This week’s YouGov Sunday Times poll results are here, and have topline Voting intentions of CON 33%, LAB 38%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 12%. As you’d expect, the poll has questions on the Liberal Democrats for their conference, as well as some about Ed Miliband and the Unions.

By 45% to 34% people think it was the wrong decision for the Lib Dems to go into coalition with the Conservatives, though this is mainly driven by Labour voters. Amongst the remaining Liberal Democrat supporters three-quarters still think it was the right thing to do, but of course that’s largely because those opposed to the coalition are no longer voting Liberal Democrat! On the principle of coalition, 22% of people think it is better to have coalition governments that force parties to compromise, 53% think that a single party government is better.

22% think that the Liberal Democrats have been a positive influence on government, 25% a negative influence and 43% don’t think they’ve had much influence either way. Asked more specifically about Clegg’s claim that the Lib Dems have prevented the Conservatives from being more right wing, 46% think this is true (30% think it’s a good thing, 16% a bad thing). Asked which best reflects their view, 36% think that by entering coalition Clegg was doing what he thought was best for the country, 44% that he was betraying his principles for power regardless of the interests of the country.

Turning to Labour and the Unions, on balance people still think that Ed Miliband is too close to the Unions (32% think he is too close, 17% too distant, 20% about right, 31% don’t know). Miliband’s proposals to change how trade unions affiliate members to Labour are widely supported and by 43% to 14% people think he is right to try and reduce Labour’s links with the Unions (although a further 20% think that he isn’t actually trying to do this). Despite this overall he is not seen as handling his party’s relationship with the Unions well – only 25% think he’s done it well, 46% badly.

Only 16% of people think Miliband is ever likely to be Prime Minister, 70% think it is unlikely. Even amongst Labour supporters only 42% think he is likely to be Prime Minister, 45% unlikely. This is a strange finding given Labour’s consistent lead in the polls and when polls ask people which party they expect to win the election, far more tend to say Labour. I suspect this is speaking more of people’s difficulty in visualising Ed Miliband as Prime Minister, rather than their considered prediction.

Also buried away in the poll was a repeat of the “bedroom tax” question from back in March. Back then YouGov found more people supported the policy than opposed it, since then opinion has switched round, and there are more people opposed (48%) than in support (40%).

As I mentioned yesterday, there was also a second Scottish poll in the Sunday papers, Panelbase in the Sunday Times. They had topline figures of YES 37%, NO 47%, practically unchanged from their last Sunday Times poll which had topline figures of YES 37%, NO 46% (it also demonstrates pretty conclusively that the answers to referendum voting intention in the Panelbase poll for the SNP were influenced by the two preceeding questions). Panelbase have done the most regular Scottish polling over the last year and a bit, and leaving aside that SNP poll have shown very consistent figures, with YES support between 34%-37%, NO support between 44%-47% and no obvious trend in either direction. I’ve updated the page on Scottish referendum polls so far here.

193 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 33, LAB 38, LD 9, UKIP 12”

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  1. 48% against Bedroom Tax.

    That’s a real polling u-turn and spells bad news for the Tories. They have staked a lot on staying ahead on Welfare, Immigration and the Economy.

  2. Wonder how much the headlines from the UN report on the bedroom tax could have have done with this? Was amazed that Labour didn’t play on this more especially in PMQ’s – could have wrong footed Cameron by coming out at that time that they would have abolished it.

  3. The more interesting aspects of the Scottish polling are, in many ways, not the straight Yes/No question, but the more nuanced questions that are being asked.

    In the Panelbase/ST/Real Radio poll when the 16% of Scots still undecided are asked how they would vote if the referendum was today [as opposed to having another] year to think about it] the No lead falls to just six points with the gap narrowing to 53:47.

    In the iCM/SoS poll, ” once again, there is a clear majority in favour of further devolution to Edinburgh. If Scotland votes No, then 59 per cent of respondents want Holy­rood to become primarily responsible for making decisions about taxation and welfare.

    The poll also asked No ­voters what they would do if they concluded that those powers were not likely to be forthcoming. Six per cent said they would change to a Yes if they concluded those powers were not forthcoming, while a further 5 per cent said they would no longer know how to vote.

    Professor John Curtice, of Strathclyde University, said last night: “If these voters were to switch sides – or in the case of those who are unsure what they would do, abstain – then the Yes vote would increase from 40 per cent to 45 per cent.””

    Next year’s decision will not take place in a vacuum!

  4. I have completed a piece of work looking at the polling of Parliaments from 1983 onwards, and in particular what the polling from 2010 onwards tells us might happen in 2015.

    I would greatly appreciate the view of someone who might be interested in reviewing it for me.

    If anyone is interested, please let me know.

  5. Really interesting question on who is ever likely to be PM. Ed’s super low ratings on this ought to concern Lab.

    While we know that VI suggests Ed’s low poll ratings are already baked into the pie, as our American cousins say, this might be misleading.

    In general, people don’t ‘like’ Ed, they prefer Labour, but don’t think Ed will be PM. As the election approaches and the reality that a man they don’t really like will become PM gets understood, will that affect votes?

    This could happen, but equally lots of other things could happen also. Enough voters might start to warm to Ed to negate anyone moving the other way, people might start to dislike Dave more, or people might just feel that Ed’s not very likeable but better than Dave.

    I think though that it would be very slack of Labour to discount entirely the risks of having a leader much less popular than the party. They should give some serious thought to what this could mean, and how they should combat it.

  6. Maybe ed should take a leaf out of Putin’s book and go hunting/fishing/swimming in ice cold water/judo etc

  7. Or just be seen at Alton towers with his family, something non political and human. We don’t really see any news about him apart from the constant ed is carp message, but no one knows why ed is carp

  8. @ Catmanjeff,

    Sure, I’d love to. But wouldn’t it make sense to just post the draft version here and let us all have a crack at it? Then you could put the final version up on your blog, or whatever you’re planning for it.

    @ Alec,

    I agree, but what can they do? They can’t get rid of him so they’re stuck with his intrinsic awkwardness, the media is relentlessly negative, and he can’t make himself look decisive by coming out with concrete policies until closer to the election. And the Blair-style picking-a-row-with-the-unions schtick hasn’t helped him at all.

    Mind you having a media operation that wasn’t absolute carp would help the party a bit, both with Miliband’s ratings and in general.

    @ RiN,

    If he goes fishing isn’t that cannibalism?

  9. Can any grown-ups on the site PLEASE stop writing “carp”.

    It is silly.

  10. @Spearmint


    htt ps://

  11. Rosie and daisy

    What the carp are you going on about

  12. @ RiN & others

    Unfortunately, it seems self-evident to me why EM isn’t popular & it does have a connection with a fondness for carp (in its literal sense).

  13. RiN

    “Rosie and daisy
    What the carp are you going on about”

    It’s “DaisIE”. [I are WON next Sunday !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!]

    It was just something our dad’s been saying but with a lot more swearing.

    R and D

  14. NickP made this observation on the previous thread

    The poll underlines something that many commenters ignore about recent polls…Tory improvement in voting intention tends to be in their safe seats especially in the south
    But if you look at Statgeek’s regional graphs, those seem to show most of the recent Tory gain is in the North:

    They seem to have lost recently in the Midlands and London, which is where most of the marginal seats are.(Although to be fair Labour is also losing in the Midlands).

    I think it is the same conclusion though – the Tories are gaining in areas where it will make zero difference for them in 2015, and losing share in all the areas that matter?

    Or are regional cross breaks so unreliable that it would be wrong to make those assumptions even on a longer term trend like Statgeek shows?

  15. @Alec

    As always a thoughtful post. If the polls just before the 2015 election are similar to the Ashcroft Poll of marginals and todays YouGov then Labour will win the next election. However as you say Ed M’s rating is so bad that only 16% think it is likely to be Prime Minister. So either they think Labour will replace him or that Labour will lose the election.

    If the economy continues to improve and, importantly, some of that improvement is felt in the Midlands and the North then I think will will see switching of votes to the Tories and Cameron and Osborne will get the credit. There will also be lots of Tory propoganda along the lines of “let us finish the job, don’t let Labour in to ruin the economy again”. If I am right about this who wins the election depends on whether or not the Tories can get voters back from UKIP or if not if they can do an electoral deal with UKIP. I would not have thought either was impossible provided the economy improves and the Government is perceived to get a grip on immigration, a key aspect of why people support UKIP.

  16. Richard in Norway,

    Ask Mr. Hague why politicians are afraid of theme parks!

  17. @ Alec

    Here is an interesting article which may throw some light on that poll result. Perhaps many Labour supporters think he will be replaced before 2015?

    “A shadow Cabinet minister said next weekend’s gathering in Brighton could be “make or break” for the Labour leader.”

    “And the bosses of the unions who helped propel him to power have made it clear they are willing to cut him adrift unless the party’s fortunes improve.

    A party insider said: “They are not looking to throw him under a bus, but if there was an accident they would not cross the road to pick him up.”

    The source added that many would prefer to see Yvette Cooper or Andy Burnham take over.”

    He does seem to have picked up some enemies along the way who are using this period of polling weakness.

  18. “on balance people still think that Ed Miliband is too close to the Unions (32% think he is too close, 17% too distant, 20% about right).”

    Not sure I understand how you arrive at that conclusion, Anthony. Looks like 32% think he is too close and 37% think he isn’t.

  19. 48% against the bedroom tax, bad news for all of the 3 main parties who would keep it. Greens and UKIP would scrap it.

  20. @ Catmanjeff,

    Okay, preliminary thought: I’m not clever enough to understand this spreadsheet!

    No, just kidding, but it’s been a long time since my statistics courses so you’re going to have to hold my hand a bit and suffer through some beginner’s questions.

    Here’s the first one: how do we interpret the standard error? I mean, I know you could do something with it to get p-values for the correlation coefficients, but in the absence of that, what if anything is it telling us? (Apart from how noisy the data is, obviously, but I think we sort of don’t care about that? Especially since polling techniques have changed so much since 1992.)

  21. @Spearmint

    Broadly, the SE should be less that the correlation co-efficient.

    Given the large sample sizes, the SE is tiny compared the data, so gives us great confidence in them.

  22. NC has correctly said if either of the 2 main parties win then that is bad for the UK.

    Labour: We get too much spending and too much debt.
    Tory: Spending right, but not aimed at the less well off in society, help the rich.

    I am now massively in favour of PR, because I think a bit of all parties is the best outcome for this country. ie Balance.

    The LD’s will not stay in 9%, and this will come at the expense of Labour. ie Labour vote will fall in the run up to an election, as a result. If the LD’s go back to 15%, it could be a 4% fall in Labour support. The LD’s have increased the income allowance that helps a lot of working people.

    On the right, will the UKIP vote fall and help the Tories and their vote rises or will the rise of UKIP continue and their vote will also fall? Even worse will the UKIP vote go back to the Tories? UkIP fall to 6% and Tory rise 6%.

    With the collapse of the LD vote the Labour VI should be a lot higher, not struggling to hit 40%, and the Tories aren’t doing that bad with the rise of UKIP. I am shocked the Tories poll so high with their unpopular policies.

    Overall I think the Labour vote is more vulnerable to the LD’s than Tory is to UKIP.

    That all excludes the economic recovery that could propel the coalitions support a lot higher.

  23. Anthony,

    What was the base line in the latest Referendum poll, Westminster 10 or Holyrood 11?

    I think which is used is the factor that makes the biggest difference to the final out turn. I think I am right in saying that most use Westminster but the Panelbase that showed “Yes” ahead used Holyrood.

    Itters is hard to know which is the best to determine how Scots will vote. It depends if the see it from a Westminster or Holyrood perspective?

    Take LibDems in Scotland. If we assuming they break three to one against Then the Westminster 19% or so would be something like 15 to 4 giving “No” a 10% lead. If we used the Holyrood 8% then it would be 6 to 2 giving “No” 4%.

    Thus which election you choose as base can change the “No” vote by 6% just in terms of LibDem voters.


  24. @Spearmint

    What is striking in the data is the way that the correlation of Con to Lab is lower than has been the case for a long time. This is the reason that Con to lab switching is really going on.

    Overall, 2010 to now looks closest to the 1987 to 1992 Parliament. Now looks nothing like the 1992 to 1997 Parliament, where the correlations show the way Tony Blair swept up lots of voters from Conservatives and Lib Dems, though they dropped off again in subsequent elections.

    So what am I saying? Ed Miliband looks like slightly out performing Neil Kinnock in 1992, but no more.

  25. correction


    What is striking in the data is the way that the correlation of Con to Lab is lower than has been the case for a long time. This is the reason that Con to Lab switching is really isn’t going on at the moment.

    Overall, 2010 to now looks closest to the 1987 to 1992 Parliament. Now looks nothing like the 1992 to 1997 Parliament, where the correlations show the way Tony Blair swept up lots of voters from Conservatives and Lib Dems, though they dropped off again in subsequent elections.

    So what am I saying? Ed Miliband looks like slightly out performing Neil Kinnock in 1992, but no more.

  26. RiN

    What ever Ed did the Media have been instructed to put most negative spin on it possible.

  27. I’ve just looked on the list of Labour targets, and the 32 most marginal seats the Tories are defending against Labour, the ones Ashcroft polled, go up to just over a 2% swing. The median therefore will be just a little bit over 1%, meaning Labour would have been 2% behind the Tories in these seats on the whole. To now be 14% ahead indicates a swing of almost 8%, which I find very encouraging because if there were to be a differential swing in the marginals, I’d have thought it’d go the Tories’ way, with MPs standing for a second term getting a sophomore surge of 1% or so.

    It’s also interesting to see Labour getting 9% of 2010 Tories. In the national polls there has seemed to be barely any movement of that sort, so maybe Labour is doing something right where it matters, or maybe marginals just by their very nature contain more floating voters than other seats.

  28. @ Catmanjeff,

    Some preliminary non-beginner thoughts:

    1. Thanks for putting together this analysis. It’s already very interesting and I think it will be more so once I understand it better.

    2. I think something may be going wrong with your date filter in the 1983-1987 group. It seems to be sorting the months 1, 10, 11, 12, 2, 3… instead of 1, 2, 3… 10, 11, 12.

    3. The fact that the 2005-2010 parliament is showing a negative Con-Lab correlation is just crazy, and in my view it’s crazy to the point where it means the correlations are a bad metric. If they can’t get the direction of movement right, how can we trust their absolute value? (Which I’m guessing is the thing you’re really trying to get at with this analysis.) Possible issues:

    a) The correlations can’t pick up huge, election-determining spikes if the average direction of travel over the course of a parliament is in the opposite direction. Maybe the intervals are too big, and you should be looking at the correlations over the course of a year rather than a whole Parliament? I dunno. It seems like they could be flattening out a lot of meaningful trends.

    b) It’s a three (and now four) party system. Each party’s vote share is a function of how all the other parties are doing, and that data is lost when you look at the correlation between just two parties. Maybe you should be running regressions instead with both other parties as independent variables?

    4. Alternately, the correlations are a good metric and they’re revealing a monotonic Tory leakage to Labour that gets obscured by occasional blips like the 2008 recession. Except I think that’s sort of… not true.

  29. Another point regarding switchers between Tory and Labour. 9% of 2010 Tory voters represents 3.3% of the electorate, and the 3% of 2010 Labour voters going the other represents 0.9% of the electorate. Subtract the Labour switches from the Tory switches and just over 2 points of the 8% swing is coming from direct switches. The other 6 points must be coming from a mixture of Lib Dems to Labour, non-voter to Labour and the Tories losing some support to Ukip or apathy. It’s further evidence that Labour don’t have to win over people who voted Tory last time, and certain press hacks and ‘Blairite’ figures within Labour who think we do are living in the past and taking their flawed advice would just mean an unnecessary shift even further to the right.

  30. I suspect that Labour are putting a lot of resources into target Con-held marginal seats, judging by the amount of effort a colleague (who is a Labour PPC in one of these seats) is putting in to try to win in 2015.

  31. Peter – not sure what you mean by “baseline”.

    If you mean what political weighting the polls use, TNS and MORI don’t use any. Panelbase, ICM and the Ashcroft poll last week all weighted by past vote, all using Holyrood 2011 constituency vote as the target. YouGov weighted by party identification.

    Not aware of any company weighting Scottish polls using Westminster recalled vote.

  32. “a sophomore surge”

    Oh dearie me: are we in the USA all of a sudden? Sounds nasty anyway.

  33. Nickp

    You might have a point on the single issue of the bedroom tax although I don’t know if U-turn is the right word. But the coalitions welfare reforms in general are well supported by the public, as for immigration and the economy we will see if they remain ahead on those issues in the next 20 months.

    Incidently there seems to be a reluctance in Labour ranks to commit to scrapping the bedroom tax should thay come to power if todays political news on the BBC web site is to be believed, along with not re-nationilising the Royal Mail.

    It makes you wonder what changes the Labour party will make to any changes the coalition have made over the last three years very few if any is my guess.

  34. @ Catmanjeff,

    I’d argue Miliband is actually doing worse than Kinnock at winning over Tory votes (though not in the marginals, apparently.)

    But the baseline is totally different from 1987-1992, because the Tories are starting from a minority of 306 rather than a majority of 376. If Miliband can gain 40 seats from the Tories like Kinnock did in 1992, it’s a hung parliament in which a Labour minority government or a Lib-Lab coalition are the only viable outcomes.

    (And of course this is completely discounting the LD -> Lab and Ukip factors.)

  35. The Lib Dem revival on the 2015 election has not been accounted for, and that will hurt Leibour.

  36. Where is Chris Lane when you need him…

  37. When was the last time an opposition leader polled 38% , 600 days before a GE and won the next election outright? And with a leader who has such a bad approval rating?

  38. “The Lib Dem revival on the 2015 election has not been accounted for…”

    Possibly because it may not happen. There has been no sign of it during with the most negative ratings Ed Milliband has had in the past 4 months.

  39. @ Hoofhearted

    Atlee, 1945.

  40. The LD’s have done amazingly well in many council elections, despite their low polling, that shows locally they are doing well.

    In my town the LD’s took councillors from Labour in 2013 because locally they are strong despite losing out in 2011. This is a seat Ld’s could take from Labour in 2015! I really hope not because the candidate is a typical stuck up his own ass, career politician.

  41. “This is a seat Ld’s could take from Labour in 2015”

    Which seat is it? Where did the LibDems win seats from labour in 2013?

  42. Hoofhearted

    Thatcher I think

  43. Here’s an interesting post from Electoral Calculus, which complements Catmanjeff’s historical flux analysis:

  44. I think with Yvette or Andy B Labour would by now have the sort of leads for Labour we saw during the pre-1997 period.

    There is no doubt in my mind that Ed M will be a drag on the swing to Labour in 2015. (Actually, I think this unfair as it is based on his perceived geekiness rather than anything he says or does – but politics is very, very unfair!).

    But all the predictive signs are until now IMO that the maximum impact that drag will have is to limit Labour to a small OM or largest party status rather than a thumping OM.

  45. Tony Dean

    But assuming that a Labour leader can win the next election which one would be more likely to deliver a second term?

  46. @ RiN

    Ed Milliband!

  47. Tony

    That’s my feeling as well

  48. Richard

    He is in a similar position to Cameron in 2010 – he just needs to get there to be seen as a PM! Once there he will be quite good I feel at appearing as a quiet, steady thoughtful PM rather than a geeky pretender as at now.

    He needs the Labour machine to do the work for him to get him there, despite the negative Tory press onslaught there will be in the run-up.

  49. Hoof Hearted

    I am perplexed by your claim about LD gains from Labour

    Here is the LDV analysis and there is no such mention post the elections

    The only possible seat I could find is Sefton Central but the LD would need a swing of 12% to win (assuming the Tories collapse from 2nd) where the LD won some seats in Maghull in July but these were long-time LD seats anyway and there were local factors at work.

    To maintain a little bit of credibility can you give us a clue where you are talking about?

  50. @RIN & Tony Dean

    I agree about Ed Miliband. He is a different type of leader who I don’t think the British public get. I think he is more likely to work with cabinet colleagues and not strut around on the world stage acting as a statesman, because he will never look like one. There is something to be said about a collaborative type of leader and I think this is how he will have to lead Labour. On the Union funding change, I think Ed actually may have surprised his colleagues, but sometimes if you want to drive change, you have to be willing to lay down a few challenges.

    Does a candidate for PM have to have charisma ? If this is the case, this would rule out most MP’s that I can think of. I think it is actually more important to have a party leader who is seen to be in touch with the needs of the country.

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