This morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 35%, LAB 36%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 11% (tabs here.) Over the last week YouGov’s daily polls have averaged out at a two point Labour lead, compared to five or six before the budget, suggesting there has been a genuine narrowing. Whether it lasts or not is a different matter.

One thing worth noting is that if the average position in the polls settles down to a Labour lead of two points or so, then it is almost inevitable that sooner or later normal random sample variation will spit out some polls with the two parties equal, or the Conservatives ahead. It won’t necessarily be particularly meaningful in terms of the individual poll (as ever, it’s the underlying trends that count) – but politically it may well have an impact in terms of narrative and the morale of the Parliamentary political parties.

YouGov also asked about European voting intention and found topline figures of CON 24%, LAB 28%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 26%, GRN 7%. Labour remain in the lead, but its very close between Labour, UKIP and the Conservatives, with just 4 points separating Labour in first place from the Conservatives in third. Taking just those who say they are 10/10 certain to vote would put UKIP up into first place, on 30% to Labour’s 29%. Note that the fieldwork started before the Nick v Nigel debate, so be carefuly of reading too much of a post-debate effect into the results. Tabs are here.

This morning we also had the second of this week’s Populus polls. Topline figures are CON 35%, LAB 37%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 12% (tabs here)

189 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 35, LAB 36, LD 10, UKIP 11”

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  1. @Rich

    David Milliband would have done worse than his brother as there wouldn’t have been more than a fig leaf between his policies and that of the Coalition. You may think this would be a more correct approach for Labour, but it would not be Opposition.

  2. The giant bemused question mark still pops up over my head when people say David Miliband would have been a better leader. Same family history, even weirder than Ed, posed with a banana.

  3. I care what the polls say about Ed Miliband; I don’t care what DiF & Rich say about him or about his brother or about his dad or….

  4. Don’t know that I agree wiith RAF
    Opposition is about the right policies not mindless opposition.
    D Miliband would have been the anti Brown candidate which would in turn have led to ructions if he had won.
    The advantage of a D Miliband leadership was that he could have had E Miliband as shadow chancellor. Not a good notion for the nation but it would have given labour better balance since as it is DM has swanned off.

  5. A narrowing in Labour’s poll lead. Perhaps some people are finally coming to their senses and realise that a party of protest is not a party of government. It won’t be too long now before the Tories get ahead of Labour.

  6. @ Mr Beeswax: “Are there any pro-EU people out there who think EU elections ARE important?”

    Yes! An effective MEP can achieve a great deal for his/her area. Sir Graham Watson (who gets quite a few mentions on UKPR) has worked hard to get funding for the Westcountry and to highlight the area’s needs.

    At the opposite extreme, it strikes me as extremely cynical to seek election to a body you don’t believe in, take all the money you can get, do minimal work and not represent your constituents at all. If Brussels is really the all-powerful organisation UKIP makes it out to be, responsible for 70% of our laws, then to make no effort at all to influence legislation and decisions seems a terrible abdication of responsibility.

  7. @C Beaven

    That’s just speculation.

    @ Hookeslaw

    Of course Opposition doesn’t men you oppose everything (unless you think it’s all wrong), but how would Labour have attracted any voters in this parliament if it parroted the government line – a line very much at odds with most Labour and it appears social democratic centrists? Should Labour have supported wholesale NHS privatisation? A huge rise in tuition fees? A harder line by ATOS on disability benefits? Would that have been more popular than Ed’s approach?

    The problem with DM is that he would have been Cameron lite and that would not have been effective. EM has been effective on a variety of different issues – energy for a start.

    People are being premature in their assessment of EM.

  8. @ C Beaven

    If you had left out the “coming to their senses” it might almost have been a non partisan comment.

  9. @Robbiealive
    ‘There has been significant grade inflation in Uni degrees as well as school qualifications.’

    That is certainly true . The majority of students awarded a 2.1 today would have received a 2.2 30 years ago.

  10. @JOHNKAY ‘it strikes me as extremely cynical to seek election to a body you don’t believe in’

    Not necessarily, they may be actively seeking to undermine it and draw attention to its shortcomings.

    This is what Gerry Adams and Martin McGuiness did in getting elected as MPs then refusing to take their seats.

    You or indeed I may find this irritating, but the motivation may be subversive rather than cynical – like an Anarchist’s spoilt paper rather than a non-vote.

    Personally I rather like people’s disengagement from politics, means my vote counts double.

  11. Oh not grade inflation again.

    I can’t wait for the next batch of exam results comes out in August, and I’m treated to the usual list of reasons my generation are useless and stupid. It’s good for the ego, that.

    Grades go down = Kids are getting stupider!
    Grades go up = Exams are getting easier!

  12. @ Mr Nameless

    No one is saying that Uni kids are getting stupider: rather that it stretches credibility to believe that the remarkable improvement in their degree grades is entirely explained by the improvement in their intelligence, technique, preparation, online resources, study guides, etc.

    As an indefatigable researcher you might be interested in the following link & esp. in the caustic comments by Uni lecturers which end it.

  13. ‘Oh not grade inflation again.’

    People such as Barbara Castle, David Steel and Neil Kinnock were awarded Third class degrees. Who gets a Third today?
    Back in the 1970s when only 6/7% were on degree couses most students emerged with a 2.2. Today 35% take degrees yet two thirds get a 2.1!. Logically it should have moved the other way given that the student intake is so much less elitist.
    I know a professor who openly states that he now gives 64% to a piece of work that he would have scored as 56% in the mid-1990s – lectures have pressures on them from management to give higher marks in a way that was totally absent many years ago. Add to that the change in assessment methods – much reliance on essays and course work rather than the degree class being totally dependent on 8 or 9 exams of 3 hours at the end of the course.

  14. On another point, after seeing the lovely Esther McVey on Breakfast this morning I’ve decided I’ll be offering my labour to Wirral West CLP next year to play a role in overturning her roughly 2,500 majority.

  15. @Hookeslaw

    Of course the conservative party should have had Ken Clarke as leader.
    The advantage of a K.Clarke leadership was that he could have had D.Cameron as shadow chancellor. Not a good notion for the nation but it would have given conservative better balance since IDS and GO might have swanned off.

  16. Robbiealive

    Thanks for the link. Two comments in particular caught my eye
    ‘n 1980 roughly 3-5% of degrees awarded were First class. Now its around 20%. That’s an increase of some 400-600%. That kind of change cannot possibly be explained by just having access to online past papers or even a modestly significant improvement in teaching standards. We’re always being told (mainly by those working in education) that the huge improvement in grades at all levels is because our students are so much better than in the past and their teaching is better etc. And yet studies like the 2012 PISA tests show that the UK is actually declining in education standards. Any suggestion that young people today are somehow fundamentally far more capable, or cleverer, etc than their parents generation is obviously ridiculous. Those who seriously believe there hasn’t been a great deal of grade inflation at degree level are deluding themselves. The losers, sadly, are those being awarded the grades because everyone knows that a First (say) these days just does not compare with one from 30+ years ago and its about time we stopped kidding ourselves otherwise. Perhaps they should introduce a First* grade’
    ‘When I attended UCL’s law faculty between 1978 and 1981, two firsts were handed out in three years. around 20% of us were awarded a 2:1. Now I have no doubt that pupils are better prepared for examinations, although it is not clear that this makes them better lawyers. However there is no evidence of a step change in the average ability or intelligence of human beings in those 32 years. What is more, since 1980, the number of first graduates has increased by a factor of 5. So here in 2013, the number of students obtaining a 2:1 or a First is more than thrice the number of students obtaining any sort of degree in the 1980s. So grade inflation? Maybe not. It’s hyperinflation.’

  17. @Scouse
    At least she’s better looking than Selwyn Lloyd, who I had to put up with when I lived in Wirral W

  18. RA and Graham,

    I was specifically referring to the idea of grade inflation at GCSE and A Level – I don’t know enough about degrees to comment.

    But the idea that exams are a better form of assessment seems odd to me. Few jobs (which we’re always told education is supposed to prepare us for) require you to sit still and write in silence for three hours straight, except perhaps court stenographer.

  19. Anyone know when the summary voting intention of polls on the home page will be updated?!?

  20. Colin
    Yes we do seem to have a trend but I get the impression that Anthony thinks (from, I assume, experience) that we have to see over a week or two whether the trend is a blip or an, er, trend.

  21. I have been having a bit of a reflective think. It all feels to me as if everything is panning out for a Conservative GE win this September. Indeed, under average to normal historic circumstances there might have been a GE this September.

    However, we now have a fixed term parliament to May 2015 – nine months after this September. Given that there are lots of economic warning signs about things that could well damage, or send sligtly into reverse, the emerging “feel good factor” that is presumably behind the narrowing of the gap between Con and Lab, it begs the following question:

    Has Osborne tweaked the economy to perform too well in terms of fanning up his party’s VI too early in a fixed-term parliament?

    He is undoubtedly a shrewd political operator – but I sense it could drift away from the Conservatives next Spring if he succeeds in getting a run in the lead later this year, it could well go off the boil too soon – particularly if such a fright brings Labour to its senses strategy-wise?

  22. Can I suggest that if people want to follow the age-old assertion that educational standards are declining they cite some actual evidence (not just the usual online grousing)?

    There is some weak evidence, but it is very far from as cut-and-dried as some of the unwontedly strong assertions I am reading here would make out.

    In any case, there’s a lot of argument about what the consequences would actually be. It’s not even clear if we we should really care in any case considering our degree classification system is widely recognised as being ridiculous and nobody feels they can rely on it as any real indicator of anything, either now or in the past. Which is why the HE system is trying to ditch it.

    Also, PISA 2012 does not show a decline in UK educational standards. If you don’t believe me, ask Andreas Schleicher.

    In any case, it has to be on the list of the Worlds Most Boring Arguments. Your parents thought that educational standards had declined when you went to school. Their parents thought the same thing. The Times was making jokes about A level results day, saying that no matter what the results were, the Press would say that standards had declined back in the 70s.

    I’ve got quotes from the *20s* saying that it was obvious to everyone that degree standards had declined (thanks to the inclusion of the useless new redbrick institutions).

    There was even a rhyme common at the time paying tribute to the horrifying fact that you could get (*shudder*) industrial sponsorship at the new institutions.

    “They give degrees for making jam
    At Manchester and Birmingham”

    And I have no doubt that the analogues of some posters here were citing academic acquaintances in defence of their firmly-held opinion that this just went to show that standards were falling at the time, 100 years ago.

    Yes, it does annoy me, thanks very much.

  23. On Ed Milliband, I’m beginning not to expect much more in the way of growing into the role, or any great transformation in the way the public relates to him.

    Ready to be PM? Not according to YouGov. IpsosMORI will probably provide some more information on that soon… will he have made any progress in the last year? I can have my own opinions about his undoubted qualities, but public perception, and how he is widely portrayed is what counts.

    Jenni Russell (Spectator, Guardian, Times, Evening Standard, and possible next contoller of BBC R4) had an article behind the Murdoch paywall yesterday. She is supposedly on very good terms with Ed, and is undoubtedly well connected. She has put a rocket under him now… painting a picture of a PLP largely excluded from policy making, alienated from an aloof and “shrivelled centre”.

  24. RAF

    And for many more people too!

    Scots political journos obviously know who the source is. “uncomfortably senior Tory” is the description being tweeted.

  25. For Spectator read *New Statesman*

  26. For those who haven’t seen the story RAF referred to –

  27. Hi Raf,

    “@C Beaven

    That’s just speculation. ”

    [Snip – AW]

    No doubt about it – on averages of polls – the Conservatives have taken approximately 1.5% from Labour since the Budget: not from the LDs and not from UKIP in any noticeable measure. So it’s like a 6-pointer match in football – although of course the season is far from over and the Tories are still second in the league. Why might centre-left LD’s go to the right and not back to the LDs? Seems odd, unless they LDs went to Don’t Knows and some Don’t Knows have gone to Conservative: the overall Don’t Know pool hasn’t gone down, has it?

    Money talks might seem the sole available explanation for Don’t Knows going right (if that’s what happened.) The LDs heading to Don’t Know (if that’s what happened) could be being persuaded that their own party was responsible for the increase in tax allowance and so can be forgiven their support for the right throughout the parliament.

    [Snip – AW]

  28. Before EM is completely dismissed lets not forget that Thatcher was hardly popular before going on to win elections, and Blair was always Bambi Blair..

    I’m in two minds at the moment – I’m surprised that Labour hasn’t made more noise about the economy – I still think that for a lot of people there’s a real disconnect between the press view and their own experience – on the other hand Miliband has good form at not rushing things and choosing the right time to strike.

    Im wondering if the Tories will come to regret having fixed term parliaments.

  29. Colin Davis

    “although of course the season is far from over and the Tories are still second in the league”

    But you need to remember the case of Rangers FC – poised for promotion, but also at high risk of going back into administration – and so back to the bottom of the bottom league again.

    For any club/party – screw up the finances and oblivion may well follow.

  30. @Billy Bob

    I’d be a bit careful about holding too much store by what so-called well connected insiders may or may not say, especially those of a journalistic persuasion. All party leaders when they hit choppy political water, as they inevitably do from time to time, receive friendly fire; n’er-do-wells and disingenuous “well-meaners” alleging close-knit cliques and out of touch leadership cabals. Not long ago the very same sort of people were saying the very same things about Cameron when, surprise surprise, he was encountering political difficulties. Par for the course innuendo, anecdote and silliness.

    Miliband should heed the advice of an old Labour leader who was quite adept at winning elections. No, not St Tony of the parish of Blair, but Harold Wilson. When dear old Harold was up to his neck, as he usually was, in muck and bullets and all manner of plots were raging around him, he was posed this question in a TV interview. “What’s going on, Prime Minister?”, asked the interviewer. Wilson, as he often did, sucked on his pipe for a while, pondering his response. A twinkle in his eye he said, “I know what’s going on, I’m going on.”

    And he did, to quite a few more election victories if I remember rightly.

    Steady as she goes. Stormy weather, enemy fire. Keep cracking on, though. Mettle tested and enjoy the ding dong. It’s what real politics is all about and it’s not for the faint hearted. Plenty of shots in the locker and still well in the game.

    Battle joined and local elections to come. The blood is starting to course!

  31. @ OLDNAT

    General feeling on the Sky News Press Review is that this “minister” is totally off-message. I very much doubt whether any rUK government would agree to Scotland’s use of the rUK pound. This is certainly the case prior to May 2015. IMO agreement to an independent Scotland’s use of the pound would cost a huge number of votes as the majority of rUK are against it as shown in previous polls. In the event of a YES vote I suspect something of a backlash against the Scots.

  32. Peter Bell

    Yep! We get Sky News up here in the far north – so we get the views of the commentators from the far south.

    ” In the event of a YES vote I suspect something of a backlash against the Scots.”

    There may well be that aspect of the “jilted lover” among some south of the border – but you need to remember that your only political choice is between parties that will concentrate on political reality, balance of payments etc, rather than hurt feelings.

  33. Has there been any polling on equal marriage since it passed parliament? Be interesting to see if opinions have changed since then (although it’s never going to be repealed, so not that important).

  34. Also, I think it’s quite funny that the same day equal marriage begins is Norman Tebbit’s birthday.

  35. MrNameless

    A few months back, I happened to be wearing a pink “Yes” badge when I went to the cinema. Cashier asked me if that was Yes for equal marriage. Explained that it was actually for indy – but that I was proud to support equal marriage too.

  36. @OLDNAT

    “There may well be that aspect of the “jilted lover” among some south of the border – but you need to remember that your only political choice is between parties that will concentrate on political reality, balance of payments etc, rather than hurt feelings.”

    I realise that you don’t accept it, but it is the political (economic) reality which makes the Scots use of the pound unacceptable. The hurt feelings only enhance that unacceptability.

  37. A year out from the 1979 election Thatcher scored a 54% satisfied/ 40% dissatisfied rating (with the way she is doing her job) on IpsosMORI. Admittedly she was still trailing Callaghan.

    At this stage in 1996 Blair was at 50% satisfied/ 28% dissatisfied.

    Comparable figures for Major (58% vs 27%)… though he was actually PM before winning his first election); Cameron (52% vs 30%).

    Milliband is at 29% satisfied/ 60% dissatisfied… currently trailing Farage, Cameron and Clegg.

  38. @Mr Nameless
    ‘I was specifically referring to the idea of grade inflation at GCSE and A Level ‘

    The case there is much more straightforward!. Until the late late 1980s O and A levels were assessed on the basis of Relative Marking. Under such a system only a given % of those sitting an exam in a particular year could be awarded a specific grade – eg only the top 10% could obtain an A grade. Thereafter, we moved to a system of Absolute Marking whereby – theoretically – every student could get an A grade. In practice, some 25% of students are now given A grades – which implies that least 60% of them would have failed to do so under the old system. Moreover, none of this makes any allowance for the fact that far more students take A levels nowadays – no longer are they restricted to the more academic as was the case back in the 60s and 70s.

  39. “a case of too little, too late.”

    UK appears less intransigent than Spain, but both seem to share that inability to shift significantly more powers away from the centre, at a time when it could have guaranteed their prime objective.

    “toys with” is so appropriate.

  40. Oldnat

    “Explained that it was actually for indy – but that I was proud to support equal marriage too.”

    I’m sure there’s a referendum-related metaphor to be found in that sentence, but the lateness of the hour and the aftermath of a night out are undermining my ability to articulate what it might be.

  41. @Mr Nameless

    YouGov have a poll out today showing people 57-32 in favour.

    ComRes had a poll out yesterday showing people 68-26 in favour, but 20% said they’d turn down an invitation to a same sex wedding, which I find a bit sad.

  42. Peter Bell

    Almost half of Scots think the Unionists are bluffing. less than half believe them.

    This is a polling site. Whether you think that rUK would consider ending a currency union was in their interests, or I think they would continue it because it’s in their self-interest, is neither here nor there.

    Whether the unnamed Minister thinks Scots would be desperate to keep a currency union, and consequently would be willing to trade that against Trident remaining permanently on the Clyde, or whether the SNP are using the single currency as a campaigning tool, and would be happy to tell rUK to stuff the idea, is also neither here nor there.

    Polling tells us that the currency issue hasn’t damaged the Yes campaign at all. If anything, the Westminster response has had the opposite effect from what they intended.

    Again, it’s not a purpose of this site to debate which government is “right” or “wrong” on any issue. It is a reasonable point of discussion as to whether there is any evidence that either of them seem to have positions which resonate with the public (who get a vote).

    Thus far, the Yes campaign seems to have got their pitch to the people right on this issue, and this story (as reported in Scotland) seems likely to reinforce that.

  43. Muddy Waters

    No metaphor required. I just support both ideas.

    For a straight guy of my generation, that’s a testament to my children having made me think about gay issues, instead of just assuming that the 1950s “standards” I was brought up with had any justification.

  44. Oldnat

    Indeed. One doesn’t need to go back to the 1950s (‘though I’m not that far off it) to have experienced how radically the frame of reference has changed.

  45. “Scots political journos obviously know who the source is. “uncomfortably senior Tory” is the description being tweeted.”

    Given the direct reference to trading CU for Faslane, I suspect an MOD connection. Philip Hammond freelancing on behalf of the Chiefs of Staff, maybe?

  46. @Oldnat

    “Yep! We get Sky News up here in the far north – so we get the views of the commentators from the far south.”

    We even get commentators from the North, but they take their cues from the ones in the South.

  47. @ Ewen Lightfoot (from previous thread)

    “I used to be a teacher for many years and we would keep an eye on changes and innovations in the kids names, never had a Barbi , although there were plenty of Chardonnays and even a Chanel or two. Victorian names that were making a comeback included Agnes and Wilfred but sadly no sign of Agatha, Gladys or Albert. Oscar yes, Mable no.”

    Sounds like a Finesse Mitchell sketch. Or my Evidence professor 3L year setting up a hypothetical with one of the students in my class. “And your name is Chanel? Yeah, you’ve been in some fights.” :)

    @ Billy Bob

    No doubt you heard the sad news that the great Liberal Bulldog is retiring from Congress at the end of this term. :(

  48. @Mr Beeswax (re UKIP MEPs doing nothing much except collect their salaries): “Not necessarily, they may be actively seeking to undermine it and draw attention to its shortcomings. This is what Gerry Adams and Martin McGuiness did in getting elected as MPs then refusing to take their seats.”

    I don’t normally defend Sinn Fein, but in this respect they appear a beacon of shining probity compared with UKIP. Googling the matter unearthed this rather ancient (undated – 2009?) statement from them:

    “Sinn Féin MPs, like all party members who are paid a wage, receive exactly the same average industrial wage which is £356 per week, net.

    There is no personal or self-gain by Sinn Féin MPs in respect of monies or allowances paid by Westminster.


    The British government refuses to pay Sinn Féin MPs our salaries and other grants which all other Westminster MPs receive. Over the last five years this has amounted to almost £2 million.”

    Though I’ll concede that talk of the British govt refusing to pay suggests they’d take the cash if it was offered.

    Re Scotland and currency, the interesting thing about the Guardian story is that a Tory minister should be acknowledging the massive bargaining counter the Scottish govt would have in Faslane.

    What was it the Russians were paying Ukraine to lease their Crimean naval base?

    I’d have thought it would be a bargain for the rUK to stump up £1bn pa to lease Faslane rather than pay the costs (financial and political) of moving the base to England.

    If AS is as shrewd as alleged, the canny position would be to take the money and go with an independent currency. Could it be that’s his plan, but he doesn’t want to say so?

  49. “I’d have thought it would be a bargain for the rUK to stump up £1bn pa to lease Faslane rather than pay the costs (financial and political) of moving the base to England.”

    Any rUK government who said “whoopsie, we lost our base, can’t possibly afford £1Bn pa on top of everything else, there’s no money left, it’s not really an independent ‘deterrent’ anyway, let’s call the whole thing off and spend the money saved on something useful” would be going a good way to getting my vote.
    The fact that they get to show 2 fingers to AS might even help tip politicians in the right direction.

  50. @Guymonde

    Yes indeed, using a Faslane rent demand as an excuse to drop the whole nuclear weapons thing would be a win for both Scotland and rUK. But, sadly, I suspect you should never underestimate the willingness of UK governments to find the cash for keeping nuclear weapons, whatever else has to go. Not sure what the polling implications are…

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