Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 43%, LDEM 8%, Others 16%, producing an eleven point Labour lead, the same as in yesterday’s poll. With YouGov’s Labour leads varying between 9 and 13 points, my guess is that today’s figures are pretty reflective of the underlying average.

Opinium also released new figures today, with topline voting intentions of CON 31%(-1), LAB 38%(+1), LDEM 11%(+2), Others 20%(-2). The seven point lead is towards the lower end of Labour’s recent leads, but once again the trend is in the same direction: with the government getting into one of those cycles of stumbling from one bad news story to the next, we’re seeing a definite drop in their level of support.

My guess is that the problem is no longer any single story, but the bam-bam-bam of one bit of bad news after another, and the impression it creates of a government that’s not really on top of things. What it reminds me of in particular is the experience of the last Labour government in April 2006, when they had the foreign prisoner scandal, John Prescott’s affair and Patricia Hewitt being heckled by nurses all break on the same day. Any of them alone probably wouldn’t have had much effect, but the combined stories left them looking like a government in crisis. Co-incidentally, that too was at the end of April, leading to Labour getting a drubbing at the local elections the next week. The same looks likely to happen to the Conservatives this time round.


94 Responses to “New YouGov and Opinium polls”

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  1. @Max

    Yes, I saw that somewhere. Hillarious :)

    It’s been a mad, mad April.

  2. Watching the “Press Previw” on Sky News. Ian Dale, LBC broadcaster, who is normally totally supportive of the Tories is laying into Jeremy Hunt.

    If this is typical of right wing media reaction, and it seems to be the case from what I have seen of the press preview, then Hunt’s future is blek to say the least.

    The longer Hunt stays in position and receives this type of coverage then the faster the Tory VI will drop.

  3. @MAX
    `Evening Standard am I right?`

    I am not anticipating such a situation…If it happens,I`ll give you my excuses then

  4. Now that Opinium has the Lib Dems back at 11% it means that YouGov is, once again, the only pollster who has the Lib Dems in single figures.

    None of the polls are good for the Lib Dems at the moment (ICM’s 15% is the best) but I hope AW will forgive me for saying that it is somewhat irritating (from a Lib Dem perspective) that so much attention is given to YouGov’s ‘outlier’ figures because they come out five times a week, rather than the once or twice a month frequency we get from the other pollsters.

    I expect the GDP figures will hit Tory poll ratings over the next week or two (and their local election performance – they may even help Ken claim a narrow victory over Boris). At the risk of stating the blindingly obvious I would expect Labour to win in 2015 unless the economic situation improves considerably over the next three years.

    I don’t see how Hunt can survive…

  5. Max
    It is a good question. I think Ken is a good candidate but he has flaws. As you remark, issues far from the mayor’s race may help him win.
    However if Boris wins, then I said a long time ago that I can forgive Boris a lot just because he is clever and devoted to learning even if just his own. He is also a personality with very high visibility which is a particular help in a country where people do not feel obliged to vote (compare France and its 80%)

  6. @CHRISLANE1945

    “The NEWSNIGHT analysis on the economy is very interesting”

    Can you elaborate? I missed it.

    @KEITHP

    “I agree that announcements of economy figures don’t move VI. Many don’t hear them, some don’t understand them or know what it means, some don’t believe them.”

    I disagree in this instance. Some don’t understand what negative growth is (indeed, some can’t understand why prices increase if inflation drops a few points), but the word recession, is negative in itself. Take out the construction industry’s figures, and apparently things aren’t quite so bad, and Q1 is hardly construction season. Hence why I’ve been busy nipping at folk about ‘double dip’ when it is plainly not the case.

    In my humble opinion. Labour have missed a trick today. They spent most of the day calling for Hunt’s resignation, when instead they could have been calling for a treasury head (which would have reverberated for months to come).

  7. @ Max King (from the previous thread)

    “Voting is so hard It’s my first vote outside the AV referendum. Constituency assembly is sorted (voted for the Conservative who ive met a couple of times, great guy) London Mayor is sorted I’ve voted tactically to maximise influence (Ukip 1st to knock Jenny off of 4th spot so in 2016 UKIP get in debates), and Boris 2nd, cos he’s my real first choice)

    But then on the London wide assembly its so much more difficult. I’m torn between UKIP and Conservative, but then I realise there are more parties than before. There’s English Democrats, who I understand are like the SNP but for England and want an English parliament, though what they can do as London assembly members i dont know. But then there’s also the House party who want to provide more housing for Londoners, and the Christian People’s Alliance – support for traditional marriage party.

    It’s all just so confusing.”

    I feel your pain. Yesterday, there was breaking news that a ballot initiative to ban the death penalty in California will be on November’s ballot. Or actually, I think it’s going to repeal an amendment (passed at the ballot box) authorizing the death penalty. I will be faced with a tough decision now that for a long time I was able to avoid (and for me, it’s extraordinarily complicated). I’ve never been so glad to have a secret ballot. :)

  8. @ David (12.02)

    “None of the polls are good for the Lib Dems at the moment (ICM’s 15% is the best) but I hope AW will forgive me for saying that it is somewhat irritating (from a Lib Dem perspective) that so much attention is given to YouGov’s ‘outlier’ figures because they come out five times a week, rather than the once or twice a month frequency we get from the other pollsters.”

    David,
    Unfortunately (and I say this as someone who until a few weeks ago was a Lib Dem member) it is almost certainly the YouGov LD figures that are more likely to be correct. Unlike YG, most other polling companies allocate a significant (up to 50%) of “don’t knows” to the party they previously voted for. In the current situation, where the DKs are at a high level and the last election gave the LDs 23% then the LD vote may be artifically increased by about 4 – 5%. While some of the don’t knows may vote LD again (I may even do so if the leadership changes), it is highly unlikely that 50% will vote LD.

  9. LOL at the EDP being the “English version of the SNP.” Half a mind to take that as an insult.

  10. @David

    If the LDs are now so unpopular that some past voters are unwilling to admit to having voted for the party in 2010, this false recall could be a problem for the polling organisations that have to try and establish past loyalities each time they take a poll. Most of YouGov’s data, by contrast, is taken from shortly after the 2010 elections, when the LDs had yet to experience the backlash, so it ought to be more accurate.

    Hence it’s quite possible that the other companies are all suffering from a false recall problem that is skewing their sample in favour of those more likely to have retained their loyalties to the LDs, and hence their figures for LD support tend to be higher than YouGov.

    One other point. Look at the ratio of 2010 LDs to 2010 Con and 2010 Lab in each YouGov poll, and compare that with the actual ratio of votes case for each in 2010. YouGov don’t weight on this data. But in almost every YouGov poll, for what reason I know not, there appear to be too many 2010 LDs in the sample than there should be, based on the actual ratio of votes cast. This hardly suggests that YouGov are somehow coming up with samples that are biased against the LDs.

  11. @ Anthony,

    Somebody said that you don’t include Ipso-Mori phone poll in the ‘poll of polls’ because it isn’t weighted for past vote or party id. But you’ve included the most recent one. Did you always include it or have you changed your mind about it?
    8-)

  12. @ Anthony

    A propos of nothing really, it would be interesting if YouGov could throw in an extra question over the next week of “How do you intend to vote in the local elections next week ?”, allowing for any area not holding local elections (are there any?). I would suspect Lab and Con both down and Libdems 2-4% higher.

  13. @ Welsh Borderer
    We got a local elections VI poll immediately before the locals last year, so hopefully we’ll get one again.

    I’d like to see another one of those Monthly accumulative polls released again.

  14. A few bumbling weeks for the Tory-side of the coalition isn’t the problem people are making it out to be.

    The way I see it, all the discontent in the country for the first 2 years has focused on the LDs. They’ve become scapegoats in the media for practically everything. Undeniably they’ve suffered directly because of tuition fees, welfare etc. But it’s been completely overplayed, and all their top politicians like Cable, Clegg, Huhne, Laws have been disproportionately parodied, hated and ridiculed in the media. The fact that Clegg could go from Churchill to Devil in a matter of months proves how absurd both comparisons are.

    However the media’s squeezed about as much out of the LDs as it can. People are bored of that angle, and they aren’t going to fall any further in the polls. So inevitably, the target for any and all discontent (fair or not) now shifts onto the Tories. I’m expecting something like 2 years of Tory hate to kick in now, and we’ll get a drubbing in some of the polls, maybe even slipping down to 30% or so.

    But I think both Cameron and Clegg know that if they can hold it together until 2014, the last year is when both parties will start to bounce back in the polls and ride a wave of good news as the economy gets back into shape.

    As has been shown through the LDs suffering, the media/people get bored of it after a time. Especially when it’s just the ‘storm in a teacup’ kind of drama that’s been happening recently.

  15. @Statgeek

    Why? They can get Osborne when the figures again don’t appear to go. Hunt is a definite scalp to add to Miliband’s wall.
    Not to mention it builds on the current

    I think Labour is still a bit defensive on the economy, they prefer to look forward, the best for them is to have a clear set of figures to attack the government on. If they attack Osborne and we have growth (or negative figures are later revised up), Osborne can say he didn’t over react but kept a cool head.

    No. I think Miliband knows more than we give him credit for. Hes in to win the next election, Osborne/Cameron are his long game, I don’t think they can stay in their positions without one another. Miliband did the same with Cameron/Clegg, he needs to split them up by using political pressures from within their own party.

    Winning the councils hits the two of them. Scalping another minister just in time for them also helps. Afterall people know council elections won’t change the austerity, but they will affect who gets elected to run their local area.
    Camerons Cronies VS Milibands (Misfits? :p) Trusted?

  16. @Alex: “Some of us have been around long enough to see the devastating impacts on the great political parties that successive heavy defeats in local elections have. ”

    Don’t tell Amber that. Labour in Scotland have a fairly depressing track record since the last LG reform.

    1995: 53% of wards (613 councillors) 43.4% of votes cast (724k)
    1999: 47.5% (545), 36.6%
    2003: 41.6% (509), 32.6% (611K)
    2007 (STV): 28.4% (348), 28.1% of first prefs (591K)

    I’d be interested in reading any psephologist’s opinion as to why Labour’s Westminster vote manages to hold up with no visible means of support locally. Dog that didn’t bark stuff surely?

  17. Oops. I meant Alec of course. Past my bedtime apparently.

  18. It might be better for Cameron & Osbourne if Boris loses.

    If Boris wins (whilst the rest of the Tory party is in a slump) then a lot more Tories will be pointing their fingers at Cameron & Osbourne to blame them for the low party ratings. They will also be looking to promote Boris.

    However, If Boris loses then he will get most of the blame.

  19. I watched the coverage in Parliament and I think Cameron is now looking very nervy and frightened.

    Whilst Hunt was speaking, Cameron kept looking towards Osborne to catch his eye. Eventually their eyes met and there was a lingering silent look.

    It seemed to me that Cameron was looking for a look of reassurance from Osborne.

    Just a few weeks ago, it was being reported that Hunt might succeed Lansley once the Olympics were out of the way.

    Could poor local election results mean a reshuffle before the Olympics?

  20. @FRASER

    “Why? They can get Osborne when the figures again don’t appear to go. Hunt is a definite scalp to add to Miliband’s wall.”

    I wasn’t thinking of Osborne. Perhaps Danny Alexander, as a day earlier he was asking for a further 5% cuts for Austerity, and if Alexander got the salvo, it would drive a wedge into the coalition (note that David Laws got one early on).

    Lib Dem, one who calls for austrerity, Scottish. Popular move for Labourites everywhere and especially those in the South.

  21. Max

    On your question regarding a Boris win. I think there are a number of factors that could help a Boris win

    i. He is a big personality in his own right and so crosses party boundaries – as Bloomberg does in NY

    ii. He has the support of the media, not just the standard. I think this helps him because coverage is fairly benign to him

    iii. He is not toeing the party line on a number of subjects (housing, capital spending etc) which again helps him cross party lines. Cameron needs him to win on so many fronts that he is allowed essentially free reign

    iv. Ken is not the most sympathetic of characters – effective but has the dog has its day?

    I personally think Boris is a nasty piece of work and he hides away his true personality. There have been too many examples of his arrogance, contempt for others over the years. The Darius Guppy affair being one thing that I think sums him up. Ken is also not far behind on this but any of his shortcomings are frequently raked over in the press. I wish sometimes one of the journalists would expose the real Boris

    My favorite candidate is Brian Paddick – he seems a good guy and I think would actually make a good major – better than the other two clowns anyway

  22. @ Old Nat, Amber Star, Scotswaehae, Statgeek, John B Dick and other Scots

    Did you see Donald Trump get totally laughed at in Scottish Parliament?

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/04/25/1086358/-Scottish-Parliament-laughs-at-Donald-Trump

    Priceless.

    He declared himself the evidence as an expert in tourism. I assure you the laughter is worth it. He’s no expert in tourism or anything else except for shameless self-promotion. Most of his real estate developments have failed.

    You know what bugs me though? Here’s a prominent American businessman who is fulfilling every negative stereotype about Americans out there. He’s loud, he’s rude, he’s angry, he’s totally ignorant, he could give a flying f*** about local rules and procedures, he’s greedy, he’s selfish, and he’s completely undiplomatic. He makes every American look bad when he takes his sh*tshow to foreign countries.

  23. Some confirmation of what Chrislane has been saying about foodbanks:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/apr/26/food-bank-double-families-breadline

    Can Ed M support welfare policies without losing votes?

  24. Good Morning All.
    Nick P: Thank you for this link.

    You may remember that the hebrew word for compassion is actually translated as blood spitting anger from the guts. In Latin: it is ‘with anger’

    ED found his voice yesterday I thought. He would be a good deputy to TB I think.

  25. Raf – the bookies follow the money not the polls.
    They will have taken lots of money on Boris and needed to take more on Ken even when the race tightened according to the polls and did not want any more on Boris unless at very short odds.

    They have probably balanced the book better now so that whilst they do better with a Ken win they do Ok with a Boris win hence odds that still slightly have Boris shorter than currrent poliing suggests.

    We saw this before the last GE as the Con lead narrowed in polls the bookies kept the odds unchanged for a while to attract money for a differenet outcome.

    Remember Bookies don’t gamble to manage the %ages.

    As an asdie a great example is the England football team. Patriotic supporters bet on England so bookies have to shorten the odds and lengthen other teams to attract money. So we end up with the media saying England are 3rd favourites or whatever when football evidence suggests nothing of the sort.

    At the moment Man U are 4/9 and City 7/4 to win the premier league when a win on Monday would make City favourites from a football perspective. Clearly these odds should be closer but Man U have more fans than City who have bet on them so the bookies want more City money.

  26. @sssimon

    I think you are deluding yourself.
    People deserted the lib dems, not because of the media (who were initially tickled pink by the idea of a coaltion government) but because they felt Clegg had sold them out – because they had voted libdem as an anti-tory alternative to the much discredtited labour party. This was reinforced by the whole student fees debacle and by the lib dems supporting the NHS bill.
    Similarly the tories are in trouble fundementally becasue of the facts on the ground – high levels of unemployment and no sign of an economic recovery. The longer that goes on the less people are going to trust them on such a fundamental issue and less likely to accept that ‘its all labour fault”.

    Its it these very real problems that make the whole narrative of incompetence and sleeze such a compelling narrative for the media.

    It is a sure sign of denial amongst political parties that they lay their problems at the door of the media (labour had to learn this very hard lesson through the80s and 90s) – rather than in the fundamentals.

    The media play a big part, but it is most damaging when they are chiming with what people think. UKIP and george galloway have done well with almost no media support. The Iraq was fiercely opposed by millions of people despite the main opposition and almost all the media supporting it.

    In addition, social media now has a large and growing role in reflecting and shaping how people think and also has a growing influence in how mainstream media operates.

    An apposite or witty tweet, you tube clip or captioned photo denigrating a politician, or exposing their deceit or venality, can go viral in a matter of hours with devastating results in a way that is purely democratic and beyond the control of media moguls or political spin doctors
    .
    This is a powerful and positive development because it makes it far fat harder for governments and vested interests to control what people say and think – ask Hosni Mubrarak!

  27. Isn’t it about time you started regularly showing the UKIP figures?

    Even if they don’t beat the Lib/Dems in every poll it’s getting closer and “others” doesn’t cut the mustard.

    It will also give a clearer indication f where the Tory vote is disappearing to.

  28. @Squeezed – “Eventually their eyes met and there was a lingering silent look.”

    Not exactly empirical evidence of anything, but such non verbal communication can speak volumes.

    Quite amazing the extent to which the younger Murdoch turned the tables on this government this week. Cameron, Osborne and Hunt will be only too aware of the danger in the situation.

  29. Amber – someone was wrong, everyone is included.

    Craig/Welsh Borderer – no plans to. The map of authorities having local elections this year is much patchier (basically in England its only those that elect by thirds, plus a handful with boundary changes). I have little doubt that your assumption about what it would show is correct.

  30. @SSSImon

    Totally agree your last post. That is exactly how i see, and have seen, things panning out. Despite all the adverse publicity the Government has had I think the movements in the polls are likely to be relatively temporary. Yes the Government will get a pasting in the Local Elections but this reflects current unhappiness and is a protest vote.The public may not like the Tories but I think they do still realise that it is Labour that got the Country into the mess and they will not want a Labour Government in 2015

  31. @ JIM JAM

    Pretty spot on post about the bookies, a couple of errors but that is how basically they work.

    Did you used to punt or were you one yourself ?

  32. NICKP………..It’s typical of the metaphorical world that when you’ve been waiting for one, two come along at the same time. Last night Bayern did a Chelsea, falling behind, taking a bashing and then, against the odds, coming back to win. Cammo should take heart, although your analysis throws up some interesting options. :-)

  33. @ Anthony,

    Thanks for the R&T results – I’m afraid I turned in just before you posted (a light-weight, I know).

    Some comment here that their methodology is suspect in that last year they predicted 1000 Con losses when they in fact made 86 gains.

    As you say, their methodology is somewhat out of date anyway covering the last three months (and some of those were much stronger Tory months in VI), but is there any other reason why their methodology might overstate the Labour strength (or conversely understate Con weakness?) – perhaps local by-elections are the ultimate protest patch, because you can vote how you want and you probably don’t even effect the make-up of your local council that much. Ergo the opposition will always be hugely accentuated? Or am I barking up the wrong tree?

  34. @ NickP,

    I can vouch for the growth in Foodbank lines – as our church is now considering one for leafy west London, mainly because of the benefit caps meaning families desperate to stay in communities they have grown up in and where their kids go to school are now extremely financially stretched. There’s one in Hammersmith and Fulham but it’s now getting very over-stretched.

  35. @sSSimon

    The LD polling figures dropped within a week of the 2010 election to the level they are now, give or take a point or two. These low polling results are not anomalies they are pretty constant since the election.

    It was not the media that caused the collapse of LD support, it was the LD party its self.

    J

  36. @ Sergio

    “I expect +20 Labour leads next week.”

    Wonderful to see you over-inflate expectations for next week. Looking forward to your “I can’t believe Lab are only +13 points ahead – they are in serious trouble” post.

    :-))

    Seriously though, even with the recession I can’t see there’s much more gain in the Lab VI lead without some more clarity on policy positions. If there is a drubbing next week, there might be a slight further boost with EMs ratings rising slightly. But once the lead gets to a certain size the attention will glare on EM and the Tabs will go after him again. I remember this happening with Cameron and Brown last parlt – journos get bored with the narrative so switch it from time to time.

  37. BlueBob,
    My Dad was a betting shop manager for a number of years for a local bookie. He tuaght me about laying bets off and how the dynamaics work etc.
    I did run a couple of books on pool comps when i was at Polytechnic a long time ago and used the principle myself one time as i stood to b/e in if one finalist won but make £50 if the other did so i set the odds to get to around £20 each.
    Best thing about my Dad doing that job is that he warned me off gambling and I rarely bet myself.

  38. @Amber Star

    If you read the explanation, he’s always included it, but it’s additionally weighted against, because it doesn’t weight for past voting.

  39. Methodology: UKPolling Report believes that the most reliable polls are those which include some form of political weighting, and polls that do not weight by past vote, party ID or similar are given an additional weighting 0.75. This is a matter of contention amongst pollsters, with some companies – primarily Ipsos MORI – believing that past vote is not suitable for weighting. That is a legitimate viewpoint done for good reasons, but it is not one I share, and hence this particular average weights down polls without political weighting. Does that mean this is biased against polls that don’t use past-vote weighting? Yes, it does and if someone else wants to do an average that treats them the same go ahead.

  40. Adrian B,

    I always thought the purpose of this website was to discuss polling. I happen to think that the difficulties of the last few days will push the Lab lead out to around 20% – if I’m wrong that’s my problem.

    Unlike many on this site I’m sane enough to realise that spouting my political preferences/attempting to massage (whose?) expectations is futile.

  41. Reiside

    I agree wiith you @ Ssymon but he is right too. He said:

    “But I think both Cameron and Clegg know that if they can hold it together until 2014, the last year is when both parties will start to bounce back in the polls and ride a wave of good news as the economy gets back into shape.”

    I think that if there is going to be an overall majority, it should be clear twelve months or more before the election, and the economic news would need to be very good for over a year. That won’t happen without hopeful and settled signs of a recovery in all the economic indicators starting maybe a full two years before the election, and just a year away.

    What Ssimon says is perfectly correct but: his assumption that it will actually happen is partisan wishful thinking.

    Setting aside the question of whether the austerity plan can rationally be expected to wok at all, or even make things worse, there will come a time when there isn’t sufficient time for the turnaround.

    Good economic news a week before the election isn’t going to do the trick, if there is recession and unemployment tiil then. I reckon that we would need to see at the very least, that things are not getting worse, from about six months from now.

    Others will have a different perception (no doubt coloured by partisan considerations) but surely all would acknowledge that there is some point at which the prospect of the election result being determined by economic news in favour of the coalition or the Conservatives begins to diminish by the day.

    It may always have been an impossible task.

    What do we here think is the tipping point, when it is no longer credible that the turnaround can happen in time for Labour ot to be likely to form a majority?

    Am I wrong to think there needs to be a change in the economic weather in the next six months? If so, how long has the coalition got?

    When can we expect panic on the government benches if it doesn’t materialise?

    Then there is “events, dear boy” of which we have had rather a lot recently.

    Ssymon did qualify hs comment by saying “if they can”. When will he know that they couldn’t?

  42. @ Anthony & Hannah

    Thank you replying to my question about IpsoMori. :-)

  43. @ssimon

    The scenario you mention of a rise in the polls once economic news becomes better is of course the Conservative’s and, in particular, George Osborne’s, strategic plan.

    If it happens well and good but I have serious doubts. I believe Osborne has misclaculated badly and the economic gamble will not pay off.

  44. @Reggieside and others

    The reason I say the LD (and now Tories) worsening poll ratings are more driven by the media and the political ‘feel’ of the moment – than anything they’ve actually (not) done – is because, as AW has pointed out on many occasions in the past, most people don’t have a clue what party stands for what policy or position.

    Forums like this breed a really distorted view of the world. Most people simply do not take an interest in politics. I’m not saying they’re stupid or ignorant, just that hardly anyone really cares enough to know which person or party is responsible for what. Even if as much as 10% (highly unlikely!) of the population took a reasonably in depth interest, that couldn’t possibly account for such massive fluctuations in the polls.

    Most people simply respond to their own personal circumstances (as borne through by the economy and its performance), the ‘word on the street’, and the vague/general impression they gain about various political personalities in the media that they’re (somewhat passively) exposed to.

    Hence the absurd Cleggmania nonsense in the 2010 election debates and then his subsequent crucifixion in the media. Both times based on very little substance; people have simply responded to his media portrayal. Or the silly stuff about Osborne and Cameron being silver-spooned etc, when they are little moreso than most other politicians.

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