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. ON

    That’s where we differ , I’m a happy unionist.

    A proud Welsh Briton.

  2. @DANNY

    “I don’t think this is what she is concerned about. She was not a conventional candidate for PM, and was chosen to do a particular job. Part of the job description is to take the blame when it all goes horribly wrong, or to bow out gracefully and let normal service resume if it goes well. In a sense, this is just like Corbyn.”

    Perhaps, but she is also personally ambitious, otherwise why would she have put herself forward in the first place? I guess she is partly shielding more credible long term Tory candidates like Johnson and Hammond from the risk of shame and disgrace if things go belly up. But she is no Joan of Arc. She wants to have a good term in office and be remembered as a PM who changed the course of history; this is partly why she is so stubborn. She wants to reverse what Edward Heath achieved all those years ago and put us back in splendid isolation. So be it – but she will not achieve this without a fight. I expect that the Tory honeymoon given to all incoming new leaders will end in 2017 for May as more details come out about her aim of a hard Brexit.

  3. Jasper

    “A proud Welsh Briton.”

    Indeed. You should be proud of speaking Welsh – one of the Brittonic languages.

    Being multi-lingual is a huge benefit to brain development and the ability to learn anything.

    Sadly, Gaelic died out in my family a generation back, so I have to be just bilingual, not trilingual.

  4. bTw the current BritainElects poll of polls has a gap of 12.5%, almost exactly the same as the latest Yougov..

    Using the same method as I normally use, I get the Conservative lead to be currently 12.7%. I’ll let Britain Elects off with 0.2%.

    The software actually quotes to 5 dp, but that gets really silly!

  5. Tancred

    “But she is no Joan of Arc.”

    I dunno about that. Jeanne d’Arc fought to save France from English domination, so May may be just doing the same thing. :-)

  6. @JASPER22

    Wales is very much like a bigger version of Cornwall. Cornwall is part of England, and Wales, despite their national status in football, rugby and the Commonwealth Games, is to all intents and purposes not much different.
    Scotland and Ireland have been independent for much longer before being joined to England, pretty much against their will, but Wales has been joined to England since 1283 in the reign of Edward I. Scotland, on the other hand, fought off the Plantagenets and remained a (de jure if not always de facto) independent state until 1707. As for Ireland, though it was colonised with English (and later Scottish) settlers from the Tudor period onward there was never any question that it would lose its identity.
    The Welsh, on the other hand, have accepted the role of being a junior partner in the United Kingdom and seem quite happy with it. Good for them.

  7. @Candy @Rodger

    100% agree with both of your analyses of the situation re: Corbyn and the Labour Party. One thing I would add is how much of this strategy is actually Corbyn and how much of it is the cabal around him – Milne, McDonnell, Tarry, Lansman, Abbott etc

    These calls from devotees for a Corbyn “Safe Space” zone on UKPR are completely misguided. If he has no responsibility whatsoever for the fact that Labour’s hitting mid-20s VI, then let’s hear the argument.

    @Tancred Re: Census

    Well the discussion was about Net Immigration. So the offspring of immigrants are a separate issue. I posted the Census data for perspective on the percentage of foreign born residents as they must have been part of immigration by definition.

    The Home Office estimates for part of that period was
    Net intake from January 1955 to June 1962 of about 472,000.
    Averaging about 72,500 a year for that period.

  8. Tancred

    “The Welsh, on the other hand, have accepted the role of being a junior partner in the United Kingdom and seem quite happy with it.”

    Somewhat inaccurate, compared with the previously reasonably accurate earlier part of your post.

    Like Cornwall, Wales was militarily conquered by England many centuries ago.

    Neither of them had any say in the formation, expansion or reduction of the United Kingdom, as they were legally just part of England, due to right of conquest.

    The majority of the current populations of Cornwall and Wales seem happy to remain part of the English state [1], and to go along with whatever it decides its wider unions may or not be.

    [1] Now that Wales has the Senedd, it may increasingly diverge from the politics of its dominant neighbour – as the continuing strength of Llafur (uniquely in the UK) would suggest. The recall of the Stannary Parliament would be an interesting test of Westminster/Whitehall’s willingness to relinquish total control over its conquered nations.

  9. @OLDNAT

    The issue with Welsh nationalism is that it’s a regional phenomenon, mostly concentrated in the west, particularly north-west part of the principality. The bulk of the Welsh population lives in south Wales and nationalism has failed to make headway there, where it needs to if it is to make a breakthrough.
    My feeling is that the smaller the country the weaker the sense of nationhood. There isn’t really a movement for Cornish independence is there?

  10. Many people in Cornwall do not think of themselves as English , and in many ways I believe England to be a rather contrived country in that if we choose to go back far enough we can identify separate identities such as Wessex – Mercia – Anglia – Northumbria etc – in addition to Cornwall. I come from mid-Pembrokeshire originally and have never thought of myself as being culturally Welsh. I empathise much more with England where I have lived for over 40 years but always insist on describing myself as British!

  11. old nat

    England conquered Cornwall !!. your ladybird history book collection must have a volume missing.

  12. Tancred

    Since I wasn’t talking about any breakthrough of Welsh nationalism, I presume those were just generalised comments?

    My question was much simpler – why (uniquely in Wales) has the UK Labour brand continued to flourish (even if locally rebranded as Llafur)?

    Jasper’s response was that the Welsh are traditionalists (but obviously none of their fathers knew Lloyd George – though some of their grannies might well have! ) Nobody else has suggested any reason at all!

  13. S Thomas

    I have a copy of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Maybe you should borrow it.

  14. S Thomas

    Stenton’s “Anglo-Saxon England” also has useful information. It’s long out of print, but your local library (if you still have such things) should be able to access a copy.

    Doubtless there are more up to date texts, but what William of Malmesbury said is unlikely to have changed.

  15. Re: Cornwall.

    Having spent quite a bit of time down in Cornwall, there is definitely a knowledge and feeling of ethnic difference from the English.

    The Anglo-Saxons referred to the Cornish as “Westwalas” – as in West Wales. They are Celtic Britons.

    There were two uprisings in 1497. In the first over 10,000 men marched on London where they lost against Henry VII at the battle of Deptford Bridge.

    Cornish was spoken as the primary dialect in West Cornwall right up to the 18th Century.

    You’ll often see the Cornish flag flying there.

  16. Sea Change

    You seem quite keen on the “ethnic” thing.

    It seems a total irrelevance to almost anything, and much of it was invented by 19th/20th century Social Darwinists anyway.

  17. @Jasper22

    “There is a cultural but not political nationalism”. That expresses it very nicely.

    The day of the Sottish Referendum there was poll in Wales. Only 3% supported independence.

  18. Re: Cornwall

    Though it does retain it’s own identity, as do other regions of England, it was part of England by the time of the Conquest.

  19. @OLDNAT

    I see, so ethnicity is just a 19th/20th Century invention? I think you’re being pedantic.

    It comes from the ancient Greek word “Ethnos” meaning “Nation”.

    There is definitely a collective nation sense for some of the Cornish people.

    Is that better?

  20. Labour for the moment have an easy ride in Wales. Plaid Cymru cannot decide if they are the party of Independence, or the Welsh language. They vere between these targets, and occasionally try to pretend they are the same thing. Which they blindingly obviously aren’t

    A few years ago, trying to pretend that Independence and the Welsh language are the same thing, they came out with “Every country has to have its own language or it cannot have an identity”. Yes, Plaid can be that daft. After the chorus of ridicule, Australia, Canada, new Zealand and … the USA were all mentioned, they shut up.

    The problem that Plaid have is that voters know, especially working class voters, that if Plaid get control they will insist on Welsh language skills for all public service employees. Bluntly, no jobs for English speakers. Electorally, that is a total killer. There is nothing Plaid can do about it either, because it’s true.

    It was notable that in the last Census, the Welsh language question was shamelessly rigged (as usual) to get the highest number of Welsh speakers they could possibly, possibly manage. But a substantial proportion of those who had been forced to take Welsh lessons in school, denied the fact on the form. The resentment is deep and strong with an awful lot of people. It is an important limiting factor for Plaid. Many people will vote tactically against Plaid if they look like taking power.

    You will not fully understand the concept of ‘spin’ until you hear BBC Wales talking about the Welsh language. Tony Blair? A pathetic amateur who quite often foolishly allowed himself to be constrained by facts. Think more in terms of The Independent or Pravda. Yet the strong English speaking Welsh culture in South Wales is almost completely ignored by BBC Wales; causing more resentment.

    Labour in Wales are definitely ripe for the taking, they are after all impossibly bent, but there is just no one to do it as yet. Nuttall will go down better in Wales than Farage, but I really can’t see UKIP taking much from Labour.

  21. Sea Change

    The concept of “nation” in its modern form was unknown to the ancient Greeks.

    The “ethne” weren’t just the familial, tribal groupings that earlier nationalist scholars assumed, but a much more complex set of interacting regional identities.

    Indeed, the concept was much more akin to the modern British and Scottish ideas of “civic nationalism” as aggregated regional and cultural identities.

    However, that isn’t how the term “ethnic” is used in contemporary English, so yes your revised terminology is a considerable improvement.

  22. Old Nat,

    The main Social Darwinist I’ve read, Herbert Spencer (not a Darwinist in the strict sense, but let’s not be TOO pedantic!) seemed more interested in culture and individuals than ethnicity in the modern sense.

    The stuff from that period that I’ve read that went on (and ON) about ethnicities and “the character of X racial stock” was in the eugenicist tradition, rather than Social Darwinist. Obviously, there’s a big difference between eugenicist policies and Social Darwinism: the latter seeks progress via the state getting out of the way and letting “nature take its course”, while the former is all about applying social planning to breeding.

    All of this tends to be anachronistic, though, since Social Darwinism is a mid-20th century construction that arguably was about trying to win battles in American economic policy by linking up laissez-faire and Nazism. (Not easy given the Nazi’s antipathy to capitalism!) This was mostly lousy scholarship, but it’s been very influential.

  23. Actually, scholarship on the Victorians would be mostly improved by stopping the use of “Social Darwinist” altogether. I’ve even known the term to be applied to people as diverse as Samuel Smiles, Thomas Malthus, Harriet Martineau, and Friedrich Nietszche. And, confusingly, some of the most self-consciously Darwinian social theorists of the 19th/early 20th centuries (like Marx and W. T. Mills) were not exactly economically conservative!

  24. Bill Patrick

    I wouldn’t disagree with much of that, except to suggest that the eugenicists based much of their thinking on their misunderstanding of Darwinism, and tried to apply it to construct their preferred society.

    One of my favourite plays is “The Sleeping Clergyman” (I could have played that part!)

  25. Interesting commentary from the Irish EU Commissioner –

    “Unwittingly Brexit may be presenting Ireland with the chance to seize the next phase in our development and maturity as a sovereign state. It will force us to forge relations and shape our destiny within the EU without the presence of our nearest and strongest ally since 1973.

    “Given the stakes involved, we need to seize that challenge now,” Mr Hogan said. “In doing so, we have the opportunity to redefine and reassert Ireland’s position as both committed Europeans and good next-door neighbours.”

    While (unsurprisingly) many in the UK consider Ireland as being “the Irish problem”, in Ireland the UK is seen as “the British problem”.

    That 8.1% of “NI Unionists” prepared to shift towards union with RoI might need to consider that option seriously, if May determined on a course of action that isn’t necessarily favoured by even half of the E&W electorate.

  26. Sea change,
    ” If he has no responsibility whatsoever for the fact that Labour’s hitting mid-20s VI, then let’s hear the argument.”

    Lets not go from one extreme to the other. However, labour’s difficulties pre-date Corbyn. It has been declining steadily in support since Blair first became leader. These things are cyclic, to do with governments getting blame for things going wrong whereas an opposition just has to sit back and snipe. Conservatives have succeeded in blaming his predecessors administrations for various failings while they themselves have been in office, and Labour has actually agreed the conservatives are right!

    Conservatives have run a propaganda war arguing he is even worse than his prdecessors, and what do you know? Labour MPs have been busy agreeing with the conservatives once again. If labour thinks its own management is bad, just what should voters conclude? Exactly which group has been putting the case to voters he is worth electing?

    He was a thoroughly successful constituency and career MP before becoming leader and I seem to recall his defying his critics by presiding over rising vote share not so long ago. Before his own side started attacking him so thoroughly?

    Sure, he might have plans to change the policy and direction of the labour party, but whether this could ultimately be successful is very hard to tell unless they have a united front to present to voters. They are just a war zone right now. The current tactic of labour MPs who disagre with him seems to be to keep their heads down and hope they have done enough damage to him and the party to get him removed. He is not the only one who feels the fight for direction of the party is more important than electability right now.

  27. old nat

    you should have said.You say the saxons are the english nation. Interesting.And when exactly do you say the English nation was created so that it could as an entity invade Cornwalll?

  28. Danny – I did not support JC first time around but resented the ill-judged leadership challenge last year.
    I firmly believe that with him as leader not only are Labour unelectable but we will lose bigger than otherwise and the recovery in performance will be delayed the longer he stays LOO.
    The botched Coup and inevitable loss for Owen Smith has, imo enabled the Corbyn fan club to blame the poor poll ratings on the ‘plotters’ as voters don’t like a divided party.
    This is of course true and will be affecting to VI but not as much as they would have it. It is clear to me that last years shenanigans have delayed the process by which Corbyn steps aside for a less unelectable leader (the Kinnock role) to replaced by a potential PM subsequently.
    I am very gloomy about not only 2020 bur 2025 as well!!

  29. My understanding that what is now Cornwall was never actually conquered, nor formally absorbed into England. Merely allied to it and increasingly close to it. Native Cornish (which many residents are not) often consider themselves to be a seperate country altogether.

    That is not to confuse modern Cornwall with ancient West Wales which stretched a good deal further East in Devon and was gradually eroded by the Anglo-Saxons down to the current rump.

  30. Regards Cornwall, Wales, Anglo Saxons and Uncle Tom Cobley ….

    The truth is we are an island of mongrels which is why I believe our British identity is the most important thing.

    We can’t be doing that badly here in Blighty – not by the number of people from abroad who want to join us.

  31. Graham

    Just to correct a small error. Labours lowest rating in the last month (30 days) was actually 24%.

  32. @Old Nat, Sea Change

    There was a most interesting post on this site a couple of years ago, which gave a link to a ‘genetic map’ of the UK. It showed the whole of England to be genetically homogeneous, with the exception of Devon and Cornwall, which were quite distinct, not just from the rest of the country, but also from each other.

    I am currently researching my family tree, and it is striking how little ‘cross-border’ movement there was.

    Sales of Devon flags have exceeded those of Cornwall for a few years now.

    There is very little support for an independent Cornwall ( Mebyon Kernow poll around 4% in local elections ), but there is strong support for a Cornish Assembly, and Devonians far prefer a unitary Devon to linking up with Somerset.

    Devon and Cornwall often get bracketed together, but there isn’t much affinity between the two.

  33. Good to see that at last most Remainers are understanding May’s position. She wants us out of the EU, in control our own borders and outside the jurisdiction of the ECJ. It has been clear to me for months that was her position.

    Have a good day all.

  34. TOH,
    I have understood that to be May’s position since the conference if not before.

    The real question is whether she will change her mind if Tory donors continue to jump ship, and the markets start downgrading our credit rating etc. What would it take? (That is not a prediction, but a question btw)

  35. ToH – only problem is that that Tory manifesto commits them to safeguarding the UKs interest within the single market.

    Of course she can ignore the manifesto, there is a long history of political parties selectively doing so, but that does not get rid of the contradiction in Conservative Party thinking.

    The overwhelming understanding is that single market access and free movement are linked and in the end the judgement call will be what level of free movement is tolerable to the voters (enough to get the Tories re-elected at least) and does this give sufficient access for Tory big business backers.

    2020 will be sufficiently obfuscated (and Labour so weak still) to deliver a Cons (led at least) Government but 2025 will be very interesting.

  36. JIM JAM

    @”The overwhelming understanding is that single market access and free movement are linked ”

    For a member State of the EU -yes.

    But for the first country to leave the EU? How can we know what single market access may be linked to until the EU negotiating team set it out?

    I think May was correct to remind people that we aren’t leaving ” bits” of the EU & that there is no “zero sum ” calculation to be made on Immigration & Trade.
    This idea is really clinging on to the Cameron objective-modified rules of membership. An objective which he failed to deliver in terms acceptable to UK voters.

  37. Maybe Colin but there will be some costs for access, financial perhaps – regulatory perhaps, quotes perhaps the EU ain’t going to give us access for free.

    The question then is as per Andrew how will their business backers react and how will multinationals behave?

  38. JIMJAM

    “2025 will be very interesting.”

    Indeed it is, If my view of how we will prosper after leaving the EU comes to fruition we could well see a major Tory landslide in 2025.

  39. @TOH:

    ” If my view of how we will prosper after leaving the EU comes to fruition we could well see a major Tory landslide in 2025.”


    and if it doesn’t?

  40. I genuinely hope you are right Howard

  41. JIM JAM

    Trade “Access” works both ways. If there are to be “costs” associated with it-they will be applied by both sides. May clearly think that mutual self interest across that negotiating table will keep these costs & barriers to a minimum. We shall see.

    Regarding “regulation”-of course there is regulation. Every Exporter has to comply with the regulations of the country in which its customer resides.

  42. SAFFER

    Who knows, but an unlikely if in my view.

  43. ANDREW111

    I have understood that to be May’s position since the conference if not before.

    Yes, I agree you have, but many have not despite her regular comments. Anyway it appears most are clear now.

  44. Mixed economic news this morning:-

    Halifax House Price Index

    “Martin Ellis, Halifax housing economist, said:
    “House prices finished 2016 strongly. Prices in the
    final quarter of the year were 2.5% higher than in
    the previous quarter. The annual rate of growth
    increased, rising for the second consecutive
    month, from 6.0% in November to 6.5%.
    “Slower economic growth, pressure on
    employment and a squeeze on spending power,
    together with affordability constraints, are
    expected to reduce housing demand during 2017. ”

    On the Markets, the £ is on the slide again against the $ and the Euro as people at last realise that we are leaving the EU properly.

  45. Does anyone here know what duty is paid on an average Japanese car coming into the single market? Or a pair of shoes from Taiwan? Or a bottle of wine from Chile? If we can’t answer simple questions like that then we can’t have an informed discussion about what ‘loss of access’ actually means. I tried going to the European Commission’s tariffs site and find out but of course it was not possible to navigate through the soup. The experience was eerily similar to my earlier efforts to find out for myself what each country actually contributes the EU budget

    If anyone ekae would like to give it a go, be my guest:

  46. TOH: “it appears most are clear now.”

    But not No 10, apparently. According to Reuters this morning: “British Prime Minister Theresa May is ruling nothing in or out before starting departure talks with the European Union …. her spokeswoman said on Monday.”

    Could that be a result of taking alarm at the rapid slide of sterling this morning to a 10-week low against the dollar, following her comments?

    On another point, the BMW argument (they sell lots here so will want a good trade deal) is widely used so I was interested to read yesterday that BMW’s largest single plant in the world is in South Carolina, and exports 70% of its production (including to the UK). Mercedes and VW both have large plants there (and in BMW and VW’s case, Mexico – not sure about Merc there). So the effect of leaving the EU and ‘trading with the world’ will surely simply be to source our imports of German cars from our new trading partners.


    You might find this study by CIVITAS interesting -of the effect of EU/UK Trade moving to WTO Most Favoured Nations Schedules:-

  48. Just a note to all those who think Labour faces an ‘existential threat’ and ‘Tory landslide’.

    The following link argues that Labour will not lose many seats even if its percentage of the vote goes down…..because there are many fewer marginal seats these days:

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