This morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 42%, LD 10%, UKIP 8%. After a couple of weeks of YouGov polls showing increased Labour leads, the last few polls look as though they may be settling back towards the 10 point leads that have been the norm for most of 2012.

Meanwhile the weekly TNS BMRB poll has particulatly unusual figures – CON 26% (-2), LAB 41% (+1), LD 8% (-2), UKIP 16% (+4). The UKIP figure is the highest they’ve recorded in a poll. I would advise the usual caution towards any poll showing strange or outlandish figures – sure, they could be the start of a trend, but more likely it is normal sample error. Clearly there has been a genuine increase in UKIP support over recent weeks that has been picked up across polls from many different companies… but this particular poll looks likely to be an outlier.


154 Responses to “New YouGov and TNS BMRB polls”

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  1. Labour’s lead with Yougov is clearly back to around 10 points.

  2. Two census facts:

    Nearly 1 in 8 people born abroad;

    1 in 6 are over 65.

    Damn good thing there are some younger people coming in, isn’t it?

  3. Yes, although with the caveat we should be trying to get better qualified people than we are currently getting.

  4. AW
    Since 12 Nov the YG poll VI figure for the Labour lead has wobbled up and down from +4 (blimey!) to +13, mostly +9 to +13, but there seems to be an underlying upward trend. Where specifically do you find the figures (within the YG data) to observe that trend – not, surely, by taking the last two or three VI poll results?

  5. “Meanwhile the weekly TNS BMRB poll has particulatly unusual figures – CON 26% (-2), LAB 41% (+1), LD 8% (-2), UKIP 16% (+4). The UKIP figure is the highest they’ve recorded in a poll. I would advise the usual caution towards any poll showing strange or outlandish figures”
    ____________

    UKIP’ers wont like this caution though!!

  6. NICKP

    The census results for Scotland will be released next Monday.

    Below was the 2001 result for Scotland. Wonder how much it has changed in 10 years?

    Total resident population 5,062,011 (Country of Birth)

    – % Scotland (inc UK part not specified) 87.15
    – % England 8.08
    – % Wales 0.33
    – % Northern Ireland 0.66
    – % Ireland (inc. part not specified) 0.43
    – % Rest of Europe 1.10
    – % Elsewhere 2.25

    http://www.scrol.gov.uk/scrol/browser/profile.jsp?profile=Population&mainArea=Scotland&mainLevel=CountryProfile

  7. Surprisingly very little fuss about the TNS poll has been made, especially in the DT where I have found no mention. Odd other times the media is quick to jump on rogue polls

  8. Amber:

    Ta: I think you should become the full-time “new thread” monitor.

    Usual pay and conditions apply.

  9. In Googling for an original source for DC’s invocation of “government by fax” in Norway in the cause of stating in EU’ I discovered a surprising source :-

    http://labourlist.org/2011/10/why-cant-we-be-like-norway/

  10. I’d like to see another YouGov before we decide that the Labour lead has slipped back from 12 to 10. Both the last two have a few oddities – Labour at only 35% with the under-25s for example in today’s. Though devotees of the cross-break will be delighted to see that Nationalists are currently getting about 200% of the youth vote.

  11. @Colin

    Indeed. What I’ve always said, there is no ‘stay in the Economic area, but out of European legislation’ on the table. The options are, out entirely and exposed to trade tariffs, the ‘Norway’ model where we end up having to accede to European directives anyway to keep trading, or stay in. I think it would be much much more in our interests to stay in and be more active in democratic reforms, instead of just using EU directives as someone to blame. (Particularly we could stop blaming them for things the UK drafted and pushed for!)

    In a way it would be a unique irony if the UK tried to pursue this, considering our own history of using trade to push international legislation accession.

  12. @Roger Mexico,

    Two consecutive polls could be within the MOE, but we’ve had 3 polls now – 2 with a 9 point lead and 1 with a 10 point lead, so it makes this less likely (though, by no means totally impossible).

    Labour’s lead could, of course, be 12 or 13 tomorrow (within MOE) but unless we get back to polls consistently showing 12 or 13 points leads, it is much safer (and more accurate) to assume that the lead is around 10 points with YouGov.

  13. @John Pilgrim,

    The Labour leader has been remarkably static (and solid) for months if you discount a few outliers and a few (very) temporary shifts either way. The underlying lead with Yougov has always been around 9 to 11 points.

  14. Ambi:

    “The labour leader has been remarkably static [and solid]”

    Oh no he hasn’t: I’ve definitely seen him moving on occasions.

  15. Looking at the data above for birthplace and UKIP I conclude that we really need reliable Scottish figures and that the only hope of getting them is independence.

    Neither the immigrants nor UKIP are in Scotland, therefore they must be somewhere else, so how does that work out in FPTP?

  16. @John B Dick

    I’m a bit confused by what you’re saying… Are you referring to Polling or the Scottish Census? The the 2011 Census for England and Wales, as the name implies, does not cover Scotland.

    I also note there *is* a Scottish UKIP. They’re currently obsessed with opposing Wind Farms.

  17. @Jayblanc and @Colin

    Re the UK, the EU and the Norway option; One central question here that everyone who talks about ‘government by fax’ seems to forget is a rather simple one – why aren’t the Norwegians clamouring to join the EU?

    Apart from this rather obvious counter to the Norwegian option, it is worth bearing in mind that Norway is free from the CAP, free from fisheries policy, and free from regional policies. Under this approach UK would pay a lot less into the EU and there are other reasons to think that UK departure could lead to a slightly different outcome.

    There are already many different models of relationships, such as the Swiss and Turkish models. With Norway, their negotiating power is relatively small. Norway has a €47B trade surplus with the EU, about 13.7% of it’s total GDP. That’s a very big stick with which to threaten them, so the EU will be able to dictate terms to Norway.

    By contrast, the UK has a €20B deficit with the rest of the EU,. This is only about 0.2% of total EU (excl UK) GDP, so it wouldn’t particularly frighten the EU to lose this, but it likewise makes it a lot less frightening for us to go down this path. Indeed, there is an unknown overestimation of our exports to the EU anyway because of the Rotterdam effect, where goods shipped from UK to European container ports for reshipping outside the EU are still classified as EU exports.

    I’m not pretending it would necessarily be a good idea for us to leave the EU, but for the EU to lose a major world power, the 5th biggest trading economy in the world, and the second largest contributor to their budget, would cause many sleepless nights in Brussels, and give us a decent chance to negotiate a reasonable settlement.

  18. Alec

    It’s true that we don’t pay into CAP but we pay much bigger subsidies to our farmers than Europe. Joining the EU without special allowances for norweigen farming would be the death of farming in Norway, with a growing season of less than 200 days and mainly poor soil its just not economic. There are two arguments for subsidizing farmers and having tariff walls on imported foods, the first is preserving the cultural landscape, ie its really pretty with small farms everywhere rather than just miles and miles of bloody birch trees. The second argument I find more convincing that is the issue of food security although Norway will never be able to produce all its own food there is a fear that if we began to import 95% + of our food we would be in a dangerous position, of course there is no immediate threat on the horizon but the war memories of near starvation are passed down from farther to son mother to daughter. It’s a cultural crime to throw away food here if there one potato left over from dinner it gets put in the fridge to be eaten tomorrow, its madness, the amount of money saved is meaningless but when you question it the old folk will always talk about the war

  19. JOHN B DICK

    I posted the Scottish 2001 census results a few comments up.

    This Monday the Scottish 2011 results are due out.

  20. @Alec

    I think you will actually find that Norway’s EEA EFTA commitment (~€1.3 billion) is exactly the same amount of money it would spend under the funding rules for member states.

    I also point out that should we leave the EU, then we would lose free access to those European container ports. So your “Rotterdam effect” point is moot, as it demonstrates more the importance of the EU to us than diminishes it. A big reduction of shipping capacity for our exports would be a *very bad thing*.

    I also note that you should not underestimate the political effect the UK holding it’s membership up as a negotiation chip would have. The other member states are quite likely to view it as a bluff, and reject such brinkmanship negotiations. The UK already gets a fair number of special exceptions and vetoes, and of course the rebate. I suggest you overstate the strength of the threat we can continue dangling over the EU. The UK is quickly gaining a reputation similar to someone in a car pool who begrudges other people being in their car, and wants to smoke when he’s a passenger.

  21. Have a look at the graph which accompanies the Latest Voting Intention sidebar (click on more at the foot of the list).

    In previous years, Labour’s VI has fallen away & the Tory VI has improved around this time of year; with the Tories even having periods in the lead. I think it happened because the autumn statement & subsequent initiatives creating a narrative about the Tories taking tough decisions for the good of the country.

    The proposed de-coupling of entitlements from inflation hasn’t had that impact yet; & there hasn’t been any orchestrated follow up; the Tories seem content to let this single play run on its own unless there’s more to come.

    These little rallies were great for morale (if the blogosphere was anything to go by). They gave the impression that the polling tide could be turned at will. I wonder whether we’ll see anything similar this year or has VI passed the point of no return?
    8-)

  22. @Amber Star

    I suspect that tossing scraps of red meat to the right wing of it’s party has merely given them an appetite for the bloody steak of UKIP.

  23. Amber – I think you are reading a pattern that isn’t there.

    There are only 2 past years of the current government to compare with – on 2010 there was no obvious Conservative increase at the tail end of the year (if anything, Labour increased their support), in 2011 the Conservative increase can be specifically linked to Cameron’s European “veto”.

  24. Alec

    The other thing about Norway’s relationship to Europe is that Norway has negotiated entry to the EEC three times, I believe the first time entry was vetoed by de gaulle at the same time as he vetoed Britain’s entry, the other two occasions Norway voted NO in bitterly contested referendums. I watched a docu on this the other day, the Europe issue has caused the fall of many govts and the near destruction of Norway’s oldest political party(they were ripped apart into a pro and anti factions) the amount of Passion displayed on this issue over the years was very un norweigen. All the euro law that Norway is subject too has come about by political deals which seem to have the aim of making Norway part of Europe despite having voted twice against it. Now the new argument from the pro side is that we contribute so much money to the EU but receive no say in the counsels, wouldn’t it be better to join so we could have some influence in return for our money(we send a lot of money to Europe), pretty devious wouldn’t you say!!!

    As for having a trade surplus with Europe and us needing them more than we need them, I think you need to look at the nature of that trade, its not cheap plastic crap or cars that can be produced in Germany, its oil and gas and to some extent electricity, I doubt that Europe would want to impose tariffs on these

  25. I’m not sure that treating Europe in order to get a better deal is going to wash. We have already had a European leader publicly calling for Britain to have an in/out ref, I think the Europeans are beginning to see the writing on the wall, Britain will vote to leave the EU within the next ten years. A referendum can not be avoided for ever and the longer the delay the more likely the result will be out rather than in

  26. Treating should have read threatening

  27. @Jayblanc – I don’t necessarily disagree with your post. All I’m saying is that the simplistic comparisons with Norway are a bit misleading, in that we have a vastly bigger economic influence than they do.

    You point re Rotterdam is certainly valid – but again, it cuts both ways. One of the reasons Rotterdam has become so important is it’s close proximity to the UK with our share of global trade. They wouldn’t want to lose this, and we already have underutilized container port capacity in the UK.

    The only real point I’m making is that we have options. As with Scottish independence, no one really knows how good or bad any given option may be in a few years or decades time.

    Where I think we should pause for breath is that many Europhiles told us it would be a disaster to stay out of the Eurozone – but history is telling a different story now. With EU membership itself, we are constantly told that there is no option, but there is an equal argument that we should remove ourselves from an organisation that is functioning poorly, and align ourselves with those global economies that are growing far more than our somewhat stagnant European neighbours.

    The bottom line is that, in the fullness of time, everything changes. Call it entropy if you like, but the EU will eventually change, fail or cease to exist. This may be years, decades or centuries away – I’ve no idea, but nothing will last forever. Given this, we shouldn’t be frightened to ask questions about where best our interests lie, and a blanket ‘we mustn’t be like Norway’ response really isn’t very helpful.

    Not least because, as @Richard in, er Norway, points out – we aren’t like Norway.

  28. jayblanc @ John B Dick

    “I’m a bit confused by what you’re saying… Are you referring to Polling or the Scottish Census? ”

    Both but not in the same context. SometimesUK is not very different from E&W, sometimes (UKIP, immigration, it is. A rise in UKIP is concentrated somewhere else and not so dramatic in UK.

    “I also note there *is* a Scottish UKIP.”
    So these are the people who talk about “clean” nuclear?

  29. Whatever is “on the table” in a European referendum the result will be- once the full forces of the majority of both big business and small business who desperately do not want us to pull out are unleashed- a reasonable pro-IN plurality. For a variety of globalist, good neighbour, travel and economic reasons there is no need to depart and every reason to stay in.

    I do agree however that the re-examination of our treaty obligations should take place- in fact I think the whole of the EU should be having a fundamental rethink of the relationship between its member states and the ‘European centre’. Oh and there should absolutely be no more expansion other than the remaining countries of the FYR.

    But a GB withdrawal from the EU is as likely as Scotland withdrawing from GB. “No” will see big votes in favour in both plebiscites- but they won’t be enough: not for a generation or three.

  30. Er, that should read “YES” will see big votes in favour!

  31. The consistency of today’s YouGov poll puts yesterday’s from TNS into context. TNS’s samples seem reliably unreliable.

  32. @Rob Sheffield
    “I do agree however that the re-examination of our treaty obligations should take place- in fact I think the whole of the EU should be having a fundamental rethink of the relationship between its member states and the ‘European centre’. Oh and there should absolutely be no more expansion other than the remaining countries of the FYR.”

    Don’t hold your breath. But it’s interesting that there seems near unanimity now that the EU requires a fundamental change of direction. The difference between eurosceptics and the rest seems to be only that eurosceptics despair of the EU’s ability to effect that change.

  33. NickP
    ‘Damn good thing there are some younger people coming in, isn’t it?’

    We’ll find that out when they cart us off to the care home. Actually I was already aware of this, due to recent commitments regarding aged parents.

    I won’t mention the recent royal-related tragedy, oh drat, I have.

    As far as EU immigrants are concerned, we must remember they do not have a vote except in local and local EU elections. I suspect if this rule is ever changed (will it need unanimity in Council of Ministers?) then it could get interesting to watch party attitudes towards EU membership.

  34. YouGov – 9-10th December
    http://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/k6mqbjfspl/Same-sex-Marriage-101212.pdf
    “Since 2005 same-sex couples have been able to enter into civil partnerships. While civil partnerships offer the same legal rights as marriage, same-sex couples are not able to marry.”
    Would you support or oppose changing the law to allow same-sex couples to marry?
    Total Support – 55%
    Total Opposition – 36%
    Men 48 to 43 in favour, Women 62-28 in favour.

    Would you support or oppose changing the law to allow same-sex couples to marry in registry offices and licenced venues, but continue to keep religious weddings in churches to those between a man and a women?
    Support – 45%
    Oppose – 41%
    Men – 41/47, Women 49/36

    Would you support or oppose changing the law to allow same-sex couples to marry in registry offices and licenced venues, and give churches the choice of whether or not to offer same-sex marriages?
    Support – 53%
    Oppose – 37%
    Men – 47/44, Women – 59/29

    So a clear majority of support for the government’s plan and keeping religious marriage as between a man and woman (as opposed to giving religions the choice) has less support.

    If a majority of Conservative MPs oppose the law, could this do damage to the government – even though it is the government’s plan which has majority public support?

  35. Rob S

    “But a GB withdrawal from the EU is as likely as Scotland withdrawing from GB.”

    You coud have equally well have said ” is more likely if Scotland withdraws from GB”

    Not that it is as assured as you imagine that despite current polling the YES campaign will lose in two years time.

    We will certainly see the extent to which a commanding lead can be frittered away by an incompetent, divided and wholly negative campaign but if it depends on the merits of the case, how would we know?

    The YES campaign has to make the case, and they start from the position that a substantial majority are not persuaded. The Unionists do not realise that an argument that something which is good for their own objectives may not have any appeal to Scottish voters.

    Trident may help satisfy egos of UK politicians who love to strut on the world stage, as was possible when we had an empire, but it doesn’t seem worth the risk if you are a target or in a cancer cluster area.

    Of course there are other arguments why we should have WMD, but there are difficulties in persuading Scots that we need them. Would be seeking to acquire them if they were not already there?

    The NO campaign has unique difficulties. We are expected to respect the judgement of Gordon Brown on economic matters when the same newspapers and conservatives were telling us five minutes earlier that he nearly brought about the end of the world.

    Then there iis the fact that the Conservatives would benefit from the loss of a Lab-Con excess in the parliamentary arithmetic of around 50 seats.

    If Scotland is full of subsidy junkies how can you sell one story in England and another in Scotland?

    Why should England want Scots to hang around if they are such a drain and how can you AT THE SAME TIME tell Scots that they can’t go it alone because they would be too poor all the while making strenuous efforts to persuade them to stay for no clear reason.

    I won’t say that there will be a YES vote, but I would if I could be persuaded that it depends on the quality of the opposing teams.

    Would anyone care to persuade me that that would be the key factor, or alternatively of no great importance.

  36. rob

    ” Whatever is “on the table” in a European referendum the result will be- once the full forces of the majority of both big business and small business who desperately do not want us to pull out are unleashed- a reasonable pro-IN plurality. For a variety of globalist, good neighbour, travel and economic reasons there is no need to depart and every reason to stay in.”

    The exact same forces which allied with the trade union movement lost two refs in Norway to get us in. The Norway anti movement was grassroots based and wiped the floor with the well funded establishment campaign. But Britain ain’t Norway, however I would not be so sure of big business and the unions being able to pull off a win, and if it was possible then why is a referendum being avoided at all costs?? Humm??

  37. i wouldn’t be so certain of the vote outcome in either of the two potential votes. A big yes vote to staying in the EU would also be seriously damaging to UK interests – we need a government with the authority to push for reforms and changes – a pretty dead hand if the population have just been terrorized into saying they back the institution.

    The Euro crisis still has a long way to run, and the economic strains in the EU are nowhere near being resolved. Revolutions rarely come when expected, and are often preceded by people in the know confidently saying they will never happen.

  38. @Amber Star – ” …has VI passed the point of no return?”

    The turning point towards end of 2010 has to be seen as quite decisive. In early 2011 No10 were quite keen regard the Labour lead as a blip to be turned around, but that did not come to pass… in fact Cameron lost key personnel and No 10 was caught up in a desperate game of catch-up, trying to keep up with what government departments were up to.

    The first couple of months this year, when there had been no clear lead for either party, could have been another turning point. Again the opportunity passed, then came the budget/omnishambles.

    Tory lead, (May > Nov 2010) 6 months.

    Labour lead, (Dec 2010 – Dec 2011, March 2012 – Dec 2012) 22 months.

    Generally the party which has a more consistent opinion poll lead for the life of a parliament has a good chance of sucess at the general election, barring an exceptional event of some kind.

    Cameron has been in the public eye for seven years. The biggest danger for a leader or a party is when large sections of the electorate start to turn a deaf ear.

  39. As there was an interesting debate concerning unions a piece of news from across the pond that might interest.

    In Michigan (which includes Detroit a major automotive manufacturing centre) a “right to work law” has been narrowly passed, making it the 24th state to do so.

    From what I can gather this law stops unions charging non union members for “services”. Lots of angry noises being made.

    I’m not sure how I’d feel about a club of which I’m not a member sending me a bill for something I didn’t ask them to do on my behalf, especially seeing the salaries the heads of unions pay themselves.

  40. TF

    “If a majority of Conservative MPs oppose the law, could this do damage to the government – even though it is the government’s plan which has majority public support?”

    Only if they lost, because it would show that you don’t vote for an MP but for an Executive Present elector.

    If it goes through, its business as usual for parliament..

    If it doesn’t it’s a great boost to Gretna Green tourism and weddings in “romantic” Scottish castles because it is certain to go through in Scotland, and probaly first too.

    Gay couples are DINKIES often with their own property and can afford lavish weddings.

    The SNP should oppose it in the Westminster parliament.

  41. Billy Bob

    Am I to take it that you are one of the growing number who now think the Cons and/or the coalition, have, now at the turn of the year too far to go and too short a time to turnaround and get a a majority?

    What fascinates me is that Con partisans will claim it is still possible, but how long can they do that if things remain as they are? Six months? A year? The week before an election? When they see the exit polls?

    If they say “a year from now, if there isn’t significant movement”. What will they say in when the recovery doesn’t happen? “A week is a long time in government?”

    I think any objective person would say it isn’t going to be a Con majority.

  42. RiN

    What an interesting post about Norway & CAP

  43. @ Alec

    …we need a government with the authority to push for reforms and changes – a pretty dead hand if the population have just been terrorized into saying they back the institution.
    —————————–
    You could say the same about the SNP having a referendum on independence; if Scots vote to stay part of the UK, it could be seen as an opportunity to strip away some of Scotland’s perceived advantages. So how would people respond to this kind of ‘threat’ in the Scottish context?

    Firstly, the SNP have a mandate for an in/out referendum; sometimes you have to feel the fear & have the referendum anyway.

    Secondly, if an association decides that its members should be ‘punished’ for supporting it, it’s a sad institution & likely won’t get support the next time around.

    If Scotland vote to stay in the UK & are disadvantaged vis-à-vis the Barnet formula, the West Lothian question or by unsatisfactory regional pay or benefits being introduced, we’ll simply have another referendum because the conditions of UK membership have changed & we’ll likely vote to leave.
    8-)

  44. @Paul Croft,

    ““The labour leader has been remarkably static”

    Oh no he hasn’t: I’ve definitely seen him moving on occasions.”

    Although it was a typo, the more I think about it the more I realise I was probably right the first time! We need more animation and life from you, Ed!!

  45. RiN,

    I’ve a friend who works for TomTom in Denmark but who has bought a house in Finland.

    It was in a former forestry area but with mechanisation and free trade, especially from the Baltic Republics, the traditional pattern of lots of small farms with the family logging in their own part of the forest all but collapsed and with it property prices.

    Peter.

  46. @ Anthony,

    Did you turn-off the emoticons or is it the settings on my laptop which don’t let them work?

    Thx (I’d have done a smile but…)

  47. Amber

    ” If Scotland vote to stay in the UK & are disadvantaged vis-à-vis the Barnet formula, the West Lothian question or by unsatisfactory regional pay or benefits being introduced, we’ll simply have another referendum because the conditions of UK membership have changed & we’ll likely vote to leave. 8-)”

    Alex has said that if the result is no then there won’t be another vote for a generation. Of course he’s just stating the obvious once you have had the vote and decided you won’t be able to have another one in a hurry and yes if the vote is against independence then the next non labour govt will change the barnet formula, its a no brainer, and once the oil has gone even a labour govt will change the barnet formula. I really don’t see that the referendum will be a choice of the status quo or independence their will be a cost for losing the independence card

  48. @ RiN

    Alex has said that if the result is no then there won’t be another vote for a generation.
    ———————–
    Alex says a lot of things; then he says something else when circumstances demand it!

    And Scotland will find something else before the oil runs out; we don’t worry too much about that.

  49. How long is a generation nowadays? 15 years?

    How long will AS carry on in this, his second stint as leader?

    Will Nicola get her turn?

    When will the next Tory or Tory-lite government be?

    One of the NAT’s current arguments comes down to: Vote YES and you will get back non-tribal old Labour, ethical Labour, Christian Labour, CND Labour. It might be called something else (like the SNP) it might be several parties, but who cares if the result is that you never get a Thatcherite government again?

  50. @ Billy Bob

    Generally the party which has a more consistent opinion poll lead for the life of a parliament has a good chance of success at the general election, barring an exceptional event of some kind.
    ———————
    Yes, that’s what I was wondering about. I wonder how momentous the event would need to be, assuming that Labour keep grinding out a ~10 point lead for the next two years.

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