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. I doubt that the 50% rate has made any difference. The polls on the 50% rate have been mixed.

    Actually they have been overwhelmingly in favour with a Majority even amongst Tory Voters.

  2. Populus

    Lab 39 (-1)
    Cons 32 (-1)
    LD 11 (nc)
    UKIP 10 (+2)

  3. What this polling episode does demonstrate, however, is that there are still significant sections within the media that are not reconciled to the option of a Labour win in 2015, and are desperate to seize on data that suggests a Tory revival.

    To be fair, as things stands – or have stood so far, until the “revival” – the 2015 GE is looking as dull as the 2001 GE, with LAB heading for a comfortable majority.

    So whilst it’s true that most of the UK media – at least the press – are Tory, a “Tory revival” is probably flagged up as newsworthy because it makes things more ‘exciting’.

    I’m sure they’d have made the same of a Labour revival if things had been reversed.

  4. Arsene says he wants to bring “one body” in before the end of the deadline ce soir.

    I hope he remembers the legs.

  5. Yes and no imo Valarie.

    Broadly yes, In terms of Lab VI which I believe is the most important measure as Tory VI ebbs and flows with the UKIP and WV/DK etc.

    In terms of approval the Government rating has been on a ‘Glacial’ (I like that Neil) improvement trajectory for several months and that appears to have dragged a few for the cons back from the UKIP and DK/WV for now.

    What it tells me even if some or all of those drift away again especially around the Euro Poll is that there is 2-3% easy pickings for the Tories come the GE at the very least.

    Just to be pedantic, any Tory increase from WV/DK will mean on YG some proportionate fall for Lab as notional turnout increases while their share of the Electorate may be holding – may be some of this in the 3 earlier daily’s.
    (Maybe 0.5% for every 2% con increase, would have to look at tables and turnouts to be accurate and not worth it as only snapshot anyway)

  6. Populus tends to back the notion that the three in a row were actually random variation, and that the ten pointer puts Lab a shade too high.

    Breath easy, everyone.

  7. Chordata

    Thank you for those data. One almost (I wrote almost) imagines that Populus looks up what YouGov did yesterday and says ‘OK will settle on….’. saves doing the fieldwork.

    A bit like what the consultancy did for Greece when it reported its annual financial situation to the EC, back along.

  8. Alec – not possible my 3 in row is infallible :-)

    If not I will accede it to Howard.

  9. I’m a culprit too, but maybe a little more self aware than some, but I’m always amused by how attached some of us are to our pet theories about which way the polls will move, how the General Election will turn out, which chunks of voters will go where ( as if they are dragooned by irresistible forces) and, this is the really hilarious bit for me, how right we always were when the odd poll appears that correlates with our pet theory! Of course, we scuttle back into our respective boxes when some polls rather refute our cosy assumptions. The rule appears to be that the more you state something is the case the truer it must be, although I’m not sure repetition and certitude is a good guide to anything.

    I’m a recent convert to these ranks, I accept,, but I’m becoming increasingly attracted to those of us who really haven’t got the faintest idea what the voters are thinking. Maybe the voters haven’t either! lol

  10. David in France

    “the 2015 GE is looking as dull as the 2001 GE, with LAB heading for a comfortable majority”

    2015 looks like featuring the Lib Dem collapse, the rise of UKIP and the strong possibility of the government getting booted out.

    Hardly dull – more of an elections spod’s wet dream of unprecedented and unpredictable factors.

  11. Jim Jam
    No I’ve moved to four in a row in the light of detailed and considered analysis.

    You and AW can keep to the three if you like. One has to move with the times.

  12. @Chris Martin

    You asked for an explanation for my comment that “I totally disagree with the way you interpret statistical variance in this context.”

    If you insist:

    1. Statistical measures of margin of error are all about near certainty. So by citing a 3% + or – test implying a 95% confidence interval you are setting a very high bar, consistent with satisfying a statement along the lines of “we can be all but certain that Labour has lost ground to the Conservatives”. However, most of us are interested instead in a test with a lower bar, something along the lines of “it looks very likely now that Labour has lost ground to the Conservatives, even though there’s still a chance that things are unchanged”.

    2. You can’t just look at the variation in the polls alone, but also have to consider the context of events. In a quiet period, if there is a sudden departure from the norm in a few polls, then the quiet context enhances the chance that it’s likely to be down to statistical variation. In a period where there’s been a lot going on that could have potentially been a gamechanger – and several people commented here that the last week has felt almost as if we’re in the middle of a general election campaign – then there’s a stronger case for the same degree of variation being down to something other than statistical flux.

    So basing judgements solely on rigorous application of tight statistical tests is both inappropriate and also ignores important contextual evidence.

  13. @ Crossbat11

    My ‘pet theory’: When the media hysterically report lovely polls for the Tories, it will be followed by a backlash rise in Labour support as the ABT, RTVL (anything but Tory, reluctant to vote Labour) people are forced off the fence.
    lol!, indeed.

  14. Populus pointing to no change from last week, despite the noise from you gov. Still 6-7 point lead

  15. Possibly at some time in the next few months IpsosMORI will ask if Ed Miliband is ready to become PM.

    They have been asking this question intermittently since 1994.

    Current raking:

    Tony Blair
    David Cameron
    Michael Howard
    William Hague
    Ed Miliband
    Iain Duncan Smith

  16. . …….. the recent (period) is the longest sustained period of falling real wages in the UK on record.

    Annual real wage growth averaged 2.9% in the 1970s and 1980s, then roughly halved to 1.5% in the 1990s. The rate slowed again to an average of 1.2% in the 2000s, and real wages fell by 2.2% per annum between Q1 2010 and Q2 2013

    …behaviour of real wages is quite distinct from analysis of changes in living standards

    Reasons for the decline

    1 Decline in hours work. One reason for the reduction in the average number of hours worked each week is the distribution between full and part time work,

    2 Falling productivity

    3 Change in labour force composition ..the changing composition of the UK workforce may have had an impact on real wages, particularly the shift from higher paid workers in the manufacturing sector towards lower paid services industries.

    source ONS Jan 31 2013

    This must partially explain why people feel the recovery is not benefiting them at the moment according to opinion polls.

  17. Well that’s sobering. Not exactly a list of great statesmen, is it…


  18. @Amber Star

    There might well be something in your pet theory, I must say!

    I’ve had many theories that have crashed and burnt on the white heat of opinion polls and actual election results, but one thing that seems self-evidently true to me, certainly from the May 2010 election result and subsequent opinion polling, is that the Tories are stuck with a “brand image” that repels more than it attracts. Is this solvable for them? I’m not sure, but the lack of any sort of appreciable and sustained uptick in Tory support at the moment is the rather mysterious dog that isn’t barking in the night for me.

  19. “Current raking:”

    The rakes’ progress?

  20. @ Howard,

    Lol! Evidence-based policy making, that’s what we like to see. ;)

  21. @rogerh

    I like it!

    Incidently, GuyMonde’s excellent definition of what happerned yesterday should be shortened from Commonsnishambles to Comnishambles.

  22. @David in France

    Yes, I think the Press, even the right-leaning Press, would get just as excited if the Labour lead got up t0 12-15 points. Perhaps even more so as the Tory press would immediately start demanding the party do this and that even more shrilly than they do already.

  23. Obviously it goes without saying that Friday’s YouGov poll was a) extremely accurate and b) a direct result of [policy I like], but if we look at the crossbreaks:

    – The Tories look fairly normal although their retention was on the low end
    – Labour had high retention and a low DK percentage
    – We have another weird Lib Dem sample, this time with absolutely terrible retention (the worst since 2012) and high LD -> Lab

    The only thing outside the usual variance is the LD retention, but when you add it all up it amounts to a very lucky poll for Labour.

    More generally, I think YouGov is having a problem with their Lib Dem samples. I don’t know if the party is in turmoil over sex scandals and the small sample size is amplifying the chaos or what, but we’ve had two very anomalous samples in the space of a week. It’s the main thing driving the erratic polling. (Possibly the scandals have split the party in a way that’s opaque to YouGov, similar to the Ukip/Tory split that leads to such high variance in the Tory samples.)

  24. @Spearmint

    “The Tories look fairly normal”

    Is that on an absolute scale or by comparison to some control group (EG UKIP)?

  25. Spearmint

    Only Roger Mexico to give his view now, but your analysis seems to back up Amber Star’s view (as perhaps being intuitively well-based) about LD and DK waverers. Incidentally what you describe as ‘Friday’s poll’ is surely Thursday’s (the fieldwork for which starts Wednesday evening) so not affected by what Billy Bob describes it.

  26. “what Billy Bob describes it as” my use of churchillian English, up with which you should not have to put.

  27. @Carfrew – Apologies, I’m aware that I’m new to commenting in this community and didn’t want to tread on anyone’s toes, or sound patronising by explaining the maths. Glad you hadn’t felt that way. As it’s my day job, I’m very aware that statistics and research are not widely understood, and it’s always a decision as to where exactly to pitch the difficulty level. Line under it – drawn.

  28. @Crossbat11

    I agree – the persistent and currently near-insoluble problem of the Tories being unable to get VI sufficient to form a majority is much the most interesting aspect of polling.

    The IFS have come out today and explicitly said that the chances of overall disposable incomes getting back to 2010 levels by the election are low, and that the poor will feel it worse. We can therefore look forward to an election where the main party’s attack lines are already well-established and likely to be valid – the Tories will argue that there’s a recovery underway – and they’ll be right.

    Meanwhile Labour will point out that the population as a whole is financially no better off than when the Tories took charge. And they’ll also be right.

  29. I understand that Mr Hollande has said at the press conference with Mr Cameron that renegotiation of the EU treaties is ‘not a priority’, echoing the view of Mrs Merkel.

    Was it in French ‘obtenez-vous farci’?

  30. @ Guymonde,

    Monster Raving Loony Party?

    @ Howard,

    Well, it’s for the Friday Sun, although now that they’ve started tweeting everything the night before perhaps we should revisit the naming convention…

  31. Incidentally, the idea that anyone but lobby journalists and the people on this forum might have noticed or cared about the Comnishambles (brilliant coinage, btw) is madder than a Ukip weather forecast.

    (Emily Thornberry’s apparent belief that a Question TIme audience might be interested in it gives me real concern about election prospects of the Labour Party.)

  32. @howard

    Certainly not ascribing anything to yesterday’s comnishables. The shock YouGov had 2010 LDs breaking
    Con 17, Lab 29, LD 42

    Con 12, Lab 38, LD 29.

    It’s not the whole story by any means, but a decline in support from ex-LDs has been a feature of the gradual lessening in Labour’s lead over the last year or so. That’s why polling the marginals is helful.

  33. @Spearmint

    “(Emily Thornberry’s apparent belief that a Question TIme audience might be interested in it gives me real concern about election prospects of the Labour Party.)”

    I thought she was doing well until that question. Then it rapidly became ‘if you’re in a hole, stop…’

  34. @ Spearmint

    Re Emily Thornberry. I agree that she tends to talk about process a lot and then does not provide a clear answer. It was quite straightforward, that a foreign criminal in the UK should be deported back to their country of origin ( with caveats). In regard to someone abroad, that the Home Secretary cannot remove any UK passport, as it is illegal to make someone stateless.

    Some of this governments legislation is a shambles. They leave so much of it to the unelected House of Lords to amend it. The government also have a habit of using the HOL’s to add a load of their own amendments. Begs the question as whether the current HOC’s MP’s have the abilities and time to properly deal with legislation.

    The Tories won’t beat Labour in 2015, if they look split and are having arguments with UKIP.

  35. The comnishambles is important electorally though. It shows that Cameron will give ground to the hundred or so Ukip-lite MPs in his party.

    Pundits argue that they can’t wait to see the back of him and are sanguine about losing the election, but Cameron as PM without a renegotion in 2017 must look like a very tempting prospect for the growing Out brigade.

  36. @reggieside

    2015 looks like featuring the Lib Dem collapse, the rise of UKIP and the strong possibility of the government getting booted out.

    Hardly dull – more of an elections spod’s wet dream of unprecedented and unpredictable factors.

    I agree.

    What I meant was that all opinion polls point to – and have done so for 3 years now – a comfortable Labour majority.

    In that sense it is “dull”.

    And that is why the press might talk-up any poll movements – in whichever direction.

  37. I cannot think of a worse answer a politician has given on Question Time in the past year, possibly ever. (Maybe Philip Hammond arguing with Chris Bryant about same sex marriage? But he was starting from a very weak position there- this injury was completely self-inflicted.)

    Literally everything about that answer was calculated to make the audience hate her:

    – Obsession with Westminster procedural nonsense no one cares about? Check.
    – Pointless party political point-scoring devoid of anything resembling a principle or policy position? Check.
    – Long, rambling answer in which the panelist conspicuously fails to answer the question? Check.
    – Failure to take a coherent stance on an issue that’s actually not especially complicated? Check.

    She’s lucky Alastair Campbell isn’t running their comms anymore; he’d probably revoke her citizenship and have her deported to Somalia.

  38. @ Guymonde,

    I had a reply to you but it seems to have triggered auto-mod (perhaps justly) for being too mean to Emily Thornberry. Suffice it to say I was not impressed.

  39. Billy Bob

    Cameron as PM without a renegotion in 2017 must look like a very tempting prospect for the growing Out brigade.


    There is no growing anti-vote.

    On the YouGov site polls show increasing support for the UK remaining in the UK.

    (Or, to be more accurate, the gap between the ‘GetOuts’ and the ‘StayIns’ is lessening all the time. In atomic terms, at the current rate of ‘decay’ any referendum in 2017 would be won, comfortably, by the ‘StayIns’!)

  40. UK remaining in the EU. (Where is the edit facility on this site?)

  41. @Spearmint, R Huckle

    Yes, thinking about it I was sitting here thinking ‘ANSWER THE DAMN QUESTION’. It wasn’t hard to come up with an answer that all shades could respect if not agree with, but all she succeeded in doing was unleashing a general sense somewhere between exasperation and contempt.
    It reminded me of listening to G Brown on Today back when he was Chancellor.

  42. @David in France

    I’m referring more to the growing Out brigade in the Tory PLP. Gove for instance says he would vote no as things stand.

    Polling, irrc, tends to show that a clear stay-in vote presupposes a successful renegotiation.

  43. The Lichfield result is intriguing. Perhaps the most it tells us that with four parties involved the result can be unpredictable. Of course the local factor of how the incumbent was unseated may be relevant. The numbers voting were also quite small.

  44. Given that Hollande is weak at present in his own country, one has to consider whether the response from a N. Sarkozy to Cameron would be any different to that he has obtained from Hollande.

    This subject is as interesting to the British voters as that revealed by the recent Ipsos / Mori ‘most important issues poll’ that I cited a little while ago.

  45. CB11

    @” I’m becoming increasingly attracted to those of us who really haven’t got the faintest idea what the voters are thinking. Maybe the voters haven’t either! lol”

    Me too.

    Though it is interesting to play with polling comparisons to try & divine the mind of the Great Voting Public, such divinations are only as valid as the data being used………….which may be not very valid at all.

  46. @ R Huckle and Billy Bob,

    Insofar as the rebellions indicate Cameron has no control over his demented backbenchers, I agree with you that they’re important. In and of themselves I think they have zero chance of moving the polls, though.

    The Syria vote was illustrative here, I think. With most PMs the papers would have run with that defeat as a crippling blow to their authority, but they let Cameron off the hook because they don’t want to injure him too much. The current situation- a Tory Prime Minister who is too weak to prevent his backbenchers from forcing him into increasingly Eurosceptic positions- is exactly what the rightwing press want, because it’s their best bet for getting out of the EU. Ukip or a more rightwing Tory leader couldn’t win an election, and Labour or a stronger moderate Tory leader either wouldn’t give them the referendum or would put the full force of Government behind the In campaign.

    So the papers won’t talk about the rebellions too much for fear of disrupting the delicate balance of power inside the Conservative Party, which means they’re not damaging in themselves. But Peter Bone going on television is damaging, and Cameron can’t shut him up.

  47. I’m not sure Comnishambles will necessarily affect VI, but the more resources that the Tory leadership have to expend fighting their own party, the less they have to spend on an election campaign that has clearly essentially begun already.

    That’s why there’s a chorus of woe on Tory websites today.

    Divided parties are not known for their appeal to the electorate, and you can be extra-special-sure that Labour will tell everyone about it, repeatedly.

  48. @Spearmint

    Agreed. The Tory rebels have become accustomed to doing and saying just as they please, and I think the chances of one of them saying or doing something foolish about one of the groups that they do not care for, that damages the whole party is very much non-zero.

    I do not envy the Tory Whips one jot at the moment. I wonder if Andrew Mitchell could bring them into line?

  49. There are some really interesting questions being posed about an EU referendum for the UK leaving the EU. Because of the dominance of England, if there were to be a vote in favour of leaving the EU, this could be against the wishes and interest of other parts of the UK.

    Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales would not be happy about this. This could lead to the break up of the United Kingdom, with all countries going their separate ways. This would make the period after any referendum really difficult for the UK, at a time when it should be dealing with tackling the nations debt and improving economic performance. I am not sure the people advocating the UK leaving the EU, really understand what can of worms they would really open up.

  50. @howard – “most important issues”

    However, the relatively ‘unimportant’ matter of Europe EU is the one one that voters may well be called upon to give their definitive view in a referendum fairly soon… having been informed by the high standard of debate which we expect from our media on this issue.

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