We’ve had two new voting intention polls today, and both continue the trend of increasing Green party support. I briefly mentioned the monthly ICM poll for the Guardian earlier on today, which had the Green party up four points to 9%, the highest they have ever registered in an ICM/Guardian poll. Just out is the daily YouGov poll for the Sun which has topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 30%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 15%, GRN 10%.

The ten point score for the Greens is the first time they’ve broken into double figures with YouGov, and in this case it’s pushed Labour down to 30%, the lowest YouGov have shown them at this Parliament. In terms of the Labour position it’s obviously just one poll and all the usual caveats apply, but for the Greens this is clearly part of a broader trend that is being picked up across many different polls. For all the ponderings about what the effect of having the Green party included in the debates might have been, it looks as if they may be getting a pretty good boost from the arguments around their exclusion from the debates. How sticky that support is remains to be seen.

160 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 32, LAB 30, LD 8, UKIP 15, GRN 10”

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  1. David

    Parties (and their partisan supporters) have been using the “wasted vote” argument as long as I can remember – and probably long before.

    Making an argument out of naked self-interest may be reprehensible, but hardly unexpected.

  2. @Richard

    But Labour haven’t changed their tone or positions since the 2012’s One Nation speech. That’s the flaw in your argument.

    It’s not really about a Labour “saying the wrong things” so much as they’re not pushing momentum. I imagine they will start to do so at some point.

    It’s not in their best interests to do so too early, because positively accepted policies will be cherry picked and adopted by everyone else…

  3. david

    “It’s saddening that some people here turn their nose up at the notion of people actually voting for who they want.”

    Not me: and the simplest way to ensure that that is always the case is to have one person, one vote proportional representation.

    Knowing that one’s OWN vote plays a serious and significant part of deciding the make up of the H o C would be truly liberating.

  4. To use a sports analogy… Elections tend to be somewhat like bicycle racing. You want to keep in the race, so you do just enough to stay ahead of the pack throughout, and try get a team member take each of the checkpoints. But the aim of the race is to cross the finish line first, so if you sprint out ahead too early, you can run out of energy and be over-taken.

    You want to go into the election with momentum, not have your momentum fading away from peaking too early.

    I’d view the 2010-2015 history of VI as being one where Labour have been able to get some peaks of public support, then coast for stretches where their momentum wanes, while the Conservatives have been expending all their effort just staying in the game. Labour have demonstrated capacity to push far ahead, but the Conservatives have only demonstrated capacity to draw level.

  5. @ James Peel
    ‘Nobody, certainly not me, is writing off labour’s chances…we are just commenting on the erosion of labour’s support in the last year which is a palpable fact’

    But this is not true of all posters! In Jan 2014 ICM gave Labour 35% which fell to 32% in June. For the last 2 months ICM has Labour on 33% – a drop of 2% in a year.

  6. Sorry – I meant to say pollsters!

  7. That’s an interesting idea, Jayblanc, although I’m uncertain how well it will work in practice. What can they do to build momentum in the next three months?

  8. @Mr Nameless

    Well, Labour are in a position where they haven’t already announced all their policies. So the thing they can do to build momentum in the next three months is simple… Announce policies. Which they’re going to do of course.

    The Conservatives however, are in a bind, because they’ve been constantly announcing their policies for the next parliament since well into last year. There’s little room in the Conservative manifesto for any surprises to build momentum on.

    This is why I shook my head at the “They have no policies” attacks. Opposition parties rarely set out substantive policies until just before the election, for this very reason.

  9. Interesting polls today, but I think waiting for a few in a row might be better, rather than declaring party ‘x’ as flat lining, and then progressing to Westminster arithmetic. Labour could be on 34% tomorrow, and you’ll all feel silly if that’s the case. :))

    @Mr N / Allan

    If this low Labour poll is an indication of a real shift, could we be seeing the LD to Lab shift, shifting away from Lab?


    “It’s saddening that some people here turn their nose up at the notion of people actually voting for who they want.”

    Half the site’s posters are active politically in some shape or form. What do you expect? They have the most to gain/lose, so react more than others.

    This election might just be the first election I’ve ever seen, where more than a few people vote with their inclinations, rather than for a ‘vote x get y’ argument. The parties that are losing votes are doing so for a number of reasons and need to address them (rather than talk about addressing them). Peoples’ memories are long when they have been conned by policies, pledges and promises, and the misdemeanours of the parties are still quite fresh in folks’ minds.

  10. IMO the phenomenon of ingroup/outgroup is significant in each of the SNP, UKIP and Green surges.

    ‘In sociology and social psychology, an ingroup is a social group to which a person psychologically identifies as being a member. By contrast, an outgroup is a social group with which an individual does not identify….

    The terminology was made popular by Henri Tajfel and colleagues during his work in formulating social identity theory. The significance of ingroup and outgroup categorization was identified using a method called the minimal group paradigm. Tajfel and colleagues found that people can form self-preferencing ingroups within a matter of minutes and that such groups can form even on the basis of seemingly trivial characteristics, such as preferences for certain paintings.’

    Doubtless, there are very many (perhaps a majority of) voters who have made considered and informed decisions as to where to put their support. However, there are also significant numbers of activists who appear to be fanatically partisan. As Mr N reports, no matter what the evidence, or what attempts are made to reach out to them with common views, those who are not in the ‘tribe’ are treated as the enemy.

    For whatever reasons, the older established parties do not seem to inspire the same fervour.

  11. @Mrnameless

    “Do you not think there might be something in that? It’s said of UKIP that no matter how much the Tories pander, they can always go further? Should that not logically apply here too?”

    Perhaps, but then perhaps not. The Labour posters automatic assumption is maybe telling. The fact is, though, that Labour just doesn’t understand why supporters have gone to the Greens. Fundamentally their frightened that they’ll do what the conservatives did, pander to UKIP and so legitimize them and give them support.

    However that attitude is also what will stop them winning the voters back. Because, at that level, they can only stick with their current strategy of patronizing nonsense of “they all believe in some sort of green utopia”, or “they talk about Iraq and I’m just like ‘God get over it'” (which was, no joke, the gist of one argument). What they’re missing is that when people bring up Iraq what their saying is ‘we don’t trust you’. Trust can be won back though.

    Fundamentally that’s your error, you think engagement means pandering (or at least you give that impression here). It doesn’t. You can engage with people without pandering to them, by debating, opening a conversation and looking to convince people by the strength of the argument. Many of the converts will be open to switching back but they also need signs that the party is willing to understand them and treat them like adults; not like children who don’t know what’s best for them and need to be frightened into line by stories of the bogeyman.

    Of course there will always be people who call Labour Tory-lite (hey I’m one of them), but those aren’t the people you’re trying to appeal to in the group. To just assume that all Greens have that attitude is just to admit defeat and then take pleasure in sneering about how they’ll get their comeuppance when Dave gets back in. That doesn’t strike me as a winning strategy, or a particularly useful one.

    Labour can either ride their luck and hope it peters out, or they can be bold and do something about it. We know what fortune favours.

  12. OLDNAT
    Less necessary to explain the voting system in England where they only have the Euros as an alternative to FPTP, but reminding people how to vote would be a sensible exercise everywhere else, with multiple voting systems in place.

    Agreed. This didn’t start with me but MRNAMELESS’ suggestion that voters be given guidance by the EC on how the plurality system works in their own constituency.

    A Kingdom-wide sheet containing a “sample” ballot paper with a list of fictitious candidate and party names with a single X next to a random one of them strikes me as permissible but hardly required.

    Anything more covering actual names/parties and/or what happens after the votes are in the box strikes me as potentially biased or at least should be subject to audit by independent scrutiny.

    I suppose the Electoral Reform Society could do it, but IMO it’s perilously close to the state and/or the “main” parties having even more control than they do already.

  13. Anarchists Unite,

    I do admit to struggling when people bring up Iraq. Not least because it happened when I was in primary school (though I went with my dad on the march through London – he was nearly drafted and sent to Vietnam, so you can imagine). The trust explanation works best, although I don’t think Labour were ever pacifist before.

    I’m just curious as to what you think the best way for Labour to engage is. It’s not terribly easy to seek out Green supporters and chat to each one individually – although it could be something which is possible after the election, using canvass data to go and speak to Green voters. Is it an initiative you think the national party should be undertaking? Any ideas?

  14. @Mr Nameless,

    I think the basic fundamental issue is that as long as Labour maintains it’s commitment to Tory spending plans and to Austerity-Lite then I think it will struggle to differentiate itself from the Tories, however much their other policies differ.

  15. What has resulted from the ‘Vote for the party you don’t want so the one you want even less doesn’t get into power’?

    A choice between two centre right parties almost indistinguishable from each other and the Parties putting forward an alternative agenda excluded from the debate.

    So, vote for the party you actually prefer.

  16. It’s quite entertaining to see the discussions on voting for who you want, rather than on vote x get y grounds.

    My first three elections were in marginals. Since then, for the last 36 years, I have had the (dubious) privilege of living in rock solid seats (Labour in 83 and 87; Tory since). So I have a LOT of practise in voting for who I wanted, rather than tactically, since my vote has been worth less than a flea’s p*ss.

    And guess what happened last time… I voted for what I wanted, a left-of-centre socially liberal, non-authoritarian party (the clothes the LibDems wore). Then they threw off their clothes and thier undies were bright blue.

    At least I know the Greens won’t be in a position to betray me; I’d rather be an honest loser than a dishonest winner.

  17. @MOG.

    You might be miserable (although I guess you are not) but at 61 you’re hardly an old git. What does that make those of us who are at least 6 years older. -:)

  18. Peter Bell

    Youngster! :-)

  19. @Peter

    I first staretd calling myself “miserable old git” in pub quizzes in the mid 1990s… I’m already antediluvian. You must be near fossilised ;)

  20. … and as for oldNat….. (hehe)

  21. Syzygy

    I’m sure the “enthusiasm of the convert” scenario applies (rather like the attitudes of many ex-smokers to the foul weed).

    However, I’m less convinced by your suggestion that “those who are not in the ‘tribe’ are treated as the enemy” only by such converts and that “the older established parties do not seem to inspire the same fervour”.

    A wee look at Scottish politics suggests that some of those in the “in group” who find themselves on the outside can be even more extremely tribal.

  22. Couper

    “A choice between two centre right parties almost indistinguishable from each other and the Parties putting forward an alternative agenda excluded from the debate.”

    IMO, calling the LP centre-right is codswallop. Although Labour’s plan now, as in 2010, does call for some ‘austerity’ – without which NO party could ever attract enough votes to form a government – it was and is nowhere near as severe and unfair as that of the Tories since 2010 and even more so in the next five years.

    The voters for Nader in 2000 denied Gore an easy majority and enabled Bush to squeeze through with the narrowest of wins. The only justification for not voting tactically is when you don’t think there’s much to choose between the party you’ll “let in” and the other party that could win. But surely the vast majority of Greens have MUCH more in common with Labour than the Tories.

    So is not voting for Labour when it would cause it not to win a seat it would otherwise win anything other than self-righteous political onanism?

  23. Pointer

    I refer the honourable poster to the answer I gave earlier


  24. I wonder if the Scottish “No” campaign hasn’t caused small but sticky damage to Labour. Remember the Green Party has expressed sympathy for Scottish independence – I suspect many of their supporters (in E&W) were either Yes sympathisers or at least unimpressed by the No campaign – which besides widely being viewed as a negative and cynical campaign, also showcased Labour being very publicly aligned with the Tories as part of what appeared to be “the establishment”, and AGAINST what appeared to be a genuine left-wing alternative to the Tory status quo. If this perception has cost Labour a staggering 10-20% swing in Scotland, it seems reasonable to believe it might have affected their rUK vote too, albeit by a much smaller amount (I’d guess 2-5%).

    Of course it looks like the Greens are taking votes off the Lib Dems, but I suspect many of the 2010 Lib Dems voters now polling Green would have reluctantly given a “Labour” response from 2011-2014. So the Green surge is directly related to Labour’s falling numbers, I think.

  25. Oldnat

    That’s no answer.

  26. @Pointer
    The sense of entitlement from Labour supporters is over-whelming. Labour need to earn and deserve people’s votes and since the 1990’s they have consistently let the Left down with the excuse that they need to abandon their principles to get Tory votes.

    In the past week Labour have voted with the Tories For Austerity and For Trident – People are looking for an alternative. The progressive Left of SNP, Plaid and Greens are working and voting en-block and could be a very large group in May. Supporting one of these parties makes more sense for those on the left than voting to endorse Austerity & Trident by voting Labour.

  27. Looking at the tables this morning Lab from 2010 Lab fell from 79 to 74%, and Lab from 2010 LD 27 to 24%.

    The Greens are the same from Con 2010 and Lab 2010 (2% and 4%). Green from LD 2010 from 18 – 22%.

    VI by 2010 party ID for the two polls this week:


    (of course only based on two polls).

    It looks like the 2010 LDs are shifting around again.

    Tonight will be interesting to see if (as is most probable) the 10% Green score is high blip, although the high blips seen recently suggest their mean VI is shifting upwards.

  28. Also 18-24 sample was 104, weighted up to 187.

  29. Today’s YG Scottish crossbreak

    SNP 40% : Lab 26% : Con 18% : LD 5% : UKIP 6% : Grn 5%

    Mean of last 13 YG Scottish crossbreaks (sample 1940)

    SNP 41% : Lab 27% : Con 17% : LD 5% : UKIP 6% : Grn 4%

  30. Not withstanding that some UKIP voters would be considered left-wing and some Greens and Nats right wing the broadly left and broadly right split in UK side politics is very close to even.

    Pure PR (which I doubt we would ever have) would see the 50%+ 1 vote blocks switch quite often I reckon.

  31. Intouching on the issue of tribalism, I quoted the comments shouted at J Murphy in his visit to Dundee which I should have realised put my comment in to moderation!
    As it may stay there, what I also said in response to Ms Couper was that anyone who really thinks there is no difference between Labour and Conservative should vote as they feel. However my own view having looked at the newly published Centre for Cities report is that Dundee petty desperately needs a Labour government, beong at or near the bottomof so many indices.
    Those outside Scotland may be surprised to learn that Scottish cities are much more unequal than those in the rest of the UK with three of the four which qualify for mention being among the ten most unequal in the UK.

  32. Is there a ‘Miliband Effect’ in the Labour polling ?
    Would Labour be ahead if they had a different leader ?

    Which leader would have given the best polling ?

    My guess ?

    None of the usual suspects . How about Alan Johnson ?
    A ‘man of the people’.

  33. The Centre for Cities’ Cities Outlook 2015 is particularly interesting as it has ten year information showing regional changes which are very relevant to much of what is discussed here..

  34. @Robin Holden

    This is from Nov 2014:


    There are some questions about if people other than Ed was Labour Leader.

    With Ed Lab = 31%, Dave M 36%, Alan J 33%, Ed B 30%, Yvette C 31%.

    The questions are nonsense really. Dave M isn’t an MP, Alan J has said he isn’t interested (that ship has sailed), and Ed B and YC are no more popular. In addition, changing leader now would be political suicide.

    So the questions are really fantasy siilyness.

  35. A few years ago, we had Cameron claiming “Vote Blue, Get Green”.

    Now I think the boot’s on the other foot. “Vote Green, Get Blue” is much more plausible, given how closely the decline in the Labour lead over the past year has matched the increase in the Green vote share. Cameron likes that slogan too, though he dare not say so. It is very clear from this and other crossbreaks that the Greens have eaten into Labour’s share of 2010 LD defectors.

    That does not matter, of course, if you accept the claim that there is little difference of substance between the two main parties. Those who have reached that dubious conclusion and consider themselves to be on the “left” should be doing cartwheels of joy today, at the news that the Greens have hit double figures with YouGov, the fact of a 2% Con lead being a mere detail of little concern. Personally, I can’t share that elation (@Allan Christie, FPT, there’s your answer).

  36. One thing New Labour understood was the requirement for a broader left coalition of voters. Truth is Miliband has never really attempted to reach out to anyone; he has failed to really appear as anything but a London Labour elite.

    I also think UKIP and the Green rise is down to the “wasted vote” mantra collapsing as no one holds a majority. People are few up with it for years and the argument has been shown as weak. Thus voters are less won over by it.

  37. @Phil

    It looks like the political battlefield is changing.

    Each party must fight based on the rules, not yesterday’s old ones.

    The vote x, get y argument looks like it has lost it’s potency, driven I think by the loss of trust with the established parties and the establishment in general.

  38. Well well-some signs of stress on the left :-)

    Looks like the 2010 LD to Lab VI which is drifting to Green. Those 2010 LDs are a fickle bunch-the next bit of skirt & they’re off.

    I expect tonight’s YouGov will calm the troubled brows here as Labour return to a commanding lead.

  39. labour has a challenge keeping together its left coalition and for the first time this parliament, I am beginning to think dave has a chance of cobbling together a deal which keeps him in no. 10, after may 2015.

    Despite Graham pointing to 1 poll which shows labour not declining that much over the year, yougov and many of the other pollsters suggest that 2014 was a real horror story for labour….

    my own view is that labour has failed to appeal to its base while failing to dispel floating voters’ concerns about economic mismanagement. Labour have had the worst of both worlds; they are not inspiring their core support and are not putting to bed traditional doubts about their economic competence.

    At the very end of last year, balls attacked the tory deficit reduction plans which, even tories know, are unrealistic. at the beginning of this year labour retreated to the NHS and have ceded the economic ground to the tories. this wasn’t clever.

  40. I will leave it to others to judge which comments of mine are abusive?

  41. I agree with the last part of @James Peel’s post. The key issue with the floating voters who both the Tories and Labour can hope to win is competence, not likeability, so the Tories have lost those voters when they seem incompetent (Black Wednesday, Omnishambles Budget etc) not when they do something – perceived on the Left as – heartless.

    If Labour want to win the election on the centre ground, as Balls, Cooper, Reeves, Umunna, Dugher all seem to, then government incompetence is where they should be attacking. It’s not as if they haven’t got plenty of material.

  42. ‘The key issue with the floating voters who both the Tories and Labour can hope to win is competence, not likeability, so the Tories have lost those voters when they seem incompetent (Black Wednesday, Omnishambles Budget etc) not when they do something – perceived on the Left as – heartless.’

    Disagree, most voters are in the centre, by definition of a bell curve. When policies of either party drift away from the centre then the floating voter is further away. Ask Labour in the 1980s… So, as the Conservatives go far right wing to stop UKIP they get further away from those who will swing.

    In other words the bell curve of voters says many not very committed voters will accept right wing Labour Policies (Blair) because that is very close to ‘left’ wing Conservatives. This is the battle ground, and it always has been. The impact then is on hip pocket nerve.

    Competence? In this cynical age the swinging voter assumes all are incompetent…

  43. Its seems to me that labour spent the firts few years making vaguely left wing noises. In recent months they have reaffirmed their commitment to austerity and sticking to tory spending targets – the result?
    A hemorrhage of support to the greens and the SNP in scotland.

    They had this election in the bag – they jsut needed to keep those lib dem defectors. Whoops.

  44. Barney

    Has someone been saying that your comments were abusive? I have seen no such suggestions on here.

  45. So Labour are (still) at about 33%
    And the Conservatives are (still) at about 32%

    Allowing for a (fairly typical) late swing in favour of the current government, that makes Conservatives the largest party. But no overall majority.

    So it (still) looks like a Conservative Minority government or Labour forming a rainbow coalition with the LD and SNP and maybe even the SDLP and Greens.

    It’s (still) that way and it has been that way since the Scottish referendum.

    Nothing changed so far……

  46. @Jack, how do you explain why Tory falls in polling have coincided with policy failures, rather than with Labour pulling to the centre?

    Other than your last sentence, I’m not sure that anything you posted contradicts what I said.

  47. @Catmanjeff

    “Each party must fight based on the rules, not yesterday’s old ones.”

    Like it or not (not, in my case), the rules are still FPTP. And while it’s fine to argue that some form of PR would be an improvement, to act as though PR is already here would be folly in a marginal seat.

    “The vote x, get y argument looks like it has lost it’s potency”

    I quite agree. It doesn’t mean that it’s not true, though. The polling data is suggesting that it is quite possible, even probable if this is a trend not a blip. If the Greens rise further to 12% at the expense of Labour down to 28%, with a 4% Tory lead, it really would be. And “Vote Green Get Blue” might be true even on this poll, if the polls really are underestimating the underlying Tory lead, after allowing for the impact of a lousy electoral register and so on.

  48. Can Labour or the conservatives be considered to have won in circumstnaces where they achieve a third of the vote or less. If we might see M.P.’s from particular constituencies elected on a quarter of the vote for that constituency can it be said, even on an individual constituency basis that they have a mandate. There is a real danger in the current situation that people will consider that any gvernment has no legitimacy.
    This is particularly important in an era (from 1997 on) where legislation has been introduced not with the primary intent of creating policy but as a form of PR. We have a group of politicians (from all parties) who are philisophically illiterate when it comes to recognising such matters as the separation of powers, to them the rule of law is what the government says it is (we have never been closer to Hailsham’s nightmare of the elective dictatorship).
    Yesterday was democracy day, I fear for us chaos lies ahead and whether democracy can survive that turmoil will depend on the emergence of a genuinely principled political class.
    Douglas Adams once wrote that power should never be given to those who seek it. At that time at least those given the power by the electorate had convinced above 40% of the electorate.

  49. @David in France

    This present government hasn’t got a majority either.

    A result of Con 305 seats, LD 30 would be quite enough for another 5 years of the same.

    Those on the right will find your prediction reassuring, and those on the left won’t be taking any crumbs of comfort from it.

  50. @Mrnameless

    “The trust explanation works best, although I don’t think Labour were ever pacifist before.”

    Huh, we must be around the same age.

    Labour weren’t pacifist certainly, but people’s problem with it was that they felt that the party lied to them to start a war. It may have been done with noble intentions (getting rid of a dictator), but if people are suspicious about what they were told the reasons for the war were they’ll be suspicious about the motives (hence the idea that it was all about oil). As to winning people’s trust back on the point I suppose the starting point would be the Syria vote and the fact that Milliband opposed the Iraq war as evidence for change.

    “Is it an initiative you think the national party should be undertaking? Any ideas?”

    Ironically the TV debates would be a good forum for it…

    When the campaign trail properly starts would be the time, I suspect. There’s more media coverage and opportunity to have ‘town hall’ debates, as well as speak to individual voters. Prior to that there’s knocking on doors (that you do) and then taking interests in the answers that greens give when you stumble across them. Social media is rubbish as a forum for debate, but it can be a good way of finding out people’s grievances and reasons. Your student party could also offer to have a public debate with the green student party.

    As I’ve said progress would be made by scotching the ‘vote green get blue’ argument. People respond better to imaginative vision than they do fear. It’s no coincidence that Labour have always jumped up in the polls when they revealed policies to that effect (and dropped/stagnated when they do technical stuff, or how dreadful the Tories will be). That I’d suggest is part of the reason for the greens rise – they do have a vision and some are finding it quite appealing. You can’t beat that with fear only by demonstrating how your vision is better (plus more realisable – most greens will be aware they don’t have a chance of being in government).

    For what it’s worth that’s my advice.


    “So is not voting for Labour when it would cause it not to win a seat it would otherwise win anything other than self-righteous political onanism?”

    The trouble with that logic is you’re assuming it doesn’t apply to the other side – when you do that the Tories win (add UKIP to their score and the Green to Labour’s score…)

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