This morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun had topline voting intention figures of CON 32%, LAB 38%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 13%. Full tabs are here.

There was also some polling about which party people trusted the most on the economy for the Times. Over the last few months the Conservatives have opened up a clear lead on the economy in general, presumably a knock-on effect of more positive economic news and increasing economic optimism. At the beginning of the year the two parties were typically neck and neck – the first time YouGov asked the question in January they found Labour one point ahead on the economy. Since then the Conservatives have gradually pulled away. By June and July they were starting to show a lead of around 5 points, in the last couple of polls YouGov have had them 10 and 12 points ahead on the economy.

In today’s Times poll they asked the question in a bit more detail – the economy, after all, isn’t just a blob, it encompasses all sorts of things like jobs, inflation, interest rates, growth and so on. The question wasn’t quite the same as the trackers above (the Times version was a forced choice between a Cameron-led Tory government and a Miliband-led Labour one, whereas the regular trackers give Lib Dems and “other” as options) but it does show us the parties different strengths and the clear battle lines where they’ll seek to fight the economic argument at the next election.

Labour & Ed Miliband actually have a 8 point lead over the Conservatives & Cameron if you ask specifically about providing jobs, a 6 point lead on keeping prices down and a 9 point lead on improving living standards. However, Cameron and the Conservatives have stronger leads in thier better areas – on helping people onto the housing ladder they lead by 11 points, on tackling the deficit they lead by 22 points and the general management of the economy they lead by 15 points.

There is an obvious conclusion here – on perceptions of general economic competence and ability to manage the economy well the Conservatives have a significant and growing advantage. However, on standards of living and keeping down prices Labour are ahead. Recent announcements by the government on things like rail fares are an obvious attempt to try and counter that, but there will also be a battle to control the debate and the narrative, from the Conservatives to make the economic argument at the next election about economic competence and management, from Labour to make it about the cost of living.

147 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 32, LAB 38, LD 11, UKIP 13”

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  1. Be cool to know the relative salience of things like jobs and cost of living versus deficit, housing ladder etc…

  2. I must admit I was surprised people thought the Conservatives would be better at helping people onto the housing ladder.

    I then looked at the cross breaks, and the lead is a lot less clear when you look at it by age break. The over 40’s who presumably all have houses think the Tories are better, the younger voters for whom this is presumably more of an issue as they don’t have houses yet say Labour will be better.

    Some of that may be just younger voters more inclined to support Labour, but if you compare to the second question where the Tories also lead, managing the economy, on that one they also lead for the 18-24’s.

    I like the more in depth polling on the economy questions -if it is done again it would be useful to also see how much of an issue each question is in driving voting intention, as well as which party scores higher.

    We have had other recent polls which show reducing the deficit is now less of an issue in voters minds, presumably because they have got the wrong message that the defict is being paid down (and think that means debt), and that cost of living is now the more important issue.

    So to put it all together on who is leading on the number one issue for voters – the economy, we need to know which economic issues are the most important, and then who leads on those most important issues.

  3. Interesting evidence of stereotyping.

  4. Considering that we have a Cameron-led (we could have a question on that too…) government – I wonder if the neither should be counted on the EM side (seems from the table that the Conservatives are extremely faithful compared even to the “core” Labour supporters).

  5. Interesting to see UKIP stay at a high number despite some tricky recent issues, and a relative lack of Farage on TV. He comes across very well as a ‘non politician’ to many in a time of massive cynicism of politicians, and the more coverage he gets in the run up to the euro elections and the general election could mean UKIP consistently above 15%.

  6. Been actually reading the OECD skills report some of the more excitable commentators have been using as a stick to attack the last Government with thanks to the low attainment of our 16-24 year olds.

    It’s very interesting.

    First up, our 25-34 year olds are also well below par – just as our 16-24 year olds. So, if it’s a schools issue, it started when that cohort were at school. If someone could remind me who was in charge when that was, so we can blame them, then that would be dandy. Because apparently it’s a damning indictment of schools and the people who allowed it to happen must never be allowed back in again, or something.

    However, rather tediously, it seems that’s not really the issue. It’s a lot more complicated than that, and seems to be tied into our class system and our peculiar jobs market. The latter first – we have both an unusually high level of highly-skilled jobs that allow skills development but demand high qualifications and an unusually high level of very low-skilled jobs that do not provide skills development at all, and have few skills demands, with much less in between than elsewhere.

    Coupled with that is that the skills of young people are much more closely correlated to the educational level of their parents and to their social class (as defined by parental occupation) than almost anywhere else in the world. At a very crude level, if you go to university, you are likely to find yourself in a good job which allows you to continue to develop your skills and to pass them on to your kids, who are, themselves, more likely to then develop their own skills, and perpetuate the cycle.

    Conversely, there are few options for people who don’t go to university, and the jobs that those who don’t go get are more likely to be mentally untaxing, and don’t develop their skills. You then have a lower skills level to pass on to your kids, who then don’t attain as well at school, and then don’t get into jobs that allow them to develop.

    What the problem seems to be is that we don’t have enough intermediate jobs where people who didn’t attain educationally can nevertheless continue to develop their skills and so improve, pass on their skills through reading and counting, to their children – and it’s been like that for a while. And, of course, our rigid class system is still a problem. The 35-44 year cohort seem fine, so if you want to date it, whatever went ‘wrong’ happened between them and the subsequent cohort, but, of course, it can’t and won’t be as neat as that.

    This is extremely inconvenient for anyone trying to blame previous administrations, but I guess that won’t stop anyone. At least now you know anyone trying to use this data to demonstrate that Team X Are Horrid either hasn’t read it, hasn’t understood it, or is just being silly and partisan.

    There is also an effect from immigration as well, and you would expect the people who have been making a big play of the report to be particularly keen on this bit as it’s quite detailed and has a lot of nice stats, but I guess they haven’t actually read it because they haven’t been going on about it.

  7. I see we also have a new immigration bill. I hope when/if polling is done on it that the polling includes representative samples of voters born in the UK/ born outside the UK and BME voters so we can see what they all think of these policies.

    To put some context around that, Labour lost a lot of BME support in 2010, BME voters make up 8% of the electorate, and I’m sure that figure has grown – from the ons:

    “A quarter of births (25.9%) in 2012 were to mothers born outside the UK which was a slight increase from 2011 (25.5%).”

    “As we’ve explained in this document, in the end, only 16% of BME voters supported the Conservative Party in 2010, with a similar proportion spporting the Liberal Democrats. This means over two-thirds of BME voters (68%) still voted Labour in 2010. While these numbers are undoubtedly striking, two factors place this figure in some context. First is that while Labour support is vastly higher among all BME
    groups, this has dropped from even higher support – as many as 8 or 9 out of 10 BME voters have supported Labour in the past.”

    So will these policies drive BME/ non UK born voters back to Labour? Will they increase turnout amongst BME voters? Will they attract UKIP voters back to the Tories?

    Basically, how many votes is this policy losing vs how many is it gaining?

    We also saw on the last thread that Wes says immigration is an issue for him when he answers polls as new policies means he cannot bring his wife to live here. How much of ‘immigration is an issue’ is ‘immigration is an issue because it is too high, or immigration is an issue because it is too difficult or polarizing people? And how much will it drive voting intention? We saw Norbold say on the last thread he is getting voters telling him they won’t vote labour because immigration was too high under labour. Who will they vote for instead? UKIP or Tories?

    Lots of questions, need some polls to help remove the fog…

  8. The Times survey confirms that people perceive Con & Lab as they usually have done over the years:-

    Con is concerned with the creation of national wealth.
    Lab is concerned with the distribution of national wealth.

    Which will emerge as most important in 2015 we shall see.

    My only thought is that it will be easier for Cons to tag on some distributional elements ; than for Lab to tag on some creational elements.

  9. Laszlo

    Yes I raised your point on Con VI dogmatism last week (I believe it was) and I pondered whether, even if Labour VI voters give more kudos to the Conservatives, or are uncertain, on the issue of deficit, whether this affects their VI a jot.

    Carfrew in the first comment above wonders the same.

  10. richard

    It would be nice to trust our policy makers to be evidence driven. But I fear not.

  11. LASZLO

    @”I wonder if the neither should be counted on the EM side”

    How does that work Laszlo?

    Neither means not one of the alternatives given doesn’t it?

    On the “keeping prices down” question, “Neither” is at it’s highest level in the Poll-indeed Neither + DK total as many as those making a choice-perhaps a large degree of uncertainty over both Lab & Con on this one?


    @”So will these policies drive BME/ non UK born voters back to Labour?”

    Depends what you mean by “these policies”.

    You opened your post by referencing the new Immigration Bill-which is concerned with illegal immigrants-people with no legal right to be here.

    We know that “Immigration” is usually one of the top “issues of concern” to voters-and those long term , settled British Citizens of foreign extraction who I see interviewed on tv news programmes give the impression of being no less concerned about the issue than their anglo-saxon neighbours.

  13. ‘Keeping prices down’ is a tricky question because it rests on two things – whether people believe promises made in the run-up to an election are sincere, and whether people believe that a government can actually deliver on that promise even if it wants to. These uncertainties perhaps account for the unusually high number of ‘Neither’ and DK responses.

    One obvious way to keep prices down would be to slash VAT but no one seems to be promising that.


    ……TM said the new measures are about “making it harder for people who are here illegally to stay here”.

    BBC reports a 2009 study by the London School of Economics of an estimated 618,000 illegal immigrants in the country. There have been higher estimates.

    Leaving aside the practicalities of the checks which TM is proposing, I doubt any demographic will have much disagreement with her objectives.

  15. @Colin

    For “these policies” see here for example:

    I agree we often get contrary opinions on immigration policies, all I am saying is it would be good to have a fair poll to see what people really think, especially those who may be impacted indirectly like the article above describes. Is that a true fear, or is it just hype? I don’t know.


    It would be interesting -I agree.

    I am usually a willing listner to Chakrabarti-but “being turned away on the basis of their skin colour.” is really inflamatory, given the issue is people who are here illegally.

    One might put the issue the other way around -and suggest that illegal immigrants should have free medical treatment & access to housing, BECAUSE of the colour of their skin.

    Personally I have more sympathy for the contention that the checking & monitoring regime required of Landlords , Doctors & Hospitals will fail-because we are just not geared up for this sort of thing, and always seem to make a mess of the Public Administration procedures involved.

    One wonders how other countries manage to stop “health tourism” with such apparent ease-possibly because they have no qualms about the personal insurance element in their systems-and you either have an insurance policy-or you don’t ?

  17. It seems to me that every measure ever announced to combat illegal immigration is roundly castigated by the same group of people, and that not one of those people ever actually suggests any more effective, or less authoritarian, measures that might be used in its place.

    What that tells me is that, by and large, people attack policies aimed at illegal immigration because they don’t really agree that immigration should ever be illegal.

    All credit to those who bravely express the view that anyone who can get to Britain should be allowed to live, work and get access to services here. I don’t agree with them, but at least they’re honest.

    As for Chakrabarti’s views, I suppose they’re par for the course given her role (and I don’t think she’s particularly left-wing – she and Cameron got quite cosy in the run up to 2010). But to anyone suggesting that young black and Asian Britons might have problems getting housing or medical care because of the proposals, surely the answer is “bring proof of your ID with you”.

    The assumption seems to be that landlords are never
    going to bother actually checking anyone’s credentials, and will just assume that white people are legit and non-white people aren’t. I actually don’t think that’s likely at all. Landlords (and GPs) will simply include proof of right to residence in the UK in the list of things that they already (as anyone who’s rented a property in recent years will tell you) require from tenants.

  18. Personally, I’m here legally, want to use my public services, and was quite happy to use an ID to prove my entitlement.

    Many of those wishing to see firm action against illegal immigrants didn’t seem so keen on ID cards.

  19. I was astonished that some of the checks May has now put in place weren’t already good practice. When I moved house last year, I had to go through a whole host of ID checking processes to get the address changed on my driving licence, my bank account, and various other necessities. As my passport had expired, certain aspects of this got a bit too Catch-22 ish for my liking. An ID card would be no more intrusive than all this already is, and might make such things a lot less hassle.

  20. Although immigration scores highly in polling about issues facing the country when it comes to issues facing one’s own family, immigration tumbles down the scale.

    This rather suggests that immigration is used by govts to give them a boost in the polls.

    As for the numbers of illegal immigrants I would ask the obvious questions:

    If the govt know how many illegal immigrants are here, why haven’t they deported them & if they choose to blame the previous govt, why have they waited more than 3yrs to bring forward this legislation ?

  21. Alec and Adam

    I am with you both on ID cards – I never saw what the problem with them was per se as we have to spend so much time using ID that the driving licence or passport has taken its place but is not as practical.

    If I remember the complaints were around the database that sits behind the ID card but don’t see that would prevent a simple identity card being issued.

    When I lived in Europe all the nationals had an ID card that was also usable as a passport (credit card sized and more user friendly) whilst us non-nationals had a resident/work permit that differed depending on your length of time in the country. This was paper-based and was supposed to be presented when asked for, although to be honest I was never asked for it apart from when speaking with officialdom.

    The card itself never caused be any problems, even with me being clearly defined as an ‘immigrant’ – an economic one at that – although my British accent probably negated the need for confirmation I wasn’t a local….

  22. It seems to me you can either a) issue universal state ID cards, thereby providing a straightforward proof of citizenship/residency that you could reasonably ask someone to produce before renting a room or seeing a GP*, or b) not issue ID cards and leave immigration checks in the hands of border control. Combining the two strikes me as a recipe for disaster and lawsuits, but I suppose that’s why I’m not a Tory Home Office minister.

  23. * Whether or not we want illegal immigrants wandering around as disease reservoirs because they’re afraid to see a GP lest they be deported is a separate question. (To which the answer is “Yes”, according to polling…)

  24. I am not an advocate for the hysterical reaction of UKIP regarding immigration but Spearmint I am not sure why you can’t have both border controls and ID cards?

    I wouldn’t mind joining Schengen (which I think would be a condition of free trade agreement if we leave the EU – just look at the Swiss) but before then France and Germany had passport checks whilst having ID cards.

    In some ways the ID card would be an extension of a passport but in a more user friendly form (ie will fit it in a wallet)

  25. “Helping people onto the housing ladder” in my mind implies “helping people to get their first mortgage”. I can’t imagine that many people renting consider themselves to be on any sort of ladder.

    Had the question been “helping people to live in a decent affordable home” the results would surely have been very different.

  26. “Yes I raised your point on Con VI dogmatism last week ”

    I hope you don’t mean us Howard?

    R and D.

  27. I hope this companies are prevented from working on any Government contracts in the future

    When we see ministers suggesting people are not taking jobs when they are able to, the fact that people who want to work have been prevented from doing so because of being the member of a union, or even more disgracefully, because they have raised concerns about safety standards in an industry with serious issues in this area is absolutely unbelievable

    I have yet to see any Government response to this…

  28. Paul Croft
    I can’t converse with dogs but I know you can (apparently). So thank them from me for their important contribution and I expect they would be very surprised to learn that I am in favour of impregnated chips that will enable their safety and security and am also in favour of human ID cards which would solve the illegal immigrant supposed problems at a stroke.

    Impregnate ourselves as well? Now there’s a thought!

  29. @ Bcrombie,

    No, you definitely can have both! What I was trying to say is that you can’t have neither, which appears to be Theresa May’s plan. Cut border control to the bone and then outsource it to doctors…

  30. Spearmint


    Should read better – been a long day! Apologies

  31. BCrombie
    Do I take it that when you were in ‘Europe’ (clearly elsewhere in your world view :-) ) we had not yet joined the (then) EC?

  32. Howard

    Why do you say that? It was fairly recently

  33. Oh and I meant Continental Europe – that is what I meant say

  34. Interesting discussion about immigrants and health on PM this evening. Apparently illegal immigrants tend to be both young and healthy and make fewer demands on the NHS than your typical native.

    Are we going to see landlords or doctors prosecuted for not checking someone’s papers? Should make a fascinating court case.

  35. BCrombie

    Not (lazily) looking back I gathered you apparently needed a work permit.

    Actually I have now, so I must have made a mistake.

    I can only speak as I find. The ability to move around and be as free as a bird is a huge advantage. With ID cards we would be able to join Schengen without a backward glance – oh joy.

    There are parts of GB where I feel more ‘abroad’ than I do in the rest of Europe. It’s subjective I know.

    I don’t know how illegal immigrants can get benefits. Can they?

    (I’m not referring to asylum applicants).

  36. RogerH

    One of the problems I have with this (amongst many) is what papers do they check?

    What papers do you use to show you are a legal resident? For me as a UK citizen, I have a passport and a driving licence but there is no requirement to have these. Also, I have an NI number but I lost the card I received when I was 18 years ago so no proof there. NHS card – lost that as well so many times… they still exist?

    I can’t see how this can be done efficiently unless there is an ID card system to support it

  37. Spearment

    “.No, you definitely can have both! What I was trying to say is that you can’t have neither, which appears to be Theresa May’s plan. Cut border control to the bone and then outsource it to doctors”

    Actually spending has increased on the Border Force although staff have been cut, below is the report from the national Audit Office concerning the border forces first year of operation since May overhauled the Border agency, it’s interesting reading mainly because it sticks to facts, good and bad and is devoid of political spin.

  38. Wow, an independent Scotland would be a bigger terrorist target says DC

    I presume they will be hated for their freedoms, lol

  39. Howard

    I was in Switzerland that explains the confusion, although with Schengen there were no checks on passports – a joy when travelling to France and Italy (less than an hour away) or using the airport with no need for checks, apart when going back to the UK.

    None of the French I knew had a full passport, even for travel to the UK, as they all used an ID card.

    I never had a problem with an ID card in Switzerland – as I said I only ever used it when I needed to do any official business.

    ID cards can be misused but that is the same for many things

  40. Howard

    Who cares if immigrants can receive benefits, what matters is that the public believe they can and that it’s a major expense

  41. RiN

    You must be mistaken about DC. He has said that he intends to follow Anthony’s policy and say nothing about the topic (at least in places he can be challenged). :-)

  42. I’d quite like to see how many illegal immigrants the public believes are in the UK and how that measures up to estimates. AW, get on it!

  43. BCrombie

    – ah, I see. Yes what an irony, Switzerland, this tiny island, besieged on all sides by non EU countries and yet you just travel to and fro, with no bother.

    Yes I know we live in a dreamworld here. It would be wonderful to learn that some department in Whitehall did not throw away all the ID card stuff and it’s safe in a bunker in Porton Down.

    I know we have this history but it really is history. Trouble is, some of the population are still mentally manning the defences on the White Cliffs.

  44. Howard

    This strange little island indeed!

    Wonderful location though – 2 hours Germany, 3 hours Austria, 30 mins France, 45 mins Italy.

    The thing is though it is becoming more and more tied to the EU – there is currently a derogation on EU Freedom of Movement but it runs out soon.

    Has to be a member of Schengen and is tied into loads of trade deals so that it is de facto a member with no influence.

    The UKIPpers who use it as an example of what we could be like in the future should really think hard about that

  45. Most illegal immigrant arrive perfectly legally, usually on a student/family/short work visa, and then don’t and stay beyond the deadline, thus becoming illegal. The excessive border checks therefor do nothing about this.

    I would love the UK to join Schengen, however the UK’s offerings in terms of free education and health exceed pretty much all other EU countries. As does housing provisions based on need which places families near the top – UK citizens or not. A family receiving free housing, education and health is more than other EU nations offer and would place major strain.

  46. Duelling poll analysis part 1 – Voters love welfare cuts

    “[Among] likely Voters it’s 59% to 27% support. Amongst Conservative/UKIP swing voters 84% to 7%. Amongst Conservative/Lib Dem swing voters 77% to 5%. Amongst Labour/Conservative swing voters 64% to 9%.”

    “He warned: “The challenge is very severe.” Voters on average backed the reforms being driven through by David Cameron’s Government by about two to one — but among Labour-Conservative swing voters the divide was a huge 64 per cent to nine per cent. Worse, those voters who sided with Mr Miliband by opposing the reforms were mainly confined to a minority who saw themselves as centre-Left or “very Left”, including Mirror readers, Guardian readers, the unemployed, and existing Labour voters. In a secret recording of the event, passed to the Standard, he went on: “If you look at politically salient target groups those numbers get worse”

  47. Duelling poll analysis part 2 – Voters hate welfare cuts

    “Opposing government plans to strip under-25s of their benefits is not only the right policy but will be electorally important for Labour.

    Fabian Society research also shows that while this policy is popular with Conservative voters the opposite is true with Labour voters. Crucially the Lib Dem voters that will put Ed Miliband in Downing Street also oppose this policy.”

  48. It would be deliciously ironic if, in leaving the EU, Britain had to join Schengen. Some UKIPpers would probably pass out from confusion.

  49. Jim

    Based on the current situation you were right but for Schengen to work there would need to be an ID card. You have to have identification on you and can be asked when crossing the border, the only thing we have suitable in the UK is a passport.

    The problem we have is that we depend heavily on border checks but once in the UK there is no way to check immigration or residence status. This is probably one of the reasons we are attractive (not the benefits etc) is that once here there is a thriving parallel market for illegal jobs, especially in London. I

    In, say, Switzerland you will have to prove identity before accessing services, even worse in fact because you receive no treatment without an insurance card. We haven’t the means or infrastructure to do this

    I really don’t understand why ID cards are never seriously discussed

  50. Jim
    I hope you read what BCrombie has posted and come back to us with your conclusions as at the mo, it’s not making a lot of sense.

    An ID card system with dates would not allow expired visa people to claim benefits. In fact they can’t claim them if they were in date (I hope, unless we had reciprocal agreements).

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