This morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun had topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 39%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 12%. The regular tracker on today’s poll was best party on issues, which showed the parties’ normal strengths and weaknesses – Labour lead the Conservatives on the NHS (by 12 points), education (by 4 points) and unemployment (by 4 points), the Conservatives were ahead on immigration (by 11 points), law and order (by 10 points) and the economy in general (by 5 points). The two parties were virtually neck-and-neck on Europe (Conservatives 19%, Labour 20%) – and yes, that is typical. I sometimes see the assumption out there that Europe is a strong issue for the Conservatives or a weakness for Labour, it is really not the case.

Meanwhile the twice weekly poll for Populus, out yesterday, had topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 41%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 9%. Full tabs are here.

347 Responses to “Latest YouGov and Populus polls”

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  1. @Jim Jam – “2010 new Tory MPs”

    It would come down to the qualities of the individual candidate and the groundwork they put in imo.

    Bob Marshall-Andrews held onto the old Medway constituency with a majority of 213 votes in 2005… Mark Reckless now has a 9,953 majority in the new Rochester and Strood, and after hitting the headlines for the wrong reasons has been developing a reputation on the right of the Tory Party. The 27 year-old Naushabah Khan has her work cut out if she hopes to unseat him.

    Same goes for Tristan Osborne who will be hoping to overturn Tracy Crouch’s 6,069 majority in Chatham and Aylesford (Jonathan Shaw held on in 2005 with a 2,332 majority). Again Crouch looks to be putting down roots in the constituency.

    Paul Clark held onto Gillingham by 254 votes in 2005. He is going for a rematch with Rehman Chishti who has a 8,068 majority in the new Gillingham and Rainham constituency. Clark will be 58 in 2015.

    All three of these Medway Towns constituencies were re-boundaried in 2010 (favouring the Tories).

    Same goes for Hastings and Rye, but A-lister Amber Rudd only managed a 3.3% swing to take the seat from Michael Foster. Sarah Owen’s task of overturning Rudd’s 1,993 majority looks more managable, plus she has taken a high profile campaigning role since being selected in 2011.

  2. @Shevii

    Indeed! There is a precedent – in 1990 in the Mid Staffs by-election, the starting position was Con 51%, Lab 25%, Lib 23%. Up to then Lab had been squeezed by the Lib/SDP in those sort of positions, but their split was by then underway. Nonetheless, Lab still needed to squeeze the Lib vote to win. Birmingham University’s politics department got their students to do a constituency poll which was duly published in the Birmingham Post, showing Labour miles ahead, and Labour duly went on to win by an even greater margin. Up to then by-elections. I think it marked the first by-election gain for Lab in an English seat for at least a decade.

    Although I think that those in Sheffield might be more motivated to do a poll in Sheffield Hallam rather than Watford, the results of which we would all await with baited breath.

  3. @ SOCAL

    I wish the politicians in the US would ask the people for their views on negative campaigning materials being dumped on them. There must be polling on this in the US, which shows that a majority don’t like it.

    I do often wonder whether civilised society ended in the US, when the Brits left in 1783. (only joking !)

  4. @Tony Dean

    Interesting memories and anecdotes from an era I remember well too, and I echo Reggiesides comments about how refreshing it is to hear about someone who has drifted leftwards as time has gone by rather than obeying the time-honoured Churchillian cliche of inevitably moving right with age and acquired wisdom!

    I met Heath once too, when he was PM circa 1973. I was 17, had just left school and was taking a year off before going to University in 1974. It was my attempt to experience the real world whilst enjoying a one year hiatus from academia and I was doing a few factory jobs to earn a bob or two. I was a student crypto-Marxist in those days and my dalliance with the proletariat was an eye-opening one! Anyway, back to Heath. He was visiting the local Conservative Club, for what purpose I don’t recall, but my mother, who was a fairly senior Tory Councillor and activist, hosted his visit and asked if I wanted to come and meet and greet the great man. As a young lad rapidly acquiring a real interest in politics, it was too good an opportunity to miss and I assured my good mother that I would be on my best behaviour. According I was introduced to Heath and he was every bit the cartoon cliche; heaving shoulders, broad toothy grin and affability. Did I say anything to him? I’d mulled over many things I would have liked to say to him, one of which was “Mick McGahey sends his regards”, but I became starstruck and tongue-tied and just said I was pleased to meet him. Like you, I’d heard he could be a Brown-esque curmudgeonly man in private, as could Major apparently, but he was on a concerted charm offensive when I met him all those long years ago.

    Actually, my claim to fame is that I’ve shaken hands with three serving or ex-PMs. Heath in 1973, my old hero Harold Wilson walking on his own down a quiet street in Oxford circa 1984 ( I got his autograph which he signed Lord Wilson of Riveaulx. Looking back, I suspect he was then in the early years of the dementia that so debilitated him.) and then, much later, a beaming Tony Blair in the latter years of his Premiership. Blair was everything I expected him to be and I’ve never met a man who could work a room quite as well as he could. All self-deprecating charm and affability. Probably superficial, but you could detect genuine political stardust.

    Of course, all this doesn’t amount to a hill of beans, but I just thought I’d share my nostalgic ramblings, triggered as they were by Tony Dean’s recollections of his encounter with Heath!

    As for the polls, the intriguing feature for me is the ebbing away of the Tory VI at a time when one could have reasonably expected it to get a bit of a boost. My oft asked rhetorical question lingers. Just what sort of political tide will it take to lift them off these 18 month long rocks?

  5. JIM JAM

    @”Hence my speculation about if some voters even when they feel there is growth will not give the Government credit’ guess we will find out.”

    We will indeed.

    For a different take on things , beg borrow or steal The Times today & read Philip Collins.
    He offers a view which I agree with entirely . I don’t know whether & how Cons will exploit it-but I am sure they will try.

  6. No results up yet on ALDC for yesterday’s by-elections. Any news from elsewhere?

  7. Colin – not sure if you saw my reply at the end of the thread a few days ago as the new thread crossed my post.

    I was agreeing with you that the superficially bad numbers for the Government on ‘thinking’ we are experiencing growth is some comfort to the Cons (and LDs).

    If there were high numbers for this and the VI was as it is now that would be worrying but as recongnition increases that we are growing and by the end of 2014 at the latest earnings start growing in real terms there is a chance of a decent VI premium for the Governing parties.
    That is where my speculation comes from as I think there will be some who will acknowledge growth and their own modest increase in real incomes approaching the GE but not give the Government much credit for it.

    In a sense this could be the deciding factor in swinging the crucial 2-3%.

    If Growth stalls and/or real wages continue to decline or flat-line then Labour should emerge as the largest party (maybe scrape an OM) but personally I expect the growth spurt (we can argue elsewhere about the engine) to carry on.

  8. Ewen

    There’s usually (rather piecemeal) info on the votetalk discussion boards:

  9. JIM JAM

    Yes I did read your response the other day.

    The Collins article deals with a different issue to GDP growth.
    I recommend it to you.

  10. @crossbat11

    Back in the 1980’s you could walk across the City of London and not see a single soul after dark… very conducive to poetic musings.

    Suddenly two burly minders emerged from the gloom of Grays Inn Road, crossing my path and subjecting me to a seaching stare. Behind them was a diminutive Arthur Scargill, who at the time was being harried through the courts. No doubt he had been in a late night conference with lawyers.

    We didn’t speak, but in the midst of his troubles there was an old-world courtesy in the way he acknowleged me… in stiking contrast to his public image at the time.

  11. Never bought a Murdoch paper so gonna have to visit coffee shop to read. (you might have to abridge if AW allows)
    Teenagers want Sky and I have convinced myself that Murdoch’s stake is less than half so I may accede – depends on cost so I guess am hypocrite.
    Next thing Sun subscription.

  12. JIM JAM

    Ah-If I had realised your newspaper reading is dictated by political ideology, I wouldn’t have mentioned it.

    I wouldn’t bother then JimJam.

  13. I would buy the Torygraph it just Murdoch.

  14. @ Jim Jam

    Phil Collins is a drummer who sometimes sings. I wouldn’t bend my principles to read anything which he wrote about the economy. Or maybe Colin means a different Phil Collins. ;-)

  15. @Ewen L

    This is the best site for by-elections. 4 out of 5 results in so far.

  16. @Colin

    “For a different take on things , beg borrow or steal The Times today & read Philip Collins.”

    I’m assuming this isn’t the old Genesis drummer and is in fact Mr Collins the former uber-Blairite who used to write some of the great man’s speeches. If so, and I haven’t read his piece in today’s Times, did you hear the grinding of axes amongst the words? Beware scarcely concealed Dan Hodges-esque agendas where Mr Collins is concerned, if I was you.

    Neither Hodges nor Collins will be truly happy until the Tories give Miliband a frightful kicking at the next election. All else is grist to this particular mill.

  17. Tweet from Mike Smithson

    Mike Smithson [email protected]

    LAB lead drops to 6% in today’s Populus online poll Lab 38 (-3) Cons 33 (+1) LD 11 (+1) UKIP 11 (+2) Oth 7 (-1)

  18. Roger and Phil, thanks.

  19. Huge Lib Dem gain in the Kirklees Golcar by-election:

    LD – 1591
    Lab – 901
    UKIP – 450
    Green – 210
    Con – 189

    Not that it’s particularly meaningful in any broader context, I just wanted to take the rare opportunity to write “huge Lib Dem gain.”

  20. (Oh, gain from Labour, to clarify. Former councillor resigned to devote himself full time to pursuing devolution for Yorkshire or something.)

  21. CB11

    Yeah yeah-Blairite!!!-end of !!…….you merely remind me of the narrow focus on UKPR these days.

    I should have known better than to disturb the atmosphere of uncontested opinion which must make life so comfortable for it’s moderator.

  22. That’s a wierd one. Was it a three way before or something? Who collapsed to push up the LD vote?

  23. @ Phil re. Lib Dems in the 2011 Scottish Parliament elections,

    What is striking to me is that in seats where the Lib Dems came 2nd but in a competitive position (the blue dots starting with 20%+ of the vote) their performance was far worse than any other. I do not share your view that something of this scale can be dismissed.

    You make a compelling case, but I think it does matter a great deal which party the seats are facing.

    I’m not Scottish and from her position in the trenches Amber may well disagree, but from my perspective Labour, Lib Dems-not-in-a-position-to-go-into-coalition-with-Tories, the SNP and Plaid, and the Greens all form a broad cluster of “acceptable election outcomes”, with the Tories, Ukip and the BNP forming a second cluster of “unacceptable election outcomes”. I have hierarchies of preference within each cluster, but when it comes to tactical voting it’s basically a bimodal distribution. I would vote for any party in Group 1 to keep any party in Group 2 out, but I wouldn’t vote Lib Dem to keep the SNP out. I suspect many LoC voters are in roughly the same boat.*

    When you consider that the only Lib Dem facing Tory-held constituency in the Scottish Parliament is Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire and there they are a hopelessly distant second, I’m not sure it’s a very useful comparison. (Especially when you consider there is no real danger of the Conservatives forming either a government or a coalition in the Scottish Parliament, rendering tactical voting against them largely unnecessary.)

  24. @ Neil,

    Who collapsed to push up the LD vote?

    Kind of… everyone. Mostly Labour- it was always a Lib/Lab seat, not a three-way- but the Greens and the Conservatives also suffered -5% swings. Ukip were standing for the first time and some of the votes clearly went there, but by any reckoning a 11% swing to the Lib Dems is a pretty good result.

  25. Spearmint and Neil A

    Have a look at this which shews there were special circumstances. I found it after there was some chat on here about it,—6314612

    All is explained IMO, the locals wanted her back.

  26. @Colin

    “Yeah yeah-Blairite!!!-end of !!…….you merely remind me of the narrow focus on UKPR these days.
    I should have known better than to disturb the atmosphere of uncontested opinion which must make life so comfortable for it’s moderator.”

    That’s a bit atypically tetchy, isn’t it? Surely it’s interesting to know the possible motivations that lie behind expressed viewpoints, particularly those of political journalists paraded for our perusal by some posters on these august pages.

    Read Mr Collins, and enjoy him, by all means but if you recommend that he should be read by others “for a different take on things”, then you should be prepared for those aforesaid readers to have rather “different takes” themselves on the author and his writings.

    I have to say, I found your little addendum speculating on how “The Cons will exploit it” rather narrowly focussed too, to coin a phrase.

  27. @ Colin,

    Philip Collins is a Blairite troll, of only a slightly higher calibre than Hodges. That doesn’t mean he never has anything intelligent to say, but it does mean he rarely has something intelligent to say and when he does he tends to ruin it with factional whinging. Today’s column is a perfect example.

    Miliband’s whole ideological agenda is based on the idea that the state needs to spend less. There are three possible ways to achieve this: a) cut services, b) cut benefits and allow people’s standard of living to drop and c) increase wages and lower prices so that people no longer need benefits to maintain the same standard of living. The Tories believe in Option B with a tiny bit of A, Miliband believes in Option C.

    Now, there are plenty of critiques you can make of this agenda. You can say that it’s impossible to reduce spending enough to make a difference without also drastically cutting services (the T’Other Howard critique of the current government). You can say that it’s impossible to restructure a modern economy to increase wages and lower prices without making it uncompetitive, and that any promises to do so are therefore a con (the Tory critique of Miliband’s energy freeze/energy market restructuring plan). You can say that thus far Miliband’s plans for economic restructuring are pitifully anaemic and unlikely to have much effect (my critique of his “strengthen the minimum wage” proposal).

    What you can’t do is claim, as Collins does, that Miliband doesn’t realise the state needs to spend less when the whole foundation of his departure from New Labour ideology is a plan for how to make the state spend less.

    Collins is not wrong that Miliband is very, very vague on public sector reform- it’s a valid criticism that other, less trolly columnists have made (eg. Rafael Behr). But it’s completely lost beneath his Blairite axe-grinding.

  28. “I should have known better than to disturb the atmosphere of uncontested opinion which must make life so comfortable for it’s moderator.”


    Don’t worry Col, it happens on your side too… Someone dismissed Blanchflower in similar vein the other day. I shall follow your recommendation, grab a Spanish coffee in a bit and check out the Collins thing…

  29. CB11

    I offered the opinion in that article to Jim Jam because it put forward a view that the VI effect of the growth in GDP ( a particular interest of Jim Jam’s) -was not necessarily going to be the key issue in 2015.That a different issue , one which EM has arguably avoided, might well be of importance.

    Jim Jam’s response was-The Newspaper in which this opinion is written is owned by someone I don’t like-so I won’t be reading it.

    Your contribution was-The author of this article is a “Blairite”-so it is not worth reading.

    That just about sums up the level of debate here now.

  30. @ Colin,

    Maybe you should recommend articles by less awful columnists, then? It’s not like the Times doesn’t have any- Rachel Sylvester and Tim Montgomerie are always worth reading, and Matthew Parris is intellectually lazy but intelligent.


    A good effort-and at least worth reading-if somewhat spoiled by your tell-tale last sentence.


  32. @ Colin,

    What, and not by the first one in which I call him a Blairite troll? :p

  33. My response to ‘the Murdoch debate’ is ‘I agree with JimJam’.

    JimJam wrote that he would not help Murdoch’s bank account and neither will I, knowledgeably. I would always wish to read stuff in his papers if it seemed interesting, but I won’t pay Murdoch for it, so thus I don’t have Sky and that means I can only watch half the GPs live and none of the cricket any more.

    It is not a politically partisan decision; just one I came to a long time ago (before I returned to England even).

    Client is king and I don’t wish to be a client – that is fair enough surely?

  34. @ Colin,

    I should also say, while we’re engaging with Mr. Collins, that I think his public sector reform argument is wrong on the merits as far as VI is concerned.

    Public sector cost management is a problem for governments, not for oppositions. For obvious reasons the Tories cannot run on “Who do you trust more to rein in the galloping costs of the NHS?” Since they cannot so much as hint that they might cut spending, the question falls back to “Who do you trust more to look after the NHS?”, and the answer is always Labour. Any shift in focus from the broader question of the deficit and the economy to the future of specific public services will therefore favour Labour.

    In government Miliband’s vagueness will cause him enormous problems, but it’s probably an asset rather than a disadvantage in the election.

  35. Colin – I am happy to read Collins’ article but don’t want to pay Murdoch to do so.

    A small stand but I am not alone including a great many people in Liverpool who have never forgiven the Sun.

    FWIW when I have seen Collins on TV he seems sincere to me unlike imo shock jock Hodges

  36. I’d rather read a paper I like, printed by someone I don’t like, than read a paper I don’t like, printed by someone I like.

    My only criterion is that the person making the profit from my purchase doesn’t use that money for truly reprehensible purposes (by which I mean child slavery, supporting terrorism etc rather than bribing public officials or contributing to the Republican Party etc).

  37. Jim Jam
    I should have made it clear in my post that it is not Mr Murdoch’s politics I object to (whatever they are – the Murdoch party?) but his morality. If we have a free press we must be free not to buy it.

  38. (But I guess that really only applies to my Sky subscription in any event, as I understand Murdoch makes a hefty loss on the Times).


    @”In government Miliband’s vagueness will cause him enormous problems, but it’s probably an asset rather than a disadvantage in the election.”

    I think we need the context of the GE campaign, and Con’s method of highlighting this issue before we can say where the advantage will lie.

  40. Fox News Neil?
    Seriously it is no big deal I chose not to buy off Murdoch for as Howard says reasons that are the prerogative of the client.
    I acknowledge that the Times can provide good journalism on occasions but I don’t feel deprived for missing out. In fact I don’t buy any newspaper as none seem value for money.

  41. JIM JAM

    @”FWIW when I have seen Collins on TV he seems sincere to me unlike imo shock jock Hodges”

    I agree-the former always seems cogent & credible to me-whereas the latter just seems slightly odd .

  42. I prefer al-Jazeera to Fox News….

    but mainly I am a BBC man for news.

  43. “I should have known better than to disturb the atmosphere of uncontested opinion which must make life so comfortable for it’s moderator.”


    The “moderator” ??

    Ah! You mean ole Anthony !!

    Yes, I think the reason he set up UKPR was for just that reason – although [and this is weird] he still keeps himself busy snipping posts anyway.

    Funny that………….

  44. Ok, I’ve now read the Collins article… happily, regarding paying for Murdoch, my friendly newsagent lets me have papers half price… except at weekends. (I got a free cuppa too, which basically left me in credit. Thanks Rupe…)

    Since Col is not in the habit of giving quick article summaries, for those unwilling to do the homework he sets, here’s a quick précis:

    The central thesis, is that Miliband interprets 2008 as the year “that an experiment in neoliberal economics… came to a decisive full stop”.

    Whereas Collins thinks it’s the year “the money ran out”.

    He then goes on to argue, that the lack of money has implications for the Public Sector, which still needs reform, but Miliband has in Collins’ view not much of a position on what to do about health, education etc., either in terms of how to improve it, or in terms of dealing with the impact of lack of money on the Public Sector.

    To the extent that Ed. M does have a position on public sector and reform, Collins maintains, it tends to be at odds with the Blairite prescription. And he reels off examples of that prescription that most are automatically au fait with: “There is not a multitude of ways to make large service organisations responsive to their citizens. Targets can be set, people can be given purchasing power, professional expertise can be given a licence to act, those who offer a service can compete for custom, inspectors can come round with clipboards unannounced.”

    He feels Miliband is neglecting these policy areas since Miliband thinks the electorate are more concerned about cost of living, and sorting out capitalism. And that this will be a problem for Miliband as not everyone is suffering the cost of living thing, and fewer will be still if “a stuttering economy does begin to deliver any reward to household budgets… he will find people are just as concerned about schools, hospitals and crime as they ever were.”

  45. Re Carfrew, above, re Collins:

    So the money runs out and unless we increase debt we can’t address problems. And we can’t increase debt, so Blairism is the only way….

    Or, of course, we increase the tax take. Income tax is no way forward, so we have to redistribute wealth.

    Redistribution of wealth also removes the need for ever more growth. Growth, like debt, can’t go on for ever. Taxing of wealth is green as well as economically necessary.

    We just have to think new things or we become sardines scrabbling our way out of an ever tightening net.

  46. I am most grateful Anthony for this article including the historical effects of incumbency.

    I am inclined to agree first incumbency bonus will probably happen again in 2015 and benefit Conservatives more simply due to there having been so many new Con MPs in 2010.

    Apart from the reasons given in the article and in the comments, I wonder JUST IF some previous MPs who were liked but lost to new Conservatives in 2010 were chosen to stand again in same seat (THERE WILL BE A QUITE A FEW), then the new incumbency effect of the Conservative may be reduced but not cancelled.

  47. I think the polls during the last election reflected a protest vote because of the way that the economy was going.This has backfired on voters who found themselves and/or their children unemployed and the bedroom tax has had a large impact on people also energy costs are hitting households hard and the basic cost of living is hurting working families.This is showing in the Tories catchup in the polls which is gradually reducing.

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