There are new YouGov voting intention figures for the Times this morning, with topline figures of CON 39%, LAB 30%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 3%. The Conservatives continue to have a solid lead and there is no sign of any benefit to Labour from their party conference (fieldwork was on Wednesday and Thursday, so directly after Jeremy Corbyn’s speech).

Theresa May has been Prime Minister for two and a half months now, so we’re still in the sort of honeymoon period. Most of her premiership so far has consisted of the summer holidays when not much political news happens and she’s had the additional benefit of her opposition being busy with their own leadership contest. Now that is over and we approach May’s own party conference and the resumption of normal politics.

Theresa May’s own ratings remain strong. 46% of people think she is doing well, 22% badly. Asking more specific questions about her suitability for the role most people (by 52% to 19%) think she is up to the job of PM, she is seen as having what it takes to get things done (by 53% to 19%), and having good ideas to improve the country (by 35% to 27%). People don’t see her as in touch with ordinary people (29% do, 40% do not) but that is probably because she is still a Conservative; David Cameron’s ratings on being in touch were poor throughout his premiership. The most worrying figure in there for May should probably be that people don’t warm to her – 32% think she has a likeable personality, 35% do not. One might well say this shouldn’t matter, but the truth is it probably does. People are willing to give a lot more leeway to politicians they like. In many way Theresa May’s ratings – strong, competent, but not particularly personally likeable – have an echo of how Gordon Brown was seen by the public when he took over as Prime Minister. That didn’t end well (though in fairness, I suppose Mrs Thatcher was seen in a similar way).

The biggest political obstacle looming ahead of Theresa May is, obviously, Brexit. So far people do not think the government are doing a good job of it. 16% think they are handling Brexit negotiations well, 50% badly. Both sides of the debate are dissatisfied – Remain voters think they are doing badly by 60% to 10%, Leave voters think they are doing badly by 45% to 24%. Obviously the government haven’t really started the process of negotiating exit and haven’t said much beyond “Brexit means Brexit”, but these figures don’t suggest they are beginning with much public goodwill behind them.

Finally, among the commentariat the question of an early election has not gone away (and will probably keep on being asked for as long as the Conservatives have a small majority but large poll lead). 36% of people currently want an early election, 46% of people do not. The usual patterns with questions like this is that supporters of the governing party do not normally want an election (they are happy with the status quo), supporters of the main opposition party normally do want an election (as they hope the government would be kicked out). Interestingly this still holds true despite the perception that an early election would help the Conservatives: a solid majority of Labour supporters would like an early election, most Conservative supporters are opposed.

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1,094 Responses to “YouGov/Times – CON 39%, LAB 30%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 3%”

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  1. I must say the the conservatives had a fantastic conference, they ditched to old very smoothly and addressed the concerns of ordinary people clearly. May has really understood the leave vote as a howl of rage against an elite that is out of touch and has understood the mood for state intervention, people are fed up with being ruled by the markets. The screams from the traditional institutional supporters of the conservative party was a real vote winner. I can imagine my family switching or being tempted to switch from corbyn to May. Its almost like she is promising to throw out the bathwater but not the baby at a time when a lot of people would accept the baby being thrown out as long as we get rid of the bath water.

    Of course the inconsistencies will become apparent after a while and things will go downhill for May

  2. NEILA

    Exactly.

    I was interested in Starmer’s apparent equivocation over Corbyn’s “unlimited” stance.

    26% for Labour is well and truly attached to the latter , I feel sure.

  3. @Neil A
    Local by election results for County Councils have not been particularly bad for Labour – indeed several show pro-Labour swings from 2013. I would expect Labour to make gains from UKIP. Moreover, in 2013 the Tories were able to hang on to seats which would otherwise have been lost to Labour as a result of the strong UKIP vote.
    Scotland looks bleak overall for Labour. Even there,though, there are some signs of SNP expectations being scaled back. In last week’s by election in Glasgow the SNP took the seat from Labour -polling 43% to Labour’s 39%. As recently as this May’s Holyrood elections saw the SNP on 57% in the same area with Labour on 33%. Perhaps another straw in the wind to suggest that peak SNP was seen in 2015.

  4. @Alan

    >Allowing the Erasmus exchange to continue would constitute a move from “no immigration unless we have complete control” towards allowing Erasmus to have some level of control. That would be a movement of a red line and one I’d hope to see.

    At less than 12 months Erasmus visits do not count as immigration, and they are authorised by an accepting instution. Since visitors are part way through an academic course there is little or no danger of people absconding.

    I guess one exception might be people applying for political asylum, but process has not been questioned by anyone afaik.

    > I’m sure some Brexiteers on the extreme edge would still see them as foreigners and we should have complete control over their numbers.

    I don’t beiieve that, and I haven’t seen anyone suggesting it.

    I think everyone on the Brexit wing is aware of the importance of soft-power.

  5. Neil A – “I still think we’ll see Labour leads within 18 months to two years of now.”

    I think the Conservatives might lose their lead due to mid-term blues, but whether Labour benefits is a whole other question.

    People didn’t pay much attention to the Labour leadership contest in the summer, it was so tedious and arcane. And then when Corbyn won, they shrugged and switched off. Nothing that happened in the Labour conference impinged on the public. They’re still fighting with each other (something about the whips office?) but even political types are no longer paying attention.

    People have written them off, and I think we shall start to see movement towards other parties. More towards the LibDems than UKIP, who I think have blown it.

    I’m still puzzled at the LibDem position in the polls, given that on the ground people are opting for them when they want to give either Con or Lab a kicking. The Witney by-election is on 20th Oct – just over a week and a bit to go. Eager to see whether something changes.

  6. I think this bad poll for labour will still be blamed on the PLP Rebels, its going to take time for the damage done over the summer to unwind. Actually that’s wrong, the damage done is semi permanent, it will take 20 years for that damage to be completely undone, optimistically! I can’t believe that the so called moderates were so kamikaze, I’m still very annoyed with them.

    Labour will need a new leader before 2020, the PLP have destroyed corbyn in the eyes of the public but as long as they refuse to allow more open leadership elections he will have to stay. Clive Lewis is probably the best hope for labour in 2020. The engineered split with corbyn over trident was a good move.

  7. So much for needing to be “pro-business” to be popular!

    Bye bye Thatcherism.

  8. Neil A.

    Your reason for voting Brexit, as a means to reduce or eliminate greenfield development, is unusual and interesting.

    As someone who grew up on the edge of Dartmoor, I share your love of wild places and desire to preserve them. I have seen the pressures of development through population shifts (including from places like London to places like Plymouth. Ahem…).

    But increased demand for land for housing and infrastructure is the result of many societal factors, of which EU migration is only one. Reduced household size (more divorces, increased longevity) is one important factor. Our willingness to sell dwellings and land as investments to rich foreigners is another. So is our preference for low-density housing, with each little new box having its own garden.

    There are many potential policies for preventing ‘land grab’ for housing. For example, dual-use development (instead of a single-storey Tesco surrounded by car parking, how about putting the car park under the shop, and flats above Plus more housing where the car park used to be.)

    And there are other ways to reduce net migration.; for instance, encouraging emigration. A favourite of mine is to build old people’s homes in sunny parts of Europe where labour is cheap and society embraces old people. How many British homes could be freed up by their elderly occupants being offered places in an old people’s home on a Greek island? (Good for the Greeks too, of course).

    My point is that there are loads of things we could be doing to address your concerns. Sadly, our political process doesn’t seem to support the development of imaginative, long-term policies to improve general well-being.

  9. With fewer Britons able to retire to Spain, they will just move to Cornwall instead.

    I can’t see how a depressed part of the country in the far west such as Cornwall is going to be massively affected by Eastern Europeans. They do know that Rick Stein is English, don’t they?

  10. HAWTHORN

    @”I can’t see how a depressed part of the country in the far west such as Cornwall is going to be massively affected by Eastern Europeans.”

    Who said they would-directly.?

    Cornwall is on the Conveyor from London & the SE. 44% of Londoners are from ethnic minorities.

  11. Somerjohn “Sadly, our political process doesn’t seem to support the development of imaginative, long-term policies to improve general well-being.”
    How true, usually because they cost a bit more, either in money or thought..

  12. @CAMBRIDGERACHEL

    “I must say the the conservatives had a fantastic conference, they ditched to old very smoothly and addressed the concerns of ordinary people clearly. ”

    You have got to be joking. Can you not see that this is all rhetoric. The proof of the pudding will be on the Autumn statement and next Spring’s Budget, as well as the way Brexit is handled. I’m not holding my breath.

  13. @HAWTHORN

    “With fewer Britons able to retire to Spain, they will just move to Cornwall instead.”

    Yes, and push up house prices even further out of the reach of local people. Not a happy thought. Or maybe we could introduce immigration controls into Cornwall – internal ones.

  14. Neil A & Colin etc.

    Only 7% of our green and pleasant land is covered over atm. I’m sure another 2% over the next 50 years won’t kill us. We just need to make sure that it’s not all in the same region, i.e. pre-empt disproportionate impacts in small areas as far as possible.

  15. Somerjohn,

    I am a strong advocate of most of your other solutions too. My particular bugbear is the density of housing. I’d be very much in favour of the government borrowing large sums to replace poor-quality postwar housing (Southway, Whitleigh etc) with modern, energy-efficient, taller and more compact housing and increasing the density on those sites in the process. This could increase the amount of housing without the loss of a single field.

    I would flatten every bungalow in the country too.

    The family dynamics issue is raised frequently. Whilst it was once very true, I think it is now a historical fact not a current driver, and is largely just a deflection. I see no evidence that families have splintered further in the past 15-20 years. If anything the increasing proportion of migrant families, and spiraling housing costs, have probably increased the net cohesion.

    Exporting old people is fine, although that too has peaked. It also has consequences for the countries that receive them. The lament in Southern and Eastern Europe is that there are whole communities with no one under 60. It is not old people they’re after, but their youth that we’ve nicked off them.

    But for all that, there is no party actually offering these options. As I explained, the only lever on offer was “Leave”. So I pulled it.

    Ultimately, when the net increase in population is in the hundreds of thousands a year, no amount of tinkering with architecture and town planning is going to prevent the need for greenfield development.

    I also suspect that my reasons are not that “unusual”. I think that a lot of Leave supporters are not the frothing neo-nasties of Remainers’ nightmares, but quiet sensitive souls looking to do good, not harm. I am thinking of Colin’s country-walking Cornish friends.

    @Hawthorn,

    There are very large numbers of Eastern European migrant workers in Cornwall, servicing the agricultural and meat-packing sectors. All whilst people talk endlessly about how there are no jobs for Cornish people. There are caravan parks that have become essentially permanent colonies of migrant workers.

  16. COLIN/TANCRED

    The boost in house prices in Cornwall is due to holiday home owners as any fule no. Brexit makes no difference to that one way or the other. The government could have put controls on property ownership to prevent that, but chose not to do so.

    I would not be surprised if Theresa May tried to do that, now she has buried Thatcher’s legacy on economic policy.

  17. Tancred

    Who says CR didn’t mean the rhetoric? I think it’s pretty clear that she meant politically they had a good conference – hence her making the comment in the wake of the news of the ICM poll showing Tories’ bumper lead.

  18. Tancred

    I didn’t say I believed the message from the conservative party conference, I was merely describing how it looked

  19. NEILA

    “There are very large numbers of Eastern European migrant workers in Cornwall, servicing the agricultural and meat-packing sectors. All whilst people talk endlessly about how there are no jobs for Cornish people. There are caravan parks that have become essentially permanent colonies of migrant workers.”

    So they are not building over green fields then.

    Still, the green fields will definitely be safe if their agricultural economy tanks

  20. @BT says

    “Only 7%” you say.

    Such a tiny amount.

    I’m sure if you had full thickness burns over 7% of your body you’d barely notice.

  21. More likely, it will be the Cornish who end up in the caravans.

    A bit difficult for them argue after 30 years of moaning about “furriners” taking their jobs.

  22. MATT WARDMAN

    Many thanks for an interesting post, your comment about the miners strike resonates, so you might be correct in saying that hard Remainers will still be unhappy in 20-30 years time. More likely I think is that in the longer term Brexit will have turned out to be an economic success and 90% of the population who voted in the referendum will have claimed to have voted to leave.

  23. @Hawthorn,

    Facetious much?

    Of course not all migrants are living in caravans. The lack of housing, caused by internal as well as external migration, and massively aggravated by second-home ownership, means that caravan parks which were intended to be for holidaymakers are being repurposed, despite the constant development of new estates on the outskirts of every town in Cornwall.

    Besides which, the sort of caravan parks I’m talking about are no longer fields. They are concrete pitches with electrics and plumbing, with tarmacked roadways and parking areas. Wildlife is eliminated almost as completely as with “permanent” housing development.

  24. BT

    Land use in UK :-

    ‘000 ha / %

    Agriculture 16097 / 69.1%
    Urban & Developed 2748/11.8%
    Non Farm Mountain, moor, woodland, frshwater etc 4435 / 19.1%

    Which bit do you want to concrete over> -A National Park-some Farms ?

  25. @Colin

    Plus of course UK-wide figures mask just how overdeveloped England is.

    We are separate countries, so I’m told (when it suits at least).

  26. TOH

    I suppose the alternative future where it’s not so great and noone will admit to having voted leave is also a possibility.

    In the interest of balance of course!

  27. NEIL A

    The argument is about Brexit. How does Brexit change any of that stuff? This stuff could have been solved when we were in the EU. There was nothing stopping the UK government from restricting second home ownership.

    As for the other inwards movements, the only way to prevent it is to damage their already weak local economy. Do the Cornish want that?

    All that will change is that the people who live in the caravans will be a different nationality. Many no doubt will be from other parts of the UK.

  28. COLIN (replying to HAWTHORN) @”’I can’t see how a depressed part of the country in the far west such as Cornwall is going to be massively affected by Eastern Europeans.’
    Who said they would-directly.?
    Cornwall is on the Conveyor from London & the SE. 44% of Londoners are from ethnic minorities.”

    I’m not sure what you mean by the point about 44% of Londoners being from ethnic minorities?

    Surely the debate is about immigration rather than ethnicity?

  29. Hawthorn

    Well if we divert money from farm subsidies to the NHS we could alway turn some agricultural land into hospitals.

    We’d need to build housing to support the staff who worked in the hospital and provide enough patients to keep them busy.

  30. Alan

    “In the interest of balance of course!”

    Of course, that is a possibility, not a large one IMO, especially as my wife and I would be happy to admit to voting Brexit even if it does not turn out well.

  31. Like Graham I am mindful that ICM has tended to give the greatest Tory leads so far.

    However that poll does suggest that the Tory conference was a success and seen as such by voters. Since it was dominated by discussion of Brexit I think it is good news for Brexiters also, at least for now.

  32. NEILA

    Yep

    EDGE OF SEAT

    I was using a shorthand to highlight a key feature of emigration from London:-

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/immigration/9888310/Lets-talk-about-the-exodus-of-600000-whites-from-London.html

  33. I am not surprised that Theresa May is polling well.

    She has taken the most popular policies of Ed Miliband and Nigel Farage and made them her own.

    If those disparate ingredients can be forged into a programme that actually works in reality then she will win a landslide in 2020. If not, who knows?

    People may note a hint of scepticism in my written voice.

  34. @Colin

    “Which bit do you want to concrete over> -A National Park-some Farms ?”

    A tiny % of all of it would suffice, I am sure. :) (maybe not the freshwater though . . .)

    Obviously, before all of that we should make use of all the empty brownfield sites where reasonable.

  35. Colin and Neil

    I am much more worried about integration of migrants – which we don’t seem to be any good at in this country – than the physical space that they and their dwellings take up.

    At 20 per small terraced house they don’t add much ‘concrete’ on the green belt anyway.

  36. @Hawthorn,

    Because trying to manage development whilst 150k EU citizens arrive every year, whilst necessary and worthwhile is ultimately futile.

    However careful we are, all land in the UK, from the Roseland Peninsula, to Hampstead Heath, is divided into two categories. Land we’ve built on, and land we haven’t built on yet. Every year, we work our way further down the list. Pretty much every greenfield development is on land that someone, at some time in the past, has looked at and decided “no it wouldn’t be right to build there”.

    I am all for taking other steps, and in fact Cornwall Council is at least trying to restrict ownership of new properties, but doing that doesn’t get us out of the hole that a constantly rising population puts us in.

  37. Interesting comments from Jamie Dimon CEO of JP Morgan in the FT .

    “The UK’s vote to leave the European Union has made the chance of a eurozone collapse five times more likely, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon said.

    Brexit made the “chances of the eurozone not surviving in the next decade five times higher,” Dimon said”.

    In the interest of balance he also said:

    “Dimon also said that Brexit would create uncertainty for the UK but not disaster.

    “It will reduce the GDP of the UK. That’s not a disaster. It will create years of uncertainty. That’s not a disaster”.

  38. @ Edge of seat
    Agreed – the argument from Colin is muddled.

    Are we talking about:
    – ethnicity; in which case the EU is irrelevant to the debate, but also cheerfully ignores the fact that the majority of ethnic minority Londoners were born and raised here and verges on the racist?
    – UK-born; in which case we should consider that 36% of Londoners were not born in the UK, only a third of which were born in the EU (and that includes children born to UK personnel serving ion Germany and Cyprus). this includes the many West Indians and South Asians actively invited to London in the fifties to seventies to fill the jobs we could not fill from locals.

    Which group are we blaming for over-crowding in Cornwall and why?!

  39. TOH: re interesting Jamie Dimon comments. How about this one?

    “JPMorgan Chase & Co could be forced to move thousands of staff out of Britain if the country loses its automatic right to sell financial services to the European Union after last month’s Brexit vote, bank CEO Jamie Dimon told an Italian newspaper.”

  40. TOH

    Jamie Dimon is…… I can’t complete that sentence, lets just assume that if I could choose any historical figure to kill, Jamie would be in my top 5

  41. New thread

  42. @THE OTHER HOWARD

    “Of course, that is a possibility, not a large one IMO, especially as my wife and I would be happy to admit to voting Brexit even if it does not turn out well.”

    Being old and having nothing to lose you can easily do so. But there are many who will be holding their breath from now until Brexit has been completed, and a bad result will potentially ruin their lives.

    My forecast is that Brexit will be hard and painful, and popular opinion will shift slowly but gradually back to being in the EU. I could be wrong but I feel it will happen.

  43. @CANDY

    “I’m still puzzled at the LibDem position in the polls, given that on the ground people are opting for them when they want to give either Con or Lab a kicking. The Witney by-election is on 20th Oct – just over a week and a bit to go. Eager to see whether something changes.”

    I wouldn’t take the polls too seriously. The Lib-Dems always do better than the polls suggest because people tend to vote tactically for them. This time the Lib-Dems could attract many disaffected liberal Tories, and there are a lot of those.

  44. Tancred

    This time the Lib-Dems could attract many disaffected liberal Tories, and there are a lot of those.

    Not here in deepest Shropshire there aren’t. We are very happy with the situation thank you. You may ‘wish’ it not so, but that don’t get many votes. We are loyal, in a way you further left cannot concieve. What could Labour possibly offer us? And the Lie Dems? Don’t make me laugh.

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