YouGov’s weekly poll for the Sunday Times is up here. Topline figures are CON 33%, LAB 39%, LD 8%, UKIP 13%. Good job/bad job ratings for the leaders are minus 15 for Cameron, minus 35 for Miliband, minus 51 for Clegg.

On the economy there is a big contrast between people’s attitudes to the economy as a whole, and their own personal circumstances. On the wider economy there is optimism – 36% of people think things are better than a year ago, 24% worse. Ask about people’s own finances and only 14% think they are better off than a year ago, 39% think they are worse off. Asked about the year ahead, only 17% think their own household’s finances will get better, 37% think they’ll get worse. People are pessimistic, but it’s a measure of how bad things were (and how things are turning round) that this minus twenty net score is the best so far this Parliament.

Asked which party is closest to different groups, the Conservatives are overwhelmingly seen as the party that best represents and understands the rich (by 83%) of people. Labour are a mile ahead of the other two parties on representing and understanding the working class and people on benefits (though around a quarter of people think no party really understands or represents them). Despite Ed Miliband’s recent foray, the Conservatives are still seen as the party that best represents and understands the middle class. Even amongst Labour’s own voters 30% think the Conservatives better understand middle class people.

Asked to describe themselves, 46% of people say they are working class, 42% middle class. It’s interesting to compare the ABC1C2DE social categorisations of people (which is based on their occupation) with their self-perceptions: 35% of people in “middle class occupations” consider themselves working class, and 28% of people in “working class occupations” consider themselves middle class. Obviously the ABC classification is pretty crude in its own way, but it’s also a sign of perceptions of social class are an awful lot more complicated than people’s own current occupation.


504 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 33, LAB 39, LD 8, UKIP 13”

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  1. Another poll and another 8% VI for the Lib/Dems.

    Oh dear,

  2. Speaking of which, here’s a silly comment from Mike Smithson who should know better:

    @MSmithsonPB:

    Tonight’s YouGov for the Sunday Times had CON 33 LAB 39 LD 8 UKIP 13 The LD share right down – the Rennard slump?

    Yes, I’m sure that a score of 8 which they get regularly on YouGov is attributable to this specific scandal only political anoraks know or care about.

  3. Class is a difficult one, and I don’t think straight percentages can really illustrate the range.

    For example, is someone (like my girlfriend’s dad) who was raised by a miner but went on to become a police officer middle-class or working class?

    Anyone else noticed a creeping-up of UKIP’s fortunes so far this year? It’s corresponding with a slump in LD polling, but I don’t know if they’re connected.

  4. In other silly Rennard news:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2541954/Henry-VIII-Kim-Jong-Un-Thomas-Cromwell-Nick-Clegg-Lib-Dem-peer-launches-devastating-assault-leader-stance-sex-harassment-scandal.html

    Yes, asking Rennard to apologise is exactly like extracting confessions with torture! At this rate the Lib Dems are going to have to expel the entire Lib Dem peerage for bringing the party into disrepute.

  5. The data on class percrption shows what I have mostly believed – the system is so crude to render it useless.

    On the difference from the perception of voters economic prospects and the nations, it reminds me of both crime figures and immigration. I think there is a disconnect caused by the media image of the issue versus the actual reality people see in their daily lives.

    The headline VI remains unchanged from recent months.

  6. “Despite Ed Miliband’s recent foray, the Conservatives are still seen as the party that best represents and understands the middle class. Even amongst Labour’s own voters 30% think the Conservatives better understand middle class people”
    _______

    When it comes to Labour appealing the middle classes then they have chosen the wrong leader. David M in my view is more appealing to the middle and I still reckon if he was the party leader then the Labour VI would be in the mid 40 bracket.

    They need a New Labour overhaul to appeal to the middle but I can’t see this happening under EM and his adviser Len.

  7. @Spearmint

    Mike Smithson comments on each poll being better worse for x or y, when the data is obviously just within MOE.

    Perhaps he feels he always needs to comment, even when there is nothing to comment on.

  8. @AC

    Reinventing ‘New Labour’ might attract a few ‘soft’ Tories, but would drive away the working class vote equally.

    Therefore, I think there would be no net benefit.

  9. MRNAMELESS

    I wouldn’t had thought police officers in general would class themselves as middle class. I view them sort of in-between working and middle class.

    The UKIP VI is getting very interesting. In London they are polling 9% Rest of the South 15% and midlands and Wales 13% and the North 14%.

    The highest region for the Lib/Dems is in London at 12%.

    I would like to see the rest of the South broken down to the South West and South East because then we could really gauge how well the Dems are doing in the heartlands in the SW.

  10. catmanjeff

    @AC

    Reinventing ‘New Labour’ might attract a few ‘soft’ Tories, but would drive away the working class vote equally.

    Therefore, I think there would be no net benefit
    ___________

    Then you have to ask where would the working class vote go?
    Under Blair’s New Labour he kept the working class vote and at the same time appealed to many Tory voters.

    I think it’s possible for a party to appeal to the working class and the middle at the same time whilst by in large hanging onto their core vote. The Tories nor Labour seem able to do this at present and the likes of UKIP are hovering up the large amount of leftovers.

  11. AC,

    “Then you have to ask where would the working class vote go?”

    Well, they’d either go to UKIP (who believe in things like renationalisation) or they wouldn’t vote, as they didn’t in 2001 and 2005.

    Turnout in those elections was very low, and it wasn’t because people couldn’t be bothered!

  12. @AC

    I think they would not vote, vote BNP or UKIP in protest, and the ‘conscientious’ left go Green.

  13. “@ catmanjeff

    @Spearmint

    Mike Smithson comments on each poll being better worse for x or y, when the data is obviously just within MOE.

    Perhaps he feels he always needs to comment, even when there is nothing to comment on. ”

    It is pretty obvious why Mike does this. The Tories are not doing that well in some polls, so it sparks off the usual PB Tory responses and the usual daily knock about. Also Mike likes to have several daily threads, presumably to keep the visit count up and each thread limited in size. Plus in the absence of anything interesting, you might as well stick a poll up, with a few charts.

  14. @R Huckle

    I agree with you.

    PB is a site that avoid like the plague. I find it has more heat than light, and I personally find the language and tone just crude.

    UKPR is better informed and more civilised.

  15. MRNAMELESS & CATMAJEFF

    Yes I agree a lot of the working class vote would go over to UKIP and the BNP.

    Could you imagine a UKIP/BNP coalition Gov? They would have a titanic internal battle with themselves to see who gets the ministerial post overseeing immigration.

  16. The BNP in government doesn’t bear thinking about. Happily, they’re falling apart at the seams and have no representation on any level.

  17. @chatterclass fpt

    Tories polled in the low thirties/high twenties from late 1992 (post Black Wednesday) through to late 2005.

    “Flatlining” on 31% became a perennial cause for concern during Hague’s leadership for example, broken only by the brief surge during fuel protests in 2000.

  18. @ Allan,

    The problem Labour have is that they have to compete with the Tories again for the middle class centre-right swing votes. That’s not an Ed Miliband specific problem- it’s intrinsic to the nature of swing voters. It makes more sense for Labour to tack to the left and hoover up all the people with nowhere else to go, rather than hoping against hope that the people who are equidistant between Labour and the Tories will happen to pick them this time.

    It’s unusual for an opposition to return to power after only one term, and Labour have never pulled it off. Counting on swing voters to behave in an unprecedented way strikes me as a strategic mistake when there’s a better option available, like showing ex-Lib Dems a picture of Nick Clegg.

  19. @AC

    I suspect the collapse in national turnout in 2001 – little higher in 2005 – had much to do with Blair’s alienation of its traditional working class support.

  20. CATMANJEFF

    @”PB is a site that avoid like the plague. I find it has more heat than light, and I personally find the language and tone just crude.
    UKPR is better informed and more civilised.”

    I think there is an element of pomposity in remarks like that.

    UKPR is clearly the place to come for Polling analysis. PB is presumably the place to go for Political Betting Analysis.

    But the Comments section of both sites is something else entirely.

    PB Comment is always lively, and can feature some really knowledgeable people with interesting viewpoints. It does seem to have a right of centre biase-just as UKPR has a left of centre biase.. Because it is not per se , a board for discussion of Polls & Polling, it’s discussions range over a wide area.

    UKPR comment too can be lively & interesting-but it can also be turgid & boring sometimes.

    I think there is no more “light” visible in UKPR comments than those on PB.

  21. @Allan Christie

    Define “Middle Class”.

    The problem with statements like “we need to attract the Middle Class” or “This kind of policy helps the Middle Class” is that “Middle Class” has now grown to encompas nearly everyone.

    Someone who earns 24k as a teaching assistant, Middle Class.
    Someone who earns 60k as a board member, Middle Class.
    Someone who’s been out of work since 2009 but was an office working professional, Middle Class.

    The “Middle Class” has expanded out so much, that at this point the term is basically politically meaningless in this country. And certainly meaningless for demographic uses.

    The “Working Class” is also a meaningless term now for the opposite reason, it’s shrunk down so much because it’s become so rigidly associated with specific professions, earnings, regions and cultural identities. It’s functionally being replaced with “Middle class from a working class background” or “Sure I may be employed as a truck driver, but I make more than an office worker and paid off the mortgage, so I’m upper middle class.”

  22. Police officers? Inspector and above are probably middleclass, although when I lived near Chertsey the desk sergeant was the holder of the title of Lord Nelson, he went into the SDP and later the Libdems. so figure that one out.

  23. “The problem Labour have is that they have to compete with the Tories again for the middle class centre-right swing votes.”

    Up to a point but they don’t need them half as much as the Tories do. Labour doesn’t need to attract all of the middle class (42% of the electorate here) when he has the majority of the working class (46%). There’s no question that Labour is looking to be in a better position now than the Tories.

  24. “I think there is no more “light” visible in UKPR comments than those on PB.”

    I really hate the way the comments section is laid out on PB. I’ve never felt inclined to look at the settings but UKPR is laid out easily to view the order of posts and work through the discussion. As default PB seems to start with the most recent posts and you have to keep refreshing to “more posts” button at the bottom to get to the start. There are probably good posts in there but because of the format of the board and often picking up on recent posts with slanging matches (without even being able to see the original comment) I’ve never felt inclined to investigate further.

    The bit that most intrigues me is the betting angle- I do very little betting and the ones I do tend to be for added interest in a football match or whatever. I haven’t a clue what they are talking about- it seems to be a bit like “well the Lib Dems have good odds today so I’ll take that and then offset that against the Tories next week and come out on top whoever wins”!

  25. From previous thread:

    @ mrnameless

    “Norbold,

    Baby Boomer is generally defined as people born between 1948 and 1964.”

    Phew! That let’s me out then as I was born in 1947. So I can’t be blamed for all Britain’s woes after all. :-)

  26. The problem with the class thing=votes again depends where you live. Regionalisation will dominate, i.e. if you are middle class in the South you will not vote Labour as it is identified with failure. In the North the middle class will struggle to vote Tory as its seen as a Southern Party, in Scotland/Wales the middle classes will vote Labour its not a problem for them.

  27. @Colin

    I think judgements about what may be turgid and boring might be a little subjective, don’t you think? To some, endless debate about the effect of Quantitative Easing and the size of retail sector sales might venture into the realms of turgidity, but to others they may be subjects of utter fascination, maybe even excitement.

    The point at which I think some threads on UKPR get tiresome, and this is the problem with the PB comments site a lot of the time, is when it just looks like a bunch of party loyalists engaged in either attack dog or rebuttal unit mode. Posts that resemble political party press releases seldom add to the quality of debate.

  28. Norbold
    Sorry
    You are a baby boomer -look at the graphs on the net.,

    Saturday night is ‘Bridge night’ for us and then MOTD for me, so I have a lot to catch up with. It’s like London buses here at the mo.

    Is there an explanation of this large difference in UKIP polling between pollsters, whereas the other parties are much nearer to a common percentage between them?

  29. Howard – I do believe some of the pollster name UKIP when asking who they would vote for, whilst others don’t therefor giving a large variance between pollsters on the UKIP percentage.

  30. col

    “I think there is no more “light” visible in UKPR comments than those on PB.”

    You do realise you will now end up in hell I hope.

    ……………………………………………………………………………….

    CLASS

    Very very simple solution would be for us to forget about “class” – whatever that means – and talk in terms of middle income etc.

    After all it is our disposable income that is being discussed really, not how posh we are.

  31. Baby Boomers start at 1946. Demobilisation got the ‘boom’ going.

    The problem with defining class comes because we use several factors to define it.

    Is it based on income? Is it based on who you vote for? Is it based on the job description? The value of the home?

    You might inherit a lump sum, buy a big house, but still have a below average income. Alternatively, you might have been come from a poor background, are happy to live in similar surroundings, but earn a lot, and keep it to yourself.

    Is ‘class’ a tickbox exercise or a way of life? Are the upper classes defined by wealth alone? Breeding or titles? Possessing the choice from birth of not having to work or marrying another for an upkeep?

    If the best paid engineer on the planet has a penchant for raves or heavy metal concerts, is he more middle class than the unemployed person with a penchant for classical music and opera?

    Winning the Euro Millions does not catapult you to the upper class. If you become a pauper, do you lose the ability to speak politely or read and write?

    I think the biggest problem with many in this country is its propensity to try to pigeon hole people, based on crude parameters. If you support policy ‘x’ you must (must?) vote for party ‘y’. If you work in an office, you’re middle class, and so on.

    I think too many people spend too much time comparing themselves to others so they can try to claim they are doing well.

  32. Typo:

    “you might have been come from a poor background”

    Now there’s irony. :))

  33. There are at least two definitions of class – the one in which we place ourselves and the one in which others place us. The former is probably more significant but can change with age, fashion and company.

  34. “Demobilisation got the ‘boom’ going.”

    I thought it was the blackout.

  35. Re The Class Thing

    Self-identification is utterly meaningless as many people with working class status are completely unaware of class structures and class history in Britain (or anywhere else for that matter). The word “middle” sounds nice and cosy, and many will choose that word whilst not having a clue what the questioner means when asking it!

    The terms Middle Class and Working Class derive from pre-1939 Britain and are only historical terms now that go some way to describe “family culture and habits”. With the social mobility caused by changing pay rates for various jobs and professions (certainly since the 1960s social revolution) and the fluidity of educational opportunities since comprehensive education, it has rendered the old class terminology almost defunct.

    For example there is a gaping world of difference between a “middle class” person of pre-1970 professional class descent with its liberal social economic values, and a “middle class” person well-educated but of artisan-striver background who is more likely to think that everyone should “get on their bike” and objects to handouts to scroungers who don’t work, and if they can’t then its their tough luck!
    Such two “middle class” people belong on different political planets!

  36. The ‘Rennard Factor’ will be interesting to watch develop in the coming weeks

    Firstly, can the LD dip lower than 8% – that seems to be very low already?

    On Rennard – I have no particular views on his guilt or not. If he did was is alleged it is unsavoury but not the crime of the century and all parties are vulnerable to these sort of allegations. Men in power and all that!

    I have been following some of the debate between LD members and it is getting very heated – it seems a polarisation is occurring – and I just wonder if this is a proxy for frustrations within the party itself that will come to a head in the coming weeks.

    Also, the party management of this has been nothing short of amateurish – if anyone can be accused of putting the ‘LD Party into disrepute’ then surely it is the leadership who have allowed this one single subject fester away for 6 years or so – Clegg again seems to be lacking and it is this weak leadership that may cost them more than Rennard himself

    I don’t think voters punish a party for one off events to which any organisation can be liable but weak leadership and internal arguments can make a difference

    The LD are all very good at going on about equal rights (Lynne Featherstone and Jo Swinson make a lot of noise) – but how can we take them at all seriously when their party has so few minority or women MPs and stories such as this emerge. Instead of wittering on about babies being allowed in the lobbies of the HoC perhaps they should concentrate on things a bit closer to home.

    The Clegg leadership and the 2010-2015 Coalition may be looked back as a watershed time for the LD – and not in a positive sense

  37. @ Howard,

    Is there an explanation of this large difference in UKIP polling between pollsters, whereas the other parties are much nearer to a common percentage between them?

    Anthony will probably come along with a better explanation, but as I understand it the key factors are:

    1) Shy Kippers. Ukip consistently does better in online polls than phone polls, either because people don’t want to admit to their support to an interviewer or because the online population is more politicised and therefore more likely to back the get-out-of-Europe/we-hate-Cameron/anti-politics party than the offline population.

    2) Reallocation. If you are calibrating your weighings to some measure of party identification that was determined prior to 2013, you will down-weigh Ukip because prior to 2013 their support was much lower. (Populus is a particularly egregious example of this phenomenon.) Likewise, if you reallocate DKs by their 2010 voting intention, very few of them voted Ukip so Ukip doesn’t get a top-up.

  38. @ Bcrombie,

    The Clegg leadership and the 2010-2015 Coalition may be looked back as a watershed time for the LD – and not in a positive sense

    Isn’t it already? The plummet in their VI since the last election (also their membership and funding) is a pretty serious event for a party regardless of what happens with Rennard.

    (And of course it’s a watershed for Labour as well, who would still probably be stuck on 30% if Nick hadn’t decided to reunite the Left.)

  39. Comparing how they voted (IpsosMORI):

    ABC1
    1997 Con 39%, Lab 34%, LD 20%, Oth 7%
    2010 Con 39%, Lab 27%, LD 27%, Oth 8%

    C2DE
    1997 Con 24%, Lab 55%, LD 15%, Oth 7%
    2010 Con 34%, Lab 35%, LD 20%, Oth 12%

    So, conventional wisdom is looking to those 2010 LD totals for a Labour claw-back in 2015.

    UKIP at the moment competing for the 5% (C2DE vote) as will Crosby… leaving Ed a free run with the 7% of LDs in the upper ABC1 bracket?

  40. @ BCROMBIE

    Interesting what you have just said about the LDs. I too think that “The Clegg leadership and the 2010-2015 Coalition may be looked back as a watershed time for the LD – and not in a positive sense”.

    I have written before that I think it has been an era of disastrous wrong choices for their party in the longer term. Both their performance in government and their handling of Chris Rennard has also revealed the hidden truth about their amateurishness, and the fundamental dividing lines in the party.

    There is, and always was a large group in the party who had a cavalier attitude to relationships based on a sort of latter day 1960s hippy party attitude – and on the other side a slightly prickly feminist political agenda of political correctness. The two jarred upon each other at old Liberal Assemblies I attended in the late 70s and throughout the 80s.

    If Rennard has overstepped the mark it is because the libertine/political correctness boundaries within the party were never settled, or sorted out. It was, and is, a culture clash within liberalism.

    So too is the amateurishness. For many in the party this is fundamental to their appeal. I remember as a professional regional agent in the party up to 1989 being regarded with suspicion in some quarters because I represented HQ “Authority” when any professionalism smacked of the hated concept of “Authority” in the party.

    There are, or were, so many members of the old Liberals because they constituted an anti-party party – a sort of collective of “gentle anarchists”.

    This has saddled the LibDems with an amateurish tradition which when the spotlight of real power has been shone on them reveals their glaring deficiencies as a competent political party, despite at times promoting “fair”, or prior to the 2010 deal with the Tories, “progressive” policies.

    Like many former members I have come to the irrevocable decision that only the Labour Party, despite all its faults and occasional instinct for illiberal attitudes, is the political vehicle most likely to deliver the progressive re-distribution of wealth and power agenda desired by progressive Left-Liberals.

  41. Spearmint

    Yes, you are probably right.

    I just have a feeling though that this argument is the one that could be the subject that brings everything to a head.

    The actual Rennard case is to my mind been overblown but the reason why it is important as it exemplifies the weak leadership of Clegg.

    You now have battle lines being drawn and could end up with a fight between the Lords’ peers and Party. Again, Clegg failed to deal with it at the time, fudged the issue, had to have an enquiry that made the Party look bad and then to cap it all we have a report that seems to have upset everyone but none is allowed to see it.

    If he could not make it worse then he took sides on the issue and cannot deliver what he wants leading to a stand-off with the peers.

    Another fudge may be found over the weekend but the whole thing smells of weak leadership and I think hereto loyalists are starting to say the same thing – the killer word for any political leader is ‘weak’ – Cameron tried it with Miliband but failed to make it stick. I think Clegg is in a much more difficult position

  42. @ Billy Bob,

    Wow. Look at that Con ABC1 VI- it didn’t move at all. I dunno if that’s some kind of intrinsic cap or an indictment of Cameron or an endorsement of Brown, but wow. I was not expecting that.

    @ Bcrombie,

    Now you’ve got me worried- what if they replace him with Farron before the election!? *gnaws fingers*

  43. Spearmint –

    The difference in UKIP scores is mostly an online vs telephone difference.

    There is variation within that, but that’s all easily explained (Populus weight current party ID to a historical 2010 target, which downweights UKIP and produces a much lower UKIP figure than other online polls. Survation put UKIP in the main prompt which produces higher scores. Opinium don’t use any political weighting at all which produces a higher UKIP score. ICM’s downweighting of 2010 non-voters and reallocation of don’t knows probably decreases UKIP support a bit)

    Those are all side issues though, the key variation is between online polls and telephone polls.

    There are two obvious explanations for this.

    One is an interviewer effect – that people are less willing to admit to a human interviewer that they are voting for a “minor” or non-mainstream party, hence phone polls underestimate UKIP support. On the other hand, UKIP supporters don’t seem to be particularly shy and retiring and they are polling well.

    The other is a sampling effect, that for some reason online polls get more of the sort of people that vote UKIP than telephone polls (either phone polls miss out on them somehow and underrepresent them, or online polls recruit too many of them – either is possible). Perhaps the sort of people who support UKIP (or the sort of people full of the enthusiasm for a party that newly breaking through) are also more likely to join internet panels or respond to polls… or perhaps the sort of people who support UKIP are less likely to agree to take part in a telephone interview.

    It’s perfectly possible that both are true, and the reality is somewhere inbetween. Realistically we won’t know until 2015 (the European election might give us a clue, but I wouldn’t count on it – it’s obviously a very different sort of election, with different tactical considerations, lower turnout and historically much higher support for UKIP). Even then we might see pollsters UKIP scores converge in the run up to the election, so we may never know.

  44. Just seen that Chris Chattaway has died. BBC obituary gets its facts wrong – he lost his Lewisham seat in 1966 – not 1964.

  45. @Spearmint

    (Half in jest.) Given that ABC1 is a larger overall pool of voters with a higher liklelihood-to-vote it might make sense for Labour to go for a One Nation 35/35% split (ABC1/C2DE) in 2015. That way they wouldn’t have to compromise on “values” by going too far with populist measures on immigration/welfare.

  46. @Spearmint

    “1) Shy Kippers. Ukip consistently does better in online polls than phone polls, either because people don’t want to admit to their support to an interviewer or because the online population is more politicised”

    Or that online polls are more susceptible to duplication. More likely, the online community is more connected, so if someone sees an online poll, they tell others.

    Not so much a case of the online people being more politicised, as the politicised people online connecting more with each other.

  47. AW and Spearmint. Thank you both for taking that trouble. It would be good as a side panel so that I and others don’t keep on asking it!
    Billy Bob and Spearmint
    What Spearmint was wowing about is not so surprising to me. If you are ABC1 and don’t have an early-age leftist baggage, this is the core vote, I suggest.
    Tony Dean
    Yes your experiences mirror mine.

  48. I did reply briefly reagrding baby-boomers on the previous thread.

    @Roger H ““Demobilisation got the ‘boom’ going.”
    I thought it was the blackout.”

    I think the cold winter of 1947 and the lack of much to do in Enfield at the time had something to do with it in my parents’ case – luckily for me.

  49. Funnily enough, I mentioned Chris Chataway (note spelling) the other day but I promise not to say why. :-)

    Remember the 4 minute mile everyone? That was when we had to watch university sports as though they were the be all and end all. I actually saw it live.

  50. Baby boom
    I was born two days before VE day. My parents told me it was the D day landings that changed their outlook (married 1941).

    I suspect that even while troops were fighting through the mainland, that people felt more relaxed here. The pattern can be seen in the liberated countries by being a bit later with their boom.

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