I missed YouGov’s latest poll earlier this week – topline figures did not show anything new, with voting intentions of CON 42%, LAB 25%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 11%.

More interesting was the regular tracker on how well or badly the government are doing at negotiating Brexit: 36% said well, 34% badly. YouGov have been asking the question since last autumn and this is the first time it has scraped into positive territory, presumably because the government and EU have actually made the first steps towards beginning the process.

YouGov also released a survey asking some more detailled questions about how people see Theresa May. There is a clear pattern to what people view as her strengths and weaknesses – a majority of people think she is decisive (56%) and has what it takes to get things done (56%). On balance people think she is good in a crisis (by 44% to 24%) and is honest (by 40% to 25%). However, she is also seen as being out of touch (by 46% to 32%), as having no sense of humour (by 32% to 27%) and a cold personality (by 45% to 26%).

As May herself said in her first Prime Minister’s Question Time – remind you of anyone? The public perceptions of May’s character are similar to the public perceptions of Margaret Thatcher – someone who is a strong and capable leader, but not particularly warm or caring. YouGov also asked directly how similar people thought May was to previous PMs – 47% said she was similar to Thatcher, 31% thought she was different.

It’s interesting to ponder in which direction the causality works here. Do people think May is similar to Thatcher because they have some similar strengths and weaknesses and aspects to their characters… or do people think of May as similar to Thatcher because of the obvious superficial similarities (a female, Conservative, Prime Minister with a strict demeanour) and have, therefore, assumed that May will have the same sort of characteristics as Thatcher. In short, do people think May is like Thatcher because she’s tough, or think she’s tough because she’s like Thatcher? Or, as these things tend to work in real life, do they reinforce one another?

Tabs for voting intention are here, tabs for May are here.

211 Responses to “YouGov poll on how Theresa May is seen”

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  1. @Guymonde

    Seems to me the people who think it’s too crowded and resent immigration generally live in thinly populated areas with few immigrants.

    Although linking people who have views like that is not entirely measurable by UKIP support, it would a logical, if rough, indicator.

    The map below shows support for UKIP (in 2015) and the percentage of immigrants that live in those areas.

    You are correct, UKIP support is strongest where immigrant populations are lowest.


  2. To at least some extent, doesn’t that just measure the fact that immigrants are extremely unlikely to support UKIP?

  3. Guymonde – “You make a lot of unsupported allegations about how awful it is to live in London.”

    You yourself were complaining that violent crime was increasing in London – it’s probably down to a mix of pollution disturbing people’s brains, and the overcrowding and lack of private space sending people over the edge.

    The last time London had a similar population was in the 1930s and it was just as violent. They had densely populated slums, and if you pack people in like ferrets, you shouldn’t be surprised if they start to fight.

    The amazing thing about the left is they keep saying, “it’s fine to pack people in at slum density levels, just build kennel boxes for them to live in, just build on all the parks, just tell people that in order to be virtuous they must surrender their private space and accept air pollution, congestion and stress”.

    At what point will you accept that overcrowding is a problem? When London is at 10 million, 15 million? When it is like Mexico city and they have to bring water in by truck because the water table can’t support the number of people?

    And at what point will you accept that saying “vote labour to turn britain into densely overcrowded slum” is not a vote winner?

  4. Candy,

    Another sweeping statement and assertion!

    “Every single Scot on this board has chastised the English for wanting to clamp down on immigration, even though they know that immigrants make a bee-line for England and ignore the peripheries and this has been the case for decades.”

    Every single Scot???

    Most of us have certainly pointed out that there we plenty of ways to cut non EU migration that makes up more than half and that seeing it as a problem while not accepting the part it had played in growing both the economy and the skills base, as well as offsetting an aging population wasn’t a balanced point of view.

    None of that is advocating it continue to grow indefinitely if at all and certainly not exponentially. Try seeing what was said instead of just what you want to read.

    On more than one occasion during the referendum campaign I pointed out here that the ONS figures Darling used showed UK population growth to around 2040 art close to 20%.

    When you broken that down by nation Scotland, Wales and N Ireland were all firmly below 5% which pushed the England figure up to about 24%. For Scotland I think it was about 6% around 300k, for England it topped 13m!

    The point I made then was that the same politicians, Tory, Labour and LibDem who were coming up here to argue that was “Good for Scotland!” hadn’t asked England what they thought of it, if they wanted it and were openly sheepish about doing so.

    Darling may well be a Scot and Cameron have a Scots name, but it was Westminster Politicians singing the virtues of high English immigration to Scots rather than Scots asking for it, let alone the English asking for it.

    As to 5m Scots in England, well I suspect they live in England mostly because they want to and vote their because that’s where they live. We were happy to let large numbers of English people living in Scotland vote on the assumption that like EU citizens they had decided to make Scotland there home and you should have a say in what happens to it.

    As it was English Scots were some of the most fervently anti independence and it would have been closer without them , but it wouldn’t have been fair to them.

    I suppose we could let the diaspora vote in elections but it starts to get a bit odd if like Scotland you potentially have n more of the voters deciding the fate of the Country living in different ones.


  5. We need to be cautious about crossbreaks , but the details of the Opinium poll are interesting. The Tories are shown as 20% ahead of Labour in Scotland – and 2% ahead in Wales! I suspect that Tory strength in relation to Labour there is being somewhat exaggerated for both areas. On the other hand, the Tories only have a lead of 8% in England – compared with 9.5% in 2015. That implies a swing to Labour of 0.75% compare with two years ago. That also strikes me as unlikely at present!

  6. Anthony

    Apologies for straying into discussion of the merits/demerits of a policy.

    My interest was mainly in exploring the differences between UK polities that generate discussion of issues and thus can affect VI.

    How (or if) issues are highlighted by those who are (or try to be) the managers of public opinion, result in the responses given to poling questions.

    As you said to Carfrew earlier about a polling question which identified consequences in the question “No s**t!”

    The same response might be appropriate for every poll on every topic where the media concentrate on those consequences that they choose to identify.

    People’s opinions aren’t formed in a vacuum.

  7. Candy,

    ” it’s probably down to a mix of pollution disturbing people’s brains, and the overcrowding and lack of private space sending people over the edge.”

    The rest of the world puts it down to the long term effects of the financial crash and the economic consequences!

    “The last time London had a similar population was in the 1930s and it was just as violent. They had densely populated slums, and if you pack people in like ferrets, you shouldn’t be surprised if they start to fight.”

    And surprise surprise most people put that down to the depression as well!

    Still as with your comments on Scots why let the views of people living in London interfer with your Evils of Immigration narrative!


  8. Something seems reely screwy about this poll. UKIP with a VI double that of the LibDems …. the LibDems only 2% ahead of the Greens …. a Tory lead over Labour not much more than what the other pollsters are showing. Holiday poll effect?

  9. … a Tory lead over Labour not much more than half what the other pollsters…

  10. @The Monk

    It is much more likely to be a ‘house’ effect. Opinium has often come up with smaller Tory leads than ICM and Yougov – so it is being consistent here.It has also tended to present high UKIP scores and low ratings for the LibDems.

  11. Monk,

    “Holiday poll effect?”

    Could well be, although it doesn’t take much of a skew in a sample to show big shifts between two Parties polling near 10% like the LibDems and UKIP!


  12. @Candy
    I don’t know if Wikipedia is to be trusted entirely, and it only goes to 2015, but its stats are interesting:
    – the London murder rate is slightly up in 2015 on 2012-14, but it is still much lower than any year from 1990-2011; it was also lower than almost any other large conurbation in the UK.
    – the London violent crime figures for 2008/9 (the last year on Wikipedia for some weird reason) are increasing gradually, although slightly sower than the rate of increase nationally, and are 9.5 per 100,000 compared to 7 per 100,000 nationally.

    None of which particularly suggests London is a hotbed of stress and consequent violent crime…

  13. @BigFatRon

    I was referring to the following from a few days ago:


    42% increase in the number of offences over the year.


    Yes it’s tricky and can easily backfire. But in this specific case, it seems pretty clear from the polls that Le Pen cannot become president unless she faces Fillon in the second round, she’s 30+ points down against anyone else. So unless Fillon gets more votes than both Macron and Melenchon then it matters not at all whether Le Pen comes 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th in the first round. Indeed winning the first round comfortably by peeling support away from Fillon would be fatal to Le Pen’s chances.

    So for the more aware voters who want President Le Pen your choice is either
    1. Vote Le Pen and hope Fillon somehow beats Macron and Melenchon
    2. Vote Fillon and hope that not toooo many others make the same calculation :-)

  15. Good evening all from a sunny and warm breezy Itchen Valley Hampshire.

    Well, a lot has happened during my lovely two-week break to my Mammy’s maw & paws place in Southern Italy but BIGFATRONS attempt at posting the latest poll trumps everything.

    4 attempts BFR!! Was it the overwhelming disbelieve that the Lib/Dems are now polling 7% and you were bashing your keyboard in anger? 4% down since the last poll or to put it in real terms, a full 36.4% down since the last poll.

    It’s not good…In fact, if I was Tim Farron I wouldn’t even get out my bed for that nonsense.

    Anyway…Happy Easter peeps.

  16. Allan Christie,

    Wow wow…not so fast.

    Tell us the gossip mate!

    What’s the current Southern Italian feeling on the Migrant Crisis, Euro, Italian Politics, Trump and, as if we could ever let it go, BREXIT.


  17. @candy

    What polling evidence is there that Scots living in England are pro union – I am one and don’t know one of my friends down here who would have voted No in Indyref1, and none of them as far as i know, including myself were SNP voters before they moved south.

  18. The problems with population growth occur where the growth is faster than the improvements in public realm and infrastructure. So a big London population is not a problem per se, nor are slowly rising numbers. It is when the acceleration is too great, as currently, that real problems arise, particularly in respect of housing and transport.

    Current rates of population growth are unsustainable in London and much of England. Unfortunately, successive governments have not recognised the problem and have not made solutions a priority. Perhaps this is because population growth has been confused with immigration and even racism.

    As John Pilgrim has pointed out, we really don’t want a declining population ( at least not now ) as this would increase the already challenging distortions among the age groups.

    Whenever I visit London I see huge opportunities to redevelop areas of poor quality housing, but I would like to think this would be done to improve the lives of Londoners rather than to suck in yet more people, which may well have the opposite effect.

  19. @Candy
    But after three consecutive years of reducing crime rates….has something happened in the last few months to dramatically increase the effects of ‘pollution and overcrowding’ on young people?
    I could – with more logic but probably no more accuracy – ascribe it to increased uncertainty due to Brexit!

  20. ComRes poll


    •Association with Jeremy Corbyn appears to have little impact on the public’s perceptions of the Labour Party’s current policy agenda:

    For example, 71% of adults agree with the minimum wage policy attributed to Labour, compared to 68% who agree with the policy attributed to Jeremy Corbyn.

    [Split poll – some asked about “Labour” policies, some asked about “Corbyn” policies – same policies]

  21. Millie,

    Please take this with some salt because I like far from London and am anything but a frequent visitor, but when I was down last year (Edinburgh to London City) we rented for a few days in Docklands.

    What struck me is that most of the development over the last twenty years seems to have been market driven aimed at building what what make the most money.

    When I was a Councillor our planners used to say; “We Plan for Need, They Build for Money!” As long as there is limited Public housing or building or limited Public policy to build the right houses in the right place you will end up by profit driven policy.

    If you can make more from converting a warehouse into four Penthouses with a dozen bedrooms between them than affordable flats for a dozen families then that’s what will happen if your free to choose.

    What’s often overlooked is that in a lot of areas, older houses that once had families of seven or eight over three generations now have a working couple with a single child and a spare room for guests. To house the same number you need more than twice the housing.

    When once they were lucky to have a car and if they did it was too small to take them all without a crush, now they have two and one’s a 4×4!


  22. GRAHAM
    “We need to be cautious about crossbreaks , but the details of the Opinium poll are interesting. The Tories are shown as 20% ahead of Labour in Scotland – and 2% ahead in Wales! I suspect that Tory strength in relation to Labour there is being somewhat exaggerated for both areas”

    The Scottish crossbreak has the Tories on 30% and Labour 10% with the SNP still out on front with 48%. I don’t think the Scottish cross breaks are that far off the mark and have been quite close to the mark when comparing them to full Scottish polls.

    Using the Scotland votes website the SNP would win 53 seats down 3. Tories 5 up 4, Lib/Dems stay on 1 and Labour would be down to zero.

    I can see the Scottish MSM headlines… SNP in meltdown as Tories rocket.

    The cooncil elections will be very interesting.

  23. Nuvva poll with a different perspective!

    Comres for the Indy / Sunday Mirror

    Con 46 – +4
    Lab 25 – =
    LD 11 – -1
    UKIP 9 – -1

    Allan Christie,
    Wow wow…not so fast.

    Tell us the gossip mate!
    What’s the current Southern Italian feeling on the Migrant Crisis, Euro,

    Italian Politics, Trump and, as if we could ever let it go, BREXIT.

    Sorry, Pete but politics was well off the table when I started to talk about Brexit and when I asked my Grandparents what they thought about Brexit they handed me a bottle of Brachetto.

    Their English isn’t that good and my Italian is moderate poor.

    Are you standing for the Scottish cooncil elections?

  25. Allan Christie

    “I don’t think the Scottish cross breaks are that far off the mark”I’ve found it quite surprising that this seems to be the case. That Opinium Scots crossbreak was only of 124 people, so you would expect it (and every other Scottish geographic crossbreak) to throw up lots of variation, but few, if any, do – other than the size of the gap between SNP & Con and Con & Lab.

    In the ComRes poll, a comparison of the data for “Generally speaking, do you think of yourself as ….” question (All respondents) and the weighted turnout data for VI is interesting.

    Party : VI (“think of”)

    Con : 48% (31%)
    Lab : 26% (28%)
    LD : 12% (8%)
    UK : 10% (10%)
    Grn : 4 (3%)

    SNP : 43% (40%)
    Con : 24% (16%)
    Lab : 15% (17%)
    LD : 10% (3%)
    Grn : 4% (5%)
    UK : 3% (2%)

  26. BigFatRon – “has something happened in the last few months to dramatically increase the effects of ‘pollution and overcrowding’ on young people?”

    Air pollution levels are at record levels. I posted a link but it sent me into moderation. London breached it’s annual limit in the first five days of this year.

  27. OLDNAT

    That is very interesting… I think the cross breaks can pick up a genuine shift especially if it’s prolonged. After the indy vote, the Scottish C/Breaks were going ape and were vindicated when actual full Scottish polls came out.

    Obviously, the usual health warnings are not to be ignored but the major health warning must be for Doogtail and her Labour party polling 10%.

  28. @Oldnat – there seem to be a high proportion of Don’t Knows or not voting in the previous numbers for Scotland in that poll?

  29. I suspect that the effect of the Comres adjustments has pretty well reduced their findings to garbage.

  30. Bardin1

    I don’t think so.

    ComRes doesn’t give directly comparable tables, so it’s hard to tell (I was more interested in how “thinking of yourself as X” translated into votes).

    15% of Scots and 19% of English expressed no identification with any party.

    As to VI, among those likely to vote, 13% in both polities said “Don’t Know” (which frequently translates into won’t actually vote).

    As usual in these GB polls, significantly more Scots (77%) say they are certain to vote, compared with England (64%).

    The numbers who actually do are, of course, another matter altogether!

  31. Matt Singh echoes the Monk’s comment about a “holiday poll”

    The fact that fieldwork was done during school holidays and in the run up to a long weekend may mean that not everyone is as likely as usual to open a pollster’s email, and crucially, those that are can be different to those that aren’t.


  32. Looking at the two polls out today, I suspect that both are outliers. Comres which has had the highest Tory leads seems to too high for them at 46% for the Tories, and Opinium which tends to have the lowest Tory leads seems too low with 38% for the Tories.

    Nothing very exciting in the detailed questions although i note that MRs May is seen to be handling Brexit well, Approve 46%, Disaprove 23% a +19% rating. As AW suggested about the YouGov poll that probably just reflects he fact that Art. 50 has been triggered at last.


    What factualevidence do you have for calling the ComRes figures garbage? For all we know they might be right and Opinium very wrong.

    The May elections will be interesting but I expect very patchy results with unexpected gains and losses for thTories and gains for the LD’s. Overall the Tories and LDs should have substantail net gains and Labour and UKIP substantial losses, though I doubt they will give us much guidence on how a GE might go. I have no real idea what will happen in Scotland although they should be some Tory gains and labour losses. Seems likely that the SNP will capture Glasgow.

  33. I think the 8% swing from Lab to Con in a by-election in Middlesborough last week coupled with the big decrease in Ukip vote in almost every by-election since the referendum suggest that Comes are nearer the truth than Opinium…

  34. Andrew111
    I rather doubt it! Who was it on here some years ago that pinned the label ‘Comedy’Polls on Comres?
    Almost 18 months ago in November 2015 ,these Comres Online polls were giving the Tories a lead of 15% when other pollsters had the lead in single figures. Post Referendum Comres suspended Voting Intention polls to review their methodology – but after about 8 months of silence decided they had been correct all along. I remain far from convinced, and place them firmly at the bottom of the heap as far as UK pollsters are concerned. None of that is to deny that sometimes they may be correct.

  35. Allan Christie,

    No Council return for me I am afraid. My daughter has returned from Uni and although we are delighted she got her degree her medical condition has deteriorated significantly, so I am now her full time carer.

    Still her older brother died at 17 and she’s now 22 so we’re enjoying the time we have.


  36. TOH

    ” I have no real idea what will happen in Scotland ”

    Join the crowd!

    The different electoral system here (STV) means that “tactical voting” here operates in a very different way.

    Both SCon and SLab are fighting the council elections on an anti-independence ticket, and both are also giving out the “vote anyone but SNP” message.

    The SNP is officially positioning itself as “this is about local issues” but, of course, the pro-indy camp is pushing the “give preference votes to all pro-indy candidates first” line.

    This is the first STV election that has been held in Scotland under such polarised conditions, so it is unclear as to how the preference system will be used.

    The Northern Irish motto of “Vote till ye boak [1] as a tactic has certainly been noted and is being urged by activists on both sides.

    How effective that will be (if at all) is unknown, as it has never really featured here before.

    It won’t affect the main measure of overall party support, which is based on the number of 1st preference votes, but could well affect which parties gain or lose the 3rd/4th seat in wards – and thus the overall composition of councils.

    There’s an explanation of STV and “vote till ye boak” here.


    [1] Boak – Scots for vomit

  37. Peter

    Sad to hear about your family.


    Very sad to read about your daughter – and also your son’s premature death. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  39. @Peter

    Sorry to hear of your family troubles.

  40. Tancred,

    You Pray!!!

    I dread to think who too!


    Seriously people, my son was diagnosed at four well over twenty years ago and Emily at the same time so having them both go slowly from unstable to wheelchairs and then dependency has just become part of life.

    People are kind and say they don’t know how we do it, but to be honest for us it’s normal family life, we’ve had the good fortune to have had two decades of great times and plenty of years to adjust, adapt and accept.

    There are a lot of people a lot worth off than me.



    Brilliant that your daughter has managed to get her degree and that you’ve had two decades of great times with her… I hope that your life together continues to have a lot of joy in spite of her dependency on you.

  42. Peter

    sorry t o hear about your difficulties .You are a strong poster and hope thing work out.

  43. Only one poll but via Europe Elects

    France: Record low for #LePen (FN-ENF) in 1st round: 22%. Margin of error: Might fail to qualify for 2nd round. (Harris poll).


    Sorry about your families sad news and I understand your decision.


    “. I have no real idea what will happen in Scotland although they should be some Tory gains and labour losses. Seems likely that the SNP will capture Glasgow”

    I personally think the upcoming Scottish council elections will be fascinating. I’m sure the SNP will win outright control of a number of the big councils in West Central Scotland and will take Glasgow.

    It’s in the East of the country, Edinburgh, Angus, Aberdeen and Perth & Kinross and in a few other councils where the Tories are already quite strong which will be the main fight.

    With Labour depleted and the Lib/Dems not doing anything then I reckon there will be a lot of minority controlled councils. The SNP don’t do deals with the Tories in local government but I’m forecasting a spectacular night for the SNP and good night for the Tories.

  46. Allan Christie

    “The SNP don’t do deals with the Tories in local government ”

    In a couple of councils they have in the past – though I suspect that any sharing of power across the constitutional divide is unlikely in future – given the way that SCon and SLab have chosen to fight this election.

  47. Support for Brexit hits a five-month high, with 55 per cent of UK population now backing exit from European Union

    Well nothing much has happened yet apart from the UK and Spain squaring up to each other over a tidal rock but when the more important negotiations come up then I actually think support for Brexit will grow especially if the EU try and act all bureaucratic and fishy.

    Mind you, someone should shut that Farage up before he sinks Brexit.

  48. OLDNAT

    I stand corrected but did the SNP not go into a multiple alliance in a few councils wich included the Tories? I don’t think they would go into power with them alone!! From a Scottish perspective I would hope not.

  49. Allan Christie

    In one council, at any rate, SNP had 1 seat more than SLab, but the “Independent” was effectively Lab, so it was up to the two Tories to decide who would form the administration, and they chose to support SNP.

    A similar situation after May would certainly mean they would support SLab.

    But councils need to have an administration, and councillors do usually find some kind of way to avoid chaos.


    You Pray!!!
    I dread to think who too!

    Is that supposed to be funny? I am trying to offer you my sincere sympathy – if you don’t want it then take a long walk off a short pier.

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