This week’s YouGov poll for the Sunday Times is up on the YouGov website here. Topline figures are CON 35%, LAB 42%, LD 9%, UKIP 7%, at the lower end of the normal YouGov range but probably just normal margin of error.

The regular approval ratings for the party leaders are David Cameron minus 19 (from minus 16 last week), Ed Miliband minus 23 (from minus 16 last week), Nick Clegg minus 53 (unchanged). Miliband’s post conference boost is slowly unwinding, although he is still above the minus 29 figure he had pre-conference. The regular economic trackers have also fallen slightly since the post-GDP peak a week ago, but are still better than they had been for many months.

Asked about how they see David Cameron, perceptions have actually improved slightly since YouGov last asked. The proportion of people thinking he is strong is up 4 to 37% (48% weak, down 3), the proportion thinking he is competent is up 5 since July at 42% (incompetent 46%, down 3). His biggest weakness remains being out of touch (67% see him as out of touch, only 24% in touch). This is slightly counterintuitive given Cameron just suffered a Commons defeat, but remember we’ve also had the party conference since YouGov last asked these questions.

Asked if Cameron or his backbenchers are more in touch with ordinary people, 25% think Conservative backbenchers are the more in touch, 11% think Cameron is. 45% of people think neither of them are. The Conservative party is also increasingly seen as divided – only 14% now view them as a united party, down from 18% when YouGov asked a year ago. In contrast the Labour party are now seen as a united party by 40% of people, up 15 since last year.

Turning to the specific issue of Europe, 38% of people say they trust David Cameron a lot (10%) or a little (28%) to look after Britain’s interests in Europe. 54% do not trust him much or at all. This is a sharp fall since YouGov last asked the same question straight after his “veto” in December 2011 when 51% of people said they trusted him. While a majority of people don’t trust Cameron to stand up for Britain in Europe, he is rated more highly than the other two party leaders – asked who they would most trust to look after Britain’s interests in Europe Cameron leads Miliband by 25% to 18%. 40% of people, however, say they wouldn’t trust any of the party leaders to look after Britain’s interests.

On this week’s US elections, 76% of British people think that Barack Obama has done a very good or fairly good job as President. If they had a vote in the US election 70% of respondents say they would vote for Obama to only 7% for Romney. While British Conservatives are less likely to support Obama than Labour or Lib Dem supporters, even there Obama’s support is overwhelming – Tory supporters would back Obama by 68% to 12% for Romney.

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

  1. Going back to the DC issue, I wonder what the agenda of the right-wing newspapers is in pouring derision on him – eg the “Rebecca texts”.

    I can’t see it having a conclusion beneficial to the party and even as a non-supporter I think its a bit over the top and unfair.

    Any thoughts on why they are doing it? I relaise they don’t believe he’s right wing enough but how does this help achieve their goal?


    Could there be more to come re:texts.And we have Leveson reporting this month.Have to see what he has to say

  3. @PaulCroft

    Murdoch’s revenge?

  4. It’s also an attack on News International, don’t forget, and Murdoch.

  5. Surely the Mail isn’t part of the Murdoch empire?

    What is nauseating to me is effectively stealing, broadcasting and manipulating private texts. The BBC, as an example, hs the quote about DC’s speech “made me cry twice.”

    As I understand it that was with reference to the parts about his son and she was a close family friend. So, what point are they trying to make? to my mind this is only valid if utterly relevant to the governing of the country and potentil corruption etc. The rest is just despicable.

  6. @Paul Croft

    The personal antipathy towards Cameron in a lot of the Conservative-leaning press is a little baffling, I must admit. Part of it may be anger that he failed to deliver them an overall majority Tory administration in May 2010, when they believed it was inevitably on its way, although even that disappointment doesn’t quite explain their seeming obsessive desire to bring him down, even if that might precipitate their worst nightmare; the return of a Labour Government.

    I suspect it’s part anger at him ushering in Leveson and part general distaste for his particular brand of liberal Conservatism that tolerates civil partnerships and avowedly green environmental policies.

    They pine for a Gove, a Davis, a Johnson or even the return of Hague. In the spirit of my typically impeccable non-partisan helpfulness, my advice to them would be to be very careful what they wish for!

  7. I find it more and more incredulous that a polling organisation such as Yougov can have such fluctuating results on a day to day basis.
    Surely, the time has come to do away with daily polls as they only serve the polling anoraks but just confuse the general public.
    One poll a fortnight would suffice.

    It’s difficult to see what the Mail’s agenda is other than they have never forgiven Cameron for being to the left of his party and the usual stuff re the EU.
    Regarding the texts it’s difficult to see how you can text a friend without being friendly it all has become rather silly and irrelevant.
    Having said that it does seem that some newspapers have something of a death wish as Cameron has to make a decision about the Leveson enquiry soon, maybe that’s it, they think if they print every bit of salacious gossip then somehow that proves why the press should be allowed to print what they like, it does seem a rather odd way to go about it but then there’s precious little sense in anything printed in the Mail.

  9. Crossbat – the Mail was very hostile towards Cameron during the last Parliament too (they all dutifully lined up just before the general election, but during most of the Parliament they were pretty negative), so while not winning the election may be a contributory factor it obviously wasn’t the root of the problem.

    I’ve seen it speculated that some of the particularly negative stuff of late is almost a short across the bow before Leveson, a “look how unpleasant we could be to you…”

  10. Much better poll for DC and the Tories, but I suspect that it’s really nothing more than MOE stuff (and certainly nothing for them to get truly excited about!). The real Yougov lead is probably still somewhere around 10 points or so.

  11. To paraphrase Bill Clinton on Obama, Cameron has done a good job with a bad hand [which I believe to be large sections of his own party.]

    What is sickenimg is the double standards of a paer revealing private thoughts and emotions when they would most certainly castigate others for doing something similar.

    Its all very ugly and pointless. The centre is where UK politics IS and that centre is gradually moving slightly left anyway, like a big slidey thing.

    It does sadden me just how popular these papers are though. I went on to the Sun website to check OP’s and felt, suddenly, as though I had a giant intellect

  12. ‘Paulcroft – “What is nauseating to me is effectively stealing, broadcasting and manipulating private texts. The BBC, as an example, hs the quote about DC’s speech “made me cry twice.””

    I would suggest that it is highly relevant and in the public interest to understand the relationships between senior politicians and national media owners/editors, whether professional or private and personal.

    It’s worth remembering that when the media strongly oppose statutory regulation, they do so by claiming that they fulfill some form of democratic function of holding governments to account. If they really do serve democracy, as they claim to (with some justification, I must add) then their contacts with ministers are fair game, in my view.

    Indeed, if you look at the terms of reference of the Leveson Inquiry, these expressly include the nature of the relationship between politicians and the media, effectively ensuring private messages are part of the public interest in the case.

    And it was Cameron himself who described transparency as the antiseptic. But presumably only when applied to other people’s dealings.

  13. @ALEC

    Totally agree with your post.

    `My kingdom for a horse` comes to mind.

  14. @PaulCroft

    It’s a simple arrhythmic comparison. How much more do they gain from selling newspapers attacking Cameron than they do praising him? If X is greater than Y then…

  15. Alec: I still think the whole thing goes too far. Are you suggesting that ALL correspondence/texts/phone calls should effectively be open season for simply everybody to dip into, regardless of any political relevance and when the people involved are long term friends?

    My own position is that newspapers should be forced to seperate the reportninf of factual news from comment and that retractions would have to be in the same position and size of anything they get wrong.

    As to the intelligence of the readers of most of the press I have no ideas at all – just a sense of despair. So far we’ve got the media we deserve – trashy.

  16. @Paul Croft

    I think that DC opened himself up to this, by failing to disclose all of his text messages to Brookes as required by the inquiry. Which immediately gives a public interest defence in uncovering what he was hiding from the inquiry. He got some very bad legal advice on that, perhaps because that was the legal advice he told them he wanted? Particularly if it does turn out to be just very embarrassing guff that just makes him look like a chummy toff, he could have given that over to the inquiry because they would almost certainly not have published the entire communications.

  17. On the American front, I think we can go to bed after Ohio announces. If any of Virginia, Florida, or N.Carolina go to Obama before that, we can go to bed even earlier. Obviously it’s unlikely that Romney would ever be in an election in the UK, but the British public don’t know anything about him so I don’t think it’s fair to judge. There’s a lot of disapointment with Obama in the US, this came out in the 2010 midterms, the British public are completely unaware of that generally. Also a lot of Brits including Shami Chakrabarti, make the mistake of calling Obama’s healthcare overhaul Universal Healthcare, it’s not.

    As for UK politics. I don’t really think it’s possible to say with 84% certainty that Labour will win a majority in 2015. I’m not even 84% certain the election will be then and not earlier.
    If there was a vote tomorrow, I’d probably vote Labour, and I’d like to think my vote counts, I’m an undecided independent swing voter in a marginal seat (well it was marginal before 2010 but the Tories got an 11% swing and so now it’s not so marginal).

    But can I say for certain that I will be voting Labour in 2 and a half years time, not really no. A week is a long time in politics, so 130 weeks must be like an eternity.

    2 and a half years ago, I’d have voted Conservative, now I’d say I’d probably vote Labour, but in another 2 and a half years, my opinion could have changed again.

  18. @paulcroft – “So, what point are they trying to make?”

    A dominant media corporation effectively had the entire political class (and anyone else in public life) under covert survielance. Police/judiciary/security services keep quiet about the situation for many years.

    The corporation has an ex-editor running communications for the opposition leader (then PM). How often is their UK cheif exec texting said opposition leader/PM? Is it once or twice over a period of a couple of years, of multiple times each day? I think there is a public interest.

  19. @ManintheMiddle,

    I’m the same. If the GE were held tomorrow, I’d probably vote Labour, but as it’s two and a half years away, I can’t say for sure how I’ll ACTUALLY vote 2.5 years from now. In Yougov surveys I always say I am 100% likely to vote (which I am, given my willingness/track record on voting) and would vote Labour, but in reality I can’t say with any certainty if I’ll vote for them or the Tories in 2015. For me, it depends on what happens in the next 2.5 years, and what both parties promise/say just before the GE.

    But for the moment at least, I am a Labour voter (but not a Labourite).

  20. @WTNL

    “I find it more and more incredulous that a polling organisation such as Yougov can have such fluctuating results on a day to day basis.”

    I find it incredible that anyone should regard the daily polls as in any way fluctuating. Every poll since May has shown Labour in the 40-45% range, with similar ranges for Con (31-35), LD (7-11), UKIP (5-10). Given the expected moe of 3%, I’m amazed we haven’t seen more variation.

    In fact, this variation is suspiciously less that we would expect. That’s over 100 polls, and not one has given a result outside moe, when we would expect approx 5 for each party.

    “Surely, the time has come to do away with daily polls as they only serve the polling anoraks but just confuse the general public. One poll a fortnight would suffice.”

    This is a site for polling anoraks.

    Daily polls are what allow us to distinguish between fluctuation and genuine shifts. Yes, we are in the polldrums, but if there was a genuine shift in the polls, YouGov would be the only pollster that could be sure about it.

  21. Robin – I’m sure I’ve seen WTNL make almost the same post before.

    I can understand that if people get excited by an apparent swing from an 11-point lead to a 7-point lead in one day there’s an issue. But it’s not with daily polling, it’s with how people interpret it.

    Monthly polling is much more problematic – a movement between two polls that far apart could be anything, a rogue sample, a margin-of-error fluctuation, or a genuine underlying change.

    Besides, we have daily polls because Sun and Sunday Times are paying for them. Because they are, A Wells has a job, and because he has that job, he’s able to set up and run this site, with all his insight. So I am not going to complain about it at all.

  22. AW didn’t mention that opinion in this poll is overwhelmingly against any increase in the EU budget. 43% wanting a cash reduction, 23% a cash freeze, 15% supporting the government’s negotiating position of an inflation linked cash increase. and 3% supporting a 5% cash increase.

    Labour voters are almost as hostile to a cash increase as the public in general.

    Those charges of opportunism levied at Miliband by his political opponents seem IMO to boil down to no more than an outlet for annoyance that for once on Europe he managed to position his MPs firmly in line with both the public mood and that of his own supporters.

  23. The whole problem with politics is transparency or lack of; every Mp should do what is in the best interest of the country, not what is in their own best interest or the “parties” best interest…

    Yet we see again and again the best interest is never in “the peoples best interest” it is always seems to be in the interest of a few, those who offer support to one Mp or another or one party or another.

    The perception is that a nod and a wink still works “in the old boys’ network” the perception of businesses supporting an Mp with contributions then to see said Mp supporting policies that favour that particular business adds an odour to the “whose best interest”, we expect the media to scrutinise in the public’s best interest… and that brings even more odour when the perception is they are not doing so… too cosy is not exactly what I would call it.

    There needs to be openness and transparency even distance in all relationships with politicians, if politicians cannot do this then they need to find another occupation, we expect mistakes to happen after all politicians are human after all, but honesty, integrity should be foremost sadly it seems this is not so…

    We can only chose between the politicians/parties who put themselves forward to represent the people, those that sit in parliament need to find a way to produce that honesty and integrity we the people expect from them, if they want to regain our trust.

    The wall that is slowly being built around London and the SE may become a reality of real bricks and mortar to keep the cesspit from spreading to the rest of us and that is very dangerous, keep kicking long enough and the animal instinct will take over…

  24. @Paulcroft – “Alec: I still think the whole thing goes too far. Are you suggesting that ALL correspondence/texts/phone calls should effectively be open season for simply everybody to dip into, regardless of any political relevance and when the people involved are long term friends?

    My own position is that newspapers should be forced to seperate the reportninf of factual news from comment and that retractions would have to be in the same position and size of anything they get wrong.”

    I can see the difficulty, but in this case, my answer to your first question would be an unequivocal ‘yes’. I can’t see any public interest in DC’s messages to a long term friend, unless they contained reference to matters relating to government or evidence that DC holds opinions or has acted in a way incompatible with his public statements or beliefs.

    However, context is everything, and to be perfectly honest I really can’t see how any conversation however held, between a PM and a senior news editor can really be held as private, especially in the context of the NI scandal.

    I similarly cannot see how any conversation between Cameron and business leaders who have paid £50,000 in party donations should be kept secret. It’s just bad for democracy.

    In terms of reporting the factual, the Mail has done is report that these messages were sent. That’s pretty factual, so I can’t really see where this line goes.

    In short, we need to accept that political figures foresake a degree of privacy as the condition of taking up their role. The higher the role, the greater the loss of privacy. This is essential for a properly functioning democracy.

    There is, in my mind, a direct link between the phone hacking scandal, the banking crash, the Hillsborough disaster, MPs expenses abuses and the North Wales child abuse scandal. The link is the suppression of information that should have been readily available to the public, by powerful elites who abused their position at the expense of others by hiding the facts.

    I really do want to know just how close my prime minister was to media organisations allegedly involved in systematic criminal behaviour. This kind of information may be important in determining who I may vote for at the next election.

  25. As the main interest shifts to the US Presidential Election (it seems that the whole world overwhelmingly prefers Obama to unpalatable Romney, excepts of Americans themselves!), I would nevertheless like to point out some interesting developments in European politics, under the light of October’s electoral tests. First, there was a GE in Lithuania. As it has been the norm since late 2009 (except for Estonia 2011), the ruling coalition has been cruelly disavowed by voters. Here are the results (the number of seats is not proportional to the percentage of votes, because in fact Lithuanian GE are two in one: half of the seats are attributed by PR with a 5% threshold and the other half by FPTP in two rounds, exactly as in France).
    TS-LKD (EPP, c-right) 15.1 (-4.5) 33 seats (-11)
    LRLS (c-right liberals) 8.6 (+2.9) 10 seats (-1)
    LICS+TPP (conserv. liberals) 2.1 (-18.3) 0 seats (-24)
    Total c-r outgoing gvt: 25.8 (-19.9) 43 seats (-36)
    DP (populist left liberals) 19.8 (+7.1) 29 seats (+18)
    LSDP (Soc. Dem.) 18.4 (+6.6) 38 seats (+12)
    TT (Nationalist) 7.3 (-5.4) 11 seats (-4)
    Total Un.Opp. 45.5 (+8.3) 78 seats (+26) OM
    DP (populist) 8.0 (+8.0), 7 seats (+7)
    AWPL (Polish minor., conserv.) 5.8 (+1.0) 8 seats (+5)
    LVZS (Green/agrarian) 3.9 (+0.2) 1 seat (-2)
    Independents: 4 seats.
    The United Opposition will form the next gvt, under Soc. Democrat A. Butkevicius, leader of the 1st party in the Seimas (Parliament). The 3-party coalition, a center-left one with populist undertones (the Soc. Dems are in fact the most moderate and pro-EU partner) might be broadened to include AWPL. A. Kubilius, the outgoing PM, is the 4th EPP PM to be ousted in 2012 (after Slovakia, Romania and France), plus the catastrophic EPP result in the Netherlands (CDA 8.0, all time low and out of gvt, where it was the junior partner). A very bleak year, therefore, for EPP parties. But the greatest catastrophe for them came last Sunday from Italy. In the Sicilian Regional Election, the center-left alliance was victorious for the first time ever, leading by 6 points and obtaining the presidency of the Region. Sicily is (was) the biggest stronghold of the Berlusconian right, it is as if the Tories had lost their safest seat of all, a real political earthquake. Add to this that the new President, Democrat R. Crocetta, is openly gay and a staunch opponent of Mafia (they had put a price on his head!), and the picture is complete. Projection of these results on a national level, in combination with nation-wide VI polls, predicts an easy victory for the (albeit truncated by the defection of populist Italy of Values) c-l alliance of 4 parties (Democrats, Left Ecology Freedom, the tiny Socialist Party and the also tiny Alliance for Italy). This alliance is poised to obtain 35-40%. The populist/anti-system alliance of “5 star movement” and Italy of Values is predicted to win 20-25%, the Berlusconian alliance 15-20, the centrists around 10,the Northern League 5. The party of Berlusconi itself, the PDL, is now below 15%, which is unprecedented. The next important political appointment is the open center-left primary, end of November, for the nomination of PM-candidate of the alliance. There are 3 main candidates for the nomination, Democratic Party leader Bersani (also supported by the tiny Socialist Party), his challenger Renzi, of his own party, and Left Ecology Freedom leader Vendola, president of Apulia region. I think Bersani will win because I support him (LOL!!), my preferred candidate has never lost an open primary in France, Greece and Italy, and (more probably) because Vendola detests Renzi, considering him to be a social conservative (which is partly true), so he will support Bersani at second round. And to complete the picture, in Czech regional and senatorial election, Social Democrats came first, Communist second, the ruling conservative ODS (partner of Tories in EP) third and its junior partners in gvt. almost disappeared. National VI polls have Soc. Dem at 30, Communists at 18-22, ODS below 20. So it is the third occurrence in October (after Lithuania GE and SIcilian RE) that the main right-wing party comes third.

  26. I tend to look just as much at the UKPR polling average – this captures longer term trends – sometimes this misses spikes in support, so take note of the daily polls too to see if there is any possible movement in the offing.

    At the moment, it’s all just wobbling around the 9-10% Labour lead mark. When there’s bad news or someone goofs up, it changes, then seems to settle back. It may not change that much for a while, unless we get a further barrage of bad news like earlier this year, or if we suddenly get a GE in the offing.

  27. Alec:

    The Mail has gone much further than you say, decribing texts for which there is a perfectly innocent expanation “salacious”. There is no evidence that that is the case and it is just their somewhat nasty interpretation.

    It leaves the proverbial nasty taste in my mouth and one can only assume that people will start having the cunning ruse of writing old-fashioned pen and paper letters and burning the ones they receive.

  28. @paulcroft – I actually think you are completely wrong on this.

    From my reading of the article, it’s clear that the mail has not described the messages as ‘salacious’. This description was given by Chris Bryant MP in the House of Commons, when he said that Cameron’s refusal to publish these may be because they were ‘too salacious and embarrassing for you’. The mail is merely reporting what an elected MP has said regarding the messages.

    In complete contrast to what you are suggesting, the Mail is fulfilling just such a function as you ask of the media, and is reporting straightforward fact. I’ve read the article twice, and can see no real level of comment within the piece, and they do not appear to have inserted their own judgements but appear to have kept pretty much to the facts.

  29. Maybe that’s what the Telegraph added then: I certainly read it somewhere outside of a Lab MP reference

    The whole question is complex. I’ve just taken my puppy for a walk and on our way through a children’s park there was dog mess, the odd beer bottle, cans etc.- and this is a lovely area.

    Yet when cameras are suggested most people, myself included, don’t like the idea, just as, when identity cards were mooted most people EXcluding myself, didn’t like that idea either.


    Surely the texts could have been released to Leveson and let his Lordship decide if there were of relevance or not-Simples

  31. Alec:

    Just to add that you say the Mail is reporting fact and this is clearly the case. My main point is whether it is obtained legally and whther it is our business in this particular case. Should the PM be permanently miked up perhaps? Or why not all public figures?

    The photos of Kate Wotsername were undoubtedly “fact” but I dispute that that makes their publication legitimate.

    I realise political life is different but it really does depend on where you wish to draw the line.

    Re-reading the articles myself I see that Chris Bryant agrees that the PM is entitled to privacy like everyone else. His friendship was common knowledge and, I repeat, unless he/she wrote suggested something illegal/unethical, we should leave it at that.

  32. @ Virgilio

    Thank you for the update; your comments are always extremely informative. It seems that the center-left is rising in Europe. :-)

  33. Alec

    “There is, in my mind, a direct link between the phone hacking scandal, the banking crash, the Hillsborough disaster, MPs expenses abuses and the North Wales child abuse scandal. The link is the suppression of information that should have been readily available to the public, by powerful elites who abused their position at the expense of others by hiding the facts. ”

    Yes. And you can chuck in Savile too, he’s in the mix somewhere. We need the press to shine the light on real darkness, not target celebrities and poiltical enemies.

  34. @NICKP

    The link Margaret Thatcher and Bernard Ingham. I am honestly not suprised – that the truth was supressed – given the press manipulation that went on in the 80’s.

    Also the way Jimmy Saville went about with impunity suggest he had reason not to fear exposure.

  35. Vrtgilio
    V. interested to see your analysis of Lithuanian, Czech and Sicilian moves to the Centre Left. I’ld be glad to see your take on whether this is linked to shfts in or more exposed media and public information systems in these counries; so that, for example in their rural economies, a greater recognition of the damage done to rural populations and work forces of inequitable or uneconomic post-Soviet land share-out – I have just studied Armenian post-Soviet de-collectivisation, very similar to Lithuania in peasantising and imopverishing the rural population with tiny carve-ups of farmland (0.6 ha. wheat farms in Ararat Province), while Sicily like Greece struggles its way out of EU subsidised pocket handkerchief farming beset with public corruption and maladminisstration. Hence urban poverty and out-migration to Western and Northern labour markets, in Armenia’s case to the Russian labour market.

    My take on why the right don’t like Cameron is one big issue.
    The unending string of bad headlines -News International, Omnishambles, U-turns, government policy being overthrown by the courts, Mitchell, Hunt, Double dips, G4S, Coulson, etc etc etc, I could go on ad infinitum.
    The right don’t like it. Competence has always been their one big selling point, and he’s robbed them of it.

  37. UK Public Expenditure 2013 Billions
    Total: 509
    Pensions 138.1
    Health Care 125.9
    Education 36.4
    Defence 46.3
    Military defence 33.5
    Foreign military aid 3.1
    Foreign economic aid 7.0
    R&D Defence 2.6
    Welfare 62.3
    Protection 15.0
    Transport 10.1
    General Government 12.5
    Other Spending 16.2
    [Interest 44.8

    Goodness! I wonder what we should cut?