As well as the Scottish polling, YouGov’s regular GB voting intention figures were also in this morning’s Times. Topline figures are CON 44%, LAB 27%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 9%. Full tabs are here.

Two things to note. Firstly, there is no obvious impact from the budget. YouGov’s poll straight after the budget actually showed the Conservative lead up, but it was conducted on the evening of the budget, before respondents would have taken in the row over National Insurance that followed. Now people will have had time to react to that (if not today’s U-turn), and it doesn’t appear to have had any real impact.

That itself is a reminder not to put too much weight on questions asking if an event makes you less likely to vote for a party, such as those in the Telegraph at the weekend. Questions like that could almost be designed to produce results making it look as if an event or policy will have an impact on voting intention (in fact, the particular question didn’t even give people an option of saying it wouldn’t change their vote!). In reality it is pretty rare for individual events or policies to have a direct and measurable impact on voting intention.

Secondly, the UKIP score of 9% is the lowest YouGov have shown for many years. The last time they had them in single figures was back in Feburary 2013. As ever, it’s just one poll so don’t get too excited about it, but it is hardly a good sign for them.

274 Responses to “YouGov/Times – CON 44, LAB 27, LD 10, UKIP 9”

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  1. There is absolutely NO truly fair way of proportioning votes to seats in any type of democracy so not sure why you are wasting time arguing it. There is a balance to be had between ‘fair’ representation and strong governance and in the UK we have always leaned towards the latter.

    Also not sure why people are complaining that UKIP won so few seats compared to their national vote share, when one particular campaign in a certain recent referendum won only a shade over 50% but got all the glory and the other side got nowt… That be how majorities work (and I don’t personally agree it’s a good way of deciding things).

  2. @Neil A

    Well I’m probably going to say something unpopular but i do actually think the punishment fits the crime. If an MP were to be found to have criminally breached electoral spending law, why should the sentence be longer than a maximum 12 months’ imprisonment?

    Any MP convicted of a criminal offence will never see the House of Commons ever again and may well be ruined in many other ways. In addition there would have to be a by-election.

  3. RAF,
    ” If an MP were to be found to have criminally breached electoral spending law, why should the sentence be longer than a maximum 12 months’ imprisonment?”

    Perhaps because that would have been fraud in order to secure one of the most important positions in the nation? Perhaps I should go so far as suggesting very little is more important than ensuring elections are fair? Quite seriously,, which is more important, a terrorist bomb which kills 10,000 or a scheme which rigs the result of a national election?

  4. @PETE

    Yep, I freely accept that I entirely missed your point – like probably most people perusing polling websites at 1am I found my own point rather more interesting :-)

    For clarity though, I do agree with you that if there has been deliberate wrong-doing then the law should be fully applied. My point about people not caring was not meant to suggest these things should not be investigated and (potentially) prosecuted – it was entirely in relation to whether the Tories would see any meaningful drop in support at any resulting by-elections.

  5. I suspect in any by-election the Tories would be most vulnerable to Martin Bell type independent candidates. If there was a dozen by-elections with prominent independent candidates standing, I’m sure that would cause some sleepless nights.

    There might be a few seats where the Lib Dems might pinch one or two but there’s no great risk to TM’s majority there, the least said about Labour the better.

  6. Was channel 4 Matt Frei teeing up the SNPmsp (channel 4 news) on the issue of electoral expenses? Maybe Micheal McCrick is heading north to La La Land?

  7. @OldNat

    “So, any ideas about who the new Chancellor will be, and how soon will s/he be appointed?”

    I’d favour Neil Warnock, but Steve McClaren is available

  8. @Alan

    All sorts of things are possible. Indepedent candidates are most likely to attract anti-Tory votes, so unless the other parties stand down they may actually help the Tories by splitting the protest.

    Who gets fingered, candidate or agent, would also be a factor. And that could work both ways. If the candidate was blameless, and the by-election was caused by their agent’s actions, would the electorate not hold it against them? Or would a fresh candidate do better than a tarnished (even if in a “guilt by association, smoke and fire” sort of way) MP?

    Plus it will depend on who the main challenger was in 2015. Given current polling, it might be quite hard to unseat the Tories in a straight Tory-Labour fight, but in Tory-LD swing seats, one would have to assume that the LDs would surge even in less propitious circumstances.

    A lot of variables, and no strong precedents to judge how it might go. Plus of course this is all extremely hypothetical. The bar for prosecution is pretty high. There’s absolutely no guarantee there will be a single by-election anywhere.

  9. @Danny / RAF,

    I’m more with Danny on this one. I have a lot of time for politicians in general, believing that they do more work, and better work, with better motives than they are ever given credit for (and for relatively poor rewards).

    However, the integrity of our electoral system is sacrosanct. I am never more grateful for being born in the UK than when I look across at how politics is conducted in some other countries, near and far. Our law enforcement is pretty risible when it comes to electoral crime. We rely on a consensus belief that the rules should be followed. I think the public interest demands that deliberate manipulation of the rules be a much more serious offence than it currently is.

    I would pitch for a maximum of five years, perhaps, with an expectation that a defendant who pleaded guilty at an early stage, without any serious aggravating features, would receive a non-custodial sentence, but that custody was a clear and present danger to anyone who played silly bu&&ers.

  10. @ALEC

    Yep, I don’t think any particular historical case would be that much of a guide for what would be an unprecedented situation.

    There is as I acknowledged not a lot of data at all for what happens when people perceived as sore losers force a revote, and maybe it’s natural to remember the odd local/national cases where it backfired spectacularly rather than those where the outcome was mundane.

    And to be clear, I’m not saying it makes anyone a sore loser to claim an MP who deliberately cheated on election expenses should be removed, far from it.

    My question (and hence asking if there is any polling) is whether this would generally be seen as clear wrong-doing which might damage local VI for the party involved, or whether it could be seen as political opportunism by the losers, trying to get a revote because stuff was put on the wrong invoice, which could produce quite a local VI backlash.

    I think perceived opportunism and being a bad loser, along with being seen to go back on his word, were perhaps bigger factors in Malone losing the 97 rerun by 20k than shifts in the national picture, but of course that’s purely subjective and we’ll never actually know.

  11. Apparently The Tories are very confident little chance of any prosecutions over the expense issue.

  12. Fasting growing petition right now. Already at 170k, so could well be debated in parliament. Pretty embarrassing for the SNP.

    Given everybody I speak to in England seems to want Scotland to go, it’s pretty likely a lot of the signatures are indeed Scottish people.

  13. @Neil A

    “I think you’re picking an unnecessary fight. I wasn’t being partisan. I was trying to be helpful, in terms of explaining the legal environment in which this is all taking place.”


    I can’t believe you’re escalating the victim stuff AGAIN. I am not picking a fight, I did not even hint at accusing you of being partisan. You mentioned the sentencing was relatively light, I just added that there might possibly have been some self-interest by politicians involved.

    I don’t see why it has to be such a problem for me to make that simple point.

  14. @EoR

    Personally I don’t think the vast majority of voters will give two hots about why there is a by election – only that there is one, if they are so minded to vote.

    The risk with this l!es solely with the incumbents, and I note some people upthread are sanguine about the Lib Dems ability to eat into May’s majority. I really wouldn’t be, if I were a blue. I can see a strong Lib Dem performance, if these elections come off.

    It would be even more fun watching a minority administration negotiating brexit!

  15. Richo

    Hush your mouth! You are speaking of a subject forbidden by Anthony to be discussed here among decent English folk!

    Pop over to Servant’s Hall, and we can chat about your view.

  16. ????

  17. @Guymonde

    “I’d favour Neil Warnock, but Steve McClaren is available”


    Perfect opportunity to revisit Shhhteve’s Dutch Accshent and word order!!

  18. It would seem to me that the guidelines need to be much clearer. Frankly, my logic would tell me that a battle bus touring the country would be a central cost rather than a local one but if it isn’t then the guidelines need to be more specific.

    I found your analysis very interesting @NeilA and I would be of the view that unless there is clear evidence of intent to defraud, then criminal prosecutions are probably unlikely. Intent to defraud is totally different to just being disorganised and inefficient.

    I imagine that the LDs and Labour are not making much of a noise about it as they are thinking, there for the grace of God go us. Lucky for them Crick and Co only have a vendetta against the tories.

  19. @ALEC

    Aye, it would be interesting to see what happened in any by-election in a Tory/LD marginal where both parties are a bit stronger in national polls than in the GE.

    And yes, I agree any loss of seats would be concerning for May, but of course her working majority on Brexit is generally a bit stronger than the pure arithmetic, once the effect of SF and DUP is taken into account. Even if a handful of south-west seats were lost to the LibDems then you’d probably still be looking at needing double figures of Tory MPs to vote against their own govt in the inevitable Confidence Motion that would follow any substantive Brexit defeat in the HoC, and that seems very far-fetched, at least right now.

  20. @RN

    If we’re looking at “intention to defraud”, I’d prosecute Paul Dacre before any politician.

  21. Alec
    That would be a lot of bye elections to lose to wipe out her effective Brexit majority. Allow for SF not being there, add in the Ulster chappies and ukip and the 5 or 6 rebels from labour and her Brexit majority is about 50 according to the BBC.

  22. MoG
    Well you are welcome to start a private prosecution. I wouldn’t put money on you winning though.

    Edge of Reason

    We effectively said the same thing. You posted whilst I was checking my facts.

  23. @Carfrew

    If your “litmus test” remark was not intend to imply that I had picked a definition to suit myself then I apologise for accusing you of picking a fight.

    In general whilst I like and respect you, and often agree with your analysis, I find you a bit oppositional, in the sense of dissecting posts from people you perceive of being a different stripe and accentuating your differences rather than finding common ground.

    I actually think we agree entirely about how serious electoral expense offences are in principle, but I stick to my view that, in criminal law terms, they are trivial offences.

  24. @MOG,

    The Mail did a good job in raising awareness and funding for marine A. Wouldn’t have got conviction changed to manslaughter without the Mail. Just a point.


    Yes, that was your error sir – taking time to check.

    Seriously though, you’re of course right to bring another layer to the concept of the Brexit majority – in the event of a genuine (or opportunistic) clash between Tory and Labour on a Brexit vote, there would doubtless be at least some crosscurrent of Tory MPs voting against the govt and Labour MPs voting with them. I don’t think the HoC votes so far give us much clue about that?

  26. @Alec

    Grab the popcorn, the fun is about to start!

    This week represents a turning point in the polls. First fallout of Brexit, SNP calls for a referendum, budget onmishambles, big election spending investigation about to launch many by elections to test public opinion properly

    The polls are pretty much nonsense in between elections, we only have to look at how they failed to detect the rise of UKIP until the Euro elections, then they all swiftly changed their methodology – I recall coming on here week after week saying UKIP were sweeping local elections and the polls were underestimating them, and everyone told me no, nonsense, you can’t use local polls to assess opinion…well they were proved wrong.

    Brexit is about to hit, and you only have to read the wise words of an ex PM John Major to see how the country has been sold what cannot be delivered and what the fallout is going to be once they realise it.

    And once again the signs are there to see – lib dems winning local elections – there will be some by election surprises, then they may catch up.

    The 48% are about to be heard…

  27. @Richrd,

    That reads like a biased liberal elites wish list. I doubt there will be a single by election. As for the 48%, it’s probably more like 45% if you look at the way the polls have moved and apply some common sense.

  28. Meanwhile, in the world of real-life election polls, there were four local by-elections tonight.

    No seats changed hands, There were two good improvements in share for LD against one slippage – and a notably bad night for UKIP, who went from 19% to 5.6% in Blackpool, and from 31.6% to 11,5% in Breckland.

    Timeous corroboration of the polling evidence for a sharp drop in UKIP support.

  29. @Neil A

    “If your “litmus test” remark was not intend to imply that I had picked a definition to suit myself then I apologise for accusing you of picking a fight.
    In general whilst I like and respect you, and often agree with your analysis, I find you a bit oppositional, in the sense of dissecting posts from people you perceive of being a different stripe and accentuating your differences rather than finding common ground.
    I actually think we agree entirely about how serious electoral expense offences are in principle, but I stick to my view that, in criminal law terms, they are trivial offences.”


    My litmus test comment was intended to convey what indeed it conveyed. That your litmus test was fine for revealing the nature of the sentencing. But that I was simply adding summat beyond that test. Explaining WHY it might be a light sentence.

    I’m not surprised you find things oppositional when you repeatedly find opposition where there is none. I didn’t oppose you, I didn’t even disagree or correct you. I just built on what you said. Still, since you felt you should pass such comment on me, I shall take it in good spirit, and invite you to consider in turn how if in ones line of work one is used to challenging others while being protected from being challenged very much, and thus one might therefore in other circumstances where not protected take it overly personally. To the extent even of seeing challenge where there is none.

  30. “There seem to be several comments about the libs not showing much rise.”


    Yes, it used to be the fashion to suggest they were polling a little high…

  31. @Carfrew

    I love that you think I am not challenged very much!

    I will try hard not to perceive criticism where there is none. Perhaps if you can also sprinkle a few “I agree” or “that’s true but I also think that” into your reponses to me I will find it easier.

    Lets move on. There’s plenty of actual politics to discuss.

  32. @Neil A

    I’m not saying you’re never challenged, but you do enjoy some protection.

    I would be happy to add in more agreement Neil, but I didn’t even addressing you in the first place!! My post was aimed more in support of Pete’s point!! My view was that you were both right and I just added summat to bolster Pete’s view. That you’re right about the sentencing, but that Pete might nonetheless still be right too.

    Incidentally, regarding bring oppositional, you were the one disagreeing with Pete and were at pains to insist he was wrong. I was just introducing summat to ease things. Anyway, hopefully you can give me a break and have a listen to the Shhhteeve McLaren clip. Suitably cheery…

  33. Pete told me I was wrong. I told him I wasn’t.

    I didn’t tell him he was wrong. He said he would be disappointed if prison sentences were not imposed. I said he needed to have realistic expectations and that prison sentences were extremely unlikely (although not impossible).

  34. @Neil A

    “Pete told me I was wrong. I told him I wasn’t.”


    Yes that’s true. I agree with you!! Happy now??

    That said, you also said “But that’s not really the measure I believe it’s right to use.” Not that I think there’s anything wrong in you doing that. But if you hadn’t done it, that would be ok too!! Frankly, my day would have been fine even if you’d done both. Or neither. Whatever floats your boat really. Anyways, goodnight Neil!!…

  35. Side effect of Brexit we haven’t heard so much about. Summat to ponder over Brekkie. There’s much discussion of attracting the employees we need from abroad, but less on things moving the other way…

    “Brexit: Poland aims to be big winner from battle for UK banking jobs
    Poland’s government expects to attract around 25,000-30,000 jobs from Britain in the business services sector just this year”

    “The Association of Business Service Leaders in Poland is working on projects with seven big financial firms about shifting jobs from London, said the Association’s managing director Pawel Panczyj. The focus is on middle office functions such as risk management and information technology.

    “We are talking with banks, insurance institutions and investment funds who want to move their middle office abroad. The main factor behind their decision [now] is Brexit,” he told Reuters.

    Panczyj’s efforts are likely to bear fruit. The regional head of one global investment bank told Reuters that he estimates as many as 20 per cent of jobs at the lender’s London base could eventually be done in Poland.

    Last year’s referendum when Britons voted for Brexit has forced banks and other financial firms to seek new bases for some operations in a country that will remain in the EU, allowing them to continue serving clients in the bloc.

    They are also under pressure to cut costs as they look at how to reorganise their operations. In some cases, this includes work that could still be based in Britain from a regulatory point of view, but needs to be done more cheaply than is possible in Europe’s dominant financial capital.

    Already, post-communist Poland has established itself as a major offshoring site for banks, with estimates of financial services jobs moved from all Western countries ranging from 35,000 to 45,000. Credit Suisse and UBS are among those basing large IT and back office administrative operations in the country.”

  36. Scratch the unionist bit from the party name, though.

  37. @ S Thomas

    “I would not be surprised to see the Tory poll ratings boosted by it.”

    maybe you should put this as a permanent tagline on your posts, it appears to sum up your opinion on any political news.

  38. ST

    Unfortunately I believe you are correct, at least regarding May’s prospects of riding high and wave of anti-Scottish rhetoric.

    The problem for May, as I see it, is that whatever her real feelings, she comes across up here as someone who cannot distinguish between the south of England and the UK; or, to put it another way, she assumes that whatever is ‘good’ for the Home Counties must automatically be ‘good’ for Scotland. Over the past thirty years or so this assumption has been questioned by many north of the Border.

    What May must absolutely avoid, IMO, is any attempt to speak to the Scots ‘over the heads’ of Scottish political leaders. If she wants to say something to Scotland she must say it via Ruth Davidson, and the words and timing must be Ruth Davidson’s and not Theresa May’s. Theresa May must never give the impression that she knows what the Scots want better than the Scots do themselves. That way lies the end of the Union.


  39. And as for Scotland being put in a ghetto, from this side of the Border it feels more that we are trying to escape the ghetto being formed by the xenophobes who want to lock themselves into Little England.

    Just saying…….

  40. WB

    Thank you for your endorsement. it seems that my opinion of matters is in fact endorsed by the fact that the tories do go up in the polls.

    Of course your opinion is also valid.

  41. Not hilarious, IMO, but necessary as a shot across the bows!

  42. It seems to have been little noticed in the UK that Enda Kenny is accompanied on his visit to Trump by Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley.

    I imagine that remarkable combination will have a big impact in shoring up the US commitment to the peace process, adding pressure on the UK government to come up with a way of avoiding a hard border.

    I have no particular insight into NI affairs (except perhaps what I learned while on a business trip there during the second Protestant Workers’ strike in 1977, when I had to decamp in a hurry from a Hillsborough hotel threatened with bombing by UDA ‘visitors’).

    But maybe Ian Paisley Jr is a bellwether of evolving unionist views; to judge by what he says, he has undergone an astonishing political journey. Can anyone who knows NI better than me comment on his chances of leading the DUP? (I know he’s an MP, not an MLA, but I assume he could still lead the party, though not as First Minister. That could be wrong).

  43. @carfew:

    They are talking about back office jobs, although described in here as middle office. They are not the carrying out of a service for which passport it is required, although data protection equivalence will be important.

    As said at the bottom, this is already work in progress. The wage gap which leads to migration from Poland is an opportunity to offshore jobs to Poland, I.e. We import labour to do jobs here, we export jobs to be done here, business and liberals celebrate…

    It is the same as Twinings getting tea processed in Poland on its way from where it is grown. Cheaper to do that detour. Bad for those who used to process it here – and hypocritical given the ultra British branding. But just using the fundamental EU right of freedom of establishment.

    Is this not globalisation rather than Brexit? Does not the EU facilitate the dynamic? Query how far any action can be taken to stop this, which is a more upmarket version of setting up a call centre in India.

  44. @Joseph

    I take your point about how the process has been going on a while, and yes, given wage disparities one can see this as just globalisation as usual rather than Brexit.

    The article does say, however, that they are now trying to move up the jobs ladder and target middle office jobs, and they say they can do this because companies are looking to move more of their operations because of Brexit. Presumably things like Passporting etc.

    In other words, the argument is that Brexit means they need to consider moving, it’s just that the Poles are looking to be the ones to benefit.

  45. George Osborne Editor of the London Evening Standard.

    Is this to obtain a platform to express any remainer (or alternatively soft brexit) views and policies?

  46. Or to put it another way, there are cost disadvantaged to staying here, but advantages due to network effects, staying part of the banking hub in London. And attracting people who would rather work in London. But Brexit/Passporting etc. changes the balance of pros and cons.

    Like, on balance health professionals liked to work here, and they still can since the ref., but Brexit changes the balance of Pros and cons so fewer of them come.

  47. @WB

    Obviously it’s a step down for Osborne compared to contributing here, but I guess even he has to earn a crust.

  48. MOG

    You may not like Paul Dacre but I would suggest he does a good job for his newspaper as it’s just been voted Newspaper of the Year again.

  49. I guess appointing George Osborne means that the Evening Standard has just cut out the middleman.

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