This morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 31%, LAB 45%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 7%. A fourteen point Labour lead is certainly not unprecedented (YouGov had them that far ahead back in June) and not outside the normal margin of error, but wouldn’t be a bad boost from the Labour party conference.

More interesting are the changes to how Ed Miliband himself is seen. YouGov repeated a bank of questions about Miliband that were asked before the beginning of the party conference, and they show a positive change in public perceptions of Ed. The percentage of people who think he has made it clear what he stands for is up 12 points from 24% to 36% (49% think he has still not made it clear), the percentage of people thinking he is up to the job of Prime Minister is up 6 points from 25% to 31% (47% still think he isn’t). There is more modest movement on whether he is seen as a strong leader, up three points from 16% to 19%, but it is still in the right direction.

On the fortnightly Best Prime Minister question Cameron still leads, but by a narrower margin – 31% think Cameron would be the best PM, 27% think Ed Miliband would be the better choice. While Ed’s ratings are significantly up, there are clearly still some reservations amongst Labour voters – still only 64% of Labour voters say Ed would be the best PM.

All in all, it appears to be a thumbs up for Miliband. It hasn’t transformed public perceptions of Ed, but at the end of the day it would be unrealistic to expect it to, it has moved perceptions in the right direction for him. What remains to be seen now is whether it lasts, or whether it is the transitory effect of positive publicity.

392 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 31, LAB 45, LDEM 10, UKIP 7”

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  1. 1st?

    If Cameron fluffs his conference, Ed has another two conferences to make even better ground.

    If Cameron has a decent to good conference will we see polldrums once more? What of the LD VI after the conferences, given that they didn’t (seem to) get a decent conference bounce?

  2. Nick P (FPT – but as expected Anthony put up a new relevant thread while I was answering)

    That not-a-push-pull poll might have rebounded on the Tories as everybody expected a bit of a Milliband flop and when he performed well, we got a reaction the other way from the media.

    This was almost inevitable – if you slag someone off even competence looks good[1]. You may remember that I’ve predicted something similar[2] could happen, if only when the General Election came along. The point is that such sustained attacks make even neutral coverage appear favourable.

    It’s worth pointing out that the effect of speeches and such-like may be gradual and indirect. Only 10% of YouGov’s sample claim to have “seen/ heard the whole speech” and 41% had not seen any of it.

    [1] It’s possible that Romney is benefiting from this after the debate – even Republican-leaning commentators probably had low expectations after the numerous gaffes. And of course once the pattern is set even something innocuous becomes a gaffe.

    [2] I called it the Prince Charles Effect after the way his ratings went up considerably during the Jubilee despite the fact that he did nothing in particular (but did it very well).

  3. An interesting & thought provoking analysis from pb

    “They have fully accepted Lansley’s reforms, including delegation of decision-making, GP commissioning, patient choice, and use of the private sector. All excellent stuff, of course, I’m not knocking it all. On the contrary, I very much welcome it.

    They are well on the way to accepting Osborne’s views on spending, as is clear from the way they are moving the language. Also, it is absolutely clear that they haven’t the faintest intention of restoring the 50p tax rate, so I welcome that. Balls of course is completely desperate to be Chancellor, so he’ll be keen to do whatever it takes to try to get credibility. His next step: I predict he will enthusiastically embrace the OBR, and indeed talk about strengthening it. Again all excellent stuff, showing Osborne has won those arguments.

    On education, they will accept Academies and Free Schools, and the moves on ‘Teach First’ show that the Blairites may have lost the rhetoric battle but are winning the behind-the-scenes policy battles.

    Welfare also looks encouraging; the criticisms of IDS’s reforms have been notable by their half-heartedness; it’s clear they are just going through the motions of opposing little bits of them.

    Finally, you have to look at what they are not saying. Trident, anyone?

    Kinnock hasn’t got his party back; Labour have a leader who is smart enough both to avoid that trap and to make the Left think the opposite.”

    Richard Nabavi.

    …..which begs the question-how should DC respond?

  4. It’s interesting to compare the detailed responses to the Ed questions with those asked previous to the Conference here:

    I wondered if the headline increases had mainly come from unconvinced Labour supporters. This is not really true, for example the percentage of current Labour voters who say that Ed “Would be up to the job of Prime Minister” rose only 2 points to 63% while among 2010 Labour voters it was unchanged at 58%. Instead the change there is in the drop in those who say he would not be up the job – down 7 and 5 points respectively. The Robs and Chrises of this world are not quite convinced yet, but they are less opposed.

    The big changes to Ed’s reputation are elsewhere. Most importantly among 2010 Lib Dems where the percentage on the PM question went from 22% to 33%.

  5. Clearly Ed Miliband has made progress by virtue of his speech on Tuesday. He still has much to do but it is also clear that his approach has been ‘slow and steady wins the race’.

    He has staged his pronouncements on high profile issues and I think that as the GE gets closer he will accelerate the frequency of his appearances and pronouncements.

    In his speech he established the ‘narrative’ – One Nation. Next I anticipate he will take particular issues one at a time and state Labour’s position on these within the context of one nation.

  6. No real change here then still Lab on about 43% and con on about 33%.
    This is not good for the Torys, Labour are looking very solid now and the Conservatives will be reckoning they have to do something to dent Labours lead as will the Libdems both of these things will be different. So it is a recipe for disaster division and disarray.
    The conservatives look like succumbing to the pressure of a continued double digit poll deficit whilst labour can showboat and work on points for style (literally and get a 12% point lead)

  7. Bare in mind, this is in the context of a relatively high Lib Dem VI- at 10%, so I suspect the Labour lead could go higher. Very small sample amongst “Da Yoof” as Roger Mexico likes to put it, though.

  8. ROGER MEXICO – you are correct, I believe. What Ed has done here is mostly convince unconvinced Labour-leaning voters that he is a stronger candidate.

    Not, from his perspective, is that a bad thing: Labour’s lead is such that they just need to hold on to those voters currently saying they’ll vote Labour at the election to get a landslide…. and convincing these people he’s a credible candidate should help achieve that.

    Cameron, meanwhile, has reached his ceiling: already more than 90% of Tory-leaning voters like him as a candidate.

  9. Two points to make about today’s YouGov. Firstly it is suffering from YouGov’s usual problem with the under-25’s having a very small effective sample (about 43). The Labour lead among this unreliable group is only 5 points – it’s normally say 20. The low number of males in particular means that they are disproportionately influential – so those 15 or so votes would each been worth about 7 ‘ordinary’ votes. Two extra Tories there by chance could increase the Conservative headline VI by one point. Maybe there is the fabled 15 point lead after all.

    More seriously, like all the other recent YouGovs, we’re seeing a decline in the over-60s for the Conservatives. Labour have a 10 point lead there today, but even in the previous few polls, where the overall Labour lead appeared to be slipping, the usually solid lead in this group was no longer there. This is probably the most worrying change for the Tories since the Budget.

  10. I have always believed that the media – through whose biased prism we have to see party’s and leaders – have underestimated EM. He is the slow, steady plodder who comes up and overtakes everyone’s expectations and grabs the prize. At any leaders debate in 2015 election I would think Cameron and Clegg would have much to fear and be rather like Obama with (the also written off) Romney. Not that I like Romney at all but expect it be very close and possibly Romney just) winning. But back to EM – EM has every chance of becoming PM.

  11. @Roger M

    “The big changes to Ed’s reputation are elsewhere. Most importantly among 2010 Lib Dems where the percentage on the PM question went from 22% to 33%.”

    One of the more unreported, but I think highly significant, aspects of Miliband’s well-crafted Conference speech was it conspicuous lack of any Lib Dem bashing. He trained his guns almost entirely on the Tories, much to the delight of his audience, and what few criticisms he pointed in the Lib Dem direction were made more out of sorrow than anger. I think he was probably trying to do three things here. Firstly, continue to build the bridges with leading Lib Dems, a slow rapprochement that I understand is going on quietly in the background already, ahead of the next election. Sensible stuff if he fails to win an overall majority. Secondly, I think he’s obviously wanting to hold on to the diaspora of Lib Dem voters that came his way after the formation of the coalition and it’s important not to keep bashing the party they supported in 2010! Thirdly, I think he probably feels that there is some more Lib Dem vote to go for yet. As in the second point I’ve made, its probably a wiser tactic to butter them up rather than beat up on the party they still tentatively support.

    As some have said already, Miliband is starting to look like someone who playing a very long and canny game.

  12. Not being a Miliband supporter but a close follower of politic’s, EM had a good speech from Labour’s point of view coupled with the rail shambles, although I’m not sure if this poll was done before it became news, I fully expected to see the conference bounce a lot higher and he’s personal rating’s re Leadership to be in front of DC.
    Not just a couple of point’s above where they’ve been for the last few month’s, it would suggest to me that Labour’s support is still rather soft, not that I’m suggesting that the Tories are doing well there not, but Labour’s lead is more to do with Coalition cock up’s than any real support for Labour, of course Labour could get into power on just that, but if the economy pick’s up slightly and the Tories start doing better in the poll’s, then Labour will have to convince the public on actual policy’s which may play better for the Tories who will return to past Labour competence of the economy, certainly for us watchers an interesting couple of years ahead but it’s not over to the fat lady sing’s as the say.

  13. Over-60’s.

    The reason for the change in over 60’s polling is due to what I call people getting “older”.

    This means that some people who have been over 60 for a long time and always voted Tory are now dead, whereas people like me, who used to be under 60 are now, bizarrely, OVER 60 !!!

    Not only that but I’m still alive and voting Labour.

    I oresume that, in a similar way, care homes in the future will have contemporary furniture and play rock music.

    The times they are-chnging and, as I’ve said previously, and seriously, the Conservative party is, quite literally, dying. Its just doing so very, very slowly.

  14. Turk:

    On a technical point, why do you use so many apostrophes for plurals and yet, disappointingly, not for them all?

    Is there a rationale or wot? A ratio?

  15. TURK

    @”but it’s not over to the fat lady sing’s as the say.”


    I hear that the Conservative Party are trying to persuade her to shut up for a bit-until 2015.

  16. @Colin

    “I hear that the Conservative Party are trying to persuade her to shut up for a bit-until 2015.”

    By then, of course, it really will be over and she will be singing her heart out! lol

    Just to add a point I missed when talking about Miliband’s softening attitude towards the Lib Dems. He’s obviously quite keen to revive our old friend “anti-Tory tactical voting” at the next election and the Lib Dem vote is key to the success of this.


    @”By then, of course, it really will be over and she will be singing her heart out! lol”

    Yes-I agree with that -except for the insertion of the words ” it really will be over and”

    THe changes between this YG poll & the previous 34/42/9 one , in some of the crossbreaks are really odd.

    Big Labour gains in :-

    Females ( from Con)-but not Males.

    Lab 2010 voters .

    Over 60s ( but not from Cons)

    Conversely Cons gain & Labour loses in 18-24s.

    Seen through the crossbreaks the improvement here is Women over 60 who voted Labour in 2010.

  18. It really edepends how big (if any) Lab’s poll lead is come the next GE.

    If the LD vote is still single figures and Lab’s is anywhere near 50%, there really won’t be any such thing as a tactical vote in most places outside Scotland. Just Lab v Con in the South and the the rest of England and Wales a red swathe.

  19. @ P. Croft

    I used to comment on “apostrophe atrocity” but everyone got fed up with it – especially me.
    It’s known, of course, as the “Greengrocers’ apostrophe syndrome”: see an “s” — stick one in.
    [The previous “Greengrocers” needed one of course!]

    There have also been many attempts to persuade posters that there is not such word as – its’ – but weariness on this one set in long ago.

    The French, cunning as ever, don’t have the possessive apostrophe: nor can they split an infinitive; but that is another [boring] story.

    I think I have now employed all the commonly used punctuation marks ~ so I shall stop.

  20. @Robbie

    You did miss some† though ? you are incorrect.

    † Granted, it depends on the ? of punctuation marks one considers ‘common’

  21. A perfectly good post ruined by UKPR not supporting certain punctuation marks :p oh well.

    Re the poll: Ed Miliband is a weak and ineffective leader with no chance of winning the next election, as I can prove from quotes from my ‘anonymous shadow cabinet source’ and highly selective use of polling data. Bring back Blair! (Sarcasm)

  22. So after all the fanciful hype there’s not much of a Milliband bounce , if any , given the pollsters caveats about the margin for error and the 3% drop in VI for Labour when voters are told Milliband is the Labour leader.

    Maybe rebranding himself as a New Tory / Blair amalgam and moving to the right since his election is not the best idea .

    Given Labour’s shift to the right ( again ) voters’ choices are becoming very restricted .

  23. To enlarge on my tactical voting in England theme. Last time out I voted LD tactically in Reigate.

    The 2010 national vote share was Con 36 Lab 29 LD 23

    Reigate 2010 : Con 53 Lab 11 LD 26

    Now in 1997

    National: Lab 43 Con 31 LD 17

    Reigate Con 44 Lab 28 LD 20

    Now how much of that LD vote is anti-Tory? How much of the 1997 Tory vote will stay at home or even vote Lab?

    If The national vote looks something like Lab 46 Con 29 LD 10 it is my contention than even rock solid Tory seats like reigate could be close if the LD vote remains collapsed and the anti_tory and ant-Government votes combine against a stay-at-home Tory vote possibly split with UKIP.

    Pie in the sky? depends whether the polls go towards Lab as I predict, or if as many others here suppose, Con claw it back towards the GE itself.

    I think the Tories could be facing a catastrophe from which they might not recover for a long time.

  24. NickP

    If the Tories don’t win in Reigate in 2015, we will have to revise our notions of what is the ‘natural party of government’. Until the Lehman debacle and its consequences, I was almost convinced the mantle under FPTP, had gone to Labour.

  25. Well, I’m not absolutely guaranteeing a Lab win in reigate, you understand.

    But if they get close, that would be startling. If they took it, they’d have to form their own opposition as they would have so many seats.

  26. So, if we’re to believe some of our Tory friends on UKPR, this sudden 5% overnight jump in the Labour lead (almost 10% increase on some recent YouGovs) has got absolutely nothing to do with a bounce from Miliband’s conference speech. Pure MOE and sample error, of course and what little increase there may be for Labour must be down to the rail franchise fiasco.

    I’d say that sounds like a group of people desperately clinging on to what they thought was their electoral get-out-of-jail card. “This Miliband fellow, the country still can’t stand him……………..can they? Please tell me they still think he’s hopeless………please”. lol

    Considering where the polls have been for 7 months now, with Miliband thought to be a drag on Labour support, what on earth may happen if the electorate start to warm to him? It doesn’t bear thinking about, does it?

  27. @ SoCalLiberal,

    I thought that both Romney and Obama were impressive, at least relative to my low opinion of both of them. Romney was much more naturalistic than normal and managed to sound like an ordinary American, while Obama did a very good job of coming across as both proud of his achievements and humble about where he has not been successful.

    I suppose I’m more impressed with Obama, because I’ve seen Romney act naturalistically before and I think his weakness is more in being statesmanlike, while Obama does the “statesmanlike gravitas” very well but I’ve never seen him do the “hey guys, this is how it is” schtick so well before.

    On going off script: I think both of them will be reluctant to do that. Neither are spontaneous, impulsive people with a Reagan-like wit or a Clinton-like charisma or even Bush’s withering put-down nod to Al Gore. As long as they keep things as they were last night (calm, issue-focused and low on rhetoric) I think these can be the best debates since the Clinton years when Republicans could actually discipline themselves to put up statesmen to run for president.

  28. In particular, I like how both Obama and Romney were vying for the centre ground. So, after all the Occupy Movement, the Tea Party, and about a decade of a “core votes” strategy from the Republicans, American politics is still rules by those 10-15% of the population who can see the merits in either Democratic or Republic proposals. Hallelujah.

  29. @ CROSSBAT11 Quite agree – and that’s why I think the Tory plan to focus on Miliband, as a perceived weak point for Labour, is fatally flawed. SO FAR the electorate likes Miliband more, the more they see of him, so for the Tories to help this process along seems a deeply weird strategy.

  30. @Fareham Grecian

    It will be interesting to see how the Tories play this at their conference in Birmingham next week. They’ll be very tempted to launch an onslaught on Miliband, especially if they think they need to nip an improvement in his popularity firmly in the bud. Tempting, no doubt, but wrong and if I was a Tory strategist I’d be advising Cameron and other leading Tories to refrain from personally attacking Miliband and instead concentrate on the arguments that he started to develop in his speech.

    What path will they choose, though? Tories baring their teeth is rarely a vote winning spectacle, despite how well it might go down in the conference hall, but I have a feeling that the more unappetising facets of Toryism are starting to manifest themselves again now and Philip Blond, the author of Red Toryism, was absolutely fascinating on this in an article he wrote in the Guardian today.

    Accordingly, my guess is that they’ll go negative and try and monster Miliband next week.

  31. so no comment on the Survation poll, hmmm i wonder why

  32. Is anyone really surprised there’s a bit of a bounce for Milliband given the almost hero worshipping coverage of the past few days? Doesn’t take a scientist to predict that’s going to happen does it really!? People love being part of something and if they can all agree together they will. The scandal is how the coverage has been so one sided.

  33. What’s all this ‘the public seem to like him’ – a week ago the narrative was totally different…

  34. …railgate?

    Has that even been factored in? More movement tomorrow?

    I wish we still got our 22.00 hrs YouGov fix instead of having to wait till the morning.

  35. @Crossbath

    “Just to add a point I missed when talking about Miliband’s softening attitude towards the Lib Dems. He’s obviously quite keen to revive our old friend “anti-Tory tactical voting” at the next election and the Lib Dem vote is key to the success of this.”

    I think that would be a big mistake. Currently Labour are in if they hold on to disaffected Lib Dems. Softening on the Lib Dems doesn’t just soften the tactical anti-Tory vote it also softens the narrative against the LIb Dems in Labour marginals. I don’t think there are many hardcore Lib Dems who would vote tactically for Labour to keep the Tory out so not much to gain whereas a Lib Dem ‘betrayal’ line or whatever is likely to be more effective to the Labour vote.

    If the narrative was one of “we go soft on Lib Dems and they go soft on us” I might just agree with you.

  36. Ashley – well, the pre-conference narrative was shaped by the Tory hit-poll on Ed, and it being splashed all over the media. So, they spent two days rubbishing him, and now he’s made a good speech that all looks rather silly.

    In that sense the apparent* poll-boost is predictable. But it also was a pretty good speech, and aimed at the centre ground (not a ‘Red Ed’ moment at all!), which is where Labour want to capture coalition supporters from.

    I can see why anti-Labour commenters are upset at the idea that people might agree with Ed Miliband, and would hope that it’s just a media driven blip. It’s always funny to see right wingers try and import the US whines about the biased media to the UK – we have far more national newspapers with higher circulation which veer rightwards than left, and he didn’t get an easy ride from the Beeb in interviews afterwards either. So I don’t see the ‘bias’ there at all – rather that some are annoyed that he didn’t flub the speech and confirm their prejudices about him.

    *A bit of caution should surely apply either way to a single poll which is still within MOE of 43/33/9, as pretty much all polls since May are. We should all give it a few days before deciding if there really is a trend, let alone what has caused it.

  37. @Anthony W

    Hold the front page. It seems that with this latest poll, there’s to be a landslide Labour victory (in 31 months time).

    Or perhaps another article on ‘one poll does not a landslide make’. :)

  38. (in my footnote, by ‘all polls’ I meant ‘all YouGov daily polls’, as other organisations have show a wider spread of results)

  39. Statgeek, as you can see I agree with your sentiment. I wish you were as circumspect with the even less reliable cross-breaks as you are with this poll.

  40. I agree with Danivon. Though a couple of 29s for Con or 47s for Lab would mean ructions at the Con Conference.

    I was surprised at the rent-a-crowd nature of the support for Branson, but there could be an extra effect on VI if its true. Will Railgate stay in the news though? The weekend news media has still to emerge with a more in-depth hatchet job and I do not think voters see this as a purely civil service debacle.

  41. It occurs to me that part of the reason that the media has done a 180 on milliband is the feeling that they were taken for a ride by the populous poll, I notice that the fine details of that poll came out about the same time as ed’s speech at least it appears that way to me

  42. @Danivon

    Such as?

    The crossbreaks are generally unreliable, and while we can all make a good bit of banter from them, we need a few in a row to believe there’s anything real happening.

  43. A case in point; today’s poll:

    Outliers are highlighted in pink. 42% of the poll’s numbers are outliers. If they are repeated at least twice (ideally some more) then fine, but until then I’ll not old my breath.

    A bit of banter on the crossbreaks is fun, but seeing half a dozen folk reporting wonderful stuff from a poll that is not all that different from polling weeks or months ago is funnier still.

  44. In my defence< I've been predicting a Lab landlside since the anti-Tory LDs fled to Lab.

    Since then dissatisfaction with the governing parties has grown. I still can see no other likely result. If the gap keeps growing, it really will be a huge win for Labour.

    I can't see any reason why it won't.

  45. Now now boys don’t get so upset if somebody posts on this page who is not a Labour supporter after all were “all one nation”, don’t you just love a good old Tory slogan. Sorry if I’ve upset a couple of people with my over/ under use of the apostrophe but as they say tough, I put it down to a poor education I don’t understand it really after all I went to a comprehensive same as Ed, mind you mine really was bog standard unlike Ed””””””’s

  46. Neal Lawson arguing in the latest Compass briefing that labour needs policies:

    “And one final thought, before we put the progressive conference season to bed. Labour has been polling anywhere between three to 14 per cent ahead of the Tories in the last few days. We will have a better idea of the lie of the land after next week’s Conservative conference.

    But any sense that the economy is recovering in the run-up to 2015 could, as in 1983 and 1992, see big Labour leads melt away. The Tories will say “look, it took longer and was harder than we thought – because of the scale of the mess Labour left – so don’t let the wreckers back in and instead give us the a mandate to see the job through”.

    The centre-left **has to start producing an alternative story about the good life and the good society** – and above all about a sustainable planet – so that no one wants to turn back to a temporary boom built on a continuing social recession. We need a different vision of what it means to live in the 21st century.”

  47. Statgeek – how on earth do you arrive at the Labour and Con VI figures being outliers? They are both about 2 points from the recent averages (43 and 33) and the 95% confidence MOE for a poll of 1641 is 2.42 points. For the crossbreaks, some of the MOEs will be much larger.

    If you are defining ‘outlier’ as ‘looks a bit bigger or smaller than usual”, then your username is most inappropriate.

    Similalry, it would take a great deal more than ‘a few polls’ to get much of value from crossbreaks. The regional and age crossbreaks are not only quite small, but they are also not internally representative or adjusted to be so. They are adjusted to make the full sample more representative, so a rogue crossbreak could suggest that a single poll was not reliable. This means that the MOEs for these crossbreaks will be higher.

    A sample of 400 has a 95% confidence MOE of about 5%, but only if it’s controlled to be representative. Without that control, at best the MOE is much higher, at worst it’s not really measurable at all. For the smaller crossbreaks, it’s even more problematic.

  48. Turk:

    Apology accepted.

    A little tip on how to spot whether to use an apostrophe or not: most words ending with “s” are pluralS. So start by excluding them at the very least.

    Hope that helps.


  49. The next election will be a hung Parliamanet as all three major parties are to tarnished to win a majority. Turn out will be low but disaffected Tories are probably more likely to vote than other disaffected voters. Tories will lose seats, Labour won’t make the gains they are hoping for and Libdems will be all but wiped out. UKIP will hold the balance of power as they will do much better than expected. Will be very interesting times.


    A little tip on how to type your name.

    Firstly, well done for remembering 1 of the letters is a capital. But it is always the first letter of your name that is the capital, not the second.

    SORRY! Couldn’t resist it.
    (hope that apostrophe is correct)

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