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. CR

    There is stuff coming out but it’s not getting traction because it’s not a major point, it’s a constant hum of stuff which people have heard before. I suspect Trump has one card to play, whether people will distinguish it from the background hum or just treat it as a “yeah yeah yet another Clinton story, heard all of those”.

    The risk of creating a background hum is if you don’t have something explosive, people tend to filter it out and it becomes yet another story.

    Clinton is setting of a series of firecrackers such that by the time people’s ears stop ringing from the last bang, the next is ready to fire. I suspect she can keep this going until the election making it very difficult for Trump.

    I’m not sure any of the candidates for the Republican party would come out on top, Trump was the strongest (in terms of grabbing votes, not in terms of his suitability to be president) of a pretty weak crop.

    I do agree though, put her up against an as yet unidentified competent Republican (they must have ONE right?) and she would lose, the fact she hasn’t put Trump away yet, shows her inherent weakness as a candidate.

    Maybe there’s still time for the Republicans to identify that candidate. ^ ^

  2. @Jayblanc

    We are allowed to catch approximately 30% of the fish in our waters and not 30% of the entire EU waters. Big difference.

    Here are the total tonnages by country in 2015:

  3. TOH

    I think the senate is going to be close, one seat difference could change how things end up being run.

    Congress is likely to be solidly republican still, the only way that can change is if Americans tire of the partisan logjam that is Washington. It’s clear they don’t like it but until now keep voting to retain it. Who knows? Maybe in 2018.

  4. @Sea Change

    I’m afraid you are incorrect, and seem to grossly misunderstand the common fisheries policy. A British fisherman is not restricted to British waters, and can apply for a permit to fish in any EU waters up to their quota.

    The table you quote is global catch, not common fisheries catch. Other EU countries have much larger catches outside the common fisheries than we do, which was the point I was making. Exiting the common fisheries will not increase access to fish stocks, only reduce them. We lose far more access for our fishing industry than we gain in preventing foreign fishing.

  5. The Senate seems to be going, just, to the Democrats. Most likely with one or two seat majority. But a draw will be Democrat control with a Democrat Vice President.
    The House, heavily g-worded in favour of the Republicans, is going to remain with them but they are expected to lose many seats. They should lose more, but have been dragging their feet on court-ordered redistricting and changes to voter-ID requirements long enough to postpone it till after the election. However, with only a twelve seat majority expected, they will be significantly weakened.

    The Senate being in the Democrats control will give them their choice of replacements on the Supreme Court. Which will help ensure reversal of neo-jim-crow laws that had been creeping back into state statutes. And demographics have been slowly creeping in the Democrats way, so they could re-gain the House during the next Midterms.

  6. @Alan

    Clearly Trump would have to withdraw for another Republican to take his place. The problem would be that most states have cut-offs for candidates to put themselves on their ballots by the end of September.

    So no challenger could hope to get enough electoral votes from the state ballots that they could still get on to win if Trump pulled out today.

    Notwithstanding the fact that the Republicans would have to go through some selection process with their delegates which would take even more time.

  7. @Jayblanc

    I did not say we were restricted to finishing in British waters! Our EU wide quota is equivalent to approximately 30% of the stocks we have in our own waters.

  8. Sea Change

    It would make for a fantastic “You’re fired!” end to Trump’s political career though.

    I don’t think the Republicans know who they would replace him with if he did quit. The only solution would be to lock all the delegates in a room together until they arrive at a decision.

  9. @Sea Change

    Again, that’s not how Quotas are set. They are set by fishery, for each stock of fish in that fishery, then by country.

    You can see the list here –

    When you total all the fish stocks up, the UK gets 30% of all stocks.

  10. @Alan – :) I’d pay good money to see that.

    @Jayblanc. I am aware that quotas are set by species. Of the 73 different fish stocks which live in UK waters, the total EU quota of these species was 1,920,915 tonnes, of which 585,211 tonnes were allocated to the UK in 2015 (approximately 30%). After some research you are also right as we do get 30% of total EU waters. So it is 30% of stocks in our waters and 30% overall.

    The vast majority of the productive EU fishing grounds (something like 75%) are located in UK waters.

    One of the issues that has been raised is that approximately half the UK quota is actually finished by businesses in other member states.

    This is an interesting infographic from Greenpeace

    One British flagged Dutch boat apparently catches 23% of the UK quota and lands the catch in Holland. It then exports most of this fish outside of the EU.

    DEFRA encourages this so no blame should be attached to the Dutch.

    When Greenland left the EEC in 1985, the EEC agreed to pay them to fish in their seas which they did until 2006.

    Clearly the UK common fisheries grounds are a card in the UK’s favour in the forthcoming Brexit negotiations.

    I maintain like most sensible posters on this site that there will be a deal in the interests of all parties. And yes it won’t be as good as the UK being in the single market as that would be a political impossibility.

  11. @jayblanc

    ‘re fisheries, Brexiters also are unaware of or choose to ignore that under international law the UK will still have to agree important aspects of fisheries policy with the EU and other countries ( fish don’t necessarily respect EEZ boundaries). We will also have to negotiate access to other important fishing grounds ( e.g. Norway, Iceland and Greenland) without the market clout of the EU.

  12. @Sea Change

    The Greenpeace poster is… not a primary document. It’s actually citing a Daily Mail article for the claim. Iirc, it’s not the flag of the ship that counts it’s where the catch is landed, so it would be coming out of the quotas where the fish were landed not solely the British one. It is possible that the Daily Mail were wilfully misinterpreting this, so that they could report an anti-EU article. Such things have been known to happen.

  13. @Hireton

    We’ll also be faced with having to negotiate with Ireland, which has much much stronger claims over a much enlarged area of the north Atlantic now than it did in the 50s.

  14. Jayblanc

    Negotiate with Ireland?! Dont we have gun boats?

  15. The worst thing that could happen to the Clinton campaign would be for Trump to withdraw from the race with somebody like Pence taking over. She is far from liked and is fortunate to be up against such a fool.

  16. @CambridgeRachel
    >We create the mess someone else deals with the consequences, its very sensible but not very moral. Merkel’s approach is not at all sensible but its very moral.

    No. I think that claim is fundamentally wrong.

    We have done more than any other European country to help refugees, whilst (to be blunt) Merkel has handed over hundreds of thousands of people to gangsters and thousands to death by drowning, while making sure a) that only the stronger and richer can reach Germany, and b) the weaker and poorer stay in the Middle East or are more likely to die en route.

    Merkel’s policy could have been ethical if she had provided transport and screening, but she just gave them to the people-traffickers instead.

    I will say though that I think she is probably foolish not cynical.

    Keeping people in safe countries close to their origins is a far more sensible policy the resettlement across the world. Vietnamese boat people were tiny mumbers by comparison.

    Look at the numbers, either in the UN Financial Tracking Service or Oxfam Fair Shares reports, and the UK is the only large European country consistently to pull its weight in Syria since 2011-12.

  17. Locally caught fish is taken to Vietnam for filleting and brought back to South England, and sold in Southern F&C shops as locally caught fish at a premium price.

    The best fish in the English fish markets are bought by French, Spanish, and Portuguese distributors as they pay in cash, while British supermarkets on 90 days + basis. So, it is pretty good as long as we are in the single market.

    UK fishermen sold their licences to Continental ones due to the depressed prices (by U.K. Supermarkets).

    Fish is currently the most expensive form of protein intake.

    Home fish eating is back to the levels of the 1980s, and more than half of it is ready made.

    So, what is the fuss about?

    Oh, I got it. Brexit will completely destroy the remaining British fisheries industries.

  18. We probably won’t have enough fish to cover both the domestic and the export market. And with the dropping pound, the export market will be pushing those prices up…

  19. @TOH – thankyou for your reply this morning. You and I can quite happily discuss many things without getting overheated, and I find it a shame that others struggle with this.

  20. @Matt Wardman – I was very evenly balanced on Brexit, eventually coming down on the remain side, as I felt that the current economic background wasn’t the best backdrop against which to initiate a highly disruptive change, along with some specific concerns.

    I was, however, thinking along similar lines to you, in that it’s unarguable that while the EU has been at least partly responsible for some great things (the absence of war) it is extraordinarily useless at many other functions. For me, it was a very tough decision how to place my vote, and in part this explains my more balanced approach to what happens next.

  21. Jayblanc
    “And with the dropping pound, the export market will be pushing those prices up…”

    Isn’t that the exact opposite of what will happen, because 10 euros will buy more pounds than it used to?

  22. @Sea Change and @Jayblanc – I did a good deal of reading up on fish policy before the Brexit vote, initially expecting to find out that the fisheries policy was a disaster and that UK fishermen would be much better off out.

    The former was confirmed, at least in the first couple of decades of the policy, but I was surprised to find out that the UK fishing bodies don’t expect to get bigger quotas on leaving the EU, as international regional fishing negotiations are how these things are defined, and the UK is highly unlikely to get anything much more than they have at present. And this came from the bodies representing the UK fish industry.

    Worse, UK fishermen will lose EU grants for new nets, new boats etc, and so will, on balance, be worse off.

    I was surprised by this, but overall I would say the facts support @Jayblanc’s views.

  23. @Colin and @CR – was Merkel’s refugee policy ‘moral’?

    I think the glib answer is that it was, but when you are within a fully interconnected system with free movement, and you take major policy decisions without the agreement with all the other nations, then you are potentially imposing your decisions on the whole EU. That isn’t moral, but may still be justified.

    The whole EU approach to the refugee crisis has been pretty appalling, and is one of the examples that @Matt Wardman can point to when asking questions about the efficacy of the EU.

  24. Pete B

    Yes, the falling pound helps exports (as long as we are in the single market, because if the duty is higher …), but it also means that worse and worse fish will be available for the British consumer (I don’t particularly like fish anyway)

  25. Has this become the fish thread or what? Is there not something more interesting to talk about?

  26. @ALEC

    Not sure what you are on about. Merkel’s open door policy on refugees does not mean that they are free to move within the EU as they are not EU citizens.


    I agree with you on the refugees. Most of the people going into Germany and Sweden are opportunists and adventurers, not real refugees. And many are criminals – just look at the instances of rape, violence etc. Merkel will be punished for what she has done to her country; she can’t continue to rely on Holocaust guilt to ensure popular support. Times have changed. The German people are tired of being a dustbin.

  28. Tancred: “Is there not something more interesting to talk about?”

    Well, we could go back to Colin’s reference to ” Remainers who bleat on about having to “obey the rules” of this “club” if we want the “benefits”.”

    I think the use of the word ‘bleat’ is very revealing (tempted though I am to characterise Brexiters as whingers I prefer better mannered discourse).

    As one of Colin’s presumed bleaters, I should point out that what I at least am saying is that if we leave the club we can’t expect to continue enjoying its benefits. It is the Brexiters who maintain that pointing this out constitutes ‘punishment’ of Britain.

    It is, sadly, entirely normal that Brexiters (a) use gratuitously offensive language (b) blatantly misrepresent those with a different view and (c) laud a tough negotiating posture from May and are appalled when that prompts a reciprocal toughening of attitude from EU politicians.

  29. @Pete B

    There’ll be two types of buyer at the fish markets. The domestic buyers and the foreign buyers.

    All the buyers put in bids for the fish, setting a market price for fish.

    With a high pound, the domestic bidders have an advantage over the foreign ones.

    With a low pound, the foreign bidders have an advantage over the domestic ones.

    Unless the Government put in quotas for domestic purchase, it’s inevitable that any market commodity that has a big export demand is going to go up in price for domestic buyers. Inflation goes up, there’s the potential that domestic companies can get starved of their raw materials. People who can export raw materials, or are able to secure their supply lines, make a lot of money. Everything else tanks. This applies across the entire economy, not just fish.

    You may remember this situation from 1976.

  30. Tancred

    “Has this become the fish thread or what? Is there not something more interesting to talk about?”

    Well, we could talk about the compulsory marking of foreign children in English schools and its effects on VI, but it seems people thinks it is a sudden enlightenment of the bureaucracy rather than a xenophobic act.

    We could also talk about the parallels between Rudd’s speech and the ideology of national socialism, but it seemed that people thought it is boring as it merely helps the Tories to take the centre ground .. well, sometimes it seems to be the centre ground.

    We could also talk about the daily attacks on foreigners, but you seem to prefer the not-so-daily attacks by foreigners.

    I think talking about fish is better, even if herrings have some disturbing habits and apparently fish have local dialects.

  31. Tancred

    The one million syrian refugees in Germany are opportunists and adventurers?! Really? Maybe the Syrian are predisposed to being opportunists and adventurers, its in their nature or maybe its daily mail type b*llsh!t


    Interesting analysis. My own view is that Brexit is like Cromwell’s victory in the civil war. The remainers are the defeated Cavaliers, with Cameron as King Charles, not executed this time, but exiled to the political wilderness. Cameron risked a referendum just like Charles I risked a war – and both lost.
    My prediction is that these Brexit Puritans will eventually be defeated by their own fanaticism, just as they were in 1660 when the monarchy was restored.
    One of the reasons for the civil war was that Charles I was viewed as being too friendly to Catholic foreigners. His deals with the Irish reinforced this view. Cromwell was increasingly seen as a patriot fighting an alien religion and mindset which was dominating the monarchy. Eventually, Cromwell’s dictatorship and unpopular policies proved the undoing of the puritans, his early death accelerating the process.
    Obviously May is not planning a dictatorship (not yet anyway) but the triumphalism of the Brexiteers at the Tory conference make me think that this is nothing short of a political revolution. The fact that 48% of people voted remain has been completely ignored. For May the remainers are being ostracised and almost criminalised as if they only represented a weird and dangerous minority – a 1% of voters if that. It is this attitude that makes May and her government such a danger to this country. And with Labour now lost in a weird 1960s socialist time warp we no longer have a credible opposition. The LibDems and the SNP are THE opposition, but they are too few in number to oppose. UKIP is still around and provide another layer of lunacy to the Brexit debate.
    The Tory hard line on Brexit is born out of fear, not logic – fear of UKIP. This is why May is out-Faraging Farage in her rhetoric. But government by fear is bound to fail, and this one will eventually fail too. A great prime minister does not follow like a sheep, he or she lead – even if this means going against the grain of public opinion. Churchill was ridiculed after the Munich agreement, but one year later he was proved right. May is about to plunge the country into the abyss, surrounded as she is by Brexit fanatics like Fox and Davies. Even Rudd, who was one of the more vocal remainers, has now been shown up as having no principles and willing to bend in the wind of public opinion, whatever that may be. This is a government of opportunists, not idealists or even pragmatists. A hard Brexit means untold damage to not only our economy but also and even more importantly, our international reputation. What countries will ever trust us again? The old anglophobic epithet of Perfidious Albion proving true yet again.
    Brexit is curse on this country and perhaps the only way to lift it is to allow the country to suffer the consequences of it. To this end I truly hope that we will be given the worst possible deal from the EU, as it is only in this way that those who have supported Brexit as some kind of panacea for all our ills will see sense. The country must suffer before the Brexit virus is killed and we can wake up from this wretched malady and return to the brotherhood of European nations. Let there be hard Brexit, and let there be the most punishing consequences possible for this nation! I welcome it and look forward to it. Then we will be able to lance the boil and come back to sanity and comkon sense.

  33. @cambriderachel

    I am light years away from being a Daily Mail enthusiast, but you are living in socialist cloud cuckoo land. Are the rapists innocent refugees too? Stop burying your head in the sand.

  34. @cr

    As befits his choice of username ( a Crusdaer) Tancred has issues with people who are Muslims.

  35. Tancred

    It’s kind of you to characterise my comment as an interesting analysis, but over-generous as it was a pretty simple point.

    But your Charles/Cromwell analogy hadn’t occurred to me and is intriguing. There are themes in British history that repeat down the centuries – I mentioned the Corn Laws the other day –– and I think it is only with an awareness of this wider context that one can truly appreciate what is going on.

    Having said that, I don’t accept your view of Syrian refugees. Anecdotally, the only Syrian I’ve ever know well was the owner of a property management agency in Spain. Everyone called him Pepe, and I had no idea he wasn’t Spanish until after his sadly early demise from heart disease. His wife was German, and some time later I was talking to his daughter, who said to me, “I’m 50% Syrian and 50% German, but 100% Spanish.”

    For me, that sums up some of the magic of the EU, and why I find it such a beacon of hope in a dark world.

  36. @Tancred

    Borrowing a line of argument from Trump is hardly likely to gain you much ground here.

  37. @Tancred – somewhat surprisingly, I agree with most of your 9.59pm post, particularly the comments about our government. Slavish pandering to a perceived populist agenda seems to be the order of the day, with no attempt to provide a responsible leadership.

    Interestingly, I heard the boss of the CBI on BBC radio news tonight presenting their latest statement to May regarding Brexit. Business, she said, was alarmed at many of the public statements regarding Brexit and the single market. However, in an intriguing throwaway aside, after she said ‘public statements’ she also said something to the effect that ‘this isn’t what we are hearing in private’.

    Either the government is trying to curry favour with the electorate, and at some point will have to face a reckoning when they admit that they can’t deliver on what they are promising without major adverse impacts, or (and this is quite possible) the sharp statements around rejecting the single market are more negotiating tactics with the EU.

    The downside of either is that they may have to tell Brexit voters that they are no longer looking to leave the single market if the negotiations don’t deliver what they hoped for.

    Whatever happens, it’s clear someone in the government is telling someone some whoppers.

  38. Jayblanc

    Does Tancred like cats too? :-)

  39. ALEC

    It seems pretty clear to me that the government is split down the middle, hence the mixed messages.

    There is the May/Number 10 position and Hammond/Treasury position.

  40. Hawthorn

    There may also be the politicians’ position and the Civil Service one.

  41. @Matt Wardman

    If credible evidence of Trump having committed such offences makes it to the centre of attention, then it will hurt. Whether that impacts will be down to the credibility of that media with potential Trump voters.
    In that case I would expect the republicans to change candidate.

    I am in no sense an expert an American politics. All I can say is that people here seem to regard the Trump campaign as in deep trouble. Senators running in some of the close races have withdrawn their support for him as has, for example, John McCain. It is very difficult to dump him because a) voting has already started, b) some states have rules with a cut off point for new candidates as of end of September and c) Trump still has a core vote which is loyal to him.

    As I say, this is simply from listening to the news in Canada. It may change after the debate, but it seems to me pretty unarguable that he has been damaged, if not with his core vote, then with people he needs to win over if he is to be elected.

  42. Tancred your most recent posts to Cambridge Royal really have been little more than unsubstantiated nonsense. You can do a lot better than that.

  43. OLDNAT

    I would expect the Civil Service to be split between the Home Office and the Treasury.

    I am beginning to think that Queen Theresa might have overreached herself. I wonder if either May or Corbyn will be party leader by the next election.

  44. Charles

    I think Trump is done for, and thankfully he has also wrecked any chance of appearing on Strictly Come Dancing as well.

  45. On the subject of fish, I am just back from Sydney and the wonderful fish market.

    The baby octopus salad was wonderful but I baulked at live sea anenomes complete with spines. Wouldn’t know how to handle that with chopsticks.

  46. Hawthorn

    I have been known to invest very modest amounts in wagers at the bookmakers (ie I bet on the ponies and sometimes on political issues) and your prediction exactly matches my latest ‘investment’. Neither Corbyn nor May will lead their parties into the next election. It gets pretty good odds – obviously because most people don’t think it’s likely to happen – but it’s worth a bet.

  47. Hawthorn – “I am beginning to think that Queen Theresa might have overreached herself. I wonder if either May or Corbyn will be party leader by the next election.”

    Corbyn means to be Leader For Life, like his heroes Castro, Chavez and Arthur Scargill. And he’s in good health too, so you are stuck with him for another fifteen years at least.

    As for Mrs May – lets see what the post conference opinion polls are like. I was hoping there would be some tonight, but I guess they’re going to make us wait.

  48. Can I please point out that my criticism was not of genuine Syrian refugees but of the many fake ones. I have no issue with genuine refugee families, especially well educated ones.

  49. @Mike Pearce

    Here is my unsubstantiated ‘nonsense’:

  50. Tancred
    May I ask if you’re German? Your English is very good, but your hope that the UK gets ‘punished’ by the EU and your seemingly greater interest in problems caused by immigrants in Germany than the UK prompts the question. If you reply, I’ll look at it in the morning.

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