This morning’s YouGov results for the Sun had topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 45%, LD 8%, UKIP 6%. It’s been a funny week of YouGov polls, with some 12 points leads and some 6 point ones. There have been rather more of the former than the latter, but I’m still not sure what the underlying picture will turn out to be when things settle down a bit. Meanwhile the latest figures from TNS-BMRB, who are now doing weekly voting intention polls, have topline figures of CON 31%(nc), LAB 43%(+3), LDEM 10%(-1), Others 17%(-1).

I will off at EPOP2012 this weekend (or Glastonbury for political scientists, as my colleague Joe Twyman calls it) so won’t be posting much on the weekend polls.

164 Responses to “New YouGov and TNS polls”

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  1. YouGov Labour lead ten-poll average: 10.1%

    Frequency: 6%(2), 9%(2), 11%(1), 12%(5)

  2. 45/31 – coming soon

  3. It does appear that the 6 pointers that got blues (and the pessimistic reds – @Chrislane1945 – we’re talking about you here) overly excited do indeed appear to be out of line.

    Fascinating stuff on the ONS manufacturing data. They are showing July being a good month, up 3.2%. This contrasts markedly with the earlier PMI data, which was very downbeat. I expect to hear all those right leaning commentators who said in June the the ONS was far too pessimistic and the PMI data was more likely to be accurate continue to berate the ONS for being out of line with reality.

    Interested in the reverberations from the ECB announcement yesterday. The conditionality of their bond buying plan will be the clincher, as I don’t suppose the Greeks, Spanish and Italians will be too happy about the conditions imposed for bulk buy ups of debt. The crisis will almost certainly move from the misfunctioning of the currency to the political dimension of externally imposed economic conditions.

    I was also interested to read that the logic behind this proposal (at least as far as keeping German voters happy it seems) is to correct market distortions, with people quoting the fact that while the UK has higher debt than Italy it is paying much lower rates on it’s bonds.

    On the face of it, these seems sensible enough, until you start to realise that the reason markets charge UK lower rates is that we are not in the Euro and can devalue at will.

    To me, this seems a classic case of the Eurozone architects railing at the unfairness of the world around them, little able to realise that the problem is based on the perception of the deficiencies in the cunning plan they themselves created. BSE all over again.

  4. Both polls show a 12% Labour lead….

    So much for the anticipated Re-shuffle bounce!!

  5. That “Seems rather old and tired” question is looking bad for the Tories.

    Quick and entirely unscientific snapshot of results of that question over the past 15 months.

    Jun11 – 26 – 37
    Oct11 – 29 – 32
    Feb12 – 26 – 37
    May12 – 33 – 29
    Sep12 – 36 – 26

    Not good for a party fresh to Govt after a generation to be getting a patina of running out of steam and ideas within 30 months.

  6. @Allan Christie

    TNS-BMRB survey was conducted 31st August – 3rd September, so we await next week for any reshuffle effect from them.


    YouGov has a surprising Rest-of-the-South xbreak today… TNS are showing Lab ahead of Con in the South (including Greater London), and Con ahead of Lab by only a modest margin in South East/East of England.

  7. Well that’s two polls in a row with weak samples. See the Average prior to the two and the two:

    Region : Ave : 5/9/12 : 6/9/12

    UK : 1724 : 1474 : 1311
    London : 248 : 170 : 158
    RoS : 577 : 568 : 471
    Mid/Wal : 341 : 302 : 264
    North : 401 : 339 : 312
    Scot : 157 : 96 : 106

    Both 45s have been under ‘weak polls’, so it’s difficult to ascertain if they are accurate.
    In RoS Con down 4 and Lab up 5 from yesterday. A 9 point change.
    In Mid/Wal Con up 3 and Lab down 5; an 8 point change.
    In Scotland Con is up 8, Lib up 8, and SNP down 11 in one day.

  8. I think what we may be seeing is some of the UKIP support drifting back to the tories.

    Maybe the affirmation of of a positive ‘britishness’ generated by the olympics has left a few less insecure about national identity – and therefore less inclined to vote UKIP?

    Maybe the onoging solidity of the labou vote – (consistantly over 40% for 6 months now) has frighented tory ukip deserters back?

    Hard to say – but what does seem certain is that the lib dems have lost maybe 10% of the vote directly to labour and it is not coming back.

    I dont buy the ‘libdems would do better with vince’ argument. If Clegg is replaced with cable but they remain in the coalition – Cable will be no more able (or willing) to restrain the tory policies than Clegg was.

    The only thing that might save the lib dems some seats is if they boot out clegf and dissolve the coalition and force the tories to govern with a minority – but the longer they leave it the less effective that would be.

    (I cant see them doing it tbh – I think many of the remaining lib dem party members are still deluding themselves about how much their ex-voters depsise them)

  9. Statgeek
    You say “weak samples” and then “weak polls”.

    Are you saying the size of the samples in the last two YG polls render the results unreliable?

    It has occurred to me that the two 6-point leads might be MOE or outliers, but this begs the questions…what size of Lab VI would indicate an outlier? Would we need to see, say, 48% VI?

  10. Dare I suggest the reshuffle, including as it does Laws and Hunt, has increased Labour’s lead?

  11. @Statgeek

    Just when I was getting excited about today’s result (UKIP down 1% !!!) you come along and say it could all be down to wider MOE. Party Pooper!

  12. reggieside

    “I think what we may be seeing is some of the UKIP support drifting back to the tories.”

    umm…where are we seeing that?

  13. @Reggieside
    Fewer Tories switching to UKIP, deffo, but I don’t go for your explanation. More plausible – the Euro crisis has been getting lower billing over the summer, because of the games and because of the temp fix they did after the Greek election. When it starts making top slot on News at 10 again voters will start remembering UKIP.

    “What the eye can’t see the heart can’t grieve”, ’tis said

  14. I think there has been slight drift away from UKIP back to the Conservatives, just after the omnishambles period, they were polling 8%-10% and Conservatives threatening to go down to 30%. After the various U-turns and things not quite appearing so bad (no daily bad news over the summer), it’s not surprising a little bit has drifted back.

    Even so, I think the Cons have lost 1-2% to UKIP for the foreseeable future. Most recent Conservative governments would not worry about that, but starting from 36%, that’s a big problem.

  15. @ Postageincluded

    Yes Im sure you are right. The Euro has not been in the news for a while – fickle lot these UKIPers!
    They only got 3% of the vote in the last GE – seems they’ll improve on that, but I would be amazed if they got anywhere close to 10%.

  16. @keithp
    Inclined to agree. The reshuffle – presented as a rightward shift by some of the press – could be an attempt at consolidating the Tories’ exposed right flank while UKIP are out of the news. Farage will get a lot of free publicity at the next EuroParliament election, which looks bad news for Cameron in 2015. And you’re right, starting from 36% base he can’afford to lose even 1%


    The difference in those samples would make less than 1% (maybe <0.5%) difference to the MOE.

  18. I mean “can’t afford” of course. Damned tablet

    CU l8er.

  19. ALEC

    @”The conditionality of their bond buying plan will be the clincher, as I don’t suppose the Greeks, Spanish and Italians will be too happy about the conditions imposed for bulk buy ups of debt.”

    Greece isn’t involved ( or RoI)

    The ECB proposal is bond purchase in the Secondary Market ( not new issue)-and Greece is not accessing the Bond Markets-it is on IMF bailout life support.

    The interesting & central feature in this initiative is Spain-will they cede fiscal autonomy for ECB support or not, At present it is “not”.

  20. Nick P,regarding Hunt and Laws,I think that you may well be right.To appoint
    Hunt to a position of such responsibility so soon after the Leveson inquiry
    And the resulting kerfuffle seems odd at the very least.

  21. Ken Clarke is one of the few Tory ministers who is still popular with the public & demoting him may be popular with the Sun, but almost certainly not with floaters unless they’re Con/UKIP ones.
    I’d be interested to hear what you think Anthony about the 2 polls which had the Lab lead down to 6% – I couldn’t think of a convincing reason for them at the time, and thus the goodly Labour lead which has now been seen in the last 3 polls (2 from YouGov, and one from TNS, the company I work for) hasn’t come as any surprise to me.

  22. I still think at the GE UKIP will only poll marginally more than in 2010, but as @POSTAGEINCLUDED said any loss to ukip is problem for the conservatives. Labour have been at very high levels (40%+) for some time now, what I will be looking for is a further drift from the libdem to Labour.
    in the last 2 yougov polls the figure has been 48 and 49% of LD voters in 2010 now Lab should this firm up and strengthen up then it would be very worrying for LD.
    The other area of hope for Labour is that their vote in the older age groups is growing and that the 6% poll leads had unusually low Labour figs for the 18-24 age group suggesting that they could be a wee bit out.

  23. I’m as guilty as the next man in sometimes reading too much into opinion polls and we always need to remember that they are only ever transitory snapshots of opinion, vulnerable to statistical variability and passing whims and fads. Only very near a General Election are they ever likely to be a reliable predictor of outcome. Multiple caveats, as Anthony ofter reminds us, need to be applied to their findings at all time.

    However, all that said, they certainly create political mood music that can, at times, trigger significant events. No matter what any politician may say at the time, none of them like to be consistently behind in the polls, and a run of bad ones can start to trigger backbench panic as nervous MPs calculate disappearing majorities. Who’s to say that this isn’t starting to happen to Clegg and Cameron as they increasingly come under friendly fire? A calamity in Corby in November will only add to the state of general unease. When the polls turned bad for Labour last December, Miliband’s leadership started to come under some sustained internal and media pressure; another example of the power of polls to shape mood.

    What I’ve found interesting these last few weeks is that, for the first time in this Parliament, the media chatter and narrative has been quite regularly mentioning Labour’s lead in the polls. Accordingly, unlike just us sad old UKPR addicts, Joe Public, possibly subliminally, is starting to get the message that Labour is doing well.

    Will success breed success, as the old sporting cliche goes? Will Labour start to look like winners again? Will that winning image attract more wavering support, I wonder? Difficult to tell, but the consistent, quite sizeable in some cases, Labour leads these last 6 months will send the much derided Ed Miliband into the Conference season with a little skip in his step, I would think.

  24. @MikeN & JW

    The MoE is already pretty high with 1700+ polls. Nationally the MoE is reasonable, and if we omit obvious outliers, the trends are easier to see. Take the Scottish crossbreak as an extreme example.

    The average of the polls prior to the two recent ones is 157, which against an electorate of 3,980,000 (election 2011 estimate) gives us an MoE of 7.82

    The poll of 95 returns 10.05 and 106 returns 9.52. Those are pointless MoEs.

    The London norm is 248 (MoE – 6.22), but the last two polls were 170 (7.52) and 158 (7.8).

    In other words, there’s no relying in them until we see several polls. Yes, the 6 point polls can easily be outliers, but so can the two 12 point ones, especially with the lower samples.

  25. OMG!!!! They’re all outliers!

  26. ‘I still think at the GE UKIP will only poll marginally more than in 2010, but as @POSTAGEINCLUDED said any loss to ukip is problem for the conservatives’

    This gets back to the preferential voting issue; if it was in place I think many more would vote UKIP but not enough to be ahead of the Tories so the Tories should have supported preferential voting to maximise the vote. But if it was in place it would maximise Liberal and green votes (the ‘I cant vote for Labour but I’d never vote Tory group’) which is probaly why Labour didn’t want it…


    @Allan Christie

    TNS-BMRB survey was conducted 31st August – 3rd September, so we await next week for any reshuffle effect from them.


    YouGov has a surprising Rest-of-the-South xbreak today… TNS are showing Lab ahead of Con in the South (including Greater London), and Con ahead of Lab by only a modest margin in South East/East of England

    Thanks for that although I don’t think we will see much of a bounce in the next set of polls.

    Hmm looks like the Con’s are doing rather poorley even in there traditional heartlands…..Cheers for the link. :)

  28. Ooops “their” as to there. Always get them mixed up. ):

  29. Statgeek


    I agree re the 6 point and 12 point polls. It’s the trends which are noteworthy.

    The 45% Lab VI is a sort of ceiling it seems. Vary rarely has this VI been exceeded. Not sure what it would take (eg DC found in bed with a camel) to bring about a (semi) permanent breach of the ceiling. I guess this can be explained by the Con vote holding up reasonably well – ditto for the LD vote.

  30. mike n

    1997 Lab got 43% of the vote. So 45% would be unprecedented in recent years.

  31. @Mike N

    “Not sure what it would take (eg DC found in bed with a camel)”

    Humping, I presume? :o

    It will be interesting to see how the latest expenses publication hits the media. I doubt any one party will take much of the blame, as there are culprits on both sides, but looking at the raw data, it makes me want to paraphrase Ed Miliband (a rare event):

    “They just don’t get it”

  32. I think if we see 45 / 30 there will be much rejoicing and outcry (depending on the side of the house you would listen to).

    Into the second half of the government now. It’s either the economy or employment, or both…or else.

  33. NickP
    “1997 Lab got 43% of the vote”

    I was thinking about recent opinion polls, rather than actual votes in elections.

  34. Is Cameron losing his touch completely? The re-shuffle has turned out to be a fudge – and leaks about his dealings with Justine Greening, Cheryl Gillan and Nick Herbert have surely been noticed by the public. Handing out knighthoods to sacked ministers is surely an abuse of the honours system. If they weren’t good enough te keep their posts, why get the Queen to reward them. Cameron’s judgment seems defective and must lose him some credibility and respect. What would the polls be showing if the other Miliband had been eleted Leader of the Opposition?

  35. Good Evening All, after a big week in school.

    Term 103 for me, in the state sector.

    ALEC. Hello again, and thanks, I have just seen it, for your kind reflection on religious view. (Huge battle by the way going on in Richmond over the voluntary aided school proposal).

    Good economic news is not always bad for Labour when in Opposition.

    JOHN C. Mea culpa on this one. Ed is better place than his brother to give a left of centre critique of bankers etc, IMHO of course, as they say here.

  36. John – Without wishing to start a DM/EM debate there have been one or 2 threads to do with EM or should Labour do better which may be worth having a read of if you have time and inclination.

  37. In the interests of balance, I find the crossbreak of the under 25s no more credible in this poll (Labour net 40% ahead of Conservatives amongst u25) than in the recent one with a 6% Lab lead (Con slightly ahead amongst u25s). Were it just a crossbreak issue alone, it wouldn’t matter, but the problem is that the anomaly is again substantially upweighted, this time by a factor of about 3.

    Stripping out the effect of exaggerating such anomalies, I’d say that we’d be looking at a Lab lead in the region of 10% on this data. If so, almost all of the volatility between the recent 6% and 12% leads can be explained by successive anomalies in the under 25 data.

  38. @crossbat11 – “Will that winning image attract more wavering support, I wonder?”

    Clearly Osborne’s budget was a big negative for the Tories, but it’s my opinion that the the period between the budget and the local election results in May have to be considered as cementing the omnishambles image, and presenting Labour as winners.

    Labour gained 857 seats in 2011, plus a stonking victory in the Leicester South byelection. Conservatives gained 86 seats, however, Labour lost 7 seats in the Hollyrood elections and the media were in the habit of portraying Cameron as triumphant.

    Labour gained 823 seats in 2012, made gains in the London Assembly election, but missed out on the Mayoralty.
    Johnson’s narrow victory did nothing to help Cameron and there was no disguising the fact that the Conservatives had lost 405 seats.

    A slight fly in the ointment was the defeat for Labour in Bradford West which came shortly after the Budget… but c’est la vie.

    As you rightly note there is now media awareness of the pickle Tories are now in poll-wise. Throughout 2011 the sometimes considerable Labour lead did not fit the media narrative – austerity/Labour’s mess all the way – it was a case of ignore it and it will go away… which is exactly what it conveniently did do after Cameron was forced to make the symbolic fake veto on pain of a leadership challenge.

    The PM oh so needs another veto moment. The longer 80-100 Tory MPs feel that their seats are in danger, the more disenchanted they become with Cameron/Osborne. There will likely be a challenge after the 2013 locals if the economy etc has not turned a corner before then.

  39. “Not sure what it would take (eg DC found in bed with a camel)”

    Humping, I presume?

    Or smoking? :-)

  40. “Political promises have to mean something”Zac Goldsmith.And there we have
    The rub.Too many U turns mean they cannot be trusted.

  41. Statgeek/Amber


    Alternatively, he could be photographed in the same way as kilted Prince Philip was – then published in foreign press – clearly “showing his credentials”.

    Seems to be a habit (or lack of it) that runs in the family.

  42. By my poll-averaging method (for YouGov), Labour hasn’t moved more than one point either side of 43 since the beginning of May. The Conservatives haven’t been more than one point either side of 33.3 since mid-June, and the Lib Dems have been within half a point of 9 since shortly after that.

    I’m not reading too much into this week’s anomalies (which weren’t even all *that* anomalous!).


    “Too many U turns mean they cannot be trusted.”

    Osborne’s U turn on his acceptance of Danny Alexander’s wheeze to overtax marginal oil fields suggests that LD economic incompetence is a close competitor as to who should be trusted least.

  44. @Ann in Wales You wrote: “Political promises have to mean something”Zac Goldsmith.And there we have
    The rub.Too many U turns mean they cannot be trusted.

    Yes, agreed. Look what it did for Clegg’s team over tuition fees. A U-turn on Heathrow will be a death-knell for Tories in London and western South-East, and Boris is astute enough to realise this….why isn’t Cameron? Perhaps he isn’t as sure footed as we once thought? Perhaps we detect influence of GO who whilst very able is not known for his grasp of matters ‘public opinion’!!!!

  45. With the growing realisation that Labour has a solid significant lead the media, particularly hostile elements, will start to ask more questions about what they would do.

    Rob S has been calling for this for sometime and Alec raised this point a thread or 2 ago.

    I reckon they do need to start to put more flesh around principles at the conference and accept that there may be some disappointment from certain current supporters at the lack of firm commitments.

    It could have been coincidence but their VI dropped a touch when EB basically backed the pay restraint measures in the Public Sector.

    I guess the trick is to try to appear specific without creating albatrosses.

  46. Four years ago I didn’t even have an internet connection.

    I stand here today, having just watched my third two-hour installment of the DNC in Charlotte, courtesy of the iplayer/Parliament/C-Span watch-again.

    And I say this to my fellow UKPR posters, it has been an honour and a privelege… and I am fired-up!

  47. Amber – or trying to deal with the straws?

  48. Well I just got back from the Convention in Charlotte (which is why you haven’t seen me posting here for about the last week) and you guys are NOT going to believe who I saw. David Milliband!!! There I was Wednesday night on the concourse level, just heading out from my Delegation’s section to go to the bathroom (and mill about, looking for news media folks to talk to) and there your former Secretary of State was.

    Starstruck, I would have gone up and tried to meet him (and maybe gotten my picture taken with him and of course asked him if his friend and political ally Jim Murphy was there) but so in shock was I, that I just stood there for a few seconds wondering if I was just seeing or imagining things (I hadn’t slept in 48 hours and had a lot of caffeine in me). And then by the time I realized it was him, it was too late and he had quickly walked off with John Kerry following behind him. He’s a fast walker and has a very distinctive look to him.

  49. SoCalLiberal

    I trust that you enjoyed NC – though I doubt you saw anything outside the convention!

  50. Amber – or trying to keep the straws at bay? x

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