Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 33%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 13%, GRN 8%. That’s a couple of YouGov polls in a row showing lower than usual UKIP scores, despite the shift in prompting. Today’s is the lowest UKIP score that YouGov have had since early October. It’s just two polls so may be pure co-incidence, but worth keeping an eye on.

394 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 33, LAB 33, LD 7, UKIP 13, GRN 8”

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  1. @Roly

    “I don’t know about Gallaghers Bar, but in the Dog and Peasant, the word is; If you can invite a spiv with a pint in his mit, you can invite a woman with funny hair knitting yogurt.”

    They’d appreciate this one at my local pub, The Skinners Arms. I’ll be there as usual later tonight, and I’ll run it past the locals.

    I’ll let you know how I get on.”Spivs, mits, funny hair and yoghurt.” Sounds like the title of an album Ian Drury and the Blockheads should have recorded.

    “Sex, drugs and…..”


  2. Nixon refused the television debate as incumbent, and easily won although the Democrats kept on banging about chickening out.

    There’s a precedence for (almost) everything.

  3. @Ann in Wales

    The polls suggest that Cameron will lose the election as things are. Debates are rarely in the interest of the incumbent. Gordon Brown (possibly foolishly) agreed to them, I assume as a last resort.

    Depending on who you believe the debates gave us a coalition, rather than a Conservative overall majority.

    If Cameron thinks he’ll win, he’ll avoid the debates. The folk moaning the most about it will be those who wouldn’t vote for him anyway. Such is politics.

  4. @ADGE3

    Here’s Krugman’s take on it:

    He points out that it’s core inflation that is the important metric not headline inflation. And while headline inflation in the eurozone is heading below zero, core inflation is nearly 1% and has been for about a year.

    His argument therefore is that nothing has substantially changed in the eurozone, they are still in the same situation they have been for a year (i.e. affecting our economy in the same way they have all last year).

    But if core inflation also starts to drop, hit every single panic button you can reach.

  5. @JayBlanc

    “Except that really, it really would be in Cameron’s best interests to be in a Debate.”

    Absolutely agree.


    “Nixon refused the television debate as incumbent, and easily won although the Democrats kept on banging about chickening out.
    There’s a precedence for (almost) everything.”

    You’re not thinking of Nixon v McGovern, are you? Nixon was miles ahead and a shoo-in. McGovern didn’t have a puncher’s chance even if the debates had taken place. He was dead in the water and Nixon could have disembowelled cuddly kittens, live on TV, and still won that election in a canter.

    Crikey, he could even have burgled the Democrat party’s HQ himself and got away with it!


  6. @ Roland,

    Tell us pray, who probably is going to PM after the GE?

    Nicola Sturgeon, obviously. She’s the only major party leader with positive favourability ratings. :p

    @ Mannthemiddle,

    a one off event is not enough to grandfather the concept of debates in

    It wasn’t in 1960, a much more deferential era in which there was no social media, television was in the hands of a smaller group of broadcasters which had a much cosier relationship with politicians, and politicians were held in higher regard by the general public.

    Currently there are several broadcasters competing for ratings and alternative methods of getting a debate video out if none of them decide to host a debate, and the political class are held in contempt by an electorate with a strong sense of entitlement and a fondness for debates. Literally everyone involved in this except for the Tories, from the media to the other parties to the public, has an interest in making the debates happen whether Cameron decides to show up or not. And the media are no longer deferential enough to take no for an answer (although the BBC is and Sky will probably favour helping the Tories over a ratings boost).

    For what it’s worth, my money is on the broadcasters caving in to Cameron’s tantrum and including the Greens, but I think the only way we’re not going to get some form of debate is if Labour decide that banging the “He’s frit!” drum for the next four months is more profitable than empty-chairing him.

  7. Statgeek,
    Interesting is it not.Rather like a game of poker,who will fold first.But Cameron
    is in a weak position here I think.

  8. @Lazlo

    Prior to the Watergate cover-up unwinding, Nixon had positive personal approval through his first term. He was better liked than Reagan was in his first term. He went to the polls in November 72 with over 60% approval. Meanwhile McGovern’s campaign had basically imploded. Nixon could afford to skip the debates.

    Can the same be said about Cameron?

  9. @Spearmint

    I would still tend to the view – as a non-Tory – that, if the Broadcasters were to respond with an empty chair, they could legitimately be accused of serious bias to the extent that they had not treated Cameron in the same way that they had treated Blair, Major, Thatcher and Wilson.
    Personally I cannot abide X-Factor politics and really hope the debates are scuppered. The electorate at large – I suspect – will not give a toss one way or another particularly when reminded of all the earlier Prime Ministers who turned them down.

    I don’t know about Gallaghers Bar, but in the Dog and Peasant, the word is; If you can invite a spiv with a pint in his mit, you can invite a woman with funny hair knitting yogurt

    lol poor Caroline Lucas. Wonder what flavour her hair is?

    “only for Jim Murphy to repeat it all again in a Scottish leaders debate”
    Surely to ‘state the opposite’? :))

    Ah ha well spotted, I forgot about the revolt lead by my pal Diane Abbott regarding JM’s cash grab.

    I don’t know about Gallaghers Bar, but in the Dog and Peasant, the word is; If you can invite a spiv with a pint in his mit, you can invite a woman with funny hair knitting yogurt

    lol poor Caroline Lucas. Wonder what flavour her hair is? ”


  13. If the Greens do make it onto the leaders debate then who will it be?

    Caroline Lucas or Natalie Bennett?

  14. An empty-chair policy would rather concede the point, in that it would probably help the Greens a lot, and maybe more than if they were subjected to scrutiny.

    “Oh, the Greens are the non-elite left-wing party, because they weren’t allowed to the debates!” etc.

  15. (Meaning, of course, that it would be free positive publicity for the Greens with absolutely no right of reply for their rivals.)

  16. Catmanjeff,

    I don’t want to disparage Benett in any way, but I do wonder if she can have the same sort of mass appeal that Lucas can have, as an Australian and someone not as experienced on the big stage. On the other hand, she is generally unknown, and arguably part of Clegg’s appeal in the 2010 debates was that he was a fresh face for most of the public.

  17. In fact, the only significant publicity he had had was that he couldn’t remember the price of milk (as if there is a single national price!) or something silly like that.

  18. @Allan


    No question.

  19. Candy
    Love the concept of steady panic.

  20. I think everyone is missing the point about what Cameron is demanding. According to the Telegraph:

    Mr Cameron has repeatedly said[1] the Greens should be allowed to take part in the televised debates if Ukip was welcomed.

    Mr Cameron was asked by ITV News if he was saying that he would not cooperate in the debates “as it stands” because the Greens were not allowed to participate.

    He replied: “Correct. I don’t think the current proposals work. You can’t have one minor party without having another minor party and I think that’s only fair.”

    […] One source close to Mr Cameron said that it was “obvious point” that you “can’t have Ukip without the Greens”.

    So it’s as much about trying the deny UKIP legitimacy as boosting the Greens. Through they do also report:

    Mr Cameron is thought to be keen for the Green party to participate because it will help them take votes away from the left of centres Labour and Liberal Democrat parties.

    presumably to reassure people that he’s not going soft or taking this democracy business seriously or anything.

    It looks as much an attempt to try to get Ofcom and/or the broadcaster to climb down about giving UKIP prominence as anything else. As usual with Cameron’s cunning plans it’s all going horribly awry in a predictable manner – I mean he’s even being mocked by Nick Clegg:

    and will only be saved by the media ignoring it on his behalf (as the Mail seems to be doing) or declaring whatever happens as a complete victory even if it consists of a series of embarrassing climbdowns.

    [1] The article repeats the point so often I suspect that he may have never said such a thing before in his life.

  21. @ Graham,

    I don’t see how. Ofcom requires them to offer the parties equal time- it doesn’t require the parties to take them up on it. If a party can’t be arsed to put together a PPB can it turn around and accuse the broadcasters of bias for airing everyone else’s?

    I really do think the precedent- and Cameron’s many, many quotes in favour of the concept of debates- changes the equation.

  22. So, four months from today, we will finally know the result, if not the ultimate outcome, of what promises to be the most fascinating general election in British history.

    And if you like charts and analysis…

  23. Nick Clegg mocked Cameron, but is in turn being ridiculed by others since, after 3 requests, he has not responded to calls for a Sheffield Hallam debate.

  24. I will say however that Cameron does have public opinion on his side – at least as far as thinking both Farage and Bennett should be included. YouGov polled on this last October:

    and although the all five together X3 wasn’t offered C/M/Cg/F X3 was the most popular option and 47% thought that Bennett should also be included in the already planned debate that includes those four. Interestingly UKIP voters were less opposed than Tory ones.

    What Cameron probably would like (C/M X3) only got 6% and C/M/Cg X3 only 14% so it’s probably that a 5 X 3 format would be the winner. And this poll was taken when the Greens were polling lower than at the moment and UKIP no worse. And I also think there was some polling from other pollsters that supported a 5 X 3 option.

  25. Sun Politics [email protected]_Politics 5s5 seconds ago

    YouGov/Sun poll tonight – Labour and Tories tied: CON 33%, LAB 33%, LD 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 7%

  26. UKIP’s New Year decline continues after yesterday’s short blip upwards. With all the Green debate news, at this rate the Greens are going to be ahead of UKIP by the time of the debates. Ofcom would be looking quite silly then.

    (see number cruncher’s graph’s to see what happened to Green VI after the last debate news at the end of last year).

  27. Spearmint

    […] Ofcom requires them to offer the parties equal time

    This is the common perception but it actually isn’t true. According to the Consultation:

    The Ofcom list of major parties is important because our rules on Party Political and Referendum Broadcasts (“the PPRB Rules”) and certain parts of the Broadcasting Code (“the Code”) impose obligations on licensed broadcasters by reference to the major parties on this list.

    Specifically, the PPRB rules require certain licensed broadcasters to offer a minimum of two party election broadcasts to major parties. Section Six of the Code requires broadcasters in their editorial coverage to give “due weight” to coverage of the major parties.

    What being designated a ‘major party’ does is get you a decent chunk of coverage and for your case to be considered seriously by the broadcasters. I should imagine that equality between the top two Parties will (or should) be a given, those with lesser support may not get as much. There were 5 PEBs for Lab and Con last time for example but only 4 for Lib Dem.

  28. Given the amount of favourable publicity DC has received over the past two/three days I imagine Labour will be happy with that.

  29. @Adge3 -“The post that I would question is where Alec says that the deflation in the eurozone will be good for Britain.”

    Not too sure how to respond to this, except to say that I don’t think that’s what I actually said. I thought I had said that falling oil prices would be good for UK consumers, in the short term, and could be a VI bonus for the Tories. EZ deflation is bad news all round, as this is our major export market.

    @Roland – “Alec may very well have your respect and the respect of others, but his view back in 2009 that the British economy was fine and now it is waiting to collapse any day soon, rather puts me in the doubter class.

    Furthermore he argued long and hard, that Labour would win in 2010.
    These things make me think he follows an agenda rather than logic.”

    Hmmm. Best put your bib back on because you’re dribbling again. Senility must be a cruel master.

    In 2009 I never predicted a Labour win, just that Cameron might surprise people and not get the massive majority that everyone had penciled in. I was also clear that the economy was in bad shape.

    I posted in the last couple of days that the UK economy continues to grow, albeit at a slower pace, and while confidence is falling relatively sharply, recession seems a long way off, so obviously either your shorter term memory is failing or you forgot your reading glasses again.

  30. The narrative around the greens is ott. Ahead of libs in a few you gov polls but not in most other polls. Urban myth being created

  31. Interesting gamble on these debates from Cameron. My gut feeling is that reference to past elections to try and imagine whether debates will happen or not is of limited use, as we are now in the internet age.

    Even in 2010, the idea of a live online debate was a bit offbeat, but it’s now mainstream. With the unregulated print media having a heavy online presence, I doubt that the traditional broadcasters have the same stranglehold on election debates, so ‘the rules’ will be far harder for leaders to dictate.

    We are effectively now in multi party politics (remember the debate about whether the Lib Dems should be included?) so I suspect the chances on one of the leaders being able to scupper the debates by refusing to appear is limited. I don’t think the empty chair scenario is as unlikely as some think, although the medium might not be broadcast TV.

  32. And amidst all the fluff, we have a third YG poll showing a tightening. This does look now like the sight widening before Christmas has reverted, although some other companies polls are needed before we can say for sure.

  33. @Number Cruncher

    Thanks for the interesting and very well presented graphs.

    I think the key ones that stood out for me were

    -the ‘house effects’ one “the pollsters just can’t agree where the parties stand” – big 2 somewhere between 60 and 70%, and the smaller parties all over the place. Hopefully we see these gaps narrowing as the election gets closer like we saw in Scotland referendum polls.

    – and the ‘undecided’s/ don’t knows’. I think the key thing here is they are overwhelmingly female, so when they start making up their minds it should push Labour into a clear lead if they follow the pattern of the other female voters.

  34. Funny how the talk was all of how the Greens were running hard and strong and looking to overhaul the LibDems, who were on the verge of obliteration …

    Until Cameron said that the Greens should be treated as a major party..

    Suddenly the UKPR “Everything DC Says or Does is Wrong” rule swings into action and the Greens are once again a bunch of nobodies whose VI increase is a meaningless flash in the pan.

    plus ça change

  35. @NC

    Thanks for sharing your informative set of 15 graphs.

    The one I found most thought-provoking was the one about Swingback. I hadn’t previously seen the historical figures plotted like this. You dotted-line (average) plot seems to show that swingback typically has a relatively modest impact over the period between 17 months and 5 months before an election, and then normally changes gear over the last five months.

    On your figures, we should be expecting to see a 1.5% VI-difference change for each month between now and the election. Changes of this order would be very easy to detect and would quickly stifle debate on this topic. It was fascinating to see whether the VIs do indeed move to plan over the remaining 17 weeks before the election.

    One matter I can’t reconcile at the moment is the apparent discrepancy between the changes in the first two thirds of your graph and the performance of Stephen Fisher’s model over the same period. According to your graph, Swingback has gone precisely to plan over the period covered by 2014. In contrast with this, Fisher’s projections for measures like ‘Tory VI’ or ‘probability of Tory majority’ have steadily had to be revised downwards over the same period. If the present cycle were indeed closely tracking past averages, then his model would not be showing systematic changes of this kind.

    I can’t work out why the two sources of evidence point to different conclusions. One possibility is that the two of you are using different sets of past elections as a basis for carrying out your analyses.

    Are you able to explain this discrepancy?

  36. @Neil A

    Not em. The more, the merrier, and that includes parties that some consider regional…

  37. Typo….”Not me”

  38. neil a

    I’m sad to see your posts, which I have always respected previously as being well-balanced, become rather more like the typical, generalised anti-left posts of some others here.

    What are you referring to in your post about the possible line-up of debates? I haven’t read much that would remotely justify your comments. In reality it would be extraordinary if ALL politicians weren’t playing politics with this issue.

  39. @Neil A
    I actually agree with DC (and if I can be bothered to read it and this doesn’t change my opinion I’ll reply to the consultation to that effect) but it doesn’t stop me doubting his motives :-)
    I read somewhere today that they are frit of the SNP suing someone.
    As others have said, we’ll have televised or internet debates of one sort or another whatever DC says.

  40. I am finding it more and more difficult to understand what changes a person’s VI. After several days of bad news for the Cons we find that the Lab lead has closed rather than increased.

    There have been several occasions in the past year when imo there has been bad news for the government or good news for Lab and yet in the following days the Con VI has not suffered nor Lab VI improved. However, there have been several occasions when there has been no apparent good news for either party and yet the VI gap has widened or narrowed.

    In conclusion, I fail to understand the average voter. Can someone tell me where I am going wrong.

  41. NeilA
    Nail on head Neil.

    Leaders debates a pointless waste of time as was amply demonstrated last time. No one is running for president, we vote for individual MPs or just along party lines regardless of the leader.
    I do detect a tightening of the polls again – swing back could be just around the corner.

  42. @PB

    Only two things change VI significantly: big events (Falklands, Black Wednesday, Omnishambles, etc), and slow longterm secular drift. The rest is churn, sampling, polling methodology, and the fact that over half the population don’t give a flying F about any of it and give the first answer than comes into their heads.

    Out of info, as an ageing disillusioned LibDem like me, have you also jumped into the Green pool?

  43. Peter

    There is very little pattern I suspect because virtually no-one is watching or listening.

    I had a brief political discussion recently with someone ostensibly interested in the subject.

    When I mentioned the upcoming election he commented that the government must be confident of winning to have called it.

  44. RN

    ” No one is running for president, we vote for individual MPs or just along party lines regardless of the leader.”

    Odd then that the Tories and the right wing press have been targeting EM so strongly for so long.

    Of course debates have relevance.

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