This week’s YouGov/Sunday Times tables are online here. Topline voting intention is CON 31%, LAB 44%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 8%. In line with the increased level of Lib Dem support Nick Clegg’s approval figures are also up slightly – his net approval is minus 45, still extremely bad, but his least bad figures since March.

Most of the rest of the survey dealt with the subject of Europe, and like ComRes’s poll last nights showed hints of a shift in public opinion towards remaining in the EU.

As usual a majority of people (59%) support the idea of a referendum on Europe – people will almost always say they support a referendum on anything we ask about. On how they would vote in a referendum on the EU membership, people would vote to leave by 42% to 36%. This is a significantly lower lead for leaving the EU than YouGov usually find, indeed, they ask it as a monthly tracker and only last week found a 15 point lead for leaving the EU. This could easily be a blip, but could also be a sign of the intervention of the US Embassy and Richard Branson’s comments already having an effect.

Asked if there should be a straight referendum or the renegotiation then a referendum that David Cameron is likely to announce, people prefer the latter by 48% to 22%. Were David Cameron to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with EU and then recommend people vote to stay in, in the way Wilson did in 1975 and Cameron is likely to say he’ll do later this month, then people say they would vote to stay in by 50% to 25%. This too is a shift from the last time YouGov asked the question in July 2012, when people said they’d vote to stay in by 42% to 34%.

The contrast between how people would vote in a straight referendum now and how people would vote in a post-negotiation referendum with Cameron recommending a vote to stay in is mostly a switch of Conservative voters, who say they would vote 51%-33% to leave in a straight referendum now, but would vote 64%-21% to stay if Cameron recommended a yes vote on renegotiated terms.

Asked about the potential impacts of leaving the European Union, by 40% to 9% people think Britain would have less influence if we left the EU and think our relationship with the USA would be worse by 24% to 10%. They are far more divided on the potential economic impacts of Britain leaving the EU – 29% think the country would be better off outside the EU, 34% worse off. 27% think leaving the EU would be good for employment, 30% bad for employment. 18% think they personally would be better off, 20% worse off.

187 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 31, LAB 44, LD 11, UKIP 8”

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  1. NEW THREAD !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Poor interview given by Adrew Marr sub James Landale (is that his name?) this morning. 15 minutes with Ed M constantly asking him to give detailed committments for the next Labour Governemnt. EM made clear after first question he was not going to do that, but Landale persisted with that line anyway. Nett result – pointless interview.

  3. Colin


    So OUR stuff is “policy” but EU stuff is “regulations”?

  4. The Lib Dem “recovery” in YouGov polls seems not to have dented the Labour VI and, presumably, must be coming, albeit in trickle terms, from elsewhere. I haven’t examined the minutiae of the data, but some returning DKs, possibly, or, looking at the depressed Tory VI, some Tories too? I have to say that I’m intrigued by the thinking of a hitherto Tory voter moving over to the Lib Dems as a result of recent events, especially when a low 30s Tory VI suggests that their current support is made up of pretty committed Conservatives. Still, I’ve never quite understood the motivation behind some people’s voting choices and the mystery endures for me!

    As for the EU Referendum, and its likely outcome, it’s intriguing to see old warhorses like Mandelson, Clarke and Heseltine now being wheeled out in harness to argue the pro-European cause. In fairness to them, I think they make lucid and intelligent arguments, but, from a PR point of view, it may be better to field some, how shall we say, rather less gnarled proponents of our continued membership of the EU in future!

    The YouGov EU poll is interesting and tends to add weight to the argument that Referendums, after all the brouhaha has died down, tend to come out with a decision to maintain the status quo. Think 1975 on Common Market membership and 2011 on Electoral Reform. OK, the devolution referendums opted for change, but they were held locally on a bow wave of popular support. I fully expect, particularly with a Government recommendation for a Yes vote, and after a thorough debate on the subject, that, when and if an in/out EU Referendum is held, we’ll vote comfortably to stay in. The best hope for the anti-EU cause is that the Government is so unpopular at the time of the referendum that their recommendation is a toxic endorsement! This of course can happen with plebiscites when voters use them as a tool to kick the incumbent government, rather as they do in local elections and parliamentary by-elections. When they do that, the question on the ballot paper is subordinate to their desire to trash the government, but I think EU membership is to big an issue for that to happen. That said, a predominantly anti-EU tabloid press will be influential. Rupe’s last stand perhaps??

    Polling on the outcome of referendums, especially way ahead of the vote, aren’t worth the paper they’re not written on, in my view!

  5. corkscrew

    “Landale was educated at Eton College…and was a contemporary of London Mayor Boris Johnson and Prime Minister David Cameron”

  6. Corkscrew. Agree Lansdale was completely useless. Why should any Opposition leader (ever) respond to a bloody journalist’s ‘demand’ that they spell out party policy years ahead of an election. Andrew Marr always tries it on but knows to back off after a few seconds, acknowledging that it’s one of the few perks of being in opposition

  7. The troube with such daft questioning is that it gets reported as “EM refuses to spell out Labour policies” [to the glee of right wing commentators] rather than “Interviewer asks stupid questions 28 months in advance of GE.”

  8. The interviewers would rather have a pointless interview than one that went off script.

    The other day James Naughtie got very annoyed with two Tories one of them Leon Brittan, who were expected to debate the effect of UKIP on Con divisions.

    Instead they had civilised and nuanced discussion evaluating the options before the govenment.

    What was expected of them was a boxing match. with a winner and a loser and it didn’t suit the exigencies of boadcasting.

    The priority in these things is to finish the programme on time and to ensure “balance” or roughly equal time.

    Like any other managent by targets e.g. NewLabour’s crazy waiting list statistics. It results in perverse outcomes.

    In this case the perverse outcome was that I discovered that there were at least two Conservative politicians capable of having a grown up debate.

    Who would have thought it?

  9. Pickles in a pickle over numbers.

  10. My friend watched James Landale and she also thought he was poor. Wrong choice of subject – I would have been much more interested to find what we are doing helping the French in Mali. Are they going to hyelp us in a war v Argentina. Sometimes I think Cameron is a little bit simple.

  11. The Telegraph quotes EM as stating on the BBC this morning that:
    DC’s position on Europe is “incredibly dangerous”
    The PM is “sleepwalking us towards the exit door”.
    Promising an in/out referendum on the UK’s position in the EU is the “last thing we should do”.
    A referendum on EU membership “is not in the national interest.”

    Given that a majority of people (59%) support the idea of a referendum on Europe, surely this will be bad for Labour’s poll ratings, as it implies that he doesn’t trust the British public not to vote to leave the EU. EM’s stance is only to be expected from someone who believes in a European socialist super-state and whose background has more in common with radical socialists such as Bela Kun, Kurt Eisner and Eugen Leviné than with real English folk.

  12. NICKP

    Pickles performance was even worse thans Lansdales!
    Just surprised and slightly impressed he managed to keep his cool, whilst declaring the numbers were rising by 11% when a large graphic behind him showed new starts of houses falling in the last 2 years.

  13. daodao if i had a pound every time someone said “surely this will harm labours poll ratings” ,i’d be a millionaire. i don’t think most telegraph readers are voting labour anyway

  14. Having watch Landale this morning I’m interested by some of the negative comment’s, surely part of his job is to try and draw out what Miliband’s thoughts if not policy’s would be in the next GE.
    After all Labour has not supported a single Coalition fiscal policy, or reform of the welfare budget, Miliband or his supporters shouldn’t be upset if he is challenged for at least a view of were the Labour party will be at the next GE or what Coalition policy’s they may overturn if any come next GE.
    To be honest it doesn’t do any politician any good to be continually avoiding the question’s future supporters want to know of all political parties “what exactly are you going to do if we vote for you that is different from any other party” and although we don’t expect firm policy’s from the opposition with two years to go, a general view would be nice instead of hiding behind the usual excuses.

  15. LEFTY

    @”So OUR stuff is “policy” but EU stuff is “regulations”?”

    That the latter consumes more Civil Service time -according to Hilton-is the issue.

    If you hold the view that implementing EU regulation is more important than implementing UK manifesto promises, then it really doesn’t matter does it ?

  16. Ed M has no policies? Surely an emphatic ‘no’ to leaving the EU is a huge policy commitment given how contentious the subject is.

  17. Turk – I agree. I thought Marr’s stand-in did a better job then Marr ever does. Quite reasonable questions not being answered and he made sure that viewers realised the fact.

    Mind you, perhaps how one perceives these things depends on one’s own prejudices.

  18. TURK

    Whilst I agree with you-and of course enjoyed Lansdales’s efforts on our joint behalf , whilst EM can get away with ” don’t agree with that” as his policy platform-and be ten points ahead in the Polls he has no reason to accommodate you, me, or James Lansdale.

  19. @ AS

    I agree, although I feel that this may impact unfavourably on Labour’s VI.

  20. Colin,

    “If you hold the view that implementing EU regulation is more important than implementing UK manifesto promises, then it really doesn’t matter does it ?”

    I suspect the majority of manifesto commitments require legislation and most of them regulation of some sort.

    Regulation probably almost always takes up or time and work than Policy. The alternative seems to be lots of policy that never gets implemented because the rules and regulations are never put in place.

    The alternative seems to “Rule by Decree”, but I think that went out of favour with absolute monarchy.

    In WW2 we had a “policy” of defeating Germany and Japan, all the planning and operations that made it possible took up far more time and effort.


  21. JBD

    Agree absolutely ( gulp !)

    Heard that interview-Naughtie unprofessional -as per usual.

    Brittan and Jenkin surprisingly amicable & sensible.


    I think you may have missed the point Hilton was making-or I described it badly.

    He was making a distinction between the comparatively small amount of time spent by Whitehall in implementing Policy comittments, as opposed to the large amount of time spent on implementation of “EU regulation ” which presumably did not emanate from Manifesto promises ( he gave examples) and non-specific ” random” stuff.

    Hilton is in the USA because he got frustrated by Whitehall. His view isn’t new or a surprise to anyone.

    ……anyone who watched Heywood in front of a Select Committee the other day for example.

  23. @Daodao
    EM’s stance is only to be expected from someone who believes in a European socialist super-state and whose background has more in common with radical socialists such as Bela Kun, Kurt Eisner and Eugen Leviné than with real English folk.

    Deranged views on EU, an absurd mythologised view of us English as monolithically Tory, blatant xenophobia…why you must be a UKIP supporter.

  24. @ DAODAO

    I agree, although I feel that this may impact unfavourably on Labour’s VI.
    I think you could be correct & that we may see some leaking to UKIP on the back of this unequivocal comment by Ed M. It’ll be up to the Labour team to explain how being in the EU is best for the UK & convince people that either the rest of the EU is willing to address:
    1. Unemployment;
    2. University Education; &
    3. Social Security Entitlements/ Healthcare
    as both EU & member state problems rather than hoping that a few states will expand enough to absorb all the unemployment & the other issues will simply disappear.

    I think that Labour or possible Labour voters would see these issues as the ones about which they need an answer before they can feel entirely comfortable that the EU is a good thing.

    Ed M appears to already be building relationships with EU heads of state. I believe, from Merkel’s 3 pronged review comment, that the EU is willing to address some of the issues which I have mentioned.

    This, I feel, bodes well for Labour nearer to 2015 but in the short-term it will, as you said, probably cost Labour some support.

  25. @ Craig

    @ Craig

    I am not expressing a view on EU membership nor my political views. I am not ethnically British and am a floating voter who has voted for all the main political parties in England and Wales that currently have representatives at Westminster over the last 10 years, but NOT UKIP. I was merely pointing out that EM has made a clear statement of policy on EU membership, which I believe is disadvantageous to Labour, and that his background is a handicap in selling such a policy to the British public.

  26. Given the relentless hammering the right wing press have given europe over the past 20 years, I’m amazed the anti-EU sentiment is as low as it is.

    Realistically the vast majority of the public have given this very little serious thought. If there was an in out referendum I would expect to see quite a different set of figures in favour of staying in.

  27. More articles like this

    will probably help the Eurosceptics.

    I am broadly Pro EU but find it has one major design flaw, a gaping wound as it were, and that’s this daft free movement of people principle, as it causes problems for all involved.

    The UK is unable to provide adequate services due to the large influx of East EU migrants, and unemployment has risen as a result of too many people chasing too few jobs, at the same time, Poland is experiencing a skills shortage, and is having to spend vast sums on new schemes to try and convince some of their ex patriots to return home.

    Now in December, Romanians and Bulgarians will join the mix, and with the Romanians will come the Moldovans, as if you have citizenship of one you are entitled to the other.I just can’t see how the UK can cope.

  28. “real English folk.”
    No true Scotsman?

  29. @Daodao
    “EM’s stance is only to be expected from someone who believes in a European socialist super-state and whose background has more in common with radical socialists such as Bela Kun, Kurt Eisner and Eugen Leviné than with real English folk.”
    The only thing he has in common with the three people you mention is that he has a Jewish background. Is that your point? He is Jewish so he is not really English?

  30. I should point out, in DaoDao’s defence – I actually agree with the point that Labour opposing a referendum (rather than supporting a referendum but staying in the EU) is bad for the Labour party’s PR (and may add to ‘mood music’ against them).

    But I wouldn’t have put it in quite so ‘The Stalinists are coming!’ language.
    So the ‘no true scotsman’ comment was just to point out the absurdity of the phrasing, not the actual substance of the post.
    So I apologise to DaoDao if it was taken that way.

    MitM –
    “and that’s this daft free movement of people principle, as it causes problems for all involved.”
    Why do you think one of the reasons so many business leaders/groups are for staying in the EU? Free movement means cheap labour.
    When they talk about ‘renegotiation of powers’, they mean ‘less regulation’.

    I’d say the main problem with the EU is the democratic deficit – it’s such a mishmash of federal, confederate and market agreement that it can’t quite work out where it stands. So it doesn’t have proper democratic structures to make it fully accountable to the voters (rather than the leaders of the more powerful nations).

  31. “Why do you think one of the reasons so many business leaders/groups are for staying in the EU? Free movement means cheap labour.”

    I’ve argued that very point on here before and been put in moderation for it. Conservatives the party of big business and Labour the party trying to suck up to big business will never limit migration because businesses would scream blue murder.

  32. Colin.

    No i got the point i just don’t agree with it. I spent the last five years with Politicians who were frustrated in the same way.

    The frustration came from the fact that public servants wouldn’t do what they wanted too or make their problems go away.

    Invariably it turned out there were very good reasons why they couldn’t get what they wanted and why Council officers couldn’t make their problem go away.

    The standard politicians response is to blame “Civil Servants” and the “System”, because that is a lot easier for them than admitting that their proposal doesn’t work or telling voters they can’t keep their promises.

    “It’s not our fault we can’t cut taxes while boosting exports conquering inflation ending poverty and creating full employment, it’s cicil servants , rules regulations and the EU that is stopping us”.

    The Heywoods of this world are the ones that bugged out when they realised how hard it was going to be.



    @”No i got the point i just don’t agree with it. ”

    It isn’t really a question of agreeing or disagreeing.

    He was explaining his personal experience to US students.

    It is what he said he found when in office.

  34. Tinged.

    @”Why do you think one of the reasons so many business leaders/groups are for staying in the EU? Free movement means cheap labour.”

    I doubt that is their main concern-or even a concern at all.
    Inward investment tends to be in areas requiring skilled labour, rather than cheap labour.

    The main attraction & concern of UK businesses must surely be Tariff Free access to the Single Market.

    Swiss business is reliant on hundreds of individually negotiated bi-lateral agreements. That sort of situation would see inward investment to UK collapse.

  35. “I doubt that is their main concern-or even a concern at all.”

    Colin I don’t think even you believe your last statement so how do you expect any of us too? Big business loves cheap labour and want to pay as little as they can so that they can get the most profits.

    They pay EU migrants a pittance and force them to work long hours, and UK citizens find it impossible to get decent jobs, everyone loses except for big business.

    Your right its not their only concern though their other concern is making sure they are still able to open a branch in luxembourg and pay a pittance in tax there in specially negotiated settlements.

  36. @ Colin

    I suspect that Steve Hilton would have said a lot more about who really runs Britain. There are many people who think that Common Purpose and groups across Europe have managed to get their people into key decision making posts, so government ministers have limited chance to implement their own policies.

    My instinct is that it has always been this way and is it exaggerated. Ministers think they can announce a policy and it then gets implemented. When they realise that this will never be the case, they get frustrated. Personally I would like to see a total change to the way our system works, so we have a genuine democracy. This would require the current political parties to be smashed and replaced by independents. I would also like the UK to beome a republic, once the Queen has finished her distinguised service.

  37. Colin

    It really depends what the “EU regulations” are doing.

    If they are helping us to trade with EU partners by making sure that our procedures and goods are acceptable to the EU then I have no problem with UK Civil Servants “wasting” their time in such.

    The point is that Hilton’s witterings are pointless posturing without more detail.

  38. @ Colin

    It isn’t really a question of agreeing or disagreeing.
    If you did not want a polling/political debate about Hilton’s comments, then why did you post them here? This is a site for discussion not a platform for you to indulge in ‘show & tell with no Q&A following’. :-)

  39. Agree with R Huckle on monarch/republic.

    After the death of every monarch instead of the next one just assuming the throne there should be a referendum on whether the British public wants to continue allowing one family all these special privileges and benefits.

    All this talk about oh but they bring tourism, people would still come to visit, in face, make Buckingham Palace into a hotel and offer rich people the chance to stay a few nights in the place, would generate much more money.

    Liz 2.0 can finish her go, then its time for the monarchy to go. Then Harry can play strip billiards all he wants.

  40. Amber:

    “agreeing or disagreeing”

    No: apparently its a matter of reading the opinions of someone who is biased and who has left the Uk anyway and – presumably – going “Oh gosh isn’t that awful.”

    Asking how the %s were arrived at would be a bit cheeky and, of course, as we are not in the EU that’s all to do with other countries and not us isn’t it?

    Oh……………………hang on……. John Major….. Maastrich……its al coming back now. We ARE a part of the EU.


    EU referendum etc.

    I agree re sentiment. If there ever is a referendum it will be an easy win to stay in. The antis are inflated with the hot air of the right wing press and the UKIP tendency at the moment and since it is easy to find things that are wrong moaning is a natural reaction.

    But on that basis we might as well vote to stop being British as there are a quite a few things wrong here too.

  42. All the pro eu team has to do regarding a referendum is find a group of french people demanding Britian leaves, and the british publics support for staying in the EU would sky rocket over night.

  43. Regardless of what might be said to the contrary, IMO businesses do not like ‘free’ markets. In a ‘free’ market, anything can happen! And businesses do not like uncertainty or risk; they spend a great deal of time & money to minimize these things.

    So, whilst businesses complain bitterly about specific regulations, they enjoy operating within a regulatory framework because everybody must ‘play by the rules’. When they can make their business work better, within a given framework, than the other ‘guy’ can, they have an advantage. When they feel that somebody, be it a government or a competitor, is cheating or being arbitrary or unfair, they have somewhere to go to make a complaint about it.

    This is, for the most part, why business likes the EU. Regarding the movement of workers (as opposed to simply visa free travel), most businesses are more interested in easier recruitment of skilled workers than in sourcing cheap labour. The proliferation of Polish workers in the UK happened because there were skills shortages in certain areas. Workers came from Poland to fill those gaps. Once employed, they did exactly what UK workers do. When a job comes up in the same business they say to the boss: ‘I have a friend, s/he’s reliable, honest & a hard worker, please consider employing this person.’ And so the labouring, warehousing, janitorial position gets filled by another migrant.

    There was no conspiracy to employ hundreds of thousands of Polish migrants, it just happened, in the same way it used to happen that many UK families & their friends worked for a single employer.

    And this is why it is difficult for any government to control the number of EU migrant workers. Anything which ‘just happens’ is difficult to construct a policy for! Public sector work must be advertised; this provides a little mitigation to the ‘friends & family’ issue (for both UK & migrant workers) but the private sector would simply find a work-around, were the same rule to be applied to them.

  44. Apologies, I did not intend that comment about the EU to be so long; I just got carried away once I’d started it!

  45. MiM

    @”Colin I don’t think even you believe your last statement so how do you expect any of us too? ”

    You may believe what you wish.

    I believe-having read the stated views of Industrial leaders & Industry bodies , that their overiding concern is Tarriff Free access to the Single Market of 400 million people.

    …of course-they don’t want the costs & regulation which go with either, and to that extent are willing to support DC in repatriation of powers on things like the Working Time Directive.

    But basically, when push comes to shove, they don’t want him to upset the Single Market apple cart .

    Question-what do you think would happen to UK’s flagship Auto INdustry , if it was on the outside of a 10% EU import tax?

    Answer-it would soon be in Poland or HUngary.

  46. R HUCKLE


    Have some sympathy with that view actually !

  47. AMBER

    @” This is a site for discussion not a platform for you to indulge in ‘show & tell with no Q&A following’. :-)”

    Actually, this is a site for posting whatever AW decides is appropriate to leave on view.

  48. @ Colin

    Therefore the rule in the comments section is that all comments should be made in the spirit of non-partisanship, to try and welcome all people here to discuss polls and politics like adults with a shared interest, despite supporting different parties.
    I see the word “discuss” in there! ;-)

  49. Interesting to see if EM’s stance on a European referendum does affect Labour ratings. I don’t think it will myself. For one thing the case against staying in has been made almost daily for years in the national press. Yet we see that when the case for is put by a few aged politicians and Richard B. over the course of a mere week then sentiment has shifted.

    This suggests to me that the anti-European sentiment is softer than it looks. Those who are very anti-european are very unlikely to vote Labour in the first place and ‘floating voters’ on the issue may well come down on the Labour side if the debate develops further.

  50. AMBER

    I rather thought I did “discuss”.

    I tried to explain to Peter Cairns that -as I read Hilton’s thoughts in ST-he wasn’t complaining about resistance to implement politicians’ plans-the theme of PC’s reminiscences.

    Of course some politicians have done that-Maude for example.

    But not Hilton-because he isn’t a politician-he is a SPAD.

    He was giving his impression of the main areas of activity in the Whitehall Civil Service , split over three categories.

    To “disagree” with that, one would have to produce a different experience of Whitehall & different statistics-neither of which Peter Cairns did.

    AS to the relevance on this site of the alleged slowness of Whitehall to implement new Policy Initiatives-I venture to suggest that it is a factor in producing the general air of resignation amongst the public that politicians ever really change anything significant.

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