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. Valerie

    To my puppy gurls, perhaps just a bit…..

    If Tories do go into opposition I don’t think they will recover very easily or have the foggiest idea in which direction to go or who to elect leader.

    Sad innit?

  2. @Paul Croft
    If the Labour party stay in opposition, how will they fare ?

  3. @valerie
    Yes, I am currently E-Mailing from Aylesbury prison, for assaulting the bused in left wingers which attend every programme.

  4. Reading the various comments is quite amusing. The Ladies of the Left see doom & gloom for the hateful Conservatives and Conservatives disagree, mostly. We are actually no closer to knowing whether the Chancellor will be Geogie, Eddie, Eddie’s wifey, or John Redwood.

  5. My comment above means after the next GE, of course.

  6. Well, it won’t be “Geogie”: did you mean Googie Withers? Won’t be her either.

    Re “how will Labour do?” – probably a lot better as they haven’t gone so many, MANY years already without winning a working majority.

    What d’you think?

  7. How are you all celebrating EdBalls day today?

  8. Valerie

    “How are you all celebrating EdBalls day today?”

    I am twinkling my eyes, no matter what the subject, and beginning all answers with:

    “Look…….” [before the blah, blah, blah bit]

    I may also shout abuse at the PM if I see him.

  9. As an incentive to the Government for their excellent “spreading privilege” policy, which is aready going jolly well, and so that they don’t rest until everyone has a place at Eton, I suggest that only ex-Eton toffs are allowed to vote Tory in future.

    How do I organise an online petition?

  10. LizH

    Apologies: too many wimmin posting to keep up.

    Anyway, why is it Ed Balls day? Is he doing his Gr II piano?

  11. lizh

    “How are you all celebrating EdBalls day today?”

    By leafleting for six hours!

  12. @PaulCroft


    As a tribute to Ed Balls running the marathon, I ran a 10K this morning for Parkinsons UK.

  13. Paul – it’s Ed Balls day because it’s the anniversary of this legendary tweet from Ed Balls –

    Which is actually nowhere near as good as this, sadly relatlvely neglected, one from Rupert Murdoch –

  14. Liz


    I am doing a marathon practise – classical guitar.

  15. Spearmint

    I disagree, the economy doesn’t have to improve at some point, the fact that it has in the past is no guide to the future, as central bankers keep admitting “we are in uncharted waters now”. My belief is that without a fundamental change in the monetary system there will not be long lasting recovery, this is also the private view of Mr king as per his wiki leaked remarks musing that this crisis could see the end of fractional reserve banking. However even with a different monetary system there are still the problems of peak oil and the demographic time bomb to overcome

  16. @PaulCroft

    Much more enjoyable I am sure. Ed Balls will like that I think.

  17. @Roland,

    “If the Labour party stay in opposition, how will they fare?”

    Yvette Cooper wins the leadership, party lurches right on scroungers, immigrants, etc in a desperate attempt to re-triangulate.

  18. @LIZH

    Well done on the 10K. Hope you raised lots of money.

  19. @bill,

    I completely agree. I have a sneaking suspicion that this next election is going to be as bad to win as 2010. If the mysterious missing QE affects finally come out, which means inflation then interest rate rises, it could be an incredibly difficult time for anybody who has budgeted or banked on low interest rates ad infinitum.

  20. @Norbold

    “Hope you raised lots of money.”

    Unfortunately, I do almost a run a month for different charities that it becomes impossible to raise much money from others because it is the same pool of people I would have to ask. Often it ends up as my fee for the race and an extra bit that I donate myself.

  21. LizH

    You can put everybody here down for a tenner: I’ll collect it if you like.

    Perhaps Roland for fifty.

  22. @PaulCroft

    Thank you.

    Parkinsons UK will be grateful for any donations. People can make it directly to them if they want here:

  23. @ Paul C

    And get a £ton from our bankster, KEN. :-)

  24. Wes
    I looked at your cited tweets and I am pleased to discover I have not the faintest idea what they are about. I don’t understand twitter and I don’t know who is tweeting whom.

    I have decided to go to my grave without discovering what twitter is about. This has made my day and makes me feel I can be decisive and belligerent still (essential masculine fantasy).

    Will twitter be a polling influence?

  25. I think Spearmint is on the ball (whoops) about what happens when Labour loses in 2015. However, it is like saying what happens if the sun does not rise tomorrow.

    So she’s pretty safe on that one (as is Y Cooper of course).

  26. I don’t think the Tories are ‘hateful’ . I think they are in danger of becoming extinct.
    They should have realised that by not paying lipservice to the Lib Dem’s scheme for Lords’ reform,the Libs would turn their back on Boundary changes.
    The tories could have voted yes in principal. The Lib Dem plans were half-baked and would have unravelled as the Bill went thru’ the various stages.

    Sorry about the mixed metaphores. Guess I’ve scuppered my chances of becoming English monitor!

  27. Valerie

    Try to win me over again with charm eh?!

    The day I see a move from the two main parties to want genuinely a more proportional system than that which mine has consistently pleaded for, then I will take lessons from its supporters.

    I think ‘metaphor’ has no e.

  28. Do excuse my ungentlemanly posting to Valerie. She is probably quite correct about how useless my party is, especially on the subject of parliamentary reform.

  29. Valerie

    I agree the Tories are in danger of becoming extinct in the same way as Labour.
    There is little to choose between the two, if Labour came to power tomorrow it would be a struggle to see the difference except for the change in faces.
    The days of the traditional Tory party or Labour party have gone, thay seemed to have merged into a centralised party with only relatively minor differences dispite all the overblown retoric.
    Thats why UKip support has prospered thay have become the natural party of protest for those on the right and left who no longer fit in the centralised party system, the Liberals did hold that roll but since becoming part of the coalition thay have joined the establishment and are no longer the party of protest and in the process made themselves slightly irrelevant.
    Personally I enjoyed the old system with marked differences yes I’m that old, but since the days of Major and Blair and the increased power of the EU.
    Politic’s have become a much smaller place where parties argue about how to achieve the same ends instead of being radically different.

  30. Note to AW:

    I just read the RSS feed on the Will Dahlgreen article.

    “Ed Miliband ranks third, as less than one in three (29%) are happy with his leadership of Labour, while David Cameron weighs in at second: 36% are pleased with his leadership of the Conservatives.”

    I thought the leadership ratings were about people giving opinion on how well they thought they were doing; not how much or little they are ‘pleased’ with them?

    There could be any number of Conservative voters who say Farage is doing well as UKIP leader, but are they pleased about it?

  31. Valerie:

    “Half-baked” ?

    Less than a quarter I reckon.

  32. Turk

    It’s not the increased power of the EU that has narrowed the scope of political debate and indeed action, it’s the overwhelming power of the markets

  33. Amber

    Can you be charity monitor? You’re probably more charming than me.

  34. @richard in Norway,

    Isn’t there an argument that the electorate has narrowed the scope of political debate, as its the voters who made Labour move to the centre.

  35. Banks cleared to begin £2bn swaps [compensation] pay-outs. The Financial Conduct Authority has given Britain’s biggest banks permission to start paying the estimated £2bn-plus compensation owed to small firms that were mis-sold derivatives products.
    This is why banks need to be regulated to within an inch of their ‘lives’ &/or not be allowed to go bankrupt.

    Had RBS & Lloyds been able to file for bankruptcy & restructuring, all the businesses mis-sold swaps & the individuals who were mis-sold PPI insurance would never have received compensation.

  36. @ Paul Croft

    You’re probably more charming than me.
    That seems unlikely, given the above comment is simply dripping with charm. :-)

  37. Sunny Hundal tweets “Who says Labour isn’t coming up with policy alternatives now? Big announcement tomorrow morning.”

    And he says it is not about education or unemployment loans.

  38. Living Wage? Sort of pre-announced but nothing definite on incentives for employers so maybe Labour will firm up on that aspect?

    NHS/ Social Care being combined? Again sort of pre-announced but no details of how it would be achieved without another big reorganisation. Maybe they’ve figured it out.

    Ed Balls (having been inspired by IDS’s suggestion that pensioners hand back their ‘benefits’) has come up with a policy where avoided tax is voluntarily handed over to HMRC, if the individuals or company shareholders are Telegraph readers. ;-)

  39. Lizh,

    Ooh how exciting. We haven’t entirely got to the bottom of the recent poll movements and now you are suggesting a fresh piece of “news”.

    So far the culprits fingered here (with data) are the Eastleigh by-election result, and the Thatcher bounce and/or the on-going county election campaign (which started at roughly the same time so cannot be separated).

    The one I can’t see any evidence for is the welfare debate. Is there any polling data that points to that?

  40. Amber

    @ Paul Croft

    You’re probably more charming than me.
    That seems unlikely, given the above comment is simply dripping with charm. :-)


    Well obviously I was only joking Amber.

    I have lobbed in £10 in honour of Liz. Seems a good cause.

    By the way, did I mention my Classical Guitar practice is usually sponsored [via my website which might even become active now I’ve had my Vit B12 injections.]

    I accept Paypal or money.

  41. @Hal @LizH

    I analysed the data my own way and Eastleigh was the key change I picked up, very little for Mrs T.

    The system I use is not based rolling averages for instance, but techniques from process control. It picks up small changes better in my view and is proven when monitoring long term data in continuous improvement projects for work purposes.

  42. Catmanjeff
    Oh do expand, we are gasping with anticipation.

  43. @ Liz + Amber,

    They just launched their review on the NHS/social care merger, so I don’t think it can be that- it wouldn’t make sense to announce the details before they hear back from the consultation.

    Something to do with energy, maybe? They have to tackle that at some point and we haven’t heard anything so far.

    An actual housing policy, as opposed to the vague noises they’ve been making about what the Government should be doing?

    Mandatory fines for anyone caught using the phrase “direction of travel”? No wait, that one’s from my fantasy manifesto…

  44. IMHO the author, who normally does such a good job of remaining non-partisan goes a bit far in appearing to criticize UKIP. I say this as a lifelong Labour voter who would never actually vote UKIP. I can’t see that UKIP are a less ridiculous government than the current incumbents, and I’m sure conservatives would say the same about Labour. Small parties should not be characterized this way just because they are small.

  45. @ Spearmint

    The only ‘inside’ Labour rumour which I’ve heard is that Labour will pledge to repeal the ‘bedroom tax’ but that doesn’t, on its own, constitute a big policy announcement, does it? So I’m guessing you might be right & it could be a wide ranging policy on e.g. Housing, housing benefit & repeal of the ‘bedroom tax’.

  46. turk

    Personally I enjoyed the old system with marked differences yes I’m that old, but since the days of Major and Blair and the increased power of the EU.

    Not untrue. But not wholly true either.

    The EU is a vastly mis-understood organisation.

    Here, in brief, is how it actually works.

    1. Nation states pay money into a central pot. (The EU).
    2. Laws are proposed by non-elected officials but only made law by the elected representatives of those nation states. The laws basically dictate how that money is then re-distributed.
    3. The money is then re-distributed to the nation states on a ‘as and when/as required’ basis.
    4. How the money is spent, is largely still down to those nation states within the limits of agreed EU law.

    It is actually more democratic than any other elected organisation in Europe.

    And run by the nation-states.

    I know that that is not widely grasped. Especially in the UK. But that is precisely what the Media in the UK want.

  47. @Turk

    Don’t know how you can class UKIP as the opposition voice of the left, certainly little polling evidence I’ve seen of it. Beyond that, largely agree with your prognosis on how meaningless the difference is (but then they have both been aping US politics for a long time).


    Voters are nowhere near as Blairite as the Labour party, and so I don’t think it’s fair to claim they’ve remodelled to appeal to the prospective voters, and certainly not to the Left. Rather FPTP crucified the left for the SDP split, and since then they’ve been so timid and ambition-less they’re well to the right of most voters (at least economically), let alone the left.

    I agree with you re Tory prospects, in that the Tories are far from dead – simply because (and here’s another US comparison) the party of the Left is so weak and useless even if the Right is extreme and unpopular it’ll get in because the Left will quickly kill any hope their voters had that they’d meaningfully change government policy in their direction and so FPTP will ensure the Right’s the beneficiaries.

  48. Mandatory fines for anyone caught using the phrase “direction of travel”? No wait, that one’s from my fantasy manifesto…

    Summary execution for “Cloud-cuckoo land” or “I will not take lessons in [add any ole subject] from the Honourable [add Lady/Gent or Tosser as most relevant]”

    They are from my real manifesto.

  49. Just posted an inside track comment on Labour’s annoncement tomorrow, got modded .

  50. Announcement , of course.

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