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. Thanks AW, good summary as always. The YouGov polling has been remarkably consistent for some time now.

  2. “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.”

    Quite strange, when both groups would probably benefit from the opposite of what they say they want.

    Is it a lack of awareness/faith in the polls?

  3. An awful poll for Labour. Can’t even get a bounce after the Conference. YouGov steady on 28%-31% since Brexit.

  4. Well there’s a chance they got a bounce but temporarily disguised by margin of error.

    On the other hand, margin of error might be disguising how things worsened by the conference.

    Ah, the wonders of polling…

  5. Boris is just into positive territory in the doing well/doing badly game as Foreign Sec., 29 to 28…

  6. Other Brexiters like Fox and Davis not doing so well…

  7. @SEA CHANGE

    “An awful poll for Labour. Can’t even get a bounce after the Conference. YouGov steady on 28%-31% since Brexit.”

    It isn’t great. But it’s also not fantastic for the Tories. given that they still in the post-Brexit honeymoon and Labour are led by a left wing politician. I would say it’s a good poll for UKIP as their support has not gone down much since Brexit. Lib-Dems are still in the doldrums, though I reckon that in a GE they would probably double their support with tactical voting.

  8. @Carfrew

    “””
    Boris is just into positive territory in the doing well/doing badly game as Foreign Sec., 29 to 28…
    “””

    Maybe for having the guts to meet Erdogan face to face after the goat poem?

  9. Re Anthony’s 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.

    Three months without an inkling of what May is hoping for is doubtless enough for many to wonder what’s going on, but at the least it seems bad PR to give no inkling of the hoped for plan.

    Additionally, perhaps some are worried that anything European has been put on hold. The BBC website has two interesting articles on this today:

    Commissioner: UK ‘must avoid data protection Brexit’ including:
    The UK’s new information commissioner has called for the country to adopt forthcoming EU data protection laws, despite its plan to leave the Union. “I don’t think Brexit should mean Brexit when it comes to standards of data protection,” Elizabeth Denham told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme. She added she would press WhatsApp over plans to share data with Facebook.

    The new EU data protection regulations are designed to strengthen the rights individuals have over their data. The idea is to make companies take the issue of data protection far more seriously. The rules make it mandatory for large companies to employ a data protection officer and data breaches must be reported within 72 hours.

    The legislation will take effect in 2018 and will apply to any company that handles EU citizens’ data, even if that company is not based in Europe.

    and

    Amber Rudd urged to sign new Europol protocol including:
    The Scottish government has written to UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd urging her to sign protocols on membership of the European crime-fighting agency Europol.

    Failure to opt in by the end of 2016, would leave UK police unable to access Europol’s resources after May 2017. Scottish ministers said membership was vital in allowing Police Scotland to fight international crime. The Home Office said it would make a decision on Europol in due course.

    The issue does not arise from the Brexit vote – but the Scottish government fears it is being ignored as British negotiations to leave the EU gather pace.

    I find it hard to imagine why such obviously sensible steps haven’t been followed since they’ll be needed at the very least until 2019.

  10. The brexit question must be a new tracker question, although as other posters have said its a bit early to be making a verdict, its still a useful baseline. This question had to come as a regular feature at some point and its probably better sooner rather than later, its going to be interesting to see how it moves in the months ahead. But i wouldn’t read too much into these first numbers which i think just reflect nervousness about future prospects for a successful outcome.

  11. Obviously, the usual caveats about placing too much reliance on single polls don’t apply to a single poll immediately after a conference.

  12. LURKINGGHERKIN

    Obviously, the usual caveats about placing too much reliance on single polls don’t apply to a single poll immediately after a conference.

    Nice one :-)

  13. Good to see that the UK growth revised higher to 0.7% for second quarter.

  14. TOH-indeed-still defying Gravity I see.

  15. @Alisdair

    Possibly, though we need a goat question to be sure…

  16. Interesting article:

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/sep/30/uk-heading-for-hard-brexit-say-european-diplomats

    A hard Brexit now looks very much on the cards. I would have to agree; if May is going to risk upsetting anyone it will be the remainers, as this is the lowest risk option for the government.

  17. Good to see growth, but then there’s that question of who benefits…

    From the Times…

    “Generation Rent half as wealthy as people born a decade earlier
    Henry Zeffman
    September 30 2016, 12:01am, The Times

    People in their thirties have half the wealth that those born a decade earlier had at the same age, a study has found.

    A report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies said that British people born in the early 1980s had average net household wealth of £27,000 in their early thirties, whereas those born in the 1970s on average had accrued £53,000 in housing, financial and private pension wealth at the same age.

    In a significant sign of growing inequality between generations, Britons born in the early 1980s were also the first postwar generation not to earn higher incomes in early adulthood than those born in the decade before. This was partly due to a stagnation in working-age incomes but the report also said it reflected that the post-credit crunch recession was particularly severe for young adults.

    Similarly, the early-1980s generation had far lower home ownership rates in early adulthood than any generation for half a century. Just 40 per cent of those born in the early 1980s were owner-occupiers at the age of 30, compared with at least 55 per cent of every generation since the 1940s.”

  18. And here is cloud cuckoo nonsense from the Telegraph:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/09/30/100-reasons-to-embrace-brexit/

    ‘Deciding our own destiny’ – what utter tosh. Clearly the Telegraph has never heard of globalisation, and also who exactly is ‘us’? The leave supporters perhaps, not the British people as a whole.

    The sky hasn’t fallen in and world keeps spinning – all perfectly correct, but that’s because nothing has happened! Once the nasty business starts then it could all be very different.

  19. Today’s Times…

    “Philip Hammond has confirmed he is to close the much-criticised Help to Buy scheme, which offered state-backed mortgages to those who could afford only a 5 per cent deposit.

    The chancellor said the mortgage guarantee programme, which was blamed for pushing up house prices, would finish at the end of this year.

    George Osborne announced the scheme in the March 2013 budget and said it would run for four years.

    Its closure fits into a shift in Theresa May’s government away from a policy of promoting home ownership to a policy that also gives greater support to people who rent their homes.”

  20. “but that’s because nothing has happened!”

    ———–

    Clearly you don’t buy many synths…

  21. When’s Hammond gonna introduce a Help to Buy Synths scheme? He’s been in office a few weeks now how hard can it be?

  22. Carfrew

    Its always…. Me me me me, with you

  23. Barbazenzero
    “The legislation will take effect in 2018 and will apply to any company that handles EU citizens’ data, even if that company is not based in Europe.”

    Have I misunderstood something? How could this possibly enforced in USA or China for instance?

  24. Probably not of great interest, but I see that Labour in Scotland is doing very badly according to this poll. Despite the SNP being in government in E’burgh for about 10 years now, and, it has to be said, beginning to sound as though it’s running out of steam, the Labour Party (the only realistic alternative, one would have thought,) is not getting anywhere. At this rate there will still be around 50 SNP MPs after the next election.

    And on the subject of Scottish seats, AW, is there any more definite word on when the Boundary Commission will report on its proposals for Scotland?

  25. Pete B,
    “Have I misunderstood something? How could this possibly enforced in USA or China for instance?”

    It would be enforced on those companies’ presence in the EU. Of course they don’t have to have branches here, but it would make things like government contracts pretty difficult for Google etc. if they are conducting illegal exports of EU data.

  26. Labour may well benefit from the difficulties that will arise from the Brexit negotiations but I doubt if they will be able to take full advantage. I would be amazed if Labour can maintain any pretence of unity until 2020 and TM will almost certainly be the more trusted PM even if brexit goes pear shaped. An early election is probably Labour’s best hope of avoiding the consequences of a boundary review and complete annihilation at the polls. They may still lose ground but that is the least of their problems.

  27. PETE B
    Have I misunderstood something? How could this possibly enforced in USA or China for instance?

    Don’t shoot the messenger!

    I presume they will be wanting state guarantees, for what they’re worth, or possibly planning to block IP addresses but doubtless we’ll find out in due course.

  28. Re this poll: I’m quite surprised that UKIP seem to be holding steady because they haven’t been doing very well in local by-elections lately.

  29. It won’t be tested in London until the 2nd half of October, but HMG’s justification for using Brenda’s prerogative to trigger A50 has been made public by the courts and can be found in PDF here.

    It’s also available from The Government’s case in the Article 50 litigation: A critique, which is worth a read.

    Both could well be used in next Tuesday’s Belfast hearing.

  30. I should have added to my previous post that I am sceptical about whether either A50 challenge will succeed in the UK Supreme Court but if it doesn’t, won’t it be a wonderful spectacle if it gets finalised in the ECJ [or ECHR?]…

    It would certainly clarify what they think of the UK’s “constitutional arrangements”. Of course it would become even more fun should HMG need to appeal to that level, which they want to abolish.

  31. @CAMBRIDGERACHEL

    “Its always…. Me me me me, with you”

    ————–

    That’s so not true!! It’s not like I’m the only person into synths. Someone has to speak up for the others suffering in silence. And it’s very much a case of “first they came for the synthesists” etc.

    One day Rach., when you’re faced with the inevitable question “What did you do during the Great Synth Price Assault of 2016?” will you be able to look them straight in the eye and say you stood up to be counted?

    Anyways, one does consider the welfare of others on the board, and I don’t like to think it was all “you you you” when you were talking about the advantages of the young and attractive. Actually I read of some research recently which said that generally people don’t like to be served by the attractive, makes ’em feel bad or summat.

    Personally doesn’t bother me what they look like, I’m more bothered about whether I get treats, like my coffee in a proper cup rather than the disapponting cardboard others get, but it’s not all about me etc.

  32. Theresa May – borders

    Theresa May has today told the people of NI – via BBC NI – that there will be no return to the borders of the past; that she does not expect checks etc.

    A hint we are heading for a soft brexit?

  33. PROFHOWARD
    Theresa May ….. A hint we are heading for a soft brexit?

    If you read the HMG submission to the London court you wouldn’t think so, but equally she could think that although a supersoft Brexit is about the only way of preserving the UK economy she can’t yet reveal that level of detail to us great unwashed without riots in Parliament Square.

    I’m still convinced that she’s waiting for the Chevening Three to screw up so that she can implement something sensible.

  34. PROFHOWARD

    Thanks for the heads-up. The BBC’s May denies U-turn on post-Brexit border controls includes:

    Mrs May denied that she had changed her view.

    “What I said was that of course if we leave and there is a land border with a country within the European Union, that does bring a change to that relationship across the border,” she said.

    “All parties are clear about the intent and will to ensure we have an arrangement that isn’t a return to the borders of the past.”

    It makes one wonder if she’s read the Belfast Agreement yet.

  35. Soft Brexit. Hard Brexit. Get on with it May. The lady has been remarkably coy so far. Let’s see where the polls are 12 months down the line. Mrs May has yet to face her real tests.

  36. BZ, ProfH

    What’s always struck me about the phrase ‘no return to the borders of the past’ is the amount of wriggle room it leaves.

    It’s a very long way from a commitment to maintain the current border arrangements or something approximating to them. It doesn’t really mean much more than ‘Brexit means Brexit’ and is possibly intended to serve the same kind of function: playing for time and avoiding commitment whilst seeming aligned with the popular mood as she construes it. After all, on a trite level it’s impossible to return to ‘the border of the past’ as physical structures were demolished.

  37. 30% to Con 39% may not worry the Labour leadership too much at this stage. What should and probabaly does concern them is the difference between Con and Lab 2015 voters, 87% to 79% respectively in a column that usually shows Lab with a higher loyalty score, and the possible correlation with DNV and DK: respectively Con DNV 1 and DK to Lab’s 6 and 17.
    It can and probably will be conjectured that the latter are the old Lab who the leadership could have difficulty in bringing back. Hence, I imagine, the strength of Corbyn’s message to the believers, rather than an appeal to the centre.

  38. Con DNV 1 and DK 15 to Lab’s 6 and 17.

  39. SORBUS
    What’s always struck me about the phrase ‘no return to the borders of the past’ is the amount of wriggle room it leaves.

    Yes, it seems to do so, but if there is any change then NI’s Belfast Agreement provides that it be made only with the consent of the NI people, presumably requiring an NI only referendum to give popular consent or not.

    Getting consent from that may not prove to be easy.

  40. @BZ
    I note that Prof Elliott says: ‘The essence of the Government’s case concerning the interaction of legislation and the prerogative is, in my view, sound.’
    What th eGovtappears to have done is to counter weak arguments against its position with weak arguments of its own, in order to present some sort of answer to every objection.
    What has happened is the the EU, not obtaining assent to an EU Constitution from at least two important members, introduced essentially the same rules as the Lisbon Treaty. This so far as UK is concerned, passes the matter into the realm of Government use of Royal Prerogative, rather than legislation and votes in Parliament.
    I think that is a case of the EU being hoist with its own petard, or being too clever by half in trying to get its own way.

    As for present and past borders, all statements can be reconciled within the idea that a UK ‘controlling its own affairs’ will be able to negotiate ‘satisfactory and suitable’ agreements over say the border between UK and Eire, though that negotiations might drag on for a long time with some equally (un)satisfactory and (un)suitable interim arrangements in the mean time, so long as both sides are prepared to accept each other’s intent to get there in the end.
    Long-term prediction: by say 2050 we may be negotiating some form of federal UK involving Eire as well as NI. (policed by the Connaught Rangers?)

  41. DAVE
    As for present and past borders, all statements can be reconciled within the idea that a UK ‘controlling its own affairs’ will be able to negotiate ‘satisfactory and suitable’ agreements over say the border between UK and Eire

    That will be easy if the UK follows the EEA option, but if there are tariffs applicable between the EU and the UK then how can a “hard” border be avoided?

    If it can’t, then either the UK resiles the Belfast Agreement or they need consent from the people of NI. In the former case, I’d be astonished if it didn’t go to the ECJ.

    I presume you mean that by 2050 we’ll either still be in or be back in the EU, in which case I could just about imagine a confederation of the isles being at least possible but I can’t imagine Westminster offering it on any terms which the RoI could accept, given their continued refusal to allow proper devolution to the non-English home nations.

  42. Interesting tidbit:

    I was in the pub this evening, in Macclesfield (Waters Green Tavern).

    Paul Nuttall, UKIP’s deputy leader, was talking politics at the next table. I didn’t realise who it was at the time, but joined the conversation.

    Before I joined the conversation, I overheard him chatting to his two companions (quietly) about an intention to – with pending unemployment (as an MEP, presumably) – cross the floor and attempt to stand as a Tory MP.

    His friends were slightly incredulous, with the word “shyster” thrown around and one asking why on earth he thought the Tories would take him.

    More to say but won’t write it from my phone, unless people are interested.

    Oh, and, he tells me, “Brexit means Brexit”, whatever that means…

  43. I’m interested!!!

  44. Anna Soubry calling Liam Fox ‘delusional’ for his idea that we can leave the EU yet still get all the benefits. Looks like things are hotting up in the blue corner.

    A truly dire poll for Labour, given this is post conference, but as has been mentioned before, a weak Labour will tend to shift the focus of opposition onto the government backbenches. I sense deep trouble ahead for May, but not really from Corbyn.

    In the US, it now looks clear that the debate has shifted the momentum. There was first the debate reaction, which was positive for Clinton, then a number of online and automated quick polls, all showing movement to the Democrats, and now we have a slew of telephone and face to face polls showing a definite move to Clinton, along with 11 new state polls, all showing her picking up support.

    Meanwhile, Trump is sending abusive twitter posts about a former beauty queen at 5.30am in the morning. There is a chance that Trump is imploding, but we’ve thought that before.

  45. Alec

    I wonder what proportion of Trump’s support is ‘critic proof’?

    The coverage I heard and read in advance of the debates suggested that their impact was generally overplayed and it seems that both Clinton and Trump performed in line with expectations, so I wasn’t expecting much impact on opinion.

    Do you think people saw the two of them together and just decided Clinton was the more ‘normal’?

  46. I like that Anna Soubry feels things so passionately, especially the issues around Brexit.

  47. @Nate Silver pointed out that polling showed it’s not so unusual for debates to have an impact and affect polling. Whether the gains last till polling day however is another thing entirely…

  48. @Sorbus

    Sorry, comment immediately above re: Nate Silver was intended for youse…

  49. Why in heaven’s name would anyone, including Anthony, expect Labour’s popularity to increase after the way the MSM including BBC portrayed the Labour Conference as a gathering of extremists ? How much more of this gotesque media bias are the 63% of the electorate who are not Tories expected to tolerate ? Labour’s policies – on industrial investment, on building council houses, on a National Education Service, on stopping privatisation of NHS – all of which would get majority support in opinion polls – are deliberately ignored or misrepresented.

    Obviously this is a perennial problem for Labour, for the whole of my lifetime, but that doesn’t mean we should accept it as inevitable. We need the same rules for the newspapers as TV on political
    coverage.

  50. @alec

    To be fair Anna Soubry is more left on certain issues than some MPs in the Labour party. And she is rabidly pro-EU.

    While I do think May’s slim majority is an obvious impediment, the boundary reform is likely to keep more MPs in line. Plus the Tories know full well from recent history that they must appear united. And 77% of their constituencies voted out.

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