The YouGov/Sunday Times poll this morning has topline voting intention figures of CON 49%, LAB 31%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 3%. As with most other recent polls, it shows a very large Conservative lead, Labour creeping up slightly and the smaller parties being squeezed. This is the first time YouGov have shown the Lib Dems in single figures this year and the first time UKIP have been as low as 3% since early 2012.

Labour’s manifesto promises are, once again, individually popular, but overall the party’s platform is not. 65% thought a cap on rents was a good idea, 58% increasing taxes on those earning over £80,000, 49% the abolition of tuition fees, 46% the nationalisation of the National Grid, Royal Mail and railways. Asked about their policy offering overall however, by 50% to 25% people think Labour do not have a sensible plan for how they would run Britain.

By 59% to 22% people support the Conservatives’ aim of cutting net immigration to the “tens of thousands”. While a clear majority, this is substantially down from when we asked the same question in 2014 when 76% supported it. Only 25% of people thought that May would be able to hit the target, though again, it has changed significantly from 2014 when only 9% thought that Cameron could do it. By 59% to 28% people do NOT think that students should be included in the immigration target.

Finally, in the light of the CPS decisions this week there were some questions about limits on election spending. 77% of people think that there should be a spending limit at elections, and the Conservative party are perceived as being worse than the other parties at obeying the rules. 44% think the Tories often break spending rules at elections, compared to 24% for Labour, 19% for the Lib Dems, 24% for UKIP.

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409 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 49, LAB 31, LD 9, UKIP 3”

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  1. We kinda need to know what it is about Labours policy platform people don’t like.

    Or else if there isn’t anything specific, they just assume there is stuff they wouldn’t like from all the negative press.

    E.g. Peeps might like specific policy on energy. But the press might tend to make it seem like a plan to take us back to more and more nationalisation.

    (Some on here seem maybe a bit swayed by that…)

  2. Everyone likes labour policies until people start having to pay for them. Free tuition at uni sounds great, and you appear generous for supporting it. secretly people don’t want to pay for it, and they act accordingly in the voting booths.

    same old story. If this were not the case, we would have had a lot more labour governments in the last 70 years.

  3. Until Labour realise that policies which are all individually popular don’t necessarily add up to a total proposal that’s popular they’ll struggle to make up ground on the Tories.


    “We kinda need to know what it is about Labours policy platform people don’t like.”

    Its not any specific policy or policies. Its the totality of it. There is just too much spending, to the point most people think its unrealistic. And if you cant believe they can do it as a whole, how can any given rely on them doing a particular policy that really interests them?

    A manifesto needs to be credible and realistic. Labours looks a bit like a wishlist in a socialist dreamworld.

  5. 18 point lead again – there seems to be little evidence of this lead tightening and the Tories haven’t even opened up yet. I am still betting on 18-19 points on the day. The only variable now is how the final split of the 40% or so will be distributed between Lab and LD.

    150 seat majority beckons?

  6. Well, we waited for the manifesto, and now we know. That worked then.

  7. ‘Asked about their policy offering overall however, by 50% to 25% people think Labour do not have a sensible plan for how they would run Britain.’

    It’s interesting that a significant number of people say they will vote Labour who don’t think Labour have a sensible plan for the country.
    That says to me they don’t think Labour can get elected. I’m not sure Project Fear around Corbyn as PM will have much effect on these people.

  8. 100 seat plus majority implied by this poll. Again. Just like the others yesterday. After a week of free publicity for Labours ‘EdM plus’ policies made possible by Damien Mcb, er, the ‘leak’.

    Vote share for Tories very consistent- though “some on here” pushing that ‘sheeple’ BS about influence of “MSM”. Desperate.

    I suspect we around the high point of Corbynite Labour poling vote share.

  9. Peeps saying it’s the spending. Straight away we are back to the unavoidable economics!!

  10. @Ed G

    “policies which are all individually popular don’t necessarily add up to a total proposal that’s popular”

    Similarly a string of unpopular policies or a dreadful record in government won’t necessarily prevent you getting elected.

    It’s *all* about constructing a simple narrative that people can engage with. And that has to be done over a period of years, not just in the weeks before an election. Being “fair” or “nice”, or in the interests of “the many not the few” doesn’t cut it, because everyone will claim to be the same.

    This is where Blair succeeded above all else. OK, he was pushing at an open door because the Tories were a busted flush, but the “Things Can Only Get Better” meme both struck a cord and expressed both that the Tories were useless and that Labour would be better. We might sneer at “Strong and Stable”, but it transmits subliminal messages that it would be unwise to rock the boat, and that Corbyn Labour would be unstable.

  11. Cloud spotter

    I would guess many of these people will just not bother to turn out to vote.

    My expectation is that Tory voters are more motivated to turn out although I expect a low turnout overall ( some UKIP voters may turn out and find they have no candidate to vote for)

    Once again you are able to write so succinctly I had forgotten Danien Mcb!

  13. Labour will not get its vote out. I expect some direct movement from Labour to Tory, and a very significant movement ukip to Tory. But I think the biggest factor will be the Labour moderates just staying at home. They cannot bring themselves to vote for anyone other than labour – it’s not in their DNA but neither can they vote for Mr Corbyn. I think this is the closest the polls will get and I think, quite sadly, that Tories will have around 450 seat Labour less than 150 with close to a 200 majority.

    Off to the bookies tomorrow

  14. “This is where Blair succeeded above all else.”


    Well of course, because if you promote Liberal Memes, the liberal press will endorse and repeat it. Promote summat different and they’ll be a lot less helpful. They’ll line up to say it’s back to the Seventies etc.

    Even Ed Milband copped a load of flak. And so did Tories when they flirted with controlling the press, who lined up to send their VI into the twenties till that backtracked…

  15. As the influencing by social media was raised earlier.

    The Who Targets Me Chrome extension is getting better, but it is still a far cry from being effective. But, as I said, it is getting better.

    It clearly has a bias in their volunteer base (who are anxious about being targeted? A kind of rhetorical question), but in any case, this volunteer base reports that about two thirds of FB ads are from the LP.

  16. Have to say, the Brexit section of the press haven’t exactly lined up to promote Blair with his Remainer memes have they. He gets cursory comment and they move on…

  17. The most astonishing feature of the latest poll is not Labour going back to its natural floor of 30 % or so, but rather the Lib Dems being unable to make any gains despite Brexit.

  18. Cameron begged DM to relent on Brexit because he knew it’d play a part in costing him. It’s no good having good policies or slogans if press ignore them or misrepresent them because press don’t like your policies.

  19. interesting point from the YouGov tables show Labour retaining 80% of there 2015 vote and ahead in the don’t knows, Maybe when they are lifting in the polls

  20. Cross-breaks show limited areas of Lab strength – basically London, remainers, and the young (and London includes plenty of the other two).

    What is striking is the Con lead among pensioners – who are most likely to vote. This is probably where Lab is going to suffer most in its heartlands.

    Finally, another robust cross-break for Con in Scotland.
    Looks like SNP will hold their 2015 gains from Lab in the central belt, but will come under pressure in their old “tartan Tory” heartlands.

  21. “The most astonishing feature of the latest poll is not Labour going back to its natural floor of 30 % or so, but rather the Lib Dems being unable to make any gains despite Brexit.”


    Anthony expressed a bit of surprise too. You shouldn’t be surprised, polling makes clear what the reality is.

    The reality is that many people are not very liberal. In practice they are not that Tory or Labour either, or in terms of ideology, that socialist, liberal or conservative either.

    The electoral system forces them to pick a side, but in terms of policies, polling shows the reality. People like to cherry pick the best/most sensible/less extreme bits from all the parties or ideologies.

    Thus, they don’t mind having private education but like public education too. Some like a socialist mode of production, like to work for themselves, others like to be employed and not have to turn a business. Thus we like a mix. They like SOME State ownership where appropriate, but also plenty of private. Many are socially liberal up to a point, tolerant, but maybe not as far as free movement. They like welfare, but don’t like peeps to take the mick etc. etc.

    The extremes of liberalism being promoted by the global corporates and media etc. are increasingly being rejected and not just here. Some peeps might try and claim such liberalism is centrist, and the media are naturally keen on this, but look at the polling on policies etc.

  22. Regardless of what’s happening with the Tories in the polls, one has to assume post-2015 that there is no longer a bias towards Labour.

    There now appears to be the very realistic possibility of Corbyn doing better than Miliband or Brown in terms of share of the vote. That may mean little in terms of the election, but it could make electing someone from the left of the Labour party at the subsequent leadership election a plausible outcome (probably not Corbyn again but you never know).

  23. @Alec @Carfrew Micro-targeting Cambridge Analytica Style etc

    Having been heavily involved in Internet Marketing and the technologies that have evolved over the past 10 years, I can tell you that none of this comes as any shock to any switched-on marketer.

    The key to unlocking directly targeted advertisement has been Facebook. They have been able to build up extremely accurate psychographic profiles of anyone who uses that platform.

    This is only going to get more targeted and more invidious as the Millenial Generation has no real concept of privacy. Everything is shared, liked, commented upon with very little filtering.

    Short of banning advertising on the Internet nothing can be done. In fact, there is now no way to stop political parties breaching their spending caps by having connected organisations softening up their targets on the side for them.

  24. Watched Macron inauguration and speech.

    If only labour had someone so talented and sensible. If they did UK wouldn’t be about to have 9/10 years of Teresa may as PM.

  25. @ ABERDEENANGUS – I agree with your predictions. You don’t have to wait to go down to the bookies though. Betfair have plenty of ways for you to express that opinion and probably better odds.
    My favourites:
    %s CON above 50%, LDEM under 10%, UKIP under 5%
    Seats: long CON seats (IG Index), CON 400+ (betfair)
    Majorities: pick a few of the 200+ ones

    Generally avoiding direct LAB bets as odds aren’t great and its basically the inverse of CON bet anyway – better to express as CON bet.

  26. “Cross-breaks show limited areas of Lab strength – basically London, remainers, and the young (and London includes plenty of the other two).”

    Votes piled up in places and sub-groups of little utility.

    EdM had a “35% strategy”/ Corbynite Labour has a “31.3% strategy” – because this election is of little interest to them. Only the next leadership election.

    Come election night we shall see if this basket of Labour policies really is actually popular amongst 31.3% or more of “peeps”

    Or whether- as in recent elections- labour loses votes in the last 10 days of the campaign: as the vast majority of voters start to make their final decision (by looking at the manifestos; and by thinking about the relative merits of the two leaders)…


    To get to 450 seats (that’s a monumental 250 seat majority) we’d need to see the Tories get to mid-50s in the polls like in 1931.

  28. @Cafrew

    This is an interesting point. It would be fascinating to see what Labour [and other party] policies are really hated, and by how much – which must be influential. This may have been covered in previous polls, but I have not seen it here.

    (On a personal gripe, it was so nice to see you start a post with ‘people’, then sadly it was back to ‘peeps’ again. It is a bit distracting, and only one less character to type. Grr!).

  29. @ SEA CHANGE – not necessarily.

    If anti-Corbyn/pro-Leave Midlands/Northern/Welsh LAB abstain and CONkip turn out in droves CON will pick up lots of extra seats in those areas. Scotland might be good for 10 seats as well.

    Flip side in CON strongholds where rem-CONs abstain and CON keep those seats but on lower majorities.

    I think 450 is a stretch but certainly possible for CON to hit 430+ with 52% of the vote and LAB getting 29% (LDEM and UKIP %s dropping a little further from here)

  30. As usual for me it is the detail of the YouGov poll which I find interesting and most of the questions and answers seem to be good news for the Tories.

    On the doing well as leaders:-
    May has a positive score of +18, one point up from last week.
    Corbyn is on -42, no change
    Farron is on – 22, four point worse than last week.

    Interesting question on promises made and whether they can or cannot be afforded.
    Thinking about their policies and proposals, do you think the Conservatives are or are not making promises that the country cannot afford?
    Are 30%, are not 35%, a score of +5%
    Same question to Labour
    Are 52%, are not 20%, a score of -32%
    So although people seem to like quite a number of the Labour policies, they don’t think they can be afforded.

    Labour policies on abolishing tuition fees, capping rents, renationalisation and taxing those earning more than £80,000 are seen favourably. Interestingly increasing business taxes and ruling out leaving the EU without a deal are seen negatively which could be considered good news for those who support May’s approach to Brexit.

    Another interesting question : Thinking about all the promises and policies they’ve spoken about so far in the election campaign, do you think the following parties do or do not have a sensible plan for how they would run Britain?

    Tories, Do Have 44% Don’t have 33%, a score of +11
    Labour Do have 25% Don’t have 50%, a score of -25
    LD’s Do have 13% Don’t have 42%, a score of -29%

    Those polled wanted the Tories to keep the immigration target and the promise not to increase VAT Income Tax or NI.

    They also want Corbyn to resign if Labour loses badly but if he won’t then they seem to favour a new part formed by a Labour split.

    All in all not good news for Labour after a week when they have certainly had a lot of media attention.

  31. @ Carfrew

    “We kinda need to know what it is about Labours policy platform people don’t like.”

    When people are asked about specific policies, they tend to respond on the basis of whether the policies are desirable in an abstract sense.

    So everyone agrees that it’s good to tax the rich, spend on health and schools, cap prices, provide generous benefits etc.

    How people vote depends on how they view the policies practically – are they affordable, are they the best way to spend government funds, can the party promising actually deliver, etc.

  32. @TOH

    The only policy I can think of that the Conservatives have promoted is not having any policies – it seems to be a winning strategy!


    I take your point, however, if we do see that level of abstention surely the Tory % will go artificially higher with lower turnout and into the mid-50s range. I do think rem-CONS will turn out to defeat Corbyn en masse so I doubt there will be lowering of the Tory % by them.

    It would take something truly apocalyptic to breach 430. But who cares at that point that’s already a 210 seat majority!

  34. Update to my regional model:

    Con 379
    Lab 191
    SNP 47
    Lib Dem 9
    PC 4
    Grn 1

    Con Majority 108

  35. @TOH

    Good summation.

    Just 13% think the LibDems have a good policy on Brexit. Oh dear, talk about disastrous for them. They are trying to fight a battle that has been lost and they now look both undemocratic and unpatriotic. That’s a surefire way to get a hammering on election day.

  36. @Sea Change – I think you’ve rather missed the point of my post.

    The micro targeting isn’t the real issue here – it’s the fact that it is being directed and funded by rich American billionaires.

    The question is why these people would like to see the UK leave the EU? How they go about achieving their objective is the secondary question.

    We can be very certain that these people, and their UK counterparts, did not bankroll and assist the various Brexit campaigns because they felt it would be better for the ordinary UK person in the street.

    They did this because they saw it as being a good outcome for their world.

  37. BARDIN1

    “The only policy I can think of that the Conservatives have promoted is not having any policies – it seems to be a winning strategy!”


    To be fair they have not released the manifesto yet but i expect it to be quite lightweight.


    Yes, that really is damning for the LD’s.

  39. @sea change – I agree that has been a disasterous choice on their part

    Better to have set out what they wanted from the negotiations – eg free trade, freedom of movement for labour where industry needs it, ease of tourism, health insurance cross border agreements for visits, europol membership etc,. And stress how hard they would scrutinize the deal.

  40. Harry,

    “So everyone agrees that it’s good to tax the rich”

    I don’t. Why should this be the case?

    The only rational basis for that statement is if taxation is seen as an end in itself.

    If the purpose of taxation is solely as a means to fund public spending, then there are two different questions to ask:
    – which taxes / rates are most efficient at generating revenue?
    – can these be judged fair or politically acceptable?

    Your premise may meet the second test for many people, but often fails the first.

  41. Regarding microtargeting, IPSOS did a survey looking at tech usage and social media usage:

    Facebook usage is on page 15

    The highest usage is among the 15-44 year olds.

    In the 65+ group, amongst males C2 and DE, it’s below 15%, and among women aged 65+ in those categories, it is below 20%. Even amoung 65+ in the AB group, it never gets over 30%.

    There is a lot of microtargetting going on, but the groups that swung Brexit arn’t big consumers of Facebook.

    Instead their antipathy towards the EU built up over several decades starting with Britain’s ejection from the ERM (which the 65+ group would have remembered as they would have been anxious mortgagees at the time).

    Judging from my grandparents, their chief source of news is News at Ten. And they buy the Sunday papers on the way home from church. And their own life experiences trump all of those sources.

  42. Can someone confirm the lowest Labour have polled in a GE in terms of seats.

    I guess that some in the Labour Party will judge Corbyn on both % of vote and number of seats. There seems a real focus on can he deliver a higher % of the vote than EM or GB. Surely if Labour are reduced massively in seats held that will have a long term impact on rebuilding for 2022.

  43. @Bardin1 – Yes agreed, that would have been a far more sensible policy, however, they let their indignation at the result get the better of them from a strategical perspective.

    @Alec – Well I alluded to that in the last paragraph. There is nothing stopping collusion between parties and rich people in other jurisdictions. But then there was nothing stopping that in the past. All one needed to do is setup a UK company and then use that to fund a political party.

  44. @Andy T

    1931 – Labour 52 Seats (30.6%) – Tories 470 seats (55%) (615 Seat Parliament)

    “National Labour” under Ramsey McDonald also got 13 seats.

    The previous worst was 1918 with 57 seats (21.5%) but that was with Ireland in a 707 seat HoC so not really comparable.

  45. @AndyT

    Depends on how far back you want to go. If we take the 1922 election as the first where Labour were a serious force, then their worst performance was the 1931 election, when they returned only 52 MPs (losing over 200 seats). I don’t think there’s any prospect of that record being broken this year.

    In the postwar era, Labour’s worst performance was in 1983 where they returned 209 MPs. That record is very much in danger this time round.

    For the pedants out their, Labour’s weakest ever performance was in 1900 (2 MPs) but I don’t think it’s fair to count that given that it was their first election.

  46. I3

    Thanks for response.

    So if we take 1983 as a modern bench mark it will be interesting to see if Labour hold < 209 which with current polls seems very possible.

    I assume also in 1983 Labour held a significant number of seats in Scotland to top up to 209( Corbyn cannot be blamed for this, although he did promise to rebuild support in Scotland I seem to recall)

  47. Somebody mentioned that the campaign of Corbyn and Co is not about the GE, but the inevitable summer leadership election.

    This would explain not only why he agreed on the elections, but also the almost absent attacks on the Conservatives, and some strange interviews, such as McDonnell’s interview today on BAE.

    Still, many constituency activists, and MPs use a very differentiated approach, so it could change the dynamics of the leadership quest.

  48. @ ANDY T

    Yes, Labour held 41 Scottish seats in their 209 total in 1983.

  49. @ SEA CHANGE

    The only change I’ve made to my model in the last week is the pulled candidates from UKIP and Green. My prediction for seats and GB%s

    CON 431 (51.8%)
    LAB 143 (29.2%)
    LDEM 8 (7.1%)
    UKIP0 (2.1% – note pulled candidates means they will lose 1/3 of votes with most likely going to CON)
    Green 1 (2.8%)
    NAT 48 (5.5%)
    NI 18

    Turnout 58%

    This assumes a centre/left CON manifesto, continued drop in LDEM and some subjective regional assumptions on turnout that polls can’t pick up. I have used the leader approval ratings and historic “shy Tory/Labour bias” to support the reasons for low LAB turnout. I would to agree upside risk on CON %. I’m not sure CON voters will feel so complacent that they decide not to bother voting – it won’t make much difference to seats though.

    It is worth remembering that SNP won 56/59 (95%) of Scotland’s 2015 seats with 50% of the Scottish vote. With LDEM struggling the England-Wales opposition vote is not as split as it could have been (I had some scenarios where CON would be higher on seats but with a lower % if LDEM pulled more Rem-LAB votes). LDEM’s drop in polls works best for LAB.

  50. @ PAUL H-J

    You’re right – what I meant to say was that most people agree that taxation should be on the basis that the rich should pay more taxes.

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