Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 31%, LAB 43%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 9%. The twelve point lead is becoming fairly typical of the sort of figure we’re seeing from YouGov, but it’s worth noting that the 31% is the lowest that YouGov have shown for the Conservatives since the general election.

There is also a Survation poll on the London mayoral election in tomorrow’s Telegraph. It has first preference figures of JOHNSON 42%, LIVINGSTONE 31%, PADDICK 10%, WEBB 5%, JONES 4%, CORTIGLIA 4%, BENITA 3%. With second preferences re-allocated, the final round works out at JOHNSON 54%, LIVINGSTONE 46% – the same as ComRes showed this morning.


215 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 31, LAB 43, LD 9, UKIP 9”

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  1. A lot of you are discussing austerity versus growth. Check this out from the highly respected economist Paul Krugman:

    h
    ttp://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/26/the-new-voodoo/

    It is based on actual data.

  2. What genuinely surprises me is how little the question of productivity is explicitly stated in these discussions over the economy. I remember watching Peter Jay (circa 1989) cutting to shreds the notion that Lawson had finally broken the STOP/GO cycle in part by demonstrating there had been no underlying change in the level of UK productivity during the mid to late 1980’s.

    Productivity growth is the only real way you expand you economy, either by more efficient allocation of resources deployed or pure innovation. Part of the problem for the UK is that the service sector, for a number of reasons, naturally tends to have a lower level of productivity than other sectors.

    The UK continues to perform badly in terms of productivity compared to other G7 countries (despite some closing of the gap in the period 1990-2010). The real question is how do we foster increased productivity. Governments do not have a good record in ‘picking winners’ through targeted investment, and British industries performance is only marginally better.

    My own view on this is we need to continue to invest in education at all levels, provide incentives for investment generally in all sectors of the economy (you never really know where the next big idea will come from). Government should also ensure there is a sufficient level of aggregate demand in the economy so that there is a market for the investment – but not try to substitute growth driven by productivity gains with growth driven purely by govt spending.

  3. @Max

    “surely you aren’t suggesting that they should have forced the change through”

    No, they should have negotiated that AV (or whatever) would be *government policy* and that the whole government would actively campaign for it during the referendum. (And also that the change in boundary rules would be dependent on AV being passed.)

  4. MAX- KOTFCOF…………Canary Wharf is in Tower Hamlets, perhaps we should be examining all those banker’s consolidated voter obligations, CVO’s, and other dodgy electoral instruments, that turn one vote into thousands, and, when counted, could undermine the entire global democratic process ! :-)

  5. @Max, Blue Bob, The Other Howard

    Considering Max said how even German Centre-Left politicians know the importance of not running up debt what do you make of this?

    Ernst Welteke, Bundesbank president from 1999-2004

    “Austerity alone is not the solution… without more growth the problems cannot be solved,”

    [he] said it was important to remember who caused the crisis in the first place.

    “The problems occurred after the financial crisis and the financial crisis was not the result of undisciplined politicians,”

    “It was the result of people living, working and earning a lot of money in the financial centres.”

    But to you lot it was all the fault of Labour. Everything. All to do with Gordon Brown!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17853552

    [Okay – I pondered whether to close this one down last night, but it seemed like a sensible discussion. If we’ve reached “you lot think it was all Gordon Brown” then we’ve probably reached silly partisan yah-boo-ery – AW]

  6. @BigD

    Yes I agree it certainly was all to do with Gordon Brown and the Labour Party! The biggest mess of all time!

  7. “The household equivalent of the Osborne approach would be to sell the family car to avoid petrol costs and pay off the mortgage, only to find you had to give up work because you could no longer get there.”

    That’s a brilliant analogy. Consider it stolen :-D

  8. BIGD

    @” include the recent US stimulus because the economic evidence suggests it worked given their output levels now and the strength of their recovery compared to ours”

    a) Most of their fiscal stimulus was in the form of tax reductions. ( Their monetary stimulus was massive & will have had an effect of some sort)

    b) I think the jury may still be out on the USA economy0have you seen Q1 ?

    Yes I agree that “infrastructure” spend can be beneficial-but it can be a one-off effect with a legacy of useless unused buildings-like olympic stadia, and entertainment venues.

    By the way-you need to factor in the potential effect of bond yield rises as a result of market concern that fiscal tightening is being relaxed. THis factor may or may not arise & willl depend on the country in question , the state of its public finances & its credibility.

    UK DEbt to GDP is 66% and is currently forecast to peak at 76%.

    Assume a proposed fiscal stimulus of 2% of GDP. If this did cause our Gilt Rates to rise by -say 1 % pt-then that pushes the effective cost of the stimulus up to 2.7%

  9. Since we can buy our own gilts with printed money (and are doing that by the billion), we need hardly pay any higher rate than we choose for the money.

  10. @”“The household equivalent of the Osborne approach would be to sell the family car to avoid petrol costs and pay off the mortgage, only to find you had to give up work because you could no longer get there.”

    Ummm-don’t think that is analogous at all.

    Has GO embarked on a large programme of one-off asset sales in order to make one-time reductions in Debt ? Don’t think so.

    He is cutting State revenue costs-the equivalent of household expenditure, in order to reduce the shortfall between Tax revenues ( the equivalent of family income) and Public Expenditure.-ie the Government Deficit.

    He is doing it (currently) at an average rate of £15 bn pa -or around 1% of GDP pa :-

    FY 09/10 £ 157 bn
    FY 10/11 £ 137 bn
    FY 11/12 £ 126 bn

    The current forecast for deficit at end parliament is £ 75bn-ie a reduction rate of £17 bn pa over the next three years.

    This , of course is considered to be too rapid, by Ed Balls.

  11. @ Colin

    Government debt (gilts) are pieces of paper issued by the Government at fixed interest rates. These are then traded on the secondary market if people wish to sell the debt. Our debt is very long-term. We don’t have to refinance a great deal as it was sold at 30, 40 yrs etc not 1, 2, 5 years like some other countries. I’d expect a short-term increase in the interest rate via people selling our debt on the secondary market but this doesn’t matter as long as it is short term. It only matters when you come to sell new debt as this generally reflects the interest reate on the secondary market. The interest rate on existing Government debt is fixed, that is why they say yields are inversely linked to the price of a bond.

    For example if the bond was £100m at 3% interest rate over 40 years that means whoever holds the piece of paper will get £3m a year for 40 years then in year 40 their £100m back. If the person holding this doesn’t want it anymore they can’t change the interest rate but they can sell it for less than £100m. So if they decided to sell it for £50m then the interest rate would be 6% (the holder would still get £3m a year but they only paid £50m – 3/50*100).

    This debate is all about whether you think the markets would permanently loose faith in the Government if they announced a relatively mild (I suggested £10bn a year to build 100,000 social houses a year and gradually get people out of expensive public funded private sector housing). That is just 1/130 or 0.7% of GDP. Personally I don’t think the markets would get spooked by this considering our economy is shrinking and therefore debts are rising. Even if you don’t borrow a penny more and the economy shrinks your debts will still rise relative to GDP which is the figure that is most important as your debts are only a problem if you haven’t got the income to pay them off!

  12. @ Red Rich

    “Productivity growth is the only real way you expand you economy, either by more efficient allocation of resources deployed or pure innovation. Part of the problem for the UK is that the service sector, for a number of reasons, naturally tends to have a lower level of productivity than other sectors.”

    I wish I could find this interesting article I had read a few weeks ago in the NY Times or Wall Street Journal that one of my friends had sent me. This peice argued that some of the current economic problems that we face were due to too much economic efficiency.

  13. NICKP

    @”Since we can buy our own gilts with printed money (and are doing that by the billion), we need hardly pay any higher rate than we choose for the money.”

    BoE’s Asset Purchase Programme ( aka Quantitive easing) is an excercise in increasing liquidity in the banking sector.

    ie the Gilts it buys are traded gilts in issue-not new issue from the Treasury.( that would be over MK’s dead body & take us down the road to Weimar & Zimbabwe)

    The Treasury is still exposed to market rates when it sells Gilts, and it is the market which sets them.

    There is no proposal to increase the current £325 bn programme as far as I know.

    QE increases inflation which impacts ( is impacting !) household budgets -and those of the government.
    It isn’t a zero sum game.

  14. Colin – are those defecit numbers in real terms?

  15. BIGD

    @” We don’t have to refinance a great deal ”

    DEpends what you mean by ” a great deal”.

    THe Government DEbt Office provides the numbers.

    Clearly GO has to finance new borrowing ( the annual deficit) with gilt issues-and these will be sold at yields which the market dictates. In addition he will need to roll over maturing gilts with new issues.

    Since GO came to office he has issued new Gilts to the value of :-

    FY 10/11 £ 166 bn
    FY 11/12 £ 179 bn

    The effect of the credit crash & recession can be read clearly in the record of UK Gilt issuance :-

    FY 07/08 £58 bn
    FY 08/09 £ 147 bn
    FY 09/10 £ 228 bn

    Government Debt interest is now £50 bn pa -more than the total DEfence Budget-half the total EDucation BUdget.

    Gilt rates are important.

  16. Nick

    They are from the Red Book for 2012. ( the FY 11/12 figure is actual -it was released a few days ago)

  17. I confess that I haven`t read all the posts above…To me it is simple…Labour said that there would be a double-dip recession if George Osborne took a particular course of action and lo and behold there is a double-dip now…Osborne said in 2010 that there would be year on year growth and there has been no growth since the spending review.As recently as 3 months ago,Osborne and OBR said that there would be no double-dip recession…Who do you expect me to trust in this situation?And yesterday`s question time audience agrees with me…They clapped loudest when Diane Abbott said that Osborne did not know what he was doing and this is in Romford,a safe Tory area.

  18. What was debt interest in the early 90’s in real terms and as a %age of GDP anyone know; and as a %age of GDP now?

    Which is the more important figure anyhow debt interest in real terms or as a %age of GDP?

  19. Smukesh – given you were a Labour supporter to start with, I’d expect you to trust Labour more…. which is why debates about each other’s views are a bit pointless

    (And the applause on QT as a measure of public opinion? Please! Just wait for a polling question on who people trust more on the economy. Shouldn’t be long…)

  20. @ Colin

    Agreed they are big numbers. But the issue is where can investors put their money? Most of our debt is not foreign owned (only around 18% is) so we are relying on UK banks, building societies, pension funds, insurance companies to buy it. They don’t have much choose at the moment where to put their money. The private sector is shot to pieces so they won’t be looking at investing it there. Investing it abroad doesn’t look great because of the exchange risk. You don’t want to be a pension fund with all your investments in $ or euros but your liabilities – i.e. your payments to pensioners in £s! The reason Greece got into so much trouble was because they had 140% GDP Gov debt level and relied on foreign investors to buy 90% of their debt.

  21. @AW
    `given you were a Labour supporter to start with, I’d expect you to trust Labour more…. which is why debates about each other’s views are a bit pointless
    (And the applause on QT as a measure of public opinion? Please! Just wait for a polling question on who people trust more on the economy. Shouldn’t be long…)`

    I never said that Question Time audience is a measure of public opinion but an indication of where the wind blows…Is it not true that every poll since the budget has shown trust in Osborne has fallen and as a pollster surely you know that…Do you think it would have improved since the double-dip?

    Vince Cable predicted the 2008 crash and he along with Darling and Balls talked about the risk of double-dip if Osborne`s plan was followed…Osborne predicted the reverse…Hard to argue with what has followed.

  22. @ John Murphy

    “The celebrity element to these mayoralties has been inherent from the outset. The bigger the city the bigger the issue of Name Recognition. Our first two mayors have been maverick party politicians with a sort of independent Media personality.

    For good or ill this was how New Labour envisaged the devolution so as not to repeat the GLC PR debacle as they (probably wrongly) saw it.”

    It may be that those politicians succeed at getting elected Mayor in London because the type of politicians who succeed and get ahead at Westminster aren’t the types who can connect with the average voter on the street. If you think about it, nearly all your cabinet secretaries and shadow folks are those who never had to win a contested seat and usually land in safe seats where they will get elected no matter what. A mayoral race is different.

    “To be honest since the 1972 reforms of Local Government we’ve made an ever bigger pig’s ear out of a silk purse.

    Livingstone was a better mayor than he is now credited for but it has to be said running a candidate who first ran London in 1981 says something about Labour in London which speaks more to a past than to the future. To be honest I don’t he thought about that handicap when he persuaded himself to stand.

    But if Boris is the future…like those cycle lanes it’s a future that’s going nowhere fast….”

    Can I just say (and perhaps it’s sacreligious as a “progressive” for me to say this…..well so is my support for the death penalty sorta) that I am not a fan of increased bike lanes? As a driver, I am often frightened of hitting cyclists and I don’t think that increasing the number of cyclists decreases traffic. Cyclists, for the most part, also seem to ignore most traffic laws, endangering both drivers and pedestrians.

    As for going with someone who’s been around since 1981, it was a major mistake. You want to go with someone who’s going to look towards the future, not the past. A campaign also can’t be run in a pure party line way. Oona King would have been a far better candidate and had she been selected as the candidate, the race might look different right now.

    “Meanwhile I expect turnout will effect the result. If Inner boroughs turn out and outer boroughs are less inclined then Livingstone is in with a shout but there can be question that Boris seems a shoe in as does Hollande in France.”

    I think comparing the London Mayoral Race to the French Presidential Election is like apples and oranges. Boris Johnson is not a highly unpopular incumbent who is hated and detested by the public (at least from what I’ve seen). Sarkozy is. On the other hand, Ken Livingstone was unpopular when he was voted out of office (at least he struggled with voters on crime issues…..another reason why his candidacy is problematic).

    Would inner boroughs of London include those touristy areas of central London that are staunchly Tory?

    I do think there might be some good news for Labour if Livingstone loses. Here’s why: just about everyone will completely misunderstand and misinterpret the results. The Tories will look at it as evidence that their sagging poll numbers aren’t real and that when voters actually show up, the results will be different (as in the past). Labour will look at it as yet another failing of Milliband and might actually move to replace him with a far better and stronger leader.

  23. Am I alone in finding the vitriolic anti-Livingstone ads here highly objectionable, on a site in which the watchword is being objective and non-partisan.

  24. @ Colin

    There is no proposal to increase the current £325 bn programme as far as I know.
    ————————
    Actually there is, according to the Telegraph. Tele. reporting on Wednesday that at least two members of the policy committee believe that the return to recession justifies launching QE III.
    8-)

  25. “(And the applause on QT as a measure of public opinion? Please! Just wait for a polling question on who people trust more on the economy. Shouldn’t be long…)”
    Does that mean in ST/YouGov?

    I suspect, and I’m sure I’ll get piled on for this opinion, the economic trust will still show the Tories ahead of Labour, although the gap will have narrowed.

  26. There was a hilarious (to me anyway) clip of George Osborne saying that if he had a magic growth wand, he would wave it & get us out out of recession.

    Why was I laughing? Because:
    1. What is QE, if it isn’t a ‘magic growth wand’? And, as far as I’m aware, no other Chancellor has used QE simply to re-inflate the economy; &
    2. If GO considers himself to be powerless to affect growth without recourse to a ‘magic growth wand’, then he shouldn’t be sitting in the Chancellor’s chair.

    And if I didn’t laugh, I’d cry. :-(

  27. @ John Murphy

    To sum up my last post. Bloomberg vs. Ferrer in 2005 had everything to do with Bloomberg and Ferrer and nothing to do with Bush and Kerry. I suspect that Johnson vs. Livingstone has everything to do with Johnson and Livingstone and nothing to do (or very little to do) with Cameron and Milliband.

    It’s also not about personalities so much as it is about what the candidates appeal to. Public policy is very different at the local level than it is at the national level.

  28. @ Amber Star

    It’s funny because under Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling, the economy had gotten out of a recession. Then with the new economic policies insisted upon by Osborne and cheered on by the right wing pseudo intellectual elites, the economy went back into a recession.

    And considering the pain that recessions cause, particularly double dip recessions, I can understand using laughter as a cure for the blues.

  29. BIGD

    @”They don’t have much choose at the moment where to put their money. ”

    Well as Sovereign Credit Ratings collapse like nine-pins one imagines that it is certainly getting more difficult to find permissable investments for UK buyers of Sovereign Debt.

    But they don’t have to buy UK debt-and if it isn’t AAA they will start having mandatory reasons for not buying it.

  30. Good Evening All, after a very busy day at work.

    ERNIE.
    It seems that partisanship is allowed here in terms of very rude Tory advertising.

  31. @ ERNIE

    You’re certainly not alone in that…

  32. There are two ways of funding a website: advertising or subscription payments. I prefer the former, and I suspect most of you would too!

  33. I wasn’t blaming you AW. But they are still disgusting.

  34. It is obvious that there are expenses necessary to run a website and political ads are going to be placed at polling and political sites…Another week and the mayoral ads would be gone.

  35. What is this rude anti-Livingstone material of which you speak?

    I have WSPA ads. With a dog, 7 cats, 2 guinea pigs and a hamster perhaps I am in a different ad bracket……… :-)

  36. The only politically orientated advert I’ve got is an Amazon advert for a book called “The Truth about Ken”

    What’s “rude” or “disgusting” about that?

    Is there a suggestion that book adverts should be politically vetted?

  37. Incidentally, if you go to

    http://www.google.com/ads/preferences

    It tells you what guesses google has made about you in order to choose what adverts to show you. It’s not necessarily very good – it’s decided that I like politics (right), that I’m in London (not that far off) and I’m over 65 (oh dear)

  38. Thanks Anthony-that’s interesting.

    …scary….but interesting :-)

  39. “You’re certainly not alone in that…”
    ——————
    To be fair, I am sure there have been some anti-blues adverts on here, causing some wailing and gnashing of teeth in certain quarters. But on the plus side it all helps to fund this site. This ad is for a (rather thin) paperback written by – – a political advisor to the Mayor Of London. There’s a surprise!

  40. @AW

    …And that I don’t like Ken Livingstone :) Maybe I will switch to Boris after all :) :)

  41. @AW

    “…it’s decided…that I’m in London (not that far off)…”

    Maybe Google hasn’t heard of the Fantastic County of Kent :)

  42. I went to that google link and it had a button to “Opt in to customize your ad preferences and tell Google which interest-based ads you’d prefer to see.”

    As I don’t want to see any, I didn’t opt in.

    The polls seem to be confirming a likely win for Boris, though I suppose the result might be affected by electoral fraud if it is widespread enough.

  43. @Colin

    “The only politically orientated advert I’ve got is an Amazon advert for a book called “The Truth about Ken””

    Any book that starts “The Truth about…” is usually a tell-tale sign that it is a slanted analysis of its subject. Therefore not really “the truth” at all.

    It’s a bit like the “Peoples’ Republic of China”, The
    ” Democratic Republic of Korea”, the “Islamic Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”, the “Democratic Republic of Congo”, and the “United Kingdom” (:)).

  44. JIM JAM

    @”What was debt interest in the early 90?s in real terms and as a %age of GDP anyone know; and as a %age of GDP now?”

    That was an interesting question.

    THe answer is interesting too.

    Through the 90s Interest/GDP was 3.0% to 3.5%

    It is now about 3%

    But what is so striking is that, through the 90s Debt /GDP averaged around 35%. It is now 66%

    In other words interest rates were much higher in the 90′ than now.

    1990 saw interest of 3.3% of GDP when Debt was 26.7% of GDP-ie average gilt rate was 12.4% in that year ( !)

    That rate declined steadily through the decade & into the Labour era. It is now around 5% ( and quite obviously there is further decline built by dint of recent gilt rates)

    So -to put it one way ( as I think you reasonably implied in your question) -currently interest on government debt consumes about the same proportion of GDP as it did in the 90s.

    But to put it another way-the current relationship is no worse than it was in the 90’s despite Debt/GDP% having more than doubled…..because average interest rate on Government debt has halved.

    This emphasises what a massive benefit , current UK gilt rates are, and what a huge effect any significant increase in them would have.

  45. @ AW

    “There are two ways of funding a website: advertising or subscription payments. I prefer the former, and I suspect most of you would too!”

    Like we’d pay :)

    Seriously, I have never objected to the banner adverts. The more you’re getting, the more successful the site.

  46. RAF

    Maybe-maybe not.

    But its an advert for a book.

    This website isn’t making any comment on the book’s veracity.

    I don’t see the problem-partcularly now that we know how to decline adverts we don’t like.

  47. @RAF
    `It’s a bit like the “Peoples’ Republic of China”, The
    ” Democratic Republic of Korea”, the “Islamic Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”, the “Democratic Republic of Congo”, and the “United Kingdom” (:))`

    :)

    But last I looked the Saudis haven`t converted and are still governed by a king

  48. @Colin

    There isn’t a problem. Not as far as I’m concerned anyway. I was just making a point about books/materials labelled “The Truth”.

  49. Meanwhile, Lord Leveson has turned down Hunt`s request to appear earlier…I think there is an implicit admission that it wasn`t in their brief to investigate minister`s conduct as such…Atleast so far,Lord Leveson has behaved with the integrity expected of a senior judge

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