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. I think i was instrumental in dragging us into Howard’s UKPR Law which is the same as Godwin but for ending up with Scottish stuff before you know it.

  2. This is my first post for a while as I’ve been lurking again.


    “Milliband is starting to look like a very astute politician and I increasingly feel his nerdy, goody goody image will end up being an asset. Is there polling on which leader is the most trustworthy? I think Ed might be seen as more honest and trustworthy than Dave and Nick.

    Labour strategists should go on the Clark Kent vs the Tory Spiv Man angle – with Clegg as Dodgey Dave’s slippery side kick (sort of grima wormtounge to his sauraman – or something)”

    I wonder did you see Ed’s address to Comic Con dressed as a star fleet officer?

    Been going around Facebook.

  3. I wonder how many voters are influenced by how leaders would appear on the world stage?
    For instance, I imagine seeing certain politicians in one of those group photos of world leaders, and some of them make me shudder – e.g. Ed M, and to be non-partisan, Boris.


    And there was me thinking that Scotland was still part of the UK. I must have been mistaken. :-)

  5. The announcement that ‘the economy is fixed’ made by Osborne and echoed by the LDs at their conference and DC today is a big tactical mistake imo. It removes the fear of a Labour gov’t

    The cons\libs should have waited till near the GE and said the economy was almost fixed and that people should not risk letting Labour in to ruin it. That is what I thought they were going to do.

  6. Pete B,
    What an absolutely idiotic comment.
    World leaders are on the whole some of the most physically unattractive people you can imagine.One imagines they are who they are because of other
    Qualities than what they look like.


    “Howard and Carfrew,
    Lord Ashcroft did some polling on the Lib Dem political spectrum question a while back. It turns out that they wind up in the centre because leftwing voters place them on the right, and rightwing voters place them on the left! So not perhaps the political strength it might appear at first glance…”


    Yes, perhaps paradoxically the centre isn’t necessarily a great place to be… Most people consider themselves either left or right, only about 20% consider themselves in the centre so being caught between two camps isn’t necessarily ideal.


    While these top politicians are undoubtedly in place because of other qualities, there has been a fair bit of psychological research suggesting that voters will (other things being equal) vote for the more attractive candidate.

    That actually makes sense if you think about the underlying basis on which humans select mates, leaders etc. We define attractiveness on the basis of features that suggest strength, health etc etc.

  9. The latest Con policy announcement is the unemployed have to sign on everyday.

    That will cost money – a lot more staff would have to be hired not mention paying the unemployed persons travel costs. It doesnt make sense

  10. Pete B

    I wonder how many voters are influenced by how leaders would appear on the world stage?
    For instance, I imagine seeing certain politicians in one of those group photos of world leaders, and some of them make me shudder – e.g. Ed M, and to be non-partisan, Boris.

    Relax. These people have been putting up with Berlusconi for ages. If they weren’t unembarrassable before…


    I replied suggesting that there was research that people actually do partially decide on that basis. Something caught it in the auto-mod though.

  12. @COUPER2802

    “The announcement that ‘the economy is fixed’ made by Osborne and echoed by the LDs at their conference and DC today is a big tactical mistake imo. It removes the fear of a Labour gov’t”


    It would give them an excuse for more freebies though…

    Doubt I’ll be getting my VAT on storage back though, which is a bit rubbish since I’ve been doing my neighbourly bit and not moving to a bigger property and I get hit by a tax, when really I should be getting a tax break.

    Frankly one starts to wonder why politicians don’t just end the pretence and say they are just going to give money directly to people just for living in marginals. Not that I should be giving them ideas… After the vans, anything is possible…

    Austrian GE, Final Results
    SPOE (Socialists) 27.1 (-2.2) 53 seats (-4)
    OEVP (Popular Party) 23.8 (-2.2) 46 (-5)
    FPOE (Freedom Party, Far Right) 21.4 (+3.9) 42 (+8)
    GREENS 11.5 (+1.1) 22 (+2)
    Team Stronach (anti-Euro) 5.8 (new party) 11 seats
    NEOS (Liberals) 4.8 (new party) 9 seats
    BZOE (Far Right) 3.6 (-7.1) 0 (-21)
    The Grand Coalition SPOE-OEVP led by Socialist Chancellor W. Faymann holds its OM both in votes and in seats, but the two major parties get their worst result ever. The total votes of the far right (FPOE+BZOE) decrease by 3.2% and they lose 13 seats, because BZOE fails to clear the 4% threshold than losing all of its seats. Yet the FPOE is strengthened and becomes the strongest far-right / nationalist / anti-Euro party in the whole of EU, ahead of the True Finns (19% in Finnish GE of 2011). The Greens, led by Eva Glawischnig, get their best result ever, but VI polls predicted more substantial gains (13-15%). A rather deceiving result for the Team Stronach party, led by Austrian-Canadian businessman F. Stronach. Some months before election, VI polls predicted a result between 8 and 12, but the party made a chaotic campaign and lost steam. They are very anti-euro, but not anti-immigration etc as most of populist anti-euro parties. A pleasant surprise for NEOS, the so-called Pink Party, allied with the Liberal Forum, that made a very successful campaign.
    As far as coalitions are concerned, an all-right-wing coalition OEVP+FPOE+TS is theoretically feasible, but has little chance of materializing because of the anti-euro positions of FPOE and TS and the racist overtones of the FPOE. So the bets are that the current Grand Coalition will go on, and this will be a rather rare occurrence in the EU, where most of outgoing coalitions have been defeated between 2010 and 2013 (even the German one has been ousted, despite A.Merkel’s strong showing).

  14. @Couper

    Yes, and it is popular

    “A poll conducted for the thinktank Policy Exchange found by a margin of nearly five to one – 56% to 12% – the public supports the introduction of “workfare” for the long-term unemployed compared with the status quo”

    So it will be interesting to see if a popular Tory announcement (but one that addresses an issue not really in the highest list of voter concerns, and definitely not in the list that personally affects most people) moves their overall VI.

  15. COLIN
    People naturally think of their own interests & those of their family -as they perceive them anyway

    Would you agree that for most people what happens in the family constitutes the economy. The “cost of living” versus “the economy” as measured by vaious national indicators is a false proposition; both are equally valid..

    If the result in 2015 is Labour the largest party but short of a majority can I point out that constitutionally Cameron won’t resign unless there is a viable government to replace him.

    It would be nice the think that H.M. the Queen would send him packing if he turned up at the Palace with that argument.


    Thanks. I knew I could rely on you to put the election in context.

    I’m always impressed by just how much you know about politics across Europe.

  17. PETE B
    “For instance, I imagine seeing certain politicians in one of those group photos of world leaders, and some of them make me shudder – e.g. Ed M, and to be non-partisan, Boris.”

    And what about that fat German hausfrau Actually, i thought EM scrubs up rather nicely these days.


    ” say they are just going to give money directly to people just for living in marginals.”

    Now that would really shake things up. Local organisers could ensure that every seat became a marginal so that everyone got a share of the bribe!

  19. @oldnat

    LOL, they probably could n’all. I was thinking maybe everyone could move to the marginals…

  20. @RICHARD

    “So it will be interesting to see if a popular Tory announcement (but one that addresses an issue not really in the highest list of voter concerns, and definitely not in the list that personally affects most people) moves their overall VI.”


    Yes. It’s a pity that it’s being announced in a stream of other policies, making it a bit harder to determine VI salience…

  21. Actually I think Old Nat is being a bit ungracious as he hasn’t thanked Anthony. The latest YouGov contains half a dozen education questions and they didn’t ask them to the Scots thereby acknowledging their separate education system as Old Nat frequently demands. Though given the Scots’ propensity to have a view on anything, it seems rather harsh that they should be excluded just because it doesn’t affect them.

    Not to mention that not being affected by (schools) education policy is practically the definition of being able to vote, so on that basis only about 3 teenagers and some teachers should have been giving their views.

    Not that that stopped anyone else of course, though as usual the main motivation seemed to have been to recreate their own imaginary schooldays[1], complete in some cases with calculations in £sd and rickets. Admittedly Gove seems only too keen to pander to this; though given that he reminds everyone of that annoying kid they used to beat up, I’m not sure reminding people of their schooldays is the most electorally attractive option.

    [1] Look for example at the response to It is right to move to more traditional teaching, it is important that schools give children the basic knowledge on things like the Kings and Queens of Britain, reciting poetry and memorising times tables which got the over-40s heavily in favour (62-36), but the under-40s just as strongly against (64-36)

  22. @OLNAT
    You are welcome!!! Tonight was election day also in Portugal (local elections in all cities and municipalities). The governing center-right coalition (PPD-PSD + CDS-PP) has been seriously defeated, losing two of its major strongholds, the 2nd and 3d city of Portugal, Porto and Cintra, to the Independents and the Socialists respectively. The Socialist Mayor of Lisbon was re-elected with an impressive 54% which grants him OM in the Council (previously he had simple majority). The Communist-Green alliance CDU did also well, taking some middle-size cities such as Evora from the Socialists – so we can speak of a generalized left-wing turn. The results of the local elections cannot be directly translated into national projections because of the presence of independent local lists and the existence of local alliances between the national parties, but the overall picture coincides with that of recent VI polls who have the Partido Socialista clearly ahead (36-38) of the PPD-PSD (24-26), whereas in 2011 GE it was the other way round (PPD-PSD 38, PS 28), and they also show a progression of the Radical Left (CDU and Left Block are given at 20 between them, in comparison to 15% 2 years ago) and a decrease of the junior center-right party, the CDS-PP (from 11 to 6-8).


    Mea Culpa! I hadn’t seen that YouGov have finally seen sense. I look forward to their adopting the same policy on the NHS, local government ….

    The other interesting aspect of only asking these questions of respondents in England only, is that it excludes 279 respondents – 165 of those are in Scotland, so the “Midlands/Wales” grouping appears to include 114 souls.

    The Welsh may be screwed by the Barnett formula, but YouGov compensates them by marginally giving them greater representation than their northern cousins. :-)

  24. Apologies to those in the English Midlands. I did not intend to suggest that only the 114 Welsh respondents had souls.

    I’m sure lots of the English folk have those as well. :-)

  25. I suppose it depends what you mean by “workfare” are the public supportive of cheap labour for supermarkets etc or are they thinking of community work, or perhaps, the public don’t care and would be happy to have the long term unemployed pointlessly digging holes and filling them in again

    Thank you for this very good information and analysis.

    “we can speak of a generalized left-wing turn.”

    Can you comment on whether, while in party vote this clearly is a left-wing turn, this is also, in Austria and other countries you’ve studied, the political aspect of a consolidation of a social and economic transition, and primarily of the “social market system”, providing a basis of emergence from economic crisis and austerity?

    I have the impression that in the UK this favours Labour and overrides party poltical stereotypes.

  27. OLD NAT
    “I’m sure lots of the English folk have those as well. :-)”

    Read your de Maupassant: there are some who have souls of mud.


    But surely the Rosbifs wouldn’t listen to the ravings of one of their old enemies? :-)

  29. OLD NAT
    Yes, we’re quite keen on independence, having got rid of India, America, Africa, Australia etc, but we secretly admire your educational system, golf courses and women, all tough and none corrupted by class.

  30. Oh, the Froggies? Well, there’s only Paris, and they’ve spoiled that by banning that treasured Parisian stink of Gaouloises from the Metro, and their wine is now either crap Cab Sav with the toxic Pays d’Oc label, or being bought by Sheiks and bankers, so je m’en fous.

  31. what will the work for benefits encourage?

    any ideas…
    my bet is pregnancy rates will go up.
    health and safety work accident claims will rise.
    the cost to government of unemployed will rise.
    human rights may be infringed (min wage),
    hours matched to minimum wage is a different matter.

    I could understand the work for benefit if there was enough jobs available…

    we need a watch dog to check that jobs shown as available are actually available, because our local centre have advertised jobs available which had been filled several months previous, this is a common problem I believe.

  32. jim (other one)

    The theory is it will force people off the register who are working “on the side”.

    It probably will, a few. But nowhere near the number supposed by the theorists.

    I suspect it will cost more than it saves, but we will never get straight figures to see one way or another.

  33. IAN
    If the result in 2015 is Labour the largest party but short of a majority can I point out that constitutionally Cameron won’t resign unless there is a viable government to replace him.

    In which case, I believe the position is that The Sun and The Mail run front page campaigns calling for “The Squatter in No10” to be evicted, whilst Adam Boulton looks tired and emotional in a live argument with Lynton Crosby, repeatedly screaming “You lost!” and “Don’t tell me what I think!!!”

    Should be grand entertainment.

  34. Lefty – technically I think you’ll find Adam Boulton is required to have a tetchy argument with Craig Oliver. These constitutional details are important you know ;)

  35. Another report about the ethnic minority vote and how important it is becoming

    “The new research also looked further back at the 1992 election. It found that John Major would not have won if the election was re-run with the British electorate as it looks today, using demographics from the 2011 census”

    “As a major new Oxford University Press study reports, the scale of this ethnic minority voting gap is not explained by class and income effects. The dominant factor is historic perceptions of the Conservative party among non-white voters. Many minority voters hesitate from voting blue even when their own views are closest to the Conservatives on taxation, the economy and social issues”

    Do polls need to start ensuring they have the correct ratio of BME voters to reflect this huge demographic shift and the fact that the BME vote is so skewed?

  36. On past form Craig Oliver will do a bit of finger wagging, while Norman Smith stands there coughing a lot,

  37. @ Virgilio

    “Yet the FPOE is strengthened and becomes the strongest far-right / nationalist / anti-Euro party in the whole of EU”

    Only if you don’t count Fidesz as such.

    Thanks for both the Austrian and the Portuguese summary.

  38. Osborne’s workfare announcement doesn’t look like a VI shifter to me. It’s a policy that is very much in keeping with what the electorate expects from the Conservative and will reinforce views, both for and anti, the Tories. It might slightly consolidate core votes, but I think that’s about it. It doesn’t smell like the kind of policy that might attract Labour waverers or voters in less affluent parts of the country, which is what the Tories need for a majority.

    I think the only way it might shift VI is if the popular press really attack it, or it proves to have a serious flaw that makes it unworkable.

  39. @Richard

    Another interesting point from Ashcroft’s document is quite how respected by the electorate, and what an electoral asset Gordon Brown was in 2005.

    How things change!

  40. The latest from Electoral Calculus:

  41. Osborne this morning seemed to be arguing that we shouldn’t worry about the yachts but think instead about the rising tide. I know that some people on this site feel that he has brought it in reliably and on time, while others like myself think he has held it back. Deep down do the majority of the electorate feel that he is in any better able to influence it than Canute himself?

  42. Surely the tories have exhausted whatever votes they might win from bashing the unemployed?
    At some point such policies will repel more people then they attract – especially when you have millions of people struggling to find work.
    Other than trying to win over a few UKIPers, I cant see the political logic of this policy.
    Ed M should wheel out his line about cameron being ‘strong when standing up to the weak’ – and highlight the contrast between the tories kicking the poor (again) whilst Ed is facing down the energy companies.

    Have the tories given up on trying to win the next election? They need a large chunk of people who didn’t vote tory in 2010 to vote for them in 2015 – a very difficult task even without all the ‘nasty party’ stuff.

  43. Charles –

    See the question at the end of page 3 here on whether the government’s policies have helped the country recover from recession, made it last longer, or actually not made much difference either way:

    Answers are obviously very much along party lines (thought theres probably causality in both directions there!), The overwhelming majority of Conservative voters think they’ve helped the economy, most Labour voters think they’ve made it worse. The useful bit for your question is that 23% of people don’t think they’ve made much difference either way (including 12% of Tories, 25% of Labour voters)

  44. @ Chris Riley

    Agree totally with your comments on welfare. I think the Tories have ‘won’ this issue in the sense that anyone concerned about welfare will already have made their choice. It’s also a negative rather than a positive reason for voting for a party because it doesn’t directly affect anyone’s personal standards of living other than a very tenuous “might save some of our taxes” argument.

    This week I am off to only my second Wigan game since I moved up- might follow them all the way to the Europa league final! (In case you are wondering why I am so slack at going to Wigan games it’s because I have to take the lad to Chorley every week- they used to be Wigan’s biggest rivals but you might be too young to remember!).

  45. @Shevii

    I’ve been a fully-fledged Latic since the early 80s, but do remember some of the NPL games – Alty were our big rivals then!

    Only match I’ve made this season was the first away to Barnsley – I live closer to them than to Wigan. Part-timer now.

  46. Anthony
    Any figures regarding public perception of recovery more recent than the beginning of August as the Polls have changed substantially since then?

    (Don’t see what’s wrong with my last post)

  47. What about our traditional right to do nothing?

  48. Virgilio

    Thanks for the detail on Austria. It seems to me that the right wing UKIP types can never get in as the rest gang up to stop it. In NL the PVV is now the largest VI, but everyone knows that they will never get in Government. There was a brief flirtation with them (confidence and supply but no ministers) but that didn’t last.

    On Portugal, according to me you mean Sintra, not Cintra. (Yes?).

  49. @LASZLO
    Of course in reality FIDESZ should be on the list of far-right authoritarian antii-minorities etc. parties, but since it is still (at least formally) member of the EPP and does not advocate leaving the EU, I hesitate about including it in this list (The same problem occurs, albeit to a lesser extent, in regards to Berlusconian PDL, the Polish PIS and the Independent Greeks). Of course JOBBIK is high on this infamous “chart” , which is as follows:
    1. FPOE, Austria: 2013: 21.4 (+3.9) 42 seats (+8)
    2. PS (True Finns), Finl.: 2011: 19.0 (+14.9) 39 s. (+34)
    3. JOBBIK, Hungary: 2010: 16.7 (+14.5) 47 s. (+47)
    4. NA, Latvia: 2011: 13.9 (+6.2) 14 s. (+6)
    5. FN, France: 2012: 13.6 (+9.3) 2 s. (+2)
    6. DFP, Denmark: 2011: 12.3 (-1.6) 22 s. (-3)
    7. PVV, Netherlands: 2012: 10.1 (-5.4) 15 s. (-9)
    8. VB, Belgium: 2010: 7.7 (-4.3) 12 s. (-5)
    9. ATAKA, Bulgaria: 2013: 7.3 (-2.1) 23 s (+2)
    10. GOLDEN DAWN, Greece: 2012: 6.9 (-0.6) 18 s. (-2)
    11. SD, Sweden : 2010 : 5.7 (+2.8) 20s. (+20)
    12. SNS, Slovakia: 2012: 4.6 (-0.5) 0 seats (-9)
    13. LN, Italy: 2013: 4.1 (-4.2) 18 s. (-42)
    14. BZOE, Austria: 2013: 3.6 (-7.1) 0 seats (-21)
    15. SNS, Slovenia, 2011: 1.8 (-3.6) 0 seats (-5)

  50. @Howard
    Thanks for the correction, of course I meant Sintra. Some of these far-right parties have been in the gvt. of their respective countries, such as LN in Italy (allies of Berlusconi), the SNS in Slovakia and the DFP in Denmark, but now are in opposition (or out of Parliament in the case of SNS). NA in Latvia participates in the 3-party right-wing coalition (it is the only party of this kind that is allied to the Tories in EP, whereas DFP, True Finns and Lega Nord are allies of UKIP in the EFD group.) FPOE was in govt. with OEVP during the period 1999-2002 (an alliance sanctioned by the EU) and then between 2002 and 2005, in which year the FPOE was divided and BZOE was created, OEVP and BZOE governed together until 2006. After the 2006 election, the Grand Coalition was born between SPOE and OEVP. It was reconfirmed in 2008 and will very probably go on after yesterday’s election.

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