YouGov’s weekly results for the Sunday Times are out here and show Labour continuing to enjoy a boost from their conference. Topline voting intention figures are CON 31%, LAB 42%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 13%, the first double-digit Labour lead this month. Ed Miliband’s own ratings are also up – 30% now think he is doing a good job as Labour lead, up from 22% last week. In YouGov’s polls at least there appears to be a real change from Labour’s conference – what remains to be seen is whether it lasts, or is rapidly cancelled out by the Conservative conference next week.

For now though let’s look at the post-Labour party conference polling. 50% think it is true to say that Miliband has moved his party to the left, but they are divided over whether this is a good or bad thing – 23% see it as a positive, 27% see it as a negative. More empirically (since people aren’t very good at comparing their views now to their views in the past), YouGov asked people to place the parties on a left-right scale, from very left wing to very right wing. 34% now see Labour as very or fairly left wing, up from 26% last year and the highest since YouGov started asking this question back in 2006 (under Blair and Brown it tended to be around 20%). Note however that the Conservatives are seen as very or fairly right wing by 39%, so Labour may been seen as having moved more to the left, but it does NOT mean they are seen as less centrist than the Conservatives are.

Looking at some of the specific policies Labour promised at their conference, 63% support the energy price freeze, but the most widely supported policies were actually increasing the minimum wage (71%) and increasing corporation tax for big companies and cutting rates for small firms (71%). There was majority support for seizing land from developers who don’t use it (53%) and making firms offer an apprenticeship for each immigrant they employ (52%). The only major announcement from the conference that people did not support was giving the vote to 16 year olds, opposed by 61%.

Looking more specifically at the energy promise, while people support the principle of it, there are some doubts about whether it would actually work. Asked it if would actually deliver better value and no big prices rises for ordinary people 42% think it likely would, 47% that it’s unlikely it would. While only 27% of people thought it likely there would be power cuts and shortages because of a price freeze, 58% thought it was likely that it would lead to less investment in renewable and green energy. 53% did think it would likely reduce the profits of the energy firms (while the poll made no judgements as to whether that was a positive or negative outcome, I suspect many respondents would have seen it as a plus!)

Another worry for Labour is while people support the policy announcements, there seems some doubt about whether they are actually affordable – 52% think Labour are making promises the country can’t afford, 23% disagree. To put that in context only 35% think the Conservatives are making unaffordable promises, 36% do not (though who knows what they’ll announce in the week ahead that might change that).

321 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 31, LAB 42, LD 9, UKIP 13”

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  1. ?? What’s partisan about an observation that in my view is likely to happen?

  2. How can the Tories win in 2015?

    The article is a bit rambling, the bit at the end summarises Ashcroft’s analysis:

    Keep the Lib Dems onside
    Target women and ethnic minorities
    The party needs to work on being ‘in touch’ with ordinary people.
    UKIP is not the threat many think it is

    Hopefully there will a be a better article on this soon, but that advise is what the polling data is saying, so I would advise them to listen.

    I would add target the younger vote.

  3. @Rich
    “Lets look at polling after all three conferences have finished…please.”

    I’m sure we will. But in the meantime, let’s look at polling after the two to date, compared to where we were at the start of the season:
    Impact on Lib Dem polling: Nothing
    Impact on Lab lead over Con: At least +5%

  4. @Rich
    “I would imagine its pretty likely this will be removed by a left wing Labour Govt, which I personally think is a real shame.”

    What on earth makes you think that, when WW2 has been all over the secondary school history curriculum for well over a decade?

    Perhaps it was reasoning along the lines of:
    – It would be bad for WW2 to be removed from the primary school curriculum.
    – Labour governments do only bad things.
    – Therefore a Labour government will remove WW2 from the primary school curriculum.

  5. Rich: all my primary schooling (and most of my high schooling) happened under the last Labour government and we definitely did WW2 to death and beyond in both High School and Primary School, I can assure you that teaching children about WW2 is nothing new that the coalition’s done.

  6. RICH

    “One thing on education I like that has happened under the Tories is they have started to teach WW2 in primary school.”

    One thing that always surprises me about education in England is the way that politicians seem to determine the detail of the school curriculum.

    Mind you, if primary schools in England haven’t been teaching about WWII for many years, that would be very surprising (and scary).

  7. @phil,

    The curriculum has changed actually.

    On the polls;

    Yes I agree the Lab polling has been boosted, no doubt about it, I think I was making the point that if the boot was on the other foot, people would be calling for a level playing field of all conferences to complete. I still think that his speech, whilst populous, has a huge risk against investment in the UK if EM gets in.
    State intervention in markets will almost certainly price in risk against rate of return, which after a lot of explaining is likening to simply cost the Govt money in many ways.
    I am actually worried about the Tory response as well to be honest.


  8. I should add I have said on a few occasions I thought EM got Syria right where as Cameron and Hague got it wrong. Perhaps with the new found will for democratic resolution (driven by Obama), like on Iran too, this has given a delayed slight poll boost to EM?

  9. “I still think that his speech, whilst populous…”

    You mean there was a lot of people in it?

  10. Rich,
    You may well be right.Eds intervention may have saved a lot of bloodshed and
    Unnecessary suffering plus widening the conflict in the East.He has not received the credit for this he deserved but perhaps the rise in his fortunes can
    Be linked back to this.

  11. I agree Ann.

  12. “Target ethnic minorities”

    But they are… for immigration checks! *ba-dum-tish*

    More seriously, though, do they have a strategy for dealing with any of the items on that checklist? As long as Cameron and Osborne remain in post they can’t shake “out of touch”, their immigration rhetoric puts off BME voters, the uneven recovery is disproportionately hurting women, and no amount of steady leadership will keep Tory backbenchers from panicking if Ukip trounce them in the European elections next year.

  13. Rich

    As chairman of our local history society and curator of our local museum I can assure you that World War 2 has been on the curriculum of our local schools since at least the 1980s and was there throughout the last Labour Government’s period. I have spoken to countless school groups on the Second World War and its impact locally.

    You do say the oddest things.

  14. I should say, since the spring Cameron has done a really good job of getting his backbenchers to calm down about Ukip.

    I just don’t think it will be sustainable if things go badly for them next spring. No fault of his, it’s just they’re on shaky electoral ground and when MPs get nervous they start running around like headless chickens.

  15. Rich,

    My entire education until age 15 was under a Labour government, and we definitely learned about World War II.

  16. Help To Buy I had a look on the DM website comments section (research purposes only) and the comments are almost all incredibly negative. A general summary of top rated comments it will push prices up and folk will have to pay more for less. It was a housing bubble that caused the crash and led to ‘the mess we are in’

  17. I was educated in a prefab under the last Tory Government – seems a long time ago now! Didn’t have many test books either. Had to share 1 between 3.

    We did World War I which I think, in historical terms, is probably more significant. World War II could be seen as the second chapter of World War I.

    In terms of intellectual challenge and understanding of how things can mushroom out of control World War I is more interesting in my view

  18. “So in line with the Ashcroft poll, we are seeing that reducing the deficit is no longer peoples’ main economic concern, restarting growth, reducing unemployment, reducing the cost of living are becoming far more important.

    As we head into the election it would be good to get “which party is best” at those broken down economic questions to see who is really winning the economic argument.”


    Yep, and it’d be interesting to know how much people trust the unemployment figures, to what extent they think zero hours contracts count in terms reducing unemployment, how much they think they’ll benefit from growth compared to others, etc.

    … Or more generally which party will provide the kind of economy they might benefit from the most, as opposed to others benefiting.

    Also, more polling on impact of policies. I think we had that with energy regarding whether it’ll lead to blackouts? But have we had it with help to buy and whether it’ll stoke a housing boom we may come to regret? Also would be interesting which parties voters think they will, benefit most from the housing thing…

  19. I’d second Carfrew’s comment, and would like to add that I want to see polling on the Marriage Tax Break.

  20. @Rich

    Did you know Norman Lamont is allegedly head of the Anglo-iranian Chamber of Trade according to an article on
    Conservative Home?

  21. bcrombie

    It’s them railway time table that did it

  22. When some of us were at school, the Second World War wasn’t history!

  23. Hopefully soon we will see whether the Conservatives have more to answer Labour’s energy policy – I take the view that a modest married persons tax break and “Help to Buy” are not enough on their own. There’s got to be more, no?

    Suddenly it’s all about policy, not posturing and triangulation – which means EM’s personal unpopularity is probably less of a problem for Labour than otherwise.


    “• We must campaign hardest on the things that matter most to people, rather than things we hope
    can be made to matter.”


    This is possibly a little a bit naive of him…

  25. Well,I am going to be outrageous and say that as a history teacher ,
    ,for most
    Children(not kids,they are not young goats)the World Wars are far to distressing and difficult a subject until they are much older.At least A level.What
    They enjoy before they become bored with history at about 13 is the romance
    And chivalry etc.The archers at Agincourt and Mary Queen of Scots with her
    Little dog under her skirt when she was executed .I hope Rosie and Daisy
    Are not listening!At least that is what I think.

  26. Missed he o out of to.

  27. And the t out of he.

  28. Ann

    Boys like blood and guts and gore, the more the better, I’m left wondering if you just ignore the boys in your classes. I knew I have a good reason to be worried about the lack of male teachers

  29. I think whether a policy is successful as seen by a party is whether it results in more people wanting to vote for them.

    If you just ask people whether they would like to see their fuel bills kept down, then a positive answer is so certain it is hardly worth asking.

    Approval of a proposed policy and its translation into votes are two distinct things.

  30. RiN,

    The teacher who taught me about the First World War was a man, and managed to make it as dull as that war can possibly be.

  31. @ Spearmint

    More seriously, though, do they have a strategy for dealing with any of the items on that checklist?

    I don’t know, I suspect not, and I suspect that Ashcroft is trying to tell them that they need to get some, and urgently.

    And also trying to tell them in a nice way that another 2005 Crosby anti immigration campaign will doom them forever with the BME vote and with the way the demographics of the country have rapidly changed that is a problem.

    According to this report – 8% of voters in 2010 were ethnic minority. And they vote 2/3rds Labour.

    Operation black vote released a report saying that number will have increased 70% by the 2015 election.

    That’s more voters than UKIP I think. Do they seriously think an anti immigration campaign is going to help them win some of these voters?

    And how many BME voters will there be in 2020?

    They need to learn the lessons the Republican party learned the hard way in the last US elections. The world has changed.

  32. @DAODAO

    “There is a fundamental ideological divide between the liberal (with a small “l”) parties of the centre/right, who believe in the fundamental principle of the market economy, and socialists who believe that the nanny state knows best. A good illustration in the past week has been EM’s proposed freeze on energy prices. Taken to extremes, this leads to a disastrous mis-shapen economy, as in Venezuela.”


    There is usually nannying, what’s the point of government if it isn’t to nanny? It’s just that people don’t always agree on what should be nannied. The wealthy might prefer assistance protecting their capital and property, rather than having to do all that themselves, for example.

    Currently there is nannying regarding marriage, obliging in the process the unmarried to give a helping hand subsidising the married. They don’t call it a subsidy, of course, they do it via tax, so it’s some kind of tax break. Oh the irony. But it may involve a transfer of some kind all the same.

    Loved the Venezuela gambit. Of course, there is no proposal to take anything to extremes, rather the proposal is to unbundle to promote more competition.

    It’s quite something to see people have issues with the idea of government intervention, but to promote more competition. They can’t seem to get their head around the idea of governments intervening, but to assist free markets.

    Possibly because they think markets left to themselves will inevitably be free, when often, capital acts to stop them being so free. That’s a big part of the point of capital: to accrue advantage to stack the deck.

  33. Is it totally impossible for some people here to discuss anything without “Oh, you’re partisan, blah, blah blah, you just think Labour is evil”. Please just treat other people like human beings, rather than emissaries from planet Labour or planet Conservative.

    At the risk of bringing facts into the discussion, the outgoing history curriculum for key stage 2 is here –

    There was no compulsory teaching of WW2, teachers could choose either to cover Victorian Britain, or Britain since 1930 (which specifically includes the impact of WW2).

    In other words, many primary school children would have been taught about WW2, but some wouldn’t (I have no idea what proportion of schools went for each option). As far as I’m aware that curriculum dates from at least 2007, so it not some new Tory thing, it was in place under the last Labour government.

    That has now been abolished, and there is a new curriculum set out here: [edit – found a much better version of the new curriculum –

    As you’ll see, under the new rules, primary school children will need to be taught about the Stone Age, Roman Britain, Vikings and Anglo-Saxons, local history, and something post-1066…but the latter is left up to the school (so it could be WW2 if they wanted, the Battle of Britain is given as an example, but it could be something completely different).

    So as far I can tell, Rich was under the impression that his daughter was learning about WW2 because of changes the Tories have made to the national curriculum (and given they complained about Gove’s changes to the curriculum, is probably assuming they’d be reversed). As far as I can tell, that isn’t the case though – the old curriculum included WW2 as a primary option for primary school children, the draft new one has room for it to be included if a school wanted, but it is not a part of the core curriculum in the same way. It looks to me as if it is less likely that primary school children will be taught about WW2 under the new rules.

    See – I did all that without calling out anyone’s motives or accusing them of being partisan.

  34. MrNameless

    That is the danger with WW1 teaching – it is not so easy as WW2 to explain – the Serbian Pig War is enough to dull anyone’s day.

    It is, however, intellectually more demanding and provides more insight into the political machinations without clearly identifying goodies and baddies. Will also remind people that the GB is not always angelic in wartime

  35. People like the idea of a free lunch. We should not be surprised. But I think we should be surprised that a few vague promises should cause such fluctuations in polls. (promises that it would seem people think are not affordable or workable) Just what value are they in working out what opinion really is.
    Except to say that as far as forming an opinion is concerned, the jury is out.

  36. My gut feeling is that it will be how DC sets the image for his party this week. He is outstandingly qualified to make a good job of it.

    What is seemingly being forgotten, is that we are actually the best part of two years from the next election, including yet another round of autumn conferences (I know, depressing).

    They will be the best part of a year before the 2015 GE, so declaring winners at this stage could be seen as premature or perhaps rather more unkindly.

    All we can say tonight is that Labour is sitting on a 114 seat majority (that’s overall majority). Let’s see what we think around Tuesday evening.

  37. Also, why on earth would the Labour Party not want to teach schoolchildren about the Second World War? It could be argued that it is, in fact, the only “moral” war in our history, when the Nazis, the bitter enemy of Socialists, were defeated.

    The Labour Party would hope that everyone learnt from the lessons of the Second World War to prevent the rise of the EDL, BNP etc.

  38. Judging from my step daughter’s education, WW2 is has not been taught in Hutton as the major event of that war (the Eastern Front) somehow didn’t make it to the class. But she was taught alright about the air raids and some other stuff (but since she wasn’t taught of the social.conditions of England, she had the problem of understanding of Labour’s landside.

  39. Norbold
    “…when the Nazis, the bitter enemy of Socialists….”

    Purely as a matter of fact, isn’t Nazi short for National Socialist?

  40. RICH
    Oh dear me young man,you clearly need to educate yourself a little.Being a member/supporter of the Labour party does not equal being against remembering and celebrating this country’s part in defeating fascism.I suggest you read ‘Five days in May; London 1940’ by (George ?) Lukacs,which details the co-operation between Churchill and the two Labour members of the War cabinet ,Attlee and Greenwood against Halifax and Chamberlain,who would have sued for peace with the Nazis.
    If l live until 2040 l shall be first in the queue to examine the part of the R.A.Butler archive that is closed till that date. ‘Rab’ Butler was a prominent Conservative politician both both before,during and after the is known that he was in contact with the Nazis seeking to negotiate until well into July 1940 and one can only speculate that the embargoed papers contain details of just how close elements of the Conservative party were to Treason in 1940.

  41. Apologies For the terrible spelling. Hutton is Huyton and there are odd extra words. Smart phones and their screen

  42. @ Pete B

    “…when the Nazis, the bitter enemy of Socialists….”
    Purely as a matter of fact, isn’t Nazi short for National Socialist?”

    A new low was successfully hit today…

  43. Godwin Alert.

    “I think whether a policy is successful as seen by a party is whether it results in more people wanting to vote for them.”


    Maybe, but it’s possible some policies are enacted regardless of whether it assists VI overall. We might consider the cut in the top tax rate as a candidate for this…

    Though of course it gets complicated if then one considers it might help with donations to assist with VI more generally…

  45. Since we appear to be sailing close to it, one of the few topics that are totally banned here as people seem utterly incapable of discussing it in a non-partisan way is (along with “who won PMQs this week”) are the BNP/Nazis etc right-wing or left-wing (or neither, or whatever).

    Just don’t even start it.

  46. @Ewen

    It was John Lukacs.

  47. And it is a very fine and readable book indeed!

  48. Lazlo,cheers for that.

    Howard,remind us of your ‘Godwin’ thesis,l don’t remember the details.


    ” the Serbian Pig War is enough to dull anyone’s day.”

    Blimey!! We never knew pigs had wars: what weapons did they use? Which piggies won?

    Hope it was our ones.

  50. EL
    Just google it old chap.

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