Yesterday we had two polls conducted partially after the referendum announcement, from YouGov and TNS, neither of which showed any boost for the Conservatives. Today’s YouGov is the first conducted entirely after the referendum announcement and has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 43%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 9% – so no obvious impact at all.

Personally speaking this is a slight surprise, while Europe is not an issue that particularly excites voters (even UKIP voters are actually driven more by things like immigration and the economy),  I thought a temporary boost from Cameron looking on top of things and the exceptionally good press coverage of the last few days was likely. In the event Cameron’s own ratings have indeed improved – YouGov repeated their leader attributes question yesterday and Cameron got his best ratings since last April,  with particular increases in strength and being good in a crisis. However these don’t appear to have translated into voting intention. Normal caveats apply, it is just one poll and others may paint a different picture, but so far the big gamechanging speech doesn’t appear to have changed public opinion much.

YouGov’s poll also asked voting intention in a referendum – the figures remain extremely close, 40% would vote to leave, 38% would vote to stay, confirming again the drastic narrowing in the lead of those wanting to leave since last year. Populus also had a poll out this morning in today’s Times which found almost identical figures – 40% saying leave, 37% saying stay.

235 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 33, LAB 43, LD 10, UKIP 9”

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  1. Toh

    Shame on you!!

    you keep saying that stock markets rising are a sign that the economy is on the mend even though you know as well as I do that international central bank policy is to do everything possible to push up stock markets thereby convincing the public everything is fixed and they can go out and spend and borrow as before. The so called “wealth effect”, will this strategy work, only if there are no serious problems with our economic model.

  2. @STEVE
    The drop in the £ against the Euro has been pretty significant. Currently at 1.1739 – a 52 week low.
    Can anyone here explain what is driving this?–

    Possibly because there was a change in perception among investors that rather than being a safe-haven alternative for those exiting the euro that Gold or the Dollar were far better bets.

  3. @RIN

    Nothing to be ashamed about, just pointing out that rising stock markets are a leading indicator of increasing economic activity.

    As for your suggestion that everything is OK and people can go forth and borrow and spend i would certainly not advocate that. As I have said many times on here one of the causes of the crash was exactly that, people borrowing way beyond their means to spend on “stuff” as Colin puts it. I am not keen to see growth that is consumer led. I want to see growth that is export led which is why I expect the economy to bounce along the bottom until it has readjusted as Osborne is trying to do.

  4. “rising stock markets are a leading indicator of increasing economic activity.”

    There may be many explanations as to why stock markets increase. Not always about increased economic activity. e.g perhaps certain sectors are worth taking the risk on and offer a better return than alternative investment options. Does not mean that the UK overal is experiencing a rise in economic activity.

    Also reports such as this “Consumer products group Unilever was on the rise after double-digit growth in emerging markets helped push its turnover past the €50bn-mark in 2012”. This would suggest that some UK listed companies shares increased, because of economic performance outside of the UK.

  5. @AW

    “I hate “more or less likely to vote” questions. They really don’t tell you the answer to the question.”

    Is there any worth in only paying attention to those who would not have voted Tory, who are now considering, and those who would have but are not thinking otherwise?

  6. @R Huckle

    Agree absolutely, exactly my point.

  7. @STEVE


  8. Toh

    You didn’t answer my point about central banks flooding the world with liquidity in an effort to prop up the stock markets, the benanke put. If all liquidity programs were to stop tomorrow, what would be the effect on stocks? And it isn’t my suggestion that folk should go out and buy and borrow, that’s what the central bankers want

  9. Toh

    What’s your take on margin debt being the highest since 2007 and you worried that this rally is nearly over with short position at a decade low meaning there are no more shorts to squeeze

  10. @Colin – Re the figures, it’s worth remembering that the quarter started with some surprisingly good service sector figures, leading some to say consumer confidence was back the end of the world was over. These figures early in quarter have held up this, the biggest sector. It looks like the December figures are particularly disappointing in the consumer sector, which may suggest that Q1 will be difficult.

    Other ‘one off’ factors could also be running against the government. While the North Sea output was depressed last quarter, we’ve just had a major pipeline shut down which has close production across a large area of the field. Not sure if this is still going on, but that can hit the next set of figures. Snow is also not helping – John Lewis have reported suppressed sales in January, and the forecast for February doesn’t look great.

    Usually these individual issues don’t matter too much. Who cares if growth is 0.1% lower due to oil field maintenance if the overall figure is =0.7 or 0.8%? The trouble we have is growth is on or just below zero, so the minutest issues can have a big political impact.

    I’m with those above who fear/cheer that Cameron may be approaching the point of vanishing credibility, when even if he does good things people have given up on him and he won’t get credit. If Q1 is negative, even by a gnat’s whisker, and even if it gets revised away later, the political ramifications could be very substantial.

    Worse, will be if we get into a triple dip and the yoy deficit has increased, as it has so far.

    I was very careful to say i was profit taking, not reducing my portfolio. I do this regularly when i consider it appropriate. I am sure you understand that these are very different things.


    You said you were profit taking “in anticipation of a triple dip” which does not suggest the greatest confidence in our economy. You could maintain your portfolio by investing in foreign firms, or those which mainly export (which would also suggest confidence). Got any hot tips, then we can see.

    As for markets being a leading indicator, this is rather undermined by the crashes they experience. “Hey everyone, let’s all invest in dotcom stocks, they are the future! ! Watch the market rise…Oh wait. .. much of it is rubbish, they have no real revenue stream. Oops. ..”

    Loving this idea that the crash was caused by us all “maxing out our credit cards”. Nope. Such lending is routine and banks are supposed to calculate the risk and price it accordingly.

    What took out the banks was toxic debt. Banks selling dodgy debt onto each other in packages that looked less dodgy, and then even betting against firms they had sold it onto. Likened to selling someone a car with dodgy brakes then taking out life insurance on them. As a result banks lost confidence in each other and stopped lending to each other and the market froze. Classic case of capitalism screwing up of its own accord. Banks screwing each other over.

    And the markets foresee this in timely fashion? Even the banks who bought the debt got caught out…

  12. (Which would also NOT suggest confidence) , rather. ..

  13. @RiN

    I think my position on the economy is clear and i see little point in going over the same ground. If we continue AW will rightly point out we should be talking about polling.


    You may be right in all you say, I actually expect a triple dip because as I said to R Huckle rebalencing an economy which was so badly askew takes time. This is bound to adversly affect Tory numbers in the short term and a 15% Labour lead is quite probable but if at the end of 2013 the economy is doing much better and the prospects for 2014 look better what do you expect polling to show?

  14. Toh

    So you admit that the main reason stock markets are rising is the injection of central bank money??

  15. Toh

    I notice also that you don’t want to talk about margin debt aka buying stocks on the credit card speculating that rises in stock prices will more than offset interest charges

  16. @Richard in Norway – I had my shorts squeezed once. Never quite got over it, even after counseling.

  17. @carfrew

    I said excessive consumer borrowing and spending was one factor, I never implied it was the sole factor. Nor do markets forsee the crashes but some who invest do. It was clear to many observers in 2006 that we were heading for trouble and no doubt they also adjusted their portfolios.

    Crashes occur because of indivual and corporate greed and by and large the greedy get punished although of course in this case Governments were not prepared to let key banks go under.

    However i would still rather live in a capitalist society than the alternatives.

  18. RiN

    Not at all, my position is quite clear.

  19. I think the problem is assuming that the economy will “rebalance” (more exports and less imports?) as a result of cutting public spending.

    Why on earth should cutting public spending affect exports benevolently?

    I can see why imports should fallm if fewer people have any money to spend on them. Is that what “rebalancing” is, in the end? Start again from nil?

  20. I think this video will explain what im talking about

  21. Alec

    It’s never fun to have your shirts squeezed

  22. @NickP

    No, rebalencing the economy by spending and investing less in Public Services and more on making and selling things. so that we are less dependant on financial services.

    I rarely use a credit card, much happier with a debit card. Certainly do not invest using either.

  23. Bigger, shorts I mean, losing your shirt is what happens when your shorts are squeezed

  24. Corkscrew
    I mentioned earlier that the dollar was devaluing against the euro rapidly but no one was interested. The difference is that the pound is actually losing a bit against the dollar so that makes for a sharp rise of the euro against the pound. In fact today I have done similar to my namesake here and taken a balancing action on our currency assets. I couldn’t make that money in a year on a savings account.

    Of course there was a time when the euro went from 95 all the way down to 78 but is now up at 85 which is what it was worth a year ago.

    Why is this happening? I just think the Fed is devaluing, pure and simple. It makes their deficit better as R in N has often explained. Otherwise, who knows.

  25. @RiN

    Sorry of course i use a debit card sometimes when investing but never a credit card.

  26. I meant their debt (USA).

  27. @toh

    I am not advocating getting rid of capitalism. I do think we’ll keep getting burned by it if we do not acknowledge its failings. Which include taking the mick and mis-selling on an epic scale and reckless gambling if they get the chance. Which is why we separated retail and investment banking in the first place and are doing the same again now. Sort of. ..

    It’s the idea you can just trust the markets to do as they please and rely on them to be wise, that’s the problem. Along with allowing too much concentration of power. Especially with important things. As Portillo put it, banking is a utility on which we all depend and so we have to treat it differently, as with other utilities.

    No, consumer borrowing was not the cause of the crash. If it had been banks still messed up because they are supposed to calculate and price the risk to cover themselves.

    But credit card debt did NOT cause the liquidity crisis that caused the markets to freeze. That was caused by buying up American sub-prime dodgy debt buried in inscrutable packages.

    Yes some foresee crashes but many don’t hence market crashes and the danger of using them as a leading indicator.

  28. @carfrew

    Thanks for a considered response and i agree with all you say except in respect of excessive consumer borrowing. many of the people hurt most by the crash did exactly that.

    Stockmarkets are only one of the leading indicators there are others as I am sure you know.

    As for the banks i would definitely seperate retail from investment banking.

  29. @Carfrew & @The Other Howard – logically speaking, you must both be correct.

    If we assume, as you both seem to, that excessive consumer borrowing was a bad thing, then both borrowers and lenders are to blame. Sub prime was a very substantial factor, but this, at heart, was consumer borrowing.

    The way this (and other debt) was sold is open to very serious question, and in this regard I do lean towards @Carfrew’s arguments. Governments need to protect consumers from being fleeced – this is an argument we learned way back when Kings passed decrees about adulterated flour.

    But if the lending was uncontrolled, the borrower should have taken more regard. Even if debts were correctly sold, borrowers should have understood their risk. While I believe that banks should have paid more attention to risk, I don’t believe for a minute it is a sufficient argument for borrowers to take loans and then blame the lender if they can’t repay. Responsibility for bad lending must be shared.

    For me, the key questions are something like this;
    1) What constitutes an acceptable level of consumer debt?
    2) How do we regulate to achieve this level?
    3) How do we ensure banks lend responsibly?
    4) How do we enable people with limited financial resources the access to credit necessary to improve their lives without subjecting them to undue cost or unacceptable risk?
    5) Are governments doing enough to educate consumers about debt and risk?
    6) When debts to go bad, how do we apportion the blame, and therefore the cost, between borrower and lender?

    To restate from my earlier post, lost at the end of the 23 Jan thread, and responding to Colin’s demand for “another socialist lever” : The value added element in UK post-harvest systems and the food industry, ands in other sectors of the economy, is IMO an innate employment multiplier not at present seen except in the middle class, urban sector of SE Asian economies, but an emerging one in China. Merken and Cameron are not well advised to go down the low wages don’t matter, and still less, low wages are how to compete with the Eastern megapowers route. Rather, they need to encourage more value added in the Chinese consumer market, by encouraging the dominance of the UK designer industry, the invading forces of Burberry and the power of anti-piracy agreements in international trade.

  31. HOWARD


  32. @Howard – Thanks for your reply to my post which I had failed to notice. I am sure your son is right to be proud of his job, however much it does not make use of his valuable skills. My concerns are twofold.

    First, I think we would as a society be better off if we could use your sons skills more fully.

    Second, my experience with a friend who is less skilled than your son suggests that his relatively powerless position means that he is often exploited. On a previous Christmas he was taken on by a large department store on some scheme. The staff were angry with him because they saw him as taking their overtime. After Christmas he was simply let go as the overtime was no longer needed and throughout he received no training or mentoring whatsoever. This Christmas he was taken on by a small firm again operating a seasonal business. For two months he worked all over the country typically for 15 hours a day but on a salary so that he was working for far less than the national minimum wage. After Christmas his boss let another worker go and told my friend that he should go to the job centre and find the minimum number of hours he needed to work in order that he could be kept on part-time and get support from the state. In the end I am glad to say he has managed to keep his job full-time and he is certainly proud of his job. But I don’t feel that he has deserved to be treated as he has been or should be the subject of disapproval for the years he has spent on the dole.

  33. The latest YouGov poll gives only 85% of decided 2010 Labour voters sticking with the party. That’s exceptionally low and might be a straw in the wind. .

    The weighted numbers of 2010 voters were 559 Con, 473 Lab, 387 Lib Dem. That ratio is a bit low for the Conservatives, who would need about 30 more in the sample to reflect their actual GE share.

    So taking the two factors together, the poll might still be disguising a slight drop in the underlying Labour lead. Or maybe not.


    @” responding to Colin’s demand for “another socialist lever” ”

    I didn’t actually.

    Amber said she wanted “different levers” to the ones being urged by Cameron & Merkel in respect of international trade & competitiveness.

    I responded that I presumed the Socialist President of France was using these “different levers” , and that it would be interesting to observe the effects on his countries economy.

  35. Re my earlier post.

    Having checked, every single one of YouGov’s previous polls in January had retained 2010 Labour support in the low to mid 90%s, in a narrow range of 91% to 95%. So that 85% figure does appear exceptional.

  36. Alec

    I believe that the blame lies not with the lenders or the borrowers but is the very nature of the monetary system, which most borrowers and quite a few lenders have little knowledge of. Certainly borrowers would have a different veiw about taking on loans if they knew that it was being conjured out of thin air, most certainly they would have a different veiw about repaying, banks would be much more cautious if they could only lend out money they actually had.

  37. COLIN
    And to the substance of my response?


    The exporter always has to provide “value added”.
    It has to provide goods & services of a quality that foreign customers want , at a price it is willing to pay.

    And of course this is not set in stone.

    It is a moving target-& all the elements of competitiveness have to be constantly under review-quality, service, product range, price…….and of course-cost of manufacture.

    …….as France is discovering , painfully :-

    AS I say- Mr. Hollande’s “levers” & their effect , will be most interesting.

  39. @Colin

    Thanks for the reference i guessed France was in a bad way and expected it would get worse under Holland but that piece is really eyeopening.

  40. TOH

    Forecasts for Q1 2013 GDP in FRance now include contraction-and even zero growth for the whole year.

    Hollande’s policy response will, I think be observed keenly in UK-economically & politically.

    Even Germany , which grew GDP by 3% in 2011, fell to 0.7% growth last year, and current forecasts for 2013 at less than that have been made.

    I think these stories & their implications for EZ in 2013 are very worrying.

    Thank goodness for what appears to be sustained recovery in USA ( a substantial factor in FTSE’s performance recently I believe) -though at some point one presumes, that deficit spending & debt mountain will have to be addressed ?

  41. @RIN

    Why do you think borrowers would care about where money comes from?

  42. @STEVE
    “…The drop in the £ against the Euro has been pretty significant. Currently at 1.1739 – a 52 week low.
    Can anyone here explain what is driving this?…”

    A combination of factors as follows:
    * Survival of the Euro
    * Interest rates
    * Shares

    1) Survival of the Euro. A lot of City people were convinced the Euro was going to collapse (and bear in mind it nearly did, twice: once around August 2011, once around May 2012). So they placed a lot of bets to that extent. Zoom forward to Dec 31 2012, and the Euro has not collapsed. Bonuses have been allocated accordingly.

    2) Interest rates
    The ECB was toying with negative interest rates but now seems to have rejected that. The probability of BOE raising interest rates this year is low due to the fragile UK economy.

    3) Shares
    Courtesy of the seemingly endless worldwide competitive currency devaluations (see Japan), currencies aren’t looking good this year. Inflationary pressures are building up and consequently money is beginning to slosh into shares instead of currencies.

    Reports at the begiining of the year predicted increases in share values and a GDP/USD rate of £1=$1.51 at Dec 31 2013. The Cameron Euro referendum is not helping matters although it is not the prime mover.

    That’s the overview. I think Amber may assist with the details.


  43. The sheep

    I don’t know, let’s tell the general public that they are borrowing pretend money but have to pay back with real earned money and see what they think. There is no discussion about this at all, no media attention and it seems that most of our politians don’t know how money works either. But folk can’t make informed decisions without information.

  44. Marytn

    All of those might be reasons or it could be just that market has a headache or even that it hungover

  45. @RIN

    But it isn’t pretend money, is it? Or if it is the end user (the borrower) can’t distinguish it from ‘real’ money. If you can’t spot the difference when it’s in your hand on what basis do you care?

    Most people are going to borrow money to exchange it for things, and those things are certainly real to them.

  46. @ Colin

    I responded that I presumed the Socialist President of France was using these “different levers” , and that it would be interesting to observe the effects on his countries economy.
    Your presuming is wrong. It is actually quite impressive how robust France’s economy has been.

    ‘The markets’ in their infinite wisdom have launched vicious attacks on almost every EZ country, trying to topple the currency. Huge ‘bets’ have placed that the euro will collapse.

    It speaks volumes that they have worked their way through each nation, beginning with Ireland then Greece, Portugal then Italy, then even Spain (which had been given many kudos for the robustness of its banking sector compared to Ireland & the UK).

    Finally they have concluded: We need to attack one of the big 2: It’s going to have to be France or Germany. Merkel went to Davos & sang for her supper. Therefore, quelle surprise, France is now being attacked in the market makers’ media.

  47. @Charles Stuart. I don’t understand your position.

    You advocate staying in the EU but are happy to accept a significant risk of leaving if the vote goes the wrong way, all for the sake of some tactical party advantage??

    That only makes sense to me if you think it doesn’t matter much either way whether we are IN or OUT. But I would have thought that anyone that takes an interest in politics would see it as a highly significant choice…

    Which brings me back to my question: just how many Charles Stuarts are there that Cameron is trying to appeal to?

  48. I have never understood the logic of the idea that the euro currency could ‘fail’. I could believe that some states could possibly leave it, (not significant ones) but this would only strengthen it (as a currency, not as a political instrument).

    One should look at these things long term (well at least a year).

    A year ago the pound was worth in euros roughly what it is now.

    A year ago the pound was worth in dollars roughly what it is now.

    A year ago the euro was worth in dollars roughly what it is now.

    So the big deal is? (wry smiley)

  49. AMBER


    Tell that to those 8000 Peugeot workers when France finally wakes up to the fact that it is state subsidies & not the car buying public who actually support their livelihoods.

    France has a major problem of competitiveness-and little or no headroom in it’s public finances for more state spending to support companies whose customers are walking away.

    BY the way- it may have escaped your notice that it turned out Spain’s Banks were just as bad as everyone else’s-noteably the regional cajas or savings banks -run by the local politicians.

    So far it has taken $50 bn of bailout money to recapitalise them after their disastrous “prestige project” splurge on airports with no planes , and houses with no buyers etc.

  50. Howard,

    As I understand it, the euro is not really one currency, but 18. The 17 central banks and the ECB all issue currency, and they have agreed that all these currencies are convertible to each other 1-1.

    But this agreement could break down, if, for example, politicians in one country suddenly decide they are no longer willing to accept potentially worthless IOUs from another country as payment.

    Then we would be left with 18 different, non-convertible, euro currencies. That’s what the “failure of the euro” could look like.

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