Just to catch up, YouGov put out new voting intention figures yesterday (though the fieldwork was from last week). topline figures were CON 39%(nc), LAB 28%(+2), LDEM 11%(+1), UKIP 13%(-1). While the changes since the week before are not significant in themselves, eleven points is actually the lowest Conservative lead YouGov have shown for several months. It’s also worth a glance at the “most important issues” question in the tables: the NHS has risen ten points since YouGov last asked the question back in November, making it the second most important concern after Brexit. It’s possible to interpret that as health rising up the agenda and helping Labour’s support… but it’s equally possible that the changes in voting intention are just normal, random sample variation. Still, worth keeping an eye on it. Full tabs here.

There was also a Survation poll for the Mail on Sunday at the weekend. Their topline figures were CON 38%, LAB 29%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 13%, GRN 2%. Tabs are here


315 Responses to “YouGov/Times – CON 39, LAB 28, LDEM 11, UKIP 13”

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  1. S Thomas

    “They won.who cares”

    I presume that was meant to be a statement followed by a question?

    If that is the case, then the answer to the question would be “millions of people”.

  2. @sthomas

    You are very self-aware.

  3. Who will judge what is the best possible deal?

    An odd phrase I think?

    Is it more important to get a deal that the maximum number of UK voters find acceptable or one that a majority of voters (or enough voters to win) think is good.

    I fear we are back to Tebbit’s view on GE support to paraphrase that as long as you get enough to win it matters little how much the rest dislike you. So Brexit negotiations to satisfy enough voters to produce a Tory victory in 2020 rather than accommodate as many people as possible?

  4. Colin,
    “But I begin to think that TM’s Free Trade vision for UK is completely at odds with the EU’s vision.”

    Maybe I shall be proved wrong, but the reasons the EU will not agree to special terms for the UK have been clear for years. The EU is a members club, which benefits members by discriminating against non members. It can do this because of its size. Having the UK as a member adds to its size, obviously, but is not in any way critical to its survival. Maintaining the integrity of its rules, is.

    British diplomats keep popping up and complaining they keep telling this to the government, but it isnt listening. It isnt listening, not because it does not believe them, but because of its own political imperatives.

    May has no practical alternative but to present an optimistic front and seek to suppress dissenting voices by any means available. The logic of the situation is remorseless, if you once choose to leave the EU. The conservatives started this because of the single issue UKIP movement. There is a clear logical position that UKIP would eventually have reached a tipping point of winning parliamentary seats and having their own power to enforce Brexit. The conservatives chose to adopt the policy as their own, so as to defeat UKIP as a political movement.

    To achieve their aim of disposing of UKIP, they cannot now hold back on Brexit. If they did, UKIP would spring back up. To win, they must push through to whatever outcome eventually arrives. And they must continue an appearance of wholehearted support throughout, however much of a train wreck they may believe is coming.

    Should Brexit prove a success, then obviously they can bask in the glory. If a failure, they have to ensure that blame falls elsewhere. The Uk has long blamed just about anything going wrong on the EU, and right now is no exception. Although blaming the EU for the UK deciding to leave on the terms which were always perfectly clear, is a pretty tall order, there seems to be a massive campaign to that effect.

    The alternative is to blame the voters. Also a tricky proposition for a party needing supporters. But we have had plenty of rhetoric arguing there has been a decisive vote to leave, whereas in fact the result was practically a tie. If this was a serious medical procedure with two alternative treatments, your doctor would be telling you it was pretty much equal which to chose. If it turns out badly, well it was the voters made them do it!

    On the EU side, the clear logic is that the Uk must leave and the sooner the better. There is nothing to be gained by special concessions, better to get on with adjustments to the new situation. If you believe in the EU, then you believe it is a significant benefit to be a member, and this will be demonstrated by the effect upon the UK of leaving. At this point in time, there could be little better than a salutory lesson for everyone of what life is like outside. Delay simply means the lesson is delayed. Being shot of the Uk will also get rid of significant internal divisions, and if the Uk changes its mind…there could be no better lesson.

    Meanwhile, labour have no expressed view on brexit except to tag along. Only the libs have seriously set out a stall in opposition to the government on the most important political issue of the day (neglecting the SNP, who already have Scotland sewn up on other issues). Even if the libs turn out to be on the right side, it is unlikely they will be able to capitalise, because of their small base. All together this minimises the electoral risk to the conservatives of this strategy.

    Nonetheless, May was chosen as the fall guy to take the blame. If it goes wrong, well it would have gone wrong eventually when UKIP reached a critical mass.

  5. @Hireton

    Well it was clear that Sturgeon drove that process for the SG to get involved and it will be her reputation that is tarnished if it is summarily dismissed.

    “The SG’s case has two parts. Firstly that the Royal Prerogative cannot under Scots law be used to trigger A50 and secondly that the Sewell Convention will come into play if Parliament has to trigger A50.”

    The first part of their case was dealt with in the 1972 Court Case that was brought on the same matter. Scots Law is supreme over certain private rights only. Public rights are a matter for UK law which is supreme in this area. Secondly the sewel convention is just that, a convention, but even if it was a statute the UK Parliament still reserves the right to act without the consent of the Scots Parliament.

    I expect both parts to be dismissed.

  6. Danny

    “It isn’t listening, not because it does not believe them, but because of its own political imperatives.”

    While Prof. Nicholas Boyle is being a bit provocative in this article, the historical background that he suggests has so strongly influenced part of English society [1] to vote Leave has sound logic behind it.

    http://www.theneweuropean.co.uk/top-stories/the_problem_with_the_english_england_doesn_t_want_to_be_just_another_member_of_a_team_1_4851882?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social_Icon&utm_campaign=in_article_social_icons

    [1] He’s an Englishman writing about his own society. Had he been writing about the other nations in the UK (other than just as contrasts to England) he might have noted the similarity of “the British” in Scotland and NI to the Anglo-Indians, or the Bosnian Slavs who converted to Islam in order to get government jobs under Ottoman rule.

  7. Sea Change

    “summarily dismissed.” is an interesting choice of words by you.

    You are suggesting that the SC will seriously examine the legal arguments from other lawyers in this case, but “summarily dismiss” others as being not worthy of consideration.

    That seems unlikely, if for no other reason than Their Lordships have been unfailingly courteous in the past, and for them do act as you suggest would be odd.

    The argument that “conventions” require to be treated as part of the UK’s uncodified constitution is an important argument, and Their Lordships will be well aware of the significance of their decision on that point.

    It may well be that they rule against the arguments of the devolved nations in this case. As I understand it, the SC are very good lawyers, and, if that is how they rule on the UK constitution as it currently stands, then the implications for many issues could be considerable.

    Of course, there are also political implications which might follow on from their judgement, but we’ll need to wait until the 24th to see if these become possibilities.

  8. @JohninDevon:

    “So it looks like the vote leave words ‘There is a free trade zone stretching all the way from Iceland to the Russian border. We will still be part of it after we Vote Leave’ may turn out to be untrue – who would have thought it! Will be interesting to see how the increasing list of broken promises goes down with the electorate.”

    Exactly!

    The broken promises leave me wondering if we should invoke the Trade Descriptions Act?

  9. @ Saffer

    We do have a net trade deficit of c. £70 billion with the rest of the EU. The country we have the biggest deficit with is, predictably, Germany.

  10. Shurely the Free Trade Descriptions Act?

  11. Interesting employment stats. A fall in the numbers employed, for the second month running, so suggesting a shrinking labour force.

    The claimant count was also down, the jobless rate was static, and there was a big jump in the economically inactive number.

    Meanwhile, the NFU report that the majority of agricultural contractors supplying labour are failing to recruit sufficient people to meet demand, exclusively because of falling numbers of recruits from the EU.

    I’m beginning to wonder if we are actually seeing a slowing in labour markets, masked by a sharp drop in overseas workers. Given the number, that would explain falling employment and falling claimant counts.

  12. @Alec

    I am not sure I understand. If migrant workers aren’t coming to the UK to work, why would that affect unemployment?

    I can see it affecting the total numbers in employment (as opposed to the employment rate) but not unemployment.

    Surely if there are more people in the UK economically inactive, that isn’t to do with migration. That’s to do with people either choosing not to work (in order to raise families, or retire early etc) who either don’t want or don’t qualify for the dole.

    Now if the shortage of labour in agriculture lead to job losses in associated businesses that are not dependent on migrant labour, I might see your point. But I am not sure that’s what the figures are showing. I suppose that might come eventually if farms started to struggle to deliver to their markets.

  13. Why did May dress as a Bay City Roller to deliver her Brexit speech?

  14. @ OLDNAT

    I don’t know, why did May dress as a Bay City Roller to deliver her Brexit speech………..?

  15. jonesinbangor

    :-) It does sound like the first line in a joke!

    Perhaps it was, and she’ll turn out to be Johnny Rotten.

  16. old Nat

    Don’t know. Maybe Nicky Sturgeon gave her a gift of tartan when they last met and she wanted to show the world the trews she had run up on the old Singer. ;)

  17. Maybe the plan of some in the EU is to threaten “no deal” for long enough to cause businesses to move out of the UK – to the EU, to Kazakhstan, they don’t really mind – and then do a deal before tariffs kick in to hurt their own businesses?

    The sad thing is that many in the UK who love the EU would applaud such tactics.

    The difficulty would be maintaining secrecy for such a plan for two years. Somebody always talks.

  18. @Sea Change

    Again, the Sewel Convention is not just a convention, it *is* a Statute. Part 1, Paragraph 2 of the Scotland Act 2016.

    And while Parliament can change this, it can only do so by actively passing a bill that amends the Scotland Act 2016 to remove the Sewel Convention.

  19. Robert Newark

    I was in the Singer museum in Clydebank recently. Apparently lots of their machines are still operating efficiently, and handed down through the generations.

    Hence one of the reasons that they went bust – their product was so good that they saturated the market with long-lasting goods.

  20. PETER CAIRNS (SNP)
    Allan Christie,

    “Has your car got a Brexitometer?”
    ____________

    Yes it has and it measures re-moans per second.

    Cheeky monkey…

  21. via Britain Elects

    Westminster VI:
    CON: 42% (+3)
    LAB: 25% (-3)
    UKIP: 12% (-1)
    LDEM: 11% (-)
    (YouGov / fieldwork post-Tuesday)

  22. ON
    It looks as though Mrs May’s speech went down well then. G’night all.

    Oh, and can I just add a plea to all that we try to restrict essay-length discussions of Brexit to when they have some relevance to the polls?

  23. That’s a whopper of a poll for Labour. I’m looking forward to reading our resident Graham’s spin on this one.

  24. As an avid fan of Corbyn, the poll above – though undoubtedly an outlier to some extent – alarms me.

    Mostly, it makes me worry about the addled attitudes of the Great British public.

    Moreover, it is an expression of a Labour Party overwhelmed by the SNP in Scotland, ripped apart by UKIP in its heartlands, and absent in the ‘southern states’.

    It’s possible methodology changes (post GE 2015) have over-corrected, to the tune of, say, 5%. Even that would leave Labour trailing by 8% or so at a time they should be ahead.

    Will Brexit be the death of UK Labour? Hard to imagine, but parties come and parties go, and all it would take is a true UKIP surge to destabilise the party terminally.

    Rumour has it Nuttall is running in Stoke-on-Trent. If he wins it’ll set a scary precedent.

  25. Hester Leek
    “Mostly, it makes me worry about the addled attitudes of the Great British public.”

    Shouldn’t it make you wonder why you are out of step with most of your fellow citizens, or are you one of those who think that they are right and anyone who disagrees is wrong?

    This is really G’night all now!

  26. @Neil A

    Alec said the migrants returning was MASKING the change, as opposed to causing it…

    I think…

  27. @Kester Leek
    I could topple both ways on Corbyn – like many of his policies, sceptical about his ability to campaign

    If this marks a true downturn in Labour (rather than MOE) then I’d have to take a view that muddled messages about Brexit on a day when there was an open goal (on the NHS) gaping might be a factor.

    In this other country (London) UKIP is an irrelevance.

  28. PETE B

    No.

    G’night.

    GUYMONDE

    Quite, though its his selection of advisers (and ‘spin doctors’) that’s causing the trouble. They stumble over policy and message time and time again, despite having a positive message to sell. I sincerely hoped they’d pull it together for 2017 and have trouble understanding why they haven’t. I’d say ‘competence matters [too]’, but it’s Trump’s inauguration in thirty-seven hours.

  29. *it’s

    (Couldn’t let the spellcheck go and theirs* no edit option. We really need an app!)

    *[meta-joke]

  30. @Kester Leek

    Totally agree. Makes you despair of the UK public when the party which has decimated the NHS and is about to ruin the country with a hard Brexit can increase its share of the vote. It’s not just about Corbyn as LD vote went down as well.

    Old Nat it’s only about 50 miles for me to the border. Do you have any room for 2 almost 70 yr olds.

  31. Is one poll – wait for some more.

    Dominating the news agenda as along as that news is not a negative item can give a lift due to recognition and awareness increasing and oppositions getting little air time and it being deep in to the news programmes when they do.

  32. So the Tories have a boost in YouGov’s poll after TM’s speech. Not really surprising – it was full of enticing promises.

    What we really need, is a poll after the reaction from EU, when there’s been a chance to properly evaluate it.

    Time will tell.

  33. I agree with @Jim Jam here.

    It’s one poll, and we don’t even know (I think) when the sample was taken in relation to the TM’s speech, or the forward announcements about the speech.

    I’m waiting for the next polls, in particular from the more frequent pollsters, and see what it looks like then.

  34. Saffer
    I am afraid the “reaction of the EU” is completely irrelevant, since in a continuation of the last 40 years the actions and opinions of the EU are being created out of thin air to suit the Brexiteers and the Tory Party. “Punishment” being the latest meme

  35. Peter Bell

    You need to wake up, Labour have done more damage to the NHS in the last 20 years than anyone else, and if the Tories are ‘hell bent’ on its distruction why is it still here when they have been in power twice as long as ‘the Lazy party?’ Also it is not a Tory council that is just about to privatise ‘childrens services’ in Birmingham, it is a Labour council…appaulingly! Imagine the bleating on here and at the beeb if it had been the other way round?

  36. Please ignore my last post.

    Too early, didn’t read it correctly!

  37. Kester Leek

    “Mostly, it makes me worry about the addled attitudes of the Great British public.”

    Alternatively it could be that it’s the critics of the Great british Public who are addled.

  38. @Carfew (and Alec)

    Yup but I didn’t really understand how it could be masking it.

    The claimant count is the claimant count. Most seasonal farm workers are not claiming JSA (why would they need to when farms are crying out to hire them). So if they are here, they don’t add to the claimant count, and if they leave they don’t reduce the claimant count.

    The only thing they affect is the overall employment numbers. That is in itself relevant, but it doesn’t affect the number of people unemployed.

    I suppose it comes down to what Alec means by the phrase “slowing in labour markets”. I assumed that by that he meant deteriorating prospects for people living in the UK to find work (hence my postulating about possible knock-on effects in other sectors from reductions in the amount of farm labouring being done). If it means something else it may explain my confusion.

  39. Interesting YouGov poll. I agree that it is just one, and that we shouldn’t ascribe to it any evidence of a shift in opinion.

    However, things were tightening a little in the polls recently, which had been taken as evidence of a shift in opinion, and a poll pointing the other way should maybe make us pause for thought.

  40. Interesting to see the £ has recovered yesterdays losses this morning despite negative comments from sone in the eEU like Juncker.

  41. Not much sign of the great Libdem revival predicted by some.

  42. Latest Poll:

    People like decisive leadership in the main, even if they may disagree with the direction or even the tone of the communication.

    Compare and Contrast.

    May’s speech on Tuesday Vs Corbyn’s vacillation last week.

    See poll for further details.

    @Hireton

    Okay we’ve been through the whole Scotland Act ’16 debate on here before quoting Scottish constitutional lawyers etc. I’ve planted my flag on this already. Both parts of the Scot Parl challenge should fail.

  43. SEA CHANGE

    @”People like decisive leadership in the main, even if they may disagree with the direction or even the tone of the communication.”
    Indeed .
    The YouGov Poll detail shows extraordinary responses to questions about the prospects of success for May, and who they will blame. Despite which support is undimmed.

    A determined fatalism about Brexit seems to be the mood-and high level support for the Government which has to do it.

    https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/xalfiwu0ed/TimesResults_170118_VI_Trackers_MaySpeech_W.pdf

  44. I am not surprised about the polls. I think most people expected a ‘hard’ Brexit, so I would not read anything in this.

    What is shocking is Labour’s dire performance.

  45. TOH,

    “I notice May’s critics are turning to name calling on here.

    Always a good sign that the Government & PM have probably have got it right.”

    In that case Corbyn must be the greatest Politician that has ever lived…..

    Peter.

  46. So I see (from YouGov) that the voters believe, decisively, that Brexit will:
    – Make us worse off economically
    – reduce our influence in the world
    – be bad for jobs
    – be bad for pensions
    – make little difference to the NHS

    Still, at least they think it will reduce immigration.

  47. @Neil A – my thinking is that the labour market is cooling, because we know there re fewer jobs (fewer people in work). However, claimant count and unemployment is also falling, which is counter intuitive.

    However, if the evidence that migrant labour is shrinking, and shrinking much faster than the overall employment numbers (which is what the evidence is pointing to) then the data is consistent – employment is down, but unemployment is also down as there are fewer people chasing the reduced number of jobs.

    I hasten to add, I am proposing this as a theory only, as I suspect it’s too early to make any definitive judgements. I do, however, think that two months falling employment is beginning to tell us something.

    On the poll: Yes – May has framed her position well, Labour is a little caught, and the government message appears strong.

    The old adage about battle plans and contact with the enemy does spring to mind though.

  48. @Jasper22

    temper, temper.

  49. Some more detail from the YouGov poll:

    Perceptions on who needs who more:
    UK needs EU more: 19%
    EU needs UK more: 34%
    Need each other equally: 28%

    On Theresa May’s negotiating skills:
    Confidence in: 47%
    No confidence in: 38%

    On Theresa May’s Brexit plan:
    Good for Britain: 55%
    Bad for Britain: 19%

    39% of voters want a Hard Brexit of sorts,
    25% a Soft Brexit of sorts.
    23% want Britain to remain EU members.

    As others have said we need to see later reactions and polls but the initial reaction from the voters is clearly very positive.

  50. Guymonde
    The figures you quote have changed little for some time now but yet despite what you say 46% think we were right to leave and 42% we were wrong for the third poll in a row. It seems to me that the majority are prepared to accept some short term economic pain as the price for leaving the EU as reflected in their response to her speech.

    PETER CAIRNS (SNP)

    Not a view I share.

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