Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 33%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 14%, GRN 6%. It has a Tory lead of one point, following a Labour lead in yesterday’s YouGov/Sun poll. Realistically we are in a position where the two main parties are so close that normal random variation is going to regularly spit out both Labour and Tory leads until and unless one party manages to pull substantially ahead of the other.

Rather out of the blue there was also a Survation constituency poll of Stockton South earlier today – a Conservative held ultra-marginal, currently represented by James Wharton. The poll had topline figures of CON 39%(nc), LAB 37%(-1), LDEM 3%(-12), UKIP 18%(+15). Changes are from the general election and technically represent a tiny swing from Labour to the Conservatives. Clearly this is better than the Conservatives are doing in the national polls and they’d be pleased to hold such a vulnerable marginal, but it’s also just one single poll with a relatively small sample size (35% said don’t knows, so the topline figures are based on 571 people). Tabs are here.

228 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 34, LAB 33, LD 7, UKIP 14, GRN 6”

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  1. Lizh

    not worrying about labour’s poor polling, just fascinated and amused.

  2. Raises the question of the identity of Big Mo.

    From Wikipedia: When she was eleven, Maureen was dubbed “Little Mo” by San Diego sportswriter Nelson Fisher who compared the power of her forehand and backhand to the firepower of the USS Missouri, known colloquially as “Big Mo”.

  3. It is clear ,as all well trained politicians say,that the polls have closed up in the past month because labour has lost voters to the snp,greens and ukip .But not to the tories .

    It is also possible that these voters will like to hear more red meat redistributive left wing policies plus a bit of bash the migrant for the kippers.

    That then will be the labour narrative all the way to may.Essential to get back to 35 ,what a good score that now looks,to counter the expected late swing to the government.

    More appearances from tired celebrities would also help.Come on marlene wheres that garage you have got your eye on.

  4. There seems to be some interest recently in grouping voters into demographic groups to determine where ‘UKIP’ friendly territory lies.

    The Telegraph has a good analysis of “Rochester Man” – sorry ladies, just repeating their phrase!

    We keep seeing in polls that UKIP is favoured by the older voters, and does poorly in London with its multi-cultural population.

    Well, 17% of voters are under 30, higher than the national average, 8% of voters are ethnic minority.

    And that still doesn’t seem to be enough of a block to prevent them winning here.

  5. COLIN

    “Do I detect a smigeon of fade in UKIPs numbers.”

    Worth a hyoothesis, viz. the swing to UKIP of former adherents of both parties is most likely of all defections to be an expression of mid-term exasperation, cooling with the prospect of imminent execution, than which nothing is more likely to induce the making up of minds.
    Further consolidation or movement upwards of Lab/Con VI and the lessening of the UKIP figures would tend to confirm this shift back of the pendulum of defection and loyalty.

  6. James Peel

    “The underlying weakness of labour after all that’s happened is extraordinary. It’s all about Mili I fear.”

    That’s only part of their problem. According to the polls they are not seen as capable of running the economy or much else for that matter, as they are behind on things like crime and immigration and even education in some polls.

  7. Labour’s timid, softly softly approach over the past 5 years has allowed the one issue UKIP (which attracted mainly more ring wing Tory voters) to become a genuine protest party.

    Anti-government votes going elsewhere in the marginals and the destruction of the party in Scotland will probably cost them a majority if not most seats in a hung parliament.

  8. “Why don’t people who disagree with me talk more about how rubbish they are” is rarely going to be a useful line of discussion.

  9. @RAF – “The electorate knows what they don’t like. They have no idea what they do like.”

    “The electorate” is actually just lots of different people, most of whom know very well both what they like and what they don’t like, but who disagree with each other about what ought to be liked and disliked. At the moment there is more disagreement than usual, but that doesn’t mean that people have no idea what they want.

    Treating “the electorate” as a single indecisive individual is wholly fallacious.

  10. We have had more than four and a half years of the first coalition government since the war. They have pledged to cut spending and have made some unpopular decisions. you have a right wing insurgent party picking up seats from the major governing party. The minor governing party has seen more than two thirds of its support ebb away….it is entirely legitimate to ask why the main opposition party to the coalition parties is not performing better.

    Indeed until this autumn, labour were holding their own. the labour collapse is an extremely apt subject of debate and inquiry.[snip]

  11. 070…

    A rare note of sanity.

    Antony noted a few days ago that we often have Parliaments with little direct ConLab churn. What has been unique in this session is the emergence of FOUR alternatives for people fed up with the Big Two. What will determine the outcome in May is the extent to which the VI that has moved to 3 of these 4 is fragile. Both of the Big Two have obvious opportunities to try to recover some of that vote and the outcome is going to depend on their ability to do so (or, alternatively, the ability of the Greens, UKIP, SNP to cement their positions). More than ever before in my lifetime, it’ll come down to tactics in the final few months.

    On that note, I reckon that a tactic of bigging up the whinings of multi-millionaire B-list celebs from yesterday, at a time when the vast majority of voters have experienced stagnant or falling living standards for a decade isn’t the most sensible of approaches.

  12. @Richard

    Is the Telegraph expecting a 100% turnout? Or even a 50% turnout? If not I don’t see how the 8% ethnic minority population is relevant, particularly as it is low.

  13. SYZYGY

    “Ken Clark seems to have added his helpful mite on the eve of the by-election, in an interview with Michael White in the Guardian.
    He accuses John Major of having helped Ukip, with his Brussels’ speech,”

    He hasn’t a clue has he?

    Every MP who loftily pronounces that UKIP & their supporters should just be ignored because the EU is a wonderful thing to be a member of , plays right into Farage’s hands.

  14. RAF
    Very briefly before I stride forth to rally the faithful. This last 2 weeks, I have spoken to many in R&S who say, “dunno dont care never vote”.
    You always get some of this obviously, but the “dunno” is noticeably high here.

  15. If this has been mentioned on UKPR before, my apology, but everyone should find this of huge interest:

  16. @James Peel

    “it is entirely legitimate to ask why the main opposition party to the coalition parties is not performing better.”

    I don’t think you are really interested in anyone’s answer because it doesn’t suit your purpose. Why don’t you tell us and then give it a rest.

  17. @Miserable Old Git – “A kipper win in Rochester would come behind only Torrington (1958) and Ashfield (1977) in terms of shocks (in my personal unresearched memory).”

    Torrington and Ashfield were 18 and 24 months from the next general election respectively, and both were won by a party that had formed the national government within living memory.

    I consider that to be far less shocking than what we are seeing in Clacton and Rochester. We are on the cusp of the next general election. UKIP were formed only a few decades ago, and have never previously won a Parliamentary seat.

  18. lizh

    what is “my purpose” in asking this legitimate question?

  19. @James Peel

    word beginning with ‘t’ and ending ‘ing’ springs to mind.

  20. LIZH

    The purpose of UKPR is to examine what the Opinion Polls are saying & why-about all the political parties.

    That means you can comment of Conservative performance & James can comment on Labour performance.

    You wouldn’t want a one sided & unbalanced forum here-now would you ?

  21. “…the labour collapse is an extremely apt subject of debate and inquiry”

    ‘Collapse’ is inappropriate. Lab VI is up since 2010, while Con VI is down.

    Let’s see how the land lies after today’s by election result…

  22. @Colin

    Same old question ad nauseum when several people have given their answers to it doesn’t add to any discussion on this forum.

  23. Colin

    As the polls turn slowly against Labour I have noticed a pick up in irritation from those who are supporters. Not surprising really. We all have things that irritate. Todays poll was another good one for the Tories and they need them this week.

    Off for a walk to get some rose hips and hawthorn pieces for my wife who is painting a large autumn picture in oils.
    Have a good day all

  24. I’ll moderate the comments here please (or better people moderate yourselves, please just don’t try and moderate each other).

    What is driving the levels of support for each party, based upon polling evidence, is of course EXACTLY what the site is all about. Though perhaps some people would be wise to look at the language they use when doing so. Some people’s comments come across with perhaps an undertone (or more) of “Huhhuhuhuh! Labour are rubbish! Huhhuhuhuh!”

    As ever, can people try and post in the spirit of non-partisanship and moderate their choice of language appropriately so comments do not come across that way….

  25. @RAF

    Is the Telegraph expecting a 100% turnout? Or even a 50% turnout? If not I don’t see how the 8% ethnic minority population is relevant, particularly as it is low.

    RAF, I suppose we could expect a broadly representative level of turnout. Of course the BME voters traditionally don’t turn out, but where they become the issue, they may actually turn out in larger numbers. We can only speculate on that.

    But the key point is, say you have 100 voters.

    If you need 40 of those voters to win, and 8 of those voters say they will never vote for you, then you need 40/92 = 44% of the remaining voters instead of just 40% to win.

    So the larger that ‘blocking’ vote is, the higher the hurdle you need to climb. Ashcroft explains it quite well here in explaining why the Tories need to reach out to BME voters to ever stand a chance of forming a majority again – BME voters are a growing percentage of the electorate and set to grow even larger, and if you have such a huge block of voters voting one way, it means other parties cannot compete. Of course with Labour joining the Tories on their anti immigration campaign that may change soon. But UKIP should be facing the same issue, that should be preventing them from reaching FPTP.

  26. @Cynosarges

    “You really ought to be more careful – your personal prejudices appear to be showing!”

    Prejudices? Me? Perish the thought. :-)

    Removing the ad hominen aspect of your post, let’s look at the basic theme you develop. I base my description of Rochester & Strood being a “rock solid safe Tory seat”, not necessarily on the basis of its history, and boundary changes have changed its demographics considerably according to Marshall-Andrews, but more on what transpired the last time it was fought. Reckless, then the Tory candidate, won it by 10,000 in May 2010. Seems pretty safe to me and I think it’s in the high hundreds in terms of Labour targets in 2015.

    As for the “collapse” of Labour’s vote in Rochester, I think you need to put this by election into some context, don’t you? Take what happened in the Heywood by election of only six weeks ago. A safe Labour seat, although held by the Tories on different boundaries in the fairly recent past, UKIP surged to get quite close to taking it, increasing their vote share by 39%. A similar surge will take place in Rochester, I suspect, maybe even bigger, but Labour retained their vote share in Heywood, and it was the Tory vote that “collapsed” by a whopping 15%. Some went to UKIP on conviction grounds, obviously, but some Tories voted UKIP, almost certainly in my view, in order to give Labour a bloody nose. They lent their vote to UKIP as the best way of beating Labour. I doubt if they’ll vote UKIP next May.

    In Rochester, again almost certainly in my view, many Labour voters will be voting UKIP, not out of conviction, but in order to back the horse most likely to stuff the Tories. They’re unlikely to do so next May. If you were a Labour voter in Rochester today, and had an eye on the longer political game, why on earth would you be hoping for anything other than a stonking UKIP win? Tory voters in Scotland would be rooting for the SNP if a Scottish Westminster by-election like Rochester was taking place now. In other words, pick up the best club available to beat your real enemy. Old fashioned by-election politics.

    To spin a Labour calamity out of Rochester will make for hilarious viewing over the next few days and my remaining Hobknobs and cocoa supplies will sustain me royally as I witness it all on TV in the early morning hours of tomorrow morning!


  27. Crossbat,
    A very interesting post.(As usual!)

  28. LIZH

    @”Same old question ad nauseum when several people have given their answers to it doesn’t add to any discussion on this forum.”

    a) There aren’t any “answers”-just opinions.
    b) do you feel the same about repetition of the ” when will the Tory Party collapse & die” question?

  29. TOH

    It was a good Poll for Cons-though the regional crossbreaks look unusually ( ? incredibly) favourable.

    Still-they are meaningless I am led to believe :-)

    Have a good walk.

  30. How would voters vote if they thought each party stood a chance of winning?

    Conservative 35
    Labour 35
    Green 26
    UKIP 24
    LD 16

  31. CB11

    @” I base my description of Rochester & Strood being a “rock solid safe Tory seat”, not necessarily on the basis of its history, and boundary changes have changed its demographics considerably according to Marshall-Andrews,”

    but not according to Mr Wells:-

    “– the seat is not substantially different by any means, it’s 89% the same. ”

    He went on to say :-

    “. However it is a seat that Labour would only win in an extremely good year like 2001 or 1997.

    ” on my figures it turned a Labour majority of a couple of hundred to a notional Tory one of 1500, on Rallings and Thrasher it turned it to a notional Tory majority of 500.”

  32. Rochester and the safeness of is silly. It should not be a matter of dispute how different it is from the Medway seat, it is a matter of established fact – it is 89.4% the same.

    The partisan effect of the changes were to help the Conservative party, but not to a huge extent. My calculations were that it helped the Tories relative to Labour by about 1700 voters. Rallings & Thrasher’s calculations were 700 votes, Martin Baxter about 860 votes. There are no other projections that I am aware of.

    This means that all established estimates are that the seat would have been narrowly Tory in 2005, but given BMA’s majority was 3700 in 2001 and 5000+ in 1997 that it would have likely been a Labour seat in those two elections. Bob Marshall Andrews apparently said something like Labour could only win the seat on present boundaries in a landslide year, which given 1997 and 2001 were landslide years, seems broadly right to me (though of course, while no one thinks they would have won it, they would still have come relatively close in 2005, a more modest victory)

    I think most people would characterise a rock-solid safe seat as one that never ever changes hands – the Bootles or Rutlands of the world. I’d choose a different term for seats that only change hands when the pendulum is at the extreme end of its swing, but that’s really a matter of what words people use to distinguish two obviously different degrees of safeness.

  33. The cross breaks in that poll are interesting

    UKIP would gain from conservatives – 25% vs 10% Lab and 10% Lib Dem.

    So a win in Rochester may help those folk move to UKIP and primarily reduce the conservative score if they now become convinced UKIP can win.

    Green would gain from Labour 32, Lib Dem 34, UKIP 17 and Cons 10. So further gains for the Greens may move folk primarily from Labour and Lib Dems.

    Conservatives would gain from Lib Dems 17 and UKIP 22, so at least some of the Lib Dem and UKIP vote is just a protest vote against Labour.

    Labour would gain 27 from current Lib Dem voters , so still a large number of labour voters being forced to vote tactically for the Lib Dems because they don’t think Labour can win.

    Clearly all parties need to try and convince people they can win in their seat, because it makes a huge difference to voting intention.

  34. @AnnInWales

    A very interesting post.(As usual!)”

    I thank you madam.

  35. The difference between the Survation and Ashcroft polls of Stockton South is the level of certainty. Although the percentage of those who said they wouldn’t vote was similar (8% in Ashcroft, 9% in Survation[1] found 38% undecided and another 6% who refused to say. Even when you took LTV into account these only reduced to 35% and 7%, so it’s mostly people who think they will vote but not sure how.

    Ashcroft’s figures were half that – 18% plus 4% which reduced further to 15 + 2 when asked about “your own constituency and the candidates who are likely to stand there” – the best comparison as Survation actually gave candidate names in their question[2]. They weight LTV differently, so it’s not easy to compare after that stage. As OldNat pointed out the difference is even more dramatic among those who said they had voted in 2010:

    Con 31% (13)

    Lab 32% (9)

    Lib Dem 47% (21)

    Other 35% (n/a)

    (Ashcroft figures in brackets). It’s so large that you do wonder if there is some methodological difference in how the questions were asked. Survation’s fieldwork was 6-12 Nov when the attacks on Miliband were even fiercer than usual, but the difference on ex-Labs isn’t that much greater than for ex-Tories. Even 42% of (only 19) 2010 UKIP voters were undecided – a group you would think famous for their solidity.

    There’s a seven month gap between the two of course (Ashcroft f/w 7-13 Apr), but normally views should firm up as the election approaches not the reverse. There may be something particular to this seat at the moment, but otherwise it seems very strange to see such low levels of voter retention (Con 53%, Lab 52%, Lib Dem 18%, UKIP 47%) and it makes prediction from these figures very uncertain.

    [1] Obviously the real percentage of those who will not vote in the end will be much higher. This partly because some of those who’ve replied are not likely to vote, and may say as much, (LTV 1-5 say) but also because habitual non-voters are much less likely to respond to such a survey (something like only one in twelve reply to phone polls anyway). The apathetic are always underrepresented.

    [2] It is possibly because of this difference that there may be changes in VI. Mentioning the MP and other prominent candidates by name might encourage an incumbency factor (positive or negative) or other personal factors.

  36. Roger – Survation do seem to get a higher level of don’t knows in constituency polls. I don’t know why this is – it could be something to do with their script, how they introduce themselves or something like that.

    For example, here’s an article from ICM from way back in 1997 that amongst other things looked at the different willingness to answer they got from quite subtle differences between the way Gallup and ICM interviewers introduced themselves on the telephone:

  37. @Oldnat, are you male or female as your post on the gender pay gap is surprising?

    I am constantly hearing about a supposed gender pay gap and how this indicates widespread male sexism.

    As you have said, for several years now younger women have earned significantly more than men.

    The differential only swaps round at around 30, ie the average age of first childbearing.

    Women face the same consequences for extended career breaks as men would.

  38. In Stockton South, it seems to me that the diaspora of the LD vote is key. At the last election, there were a number of factors at work, not least the number of votes given to what were, then, minor and special interest parties. 33% of LD 2010 voters are ‘undecided’.

    A very interesting seat that could well buck any national trend (sophomore effect possible too, he’s only 30). An earlier poster (Welsh Borderer 2.44 am) referred to Ashcroft recording only a 2% swing to Labour then, the lowest of his choices.

    I see Roger and Anthony have just commented. It seems to me that another Stockton South poll would be helpful!!

  39. Correction, 44% of 2010 LD were undecided.

  40. crossbat11

    In Rochester, again almost certainly in my view, many Labour voters will be voting UKIP, not out of conviction, but in order to back the horse most likely to stuff the Tories.

    There’s some truth in this. If you look at the most recent Ashcroft poll for R&S:

    33% of 2010 Labour voter said they were voting UKIP. Now some of these will be from conviction. The equivalent figure from Ashcroft’s weekly poll was 15%, though it was only 6% this week The problem is smallish samples as usual, but the most recent combined marginals poll (in seats that might be perceived to be the same as Rochester) gave a figure of 9%[1] in a sample of around 2500.

    Some Lab to UKIP might also be from personal votes that Reckless has carried across with him, but it does seem that perhaps 20% of the 2010 Labour vote was thinking of voting tactically[2]. However 24% of 2010 Labour also said they would vote UKIP in May, so some tactical votes may remain with Reckless.

    [1] This was the ‘your constituency’ question as the best equivalent to a named by-election poll. It’s a drop from 12% in the more general one which suggests that there is a certain amount of ‘protest’ in Labour voters picking UKIP at the moment. This may now balance the equivalent movement on the Conservative side.

    [2] It’s perfectly logical to do this because it reduces the number of Conservative MPs and so helps put Labour into plurality and keep the Tories from majority.

  41. Someone may have done this before me, so forgive me if that’s the case, but if you take the bookmakers’ odds for each individual seat and assume that the favourite will always win then you get the following election result (excluding N Ireland):

    Labour – 304
    Conservatives – 272
    Lib Dems – 31
    SNP – 15
    UKIP – 6
    Plaid Cymru – 3
    Greens – 1

    It’s quite different to the outcome suggested by any poll models I’ve seen.

  42. I think that if I were a Labour voter in R and S, I might just go back on my tactical intention to vote UKIP, once I thought Reckless had it well in the bag. My reasoning would be that
    a) I liked the Labour candidate (she made a good impression it seems)
    b) try and prevent spinning right wing press headlines about Labour (read Miliband) debacle on Friday and Saturday.

    To be a tactical voter you have to be a knowledgeable one, so there won’t be many of those.

    I saw a bit of that TV candidate broadcast that colleagues linked a while back. All I could think about the LD candidate was ‘I suppose the LD managers really, really, do not want to do well here’ and I assume they wanted to encourage such voters to lend their votes elsewhere.

  43. Another good profile of the UKIP voter, comparing the Yougov profile to poll data

    Did you know that the average UKIP voter is now getting younger? A nice graph comparing the age profile of the Yougov UKIP voter profile between Jan-13 and Oct-14 shows the percentage of over 60’s voting UKIP declining and other age groups climbing.

    PS – where are these monthly Yougov data summaries published?

  44. I am a newbie to this site but have been following it for a few years now with interest due to general good nature of those who participate.

    As this is a quite news day :) I would like to ask a hypothetical question.

    If Cameron wins the next election and the EU in/out goes to a referendum and Cameron recommends staying in

    If the said referendum looks to be close and Cameron states the government will resign if it loses it. ( As John Major did with the Maastricht treaty).

    Would the Labour party (voters/party) support the government and keep the Tories in power.

    Also another hypothetical, If the UK voted to leave the EU and the Tory government falls within the fixed term election cycle and Labour become the government by default. Would they carry out the wishes of the people thought its against there policy.

    As I said a hypothetical question so all views appreciated

  45. VGFleet

    “If Cameron wins the next election”

    Perhaps you could have said “If Cameron remains leader of the Cons after the R&S result and forms the next government… ”

    But thanks for making me laugh.

  46. Given the reporting of the European elections, and the dual bi-elections of a few weeks ago, when – as seems inevitable – the Conservatives lose yet another election today, what are the odds it will be reported in the news as a disaster for Labour?

    I get the impression that if a member of the cabinet were revealed as a serial killer the headline on ITV news would be “Crisis for Ed Milliband.”

  47. Given the nature of this site, I’m sure the people denigrating Labour will take notice of AW’s post of 10.00 and desist.

    Back to polling. Should Labour be significantly ahead at this stage?
    After Xmas they will need ensure they have a raft of policies which gain publicity as The ‘Ed is rubbish’ narrative eventually loses traction despite the best efforts of the meeja.
    And shouldn’t the Tories be doing better?
    I well remember people predicting that the austerity measures would lead to economic growth which would deliver them a clear majority in 2015.
    Time’s running out.

  48. Anthony

    I noticed US polls weight their samples by race. Given the analysis of Ashcroft that race is one of the biggest factors determining voter choice, and that the proportion of BME voters and indeed foreign born voters is increasing rapidly, why is it that UK polls generally don’t?

    I remember some late adjustments to the Scotland polls to include place of birth weighting to eliminate error – at what level does it become statistically significant enough to drive a change in weighting schemes?

  49. Anthony

    I didn’t express myself very well but by ‘methodological’ I meant something along the lines of a script that did the opposite of ‘squeezing’ or perhaps suggested that if they said they didn’t know, they could get off the telephone sooner.

    Looking at comparatively recent non-by-election Survation polls, in Boston[1] and in Folkestone say, they do have a high Undecided in the mid-20s, but it’s still a lot less than the 38% in Stockton. So there’s something odd going on.

    The Curtice and Sparrow paper looks interesting and makes the point that the polls actually performed worse in 1997 than 1992 – but who notices being spat at in a downpour.

    [1] The Boston poll was also extremely odd in having a sample under 30% of which said they had voted in 2010 (B&S were a little under average on 61%, but not at Liverpool levels). Though it may have had an effect in preventing Neil Hamilton being chosen as the candidate:

  50. Thank you for the welcome Mike M,

    As I said hypothetical question.

    I tend to try and look at all possibilities and this combination leaves me flummoxed. regardless of the Cameron or Miliband

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