This morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun had topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 38%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 13%. The six point Labour lead is their lowest from YouGov since the local elections (and equals the lowest this year – YouGov had a six point Labour lead and the beginning of May and a couple in January). As ever, don’t get too excited over a single poll, but it is in line with Labour’s average lead with YouGov now being in the high single figures. Full tabs are here.

Also out yesterday was some polling of Conservative party members for Tim Bale and Paul Webb. The results yesterday just covered approval and attitudes towards the European Union. As things stand Conservative party members are overwhelmingly in favour of withdrawal from the European Union, by 71% to 20%. However, asked how they would vote if David Cameron secured renegotiation and recommended people vote to stay in, 54% would vote to stay, 38% to leave.

I’d take two things away from that. The first is that many Conservative party members are still open to persuasion – if Cameron managed to renegotiate Britain’s membership in some way they could be persuaded to back him (though of course, it would very much depend on what Cameron managed to secure). The second is that many others aren’t, even in the scenario of Cameron’s successfully renegotiating powers (and that itself is a serious challenge), 4 in 10 of Conservative members would not vote with him in a referendum. If a referendum does ever happen, and if the Conservative leadership are campaigning to stay in, it really is going to open up a gulf between the leadership and some party members. Full tabs are here.

348 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 32, LAB 38, LD 10, UKIP 13”

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  1. ROB

    Hi-long time no abuse!

    I’m sure your lady is a very useful academic.

    Very best wishes to you both for a long, happy & Social Democrat future together.

    Hate to say it -but I miss your contributions-but I’m sure you will be pleased with Ed’s ( we will do what George does) speech to the assembled Lefties this morning.

    Some of the audience don’t seem too impressed though.

    Have a great wedding.

  2. Well done The Lions-a great win.

    Shame about that slip Aussie.

  3. Well that was a pretty daft speech from Milliband the Younger…

  4. Am actually very pleased Miliband has probably gone against Balls and ruled out any more borrowing if they get in. If nothing else it should rule out a really leftist agenda, as I doubt they can raise taxes that much. Can a Labour Party run a tight economic ship?, that is the question we know voters have huge doubts about!

    “Well that was a pretty daft speech from Milliband the Younger…”

    Why ? What was it that didn’t impress you ?

  6. This borrowing debate is a bit of nonsense anyway. The UK is having to borrow about £120bn a year, due to the failure of the economy. If growth was to return to average levels, with tax receipts up, then the level of borrowing would drop. There would then be scope to borrow to invest in infrastructure projects that most people would argue as being sensible.

    The real debate that will happen will not be about borrowing, but about department spending, particularly benefits of all types. As usual Lab, Lib and Tories will get into a bidding war about pensioner benefits, as the group most likely to vote.

  7. @ Lefty,

    I broadly agree with you, but it is worth noting that the collapse of the Lib Dems has raised the Tory ceiling as well as the Labour one. It’s been disproportionately beneficial to Labour, but it’s also enough to get the Tories into the upper 30s when they’re not suffering from all their other problems.

    I think if they could get a sort of Michael Heseltine/David Davis hybrid as leader- someone from a working-class background with a centre-right economic stance instead of a hardline Thatcherite one- they might be in with a shot, even running as conservatives instead of Gladstonian Liberals.

  8. @spearmint,

    I agree with you. Whilst background should be irrelevant, we have developed a society where the one group you seem to be able to be prejudice against is anybody with money/millionaires..

    For this reason alone, somebody from a working class background but with a centre right economic outlook would probably suit the Tories now.

  9. I certainly hope there is a Leveson type public enquiry into the latest revelations about baby deaths which should also include the Mid staffs diaster.

    Public confidence in the NHS has been rocked by these two scandals especially if there was a ministerial cover-up either by Lansley a few weeks after he took office, or by Burnham wanting to cover up bad news on the run up to the 2010 election.

    In my opinion this is a much more serious issue than phone hacking, hundreds of people have lost there lives through medical incompetence, lack of care and a bureaucratic cover-up of epic proportions and not a single person has yet been held to account.

    I’m not a huge fan of public enquiries but what’s been going on in the NHS probably for the last decade needs airing in detail and in the full glare of a public enquiry hopefully along side a criminal investigation.

    This is not about party politics this is about doing the decent and honest thing for relatives of the lost ones.

  10. @RobS

    Iam guessing you had more important things on your mind than politics…Congrats and good luck

    Agree that the Eds have been good…So have been the Tories recently but a big downer for them is the recent ONS figures showing borrowing increasing…,All those spending cuts for what?

  11. Rich
    Maybe that advice should be passed to Mr Cameron before He goes out to collect another Old Etonian SPAD

  12. @Turk

    Leveson was about parts of an entire industry, particularly one very influential multinational company, subverting parts of of the apparatus of State, especially including the police force in the cause of institutionalised criminality, which they then attempted – with the complicity of many of their so-called commercial rivals – first to cover up, and then to evade serious sanction.

    The NHS issues are about the failure of a managerialist culture in a very large organisation and, in particular, a mentality of buck-passing and covering up.

    Both are serious, but I am not sure that you can decide one is more serious than the other.

    I do not think that there will be a public enquiry into the NHS because neither main party likes the implications that it will bring.

    I would also suggest that even if there is not an enquiry, the NHS has already shown a good deal more contrition and desire to change than the media industry has. The attitude of much of the latter appears to be anger at the impertinence of others to delve into their affairs.


    @”a sort of Michael Heseltine/David Davis hybrid ”

    Like Frankenstein.

  14. TURK

    Agree-though I would like to see the Health Select Committee grill every minister who presided over CQC, and all senior Board members, past & present.

    -Why that inspection regime, why was it changed, what qualifications did they have, who appointed the Board, how & why were those people appointed, who knew what when, and what did they do about it.?


  15. @ Rich,

    It’s not quite that, I think- it’s more that it doesn’t look good to do things that benefit your own class at the expense of other classes, or seem like vindictive punitive strikes in a class war. If Dennis Skinner were Chancellor and raised the top rate of tax, he would probably get the same amount of stick that Osborne got for lowering it.

    (Although if Dennis Skinner were Chancellor we might have bigger things to worry about…)


    @”Leveson was about parts of an entire industry, particularly one very influential multinational company,”

    Yes-that’s what we were told.

    Turns out Leveson was dealing with 20% of the problem. It also seems that , whilst he was made aware of the other 80%-he didn’t mention it during his enquiry, or put it in his report.

  17. TURK

    “In my opinion this is a much more serious issue than phone hacking”

    But it is delicious to watch Mr Hunt’s sincere and righteous indignation about there having been a cover up.

    Rich and tasty fare.


    @”The NHS issues are about the failure of a managerialist culture in a very large organisation and, in particular, a mentality of buck-passing and covering up.”

    Or to put it another way-…….are about the suppression of data in connection with the unnecessary deaths and neglect of patients, and the complaints of their relatives; in order to avoid criticism of MInisters, DoH Officials & NHS staff.

  19. NICKP

    Hunt says he wants to speak for patients & their relatives.

    So, just like Michael Gove, who wants to speak for pupils & their parents, he will receive no support whatsoever from the Public Servants involved-or indeed their Trades Unions.

  20. @nicp,

    It’s not exactly something Labour can gain political capital out of…

  21. @Colin

    Gove’s major problem is that he has zero understanding of how to sell his ideas to key stakeholders in the teaching profession. He also treats these stakeholders with.complete contempt.

    I don’t know, but if I was interested in finding genuine solutioms to dee-seated problems within an industry, I would consult with key stakeholders of considerable experience in that industry. I would also be interested to hear their views and whether they had any ideas.

    Gove’s a very poor politician, who only wants to.impose his way from.above. That way disaster lies.

    Hunt’s issues are different. A quango that is meant to oversee the NHS has allegedly acted reprehensibly. Fortunately he isn’t like Gove. He’ll follow a much more consensual approach in.dealing with the matter that will probably yield much better results.

    Not that Hunt’s decision making is without question. His decision to continue with the scheduled closure of the A &E unit at the,best performing hospital in South East London – Lewisham Hospital – is an outrage.

    However, his general approach to high profile challenges is much more inclusive and collegiate than Gove’s.

  22. Hunt says he wants to speak for patients & their relatives.
    So, just like Michael Gove, who wants to speak for pupils & their parents, he will receive no support whatsoever from the Public Servants involved-or indeed their Trades Unions.



    I agree. Any attempt at progression (even by Labour under Blair) seems to be so often met with a default setting of opposition. Through my own children I know that whilst their are fantastic teachers, the bizarre curriculum especially around English is putting us behind other countries.

    Essentially, from what I can see, grammar and spelling don’t seem to have anything like as much focus as they used to, probably for some politically correct fear of red marks on children’s books and how it might upset them, constrain creativity etc. It really saddens me to see how grammar has slipped, and I think Gove is spot on with what he is trying to do, but the opposition and resistance is huge, so no guarantee he can pull it off. I honestly can’t see how any parent with children going through the system could fail to spot this issue. I actually do a lot of spelling tests myself for this reason as I feel I need to compensate in this area.

  23. there I mean. Good job have not started the grammar tests yet! :-)

  24. RICH

    I agree completely.


    “Selling ” the idea of more challenging exams to teaching professionals” who want to retain endless re-sits, and think that “an element of assessment for grammar, spelling and punctuation” should be opposed (1) is a thankless task. You either give in to the union-or press on.

    And perhaps I can remind you that some of your ” key stakeholders of considerable experience” insist that one of the countries most successful teachers has suddenly become an idiot because he is now Chief Inspector of Schools.

    I note that Hunt said he has been inspired by Gove-an excellent model to follow .

    (1) NUT response to Consultation on GCSE reform.

  25. @Colin

    Leveson had certain terms of reference, as you well know. He had enough on his plate without getting into other areas.

    If you are genuinely concerned about the issues brought up, why not raise them with the team you support?

  26. Rich – imo the targets are the problem leading teachers in certain directions.

    Concentrating on D-C so the most and least able are ill-served and the resit culture so that in my kids school in some subjects the middling kids are entered early as a kind of practice/diagnostic whilst the more able who could pass early are not as they will pass anyway.

    Take away the targets and league tables and i believe Teachers and Schools will provide a better education for more pupils.

    BTW – I agree with addressing the resits issue which distorts in many ways. Some modular learning and examinations, however, can be better than final exam approach which test memory more than anything else but course work is open to so much abuse of course.

  27. re SPaG, I may be wrong but I thought the disagreement is over whether assessing students capabilities in others subjects should take account of SPaG.
    So Student A who understands History better may get a lower mark than Student B who can spell better.

    There is a reasonable view that it is History being assessed not English and that as long as the work can be understood SPaG is not relevant.

    Clearly in assessing English this is different.

  28. @Colin

    If you read Phil Hammond in the Times this week, you will know that doctors are unimpressed with Tory attempts to politicise the NHS issues when they are desperately blowing the whistle on A&E failings and are disappointed with his response.

    When tribalists resort to smearing GPs as a bunch of Lefties, something is badly wrong. I think it’s worth remembering that politicians are far from devoid of their own vested interests and some of the figures cited are the very opposite of neutral figures.

  29. To hell with grammar

  30. @Rich

    “There are” not “their are”.

    This kind of correction is compulsary for anyone getting on their grammatical high horse.

    I am firmly of the belief that the main issue with teaching is that teachers have not been allowed to get on with actually teaching to a set curriculum because of the desire for meddling politicians trying to show off.

    If you were to believe popular opinion, then you would believe three things.

    Firstly, that although one’s own children and their friends are delightful and intelligent, young people in general ghastly, rude and stupid and therefore if they’re doing well at school (especially getting better grades than the observer), then it is proof positive that the system of assessment is not good enough. After all, millions of years of human evolution peaked with the observer and subsequent generations cannot conceivably be either smarter or better taught.

    Secondly, that although most, of not all, of one’s offspring’s teachers (and those you have met in general) are excellent and devoted, the failings of the educational system are nevertheless the fault of teachers in general, who, as a group are lazy, not particularly bright, no good at their subject, peculiarly resistant to any kind of change (despite having been subject to scads of it, continuously, for years), and overpaid.

    Thirdly, that educational standards have apparently been in decline more or less forever, although they were certainly more stringent when the observer went to school.


    I presume you are refering to the BMA’s rejection of any suggestion that the out-of hours arrangements which replaced those which GPs used to provide , have been a factor in increased pressure on A&E.

    Frankly I think that any patient knows that the current out-of-hours provision leaves them with no alternative , if they are concerned,

    And that includes the botched introduction of NHS111, as well as the useless provision of out of hours GP care.

  32. Chris Riley,

    “The problem that the Tories have is even their media supporters have largely taken leave of their senses”


    Theresa May, assuming she can keep on top of things over the next two years, would make a very good leader. Handling the Home Office for 5 years without a major scandal would be the single greatest achievement in British politics in recent times. Still, what the Tories really need is a young leader with liberal-conservative views, a largely fresh slate, and an ability to get serious. Oh wait: that’s just what the grassroots Tories hate…

  33. @Colin

    Any patient also knows that the issues started well after the contracts were brought in and seem to have become more serious after large scale changes in the NHS.

    An answer of ‘It’s nothing to do with us, it’s all Labour’s fault’ really is absolutely not good enough.

  34. Chris Riley

    “I’m not sure you can decide one is more serious than the other”

    Oh yes I can, it’s the one that let hundreds of people die a slow painful death in a place they should have been cared for.

  35. The sole point of exams is not whether it is harder or easier than the previous years – it is how accurately it puts students in a rank order. That’s all Universities and employers want to know. All the time and money sorting out if this year’s exam are harder or easier is just waste.

    Grammar is actually irrelevant for first language learning; look at how babies progress. Grammar is but a tool for teaching, not an end in itself. Look at it this way – it’s the person who can use language which is the persuasive user of language. The person who can only analyse it is a nerd.

    Targets and tables are stupid; they tell you what happened. Students differ from year to year – teachers can lead a student to knowledge but some are finally thicker than others.

    And it’s home background which still makes most difference to exam results – amount of books read, the sort of holidays taken, the excursions parents take children on (museums or not) – and such like. It’s why private schools and Grammar schools get results- the home background is enriched. But politicians cant say that as parents vote…

    Schools are about pushing students through curriculum hoops which any school can do.

  36. @ Colin

    I am a bit disappointed with your post re teaching changes. I know we don’t normally agree (obviously being of different political persuasions!) but I always think you put forward a good argument.

    Your post though was highly political and rather dismissive of the teachers as just being self centred and Union extremists. Nothing could be further from the truth. I remember reading my wife’s NAHT magazine after the election and I made some (admittedly biased) comment about how lovey dovey there were with Gove. Less than a year later they were approving strike action for the first time ever.

    Teachers are generally very mild in terms of militancy and very pupil focused. The extra stuff over and above the contract that they do at my wife’s school amazes me.

    I do agree with some of your general comments about the exam structure and obviously there are things that need changing but I see no strong resistance to change in the profession (indeed most of the changes happen within the profession as good practice).

    I just don’t think Gove has engaged with the profession and has simply tried to impose measures that he thinks are suitable (rote learning the names of the continents by the age of 7 rather than actually learning something useful about, say, 3 continents which would give that learning some meaning). I find it hard to accept that if reasonable proposals were brought forward and discussed with teachers that there wouldn’t be positive feedback from them.

  37. @Chris,

    Culture takes years to evolve, and some of the behaviours we have seen are linked to culture. You have to look to New Labours time in office for that.

  38. Grammar and spelling have slipped because as the ciriculum expands something has to give.

    As more than three quarters of the workforce now use computers or computerised tills spelling and arithmetic get squeezed because we tend to have machines that do it for us.

    Most employers are looking for good analytical and communications skills more than good grammar.

    I do laugh every time the egomaniacs on “The Apprentice” have to do even an elementary bit of arithmetic but to be honest, I can’t really back more emphasis on SPaG if you only see it on there form at the job centre.

    If people want an emphasis on SPaG tell us what the would drop to make way for it? Geography, chemistry, mathes???

    It”s a zero sum game, something has to give.



    I didn’t say it was “all Labour’s fault”.

    There are, I’m sure a number of factors-but they do not exclude NHS111 , or lack of out of ours GP attendance.

    Frankly, I don’t know how the Paramedics cope-or retain their sanity. A&E on a Friday or Saturday night is parade of drunks & minor injuries , with lots of swearing.

  40. @Turk

    The CQC failure is serious enough without resorting to unnecessary hyperbole.

    I happen to think that the toxic mix of corporate power, institutionalised illegality, subversion of arms of the State, political collusion and the utter refusal of most of the media to even accept that should be scrutinised, let alone change – and their ability to enforce that refusal – makes the phone-hacking scandal one of, if not the, most serious of my lifetime.

    I can’t decide whether the CQC scandal is worse or not, but I would please ask you to have some respect for people who don’t see things the way that you do.

  41. SHEVII

    I don’t have your personal contact with teachers, and I accept that it is almost certainly wrong to try and characterise “teachers” as a homogenous group with a single view.

    So I am willing to admit that my attitude is largely informed by watching Union leaders on TV debating with Gove, Steve Webb & Michael Wilshaw.

  42. @Colin

    You didn’t, but Hammond – a very reasoned commentator (he’s the Eye’s MD, as you probably know, and has been at the forefront of airing the concerns of whistleblowers for years) – made the point that doctors feel that this is the tenor of Hunt’s responses.

    I think there are few in Labour who do not now see the GP contract changes as a mistake but it’s not tenable to blame everything on that.

    I fear entrenched battle lines have already been drawn on this one though.

  43. @”Most employers are looking for good analytical and communications skills more than good grammar.”

    h t t p: / news/education-14130854

  44. @Colin,

    I was going to respond to that to too. Many employers are now asking for better spelling and grammar given the deterioration since the late 90s.

  45. “like Michael Gove, who wants to speak for pupils & their parents”

    Colin I think the problem [for me] in the way you write is that, too often – as with teachers earlier- you assume a homogenous group of like minded people.

    That is NOT how life is and it is wrong to think that Gove, or any individual, politician or otherewise, can “speak” for pupils and their parents, a very large proportion of whom will disagree with most of his views [provided they understand them.]

    Unless you’re a Geordie life is not black and white – and they are barking mad anyway.

  46. Colin/Rich – do you think it is right that in subjects other than English SPaG should affects marks even when it is perfectly clear what the candidate is saying?

  47. @Chordata

    “Why ? What was it that didn’t impress you ?”

    Its just a bizarre speech to make, tactically speaking. He’s now put himself in the position where he can’t really oppose any cuts that are made, as he’s committed himself to keeping them, and it also shows that he’s not offering a real policy alternative (and saying ‘we’ll do the same as the other lot, but we’ll look apologetic’ isn’t a winning campaign slogan).

    Besides which he’s done all of this to appear credible to ‘serious’ people, as a result of which he’ll probably end up having to dump some of his actual good policy proposals, such as the job guarantee.


    “Hunt says he wants to speak for patients & their relatives.
    So, just like Michael Gove, who wants to speak for pupils & their parents,”

    Well it would be rather worrying if they weren’t speaking for those groups, seeing as that is their job. But there is a difference between saying one wants to speak on a groups behalf and actually speaking for that group.

    In Gove’s case, he is likely right that state schooling needs reform. I doubt, however, that basing said reform around evidence accrued from a UKTV Gold survey, changing a scoring system from letters to numbers and his nostalgia about what things were like back in his day is the right thing to do, nor what parents want.

  48. Chris Riley

    Sorry I can find little respect for your argument.
    Its certainly not hyperbole to suggest human life is more important than phone hacking.

    But if you consider it is, or on the same par then so be it .

  49. JIM JAM
    Colin/Rich – do you think it is right that in subjects other than English SPaG should affects marks even when it is perfectly clear what the candidate is saying?

    Frankly yes!

  50. Rich – I think we will have to agree to disagree.

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