Catching Up

I am back from a week’s holiday when I haven’t been posting much. To fill in what I missed, the most recent voting intention figures from Friday and today are:

YouGov/Sun – CON 32%, LAB 39%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 10% (tabs)
Populus – CON 30%, LAB 38%, LDEM 12%, UKIP 12% (tabs)
Opinium/Observer – CON 29%, LAB 36%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 18%

Also of interest from the last few days, YouGov found that only 20% of (over eighteen!) people supported reducing the voting age to 16, 60% were opposed. Earlier in the week there was also some YouGov polling on the David Miranda affair – people thought it was right that the security services had such powers by 66% to 22%, but by 44% to 37% thought David Miranda’s detainment was not an appropriate use of the law. That’s not to say the general public paid much attention to the Miranda affair – on Populus’s weekly poll of what news stories people noticed only 4% mentioned it, with Egypt (18%), the Peru drug smuggling girls (15%) and Syria (13%) the most recalled stories.

96 Responses to “Catching Up”

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  1. In this morning’s YG OP:-

    Doing well/badly , net, amongst own supporters:-

    DC +87
    NC + 36
    EM +7

  2. There is “military action ” in Syria already.

    Russia & Iran are involved in it.

    Tlousands of children have been killed.

    Four million people are displaced.

    Medecines sans Frontiers say over 3000 people have exhibited the effects of neurotoxins-& over 10% of them died.

  3. Carfew

    I know AW doesn’t like conversations being carried on from past posts so I wont. Just to say I get the sense from your reply that you don’t like your idea’s being challenged but then who does.

    I’m quite happy on another occassion to have an informed debate about whatever topic interests us, let me assure you that I did read your account and I didn’t assume anything, I leave assumptions for others. The thing is I just didn’t agree with what you said and gave another point of view, I certainly don’t expect you to agreee with it.

  4. Just updated my YouGov charts.

    As of today the Labour Lead on a five day rolling average is 5.8 %.

    The CUSUM chart that I maintain shows all the named parties entirely stable and normal for the last week.

    All steady as she goes then.

    The ability to see the same methodology repeated on many occasions (such a YouGov) means I am happier to draw conclusions from that data, rather than the spasmodic ICM polls.

    I’m not saying ICM are wrong, I would just not have the same trust without many more samples to look at.

  5. @Colin

    I guess the key question regarding the doing well/badly question is around if it is priced into the VI already.

    I suspect it is, but come the election will that factor push people to switch? I’m not sure, as a hard core party x voter probably won’t vote for party y, even if that party y’s leader is perceived as doing well among party y’s supporters.

    I think most people’s party support is based on core principles and not the personalities of the leadership.

    If these do impact, perhaps it’s only the true non-aligned swing voters who may be influenced.

  6. Colin,

    That’s interesting to me. On the one hand, it appears to be very bad news for both Clegg and Miliband, because it seems they don’t have the support of their own parties.

    Two points, however. It seems fairly evident to me that David Cameron’s opponents within the party are almost entirely from the right, and they have another party to go to. Once the dissenters are factored in, I suspect of the broader right wing vote he’s much less popular.

    Same applies to Clegg. His popularity doesn’t appear as bad as Miliband’s on that poll, but one must remember that two-thirds of his party’s support have abandoned him, and that can’t be taken as a ringing endorsement of the man.

    Secondly, even though Ed’s popularity with his party is small, those people have still stuck with Labour. Now this could be a case of tribal loyalty to the party, a case of having nowhere else to go or wanting to change the party from within (most of Miliband’s detractors are from his left).

    I think it’s much more interesting to look at the popularity outside their own parties – those voters who the parties will try to attract:

    -76 with Lab voters (duh)
    +8 with LD voters (I think that’s weird – so much opposition to their own coalition’s PM, but they haven’t left…)
    -51 with UKIP voters (and there are the former anti-Cameron Tories).

    -75 with Con voters (interesting – Miliband marginally more popular with Cons than Cameron with Lab!)
    -60 with LD voters. (but those who liked him are now Labour voters!
    -87 with UKIP voters (I’d love to meet the 4% of UKIP voters who like EM).

    -24 with Con voters (some coalition solidarity there I think, though they still aren’t fond).
    -83 with Lab voters (which is interesting, because if a quarter of Labour’s support are former LDs, but they dislike Clegg, they may not go back as easily as some think – they may have been Lab>LD switchers over Iraq in 2005).
    -84 with UKIP supporters (unsurprising).

    Opposition rating averages:
    Cameron: -40.
    Miliband: -74.
    Clegg: -63.

    In summation, it doesn’t seem like any of the party leaders will be winning over any of their opponents’ voters any time soon.

    Miliband comes off worst, but since Labour are polling consistently ahead that may not matter tremendously. Cameron does better, but is only popular with Lib Dems (of whom there aren’t many) and is strongly disliked by UKIP voters, whose vote it seems may be stronger than first thought. News for Clegg is bad all round – he’s solidly disliked by every party, has few supporters in the first place and seemingly no way to win the defectors back. I doubt we’ll see a resignation before the election, but we’ll see.

  7. Good morning, still raining in Surrey so further delays in the Test Match likely.

    The most interesting statistic for me in this mornings YouGov is the increase in the Tory lead on the who best to run the economy after 2015 question. An increase from 14 to 17 points. Otherwise polldrums with the lead reflecting CATMANJEFF’S five day moving average.

  8. The Conservative will go into this conference season in better heart than they might have hoped. Their chances of forming a majority government have increased greatly.

    Labour has had a disappointing summer and there is no short term fix beyond EM’s big speech to Conference & policy, policy, policy.

    The LibDems look likely to do better than they might have thought in two years but the price they may pay if the Conservatives can govern alone will have been very high. At the end of the day then they will have nothing much to show for 5 years in power.

    The Euro elections are not good ones for Labour these days and the London borough elections will test the extent of their recovery since losing the Mayoral election tho they did very well in Assembly in London. On recent polling form they will do very well to do that well.

    I’m not that attracted to the notion that leaders are easily defenestrated in modern politics – IDS being an oddity in so many ways. However, nothing is certain but Labour’s federal structure seem to make it unlikely though nothing might stop EM from leaving of his own accord. That too seems unlikely. This is a man who was willing to stand against his brother and won against the odds. He will hold his nerve when others panic.

    The level of disengagement from politicians has also risen over the Parliament as has the size of the poor underclass who vote is small numbers if at all. The cultural division of the county is also marked – I was in the north for a while and the conservative brand there is more toxic than ever. It is here the rise of UKIP will matter in the rural North traditionally conservative dominated but I doubt it will change the outcome in many seats.

    Nationalism is once again on the ebb or on the plateau in Scotland but again as another Conservative government looks more likely the result of the referendum may look closer than expected. An upset there will upset all calculations and above all call into question Cameron’s judgement.

    But the five year Parliament means things cannot be finessed to next summer or next autumn and so nothing remains certain and the electoral odds remain stacked against the conservatives whilst Labour polls above 35%. Those pesky LibDems as yet show no sign of changing their minds after 2010’s “betrayal”.

    My adult life has seen us march a long way from the society of my boyhood towards the consumerist one modeled in the mordant individualism of USA. Has it made us better people, no; a better society, no; a better economy more fairly balanced, no. It has made the rich immensely richer and the poor immensely poorer. The inequities of class; opportunity and choice are greater now than anytime since the 1920’s.

    An elderly friend with Parkinsons lives in a world where his GP is unable to visit him. I’ve two other friends who I’see regularly who also this weekend are teetering on emergency admission because no GP will come out. This is a reality in modern London. Will any one do any thing, no.

    The planet spins and the world goes around and probably will continue to do so.

  9. A statistical point, which I am sure has been thoroughly addressed elsewhere, is that percentage data are more volatile than typical variates such as weights of people or numbers of birds on a lake. The reason is of course that they are percentages and so are not independent of each other – at its simplest, if there are two parties each with 50% and no ‘don’t knows’, a 1% rise for one party will mean a 1% fall for the other and in a change in lead from 0% to 2% – if one goes up the other must go down. The lead, or any other difference in percentages such as that noted by ToH above is liable to be similarly (although less) affected and so more volatile than the party scores themselves.


    @”but come the election will that factor push people to switch? ”

    I’m not sure either-but I have always believed that the GE Campaign proper is a new game with unpredictable events emerging.

    You only have to read the reports of the campaigns in Germany & Australia to see how the focus on individuals & their characteristics & behaviour is heightened.

  11. @Ernie


  12. Tessa Jowell worried about “toxic disunity”.

    ……………in the Labour Party that is.

  13. Colin

    I was of course talking about military action by the US and UK, but as you say there is already military action but not just by the Russians and Iranians there is also reports of American, Jordanian and Saudi “advisers” with the rebels not to mention that the funding for the so called rebels comes mainly from Qatar, I’m sure that doesn’t happen without us approval. Oh and lest we forget there has already been Israeli air strikes in Syria in support of the “rebels”. I’m glad you are concerned about the use of chemical weapons but the last time chemical weapons were usedit was proved that it was the rebels uusing them and the US had to back down on its accusations of the regime, are you really sure that it’s not the same this time around?

  14. Colin

    Tessa Jowell ” toxic disunity”, Teresa May “Nasty party”
    DC “Big Society ” EM “One Nation”.

    Do you think it’s possible to run a GE campaign on slogans alone or possibly make a party song rather like David Bowie does by cutting out political slogans on pieces of paper and arranging them in verse.


    @”I was of course talking about military action by the US and UK, ”

    Of course.

    I realise that-sitting there in Norway itching to express outrage about the Americans.

    There are reckoned to be 25 countries involved , one way or another in Syria. Sunni v Shia at the heart of it as usual-spilling over in Lebanon & Jordan.

    These sects of Islam slaughter each other with relish ,-all in the name of God of course- whilst the geo-political powerplay goes on in the background-Iran, Russia, Saudi…….

    ……..of course in Egypt, they slaughter Coptic Christians in protest at their secular Army. First they daub red crosses on the doors of their houses -then they burn the churches down-then they burn the houses-then they parade Fransican Nuns under the black flag of Al Qaeda & berate them for providing “inappropriate education”.

    Chemical weapons?

    Why doesn’t Assad let the UN find out who used them?

    ……..erm why has he got the world’s biggest cache of chemical weapons anyway?

    The Ba’-ath Party has form with chemical weapons Richard-start there & add in assorted religious nutcases hell bent on proving who is nearest to God-and it’s just a bloody mess.

    Meanwhile the innocents die in thousands-the women-and the children.

    Anyway-when Obama launches a few Cruise missiles at something important in Syria-and says “there-don’t do it again”-you will have your moment of righteous indignation.

  16. Back after 2 weeks hols and interesting the perspective it gives as it seems much easier to work out that nothing much has changed in the polls over those two weeks and probably getting on for a month now. Lower Labour lead from 3 months ago for sure but no change in recent times.

    Re Leaders ratings- surely an additional question would solve the issue of whether this could affect polling nearer the election.

    There are two reasons for bad leader ratings- one is that you don’t like the policies (or lack of them) and this is far more likely to be the reason if you are in government. The other is that you don’t feel they are doing the best to maximise ‘your’ party’s vote. With EM if it is the latter then it is unlikely to affect the Lab vote nearer the election, if the former then it will have an effect.

    I’m sure the question put it something along the lines of ‘doing a good job’ which doesn’t tell us which of the criteria people are applying to Miliband.

  17. TURK

    For all the interest there is in politics in this country -that sort of campaign might improve turnout !

  18. Labour Transport team just tweeted these:

    “We will not back increase to 42.6bn HS2 budget (& £7.5bn for trains) & aim should be not to spend the £16.1bn contingency within this limit.”

    “Labour believes a new north-south rail line is vital to increase capacity but there can be no blank cheque & current budget is the limit.”

    “Maximum HS2 budgets in next parliament must remain 15/16: £832m,16/17: £1,729m, 17/18: £1,693m, 18/19: £3,300, 19/20: £4,000 as set by govt.”

    “Under Labour, there will no question of switching any funding from investment in the existing rail network to support HS2.”

    The tide is beginning to turn against HS2 in Labour, it seems.

  19. COLIN
    “Tessa Jowell worried about “toxic disunity”.
    ……………in the Labour Party that is.”

    The actual BBC Politics report reads:

    “Public criticism of Labour leader Ed Miliband by party colleagues creates “an unappealing sense of toxic disunity”, Tessa Jowell has warned.”

  20. A very thoughtful analysis and moving comments from John Murphy. Thank you.

    I think the unease felt about the consumerist society modelled on the mordant individualism of the USA may partly account for the lack of enthusiasm for Labour [to be sure mostly in the south and in rural areas] that has been noted on this site.

    That unease is not restricted to those who have been left behind. I benefitted from the temporary increase in opportunity during the 1960s to become the first of my family to go to university, though not the first to have a good secondary education.

    It may be good tactics, but I do not think it is politically healthy to have two, perhaps three, parties all very much in the centre competing for the floating voter. A party that could find its true voice might reap many rewards.

    Strangely, having said all that, for my money the party leader who does actually seem to be true to himself is – Nick Clegg.


    So there were two polls out yesterday, the first one was a weekly by ipsos MMI which showed the conservatives going forward quite a lot but Labour going down, this was the in contrast to last week’s poll which had a huge decline for the conservatives which I said at the time was most likely a rogue, and right now the actual VI looks in line with the other pollster even if the movement doesn’t. It’s showing Labour and conservatives as being neck and neck but a clear majority for the right side of politics. The other poll was the daily poll from VG done by a company called InFact, this is an automated poll known as a “robo poll” and reading the comments in the paper yesterday there were many who were dubious of the reliability of this poll because of it being automated, that said, those that were screaming loudest were supporters of the right and the poll showed a significant move forward by the Labour party and a drop for the conservatives as some of their support moves rightward to the progress party. It shows the Labour party as the biggest but again there is still a clear right wing majority. Looking at the moving average of polls it’s pretty clear that there is movement in favour of the red green govt but it’s very slow, barring a major event the right will win but it’s also clear that we are moving further away from a pure blue blue majority and the centre right parties will hold the balance of power

  22. Colin

    The Iraqi ba’ath party has form on using chemical weapons, is that what you mean?

  23. John Murphy
    I am perplexed by your comment as the lead for Labour now is virtually unchanged from the Start of the Summer or indeed from March 2012.

    If The Conservative Party can’t regularly score over 33% and Labour very rarely drops below 37% then the likelihood of a Conservative victory remains unchanged at slim.

    Any party that feels it needs to set up a website to say how bad it’s opponent is are obviously worried.

  24. COLIN
    “Anyway-when Obama launches a few Cruise missiles at something important in Syria-and says “there-don’t do it again”-you will have your moment of righteous indignation.”

    Hold on a jiffy. RiN I believe is making the same argument that I would, that US or US/UK military interventions on the record cause more suffering than they are supposedly directed to stopping.
    One reason – which applies to some other posts you have made – is that countries with oppressive regimes by and large have a majority of their populations living peacefully, and out of reach of bad government, but, especially their crowded urban populations, are vulnerable to military attack, whether of air strikes or of street fighting or shelling.

  25. Actually I’m not sure I am against military action in Syria, the likely reductions in gas prices in Europe and therefore the UK is probably 15 to 20%, maybe that is worth killing a few hundred thousand Syrians for, I just want us to be honest about it

  26. I mean that the financial benefits to the UK could be as much as 10 million pounds per Syrian death, that seems a good price to me especially considering that they will be paying it not us. Would you kill someone for 10 million pounds if you knew you would get away with it? Lots of folk would and I can’t say that I wouldnt

  27. @ RiN

    I wouldn’t.

  28. Amber

    You big softy!!

  29. Depends who it was!

  30. @ RiN


  31. I do think that raises a good question about our society which is relevant to arguments about austerity and such. To what moral extent are we willing to go to reduce government spending or lower goods prices?

    For instance, it would save quite a lot of government money to euthanise everyone over the age of 80 (three million people, almost none of whom work but receive free TV licenses, fuel allowance and pensions). Would that make it right? Of course not. There would be an overthrow of whatever genocidal government decided to implement that.

    But we invaded Iraq, killing hundreds of thousands, in an attempt to lower fuel prices. And yet, people don’t seem quite as outraged. Does it make a difference to us if the people killed are in another country? Probably.

    I’m just curious to what extent people would be willing to go for financial ends.

  32. What is happening in Syria et al, is of course the same as was happening in Europe 600 years ago. The only difference is the weaponry, then they had only swords & long bows, now we have nuclear & chemical weapons in play. (And of course there was no 24 hour news service).

    All other aspects are the same, dictatorial masters ruling over uneducated masses and all of them believing the mumbo jumbo of religion & that ‘God is on their side’.

    What is the answer? It would not seem to be democracy, as Egypt has ably demonstrated & if Assad does go, who or what replaces him?

  33. Rin
    “Would you kill someone for 10 million pounds if you knew you would get away with it? Lots of folk would and I can’t say that I wouldnt”

    That reminds me of the joke where the bloke asks a woman at the bar if she would sleep with him for £10? She replies indignantly, what do you think I am?
    So he offers her £10m to sleep with him & she says yes, to which he replies, ‘Ok, we both know what you are, we just need to agree the price’.

  34. richard in norway

    We need another poll on military action in Syria before it’s too late and there is the inevitable rise in support after the action has started

    And YouGov have done exactly that, repeating a set of questions they last asked in May based on

    Thinking about the conflict in Syria, here are some things Britain could do. Would you support or oppose each of the following?:

    The results don’t make happy reading for the hawks. The responses were fiercely against intervention and even more so than in May. While there is overwhelming support for humanitarian aid, even sending “protective clothing, such as flak jackets
    and helmets” only gets 41-33 approval (from 50-26 in May) and even defensive armaments, such as anti-aircraft guns, get only 19% support and it’s down to 9% for British troops on the ground.

    As with Libya, support/opposition isn’t a partisan thing, though UKIP voters are most opposed (presumably they don’t think any money should be spent on foreigners – even if it’s to kill them), there is surprisingly little gender difference and little age or social grade variance that I can see. London and Scotland seem a little more in favour, but that may be sampling (they’re the smallest YouGov regions). It’s very rare to see such uniformity on any question.


    “dictatorial masters ruling over uneducated masses”

    Syrian school enrolement rates (UNICEF)
    m f
    Primary (2002) 97.0% 91.9%
    Secondary (2006) 63.6% 59.9%

  36. Thanks Roger, now we have something to measure against when there is polling on the military action after its taken, but judging by this polling there needs to be more softening up of public opinion before we take action, shame that we can’t ask my question about the value of Syrian life, but I doubt we would get an honest reply

  37. I hadn’t realised till now, but YouGov actually have a Syria tracker file to show all the times they have asked these and similar questions:

    One interesting question is why these questions weren’t asked since May until now. Remember that YouGov don’t usually decide which areas to ask about, they just make sure that the questions are fair.

    It’s also notable that they haven’t repeated the “If Syria were to use chemical weapons against rebel fighters or civilians” variant which made little difference to the result, but if it’s not asked maybe people can claim that it would.

  38. @Turk

    Lol, it might have been preferable to reply to my content than migrate to the ad hominem. Rather than me not wanting to be challenged, you’re the one declining to respond. You can always reply in the previous thread and I’ll read it.

  39. “Do you think it’s possible to run a GE campaign on slogans alone or possibly make a party song rather like David Bowie does by cutting out political slogans on pieces of paper and arranging them in verse.”


    I thought they already did that…

  40. Carfew

    I did respond try to keep up.

  41. @Turk

    You even said you weren’t going to continue the convo! You didn’t respond to what I wrote, you just made some more stuff up instead. Sod it, I’m off for coffee…

  42. “What is happening in Syria et al, is of course the same as was happening in Europe 600 years ago.”

    The Balkans, c 1992?
    The veneer of civilization is stretched mighty thinly sometimes, even in Europe.

  43. Alec

    Northern Ireland as well, but also all across Europe we have laws discriminating against Muslims and it’s growing continuously, the anti veil law in France and the minirette ban in Switzerland are just two exsamples, and the rhetoric is getting more strident all the time, and we all know where that leads!

  44. @Richard in Norway – “Would you kill someone for 10 million pounds if you knew you would get away with it? Lots of folk would and I can’t say that I wouldnt”

    At least you are being honest about Syria and the west, but I can comfortably say that I wouldn’t knowingly kill anyone for any fee, regardless as to the chances of being caught.

    I won’t claim that I would never kill anyone – can’t really see it, but I’m not so foolhardy to think that there are no situations possible under the sun where I wouldn’t be forced into some kind of violent action.

    I can, however, be completely clear that killing purely for financial gain would never feature in my own personal decision matrix.

    For this reason, I will reject your theorizing about potential justifications for intervention in Syria. I have no interest in whether we can build gas pipelines if we invade – that’s no excuse for engagement.

    I would, however, applaud you for offering a greatly simplified and understandable means to measure national decision making against personal morality. We often disconnect the notion of state activity from simple, personal moral choices, so that the idea of killing an individual for money remains repugnant, but invading a country to secure oil and gas is accepted as being ‘in the national interest’.

    I think that converting such rhetoric into a less complex moral choice, as you have done, is illuminating and very useful. It helps us grasp what we are allowing our state to do, and gives us some kind of comparator to judge our governments actions.

    While larger scale decisions are almost always far more complex, what is morally unacceptable on the personal scale should remain unacceptable on a national scale. You may be prepared to kill purely for financial gain – I am not, and this needs to be the start point of the democratic debate on interventions of war in such circumstances.

  45. I like the way the ICM Wisdom poll in the Telegraph is being spun in a bad way for EdM ( yet again!) In fact Labour are unchanged on the same poll last week – it’s the Tories who are down a point!
    I suspect when EdM walks into Number 10 in May 2015 ( and one way or another he is overwhelmingly likely to ) the headlines will still be “Disaster for EdM”.

  46. Paul,

    The overwhelming likely result is Miliband will not get to No10. Labour well down on this time last year in mid-term, there is little reason to expect the Labour graph to not keep going down, with Miliband at the helm.

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