Just back from the EPOP conference, so this is a rather brisker update than most Sundays! This week’s YouGov figures for the Sunday Times are CON 33%, LAB 43%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 6%, so back in the more normal range after the six and twelve point leads we saw last week. The rest of the poll looked at David Cameron, the reshuffle, planning and Heathrow.

Looking at the details of how people see Cameron, his biggest weakness remains being seen as out of touch. Respondents saw him as out of touch by 67% to 23%, although this was pretty much unchanged from when YouGov last asked in July. On other ratings there was a notable decline – Cameron was seen as weak rather than strong by 51% to 33% (down from July when the figures were 47% weak, 38% strong) and as having run of out of ideas by 57% compared to 26% who think he has plenty of ideas (again down from July when 52% thought he was out of idea, 32% thought he has plenty of ideas). His best (or least worst) figures was still being seen as likeable – 41% think Cameron is likeable compared to 45% who think he is not.

This month YouGov also threw into the mix whether people thought Cameron was a male chauvinist – only 27% of people did (overwhelmingly Labour supporters), 42% did not.

Moving onto the reshuffle, 32% of people thought it had made the government more right wing, 29% thought it has reduced the amount of influence that the Liberal Democrats had. Overall though the verdict was very much one of no difference – 9% thought it had changed the government for the better (almost all Tory supporters), 19% thought it had changed it for the worse (mostly Labour or Lib Dem supporters)…72% said no difference (55%) or don’t know (17%).

On the future of the coalition, YouGov asked a straight queston on whether people would prefer the coalition to continue, or for there to be minority Conservative government. The party results are interesting. Most Labour supporters said don’t know, as presumably they would really prefer neither, but of the remainder they were more likely to support a minority government… presumably as it would be less likely to last! Amongst the remaining Liberal Democrat voters a large majority (71%) preferred the Liberal Democrats to remain within the coalition. Amongst Conservative party voters 58% said they would prefer a minority Conservative government to the coalition.

The next set of questions were about planning. I’m always quite wary of these, since my experience is that the general public have almost no awareness of how the planning system works, and if you have to do quite a lot of explaining in a question you really risk measuring opinions that weren’t there to begin with! Anyway, general opinions of the existing planning system were very evenly split – 27% think it is too strict, 25% think it is not strict enough, 32% think the balance is about right.

Turning to the government’s specific ideas, 40% think extending permitted development rights for house extentions is a good idea, 44% a bad idea. People are slightly more opposed to softening affordable housing requirements, but it is still a farily even split (38% support, 45% oppose). The idea of spending money directly on building more affordable homes and guaranteeing loans to developers is much more popular – 65% support it with only 19% opposed.

Finally, on the topic of Heathrow 47% of people think Cameron delaying the decision until after 2015 is dithering, 33% think there is no hurry and the delay is the right thing to do. Asked directly if of they support or oppose the extention of Heathrow people are very evenly split – 32% support, 34% oppose, 33% don’t know.

181 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 33, LAB 43, LD 10, UKIP 6”

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  1. @Rob Sheffield

    My point isn’t about “intelligent social choices” per se. Cleary, many people vote who are under- or misinformed for a whole host of reasons. This is problematic in and of itself, which is why I think high quality news media and education are fundamental to a democracy, but that’s a slightly different issue.

    Where people are voting voluntarily, however misguided I might think they are, on some level, they’re making a considered decision to vote, and for that particular candidate. Surely you can see that it’s detrimental to the process if significant numbers of voters are simply sticking their pencil randomly into the ballot paper?

    Also high levels of apathy are a fundamental problem for a democratic society. High abstentionism rates at least provide a visible warning sign. Compulsory voting simply masks over the problem rather than addressing it.

  2. I am inclined to agree with Hannah there is a high level of misinformation out there. In America they have independent fact checkers, and both campaigns, are guilty of running advertisements or making speeches that are then found to be factually inaccurate and yet still continue to repeat them obviously in the hope that the voters don’t notice.

    Also the prevalence of scare tactics ironically, scares me. Again back to the American election, the Republicans make out that 4 more years of Obama will make America some impoverished 3rd world nation. But even Obama I’m sad to say has come up with a few scare stories about what would happen if Romney were to win.

    Ultimately neither is true, because the power of the President is very limited by the powers of the Congress , Obama did wield a lot of power when first coming into office as his party had Super Majority’s in both Houses, but just losing one house we have seen lead’s to a seeming inability to get ANYTHING passed whether it be helpful or destructive.

  3. Hannah:

    I think you make excellent points. My view is that voting positively, rather than tactically as is so often the case with FPTP, can only come with straightforward PR.

    If UKIP or whover get 5% of the votes then they are entitled to 5% representation, whether I like their policies or not.

    Only then will people begin to at least try to understand the differences in philosophies between various parties and candidates. A headline-obsessed media would also help if it actually began honest reporting.

  4. Could the coalition parties be in even worse straights than reflected in the polls?

    I followed polls avidly 92-97 and remember that summers and feel good events brought a gov’t bounce.
    This summer we have had the feel good to end all feel goods but the coalition parties are seeing no benefit.

  5. @Hannah – “…if significant numbers of voters are simply sticking their pencil randomly into the ballot paper?”

    I think there are a significant number of people have been conditioned into thinking that it is their responsibility to vote, regardless of whether they actually have a strong opinion.

    It is difficult sometimes to fathom what drives people in their choice about how to cast their vote ( I would identify these as a special type of floating voter) – indeed some seem to give over their volition to random factors – or at least they don’t seem to be making a conscious decision so much as following signals about to how to vote in any particular election.

    I also think that there are people who don’t get involved in anything, even things they would find fulfilling, unless they are given encouragement of some kind – yes this is something that you can and should do.

  6. @Paul Croft

    Well said.

  7. @Hannah
    How do you identify and encourage knowledge of alternative policies in relation to VI?
    If the electorate have a vital interest in access to employment, job security, fair wages, a fair distributional system in the economy and public sector protection and support for the vulnerable, children and the elderly, then they will be inclined to vote for a party which pursues those aims; only secondarily will they be informed on or think themselves able to judge the quality of policy making, planning or management of which a party or government is capable of achieving them. If there is an economic crisis over a period of years, more people are likely actively to seek knowledge of the ideas and capacities of competing parties and their leadership. If we are trying to understanding movement or stability in VI as shown in the polls, then it is not daily or weekly movement but the fact of a sustained lead, and its relationship to the economy and voters’ sense of intent on the part of contending parties, and their marginal responses to evidence of specific policies and capacities which is the real news. It looks to me that if we take the six, twelve months or two year trend it illustrates a movement to the left which can be ssen to have operated in Holland Spain and France as well as in the UK.

  8. Anthony – you state “Finally, on the topic of Heathrow 47% of people think Cameron delaying the decision until after 2015 is dithering, 33% think there is no hurry and the delay is the right thing to do. Asked directly if of they support or oppose the extention of Heathrow people are very evenly split – 32% support, 34% oppose, 33% don’t know.”

    Yes, nationally it is pretty evenly split – but I wonder what the split is where it really matters as a political calculation – that is in Tory held seats in West London and the Thames Valley and Chilterns areas?

  9. couper2802

    Could the coalition parties be in even worse straights than reflected in the polls?

    I followed polls avidly 92-97 and remember that summers and feel good events brought a gov’t bounce.
    This summer we have had the feel good to end all feel goods but the coalition parties are seeing no benefit.

    The BBC seem to have stripped off the 1992-97 data off their once-useful polltracker for no good reason, so it’s difficult to check your feeling about the period. Looking at the Ipsos-MORI data for the period there does seem to have been a recovery for the Conservatives some summers.

    However I suspect that the real reason was that Con VI was even lower then than it is now so there were more “shy” Tories who could drift back. Also those gains were coming at the expenses of the Lib Dems who then would have had an even lower profile in the summers and lower exposure tended to lose them poll ratings.

    Those conditions don’t really apply at the moment. That’s not to say that the Conservatives couldn’t lose more votes – both to UKIP and (more worrying for them) to Labour or Lib Dems, but the same conditions for a summer bounce aren’t there.

    In the case of the Olympics the Government were aware (wisely) that trying to claim credit would probably rebound on them. The Games had been won and planned under Labour and success would be credited to individual athletes and teams. To then say “It’s all about me” would appear tactless to say the least.

    Not that this stopped the government’s fans in the press promoting the idea and then commissioning endless polls to show that Team GB had turned Britain blue but not red and white. But the public remained unmoved.

  10. “The BBC seem to have stripped off the 1992-97 data off their once-useful polltracker for no good reason, so it’s difficult to check your feeling about the period.”


  11. “Cough-cough-right-hand-sidebar-cough-cough-historical-polls-cough.”

    Of which speaking, it would be nice to have graphs for the 70s and 1983-87 polls, like the other periods. As someone who wasn’t around at those times it gives a good visualisation of the trends and major turning points.

  12. Anthony: You need to see your doctor about that cough if its interfering with your writing.

  13. @AW

    Possibly it was becoming too bandwidth-heavy, as more and more data got added.

    Fifteen years back seems good enough, unless there’s a bias issue in the selection of the periods.

  14. @Roger Mexico
    They’re updating it, aren’t they?

    It’s still here:

  15. On the issue of misinformed or uninformed electors having equal say with intelligently informed ones, has any society in history ever weighted the value of votes cast according to intelligence/political awareness? I don’t think so, but it is an obvious development?! I have heard of weighted voting according to wealth (numerous historical examples – Prussia for example) – perhaps in future we should all take a test and have a score out of 100, our subsequent vote then being worth the number out of 100 we each achieve. A meritocratic democracy – what could be better?!

  16. I think AW’s computer has a virus

  17. Hannah – they shall be done at some point. At the moment am working on some police commissionery stuff.

  18. oldnat


    “… seems “inappropriate” – to say the least!”

    Indeed. Not very bright these AuthoritarianFollower trades unionists.

    It’s the Scottish Conservatives who should celebrate for they will be free to move on especially if independence gives them an opportunity to re-brand. They could have done that under Murdo Fraser but missed their chance.

    Not very bright these Authoritarian Follower Scottish Conservatives.

    If they had Bavarianised that might have been enough to deny the SNP a YES vote if the margin is small, as is likely, and in favour, which is possible by 2014.

  19. I think we nearly has a discussion about the ‘tennis test’ replacing the ‘cricket test’.

    The fans on the lunchtime news were face-painted with the soltaire (if that is what it is called?). This was followed by DC basking in the glory.

    Chez Howard, I was reminded of my dear father saying to my mother ‘Joan is my Fred Perry shirt washed?’

    Mrs H says she cannot envisage me asking her whether she minds me having a ‘Murray shave’.

  20. Had not has.
    My not me.

  21. Howard


    (PS your typo corrections have the potential to be the start of a clever poem. :-) )

  22. Anthony


    Well yes, but you don’t have pretty slidey things like the BBC. And distinctly I remember someone telling us about the importance of comparing like with like in pollsters when looking at trends. The Polltracker site was good at switching between pollsters to see if trends were repeated.

    Basically I wanted to complain because not only did the BBC stop updating it back in February 2011, they have now taken away all the pre-2002 data (it went back to ’83). No doubt the excuse was so they could devote even more resources to their core political coverage of ex-members of the Bullingdon Club whingeing about each other, but someone has now actually done some work to make things worse.

    I don’t think it can be a bandwidth issue as the complete data set would probably be smaller than a second of TV on iPlayer and the update has been so long in coming that Godot will get here first. Even the ‘latest polls’ hasn’t been updated since August.

    Still anything rather than give the punters facts eh? Against all traditions of the British media. I wouldn’t mind but I have literally just paid my licence fee (well obviously I would still mind, but it was adding insult to injury).


    We await your words on the elections of the Police and Crime Commissioners with anticipation (and probably the words “Comedy Gold” – I mean even the name is silly)

  23. ON
    Whoops, forgive my ignorance. The other is a game is it not?

    @Roger M and all who are coughing. Is it not a fallacy to compare polling scores for parties who, although enjoying the same name as years ago, are so different in character?

  24. I mean, ‘so different from then’ (if that was not clear).

  25. Ed Balls heckled at the TUC conference. Good for Labour VI or bad- discuss!

    From my leftie point of view it is a reminder (pay freeze) that Labour don’t really represent my views but I can’t help feeling being distanced from the Unions and being seen to be ‘realistic’ on the economy probably plays out better in the middle ground and undecided voters.

  26. HOWARD

    No forgiveness required.

  27. I nip out for a couple of days, only to return and find talk of plots against Cameron and the right leaning press starting to talk of Ed M as the next PM.

    There appears to be a tiredness about this current government, a loss of respect from both the media and from within Tory ranks, and a growing realisation that they are – and I’m trying to be non partisan here – just not very good.

    I think the Tory party is in deep trouble now, and it doesn’t look to me like their discipline will be good enough to prevent major implosions.

  28. From the Spectator – “Last year we enjoyed giving Ed Miliband a good kicking and his ‘anti-business’ conference speech played into the hands of his critics. The infantile booing of Tony Blair’s name by delegates made it look like the party was determined to make itself unelectable.

    But the reality now …….is that Ed Miliband is the man most likely to be the next prime minister. Looking back, the speech looks rather prophetic with its appeal for a shift in the country’s cultural values in favour of ‘grafters’.”

    Just what some of us here on UKPR said at the time, I seem to recall?

  29. @Alec

    The article also reads a litle later than the passge you quote:

    “This should, then, be a good moment for Labour. It is in fact a dangerous one. The temptation is for Labour’s leaders to think that they can relax a little, in the belief that they have a comfortable poll lead, a convincing argument on the economy, and time to refine their remaining ideas on how to run the country more effectively. None of these things are true.

    Labour has won nothing yet except the chance to be heard. For the first time since the 2010 election, large numbers of voters have a grudging curiosity about Labour’s alternatives. The party must move fast to capitalise on that. If it can’t articulate what Labour stands for, voters will lose interest.”

    Policies; Policies; Policies- just as some of us have been saying for a long time as well !

  30. EM may well be the man most likely to be the next PM but that doesn’t mean that he is very much more likely to be PM than is DC or AN Other.

    It is certainly true that although the election isn’t won or lost yet, there will sooner or late come a point when the Cons or coalition has to turn its polling around or it has to be accepted that it is too late to be possible to do so.

    Can Con optimists tell us the latest date by when a lead for Labour of 6% will be irrecoverable?

    Lab optimists will say that position has been reached already.

    Wha do Con pessimists say?

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