The full tables for the YouGov/Sunday Times poll are now up here. In line with the topline figures showing the Conservatives dropping below 30%, the rest of the poll was also pretty miserable for the Tories.

David Cameron’s approval rating is down to minus 31 (from minus 23 a week ago), this is the first time it has dropped below minus 30. Asked more specifically about Cameron’s strengths and weaknesses there is a mixed picture. 41% think he is strong, 44% weak; 42% think he is competent, 47% incompetent; 42% likeable, 46% dislikeable. Where he falls down on being out of touch – only 23% think he is in touch, 69% think he is out of touch (and in a subsequent question, half of respondents think he is out of touch because of his background).

On the economy questions there is a clear negative impact from the return to recession. The economic optimism tracker (the proportion of people who think their finances will get better minus those that think it will get worse) is minus 49, the lowest since the end of last year. The proportion of people thinking that the government is managing the economy well is down 5 points to 26%, the first time it has fallen below 30. Asked why they think the economy is back in recession 32% blame the government the most (including a majority of Labour voters), 29% blame the Eurozone crisis the most (the most popular answer amongst Conservative voters), 17% blame the last government the most.

On the semi-regular question YouGov ask about economic strategy 31% now think the government should stick to their present strategy of prioritising the deficit, compared to 41% who think they should concentrate on growth instead. Despite people apparently preferring Labour’s policy, Cameron & Osborne are still more trusted to run the economy than Miliband & Balls, by 36% to 28%. Asked specifically about the future of George Osborne, 45% think he should be replaced compared to 24% who think he should stay – the answers are largely on partisan grounds however, 71% of Labour voters want him to go, 65% of Tory voters want him to stay.

Finally there was a specific question on Jeremy Hunt, 59% of people think he should resign, 14% think he should stay. Even amongst Conservative supporters more respondents thought he should go than stay (by 36% to 33%).

135 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times on the return to recession”

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    Thanks for that, I took the survey and it said I was optimistic! I was sure it would turn out worse.

  2. Labour well in front again, so of course the usual suspects turn their (f)ire on Miliband’s individual ratings.

    I gave my two pennorth earlier on the topic of the universally dire ratings ofvthe leaders, but since we’ve got who we’ve got, we might as well look a little more closely at their figures.

    So, once again, here’s my rather simplistic analysis of what the really important voters (the lost LDs) think of the three leaders. Same caveats as always – not an exact science but probably gives a decent indication

    Well: 17
    Badly: 79
    Net: -62

    Well: 33
    Badly: 60
    Net: -27

    Well: 10
    Badly: 85
    Net: -75

    So, the winner of the “Mr I’m by some way not as repulsive to lost LDs as the other two” award is clearly EM. And his lead over DC among this group is rapidly widening.

  3. It’s worth bearing in mind that this “recession” data is based on a preliminary estimate that will probably turn out to be wrong. And even if the data are correct, the only reason the growth was registered as negative was because of a statistical adjustment for the leap year, which knocked about 0.4% off the numbers.

    Certainly the Government needs to get the economy growing again – pretty much everything else is a bit irrelevant.

  4. “It’s worth bearing in mind that this “recession” data is based on a preliminary estimate that will probably turn out to be wrong.”

    That’s true. It usually gets revised downwards.

  5. @NBeale

    Of course in a very real sense the GDP figures are just a confirmation of what people have been experiencing for a while now: the economy in general is flatlining. Wether it’s technically a recession or not makes little difference to most people – and it’s a clear indication that Mr Osborne’s hope of private sector growth has failed.

    However it has given rise to bad headlines, which won’t be eradicated if the number is revised upwards. Should GO try and say “hey, look, it wasn’t a recession after all” he will just remind people of how bad things are, which would not do the Tory polling numbers any good.

  6. @Rob Sheffield
    “The first real act of EdMs leadership is going to be Labours detailed plan to manage the deficit alongside a more activist industrial policy and less brutal welfare policy. It will involve significant cuts still- though not the same as ConLib…..
    …… It wil p*ss of the lefties”

    Assuming for a moment that you’re correct, why on earth would a more activist industrial policy p*ss me off? That’s precisely the sort of policy needed to represent a decisive break with the New Labour Blairite ultras. As for further cuts – it all depends on their scale, their pace, their targeting and whether they’re made within the context of a proper growth strategy.

  7. “because of a statistical adjustment for the leap year, which knocked about 0.4% off the numbers.”

    Sorry, what? Why on earth would the leap year have the slightest effect on the economy?

  8. @NBEALE

    Not sure I follow you with the leap year calculation? The extra day is taken care of in the calculations:

    “Impact of the leap year

    Seasonal adjustment removes repeatable seasonal variation in a time series, enabling the underlying movement to be identified. As 2012 is a leap year, February 2012 contained an additional day. Our standard approach to February is to adjust its value to represent an average length February (i.e. 28 1/4 days). This is in accordance with international best practice. This procedure requires us to assess the impact of this additional day for each of the main sectors. Any significant leap year effect is then spread across the Februaries as part of the standard seasonal adjustment process.”

    Taken from the Office for National Statistics web site.

  9. @Lefty L

    The breakdown of 2010 Conservatives is also pretty revealing. Of the 81% who are decided and would vote, only 69% would still vote Con. 8% would vote Lab, 16% UKIP. A 56% retention rate of 2010 support (0.81 X 0.69) must be as low as the Cons have yet fallen this parliament.

    I suspect that professing support for UKIP is acting almost as a proxy for “shy Tory” (1992 style) and that much of that support would turn blue again at a GE. But the emergence of UKIP may also mean that the 8% who have gone beyond UKIP and switched to Labour might be more difficult to win back.

  10. I imagine the Tories will poll higher than currently anticipated by the polls but for them the best outcome looks like being a hung Parliament with a vote probably lower than in 2010 – we must remember they are coming from a low base, with weak opposition, so they have no buffer like Major in 92 or Blair in 2001 and 2005.

    I will be interested to see the continued shenanigans from the Tory right who seem to despise Cameron with a Major-like ferocity.

  11. @ Crossbat 11
    [On Neil] – Former editor, for 11 years . . . Sunday Times when . . . he employed the Holocaust denier, David Irving.”
    @I RAF
    “Rather doubt he would have known about Irving’s leanings at the time. That come out many years later.”

    For the record, Irving’s “leanings” would have been known to any competent journalist long before Neil became ed. of the S. Times.
    Whether Neil should have employed him or not is, of course, a matter of opinion.

  12. Colin
    Is that really keeping in with the tone of the site?
    I realise that others (on the left) are just as bad, but you’re usually one of those who can keep away from making comments like that.

    Rob S –
    While Ed’s numbers are still pretty terrible, +8 over one week isn’t too bad going.
    If his numbers plunge back (as I suspect they actually will do, depending on election results – and if not next week, then in a few weeks time) then your point is strengthened.
    But it’ll only take a +4 for Ed and -4 for Cameron for Ed to be ahead. And even if that’s mainly caused by statistical error (+3 and -3 of that), the headlines (‘Cameron now even less popular than Red Ed!’) could have an effect of keeping it going for longer than it naturally would.

    I didn’t expect Labour would be able to sustain the lead they have now for as long as they did so, although I don’t suspect Miliband’s ratings will be sustained, it’s quite possible.

  13. TINGED

    The “tone” of the site?

    Just at present I would describe it as triumphalist-don’t blame you-but it’s fair game for a joke from the poor blues isn’t it?

    You surely don’t begrudge that , whilst you all ( bar one or two :-) )declare the 2015 GE won ?

  14. “because of a statistical adjustment for the leap year, which knocked about 0.4% off the numbers.”

    Sorry, what? Why on earth would the leap year have the slightest effect on the economy?

    The effect is that by having an extra days production. Hang on so we have one more days production so that means the figures are understated by 0.4%! I would have thought that this would work the other way around. If we have production going for one extra day in this quarter than normal and it is -0.2% that means in a non-leap year it would be -0.6%.

    Things are worse than we thought!

  15. BOA bylaw preventing UK drug cheats competing at Olympic Games (lifetime ban from Olympics) rules illegal by CAS

  16. @RAF

    Shame really. Any body who cheats in sport should be banned from all sport for life.

    I blame the minister sack him!

  17. @ Tinged fringe re Colin.

    But we did get “lol as Crossbat11 is won’t to say”: pure gold for a collector of apostrophe atrocities such as myself. I may refer it to the Apostrophe Protection Society & claim my £5 reward.
    For the society:

  18. @RobbieAlive

    If it was known at the time, then Crossbat 11’s point is valid. I must admit, I hadn’t known about him at the time or read any of his books, despite an avid interest in world history.

    Then again, I find it astonishing with all we know today how anyone in their right mind can deny or downplay the Holocaust.

  19. At a guesstimate, 15 million people did their patriotic duty at the behest of ministers and rushed out to spend and average of perhaps £50 extra on inflammable liquid at the end of March.

    Did this £0.75 bn boost to retail sales inflate 2012 Q1 GDP figures?


    I can see where the argument comes from: in order to give a consistent measure, in non leap years the GDP for February is nudged upwards by 0.25 days, in a leap year it’s nudged down by 0.75 days. This then allows it to be compared to the previous (or future) year’s Q1.

    This means that the total GDP for Q1 2012 was adjusted down by 0.82% (.75/(31+29+31)) and GDP for Q1 2011 was adjusted up by 0.27% (0.25/(31+28+31)).

    But if you didn’t do this, how would you sensibly compare the numbers?

    For those of you foaming in the mouth about this creating an artificial double dip, do bear in mind that without these adjustments we would have been in double dip in Q1 2011 instead (negative GDP in Q3 2010, Q1 2011, Q2 2011).

  21. drat, should have been Q4 2010.

  22. @The Sheep

    In which case blaming the cutailing of the leap day in thr figures is a duff excuse. In any event, the real problem is not whether the figures were slightly above or below zero, but that the trend is flat.

  23. Colin,
    I thought the joke was in poor taste and was a little bit too partisan.

    And I don’t think 2015 will go to Labour – I don’t now necessarily think it’ll be a Con majority, but I can’t see, without a ridiculously low turn-out, for Labour to get such a swing to get them 40+.

    Just look at the figures –
    For Labour to get 40% VI, assuming 2010’s turn-out levels, it’d have to gain 7.1% of the electorate.
    Even gaining 40% of the ex-LD vote (6% of the electorate – what they’re roughly polling) wouldn’t suffice.

    7.1% of the electorate gained would dwarf the 4.2% gained by Blair (1997), the 3.7% gained by Cameron (2010), and would be closer to Thatcher’s 1979 gain (8.1%) than those two figures.
    I just don’t see it as likely – although a gain of 3.5% (Kinnock 1987) of the electorate would put Labour at a VI of around 34%, which seems a much more reasonable result.

    Assuming that came at the expense of the LibDems (the most likely scenario), it’d probably leave us with a hung parliament with Labour just short (but enough to form a coalition with the LibDems).

  24. not good poll reading for the Government! The public see the economy now as down to them rather than the previous government! Unless the Lib Dems speak up more and temper future government legislation then they are in serious trouble!

    It won’t be just because the got in bed with the Tories it will be because they didn’t do more to temper the legislation especially around the NHS, Welfare Benefits and taxation!

    Trouble is Labour still aren’t a credible alernative, we need good clear policies from them! I have in the past voted Labour all general electiions!

  25. TF
    “7.1% of the electorate gained would dwarf the 4.2% gained by Blair (1997), the 3.7% gained by Cameron (2010), and would be closer to Thatcher’s 1979 gain (8.1%) than those two figures.”

    I’m risking becoming a bore by hammering on about the similarities between now and the 74-79 administration. Thanks for doing my job for me ;)

  26. Blimey all this navel gazing about leap years ect as if any of it mattered maybe its a sign of the times but to read some of the comments on this site you would think the election was next week not in three years time and to listen to the BBC or Sky News that Ed Miliband was already in charge as every time I hear him he’s demanding something or other.
    The truth is nothing can be assumed by the recent polls no more when the Tory’s nudged ahead recently.
    As usual it will all swing on the polls leading up to the election in the last 6mths and how the three leaders come across in the television debates after all it was those debates not the polls that stopped the Tory’s gaining outright power due to the strong preformance of Clegg and Vince Cable swaying those elusive floating voters and people under 25yrs to vote Liberal something that may not be so easy next time round, oh and of course how the economy is doing.

  27. @ RAF on D. Irving.
    “If it was known at the time, then Crossbat 11?s point is valid. I must admit, I hadn’t known about him at the time or read any of his books . . .”

    Your name should make you expert on Irving seeing that his first book focused on the RAF’s bombing of Dresden in 1945.
    But I apologise for conflating two Irving “denials”. In the 1970s Irving claimed that Hitler had had no part in, or indeed knowledge of, the Holocaust. Subsequently he became a “Holocaust-denier.” In any case, Neil’s decision to employ him was a “controversial” one.

  28. George Osborne should be replaced as Chancellor – but not by Ed Balls (yet). :-)

  29. Lefty and TF

    It is not a good starting piont to use 79 or any other year. The difference now is the fact that the LDs have been in power and start from a much higher base. Hence there are more votes to be won. In which case there is every possibility of large swings in 2015

  30. LeftyLampoon
    Unfortunately, that was 33 years ago – when Lab + Con made up 61.4% of the electorate (even in 1983, it was 50.8), as opposed to 2010 when it was 42.4% of the electorate – meaning a lot more of the vote goes to other parties (22.7% voted other parties in 2010), making it even more difficult for Labour to gain, compared to then.
    I just can’t see it.

  31. Amber who would you suggest?

    Ken Clark?

  32. @ TF

    Unfortunately, that was 33 years ago – when Lab + Con made up 61.4% of the electorate (even in 1983, it was 50.8), as opposed to 2010 when it was 42.4% of the electorate – meaning a lot more of the vote goes to other parties (22.7% voted other parties in 2010), making it even more difficult for Labour to gain, compared to then.
    I just can’t see it.

    In fact the position is that with more diversity there is the possibility of more unpredicatable out comes. So that makes the unexpected expected.

  33. @Tinged F

    These are not normal times. One of our three main parties has effectively redefined where it sits on the political spectrum, shifting from one side to the other.

    In these circumstances, the historical precedent that matters is this: The last time the mould of British politics was broken (1983), shifting votes on the left to the centre, the centre vote increased by 11.6%, and the left vote fell by 9.4%.

    So first take into account the effect on VI of the successful effort by the Lib Dems to redefine themselves as a party of the political right. Once that is done, the swing on top of that to deliver a Lab majority seems well within reach, given the right set of circumstances.

  34. Phil,
    But the LibDems must know that they cannot win as a party of the right – so a shift left by 2015 is almost inevitable. And when Labour shift right, a large portion of the LibDem vote will go elsewhere (whether back to the LibDems, other parties or not turning out).

    But you are right, in 1983 Labour lost 8.1% of the electorate and Alliance gained 7.9%, so it is possible.

  35. TF

    Why wil Labour move right?

    How can LDs move left when they have lost their left wing?

  36. Good Evening, in a cold and wet Bournemouth.

    Just been listening to Verdi’s Requiem on Classical FM, hosted by David Mellor- the Dies Irae section.

    On politics, I think that no one knows what territory we are in now, let alone what we will be in by 2015.

    However, the Lib Dems seem to have problems

  37. Chrislane1945

    Cold andwet in Washington as well My music tonight is Tanita Tikaram.

    Converting my vynil to iTunes as we type.

  38. DaveM
    Labour will shift right because they assume that the way to win elections is to go for the Tory vote – Ed Miliband himself has said as much.
    Anything left of Blair earns him the ‘Red Ed’ title and he wants to avoid ‘a repeat of 1983’.

    And the LibDems will shift left (in policy) to try to win back the left-wing voters they’ve lost – so they’ll place themselves left of Labour.

  39. If the LDs place themselves left of Labour they will lose the right wing who have stayed with them and the left will laugh at them.

    If they do as you say lets start talking about VI at or around 3%, which is why they will not, can not move left now.

  40. @Tinged F

    Whether the LDs like it or not (and I think the answer is not), in terms of the electorate the LDs will in 2015 be defined as a party of the right by virtue of their actions of the previous 5 years. They can’t escape that fate.

    And to echo DaveM, I see no reason for Labour to move to the right.

  41. @Tinged F
    “Labour will shift right because they assume that the way to win elections is to go for the Tory vote – Ed Miliband himself has said as much.”

    No, E Miliband won the leadership on a platform that recognised the importance of appealing to a lost core vote.

  42. TingedFringe

    The leftward move for the LD may sound good on paper but in practice I fail to see how it can happen.

    They cannot wait until the election or they will look opportunistic so they will have to move beforehand and in doing so have to rid themselves of a leadership that is right wing. I would say a change would need to be made at least 18 months before the election which mean in a year or so time – can you imagine what this would do to the Coalition.

    I would also guess there will be no desire in the Labour Party to deal with a LD party that will just have been part of a Government that has promoted a rightwing agenda – favoring trying as a minority.

    I think there is no possible way for the LD to avoid a split (apart from a Labour OM) – any requirement to form a Coalition will tear them apart

  43. DAVEM.
    I agree with you that Lib Dems cannot move to the Left now, they are stuck.

    On reflection, do you think that 3% VI for LD’s is a little on the high side perhaps?

  44. Chrislane.

    3% might be on the high side ifthey move left, however they will not do that. So Isee them getting 8% or there abouts.

    I also see them still getting some tactical; votes in seats where Labour are a distant third as Labour voters work out the way to do as much damage to the Tories as possible

  45. And if they were to move to the left, who would believe them?

  46. I think Andrew Neil is balanced despite his past and delivers his autocue jokes very well? Did anyone else see the moment on DP when Ed Balls responded to Neil quoting some data that he had read Fraser Nelson’s blog and it was wrong, much mirth all round.

    Agree about the 3 clowns at the end of Sunday Politics.

  47. @Phil – “Did this £0.75 bn boost to retail sales inflate 2012 Q1 GDP figures?”

    The Office for National Statistics said the volume of retail sales rose by 1.8% month on month in March – and “one of the main drivers” came from petrol sales.

    Add to that the 500% rise in sales of jerry cans. :(

    There had been an increase in the retail spending on Summer clothes etc because of the warm March weather. My impression was that the fuel panic may have choked off that more productive (for the economy as a whole) type of spending, as people were rushing to the filling station and then straight home again… either to save the fuel they had just bought (typical panic behaviour), or because they had spent their budget.

    Because fuel is relatively non perishable, sales of fuel will be down by a corresponding amount in early April.

  48. The Lib Dems have not moved rightwards. The coalition is to the right of the Lib Dems and to the left of the Conservatives. As such, the Lib Dems won’t (have to) shift leftwards. Because they won’t move, th

  49. @ Lefty Lampton,

    Jeepers! I can’t believe you are quoting these figures of the Lost LDs as cause for rejoicing in the Lab camp. That basically says that the 60% of them think EM is doing a crap job, which in turn says that they are very soft.

    It would only take Nick Clegg to do something marginally popular with them and they could well jump back. Now I realise that he has failed to do that in 2 years of coalition govt, but if he can manufacture a heroic dust up with DC on something important and march out of the coalition, then his numbers may improve and that 60% may be marching back to the yellows.

    I was beginning to believe that the Lost LDs were really going to stay with with Lab but not so sure now.

  50. Colin Green

    The coalition is not to the right of the perception of Lib Dems. As a party that is correct but the leadership is a part of the Coalition Government and that is what matters.

    Explain how they would put green water between them and the Tories within the next year or so whilst maintaining their position in the Coaliition and looking like chancers. Do you see Laws, Alexander, Clegg sitting in a cabinet with Ed Balls?

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