This week’s YouGov/Sunday Times poll is now up here. Topline figures are CON 32%, LAB 32%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 17%, GRN 7%. With Labour and the Conservatives still neck-and-neck this is very much in line with the YouGov polling before the Autumn Statement. Note the level of Green support though, YouGov and Lord Ashcroft have both shown the occassional one-off poll with the Greens ahead of the Liberal Democrats in the past, but YouGov have now produced three polls in a row with the Greens in fourth place ahead of the Lib Dems.

The rest of the YouGov poll had some questions on school nativity plays, free schools (still unpopular) and childbirth which I don’t plan on writing about today, and a few questions on the Autumn statement and stamp duty. Cameron & Osborne have a solid lead on the deficit – 41% trust them compared to 22% who trust Miliband & Balls. However, asked what the government’s policy should be on the deficit people’s views are significantly out of line with the Conservatives’. Only 20% think cutting the deficit mainly through spending cuts should be the priority, 19% think it should be cut mainly through tax increases, 36% think the government should not prioritise the deficit at all and should instead spend more or tax less to try and encourage growth. A reminder, perhaps, that people’s perceptions of who they trust on the economy or the deficit is not necessarily based on what their policies are.

By 77% to 8% people think that George Osborne’s changes to stamp duty are a good idea, and 73% think it is a fair way to increase the tax paid by the better off. Asked the same questions about Labour’s proposed mansion tax by 63% to 23% people think it is a good idea, and by 61% to 25% people think it is a fair way of increasing taxes for the better off. Asked to pick between the two, the stamp duty changes are marginally preferred – 45% think it is a better way of increasing taxes on people with expensive homes, 33% prefer the idea of the mansion tax (as you’d expect, this is largely a partisan affair – Tory voters prefer the stamp duty changes, Labour voters the mansion tax. I suspect had the Conservatives announced a mansion tax and Labour promised the changes to stamp duty the answers would be the other way around).

Opinium also had their fortnightly poll in the Observer, which had topline figures of CON 29%(-1), LAB 34%(+1), LDEM 6%(-1), UKIP 19%(nc), GRN 6%(+2) (tabs here) – there is no significant changes from a fortnight ago. There was also a new Populus poll yesterday which showed a two point Labour lead, wholly inline with the three point average Labour lead the company showed in November. With three companies now having conducted polls since the Autumn Statement there is no obvious short term impact on voting intention… which is very much as we’d would expect!

262 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times- CON 32, LAB 32, LDEM 6, UKIP 17, GRN 7”

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  1. @Howard

    That would be Mr Clegg’s merry band?

    Of course, they are quoting a short term rise.

    In 2010 they had 65k members. So they have lost 20k (or 30.7 %) members in four years.

    Nice work!

  2. Rmj1

    It is more like having an interest only mortgage and only paying part of the interest with no plan to pay off the original debt.

    The home-owner can the downsize after 25 years to pay the debt off.
    House inflation over the last 25 years has made the original debt quite small to the value of most property.

    However my main point is no future government will stick to what they are espousing now .

  3. CMJ
    I remember when they had 80,000 odd. I was still surprised as you will perhaps gather. Masochists join here?

  4. AW

    On one of the YouGov surveys I took last week I noticed that you prompted for UKIP. Would you be able to confirm if this made much difference? Don’t remember reading about it on here so maybe it didn’t?

  5. Colin
    Thanks for taking the trouble to bring some economic sense to this “austerity argument”. I find the constant nonsense about austerity, so silly I cannot be bothered. Good for you!
    Having been to Aussie, the majority have a very agreeable way of life and seem to be able to cope on 35.3% Gov expenditure to GDP. So does Switzerland on 33.8%, one of the nicest places to visit in Europe.

  6. Colin

    that is true, abnormally low

    i was reading today about 480,000 households running into mortgage difficulties when interest rates start to rise

    That is only assuming a 2% rise in mortgage payments

  7. Roger

    I used 48m instead of 58m for the base year !

    I used 67 for 2020 -an ONS number.

    So the increase would be 18%


  8. It’s more about political posturing and trying to present economic policies as different (and better) than those of everyone else.

    Once the election is over, it will all be pretty much the same whoever runs the show.

  9. FV

    The point I was making was that the AS cost of interest as % GDP is only superficially “not a problem”.

    OBR’s Mar to Dec revisions in their AS forecasts include a GAIN from a 2% (no less) reduction in rate forecasts for 2019. Without it the Public Finances forecasts would have been a disaster zone.

    All borrowers are currently living on borrowed time ( as well as money :-) )

  10. TOH

    Higher taxes would obviously be the easy way out of this Deficit & Debt problem we have.

    Everyone seems to be tempted except GO . If he is still there next year we will see how much resolve he has.

    I wonder if OBR have slightly overcooked their downward revisions of growth forecasts this time?

    Who would be a forecaster-or a pollster ? :-)

  11. @COLIN

    @”The UK is not at the mercy of the bond markets and can never ‘run out ‘ of money”

    It isn’t a question of not being able to borrow-it is a question being able to afford that borrowing.

    The UK gov’t does not need to borrow as is evidenced by QE and spending on countless military adventures. The UK is the only issuer of pounds Sterling. In theory, the UK ‘borrows’ money from the BoE and then pays interest on that borrowing. This is fairytale economics. The ‘borrowing’ from foreign banks and pensions/insurance companies is because those organisations want safe investments, and the UK is happy to provide bonds/gilts to facilitate the flow of the economy domestically and internationally.

    The UK can afford the interest payments quite easily, and anyway a large proportion of the interest is put back into the UK economy in the form of private pensions. The UK can also cancel (and almost certainly will) the bonds bought back by QE and reduce the national debt to about 40% GDP.

    The current system evolved in the era of the Gold Standard which we haven’t been on since 1971. One can only speculate as to why there is such a disparity between the reality and the reporting.

  12. KEITHP

    Most of us can probably agree with that.

  13. Colin, If GO is still there VAT will rise , there is no doubt.

    All politicians will state they have no plans to increase taxes on hard-working average tax payers.
    if you believe them you play into their delusions.

  14. FV

    Reading an article that 480,000 would be an increase of about 120,000.

    Those numbers aren’t defaults, just people taken to the point where they would be spending over 40% of gross income on the mortgage, belt tightening certainly but not necessarily devastating or unbearable for the short term.

    Overall it’s 4% of mortgage holders so unlikely to be a huge factor Carney will take into account when to raise interest rates (He’s said that interest rate rises will be gradual so I don’t expect to see that 2% rise anytime soon.)

    Certainly not a Harbinger of Doom.

  15. Colin

    Personally I think … [snip]

  16. @Dez

    “If GO is still there VAT will rise , there is no doubt.”

    I think you may be right. The Tories tend to have some form when it comes to increasing VAT much preferring to raise revenue in this regressive way rather than look at more progressive alternatives. Howe more or less doubled it from 8% to 15% in 1979 and Lamont increased it again in 1991 to pay for the cost of scrapping the poll tax. In 2008, Darling dropped it back to 15% to help boost demand in the midst of recession and then raised it back to 17.5% in 2010 when the economy was recovering. Osborne increased it to 20% in 2011.

    I thought the Chancellor looked a little evasive when answering Marr about possible future increases and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there is a hike after the next election should there be a Tory Chancellor in Number 10.

    As for the latest Populus poll, I see they’ve abandoned the 35% strategy and are going all out for an overall majority!


  17. Sue

    We have been around the QE circuit many times.

    QE does not take the place of government borrowing-it is a time limited injection, by the Central Bank, of liquidity into the commercial lending sector. The mechanism is purchase by the BoE of Gilts ALREADY IN ISSUE.
    The BoE becomes owner of those Gilts & the Treasury repays them on the maturity date-as it does with any other owner of Government Bonds.
    Thus far the Treasury has repaid £31.0 bn -and of course has had to refinance by issuing new Gilts in the Market.
    Repayment dates were :-
    Mar 2013 £6.6bn
    Set 2013 £1.9bn
    Mar 2014 £ 8.1 bn
    Sept 2014 £ 14.4 bn

    Yes the coupon on BoE held gilts is repaid to the Treasury-so they are effectively interest free to the State. I agree that this is nonsense accounting. The BoE is at risk of losses if/when it sells before maturity.( when rates go up-prices will fall) They should keep the interest on their holdings to cover this risk.

    Miltary “adventures” are a matter of policy-like any other spending committment-you either agree with our military spend-or you don’t.

    I have tried to explain that the UK can only “afford” the intewrest on its enormous Sovereign Debt because interest rates are ultr low.
    Doubling current rates would wreke havoc with Public Finances & Services policy.

    If the UK ever considered “cancelling its bonds” ( whatever that means) you can wave goodby to any vestage of Welfare Spending-or anything else provided by our Creditors.

  18. Dez

    That is opinion.

    There is the possibility he’ll see what happened in Japan in response to a tax increase to 8% and shy away from doubling that increase and applying to VAT. I’m sure some tax rises will happen if he continues the 20/80 plan, I’d think a 5% increase on VAT would be unlikely.

    I suspect tax increases will be in the form of not increasing thresholds as fast, although getting the 40% tax band to 50k would be symbolic, it’s been the go to target for tax increases in the past, delaying the timing of when it hits 50k wouldn’t be a surprise.

    Repeatedly claiming “there is no doubt”, doesn’t make your argument more forceful or coherent.

    You should never, ever, ever deal in absolutes!

  19. Colin

    Your like a breath of fresh air, economic sanity!

  20. Colin

    1999 is an unfortunate year to choose by someone arguing for low state spending. Remember the Hatfield rail disaster in 1999? The result of a broken rail, which itself was the result of two decades of underinvestment in maintenance. Remember the 3-4 years of absolute chaos that we had on the rail network as emergency repairs were made up and down the country to fix the problem? I do. I was regularly travelling from Sheffield to London, and I scheduled 4 hours for a 130minute journey for 3 years.

    On a more personal note, 1999 was the year that a close friend of mine lost a baby in a crumbling, filthy 125 year old maternity ward, because a vital piece of monitoring equipment broke down.

    The rail network is now unrecognisable from the catastrophe it was in 1999. Sheffield had a state of the art new maternity wing open in 2005. Public spending went up in the early 2000s.

    These things are not unconnected.

    Final point. The shambolic state of our public infrastructure by 1999/2000 came at the end of an era when public spending BOTTOMED OUT for ONE YEAR at 37%. Think what would be the consequence of us having 35% as a spending level for 2 decades.

  21. An interesting article in the Times about housing.

    The CEO of one housebulider has estimated, on the basis of his own companies experience, that 400,000 plots are currently held in planning.
    He says the average wait to completion of planning procedure in his company is 73 weeks!

    Labour’s Lyons Report majored on the problems of land availability & regulation.

    All political parties waffle on about devolution of power to the people. But The People don’t want housing estates built next to them.

    If Labour get in I can see something of a conflict between all that localism stuff & a desire to just tell LAs where & when houses WILL be built.

  22. LEFTY

    Points taken on historic gaps in infrastructure spending.

    But the Wigan Pier brigade aren’t on about that-they are concerned with maintaining Welfare Spending at levels which many would still deem unrealistic.

  23. Colin

    One of the most problematic aspects of the current debate is the term “Welfare”. It’s used pejoratively to suggest idle scroungers sponging off the rest of us. But of course it is far, far more than that. It covers in-work benefits to give people the acceptable standard of living that 21st century capitalism denies them.

    Personally, I would like [snip]

  24. @Lefty L

    “Your like a breath of fresh air…………………………………..


  25. MrNameless


    Lab 36 (+1)
    Con 33 (=)
    LD 8 (-1)
    UKIP 15 (+1)
    GRN 4=

    Green Surge indeed. Best Lab score for a while I reckon.

    And this is why Populus is fairly useless for polling at the moment. Their method of weighting by current Party ID to historic targets[1] means that they stabilise VI at that level and dampen down any subsequent movement considerably.

    With UKIP this meant that they kept on showing them at around 8%, even when every other pollster had them (at least) consistently over 10%. Then they adjusted their targets at the start of this February and UKIP leapt to being always at 13-14% (at a time when no other pollster showed any such movement). Since then UKIP has continued at that level, even though other polls showed further rises. You can see this pattern if you flip between the pollsters on the NS’s Drilldown app:

    Because the Greens and SNP have risen in VI since the last ‘revaluation’ the movement shown is minimised and their support understated.

    This is different from weighting historic allegiance to historic targets as YouGov do[2], which is a good way of getting around the problem of potential bias in online panels. To be fair to Populus they didn’t have that option as they only started their panel after they last general election, though I suspect they wish they had asked people when they joined.

    [1] One particularly stupid thing about this method is that the more the allegiances of recent converts firm up and they become more likely to vote for their new Party, the more their vote will get down-weighted. So the more successful and established a Party becomes, the lower its VI with Populus will go.

    [2] It’s possible that YouGov have an analogous problem with younger voters (under 24) who by definition will not have given their vote and allegiance in 2010.

  26. LEFTY


    I don’t use it pejoratively.To me it is a term which encompasses all the Social Support provided the State for those in & out of work. In a sense, for me, you can add in Health Care to this definition.

    The costs are enormous & have escalated dramatically over time.

    The debate over what this provision should or should not cover, what is abused & what is vital etc etc will go on forever.

    Re your last para, I respect your views & can understand them. [Snip] the differences between us are probably of degree rather than principle.

    [As ever, this really isn’t a venue to debate each other’s political views, or to debate what the level of state spending SHOULD be – AW]

  27. @RogerM

    Can’t you add to note 2 panel members of any age who joined after the last election? I’m thinking in particular of those who voted LD in May but may have been too ashamed to say so by December.

    You suggest that Populus didn’t have much choice in setting up their panel (barring their failure to ask previous vote). This begs the question of why they continue if they risk being shown disastrously wrong in 2015. Why does this make sense for them commercially? I find it hard to believe that they don’t have some counter to your argument to console themselves. What could it be?

  28. Roger Mexico

    I wouldn’t say it’s useless, it’s useful in so much that it gives an idea of the scale of error due to political weighting by seeing two radically different approaches (which is where the uncertainty lies, I suspect most people get their age and gender correct).

    I have no doubt they will do another recalculation of the weightings just before the election to give themselves a fighting chance of laying within MOE.

  29. AW

    Received and understood

  30. Of course we are all ignoring the important polling news of the month, which is exactly what the British public think of Russell Brand. I mean it must be terribly important or why would it be on the front of the Sun last week – YouGov polls don’t normally get such prominence.

    So you’d expect details of this earth-shattering information to have appeared on the YouGov Archive fairly quickly. But I can see nothing there as yet.

    More seriously there does seem to be a pattern of these supplementary polls never being published, even though they are commented on and the headline results discussed. For example the polling on BBC bias mentioned earlier and on the YouGov front page isn’t there yet and similar older articles (for example on attitudes to Russia) are also unsupported. A lot of the Red Box stuff in particular seems to be missing.

    No doubt Mr Brand would see this as an evil capitalist plot to stop us finding out The Truth. I think it’s more sloppiness and YouGov getting into the habit of missing stuff not published alongside the daily updates. But it is annoying (and against BPC guidelines)

  31. The coalition is beginning to perform its James Cagney gangster death scene. (For younger posters, James Cagney always took an unconscionable time to die in his films). Could it be that something will come up in the new year, that makes a minority Tory government, call an early election. Personally, I hope so.

  32. Before anyone is howid about Russell, they better be aware that he is very popular in the Kremlin.

  33. @Roger Mexico

    I share your scepticism about Populus, and you’ve added some scientific weight to the critique of their methodology, but they remain a very reputable pollster and, in fairness to them, did an eve of by-election poll in Wythensawe and Sale East (I think) that proved to be uncannily close to the actual result. Other pollsters have fared less well in similar circumstances, not least those who conducted polls in Clacton and Rochester.

    This isn’t to say that their current polls are more accurate than others, and they do stand out a little I have to say, but I don’t think we’re talking about an Angus Reid here producing clearly erroneous results.

    Don’t Populus do Ashcroft’s polling in the marginals?

  34. Could it be that something will come up in the new year, that makes a minority Tory government, call an early election. Personally, I hope so.

    you’re kidding, right?

  35. @Colin

    Thank you for your kindly and polite reply. As you say, we have been around the QE block before without agreement and doubtless AW would prefer us not to do so further.

  36. PostageIncluded

    Can’t you add to note 2 panel members of any age who joined after the last election? I’m thinking in particular of those who voted LD in May but may have been too ashamed to say so by December.

    YouGov actually do adjust their targets to take that into account – they’ve been reviewing them annually in August. It’s not exact of course but it does keep them up to date. But most of the panel are fairly long-standing and that means that they have the rest of the panel to calibrate to new joiners against.

    It’s a bit different for the under 24s because they nearly all will new joiners, so there is no existing cohort to check against. Also they may be more prone to changing political allegiance and they seem to under-represented on the panel anyway. So it’s a difficult one to handle.

    As to why Populus do these polls (after all no one is paying them to), I suspect they do so as a way of keeping their name in the field and also as a way of reassuring their panel members that their views matter and that they are a ‘proper’ pollster. There’s a lot of fake polling around at the moment, designed to sell things, build up mailing lists or solicit donations. At the same time it’s not going to be prioritised over stuff that actually earns Populus money, which may explain methodological sluggishness and the rather variable time things come out.

  37. @RM, AW, anyone

    Historically, what proportion of those voting are under 24?


    The coalition is beginning to perform its James Cagney gangster death scene.

    The gossip from Kevin Maguire in the Mirror, is that acting is a very appropriate comparison. According to his sources, there is a LD/Conservative plan/agreement to resurrect the coalition if Labour takes the most seats but fails to achieve a majority. As sitting PM, Cameron would be given the first opportunity to try and put together a coalition.

    Obviously, there are a lot of ‘ifs’, including if there are sufficient Lib Dem MPs elected. However, given the polling for preferred outcomes in May 2015, I imagine that a lot of LD and Conservative voters would be disgruntled by a putative back room deal. I imagine that such information would also be a consideration for Labour or Green tactical voters.

  39. Crossbat11

    Ashcroft did the Wythenshaw poll (though presumably using Populus). It was a bit out, overestimating Labour at the expense of UKIP and Others, but given it was over a week before and a safe seat, that’s what you’d expect.

    There’s nothing wrong with Populus’s polling methods and the processing of the telephone polling is fine (though it would be nice to know the percentages used for the Ashcroft reallocation). It’s just that this particular weighting system for the online polls tends to make the results very ‘sticky’ and is logically unsound. It probably wouldn’t matter terribly if there hadn’t been a sharp rise in the support of a minor Party. And then another. And then another.

  40. Ashcroft :-30/31/8/19……….yes 19!

    Kippers still the most likely group not to change their minds .


  42. There is no mechanism available by which an early election could be brought about within the next 3 – 4 months.

  43. I am not trying to get into AW’s good books, plus I am probably the worst culprit on the site for supporting my party. However, it gets very tedious reading various people telling us what the chancellor is thinking or ” definitely going to do if re- elected”. None of us have a clue what is in George Osborne’s head, least of all those who by political nature oppose his every move.

  44. [snip]


  45. SYZYGY

    I was not happy about a 2nd place Labour party, (having been defeated) climbing into bed with the LD’s last time.

    I could not support a 2nd place Tory party doing the same thing, (again having been beaten). God forfend Labour as the largest party,
    IMO. But, the people will have spoken.
    To be truthful, in 2010 the gap between Lab and Con being what it was, I was disgusted with a number of posters who continually tried to patch some rag tag and bobtail coalition together, to keep a defeated party in office.

  46. Ashcroft

    Con 30% (n/c)

    Lab 31% (-1)

    Lib Dem 8% (+1)

    UKIP 19% (+3)

    Green 5% (-1)

    SNP 4% (-1)

    Some very interesting results on how people would vote under AV – with implications for how they might actually vote tactically.

  47. The official start of the “long campaign” for the GE, when accounting for expenses kicks in, is 19 December, so it’s not likely we’ll have an earlier election.

  48. @Graham,

    “There is no mechanism available by which an early election could be brought about ”

    Yes there is. The HoC could vote for an early dissolution (requires 2/3 majority), or the government could lose a confidence vote, or parliament could carry out a lightning repeal of the fixed term parliaments legislation and restore the royal prerogative (could be done within a couple of days).

  49. @NORBOLD
    So, that date coincides with my Gurkha son coming home from Nepal.
    If I get kalide, I will have loads of time to get over it before the GE.

    Thanks for the tip off.

  50. Roland/SYZYGY,

    My guess the Cons would have have got a higher vote share than Labour and be not far behind in seats to ‘allow’ LDs to interpret biggest mandate as votes not seats?

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