YouGov’s weekly poll for the Sunday Times is up here. Topline figures are CON 32%, LAB 37%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 13%.

There are some questions on perceptions of Cameron and Miliband, but they don’t show us anything particularly new. Looking beyond the two party leaders themselves the Conservatives also lead on having the stronger team of leaders – 38% think the Tories have the better team, 25% the Labour party. Cameron’s reshuffle itself isn’t seen has having made much difference to this. 13% think his team is now stronger, 16% weaker, 71% no difference or don’t know. 54% of people think that the promotion of more female ministers to the cabinet was mostly because David Cameron wanted more women in the cabinet, rather than because he thought they were the best people for the job.

Michael Gove’s demotion is widely approved of. 55% think it was the right thing to do, 19% think he should have stayed at education. As for his policies – 54% think Nicky Morgan should continue to toughen up exam grading schemes, but 51% think she should cancel Free Schools and by 40% to 32% people think she should end the drive towards more academies.

Support for the bedroom tax has now dropped to 39%, with 48% opposed. This compares to 41% support in January, and 49% support back in March 2013 before it was first implemented. While a substantial minority still support the policy, support for it has been on a gradual decline since it was announced. Nick Clegg’s about turn on the tax is seen positively by 38% who think it’s right to change your mind when a policy doesn’t work, and negatively by 44% who think it’s hypocritical to oppose a policy you introduced.

247 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 32, LAB 37, LD 9, UKIP 13”

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  1. Bantams,

    4% from one particular GY poll – I don’t know what the YG average was then to compare.

    However, a 4% swing after churn from Lab-Con is possible on the current YG which would give a con lead taking this poll in isolation but not enough for an OM and seats count close with a 3% lead.

    Is not that the consensus opinion on here or more accurately the modal opinion?

    Cons most votes, seat count could go either way?

  2. Telegraph reporting an ORB international poll conducted on their behalf. No voting intention figures given and can’t see any tables on the ORB website. However they do comment on variations between Tory and labour supporters so pure voting intention figures must exist.

    I always turn to Rogermexico in cases like these….

  3. the trouble with analysis which tried to predict resutls based on previous elections is that they are looking at the swing between tory and lab. But the big swing has been between libdems and labour. So fisher’s swing back assumes that the tories have lost votes to labour – but they haven’t lost many votes to labour – they have lost them to UKIP and labour has gained from the lib dems.

    Basically the their isn’t a significent ‘swingback’ amongst floating voters for the tories to benefit from. They could even match their 2010 performance and still be outpolled by labour.

  4. @Reggieside

    I’m with you a bit on this. The capacity for much future Lab-Con churn is minimal in my view and the story of this Parliament’s polls is how little there has been. All the key voter migrations have been in different directions, Lib Dem to Lab, Tory to UKIP, Lab to Green, Lab to DK. Of course, some voters have travelled in different directions but their numbers have been so small that they’ve hardly effected the polls at all. This suggests to me that the current Tory and Labour support is made up of voters who are highly unlikely to change their minds in 9 months time. Again, the relative stasis in the polls these last 12 months or so suggests this to be the case. The only change has been the reduction in Labour’s poll ratings, falling from low 40s to upper 30s, but this drop seems to have occurred as a result of Labour voters drifting to UKIP, Greens and Don’t know/Won’t Vote. There’s no evidence that they’ve switched to the Tories.

    It’s on this basis that I can’t see how the Tories are going to outpoll Labour on the popular vote in May 2015. If the increase in support they need to do so isn’t going to come from Labour’s current vote, where’s it coming from? UKIP? Possibly, but If UKIP collapse, which they show no signs of doing, then that vote could go in all sorts of non-Tory directions. I think a lot of it will go into abstention rather than to other parties. UKIP appear to have garnered a lot of support from those who didn’t vote in 2010 and I suspect some of them will abstain again in 2015.

  5. Reggieside and Jim Jam

    What I do is just look at the latest average polls, apply AW’s swingometer or Calculus and then say to myself ‘hmm, right’. In fact, if AW’s right hand column is up to date, then I don’t even have to do that, because he’s worked it out for me, again, above right.

    I never, ever, take any notice of models involving the notion that the past polling movements could repeat in some way, Nostradamus, or any other such notions.

  6. Howard
    Precisely, “casting the Runes”.

  7. Shevii

    Search me. ORB International, as their name suggests, mainly do polling overseas, often in less usual, dangerous places (they’ve even done one in the Isle of Man). The most recent thing I could find:

    was for a face-to face poll in Syria. Now that’s hardcore polling.

    A lot of their work seems to be private polling but they are BPC members, so they should publish the tables. They did Ashcroft’s Scottish mega-poll last year, but he published that himself of course.

    The Telegraph piece merely claims that six in ten voters believe the reshuffle – which demoted Michael Gove and promoted several female ministers – was “a step in the right direction” for the Tories. But we know that getting rid of Gove and (for those who knew who he was) Patterson is wildly popular generally, so that’s not much of an achievement.

  8. And it’s interesting how over the last few weeks even those people who do base their predictions on the “swingback” theory and historical precedent are now moving away from the Tories (Fisher last week even had Labour nudging ahead as the largest party albeit by one seat!)

  9. Swingback is still potentially there for the UKIP v Tory switchers just at half the “traditional” swingback rate between the two main parties.

    I’m thinking the biggest swingback potential will come from the UKIP manifesto and policy commitments and how that plays out with the press.

    If you believe Pressman, the right wing press will be onto this as a way of clawing back votes into the Tory fold. I think Labour would be hoping for a repeat of the 2010 UKIP manifesto- your typical Labour voter would be very easily convinced not to vote for lower taxes for the rich and higher taxes for the poor plus continued privatisation of the NHS.

    Not sure what would be good for the Tories. It seems clear Farage wants a more balanced manifesto to prevent any accusations of swivelled eyed lunacy which the right wing press will be just as happy to complain about as the left wing papers. However he needs to inspire his core vote and I guess a focus on immigration and EU will inspire his supporters to stay in the fold and difficult for the right wing press to attack as they’ve been on that agenda for years.

  10. I’m with those who say you can’t assume swingback. But also with those who say “don’t assume it won’t happen”. If there is a period of 6 months in the electoral cycle where changes in poll rating have been historically likely to happen, it has to be the six months around a GE. But the data shows that swingback doesnt always happen, and even if it did, we haven’t had polling with a party system this complex in the country before, or with such low activist numbers (and data from different countries would be irrelevant due to different political culture, broadcasting regime etc). So, I expect changes, but I don’t have any great expectation about what direction.

  11. @ Rogermexico

    “was for a face-to face poll in Syria. Now that’s hardcore polling.”

    And there was I thinking I was hardcore canvassing an estate where the first contact with the public was a group of kids coming up to me asking if I wanted to buy drugs!

  12. I think SHEVII has it.
    Not a lot of evidence there will be any measurable Con/Lab swingback.
    The key is UKIP, Lab retention of LD, and to a lesser extent Green.
    My sense is there will be significant reduction in UKIP, benefiting Con/Lab/LD perhaps in the ratio 2/1/1 or even 3/1/1.
    I think Lab will retain LD switchers where it matters and I suspect LD will revive somewhat in Tory/LD marginals.
    Greens where there is no candidate or no prospect will go ABT.
    All of which sounds good for the red team, but we must all remember good old events. For example, I think Dutch airliners being shot down over Ukraine will be good for Con – because it will be good for the party in govt and anyway plays to fear which is good for Con in itself.

  13. “However, a 4% swing after churn from Lab-Con is possible…”

    As is a 4% swing from Con to Lab or something in between or, failing that, something completely different.

  14. @ Jim Jam,

    Is not that the consensus opinion on here or more accurately the modal opinion? Cons most votes, seat count could go either way?

    Mean opinion, maybe, once we take into account T’Other Howard and Pressman’s conviction we’re heading for a Con majority, but I think the modal view is Lab narrowly most votes, and a tossup between a tiny Labour majority or a decisive minority (ie. Tories don’t have enough seats to put together a coalition).

    It’d be interesting to take a poll.

    As far as swingback is concerned, I think it’s a bit naive and at odds with the historical record to assume the polls are going to remain completely static for the next ten months. My own view, looking at where the votes have gone in this Parliament, is that all three main parties are probably going to experience a swingback on the order of 2-3% as the election approaches. The Tories will probably benefit slightly more but I doubt it will be enough to achieve parity.


    :”I think it’s a bit naive and at odds with the historical record to assume the polls are going to remain completely static for the next ten months. ”

    Yep-but it gives comfort to its supporters.:-)

  16. There is little evidence that swingback continues all the way to polling day – indeed the final month ie the official campaign period usually favours the opposition rather than the incumbent.. Therefore, the final weeks of the election campaign tends to see an at least partial reversal of ‘swingback’ – which implies that the Tories now have 8.5 months remaining to build up a lead to withstand the likely movement against them in the weeks prior to election day.

  17. Here’s a strange thing.

    We all know the Parliamentary Labour Party and especially the Labour Peers have been bricking themselves over the election for the past year or so, because they have been very keen to tell us so in the media. Party unity and message discipline is in tatters.

    Yet when you talk to activists they’re pretty chipper and upbeat about the election and they seem willing to grit their teeth and endure policies from the leadership they don’t especially care for. (And this is the Labour Party, where the members have spent most of the party’s history in a state of outright civil war against each other and against the leadership.)

    It’s a bizarre disconnect that I’m at a loss to explain, and we’ve just had another example. The impenetrable National Policy Forum, in which there might have been conflicts over flashpoint issues like austerity, Trident and rail renationalisation, seems to have ended in soporific consensus. (Possibly this was because no one could find the right meeting rooms, because it seems to have been impenetrable even to the people who were there. Still, I think we need to at least consider the possibility that everyone decided to play nice.)

    The overall impression is of a party that is having a nervous breakdown at the head and marching in perfect step at the feet, and I’m not sure what that means for the ground campaign, but it’s rather odd, isn’t it?

  18. possible was my key word I guess and I was responding to a post from Bantams on TPT.

    I suppose basing a forecast for the next GE based on a combination of current polling and past performance (ICM, Fisher for example) was never infallable but was not too far away.
    Trouble is as most of us on here recognise is that any rules that may have applied with some justifcication in past parliaments are less reliable with the coalition dynamics etc.

  19. Party crossbreaks on “Was Nick Clegg right to reverse his policy on the bedroom tax?”

    “No, he’s a hypocrite.” / “Yes, politicians should admit when they were wrong.”

    Con: 62 / 27
    Lab: 48 / 42
    LD: 13 / 76
    Ukip: 53 / 34

    No big surprise from the Cons, the Lib Dems or Ukip- Tories like the policy and resent him abandoning his support for it, any Lib Dems opposed to massive U-turns left the party by August 2010, and Ukippers are negative about everything.

    But the near parity in the Labour numbers is interesting. There may be more scope for forgiveness there than we think.

  20. Speermint,

    My sense is that the view is that if Ed trims it would be for Electoral purposes and that he beliefs are more in tune with the membership.

    This was never the case with Blair, certainly, and to a lesser extent with Brown.

  21. So Spearmint for getting spelling wrong again.

  22. It’s my secret German identity. ;)

  23. Graham

    There will be no movement against the government in the Spring. Quite the opposite […]

    This will be like 92 – where the final Tory share is higher or as high as any poll shows up to the big day.

  24. There’s been an unprecedented level of direct communication with the Labour Party membership during the policy review.

  25. On the issue of the bedroom tax, I wonder if it really is that there has been changes of opinion. Could it not simply be that people are now answering a different question?

    I mean, when this appeared to be a hot issue, much talked about by the government, then to a certain degree it had become a shiboleth, support of which (or opposition to it) being a tribal badge. And respondents therefore answered the question not by their content but so as to express support for their tribe/party.

  26. @ Spearmint

    The only group that Guymonde above didn’t really mention was the current Labour Don’t knows (if they exist). Seeing as you have the graphs I wonder what the story was when Labour was hitting 40% in the polls a18 months ago and where that 4-5% have gone since.

    I did wonder whether those 40% are still there for the taking (moving from Lab to don’t know and swinging back again) and not appearing on voting intention now because they are less than 10/10 to vote and didn’t vote for them in 2010 type thing, or whether they have moved to other parties and Lab cannot get them back easily. If the former then it might not just be the Tories who gain from swingback.

    Sorry if that gives you trouble- I know the graphs aren’t as easy to read as they are now :-)

  27. @Spearmint

    Where do you get that from? Labour present as rock solid compared to the other two main parties.Public sector pension reform, that’s what will split the Labour Party.

  28. missis minty

    Those figures re spare bedrooms/clegg may just demonstrate that Labour supporters think slightly more rationally.

    The flaws should have been obvious from the start but surely recognising them belatedly is better than ignoring the facts?

  29. “No, he’s a hypocrite.” / “Yes, politicians should admit when they were wrong.”

    Was there an option for Yes and No together?

  30. I’m just putting the NI campaign team view

    [Snip… and I’d rather you didn’t. People don’t post on here as Labour spokesmen or Conservative spokesman, they contribute as only themselves, ideally leaving their own political beliefs at the door (though some people are a lot better at that then others… – AW]

    That isn’t going to go away – it’s the one factor that grows ever stronger closer to polling day because you are determining the No.10 incumbent. Cameron was told some weeks ago that this is the attack line to go down and he should have no qualms about personal attacks and I don’t think it is any coincidence that he told the 1922 committee last week that the theme is ‘Miliband – not up to the job’.

  31. ” it’s the one factor that grows ever stronger closer to polling day because you are determining the No.10 incumbent”

    No, it isn’t. And endlessly repeating the claim despite a complete lack of evidence won’t ever make it so.

    [Actually it’s something that might very well be true. We don’t know. But endless “IT WILL”, “IT WON’T”, “YES IT WILL”, “NO IT WON’T”, “YOU SMELL!”, “MY DAD CAN BEAT UP YOUR DAD!” probably won’t answer the question – AW]

  32. @ Spearmint

    The press narrative is of a Labour party at war, total dysfunction etc, but you’re right – that just isn’t matched by the reality of experience though (I am an active member).

    Within the party, it feels like there is a renewed sense of purpose and direction, a decisive break from New Labour and a move toward an interventionist approach to failing or unfair markets. As you say, the spirit within the party is very high.

    From an intellectual perspective, it’s an exciting time for the Labour party as they develop their 2015 offering. I’ve seen the text from the National Policy Forum on rail, and it’s much further reaching than anyone will be expecting – effective renationalisation, but cleverly designed to be compliant with EU competition law. That should poll very well, and could well impact VI.

    I obviously speak from a certain perspective, and I would be happy to be told I am mistaken on this, but in contrast it feels like the Tories will be forming their 2015 manifesto around euroscepticism and shrinking the state – essentially a Thatcherite platform, which of course isn’t a deviation on their approach to elections since 1979.

    That used to work well, in the 1980’s when it was perceived that the unions and nationalised industries needed reforming, but I can’t help but notice that time has moved on and it all feels rather unnecessary these days. There isn’t very much left to privatise, and the unions are weak. It feels like the Thatcherite model has run it’s course, with the result that fewer people now will consider voting Tory than in the 1980’s.

    It will be interesting to see what impact, if any, the manifestos and policies of both main parties manages to have on VI.

  33. FFS not again. We don’t know whether or not Miliband’s poor public ratings will become more of a salient factor as the election approaches or not. I don’t think endlessly discussing the same thing in increasingly acrimonious terms will tell us anything beyond what those participating would like to be the case, which we already know.

    Secondly, I don’t need lots of little people accusing others of being partisan (in almost every case it will be a case of mote and beam anyway… those throwing the accusations are almost always much worse offenders than those they accuse), and the board does NOT need sarcastic and unwelcoming replies to others.

    I’ve warned several people over this. If they keep on doing it, I’ll take away the privilege of posting without moderation. If you think other people are breaking the rules, click report and **ignore them**. I’ll decide if they need moderating in due course. Sarcastic responses, etc, make things worse and make what should be a forum where people of all political views feel comfortable contributing appear unwelcoming towards minority views. It takes two to have a partisan back-and-forth and as ever, I regard those who respond as being as bad, if not worse, than the initial offence.

  34. “54% think Nicky Morgan should continue to toughen up exam grading schemes [for English pupils]”

    But only 30% of 18-24 year olds concur, while 68% of the 60+s do – in other words those with most recent memory of exams and their standards disagree, while those who have little or no knowledge are sure that “kids nowadays have it easy, In my young day ….”. :-)

    Also I note that in answer to “Do you think this coalition government is good or bad for people like you?” the answer of 1 in 5 was “Doesn’t make much difference either way”.

    That does suggest a large number are less convinced by the idea that there are significant differences, personally for them, if the other lot was in charge – not much difference between the social grades on that either.

  35. @OldNat

    Sooo.. while everyone else is on the naughty step, how about that Scottish Referendum……

  36. “Also I note that in answer to “Do you think this coalition government is good or bad for people like you?” the answer of 1 in 5 was “Doesn’t make much difference either way”.

    Given the % of people who don’t bother voting that would seem to be expected.

  37. @ Amber,

    Do people feel they’re being listened to, though, or is the communication all one way? I’ve heard a lot of “I sent in a submission and I never heard anything back; I’m sure it went straight into the circular recycling bin” carping… which then doesn’t seem to dent morale in the least.

    I think this may be related to the “Miliband’s ratings are terrible but Labour’s lead is solid” paradox. Within the party there’s a fair amount of ambivalence about the leadership and the overall direction from the Peter Mandelsons on the one side and the Owen Joneses on the other- but when it comes down it no one cares, everyone is still planning to fight like hell to win the election.

    Which given past experiences of opposition is a remarkable tribute to… something. I dunno if it’s just the legacy of eighteen years of Thatcherism or Miliband is incredibly gifted at not alienating people, but whatever it is it’s impressive.

  38. @ Spearmint
    Labour List’s Emma Burnell (carper in chief – in a good way) has an article up on LL now which you might find interesting.

  39. @ Roger H,

    Alas, no. Just ‘Neither’ and ‘Don’t Know’.

    @ Wolf,

    Really? The Tories were a total mess two years ago but they’re all pulling together now (although we’ll see if that survives the reshuffle, and I hear the Boneites are planning another wheeze).

    And with the notable exception of Lord Oakeshott, the Lib Dems are in perfect formation. They’re in perfect formation in the same way people sitting on a bus plunging over a cliff are in formation, but they’re all moving in the same direction at the same speed.

    Whereas Miliband is subjected to a continuous stream of trolling from various Labour has-beens.

  40. R&D

    “Doesn’t make much difference either way”

    was the response of 25% of those with Con VI, 13% of Lab VI, 20% of LD VI, 19% of UKIP VI, (19% of those with a VI for one of these 4 parties) : 26% of those with VI for another party, or no VI at all.

  41. [Snip]

    i think the tories are done, as i have thought for nearly 2 years now. I have given up thinking about the polls. i take a ground up approach, looking at seats and councils etc. There are just too many seats to defend from the red onslaught, from the tories’ point of view.

  42. @ Amber,

    Thanks. Her account does sound very positive, and like you say, Emma can be trusted to complain if complaint is warranted.

  43. postageincluded

    Well, according to reports on Twitter, canvassers on both sides are immensely cheered by their canvass returns! :-)

  44. why can’t i say this website reads more and more like labour list?

    [Because it fosters a sort of them and us – “oh, you lot are all lefties”, etc – AW]

  45. @ Shev II,

    What you have to remember about the Labour DKs is they make up a tiny percentage of the electorate as a whole. About 10% of the 2010 Labour voters now say ‘Don’t Know’, and 10% of 29% is not a big number.

    They did become slightly more certain during the heady days of 40%+ VI, but at most, even if every single DK who’d made up their mind said they’d vote for Labour, that might have gained Labour an extra 1%:

    The big shifts were from Lab -> Ukip and Tory/Lib Dem -> Lab -> Ukip. You can see Labour have lost 3% from the decline in retention alone:

    The DKs are a factor in the decline, but they’re a small piece of it.

  46. To me, the Labour lead seems rather more solid than I’d expected over the summer thus far, I’d thought the improved economy would have helped a bit more. It does tend to reduce the already low chances of an outright Conservative victory the longer this persists. I am expecting some impact on whatever lead Labour have during the election campaign (or the inevitable phony war immediately before).

    There’s a good chance the Conservatives will outpoll Labour a little, yet have fewer seats, that’s going to be interesting. As a PR supporter, it indicates (as if it needs doing) how poor the current system is at selecting a government based on voters wishes. Or it the circumstances, with a new party appearing and causing “mayhem”? It seemed to work fairly well post WWII. FPTP is unfair to smaller parties, but once they are established, maybe they cause bigger problems?

  47. Peter Crawford,

    What it’s full of people bashing Labour for not being left wing enough? ;)

  48. I take on board the points made by AW.

    What I want to stress though is what an important election this is for democracy and press freedom.

    If Miliband becomes PM – then it will be on the back of losing the popular vote, with an anti-European party having taken a significant chunk of the Right of centre vote. He will be able to introduce more press restriction legislation and get closer to Europe – something that the British people will not have voted for.

    Will RM want to remain a newspaper owner in this country if the above happens ? I don’t know. But for many reasons this is a winner takes all election.

  49. “If Miliband becomes PM – then it will be on the back of losing the popular vote,”

    I’m at an utter loss to know whether this is a proper topic for discussion anymore but, assuming it is, what do you mean and how do you know what its “on the back of” when it hasn’t happened yet ?

  50. While i have always assumed that labour would finish up with more seats- I work from the ground up and don’t really look at polls- I had assumed that the tories would outpoll them.

    I am not so sure about that now. labour have had a good 8 weeks or since the european elections.

    The swingback should really have started to creep back in post may 2014, but the labour lead has actually nudged up a touch, if you take the average of the polls, this last couple of months.

    That’s why Stephen Fisher’s model is reversing the judgement it made at the last year. most people who commented on this site, thankfully and impressively, realised it was guff then.

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