YouGov’s latest voting intention figures for the Times are CON 44%, LAB 25%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 11%. The nineteen point Conservative lead is the largest YouGov have given them in government, the 44% share of support the largest since the coalition’s honeymoon back in 2010.

The budget seems to have got a modest thumbs up. 32% think it was fair, 24% thought it was not – a fairly so-so rating compared to past budgets (YouGov ask the same question after every budget; the only times a budget has been seen as unfair were the Omnishambles budget in 2012 and George Osborne’s final budget in 2016).

On the individual measures, everything was approved of, with the most divisive policy being spending money on new free schools – 41% thought this was a good idea, 38% the wrong priority (interestingly that wasn’t just a partisan answer – a third of Tory voters also thought it was the wrong priority). Increasing NI contributions for the self-employed to the same level as employees was seen as a good idea by 47%, the wrong priority by 33%.

While people did approve of the NI rise, the majority of them did think it amounted to breaking a manifesto promise. 55% think the government have broken their pledge not to increase taxes, only 16% think they’ve kept it. Whether that really matters or not is a different question – the public tend to think all government break at least some of their promises anyway, so this may be seen as par for the course.

It’s crucial to note the timing of the poll: fieldwork was mostly conducted on Wednesday night with some during the day on Thursday. That means while it’s all post-budget, it’s very immediately post-budget. Most respondents will have answered the questions before the more hostile press coverage on Thursday morning, before the ongoing pressure and the government delaying the National Insurance rise. It may be that the unravelling of the budget on Thursday and Friday has lead to more negative perceptions – but we won’t be able to tell until the next round of polls.

Looking through the rest of the poll, the Conservatives & Theresa May have a lead over Labour & Jeremy Corbyn on almost every economic measure YouGov asked about (36 on cutting the deficit, 32 points on managing the economy, 15 on providing jobs, 11 on keeping prices down, 11 on improving living standards, 6 on getting people on the housing ladder), the only exception was reducing the number of people in poverty, where Corbyn & Labour had a 7 point lead.

Philip Hammond meanwhile is still very much an unknown quantity with the public. 25% think he’s doing a good job as Chancellor, 21% a bad job, 54% don’t know. In comparison, the government as a whole are getting the benefit of the doubt on the economy – 44% think they are handling it well, 38% badly.

Full tabs are here


361 Responses to “YouGov/Times – CON 44, LAB 25, LDEM 10, UKIP 11”

1 2 3 8
  1. ” Most respondents will have answered the questions before the more hostile press coverage on Thursday morning”
    That’s a good thing, surely – people thinking for themselves?

  2. AW

    Thanks your usual very fair summary. As you say it will be interesting if views change much following the hostile reception from some quarters and later polls will maybe tell us that.

    Dave

    I tend to agree with that.

    Bigfatron

    re the last thread, at the moment our views on what might happen at the May council elections are very close.

  3. Good afternoon everyone.

    ftpt but relevant to this one

    BIGFATRON

    “My issue with AC is when he goes beyond jocular dismissals of LDems and start saying things that are statistically invalid. It seems inappropriate on a website devoted to polling analysis”
    _________

    I’ve acknowledged the Lib/Dems are punching way above themselves in a number of local by-elections but this feelgood factor doesn’t appear to have been carried over onto the national polls.

    Sure, the Lib/Dems won a spectacular Westminster by-election somewhere around Heathrow’s Terminal 3, but that was exceptional circumstances.

    The party then went on a crusade and attributed the win to being anti Brexit yet in the two most recent Westminster by-elections the Lib/Dems hardly shifted. I acknowledge both seats were in leave areas but more people voted “remain” in both seats than the actual Lib\Dem vote so there were still plenty of votes up for grabs

    Take today’s national poll..10% for the Lib/Dems.What’s that/about 2.5% up on their 2015 election result? It’s shocking and not good enough. We are well into this session of parliament and the Lib/Dems (at national level) look dreadful.

  4. “It’s crucial to note the timing of the poll: fieldwork was mostly conducted on Wednesday night with some during the day on Thursday. That means while it’s all post-budget, it’s very immediately post-budget. Most respondents will have answered the questions before the more hostile press coverage on Thursday morning, before the ongoing pressure and the government delaying the National Insurance rise. It may be that the unravelling of the budget on Thursday and Friday has lead to more negative perceptions – but we won’t be able to tell until the next round of polls”
    ____________

    Excellent, this answers what I was asking in the previous thread.

  5. US oil inventories are at their highest since 1982. See

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-08/oil-holds-losses-near-50-as-u-s-stockpiles-expand-to-record

    Unless OPEC can cut it’s supply even further the price is going to fall.

    If it goes below $40, Russia is in trouble, and Venezuela heads closer towards civil war. It’s good for us though.

  6. Candy

    Its a good job then that scotland can be the richest small country beginning with S and ending in D north of the equator without oil which, as the SNP tell us, is an unneeded bonus to the scottish economy.

    A bleak backdrop for the proposed 2018 referendum which will ,of course, never take place unless a wee banpot is tired of politics

  7. Labour’s drift downwards seems to be continuing, as does UKIP’s. We don’t have local elections in my area this year, but the nationwide results (yes, including Scotland, OldNat) will be interesting.

  8. Conservatives are well in, and isnt this country, or at least England rather conservative. I mean look at the huge opposition to a small NI increase for self employed to pay for the NHS, including all the left wing press. And some people think the general public will stump up like 15% council tax increases for social care, or 3p on income tax for the NHS, don’t think so…

  9. @S Thomas

    Fat finger?

  10. @ jasper 22

    Happily, few wear kilts. Is it the wind, do you know?

  11. Rich – except polls show a large majority support the equalisation of NI. Personally I dont think singling out the self-employed for punishment as the last two budgets have done is a wonderful development.

  12. Sam
    “Is it the wind, do you know?”

    Yes, caused by eating all that haggis :-)

  13. The self-employed will only be worse off if they earn more than £16250, which many don’t. The hysteria about it is caused because many in the media are self-employed and earn big money, so will have to pay more.

  14. @ pete B

    They are so easy to catch. I expect you know why.

  15. @Pete B

    “The hysteria about it is caused because many in the media are self-employed and earn big money, so will have to pay more.”

    Exactly.

  16. Sam
    Is it this? (Had to google it)
    ‘Work out which direction it is running in and then approach it from the opposite way. The haggis gets confused and you can easily capture the wee beastie.’

  17. Yes, pete B. Because they live in mountainous or hilly areas, over the years, Haggis, or Haggi, have developed one longer leg. They have two. i expect you’ve sen them, though like Scots themselves, they are shy creatures.

  18. @candy

    In August 2016 forbes reported:

    ‘While incremental annual gains obviously vary, there is nothing more assured than increasing global oil demand. The steady drumbeat of more people, making more money, using more oil may be boring to some, but it is also perhaps our most fundamental energy reality. The world now consumes 95 million b/d of oil, up from 86 million b/d in 2008 and an 11% rise even amid the worst economic times since the 1930s. And we know that there is so much more to come: oil is the world’s primary fuel, oil is the enabling force of globalization, and 85% of the global population lives in undeveloped nations still waiting for their chance to consume oil like we rich Westerners do. Just imagine the future: every day, for instance, the average American consumes 25 times more oil than the average Indian, and India has four times more people!’

  19. @Sam

    As a regular reader of ‘Look in’ (The TV Times for kids) in the 1970s, Michael Bentine drew fine cartoons of haggis’s (or whatever the plural of haggis is) running wild in Scotland.

    They must be real.

  20. @Joe, The self employed are uniquely positioned to under pay tax, which a large proportion obviously do. Those of us on PAYE pay the correct amount and higher NI. Singling out the self employed for parity is something I agree with.

  21. “Conservatives are well in, and isnt this country, or at least England rather conservative. I mean look at the huge opposition to a small NI increase for self employed to pay for the NHS, including all the left wing press. And some people think the general public will stump up like 15% council tax increases for social care, or 3p on income tax for the NHS, don’t think so…”

    I don’t agree with you that opposing the NI increase for self-employed people is “conservative”. The self-employed are, generally speaking, less well-off compared to people working for big corporations. Most people would like to see big international corporations paying more tax, not the self-employed.

  22. sam

    moderation is a terrible thing.

  23. Allan Christie,

    Since the 2015 General Election the Lib Dems have seen a small but statistically significant increase in their vote. (In proportional terms a 25% increase). For the last couple of months their vote has been absolutely stable..After 6 years of worsening ratings or stable ratings at 7-8%, you seem to be the only person in the world who thinks the Lib Dems should be at 20% to be seen as successful, so far out from a General Election.

    Meanwhile the Tories have also seen a rather small increase in their vote since the General Election. With a new Prime Minister with positive approval ratings, and having harnessed the feelings of the 52%, and with the main opposition so useless, surely they should be on 50% at least (in which case they would actually deserve to win a House of Commons majority for the first time since 1931…).

    I could keep greeting every opinion poll with “why aren’t the Tories doing better – everything is running for them”… but it would be pretty tedious, so I don’t..

  24. “surely they should be on 50% at least”

    One of the most partisan comments I’ve ever read on this site. Everyone knows it’s extremely unusual for one party to be anywhere near 50% in the polls.

  25. @ S Thomas

    I agree. Moderation should be avoided where possible.

    My neighbour, Bill McBill, has invited the missus and me over to watch Ireland beat Wales by 50 points or so -or lose to them.

    I’ll take the oranges for the halftime huddle and Jane will take her nitting. We like to have a scrum down before the match gets under way and we start dhrinkin.

    seem to have started already – didnut notice.

    Lechyd da.

  26. The EU “family” get together.

    “Polish PM Beata Szydlo has accused the French president of trying to blackmail her country, in a row over Thursday’s re-election of EU leader Donald Tusk.
    At the end of an EU summit, she said it was unacceptable for Francois Hollande to threaten to stop funds because Poland was “not behaving properly”.
    Poland had tried but failed to stop Mr Tusk’s re-election, and refused to endorse the summit’s joint statement.
    Ms Szydlo also warned partners Poland would not accept a multi-speed Europe.
    She said the EU faced new divisions if stronger nations tried to integrate more among themselves at the expense of weaker ones like Poland and fellow ex-communist countries in the east.”
    BBC

  27. COLIN

    Yes, it does appear that there is the odd division amongst the 27.

  28. Colin: “The EU “family” get together.”

    The subtext of your post is presumably, “look at how this lot quarrel. What a shambles” and maybe even extends to, “thank goodness we’re leaving.”

    However, the fact that in a grouping of 28 or 27 nation states you will seldom get complete agreement, and will sometimes get sharp disagreements, seems to me to carry a different message. That it is indeed a grouping of nation states, rather than anything resembling a monolithic superstate. And that, far from steamrollering over national wishes, Merkel, Juncker, Tusk et al have their hands full herding a bunch of bolshie cats. That, nevertheless, the EU is celebrating 60 years in business is a testament to the underlying strength of the idea behind it: that cooperation is better than nationalistic posturing, and that united we stand, divided we fall (or perhaps, given the centrifugal tendencies afflicting the UK, that should be: united they stand, divided we fall).

  29. SOMERJOHN

    @”Merkel, Juncker, Tusk et al have their hands full herding a bunch of bolshie cats. ”

    Um -I think you make my point-or rather Beata Szydlo’s point-eloquently.

    ….it being that if this edifice is to last, the concept of Cats and Cat Herders will have to cease.
    In this instance the “cat” in question was complaining that being threatened by one of the “herders” with financial penalties for objecting to a European Council Presidency ( normally appointed by unanimous acclamation) which was steamrollered through was precisely another indication that the self appointed Herders don’t see this as a club of equals at all.

    If the voters of these Nation States decide , some day, that they don’t want to see dictatorship returning to Europe, “”Merkel, Juncker, Tusk et al” -or their replacements-won’t be able to do anything about it.

  30. Colin: “which was steamrollered through”

    Tusk was re-elected with the support of 27 out of 28 members. Poland objected because of domestic political rivalry, not on any EU grounds.

    If your suggestion is that 27 out of 28 isn’t good enough, well, good luck with that argument.

    Poland is the biggest net beneficiary of EU funding and has recently been reluctant to fulfill its part in burden-sharing (specifically, it has failed to accept any of the refugees that have to be relocated from Greece and Italy). You may feel that pointing this out constitutes threatening behaviour. Others may conclude that you and your Greek chorus of support simply wish to put the worst possible complexion on any EU event.

  31. Andy, your comment doesn’t make sense. Why shouldn’t the self employed contribute the same as the employed if they use the same public services and welfare. I agree breaking a manifesto commitment is poor, but the general concept of the change is correct. Also, your comment saying self employed are generally poorer seems rather anecdotal…

  32. Also, has anybody seen the alleged pension costs of EU employees? What a complete gravy train. We are well shot of this. If the pension costs were halfed and the difference put towards solving youth unemployment in Europe, then all the EU’s problems would be solved.

  33. @Andrew111 Tories should be on 50%+ ?

    Come off it. The Government has a small majority and lost the referendum result. Yes they are implementing it. However I think it’s pretty ridiculous to expect them to be over 50%. Historically I can’t think of any Government with 44% IV mid-term who had such a small majority in modern times.

  34. @Allan Christie
    Just a point of clarification. The issue about Heathrow which you say influenced the Richmond Park B-E had nothing to do with terminal 3. This terminal was rebuilt in the last year or two after the previous building had enjoyed a long life. It is a pretty good building and not the source of any known controversy. I think you were confusing it with Runway 3, which is a different kettle of porcupines altogether.
    In any event, Richmond had nothing whatever to do with Heathrow (all the main candidates were vociferously against R3 and absolutely everything to do with Brexit.
    To what extent they can replicate that is debatable but a Tory in a remainer seat with a strong LD challenge would be well advised to reflect upon it.

  35. Sea Change
    ‘Historically I can’t think of any Government with 44% IV mid-term who had such a small majority in modern times’

    May 1989 saw the Tories hit 46% in a Harris poll – almost two years into the 1987 Parliament..

  36. @Graham “May 1989 saw the Tories hit 46% in a Harris poll – almost two years into the 1987 Parliament..”

    With a 100 seat majority!

    I stated “with a such a small majority.”

    Comparable majority governments would be the Major administration, The 1st Thatcher and the Callaghan one.

  37. @Graham
    I think you missed the ‘small majority’ bit. In 1987 the Conservatives had an overall majority of over 100 seats and polled 3,700,000 votes more than Labour.

  38. Brilliant match.
    Brilliant Wales win!

    Perhaps we will get a poll showing some change at last to complete a good start to the weekend.

  39. Interesting reading in the figures beneath the poll the lead over labour amongst over 65s has slipped to 45%

  40. Somerjohn
    “Merkel, Juncker, Tusk et al have their hands full herding a bunch of bolshie cats…”

    I think that you have inadvertently given support to one of my pet theories – to wit, that the EU is Germany’s attempt to take over Europe by more peaceful means than usual. Otherwise why mention Merkel, a supposedly purely national political figure in the same phrase as two of the EU’s leading lights? And indeed putting her first!

  41. OOTH I can’t see any particular reason for 40+ % support midterm being necessarily related to majority 2 years previously. Unpopularity can be readily achieved, while popularity may well depend on the behaviour of others.

  42. Does anyone know whether any party getting 40%+ in mid-term opinion polls gone on to lose a GE in recent times?

  43. Sea Change,

    Well, actually currently 41% http://britainelects.com/ 44% is an outlier at the moment.

    But of course I don’t really think the Tories “should” be on 50%. They don’t have the support for that and probably never will. Possibly you did not spot the purpose of my post..

    Meanwhile the fact that there will soon be no-one alive in the Uk who has lived during a majority (in the true sense) government ought to be a matter of great concern… And Prime Ministers who do not have the support of the majority of British people should show a little less hubris..

  44. “That it is indeed a grouping of nation states, rather than anything resembling a monolithic superstate.”
    @somerjohn March 10th, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    Ah the myth of the EU superstate. I recently got my tax statement from HMRC and, rather provocatively, it had a pie chart (well I think they call them donut charts) on the back. It said how much of MY money went to fund each activity: I could see health, pensions, that was a biggie, education, welfare — wow, how much on welfare. (Oh, I see, that’s the point. It’s a Tory tax statement.)

    It also had a item for money paid to the EU. Ah, I thought, that will be big. But could I find it? I finally got out my magnifying glass and yes, indeed there it was — the tiniest of slivers, needing a line from the EU payments to the sliver in the chart. It was so small it should really have been included in a section called everything else, so it would be a meaningful item.

    But it looked like someone wanted to make a point. Well the point to me was we only pay a tiny bit in. And that’s because the EU only does a tiny bit for us — it is not Superstate funding in any way, shape or form.

    It remains to be seen how protectionist the EU will be to us if we continue to refuse to give them financial payments for market access. Unfortunately hubris means we will have to find out.

    Australia, New Zealand. Come on you world-beating economies. Trade with us. We will show these foreign jessies just how good our economy will be. You guys can come in, you’re sort of white English anyway. We don’t want hordes of Chinese or Indians, so we won’t trade with those if they insist on sending thousands of their kids to our skools.

    Anyway, that’s what I think…

  45. @Sea Change
    I really don’t see why the size of a government’s majority at a general election should have much – if any – influence on its popularity or lack of two years later. Why should there be any connection? If Thatcher had won the 1987 election with a majority of 30 – rather than 100 – why would that have had any impact on its standing two years later?.

  46. Guymonde,

    I agree that Heathrow did not help the Lib Dems win Richmond – if anything it shored up Zac’s vote because he kept his promise..

    However I am not so sure it will not be an issue in 2020 in west London seats. Despite the virulent opposition to Heathrow shown by all the Tory MP’s in that area, the U-turn by St. Theresa will not have gone unnoticed

  47. Good evening all from a fine evening here in Stevenage…

    ANDREW111
    Allan Christie,
    “Since the 2015 General Election the Lib Dems have seen a small but statistically significant increase in their vote. (In proportional terms a 25% increase). For the last couple of months their vote has been absolutely stable..After 6 years of worsening ratings or stable ratings at 7-8%, you seem to be the only person in the world who thinks the Lib Dems should be at 20% to be seen as successful, so far out from a General Election”
    _________

    Here we go again ” you seem to be the only person in the world who thinks the Lib Dems should be at 20%”…..where did I say that? I did say a wee while back the Lib/Dems should be looking back at their 2010 election result as a benchmark and not languishing around 8%.

    You’re right, though, for the past couple of months their vote has been very stable….It’s called flatlining. The party polled so poorly in 2015, even a percentage increase of 2% can be labelled as an actual 25% increase. It’s like saying a party that polled 1% in the GE and now sits on 2% has seen a 100% increase…WoW!!
    ………….
    “I could keep greeting every opinion poll with “why aren’t the Tories doing better – everything is running for them”… but it would be pretty tedious, so I don’t..”
    ______

    Considering the amount of tambourine banging the Lib/Dems and others have being doing over Brexit, I’m astonished the Tories are polling so high.

  48. GUYMONDE

    You’ve taken my comment right out of context. I was referring to Heathrow’s Terminal 3 as a geographical location near to where the Richmond by-election took place and absolutely nothing to do with the by-election.

  49. Andy JS

    “One of the most partisan comments I’ve ever read on this site. Everyone knows it’s extremely unusual for one party to be anywhere near 50% in the polls.”

    HA HA HA!

  50. Andrew111
    If you are referring to the 1931 55% share of the vote you might be right, but another way of looking at it is share of the electorate. I’m not sure what the electorate was in 1931, but the highest share of the electorate since the war was 38.9% by the Tories in 1959. If you count votes against the government instead (i.e. including DNVs as not being opposed to the government of the day) there is a different picture again. If I can be bothered I might work out the figures for ‘not opposing’ the government since the war.

1 2 3 8