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. well I was just impressed with your analysis and since the gurls were kipping thought I would add them in as well.

    it was a genuine compliment

  2. @JASPER22

    ‘It would appear the UKIP decline is now underway, albeit slowly for the present.’

    So slowly in fact that in the last week it appears to be rising.

    ‘By the end of the summer, we should see the polls showing this trend accelerating.’

    Got any evidence for that because it looks rather like an unfounded assertion?

  3. @Paul

    Ah, well, let me try and help. See, quite often you write “compliments” that can be taken in another less complimentary way. But you don’t seem to do this when trying to butter up the ladeez…

  4. @ Carfrew

    The UK did have an economic crisis plan (AKA a sovereign wealth fund). £375Bn of QE. The crisis in Iceland, Greece & Ireland was used to whip up fear amongst UK voters; but the UK economy absorbed the shocks remarkably well because of the systems put in place by Brown & Darling.

  5. @Amber

    Yes, you have a point: I hadn’t really looked at Q.E. quite that way. It’s definitely part of a recipe for dealing with the crisis, but not sufficient on its own. Especially because a lot of that money did not get to business in time to save it. If regulation could at least have limited the damage in the first place, and we’d had a mechanism for getting money to business quickly, then we could have avoided taking as big a hit as losing 7% of the economy…

  6. @Amber

    i.e. Q.E. helped save the banks, thus saving us from an even bigger hit, and has helped with the recovery. But it didn’t help get money to business in those critical weeks after the Crunch…

  7. @ Carfrew

    Money didn’t get to some businesses quickly enough – but is it government’s place to save every business? Shouldn’t businesses also be expected to have some resilience?

  8. @Amber

    Well, that is in some respects the heart of things. What is reasonably expected from business and government, or desirable.

    Back in Thatcher’s first term, economic conditions were not exactly favourable to business. High inflation due to oil price rises, hitting demand for goods while business also had escalating costs due to oil and wage demands due to inflation.

    On top of this was piled a near-doubling of VAT and the highest interest rates ever seen. Unsurprisingly many businesses suffered. To some this was weeding out the chaff, to others it was placing an intolerable burden that would weed out good businesses too.

    In the case of the Crunch, black of bank liquidity meant businesses were getting things like overdraft facilities withdrawn, pretty essential for the running of many businesses who have to pay to make stuff before they get the money from selling it.

    Now you can say that ideally, a business should have lots of money behind it so this needn’t matter. But many businesses have significant start up costs and it can take years to get into a strong position, and we wouldn’t have as many start-ups if they had to begin with the resources to survive a banking crash.

    Similarly many established businesses might be inhibited from borrowing to expand. On top of this, we are competing with countries who endeavour to provide lots of assistance to business.

    Certainly one wouldn’t expect government to save EVERY business. Not all are viable. But a sudden withdrawal of banking is going to hit a lot of otherwise viable business…

  9. @ Carfew

    I enjoyed your canter through the post-war decades of economic history… and broadly agree with your analysis. However, I am still puzzled by your calling TINA, ‘Nulab’s economic model’ – quintessentially ‘There is no alternative’ means that it was all 3 main political parties’ economic model.

    Nevertheless, like you I’ve never believed in TINA and agree that the post-war years of a mixed economy were evidentially more successful until the oil shocks of the 70s.

    You rightly say that the crisis was an accident waiting to happen (and applying Physics equations or ecological concepts to economics was bound to be dodgy). However, I would go further than just blaming ‘politicians who cannot do the maths.’ In my experience Politicians rarely understand any economics either, let alone how the Financial Sector operates.

    This means that they naively seek policy advice from the City who have invariably advised in favour of finance and the banks to the detriment of manufacturing. I believe that both Margaret Thatcher and Nigel Lawson complained in their autobiographies that things didn’t turn out as they’d intended e.g. the UK population owning the shares to the privatised utilities.

    It seems that I see much more deliberate fraud in all of this than you but in any event, I do not think political naivety is any sort of an excuse.

    Totally agree about diversifying energy sources and investment in job creation. In fact, there is a pretty good synergy between the two, in mitigating climate change. As you know, I would want a Job’s Guarantee for all who wanted one. The advantages of a JG are many. It would provide a mechanism to underpin a living wage. Tax receipts would rise and reduce the deficit. Real wealth would be created instead of fictitious capital. The skills base of the unemployed would be maintained and easily increased. There would be a reduction in depression and ill health resulting from unemployment. Useful things that the private sector doesn’t want to do, would be done. Eventually, we might even cut the working week. If business can invest to achieve growth, then why on earth can’t the government?

  10. @ Carfrew

    I would need to delve into it further but IIRC Barclays business customers were disproportionately affected.

    Barclays manipulated LIBOR submissions which disguised the bank’s lack of liquidity & also refused government emergency funds. This eventually resulted in Bob Diamond being removed due to the BOE threatening Barclays with the potential loss of its UK banking license.

    It seems that nothing, short of proactive nationalisation (which would have set the world alight!!!), would have stopped Barclays doing what it did.

    However, now that there is compelling evidence that banks do not comply with regulations, it is easier for politicians to justify tightening controls & putting alternative sources of business funding in place.

  11. UK economic news this week from the ONS

    Public Finances for June out on Tuesday

    Economists predict PSNBR underlying 10.8bn deficit. a small improvement on June 13 which came in at 11.6bn. Both April and May finances were disappointing

    Retail Sales for June out on Wednesday

    Economists predict a fall of 0.7% for the month but 2.9% for the year, owing to strong growth in Feb and Mar. Shoppers are suffering low wage increases, even though employment is rising. They are increasing their debts to pay for the spending as well.

    UK GDP Q2 first estmate out on Thursday

    Economists predict a healthy 0.8%, the same as Q1. There was poor production and construction figures in May, but experts predict a bounceback in June. Much depends on the service sector at 77.8% of the economy. Improved business investment and consumer spending are driving GDP, trade is pulling GDP down.

    This is the view of expert economists, a lot of it is based on business surveys.

    The numbers out this week continue trends that have been going on for months without effecting voting intentions. I wouldn’t know how these things play out in May 2015,

  12. Peter Crawford

    “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.”

    Don’t know why you say “guff”. Fishers approach is interesting and has moved as it has because if anything the Labour voting intention has increased slightly. If the Labour vote increase further it will predict a Labour win because the expected movement to the government will not be happening. I don’t think Fisher has any political ax to grind at all, it’s just an attempt to forecast the election based on past data. I don’t see not understanding that as “impressive” at all.

  13. TOH,

    Fisher’s model is a nice idea. The problem, the reason it was guff, was that it had and still has vast margins of error which mean “pretty much anything might happen”. On one end was a vast Tory landslide, at the other a vast Labour one.

  14. There is nothing wrong with Fisher’s analysis per se. It is based on historical trends and swingback. As we get closer to May 2015, the analysis will become more accurate and presumably the MOE will get tighter.
    In his recent defence of his model, Fisher acknowleges that one cannot predict unexpected events – including the swing of LibDems to Labour post 2010 and the rise of UKIP. These are unprecedented.
    I suppose the problem is that a forcast based on mathematical models can only be as good as the data put in, and unprecedented events are difficult to weight.

  15. @ TOH

    I think you are wrong about the reason why the Fisher model predictions have moved. I think it is passage of time rather than because the Lab vote is nudging up.

    If this trend continues that means the model, for this parliament at least, has been “wrong” (given the MOE it’s hard to say it is wrong but the central most likely prediction is).

  16. @MrBeeswax

    I’m where you are on this in terms of UKIP’s alleged demise. Their pre and post Euro election spike has subsided a little, but I see nothing in the polls to suggest that their ” decline is underway”. I see some bobbing about within MOE, as with all the parties, and there does seem to be some marked differences between pollsters in terms of their VI rating, but wherever you look, their vote seems pretty resilient to me.

    As for Fisher, I think Mr Nameless is right. It’s not “guff” as such, but any prediction that has such large margins of error needs to be taken with very liberal doses of salt.

  17. ToH – I think you may remember that in addition to the massive MOE in Fishers model his approach can not take account of Coalition Dynamics and in particular the exodus of a large swathes of 2010 LDs to Labour.

    I do wonder what result would be predicted if his and Robin Hoods model simply added 6 to Lab from LDs and maybe added 1% to Cons due to a little ABLab migration and started from a notional 38/35/16.

    Forgive me if I am wrong but I think your forecast of a modest Con OM is based on some Lab-Con switching as the realities (as you see it) of Labours’ policies moved in to sharper focus.
    I don’t think you are expecting that the bulk of 2010 LDs-Lab will be returning.

  18. @ Chatterglass

    “As we get closer to May 2015, the analysis will become more accurate and presumably the MOE will get tighter.”

    True- but that is not point of the exercise. The point of having this predictive model is trying to predict the outcome 6 months to 2 years from the election. Once you get to the stage where MOE has shrunk you are at the stage where the opinion polls will be just as meaningful in predicting the outcome of the next election.

    It’s a bit like ICM. I won’t be saying they got it right if their final poll is spot on- I’ll be saying they got it right if the LD and UKIP figures match what they are telling us now.

  19. @Chatterclass

    The value of a predictive model is whether it can make accurate predictions at least a year or two in advance. It’s easier to call an election the closer you get to it, so on the eve of an election the value added by the predictions is negligible.

    Initial judgement on Fisher’s model has to be that it isn’t looking good, because it predicts a steady swingback over time which so far hasn’t materialised.

  20. Ages ago when we last discussed Steve Fisher’s model I remember saying how, given the margins of error, it was almost impossible for the election to show it was “wrong”.

    Thinking about it more, Steve’s paper effectively sets out his own test for whether it’s worthwhile or not. Historically Steve’s model has been a better prediction 20, 12 and 6 months out than just taking the polls and assuming no movement. That should probably be the test one applies this time too – was Steve’s model’s prediction 20, 12 and 6 months out closer to the actual result than the polls were at the time?

  21. Fisher put his model out, knowing it wasn’t ready, in the hope that it could be refined in the field – something I think is quite laudable. Now, it looks like there might be flaws in it, but I don’t think it’s bad that he’s put it out for people to poke holes in it.

  22. The economic forecast from the EY Item Club is very positive for 2014. The Growth forecast is for 3.1% and they predict a rise in real incomes will grow over the next two years.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-28393377

  23. carfrew

    I have never buttered any ladies.

  24. CLOUD SPOTTER

    Thanks for that link-very positive indeed.

  25. Yes, I don’t see any reason for adverse critique of these ‘scientific’ models in the sense that nobody ought to devise them. It’s just that they cut no ice with me on the grounds of their assumptions, in this case, that history repeats itself. In another context (tribal struggles), it does, self-evidently.

    Incidentally, I could have guessed that someone would think i was being unkind to Frank Dobson but he is one of my more favourite politicians. I like his style and his common sense. It was a pity about the Ken L thing though. We all make mistakes or allow others to make them for us at some point.

  26. Like many others I have no issue with Fisher putting out as he makes it clear that his is a model based on the last GE result and polling evolution within parliaments.

    Whilst, similarly, I have no issue with ICMs work (and in fact think it is very sound in many respects) it is mis-labelled imo.

    It is not a snap-shot opinion poll but a prediction based on a current snap-shot and voting at the past GE.

    Journalists (and sub-editors) should be aware of the difference but sadly often aren’t – or worse are but still misrepresent.

    At least as the GE gets closer and DK/WV fall the difference will be less.

  27. R&D
    I have never buttered any ladies

    LOL

  28. YouGov: When it comes to the concept of human rights, which of the following comes closest to your view?

    – Human Rights really exist – there are some rights that all people have, simply because they are human.

    LD 83%
    Lab 68%
    Con 50%
    UKIP 41%

    – Human Rights don’t really exist – no particular rights should be given to all people at all times.

    LD 13%
    Lab 18%
    Con 37%
    UKIP 46%.

    Discuss.

  29. Can any of the experts writing to this blog tell me if the predictive models based on history are likely to be made less valuable by there being a fixed term parliament and a coalition government? I am not a statistician but it seems to be that the fact that previous governments could choose the date of a GE and have the freedom to choose their policies in the run up will have been part of the reason for swing to party in power in the last few months before a GE.

  30. Tony C

    Yes…. and compared with a coalition the government would normally become more united on the approach to a GE rather than begin emphasising their internal differences.

    I think the diffs are profound.

  31. AW

    Exactly my point. It’s an interesting model, which as Fisher himself says is far from perfect and I look forward with great interest to seeing how it pans out in 2015.

    JIMJAM

    “Forgive me if I am wrong but I think your forecast of a modest Con OM is based on some Lab-Con switching as the realities (as you see it) of Labours’ policies moved in to sharper focus.”

    My reasoning is partly that, although I would have substituted “Labours’ policies” with “Labour lack of a coherent economic strategy for eliminating the deficit compared with the economic growth achieved by the government”. I think that Lib Dem defectors to Labour will partly return to the LibDems in marginals but certainly many will not. I also expect quite a lot of potential Labour voters will not bother to vote, particularly if by the time of the election a Tory government looks quite likely. All just IMO of course.

  32. Cable scraps £12bn student loan sale.

    “The proceeds have already been ‘banked’ by the Office for Budget Responsibility in its forecasts and projections for public debt could well need to be revised upwards.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/jul/20/vince-cable-cabinet-tensions-scrap-student-loan-sell-off

  33. @Mr Nameless

    The problem is the definition of ‘exists’. If you get philosophical about it, unless these are God given, then they are purely human creations. They are belief systems. How can these be said to ‘exist’ outside a societal construct?

    So I couldn’t really say that they exist. But I would fight hard to maintain them because they are important.

  34. ToH – agree re 2010 Lds in marginals whether ABT or ABLab returning but mostly this makes it harder for a Con OM.

  35. @RogerH

    I must say that move of Cable’s has taken HE by surprise.

    It’s a bit more complicated than that story; there was certainly no guarantee that what could be sold would fetch £12bn.

    I think this is good news for fans of realistic financial projections.

  36. @TOH

    ” I also expect quite a lot of potential Labour voters will not bother to vote, particularly if by the time of the election a Tory government looks quite likely. All just IMO of course.”

    Don’t you think the opposite of that might be true?

  37. CB – agree,

    Arguably it was the prospect of a Con government that was responsible for Labour vote holding up as well as it did given the negatives in 2010.

  38. CROSSBAT11

    No.

  39. Does anyone know whether Fisher’s ‘swingback’ model includes the tendency of sitting governments to lose votes relative to the previous election? Because I think this sets an effective cap on what swingback can achieve.

    The clue is in the name: swingback is about a pendulum swinging back towards (but not quite reaching) its previous position, as voters who grew disllusioned with a government in the middle of its term come *back* to the fold when the even less desirable alternative starts to become scarily possible.

    So I don’t see how swingback alone can deliver a majority to a party that didn’t get one last time. A Conservative majority looks de facto impossible to me, barring some sort of gamechanger event. I don’t see any ‘known unknown’ gamechangers waiting in the next 10 months that would hit Labour VI massively harder than Tory VI (the child abuse scandal OTOH is one that could hit Tory VI relatively harder) so those who believe Tories will win a majority need to either suggest one or pray for an ‘unknown unknown’ gamechanger…

  40. The point of a model is that it should have predictive power. There’s little use in a model which is right on election day but indicates wrong outcomes before the event itself.

    What was clear to a number of commentators on this site 8 months ago, that labour would probably get the most seats is the position to which Fisher’s model has lately moved to.

    Now we may all be wrong. As I say, Dave & his team could have a stellar performance and defy predictions….it’s just that the data has pointed to a different conclusion.

    Swingback is something which occurred a generation ago in highly specific circumstances…very little swingback occurred in 2001, 2005 and a bit in 2010…

    The circumstances of the 2015 election are simply without parallel. We have a coalition govt. for the first time since 1945 and we have a fourth party which is polling 10%+ which has simply never happened.

    Basing predictions on what happened in a past which was totally different from the present circumstances, defies common sense.

    I have no doubt that any prediction of a Tory majority as the probable outcome will prove false. My problem with this model was that it didn’t take the brains of an Archbishop to see that the tories gaining 20 seats at the next election has been a slightly bonkers proposition for about two years.

    Of course, we may be wrong. the tories could hold all their seats and gain 10 seats off the lib dems and 10 off labour respectively…anything can happen etc. etc.

  41. @TOH

    “I also expect quite a lot of potential Labour voters will not bother to vote, particularly if by the time of the election a Tory government looks quite likely.”

    Did you mean “if by the time of the election a *Labour* government looks quite likely” (serious question)? Because surely the threat of the Tories getting in – given that their victory can only be forecast to be by the narrowest of margins – is likely to encourage Labour turnout (including from people who would otherwise vote for other parties), not discourage it. The thing that would seriously dampen Lab turnout would be predictions of a Miliband landslide.

  42. RogerMexico.
    If you are interested in incumbency effects and are looking for a constituency where there will be a 1st time defence against the previous MP then my own constituency of Bedford should fit the bill for you.

  43. New Populus VI: Lab 37 (+2); Cons 32 (-3); LD 9 (+1); UKIP 13 (-1); Oth 9 (+1) Tables http://popu.lu/s_vi140721

  44. Gordoning

    “so those who believe Tories will win a majority need to either suggest one or pray for an ‘unknown unknown’ gamechanger…”

    No we don’t, and in my case I don’t pray for a Tory gamechanger, not least because although they would be preferable to me than a Labour government they do not by any means represent what i think this country needs, which is above all, a much smaller state.

    And no i meant what iIsaid. If a Tory government looks likely i think that lots of labour voters won’t bother

  45. Thanks Shvii
    Nice but MOE.

  46. The Tories’ flatlining is very bizarre to me at this stage.

  47. @Cloud Spotter

    “The economic forecast from the EY Item Club is very positive for 2014. The Growth forecast is for 3.1% and they predict a rise in real incomes will grow over the next two years.”

    You’ve spotted a silver lining!

    :-)

  48. @Peter Crawford

    “The Tories’ flatlining is very bizarre to me at this stage.”

    More intriguing than bizarre, I think.

  49. toh

    “CROSSBAT11

    No.”

    That’s an awful lot of other people’s minds you think you can read – even with your added IMO.

    CB just asked if it was “possible” and it obviously is.

    That is just not debate in any meaningful sense at all.

  50. @TOH

    “And no i meant what iIsaid. If a Tory government looks likely i think that lots of labour voters won’t bother”

    What an odd theory.

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