This week’s YouGov/Sunday Times poll is up here, with topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 33%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 15%, GRN 8%. The rest of the poll included questions on Labour and business and on intervention in Iraq.

The Conservatives are seen as having the best policies towards British business by 33% to Labour’s 19%, exactly the same split as on the economy in general. A Conservative victory at the next election is seen as being a good thing for British businesses by 44% of people, a bad thing by 23%. In contrast 43% think a Labour victory would be bad for British business, just 19% think it would be good. These questions don’t, of course, tell us whether people want a government to be good for business – when YouGov asked what the government’s attitude should be towards big business only 38% think government should primarily be supporting and helping big businesses in Britain, 49% think government should be doing more to stand up to them.

Turning to those business leaders who have criticised Ed Miliband this week, 45% of people think that the bosses of large companies should remain politically neutral, compared to 38% who think they have every right to comment on politics. There is sharp political divide on the question – Tory voters think by 59% to 31% that company bosses should intervene in politics, Labour voters think by 59% to 26% that they should keep out of politics. The idea of a CEO living in Monaco and not paying British taxes commenting on British politics goes down particularly badly, with 73% saying the intervention of Stefano Pessina is not acceptable. Nevertheless, people tend to think the criticism from business leaders is genuinely felt – 54% think business leaders are criticising Labour because they think their policies are genuinely bad for British business, 48% think they are doing do for political reasons (these includes 22% who think they are doing so for both reasons equally). 52% think that the Labour party is damaged by the comments.

YouGov also asked about intervention against Islamic State/ISIS. British air strikes against ISIS are now supported by 63% of people. YouGov asked this question very regularly last year when Britain began air strikes against ISIS, back in October 59% supported it, this is now up to 63%. 56% of people would support increasing the level of British air strikes against ISIS, but people remain opposed to putting US and British ground troops back into Iraq. 32% would support sending group troops back into Iraq, the same as when YouGov asked in October.

278 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 32, LAB 33, LD 7, UKIP 15, GRN 8”

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  1. Ashcroft by nation

    Scotland – Con 20% : Lab 23% : LD 3% : Ukip 3% : Grn 3% : SNP 46%

    and the more robust data for

    England – Con 36% : Lab 31% : LD 9% : Ukip 16% : Grn 7%


    Howards rule (where is he these days ?) was three leads in a row I think.

  3. @AbdnAngus

    For me it would be three in a row with all three within MoE, and Anthony’s seal of approval that house effects are not an issue.

  4. “Crème de Menthe, “the sort of drink nobody would order”.

    lol :-)

  5. ABERDENANGUS…………………Why don’t you just use your Euclidian distance from Monte Carlo app, it only costs 48p, well worth the spend. IMO. :-)

  6. Conservatives to finish second in Scotland?

    Maybe Labour anti business rhetoric from the media has had some effect. The next couple of polls will be interesting.
    The Greens are also sliding a lot from their peak, good for Labour? I do think Greens will tactically vote for labour and save EM.

  7. The Tories are no more three points ahead than Labour are six points ahead as suggested by TNS BMRB.

  8. Peter Crawford,
    I have the feeling that if Ed had spoken with all the skill of Cicero ,he would
    still have had what you describe politely as a run of bad press!

  9. KEN


  10. @John J

    “Conservatives to finish second in Scotland?”

    I think the headline would be “Labour finish third in Scotland”, if you are suggesting that the Conservatives overtake them. When the SNP were in the high-teens VI, the Conservatives weren’t too far away from being second.

    I doubt Labour’s woes will be quite as bad as that, but this has definitely been an age of strange political polling happenings!

  11. TOH

    “At least the Tories are planning tax cuts for all once the deficit is eliminated. That should help, they have of course already provided tax cuts for the lowest paid and indeed taken several million of them out of tax altogether.”

    Just to keep things factually correct, the substantial increase in Basic Rate tax allowances was a Lib Dem policy that was accepted in the Coalition programme in return for the Conservative policy of a reduction of the top rate to 45%.

    The prioritisation of an increase in personal tax allowances was opposed by the Conservatives at the 2010 election.

    It’s only since it was popular that Osborne and Cameron have tried to claim credit – I’d love to know if they have fooled the electorate and if it has had any positive effect on their VI. Is there any polling on this that anyone has seen?

  12. @AberdeenAngus

    What is the trigger for it to be said that purely on VI (forget seats etc) tories actually have a lead?

    You could adopt various rules of thumb. But actually the Electionforecast team maintain a chart which provides a quick answer to the question:

    This can be reached by going to the “Current Polls” tab near the top right hand part of their home page. This graph plots VI averages for each of the parties together with their confidence boundaries (represented as a shaded area). If the Tory VI moves above the upper boundary for Labour, it is safe to declare that the Tories are ahead of Labour. The EF team update their site on a daily basis, and I assume that these changes immediately percolate through to update this graph.

    Other methods would see the declaration of change being made at slightly different times. But if and when the Tories move ahead it shouldn’t be difficult to pick this up.

  13. Peter Crawford,
    I have the feeling that if Ed had spoken with all the skill of Cicero ,he would
    still have had what you describe politely as a run of bad press!

    that’s very deterministic. I think he would have been under pressure from the right wing press, but what was so damaging about last autumn’s debacle was that the destabilisation came from the left.

    It was the article in the new statesman from Jason Cowley which really started that round of nonsense speculation about johnson. there was a time at the beginning of november when mili looked very precarious… Ed’s problem in the last few months hasn’t been the vilification of the right wing murdoch/rothermere press…that was a given…it’s been the fracturing of the left, viz. increase in green & also snp support

    He hasn’t said anything to rally those guys. Personally I think a bolder leftwing agenda would help him, but he’s too timid for that too. Sheerman’s response to “weaponising the NHS” along the lines, “damn right I will weaponise it to protect it against the onslaught of this pernicious govt etc”. was excellent. Mili doesn’t have the courage of his convictions…

    I know labour supporters on this forum are very loyal publicly, and that is commendable, but he really is very weak.

  14. Enjoyed your comments re UKIP polling in Scotland Statgeek, KeithP, CB11(wise as ever) and others.

    Can I be the first to bid for Statgeek’s snowstorm? It will be worth £500 bn one day…

    Surely the post of the day is Allan Christie and his suggestion to rename UKIP. I was going to say tongue in cheek, but I think it would still be impossible to pronounce.

    I’m off to an Italian class – that is a little easier.

  15. Peter Crawford

    Oddly enough, people on the left see Cameron’s positioning on the right in the same way.

    I am not sure that the public see things through such partisan goggles.


    I fully understand where you are coming from, but the successive moves on this have been made in Budgets by a Tory Chancellor so the Tories claim the credit (technically the Government claims the credit..

  17. @ Ken


    Unbelievably there’s a Monte Carlo app, but it’s a little bit more expensive and not available in either Apple Store (where everything has to end with 9 for some reason that may well be buried in the childhood experiences of Apple senior management) or Play Store. It was developed by one of the leading VCs for investment in biotech firms.

  18. So , Populus show the Labour lead at one point, and Lord Ashcroft shows a Con lead of 3.
    Labour need to introduce a game changer soonest – but I fear the Top Team surrounding poor Ed is just not cutting the mustard.
    Still time, but getting worrying now….

  19. Oddly enough, people on the left see Cameron’s positioning on the right in the same way.
    I am not sure that the public see things through such partisan goggles.

    I am in total agreement. Cameron and Osborne b*ggered up the right. They were equally totally cut off from their grass roots. Miliband’s problem with the left only really got going last year and gathered speed autumn though.

    Both parties are led by callow 40 something year olds who have had very limited experience outside politics and have severe problems “connecting” to a broad mass of voters….

    This is just how the political process has evolved. It’s remarkable.

    If you look at the backgrounds of the PM, the Chancellor and leader of the opposition and shadow chancellor…they are practically the same person…

    all 4 were born between 1966 and 1971. All went to Oxford, where 3 read PPE and the other read Modern History. All 4 were working for senior politicians in their mid 20s, and have been in politics ever since. Interestingly, none of them has a professional qualification, or any kind of recognisable profession for that matter. (Cameron, of the 4 has spent the longest outside politics, a grand total of 6 years as PR man for Carlton TV, but that was only because the tories were wiped out in 1997. Under vaguely “normal” circumstances, he would have been expected to win Stafford that year.)

    Both Thatcher and Blair were barristers, Major had some banking qualifications, Brown actually had a PhD and was a lecturer, so he could claim to have an academic background, at least.

  20. CON 34%, LAB 31%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 14%, GRN 6%

    Scotland – Con 20% : Lab 23% : LD 3% : Ukip 3% : Grn 3% : SNP 46%

    England – Con 36% : Lab 31% : LD 9% : Ukip 16% : Grn 7%

    How come the Labour VI has stayed the same in the UK poll and the England only poll?

  21. @Alistair

    “Can I be the first to bid for Statgeek’s snowstorm? It will be worth £500 bn one day…”

    May I start the bidding at £500,000 (a snip, compared to its potential value)?


    “How come the Labour VI has stayed the same in the UK poll and the England only poll?”

    Rounding? 31.4 at one end and 30.6 at the other?

  22. Jasper

    Your sympathies may be betrayed by using “cut the mustard”. But whether you are an American playwright, a cowboy, an army officer or a farm worker is not clear.

    This expression meaning “to achieve the required standard” is first recorded in an O. Henry story of 1902: “So I looked around and found a proposition [a woman] that exactly cut the mustard.”

    It may come from a cowboy expression, “the proper mustard”, meaning “the genuine thing”, and a resulting use of “mustard” to denote the best of anything. O. Henry in Cabbages and Kings (1894) called mustard “the main attraction”: “I’m not headlined in the bills, but I’m the mustard in the salad dressing, just the same.” Figurative use of “mustard” as a positive superlative dates from 1659 in the phrase “keen as mustard”, and use of “cut” to denote rank (as in “a cut above” ) dates from the 18th century.

    Other theories are that it is a corruption of the military phrase “to pass muster” (“muster”, from Latin _monstrare_=”to show”, means “to assemble (troops), as for inspection” ); that it refers to the practice of adding vinegar to ground-up mustard seed to “cut” the bitter taste; that it literally means “cut mustard” as an example of a difficult task, mustard being a relatively tough crop that grows close to the ground; and that it literally means “cut mustard” as an example of an easy task (via the negative expression “can’t even cut the mustard” ), mustard being easier to cut at the table than butter.

    The more-or-less synonymous expression “cut it” (as in “” sorry” doesn’t cut it” ) seems to be more recent and may derive from “cut the mustard”.

  23. Looks like UKIP and LD support is bleeding to Con in Scotand.

    At what point do LD not have a chance of retaining a single seat in Scotland?

    And with SNP at 46% how many extra seats do the Tories hope to gain from Labour even if they overtake them?

    Surely if Tories and Labour split the non-SNP vote between them, does that not mean SNP takes every seat in Scotland?

  24. ole nat

    “is it when you’ve got to prove you’re English for certain things, like using the NHS?”

    That rule would prove troublesome for your many fellow Jocks who live in England and who would find it almost impossible to talk properly and thus convince the assessors that they do, indeed, qualify for treatment.


  25. @Oldnat

    As a non-academic and one who doesn’t tend to use mustard, wouldn’t a more simple origin be that mustard hides or disguises flavours, so to ‘cut the mustard’ is to see the real article (in the given context)?

    For as long as I can remember, it has been a Conservative policy to reduce income tax. In opposition, taking people out of tax altogether was Conservative policy as it was seen as more efficient than handing out welfare payments to the same people. It just so happens that this was not a Conservative manifesto pledge at the 2010 election, largely because of the country’s dire financial position, but when the Lib Dems pushed for it they were pushing at an open door. At the time it suited the Conservatives to say they had given ground in order that the Lib Dems would concede other matters and to help bring them on board.

    The 10% rate is a relatively inefficient way of collecting tax and is quite rightly opposed by the Torys.

  27. @ Allan Christie I’m not quite sure what the intended translation of UKIP was but it sounds more fun than most other things posted on here; a “parti” involves booze and music (or jelly and ice cream for kids); Plaid – as in Plaid Cymru – is the word for political party. I also think that given UKIP’s err track record in making comments on the Welsh language this won’t be their most obvious source of support in Wales

  28. Crossover and crossback seem to occur quite regler on ole Lord Ashy’s polls.

    I wonder how he does it?

  29. Allan Christie

    In Table 3 Lab in GB is 31.20. In England it’s 30.96

  30. Statgeek

    I’m afraid the opinions of non-mustard users are generally discounted in civilised society.


    Thanks for that and of course I forgot about the ole rounding stuff,


    I was just trying to bring some Welsh culture to UKPR. We don’t get much of it on here. ;-)

    The translation was United Kingdom Independence Party Wales. I put that into the Welsh translation website and it came up with it in Welsh.

  33. Chris in Cardiff

    Given the comments from the Ashcroft focus groups on Farage, “Parti” may be more appropriate than “Plaid” in this context.

  34. @Oldnat

    Will burger mustard do?


  35. OLDNAT………..Baseball jargon includes the term, ” put mustard on the pretzel” meaning, of course, to follow a fastball ( mustard ) with a curveball ( pretzel ). :-)

  36. Peter Crawford said — ”Both Thatcher and Blair were barristers, Major had some banking qualifications, Brown actually had a PhD and was a lecturer, so he could claim to have an academic background, at least.”

    Brown’s PhD was awarded 10 years after he graduated and … it was on ”The Labour Party and Political Change in Scotland 1918–29”.
    It does not seem to have done the Scottish Labour Party 1997- 2015 much good.

    Academic hubris has been Browns failure all along. At least the cleverest man ever to be PM, Harold Wilson, was ‘pragmatic’.

  37. Statgeek.
    Mustard used to be harder and rolled into balls, and you could put it in your pocket, so you could cut it or rip bits off.

  38. Ashcroft’s polls do swing back and forth quite a bit……I always knew he was a bit of a swinger!!

  39. SAMSUNG…………..Is advising customers not to discuss personal or private matters in front of its voice activated smart tv’s, turns out they listen to everything said, then transmit it back to Samsung. It seems a good idea to be speechless. :-)

  40. I have a voice activated ipad, does this mean Anthony is listening to my domestic and sometimes, 50 shades of…….stuff, stap me vitals ! :-)

  41. Peter Crawford said — ”Both Thatcher and Blair were barristers, Major had some banking qualifications, Brown actually had a PhD and was a lecturer, so he could claim to have an academic background, at least.”

    Ok Brown was the same…just makes the point.

  42. Apparently there is a TNS Scottish poll to be released tonight.

  43. Ashcroft poll shows a Lab lead before the turnout filter is applied.

  44. Bramley

    I’ve lost track of the pollsters!

    Has TNS had a Scottish poll since the referendum?

  45. Seems to be a lot of policy and partisan discussions going on that does not cut the mustard, good job AW isn’t watching.

  46. In the last London Mayoral election, YouGov had a poll for the London Evening Standard published on election day showing Boris 6% ahead of Ken. The difference was based exclusively on likelihood to vote, as without the turnout filter Ken and Boris were level. In the event Boris won by 3% and there was speculation that the poll had a bearing on the outcome (by both sides!). It probably didn’t but it does show the danger of such filters.

  47. RAF

    Isn’t it a “likely to vote” as well as a “turnout” filter? (though I’m not sure of the difference!)

    The pollsters using LTV/Turnout figures seem to be basing their figures on a very low number of people in E&W.

    Both Populus and Ashcroft (if they are actually different) show their Table 3 figures on a weighted base a little higher than the “10 LTV” numbers but less than the “10 + 9 LTV”. (they weight the must higher Scots 10 LTV down).

    So today’s Populus figures are based on 55% of the cohort and Ashcroft on 58%.

    Even in 2001, UK turnout was 60%.

  48. @OldNat

    I use “LTV” and “turnout filter” nterchangeably. I’ll allow @Roger Mexico and/or @Unicorn to correct me if I am using either term wrongly!

  49. RAF

    Nice to know that we share the same arc of confusion! :-)

  50. Ken
    I also find the recording of private conversations in the home by multinationals quite a frightening development. Its not just Samsung, I have just purchased an LG smart TV which asked for permission to do this, which I declined, however, some of its features are locked if you do this.

    This Youtube video is interesting:

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