The weekly YouGov poll for the Sunday Times is up here and has topline figures of CON 31%, LAB 36%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 16%, GRN 5%. There are some questions on the political leaders (particularly Ed Miliband in advance of this week’s Labour conference), but they show the usual pattern – David Cameron is more trusted than Ed Miliband on the Conservatives’ strong issues like law and order and the economy, Ed Miliband does better on Labour’s strong issues like the NHS. Ed Miliband’s own ratings remain mediocre.

On the Scottish referendum 32% think David Cameron handled it well, 54% badly. 25% think Ed Miliband handled the referendum well, 48% badly. Asked about English devolution 71% of people thought that Scottish MPs should not be able to vote on issues that affect only England (including the majority of Scottish respondents in the poll), 15% of people thought they should. On the Barnett formula there was a predictable result – English respondents thought it should be scrapped and Scottish funding reduced, Scottish respondents that it shouldn’t.

Survation also had a poll out today and found similar levels of support for some sort of re-arrangement of the constitution for England: 65% said that Scottish MPs should by banned from voting on English laws at Westminster, 59% would support an English Parliament. There is a crucial caveat though – Survation also asked what the top priority should be for the government – 31% said immigration, 20% the economy, 9% jobs, 9% public services, 6% combating terrorism and down on 5% constitutional reform. Don’t look at polls showing large majorities supporting English votes on English Laws and assume it also means people think the issue is urgent or important. It only means support is widespread, not that people necessarily think it should be a priority.

455 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 31, LAB 36, LD 7, UKIP 16”

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  1. “Basically, the UK government and the English executive would be separate legal bodies and could even be controlled by different parties (assuming a party had a majority among English MPs, but not an overall majority in the HoC).”

    There are so many problems with this. Who picks the ministers for these departments (or, rather, advises the monarch on who to appoint)? Who decides what budget these departments receive? From where does their money come and on what authority? Who will allocate UK HE research grants? A separate UK Education department and minister?

    (I dare say there are yet more issues too.)

  2. COLIN
    “I doubt that English MPs or voters would be pressing the case for devolution”

    Quite so, except as EB made clear today in the form of devolved investment and the management of services through city and local authority councils, and this to achieve specific regional purposes, in relation, for example, to pockets of unemployment or social exclusion, or to optimise economic gains. They seem, as I expected, to be going for the strengthening of existing governmental systems rather than changing them, including those at Westminster, and in that context weighing a retained HOC balance of regional presence over any action on the WLQ.

  3. Colin

    I’m not sure. I think there was some perception on the YES side that there was a promise of 2nd reading before the election (ie by 27 March at the latest), but I don’t think that’s what better Together said. It would be pointless anyway because bills can’t be carried over between Parliaments so they’d have to go over the whole procedure again after the election.

    Based on that conclusion, the Tories would be 1 MP down, their single MP in Scotland. Whereas, Labour would be 41 MP’s down. So Labour would pick up an additional 40 MP’s in England. I am sure I have oversimplified the matter, but how else does one look at it ?

  5. MUDDY

    Thanks again.

  6. Muddy

    The exact text from Better Together on the timetable is “Thursday 7th May – 2nd Reading of the Scotland Bill will take place immediately after the General Election.”


    Yes-Labour will ( are) obviously avoiding the WLQ like the plague-ie the comparative democratic deficit of English MPs at Westminster.

    To do this they are talking about regional / city governance -ie devolution of power within the country of England, rather than to the country of England.

    This is merely the other side of DC’s coin as it were.

  8. Chouenlai

    Not really, because Labour is well down on it’s VI share in Scotland. Lab wouldn’t get 41 Scottish MPs on YouGov’s latest poll: they’d get 29. The Tories would get 4 and the SNP 16.

    In England, the swingometer produces:

    Conservatives 226
    Labour 288
    LDs 16

    basically, the Cons would lose a hat-full of English seats because they’re doing worse in the poll than they did at the last GE; and conversely Labour would pick up a hat-full because they’re doing better.

    The Populus poll gives a similar result.

  9. I can remember so much angst about how the proposed boundary changes would scupper Labour’s chances of an overall majority for ever.
    Well the Conservatives lacked the discipline/strategy to get it through Parliament.
    I don’t think they’ll have better luck with EV4EL.
    I think the chasms in the party stop them marshalling their troops to work effectively.

  10. Chouenlai

    The number needed for a majority would fall by 30 without Scottish MPs.

  11. @MBRUNO

    Ah but in many ways as they’ve least to do the Scots and Welsh MPs would be best fitted to serve as ministers in the Union, no?

  12. Watching this debate on the subject of who can vote for what, makes me think we are still in the Silly Season.

    Perhaps we are. I am trying to recall the mass demos down Whitehall about NI, Welsh and Scottish MPs voting on bills that only applied to England.

    I still don’t understand why we English are to be so up in arms about Scottish MPs and not about the other celtic fringe ones?

    Of course I don’t care and neither do the majority of English voters. Only the communications media will change that I suppose.

    Federalists are not interested in the interim arrangements and the mass of voters, as I opined yesterday, aren’t interested at all.

  13. Muddy Waters

    One of the interesting things (to me, at least) about recent polling is that the drop in Labour VI in Scotland means that Scotland is currently contributing less than it has historically to Labour’s VI and lead over the Conservatives in GB as a whole. Scotland’s VI has become a bit of a drag on Labour’s overall VI.

    It’s not so much that Scotland is a ‘drag’ on Labour’s VI (if it’s mid 30s in both) as there is a paradox – as the SNP vote increases they ‘gain’ seats off the Conservatives. As the SNP vote rises through the 30s they start to take seats off Labour which are compensated by gains by Labour elsewhere brought about by gains elsewhere for the same overall level of VI. It doesn’t last for ever though – once the SNP overtake Labour and the seats really start to fall, there is not sufficient help elsewhere to compensate and Labour’s majority plummets.

    Playing about with the swingometers teachers another lesson, which is the fragility of the 35% strategy. At the sort of level the polls currently at, it only takes the swing of one point to reduce a comfortable Labour majority to a tiny one; two points to eliminate it.

  14. @JM
    “Ah but in many ways as they’ve least to do the Scots and Welsh MPs would be best fitted to serve as ministers in the Union, no?”

    This (mis)use of English is beyond my understanding. It reads like a Spanish person writing English (and the second time today).

    Is this a new idiom?

  15. In terms of membership, I think the SNP becomes the UK’s third largest party as it passes the LibDems.

    Now on 43,664 members v. Lib Dems 43,451 (at the last count).

  16. Roger M

    Thanks. I agree with your point about the fine margins.

  17. Ashcroft’s weekly polling also included some interesting questions on worries about the Tories[1]. It started:

    I am going to read out some reasons people have given for not voting Conservative. Please can you say in each case whether or not it is a
    concern you have about voting Conservative…?

    and produced the results:

    They have not made clear what they would do in the years after 2015 60%

    They have gone too far with austerity and the cuts in public spending and service they have already made 61%

    They might go too far with austerity and cuts in public spending and services in the future 70%

    I am worried their promise of an EU referendum means Britain could end up leaving the EU 50%

    I am worried they might not keep their promise to hold a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU 50%

    I am not sure the Conservatives are on the side of people like me 61%

    Now these were all ‘forced’ a concern / not a concern questions with no DK options or indeed splits between ‘a little’ and ‘a lot’. So it’s impossible to guess the real weight of opinion or the salience. But the worries about austerity struck me as very high and suggest that people are feeling they should have something to show for their hardships rather than more of them. So it would seem an excellent topic for Labour to campaign on.

    Oh dear.

    Meanwhile 33% of UKIP voters said they were worried that the Tories’ “promise of an EU referendum means Britain could end up leaving the EU”.

    [1] You’d have though he’d do it for Labour, given their Conference and save these for the Conservative equivalent. But while there is some “Which freshwater fish does Ed resemble stuff?” it’s not as bad as yesterday’s ST.

  18. Surely Valerie and Howard have a point here. Can anyone explain to me who these voters are who are so excercised by the WLQ that they will switch from party X to Conservative in 2015? Some Kippers? The EDL? The occasional floating voter snapping at a policy and getting hooked, like a salmon idly snapping at a randomly cast fly? I just don’t see the huge potential gain from this that some here are assuming.

  19. As usual a load of politicos think masses of the public will up and switch their votes and significantly change VI because of one party or other’s stance on their response to the West Lothian question – wishful thinking at best or downright fictive!

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but in reality, just as was the case before the Independence Referendum, almost no one will change their vote because of it.

  20. Roger Mexico

    Many thanks. Well, QED on how seriously we should take the views of voters on subjects they are assumed by the pollster to understand.

  21. Thank you Muddy and Lurker.

  22. Gosh this is dead confusing.

    Is it now the case that the make-up of the HOC, after the 2015 GE, will NOT be precisely the same as now but minus 59 Scottish Labour MPs?

    Because it now seems that may depend on the actual vote at the election and also whether any changes come in before then – if ever – and it does make me wonder if I should still bother reading the political column in the Beano.

  23. Valerie
    We lacked absolutely nothing on boundary changes, except enough votes. The LD’s took their ball home because we would not acquiesce regarding their plans for the H of L’s. This time we will see how she blows.

  24. Deborah
    How I agree, one only has to watch the lack of enthusiasm on this site for certain distasteful issues for this party or that .
    However, Mr and Mrs Don’t Know can have their head turned and so can Tories who have gone to UKIP.


    “I am sure I have oversimplified the matter, but how else does one look at it ?”

    There are also 11 LibDems who are, of course, supporting the Tories. My earlier figures giving the Tories a two-seat OM without Scottish MPs are based on the 2010 GE result, which currently looks like being the high watermark of Cameron’s leadership. At the very least the inbuilt electoral disadvantage means that he’ll need to do better just to stay in the same place.

  26. Surge in SNP membership is absolutely fascinating.

    Because if rhetoric is to be believed, they’re in danger of being colonised by Left-wing voters who may try to drag the party away from electable positions. Now, being used a protest receptacle by people from often diverse political background isn’t currently harming UKIP, but the difference between UKIP and the SNP is the latter is likely to be elected to do stuff. We’ll see how they cope when their centrist and centre-Right members and their new leftie members want different things.

    Scotland isn’t significantly more left-wing than England, and certainly not significantly more left-wing than the North of England

  27. “The LD’s took their ball home because we would not acquiesce regarding their plans for the H of L’s. ”

    The Tories reneged on an agreement to support reform of the Lords; in response the LDs reneged on an agreement to support boundary changes.

  28. @ Muddy waters

    Yor early think the Lib Dems to lose the Northern Isles (50% Majority), and Ross, Skye and Lochabar (Charles Kennedy)?

  29. Sorry stupid phone!

  30. Interested

    No. I just forgot to put the LD Scottish seats into my post. The You Gov poll figures suggest they’d hold on to about six.

  31. “Surge in SNP membership is absolutely fascinating.”

    Seems it’s keeping them too bust to update their web site, which is still awaiting the referendum.

  32. busy.

  33. @Chou
    The Lib/Dems took their ball home because we would not acquiesce with their plans for the HoL
    Precisely Roland. Why not throw the Lib Dems a few bones rather than trounce their ideas. The boundary changes seemed a big prize to lose

  34. In previous Scottish opinion polls the constitution did not rank highly either but look at the turnout in the referendum. It obviously was very important.

  35. @ Mr Nameless

    I don’t see a regular Lab 37 any time soon. I could see it come election day when faced with a “wasted vote”/Two horse race/No Green Candidate but not before- subject to some unforeseeable event like the lights going out or another recession.

    The only analysis you can put on the polls this parliament is that neither of the main three parties are popular by their historical standards and when given an outside choice the voters seem to take it. Many are saying it to pollsters anyway.

    Clacton does seem to have put on hold any Tory recovery much before the New Year but no reason to suppose Labour’s own Voting intention will change before then.

  36. RogerH

    I think that’s exactly the reason.

    However, Labour have gained members too. This is Johann Lamont’s speechwriter yesterday –

    “Adrian Short Sep 21
    The referendum has been a real boost to Scottish political parties. 17 people have joined @scottishlabour in the last month alone”

  37. Chris Riley

    “Surge in SNP membership is absolutely fascinating.

    Because if rhetoric is to be believed, they’re in danger of being colonised by Left-wing voters who may try to drag the party away from electable positions.”

    That might be the case if the Greens and SSP weren’t also seeing comparable increases in relation to their previous membership figures.

  38. Balls coming in for serious flak. And rightly so.

  39. I know Ashcroft’s polls are notoriously variable, if not volatile, but, that 27% for the Tories must be just a little bit scary for their supporters mustn’t it? 8 months out from an election too. There may be some precedent somewhere in the distant electoral past, but how many governing parties go on to win elections with VI ratings that dire so near to an election?

    Those of you who read my musings, and that may be very few, will know that I think 2015 will be an election like no other with the two main parties aggregating a record low VI (60-65% is my prediction), and with the distinct possibility of a new third party emerging in the shape of UKIP. If you take out the omnipresent YouGov polls, all the other pollsters are converging on a 34:31:8:15:5 Lab/Con/LD/UKIP/Green configuration and the more this persists, as the clock ticks down, the more one has to wake up to the possibility that it may actually play out in May 2015.

    Old Pressman and his boys aren’t half going to have to play a blinder over the next 32 weeks or so to turn this around!

  40. Chris Riley

    Sorry. i got the figures for Greens & SSP wrong. Both are now well over double their previous membership – putting the SNP to shame.

  41. It seems to me that if Con were to ‘win’ or ‘gain’ Clacton’ (I think that is the way one should look at it), this would be an immense victory for the Cameron camp.

    It would mean that moderate conservative values would have been endorsed by many Conservative voters who are not supposed to support such politics there, let alone tactical voters from other parties.

    I will be interested to see how the by-election is approached by the Con strategists. Even if it was lost to Carslake, if the Con vote was demonstrably high in the way I have just described it, this would be a successful damage limitation exercise.

  42. @AC
    “As the Tweenies would say ….. ‘Uh Oh’”

    As the far more intellectually developed Pinky and Perky would say…. ‘We Belong Together’

  43. @Valerie
    Well the powers that be felt retention of the Lords in its present form was more valuable than the boundary changes. I have to say, for a Tory its a tough call. That built in bonus for Labour is a problem, but then we like the other place the way it is. Back in the day, I guess Cameron was confident that we could win anyway. He may still be.

  44. People (well, 4) in the NE warming to the idea of a regional assembly:

    Linda and Harry Alderson, who are both retired, recall the referendum on a regional assembly for the north east which yielded a “No” vote in 2004. “We voted ‘No’ then because it just seemed like another layer of bureaucracy, and the powers on offer weren’t up to much. “But things have moved on since then – Scottish people have got a lot for themselves through this campaign and you think, ‘why can’t we have that?'” If there were another referendum tomorrow on devolution to the north east, they both say they would vote, and they would vote “Yes”. A nearby shopper, a Mrs Wilkins, in her 70s, agrees: “The time is ripe for it,” she says. The idea seems to be catching. Another woman who wants to remain anonymous says she would vote “Yes” if another referendum were held.

  45. @CB11
    “Those of you who read my musings, and that may be very few”

    You can count on me CB11. What about the coming confrontation you and I must face regarding Kidderminster Town vs Bristol Rovers. How will we deal with this gigantic sports event and will our electronic friendship survive?

  46. X batty

    I always read your amusings


    I have missed the response to my

    “Your boys took a hell of a beating”

    Apparently Calum Chambers had a barney with Roy Keane at half-time as well which, considering young Calum is OANY TOOO !!!!!!! [well, nineteen] was quite impressive.

    Re the boring ole politics stuff, ‘s’funny how many people only see what they want to see so that, if they don’t like how they have been for three years and how they are now then they see how they will “change”.

    Of course they might.

    But they could also stay the same or get worse.

    We will soon be looking at in-fighting-city on the right of British politics.

    In order to succeed it is my view that UKIP will both have to, and anyway want to, destroy the last throws of the Tory party.

    Dunno if they will manage it but they have nothing to gain, long term, by the Tories getting in in 2015 and then fudging a YES vote in an EU referendum.

    “As the Tweenies would say ….. ‘Uh Oh’”
    As the far more intellectually developed Pinky and Perky would say…. ‘We Belong Together”

    I watch them all the time and I can’t mind them saying anything of the sort??

  48. OLDNAT

    “In terms of membership, I think the SNP becomes the UK’s third largest party as it passes the LibDems.
    Now on 43,664 members v. Lib Dems 43,451 (at the last count”

    Tremendous, remarkable, great, terrific, enormous, huge, striking, impressive, outstanding, phenomenal, monumental, overwhelming.

  49. I don’t mind what they say either – couldn’t give a toss in fact.

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