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.

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

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  1. @ Alan

    One difference between the camps is that a large portion of people who currently think “no” to independence also think that TM isn’t looking after Scottish interests.


  2. Bill Patrick,

    ” So Indyref 2 would presumably only have provisional validity according to the SNP.!”

    In the event of a Yes to Independence the most probable route to another referendum, presumably for reunification on some basis, would be a party putting it in a manifesto, winning an election or getting into some form of Government and then winning a vote in Holyrood to hold it.

    A perfectly legitimate and real possibility, if not currently likely.

    All of which, given you can’t bind future Governments, is possible, but in no way necessary!

    As it is I am not aware of any country in the last century that having voted for or been granted Independence has chosen to reverse it and if there is I’d be interested in the specific circumstances.


  3. “in the even of a yes, unionist parties would be perfectly allowed to put indyref 3 into their manifesto if they felt there were material changes and allow the Scottish people to vote them into Holyrood on that basis.”

    How do you reconcile this claim with the fact that the SNP has consistently opposed the idea of a re-run referendum prior to the declaration of independence?

  4. Peter Cairns,

    I actually meant Indyref 3 before negoitations with the UK are concluded.

    Although you do raise a good point: if negotiations with the EU go really sour and the margin of victory for the nationalists was tiny, then another indyref would be pretty inevitable, because “Outside the EU, outside the UK” would be an option that almost no-one wanted.

  5. Another route to Indyref 3 would be a major drop in oil prices to e.g.$20 a barrell.

    The negotiations are likely to about three years, so the SNP would be running in 2021 during the negotiations, assuming an October 2019 referendum.

    Another reason for an October 2017 referendum from an SNP perspective!

  6. Bantams

    The Ipsos Mori poll in the previous thread.

    Page 16 of the tables.

    “The Prime Minister Theresa May is doing a good job
    in representing Scotland’s interests in the process
    of the UK leaving the EU”

    Of no voters, 34% disagree with the statement.
    Of yes voters, 6% agree.

    This is quite a marked asymmetry and provides a large audience to target to win over.


    Hang on just a second. I mentioned Tim Farron and Tim Farron only.If other party leaders are less popular than him then that’s for other peeps to bring up.

    Just on a point of interest, you know this being a polling site as you rightly keep saying….

    On who leads the economy… Lib/Dems 4% (even below their own VI figures)

    Right person, to lead party into GE?

    Farron.. All ..22%..Lib/Dems 45% Less than half of Lib/Dem supporters.

    Tim Farron is doing his job as leader of the Liberal Democrats?approval 23%.

    It’s not good, is it?

    I even reckon if 1000 random people were shown a photo of Farron, less than 20% would know who he is.

  8. Bill Patrick

    Would that mean in the even of a no, the price of oil rising to $80 would be enough to trigger indyref3?

  9. Alan,

    “Would that mean in the even of a no, the price of oil rising to $80 would be enough to trigger indyref3?”

    Of course: that’s been the SNP position ever since the “once in a generation” notion became moribund.

    Naw doesn’t mean Naw, Aye doesn’t mean Aye. But Brexit means Brexit.

    It’s all very confusing!

  10. I am very scepical of anyone who things another referendum is a mistake for Sturgeon. I don’t really see the downside for her in having one every year. Its just a vote, we have them all the time.

    In this particular case, there is a potential window of opportunity she is aiming at between negotiations being concluded (on the EU’s timetable) and the formal ratification process being completed. She is therefore planning a vote for that point because there will have to be preparations, and probably a fight over authorising it. She will know that the situation at that time might not vavour her, but then again it might.

    Now if she loses, then presumably Brexit will unfold. If it goes badly expect yet another referendum with Scotland demanding a return to the EU, either with the Uk or as an independent nation.

  11. Hireton.

    there might be a scenario of WTO tariffs between EU and UK and the NI/ROI border becomes a smuggling zone.

    Very sad if customer posts and border patrols have too start again. May well ease some sot unionists in the nationalist camp which will be good or bad depending on ones viewpoint.

    Maybe a growth in support for an NI independent of UK and ROI, especially if Scotland gain independence.

  12. Well, I’m off shortly to the airport and heading to Dublin for a few days on secondment.

    I always like to leave UKPR on a happy note.

    “Big ideas in common’: Le Pen plans to offer Poland & Hungary cooperation in ‘dismantling’ EU”

    Have fun peeps.

  13. Theresa May also has the right to agree to a two-stage referendum: one asking whether the Scottish government should begin indy negotiations; another asking whether the sovereign will of the Scottish people agree with the negotiated agreement.

    This would avoid some of the regrettable problems with Brexit. As Peter Cairns said, it hardly makes sense to ask the Scottish people to vote on a deal that we don’t know about?

    The SNP has a democratic mandate for one indyref; it doesn’t have a democratic mandate to rule out a second one!

  14. Danny – “I don’t really see the downside for her in having one every year. Its just a vote, we have them all the time.”

    Having a referendum every year risks the Quebec effect, where businesses can’t plan because in any single year they might find themselves in another country, so they simply decamp for stability.

    There is some evidence that it is already happening to Scotland. See the following parliamentary briefing:

    Page 7 shows the number of businesses by region.

    % change in the number of businesses in the last year
    England +2%
    Wales +4%
    Scotland -5%
    NI +6%

    Number of businesses per 100,000 resident adults
    England 1,088
    Wales 872
    Scotland 728
    NI 845

    So it is already happening – Scotland is starting to diverge not just from England, but from Wales and NI.

    Still, if that is what they want, who are we to complain?

  15. @jimjam

    May has indicated the UK will in effect be leaving the Customs Union so a goods border will be necessary regardless of tariffs because of third country origin goods.

  16. There has been an interesting market reaction to the First Ministers request for a second referendum on Scottish independence. The £ has rallied against the $, up 0 6% and against the Euro 0.65%. The Footsie 100 is up 29 points and the Footsie 250 is up 53 points.

    According to David Buik MBE is a market commentator at Panmure Gordon:-

    “Speculators assume that Sturgeon might well have difficulty selling her ‘one-trick-pony’ obsession to Scotland’s electorate. Also if she does sell the concept, the UK’s debt will be less onerous. Why do speculators have the right to be upbeat about the pound ahead of article 50 being served to the EU?
    Assuming there is no change in the government’s and the Bank of England’s policy, the pound will not be available to Scotland – nor will the Bank of England’s or the FCA’s regulatory facilities be on tap. It also seems unlikely that that Scotland, on its own, will have the financial stability to meet the EU’s economic criteria to be a member.”

    Personally as a Unionist I would be very sorry to see Scotland leave the UK. I don’t think it is Scotland’s interest to do so or the interest of the rUK, but of course as a democrat I would accept the will of the Scottish people if there was another referendum and they voted to leave.

  17. So lobby journalists now reporting that May will not trigger Article 50 this week some saying because she does not want to be cavalier about the Union following Sturgeon’s announcement today.

  18. @Bantams

    SSE has just announced an increase in electricity prices of nearly 15%.

  19. “There has been an interesting market reaction to the First Ministers request for a second referendum on Scottish independence. The £ has rallied against the $, up 0 6% and against the Euro 0.65%. The Footsie 100 is up 29 points and the Footsie 250 is up 53 points.”


    Which just goes to show Scotpeeps should have referenda more often… Once every three or four in years isn’t enough…

  20. TOH

    I like the idea of sturgeon as a one trick pony. However,IMHO she is about to become a no trick pony.

  21. Anybody think Salmond is still pulling the strings? At the very least I strongly suspect he is at the heart of decision making still.

  22. If Sturgeon is successful, Scottish independence is bound to have a knock on effect for Northern Ireland. It will make the unionist camp there extremely worried as the momentum swings in favour of nationalism. I think that many people (and not only nationalists) in Northern Ireland would rather be united with Scotland than England & Wales.

  23. I’ll make a prediction, if independence happens, youth unemployment in Scotland will be double what it is now in 5 years time. Let’s see.

  24. @ Wolf


    We’re not with SSE, we’ve already been stung! I recommend Martin’s Money for possible solutions if you’re worried.

  25. Hireton – exactly will be a problem and in theory smuggling could occur across the NI/ROI border.

    What about all those shoppers who buy in Newry or Dundalk depending on the situation?

    Is why for me it is the biggest problem of Brexit implementation

  26. “theory smuggling could occur across the NI/ROI border.”

    I’m looking forward to smuggling across the English/Scottish border. Anyone know their way around the Cheviots?

  27. lots of midges Pete

  28. @Allan Christie
    You said the measure of leadership popularity would have to be ‘re-calibrated’ to accommodate Farron – the only way a range needs to be recalibrated to accommodate a data point is if that data point lies outside the range necessary to accommodate other existing data points.

    This clearly implies that he is the leader with the worst approval rating – in fact he is second of the four national party leaders.

    Once again you start off by making a factually testable statement that is actually incorrect, and respond when challenged by saying ‘but they/he should be doing better’.

    Which might be true, but is an opinion, not a testable statement…

  29. Ah yes, those annoying little things from Scotland. How could I forget?

  30. PeteB

    The only thing being smuggled across the border will be jobs coming south and food parcels going north.

    Still salmon is alright becoming one of those expat Scots who urge from the back

  31. @Allan C

    “It certainly gets my thumbs up although with Tim Farron’s approval ratings CATMAN might find some major recalibration would be in order just so that Tim Farron could register on the damn thing ;-)”


    If anyone can, Catman can. Good look selling it to BFR though!!…

  32. Horeton,
    “lobby journalists now reporting that May will not trigger Article 50 this week”

    Maybe she is expecting to be defeated on the article 50 bill?

  33. On a personal basis I don’t want Scottish independence, purely because it would make the rest of the UK an effective one party state. The conservatives would be certain to win every general election without Scotland.

  34. Tancred

    Eventually an opposition capable of winning would establish itself. In some respects one might consider that Scotland leaving would create such an upheaval of the political landscape that this might be faster than waiting for either Labour to become electable or to die off.

  35. Govrnment has overturned the Lords amendment on EU citizens by a majority of 48. Now voting on the second amenment on “meaningful vote”.

  36. The Government have defeated the second Lords amendment with a majority of 47, so both Lords amanements have been defeated easily and the Bill returns to the Lords.

  37. Looks like we are triggering article 50 tonight. That’s it, we’re off!

  38. @Tancreed,

    If the UK would be a one party state, what would Scotland be!!!! lol

    Oppositions always come about in the end, people tire and Govts get stale, complacent, unpopulated. As sure as eggs are eggs.

  39. Sorry the government majority on the second amendment vote was 45 not 47. The majority was greater by 12 than the last time the commons voted on “meaningful vote”. Governemnt whips have done a really good job again.

  40. On “a meaningful vote”
    Suppose the government , after promising to ‘seek the best possible deal’ fails to obtain any deal so we leave after 2 years on WTO rules.
    Is that not grounds for a motion of no confidence, and would that not be a meaningful vote?

  41. One related issue in the Lords, The Government was defeated on an amendment which means that foreign students will not be considered as long term migrants.

  42. I understand that Labour in the Lords will not support any further delaying tactics so the Bill should be through tonight.

  43. Dave

    “Is that not grounds for a motion of no confidence, and would that not be a meaningful vote?”

    As I understand it the opposition can always call for a vote of no confidence, but would they win one?


    Yes i saw that as well.

  44. @richo

    The UK Government has said today that it will not be triggering Article 50 this week (and probably not next week).

  45. Arr ok. Maybe week after next, lol. I wonder if we might get more desperate legal action in the next 10 days?!!! I wouldn’t be surprised.

  46. No conservatives voted against the government on the second vote and only two on he first. Really was a superb performance by the government whips.

  47. Richo

    I suspect any further legal action will be well considered and thought out as opposed to being created in a panic.

    If there are any legal areas the government has overlooked then I would expect to see them shortly.

    In that (and probably only that) we are agreed.

  48. The SNP should be improving education rather than creating two more years of divisiveness. I can see nasty clashes when campaigning starts. Sadiq Khan was right, there is a racist element in all nationalism. I have a friend at work who is in Scotland and he said there is an element of the SNP youth that literally hates the English.

  49. @rich

    “.I have a friend at work who is in Scotland and he said there is an element of the SNP youth that literally hates the English.”

    Did you meet him down the pub?

  50. @Carfrew @AC

    So I need to design a ‘Catman Countdown Clock to Catastrophic Doom’?

    I think I’d need some Thorium to generate the power for that..

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