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. 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.”

    Rather suggests a shallowness on your part if the only reason you can’t imagine them on that platform is because of their appearance.

    Didn’t your parents ever tell you that beauty is in the eye of the beholder ?

    Personally I would rather judge them for what they say rather than how they look – let’s not forget that Churchill was hardly a looker.

  2. Churchill, Attlee, Roy Jenkins, Heath, Reagan, Hague, Brown, Putin, Mitterand – all not what you’d call conventionally attractive.

  3. And to add to that, reasonably shiny politicians don’t have a great track record on honesty and conviction, or being effective politicians – Tony Blair, Nick Clegg, Sarah Palin, David Owen, Michael Portillo…

  4. Well RR ws a Hollywood actor and you are not chosen to be that on intellectual grounds, typically.

  5. 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.”

    -Winston Churchill wasn’t exactly Brad Pitt either!
    Why not go the whole hog and hand our Genra l Elections over to the Miss World Organisation!

    “Hi I’m ERIC and my Vital Statistics are 10,120,120 and my wish is to visit every Greggs in the World”

    In a true spirit of non partisanship you may replace Eric with whichever politician you like

  6. Fair point Howard, although he was president 30 years later and had aged quite a bit!

  7. I’m going to be generous and assume that Pete B meant that you want to see someone representing the UK on the world stage who will be effective and powerful.

    It would be perfectly reasonable to say that Ed Miliband might appear to be unimpressive on this scale, and that this might have an impact on VI.

    1) You rarely see how people will do in these forums until they do it. And the position adds gravitas to the individual.
    2) I think this is way way down the list of things that makes people vote any particular way.

  8. @Lefty L

    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.”

    Ah and don’t forget an appearance from a former Labour PM too. The oleaginous John Major was wheeled out to twist the knife into Brown in May 2010, so we need Blair to appear talking about “unedifying spectacles” of people “hanging on limpet like” or whatever such terms Major used. Actually, thinking of Major-speak. maybe he said that “it was not inconceivable that there was no little insignificance in the fact that Brown was quite, not without some degree of outrageousness………………….” zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.


  9. Mr Namelss

    Say what you like about Tony Blair but really not being an effective politician wouldn’t be one of the epithets I assigned to him!

  10. I think Blair falls a bit flat on honesty – I don’t deny he got stuff done!

  11. Chordata
    Thanks for your supportive message yesterday and sorry to hear abt your situation. I am already a follower of Sue and will certainly go in fully prepared to put the case that not only are ATOS needlessly persecuting cancer patients , but they are wasting large amounts of public money doing so. Even if my local Tory M.P does n’t care much abt the former surely they will be duty bound to do something abt the latter?

  12. AW.

    Of course!

    It just shows how sinisterly well-oiled the Tory spin machine is, that a political nerd like me couldn’t remember who the Necromancer-in-Chief was.

    Not like the old days when the AC usually WAS the story, eh?

  13. Another UKIP surge… this time in the number of Con MPs discussing the possibility of joint Con/UKIP candidates with Farage, doubling to two dozen in a matter of months.

    Osborne ruled out the possibility of joint candidates this morning… but he didn’t appear to entirely rule out a pact or understanding of any kind.

    He emphasised that Conservative candidates had to be just that and only that. To have quashed any speculation, a journalist could have asked him to rule out the possibility of Conservative candidates standing down in a designated number of constituencies – in return for UKIP quitting the stage elsewhere.

  14. Populus persists with its wacky three point lead:

    New Populus Voting Intention figures: Lab 39 (+2); Cons 36 (+2); LD 11 (-1); UKIP 7 (-2); Oth 7 (=) Tables:

  15. I see they’re down-weighting Ukip identifiers from 11% of their sample to 1%, but I’m sure that’s completely legitimate and not skewing their results in any way.

    (To be fair, it may not affect the lead; their unweighted Con/Lab numbers seem unusually close so I think that may just be their panel. But according to Anthony it’s too early for a Tory conference bounce…)

  16. Spearmint – I doubt it does make any real difference to the lead actually! I suspect the vast majority of people who say they identify most with UKIP also say they’d vote UKIP, so its effect will probably be just a lower reported UKIP figure.

  17. @ Virgilio

    It is really a frightening list, but thanks for it – one has to know what are the odds against his life if underestimating the far right.

    As to Fidesz – EPP needs them, so they will just pinch their nose and… The policies of the Fidesz government since 2010 are called independence war (calling on the emotions related to 1848-49) against the EU and the IMF.

  18. I see YouGov does not shy away from asking the tough questions (although they do shy away from grammar):

    “Thinking about David Cameron, which animal do
    you think he is most similar too?” (sic)

    Snake maintains its lead with 19%, followed by Labrador (15%), Lizard (7%) and Poodle (7%).

    But what really kills me is that they include the findings from last year, so we can see the change. (For the record, it’s Snake (-1), Labrador (+1), Lizard (=), Poodle (-1)).

  19. Looking at the continued news of civilian massacres in Iraq makes me wonder why Blair was not advised to leave it alone. Surely there must have been some awareness that they would use their increased freedom from oppression to kill themselves and each other?



    Good grief………….

  20. @Spearmint

    I can see why UKIPpers seem fond of describing the PM as a ‘poodle’, but why do Lib Dems seem to think of him as a ‘sheep’? Enquiring minds, etc?

  21. @ Spearmint

    That is interesting. I wonder if YouGov will start to use structural equation modelling for clients – such questions are commonly used for that method (eg asking Chinese tourists: if England was an animal, what would it be and then asking UK Chinese people the same question and perhaps separately those with dual parental tongue).

  22. Rosieanddaisie

    “Good grief”

    “That’s exactly what I ‘ve been thinking these last couple of days”.

  23. @ Laszlo,

    Heh. With all due respect to our gracious host, I think you may be attributing a bit too much rigour to their methodology.

  24. Laszlo – um, the motives are rather more prosaic. The Sun like asking the animal Q every year at conference as they can photoshop the leaders’ faces onto animals.

    Here’s last year’s effort when Sheep and Poodle were tied in first place for Nick Clegg: behold the Cloodlesheep!

  25. @ Anthony,

    Laszlo may be disappointed, but I find that revelation oddly charming. It seems to reaffirm some underlying truth about our common humanity.

  26. @ Anthony Wells

    Thanks – but… Well, the customer is the king.

    Actually, while I doubt the value of such questions, some of the asymmetries of some questions (when the two statements are actually not opposite) could be addressed in this way.

  27. @Anthony

    I thought the Sun were more into vegetables – or is that just for England managers?

  28. Super speech from Theresa May, she really is a very impressive performer.

    Cameron should get her right in the limelight as much as he can, surely that could only help the Tories poll better, especially with women.

  29. Hmm well it seems that the Conservative response to the Labour conference is as I, unfortunately, suspected it would be:

    1) Panic.

    2) Moan about the damage Labour policies would have if implemented (especially to confidence)

    3) Make comparisons to the 1983 manifesto (odd seeing as there was no policies for nationalization or leaving the common market)

    4) Unveil and bring forward a raft of populist policies

    5) Be praised for being ‘serious’ and taking ‘difficult’ decisions (appearing statesmanlike)

    As for George’s speech and the central announcement of working for benefits; I’m still baffled as to why he doesn’t just give the unemployed (short and long term) jobs.

  30. I have to ask.

    If anarchists unite, isn’t that statism?

  31. @Anarchist’s Unite

    4) Unveil and bring forward a raft of populist policies
    I must’ve blinked & missed 4) – or are you thinking is it yet to come?

  32. “@ Edward

    Super speech from Theresa May, she really is a very impressive performer.

    Cameron should get her right in the limelight as much as he can, surely that could only help the Tories poll better, especially with women.”

    As you are probably aware Theresa May has been suffering from ill health in recent years, so it would not surprise me if she stood down at the next election.

    I am not sure whether any politician is currently liked by a section of society, apart from the supporters of that party. The Tories apparently have less than 100,000 members and the average age of a member is 68. If the Tories are not careful they risk becoming extinct. Labour and the Lib Dems are also suffering from a gradually reducing membership.

    British politics needs a massive change, so that people are more engaged in the process. When I go to the polling stations, it is mainly people over 40 who vote. We have several generations of younger people who are mostly not interested in politics.

  33. @Statgeek

    “If anarchists unite, isn’t that statism?”

    Not really (if I’ve understood what you’re asking correctly). It’s just people cooperating together, and uniting with one another, without hierarchical divisions.

    @Amber Star

    “I must’ve blinked & missed 4) – or are you thinking is it yet to come?”

    Help-to-Buy and making the long-term unemployed work for benefits are, I think, intended to be popular (and I seem to recall that the polls show this, to an extent at least on one or the other).

    I’d be surprised if Cameron doesn’t have a rabbit to pull out of his hat. On the other hand he may not in order to appear ‘serious’ and ‘above such things’ (even though he isn’t) in the hope that that will play well.

    Either way, I have my Leader’s Speech Bingo Card set-up so I’m ready :-)

  34. R Huckle,

    I think the answer to that is better quality politicians, after listening to May I now hear the boring Grayling, who is more the norm on both sides. Better pay is the answer, palatable or not.

    I have not heard any inkling that May is close to quitting, more she is the most likely next leader of the Conservative Party.

    Some politicians come over better than others and that still has to have it’s effect.

  35. @Amber and Anarchists,

    I was worried that they would steal a march on Labour and do something about the minimum wage. But I don’t see how they could save such a purely economic announcement for Cameron and have the Chancellor omit it from his speech entirely. As of now, it looks as though apart from the fuel duty freeze they have no cost-of-living announcements at all.

    Good old Tories. I should have had more faith.

  36. EDWARD

    Agree entirely about TM’s speech.

  37. @Anarchist’s Unite

    “4) Unveil and bring forward a raft of populist policies”

    Hardly ‘unveil’. They seem to be mainly recycling old policies.

  38. …making the long-term unemployed work for benefits
    IMO, People probably believed the government were already doing this – Tesco campaign, Cait Reilly court case etc.

  39. Help-to-Buy
    Wasn’t there polling which showed this policy wasn’t populist/ popular?

  40. Strange policy announcements in the eyes of the public I’d have thought. Making the long term unemployed work already happens. Not interfering in the energy markets yet interfering in the housing market. They contradict their attacks with their own policies.

    And talking about a surplus next parliament yet the UK still has the biggest deficit at 7.2% of GDP and it is reducing very slowly. In fact over 3 years it is stagnant at £120 bn (say a billion here or there). How are they going to get that down entirely in 5 years? Unemployment benefit is just 4% of the welfare budget at £3 billion a year, and long term a fraction of that. That policy wont do anything to hit the deficit.

    I’m not a fan of any party, but the Tories so far have lacked clarity or convincing polcies.

  41. @edward, Colin,

    Super speech from Theresa May, she really is a very impressive performer.
    Cameron should get her right in the limelight as much as he can, surely that could only help the Tories poll better, especially with women.


    Agreed, superb speech.

  42. A unite

    “4) Unveil and bring forward a raft of populist policies”

    Excellent demonstration of “populist” [= pandering to the masses tosh] but from the left this time.

    It’s flexibility is great.

    [nb popular – good / populist – V V V BAD ]

  43. @R Huckle

    “Labour and the Lib Dems are also suffering from a gradually reducing membership.”

    Since the GE, Labour’s membership has gone up 17%; Conservatives down by 40%. I dread to think how much the LibDems have gone down by.

  44. Can we please skip the posts saying “X’s speech was wonderful”. It only invites “no it was rubbish”, and before we know it we’re into a tired partisan back-and-forth.

    Amber –

    The post budget polling on the weekend after Osborne first announced the Help to Buy stuff had 50% support, 28% opposed

    And on the day following it has 59% support, 21% opposition (but that was more specifically about hte interest free 20% loans for new build, which isn’t related to this week’s announcement)

  45. @Spearmint

    “But I don’t see how they could save such a purely economic announcement for Cameron and have the Chancellor omit it from his speech entirely”

    I wouldn’t be so sure – there were rumblings about the minimum wage prior to the conference so that could well be the rabbit. On the other hand they could just be rumblings.


    “Hardly ‘unveil’. They seem to be mainly recycling old policies.”

    True enough, but it is also putting them out at a time when it will receive a lot of attention and publicity (and they’re being dressed up as new-ish).

    @Amber Star

    “IMO, People probably believed the government were already doing this – Tesco campaign, Cait Reilly court case etc.”

    I wouldn’t be so sure. There is a shade of difference as well, in that it’s doing community service (food for elderly, picking up litter etc.) rather than doing work for a branch.

    “Wasn’t there polling which showed this policy wasn’t populist/ popular?”

    I remember one of them being reasonably popular. But that’s why I used the word ‘populist’, which I understand to mean a policy that’s designed or intended to be popular. Whether it actually ends up being popular or not is another matter.


    “It’s flexibility is great.”

    It is a very useful little word – I don’t see why one side should get a monopoly on it ;-)

  46. @ Anthony

    Thanks – I thought the Help to Buy polling For/Against was a bit closer than that; my mistake.

  47. Norbold
    Why does the diminution of my party’s membership fill you with dread? :-)

    By the way great posts from everyone today, agree with all of them, first class, top notch.

  48. FREE HUNDRID !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Off to celebrate by playing footy on the beach: Daisie in goal ‘cos I’ve bagged striker.


  49. @Anthony

    Thanks for grabbing that!

    Out of curiosity (following on from the ‘which animal does a leader most look like’) would polling company’s reject or not ask questions from a paying client if they thought they were bad (meaning offensive or dubious in some way)?

  50. @ Anthony

    Was my humour to ‘dark’ for UKPR?

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