YouGov’s weekly results for the Sunday Times are now up here. Voting intention figures are CON 34%, LAB 39%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 11%, suggesting that Thurday’s odd 12 point lead was indeed the outlier I think most people assumed it was (the five point lead is itself a bit lower than usual, but I wouldn’t read anything into that yet either)

There is nothing suggesting a big impact from the Autumn statement itself, but attitudes to the economy and the government’s economic management remain on a longer term upwards trend – essentially the statement itself doesn’t seem to have done much (it was probably overshadowed by the death of Nelson Mandela anyway), but the growth of the economy is dragging up these figures anyway.

43% of people now think the economy is showing signs of recovery or is well on the way to recovery, up from 37% in August and just 14% in April. 51% of people still think the economy shows no signs of recovery or is getting even worse. Asked how much the government has contributed to this, 36% now think the government’s actions helped the economy (up 4 from August), 30% that they made it worse (down 4), 24% that they made no difference either way.

The coalition have a healthy lead over Labour on dealing with the deficit (by 35% to 21%) and improving the economy (35% to 25%), but trail behind Labour on keeping down living costs, where the opposition lead by 33% to 25%. Turning to Osborne himself, 26% now think he is doing a good job as Chancellor, 46% a bad job. This is little changed from when YouGov last asked in July, but far better than the public saw him last year, when his approval rating was down in the mid-teens. He leads Ed Balls on who would make the better Chancellor by 32% to 22%, though 46% say don’t know.

On the specifics of the statement, 31% of people think they will be worse off, 5% better off, 46% expect it to make no real difference – the answers appear to be mainly partisan, although people between 40-59 are most likely to say they’ll be worse off, presumably on the back of pension age changes. On that subject 32% support increasing the state pension age, 57% of people say they are opposed.

312 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 34, LAB 39, LD 10, UKIP 11”

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  1. @ Robert Newark,

    It probably would take a Labour split to deliver your prediction, but it’s not going to happen off the back of Miliband bringing back Campbell to advise the election campaign.

    Personally he’s a Blairite but politically he’s probably to the left of Miliband on every subject except starting wars of aggression in the Middle East on flimsy evidence. There’s not going to be an ideological conflict there. If he can work with Brown (or for that matter, with Blair, whom he broadly disagrees with ideologically) he can certainly work with Alexander and Miliband.

    Milburn and the Mandelson spads may be a problem- I cannot fathom why anyone would want Benjamin Wegg-Prosser back after that idiotic email leak to the Guardian over the summer- but they have no policy influence and I doubt that in their very minor roles they can cause enough trouble to derail the whole operation.

  2. My 2015 prediction:

    Labour 42%
    Conservative 25%
    UKIP 12%
    LibDem 10%

  3. @NORBOLD – What an outrageous and totally ridiculous partisan prediction that is!
    Everyone else has has a level headed and more sensible prediction.
    So, how on earth have you arrived at that figure?

  4. I gather there is a competition going on – is someone recording the entries?

    My prediction is what was Populus today – oh, 41, 33, 11, 8) which will alter when we get today’s YouGov and will alter again when…..

    It’s the polls, all the polls and ….

  5. Oh and by the way it leaves ‘others’ with 13% – so how does that pan out?

  6. @Neil A

    “The reverse assumption, that public debt is good, isn’t necessarily true either.”

    Agreed! Presumably it’s a matter of proportion. Sometimes it is wise to borrow money and sometimes it isn’t.

    My additional point was that interest rates vary in their effects on different groups. Low interest rates are probably not good for the better off elderly among whom I live. They benefit those with mortgages provided these mortgages are of the right kind and may encourage them to take out bigger mortgages than they should.

    Some people do not seem to be affected by low interest rates one way or the other. I found to my horror that the lady who comes to my house once a week to help me clean it, has been paying interest at 40 per cent APR.

  7. Alastair Campbell may be many things, but the Labour loyalist is most certainly one of them. He isn’t going to split the party and he’s probably there at least partly to put the fear of God into anyone who might.

    Labour will have ferocious message discipline and they will be toeing the line. Some old lobby lags will have their noses put out of joint, but most of them haven’t exactly gone out of their way to talk up Ed M anyway.

  8. Labour’s discipline is going to depend very much on how well they are doing in the polls in late 2014 onwards. If the election looks like it might be slipping away, there will be a tendency to fight over for the reasons for that and anyone who feels Ed M is on “the wrong course” may feel tempted to point to the polls and say so.

    That would of course be completely stupid and counterproductive, but we are talking about politicians here…..

    I agree that Campbell would be part of the solution not part of the problem though. He will need to be careful with his enforcement action, though, lest he ends up pushing angry people right out of the tent, and they start “p****ng in”.

  9. @Alec

    Re-read the article:

    “Neither Asda nor Morrisons said they had any plans to raise prices in an independent Scotland.”

    So it is a scare story.

  10. I can’t help but wonder at the sense of this:

    “LABOUR today opens up a new front in its battle for the UK with a declaration that Scotland should back the Union to demonstrate “solidarity” with the poor in the rest of Britain.

    In an appeal to Scotland’s core centre-left voters who are tempted to back independence, shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander urges them not to “walk away” from impoverished families south of the Border.”

    Which seems to contradict the economic doom and gloom for Scotland so far. If anything, it seems to be the most decisive point of view to take, almost akin to ‘we are all in this together’, but Scots invariably see themselves as less well off than their Southern cousins (wages, house prices and so on).

    Is it an own goal, or is it a cunning plan?

  11. sorry…not decisive….divisive…blame the auto-correct for that.

  12. People discuss the gap and the Labour lead hopping about, but the Labour VI percentage doesn’t – and basically that’s all that’s going to count.

    I’ve already predicted 38 for Labour, and I think Reggieside is nearest overall. Will the Conservatives get 35 though? Not unless they kick out IDs, I would suggest, and dump the neo-liberal talk big time. It’s not ‘British’ in spirit, it’s poison, electorally [] but the Tory party are calling for more of it. So I’ll go with Reggieside, but with a sneaking suspicion those ‘neolib’ guys might ‘hara-kiri’ their own party in advance of 2015.

  13. Labour are perhaps banking that the ‘no’ vote is in the bag, and taking this line in order to strengthen their ‘cost of living crisis’ narrative with English voters?

  14. And by IDs, above, I mean IDS, naturally.

  15. @Statgeek – “Neither Asda nor Morrisons said they had any plans to raise prices in an independent Scotland.”

    Indeed. If you checked Rob Peston’s article, you would appreciate the pressures big companies are under, and that they don’t wish to take sides and potentially alienate potential customers by making direct assertions about what will or won’t happen post independence. However, having ‘no plans’ to do something in response to something that might not happen, is not the same as clearly stating you would not do something in those circumstances.

    In reality, they have made clear there would be a problem.
    Re reading the article, we also find these quotes;

    The CEO of Asda – “The cost of doing business in different parts of the country does vary,”

    “The chief executive of Asda has also said an independent Scotland might be a less attractive place to invest.”

    “Both Asda and Morrisons said the cost of doing business was higher in Scotland than in the rest of the UK.”

    “”Why should customers in Cardiff subsidise those in Aberdeen?” a spokesman for Morrisons told the BBC.”

    Andy Clarke suggested Asda, owned by the US giant Walmart, might be more reluctant to expand in Scotland, if it becomes an independent country.

    “A ‘Yes’ vote in 2014 could result in Scotland being a less attractive investment proposition for business and put further pressure on our costs,” he said.”

    “However, the Financial Times said one of the big four supermarkets had confirmed it might put prices up.” [Note – this won’t be Asda or Morrisons presumably, so this indicates there are at least three supermarket chains that see Scotland as a less profitable area].

  16. @NEIL A

    Sorry if I offended you – sarcasm was unnecessary I suppose but meant to prove a point.

    Yes you’re right about the car industry. This could turn into a ‘don’t get me started’ rant about our dysfunctional finance system which all the major parties deify.

    Foreign investors (Tata in Jaguar/Land Rover, Honda, Toyota, Nissan, GM, Ford in themselves, VW in Bentley, BMW in Rolls Royce and Mini, Dubai Investment Corp (I think) in Aston Martin, Malaysian owners in Lotus, Chinese owners in MG are ones that spring to mind) are delighted to invest in our car manufacturing which the UK stock market and banks do not support.

    Triumph motorcycles has built a strong reputation and market since being bought and heavily invested by a private company wholly owned by an individual (John Bloor) who made his money as a housebuilder and does not take dividends.

    It’s fashionable to blame unions, management and Maggie for the destruction of UK manufacturing but IMO our short term and pusillanimous financial system (both banks and stock markets) should take a large share of the blame.

  17. @ Sine Nomine

    “@NORBOLD – What an outrageous and totally ridiculous partisan prediction that is!
    Everyone else has has a level headed and more sensible prediction.”

    Yeh, right!

  18. @Alec
    Exactly, if the big supermarkets have confirmed privately that they are afraid of saying something publicly that might be seen as backing one side or the other, they’re not going to say something publicly that will back one side or the other.

    The statement is meaningless, given we know the pressures they are being put under.

  19. @Sine Nomine

    “Oh and by the way it leaves ‘others’ with 13% – so how does that pan out?”

    The odd few to SNP, a few less to PC, then there’s the Cornish Independent Party, Mebyon Kernow, Greens, Sinn Fein, DUP, UUP, SDLP, Alliance, Respect, Tendring First, Independents, Altogether their votes come to 13%. Work it out for yourself.

  20. I see (looking back) that nearly all UKPR contributors in their forecasts for 2015 are ‘dreaming different dreams’ (with acknowledgement to Kim Jong-un).

    I can see why AW gets so much nonsense to deal with. I can’t remember one partisan who marked his side down, with apologies to any who did.

    What a pointless escapade.

  21. There’s some polling about MP’s pay in the Daily Mail through it does not say who did the polling or when. The figures are not exactly unexpected.

    No doubt there will be some more reliable polls soon about this. I’m sure voters won’t like the pay rise, but it usually has little influence on national VI.

  22. I should have realised a sensible ‘conversation’ was out of the question with you Norbold. !

  23. @Guymonde,

    I suppose my original question (and it is a genuine one, not rhetorical) was whether in circumstances like the car industry (where production was scaled back drastically in 2008-2009) there isn’t a case that production can be increased or decreased without a concommitant increase or decrease in investment. Up to a point at least.

    It seemed to me at the time that most of the headlines in the car industry were about cuts to the amount of time the production lines were actually in operation – with night shifts cancelled, overtime reduced etc. This would mean that production could be scaled up again by the simple expedient of increasing the hours the lines were operating once again. If you didn’t close a factory to reduce your costs, you don’t have to open a new factory to increase your production.

    Of course, technological development and investment in new equipment is also a factor, but in a slightly more long-term way. Delaying the introduction of new models, or the introduction of more productive/efficient plant, will eventually affect your profitability but not really over a 4-5 year period I’d have thought?

  24. @Alec

    All this is based on two factors.

    Are supermarket prices higher in Scotland anyway? Some say they are.

    Will they be higher still after Independence? I return to the point that in this case, there will be Scottish-based distribution centres. Indeed, there might be more jobs with Scottish agriculture distributing to Scottish centres, and on to Scottish supermarkets, with the English middleman cut out.

    All this speculation also ignores Aldi and other ‘budget’ retailers, which seem to have no problem getting established in Scotland. If it were that expensive, they wouldn’t be here. In fact, why don’t the big supermarkets ignore Scotland, if it’s that expensive?

  25. @sine I find Norbold’s prediction no more daft than yours.

    NB – it’s just a prediction, doesn’t mean anything…. Fail to understand why you get so worked up and personal about it.

  26. @John Ruddy – thankyou. For a moment I thought I was quietly going mad there.

    I have that awful sense of deja vu on most of these Scottish matters – as when I was discussing with @Oldnat a very clearly stated case relating to EU membership recently. In both cases, we have direct, attributable quotes suggesting an issue with the independence line from key decision makers or policy formulators.

    However, these clear and highly unambiguous statements become mangled, butchered and reformed as scare stories, smear, innuendo, or fantasy. Only the party line is true. Evidence is alluded to which ‘proves’ the case, only for this to actually provide clear evidence for the actual point being raised in the first place.

    By this stage, the badgers normally creep in and move the goalposts, so it turns out that although I didn’t realise it, the thing I was actually talking about wasn’t what I was talking about, and I was actually talking about something completely different, although of course I was wrong on that as well.

    Bringing it back to polling, I return to my original point – that right or wrong, the story about food prices potentially rising in an independent Scotland could well be the kind of ‘bread and butter issue’ that ultimately swings opinion.

    [Did you see what I did there?]

  27. @Alec

    Distribution centres in Scotland.

    Sainburys: h ttp:// (none)

    Morrisons: h ttps:// (none)

    Asda: h ttp:// (1 in Falkirk)

    Tesco: h ttp:// (1 in Livingston)

    Aldi is harder to find, but via their career menus: Atherstone, Middleton, Darlington, Swindon, Chelmsford, Bathgate, Neston (1)

    Lidl: h ttp:// (1 in Livingston)

    No idea about the Co-op, but I won’t hold my breath.

  28. @Statgeek

    You are completely correct, there ‘might’ be all manner of market changes, shifts and improvements post independence. Please name the supermarket chains that has confirmed that they plan to invest in such a network post independence. [Apparently I have to name those who have confirmed price increases to prove I’m not scaremongering, so you should do the same].

    It seems to be absolutely fine to talk about ‘might’, ‘could do’ , ‘perhaps’ when these are all positives for an independent Scotland, because that’s allowed, but to suggest that there is evidence of things that might be negative, even when backed up by hard evidence, becomes scaremongering.

    Please lets have a level playing field.

    Besides – you’ve just walked straight into the ‘badgers moving the goalposts’ part of the debate. I haven’t the remotest doubt that markets will respond to independence in all manner of ways. This is likely to include new entrants, new investment, bankruptcies, new jobs etc – economies continually change and adapt.

    The point in question here is that current market players who control a big chunk of the Scottish food retailing industry are telling us that they make lower margins in Scotland, that some of the factors causing this are unlikely to change, and that under independence this is likely to change they way they operate, both in terms of pricing policy and investment.

  29. @Chris – I wonder what Norbold would have said if I had put Con: 40 Lab: 30 etc – we all know its not going to happen like that but his was just plain silly!

  30. @Howard

    “I can see why AW gets so much nonsense to deal with. I can’t remember one partisan who marked his side down, with apologies to any who did.

    What a pointless escapade.”

    Exactly the point I was trying to make with my “prediction”, Howard.

  31. @Sine Nomine

    “@Chris – I wonder what Norbold would have said if I had put Con: 40 Lab: 30 etc – we all know its not going to happen like that but his was just plain silly!”

    TOH’s prediction:
    “Since we were playing 2015 election forcast yesterday my projection is
    Cons 38%
    Lab 30%
    Lib 14%
    UKip 10%”

    Did you miss that one? Why didn’t you jump down his throat as well?

  32. @Statgeek – apologies, but I haven’t the faintest idea what this has got top do with Scottish retail food distribution centres. We all know there are plenty of these.

    The point being made is that currently these are part of a UK wide processing and distribution network, that profit margins are lower in Scotland due to a mixture of geographic, social and policy issues, and that because of the interlinked systemic nature of the distribution system, prices are maintained centrally so in effect, rUK users are in effect subsidising Scottish shoppers.

    We also know that a number of supermarkets have made statements indicating pricing and investment policy is likely to be reviewed if independence becomes a reality.

    I really don’t know quite what the fuss is about.

  33. I didn’t think for one minute I would have the last word.

    But I will have a go.

    Take care and have a nice evening.

  34. @Alec

    No I didn’t! What did you do?

  35. I’ve been watching this prediction game all day on my smart phone.

    Is there nothing else to talk about?

    I suspect AW is lurking close, ready to rap some knuckles….

  36. @Charles – debate on food prices, ‘bread and butter issue’…..weak, I’ll grant you, but a gag of sorts.

  37. @Alec

    Don’t dispute your observation at all that the Yes side has become Operation Polyanna but doesn’t the question of the currency have a lot of bearing on retail prices?

  38. TOH

    @”Yes economic news looks very encouraging”

    It’s interesting to look at regional reports sometimes, rather than the “bubble” of UK wide numbers.

    This is from West Mids -an important region electorally I think ?

  39. @Catman

    When we’re out of the polldrums maybe. Until then here is my prediction for 2015 ….

  40. @Alec

    “so in effect, rUK users are in effect subsidising Scottish shoppers.”

    I just compared the “Convenience Customer Service Assistant” vacancy in London to the one in Edinburgh (the latter is hardly a poor city by other Scottish locations’ standards).

    London – £7.07 ph
    Edinburgh – £6.71 ph

    Then there’s old “That area is in the Highlands”, when it most certainly is not. It’s an old trick.

    Who is subsidising who?

  41. @ Sine Nomine

    “I didn’t think for one minute I would have the last word.

    But I will have a go.

    Take care and have a nice evening.”

    Oh well, I guess I’ll never know the answer to my question now.

    You take care and have a nice evening too.

  42. Just read Peter Kellner’s piece for YouGov.

    Very fair and balanced I think. Being a colleague of AW I’d expect nothing less ;)

  43. @Statgeek – I appreciate there are lots of debates and issues to be raised, but I hope you’ll forgive me if I pass on responding to you last point. I came to this looking to make what I thought was a simple point regarding perceptions of possible price rises and the independence debate, and ended up discussing the economics of food distribution in the UK.

    I suspect Anthony wasn’t thinking particularly of this issue when he set up UKPR, so I think I’ll move on, if you don’t mind.

  44. @Postageincluded – of course they do, but can I refer you to the answer I gave a few moments ago to the honourable gentleman, as they say somewhere or other.

  45. sine N

    “@The other Howard – I really like your prediction Howard – very satisfying to read and still quite possible once the chips are down for the poll that really matters.”

    Good post: I also find utterly daft predictions “very satisfying to read” [provided of course that they suit my own preferences]

    Which is a bit bizarre really ‘cos daft predictions are, by definition, not going to happen.

    Here’s one to cheer LD supporters up.

    Lab: 19

    Con: 02 [two]

    LD: 74

    [If you make a note of the time of my post then you can always pop back and read it again should rotten ole reality prick your satisfying bubbles.]

  46. neil a

    A legal question.

    Why is it not possible, when murder is actually videoed and seen on TV, and when it is know in advance what the defence will be for it somehow “not” being murder, for the prosecution to go straight to sentencing?

    Why do we have to listen to propaganda rubbish about voices from “allah” and so on?

    In the end we know this will be rejected as it has no legal basis and people will be found guilty of murder.

    Sometimes I think we bend over bqckwards a bit too far. Maybe that’s why we can’t see the bleedin’ obvious I suppose.


    This is an interesting finding regarding gold sell offs. According to Wikipedia, Gordon Brown ‘lost’ around £4B by the time Labour left office on the gold sell off.

    This article in today’s Telegraph suggests Osborne has ‘lost’ an identical amount (although of course this doesn’t account for inflation) by not selling off gold at the peak of the market a year ago.

    So, broadly speaking, Labour and Tories are quits on this, and we can have lots of articles for the next decade or so bemoaning how incompetent Osborne was for sitting on gold.

  48. sine n

    “I should have realised a sensible ‘conversation’ was out of the question with you Norbold. ! ”

    Usually is when you’re involved SN. [LOL etc]


    It was very satisfying to read your 2-32 pm prediction. Can you perhaps do another one, with LDs in low single figures, for me?

    Thanks in advance.

  49. alec

    “[Did you see what I did there?]”

    Nope. It was too long to read.


    If old Anthony just buggered off to do a proper job then presumably this site would continue down the pan ad infinitum.

    That would be great!

  50. Anthony:

    For times when you ARE too busy for the site I will be happy to moderate on your behalf and keep the dafter posters [well, ALL the other posters I suppose] in check.

    Just let me know.


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