This morning’s YouGov poll figures for the Sun are CON 35%, LAB 39%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 10% – it looks as if we are back to the sort of voting intention figures YouGov were showing before the conference. Full tabs are here. Meanwhile yesterday’s twice-weekly Populus poll had topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 40%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 10%. Full tabs are here.


539 Responses to “Latest YouGov and Populus polls”

1 8 9 10 11
  1. More seriously…I find it interesting that the latest YouGov poll shows that immigration is felt to be the 2nd most important issue facing the nation with 55%. Whereas it comes in 6th with just 17% in answer to the question “Which of the following do you think are the most important issues facing you and your family?”

    The question of immigration seems to be one much more of perception than actual fact. I have found this time and time again on the doorstep that people say they are worried about immigration – one person said to me that he wasn’t going to vote Labour as he didn’t want a mosque being built in his road. The chances of a mosque actually being built in his road were zero per cent. The non British population in this area amounts to approximately 2%, yet for some reason it is seen as a “big” issue.

  2. @NORBOLD – Wow those heady days of Conservatives on 46% – probably never to be seen again.
    Different political landscape now of course.

    I wonder how people feel about having a permanent coalition government either because any one party can’t attain an overall majority or even worse because of a change to a form of PR that would almost certainly mean a hotch potch of coalition partners!

  3. SSE’s dividend payments have risen consistently by around 5.5% a year since 2001 – well ahead of inflation.

    I don’t ever pretend to understand these things, but my intuitive sense is that if a privatised utility is rewarding shareholders at a rate increasing consistently above inflation over a lengthy time scale, then presumably this means a greater proportion of consumers spending is being captured as profits by the owners of capital.

    @Lefty and various other people regarding gravel, buckets and energy storage systems.

    This seems a really complicated and unnecessarily difficult system to me. As @Lefty says – low friction water is a far and away better means to transfer energy up and down gradients. With gravel buckets you need to expend energy manipulating the buckets and machinery to fill and empty them, and there will be lots of friction on the cable system with numerous support points required. All seems a bit daft to me.

    A far better way, possibly even than conventional pump storage, is to use heat. It’s really pretty efficient to use excess energy to heat water or some other heat rententive substance, releasing the heat as a pre heat for water going into conventional steam turbines or similar, or even for use directly as heat through district heating schemes, where large buffer stores are used.

    Too often with energy schemes we seem to be obsessed with big engineering solutions, where sometimes well known, relatively simple systems are cheaper and better.

  4. @Norbold

    Yes, those are some sobering figures for labour supporters. I sometimes try and imagine what poll-watching must be like for the affiliated… I imagine it as being a bit like watching my footie team’s fortunes… Which is commonly filled with dread…

  5. CHARLES
    I would certainly recommend the article for which Richard gave the link earlier today, as a well researched statement of the factors behind generational voting patterns. It uses mostly qualitative secondary data, on religiosity, class, occupation, experience and absorption of the values of strong periods of party dominance in government.
    .I agree with the artilcle’s conclusion – it fits which my argument that it is the centre ground which has shifted – that generational VI reflects younger voters tendency to place their support without reference to formed party allegiances and rather to the meeting of their needs, and to congruence with their priorites and values.
    As Richard indicates, conversely, the 65s plus have a high proportion of people who do have an allegiance to conservatism retained from the Thatcherite years.

  6. @NORBOLD

    “More seriously…I find it interesting that the latest YouGov poll shows that immigration is felt to be the 2nd most important issue facing the nation with 55%. Whereas it comes in 6th with just 17% in answer to the question “Which of the following do you think are the most important issues facing you and your family?”

    ————

    Yeah, I’ve wondered about that… The salience thing. We could do with some polling to determine whether people are more likely to vote according to national issues, or those affecting their family etc.?…

  7. I think there are enough data points now to look back on the increase in Lab VI around their conference time to see if it was a real increase or just a blip. My judgement is that there was a small, but real, increase in Lab VI which may have been maintained post conference. although that is less certain. Most significant perhaps is that it brought to an end, at least a temporarily, a long period of slow Lab VI decline.

    The reason may include several factors that improved the general perception of Ed Miliband’s abitities, but that it guesswork.

  8. Carfrew

    Nope. I think you’ve forgotten gravity.

    Potential energy in Joules =mass(kg) x acceleration under gravity(m/s^2)
    x height(m)

    1kWh=3,600,000J

    3,600,000=M x 10 x 100

    M=3600kg.

    Course, it’s more that possible that someone will find a calculational error there. In which case, I’ll apply to Harvard for a Chair in Economics.

  9. @Alec

    I’m not sure but I think RiN also mentioned another system that stored energy as a compressed gas, releasing the energy as heat when decompressed. They had some clever system for capturing the heat on compression…

  10. @lefty

    Yeah, true, I did…

  11. @Sine N
    I find your terminology a little odd. The 10+% lead that Labour had was “soft”, because it has melted away since March. The 5%+ that Labour has now is harder, because after the ups and downs of the conference the lead seems to still be there.

    It’s easier to think of hard or soft vote-share, I think. For Labour 35% looks like bedrock; the Tories’s seem to only rarely poll below 30%.

  12. I always say immigration is a major issue affecting my family, on the grounds that immigration laws mean I can’t bring my wife over here to live with me currently. I know my response will be misread by poll-readers but it’s an honest answer.

  13. @ Carfrew,

    I sometimes try and imagine what poll-watching must be like for the affiliated… I imagine it as being a bit like watching my footie team’s fortunes… Which is commonly filled with dread…

    Pretty much. Although Labourites have been watching with dread since 1992 (or for those on the right of the party, since 1979), regardless of what the polls actually say. 6-point lead, 12-point lead, 24-point lead… they’re all nerve-wracking.

    We could do with some polling to determine whether people are more likely to vote according to national issues, or those affecting their family etc.?

    I don’t know the answer, but it seems like this should be easily knowable from the YouGov polls leading up to the last election. All you’d have to do is compare panelists’ answers on personal/national salience questions to their votes. Maybe we could ask Anthony to do a study?

    @ Ernie,

    Catmanjeff is your man (er, your catman…) if you want a quantitative answer to that question.

  14. It may be too early to say we are now in the post conference effect period.

    However, compared to where we were before 2 things appear to have occurred that are on the face of it contradictory – maybe someone who can dissect data can help explain.
    First Labour has stabilised and in fact may even have nudged up 0.5-1%. Could be cost of living stuff and Energy prices or an improvement in EDs appeal due to the Dad/DM stuff; and may or may not be sustained.
    Secondly, the approval rating has shown a lower negative for a number of polls even where the lead is 6% or more.

    My guess is that a few more remaining LD voters and a few more UKIP flirters plus some right wing Tories are approving and this is nothing to do with the conferences.
    What the Tories will hope and need (and LDs I guess) is that a few switchers to Labour will start to be less disapproving and that by 2015 2% or so (or voters) will move away from Labour.

    IMO this will determine who emerges with most seats in 2015.

  15. Again, with a new poll arriving, we have first reactions (”back to normal”) followed by party-line splits, ”Lab have held off Cons”, ”Cons have come a long way.

    ”Back to normal” is the most accurate, I think. When you look at last month’s average of polls, my list – which includes all or most, I think – gives averages of:
    Con 32.7 Lab 38.19 LD 10.03 UKIP11.57
    The month before:
    Con 31.86 Lab 38.03 LD 10.38 UKIP12.35

    Now forget comparing the Con or Lab VI with Osborn’s bad budget period, or with this Spring and its immediate aftermath. Just look at the equivalent monthly average of polls (i.e. for Sept, Aug) of a year ago:
    Con 32.31 Lab 42.69 LD 9.24 UKIP 7.69
    The month before:
    Con 31.82 Lab 42.61 LD 9.57 UKIP 7.32

    Cons are the same. No ”coming a long way” at all.
    Lab are well down, but not to Cons.
    LD are the same, more or less.
    UKIP are the beneficiaries of Lab’s fall.

    Interpret how you will, but this does give us a bit of a long view. Lab’s 38 looks quite solid to me. So, to be honest, does the Cons’ 32. So how much will UKIP lose – and to whom – under the heat of examination at a GE?

  16. Re. the energy storage question, it seems like the obvious solution is to build a reservoir on the top of a hill, heat the water to turn it into steam so it will flow up a pipe to the top of the hill, recondense it to fill the reservoir, and then let it turn a turbine on the way back down. Artificial hydro-electric power, as it were.

    Is there some reason this straightforward solution is impractical and we’re faffing around with gravel and underground air compression chambers instead?

  17. @John

    There is also this study that is referenced in that later study which has some nice graphs showing how older/younger voters have voted over the years

    http://www.achimgoerres.de/work/Goerres%202008%20Grey%20Vote.pdf

    Page 8 banishes the myth that older voters always vote more conservative – they didn’t in the 50’s or early 80’s.

    Page 10 has a nice graph showing what percentage of each generation votes Labour. You can see the Thatcher generation well down on that list, with other generations showing very different patterns.

  18. @Spearmint – not sure if you’re being serious there, but using heat to evaporate water as a means to transport it is a massively inefficient use of energy.

  19. @Carfrew – re compressed gas for energy storage – again, every energy processing stage looses energy. In the case of compressors, very efficient ones are only 90% efficient, so you’ve lost 10% straight away, with more conversion losses when you use the high pressure gas to generate power at peak times. This is similar to conventional pump storage, which uses a lot more energy than it releases.

    By far and away the best arrangement is the use of off peak power to generate and store heat. If you can do this via heat pumps and large buffer stores, you can actually get more energy out of the system than you put in.

    If you take 1kWh of off peak power and use it to run an air source heat pump you can expect to get 2 – 3kWh of usable heat, if you use a ground source system you’ll get back more like 3-4kWh.

    So long as you can store this heat with minimal losses until it is required, you’ve got a usable system. There really is no need to faff about with gravel and shovels.

  20. Alec/Carfrew

    Lots of potential in theory for energy storage approaches to smooth out production vs demand spikes. I guess the problems are that many systems are fundamentally quite inefficient and also need to have very large scale (or many sets of small-scale) infrastructure to make a significant dent in the problem.

    Pressure storage is interesting. Without looking at the thermodynamics, the basic mechanical energy stored in a pressurised fluid is the pressure times the volume. So, say you had an Olympic swimming pool volume (50m x 25m x 2m) of gas pressurised to say 1000 atmosphere pressure (100MPa), you have a stored pressure energy of 250GJ, or about 70MWh. That’s about enough to supply the energy usage of 1000-1500 houses for a day. There’s a big safety issue – that amount of energy is equivalent to the energy released by the detonation of about 50 tonnes of TNT, so you need to make sure that it is never released accidentally (or maliciously)!

    Using excess electricity to electrolyse water to produce hydrogen is another approach (again, storage safety is a problem).

    In many cases, the basic physics is straightforward enough, but the devil is in the detail of the engineering/technological issues required to produce safe, efficient systems. Although I’ll admit, I’m outside my own professional area here, this seems to requires big investment on R&D.

    I assume that energy capture/storage/release will be high on the agenda when the EU Horizon2020 research programmes are announced next month. I haven’t been keeping an eye on this, but the rumour a year or so ago was that there was a big increase in funding for Horizon2020 over its predecessor schemes. This is a Very Important Thing for the EU – individual countries cannot fund the level of investment required to make a difference, but the EU is big enough to fund consortia across the continent that can make big advances. It’s the side of European integration that we rarely hear about in the media, but it is crucial for our futures. I often wonder what the effect on polling would be if a better PR job were done on these aspects of the EU.
    http://horizon2020projects.com/societal-challenges/energy/

  21. @ Alec,

    Afraid I was serious. As you can see, I’m not an engineer! Is it more inefficient than a gravel ski-lift, though?

  22. @Colin Davis
    “Again, with a new poll arriving, we have first reactions (”back to normal”) followed by party-line splits, ”Lab have held off Cons”, ”Cons have come a long way.”

    You may have misunderstood – the discussion you mention was comparing figures from years ago when Cons were at 46 & Lab at 23 in the polls – hence, come a long way.

    Alternatively I have misunderstood…it wouldn’t be the first time nor will it be the last (there’s a song in there somewhere)

  23. On the energy storage question, surely the best solution is to change demand like they are planning with the smart meters?

    So charge up all those storage heaters when excess power is being produced so those people don’t turn on the heat at peak times?

    And start producing appliances that are connected to smart meters, so that the power companies can turn on non time critical appliances when there is excess capacity.

    Office air conditioners can also be plugged into smart meters so they come on when there is excess power in the summer.

    Even gas heated homes could benefit by having an electric heater connected to a smart meter that raises the temperature when there is excess power produced, avoiding the need to use gas later.

  24. A recent Survey by You Gov asked British people to comment in One word on the US Government Shut Down the results were almost unanimously negative, most of them outright dismissive. 10% submitted the word ‘stupid’, the most popular choice. Next was ‘Ridiculous’, followed by formulations of ‘pathetic’, ‘shambles’ and ‘farce’.

    The Wisdom of the Crowd

  25. I was really trying to get at the idea of pump storage, I think, but everyone was talking about heat so I randomly stuck in a condenser.

    Presumably it would be worth sacrificing some degree of efficiency- perhaps some large degree of efficiency- for a storage system that was safe, relatively robust and straightforward to build. Which pump storage seems like it would be, compared to compressed air reservoirs or tanks of pure hydrogen.

  26. Interpret how you will, but this does give us a bit of a long view. Lab’s 38 looks quite solid to me. So, to be honest, does the Cons’ 32. So how much will UKIP lose – and to whom – under the heat of examination at a GE?

    -UKIP tend to be strongest where the Tories are already strongest consequently a return to Tory voting is actually not likely to influence outcome very much ,it is largely irrelevant if an Incumbent MP wins with a 25% or 15% Majority.

    If UKIP’s recent gain has actually been more at the cost of Labour votes (debatable most polls suggest other wise ) then a fall off of their support back to core levels is more likely to favour Labour than Conservative any way.

  27. Rather predictably we see an energy company about to put it prices up, no doubt followed by the rest, and really when politicians and the public start the usual rip of Britian response who can blame them.

    Is the answer trying to regulate the market ,on the face of it that seems a reasonable approach, if it wasn’t for the fact the raw material gas and oil are brought on the world commodity markets and no amount of UK regulation is going to change the price payed for energy on those markets.
    The only time UK regulation will have an effect is when commodity prices fall which in the near future is becoming an unlikely proposition.

    I’ve come to the conclusion and as a Tory I believe in lower taxes, but I think to make it a fairer system especially for poorer households the only answer is scrap the governments green part of the energy bill and raise the money for cleaner energy targets through direct taxation which will reduce average energy bills for everyone about £120 a year for the average household and spread the load for green energy to those more able to pay.

  28. Ah, sure, then the misunderstanding is mine, not yours, have no fear. Certainly much has changed since those years ago.

    Immediately above, I was trying to see the wood from the trees in the current poll data, and I’ll stand by my conclusions from that. I didn’t mean to suggest – though I might have done – that previous correspondents were failing on that score!

    My real target was the tendency we all have to look for silver linings as regards our particular standpoints in all the polls and poll trends. The long view gives us a better – although not incontrovertible – view of what is and isn’t solid, I think.

  29. ps that last post was to Chordata – I tend to forget to say…

  30. SPEARMINT
    @ Alec,
    “Afraid I was serious. As you can see, I’m not an engineer! Is it more inefficient than a gravel ski-lift, though?”

    ——-

    It’s okay, it’s tricky stuff. Things that are at a high temperature lose their heat a lot more readily than at lower temperatures. So in converting to steam, you’d lose energy as you transport it up to the reservoir as the steam cools unless pipes are very well insulated. Plus, you have to put a lot of energy in to turn the water into steam, think about how much energy a kettle uses, and you would lose that energy to the atmosphere when the steam condenses in the reservoir unless you out it through a very good heat exchanger, and you’d still lose some.

    In the end, it’s relatively efficient to just pump the water up, you don’t really need to convert to steam.

    @Alec
    Ah, you mean like an inverter?

  31. I remember from the ’80s a cinema advert about some Welsh mountain that had been carved out to accommodate generators with water being pumped to the top using off-peak electricity.

    A quick Google turns up this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinorwig_Power_Station

  32. @spearmint

    Pumping up to reservoirs is handy, the problem is lack of sites and tend to be remote, so you lose a fair bit of power in the grid getting power to where it’s needed…

  33. My real target was the tendency we all have to look for silver linings as regards our particular standpoints in all the polls and poll trends. The long view gives us a better – although not incontrovertible – view of what is and isn’t solid, I think.

    Indeed – that’s a message Anthony sends out time & time again yet every time there’s a sudden movement there are cries of excitement (all sides are guilty) when in reality it’s generally a slightly ‘iffy’ poll.

  34. Pump water up when demand for power is low; let it flow down at peak times. Clearly there’s something fatally flawed with this concept because, were things as simple as that, we’d surely be doing it already!

  35. @ RogerH

    I didn’t see your comment before I posted mine at 10:16

  36. “I’ve come to the conclusion and as a Tory I believe in lower taxes…”

    Although the Tories have increased VAT from 8% to 20%, which has probably increased many (most?) people’s tax burdens even allowing for income tax cuts.

  37. @POSTAGEINCLUDED – exactly didn’t think it needed spelling out for contributors like SINE but suppose blind partianship will always play a part in someone’s ignorance what is clearly a more solid labour lead than during the summer and pre conference.

  38. @ Richard,

    That Goerres paper must be slightly worrying for the Tories. Check out Figure 4:

    http://i.imgur.com/loKx5Wf.png

    With some minor variance (for some reason the Interwar Generation fell madly in love with Ted Heath), what it mostly seems to show is that every generation is slightly less Conservative than its predecessors and remains so consistently across decades.

    I was shocked by how uniform the swings were across demographics. It’s not that the elderly always vote Tory, the kids always vote ABT and the middle-aged are floating voters. When the Tories have a bad election everyone takes a step to the left, and when they have a good election everyone takes a step to the right.

    It will be really interesting to see what 2015 looks like on that chart, since it’s shaping up to be a more ideological contest than the last three.

  39. ROGERH
    “I remember from the ’80s a cinema advert about some Welsh mountain that had been carved out to accommodate generators with water being pumped to the top using off-peak electricity.”

    ——–

    Sure, but sadly we don’t have enough suitable sites, remembering that you actually need two reservoirs, one above the other, to exchange the water between…

  40. @SPEARMINT

    “I don’t know the answer, but it seems like this should be easily knowable from the YouGov polls leading up to the last election. All you’d have to do is compare panelists’ answers on personal/national salience questions to their votes. Maybe we could ask Anthony to do a study?”

    ———-

    I think this would be an excellent idea, especially giving him proper stuff to do rather than all that modding…

  41. “Sure, but sadly we don’t have enough suitable sites, remembering that you actually need two reservoirs, one above the other, to exchange the water between…”

    Although the wiki article says that the plan for one on Exmoor was scrapped when the industry went for the ‘dash for gas’.

  42. Turk
    “As a Tory I believe in lower taxes”
    We all believe in lower taxes, so which departments would you cut?
    Defence, NHS, Transport, Police, Pensions,Benefits, EU subsidies, council ?
    Many of these services are already in private hands.

  43. @sine – I also think you are confused by the term ‘solid’ by that I mean a consistent lead by an undetermined % could be 4 or 20 pts over a series of polls. You seem to be believing solid = large. One large lead of 14 points followed by a poll showing a lead of 4 would not be classified as solid, but consitent leads of 5, 6, 6, etc would be in my view be a solid lead. Hope this helps you with your understanding.

  44. @ Carfrew + Other People Who Actually Know What They’re Talking About,

    sadly we don’t have enough suitable sites, remembering that you actually need two reservoirs, one above the other, to exchange the water between…

    Couldn’t you just use quarries or old mines as the lower reservoirs? Building artificial hills is hard, but we’re good at digging holes.

  45. The method does exist and there was a TV programme about it recently. The engineers get ready for it every night in time for Eastenders finishing.

    If women, children and pensioners drank beer and wine instead of tea, it would not be a problem. (It’s called ‘TV pickup’).

  46. Spearmint

    Yes it is shaping up to be an ideological contest, however the yTories are busy committing free market heresy and so far we only have their word that Labour has moved left, to be sure Ed likes to throw around the “S” word but his headline policy at conference was aimed at freeing the energy market, I don’t see any ideological policies from labour, can you really have an ideological battle in these circumstances. Only if the public don’t look at actual policies and believe the hype, which they probably will

  47. @lefty

    It’s not storage, but you mentioned fusion yesterday, and I’ve been intrigued by the dense plasma focus thing. It’s pulsed, so no need to maintain a plasma, and some variants emit protons in the reaction: ie direct conversion to electricity. No need for lasers etc., you just basically discharge capacitors onto an anode…

  48. @ Howard

    Ah ha, then off-peak flasks, rather than radiators, could be the answer to all our energy problems! :-)

  49. @ROGERH

    “Although the wiki article says that the plan for one on Exmoor was scrapped when the industry went for the ‘dash for gas’.”

    ——–

    Yeah it’s just that the reason we’re talking about it is we may need quite a lot as we switch more and more to intermittent power sources like wind and wave…

  50. Turk asks: ”Is the answer trying to regulate the market?” vis a vis energy prices.

    A ‘free market’ is just people doing what they want with what they have got, and we use the word ‘market’ when money, possessions and property are involved. A punch-up in a pub is a free exchange of another kind, in which such things as muscles, fists and knuckledusters (that dates me) are involved.

    As a society we always need to regulate free exchanges, otherwise you could do away with anyone who got in your way. So why on earth should the addition of the word ‘market’ to a free exchange (doing what you want with what you have got; I’m picking the term out of the air for now) act as some kind of a magic bullet, ring fencing it from any kind of social supervision?

    Social supervision is a delicate balancing act. You don’t want to curb other people’s freedom, but you can’t have people abusing their freedom to harm others. ‘Market activities’ need to be policed in the same way as your Friday night pub, I would suggest. Ideally, you can express yourself in it, but you can’t overturn the next guy’s table – and a lot of market activities turn over a lot of tables.

1 8 9 10 11