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. I don’t think most gamblers would regard general election (or indeed most political) betting as serious. People like to put money on the party they support, though, so the odds provide some sort of forecast of popularity.

  2. @RogerH

    “I don’t think most gamblers would regard general election (or indeed most political) betting as serious. People like to put money on the party they support, though, so the odds provide some sort of forecast of popularity.”

    Are you sure about that? I think most gamblers are a pretty unsentimental lot and will place bets on the basis of the attractiveness of the odds and who they feel is most likely to win the contest. I don’t suppose, in that respect, political betting is much different to sports betting. I may not much like Manchester City, and may even quite like them to fail, but if I think they’re going to win the title (which I do, incidentally) then, if I like a little flutter, I’ll bet on them to do so. I think you may be thinking of once a year Grand National punters who’ll place bets on horses whose names most appeal to them (or, in the Derby, if the horse is owned by the Queen). People betting on General Election results, and the bookmakers devising the odds, are likely to be a bit more scientific!

    Where I may agree with you is that professional punters and bookmakers certainly aren’t infallible!

  3. @SoCalLiberal

    The race for Congressional District 33 does seem to have car-crash potential.

    Greuel declared herself immediately Waxman made his announcement, which looks pretty career-oriented… LA Mayor would have been commensuate with her talent and ability, but obviously not LA County Supervisor. She has the endorsement of Kamala Harris and Antonio Villaraigosa as well now.

    The ABC7 report mentioned that Sandra Fluke was considering a run, but apparently she’ll now stand for State Senate 26th district, which is currently represented by… oh, Ted Lieu. I’m having trouble keeping up here!

  4. “(which I do, incidentally) ”

    Nooooo! Did you watch Liverpool-Spurs this afternoon? Man City are the South Sea Bubble of the Premier League. Trust me. I’m not partisan at all.

  5. On betting…

    I may have asked this before. Has anybody tracked political betting odds and election outcomes?

    @Mr N

    Well that party sounds very ‘interesting’. Do you know of any parties that combine those beliefs with Natural Law?

  6. @ Colin Jackson

    The reason the Conservatives are at 3/1 is because bookmakers are trying to balance the books, they have taken large amounts for the Labour party and will now push out the Conservative price to reduce any exposure.

    The polls of the last 12 months will also have an effect.

  7. Alex says – ‘As with tax. I suspect people won’t mind paying higher taxes, up to a point, if they can be sure that what they get in return is worthwhile. This is why I believe the left has an overwhelming moral duty to ensure government is efficient. ‘

    Yes thats true.
    Basically people are willing to pool their resoiurces to get for instance education and healthcare.
    If you have the constitution of an ox and no children you may well want far lower tax and not care tupppence about these things.
    However you would then live in a country surrounded by thick sick people and that too would have a detremental effect on you.
    There are some things we regognise as better done collectively in our name.
    As you say, the need then is not to waste money. Who is best at that?

  8. Hookeslaw,

    I have never known the Monster Raving Loony party to waste taxpayers’ money at any level of government.

  9. @bluebob I’ve never read such rubbish. The reason the bookies are offering those odds on the Tories is because they think they will lose the election – partly because of the polls that even now are showing Labour consistently ahead, but also because of the way the electoral arithmetic stacks up. The Tories need to win the vote share by 5 or 6% to get any majority and that is miles from where they are now.

  10. @ Fareham

    Ok whatever you say.

  11. Statgeek
    Thanks, I imagine thus that Lab got at least 37 on those occasions because there wasn’t ever equality was there? I am grateful as I was too lazy to look back and the right hand top columns do not shew it (all, yet).

    I suppose, as long as you are content to be an EU ‘citizen’ and would rather be that than an UK ‘subject’ then your description probably applies to those who have those views. I would not say I am a man of the world but I certainly am a man of Europe. I sought my fortune in its member states and have two half-Dutch grandchildren. It marks you for life.

  12. Hmmm- For some reason that EU poll had me as Sinn Fein! Only been to Northern Ireland for one day in my life to see a concert!

    Next best was a three way tie between Tory, Labour and SNP so I guess I will just have to toss a coin between Tory and Labour in the EU elections but will need to find one of those two headed coins before I do.

  13. @bluebob thanks for your support!

    (I should probably declare my interest insofar as I have placed a bet on the Tories to be the single biggest party, as I think the odds are very generous)

  14. I got an 87% match with the Labour Party – which is more than most Labour Party members, I’d imagine.

    I got an even closer match with the French Parti Radical – which pleases me very much, in a 1960s left bank chic way. Now, where I did leave my Gauloises?

    “I brave the northern climate I am pleasantly surprised at the friendliness of the people.”

    It’s a combination of the cold and energy prices – we depend on the occasional warm greeting, if not a cuddle. Amazingly to my accustomed cold London avoidance relationships, everybody on my bus ride into Edinburgh when getting off says Thank you to the driver.

  16. Muddy
    Yes, I too had a lot in common with the FPR, it seems. I must admit I have a hopelessly romantic view of ‘L, E and F’ and fading gitanes adverts on the sides of cottages in the countryside along the routes nationales.

  17. A bet on the GE is the only bet I ever do – I punt on the party I don’t want to win- if my lot win who cares about the money, and if the other side I’ve got the compensation of my winnings to help drown my sorrows… The perfect win-win..

  18. I see Mdme Hidalgo will be mayor of Paris. Otherwise the socialists are getting a bl**dy nose and FN are winning a few cities in the depressed areas, where you would expect them to win. A bit like our Norfolk..

  19. @Howard and Muddy

    Yes moi aussi. But le FPR appears to be not tres radical and not at all gauche.

  20. @CROSSBAT11: “Are you sure about that?”

    Not very! I think there are far more variables with political betting, though, and less reliable form. I have the impression it’s done more for entertainment than as a calculated investment decision.

    @Bluebob: “The reason the Conservatives are at 3/1 is because bookmakers are trying to balance the books, they have taken large amounts for the Labour party and will now push out the Conservative price to reduce any exposure.”

    Well, up to a point. It also reflects the shortage of punters wanting to put money on a Tory victory, which is a poll of sorts albeit not necessarily using a particularly representative sample.

  21. GuyMonde
    Oh dear, I shall have to look up the FPR now. However I am sure Virgilio will give us an in-depth description.

    It’s interesting that, as those online quiz polls near the GE prove (‘who do you agree with’), one normally votes on a partisan basis and nothing to do with the actual policies, only a slim chance of which could be ever carried out anyway.

  22. Guy

    “Yes moi aussi. But le FPR appears to be not tres radical and not at all gauche.”

    I noticed that too, after I posted. But Wiki describes their positions as radical, social-liberal and anti-clerical – which made me feel better.

    To be fair, the survey questions seemed more focused on attitudes to EU integration and intervention than on distinguishing between traditional ideological positions. So an element of left-right displacement is probably forgivable.

  23. Socialists retain Paris and Avignon ! Hurrah for that, the Right, far and centre, win pretty much everything else.

  24. Radical is one of those words which implies no particular position, it just means “anti-establishment”. The SWP are radicals, as are UKIP.

    Another one is “Progressive” which means “Willing to use the power of elected government to change society”. Sounds leftish, but right-wingers do that too – outlawing ‘immoral’ behaviour, section 28, immigration restrictions etc.

  25. Well, if the FPR is anti-clerical, there would have to be an awful lot wrong with the rest of its manifesto to get me estranged from supporting it. I wonder how they are on the rest of establishmentarianism? Just think, rolling out those tumbrils while munching a baguette and dunking one’s croissant in the coffee to produce that divine sludge to finish up with.

  26. john pilgrim,
    I must remember the cuddle bit.
    I think that may be why my angela said I should just stay in the hotel use the gym and read all day.

  27. The Progressive Group was a handy portmanteau for the Tories on the District council I was a member of , it meant they could exercise hegemony by buttering up independents and others with cttee chairs and such like. Never caught them being radical though, or indeed progressive…

  28. Talking of betting, apparently there have been significant sums going on Andrew Lansley as the next British EU Commissioner with Ladbrokes suspending betting after a run of bets saw his odds fall from 16-1 to 5-1 in a matter of hours. Now he’s evens favourite:

    But could Nigel Farage be worth a punt at 200/1?


    “The other day when discussing energy prices I gave some figures showing that UK has relatively low prices compared with other Euriopean countries. Somebody, I can’t remember who said my comparison was not fair as my figures included energy taxes. This is a fair point as some countries have very much higher energy taxes than we do. I have therefore taken the trouble to get to the figures without energy taxes. Somewhat to my surprise it makes very little difference. On electricy costs we are 12th out of 22 with taxes included and 11th out of 22 with taxes excluded. On either measure we are below the European average. On gas costs we are 15th out of 22 with taxes and 17th out of 22 with taxes excluded. On either measure we are below the European average.

    On this comparison UK energy prices look OK.”


    Just to be clear, as I pointed out at the time, it is not just energy taxes but VAT too… we pay 5% VAT on energy whereas others may pay more like 20%.

    But beyond that, I’d like to add to Alec’s useful points on the matter, and if one considers the point about income, there is a relationship between how much companies can charge and how much money customers have available to pay. Thus for example in developing countries, one can find companies selling their software rather cheaper, because people can’t afford the prices charged elsewhere.

    Higher prices for energy in other countries, may therefore reflect people having more money than us.

  30. @ John Pilgrim

    We even say good morning to the drivers (when it is morning); not good afternoon though, for no reason which I can fathom.

    @ David Englehart

    At Hogmanay, we hug everybody. Perhaps it should be renamed Hugmany. ;-)

  31. Sorry to be so pedestrian but where does one find this party affiliation test you’re all taking?

  32. The FPR was Chirac’s party – set up as sharper counter to the Corporatist UDF of De Gaulle, Pompidou and Giscard d’Estaing. When I was a student in Paris, this was the party to which I naturally gravitated.

    It has a radical base in the sense that it was prepared to look at politics and policies from first principles rather than manage incremental change.

    In that sense, Mrs Thatcher and Norman Tebbit were radicals, while Ted Heath and John Major were not.

    On the Labour side, Tony Benn was clearly a radical, while Tony Blair was a radical in a different way. In my view, Gordon Brown was not a radical, nor was John Smith.

    “Progressive” is a less useful term in politics. “Progress” can mean whatever one wants, and is typically used to denote change towards one’s own viewpoint. Change for change’s sake does not equate to progress. While there can be objective measures of economic progress, in other areas, particularly social policy, it can become wholly subjective.

    The point is that true radicals can be found in any party, left, right or centre. That is because radicalism is a way of thinking or an approach to problems, rather than a philosophy, still less an ideology.

  33. Paul H-J

    “The FPR was Chirac’s party”

    Wasn’t that the RPR? According to Wiki, the Parti Radical goes back a lot further back than Chirac.

  34. 67% agreement with various socialists (France, Portugal) and Communists (Czech Republic) . No real surprise then.

    I would be very surprised if today’s poll wasn’t at the edge of MOE.

  35. The French Radical Party is a petty bourgeoise party. Its political stance has changed many times. At the end of the 19th century it was a quite progressive party. In the 1930s it was quite ambivalent. Its social basis is quite eroded although it still exists. Having said that the fragmentation of French politics will keep them functional.

  36. I could have predicted this without even taking the test….

    Green Party 60%
    Plaid Cymru – Party of Wales 53%
    Labour Party 47%
    Liberal Democrats Party 47%
    Sinn Féin 46%
    Scottish National Party 33%
    Conservative Party 33%
    Ulster Conservatives and Unionists-New Force 27%
    British National Party 13%
    United Kingdom Independence Party 7%
    Democratic Unionist Party (Northern Ireland) 7%

  37. Muddy Waters,

    Oui! I must be getting old and forgetful.

    Still, the RPR was also a radical party, so my comment about the difference between radicals and corporatists of right or left still holds true.

  38. Green Party 73%
    Plaid Cymru – Party of Wales 67%
    Sinn Féin 62%
    Labour Party 60%
    Liberal Democrats Party 60%
    Scottish National Party 33%
    Conservative Party 27%
    British National Party 27%
    United Kingdom Independence Party 20%
    Democratic Unionist Party (Northern Ireland) 20%
    Ulster Conservatives and Unionists-New Force 20%

  39. @ MrN

    We seem to have a party of two with similarity of view. I’m old, lazy, and experienced in the cynical ways of government, so I’ll take the sinecure of chairman.

    You’re young and energetic, so you can be gen sec.

    What subs do we charge for membership? What’s the party name? And do we insist on a vow “I am not, and never have been, a member of the Conservative Party”?

  40. Lazlo

    “The French Radical Party is a petty bourgeoise party.”

    Don’t say that. It hurts me. I’ll have turn in my party card now, and go further down my list of electronically-determined political soul mates.

    What about ?eská Strana Sociáln? Demokratická? They sound sokay, and we’re 87% compatible, apparently.

  41. Oops, typos. Curse my fat fingers. That’s “Ceská Strana sociáln? Demokratická” and “okay”.

  42. It was the greater Romania Party that worried me. That aside I think I’m in the same party with MOG and Mr N.
    That’ll make two MOGs then

  43. “It was the greater Romania Party that worried me”

    I had them on my list too. After due deliberation, I decided against joining despite the reassurance from Wiki that in 2003 the party leader “said he would no longer engage in discourse against Jews and Judaism or deny the Holocaust”.

  44. Speaking of ideal parties, still waiting for a coffee, thorium, rum and storage party. I see they’re on about putting VAT on music downloads now. It’s like there is someone in government with a list of things I like or need and is using that as a guide as to what to nobble next. Maybe they read ukpr… in which case, I shall have to guide things a little differently. E.g., bourbon, whatever you do, don’t cut tax on that. Or… camera lenses… *crosses fingers*

  45. AMBER
    “We even say good morning to the drivers (when it is morning); not good afternoon though, for no reason which I can fathom.”

    I suspect “Good Morning” is Scots republicanism expressing good wishes for the coming working day. Ladies in Morningside say “Guid Afternoon” to each other when meeting in Falco’s.

  46. I am truly amazed at the Pantomime in Paris. I know it’s marginal, but from the standpoint of VI it is worth watching for the slow careful retraction of the premature offers of supportive rhetoric and ideas about self-damage in the form of restrictions on previously highly valued financial and diplomatic arrangements to cream off Russian international slosh funds. Message to EM: don’t do a David South Ossetia in Donetsk. In the meantime, Putin has played the diplomatic card and the muted use of forceful annexation of Crimea to perfection. End of story, except for agitated demands for attention on the part of the bloated and increasingly irrelevant tUS military intelligence industry, pompous messaging from the EU, NATO and the UN, and the desperate moustache twirling of the gents in the UK who had a good war and want to revive it.

  47. @ RogerH

    “Well, up to a point. It also reflects the shortage of punters wanting to put money on a Tory victory, which is a poll of sorts albeit not necessarily using a particularly representative sample.”

    Exactly, its obvious I did not get my point across but this is what I meant.
    The conservatives have a greater than 3/1 chance of winning but the bookmakers need to bring in money for them so have lengthened the odds.

  48. Bluebob

    “The conservatives have a greater than 3/1 chance of winning but the bookmakers need to bring in money for them so have lengthened the odds.”

    Would the bookies want to bring in more money for them if they thought the Tories were going to win? Surely, the bookies’ aim is to bring in more money for those they think are going to lose. How else do they make a living?

  49. @Colin

    If fees are lower the repayment rate will be higher.

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