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. All seems quite positive for Labour at this point.

  2. 39 again! Very odd.

  3. 28% for Con?

    what’s the low tide score?

    [It’s an Opinium poll Nick – 28% for the Conservatives is not atypical for them at all. Their last few polls have been showing what, for them, are above average Tory scores but their average Con score for the last twelve months is 28.5% – AW]

  4. Watching Sunday Politics

    Apparently climate change is all wrong according to 3 of the 4 commentators including Neil.

    If something sums up the media at the moment and why it is difficult for any sensible discussion on any subject

    The issue of climate change which these people cannot get their head around is that no single event can be attributable and that it is all about trends

    The British media is not covering itself in glory…..

  5. Found a 27% back in 2013 somewhere.

  6. Could be random noise, or is it a small shift caused by floods?

    As long as the weather stays lousy and the shift remains, we might connect the two. Otherwise – things will move onto something else (economy? immigration?)

    As for climate change – perhaps better to clear up the mess first?

  7. These are very bad figures for Cameron regarding the floods. I thought those figures over this issue would be far more positive…even moved the opinion polls in their direction.

    Since the Thames got flooded, Cameron has been playing the action man and filled the TV screens in every news bulletin proclaiming he is doing everything possible/ spend whatever it takes ……….what more can he do!

    It does make me wonder if overexposure just reaffirms a general dislike of the PM. That 29% figure of people who think he’s handled the flooding well is very close to the figure of what the Tories are polling ATM.

    It seems that the more lists of statistical achievements he barks at people, the more listless his chances of a 2nd term.

    Maybe it is all about being seen and not heard on occasions like this.

  8. Is it possible the action man running around, the no amount spared announcements, the calling in the army etc looks like panic to some people?

  9. Cameron’s ratings over the flood…

    Responded Well to the flooding?
    Con = 62
    Lab = 13
    LD = 27
    Ukio = 29

    Responded badly?
    Con = 27
    Lab = 79
    LD = 66
    Ukip = 65

    For the Environment Agency, it’s rather more even across the parties…
    Responded well?
    Con = 35
    Lab = 30
    LD = 33
    Ukip = 17

  10. “People who have bought homes in areas of high flood risk and who have been flooded deserve our sympathy:”

    Con = 45
    Lab = 53
    LD = 45
    Ukip = 45

  11. Isn’t blaming the Environment Agency also blaming the government? It is, after all, a government agency.

  12. I’ve been having some fun with Electoral Calculus, and plugged in that Gallup poll from January 1995 that showed a 43.5% Labour lead. (Specifically, Con 18.5, Lab 62, LD 14). This was the largest Labour lead recorded that parliament.

    The Tories would have been left with just three seats – New Forest West, Arundel and South Downs, and Wokingham – they would even have lost Huntingdon. They would have been replaced as the opposition by the Lib Dems on 36 seats and there would have been a Labour majority of 527 with 593/659 seats.

    Even during the 2005-10 parliament, the biggest theoretical Tory majority (250+ with a 26% poll lead) never got close to that, and now the Labour party has had steady leads after a major defeat where the Tories never got more than an 8-point lead from 1997-2006.

    There’s every reason for Labour to be just as toxic as the Tories were after 1997. Some unsavoury characters, disloyal MPs, unbecoming/criminal MP conduct, their economic difficulties, their civil liberties issues, unpopular wars. And yet they aren’t. I do wonder why.

    Anyway, here’s an article on potential Lib Dem leadership candidates, although I suspect like Hillary 2016 it’s a foregone conclusion.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/nick-cleggs-rivals-for-the-lib-dems-leadership-told-to-rev-up-9131144.html

  13. UKIP’s rating in the polls seems to be unaffected by Wythenshawe coverage, though most of this YouGov will have been taken before the result was known. Most people probably registered the whole thing as ‘Safe Labour Seat Is Safe’ if they noticed anything at all. The ComRes drop is probably a blip.

    Most of the remarks in the Press about how the Conservatives ‘should’ have done better in Wythenshawe are motivated by internal squabbles within the right-wing establishment than any real concern with how the electorate thinks in Manchester, the North West or indeed anywhere much outside SW1. Spearmint’s figures in a previous thread illustrated how there was once a potential 30% Conservative vote in somewhere like Wythenshawe alone[1], but in truth UKIP and Conservative got 29% between them in 2010 and 32.5% in the by-election. All that has happened is that the standard 30% working-class conservative vote has been split differently in a by-election protest against an unpopular government. It’s about as unsurprising as you can get.

    However I also think that the local Labour Party are fooling themselves if they believe that most of the UKIP vote came from the Sale part. The only three wards where UKIP came (a distant) second in Manchester in 2012 were three of the five Wythenshawe ones (UKIP didn’t even stand in the Trafford wards). So I suspect that, for all the noise about a successful anti-UKIP campaign, while they may have stopped Labour to UKIP defections, they didn’t counter their attractiveness to their core market. This is actually to Labour’s benefit by splitting the Tory vote of course, but it’s not quite what they’re saying they did.

    That’s not to say however that UKIP don’t have a particular problem in the North West. They clearly do, and not just in the ex-industrial parts. They failed to win a single seat on Lancashire Council last year. They did well in the sort of low-altitude places such as Morecambe that you would expect them to succeed in – just not well enough. The natural ceiling that there is to the UKIP vote seems to be lower than it is in the South and East of England. I suspect this is partly cultural and partly comes from the similar ‘North Problem’ that the Conservatives have and which Anthony has written about. But I wonder if even Tories in the North West are less likely to switch to UKIP than elsewhere. Perhaps they see UKIP as ‘not like us’ even more than AB voters in particular do elsewhere. Perhaps UKIP are simply seen as ‘too Southern’.

    All this makes particularly odd the maunderings of the likes of Toby Young that somehow UKIP can be allowed to have a chance to take seats of Labour in the North while the Conservatives are left unmolested in the South. It won’t work and UKIP will not be interested.

    [1] I’m not convinced that the Sale wards make that much difference to the general makeup of the constituency. The electorate is only 29% of the total (based on 2012 local government figures) and one ward is safe Labour and the other two marginals.

  14. Mr Nameless,

    It’s worth noting that Labour in 2005-2010 were on their third term of office, rather than their fourth. The Tories never got to the utter depths of unpopularity across an overwhelming majority of the public until after 1992.

    Had Labour won a small majority in 2010, had to implement austerity, faced competition from an increasingly dominant LD party on the left, and developed the rot that sinks into any party when it is in power for too long, we might have seen it get down to the sub-20% level of popularity.

    As I said at the time, 2010 was a bad election to win, and Labour was lucky that both of its competitors “won” it. That UKIP has swept up a lot of the potential voters suggests that this period is only a temporary respite in the long-term decline of the Labour party. (See any graph of Labour’s GE vote since 1945 to see how, even in great years like 1997, the party just can’t do it anymore.)

  15. (The Tories have undergone a similar long-term decline, having peaked in 1931, and now utterly unable to attain the relatively low level of support they had in 1979.)

  16. @Bcrombie

    “The issue of climate change which these people cannot get their head around is that no single event can be attributable and that it is all about trends”

    Exactly, and exactly why knee-jerk reactions by politicians regarding climate change should not be made on the back of the flooding. The main problem with attributing event ‘x’ to climate change is that if one agrees, one then agrees it is man-made, and then one agrees that something must be done.

    I’m all for science, but I’m more for science from a basis of ‘no opinion’ first.

  17. As pointed out in today’s IoS, Labour has now had an uninterrupted two year poll lead. No party has had a two year lead and not gone on to win a majority since 1970.

    The Labour 38/39 share and the Tory 32/33 share has now been fairly constant for a year, and this weekends polls (with the exception of a Tory 28% in one) are very much in line.

    With those who left Labour to vote Lib Dem in 2010 now firmly backing Labour again, a majority of 50 to 100 seats for Ed Miliband in 440 days looks increasingly llikely.

  18. “The Dutch solution to floods: live with water, don’t fight it”

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/feb/16/flooding-netherlands

  19. Meanwhile today’s ST poll contains one of my favourite type of topics – the West London Dinner Party question. In this case “Do you know the immigration status of your cleaner?”. What my dear, you mean there are people who don’t have cleaners? You’ll be telling me next that people don’t have cleaner who are foreign.

    YouGov did ask first if people did “currently pay someone to clean your house” and got a sample of only 141 (7%)[1]. However they ploughed on regardless with smaller and smaller sub-sample sizes. However the figure was 15% in London, no doubt because properties there are notoriously so much more spacious and people need the help.

    YouGov also got a 7% sample when they asked From what you know, do you think your own home is in a place that is at risk from flooding?. It even found people who said they were, who didn’t live in the South[2]. Who knew? However 23% of these people said they employed a cleaner. So either the flooded are indeed likely to be wealthier and employ ‘staff’ or they get flooded really, really often.

    [1] I would have assumed that this was age-related with older people needing more help, but it doesn’t seem to be.

    [2] Interestingly the views among the people who said they were vulnerable weren’t that different from the general population to questions relating to policy towards what should be done about flooding.

  20. I have been looking at the make up of UKIPs VI according to You Gov.

    I looked at the first five polls from Feb 13, Aug 13 and Feb 14. I took the average of:

    1. The percentage of the votes from those who voted Con, Lab and LD in 2010 who now support UKIP.
    2. The average VI for UKIP

    I then weighted the average percentage of Con, Lab and LD 2010 voters who support UKIP by multiplying that average by the 2010 actual vote.

    For example, if 10 % of people who voted Con in 2010 now support UKIP, that’s worth 0.36 x 10 = 3.6 %.

    I did this for each batch of five, and was left with this:

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzTTW1ecy-NDQkluOWFwNHoyQW8/edit?usp=sharing

    This is the make up of the UKIP VI for that time, from Con, Lab and LD voters in 2010, unless my methodology has missed something.

    The ‘Other’ part of the UKIP VI not from Con, Lab, or LD must be previously UKIP voters or those unaligned.

    If any one thinks I have miscalculated, please let me know….

  21. @Statgeek

    The irony is, it scarcely matters if it is man-made or not.

    The response to the North Sea floods of 1953 was not in response to man-made global warming. It was in response to a reminder that even without the man-made thing, extreme events can happen.

    The Dutch built their defences to cope with more extreme events, even before we knew about the global warming thing.

    They have been upgrading since then in response to climate change, because whether man-made or not, why take the risk?

    Thing is, we also have great tidal resources, so we could build defences that also generate electricity.

  22. @ROGER MEXICO

    “Meanwhile today’s ST poll contains one of my favourite type of topics – the West London Dinner Party question. In this case “Do you know the immigration status of your cleaner?”.

    ——-

    Yes, for many outside Islington, it is like asking people if they know their own immigration status… and whether they would consider reporting themselves if they found out they were an immigrant…

  23. No referendum questions? Would have expected some after last week. Series of good polls for labour.

  24. “No party has had a two year lead and not gone on to win a majority since 1970.”

    Labour’s biggest problem is that I plan to vote for them in 2015. Since I started voting in 1983 no party that I have voted for has gone on to form a government after that election!

  25. “The Dutch solution to floods: live with water, don’t fight it”

    ———

    That seems to be what we’re doing at the moment…

  26. @Carfrew

    “They have been upgrading since then in response to climate change, because whether man-made or not, why take the risk?

    Thing is, we also have great tidal resources, so we could build defences that also generate electricity.”

    Spot on. Whether we like it or not, we are an island nation. That means we will rely more on sea-based resources, and will have less land-based ones as time passes. Perhaps there has been a more ‘continental’ mindset of some in the past 20-30 years, and we need to get back to what we are.

    We will never be continental in the same way that other nations are (trade / resources), so we should have policies that reflect our geographical / geological position in the world.

    Sustainable policies perhaps? LoL!

  27. “Labour’s biggest problem is that I plan to vote for them in 2015. Since I started voting in 1983 no party that I have voted for has gone on to form a government after that election!”

    I think that’s called the “Lembit Effect”. Maybe try voting Tory if you want them to lose?

  28. Is this site facing technical problems??

  29. STATGEEK
    “I’m all for science, but I’m more for science from a basis of ‘no opinion’ first.”

    Flood defence construction are, as I think you agree in your response to Carfrew on the Dutch routine and long-term programme, are risk assessment and risk management rather than simply scientific evidence.
    The global experience is also that disaster response is best done as having a dual long-term development objective, so roads are built as dikes and have residential and commercial site benefit. Flood plains are OK to build on if the development carries a design which reflects a statistical likelihood of high flooding, though there is no “scientific” proof of frequency or cause.
    Out there in the blogostratosphere and beyond the twin gods of Churn and Chaos wield their mighty mixers.

  30. @CatmanJeff

    Yes. I tried to view it earlier but got a “site not found”. Either the servers that translate the site name into an ip address went down briefly, or the server holding the site itself went down briefly. I suspect the latter.

  31. Corr Necessary calculations as the basis of lood construction are……

  32. NICKP

    I hope that I wouldn’t ever say that Ed Miliband’s efforts to appeal to a wider electorate were “motivated more by internal squabbles within the left-wing establishment than any real concern with how the electorate thinks in Surrey, Cambridgeshire, , the South East or indeed anywhere much outside M22”

  33. NickP

    I think Colin is a thoughtful poster who is generally very objective.

  34. TOH

    Thank you.

    A welcome respite for flood victims today one imagines ?

  35. “I think Colin is a thoughtful poster who is generally very objective.”

    I will concede that he is objective as you are, Howard.

  36. It has been a remarkably nice day, and I’ve been stuck in the library doing a major website redesign, grumble grumble…

    I think that may be the least partisan post so far this page.

  37. Seven points and nine points. A lot of work for Cameron and Osborne to do if they want to overturn this. Other than a blip in January 2012, Labour have held a poll lead since late 2010.

    I often feel inclined to agree with Nate Silver’s principle that no one should be allowed to pronounce on who they think is likely to win an election without publicly staking a significant-for-them sum of money on that outcome. That would soon distinguish the sincere analysts from the disingenuous partisans.

  38. @Martyn

    Thanks, it wasn’t just my set-up then.

  39. Interesting article in DT on Carney.

    It includes this surprising ( to me) shrug of the shoulders at any chance of stemming the crazy rise in London real estate .

    “He said: “So it’s ( HTB) pretty small. It’s all outside of London. It’s for lower priced houses as a whole and it’s mainly first-time buyers. So it’s not driving the housing market, but we have a responsibility to watch it and we will.”
    Much of the rise in house prices in London has been caused by foreign buyers, according to Mr Carney, who said the Bank of England lacked powers to control interest from abroad in the British property market.
    “Much of what’s driven in London of course is not mortgage driven, but it’s cash driven. It’s driven by… the top end of London is driven by cash buyers. It’s driven in many cases by foreign buyers. We as as the central bank can’t influenc that. We change underwriting standards, it doesn’t matter, there’s no mortgage. We change interest rates, it doesn’t matter, there’s not a mortgage. But we watch and we watch the knock-on effect,” he said.”

    I think GO put up Stamp Duty on these properties-perhaps he should be doing more ?

  40. colin

    under-occupation tax?

  41. A housebuilding programme would also help keep prices iin check. Including a big social housing programme in Kensington etc….

  42. Land tax, wealth tax… lots of options…

  43. @RogerH

    “Isn’t blaming the Environment Agency the same as blaming the Government? After all, they are a Government Agency.”

    I must admit that the very same thought and irony had occurred to me. Then I remembered it was run by a former Labour Cabinet Minister, Chris Smith.

    Then it all makes perfect sense!

  44. Toff tax.

  45. Statgeek

    The current flooding cannot be specifically ‘blamed’ on climate change but what is clear is that such events for the UK will become more frequent in the future as the polar ice cap melts, sea temperatures rise and this will impact also the jet stream which is driven by the water cycle.

    Politicians will have to over-egg it a bit to get people to listen. Saying that the flooding is linked to climate change is a fair enough point in my view as we have seen an increase in the tendency of these events.

    What annoys me, and annoyed me today is that climate change deniers use the scientists’ caveats on individual events to say that there is no consensus and hence climate change does not exist.

    I think Miliband and others such as Goldsmith are correct to see what long term improvements can be made to our readiness to react to these events. I am on the pessimistic page that there will be no real reduction in emissions going forward until we can find and perfect non-carbon energy sources. In this respect, therefore, we need to prepare and that is something that needs planning now, not in 20 years when the effects will be more marked.

  46. The idea of ministerial responsibility is long gone. Witness Jeremy Hunt’s regular attacks on the NHS…as though it wasn’t his responsibility!

  47. @ RogerMexico

    YouGov also got a 7% sample when they asked From what you know, do you think your own home is in a place that is at risk from flooding?. It even found people who said they were, who didn’t live in the South[2]. Who knew? However 23% of these people said they employed a cleaner. So either the flooded are indeed likely to be wealthier and employ ‘staff’ or they get flooded really, really often.
    —————————
    Is it their moats & swimming pools which are causing their flooding problems?

  48. “It has been a remarkably nice day, and I’ve been stuck in the library doing a major website redesign, grumble grumble…”

    MrNameless in the Library sounds like a move in Cluedo.

    Has someone stabbed the Major?

  49. @ Alec,

    Has someone stabbed the Major?

    IDS, probably.

  50. Colin

    “A welcome respite for flood victims today one imagines ?”

    Yes a lovely day in Surrey and where I live on the high chalk the walking was OK today considering just how much rain we have had locally. Elsewhere there are over 1000 homes flooded in Surrey. Terrible for all concerned wherever they live.

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