The Times this morning has the latest YouGov voting intention figures – CON 42%(+3), LAB 28%(-2), LDEM 9%(+1), UKIP 11%(-2). While the size of the lead isn’t quite as large as the seventeen points ICM showed earlier in the week, it’s a another very solid lead for the Conservatives following their party conference, matching the lead May had at the height of her honeymoon. Full tabs are here.

While I’m here I’ll add a quick update on two other recent YouGov polls. First some new London polling, which shows extremely positive ratings for Sadiq Khan. 58% of people think he is doing well as London mayor, only 14% think he is doing badly. Mayors of London seem to get pretty good approval ratings most of the time (both Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson normally enjoyed positive ratings), I don’t know if that’s down to the skills of the individual politicians who have held the job so far or whether the public judge them by different standards to Westminster politicians. Never the less, it’s a very positive start for Khan, with net positive approval ratings among supporters of all parties except UKIP. Full tabs are here.

Finally, since the subject keeps popping up, some polling on the Royal Yacht. The public oppose replacing the Royal Yacht with a newly commissioned vessel by 51% to 25%. They would also oppose recommissioning the old Royal Yacht Brittania, but by a smaller margin (42% opposed, 31% support). The argument that the cost of the Yacht would be justified by the its role in promoting British trade and interests oversees does not find favour with the general public – 26% think the cost can be justified, 57% think it cannot. Full results are here.


607 Responses to “YouGov/Times – CON 42, LAB 28, LDEM 9, UKIP 11”

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  1. Turns out Unilever is trying to raise prices in the RoI too, by 10-19%, citing the falling pound.

    https://www.rte.ie/news/business/2016/1013/823654-tesco-unilever-row/

    Is it because a) they think the republic is still in the UK or b) they are gouging using Brexit as a catch-all excuse? (Hint: Ireland uses the euro)

  2. Regarding the polls – If I was Mrs May I’d call an election in January.

    It would resolve the Scottish issue too – if they return SNP MPs like before, they have consented to an Indy ref in 2019, and if they don’t, they have refused.

    Should bring clarity all round.

  3. EDGE OF SEAT

    Different people will have voted with very different motivations. But polling reported on here shows that the two top priorities in negotiations for Brexiteers were 1) Financial contributions and 2) immigration.

    That suggests Brexiteers wanted a ‘relatively hard’ Brexit, since neither of those factors would be addressed by at the softer end of the Brexit spectrum.

    Of course, it could be said that given there were plenty of remainers too, and some Brexiteers would have wanted a soft Brexit, it’s only fair that we have a soft Brexit as that is the mean position of all voters on the subject.

    However, politics does not work like that, and certainly negotiations don’t work like that.

    I voted remain and felt considerable depression in the aftermath (largely on the ground of the economic dislocation it would cause). Nonetheless, as someone who spends much of my life negotiating, I believe the government must prepare for a hard Brexit. That is the only option that is within the British government’s control, and making that as attractive as possible will improve their best alternative to negotiated agreement. That means a better deal for everyone in this country, however ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ and whatever it means for me personally. In my opinion that’s all that matters now, for all our sakes.

    I can’t tell you statistically how many other people there are in my position, but this is perhaps one explanation for the support shown for the conservatives in the polls at present. They may be divided on what they want, but at present Hammond and May on one side and Johnson and Davis on the other are all working toward one objective. I suspect it will only be if that changes that the tories will see their lead – and perhaps their party – crumble.

  4. Candy

    Frankly I am really amazed at Unilever, talk about shoot yourself in the foot.

    Perhaps the falling £ is causing problems in the EU? :-)

  5. IUVENIS

    A thoughful post and although as you will have gathered I am Brexiter I agree with most of what you say.

    I suspect from statements made to date, that is exactly what the government are planning for. I certainly don’t think that there is any great secret battle going on in cabinet. I watched May on Wednesday replying to Corbyn and Hammond was nodding agreement most of the time. No split there in my view.

  6. @TOH

    They released their third quarter figures on Thursday, and volume is down across the world. They’ve tried to expand in the developing world but Brazil, Argentina, Russia and China are all showing lower volume thanks to their sluggish economies. Raising prices everywhere is a sign of desperation, and it is a pity the remainers decided to play their useful fools.

  7. “Is it because a) they think the republic is still in the UK or b) they are gouging using Brexit as a catch-all excuse? (Hint: Ireland uses the euro)”

    Lol. Hint: a company’s input prices are not affected by the currency of the market they are selling into.

  8. “It would resolve the Scottish issue too – if they return SNP MPs like before, they have consented to an Indy ref in 2019, and if they don’t, they have refused.”

    The ‘Scottish issue” was resolved in May 2016 when Scotland voter’s returned a pro-independence majority to Holyrood, by far the largest party being elected on a pro-EU platform and that a second independence referendum might be called in the event of a significant change of circumstances such as Scotland being forced out of the EU against its will. The Leader of the Scottish Tory Party is on record that the UK Parliament should not block a referendum if the Scottish Parliament votes for one ( of course she may as in the past have since received instructions from London to change her policy).

    The “UK issue” is whether the English Tory party in Westminster will respect a vote of the Scottish Parliament or not. UK Labour has already said that it will.

  9. @Candy
    ‘Regarding the polls – If I was Mrs May I’d call an election in January.

    It would resolve the Scottish issue too – if they return SNP MPs like before, they have consented to an Indy ref in 2019, and if they don’t, they have refused.’

    She would now appear very foolish if she tried that , given her earlier statements. Moreover, Corbyn would have no incentive to bow to her wishes were the polls to remain in the same ball park
    The SNP could win 50 seats in Scotland having won 44/45% of the vote , so it would be far from clear that such an outcome would represent a mandate for a further Referendum.

  10. Mark Carney today: quite willing to ignore targets and take no measures to curb any excessive inflation.

    A reminder that currency levels can occur as much as a political decision as they can result from market forces.

  11. Hireton

    I don’t believe that the result of a Holyrood election where turnout was barely 55% can reasonably be held to override a Referendum result of just two years ago when turnout was circa 85%.

  12. HIRETON

    “The “UK issue” is whether the English Tory party in Westminster will respect a vote of the Scottish Parliament or not. UK Labour has already said that it will.”

    The UK issue is whether the Government in Westminster, which is the Government of the whole UK if you have forgotten, honours the vote of the UK electorate and takes us out of the EU. So far the signs are very good on that score.

  13. GRAHAM

    At this moment I see no reason for an election before 2020 when hopefully we will be outside the EU.

    However if the will of the people as expressed in the EU referendum was somehow frustrated by Parliamentary prevarication, then I could see a vote of confidence and a GE.

  14. CANDY

    Thanks for the update. I’ll have a look at the data.

  15. @Graham

    “I don’t believe that the result of a Holyrood election where turnout was barely 55% can reasonably be held to override a Referendum result of just two years ago when turnout was circa 85%”

    Since it wouldn’t be overriding the referendum result your point has no substance.

  16. @toh

    “The UK issue is whether the Government in Westminster, which is the Government of the whole UK if you have forgotten, honours the vote of the UK electorate and takes us out of the EU. So far the signs are very good on that score.”

    The UK Government must certainly take those countries of the UK which voted to Leave the EU out of it. The issue is about those countries of the UK which voted to remain in the EU and whether it will respect their electorate and Governments. So far the signs are very poor on that score.

  17. @Hireton
    ‘Since it wouldn’t be overriding the referendum result your point has no substance.’

    The Scottish people spoke clearly on a turnout of 85% just 25 months ago. Salmond sai at the the time that it was to be a vote to settle the issue for a generation. Westminster should refuse to approve a further Independence Referendum until circa 2035.

  18. HIRETON

    You do not seem to understand that the UK Government in Westminster speaks for the whole of the UK in this matter, and that all parts of the UK will be leaving the EU once the Government activates Art 50 and the two year period is up. Prime Minister May has made that quite clear.

  19. @Hireton

    As Graham pointed out turnout was 55% in the Holyrood elections (I understand the Conservatives warned that returning the SNP would result in another ref, but the SNP insisted this was not the case – so it is not clear whether the voters wanted another one or not).

    Having a general election in Jan 2017 would clear the air. People could vote for the party they feel would deliver the best Brexit, and the Scots could be told explicitly that their vote is to determine whether another ref was held. If they vote back in the SNP, Parliament should legislate to have one in 2019, just after we have Brexited.

  20. To have an election in January 2017 Parliament would have to be dissolved by Xmas. I do not see that happening!

  21. If I am not mistaken Parliament passed the European rules which made article 50 the method to withdraw and It is up to the government to exercise it.
    When Parliament passed the law allowing a referendum did the MP’s not realise that this would happen?
    I expect that there may be a short term problem with our currency but that the long term improvement in shares and exports will in time rectify any short term losses.
    My memory of economics is that it is to explain why Governments action did or did not work after the event.
    The bank of England has failed for many years to reach the target of 2% inflation Brexit may finally enable the target to be reached which would be good in the longer term for wages and productivity.

  22. P.S. Turnout matters

    The 2014 Indy ref had turnout of 84%
    The 2016 EU ref had turnout of 72%
    The 2015 Parliament was elected on a turnout of 66%
    the 2016 Holyrood assembly was elected on a turnout of 55%

    So Holyrood has the weakest authority.

    If people want to overturn the EU ref (or Indy ref) using a general election, they need to do so on a much higher turnout, to give the over-rule moral authority.

  23. @toh

    What the UK Prime Minister says and what happens (especially in Scotland) are not one and the same thing as we do not live in a dictatorship. In the UK of the 21st century political authority and legitimacy are dispersed and not concentrated in Westminster. You need to understand that.

  24. “I understand the Conservatives warned that returning the SNP would result in another ref, but the SNP insisted this was not the case – so it is not clear whether the voters wanted another one or not).”

    The SNP manifesto was entirely clear on this (as was the Scottish Green Party) and the SNP are proceeding exactly in line with their manifesto.

    The Scottish Tories’ manifesto said that they would reject a second referendum in any circumstances but their leader shifted on that commitment in an interview on BBC TV shortly after the EU referendum when she said that the UK Government should not block a second referendum if the Scottish Parliament voted in favour of one.

  25. Power devolved can be recovered as we saw in Spring 1972 when the Heath Government suspended Stormont and imposed Direct Rule.

  26. @Graham

    “Westminster should refuse to approve a further Independence Referendum until circa 2035.”

    I sincerely hope they do.

  27. “and the Scots could be told explicitly that their vote is to determine whether another ref was held.”

    On the whole in democracies my understanding is that the people decide what it is they are voting on and are not “told”.

  28. ‘On the whole in democracies my understanding is that the people decide what it is they are voting on and are not “told”.’

    But the people have never had any direct say in the wording of a Referendum held in the UK!

  29. @Hireton

    Your last sounds like a cop-out. Are you saying that if the SNP lost seats in a general election on a higher turnout than the Holyrood election, you would claim the Holyrood election had more force? Tsk, tsk.

  30. @popeye

    “Mark Carney today: quite willing to ignore targets and take no measures to curb any excessive inflation.”

    He was a bit more nuanced than that. He referred to a “bit of an overshoot” for the next few years. The questions that begs are what is a “bit of an overshoot” ,where is inflation heading and at what point would the BoE judge that they needed to intervene to reduce inflation?

  31. “Your last sounds like a cop-out. Are you saying that if the SNP lost seats in a general election on a higher turnout than the Holyrood election, you would claim the Holyrood election had more force? Tsk, tsk.”

    No.

  32. Good Afternoon All.
    I think that Mrs May will wait until after the New Boundaries have been established before any GE call.

  33. @Graham

    “Power devolved can be recovered as we saw in Spring 1972 when the Heath Government suspended Stormont and imposed Direct Rule.”

    Indeed. And monumental, self-defeating stupidity by the Westminster Govtcannot be ruled out.

  34. @Hireton

    I think in the current climate the question is not “At what point would the BoE intervene?” but rather “Is there a point at which the BoE would intervene?” The remit is to use interest rates, among other levers, to meet an inflation goal. In his statement he actually admitted to having an *aim* to keep interest rates low. The means has become the end, seemingly…

  35. ChrisLane1945,

    Good point.

    On inflation: our system is supposed to be flexible inflation targeting, where the Bank of England reacts differently to supply-side shocks to inflation as opposed to demand-side shocks. So the response to e.g. the 2009 disinflation was monetary stimulus, whereas the response to the recent disinflation (caused by low commodity prices) has been to stay put. Similarly, the response to e.g. the slight rise in inflation in about 1997-1998 was to be contractionary, whereas the response to the 2011-2012 inflation (caused by high commodity prices) was to stay put.

    So, if the Bank of England judges that the source of the inflation is the weakening of the pound rather than excessive demand, then they’ll stay put.

  36. @Old English

    Since 1997 when it took control of monetary policy and until the global financial crisis in 2008, the Bank of England maintained a near perfect record of meeting it’s legislated target of no less than 1% and no more than 3% inflation. The blip being the 0.75 inflation rate in 2000.

    The crisis resulted in a three years where inflation went above target. Austerity resulted in two years where inflation went below the target. (And one precarious month of Deflation!)

    When the Bank of England took over Monetary Policy, it had predicted it would only meet this target 60% of the time.

    The largest deviation since the Bank of England took over Monetary Policy, was 2011’s 4.1%. (This would have been a low rate of inflation by 1980s and 1960s standards, and glorious in comparison to the 1970s.)

    I suggest you rephrase your assertion.

  37. @Popeye

    There was an interesting piece on bloomberg tv after Mrs May’s speech which said that the reason the markets panicked was not to do with her confirmation that Article 50 would be triggered in March 2017 (which everyone was expecting), but the section in her speech attacking quantitative easing and the hint of a shift to fiscal policy to help the economy instead.

    Using fiscal policy to do infrastructure improvements only helps the UK, whereas using QE helps the international money men, the self-styled citizens of the world. It will be interesting to see what the autumn statement says. And I wonder if behind the scenes there is a discussion about QE. Apparently the BoE has been buying Apple corporate bonds despite the fact that they don’t have much of a presence in Britain, so not sure how that helps!

  38. @Bill Patrick

    That is precisely their decision. The assumption is that we’re adjusting level to what the markets assume will be our post-brexit trade-deficit, so a one-time blip. This is a bit of a gamble that the markets are making the correct prediction. A reminder that the Markets assumed Brexit wasn’t going to happen at all, and now may have been pricing in at a Soft-Brexit. In which case we may be in for a series of one-time blips, going up to, during, and shortly after Brexit.

  39. This is what happens when companies don’t increase their prices when currencies drop sharply –

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/10/14/irelands-mushroom-farmers-become-early-victims-of-brexit/

    “Mushroom growers rely on the UK for 80pc of sales and have been losing money since Britain’s vote to quit the European Union in June sent sterling tumbling. It has now lost 19pc of its value against the euro, wiping out the Irish producers’ profit margins.

    Five of Ireland’s 60 mushroom farms have so far gone out of business since the referendum, including two this week.”

    So that’s 8.3% of RoI’s entire mushroom industry now gone bust, because of Brexit. This is because retailers have not passed on the costs to customers, so overseas producers have taken the hit, and gone bust.

    While in this case the pain is being felt in RoI, shrinking the supply isn’t, generally speaking, the best way to get low long term prices. It also helps to explain the Unilever move, which is part of wider trend we will see.

    In the case of mushrooms, I assume this will have an upside as UK producers will have an opportunity to fill the gap in the market (and increase margins if prices rise) but I don’t know anything about the mushroom market, so I can’t comment whether home producers can expand quickly enough to fill the gaps.

    I am very keen to see what the polling impacts of the currency falls will be, however. In the days of mass overseas travel, a 20% devaluation is something many people feel, and now the Tescos/Unilever spat has highlighted the natural consequences of a falling currency and that the only reason this has happened is Brexit, public opinion will be interesting to watch.

  40. @Candy – I noticed you went a little quiet on the old gas front, so here’s a little nugget for you;

    Price Rise Alert 3)

    In late May I paid £58.54 for a 47kg bottle of propane. I’ve just had to replace the second bottle and seen the bill. It’s one penny off £70.

    Global oil prices have risen 2.5% in that time (with LPG prices closely tied in) whereas my gas has risen by 19%, which is, oddly enough, exactly the same as the drop in sterling.

    Your army of angry Leavers are going to be very busy, targeting lots more companies, as each ne Price Rise Alert comes through.

  41. Alec
    Have you thought of keeping a few chickens and fermenting the droppings to make methane? It’s what some of us did in the war. :-)

  42. ALEC

    Their flaming torches should reduce the demand for heating and light though.

  43. @Alec

    The mushroom farmers could increase their prices and lose market share, as consumers switch to buying something else. So they’d be stuffed either way.

    All Europeans suppliers to the UK are vulnerable one way or another. That’s why they are so annoyed about Brexit and the falling pound. That doesn’t mean Brexit is bad for us.

    To be frank the more these European suppliers suffer, the more pressure they’ll put on their govts to do a deal with Mrs May. So I’m all for Tesco squeezing them till the pips squeak. What we need is a slew of European businesses showing losses due to sharp falls in their exports to the UK to strengthen Mrs May’s hand.

    As for the currency situation, Paul Krugman had an interesting pound/euro chart in his last blogpost:

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/10/11/notes-on-brexit-and-the-pound/

    You’ll note the pound suddenly increasing in value in 2015 thanks to the ECJ doing super-QE plus negative interest rates for banks depositing with them. Their aim was to devalue the euro at our expense. All that has happened now is that the correct value has been restored. There is a currency war out there, an the UK is unexpectedly winning thanks to Brexit. It’s a pity the chicken little remainers can’t see it.

    As for Unilever – see my post higher up in the thread about how they are trying to increase prices in the ROI. I expect a long screed from you explaining why this is Brexit’s fault!

  44. That should say ECB not ECJ.

  45. Candy,

    “Their aim was to devalue the euro at our expense. ”

    Utter Little Englander codswollop.

    The ECB took these measures effective or not to boost the flagging Eurozone economy. Yes that had an impact on Sterling, but all major central bank actions to deal with domestic issues have impacts of currencies.

    You might think, Europe and indeed the World revolves around Britain, circling like sharks out to eat us, but that’s paranoia not fact.

    Peter.

  46. Chrislane
    I do not expect the new boundaries to be approved. Too many Tory MPs are opposed to them – particularly the reduction in the number of MPs.

  47. @Peter Cairns

    I agree it wasn’t specifically aimed at the UK though clearly the plan was to devalue the Euro by expanding the money supply at every other currencies expense (the UK included).

    But then Sterling has been QE’d multiple times since 2009, as has the now mighty dollar, the yen etc.

    “The Beggar Thy Neighbour Merry-go-round Policy” that’s been the International game for the last 8 years!

    @Graham @Bigfatron @CambridgeRachel – On Steel. I accept the points you’ve made about his better than anticipated performance in 1979 even though he still presided over a 4.5% drop in their vote. I do think he was a better leader than Farron has thus far proved. I don’t think either is a strong enough charismatic character to “move the needle” significantly. However there are similar portents to1979-83 if Labour were to split again then that could be a game-changer the LibDems need in their current situation.

  48. HIRETON

    Is because i do understand the supremacy of the UK Parliament in this matter that i writ as i do. Your just plain wrong.

  49. Alec

    Re RoI, thanks for that i thought that the drop in the pound would have negative effects in the EU in some industries. Your piece seems to confirm that.

  50. GRAHAM

    I do not expect Tory rebels on the issue. It seems to me that what the Tory Party want’s above all else, and has done throughout it’s existence, is power and retention of power. The reduction in the number of members and the new boundaries are likely to give them an electoral advantage since the old boundaries so favoured Labour.

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