruistic gesture by “millions of working people voting to allow a small proportion of their working fees to go to a political party” then why is the LP squarely against introducing the opt-in rule?’

    why are you so keen to introduce it for unions? Surely, in a democracy, unions are independent organisations that should be able to set their own rules within the law. Members are able to opt out of the scheme and many do. So what is wrong with that? The fact that many don’t, but you think more would if they had to opt in?

    If you really are concerned about party funding, you would stop equating union contibutions to these corrupt and underhand donations from individuals.

    All parties should survive on small individualdonations. Why can’t the tories?

    As for a cap, again individual contibutions are confused with grouped individual donations. But there is a world of difference between the agglomerated contibutions of tens of thousands of people, and single donations of tens of thousands. Sadly, however, tories have decided that they don’t want to recognise these facts, in order to help their dishonest arguments.

  36. On union donations –
    Labour could be very, very clever about this – Labour could propose that unions, while free to offer advice on who to donate to, should require each union member to indicate which party their political fee should go to.
    That way, the argument can no longer be about ‘unions giving money to a single party’ but that unions would essentially act as a centralised collection point for a multi-party donation system.

    And while that may hurt Labour’s funding in the short-term (with union members giving to other parties), it would give them the moral footing to propose a relatively tiny cap on donations (let’s say £100/person).

    If, at that point, the Tory party refused, Labour could effectively play the ‘millions vs millionaires’ narrative.

    And from a totally partisan perspective, it would gut the Tory party of their funding – something that the Tories are trying to do by arguing that union donations are one block sum.

    This is one of those times when, strangely, the Labour party is the party of small-c conservatism[1]. Oppose change, rather than taking the changes and effectively turning them around.

    [1] Opposed to change – not some vague social conventionalist/economic capitalist viewpoint.

  37. “something that the Tories are trying to do by arguing that union donations are one block sum.”
    Should read “trying to do to Labour by arguing..’

  38. That’s a brilliant idea Tingedfringe.

    So every time the Government shafts a union and its members, they are less likely to tick that party’s box to donate.

    Might affect policy for the better (from the workers’ point of view).

  39. “That’s a brilliant idea Tingedfringe.”
    Agreed. Then limit business donations to £N per shareholder – same amount as Union members, and let them tick a box to indicate which party it should go to. – – – and of course they should be able to opt out. I am sure Ken would agree.

  40. For company donations there should be a rule that they come out of dividends. If a company isn’t making a profit for its shareholders then it is in no position to donate to political causes – its first duty is to its shareholders.

    Of course each shareholder should have the right to decide if part of their dividend can be used in this way, just as Union members do.

  41. Unions are democratic organisations.

    If right-wingers want to turn them into cash machines for the bosses’ party that option is actually open to them at the moment.

    They could use unions internal democracy to change party affiliation. Of course this is highly unlikely, and explains why those who want to destroy Labour’s funding use laws to regulate unions, rather than democratic arguments inside the unions.

    But what would be better is to recognise that union donations to Labour are very democratic and the sort of political funding all parties should be aiming at : small donations from individuals. If this happens to be organised by a union, or some other body, then fair enough.

    Limiting funding to 50,000 for individuals and unions would mean that 1 million rich individuals could each contibute 50,000, but a union with 1 million members contributing one pound each, would be restricted to 50,000. That’s obviously not fair, and it is equally obvioulsy why it is being proposed by the tories. It will stall agreement and allow the current excesses they enjoy to continue.

  42. What do the “undecideds” look like? Has there been a change there?

  43. @ Tinged

    Labour could be very, very clever about this – Labour could propose that unions, while free to offer advice on who to donate to, should require each union member to indicate which party their political fee should go to.
    The Unions can’t have members indicating which Party they want their political fee to go to because that isn’t how the political fund works. The money is collected to be used to forward the political aims of Union members – it isn’t collected on behalf of the Labour Party; i.e. it isn’t the Labour Party’s money unless & until the members vote:

    1. To be affiliated to the Labour Party; &/or
    2. The members’ elected representatives vote to donate some of the political fund to the Labour Party.

    So the Unions aren’t merely a conduit to the Labour Party & they could, if their members vote for it, affiliate themselves to some other political Party or cause. They could even vote to sponsor candidates representing the Union itself. I think Mark Serwotka, leader of the PCS (not affiliated to Labour), has mentioned the possibility of PCS doing this, if I’m not mistaken.

  44. @ MikeMS, Tinged

    If right-wingers want to turn them into cash machines for the bosses’ party that option is actually open to them at the moment.
    Beautifully put by MikeMS.

    The Unions are not ‘cash collectors’ for the political Parties. e.g. Unite are not going affiliate with & give money to the BNP, just because a couple of members are ticking that box!!!

  45. From what I can see no one has mentioned the possibility of a party of the NHS. It looks like there could be over 200 doctors willing to stand and apparently they are choosing their battle grounds wisely, so as not to return the Tories by default.

    These professionals will be listened to and taken seriously and if the Health and Social Care reforms bill stories prove to be true, by 2015 the Tories and the Lib Dems could be in a very vulnerable position. The emergence of dedicated doctor standing on a “save our NHS” ticket could well and truly scupper any chance the Tories even have of being the largest minority party, in fact if these candidates stand in the right seats it could help return a Labour government, which would be agreeable to the NHS candidates as labour are promising to repeal the act.

    I know its very early but I would be very interested in seeing some polling data on this.

  46. @ Nick P, Ozwald,

    That’s a brilliant idea Tingedfringe.
    Tinged has many brilliant ideas but (sorry, Tinged) this isn’t one of them. :-)

    Please see my earlier posts, the Unions are not going to become mere cash collectors for Parties which aren’t doing things to forward the cause of the majority of their members.

  47. Lucky the Tory Right haven’t got a leader

  48. KEN

    @”Why would anyone with any idea about good food, eat a pasty anyway ?”

    Well not from Greggs certainly.

    But in Oggy land-a proper one -from Philp’s, or Anne’s in Lizard village, or Warren’s -or my favourite Rowe’s-or even better, one made by my wife-no finer food can be had.

    But the English have never understood what a proper pasty is.


  49. @Amber
    Good morning. My remarks were tongue in cheek and I suspect Tinged was teasing union bashers also. The point being that ‘what’s good for the goose is good for the gander’. Those opposing unions’ political funding to Lab conveniently ignore the counter-arguments re business donations.

    Similar arguments could be made about subscriptions to various professional bodies – who lobby politicians and push the particular vested interests of their members. Cash for influence is ok so long as it’s your own team standing to gain.

  50. @Amber
    Good morning. My remarks were tongue in cheek. I suspect that Tinged was also teasing union bashers who do not apply the same logic to business donations or other ‘cash-for-influence’ scenarios.

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