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. So, we’ve had two recent outliers in what is a gradually reducing poll lead for Labour.

    Labour does, indeed, have an opportunity to improve its poll ratings this week, but with the opportunity comes also the risk of playing their hand too soon.

    Still, all much more interesting than the summer’s polldrums.

  2. tamtatantan

    TARAH!!!

    Forward!

  3. The power of a good (bad) talking point. EdM broke Labour’s relationship with Murdoch in the most emphatic way possible, then said the unsayable (even by Blair) about Labour’s relationships with the unions, then outmanoeuvred the Prime Minister and stopped a war. And “only 9% think he is a strong leader”. What does he have to do?

  4. emphasize it is not a presidential election and present himself as a facilitative leader of a team ready to govern

  5. be a geek and proud of it in the same era of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates et al

  6. on no account should he try to prove he’s “hard” or macho or something that he is not as the electorate will know he’s faking

  7. off to Palace today, come on Eagles!

  8. 33/37/11/11

    When was the last time that a YouGov poll exactly matched the UKPR polling average on the top right?

    (Notwithstanding the fact that the gap in that UKPR average would now be a tad higher – probably 5% – were it updated for the very latest polls).

  9. It seems to me that the underlying position is a Labour lead of 4-5% and that both the ComRes 8% and the recent YouGov/Sun 0% and 1% were outliers. The trend in the Labour Lead remains relentlessly down and it will IF continued lead to the parties being genuinely even around the end of Jan 2014.

  10. Only 41% think he is up to the job of PM.Surely that word,only,is misplaced.
    If he can improve by 10% then a majority will think he can do it.No wonder the
    Right wing press is in a state of febrile overdrive to destroy his credibility.

  11. Don’t worry everyone! I’m here at Conference to make sure we make all the right policy announcements and give Ed a big boost…

  12. Ed needs to hire NickP as his polling advisor!

    Obviously this is Guardian paraphrasing (I missed his interview this morning) but the question “are you worried about your terrible polling figures” and “but why are the polls so bad” would have been answered very succinctly by NickP with a “they are not bad” and Electoral calculus gives us a majority of 66 (being better than UKPR at the moment!). Instead it was a bit of ‘polls go up and down’ vague answer.

    Seeing how badly the media portray polls it is unlikely there would be a Turk lurking in the interviewer’s chair to give an alternative viewpoint.

    Polling questions should be easily dealt with by politicians as we can see from both sides on here making credible claims about what they mean.

    I think we should also do a polling bingo on election night after the exit poll to see how many times they say “well polls are often wrong” and “it’s too early to say as we haven’t had any real results” and “let’s wait for the voters to decide”.

  13. Interesting comment by Anthony about how much difference Miliband’s ratings will make as the election nears.

    I wonder if there’s a parallel with 1992, when Labour seemed to be a shoo-in after 13 years of Thatcher until the public suddenly realised that there was a danger that Kinnock would get in and they then turned out in record numbers to vote Tory?

    I don’t think Miliband is as widely disliked as Kinnock but there might be a similar if smaller effect.

  14. Shevii,

    If you made that a drinking game, we’d all die!

  15. I reckon Ed and Labour will get a bit of a boost from policy announcement and/or the conference. Expect Yougov leads of around 6-8% by the end of the conference.

  16. Ann – that’s *amongst Labour voters*. It’s 17% amongst the general population.

  17. I remember this argument about conferences each year.

    Whatever boost – or not – happens in the polls it all goes back to what it was before in no more than month after the conferences. Why? Normal voters pay no attention to the conferences unless it’s some idiotic thing like the UKIP MEP.

  18. NORBOLD
    Don’t worry everyone! I’m here at Conference to make sure we make all the right policy announcements and give Ed a big boost’

    Norbold- you need to tell him that the idea of companies being forced to have an apprentice for everyone employed from outside the EU is a dumb idea. Why? The main companies hiring from outside are multi-national companies moving highly trained and highly priced people around – oil people / bankers / brain surgeons – not factory floor sweepers. An English person goes to to America, an American moves to Scotland and so on.

    It’s not apprentice land at all…

  19. German election prediction time:

    I’ll go for:
    CDU-CSU 37
    FDP 7
    SPD 27
    Greens 9
    Left 9
    AfD 6

    Based on: 1. The polls underestimating the tactical switch to FDP from CDU, which they tend also to have done in the past. 2. A growing perception given recent poll trends that the AfD have a fighting chance of getting 5%, leading to some leakage of (non-tactical) votes mainly from the CDU.

    47.5 needed to form a coalition government.

  20. “Two thirds of people would support a ban on people wearing the burqa or the niqab in Britain”
    ______

    So where does it stop? Kids wearing balaclavas in winter? baseball caps, no hoodies in public areas etc etc!!

    People should be allowed to wear what they want..be careful for what you wish for.

  21. Ann in wales

    That’s 41% of Labour supporters, when you add in the rest of the voting public it drops to 17%. Any leader strives to be popular with the home side ,most in opposition succeed, it’s convincing the rest that could be EM and Labours problem we will see in 18mths.

    Ambivalentsupporter

    I suspect the Tories will be happy with only being 6-8% behind in the polls at the end of the Labour conference gives them chance to bring that down a bit during there own conference.
    The main political parties will be looking to gain a slight advantage or at least not a slump I think that after this set of conferences have finished we will see things return to where they were before they started give or take a percentage point.

  22. “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”
    ______

    Ouch!!

  23. Allan

    I’m glad someone mention it, I find the burka ban very troubling as it’s likely to be the thin edge of the wedge

  24. @Jack

    I’m far from sure that it would operate in the way that you assume. But if multinational companies that swap workers between say the USA and UK were forced as a consequence to train up some apprentices in the UK as well, I’d still see that as a very positive outcome.

  25. RIN

    I think you’re right. I know some people say the wearing of the burka is a sign of oppression but you could also say someone wearing a balaclava could be a bank robber!

    I really don’t care what people wear so long as it does not offend anyone. If I want to go out in public and cover my face then that is up to me and no one else.

  26. Time for me to put my bit in !

    1. because the seagulls won yesterday, and moved up FIVE places in the Championship !

    2. I remember last conference time, the media narrative was that EM was carp, but he could redeem himself by giving a good closing speech. They concluded that the closing speech was powerful, and started saying EM was good — Nick Robinson said something like ‘EM has proved himself’

    3. Basically, if they decide that the closing speech is weak, they will try to destroy him in the media, and there will be a VI slump.

    4. The end

  27. I don’t buy the idea that party conferences never have much lasting influence on VI. It surely depends on the context. These a major events which impact on news coverage for the best part of a week, so they clearly have some potential.

    Labour has by far the most to gain this week, simply because after a lousy Spring and Summer this is its main opportunity address Mrs Duffy’s comment that “no-one knows what the party stands for” by putting forward a raft of populist policies. Any long term impact on Miliband’s ratings will be on the back of those policies. Before the conference has even begun, the party will be pleased with four major announcements getting significant coverage: ending the bedroom tax, school-based childcare, increasing the minimum wage and extra apprenticeships forced on large companies that take on non-EU migrants. If the party emerges from the week having given people a clear impression of what it stands for, I think the poll boost will be lasting. The only potential downside for Labour is the possibility of a bout of infighting with the unions to distract from everything else.

    The Conservatives have little to gain, by contrast. A few high profile and no doubt populist policy announcements will have been saved up for the conference. However, the contrast with Labour is that those could have been made at any time and would still have received attention. Cameron already enjoys reasonable personal ratings (in relative terms) so the potential for improving on those will be limited. I expect a significant part of the coverage to be given over to rubbishing announcements made the previous week by Labour, but if so that still mean that the debate would continue to take place on grounds of Labour’s choosing.

    As for the Lib Dems, they’ve come out of this with just one policy announcement that they’ll be associated with, whilst giving the impression that the leadership is even more inclined to the right than hitherto. People already know what they stand for given their alliance with the Conservatives, and the conference did nothing to change that. Their positive bounce appears to have been minimal and in their case I’d agree that it’s likely to last next to no time.

  28. @PeteB
    ‘I wonder if there’s a parallel with 1992, when Labour seemed to be a shoo-in after 13 years of Thatcher until the public suddenly realised that there was a danger that Kinnock would get in and they then turned out in record numbers to vote Tory?’

    It’s a myth that Labour appeared a shoo-in in 1992. Throughout 1991 and early 1992 the polls never really suggested that Labour would do better than being the largest party in a hung Parliament – indeed the Tories were quite often ahead.

  29. JACK

    @”Norbold- you need to tell him that the idea of companies being forced to have an apprentice for everyone employed from outside the EU is a dumb idea. ”

    Nooooooh……..don’t tell him !

  30. @AndyO
    “3. Basically, if they decide that the closing speech is weak, they will try to destroy him in the media, and there will be a VI slump.”

    I think they have been doing that for the last 3 years. Marr this morning introduced the papers by saying that many of them seemed to have found the Labour conference as “too boring” to put on their front pages (a snide reference to the tweet by Ian Katz, Newsnight’s Editor, on Rachel Reeves).

    The fact that the conference hadn’t actually started didn’t appear to have occurred to him.

    The media have great power & as the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility. The public too have great power & we Brits tend to support underdogs – something perhaps the Aussie at the heart of the tory party has overlooked.

  31. @Rosie & Daisie

    Happy wuffday Daisie :-)

  32. Parental leave for grandparents didn’t last long.

    Perhaps of some relief to companies who are looking at an increasing list of policies to tackle “cost of living” , with the label ” Companies will pay for this”.

    Does EM really want a row with the CBI et al?

    ………..perhaps he does.

  33. Andyo

    Maybe it’s not a good idea for labour to rely on Nick Robinson to give EM a good appraisal after Nick’s piece on the BBC web site today.

  34. I think the right wing media is going to jump on the cost of all the Labour policies, ie they are unfunded. A Labour MP(missed her name) on the Politics show, when ask the cost of cost of providing primary childcare from 8am-6pm, she said it wouldn’t cost anything. Eh? That type of comment isn’t going to help.

    I want to know what policies are and how they are going to funded, what will need to be cut and what tax rises are needed in 2015.

    Forcing global firms to take on apprentices will force jobs abroad, you could incentivise them instead.

    Scraping the bedroom tax should have a lasting VI.

    I have yet to hear how any party is going to bring down this massive deficit.

  35. I wonder if polls would show a different result if people were asked to vote for a leader, rather than a party. Don’t most in the end, on election day vote for a personality. I wonder if approval rating should be included in the polls.

    That is clearly how the Tories will want it fought, Labour will want it fought on policies

  36. @ Turk

    Maybe it’s not a good idea for labour to rely on Nick Robinson to give EM a good appraisal after Nick’s piece on the BBC web site today.
    —————
    I thought Nick Robinson’s piece was fine. He was making the point: People have questions; Labour (Ed Miliband) should answer them. What’s wrong with that?

    At the end of the piece NR raised some questions regarding the apprenticeship program & allowed Labour to reply – which they did, quite satisfactorily, IMO.

  37. Should the answer be to questions from the media outside the policy info be?

    EM answer
    ‘I cannot be expected to answer that until we know what we are inheriting’
    After all it is true…

  38. @Jim (TOO)

    “I cannot be expected to answer that until we know what we are inheriting”

    That would pretty much allow all oppositions to attempt election without policies (real, false or imagined). I doubt that Labour will use such a term too often. It will give their opponents too great an opportunity.

  39. It is not just the right-wing press which is attacking Ed Miliband. The Guardian, with notable exceptions, also puts the worst possible construction on policy announcements and polling results. As Peter Oborne made clear in his piece in the Telegraph, Ed Miliband is attacked by the Murdoch press because of phone hacking, the right of the LP because of not being David and by the Tories/LDs. That leaves the Mirror and Sunday People to redress the balance.

    In the circumstances, it is unremarkable that EM’s poll ratings are so affected. However, IMO it raises enormous issues about the way that the ‘free press’ impacts the democratic process. Essentially, the current negativity about Ed M exemplifies Chomsky’s analysis and makes a mockery of the MSM protests about their role in sustaining democracy.

  40. hehe

    but that is just what dc and most of the then shadow cabinet said prior to 2010 and the media just accepted it?

  41. Amber Star

    “I thought Nick Robinsons piece was fine.”

    I agree, his comment about EM

    “The leader seemed to regard today’s questions as an invitation not to give an answer but to deliver a pre-tested soundbite on a vaguely related issue.
    So it is that Labour risk unveiling real policy substance and still leave people wondering what on earth the man who wants to be our next MP might do if he reached no 10”.

    Of course make your own mind up if that was fine for EM, it certainly was fine from my point of view.

  42. Press and media impartiality should be watched very carefully and comparisons made between interviews and published content if it appears that impartiality fails, then make new laws, the press and media cannot complain if examples are there for all to see.

    The press and media should be reporting the news, not making the news or skewing news to fit their own agenda.

    Self regulation does not seem to work…

  43. Syzsgy
    Yes indeed,the Monstering of Milliband by the media will continue until the election,what they did to Kinnoch will pale in comparißon.

  44. @ Turk

    It’s not supposed to be ‘fine’ for Ed Miliband. The media are supposed to question politicians & be critical of their answers. Which is fine by me.

  45. Getting rather tired by the continued right wing Murdoch/mail agenda on Milliband being allowed to dominate the narrative with the BBC etc – milliband’s figures aren’t great but there’s a hell of lot of ‘don’t knows’ in these polls that the media ignore and focus on the few that have made their mind one way or another – Cameron’s figure aren’t by no means great but the speil is that he’s almost some sort of JFK figure – he’s certainly not and also doesn’t have the benefit of converting a majority of ‘don’t knows’ into positive territory – most have made their mind already on him and news to such organisations as above, it’s not great

  46. An Opposition that won’t announce policy, led by a figure considered out of touch by the voters and with a widely-distrusted Shadow Chancellor who keeps getting into scrapes was enough to get that Opposition leader into Number 10 at the last election.

    Compare and contrast the treatment of the two leaders.

    It’s fascinating.

    Syzygy is right. Never has an Opposition leader been less likely to get a fair hearing in the UK press, and none of it for reasons that ought to be acceptable. That he’s in contention at all is remarkable.

  47. The Mail’s coverage is actually quite funny, it is so biased and amateur. They had a lovely story today about how we have spent 1.4 trillion on benefits this century and included pensions in that figure. The comments to that story show it has enraged lots of pensioners now worried the Tories are going to start targeting pensions! Opposite effect.

    Most of their readers seem to have defected to UKIP looking at the comments on the stories, and the more the Mail comes out with pro Tory/ anti anyone else stories the more it seems to fire the commenters up.

    Chordata mentioned the British people go for the underdog. I think people underestimate the intelligence of the public, they can see what the papers are doing, and far from getting people to turn towards the Tories I believe it is actively building up the Tory opposition.

    I was thinking Bloomgate would be bad for UKIP, but reading comments on there, to the contrary it seems to have energised the UKIP activists. Labour should be thankful for the Daily Mail, it is the reason UKIP thrives.

  48. Chris Riley
    But them’s the breks,the Conservative agenda on Labour has always been to deny the competence\ legitimacy of the Labour leadership,look at Chuchill’s’take on Attlee prior to the 45 election, ‘an empty taxi pulled up and Mr Attlee got out’. This abt the man who had loyallly and competently run the country while Churchill directed the war effort. Similarly the ludicrous Demon eyes campaign ,so wonderfully parodied by Harry Enfields ‘L’is for Labour L is for Lice’ sketch.
    [Snip]

  49. Ed’s problem is pretty much the same as every Labour leader during my lifetime – essentially the Tory party decides on the line of attack, filter it through to the Mail / Telegraph/ Sun / Express/ Times and they relentless pursue the agreed line of attack day-in-day out until it becomes the common theme.

    Blair was the only one who dodged the bullet by cosying up to Murdoch and we all know how well that worked out.

    It makes me smile when I see the lobbying bill going through at the moment trying to curtail charities and the like campaigning in an election year when the bulk of the press will be campaigning flat out against Labour every day for the 6 months prior to the GE without any constraint whatsoever.

    I wouldn’t mind betting that the vast majority of people who respond to polls saying Milliband is “‘weak” or whatever the current Tory attack-line is couldn’t come up with a single reason why they believe that that is the case.

    Perhaps I am just getting more cynical the older I get!!

  50. Snipped for quoting Nye Bevan! Whatever next…

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