This morning’s YouGov poll in the Sun had topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 40%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 11%. I wasn’t going to write anything because – at end of the day, there are only so many ways you can write “within the normal margin of error of YouGov’s recent polling”. However, with the New Statesman asking “What Lies behind Labour’s Shrinking Poll Lead?” and coming up with answers more exciting than “normal sample variation” I should probably put pixel to page.

For what it is worth the seven point Labour lead from YouGov is the lowest they have shown for a couple of months, and it comes after an eight point lead yesterday. I would still caution people to hold on a sec before looking around for reasons why Labour’s lead might be falling – there is not yet anything here that needs an explanation beyond “normal sample variation”. There was also a 14 point lead last week, and that too was within the normal margin of error. The dull and rather unnewsworthy truth is that unlike the polling rollercoaster of the last Parliament, this Parliament has seen very stable polls. While both main parties have declined a bit over recent months as UKIP have advanced, the Labour lead over the Conservatives really hasn’t seen any significant lasting change since April 2012.

237 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 33, LAB 40, LD 10, UKIP 11”

1 2 3 4 5
  1. @ KeithP – I’ve always believed Labours lead was weak and impregnable.
    The crazy situation it that if Labour get 40% and Cons get 38% Labour would win outright BUT if its the other way round with Cons on 40% and Labour on 38% – Labour might even end up winning – Crazy!

  2. Colin

    “Who now would wish to return to the the Closed Shop, Secondary Picketing, No secret ballots.”

    Agreed, very few, but

    “Nationalised Utilities, Rail,” maybe,

    Rail certainly.

    “No private providers in Education or NHS, debates about Unilateral Nuclear Disarmament etc?”

    Absolutely. There would be a majority in Scotland in favour of all that.

    An EU/USA treaty about to be signed will potentially privatise all NHS (and other public sector) services, if once put out to tender and a market exists, they will be required to always be offered to the market, or compensation paid.

    The public NHS service (including, if there is a bidder, half of the hospital beds) will disappear, and will not be available to compete in the next round of tenders.

    The NHS as we know it is as good as gone. Underfunding and the cost of contracting will reduce the quality of service.

    The proportion of English NHS expenditure that is replaced by private and insurance funding will deplete the Scottish Parliament block grant through Barnet Consequentials.

    Alternatively, under independence, we will have to turn away the sick and dying English Health Tourists.

    As I said above, the referendum debate can be reduced to

    Vote NO to keep Trident and lose the NHS
    Vote YES to keep the NHS and get rid of Trident.

    We know that there is a big majority in Scotland where Trident the target, Trident the accident risk and Trident the cancer cluster is 30 miles from our largest city.

    Scotland invented the NHS, not in 1948 but in the Dewar report a generation earlier. The respect for public health (in both senses) comes from the response, including Loch Katrine water, to the three Cholera epidemics in the 19thC. and from Matthew 25.

    What the free market fundamentalists (in collusion with American insurers and health providers are doing will determine the outcome of the referendum.

    You heard it here first.

  3. PC

    I hear Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff have asked to be put to the front of the queue. Given that their reputations have been blown into the stratosphere, they can wave to them on the way.

  4. Seriously….Independantly, viewed on its own, even the hard left can’t knock the rebate. it was typically tough negotiation from MrsT with the UKs best interests at heart.

  5. @RAF

    Angus Reid shows its own trends over time.

    The poll at the end of January may have picked up a brief bounce for Cameron after the referendum pledge. The latest poll (after Moody’s/Eastleigh), shows Con back where they had been for some time. UKIP up significantly post Eastleigh. LDs 8%-10% as before, but Labour down by some margin compared to the Angus Reid 2012 picture. Then again there could be more than a dash of moe in the mix.

  6. @Rich

    “even the hard left can’t knock the rebate”

    Without forming a judgement on whether it has been a good thing for the UK on balance, it’s very easy to make an argument against it. Ever since it was instituted, it’s been impossible for the UK to push for reform of farm, fisheries or any other policy where we have an interest, without the rebate being immediate pushed in our face.

  7. @John B Dick

    “if once put out to tender and a market exists, they will be required to always be offered to the market, or compensation paid. ”

    I’m starting to think that the only way to reinstitute a health service that we would recognise as the NHS will be to allow parts of the current NHS to go bust. It is GP consortia that will be inviting tenders for services – but I don’t think it will be required for government to supply those consortia with cash.

    The government could instead use the cash to set up new public bodies (let’s call them “primary healthcare trusts” although it would make sense for them to also take aspects of social services away from local councils) to provide public healthcare for all those who do not wish to use the current system.

  8. Chris L.

    Without opening up old discussions TB does know how to win votes but he also managed to oversee a fall in the Labour Vote from 13500k in 1997 to 9500k in 2005, virtually losing 3 out of 10 votes over 8 years.

    We only won due to the Tories falling to de-toxify early enough and TPTP working in our favour.

    He should have stepped down imo in 2003/4 as he originally promised but by then the grandeur of power and striding the world stage being ‘Yo Blair’ to a right wing zealot got the better of him.

    Would have given history a better chance to judge GB as well because by the time he got the PM job it was too late.

    On the whole the boy done good in winning but we need a new vision for a new era in British Politics.

  9. The only way to save the nhs is to leave the EU and single market

  10. Richard

    That is the solution of those who want to do that anyway.

    An independent Scotland could negotiate an exclusion, but at a price, not necessarily in money.

  11. @John P Dick

    As it happens, there’s YouGov polling on much this which has crept in under the radar.

    For example, 61% want public ownership of utilities and water, 29% don’t. A bit stronger than “maybe” then.

    There’s even a balance against right to buy: 42% for to 49% against. That’s something of a surprise.

    Shame that there’s no question asking whether its a good or bad thing that income and wealth is so much more unequal. That for me is what defines Thatcherism above all.

  12. Robin

    No, there would still have been a “market”

    A not for profit trust – lets call it Dumfries and Galloway Health board – would have lower costs and could undercut the private sector.

    If you want to see what the American system can do, Google: “Elizabeth Warren the coming collapse of the middle class.”

    As I said above, its made the Better Together campaign’s job impossible. The UK government are not as clever as they think they are and they haven’t thought it through.

    Initially, it will be hugely expensive to pay the set up costs because a critical mass of pre-insured patients does not yet exist. The hoped for off-loading of NHS costs onto individuals (prepaid by insurance or otherwise) will take years as people set aside savings or pay into insurance.

    Meanwhile Scotland will, I hope, continue to do away with targets, non productive administration and finance, and with it the culture of blame.

    There is so much professional satisfaction in doing a good job that the average half wit can be a manager in the NHS because good people will game the system or get round it somehow.

    It takes real genius to mess it up.

    My cardiac surgeon doesn’t need a bankers bonus. He has a good salary, and more or less every time he comes into work, he discharges a grateful patient whose life he has extended. He only has to enter the department and say “Good morning” the mood brightens.

    I meet nurses in their 70’s and 80’s and their conversation is all about the hospitals they trained and worked in and what surgeon they worked with. Excellence in any kind of professional work engenders excellence.

    If you have two million patients with the worst incidence of cardiac disease in the EU, and millions of pounds of the best equipment that money can buy, plenty of nurses and junior doctors who are looking for a prestigious referee and rich experience to boast about on their CV, you can’t possibly go wrong.

    It’s really easy to run an organisation with skilled motivated people who are god at their jobs.

    It’s really to ruin an organisation if you have fundamentalist believers in market or Marx and have top down management, internal markets, targets, PFI, a culture of blame, and silence whistle-blowers.

  13. Phil Haines

    You mention Water. Thatcher drew back from privatising Scottish Water.

    You can look to our history to see that a public water supply is something that 19c Glasgow burgesses wanted badly. You can have a construction scheme quick, good and cheap, but not all three. “Cheap” was no good.

    It is an astonishing tale, but the Cholera did not come back.

    At one point Glaswegians tolerated a system of informers and random night time inspections with fines for overcrowding.

    People do not generally know the history, but they seemed to have some sort of folk memory that good water is to be valued and protected.

    MT lost that battle.

  14. At a rally in Glasgow today, Tommy Sheridan who helped lead the protests against the poll tax, said: “We are not here to show respect to a woman who showed no respect for us.”

    I get the impression he didn’t always agree with her policies.

  15. can’t see any early tweet by the sun. could mean labours lead has widened again.

  16. It doesn’t mean anything . Wednesday’s poll wasn’t released early , and as on other occasions , there was a narrower lead .

    it’s just a poll of YouGov registered users anyway , rather than one conducted by public fieldwork .

    A very rough estimate indeed

  17. Latest YouGov / The Sun results 17th April – CON 30%, LAB 41%, LD 10%, UKIP 12%; APP -31

  18. Normal service has been resumed!

  19. @Chasglas – again; it’s not just a random poll of people who’ve registered with YouGov. When you register, you give them certain information about yourself, and they select a demographic mix based on that, and also weight the results according to the sample. There’s an argument to be had over whether people who take online polls are different from the wider population *even* if you match them to the population by age, gender, party identification, etc – but the same can be said of other selection methods. Are ‘people who have landlines’ a skewed sample, if you do the poll by the phone? Are people who’ll answer also an equivalently ‘very rough estimate indeed’, if you take a clipboard out?

    In a previous thread you also asked why UKPR appeared to be ‘obsessed’ with YouGov – it isn’t; it’s simply that YouGov produce a daily tracker poll, so there’s more of it to talk about.

  20. @ KeithP – I’ve always believed Labours lead was weak and impregnable.
    The crazy situation it that if Labour get 40% and Cons get 38% Labour would win outright BUT if its the other way round with Cons on 40% and Labour on 38% – Labour might even end up winning – Crazy!

    -Maybe we should introduce a system which has more proportionality I am sure the Tories would be all for that.

    I would also point out it takes 4 times as many LD voters to get one of their MP’s elected and if you cast your mind back to the SDP Liberal Alliance in the 1980’s they needed approximately 250,000 votes to get
    a single MP in.
    Of course we had a Conservative Government then so an entirely different situation.

  21. Latest YouGov / The Sun results 17th April – CON 30%, LAB 41%, LD 10%, UKIP 12%; APP -31
    In Her Grave and the Thatcher Bounce appears to have evaporated

  22. The demise of This Time is Different etc, the Kenneth Rogoff/Carmen Reinhart debt-GDP austerity bible, which leftylampton alerted us, to is percolating through to mainstream media.

    R4 Today was saying not only is the data wrong, but the data most relevant to the current situation couldn’t be more wrong. Rogoff (who is a regular contributor to the program, they point out) wants more time to check things over before making a comment… the story was tucked away at 6.15 am though.

  23. @Steve

    Unless todays figures are an outlier. As AW says lets wait and see.

  24. @Colin

    So the reply to the Thomas Herndon, Michael Ash and Robert Pollin paper is “so what” and the Kenneth Rogoff/Carmen Reinhart conclusion still stands.

  25. The new paper, by Thomas Herndon, Michael Ash and Robert Pollin of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, sought to replicate the Reinhart-Rogoff result for the post-war period. They reckon that mistakes in the analysis led Ms Reinhart and Mr Rogoff to understate average growth at high debt levels…Taken together, the authors of the new paper reckon that average post-war growth above the 90% threshold ought to have been reported at 2.2% rather than -0.1%

    My Economics degree is 30 Years Old but I think the answer to the “so what” question was that the R/R conclusions were fundamentally flawed.

    Or “Wrong” in layman’s terms.

  26. “Or not” in Layman’s terms

  27. @ Billy Bob, Colin, ToH

    FT also carries the Polling and Ash comment today – the saga will continue.

  28. TOH

    I think the EConomist sums it up well in terms of a like for like ( median/median) comparison :-

    “Both sets of authors turn up a negative association between debt and growth. But whereas the Reinhart-Rogoff work suggests a sudden jolt to growth once debt attains a certain level, Messrs Herndon, Ash and Pollin reckon growth rates merely ease downward. ”

    But the much more significant point is made by them as follows :-

    “The latest dust-up does nothing to answer the question of causation. ”

    ie our old friends causation & correlation.

    As Laszlo says “the saga will continue”

  29. @John B Dick

    “Vote NO to keep Trident and lose the NHS
    Vote YES to keep the NHS and get rid of Trident.”

    May I ask my first question here?

    You said that this will be the result of a treaty between the US and the EU. Perhaps I’m wrong but I understand that if Scotland votes Yes it will have to renegotiate with the EU for entry? If this treaty is already in place before the vote does this mean that Scotland would be better off outside the EU after independence, or could it negotiate not to enter into this specific treaty?

    Unless someone has lived under the horrendous American health system it is impossible to understand just how horrendous it is. Private insurance is crippling and restrictive. The low paid in the UK have a hard time now and there is absolutely no way the majority could pay for even rudimentary insurance. Essentially, adequate health-care is only available to full time workers through company schemes, and even then it depends upon which provider the employer uses with many offering partial coverage.


  30. @”in terms of a like for like ( median/median) comparison ”

    This is incorrect.

    I’ll just stick with the Economist’s conclusion.

  31. @ Steve

    It’s more than that. There are genuine flaws (eg regression fallacy, ignorance of homogeneity effects – when you believe that you compare the cases and make groups on that basis but in fact you compare one (or very few) case to the rest) in the R&R paper, but also such elementary technical errors that can be ascribed only as a confirmation bias.

    @ ToH

    Whether public debt and growth are negatively correlated has nothing to do with a flawed paper thus even if the negative correlation exists, their result is just chance.

  32. Colin/TOH

    This graph is Krugman’s analysis of growth vs debt in post-War years.

    Kind of puts the R&R analysis into perspective. A perspective that says “What was that about Bad Things Happening When Debt Is Too Big?”

    In fact, for the UK, there is a prima facie case that the relationship between growth and debt is the other way round.

    The point, of course, is that Osborne has spent three years peddling the line “Economists have proved that Bad Things Happen when debt ratio goes above 90%, so we must cut to make sure we don’t hit 90%”. Previously, he’d been pushing the now conprehensively discredited A&A line of expansionary fiscal contraction (historians will have a field day looking at how intelligent people got swept up in that load of nonsense).

    So, one by one, the intellectual crutches that supported Austerity are being kicked away. Balls must be chuckling to himself. Now HE has the weight of theoretical argument on his side, in the way that Osborne did three years ago in the A&A and R&R mania. I expect to see an increasingly vocal and aggressive EB hammering home the message over the next 2 years.

  33. As AW predicted…

    The polls are still bouncing around the same point like anxious angels on a pinhead. Scotus would have approved.

  34. LEFTY


    A very interesting graph which appears to give the overall impression of GDP decline & DEbt increase being linked.

    But there is much to say about the types of economy being plotted there.-for example in studies like this :-


    The bigger question though must be the one asked by THe Economist article. Is this correlation only-or causation too?

  35. @ Colin

    The problem of means/median is extremely common in economics based disciplines. Because certain techniques are such industry standards, the resulting flaws (mainly regression fallacy) don’t get any attention. It wouldn’t be a problem if they remained in academic journals (though still sad), but when they become short, undifferentiated policy measures (no economics stream is exempted from this).

  36. Newbie here, but isn’t 12 a pretty run-of-the-mill lead from Angus Reid? Their last lead was 9, but if you look at their results over time:

    2013-04-17 27 39 8 16 -12
    2013-01-25 30 39 10 12 -9
    2013-01-11 27 42 10 11 -15
    2012-11-29 28 42 10 11 -14
    2012-10-12 31 43 8 8 -12
    2012-08-15 30 41 11 9 -11
    2012-05-31 29 45 9 8 -16
    2012-04-13 29 41 11 8 -12

    Their Lab scores are about where YouGov’s are, maybe a point higher, but their Tory scores are on average a point or two lower and their Lib Dem scores are always in the 8-10% range. The only remarkable finding in their recent poll was the 16% for Ukip, which is a substantially higher VI than they’ve ever found for them before.

    (Whether or not we think they’re a good pollster is of course a separate question…)

  37. I suppose we are all a bit bored, 2 more years of this, but it does appear, as AW keeps reminding us, all within margin of error.
    The LD vote seems to have completely collapsed in the unweighted data. If you look at those who voted LD last time and said they will do so again: today 436 to 131, yesterday 431 to 133. That is about 6%-7% unweighted. UKIP polled 210 on both polls unweighted.
    Obviously, as Eastleigh shows, they benefit from the incumbancy effect and very effective local organisations, but I think in seats where Labour is second they will be wiped out. (refer to Ashcroft’s marginals polling).

  38. LASZLO

    I suppose if we asked economists to keep their mouths shut until they were absolutely certain , we would never hear from them.

  39. Colin

    IF there is a link between debt and growth, four thoughts spring to mind.
    1) As you say, in which direction does causality run?
    2) There appear to be very different experiences for different countries.
    3) The spread is so wide as to make any linkage irrelevant in terms if steering policy.
    4) The 90% cliff is a myth.

    Which leaves me thinking that Osborne was perhaps, shall we say, “mistaken” to draw a simple and unambiguous conclusion like this in a big speech just before GE10.

    The latest research (R&R) suggests that once debt reaches more than about 90% of GDP the risks of a large negative impact on long term growth become highly significant.”

    Since he’s so up to speed on “the latest research”, presumably we’ll be hearing his thoughts on how policy should adjust to the recent findings that the 90% cliff is a myth?

  40. PS

    Typo. This should have all be in quotes
    “The latest research (R&R) suggests that once debt reaches more than about 90% of GDP the risks of a large negative impact on long term growth become highly significant.”

  41. Colin

    On who us to blame.

    Generally, I don’t blame academics when their work is used for political ends (although I think I’ll make an exception for R&R as their errors in such an explosive subject seem egregious).

    What I despise is seeing politicians of any hue cherry picking convenient nuggets from ongoing academic debate to give false credence to a stance that they have settled on for political reasons. That approach deserves to bring public humiliation on the heads of the perpetrators when (more often than not) the academic “proof” turns out not to be “proof”.

  42. Lefty Lampton,

    Maybe someone out there has better research than a bivariate correlation graph, which in social science is only VERY slightly above a used-tissue as far as evidence goes.

    Anyway, I’m more into expectations and credibility than simple quantities like “90% of GDP”. If a country has debts that are 25% of GDP, but clearly won’t be able to service them, then it has a huge problem. If a country has debts that are 150% of GDP but will clearly be able to service them, it’s not really a problem. In fact, it was Milton Friedman who pointed out that, among the things that governments can do with money, servicing debt interest is one of the least harmful to society.

  43. I’ve got a rotten headache.

  44. Any one else watch Sky News Press Review last night had an editor from the Sun I am afraid I can’t recall His name on as a special video guest brandishing today’s Hagiography about Thatcher along with a statement from Him something along the lines that the latest Labour lead was 7% and falling .

    Which it isn’t.

    Now correct me if I am wrong but the Sun/You Gov poll is published in the Sun and the figures would have been in the paper He had in His hand.

  45. I saw a tweet last night regarding ‘This Week’ which is on tonight and will feature EM’s leadership issues (?). It was before the latest YouGov and I thought I bet Andrew Neil is dissapointed in the latest YG and Angus Reid. I wonder how Andrew Neil will spin it – maybe he wll use the ICM|Guardian poll.

  46. It is a shame the complete lack of relationship with the facts that current journalists seem to have.

  47. @JIM JAM
    Nicely observed and argued on TB

  48. Couper
    ” I wonder how Andrew Neil will spin it – maybe he wll use the ICM|Guardian poll.”

    I would put money on that being the case.

    “editor from the Sun I am afraid I can’t recall His name”

    Tom Newton-Dunn, Political Editor & yes, he was very happy to trot out the ‘oh, Labour is in trouble’ line without informing the viewers that todays poll shows the opposite – funny that, innit…..!

    What I despise is seeing politicians of any hue cherry picking convenient nuggets from ongoing academic debate to give false credence to a stance that they have settled on for political reasons

    Who could dissent with your cri de coeur but then again all those lawyers/ PPE graduates in HoC are only doing like Pavlov’s dogs what they were trained to do….

1 2 3 4 5