This week’s YouGov/Sunday Times results are here. Topline voting intentions are CON 32%, LAB 39%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 12%.

People’s opinion of how Cameron has handled the floods has crept up slightly since last week, but a solid majority still think he hasn’t done well. 29% of people think he’s handled the flooding well (up 4 from a week ago), 60% badly (down 2). The figures for the environment agency are still very similar – 27% say well, 63% badly.

While opinion has moved slightly in Cameron’s favour, on the question of whose fault the flooding is blame is gradually shifting towards the government. Compared to a fortnight ago 27% now blame the government (up 10 points), 23% the environment agency (down 5), 41% say it is just freak weather and nothing could have been done (down 8). Support for more spending on flood defences has also steadily risen – now 50% of people, from 49% a week ago, 38% a fortnight ago. People have also become more likely to think the flooding is connected to climate change – 47% now say the weather causing the floods is likely connected to climate change (up 7), 39% think it is not (down 5).

Looking forward, 57% of people would support a ban on building houses on flood plains, 33% think it is acceptable with appropriate anti-flooding measures. The public are almost evenly divided on whether we should keep on defending the most vulnerable areas – 39% think we should defend all settled areas, whatever the cost, 38% think there are some settled areas that are such a high risk of flooding it is not worth the cost to try and defend them. 47% of people think those people who have bought property in areas of high flood risk and ended up being flooded deserve our sympathy, 22% think they have only themselves to blame.

There was also an Opinium poll in the Observer with topine figures of CON 28%(-1), LAB 37%(+1), LDEM 8%(nc), UKIP 17%(nc). Their flooding questions had very similar results to YouGov – people thought Cameron hasd responded badly to the flood by 51% to 23% thinking he’d done well. 51% think the floods were related to climate change, 24% did not.


191 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 32, LAB 39, LD 9, UKIP 12”

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  1. Thanks Couper 2802 for coming up with just the sort of thing I was wondering about. Seems like one very good reason to let sleeping LD’s lie, I reckon.

    I would think Clegg’s move is a move to affect his polling, isn’t it, Statgeek? And whether or not Labour should act as Phil suggested is also very germane to the polling issue. Policy’s one thing. Moves made with the express intention of improving one’s standing with voters are quite another.

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  2. Can’t see why Miliband would do anything other than tell Clegg to bugger off if he wants to keep the defectors. Not much else he can do given the circumstances.

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  3. @Phil

    Indeed, and many subjects might crop up on blogs, but AW makes it clear that politically partisan comments are not wanted. I think this includes people discussing how their preferred party should be campaigning in the run up to 2015.

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  4. @CD

    “I would think Clegg’s move is a move to affect his polling, isn’t it, Statgeek?”

    All politicians do what they do to affect their polling. That’s the objective answer.

    I have opinions on how events might affect VI. I don’t have opinions on what politicians should do or say to affect VI.

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  5. Our old friend and one-time prolific poster, Roland Haines, used to tell us that despite his temporary unpopularity ,and all the attacks from Labour, Clegg would have the last laugh and come up “smelling of roses”, or words to that effect.

    This always seemed to be a little fanciful to me, I have to say; a sort of version of being rewarded in another life for deeds well done on earth but unappreciated at the time. I think there may have been an element of wishful thinking from Tory supporters grateful for services rendered.

    My view is that Clegg played an admittedly poor hand quite well initially but unspeakably badly almost ever since. All downhill from the Rose Garden, if you like. For me, the goose was more or less cooked for him and his party after he crashed and burned with AV. What’s going on now is as painless and graceful an end game as he can contrive from amongst the political and electoral debris.

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  6. “I have opinions on how events might affect VI. I don’t have opinions on what politicians should do or say to affect VI.”

    Should do? Could do? There’s a line, but it becomes so fine when you get down to considering the nitty gritty of what’s going on and how that affects the polls, that neither you, nor I, nor anyone else will be able to maintain the distinction for more than five minutes, I reckon. How many angels can you get on the head of a pin, sort of thing.

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  7. Colin

    ‘Since Hom Sap bumped off the Neanderthals’

    Highly questionable that this occurred , those of us who are not of recent African descent possess around 4% Neanderthal genetic material. Neanderthals and Hom Sap co-existed for tens of thousands of years and Neanderthals were bigger , stronger and had larger brains than Hom Sap.My money is on most of us being hybrids.
    (The last time l was measured for a suit, the tailor said l was the nearerest thing to a caveman he had ever encountered !)

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  8. Hi Crossbat,

    All down hill from making an agreement with the Tories, which gave them a power ratio within the Coalition proportionate to their seats, surely?

    I would suggest (with hindsight) that Clegg either underestimated the power a ‘balance of power holder’ has, or he and his Orange-booker-backers didn’t really want to stand in the way of a right wing economic agenda anyway – and were happy to see the sidelining of those in his own party who saw things differently.

    If the second of those guesses is true, then your hypothesis (all downhill from losing AV) was not so much the top of the downward slope, but the beginning of the long, long, long bottom of it….

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  9. Ewen

    They certainly interbred-there is good evidence for that.

    But the archaeology suggests that Neanderthals were more inflexible in their culture & lifestyle than Hom. Sap-and was probably out-competed-with , as you say some genetic absorption .

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  10. Just passing through today so a few comments;

    China is the worlds biggest investor in renewables, largely hydro and on shore wind and also the largest manufacturer of solar panels.

    As global demand for energy rises fracking or no fracking so will the price of fuel, and wind and wave have free fuel!

    The may be more expensive now but their long term costs are coming down while Oil and gas will in an fast developing world with 8 billion people only go up.

    Scotland’s 20-30 year strategy is to move from exporting Oil and Gas (that can’t last forever) to generate energy to exporting electricity instead. As I t isn’t a cheap option and requires a lot of investment now it isn’t an ideal plan…

    But it is a Plan!

    Peter.

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  11. Viragilo (sorry spelling!) and others have highlighted that international experience suggests that virtually always the junior partner in a 2 party coalition suffers at the next GE.

    In the UK context.

    Should the Economy/Wage growth turn round enough to give a VI boost the main party of Government will benefit most.
    Whilst if not doesn’t Tories can say the pesky LDs slowed us down while Lab say those pesky LDs enabled the Tories to mess up.

    The LDs will get little credit where they have applied a brake but get criticised where the have allowed e.g so-called ‘bedroom tax’.

    Neil A is right of course that as things stand a Lab or Con minority Government seems more likely than another coalition but 15% and 35 seats may be enough for the LDs (perhaps with a new leader) to retain sufficient credibility to stay in power. A lower threshold for Con/LD I suggest not least because more other others are centre left and politically it is easier for a party to enter governments as a minority than

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  12. Oops went early -

    A lower threshold for Con/LD I suggest not least because more other others are centre left and politically it is easier for a party to enter governments as a minority than for a current Governing party to become one.

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  13. R Huckle

    Thank you for your thoughtful reply. When I retired I spent a dozen years or more travelling abroad enjoying the wonder of the Worlds flora and fauna. Most of my time was spent off the main tourist routes and therefore I have seen much real poverty in my time. We in this country do not know (with a very few exceptions) what real poverty is.

    Yes population growth is the real threat and of course is one of the many reasons why the rainforests are so depleted in much of the Third World.

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  14. @Colin Davis

    I agree very much with your point that Clegg underestimated the amount of political leverage he had, both at the time when the coalition was being negotiated and at various key times thereafter. I could never understand why he didn’t exploit the numbers game much more to his advantage. Democratically speaking, I accept that the Tories had by far the more authentic mandate, but if parliamentary arithmetic gives you a chance of punching way above your weight, you play it for all its worth, don’t you? Tails can and often wag dogs in coalition politics.

    How on earth he has allowed this lethal image to form of the Lib Dems being subservient and willing partners in a quite surprisingly right of centre Tory administration is something that completely escapes my comprehension.

    Too late to say retrospectively, and with an election looming, that you don’t much like your coalition partners. It looks like desperation to me and may well be seen that way by most of the electorate.

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  15. Ewen Lightfoot
    possess around 4% Neanderthal genetic material.
    Sap.My money is on most of us being hybrids.

    If you look Gareth Bale it’s around 10%

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  16. PETER CAIRNS
    @”China is the worlds biggest investor in renewables, largely hydro and on shore wind and also the largest manufacturer of solar panels.”

    But Coal will still be their primary energy source in three decades time-and their growth will push their coal usage up.
    China is the world’s largest top coal producer and consumer and accounted for about half of the global coal consumption, -its own consumption has increased three fold in the last decade.

    http://thediplomat.com/2013/12/china-coal-use/

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  17. @Oldnat / Hudson

    Check your below stairs message board.

    @CD

    I don’t try to put angels on pins. Nor do I try to be partisan. If I am, it’s either accidental or in a moment of ‘that’s so partisan…I can’t accept that’.

    As AW says, we shouldn’t be able to tell one party from another. Things like “I think Miliband should do ‘x’ to stuff Clegg’s chances” are fairly easy to work out (unless there’s a sudden lift in Conservatives masquerading as Labour supporters, posting such guff). :-p

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  18. Colin
    I agree that the latest interpretations of the archaeology might support the out-competed line as far as Neanderthals are concerned, however a judicious application of Occam’s razor to the genetic evidence suggests that the current proportion of Neanderthal material is what would be expected if interbreeding took place, in the dim and distant, between two populations , where one was only slightly smaller in numerical terms, than the other.
    No need for theories of out-competing, or ‘ Killer Africans’ , which was all the rage a few years ago, if l remember correctly.

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  19. @Statgeek

    Actually, it’s not politically partisan at all because it would be quite interesting to hear Lib Dem and Con perspectives on Clegg’s tactical move too. I think we’re all agreed that what happens to the 2010 Lib Dem defectors is of great interest in polling terms and critical to the outcome of the GE. Clegg has just made a move intended to influence that which could be significant and which he clearly hopes will shift the polling. So I can’t for the life of me see why it and the possible reactions to it shouldn’t be discussed here. If I’m wrong, AW will no doubt intervene to tell us to stick to discussing technical measures on flood defence.

    @Couper 2802

    Fair point. Nonetheless there are reasons why I think Miliband should move now on a vote of confidence:
    1. Labour is currently well ahead in the polls. On current polling it could afford a little bit of slippage back of Lib Dem defectors. I think this would only be likely to be significant in terms of the LD-Con marginals. That also has to be set against the gain for Lab in terms of possibly chipping away another potential few points of Lib Dem support if (as is very likely) the LDs back the Conservatives in the vote.
    2. Such a move would probably catch the LDs off guard. And the LDs seem to be playing the long game in terms of hoping for something to turn up in VI. Their current polling is at or close to an all time low for the current parliament. Another year of ministerial trappings in coalition might be valued by many MPs. All of this means that the LDs are very unlikely to bite the bullet now.
    3. Bringing the government down with a quarter of its term still to run would have a real impact on peoples’ lives. Isn’t this what politics is supposed to be about? Those paying the bedroom tax might for example be quite keen on such an outcome.
    4. Now might not be a bad point for Lab to resume office, when the economy has returned to a growth path for the first time since 2010. Better now than mid 2015 when the unsustainability of that grown might be
    more of an issue.
    5. It’s not impossible that we could see an attempt by the LDs to bring the government to an end a few months early in 2015, where Lab would be reactive and the LDs would get more credit than their due. Better for Lab to bounce the LDs into a decision.

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  20. Phil Haines

    “Those paying the bedroom tax might for example be quite keen on such an outcome.”

    Not a partisan point just a matter of fact. There is no bedroom tax which people pay. What you mean is those receiving less housing benefit.

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  21. “There is no bedroom tax”

    For heavens sake, Anthony has already had his say on this subject but let’s be honest, rather like the poll tax (which wasn’t a tax) the term has stuck.

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  22. For those wanting to read some interesting other new polling I suggest the YouGov website.

    The English and Welsh are increasingly against (58%) monetary union if Scotland votes for independance.

    The YouGov survey of what voting intensions will be like at the end of 2014 show Cons 32%, Lab 34%, Lib 13% and UKIP 14%.

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  23. Statgeek – there’s a difference between “I think Miliband should do X to stuff Clegg” is very different to “If Miliband did X it would probably help them against the Liberal Democrats” – it about how people word it.

    Granted, it’s rare to see people rise above the pundits fallacy of equating “thing I want to see happen” with “thing that is party’s electoral interests to do”, but there goes.

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  24. McStatty

    “As AW says, we shouldn’t be able to tell one party from another.”

    I have figured out already who petercairns {SNP] and ole nat support, without even reading their stuff.

    Seems a bit of a flaw in the system to me.

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  25. Ewen

    It looks as though the genetic inheritance from Neanderthalls might equally have been influenced by our common ancestry. Our DNA is largely similar-so who knows what the truth is?

    The outcompeted theory looks favourite to me. Aurignacian tools, art & culture seems a step up from Neanderthal.

    But is is nice to imagine bits of them are still with us.

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  26. The situation in Northern England is now like someone whose partner wants a divorce due to incompatibility saying no, you can’t have one because actually we are very compatible and if you can’s see that its probly ‘cos you come from Southern England.

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  27. Interesting comments about Clegg’s attempt at differentiation. I agree with the view that he has not played his hand particularly well, but would disagree that he started well and got worse – I think most perceptions of him are strongly influenced by his mistake on making and then breaking a clear promise University Fees.
    I suspect this is a sign of the naivety of a party that has been pit of power for so long – he thought he could explain a change which was so easily characterisable as simply deceitful – but he was very wrong.

    It also appears that he failed to take advice from the older and more savvy LibDems (something Shirley Williams has highlighted) about, or understand, the tactics that would be require to deal with coalition partners who were less than pleased to be tied to the Lib Dems, in contrast to LibDems thrilled at finally making government.

    If he’s now trying to differentiate LibDem from Tory it is far too little too late, IMHO, to achieve much positive in electoral terms, but it’s probably all he can do to limit the damage in 2015 just a little bit.

    Clegg can only make any real headway by moving the story away from ‘austerity supporting promise breakers who allow tax cuts for millionaires’ and towards ‘tax cutters for low income families and mitigators of right-wing savagery whilst solving Labour’s economic mess’; I think this is impossible, but it’s the only card he has left.

    I can’t see much benefit in Labour pushing for the LibDems to break up the coalition – it would put the LibDems in the position of breaking another promise, so they will certainly decline, and it is in both LibDem and Tory interests to portray it as a cheap political stunt. Sure, committed Labour voters would see it as reinforcing their view that LibDems are just ‘Tory-lite’, but they think that anyway.

    it will be interesting to see how this change of tack plays out, but I suspect it will have little impact either way.

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  28. Colin

    As you will be aware such speculation as we have been indulging in is hedged around with many reservations , largely because of the continuing malign influence of 19th Century Eugenics, and its practical application in the first half of the 20th Century.

    I note with some amusement that the latest research acknowledges the genetic influence of the Neanderthals but suggests that their genes are responsible for psychiatric illnesses !

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  29. Er, ‘out of power’, not ‘pit of power’!!

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  30. Ewen

    No-I wasn’t aware of that.

    I was getting the distinct impression that you had a particular angle on this which I wasn’t tuning in to.

    My interest is purely in the science of man’s evolution.

    So will leave it there now.

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  31. I don’t know if UKPR existed in 2003, but if so I imagine there were a lot of angry posts about the American invasion of Iraq and the support of that position by a Labour Government.

    I guess by now that anger has dissipated. Certainly I never see it listed as a salient factor in opinion polling now.

    This will one day also be the case for the LDs and the broken pledge on student tuition fees. Not this time maybe, but some time. Other unpleasant decisions will have to be made by the governments of 2015 and probably beyond, and those hurt by them will not be happy.

    The polls show Labour should win, and in the absence of other evidence I believe them. But the pendulum may start to swing then, so a difficult time for EM is my guess.

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  32. Hi Alister1948,

    EM can at least say he’s broken with the Blair tradition.

    If the LDs are forgiven, presumably that will be once Clegg and Alexander are in the bin?

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  33. @alistair1948
    No, it hasn’t completely dissipated. I live in an anti-war constituency and our Labour MP supported the Iraq War. She was voted out at the next election, but I still get people saying that they will never vote Labour again because of the Iraq War.

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  34. @ Colin Davis

    “once Clegg and Alexander are in the bin”

    They’ll probably go in the recycling

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  35. @Alistair1948

    “I don’t know if UKPR existed in 2003″

    Not according to the wayback machine. 2005 at earliest. http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://ukpollingreport.co.uk …although AW might have had a different domain prior to that.

    The anti-Iraq war vote is/was instrumental for the SNP’s rise in the mid to late noughties (in my humble opinion). They certainly seemed to pop up regularly on that theme.

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  36. @ Colin Davis
    Yes, losing parties will be ruthless with their leaders I suspect.

    @Chatterclass
    Yes, again like you I know some people like that, but new young electors appear regularly as well.

    Thanks for the link Statgeek – I will follow up.

    I see there is a new thread.

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  37. @ Alister 1948,

    You’re right about the tuition fees, but the problem for the Lib Dems is that the Coalition has exposed a fundamental weakness in their brand- namely, that their whole strategy for getting into government at this point is to form coalitions and they’re not choosy about their partners or particularly effective at implementing Lib Dem policies in the coalition government that results. So in essence they’ve become an electoral blank cheque. By voting for them you abdicate your right to choose the government to the rest of the electorate.

    In the South they’ll still garner the ABT vote, but they’re spent as an ABL force in the North and in any Lab/Tory marginal it’s hard to see why someone would vote for the blank cheque when they have a chance to pick the government. And if you’re totally disinterested in picking a government, you have Ukip and the Greens who aren’t yet tainted by power.

    This is why the tuition fees and the collapse of the green agenda, electoral reform, and the Lib Dems’ civil liberties credentials over secret courts etc, are so critical for them. Labour and the Tories can afford to betray their voters because they still provide the only alternative to a Tory or Labour government- until one of them is overtaken by a new party, they will always have a USP. But the Lib Dems no longer offer an alternative to anything.

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  38. @Colin
    Germany’s consumption of brown coal increased by 0.8% last year but it’s a short term increase due to the shutting down of the nuclear power stations, the long lead time in power station construction and the free market in energy. Germany’s targets for renewables are far more ambitious that those of other countries and they can already account for as much as 60% of electricity generation.

    “Germany’s Largest Utility Ditches Two Long-Term Contracts For Coal Power”
    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/12/23/3101911/german-utility-coal-power

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  39. Any reconstruction of a pre- or post-GE association of Lab with LD would IMHO, whether coalition, voting agreement or just plain respect for or sharing of their aims, be regional in salience. It would realistically be based in the SW on, for example Grahame Watson’s tenure of the MEP seat and the Paddy/Lawes tenure at Yeovil and its resonance in the housewives, UNITE vote and that of the farming and helicopter/aeonautics and defense industries in the region It would not, IMV. be concerned with tactical considerations in influencing VI as such.

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