Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 44%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 7%, very much in the normal range. On a Monday night you may be wondering where the monthly Populus and ICM polls for the Times and Guardian have got to – my understandiing is that Populus/Times are skipping August, as they have done in past years, and ICM/Guardian will probably be next week.

185 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 34, LAB 44, LD 8, UKIP 7”

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  1. Alec,

    At the moment it is ‘illegal’ for govt to develop industry itself. That is ‘state support’ and ‘unfair competition’, but there is no sign that private capital is interested in investment.

    We need to get rid of the stupid laws – mostly passed at EU level without democratic involvement – that bans us from acting in our own best national interests. We can’t invest directly and we can’t tax idle capital, because it will simply shift to tax havens.

    We should be talking about import substitution and building domestic capacity, but our govts have deliberately tied their own hands in these matters, partly for ideological reasons, mostly to buy off political opposition from the rich and powerful (in Labour’s case).

  2. Those odds are stupidly short for Labour, who I believe will end up third. Long for both Tory and UKIP, UKIP will probably win though.

  3. @Mikems – “At the moment it is ‘illegal’ for govt to develop industry itself. That is ‘state support’ and ‘unfair competition’, but there is no sign that private capital is interested in investment.”

    No it isn’t, but there are States Aid limits to the amount of support an enterprise can have within a specified period. In general this is quite sensible, as it prevents endless subsidies distorting the markets (as in agriculture, which may be treated differently under the CAP – I’m not too sure).

    However, even allowing for States Aid rules, there are plenty of ways the tax system can be brought into play to provide incentives and rewards for the right kinds of activities.

  4. Alec,

    Thanks for that.

    Do we fall foul of EU and domestic law if we try to nationalise the railways, for example? I understand the German state railways has majority control of UK freight and interest in passenger franchises. So would they sue us if we did what they are doing with their state owned company?

    Or if we offer tax benefits to import replacement businesses? Would that lead to trade sanctions?

    Can all this be got around with sufficient political will without running foul of litigation from private, not necessarily UK, not necessarily privately owned, interests?

    Or are we forever at the mercy of private interests and legal challenges if we choose to exercise what used to be considered democratic sovereignty?

    Would be very grateful if anyone could illuminate this area for me.

  5. Thanks Joe. I am seriously considering maxing out my Paddy Power account on UKIP at 2/1. I dunno how much they will let me have. Unfortunately, PP have restricted the amount I can stake on political bets since my wins on the Scottish GE 2011 betting. But at least they didn’t ban me completely like Victor Chandler!

  6. @Joe
    ‘Those odds are stupidly short for Labour, who I believe will end up third. Long for both Tory and UKIP, UKIP will probably win though.’

    I think you are seriously wrong thereThe last time the nain opposition party failed to win the largest share of the vote at EU elections was 1984. I cannot see Labour polling below circa 30% of the vote in the 2014 elections if they remain ahead in the national polls.

  7. @ Colin

    Is anyone going to respond to Burnham?-or will he have achieved yet another brilliant Labour Bandwagon Performance , which somehow avoids any examination whatsoever of their own record & policies on the government action being criticised.
    How can the Tories respond? By saying the project which they are enthusiastically pushing was conceived by Andy B? Then he can take the credit for the ‘good’ idea whilst saying he’d have implemented it differently.

    We reds love Andy B; he consistently wins the Labour List popularity contest. I guess the blues just need to be thankful that he didn’t win the leadership contest. ;-)

  8. This from the Telegraph – “Borrowing this year could be as much as £30bn more than in 2011/12, according to economists at Royal Bank of Scotland and Scotiabank. That would take it to £155bn – just £3bn less than Labour at the height of its Keynesian stimulus efforts in 2009/10.”

    If this does turn out to be true, it would be devastating for Osborne, but equally, as the Telegraph says, this isn’t easy for Labour either. The argument for borrowing to invest sounds much stronger if debt levels are lower.

    Perhaps had Osborne gone ahead with his aggressive policies on welfare in order to free up cash to invest, we wouldn’t be in such a mess and he would be seen as a far more visionary chancellor, but the truth is circumstances were and are very difficult, and even a minor miss step is likely to have a big negative effect.

  9. “Those odds are stupidly short for Labour, who I believe will end up third. Long for both Tory and UKIP, UKIP will probably win though.”

    Have you even BEEN to England, Joe?

  10. @Mikems – in truth, I don’t really know the answers to your questions.

    In terms of bail outs and nationalisations, these are allowed (ref Northern Rock) but I think they need EU commission approval. I presume there are various criteria they must meet to be approved.

    In terms of using tax rates to import businesses, see Ireland and Corporation Tax – this is possible, so long as the taxes applied to all businesses equally. I think there are restrictions on VAT, although even here we’ve got 5% and 0% rates, but I’m not really sure.

    On my comment on welfare savings, what I was meaning is if he had made the cuts but then spent the money on growth measures, we might be happier.

  11. Let’s say we had a failure in investment into renewable energy (let’s say it because it is happening now) and the only way to deal with our energy supply problems was to invest in state owned infrastructure.

    Would the private companies involved in the sector, and who have failed to adequately invest, have a legal case against the state-owned company? Would the ECJ deem it illegal and anti-competitive? I think they would have a case and the court would decide that.

    That’s the problem here : Thatcherism and privatisation has been written into law in the EU, so that our own society is doubly beyond our control; public services in private hands, their contracts subject to commercial secrecy, and EU courts deciding what is legal. We’ve been stitched up like a veritable kipper, it seems to me.

  12. @Chris Lane 1945

    “Good Afternoon all, after a terrible night in Everton.”

    A terrible night? I thought Everton won.


    “…but the tenor of reporting-particularly the BBC on both radio & tv is -more “privatisation”.”

    Beware the IDS trap of shooting the messenger on this. As the economic news becomes progressively more difficult for the government, it is understandable that they are getting angry about how it looks for them politically. There is an element in the Conservative Party which is deeply distrustful of the BBC and view it almost as a left wing fiefdom. This is nonsense in my view, and not an opinion shared by the wider public either, and there’s something almost ideological about their dislike. Mind you, if you have grown used to biased reporting on your behalf, which the Tories by and large have across most media outlets over the years, then genuine impartiality can seem like hostility. If you appear on Sky News and get your belly tickled by Adam Boulton, Kay Burley and Jeff Randall, then being questioned directly and objectively by rigorous journalists like Flanders, Peston, Mair, Essler, Naughtie, Davies and Paxman must feel like a very inconvenient and unwelcome inquisition. You only have to see the shock on the faces of people like Cameron, Lansley, Hunt and Gove when questioned in this way to see the utter outrage it appears to cause them.

    In fact, the current BBC team of reporters on political and economic issues seems pretty balanced to me. The likes of Robinson, Neil, Dimbleby and Landale appear broadly sympathetic to the Government on most issues but their professionalism takes precedence in the main, even though they may not be amongst my favourite journalists.

    I would think a lot of this anti BBC rhetoric from the Government is grandstanding to appease right wing backbenchers, mixed up with frustration that this damned political weather just won’t bloody change!!

    Mind you, maybe the current Chairman of the BBC Trust, Lord Patten, is a closet socialist and not the former Chairman of the Conservative Party we all thought he had been!!

  13. Hello CROSSBAT 11.
    Funny, smiley face and also agreeing with your post.

    The reason for the Coalition being formed was to ‘sort out the deficit’ .

    So what are they going to do.

    By the way the Crosland Biography is truly brilliant.

  14. If it raely is the economy, stupid, then we might see some shift in voting intention by the end of the week.

    Osborne and the Austerity-ites seem to have very few allies left now. Plan B or bust.

  15. @NickP

    What evidence is there that voters will react to macro economic data ‘by the end of the week’?

  16. I think there may be something in what Crossbat says about the difference between BBC interviewers and Sky ones. One could add Channel 4 to the BBC side and perhaps ITV to the Sky flanks.

    However, I don’t think any of that makes a jot of difference to voters because only 4% of them are interested.

  17. Debate about whether TV channel X is biased and is what direction is pretty pointless and sterile. It is almost wholly in the eye of the beholder, with people tending to think channels are biased to their opponents and that the channels that their opponents think are biased in the opposite direction are neutral (and vice-versa). There is no decent empirical way of measuring it.

    What we do have is the polling commissioned by Lord Ashcroft earlier this year on the wider public’s perceptions of whether and in which direction TV and newspapers are biased:

    But that, of course, only measures perception. It doesn’t show that stations actually are biased.

  18. howard

    I thought I was waiting till the end of the week to see if there was some?

    The Lib Dem chances in the Euro Elections must not be underestimated.

  20. @ Roger Mexico

    “Actually I have a little bit of sympathy for those taking the Todd Atkins line. After all if you believe in the magic “human-ness” of a foetus, no matter how small, the reason that foetus came into existence should be irrelevant. For a few moments in their life these people aren’t being hypocritical.

    Of course when it comes to justifying that belief about a foetus, they then have problems. “God told me so”[1] isn’t a particularly good reason under the Constitution and I suspect few of those taking this line are strict vegetarians with a Jain-like reverence for all life. And of course if they or someone in their family needs a termination it’s different. Still the few times in their life when they attempt some sort of moral consistency (on any basis other than self-interest) ought to be pointed out.

    [1] Like most “fundamentalist” beliefs, the horror about abortion is comparatively recent in historical terms. While the Christian tradition was never happy about them, first trimester terminations were regarded as fairly minor sins. Muslim and Jewish traditions were pretty relaxed about early and sometimes all abortions, though this seems to be changing as some clerics realise this is another splendid reason for persecuting women.”

    Well I don’t have any sympathy for him. But I am glad he said what he did. I don’t know about the Muslim tradition but in the Jewish tradition, abortions are not considered sinful as the interest of the mother comes first over the interest of the unborn child.

    The other problem that people are noting with Akin’s comments is that they harken back to a previous era of rape law where non-forcible rape wasn’t recognized as a crime and where a presumption existed against the woman who made accusations of rape. A woman had to prove that she had in fact resisted. You could bring in evidence of a woman’s past sexual history in order to discredit her as unchaste and somehow deserving of rape or having consented to it.

  21. I’m pondering how the ‘NHS expanding abroad’ will fit in with patient choice. Can we demand to be treated in Dubai as our preferred option.

    Three weeks of sun, sand and surgery please.

  22. @ Billy Bob

    “I don’t know if it is being picked up in the US media, but no one here has questioned the “I understand from doctors” part.

    No doubt Todd Akin is selective about where he gets his advice – but it must be worrying that there are doctors who allow moral prejudice to blind their clinical understanding.”

    It is pretty disturbing. I mean, I’m not even sure Nick Riviera would condone something like that. Akin is not the first to have said this, there have been other GOP politicians who have said as much in the past. Unless they all have the same doctor or get their wacky information from the same doctor, there is probably more than one doctor out there uttering this nonsense.

    Btw, the Republican Party platform since 1976 favors outlawing abortion in all cases, even in cases of rape and incest. The same is true this year (they just voted it back into their platform). Paul Ryan is a co-sponsor of all Akin’s bills to ban abortion even in cases of rape and incest. (He’s also a co-sponsor of federal legislation for forced vaginal probes and federal legislation that would enact the Personhood Amendment). Romney has taken this position at least a few times this year. Yet in the wake of Akin’s comments, both are saying that their administration wouldn’t ooutlaw abortions in cases of rape and incest.

    Please tell me, how does that work?

    “On Paul Goodman, he held the same position in David Cameron’s shadow cabinet for five years – before deciding to leave parliament and “second guess” the leadership from platforms in the Telegraph and ConservativeHome. As Martyn commented over the weekend, Cameron seems to have lost control (this is if his mandate ever stretched very far) – maybe it is wiser not to attempt to stamp one’s authority too hard, but the party does seem to lack a sense of direction atm.


    I think making Vince Cable the Home Secretary wouldn’t do much to help Cameron. It would just create more distrust among the base of the party. I think the Tory fortunes will revive (if they’re that down to begin with) if there is economic improvement.

  23. @ Roger Mexico

    “The ECHR doesn’t explicitly cover strict procedure, but Article 6 is about the right to a fair trial and the police or prosecution not disclosing significant evidence would be seen as breaching that.”

    Yeah, we call it a Brady violation here. Although the Roberts Court has been doing its best to gut Brady. I figure the ECHR would have some criminal procedure protections in it given that it’s really not an operating document for any government in particular and instead a guarantee of rights.

    Of course, most of the criminal procedure protections in the U.S. Constitution weren’t in the original document either. They were instead put in later out of fear of what the federal government might be able to do to tramp longstanding protections in state constitutions (the irony of originalism is that most of the Founders didn’t even really understand or agree on the meaning of the Constitution or even take consistent positions on the meaning of various provisions).

  24. @ Alec

    “I’m pondering how the ‘NHS expanding abroad’ will fit in with patient choice. Can we demand to be treated in Dubai as our preferred option.

    Three weeks of sun, sand and surgery please”

    What about treatment in Florida? It’d create a lot of new jobs and business here. And it’d be a way to make both our respective country’s citizens happy. All you’d need to complete it is have full on catering from Lawry’s at the surgery sites and you’ll have utter contentment (though that seems like something Labour, especially New Labour, would come up with).

  25. @Anthony

    The rough measure I use is that a TV station that both sides accuse of being biased to the other is probably balanced.

  26. @AW August 21st, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    A question on methodology if I may. The Lord Ashcroft poll has a sample size of 6863. That seems rather a lot to me. I thought the maths meant a sample size of 1000 gave you a 3% error (95% CI) and 3000 brought that down to 1%. So to have a sample this large seems to be rather a waste of money.

    I must have misunderstood something. Let me ask the direct question: why so large a sample?


    @”I wonder if perhaps he just smiled pleasantly at the interviewer and your inbuilt prejudice kicked in – just a teeny bit.”

    Funny you should respond Paul.

    I thought of you when I wrote it , because of your remarks about GO’s “smirking”.

    Andy Burnham has always had that rather sheepish grin before-and often during-interviews. Today was no exception, and the transition to a smirk was entirely understandable as he criticised a Government policy to start supporting a policy which he himself had founded. The smirk -I feel sure-was not unrelated to the complete absence of a question from the BBC interviewer along the lines………..”why have you changed your mind about this” ?


    BBC 6 pm TV News sees a slightly different approach.

    This was a Labour policy which never did much ( apart from Moorfields in Dubai)-and it probably won’t do much under this Government.

    …………….that’s a lot better :-) :-) :-)


    @”If you appear on Sky News and get your belly tickled by Adam Boulton, Kay Burley and Jeff Randall, then being questioned directly and objectively by rigorous journalists like Flanders, Peston, Mair, Essler, Naughtie, Davies and Paxman must feel like a very inconvenient and unwelcome inquisition.”

    Interesting list.

    My view of them :-

    Boulton. Haven’t seen any belly tickling from him. His style is complete cynicism-whoever you are.

    Burley. I switch over -she’s not a “journalist”.

    Randall-interesting. A right of centre chap undoubtedly-but as likely to berate a Conservative minister for spending proligacy as a Labour one. Pricks bubbles of all political colours. I like him-my kind of bloke.

    Flanders-A ( usually) objective & informative economics commentator. More of an analyst than an interrogator though.

    Peston-Not sure -suspect he just like unearthing scoops.( & he has had his share) For Peston, Peston is usually the story.

    Mair-not familiar with .

    Essler-A bit superficial I find.Not much depth.

    Naughtie-A “journalist” ? You’re having a larf!-Jim is just a self important poser of the worst kind.

    DAvies-I rate him highly. A Good financial background -perceptive-does his homework. Usually tries to be even handed.

    Paxman. Way past his sell by date-going through the bizarre ritual of “being Paxo”-the Archie Rice of TV Interviewers now. Being rude to students on UNiversity Challenge is what he does best now.

  30. CROSSBAT11


    I found your list of “journalists” interesting & responded with my opinions of each one.

    AW zapped it-so will not have to read it :-)

  31. AL URQA – simple answer to that, it means the crossbreaks are also bigger.

    The advantage of having a sample of 6000 over a sample of 2000 is indeed pretty small minimal. But tripling the overall sample would mean that a subsample of 500 would be tripled to 1500, a subsample of 300 would be triped to 900, etc, etc

  32. ComRes are tweeting a poll that shows a drop in trust in Osborne and Cameron. Due for ITV News at 10.

  33. Colin:

    I almost smirked.

  34. Colin
    ‘Paxman. Way past his sell by date-going through the bizarre ritual of “being Paxo”-the Archie Rice of TV Interviewers now. Being rude to students on UNiversity Challenge is what he does best now.’

    Yes that was the case once, but in recent times he has become quite kindly in his dotage; almost encouraging sometimes.

  35. Alec
    ‘I’m pondering how the ‘NHS expanding abroad’ will fit in with patient choice. Can we demand to be treated in Dubai as our preferred option.’

    From far too much experience of the NHS, my view is that at its best the NHS is definitely world class and could be sold anywhere. However the poorest parts are very poor, even life threatening; I am concerned that if we flog off our best services we will be left with a much inferior service; I despair of our politicians.

  36. @ Roger Mexico

    Remember how recently we were discussing reality tv shows and Tony Blair? I’ve got a GREAT idea for a new reality show.

    Todd Akin and George Galloway are given the money to open up a restaurant together. The two must overcome their lack of restaurant know-how and mutual suspicion and dislike of one another to make it a success. It would follow them and their respective families around and hoepfully would feature the two of them overcoming their natural differences (Akin hates Muslims, Galloway hates Americans) to find common ground (their shared vision of gender in the world). And if we’re really lucky, the show could maybe feature guest appearances by Gordon Ramsey who would lecture and yell loudly at them. The show would be entitled “Out to Lunch.”

  37. @Colin

    Full BBC interview with Andy B is on the website, though.

    He’s persuasive & confident despite toughish questioning. It’s just a pity that Osborne’s borrowing & Galloway’s remarks in support of Assange are headlining. Actually, from a Labour perspective, it’s all good. Ed Balls will probably be along in a minute, renewing his offer of a ‘grand coalition’ on the economy. ;-)

  38. NickP

    I meant, of course’ the end of any week’; it was just your quote.

    People on here get very excited about media political bias but my point was that it could not be numerically be significant on VI f only 4% are politically interested (either way).

    Colin’s reaction to these people was almost identical to my own and i prefer not to consider what salaries they are paid (especially the licence paid ones).

  39. But, Henry….

    I said IF IT REALLY IS THE ECONOMY, STUPID, then etc etc

    We shall see.

  40. Colin:


    Actually I’m sure I said”sneering”. he’s not nice enough to smirk surely?


    You think sneering is worse than smirking?

    It’s an interesting point of view..

    It could be said that sneering is more honest, it being usually obvious what gave rise to the sneer & what is being sneered at-whereas smirking has an element of self satisfaction about it-the secret which only the smirker is privy to.

    So we could say that sneering is intended to communicate a feeling of superiority over the sneeree.-and smirking to communicate a contempt for the smirkee.

    So it may well be that the former tends to be used by Conservatives & the latter by Labour politicians.

    :-) :-)

  42. AMBER

    @”Actually, from a Labour perspective, it’s all good.”

    Certainly is at the moment-no question.

    Still-we can dream.



    The Assange case is, of course, nothing to do with English or Scots Criminal Law. It is a matter for extradition to another state – which is a “whole UK” function.

  44. SoCalLiberal

    DC’s Gray has at least experienced a summer to survive through!

  45. The political doldrums are not just a case of salad days,

    I suspect that if voters were asked’what is the point of this government’ they would be pushed for a clear answer. I suppose ‘reducing the deficit / reducing the debt’ could come out top, but it’s not the stuff of politics is it? I mean you still have to decide what is fair and what is unfair.

    Despite taking an interest in politics (otherwise I would not follow this blog) I confess I cannot envisage 5 years of an alternative that would make a very noticeable difference to what we have now.

    I concluded a year ago that it was all rather pointless, prior to being absent for a while. I still feel that, really.

    Whatever must the mood among voters be?

  46. Sneering versus smirking.Well having just ploughed my way through THAT
    Book,I notice that our hero smirks a lot.Therefore smirking is sexy and
    Sneering is just plain mean.Perhaps.

  47. I must say I’m a bit disappointed to see that while Colin and I are busy discussing the relative merits of a smirk or a sneer others are discussing rotten ole policy matters.

    I think we need a poll on this but am sure a sneer is worse: a smirk can be conspiratorial, a sneer is a sneer.

    I think George’s is part of his DNA for when he meets someone who’s not posh.

    My 45/31 is coming soon by the way.

  48. “Central government current spending over the four months April to July was 3.6% higher than in the same months of 2011.
    The OBR’s forecast at the time of the March 2012 Budget implied that central government current spending for the whole of 2012–13 would be 3.1% above 2011–12 levels.”

    “Public sector net investment during the first four months of 2012–13 has been 9.3% more than was spent between April and July in 2011.
    The OBR’s forecast at the time of the March 2012 Budget predicted that net investment over the whole of 2012–13 would be 3.1% above last year’s

    Public Finance Bulletin-August 2012

    ………… both Current Expenditure AND Investment are up on last year, and above OBR last forecast.

    ……………so GO could come on tv & say I’m not actually cutting anything at present-Labour has got it completely wrong……………couldn’t he ?

  49. @Ann in Wales

    If you’ve read all of that book you must be a glutton for punishment…


    Isn’t it interesting what differentiates people here.

    For me the curled lip has an air of authority and invites a considered intellectual response .

    The smirk is dishonest & invites a smack in the mouth.

    BY the way-GO is not my idea of Posh.

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