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. @Lefty

    The irony is that this government is actually being, in many respects, Keynesian. Will Hutton pointed this out last year…

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/30/george-osborne-autumn-statement-economy

    “The scale of the monetary activism from the Bank of England over the past few years, along with the Bank taking ever smarter tools to direct financial flows where they are needed, is borrowed straight from Keynes’s A Treatise on Money. If ever there was monetary policy à outrance, as he called it, it is now, though we now prefer the term “quantitative easing”. We have record low interest rates alongside active measures to direct credit where it is wanted, underwriting risk, with the Bank standing by to head off any house price boom, not with interest rate hikes but, first, with interventions in the mortgage market.”

    Basically they have maintained Labour’s keynesian monetary activism, but acted fiscally on cuts.

    This meant that while the cuts flatlined the economy, the monetary stimulus stopped it falling through the floor.

    But they had to do a further stimulus in the end, via housing and as Colin noted in the last thread, now on infrastructure.

  2. “I don’t think that anyone would regard that as a u-turn without it being advertised as such. Those paying attention would know that it was always Labour policy that the deficit would get reduced EVENTUALLY.”

    Hi Bill Patrick,

    Agreed, but I would still agree with Guymonde as well. It isn’t the consistency of the Balls’ argument that’s in question. It’s what it seems on the surface to say. Those NOT paying attention will all too easily have seen what Balls said about the deficit as toeing the Osborne line.

    Personally I don’t think it has made much difference to the Labour VI, although of course we will have to wait and see. The Tory VI has improved in the last week (again we wait to see if that continues as a trend) and that’s what has narrowed the gap. Can the Tories raid UKIP for yet more, and more? Tory-leaning correspondents have been saying they can and will for as long as I have been looking in here. But unless they can consistently bite chunks out of UKIP, the Labour 38 makes the ‘gap’ irrelevant.

  3. @Colin

    You’ve done some good in-depth analysis of the polls and, being the lazy so-and-so I am, saved me a lot of work in the process! What you’ve unearthed ties in with the hunch I’ve had about what underpins the narrowing in the Labour lead that we’ve seen over the last few months. As others have said, what has been remarkable about this Parliament has been the almost total lack of movement between Labour and Tory and this phenomenon is persisting, even though we’re at a stage in the electoral cycle where you’d expect some movement now. Are orthodox swing voters a dying breed now and are the only significant voter journeys taking place amongst and between the smaller parties? I accept that a Don’t Know is a difficult man/woman to read in terms of what they might do in the secrecy of a voting booth, but it would appear that the reduction in the Labour VI being detected now in most polls is mainly due to apathy rather than conversion to another cause.

    There is solace for Labour in this, although it may mean that their vote is more vulnerable to turnout levels, because the real spine-shiverer would be to see a drift to the Tories or, even worse, some Lib Dem returnees. This, for now certainly, doesn’t seem to be occurring and it might be worth speculating that Labour’s VI can move swiftly upwards again if they can enthuse and inspire the hitherto disinterested or disillusioned, unattracted by a Tory alternative. In that sense, maybe, they have more potential than other parties. On the other hand, I wonder if the Tory vote is a bit boxed-in and ossified.

    These are all idle thoughts, I accept, but UK politics is certainly no longer a zero sum game involving only the Tories and Labour. This relatively new multi-faceted dimension to electoral politics makes it hellishly difficult to predict.

  4. @CATMANJEFF

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

    ——-

    Depends on the scale if the problem. Brown, along with governments elsewhere, acted to stop the dotcom crash hammering the economy. But the banking crash was of a whole different order. When banks stop lending, everything goes south rapidly…

    Brown was ok when things hit the fan economically. He reacted rapidly to the Crunch. He wasn’t much cop at making the most of the good times though… hence we had less resilience than we could have had when the Crunch hit…

  5. @LEFTY

    “But it’s a hell of a job to sell to the public.”

    That’s my point really – and my post was a speculation about how the public might perceive the recent announcements.

  6. @LizH

    On the blog thing: it can be quite a lot of effort… when I see how much of the time AW has to watch over this board…

    There are numerous blog ideas… but ones that won’t take up too much time, while still keeping an audience happy, that’s something else. ..

  7. I read an article by Robert Peston recently where he argued that, by Labour’s own Keynesian logic (you should cut taxes and raise spending only when the economy is doing well, and lower taxes and increase spending only when the economy is doing badly) they should actually be moving towards a period of fiscal rectitude in any event. Remember the original mantra from Labour was not just that the cuts were too deep but that they were happening too early (ie we should cut the deficit in the future, when the economy is growing again).

    By that token, Balls’ deficit pledge is actually fairly logically and intellectually consistent, as is the policy of increasing taxes. He should probably be selling both as a sensible plan to moderate a future “boom” (in other words, Labour learning from the ‘mistakes’ of the early 2000s).

    As people have said, though, this is all about selling things to the electorate, and Balls isn’t much of a salesman. He does have lovely eyes though.

  8. Colin Davis,

    But would those not paying attention go to the bother making of the inference of equivalence? Maybe, but maybe not.

    Also, focusing on who wins the next election is important, but not the only thing that polls can give us some info about. In particular, if the result looks like 42-30-8 in Labour’s favour, then that means that Labour can look at having the kind of parliamentary muscle to see easily through the tough decisions of 2015-2020. If the result looks like 37-37-12, then whatever government is formed is going to struggle to make tough decisions and will find small parties and backbenchers have a kind of influence we haven’t seen since the 1990s.

  9. R&D
    “Droll that we have mounting evidence that sexism is right wing.”
    Mind you, the Tory problem is attracting women – not whether they’re attractive.”

    Unbelievable how such a light hearted and complimentary comment could produce such a response. It merely confirms my long held belief that those on the left lack a sense of balance in all things normal.

    Also to support your assertion that this is right wing, can you point to any polling evidence? Is it true that wolf whistling builders vote Tory or uKIP?
    What is highlighted by the reaction by you and others is that the left is clearly divided into two distinct elements. There is the true working class, salt of the earth, bloke in the pub type who vote labour and who would not have taken any offence at my comment.
    Then there is the left wing intelligentsia who think they working class but in fact are very middle class and think that it is their role in life to dictate what everyone else should think and say. Something highlighted, albeit on a different subject, by GB during the last GE when he left his microphone on.

    Such is the disconnect within Labour itself and the reason why UKIP may not comprise solely of ex Tories at the next election.

  10. @GUYMONDE

    LEFTY

    “But it’s a hell of a job to sell to the public.”

    “That’s my point really – and my post was a speculation about how the public might perceive the recent announcements.”

    ——–

    The problem is that Balls hasn’t seen what Clinton saw.

    To advocate more spending when one has a deficit seems counter-intuitive UNLESS, one adopts the Clinton line: “It’s not tax and spend, it’s invest and grow.”

    If you sell it as an investment where you get back more than you put in, it makes more intuitive sense. Balls knows that’s the economic plan, but he doesn’t sell it well when he talks about it.

    If you talk about how cuts can harm the economy… difficult to explain. Now you are in a world where you have to talk about demand and business response, consumer response etc., and the coalition hit back with interest on the debt etc.

    You can bypass this just by talking about investment. Even the coalition sell it a bit better!! When they talk about getting more back from infrastructure as opposed to welfare…

  11. Anthony
    Please delete my post of 10.42 in moderation. I have successfully identified the likely offending words and reposted it above.

  12. @Robert Newark

    Thing is, you are complaining about a lack of balance but you have just extrapolated the argument to an assault on the whole of the left wing intelligensia…

    Even the good looking ones. Top escalating Robert, it must be said…

  13. carfrew

    Agreed: paradox of the most bizarre.

  14. @Colin

    Very nice statistical work..

    There is definitely very little movement between Cons and Lab, around about 5% most days according to yougov. The LD to Cons can be slightly larger some days, averaging around 10% of LD 2010 vote. I think these are actually Con voters, who voted tactically for the LD’s in safe Lab seats.

    For the Cons to win they have to get all the UKIP defectors back but they will also need the LD’s to grab back all the 2010 LD defectors to Lab.

    it would be in both the coalition partners interests to help the LD’s to increase their vote at Lab’s expense. I wonder how they will do it.

  15. Jack
    ‘Name one person in the UK who sees themselves as a UK citizen first. We all see ourselves as Scottish / English/ Welsh / NI . We are only a vaguely ‘united kingdom’ – time to let go’

    Please add Chordata to the others already named.

    Born & lived in Scotland until I was 17 then moved to England & been here ever since and regard myself as British, not Scottish.

  16. Carfrew

    Less a complaint, more an observation. I comment no more on it.

  17. ” Is it true that wolf whistling builders vote Tory or uKIP?”

    Yeah, they probably read the Sun/Express/Star so yes, they probably do vote Tory/UKIP.

  18. CB11

    Thanks.

    I agree with much of that.

    I said before that I thought a fall in VI because of some disappointment should be reteivable-but of course the caveat must be that you need to know the cause & be able to address it. My guess is that if this feature exists ( as I believe the numbers suggest)-it has to do with the two Eds.

    I would slightly disagree with you on the Tory vote. As I said-if all the remaing 2010 Con id ers still voting UKIP were to revert to Cona that’s 5% pts of headline VI.

    And because YG Polls don’t sghow UKIP 2010 id ers, these are effectively buried in the “non 2010 iders” in a YG Poll. As it happens, the UKIP VI in this group represents exactly the 2010 UKIP GE vote-3% pts.

    Which brings me to that YG group-I don’t know the demographics of it -but it presumably includes young new voters.
    Anyway-from Con’s point of view:-
    * They only have 13% of it in recent YG Polls
    * THat groups WNV/DK is up around 42% of the whole group!-there must be potential there ( though I agree for all parties too)

  19. Yes, absolutely, Bill P.

    We are all watching the Tory-UKIP situation with interest. UKIP took meaty lumps out of the Tories at the start of the parliament. The right think they will come back the minute the economy picks up, and they are telling those who pay little attention that it has started doing that.

    Will 37-37 do that for the Tories, or even 38-38? Plenty of people here know the answer to that. I don’t.

  20. For the first 18 years of my life I really had no concept of being “English” and thought of myself as almost exclusively “British”. This is partly just the English habit of conflating the two, but probably also reflects my own mongrel background (foreign surname, father born abroad etc).

    It was only when I went to university in North Wales, and experienced racial prejudice for the first time, that I really understood the difference and felt any kind of specific Englishness.

    These days, I’d say I am probably about 50/50. I generally answer the question “country of birth” with “England” and “nationality” with “British”.

    For what it’s worth, I find “Britishness” a far more helpful concept for the large number of people whose origins are abroad, or are mixed. “Black British” means something – more so, I’d suggest than “Black English, Black Welsh or Black Scottish” which all slightly sound oxymoronic (even if they shouldn’t).

    It helps that the word “Britain” is more geographic than ethnographic.

  21. FLOATING VOTER

    THanks.

    I think the key for Cons is the 2010 Con voters who defected to UKIP.

    THey can do something about them.

    The LD defectors to Labour are not Cons’ to persuade, and there is little sign that they return in significant numbers, even when Lab voters are waivering.

    I’,m not knowlegable enough to know how deals & arrangements at Constituency level might help on that front-but I suspect they would just become a shambles.

  22. @NEIL A

    “I read an article by Robert Peston recently where he argued that, by Labour’s own Keynesian logic (you should cut taxes and raise spending only when the economy is doing well, and lower taxes and increase spending only when the economy is doing badly)”

    ———–

    Increasing spending in downturn can be a bad idea in certain situations. Putting more money into an economy when you already have big inflation issues, for example, is probably going to make the inflation worse.

    Hence the difficulty of dealing with the oil crisis in the Seventies. The rise in the price of oil both raised prices, but threw us into recession as a consequence. Actions to boost the economy would stoke inflation further, while actions to reduce inflation – cuts, upping rates – tend to make recession worse.

    Hence Thatcher’s cuts and high interest rates rapidly raised unemployment. Labour’s approach – bear down on wages – reduced inflation and HELPED business by reducing their costs. So the economy recovered and inflation fell…

    Problem was wage restraint led to strikes after the second oil shock, so Labour got turfed out…

  23. @Carfrew,

    I mostly agree with you, but I think the Oil Shock was an artificial, politically-generated crisis and it is hard to fit it into any kind of cohesive economic theory.

    I also think that controlling inflation exclusively or mostly by controlling wages will almost inevitably fail in a democracy. People don’t like massive falls in their cost of living being used as a tool of economic policy. Hence the traction of Labour’s “cost of living” campaigning (until recently at least).

  24. Name one person in the UK who sees themselves as a UK citizen first.

    Me

    Next Question

  25. @Neil A

    Yes, Labour’s approach in the Seventies worked economically, but not politically. Major and Clarke left a growing economy but didn’t benefit politically either. Brown didn’t cause the Crunch, left a growing economy, got turfed out. It’s possible these lessons have not been entirely lost on the current crowd of politicians…

  26. Carfrew.

    Damn those ellipses. You’ve got me hanging on for the next part of the story…

    Don’t tell me that the union barons who brought down the Labour Govt found that they had inadvertently paved the way for a neo-classical revolution that would lead to a generation of high unemployment with proceeds of growth going disproportionately to the wealthiest in society, with the consequent development of an obscenely bloated and dominant financial sector, whose inevitable, Mr Creosote-like demise left us in a Lost Decade that hit the poorest hardest?

    That’d be too daft to script.

  27. @Neil A

    On the politically-generated crisis thing: yes, the oil shocks were a political response by OPEC, unhappy about the Yom Kippur war and stuff.

    But these things happen, so governments need to be prepared. These days we are rather less dependent on oil so oil hikes don’t throw us into chaos. Instead we are over-reliant on financial services etc.

    Although maybe not political, Brown should have been prepared for a banking crash because these things too, also happen…

  28. I always put British when ask my Nationality I support England at Football and UK at Olympics.

  29. @Neil A

    Interesting. Did the ‘social contract’ fail because “People don’t like massive falls in their cost of living being used as a tool of economic policy” or because the forces of change were too extreme to contain.

    You could argue that the current gov is attempting the same trick using a different tool set (public sector pay freeze, reduced benefits for working people, raised indirect taxes – rather than an explicit contract) and the jury is out on whether the electorate will accept it.

  30. @ROGERREBEL

    I’d love to support UK at the Olympics but for reasons which I can only put down to British perversity, the UK team is quite wrongly known as ‘TeamGB’

  31. Neil A

    On curing inflation thru suppressing wages.

    I’m not sure that there is any other way to squeeze endogenous inflation out of the system. The question then becomes one of how best to curb wage rises.

    That was the central issue in the late 70s. Do you do it in a planned, collective way that shares the pain, or do you do it by allowing unemployment to rise and let the market set the going rate for those still in work?

    I’m guessing what you meant was that you don’t think the first approach can work in practice. You might well be right. The moral issue though is that the second one works by the “I’m Alright Jack” principle, with the majority of the pain being felt by a relatively small and marginalised section of society.

  32. @GuyMonde,

    I’d say that the Oil Shocks were a more acute crisis even than the Banking Crash. Partly that’s a tribute to Brown’s reasonably sure-footed response to the Banking Crash, but also that the banking issue was in a sense “organic” – it grew out of flaws in the way business was being done. The Oil Shocks were more like an act of war – the deliberate infliction of economic damage from outside.

    Working out what to do would be a bit like debating how to increase housing stock in the East End in 1942.

    Callaghan was a victim of trying to do the politically difficult in an environment where his supposed “allies” were determined to stop him.

    I agree there are some similarities with the current government, although I think the difference is that, due to the prescription of ultra-low interest rates, there is a solid body of UK citizens whose standard of living hasn’t been affected at all. Even public sector workers like me, if we haven’t been made redundant, are probably no worse off overall since 2008, once mortgage rates are factored in.

  33. @Lefty,

    Posts crossed, but I think we basically said the same thing with a slightly different spin.

  34. “once mortgage rates are factored in.”

    …and storage costs…

  35. @Lefty

    Yep, there’s a case for saying the unions blew it. Bit like the private sector are not necessarily helping out the Tories now with energy hikes etc…

  36. @ Valerie, Hannah etc

    I confess I’ve been taken aback by the fact that the normally thoughtful people on here don’t seem to be able to see the problem.
    I guess sexism is a bit more ‘institutional’ to coin a phrase than I had credited.

  37. I think Labour’s policy of eliminating the deficit on day-to-day I & E while still allowing additional borrowing for investment is quite smart both politically and economically. I wouldn’t say the same for Osborne’s stated aim of a further £25bn of cuts after the election.

    Re. the 50p tax, will Balls be able to reverse it if returning to 45p is politically unpopular, particularly within the Labour Party?

  38. @ Roger H

    Isn’t eliminating the deficit the same as making cuts? Am I missing something?

  39. Can we steer the discussion back onto polls?

  40. @ Bill

    That really needed challenging!

    What are the VI thoughts on LD’s moving to Con? Seems to be missing in despatches and there are a significant number out there.

  41. “Can we steer the discussion back onto polls?”

    Steer away Bill.

  42. Bantams,

    It might be prospective tactical voting (there are more Con-Lab marginals than Lib-Lab marginals) or due to changes in preferences. A lot of churn takes between elections for no general reason at all, because people’s concerns change over time.

  43. Colin – I think the notion that there is little between the underlying VIs for the 2 main parties is gaining support on here as some ‘always likely to return’ support has re-joined the Tories.
    Your ”The LD defectors to Labour are not Cons’ to persuade, and there is little sign that they return in significant numbers” has got me thinking.

    For the Tories to overtake Lab, however, may require some 2010 LD -Lab defectors s to return to LDs but as you imply most if not all of these will be anti-tory.

    Should the Tory position look stronger these voters (or at least the aware ones) may become even harder for the LDs to get back?

  44. It is very fair minded of Neil A as a Tory to acknowledge that while one may disagree with EBs macro outline it is coherent.
    Some Lab supporters do not understand that further expansionary measures (fiscal relaxation) with an Economy already growing around 2% is inflationary and dangerous.
    Borrowing for investment is a message that should be sellable?

    Neil and others are right of course that selling the policy could well prove more difficult for EB as the narrative control lost completely during the leadership election is looking as though it may prove to costly for Labour.

  45. @guymonde

    My thoughts too. My comment is in mod’. My last words on the subject.

  46. @JIM JAM

    “It is very fair minded of Neil A as a Tory to acknowledge that while one may disagree with EBs macro outline it is coherent. Some Lab supporters do not understand that further expansionary measures (fiscal relaxation) with an Economy already growing around 2% is inflationary and dangerous. Borrowing for investment is a message that should be sellable?”

    ———–

    Don’t forget that the billions the Bank of England has been pumping in may also be considered inflationary, and they can roll that back if things start to overheat.

    Labour only put in about £30bn of stimulus last time though – the rest of the deficit was making up the shortfall from tax receipts and welfar costs. According to Colin, seems like they are looking at a similar figure next time.

    When the coalition made their cuts, they mostly cut the stimulus back. Deficit fell by £30bn, to about £120bn, and growth flatlined. £30bn is worth about 2% growth.

    As a matter of interest… the economy is about £1.4 trillion. 2% of that is… 28bn.

  47. “the rest of the deficit was making up the shortfall from tax receipts and welfare costs.”

    and interest payments etc., of course…

  48. @Carfrew

    Just carry on posting here. I enjoy reading your postings and find them very informative.

  49. Missed this one yesterday.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/10605957/World-risks-deflationary-shock-as-BRICS-puncture-credit-bubbles.html

    That’d kick is out of polldrums, if the brewing emerging markets currency crisis really explodes.

  50. @CB11
    “UK politics is certainly no longer a zero sum game involving only the Tories and Labour. This relatively new multi-faceted dimension to electoral politics makes it hellishly difficult to predict.”

    Agree. Fun trying though.

    By the way, one Cornish grandparent, one from London, two from from different parts of Scotland. Not sure what that proves, if anything. Politics is more interesting.

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