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. @Colin

    Have replied re: the EU thing and hunches versus facts but tripped automod…

  2. @ PaulCroft

    Wow you quoted Colins post without sounding condescending.

    Who are you and what have you done with the real PaulCroft.

  3. @JP

    I agree that in total, the perceptions of a party may depend on many things. However it is possible for a party to shatter many perceptions by providing evidence of something different via a few policy snafus. Eg tuition fees.

  4. @Turk

    “Again my comment was ment in the context of Tory and Ukip supporters the majority of whom do see Labour as the enemy, politically speaking of course.”


    Well there’s the thing. Clearly you have a point in that some of them see Labour as the enemy, but my point is that to a goodly number, it isn’t any kind of priority: policies matter more. 

    It is not much use to you if “the majority” see Labour as the enemy if a significant minority disagree and scupper your election chances in the process.

  5. This thing about once side of politics seeing the other as the enemy, but having different approaches as to how best to combat them (eg actually winning elections helps more than pure ideology) is not new, see SDP and Labour.

    Looks like the latest convulsions in the Conservative party may have attained “-gate” status, so we can assume they have entered popular consciousness thanks to the media attention.

  6. @Amber Star

    I would imagine that there is a fair amount of political scheming going on. Vested interests hoping to demonstrate that a), if there is to be any shift in the political spectrum they can use their resources to ensure that it will be towards the populist right, and b), they can use direct or indirect methods to determine Tory policy.

  7. @ BillyBob

    b), they can use direct or indirect methods to determine Tory policy.
    This is similar, or even the same, as Laszlo’s point; that UKIP are a radical, pressure group which is masquerading as a political Party without any intention to really fight an election.

    This being the case, it could be asserted that UKIP are showing contempt for their supporters by ‘using’ them without being clear what UKIP’s real purpose is.

  8. Twitter rumours of a ‘sensational poll’ tonight. conducted after loongate. Maybe YouGov?

    My prediction UKIP above Cons?

  9. Any source for those tweets?

  10. He is called Mike Smithson he always tweets the polls first and the rumours – that’s why I follow him. He bets on politics.

  11. bloooooooooooooooooooooooooobob

    @ PaulCroft

    Wow you quoted Colins post without sounding condescending.

    Who are you and what have you done with the real PaulCroft.”

    Sorry BB, will try harder in future: just dived in after playing Bach really well, so probably not in the right frame of mind for the old cut and thrust of party politics.

  12. couper2802

    if the numbers are your burfdy itsa guddun – same as Lady Nibs.

    Re tweets: I shall see what Rosie and Daisie think. Its all very up in the air at the mo.

    Labour invisible, Lds being hammered for being the “nice” bit of the coalition, tories ripping themselves apart [albeit and of course, only in the media “froth” that the Islington, Guardian reading, left wing, chattering class, inteligentsia lefties [oo. I’ve dun that] keep stirring up and UKIP are just muddying the waters with nothing apart from England for the Saxons.

    Bring back King Harold sez I. And his wolfhounds.

    I used to have wolfhounds – they’re fantastic.

  13. @Col

    EU post now out of automod!! Cheers AW…


    Liking the “gate-status” thing. It’s a handy way of looking at it…


    @”I was pushing towards the direction that maybe they think that economically its better to stay in Colin.”

    Could be -yep.

    The point I’m trying to emphasise, in my circuitous fashion is that “think” isn’t really good enough. And if that was the reason it would come under ignorance .

    This stuff is important-so if “think” is where we are-then it’s about time for knowing.

  15. Poll tonight after “Swivel-gate” Maybe Labour are back upto 45%.

    I don’t see why the average voter would be bothered by “Swivel-gate” Just local activists upset.

    Maybe all of the infighting has caught up with them.

    Who knows.

    I wonder if this poll revelation is down to “scum-gate”

  16. Carfrew

    Thanks-nothing to add really, except that for every Labour / Conservative party member, there are 60 voters to convince -for the LibDems its nearer 80 .

    The real political world is outside those smoke filled rooms .

    (…..actually what do we call these now?……..smoke free rooms?-hot air filled rooms?)

  17. Yikes.

    Have you seen the house in Newark that had that gas explosion? A total mess.

    God bless the family.


    ” UKIP are just muddying the waters with nothing apart from England for the Saxons.”

    Bah! Humbug! Keep the immigrant Saxons (from Eastern Europe I might remind you) out.

    UK for the Celts I say….

  19. @Amber Star

    I’m hardly going to argue with Laszlo now am I :-)

  20. @Rich

    Yeah, the Housing stimulus may get us some growth but there are better ways as others have pointed out. Indeed someone in the Times pointed out the same problems last week, concerning impacts on business etc.

    To me, basically it’s NuLab revisited which is not a good thing. After what happened to Major, where despite a growing economy he didn’t get re-elected, NuLab realised that part of the problem was the effect Major’s recession had had on house prices – negative equity – and for a while, interest rates owing to ERM.

    This hit more people more dramatically than the recession itself, which depresses wages a bit etc. but most dramatically affects the much smaller number of unemployed.

    Plus a lot of babyboomers  own property. So NuLab prioritised house prices and interest rates and the lesson isn’t lost on Tories. Despite the crash, and Brown. Tories still couldn’t get a majority, in part because Labour sustained house prices. 

    There doesn’t have to be a house price crash by going down the house-building route instead. You can tailor the speed of house-building. 

    Besides, a house-building programme would naturally foster growth leading to upward pressure on house prices anyway, as there would be more money chasing the housing, and so the extra houses could simply keep that in check.

  21. @PaulCroft yes it is my birthday I am a fish.

    Rosie and Daisie are perceptive doggy commentators. I am growing very fond of them.

  22. I think that a sensational YG poll would be tweeted by the Sun rather than hints being dropped via PB. I am thinking it might be Angus Reid (long time, no see) or Survation.

  23. COLIN
    Thanks-nothing to add really, except that for every Labour / Conservative party member, there are 60 voters to convince -for the LibDems its nearer 80 .


    Yes, they must be sobering numbers for party strategists. One wonders… Is there any data on how many people on average a party member may persuade to vote for their party? Or an activist? Obviously complicated by the fact that they may compete of course…

  24. @ Billy Bob & Amber

    When appropriate (ie can connect it to polling) I will make an attempt to summarise my point on UKIP. But yes, it isn’t a political party in a traditional sense. On the other hand they (who the “they”‘are is important) can take to elections as a group of networked individuals with radicalised “masses” behind them.

  25. Amber got it..

    [email protected] – “New @Survation poll has the Tories down 5% to 24%, UKIP up 6% to 22%. Labour on 35% and LibDems on 11%. Crazy times.”

  26. That is sodding horrendous.

    Jeez !

  27. Great speeches:

    Does anyone else still get a sort of crawly feeling remembering IDS saying

    “The quiet man is back and he’s turning up the volume” ???

    It wasn’t just the words and the appalling delivery, but the embarrassed applause and pretend laughter from the delegates which was almost totally obliterated by their “think” bubbles of:

    “Blimey! We need to get rid of him sharpish. Who shall we have next?”

    I really wonder what is in this job for Cameron. It seems an impossible circle squaring task and, in the unlikely event that he gained an overall majority in 2015 he would more likely face a leadership contest than a vote of thanks from his PP. In fact that may well be a point made by other parties at that election.

  28. 24% UKIP only 2pts behind Tories! The media will have a field day.

    DC must be worried. Ed on the magic 35% will be content, even LD’s upto 11%.

    How many of these polls do we need before we get a Tory defection?

  29. If correct, that Survation would be (changes since end of April):

    Con 24% (-5), Lab 35% (-1), LD 11% (-1), UKIP 22% (+6).

  30. Simon – what poll?

  31. colin

    “That is sodding horrendous.

    Jeez !”

    Oh I dunno – 35% isn’t too bad Col.

  32. ‘Survation: Conservative: 24% (-5 on May 1) Labour: 35% (-1) Liberal Democrat: 11% (-1) UKIP: 22% (+6)

  33. Stan J,

    ” and LibDems on 11%. Crazy times.”

    Too right. 11% is rather high.

  34. But this is survation, so a pinch of salt is in order I think, but if yougov daily polls confirm………..

  35. Fortunately for me Paul-I don’t think like you , or have the same priorities.

    Which explains why you might have been confused about my exclamation.

  36. @Wes

    Survation poll:

    Con 24% (-5), Lab 35% (-1), LD 11% (-1), UKIP 22% (+6).

    Not confirmed.

  37. @Richard in Norway

    Thankfully (for some posters on here) it wasn’t an Angus Reid… if *they* were to show the same changes we would be looking at:

    Con 22%, Lab 38%, LD 7%, UKIP 22%.

  38. Hal
    You aren’t by any chance a buddy of CL 1945 are you (another colleague who does somewhat repeat himself (see also my ‘Labour landslide in the offing’ posts)). :-)

  39. Electoral Calculus says that poll translates to

    * Lab 377
    * Con 205
    * Lib 39
    * UKIP 1 (Camborne and Redruth. From Con. Ouch)
    * NAT 9
    * Oth 1

    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.


  40. Electoral calculus’ prediction widget gives seats at a GE on these figures:

    Con 205, Lab 377, LibDem 39 UKIP 1 (Camborne and Redruth).

    This suggests UKIP have a little way to go for a breakthrough poll. Later in the week, perhaps?

  41. If these figures are correct it’s not so bad for the Tories – they just have to figure out how to fight against the right.

  42. Snap.

    If you put Con 22% and UKIP 24% into Electoral Calculus, then UKIP still only get 6 seats.

  43. @ Laszlo

    Or maybe they should move to the centre and fight Labour. UKIP are never going to trouble them in seats. Labour/Tory marginals are where it will also be won or lost.

    They have offended the right, so not easily won back.

  44. The Survation tables are here;

    I had a look at the Scottish figures which is a small sample, but it has;

    Con 16%, Lab 29%, LibDem 8%, UKIP 9% (above libdem) SNP 36%,

    I can tell you straight of that that is way to high for the SNP and too low for Labour.

    I think it is clear sample error as on past vote they have roughly equal numbers saying they voted Lab and SNP at the last General Election and the actual vote figure was closer to two to one for Labour.

    On most other Westminster polls it is closer to Lab 36% SNP 29% if that in Scotland.


  45. Thanks Stan J for posting the Survation poll so quickly :-)

  46. The swing calculators are estimates at the best of times and certainly aren’t set up to deal with shifts like this in the polling. But we do know it’s possible for parties to receive very significant portions of the vote and not get many seats back (and vice versa…)

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

    Will all blow over in two weeks when the gay marriage and europe arguments fade.

  48. Couper2802

    “@PaulCroft yes it is my birthday I am a fish.

    Rosie and Daisie are perceptive doggy commentators. I am growing very fond of them”

    They are getting a bit smug about it unfortunately. Partly ‘cos when they woof: “Did we get them ALL right again Daddy?” I always say “Yes girls, spot on again; wel done.”

    Anyway, their YG is as follows:

    Lab 37 Con 27 UKIP 18 Lib Dem [looks a bit high blah blah blah] 10


    [They insist I add that ‘cos it makes them larf.]

  49. Last general election was 30 million votes. 22% of 30 million is over 6 million votes. How the **** can you get 6 million votes and only one seat? The Greens got a quarter of a mill last time, and got one seat.

    6 million votes is approx 10,000 votes per seat on average. Oy, oy, oy…


  50. Bluebob,

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

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


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