The weekly YouGov/Sunday Times poll is out here. Topline voting intentions are CON 33%, LAB 40%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 11%.

These would have been perfectly normal a fortnight ago, but contrast with the average Labour leads of two points or so that we’ve had for the last week. All the normal caveats apply – it could be a sign that the post-budget narrowing of the polls is coming to an end and things are headed back to the pre-budget situation, or it could just be random sample error, and next week’s polls will be back to leads of one or two points. Wait and see.

YouGov also asked about European election voting intention, and found figures of CON 24%, LAB 32%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 23%, GRN 5%. Labour remain in the lead (though more convincingly than mid-week), the Conservatives and UKIP remain in a tight race for second place (though this time it’s the Conservatives who are narrowly ahead). Voting intention in a referendum on leaving the EU remains at 42% stay, 36% leave – the same as before the Nick v Nigel debate.

Most of the rest of the poll dealt with comparisons between how Ed Miliband and David Cameron are seen as leaders. The pattern is a familiar one, and one I’ve discussed here many times before – Cameron is seen as stronger, more decisive, clearer about what he stands for and more up to the job of PM; Miliband is seen as more in touch with ordinary people. We can’t easily quantify how much this helps the Tories or damages Labour. Miliband had rubbish ratings last year too and that didn’t stop Labour enjoying 10+ leads in the polls so it is cleary not a complete road block to success… but then, neither is anything else. There is no one, single explanation to voting intention, no one, single thing that leads to failure or success. Parties have won elections with unpopular leaders, they have won elections when behind on the economy – these things do matter, but they are all part of a package and can be outweighted by other things.

484 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 33, LAB 40, LD 9, UKIP 11”

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  1. @Colin
    “Productivity on the move :-)”

    I don’t think Alec is so easily pleased. Output per worker 0.5% higher than in 2010, and output per hour worked still 1.0% below the level of 2010.

  2. Tony Dean

    The aim will not just be negative campaigning against Miliband – though that will be a big part with the main emphasis on his perceived weakness and left wing policies but also to make Cameron appear more like Sun readers – the Bullingdon club picture does him no favours and the perception of him among readers certainly Midlands North is upper class, elitist, out of touch with their concerns – more so than Thatcher or Major. So that’s the challenge.

  3. PHIL

    @I don’t think Alec is so easily pleased.

    I think you are right. lol .

  4. Pressman: “to make Cameron appear more like Sun readers”

    Good luck with that one. :-)

  5. ‘Royal Mail shares costs taxpayer £750m’


    In theory the LD’s should lose support for this,but as their support is so low, maybe not.

    As a 2010 LD voter,I should be embarrassed, but I am used to this sort of thing now.

  6. Pressman: “to make Cameron appear more like Sun readers”

    Most of whom vote Labour.

  7. Here is the latesst Bank of England’s Agents report on the economy

    Note the sober and careful language used in contrast to the headline grabbing adjectives used by other organisations.

  8. Roger H

    No they don’t. Estimates at 2010 but the Tory lead among readership at 15% (43-28) – a far greater swing from 2005 than nationally.

    The problem now is how many of those are now UKIP and that is why the continuing message is ‘vote UKIP get Labour’ but its a balancing act because by rubbishing Farage you are bound to piss off some of the bedrock readership.

  9. Listen – we’ve got to be happy that productivity is going upwards, but also realistic. [I do hope some people don’t read this as doom mongering – it really isn’t – just a basic restatement of the facts].

    The long term productivity trend from 1998 – 2007 was +2.5% pa, while last year we finally managed growth of about half that. Output per hour is still a whopping 5% below the pre 2008 level. The ONS chart shows a very modest increase on their new 2010 base year, but blimey – the collapse from 2007 to 2010 was huge.

    I’ve suggested before that this isn’t necessarily a completely bad thing. More people were kept on, lowering productivity, but presumably sharing the burden more widely, via suppressed wages for the many rather than unemployment for the (relatively) few.

    However, equally I don’t really think anyone can disagree that we have failed to mount an investment led recovery – something for which the government since 2010 has to take a decent share of the blame. In his first budget, Osborne inexplicably cut annual investment allowances in half, focusing instead on Corporation Tax cuts that only benefited very large firms, so not even helping the 80% of the economy in the SME sector.

    He’s now recognised this error, but unfortunately investment really needs to be targeted in the depths of recessions, when asset replenishment prices are cheap.

    Still – lets at least celebrate the lengthy decline in productivity has been reversed.


    Very interesting link.


    BoE Agents don’t do “excited”-very sober & sensible people in my experience.

  11. “Mr Sisi, who led the overthrow of Mr Morsi, is likely to win the presidency given his popularity and the lack of any serious rivals…..
    If he does not win more than 50% in the first round of voting, a second round will be held on 16-17 June.”

    A second round of polling, I assume, but 520 death sentences of his opponents might suggest a useful back up strategy.

  12. @ Phil Haines

    Can’t help thinking this is the period where Yougov comes into its own with accurate recall figures from 2010.

  13. @ Floatingvoter
    Cable seems to have a mess of this & his defence is weak. Willetts & he also naive on student loans: they assumed Unis would set these @ ca.£6,000, when of course they imposed the top rate across the board.

    Willetts was known as “two-brains” . Perhaps “the quality of wits is more important than quantity”.

    PS. It is said that GB made a bigger mistake with gold & he too also ignored advice.

    Polling-wise, I guess the punters are inured to governments botching things.

    BoE staff.
    K. Grahame is said to have written Wind in the Willows when employed at the Bank, which makes up for the Bank’s many policy errors.

    Security at the Bank like the intensity of work was relaxed in the old days. A man walked in one day, asked for Grahame, & blazed away at him with a pistol — missing.

  14. @COLIN

    “You may be right.

    But I used the word “Stoic” because memory tells me that whenever the question ” was it necessary ?:” is asked, a majority say “yes”.

    Please correct me if I am wrong.”


    You’re right that a majority say yes, but wrong that this would necessarily support your idea concerning stoicism, because of course many of those may not be experiencing the cuts as harshly as others.

    So you haven’t invalidated my point with that observation, or supported yours, and it is something of a squirrel.

    Incidentally, a majority also perceive the cuts as being unfair, so a majority support my view that when it comes to stoicism, more is being required of some than others.

    (As an aside, more think the cuts are too deep than too shallow, and are being done too quickly rather than too slowly. Which suggests that although people may think cuts are necessary, they may not agree with how they have been done, which may explain some of the VI thing…)

  15. More people also think the cuts are either too deep or too shallow than about right, and too slow or too fast than about right, which is perhaps a more appropriate way of looking at it…


    ” Cable seems to have a mess of this & his defence is weak. Willetts & he also naive on student loans: they assumed Unis would set these @ ca.£6,000, when of course they imposed the top rate across the board.”


    Like they assumed people might not care about tuition fees, or might go for AV etc.

    Assumption really might be the mother of political cock-ups. Like thinking the pasty tax etc. would be OK…

  17. Colin
    There were questions about military response. Have a good look at the questions again (if it is interesting to you). In no EU state was there a positive on that subject, ergo my remarks.

  18. Or thinking that the banks might not screw up this time…

  19. When the PO shares were put up, I thought ‘I am not bothering with that for that price’. Imagine you are putting up your house for sale. How much do you think it’s worth? I love these ‘wise after the event’ people – how many shares did those of you who think they were cheap now – buy? After all, for those of you who think they were cheap, it was a no-brainer and you would have been entitled to empty your credit card limit. You would have been quids in.

  20. Carfrew

    Most people think that they know best.

    Ask for someone’s opinion on a subject and invariably they’ll have a position than respond “actually I don’t know”. I think it was Mick Hucknall on question time who actually answered a question (I forget the topic) with I don’t know which was refreshingly honest.

    I think there is possibly some form of psychological bias towards giving a “more interesting answer”. I don’t know if there are any noted differences between online polling and telephone polling on these style of questions.

  21. @Alan

    Indeed, there is also the Dunning-Kruger effect. But Colin cited polling, and we are supposed to try and relate to polling so I went with that…

  22. Norbold
    “Pressman: “to make Cameron appear more like Sun readers”
    Good luck with that one. :-)”

    I recall Margaret Thatcher (from Grantham) being portrayed by Conservative Central Office as ‘a Northern working class girl”.

  23. Carfrew

    Well inherent biases to responses to polls, is a part of polling? (Or at least trying to get the question to mitigate the amount of bias is)

    Just like the hypothetical polling (would you be more likely to vote xxx if…) I think it’s healthy to be skeptical about the absolute figures. It might pay off to look at the relative figures from poll to poll in these style of questions? If the numbers don’t move too much making the assumption that the levels of bias are constant (after weighting) isn’t a huge leap.

  24. ” It is said that GB made a bigger mistake with gold & he too also ignored advice.”

    I always point out that this is a bit of nonsense.

    If you want to look at chancellors who ‘lost’ billions on the gold markets, look no further than Geoffrey Howe and George Osborne.

    How declined to buy switch currencies into gold in 1979, thereby ‘losing’ the country an absolute fortune. He could had bought in spring 1979 for around £180 and sold in 1983 for over £800. What a dummy!

    Osborne could have bought in May 2010 for £1100 and sold in summer 2011 for £1900. What a dodo!

    If we’re going to criticise chancellors for commodity speculating, lets at least apply the same logic to all of them. Howe and Lawson held non gold assets when they should have sold them for gold. Osborne ‘lost’ around 60% of what Brown is supposed to have lost, and Howe’s losses were about twice as much, depending on how you work it out.

  25. @ Alec

    I think Cable botched Royal Mail, if raising maximum sum was the object — which he now bizarrely seems to be denying. & he & Willetts did not sparkle with Tuition Fees.

    GB was excoriated for his incompetence, but the Coalition has been pretty poor itself, esp. in its fits 2-3 years.
    But the Coalition benefits from a largely friendly Press: Brown didnt; nor does or would Miliband. It matters.

    I couched my gold point carefully:
    “GB is said to have . . .”
    Your argument appears to be that none of them have done too well. Fine. I’m open to persuasion. Why wouldn’t I be.

    Anyway we do have Wind in the Willows, the most golden experience of my early childhood reading. (The EH Shepherd illustrations helped.]

  26. @Alan

    As you suggest, it depends on the question. When it comes to a question like whether cuts are too deep or not, there may be various biases at play which shape their perception. But in this instance, their perception, however flawed, is what we are interested in. Because trying to explain VI. If their perception on cuts is flawed, it may nonetheless affect VI.

    Unless they are just trying to be “interesting”, and avoid saying “don’t know”, and giving a different answer for the hell of it, but I don’t know how big an effect that would be. One might consider if they feel forced to make a choice, they might pick the one they slightly lean towards anyway. As if they are impising their own squeeze question… maybe AW can shed some light on this.

    In the case of something like how cuts might affect them personally, then one might consider they have a bit more hard data on that from their own experience, so a bit more if a robust opinion…

  27. “But the Coalition benefits from a largely friendly Press: Brown didnt; nor does or would Miliband. It matters.”


    Indeed, even if the negative campaigning is of limited effect, the lack of exposure to info. concerning Labour’s message and positives may also have an effect.

  28. @Pressman “….but also to make Cameron appear more like Sun readers…”

    Blimey! Good luck with that project I say!!!!! Nigh impossible IMHO

  29. “When the PO shares were put up, I thought ‘I am not bothering with that for that price’. Imagine you are putting up your house for sale. How much do you think it’s worth? I love these ‘wise after the event’ people – how many shares did those of you who think they were cheap now – buy?”

    I read the financial pages of the Grauniad and decided the PO shares were a steal. Greedy b*gger that I am and sitting at the time on a redundancy payment, I applied for £20000 worth. If you applied for £10000 you got nada. So I got nada. I’m far from a sophisticated investor and had never previously taken part in a privatisation for ethical reasons. On this occasion I thought it would be better that the govt gave me the gift than give it to Goldman Sachs.
    The best laid plans….

  30. @Pressman/Tony Dean/Norbold etc

    Not a bad effort. A bit pinker and perhaps a fag or a tattoo?

  31. Howard

    Apologies-missed that.

  32. @ Dave (from way back)

    No I wasn’t actually (mixing up Leave EU with Want a Referendum).
    You experts might correct me but I do remember Leave EU consistently polling higher than Stay In.

  33. @ Valerie

    I guessed you were joking. I’ve watched The Wire & never snitch: assumed no one did, except re really abusive stuff.

    I used to comment directly on apostrophe atrocities, hyphen-phobia, etc, but gave it up as a lost cause.
    & as for the redundancies: “in my opinion”, IMO, IMHO. “personally I feel/think”, etc.

    But at least AW eliminated the “yellow peril”, those embarrassing “emoticons”.

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