YouGov’s weekly results for the Sunday Times are out here. Topline figures are CON 33%, LAB 39%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 12%.

The poll started with an interesting question on the economy – directly addressing the queries you sometimes see on whether the GDP figures are actually reflected in ordinary’s people’s experience. 34% of people think the economy is now growing again across Britain as a whole, 41% do not. Asked about their own local area though, 22% think the economy is growing, 55% do not – people in London and the south are more likely to see the economy as growing, the north and Scotland less so. (Note more than half of the fieldwork would have been completed before the new GDP figures came out, so they won’t yet reflect that). You can look at this a pessimistic or optimistic way (or vice-versa, depending on one’s preferred outcome to the election) – one that the government isn’t benefiting from economic growth because many people aren’t feeling it in their own areas, the other that given many people don’t think the economy is growing yet, there’s plenty more potential upside for the government if/when they do.

Most of the poll deal with questions about energy prices. On the cost of living Labour have a lead, but only a tiny one – 26% trust Labour more, 24% the Conservatives. Solid majorities support all the energy price proposals made over the last few days, 72% support Miliband’s price freeze, 73% Major’s windfall tax, 64% Cameron’s reduction in green taxes. Asked to choose just ONE of them though the price freeze is the most popular, picked by 39% to the green tax reduction’s 28% and the windfall tax on 23%.

Looking more specifically at green taxes, only 15% of people support the continuation of the green levy on energy bills. 39% would rather the spending was funded directly from generation taxation, 34% would rather the money was not spent at all. In a forced choice question 52% would rather the government acted to cut bills, even if it mean less action was taken to cut CO2 emissions and protect the environment.

Looking to future energy needs the parties are exactly matched, 22% would trust the Tories more, 22% Labour more. On the principle of the new nuclear power station 49% support the deal, 30% are opposed. There are more concerns about the details – 55% think it’s unacceptable for French and Chinese companies to be involved, 49% think it is unacceptable for the government to promise to pay a minimum price for the electricity generated.

There were also a couple of questions on drug legalisation. 47% of people would support the decriminalisation (25%) or full legalisation (22%) or “soft” drugs like cannabis, 45% would prefer their sale and possession to remain a criminal offence. There is far less support for softening restrictions on harder drugs, 71% think that drugs like heroin and crack should remain illegal.

Looking at the rest of the Sunday papers, there is also a Survation poll” in the Sunday Times which has topline figures of CON 29%, LAB 35%, LDEM 12%, UKIP 17%, and a Panelbase poll in the Herald (but commissioned by Wings over Scotland) which has referendum voting intentions of YES 35%, NO 43%, Undecided 20%. This is broadly typical of Panelbase – with the exception of a single poll in Jan 2013 and the SNP commissioned poll with leading questions, they’ve been consistently showing a lead of between 8-10 points since summer 2012.


271 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 33, LAB 39, LD 9, UKIP 12”

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  1. First! Rubbish figures on perceptions of the economy. That’s really not good for anyone if 55% of people don’t see the economy growing at all.

    Interesting that legalizing/decriminalizing ‘soft’ drugs seems to be marginally less popular here than in America, which I traditionally think of as more socially conservative. Huh.

  2. I can see the Tories nicking the energy price issue off Labour. The questions on it in the Survation poll also hint at an impending theft!

  3. Nostra

    The Survation poll questions weren’t exactly neutral. They got the answer they were after. YouGov finds EMs policy more popular.

    Taking Survation’s poll at face value might lead you to the wrong conlusions.

  4. @Cloud Spotter

    It will be interesting to find out if that was Survation’s choice of question or the poll.payer’s.

  5. As expected the Mail have somehow forgotten to mention in their article the fact that 70% would support a wind farm in their areas.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2477677/Britain-says-green-levies-More-half-voters-object-paying-eco-taxes.html

    Well it was the last question in the survey, I suppose the poor dears got tired. They do say that The Mail on Sunday poll shows 61 per cent support for Mr Cameron’s move, against just 11 per cent who want to keep the taxes in place., but somehow omit the more detailed questions that Survation asked about the individual components of the taxes (see pages 20-26 of the pdf Anthony links to).

    These actually showed the public in favour of two of the parts, tied on another two and at most only 45% opposed to the other three. So while people may dislike the name, they don’t necessarily object to what they do.

  6. Seems that Cameron’s position can only less popular as more people learn about the details of ‘green taxes’.

  7. Survation’s next poll:

    Do you agree with lovely David Cameron’s brilliant idea to make you much richer?

    Do you support geeky Ed Miliband’s stupid idea that won’t work anyway and will make you much poorer?

  8. Cloud spotter

    “The Survation poll questions weren’t exactly neutral. They got the answer they were after. YouGov finds EMs policy more popular.”

    Hardly what the polls on energy really show is the public don’t trust either party on energy promises with a derisory 22% for both parties on future energy needs. It seems whatever we think about EM or DC idea’s the public have yet to be convinced on delivery.

    As for what idea freeze or cut is best, again not that much in it, but we should bear in mind if you ask a question of do you want a freeze or cut in any question of bills or taxes you will always get a positive answer although in the end a cut may turn out more popular eventually.

    EM has so far had the run of good publicity over his freeze, we will see what GO turns up in his Autumn statement to see if DC can take the energy initiative away from Labour.

  9. HS2 seems to be the big story coming up this week?

    Polls show the public don’t want it, lots of recent reports in the last few weeks that Labour think that kind of money could be better spent, and that they need that money to help fund their planned budget after the election.

    This article is very interesting, is there really a much cheaper alternative that has been completely overlooked?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/andrew-gilligan/10406562/HS2-now-Labour-look-at-an-alternative-scheme.html

    Will this become another dividing line between the two main parties?

  10. The Mail on Sunday poll shows 61 per cent support for Mr Cameron’s move, against just 11 per cent who want to keep the taxes in place.,

    Who would ever say “I want to keep a tax in place”?

  11. Richard – No the alternatives are not credible. HS2 is actually £2 billion a year. A drop in the ocean of the overall budget, and the benefits are clear to those who have studied the west coast mainline upgrade and future capacity requirements.

    If it isn’t started then in 10 years commuter trains will be even more packed, freight from new and expanded ports will be hampered, and something will have to happen. It will cause more upheaval, cost more, and the problems will take longer to alleviate.

    I still expect it to be delayed/cut though as the UK’s thinking is so short term and the press love being so self-flagellating.

  12. Richard:
    The big story this week is the PM’s media mogul and friend on trial.
    This could go off in all sorts of directions.None of them good for the Conservatives.

  13. “The consensus over HS2 needs to be broken. It is unhealthy in a democracy that all three parties support a project that appears to offer so little for so much expenditure.” (Christian Wolmar)

    http://www.christianwolmar.co.uk/2013/07/hs2-struggling-to-justify-50m-bill

  14. That old bloke

    My friend at work who whenever taxes are mentions thumps his chest and declares loudly “I pay my taxes with pleasure”. He had a heart attack on the shop floor, and now has a pace maker. He would not have survived if it wasn’t for the young guy he was working with having train in CPR while doing his national service(paid for by taxes) the air ambulance which whisked him to hospital in 20 mins(by road it would have taken 90 mins) and of course top class medical services, all made possible by taxation

  15. Lets hope HS2 is scrapped soon, before we put more money into it. HS2 is an ego driven project that few people want, but that’s politics for you.

    If DC carries on supporting it they will lose tons of votes to UKIP.

  16. Grant Shapps should eat the ‘Sunday Politics’ if he thinks that the BBC is biased

    I rarely hear such nonsense spoken as by Janan Ganesh. The world’s smuggest commentator….

  17. ‘eat’ is an autocorrect of a misspelled ‘watch’

  18. Richard in Norway

    I’m pleased to hear that.

    I’m not opposed to taxes either.

    My point was that asking people “Do you want to be taxed or would you rather not be” is always going to get an overwhelming “I’d rather not be”.

    It was a pointless question for the company to ask. And for the Daily Mail to make an issue out of it is just plain daft.

  19. This text written by Anthony has fallen into peddling the UKIP and Cameron argument on the “green levy”.

    The Green levy amounts to just 2.5% on fuel bills, or about £30 – £35 on the average bill, but Skeptics have been including the levies for insulation, for energy efficiency and for giving subsidies to older pensioners – the Warm Home Discount – to try to make it look like £130 is going to windmills from the average bill.

    To call money to help pensioners as being a Green levy is disgraceful.

    But the BBC are doing it just as much as far-right politicians. Let`s hope they are soon brought to order, and become again politically neutral, and not the Voice of UKIP.

  20. @Richard,

    The government have hinted that if Labour reverses it’s HS2 policy then the project will be scrapped, so it’s unlikely to become a dividing line exactly. There will either be a continuation of Labour’s support, in which case there will a continuation of the equivocation over details, or there will be a cancellation of HS2, with a bunfight over whose fault it is and what the economic consequences are. And, potentially to Labour’s advantage (although not necessarily) a debate over what the money could be spent on instead.

  21. @David Welch

    Bills describe these taxes as “social and environmental”. I guess the media forget the former and merely focus on the latter.

  22. Richard
    Very interesting article on the Great Central alternative to HS2.
    I for one hope Labour pick up on it .

  23. Ewen Lightfoot

    “Very interesting article on the Great Central alternative to HS2.
    I for one hope Labour pick up on it ”

    I’ve never really supported HS2 and if Labour want to ditch there idea and not support the Government over HS2, from what I gather the Tories would scrap at least part of the plan, which would release money for them to cut taxes on the lead up to the next election.

    So yeah I hope EM does oppose the idea, but as he knows the Tories would spend any savings before the next GE it’s unlikely he will, but we live in hope.

  24. Richard – No the alternatives are not that credible and have been looked at by many experts. I don’t think they tackle the most pressing capacity needs in coming decades from ports and freight. The cost of HS2 is actually £2 billion a year. A drop in the ocean of the overall budget, and the benefits are clear to those who have studied the west coast mainline upgrade and future capacity requirements.

    If it isn’t started then in 10 years commuter trains will be even more packed, freight from new and expanded ports will be hampered, and something will have to happen. It will cause more upheaval, cost more, and the problems will take longer to alleviate.

    I still expect it to be delayed/cut though as the UK’s thinking is so short term and the press love being so self-flagellating.

  25. “The Green levy amounts to just 2.5% on fuel bills, or about £30 – £35 on the average bill, but Skeptics have been including the levies for insulation, for energy efficiency and for giving subsidies to older pensioners – the Warm Home Discount – to try to make it look like £130 is going to windmills from the average bill.”

    Yes but if you added the £130 + the 5% VAT on energy bills onto general taxes the poor and vulnerable would benefit vastly.
    Then you could look at using cheap gas and clean coal instead of expensive nuclear from the Chinese and unsightly and uneconomical wind farms. Not forgetting to tackle the firms ripping us off.

  26. Richard
    The article by A Gilligan in the Telegraph is just kite-flying of the first order. The man who wanted to resurrect the GCR was a member of the company which made the proposal some years ago and which was turned down by the Labour Government (!!).

    Interestingly, although I doubt if Gilligan would be interested in that, the southern half of the HS2 route makes extensive use of the GCR formation, or its environs, anyway.
    I said last night I would not bore anyone over HS2 so really this is just a moan about newspaper reporters.

    RogerH
    C Wolmar is a “transport polemicist” rather than an expert on railways. He’s just another reporter.

    I very much doubt if all this hot air among the polemicists will have any effect on any political party top brass.

  27. Turk

    I had not considered that particular use for any savings on a public infrastructure project,but yes I suppose Osbourne would want to stuff money into voters’ pockets prior to 2015.
    The prescription remains the same, buying re-election by funding private affluence and perpetuating public squalor. lt last worked in the 80’s and 90’s,will it work again or are we all older and a little wiser now?

  28. “This is broadly typical of Panelbase ….., they’ve been consistently showing a lead of between 8-10 points since summer 2012.”

    However, on this occasion they drew half their respondents from their own panel, and half from a different company’s panel.

    The difference between them was minimal.

    Panelbase, Other Panel
    Total 435, Total 425
    Yes 38%, Yes 36%
    No 47%, No 44%
    DK 15%, DK 20%

  29. Panelbase makes the referendum look fairly close. Over the last year or so there is a perception that the No camp is far ahead and there is very little chance of a Yes vote but Panelbase makes a Yes fairly possible considering the campaign has not begun.

    The other polls has Yes about 25% why the difference does anyone know.?

    I know anecdotal evidence is frowned upon but most people I know are tending or definite Yes votes but I am in the East of Scotland so thought there was possibly an East West divide on the issue.

  30. COUPER2802

    John Curtice is the best source for analysis of referendum polling.

    http://blog.whatscotlandthinks.org/topics/referendum-voting-intention/

    I doubt that any pollster has the methodology required to measure VI accurately. Hopefully, they have now all decided on the methodology that they intend to use till next September, and we can then see the trends within each one.

  31. Given the non-partisan nature of this site, may I point out that Dan Hodges has written a balanced and thoughtful article in ‘The Sun’ on ‘Why Labour want to regulate the press.

    Cough.

  32. @oldnat

    That article seems to assume that the Yes vote is limited to the SNP vote. I cannot believe that folk will vote along party lines on this issue – Do you?

    Do you know what weighing is used in the independence polls?

  33. Christian Wolmar is slightly more than just another journalist, he specialises on transportation, and has done for many years.

    The big question is is this the best way to spend £50Bn +, and increasingly it looks like the answer is no.

    Politically this is going to have differential impact on voting in two ways: primarily on the constituencies on the proposed route, where there will be a small number of marginals, and secondly if Labour can present the image of a Government that is not in control.

    Normally a few marginals wouldn’t be here or there, but if (as some on this site suggest) it’s too close yo call (TM) then …

  34. COUPER2802

    For weighting, in addition to the usual demographics, all pollsters seem to have decided to weight by 2011 results (usually on the constituency vote – which isn’t much good for the smaller parties that only stand on the list!)

    Most polls have shown around two thirds of SNP voters being Yes, along with around 20% of Labour – and much smaller percentages of Con & LD.

    Wings over Scotland has already published 4 tranches of info on the Panelbase poll, with 2 more to come.

    Their is hugely more information on Scottish political attitudes in the poll than just the headline indy VI.

    http://wingsoverscotland.com/

  35. @CMJ

    Lol, he’s being slaughtered on his twitter account for it too. Seems Mr Dan doesn’t know that it is only a court that can order fines for which the ultimate punishment for non-payment is incarceration. He doesn’t seem to understand the difference between fines & penalties but I suppose one must remember the publication he is writing for.

  36. Curious to know. Of those present that do not want HS2, how many are North of Manchester?

  37. Further to my earlier one on HS2 reporting and that from ED, this was what was actually said on Victoria Derbyshire’s programme, according to a colleague’s provided transcript.

    She brought up the issue of the Millennium Dome in the interview, which Ed Balls called a vanity project.

    He was then asked if that also applied to HS2, to which he replied “I’m not saying that at all”.

    The resulting Daily Mail headline was “New threat to HS2 as Balls compares it to Dome disaster”.

    I predict this sort of thing will continue until the Commons vote is held in a few days time and perhaps until the first HS2 train departs from Euston?

  38. @Chordata

    Do you think he is just rebelling against his mother?

    @Statgeek

    I am from West Yorkshire, near to Leeds.

  39. @CMJ

    I won’t give you my opinion because I doubt it would pass our hosts moderation policy ;-)

  40. I’m in Sheffield, from near Loughborough.

  41. He’s a larf, is Hodges.

  42. “@ nickp

    He’s a larf, is Hodges.”

    Hodges is not stupid. He knows that he can gain work from the right wing media attacking Labour . I am not sure he actually believes in what he is saying.

  43. All right, ladies and gentlemen. The moment you’ve all been waiting for (haha), the Churn Analysis Since August!

    All graphs from YouGov topline voting figures or crossbreaks, showing 5-day running averages. Current as of today’s poll.

    First off, the state of the parties. Here’s average VI for everyone, giving you a nice view of the conference bounces. But by now things have pretty much leveled off again. Plus ça change:

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

  44. Labour:

    Labour get to go first this time because people here and elsewhere have been talking a lot about what’s happening to their VI, and everyone except Red Rag has been wrong.

    Here’s their average: http://i.imgur.com/tXKeAEo.png
    And here’s their churn: http://i.imgur.com/YsGCtI1.png

    The first thing to note is that Labour’s Summer of Discontent really wasn’t. From May until the end of August, despite the disappearance of the entire Shadow Cabinet and the concerted efforts of the carp fishermen in the media and the upper echelons of the Labour Party, Labour lost at best 0.5% of the electorate. While no party likes to see that, it is not going to deliver a Tory majority in 2010. If it were replicated over every three month period between now and the general election, Labour would be on about 35% VI, which is hung parliament territory.

    Labour did suffer a week of discontent in mid-September during the Lib Dem conference (and it really was a week, not just one bad poll). Fortunately for them, their conference bounce completely reversed that decline, and they’re now back where they were at the beginning of the summer.

    So how did they achieve this happy result? Is it because they have, to paraphrase John Rentoul, become much better at promising Labour voters stuff Labour voters will like?

    No, not really. Labourites may like Ed Miliband better, but they’re still voting for Ukip. 2010 Lab retention hasn’t improved. Ed’s conference speech created a nice blip, but that quickly fell back to the lousy place it’s been all summer. The big difference has been in the LD -> Lab switchers, who apparently are very excited about an energy price freeze.

    Apart from that recovery, Labour are where they were in May. It’s not brilliant, but they seem to have stemmed the bleeding from the summer’s papercut. If that holds for the rest of the year, they can breathe a sigh of relief.

  45. @Spearmint

    I got the Labour Conference bounce lasting eight days, and didn’t detect a Conservative one.

  46. The Tories:

    The people who have had an interesting six months are the Tories, made glorious summer by the son of Witney (or wherever Cameron is actually from). They got up into the 33% range over the summer, shrinking the Labour lead, and they enjoyed two conference bounces, one from the Lib Dems and one from their own.

    Here’s their average: http://i.imgur.com/7OgCOrV.png
    And their churn: http://i.imgur.com/2pQLvNv.png

    Basically, they’ve managed to push their Ukip defections down to pre-May or even pre-Eastleigh levels. They’re also doing a little better with regard to Lab -> Con and Con -> Lab defectors:

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

    As you can see this effect is tiny, and it can’t account for the big conference bounces, which are almost entirely down to retention in the Tory case and retention + LD -> Lab switchers in the Labour case. Still, any switching between the main parties is worth keeping an eye on. (Also mildly interesting: people switching between Lab and Con appear to be the only group of voters influenced by the Syria vote. Even the LD -> Lab switchers didn’t care.)

    The Tories can be happy that they’ve finally shot Nigel Farage’s badger. But before they break out the champagne, they should probably look at this graph:

    http://i.imgur.com/pN9VSbF.png

    Their wonderful 33% is the VI they enjoyed for most of 2012. They’ve clawed their way back to where they were… right after the omnishambles budget.

  47. @ Catmanjeff,

    The Tories seem to have had two, which were much smaller and may not be statistically significant. More on that whenever Anthony releases the Tory analysis post from auto-mod.

  48. The Lib Dems:

    No one has been talking about Nick Clegg’s summer of discontent, but it was just as bad as Labour’s. Worse, if you consider the drop as a percentage of total Lib Dem VI rather than a raw value of 0.5% of the electorate. And unlike Labour, the Lib Dems are still bleeding. They got two conference bounces and even that didn’t help:

    Averages: http://i.imgur.com/KEzPcP2.png
    Churn: http://i.imgur.com/EO4gLwE.png

    An increase in LD -> Lab switchers means less retention, and over the summer they also started losing more votes to the Tories. If Nick Clegg has a rabbit he’s planning to pull out of a hat, it had better be an enormous one, because right now he looks like the second coming of Clement Davies.

    What’s especially mysterious about this is the Lib Dems appear not to care. All the leadership rumblings seem to have stopped. Then again, if I were Tim Farron or Vince Cable I wouldn’t want to touch the 2015 election with a ten foot pole…

  49. I am not sure he actually believes in what he is saying.

    Then he is working for the right paper

  50. Ukip:

    The most influential man in British politics is Paul Nuttall. Or whoever it was convinced Labour and Lib Dem voters that Ukip was an option for them and not just a Tory fringe group.

    Although Tory -> Ukip defection has dropped to pre-Eastleigh levels, Ukip VI has not:

    Average: http://i.imgur.com/Aiq4rDd.png

    And here’s why:

    http://i.imgur.com/j8YMYjV.png

    There aren’t a vast number of Lab -> Ukip and LD -> Lab -> Ukip defectors, but there used to be almost none and now they comprise 2-3% of the electorate. This is the biggest source of Labour’s decline since 2012.

    Of course, the big unanswerable question is how many of these Ukip defectors of all political colours will come home in 2015.

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