Tonight’s daily YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 37%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 12% – so a second YouGov poll with a somewhat lower Labour lead than of late. Again, could still be margin of error, or perhaps we are seeing the lead narrowing. Time will tell.


358 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 34, LAB 37, LD 9, UKIP 12”

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  1. I’ve always held that the GE will see both main parties on or around the 35% – 36% mark.

    Quite probably the LibDems will hold the balance of power again.

  2. http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/jan/28/coop-bank-deputy-chairman-quit-project-verde

    If any recruitment specialists are reading this, take note of the above link. Psychometric tests, and most of the other rubbish now used to recruit people, is a complete waste of time.

  3. I suspect that many see this recovery not as a product of any action by this country but as a result of an improving world economy. For Labour the question they need to pose is who benefits from the improved economic prospects, for the Conservatives that is a question they desperately need to avoid.

  4. My guess is it’s not the improving economy per se that’s narrowed the gap, but a combination of the improving economy plus Ed Balls reminding us all of the alternative.

  5. Malcolm Bruce has been elected Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, despite the fact he’s standing down next year. Weird.

  6. I think its looking more and more likely EM is going to have play the Darling as chancellor wild card later in the year after the Scots vote is out of the way. I honestly don’t think EB is getting any messages to stick.

  7. Mr N
    Perhaps it’s so he can say and do things that the LDs need to survive, without worrying that he is giving hostages to electoral fortune. Or maybe he drew the short straw.
    I have thought for some time that the lower reach of Labour’s ‘rock solid infantry’ is around 35% and the Tories upper reach is about 35% too, as Spearmint and others point out, in the end it may all come down to how efficiently they are distributed electorally.

  8. RICH

    When the Scots vote is out of the way might Darling be out of the way as well?

    In any case I am not at all sure that replacing Balls, fatally wounded by his association with the disaster of the Brown Government, by Darling , fatally wounded by his association with the disaster of Brown Government, makes any difference at all.

    Milliband needs soemone new and unencumbered by the past. Oh and he should do it now.

  9. Chuka Umunna perhaps?

  10. Mr Nameless

    Two possible factors for the choice of Malcolm Bruce.

    1. He is the Leader of the Scottish LDs, so making him Deputy Leader of the Federal Group of MPs may be intended to suggest that the GB Liberals support the Scottish Party’s Home Rule proposals.

    2. He has always been a bitter opponent of going into coalition with Labour.

  11. “Milliband needs soemone new and unencumbered by the past. Oh and he should do it now.”

    All these comments from the last thread:
    St Vince has kept a line open to EM.
    And he’s grumbling about the ‘recovery’.
    And he probably doesn’t see much prospect of a bright future in the LDs.
    And he’s in the wrong party anyway.
    And he’s certainly not Brown-tinged.

    Just saying…

  12. @Oldnat

    I just realised my own MP is standing down in 2015.

    *** Yay! ***

  13. CARFREW
    Thanks for your 7.59 post on the previous thread, which I’ve filed for response when I can give time to looking at your further refs.
    On my “rule against their being derived rewards from returns or product as basic to the principles of bureaucratic institutions…” in my further reference to Mad Weber’s work, I was thinking particularly of the excessive salaries paid to themselves by virtually self-appointed bosses of utilities privatised from previous public sector services; and of banker’s bonuses.
    My interest here, and in some other aspects of bureaucratic and corporate structures in post-industrial and post-information age Britain, is in the impact on public perceptions and VI of abuse of the social contract and expectations of these excesses.
    They are, I seen as basically corrupt, or as abuses on the margins of corruption, in relation to the codes and internal regulations of institutions whicfh, whether public or private, the public thinks of as “ours” or “national”- whose behaviour is bound by a contract which is both to society and to us personally.- banks, insurance companies, municipalities, rail, energy or water supply and sanitation services, schools, health services.

  14. corr: they are, I suggest, seen as basically corrupt…

  15. I suspect that many see this recovery not as a product of any action by this country but as a result of an improving world economy. For Labour the question they need to pose is who benefits from the improved economic prospects, for the Conservatives that is a question they desperately need to avoid.

    I actually think that that Governments have little influence on improving or worsening an economy.

    I think blaming Labour for the crash in our economy in 2007/8 is ridiculous, as is thinking Gordon Brown single-handedly steered the economy by his genius from 1997 to 2007.

    In truth I think that whoever was at the wheel when the crash hit would struggled, as the global forces shaping events had far more impact than whether a tax rate was x or y %,

    I also think that the 1997 to 2007 period was that benign, running a growing economy was hard not to do.

    I am no supporter of the Government, but whoever won in 2010 was always going to struggle. The UK cannot fight a global downturn and a Euro-zone crisis alone.

    I also think the next election will be tough too.

  16. @John Pilgrim

    To be clear, I did not disagree with your concern regarding institutions. One can see merit in putting a block on management awarding themselves big salaries via dubious performance indicators. We saw how dubious these “incentives” can be in the Crunch, where folk got handsomely rewarded for being rather short of the mark.

    I was just pointing out that this can leave us with another problem: people getting paid regardless of performance, and hence not being so fussed if they do a good job or not. They may not be getting massive bonuses, but there isn’t necessarily the incentive to do things well if they get paid anyway.

    Some things can ameliorate this: eg if performance is very visible to the public. Hence airlines – who incidentally are often in the private sector – do tend to try and get it right, ‘cos people tend to notice if a plane falls out of the sky. But other jobs, tend to be more hidden from view.

    Another pressure to do the job well, can be external competition. Sometimes, this competition too is very apparent, but quite often in practice it can be rather distant and diffuse, and it may be easy to blame someone else, especially if a task is rather involved.

    So while relying on pay structures and stuff might help with one problem, it doesn’t necessarily get us entirely out of the woods.

    I didn’t know for sure if you were a fan of Dilbert or not; although the strip focuses on the plight of cubicle-dwellers, the insights often apply to institutions more broadly, and the craziness that institutions can inflict on others…

  17. @John Pilgrim

    To be clear, I did not disagree with your concern regarding institutions. One can see merit in putting a block on management awarding themselves big salaries via dubious performance indicators. We saw how dubious these “incentives” can be in the Crunch, where folk got handsomely rewarded for being rather short of the mark.

    I was just pointing out that this can leave us with another problem: people getting paid regardless of performance, and hence not being so fussed if they do a good job or not. They may not be getting massive bonuses, but there isn’t necessarily the incentive to do things well if they get paid anyway.

    Some things can ameliorate this: eg if performance is very visible to the public. Hence airlines – who incidentally are often in the private sector – do tend to try and get it right, ‘cos people tend to notice if a plane falls out of the sky. But other jobs, tend to be more hidden from view.

    Another pressure to do the job well, can be external competition. Sometimes, this competition too is very apparent, but quite often in practice it can be rather distant and diffuse, and it may be easy to blame someone else, especially if a task is rather involved.

    So while depending on pay structures and stuff might help with one problem, it doesn’t necessarily get us entirely out of the woods.

    I didn’t know for sure if you were a fan of Dilbert or not; although the strip focuses on the plight of cubicle-dwellers, the insights often apply to institutions more broadly, and the craziness that institutions can inflict on others…

  18. Looks to me as if the Labour lead has genuinely narrowed. I would now be surprised if the Tories failed to get more votes than Labour in the general election. But it’s still a strong possibility that Labour will end up with more seats.

  19. Garry Oldham

    “I suspect that many see this recovery not as a product of any action by this country but as a result of an improving world economy.”

    Your view, but its the overall view of the voters in 2015 that counts.

    “For Labour the question they need to pose is who benefits from the improved economic prospects, for the Conservatives that is a question they desperately need to avoid. ”

    Why should the Conservatives avoid that question. I will be amazed if they have not positioned themselves well on that question by 2015. They have two budgets before the election and they can also approve a significant increase in the minimum wage.

  20. Intriguing thought; Polls over the weekend showed a sharp fall in Lab, not much movement in Con (mainly UKIP up, it seems).

    Polls conducted before 50p rate announcement, which is apparently popular. Poll conducted largely after Lab announce on Friday that they plan to eliminate the deficit.

    I’m struggling to imagine that too many voters would pay attention to a single news item, but did Lab spook their own supporters with firm talk of deficit reduction, and all that implies?

  21. ALEC

    @”they plan to eliminate the deficit.”

    The Current Deficit actually-not the Total Deficit.

  22. Not a six point lead but a three point lead Tory support seems to be up in you gov to 34% or 35% labour are slipping back from last years highs to 37 – 38% i still think the reds will win. Next year though with a maj of 20 seats. But things are getting interesting

  23. Of course, as is the integral cyclical nature of capitalism, economies grow and recede naturally, irrespective of the guiding hands of government. That’s not to say that fiscal and monetary policy instruments are irrelevant, but they tend to be tools that mitigate against the excesses of recession and growth, rather than initiators of either. The capitalist beast usually roars and whimpers of its own volition and it’s quite possible that governments get far too much blame and credit for economic performance. That’s when politics and economics overlap, and I’m not saying that gross errors in economic policy don’t have an effect, but more often than not it’s fingers crossed in both the Treasury and Bank of England.

    I’d be interested to know if the people who are currently lauding Osborne’s genius now the economy is recovering at long last, were also as effusive in their praise of Brown from 1997-2007 when he presided over continuous economic growth for 10 years; growth, by the way, much more rapid than we’re seeing now? I rather suspect not, although they were probably all over him like a rash when the financial meltdown occurred.

    As I say, always be sceptical when politics and economics overlap. The creative politician can usually spin all manner of explanations from events that may well have occurred whether they were in office or not. I think the current word for all this is “narrative” and I guess the prize in 2015 will go to whichever side of the argument spins the best narrative. In old politics, and this was why being able to choose the time of the election was so important, the game was to match the electoral and economic cycles. Thatcher and Blair were quite successful in doing so, whereas Callaghan and Brown crashed and burned.

    Mind you, raw economic metrics on their own mean little to voters. The key is whether they feel more secure financially and generally better off. If most do, then governments tend to get re-elected. If most don’t, then they quite often take a punt on the alternative. I’d say, on that basis, it’s all bets off for May 2015.

  24. Opinion polling on the economy tends to be along the lines of who do you trust/who would be better… David Cameron and George Osborne or Ed Miliband and Ed Balls?

    Osborne on his own is perhaps not too popular, but he benefits from his association with the PM, who tends to out-poll the party.

    Labour still have ground to make up on the economy. Confidence in Ed Balls does not seem to be too high even among Labour supporters, and Ed Miliband polls behind the party.

    The best PM is likely to favour Cameron as we get closer to the election, and no doubt Miliband will be ridiculed after the fashion Kinnock, plus lashings of red menace with a bit of denom-eyes thrown in.

    Labour MPs will be crucial in this. If they respond to the perceived unpopularity of their leader in the way that they did with Brown it will give the impression that they don’t really have a candidate for the job. Miliband needs to inspire his front bench and parliamentary party, and they in turn need to bouy him up.

  25. Is it just me thinking that the apparent narrowing of the Labour lead might be partly down to growth figures, which did make headlines?

    (notwithstanding that they might clock a 41 tomorrow, natch)

  26. Has anyone made a list of MP’s standing down in marginal seats and what candidates the main parties have so far selected ?

    If the 2015 election is close, it will be the marginal seats that decide which party holds the most seats and therefore most likely to form the government. If any marginal seat MP’s are standing down, the selection of the best candiate for the seat will be crucial.

    Do the parties go for a local person of good standing in the community/party or do they go for someone from outside of the area, but maybe a well known personality nationally ?

  27. @ CATMANJEFF

    “I think blaming Labour for the crash in our economy in 2007/8 is ridiculous, as is thinking Gordon Brown single-handedly steered the economy by his genius from 1997 to 2007.”

    There wasn’t one single cause of the crash of 2008, but among the contributory factors the failure of the tripartite system of regulation played a major role. That system was the brainchild of the incoming Labour government of 1997, which rushed too quickly to change the system of regulation and failied to take into account warnings about systemic failure from the opposition benches.

    In my opinion, if you had to single out one individual for overall responsibitlity for the crash, then that would have to be Alan Greenspan. However, Brown would be among the top three, if not second overall.

  28. @Barnaby Marder

    “Looks to me as if the Labour lead has genuinely narrowed. I would now be surprised if the Tories failed to get more votes than Labour in the general election. But it’s still a strong possibility that Labour will end up with more seats.”

    Without wanting to be too simplistic and be accused of stating the bleedin’ obvious, the key to whether the game is really changing is the Tory VI. If there is clear evidence that it is increasing, primarily at the expense of Labour, then plates are indeed shifting, but I think it’s far to early to conclude that this shift is occurring yet. The Tories still seem mysteriously becalmed, even in the “sensational” ComRes poll, and while YouGov are showing some upward drift, it’s pretty anaemic and underwhelming. Twitching still seems to be the appropriate verb.

    What has undoubtedly occurred, however, is a slippage in the Labour VI and this has led to the recent narrowing in all the polls. Strangely though, this may be less cause for alarm for Labour than if they were haemorrhaging support to their main rivals. What’s causing the slippage, and where it’s going, is more difficult to diagnose and discern. My guess, for what it’s worth, is that voter apathy is applying and Labour are more vulnerable than the other parties to the “I couldn’t give a toss at the end of the day” element amongst the electorate.

    They need to be given a reason to believe, Mr Miliband!

  29. “Is it just me thinking that the apparent narrowing of the Labour lead might be partly down to growth figures, which did make headlines?”

    Although the figures were much anticipated prior to the announcement itself, the change in the standing of the parties predates the release of the figures, so I doubt it’s due to that.

    I think the fall in unemployment announced last week is more likely to have had an impact.

  30. @R Huckle

    As far as MPs standing down, the seats are these:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Next_United_Kingdom_general_election#MPs_standing_down

    Of the 13 Con seats, 4 (Cardiff N, S Ribble, Erewash and S Ribble) are ones that they could potentially lose in 2015. Northampton S has been Lab previously but would be a tougher call. And they’ve already lost Corby since 2010. Overall though, the picture is of relatively few Con MPs stepping down in marginal seats, probably because most have only just been elected.

    Of the 9 LD seats (including Portsmouth S where Hancock has been effectively deselected now), with the loss of the incumbency vote all are ones that they could conceivably lose although NE Fife and Hazel Grove are less marginal than the others.

    Lab will be strong favorites to hold on to each of their 19 so long as they make some minimal headway nationally in 2015 against the Conservatives. On that basis, it is tactically quite an opportune time for sitting Lab MPs to step down.

  31. The lead is definitely down from the post-Conference peak. An average of the last 5 polls gives a 3.2% lead. As you say, whether this is a real trend time alone will tell.

  32. Re earlier discussions, there were some interesting movements in the “Shadow Chancellor at next GE” betting market yesterday:

    Balls unchanged at 1/5 on

    Darling in from 10/1 to 7/1

    Cooper and Johnson out from 10/1 to 12/1

    Umunna out from 10/1 to 16/1

  33. As far as I’m aware the only difference between Miliband and Balls on the 50p rate is that Miliband wants it to be permanent.

  34. Earlier list should have been:

    Cardiff N, S Ribble, Erewash and S Thanet

  35. Occasional Notes on Psycho Drivers No 345

    For footage of Audi [who else!!] driver who assaulted cyclist who reprimanded him for his illegal driving see the following link.

    http://home.bt.com/lifestyle/motoring/motoringfeatures/cyclist-attacked-in-road-rage-incident-video-11363870785530#disqus_thread

    The driver who boasted on twitter after knocking a cyclist off his bike lost her job & was convicted of failing to stop after accident. She was [bizarrely] acquitted of Driving without Due Care & Attention.

  36. CB – re timing of GE.
    Alec speculated a few months back that given lead indicators this autumn may have been a better time for a GE from the Tories perspective before the ‘unsustainable’ spending had to be reined in.

    I wonder what effect on the Scotland Referendum if the Tories are in the lead this autumn, a big boost for Yes perhaps?

  37. Out of interest what are the chances of two “outliers” in a row from YouGov?

    That probably would give a better understanding of whether these might show a genuine lower lead or just standard MOE that you get now and again.

  38. Satoru Iwata, the CEO of Nintendo, has taken a 50% pay cut because the company’s not doing well. I suspect that’s a response we’d see from very few here.

  39. Shevii – I prefer the term at one end of moe but 2 in a row has happened several times before in both directions.

    I have a crude rule of thumb that has been accurate since YG daily polls started that 3 in a row demonstrates a real shift which has been backed up by subsequent polls.

    Of course the Coms Res suggests a shift as well but for me the a third YG 4 or below will be significant.

  40. If Labour do end up with the most seats I can’t see them going into a formal coalition with the LibDems (assuming the maths favours it). It would seem a bit odd them keeping LibDem ministers in office after they’d lost an election. I’d expect them to proceed as a minority government maybe with some less formal pact.

  41. Re: Labour MPs standing down

    In Scotland the situation is not clear.
    Neither Aberdeen North nor Stirling are automatic Labour seats. Eric Joyce’s antics mean Falkirk is unknown. Only Glenrothes seems to me to be certain to return Labour.

    @Panther
    In general, your projected 20 seat majority for Labour looks just on the low side – I would suggest 25. But no-one has yet come back on the questions I asked a few days ago:

    1. If Scotland votes for independence, Labour lose 30-35 seats;

    2. If Scotland remains and the UK continues, then it is on the assumption that Devo-Max will follow quickly. If that happens, Labour will be forced to accept that the English will no longer allow Scots MPs to vote on purely English matters: So labour lose 30-35 seats. Either way, Labour cannot govern on its own.

  42. I have good regard for Darling who I don’t see tainted by the Brown connection as the two Ed’s are. Darling seemed to spend most of his time resisting Brown and if he hadn’t been clever tactically, would have got replaced with Balls in 2009.

    Whether Darling could work with Milliband or would even want the job again is another question.

    Personally I see Balls staying. He would be unlikely to accept a lesser job and Milliband is unlikely to want him loose on the backbenches.

    Luciano Berger on Daily Politics is a looker but she hasn’t a clue what she is talking about re the 50p tax rate. Embarrassing. Good job it’s not Paxman interviewing her.

  43. @John B
    Aberdeen N, Stirling and Falkirk currently have majorities for Lab of 22%, 18%, 16%. No seat is ever “automatic” for any party, but they have to be strong favourites with majorities of that magnitude.

  44. I’m with Alec. I said it in the last thread. I’d like to say it was my first thought when I saw Labour’s 37’s following their (unreal anyway) 40’s, but it was my second.

    The 1% Labour blip (if other than accidental, which it could well be) is most likely down to Balls’ talk of deficit reduction and cutting. I think that might well have persuaded a handful of the 38% to swerve to the Don’t Knows or UKIP. If that 38% has indeed persisted for so long on social-moral grounds, then learning that Labour could possibly behave just like the Tories might well have dislodged them.

    Balls can’t have been so daft as not to have thought that was a possibility, however. He’s not a strategically unaware man, look on him how you will. He was getting a few small print things out of the way at a safe-ish distance from 2015 maybe. Talk of him being replaced seems way off target, and mostly coming from the right, I think. Deposing him would be a Tory goal, surely? The equivalent of the opposition dislodging a serving minister, in tactical terms.

  45. Anyone know if a party does better where a misbehaving MP stands down rather than trying to cling on? Neil Hamilton tried that and it didn’t work.

  46. @ Phil Haines

    Thanks. I think at the 2015 election the share of the vote for Labour and Tories will be very close, unless something happens between now and then.

    Therefore what is happening in the marginal seats will determine who forms the next government. I think previous polling in the marginals has shown a larger Labour lead that the normal polls. But those marginals where an MP is standing down, will make it much harder to predict. Candidate selection could be crucial.

  47. @R Huckle

    I remarked in the last thread (too late!) that the Peter Kellner article in the Graun implied that the Tories would do well in marginals won in the last GE due to what he called sophomore bounce (aka incumbency premium)

    This seems to run counter to what the Ashcroft polls in marginals (which you refer to above) suggested.

    Interested in expert views on this, which could be pretty crucial

  48. Guymonde – I wrote about it here: http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/8431

  49. http://yougov.co.uk/news/2014/01/29/britons-remain-sceptical-about-economic-recovery/

    It;s YouGov, so it must be right!

    I’m hesitant to place too much faith in focus groups – I see these more as structured anecdotes – but it’s clear from the polling that there is a recovery, the populations actual experience of the recovery, and then the populations impression of their experience of the recovery.

    All three of these can be different.

  50. Robert Newark

    You have altered the sex of Luciana (note the ‘a’ on the end) Berger, which is remarkable given your ‘Inverdale’ words about her. :-)

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