This week’s YouGov poll for the Sunday Times is now up here. Topline voting intention figures are CON 30%, LAB 39%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 16% – continuing to show a boost for UKIP from their local election successes. Economic optimism also remains higher (or at least, less strongly negative) than it has been since May 2010. The rest of the poll covered immigration, europe and the monarchy.


The public do not rate the government’s current handling of immigration – only 15% think they are doing well on the issue, compared to 75% who think they are handling it badly. Asked which party they would most trust on the issue of immigration UKIP now have a convincing lead, 30% to the Conservative’s 17% (Labour are picked by only 12%).

Asked about whether some of the government’s recent proposals are workable, a large majority (80%) think fining companies who employ illegal immigrants would work and 60% think stopping illegal immigrants from receiving non-emergency health care would work. Opinion is more divided over whether requiring landlords to check the immigration status of people renting a property is practical – 48% think the idea is workable, 40% think it is not.

EU Referendum

62% of people think there should be a referendum on Europe (as usual!), with the vast majority of these thinking it should be held before the next general election (if you support something, why wait?). More interesting is that people also tend to think it would be possible for David Cameron to deliver this if he really wanted to – 48% think that Cameron would be able to get the support of other parties for a referendum if he tried, compared to 31% who think other parties would not agree to holding a referendum before the election. In practice, most people still do not expect there to be a referendum in the near future. Only 6% expect a referendum this Parliament, only 31% in the next Parliament.

Asked how they would vote if there was a referendum, at present 30% would vote to stay, 47% to leave. This is a comparatively large lead for the “OUT” vote compared to YouGov’s recent polls on the topic, although still smaller than the sort of 20 point plus leads that OUT had last year. If David Cameron renegotiated British membership, said that Britain’s interests were now protected and asked for a YES vote, people continue to say they would vote to remain in the EU in by 45% to 32% (the key difference is Conservative voters, who would currently vote to leave, but say they would vote to stay if Cameron renegotiated and recommended a yes vote. In practice, of course, this would depend on whether Cameron could sell whatever he negotiated to his supporters).


A majority (53%) of people think the Queen should remain in her role for life, compared to 33% who think she should abdicate. Asked specifically about what should happen if the Queen were to become too ill to carry out her duties 48% think she should then abdicate, 43% think she should continue as Queen even if many day-to-day duties were carried out by other members of the royal family. This is a turnaround from March when a majority wanted to see the Queen continue even if too ill to carry out her functions. There has also been a significant shift in attitudes towards Prince Charles – 50% of people now think that he will make a good King when the time comes, up from 37% when YouGov asked the same question back in May 2012.

My guess is that the two shifts are not unconnected – the drip-drip of news stories of the Queen cutting down on engagements, stopping flying and Prince Philip’s stays in hospital (perhaps too the abdication of Queen Beatrix or even the death of Baroness Thatcher, who was very close in age to the Queen) is gradually making people consider the Queen’s future, and making them consider Charles as her successor. It has previously been reported that the Queen sees the monarchy as a lifelong duty and that she would never abdicate, but public opinion does seem to be gradually preparing itself for the point when she is no longer Queen.

382 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 30, LAB 39, LD 9, UKIP 16”

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  1. @James Baillie

    “…a larger model more along the lines of Nate Silver’s predictor seems to be what’s needed…”

    If I understand correctly, Nate’s model relies on there being only two big parties*1. This simplifying adjustment works well for US elections (the greens, libertarians et all polling very poorly in US) so he’s OK. But it worked badly for UK elections even before UKIP’s surge, and now it’s wildly inappropriate. I don’t know what model would work under present circumstances: I’d prefer polls valid for each region for a start, and then use proportional swing rather than arithmetical (my long-speculated Uniform Regional Proportional Swing instead of Uniform National Swing). Danny Finklestein in the Times tried to do something similar, only he tried to go down to seat level and (predictably) blew up because he couldn’t get reliable data at that level.

    *1…and having statwide polling as well as nationwide polling


  2. If the electoral calculus results are anywhere near right Labour could get over 55% of the seats with less than 35% of the vote…And the Tories scupper end AV.


  3. I think the Liberals will take a knock, but I’d be surprised if they went below 35 seats myself. Some 13-15 should be easy pickings for Labour, a few more falling to Lib -> Lab protest swings letting the Tories in, but generally I expect their core areas will hold up in a “circle the wagons” defensive strategy. They suffered badly on the south coast in the locals, so I’d expect losses to the Tories there, and in the North and the Scots lowlands, probably southern Wales, some of their University seats, they’re likely to lose.

    The southwest held up fairly well in the local elections, though, and that accounts for about ten seats. I’d expect them to keep some seats in the highlands too, people like Charles Kennedy and Menzies Campbell probably have a good chance of holding. Scattered strongholds probably pull them up to thirty or so – North Norfolk, possibly Cambridge if they decide to dig in there, Colchester, and so on.

    It’s again going to be a case of ignoring the national swing and instead fighting tooth and nail for individual seats – remember for example that in the 1931 GE (obviously under very different circumstances, they were running a pathetic number of candidates) the Samuelite Liberals got just six and a half percent of the vote but 32 seats.

  4. @Amber

    You’re welcome


  5. Dont say “Liberals” I have been bashed for that! Its Lib Dems,.

  6. Martyn: I wasn’t suggesting we just took Nate’s model, I was more using it as general shorthand for “something bigger and more computerish than a UNS swingometer”

    Since my brain is running at a fairly slow pace, how would proportional swing work by comparison?

  7. @ Colin

    I think a lot depends on the current intra-party briefing war, the EP elections and the remaining council elections. It could go as you suggested, but I think it will happen before the elections (when the LibDems declare independence). The UKIP support is only important (as much as it is visible today), when it turns some constituencies to marginals).

  8. @DTM
    “Wrong! Conservatives will not fall to 26%, it wont happen anytime soon. You are a ukiper with a figure of 21%.”

    I’m not saying it’ll happen anytime soon. I’m saying it’s quite possibly already happened. Just wait for ICM to get around to publishing their tables for this poll in a day or two.

    And no, I’m not.

  9. @Peter,

    In 2005 Labour got only just over 35% of the vote and won only just under 55% of the seats, so I would expect that in 2015 (with old boundaries and a possible split in the right) they would get a far better return than that.

    What scares me is that they could end up with 60% of the seats on 30% of the vote. That would stretch credibility a little too far, even by Westminster FPTP standards…

  10. @Dan the Man, Denise Maddison,

    On behalf of the outnumbered and war weary right-leaning contributors on this site, may I welcome you to the debate but beg you to be civil and sensible. Whilst I welcome a bit of new (blue) blood, so far I am a little embarrassed.

  11. @Dan the Man @Denise

    Just chill out please.

    This site is pleasant because this doesn’t have the nasty, rude and short comments that others have.

    Please keep it that way.

  12. Carfrew @ Chris

    “Take your point about the American parallels. Dunno why we have to become more like the US… there already IS an America, and it’s not like it’s perfect. ”

    Not only is it not perfect, but it often is not even relevant.

    I’m engaged in a controversy in the local paper about RET (Road Equivalent Tariff). This concept is from Norway, which has similar geography to Scotland. The controversy is that other islands have got it but not us in Bute YET and the SNP government is castigated for not rolling it out faster.

    The facts are that one branch of the SNP (Western Isles) has been campaigning for 40 years for it while Labour oppose everything the SNP do. Rightly, they got the pilot.

    In Norway they reckon that the increased tax take from economic growth makes it more or less revenue neutral. It isn’t quite like that in Scotland because the extra tax goes to Westminster.

    Now that’s the sort of policy you don’t get from a London based party focused on workers rights and a history of organising through large unionised urban work forces with little rural representation.

    Neither would you get it from the evangelists of the Church of Adam Smith and their big business backers would not pay them to develop and promote it even if they had the imagination to think of it.

    What else can we get from other countries?

    Can we learn useful things as well as how not to do it from the communist countries?

    For example we can save a lot of parliamentary effort and debate by inflation indexing state salaries, fines, allowances penalties, charges of all sorts and especially politician’s pay as a multiple of the minimum wage.

    Can we get economic policy inspiration from the medieval church?

  13. I thinkGB would be a betterleader than EM

  14. @Shaun

    You’ve just undone all AW’s good work of the last five minutes.

  15. @ John B Dick

    Well, double entry bookkeeping was invented by the medieval church…

  16. Calm down Denise. Take a deep breath. Put down that copy of the Daily Mail. Take that chip off your shoulder.

    You may be right. The Tories may win handsomely. But the polling and electoral evidence doesn’t stack up for them at the moment. The odds are against it.

    The bookmakers are offering 9-2 against a Tory OM. You should get some serious money on it, if you are as convinced and angry as you sound.

  17. @ Phil H

    Shaun’s comment will likely disappear too.

    @ ALL

    New Thread!!!

  18. Generally economically the medieval church was pretty terrible though. Rates of investment on their manors were often appallingly low (though some were better, and pretty much all infrastructure investment at the time such as market creation and road/bridge building was funded by local landowners who were often ecclesiastical magnates).

  19. Oops sorry ,I didn’t think quoting someone else’s post is not allowed.

    [Tisn’t if it’s a post I’ve deleted, otherwise the argument keeps on a rolling! – AW]

  20. Denise

    Chris lane is infamous for his constant surprise that anyone still would consider voting libdem. He’s not a big fan of them

  21. Leaving aside the UKIP moment we appear to have reached that strange point in both the last Ist Term Conservatives governments I lived through

    70-74 Heath the Liberals picked up three by elections c.72-3 & started a dramatic rise in polls that was sustained that carried on into the general election in Feb 74 and carried Labour under HW into office albeit barely with c. 37% of vote in the highest turnout of my lifetime.

    Then as often commented the SDP moment in first thatcher administration which briefly have SDP/Lib on just over 50% in polls. They of course did have MP’s through defections and also through some spectacular by election victories.

    Th Falklands changed it all…and the conservatives went of to a decisive victory in 1983.

    It is really difficult to assess what all this means this time around…I suspect we’re all guessing…for the moment I’m guessing UKIP will slowly deflate over next few months unless there’s a conservative or LibDem byelection…

    It all hangs on the economy….for all of the parties…

  22. James Baillie

    “…Since my brain is running at a fairly slow pace, how would proportional swing work by comparison?…”

    Horribly, Wikipedia has gotten there before me: UNS uses the Butler swing, (see )

    So if last election we had Lab 46, Con 35, and in this election we had Lab 40, Con 45, then what would the swings be?

    The Butler Swing is [(45-35) – (40-46)]/2 = (10+6)/2 = 16/2 = 8
    For Labour, my proportional swing would be = (40/(40+45)) / (46/(46+35))
    For Conservative, my proportional swing would be = (45/(40+45)) / (35/(46+35))

    …i think.


  23. @Shev II,

    “While some maybe represent a section of the Labour Party, you would have to query whether they represent anything but a small minority or at least question their commitment to a Labour win.”

    The Progress people seem to be having a collective nervous breakdown, there’s that EU referendum group which is half composed of Old Labour types, Nick Pearce is running around saying they have to scrap the child poverty targets and they got it all wrong last time (which may well be true but will start a fight). It’s not just the Blairites; there seems to be a broad collapse in discipline across the spectrum. I’m not losing too much sleep over the fact that Progress are unhappy, but this looks like low-level, party-wide panic to me.

    And I can’t understand what triggered it. If it was the local elections, they’ve misread them.

  24. In the ICM poll Ukip had 25% of men, 23% of pensioners and 27% of voters in the unskilled DE occupational grade.

    Owen Jones puts it down to a “rootless political establishment”.

  25. The Monarchy?

    Disparate thoughts.

    I’d be happy with a republic if the shortlist of candidates was only those who had served a term as Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament.

    Otherwise there is an overwhelmingly convincing argument against it.

    Just say “President Thatcher”, or “President Blair” . according to DIStaste.

    Then say “God save the Queen LONG may she reign.”

    As for the folk who think the Duke of Rothesay is too much of a greenie crank, they should note that anyone has a reasonable expectation of living two years longer than their same sex parent.

    We could skip two generations, not one.

    When I was recruiting staff, the only thing I wanted to know was whether they had done the job before, and how they got on. Republican nationalists who muddy the waters by proposing that an independent Scotland should go republican at the same time should recognise the value of experience. Nobody ever in history and probably not in the future has the experience of independence transition anywhere near the present Queen.

    We don’t want the Queen of England getting involved, but the Queen of Canada is a dab hand with a bilingual statutory instrument in both the languages in which she is fluent. I don’t think she does Gaelic though.

  26. James Baillie

    Menzies Campbell will be nearly 80 at the end of the next parliament and is a cancer survivor.

    His father was a man of such integrity, generosity and compassion, that two or perhaps three generations of a branch of my family are named after him.

    How much of the sons vote is personal we can only guess, but I wouldn’t bet on the chance of the LibDems holding on if MC retires.

  27. Neil A

    “What scares me is that they could end up with 60% of the seats on 30% of the vote. That would stretch credibility a little too far, even by Westminster FPTP standards…”

    What should anger you is what FPTP does to Conservative voters in Scotland and why your party does not support PR.

    We have twice as many Pandas (likely to increase by 50%) as CON MPs (likely to be wiped out altogether).

    It wouldn’t be like that with PR.

  28. John: Yes, of course, but I can imagine Menzies being a man who would fight another election if he believed his incumbency could give his party a boost, even if he was really ready to retire.

  29. AW – I’m sorry my debate with Dan the Man got out of hand, it was not intentional I assure you.

    It will be very interesting to see if the additional move from LD and Lab to UKIP implied by ICM is sustained…that would start to make things interesting…any word on the latest YouGov poll?

  30. peter cairns

    “I think I’ll work on a partisan post app;

    All the indications are that xxxxxx have (peaked/bottomed) and in a few xxxxxx we will see xxxxxx (rise/fall back) to where they (belong/ came from).
    The facts can’t be denied even though there is no direct evidence (for/against) them!


    I strongy dis/agree

    [please yourself which, I don’t care.]

  31. col


    I don’t recall you name before & hope you will express more & similar trenchant views on the state of opinion polls in the future.”

    indeed yes! most informative.

  32. Dan the Man

    Labour blocked boundry changes, so they can win a majority on 35%, UKIP could get 20% and no seats.

    Dan don’t you mean Tories blocked PR, cutting the seat numbers would made no difference

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