This week’s YouGov results for the Sunday Times are up online here. Topline voting intention is CON 30%, LAB 40%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 14%, so no obvious effect on voting intention from the Woolwich murder. Economic optimism (the proportion of people expecting their financial situation to get better in the next year, minus those who expect it to get worse) is minus 30. This is still very negative, but is once again the least negative it has been since May 2010.

Turning to the Conservative party and their “modernisation”, 61% of people think David Cameron is not in control of his party, compared to only 24% who think he is. Only 16% of people think David Cameron got modernisation right – 33% think he did not go far enough (including most Labour and Lib Dem voters), 32% think he went too far and abandoned too many traditional Tory subjects (including three-quarters of UKIP supporters).

Asked about the famous description of the Tories as the “nasty party”, 18% reject the whole idea and think the Tories were never seen as the nasty party anyway, 14% think David Cameron has manage to make the Conservatives less of the “nasty party” but the largest group – almost half of respondents – think Cameron has failed and the Tories are still seen as the “nasty party”. YouGov asked the same question in 2011 when 23% of people thought Cameron had managed to detoxify the Conservatives, suggesting a gradual reversal of the progress he had once made.

Moving on to the Woolwich murder, 41% of people think the government are tackling extremism and terrorism effectively, 47% ineffectively. Asked about people’s own fear of being involved in a terrorist attack, overall 10% of people think that there is a very or fairly high chance of them, a friend of member of their family being killed in a terrorist attack. As one might expect this is marginally up on before this week’s attack, but less than it was at the time of the 7/7 attacks in 2005 when YouGov asked exactly the same question. Whether or not they agree with British involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, the vast majority of people (70%) think that it has increased the risk of terrorist attacks against Britain.

Asked about attitudes to British Muslims, 60% of people believe that there is a dangerous minority of British Muslims who feel no identity to the country and would condone terror, 14% think that a large proportion of British Muslims have no loyalty to the country and would condone terrorism. The question was again a repeat of a question YouGov asked straight after 7/7, comparing these results they are marginally worse than 7/7, but the change is hardly significant.

There was a second batch of YouGov polling conducted for Dr Matt Goodwin at Nottingham University, who specialises in studying extremism (of the EDL & BNP sort), and reported in the Observer. Full tables for that are here. Again the questions are mostly repeats from earlier, in this cast from October-November last year (originally done for Matt’s work on the EDL here). This makes it a slightly different comparison to the 7/7 questions, comparing results of questions asked during a normal period to the same questions asked just after an emotive event. One might have expected an increase in Islamophobia and anti-Islam opinions. The actual picture that Matt’s research finds is more nuanced.

On a few fronts opinion has moved in a negative direction, with an increase in the proportion of people who think that conflict between different groups is inevitable and an increase in those who think there will be a “clash of civilizations” between British Muslims and native white Britons (though worth noting there were similar shifts when asked about different religions and ethnicities too).

However on other figures there has been no movement, or even positive movement – 63% of people agree with a statement that “The vast majority of Muslims are good British citizens”, by 40% to 23% people agree that “Muslims make an important contribution to British society” – both questions essentially unchanged from last year. The proportion of people agreeing that “Muslims are compatible with the British way of life” is up from 24% last year to 33% now.

I suspect the contradicting trends in the figures is a case of the Woolwich murder reinforcing people’s existing attitudes. For those people who were suspicious, hostile or prejudiced towards British Muslims to begin with it has strengthened those negative feelings. For those with more positive opinions towards British Muslims it has strengthened their resolve not to stereotype British Muslims and not to let terrorism divide communities.

Matt’s poll also asked about the EDL and BNP anti-Muslim demonstrations, using a split sample. Half the sample were asked about their opinion of demonstrations against what the organisers call “Muslim terror” and whether they had a positive or negative opinion of such demonstrations – a majority (51%) said they had a negative opinion, 20% a positive opinion. The other half of the sample had the same question, but with the demonstrators of the demos identified as the EDL and BNP – that knocked support for such demos down to 17%, and opposition to them up to 60%.

There was also a Survation poll in the Mail on Sunday, which had topline figures of CON 24%(nc), LAB 35%(nc), LDEM 10%(-1), UKIP 22%(nc). It shows the very high UKIP score we associate with Survation, but again no obvious impact on voting intention from the Woolwich murder.

206 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 30, LAB 40, LD 10, UKIP 14”

1 2 3 5
  1. You do come across as rather biased towards YouGov… what about the Survation poll on Political Betting that shows UKIP on 22 again? Surely that’s noteworthy?!
    YouGov seems to consistently overstate the LibDem’s position, is that where your loyalties lie Anthony?

  2. Seal pup

    Anthony works for yougov, of course he is going to be biased, he thinks his own work is the best

  3. How about some metadata on the sources of polling, because it seems rather apparent that the majority of polls you are listing are YouGov ones… quantity does not equate to quality, does it? Surely your trends are heavily weighted towards YouGov’s …aren’t they your employer?

  4. Looks like polldrums again

  5. Seal Pup.

    Read the title of this page-the first two lines.

  6. RiN

    Yep back to the good old days of 30/40/10.

    ………except for 14 .

  7. Aye Richard… I remembered that… but he also seems to be genuinely interested in polling for it’s own sake, which is a good thing… I think it’s worth presenting a “latest voting intention” that quantises the survey sources so that you get all from each source aggregated into one, as opposed to aggregating all of them where at least half of them seem to be from one source – that’s bound to give a distorted picture. It’s particularly evident that YouGov surveys talk down UKIP and talk up the LibDems. I am not a UKIP supported, but I am genuinely interested in as objective as possible data for what is an unusually interesting time in UK politics, one that hasn’t really occurred for about a century.

  8. Colin, read the first two lines of my first… the Survation poll was published before any other (that I could see)…

  9. SEAL PUP..

    On UKPR , it’s unwise to talk of the owner’s “biase”.

    People tend to come here because they perceive an absence of editorial biase.

  10. SEAL PUP

    @” that’s bound to give a distorted picture”

    Have you read UKPR Average weightings explanation & methodology?

    Go to UKPR Polling Average & click on “more”.

    What do you think is distorted about that methodology?

  11. @AnthonyW

    Asked about the famous description of the Tories as the “nasty party”, 18% reject the whole idea and think the Tories were never seen as the nasty party anyway, 14% think David Cameron has manage to make the Conservatives less of the “nasty party” but the largest group – almost half of respondents – think Cameron has failed and the Tories are still seen as the “nasty party”.

    Of course, the “famous description” of the “nasty party” that you refer to was ascribed to the Tory Party not by its political opponents but by one if its leading members, the current Home Secretary, Theresa May. That’s what made it so politically devastating and wounding; a confession and self-labelling in one fell stroke. This is what May said about her party in 2002: –

    “Yes, we’ve made progress, but let’s not kid ourselves. There’s a way to go before we can return to government. There’s a lot we need to do in this party of ours. Our base is too narrow and so, occasionally, are our sympathies, You know what some people call us: the nasty party,”

    The perception, as your poll confirms, lingers on and must explain, if only in part, why the Tories have the smallest pool of potential voters to draw upon. I mean, who wants to declare support for a party you perceive to be “nasty”?

    It’s why the Byrne inspired “heartless and hopeless” accusation may have some resonance over time. The saving grace of competence that mitigated against the accusation of “nastiness” in the past could be eluding the current Tory Party.

  12. The test of who is right re: UKIP figures will of course be the next general election. In the past, pollsters have found that prompting for UKIP in their main question tends to overestimate their support compared to actual election results. There may be no particular rhyme or reason for this to happen, but it does.

    Survation do prompt for UKIP in their main question, for their own reasons, and the result of that is fairly clear. But as a new polling company we have no way of knowing how accurate their methodology is in predicting general elections. We will find out in 2015. Until then, I think it’s fair enough to treat their slightly aberrant figures with caution. (It’s also worth noting that Survation’s by-election polling has been very hit and miss, in particular their projection for Oldham East and Saddleworth was woeful).

  13. Seal Pup
    AW has posted many, many times on the effects of methodologies on the difference in VI of polls.

    Nobody is quite sure, with the rise of UKIP and collapse of the LibDems, which is actually the most accurate methodology.
    Survation potentially overstates UKIP support because of it’s prompting for UKIP on the first question, which YouGov doesn’t.
    ICM potentially overstates LibDem support because of it’s reallocation of DKs.
    Ipsos-Mori potentially overstates Con and UKIP support because of it’s harsh turn-out filter.

    The important thing is not necessarily to look at the absolute figures (which methodology is correct in that regard will be solved when we get to 2015) but at the overall trends.

    If you do want to compare each pollsters VI though, you’ll have to look at each companies tables before any adjustments –
    So the latest figures for pollsters before adjustments are-

    YouGov – Con 29, Lab 42, LD 11, UKIP 13
    Weighted 30-day YouGov Average –
    Con 30, Lab 40, Lib 10, UKIP 14
    ICM – Con 26, Lab 37, Lib 9, UKIP 19
    (Headline Con 28 (+2), Lab 34 (-3), Lib 11 (+2), UKIP 18 (-1))
    Survation – Con 23, Lab 35, Lib 10, UKIP 22
    (Headline Con 24 (+1), Lab 35 (-), Lib 10 (-), UKIP 22 (-))
    Ipsos-Mori – Con 30, Lab 39, Lib 9, UKIP 12
    (Headline Con 31 (+1), Lab 34 (-5), Lib 10 (+1), UKIP 13 (+1))
    Comres – Con 28, Lab 35, Lib 8, UKIP 20 (if you combined 5-10 + the ‘forced’ 1-4 question) or
    Con 29, Lab 36, Lib 7, UKIP 19 (if you only take the 5-10 question)
    (Headline: Con 29, Lab 35, Lib 8, UKIP 19)

    So a simple average of those polls, before adjustments, would give us –
    Con 27, Lab 38, Lib 9, UKIP 17 (using the weighted yougov average drops Lab to 37, but others no change).

  14. Asked about people’s own fear of being involved in a terrorist attack, overall 10% of people think that there is a very or fairly high chance of them, a friend of member of their family being killed in a terrorist attack.

    Which goes to show how much fear of crime is inconsistent with the actual incidence of crime.

    In the UK you are more likely to be killed by a lightening strike or by being kicked to death by a donkey than you are to die in a terrorist incident.

  15. Seal Pup

    Well he does mention the Survation poll above at the end if you look, but with two very extensive YouGov polls and little movement in the Survation VI he’s hardly going to devote as much space to it. Survation polls are also from a relatively new pollster and tend to be irregular which makes them less useful than some others.

    Actually there are also a number of questions on the aftermath of the Woolwich murder in the Survation survey. The tables are here:

    Some of the questions parallel those in the YouGov survey, though wording differences can mean a lot (itself a good indication that people’s viewpoints can be more complicated than you would think).

    It will be interesting to see which of the findings the Mail on Sunday highlights and which it downplays.

  16. And comparison of UKPR average to ‘bog standard’ average –
    Con 28 (+1), Lab 38 (+1), Lib 9 (nc)
    Or using the ‘bog standard’ average usingweighted YouGov average for YouGov’s figure
    Con 28 (+1), Lab 37 (nc), Lib 9 (nc)

  17. I personally tend to discount Survation polls because of the high UKip figures compared to all the other pollsters but who’s to say there not right, apart from the rest of the pollsters that is.

    As far as you/gov go it is seen as being in the forefront of polls but of course the natural tendancy is to select the polls that play into your own political preferences and imagine all sorts of biase because they don’t support your political point of view.

    Being a Tory supporter I could have a field day with conspiracy theorys but the truth is my team are behind in the polls for the moment and that’s it.

    However I never subscribe to the view because your behind in the polls it’s all doom and gloom, as we’ve seen in polling data from days gone by it’s possible to be a few point’s behind on the home straight and still win a GE, the trick is to stay in touch with the opposition through the bad times in the hope if things improve so do your chances.

  18. If I was in the polling business or an academic I would be very interested in the difference between Survation UKIP and YouGov UKIP.

    The original Survation could have been an Outlier but with the second one that doesn’t seem to be the case.

    My own theory is the ‘enthusiasm gap’ . Based on the premise that UKIP supporters are very committed and so very keen on answering telephone polls.

    Whereas YouGov is panel based people are paid for their views and will generally answer all the surveys they take part in: so no enthiusiasm gap.

    With the relatively small sample size of Survation this gap if it exist could explain the difference.

  19. “If I was in the polling business or an academic I would be very interested in the difference between Survation UKIP and YouGov UKIP.”.. “With the relatively small sample size of Survation this gap if it exist could explain the difference.”
    IIRC, the main difference is that Survation prompts for UKIP in it’s first question, whereas YouGov doesn’t.

    (I.e You have to click ‘Other Party’ and then ‘UKIP’ on the next screen with YouGov).

    Survation hold that, since the rise of UKIP, their methodology is superior, but we’ll have to wait until a big election (like the EU election next year) to have a real test of methodological differences.

  20. “I personally tend to discount Survation polls because of the high UKip figures”

    Do you also discount other pollsters that have had UKIP as high as 20%? And are you unbiased, as to discount YouGov as their polls have low UKIP figures?

    Survation did predict the local election result rather well, so I wouldn’t discount them.


    There would be a very easy way to test that theory. YouGov can just divide the sample into half and in one have prompt for UKIP and the other half do not prompt on the first page. (statistically they might need to increase their sample size).

    Then do the normal weighing etc and see if the UKIP score is different. I imagine YouGov has tried that experiment?

    If they have an UKIP VI higher when prompted but this doesnt translate at election time – the same problem they had with the Labour VI prior to ’92 – the pollsters can take that into account in the UKIP weighting as they do with Labour,

    That might bring more uniform results.

  22. Can somebody explain why the latest Survation poll is being reported as “Labour down 1” when the last Survation poll on 18 May also had Labour on 35% ? – Looks like no change to me?

  23. @SealPup

    AW isn’t biased. He presents each poll as they come in, often with a little commentary. He doesn’t ignore polls that he may think are rubbish, neither does he big up polls that he may think are good.

    As for aggregating different polls to get a big picture: he doesn’t do that, and for good reason. Polls use different questions, are weighted differently, and cover different time periods, so even extracting the raw data and aggregating that is problematic.

    I take your point that YouGov’s frequency of publication (about 20 times more often than other pollsters?) can cause a problem, but that’s the fault of the viewer rather than the publisher. Compensating for this is an interesting problem: Statgeek of this parish ( uses his Median Absolute Deviation, I used to use my grids ([email protected]/) before time pressure intervened.


  24. Excellent interview wth Alan Johnson [Nick Robinson on BBC website]

    I think he is a very sensible politician and never overly party political in his responses.

  25. Swebb

    Maybe they were:

    35.4(35 rounded) down to 34.7(35 rounded), down 0.7%, or rounded to 1%

    Using rounding you get
    Down 1%

  26. Martyn – well, I do do that actually, thats what the polling average on the right-hand side bar is!

  27. (Though I also question the value of it for the same reasons you just said… but given there is a demand for it I do it anyway to make sure it is done well. And, for the record, multiple polls from the same company are downweighted so they are not overly dominant)

  28. @Anthony Wells

    I was referring to taking the raw data that goes into each poll, chucking it into the pot, and pretending it’s a mega-poll – which you don’t do

    I wasn’t referring to your UKPR polling average, which takes the processed outputs from each poll and weights them – which you do do.

    Sorry for the confusion: my bad.


    (yes, I hate poll-of-polls as well, but – as you say – people like them…:-(( )

  29. Swebb – because that’s how Survation had it on their website and I copied and pasted without checking! It was indeed 35% last time too.

    Dan the Man – the *only* company that did a local election poll in the immediate run up to the local elections was ComRes. They do not put UKIP in the initial prompt, and marginally overstated UKIP support. No other company polled (or at least published any polls, we did some internal test polls) on local elections, so no one else did well or badly.

    Couper – Survation are an online panel based company too.

  30. swebb

    Can somebody explain why the latest Survation poll is being reported as “Labour down 1? when the last Survation poll on 18 May also had Labour on 35% ? – Looks like no change to me?

    Because Damian looked at the wrong figures? The link from his blog piece:

    says Survation poll May 20th (f/w 17-18 May), but actually goes to the one for the 1st May. (Other changes are OK though).

    They also seem to altered the way they do the smaller parties – they only found one Green voter last time but 36 in this poll which suggests their screen questions or layout needed tweeking.

  31. So two-thirds of the British public do not think muslims are compatible with the British way of life. An inconvenient finding, no doubt, from a presumably pro-immigration academic’s own survey. He might wish to spin that away, Anthony, but don’t you.

  32. Jonboy – No, 40% of people disagreed. You can’t lump neutrals and don’t knows in with one side or the other.

  33. Survation, of course, were far more accurate than YouGov for the recent local govt elections.

    It stands to reason that prompting for Lib Dem, Lab and Con but not for UKIP will bas the result.

  34. jonboy

    I can see you are going to be on the fence.
    [well, unless he goes to read the comments policy I suspect you won’t – AW]

  35. Blazeway – to repeat the comment above, neither YouGov nor Survation carried out any published polling in the week before the local elections that can be compared (you can’t compare polling for Westminster elections with local election results, people vote differently, and if you ask them, they give different answers).

    The only company that did do local election polling in the week before the elections was ComRes, who, like YouGov, do not prompt for UKIP. ComRes had UKIP on 22% in those areas with local elections.

    The actual shares of the vote in the areas with local elections (as opposed to the Equivalent National Share) was UKIP 20%, so ComRes marginally *overstated* UKIP support (possibly due to lower contestation by UKIP candidates).

    It would be wrong to extrapolate from one single data point, but the fact remains that the only poll for the local elections did NOT prompt for UKIP, and OVER stated their support.

  36. @AW

    Sorry I got ComRes and Survation mixed up. You are right local election polling is different to local election VI.

    I wonder how the result in 2015 will be affected by the face that there are local elections at the same time. Maybe there is a past casestudy.

  37. I thought Survation’s result very consistent with its method and also displaying less violence in shifts than they used.

    Either YG or Survation means the same for the outcome of a GE held today (you know what comes next by now but I don’t wish to emulate Chris Lane 1945’s style too closely).

  38. Regarding the flap my comments have caused – I was only responding to Paul Croft. My view was no more biased than his.

  39. @Blazeway

    I think the Survativion survey is accurate is theory, but in reality many who said they would vote UKIP will when faced with splitting the vote and allowing the “enemy” in will switch back to their 2010 vote.

    Tactical voting will hinder UKIP because they are miles behind in virtually all seats, so people will think they unrealistically can’t win their seat. ie see UKIP as a wasted vote. Longer term that should change.

  40. Thanks for this Anthony.

    CON 30%, LAB 40%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 14%

    Seems remarkably stable. identical poll to a couple of weeks back.

  41. Conservative central office have put out a survey to their local activists in a recent activist briefing, that looks like it’s going to get them in some hot water. One of the questions asked for Yes/No agreements to various statements on the NHS. Including “There should be no annual limit to the number of appointments patients can book to see their GP” and a few other gems on reducing GP cover.

    And of course it leaked, and of course it’s being taken as a sign that a policy of limiting the number of GP visits is being considered. (I can’t imagine it is for a moment, it’d go down like a lead balloon!) Which is why normally you’d expect this kind of polling to be buried in other polling conducted by someone else and not directly linked to the Conservatives at all. It really seems a bad blunder to have put out such a poll on what amounted to “Conservative Party Headed Notepaper”.

  42. Steve

    I take your point about the very small chance of being a victim of a terrorist attack even distantly but do you have any stats to prove that more people die from being kicked to death by donkeys, it seems a little far fetched to me

  43. Jayblanc

    I can see such a policy being initially very popular

  44. Interesting article in the Scotsman about Tory and UKIP.

    Cameron seems to be contributing to his own down fall as seen in the polls.

  45. Interesting to see that Ed’s ratings have gone up a bit almost equal to DC now. Is this because he got some publicity and exposure this week over being seen to stand up to Google at their own conference? I am still of the opinion that, approaching the GE itself, the more people actually see of Ed the more his approval ratings will go up.

  46. On the GP limit

    Sometimes you have to go back several times to your GP because they can’t indentify the problem, not your fault.

    What if you suffer from a mental illness, then I would suggest it’s a good idea to see your doctor regularly and not be limited.

    So when you “run out” of GP visits because you have been ill several times in that year, not your own fault, then what will people do? They we all turn up at A&E, which would be a disaster to that service.

    You can’t make it up.

  47. @Dan The Man

    And as i said, almost certainly not a realistic policy they could get through their own, older and more GP dependent, voters. Let alone through coalition government.

    But by mishandling an attempt to poll their activists attitudes on the NHS, they’ve created a nice big stick to hit them with.

  48. “No obvious change” may be a reasonable observation in the case of teh numbers, but to say the Woolwich shooting has had no effect is another matter.

    My belief is that without this shooting the press would have continued to focus on swivel eyed loons, gay marriage, europe and failing government projects, and the conservatives would have been a lot lower.

  49. Another interesting problem for the Coalition: The BBC are reporting a Labour – Tories pact to push through the Data Bill which Clegg and the Lib Dems totally oppose. How will this play out I wonder?

1 2 3 5