The weekly YouGov/Sunday Times poll today has topline figures of CON 31%, LAB 32%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 18%, GRN 6%, continuing YouGov’s recent trend of showing a wafer thin Labour lead (tabs are here.)

For the first time in YouGov’s polling Ed Miliband’s net ratings on if he is doing a good or bad job have sunk below Nick Clegg’s. 18% now think Ed Miliband is doing well as Labour leader, 73% badly – a net figure of minus 55. Nick Clegg’s figures are 18% well, 72% badly, a net figure of minus 54.

In a referendum on EU membership 37% of people say they would vote to stay in, 43% would vote to leave. For most of this year YouGov have been showing a small lead for staying in, so this is slightly unusual, especially since another YouGov poll mid-week also showed more people wanting to leave. It could possibly be the impact of the £1.7bn story in the news. On that subject, 11% of people think David Cameron should pay the extra money, 24% say he should try to persuade the rest of the EU to drop the demand, but should ultimately pay up if he cannot. 52% think he should just refuse flat out to pay. However while people would like Cameron to take a stand, most don’t actually expect it to work – 61% expect Britain to end up paying either the full £1.7bn (31%) or slightly less than it (30%). Only 22% expect Britain to get a substantial reduction (17%) or get away without paying (5%).

454 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 31, LAB 32, LD 7, UKIP 18”

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  1. Anthony

    Thanks (though I’d never have got to that conclusion without Gazprom & Welsh Borderer!)


    “labour is in meltdown…get the popcorn out! this is effing hilarious”

    What’s hilarious is reading the comments from some squawking over an apparent 0.39% in the voting reallocation and somehow that it makes Labour’s position in the polls that much better!!

    You have your popcorn, I’m on the marshmallows. ;-)

  3. Allan Christie,

    After the debacle of the 2010 general election, the expenses scandal, the Iraq war, and Gordon Brown, if you’d told the average Labour supporter in late 2010 that they would be on 29% with about 6 months to go until the election they would have told you… That they were disappointed.



    Party preferences apart these current polls show a grim struggle in very poor territory for both Cons & Lab.

    LD VI shattered & scattered to the four winds.

    UKIP, SNP & Greens picking up the dissafected .

  5. CARFREW………….That experience will be ratcheted up as we approach May, it must be tough for him to leave his house these days, even his own side are nipping at his wobbly bits.
    Cameron is immune to criticism, he’s an Old Etonian toff, don’t cha know. :-)


    “Oldnat is correct – DK/Refuses are reallocated according to how they voted at the previous election in a similar, but not identical, way to ICM’s polls”

    Oooooh OLDNAT top of the class who’s a good boy then? ;-)

  7. Allan Christie

    While I did remember to thank the colleagues who raised me to this spectacular honour, I forgot to thank, my parents, my wife, my children, my late cat …..

  8. Sue

    Wolf has been making this argument for a while now, with little sign of any policymakers being prepared to listen. It must be acutely frustrating to play the role of Cassandra, and to see half-baked theories being seized on by policy makers instead.

    He made one very acute observation: something along the lines of that he has been shocked to find himself becoming a radical, when all he is doing is making an argument based on 80 year old economics that he thought everyone understood.

    There’s a crying need for a political movement that is prepared to take the risk of following Wolf’s arguments. But we have a generation of non-risk takers in power throughout the West. I wonder if Labour will be prepared to take the leap if they fail in May?

  9. Changed days.

    Ashcroft lists VI shares for 5 parties

    Yes – the five most popular parties on the island.

    But digs at the nationalists aside, I can’t help looking at these polls and thinking that there is space for another party to emerge in the next few years.

    I don’t believe the top two parties in the polls have ever seemed less likely to get two thirds of the vote between them than in this parliament (for the record I think they ultimately will scrape past that threshold between them).

    The traditional centre-ish “neither of the above” option is now loathed as being just as untrustworthy as either of them.

    Many perceive the SNP to be to the left of Labour – they themselves very openly targetted the lower end working class in the referendum.

    Many perceive UKIP to be to the right of Labour – they themselves have welcomed past and present right-wing Tory MPs of various former statures into the fold (Carswell at one end of the popularity spectrum, Reckless somewhere in the middle, Hamilton at the other end).

    Maybe I’m just playing fantasy politics here, but I look at all of those factors and my conclusion is that there is a huge rump of people whose opinion can be summarised as “we’re not particularly left wing or right wing, we know that all decisions have winners and losers (though obviously we’d rather win more often than we lose), but most importantly we want someone who will say what they do and can then be counted on to do what they say”.

    That was previously the domain of the Lib Dems, but also accounts for some of the swing voters between Lab and Con based on which leader they trusted, and for personal votes for MPs who were seen as straight-talking. The SNP and UKIP and to a lesser extent the English Greens are mopping some of that up right now, but (and for a moment putting to one side that England lacks a credible threat to Labour seats from the left) I’m unsure how stable a coalition between the Scottish Europhile centre-right and those struggling to make ends meet will ultimately prove to be for the SNP, and equally unsure how firm a coalition between the Tory right-wing upper-middle class, WWC voters who in income terms would probably feel that they’re at the bottom end of the “squeezed middle”, and closet xenophobes will be for UKIP.

    Barring a Lib Dem recovery of sorts in the next parliament (which in relative terms is still likely but not as certain as it seemed a year ago), you’d have to say the circumstances are there for some sort of new centrist party to make a modest breakthrough before either flourishing or vanishing.

  10. Looking at the CB (very small sample):

    SNP 56%
    Lab 15%
    Con 12%
    Lib 7%
    Green 5%
    UKIP 3%
    Others 2%

    This translates to 58 SNP seats and Alistair Carmichael in Orkney and Shetland.

    Now I doubt for a second that Labour will get as low as 15%. While we all generally agree (some unwillingly) that Labour have taken a hit in Scotland, it would be silly to see that 15% as anything other than CB issues.

    Having said all that, I haven’t seen a CB that really does Lab, Con or Lib proud in the 40% or 50% ranges. Based on a lack of CBs throwing the other three parties up in Scotland, we have to accept that the real VI is somewhere within those SNP-favouring CBs.

    I saw someone talk of Con / UKIP coalitions today. They couldn’t see Labour forming a coalition with the Lib Dems or the Greens, so it had to be Con / UKIP…no mention at all of the SNP. Maybe they don’t think beyond the UK / England level of polls. I for one will be amazed if UKIP get more seats than the SNP and the Conservatives get more than Labour.

    Not only are we heading for a hung parliament, we’re heading of the hung parliament to test all politicians of all parties. (IMHO)

  11. *UKIP right of the Tories, that should have been (though what I wrote was also factually accurate).

  12. The wheels grinding as slowly as ever down at the Nick.

    Still-better late than never-as I believe the new Police motto goes.

  13. CHRISHORNET………….Have you ever been in a pub ? :-)

  14. JOHN B

    I don’t disagree with your take on events in Scotland and in particular the SNP’S strength in different areas across Scotland and the likelihood of taking seats in different areas.

    However based on the 2011 Scottish election results I would think its fair to say (on recent polling) that seats right across Scotland will fall to the SNP, be it Libs or Labour.

    And as you pointed out, what were people voting No for? And according to Labour they won referendum..What does that win look like?

    There is 6 months to go until the GE and a couple of new leaders to come so will we see a shift in the polls? I’m not too sure because although JM is touted as being the front runner it’s not being reflected in the polls . (Sub samples at least)

  15. There is, of course, another election tomorrow, which in less febrile times within GB politics would normally have received some attention.

    The US will elect 36 new Senators tomorrow, and the Republicans have a very good chance of retaking the Senate.

    My son tells me that more than $100 million has been spent on the campaign in N Carolina alone.

    Might that affect the markets in this internationalised world, and what effect would that have here?

  16. My, oh my! What a lot of cheerful people we have on here, all of a sudden!

    Allan Christie,

    “After the debacle of the 2010 general election, the expenses scandal, the Iraq war, and Gordon Brown, if you’d told the average Labour supporter in late 2010 that they would be on 29% with about 6 months to go until the election they would have told you… That they were disappointed”

    Apparently they are on 29.34% but lets stick with 29%.

    Well putting all factors in you have mentioned they don’t appear to be that happy now but rewinding the tape hypothetically to 2010 then I’m sure if you had told Labour supporters back then that they were on 14% with 6 months until the GE then would be doing cartwheels.

    Labour were at their lowest ebb back then but they appear to be at their lowest Ed now.

  18. This translates to 58 SNP seats and Alistair Carmichael in Orkney and Shetland.

    Which is obviously not going to happen on quite that scale, however firm the SNSWP’s lead proves to be between now and election day.

    But for argument’s sake let’s say the SNP were to get 20+ seats and hold the balance of power at Westminster. What then?

    I mean, the more active a role the SNP play in improving the way the entire UK functions, the more difficult it is to argue at a subsequent referendum that the UK is worse than it was in 2014. But if they get involved with Labour in what is seen as a bad period for the UK, they risk losing a massive part of their recent selling point as being the party of the Scottish working class.

    I’m not suggesting for a moment that such an outcome would spell doom and gloom for the SNP or for the possibility of future Scottish Independence, but beyond obviously pushing hard to win Scottish constituencies a disproportionately good deal in comparison to other areas (as, in fairness, is the job of each and every one of the 650 MPs in the Commons), I’m just struggling to see how they would play their hand.

    For comparison, the Liberal Democrats dreamt for decades about the realistic prospect of the 2010 election result, and look what happened. Now people perfectly understandably ask why they are still the third party mentioned in VI headlines, and in the third column on VI tables.

  19. the labour position is dire. i expect they’ll recover, but mili is in trouble.

  20. OldNat

    Thanks for the kind ack’t – most of the credit was yours.

  21. Bill P

    Good job Labour AREN’T on 29% then, other than in one poll from a notoriously volatile set.

    My hypothesis? BOTH main parties are losing VI to unfocused protests. I doubt that the Lab+Con vote share will be remotely as low as 59% in May. I may be wrong. No doubt I’ll be accused of lazy assumptions. We’ll see.

  22. ChrisHornet

    Salmond recently pointed out that he is the only party leader in GB who has experience of running a minority administration at Parliamentary level – and hence he is uniquely placed to understand just how, when and where opposition parties can exert influence on Government. Being on the receiving end is a very good teacher!

    Annabel Goldie deserves her reputation as a skilled politician, because she instinctively knew how to play that game, while SLD and LiS were still trying to operate within a political system that had changed, but that they couldn’t come to terms with.

    Simply looking at polling numbers, the Scottish Tories (once an endangered species) have held their position reasonably securely at around 17%. LDs have plunged far below that and Labour (unless they can turn things around) are dropping towards the Tory level.

    As for party reconstructions, in Scotland I don’t think that will happen until the constitutional question is settled to the satisfaction of the Scots – whatever that settlement turns out to be. At that point, I’d expect that if we are still in the UK (the most likely scenario unless Westminster is spectacularly foolish), I’d anticipate separate Scots parties which may or may not form voting alliances with their nearest English counterparts – as happens with Northern Ireland parties.

  23. @Allan Christie – yours of 5.37


    @ChristHornet – yours of 5.52

    You raise some very thorny issues, ones which may even now be causing furrowed brows in SNP circles.

  24. @Old Nat

    Yes indeed!

  25. It’s obviously not going to be possible to assess whether Labour’s Scottish meltdown is a permanent phenomenon until we get much closer to the GE. Mission Control seems to have grasped there is a problem by removing the LiS leadership. AC you cannot expect Murphy to change the poll ratings until/unless he becomes leader especially as he is clearly no shoo-in. The bookies do get it wrong sometimes eg by making UKIP almost favourites to win the PCC election last Thursday which they actually lost by a country mile. I think that Labour’s current poll figures will rise by at least 10% in Scotland irrespective of who wins the leadership election, as tempers cool and previous Labour voters in Scotland contemplate allowing their most detested option (a Con Govt in Westminster) to take place via Labour losing 20 seats or more in the north. But I can understand SNP excitement because if I’m wrong then independence is still very close, and may not be opposed by non-Scottish Labour next time.

    But let’s be clear. Neither opinion polls nor by elections show Labour to be in meltdown in England and Wales. It is the Conservatives and Libdems who are haemorraging votes there to the benefit of Labour in most areas, as Ashcroft’s marginal polls also illustrate. The ancient maxim of “people vote against” is also in play – in E & W that mood is damaging Cons far more than Labour. We wait to see what the true mood will be in Scotland in a GE.

  26. Oldnat

    Absolutely spot on.

    Salmond is indeed the only politician who has experience of operating in a hung Parliament. He is also a class above Milliband and Cameron.

    If he stands and if the SNP end up with the balance of power then he will run rings around the Westminster gang.

  27. Mr Lansbury humbly retired to make way for Mr Attlee in 1935. Labour people should hope something similar happens, if they really do want to win the GE but I think it will not.

  28. AC @ 4.57 pm:

    You are assuming that Unite members are typical of all Labour voters in Scotland.

    Also that those giving their opinion in this survey last Sunday were not influenced by the Unite union having said they preferred a left-winger rather than Jim Murphy to lead the party in Scotland.

    I have pasted out the statement on the Unite webpage:

    “”The survey of over 5,000 Unite members across Scotland also confirmed the continuing drift away from the party established by working people. 54 percent of those who voted Labour in the last general election say that they do not expect to do so again in 2015. “”

    An objective survey of 5000 people on one day would be quite an undertaking, so we must have some reservations about this poll. Clearly it was just of union members.

    To me, having a good effective leader for Labour in Scotland is more important than which parliament they are members of.

  29. Q6. Thinking about Britain and the British economy as a whole, and what may happen after the next election in May 2015, do you think you and your family would be better
    off if we were to have five years of Labour government, or five years of Conservative government or would it make no difference?

    Answering “It would make no difference”
    57% overall
    34% of Conservative voters!
    55% of Labour voters!!
    63% of LD
    57% of UKIP voters

    Not sure how we get a squeeze when no one can see any difference between the two main parties, I mean even the majority of Labour voters can’t see a difference.

  30. Chrislane1945

    Your scholarship is probably more up to date than mine, but I thought Lansbury resigned the leadership because the Labour Party opposed his principles of pacifism and his objections to re-armament.

  31. David Welch

    I pasted that earlier along with the question “Does anyone know anything about Mass1” who conducted that poll.

  32. @Chris Hornet / John B / Oldnat

    All food for thought. No argument from me regards how the SNP handles being a potential coalition partner. I suppose it might be a poisoned chalice.

    Bill by bill support if in Scotland’s interests, with the obvious pledge/vow/promise harassment throughout?

  33. Statgeek

    Seems a distinct possibility. While UNS is probably a dead duck now, it seems likely that Lab & the LDs would be able to put forward a coalition to impose their legislation upon England.

    Anything affecting Northern Ireland or Scotland would have to be separately negotiated.

    Under those circumstances, the Welsh might think it wise to be somewhat more semi-detached from England too.

  34. Salmond recently pointed out that he is the only party leader in GB who has experience of running a minority administration at Parliamentary level – and hence he is uniquely placed to understand just how, when and where opposition parties can exert influence on Government.

    He’s an excellent political tactician – had he won the referendum I’d go as far as to say unrivalled in the past century on the island.

    But given that it is statistically impossible for the SNP to get even a quarter of the number of seats of the largest party in the Commons (the larger of Labour and the Tories would certainly get more than 240 seats), I’m unsure how relevant that experience is.

  35. Where Ashcroft is concerned, I find his marginal polling (and are we still awaiting a Scots one?) more interesting. Still, it’s a poll, but it does not tell us very much does it?

  36. ChrisHornet

    The numbers themselves aren’t actually the most important thing in a hung Parliament – which only happens when you don’t manage to secure a sufficiently large coalition to get an absolute majority.

    If a stable governing coalition can be created at Westminster in May, then the minor parties have no leverage at all.

    If no such coalition can be created, then it needs to get support (or at least non-opposition) from others to govern effectively. It’s at that point that pressure can be exerted, if you know how to do it.

  37. Chrishornet

    The point is that having been on the receiving end of minority government and successfully surviving to prosper for FOUR years then Salmond will be well placed to use a strong parliamentary position to maximum Scottish advantage.

    He also knows a thing or two about Westminster procedure eg the Blair impeachment campaign and isn’t he best pals with Sir william Mackay the former senior clerk etc

    All in all a dream for the SNP – a nightmare for Labour/Tory – IF he stands.

  38. Howard

    “Still, it’s a poll, but it does not tell us very much does it?”

    If polls don’t tell us very much, there’s not much point to this site!

    As to Scottish Polling, Ashcroft says “SNP’s share in Scotland has more than doubled over the period, mostly at the expense of Labour. A nationwide poll has too few interviews in Scotland to draw firm conclusions, but the direction is clear and I will be examining the implications in specific Scottish seats as part of my battleground research programme.”

  39. OLD NAT,

    Yes. Mr Bevin made that excoriating attack on Mr Lansbury, grand daughter of the actress; that Lansbury was’ hawking his conscience around, to be told what to do with it, and that his face bore the imprint of the last man that sat on him.

  40. Chrislane1945

    Is that where the glorious phrase “his face bore the imprint of the last man that sat on him.” came from. Never knew that.

  41. Ashcroft (going back to AW’s and ON’s point) uses present recalled vote, whereas YG uses recalled vote within a day or so of the 2010 GE, so perhaps a little more reliable.

  42. Actually I forgotten whether YG uses it anyway! It certainly does not weich DKs, I knew that.

    I just was too economical with my words, I should have added ‘that recent polling did not already tell us’ (i.e. the trend).

  43. Well, well, well. I know it’s an Ashcroft poll and they’ve tended to be somewhat eccentric and out of kiliter up to now, but it looks like my little rhetorical psephological challenge almost came true the very day after it was made. My avid readership will know that I posed the question of when we’d see a poll when both Labour and the Tories were under 30%. Ashcroft has missed by a whisker and we may have to wait until Rochester has worked its fiendish magic, but it will come, mark my words.

    I’m getting all Robin Hood-esque here and marvelling at my own political foresight and brilliance. There are a lot of false prophets, charlatans and imposters on this site. Ignore them all, my disciples, and keep the faith with Crossbat 11.

    You know it makes sense.


    P.S. Can we get Ashcroft’s pollsters in the same room with Populus and ask them to agree which planet each of them is on, by the way?

  44. Howard

    That’s a problem that every pollster using recalled vote has, the longer since the last election was. It’s even worse in Scotland, where sensible pollsters have to remind people that they want you to recall the UK GE that happened before the last Scottish GE.

    Populus, for their online polling, seem to have taken leave of their senses. They ask for a question about general backing for a party to create a party ID that they then weight back to 2010 norms.

  45. Crossbat11

    “Ashcroft has missed by a whisker” Maybe not! If we just look at the data before they reassign DK/Refusers in their mystical fashion then Con 29.65% Lab 29.26%.

    Thus proving you absolutely correct.

  46. New Thread

  47. Oldnat – not quite. What you describe was Populus’s original method when they started online polling, weighting current party ID to party ID derived from the 2010 British Social Attitudes Survey. This tended to produce higher Lib Dem scores and lower UKIP scores.

    Since then they’ve adjusted their targets (I think it was around February, but have a look at the trend and you’ll see the step-change), so they still use current party ID, but weight it to a notional party ID based on several different measures.

  48. @ChrisHornet – “In my opinion yesterday was the day that made a Labour majority the only way the UK will remain in the EU… ”

    I share your fears (without being 100% categoric perhaps), however, AW’s write-up above will shake the complacency of those who think Cameron’s referendum ploy is risk free.

    History is littered with examples of events taking on an unhelpful dynamic (“point of no return”).

    EU has today set out the terms of late payment fines, and the Treasury is reported to have not, as yet, taken any decision about payment/non-payment on Dec 1st. Cameron potentially sets up a situation where he plays into the europhobes narrative yet again.

    This issue could have been brushed aside with one day of bad headlines, but the Conservative leadership sets itself on a high profile collision course with the UK’s closest allies at every opportunity. Next stop the hyped “big” immigration speech in December.

  49. Howard

    It might explain why Ashcroft polls flit around a bit more (I’m not sure if they do or if it’s just an impression). They also seem to lower Lab/Con VI a bit (again haven’t run the numbers vs a Yougov benchmark). Could be a source of systematic difference aside from sampling error.

    It’s much harder to say which is right (or neither) in the absence of an election, only that there are systematic differences.

    There seemed to be a large difference in the two Scottish polls so methodology seems like it’ll get a thorough test north of the border in 2015. (and I suspect Ashcroft polling will need to be taken with a pinch of salt if there is a large amount of doubt as to which (if any) polls reflect reality.

    They’ll certainly give an idea if SNP are likely to:

    Only take a bunch of LD seats
    Compete for a significant number of Labour seats
    Virtually sweep the board.

    Those polls show that the landscape is so different in Scotland now, methodology might be breaking down for some pollsters. Hopefully Ashcroft polling there will happen without much of a big change in cross breaks (if those remain similar it gives confidence that even if the polls are separated, they are still comparable.)

  50. On the subject of the latest Ashcroft poll, this is not good news for Labour. However, it was not good news for Labour before the poll was published. It is not good news for the Tories either.

    On 5 Oct 2014, Ashcroft poll was Con 32 and Lab 30
    On 6 Oct YouGov poll was ……. Con 33 and Lab 31
    On 7 Oct YouGov poll was ………Con 32 and Lab 34

    We don’t know what will happen in the future. There is a YouGov poll tonight is n’t there?

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