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. @Bill

    “Labour won majorities in 1997 and 2001 without requiring Scottish MPs, but those were atypical elections for Labour”

    Folk tend to forget the campaign funding that Labour receives from Scotland, which doesn’t need to be spent proportionally in Scotland in General Elections. Marginal England seats funded by SLAB members (although I’m sure that’s fairly true of the SCONs too, just that the Con budget folk don’t waste their money trying to win th unwinnable seats).

    Loss of Scotland will have a fair old impact on rUK General Elections in a number of obvious, and less obvious ways.

  2. Phil Haines

    LOL

  3. @Amber

    “The Yes camp in Scotland don’t want a referendum tomorrow; they want as much time as possible.”

    Or in other words, ‘one group of politicians want things to happen when it suits them’ – shocker!

  4. Phil Haines

    Good point – but I suppose “poll lead down to 1.9%!” doesn’t make as good a headline for the Tory media as “down to 1%” or even, as the Sunday Times tried to spin it, “Labour and Tories neck and neck!”.

  5. Spearmint

    Re morality. Thanks for that I agree with every word of it. As you know I think IDS (agree with him or not) is on a moral crusade.

  6. Anyone know what the Greens have done to lose half their support in EU polling? Was it a protest in 2009 or have they just campaigned badly? Their target of six seats now seems very optimistic indeed.

  7. Colin Davis

    “My hypothesis (no more than that) is that Labour’s consistent 38% average VI could be explained as the moral consensus among a core of people that neo-liberal policies are inconsistent with widely accepted moral principles.”

    That’s the nub of it. I think the majority of the current 38% are actually motivated by what they think they will get out of voting Labour. I would be totally amazed if it could be proved that the great majority of people don’t vote out of self interest.

    I don’t doubt you are sincerely motivated by morality, as I am, but as others have sensibly pointed out what is moral to one person can be utterly immoral to another. That is why I always pick you up when you start talking morality in respect of your political beliefs. I would respectfully suggest that you stop using “moral” to support your arguments, I am sure you can find plenty of other ways to support your argument. If you did that it would save us both a lot of time and the others on here from a great deal of boredom.

  8. The media will hype the election as “too close to call”, “the closest ever” etc. Structurally still hard to see tories losing fewer than 20 seats net, which they will need to be the largest party.

    This seems very clear, though some dispute this and think the tories will emerge victorious, even with a majority. People who say the tories will win a majority, of course have no clue about which 10 labour held seats the tories will gain when you ask them. [granted that they take 10 liberal democrat seats which is optimistic]

  9. Does a newspaper headline (and story) about an opinion poll change anyone’s mind about how they are going to vote?

    We’ve seen it demonstrated here how a 2% lead for Labour has been spun to make it look as though Labour and Conservative are level pegging, but does that really make any difference to how someone will vote? Will an erstwhile Labour voter look at that and say, “I’d better vote Tory now”?

    What is the point of the spin?

  10. It’s also worth bearing in mind that if, out of their total sample of 2103, YouGov had found 2 fewer Conservatives and 1 more Lab supporter, we would be talking about a poll of Con 35% and Lab 38%.

    And the YouGov poll would have got no headlines at all.

  11. I reckon (no evidence to bear this out mind) that seeing a big splash saying ‘Labour and Tories Neck and Neck’ might kick a few DKs or lapsed Lab/Con voters into gear, as it removes their ability to be complacent/defeatist.

    So there may be a few who change their VI as a result, but I wouldn’t think it would be many.

  12. @Bill Patrick

    “The stigma against the Tories in Scotland is too politically profitable for the left to give up simply because of a name change, separation from the UK party, or outright independence.”

    I may be reading you incorrectly but it looks as though you are saying that the left is responsible for the Tory’s continuing unpopularity in Scotland? I think that the Tory party is perfectly capable of earning its own stigma without having to rely on the Labour to do it for them. :-)

    My Scottish Tory friends here are true conservatives but many feel that the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party party is just the Westminster party tartaned up a bit. They are – to a man (and they’re all men) – going to vote No or are on the cusp of voting no.

  13. @Phil

    “And the YouGov poll would have got no headlines at all.”

    I doubt that. The other day, I said that if the budget was seen to be positive, we would be down to Con 35%, Lab 38%. ‘Down’, as in from a 5-6% lead.

    There’s no doubt there has been a budget bounce (how many polls though?). Looking ahead, will Osborne look to ‘more of the same’, if he feels it can give his party 2% and take 1-2% off Labour? I think so.

  14. @Shariet2

    “I may be reading you incorrectly but it looks as though you are saying that the left is responsible for the Tory’s continuing unpopularity in Scotland?”

    If you regularly listen to Scottish politicians, specifically SNP and Lab ones, then yes, that’s the case. Both are only too happy to accuse the other of cosying up to the ‘nasty party’, in a big to scare people into their fold.

    It’s a cheap vote winner. Akin to the ‘UKIP are the new BNP’ type slogans from the left in England.

  15. Tyop: ‘bid’ to scare.

  16. @MRNAMELES and others

    People like to be on the Winning side and tend to go with the momentum. The Lib Dems rely on this in their local campaigns using “Lib Dems winning here” posters and expressing exaggerated confidence on the doorstep. With a worrying number of voters this does work.

  17. “It’s a cheap vote winner. Akin to the ‘UKIP are the new BNP’ type slogans from the left in England.”

    I don’t know that there’s not any truth in that latter statement. While UKIP are certainly quite different from the BNP in policy and style, it seems clear that they’re fishing in the same pond of white, working class men who are angry with politicians and immigrants.

    I would also put good money on most of the former BNP supporters now voting UKIP.

  18. @Statgeek

    It would be an interesting study to search through the BBC archives for the last four years and compare the Lab lead in the handful of polls that it does choose to report to the lead in the preceding and subsequent poll from the same company. Perhaps something for a Mr Nameless journalism dissertation on political reporting?

    I’m pretty sure that I could tell you now what the results would be. An interesting study but with predictable results.

  19. @Phil

    ‘News’ is that which is unusual.

  20. @RMJ1

    That Liberal technique was, I believe,developed to offset the equally ubiquitous Tory/Labour campaigning technique of ‘A vote for the Liberals is a wasted vote’.

  21. @ Shariet2: “I’ve heard several Scottish Labour supporters express unhappiness that Labour went into coalition with Tories to form BT and they are much less inclined to vote No because of it.”

    Much the same with the AV referendum with some having seen voting against as a chance to ‘punish’ Clegg even though they were otherwise in favour of it. Politics can do strange things to people.

  22. Well, TOH, that’s my hypothesis, see above, and hypothesis is all it is. If it’s wrong, it’s wrong, and I do look out for events that might disprove it. Your hypothesis, that Labour’s 38% is, like most voting patterns most of the time, a matter of self interest, seems odd to me, because when self interest is the criterion, voting patterns should be more erratic than this one has been, and more affected by what Labour actually say and do. The 38% does not appear to be affected in that way.

    Furthermore, if your hypothesis is correct, we should expect to see more than a UKIP and LD swing to the Tories once the goody bags are opened. We should expect to see the 38% diminish rapidly. I’m not saying it won’t. I am saying that, if it does, we then have to explain why it remained constant for so long, even throughout the ‘Ed is crap’ onslaught last late-summer and after Ed had hit the headlines with his energy bill proposals.

  23. Think we are getting a bit carried away. The Tories have hit 35 many times during the last year. This was seen at the upper end of their polling. We now have had one 36 and we are talking about some shift, when the unweighted sample sill showed Labour nearer to 40 than 37.

    Labour have been consistenly 35+ and quite regularly around 40%.

    We will have to see what the polls are like over the coming weeks. I don’t think they will show too much of a change to what we have seen previously. The UKIP vote will pick up nearer to the EU elections and this may affect Toris more than Labour.

  24. I get a bit uncomfortable when we start talking morality. I think it’s more accurate to talk of a ‘settled view’ which may or may not be a matter of morality. Some of us have a ‘settled view’ of party which accords with perceived short term economic interests, some not. This can be decried as tribalism but nobody normal is going to subject competing manifestos to forensic comparison and if they do they will be badly misled.
    What I find scary is when politicians think they are on a moral crusade (vide Blair and IDS, both of whom I think are very dangerous)

  25. It goes without saying that the media, and various commentators, are making far too much out of what, for all we know, could be outliers. The numbers are within MOE for the recent Tory/Labour polling averages.

    If however a pattern does emerge, and the Tories enjoy a 1-2% bounce, the question will then be how sustainable those numbers are going forward, and what it means (if anything) for 2015.

    We know a few things for sure;

    1) Current electoral maths mean the Tories need around 40% (assuming Labour poll 35%) for an overall majority
    2) Labour appear to be performing more strongly in the marginals than unform swing would suggest
    3) Despite what may be a post-budget bounce, Labour retain their poll lead, however so reduced

    The cold hard facts are that if Labour poll 35% come May 2015, and the Tories poll 37%, bettering their performance in 2010, then Labour will still be the largest party and may even sqeak in with an overall majority due to performance in the marginals.

    These are sobering figures for Tory electoral strategists and they must certainly reflect on how they lost boundary reform due to blocking HoL reform. With boundary reform they may have stood a chance, but as things stand, polls placing them ‘neck and neck’ with Labour are, whilst an improvement, not indicative of anything other than a thumping 2015 defeat – they need to start pulling ahead by ~5% from Labour and over 40% to stand a chance of an overall majority.

  26. For the record, I’ve replied to TOH’s comments, above. It is a studiedly non-partisan reply, but it’s in moderation. Obviously I think it should be on the board, but as I said – for the record – it’s there.

  27. Populus also one point lead but due to fall in Lab support:

    New Populus VI: Lab 35 (-3); Cons 34 (=); LD 10 (+1); UKIP 13 (+1); Oth 8 (+1) Tables http://popu.lu/s_vi140324

  28. The other Howard

    Quote form your comment: “… what is moral to one person can be utterly immoral to another. That is why I always pick you up when you start talking morality in respect of your political beliefs.”
    Please correct me if I have mistaken what you have said and forgive me if I have misunderstood you. Does this mean that, in your view, politics has nothing to do with morality?
    If that be the case then what about law and morality? e.g. In your view… Should one be excused and not prosecuted for stealing or for killing someone because they believed those crimes not to be immoral?

  29. Hi Independant Chris1,

    Well, at least someone’s allowed to enter this debate! Bon chance.

  30. Shariet2,

    No, my point is that the Scottish Tories won’t be accepted “in from the cold” just because the country has separated from the UK.

    Shevii,

    Very odd. So it’s not as simple as the Tories doing better, but Labour do seem to be struggling a bit?

  31. (“It” being the shif of a lot of polls to a 1% lead.)

  32. Couldn’t put it better myself, Crossbat11!

  33. @Bill Patrick
    “Yes, Labour won majorities in 1997 and 2001 without requiring Scottish MPs, but those were atypical elections for Labour. And appealing back to elections before the 1970s is hopelessly anachronistic.”

    And in 2005 (though less emphatically): meaning that three three out of the four Labour majorities in your post-1970 time frame were not dependent on Scottish seats. So I guess it kind of depends what you mean by “atypical.”

  34. Also, I’m surprised you didn’t notice the suspiciously high LD VI in the European poll…

  35. That populus poll confirms the trend, and should worry Lab a bit more, although to be fair, only puts them back where they were on March 13th and 16th.

  36. Colin

    As always thanks. The £5.5 billion from the BBC report and which I quoted verbatim, I had assumed was an annual amount but in fact they did not explain what you now have found to be the case in the FT article. I must say I thought it was a fairly marginal figure even when I understood it was an annual one! Against total spending of some £720 b, and receipts of £612 b, indeed this ‘giveaway’ is parsimonious indeed. So my figure of ‘£86 each’ (65 million of us) has to be divided by 5 – so £17 p.a. ‘each’. Big deal. It does lengthen the days when the annual deficit will reduce to nothing, however.

    What I don’t understand is why the press made such a huge fuss about it. It was, in fiscal terms, thus, a nothing budget. The rest of the Budget was just about a penny here a penny there, as usual.

    It also means that the pay down of the deficit over 4 years (2018 was it) has to come from taxing the expected growth and pretty well nowhere else, I suppose.

  37. Interesting that fall in labour ratings hasn’t gone to the Cons – similar story with you gov with Tories although slightly up but well within moe. Does give hope to labour that this can be easily clawed back.

  38. Is it me or is Populus ‘all over the shop’?

  39. Anyone seen this tremendous piece from Chris Bryant about posterity’s worst-behaved MPs (don’t worry, nothing here to excited Anthony’s ire)?

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/shortcuts/2014/mar/23/worst-behaved-mps-in-history

    I am greatly taken with the punishment decreed for Giles Mompesson who was “was fined, expelled from parliament and told to parade up the Strand “with his face in a horse’s anus” for extortionately abusing his royal monopoly for the licensing of inns and manufacture of gold thread in 1621″

    Stuff jailing or fining MPs. That’s the punishment we want.

  40. HOWARD

    You are welcome.

    I think one of the more impressive aspects of this Budget is that GO managed to produce such good reactions-business as well as savers , pensioners & taxpayers-from so little net cost.

    Of course he has no money save that which is borrowed.

    Regarding your last para, I thought that further fiscal tightening was pencilled in actually. Of course after the Budget is balanced, as you say, taxation of economic output will have to suffice .

    Yes it is 2018 when a Budget surplus appears -well 2018/19 actually -which is more 2019 than 2018.

  41. It is not difficult to understand why the Conservative Party are doing cartwheels over the Labour Lead of only 1%.
    I think the point has already been made that this has been trumpeted by some parts of the news media as “Labour and Tories neck and neck!” I can also understand why they would wish it to be so but, to add a cautionary note, Labour have been averaging polls from 35% to 40% whilst the Conservatives have rarely been above 34% in recent times.
    I am sure there will be a few people who will believe that this is a “Give away Budget” and it will make them very rich so they ought to vote Conservative – but only a few.
    The greater likelihood is that when the small print and the full implications of the Budget are known that the polls will resume their normal pattern.
    This is only a guess and I have no evidence to support what I say but my guess is as good as anyone else’s.

  42. @Alec

    So your (amusing) post begs the question:

    Why doesn’t the left solve all the country’s woes when they get the chance?

    Answer:

    Brain size is like the size of other things. It’s what you do with it that counts, and sitting, talking about it gets you nowhere. :))

  43. “It also means that the pay down of the deficit over 4 years (2018 was it) has to come from taxing the expected growth and pretty well nowhere else, I suppose.”

    The deficit has only fallen from £118bn in 2011 to £96bn in 2014. Does anyone really believe Osborne’s revised 2018 target is achievable?

  44. Newsnight sought out a golf course in Finchley for their post-Budget box pop.

  45. STATGEEL

    LOL !

  46. That should, of course, have been ‘vox pop’!

  47. “Anyone know what the Greens have done to lose half their support in EU polling? Was it a protest in 2009 or have they just campaigned badly? Their target of six seats now seems very optimistic indeed.”

    The fact Labour were reduced to 15.7% in the 2009 Euro election will have had a lot to do with the Greens’ success in that election. A lot of Labour supporters in places like London and Manchester will have voted Green on that occasion.

  48. @Alec
    “That populus poll confirms the trend, and should worry Lab a bit more, although to be fair, only puts them back where they were on March 13th and 16th.”

    Mar 10
    Lab 38 (+1); Cons 34 (=); LD 9 (=); UKIP 12 (=); Oth 7 (-1)

    Mar 14
    Lab 35 (-3); Cons 34 (=); LD 10 (+1); UKIP 13 (+1); Oth 8 (+1)

    Mar 17
    Lab 36 (+1); Cons 32 (-2); LD 10 (=); UKIP 13 (=); Oth 9 (+1)

    Mar 21
    Lab 38 (+2); Cons 34 (+2); LD 9 (-1); UKIP 12 (-1); Oth 7 (-2)

    Mar 24
    Lab 35 (-3); Cons 34 (=); LD 10 (+1); UKIP 13 (+1); Oth 8 (+1)

    I’m not sure but surely one can only look at trends from the same polling companies ie yougov with yougov, populus with populus etc.

    What today’s populus tells us is that Labour’s ‘score’ is at the lower end of the norm for populus & well within MOE – and that’s all.

  49. @Statgeek
    ‘News’ is that which is unusual.
    ________________

    …..provided that it is unusual in one particular direction it seems. Does an unusual widening in the polls ever merit any comparable reporting?

  50. ROGERH

    @”The deficit has only fallen from £118bn in 2011 to £96bn in 2014. ”

    Or to put it another way:-

    The deficit has fallen from that inherited at end FY 09/10, of £157bn to £109bn forecast at end FY 13/14

    This is a £48bn reduction over 4 years of low economic output.-at £12bn pa

    The forecast currently is to eliminate that £109bn over the next 5 years when economic activity will be higher.-at £22bn pa

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