Two polls in the Sunday papers. Opinium in the Observer have Labour and the Conservatives neck and neck, with topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 34%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 14%, GRN 7% (tabs). Fieldwork was between Tuesday and Friday, so was largely before the debate debate flared up again. YouGov in the Sunday Times had fieldwork conducted on Thursday evening and on Friday, so was conducted when the media fuss over the debates was in full flow. It had no obvious effect upon the results – topline figures were CON 34%, LAB 33%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 15%, GRN 5% (tabs).

The YouGov poll contained several questions about the debates – people support the principle of leaders debates by 69% to 19% and by 57% to 8% think they are good for democracy. The 7-7-2 format of debates is supported by 45% of people. 21% would prefer a different format, 14% would prefer no debates at all. The idea of just a straight debate between Cameron and Miliband is supported by 42% of people, opposed by 42% of people (the result here makes me think that many respondents interpreted the question as meaning the two way debate as the ONLY debate, as opposed to supporting that as one of three debates).

If David Cameron doesn’t agree to take part in the debates 55% think the debates in general should go ahead without him, but they are more evenly split on whether the head-to-head debate with Miliband should go ahead without Cameron – 39% think it should, 41% think it should not. 38% blame Cameron for the breakdown in the debate negotiations, 13% the broadcasters, 23% both equally, 26% say neither or don’t know. Despite this there is no obvious damage to David Cameron’s own ratings – 44% think he is doing a good job, 50% a bad job, completely unchanged from a week ago, voting intention is similarly unchanged. I expect it’s an instance where people would like the debates to go ahead and blame Cameron for blocking them… but really don’t care enough for it to change their opinion of him. If there is any impact from this, I expect it would be when (or if) the actual debates happen.

YouGov also asked some questions about Russia, immigration and tuition fees. 72% of people think that Russia under Putin poses a threat to the West (22% a serious threat, 50% some threat). The West’s current regime is seen as being not tough enough by 46%, compared to 23% who think it is about right and 11% who think it is too tough and counterproductive. Despite this there is limited support for tougher action in Ukraine – only 27% would support supplying arms to Ukraine, only 18% would support stationing troops there. People are more supportive about posting British troops to NATO states bordering Russia like Estonia and Latvia – 44% would support stationing British troops there, 34% would be opposed.

76% of people think that the government should be trying to reduce immigration and almost as many (72%) think the government should try to put a cap on the maximum amount of immigration allowed each year. Asked about the principle of an specific figure 52% of people would prefer an annual cap or limit, 36% think a limit isn’t practical and governments should not try to set a specific figure. Despite Nigel Farage’s recent rejection of the idea of a specific cap, the idea is most popular amongst UKIP voters – 72% of Ukippers think governments should be setting a specific cap on immigration.

Labour’s proposal to cut tuition fees from £9000 to £6000 meets with majority support, with 54% supporting and 27% opposed. Asked who it would benefit, 37% think all students, 28% students who earn low or average wages. Only 20% of people believe that the policy would mostly benefit students who go on to earn high wages – the main criticism that’s been thrown at the policy. Asked about the abolition of pension tax breaks that Labour are using to fund tuition fee cuts and that the Conservative party may be using to fund a national insurance cut, 24% would rather see it spent on a tuition fee cut, 32% would rather see it spent on a national insurance cut.

435 Responses to “Sunday polls from YouGov and Opinium”

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  1. Interesting poll this in that it is unusual for Yougov to have the LDs as high as 8% alongside a Tory lead of any note. Tory leads tend to coincide with a low end LD score. Perhaps a slight under representation of the LD support but this one is different. Good poll for Cameron in any case.

  2. “Are the floaters so frightened of the two leaders, that they overcompensate in their reaction against when one of them seems to get the upper hand?”
    The average punter isn’t noticing any of the stuff we obsess about. I assure you that..
    For Yougov to have a 4 point lead for the conservatives in ANY poll less than 2 months from the General Election is horrific for labour who were enjoying 6 or 7 point leads only a year ago.

  3. “@ JAMES PEEL
    Labour would no more tear itself apart than the Tories in opposition.”

    A lot of Labour supporters are being hit by immigration or perceive that they are being hit, like higher population = more demand for social housing and higher house prices. So Labour have a long term problem. The Greens also appeal to left wing Labour supporters, so will leach support their too.
    If they poll low 30’s whilst in opposition and with swingeing cuts from the Tories, it really is poor. Not to mention Scotland!


    No spinning required. YouGov was very positive for Lab on Friday and poor for Con. I can’t recall Lab supporters on here cracking open the champagne then and absolutely no need to be slitting wrists tonight. [I should hope not, as the comments policy requires people to post in the spirit of non-partisanship. No one here should be posting as a “labour supporter” – AW]
    YouGov may well have Lab well ahead by this Friday.

  5. That Glasgow poll

    City poll puts SNP further ahead
    A POLL has shown support for the SNP in Glasgow up almost 10% in the last three months.

    The poll by populous has the SNP on 45.8% and Labour on 28.5%. The Tories are third on 11.9% and the LibDems on 6.1%.

    The latest findings add to Labour’s woes in Glasgow with constituency polls by Lord Ashcroft showing the SNP on course to win six of the seven city seats.

    The UK wide Populus poll was carried out in February, across the major cities of around 14,000 people with more than 600 in Glasgow.

    It showed the rise in SNP support in the city at 9.8% while Labour dropped 9.5% since November last year.

    The change since the 2010 election is even greater with the SNP up 28.5% dan Labour down 27.7%.

    The poll put UKIP on 5% in Glasgow, ahead of the Greens on 2.5% and not far behind the LibDems.

  6. Is this the breakthrough? I suspect there might be some stained trousers in Labour HQ. We will know by next weekend.

  7. I wonder what the fall out in Scotland will be if there is another Tory government?

    Of course there is nothing Scotland can do to prevent one but will Labour say ‘We told you so, you voted SNP and now you’ve got the Tories’ and will people believe them?

  8. @Paul Bristol

    When Labour look to be nailing an issue, the Tories grab the lead.

    Maybe ‘nailing an issue’ just means nailing an issue with partisan supporters.

    Labour supporters hear “Cameron is frit”

    Floating voters hear “all he talks about is debates. Who cares, debates don’t change my life. I want someone who can run the country – what are your policies, what are you going to do?” Just bash the Tories for 5 years?

    Labour need to get out of the Westminster bubble and start talking about why they will be better at running the country, and why they enjoy their jobs and how they will help people. Positive campaigning. Easy.

  9. What ridiculous hyperbole,horrific polls and parties tearing themselves apart etc.Some people really need to calm down dear.

  10. MIKEY

    “YouGov may well have Lab well ahead by this Friday”

    Indeed but did write ” However there is always Tuesday night so the pendulum could swing back towards Labour”

  11. @ JOHN J

    We have been here before. When Labour lost the 92 election all the so called experts said Labour were finished because they couldn’t even win in the midst of a recession. They won a landslide five years later.
    It may well be that the the electorate are not ready to re- elect Labour and don’t see Miliband as Primeministerial.
    If that’s the case Labour will remain in opposition but under a different and more charismatic leader there is no reason why they would not recover.

  12. John J
    Whenever Ed M is in the news, usually on a monday, Labour fall behind in the polls. Just noise? I’m not sure. I bet you we will be level again come Thursday, which will coincide with Ed out of the media for 48 hours.

    Of course, given the lag between the start of fieldwork and the publication date for any given poll, and the fact that EM is very frequently in the news on a Wednesday since that’s when P.M.Qs happen, that theory doesn’t really hold water.

  13. Maybe its the weekend media causing these Monday dips. Big business and the media don’t want Labour and higher taxes, so are trying to undermine Labour and paint a worst case senario for a Labour government, ie far higher taxes, economic crisis, and spending cuts.

  14. @Richard

    “I want someone who can run the country – what are your policies, what are you going to do?” Just bash the Tories for 5 years?”

    In fairness to Labour, that strategy has worked well for the Conservatives.

  15. @Richard

    Agree 100%, but I doubt we will see any positive campaigning from three desperate party leaders. Expect several weeks of more of the same.

  16. @ ANN IN WALES

    I could not agree more.

  17. @Anarchists Unite

    Not really, they are also in the low 30’s. If they did the same thing I am suggesting Labour do they would be significantly higher in the polls.

    People on this site enjoy politics, and even they are turned off by constant ‘ you are toast, no you are toast’. Same with the public in my view…

  18. Just for a moment let’s think the unthinkable, and imagine that a politician wins the next GE. if this happens, it’s likely to be Cameron or Miliband. So now what for the loser?

    If Miliband wins, I think Cameron would go within days, or at least he would announce his resignation as leader and the wheels would be put into motion. Who would be likely to stand for leader? Hague’s dropping out, Fox and Davies have had their chance. Maybe Theresa May, or Boris?

    If Cameron wins, I think he’ll resign before the next election, to allow his successor a decent chance, but what of Labour? They are less ruthless with losing leaders than are the Tories (e.g. Kinnock). Would Miliband cling on? If not, who are the contenders? I’ve always thought Burnham seemed more capable than most of them, but he’s a Catholic, which would make it difficult for him to advise the queen on bishops’ appointments for instance. It could probably be overcome, but it would be complicated. Alan Johnson? Chuka Umunna?

  19. I don,t know anything about stats but I have a gut feeling, and I just feel this is just beginninnng to move to Blue, [snip – comments policy pls – AW]
    I think Tories plus NI Unionists plus UKIP plus a few right leaning leaning Labour ( shock horror, ther are a few grandees who may enjoy some time in government who never, ever suported Ed&Ed) and Lib Dems will see DC through the next 5 years.

  20. Jamie

    Welcome – but what do you think of the polls?

  21. Pete B

    “but he’s a Catholic”

    Well, that’s an interesting reason to reject a political leader.

  22. @John J

    There is simply no statistically reliable evidence at the moment to support a hypothesis that early mid week polls benefit the Conservatives a nd the later ones benefit Labour.

    I am checking weekly, so will post if evidence does appear and is reliable.

  23. Sorry AW, did not know you could not comment on speeches by prospective Chancellor’s of the Exchequer!
    The polls are still all over the place, but a small pattern is beginning to emerge, and your statisticians are getting it.
    I am not actually a ‘true blue’ Tory, but I cannot see them losing this, 38 % on a You Gov poll within 3 Weeks, we will see.

  24. Ashcroft’s poll doesn’t look quiet as odd with that YG poll.

    Would it be fair to say that with MoE at around 2.5%, we’re seeing it swinging around a bit? With 35 / 31 either way with days of each other, I hereby declare it a draw.

  25. ON
    You know full well that I said in my post
    ” which would make it difficult for him to advise the queen on bishops’ appointments for instance.”

    The Queen is the head of the Church of England (sorry, don’t know or care about Curch of Scotland), but in that capacity the PM has to advise the queen on the appointment of Anglican diocesan bishops. As a Catholic, this would not sit well with those who believe this stuff. As I said, it could be overcome, I’m sure, but would complicate matters. e.g. Blair delayed the announcement that he was a Catholic until after he had left office.

  26. @David in Oxford

    When someone has a gut feeling, I do start to feel queasy.

    There will be so many twists and turns in a such a close run battle between now and polling day, I don’t believe anyone will be able to start calling this until the campaign proper starts in the last month. The only pattern emerging ATM is a Jackson Pollock.

  27. Regarding Con VI with You Gov in 2015.

    If you take each each data point and plot a two sided CUSUM (sensitive to changes less than 1.5 sd) you get this:

    Three distinct zones are identifiable:

    a – a decline
    b – a variable middle part
    c – a solid rise (up to now)

    If you compare a,b and c to each other (ANOVA) you get the following output:

    This shows the rise in Conservative VI.

  28. YouGov/ITV Wales/Cardiff University (Wales Westminster):(via NC)

    CON 25 (+2)
    LAB 39 (+2)
    LIB 5 (-1)
    PC 10 (=)
    UKIP 14 (-2)
    GRN 6 (-2)

  29. Pete B

    Of course, I saw that, but you are still essentially saying that only a communicant member of the Church of England can be PM of the UK.

    Nice to know that you would equally disqualify Presbyterians like Gordon Brown and any others with Dissenting beliefs.

  30. If Labour do lose how will Milliband be able to live with himself? I really do ask that in the most serious human terms. To think that if he had gone last Autumn and handed over to someone else and that as a result his party would have a comfortable lead must surely make him think that he has personal responsibility for the misery and human suffering that would follow from re-electing this government. Faced with that reality many would not cope. I could have made the difference – now so many lives are being blighted because of me.!

  31. new thread…

  32. ON
    You’re just being silly. I wouldn’t disqualify anybody, even if I were in a position to do so. I don’t care which version of the magic goblin in the clouds any of them choose to worship or pretend to worship.

    I was simply pointing out that eminent former politicians such as Mr Blair felt it necessary to disguise their Catholicism, and I’m not aware of any Catholic PM in the past.

    However, I’d forgotten that Brown was a Presbyterian, so perhaps that has set a precedent?

    So, to get back to my original point, if labour lose would Milband resign or be sacked, and if so, who would replace him? I suggested Burnham, Johnson and Umunna. Any other candidates?

  33. Interesting numbers from Wales. These poll results seem to indicate the best case for the Tories is holding their current eight seats.

    Five percent for LibDems reduces them to a single Welsh seat and PC at 10% keeps their current 3 seats in their column.

    The real winner is Labour who take 28 seats.

    When you couple those seats with 55 plus SNP/Labour seats in Scotland, it appears that the Conservatives need a massive win in the English ridings. With LD and UKP at less than 15 combined, the Conservatives need more seats in England than they had in 2010.

    With current polling at less than 2010 numbers, this seem highly unlikely.

  34. There is a huge difference between the commercial polls, with small samples and the various media straw polls, with very large samples. UKIP in particular does very well indeed in the “unscientific” media free for alls. The recent MSN poll is a good example.
    Something is wrong here. UKIP don’t have the capability to influence straw polls, so why are they so far ahead in them ? Are their supporters shy in admitting how they will vote when questioned by pollsters.

  35. Because open access straw polls are worthless, don’t kid yourself.

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