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

    Agree completely with your comments re Trump but I also think it matters that he’s a TV celebrity candidate. He become a ‘personality’ by saying outrageous things (similar to those he’s saying now) on TV and by being not ‘politically correct’ ie being rude to a lot of different people. The audience response was good – and he went from there.
    I don’t think we can fool ourselves that we would be immune – it’s as though a combination of Jeremy Clarkson and Alan Sugar, having been loved and lauded on television, suddenly had a chance of being PM. Or maybe a bit like Boris??????

  2. Alec

    Fair enough Alec, we just disagree on the majority. Not important anyway.

    I always though the xenophobic interpretation of Rudd’s statement was incorrect and that has been clarified today. Nothing in May’s speeches that one could call xenophobic.

  3. TANCRED

    Keep at am them boy – the left never like a winner!

  4. CAMBRIDGERACHEL
    What lessons are the Republicans going to learn from the Trump saga.

    Let’s hope they stop watching Fox News and start reading articles like this:
    For the third time since The Atlantic’s founding, the editors endorse a candidate for president.

    The Atlantic has been going since 1857. The previous two were Abraham Lincoln [1860] & Lyndon B. Johnson [1964].

  5. CHARLES

    Nice to hear from you. I suspect your correct about May, I’ve always though of her as rather euro-sceptic and I was surprised she came out as a Remainer prior to the referendum

    We are on different sides of the debate so of course you know I hope she sticks to this weeks statements but as I posted earlier I have a fairly deep distrust of politicians anyway.

  6. BARBAZENZERO,

    I think a lot of Trump supporters will look at The Atlantic and think it’s sitting on the fence!

    Peter.

  7. In one week …

    1) The current (past and maybe future) leader of UKIP, who was frightening the electorate back in June that Syrian refugees would grope British women said today that advocating groping is just an alpha male behaviour, so it’s ok.
    2) PM Theresa May attempts to occupy the centre ground by being more xenophobic than Enoch Powell.
    3) The Home Office said that the UK won’t have the legal right to remove EU nationals, so all the 3.5 million can stay. No doubt it will please many of the Brexiters (not all!) who are not xenophobic, just hate the foreigners.
    4) Angela Rudd, Home Secretary, who advocated naming and shaming British firms who do something or other made such a step that not even the best of Strictly Come Dancing could make, and now in full support of not naming and shaming any British firm.
    5) The British government will only employ advisors in Brexit negotiations who are British citizens (meanwhile, all British citizens are actually EU citizens, but that’s only for the confusion). That somewhat reduces the talent pool – maybe by the factor of a hundred. It’s ok, because “Brexit means Brexit”. And I suppose “May means May” – fragrence in the air, blooming flowers, sprouting tomatoes (that’s just my favourite vegetable), two bank holidays, and fertilising rain … I’m sure ToH knows more about it.

    Even the Bible says, “Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.” (Daniel 12:12).

  8. TOH
    Interesting to see you trying to change a referendum into a FPTP election and ignore Scotland!
    But what if a 3rd question had split the Brexit vote? Maybe Remain would have got a majority with 37% of the votes, as is normal in FPTP!

  9. Laszlo

    Oh dear,

    “2) PM Theresa May attempts to occupy the centre ground by being more xenophobic than Enoch Powell.”

    Could you point out Mrs May’s xenophobic statements please? I have not seen or heard any.

    I thought that we had managed to get the discussion of Brexit to a more sensible level. Apparently not for some.

  10. I will return to my football match analogy

    A 13-12 victory would never be regarded as a clear win in football and all the pundits would be talking unlucky losers..

  11. Andrew111

    If you read the posts between Alec and myself you will see I was doing nothing of the sort I was just disagreeing on what constitutes a “very narrow majority.

  12. LASZLO

    The tomato is a fruit.

  13. Alan

    Few people now care about the sexual orientation of any species, but archaic jibes are best avoided – especially about tomatoes, who also have an identity crisis as to their pronunciation! :-)

  14. TOH

    You are wasting your time with Laszlo.

    He has moved into another gear of hyperbole. What he describes as UK’s “ignorant voters” have dared to question the ethos of what May describes as “Citizens of the World”-and so we are all now to be branded as ignorant xenophobic racists.

    I can only presume that he is suffering a traumatic sense of exclusion by the current attitudes of his Hungarian compatriots -and so lashes out at the people he now resides with.

  15. COLIN

    Still think that Steven Woolfe is going to sweep the board in Northern England as UKIP leader?

  16. If anything Mrs May is way behind where Obama is. He has deported 2.5 million people since coming to office in 2009, 23% more than Dubya did.

    And it’s not because he’s a mean guy. It’s because he believes in the rule of law.

    As far as Britain is concerned, EU people only have the right to live here while we are in the EU. After that, our own laws apply. We’ll probably grant those who are already here the right to remain, but I think Mrs May wanted to discourage those still coming in, who seem to believe that “of course” free movement will still apply, and things will carry on as before. They now know it won’t, and they will change their plans accordingly.

  17. …………and as for those illiberal right wing extremist zenophobes the Swedes & Danes-

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/swedens-ugly-immigration-problem/article26338254/

  18. HAWTHORN

    …………not so sure now ! :-)

    What has happened to UKIP is almost as extraordinary as for Labour.

    When will it be the turn of Cons?

    A punch up between Fox & Boris perhaps ?

  19. @Colin

    Yeah. Basically having people enter the country in the middle of the worst recession for 70 years is just toxic, and any sane govt will try to stop it.

    It’s worth noting that Obama’s best efforts haven’t quite stopped the pressures on the border states (which have led to the rise of Trump).

    As for the EU, their foolish notion that they didn’t need to improve their economies, they could just export their unemployed to us has bit them on the bum. They have only themselves to blame.

  20. @ALAN

    “LASZLO

    The tomato is a fruit.”

    Yes, but it’s also a vegetable. It’s both.

  21. @COLIN

    “When will it be the turn of Cons?”

    ———

    Well the Cons just had an almighty spat, culminating in the replacement of PM, Chancellor et al. It’s just that it was ruthlessly efficient. But there’s a fair few newly disgruntled now lurking on the backbenches…

    From The Times…

    “TIMES INVESTIGATION
    Inside the new No 10: purges, puritanism and zebra-prints
    Theresa May works until 2am and values loyalty above all else

    Alice Thomson | Rachel Sylvester
    October 1 2016, 12:01am, The Times

    It was Nancy who made us all cry, says one aide, “She was so brave standing on the steps.” There were few dry eyes as David Cameron’s advisers filed back into No 10 having watched him give his last speech and leave Downing Street with his wife and children. Immediately they were greeted by two boxes in the entrance hall — one for their phone, one for passes — and hustled out by the back door. “We didn’t even have time to get our coats or our bikes, it was brutal,” another aide says.

    The handover from Mr Cameron to Theresa May was as severe as it was sudden.

    Although both are Conservatives, a former Labour cabinet minister says: “There were more similarities between Blair and Cameron than Cameron and May. Even Brown and Blair had more in common.”

    “Barely any staff have remained at No 10 except the cabinet secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood. “It’s total regime change,” a civil servant said. There were no notes left on desks or bottles of wine in the fridge, the cut-off was complete. The new prime minister has barely talked to Mr Cameron since she took over. Nor have they had any cosy kitchen suppers. Mrs May went into No 10 for a few hours the day before to inspect the kitchen, measure up the windows and chat about what the Camerons were taking, otherwise there have been few discussions.”

    “Mrs May is considering cancelling the £1,500-a-head Black and White Ball. She doesn’t want any “lavish” parties and is not planning to spend much time on dinners with big donors. It is the grassroots she wants to attract in more numbers and her policy advisers are looking at capping donations and reviewing the Lords. The candidates’ list is being purged of some of the public schoolboys by Theresa’s new Tories. Her mantra is “a country that works for everyone not just the privileged few”.”

    “Mrs May will need her loyal defenders in the coming months. On the Tory back benches the right-wing Eurosceptic “bastards” who have made so many previous Conservative leaders’ lives a misery have now been joined by the centrist Cameroons who were fired in the recent reshuffle. “People feel strongly enough that if we start to see a lurch rightwards, we won’t be backwards about coming forwards even if that means we are seen as troublemakers,” a former minister warns.”

  22. CANDY

    Freedom of Movement was originally intended to facilitate the efficient movement of Workers , along with Capital , Goods & Services, across a unified block of Convergent Economies.-the pretend Country called the European Union.

    Of course they aren’t Convergent Economies , since Monetary Union & one Central Bank were not accompanied by Fiscal Union & one Treasury. The fig leaf to paper over this gaping omission-the Stability & Growth Pact has been observed more in the breaking than the compliance-noteably by Germany & France.

    And so, as you observe ,the young unemployed from the post crash wreckage of the ClubMed economies-unassisted in any way by non-existent “Freedom of Movement” of State Capital flows to their areas; voted with their feet & came here.-Economic Migration-not Efficient Movement of Productive Capacity.

    This disaster is then followed by the Accession of Countries with huge divergence in per capita GDP & Income . ……..another wave of Economic Migrants sets off across this increasingly disfunctional
    organisation.

    Finally Frau Merkel decides to allow any Syrian who can survive an Aegean rubber dinghy transit & a 1500k walk to enter Germany , and join the uncounted thousands of illegal immigrants excercising Free Movement across the Schengen area.

    And they wonder why perfectly decent ordinary citizens are getting a tad pi**ed off with this-even in Sweden. And they think that telling these folk they are zenophobes will put things right.

  23. “2) PM Theresa May attempts to occupy the centre ground by being more xenophobic than Enoch Powell.”

    ———

    She’s definitely synthophobic…

  24. @THE OTHER HOWARD

    “Tancred

    I see you repeated your unpatriotic nonsense last night and wish to condemn large numbers in the UK and Europe to misery. You seem to think bullying will bring those who want to leave the EU to their senses. I think the reverse will be true and over time people in this country will say “thank god we got out in time”.”

    As always you misunderstand me [sigh].

    It is precisely because I love this country that I want Brexit to fail, because I firmly believe that our best interests lie in staying in the EU bloc. I find myself in a small minority as a right winger and also an EU remainer at the same time. My burning issue is not sovereignty or EU immigration but our national economic health, which I believe will be ruined by Brexit no matter what happens. So I favour a hard, evil and painful Brexit as that is the only way that people will get it through their thick heads that they made a mistake in voting leave. A nice, sweet smelling, ‘soft’ Brexit would give the illusion of a success when in reality it’s a disaster.

    I believe we will remain friends with the EU countries no matter what, but in future years this will take the character of a brutal friendship. I am saddened by this.

  25. Candy,

    “Basically having people enter the country in the middle of the worst recession for 70 years is just toxic, and any sane govt will try to stop it.’

    Inflation is below 1%, their are a record number in employment, the proportion in employment is at a record high, despite record immigration unemployment has been falling for two years and more and is now below 5%, house prices are rising and exports are up.

    Technically it’s the worst recession for 70 years, but it has rather odd characteristics that make comparisons unreliable.

    Most working and middle class people have jobs but while the rich have got richer, house prices have risen out of reach for many and wages are depressed.

    The better off have got better off, the middle have traded water and the poor have struggled.

    So the poor blame the foreigners while the rich get off scot free.

    Peter.

  26. @ToH

    Sadly was busy and missed the cricket. Was trying to avoid the score so could keep the suspense and watch it on iPlayer later but didn’t manage that either. Still, good to see the debutantes performing…

  27. Alan

    Thanks. You are right. Tomato is technically a fruit. Oddly, its Hungarian name is paradise.

  28. The Northern Ireland Secretary, James Brokenshire, has responded to questions about how travel between Ireland and Northern Ireland will be handled, by referring to the agreements on data sharing about immigration that exist between Dublin and London. Of course, it may come as a surprise to the Irish that they are going to be in charge of part of the UK’s immigration controls, and essentially act as one of the UK’s borders.

    The problem there is that Ireland can only do so much about EU visitors. If there are no border checks between Ireland and Northern Ireland, then they have no way to prevent people crossing to Northern Ireland. Which means that in reality, the border checks would have to happen in crossings between Ireland/Northern Ireland and Great Britain. Except that means an end to the CTA as it currently works…

    It does look like it is slowly dawning on the Government that there can’t be a removal of the UK from free movement of people, without significant changes to the status of Northern Ireland.

  29. Baffled.

    Why are we in a civil war about the gender of tomatoes?

    Do they not have the right to make a choice?

  30. For all those who think that May’s and Rudd’s points are not xenophobic – you are not on the receiving end (I’m not either, but it’s a class thing, but some of my acquaintances (from different nationalities), who don’t belong to the upper middle class are. Hence my unforgiving attitude to these points.

    I also recognise that it is a vote winner everywhere in Europe. Now, how the poisoned wells will be cleared once things settled, and who is responsible for the poisoning …

  31. @Tancred
    “a right winger and also an EU remainer at the same time”
    like the tomato, both fruit and vegetable
    Not sure how a right winger (small government, as a rule) supports an organisation like the EU. Perhaps your centre has gone a long way left.

  32. Laszlo

    They say intelligence is knowing tomato is a fruit…

    … and wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

  33. Alan
    Like it.

  34. Prof Howard

    Was the “no borders” comment a reference to the story in the the Grauniad?

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/oct/09/britain-to-push-post-brexit-uk-immigration-controls-back-to-irish-border?CMP=share_btn_tw

    Nothing wrong with a fudged arrangement which this looks like.

    But it does have the appearance of Ireland continuing to keep non-EU (ie brown/black) people out of the CTA, while the UK will be so unwelcoming to EU citizens that “officials believe few EU citizens will want to come and work illegally in the UK after Brexit”!

    If the story is correct, then it wold suggest that the UK Government priority is to keep immigrants out of England, rather than the UK – and everyone (except, perhaps 6 EU states) is happy to ignore the issue of tariffs on goods crossing the border within Ireland, and thence onto rUK and rEU.

    Not sure that would work.

  35. ON
    “officials believe few EU citizens will want to come and work illegally in the UK after Brexit”

    About like Gordon brown’s prophecy that very few Eastern Europeans would want to come here?

  36. Pete B

    That did cross my mind! :-)

  37. Taking back control of our borders by…. handing it to the Irish?

  38. COLIN
    “.-Economic Migration-not Efficient Movement of Productive Capacity.”
    But economic migration largely of human resources which have had the training and experience to provide needed skills in northern European economies,including the UK.
    Which raises the question, would the right UK policy be to export non hrd production capacities to countries with the hrd – as in the transfer to Spain and Korea of Clarks shoe factories?
    Or the garment industry to China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Bangladesh. There is no doubt of the benefit to those countries of the transfer. Indeed it helped in Vietnam with providing jobs for the repatriation and reintegration of asylum seekers and economic migrants (the Boat People) from Hong Kong.

  39. “Baffled.
    Why are we in a civil war about the gender of tomatoes?
    Do they not have the right to make a choice?”
    @Matt Wardman October 9th, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    Don’t you dare give them a vote. They may choose the wrong gender.

    We did it to the Brexiters. That was a mistake.

    We did it to the anti-Frackers. That was a mistake too, but we managed to undo that.

    Next they will want a vote on capital punishment. If they get that, this country is doomed.

  40. @DAVE

    “Not sure how a right winger (small government, as a rule) supports an organisation like the EU. Perhaps your centre has gone a long way left.”

    I do not support ‘small government’ and many right wingers don’t either. The ‘small government’ definition is the neo-liberal version of the political right, not the traditional version. I am more of a social conservative than an economic one (i.e. liberal-conservative).

  41. @Alan – that’s a good one.

    @Colin – That link you posted is sobering.

    @Pete B – Indeed. Wasn’t it just 13,000 people were going to come from Poland according to Gordon Brown? And when Romania and Bulgaria’s transitional controls were lifted in 2014, Mark Harper, said the situation this time would not replicate the mass arrival of Poles to the UK 10 years ago! One year later, 156,000 Romanians alone had applied for new National Insurance numbers. These ministers were either irredeemably deluded or barefaced l!ars.

    @Al Urqa – I don’t support capital punishment. But suggesting we’d be doomed if it was re-introduced is fanciful at best. We’d be in league with those other doomed merchants like the USA, China, Japan and other economic losers like Singapore.

  42. I took part in a poll for Yougov about a week ago which asked a number of political questions including about capital punishment, which I hadn’t seen for a while. I’ve yet to see any results however. Does anyone know if Yougov sometimes conduct private polls with their usual panel?

  43. Funnily enough I do support capital punishment, but I wouldn’t make this a reason to leave the EU. There are more important things at stake.

  44. Sea Change
    “Wasn’t it just 13,000 people were going to come from Poland according to Gordon Brown?….”

    I think so. The problem is that our governments, or more likely the civil servants, can’t conceive that for instance the lure that child benefit for children in the old country would be a big incentive. To them it is a bit of pocket money. Another example of how out of touch the self-styled elite are.

  45. @Pete B – yes true. And as the Swedish professor pointed out in the article that Colin posted you can’t have a welfare state for all and open borders and not have the system implode in a relatively short order.

  46. Ref: The Witney By-Election

    I wonder whether Nathan Handley will be standing again this time. In 2015 he polled only 12 votes, which made him the worst performer in the country.

    In his defence, his campaign was under-resourced – his crowdfunding attempt did not receive a single contribution.

    It will be a big test for the Lib Dems – if they can get into second place, then a comeback is on. If they fail to feature, then it is the wilderness for a while yet, at least.

  47. @TOH and Andrew111

    Whether it was a big win in percentage points or not isn’t that important. It was a slam dunk win for leave electorally going forward, when you look at probable constituency voting for Leave of 421 out of 573 in England and Wales, 7 out of 18 in Northern Ireland. For Scotland there has been no analysis done so we’ll give them 0/59 so there are no arguments with Oldnat! That’s a 2/3 constituency win for leave. Which is why I think the Tories have been so pragmatically bold with Brexit so far. They don’t need to look at their tea leaves to know how to stay in office.

  48. That is a very pragmatic solution to the Irish border problem as reported in the Guardian. The volume of flights/ferries to the Irish Republic from other than the UK is small enough to be tightly controlled and quite possible to make the carrier responsible for returning any illegals to the place of embarkation.

  49. @Sea Change

    And, of course, in constituencies that they can conceivably win, the percentage leaning to Leave would be even higher.

  50. Colin

    Some more good posts from you last night. Your right about Laszlo he seems to have lost it completely, and of course was unable to give me one example of May being xenophobic.

    Sea Change

    Your post to myself and Andrew111. Absolutely, exactly the point i was trying to make to Alec and Andrew.

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