This morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun had topline figures of CON 31%, LAB 44%, LDEM 12%, UKIP 9%. The twelve percent support for the Liberal Democrats is the highest that YouGov have shown since way back in April 2011. All the usual caveats apply about unusual poll findings apply – more often than not they are just blips – however this is part of a wider pattern in recent YouGov polling, that has shown the Lib Dems sneaking up into double figures on an increasingly regular basis. Eight out of nine YouGov polls in December have shown the Lib Dems at 10 or above, compare that to 5/21 polls in November and 5/23 in October.

If is it sustained it will be worth looking at exactly where the support is coming from and trying to work out what is driving it, but the Lib Dems have been increasingly differentiating themselves from the Conservatives over recent months – that would certainly be a potential cause worth looking at.

240 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 31, LAB 44, LD 12, UKIP 9”

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  1. The first and bestist post

  2. I will repeat what i have written numerous times previously and that is we are being overrun by too many opinion polls. All these polls are just confusing people to what is going on borne out by the comments posted on here.
    People being polled are obviously fed up and are now giving answers without any thought whatsoever.
    Time to knock these daily polls on the head and only have polls three or four times a year, then we might just get a true picture

  3. By the way, that LD rise doesn’t seem to have come from Lab, which has a healthy 44%.

  4. WTNL:

    That is just daft: what if we get ones every three or four months and they are inaccurate? At present the trends are reallty very clear and very stable.

    Of course, you could just visit the site as each season comes to an end if it bothers you so much. Or not at all…

  5. The Conservatives do not appear to be able to disassociate themselves from the notion that those with the narrowest shoulders are being asked to do as much or more as those with the broadest.

    I assume this is because it has more than a grain of truth.

    Just possibly the LD’s are beginning to achieve a little clear water from the Toxic Tory Ship.

    An entirely non partisan comment as wild horses couldn’t get me to vote for either of these parties.

  6. paul croft

    how can it give a trend when it is obvious those being polled are fed up to the back teeth with being asked the same questions.
    I know Yougov have a large pool of people to poll but a lot are being asked the same questions too regularly.
    I know this because i am on the panel of respondents

  7. Looking at the tables, the 2010 ex LD vote has shown a shift from DK to LD through November and a shift from Lab to DK in late November and into December. There’s been a softening of Others, Con and No Vote too.

  8. @ Anthony,

    Would there be any possibility of you reviewing the poll which NickP provided a link to. I am amazed by the apparent outcome (below) & would welcome an impartial review regarding the way the questions were framed etc.
    The majority of the British public do not agree with the Chancellor’s plans, announced as part of the Autumn Statement last week, to increase working-age benefits including Job Seekers Allowance and Child Benefit by less than inflation:

    11% think that benefits should not rise at all
    16% agree with the Chancellor that they should rise by less than inflation
    59% think that they should continue to rise in line with inflation
    10% think they should rise above the rate of inflation.

  9. Wouldn’t party just yet. There were hints in late 2011 that the Lib Dem voting intention was starting to creep up again, and instead it broadly stayed where it was.

    It *could* be the start of the post-May 2011 plan of a business relationship and distancing themselves from less popular Tory policies – but we’ll have to wait and see before I could claim this with any confidence.

  10. Shock horror – YouGov no longer the polling devil incarnate for LD supporters!

    Why? Because over 2012 LD polling with the other companies gradually drifted downwards into line with YouGov’s once low figures. ICM being the obvious exception for obvious reasons, but they rather than YouGov nowadays look out of line.

    So but for this very recent spike into the giddy heights of double figures, taking all of the polling companies together, hadn’t the LDs been polling at around all time lows in recent months?

  11. should be “once relatively low figures”

    (they still are low)

  12. @NickP and Amber

    That’s an interesting poll from IPSOS-Mori, because YouGov’s poll from last week suggested that were a slight majority in favour of below-inflation increases. Off-hand, I can’t see where this discrepancy has come from.


  13. wastorynowlabour

    how can it give a trend when it is obvious those being polled are fed up to the back teeth with being asked the same questions.
    I know Yougov have a large pool of people to poll but a lot are being asked the same questions too regularly.
    I know this because i am on the panel of respondents

    No what it is is that you are fed up with being polled by YouGov. This is almost certainly because you are male and under 25. If you are a Sun or Star reader as well, you will probably find that Peter Kellner has moved into your front room. YouGov has a shortage of such people on their panel and those that are probably less likely to reply. So if you fit the the profile and reply to the questionnaires, you will get asked a lot. The remaining 98% of the panel much less often.

    Apologies as this is probably partly my fault as I used to nag Anthony about unrepresentative samples with only about a dozen guys under 25 in. On the other hand you’re getting paid, so stop whinging. [forbidden smiley thing]

  14. CN-S: I don’t know. There isn’t anything obvious. The list of benefits affects leads with Jobseekers and Income Support, which are the sort of thing that people would probably have thought of anyway. Hopi Sen has a theory that its because MORI asked what people would like, YouGov whether it was the right thing to do… perhaps people are thinking more about the circumstances of the autumn statement in the YouGov question.

    Personally I think the most likely reason is question order – in the MORI poll it comes just after questions where people said they though the poor had already suffered enough and the rich should do more… that thinking may well have informed their answer to the latter question.

    It is a puzzling one.

  15. @Nick P
    Thanks for the poll. Highly significant.

    I think @Paul Croft posted his surprise a few days ago at the lack of a hostile public reaction to Osborne’s clobbering of the low paid, according to YouGov’s poll, and suggested that other polls might show a different picture over time. He’s been proved right.

    @Chris N-S
    The moral is – don’t judge reaction to a budget (or equivalent) on the morning after. It always takes a few days for the penny to drop. BBC and other broadcast media reporting on the day after was pretty supine, but then changed a bit. MORI’s fieldwork was Sat to Mon.

    Contributing factors I suggest
    1. The IFS analysis which torpedoed the claim that Osborne’s measures were doing anything other than clobbering the least well off disproportionately. It wasn’t that well reported at the time but has been since directly or indirectly.
    2. Miliband and Ball’s delayed but welcome decision to come out firing on all cylinders against the welfare changes. Better to lead and shape public opinion than to be led by it. It’s reinforced the impact of 1.

  16. i wonder if people object to the freezing of child benefit, because they get it? Did YouGov mention CB in its poll?

  17. @Anthony Wells

    Our posts crossed. Those are fair points you make – I hadn’t considered question order – but nonetheless I suspect that opinion may have shifted slightly also. The YouGov fieldwork predated slightly that of MORI, I believe.

    Regardless, with two contradictory polls it does at least confound the idea that cutting support for those on low incomes is the nailed on vote winner that Osborne is reported as believing. So much for those elephant traps he laid.

  18. Could it be that Mori Ipsos is a telephone poll and YG a computer panel (more a sort of multiple choice exam).

  19. I am so please that Labour are opposing the benefit real term cuts. I was worried that they would go for political expdiency but they have done the right thing – which may also prove politically expedient.

    If Labour doesn’t stand up for the most vulnerable who will?

    But I do think the rules have changes – firstly it is obvious to a lot of people that the super rich are staying super rich while the poor suffer.

    secondly – the coming together of the left (Lab + Left Leaning LDs) mean that chasing middle England, Daily Mail reader votes is no longer necessary.

  20. @NickP – “i wonder if people object to the freezing of child benefit…”

    Well I certainly do. I can see no benefit at all from freezing children, except in the most extreme cases, and I don’t think we are anywhere near that at this stage, especially with the forthcoming shortage of working age people @Colin has previously mentioned.

    Besides, there are clear issues of human rights here. While many parents may see benefit in freezing children on occasion, this is clearly a slippery slope. What next? Bankers? Politicians? Grandmothers?

    No – what ever the perceived benefit, children should never be frozen, in my view.

  21. Some very confusing polls recently for a simpleton like me to get their head around. Normally I go with Lib Dem up Lab down and UKIP up Tory down. The first one is certainly not true for my theory and even the 2nd one doesn’t account for some of the recent polls we’ve been getting.

    Also those 4 ‘main’ parties in the YouGov poll above come to 96%, so 4% doesn’t seem much to be sharing around between SNP, Green, Plaid and BNP.

  22. “I can see no benefit at all from freezing children”

    Bad timing from you Alec. I can see a massive benefit which is less noise- which is what I am hearing at this exact moment in my house!

  23. @Nick P

    The YouGov poll only mentioned “most benefits”, nothing specific. MORI’s mentioning of child benefit may well have shifted opinion, if the general public are as ignorant as I.

    Until I read the MORI question, I hadn’t realised that it was included in the benefits that are subject to real terms cuts.

  24. @Alec

    Opinion against freezing anything has hardened as the temperature’s dropped.

  25. On benefits – it’s true that the relatively hard line taken by the government seems to be relatively popular with the electorate.

    I suspect that is because in part because the term benefits covers a multitude of sins. For example if you asked if benefit for those genuinely sick should be frozen or cut you may get a different response.

    Similarly although the government often talks about no cutting benefits to the disabled it in fact means not cutting Disability Living Allowance which is not the principle benefit paid to the disabled – they often and more reliant upon ESA ( formerly Incapacity benefit) & Housing Benefit.

    Again though successive governments have been anxious to keep National Insurance in place as a tax they’re very coy these days about explaining that the insurance aspect of the tax’s name was to ensure you were Insured to receive an income when retired, or unemployed or sick.

    The state has long elided its intentions to use NI to raise revenue with other fiscal/political objectives like for example not raising income Tax – which is these days virtually what national Insurance has become. That erosion has over time turned us into a benefits culture – in the sense it is widely believed that these benefits have not been paid for in the form of taxation.

    The political advantage the chancellor sees from putting all those who are economically inactive into the portmanteau of workshy is that it seems to run counter to his earlier assertion that we are all in this together. But it seems the idle rich as exempt from the moral imperatives imposed upon the working poor and that the incentive provided by a tax cut for the rich – idle or otherwise – would not similarly incentivise the poor who are clearly predisposed to be workshy.

    But these things go in fashions and like the mini skirt , loon pants and floral shirts it may be that the Conservatives are beginning to look out of touch with the times like their republican cousins in the USA. and when that happens to political parties the politics of nations changes.

    I say nothing beyond the fact that the Thatcherites with their Reaganomics have had the best of the argument for a generation but their arguments may not have the traction they once held. A more collectivist cast mind will favour parties who genuinely believe there is such a thing as society and it is not all about individualism.

    And that may turn out to be the problem with divide and rule – you may end up being on the wrong end of social division and therefore no longer judged fit to rule.

  26. The main advantage of freezing children is that you can warm them up again when they are in their twenties – saves a lot of problems.

  27. Will be interesting to see if the libdems can makes a sustained increase in polling numbers even if to only go up to 12 or 13 percent. I think being part of the coalition and with Nick Clegg still as leader will severely limit them. Even if Nick Clegg is replaced (which I doubt) they still face a huge challenge.

    They might get back old LD voters who went to Labour, at most that is a 3rd of their lost vote back. Will they be able to get back Labour voters who were disgruntled at the last GE or another block (students etc) I very much doubt it.

    Not very scientific but just speaking to friends and colleagues who voted LD many say they will never vote LD again, yet alone the next election. I could see this being repeated across the country. People state they feel being betrayed by the LD.

  28. Can everyone just shut up about the lib dems, I don’t wanna talk about it!!!!

  29. @Bail

    “People state they feel being betrayed by the LD.”

    If they realise that in fact they haven’t been, what then? I’m sure lots of people said they’d “never” vote Labour again after the Iraq war or the 2007/08 crash.

    For the Lib Dems to recover to a decent polling level (16% plus) doesn’t need any Labour voters to return. It needs them to recoup the leavers to the Tories, the Don’t knows and possibly some Greens as well (squeezed at constituency level by FPTP).

    Looking at Yougov, these groups together account for 6.5% of the 23% from 2010 GE. 6.5% plus 12% equals 18.5%, with which I think most LDs would be very happy.

    And that is if NONE of the Labour voters come back, which I think is very unlikely given the increased focus in a GE campaign on what their policies on things like tuition fees, cuts and spending would actually be.

  30. R in N
    I didn’t say anything about (you know what).

  31. What I will write about is journalists (you know my favourite group) – I’ve just watched an ITV reporter badgering a woman (Maria Miller) pacing her as she walked down the street, preventing her peaceful passage.

    Anybody know if Leveson recommended coming down like a ton of bricks on this outrageous behaviour, or is it already an offence that the police should be arresting people for?

  32. Sorry RiN, it’s not going to happen. Probably best to go out for the evening. :)

    Robert C hits the nail on the head when he points out how many people said they would never vote Labour against after the Iraq war. Moral of the story is never trust what voters tell you. They are far more fickle than any politician and have very short memories.

    The crucial question for the Lib Dems: is the public’s memory short enough. The Lib Dems have managed to avoid any major PR disasters since tuition fees – it’s just that tuition fees was off the scale in terms of disastrousness. This year, the Tories have been kind enough to dominiate all the bad headlines and the Lib Dems cock-ups have moved into the background. But so far, the memories are not distant enough to help them in the opinion polls.

    But as far as where they need to get votes from, there’s actually only a small sub-set of voters who matter: LD to Labour defectors in Lib-Con marginals where Labour cannot realistically win. If they can persuade enough of the defectors that they should vote for the only candidate who can stop the Tory winning, that will make a huge difference.

    It is quite possible that the Lib Dems could take a huge loss in the popular vote in 2015 but still keep most of their seats.

  33. Seems to me that, whichever way you look at the probable shift in votes, the Tories are buggered. If Labour hold on to ex LD voters [like moi] and some cons/DK’s etc go to LD to stop Cons, then it could be catastrophic for them.

    I emphasise, could be.

    Might just be bad.

  34. HOWARD

    @”Anybody know if Leveson recommended coming down like a ton of bricks on this outrageous behaviour, or is it already an offence that the police should be arresting people for?”

    I think there was an unreported recommendation that asking a politician any question in the street should be an arrestable offence.
    I have a feeling he also suggested Zil lanes be introduced for official cars & that all other traffic be banned from them.

  35. How can the State settle out of court for £2m on the Libyan rendition case & not say anything about it’s guilt?

    Is Jack Straw going to say a word or two?

  36. Colin
    The payoff complete coincidence – the British intelligence services would never engage in these sorts of acts.

    I have a feeling that Jack Straw won’t be saying anything – I suspect all governments of all stripes don’t want to open a can of worms about what MI6 has done/is doing.

    On the Libs
    Rob C does make a good point about the lack of need for Labour voters to recover – but it does require a shift in direction for the Libs, from their pre-2010 position, if they’re not going to aim for Labour voters.
    I.e a shift away from being primarily focused on Social Democratic policy.
    It’s unlikely that they’re going to grab UKIP voters so it’d have to be socially liberal Conservative voters.

    Which would be a nice thing to see – more diversity of politics, with the return of a “traditional liberal” party.

    Then we just have to engineer another split on the left and we have the right situation for PR. ;)

  37. R in N

    re Central Bank targeting of “nominal gdp” , did you see the latest events ?:-

    Bernanke , in a masterpiece of indecipherable policy announcement, appears to have said rates will stay low “at least as long” as unemployment remains above 6.5 percent and if the Fed projects inflation of no more than 2.5 percent one or two years in the future.

    This is the first time US monetary policy will have been targeted at a specific level of unemployment.

    In UK, Spencer Dale, BoE Chief Economist took issue with the Carney train of thought :-

    ” …. it was clear in comments today in London that the BoE’s Dale was sceptical about abandoning the approach. “There’s a question about whether just announcing a new target is sufficient in itself to overcome the time inconsistency associated with that type of policy,” said Dale.
    Changing the target, Dale added, would mean the central bank would have to commit to allowing the economy to overheat in the future. This was unlikely to be a credible threat, as the central bank would have a hard time explaining why it had gone “soft on inflation”, even though the economy had recovered.”

  38. I think polls should be announced to the signature tune of those “magnificent men in there flying machines*
    They go up,tiddly up up.
    They go down tiddly down down.

  39. Tinged.

    No doubt.

  40. As always John Murphy speaks with great perspicacity.I as usual just speak.
    I do think however think that what may have been a game changer for the lib dems was their support for labour as against their coalition colleagues regarding Leveson.
    Fot the first time for a long time they seemed to be taking a principled stand.

  41. R in N
    ‘Can everyone just shut up about the lib dems, I don’t wanna talk about it!!!!’

    Although it might be a blip, I think it is worth stating that 12% is the highest YouGov poll for LDs in 2012.

    I am not surprised that Labour is doing well its PR is first rate much better than Tories and as for us poor LDs if we had the Labour PR and money then we would be on 44% and they would be languishing on 12%.

    We have only ourselves to blame as we could have agreed reform of donations with Tories but were unwilling to do so.

    Apologies to R in N and I am sorry to fall out with Labour supporters who I know do not agree with me on the above, although some of them are aware I sometimes exaggerate a trifle. It is merely a personal opinion and provides a alternative view to the common thread on this blog.

    I shall now retire to the cricket, football, rugby and golf, at least until the LDs can boast a regular 14/15% in the polls, when I shall be able to upset R in N again.



  42. AinW

    The problem for voters such as myself who went LD as an alyternative to Labour is that their front bench lose no opportunity to disparage the Labour party. They were supposed to be the party of “grown-up” politics but, to hear them talk, one would imaging that GB had single-handedly engineered a world banking problem.

    This is not over-sensitivity on my part; it just leaves an impression that they are not just a semi-neutral coalition govtpartner but actually closer to the Cons, both politically and philosophically. I think that is a really stupid position to take, at least in tactical terms


    “No what it is is that you are fed up with being polled by YouGov. This is almost certainly because you are male and under 25. If you are a Sun or Star reader as well, you will probably find that Peter Kellner has moved into your front room”

    I’m under 25 and have never been polled but do read the Scottish Sun just for the sports pages.

    Peter Kellner is more than welcome to shuffle into my front room is he goes halves on the rent though!!

  44. Paul,yes I am afraid that the picture of DA,smirking along with his cabinet
    Colleagues was not edifying.Tactcally the game they are playing is useless.
    Their problem is,who can believe them.They have stood for Leveson with
    Labour but does anyone really believe that when push comes to shove,that
    They will not just roll over as usual?

  45. ” Eight out of nine YouGov polls in December have shown the Lib Dems at 10 or above, compare that to 5/21 polls in November and 5/23 in October”

    “If is it sustained it will be worth looking at exactly where the support is coming from ”

    Probably comming from the retro hippies, they appear to be making a comeback.

  46. Ann and Colin on separate posts :-)

    I feel that badgering people in the manner I described is a minor assault. If one says ‘Mrs X, may i ask you some questions’ and the answer is ‘no thank you’, then I believe the questioner should mutter thank you and move off. What they do, is to do this badgering in the hope the person will lose their rag or become violent so that they have a show for the evening news programme.

    I just want normal rules of behaviour to apply in all press action and if you are right Ann, that my esteemed leaders will cave on that issue, then they will not gain votes (or esteem).

    I think that after the endless repetition of the phone calls to the royal hospital, prior to the tragic event that succeeded it, the voters are not in a mood for pussy-footying around. Continued polling on the press issue is going to be very informative.

  47. Good Evening All. A cold day here.

    Did some one here talk about going out?

    I thought that UKPR was for people who really do need to go out more.

    As for LD’s, I think the polls exaggerate their position .

    HENRY! Best regards to you Sir.

  48. Howard,well I guess we shall just have to wait and see.Politics is infinitely
    Surprising or why else whoud it be so fascinating.Please do not be cross if I
    Say that to me you seem to be a lion being led by a donkey.

  49. Chris


    you should try it here in Durham.

    warm as toast [well, in bed anyway]

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