The Sun have tweeted out tonight’s YouGov poll – topline figures are CON 32%, LAB 42%, LD 8%, UKIP 12%. This is somewhat at odds with the Labour leads of two, three and three points so far this week, though for what it’s worth all four polls would be within the normal margin of error of CON 34, LAB 39, LD 9, UKIP 12, the average of this week’s figures.

When an unusual poll comes along I personally rather discount it – more often than not it’ll just be a blip. When the same happens two days in row it gets my attention, but I wouldn’t conclude anything. When you get three in a row I normally take it seriously, it looks as though something is afoot.

But it can still just be random chance. Right now we don’t really know what the position is. It could be that tonight’s poll is an outlier and other polls will continue to show lower leads. Alternatively it could be that actually nothing’s changed and its all just been random variation around the six point lead we’ve had for months. As ever, time will tell.

392 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 32, LAB 42, LD 8, UKIP 12”

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  1. Ann

    I didn’t see the follow up article.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for intelligent people flying the wild ideas that might just change the world. But in this case, I assume that someone told him that what he had said was so intellectually vacuous, he had to do a mea culpa.

    Hang on! You’re talking about the sediment story aren’t you? I thought for a moment that you were talking about the economic growth story!

  2. The Telegraph’s reporting of the above poll is a little lacking.
    ‘Labour’s overall lead over the Conservatives has remained at two percentage points in recent months, but women remain relatively more sceptical about the Tories.’
    No mention that it is a wisdom index not a IV poll.

  3. R Huckle

    “Why do I get the feeling that the Scottish referendum campaign is going to be pretty toxic between the two sides. People have always said that politics north of the border was a tough game”

    Politics in Scotland only went toxic when Labour lost its Hegemony at local and national level.

  4. Ann
    I didn’t see the follow up article.
    Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for intelligent people fly-ing the wild ideas that might just change the world. But in this case, I assume that someone told him that what he had said was so intellectually vacuous, he had to do a mea culpa.
    Hang on! You’re talking about the sediment story aren’t you? I thought for a moment that you were talking about the economic growth story!

  5. It’s late.
    Obviously I mean voting intention, not intravenous polling.

  6. Billy Bob,
    Well,well,how are the not so mighty fallen.

  7. TNS was once known as System 3 in Scotland and was infamous for way off beam polling . Even the Scottish Labour Party took their estimates of Labour support in Scotland at 48 % with a pinch of salt .

    Both ICM and Panelbase have been reporting closer polls so perhaps TNS is correct .

    Yougov and Populus regularly record SNP Westminster VI of between 3 and 4 % VI as a UK share so there is obviously some significant movement from 2010 when the SNP support was 1.7 %.

  8. @ R Huckle,

    Opinium always shows a lead at the top end of the range (and high Ukip scores) because they don’t weigh by past vote or likelihood to vote. You can’t read anything into it.

    The polls to watch are Populus and YouGov because they’re the only trackers. Right now we have a seven point lead with absolutely no change on Populus and a week of extremely erratic polling from YouGov that averages out to a five point lead, so yeah, it probably hasn’t changed. (Except for a few blips I don’t think it’s changed since August.) But a seven point lead with Opinium is not really providing strong support for that, any more than a low lead with ICM indicates a narrowing.

  9. Lefty,
    I think perhaps I am in a muddle.As usual.The Paris article refutes the Phillip
    Collins article written the day before.I get the Times online so possibly this will
    Not be printed until tomorrow.Sorry if misleading.

  10. Interesting comments from John Curtice on the Survation indy poll (as I thought, this is the first time they have entered this market, so it tells us nothing about trend).

    Unlike every other pollster, Survation are weighting by 2010 recall instead of 2011.

    ” It looks highly likely that if Survation had followed the same practice as most other pollsters, the reported Yes vote in this poll would have been over 40% – just as it was in last weekend’s ICM poll and is in this weekend’s TNS BMRB poll.”

  11. Ann

    Apologies. I THOUGHT you meant that Parris had done a mea culpa over his witless witterings about sea level rise. I then tried a daft joke.

    Scrap the whole lot and go status quo ante.

  12. Lefty,okay,he is really not worth much thought anyway.
    No poll tonight?Sttange.

    “Zummerzett probably nothing in itself on VI ..”

    But as an indicator of the effects of Government cuts in environmental management, with other current indicators of the impact of cuts to public services (such as the provision of support of the Met to Virgin for a private prosecution in return for a share in the compensation), it just may.

    “What would constitu”te a positive argument against independence?”

    It it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.


    Good point. I must say I was more focussed on what looked to me a shambolic reaction – Paterson looking po-faced and clueless, Cameron calling in the army and the army (or 2 officers?) coming then going away having done nothing, residents venting about how pathetic the reaction was – too little, too late, etc.

  16. John Pilgrim

    But our esteemed PM hath often spoke of “Broken Britain”! :-)

    Polling across all pollsters over many years suggests that around two-thirds of Scots think that the UK is sufficiently broke (perhaps in both senses) to require fixing.

    I’ve campaigned in the Somerset level. If my experience is anything to go by – they have a long-standing experience of isolation from policy making, whether it is at Taunton or in Westminster. The impact of a failure of routine dredging of the rivers and delegation of the necessary funds and resources for this, is all too tangible evidence, first of interference in their livelihoods, and secondly of abandonment by the powers that be. Paterson’s” I have come – in person…..” won’t have gone down well.

  18. Somerset level …..corr. levels

  19. OLD NAT
    I think you mean the brokers need fixing. Och aye.

  20. Wonder if Somerset’s LibDem MPs (and MEP) will be seen as also responsible.

  21. ROGERH
    Pertinent question. Support for LD MPs in the South West has long been, IMO, an assertion of regional independence from Westminster government, Support for their MEP from 1994 has been well founded, and particularly based on deriving regional benefits from the EU, including those related to regional rural poverty – hill farming and the levels – but also in the exposure to economic decline of the defence and helicopter industries based in the region.
    It would not be surprising if this support is reinforced, as being seen as a counterbalance against Westminster neglect, and renewed VI for the LDs evidenced in the EU elections and the GE.

  22. The Independence argument is assymetric. Once Independence is delivered, hard to go back.

    So Salmond can promise many “positive” wondrous things, knowing that if they don’t come to pass, it doesn’t matter: he already got the Independence he wanted.

    On the other hand, if the Union supporters promise wondrous future things that do not come to pass, then they can be held to account and the Independence clamour can return.

    Hence the assymetry in the situation gives Salmond and his supporters an advantage in the positivity stakes. Union supporters can of course proclaim EXISTING benefits, but Salmond can tout extra, without fear of having to deliver, and proclaim that somehow he will be able to negotiate the same or better under conditions of Independence. If this is challenged, then suddenly one is being “negative”.

    Ironically the Independence campaign can be considered as intrinsically a negative campaign against the status quo. If you were positive about the current state of affairs, why be so keen to change it?

  23. funny how automod won’t pick up on things like asymmetry…

  24. This flooding thing. Is being flooded very much a minority sport? Or could it impact VI? At least in some marginals. I mean, I know many things in practice aren’t all that salient, but I’d have thought watching your car float down the road while your home and worldly goods disappear under a torrent of muddy water is a relatively significant event. Be interesting also to know how many upset by lack of government action are supporters of austerity…

  25. Politics in Scotland became “toxic” when Mrs T decided to pilot the poll tax here. But Allan Christie probably missed that chapter of Scotland’s political history ‘cos he wasn’t here at the time.

  26. Latest YouGov / The Sunday Times results 31st January – 2nd February – Con 34%, Lab 39%, LD 8%, UKIP 11%; APP -21

    Lab lead of 5

    I am still undecided whether the Cons have picked up a point from UKIP or whether the tabs for the 18 to 24 years olds are odd in this sample.

    Normally 18 to 24 has a lead of about 10 to 15% for Lab and in this sample Cons and Lab are even. I note that the sample for this group is 140, but of that 36% are DK/WV, so the actual group is 90 people. (one third Cons, one third Lab and one third the rest) and this has been weighted up to give the final score.

    Economic confidence in peoples own personal finances over the next 12 months is down again to -23 ( 15% against 38%)


    Yes if you look at the data, it would suggest that Labour hold a very good lead amongst working age people, that is not reflected in the overall percentage when the weighting is applied.

    Could Labour start to record polling into the 40’s ahead of the budget ?

  28. I have said before that IMO many people contacted by pollsters use the broad voting intention question to jibe the Tories into getting their gas bills down etc or whatever other single issue EM has picked but wouldn’t necessarily give labour the vote to run the whole country at the ballot box proper. I’m no expert at reading these tables (it’s the first time I’ve tried over on the yougov site) but labour seem to get the voting intention nod from people (possibly due to the fore mentioned reason) but when you then force the same sample to consider labour in government by asking specific questions they tend to loose on nearly every ‘real life’ question. Am I onto something or am I reading it wrong?

  29. Sorry if this has already been mentioned upthread, but this is interesting:

    Seems Cons are not inclined to seek a pact with UKIP for the next GE.

  30. Doh, “not” should read “now”. (Or alternatively add ‘dis’ to inclined.)


  31. Good Morning All, from a sunny and windy beach in Bournemouth.

    NOSTRA: I think you have raised an important question. In 1992 we had the same type of problem, many people disliked the Conservatives but many could not see Labour in power.

  32. @Nostra – you might be, or not – we’ll find out in May 2015. However, I think there are some signs that the support for Labour may be a bit more solid than that. The first point to raise however, for both yourself and @Chrislane1945, is that you really do need to be very, very careful when looking at 1992 and drawing conclusions regarding poll movements today.

    I think it’s pretty widely accepted now that the polls pre 1992 were highly inaccurate, overestimating Labour and hiding Con support. This appears to have been straightforward duff polling, not any reflection on the respondents themselves. So lets be careful when we suggest the same thing could happen again today as happened in 1992, as to a degree at least, that thing never actually happened in 1992 – the polls were just wrong.

    Having said that, you may still be correct, but I see some signs that the dynamic is moving subtlety. I think Ed will get strong feedback on his omov moves and reforms of the party, and the weekend press is beginning to show the first signs of a shift in respect for the man.

    Secondly, yes the economy is improving, which will no doubt help Cons (and also, oddly Labour, as the pressure to cut will reduce) but the gloom descending on Cons regarding the threat from UKIP seems this weekend a mile away from the optimism of the tight polls earlier in the week. Add to this accusations of political interference in education and incompetence in Somerset, and you wouldn’t think that 5 days ago we were talking about a Con majority in 2015.

    If Cons are trying to fight off UKIP, their message to the centre is going to be difficult to manage. Ed is looking more coherently radical by the day – this week it’s his policy of forcing developers to build or sell which is picking up strong polling support – and I think it would be a mistake to assume Labour support is inherently soft, or there is a natural magnetic pull for voters back to the Tories.

  33. Alec

    It is interesting to see those on the right, whether ‘Blairiight’ to ‘Toright’ always harking back to 1992 and assuming that all will be right on the night in 2015

    As you point out, this was a polling problem and the professionals seem to have ironed this out with methodology changes

    This complacency from many on the right can be seen in the ‘Labour should be much further ahead’ mantra you see everywhere whilst organising the FPTP inherent advantage they have on top of that

    Where the difficulty may be wight he polls is the UKIP influence and the move to a 4(isn) party situation – I am not sure how this will work out

    Oh, and I see Marr was trying to focus on perceived Labour internal problems in his initial introduction to Part 1 of the weekly metropolitan guff, Part 2 will be on later with Neil – it is getting a bit silly now

  34. organising=ignoring

    spellcheck – the bane of modern life!

  35. “…by asking specific questions they [Labour] tend to lose on nearly every ‘real life’ question.”

    The VI is of greater importance than the focus-group/message testing type questions. Many of these are of the likely/not-likely agree/disagree variety which depend upon the steer of the questioner.

    Having said that YouGov/Sun/ST are testing the type of media messages that will be used… “Labour will end up raising taxes on people on average earnings, not just the rich” etc.

    Try something like “Conservatives cannot be trusted when they give assurances about not raising VAT” and you might see a different picture begin to emerge.

    For the best of reasons Miliband has not courted media figures… but is that a sensible ‘real-life’ attitude? He still has work to do on his image, the Balls-factor, and the question about “a team of ministers up to the job of running the country”.

  36. Nostra.

    Ah yes, once again we have the automatic Tory recovery theory. You keep thinking (hoping?) that 1992 will happen again.

    You may be right of course.

    But you are UNLIKELY to be right. I appreciate that is difficult to understand what that means. It does have a real meaning though. Think about a roulette wheel. It has the same meaning as predicting outcomes with a roulette wheel.

    I take the point that there are some reasons to think the Tories may recover a little on the day itself (from current polling): The shy Tory factor, the media’s magnificent five year character-assassination campaign against the Labour leadership plus the anti-Labour rhetoric gets turned up in the Mail and the Sun as the election approaches. Also, as the old cliche goes, a week is a long time in politics.

    However, things are going to be very different in 2015 which means we should abandon our own pet theories.

    The LDs are barely going to feature as a national force in 2015. They will be scrambling to hold twenty-thirty seats where Con are in second place, like Eastleigh. They have effectively died across the North and Midlands at local level, a direct result of their being in coalition with the Tories. Plus Labour have been on an average of at least 37% for about three years solid. That means, I think, that a certain section of the population has made up their minds.

    Plus UKIP are a definite feature, here to stay I think, which will hurt the Tories more than Labour. The votes they are picking up are a reflection of the nihilism of the times. The voters aren’t so biddable with promises of a referendum.

    So I implore you: respect the polling, respect the bookmakers.

  37. @John Pilgrim – “The impact of a failure of routine dredging of the rivers and delegation of the necessary funds and resources for this, is all too tangible evidence, first of interference in their livelihoods, and secondly of abandonment by the powers that be. ”

    I’m interested in the issues on the levels, and the local demands for dredging. To me, this smacks of the badger cull fiasco, with a group of scientifically challenged locals assuming they understand complex scientific issues, and then looking out of their windows and making assumptions about what should be done.

    With the wettest winter period since records began to contend with, it’s pretty obvious that dredging will have virtually no effect whatsoever on the problem. Indeed, it could well have substantial negatives. I’ve had a few minutes checking some of the figures, and what I’ve come up with is the following analysis.

    The catchment of the River Parrett is 1,700km2, which means that for every 30mm of rainfall the river needs to drain 51,000,000m3 (51 billion) litres. (This assumes no loss to groundwater, evaporation or transpiration, which is not a reasonable assumption in normal conditions, but is acceptable in cases when all the stores are saturated in winter flood conditions).

    The current pumping operation is shifting 3m litres an hour, which means that to drain 30mm of rainfall would take 17,000 hours of pumping, or 708 days.

    I’ve had a look at the EA data as well, and checked the natural flow rates on the rivers. Adding together all the river gauges I can find feeding into the Parrett, the Q10 flow (the flow rate exceeded 10% of the time, effectively giving the peak flow levels) totals 7.5m3/s. If I double this, to account for missing tributaries (an overestimation, I think) we can get a peak flow in the system of 15m3/s, we can see that it takes around 950 hours to shift 30mm rainfall, or 39 days.

    This assumes that this level of high flow is constant, but in practice, as the levels are around 2 – 4m below high tide sea level, for half the time this flow cannot be maintained. But let’s simply ignore that fact and assume you can dredge. Even if you widened and deepened the channel to double their capacity, it would still take 20 days to shift 30mm of rain with natural flow, without accounting for tides.

    Given that Somerset has had around 250mm rainfall in January, and slightly more than this in December, I can see no prospect whatsoever that dredging would have made the slightest difference.

    I can’t see any merit in spending tax money on doing something so completely useless, that is not going to solve the problem and is likely to make their lives worse. Unfortunately, Patterson has a dreadful reputation within his department of not reading briefings and deliberately circumventing proper scientific advice, preferring instead to listen to the NFU and others, who are almost invariably wrong on anything to do with countryside and the environment.

  38. Today’s You Gov

    – With school aged children n=375 Lab lead 21%
    – Without n=1510 Lab lead 2%
    – Overall Lab lead 5%

    Were children also on the electoral register, with parents voting for them to represent their interests, that Lab lead would be somewhere closer to 9%.

  39. @Billy Bob
    I agree with you regarding the more detailed Sunday Times subsidiary questions. Increasingly, they tend to put forward propositions on one side of an argument and get the inevitable agreement without testing the other side in a comparable way that would also get (contradictory) agreement. Very much pandering to an agenda in search of some easy copy, I suggest.

  40. “- Overall Lab lead 5%

    Were children also on the electoral register, with parents voting for them to represent their interests, that Lab lead would be somewhere closer to 9%.”

    Include puppies and its higher still.

  41. I think any policy questions stressing it comes from a particular party will invoke a majority negative response because all the other party supporters will be against it generally.

    Then if you add the general negative view of politicians

    Then add the general discontent people have with their own financial situation

    Add all these together and you get poor scores. You could substitute Lab for Cons or LD or UKIP or any party. look at the scores for whose opinions do you trust more on the economy

    GO 23%
    EB 14%
    VC 13%

    All terrible scores. EB and VC do worse because their supporters have more “none of them” scores.

    The UK public mostly believe none of the parties have solutions to Britain’s economic problems and furthermore none of the parties are honest about what needs to be done. I believe that to be true as well.

  42. ALEC
    I can’t match your technical reading of the Somerset levels and river flow and tidal data. However, since VI will reflect perceptions rather than evidence, if I were among the residents and farmers whose lives and property have been ruined – at what overall cost, eventually to the economy and to the taxpayer? – I would be asking: OK if not pumping what other immediate and long-term solutions do you have for us? Thes might, as I have heard some environmental commentators suggest, include reforestation, but the clearing of the Mendips for sheep rearing is prehistoric – as are timber walkways created by the beaker people.

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