This morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 38%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13% (tabs here. Meanwhile the twice weekly Populus poll has figures of CON 34%, LAB 41%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 7% (full tabs are here

The Sun also had a batch of YouGov polling about the Liberal Democrats in advance of their conference (I expect there will be more Lib Dem polling to come at the weekend).

The broad picture is still pretty miserable for the party. 42% think that the Liberal Democrats have influence in government (8% a lot, 34% a little), and 40% said they had contributed something positive to the coalition (the most popular choice, on 20%, was more moderate and centrist policies, followed by more interest in the less well off on 15%). However, 44% said that the Lib Dems had not contributed anything positive to government at all. Perhaps most worrying for the party, only 19% said they had an idea what the Liberal Democrats stand for these days, down from 26% a year ago.

Few people thought the Liberal Democrats had delivered on many of their specific aims in government. The one area where Lib Dems are seen as delivering is on tax, 10% think they have gone a long way to reducing the income tax paid by low earner, 38% some way. People rated them much less well on all the other aims YouGov asked about, just 22% think they’ve made at least some progress on protecting the environment, 22% on increasing taxes on the wealthy, 20% on reforming banking, 15% on constitutional reform, 13% on improving civil liberties.

Of course, this all has to be viewed in the context of the Liberal Democrats being quite a small party. While I am sure the Lib Dems would like it if a majority of people thought they were wonderful, realistically they are not aiming at majority support at the next election. Rather they will be looking to limit the losses from 2010, to increase from their current poll rating and hold on to a core of support, possibly in the mid-to-high teens. If there is a core of people who think the Lib Dems have contributed a lot to government, have delivering on their aims, and those people can be pursuaded to vote Liberal Democrat, then that’s something for them to build on.

Even so, things look difficult looking forward. 4% of people say they will definitely vote Liberal Democrat at the next election, a further 14% that they’ll consider it. Another 31% say they might vote for them in the future, but not at the coming general election.

272 Responses to “YouGov, Populus and some Lib Demmery”

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  1. Anthony

    There is an ICM poll on the Macbethian question published tomorrow (Sunday).

    Interesting question on how Scots would vote if Devo Max isn’t the “cast-iron” (don’t know the origin of the words) outcome of a No vote.

  2. The marginal versus UNS seat majority prediction is important to me for two reasons….

    1) It shows the scale of the challenge for Labour and the Tories in getting an overall majority in 2015. It would show how likely it is that they would have to perform at better/worse than a UNS or calculation to form a majority government.

    2) If the polls narrowed and the marginal poll showed that the Tories were outperforming the UNS calculation (even if on current polling it suggested a comfortable Lab majority), it would mean that they would not need as much to be the largest party/secure as the on-site calculator, or as much as many on here use as a raw calculation. In other words, it would make it easier for the Tories to be the largest party and/or win a majority. If the opposite is true, it would suggest that the Tories have a much bigger problem and that they’d have to score better on election day than even a crude, raw calculation figure using UNS suggests.

  3. @ Redrag

    What source was your quote from (about the Ashcroft poll)? Probably too late now anyway as I’m off to beddies!

  4. 32nd Con/Lab target would be Northampton North?

    So a 14% (on average) lead in seats where Con had a 0.1>4.8% majority in 2010?

  5. Shevii – The Times.


    is there any real difference between a structural deficit and a non structural deficit<? They both have to be repaid. The borrowing rate for Brown's debt was very low by historical standards – lower than any of the debt run up in the 1980's for example.

  7. What should petrify the many Tory strategists is the fact that the swing to Labour in the marginals is quite a bit more than the cross nation swing. Oh, and the fact that Labour started their ground war in these marginals 18 months ago.

  8. @Colin

    I spend 4-6 posts explaining the different indices, how a boom is a process not an event, why some indices are problematic because they’re laggy, and finally demonstrating how to tell if a boom has, in fact, occurred…

    …and you nitpick the joke?


  9. Well the Ashcroft marginal poll is up, and must be good news for Labour.

    Worth pointing out the dates

    Fieldwork – 1st August-5th September 2013

  10. @Alec

    Adding new capacity can’t *create* new bottlenecks, it just means that the old bottlenecks are replaced with different bottlenecks. Yes, there will still be bottlenecks, but they’ll be closer to production in the north. And transport bottlenecks actually attract investment and economic activity in those areas. Moving those bottlenecks out of London and up north are *good things*.

  11. “Oh, and the fact that Labour started their ground war in these marginals 18 months ago.”

    Assuming that’s true, it’s a waste of resources if there’s no way of knowing the polling in the year prior to a GE. Labour could be 10% ahead nationally, and the money was wasted, or they could be 10% behind nationally, and the election is lost elsewhere, due to a lack of funds (spent two to three years prior).

    If that is a ‘strategy’ it’s certainly an interesting one, especially as there have been little in the way of policies for 2015.

  12. So, in the con-held Labour targets, Ashcroft poll has the score Labour 43 vs Con 29, with more people heading towards Labour than the tories (ie indicating the direction of travel).

    This is a bigger result than across the country, and possibly reflects the fact that people in these marginalised have reported higher Labour activity than tory.

    On this basis, it must surely indicate that Labour will do better than a universal swing from the national polls are indicating?


    I believe that the difference between a ‘structural’ and ‘non-structural’ deficit is that the latter will grow and shrink according to the normal economic cycle whereas a ‘structural deficit’ is that economy does not have sufficient inherent resources to generate more tax than expenditure.

    However, the deficit does not need to be repaid .. it simply an estimate as to the state of the economy. it is really very misleading to call it a ‘deficit’ which in terms of a household would mean cutting expenditure or getting a better paid job. Clearly, the national finances are not like a household. For a start, where does the money to pay our taxes come from? The answer (if one tracks back) has to be from UK government spending because no other country issues pounds sterling.

    In 2008, tax receipts fell dramatically because of the global banking crisis. Hence, the ‘defict’ grew. Not only was there a fall in tax receipts but the expenditure increased because of unemployment benefits for those who lost their jobs. According to monetarism, there is supposed to be a relationship between unemployment and the rate of inflation. So because we have relatively high inflation plus high unemployment, the neoclassical economists suggest that the capacity of the UK had been damaged .. hence a ‘structural deficit.

    However, the deficit is calculated by making a series of estimates which any scientist would regard as a highly suspect process .. and indeed economists argue amongst themselves as to the figures, and there is a wide variation in the different estimates.

    What concerns me is that gov’t policies are predicated/justified on a factor which is descriptive rather than functional and calculated in such a dubious manner. Wealth is created by people and at the moment we have 2.7million people unemployed. Get them back to work and the deficit will automatically close.

    However, the private sector is sitting on 700bn which it shows little sign of investing in the real economy. Hence the low-waged, often part-time jobs which constitute the current ‘recovery’. IMO we need gov’t to spend in creating jobs, the income of which will be put into the real economy and thus create the demand that is the major problem. Its not as if there aren’t jobs that need doing, is it? We are facing a nightmare scenario of climate change, an energy crisis, a still unregulated financial sector, a housing shortage and 1m unemployed 16-25y olds. Look after employment and the economy (deficit) will look after itself.

  14. Curtice on the latest Macbethian poll –

    “No less than 41 per cent of those who currently say they expect to vote No would like the Scottish Parliament to be primarily responsible for taxation and welfare benefits in Scotland, that is “devo max”. And of this group of current No voters, over one in four say they might vote Yes or are uncertain what they would do if they were to come to the conclusion that the Scottish Parliament would not in fact get any more powers in the event of a No vote.”

    We’ve known for years that most Scots would coalesce around a Devo Max constitutional settlement. When that option in the referendum was excluded by Westminster, the interesting question has always been which way the “Devo Maxers” would go in a forced choice.

    In precisely a year’s time, we’ll find out!

  15. @statgeek
    Everyone knew which were the targets 3 years ago when the last election results were called. Whatever the polls these are seats Labour must win in order to form a government.

    And on this evidence it will win them easily.

  16. The interesting question on the Ashcroft polls is that he has broken out the economy question into 2 parts;

    Which of the following issues do you think is the most
    important facing Britain? And which is the second
    most important? And the third most important?
    [% naming the issue in their top three] (Q5)

    Economy and jobs (64%)
    The deficit and the debt (22%)

    And then who is better at addressing those; (Q6)
    The economy and jobs 33% Cons, 43% Labour
    The deficit and the debt 49% Cons, 29% Labour

    That’s the first poll I remember separating the questions, and the first time I recall seeing Labour in a clear lead on a question about the economy.

  17. Perhaps worth pointing out that, while I primarily post on Scottish polling/politics, all those of you posting on the Ashcroft poll are posting on an English poll (with the exception of Montgomeryshire).

    I will read your comments on English politics with interest (as i do with Lazlo’s informative posts, or RiN on Norwegian politics).


  18. @ Oldnat

    Not true ;)

    There is a national poll included

    If you look at table 4 it tells you how the 32 people in Scotland who were polled and intend to vote and weighted for turnout plan to vote….

  19. @ Statgeek

    FYI – Labour’s ‘ground war’ is mainly comprised of volunteer activists & elected or hope-to-be elected candidates in their free time. If it’s a waste of money, at least the amounts are small. And whether it’s a waste of resources would depend on the alternative uses to which Labour could put these activists.

  20. New thread about the marginal polling.


    I hadn’t seen those tables. That is, of course, an international poll, as opposed to the one nation marginal poll. :-(


    Because that was the quickest way to say you are wrong.

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