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. Alec:

    “One of the key push factors is the simple fact that both main parties, and increasingly now the Lib Dems – appear to detest their own supporters and opt to ignore them and triangulate against them for the swing voters they think they need.

    This is a product in many ways of the FPTP voting system, which not only means parties can take their base more or less for granted, but also ensures that other new parties find it almost impossible to get anywhere, further exacerbating the slack and lazy approach to their own supporters that the main parties can get away with.”

    Praise be. Excellent post. I have not seen a more succint summary of why we need PR. It is the only thing that can save politics, and us.

  2. @ Alec, Sergio

    I don’t agree, regarding PR. Local people keep their own MPs ‘honest’, even if they don’t fund them 100%. PR = candidates picked by the Party machine = even less need for MPs to actually represent the people.

    The Parties would love it. Funds from the state, pick their own candidates, no need to acknowledge the existence of anything but ‘swing’ voters. Ghastly, IMO.
    8-)

  3. Amber,
    Candidates picked by the party machine – that would never happen under FPTP!
    Just look at the cabinet and shadow cabinet… oh.

  4. Amber,

    In practice, you might quite like PR. It would probably rip the Conservative party asunder, since UKIP (or equivalent) would immediately take a huge chunk of their vote.

    I’d be much happier to support a minority party closer to my actual personal interests if I knew my vote wasn’t going to be totally ignored.

  5. @ Amberstar

    “The Parties would love it. Funds from the state, pick their own candidates, no need to acknowledge the existence of anything but ‘swing’ voters. Ghastly, IMO”

    Not with Single Transferable Vote, where the voters choose which of the party’s candidates THEY like.

    At the moment, the party chooses the candidate and there is zero choice of who to vote for.

    And if you don’t like funds from the state, you sound like you are arguing for the current “slush fund” style of fund raising which so contaminates politics at the moment. If that not even more “ghastly”?

  6. Dick Fedorcio has quit the Met. Won’t be many left there, soon.

  7. Fomr the notorious Guardian website:

    “Firefighters were called to deal with a fuel spillage after a car was overfilled with petrol in Crawley, West Sussex.”

    I’m still trying to decide whether driver kept on pumping in fuel to the tank … or into the car itself.

  8. I’m increasingly minded that the Gov has created the panic to boost the flagging GDP figures to try and avert another Quarter of negative growth. And of course the Gov could say if there were a strike in April, look how it’s affected the GDP for that month.

    Frankly, disgusting and utterly incompetent behaviour if this is true.

  9. I am in favour of banning business donations and individual ones above £5000. However, state funding then becomes necessary. But why does it have to go to parties based on the votes they have attracted with all the pennies for the BNP issues it raises! Why, seemingly, has nobody thought of political state funding being given to each elected MP instead. That way it would empower the back benches as parties would have to plead with them for funding thus strengthening our local MP a per pro the party machine. If “our” local MP wants to spend his state political fund on a decent local professional Agent who builds up the size of his own Association or CLP who then raise money – all to the good. It is at the bottom that we need to rejuvenate politics and diminish the national “spin doctoring” IMHO.

  10. AMBER

    @”And yet you think that the drivers are being unreasonable ”

    If you actually read what I write , rather than what you imagine I write, it would save you some time.

    I posted the pension link because I was unaware that the tanker drivers had an issue in that regard.

    I was aware that H&S is a striking issue.

    I neither case did I express an opinion as to their merits.

    The great british public will do that, if & when they need to-and Anthony will tell us what they think . :-)

  11. @Amberstar – I didn’t say I was necessarily in favour of pure PR, and I do favour a local candidate. But as for FPTP meaning candidates are kept honest by their constituents – that’s a bit off the mark. While there is an incumbency effect, it isn’t huge in most areas, and the vast majority of people vote by party label. I can guarantee that if party labels were removed from all election literature and the ballot papers, we wuld have a set of results the like of which we’ve never seen before.

    I also wonder why we would need so much state funding. We might get back to the point where people get involved, because they start to matter to the parties once again.

  12. CROSSBAT

    @”the Aegean Stables”

    I think you probably meant the Augean Stables.

    The Aegean Stables are really quite lovely at this time of year.

    :-)

  13. @Mike N – various bloggers and news reports openly suggesting the fuel crisis was hyped by the government as a diversionary tactic to get over pastygate and other travails.

    People from the last government have been on air saying that there are organised contingency plans drawn up after the 2000 blockades, but they don’t include telling people to fill jerry cans with flammable liquids. The way this was presented, with multiple ministers trying to say the same thing, until they realised how foolish they had been, does smack of a coordinated but highly flawed strategy.

    If a strike proceeds and the union comes off second best in the public view, this could still not be a difficult issue for the government. But if the message spreads that the government caused an unnecessary sense of panic, which also had the effect of raising fuel prices (already happening) I don’t think voters will be very sympathetic. The real danger is the fact that the governments competence is now being openly questioned, on multiple fronts.

    And quite rightly. In my entire lifetime, I can’t ever remember being told to panic by a government minister. Utterly daft.

  14. Following on from the discussion about PR and voter choice. On the face of it STV increases voter choice, indeed it allows all sorts of nuanced preferences between candidates of all parties or none. However, because it atomizes choice and represenatation it robs the voters collectively of a choice of government which is present in both British FPTP and indeed the German mixed system with alternative coalitions on offer. With STV you simply don’t know what you are voting for nationally, you just throw up a number of “favourite locals” who then meet nationally and have to cobble something together. STV thus creates an “indirect democracy” rather than a “direct democracy” – one where voters are able to pick one team or another to form a government. Some will argue that a list system is controlled by the party machines – but that is not so with “Open List” where voters effectively create the rank order on their party list by their choice of a candidate within their chosen party’s team of candidates.
    Seeing STV in operation internally as an ex-Liberal activist I grew to loathe STV as it creates a beauty contest rather than an election of policy choices.

  15. In my neck of the woods, Labour Party candidates are selected in a way that is local, transparent & democratic. They must be nominated & seconded then all the nominees must give a speech & answer questions. We then have a vote. It is great fun!

    Regarding state funding, I do not like the ‘Kelly’ proposal. It is based on past votes, so all those LibDems who are furious with their Party would be financing the LD’s efforts to get re-elected! Where is their opt-out or their chance to pick another Party to receive their ‘donations’?!
    8-)

  16. “Liam Byrne is set to stand down from the Shadow Cabinet if Birmingham votes for a directly elected mayor in a referendum in May.

    The Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary will tomorrow formally announce his intention to stand in a race for the Labour nomination that will pit him against former MP Sion Simon and fellow MP Gisela Stuart.”

    Politics Home.

    I thought he was in charge of Labour’s policy review.

    A Blairite jumping ship?

  17. Regarding the Kelly proposal on state funding, another weakness of his state funding proposal is it penalizes voters who choose to vote tactically because their choice would have consequences beyond the immediate election result. I don’t think that’s appropriate.
    8-)

  18. @Alec

    The fact Maude was the go to guy on this gives the government away. He was only sent out because he debated about donations with DC the day before, and they thought they could spin the donations row around onto them by making a LABOUR CAUSE NATIONAL CRISIS. Yet as soon as they pressed the panic button it all back fired.

    There should have been only two things said by the government:
    – There is currently no strike
    – Carry on as you are

  19. Amber – “….it penalizes voters who choose to vote tactically because their choice would have consequences beyond the immediate election result. I don’t think that’s appropriate”

    I hadn’t thought of that, but you are right! Spot on Amber! I couldn’t agree more.

  20. @ Colin

    A Blairite jumping ship?
    ————-
    Most Labour Party members will be glad to see him go. He is not popular with the ‘rank & file’.
    8-)

  21. AMBER

    @”Most Labour Party members will be glad to see him go. He is not popular with the ‘rank & file’.”

    So I was right then :-)

  22. @ Colin

    As I said, pensions are linked to H&S. And your comment was imbued with a ‘tone’ – or are you saying it wasn’t? Because I think most folks would say that it was. :-)

  23. Would a double dip recession see that Con vote tumbling still more?

  24. AMBER

    So you know what “most folks” think eh?

    Clever :-)

  25. “Would a double dip recession see that Con vote tumbling still more?”

    I only ask the question because oddly I don’t think it would. I suspect dire economic news is factored in…it’s only when the effects hit home that people will get cross…that probably means higher unemployment.

  26. NICKP

    @”Would a double dip recession see that Con vote tumbling still more?”

    It sure wouldn’t help .

  27. @ Colin

    Yes, Liam usually comes last in any Cabinet popularity polls that are organised by e.g. Labour List. He generally tops the unpopularity polls, though.

    Personally, I still have not gotten over the letter he wrote to David Laws. Obviously I think he was politically naive to assume that Laws would keep it to himself. That is one thing. Quite another for Liam to think that the deficit, Keynes v cuts etc. was something he could have a little joke about… unforgiveable, IMO!
    8-)

  28. @ Colin

    So you know what “most folks” think eh? Yes.

    Clever. Thank you. :-)

  29. AMBER

    @”Obviously I think he was politically naive to assume that Laws would keep it to himself. That is one thing. Quite another for Liam to think that the deficit, Keynes v cuts etc. was something he could have a little joke about… unforgiveable, IMO!”

    Yep-fortunately for him though , Ed still thought he was the chap to come up with Labour’s New Policies.

    Looks like he thinks there are better things to do.now the Government have provided him with an out :-)

  30. @Amber Star

    Spoke the truth though.

  31. @ Colin

    Liam Byrne was not in charge of policy review. He was Co-ordinator, an administrative role.

    Peter Hain is chair/ chief of the policy review. And the policy review is about grassroots participation. All CLPs are to be involved. Byrne probably had as much chance of influencing policy as I do. Perhaps that’s why he’s off to be a mayor. ;-)

  32. Amber

    Should we expect you to become a provost, then? :-)

  33. Byrne was highly regarded by Blair, Brown, Miliband and all the department chiefs he worked for – as one of that derided species the management consultant, his skill/competence seems to have been valued… not a particularly likeable politician though.

    The biggest promotion was under Brown, but then whether the “Bairite” label fits is largely irrelevant.

    The “lists” of who is a Blairite do not make much sense… have just been reading an article from 2006 which descibes Darling as being one of the leading “Brownites”. ;)

  34. @ Old Nat

    LOL :-) I think Lesley Hinds would be a hard act to follow.

  35. “Would a double dip recession see that Con vote tumbling still more?”

    Yes because a lot of people don’t take a lot of notice of day to day events.They have factored in things are bad, but a big event like another recession or losing AAA status or a drop in the value of the £ would catch their attention

  36. When I heard that Liam Byrnes might be leaving the
    shadow cabinet,I was very pleased.That utterly stupid note
    has provided endless cover for all sorts of nonsense.

  37. Max King of the Fantastic County of kent @ Fraser

    “Many right wing voters in Scotland vote for SNP etc, as the scottish tories are like 4th place.”

    They well may be in fourth place in the West, nut I think it is true that no party is more disadvataged by FPTP.

    The Con vote is widely dispersed.

    Until the SNP appeared to represent the “best buy” the Northern LibDem vote was largely anti-Con where Lab didn’t have much support. Most of it has gone to Lab or SNP, and those that remain may yet wake up to the fact that LibDems are not only no use to the anti-Con but not likely to get elected either.

    So if you are an anti-Con in a libDem constituency you pick the least bad of the SNP/Lab. In the Northern regions, the “competent” SNP which has rural appeal, gets themajor share.

    There may be natural Conservatives who voted tactically in these constituencies for the LibDems. If LibDems aren’t going to get elected, they might as well vote Conservative rather than SNP who are further left than Labour. There won’tattract many anti-Labour voters unless “competence” is the attraction.

    Do not be misled by the “Tartan Tories” label. It is true only in the sense that many who used to vote for Conservatives now vote for the SNP. Right/Left is not the only categorisation. There is competent/incompetent and corrupt/honest.

    If you had to choose, would you prefer a corrupt, incompetent party or y our choice on the Left/Right spectrum?

  38. The suspense is killing me… no tweet from the Sun about today’s YG & nothing much being written about the Bradford West by-election.
    8-)

  39. Amber

    Peter Hain is chair/ chief of the policy review. And the policy review is about grassroots participation. All CLPs are to be involved.

    Seriously, is this a typo? Or have Labour not even started their policy review yet? I’m assuming that they’re not so cynical as to present the members with the finished results, demand to be told how wonderful it is, and then call it ‘consultation. Though that’s a process not unknown among political Parties

  40. Amber Star
    Amber Star

    I cannot help you with yougov poll but I have just come in from longish day on campaign trail for Labour – not a Labour party member myself but as Bradford resident furious with the cynical Galloway move to muscle in. Several hundred/thousand Labour posters, fair few Respect, a few Tory and no Libdem or UKIP (that I saw). Generally positive reaction from voters when knocking on doors. I would guess – no more than guess – is Labour vote holding up pretty well, Galloway will do reasonably well. But who knows with such things! Result probably not until 3am ish. Bradford tend to be rather slow according to old hands.

  41. BILLYBOB

    @”Byrne was highly regarded by Blair, Brown, Miliband and all the department chiefs he worked for”

    AMBER
    @”Most Labour Party members will be glad to see him go. He is not popular with the ‘rank & file’.
    Liam usually comes last in any Cabinet popularity polls that are organised by e.g. Labour List. He generally tops the unpopularity polls, though.”

    Right -that seems pretty clear then :-)

  42. @ Graeme

    Thank you, I really appreciate your post. Polls are one thing but an actual election is much more important. News from the ‘ground’ has been sparse. I do hope you are right about the Labour vote holding up; I share your feelings about GG. He is just attention seeking, IMO & has no interest in the people of Bradford.
    8-)

  43. Last time

    Labour 18,401 45.3%
    Conservative 12,638 31.1%
    Liberal Democrat 4,732 11.7%

    So oncurrent polling it will Lab 60%+, Con 20%-. LD zilch

  44. chrislane1945

    “The restrictions are laid out in a 30-year-old law, the Petroleum-Spirit (Plastic Containers) Regulations 1982.”

    As I remember, the change was to allow storage in plastic cotainers, which are lighter, but were previously banned because the plastic was formerly different and could crack or even shatter if dropped.

  45. @ Roger Mexico

    http://labourlist.org/2012/01/nec-report-january-24th/

    Policy review – it is the ‘never ending story’.
    8-)

  46. Amber

    As I say only my impression from knocking on doors and observing from 11 – 6 pm today. I encountered the Galloway battle bus – it came down the street looking like a cartoon bus with lots of people on top of double decker with balloons and and music and GG screeching away it microphone. It was bizarre!! More seriously, I was quite shocked at some of the things Muslim waivering voters believed they had been about the (Muslim) Labour candidate – “a bad muslim, a drunk” etc Not nice, not good. Nickp is right about vote distribution last time but nure “current polling” means much with the Galloway intervention. GG will score a significant vote. I will be very, very surprised if Labour is anywhere near as high as 60% or tories anywhere near as low as 20% given that intervention. Also minor parties UKIP, English democrat etc will score I fairly substantial vote between them. I think the libdems will be squeezed to almost nothing.

    As I say, just “impressions” for what they are worth. Foot sore and tired. It has been years since got involved in this sort of thing. Must be getting old! Nice spread of Labour helpers – especially younger people and students.

  47. graeme

    I expect respect will split the Lab vote but that’ll probably leave Lab on nearly 40% anyway. I’d be amazed if they didn’t win.

    Will Tories vote for Galloway…I don’t think so. If they do, Con and LD will both virtually disappear!

  48. Is it me, or is the world going mad……..Scottish Labour have complained about Alex Salmond, ‘entertaining’, at his residence, the couple that won £161 million on the lottery, because they subsequently gave the SNP £1 million. The argument is that he used official premises for fund raising………Unbelievable. :-)

  49. Amber – thanks for that. I can’t works out if you’re at the stage of having meetings about meetings or discussions about consultations about forums. I’m reminded of the quote attributed to Wilde that Socialism would never work because nobody had that many evenings free.

    I only just realised that Bradford West was today – I suspect the media don’t know which group of Scary Muslims to attack and so have ignored it. Though given the choice between Bradford’s strange version of cronyism and a man whose most sincere moment was impersonating a cat, it’s time to support the Monster Ravings again.

  50. Latest YouGov/The Sun results 29th March CON 34%, LAB 44%, LD 8%; APP -34

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