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. I hope everyone saw my typo at 7.44 (EU countries not Non EU countries!!).

  2. 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…

    I had an interesting conversation recently with someone who worked for a large blue chip commercial company who was a primary sponsor of London 2012.

    All those working on the supply of this ‘consumable’ were vetted by the company, against security information provided by European Governments, and they had to declare where they had been on holiday in the last two years. Those who refused or said India or Pakistan were removed from working on the project.

    I think this is utterly disgraceful, yet must have been an action that both Government and company co-operated on.

    So Government and private company co-operation on such matters is of no surprise.

  3. @CMJ

    And yet, I can imagine the responses of the public if a Pakistan-grown terrorist had been successful, due to a lack of vetting.

    There’s no winning in some aspects of government. They can only analyse risk and act accordingly.

  4. @BCrombie

    Mainland Europeans have a different conception of what ID cards mean. I once spoke with a Spanish uncle who held his ID card aloft and insisted that it proved his rights against the state and his entitlements within it. That it was a symbol.of power in the hands of the citizen.

    Our culture is entirely different, at least historically.

  5. I veer on the side of scepticism when it comes to attaching great significance to answers given to sub-questions in opinion polls, especially when there appears to be such a disconnect between the voting intention responses and the sub-data. It also provides great big round juicy cherries to pick depending on your political leanings and preferences. All in all, not good for informed and objective debate, in my view.

    That said, let’s play the game for a bit. Tory sympathisers will seize on the responses that suggest that their side is most trusted on competent economic management and deficit reduction, believing these to be trump cards come election time. Labourites will be pleased to see their side most trusted to keep prices down and improve people’s living standards. If we believe the data, the debate then revolves around which of these issues has the greater salience and political traction.

    Now, this is against my better judgement, and I’m tempted to stop playing the silly game really, but I’d say the cost of living and living standards are issues that have the greater potential to influence voting intention at election time. Put another way, how many governments have been re-elected when living standards have declined for the majority of the electorate while they’ve been in office? Can’t think of one to be honest, even if there’s been some growth in the economy at the time people cast their votes. Those polling booths are very private and individual places where, for most of the time, the wallet rules the heart.

    Will old Reagan’s killer question be the zinger in 2015; “Are you better off than you were 5 years ago?”

    Stubbornly high unemployment, insecure and low paid work, plus the antics of the energy and rail companies, are all conspiring to make it a question that might well have some real resonance in an election that is less than 20 months away now.

  6. CB11

    It certainly looks as if that is the divide-economic competence vs “Watchdog” politics.

    And Watchdog is popular.

    But….the Deficit & the Debt haven’t gone away you know ( as someone used to warn)-if they mean votes, GO has a story about them I feel sure.

    …..then there’s “Events” dear boy……

  7. 7 local by elections tonight, including 2 in Scotland for a change.

    The one in Glasgow looks interesting for sheer volume of candidates, it has even got the communist party standing! They have a nice poster as well linked in the thread above.

    Charles BAILLIE (Britannica)
    Ryan BOYLE (Communist Party of Britain)
    John CORMACK (Scottish Christian Party “Proclaiming Christ’s Lordship”)
    Moira CRAWFORD (Scottish Green Party)
    Joyce DRUMMOND (Solidarity)
    John FLANAGAN (No Bedroom Tax – No Welfare Cuts)
    Ewan HOYLE (Scottish Liberal Democrats)
    John KANE (Scottish Labour Party)
    George LAIRD (Independent)
    Janice MACKAY (UKIP)
    Thomas RANNACHAN (Independent)
    Richard SULLIVAN (Scottish Conservative and Unionist)
    James TROLLAND (Scottish Democratic Alliance)
    Helen WALKER (Scottish National Party (SNP))

  8. RAF

    You are right there are cultural differences and that is an obstacle.

    It seems though that we want something that we cannot get under the current system.

    I am not convinced that health and benefit tourism is a bit issue and is overblown but I do see the need for us to ensure all residents are given what they are entitled to without suspicion and those who are here illegally are dealt with (with a bit of empathy

    It seems the Government talks tough and wants to put in solutions that are draconian and impractical but doesn’t want to consider all the options available.

    As a UK citizen I would like to have a card that will enable me to prove my identity when required but is more secure than a driving licence or a utility bill but at the same time more practical than a passport.

    I know there are arguments against but we cannot have everything

  9. MrNameless: “I’d quite like to see how many illegal immigrants the public believes are in the UK…”

    Somehow I think they’ll get it wrong.

  10. @Colin

    “It certainly looks as if that is the divide-economic competence vs “Watchdog” politics.”

    I think you may be parodying matters a little on the basis of which side of the divide you hope to be most important. Living standards are a little more than anecdotal consumer complaints, they’re what people experience every day of their lives. Holidays, toys for the kids, replacement cars, nights out, disposable income for the little luxuries of life, food on the table etc. Governments tend to get kicked in the nether regions if people feel they’re going backwards and having less money to spend on the things that make life worth living, despite a welter of economic indicators that tell them they should be happy with their lot.

    It’s Miliband’s point about rising tides and yachts and, even if his imagery and metaphor was a little poetic, I think a lot of voters may well feel that it’s an apt description of their daily experience. The grind of getting by and making ends meet is the stuff of most people’s lives.

  11. @ Colin @Turk

    Some good polling news for you

    “The polling – conducted between Labour and Tory conferences – also shows that Miliband’s agenda shifting energy price freeze policy appears to be less popular than the Tory proposal to put all customers on the cheapest possible tariff (37.9& preferred the former compared to 51.8% who preferred the later).”

  12. @RogerH

    That’s because we have a popular media for whom there is no comeback for misleading the public and who do it routinely (they did it with this week’s OECD report, just for starters) and because people do not magically become aware of social issues through a process of osmosis, they use this unreliable, often actively disinformative information to come to their views.

    Polls of all kinds work best if those people filling them in are actually informed about the issues that they are addressing. This active, ongoing disinformation – that the press are fighting tooth and nail to be allowed to continue – undermines democracy.

  13. @rogerh

    Some of the rhetoric used by politicians and the media give the perception that things are worse than they are, then moan when the public take it onboard, the rhetoric used against unemployed, sick and disabled has turned the public against those groups, unless you happen to be a family member or carer of any in those groups then at least they know the truth.

    All for reasons that have nothing to do with the health and wellbeing of the people concerned and I think that is what is going to prove to be underestimated by the politicians, people are angry but it does not show so much in the polls, I wish the polling companies did poll these groups to plumb the depths so to speak, politicians thinking they are non voters is a real bad position to take…

    But hey ho 20 months or so and we find the truth, the next few months are going to be the last that are electioneering free; we start the election season come March that could keep on running until GE 2015 depending on the possible blood bath or not.

  14. yes Robert competition has worked well doesn’t it.
    I hope actually that Anthony snips both this and your comment.


    That’s the same number of candidates as in 2012!

    For those unclear as to how Scottish council by-elections work, our STV system turns into AV for by elections.

    Comparisons with 2012 are difficult because of the civil war in Glasgow Labour Party at the time. Their sitting councillors were deselected and stood as “Glasgow First” candidates.

    In 2012, the parties, (no of candidates), and combined share of 1st preference votes were

    SNP. (3). 32.63%
    Labour. (2). 32.22%
    Glasgow First. (3). 23.76%
    Scottish Green. (1). 3.31%
    Conservative. (1). 3.16%
    Scottish Unionist. (1). 2.07%
    Liberal Democrats. (1). 1.26%
    Solidarity. (1). 0.87%
    Pirate. (1). 0.74%

    The parties will, of course! spin the result.

  16. @ Bcrombie,

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

    Because fascism.

    And because Gordon Brown tried to implement them and he’s not exactly a popular spokesman for… well, anything, really. So even though they’re the only practical solution to the health tourism “problem” (what, you’re supposed to bring your passport with you to hospital?), the Tories now can’t propose them as part of their immigration crackdown.

  17. Barnaby

    I agree that the current set up is not working well, there are too few companies involved and the amalgamations that happened within the energy field, perhaps should not have been allowed. There were plenty of energy companies in the field at the time of the initial privatizations, if I recall.

    My general comment is directed at all politicians who make inane proclamations just to garner votes. It happens to be Milliband at the moment but we all remember Osborne & the petrol price control mechanism that he proposed in opposition. What happened to that? It was presumably impractical in practice, just as a government proposal to control prices will prove to be.

    Beef up the regulator (as has happened in banking) and get more players into the market that is the only practical answer. And get rid of the green subsidies. If something can stand on it’s own, it shouldn’t stand.

    Incidentally, your phraseology was very bad grammar.

  18. Whoops..
    If something can’t stand on it’s own, it shouldn’t stand.

  19. @ Spearmint
    @ Bcrombie,

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

    Because I’m ENGLISH dammit, and my accent alone should be enough to confirm my identity and open any door around the globe.

    Mind, being from the Dearne Valley, I’ll admit that my accent is incomprehensible to anyone born south of Rotherham.

  20. @ Richard

    ..the Tory proposal to put all customers on the cheapest possible tariff (37.9& preferred the [energy price freeze] compared to 51.8% who preferred the [cheapest possible tariff]).
    Except putting customers on the cheapest possible tariff isn’t an actual policy; it was a proposal which the energy companies said was impossible to implement so it fell by the wayside, IIRC.

  21. …..then there’s “Events” dear boy
    This parliament, so far, has been singularly short of poll-moving events, dear boy.

    The Coalition agreement, Osborne’s “omni-shambles” budget & ? the rise of UKIP (not really an event, per se).

  22. Current Electricity System Transfers
    N.Ireland to Great Britain: -252MW
    France to Great Britain: 920MW
    Netherlands to GB: -198MW
    10/10/2013 21:30:00 GMT

    North-South: 6330MW
    Scot – Eng: 1284MW
    10/10/2013 21:40:00 GMT

    Since SSE have the 1.33GW output from the old Hydro Board schemes, one would have thought that would allowed them to undercut other suppliers, rather than the opposite.

  23. Spearmint

    Yes indeed, I think Clegg’s attitudes may well be formed, his being part Dutch. All NL is indoctrinated that the accurate ‘burger’ files held by every local authority in 1940 enabled a rapid round-up of Jews for deportation.

    The chief reason for this is because one of the columns on the register was headed ‘religion’.

    One thing that must be ensured for ID cards is that such a column (including ‘ethicity’) is omitted.

    But our colleague in Edinburgh will tell us that just the surname is sufficient to cause problems. It’s why the fellow that broke down before the cameras changed his name (or his parents did) to Musky. Just look at the history of Hollywood actors.

    In the end, it’s up to all of us to vote for moderate governments.

  24. Excuse the typo which I missed – ‘ethnicity’

  25. Interesting posts around ID cards and Immigration / EU memebership.
    Strange dichotomy for the right wing that they are liberalsits (opposed to state id-cards) but by equal measure (collectively) little englanders – opposed to immigration and freedom of movement. Not clear to me how those opposing views can be accommodated in 1 party – i.e. conservatives.

  26. Spearmint, Howard

    I can understand the concerns of what a totalitarian Government could do and the Snowden files don’t exactly build our trust in Government.

    It is strange though to use this as a reason why they can not be used in the UK – countries such as France and Germany, as well as many others, who have more experience of that carry them with no particular problem

    My reason to want one is that it makes life easier for me personally. I can see the arguments from the other side.

    As mentioned in other posts it is the only real answer to the concerns about immigration but instead the current Government tries other policies that are incoherent, draconian and unenforceable

  27. @ Corkscrew

    Not clear to me how those opposing views can be accommodated in 1 party – i.e. conservatives.
    Labour have a similar problem. Full employment, at a living wage, with mutual assurance against ill health, poverty & homelessness is at the heart of the Labour Party. But how can a Labour government achieve this with free movement of people throughout the EU? So Labour has the task of convincing people that throughout the whole EU these things can be achieved, together, for all EU citizens. From what I’ve read, it is a very hard ‘sell’ to convince all the shadow cabinet of this, never mind the members & voters!


    Yes I agree…was thinking same as I was writing that post…. but could not be bothered going the whole hog and covering both angles! I guess my personal view is that breaking down borders and barriers is the best way to a fairer and better world – just that we are a long way away from that today, so it is hard to argue that the potential short time down sides to freedom of movement (cheaper foreign labour etc) will eventually lead to a better overall situation for all peoples of Europe (and some far away day) the world!

  29. I have just heard one of the most sensible comments made re the reshuffles. Prof Sarah Churchill (American) asked what attributes ministers have for the departments they are heading.

    For example, how can someone who has never studied economics be chancellor or treasury minister. In the key areas such as Economics, Education, Health etc, the person responsible for making key decisions should have a significant level of knowledge of their subject even if this means they are not actually an elected MP.

  30. Crossbatt11 – You talk about the antics of rail companies – I’m no fan of rail privatisation but the rail operators are micro-managed by the Department for Transport & fare increases are dictated by the govt. It’s a handy way to raise cash but not get the blame.

    Many opposed ID cards on cost grounds didn’t they? the governments record on IT projects was, and is, diabolical in many instances.

  31. Spearmint – about ID cards ‘So even though they’re the only practical solution to the health tourism “problem” (what, you’re supposed to bring your passport with you to hospital?)’

    Why not for non-emergency treatment? Is that any different to having to show evidence of entitlement when claiming medical care in EU states?

  32. Peter Bell

    This is the core problem with modern, liberal democracy.

    The core competence required for successful politicians, is not technocratic ability. it is the ability to craft arguments, and pull people’s attitudes in their direction.

    Hence, we have a political cadre that is generally trained in the human arts (Classics, PPE, Law) where developing an argument is more important than marshalling facts.

    China’s recent politicians have not had to worry about winning the argument with the hoi polloi. Throughout China’s meteoric rise over the last two generations, it has been run by politicians predominantly trained in engineering.

    Makes you think. Certainly makes ME think as an engineer.

    Problem is, what it makes me think is the one really top level politician in my lifetime who was technically trained…

    Mind, Maggie was an ice-cream scientist, not a proper bloody engineer.

  33. @Peter Bell

    “In the key areas such as Economics, Education, Health etc, the person responsible for making key decisions should have a significant level of knowledge of their subject even if this means they are not actually an elected MP.”

    I suppose technically that’s what civil servants would be for: they would (or should) have the knowledge and training of those areas and can therefore implement the politician’s vision (whether it actually works like this though…)


    “The core competence required for successful politicians, is not technocratic ability. it is the ability to craft arguments, and pull people’s attitudes in their direction.”

    This is true: in oder to implement policies in a democracy one needs to have some kind of public support for it – so the art of rhetoric (or ‘spin’) is of quite high value (especially where irritants like ‘facts’ and ‘evidence’ can get in the way). By contrast, in China, they need not worry about such things so technical ability is more highly prized (in theory).

    I don’t really mind this, but what worries/irritates me is the way that the concepts of truth and empiricism seem to get thrown out of the window – particularly worrying given that many are graduates of PPE courses and it makes you wonder what they teach in the ‘philosophy’ section of the course…

  34. Classical Grammar Police Alert!
    ” the hoi polloi”

    Should be “hoi polloi”.

  35. Pete B

    You’ve got me. I’m an engineer (in case anyone hadn’t noticed today…). We’re highly precise where precision is necessary, and we dismiss precision with size 11 hob-nail boots where it isn’t.

  36. Howard
    What is your take on Norman Baker at the Home office?
    Will it boost theLD vote?
    Has Clegg got a cunning plan?

  37. I had 13 pints yesterday, and predicted a 13 point lead – had nil today, so we’ll go for neck and neck.

    And the Sun people are all very ill, hence no tweet. That, or they’ve all fainted at the correlation between my ale consumption and national polling.

    Incidentally, Saturday is the Rotherham beer festival, and then I’m watching a concert at Shef city hall – so I’ll probably come on predicting double figures for Sunday. I hope so anyway (hick) !!

  38. @ Jack R

    Typing after 13 pints is, sort of, an achievement in itself. But your prediction was rubbish. Maybe you should get a puppy & have it wuff a prediction for you. That seems to be more effective.

  39. Jack,
    May I ask how many pints you intend to have the night before the next GE?

  40. Lefty
    Sorry you feel that precision in language is unnecessary. No wonder there are so many misunderstandings in the world.

  41. @ Anarchists Unite (12.06)

    “I suppose technically that’s what civil servants would be for: they would (or should) have the knowledge and training of those areas and can therefore implement the politician’s vision (whether it actually works like this though…)”

    Unfortunately I believe the last part of the sentence in parentheses is crucial. If I felt that the Civil Servants had the power we saw in “Yes Minister” I would be happier. However, I suspect that in the main they are “yes men/women” and will tend to follow the dictats of the minister without argument.

  42. Well it looks like most of the English by election results for tonight are in.

    Same story continues, UKIP the second place party now (although their percentages seemed a bit down this week), only exception being:


    2013 – Con 554 Lab 461 UKIP 103

    2011 – Con 1062, Lab 502
    2010 – Con 1477, Lab 864
    2007 – Con 992, Lab 277

    Quite a drop for the Cons there, and UKIP well in 3rd place.

    The one Scotland one is counted tomorrow, the Glasgow one was apparently won by Scottish Labour, twitter seems to be in a buzz about that, but no one want to give us the actual results. Scottish conservatives are apparently very happy with their 4th place finish. Personally, I thought the communist party put together quite a nice leaflet so I hope they did well :)

  43. I should have added earlier that Prof Sarah Churchill who appeared on QT is an American professor and has been at a UK university (can’t remember which one) for 14 years.

    For all it faults (and there are many), I believe that the US system benefits from bringing “experts” into government.

  44. Peter Bell
    Isn’t that what the House of Lords was once supposed to be for?

  45. Well, PPEists rarely take all three subjects. After the end of the first year, you are allowed to drop one or continue with all three, but the vast majority of PPEists chose the former option because of the workload associated with the later. That means approximately a third of PPEists haven’t done Philosophy beyond what they do in first year, and all that is compulsory in first year is Logic and General Philosophy – Moral Philosophy is an optional. Even if you do take Philosophy in all three years, you wouldn’t necessarily do Ethics or Moral Philosophy – it’d be perfectly possible to specialize into something like epistemology or language and logic. In a similar vein, many PPEists have done essentially no Economics other than very basic macro or micro – certainly very little to do with market failure other than externalities and public goods.

    All in all, when a PPEist makes a mistake in a field relating to one of the Ps or the E in their career, or seem to be unaware of a particular elements from those subjects, it’s not necessarily because the degree was a failure – it may not have been the part of the degree they specialized into, as PPE is a spectacularly broad degree. A small defence, but one worth holding to!

  46. Amber – Whatever happened to that wonderful World Cup Octopus. And would it like beer?

    Pete – Unfortunately it’s unlikely I’ll be a student at that point, so while being better funded for my pub trips, am unlikely to have as much time. Unless you only work 8 hours a week in a real job??

  47. Here is the Glasgow result:

    Kristofer Keane [email protected] 21s
    Glasgow Govan: Lab 2055, SNP 1424, NBT 446, Con 215, UKIP 113, Grn 112, Ind(L) 103, LD 73, Chr 60, Ind(R)52, Com 35, Sol 28, Bri 19, SDA 1.

    OldNat posted the comparison earlier.

    Unfortunately for the communist party all their hard work on their leaflets only resulted in 35 votes…SDA must be delighted with their one vote, I believe that is a tie for the worst on record.

    And Scotland proves its is almost immune to the UKIP effect happening south of the border once again.

  48. Oh, and do you mean Sarah Churchwell at the University of East Anglia rather than Sarah Churchill?

  49. COLIN
    “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-

    I agree with your main point, as you know, on the Con/Lab split on wealth creation vs. distribution, but wonder whether you might include public sector investment in distributional or pre-distributional policy measures. Three which off the top of my head might classify as creational are R&D, apprenticeships or more widely the upgrading of vocational education at pre-professional or professional levels, and – my personal hobby-horse – creation of jobs in overseas aid (which I would redraw to favour the UK economy).

  50. “the Glasgow one was apparently won by Scottish Labour, twitter seems to be in a buzz about that”

    “Glasgow votes Labour” – Hold the front page.

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