This week’s YouGov results for the Sunday Times are now up here. Topline results are CON 31%, LAB 40%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 11% (slightly bigger Labour lead than other YouGov polls this week, but nothing outside the normal margin of error. We’d need to see some consistent 10 and 11 point leads before pondering whether the recent narrowing in the polls had faded away again).

The rest of the poll had various questions about party leaders, UKIP and the Conservatives, some questions on Abu Qatada, benefits and the NHS. Let’s start with Nigel Farage. Asked whether he is doing a good or bad job as leader of UKIP Farage gets very positive ratings – 44% think he is doing well, 20% badly giving him a positive job approval rating of +24, compared to the negative ratings of the three main party leaders. Of course, based on the actual question asked people should say this, whether someone likes or dislikes Farage’s politics, if you’ve taken a minor party that got under 3% at the last election to around 11% in the polls you are doing a good job!

Compare and contrast this to when YouGov asks if Miliband, Clegg and Farage would make a better PM than David Cameron. Despite a much, much better job approval rating only 11% think Farage would be better at being PM, 40% think he would be worse. Now, I don’t think any serious commentators were thinking that UKIP support was based on people thinking they were a serious alternative government anyway (it is largely a vote based on anti-immigration, anti-Liberalism sentiment, an anti-government protest and general positive reactions towards Farage’s anti-politician stance), but it underlines the difference between job approval ratings and whether people think a politician is a plausible Prime Minister. People thinking you are doing a good job as the leader of a minor party is clearly not the same thing as people thinking you’d do a good job running a country.

Asked about Cameron himself, a third of people say he has not done enough to modernise the Conservatives, 24% that he has gone too far and abandoned too many traditional Tory policies, 20% that he has gone the balance about right. As you’d expect, most current Tories think he has got things about right, most Labour and Lib Dem supporters than he hasn’t gone far enough, most UKIP supporters that he has gone too far. There is an even divide (36% to 36%) over whether David Cameron is a Thatcherite or not, though the party split is interesting – it is Labour supporters who are most likely to think Cameron is a Thatcherite (presumably respondents who do not regard this as a good thing!), most Conservative supporters don’t think he is. Only 15% think that Cameron was right when he said “we are all Thatcherites now”.

Abu Qatada

61% of people think that Qatada should be deported regardless of what happens to him in Jordan, compared to 25% who think that he should only be deported if we are satisfied that evidence gained from torture will not be used against him. However, when people are asked directly whether it would or would not acceptable for evidence obtained from torture to be used against Abu Qadata 51% say it would be unacceptable, compared to just 28% who accept it – an apparent contradiction in people’s views. My guess is that this is down to people thinking it is wrong for evidence from torture to be used against Abu Qatada… but that it is not an excuse for him to remain in Britain (essentially a “yeah, it’s very wrong, but it’s not our problem”).


Asked about the general overall package of benefit changes that the government have introduced over the last month (including cutting council tax benefit, capping benefits, reducing benefits below the rate of inflation and the so-called “bedroom tax”), a majority (56%) say that on balance they support the changes, compared to 31% who are opposed. Supporters of the benefit changes include a third of Labour voters.

Accident and Emergency

Overall 29% per cent of people think A&E has got worse since the coalition came to power, compared to just 5% who think it has improved and 32% who think it has stayed the same (and compared to a more neutral verdict about what happened under Labour). People are less negative about A&E at their own local hospital – amongst those who have attended their local A&E in the last three years 21% think it has got better, 28% worse, 40% stayed the same. This is a fairly common pattern we also see on crime, schools and about people’s own MPs, people are more positive about their own local services than they are about services in the country as a whole.

308 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 31, LAB 40, LD 11, UKIP 11”

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  1. Labour’s drop in the polls dates back to the Eastleigh by-election.

    Both main parties had a set-back there; but Thatcher’s death (the media coverage of it) probably helped to recover some of the lost Conservative ground.

    Labour need to re-boot themselves.And they may get a boost from the local elections. On the other hand, if UKIP perform well there too, they may not get that re-boot.

    Their weakness really is their leader. In this day and age, like it or not, who leads the party really does matter. They have to look ‘right’ and sound ‘right’ and Milliband just doesnt.

  2. What “Labour drop in polls” are you talking about?

    The change hasn’t been in Labour’s vote share, but the differential to the Conservatives. And that comes down to a very modest improvement to the Conservatives recovering from dipping under 30, to getting just above 30.

    “The conservatives gained a few points at a time of big publicity for them, and while UKIP were starting to collapse from internal strife” hardly equates to “This is Milliband’s fault”. Labour are not going to panic when they still have a 9 point lead.

  3. There was another interesting question:

    Imagine that in your own constituency at the
    next election the Conservatives, Labour,
    Liberal Democrats and UK Independence party
    all had a realistic chance of winning the seat.
    How would you vote?
    Headline Voting Intention
    [Excluding Don’t knows and Wouldn’t votes]
    Con 26 Lab 37 LibDem 12 UKIP 18 SNP/PC 3 Other 4

  4. Just posted the following on the previous thread.

    ST poll today.
    My usual thesis that the most crucial voters in 15 will be the lost LDs
    Do you believe that EM would make a better or worse PM than DC?
    Lost LDs’ opinions
    Better: 51%
    Worse: 19%
    This Tory idea that EM is going to win them the Election is badly mistaken. Tory voters hold EM in contempt. Loyal LDs hold EM in contempt. And that is totally irrelevant, because the constituency that Lab needs to hold into to win in 15 believe by a wide margin that EM is a better bet than DC.
    So, where now for the Tories?

  5. “The change hasn’t been in Labour’s vote share”
    Weighted 7-Day Average Pre-Eastleigh: Lab 43.2
    Pre-Thatcher’s Death: Lab 41.1 (-2.1)
    Now: Lab 39.7 (-3.5, -1.4)

    What drop?

    For comparison, Pre-Eastleigh: Con 32
    Pre-Thatcher’s Death: Con 30.4 (-1.6)
    Now: Con 31.8 (-0.2, +1.4)

  6. Jay

    There HAS been a drop in Lab VI. The 5 poll rolling average of YG numbers has slipped from about 43 in Feb to 40 now.

  7. We were so close to things getting exciting – but I fear this poll, whilst in the MOE, indicates a soon return to norm.

  8. And perhaps for completion:
    UKIP 8.7, Libs 10.8
    UKIP 11.8 (+3.1), Libs 10.9 (+0.1)
    UKIP 11.5 (+2.8, -0.3), Libs 10.7 (-0.1, -0.2)

    Almost all the movement between Thatcher’s death and now has been Lab -1.4, Con +1.4.

  9. We’ll probably see some significant movement in the next couple of weeks after the locals. Either another UKIP surge or a drop, depending how they do. Probably a slight Lab rise because they’re predicted to do quite well.

  10. The polls are looking very solid now, by the time of the next GE I can see some drift back to the Cons. but not enough to give them many more seats than they have now, so we are still in no overall majority territory, with most probably Labour as the largest party, but its all very hazy.

  11. Think your albeit hazy forecast is right David with most votes close.

  12. @Lefty,

    “Where now for the Tories?”

    Most of the lost LD voters went missing because they disapproved of the decision to form a government with the Tories. It would be extraordinary if they didn’t break strongly in favour of Ed M over David C. Those that don’t are presumably the non-aligned protest voters who like to say “a plague on both your houses” and are now drifting towards either UKIP or total disillusionment (is there a difference?!)

    The Tories’ hopes are pinned on a combination of the following;

    1) Recapturing a few percent of the UKIP vote.
    2) LDs recapturing a few percent of the Labour vote.
    3) “Natural drift” back to the main government party in the run up to an election.
    4) Appealing to centre voters by campaigning on populist policies like welfare reform.
    5) Some sort of modest improvement in the country’s economic performance.
    6) Mr Crosby cobbling together some misrepresentative and probably borderline dishonest but politically effective hatchet job of Ed M and the Labour Party.

    Plus, possibly, a messy General Strike giving the government a Thatcher moment, leaving the Labour Party unsure of where to stand and being timed just right for the election (in the mistaken belief of the unions that it will hurt the government more than it hurts Labour).

  13. (I am not saying I agree with all of that assessment, but I think that’s pretty much where the Tory Party – of which I am not a member – is probably at right now).

  14. I was suprised the bounce lasted this long to be fair.

    I am still not in full panic lets move to barbados mode yet as im expecting some solid drift back as the election nears.

    I know others disagree but i still think it all hangs on the economy, i do not think it has to do anything spectacular just a modest 2% growth would do for me.

  15. “I know others disagree but i still think it all hangs on the economy, i do not think it has to do anything spectacular just a modest 2% growth would do for me.”

    I agree absolutely that it hangs on the economy and especially this time around (1997 was maybe an exception to the economy rule). But I’m not convinved that 2% growth would do the trick for a Tory win (aside from the fact that no-one is forecasting 2% growth for the next two years- although given recent forecasting errors you can’t rule it out!).

    Obviously that growth has knock on effects on government borrowing, possibly employment etc, but I don’t see people’s personal living standards immediately improving as a result. The narrative could be that the economy is fixed which may appeal to a few voters but if they don’t feel the economy is fixed because of inflation v pay rises/interest on savings then most will not be convinced.

  16. Just reading a Daily Mail piece about the local elections, it seems to them that UKIP’s total gain in seats would not be expected to be more than high teens, and say 50 would be “wow”. Their success will also be partly measured in how many Labour gains there are.

    Looks like that Labour lead is creeping back to 10% again. And agreed that only modest (but fairly well sustained) growth is needed to help the Conservatives. But won’t that also help the LD’s too, a little?

  17. @Jayblanc

    See: (UK Labour polling 2013 – white line at Eastleigh)

    2013 prior to Eastleigh (41 polls):

    Lab high: 45%
    Lab low: 41%
    Average: 42.6%

    2013 since Eastleigh (40 polls):

    Lab high: 43%
    Lab low: 39%
    Average: 40.8%

    And if you see the polls since April 8th (Thatcher’s death):

    Lab high: 42%
    Lab low: 39%
    Average: 40.3%

  18. Good Afternoon All.

    REDS to win.

    The League



    in Politics I agree that we are going towards hung parliament territory.

  19. Ah, sorry Mr Fringe. I posted before reading on and seeing your stats.

  20. statty

    “Ah, sorry Mr Fringe. I posted before reading on and seeing your stats”


    I’d aways assumed it was Mrs. TingeyFringey as blokes don’t tinge their fringe.

  21. Statgeek is probably correct that Eastleigh has had the affect on Labours VI. It may have reminded some that Labour have no chance of winning in many seats in the south of England.

    The Tories big worry again is people voting tactically against them, which does not appear to be a problem that affects the other parties. Is this the real legacy that Thatcher left for the Tories ?

  22. I can’t say I’ve thought about it. I assumed male, due to the interest in stats (which is considered boring by many and girls just want to have fun apparently).

  23. Lefty,

    “Where now for the Tories?”


    Less facetiously, BlueBob and ShevII are both right- only an economic recovery can save them, and it has to be one people can feel in their pocketbooks. Otherwise the Labour line will be “They’ve fixed the economy for millionaires, but not for you!” and people will buy it.

    I also wonder what happens in what’s realistically their best case scenario, a hung parliament with a Conservative majority. Do the Lib Dems go into coalition with them again? Not on the current terms, surely. It won’t be like in 2010, where a second election might have delivered a Conservative majority and the leftier Lib Dems were willing to make a big sacrifice to prevent it. If the Tories get stuck in a minority government or some kind of confidence and supply pact, it’s going to be a pretty grim five years for them.

  24. It appears to me that we are still in the ballpark we have been for last few weeks.

    Interested in the Farage numbers. Clearly if UKIP are likely to well in any local elections it must be these local elections. They are taking place in Conservative leaning areas where there is tittle tradition of voting Labour as a protest.

    Were I EM I’d still be concerned over policy in the log game. I did not see his Scottish Lab Party speech but I think from what I’ve seen he is better on TV in this format.

    I am not convinced it is plain sailing for the coalition once they get through this year.

    The elections next year pose a grave threat to all the parties. The EU elections; the London boroughs that voted in 2010 ; the Scot’s referendum – any one of these could tip the run up into the election an element of febrile crisis. If UKIP say comes second or third in all of these it will ask for its place on the General election debates. It may suit EM to say why not if there are 4-way debates in Scotland and Wales.

    I’m also not convinced this year will be any better than last year and thought the government has allowed the usual stabilisers to help if unemployment creeps up once more those figures for benefits will start once more to worsen the borrowing figures.

    Many more people are still in work But they’re worse off for all the fact they’re working. They don’t feel sorry for those of benefits because they feel they’re struggling too.

    I think once of the under-reported aspects in this new polticis is the anger of those in work at both those out of work who don’t bother; but equally those at the top who seem to think it is their right to help themselves to more.

    Mr Cameron may not have the voice to reach those parts of the electorate & he who finds that voice may find themselves in Downing Street. So far, Mr Farage reaches those parts of the electorate. In that there is unpredictability. Lke Feb 74 these factors may disadvantage the two incumbents to a greater degree than it does Labour who are now the only opposition.

  25. @ R. Huckle,

    “Is this the real legacy that Thatcher left for the Tories?”

    No, it’s the legacy Tony Benn and the Gang of Four left for Labour. The tactical voting is the result of a split in the formerly united* left, not a unifying anti-Thatcher sentiment.

    * Er, “united” as in voting for the same party. I’m afraid the word doesn’t describe the pre-1981 Labour Party in any other sense.

    @ Statgeek,

    There is one person here with a definitive answer to the question of TingedFringe’s gender, so it seems pointless to speculate. But I’m a girl, so statistics aficionadas do exist. (Although with less frequency than the male variety, I grant you.)

  26. Question for AW:

    Is the inclusion of Farage’s leadership ratings to be a regular thing, or is this a one-off?


    TBH I wasn’t speculating. I don’t what a person’s gender is unless I’m chatting them up :)

    In fact, I saw a reference to TF a while back that assures me he is a he. I’m sure he’ll be delighted to hear it. :):)

  27. On the feasibility of an election-winning bounce for the Tories.

    In the early 80s, the Tories had a good, old-fashioned demand-management bounce, engineered in part through a halving of interest rates (which we can’t do now). They had the Falklands Effect. They had Foot and the Longest Suicide Note in History. They had a fatally split opposition. And they still only bounced back from a nadir of 27-28% VI to 43% of the vote in 1983.

    Take out every one of those advantages and where on earth is a bounce to election-winning levels of 39-40% in 2015 supposed to come from? Especially as the ONLY times in the last 2 decades that the Tories have polled 40% VI have been at the very abyss of the 08-09 recession, and in the brief roseat-glow of the Coalition honeymoon.

    Barring some game-changing shock, talk of the Tories getting anywhere close to 40% in 2015 is detached from reality.

  28. Public Service Announcement:
    I identify as ginger male.
    The username references a Tim Minchin (I consider myself a fan) song which tackles the prejudice against gingers.
    You see, only a ginger can call another ginger, ginger. And you should’t use the word unless you have a ginger tinge to your… fringe.

  29. Mr T Fringe
    I once saw an episode of SpongeBoB where he was acting as defending lawyer (probably for Patrick).

    The presiding fish (sorry judge) referred to him as ‘Mr Squarepants’. That killed me.

    The benefits polling above reveals perhaps what could be described as ‘Delayed Philpott’ reaction, which has more chance of explaining a straight swap from Lab to Con. The Frank Field sympathiser types would be most susceptible to switch possibly?

  30. In most part i agree Lefty but you must admit the Labour lead seems soft, General elections focus minds and the UKIP protest vote will be gone.

    We all know the Conservatives will bang on the ‘Dont let labour ruin it again’ drum and that will stick for some voters.

    Only one person i know is doing badly in the living conditions stakes, or was should i say.My father in law lost his business but has since found a new job and is in fact happier now he does not have to worry where his next job is coming from.

    As i say most people are carrying on with live as though the economy is going from strength to strength and i can see others thinking actually we are not to bad off even after all the cuts.

    Thats what i hope will get the Tories over the line with a small majority.

    Wishfull thinking? maybe but thats how i see it

  31. I think this weeks polls will be interesting to see if Labour have opened up to 8-10% again or whether it is just another blip.
    The best poll will of course be Thursdays ‘Local’ elections – I say ‘local’ as it is mainly the Shire County Elections along with a few others.
    Plus its mid way through a very difficult period and its quite usual for people to give the incumbant government a kick in the whatsits which is a shame for any hard working Councillors who may very well suffer as a consequence.

  32. live=life

  33. BlueBob

    The softness or otherwise of the Labour LEAD appears to be entirely determined by the Con performance. The Labour VI by contrast is rock solid. Only 2% of the last 600 or so YG polls stretching back to Dec 2010 have shown Lab outside the range 42% +/-MoE.

    I suspect Labour may well slip to the bottom end of that range, or a tad lower, by 15. But that means the Tories would need to hit 39-ish as a minimum to prevent a Labour majority, and probably 42-ish to seal their own majority.

  34. Fascinating mood music in the media this last week or two. I sense that the Reinhart & Rogoff fiasco has led to a change in the wind (metaphor overload, I know…)

    There has been open scorn on Austerity as a concept from some previously neutral commentators (Flanders at the BBC, and a Newsnight debate in which Austerity was all but laughed at). And then there’s the other response, such as in The Sunday Times editorial today. Where once that paper was a standard bearer for expansionary fiscal contraction, today’s piece blusters between claims that our Austerity is no worse than anyone else’s and that demand stimulus ought to be working if only the Govt could get its finger out on infrastructure spending.

    I suspect that the days of anyone remotely serious peddling the expansionary fiscal contraction line, or the danger of the debt ratio exceeding 90% are over. Finally, we might get into a grown-up debate on the balance between fiscal retrenchment and growth. And 3 years of wooly-headed nonsense can be put behind us at last.

  35. Barnaby,

    “I take it that the Michael Elliott here is NOT the Michael Elliott who was Labour MEP for London West from 1984…”

    Quite right, I’m afraid. I was only seven in 1984, so I wouldn’t have been standing for election in London West; I’d surely have picked somewhere much closer to home. Glad to learn of my namesake, though!

  36. Here’s an interesting question: given that all parties plan on having a lot of austerity after 2015, do any of them WANT to win the next election?

  37. jayblanc

    What “Labour drop in polls” are you talking about?

    Erm… so that will the same one that the stats people have kindly pointed out on here.

    A drop of 2% to 3% since Eastleigh.

    I didnt say it was “Milibands fault”. I said it was as a result of media coverage (re: Thatcher) and Eastleigh.

    I did, however, suggest that Miliband was a drag on support rather than a lift. Which the polling figures would seem to suggest: a more popular leader would, in all probability – though nothing is guaranteed in politics – lift Labour in the polls.

  38. If Thatcher’s death plus the following wall-to-wall coverage of Cameron & the Conservatives don’t even have them drawing level, it is going to take something fairly extraordinary to get the Tories a win come 2015.

    As they say in F1 racing, catching up is easy, it is passing which is the tricky bit. The Tories do need to pass, given that the proposed boundary changes didn’t happen. And actually, they didn’t even catch up with Labour – their deficit only narrowed a bit.

    They’ve mooted giving away the RBS, which went down like a lump of cold porridge. It seems all that remains is QE; will they whistle up another tranche & helicopter the economy with it, probably by giving ’emergency stimulus to the economy’ in the form of tax cuts?

  39. @ Bill,

    The economy has to recover at some point, and everyone wants to be in office when it does. Plus the electorate have already accepted the necessity for cuts.

    I don’t think the next election is such a poisoned chalice as this one was.

  40. Staring into my crystal ball……

    I predict Labour will get a higher percentage of the vote than in 2010, but not necessarily enough to have an overall majority.

    The Conservatives will not gain a higher percentage and even if they do it will not be enough for an overall majority. By failing to keep the Lib Dems sweet about the boundary changes, they’ve scuppered their chances.

    The Lib Dems will gain a smaller percentage of the vote but won’t be annihilated.

    Remember, by 2015 it will be nearly 30 years since the Tories achieved a decent majority. I can’t remember John Major’s but wasn’t it 20+? It certainly wasn’t enough to spare him a lot of grief.

    Some contributors have been focusing on Labour’s lack of policies since 2011. It should be remembered, that with fixed term parliaments, we are in a different game. Her Majesty’s opposition now doesn’t have to worry about the Prime Minister suddenly going to the country. Surely our rulers thought of this when they were changing the rules of the game?

    But they don’t seem to have thought through much else so why should this be any different.

  41. Spearmint,

    Many would have said the same thing in 2010. Also, even an economic recovery doesn’t guarantee future success or even getting any credit for it from the voters: see the Tories in 1997, for example.

  42. Three consecutive gurly posts !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Things are looking up.

  43. Spoiled by Ole Bil.

  44. And I’m sure one of our resident statisticians can direct me to all the evidence about women’s lack of interest in numbers!

  45. I completely agree with Jay Blanc. This must be the first time ever, that I have typed that comment. However, just as 18 months ago I criticised Labour supporters for finding solace in nothing, now it seems, some Tories are living in hope for no good reason.

  46. Let’s look at the economy from a political perspective. We have eight quarters of ‘news’ before the GE 2015. If we guess at 0.5% growth per year through 2013/14 and 2014/15, that might help the coalition (not necessarily just the Conservatives) a little.

    I think for the Conservatives to have a good chance of re-election, they need to get 2% growth back by Q1 2015, and unemployment down below 7% (which would equate to there being 2.25 million or less unemployed, with 1.3 million or less claimants).

    If they get that, they can make the case that the economy is on the mend etc. For now, they can only state that the signs are improving, which may be true, or it may be bluster (something all politicians are good at).

  47. I didn’t realise ‘spearmint’ was a girly, although I’ve always wondered if ‘tinged fringe’ was. I thought there may have been an accident with the hair straighteners!

  48. Hi Roland
    Were you in the audience for Question Time on Thursday? I think it was from somewhere in Bucks?

  49. Valerie: Yes, she’s just come out of the cupboard.

    My Dad used to say I was almost soppy enough to be a gurl – but I have matured since then.

  50. @Paul Croft
    have you become a “soppy” daddy?

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