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 think this is interesting

    https://youtu.be/0SDi3uj3s5E

    Obviously our system isn’t as corrupt as the American system, at least not yet, but he makes good points about activism in a democracy. Also I find him sorta cute

  2. @SEA CHANGE

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

    Why do you believe that everyone in favour of remain must be some kind of leftie? Many pro-remain MPs are not remotely left wing and indeed the same can be said of remain supporters at large up and down the country.

  3. @Rach

    “Also I find him sorta cute”

    ————

    He doesn’t seem very Tory tho’…

  4. In my view May is trying to stall the invocation of article 50 as much as possible in the hope that ‘something’ will happen beforehand to make things easier for her (not sure what). It will be invoked probably next March or April.

    Once invoked the real pain will start and then we’ll be on the road of no return. There will splits within the Tory party and it won’t be pretty.

  5. @Tancred

    I was not saying that and I don’t believe that either.

    My point was she was on the far left of the Tory Party and is unlikely to be representative of the general feeling within the Tories. And was in response to Alec’s point about May’s problems keeping the Tory Party United.

    Though I think you’ll agree that she is definitely rabidly pro-EU.

    Is she your favourite Tory? ;)

  6. @Welsh Borderer

    “Obviously this is a perennial problem for Labour, for the whole of my lifetime”

    ————

    Not entirely the case, esp. during the Nulab era, when they were pushing the ID politics stuff, to which Beeb were more favourable, and also favourable towards EU. Which is the reason the right saw Beeb as tilted against them. They didn’t see that Beeb, and Graun etc. being more on board with the neol1b economics as being slanted their way, because obviously they see that kind of economics as the natural order of things.

    Also press were rather more favourable towards Miliband during the Levenson era until Cameron relented…

  7. WELSH BORDERER

    I think you may be a little behind the times.

    http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/research/tv-research/news/2015/News_consumption_in_the_UK_2015_report.pdf

    Consumption of News via Newspapers is declining. Most people consume News from TV , & The Internet is more used than Newspapers-60% of 16-24s consume their News from the Internet.

    Have you found an equivalent of The Canary in your local Newspaper shop?

  8. A fair proportion of those Labour voters wanting an early GE probably do so because they’re hoping the ensuing disaster will be big enough to displace the Corbynistas but not so big as to reduce the party to LibDem levels, the latter becoming increasingly likely the longer the current leadership holds power.

  9. Carfrew

    I’m not a huge fan of Silver’s work, so appealing to him as an authority doesn’t cut much ice with me. But that’s by the by. The impression I’d received was that debates tend not to have much impact on the outcome of the election. I’m not really bothered what the impact on post-debate polls is.

    What would be interesting is whether there are any debate performance variables that do predict enduring changes in opinion that translate into behaviour.

    Because the debates come quite late in the campaign it seems doubtful that they add to the pool of arguments in circulation, or to the information voters have about candidates. So what’s left that might sway opinion? Perhaps something about the direct comparison. But in general it’s not unreasonable to suggest that the reaction to debate performance just reflects pre-existing perceptions and perhaps amplifies trends.

    What might influence that amplificiation process? Media commentary? Trump’s been pretty much immune to that, so it’s interesting that things seem to be different this time. Is this because people with less interest in politics and less partisan commitment are only now tuning in and so the debates do give them new information? I don’t have any answers and haven’t followed any of this closely, but Alec’s couple of posts prompted some idle pondering.

  10. As a recently re-signed up member of the Conservative Party, I am quite relaxed about the speed of Brexit.
    The fact that David Cameron did not expect the public to vote out and the Civil Service failed to prepare for the result does not surprise me.
    I expect Europe will be unable to come to an agreement to compromise on our National needs. The same applies to the situation in Hungary and no doubt other northern countries. So the fears of the EU of further exits may well come true as a result of our decision, at which point the need to have an agreement will be unnecessary.

  11. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/theresa-may-steals-labours-clothes-with-review-of-workers-rights-a7340181.html

    One wonders how much of this sort of agenda she will be able to pursue once the Brexit process gets under way.

    But as a signal of her intent to leave the Toffs behind an pursue her ” provincial , suburban Conservatism ” * in support of the “just managing” * classes it is significant .

    * From a fascinating piece in today’s Times about “inside No. 10 “under May.-a different operation to that which Cameron ran.

  12. @Sorbus

    I didn’t appeal to Nate as an “authority”, i just drew your attention to some analysis he’s done that he’s done that show how polls change after debates. If you want to challenge the actual data or analysis then fine, but to just dismiss it because “not a fan” is an ad hominem. And you may not be bothered about the impact on polls but it isn’t remiss of me to be bothered about it on a polling site.
    And the polling provides evidence to help substantiate your hypotheses or not.

    I’m a bit surprised you raised these spurious objections actually.

    As for your hypotheses itself, it’s possible debates may amplify trends, reinforce, but it’s also possible they may change perceptions. Eg was there a trend toward Hillary immediately before the debate, or did Trump have the momentum, closing the gap and the debate changed that?

    You would need to analyse the data to see how often it reinforces trend and how often it changed the trend…

  13. @Colin

    “Consumption of News via Newspapers is declining. Most people consume News from TV , & The Internet is more used than Newspapers-60% of 16-24s consume their News from the Internet”

    ———–

    Lol, we’ve done this before Col. Print may decline but you’re leaving out how peeps still read the websites, and the press help set the agenda elsewhere, including at the Beeb.

    But it’s possible that the young are less swayed by the press, so in the future…

  14. “As a recently re-signed up member of the Conservative Party, I am quite relaxed about the speed of Brexit.”

    —————

    Well the impact on the pound was pretty quick…

  15. @Colin

    “* From a fascinating piece in today’s Times about “inside No. 10 “under May.-a different operation to that which Cameron ran.”

    ———–

    Dya mean the stuff about the end of sofa government? Looking forward to reading that…

  16. CARFREW

    @”you’re leaving out how peeps still read the websites,”

    No………….I’m emphasising how young people particularly are consuming news mainly via Internet sources. ( see the link I posted)

    Sources which cater for every shade of political viewpoint from far left to far right. So this demographic is certainly not subject to lack of variety in political commentary.

    Of course it is this demographic too, which is least inclined to vote.

  17. @Colin

    Lol, you’re dodging my points, reiterating your points without engaging with what’s wrong with them.

    So sure, consumption of print media may be declining, peeps may use the internet more, and may also get news from TV, but that makes little difference if it’s the websites of the press, and the press set the TV agenda.

    Now I ceded in my post that you may be right about the younger looking broader than that, but crucially until such time as that dominates, and it isnt just the young doing that, Welsh Borderer’s point remains a concern.

  18. @Colin

    Think she’ll ditch the bedroom tax?

  19. Isn’t there an Autumn Statement due soon? I’d expect stuff like the bedroom tax to be covered in that, if at all.

  20. Carfrew

    I’m not dismissing Silver’s analysis because it’s his, it’s rather that I’m saying I won’t take what he says on trust because I don’t consider him a reliable authority. You didn’t provide a link.

    We’re drowning in information and I don’t have the time or inclination to go through everything in detail, so the credibility of the source is a factor. I’ll take the conclusions of somebody I consider an ‘authority’ on trust, without looking at the underlying data unless I’m particularly interested the issue for some reason. At the other end of the spectrum there are academics whose work I ignore because they’re completely unreliable (by which I usually mean that in the past I’ve wasted time wading through papers they’ve written only to find evidence misreported, dodgy methodology and basic mistakes in the statistical analysis).

    The big problem, of course, is that there are loads of domains in which I have to rely on secondhand evaluations of credibility because I’m not qualified to make my own.

    I don’t think it’s unreasonable to raise the question of differences between impact on election outcome and immediate impact on pre-election polling on a polling site.

    Obviously we’d need data to test my (polling-related) speculations. There’s always the chance that someone on this site will know of some relevant analysis and post a link, or be interested in speculating about the mechanisms underlying movement or lack of movement in the polls.

    Hopefully that clarifies matters.

  21. Does anyone know of a site which reports the results of council byelections? I can’t seem to find one that gathers them all together.

  22. Colin: “.I’m emphasising how young people particularly are consuming news mainly via Internet sources. ( see the link I posted)
    Sources which cater for every shade of political viewpoint from far left to far right. So this demographic is certainly not subject to lack of variety in political commentary.”

    I’m sure this is right, but it nevertheless leaves two key points:

    1. The news agenda is still set very much by the newspapers, with the broadcasters largely taking the lead from them. It is against that background that internet/social media commentary plays out.

    2. The older the age group, the more dependent they are on newspapers and TV for news. And as you point out, it’s the old who vote most.

    This makes the 80/20 split of pre-referendum press coverage in favour of Brexit highly significant. Given the tiny margin of Brexit victory, it seems unescapable that it was ‘the press wot won it’.

  23. Somerjohn

    “tiny margin of Brexit victory, ”

    Really i know your in denial but it was a clear 3.8%

  24. As part of that younger demographic, I do mostly consume news via the internet – I occasionally buy physical copies of newspapers, but only really when I’m traveling and wouldn’t have reliable signal.

    However, I would still say that the newspapers are essentially unavoidable. Firstly, because much internet news consumption is just the websites for newspapers – for example, I mostly read the Guardian and the Telegraph online. The Daily Mail’s is the world’s most read newspaper site, the Guardian the world’s third. Our news draws even international attention online.

    Secondly, although you find opinion pieces by other sources, journalism of the traditional variety is still largely restricted to newspapers, because they can afford to pay the bills. Ad revenue from a blog doesn’t cover the costs of investigative journalism, so anything like that necessarily comes from a newspaper.

    Thirdly, because newspapers still dominate such a large part of the public consciousness, even independent blogs are largely reactive to the news. If the Times publishes something, and you criticize it, you get much more traffic from Times readers than you do if you went off on an entirely new track or talked about a topic the key newspapers are talking about. So newspapers still ‘set the pace’/’direct the topic of conversation’; even if they’re losing control over who actually says what in the conversation.

    So I think the heralding of the end of traditional media’s influence over politics is largely undue. It might have started with sites like Vox and so on, but it is very much in its infancy, not its supremacy.

  25. TOP HAT

    Conservative Home does but not in a particularly easy fashion.

  26. Top Hat

    Try UK General Election 2020

  27. @ToH; given the scale runs between 0 and 100, falling on 3.8 seems pretty tiny to me. Certainly small enough that media coverage could have proved the decisive factor, which was Somerjohn’s point, which you avoided rather than engaged with; a habit several posters have called you out on before, and makes for a rather unedifying view.

  28. @Bazinwales; that’s exactly what I was looking for, thank you!

  29. Somerjohn

    I’m a bit wary of declaring that it was the press wot won it because of the evidence that the group who don’t normally turn out for GEs voted strongly to Leave. This group presumably qualifies as ‘hard to poll’ and I struggle a little bit to believe that the bias in the print media during the ‘short campaign’ made such a strong impression on them.

  30. TOH: “Really i know your in denial but it was a clear 3.8%”

    That is a tiny margin, within the likely day-to-day fluctuations in outcome depending on variable factors like weather, short-term news events. A week later or earlier and it could have gone the other way – equally the margin for Brexit margin could have doubled.

    Off subject, and in the spirit of genuine inquiry and not points scoring: I know you attribute your mis-spelling of you’re to dyslexia, but it’s really weird that you get 99% of other words – many of which are much more difficult – right. Is it not possible for dyslexics to learn rules about a very small number of words with which they have persistent problems? In which case getting it right is just about a little bit of effort and self-discipline: attributes I’d have thought you’d hold in high regard.

    In your phrase “your in denial” the first word is a contraction of ‘you are’. The missing ‘a’ is replaced by an apostrophe. So you just have to ask, every time you use ‘your’, whether it can be replaced by ‘you are’. If so, the correct spelling is you’re.

    Your, on the other hand, has to refer to a possession, e.g. your views.

    Same with it’s and its (it’s = it is).

    Anyway, regardless of spelling, “you’re in denial” is in my view an unnecessarily aggressive remark. I don’t deny the referendum result, nor do I seek to prevent Brexit. All I can do is sit back, watch and try to enjoy.

  31. @Sorbus

    Yes, you already delivered the ad hom, you don’t have to do it for a few more paragraphs.

    I did provide the link, the day before, when I first telegraphed his analysis.

    Here it is again…

    http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/clinton-won-the-debate-which-means-shes-likely-to-gain-in-the-polls/

  32. @ TOP HAT
    You could always enter “council by-election” into Google News every morning.

  33. @Sorbus

    Within that article you will also find this…

    “Below, you’ll find a comparison between the perceived winner of the CNN/Gallup poll in debates since 1984, and how much the horse-race polls changed afterward.

    http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/trump-may-have-more-to-gain-from-the-first-debate-than-clinton/

    In 2012, for instance, Romney gained a net of 4.4 percentage points on Obama, although he eventually lost most of those gains. Bill Clinton, meanwhile, saw the polls swing by 4.1 points in his favor after the town hall debate of 1992.1″

  34. @BazinWales

    Thanks from me as well for the by-election recommendation.

    Recent local results again show the Lib Dems performing pretty well, with a number of gains and broadly improved performance. By contrast, UKIP seem to be struggling at local level.

    Yet the polling shows UKIP holding up at national level and the LDs still very much in the doldrums.

    There are plenty of explanations available, but it does seem that a genuine LD revival is under way. After the disastrous GE result, there was an outside chance of a complete wipeout in 2020 and oblivion, but they now seem to have some momentum, so a recovery at the next GE now seems the more likely outcome.

    UKIP are hanging in there, but the new Leader must move quickly to give the party a new focus and purpose, or decline seems inevitable.

  35. @Sorbus

    “I don’t think it’s unreasonable to raise the question of differences between impact on election outcome and immediate impact on pre-election polling on a polling site.”

    —————

    Sure, I mentioned that myself, so does Nate. He gives examples of when that happened…

    All your objections are spurious. Just look at the data.

    I gave you an example of how Hilary has turned it around since the debate. Was that reinforcing a trend? Or had Trump been closing in? You didn’t dare say…

  36. Millie
    I’d noticed that about LibDems and UKIP and think your analysis is spot on. It can’t be long before the local trends show up in the polls, surely?

  37. @Sorbus

    “There’s always the chance that someone on this site will know of some relevant analysis and post a link, or be interested in speculating about the mechanisms underlying movement or lack of movement in the polls.”

    ———

    Eh? Why would they bother when Nate has already done it? They’re only liable to reject it if they can find summat wrong with it. And like I said, we can look at examples ourselves. We only need one to disprove your hypothesis. Eg possibly Hilary and Trump…

  38. SOMERJOHN

    “Off subject, and in the spirit of genuine inquiry and not points scoring”

    I really do not find your comments about my dyslexia at all helpful and i am not sure your trying to be that. I think your just trying irritate me. I suggest it gives more of an insight into your own personality than mine.

    As I have said before it has not proved a handicap at all in my life either at University or in business or any other sphere.

    if you though it over aggresive then I ‘ll just say a very clear margin which my no stretch of the imagination was tiny. I understand that if the vote had been a GE would have given a massive majority of seats in favour.

  39. Carfrew

    Thanks for the links. We seem to be talking past each other. Possibly my fault for lack of clarity, or indulging in idle speculation.

  40. @carfrew
    The drop in the value of £ has been part of the reason for the improved stock market and exports.
    We are not the only people unhappy with the EU when we go others might follow.
    Time will tell.

  41. @Millie and Pete B

    It is quite possible that voting intention hasn’t really factored in the question of the relationship between the general election and Brexit. Quite possibly, it will be old news, and there will be no relationship.

    If there is an early election, Brexit will be in play big time. UKIP will be made to oppose the Tories, the Tories ought to leave safe Labour seats to UKIP.

    The awkward thing in this is that Labour cannot neutralise the issue by saying, “We respect the referendum result, and just want the best from negotiations.” The difficulty is that the Labour leadership doesn’t lead the Parliamentary party, so it is hard for electors to know what they are voting for.

  42. CARFREW

    My case was that Internet News sources span the whole gamut of opinion from extreme to extreme.-and do not suffer from the alleged narrow ownership/biase of the dead tree Press.

    If you disagree please tell me on what basis

  43. CARFREW

    @”Think she’ll ditch the bedroom tax?”

    A very interesting question!-don’t know the answer.

    Somerjohn

    @”. It is against that background that internet/social media commentary plays out.”

    I don’t agree with that at all. Social Media & Independent On-line News sites/Blogs are definitely not following someone else’s agenda.

    They are a seething cauldron of vociferous opinionated people , shouting every view imaginable.

    @”The older the age group, the more dependent they are on newspapers and TV for news. And as you point out, it’s the old who vote most.”

    So-do I understand you correctly-you object to the outcome of UK elections A) being a reflection of the opinions of Older People who read Tory Newspapers, and who tend to vote ; and B) not being a reflection of the opinions of younger people who read every Left Wing opinion possible on the Internet, but don’t bother to vote ???

  44. TOP HAT

    @”newspapers still dominate such a large part of the public consciousness, ”

    The facts do not support that view :-

    http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/research/tv-research/news/2015/News_consumption_in_the_UK_2015_executive_summary.pdf

  45. TOH: “I understand that if the vote had been a GE would have given a massive majority of seats in favour.”

    If the result of a GE was Party A 51.8%, Party B 48.2% (or, allowing 20% for other parties, 41.4% and 38.6%), it’s entirely possible that B would win more seats and form the government, given the vagaries of FPTP.

    Regarding the single word you mis-spell. I’m sorry if my enquiries irritate you, but it is genuinely puzzling. Even when the spelling of the word is the subject under discussion, you continue to mis-spell it, while getting everything else right. So surely this must be a deliberate decision on your part?

    I must admit it’s intriguing, because tolerance towards mis-spelling is usually seen as a trendy lefty liberal thing, while in my experience, those of a more authoritarian disposition are inclined to say, “pull yourself together, grow a backbone and apply a bit of self-discipline,” or something like that.

  46. Young people did vote at relatively high levls in the Brexit referendum – for example, at rates almost identical to the 40-55 age demographic. ‘not bothering to vote’ is not a good description. There’s just more boomers than there are millennials, so turnout becomes a moot point.

  47. @Colin;

    You didn’t read what I posted. I made a post explaining why even though newspaper readership has fallen, newspaper influence still predominates, and then you respond to it by giving me a link telling me newspaper readership has fallen. I know, I mentioned it.

    For example, your report states that about five times as many people watch the BBC as opposed to read the newspapers – but this doesn’t mean the newspapers have no influence. The BBC has to be very careful not to upset the government of the day or they find they end up facing ‘reforms’, the government of the day has to be very careful not to upset the news media or they find themselves losing votes, and so indirectly the BBC has to toe the news media line – hence, newspapers have an awful lot of influence that isn’t reducible to just their direct readership.

    This is beginning to diminish, yes – but we are at the very beginning of that process, not the end, and as I pointed out in my first post, there are good reasons to suppose it will never be a complete process.

  48. TOP HAT

    I I posted the link in order to bring to your attention the relative importance of the three main sources of News to UK News Consumers in 2015

    The relevant quotes are :-

    “Nine in ten adults in the UK (89%) say that they follow news
    (on any platform)”

    “Television is by far the most-used platform for news, with 67% of UK adults saying they use TV as a source of news”

    “The number of people who use the internet or apps for news has remained the same since 2014, with just over four in ten (41%) doing so, compared to just under a third in 2013 (32%)”

    ” Around a third (32%) of UK adults say they consume news through radio. (from 36% in 2014 )”

    “Newspapers are used by three in ten (31%), which represents a decrease of nine percentage points since 2014”

    Newspapers are the least used source of News.

    As to your assertions about perceived political biase in BBC News Reporting-a) AW asked us not to discuss this a while back, & b) It is what every Government…..and every Opposition I can remember claim to be the case at some point in a Parliament.

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