This week’s YouGov/Sunday Times polls is now online here. Topline voting intention figures are CON 29%, LAB 40%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 14%. The eleven point Labour lead is at the high end of YouGov’s recent results so could be a sign of the infighting over Europe reversing the recent picture of narrowing Labour leads… or could equally well just be normal variation within the standard margin of error.

Last night I grumbled about the problems with polls purporting to show what issues affect people’s voting intentions. YouGov have asked it in a way that gets round one of those problems, that of giving a single issue false prominence, by asking people to pick from a list of all sorts of issues. Same-sex marriage remains an issue that only a small minority (7%) pick out as one that will affect their vote, and by 58% to 42% those people say they would be more likely to vote for a party that supported gay marriage. More people, 28%, say that Europe is one of the three or four issues they think would affect their vote at the next election, with most of them saying they would be more likely to vote for a party that promised a referendum.

Even asked this way strong caveats still apply – people still are not very good at understanding the motivations of their own decisions, and people still really don’t vote on individual policies or policy areas. They vote on broad perceptions of party, of competence and of the leaders. Individual issues play into those perceptions of course (does this party consider the same issues to be important as I do? Do they have similar values and beliefs?) but so do things like strength and weakness, competence, unity and so on.

It also gives the opportunity to point out something else that, while I think is beginning to get through to the commentariat and politicians, still needs to be repeated whenever possible. Only 49% of UKIP voters named the issue of Europe. In other words, 51% of UKIP voters don’t even consider Europe to be in the top three or four issues that affect their decision. The simplistic view that UKIP support is all about Europe and, by extension, it is policies on Europe that will suddenly win back UKIP voter is just that – simplistic.

Moving on to those wider perceptions of how the Conservative party is seen, only 10% of people now see the party as united, 73% divided. YouGov have been asking the same question since 2003 and this is highest proportion so far seeing the Tories divided, more than under Iain Duncan Smith. The party is not seen as widely divided as Labour was towards the end of Tony Blair’s leadership (6% united) or under Gordon Brown (just 3% united at its worse), but it is certainly in that sort of territory. Also note, however, that while perceptions of division are widely seen as negative they are not necessarily fatal – in 2004 over 60% of people saw Labour as divided but they still won the 2005 election. Personally I think there is some truth in the idea that division drives away voters (constant infighting makes a government look incompetent, and we know perceptions of competence are a key driver of voting intention), but its not as simple as division equals defeat.

A majority (54%) of people continue to support the introduction of gay marriage. Asked if the subject should be decided by a referendum or by Parliament it only narrowly follows my past comment that people support a referendum on absolutely anything you ask about – just 39% think there should be a referendum on gay marrige, compared to 34% who think it should be left to Parliament.

On Europe, referendum voting intention asked using the wording in the Conservative party’s draft bill has 36% of people saying they would vote YES (to stay), 45% saying they would vote NO (to leave). Asked about the Conservative rebellion over the Queens speech people are pretty much evenly split on whether they are more sympathetic towards David Cameron or Conservative MPs (most are sympathetic towards neither!). Conservative voters are far more on David Cameron’s side – 52% are more sympathetic towards Cameron, 19% his rebellious MPs.

490 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 29, LAB 40, LD 9, UKIP 14”

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  1. @Martyn I don’t care how skewed the voting or how thinly spread the vote if UKIP can get 22% and just one seat, something is wrong somewhere.

    I don’t agree with you Martyn. UKIP need to concentrate on winning seats if they ever want to be anything. That is what it is all about, after all.

    Their popularity is likely to be fleeting and shallow in any case. They lack politicians of skill and interest, barring Farrage, of course.

    Still, mid 20s is a desperately bad poll for the Conservative Party. Soon, they will start to wonder if there is a way back.

  2. “They have offended the right”

    And that’s not flippin’ easy……………..

  3. Lol

  4. That lol was for peter

  5. Every now and then you get a poll which becomes the news, despite all the caveats about single polls that all good quality poll watchers would always through up.

    It looks like this Survation poll is just one of those. Twitter regulars are already describing this as a ‘crisis’ for Cameron, and as this is how the news works, it now probably will be.

    The bottom line is that through his own choices on EU referendums and gay marriage bills, Cameron has exposed the deep contradictions still present within the Tory party, and has further clouded the picture as to what he personally stands for.

    Even before this poll, the last few days have been a complete nightmare for the Tories, and it is as if nothing at all was learned from the long and bitter years after 1992.

  6. @ BlueBob

    I feel as though i should do something, maybe running around with my pants on my head panicking wildly.
    Just tuck your shirt into them (your pants), pretend you’re John Major & have a little faith that UKIP supporters are mainly Tories who will come home when they realise that UKIP are just a pressure group not a Party :-)

  7. Poll shows UKIP on 34% in the East of England, in a 4 party system they must get at least 4 seats in that region alone.

    Off to Electorial Calculas

  8. @ Peter

    Isn”t that what most Tories do of an evening…. oh and don’t forget to swivel your eyes!!!!

    I tried the swivel thing but it just makes me dizzy.

  9. @IanAnthonyJames

    You miss my point (which is my fault, because I didn’t make it clear), I think the Electoral Calculus calculator is knacked if it comes out with those seats for those numbers

    Consider this: you throw 6 million votes blindfold at random over England and Wales. What are the odds that one seat or less will have a UKIP majority? Pretty low

    But it won’t be random: we know from the councillors that UKIP is concentrated in the south coast (as far as Bournemouth) and east coast (as far as Grimsby). So it becomes even more improbable.


  10. The gender gap for UKIP VI in this poll is enormous. Male: 24% Female 14.5% (figures for all voters, including undecided).

    In my experience these sorts of gaps open up when there is a sudden change but they smooth out in a few days. The question is will the men talk the women into it or the women talk the men out of it?

  11. Yes, looks like the East is UKIP’s stronghold (due to immigration problems thereabouts) and it has got big enough to have such a thing. Unfortunately for the Cons, it’s part of theirs too.

  12. @ BlueBob

    “I feel as though i should do something, maybe running around with my pants on my head panicking wildly.”

    Have you considered becoming a Tory MP? Sounds like you would be right at home there.

  13. 55% to stay in EU 33% to leave -for the LD’s, that’s surprising for a pro-europe party.

  14. alec


  15. If we are going by the Survation x-breaks (a big if):

    UKIP has taken first place ahead of the Tories in the East of England and South East (by 12.3% and 1.3%).

    UKIP in second place behind Labour in NE, NW and Yorks & Humber.

    Tories hold a lead only in SW (0.6% ahead of UKIP) and East Midlands (0.6% ahead of Labour).

    Looks like a meltdown.

  16. If you were DC what would you do:

    (a) ignore the UKIP rise. Clearly differentiate Cameroon policy from Farageism (against the political machine). Believe that your ideas will eventually triumph; or

    (b) adopt a pic n mix approach. Steal what you think are UKIPs best ideas and integrate them with your own; or

    (c) hoist the white flag an offer a merger.

    Unlike Brewster, I am not giving you the option to vote for “None of the Above”

  17. Is it possible that UKIP’s poll ratings are being underestimated due to not being prompted for in survey questions? Prior to recent developments it would have inflated their popularity, but being constantly in the news churn, and being destined to be a big story of the election campaign probably should warrant it.

    The prospect of Labour winning a landslide victory because of Liberal Democrat voters who didn’t want a Tory led coalition government, without Labour winning back even voters lost between 2005 and 2010, is pretty interesting and disquieting. It’d bode some reform of the electoral system to maintain some kind of legitimacy for a parliament, only that was already rejected in the referendum, and Tories are and will continue to be against it. That reform looks impossible.

    That’s looking like a worst case scenario for Labour’s overall share of the electorate though. It may be normal for the government to recover in the run-up to an election campaign, but with a split party and an alienated grassroots, and Farage’s showmanship? I think it’ll be impossible of the government to capitalise on affinity for status-quo conservative competence, which I would guess to be the main emotional drive behind government recovery before elections; the coalition is divided, and the Conservatives won’t be campaigning for the status quo, they’ll be campaigning for a Tory government and against the Lib Dems. It really seems to me so counter-intuitive for the Conservatives to recover prior to the election.

  18. Raf,

    If this is sustained we are in leadership challenge territory.

  19. Im joiniing the Sigma party ;) They are romping home.

    What happended to the Greens 6% and BNP 4% in recent polls, both @ 0.1% in this poll.

    “Another Party” 4.4%, who’s that then? Monster Raving?

  20. @ Hal


  21. @ RAF

    Option a isn’t enough and his party wouldn’t allow it.

    Option b would not solve the problem as he wouldn’t be allowed to mix (he can only draw black balls from the bag) – just postpones the next pressure.

    Option c: I suggested it last week (or a bit earlier?)

    If he genuinely has allies he can direct the fire at the right and it could work, but I don’t think he is strong enough (partly because of the MP intake of 2010)

  22. Scrub that comment about Con leading in SW – they are second equal with UKIP behind Labour… so Tories have an advantage only in the East Midlands (0.5% ahead of Labour) according to Survation.

  23. Good point Martyn.

    There must be something about having a new party which Electoral Calculus can’t pick up.

    While they have some local strength in the E Mids, I think the UKIP vote is thinly spread. They may well break the record for votes/seats ratio.

    But I wouldn’t regard that as unfair. I would regard that as UKIP failing to do what the democratic system demands – namely win seats.

    regards Ian

  24. Seems to me that there’s a combination of a conscious and unconsious aim to get the Tory party into such a panic that they think [a la “I have a cunning plan: lets invade Moscow in our summer togs”] a new leader, further to the right, is just what the doctor ordered and the electorate wants.

    Its not, and they don’t but its fun to watch from where I’m sitting.

    Thankfully the Labour long ago stopped thinking the electorate wanted something further to the left; The Tories seem unable to learn despite twenty years and more without being in power on their own.

  25. Hal

    We are already in leadership challange territory, its already started and we are just waiting for a suitable stalking horse to volunteer

  26. @ RiN

    Anthony keeps telling us, the Tory Party do not need a stalking horse. They need a number of MPs (43?) to sign a letter of no confidence in their leader & deliver it to the whip’s office.

  27. @IanAnthonyJames

    I think you’re right.


  28. Amber

    Well it only a matter of time

  29. well the timeline starts here.

    Whitsun recess is from tomorrow till the 3rd of June so tory MP’s disappear from under the whips watchful gaze back to rub shoulder with the swivel eyed in there constituencies.

    So the phones will start to buzz between now and Friday and will probably have started over the weekend. With just over 300 seats the Tories need to get about 13% to sign up and then drop in on the 3rd.

    Between the press at the weekend, the Queens speech and doing a deal with Labour over Gay Marriage there are 100 disgruntled backbenchers out there.

    Parliament breaks for the summer on the 18th of July and if it can be kept at bay till then that buys Cameron time as they aren’t back till the start of September and then it’s the run up to yet another conference relaunch.


  30. Looking at a map of immigration from the new EU countries, there is a hotspot in a small area around The Wash. Otherwise the east of England is no different to the rest of England. I don’t think this goes anywhere near explaining the popularity of UKIP.

    The other hotspots are West London, Northern Scotland and Northern Ireland; no correlation there.


  31. @ Half

    It’s a six years old map…

  32. Forgot to add: You need to click on the button “Choose a map – current estimate”

  33. @ Hal

    Sorry my mobile corrected your name. Apologies

  34. @Laszlo
    ” If he genuinely has allies he can direct the fire at the right and it could work, but I don’t think he is strong enough (partly because of the MP intake of 2010)”

    I agree completely that the 2010 intake has significantly limited his options.

  35. Oh dear. Hard to tell. It says 2013 on the bottom of the page but maybe that gets updated by the server. I’ll have to look for a more certifiably up-to-date map.

  36. I think the Survation poll sample is very dodgy. Labour has almost as much support in the South West as it does in London ? Where, precisely, or did S over-sample Bristol and Plymouth? Peter already pointed out the Scottish sample is wrong too. UKIP vote in Wales looks far too high, too. You might get that in the borders but not further West… If I was a Conservative voter (not so far) I wouldn’t panic ..yet.

    “soclal housing”
    There has to be a case for drawing a clear distinction between social housing, meaning public sector or municipally build and managed; and rental housing, which would still be that if it is financially supported by the public sector, say through housing associations. Which are you proposing, and by what financial mechanism?

    Re the hardness of the LD “switch” to Labour, if my theory of a sustained social democratic position of erstwhile LD voters and of a switch rather of their leadership to a Tory led alliance in coalition government, is true, then this may largely account for the elephant in the room of sustained Labour 10% – 11% leads. As an indication of the solidity of VI at the GE, this would be far from the yawn-worthy status that has been accorded to it by some less than disinterested posting over the past year or so.

    ” if UKIP can get 22% and just one seat, something is wrong somewhere.”
    Alternatively, thank God for FPTP.

    Welsh Borderer & BB
    Have another look at past Labour performance and office in Bristol, Plymouth and points in between, and the evidence for LD social democrats (on the evidence of similarities of platform in respect of civil liberties, work place equalities, EU with Labour) now being Labour voters in the SW.

  39. New Thread!

  40. If the next couple of months polls give the same result as this survation poll I’d agree the Tories will be in big trouble, but really what a lot of speculation over a couple of polls in the midst of a media frenzy, although I must admit if it was Labour or UKip under the spotlight I would be doing the same, it’s always a laugh when these things happen to the other side.

    But to be realistic, of course the Tory vote is going to slump with all the negative press this last week how could it do anything else.
    But it’s very unlikely there will be a serious challenge to DC he has the majority of Tory Mp’s on board and who would they replace him with with less than two years to go that would have an impact.

    Once the media get bored with the story that gap may begin to close again especially as predicted the economy pick’s up this year, so carry on speculating it is good fun and we will see what happens in the next few months after all the gap between Tories and Labour hasn’t got any bigger since the start of the year and in some polls it’s got slightly less so once this media frenzy is over game on maybe.

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