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. Boundary Commission Scotland has released 6th revision of proposed changes:

    In my own seat, the changes are such that my house will move from a Labour safe seat (15K majority) to a safe Lib Dem seat (9000 majority).

    The initial proposals had this Lib Dem seat threatened by a reduction in Lib voters and an increase in Labour voters. Both the excluded Lib voters and the added Labour voters were very unhappy about that (and I dare say the MPs were none too chuffed either).

    The 6th revision looks as if it will remain fairly safe Lib Dem, short of the locals rejecting the Lib Dems en masse. I don’t have the time to crunch the numbers, but at a guess a Lib Dem majority of 3000 to 5000.

    Perhaps the revisions are such that the Lib Dem seats under threat will be less than before, in the hope that they will back the BC changes. Eight-week public consultation to follow.

  2. @ Wolf
    Actually it is uncommon: hence the outrage.

    NICK P

    The demonisation of the fans had Thatcher and Ingram’s fingerprints all over it. They were so close with Murdoch and there is a memo with Thatcher’s remarks saying to paraphrase she didn’t want the police blamed.

    At the time it made me absolutely furious that they could get away with blaming the victims.


    It is true that Private Sector Investment in some areas is on hold ( though not in sectors like Auto manufacture)

    This is because the Private Sector has to weigh up risk before investing. In the current commercial climate , some markets are seen as too risky as yet.

    Of course, your approach is an option:-

    Punitive taxation -State investment in State owned companies-Public Sector as a means to employ people etc etc.

    My preference would be Public Sector as a means to provide efficient cost effective services-Private Sector growing the economy through competitive activity in overseas markets-low taxation levels. etc etc.

    WE can agree that these are different approaches-we might even agree that both can produce advantages & difficulties.

    We make our choice at the ballot box.

  5. NICKP

    @”Work makes us stronger?”

    Yes- I believe that is true in a number of ways.

    @”So all those lazy scroungers are economically vital. If they were all in work, the cost of labour would rise fast.”

    I’m sure it would-and so would inflation.

    I lived through that nightmare merrygoround in 1975.

    I don’t think there is any way of practically achieving that sort of total employment outside of a command state run economy.

    In the Private Sector , the price of the product which the customer will pay drives all costs. In sectors where skill / technology/investment levels & thus entry barriers , are low, then competition will be strong & all costs-including payroll-will be lower.

    In sectors where skills/ technology/investment levels and thus entry barriers are high, wages too will be higher. Availability of requisite skills will be in demand.

    There will always be a pool of unemployed in a mixed economy with a significant Private Sector.

    Of course, it is neccessary for the State to ensure that it is not at socially unacceptable levels, and that it’s members are provided with appropriate State support.

  6. Colin,

    You don’t need to explain basic economic to me, thanks.

    It is a recession and business is sitting on capital. What can we do about that, both using the capital and ending the recessioni? Cut their taxes so they have more capital to leave idle?

    Evidently if they are not investing with this level of unused capital, is lacks sense to increase the capital being left unused.

    Traditionally, this sort of thing was seen as a drag on the economy and taxes are a perfectly normal way to encourage this capital back into activity. If you make the taxes just a bit worse than the returns to be had from using it. However, if it is forced into circulation, those parts of the economy that currently have nothing sitting idle, will be able to increase their economic activity and provide some hope that capital will find a return from it.

    I am not calling for ‘punitive’ taxation, but taxation that serves the entire economy.

    I know what your preferences are in regard to public services, but what I can never get explained sensibly is why it would benefit wider society if private profits are taken from its funding, particularly if these profits are going to add to the pile of uninvested, idle capital. If it means lower wages and less secure work, which it must if profits are to be taken, it is adding to the problems on the demand side as well.

  7. ‘I’m sure it would-and so would inflation.

    I lived through that nightmare merrygoround in 1975.

    Wages do not cause inflation and most certainly not in this sort of economy.

    We have just lived through an inflationary boom of historical scale : the house and property price boom. During that period wages shrank as a proportion of the economy from over 60% to just over 50%.

    In the more closed economy of the 70s we had different sorts of economic crisis, caused by smaller markets and over-accumulated capital unable to find returns in domestic markets. There was also a capital strike then, lasting many decades.

  8. mmmm……..UK politicians have some catching up to do after that Barroso speech.

    Is Germany really going to buy this approach-and so quickly?

  9. Actually I was thinking of “”Arbeit macht frei””.

    I agree with you that we are merely arguing about adjustments to an economy that needs to balance between public and private.


    Thanks for the link.

    I wonder if we’ll ever see these constituencies?

  11. @ Colin

    This Autumn/Winter could be very difficult for the coalition.

    The NHS is in real difficulty according to reports and we have not reached the challenging Winter period. If there is a prolonged cold spell or serious flu outbreak, we could be in for a crisis. The reports are that many hospitals are struggling with their finances and they have insufficent staff to cope with the current numbers. Increased waiting times and cancelled operations/appointments.

    The are also apparently new warnings about the state of banks in US and Europe. If there is another financial crisis, the government may have to act again to bolster the position of the banks.

    Spain and Italy are on the brink of needing bailouts, which may bring about calls for the UK to help out, which of course we won’t. Then there could be questions about whether the UK should consider coming out of the EU. The Eurosceptic Tories would not win any parlimentary vote, as they would be out voted by the other parties and Tories who are pro EU.

    Not to mention conference season and the usual issues parties face. Most of the media will no doubt concentrate on divisions in parties and between the coalition partners.

    In summary, I expect that the government parties could be even more unpopular in coming months and polls may reflect this.

  12. R Huckle

    @”This Autumn/Winter could be very difficult for the coalition.”

    You could be right there :-)

  13. NICKP

    @”Actually I was thinking of “”Arbeit macht frei””.”

    Good God!

  14. Colin

    ………..or to put it another way-poured tens of millions into the coffers of football clubs-who used it to pay ludicrous sums of money to & for so called “footballers”-thus keeping the ground entrance charges at ever higher levels and producing a cohort of rich talentless brats masquerading as sportsmen.

    The free market is such a dreadful thing when members of the working-class benefit, isn’t it? :P

  15. I think Colin is arguing for wage restraint in the private sector.

  16. On the subject of the police’s attitude to football fans.

    In 1985, at the height of the Miners’ Strike, I was an away fan at a minor game in South Yorkshire. At the end if the game (in which there had been not a sugn of crowd trouble) the police corralled the away fans into a narrow passageway outside the ground while they dispersed the home fans. Police horses at either end of the passageway prevented anyone leaving.

    Several fans complaine vociferously to one of the police men. His response (and it is burned on my memory) was to stick a baton in one lad’s face and shout. “F***ing shut it. You are f***ing scum”.

    That was the context of the police’s attitude and perhaps particularly the SY Police’s attitude to football fans in the 1980s. There is a direct thread from that attitude to what happened at, and after Hillsborough.

  17. Roger

    It was NickP who complained about this particular corner of the free market on behalf of TV viewers who cannot afford Sky’s sports package.

    Whilst I was grateful for his concern ( I being one who enjoys sport , but does not have the Sky Sports pack) I was merely pointing out that for every buyer there is a customer-& PL have driven a very hard bargain indeed.

    I happen to think it has all been a bad thing for UK football-for the reasons I stated.

    But I can see that your sympathies lie with the working class foreign footballers who have had so much of Sky’s dosh lavished on them, rather than the British football fans who need a mortgage to buy a PL season ticket.

  18. @Oldnat

    It depends on the Lib Dem changes in my opinion. Turkeys voting for Christmas and all that. The main problem is that since 2010 the Lib Dems have been wiped in Scotland, and there’s no knowing if there will be resurgence in 2015 (let’s leave the unknowns of 2014 aside).

    Then there’s the Con MPs who are likely to lose seats in the proposed reductions from 650 to 600. Maybe with devolution the Cons can get the BC changes in Scotland, through and reduce the opposition by seven seats.

    It will all comes down to the economy though. Where’s the population’s appetite for anything other than less cost for your MPs. Less isn’t everyone’s favourite solution (I would have one MP for the whole country, and make it me :P ).

  19. …………for every buyer there is a seller………..doh


    One man – one vote! :-)

  21. Cameron needs to be a bit careful over Hillsborough. So far he has earned praised for his statement, but the next step is a new inquest, probable inquiry and even prosecutions.

    There are a lot of powerful people who expect to be shielded. Like Murdoch over Levenson, they tend to be unforgiving. There’s also the Thatcher connection…would backbench Tories countenance any hint of criticism of their figurehead?

    Will he be brave enough? I hope so.

    It’s likely to get political but it doesn’t have to damage Cameron. But it might cause more dissent with those backbenchers.

    Reports from the Commons yesterday talk about a shocked hush descending on the Commons. i don’t think the Tory part of the HoC were expecting what was coming…it effectivly confirmed what many of them have been spending 23 years denying.

  22. On Hillsborough this is a long overdue bringing into the public domain what many of the families have been saying for years.

    I have friends who attended and are still suffering.

    Hopefully it will bring to an end of the patronising rubbish that some politicians (yes that means you Boris Johnson) continue to perpetuate for political reasons (liverpudlians being mawkish serial complainers etc).

    My thoughts are with the families and my friends at the moment.

  23. Colin, Roger, NickP – The modern pro football player seeks to secure for the players by hand or by feet the full fruits of their play and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the individual ownership of the Image Rights Money, distribution and Transfer Fee Kickbacks, and the best obtainable system of popular Player administration and control of each match or service

    Pace, Keir Hardie :)


    I remember the 1970’s and 1980’s football crowds with horror.
    i. Racist chanting and gesticulations were endemic.
    ii. Stampeding around the terraces, as happened with Liverpool Football Club fans in Heysel.
    iii. Singing of songs about the Munich Aircrash, in particular by Leeds, Manchester City and Liverpool Football Clubs.

    Also true is a particular police culture seen in the Guildford and Birmingham bomb cases.

    Getting into grounds without tickets was normal. I was at the 1983 League Cup Final at Wembley and was very frightened.

  25. If You Gov asked the control question How many Senior Tory Politicians can you name? I suspect the average answer would be Three.

    So all this really indicates is that Boris is more popular than David or George,which doesn’t come as a great surprise.

    However, the logistics of stabbing an incumbent PM in the back when they haven’t actually lost an election and where continued office is dependent on another party who will be none too chuffed at potentially losing more votes to a Boris Bounce, I think will be beyond even A NI backed attempt.

  26. @CHRISLANE1945

    I fail to see what that’s got to do with anything to do with Hillsborough. A systematic cover-up of police incompetence and conspiracy to smear a city and it’s people to boot.

    There was a problem with violence at some football matches although I note your list of ‘problem clubs’ is quite partial.

  27. Leftylampton – Along the same lines – Six weeks earlier than Hilsborough I was a youngster in the Everton away end at Barnsley ground oakwell in the same FA cup competition. Mirroring Hilsborough, there was a massive crush just before kick off outside and then inside mainly due to the fact that the turnstiles were decrepid and could not cope with the thousands trying to get in. The only reason that a Hilsborough type disaster didn’t happen was the fact that there was a floodlight pylon in the away end and dozens upon dozens of people had to climb on it to and then up it get away from the crush. The game had to be stopped at least three or four times as Everton fans kept spilling onto the pitch and instead of finding them an alternative part of the ground the police just threw all the supporters back in the away section but a bit further down. It was a warning obvioulsy not heeded and the Sout Yorkshire policing that day was a disgrace. At the end of the match they just opened the rear doors for everyone to pile out and then didn’t seperate the home fans who spent the next hour pelting the away fans with bricks whilst the police looked on. How no one died that day I will never know, and as a nine year old at the time it was terrifying.

  28. What many people don’t know is that there was very nearly a disaster at the FA cup semi final between spurs and wolves a couple of years before the disaster.

    It was the Spurs fans who were allocated the smaller, problematic Leppings lane end of the ground. There were broken limbs and other injuries sustained that day in 1981, but thankfully no fatalities largely due to the fact that the police opened up pitch-side gates as the crushing became apparent. If only they had done that in 1989.

  29. ChrisLane1945 – i think the point is that the police, and media really ought not to have let their opinion of troublemakers (by no means a large proportion of fans) and their previous involvement in disruptive, violent behaviour, interfere with their dutty to protect the vast majority of fans who were and are decent. Prejudice, compounded by lies and smears.

    Testing the alcohol level of a dead 15 year-old choir boy, then checking for a criminal past rather sums up the wrong-headed approach. Football fans weren’t surprised how many middle class people were in that crowd. The police, the hacks and the MPs probably were shocked to see the reality.

    Ironically, the so-called “firms” of eg West Ham, Chelsea and Millwall were populated by well-off people who had decent jobs – even in the TV medium.

  30. Millwall and Chelsea certainly spring to mind.

    One of the less important side-issues here is just how damaging it is for bad news about Thatcher and the 80’s to be a prominent news story for some time to come.

    However well DC handles it he is hamstrung by the intense antipathy so much of the population still have for her and, by extension, the Tory party.

    However brilliant her followers feel she was the fact is that, under out daft electoral system, it felt like living under a right-wing dictatorship, with large swathes of the Conservative party against her – never mind the rest of us.

    It still has the power to come back and haunt them and I don’t envy DC his virtually impossible balancing act.

  31. Academic – I think ChrisLane is alluding to the fact that we are able to apply 21st Century perspective, and fail to see what led to the general state of affairs in 1989.

    There was much less adherence generally to Health & Saftey Rules. If after the near disaster of 1981 lessons had been learned, if the EU had had strict HSE protocols in place, then we would not have had Bradford, Hillsborough, or the crumbled Hysel to accommodate so many thousands of people. None of those stadia could exist in Europe to-day.

  32. @Lefty

    I could give countless similar instances – indeed, on many occasions it went so far as the police causing crowd trouble where there had been none.

    In those days, differences between police forces were well known. Some (e.g. Staffordshire, Merseyside, Northumbria) were welcoming and friendly – I was once given a lift in a police van frtom St James’ Park to Newcastle railway station, along with a handful of others. Other forces (Manchester, West Midlands, Bedfordshire) were at best hopeless and at worst appeared to collude with home fans to enable them to attack away fans. I don’t recall South Yorks being particularly good or particularly bad.

  33. Acedemic – Liverpool had played there 12 months previous and there was a crush with people injured. When the draw was made it was decided that LFC would play Nott Forest ant Hilsborough and Everton play Norwich at Villa Park thanks to a toss of a coin(In hindsight, thanks to of a toss of a coin I ended up on the Holte End at Villa that day instead of the Leppings Lane). When LFC found out they were playing at Hillsborough they immediately requested if their fans could use the bigger Sheffield Kop end rather than Leppings Lane after what ad happened 12 months previous. Under direction of South Yorkshire police this request was turned down. To make matters worse, despite the fact theat LFC attendance was on average nearly twice as many as Nott Forest, Nott Forest were given a bigger ticket allocation. It was mismanagement from the minute the draw was made.

  34. @John TT – ” If after the near disaster of 1981 lessons had been learned, if the EU had had strict HSE protocols in place,……..”

    Ah yes – that pesky red tape stuff we need rid of.

  35. @Colin – re the Barruso Bombshell, I was likewise surprised that it hadn’t been picked up by others on here. In my view, this is political dynamite.

    Clearly at the highest echelons of the EU organisation, they have taken the view that the Euro crisis is evidence enough that full political union is required. You and I, I suspect, would be broadly in agreement that the failures first of the Euro currency union, and secondly of the political response to it, suggests that the EU is not competent to handle the powers it already has, let alone gather more to itself. The EU leadership clearly takes a different approach, that more centralised powers are the required response to recent events.

    The Dutch election results don’t suggest there is yet any widespread anti EU sentiment across the continent, suggesting that the UK may well be on a collision course with many of our continental allies over any new treaty.

  36. Alec – red tape, it’s “life-saving gone mad” I tell you :)

  37. “only fourteen Tory MPs have written to Graham Brady, the chairman of the backbenchers 1922 committee, asking for a leadership contest to oust David Cameron.”

  38. Alec

    The debate could be wider that UK v EU –

    ““If we want to have a serious debate, the first question has to be whether we want to be in the euro or not,” Mas said at a conference in Madrid today, adding that Catalonia wants to remain in the single currency. “If you say yes, you have to accept the rules of this game. You could say no.””

  39. I am a bit tied up with ‘stuff’ at present so do not have much time to post on what I promised. However, quickly, I draw the conclusion that pollsters here will be well advised (if I dare say so) to study the lead-up to the Dutch GE. There were extensive TV debates and there are correlations to be drawn with 2010 here.

    We discussed whether there will be debates in 2015 and I must admit I was surprised that the reaction to my views was that there would not be any, at least like the 2010 ones.

    The TV debates do really pose a potential big threat to leaders and their parties. The development in NL over the last fortnight was remarkable.

  40. @Oldnat – Indeed, and I was thinking of the impact on Scottish independence. If Barruso’s timetable comes to pass, we will be in the midst of full on treaty negotiations with Europe in 2013/2014 – just when the SNP want their independence vote.

    With the clear view now expressed that an independent Scotland would be treated as an accession state, this becomes a major issue. I would accept SNP claims that once this happens, Scotland has a reasonable expectation of being treated differently to ‘real’ accession states in the ensuing negotiations, but I very much doubt there would be any leeway given for concessions on a recently negotiated treaty. I just don’t see Scotland being anywhere near influential enough to be able to negotiate on this.

    The UK, on the other hand, is in an entirely different position, with a veto and a real negotiating position. The politics of trying to explain to Scottish voters why putting themselves into a situation where they have no influence in such a treaty negotiation will present many difficulties, in my view.

  41. Alec

    Apologies. I thought the point of my post was obviously about the context within the Spanish state.

    Mas is posing the question to rSpain – do you want to remain in the euro, and accept the rules, or not?

    Without the subsidy from Catalunya, rSpain would have to consider how they would or could manage that.

    Barroso was speaking for the Commission in his state of the union address, and his comments about Greece have significance for rSpain.

    They too might be in conflict with EC plans.

  42. Good article by Michael Crick on how so many (not just the Sun) were prepared to “jump to conclusions, to assume something is the case simply because it sounds highly plausible.”

  43. @ON – no need to apologise. I was linking the Spanish issues raised by this to our own potential issues. It’s clear to me that the SNP has been forced to reassess it’s view on the effect of independence on external relationships and how they present these, as developments in the EU have made it clear that what were presented as certainties a year or so ago are no such thing.

    Now, the issue of a new treaty adds further uncertainty to an independent Scotland, as they may be in the position of having to ask voters for a yes vote, knowing they will have to accept whatever settlement the EU agrees to but possibly without knowing what this settlement could be.

    Of course, other options are possible. I would see it as unlikely, but not impossible, that Scottish opinion is so against the potential provisions of any new EU treaty that an option of independence as a means to escape the EU becomes attractive.

    After all – Alec S is constantly telling us that Scotland is big enough to look after itself.

  44. Alec

    “I was linking the Spanish issues raised by this to our own potential issues.”

    Such narrow nationalism is so sad. You should be able to look at issues that affect our other partners in this Union.

  45. @Oldnat – again, you slip into judgemental, superior, moralistic claptrap.

    I’m afraid you haven’t the remotest notion of how I view internal Spanish politics or secessionist movements elsewhere in the EU, and I’m baffled as to why you think linking issues between regions and states could be remotely viewed as ‘narrow nationalism’. Quite the reverse – I’m actually taking an altogether internationalist approach, seeing how issues play out across different jurisdictions.

    As ever, you seek to take the moral high ground, while defining ‘moral’ in your own, individual way. I generally take reactions along the lines of ‘you must be so sad….’ as demonstrating a sneering attitude to those of other views. I avoid using it for this reason, but oddly enough it seems to be one of your staples.

  46. Alec

    Addressing the issues in the Spanish state might have been a useful thing for you to do then, instead of simply posting comments on factors that might affect your nation, and which simply represent your own certainty about the accuracy of your own interpretations.

    There is no “moral” judgement. Being sad isn’t a sin.

  47. The Liberal Democrat leader told an audience in Cambridge “we will do what you, the voters, tell us to do”.

    That could involve some interesting physical contortions! :-)

  48. Whatever.

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