The full details of YouGov’s weekly Sunday Times poll are now up online here. Topline voting intention figures are CON 36%, LAB 37%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 11%.

That means two polls today, from YouGov and Survation, both show a reduced Labour lead of just one point. As ever when you get a couple of polls indicating a shift straight after an event it’s tempting to conclude the event has had a big impact. Be a bit cautious – the YouGov and Populus polls conducted Wednesday night and Thursday morning didn’t show a narrowing, it’s these two polls conducted from Thursday to Friday that show narrower leads. They aren’t necessarily contradictory (many people in those initial polls wouldn’t have seen the details of the budget or the media reaction yet), but it means the evidence isn’t all one way. Wait a bit to see if this pattern continues into the week.

The details of the YouGov poll don’t add much to the YouGov post-budget poll for the Sun. Confidence in the government’s handling of the economy and George Osborne’s ability is creeping upwards, but people themselves still aren’t feeling the improvement. 42% of people think the government is handling the economy well (the second highest score since 2010), 41% of people think George Osborne is doing well as Chancellor (up from 26% last April). But only 19% of people expect their own finances to get better over the next year, 38% worse. While this is one of the least negative scores since the general election it is still very negative!

The YouGov poll also asked again about Ukraine, continuing to find little support for any intervention beyond economic sanctions, though 44% would support personal asset freezing and travel restrictions against Vladimir Putin himself.

Looking at some other polling today, the Survation/Mail on Sunday poll also included European voting intention, which now stands at CON 28%(+5), LAB 32%(nc), LDEM 7%(-2), UKIP 23%(-3), GRN 3%. European election polls so far are here.

There was also a new ICM Scottish poll in the Scotland on Sunday. They have topline figures of YES 39%, NO 46%. Without don’t knows it would be YES 45%, NO 55% – a 2 point increase in YES compared to ICM’s February poll, but less than the 46% in their January poll. John Curtice’s take on the new ICM poll is here and referendum polls so far are listed here.


237 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 36, LAB 37, LD 9, UKIP 11”

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  1. I know the Scottish VI is too small a sample to usually be helpful, but has anyone sliced off the Scottish sample to produce rUK polls? The Scottish political situation at the moment seems to bear little relation to rUK.

  2. The next YouGov will be watched closely…

  3. Worrying for Labour; the government has stopped taking on unnecessary big projects and has stopped completely mucking up ever 2 minutes. Labour meanwhile seem to be taking the pedal off the gas. I think the party could struggle in an election based on manifestos alone.

    In the indie vote if the yes movement continues its a worrying position for the no’s. Still no real trend in the Design and there is no reason to think they will split evenly.

  4. Mr Nameless,

    Not that I know of, but Statgeek has charts for each region-

    http://www.statgeek.co.uk/polling/polling-trends/regional-trends/

    Also, “at the moment”? Is “the moment” defined as “since about 1935”?

  5. It’s a bit of a perfect storm of bad news for Labour: a higher risk of losing Scotland, and a falling lead. Even though I’m still sure Labour will win in 2015, it’s somewhat less likely that they’ll get a technical majority.

  6. the Labour proportion hasn’t actually declined that much, the Tory improvement is due almost entirely to a shift from UKIP and Libdems. These polls won’t be that far out from the GE result in my opinion I wouldn’t be surprised to see both the main parties on about 36%. If that is the result and Labour end up with a small majority assuming that they don’t get all of the breaks in the marginals and the Libdems do better in their seats than their poll reading suggests. I predict that the arguments about PR/AV will re-surface and attract some amazing conversions for a change from FPTP.

  7. Venice looks to be heading towards independence, after a massive online poll got 89% support for independence the state govt will almost certainly legislate for a proper referendum. Scotland in September, Catalonia in November and Venice….? Who’s next I wonder

    Btw, has DC said anything about refusing Catalonia’s ascension to the EU should they vote for independence?

  8. Nice to see you again RiN. Hadn’t heard Venice was after independence.

  9. Oh, and as for next region to go after independence – Flanders?

  10. Personally I would have thought on the basis of MOE the Tories have to score at the top of their range now and then and this is one of those now or thens

  11. I think there needs to be a sense of caution in some of the assumptions made regarding 2015. In truth, pretty much anything could happen, but the narrative at present is fixed in one direction only.

    Everyone is assuming that the current OBR forecasts are correct, and that GDP growth will be reasonable to good and wages will edge ahead of prices, with low inflation and employment continuing to rise. If all these things happened, it would be the first time since it was created that the OBR forecasts were proved correct, and would reverse a significant trend of very substantial errors in their macro economic forecasts.

    Despite a sharp fall on the month, January retail sales were billed as strong, based on the year on year increase – but perhaps forgetting that a year ago things looked very weak. February retail sales data from the BRC suggests another sharp fall – the first fall they have recorded since last April.

    Even with a three year low in petrol pump prices, we’ve had the heaviest discounting ever seen on the high street, and the low inflation is much more a product of weak demand than improved productivity. We also learned this week that fewer people are now employed (as employees) this quarter than last.

    How does that square with the mass of high confidence survey data coming from all sections of the economy? Firms actually laid off more people than they hired in the last quarter. Work that one out.

    People are assuming with far too much certainty that consumer confidence is on an undisturbed upward path, and that all the indicators will improve, including GO’s competence rating. In the old days, I suspect we might now be in the throes of a ‘back me to get the job done’ general election, timed to avoid any of the myriad ‘dear boy’ events that could screw the narrative.

    The AA expects petrol prices to rise again soon. Will earnings really overtake inflation? How soon will the rash of profit warnings feed through into tax receipts, and will the deficit reduction path look quite so solid in a years time?

    Even GO himself has admitted finally that the recovery is not solid, is not of the correct type, and has not rebalanced the economy. He’s lost the first four years of his timetable for his stated initial objectives, but everyone remains assuming things will work out for the last year.

    I don’t think anything is yet secure within the economy and I don’t think we should necessarily assume Tory competence will be a great headline grabber by May 2015. I suspect it’s likely to be much messier than that.

  12. I posted my effort as last post previous thread, in error, so will not repeat it. My fans will be sorry to have missed it however. :-)

  13. [snip – AW]

    Although I think the right wing press will hype the tories, I think the odds are still on labour winning the most seats. They simply have to get about 35 seats on a net basis…I don’t think they will lose any they currently hold. I think they’ll get 6-8 off the lib dems, and 30+ from the tories.

    I saw both obama elections very closely and remember how much the media, particularly if it is biased, hype the election race and say “it’s too close to call” etc. Structurally , labour have to work very hard to screw this up.

    Having said that of that, Miliband [] is the single greatest liability for labour. He is a decent strategist but his presentation and debating skills are very poor.

  14. I think Milliband’s Parliamentary performance has improved beyond recognition.I think women find him attractive and are keen to vote for his party. All IMO of course.

  15. Alec

    As you know I don’t think that the current coalition is economically competent, its just much more competent than the last lot IMO. However that’s not the point, it’s how the Public see them, and right now the Public sees then as I do.

    You may be right about how the economy will turn out over the next 12 months although for all our sakes I hope your wrong. If the economy does go backwards then Labour could well win and then I will watch them struggle as they too have to impose austerity on an even greater scale than now.

  16. @ David

    “the Labour proportion hasn’t actually declined that much, the Tory improvement is due almost entirely to a shift from UKIP and Libdems”

    If you look at Yougov today compared to their polls last week that isn’t at all obvious. UKIP still polling 11% which they had done virtually all week (perhaps down a bit from three months ago). Lab one of their lower scores but still within MOE. Con their best score but still within MOE. Possibly don’t knows firming up for Tory? We need more polls to work out the trend (if there is one and these are not just MOE and short term boost).

    To those of us who have talked about united left v divided right it is a puzzle. None of the “golden rules” yet have been broken (even though Anthony did an article saying these were not golden rules at all with Lab losing some 2010 votes and not guaranteed 35%) ie- Lab ceiling of 35% and Tories polling less than last time but unless these do actually turn out to be golden rules it’s pretty obvious if the next polls are similar that the Tories can pull back 1% and more before next year.

  17. @TOH
    P

  18. Peter

    The difference is the US election was from the polls never “too close to call” ; it was completely made up not for bias but ratings. The last few polls are putting the Tories and Labour very close. The question is not if it will be too close to call but if the lead will change within the next year.

    The US election is a binary orchestrated choice; meanwhile here labour and the Tories are competing for 100% external voters. The tories are not gaining from Labour; they are gaining from the right. Am not sure how under these circumstances labour have to work hard to lose; the public voted for the current government and policies. It’s naive to think a lot of them don’t agree with them.

    In fact the polls show government and personal ratings improving.

  19. @Bill Patrick

    I expect to see the two main parties going into the GE with roughly the same VI.

    I am not sure the next election will be a good one to win. Whoever gets in will have at best a very small majority and the Chancellor has left a lot of landmines in the tall grass. I am sure he has a plan to deal with them should he be re-elected but some of them are going to take some defusing. I would quite like to see the Tories win just to see the look on David Cameron’s face as he realises half his Parliament is going to be spent campaigning against his own backbenches on Europe.

  20. I don’t think the average man on the Clapham omnibus knows or even cares what Miliband said in response to the Budget. It will have zero effect on the polling & voting of the majority of people.

    It’s funny though watching the straw clutching based on 2 opinion polls, all ignoring the inconvenient fact that if Labour get 38% of the votes that polling for the last 2 years has indicated, it matters not what the Cons get.

    I put Cons 36, Lab 37 & LD 18 into the UNS calculator & it returned 263, 323, 38 so a Lab majority of 65 – even changing it to 36, 36 & 20 we get 264, 315 & 45.

    Much can change & time will tell but the excitement generated here & in the media on the basis of 2 polls is amusing me no end. Ignoring the 2 years where Lab have led every single poll seems to be the order of the day.

  21. Didn’t spot the new thread when I last posted. Charts updated. Post on today’s poll:

    http://www.statgeek.co.uk/2014/03/statgeek-chart-update-yougov-poll-21032014/

  22. Bramley
    We had a ‘near equality’ Con /Lab six months ago and the same euphoria emerged (and among experienced commenters here too, remarkably).

  23. @ Shev II,

    If you look at the crossbreaks for today’s YouGov, the narrow lead is almost entirely due to a very low Tory -> Ukip flux. It looks like Osborne hit his target. (No change in DK/NV at all. Lab -> Tory is also on the high end- that’s worth keeping an eye on.)

    What I’m wondering is, are these the flaky Tories who were bound to head home anyway on polling day- ie. will they drift off again but then come back at the election to give the Tories a maximum vote share of 36%- or is there another tranche of indecisive defectors on top of them so that the general election result will be 38% or 40%?

    At this point there is no way to know, but the Tory offer is so narrow that Osborne had better hope it’s the latter, because I don’t see how they’re going to win voters outside their core demographics without a serious giveaway for them in this year’s budget. (In a way the massive pensions changes have actually hurt that outreach, because no one is paying any attention to the childcare package.)

  24. RinN
    “Btw, has DC said anything about refusing Catalonia’s ascension to the EU should they vote for independence?”

    Chance would be a fine thing.

  25. What would be the minimum the conservatives could realistically get a majority with if the labour vote does not collapse. 39% ?

  26. @Bramley

    “It’s funny though watching the straw clutching based on 2 opinion polls, all ignoring the inconvenient fact that if Labour get 38% of the votes that polling for the last 2 years has indicated, it matters not what the Cons get.”

    I think that both sides of the debate have been clutching on all manner of issues for at least a few years. Lab on 38% and Con on 29% matters a lot to Lab. Lab on 38% and Con on 44% matters a lot to Con. So with that in mind, it’s not Lab’s VI that matters or Con’s VI that matters but both VIs and how they relate to each other.

  27. @Colin
    ‘People just keep on forgetting what a GE Campaign is actually like.’

    Most postwar elections have not favoured incumbents – the exceptions being 1951- 1979- 1983 – 1992..
    In 1979 Labour did recover during the camoaign but only in the context of having fallen 20% behind in Jan/Feb as a result of the Winter of Discontent.
    1983 saw the Tory lead increase – but only because Labour lost a lot of ground to the Alliance. The Tory % share actually fell during the campaign.
    1992 – The polls are now widely believed to have been wrong all along and the Tories had a new PM.

  28. @ Fraser,

    The difference is the US election was from the polls never “too close to call”

    As Bramley points out, neither is this. To have even a chance at staying in Government, the Tories don’t need parity, they need something like a three point lead.

    They have had them this Parliament- they had a few right before the 2012 budget. None since.

  29. Bramley

    “all ignoring the inconvenient fact that if Labour get 38% of the votes that polling for the last 2 years”

    Nobody I have seen posting is ignoring that, but it’s not relevent. It’s what voters actually do in 2015 and that IMO will be based on who they think is more competent to run the economy.

  30. Chris Riley,

    The nightmare scenario for UKIP is that the Tories somehow get into a position (either via a majority or far more probably via deals with minor parties in a minority gov. situation) to have a referendum on EU membership. That’s not because the EU issue is so vital to UKIP’s popularity (I don’t think it is) but because it’s the raison d’être (if I may use a French phrase when discussing UKIP) of the divison on the right.

    Labour could come back from a Tory win (in the sense of the Tories forming the next government) in 2015. UKIP? Maybe not…

    However, you are right that in the short-term that would be a nightmare for the Tories.

  31. AW

    Thanks for updating the polling averages, most helpful.

  32. Meanwhile, Lord Ashcroft has proved the Tories need to stop banging on about Europe by producing a 20,000 person, 821 page poll about Europe that no one gives a toss about:

    http://lordashcroftpolls.com/2014/03/europe-trial/#more-2692

  33. The “united left vs. divided right” hypothesis has been suffering against recalcitrant evidence for some time, because so much of UKIP’s support are ex-Lib Dems. Either (a) there was a mass conversion of centre-left people to the firm right; (b) a lot of left-wing Lib Dems started feeling very strongly about immigration and Europe in about 2011/2012, or (c) a lot of the Lib Dem vote was never a straightforwardly left-wing vote, but a very complex “not the two main parties” vote that is hard to analyse.

    I think (c).

  34. Could well be a budget-induced blip, but if the Conservatives do get to 36% then the LD’s will be squeezed. That itself has interesting effects if there is a hung parliament, in that a major party might find the LD’s with not enough seats to get them over the line, as in the 1974 spring election. So someone has to go looking for additional coalition partners. Or would a minority coalition government work? Interesting times are coming.

  35. @ Bill Patrick,

    a very complex “not the two main parties” vote that is hard to analyse

    Didn’t you just analyse it? :p

    (I agree, btw. I think progressives have long overestimated the size of the progressive coalition because of a false assumption that Lib Dem voters were actually liberal democrats.)

  36. @ Spearmint

    So if UKIP (on one poll) have lost grounds to the Tories but remain where they have been all week at 11% where has that UKIP balancing vote come from?

    In fact thinking about it maybe I shouldn’t be asking the question until there are two week’s of polls as one poll can always give incorrect analysis.

    @ Bill Patrick- I agree with c)

  37. The Co-Op bankers holding Labour Party loans will be increasingly concerned with these UK and Scotland Polls. If Scotland goes then so may the Labour Party in its current form.

  38. I think the real nub of the matter is that The Tories and Labour now speak to and compete for votes from such different parts of the electorate/country that they have nothing in common and there is remarkably little churn of floating voters between the two – especially as compared with a generation ago.
    The days of an opposition party building up big, if soft, leads over the incumbent party and then a big swing back to the incumbent at the GE seem to be over.

    The good news for Labour is that their support is unlikely to leak to the Tories no matter what happens to the economy or what gimmicks GO comes up with.

    The downside for them is that they themselves won’t be able to win over much Tory support no matter what they do and be unable to win a decent majority at the GE.

  39. @ Shev II,

    Good question, and the answer is… I have no idea. All Ukip’s other crossbreaks look normal.

    (Also, on reflection the Tory -> Ukip flux, though as low as it’s been since December, is not terribly unusual. They got the same result on March 13th. It’s just they generally don’t get it in concert with a high (though also not unusual) Lab -> Tory flux. I think that’s what pushing them up to 36%, unless something else is happening that I can’t see.)

  40. Spearmint,

    Yes and no. Is it a protest vote? A complex mix of people with various priorities? Did a lot of Eurosceptics vote for the Lib Dems in 2010 because of their promise of a referendum on EU membership? I don’t know.

    Paul A,

    I think that’s correct, but more an artifact of the pressures of the modern era where it is hard for parties to promise things to voters on the margins. David Cameron’s early years as Tory leader suggested he wouldn’t have minded being a One Nation Tory, but that’s a “fair-weather” ideology; similarly, I don’t think that Blairism and New Labour disappeared, but the days when Labour could both appease the core vote and offer goodies for people on the centre/centre-right are gone.

    Hence Labour are forced to become more robustly social democratic (even though left-wing voters in most of the UK have nowhere else to go) and the Tories are forced into becoming more firmly conservative (partly because of UKIP and partly because “there’s no money left” for being One Nation Tories).

  41. Bill Patrick

    UKIP are predominantly, not exclusively, a right wing grouping. Hence Osborne’s very political budget. His pension policy was described as a missile on the grey vote who had been leaning towards UKIP.

    The tories need to hold their base to have a chance and osborne’s budget was designed to do this.

    Their difficulty, as has been the case all parliament, is actually in beating Labour by 3 or more points to end up as the largest party once again. If they can’t do this, Miliband’s labour will be the largest party. I think getting back the UKIP vote is necessary but not sufficient to do this.

    That’s why i think labour will finish up on 34-5%, pipping the tories on seats in the commons, even if the tories edge them in the popular vote.

    the man who talked about “straw clutching ” is right. This is what the media does. I actually thought we would have a poll with the tories in the lead, but even these latest ones, show a labour lead, if only of one point. It’s been two whole years since we have had a single poll with the tories in front. If you look at the last year of the 1987-1992 parliament, there were frequent polls with the tories in the lead…crossover simply has to happen if the tories are to be in the game.

  42. peter crawford

    As I said above in reply to Bramley, thats immaterial.

  43. I have looked at the 2010 party ID by by which the current VI is made of.

    I have been logging data since the 3rd of March.

    Here are the CUSUM charts, by each party:

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

    CUSUM has been used as it is an especially sensitive control chart. These charts are assessed by looking a changes in direction. Nothing going on looks like a lot of up and down random ‘noise’. Clear patterns indicate a trend.

    Conservatives

    Since the 11th March they have been definitely retaining more of their 2010 support. A small but detectable number of 2010 LAB voters have swung over. It’s the 2010 LD identifers who have left partially.

    Labour

    This shows a lot of randomness indicating no significant change.

    Liberal Democrat

    This chart suggests a pick up of from 2010 Conservatives, and a radical amount of instability among 2010 LDs. Please note I excluded the 3rd March 2010 LD figure as a gross outlier (this data point was about half of the normal and too odd to consider as valid).

    UKIP

    The biggest trend by far is the drop off since March 11th of 2010 Cons.

    Overall, Labour look steady, and the Conservatives appear to have pulled back 2010 voters from UKIP.

    These undercurrents begun around the 11th March.

    I will keep these updated.

  44. Always have a wry smile when looking at the media’s coverage on the 2 polls this weekend…. Nothing when polls were showing 10 points lead a week or so ago – also predict no coverage when a massive ‘swing’ back to labour by mid week settling back to a 5-6 point lead…. This is what labour is up against more than anything else

  45. ‘The Government’ are comfortably ahead of Labour.
    But for protest vote having nowhere to go than to the extreme right or to the socialists then the tories would be comfortably ahead of Labour on their own.
    Labour are on 37 with the some if not all 12 % of the vote that left the LDs to go to them.
    Is there any reason why say 3% should not go back to the LDs? Is there any reason why say at least 5% from UKIP should not go back to the tories in 2015?
    There is no reason why on the present trend the tories should not get a small majority in 2015. The reality is they are the only party with any chance of forming a government that is offering any change with the EU relationship and a referendum.

  46. Alec,
    I recall you suggesting in the latter part of last year that Cameron might well rue the day that he decided on a Fixed Term of 5 years – on the basis that the most promising time to call an election will turn out to have been Autumn 2013 or Spring 2014. Do you still hold that view – or has the recovery become more entrenched and sustained than you then expected?

  47. This is just one poll So lets look over a few week period before we can make an a asumption. Osbourne is good at targeting his own supporters and there core values and labour need to map out sooner than latter more about its economic plans what are it main priorities like the deficit and a more prosperous society for all rather than the few and also combate the anti labour media especilally in the newspapers.

  48. KiethP ….
    you said … ‘might find the LD’s with not enough seats to get them over the line, ‘
    Yes. But even if a small rump of LDs could form a coalition with someone then they would by nature of their numbers not have much influence. They might still have more influence than their numbers warranted but that still might not be much.
    So ‘if’ that situation arose, then what would they do? If LD numbers plumet then their nexperiment of being in govt will have failed. they mayu be satrisfied with a cosy irrelevance, a dustbin for protest.

    The Tories need to win a net 21 seats. Its not labour stopping them do that – its UKIP.
    By the way – does anybody really think that UKIP are a sane realistic political party with sensible (or even half sensible) policies and who could run the country without there being endless riots in the streets?

  49. Nobody has mentioned our old friends: The Marginals. That’s still where elections are won. I’m hoping that some polling will be done of those key swing seats fairly soon.

  50. @ Spearmint, Bill Patrick etc

    Two things about the Yougov polls that I have always found puzzling.

    1) Why 10% of the 2010 Lib-Dems voters consistently declare a Ukip VI given that the 2 parties have polar-opposite policies. I agree re your and others’ conclusions: they never voted for Lib-Dem policies in the first place, which makes them unfathomable.

    (2) Why in every poll response, bar 1 or 2, there are twice as many Female as Male Don’t knows.
    The exceptions are “Do you think you will be better/worse off in 12 months”: “Is the Coalition handling the economy well…”: here women are decided & more critical of the government. Unfortunately the gender DKs are not given for individual parties.

    If I were Lab I would be targeting those female DKs, bearing in mind the general female scepticism of the government’s record. .

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