This week’s YouGov poll for the Sunday Times has topline figures of CON 31%, LAB 45%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 8% – maintaining the conference boost for Labour that we saw straight after Ed Miliband’s speech. Looking more specificially at Ed Miliband, his job approval rating is minus 9, a big jump from minus 29 last week and his highest since the early months of his leadership back in 2010 and early 2011.

YouGov repeated the bank of questions asking people to compare David Cameron and Ed Miliband that they asked a week ago, and found significant boosts in Miliband’s figures on many measures, but that he still trails Cameron in the same places he trailed him a week ago. So the proportion of people thinking Miliband is the stronger leader is up 5 to 26%, thinking he is the most decisive up 7 to 28%, more likeable up 3 to 34%, having a better strategy on the recession up 5 to 29%, however on all of these he continues to trail behind David Cameron. The biggest single increase is on having a clear vision for Britain where Miliband is up 8 points to 30%, putting him only just behind Cameron on 32%.

30% of people said that they have a more positive view of Miliband since the party conference. The majority of these are Labour supporters anyway, but given that the pattern of previous polling has been a lot of doubt about Miliband amongst Labour’s own voters this is no bad thing for him. Miliband needed to be able to convince people who supported Labour but don’t rate him that he is up to the job, and he is making progress.

Movement on whether people Ed Miliband will ever be Prime Minister is more modest. Asked whether it is likely that Ed Miliband will ever become Prime Minister 32% of people now think it is fairly or very, 54% think it is fairly or very unlikely. Prior to conference the figures were 30% and 57%. What we need to watch now on the Miliband figures is whether these changes last or whether they drop again once memories of the conference fade.

Turning to the government 49% of people said that Ed Miliband’s description of the government as the “most incompetent, hopeless, out of touch” government was a fair description, 40% said it was unfair – unsurprisingly these figures were strongly correlated with voting intention! Actually asked to say how competent recent governments were, the coalition government comes somewhere between Blair’s government and Brown’s government – 45% think the Labour government under Blair were competent, 34% think the current coalition government under Cameron are competent, 24% think the last Labour government under Gordon Brown was competent.

Looking more specifically at how people think the government are doing, on every area asked about a majority thought the government were doing a bad job – very much in line with the negative government approval figures. Whey are viewed most positively (or least negatively!) on their handling of the economy (31% think they are doing a good job), education (29% a good job) and reforming benefits (29% a good job). They are seen as doing least well on immigration (14% a good job) and – perhaps not surprisingly given the current news headlines – transport (22% a good job).

Turning to the rail bid, 33% of people think the civil servants were mostly to blame, 45% think the ministers were, 21% don’t know. They seem happy for both to take the blame though – 58% think the government were right to suspend the civil servants responsible, 51% think Justine Greening should resign. Notably while Labour supporters invariably think government ministers under fire should resign anyway, Conservative voters are also narrowly in favour of Greening resigning – 39% to 34%.

Finally on Jimmy Savile, 54% of people think the BBC have handled the issue badly and 56% believe they are guilty of covering up allegations in the past. 54% of people think there should be a full investigation, 35% think there is nothing to be gained from an investigation given Savile is already dead.

Yesterday there was also a new Opinium poll in the Observer which had a more modest conference bounce for Labour – their voting intention figures were CON 30%(+1), LAB 41%(+2), LDEM 9%(-1), Others 20%. They found the proportion of likely voters with a positive opinion of Ed Miliband rose by 5 points from 23% to 28%.

293 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 31, LAB 45, LD 8, UKIP 8”

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  1. “The Government consultation on the owner-employee contract will include the details of restrictions on forfeiture provisions to ensure that if an owner-employee leaves or is dismissed, the company is not able simply to take the shares back but is able to buy them back at a reasonable price. ”

    And what if the (now ex-) employee wants to keep them or sell them to someone else?

    Very odd definition of “ownership”, I must say.

  2. NICKP

    Nope-spot on actually.

    The economy which you no doubt had in mind-the one which appeared to sustain an “unreformed welfare system” , turned out to be ; itself; unsustainable.

    Whole pack of cards collapsed-bingo , State Spending nearly 50% GDP & Deficit 11% GDP.

    15 years ahead of Osborne ……….and light years ahead of Brown. :-)

  3. @NickP

    That’s assuming your assuming bears water.

  4. Mixed metaphors…

    Holds water….if it does, it might bear fruit. ;)

  5. What are we actually paying off – a welfare system or the amount of money it cost us to bail out the banks?

    My understanding is that the debt was caused by the collapse of the banks and all that toxic debt they were holding. Nothing to do with welfare.

  6. Crikey- I find myself in partial agreement with @Craig.

    The choice between the two main UK parties (certainly on the economy) at the next election will be very narrow. I disagree with him in that I don’t think they will have adopted “identical” policies. But they will be quite similar- on the economy say the ‘cuts lite’ of lower deficit reduction target (who says we *have* to eradicate the deficit in its entirety) and longer duration for implementation combined with targeted support both geographically and sectorally. The kind of thing I suggested on here 18 months ago.

    In any case having policies in “black and white” that are not the intellectual kick-in-the-goolies refutation of Conlib that leftists/ ‘we have our party back’ types are luxuriating in anticipation of will inevitably lead to a drop in both labours headline number and lead- into hung parliament territory by the next election IMHO

    More reason- as myself and a few others continue to point out- for labour to get the ‘bad news’ out ASAP and give the party a chance at an OM.

  7. NICKP

    I think it depends on exactly what “but is able to buy them back at a reasonable price. ”. means.

    If it means-is able-with the employees agreement, that’s fine.

    If it means- is able compulsorily to do so, without the employees consent-I agree that this looks odd.

    This is aimed at high tec. cutting edge start ups as I understand it. I suppose an early leaver could find his/her shares doing a Facebook over time , without having contributed much.

    But I tend to agree with you-ownership should rest unfettered , in compensation for the employment rights given up.

  8. Colin

    You don’t agree with me at all. I think ownnership means you won them, but I don’t like the look of the scheme much.

    Share ownership for employees already carries with shared risk and gains and is an obvious win/win if employers want employee buy-in…absolutely no need to give up employment rights.

    You can’t give up “rights”.

  9. and Colin

    “restrictions on forfeiture provisions ”

    Doesn’t sound like unfettered ownership to me. What forfeiture provisions?

  10. Apparently the word ‘growth’ was missing from GO’s speech and I wonder whether the Tories now believe that the level of growth previous achieved in the UK economy is no longer attainable.

    I am thinking that due to the debt mountain and globalisation, the Tories may now believe that GDP is not going to rise very much in the future. The debt mountain means there is no room for fiscal changes to encourage investment and globalisation means that UK companies will find it increasingly difficult to compete. Therefore any UK government is going to be faced with increased costs and less money, so the only option is to reduce spending, as tax increases will just make the situation worse.

    If this is the Tories view on the UK’s place in the world, it is a bit of a defeatist position. As we have seen in China, they are faced with increasing demands from workers there for better incomes. If the wealth of the Chinese keeps on increasing, there will be more and more people who would like to buy European made goods. So there is opportunity to create manufacturing jobs in the UK.

    If Labour offer a more optimistic view of the UK in the future and paint the Tories as pessimists, then I can see this being reflected in polling/votes. From what I have seen of the Tory conference, it is very downbeat, compared to last weeks Labour conference. The Tories could do with Boris at the helm and no doubt this afternoon he will put a bit of life back into the party.

  11. there the tories go again with yet more deflationary policies to look forward to. You might have thought that george would have realised by now that continually cutting like a maniacal axeman at a time of stagnation is counterproductive.

  12. NICKP

    UNderstand-a different viewpoint.

    Of course this is for the private sector-not the public sector.

  13. ‘Actually, I think that any party with the physical and political advantages of PSUV would be embarassed by winning with such a small margin’

    The media in Venezuela is overwhelmingly anti-chavez, as could be seen if you glanced over sunday’s papers. The state media has a 6% audience share. The voting system is accredited as one of the best in the world.
    The rest of your diatribe was pretty much baseless innuendo verbatim repeated from the propaganda sheets Im afraid to say.

  14. hmmm, I’ll try again:

    Since the budget this March, the Tory share of the vote – which had stayed more or less the same since the 2010 election – had begun to fall, with Labour opening an average 11-point lead. (You can also see that in this graphic of Guardian/ICM polls since the election.)

    “The budget was the worst received budget since the late 1990s,” said Ipsos Mori’s Gideon Skinner. “Across all ages, across all social classes, across men and women, the Conservative vote has fallen,” Skinner said. “They have gone to the left, to the right. You’ve lost votes to Ukip, but the same number [5%] to Labour. It’s not gone just to one wing or one demographic group. The fall is just as much among urban voters as it is among rural.”

    He added: “David Cameron’s ratings are falling as well.” Showing graphs comparing the popularity of incoming prime ministers, he said: “Cameron’s ratings are not a million miles away from where Gordon Brown’s were at the same time.”

    Ed Miliband, meanwhile, “has at least steadied the fall” in his ratings – but all these figures were compiled before the conference speech Miliband made last week that has been widely hailed as an important move towards improving his image.

    Skinner said of the 2012 budget: “The rhetoric, the story of ‘we’re all in it together’, it just doesn’t resonate with people.”

  15. @NickP

    “Doesn’t sound like unfettered ownership to me. ”

    My earlier post on how this was already unravelling got modded. But if discussion in the media goes along the lines of discussion in online fora (e.g. it’s not getting a good reception on the DT and DM sites), then it’s certainly going to play into the ‘back of an envelope’ narrative.

  16. Colin

    Workers in the public sector are shareholders in the same way all taxpayers and service users are.

    In the private sector a chance to share profits/dividends etc might well motivate employees. But why not make them shareholders anyway? No need to threaten them with the sack.

    Once the workforce owns enough shares, perhaps they can vote the boss out!

  17. @ R Huckle

    “If the wealth of the Chinese keeps on increasing, there will be more and more people who would like to buy European made goods. So there is opportunity to create manufacturing jobs in the UK.”

    I really have my doubts about this. The fact is that China can and does make quality and if there is a market there they will copy and make it cheaper. Maybe a few brand names can make it but most of those will probably be made in China anyway.

  18. Shares for rights? I’m guessing these are statutory employment rights.

    What happens when the employee chooses to sell his shares, or leave the scheme? How long does the ‘scheme’ operate – one year, two years?

    I don’t see this being attractive.

  19. @R Huckle

    I have no doubt that growth is eminently achievable, but that it is not straightforward and the Tories are not sure how to achieve it within the policy framework they’ve set themselves.

    I rather think they want to shrink the state first and then go for growth, rather than have growth, in their view, dependent on State spending.

    The difficulty is that they are currently busy testing the hypothesis that reducing State spending will help the private sector to grow and it rather appears that the hypothesis has been falsified – at least with the current cuts-based policy setup.

    As to the rather peculiar shares idea – the CBI have basically dismissed it, and I find it difficult to see many situations where it is in the best interests of both employer and employee.

  20. @ nickp
    “I think the Conservative Party looked at Blair and decided it was all to do with presentation and nothing to do with policies.”
    I agree. And the Lib Dems did it too.

    “Big mistake.”
    Sadly, I’m not so sure. It got Cameron and Clegg in to government. Have the electorate twigged? Do they value age, experience, integrity and substance over style and spin? With Johnson, Farron and Milliband the slightly-elder waiting off-stage then I am not convinced, but I hope I’m wrong.

  21. Do you get more shares every year you stay in the “scheme”? Or is this a one-time deal? Does someone joining the company have the same number of shares as someone who has been there for 20 years?

  22. The Telegraph don’t seem to love Osborne or his shares for roghts scheme:

    “George Osborne has invited employees to give up their workplace rights in exchange for owning tax-free shares in their companies.

    In a speech which was greeted with luke-warm applause at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, the Chancellor jokingly borrowed the Marxist slogan “workers of the world unite” to launch his new scheme.

    The plan effectively involves workers gambling on their career prospects, by sacrificing their protection against unfair dismissal and other rights in return for profits on company shares which will be free from capital gains tax. “

  23. @peewee

    “With Johnson, Farron and Milliband the slightly-elder waiting off-stage then I am not convinced, but I hope I’m wrong.”

    DM won’t get the leadership of the Labour party- his decision not to be Shadow Chancellor back in 2010 put an end to that. IMHO he won’t even run if/when his brother falls on his sword/ gets booted out.

    Indeed for that matter I cannot see either Johnson nor Farron surviving the glare of a leadership campaign for their parties- though they both WILL stand when a vacancy arises: pretty convinced of that.

  24. rob

    We won’t know till we know, but although sooner or later Ed M will either resign, retire, get the boot or die, I’m pretty convinced he’s going to be PM after the next election.

    But I’m aware you have a different point of view!

  25. “….the big announcement is that the Chancellor has secured the agreement of Iain Duncan Smith and the Lib Dems to a further £10bn of welfare cuts in 2015-16 on top of the £18bn of cuts already announced.”

    I honestly imagined that even Clegg would draw the line at this. It makes tuition fees look small beer.

  26. I can’t see it being a vote winner, sorry.

  27. @MikeN

    It’s amusingly being described as “A U-turn in the design stages”

  28. about this shares-for-rights scheme, what happens if the company folds, presumably your shares are then worthless, and you don’t even get a redundancy payment. If so, where’s the attraction for someone not working in a recession-proof company?

    I can’t see this being very popular or useful.

  29. @NickP

    “But I’m aware you have a different point of view!”

    In the sense that you think EdM will get a whacking majority yes I do have a different POV.

    I think he’ll be lucky to get a Wilsonite 1976 majority = say circa 5-10 i.e. one that is fundamentally unstable and means relying on the mavericks and extremists that labour still has in its PLP ranks. A ‘government’ that would not survive a full 5 year term of byelections and retirements.

    On balance though currently I don’t think Labour will have even that tiny ‘unworkable’ majority- as said (many times) I think it will be a hung parliament and for the moment, at least, its odds on that it will be PM Ed of a minority Labour government or PM Ed of a coalition with a non Clegg led Lib dems.

    There are simply too many oh-so-obvious (to some) elements teed up just over the horizon: here are three of them:

    1. Modest economic improvements by late 2014 that nonetheless can be spun or embellished Romney style by Cameron and Osborne;

    2. Labours own “realistic” eventual suite of policies that will lead to primal screams and howls on the left and defections/ abstentions;

    3. The TV debates- where the great apolitical and disinterested of this country (who have never heard of UKPR and its- current- red/green landslide majority) will rediscover why they ‘liked’ Dave in the first place and why they always thought EdM was ‘not their cup of tea’.

    All three aspects will bear down on Labours poll numbers and eventual vote from where we are now IMHO.

    It’s clear by now though to anyone with a brain cell that it will be EdM leading Labour into the next election. He had to resign / get pushed out by the start of 2013 for it not to be something that would cause Labour a “defeat-by-default”- and that is obvioulsy not going to happen. When referring to a leadership vacancy I was talking about sometime after the next GE.

  30. @Rob S

    It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to come up with a perfectly plausible scenario whereby David M swears off any leadership ambitions right up until the point where he reluctantly agrees to stand because he’s just being asked *so many times* to do it and because he feels there is unfinished business.

    That said, especially if Ed M is the next PM, I think someone else will get the job. Both the Tories and Labour have quite a few able young MPs, and I think the next Labour leader will be one of their newer lot. Umunna looks and sounds the part for me.

  31. Robin
    That article/blog articulates my views perfectly.

    If this idea gets into legislation, I hope there will be a provision that prevents employees and prospective employees being coerced into joining the ‘owner-employee’ scheme.

    I can see lawyers rubbing their hands together with eager anticipation at the claims and cases that will generate mega-bucks at some future date.

  32. “It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to come up with a perfectly plausible scenario whereby David M swears off any leadership ambitions right up until the point where he reluctantly agrees to stand because he’s just being asked *so many times* to do it and because he feels there is unfinished business”


    It is however pretty difficult (I’d say damn near impossible) to come up with any scenario- under the current leadership election rules with its massive Trade Union influence- where an AWOL-for-5-years (from front line politics) elder Blairite-not-Brownite Miliband has a snow flakes chance in hell of winning.

    In which case of course he is not going to stand. Why would he ?!

    FWIW I think it will be (and hope so as well) one of the bright sparks from the 2010 intake. Chuka et al.

    I don’t think it will be (or should be) EdB, YC or any of those who served under the TB-GBs.

  33. I have a problem as there is no groupthink to tell me what my opinion is so I will have to think for myself!!

    Just a reminder Rob that you are not the only Labour Party member on here to think that an OM is extremely unlikely for Lab next time.

    Like you I want more policy being developed but so far am happy with the pace. I worry that firming up too early with the aim of possibly scraping an OM may actually prove counter-productive like before 1992 and cost votes that may mean the difference between us and the cons being the largest party.

    Personally, I think the GO/DA 15-17 defecit reduction programme helps Labour.

    Our position will be that we say too far too fast we were right for 10-12 and that we will reduce the defifcit by £16k but take 4 years in stead of 2 or whatever seems right. Thus a small difference can be presented as clear purple water.

  34. @ Jay Blanc

    “I think the Debate ‘Win’ was a bit of a poison chalice, because he ‘won’ by saying a whole load of things that have turned out to be rather toxic on later reflection.

    Do I have to mention Big Bird?”

    That was just kind of awkward.

    In terms of the things said that were untrue, I’m not sure how much those hurt. People often don’t fact check these things for themselves. It makes for some interesting attack ads but I’m not sure how much of an impact they have. We’ll see.

  35. @”3. The TV debates- where the great apolitical and disinterested of this country (who have never heard of UKPR and its- current- red/green landslide majority) will rediscover why they ‘liked’ Dave in the first place and why they always thought EdM was ‘not their cup of tea’.”

    I think this is a factor which is not accepted sufficiently here.

    UKPR Lefties have naturally been encouraged by EM’s ratings improvement, and have embraced them in order to dismiss the early Tory dismissal of EM, and indeed their own occasional doubts .

    The Conference speech has -for them-been the final affirmation that EM has achieved ” credibility”.

    But EM’s ratings approval has been greatest amongst Labour identifiers-and the Conference speech was addressed to the Labour Party.

    Talking to the voting public at large -and defending what you say , in hostile public interviews is a very different matter.

    Anyone who thinks EM has mastered the latter in a wholly convincing fashion should listen to his interview with Evan Davis, the day after his speech, on Today.

    It is available on BBC iPlayer.

  36. NICKP

    @”In the private sector a chance to share profits/dividends etc might well motivate employees.”

    Employee share ownership schemes aren’t focussed on dividends. They are focussed on capital gains-ie the growth of the company.

  37. Colin – I work in the private sector, and I think shares for rights is an appalling idea. A friend of mine who works elsewhere in the private sector simply responded to the plan with a tweet saying ‘vote Labour’ and he’s not a politico.

    Lots of employers already offer shares to employees, whether as bonuses or discounted in schemes. They didn’t need to reduce employye rights to do it, or get government support, and they tend to be the more well regarded companies. Yet again this enables poor employers at the expense of good ones, and set up a race to the bottom.

    I can’t see it going down that well with middle or working class voters, especially if they are (as many are) more concerned with holding their job and what happens if they lose it, than potentially having shares with a bit of value in time. As the rights to be taken away in exchange include redundancy and unfair dismissal, that’s a massive worry to people already not feeling secure.

    The Tories seem determined to make a milisurge out of a milibounce.

  38. @Chris Riley

    You said “…As to the rather peculiar shares idea – the CBI have basically dismissed it, and I find it difficult to see many situations where it is in the best interests of both employer and employee…”

    The first thing I thought of when I heard this was “start-ups”. You allow employees in new companies to cede their employment rights for shares, you start the next Microsoft/Facebook/Google
    and suddenly you’re D’Anne Schjerning (Netscape), or Betsy Davis (Microsoft), or Tina Podlodowski (Microsoft), or David Choe (Facebook), or Bonnie Brown (Google): richer than God despite being originally a secretary/teacher/artist/masseuse.

    So I hate to be a contrarian on this, but it sounds like a brilliant idea.

    Regards, Martyn

  39. Big picture from Osborne’s speech is that the problems are all supply-side rather than demand-side.

    I’ve said times many that he made a colossal strategic mistake in painting himself into this corner in 09-10. He cannot get out of it without the biggest u-turn in decades. That is the backdrop for the run-up to 15.



    I don’t think this idea is to be compared with existing share incentive schemes ( with which I am familiar)-or indeed with any large & established company workforce.

    It is aimed a High Tec, Leading Eadge , Start-Ups, with high risk to the entrepreneurs & high start up costs.

    THese are likely to need very small numbers of specially skilled employees.

    In effect you GO is trying to relieve such start -ups of front end costs & liabilities of taking on staff, & thus encourage set up.
    Employees attracted by this sort of deal will be joining the owners in both risk & reward.

    IT won’t have general application -or attraction.

    And it is voluntary.

    If you fancy this sort of risk -and have the relevant skills to get a job fine. If you don’t/havent, you will go somewhere more conventional .

  41. Most start ups (even High Tech, Leading Edge ones) fail. Which is a risk to both employees and entrepreneurs. This may marginally reduce the risk of failure occurring. But it would greatly add to the impact on employees in the event of failure.

    I wish I had your confidence it would be confined to such start-ups anyway.

    I was once offered a job on a fixed term contract on condition I waived employment rights. I told them to stuff it (this was, of all organisations, the Co-op Bank in 1995), but I had better offers anyway. Not because I was too ‘conventional’, but because I’m not an idiot – being able to get redress for wrongful dismissal is just an extension of natural justice, and without it you are the mercy of unscrupulous bosses and bad managers.


    @”Most start ups (even High Tech, Leading Edge ones) fail. Which is a risk to both employees and entrepreneurs. ”

    Precisely-this attempts to share reward with risk.

    The idea is to encourage start-ups , because they are the seed corn of established business.

  43. Very interesting times we now live in.
    Corby by election, will Labour win by 10000 ? I believe they will
    Croydon North at the last election Labour polled more than half the vote, will they do it again, i believe they will
    Finally Middlesborough, can Labour increase their share of the vote, i think they can.
    Testing times for tories and lindems as the could be shuffled down in all three by UKIP

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