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. It appears from cross tabs from all recent polls that the only section of society favourably disposed to vote Conservative at the next election is the over 65 age group. It isn’t suprising that people in this age group are inclined to support that party as they were exempted from all austerity measures and are favoured by the social security system. (A product in itself of the last governments prioritisation of welfare towards the elderly)

    Amongst all working age groups the support for Labour is much higher than that for the Conservatives. The younger the age group the more inclined they are to vote Labour.

    The Conservative Party is in a bind because as policy gets increasingly focused on appealing to their natural constituency (the elderly) it increasingly alienates everyone else, making their chances of getting an overall majority ever slimmer.

    Unless the Conservative Party broaden their base in the next five years, they’ll vanish altogether within a generation as the supply of brigadiers and old maids dries up. UKIP is becoming the natural home of grumpy old men and the Conservatives risk a permanent schism if they lose the next election.

  2. That’s not to say the Conservative Party can’t come back. There can be renewal, but it has to be more meaningful than the PR based rebrand of 2005. Parties have to reflect society as it is or they die.

  3. @TOH

    “If a Tory government looks likely i think that lots of labour voters won’t bother”

    I’m pretty sure the historical evidence is that turnout is higher the more the outcome of the GE is in balance.

    So if a Tory Govt looks 80%+ likely, I would agree with TOH. If, OTOH, a Tory Govt looks more like 50-50, I would expect a _high_ turnout of labour voters. And if a Tory Govt looks highly unlikely, lots of labour voters (and losts of Tory voters) won’t bother, either.

  4. @ BEN FOLEY

    “So if a Tory Govt looks 80%+ likely, I would agree with TOH. If, OTOH, a Tory Govt looks more like 50-50, I would expect a _high_ turnout of labour voters. And if a Tory Govt looks highly unlikely, lots of labour voters (and lots of Tory voters) won’t bother, either.”

    Yes, and the point is that given the state of the polls at the moment, and the bias in the electoral system, it is far more probable that a Labour Govt will look 80%+ likely on election eve than that a Tory Govt will look 80%+ likely. Complacency is thus a far bigger danger for Labour turnout than defeatism. So in this respect, the right-wing media may actually be doing Labour a bit of a favour by focusing on Miliband’s travails, and highlighting only those polls which have the parties neck-and-neck!

  5. Another triumph for The Sun in the Tulisa drugs trial I see.

  6. Peter Spencer, chief economic adviser to the EY Item Club said that future growth will be more sustainable because it will be financed by a rise in the number of people who work …

    He said employment growth was being driven by-

    older workers retiring later
    benefit claimants coming off welfare
    immigrants entering the country

    which has compensated for a fall in wages”

    Now whether you agree with the ITEM forecast or not, (and he is not correct that borrowing is not increasing), I cannot for the life of me see how this sort of growth is going to reduce people’s personal financial pessimissm or an improvement in the coalitions polling performance.

    We can see the proof of this in the polling figures for the last 6 months – this sort of growth producing personal pessimism and flat-lining polling performance

    Unless the Telegraph is misquoting it seems extremely complacent IMO

  7. BY contrast, this from David Blanchflower, a known anti- coalition writer, but the figures are from the ONS

    “The latest ONS data showed that. Average weekly earnings were £478 a week, down from £479 in December 2013 and exactly the same as observed in April. Pay was up 0.3 per cent over the last twelve months, which is the lowest ever, and exactly zero in the five months that we have data for since the start of 2014.

    In contrast the Retail Price Index grew 2.6 per cent over the last year, so real wages are currently falling at more than 2 per cent per annum. The AWE is up by 6.5 per cent since May 2010 while the RPI is up 14.6 per cent. So real wages are now down 8 per cent and that drop has no chance of being restored by election time.”

    Now if I were a coalition supporter, I know whose words I would be taking more notice of.

  8. @GORDONING
    I don’t think there is any sense in which the right-wing media are helping Labour, even accidentally.

    The phenomena you point out are at least as likely to increase Tory supporters’ turnout as Labour supporters’.

    And there is an additional phenomenon: of wanting to ‘back the winner’. I don’t understand the mindset behind it, but I recognise it happens: that type of voter would be more likely to vote Labour (or Tory) if it looked like the respective party looks like securing a majority. I guess from the turnout phenomenon that I mentioned either these people are outnumbered by those who only vote in close GEs or that they routinely go to vote, but are pretty promiscuous with their votes.

    The existence of the ‘back the winner’. voters is a key reason why Labour will lose out from the right-wing press playing down their chances.

  9. @ FLOATING VOTER

    Agreed about personal circumstances being far more important to economic satisfaction than the macro-situation. And this guy Spencer thinks growth that is partially driven by immigration is more sustainable??? That will go down well with UKIP sympathisers.

    The other two factors he cites are even less sustainable. Raising the retirement age and cutting benefits have fairly obvious inherent limits, both of which are likely to be reached pretty quickly.

    This is not just complacent, it is dangerous nonsense IMO.

  10. @ BEN FOLEY

    “The phenomena you point out are at least as likely to increase Tory supporters’ turnout as Labour supporters’.”

    That isn’t actually true, because it’s well known that Tory turnout is more robust than Labour turnout – partly due to their older age profile and other demographic factors.

    Ergo, Labour’s turnout is boosted relative to the Cons if a contest is seen as close rather than a foregone conclusion. This (complacency around the time if the Sheffield rally) is commonly cited as one reason why Labour underperformed in 1992 (unless you believe it was the Sun wot won it :D) though I don’t know enough about that election to judge the accuracy of this.

  11. @BF

    What you say about “backing the winner” is fair enough though, although it will rely on some obfuscation on the part of the media, in not pointing out that a small Tory poll lead won’t make them the biggest party. Come to think of it, that is just routine obfuscation for them really!

  12. @GORDONING

    I think you are absolutely right, but that seems to be the plan

  13. @GORDONING

    I don’t think it was so much the complacency displayed at the Sheffield rally in itself, it was the impression it made on people as in “we’re not voting for that cocky s-d.”

  14. @ Jim jam

    What do you mean MOE? Identical to Sunday’s Yougov :-)

    (But yes- I agree with you…)

  15. Given the right-wing press have half the readers they did in 1992, and their ability to influence votes was at best questionable even then, does anyone these days seriously think they can influence VI?

    And if they do, how do they explain the recent recovery in Labour’s lead in the polls after the Euro elections, when every mainstream newspaper was in full-on attack mode against Miliband?

  16. FLOATING VOTER

    @”Now if I were a coalition supporter, I know whose words I would be taking more notice of.”

    Me too-these :-

    “Two drivers are central to this low-inflation recovery. First, the labour market is providing the best of both worlds, boosting incomes through rising employment rather than wages, while keeping inflation low through an expanding workforce. Second, business investment has rebounded even faster than expected, generating over half of the UK’s growth over the past year and supporting the much-needed rebalancing.”

    Peter Spencer, Chief Economic Adviser to EY ITEM Club

  17. @Norbold

    Any other industry, and the Press would be screaming for reform (and they’d be right).

  18. Floating voter

    I saw Blanchflower’s article. Whether the upward trend in wages found by the Bank of Scotland’s Report on Jobs is replicated elsewhere, I don’t know.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-28384131

    Whether this has implications for polling – and who gets any credit going – will no doubt become clearer in time.

  19. GORDONING

    @”This is not just complacent, it is dangerous nonsense IMO.”

    Looks pretty positive to me :-

    http://www.ey.com/UK/en/Issues/Business-environment/Financial-markets-and-economy/ITEM—Background

  20. The lack of evidence backing up this ‘me too’, ‘not me then’, and other motivational aspects of voting or not voting here today, had me pondering what Hurree Singh of Greyfriars Remove would say ‘ the speculative nature of this correspondence is terrific’.

  21. Does anyone know if the ONS AWE figures are based only on those in employment (I assume they are, but I can’t find out for sure on their website).

    I am intrigued by the EY ITEM assessment of earnings, in which they suggest that average household incomes are improving even though AWE isn’t, due to the fall in unemployment. That certainly reflects my personal experience.

    If that is the case, it may well be that people moving from unemployment to low-paid work actually shows up as a negative factor in AWE figures. The perception of Blanchflower and others that there are significant falls in real-money incomes may have to be tempered by factoring in the oddity of new low-wage jobs distorting the numbers.

    Of course, that’s not entirely great news anyway. The economy would do better if it was creating high waged jobs rather than low waged ones, but on the specific point of “personal circumstances dictating voting intention” maybe the picture is more subtle than suggested.

    If, on the other hand, AWE figures include benefits then this is all erroneous.

  22. I know all this depends on which economist you talk to, and probably on what day of the week too, but if we subscribe to the view that household incomes are now growing and disposable income is increasing, then doesn’t it make these opinion polls, and the flat-lining Tory VI in particular, al the more mystifying?

    What’s going to the light the blue touch paper and put wind in the Tory sails? The spectre of Miliband?

  23. It must the case that families where someone has moved in to even low paid employment from the regsiter will be better off even if benefit withdrawal erodes some of that gain.
    Notwithstanding a desire for better pay for low paid people and a long term aim to increase average earnings through better skill etc, this must be good for those individuals and their families and welcomes but most of us.

    I guess the Electoral issue for the Coalition is that the voting habits of low earners in aggregate are unlikely to move much.

    For a change in Governing parties VI, I think the so-called squeezed middle needs to see real incomes rise and for the Government to be given credit by them for this.

    The sad thing in the 1980s was that those in work did pretty well whilst a large part of the population was condigned to the scrap heap with little chance of meaningful work.
    Arguably (as 13 Labour years did insufficient if anything to address) we are still suffering as a consequence with an underclass that is tough to shift.

    Electorally, though, there were more than enough’ I am alright Jacks’ to vote Conservative.

  24. Ashcroft National Poll: Con 27%, Lab 35%, Lib Dem 7%, UKIP 17%, Green 7%

    Jul 21, 2014 03:59 pm

    Labour’s lead has risen to eight points in this week’s Ashcroft National Poll, conducted over the past weekend. The widening margin, following a similar shift in the Populus poll published this morning, stems mainly from a five-point fall in the Conservative share to 27%. Other movements are within the margin of error: Labour are down […]

    Why do so many taglines say the like of “03.59 pm”

  25. Ashcroft has a new poll out

    Con 27 (-5)
    Lab 35
    LD 7
    Ukip 17
    Greens 7

    Yet another big change in Con VI :-)

  26. Ashcroft has a new poll out

    Con 27 (-5)
    Lab 35
    LD 7
    Ukip 17
    Greens 7

    Yet another big change in Con VI :-)

  27. Guymonde

    You beat me to it!

  28. From Lord A

    “the proportion saying the Tories have “clear ideas to deal with Britain’s problems” was down two points at 39% (while Labour were up 4 points on this measure to 38%).”

    Dustman’s work on Labour bearing fruit then…

  29. @ GORDONING

    “it’s well known that Tory turnout is more robust than Labour turnout – partly due to their older age profile and other demographic factors”

    I’ve certainly come across people who make suggestions like that before: there is the standard line that good weather on polling day favours the Labour Party. But is there actual evidence that this plausible and often repeated theory is true? I’m pretty sure I have seen the ‘weather on polling day’ angle debunked, but still repeated nonetheless.

    It may also be that, whatever the evidence from the past, as the Tories become more and more reliant on the votes of frail elderly people, a proportion of those elderly people are harder to get to vote (doubtless the Tories will be ‘granny farming’ for postal votes for all they are worth, but a proportion of frail elderly people are nevertheless unwilling to trust their vote to a proxy or the post office).

  30. Perhaps Labour voters are just cleverer and less likely to bother in unwinnable seats and those with big Tory majorities.

    Serious point is that in key seats Labour’s organisation is still very strong and the GTVO operation with full number check-off’ etc very effective.

  31. “What’s going to the light the blue touch paper and put wind in the Tory sails? The spectre of Miliband?”

    Maybe the spectre of a kitchen sink flying through the air??

  32. It’s only the adjustment for don’t knows that brings the Greens back level with the Lib Dems in the Ashcroft poll. Before that they’re ahead of them.

  33. @ Mr Nameless

    Discuss [YG human rights polling].
    —————–
    Do you have a link to the data tables which you can post? Thanks.

  34. @ Guymonde

    Ashcroft National Poll: Lib Dem 7%, Green 7%

    Wow. even as a Green I didn’t really hope for that. 2nd poll in a week to show Greens level with LDs.

  35. @Colin

    Well fine, if what the ITEM club is saying is true, then that is good for the general economy.

    My comment about complacency is that voters do not feel good about this growth and again with your report of Spencer’s quote

    ‘the labour market is providing the best of both worlds, boosting incomes through rising employment rather than wages,’

    Voters are not happy personally about rising employment and falling income – the polls tell us so, according to Yougov, they are extremely pessimistic, they do not think it is the best of both worlds. I am not saying it is the only reason, but it is an important reason.

    @JimJam
    ‘n the 1980s was that those in work did pretty well whilst a large part of the population was consigned to the scrap heap with little chance of meaningful work.’

    I will say it again, if those conditions were here today voters would be much more optimistic and the coalition parties would have a higher voting intention – I really believe that.

  36. @Ben Foley

    “The existence of the ‘back the winner’ voters is a key reason why Labour will lose out from the right-wing press playing down their chances.”

    That would require voters to be influenced by what they read in the papers. The evidence suggests that they’re not. (Anyway doesn’t the Press have to play up the likelihood of Labour winning in order to promote the catastrophic threat posed by putting Miliband in power?)

  37. @Neil

    The AWE does not include the self-employed or companies with less than 20 employees

    The Institute of Fiscal Studies noted that some sectors of the economy are receiving very high wage increases due to skill shortages, which, the IFS said, meant that a large majority of the workforce are receiving even less of a wage increase than the average.

  38. Nick Griffin’s been ousted as BNP leader.

  39. FV – I agree.

    Let me add that many vote Con, and indeed Labour for philosophical reasons are are not selfish.

    sadly though there are sufficient swing voters who take a narrow view.

    The Cons in the 1980s appeal to enough of these.

    Did not help that Labour not too good for some of this period of course.

  40. @ MrNameless

    Bloodless coup?

  41. MRN

    And replaced by someone even further to the right!!!

  42. @Guymonde Because the information is generally widely circulated in advance, to allow people to prepare write ups about it, but embargoed until a certain time – in this case 4pm. So everyone releases their stories at pretty much the same time.

  43. “@ MrNameless

    Bloodless coup? ”

    Gosh, I hope not.

  44. He was ousted at the BNP executive on Saturday for losing all their seats in this year’s elections.

    Adam Walker, his replacement, is an unashamed racist who was given a life ban from teaching after chasing down three boys aged between ten and twelve in his car, before slashing their bike tyres with a knife.

  45. Gazprom,

    The fascinating thing is that neither Labour nor the Tories has been able to take advantage of the decline of the other. 40% used to be an awful election for either, but now neither party seems able to get to that kind of figure, EVEN WITH the LDs imploding.

    If we were going to see a realignment to a two-party system (even if only in England) we’d have seen it after 2010. We didn’t, and therefore it’s reasonable to expect that both main parties are going to be stuck on a declining trend into the indefinite future. And it will only get worse for them if there’s voting-system reform.

  46. Assuming Labour win in 2015, there’s a fascinating dilemma for the next Tory leader: do they move right and hunt after the Blue Kippers, or do they carry on the Cameron project of modernising the Conservative party? The latter is not as strange as it sounds: disappointing results for Labour in 1987 and 1992 saw the party move further to the right, and even go as far as abandon socialism in any sense that their founders would recognise. Parties don’t always go into a bunker following a defeat.

    Once the public finances are in better shape, there may be a chance for the Tory leader at that point to occupy the centre ground between an increasingly left-wing Labour and a radically right-wing UKIP. Oddly enough, if there’s a party in England well-poised to triangulate, it’s the Tories.

  47. FLOATING VOTER
    @

    “@JimJam
    ‘n the 1980s was that those in work did pretty well whilst a large part of the population was consigned to the scrap heap with little chance of meaningful work.’
    I will say it again, if those conditions were here today voters would be much more optimistic and the coalition parties would have a higher voting intention – I really believe that.”

    I think that is highly unlikely-and Labour would be screaming about unemployment rising-something they actually forecast.

  48. Anthony

    This Demos article appears to suggest that you polled for them using things like our surnames to divide us into categories.

    http://quarterly.demos.co.uk/article/issue-3/516/

    Go on. Give us the data tables!

  49. Good Afternoon everyone.
    One half of a day of serving the children before the holidays.

    BEN FOLEY.
    With the Greens on 7% equal with the Lib Dem figure from Lord Ashcroft; I would offer a caveat; that the Lib Dem figure seems over high, and thus the Greens may also be over high.

  50. Colin – am glad the forecast was wrong on unemployment notwithstanding my disappointment with almost 40 years of trying to compete through low wages with insufficient emphasis on productivity

    Albeit it was based on Plan A which was abandoned very early on as ‘The Euro-Crisis’ delayed the recovery.

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