The weekly YouGov poll for the Sunday Times is up here. Topline figures are CON 33%, LAB 37%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%.

Most of the rest of the poll dealt with Boris Johnson’s planned return to Parliament. Dealing with the practical implications first, 35% think Boris should stand down as mayor if he wants to stand for Parliament, 54% think it is fine for him to do this at the same time as being Mayor. If he actually gets elected 60% think he should stand down as Mayor, in the event he becomes Tory leader 79% think he should resign as Mayor.

Looking forward to whether there is a vacancy, 44% of people think that David Cameron should resign as Tory leader if he loses the next election, only 29% would like him to stay (a majority of Tory voters would actually back Cameron staying on as leader after a defeat, though personally I can’t imagine it being an issue – I think he’d step down anyway). If David Cameron wins the next election then by 46% to 28% people would like him to remain for a full term, 80% of Tory voters would want him to serve a full term.

Were Cameron to go, Boris is the frontrunner to succeed him. 30% would back Boris as the best Tory leader, ahead of Theresa May on 16% and George Osborne on just 7%. Amongst Tory voters Boris leads Theresa May by 41% to 15%.

Asked which words best describe Boris Johnson likeable (34%), buffoon (32%), entertaining (31%) and intelligent (26%) come top. It’s unusual for any politician to have three positive words in the top four of a question like this, but it flags up Boris’s shortcomings too: statesmanlike (1%) and competent (7%) are down at the bottom of the list. In a separate question 36% think Boris Johnson would be up to the job of Prime Minister, 43% think he would not.

And what difference would Boris as leader actually make? Well, with all the usual caveats for questions like this (people are crap at answering hypothetical questions and have no idea what Boris would actually do and say as leader) it wouldn’t actually make much difference to voting intention at all. A control question asking how people would vote with the current leaders produces voting intentions of CON 33%, LAB 35%, LDEM 9%… with Boris as Conservative leader it would change to CON 34%, LAB 35%, LDEM 10%.

109 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 33, LAB 37, LD 8, UKIP 13”

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  1. mrnameless (fpt)

    If, as this article alleges (and bear in mind it’s the Daily Mail), there are up to 100 MPs prepared to defenestrate DC in favour of Boris, what do we think the effect would be on A) David Cameron’s popularity, B) Boris Johnson’s, C) Conservative polling and D) Boris’ chances of winning a leadership election?

    Well, as Anthony says, today’s YouGov which has questions on this very topic. As with the rest of today’s figures, for which the word ‘polldrums’ would imply too great an impression of dynamism, these are remarkably similar to the responses they got in February when they asked the same questions. If the following analysis seems familiar it’s because I said all this two threads ago (and probably in February too).

    Replacing Cameron with Johnson had very little effect changing the VI to 34/35/10/21[1] from 33/35/9/23. Interestingly there was quite a lot of churn, but the extra votes that Boris brought in were nearly balanced by the Conservatives who fled at the thought of him. Most of these are shifting to saying they didn’t know how they would vote but some switching outright to other parties, especially Lib Dem. Presumably a lot of Conservatives think that Boris would be too unreliable if he led the party or the country.

    That’s before you take into account the usual problem with hypotheticals that people claim they will change their behaviour when all they really want to do is to register their approval. So the 19% of UKIP voters who say they would switch may just be registering that they want Cameron to go.

    Boris may also turn out to be less attractive to UKIP voters than on first sight because he has been very vocal in favour of more immigration. Admittedly Boris can get away with backing contradictory policies because of lack of scrutiny from his media chums, but he may find his life isn’t quite so charmed when he goes back to national politics.

    Of course there’s the effect that his standing will have on the Conservative Party. Usually parties wait till defeat is certain before tearing themselves apart. Naturally Johnson will give fulsome backing to Cameron, but some of us know what ‘fulsome’ actually means. The positioning will start now. Some of the papers will be fighting under the slogan of “Vote Dave, Get Boris” without considering whether that is a positive thing

    [1] Irritatingly YouGov didn’t break down Others here. I have pointed this out before, but it would be interesting to see if UKIP gained as well as lost.

  2. Seems to me that Boris is an attempt at human triangulation by the Tories, he’s making anti-Europe noises and he ain’t Cameron, and will patently run against him should the circs dictate; they’re quite good at the old defenestration lark are the Tories.

  3. First, by the way…

  4. I’m pretty sure that Boris would not get past the MP ballot stage of the Conservative leadership election process. While they’re all very polite about him, and sing his praises as Mayor, there certainly haven’t been a lot of movement on finding him a seat yet, and people do remember him for being the one who’d end up in the wrong voting lobby by mistake.

  5. It’s comforting to have polling evidence to show that I’m normal. Lots of other people think that Boris Johnson is an entertaining, likeable buffoon. I can’t say that I’m surprised, though.

  6. Jayblanc
    The parliamentary Conservative party would vote for the Devil himself as leader, if they thought it would increase their chances of retaining their seats.
    So they will certainly vote for Boris , if circs dictate.

  7. Sir Lucien Ferre , the member for Underhill South.

  8. Good Afternoon All.
    NEWHOUSET: I think UKPR people are not always ‘normal’ .

    How did you get that comment through moderation?

    Labour lead still small but not without significance with under ten months to the GE now, Lib Dems figures look a little high, to me.

  9. Chrislane
    Sunday morning Tomfoolery ?

  10. Colin
    The little blinking advert at the top of my column is for a company; Scottish Debt Help.

  11. Anthony,

    Off topic, but can I take it that none of those expected Indie Polls turned up.


  12. Since the Margaret Thatcher era, there have been two souls in the Tory party; one about modernising the economy at all costs and the other about preserving historic values, habits and patterns.
    The increasing difficulty in harnessing the two together may be at the heart of our poldrums. If the Tories try too hard in one direction they lose in the other. Boris and David sum up each approach. Boris’ hostility to the EU is about the desire to control it for a particular kind of London-centred capitalism, not a historic rejection.
    England may be moving to a situation more similar to the US where polarisation is acute but based on an urban vs suburban/rural split rather than straight class division. In the US, the most indicative statistic in guessing who is red and who is blue is how close you live to your nearest neighbour not how much you earn.

  13. intelligent?
    There was an ultra-posh mp in the thatcher era whom a Labour MP described in committee as one of the cleverest of the tory MPs.
    The recipient asked if the minutes could not record the comment as it would damage his standing in his party.

    I think Kershaw used the phrase ‘milieu’ rather than ‘class’ as a voting determinant in Germany, 1919-1933.

  15. BARNEY

    Could be useful for them lol.

    By the way I think your “two souls” attempt at defining Conservatism is a false dichotomy.

    “Preserving” historic values & institutions , and “modernising” the economy aren’t mutually exclusive.

    All State institutions need constant review to ensure their cost effectiveness & value to voters & taxpayers. So a “reform” agenda is always in the wings for a Conservative administration.

    I see no ideological difference between DC & Boris-mainly because they are both spectacularly un-ideological.
    Boris is on an ego trip to the leadership -simple as that. There are no political principles at play-just ambition.

  16. Barney Crockett 12:48

    Interesting post.

    (I enjoyed the next one too).

  17. The ST poll seems to confirm a salutary lesson that it does not matter much to most people who the PM is, as otherwise they would take the issue more seriously. This may also be related to the voters’ opinion that it does not matter much what government we have, as long as it is relatively powerless. It also proves that the majority of correspondents here on UKPR are well out of step, as they clearly think these are very serious matters and do think it matters.

    These findings should be very significant to all party activists.

  18. Steady lead in the figures for the LP. I do not see how the TP can come back from this without a dramatic policy change. The almost certain victory for No next month can only help labour North of the boarder, vote SNP get a Tory Government. Now if they came out with a Manifesto pledge to leave the EU without a referendum that might clip UKIP wings but it would take a remarkable shift and I am not sure it would be believed. Mean while all EM has to do not make any big mistakes and his got it in the bag.

  19. A Reuters poll published on Friday showed economists expect earnings to rise 1.4% this year (CPI inflation 1.7%)

    Average weekly earnings did not grow at all in cash terms between January and May, the latest month for which data is available.

    Alan Clarke, a strategist at Scotiabank, said: “We will be lucky to see a reading above 1pc by the end of the year.”

    REC/KPMG report on jobs suggested that earnings are picking up for some workers, especially those with skills in short supply in areas such as engineering, construction and medical professionals.


    Michael Saunders, chief UK economist at Citi, said: “Faster jobs growth among age groups, sectors and regions with lower pay levels has helped reduce average earnings growth well below the trend in pay deals

    For example

    Care UK took over services for people with severe learning disabilities in Doncaster Council (Lab) this year, cutting wages of staff who had been on NHS terms by up to 35% while bringing in 100 new workers on £7 an hour.

    Yougov Sunday 10th August

    How do you think the financial situation of your household will change over the next 12 months?

    Social Grade

    ABC1 -7% – e.g engineers, doctors and electricians
    C2DE -29% e.g care workers

  20. HOWARD

    @” it does not matter much to most people who the PM is,”

    Eh? :-

    Do you think the following are or are not be up to the job
    of Prime Minister?
    DC +15
    BJ -7
    EM -36

    YouGov this morning.

  21. FV

    Some interesting observations on pay/productivity by Andrew Sentance in today’s ST:-

    Among the eight largest Western economies, only Spain has achieved significant Productivity growth in the period 2006-2014.
    US is below “trend”
    Canada & France are marginal increases.
    Italy Holland UK & -wait for it-Germany are all negative/falls.

    On pay he observes that we could be at 5% unemployment later this year-close to the lowest level in UK since the 1970s. He suggests that, whilst this will produce increasing skills shortages & consequent pay increases , the dominance of the Services sector will keep productivity & average pay increases suppressed ( apparently a phenomenon observed in the 1960s by an American economist-hence “Baumol’s disease”)

    Elswehere in the paper EY Item club is quoted as finding that the numbers of workers aged over 65 has risen by over a third in this Parliament, compared with +9.3% for 50-64, and + 3.5% for 16 to 49. They say ” These extra workers have priced themselves into jobs, pushing up employment while depressing real wages & productivity”.

    It does seem that, the headline average pay number masks significant sectoral & group shifts.

    Carney’s Delphic attempts to express his latest message on forward interest rates at this week’s Inflation Report will no doubt have the Oracle analysts working overtime.

  22. Howard

    It matters hugely as you will find out 9 months from now.

  23. The parliamentary Conservative party would vote for the Devil himself as leader, if they thought it would increase their chances of retaining their seats.
    So they will certainly vote for Boris , if circs dictate.

    Absolutely right…the tories haven’t won an election in 22 years…the idea that any of osborne/may/hammond/gove will provide the leadership required to break this is crazy.

    Boris might be a disaster, but at least he is something different. I think he could, stress could, change the dynamic…anyone else would be more of the same; the tories will get precisely nowhere with osborne or hammond.

  24. @Colin

    ‘It does seem that, the headline average pay number masks significant sectoral & group shifts’

    I agree and i think Michael Saunders comments are perceptive

    Latest figures 3 months to May are 1.1 million 65+ workers.

    And Andrew Sentance seems to be saying productivity sluggishness is common amongst many different countries, but Colin, did he say why he thought this was happening?

  25. Howard

    I agree with you about the lack of importance of party leaders or who is PM – since the War I can think of many examples of the party with the less popular leader winning (1945, 1970, 1979) and also a few where an unpopular party leader made the defeat even worse ( Foot in 1983 ) or a popular leader made the victory even greater (Blair in 1997).

    The closest to an election where the party leaders actually made all the difference to the result was 1992 – and even then barely.

    And GE2015 will be different to all previous elections in that the print media has never had such little power or influence and both main party leaders have negative ratings – the fact that Cameron is less negative than Miliband is irrelevant.

  26. FV

    He cites the long expansion of the 50s & 60s brought to an end by oil price shocks, followed by slowing of productivity in the 70s.

    ..and suggests the oil price hikes of the mid 2000s has produced the same feature.

    My reaction was -hmmm. :-)

  27. The interesting point is – what is meant by Cameron losing the next election? He did not win the last election but had enough seats to form a government in coalition. If he holds support at 2010 levels and Labour pick up some from Lib Dems, I would not call it a defeat for Cameron but he might find it hard to form a government. How would his party perceive that?

  28. I had a bizarre dream last night that the Lib Dems rocketed to more than 50% in the polls. Sadly for them I don’t remember how they pulled it off.

  29. WES.
    Good Afternoon to you.
    Lib Dems doing what?

  30. @FP

    Yep, if average pay gets expressed as a mean, that can give a distorted impression, because you don’t get proportionally more votes as your pay packet rises. From a VI perspective, the mode or median may at times have more salience.

    It may be that in some sectors, there is upward pressure on wages, but if that is swamped by real terms downward pressure for a much larger number, then that may not be great for VI. And it also depends on where the upward pressure occurs. The government needs it in the marginals for best VI effect…

  31. Phil

    Same bait – don’t bite.

  32. @FP pt2

    And even when there is upward pressure on wages across the board, that will matter little if prices on essentials go up to match. It’s not like wages aren’t going up at all: it is prices, not wages, that is the critical factor here.

    And this can appear counter-intuitive. Food and other essentials shot up in price in the wake of the Crunch, unsurprisingly: people cut back more on luxuries so you have to hike prices on essentials to compensate. Supermarkets, however, could have hiked prices on food etc. before the Crunch of course, but back then it essentials could be considered more of a loss-leader as the big stores diversified into other areas, to get people in to sell all the other products and services. Then as the Crunch hits and folk don’t want the extras any more, the main avenue is essentials…

  33. Colin

    Hmmm indeed, more complicated than that i think


    I think you are right about the large number of people feeling downward pressures on wages

    I wonder if it is possible to work out where the high earning workers live

    IT workers along the M4 for instance
    Finance high flyers in the home counties perhaps

    but where are medical professionals, electricians, plumbers concentrated – anywhere and everywhere, i would have thought

  34. @FP

    There is probably more demand for electricians and plumbers where the greatest housebuilding occurs?

    Incidentally, had a look to try and find the proportion of public-to-private housebuilding, but couldn’t find anything definitive. One article in the industry cited a figure of 25% for the public sector… Some articles said that in 2011/12 public sector housebullding took a hit ‘cos of the cuts…

  35. Crikey, Johnson doesn’t appear to be the instant panacea to the Tories deep-seated electoral problems, then. Now, there’s a surprise! What with Scotland very likely to vote No in the independence referendum, and their 40 odd Labour MPs staying on board the Westminster bus, what is going to turn up to rescue the Tories in May next year? I keep looking at these opinion polls and seeing a very dead blue parrot. Not resting but quite probably having slipped off this mortal coil. :-)

    Warsi interesting today about the Tories problems with the ethnic minority vote.

  36. With immigration the number one issue now, a change of leader is only likely to have a big effect if it convinces Ukippers that Tories will change tack and exit EU and go against business in stopping much immigration. And it is unlikely to see deserting LDs return from Labour either.

    Some ukippers may cite Cameron as a reason to ditch Tories, but that is in response to his policies they weren’t much keen on, not personality etc.

  37. Carfrew

    ‘Food and other essentials shot up in price in the wake of the Crunch’

    I didn’t know that

    That would hit people who spend more of their income on essentials and would partially explain why C2DE are so pessimistic about the future.

    25% for public sector housing that is a lot more than i thought- must include housing associations

    Also the PMI for Q2 versus the ONS – robust growth versus no growth – could be explained if Markit were only surveying house building, which did have robust growth according to the ONS- it was the other sectors that were doing poorly, infrastructure, maintenance and commercial property building.

  38. Johnson is certainly not a panacea, the tories have deep-seated and structural problems. He is however the best of the alternatives that have been canvassed so far.

    There’s always a case of making the best the enemy of the good in politics.

    so you hear, “oh well, boris has no appeal outside the M25”, as if Cameron, Osborne, May et al were hugely popular where johnson isn’t. It’s a case of a small crumb of bread against nothing at all. Johnson may have limited appeal, but Osborne has none whatsoever.

    I agree the tories are probably out in 2015, but as I have thought this since at least October 2012, I’ll stop going on about it.

  39. @Crossbat
    How true. With a leader who inspires the whole nation irrespective of creed or colour, Ed Miliband will romp home. I mean just look at the last few months, circa 33 to 37 in the polls and 9 months to go. What chance have the Conservatives got. BTW, if we are going to mention ladies of colour, lets talk the comments of Diane Abbott rather than Madam Varsi. Big Di don’t agree with you bud.

  40. “What with Scotland very likely to vote No in the independence referendum, and their 40 odd Labour MPs staying on board the Westminster bus, what is going to turn up to rescue the Tories in May next year?”


    With only a few percent in it, one could imagine a good budget might do it. Problem is they don’t seem to be getting their heads around the prices thing…

  41. Very steady polling at this point: seemingly similar in general terms to the run-up to the 2005 election, ie ittle polling movement. Conservatives need to start gaining (from the economy?) soon or else the chances of that OM will reduce from just possible to a mere mathmatical possibility – if things are still stuck by September I’ll have to rule out an OM for them unless something very strange occurs.

    Thinking (again) of the Ashcroft marginal polls, I wonder if he has actually picked the right marginals, being as the UKIP effect (and the LD collapse) will open up some Conservative seats that would not otherwise be winnable to Labour on the current Con-Lab national swing. Working from 2010 might not be wise.

    As for Boris Johnson: I think he might have some mileage being as he’s not been tried before as PM (then again, not many other people have either) and the current media fuss ought to help. Or maybe voters have seen his efforts as London Mayor, and thus made up their minds already about whether he might make a decent PM. Goodness knows whether he will ever actually get a chance to lead the nation. Personally I think probably not.

  42. @FP

    ‘Food and other essentials shot up in price in the wake of the Crunch’

    “I didn’t know that”


    Yeah, I wound up debating it quite a bit elsewhere… commodity prices went up and also oil, so it involved also considering the effect of commodities speculation (as investors sought safer havens post-crunch) and the multiplier effect of oil on food prices etc. (‘cos you need oil for fertiliser, farm machinery etc.)

    But the basic principle is that essentials can be plagued by something called “inelastic demand”, where they can jack prices up and you have to pay, unless there’s intervention… been happening to healthcare in the US too where not unusually health charges might have been 3 times higher than here, because consumers lacked bulk-buying power.

  43. Lady Warsi played such a huge part in the life of the Tory party, I have just called her “Varsi”. Goes to show the level of concern we have about her resignation.

  44. Johnson will do nothing for the tory party in my view.

    probably not leader

  45. “Lady Warsi played such a huge part in the life of the Tory party, I have just called her “Varsi”. Goes to show the level of concern we have about her resignation.”

    I think you attach too much significance to your mis-spelling.

    And its not the Tory party whose reaction should concern you its that of undecided voters.

  46. I don’t think anybody here is very interested in Baroness Warsi. She isn’t an elected & there won’t be a by-election so it looks as if we’re not going to get excited about it.

    It’s probably only of interest to UKPR because her comments seem to chime with the findings of Lord Ashcroft’s ‘smell the coffee’ polling. But that seems a long time ago now. Lynton Crosby’s ‘immigration, immigration, immigration!’ seems to have won the day over Ashcroft’s strategy for the Tory Party.

  47. Roland
    You also called her Madam, so some might have thought the Varsi was for comic effect as well. Always best to try and reduce your opponents to figures of fun.
    Like I said a while ago all the Tory front rank ethnics are bone dry neo- Thatcherites.

  48. “Like I said a while ago all the Tory front rank ethnics are bone dry neo- Thatcherites.”

    Which does suggest that there are opportunities for the Tories, but for the immigration issue. You find a similar situation with the Republicans in the US, who would be very hard to beat in the future if they ever get on good terms with the Hispanic community. A lot of G. W. Bush’s success involved improving Republican-Hispanic relations.

  49. Baroness Warsi is from Dewsbury (4 miles from me), and I detect no affection for her in the slightest.

    However, does the Conservative party suffer from the same problems as the Republicans in the US? Despite the fact that many ethic minorities share a socially very conservative set of values that should make it easy to attract those votes, they fail to do so.

  50. Daisy & Rosie
    The reason we don’t much mind, is because we don’t see this ladies resignation as being damaging. We have a view about the appalling goings on in Gaza and if it does not suit individual members, they have an option to quit.
    Just as numerous old buffers and ladies in funny hats, quit regarding gay marriage.

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