There are new new polls in the Sunday papers, but both are from before the local election results (Opinium wholly before, YouGov mostly before) so don’t expect too see any impact from them yet. YouGov’s topline figures were CON 30%, LAB 40%, LD 11%, UKIP 12%; Opinium’s were CON 28%, LAB 35%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 17%. The last two YouGov polls looked as if the recent narrowing in the polls may be fading away again, but Monday’s polls will likely be affected by the local elections so we may never know for sure.

The first thing to note in the YouGov results is not one of the ad hoc questions, but the regular economic tracker of the “feel good factor” – that is, the proportion of people who expect their economic situation to get better minus those who expect it to get worse. In recent years this normally pootles along at around minus 40, extremely negative. Last week it perked up a bit to minus 35, equalling the highest since May 2010. This week it has risen again to minus 31, now the highest since 2010. It would probably be premature to talk of optimism, but perhaps the pessimism is softening. Keep an eye on it.

There were a brief couple of questions on UKIP, 49% of people think Ken Clarke’s description of UKIP as a collection of clowns was unfair, 31% was it was a fair description. Whether they agreed with it or not, a large majority (77%) thought it was bad tactics to describe them in that sort of language (an opinion the local election results would seem to have vindicated!)

YouGov also repeated a series of questions about how well Ed Miliband is doing as Labour leader, last asked in September 2012 (actually some were also asked just after the Labour conference too, but that had given Miliband a big boost in his ratings so would have been a bit of an unfair comparison). They don’t show any obvious improvement in perceptions of Miliband – only 22% think he has provided an effective opposition, only 22% think he has made it clear what he stands for and only 25% think he would be up to the job of Prime Minister.

Asked whether they think Miliband will ever be Prime Minister, 33% think it is likely, 54% unlikely. However, when YouGov ask what people think the result of the next election will be 49% say they expect a Labour-led government which, barring a surprise change of leadership suggests they do actually expect Ed Miliband to be PM! I suspect the apparent contrast between these two answers is an artefact of people just not seeing Miliband as Prime Ministerial… when they stop and think about the next election, they expect Labour to win, but their gut reaction to Miliband is that he doesn’t look like someone who is going to be PM.

Whenever I write about Ed Miliband’s negative ratings it provokes a lot of discussion so I may as well repeat what I’ve said earlier. However bad his ratings (and compared to many past leaders of the opposition they are bad), Labour do have a substantial lead in the polls, so they can’t be that much of an obstacle. Even if it he is drag on their support, right now it is clearly not preventing them getting enough support to win. The question, therefore, is whether it will become more of a factor in an election campaign. Are we currently seeing mid-term polls where people are just driven by opinion of the government and opinion of the opposition doesn’t matter, but nearer the election it will be more of a choice between two alternative governments and poor opinions of Miliband will matter more? Or have Miliband’s negative ratings already been “factored into the price” and won’t matter anymore come the election than they do now. It is beyond the ability of polls to tell, and most opinions I have seen on it so far have said far more about what the person saying it would like to be true than anything else.

Finally, on the back of the various operation Yewtree arrests YouGov asked about the naming of people who have been arrested or charged over offences, but not yet found guilty. There is a widespread belief that people who have been arrested but not charged with any crime should remain anonymous. For allegations of sexual assault 74% of people believe that those accused should remain anonymous, with only 15% thinking they should be named. Public opinion is more evenly split towards people who have been charged, but have not yet faced trial – 43% think those charged with sexual assault should remain anonymous until trial, 45% think they should be named. The figures shift slightly when asked about other crimes, with a clear majority of people thinking those charged with murder or terrorism should be named.

640 Responses to “New YouGov and Opinium polls”

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  1. CARFREW……………When Labour were on the floor, we were all on the floor. All the signs now are that we are off it, however, these things take time to trickle down, I don’t expect it to register with the greater public for some time, when it does………we’ll have a show !

  2. @alec,

    You are slightly off, as the structural deficit is down, but borrowing is still up, so borrowing as % of GDP is up.

    It’s too easy to say just borrowing more to stimulant growth is all we need to do. If this was the case, we might as well borrow endlessly. There is always a balance!


  3. Rich
    A fair point, but you might argue that on the left there is a general appetite for bad news, not because they want bad economic data, but because it makes a natural opposition to Govt policies easier to justify and fits the narrative. I.e. it works both ways.

    Excuse me for not conforming to stereotype, but I rather resent that comment.

    I take no pleasure whatsoever in our perma-slump. I took no pleasure when I had to lay off three hard working and very able lads from my company. I take no pleasure when I see bright, ambitious, enthusiastic graduates at the University that I teach at unable to find jobs. I take no pleasure in the country that my kids are growing up in finding its trajectory of growth taking an apparently permanently downward hit.

    And I really resent being told that lefties are rubbing their hands at bad economic news.

    I would have been delighted if the concept of expansionary fiscal contraction had proved to be correct. But it was never going to be, because it was theoretically incoherent and had no empirical support. That countries have thrown their lot in with such a deeply stupid idea is a tragedy of historic proportions. And I take no pleasure in saying that I, as a non-economist, predicted the outcome more than 3 years ago.

  4. @ Mark Johnson

    @Amber star – well the show just might be a Right of Centre Coaltion Government of Cons & UKIP – it looks to me like this country is slowly moving right anyway. So why are you getting excited about a diminishing left of centre VI ?
    1. It would probably have to be an electoral pact not a coalition;
    2. An electoral pact with the Tories would defuse any movement of Labour core or leaners to UKIP;
    3. Some core UKIP would be very p*ssed off that they weren’t getting their shot at being/ having MPs;
    4. Before having any chance of a pact, the Tories would have to knife David Cameron (so says Nigel Farage). Polling shows Cameron is an asset to the Tories so it would be nice for Labour to see him leave Downing Street well ahead of the next election; &
    5. The Tories would have ceded the centre ground to Labour.

    But mainly I’m getting ‘excited’ because it will be fun to watch the Tories running around in ever decreasing circles arguing about whether UKIP votes are ‘real’ or just a protest; & should they attack UKIP on policy or ape them; & can they successfully attack Nigel Farage without help from Murdoch etc. (probably not); & should Cameron be front man for the attacks (& they’ll dump him later, if the attacks don’t work).

    Really, if you’re a politics fan, it’ll be good to watch even if you are a Tory. Being Labour just makes it less like watching a slo-mo car crash & more like a demolition derby. Of course, if Cameron is the last driver standing, it’ll be much less fun for Labour & much more fun for Cameron.

  5. SHELTS………..I won 90 quid in 9 holes of golf today, from a Judge, I’m on a roll……….I stick with my forecast.

  6. @ KEN

    Jolly good.

  7. @Ken

    Back when Labour left Office, we had over two percent growth. Since then, we’ve killed the growth, many are experiencing cuts via tax credits, child benefit etc., many have had tax rises, plus VAT, many services are being cut so you can’t get your burglary investigated and Colin can’t talk to someone about his tax, libraries closing, my rubbish stopped being collected, schools necessary for the boom aren’t being built, many jobs gone, lost our triple-A and even the bond vigilantes now have issues…

    … And deficit only improved by about 30bn, and didn’t much of that occur in the first year when we still had residual growth from Labour?

    I think it is just possible that even if they finally get us back to growth, some of this may “register with the public”…

    Particularly if the media turn on Austerity and we’ve seen some of that recently.

  8. I want to find someone giving odds on who the papers will endorse in 2015.

    My predictions:

    Labour: Mirror, Guardian
    Conservative: Telegraph, Times, Mail
    Unpledged: The Sun, The Independent
    UKIP: Possibly the Express, if they keep their current position in the polls.

    It probably won’t make a blind bit of difference, but it’s still fun to speculate.

  9. Austerity is working, as it should, in spite of the obsessive sniping from Keynsian disciples, Keynes could afford to pull the rug and, ‘ go for it’ because he didn’t care about the future, he was a total gambler. GO has more sense, he is fighting the conditioned Left with the weapons of common sense and responsibility, more power to his elbow.

  10. Ken

    Careful. You’re going to stray into Niall Ferguson territory if you don’t watch it.

  11. Ken, the “sniping” thing won’t do it. We have not had good value for the 30bn. One could add to the list much more that it’s cost us.. Tuition fees trebled, legal aid slashed etc…

  12. @ Mark Johnson

    And Labour has its share of dafties too. Keep calm & carry on with the current strategy should be Labour’s approach but they’ll also have a few ‘watchable moments’ over the next few months, I’m sure.

    “Careful. You’re going to stray into Niall Ferguson territory if you don’t watch it.”


    Lol. I couldn’t believe what Ferguson said. Then I decided that I could. Lots of playing the man not the ball at the moment as UKip experienced…

  14. LEFTYLAMPTON……..I base my prognosis on years of successfully spotting winners, I don’t follow any particular coda, we in the jungle sniff the air, it’s instinct……..! ;-)

  15. A rising economy would allow Labour to have as policies: An end to zero hours contracts, a mandatory living wage by 2020, a job or apprenticeship for every young person who has been unemployed for a year & a job for everybody else who hasn’t been able to find work for two years. They could also pledge to cut VAT for a year & to start building social housing.

    It’s an approach known as sharing the proceeds of growth & investing for the future. A return to growth & an end to full-on austerity would be a godsend to Labour.

  16. Mark,

    “Well the show just might be a Right of Centre Coaltion Government of Cons & UKIP – it looks to me like this country is slowly moving right anyway. ”

    It looks to me like the Tories dropping an UKIP going up while Labour stays still is more indicative of a shift within the existing “right” rather than it growing.

    If some of what UKIP have picked up is an anti government protest vote that used to go to the LibDems that increases a “right” of centre party over a “left” of centre one, but it is essentially a shift against the government not the left.

    If you need over 36% to get a majority right wing government and two parties fight for it and split it 24% to 12% you don’t get right wing coalition with two Tories for every UKIP, you get a majority Labour one.


  17. Carfrew

    Ferguson’s comments didn’t surprise me in the slightest. In his TV series a few years ago setting up the question of whether Pinochet’s policies of suppressing his rivals (policies which included “disappearing” more serious rivals and having others tortured and murdered) were acceptable on balance given the economic benefits he brought. Ferguson ostentatiously claimed that they were.

    He loves playing the “I’ll say what I bloody well like” role. But he might well have bitten off more than he can chew this time. Apology or no.

  18. @KEN
    “……..I base my prognosis on years of successfully spotting winners…”


    Lol Ken, they didn’t even manage to win a majority last time…

  19. Ken

    Aye. But your professional life has been in a very particular environment. You have never lived through a liquidity trap, so your instinct means nada in today’s world.

  20. Amber,

    Labour could offer any one or even two of those things, but unless the economy transforms to a level that would see the Tories returned their won’t be anywhere near the cash for more than that.


  21. AMBER STAR………….Sharing the proceeds of growth ’til they’re all gone, I repeat.

  22. @ Ken

    Jolly good

  23. LEFTYLAMPTON………During my career I incubated more than a dozen companies, independently of my mainstream activities, some sailed successfully, others, sadly, sunk in storms or hit the rocks, none of the failures was for the want of integrity of purpose, so I do understand the vicissitudes of small business management. Of course, I was insulated from the personal tragedies, but, luckily, I was in a position to help victims over the worst. I still have equity interests via a small investment syndicate, and happily contribute what I can.

  24. CARFREW………….I know, but at least we broke the thumping fist……..!

  25. @ Peter Cairns

    I think that Labour could possibly offer all of them, conditionally, over the life of the parliament, with the timing linked to GDP.

  26. PETERCAIRNS…………Amber is caught in a trap, unlike her to allow that……! ;-)

  27. @KEN
    “CARFREW………….I know, but at least we broke the thumping fist……..!”


    They didn’t win the previous few elections either. You sure about this “backing winners” thing?…

  28. Brand New Fred

  29. AMBER STAR………….Could it be possible to write a more qualified comment……….’possibly’ ‘conditionally’ ‘over the life of the parliament’ ‘timing linked to GDP’. Keep it up and you’ll be going nowhere.

  30. @KEN
    “Austerity is working, as it should, in spite of the obsessive sniping from Keynsian disciples, Keynes could afford to pull the rug and, ‘ go for it’ because he didn’t care about the future, he was a total gambler.”


    Keynes spent the last six months of his life battling with the Americans fir the loan he knew we needed to safeguard our future. He became I’ll in the process and died shortly after. We went on two enjoy two decades of rising prosperity before the oil crisis hit.

    Keynesian policies stopped us going down the toilet when the banking crash hit and got us back to growth in two years. Since then we have flatlined economically, lost loads of services while still seeing debt rise loads. Ad hominems won’t change the facts, Ken…

  31. @ Ken

    Ed M’s motto – under promise, over deliver.

  32. CARFREW………I don’t have a problem with Keynes as a man, I do have a problem with building on sand………sometimes we have to pay for our silliness.

  33. @Amber

    Well so far ed’s doing quite well on the first part!!…

  34. AMBER STAR………..I admire your loyalty, but your judgement can be as queer as mine, at times. ;-)

  35. Ken

    But the building on sand thing isn’t borne out by the facts. Actually, you aren’t offering many facts to be fair. Keynes didn’t gamble. He sacrificed his health for our future of decades of rising property…

  36. (Prosperity)

  37. Prosperity? Really? We’re in the descending arc of the longest depression in living memory aren’t we? Or does it only affect one half of the country, and not the other?
    I agree with Ken.

    The city I grew up in, the average (median) salary is about 10% the median house price. The average (mean), a bit lower; and the average (mode) lower still. It’s increased by just over 200% since 1997. The universities have grown, and the 3-bed semis in the vicinity about a couple of years ago all became student lets, thus increasing the price to rent a family home to a level that few local families could afford, even with housing benefit and tax credits thrown in.
    Notice that I haven’t even mentioned EU migrants or immigrants, because they are not the major issue there, but maybe the affluent mid and late career folk are white flighting as an indirect effect.
    The legacy of Labour was house prices about ten times the average salaries. So in most parts you need two incomes to afford a house (in some parts, you haven’t got a hope in hell of ever owning anything unless mummy and daddy pay the deposit), and then how do you afford childcare?! This seems to correlate with women in the workplace; with the expansion of universities; and with the post-Maastrict EU and the historically unprecedented levels of non-EU immigration, which we are told has had no effect on wage levels, reduction in unemployment, access to home ownership, and social mobility in general.
    That’s socialism for you. I laugh out loud/spit out my tea when people call the Tories “right wing” (whatever that means these days – other than as a synonym for “evil”).

    It’s interesting how people keep going on about shifts to the left and right, and undulations in percentages.
    It’s as though people think that the current main parties have a god-given right to retain the status quo – a status quo (like a lot of things) that didn’t exist before WWII.

    Part of that is the great forgetting that a chunk of the electorate, that voted in the government with the largest haul of votes ever (in 1992), has stayed at home, and not returned. Imagine if voter turnout returned to pre-Blair levels, and none of those voters opted for the current main options…

    I suppose it’s comforting to assume that dramatic change won’t come, and that the parties clustered around the so-called “centre” will ever continue to exchange votes between themselves from the same puddle of voters.

    What is it? About 20% choose the government… isn’t there something odd about that? PeterCairns’ maths seems rather dependent on the same 50% of voters voting for one thing locally in unfair constituencies, and being lumbered with another thing nationally after a domino rally of career-focussed compromises. It’s seriously unhealthy for freedom and doesn’t seem healthy for the economy much either.

    I don’t vote UKIP, but it would be nice to see them mess up the three old parties and pave the way for something new.

  38. ” It’s increased by just over 200% since 1997.” <- I mean house prices (I did that think where I typed it in my head, and moved on… :X )

    [nutshell]more than ten years ago I could have afforded a house as a FTB; now, no chance… and everyone in my generation and younger is in the same boat – on the wrong side of the social mobility tracks …is it any wonder that people look around in horror at what's happened to their part of the world since the 90s?![/nutshell]

  39. SEAL PUP
    Prosperity? Really? We’re in the descending arc of the longest depression in living memory aren’t we? Or does it only affect one half of the country, and not the other?
    I agree with Ken.


    Jeez, we were talking about Keynes, who died shortly after the second world war. I was referring to the era following that, when the fifties and sixties saw rising prosperity. We gave up the Keynesian thing for quite a while before resurrecting it briefly after the crash, it got us back to growth, then we ditched it again…

  40. Ps New Labour weren’t really very socialist. They were rather economically neoliberal, which led to some of the stuff you are complaining about. The Tories and UKip are economically quite neoliberal too. Thatcher incidentally oversaw a housing boom, but it crashed. Tories currently are happy to maintain high house prices. Lot of votes in babyboomers you see…

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