The Times released their regular YouGov voting intention poll this morning, the first of the new year. Topline figures with changes from before Christmas are CON 39%(nc), LAB 26%(+2), LDEM 10%(-2), UKIP 14%(nc), GRN 4%(nc). There is no significant change, though the boost in Lib Dem support that followed their by-election success appears to have abated. The Conservatives continue to enjoy a double-digit lead, Labour remain in the mid-twenties.

On the regular Brexit trackers things also look steady. 47% think Britain was right to vote to leave, 43% think it was wrong. 57% of people think that the government are doing badly at actually negotiating Brexit, just 20% well. That latter question may very well just be a reflection of the fact that negotiations haven’t started yet, but it will be a tracker to watch once May lays out a more detailled negotiating stance, Article 50 is invoked and things actually start moving.

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368 Responses to “YouGov/Times – CON 39, LAB 26, LDEM 10, UKIP 14, GRN 4”

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  1. Avoiding all publicity for the party seems to be working for the labour media team as they surge to 26%.

  2. Updated EWMA charts for VI, 2016 to today’s poll…

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BzTTW1ecy-NDWVhacWV1ZEdpTWc

  3. I wonder how much of these apparent changes in party support are due to folk, who might vote for them, switching between “Will vote for them” and “Dunno if I’ll vote for them”.

    2015 party voter saying “DK” – this YG poll (previous YG poll)

    Con 13% (16%)
    Lab 18% (20%
    UKIP 14% (24%)
    LD 31% (12%)

    Presumably the bigger swings for the minor parties is reflective of the much smaller number of responses, though it could also indicate more fluid levels of support.

  4. Or judgement on May’s negotiating strategy could become worse.

    Quoted in the previous thread, from the same source, are these two statements on her objectives;

    “But let’s state one thing loud and clear: we are not leaving the European Union only to give up control of immigration all over again”.

    “I want it to involve free trade, in goods and services”.

    In other words, “Have cake, eat it.”

  5. @Oldnat

    The 31% Lib Dem 2015 DK (and the 12%) look fairly normal.

    In the last year LD DK has been 22%. The last poll had 110 Lib Dems, with a margin of error of between 9% and 10%. Therefore, both data points look close to 22% +/- the MOE.

    If further polls shows a higher percentage of DK, maybe a trend is there. However, for a change in one poll I would be cautious.

  6. BTW I agree about more fluid voting in minor parties, as I think their supporters are probably more likely to vote tactically.

  7. SAFFER

    @”In other words, “Have cake, eat it.”

    I think she would describe it as a different cake-one that hasn’t been baked before.

  8. So not only does she want to have the cake and eat it, she wants it to be an entirely new cake. She’s very brave, she even put Boris in the Foreign office…

  9. CMJ

    Thanks for that analysis.

  10. @Oldnat

    Here are the charts for ‘Don’t Know’ – Con, Lab, LD and UKIP 2016 to now:

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BzTTW1ecy-NDWVhacWV1ZEdpTWc

  11. CMJ

    Ta.

    The “2%” LD drop between this poll and the last will also be well within moe.

    Have/Can you look at the LD VI when the DKs are high/low and see if there is any relationship?

    It still seems possible that, with such a relatively small group, that variations in the sampling might result in changes in the VI figure – or am I totally misunderstanding the stats? (which might well be the case! :-) )

  12. Oldnat,
    Your theory seems plausible..Yougov weight by 2015 vote but not by “firm 2015 vote”. So in theory if an unusually large number of the sampled 2015 LIb Dem voters happen to be undecided now, that will depress calculated VI. Alternatively, more Lib Dem voters from 2015 have suddenly become indecisive…

    Anyway, 10% is ok for the Lib Dems, but if the next poll is below 10% they may be sinking back again..

  13. Colin,
    Possibly a 50% based cake??

  14. Hi,
    I was just curious. Is there any precedent of a government being 13 points ahead in the polls at this stage of the electoral cycle (ie. nearing mid term) going on to lose a subsequent general election?

  15. Oh! Autotext spolis joke!
    50% baked cake of course!

  16. Once upon a time, the Red Cross being called in to help out with the “humanitarian crisis” in English hospitals might have been expected to switch some voting intention.

    Am I right in reading English politics as being in a state where it will make virtually no difference?

  17. OldNat

    Behave!,

    You write of English hospitals as if they’re in Outer Mongolia!

    And English Politics!,

    Good grief!,

  18. Jasper

    You mean you don’t understand that hospitals in England are the only ones in the UK under the political control of the UK Government?

    I have no information as to Outer Mongolian hospitals, but perhaps they are fortunate not to be run by Westminster?

    Voting intention in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is unlikely to be directly affected by how English politicians screw things up within its own polity, just as English voters are unlikely to be concerned by the performances of the different NHS systems outwith England.

    Still, maybe you are right and there is no English politics – you just do as you are told, perhaps?

  19. @Oldnat has a point. There are an increasing number of disturbing stories emanating from NHS England A&E departments, and a ferocious government operation to seek to make these appear to be the fault of more patients asking for help.

    In normal circumstances I suspect this would be a very big story, and consequently a big potential influence on the polls, but my strong suspicion is that Brexit is creating such a political diversion that a developing and serious crisis in the English health service, along with an even greater crisis in social care, is being sidelined in the public mind.

    At some point the dam might burst, but it isn’t helped by the fact that we have an opposition leadership so useless that they can’t even seize the initiative in areas where things are going badly wrong.

  20. @Jaspar22 – you really ought to go and live in Scotland, Wales or NI for a few years.

    Then you would understand that there really is such a thing as ‘English politics’.

  21. Aw – Thanks for the new thread

    CMJ – very interesting graphs. UKIP didn’t drop too much during their recent travails and now seem to be revering back to their usual levels. Labour seem on a relentless downward trend, and Libdems fluctuating but less consistent than UKIP and consistently below them. However this is offset by their much better nous at targetting specific seats.

    Ian Wtson
    “I was just curious. Is there any precedent of a government being 13 points ahead in the polls at this stage of the electoral cycle (ie. nearing mid term) going on to lose a subsequent general election?”

    I haven’t got all the figures to hand, but I can’t remember a government even being this far ahead at this stage of the electoral cycle. We live in interesting times. At the next GE it’s possible that Labour could lose on a massive scale. The Libdems could recover a bit because of that, and the big unknown factor is how many seats UKIP can get. A lot could depend on the way the Brexit negotiations are portrayed by the media (including social media), but they could again end up with millions of votes and very few seats.

  22. Pete B
    It is possible that the Tories could win a landslide with <35% of the votes if the Lib Dems and UKIP both pick up a bit and Labour go down to ~20%. Four party politics would favour the Tories in FPTP

  23. Why can’t this site keep the ‘latest voting intention’ column up to date? The last poll recorded in November 20th. It’s January 7th as I write. Explanation please?

  24. Andrew

    It’s possible that the Tories could win with less than 20% of the electorate. Labour only had 21.7% in 2005, but a big majority. I wonder if there is any possibility if that happened that SNP, UKIP, LibDem and even Labour could unite to try to force a referendum on PR?

  25. Pete B

    “but they [UKIP] could again end up with millions of votes and very few seats.”

    It is extraordinarily hard for new(ish) parties to make a breakthrough under FPTP – which is why Con & Lab have been so happy to continue with that system!

    While I have as little enthusiasm for the party that you support as you do for the one I support, neither is a major factor in each other’s countries, so our minds can meet on certain issues!

    The SNP rose to power (and the Scottish Greens to significant influence) only because of the AMS system at Holyrood.

    A similar system in Wales allows Labour to remain dominant – because that’s what the Welsh people vote for!

    If there were an English devolved Parliament, it’s hard to see how Westminster could insist that it, uniquely, has a FPTP system, so that would seem to be your best way forward.

    Of course, you only get a devolved Parliament by threatening the hegemony of the established party, and in England that means the Tories.

    Viewing English politics from outside, it looks like UKIP’s intention is to pick off Lab seats in the North of your polity. Unless you threaten the security of Tory MPs, they won’t give a damn, and Lab look like being many years away from having any power to do anything..

  26. Christopher Bowring

    “Why can’t this site keep the ‘latest voting intention’ column up to date?”

    Might be something to do with Anthony having a full time job and a young family?

  27. @Christopher

    Our generous host is a busy man.

    If you want the most up to date polling data try here:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_next_United_Kingdom_general_election

  28. @Oldnat

    Sorry for not getting back sooner.

    Sorry, I’ve not had time to look at the LD DKs vs LD VI – busy night with the sproglings.

    @Andrew111 gave a good explanation. Seeing as the biggest part current LD support is from their own 2015 voters, it makes sense.

  29. CMJ

    No probs. I remember those times well. It’s nice to be a grandad and just hand them back. :-)

  30. Forget Brexit, I think the fundamental schism in British politics is this: you are either for the Tories or against them.

    I exempt Kippers from this binary situation. But they are probably quite evenly divided between the two groups so it doesn’t really matter.

    Under FPTP, the Tories win very comfortably with only 40% or less of the vote. So a coalition of anti-Conservatives makes obvious sense.

    What stops that happening is the belief within Labour that they can win on their own.

    But we are now in rather uncharted waters – the Tory lead at this stage of the Parliament is exceptional, and very few pundits think that Labour has any chance of winning next time round. The public probably likewise. So that core self-belief within Labour is much diminished.

    The polls may currently be quite stable, but these are circumstances of flux and unpredictability.

    A continuation of the polling status quo is unsustainable, and I think 2017 will see big changes in how the anti-Tory vote becomes organised.

    It might be a Lib Dem surge, it might be the emergence of a charismatic and plausible Labour leader, or it might be some form of electoral pact, but something is going to give.

  31. @MILLIE

    I’ve said before on countless occasions that the only way that the Tories can be beaten is by a coalition of anti-Tory parties. The risk of a UKIP-Tory coalition is less likely in my view, given the deep seated antipathy between elements of both parties.
    What is certain is that Corbyn must go, and I expect he will eventually go if the polls continue to be bad. It’s a waiting game.

  32. @ Millie

    The LDs are not a “left-of-centre” anti-Tory party. If they were, how come they worked with the Tories in coalition from 2010-2015?

    They are an independent middle-of-the-road party which believes in the market economy, liberal social values, social justice and are very pro-EU. While their approach may be similar to Labour on some issues, they are not a statist socialist party and were equally comfortable with Cameroonian liberal “conservative” policies, e.g. “gay” marriage,

  33. @Dunham

    Perhaps. but I wonder if the coalition experience has fundamentally shifted the Lib Dem approach. Speaking from a Westcountry perspective, the LDs are the main opposition, to the Tories and the electoral focus for all those left of centre.

    The pro-Tory/anti’Tory schism isn’t entirely about policy. I think it has a lot to do with social attitudes. The anti-Tory vote to a certain extent comprises those who simply cannot bear their approach. Theresa May recognised this with her comments on the Nasty Party, and her statement on becoming PM

  34. TANCRED

    @” the only way that the Tories can be beaten is by a coalition of anti-Tory parties.”

    It wasn’t so long ago-on this very site-that Labour supporters regularly pronounced the unelectability of the Tory Party.

    So I don’t buy this apocalyptic stuff-its always pronounced in short time-spans. A wider horizon teaches that what goes around comes around politically.

  35. Interesting article in FT -three reasons why May “remains strong”:-

    “First, the UK economy is still some way from feeling the chill winds of Brexit.
    Second, Labour is nowhere near offering a coherent and viable alternative
    Third, people who voted Leave at the referendum show no sign of buyer’s remorse.”

  36. Seems like the Red Cross is now helping out the NHS.

    There’s a humanitarian crisis unfolding and the Red Cross is sending in volunteers to help hospitals cope.

    Good to see.

  37. JASPER22
    There’s a humanitarian crisis unfolding and the Red Cross is sending in volunteers to help hospitals cope.

    That’s what the news channels are reporting. But your “Good to see” remark is ambiguous, to put it mildly!

    Are you suggesting that the English NHS should be replaced by charities? I can’t see that as being likely to do anything but reduce trust in HMG.

    It will be interesting to see if this incompetence has any effect in the next few polls.

  38. Alec

    ” but my strong suspicion is that Brexit is creating such a political diversion that a developing and serious crisis in the English health service, along with an even greater crisis in social care, is being sidelined in the public mind.”

    There is probably something in that argument. The interesting thing about the detailed questions in the poll is that it shows leaving the EU is seen as likely to improve the health service by 30% while making it worse by only 25%. So NHS problems may actually be helping the Leavers.

  39. Using Eectoral Calculus gives a Conservative majority of 70 on current boundaries and 82 on new boundaries.

  40. ALEC

    @”” but my strong suspicion is that Brexit is creating such a political diversion that a developing and serious crisis in the English health service, along with an even greater crisis in social care, is being sidelined in the public mind.”

    Not in this particular mind , having just experienced our local A&E.

    And its not Brexit-its the invisible Labour Party who should be taking Hunt to pieces on this issue.

  41. @Tancred

    I actually think a grand coalition of anti-Tory parties is the least likely outcome. I suspect a LD surge is more likely, or a change of leadership within Labour. Those options are intertwined, because Corbyn continuing ineffectively is the biggest reason to vote LD.

    And its not just about dumping Corbyn – its all about who replaces him. Owen Smith was demonstrably the wrong man, Perhaps Clive Lewis can combine acceptability to the Corbynistas with a credible policy platform.

  42. BBZ

    Not meant as an ambiguous remark.

    Good to see them helping out.

  43. JASPER22 @ BBZ
    Good to see them helping out.

    Fair enough, but not good for HMG I suspect.

  44. Colin

    Sorry you had to visit A & E, I hope all is well now.

  45. Forget Brexit, I think the fundamental schism in British politics is this: you are either for the Tories or against them.

    I don’t this applies universally.

    My politics are neither pro-Tory or anti-Tory. I think our politics are far more multi-faceted.

    UK politics is held back by FPTP that means binary politics is the net result.

    This is why my politics is largely about working to dismantle and discredit the current system, and try to make it so poor for so many voters and parties that internal pressure helps to enact change.

    Change the system and our party system will change to suit.

  46. @MILLIE

    “I actually think a grand coalition of anti-Tory parties is the least likely outcome. I suspect a LD surge is more likely, or a change of leadership within Labour. Those options are intertwined, because Corbyn continuing ineffectively is the biggest reason to vote LD.”

    I don’t think there will be a big enough LD surge, even with tactical voting. And the bitterness against the LDs after their 2010 pact with the Tories is still there.

    “And its not just about dumping Corbyn – its all about who replaces him. Owen Smith was demonstrably the wrong man, Perhaps Clive Lewis can combine acceptability to the Corbynistas with a credible policy platform.”

    I don’t think Clive Lewis is the right man for the job. I think Keir Starmer is much closer to what Labour need to be credible. Even a comeback by Balls and David Miliband could be a possibility.
    If Labour splits, so be it – it will be the left that will be marginalised, not the social-democratic centre of the party.

  47. @COLIN

    “It wasn’t so long ago-on this very site-that Labour supporters regularly pronounced the unelectability of the Tory Party.
    So I don’t buy this apocalyptic stuff-its always pronounced in short time-spans. A wider horizon teaches that what goes around comes around politically.”

    I never believed the Tories were unelectable, even back in the early and mid 00s when they blundered their way through a succession of hopeless leaders. The core of Tory support never went away and all they needed was for Labour to screw up, which they did, spectacularly.
    Labour’s problems today are much more deep seated. They changed their leadership election system in response to bitching from the Tories and their press baron friends, but this has only served to radicalise the party even more and bring to the fore unsuitable leaders like Ed Miliband and Corbyn. If Labour members remain mostly hard left then I see little hope of Labour even being elected again. The only hope of even preventing a Tory landslide in the next election is some kind of loose coalition with LibDems and the Scottish and Welsh nationalists.

  48. From recent personal experience the nhs is in crisis. My mother, 90, had a fall on xmas day.

    The ambulance took an hour and a half to arrive. No, not the Hebrides, but in Reading.

  49. Interesting new article this morning on the LSE’s blog from Gavin Barrett, the Jean Monnet Professor of European Constitutional and Economic Law in Dublin, re the EEA’s A126 and A127, including:

    The UK Government asserts that the UK is party to the EEA Agreement only in its capacity as an EU member state. Thus once the UK leaves the EU, it will automatically cease to be a member of the EEA. The point is arguable. Article 126 of the EEA Agreement, for example, does say the agreement shall apply to the territories of the now EU as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Provisions like that could be argued to bring in Article 62 of the Vienna Convention in the event of Brexit (which allows unforeseen “fundamental changes of circumstances” as grounds for terminating a treaty) or perhaps Article 60, (which allows “material breaches” to justify terminating the EEA Treaty’s application to the UK).

    The point is not clear though – because Article 127 of the EEA Agreement expressly provides only one way of withdrawing – by giving 12 months’ notice to other parties. If that provision applies, then just quitting the EU won’t be enough for the UK to leave the EEA’s single market. The UK will have to give express notice to leave the EEA as well.

    and concluding with:

    If the Supreme Court say ‘no’ [re EU A50], then parliamentary consent will not be needed to trigger Article 127 either. That would be the end of the Article 127 story. The Government will simply give the Article 127 notice: it would then be farewell to the EEA. If the Supreme Court say ‘yes’, then parliament’s consent will be needed for EEA exit too. But here is the catch: parliamentarians may not give it, claiming there has been no referendum on that.

    Getting thus ‘stuck’ in the EEA either temporarily or even permanently would be great news for British business – much preferable to the mere customs union, or worse, WTO rules they will be left with if Britain leaves the single market. The Courts, and potentially parliament too, thus have crucial decisions ahead of them – decisions which could affect British economic wellbeing for generations.

    See How Article 127 of the EEA Agreement could keep the UK in the single market

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