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. Beeb24 says economy shrank by 0.3% in final quarter of 2011

  2. Another nice lead looks lovely here in the red corner.

    I take everyone’s points about the perfect storm of a poor budget, bad headlines, fuel duty strike worries, suppergate, horsegate, etc. But there’s something else that strikes me about all this.

    The slippage and clumsiness in Con presentation has been noticeable since Steve Hilton left No10. He could be relied on for distracting (and sometimes plain weird) blue skies thinking that, whatever one thought of it, created a) a semblance of intellectual coherence and energy outside of the usual Con thinking and b) sustained the idea that DC was not the usual kind of Con leader. Ever since he left, there has been nothing to counteract the growing sense of ‘same old Tories’, and little way of reaching out to those hundreds of thousands of voters Con will need to add to their 2010 score. Con numbers are shrinking – even if many voters are going to minor parties – but still … the glass ceiling above which Con cannot go seems to be lowering by the day. Could it be that the Con strategic brain was not GO but SH all along?

    And even if Con voters are going UKIP and not so much to Lab, I’ll still take 43% and a ten point lead. :)

  3. COLIN……….I thought the idea was to improve the nations health by addressing obesity, Greggs pasties don’t help that cause. However, a bruschetta soaked with extra virgin olive oil, and topped with chopped tomato, basil, anchovy or sardine, quite rightly VAT free, makes a good healthy alternative to mass produced stodge. I take your point about good quality, locally produced pasties, cottage industry bakeries tend to produce healthy food……….lot’s of Conservative ladies shop in them. :-) :-)

  4. @AW – why am I in moderation? I haven’t used any forbidden buzzwords, inserted links to Graun, or flamed anything or anyone.

  5. I don’t normally comment but I wanted to say what an outstanding post by Anthony this is.
    I particularly like:
    “the Pope does not suffer an anti-Catholic backlash when he talks about God, people tend to already see him as Catholic”
    And the last sentence:
    “.. there is never a single cause..”
    OK. You can carry on discussing what the single cause could be now. ;-)

  6. George Osborne ” Let them eat cold pasties ”

    There is nothing worse than a cold pasty. Obviously he has not had one.

    I have a feeling that this is going to end up in the courts. It is a bit silly, if you are in a bakers and they insert a temperature probe, before telling you the price.

    As usual with this government, they have come up with a ‘half baked’ idea. !!!!

  7. KEN

    I wouldn’t feed the dog from Greggs-if I had one that is !

    Bruschetta I am sure is fine & healthy-but in West Penwith , or on The Lizard, it’s just more “up-country” poncy food.

    A proper pasty still means something down there-and long may it remain so.

  8. COLIN……….In a very manly, heterosexual way, I tend towards the poncy when it comes to food……..! :-)

  9. I think it is a mistake to ask about the granny tax OR the 50p rate.

    The perception is that the proceeds from the granny tax have paid for the cutting of the 50p rate. Granny pays for fat cat cream.

    That is what is toxic.

    What explains the size of the movement, in my opinion is an accumulation of isseus adding up to the feeling of ‘same old tories’. Anyone remember cash for questions? Has anything changed?

  10. @tark – ” …since Steve Hilton left No10.”

    Good point, I think it is about giving definition and a sense of purpose to the party leader/PM.

    The loss of Campbell (2003)/Hunter (2001) marked the end of the untouchable era for Blair.

    The “team” which sustained Brown for so long, had broken apart by the end of 2007.

    Cameron-Hilton-Coulson-Osborne, and the synergies of the Brooks/NI collaboration, have been replaced by the centripetal forces of the Quad, and a hostile Tory press.

    Interesting that one observer commented recently that heads rose from their desks in No 10 when Osborne entered the room rather than Cameron… he has a very wide range of influence within the government/party, but his star might also be on the wane.

  11. @ Ozwald,

    Sorry for not ‘getting’ your comment about Union political funds – you probably know even more about this than I do!

  12. I’m still not discounting the break up of the coalition as a lot are… It doesn’t matter if the LibDem leadership don’t want to break off, if the strains continue it can still happen. This is also being helped along by the growing attitude within the Conservative Party that if only they could be free of the shackles of the unpopular LibDems, then the people could see their True Vision. At some point the pressure is going to well up on the right wing again, and Cameron might be pushed into doing something more drastic than the Veto-That-Never-Was.

  13. Dear Mike MS,

    If I may address your points in turn:

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

    Please let me know where I made this implication, as it is not a view I hold. I do not agree with most things the unions say, but I don’t deny their right to organise themselves how they want within the law.

    “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.”

    Again, please let me know where I made the assumption.

    “Why are you trolling people here?”

    Am I? At what point does making a few posts become “trolling”, whatever that means? Am I trolling now?

    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?”

    (a) As I’ve said, there is nothing wrong with it; (b) and (c) my point is (better made by Ozwald) that it is futile to try to distinguish between the two and say one is good and one is bad. They are either legal, or they’re not. So far as I am aware they are all legal, and that’s that. So why the vilification of Cameron, particularly when his party has made demonstrable effort to find a solution with Labour? So they haven’t reached a deal yet – in time they will, they are not a million miles apart and these things happen. There is no “right” or “wrong” on funding – just opposing interests.

  14. sergio,

    You like to hand it out, but you prickle with defensiveness when you get a response in kind.

    If you don’t want to be mistaken for a simple union basher, then don’t behave like one, making their arguments in their gnomic and hostile fashion.

    There is no comparison between individual union contibutions and these large sums coming from rich individuals.

    If there is a case to be made on that score, please make it and leave the lazy union bashing out.

  15. ‘So why the vilification of Cameron, particularly when his party has made demonstrable effort to find a solution with Labour?’

    I haven’t vilified Cameron. I deny that he has made any such effort. He has offered a cap at 50,000 if unions are also limited to 50,000. In other words it is an obvious ploy to deprive the Labour party of its funding and a dishonest attempt to pretend that hundreds of thousands of individual contibutions are the grant of union ‘barons’ etc.

    It is defending the current corruption – which may include illegal payments from abroad – because it proposes impossible conditions to maintain the status quo.

    It also deprives all but 50,000 out of many hundreds of thousands who make the contibution from being involved in their party. Can’t you see that, or is a blind eye resolutely turned to that as well?

    Please argue the case properly, without all these distractions, this smoke and mirrors and false comparisons.

  16. Mike MS,

    Setting aside my lazy union bashing, my case (already made) is that there is no relevant distinction between £1m donated by a businessman in furtherance of a particular cause and £1m donated by members of a union in furtherance of a particular cause, on the assumption that all donations comply with UK legislation. If there is a distinction to be drawn in terms of legitimacy or probity of such donations – which is what the debate seems to be about – what do you consider it to be?

  17. Finding this interesting.

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/another-labour-councillor-quits-party.17154941

    “ANOTHER Labour councillor in Glasgow has quit and will fight May’s local government elections under the banner of the new party set up by rebel colleagues.”

    Could Labour lose Glasgow due to a split in the ranks?

  18. The solution re: union contributions is simple. Unions need only stop collecting the political levy from their members and instead, instruct the members to post their own cheque direct to whichever party they support (or none). The unions are then free to contribute from their own funds under the same rules as a company. Beats me why politicians always make everything so complicated.

    As for a troll, what is a troll? I thought they lived under bridges & I certainly don’t. Surely anyone is entitled to put their opinion forward, within the rules. Or do the regulars on here get annoyed when others interrupt them?

  19. Mike MS,

    Our earlier posts crossed.

    I can see why the unions don’t like the current proposal, but I’m not sure it’s dishonest. Your references to dishonesty and corruption suggest that that is the distinction you draw between donations from business and donations from unions. If that’s correct, then all I can say is that there is scope for dishonesty and corruption on either side, as there is in all walks of life. Provided everything is done transparently and within the law, I’m not sure there’s much more one can ask for.

    Aren’t people at liberty to donate to the Labour party outside the aegis of the unions?

  20. Why aren’t shareholders at liberty to donate to the party of their choice? As a shareholder, I object to the way companies I invest in donate large sums to the Tories.

    Why can’t I opt out or choose which Party receives a donation? 8-)

  21. I think the problem is both sides want to portray the other as power-crazed individuals. Labour see big business as the pawn of a handful of fat cats, rather than the aggregation of hundreds of individual shareholders, and Conservatives see unions as the pawn of a handful of union barons, rather than the aggregation of hundreds of individual workers.

    Surely the solution is to take an even-handed approach to both? Allow both union workers to opt out of a political levy and shareholders to opt out of having some of their dividend removed, and allow both union workers and shareholders to dictate which party, if they do choose to allow their money to be used, their money is sent to? Then, simply put a cap on donations to prevent REAL fat cats/union barons from obscuring the process, and you have a working system?

  22. Valerie,

    You are free to sell your shares and invest them in a company suited to your principles. Or, take a majority shareholding in the company and sack the board. Kind regards, Sergio.

  23. If people can be bothered, a quick ‘google’ will reveal the no. of Unions affiliated to the Labour party is actually quite small.

    The image of union barons in smoke filled rooms dictating policy to their Labour vassals belongs to the past.

    I think some Blues need to wake up. This is the 21st C. I think polls show voters are not so opposed to unions as they think. Indeed, in these troubled times people may see the benefits of union membership in protecting a worker’s pay and working conditions.

  24. I have never heard of a government urging panic buying of petrol…They want to blame the unions but should they be so transparent

  25. @Sergio

    And you are free to join a union of your choice, opt out of paying the political levy or standing for election as a union official.

  26. sergio,

    Your argument is that the current situation is legal. But it has given rise to constant abuses and has verged on criminality under successive govts.

    But none of that, again depsite your argument that abuses could happen ‘on both sides’, has come from the trade unions.

    Why do you ask about whether Unite ‘funds’ Labour, when you know full well it does, because it is a constituent part of the party?

    I can only presume that you are trying to associate union funding mechanisms with the recent revelations about possibly illegal and certainly corrupt payments made to the tory party, if what the treasurer of the party says is true.

    Do you have anything to say about the recent news of payments to the tory party, or would you rather restrict your comments to the perfectly open, legal and democratic methods of the Labour party-unions relationship?

  27. Did I hear this right? Is Francis Maude recommending people store cans of petrol in their garage?

    I think he must be punch drunk after the pasting he received in the Commons! 8-)

  28. @ Valerie

    “And you are free to join a union of your choice, opt out of paying the political levy or standing for election as a union official.”

    Stranger things have happened,,,,,,

  29. It strikes me that from the camaraderie of May 2010, we are entering a period of real discord. Over the past year we have the politicians attacking the press, the press falling out with the Police, Public sector worker striking against the government, the summer riots, the ‘two fingers to Johnny Foreigner’ veto that never was, and the medical professions fighting the government over the NHS. Over recent weeks the coalition has started to look increasingly fractious with both parties seeking to claim credit and apportion blame, and now it appears Murdoch has turned on the Tories (and probably any other parties if they can find the dirt), normally loyal Tory papers are putting the boot in, and even more strikes looming on the horizon.

    This is an extremely negative backdrop to try to govern against, I suspect it colours people’s perceptions making bad news look worse and tarnishing the good

  30. @VALERIE

    Of course, the government would get a bigger backlash if there’s a shortage and they didn’t warn the nation. I can imagine Ed, Ed, Harriet, Douglas and Yvette dancing round the tables in the commons today.

  31. It is totally legitimate for a large doner to a political party to meet with the leader of that party and to discuss policy with them.
    As long as doners are declared, which they are, then it is up to voters to decide if the politician has put their parties funding ahead of better policy or prioritised differently.
    This was the impression given with the Ecclestone case.

    There maybe issues around foreign donations and possible (although I think unlikely) inappropriate use of Government offices.

    Whilst we have a system of donations it is proper for companies to donate as they see fit and, in theory, for shareholders who do not like it to sell their shares. In reality what influence can a member of a pension fund have, i have no idea if the companies my pension fund invests in make political donations and those in a company pension scheme will have even less.

    It seems to me, therefore, that the balancing Un

  32. to finish.
    It seems to be that the balancing Union sponsored levy donations to the Labour Party are a necessary fact of life.

    Personally, I would like to see proper funding of political parties but I know this is unlikely especially at this time.

  33. Mike MS,

    “I can only presume that you are trying to associate union funding mechanisms with the recent revelations about possibly illegal and certainly corrupt payments made to the tory party, if what the treasurer of the party says is true.

    Do you have anything to say about the recent news of payments to the tory party, or would you rather restrict your comments to the perfectly open, legal and democratic methods of the Labour party-unions relationship?”

    Have I not made myself clear? If corrupt or illegal payments have been made, then obviously those involved should be prosecuted. What the treasurer appears to have been doing is offering access to Cameron in return for money. If something illegal has happened, can you point me to it please? Many thanks.

    PS are we “trolling” each other or is it just me?

  34. @Sergio

    As you wish… First in the original ‘sting’, the reporters had identified themselves to the Conservative Party treasurer as representing overseas interests who wanted to donate the sum for access to Cameron. They were offered advice to funnel that donation through a UK registered shell company.

    Second, the Telegraph is running a story that the Conservative Party accepted £173,500 in donations from a company tax registered in the UK but entirely owned by Said Khoury, a construction magnate based in Athens.

  35. This is becoming a joke…Twitter says that if you have a car accident and carrying a can of petrol,the car insurance is invalidated…And apparently same goes for some types of home insurance

  36. jayblanc,

    If the Conservatives have knowingly accepted a foreign donation then that would be an incredibly dumb thing to do and they’ll get their just desserts for that.

    As for the treasurer, only time will tell if he was a rogue element or if there was more widespread corruption.

    I repeat: I do not defend corrupt or illegal conduct, by anyone.

  37. Smukesh

    I think it’s illegal to store MORE than one can of petrol, which might well void insurance. I’m pretty sure it’s fine to carry a single gallon can of petrol (in a proper container).

    Sounds like twitter has gotten the wrong end of the stick and is spreading this misunderstanding rapidly.

  38. “@SMukesh

    This is becoming a joke…Twitter says that if you have a car accident and carrying a can of petrol,the car insurance is invalidated…And apparently same goes for some types of home insurance. ”

    This is not true. It is only if you have been negligently stupid, that the Insurers could void a policy and decline a claim. So if you carried petrol in the car in an unsafe container or you stored petrol at home in an unsafe container, the Insurers could dispute a claim on the basis of the policyholder making the risk unacceptable

    Many years ago in Northern Ireland, I remember Insurers having problems with people storing fuel in various containers. From memory, this was when they could buy it cheaper across the border and then bring it back. But it could be the current bootleg fuel outlets, that apparently still operate there.

  39. R Huckle

    Sounds like a case of “Twitter said that? It MUST be true!”

  40. The Fire Brigades Union have stepped in to remind people that it actually is a fire hazard to keep a jerry can with petrol in it all the time. The point of a jerry can is to get a small measure of petrol from a nearby petrol station, *not* an emergency supply you keep in the boot. Keeping petrol in the boot of your car is, and always has been, a significant risk. To the point of possibly causing a small explosion should petrol vapour collect inside the boot of the car and mix with air on a hot day.

    So no, not ‘a joke’. Don’t do it.

  41. Thanks Alan. I have a can that has been tranferred from the boot of each successive car that I’ve owned… it’s the same petrol, dating from the mid-90s!

  42. Hi Anthony,
    Your voter intention graph is fantastic, but I’d like to suggest it can be improved with the addition of a timeline including significant events which affect opinion trends and the ability to change the parameters.

    Any chance that you can do this?

  43. A vintage year!

  44. @Billy Bob

    You realise you’ve been driving around with a potential bomb in the back of your car then? Tiny leak in the can, hot day, boot fills with petrol fumes, spark when you open the boot latch…

    Of course, by this point the petrol in that can would almost be so degraded it’d shred the innards of any car you put it into anyway, so even sillier to keep it.

  45. Follow the link to read our detailed analysis of the Bradford West by-election:
    http://www.allthatsleft.co.uk/2012/03/by-election-special-bradford-west/

  46. ‘Have I not made myself clear? If corrupt or illegal payments have been made, then obviously those involved should be prosecuted. What the treasurer appears to have been doing is offering access to Cameron in return for money. If something illegal has happened, can you point me to it please? Many thanks.’

    You ask me to provide evidence for you? It’s like the early defence of the phone hacking scandal, where Murdoch’s defenders demanded that people produce the very evidence they were desperately hiding.

    I suggest we have an investigation by the police as is appropriate.

    You prefer to concentrate on unions – trying to dirty their name by associastion with corruption – and demanding evidence from people who can’t provide it.

    ‘PS are we “trolling” each other or is it just me?’

    It’s just you. I usually don’t bother to comment on here, but your ‘what about Unitery’ had its effect and got me annoyed. So that’s a point to you I suppose, even if you can’t support your argument when challenged.

  47. Valerie,yet another car crash interview for Maude on the
    World at one today.
    Ray North,thanks for that interesting link.If George Galloway splits the labour vote,could that let the Tories in?

  48. Mikems & Sergio – enough please. This isn’t a debating society

  49. Oranjepan – alas not. The current graphs are automatically generated from the data tables, so I can’t stick ad hoc labels on them.

  50. @Ann Miles

    That would require Labour to lose a third of its vote to Respect, with the Conservatives doing as well as they did in 2010.

    It is going to be interesting to see:
    1) What happens to the LibDem vote
    2) If gorgeous George will finally exit stage left

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