This week’s YouGov/Sunday Times results are now up here. Topline figures are CON 32%, LAB 34%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 15%, GRN 6%, with additional questions on a wide range of different issues:


33% of people think that Theresa May is doing well as Home Secretary, 41% badly (so her net score of minus 8 is slightly better than Cameron’s minus 13). Asked about the balance between protecting human rights and privacy and introducing anti-terrorism measures 37% think May should go further with anti-terrorism powers, 18% that she has gone too far and damaged human rights and privacy, 19% that she has the balance about right. Going through a list of the latest proposals there is support for all the new anti-terrorism measures, with most getting over 50% support. The few that do not (such as banning ransoms and extending TPIMs) are down to people saying don’t know rather than opposing the moves, there is still more support than opposition.


Moving onto the issue of immigration, Nigel Farage continues to lead the other party leaders on the issue (Farage 21%, Cameron 18%, Miliband 12%… but 46% none of them or don’t know). On balance people think that EU immigration into Britain is bad for the country by 46% to 29%. However on balance people also think that we should accept it by 45% to 30% (30% think that it is bad and the government should break EU rules to limit it, 16% that it is bad but we need to follow the rules, 29% that it is good for the country and we should accept it). There would be widespread support for attempts to limit the right of EU migrants to claim benefits in Britain. 78% would support a block on out of work benefits for migrants who have been in Britain for less than 2 years, 72% would support a block on in work benefits.

Private Education

On balance 37% of people think that private schools are good for Britain, 48% think they are bad for Britain. Relatively few (19%) would actually support banning private schools, but on tax breaks people would happily go further than Labour have proposed – 27% would support a Labour style conditional withdrawal of tax breaks, but 46% think all private schools should lose their tax breaks anyway. The “class war” criticism of Labour’s private schools policy doesn’t seem to hold much water. Only 28% of people think Labour’s proposals are based on negative reasons and a desire to punish the wealthy. 45% think they have made the proposals for positive reasons.

House of Lords

A large majority of people (74%) would support moving to a wholly (43%) or partially (31%) elected House of Lords – pretty much unchanged from when YouGov last asked in 2012. Asked about how members of the Lords are paid, 15% think they should receive a salary, 51% that they should be paid for the specific hours and resources that they use, 18% that they should receive no payment, allowances or expenses at all. Just 7% support the current system of a daily allowance.

Class and political snobbery

People who consider themselves as middle class think that the Conservatives best represent people of their class, people who consider themselves to be working class think that Labour best represent their class. 70% of people think that most politicians look down upon ordinary people. This seem to be especially the case with David Cameron – 63% think he looks down on ordinary people, compared to 46% for Ed Miliband, 49% for Nick Clegg and 41% for Nigel Farage. Asked specifically about Emily Thornberry’s tweet from Rochester, 47% of people think she was being snobby, 26% think she was not.

196 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 32, LAB 34, LDEM 7, UKIP 15, GRN 6”

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  1. @Unicorn

    I entirely agree. If a pollster chooses to focus their analysis entirely on the responses to one question alone on VI, that should be the first and only question to ask, not a secondary one. As it stands, there is a risk that by asking it as a secondary question, the pollster prompts the respondent to focus unduly on the candidates in order to differentiate the question from the first one, which at this stage still gives an advantage to the (known) incumbent. That risk might turn out to be insignificant, but we can’t be sure without a proper analysis comparing responses from a split panel.


    I read that Erdogan is becoming the subject ridicule in his own country.

    This is good-and shows that there are those who seek to lift their religion out of the grip of medieval zealotry , and into a modern , pluralist society.

    It seems no coincidence to me that Turkey is constantly accused of ambivalence over the fight against ISIS

  3. On Lord Ashcroft I think you need to draw a distinction between the data he collects and his interpretation. Like Military Intelegence it has two parts “Collection & Coalation”.

    I sometimes am wary of the questions he asks and how he asks them because that as we all know can shape the results and I often disagree with what he claims they show.

    The data itself is sound and great to have and we are free to use it and interpret it as we choose.


  4. @Ben Foley

    “….. it might be he, as I, would like Greens to do well at the expense of the LibDems and their partners in coalition.”

    If the Greens manage to hold on to a chunk of the 2010 Lib Dem vote, campaigning on a platform on the left that appeals to Lib Dems disillusioned by the coalition, it is clearly competing for votes with Labour. So it follows that for the Greens to do well, it will have to be at the expense of Labour.

    And that is why Pressman is sending the Green Party his best wishes. It’s not that because he wants you to do well at the expense of the Lib Dems. It’s solely because he wants the Conservatives to beat Labour in all those marginals.

    Do you recall Bush v Gore in Florida 2000? Ralph Nader as a Green got 100,000 votes and Bush won by 537. Nader delivered the presidency to Bush.

  5. Populus:

    Lab 35 (-2)
    Con 32 (nc)
    LD 9 (nc)
    UKIP 14 (nc)

    Tables here

  6. Populus [email protected] · 31m31 minutes ago
    Latest Populus VI: Lab 35 (-2), Con 32 (=), LD 9 (=), UKIP 14 (=), Oth 10 (+2). Tables here

    Greens on 5

    Scotland cross break
    SNP 34 (+4)
    Lab 29 (-3)
    Con 21 (+2)
    LD 10 (-3)
    UKIP 5 (+2)
    Green 1 (-2)

  7. @Roger Mexico

    I suggest that if Lord Ashcroft does not retract and republish the results of his Doncaster poll, his credibility as a serious pollster ought to be shot to threads.

    Either there was an error, or an attempt to deliberately skew the poll at the expense of Miliband. What cannot be in dispute is that something is very wrong.

    Just for the record, according to Ashcroft after weighting the 2010 sample in Doncaster North voted:
    Con 259
    Lab 185
    LD 76
    DNV 141

    This is supposed to be representative of a seat where Ed Miliband got well over twice the Conservative vote in 2010.

  8. I calculated the Populus results before applying the turnout filter, and the results were pretty much identical to the headline results.

    So their house effects of a much higher Lib Dem figure versus the other pollsters must be down to that weighting on Q4

    Q.4 Regardless of which party, if any, you are likely to end up voting for at the next General Election due in May 2015 or are leaning towards at the moment, which political party would you say you have usually most closely identified yourself with

    They weight
    Cons 28
    Lab 29
    LD 10
    SNP 2
    Green 2
    UKIP 4
    None 24

    And are having to upweight LD responders, and downweight SNP, UKIP and Green

    So another polling method that in my opinion would tend to understate the smaller parties at a time of political flux.

    I think the argument is that all the small parties drop away at the GE due to FPTP so the method is valid. Not so sure about that though, as current UKIP/SNP voters may not drop off to the extent expected, and Green voters are probably more likely to be squeezed towards Labour and LD vs Conservative, so I think it just results in a poll that we all look at with suspicion as its main party figures are so much higher than other polls are showing.

    I think they need to re-think that Q4.

  9. With regard to the education of forces personnel, it’s interesting to note how their childrens education is subsidised by the MOD.

    The Continuity of Education Allowance is worth approximately £19,000.00 per child per year and available to pay the boarding fees of children of service personnel at Public School. In 2013 £65.8 million was spent on these fees.

    Although available to all ranks, it is 50% used by people of the officer rank or above , who comprise 14% of all forces personnel.

    If you have a large family a useful way of getting them all a Public Education.

  10. @Unicorn: “If Q3 is universally regarded as more informative in these seats, why doesn’t it become the standard question we use in all constituencies? ”

    I’m part of the YouGov panel and have always answered VI questions on the basis of my own constituency, because if there was a GE tomorrow that’s where I’d be voting. But it’s always surprised me that the question doesn’t make this explicit. It seems likely to me that some respondents answer on the basis of where they live, and others in general terms.

    A lot of other questions are ambiguous or likely to generate misleading answers. For instance, next year I start collecting state pension (all being well) so my total income will increase; without that, it would decline. So if I answer the “do you expect your personal finances to improve next year with an accurate ‘yes’, that will misleadingly contribute to the feelgood headline total.

    There are lots more inadequately specified questions that if answered accurately are likely to generate misleading responses. I guess AW’s answer would be that the errors in either direction balance out.

  11. @Colin

    yesterday’s terrorist and murderer is tomorrow’s elder statesman. Ask G Adams of Belfast.

  12. @Gazprom

    I have a friend in the RAF who was from a ‘white man van’ background, and wasn’t an officer. He has 3 boys and he signed on for another 10 years because it would see his kids through their private education. He is a mechanic and doesn’t particularily like the RAF but the school fees swung it.

    On private education. We are lucky where I live because both the comprehensive secondary schools score higher in the league tables than the nearest private school.

  13. @Peter Cairns
    Natural disasters and plague are not part of war casualties and it is totally misleading to make them so.

  14. @Shaun – “They call Ed a weak leader!”

    The phrase ‘weak follower’ could perhaps be applied to his rival?

    @Lizh – how do you block ads?

    Re Ashcroft’s poll on Donnie – this really does look a bit of a cows backside. Presumably it can’t have been deliberate, as it’s too obvious when you publish the data, so as others have mentioned, I would assume we’ll have some kind of correction issued if he wishes to retain credibility.

    This morning’s Populus seems more reasonable, both nationally and in the Scottish crossbreaks. Having Labour on 37% did seem a bit out of line.

  15. I went poking on Wikipedia and something odd hit me: We’ve seen a lot of polling done in LD seats where the MP is seeking re-election, but there are about 10-11 seats where a LibDem MP isn’t seeking re-election (10 listed, plus one LD MP who resigned from the party and is an independent). Based on what happened in Winchester (and the oft-discussed personal vote issue), I’d be curious to see how bad the LD collapse is in those seats (seeing as they comprise about 1/5 of the LD’s seats).

    Of the 10 MPs who are retiring, only one or two are in particularly safe seats (Hazel Grove and Redcar), while the one seat we have a poll in (Brent South) showed a full-blown crash for the LibDems (they were off over 30% on the normal VI and the localization question only bought them 6% instead of the usual 10-13% that showed up elsewhere).

    By the way, I do wonder if any pollster has done a national “Considering your seat”-style poll. It’d be very interesting to see (A) how the LibDems hold up in it (I predict that they’d be up by about a point nationally: They’d be up a bit more than a point in their held seats, but they might be getting squeezed to bits in other seats), (B) how UKIP do (I predict they’re off a point or so, owing to being an unknown quantity in a lot of places), and (C) how the SNP does (which I have /no/ clue on).

  16. Surprisingly good Manufacturing PMIs this morning :-

    Broad based demand from domestic market from small & larger companies.
    Employment increased for the nineteenth consecutive month in November, and the rate of job creation recovered to reach a four-month high.

    This is a significant comment as we see inflation staying low :-

    “Price pressures remained subdued in November.Average input prices fell for the third straight month. Companies reported lower prices paid for chemicals, commodities, food raw materials, oil, and plastics. There was also some mention of the exchange rate reducing the price of imported materials”

    This echos the last BoE inflation report .

    Given the slowness of export markets-an encouraging picture.

  17. There is an interesting report in the Grungibod suggesting that Boris is lobbying the government to devolve authority over the entire criminal justice system. Manchester is apparently also asking for similar powers.

    In itself, this is interesting, but it also sparks two thoughts in my mind.

    Firstly, during the Scottish referendum I was told very firmly, both here on UKPR and by my pro SNP friends in Scotland, that there was no serious interest at all in devolving powers in England, as any hint that there was would have been bad news for the Yes campaign.

    To back this up, they repeatedly referred to the failed NE referendum, which was odd – I usually replied along the lines of ‘OK then, we’ll decide Scottish independence by referring to how Scotland voted a decade or so ago and not bother with a referendum’.

    Now, it’s abundantly clear, even to nationalists, that there is a real head of steam building up in English regions for far more decentralization than anyone thought possible a couple of years ago at the start of the Scottish debate. And even more fascinatingly, if you look into the regions, this is coming as much from Tories as anyone else. As I predicted, this is a direct consequence of the referendum itself. In politics, nothing ever goes back to the same position afterwards.

    My second thought centres on the problems this causes for Cameron’s quick political fix on EVEL. If London gets powers over justice, as well as police and transport, it’s going to start getting harder and harder to sustain his preferred simple model for EVEL, which is to restrict votes to all English MPs only.

    Because different English regions are likely to have different demands, it’s likely that we will end up with something of a patchwork of devolved powers – a typically British solution. This makes EVEL ever harder to justify.

    I really don’t think Cameron has thought about EVEL and it’s implications, as it’s pretty clear he just wants a fix for GE2015 rather than a serious plan for the constitution. In floating this idea, he hasn’t realised that he has established a ‘proof of concept’ that will create all manner of issues as and when powers become devolved.

    Already, under EVEL I would object to London MP’s voting on NE transport matters, for example, but extending this to police and justice matters, and then adding in all the other regional complications, it’s clear that EVEL won’t work in the long term.

  18. Phil – that looks like they’ve put the wrong target weights in and buggered the weighting up completely. Oh dear. Have just rung them and emailed them to see what the story is, but no reply yet.

    On other matters, I’ve had an ad problem with conflicting ad T&Cs so my agency had to change the selling platform they use to sell ad space for the site. They need to rebuild the costings, rules etc for it from scratch, which is probably why some ads with sound crept through. Have patience, it should be sorted in time.

  19. @Lizh – thanks. Will try.

  20. Great Anthony-thanks.

    They really spoil the site.

  21. Another quick thought as I head to sleep: Given the wild-and-crazy polling north of the border, it would be nice to see some constituency polling in a scattering of Scottish seats so as to see how the vote is actually shaking out (i.e. Is the SNP running up the score in the Highlands or getting deep into the cities? Who’s holding on down by the border? And are the LDs likely to hold onto their seats, be it on incumbent effects or some form of (absurd as it sounds, historically speaking) unionist vote?).

  22. @AW

    Do you know what the Populous party ID question is?

    I ask because I answered a question (not Populous) which read:

    ‘Which party do you idenitify with, normally vote for?’

    which would depress the numbers actually switching allegiance.

  23. @Colin etc

    The suggestion somebody made for Bluhell Firewall was a good one, at least for Firefox users, and has solved my ‘noisy neighbours’ problem.
    Thanks to somebody (Carfrew?) for the suggestion.


    Thanks-but I use Chrome & don’t really want to change.

    Looks like AW is going to get rid of them soon. :-)

  25. @Alec

    The problems of devolution and regional issues sort themselves if the centralised powers decentralise the spending (i.e. spend even amounts across the UK).

    Regards ad blocking, I prefer a well-tuned hosts file (Google is your friend), as it seems to work across a multitude of sites.

  26. @Colin,

    The application I mentioned to Alec is an extension of Chrome.

  27. COLIN

    I know the feeling. I used Chrome for years until it decided to eat all my memory and I switched back to Firefox a few months ago. It wasn’t too traumatic!

  28. Couper – “Regardless of which party, if any, you are likely to end up voting for at the next General Election due in May 2015 or are leaning towards at the moment, which political party would you say you have usually most closely identified yourself with?”

  29. @Guymonde

    I am Bluhell man.

    I’m glad to help :-)

  30. @AW

    So the use of the past tense will mean switchers that used to vote Conservative but now are UKIP. Will answer Conservative to that question. And Labour to SNP switcher will answer Labour.

    Will this lead to lower UKIP and SNP VIs?

  31. Need some caution assessing the PMI manufacturing stats.

    Everything has been reported positively, but as with last month, I’m puzzled. Markit show a chart with the PMI Output Index compared to the ONS Manufacturing GVA. On this, 50 on the Markit data isn’t ‘no change’ but equates to something like -1% on the ONS measure, with a score of 54 needed to be ‘no change’.

    Last month, the Markit figure was bang on 54, but it’s edged down this month, which means that technically Markit are suggesting the sector is shrinking.

    They don’t seem to mention the Output Index in the text commentary, so it’s genuinely difficult to understand exactly what this means, but as they do show the comparison with the ONS data, we can be fairly sure (I think) that the news isn’t good as some of the headlines.

    Not quite a full on truffle – more a scent of something tasty.

  32. ALEC

    Yes-sorry-forgot to mention the usual caveat on PMIs:-

    When they are negative for this government they are a real indicator of trends.

    When they are positive for this government they are highly suspect & of dubious value as an indicator.

    Think thats about right ?


  33. Couper – no, vice-versa.

    Imagine someone used to be a Labour supporter but now votes SNP. If they still said Labout to that question it would increase SNP support, but if they changed their answer in their question to SNP it would risk SNP support being weighted down to its previous level.

  34. ALEC

    @”Last month, the Markit figure was bang on 54, but it’s edged down this month, which means that technically Markit are suggesting the sector is shrinking.”

    “The seasonally adjusted Markit/CIPS Purchasing
    Manager’s Index®(PMI®) posted 53.5 in November,up slightly from 53.3 in October, a four-month high and a level above the no-change mark of 50.0 for the twenty-first successive month.”

    Markit/CIPS UK Manufacturing PMI
    Dec 1 2014.

  35. I’d like to improve the accuracy of the reporting of the Thornberry question:
    Do you think Ms Thornberry was or was not being snobbish?

    The tabs show the responses:
    Was being snobbish 47
    Was not being snobbish 26
    Not sure 27

    from which we should conclude that 47% think she was being snobbish and 53% did not think she was being snobbish. (You can only either think something or not think something. If you don’t know, then you don’t think it… otherwise you would know!)

  36. I found it interesting when I was in Japan in the spring that when I accessed this site the adverts were in Japanese. So how does that work then?

  37. Colin

    Well done, saved me making the same point to Alec.

  38. Actually Colin, although I appreciate the humour, your retort is fundamentally inaccurate. I’ve never been partial in how I report the PMI stuff – I just point out where it appears to diverge from actual evidence of numbers.

    Interestingly, as I think I mentioned last month, the PMI manufacturing data showed a big fall last month, which appears to be another example of their responses over egging a change of sentiment. The fall probably wasn’t as serious as their data suggested, which backs up my longstanding point of PMI overstating changes, both up and down.

  39. Within the last hour have just retweeted the following offering from Peter Kellner:

    “Uniform swing is now worse than useless – it is positively misleading”

    If these are truly the words of the guru then it must be true. I presume he has plans of his own to fix the model. Waiting in eager anticipation..

  40. @ PHIL HAINES 10:18 am
    @Ben Foley
    If the Greens manage to hold on to a chunk of the 2010 Lib Dem vote, campaigning on a platform on the left that appeals to Lib Dems disillusioned by the coalition, it is clearly competing for votes with Labour. So it follows that for the Greens to do well, it will have to be at the expense of Labour.
    It could equally be at the expense of ‘would not vote’ or of UKIP (those voters who have decided “I don’t like them because of what they did in Govt about Tories, Lab and now LDs” then look around for who else to vote for).

    Do you recall Bush v Gore in Florida 2000? …Nader delivered the presidency to Bush.
    Not that old chestnut again. It’s stale, and it was always pretty irrelevant.

    The election was actually delivered to Bush 5 votes to 4, despite the count in Florida being biassed and there being irregularities in the conduct of the election. See

  41. ‘Not sure’ = ‘was perhaps being snobbish’ – no?

  42. @Hal

    “I’d like to improve the accuracy of the reporting of the Thornberry question:
    Do you think Ms Thornberry was or was not being snobbish?
    The tabs show the responses:
    Was being snobbish 47
    Was not being snobbish 26
    Not sure 27
    from which we should conclude that 47% think she was being snobbish and 53% did not think she was being snobbish. (You can only either think something or not think something. If you don’t know, then you don’t think it… otherwise you would know!)”


    The 27% therefore also do NOT think that she was *not* being snobbish – otherwise they would know.

  43. @Unicorn

    Kellner did indeed say those words.

    Here’s the rest of the piece:

  44. Wes,

    Yes, I suppose you could also report it as 26% thought she was not being snobbish but 74% did not think she was not being snobbish. (But that does not sound like a very interesting conclusion.)

  45. Think it’s probably best to stick with those who do, those who don’t, and those who aren’t sure.

  46. Carfrew

    “It wasn’t labour shortages that caused the rampant stagflation issues in the Seventies. It was the quadrupling of the price of oil, and then a further doubling in a second shock later.”

    If innovation is the only real source of increased prosperity then unions preventing innovation for their member’s short term benefit has the same long-term effect on prosperity as employers removing the need for innovation by creating and then constantly increasing a labour surplus for their short term benefit.

    In the first case you eventually get the Cuba version of poverty and in the second case you get the Brazil version.

    That’s the point I’m making.

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