More Boris polling…

This morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 31%, LAB 44%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 8%. A thirteen point Labour lead is the highest YouGov have shown since the end of June. All the normal caveats apply about reading too much into a poll – sure, it could be a sign of a growing Labour lead as we move away from the holidays and big events of the Summer… or it could just be an outlier. Keep an eye on it.

This morning the Sun also published a fresh set of “how would you vote with Boris as leader?” questions, actually asked as part of yesterday’s YouGov poll. They showed the same pattern we have become familar with in Boris questions since the Olympics began. YouGov first asked a control question asking how people would vote if the present leaders remain in place (this is to isolate the Boris effect from any Miliband or Clegg effect) – this reduced the 11 point Labour lead in YouGov’s poll yesterday to an 8 point lead when Miliband, Cameron and Clegg are mentioned. When people were asked how they would vote with Boris this fell further, down from an 8 point lead to a 1 point Labour lead – CON 37%, LAB 38%, LDEM 11%.

I will make all my normal caveats about hypothetical questions – people are answering them on very low levels of information. They mostly know who Boris is, and they’ll have an idea of what sort of personality Boris has and what he is like… and it clearly demonstrates that for many people this is something that may well change their vote. They don’t really know what policies Boris would put forward as a leader, how he would operate as a Prime Minister, how the media would react to and report upon Boris as PM (right now they see him through the media prism of “Ah Boris, stuck on a zip wire, what a laugh!”. Imagine how easily the media indulgence he gets as a political joker could turn sour “Hopelessly blundering PM in yet another diplomatic gaffe”, “out of his depth”, “national embarrassment” etc).

As an aside, the biggest problems with a Boris for PM story are little to do with public opinion, they are the practical obstacles of not being in Parliament, and not being able to get there without it being interpreted and reported as a direct leadership challenge. I am sure Boris could return to Parliament without too vast a difficultly. I suspect if he already was an MP he would win a leadership election if he reached the final vote of party members (MPs slightly trickier). However while he is outside Parliament the mere act of standing for a seat would immediately be interpreted by the media and by any potential leadership rivals as the start of a long, drawn-out leadership challenge with all the division and damage that would cause.


276 Responses to “More Boris polling…”

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  1. Having a laugh with him on ‘have I got news for you’ is one thing, but is he really a serious politician for really serious times … on the national stage will different kettle of fish altogether!

    He will probably get an X Factor vote and then the public will quickly get tired as he bumbles along. His best shot at being PM with be to replace Cameron as leader with a year to go before the election.

    …and with a growing Labour lead, you never know!

    Boris in opposition? Risky.

  2. …will be a different kettle of fish….
    tut!

    First! …. but Last on the typo’s! :-)

  3. Do we know what level of support Boris has amongst MPs?

    I agree with whoever said that Murdoch is after Cameron’s head. I wonder if he would expect Boris to call off the Levenson dogs?

  4. Anthony

    The Boris table isn’t showing on the Archive, either as a separate item or as a revision of the previous days tables (it was of course asked with the already published leadership questions, not with the latest poll).

    The Boris figures have changed surprisingly little since YouGov last asked the questions at the start of August:

    http://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/xom2k0ueir/Results%20120801%20Possible%20leaders.pdf

    though if anything Cameron’s figures have got even worse.

  5. Why is the Sun polling this question, one wonders, given the obvious practical difficulties?

    Is someone stirring up trouble for the tories, by any chance?

  6. Ed has obviously decided that Cam is “butch”. How long will that one run?

  7. Ian Duncan Smith wowed the Conservative conference in 2003 with “the quiet man is turning up the volume”. He faced a no confidence vote that October. Howard, unopposed, replaced him as leader a few days later.

    Johnson’s supporters are saying he will not be stopped from speaking at this year’s conference.

    There is talk about a possible challenge to Cameron (under the 1998 rules) coming after the 2013 local elections – though that might not happen if the economy has turned a corner. Conservative MPs will also be looking at polling numbers because as it stands 80 -100 seats are highly vulnerable.

    Letters from 46 Conservative MPs would be needed to trigger a no confidence vote, if Cameron loses that he cannot then stand in the subsequent leadership election.

    Is it possible that a faction might be tempted to stage the challenge before Boris is in position to be a candidate?

  8. “…the start of a long, drawn-out leadership challenge with all the division and damage that would cause”

    Gosh, I could really look forward to that!

    ….

    Butch Camedy? Oops, we’re in to Broke Back Mt (or Backbencher) territory now.

  9. The Hillsborough report looks like it will nail down the emergency service, especially police, failings. Wonder if it will cover the cover-up?

    Could be top of the news tonight..?

  10. @OLDNAT: resuming “tactical voting from 2 threads ago and giving a complete “ignoral” to Boris as irrelevant both to thee and me:-

    “what is a “Labour voter” or “Tory voter” or “SNP voter” if they don’t actually vote for these parties in an election?”

    In talking about tactical voting I have tried to consistently distinguish “sympathisers” from “ voters”. I don’t think this is a very obscure distinction, nor an imaginary one. (If you really think that there is no distinction to be made, feel free to stop reading now, as there is no common ground for any further discussion).

    Polling by YouGov* indicates that 76% of voters “generally” identify with a party, while only 24% say they don’t identify with any party at all. Of those who voted for the LibDems in 2010 23% said that “generally speaking they thought of themselves as Labour”**. This was by a large margin the biggest group of non-identified voters, constituting about 5% of the actual votes cast. In contrast, the 2010 LibDems identifying as Conservatives represent 1.7 % of the vote.

    Not all these non-identified voters will be tactical of course, but I think we’re safe to assume that of those that are tactical votes (up to 9% of the total vote according to expert opinion†) the great majority are Labour identified voters voting LibDem to keep a Tory out. As a result, in aggregate, Labour loses votes in England and (I think) Wales from tactical voting, but the Tories, overall, lose seats – making it look as if the current boundaries favour Labour.

    The complexity of Scotland does not invalidate this argument. I accept that some Tory-identifiers in Scotland may vote Labour to keep SNP out. I rather think that there will also be a fair few who vote SNP to keep Labour out, in the knowledge that they can always vote No in a referendum on independence. If Scotland had a one-way pattern of tactical voting that might just affect the UK aggregate figure. I haven’t seen any evidence that it does.

    As for Northern Ireland, I assure you that as a person of NI heritage (both sides of the divide) I don’t confuse GB with UK and I don’t see why you think I do. I certainly ignore it in this discussion, as the population is so small, and the politics so different. I’ve ignored South West England too, though it is clearly a special case within England, given its traditionally high Liberal vote. Would including a discussion of either of these areas significantly affect the conclusion? I think not. Nor do I think we need a separate discussion of Wales; the PC vote at 11% makes it not significantly different to England. (But then you’re probably not interested in Wales, as you’ve not mentioned that excellent nation at all).
    ——————————————————————————————-
    * Valence versus positional attitudes (New Statesman) Jul 12, 2012; Peter Kellner discussed the results 19th July on YouGov.
    ** Lab, Con, LibDem, SNP and Plaid Cymru were prompted, UKIP wasn’t.
    † Dr Stephen Fisher, Oxford, quoted on the BBC website “Q&A: Tactical voting” 4/5/2010.

  11. @Barnaby Marder (FPT)
    ‘It’s odd how Scouse celebrities seem to be Tories above a certain age – so are Cilla Black & Ken Dodd.’

    May I suggest that (e.g. also Joan Collins and others) that the definition is ‘above a certain income’?

  12. I wonder what those afore-mentioned Tory scousers think of the Hillsborough report today?

    I know it all relates to a different Government a long time ago, but it has the capacity to damage this one a bit, I think. Not in a big way, perhaps, and impossible to tell, it just is in a sharp contrast to how Tory MPS and Ministers reacted at the time. Especially the Tory MP involved with the police in the “Truth” Sun article.

    And didn’t Cameron say there was nothing to find when he launched the report? Bit of a contrast to today.

  13. On the difference between the rather desperate fantasy of a Johnson leadership and the cold reality of its likelihood, I thought a Tory MP put it quite succinctly when I heard him interviewed on the radio last week. He said, or words to this effect; “If we wanted to change the direction and image of our party why would we exchange an old Etonian and ex Bullingdon Club member as leader with another Old Etonian and ex Bullingdon Club member?”

    When put like that, it’s a very good question, isn’t it?

  14. crossbat11

    “If we wanted to change the direction and image of our party why would we exchange an old Etonian and ex Bullingdon Club member as leader with another Old Etonian and ex Bullingdon Club member?”

    Because Murdoch wants to?

  15. Howard

    It’s in the word if you have something yo conserve you become a Conservative.

  16. Postage included

    “I rather think that there will also be a fair few who vote SNP to keep Labour out, in the knowledge that they can always vote No in a referendum on independence.”

    Undoubtedly, but there are many constituencies where the result is unlikely to change and real Tories might as well stay at home or dutifully vote for their party in fourth or possibly even fifth place.

    Anti-Labs are spoilt for choice.

  17. Boris is now trending, but not in a good way. His Spectator comments about the city of Liverpool, its people and the Hillsborough tragedy are being revisited.

  18. Might not be a good time for Boris’s links to Murdoch to be pointed out.

    Gove’s the “great man”. Boris inviting Rupert to the Olympics. kelvin McKenzie’s headline “The Truth”. Which as we all knew is now officially not the Truth at all.

    The there was Mr Coulson’s “Why did he run?”

    During PM’s Question Time, when he was asked about press collusion with the police, Cameron said that Levenson was looking at Press ethics.

    Think Levenson would like to have a look at the Hillsborough aftermath?

    A can of worms for Boris at least.

  19. Just a last look at NL poll (Ipsos Synovate)
    VVD 37
    PvdA 36
    PVV 17
    CDA 13
    SP 21
    D66 10
    GL 4
    CU 5
    SGP 2
    PvdD 3
    50Plus 2

    The D66 is a bit low compared with earlier. This is ‘leftish well-educated Lib Dems” in the Howard translation lexicon and they have been 5 seats higher. I think they’ve mainly gone to PvdA (Labour) so similar to what has happened here perhaps.

    Look like a ‘purple’ government to me (unholy alliance between Labour and Orange Booker/ John Redwood VVD with above named D66 hanging on).

    Good for the EZ Treaty though.

  20. The biggest change between the DC as leader & the Boris as leader opinion is in the 18-24 group & “London”.

    The VI for Con identifiers actually falls by 5 points for Boris!

    Those people looking for an Olympics Bounce can find it here I think-for Boris amongst young people & Londoners-ie he has been given some part of the credit for all that Patriotic , British Sporting success feel good factor that has been so manifest during both Games.

    ( though I would like to see a comparison between the credit accorded to Boris & that accorded to Seb. Coe, who got cheers on every appearance)

    It was palpable during his speech at the closing Parade -he even played on beating “The French” -to huge applause.

    Boris’s appeal transcends politics in some way unique to himself-he communicates goodwill to all men & seems to genuinely mean it. That’s part of the reason he beat Ken in London.

    But as PM-responsible for balancing the Public Finances, and any number of issues which are going to upset someone, somewhere?-forget it Con MPs-you would be mad to try it.

    ………….Seb Coe on the other hand………?

    DC’s statement on Hillsborough very moving & sincere. Rightly received praise from all sides.

    He clearly thinks a new inquest is called for -let’s hope the Court agrees. Presumably, that will facilitate the individual accountability before the law , which is so badly needed.

  21. I like dear old Boris and I have said it before that he is a incredible intelligent and likable individual regardless of your political persuasion…However!!

    Boris as PM?……No!

  22. Interesting shift buried in today’s employment numbers.

    Q2 2010
    Private sector 22.8m
    Public sector 6.3 m
    Total 29.1m

    Q2 2012
    Private sector 23.9m ( + 4.8%)
    Public sector 5.7m ( -9.5% )
    Total 29.6m

    Public sector employment as % of total employment falls from 21.6% to 19.3%

    It’s the union representatives of the 19.3% who want to hold a General Strike.

  23. COLIN

    That really is a fascinating set of figures and in particular..

    ….

    “Public sector employment as % of total employment falls from 21.6% to 19.3%

    It’s the union representatives of the 19.3% who want to hold a General Strike”
    ___

    Not only that, of the 19.3% who the Unions represent more often than not the majority of them don’t take part in any ballots for strike action.

    How many strikes have we had where the majority of the members have not taken part in the ballot?

  24. I didn’t vote in the last PCS ballot. But if I had, I would have voted to strike.

    The assumption that people who don’t vote would vote against is flawed.

  25. NICKP

    I didn’t vote in the last PCS ballot. But if I had, I would have voted to strike.

    The assumption that people who don’t vote would vote against is flawed
    ________

    Did I make that assumption? I’m only highlighting that in some cases or in a lot of cases the majority of members have not taken part in any ballot. I would had thought to make any strike action legal then the majority of it’s members would have to take part in the ballot??

    It would also give the likes of Bob Crow and his cronies more legitimacy when explaining to the general public as to why the Unions are crippling the UK economy.

  26. ALLAN

    Thanks.

    The Work Foundation have an interesting opinion :-

    “The TUC was yesterday (11 Sept) reported to be moving towards backing co-ordinated industrial action to increase public sector pay. This is of course a perfectly legitimate goal for trade unions to pursue. Trade unions have also committed the TUC to campaign for maximising the number of jobs in the public sector in order to sustain quality public services. These are also legitimate goals. However, these objectives are not, under current circumstances, compatible. Unions can either campaign for higher pay for their members or keep as many of them as possible in jobs in order to preserve services, but not both.”

    It will be interesting to watch the Brothers ask for public support for both as they close the country down.

    One doesn’t perhaps have to speculate too long about the potential response from the 23.9 million , many of whom have conceded pay , hours & pension rights to stay in work.

  27. Allan Christie:

    If workers were allowed to vote in strike ballots at the workplace, or even by mobile phone or over the Internet (the legislation for this exists but has not yet been implemented), turnouts would probably increase.

    Even so, turnout thresholds are anti-democratic; if you choose not to vote, you choose not to participate one way or the other. Non-participation should not be taken as a preference for the “anti” cause. One might as well suggest that the vast majority of local councillors, as well as a fair number of MPs, MSPs, AMs and the Mayor of London, should not be able to take office as they were elected on a turnout of less than 50%.

  28. COLIN

    Indeed that’s the unions for you. They try to be all things nice to their members but what they gain in one hand must surely be taken from the other.

    ….

    “One doesn’t perhaps have to speculate too long about the potential response from the 23.9 million , many of whom have conceded pay , hours & pension rights to stay in work”

    Yes I’m one of the 23.9 million and I’m sick to the back teeth with unions ignoring the hardship private sector workers have to endure to help get the economy back on track. I would also love some of the perks the public sector workers enjoy but strike action for me is out of the question!!

  29. Thw Work Foundation is guilty of flawed logic.

    Increasing public service pay is not incompatible with maximising jobs in the public sector.

    There’s quite a bit of evidence that oursourcing and privatising jobs doesn’t save public money and often provides a worse service, without reducing the risk falling on the taxpayer when things go wrong. See G4S and Southern Cross.

    So while I agree we might have to (at least temporarily) concede pay freezes for job security, the assumption that there is some way to reduce spending and still provide the service(s) is the argument that is flawed.

    If you employ fewer monkeys and reduce their peanuts, you’ll get worse monkeys, less output and nobody much will be happy.

    And giving away even more peanuts to your party funders to do a worse job saves no peanuts at all,

  30. “Kelvin MacKenzie has offered ‘profuse apologies’ to the people of Liverpool”

    Paul Waugh

  31. “It would also give the likes of Bob Crow and his cronies more legitimacy when explaining to the general public as to why the Unions are crippling the UK economy.”

    Crippling the UK Economy? I thought that was the Government’s job.

  32. ANDY S

    “Even so, turnout thresholds are anti-democratic; if you choose not to vote, you choose not to participate one way or the other. Non-participation should not be taken as a preference for the “anti” cause. One might as well suggest that the vast majority of local councillors, as well as a fair number of MPs, MSPs, AMs and the Mayor of London, should not be able to take office as they were elected on a turnout of less than 50%”
    ________

    Yes in a political process such as a general election then I would agree 100% with you but it comes down to legitimacy for the Unions.

    How can Bob Crow go on TV and say that “Our members have voted overwhelmingly for strike action” when fewer than 40% of them have taken part in the ballot?

    I think it’s wrong to compare political processes such as elections with Unions balloting their members….It just my opinion!!

  33. NICKP

    Is your tea break nearly over?

    I would hate to think that our civil service is collapsing whilst you take the time to explain what “the Government’s
    job” is.

  34. allan

    The TUC is supporting a General Strike because it collectively believes that austerity is causing hardship to all workers and is counterproductive in that in saves no money and chokes off growth, perhaps forever. It wants to save the country from the folly of the 30s being repeated.

    You may disagree, and so might George Osborne, but they believe they have no choice.

    Not all TUC members are in the public sector.

  35. colin

    Seems your crass and repeated digs about my job are okay, but my responses are immoderate.

  36. NICKP

    “Crippling the UK Economy? I thought that was the Government’s job”
    ___

    Inadvertently they may well be doing so but it appears to be compulsory for the trade unions. ;)

  37. @”Not all TUC members are in the public sector.”

    UK Trade union membership is 15% of the Private Sector workforce & 57% of the Public Sector workforce.

    Twenty years ago these numbers were 24% & 64% respectively.

  38. NICKP

    “The TUC is supporting a General Strike because it collectively believes that austerity is causing hardship to all workers and is counterproductive in that in saves no money and chokes off growth, perhaps forever. It wants to save the country from the folly of the 30s being repeated”
    ________

    I’m sorry but if the unions got their way then we would be back in the 30’s.

    My gripe against the unions is how they think they can blackmail the country by holding strikes and yes not all TUC workers are in the public sector but please remind us all what sector the strike action is being balloted for? :)

  39. NICKP

    I only know about the job you do , because you told us all here.

    And you are the one coming here to ask for more public sector pay and employment, whilst you are doing it.

  40. “I’m sorry but if the unions got their way then we would be back in the 30?s.”

    Sorry, I’d better correct that for you:

    “I’m sorry but if the Chancellor gets his way then we would be back in the 30?s.”

  41. colin

    You don’t know what I do, why or when I do it. So it is pathetic of you to try to prove that all public sector workers are lazy by insulting me.

    But I expect you will carry on anyway.

  42. NICKP

    “I’m sorry but if the Chancellor gets his way then we would be back in the 30?s.”
    _____

    You may well be mistaking me for a Tory but all is forgiven but come on, Osborne or Bob Crow?

    Maybe YouGov should do a ballot on that one.

    “Who would make the best chancellor..Osborne or Crow?” ;)

    I say, let the trade unions run the country for a year and then lets see how they get on with the public when tough decisions have to be taken!!

  43. @Colin

    UK public sector employment = 5.899m
    private sector employment = 23.382m

    http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/pse/public-sector-employment/q1-2012/stb-pse-2012q1.html

    So union membership is:

    Private – 3.51m
    Public – 3.36m

  44. Ive just had a look at the Lapland times and it makes disturbing reading.

    Apparently Bob Crow is balloting Santa’s Elves to hold strike action if they are made to work on December 23rd, 24th and 25th.

    How low can this man go? ;)

  45. Interestingly the Boris question seems to have absolutely no effect in Scotland for the Tory vote although oddly it seems to give a boost to the LibDems.

    Best guess I have for that is that some left leaning Tories or right leaning LibDems think he is to right wing, although it could just be churn.

    The big question that Anthony could probably answer best is;

    Would Boris pile up votes where they aren’t needed or close the gap where it would make a difference. I think he goes down better with Tories than anyone else so might not be a winner in the marginals.

    Peter.

  46. It’s getting a little heated and non partisan, maybe all those concerned should go away and sit on the step for a little while, before AW has to step in…

  47. @Robin

    There was I enjoying the increasingly hilarious, and utterly predictable, badinage between Colin, Allan Christie and Nick P on the subject of trade unions and then you go and have to spoil it all by introducing some facts.

    Don’t you know that facts tend to get in the way of a good argument! lol

  48. @Allan Christie

    “How many strikes have we had where the majority of the members have not taken part in the ballot?”

    Yeah. And how many MPs have been elected where the majority of constituents haven’t bothered to vote?

  49. I totally disagree Peter. The boost is centered on London and young voters where the tories struggle to pick up voters.

    Bring on Boris!

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