Tom Newton Dunn at the Sun has just tweeted out tomorrow morning’s YouGov figures for the Sun. Topline voting intention figures are CON 36%, LAB 36%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 12%.

It’s the first time that the Conservatives have caught Labour in a YouGov poll since March 2012 (during that period between Cameron’s European “veto” and the omnishambles budget), although ICM also had a poll showing them neck-and-neck a few months back.

I will obviously add all my usual caveats about any unusual poll – sure, it could be that the Tories have actually caught up with Labour after a couple of polls showing the lead down to three or four points… but just as likely that it’s just a bit of an outlier. It’s the trend that counts, so keep an eye over the next few days to see if there are more very small (or absent) Labour leads…

283 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 36, LAB 36, LD 10, UKIP 12”

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  1. Could this be because 2 or 3% of disaffected LibDems have moved back from Labour following the LD conference?

  2. Now, this might be interesting if maintained because it’s the first narrow or non-existent lead that seems to be a result of a significant jump in Tory support.

    A few more of these and it could make for an interesting Labour Conference next week!

  3. That’s certainly an interesting one to come up a few days before the Labour conference. Of course, that could help move it back. Probably a 4 or 5 tomorrow anyway, judging by trends.

  4. @ Statgeek

    What’s more, if it isn’t an outlier, what’s the likely cause?
    The electorate mistook the LD conference for the Conservative conference & so the Tories got the conference bounce (perfectly understandable given the rave reviews that Clegg & Co. gave some government ministers!).

  5. @ Tony Dean

    Spelt with an F – you are naughty, but I like it!

    I only got away with it ‘cos it’s Anthony’s birthday.

  6. The Sun will be devastated if the poll on Friday shows a 6% . I assume they would have hoped these figure would have applied to the Times poll for the start of the Labour conference.
    Just noticed the Sun editor on Sky News is a scouser. I bet he is as popular as a fart in a lift back home. Definitely nicknamed “Billy”.

  7. A neck and neck poll fits well with Nick Clegg’s narrative today: ‘coalition works – let’s have another one in 2015’. The closer the polls the more credible another coalition becomes.

    Any LD conference bounce is more likely to show up in Friday morning’s poll, rather than this one, I would have thought.

  8. Amber


  9. @CB11

    I did wonder if it was a shot across EM’s bows from his slightly less loyal. He might well have a 10% lead by this time next week if he gives a storming conference.

    (Is there such a thing? They all seem very boring to me)

  10. Amber – I think it is a bit unfair on Labour that we are getting two Conservative conferences this year. One either side of the Labour one.

  11. His 2012 speech was very good – No idea whether he’ll follow it up, but we’ll see.

    I also recall Liam Byrne (I think) promising ‘Goodies’ in terms of policy unveiling at this year’s conference. So that could help.

  12. @David

    If the Conservatives are lucky enough to have a neck in neck polling situation as their conference starts, they’ll probably get a lead.

    I think Labour will have a 5-10% lead by the end of their conference.

  13. Red Rag,

    Don’t forget the Tory Splitters’ conference this Friday!

  14. “I also recall Liam Byrne (I think) promising ‘Goodies’ in terms of policy unveiling at this year’s conference.”

    I find that a really awful, patronising term for him to have used – thought so at the time. He might as well offer to hand out sweets [coconut liquorice allsorts would secure my vote I s’pose.]

  15. It is encouraging for DC & depressing for EM. However let’s see how it all settles down after the conferences are over.

    All to play for in 18 months but EM really needs to get his act together now if he seriously wants to be PM. He is Mr Invisible at the moment & so is everyone one else in his team. Exposure & policies – both AWOL up to now.

  16. With others on this – potentially very significant, as this shows for the first time a big lift in the Tory vote.

    However – has the backlash already started? From Peter Oborne in the Telegraph – ” There is an easy way these days to get everybody nodding in agreement, whether you are down the pub, at a dinner party, or writing a newspaper column: make the case that Ed Miliband is useless and probably finished. Thereafter conversation chugs along nicely.

    As so often in these cases, the central proposition is almost completely wrong. In a splendid article in this week’s New Statesman, the political thinker Anthony Barnett argues provocatively that “Ed Miliband is an exceptionally effective opposition leader, brave and an adroit party manager.”

    I concur with this judgment, and indeed would go further than Mr Barnett. Mr Miliband has achieved more as Opposition leader than either David Cameron, Tony Blair or Margaret Thatcher, the last three to have made the journey from outside government into Downing Street. ”


  17. “I also recall Liam Byrne (I think) promising ‘Goodies’ in terms of policy unveiling at this year’s conference.”

    How about:

    “This time we’ll leave some money in the tin for the next lot.”


  18. Mr Nameless – That’s three Conservative Conferences, surely that is some kind of electoral bias. Then again, you need that many Conservative conferences to fill all the Conservative supporting papers we have.


    1:Phil Haines did you get my 6.2% for the next set of opinion polls.

    2. Fridays poll 6% Labour lead…..nailed on!

  19. Spearmint (from previous thread)

    “Your right or leftwingness is determined by how many things you place under the state obligation umbrella. If you’re really left-wing you include things like employment; if you’re really right-wing you exclude things like healthcare.”

    This is the difficulty when you get down to individual policies. The National Socialists under Hitler are normally considered to be extreme right-wing, yet they had state control of both employment and health care (though perhaps not in the sense we would call ‘health care’). Your definition may be true of modern liberal democracies, but the term can vary in meaning over time, and in different parts of the world. I try to avoid using the terms because they are so malleable.

  20. @Statgeek

    Yes – polls will doubtless bounce around but it’s a happy coincidence that YouGov should have delivered a tied poll on the day that Nick Clegg is expounding the benefits of another hung parliament. Those of us who want another hung parliament want to see Labour and Tories neck and neck.

  21. Rosie and Daisie,

    I agree with your dislike of the term, but perhaps it was unfair to Mr. Byrne, since I Googled it and it was actually Chris Leslie who said that.

  22. @David

    I like to see them neck in neck* for two reasons.

    1) It’s great for pollsters such as ourselves

    2) It’s probably the best chance of increasing voter turnout (something I think this country badly needs if any faith in the electoral system is to be restored)

    * by neck in neck I prefer to think of the Conservatives having a three point lead, as that balances the seats to more of a neck in neck situation.

    If / when that happens, then the electoral strategists and managers will seriously kick off.

  23. @ Pete B,

    Fascism is often considered difficult to place on the right-left spectrum for precisely this reason.

    But I think part of the left-wing vision is that your citizens/the people in your country are universally entitled to whatever services you’ve placed under the state umbrella, whether you happen to like those people or not. Ideas like barring immigrants from accessing healthcare or legal aid are usually (and rightfully) considered right-wing. Barring your Jewish/Roma/communist/gay/disabled citizens from accessing employment, housing, food, oxygen, etc could be viewed as the ultimate failure of that principle of universality.

  24. Hmm, if a 6% Labour lead was “neck and neck”, is this poll going to be written up as “Cameron storms into unassailable lead” or something?

    For what it’s worth, clearly at the blue end of the MOE spectrum, but with all those 3s and 4s kicking around recently, there was always going to be a 0 in there somewhere, statistically speaking.

    The poll itself maybe doesn’t tell us that much, but the fact that the poll was even possible tells us that the centre of gravity probably has shifted this year. The fact that Cameron was comprehensively outsmarted by Miliband over Syria and yet has come out of it (arguably) better perhaps tells us about which issues affect VI (the economy, a sense of fairness in policy) and which don’t (parliamentary business, speeches, bombs, foreigners – or at least the sort of foreigners that are “over there” and not “over here”).

    Overall, taken with the bad news for the Tories in the marginal polling, I’d say the honours are about even for this week. It will be very important for Labour to put on a show of loyalty over conference season. Now is not the time for self doubt I think.

  25. @Statgeek

    Agree that a very narrow Conservative lead would make things even more interesting.

    And it goes without saying that I would also like to see the Lib Dems higher than 10%! [but I think one of the paradoxes of FPTP is that in 2015 it may actually help the Lib Dems – in the sense that our loss of seats will not be proportionate to our loss of votes nationwide. We seem unlikely to match the 23% vote share we got in 2010 but we could still be very significant players in the new parliament.]

  26. @Pete B

    The problem with “left-wing” and “right-wing” tends to be that they conflate two wholly independent variables – economic beliefs and authoritarian/libertarian attitude.

    Away from the far extremes, it’s the economic angle that dominates. Leftists will usually be Keynsian or socialist with substantial state involvement, and rightists will be free-enterprise based with restricted state involvement. Both these wings can be either authoritarian or libertarian.

    However, with the terms “far left” and “far right” the economic element takes a back seat to the authoritarian aspect. Both communists and fascists, despite their economic differences, believe in using state power (police, military, legal, and where needed extra-legal) to coerce private and social behaviours.

  27. @ RedRag

    Amber – I think it is a bit unfair on Labour that we are getting two Conservative conferences this year. One either side of the Labour one.
    Ha! 3 conferences, when you include those old Tories, UKIP. And I hope that Ed Miliband doesn’t spend this conference chuntering on about Disraeli or that’ll make 4!!!

  28. @Spearmint
    Good point about universality. I suppose I’m wary of state control of everything because there is always the danger that it can lead to totalitarianism.
    Anyway, thanks for the interesting responses.

    On the polls, it does seem that there has been a gradual drift from Labour to Tories over the last few months. It will be interesting to see how it all settles down after the conference season is over. Incidentally, does anyone know why all the parties seem to have their annual conferences around the same time (other than tradition)?

  29. @ David,

    Yeah. It will be interesting to see what the Lib Dems push for in terms of electoral reform if there’s another hung parliament- PR is not looking like the glittering prize it was for them a few years ago. They probably have more power in the unreformed House of Lords than they would under PR (on the current polling numbers).

  30. AW seemed a sprightly enough fellow when I saw him on the telly, especially since modding this place would put years on most. Anyways, a bit late, but Happy Birthday Anthony…

    @ RiN
    I googled the “weird gravel ski trek thing”, and it seems crazy at first blush – storing energy by using buckets on a line to carry gravel up a hill, then releasing the energy by carrying it down again – but when you think about it, there isn’t an obvious reason why it wouldn’t work. It’s a pretty straightforward idea, not hi tech or anything…

  31. “does anyone know why all the parties seem to have their annual conferences around the same time”

    It’s like banks and car salerooms – safety in numbers

  32. PETE B

    “does anyone know why all the parties seem to have their annual conferences around the same time”

    Isn’t it because MPs have agreed to create that slot in the Parliamentary timetable for their mutual convenience?

  33. @ Pete B,

    Agreed. But I’m not sure having big businesses run everything is much more democratic!

    Re. conference season, I imagine it’s because they have to go into recess for it. No one except the Lib Dems wants to ruin their Christmas or Easter holidays with a conference and it would be annoying to have a separate recess for each party’s conference, so they have one big one the autumn.

  34. @MOG
    Interesting points. Though I agree with ‘ideal’ communism in many ways, in practice (e.g. Soviet Russia, Maoist China), was there much difference between their economic policies and fascist regimes? e.g. state-run farms etc. I may just be totally ignorant on this one.

  35. Alternately, depending on what rumours one believes- this is the MPs’ breeding season.


    Mating perhaps, rather than breeding?

    They seem to clone rather than reproduce, though a few families in all parties seem to have created hereditary positions.

  37. Must say it’s interesting that the Coalition have suddenly embraced universality of provision with free school meals, after having undone it in other areas like child benefit…

  38. @Spearmint


    I think they should have many more breaks, and be paid much less, then we wouldn’t have so many stupid laws being passed (by whichever party).

  39. @ Spearmint

    The party leadership has gone very quiet on PR since the AV debacle – something which I personally regret.

    My view is that PR remains:

    1) right in principle – there should be a rational relationship between the number of votes cast for a party and its representation in parliament – and yes that means UKIP MPs (!)

    2) good for the Lib Dems – under PR 10% of the vote (our current support according to YouGov) would deliver a very respectable total of 65 seats. People who like to scoff at Nick Clegg forget how much stronger his negotiating position in May 2010 would have been if the 23% of the vote he won at that election had been rewarded with 23% of the seats. FPTP is a nasty stitch-up by Labour and Tory parties designed to suppress all political competitors (whether from right, left of centre).

    Anyway my understanding is that the Lib Dem leadership will go into the 2015 election asking for STV for local elections in England and Wales (the system already used in Scottish local elections). They don’t see banging on about PR for Westminster as a vote-winner.

    My own view is that you believe something is right you should have the courage to argue for it… even if it’s not very fashionable at the moment!

  40. @ Pete B

    The only fundamental difference between Soviet and Maoist state-run enterprises and Nazi ones is that the former coerced the abour from their own populace, whereas the latter coerced it from aliens. However, the Nazis did believe strongly in private enterprise provided it worked in line with state social policies, whereas the Soviets (and even more so the Maoists) operated a wholly state-directed economy.

  41. @David
    Forgive me for replying to your post aimed at Spearmint, but you said
    “FPTP is a nasty stitch-up by Labour and Tory parties designed to suppress all political competitors (whether from right, left of centre).”

    Surely FPTP has always been our system, and at one time could have been described as a stitch-up between the Liberals and Tories. The fact that Labour are now one of the Big Two suggests that it is possible for new parties to arise. Hope for the Greens and UKIP yet!

  42. @David

    “FPTP is a nasty stitch-up by Labour and Tory parties designed to suppress all political competitors (whether from right, left of centre).”

    The Liberal Party didn’t implement it when in power all those years ago. Let’s face it. No party will change the method by which it was elected. I did wonder if Labour would have supported the AV, as they would have had a decent swing of the winnings.

    I’m pro-PR, but not to turn parliament into a rainbow free for all, like the EU.

    Perhaps PR in the Lords instead? FPTP in the Lords wouldn’t work. Half of em would collapse after the first ten yards!

  43. There have been 19 polls so far this month.


    Lab: 37.89%
    Con: 33.11%
    UKIP: 11.47%
    LD: 10.00%

    Lab lead: 4.78%

  44. I object. This should have been yesterday’s poll! That way I.would (almost) have won the predictions game.

    Those tables are going to make for interesting reading. Too many Tories i’d say. Looks like an outlier.

    And yes, Amber, the Tories have got a bounce from the LD conference. I bet if the public is asked who’s policy it is for all kids to get free school.meals, they’d say the Tories!

    “Away from the far extremes, it’s the economic angle that dominates. Leftists will usually be Keynsian or socialist with substantial state involvement, and rightists will be free-enterprise based with restricted state involvement. Both these wings can be either authoritarian or libertarian”

    Since we are talking about political divides in a modern market economy, a commitment to freedom of information and to research tends to b a characteristic of the left and its absence or distortion for political purposes a characteristic of the right.

  46. @NEIL A

    “The milk may be spilled, but if as I suspect Labour gets a majority in 2015 on a very low vote share, there may be more milk in that bottle.
    The next boundary review will be due on their watch. If they do anything that looks like a partisan attempt to prevent rebalancing, it will look very Middle Eastern.”


    Maybe, but set against arbitrarily cutting the number of MPs in a way that favours the Tories, and then changing the registration thing, and even redrawing boundaries favours Tories at the expense of Libdems…

  47. On the left wing thing: lots and lots of state is but just one flavour of leftism. Just as the authoritarian is but one flavour on the right.

    Fundamentally, a common tenet in left-wingery is that the people control things themselves. A classic example being that “the workers own the means of production”.

    However, some interpret this as being fulfilled if the State runs things, because the State IS the people, or represents them, right?

    I think we can all agree that historically, there have been issues at times with this idea of the state acting as a proxy for the direct power of the people.

    Other flavours of leftism would prefer instead more direct, perhaps local control of things by the populace, eg via cooperatives and the locally elected etc.

  48. To be clearer, an example of the state acting by proxy comes in the case of nationalised industries, industries owned or run by the state “on behalf of” the people, which is not quite the same thing as workers in a factory owning a factory directly themselves, where they have a lot more say as a result…

  49. @John Pilgrim

    Sadly, “distortion for political purposes” is not merely a characteristic of the right. Rather, it’s a characteristic of every political party from Noah’s sons “gang of three” and onwards throughout history.

    Sorry, but no more posts from me tonight…. beddybyes calls.

  50. @Carfrew,

    Cutting the number of MPs only benefits the Tories because it necessitates new boundaries, which as we know always benefits the Tories.

    Personally I am very convinced of the case that we have more elected representatives than we really need these days, given the advent of devolution, PCCs, elected mayors etc. MPs seem to have have plenty of time to let their idle hands do the Devil’s work. 600 may be a figure plucked out of the air, but it’s as good a figure as any and I don’t believe that having less MPs is in itself an inherent benefit to the Tories.

    As for the LDs, their tendency to build up local fiefdoms means that, under FPTP, pretty much any redrawing of boundaries means a temporary disadvantage to them as their entrenched MPs risk losing some of their loyal voters, and/or gaining voters from other seats who don’t owe them any personal consideration.

    Personally, I’d love to see 200 3-member constituencies with STV, but I don’t really expect to see anything like that in my lifetime.

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