The final YouGov poll of the year is up here. Voting intentions are CON 34%, LAB 40%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 11%. The six point Labour lead is the same as the average in YouGov’s polls across December, in comparison in December 2012 YouGov was showing an average Labour lead of eleven points, so year-on-year Labour’s lead has almost halved – the YouGov average for December 2013 is Conservative 33% (up 1 since 2012), Labour 39% (down 4), Lib Dem 9% (down 1), UKIP 12% (up 3).

Labour leads have seemed a tad lower since the Autumn statement, but the vast majority that narrowing came in the early part of 2013 when economic optimism first stating picking up. We can see the changes in attitudes to the economy in the other regular YouGov trackers here. 17% now think the economy is doing well, 50% badly. It’s still strongly negative, but compare it to December 2012 when it was 5% well, 73% badly. 41% of people now think the coalition are managing the economy well, 51% badly – it’s still a net negative, but compare it to December 2012 when it was 31% well, 59% badly.

The most interesting questions in the rest of the poll were on shale gas and fracking, 44% of people support fracking/shale gas, 29% of people are opposed. This is up slightly since YouGov last asked in August when it was 41% to 33% opposed. Asked about its impacts people see it as safe by 47% to 33%, as good for the economy by 64% to 14%, but as environmentally damaging by 42% to 34%.

Compared to other potential ways of generating energy, fracking is seen as broadly preferable to coal or imported gas, but seen as less desirable than nuclear or renewable energy. People would, unsurprisingly, be less positive about fracking in their immediate area. Only 25% of people would support fracking within a couple of miles of their home, but it rises to 32% support if its further away, but in a local town or village, and goes up to 46% support if it was somewhere else in their local county, but not their own town or village.

316 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 34, LAB 40, LD 9, UKIP 11”

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  1. Anthony

    Now that the last poll of the year is in can you update your poll of polls. I would be most interested to see where all the parties are at year’s end.



  2. Labour still on the magic 40%

  3. But Anthony, the lead is irrelevant. If Labour get 38-41% the Tories cannot get an overall majority without being at around 45-48%. This will never happen! The lead has narrowed via Labour losing a percent or two and a small number of UKIP supporters going back to the Tories. They won’t pick up enough UKIP supporters to get 7% ahead of Labour if Labour stay on 38-41%.

  4. I think it pretty unlikely that Labour will get 40% at the next GE, to go from 29 to 40% in one jump is unprecedented. However they are still in the running for about 35% which will probably make them largest party with the possibility of forming a Coalition or going it alone, daring the others to vote them down. So nothing much has changed, (and unless there is a dramatic incident) don’t expect it will.

  5. COUPER2802
    Regarding MPs pay why don’t we use international comparisons?

    How much does a US congressperson earn or a German MP

    UK Congressmen approximately £130,000 a Year
    German MP’s about £72,000
    Japan a whopping £170,00

  6. The next 12 months is going to be very interesting .Labour need to tell people what they will do with the economy sooner rather than latter . Also every time energy prices go up this will hit the Tories so the big recovery for the government is very unlikely .the UKIP factor wont go away either . People are not as stupid as the media thinks , The average family is £1300 worse off that’s the reality.. money talks…


    @”Labour need to tell people what they will do with the economy sooner rather than latter ”

    I was anticipating GO explaining that to them.-from late 2014-after Q1 to Q3 GDP/Unemployment figures are out.

  8. You seem to be in exalted company SteveB:-

    “Lord Mandelson says “the economic picture has got to be painted in” by Labour”


    Mandy makes it sound like an exercise in whitewashing.

  9. Will Bank of England increase interest rates before April 2014 ?

    I think they will, but only by 0.25 and they will apply the same increase during quarter 2. So rate up to 1% by July 2014.

    This will be done partly because of the slight housing boom and because inflation is stubbornly above the 2% target.

    The BoE won’t leave it until Autumn 2014 or 2015 to increase rates, because of the proximity of the election. If they left it until after May 2015, I think it may be a bit too late.

    Will this affect the economy and household finances enough to change current polling ?

    2014 is going to very interesting economically. Some are predicting another financial collapse. If this does happen, it may change polling dramatically and not necessarily in Labours favour. It would depend on how the government handled any such crisis ? Would the government allow any major financial services companies to fail ?

  10. Good Morning All.

    Mr HUCKLE.
    Thank you for your perceptive comments on the economy and its impacts on the Polls.

    I think the Cons will gain more in 2014, from the LD’s and from the kippers.

    I think Labour may well hold to its 38% figure.

    Even more importantly I think stocks in Moyes will rise in 2014.

  11. CHRISLANE1945 –

    “2014 is going to very interesting economically. Some are predicting another financial collapse.”

    Really? Who is saying that?

  12. Painted in is okay; painted over would imply a “whitewash”.

  13. @ The Wash

    “Forecasts of hard landing for China could be realised

    Markets in Asia fell sharply on Friday after concerns about China’s stalling banking system resurfaced.

    The People’s Bank of China couldn’t pump liquidity into its lenders fast enough, amid fears that the world’s second-largest economy faced a credit crisis.

    Financial conditions will probably remain tight next year, weighing further on manufacturing sector investment.

    There are also fears that the implementation of reforms will slow or come to a halt, as downside risks from a widespread deleveraging process loom. Talk of a hard landing in China is a perennial theme. In 2014 it could yet become a reality.”
    When China sneezes, the financial world catches a cold.

  14. @THEWASH

    There are various sources of info online. I am not saying it is going to happen or that I believe these doomsters forecasts. But there are signs that the GDP recovery in US and UK may be at risk, due to the weakness and instability in the world economy.

  15. In an article for the New York Times, Gordon Brown has warned that the next financial crash is on its way. Brown argues that “Political expediency, a failure to think and act globally, and a lack of courage to take on vested interests” are to blame.

    In a stinging critique of how the international community has failed to learn the lessons of the 2008 crash, Brown also says:

    “In the patterns of borrowing today, we can already detect parallels with the pre-crisis credit boom. We’re seeing the same over-reliance on short-term capital markets that ultimately brought down Northern Rock, Iceland’s banks and Lehman Brothers.”

  16. @steve

    So the figure proposed if 77k is very reasonable. Of course you have to factor in the whole package expenses, pensions etc.

  17. And even before China’s cold developing, UK balance of trade is the worst since 1989.
    I think 2014/5 could end up much worse than people expect – interest rates going up to choke off the asset boom, mortgage defaults increasing and disposable income decreasing as a result, productivity still tanking due to private investment being on the floor, hard landing for China, Euro problems re-emerge.
    Only the US seems to have the basis of a sustained recovery.
    Dog knows what will really happen and how that will impact VI.

  18. Obviously it would create problems for the government if rates go up, and frankly, inflation would suit them in terms of eroding the value of the debt.

    If instead there’s inflation, that may be considered the lesser of two evils, but it’s still not exactly helpful when cost of living is already an issue.

    The Telegraph recently had a headline about what’s happening to rents…

    “Rents rise twice as fast as wages

    Average rents rose 1.6pc in November, driven by ‘acute’ property shortages”

    “Research published last week showed the average monthly spend on rent will soon overtake the average mortgage cost. Rent rose 12pc from £121.50 per week to £136 per week between 2010 and 2012, while mortgage costs rose just 6pc from £130.80 to £138.60, according to the Office for National Statistics.”

    Mr Newnes said: “Homes of all tenures have become more expensive for most people. That’s partly because the UK is poorer than it was five years ago, with wages only gradually struggling to recover. But more fundamentally, housing is also becoming more expensive because there aren’t enough homes to keep up with an expanding population.
    “Building more homes at a serious pace is the only way to avoid the risk of stagnation in the housing market – the property industry cannot grow by competing ever more fiercely over fixed resources.”

  19. COUPER2802
    So the figure proposed if 77k is very reasonable. Of course you have to factor in the whole package expenses, pensions etc.
    -Well I could have added that Spanish MP’s get £28,000 French MP’s £51,000 and Indian MP’s £5500!

  20. 26% for the Tories this time in the Scottish subset, with the SNP on 23%. Ruth Davidson will be quietly pleased that she seems to have done something to detoxify the Tory brand in Scotland.

  21. @Steve:

    They’re not congressmen, though. Maybe a better comparison would be with state legislatures:

    ($100/year in New Hampshire with no increase since 1889.)

    For MPs in Europe the UK’s are 8th out of 20, so above average:

  22. Since my other comment is, for some reason, stuck in moderation I’ll just point out that New Hampshire’s legislators last got an increase in 1889 when their salaries went up to $100 pa while the UK’s manage a not unreasonable eighth place out of Europe’s top twenty MP salaries.

    [Roger – things with more than one link get held back for moderation – AW]

  23. @Anthony my tweet was really looking at the post early 2013 shift. In May there was a lot of anxiety about Labour’s failure to have a double digit lead. However, while the Labour VI has dropped a bit, it appears more secure. I suppose this is because of the so-called ‘2010 switchers’, of which I am one. There has been little movement from Tory to Labour. Also, it appears that the Tory increase has primarily taken place in RoS. Electorally, it does not really matter how many votes they pile on in their heartland. Tories have been losing VI in the very important North. Also, it seems as if the SNP have increased (and Labour decreased) in Scotland: but Labour are still in the lead.

  24. R HUCKLE

    @”Will Bank of England increase interest rates before April 2014 ?”


  25. I really can’t see Carney and the Bank of England doing anything to raise interest rates unless kicking and screaming. Carney was behind a big housing boom in Canada and chosen by Osbourne to keep rates low and stoke a boom in the UK up to May 2015.

    It’s a very wreckless strategy in my opinion, with strong echoes of loose credit pre 2007, and will be interesting to see how it plays out and aids Tory VI next year.

    I found it interesting that UK borrowing figures for November released on Friday were awful. £16.5 billion borrowed last month, even above Nov 2012 when the UK GDP figures and economic surveys were far worse. It was above all analysts expectations and puts a real dent in Osbourne’s borrowing targets. No where reported this though bizarrely. The previous months better borrowing figures (revised down this month) were front page news on the BBC, telegraph etc at the time.


    @”interest rates going up to choke off the asset boom, ”

    BoE won’t do it that way because it hurts existing borrowers.
    They will control supply of new mortgages-if they perceive a “bubble”……..which they don’t yet.

  27. ED

    @”It’s a very wreckless strategy in my opinion, ”

    That sounds encouraging then-we have had more than enough shipwrecks.

  28. Julian

    You mean as opposed to the 15 per cent the Tory showed on the Populus sub sample on Friday!

    To stake a Tory revival on one poll sub sample is pretty desperate. In terms of real elections and real Scottish opinion polls the Tory position is getting even worse under Davidson than it was under Goldie.

    And at least Goldie had a sense of humour!

  29. @ Carfew

    “inflation would suit them in terms of eroding the value of the debt.”

    The problem is it is the wrong kind of inflation. Cost inflation is going up but income inflation is not really, so for the debt to be eroded it would need income to rise on earnings, CT etc. If everyone was paying twice as much income tax because their salaries were twice as high then the debt would be eroded but if salaries are not rising the only obvious increase in government revenue would be VAT on higher prices and that presumably has a limited shelf life. I guess higher house prices help for stamp duty, CGT and so on, plus if the government still has land they can sell but in general inflation only helps bring down the debt if everything gets inflated.

  30. THE WASH.
    Hello, I said nothing about economic collapse in my post.
    My own take on economic growth is that it might actually help Labour.

    As Matthew Parris pointed out recently, Labour seems to prosper when people feel safe enough to vote Labour, unlike in 1992.

  31. ED
    @”and puts a real dent in Osbourne’s borrowing targets.”

    Does it ? :-

    April/Nov Deficit £ 1.9bn less than same period last year.

    Full FY forecast by OBR £ £3.7 bn less than previous year .

    ( all numbers per ONS-excluding RM pension tfr & APF coupon refunds )

  32. @ Colin

    @”Will Bank of England increase interest rates before April 2014 ?”

    Glad that I can agree with you.

    I’ll wait a couple of months to see if I was wrong with the economic outlook (I could be) back in the summer.

  33. “They will control supply of new mortgages-if they perceive a “bubble”……..which they don’t yet.”

    Well, they’ve already deployed tool number 1 – stopping funding for lending being used for mortgages (though who’s to say the banks won’t just ignore it – that seems to be the pattern). The next obvious tool is to interfere with ‘Help to Buy’ but the Bank isn’t even supposed to consider that until next September.

  34. The lead is important in that the larger the lead, the larger the Labour majority and the less the headaches for Labour in the next parliament. The scale of the expenditure cuts needed in the next parliament will mean that any left-wing government without a solid majoirty would face a very, very hard time from its backbenchers.

  35. Just an end of year ‘sign off’.

    It has been a fascinating year, where we are left with set of circumstances that means the next elections is quite open, with some unusual circumstances. Predicting the next year and a bit looks very difficult.

    Thanks to everyone for making this site a gem among political websites. The range of opinions and contributors is broad, yet it runs with the agro often seen on others (mostly).

    Thanks to AW for allowing the flow, which occasionally sails close to comments policy, but normally stays where it should be.

    I wish everyone a happy and peaceful Christmas and New Year.

    And with you also

  37. LASZLO

    I’m glad too.

    Yes-I recall your feeling that GDP growth would cease in the second half of this year. I think Q4 would have to be an absolute bombshell for you to stand a chance of being right now . ( I think 2013 GDP will be within spitting distance of +2% up on 2012)

    I admire you for giving a forecast which was measurable rather than some open ended rolling prediction & would expect nothing less than honesty from you when the data is in.

  38. @Julian / L Hamilton

    I doubt we can attribute any Westminster Scottish Conservative VI to Ruth Davidson, unless you have sources to the contrary. The MSPs aren’t generally the cause of Westminster VI changes (polls suggest that Lab are on the rise in Holyrood polls, while they are dropping in Westminster polls).

    “The regular Ipsos MORI Scottish Public Opinion Monitor shows that, among those certain to vote, 39% would vote for the SNP, up 2 points since May. Labour are 4 points behind in second place on 35%, up a point since May, while the Conservatives are on 12%, down 3 points, and the Liberal Democrats remain on 7%.”

    That, on the face of things suggests that Conservative Scottish VI rises on the Westminster front are not attributable to Ruth Davidson, and are rather (in my humble opinion) a combination of younger voters giving the current government the benefit of the doubt, and more likely, a case of previous Conservative lows of 10%-20% being recovered (to a 15%-25% range).

    In fact, if the Holyrood VI is accurate at 12%, then the average Westminster VI is almost double, which calls into question the effectiveness of Ruth Davidson, or at the very least it calls into question how Scottish voters like their Holyrood. I imagine some Conservative voters vote tactically for SNP at the Holyrood level.


    @”Well, they’ve already deployed tool number 1 ”

    They didn’t need both FFL as well as HTB for mortgage lending.

  40. @Bill Patrick

    “The scale of the expenditure cuts needed in the next parliament will mean that any left-wing government without a solid majoirty would face a very, very hard time from its backbenchers.”

    Is the Green Party getting good odds then? :))

  41. Shev11 4.10 pm

    That was a most incisive post on ‘the wrong kind of inflation’ if I may say so. Of course, for pensioners with no savings, there is no ‘good inflation’ as far as I can see.

    As a private view, to me, there is no such animal as ‘good inflation’ but it’s not shared by the vast majority of voters (apparently).

  42. Marco

    Well said, it really is beyond belief.

  43. It might be a good idea to read the context of what GB was saying before commenting. I shall await that experience.

  44. TOH, Marco,

    Ah, come on guys. No partisan policy debates here is one thing. Character assaults, like the one on Gordon B, are another notch up the scale entirely – aren’t they? You can’t substantiate them without talking policies past, others can’t answer you without doing the same thing. So we’ll end up getting ‘Yah boo sucks’ countered by ‘Bravo’, which is just noisy. (Besides, there are dogs asleep on this forum!)

  45. Anthony’s commentary at the top of this thread is interesting but, rather like an earlier poster remarked, I think it’s missing the point a little. Yes, the Labour lead has fallen over the 12 months, certainly according to the world of YouGov, but it remains pretty solid and, recently, stabilised. Maybe we’re all looking in the wrong place. The reduced lead is almost entirely down to Labour (according to the world of YouGov) dropping four points and, despite all the increasing economic optimism that YouGov have detected, the Tory VI has gone absolutely nowhere. They’re up 1%

    Now, where is that Lord Ashdown when you need him? Isn’t it time somebody told us why the return of economic shangri-la isn’t converting into increased support for the Tories?

    Therein may lie the clue to the result in May 2015. Forget Miliband and the economy, the Tories may well have to look deep within themselves for answers to their electoral problems.Their dead cat bouncing is defying the rules of normal psephology and old scripts and plot lines may have to be re-examined

  46. Happy Christmas everybody!

  47. @Colin Davis
    If he is quoted then we have a right to comment. What is Partisan about the truth ?

    [You have the right to be as partisan as you wish on your own website, on this site you have the right to abide by the comments policy – AW]

  48. @Crossbatt11
    ‘Their dead cat bouncing is defying the rules of normal psephology and old scripts and plot lines may have to be re-examined’

    Is this not similar to what happened to the Tories in the years leading up to 1997 – economic growth helped them very little?

  49. @CB11

    “Forget Miliband and the economy”

    Forgive me for asking, but is that going to be Labour’s 2014 strategy? Miliband’s ratings have dropped, while if the economic situation improves the Conservative VI might easily rise (it might not though…economic improvements to VI rises are not a given).

    I have read the day’s UKPR posts, and it all seems a little “nothing much has changed this year”, while plenty has changed. Maybe some peeps haven’t noticed the scale of the changes, or maybe they are ignoring them. If the 2013 VI changes were repeated in 2014, we would be looking at a Labour lead of less than 1%, which has to be exciting from a GE perspective. Imagine the mass panic at both Party Headquarters. :))

    Yes, the lead is good, and Labour have a lot to be pleased with, since their VI was dropping and they managed to stem the drop with their conference. Having said that, the Conservatives having improved their VI over a third year of austerity, so must be a little pleased about that.

    So instead of last year’s Con 31.8% to Lab’s 43.1%, with a lead of 11.3%, we have 33.3% to 39.1% and a lead of 5.9%.

    In my humble opinion, 2014 will be a year of weaknesses, prior to the election. The Conservative one’s tend to be Europe (and UKIP), the economy (possibly improving), and perhaps the Lib Dems as things get closer to 2015 (the coalition can’t keep working as well as all politicians focus more on their differences).

    Labour’s are Miliband’s ratings, Ed Balls having previous with Brown et al, and perhaps a lack of a ‘different plan of attack’ from the coalition (one which the voters believe).

    I feel it’s an election that it’s anyone’s to lose, as opposed to any one party being touted tor 2015 and the onus being on them to not lose it.

  50. When voters are asked about growth, they say, ‘yes please, let’s have some’. That is different to COS telling them that they have had some. Yes they dutifully respond that ‘the economy’ is improving but ‘their’ economy isn’t. That’s the essential difference and the other point is that they may not ascribe any improvement to any political party.

    That is my reading of recent polls and the challenge for those parties who would wish to be associated with any personal feelings of being better off is to establish that in the minds of voters.

    Most voters do not think they are better off, let alone starting to think of whom they should thank yet.

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