Tonight’s YouGov/Sun poll has topline figures of CON 35%, LAB 38%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 11%. The three point Labour lead is typical of this week’s YouGov polls, which have all shown 3-4 point leads.

A couple more things to flag up, earlier in the week YouGov repeated their question asking people to put the parties and their leaders on a left-right spectrum. There isn’t much change since it was last asked. Labour are still seen as more centrist than the Conservatives, Cameron a little more right-wing than Miliband is left-wing. Cameron is seen as marginally to the left of his party, Miliband bang in line with his. In that sense Ed Miliband isn’t seen as some wild left winger (certainly not compared to the right-wingness of the Tories), but note that he is seen as far more left-wing than his predecessors: Gordon Brown and Tony Blair were both seen as significantly more centrist than the party they led. There are some very nice graphs of the data here.

While it’s not really about polls regular readers will know my sideline in boundary changes. While the boundary review for the coming election was cancelled the changes the government made weren’t repealed, just delayed. The process will start again automatically in 2015, so the issue will inevitably raise its head after the next election with either the Boundary Commissions starting a new review under the new rules, or the government legislating to change the rules again. Johnston, Rossiter & Pattie – the foremost scholars of British boundary redistributions – have published a new paper aimed at informing that debate, looking at whether slightly increasing the tolerance from 5% to 8%, encouraging the Boundary Commissions to split more wards, or sticking with 650 seats would reduce the level of disruption (spoilers: the first two would, the latter wouldn’t). It’s summarised here, and the full report is here.


253 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 35, LAB 38, LD 8, UKIP 11”

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  1. ole nat

    “larfing”

    Probly not when yer getting yer head chopped off.

  2. R&D

    That would be one of the times when “sometimes” doesn’t apply.

  3. Some of you will know better than me whether the NY “Daily Intelligencer” is a reliable news source.

    If it is, then the implications of this story are disturbing (though not necessarily surprising).

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/07/hamas-didnt-kidnap-the-israeli-teens-after-all.html

  4. @Oldnat,

    It’s not something that even al Jazeera are making great play with. It was always likely that the murder of the three boys wasn’t a centrally sanctioned Hamas operation. What the line of argument is doing though is conflating the response to the murders with the objectives of the Gaza operation.

    Whenever the Israelis knew about the murders, and whatever deceptions they may have carried out in relation to that knowledge, the ground attack on Gaza was not an attempt to rescue the dead Israelis. It was about locating and destroying installations used to facilitate missile attacks. It started long after it was publicly acknowledged that they were dead. So a bit of a straw man, really.

    On the other hand, the underlying allegation (that Israel knew about the deaths but pretended they didn’t to whip up fervour) is serious in itself, but not quite as central to the question of whether the Gaza operation is valid.

  5. How many seats do you expect the Tories and Lib Dems to win in greater Manchester?

  6. How many of these takeups were merely relocations, leaving empty premises somwhere else? The quotes from Ed Balls in the same article put things into perspective.

    Shadow chancellor Ed Balls said: “At long last our economy is back to the size it was before the global banking crisis – three years after the US reached the same point :-

    “But with GDP per head not set to recover for three more years and most people still seeing their living standards squeezed, this is no time for complacent claims that the economy is fixed.”

  7. Local election results tell us an awful lot. They tell us for a start what people actually voted for in that election rather than what some of them may have told a pollster.

    The idea that this tells us nothing whatsoever about voting intentions in other elections is not something I subscribe to.

    The political parties use the data as a primary source for planning their targeting, so clearly they think they have value.

    And Miliband has reason to be scared. But being a man of the people Doncaster type he should probably be OK. Next week brave Ed tackles issues around sausage sarnies.

    Clegg on the other hand does not. The local election results that overlap his seat show that however unpopular he may be the opposition is split several ways and he will probably retain it on a much reduced majority.

  8. Oh and remember that unlike Yougov, local elections DO prompt for the main parties.

  9. Thank you for the paper concerning future boundaries.

    I am inclined to think constituencies will have to be equalised whether Con or Lab is largest party in GE2015 and that reviews must take place every 5 years. Last review would have been passed but for House of Lords Reform arguments.

    Both parties must clarify their proposals before GE.

    Personally I think we will retain 650 seats but equalise.

    But frankly does it really matter if wards are split whether hundreds or thousands? Surely not.

  10. I couldn’t agree more re. local elections Mr Beeswax…people are generally quite ignorant and blasé about them. as if they are meaningless, random events which say nothing about potential outcomes.

    I think this view is naive…in britain, only rallings and thrasher take them seriously, and i think their projections are actually among the best around.

  11. “Clegg on the other hand does not. The local election results that overlap his seat show that however unpopular he may be the opposition is split several ways and he will probably retain it on a much reduced majority.”

    How do you figure? Labour came second and by a good margin in three of the five wards, and won another. Clegg will probably hold, yes, but the opposition isn’t split. The Tories are nowhere, neither are UKIP or the Greens.

  12. @PeterElectionFollower

    “equalised ”

    Whatever that means. Enrolled electorate? Population? According to census or some other measure?

    In the latter context, the change in the nature of the 2021 census would need to be revisited – IMHO it should *not* become a survey-based statistical exercise anyway, since the door-to-door count has vast long term value beyond the present day.

    And why every 5 years? The logic of FPTP is that there is a relationship between MP and constituents, and this will be difficult to maintain if the boundaries keep changing.

  13. regarding the “split wards” problem, could it be possible to change the wards first so they are not split by GE boundaries?

  14. @ Beeswax

    I came onto this site 2 or 3 years back with the same opinion as you- ie that votes in real elections counted for more than opinion polls. Having listened to the rational arguments of Anthony and the like I no longer think that.

    The reasons are well documented- aside from local issues (which wouldn’t stop you building up a national picture as long as you don’t read too much into individual results) the big issue is one of “protest votes” knowing you are not affecting the outcome of the election and more importantly the type of person who votes in elections with lower turnouts. Getting on for half the electorate only vote in General Elections as compared to by-elections, locals, Euros and so on. By their very nature they are less political and more likely to vote for one of the main parties.

    I think you are UKIP friendly so obviously you have reason to be annoyed that locals/Euros by elections etc show much higher UKIP share of votes than opinion polls. If anything though opinion polls were overestimating UKIP in the Euro elections when comparing like polling with like elections.

    I’m not saying you can’t read anything into local election results and I’m not saying that pollsters have a firm certainty on where UKIP end up. UKIP may well surprise but as things stand I think polling is a more accurate guide to the GE than extrapolating local and Euro election results

  15. Ok…. Prediction Time…

    Having spent over 4 years analysing the polls for this parliament, it’s time to turn knowledge into punditry. I’m awarding the Miserable Old Git Punditry Awards for the best predictions of (a) vote percentages and (b) seats at the next General Election.

    I’ll keep a record of all your predictions made up to 11.59pm Thursday 31st July. Only one entry per person, and I suggest you make sure percentages add up to 100 and seats add up to 650!

    I’ll assemble results when all the votes are counted next May. Measurement will be by total absolute deviation.

    To set the ball rolling, here are my predictions:

    Con – 34.2% (268 seats)
    Lab – 35.0% (312)
    LDem – 13.2% (36)
    UKIP – 7.1% (1)
    Grn – 2.7% (1)
    BNP – 0.8% (0)
    DUP – 0.7% (8)
    SF – 0.8% (7)
    SDLP – 0.3% (1)
    SNP – 0.7% (8)
    PC – 0.7% (4)
    Other – 2.6% (4)

  16. Mr Beeswax

    Local election results can give us some information when looked at a macro level but drawing conclusions from individual, small wards in a by-election give us no information at all.

    Even Parliamentary by-elections are poor at estimating GE performance

    You and Peter Crawford are making comments about analysis of Council Election results held on a proper election day – not individual by-elections

    If we take this Doncaster seat, not in Miliband’s constituency by the way, we have seen in previous elections a relatively high level of anti-establishment voting. Also, the Greens stood this time and the UKIP councillor has been a bit of a tart when it comes to political parties. It is not one of Labour’s safer seats in the area and if you look back you would see that

    The problem is them people extrapolate this to saying UKIP can win in Doncaster North…even though there is absolutely no evidence for it! Remember Newark

    If UKIP do win a seat it will be a three way marginal where the votes are split….Thurrock may be a case but I still do not think they will win that either

  17. not bad at all…think the ukip vote will be q. a bit higher, and lib dems lower but with same seats as you show.

  18. Con – 33.1% (253 seats)
    Lab – 36.4% (333)
    LDem – 10.6% (32)
    UKIP – 11.5% (3)
    Grn – 1.8% (0)
    BNP – 0.2% (0)
    DUP – 0.7% (8)
    SF – 0.8% (6)
    SDLP – 0.4% (2)
    SNP – 2.0% (8)
    PC – 0.4% (2)
    Other – 2.3% (3)

  19. I’ve always been puzzled by the boundary review thing, because surely the Boundary Commission is under a standing order to review boundaries, which it does all the time. Boundaries are forever being tweaked, with wards shifting from one seat to another, so why aren’t electorates equalised by this normal, continuing process?

  20. Jonboy – I think you might be thinking of the Boundary Committee which handles local government boundaries, which does indeed roll on all the time. The Boundary Commissions which do Parliamentary boundary reviews happen less frequently, every ten years or so.

    Of course one only does a big version of the other, the difference is that local government boundary review rules are set, and the changes put into law, by Parliament – there is a higher power imposing change upon them and they can’t mess about with the rules to benefit themselves. For Parliamentary boundary reviews, Parliament and government are setting their own rules and implementing themselves, and hence they have an incentive to seek partisan advantage from it… especially since it is a one way deal – out of date boundaries are not equally likely to have a negative effect on all parties (if there were, everyone could agree to get them sorted swiftly), they will normally favour Labour, hence Labour will always have an incentive for slow, infrequent and loose reviews, the Tories will always have an incentive for rapid, frequent and tight reviews.

  21. Mr Beeswax

    Local election results tell us an awful lot. They tell us for a start what people actually voted for in that election rather than what some of them may have told a pollster.

    The trouble with local elections and especially by-elections isn’t that that they don’t tell us anything, but that they tell us too much. A whole range of local factors can obscure what lessons can be extracted that can be applied to the country as a whole, even if they give us all sort of interesting information about the candidates or the ward or the local authority.

    To take the example of the Doncaster one (as Anthony reminded us, not in Miliband’s constituency), the UKIP candidate had been the Lib Dem councillor for the ward in the past (and there was no Lib Dem this time) and may have had a personal following from that. The ward itself[1] had been won by UKIP in May, so they might be expected to do well and Labour had never had a strong base (in 2010 they won with 24% of the vote) and May’s defeated candidate was standing again. And Labour in Doncaster has had its own scandals and problems for decades as any Private Eye reader will tell you. This helped lead to it being one of the few places where the English Democrats had much of a presence and this in turn made it easy for UKIP to take over their vote.

    All this obscures what the result can tell us about how things are going generally. At best it suggests what the polls are also saying, that UKIP haven’t been boosted by their success in the Euros, but equally they had the decline since that many of their opponents hoped for.

    [1] Edenthorpe, Kirk Sandall and Barnby Dun must be one of the better ward names in country, though possibly more romantic that the post-industrial reality.

  22. @ Old Nat,

    The NY “Daily Intelligencer” is a legitimate news source, and I think most of the things in that article are generally known, but as Neil says they are kind of irrelevant.

    My understanding of the timeline is this: at around the time the teenagers were kidnapped and murdered, Israeli intelligence discovered that one of the Hamas members released in exchange for Gilad Shalit had killed an off-duty Israeli policeman in the West Bank.

    The Israeli government realised that they were in big trouble, because if you release a terrorist and then he goes on to kill an off-duty police officer on his way to a Passover seder it looks pretty bad. So they used the kidnappings as a pretext to go around re-arresting as many of the Shalit releasees as possible before the press found out about Policemangate, so that they could be seen to have done something by the time the story went public.

    Hamas understandably took exception to this and starting lobbing rockets over the border, at which point the Israeli government went “Oh no, now we have to do something about these f***ing rockets as well!” and started the current offensive against Gaza. Then they found out about all the tunnels under the border and realised they needed a ground invasion to deal with the tunnels, which brought us to where we are today.

    So the IDF are in Gaza now to deal with genuine threats, not for the PR exercise that triggered the flareup. And the Israeli government’s (egregious, terrible, embarrassing!) record of dishonesty is really relevant only for how it affects Israeli public opinion and the opinion of the Israeli generals.

    The Israeli generals started out being pretty pissed off with the politicians and unenthusiastic about the operation in general, but I get the impression the discovery of the tunnels has altered that because it’s clear now that there was a real, serious threat that they only stumbled across by accident, and if the government hadn’t triggered this flareup they would only have known once Hamas used the tunnels for their intended purpose.

    And Israeli public opinion has understandably swung behind their government, because their neighbours/prisoners are constantly shelling them and digging tunnels that come up next to primary schools for some clearly sinister purpose, and when they try to do something to stop this the West complains about their operation but offers no constructive suggestions for what they should do instead. (Since ending the blockade will improve conditions in Gaza but simultaneously improve Hamas’s ability to import rockets, and withdrawing from Gaza and disbanding all the Israeli settlements is how Gaza became a rocket launching pad in the first place.)

    So my conclusion is: the Israeli government is awful, Hamas is awful, and I have no idea how to get rid of Hamas because they’re a paramilitary junta who murdered their political opposition, but if we want the Israelis to vote out Netanyahu getting Philip Hammond to condemn the current incursion into Gaza is probably counterproductive.

  23. BCrombie makes a good point, drawing a distinction between local elections and by-elections…

    my point refers more pertinently to local elections held across large parts of the country on the same day.

    I agree that by-elections are less informative, as they are often heavily dominated by specific local circumstances, BUT they are not totally negligible in my view

  24. At the moment I think this

    Con – 35% (276 seats)

    Lab – 35% (313 seats)

    LDem – 12% (30 seats)

    UKIP – 10% (3 seats)

    Others 8% (27 seats)

    But there is still Scottish Referendum, Autumn statement and March budget and others things that will crop up to surprise everyone.

  25. Mr nameless and miserable old git,

    some decent estimates of the actual election. I agree with nameless that UKIP will pip the lib dems…i agree with mog in that i think the tories will be a bit closer to labour than you suggest….not sure about % vi, but I think the tories will be about 268 in terms of seats, labour 305, ukip zero, and lib dems 37…not sure how that turns out in vote share…

    as i always say, the seats map is always much clearer to me than actual voting share, that’s why i like working from the ground up, so to speak.

  26. @Miserable Old Git

    My prediction as of July 26th 2014 for the May 2015 UK GE is as follows (party: vote percentage, number of seats, change):

    Conservative: 37% 302 seats (-4)
    Labour 34% 301 seats (+43)
    Lib Dem 10% 19 seats (-38)
    UKIP 12% 0 seats (+0)
    Others 7% 21 seats (-1)
    Total 100% 650 seats (+0)

    Please feel free to bring it up the day after the election and gleefully point out my errors… :-)

  27. doing some basic sums, i suppose my labour total is a bit low. if the tories are on 268, lib dems 37, others (NI seats, speaker, SNP, Plaid, 30 leaves Labour, by extrapolation, on 315…this seems a tad high to me….so, I suppose the libs and the tories will get about 5-10 more altogether. try

    lab 310
    con 271
    lib dem 39

    something like that this translates into about 35% each for labour and conservative, i suppose. I still think the libs will struggle to get 12%, but their vote will be ultra-efficient, i.e it will hold where they are incumbents and get annihilated where they aren’t.

    UKIP I don’t think will get any seats, but they could get 11.

    Floating voter’s prediction makes sense…though I don’t think UKIP will get 3 seats and the libs will get more than 30 to the cost of the tories.

  28. @Miserable Old Git

    My prediction is in automod. There will be a delay until (if?) it clears automod.

  29. MOG – thanks for doing this but if I may be a little awkward.

    All our polls are based on GB and on the swingometer the GB%ages are added and then NIs 18 seats added.

    I think we would be better making our predictions on this basis.

    That is 100% from GB plus the NI 18.

    Lets see what others think?

  30. Con – 33.9% (244)
    Lab – 37.2% (344)
    LDem – 9.6% (25)
    UKIP – 10.2% (3)
    Grn – 2.6% (1)
    DUP – 0.7% (9)
    SF – 0.8% (5)
    BNP – 0.3% (0)
    SDLP – 0.4% (3)
    SNP – 1.9% (10)
    PC – 0.6% (3)
    Other – 1.8% (3) (Assumes speaker is assigned to their party).

    Anthony hasn’t helped by his advanced swingometer not doing anything (that I can see anyway!) and not having the Northern Ireland results but I’m more a “feel the force” type of chap anyway :-)

  31. Let me offer then:

    Con 37.5% – 282 seats
    Lab 35.5% – 300 seats
    LD – 14% – 36 seats
    Other 13% – 14 seats
    NI – 18 seats

    Caveat if yes in referendum we can re-predict – pleeeeeese.

  32. @All

    For avoidance of doubt, I’m counting the speaker amongst “Others”.

    @FloatingVoter and Jimjam
    I’m recording predictions for all significant national and regional parties. I think it’s insulting to group important parties such as the Scots and Welsh Nats, the Ulster parties, and the Greens, under “others” as they all have distinct (and changing) political and democratic relevance. A prediction grouping them together will have little hope of “winning” under a total absolute deviation scoring system.

    @MrNameless
    Your percentages add to 100.2%

    @FloatingVoter
    Your seats add to 649

    I’ll accept changed predictions in line with my comments above.

    @JimJam
    Agreed re referendum. Scottish independence puts ALL political prediction into limbo for the forseeable future!

  33. @ Jim Jam

    Interested in two of your predictions on percentages (not seat count) and where you think the movements will come from.

    On the Tory vote- where do you think the votes are coming from to increase their share of the vote from last time? My points would be that they will lose some voters (even if it is 1%) to UKIP and that governments in power since the 1950’s have always pissed off some people (even if only 0.2% overall and even if I am doubling up with the move to UKIP).

    Also on LD I’m surprised anyone predicting those sort of percentages now. 57 seats (much of which is already factored into opinion polls) where there could be swingback and another 580 or thereabouts where their claims of ABT or ABL two horse race are weak at best, assuming they campaign much in any of those seats anyway.

  34. Shevii – 2010 LDs some switching to Con on an ABLab ticket – YG show pushing 10%which is over 2% of VI
    Also some WV raising others in some proportion.
    I do think a small net gain from Lab maybe worth up to 1% of total VI, this is Blairs Tories a few stayed through to GB.
    I think the Governing party always lose votes can not apply to both parts of the coalition, although in aggregate they will but with the LDs being the loser.

    Finally, most the UKIP returning home when it counts which I know is a minority view.

    You are right though that my seat count is more important as in safe seats drift back will be lower.

  35. I predict an unusual election.

    Nobody votes and all seats are decided on a toss of the coin.

    Monster Raving Loony Party enter coalition with Greens and – surprisingly – do a great job, rename themselves the Green Monster Raving Loony Party and are re-elected every five years until they decide not to bother with elections anymore and govern for ever.

  36. @MOG

    OK revised prediction

    Con – 35% (276 seats)

    Lab – 35% (313 seats)

    LDem – 12% (30 seats)

    UKIP – 10% (3 seats)

    Greens – 3% (2 seats)
    DUP – 0.5% (8 seats)
    SF – 0.7% (4 seats)
    SDLP – 0.5% (4 seats)
    SNP – 0.7% (6 seats)
    PC – 0.7% (2 seats)
    Other – 1.9% (2 seats)

    I have added 1 seat to others total now 28 seats to make 650 seats

  37. MOG,

    Quite right. Chop 0.1% off both the LDs and Others.

  38. @Norbold

    “They trotted out Ben Page of IPSOS MORI to give the independent professional view of this. He said that although Labour are ahead in the polls the real problem is that Ed’s personal ratings are as bad as William Hague’s and he didn’t become Prime Minister.”

    Yes, I thought it was a bizarre interview too. He even went on to quote Ronald Regan saying, in respect to Miliband’s speech, “if you’re explaining, you’re losing”. What an extraordinary thing for a so called “independent professional pollster” to say. I have seen this fellow Page pop up on our screens quite a few times, not least during the 2010 election leaders debates, gleefully “calling them for Cameron”, seemingly every time.

    By the way, isn’t that Regan quote a great example of a seemingly plausible platitude that, on fuller reflection, actually means the square root of zilch? Page quoted it as if it had deep meaning and truth but it’s empty waffle, isn’t it? If “you’re explaining, you’re losing”. What????? I know old Ronnie went a bit ga-ga in his old age and maybe this utterance was an early sign of what was to come.

    Changing subjects, I saw the discussion on what the combined Labour and Tory percentage vote might be next May. The mid 70s predictors, buoyed by the recent YouGov and Populus polls came out in force but they may be ignoring, conveniently, what nearly all the other pollsters are telling us:

    TNS/BRMB 66
    Ashcroft 62
    Opinium 64
    Ipsos/Mori 67
    ICM 67
    ComRes 62
    Populus 69

    It was 66% in May 2010 and while I get the bit about the Lib Dem addition to the Labour vote, I can’t subscribe to these 38 v 36 predictions at all. Way off in my view and I would be surprised if either of the two main parties exceeded 36%. 35 plays 33 feels about right to me, fairly near that 66% last time around. Lib Dems to bomb, but I’d be surprised to see them below 15%. UKIP to get about 10%, feeding off all three of the other main parties, particularly the Tories.

    I’m off to Ladbrokes!

  39. Oops, Reagan with an “a”, not Regan. Apologies.

  40. Con 38.3, 321
    Lab 33.3 266
    LDem 8 26
    UKIP 10 0
    Grn 3 1
    BNP .3 0
    DUP .6 8
    SF .6 5
    SDLP .4 3
    SNP 2.2 14
    PC .6 3
    Other 2.7 3

  41. Yes, the LD vote is very efficiently distributed, giving a perplexingly high seats-per-vote, much higher than the Liberals in 50s to 70s. But for most of the last 30-odd years, one of the two main parties has been very unpopular compared with previous times and compared to the winning party. This allows a 3rd party with a fairly low vote to win (barely) in places where otherwise a small vote would be firmly in 2nd place at best. At the moment, neither are particularly popular, thanks to UKIP siphoning votes from each of Lab and Con. This does tend to help the LD’s a little, making few votes worth more.

    I can still see UKIP outpolling them, though.

  42. @ Jim Jam

    Fair points I guess- the one on the Tory vote percentage was something I had considered that they may gain votes from 2010 LD’s- mainly because of swingback of tactical voters. But then that limits the ABL swingback to LD so I’m struggling to agree that both your scenarios will happen!

    I agree about UKIP- who really knows what will happen with their vote? I also think this is the most difficult election to predict seat totals because of the potential for so many individual contests being affected by UKIP and LD voters and the uncertainty about how their votes pan out.

  43. It does seem very ironic that the LDs are going to greatly benefit from the FPTP system…..

  44. Neil A / Spearmint

    Thanks for the information. That was helpful.

    Incidentally, I agree that foreign politicians intervening in another country’s politics is likely to be counter-productive. one wonders why the UK Govt has been so keen to invite precisely that. :-)

  45. @Norbold – ‘greatly benefit’ or suffer less than in past elections?

  46. Jamie,

    I think your seat totals are a little off. If the Labour vote goes up by 3.5 points they’ll take more than 8 seats.

  47. Mr N

    I have the Tories increasing a little, the gap between them and labour I have predicted to narrow, but I think Tory MPs will be saved by the double incumbency effect. I think therefore there will be v few seat changes between the two main parties with the LibDem seats going to the SNP, Labour and Con largely depending upon whether they are in Scotland, the North or the South.

  48. Mr N

    I should have said, I also think labour will get a lot more votes in Surrey! I think that in safe conservative seats, labour supporters will vote…. labour! Whereas in the past they may have voted LibDem. This with the double incumbency effect and a strong SNP will make their vote less efficient…IMO

  49. tories on 321 seats in less than 10 months’ time?…interesting…which seats will they gain? will they lose any at all to labour? would love to know Jamie’s thinking.

    Realistically, I think to the nearest 0.5%…[anything more accurate is a bogus level of precision, imho].

    Labour 35% 316
    Conservative 34.5% 268
    LD 11.5% 35
    UKIP 11% 1
    Others 8% 30 (inc. speaker, ni seats, SNP etc)

    I hope mog makes a not of all these…would be interesting to see where the average is…wisdom of crowds and all that…

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