This week’s YouGov/Sunday Times results are here. Topline figures are CON 33%, LAB 37%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 11% – closer to the recent YouGov average than the two very close Sun polls on Wednesday and Thursday. As usual fieldwork was Thursday afternoon until Friday afternoon, so finished before Labour’s policy announcements and almost all of the reporting of Godfrey Bloom’s eventful day at UKIP’s party conference.

As you’d expect in the week of Labour’s conference there was a batch of questions on Ed Miliband (as there was in the ComRes poll for the Sunday Indy), but they only really show the pattern we’ve already seen – only 16% think he’s provided an effective opposition, only 17% think he’s made it clear what he stands for, only 9% think he is a strong leader, only 17% think he is up to the job of Prime Minister. Predictably Conservative voters have a low opinion of Miliband, but in many cases even Labour voters have a negative opinion. While Labour voters do tend to see Miliband as trustworthy and in touch with ordinary people, most think he has not made it clear what he stands for and has not provided an effective opposition and only 44% think he’d be up to the job of PM.

In one sense it will be interesting to see whether perceptions of Miliband improve as a result of the Labour conference. I expect they will a little bit, but it probably won’t make any major or lasting difference to the negative perceptions of him; it’s a hard task to change the public’s opinion on a politician once it’s set. The question is more how much it matters (thus far Labour have remained ahead in the polls despite Ed Miliband’s poor ratings) and how much it might or might not matter when we get closer to the election, a question that’s impossible to answer right now.

The poll also asking about banning the wearing of traditional Muslim dress for women and about climate change. Two thirds of people would support a ban on people wearing the burqa or the niqab in Britain (a quarter of people would even support banning the hijab). Three quarters of people would support allowing schools to ban the wearing of veils, 81% support hospitals being allowed to ban staff from wearing the veil.

56% of people think that the world’s climate is changing as a result of human activity, 23% think that the climate is changing, but not because of human activity, 7% think it is not changing at all. This is a marginally higher level of public believe in man-made climate change than the last couple of times we’ve asked, but realistically it isn’t something that changes massively from month to month. 39% think that the risk of climate change has been exaggerated, 47% think it is every bit as real as scientists have said.

537 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 33, LAB 37, LD 11, UKIP 11”

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  1. The last time the Conservatives were on 32% was the 11th September.

    Labour at 40% their best since the 3rd September.

    5 poll rolling averages:

    Con 34
    Lab 37.2
    LD 10.2
    UKIP 11.8

    Lab Lead 3.2

  2. Some impact of policies filtering through into polling? Wonder if the media, will stop referring to being neck and neck in the polls which look clearly rogue now? Doubt it

  3. Aha! Just need an eleven point lead tonight in order for my five-day prediction to be vindicated!

  4. Reassuring. Those two polls showing level pegging and Labour 1 up shook my usually unshakeable confidence a little.

    Could it have been just two outliers in a row? The odds of that are 400/1, and the odds of two in a row in the same direction are 1600/1.


    What are the odds of two outliers in one direction followed by one in the opposite direction?

  6. The odds rely on an assumed distribution – which is almost certainly not the case.

    @Smukesh, I suspect we’ll soon find out that the odds were 1.

  7. It the current Lab VI, that is for the last week or so, is around 37% there have been no outliers.

  8. Drunken Scouser. I have heard that Feynman began a lecture with the number of a car he happened to have seen that morning in the university car part. What are the odds he asked that out of all the car numbers in California I should see that particular one on this particular day? In one sense the unlikely is happening all the time. It is one thing to predict it but quite another to assign a probability to something that has happened in the past.

  9. Morning all, feeling good this morning off for a long walk in the Weald with my wife. Littlejohn in splendid form this morning, as ever bang on. Those who think the 70’s were wonderful for Britain would do well to read it.

    Thank you for the piece on healthcare in the USA, interesting but does not change my view that we need increased competition and that the NHS will slowly move away from the free at source idea. I know private health care is expensive, I use it all the time but i get what i pay for, the very best, kept me alive for more than 10 years despite a nasty cancer and hopeful of a few more yet.Basically I am aiming to get to our Diamond wedding in 2022 if i can.

  10. Littlejohn bang on?!? Jesus I thought people like you were only stories to scare me when I was a child

  11. @RiN thanks for reference to unnecessary deaths in the US

    @ToH Glad you found the link on US health care costs interesting.

  12. @ToH

    And here’s hoping you achieve 2022 when I am sure all will raise a glass to you.

  13. @ToH

    And here’s hoping you achieve 2022 when I am sure all will raise a glass to you (and your wife of course)

  14. Chris

    I cannot actually remember the last time i disagreed with him when he was discussing politics and politicians. Sorry if I scare you, but then i’ve lived in the real world for over 70 years.

  15. “Latest YouGov / The Sun results 23rd September – Con 32%, Lab 40%, LD 10%, UKIP 12%; APP -27”

    Interesting one and ahead of Miliband’s speech too. Not bad Government disapproval figures, certainly by recent standards, yet the biggest YouGov Labour lead for some time. Food for thought indeed.

    As even Tom Bradby acknowledged on News at Ten yesterday, the polls consistently tell us that Labour has the “strongest brand” (his words) of all the main parties in terms of public perception and geographical/demographic reach. They also have at their disposal the largest potential pool of voters and these factors probably lie behind their consistent poll leads despite the party performing in a fairly lacklustre way for the last 6 months or so. Yet, and here’s the counter-narrative, they have a leader held in almost historically low esteem.

    It seems to me that the outcome of the next General Election may well hinge on the implications of these two colliding political forces. Can Labour’s brand strength trump their leader’s poor public standing? Current polling, as Anthony regularly tells us, seems to point to the party’s enduring appeal holding sway, but will this survive the brutality of a personalised election campaign when Miliband goes firmly and squarely under the microscope?

    His speech today at the Labour Conference may tell us how much fire he’s got in his belly and how well he will do when the full ferocious enemy fire that awaits him is eventually rained upon him.

  16. I think today, unfortunately, is an outlier in the opposite direction. Labour prob still on about 37%. Still, at least it disrupts the incorrect media coverage of Labour meltdown. Been at conference. All seems positive to me…

  17. Charles

    Many thanks for your kind wishes. You have been in my thoughts quite often since your sad loss and very glad you now feel able to post again.

  18. Oh dear

  19. @ TOH

    Re the 70’s. Great music, wacky clothes, rubbish food, interesting politics.

    Although we look back at the 70’s as bad economically, the 73-75 recession was not as bad as the late 2000s, the early 80’s and the great depression. See the Wiki article on this.

    I would say the Britain suffers from the same problem it always has done. Lack of a unified approach in dealing with the challenges faced in competing with the rest of the world. I don’t think any of the political parties encourage people to work together to the level required.

  20. Is his speech today? Thought it was tomorrow?

  21. R Huckle

    Totally agree with your last paragraph, the Germans are much better at it.

  22. Chris – today. Traditionally the Labour leader’s speech hasn’t been on the last day of conference (indeed, I think it might have been even earlier on occassion! I remember past consideration of changing it as it left the last day of conference a bit flat). I think in the past the deputy leader has given the speech at the end of the conference, though no idea if that’s still how they set it out.

  23. Yep that rings a bell thinking about it

  24. Drunkenscouser (and Ernie) – I deliberately use the word “outlier” rather than “rogue poll” for that reason. A rogue poll is one outside the 95% confidence margin (so the chances of getting two in a row, or two in a row in one particular direction, are indeed fairly low).

    I use outlier though to more informally describe a poll towards the outer edges of the normal margin of error, but not necessarily outside it. As Ernie says, it’s perfectly possible to get recent poll results without anything being outside the formal margin of error.

  25. I do feel this poll has gone the other direction of the 2 polls last week – can’t see the public being swayed so immediately on what’s happening in Brighton – still think the lead is broadly 4-6

  26. Crossbath,

    I am not sure a prepared speech in front of a friendly audience will tell you much at all, how he performs in an tough interview with the likes of Brillo or Paxman when that day comes will tell you a lot more.

    Not sure about the strongest brand either, yes they have the biggest core support but that brings it’s own problems because that core of different minorities want different outcomes on policy. The Tory core is less fragmented.

    As for the final outcome it could come down to 2 things, all the polls at present are misleading due to the high UKIP vote, how much of that can Cameron claw back, also the floating centrist vote who will vote for the best party at election time. Nick Clegg has pitched his tent solidly there, which may help him hold enough seats, at the end of it all these voters decide elections.

    Does the Miliband/Balls ticket appeal to that crucial ground, I have strong doubts on that. Does Cameron have broad enough appeal to win a majority, again I don’t think so.

  27. Perhaps nothing was “afoot “with those two YG Polls after all?

    Need to wait for all the Conferences to be over to see the wood for the trees.

  28. I don’t think ‘those two polls’ were outliers…but nor do I necessarily think this one is either. They were within the MOE of a lead of around 3/4 points or so. As for the latest one, I think it’s due to the policy announcements that Labour has made during the past few days.

    Labour VI may possibly rise to 41-42% tomorrow and/or Thursday morning.

  29. It’s only a single poll, and thus insignificant unless it’s backed up by further results, but it might give EM a bit of a confidence boost this morning.

  30. Oh, and it’s been confirmed EM will be speaking without notes. I rather like that about him.

  31. I have a theory that these Damian McBride revelations will turn out to be positive for Labour.

    Why ? Most people don’t take any interest in politics, but they may be interested in reading gossip. So these people will be reading about Labour politicians and taking more interest in anything about Labour. There is currently loads of news coverage about the Labour party, partly because of McBride.

    As the saying goes, ‘there is no such thing as bad publicity’.

    I predict that Labour will see a polling bounce over the next few weeks.

  32. Sample-wise this poll looks a bit iffier than even the two close polls last week. The relativity between the Con:Lab:LD 2010 vote samples is unusual – it usually mirrors more closely the actual 2010 result but this looks underweight on Tory 2010 and overweight on Lab and LD………

  33. @R Huckle.

    I agree that a conference bounce is likely, and that Labour getting some attention will help them. Not so sure I agree with you about McBride though. The exculpation of Balls and Miliband should help, however. The story has far less relevance to today’s politics if no current figure is implicated.

    As for the poll, I was fully expecting a bigger lead to pop up. 8% is higher than I’d anticipated, though, and my gut instinct is that despite the competition in the headlines from Kenya etc that the positive exposure from the conference is having some effect – allied to an unwinding of the “Tory LibDem Conference Bounce” and perhaps a bit of random variation.

    Labour have done well to avoid any open conflict, over the unions or anything else, during their conference. A good display of unity which will give the leadership some confidence that a narrowing lead won’t scare the horses too much.

  34. Ambivalent,
    You may well be right.Friday evening seemed an odd time for releasing the
    Scrapping of the bedroom tax announcement ,but it has given time for its
    Importance to impact.
    Full,ferocious enemy fire.Is that not what he is under at the moment?I wonder if this strategy,if you can dignify it with such a term,has peaked too soon.Perhaps people will become fed up of this before the election,it does rather insult the
    Intelligence of those who persist in supporting labour.Even those who do not may tire of endless personal attacks from a biased press.

  35. On today’s Yougov I agree with those above that say this is an outlier in the other direction to last week.

    Last week we had a very improbable female VI (too many Tory women), today we seem to have too many Labour men (male 42% lab vs 31% cons vs long term average 35/31) . And today we have more women UKIP supporters than men UKIP supporters (13% women/12% men) when we should have a lot more men UKIP supporters than women.

    So for all those reasons not sure we can really see anything from today’s yougov, too many odd crossbreaks, lets wait for one that looks more normal.

  36. @Martyn

    Don’t know about Rosie and Daisie, but I like your elegant posts. Long may they evade automod for deviation.

  37. @Ian Wright

    “As for the final outcome it could come down to 2 things, all the polls at present are misleading due to the high UKIP vote, how much of that can Cameron claw back, also the floating centrist vote who will vote for the best party at election time. Nick Clegg has pitched his tent solidly there, which may help him hold enough seats, at the end of it all these voters decide elections.”

    Nick Clegg may have pitched his tent firmly in the middle as you say,but do you really think the general public cares.Out of the four main leaders he is the most disliked ,so i don’t think him setting up shop in the centre will help his party.Most likely people will move more right or left to avoid him there.

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