This morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 42%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 8%. A nine point lead today, but YouGov have shown three twelve point Labour leads over the last week, so the underlying average appears to be creeping upwards.

I’m always somewhat wary of overanalysing small changes in the polls. There is, after all, not much difference between a couple of consecutive polls at the top of the margin of error (particularly either side of a bank holiday weekend) and a genuine movement in opinion. Still, it is certainly worth keeping an eye on, especially as the silly season ends and we get back into politics as usual.

114 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 33, LAB 42, LD 10, UKIP 8”

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  1. @Statgeek (previous thread)

    The short answer is ‘no’. “Outliers” may in themselves be outside normal variation, but unless you have very good objective reasons to exclude the outlier (and if you do that you must exclude the ENTIRE poll), the individual responses in that poll are still valid data. If you want to aggregate several polls, you should include all the valid data.

    The moe issue is actually slightly misleading. The specified moe for a poll really refers to the expected range of results you would get for a set of similar polls carried out on the same demographic with the same assumptions. One of the things that varies between polls is that the demographic changes subtly in ways that aren’t necessarily measured or corrected for, or for which the correction is imperfect. Because there is a lot that is unknowable, the moe is only ever an estimate.

    In fact, I’m impressed by the LACK of variation we see in sequential polls during a period of polldrums. Naively one would expect more variation than we are in fact seeing.

  2. First, by the way :-)

  3. Astonishingly, Ladbrokes have yet again lengthened their price on CON HOLD in the Corby by-election, this time to a massive 10/1. When was the last time an incumbent party was priced so long in a by-election?

    Bookies’ best prices – Corby by-election, 15 November 2012

    Lab 1/14 (Paddy Power)
    Con 10/1 (Ladbrokes)
    UKIP 33/1
    LD 100/1

    Note: the Tories have not selected a candidate yet.

    Selected candidates to date:

    Jill Hope – Liberal Democrats
    Toby Jug – Monster Raving Loony Party
    Margot Parker – UKIP
    Andy Sawford – Labour Co-op
    David Wickham – English Democrats

  4. @Stuart

    I read that the Tories are selecting today.

  5. thanks jw

  6. JW – are they holding the meeting at the MCC? :-)

    The polls are certainly very repetitive. I often have to double check I’m not looking at the wrong day. No sign of the oft-wished-for 45:31 yet either.

    One question, though. I’ve been thinking about the recent policy ‘ideas’ that have been floated by the coalition parties. Is it just pre-conference policy floating, or are we seeing the start of the process of ‘differentiation’ ready for an election? Could the Lib Dems find a way to rebel next year and pull the plug?

  7. I thought there was a recession and nobody had money to throw around.

    Todays football transfer deadline appears to prove that this is a wrong assumption.

    When I hear of players turning down a transfer because they are only being offered £80k a week, it makes my blood boil.

    I have cancelled my subscription to Skysports in recent years and no longer watch Match of the day. I don’t even read the newspaper sports pages anymore. I use to love football, but all the mercenary behaviour, has turned me off the game.

    People moan about Arsenal and Arsene Wenger, as they play good football, but don’t win anything. But at least they have actually made a profit in most recent years, when most of the other premier league teams are seriously in debt.

  8. @R Huckle – I suspect the Arsenal story might well end up like the story of British cycling. We appeared to be perennial under performers, until the drugs issue was tackled head on. As soon as this happened, British riders came to the fore, won the Tour de France, and were suddenly the best in the world. Once the football authorities tackle the debt issue (or the markets do it for them) I suspect that we’ll see a few changes in the top places.

    On politics; There is a unpleasant and unfortunate story breaking this morning of a woman who was still being treated for cancer, having her benefits removed after being found fit for work by Atos as part of the DLA assessment process. She has now died.

    The media reports are not at all clear about what the cause of death was, what the timings were, and whether she had appealed the findings of the decision, but in many ways these details have little bearing on the potential impacts.

    Lots of people who know about these things were highly critical of Atos when they were given the contract, and it looks like a huge proportion of their fit to work decisions are being over turned on appeal, raising serious questions about how they are making their decisions.

    Like many other issues, this affects an area where Labour started work to rectify a perceived problem, with the new government taking it on post 2010. However, a few slip ups and scandals will be sufficient in the current atmosphere to taint the Tories in particular, and they remain just a few headlines away from retoxification.

    It’s a genuinely difficult issue. Many ill and disabled people want to work, some don’t but should be working, while others really can’t justifiably be put into the jobs market. Distinguishing between them all is extraordinarily difficult.

    The problem I think the Tories have is partly their own history of perceived unpleasantness, but also the language they have often adopted since gaining power. While the tough line on benefits can play well to many voters, we are a fickle lot, and a couple of stories of disabled people being badly hit will get those same voters equally exercised. How voters judge these stories will largely depend on what they think your base motivation is, and as it’s clear that the ‘tough on benefits’ line is the main policy driver, I suspect these stories will hurt Cameron as they mount up.

  9. I heard a rumour that Arsene is getting ready to stun the footballing world.

    Apparently he’s considering signing an English player…

  10. R Huckle

    I thought this was the Thatcher way if you have a talent that is in short supply you flog it for the most you can get. I have cancelled my subscription to the Financial Times and I no longer watch Bloomberg News but all the mercenary behavior of the Bankers, has turned me off Finance.

  11. I went to Corby on Tuesday to do some canvassing with 2 other Councillors and our MP I would say 10-1 good price.

  12. Statgeek:

    “BIG” Andy £35 million

    Stuart Downing £20 million [too anonymous for a nickname]
    and so on and so on.

    Arsene Wenger is developing a fantastic core of British players but seriously, why would he buy at the above prices?

    Ashley Young was £25 million and has just been dropped from the England squad, never mind the first team.

    Its utterly bonkers and AW is a supremely sensible and intelligent man. He would make a great chancellor – even better than George, if that’s possible.

  13. @Anthony W

    Fancy not starting a thread on the 12% Labour lead in yesterday’s YouGov and only doing so on today’s 9% lead.

    Think of the all the fun we could have had, if only for 24 hours.

    You old spoilsport, you! lol

  14. @ Crossbat

    Apparently YG moved to issuing the poll results to 7am, as Anthony was having sleepless nights worrying about them.

    Only joking. I expect that YG have people on their hols at the moment, so they leave it until the morning.

    The Sun don’t tend to report the poll results, unless they have significantly changed. I am surprised that YG don’t just do a weekly poll issued on a Monday for the week previous.

  15. @ Alec

    “whether she had appealed the findings”

    All due respect to the seriousness of your point, but can we please stop using American phraseology?

    “Appealed against”, as we say here in British English.

    Thank you.

  16. Alec,

    I agree about the difficulty in differentiating those disabled people who want to work and those who don’t, but why is that the important distinction? If you are disabled you may have very genuine reasons for not wanting to work : it may cause your health to worsen and cause you pain.

    I would say the important thing is to find ways to make people better, if possible, and then offer them a variety of ways into work, including self-employment, supported cooperatives of disabled people etc IF they want it.

  17. I was on the verge of predicting a 13 point labour lead any day now, based on a few mumblings among the Tories and the business leaders and also the 2 in a row at 12 point ones.

    However with the 9 point lead in the latest poll I will go back into my shell for a while longer before astounding everyone on UKPR with my forecasts.

  18. @Robert C – quite so. My apologies.

    @Mikems – I broadly agree with you, and it would not be right to make people work if that work would compound their ill health, but likewise everyone, ill or not, does have a duty to do what work they can rather than remain reliant on benefits. Part of equality is that principles of responsibility as much as rights apply across the board, in my view.

    The issues then become much more of what you talk of – the system seeking to help people do work that is suited to their condition. I haven’t been through the DLA process so I don’t have first hand experience, but I’ve spoken to enough people who have to be convinced that the exercise is designed to frighten people off benefits, rather than help them into work.

  19. I wonder?

    I think somebody who is ill and wants to work should be helped. If somebody is ill and doesn’t want to work, I don’t agree that he or she has any “duty to do what work they can”.

    It’s not as though we have full employment or a reasonable wage is likely to be on offer.

    That doesn’t mean that I think able bodied (and minded) people should be allowed to get sick or disabled benefits, nor that such people should be discriminated against when seeking work. But they have no “duty” to do anything. It doesn’t help the economy after all, with so many fit and well people competing for the same jobs.

    Maybe if we get somewhere near full employment I would agree with you. But even then I don’t think sick people have any duty to drag themselves to work.

  20. @NickP – I really think you are getting tied down in a false definition of what ‘ill’ and ‘not ill’ mean. Most people are ‘ill’ to some degree, at least in terms of ‘not being absolutely healthy’. There are lots of different ‘ills’ and few of them mean you are entirely incapacitated.

    A woman with one leg is ‘ill’ and might not want to work, but is perfectly capable of doing many things, so long as we can ensure she gets a reasonable level of mobility and can access the places she needs to get to.

    And yes, everyone does ‘have a duty’ to some degree. For a left winger, I thought that was a basic start point for everything. Society must be compassionate in how it sets those duties, and firm in the way it upholds the consequent rights.

  21. @Alec

    Well put, I think a right winger can agree with your last paragraph. We here too much from the left about rights and not enough about duties.

  22. @Roger Mexico

    Have replied to your update on the shyness factor in previous thread. Basic summary is that I acknowledge your points regarding face-to-face, allocation of don’t knows, and retro-shyness; at the end of the day a comparison between polling beforehand and actual voting in practice (perhaps in local elections) would obviate the vagueries of trying to project from polling and might perhaps settle the matter.

  23. In the fifties and sixties etc., benefits don’t appear to have been as much of an issue, because we had close to full employment and it was government policy for both Labour and Tories to keep it that way. If you have enough decent paying jobs, the benefits problem largely goes away.

    Equally, it was also policy amongst both main parties to build lots of housing, with Tories determined to outdo Labour on this. And if you have lots of affordable housing it keeps benefit bllls down further whilst giving councils an asset that still tended to appreciate in value. And it also creates jobs which are both socially and economically useful.

    These days the major parties have ditched any real interest in these fundamentals so now they have to worry about the consequences. They have bought into the dogma that government cannot create jobs which is a nonsense. Certainly they can make errors, but God knows so does the private sector; overall the gains outweigh the cons. Assorted major competitors of ours do rather more to safeguard and create employment and you can see them reaping the benefits.

    As with health, prevention is better than cure on the benefits front. How much money is wasted trying to allocate and check benefits and “help” people find jobs that don’t exist?

  24. @ Alec

    A woman with one leg is ‘ill’ and might not want to work, but is perfectly capable of doing many things, so long as we can ensure she gets a reasonable level of mobility and can access the places she needs to get to.
    No, she isn’t ill; not even ‘ill’ provided her condition is stable.

    She has a visible disability which makes her unsuited for certain types of work. And she will most likely be anxious to have a job, if at all possible.

    Illness, generally speaking, is much less likely to be visible. The Atos teams seem to have particular difficulty in assessing illness.

    And, of course, there is public & medical profession debate about whether alcohol, drug abuse & obessity related conditions are bona-fide illnesses.

    Atos seems to take the view: Does your illness or disability mean you are literally, physically incapable of doing any work whatsoever (I say “physically” because Atos’s staff seem to have only a miniscule amount of training regarding the assessment of mental illness)?

    The Courts appear to take the view: Does your illness or disability mean you are, taking all things into consideration, unemployable.

    The balance of probability is that the Courts are adhering to the legislation & Atos are pursuing a different agenda. The government needs to ‘change’ Atos or change the law. As it stands, the government is allowing this messy & contentious process to continue; the public, once again, are going to have to campaign to force their elected representatives to deal properly with an issue which it is the government’s job to resolve.

  25. I don’t think Governments like to accept the concept of either unemployability or of lifetimes on benefits.

    And yet they shut Remploy, cause they would rather the disabled competed for jobs.

    Since capitalism demands a level of unemployment it is hardly surprising when after failing to get a job people without skills in demand adjust to lif on benedits. Then when we are in the depth of a recession with even less chance of getting one, we start to bully those on benefits.

    Duty? pah

  26. The most bizarreleast talked about element of the disability/fit for work issue is quite why – with some obvious allowances being made for SPECIAL needs – government considers someone who is unemployed but seeking a job somehow can live on much less.

    The cost of living is a constant and what some people need to realise is that, although there are cheats in all walks of life, the majority of those out of work are there through no fault of their own; and they still need to live.

    Take that on board and then the only issue is “do you really need your “extra” benfits? In the case of people who have lost limbs etc the answer will usually be “yes”.

    The whole system is bonkers: we bring in income tax BELOW the level at which people can afford to live, etc etc etc and it is really time a holistic look was taken at the entire system.

  27. @Amberstar – “No, she isn’t ill; not even ‘ill’ provided her condition is stable.”

    At the risk of being condemned by some as a Frankie Boyle horror, the concept of a one legged woman being ‘stable’ did bring a wry smile to my face.

    Completely agree regarding Atos – they seem to be dreadful, and really don’t seem to be getting nearly enough of the assessments correct. I know a number of people who have been through this and the process seems to be made deliberately hostile, full of trickery and design to catch people out in order to find an excuse to remove benefits. It is not what I see as being relevant to a civilised society, which would be to help, encourage and develop people’s abilities and confidence so that they can become economically productive if possible.

  28. @ Alec

    At the risk of being condemned by some as a Frankie Boyle horror, the concept of a one legged woman being ‘stable’ did bring a wry smile to my face.
    LOL :oops: Yes, that was an unfortunate turn of phrase by me!

  29. Interesting on the GCSE’s today in terms of the Ofqual review. I doubt it will affect the polls though, as those most unhappy with the ruling are highly likely to be staunch Labour already. Any thoughts?

    I actually completely agree with what has happened this summer. We have 25 years of grade inflation under both the Tories and Labour, and never a talk of reviewing grades given, yet the minute we have a retraction in grade passes one year, people are screaming blue murder and asking for legal challenges.

    I would love to see cross party agreement on reducing numbers in to higher education back to where we were 25 years ago when only the most gifted did A levels, and then only the cream of the crop went to University.

    The Labour standpoint of increasing volumes in to higher education was in theory a good idea both economically and socially, but in reality it has backfired pretty badly and if anything has damaged both the economy and the vast majority of the increased volumes of students getting all the new and varied degrees.

  30. As a recipient of the afore-mentioned DLA, can I just mention that it is not an out of work benefit and that a great many DLA recipients do indeed work.

    The media is very good at ‘blurring the edges’ by referring to DLA when they mean ESA which is the term applying to what used to be called Incapacity Benefit.

  31. RICHO

    “The Labour standpoint of increasing volumes in to higher education was in theory a good idea”.

    It wasn’t particularly a “Labour” standpoint , or even a “UK” standpoint . It was the common strategy agreed by all 34 OECD member states, as the best strategy to boost economic development.

    Interestingly, the OECD has moved on to a wider “Skills Strategy” as the expansion of Higher Education in the developing world has reduced the advantage of the “West” relying on the economic benefits of those benefiting from Higher Ed.

    Going back 25 years seems likely to be exactly the wrong strategy for the next 25 years!

  32. Richo
    “Interesting on the GCSE’s today in terms of the Ofqual review. I doubt it will affect the polls though, as those most unhappy with the ruling are highly likely to be staunch Labour already. Any thoughts?”

    16yr olds likely to be staunch Labour ? :-D

  33. ^ good point. Tories not exactly helping themselves with the future voters.

    Just to qualify the point I was making about going back 25 years. I am only going from my own experience, as I was lucky enough to go to Uni in the mid to late 90s and do a marketing & business based degree. In my final year I lived with a number of guys doing media studies, and whilst it is only a small sample, I have never seen such a lack of work and messing about in all my life!, and that was the final year!

    Both me and a good friend were actually in the minority in identifying that what was happening with the explosion of people at University wasn’t necessarily a good thing. Even I would admit that my own course could have been a year shorter, which to me was always a solution that I wished they had looked at last year instead of raising fees so high. There is no doubt in my mind that at least 50% of degrees could be done in 2 years.

  34. RICHO

    “There is no doubt in my mind that at least 50% of degrees could be done in 2 years.”

    You are probably right in that, and in the USA, students can reduce the number of years required to complete their degree by accumulating credits during the Summer vacations.

    However, in UK Universities two traditions (three if you include the need for lecturers to maintain their gardens over the summer months. :-) ), stemming from the 18th/19th centuries combine to lengthen the time taken to complete a degree. Like many traditions, they have a significant element of mythology about them!

    1. The English tradition of University being a form of finishing school for the aristocracy

    2. The Scottish tradition of the “lad o’ pairts” needing to return to work on the farm to return with a bag of oatmeal to feed him through the following term.

    I don’t know precisely how things work in England, but here a large number of students follow Higher Education courses within FE Colleges, and there are a number of courses with courses jointly developed between FE and HE.

    The idea that most students in Higher Ed are living away from home, living the high life, while doing little work is anecdotal (as you admit, your comment is) rather than an accurate representation of students in HE.

  35. Alec: “stable”

    Re non pc thoughts I did think the possibility of blind football also having blind referees had some comic mileage.

    I’ll get me coat……

  36. Regarding higher education, I find it quite depressing the way the debate has gone in recent times, and Labour have to take some of the blame for this.

    I hate the way higher education has come to be viewed by TPTB merely as an individual good to improve one’s employability, rather than as a collective good that makes us a more aware, more curious, more imaginative society. The idea that degrees could be reduced to two years is typical of this. All it would achieve is to make sure young people spend one fewer years meeting new people, meeting new types of people, having new experiences and generally broadening their minds and hearts. It would leave us worse off as a society. Uni is about far more than just a qualification, it’s about the experience. Even if they end up with a Third in some obscure subject, someone will still be a more rounded character after 3/4 years at uni.

  37. In addition, though Labour have to take some of the blame for the shift towards user fees, I fully support the goal of getting 50% of young people into some form of tertiary education, for the reasons I mentioned above. I also have an inkling that the Right oppose it for the same reasons I support it.


    Here is a link to Bob Altemeyer’s book ‘The Authoritarians.’ He finds from his research in the US & Canada that tertiary education makes people drop up to 20% on the ‘Right Wing Authoritarian’ scale. Says it all really.


    “All it would achieve is to make sure young people spend one fewer years meeting new people, meeting new types of people, having new experiences and generally broadening their minds and hearts.”

    That is, more or less, the “finishing school” idea of University.

    Why do you want to restrict those experiences to those who happen to have the qualifications to get into a traditional University?

    None of those valuable experiences, that you describe, require University level entrance qualifications to benefit from them.

    It seems to me that you are simply continuing the conservative tradition of limiting valuable experiences to the elite – however that elite is determined.

    When reading about the education debates in England, I’m constantly surprised to see how often resonances of the class based 1870 English Education Act appear.

  40. @drunkenscouser,

    but given the dire state of our finances, it is the correct debate to have in terms of whether the country can afford to fund such a huge proportion of people going in to a process, often just to gain life experience.

    You saw last year the anger at asking them to pay the true cost of this (rather than the tax payer). My suggestion on two years was actually to help reduce fees for students, and therefore the huge debts many of them will in future come out with.

    I’ll say it again. I went to Uni, and the vast majority of people I met and made friends with could have done a 2 year degree. and had a great time still!


  41. Even if university certainly isn’t the only way to have such experiences, it certainly helps.

    As for the accusations of elitism, given I’ve just given explicit for getting 50% or more of young people into higher education, I’m not sure where you’re getting that from.

    I genuinely don’t understand what point you’re trying to make.

  42. Sorry, that should say ‘given explicit support for’

  43. Sorry Richo, I missed the part of your post where you said that.

    I still oppose reducing the length of degrees however. There are some things in life that we simply can’t place a pound sign on, and the intellectual development of my generation and of future generations is one of them, given how crucial it is to society.


    Let me try to more explicit.

    The “elite” who benefit from these life enhancing experiences, are necessarily restricted to those (primarily living away from home at traditional universities) who have the opportunity to interact with a wide range of people from different backgrounds.

    The oft quoted description of around 50% attending “University” is wholly false. That figure relates to those in Higher Education – which includes those studying for an HND course at their local college. Such students are certainly interacting with a wider group of individuals than they did at school, during their 2 year course – but not to the same extent as those at traditional Unis.

    Even at that, why should the 50% of 18-24 year olds not involved in HE not have equal access to such life-enhancing experiences?

  45. ON:

    What is your suggestion then?

  46. I have to agree with @Drunkenscouser’s lament for the bastardisation of the purpose and function of education. We need to ensure people can come out of school and college and be able to function in economic terms, but that isn’t the same as ensuring education revolves around the needs of business and work.

    Indeed, one of the rather sad outcomes of this entire approach is the state of research funding at universities. Increasingly, bids for science research funds need to show ‘relevance’ and economic benefit. Viewed in modern terms, there would have been absolutely no justification to fund Einstein’s work, yet the entire work now depends on GPS and mobile phone communications – both completely impossible without the quantum theory that emerged from his work.

    Very few scientific, industrial or social breakthroughs have ever emerged from pre directed research, as in the early days we don’t often know what we are looking for. It’s the same for individuals. Everything in education has to be done for a clear financial return, yet history tells us that we can’t preordain what those returns should be. This is one of the reasons why the pace of innovation is slowing and we are becoming less imaginative.

    The random nature of development has always been a critical outcome of education, and it seems that we are losing this.

    Without wishing to personalise this, @richo’s quiet dig at media studies doesn’t really do it for me – the rot really set in when we starting teaching people marketing and business based degrees.

  47. Well yeah, it’s shame many people still don’t get to experience these opportunities, and those who do tend to be from higher up the socioeconomic scale, which is why I don’t want to see higher education restricted so that even more people are excluded.

    I’m afraid I still don’t understand your point.


    If it became a matter of policy that the provision of such life-enhancing experiences as, Scouser suggests, was of public benefit, then a more equitable distribution of public funding for these across a much wider population would be appropriate.

    I’m actually not arguing for that position, because I don’t think it is practicable to deliver it.

    What I find unacceptable is for those, supposedly on the left, to argue that public funding should be provided for this (even on the very limited English model) only to a proportion of the HE population.

    Your HE system is different from ours, and I won’t make proposals for that.

    However, in Scotland, there are good degree programmes being developed between FE and Universities for courses which take HND students from College to degree level at Uni – in 3 years, as opposed to our normal 4 year Honours courses.

    I can see no reason why our Unis can’t follow the US example of running summer graduating courses, that students can opt to take – and thus cut the length of their degree course. Happy for that to be optional as in the USA, however, since it wouldn’t suit everyone.

    What I’m against is the idea that the form of University education that I experienced in the 60s (as one of the publicly funded elite) should simply be continued to be provided to a larger elite – because its former members thoroughly enjoyed that!


    Sorry that you don’t understand my point, but that sometimes happens when people from different cultural and political traditions try to debate!

    For example, you probably didn’t have a clue as to why I referred to the class-based 1870 English Education Act, but if you were to look at it, and compare it with the 1872 Education (Scotland) Act it would become crystal clear.

    Those traditions live long and deep.


    Last try! And it isn’t meant to be as insulting as such bald terms would imply!

    You want to maintain the privileges that the upper class previously enjoyed, and were extended to the middle class (and aspirant middle class) that you enjoyed.

    You don’t really care about such opportunities being available to the working class.

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