YouGov’s weekly poll for the Sunday Times is now up here. The fieldwork for the poll was delayed from the usual cycle, being conducted from Friday lunchtime to Saturday morning so it could reflect the aftermath of the Syria vote.

Topline voting intention is CON 31%, LAB 41%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 13%. Technically this is within the margin of error of YouGov’s recents polls, there have been instances of one-off YouGov polls showing 10+ point leads in July and June, however it would be a bit of a freakish co-incidence if one of those outlying polls just happened to come along the day after a big defeat for the government, so I expect it is showing a genuine increase to Labour’s poll lead.

Looking at the other trackers, there is actually only a very marginal change to David Cameron’s ratings. 36% think he is doing a good job (down from 38%), 55% think he is doing badly 55% (down from 56%) – all normal margin of error variation. There is a more noticable boost for Ed Miliband, 24% think he is doing a good job (up from 20%), 63% a bad job (down from 68%). So, a small increase in the Labour lead, and a modest increase in perceptions of Ed Miliband. What remains to be seen is whether those changes stick, or whether they are just a short term effect of a news event.

Looking at other more specific Syria questions, people are broadly split over whether David Cameron did or did not show strong leadership over Syria (39% think he did, 41% think he did not). In comparison 28% think Ed Miliband showed strong leadership, 46% that he did not (only 10% think Clegg showed strong leadership). Parliament as a whole comes out the most positively – 58% think it performed well, 27% badly.

66% of people agree with the argument that chemical weapons are especially horrific and should be regarded as a crime against humanity, 26% think they are terrible… but no worse than the mass killing people using other methods. People are not, however, convinced that the Assad regime has used them – 43% think they have, 43% don’t know. Overall 68% think it is right that Britain does not take part in military action, 16% think Britain should have taken part.

When people opposed to military action were asked why the effect of Iraq and Afghanistan becomes clear – 36% said it was because they wanted UN support for an attack, 38% that it would make things worse not better, but the biggest single factor (mentioned by 51%) was the fear that a limited missile strike would inevitably lead to more British involvement later, and ultimately Britain being dragged into another land war.

Looking to the future, while people were opposed to British involvement in an attack on Syria, they are not opposed to us offering support to the USA doing it! By 48% to 31% people would support the USA being allowed to use British bases in Cyprus, 70% think we should share intelligence about Syria with the US, 64% that we should support any attack diplomatically at the UN. It looks as though it is British involvement people oppose, not an attack per se.

Also out this morning is a new immigration poll from Lord Ashcroft. I am about to go out so will update on it later, but you can read about it yourself here.

268 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 31, LAB 41, LD 9, UKIP 13”

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  1. @ Alec,

    It does seem- and I say this in as non-partisan a spirit as possible- that the Government’s current position on Syria is “We won’t hold another vote because Ed Miliband hurt our feelings.”

    That’s literally the rationale they’re giving. Not “We’ve changed our minds because of the overwhelming public opposition to military intervention,” not “We don’t believe Parliament would back intervention,” not even “We don’t believe Parliament would back intervention because Labour are divided on this and Ed Miliband is too weak to unify them”. It’s “We refuse to hold another vote until Ed Miliband apologises for opposing our motion.”

    It’s madness. The “Labour were partisan and irresponsible” narrative is a sensible line to take to explain their defeat, and from talking to people I have the impression that it’s getting some traction. But I don’t see how the Coalition can hope to look like the responsible, non-partisan, grown-up statesmen here when they’re openly admitting their foreign policy is determined by whether or not the opposition leader is a big meanie poo-head.

  2. @ Charles

    I really like your idea of social security as a ‘retainer’. But why should it be a retainer for doing nothing?
    I agree. It would be excellent if productive work could be found for people to do on behalf of the community. The government ought to make it clear that there are some projects/ programs which the government are simply never going to do unless recruitment is from the unemployed i.e. it’s using spare capacity & is not for financial profit. And there ought to be a skills/ training element to the project/ program.

  3. It’s also an odd strategic move on Clegg’s part.

    It’s one thing for relations between Cameron and Miliband to break down completely. It means Cameron can’t win EU votes or pass constitutional reform or deal with international emergencies because he doesn’t have a reliable majority, but with a little luck he can get through the rest of the Parliament without needing Labour’s help again. It’s not like there’s any danger of the Tories forming a coalition with them.

    But in less than two years Clegg might be Miliband’s deputy prime minister. Having a go at your possible future boss like this doesn’t strike me as a brilliant move. Does he think Labour’s chances in 2015 are so good or so hopeless that he can dispense with civility, or is it just that’s he’s not expecting to be around himself by then?

  4. “Deputy prime minister [Nick Clegg] says Labour has not respected gravity of situation and there is now no chance of another vote” Graun headline reporting.
    It wasn’t Ed Miliband’s team who were throwing insults around & giggling on the benches during the debate! It’s all a matter of record; so the public can see for themselves – if they are willing to look – & then make their own judgement.

  5. Spearmint

    He doesn’t expect to be around then, a fool he may be but he ain’t bloody stup!d

  6. @ Spearmint

    I too found Clegg'[s comments quite odd. If we are to believe the narrative that a lot of ex Labour voted Lib Dem in 2005 and 2010 because of Iraq (not sure I believe it was that significant and maybe bundled in with Lib Dems appearing to be to the left of Labour) then this just cements the 1/3rd plus of voters who have moved back.

    I think there is some traction in Ed playing politics but judging by CIF all his comments do is harden up the Lib Dem to Lab movement.

  7. Malcolm Bruce stepping down as MP in 2015. AW has it as safe Lib Dem seat- maybe now only because of the even split among the challengers?

  8. Spearmint,

    Miliband has been widely quoted as saying that he had “a plan to make the Lib Dems an endangered species, and then extinct”. He has also rather strongly implied that he would not work with Nick Clegg in a hung parliament, let alone form a coalition with him.

    A Lib-Lab coalition after 2015 is very improbable, especially if Nick Clegg keeps his job as Lib Dem leader. And while a Lib-Lab coalition was an obvious possibility in 1992 and a Con-Lib coalition was obviously impossible, Labour and the Lib Dems have drifted further and further apart over the years.

  9. My interpretation of Clegg’s comments are that he cannot envisage circumstances changing to the point where he could ‘deliver’ all of his own Party’s MPs!

  10. @Richard

    The questions were hilariously biased in the SNP poll.

    One of the questions actually was something like “Do the better together campaign believe Scotland is too stupid and poor to be an independent nation?”

  11. Clegg was saying no chance of another vote on the same issue/question (ie the Ghouta incident)… but leaving open the question of intervention in the case of a new incident.

    This is slightly different from Cameron/Osborne/Hague/FO ministers who now say UK will not participate in any military action against Syria.

    They do seem to be united in turning the full force of their condemnation from Assad to Miliband though.

  12. @ Amber,

    To be fair they were cheering and shouting “Resgin!” when the vote was read out- perhaps not quite the image of sombre statesmanship they might in their better moments wish to project on such a serious issue.

    Frankly every party involved in this has behaved in a completely infantile manner (except, as per last night’s discussion, Plaid Cymru, the Greens and the Northern Irish parties.) Many individual MPs of all political stripes have acted honourably and responsibly throughout, but some of the others have embarrassed themselves quite badly, and in several cases, are continuing to do so.

    @ Bill Patrick,

    That was a very 2011 position, though. Since the phone hacking scandal things seemed to be softening, and recently both sides have been extending some tentative coalition feelers.

  13. @ Tom

    The questions were hilariously biased in the SNP poll.
    I’m thinking that only the actual question which will be asked is relevant. I don’t ‘get’ why they aren’t polling that as the first question.

  14. New thread.

  15. Spearmint

    Personally I think Hague should have resigned based on hios identification with this policy.

    For the Government to lose a vote such as this when he put his credibility on the line and a recall reflects poorly on him.

    As to your comment on the MPs, I have actually to say that some of the contributions from MPs of all parties (apart from the LD who have been typically absent) have impressed me.

    I think they took their jobs seriously on this, listened to the constituents and made some strong points.

    I am sensitive to the desire to be seen to do something, but this is not a good approach in any walk of life.

    The fundamental questions, which were laid out in the Labour amendment, are still relevant and either unanswered ot subject to challenge.

    What is the evidence?
    What is the legal justification?
    What is the intent and expected outcome of the attack?

    It is this last one that is the critical one, and nobody has given a straight answer. The fact that the Military Lords have expressed skepticism suggests to me that this is still not fully clear to the current commanders.

    The whole thing to me is becoming bizarre – clear inadequacies in the Government position are being blamed on Miliband. The media, as nrmal, is taking one side and I have heard very little on the consistent opposition of the populace regarding intervention.

    The reason the Coalition don’t want a vote on military intervention is that they may not win due to their own rebels. Enough made it clear they were only voting with the Government because this did not permit war without a second one, and the LD were a complete shambles as normal

  16. I posted a few days back that I was baffled by what was going on inside Tory HQ. I need to broaden that out to the wider Number 10 (which included the Cleggites).

    Two astonishing pieces of government cynicism.
    1. Government licenses sale of Sarin gas components to Syria, then 2 years later asks parliament for the power to bomb Syria for using Sarin gas
    2. Government recalls Parliament to consult with MPs, then throws a fit when MPs vote the wrong way.

    We don’t yet know the circumstances of the Sarin attack – thats what the UN inspectors are reporting on. I’ve now read various sources pointing to non-Syrian government Sarin, but even if it was the government, that the UK government signed off the sale is an astonishing admission.

    But more tellingly for me is the treatment of parliament. The recall was to allow MPs to vote on military action. The government imposed a 3 line whip on its MPs and lost, despite having a majority of 60+. That Cameron and Clegg are so outraged demonstrates not just denial as to why they lost, but also an utter disregard for parliament. The purpose in consulting MPs appears to get war rubber stamped. So it wasn’t a consultation at all.

    With the majority of people in the UK against our intervention, and even the Americans now getting cold feet, what on earth are Cameron and Clegg thinking? Anyone?

  17. @Bill Patrick

    “A Lib-Lab coalition after 2015 is very improbable, especially if Nick Clegg keeps his job as Lib Dem leader. And while a Lib-Lab coalition was an obvious possibility in 1992 and a Con-Lib coalition was obviously impossible, Labour and the Lib Dems have drifted further and further apart over the years.”

    I think this may be a naive assumption that disregards the cynicism/expediency of politicians. If the arithmetic points to a Labour/Lib Dem coalition then, believe me, a Labour/Lib Dem coalition will be formed, irrespective of Clegg and Miliband’s current mutual disdain for each other. Not only would the bulk of the Lib Dem membership prefer it, but most of the Parliamentary Party would too although how many Lib Dem MPs may survive the 2015 election is a moot point.

    It’s quite possible, maybe even likely, that Clegg’s leadership will be a busted flush on the Friday morning after the May 2015 GE. If they lose a significant number of seats and votes, then even if they still hold the balance in a hung Parliament, Clegg would likely resign and be replaced, even temporarily, by someone less tainted by the coalition with the Tories.

    My understanding is that whilst Miliband and Clegg are estranged, Miliband hasn’t burnt his bridges with the Lib Dems at all and in fact has retained below-the-radar contact with people like Cable and Hughes throughout this Parliament. Accordingly, despite the parading of bruised egos, I see nothing standing in the way of a Labour/Lib Dem coalition in 2015 if the parliamentary arithmetic dictates that it should be so.

    So, to misquote LBJ, don’t assume that the Lib Dems are the Tories ba*st*rds alone. They are Labour’s ba*st*rds too!

    (LBJ quote when talking about South American dictators – “They might be b*st*rds but at least they are our b*st*rds!”)


  18. Like so many threads, this seems to have climaxed as the minutes of the 2013 AGM of the Labour Are Better Than The Tories Society.

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