This morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun had topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 39%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 13%. Whereas once the YouGov daily poll was pretty consistent in showing an average Labour lead of ten points or so, the lead is now in single figures more often than not, suggesting an underlying average of around 8 or 9 points. Full tabs are here.

The Sun this morning also had some YouGov polling on how people see the political leaders, in particular how they compare to Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, both in their own way challengers to the current system and politicians who manage to present themselves as “anti-politicians” (Farage quite explicitly, Boris just by being Boris!). Full tabs are here.

Farage and Boris are both seen as more in touch than any of the main party leaders, and are both seen as less stage-managed than the main party leaders (though Farage is still seen as more stage managed than genuine). In terms of honesty Boris is seen as the most honest of the five, but not by a large amount. The biggest contrast is on whether they would be interesting or boring to spend time with, where Boris is in a completely different league to the others. The two “anti-politicians” score very differently on competence questions. Here the incumbent still does best, with David Cameron scoring the highest on being good in a crisis and on being up to the job of governing. Nigel Farage scores very badly on both – people may well think he is doing well as leader of UKIP, but he is not seen as someone who would be good at governing. In contrast Boris Johnson is only just behind Cameron on both measures – he’s managing to keep that anti-politician charm, while at the same time looking up to the job.

Also out today is some new polling for Lord Ashcroft, or actually two new polls, a telephone one asking voting intention and a couple of other questions, and a longer online one asking background questions. Voting intention there stands at CON 27%, LAB 37%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 15% (as far as I know Populus conducted these polls for Lord Ashcroft, but even if not, they appear to be using Populus’s methodology).

The other findings in the poll are mostly swings and roundabouts, the Conservative lead over Labour on competence and having clear ideas has grown slightly, but they have fallen slightly further behind on values and being for everyone. The people who say they are satisfied with David Cameron as Prime Minister has fallen slightly, but the proportion who prefer him to Ed Miliband is almost unchanged. One interesting point is that David Cameron is no longer significantly more popular than the Conservative party as he was a few years back. It is now much more evenly matched – 18% say they are more favourable to Cameron, 22% more favourable to the Conservatives (the rest were equally favourable/unfavourable about them both). Compare that to Ed Miliband though, who still trails badly behind Labour – 10% are more favourable to Miliband, 38% the Labour party.

Ashcroft also re-asked a question on the European Union from last December, asking people if they were favourable or unfavourable towards the EU and if they think Britain should stay in or leave. Only 19% have a favourable opinion of the EU, compared to 50% with a negative opinion. However, a significant proportion of those anti still think Britain is better in than out, so of the 50% with a negative view, 17% think Britain is better staying. This means that despite negative perceptions of the EU, overall 36% think we are better off in, compared to the 33% who think we would be better off out (the other 32% profess no strong views either way).

152 Responses to “New YouGov and Ashcroft polls”

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  1. I know to be cautious about sub samples but neither Farage or Boris do that we’ll in Scotland.


  2. The EU figures (36 IN, 34 OUT) are a surprise. Especially given the overwhelmingly negative image that the British media gives out about the EU.

    I can’t help thinking that – if the worse of the Euro crisis were past, and the likes of Richard Branson and others get the chance to put the case for being in the EU – any referendum could be a very close call in either direction. And could well be a narrow victory for the STAY IN side.

  3. Sorry, that should be

    “36 better off IN, 33 better off OUT”.

  4. Peter Cairns,

    Though we apparentely agree with the English that Boris Johnson would be the most enjoyable to spent time with and he does the best of all politicians on being “genuine”, which makes sense because no focus group would write up a public persona QUITE like Boris Johnson’s!

  5. Turk,Shevii

    Go to ALDC website.

    Both local council by-elections .

    ALDC does regular updates ,best source by far for local by-elections.

    Regards from Deepest Somerset.

  6. Ewen


  7. @ Ewen

    Thanks for the link. Liked the 61 votes for ‘It’s time to put Newcastle first’. Maybe it isn’t quite time :-)

  8. It’s ironic that Johnson scores heavily as the most genuine of all the five political leaders because there are many who know him well, not least his biographer and former Number 2 at the Daily Telegraph, Sonia Purnell who say the very opposite about him.

    From his famous dishevelled hair to his artfully stage-managed pratfalls, Purnell paints a picture of a man forever crafting and honing an image. She said this about him: “”I had observed that under a well-cultivated veneer of disorganisation lay not so much a streak of aspiration as a torrent of almost frightening focus and drive.”

    In fairness to Johnson, when you see these polling results one can only accept and acknowledge that we are seeing a public relations genius at work here.

  9. I do find it out that despite several well documented extra marital liaisons Boris does well for honesty!!!

    Oddly enough he only does marginal worse amongst women voters. I wonder how he would do if fidelity was specifically asked about as I suspect that if he got to be Tory leader he would be subject to the same kind of jibes that Paddy Ashdown had to suffer.

    I thinkBoris has skeletons in his cupboard that would keep falling out.


  10. Bill P

    From previous thread.
    “On the basis of British Social Attitudes surveys, if Miliband is going to lead us into an egalitarian era, he’s going to do that in spite of public opinion, which is less egalitarian than it was in the 1980s. For example, the 2010 BSAS had support for redistribution of income at less than 40% of the public, in stark contrast to the past.”

    There’s something for everyone in the BSA data. The figure you quote are in answer to the question: “How much do you agree or disagree that … GOVERNMENT (my emphasis) should redistribute income from the better-off to those who are less well off.”

    A few observations:

    1) Attitudes have got somewhat more bolshie on this one since the start of the Great Recession. In 2005, 32.7% agreed with that statement and the balance of Agree-Disagree was -7%. in 2011, the figures were 37.8% and +3.7%.

    2) I’d suggest that when times get harder, people get a little more stroppy on this issue.

    3) I’d also suggest that there is a hidden implied issue with this question. It can be read as suggesting that the Govt should move money from mean or median income people to those at the very bottom of the scale. Or a question on whether Govt should be involved in the process. When a related question is posed, we see a very different answer:
    4) “How much do you agree or disagree that … income and wealth should be redistributed towards ordinary working people?” As far as I can tell, this has only been posed in 2010. The result was
    Agree Strongly: 16.1%
    Agree: 39.2%
    Neither: 22.1%
    Disagree: 18.3%
    Disagree Strongly: 4.3%

    4) Now again, this question could be interpreted as suggesting that people would like to see income and wealth distributed from skivers to strivers. So let’s try a different question.

    5) From the Ipsos-Mori archive data on the question “People have different views about the ideal society. For each of these statements, please tell me which one comes closest to your ideal A)A society which allows people to make and keep as much money as they can, B)A society which emphasises similar incomes and rewards for everyone”


    None of these are earth shattering movements, but they suggest that the “squeezed middle” meme has some traction. And indeed the IFS report I linked to earlier indicates that it is precisely lower-middle income groups that have seen the lowest income rise over the past 20-odd years.

  11. “It’s ironic that Johnson scores heavily as the most genuine of all the five political leaders… [etc]”

    And scores well as in-touch, despite thinking £250k a year is “chicken feed”!

  12. We could have fun all day long with the BSA data. Thanks for reminding me about it.

    How much do you agree or disagree that … Differences in income in Britain are too large?


  13. Alex Harvey

    and this is the problem that some of us have with the reality at the moment.

    It is clear to most who follow politics carefully think that Johnson is a chancer and an opportunist – even those who like him think that (see various quotes from Tories).

    He is a media creation though and controls his PR so carefully that even his many faux pas are brushed over. The Darius Guppy incident being a case in point. Any sort of amorality by an equivalent leftie (or Cameron) would be jumped on by the press but Johnson is immune.

    If the Great British Public cannot see through someone as transparent as Johnson, what chance is there for more genuine politicans getting a message across. Instead all they do is try to emulate the PR.

    What a sad state of affairs if this charlatan is considered primus inter pares!


    Very well put; couldn’t agree more!

  15. LeftyLampton,

    I think it primarily shows that people are in favour of redistributing income towards themselves. That’s not good for the left: that’s a disaster, because it means that people are increasingly only willing to support collectivist policies if they are benefiting from them personally.

    That people want more evenly distributed incomes AND less government redistribution of income in comparison to the 1980s suggests a rise in (dare I say it?) Victorian values, of a sort, i.e. “there needs to be redistribution of income, but by voluntary rather than coercive means”. Call it “Carnegie Capitalism”.

    Also, comparisons with 2005 (or 2004) are dubious, since those were years of unusually low levels of concern with income inequality as compared to other years.

    My original point, though, was regarding young people. The evidence suggests a generational shift (peculiar to the UK) that creates a long-term problem for both the Labour party and the Tory party. It’s not that young people are generally Hayekians, but rather that on average young people are both less socialistic and less conservative than their parents were when they were young.

    One possible interpretation is that communitarian values have to be symmetric: an emphasis on conformity and obediance in one sphere of life naturally goes with such emphasis in other spheres. In other words, it’s hard to maintain the principle that people should generally be “Free to Choose” when it comes to their sexuality, reading, country of residence, religion, AND at the same time be collectively obliged when it comes to their economic life. Similarly, Thatcherite concepts personal choice and responsibility sits uneasily with the view that people should generally be white heterosexual church-goers.

    It would at least be an amusing irony if the two predominant philosophies of the past 40 years (liberal social democracy and the New Right) turned out to be mutually and internally undermining. I’m sceptical, because the idea is pleasing to me, and as Francis Bacon pointed out, one should always be sceptical about ideas that one finds pleasing!

    In particular, I wonder if (a) there has simply been a shift of moral traditions and our concepts of “social conservativism” haven’t caught up. Perhaps people with a socially conservative attitude are now feminists and anti-smoking campaigners? Both Mary Whitehouse and the hardline feminists agree that it’s the state’s responsibility to make people good via censorship; they just disagree on the content to be censored. And (b) I do wonder if my generation will get more economically left-wing as we get older, simply because the welfare state is increasingly favouring older people.

  16. As many of you have it in for BJ, could I mention in defence that his mayoral record is largely one of benign implementation of Livingstone and Adonis schemes, so perhaps we should just recognise that in an X factor political world it really doesn’t matter.

    We don’t have a presidential system, and even if we had, we see that Obama, for instance, is essentially a political eunuch, however charming on TV, just as much as BJ.

    The London Assembly is a NOC situation, but essentially leftish, and BJ has to mind his ps and qs. So does our PM have to, although DC has no problem with that anyway, being a naturally collegiate fellow.

    I am relaxed about a BJ premiership, as he will always ask someone sensible what he should do.

    EM, on the other hand, knows exactly what he should do, and is only merely not happy about telling it too soon. The same goes for NC, in my view.

    Hope that was sufficiently ‘benignly non-partisan’. :-)

  17. “One interesting point is that David Cameron is no longer significantly more popular than the Conservative party as he was a few years back.”

    Hmm, so is this an indication of a significant change in how joe public perceive DC? If so, this will alarm the Cons.

  18. Howard
    l don’t expect the folks in Pakistan 0bama is zapping with drones think he is a political eunuch!

  19. Mike N

    “DC is no longer significantly more popular than the C/Party.” “this will alarm the cons”

    EM is more unpopular than DC and significantly more unpopular than the Labour party,
    If the VI keeps on closing over the next year which leader is likely to be a bigger handicap to there party, just a thought.

  20. Ewen Lightfoot
    You mean another USA president would be not allowing such?

  21. Oh, Miliband’s been a bigger handicap than Cameron all along*, and no doubt will continue to be up until election day. I doubt anyone would contest that.

    The problem is that unlike Labour who are… okay, not popular, but significantly ahead in the polls and blessed with an electoral advantage in terms of vote distribution, the Tories are relying on Cameron’s greater personal charisma to carry them through the election. If he’s starting to trail his already unpopular party, they’ve lost one of the main planks of their election campaign.

    OTOH that shift looked well within MoE to me, so I don’t think we should be getting too excited about it at this stage.

    * In terms of personal polling, at least. The overall consequences of his leadership for his party remain to be seen…

  22. A worry for Cameron may be that up until now he could counter talk of a leadership challenge by pointing out to his party that he was more popular than they were.

    If that situation is reversing then if the knives are not yet out people might be rummaging in their cutlery drawers.

    Seperately I saw this on the BBC and thought it a good antidote to the debates on here about recovery.


  23. @PeteCairns

    Northern Ireland began a program of school closures in 2006. It’s 2013 and they’ve just about finished all the preliminary consultations. One school near the border in Co Fermanagh has been in pretty much continuous consultation about closure since 2008. In 1976 it took one decision to close six schools to enable Norfolk County Council to complete its share of the IMF cuts.

  24. The secondary school age population is projected to fall by 10-20% by 2020, depending on region (more in the north). There are going to be a lot of school closures everywhere, unless an area can attract a lot of immigrants.

  25. Hal

    Where did you get that fact from?
    Government projections show increases in both primary and secondary school numbers. Between 5% and 10% increase from now to 2020.

  26. Not sure about secondary schools, but there is extreme pressure on primary places in this neck of the woods. Logic suggests that this would mean something similar for secondaries, if not now then in the near future.

    Ironically Plymouth closed quite a few primary schools in the 2000s. Most of those sites are about to get houses built on them. No doubt the new schools will go up on parks and greenfields, as the ratchet of land loss continues.

  27. I think that the problem with Boris enthusiasts is that they are preaching to the
    Converted,and as we all know that gets us absolutely nowhere.

  28. Cloud Spotter,

    How interesting. Looking at the March 2013 version of the DoE report you link, p5, there is a graph showing age 11-15 pupil numbers falling from 2011 to 2015 by between 3%(London) and 9%(North East). But then the figures turn up again. That contradicts other reports I’ve seen (wish I could find) that have them continuing to fall… Maybe it depends on future migration assumptions.

    Interesting they don’t have any 16-18 figures because the methodology is under review (i.e. in doubt).

  29. Hal
    On the worksheet ‘figure 4’ on the Main Charts link, it shows overall school numbers with high, low and no migration. It makes surprising little difference.
    Something we don’t hear in the anti-immigration debate.


    Croatia 0. Scotland 1.

    True it was against the run of play and Maloney was going nowhere surrounded by three defends when he fell over and the ball rickocheted off a Croatian heal to bounce diagonally into the path of Snograsses who to be honest was half a yard off side to then bounce off his foot and over the keeper, but it was a world class strike.


  31. @ Hal & Cloud Spotter

    There’s a decline in number of children at aged 5 which was to some degree compensated by immigration. The government report used projections from 2008 (check it) and it forgot that a large number of Poles went home…

  32. It is always good to use ONS figures for demography (than government-adjusted ones).

  33. Peter Cairns,

    I thought Snodgrass was onside, but the ball clearly deflected off a Croatian player anyway.

    I was overjoyed by both the result and the way we won: I hate the “long ball/corners” game, because it makes the game too much a matter of who can sprint fastest or jump highest, rather than a game of skill and teamwork. The ball was kept low and the passing was some of the best I’ve ever seen from Scotland; as a result, the action was nearly 50-50 quite apart from the goal. I hope we’ll see that kind of play in the future.

  34. Howard
    Another US Pres potentially doing the same does not make Obama a political eunuch.
    Are you seriously saying that Obama is only ever doing exactly what Bush would have done?
    If you are then that’s a tad nihilistic and l think SoCalLib will be a bit pi**ed !

  35. peter and bill

    please note that this is NOT a site for discussing scotch football – wottever that is.


  36. @PC

    Course it is, and if you insist on talking football next season, please wait until MOTD is past. It spoils it for others.

    For now… Croatia 0 – 1 Scotland… aaaah!

  37. PaulCroft

    Pssst – calling them scotch really gets them wound up for some reason. Useful to know sometimes…

  38. Just been told that scotch football is the same as proper footy but just not as good.

    Weird, ‘cos it really seems very different indeed.

  39. BILL
    “I think it primarily shows that people are in favour of redistributing income towards themselves. That’s not good for the left: that’s a disaster, because it means that people are increasingly only willing to support collectivist policies if they are benefiting from them personally.”

    This is likely to be determined not only generationally but by marital status; that is, by whether you have a family to look after and thus whether housing, health services, educational provision, employment, social security affect their, and thus your, interests. Applying demographics (yeah, good to see ONS referred to here) and a reading of the spending patterns and rise of the singles as a consumer market in the past 30 years, have a look at the age of marriage as a probable factor in attitudes to wealth distribution and choice of marriage age as determined by attitudes to enjoying the good things of life while you can:

    Age of marriage of previously single people ;
    male female
    mean age median age mean age median age
    1981 25.4 24.1 23.1 22.0
    1991 27.5 26.5 25.5 24.6
    2001 30.6 29.7 28.4 27.7
    2009 32.1 30.8 29.9 28.9

  40. Sorry, can’t manage table columns. Still readable, I hope, and significant for VI as well as spending and income distribution attitudes, I guess.

  41. Turk
    Yes, you’re right about EM’s ‘popularity’. But it has been observed on here many times (occasionally by AW, too) that this may already be factored into the Lab VI.

    DC’s ‘popularity’ has historically been ahead of the Con VI, and also perhaps factored into that VI. Were DC’s ‘popularity’ to decline/decrease we might therefore expect it to be reflected in Con VI.

    I think the Cons have placed much emphasis and expectation on voters perceiving DC as ‘better’ than EM and voting accordingly. I’m sure Cons will be dismayed if this hope/stratagem proves misplaced or ineffective.

  42. I always like to look at the subset data for these polls, and despite the single digit Labour lead overall, this is because the average includes the south of England, which is the only region where the Tories continue to lead Labour. Everywhere else, including the battleground Midlands, Labour has huge leads over the Tories. Of significance too is the Labour lead over the SNP in Scotland for Westminster voting intentions, indicating that they would gain seats if a GE was held today, and that is from a high base-Scotland bucked the trend last time, showing a swing towards Labour.

    Of course subset analysis is not possible with such small numbers, but the aggregate of You Gov polls over say a month is usable data. Electoral Calculus now use this aggregated data for Scotland, the same could be done for the regions of England, and Wales. in that sense the Labour lead over the Tories is big enough where it matters most to win a GE outright.


    @” I saw this on the BBC and thought it a good antidote to the debates on here about recovery.”

    A very interesting briefing from IfG/IFS-and nothing to do with “the recovery” at all-but to do with the elephant in the room-Debt.

    To quote from the briefing :-

    “. In any case, the Chancellor’s fiscal target was just to balance the deficit in order to slow the growth of
    debt, not reduce the stockpile. With debt now forecast to peak at around 90% of GDP, deeper cuts for longer are likely to be necessary after 2017-18 if government want public finances that could withstand another major economic shock. ”

    In other words, if you have been running deficits for over a decade, peaking at 11% of GDP in one year alone-even when you start spending no more than your annual income-you have a mountain of debt to deal with.

    This is the imperative which awaits the new government in 2015-and 2020.

    The quote in the IFS/IfG Briefing from Goran Persson is very interesting . . In answer to the question -“how long can governments continue to reduce spending?”:-

    “You have two years. If you are not in command of the process by then, you will lose momentum and soon face the next election-when you will be replaced”.

    No surprise then , that this briefing sees Tax rises coming.

  44. @PaulCroft

    What has football got to do with this site? In my opinion a dreadfully boring game akin to reading the telephone directory.

  45. Peter Cairns

    Some very sloppy reporting in that BBC piece you posted. Take this paragraph: just inserting one word (as I have highlighted) makes it factually correct and significantly alters the effect.

    “While the government has stuck to most of its plans from 2010, there has been less growth than HE expected, which has reduced the amount of money the government has taken in taxes.”

    The original was ridiculously poor reporting. It suggests that there was a consensus on the “expected” economic growth projections in 2010. There was not. There were expansionary fiscal consolidation predictions and there the contractionary fiscal consolidation predictions. One group has been consistently and spectacularly wrong.

  46. An interesting report from House-builder Bellway.

    It says Reservations have averaged 160 properties a week in April & May representing a 31pc increase on the same period a year earlier.Bellway said there had been a pick-up in customer interest since the Help to Buy scheme, which makes state-backed mortgages and incentives available to more people, launched on April 1. Help to Buy has been used in some 360 reservations so far, according to the company.


    Midst criticism that GO’s house purchase interventions will merely push up prices, there are signs that the schemes are boosting supply :-

  47. @ TOH

    While there is no footie on during the Summer, I generally start updating my football stats (doing a history on my local team) but seeing as you recommend it I shall give your alternative of the telephone directory a try and let you how that works out!

    @ Peter Cairns

    Great result for you but not really in the top ten of great Scottish football moments- I would guess the top one must be Les Seaman being lobbed from 50 yards in the England v Brazil game.

  48. Mike N

    Sorry but we will have to disagree, I think on the actual run up to the GE the leaders ability to connect with the public is very important to the party they represent.

    We saw in the last election the impact Clegg was able to bring to the result, we also saw that Brown didn’t make that contact with the public and lost support.
    As far as DC went he was able to overturn a large Labour majority although falling short of a OM.

    I dont think it’s a good argument by quoting how well documented EM lack of leadership qualities are quoted on these pages, as everybody including myself is comming from a entrenced point of view excluding AW of course.

    My argument concerns those people who actually will make the difference in a GE the floating voter, they are the people who will be more influenced by the personality of a Leader and how credible they are when laying out there policies and arguing there point under pressure rather than giving a speech to the converted.

    I’m not suggesting that the sole reason for voting for a party will depend exclusively on the persona of a particular leader their are of course many factors at play, but it makes sense to have a leader who is at least polling the same as his party than one who is consistantly behind the popularity of there own party ,remembering my original premise that the VI may close to within a couple of points on the run up to the GE.

    The only time I would agree that leadership for a party is not so important is if the opposition is consistantly polling VI in double figures in the last 6 months before the GE then something absolutely disasterous would have to happen before the GE for that party to lose.
    But with a close VI it may well be the ability of the Leader to make contact with the public that will be the difference between winning or losing.

  49. Eddie Izzard may well be the next Labour Candidate for London Mayor now that’s a man who can well and truly out Boris Boris

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