Today’s daily YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 33%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 13%, GRN 7%. This is the first Tory lead from YouGov this week – their underlying average has the two main parties very close to each other, so we should expect normal random sample error to regularly produce both Labour and Conservative leads until and unless one party opens up a proper lead.

Also out in the early hours of this morning was a new TNS poll which has topline figures of CON 27%, LAB 33%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 18%, GRN 8%. It looks as if I may have rather jumped the gun when I said the methodology change in TNS’s last poll had brought their figures more in line with other companies, as this one seems to be back to their traditional pattern of showing a significantly larger Labour lead than other companies.


95 Responses to “Latest YouGov and TNS polls”

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  1. Lizh
    The article seems to reflect the same kind of thinking which has dominated this issue from the start which is that everyone thinks that there has to be a deal to keep Greece in the Eurozone …except those who have to put up the money. The climax is portrayed as a war to the death between M Draghi and A Merkel. Sensitively, I would point out one of them is elected and one isn’t. As Stalin was alleged to have asked “How many divisions has the Pope?”
    I never thought myself that it was too clever of the Greek minister to make himself a media star by shoving Ms Merkel’s face in the dog dirt but there you are.

  2. @BARNEY CROCKETT

    I am on the side of the Greeks. I don’t think “he shoved Ms Merkel’s face in the dog dirt”, she did that herself by being so arrogant. I find the Greek Minister a refreshing change from our politicians and I think his stance if he can pull it off will bring great changes to the EU which most of us want.

  3. BARNEY CROCKETT

    The role of a central bank is to be lender of last resort – no ifs, no buts. If the Euro does not have that facility and does not have fiscal transfers then it is nothing better than a hard peg or a new Gold Standard.

    If the Euro does not have that function then Greece (and a lot of other countries) are better off out of it. At least that way the pain would have an end point at some time.

  4. LURKER

    ECB is lender of last resort.

    The problem is , there aren’t any Eurobonds to buy.

    There are German Bonds-and Dutch Bonds-and Spanish Bonds ……….and then there are Greek Bonds.

    And each of them has a credit rating deriving from the fiscal policies of their own Governments.

    There is no Fiscal Union in EZ.

    This is one of many structural flaws in the whole creaking edifice.

  5. Hello

    Sorry if this appears to be timewasting, but after some consideration I have decided that continuing with the Lurker name is pretty silly.

    I am therefore changing my user name to Hawthorn, (with “formerly Lurker” in brackets for a while).

    I hope AW will indulge me with this.

  6. OldNat

    I see Smithson got it wrong about Survation not using political weighting in constituency polls.

    Actually he’s correct, they don’t seem to and the weighting section only mentions “age, sex, ward and likelihood to vote” (which I’ve always thought a bit sketchy if you’re not using any political weighting).

    They do ask about 2010 vote and do crossbreaks for it, but this is quite common (MORI do the same). In fact the weighted percentages don’t match 2010:

    Con 21.1% (23.5)

    Lab 17.9% (16.1)

    Lib Dem 47.3% (53.4)

    Other 13.5% (7.0)

    (Actual in brackets)

    The differences shown in the heading between weighted and unweighted figures are presumably indirect and caused by other weighting factors. The differences are plausibly due to poor recall (2010 Lib Dems are usually even more forgetful than this).

    The Survation question is a bit of a mess as they asked Let’s say the General Election was tomorrow. Which party would you vote for in your Sheffield Hallam constituency?, not mentioning about candidates or voting in May[1]. So it may be that there’s an extra Clegg boost to add (or maybe a Coppard one).

    [1] To confuse the issue the LTV question did: The next Westminster general election is now about 4 months away. On a scale of 0-10, where 10 is very certain, how certain are you to vote in the general election?

  7. I’ve just redone that poll reallocating 50% of Don’t Knows to their previous party (there are a lot of LD Don’t Knows!) and the result is now:

    Lab 30.8%
    LD 26.8%
    Con 21.5%
    Grn 11.8%
    UKIP 8.4%

    Looks slightly more sensible to me.

  8. Ben Foley

    Anthony, it looks like the TNS-BMRB opinion poll for BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour has escaped your notice. It gave an 11% Labour lead (yes, these are men as well as women).

    It was discussed on here in a previous thread (and there’s some interesting stuff in the supplementary questions), but I suspect Anthony’s ignoring it because it’s a telephone poll rather than the online ones we normally get from TNS, such as discussed here. So there’s no recent track record to go on or anything to compare it with.

  9. @ AW

    If you have time it would be nice for a write up on that Sheffield Hallam poll and whether it is “utter bilge”, a little bit bilgey or perfectly in order.

    Instinctively it doesn’t feel quite right given the different results from other polls of the same constituency but the figures are fascinating as it feels like the Tories could have been in with a chance were it not for the UKIP vote and unclear whether the Green vote is holding back Labour or helping them (it may for example have hurt the Lib Dem vote by giving them somewhere else to go when they might not have been willing to cross over directly to Labour).

  10. Allan Christie
    “My advice…Ignore it and concentrate more on Woman’s Hour cookery classes.”

    Wow, patronising or what…..

  11. ON

    Living within a brick throw of Clegg’s constituency, and knowing many erstwhile LD supporters who do live there, the retention figures at of little surprise to me.

    Sheff Hallam used to be a solid, leafy suburb, small businessman/industry manager, Natural Tory constituency.

    This, wealthiest part of Sheffield has changed beyond recognition since the late 70s. Industry collapsed. Private sector shrunk. Growth areas have been civil services (Manpower Services Commission moved there in the early 80s – now there are sections of DfES and DTI), big teaching/research hospitals and (most of all) a huge increase in the sizes of the two Universities.

    So there’s been a big change in the type of person who has the money to live in Hallam. More and more, they are “liberal” public sector/HE staff. And, of course, many thousands of students in halls of residence and private housing. These are exactly the kind of people that pre-2010 LDs appealed to. Socially liberal. Apparently economically a bit soft-left-ish.

    Look at what happened to the vote share as this demographic revolution took place.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheffield_Hallam_%28UK_Parliament_constituency%29#/image/File:HallamGraph.png

    It doesn’t surprise me at all that the Clegg would be having great difficulty retaining a big chunk of this support. I suspect he really is teetering

  12. MrN

    Interesting those figures are fairly close to the ones I revised because the original Ashcroft poll reallocated all DK and Refuseds to their original 2010 vote. If you only reallocate 50% in that poll you get:

    Con 19%

    Lab 30%

    Lib Dem 29%

    UKIP 13%

    Green 10%

    So there’s some consistency there, with perhaps a slight move to Labour in the period between (Ashcroft polled 20-22 Nov, Survation 22-26 Jan)

    Mind you I suspect that the Ashcroft leaders’ polls were done by Survation anyway (Anthony said they weren’t Populus) so maybe it’s not unexpected if there’s a certain consistency.

  13. Barney,

    “All of the Murdoch media will be doing everything possible to support the SNP. That is not only the best way to help the Conservatives but guarantees a whole party totally supportive of Murdoch.’

    Eh and just remind us all; how many current and former Labour Cabinet, Shadow Cabinet members and MP’s get paid for writing for Murdoch Papers……

    I’ll start you off with an easy couple….Mr & Mrs Balls.

    Peter.

  14. @Lurker – “The role of a central bank is to be lender of last resort – no ifs, no buts. If the Euro does not have that facility and does not have fiscal transfers then it is nothing better than a hard peg or a new Gold Standard.”

    I think that (and @Colin’s additional point about ECB bond issuing facility) are together the best summary of the terminal flaws in the entire EZ project.

    Without question, it will, at some stage, either change radically or fall apart. Whether that time is soon is the real question.

    @Coupar2802 – you asked about the damage to Lib Dems from entering the coalition.

    My view on this is that, which may well be wrong. is that it wasn’t the fact they entered coalition per se that has killed them, but two key aspects of their behaviour once there.

    Firstly, they gleefully adopted the Tory strategic position of repeating ad nauseaum the ‘Labour’s mess’ narrative. This is clearly going to seriously annoy Labour inclined voters. It made Lib Dems look like any other sound bite driven party, little interested in a ‘new kind of politics’, and placed them firmly in Tory shoes. Latterly they have exerted a more anti austerity message as the election approaches, but this smacks of opportunism rather than any establishment of clear and distinct principles.

    However, for me, the tuition fee issue was the unnecessary and most damaging element. It wasn’t just that they went back on a pledge, but they completely rewrote their entire justification for backing this policy. It was a dire attempt to claim that their previous pledge was clearly not the best option, just a few months after saying the exact opposite.

    That they expressly negotiated an opt out from this within the coalition agreement just compounds the damage. The agreement was that even front benchers could abstain on this issue.

    Had the Lib Dems stuck to their manifesto and the coalition agreement on this, I suspect they would be in a far better shape than now.

    So my belief is that it wasn’t entering coalition that did the long lasting damage, but their complete lack of trustworthiness that they opted to display once there.

  15. Going by all the waffle, waffle, waffle from Wolfgang Schäuble – I think Greek Minister has won.

  16. Many thanks to AW for allowing my change to a more sensible username.

  17. LizH
    As I said almost everyone will be supporting “the Greeks”…..except those whose support they need. I have written before about how unreasonable German opinion can be on monetary matters but the Greek government has been flamboyantly provocative given this reality and sadly, I think the poor Greek people will pay the price. At a comparatively trivial level I also have concerns that the ripples could affect politcs in the UK.
    Lurker
    For Greece the cautionary note would be probably the pain would have an end point but it will be very bad. The first problem will be establishing any currency with value in Greece. It is perhaps hyperbolic to say that it might be reduced to using another currency without a central bank like Kosovo. Of course there will be echoes of the debate about currency which formed part of the referendum argument.
    The German government alon with others will be concerned I fear to make sure the experience of Greece is sufficient to deter others from doing an Oliver Twist an outcome which may make the imbalances in the EZ worse even than it is at the mament.

  18. “Living within a brick throw of Clegg’s constituency,”

    Good job we don’t have Egyptian laws here Lefty – that could easily be construed as incitement to riot.

  19. Following last night’s revelation – in this very boutique – that betting odds are a precise indicator of who will form the next government, owr Daisie [oany tooooo but quite left-wing for a Schnoodle] has offered to regularly place her pocket money on a Labour win.

    She says that if we all do it will alter the odds and ensure that ole Mili is the next PM.

    Seems both cunning and foolproof to me.

  20. LizH
    Would like to agree but not seeing it myself. The offer to send 500 Geraman tax collectors doesn’t seem to have been taken up.

  21. Barney

    The poor of Greece are already destitute. It can’t get any worse for them.

    The Greeks also have the USA’s backing. It is not credible that they would allow one NATO member state to wreck another one.

    It is true that the Germans are inflexible and stubborn in international negotiations, as I have seen first-hand in a previous job. However, that would be the case whatever stance the Greeks take (being cosy did not do New Democracy much good).

  22. @LizH
    I’d love to share your sentiment, but I’m unsure. This will go down to the wire.

    Others can post with greater insight than I, but I’ll simply say that I am dismayed by the authoritarian outbursts from Schauble and others about how ‘elections change nothing’. The democratic deficit at the heart of the eurozone, that the left has banged on about for years, is exposed. Who runs Europe? Democratically elected government or unelected and unaccountable central bankers? I think we know the answer.

    As for the German and others’ insistence that ‘a contract is a contract’, that’s not nonsense. Any contract can be renegotiated, re-written or even cancelled if it does not do what was intended or is shown to be unjust or deleterious to one or both of the parties. If it were true, there’d be no such thing as compensation for PPI mis-selling.

    Schauble is talking tough right now, but if Greece is forced out of the euro blame will be laid squarely at the ECB and Merkel’s door, seeing as Syriza have not asked for very much more than various Nobel prizewinners have suggested. And never underestimate the fear of the unknown unknowns that would follow an (apparently) unwanted Greek exit.

  23. @Alec

    On the LibDems I just feel they got nothing out of it – not PR, AV or Lords Reform so what did they achieve for selling their souls?

  24. “That’s nonsense”, obviously – no edit function :(

  25. alec

    “Firstly, they gleefully adopted the Tory strategic position of repeating ad nauseam the ‘Labour’s mess’ narrative. This is clearly going to seriously annoy Labour inclined voters. It made Lib Dems look like any other sound bite driven party, little interested in a ‘new kind of politics’, and placed them firmly in Tory shoes”

    The above is nail-on-the-head analysis. It always appeared to me that the majority of the LD leadership just got too excited by being in government and forgot about their need to appear as non-partisan but realistic middle men.

    It was as though they were so desperate to impress Cameron and Osborne that they didn’t understand how coalition partners could and should behave. Instead they acted as though they had actually JOINED the Conservative party rather than just agreed to partner them in government.

    The thing they must be really sick about now is the realisation that they had no need to do it like that.

    Of course, the counter argument – that they truly believed it all – is even worse for them as they had previously explicitly campaigned on an opposite agenda.

    The main reason the Tory vote has pretty much held up is because they acted precisely according to type and their voters had no reason to turn away from them for doing so.

  26. coup

    “On the LibDems I just feel they got nothing out of it – not PR, AV or Lords Reform so what did they achieve for selling their souls?”

    That is a very narrow and cynical view. One assumes that they were also interested in steering the UK through a very difficult time.

    I am still of the opinion that most people enter politics to work for the common good and what we should be discussing is how their ideas match our own – not assuming that they have none.

    As Alec says and I agree, the problem seemed to be that their ideas didn’t even match their own – never mind ours.

  27. @RogerMexico

    AW’s comparison of like-with-like is (as ever) sensible, but if he was aware of the both-gender polling numbers of the TNS/Woman’s Hour poll, I would have expected Anthony to at least to have put a nod like “last TNS online poll (missing out the phone poll)”. He’s pretty pedantic like that if he knows about things.

  28. @R&D @Alec

    I was exaggerating a bit, but they really seem to have got nothing out of it.

    ‘Steering through a difficult time’? implies that the Tories were right and LibDem ideas are wrong. What LibDem principle did they get through? They would have been better C&S much more leverage and they wouldn’t have had cabinet responsibility.

  29. @Tark
    “outbursts from Schauble and others about how ‘elections change nothing”

    But in his speech now he said that the democratic will of the people does matter and each country has to make decisions based on this. Not exact translation but something like that.

    Germany did not want to look like they were giving in straightaway but they have give in. I think that the Greek Minister is an economist has made an impression on Schauble because he mentioned this in his speech.

  30. LibDems are a real advert for NOT going into coalition – you get nothing out of it and your party’s support crumbles.

    And why haven’t they panicked more than they have?

  31. As I recall, the LD leadership ground through the rigorous democratic process in their Party in order to get approval for membership of the Coalition Government. Then they ground through a policy negotiation with Cons, producing a Coalition Agreement which specified policy areas of common ground.

    Then they got on with implementing it.

    When disagreements arose they voiced them-mostly publicly.

    I can see no fault or room for criticism in the way they approached it.

    There are two main critic groups :-
    Former LD voters , presumably including LD party members, who did not like/voted against the parties decision to join the coalition-this is valid criticism-it is democracy in action.

    Labour supporters who think LDs should not have joined that coalition and/or should have persued Labour policies within it.-this criticism is merely partisan & has no democratic credentials whatsoever.

  32. “And why haven’t they panicked more than they have?”

    Because it would serve no point.

    and

    Because, I am assuming, they hope that they can squeeze another five year coalition out of May 2015 and that by 2020 they will have recovered.

    What else can they do?

  33. @Colin

    But it has really worked against them. Would you advise any small party to go into Coalition after May ’15?

  34. I misheard the news.

    When they said Germany was sending 500 tax experts to Greece, I thought they said ‘500 tank experts’.

    Ooer, I thought – you’ve tried this before. It’ll end in tears.

  35. Colin

    The proof that Alec and I are correct in our critique of the LD attitude is not calculated through the prism of our over sensitivity but by the evidence of the polls.

    They have dropped like a stone whereas the Tories have not.

    My own view was that coalition was the sensible way forward: although one could have argued for C and S that would have left them at the mercy of a Tory decision to call a second GE at a time of their choosing.

    It is not that they entered a coalition but the way their manner made it clear from the outset that they were not somewhere in the middle of Labour and Tories.

    Again, I am not saying they said they were or that they somehow should be: but they gave that impression to many millions and then shattered it.

    They certainly are trying to play that card now though: “Tories with a heart/Labour with a head”, and it is unlikely to work this time.

  36. R&D
    ‘My own view was that coalition was the sensible way forward: although one could have argued for C and S that would have left them at the mercy of a Tory decision to call a second GE at a time of their choosing.’

    That argument has often been made in justification but I have never accepted it. Another election would only have happened if no alternative Government was available from the existing House of Commons. If Cameron had threatened one the LibDems could have ganged up with Labour and the smaller parties to create another majority so putting Milliband in office as leader of the second largest party.

  37. graham

    Yes, could have been.

    Actually I’d never made that argument before myself – just occurred to em as I was writing.

    Had always though C and S a best option so one may assume that the leadership of the LDs were swayed by the thought of office.

  38. ‘Who runs Europe? Democratically elected government or unelected and unaccountable central bankers? I think we know the answer.’

    from above…

    Surely it’s also –

    Who runs Britain? Democratically elected government or unelected and unaccountable central bankers? I think we know the answer.

  39. @ Couper

    I asked yesterday why has coalition been such a disaster for the LibDems?
    ___________________________________

    Well it seems that the junior partner in a coalition generally gets hammered at the following election. See for example

    http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/how-smaller-parties-fare-in-coalition-lessons-for-the-liberal-democrats-in-the-run-up-to-2015/

    But I would say entering coalition forced them to choose sides between Labour and the Tories, but their electoral strategy was ‘vote for us to prevent ‘x’ winning’, so that immediately betrayed one set of voters.

    Add to that the focus on securing things that would benefit them as politicians – voting changes, etc, and abandoning all the things that really mattered for their voters, like tuition fees when putting down red lines and it just made them seem part of the political elite, all in it for themselves, ignoring their voters.

    So the lesson for future coalitions is focus on what your voters want when negotiating red lines, not on what you want as a political party I guess, and avoid playing parties off against each other – the vote for me to prevent ‘x’ winning argument – rather stand on policy and principles even if it means you win less seats in the short run.

  40. My take is that Clegg and Laws strong-armed the LDs into a formal coalition by passing on the message from Mervyn King that without strong Govt and a commitment to Austerity, the bond vigilantes were going to do a PIIGS on us.

    As a result the LDs had to publicly show that they were totally committed to Austerity. And that is what has boxed them in. They had no escape route. They’ve not panicked because there’s no role for them to panic into. They’re just numbly walking to destruction.

  41. New Fred

  42. ‘Well it seems that the junior partner in a coalition generally gets hammered at the following election. See for example…’

    Mind you this is not always true – in Australia the Conservatives party (ironically called the Liberals) have for decades, when in power, been in coalition with the Farmers’ Party (currently called the National Party). No major splits – it’s just two sides of the one conservative party – one being rural, one city.

  43. The real reason the coalition has been a disaster for the Liberals is the Liberal hierarchy forgot it had many people voting for it as it was to the left of the Tony Blair right wing Labour.

    In other words people voted for the Liberals asa centrist – or left of centre – party. Cuddle up to the right wing Conservatives and there goes that support, especially as Labour has become less right wing since Blair and Brown lefty…

  44. @AW

    I was interested to see that there has been at least one CVI versus SVI test in a general election. I searched a while ago and couldn’t find any at all.

    Unlike you, I am not all that confident that CVI will prove to be a better predictor of General Election voting behaviour. It seems to me that for respondents who have just indicated their (standard) voting intention, the CVI invition to think again really piles on the pressure to prioritise a local perspective. In the voting booth there will be some pressure to do this (e.g., event locality, presence of local candidates’ names) but also recent activities to encourage more national responses (e.g., PP Broadcasts, national TV, debates – if they go ahead). So my own hunch – nothing more – is that the voting shares will be somewhere between CVI and SVI shares.

  45. The Liberals were always going to lose votes, as they had many tactical anti-Tory, anti-Labour and anti-establishment votes, so they would have lost a lot of support anyway.

    I think they could have respectable poll score by not angering their core voters. I believe the Lib Dems used to top the polls among older teens and the younger 20’s, but by cutting Education Maintenance Allowance and by raising tuition fees they annoyed their core voters. The tuition fees incident portrayed them as liars and to have vested interested.

    I also think it would have been better if the Lib Dems would have made a deal to operate a few departments, maybe Education and Local Government, with all the ministers being Lib Dems. The other departments could then be operated by the Tories, and this would have given the Liberals very distinctive achievements. They would have given the Lib Dems space to shout their achievements and distance themselves from the Tories. I definitely think the title of Deputy Prime Minister was a grave mistake, as it made Clegg look like Cameron’s chummy subordinate.

    I also think the Lib Dems were too greedy with their constitutional demands, such as Lords reform, AV etc. Instead they should have demanded STV in local elections in England and Wales and once it showed that people can understand the system, they could demand more in future coalitions. This also would have kept a lot more of its grass routes campaign base and councillors intact.

    They could have used the Tory right wing backbenchers more as well, such as campaigning for an English Parliament, so long as it had semi-PR. An EU referendum might have achieved a lot as Clegg could have been on the ‘in’ team while the Tories and Labour would be reluctant to fully back any side, thereby giving the Lib Dems a distinctive point. This may have kept Tory backbenchers on side and more Liberal policies could have been passed through.

    More anti-establishment policies, like abolishing the House of lords, rail nationalisation, reducing or removing expenses at Westminster, reducing trade union donations etc. would have motivated their core voters and given them some differentiation.

    Of course its easier looking at things after they have occurred, but either way it is truly shocking that they backed the tuition fee rise, even people who know little about politics knew it would harm them.

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