Today’s daily YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 37%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 12% (tabs here), the weekly Friday Populus poll meanwhile has figures of CON 33%, LAB 39%, LDEM 12%, UKIP 9% (tabs here). Needless to say, both polls were conducted before the government’s defeat over Syria, so are already a bit out of date.

We’ll know over the next few days what the impact of the Syria vote is on public opinion. Unlike many political events, it is at least something people notice (in the weekly Populus poll on what news stories people have noticed 61% said Syria), but it obviously isn’t something that directly affects many British people’s lives. Unless there are actual wars with widespread casualties, people tend to vote on things like the economy, health, taxes and so on, not on quarrels in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing. Perhaps of more interest will be the effect on perceptions of the party leaders (which, in turn, may have their own knock on effects on voting intention) – will it make people see David Cameron as a less effective leader, or Ed Miliband as a more effective one? I would be surprised if there wasn’t at least some negative impact on Cameron’s ratings, but whether that is long term or quickly forgotten is an open question…

372 Responses to “Latest polls, and what might the impact of Syria be”

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  1. Roger Rebel

    Without the Tory rebels the Government motion would have been carried. The Labour ammendment was lost

  2. Just read the Dan Hodges article in the Telegraph. From that it is very clear that DC was assured at every stage by EM that Labour would back the government. Every demand Milliband made was met by Cameron and so I can see that perhaps the attention was not given to his rebel backbencher’s, that should have been.
    No body will be stupid enough to take EM at his word in the future and in the long run he will be the loser as a result.

    Stabbing people in the back is becoming a bit of a habit for him, isn’t it?

  3. The Other Howard

    Please read my post again

  4. So the blame game goes on and on…

    Sorry guys but the one responsible is the PM, the immortal words” the buck stops here” springs to mind.
    Spin… spin… spin… don’t you guys or the politicians get it?
    That is what the public hates.

    The vote was lost, it is already past time to get over it, what tomorrow brings…well that’s another day ant it.

    I think the polls will enlighten us over the next week or so which may or may not be in response to actions out of the UK control, let’s wait and see what happens instead of guessing…

  5. Robert

    Ahh, but Dan Hodges is always negative about ed, and it’s not a love/hate relationship but a loath/hate relationship

  6. What will Cameron be thinking?

    “I must tape record my conversations with Miliband in future”…

  7. Robert

    Well if that’s what Dan Hodges said it must be right….dear me!

  8. Neil A,

    Why not plant microphones eveywhere Ed Miliband goes? I can’t see that going badly.

    Anyway, the fact that the government didn’t go to much effort suggests either (a) incompentance and complacency that was wrong-footed by Miliband or (b) that they weren’t too keen on winning it.

    The idea that Miliband didn’t actually want to win the vote is bizarre but conceivable.

  9. @ Turk,

    I don’t think I could have been clearer that this outcome was not some triumph of leadership by Miliband.

    And because the people don’t war in Syria it doesn’t necessaraly follow they want the government stripped of the right of intervention by party politic’s which what last night was all about.

    I think it probably does follow that because people don’t want war in Syria, they wanted Parliament to vote against a war in Syria.

    That this happy turn of events came about unexpectedly and largely by accident due to some slightly dubious political maneuvering on the part of the Opposition and acute political incompetence on the part of the Government will be of limited interest to the man on the street.

    @ Robert Newark,

    Stabbing people in the back is becoming a bit of a habit for him, isn’t it?

    It’s more that people who have no good reason to expect his support keep arrogantly assuming they are entitled to it, and getting a nasty shock when he decides not to give it to him. Miliband Major had an excuse, being his brother and the first to underestimate him. I’m not sure what Cameron’s is.

    But it might be a good idea to stop relying on the Opposition to pass his all his legislation for him. After Lords reform you’d think he would have learned his lesson.

  10. @Neil A

    I am sure the secretary taking notes at the meeting is good enough…don’t you?

    I thought that was common practice at any government level meetings or are you suggesting it was decided over lunch or something like that?

  11. This seems to suggest Cameron knew long before the Government motion was drafted that he hadn’t put in enough safeguards to win Labour’s support:

    So I’m not sure recording their conversations would help him much. A better whipping operation might.

  12. RogerRebel

    Read it, still of the same opinion.

  13. @Spearmint – “And because the people don’t war in Syria it doesn’t necessaraly follow they want the government stripped of the right of intervention by party politic’s which what last night was all about.”

    Sorry, but that’s completely wrong. All Labour asked was for the evidence, the chance to debate it and decide, and for the UN to do likewise.

    I repeat – Labour did not reject the concept of military engagement.

  14. Well, Ed may be about to undo all the good he started…

    Andy Bell [email protected] 8m
    Ed Miliband confirms to me that last night’s vote was not the result he wanted – more at 5 and 630 @5_News

    Sigh…and just as I was starting to think this was a party I could vote for…

  15. Turk

    I suspect when Ed was thinking about how the US would react, he thought old Turk says I’m never going to be PM so what the hell.

  16. @ Alec,

    Hey, that was a quote! Blame Turk for that ridiculous statement, not me.

    A more accurate version might be “And because the people don’t war in Syria it doesn’t necessaraly follow they want the government stripped of the right of intervention by a petulant Prime Minister reeling from an unexpected defeat.”

    But I suspect that’s not true either, and they bloody well do want the Government stripped of the right of intervention as long as that restriction is self-imposed and doesn’t come from the US or Brussels.

  17. @Richard

    “last night’s vote was not the result he wanted ”

    Obviously not. He wanted Labour’s amendment passed. Duh.

  18. “Stabbing people in the back is becoming a bit of a habit for him, isn’t it?”

    Parroting stupid attack lines is becoming a bit of a habit for you, isn’t it?

  19. Just read Dan Hodges column. Sigh. Shot full of logical inconsistencies and opinion dressed as fact.

    Slightly amusingly, while referencing Iraq, he also talks about how Cameron did, in fact, present a robust case last night, citing the briefing from the…er…JIC. Hmmm. I wonder….

    I was also tickled by his “ was a catastrophe for the cause of progressive interventionism..” line.

    I love the way we’ve made up words to make things sound nice. “War” = “progressive interventionism”. There – doesn’t that feel better?

  20. @ Spearmint

    Might support my theory that DC didn’t really want to win, too many potential banana skins. Justine Greening says she couldn’t hear the division bell, convenient!

    Going forward I assume DC’s going to try and find a different role, maybe to act as a glue bringing Obama & Putin closer together.

  21. According to an IFOP poll, 59 per cent of French voters oppose French involvement in an air-strike in Syria. The poll found that UN action would be supported by 55 per cent of French people – so long as the French military does not take part.
    I wonder, was the IFOP poll a proper poll or a voodoo effort? Does anybody know?

    The Indie is reporting that President Hollande is being less ‘gung-ho’ than he was in the immediate aftermath of the chemical weapons being used in Syria.

  22. @ TOH

    You may agree with everything Dan Hodges said but I don’t think you would want him anywhere near the Tory Party :-)

    Interestingly enough when I was in the Labour Party I thought voting for another party (Boris) was reason for instant expulsion but that didn’t seem to happen with Dan- not sure if times have changed or they didn’t want to rock the boat. I know our local party would turn a blind eye to Lib Dem tactical voters but then they weren’t loud about it and maybe just confided in their friends and they certainly did not write articles in the DT about how they had done it.

  23. “Everything must be done to find a political solution but it will not arrive unless the [rebel] Coalition [in Syria] is capable of acting as an alternative (government),” he said. “We will not get there unless the international community puts an end to this escalation of violence of which this chemical massacre is only one example.”

    President Hollande as reported in the Indie

  24. @ Robin

    You might just be jumping the gun, let’s wait and see. An earlier report said there was “shock” in the Labour camp at last night’s events.

  25. @Spearmint – terribly sorry – I realised after I sent it that it didn’t sound right coming from you, but the ‘phone rang and I didn’t get the chance to go away and check it thoroughly.

    Please accept my apologies.

    @turk – don’t be ridiculous (cue smiley thing)

  26. Deary me. I’m not going to go through and clean up this thread since it would probably involve deleting most of it.

    Can we just take it as read that everything thinks it is all the fault of someone they don’t like, stop second guessing the motives of people in public eye (surprisingly, the motives of people they like are pure and wonderful and right, and the motives of people they don’t like are wicked and sinful. Shocker), and draw a line under almost everything everyone has said.

  27. @ Anthony

    Can we not draw a line under my comment 4:52pm, please! If anybody can vouch for the French poll reported by the Indie, I’d like to hear from them. :-)

  28. Amber,

    I posted this yesterday but you may have missed it – it’s an IFOP poll for Le Figaro.

  29. Amber – fair point. Let’s draw a line under everything except Amber’s comment on actual polls!

  30. (And since you ask, Ifop are a proper polling outfit, so it is almost certainly legit)

  31. @ Anthony, Mr Nameless

    My thanks to you both! :-)

  32. @ AW

    You beat me to it. We are where we are. There is little point going over the same ground over and over again. If people want to have much more insight into the problems that intervention in Syria may cause, can I recommend that they watch the HOL debate from yesterday available online. As is mostly the case, HOL’s debates are far better than those of the HOC, because they are less tribal and points are made out of experience.

    Only time will tell whether the issue of Syria will affect polling. I doubt it will show up in polling, but it will be interesting whether future sessions in the HOC will become far more agressive and then it might start to affect polling. I can see it becoming much more personal between Cameron and Miliband.

  33. Bantams

    Regarding the Whips, that is the only other plausible reason. What I don’t understand is they already knew that some LD’s and Tories were going to vote against the Bill so the numbers must have been dodgy. Why not enforce the presence of MP’s away just to make sure they were in safe waters?

    I think there may have been a number of reasons. It’s more difficult for the Whips to control the situation when your MPs have been out of sight for weeks on end and you don’t have much time to organise. So they probably underestimated the both Conservative and Lib Dem rebels and possibly expected some to abstain who voted against (very few Tories abstained).

    The Conservative Whips actually did quite a good job of getting their people there. I reckon there were only perhaps 30 Tory absentees[1] as opposed to 35 Labour ones. A lot of these may have been paired of course. Proportionally the biggest non-attenders were the Lib Dems – 12 out of 57 and five more presumably ‘abstained in person’. And you suspect that a lot of that was tactical. Barely half of the Lib Dem parliamentary Party voted for the government motion, and most of those must have been ministers.

    I also wonder if they underestimated the smaller Parties. All 11 of their GB MPs (6 SNP, 3 PC, 1 Green, 1 Respect) turned up and voted against and 10 of the 13 NI MPs who take their seats were there and voted against too. Earlier in the week there was some expectation that the DUP would back the coalition or at least abstain, but that didn’t happen and they may have hoped that some of these 24 MPs would turn up (their not all the best attenders) but except for 3 DUP they were all there.

    [1] I’m assuming that anyone who didn’t vote in either division wasn’t there at all.

  34. SHEVII

    Since i’m not a Tory I don’t know how to answer that. I just happen to agree with a piece i read in the Telegraph. I gather he used to be Labour but has recently left.

  35. AW – apologies, from me, and behalf of everyone else.

    But you have to let us play now and then, and last night was a procedural anoraks dream, as well as being politics of great import.

  36. Anthony

    I didn’t see your comment before I posted, but I hope that one’s OK. It’s got loads of numbers in and everything.

    While you’re around, will any of the ST polling be split to see the effect of last night? (Or are you just going to tap the side of your nose as usual).

  37. Interesting that the French poll on Syria exhibits a similar result for far right voters as here in the UK. I suppose that there is a feature of this which is ‘if the left are in favour, then we are against (fill in subject of poll later).

  38. Spearment

    Do try not to be so sensitive, because you don’t agree with somebody it doesn’t make there idea’s any more ridiculous than your idea’s, just different.

  39. Alec

    Well said, AW apologies my initial comment was on polling effect but as Alec says last night has got us all interested.

  40. BBC reported US & French warships moving east in the Med.

    Kerry to speak at 5.30

    Two Presidents without the “constraints” of a Parliamentary system.

  41. On the ‘shock’ element of last nights vote, it shocked many many people, not just the Labour Party.

    The reason for that shock is likely to be because the last time it happened was donkeys years ago. Nick Robinson tweeted last night:

    “Historians arguing tonight whether last time a PM was defeated on matter of peace and war was 1782 or 1855. Was a long time ago anyway”


    Arguably, the “last time” might also have been Neville Chamberlain in November 1940.

  43. Oldnat,

    Chamberlain himself was kicked out but the vote did actually pass.

  44. Dan Hodges tries and fails to do for EM what Suetonius did far more successfully to the Emperor Tiberius.He is also rather odd looking.Hodges
    That is,not Ed.

  45. @ Ann in Wales

    He is also rather odd looking
    I thought you meant Suetonius. :-)

  46. For those quoting Dan Hodges, there are two major problems.

    Firstly, he has form of stretching stories, making up parts of them and not being the most reliable witness, or by chance, finding other people to back them up.

    Secondly, he hardly ever put s a name to a quote or information he has written about (don’t believe me, read his blog on either of the papers that pay him). Some people, not me obviously, would say he is making it all up.

    Apart from that he is the most credible of witnesses.

  47. An interesting twist of events – though it has wrecked my sweepstakes for Cameron managing to do a full Blair in a single term. Won’t get involved in the party political playground (though watching people hurling their tantrums is faintly amusing) but note to things:

    Curious as to why there was no argument made, to my knowledge, for increasing aid to the refugees of Syria (protection, shelter, etc) instead of a bombing run.

    The ‘Suarez’ defence now appears to be popular in political circles.

  48. The Dutch press is saying Kerry is about to make a speech giving the ‘evidence’ but keeps delaying it.

  49. Whoops! Into moderation for responding to NP. I shouldn’t bite I know. Please delete it.

  50. Another theory on the chemical weapons

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