The weekly YouGov poll for the Times this morning has topline figures of CON 48%, LAB 29%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 5%. The decline in the Tory lead in YouGov’s polling seems to have abated, though the nineteen point lead is still smaller than the twenty-plus point leads we saw when the election was first announced.

Looking at the rest of the poll, the most interesting question there is about recall of election slogans and messages. For avid watchers of politics Theresa May’s message discipline during the campaign has become something of a running joke, with people keeping count of how many times she manages to say “strong and stable”. While this makes for boring coverage for political anoraks, its purpose is to get a message through to those ordinary voters who aren’t addicted to 24 hour news. If you keep on hammering the same message in, eventually it will sink into people.

To test this YouGov asked people to type in any slogans or messages they had heard the Conservative and Labour party say over the last couple of weeks. There was no prompting or answer options, just an empty text box. The tory line of “strong and stable” was spontaeneously recalled by 15% of people. The Tories other regular line about a “coalition of chaos” was recalled by 2% of people.

The Labour message that was most recalled was their campaign slogan of “For the many, not the few”, but only by 2% (the second most recalled phrase was their criticism that the Tories were strong against the weak, and weak against the strong, but the total recall for that was below 1%).

So that robotic message discipline does, in its own terms, “work”: people are recalling it, and therefore have a simple idea of the core Tory message at the election when they don’t have the same for Labour. Equally, it’s only 15% – just because those of us who closely follow politics are sick to the back teeth of hearing “strong and stable”, there are still lots and lots of people who don’t recall it at all.

Tabs are here.

(And while I’m here – last week the regular YouGov tracker on whether people thought it was right or wrong to vote to leave the EU showed Wrong ahead. This was an unusual result and lots of people got all het up about it on social media. I did warn people that there wasn’t a clear trend and not to get overexcited unless this week’s poll showed the same…it doesn’t. It shows 46% think it’s right to leave, 43% wrong to leave)

585 Responses to “YouGov/Times – CON 48, LAB 29, LD 10, UKIP 5”

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    As I posted the other day the NHS has moved into second place in the list of important issues to UK voters. However exiting the EU remains at number one by quite a margin as the following shows.
    Important issues:-

    Exiting the EU 64%
    NHS 45%
    Immigration 35%
    The Economy 34%

    This election really does seem to be driven by Brexit and it should be remembered that 51.9 % voted to leave and approx. half of those who voted to remain accept we are going to leave and want the government to get on with it. Comments from EU leaders probably have helped to strengthen that desire and the Tory campaign which is calling for a large and strong mandate for the PM seems to resonate with the voters. Again there is polling evidence for this.

    Thus we are where we are.

  2. For those posters questioning why other subjects are not taken as important or as importantly as Brexit by the electorate there is a relatively simplistic answer.

    How Brexit pans will affect tremendously how we as a nation can pay for things, therefore if Brexit were negotiated by Corbyn it is seen that it would be a disaster and no money would be available anyway. May on the other hand is offering to get the ‘Best deal for the UK’, if she succeeds (which she might well do with latest noises coming from Germany) then the UK will have the money to then tackle all the other subjects.

  3. Rudyard – “But that is surprising insofar as NHS, Housing, Social Care, to name a few, don’t seem to be even quite important.”

    You’ve misread the voters – they do think it’s important, but they also think it is linked to Brexit.

    For example, according to the following, for 2015/16, the overall NHS budget was around £116.4 billion. NHS England is managing £101.3 billion of this.

    So if you tell voters that the NHS needs more money – and then they hear that the EU is demanding £100bn, essentially one year’s NHS money, over and above what we have been paying to the EU already, to plug some fraudulent black hole in their accounts which haven’t been signed off in decades, naturally the voters’ priority is to back Mrs May to the hilt when she says, “I’m not paying that money”.

    When Lab or the LibDems insist that we should pay the EU whatever it demands, and then weakly argue that if we don’t Goldman Sachs will move some jobs, what do you think the response of the average voter is to that?

    (And when Remainers defend the absurd EU demands, and also defend the accounts not being signed off, voters hear, “we must excuse if not embrace corruption to be truly European”, and your average Brit takes a very dim view of that too. It reinforces their desire to sever all ties with Europe.)

    None of this is rocket science, British voters are pretty straightforward.

  4. Laszlo

    If it is 51% for labour then they only polled one man and that was JC…and he was in two minds about that.

  5. On the subject of JC i do feel he is unlucky. his one chance was to be the insurgency candidate. To catch the moment in a moment of uncertainty and unpredictability.
    sadly for JC he is only one insurgent amongst many. TM is proclaiming herself the insurgent against the dark forces of Brussels with their elitist saboteurs in the UK trying to usurp the will of the people. Even That guy Farron claims to lead the insurgency of the put out remainers against the rest of the British People.
    To get any where in politics anywhere you have to be the insurgent draining the swamp.trouble comes when you run out of people to insurge against or you become insurged against yourself…eh Nicola!

  6. @Candy

    “…And when Remainers defend the absurd EU demands…”

    That’s wholly untrue. The EU has not demanded any specific sums, let alone £100bn.

    Whether or not the British public are gullible enough to believe such spin is actually fact is another story.

  7. I was a reluctant remainer, but I now fully support TM as the EU seem to want to make the point that the UK is wrong to leave.

    The EU are losing credibility with people all over Europe not just in the UK and there is a smell of panic in EU as money runs out.

    TM represents people like me who want a good relationship with the EU but it must work for the UK. The polls just reflect a growing frustration with the EU elite club.

  8. Graham,

    Where is tha Lab ambition?

    In my view if both Con and Lab end up with only 4-5 seats each that will be disappointing. (Though others here will be relieved)

  9. RAF
    The FT would seem to disagree with you

  10. @RAF

    The £100bn figure was in the FT, and quoted widely in the rest of the press – you can be sure that voters will have heard about it.

    And as for the leaked minutes of the meeting Mrs May had with Juncker, one part of it was the report that Mrs May told Juncker that according to the Treaties the UK did not have to pay anything after 2019 – the voters will have heard about that too and will have cheered.

    Everytime the Remainers insist that Britain must pay whatever the EU demands, no matter how absurd, the voters believe that Remainers mean to take money needed for stuff at home (NHS, Social Care etc) and hand it to the europeans, because they care more about Europe than Britain. So it’s not surprising they voted the way they did.

  11. @Pete B

    Thanks for providing that link.

  12. RAF

    The more money we have to give to the EU the less we have to put into the NHS, care for the elderly and educating our children. In those circumstances no Remainer could possibly advocate paying other than the minimum necessary to achieve the UK objectives. Every pound paid over to them is a pound less to spend on someones sick child in the UK.

    Oh to be a sub-editor!

  13. @ CATMANJEFF – thank you.

    It does seems the ideological and personal differences between the three “progressive” parties are going to be too great to overcome in the next few weeks and we could see England+Wales get the “2015 SNP” affect.

    @ S THOMAS – closet Tories – agree!

    I think this explains a greater part of the “Labour bias in polling” and goes back to my view on “political correctness” in polling.
    A lot of people really don’t like admitting they put an X in the Tory box so the term closet Tory is perfect!

    People like to talk the “Socialist” talk but when they get into a private little booth they walk the “Capitalist” walk!!

    We saw similar affects in IndyRef1, Brexit, US President, etc.
    I haven’t been following the French election but my guess would be that when the expected result is 62/38 the “politically correct” sway to Macron will be roughly cancelled out by the “anti-establishment” protest vote for LePen and the polls will end up being very close (as they were in the 1st round). If the polls were closer I think we’d see the IndyRef1 affect (eg a 52/48 Macron/LePen would end up being a 55/45 outcome)

    I think the “psychological polling error” has three interacting components:
    1/ people have a small bias to put self interest first (eg lower taxes, not voting for a very uncertain/unknown outcome)
    2/ people have a small bias to agree with “political correctness” in public (e.g. YES for IndyRef1, Remain for Brexit) but might not do that on the ballot paper
    3/ if a result seems like a “dead cert” then people have a bias to vote for the underdog or be complacent and not bother voting at all

    Obviously all three of those are subjective so no polling company is going to make those kind of adjustments to raw results.

    I’m somewhat shocked the BBC etc all making noise about the Local Elections predicting GE will be closer than the polls suggest. This reduces the affect of my #3 above – CONkip voters won’t be complacent if they think the outcome might be close.

  14. @Paul h j

    “Thus the SLab council losses, while a reverse on 2012, were not as bad as 2015.”

    Well they wouldn’t be because of STV! Labour actually had a higher % of the vote in 2015 than they did of.first preference votes in this year’s local.elections.

  15. Looks like Corbyn’s supporters and the ALt-Left media have already prepared their line to explain the up-coming rout at the GE – ‘It was the right-wing press and the PLP that caused the defeat – what we need is more Jeremy and a purge of the non-believers in the Party.’

    I tend to agree with the TOH that elections are fought and won largely on the basis of credibility of leadership and economic competence – since day one of his leadership his scores have been low on both, and he and his team has done nothing to shift voters views on Lab’s economic competence.

    To a dispassionate observer Lab’s current predicament was predictable from the day he won the leadership contest, let alone those that desperately want to see Labour win. I remember exchanging posts with Cambridgerachel over a while back in which I argued Lab under Corbyn would be pushed back to to approx 150 seats, The reason the PLP is largely so opposed to him is because they see this all to clearly as well.

    People tend to believe is true that they wish to be true. All the evidence from the local elections and polls is that Labour are heading for a crushing defeat, and the main cause is Corbyn’s leadership. However, I don’t think the current party membership will react in the same manner as they did after 1983. Due to the online echo chamber I think many members will follow the line that it was the press and MP’s and will continue to support Corbyn. May will be smiling all the was to the next election.

  16. @Pete B

    The FT would seem to disagree with you”

    The FT is not the EU. There has been no official call from the EU for €100bn from the UK. Not in the negotiating guidelines, not in the directives, nothing. In fact the EU HAS official said that the figures haven’t even yet been calculated. So how can there be a demand? Or even a request?

    This is spin.

    @Candy @SThomas

    This largely comes down to whether you think the UK benefits from being in the EU. I believe it does – substantially. If you don’t agree with this, of course you are going to see any sort of expenditure as a waste.

    You are also both forgetting that the UK government has chosen a policy of austerity. It has chosen to reduce the size of the state. It can’t subsequently moan “oh, if we didn’t have to pay the EU, all this money could go on the NHS, schools and social care”. Even if there is a saving upon withdrawal (which I doubt) it won’t be reinvested in the NHS or schools. It will be used to cut taxes or subsidise private investment.

  17. Candy

    I think that you hit a few nails on the head with your 3.48 post. I agree with you. The French particularly want us to keep making CAP payments and support the 100m figure but believe me, there are few inefficient French farmers left. Round here, the fields are as big as any in East Anglia and our neighbour farms what we’re once 4 farms with him and a lad and some very new and expensive looking machinery. No doubt paid for by the EU. The uk part of that money would be far better directed at British hill farmers, than wealthy landowners. But until we leave, the qualification criteria for subsidies cannot be changed.

  18. @RAF

    No trade agreement is worth £100bn – have you seen anyone else on the planet signing up to that?

    As for the classic rant about austerity – why don’t the europeans borrow to plug their budget black hole instead of trying to scam money off us? Oh, it’s because they’ve baked in crazy fiscal rules into their treaties – but that is their choice, we didn’t force them into it, and we shouldn’t have to pay for their crazy decisions.

    Regarding what we do with the money we save after severing links with the european begging bowl artistes, well that is up for discussion in the next and future parliaments. In the immediate future I don’t think there will be any tax cuts at all, it’s looking likely that Hammond wants to go ahead and raise NICs – which voters will accept if they are sure the money will get spent at home instead of handed over to those greedy europeans.

  19. @ RAF – agree the €100bn is a spin and did not come from the important people in the EU but I was surprised the FT picked it up (Daily Mail, Express, Independent for sure would be all over that rumour)

    The EU and the Tories both have common purpose in making Brexit seem as difficult as possible:

    EU – deters others, helps Merkel get re-elected (dangerous conspiracy theory I’m sure!!)
    Tories – makes them look “strong” and the only people we should “trust” to get the best possible deal

    With the €100bn number knocking around Davis can agree on a “formula” method that comes out around the €50bn area and look like a hero. Also both sides have vested interest in a transition deal – easy instalments for spreadsheet Phil to budget for, wean EU budget off of UK payments and good for businesses/citizens on both sides of the Channel.

    If you really want to get into conspiracy theories then quite a few people think the big issues are all resolved (NI seems like the only tricky one to me), we’re playing a requested role in ousting Juncker, etc. but EU and Tories both need to play political games… oh and obviously newspapers need headlines!!!

  20. @Robert Newark

    “The uk part of that money would be far better directed at British hill farmers, than wealthy landowners. But until we leave, the qualification criteria for subsidies cannot be changed.”

    Although payments can be capped to landowners. The Scottish Government has chosen to do that in Scotland ( and iirc the Welsh Government for Wales). The UK Government has not done so in England.

  21. RAF

    Your 4.01

    The various numbers mentioned have all originated from EU sources.

  22. Hireton

    Thanks for the bit on capping landlord’s subsidies, and that they have it in Wales. There was a study on this by a think tank for the Westminster LP, and it was not even discussed…

  23. Attention all UKPR fans : Our dear host, the esteemed ANTHONY WELLS, is quoted on the front page of THE TIMES today, we knew him when he was poor. ;-)

  24. @Trevor Warne

    “no real signs of a tactical anti-SNP alliance (was I naive to expect one)?
    – Labour still has a pulse and might even make a bit of progress on 2015?
    – CON gains are fairly widespread and I’d be wrong to simply think they are “where you’d expect” (borders, Aberdeen area, etc)”

    There have been clear signs of tactical voting by Unionist voters but obviously not official party alliances ( e.g. Ian Murray survived in Edingburgh in 2015 because of Tory votes,). The analysis of preferences will show how Unionist voters used their preferences in these local elections but I would be amazed not to find evidence of it ( and to a lesser extent by independence supporters although their options are more limited). There will be no unionist party arrangement in this UK GE as the Tory party has styled itself as the only party which is serious and capable of defending the Union. Revival of the fortunes of the LDs and consolidation by Labour will help the SNP.

    Did anyone doubt Labour had a pulse? But their 2015, 2016 and 2017 share of votes so far as they can be compared has been on a downward trajectory. They may be less likely to benefit from Unionist switchers from o the parties because of the Corbyn effect.

    The Tories are where they have always been geographically.

  25. S Thomas – May 5 5.50 p.m.

    ‘Scottish result:
    To quote the words of WC in relation to the decline of the SNP:
    ” this is not the end,or the beginning of the end ..but it is the end of the beginning…”
    The high water mark of scottish nationalism has passed. They can huff and puff about votes and seats but the momentum has shifted and they know it..’

    I would agree – provided the words ‘for now’ are added after ‘passed’. Scotland at present is in a period of flux, similar to that caused by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, when working class Toryism virtually died in Scotland, along with the imperial focused industries which had supported it. The alliance between the C&Us and the Orange vote has suffered ever since.

    The results of voting on Thursday show very clearly that the political landscape is changing, so as to leave behind (for now) the left-right battle. Constitutional issues (both UK and EU, with the two mixing together in sometimes confusing ways) are now the chief focus – thus the Orange vote in Glasgow which produced Conservative victories.

    Conservative victories in the north-east are of a different ilk, mainly based, I suspect, on a combination of a high % of voters with English origins and a lack of enthusiasm for the EU.

    It may well be that the SNP will lose 15 or more seats in June, though the idea that the Tories might win 10 leaves us with the question: Where? Edinburgh, Borders, Glasgow, Argyll, Aberdeen-shire?

    Labour supporters in Scotland are having to assess how best to pursue their social democratic/democratic socialist aims. Idem for the LDs and their vision for a less centralised state (if that is their vision). Are their respective ‘visions’ for society going to be better served long-term by belonging to the UK or to an independent Scotland – with close ties to Europe, as Scotland had before 1707?

    So much will depend on what the English Labour Party does after the election in June. Will it vote for another Corbynite, or will it revert to a sort of Blairism? Where will it find Scottish leadership which manages to communicate to Scots? How will SLAB re-group after this series of defeats? There is much for Kez to do in the coming five years.

    If a strong Tory government starts to do radical things other than deal with the EU, things which show a direction of travel which is not approved of by the majority of Scots, then the SNP will find itself once more riding the wave towards Indy2 (though I still see no victory for Indy2 this side of 2025 or even 2030). If not, then the SNP will remain a major force but Scotland will not be a ‘one party State’ as it has appeared to be recently.

    The big unknown in all this is Northern Ireland. The Orange vote in Scotland is emotionally tied to the Province. Should the C&Us ditch NI in order to appease their Brexit hardliners’ demand for a ‘border’, then that might destroy the tentative collaboration which is now re-emerging between Orangeism and the C&U Party.

    One last observation: piecemeal ‘devolution’ in England seems to be taking hold as an idea, and, as a result, what it means to be ‘the UK’ as a whole seems to be much less clear than it was twenty years ago.

    In my humble opinion.

    It almost like the EU want TM to win isn’t it?

    It would be in their interest to avoid parliament overturning any agreement that was negotiated with TM. So maybe they are providing material for headlines that provoke Pavlovian responses so ably demonstrated by Candy.

  27. CON: 46% (-1)
    LAB: 30% (-)
    LDEM: 9% (+1)
    UKIP: 7% (-)
    GRN: 2% (-1)

    (via @OpiniumResearch / 02 – 03 May)

  28. @ CLOUDSPOTTER – indeed it would – some might even go so far as saying the EU suggested ™ hold the GE to give her sufficient time to go for the transition deal etc (that has already been agreed upon)!! She didn’t want to hold a GE originally and it does partially explain the U-turn….

    It makes sense for both sides to have “united” negotiation teams and also have a longer time period to iron out the details but I’d prefer a “Goldilocks” majority of 50-100 rather than 150+. Above 100+ I doubt the Lords would even put up much of a fight if she tries to slip some “naughties” through – the abolishment card is not one she wants to play often but…

    ™ is going to have to compromise (hence the original “cake and eat it” starting point) and I had to have a chuckle when I read Paul Nuttall’s comments today:
    “I think she will start to barter things away. I think fisheries will go, I think there will be some sort of movement on immigration and freedom of movement, I think she might buckle on that. And I think she will certainly buckle on the divorce bill”
    Given the Scots want to stay in the EU, I’m sure they’ll be fine if we leave fishing under EU policy!!!

    ™ is grabbing UKIP voters for the election and then going to totally sell them out straight afterwards!!

    I expect from 9June onwards we the humble public get a lot of Brexit “expectations management” from our newly elected PM and her new huge majority and 5y blank cheque!!! She can’t say too much until 9June as she has to secure the 3.9mm UKIP 2015 vote but I’ve noticed the odd little comment from her already. Anyone who has ever worked in the city understands “expectations management”!!

  29. @cloudspotter:

    I think the EU has got its public diplomacy disastrously wrong. They were doing a good trade in leaks via the Guardian, sometimes daily. It was not a bad tactic. The leaks made it into the rest of the news. They often took the form of demands from the EU Parliament drawing fairly extreme red lines.

    A couple of years of this might have worked.

    I guess the election shortened the timescale. It wasn’t enough to hope that in two years opinion shifts, and friends in Parliament rebel against Brexit. A big Tory win would scupper that. Before Tories + DUP + Labour-Leave minus Potential Tory Defectors did not necessarily add up to a majority.

    But, much as some in the UK defend any position taken by the EU, the leak was an extraordinary roll of the dice. I cannot see any advantage the EU gets from a big Tory majority. But they may have British advisers who said a polarising conflict might bring the 48% together, whereas the 52% have lots of anti-Tories.

    Whatever the truth, doubtless it seemed like a good idea at the time.

  30. @Ken

    “Attention all UKPR fans : Our dear host, the esteemed ANTHONY WELLS, is quoted on the front page of THE TIMES today, we knew him when he was poor. ;-)”

    I did fear for him after the 2015 GE error, and especially during the “ditch the experts” phase of the EU Referendum campaign.

    On reflection, I should never have doubted his strength, his courage, and yes – his INDEFATIGABILITY!

  31. @Joseph 1832

    In a negotiation of this type each side will brief against the other – the UK government to bolster it’s position with UK voters; the EU to make clear to the much wider and more diverse EU27 that they will defend their interests.

    Much of this on each side is largely theatre. The EU have already published in some detail the EU27’s negotiating mandate to the Commission. The UK government had already said no membership of the single market and no membership of the EU customs union. So we broadly know the red lines of each side. No amount of grandstanding is going to change that.

    While the UK has sought political advantage from the leak, nowhere have they given their own account of the meeting, nor said the EU account is fiction. That said, it should not have happened.

    There is, however, a common interest on both sides of reaching a deal, and they both know it. This bluster at the beginning of a long road will not impact the content of the negotiations or their conclusions.

  32. Can someone please tell me What The Time’s front page says?

  33. @ HIRETON – thank you

    My thoughts before a few days ago were that Labour was a “wasted vote” and on 8June as IndyRef2 was “THE” issue and hence:
    YES (and soon) would vote SNP
    YES (but later) might abstain, err to SNP
    NO (at least not yet) might abstain, err to NO side
    NO (never) would selectively pick LDEM (Dunbartonshire E., Edinburgh W.) or CON everywhere else.
    I mapped this to the IndyRef1 results and factoring recent polling and expectation of some anti-SNP alliance it gave me higher SNP losses than “aggregate shifts” would suggest.
    I was surprised LDEM polling in Scotland is so low. They perfectly capture the NO/Remain quarter and their low polling led me to believe the referendum that had been “weaponised” was IndyRef2 and not Brexit.
    I’m giving up trying to “over-think” Scotland. I’m very grateful for all the input but just going to leave my prediction in the very capable hands of Martin Baxter and his Electoral Calculus predictions. SNP losing 7-14 and LDEM/CON gaining those isn’t going to have much affect on the whole UK result.

    @ JOHN B

    If you want to see where the likely SNP losses/CON gains will be the Electoral Calculus website is excellent:

    Tick the Scottish prediction box then use latest polls or your own estimates.

    Any “gamblers” can take a look on betfair who have some markets up on specific Scottish outcomes (e.g. O/U 47.5 SNP seats, Labour to win a seat, CON O/U 7.5 Scottish seats). The O/U levels they have are indicative of where they think the mid-point outcome is at the time they posted those markets!!

  34. @Rich

    “Does anybody think Diane Abbott is a sensible choice for heading up the Police and MI5?”

    Hell No! She should head up the Office for National Statistics.

  35. New thread

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