This morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 39%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 13%. This is a bit more typical of YouGov’s recent polling after a rather incongruous eleven point Labour lead in yesterday’s poll – the underlying average in YouGov’s recent polling appears to be a Labour lead of about eight points.

Given it was the first poll following the spending review (as I said, not something I expect to have any particular impact), it also included some economic trackers. George Osborne’s approval rating continues to be solidly negative – 52% think he is doing a bad job as Chancellor, 25% a good job. However, he has extended his lead over Ed Balls on who would make the better Chancellor. 32% now prefer Osborne, 23% Balls.

Also out today is a new batch of polling from Lord Ashcroft, this time looking at Boris Johnson. I shall try to write a bit more about Boris in the days to come….

184 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 33, LAB 39, LD 10, UKIP 13”

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  1. Re my opinion that the Tories VI is within a smaler range than Labour’s now, if anyone can go through the highs and lows, and their consistency, for each party over the last five, ten or twenty years I am prepared to bet thruppence that I am right.

    The killer fact [pour moi] is 2010. This is all well rehearsed stuff. Fading unpopular government, PM who was felt to have lost it, charismatic Tory leader changing his party and an appalling financial mess.

    ….. and 37% at the polls.

    Like the fact that the gap between LabCon has clearly closed over the past 3 months the %s don’t lie. The Tories are becalmed between – wuffly – 29% and 38% [at best] until the GE with my guess being 35% at the time.

  2. @Paulcroft

    Maybe you meant “The gap had nominally narrowed”? Closed would be if they within a couple of points.

  3. Jay

    Funnily enuff “the gap has nominally narrowed” is exactly what i had intended to write.

    Anyway, I think it fair to say that the plus 15s that we occasionally saw a while back are no longer with us.

    The serious point I am making is that, in my opinion, there is a left of centre majority in this country and therefore Labour have a greater potential top VI than do the Tories – lovely though David Cameron is.

    Labour probably have a similar lowest, core vote to the Tories but the LD vote and possibly don’t knows/didn’t votes take their high higher.

    Whilst this is just my opinion I do think historical evidence would back up my idea that they have enjoyed different ranges of VI for a long time: I just can’t be bothered to do the investigating as I have a Bach fugue to edit, practice, memorise and perform and [apparently] you can’t be considered a child prodigy once you’re past 70.

    Seems a bit ageist to me I must say,


    Congratulations on the book.

  5. CL 1945

    @”the Dominic Sandbrook books?”

    I have read them all Chris-I think they are brilliant.

  6. STEVE

    Thanks-impressive Latin there-think I have the gist-smiley.

  7. @paulcroft

    To say there is a left of centre majority cannot b true. Surely whether you are left or right wing is a comparative term. Therefore almost by definition there are equal numbers of those to the left and those to the right of the average.

    I can’t agree that labour have a higher range. Without the exceptional year 1997 labour under brown and Blair got a lot fewer votes than thatcher and major. Cameron failed to get more votes because he never fully convinced the electorate and the lib dem bubble. Of course the trend to vote for small parties at the expense of the big two continues.

  8. @Norbold,

    Congrats on the books. It’s always very inspiring to hear of people who have achieved great things for themselves despite their background.

    I’ll probably be gone from this forum for a while….moving in the next couple of days. So that means no one will have to put up with me for a little while at least.

  9. @ Paul, re. books,

    “I’ve been thinking about reading one: what are they like?”

    They taste a bit papery.

    You’re probably right about the vote share ranges, but while there may be a left of centre majority I think it’s pretty small. The real revelation of the Lib Dem Cleggocalypse has been how many former Lib Dem supporters are perfectly happy to vote for Ukip. Since the 80s the left have mistaken the Alliance/Lib Dems for a solid centre left voting block, but they weren’t; they were a mixture of centre left, libertarian right and Monster Raving Loony Party.

  10. @Jamie

    It’s recognised phenomena in the UK (and perhaps in most countries with two party systems) that the general population have personal attitudes that are more to the “left” of where the centre ground is said to be in politics. Social attitude polling regularly shows that the UK population as a whole favour things that would be called “left wing” in the political circle. Politics seems to have a ‘centre ground’ that is not related to or fixed by the average attitudes of the population.

    This could be ascribed to the two party system over-inflating the size of the right, because of increasing chances for a powerful right wing party to win, and allowing for distortion of what “moderate” and “centrist” mean. It could also be ascribed to ‘conservative’ attitudes shifting by generation, with the political establishment right wing always playing catch up to what is acceptable to current population.

    Certainly same-sex marriage is an example of this, and it seems the old guard of the Conservative party seem to think what is now simply the accepted view is still “A left wing idea”.

  11. jamie

    “I can’t agree that labour have a higher range”

    Jolly good. You do the research and prove it them. There’s thruppence in it for you.

  12. Straw Poll:

    a) Referendums


    b) Referenda

  13. Jayblanc,

    Or has the triumph of the right been so successful that questions like “Should steel be nationalised?” or “Should there be a prices and incomes policy?” are no longer on the agenda, and so don’t factor into polls anymore?

    On social issues, it depends on what one looks at: the political class in recent decades has been more anti-death penalty than the general public and pro-immigration, but I do agree in general with your point. One factor is that those under about 30 are both the most liberal and (traditionally anyway) the most economically left-wing, but rarely make it into parliament.

  14. Statgeek,


  15. ambi

    “that means no one will have to put up with me for a little while at least.”

    We, that’s one down at least…….

    Actually I shall, of course, miss your good natured, intelligent posts and especialy your thoughts on footy.

  16. According to the OED it is referendums, not referenda, as it is a latin gerund not a noun, so it doesn’t have a latin plural.

  17. Spearmint,

    With emphasis on the last of that list.

    Clegg has also inadvertently revealed how many Lib Dems voters will tolerate a generally centre-right government i.e. about half of them. (Clue jokes about 100% of Labour voters doing so under Blair…)

  18. Anthony Wells,

    So referendumodes is right out?

  19. Regarding Labour’s economic policy, I think it’s fairly transparent: the Eds believe that growth is more important than the deficit (or rather, that growth is the way to clear the deficit) and the government should borrow to stimulate growth. But after trying to make this argument for two years, it’s become clear that it has failed to convince the public. The relevant change in circumstances is the ticking clock to the next election (and possibly Labour’s narrowing poll lead), not a shift in the economy. From now on, Labour are going to […say they…] agree with the Tories and the opinion polls that the deficit should be the top priority and it would be wrong to borrow to boost consumer spending, just as the Lib Dems have done since they formed the coalition.

    It’s perfectly normal opposition tactics- remember George Osborne accepting Labour spending plans before the crash? Does anyone really believe that in his heart of heats, he wanted that level of government spending in perpetuity? Of course not, but he was a Tory Shadow Chancellor, and the only way he could convince the public he wouldn’t sell off all the hospitals was to back Labour spending plans. Likewise, Ed Balls is a Labour Shadow Chancellor and the only way he can convince the public he won’t bankrupt the country is to back Tory spending plans. So he has.

  20. Jayblanc
    I know this was directed at Jamie, but I can’t help sticking my oar in

    “It’s recognised phenomena in the UK (and perhaps in most countries with two party systems) that the general population have personal attitudes that are more to the “left” of where the centre ground is said to be in politics. Social attitude polling regularly shows that the UK population as a whole favour things that would be called “left wing” in the political circle. Politics seems to have a ‘centre ground’ that is not related to or fixed by the average attitudes of the population.”

    Is this really true? I thought that polls showed that majorities or very large minorities favoured the death penalty, withdrawal from Europe, stopping immigration and clamping down on welfare benefits, and indifference at best to gay marriage. Aren’t most of these views generally considered right-wing?

    Perhaps it is just that left and right are too simplistic concepts for complex situations, so that voters can hold some ‘left’ and some ‘right’ wing views simultaneously?

  21. I think its referendy.

    [Or referendi if you’re Latin]

    Actually, as Molesworth pointed out, most Latin people are Latin teachers and barking mad.

  22. If your right of center you may believe the voting public is in tune with what you think, and those on the left may believe the country is in tune with what they think.

    But where is the evidence either assumption is right, the only thing we can say is since 1945 to 2010 there have been 8 Labour governments, 8 Consevative Governments and two hung Parliments one a Lib/Lab pact and the other a Con/Lib coalition.

    So the public seems not to think to much in left or right, but who appeals to them on the day and how fed up thay are with the lot in power, and that’s probably although I have no evidence to support it, because there is a little of the left / right in most voters, and as both Labour and the Conservatives position themselves to the centre of politics there’s no polarisation of left or right except amongst the fringe parties in this country.

    This centralisation of politics enables voters to switch between parties without to much soul searching hence the very even split since 1945. I certainly think we are in that era were a parties ability to look like a party of government and appear a safe pair of hands is much more important to the voter than whether it leans to the left or to the right.

  23. @ Pete,

    But they support rail nationalisation as well. Maybe Ukip’s “Forward to the Past!” platform has broader support than we think!

    You’d intuitively expect the overall population to be left of the voting electorate, though, because left-leaning groups like students and the poor are often less likely to vote. And it’s the voters who determine the political centre ground, combined with the demographics of the political class itself which would also be expected to shift it right (whiter, maler, older, richer than the general population).

  24. @Paulcroft

    There’s probably no definite answer to whether or not the country is more centre-left than it is centre-right. I suspect the boring answer is that it is centre but then tends to the left or right depending on political/social/economic etc. circumstances at the time and on what issues get asked.

    e.g. the trend may be more centre-left on an issue like welfare at times of economic growth, but more centre-right at times of recession. Similarly the trend may be more centre-right on issues like taxation on high-earners in times of growth and more centre-left at times of recession. This would not necessarily be based on principles that people hold, but simply on how much thought they devote to an issue at a certain time.

  25. @Pete B

    Support for Europe is neither left nor right wing. It’s typified as right wing, only because of who’s the most vocal in opposing it *at the moment*.

    “Death Penalty” like “Immigration” is a broad stroke emotive issue. Start asking exactly *what way* we should start executing people, and the support drops away sharply. If you go by polling, people want a death penalty where no one ever gets executed.

    Rather similar to people saying that Immigration/welfare/sentencing laws should be tougher, and then consistently under-estimate how tough the current laws are. The Political effect is that people always want “Something” to be done.

  26. “Although we use referendum as a noun in English, in Latin it was an adjective. The adjectival form of a verb is not a gerund, but a gerundive, which unlike the gerund has a plural form. The commonest Latin gerundive to have passed into regular use English is ‘agenda.’ This is only used in the plural form, and as you can see, it ends in –a:


  27. Jayblanc,

    Ask people how they want to fund various social services and attitudes shift rightwards as well. And I worry about how people would respond to polls on abortion if they had to specify a preferred method…

  28. Also, if legalising drugs is regarded as a left-wing position, attitudes have been moving rightwards for some time, mainly because even the Lib Dems have moved Singaporewards, leaving only (I think) the Greens on the right (i.e. left) side of the issue. So the picture is mixed and unpredictable e.g. I never thought I’d see gay marriage legalised before cannabis.

    Another example of incoherence going both ways: people worry about inequality a lot, but don’t want the government to redistribute income. There is actually a coherent position one can have there (non-statist egalitarianism) but I doubt that’s what people want.

  29. @Statgeek

    Surely the plural is “plebiscites” :p

  30. @Bill,

    ‘Ask people how they want to fund various social services and attitudes shift rightwards as well.’


    spot on. As sure as night follows day, people always wilfully ignore the opportunity cost. Bring it to their attention and things change.

  31. Bill – a great argument for pre-distribution.

  32. Bill P

    Not sure there is evidence that the PUBLIC is getting more hardline on drugs.

    Ipsos Mori poll in 2000 asked whether interviewees thought all possession of cannabis should remain strictly illegal. 49% agreed that it should, 37% disagreed. I can’t find a recent exact copy of that question, but in Feb this year, they gave their panel a choice of 6 strategies for dealing with cannabis, from outright legalisation and free supply, through to increasing existing penalties. The results were:

    Legalisation, minimal Govt regulation: 3%
    Legalisation, moderate Govt regulation: 14%
    Legalisation, strict Govt regulation: 21%
    Possession legal/sale illegal: 12%
    Current situation: 21%
    Heavier penalties: 14%

    So, 50% were in favour of loosening the law, 35% wanting to keep or tighten it.

    Looks to me like a big shift in the liberal direction since 2000.

  33. LeftyLampton,

    I’d want to check against earlier years as well before making a judgement. I certainly hope that attitudes are changing.

    Jim Jam,

    Only as deception, since it amounts to the same thing.

    The thing that I imagine most people people dislike about redistribution of income (the money tends to go to special interest groups and gets taken from ordinary people) applies as much to “predistribution” as any other government intervention in the economy.

  34. (Changing in my direction, that is.)

  35. Looks like my thruppence is safe then.

  36. @Rich

    “@carfrew, Fever Tree is the best, great shout. It was Shweppes last night, but a few months back Waitrose had a great offer on Fever Tree and I bought about 16 mixer bottles. Awesome stuff.”


    Yeah, I picked up a couple of packs of four on offer at Waitrose before Xmas in readiness for the summer. Only we haven’t had a summer yet. One lives in hope. It’s my partner’s birthday weekend so we’re having a Thali at Hansa’s after checking out the Waterfront festival. I seem to recall you know this neck of the woods…

  37. Legalizing soft drugs is surely a right wing policy, how could it not be, the market decides, away with the nanny state………….

  38. Richard in Norway,

    And as with any non-prohibitionism (including non-prohibition of alcohol and tobacco) it fits more easily with a view where people are primarily responsible for their own health and lives in general. Given that we have a healthcare service free at the point of need, however, one argument I find persuasive for legalisation is that people smoking pot are costing the NHS and not paying any of the additional costs they foist on the taxpayer!

    The simplest summation of a hardline libertarian policy platform was by Leonard Reed: “Permit anything that is peaceful.” There are a lot of things associated with drug use that aren’t peaceful, but drug use in itself is a peaceful action.

    Also, as Milton Friedman pointed out, a blanket drugs ban is in effect going to favour hard drugs like heroin and crack, because they have low volume-to-value ratios and so can be more easily smuggled. (Similarly, alcohol prohibition encourages hard liquor.) Disrupting the narcotics market has the unintended consequence of making it more profitable/convenient for dealers/users to use stronger stuff than they would do otherwise.

  39. I understand that during Prohibition in America, alcohol at 2% strength or less (i.e. weak beer) was always legal, so perhaps weak cannabis could be legalised (and taxed)?

  40. Bill – re pre/re distribution and your

    ‘Only as deception, since it amounts to the same thing’

    Whilst I welcomed tax credits etc as they helped lift the income of many low earning families, I have an unease that low paying employers are being subsidised by those that pay decent wages through tax and NI.

    Much rather the effort was in higher earnings through short term measures like incentives for employers to pay a living wage (a subsidy I know but only for a year for example) but more importantly through an education, training and industrial strategy that lifts earnings.

    The erroneous and imo unintended consequence of redistribution can be higher taxes and more pertinently high effective marginal rates at the bottom acting as a perverse disincentive to job mobility with modest wage increases.

    So whilst I feel some redistribution is acceptable and necessary in our Economy as it is, I feel pre-distribution would be better. Naively perhaps I think it would command more support in the country, not that many would be aware of the philosophy underpinning measures.

  41. Jim Jam,

    I have nothing against education and training (I do have plenty against industrial strategy, which provides many of the most egregious cases of vested interests extracting rents from the public) but I thought that “predistributionism” had more to do with things like the Living Wage and trade union reforms?

    Would predistributionism, for instance, extend to opening up private schools to the masses with a voucher scheme? Or is Labour’s policy to continue to reserve private education for parents like Tony Blair and Dianne Abbott? (Excuse the cheap points-scoring, but anyone who uses private education and opposes education vouchers deserves it.)

  42. Pete B,

    It certainly didn’t make prohibition in the US work, but it would be an improvement on what we have now.

  43. Watching bits of Glastonbury – I think the Stones will be quite big.

    Think Jake Bugg is really weak – never heard of him before and if he was playing at a local folk club would pay him little attention. Oh for the days of Cat Stevens, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell etc – singer/songwriters who could sing and write.

  44. Latest YouGov/The Sunday Times results 28th-30th June – Con 33%, Lab 28%, LD 11%, Ukip 11%; APP -31

    This really is what the introductory page says!

  45. On the important issue of plurals…my oxford Dictionary of English gives ‘referenda’ as an alternative plural for referendum..

    And knowing how important grammar is to so many posters here…why do we treat ‘data’ as singular (eg as in “the data is supplied”) when it’s actually the plural of datum?

  46. AW
    “According to the OED it is referendums, not referenda, as it is a latin gerund not a noun, so it doesn’t have a latin plural.”

    The full quote from the OED is:

    “In terms of its Latin origin, referendums is logically preferable as a modern plural form meaning ballots on one issue (as a Latin gerund referendum has no plural); the Latin plural gerundive referenda, meaning ‘things to be referred’, necessarily connotes a plurality of issues. Those who prefer the form referenda are presumably using words like agenda and memoranda as models. Usage varies at the present time (1981), but The Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors (1981) recommends referendums, and this form seems likely to prevail.”

    There are, pace OED,, two logical inexactitudes here; one the assumption that referendum is a gerund; perhaps it isn’t, but a gerundive used in the neuter – quid referendum, as muttered from the HOC mainly Tory benches during the exchange between Alun Clarke and Betty Boothroyd in 1981?. Secondly the use of “necessarily” – tut tut,, OED – persuasive definitions? Referenda in this usage, may refer to a pluraility of matters which are the subject of consultation, and thus, again as a matter of usage, a plurality of processes by which a matter is referred for consultation. Both referenda, as a more correct derivation from the Latin usage, and as sounding better, and referendums should, I suggest, be accepted.

  47. 5. !!!!!!

  48. @Mike N

    Oxford likes to think of itself as ‘authoritative’ in much the same way as Tesco thinks it is the best supermarket.

    If you shop at Waitrose (Cambridge) you get: PLURAL referendums or FORMAL referenda.

  49. Cameron’s demand that the Taliban be disarmed as a condition of inclusion in peace talks, makes the kind of assumption which is familiar in the British Government’s interventions in overseas conflicts: that what has worked in other conflict resolution -.g. N. Ireland – would work elsewhere. The aremed status of the Taliban derives in important measure from their culture as Pashtun, Baluch and Pathan peoples of NW Pakistan and Baluchistan, where small arms – the rifle since the days of the Great Game, and the Kalashnikov since their induction in the Afghan-Soviet war – are the proper possessions of all men, largely manufactured in a number of towns in the region where this is the main industry. As with other conditions on Taliban or tribal agreements to a cease fire, this one is unlikely to reach the starting gate.

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