Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sunday Times CON 32%, LAB 43%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 8%, in line with the average Labour lead of 9-10 points or so that we’ve seen in the last week. As usual I’ll do a proper update tomorrow once the tables appear.

84 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 32, LAB 43, LD 8, UKIP 8”

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  1. First

  2. This, quite frankly, is a rather delightful poll and I will now be able to luxuriate in its findings for very nearly 48 hours.

  3. Tories marooned in low to very low thirties.

  4. Remarkable stability in these YG polls, particularly for Labour. They have been in the 42-44 range for over a month now, with just an odd 45 and a couple of 41’s thrown in. Not a great deal more variation in Tory VI either, although they seem to hit the lower end of 31 a bit more often.

  5. Seventeeth.

  6. Just to ask…. what’s with the Russian twitter feed??

  7. A few months ago, I was chastised by AW for confusing consistent poll figures with firm poll support.

    And yet. Presumably, there has to be a point at which consistency morphs into firmness. Given that Labour’s YG VI figure has hardly moved from 41-42% +/- MoE for 18 months now, can we start, tentatively to consider a 40+ Labour VI as reasonably firm? For the foreseeable future at least?

  8. Labour no lower than 42% regularly and Conservatives struggling to hit 34% points at a likely Labour victory of some sort next time, as it seems to me.

    I was tempted to claim the position of “9 & 3/4”, but I imagine there might be a lawsuit if I tried.


    Could you imagine if Justine Greening stood up in parliament and announced the building of ‘two’ more runways at Heathrow.

    I think the speaker would have to stop the session, given the outcry the last time a third runway was out forward.

  10. @R Huckle

    A third runway at Heathrow is not quite as unpopular to Hounslow residents as you appear to suggest. In the London mayoral election Ken was in favour, Boris implacably against. The result was divided.

  11. Michael

    Re Russian Twitter Feed. Anthony is a double agent ! :)

    The answer is that Anthony the owner of the site sells advertising space to google (?) or another company, who decide on what adverts appear. I presume there must be some agreement made, as to the type of advertisers, as you won’t see one for Comres or Mori Polling. ( I asked this question before and I think this is what Anythony said, but no doubt he will correct if wrong)

    I regulary see a rather attractive brunette, with blue eyes called Jill, advertising an investments company, appear when I am on UKPR. There are also ads about a dating agency for women in uniform. ( must be reading my dirty mind).

  12. But given your user name RAF, you would be in favour of as many runways as possible.

    I remember when one of my Grans and an Aunt lived in the Hounslow area many years ago. Great place for plane spotting. Didn’t need binoculars !

  13. “… gradually lobotomised by the sheer neurosis and weight of everyday government activity.”

    That’s how Nick Clegg feels… in his own words. Osborne has clearly lost his rag. Cameron didn’t enjoying being shunned at the G20 and then again in Bruxelles.

    Pressure on the rebels is reported to have brought the number down from 100 to 80. If the Quad can’t manage to either pass or bypass both Lords reform and the boundaries with some semblance of good order then speculation about an early election will grow.

  14. As this is strictly a site for non-partisan discussion of polls, I trust it’s in order to draw attention to the latest ConservativeHome popularity poll of Cabinet members, reported here:

    It might still be sailing a bit close to the wind to speculate as to the reasons why David Cameron has suddenly disappeared from July’s poll. So can I suggest that we banish from our minds any thought that this disappearance has something to do with a continuation in the sharp fall in Cameron’s ratings over the previous months, as alleged by the site linked to.

  15. I was looking at the YG poll of 4-5 July and noted the responses to the idea that for any of the 3 main GB parties “It is led by people of real ability” – showing little change from the June responses.

    “Applies to none of them” – 47% in GB : 42/3% in South/Central England : 50% in N Eng : 59% in Scotland.

    I find it difficult to see why partisan supporters of these parties get so excited by shifts in measures of which are seen by voters as least awful.

    Those intending to vote Lab are least enthused about the ability of the leadership of any party (43% Lab VI thinks all leaders are crap, compared to 30% of Tories and 25% of the residual LDs).

    Reductio ad rectum?

  16. @phil

    Unfortunately for the folks at ConHome, I don’t see many of the people at the top of their lists doing well, Eric Pickles? Gove? IDS and Hague? Hague might be acceptable to “Silent Majority” this time around, but he wasn’t very inspiring the first time around.

    I guess they could have one of their people become leader and make Danny Alexander PM, but I just don’t see any really good replacements for Cameron.


    That Danny Alexander is the Tories 13th favourite, and Michel Moore the 18th probably won’t delight the voters on their constituencies.

    So, not all bad news then! :-)

  18. MOS reporting that the `Whitehall figures` reported in Diamond email is current Cabinet secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood making an innocent query…For some reason,the media din`t want to believe that Whitehall referred to civil servants when that`s a fairly common term for the civil service.

    With the Libor scandal possibly rekindling memories of the crash under Labour,slightly surprised by the Labour lead in this poll.

  19. @Americanbystander

    Indeed. There seems to be a big disconnect between those at the top of the ConHome poll and the opinion of the wider public. Although for example Osborne’s in negative territory with both.

    The poll might prompt Alexander to give serious consideration to seeking a free transfer to the Conservative Party. And I suspect that if David Laws were still in his place he’d have come close to topping the poll.

  20. I actually fear for the UK if Eric Pickles, IDS, or Gove become leader, it would make Ed look like a Kennedy to their Nixon!!!

    It could be good news for Clegg though, he might be able to blow his opponents out of the water in a Debate.

    I’m sorry, but with the exception of maybe a miniscule bump for Gove or Hague, I just don’t see the polling gains in switching with a frontbencher. Maybe they can find a backbencher though.


    Thanks for that. My assumption had been that “Whitehall” was the term used for the UK/English Civil Service, but didn’t know whether that was the case or not, in the arcane world of Westminster politics.

  22. Phil

    “Alexander to give serious consideration to seeking a free transfer to the Conservative Party”

    Might well be the case, and such speculation would make it all the more likely that the new constituency would pick Kennedy as their candidate. Kennedy would guarantee victory, but the remnant Scots LDs (who would decide) might have become so Tory-Lite that they would prefer running with Alexander (and losing).

  23. Going by the West Highlands , the Boundary commission draft is a nonsense , ” South Lochaber ” being annexed into Argyll !!! There are many similar jokes around Scotland but I don’t see Chartlie Kennedy having a problem wichever seat he opts for .

    Alexanderr is the one in trouble , against an incumbent SNP in Moray

  24. @Old Nat

    “Whitehall” is often used as a metonym to refer that part of the civil service which is involved in the government of the United Kingdom

    Whitehall Study I started in 1965 and showed that “men in the lowest grade (messengers, doorkeepers, etc.) had a mortality rate three times higher than that of men in the highest grade (administrators)”.

    Whitehall II expanded the research in 1985, is still running, and continues to explore the social gradient for a range of different diseases.


    ““Whitehall” is often used as a metonym to refer that part of the civil service which is involved in the government of the United Kingdom”

    Are you sure? Isn’t the term also used to refer to that part of the civil service which is solely concerned with the governance of England?

    I’m sure that I’ve seen references to “Whitehall” in connection with Pickle’s Department., for example.


    Agreed that Charlie would be elected for any seat he stands for – but if he is to stand as an LD candidate, a constituency has to select him.

    If he stood as an independent against Alexander, he would continue as an MP.

  27. OLDNAT ,

    Isn’t the bulk of his Constituency intact ? it’s a sad loss to lose an independent minded MP in this Party / PR Industry run so called democracy we live in .

  28. @Old Nat

    Strictly speaking the DCLG is a United Kingdom government department (for communities and local government in England).


    As I understand the proposal, the new configuration of Highland seats would involve the current 3 seats of Thurso, Alexander, and Kennedy effectively reducing to 2 – with some parts going to strong SNP areas such as Argyll and Moray.

    The speculation I have seen suggests that John Thurso wants to continue and would be the likely candidate for the Northmost seat. That leaves Kennedy and Alexander potentially competing for the other Highland seat.

  30. Billy Bob

    “Strictly speaking the DCLG is a United Kingdom government department”

    So how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? :-)

    You are, of course, correct, since England is the only part of the UK with no devolved functions. Consequently, you have the joy of decisions being made for you by those MPs who are totally unaffected by them!

    Fortunately, in Whitehall, I think the relevant civil servants are probably well aware that they only cater to England.

    Pity that the civil servants in other Whitehall departments often do the same. The UK would doubtless function better if parts of Whitehall recognised the diverse nature of the UK’s governance and administration.

  31. OLDNAT

    Thurso and Kennedy ‘s seats are largely intact so that would give them an advantage – LDs give local members the say , i think .

    Thus talk of Alexander jumping ship in the East Highlands where the Conservatives are a strong 2nd and there is no great appetite for Labour .

    Conservatives in Scotland will happily vote SNP / LD to beat Labour . LDs and SNP both held and gained comfortably in the last local elections and , indeed, the SNP did spectacularly in the North at the Holyrood Elections

  32. MOS reporting that the `Whitehall figures` reported in Diamond email is current Cabinet secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood making an innocent query…
    If Paul Tucker confirms this on Monday, it will be LOL funny. :-)

    Will the TSC or David Cameron’s Inquiry demand that Sir Jeremy, the Cabinet Secretary attend & answer questions? He was Gordon Brown’s PPS at the time. Osborne must be itching to get him in the frame but it’s the Cameron administration which appointed him Cabinet Secretary so I think the ‘innocent query/conversation’ line will win the day.

    Which rather puts Paul Tucker back in the frame. Either he misunderstood Jeremy Heywood, or he mis-characterized his conversation with Sir Jeremy when he spoke with Bob Diamond.

    And we still don’t know, why was Paul Tucker giving Diamond a ‘heads up’ about this conversation with Sir Jeremy? Maybe Mr Tucker will enlighten us all on Monday.

  33. @ Old Nat

    Fortunately, in Whitehall, I think the relevant civil servants are probably well aware that they only cater to England.
    I think Sir Jeremy caters to everybody & nobody. Here’s a quote from a BBC profile (I am not making this up):

    “If we had a written constitution in this country,” quips former head of No 10 policy unit Nick Pearce, “It would have to say something like: ‘Not withstanding the fact that Jeremy Heywood will always be at the centre of power, we are free and equal citizens’.”

    As I mentioned, Sir Jeremy was Principle Private Secretary to Gordon Brown. He’d previously been PPS for Chancellors Norman Lamont (David Cameron was Lamont’s SpAd), Ken Clarke & Gordon Brown before being promoted to being PPS to Tony Blair. He left in 2003 to be Director of a UK division of JP Morgan (Tony Blair is now a senior adviser to the same bank). He returned to Downing Street in 2007 to be Brown’s PPS; then in 2011 when Gus O’Donnell stepped down, Sir Jeremy Heywood was given the Cabinet Office position in Cameron’s administration; his knighthood followed soon after.

    I was aware of Sir Jeremy before now but not the extent of his roles, influence & past banking connections. I think Paul Tucker will be tippy toe-ing around this when he gives evidence to the TSC on Monday!

    I’m willing to bet that Osborne, Fallon & Tyrie did not expect to find themselves taking on Sir Jeremy when they cast aspertions on the ‘senior Whitehall figure’ who’d been ‘innocently, on behalf of nobody in particular’ asking about Libor & Barclays’s rates!

  34. Given the Treasury / Bank of England machinations of the last 4 years i think Tyrie and Fallon and hopefully Cable would be a perfect Inquisition , but alas with no powers .
    Which is what we need .

  35. OOps

    We need a serious panel of Inquisitors to name and shame ,

  36. To be fair the TV news channels were clear at the outset that ‘Whitehall’ normally means the civil service whereas Westminster normally means politicians (the Government). It was only some of the print media briefed by Osbornes people who tried to snare Balls. The TV news then understandably reported the newspapers.
    It seems a long time ago the GO wrong footed GB with his IT announcement.
    Howe, Lawson, Major, Clarke – all Conservative chancellors who many disagreed with but acknowledged were competent. It seems even Con Home readers are doubting GO now and this will feed through in to those crucial Economic competence poll numbers which will be so important come the GE.

    There is a residual doubt about the way Phillip Hammond handled his private finances; if this is manageable DC may be wise to make him Chancellor GO Party ‘ Chairman’ after the next budget,
    Doubt he will as George is a chum.

  37. Good Morning from a wet Bournemouth.

    Quite a surprising poll in many ways this weekend I think.

    I would like to see am ICM poll as well, however, as a reality check.

    The ‘Tory Grandee’ revolt over Lords reform looks to be quite strong.

  38. Apologies to others?
    Chris – are you coming to the British Chess Champs in North Shield this later this month?

  39. JIM JAM.
    Sadly, no.
    I get my grading soon, having been playing again this season, now that my family is more grown up!

    Are you coming to the Retreat for Men at Woldingham next weekend, the school where Ms Mensch attended?

  40. Our local paper in Norwich has run several letters very critical of the Tory council’s policy of buying land to stimulate development. One letter said that Toryism stood for cutting spending and taxes and how could the council buy land with taxpayers’ money when the country was in such a mess.

  41. WOLF.
    I well remember being in the BEEHIVE on the night of the 1992 GE, and a lady came in and announced that John Major had won a surprise election.

    My baby son walked around the previous few weeks saying:
    ‘John Garret, Labour.
    The nursery staff at St Giles Nursery were amused.

    I taught in a school on Surrey Street, 1988-1993.

    The Council then was Labour I think.

  42. Leader Approval –
    Cameron -27 (-3)
    Miliband -24 (+1)
    Clegg -55 (-1)
    All within MOE, but no real change – Cameron and Miliband still neck and neck. Clegg still stuck in the mid-negative-50s.

    So it seems that Osborne’s attack didn’t work?

  43. @tingedfringe – “So it seems that Osborne’s attack didn’t work?”

    Fraser Nelson seems to be a lone voice in the mainstream press – and Paul Goodman a lone voice on ConHome… they are the only people I can find who have anything positive to say about Osborne atm, even No 10 has distanced itself.

    According to ConHome “George Osborne has trawled the City of London for damaging information about Ed Balls as part of an operation to prove that the shadow chancellor exerted inappropriate pressure while he was a government minister… a Treasury source confirmed that he had approached City figures to ask about Balls.”

    I think this is what annoyed Tory MPs, they had been led to believe George had a silver bullet to back up his accusations


    @”it would make Ed look like a Kennedy to their Nixon!!!”

    In fairness to Ed Miliband, I have never seen any suggestion that he is a serial adulterer & sexual predator.

    I had the impression that Nixon concentrated on Foreign Affairs ( Domestic affairs being a Kennedy speciality)-did he have to deal with chronic welfare dependency & institutional destruction of education standards?

    Don’t see the parallels really .

  45. If Osborne doesn’t find any evidence of wrongdoing, I can’t see how he can avoid a public apology.

    And if the GDP figures that come out later this month are poor, it’ll probably be quite a bad month for Osborne.

    But Osborne already has low approval figures (-41 as of last week), so I can’t see it doing much damage to Tory VI – I suspect, unless there is a major economic failure, that Tory VI will dip below the low 30s that it’s at.
    So the only way is up – even if for now the road is bumpy.

  46. “I suspect, unless there is a major economic failure, that Tory VI will dip below the low 30s that it’s at.”
    Should read ‘WON’T’ dip below the low 30s.
    I.e 31-32 is it’s lowest point.

  47. Good Morning again.
    Interesting article by Andrew Rawnsley today which confirms what Nick P has been saying here for some time about the chances of David Cameron increasing his vote share and the number of tory seats in the next GE.

  48. @Colin – ” …institutional destruction of education standards?”

    Let’s not get carried away… no doubt the judgement on this government’s policy will come in due course – but I note that it took an FoI request to get Gove’s department to release a report on Labour’s Building Schools for the Future programme:


  49. Chris – It doesn’t “confirm” it, it agrees with it. Just because you are a national newspaper columnists you are no less likely to be wrong than Joe Shmoe on the Clapham Omnibus (in a few cases I can think you are significantly more likely to be wrong).

    The rest of Rawnsley’s article (about the shine coming off a leader is in office, the failure of part of the Conservative decontamination, etc) is good, the argument from history is, as ever, given undue prominence.

    I’ve mentioned this before in passing, I should really do a proper post on it. Essentially though there have only been 18 elections since WW2, and only 9 or 10 when the Liberals/Lib Dems contested all seats and which can really be compared to today. The number of “successful oppositions” or governments that have lost is even lower.

    This means there are an extremely low number of data points, so it is very easy to mine the data for patterns that fit and they proclaim it as some iron rule… especially if you let yourself discard a couple of points as “unusual circumstances”, as almost every election has some sort of unusual circumstance.

    So no government has increased it’s vote share… except for the three when they did (1955, 1966, O1974), but they were special or long ago so we’ll exclude them post-hoc. In fact first term governments have gone to the country seven times since the war. Three times they increased their vote share, four times they saw it fall.

    Before the October 1974 election one the same history could have been cited to say how only two government before had increased it’s share. People only move the goalposts after the event. Say the Conservatives did increase their share, I’m sure some special excuse could be found for them too (oh, that one was only because the Lib Dem vote collapsed so both main parties gained share!)

    Roger Mortimore has effectively satirised this sort of thing with his Sweet FA election predictor, showing how if the team that holds the FA cup plays in blue or white the Conservatives win, or if they play in red or yellow then Labour win. This has correctedly predicted all but one election since 1964… and the 1983 exception as only because Brighton & Hove Albion missed an open goal in the final.

    The number of data points is so small it is easier to come up with even more patently absurd rules. For example, not since Churchill has a Conservative Leader of the Opposition managed to win an overall majority while being married to a woman. No Labour leader has managed to win a general election since 1974 unless they were married to Cherie Blair.

    To give a practical example of a serious commentator falling apart on paying too much attention to history, in 1997, when all the polls were pointing to an overwhelming Labour majority one man in the commentariat stood firm against it. Dr David Carlton of Warwick University sagely predicted a hung Parliament on the basis that history showed it was impossible for Labour to achive the sort of swing they needed to win an overall majority, no opposition had ever received a swung that big. The rest is history.

    Such things underline that governments normally do go backwards once they are in power, things go wrong, people blame the government and familiarity breeds contempt… but don’t make the mistake of casting such things into iron rules, for they are easily broken.

  50. hmmm

    But I can say two things:

    For the coalition, the honeymoon is over; and

    For the Tories they got 36% against a supposedly discredited Government, and there is no reason I can see why their vote share is likely to increase

    But on point two, something could come along.

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