The weekly YouGov results for the Sunday Times are now online here, mostly covering the BBC and Jimmy Savile, topics which I’ll leave to another day. Topline voting intention results are CON 35%, LAB 42%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 7%. The seven point Labour lead is lower than YouGov normally show, but not by so much that it couldn’t be just normal sample variation.

There does appear to be some impact from the end of the recession though – there are very significant shifts on many of the economy trackers. 36% of people think that the government is managing the economy well, up 5 points from last week and their highest score since before the budget. Overall perceptions of the economy remain dire of course… but are less dire than they have been for a long time. 64% think the economy is in a bad state, the lowest since the general election. The feel good factor (the proportion of people who expect their financial situation to get better in the next 12 months minus those who think it will get worse) is up to minus 34, its highest since May 2010.

It may be a very short term effect from the good economic news, and made fade away again in coming weeks, but right now people are less pessimistic about the economy than they have been for 2 years. With that said, the large majority of people still expect the economic troubles to last a long time – 58% expect them to last another three years or more.

163 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 35, LAB 42, LD 9, UKIP 7”

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  1. The economy must be bad news for Labour right enough.

    I see UKIP are on 8% in Scotland….Mundell’s seat could be in trouble. ;)

  2. Any sustained recovery for the economy is dire news for Labour, I think that’s obvious. Not that Miliband would ever be PM anyway, but this makes it impossible for him.

  3. We will see if the lift for the Tories lasts in polls over the coming weeks. I am not sure it will last, as people will see increases of 11% in their energy bills, plus large rises in cost of their weekily food shopping. In April 2013, due to the reduction in inflation, pensions etc, will only rise by 2.2%.

    So I am not convinced by this sudden jump in government poll scoring, on the back of one quarters good GDP result. As has been pointed out previously, Q3 tends to be a better quarter for growth and other quarters are often not as good.

  4. The Tories have not learned from their mistakes. Back in October 2010 Mr Osborne declared to the Commons “Today’s figures show the economy is continuing to grow at double the rate the market expected and the fastest rate for a third quarter since 1999″….sound familiar.

    The problem about building peoples expectations up about being “on the right track” is the fall from grace further down the line.

    Amongst all the back slapping and congratulations going on last week one piece of economic news was missed by all and sundry. The CBI Industrial trend (factory orders) dropped to -23 from -8 when it was expected to rise. This is the lowest figure since last December….something to ponder.

    So a small bounce in the polls could then lead to a bigger fall as a realisation hits the electorate.

  5. I agree that the boost is unlikely to last in voting intention. However, the changes are good for the Tories in two important ways:-

    1) Even if the polling returns to normal, the Tories have had a boost in the number of people thinking they have done a good job running the economy. In many ways, being seen as being economically competent is arguably more important at this stage for the Tories than voting intention.

    2) It shows that whilst Labour are still head, at least some of their vote/lead is soft. If the Tories are polling in the mid-thirties during their most unpopular time in (mid-term) government, they will feel that it is possible for them to creep up to the late 30s and even attempt to reach 40-43% by 2015. Whether they actually can is, of course, another matter!

  6. NEIL KINNOCK in the 1987 Conference quoted an inevitable miner from Tredegar.

    ‘If Socialism waits for Want, then Socialism must wait’.

    However I would say two things about this GDP bounce.

    i. If it is shortlived, then people will feel angrier.

    ii. The Left has normally won UK GE’s when they have felt safe to do so, economically

  7. @Ambivalent

    I honk you are confusing Labour vote and Conservative vote (some of their vote/lead is soft). The Labour vote seems fairly solid in the low 40s. This economic news hasn’t shifted the minds of those who are pro Labour. It does seem to have encouraged a few soft Tories back to the fold, if this isn’t a statistical blip. Of course that impacts the lead that Labour have, but it is nothing to do with the solidity of the Labour vote.

    Unless the Conservatives can find a way of eroding the Labour vote, not lead, then they are going to find it very hard to stop Labour winning in 2015 given the current boundaries.

  8. @The Sheep,

    “I honk you are confusing Labour vote and Conservative vote (some of their vote/lead is soft).”

    I agree that the Conservative vote is soft too. That’s partly why the next GE is so open IMO.

  9. The Sheep, I think that you are right that the most important VI is the Labour actual score as the Cons share will vary acccording to short term news, UKIP surges etc.

    IIRC the VI of the main opposition party virtually always falls at GEs from mid term (in fact even from a year out) accepting pre-1992 lack of accuracy. This can be 10-20% – so if Lab 42% now as per UKPR Average then a fair statement is that Lab are unlikely to go below 34% and should get over 35% but are unlikely to get above 38% unless thay can nudge up their average VI to closer to 45% in which case their range becomes 35-40 ish. For a potential OM I think we need to to be over 45% for a good stretch, 6 months or more.

    The Cons do not have much if any ephemeral LD VI to grab back so are relying on gaining back 4% (net more than Lab) or so from UKIP and 2010 con voters currently saying DK/WV coming back; plus of course a bit from 2010 con now saying Lab, maybe 1%.

    My reading is that in a hypothetical GE in 5 weeks due to a sudden coalition collapse the 2 main parties start with Lab a little ahead but the Cons take the most votes due to DC v EM and having more policies in hand. Enough for an OM? probabaly not; enough for most seats, maybe?

  10. @The Sheep,

    It also wasn’t that long ago that Labour was regularly scoring 44-45% with Yougov. If this poll is anything to go by (and it might just be MOE, we’ll have to see) then the Labour vote has dropped a good 2 or 3 percent just on the basis of one set of GDP figures.

  11. @Bernard: “not that Miliband would ever be PM anyway”

    A little less assumptive perhaps? Afterall, if we look at who is statistically more likely to be PM in 2015, Miliband is doing much better than your man.

    On the GDP:

    I feel this will be short-lived. Afterall, if you look at the figures, even though the economy grew by 1%, it has simply grown to the point we were at a year ago, before the double dip, meaning that over the last 12 months there has been flat growth. I suspect that this quarters GDP (traditionally the most favourable anyway) has been inflated by the Olympics, and we will see flat, if not negative growth next quarter. I think we’ll manage to stave off a triple-dip recession (if that happens the Cons have a huuuuge problem on their hands, no amount of spin would help them recover from that), but I expect the zigzagging to continue for the next year or so at least.

    Also, we have to remember that the Cons inherited an economy growing at above 1%, Labour should be pushing that message.

    Final point; The Thick of it was amazing last night. Sad to see it go!

  12. @ Ambivalent

    Last 7 YGs – Labour 42% is the VI seen most often.

    44 – 24/25 Oct
    43 – 23/24
    42 – 22/23
    45 – 21/22
    43 – 18/19
    42 – 17/18
    42 – 16/17

  13. @ Bernard

    Any sustained recovery for the economy is dire news for Labour, I think that’s obvious. Not that Miliband would ever be PM anyway, but this makes it impossible for him.
    Miliband & Cameron approvals are both -16 in this poll.

  14. @Amber,

    “Last 7 YGs – Labour 42% is the VI seen most often.”

    That’s because there has been a slight reduction in the Labour vote and lead since the end of the conferences. In early October, Labour leads of 44-45% were frequent with Yougov.

  15. Ambi:

    “Labour leads of 44/45%”

    Bugger! I missed them.

  16. Of course it’s more than possible that this could just be within the MOE anyway. And even if it isn’t, I don’t think it’ll be long before Labour is regularly scoring 44-45% with Yougov again, anyway. But, as I said before, for me it’s how it affects voters’ perceptions of the Tory’s economic policy that is arguably more important in the long term.

  17. @PaulCroft,

    “Bugger! I missed them.”


  18. @Red Rag, @Chris Lane

    I agree – there are big risks to the government if this turns out to be another false dawn. By claiming credit for last week’s good news, the Government has effectively run out of excuses if the good news isn’t sustained.

    There’s a further risk to the Government as well. People may start to ask themselves exactly who is benefitting from a limited rise in GDP, and why those benefits aren’t being shared around more. Unless some of the scheduled cuts are cancelled, there are plenty who will find themselves personally worse off in 2013 than they are now.

  19. @ Ambivalent

    I have cherry-picked a recent run of YG 7 polls which have the highest Labour VI; they are for 1st thru’ 9th October.


    There’s still a 42 & 2 x 43s in there.

  20. @REDRAG “The Tories have not learned from their mistakes. The problem about building peoples expectations up about being “on the right track” is the fall from grace further down the line.”

    True, but building expectations is vital for boosting consumer confidence. You’re correct that if they get it wrong it’s a hard fall from grace, but to restore consumer confidence we do need more good news focused on. If you just focus on the bad, you create a self fulfilling prophecy, no one thinks the economy will improve, so they don’t spend or create demand, so then the economy doesn’t improve.

  21. Ambi:

    you said labour “LEADS” – I imagine EVERYBODY missed them. I would be happy to see them though if you want to give dates.

    Ta velly much.

  22. Let’s do a comparison with the last 7 Yougovs to those exactly 2 months ago and you’ll see what I mean:-

    42% (3)
    43% (2)
    44% (1)
    45% (1)

    Exactly two months ago, the results for Yougov were:-

    42% (1)
    43% (1)
    44% (5)

    So, you can see that:-

    1) Now there is more of an even spread in the Labour voting intention.
    2) Labour was regularly hitting 44% (5 out of 7) exactly 2 months ago, but now they are recording a lot more scores in the 42-43% range. Maybe not statistically significant results in themselves, but it seems that Labour scoring in the 44-45% range has become less frequent.

  23. AW:

    As I mentioned earlier I find the question on “like/dislike” leaders very strange. I have no reason to dislike any of them since I hardly know them and can’t understand why people seemingly have such knee-jerk reactions. There MUST be a better way to phrase such questions???

    Even more bizarre is that a number of people can decide they “like” David Cameron because there has been a small economic change.


  24. @PaulCroft,

    “Ta velly much.”

    You’re welcome. :P

  25. The public obviously aren’t listening to this inspiring song. This should get everyone’s spirits up:

  26. Ambi:

    Still not seeing these “leads” you talked of – 13% seems the highest.

    Maybe its you who is not being clear………….

  27. Paul it’s not strange at all. The likeability factor is important in elections, it’s one of Obama’s strengths, Romney’s more trusted on the economy, Obama is more likeable.

    No one likes Clegg because of what he did, hence why his ratings in this area are so low. people like Boris are very likeable, hence why they can win in a labour stronghold like London even when their party is extremely unpopular.

  28. @PaulCroft,

    “Still not seeing these “leads” you talked of – 13% seems the highest.

    Maybe its you who is not being clear………….

    Nope, I provided evidence of the (slight) erosion of Labour’s vote when compared to exactly 2 months ago. That is evidence enough my friend.

    I am off to listen to Spurs play. Gareth Bale has just scored so I am more than happy. Have a lovely evening. :P

  29. @ManintheMiddle,

    I agree. I hope Obama wins…infinitely more likable than Romney and that’s often what sways it.

  30. i think people are cynical of official figures( after all many government supporters and commentators have assured us over the last year that official statistics were wrong and didn’t reflect what was going on in the economy ). unless we’re now being told official figures are correct when they’re good news for the government and wrong when they’re bad news.
    people are more concerned with how they are doing and their friends and family. are shops closing down or opening up in their area etc.

  31. Paul Croft

    YouGov’s main tracker question on leaders is actually Do you think that X is doing well
    or badly as Prime Minister/Leader of the Y Party?
    . Liking doesn’t come into it.

    It’s true that there has been a fashion in recent months to ask questions about Party Leaders in various ways, motivated mainly by the poll commissioners wanting to continue to see Miliband as “unelectable” or to get the Tory Party to replace Cameron with someone even more biddable. If the usual question doesn’t give the answer required, just keep asking it differently till you get the response you want. But the basic tracker question does keep on plodding on and it doesn’t mention “like”.

  32. Labour will probably get a boost next month because the upcoming elections are likely to be bruising for the Conservatives, particularly Corby. Similarly next year’s local elections are going to be bad for the government.

    But this a very encouraging poll, and could signal the start of a turning point. This is what we might have had a week ago were it not for the Andrew Mitchell furore. It may be next summer before the Tories are over the worst but I can now see the polls turning around in our favour in time for 2015 much more clearly than I could a few weeks ago.

  33. Anthony

    Speaking of trackers there’s one that seems to have gone missing in action. All through 2011 YouGov asked:

    If you had to choose, which would you prefer to see after the next election, a Conservative government led by David Cameron or a Labour government led by Ed Miliband?

    You can see the results here:

    However it was only asked once in January this year, once in May and then not at all. Could this have anything to do with the last result being:

    Conservative government led by David Cameron 36%

    Labour government led by Ed Miliband 42%

    Don’t know 21%

    Especially given that this was the first time Miliband/Labour were ahead? :P

  34. One potential danger for the Conservatives will be the 2014 European Parliament elections and the possibility of a haemorrhaging of support to UKIP.

  35. The regional breakdown in this poll from a Scottish angle is quite startling – Conservatives on 20 , UKIP on 8 and LDs on 9 . Quite a shift to the right .

    Previously , Anthony Wells warned against putting much store on regional crossbreaks .

    Do these caveats still stand ?

  36. Rog:

    maybe that ties into my point about daft “like” questions. They are a very small part of the whole. People “liked” Charlie Kennedy but it didn’t make hime PM material.

    Ambi: Tis easy to see why you are a spurs supporter.

    1. You wrote SPECIFICALLY of 45% Labour LEADS.

    2. I picked up on your incorrect terminology and made a small – what I call – “joke”

    3. After many attempts on my part you still haven’t seen the difference between lead and score so I give in.

  37. I wonder if Scots responded well to David Cameron’s referendum deal with Alex Salmond? Can’t think of a better explanation.

  38. Well it’s better than a kick in the pants.

    And it’s better than the onward march to a 15% Labour lead which some predicted.

    I read that Cons own Polls have the lead at 6%.

    If it takes us back to the 5% deficit polldrum which prevailed prior to the Budget, that will be a good enough achievement for now. But as has been said , a bad Q4 and/or more cock-ups will undo it all.

    At the very least it appears to demonstrate that good economic news does alter VI, which is a step forward from saying it should.

    And presumably leaves as yet to come the effects of good personal economic experience -of which there can’t be much around just yet.

  39. Going back to “likeability” and taking politics out of it, what I find absurd is that many people [ambi for example] claim not to “like” any of the three party leaders.

    As blokes I must say both DC and EM seem fairly nice, perhaps NG slightly less so, but I haven’t met him so can’t say “I don’t like him.”

    It does seem to me that questions that end up implying that a Cameron-led Labour party would be the most popular ar flippin’ daft.

  40. chasglas

    The regional breakdown in this poll from a Scottish angle is quite startling – Conservatives on 20 , UKIP on 8 and LDs on 9 . Quite a shift to the right .

    Previously , Anthony Wells warned against putting much store on regional crossbreaks .

    Do these caveats still stand ?

    Yes, very much so. Firstly the sample size for Scotland in Britain-wide polls is always very small so the figures will be very variable.

    Secondly there is a particular problem with Scotland in the the figures you see are weighted towards British not Scottish norms. Because both UKIP and the Conservatives do better outside Scotland than within, this means those Parties nearly always show up more strongly in the Scotland column that they do when there is a Scottish-only poll weighted to reflect the demographics and political make-up of that country.

  41. Chasglas and Swanarcadian:

    Don’t read too much into the crossbreaks, Scotland hasn’t had a sudden swing to the right, and won’t anytime soon.

  42. Roger Mexico,

    I’d never considered the weighting factor. Does that mean that the SNP is doing better than the yougov column would suggest?

  43. Sometimes with polls, you can’t see the wood for the trees, but with Defra obliging in failing to slap controls on ash tree imports and movements for 8 months after the first cases of ash die back fungus was found, we thankfully won’t have that many trees left to obscure the view for much longer.

    This has been an epic bit of incompetence, and oddly enough, will have a searing impact on the British landscape for decades. Not one of the great issues that political journalists trouble themselves with, but if government is about making people’s lives better, this incident is a true tragedy.

    Politically, it feeds the narrative of incompetence, which is looking to become well established at present. We need to hold judgement for a while on the impact of the GDP figures – big poll movements usually ease back to a degree at least.

    But perhaps is wasn’t the economy? After all, the timing is perfect for a poll boost from the announcement that badgers will be spared!

  44. Colin,I very much agree with your last three points.I also think that there
    Are things that cannot be factored in,for example,the weather.If we have a hard winter people will be forced to use masses of this very expensive fuel,and
    Then the Coalition will be unpopular,even if it is not their fault.

  45. Interesting story –

    If your backbenchers in marginal seats think they are going to be hammered in 2015, it really doesn’t sound like a party confident of holding and then winning even more seats next time up.

  46. Alec:

    “wood for the trees”

    I’ve always liked that metaphor as it works either way around: the wood as a group of trees or as a commodity for building classical guitars.

    Perhaps they HAVE been polling badgers? Et pourquoi non?

  47. I am genuinely puzzled that there are still some who believe that Labour’s lead is not soft. I believe that it is for the following reasons:
    Labour are the only party of opposition & so receive all the protest votes.
    The coalition government is making hard choices to deal with a situation which arose on the previous governments watch. ie too much borrowing when the sh1t hit the fan in 2008.
    Therefore the government is naturally unpopular as it’s making people relatively worse off to bring things back into line.

    If the LD’s had never entered into the coalition, then they would also be in opposition. They would never have had to about face on tuition fees and would be as popular as turkey at Christmas. THEY would have received all the anti government protest vote intention & the polls would probably be 30/30/30.
    Labour would still be blamed for the mess they left. The tories would be blamed for the cuts & Clegg would be seen as the Messiah.

    So we have a situation where the only protest people can make mid term is to say they would vote labour. Any by-elections that come along they will win with landslide proportions, just as the LD’s have done historically. However, those don’t always translate into GE victories, as the LD’s will testify.

    When 2015 arrives, what will happen? That depends on the economy & how it has fared and what Labour’s narrative is. At the moment it is easy for them, all they have to do is be against everything the coalition does and say, as they are doing,” well we wouldn’t do it like that”.
    But sooner or later they have to establish an economic policy. According to Harriet on Andrew Marr , their policy seems to consist of spending the 4g money on building a few houses. Hardly an economic policy. Chris Leslie couldn’t think of one the other day on Andrew Neil, he spent his allotted time talking down the economy and rubbishing the 1% figure. Hardly responsible, albeit entirely understandable tribal politics.

    The other missing ingredient for a labour victory is a Blair figure. Blair ‘got’ aspiration, I don’t see any of EM’s team ‘getting’ aspiration & so they are unlikely to win the votes of the aspirational middle classes, whom Blair won over in spades in 1997.

    The above is all imho of course but for the above reasons, the current labour lead is soft and there is all to play for in 2015. Anyone who believes a labour win is a foregone conclusions is naive.

  48. Allan Christie

    “”I see UKIP are on 8% in Scotland….Mundell’s seat could be in trouble.”

    Apart from the comments above by Scotswaehae and Roger, DM has built support in the constituency by not being quite as ignorant of Scottish sensibilities as some of his colleagues. I have suggested before that the no if Con MP’s will be +/- 1.

    I now revise that to +/-0.

    Unless one of the pandas stands against him of course.

  49. Allan Christie

    UKIP, like other small parties suffers from FPTP and has no chance of a seat in Scotland.

    A small new party without a local presence and councillors can have many voters dispersed over a region or nation. Like the Greeens and formerly the Socialists they can have success on the list but still have no hope of a FPTP seat.

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