The latest YouGov/Times poll has topline figures of CON 45%(-3), LAB 29%(+4), LDEM 10%(-2), UKIP 7%(+2). Fieldwork was Tuesday to Wednesday. While sixteen points is still a very solid Conservative lead it’s down from the towering twenty-points-plus leads that most polls have shown since the election was called. As ever, it’s wrong to read too much into a single poll and this may turn out to be just random sample variation, but it may be that that the immediate boost the Conservatives got from the election announcement has started to deflate. We shall see.

While I’m here, tomorrow’s Mirror is quoting some “Labour insider” saying that Labour’s private polling is showing them at 20%. I’ve written about private polling before – people tend to get very excited about it when they shouldn’t. Just because a poll is “private” doesn’t make it any more accurate or reliable. In fact, given we can’t see it and check whether it is actually true, or something that’s got wildly exaggerated through rumour and half-truths, the information is far less reliable. My advice is always to ignore rumours of “private polls” unless the person responsible actually coughs up some tables for us to look at.

69 Responses to “YouGov/Times – CON 45, LAB 29, LD 10, UKIP 7”

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  1. The threads are coming thick and fast. I hope this is an outlier because I’ve got £500 on the Tories.

  2. That Yougov poll could be very interesting, if reflected by others. 29% is higher than I would expect given that it’s about the same as Labour got in the last two elections, and this incarnation is supposed to be deeply unpopular.

    As for private polling – we’ll see. I’m minded of Yvette Cooper spending her entire leadership campaign insisting that “private polling” put her ahead, only to come third. Either the polling was rubbish or (more likely) it was made up.

  3. This poll is a bit out of sorts from other recent ones but that said I do expect to see a narrowing of the Tory lead the nearer we get to the election, but there is no disputing the fact Labour are in for a right pounding.
    “While I’m here, tomorrow’s Mirror is quoting some “Labour insider” saying that Labour’s private polling is showing them at 20%. I’ve written about private polling before – people tend to get very excited about it when they shouldn’t. Just because a poll is “private” doesn’t make it any more accurate or reliable”

    Maybe so but it doesn’t exactly boost morale within Labour.

  4. Probably the same Labour folk who were telling anyone who’d listen that they were 10 points behind UKIP in Stoke…

  5. PETE B
    The threads are coming thick and fast. I hope this is an outlier because I’ve got £500 on the Tories.

    The threads are coming thick and fast. About a dozen within the past 48 hours. ;-)

  6. @AC

    “This poll is a bit out of sorts from other recent ones but that said I do expect to see a narrowing of the Tory lead the nearer we get to the election, but there is no disputing the fact Labour are in for a right pounding.”

    Well let’s take stock. When the GE was called Lab were on around 24%. There has been some to and fro since then but overall they are now in the 26%-27% bracket and today on YG (one poll admittedly 29%.

    I’ll repeat I expect Labour to poll around 30% on June 8th, slightly down on 2015 and roughly the same as in 2010. The Labour “collapse” is exaggerated. Their vote is pretty solid. The real story is the Ukip collapse – although even in that case it’s no so much people moving away from the idea of Ukip, more that ex Kippers now believe the Tories have joined their movement.

  7. Lots of people have done anecdotes, so I present to you all: my parents.

    They voted UKIP the last two times. They are still suspicious that Theresa May is going to try to engineer staying in the EU, but I would say it is a lingering suspicion rather than anything else. They are inclined to vote UKIP again as they see the existence of UKIP as vital to keeping the Tories on the straight and narrow, Brexit-wise.


    On the polls, it is interesting to see that Cons + UKIP is at 51-57%.

    If you look back to the week or so before the election is called, this has not changed that much. In fact, over the last 9 months the Tory+UKIP vote has been basically in this range.

    Either Labour/LibDems need a lot of people who voted Leave AND currently want to vote Tory or UKIP to change sides – or they need lots of Leavers to decide to vote UKIP after all. For a Leaver to now change voting intention to Remain-parties is unlikely given the almost total lack of movement in the polls on Brexit since the vote. So that leave UKIP splitting the Leave-party vote as the hope for Labour/LibDems.

    However, their first response to the election being called was, “I suppose we have to vote Tory this time.”

    If a lot of UKIP voters are like them, some will fall on the side of voting Tory, some will fall the other side of the fence. But it is helpful to the Tories.

  8. UKIP are making it hard for sane people to vote for them.

  9. If there is Private Polls then the Torries might have some which show they likely to lose some seats to the Lib Dems. Both the Aid Target and now no withdrawal from the ECHR would seem like polcies May will use as defence against the Lib Dems and perhaps to get some middle class ex Labour voters.

  10. RAF

    There isn’t much that I disagree with in your post. I agree Labour will poll better than what the current polls are showing and will probably poll around 30% in June. The bright side is, they can poll near zero in Scotland and it will only cost them 1 MP but Wales looks to be quite precarious for them.

    The UKIP collapse is easy to diagnose…The Tories are going for a hard Brexit so many kippers are just returning upstream to the Tories. They got their Brexit and will soon have no MEP’s and probably no MP’s after Junes election.

  11. @Thomas

    Just as planned?

  12. If UKIP collapse I may have to return to the OMRLP.

  13. Hi Anthony

    First of all many thanks for all your efforts.

    Would it be reasonable to think that a party might commission specific polling on, say, marginal seats and only allow it to be released it if it was favourable?

  14. One of the problems with alleged private polls conducted by the parties themselves is that we have no way of knowing if what they are saying is even true.

    They might have their own motives for massaging the figures.

    Usually they try to make out that they are neck and neck with whichever party they think they are in competition with, in any particular constituency, and tell us that all the others are miles behind.

    They all do this in order to galvanise their own voters into avoiding complacency and to attract tactical voters to keep the other side out.

    If Lib Dem leaflets were ever believed, we would assume that the Lib Dems are level pegging with the main competing party in every constituency in the UK.

    This ‘private’ data from Labour might well be designed for opposite purposes. They might know that their position is hopeless but are trying to make it look even more hopeless than it actually is, so that they, at least, hold on to a few traditional voters who might turn out to avoid Labour being totally obliterated.

    Their data will also be coming from traditional Labour voting areas where they have the best information, and well canvassed former marginals, where, in both cases, voters are leaving Labour on the greatest numbers. Labour’s vote where they don’t have such detailed data might be holding up much better.

    As for the YouGov/Times Poll, the crucial figure, as in all elections in recent years, is the Tory share of the vote, not how the opposition votes break down between them.

    If, as the write up suggests however, there has been a slight weakening owing to the calling of the election dropping out of the media headlines that’s largely irrelevant. As the election approaches and people will start taking an interests again the position will revert.

    Considering that Labour has just about used all it’s ammunition and bribes in the past week, these are remarkably poor figures. The Tories no doubt will have been monitoring carefully what effect each of Labour’s bribes and allegations, is having on focus groups, and where they appear to be benefiting Labour the Tories, can simply neutralise them when they publish their own manifesto.

    Labour is already fighting a thoroughly misguided campaign. They should have shut up till the Tory Manifesto was published. All they’ve done is wasted what little ammunition they had.

  15. @AW

    I did a Scottish YouGov on Monday, it had the Indy Q, GE, approvals. Do you know when it will be released? I know of 3 Scottish YouGovs in the last month that haven’t been released do you know why?

  16. Woody

    I would say no. Otherwise you could commission 10 (or more) private polls and selectively release the ones you want to. By making the selection of which data to release you are deliberately introducing bias into the result.

  17. @RAF
    If Labour poll 30% but UKIP collapses and the Tories get 45%+ this will still be a disastrous result for them. As the day draws nearer I expect the squeeze on UKIP to increase and nearly all of it going to the Tories.

  18. It is all relative but 29% is Labour’s highest score with YouGov since the end of September – ie 7 months ago.

  19. Hmm. Some of the posts on the last thread seemed a little exciteable. We know the general pattern, we know the likely outcome if this pattern remains the same on the day of the election. We don’t know whether it will.

    Debate seems to continue on whether Corbyn is foolish to want a party of the left, particularly if at the expense of not having a party of government. I am sure he would reply that he wants a party of the left. What might become of the experiment of actually offering a choice of a party of the left to voters, remains to be seen. Everyone, labour and conservative, and even the libs chipped in a bit, seem determined to knock his chances. Which to my way of thinking suggest he is perceived as the biggest threat to everyone else. Shades of Trump and Farage.

    However, unless he has an outright win, I don’t see the forthcoming election settling the future of the labour party. The battle for who controls the labour party will go on. For the reasons I have propounded before, that there is no point for people with left inclined views operating a right inclined party. A poor showing for Corbyn now will not lead to his quiet departure.

    Right now the UKIP vote is deserting, quite sensibly, to the conservatives. Voters in general will need time to adjust to this process and consider how they feel about a vote heavy conservative party. I am sceptical of the signs of labour recovery, but it may be the reaction against this has already started.

    The conservative lead is about Brexit, and is a sideshow overlaid upon changes to the UK party system which are underway. Both are playing out together, to the great confusion of everyone.

    Before the next general election we ought to have some sort of resolution to the Brexit question. I don’t see the process going smoothly, and the result of the election is quiet likely to be that the conservative party continues as the principal opposition to the conservative party. Again, this merely confirms that labour is free to continue its own dance in its own time. Although a further election in less than 5 years is not out of the question.

    May has not simply staked a place as the cheerleader for hard Brexit, but as the captain of the ship just about to go over the falls. As such she is also trying to appeal to remainers, as their best chance of any kind of safe landing. But the polls suggest the nation remains divided over Brexit, and may yet decide it would rather be a member of the EU. Paradoxically May could see a continuing lead for a conservative party committed to Brexit, while national polling moves to remain. A difficult situation for anyone commanding the ship, especially if their party also prefers Remain.

  20. @AW

    During the 2015, YouGov was conducting daily polling. Is there a reason that this is not happening again this time around?

  21. Interesting poll on the E.U. referendum from You gov reported in the Indpendent today

    ”The YouGov/Times survey found 43 per cent of voters believe Britain was right to vote to leave the EU.
    However, 45 per cent of the 1,590 surveyed said they thought it was the wrong decision. ”

    It seems there is still a real split in the country over Brexit and while I appreciate that does not necessarily translate into votes I still believe the Libdems will do significantly better than polling suggests.

  22. Labour, rightly or wrongly, feel that the PM and Government are vulnerable in a number of areas particular health & social care and increasingly schools. The challenge for Labour is to move the agenda on from Brexit and Leadership to enable that belief to be tested.

    Serious polling question, In 2015 there was a combination of inaccurate LTV filtering and a shy Tory affect at play leading to polls understating the Tory vote. What degree of adjustments are being made by the polling companies to account or these factors in current polls and what effect does this have on the raw data?

    The problem for pollsters is that factors which cause the raw data to diverge from the real position will vary at each GE as circumstances are different. I believe that, whilst an increased Cons majority is virtually assured baring some major scandal emerging, a 20 point margin is highly unlikely and polls are capturing very soft Tory support in the adjusted numbers and omitting some shy labour support. Hence my 15% (only for fun) forecast contribution which is still a 4.0% or so swing to the Government.

    In terms of seats the big swing to Tory in Scotland means 4% UK wide would be about 3.5% in E&W and maybe less in England as Wales may swing above average as well, 30-40 seats perhaps before any modest incumbency advantage saves a few labour MPs.

  23. It seems to me that in this latest GE we’re going to see quite a few electors ending what might be called the Grand Tour of political parties. By this I mean that a lot of UKIP growth pre 2015 was down to ex-Labour supporters moving over to them, the ex-Tories having moved over some years before.

    Now they’re moving to the Tories as they’re the only possible guarantee that they’ll get their desire.

    It makes one wonder where they’ll go if Brexit is achieved and the Tories return to being perceived as before the Brexit issue became all consuming.

    Me, I’m a lifetime Tory voter ( but non-member) who has paid £12 to join the LibDems.

  24. It is interesting to see your opinion about private polling. Over at FiveThirtyEight, they tend to think that private polling is superior to public polling. They cite factors such as political parties spending more money per poll, having larger sample sizes, having better access to demographic and previous voting data. Maybe this is a big difference between UK private polling and US private polling? Or maybe it’s just about not paying too much attention to rumour!

  25. @Woody

    That’s what I think YouGov are doing. I know of 3 Scottish YouGovs that have been done in the last 2-3 weeks none of which have been released. Maybe because Tories are not quite as high as they are in the weekend polls (if I was a conspiracy theorist). I know Survation (?) suppressed a Poll showing Tories ahead before GE because they thought it was wrong, if that can be done maybe polls are suppressed for political purposes.

  26. @NeilJ

    I’m sure there will be a thread on that EU poll soon enough!

    But (and I say this as a remainer) the result is still within the margin of error of where we were at the referendum.

    I agree that what it does show is the deep split in the country on this issue. There is no sign that we are coming together at all. I think this highlights the huge mistake that Labour have made chasing third place amongst the 52% and throwing away the possibility of first place amongst the 48%.

  27. If Labour finally poll at 30% I will eat Paddy Ashdown’s hat

    I’m sure there will be a thread on that EU poll soon enough!
    But (and I say this as a remainer) the result is still within the margin of error of where we were at the referendum.
    I agree that what it does show is the deep split in the country on this issue. There is no sign that we are coming together at all. I think this highlights the huge mistake that Labour have made chasing third place amongst the 52% and throwing away the possibility of first place amongst the 48%.

    Agree, I think they are in danger of falling down the middle and people not really knowing what they are standing for on probably the most single important issue of this election.
    Although I can see why Corbyn wants to concentrate on domestic policy, it is his personal vision and what he wanted to see in his many years in politics. Will be interesting to see over time whether his policies do gain traction.

  29. Woody – yes, it is. And for the reasons Alan says, it’s the reason you should be extremely wary of polls released by political parties. The Lib Dems released a few of their own marginal polls before the last general election and I can only assume they picked the most flattering ones…

  30. Pete,
    “idiot Corbyn all but rubber stamped a hard Brexit”

    How? It is the conservatives forming the government, who do have a majority in the commons. Do you think anyone else would now be taking Labour into this election on a Remain ticket, and do you think it would win? I think there is evidence the country is turning against Brexit, but it hasnt happened yet.

    The strategy seems to be to rubbish Corbyn personally. Intellectually, this is sheer nonsense because he was equally part of the Labour party in the Blair days, and if a government is formed it would only exercise power by the agreement of the majority of labour MPs. But plainly his opponents feel they have a better chance arguing about him personally than about labour policy in general. Or put it another way, aside from Brexit the conservatives are on shakey ground. Even on Brexit the future is uncertain, but likely to hold clear for the next two months.

  31. as AW said – don’t read too much into 1 poll. The average of polls since the weekend is still roughly
    Con 47.5
    Lab 26.5
    LD 11.

  32. Given that there appears to be a swing from UKIP to the Tories, what is the motivation? As I see it the Tories will win no matter what, even if no Kippers moved over or back to them. Staying with UKIP keeps the pressure on the Tories to deliver whereas leaving UKIP helps remove some of that pressure.

    I suppose using your UKIP vote tactically might be more sensible. Where there’s the potential for a Tory to lose a seat, or gain one then UKIP votes might make a difference, but where the Tory is a shoe in there seems no point in UKIP voters boosting an already winning candidate. Much better for them to add to the pressure via the overall numbers of UKIP votes cast

  33. At last, some hope for Labour from this You Gov polling.

    The GE is not for seven weeks so all to still play for.

    Jeremy will continue to fight the good fight.

    We all need to keep the faith and walk towards sunnier days – we have started !

    [Ahem, can you read the comments policy please. This isn’t a site for party cheerleading – AW]


    @”Jeremy will continue to fight the good fight.”

    I thought he believed in “conflict resolution” without resort to violence?

  35. @ Rudyard

    You are Rowan Williams! I claim my five pounds

  36. WB

    Thank you!

    Dr Rowan is a good and kindly man, and an example to us all.

  37. DANNY

    ” Corbyn……was equally part of the Labour party in the Blair days”

    I’m not sure Tony Blair would agree with that!

  38. Not sure that Boris çontributions in the past few hours will be altogether helpful. Calling Corbyn a mugwump may appeal to some but it is likely to turn off some voters.
    But perhaps more importantly his comments on Syria that it would be very difficult for the UK to refuse the US if it asked for support in another military strike on Syria and it would not necessarily be required to have a vote on any proposed joint action in Parliament may frighten the horses.

  39. It’s election time and the mood swings with every new poll. Yesterday Labour written off, today Labour resurrected.

    Luckily next week we will get some real votes.

    How much will the locals tell us about the GE and what effect will they have on the campaign.

    In Scotland, I am happy that the Tories are being talked up as in the Scottish Parliament election there was far too much complacency on the non Tory side. If the Tories are perceived to be doing well they are less likely to vote tactically.

    I expect the SNP to sweep the Labour areas as long as complacency doesn’t set in. But how well will the Tories do big question.

  40. @ Danny, perhaps its you who is Ian Lansman?;-)

    Your recent posts have gone a long way to convincing me that the Tory’s are going to succeed in their number one objective of destroying the Labour party. If the left continue on this course the party is heading straight for the dustbin of history.

    I can guarantee to you that the Tories do not see Corbyn as a threat as you suggest – but rather he is seen as the biggest electoral asset they have ever had.

    Now I know you believe that a ‘purified’ Labour Party of 100-150 MP’s will have more influence than a more moderate party with 203 MP’s, I completely disagree. The best chance the left in this country has of having any influence is to be party of Labour party which is a collation of the centre left in power. This will only ever happen if a compromise leader can be found – as all the signals from Corbyn and his followers are that they will carry on regardless all I can see is Labour destroying itself and an electable alternative to the Tories.

    Both a Lab % share of 20 or 30 are within the bounds of probability – however all the signs are that they will be in 24-26% range. No matter how one tries to spin it it will be a crushing defeat.

  41. @NeilJ

    Sadly history suggests the horses are blinkered before being led off to war and therefore only get frightened when the shelling starts (copyright Mulpurgo & Blair 1982)

    Re the the mugwump insult, I think these insults may have a short term chuckle effect, but long term the reverse, especially given Corbyn’s in my view admirable refusal to respond in kind.

    Having said that there seems to this outside observer to be a ghost operating the electoral campaign machinery of the Labour Party. So insubstantial is the effort that many opportunities are being missed.

    i am amazed that regular briefings are not coalescing around a narrative which runs

    U turn over budget
    U turn over Election
    Not Thatcher like but Geoffrey Howe-like (scared to run parliament through the five years despite her promises, scared to appear on a debate)
    Indecisiveness over the key Brexit decisions – a list of questions which we already know the answer to like :

    Will we be able to have free trade with the eu countries?

    What are the new immigration targets (with a list of the extent target missed in each of the last 6 years)

    How many companies, company branches and actual jobs are moving from the UK to EU – running total (ignoring the reverse stats of course)

    If this election is to be about Brexit it is noting short of astonishing there is no comprehensible Labour position on the key negotiating issues.

    It’s a terrible mess which their campaign should be addressing (and I say this as a non-labour supporter)

    If they want to shift the polls the y need to have a consistent narrative with facts/ figures they can drip in daily as support

  42. @Ronald Olden “Labour is already fighting a thoroughly misguided campaign. They should have shut up till the Tory Manifesto was published.”

    That means that Labour should have kept quiet about their socialist policies (bribes?), and concentrated on bashing the Tories.
    Same old story.

    If there looks to be any chance of a Labour or LibDem victory in this election, or even only a small Tory majority, risking Brexit, I would expect even more UKIP votes to go Tory.
    The Tories are making this a ‘Brexit election’, not a pitch for government by the Tory right wing.

  43. Couper – I’m going to write a piece about how useful (or not) the local elections will be at telling us what is going on.

    My fear is they will be greatly misinterpreted. Obviously, they will be very useful… but not as a direct predictor of vote share, people vote differently in locals to general elections. In the examples of 1983 and 1987 when we also had locals in May and a general election in June, the projected vote shares in the May locals were very different to the vote shares in the general election a month later (the Tory lead in teh locals was much smaller than at the general election, and the Lib/SDP Alliance did better at the locals than in the general).

  44. @anthony wells

    I am sure you are correct that the locals will not directly correlate to the general election. The GE is being promoted by the government and media as a Brexit election/ vot of confidence in ‘getting on with it’. The locals will be affected by this I am sure, but will still retain their local slant. It will be interested in some of the marginal seats though to see the change. For example Richmond council/ Richmond Park and Twickenham and Kingston Council/ Kingston and Surbiton.

    In these seats it should be possible to analyse and compare change in the council elections and extrapolate to the GE consituencies. If the Conservatives maintain their hold on the coucils/vote then that would be a strong pointer for the GE

  45. Not too sure that may has lashed herself to the mast of HMS Hard Brexit.

    I believe she called this election not because of the threat from Labour/Lib Dem remainers (what threat?) but to give her a freer hand against the threat from UKIP and the Tory headbangers.

    Once she has her commanding majority, she will be well placed to get a majority in the HoC from her softer Brexit MPs, and face down the right wing.

    That is my reading of this election, which may well be incorrect, but it should be noted that the election was called after a period of briefing in softer tones about Brexit.

  46. This campaign seems like an awfully long one.

    Is it normal to be eight weeks between the GE announced and the actual vote?

  47. @Redich

    I have just been reading that Corbyn & union approved candidates are being selected for safe Labour seats (if there is such a thing) so likely that the next Labour PLP will be more Corbyn friendly.

    I think nothing wrong with the policies but Labour needs a new leader that can explain and persuade, a leader without baggage so fairly young. But
    If Labour scores above 27% I am not sure Corbyn will stand down – he might see it as a ‘good result’

  48. Time for another prediction. I am calculating all of this as I am writing, (using Leave/Remain as a focus and using Lord Ashcroft’s poll about L/R by party as guidance) so let’s see where it takes us……..

    Leave – 52%

    5 points remaining with UKIP
    10 points remaining with Labour
    37 points remaining with/ going to Tories

    Remain – 48%

    3 points with Green
    15 points each Lab/Lib/Con

    These 5 parties made up 91.7% of the vote in 2015 so assuming that stays the same, the above points would translate into roughly the following votes shares and seats:

    Con 47% (420)
    Lab 23% (142)
    LD 14% (10)
    UKIP 5% (0)
    Green 3% (1)
    Others 8% (77)

  49. @Rudyard

    I remember 1997 I was campaigning for 2 years – no one knew when Major would call the election. The 2015 GE campaign lasted at least from new year till May

  50. Rudyard/Couper – Couper is right about the informal campaign of course, but the formal campaign is also longer. The law was changed a few years back so there were (IIRC) 25 weekdays between dissolution and polling day rather than 17. The examples of June elections in 1983 and 1987 that I gave earlier – Thatcher didn’t call those elections until *after* the local elections.

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