We’re heading into Summer and the silly season now, so don’t necessarily expect much polling (August tends to be quite anyway…the month after a general election even more so). This is just a quick update on the latest YouGov voting intention figures, which are CON 41%(nc), LAB 44%(+1), LDEM 7%(+1). Fieldwork was Monday to Tuesday and changes are from a fortnight ago. Full tabs are here.

891 Responses to “YouGov/Times – CON 41%, LAB 44%, LDEM 7%”

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  1. John Pilgrim

    I’m not surprised of the relatively poor quality of papers in economics as a field. It seems to be plagued by people wanting to “construct a narrative” consistent with their political or philosophical views. So large numbers of poor quality papers which selectively look at small parts of the picture in isolation to try as push an argument that to examine the picture as it is.

    It’s an interesting field, the problem with economics is there are too many economists! They seem to think of it as a subset of philosophy to whom it is more important to push an agenda that the bounds of knowledge. To me it’s about as reliable as religion where people pick a religion and argue strenuously then their religion is right through the use of stories.

    Any journal paper SHOULD put the work into context with other work in the field, the problem is when economists ignore papers which conflict with the viewpoint the wish to promote. If economists ignore any work which conflicts with their views then the disagreements are not resolved and the field undoubtedly splits into ivory towers containing people with wildly different views all calling themselves economists.

    In scientific fields, the quality of research is a lot higher and journal papers are generally more reliable.

  2. New party

    Are we sure that this Chapman thing is not just a huge wind up?Its a tad Orwellian. Out of respect for RJW i wont say what book.:-)

  3. For those who want a second referendum on the EU I wonder what lead would stop a call for a third referendum.
    I assume that if it was only by the same sort of margine the first one was then a third would only be fair of course if the third was by a similar margine then a fourth would have to go ahead .
    Maybe we could have a yearly referendum until it attracts the same sort of attention a local council election does. Of course to save confusion of not only the voters but our friends in Europe we could just get on with what the winners of the first vote wanted and leave.

  4. Britain Elects @britainelects
    Westminster voting intention:

    CON: 42%
    LAB: 39%

    via @BMGResearch, 07 – 11 Aug

  5. Preference for Prime Minister:

    J. Corbyn: 33%
    T. May: 32%

  6. The next election is scheduled for 2022 – the Prime Minister should…

    Quit before then: 48%
    Stay on: 29%

    via @BMGResearch

  7. S T
    “Down and Out in Paris and London”?

  8. Corbyn ahead of May, but Con ahead of Lab by 3 points in the BMG poll. Usually you expect Labour to be several points ahead of the Tories before he takes a lead on that one. But here Lab are 3 points behind. Not sure to take away from this poll – perhaps their VI weighting is different to other pollsters.

    The methodology has presumably changed. Would be interesting to see how (NB for the 2015 election their final poll was about as wrong as everyone elses, putting both Lab and Con on 34%, but this doesn’t tell us much).

  9. *Not sure what to take away from this poll I meant. All the reasons I can think of for Labour’s VI declining would be clearly linked to Corbyn (Brexit, Veneuzuela etc) so it’s possible that there’s no movement at all and that the Tory lead merely represents a house effect which still favours the Tories somewhat in VI. Alternatively their best PM question is phrased differently, which acts to reduce May’s lead.

    Recall that BMG was Labour’s election pollster, and put the Tory lead at 13 points before the 2017 election. Would have expected their methodology to have changed dramatically since then however.

  10. @Barbazenzeri re: Irish free movement – isn’t it the case that an EU country can’t negotiate rights for its citizens separate from other EU citizen? I can imagine that the UK can allow whoever it likes to live here, but presumably it would have to be unilateral, not negotiated with ROI, and crucially not reciprocal?

  11. Not a poll, but an interesting diversion from much trodden Brexit discussions


    And here is a tongue in cheek take on the info in the Yougov poll.


    I like the bit about lib dem voters not wanting their own party to be in power.

  12. SmileyBen

    “isn’t it the case that an EU country can’t negotiate rights for its citizens separate from other EU citizen?”

    True – but Irish citizens in the UK already enjoy rights that other EU citizens don’t.

    All political bodies are usually happy to fudge some issues when a potential solution suits them (or to make them a red line if they don’t).

    If an eventual solution to the Irish Border question is found, then EU, UK, and Eire will happily agree that the pre-existing circumstances would make any such deal appropriate for Ireland, even if not applicable to other EU citizens.

    Hard to tell until we see the UK position papers, the EU responses and attitudes in both parts of Ireland.

    That Lucid Talk poll at the end of September may turn out to be rather important!


    OLDNAT is correct, as is his remark re the forthcoming LucidTalk poll, which could result in changes of attitude by the DUP.

    The CTA pre-dates EEC membership both of RoI and UK so does not need to change.

    BTW, please use BZ if you don’t have copy & paste.

  14. What might the “transition” involve?

    Will it require a secession treaty? If so will that require not just majority approval from EU members but the approval of all 27? How is Ireland likwly to vote?

    If it is a secession treaty will that constitutional change require (see Miller)
    UK parliamentary approval? How is the Labour party likely to vote if that is the case? How will the Remainers in the Cons vote? How will the devolved government/assemblies respond?

    When would negotiations for the transition begin? Is there a possibility that such negotiations become so protracted that much of the transition period is used?

    What will happen if the EU declines a transitional period?

    At present it seems likely that any transitional period will be followed by a hard Brexit. Is this likely to change?

  15. @John P

    Working Futures isn’t Leicester, it has been for some time the work of Warwick’s Institute of Employment Research.

  16. My answers to the questions I raise about a transition are these.

    Yes, a secession treaty is likely to be needed and will require ratification by all EU member states. Whether Ireland will ratify a transition depends on the destination of Brexit. There are three possible deals to be made. The UK could choose to stay in the Single Market. It would have to accept existing EFTA trade deals and pay contributions and accept ECJ jurisdiction. For the Irish, customs checks would be needed for goods coming from outside the EU and for goods not covered by EEA membership which would include agricultural produce. Not so good for the Irish.

    A bespoke customs arrangement with the EU is more likely. This would mean tariff free trade for the UK with the EU, less freedom to make other trade deals and continuing compliance with EU regulations. For some, it means not taking back sovereignty. For the Irish, it would mean tariff free trade but customs controls on documentation and compliance of standards, rules of origin.

    The third option is a Canada like deal. The UK would have no contributions, no ECJ and freedom to do other trade deals. This seems to be the preferred option
    now for the UK government. It would mean a hard border as divergence between NI and Ireland would increase.

    I think parliament would have to approve any deal after Miller and the Supreme Court decision. It is not at all clear how Labour would vote or the Remain Conservatives, some of whom may be thinking of their careers. The devolved parliament/assemblies have no powers to block any deal but there is likely to be significant discontent raised.

    The EU is unlikely to refuse negotiations on a transition deal but such negotiations may well not be finished within the timescale some (Liam Fox) would want.

    There is the possibility of no deal but neither side wants that.

  17. Sam

    All just speculation at the moment, but a “secession treaty” seems unlikely.

    2 years from the tabling of the Article 50 notification, the UK will automatically no longer be a member of the EU. An extension of the 2 year period requires unanimity from all 27 member states (as well as the UK).

    Any transition period would be subject to the provisions of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union which (I understand) covers association with non-member states.

    Presumably there would have to be an “Association Treaty” – which would also require unanimity.

  18. OLDNAT is right not only in that these things may be fudged, but that they already are. As evinced by special rights not just between the UK and Ireland but between the UK and the EU Commonwealth states and elsewhere across the EU (reciprocal rights in an even more complex regime of nationalities and territories in the Nordic Union spring to mind).

    Which is why I have always maintained that the Irish border question (at least as regards the immigration aspects) is purely political. They can agree what they want.

    The LucidTalk poll may indeed be hugely significant in that context as it should inform the DUP position.

    The political reality is that the DUP position is determinative. Only a row with the DUP can bring down the Government just now. Only a border position that they don’t like seems a big enough a deal for them to do so. And only the Government can take that border position that they don’t like.

    But if we know one thing about the Conservatives, it’s that Conservative turkeys don’t vote for Christmas. So they won’t take a border position that the DUP don’t like.

  19. As regards a “secession treaty”, agreed it’s speculation to some extent, but I can’t see the need even for an Association Treaty to cover transition if it just applies the TEU and TFEU for an agreed extra period subject to an agreed payment, which is what seems to be in issue.

    Article 50 provides the conditions for an agreement under Article 50 (qualified majority with the UK excluded and consent of the parliament).

    Any agreement that is not inherently inconsistent with the TEU would seem to be covered on the face of that. So any transition arrangement that maintains the TEU and TFEU terms for a period after Brexit would seem to be covered. QM will do.

  20. PeterW

    “Conservative turkeys don’t vote for Christmas.”

    Few turkeys among career politicians in any party do. However, many are aware that lots of turkeys are slaughtered in May – so living an extra 6 months might seem a good idea. :-)

  21. Oldnat


    Thanks. Now, it seems to me that the EU will have little interest in simply extending the negotiating period of the exit. The greater the time constraints the greater the negotiating power of the EU. The EU has said it will accept a transitional deal of limited duration, so I have belatedly learned. Also, the EU will not sign a trade deal until after Brexit. There has been a Guardian report that the Bundestag thinks a transition deal may need the approval of all EU states. If so, to prevent the possibility of chaos the transitional deal that will have to be negotiated should be legally binding – a treaty.

  22. PeterW

    We agree that the negotiating parties can fudge virtually anything, so we’re not really in disagreement.

    It just seems likely to me, that any transition period will involve an “association” between the 27 and a third party state.

    The fact that the 3rd party formerly had these associations prior to going off in a huff and leaving the club, doesn’t seem to me to make a material difference.

    Though, as always, if one or more members of the Union claim that unanimity would be required, then that decision would have to be made by the ECJ.

  23. @ Sam, some further thoughts

    “it seems to me that the EU will have little interest in simply extending the negotiating period of the exit”

    Agreed, and that clearly requires unanimity under Article 50(3) anyway.

    “the Bundestag thinks a transition deal may need the approval of all EU states”

    The Bundestag has no more authority to pronounce on this that you or I (perhaps less, as it’s full of politicians who will say black is white if it suits).

    To me, Article 50 can only have two purposes. To express a right to secede (we know what a mess the US Constitution created and still seems to be creating after last night’s events by being ambiguous on that) and to provide a process for a secession agreement that avoids the need for a treaty.

    So the default must be no treaty. That’s the point of Article 50(2). To provide a mechanism that doesn’t require a treaty.

    I would accept that if the Article 50(2) agreement tries to do something that contradicts the rest of TEU, that would be a different matter. Otherwise, requiring a treaty renders Article 50(2) meaningless, and it’s a pretty strong principle of legal construction in both civil and common law jurisdictions that a construction that renders a provision
    meaningless is not to be preferred .

  24. PeterW

    “(reciprocal rights in an even more complex regime of nationalities and territories in the Nordic Union spring to mind).”

    Your point re the Nordic Council is well made. While many of its original intentions have been overtaken by its members all being in the EEA (whether as EU states, EFTA states, or territories of such states) it does provide a model for inter-governmental co-operation – that we see in embryonic form in the British-Irish Council.

    While I knew that Aland, Faroes and Greenland had associate status, I was surprised to discover that the 3 Baltic states and Schleswig-Holstein [1] had observer status.

    [1] Bismarck should be turning in his grave! 19th century nationalism sidelined by common interest!

  25. It’s not really that strange that lib Dem voters don’t want to see a majority lib Dem government. The lib dems have always been about cooperating with other parties as part of transforming British politics to a more consensus led system of govt. For the same kind of reasons I’d quite like the next govt to be labour led, rather than majority labour. I’m really keen on PR which I think is unlikely to happen with a majority govt.

  26. CR

    “I’m really keen on PR ”

    But which model (there are many)?

    For example, should it be based on trans-UK votes, or in individual polities or regions?

    It’s a bit sad that this silly YG poll during silly season deliberately excluded NI seats.

    I suspect that, had it been included, that the “Great British Public” would have given zero seats to SF (or at least far fewer than to the BNP).

    A trans-UK PR model would effectively disenfranchise half (or all) the population of NI, given the parochialism of most voters in a multi-national state.

  27. Valuable advice from hardeep singh kohli?

    “We really need white America to help stop the radicalisation of their community”

    My family is doing their bit.

  28. Old nat

    Personally I would prefer that NI wasn’t part of the UK but forcing the Eire to take care of the northern provinces would be quite nasty, I suppose we are stuck with them. My preferred systems are STV with 4 or 5 MPs per constituency or the regional open list

    “Working Futures isn’t Leicester, it has been for some time the work of Warwick’s Institute of Employment Research.”

    Quite right – in association with Cambridge Economitrics and UKCES. My apologies. For anyone interested the website is https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/513801/Working_Futures_final_evidence_report.pdf

  30. PETERW
    “So the default must be no treaty. That’s the point of Article 50(2). To provide a mechanism that doesn’t require a treaty.”

    I would expect that i.d.c. the Commission will issue a Statement to the Parliament setting out the Commission’s recommendations for Brexit, including a transitional period – the latter determined by pragmatic constraints that the report will set out. Others may know better than I, but I think this would be debated in Parliament and, of approved, would with amendments become the basis of an EU programme of action run by the Commission. Would it then need a treaty?

  31. SAM

    “At present it seems likely that any transitional period will be followed by a hard Brexit. Is this likely to change?”

    If you mean we will have left the EU in the fullest sense the answer is yes, and no that will not change..

  32. So the Tories back in the lead in the BMG poll. No great surprise.

    “So the Tories back in the lead in the BMG poll. No great surprise.
    August 14th, 2017 at 8:40 am”

    Jeremy Corbyn ahead of Theresa May in the same poll. No great surprise.

  34. Conservatives in more trouble than they realise, I suspect. Rees-Mogg being touted as a new leader?


    Meanwhile, the fudge thickens. Even the dimmest of the pro Brexit mimisters are beginning to realise that the ludicrous promises made during the campaign they were meant to lose are now a millstone round their necks, and they need to deliver something that is reasonably close to EU membership but is called something else, and then persuade the public that they have left the EU.

    Whether the EU lets them get away with this is another matter entirely, but to those who think the government is sfae so long as the DUP play ball, think again. Around 15 Tory backbenchers can bring down the government + DUP in the right circumstances. The party is savagely split, and as hard decisions come to be made, these festering divisions will erupt.

    The traditional Tory mantra of being all things to all men is gradually running out of road on this one.

    So the Tories back in the lead in the BMG poll. No great surprise.

    Agree, surprised it was not more, after all they had them at 13 points ahead just prior to the last election, where the actual result was a 2% lead

  36. BMG don’t exactly have the best track record – my model now has them as less accurate than even ComRes. That’s what predicting a 13 point Tory win does for you I guess, though I assume they’ve altered methodology since the election.

    Odd that they have the Tories ahead yet Corbyn up on best PM… I guess it’s linked to the headline question about whether May should stay or go.

    Anyone seen tables?

  37. Thoughts on Moggmentum?

    He’s (vaguely) denying a leadership challenge, but setting out his “vision” for the conservative party, and making himself available to comment on every story imaginable in the media; I even saw him quoted on an article about some sexist-named shoes.

    Sounds like he’s running to me.

  38. Government are really going to struggle in Parliament and i could see another election before May 2018. Theresa May will of course not be keen on another election, but she might find it difficult to avoid.


    The Tories won’t have a majority on select committees, including those which deal with statutory instruments. There will be no deal on pairing between Tories and opposition MP’s. Will make it very difficult for ministers to be away from Parliament dealing with departmental issues. And those MP’s with outside jobs will also find it difficult.

    I have a feeling that if Theresa May finds herself in an impossible position with Parliament and the EU not playing nicely, that she will engineer an early election. The problem will be that many Tory MP’s would be against a hard Brexit position, which is likely to be the Tories official position.

  39. Cambridgerachel
    “Northern Provinces’ I think you are referring to Northern Counties,
    While I accept that you have your opinion and are entitled to it, to refer to other people of the UK as ‘them ‘, I find rather offensive.

  40. Oldnat


    I think this will interest you – different methods of making a transition from Brexit.


    “The first method would be to extend the United Kingdom’s membership in the EU, but to gradually remove some of its elements, eg the supervision of the Court of Justice or the free movement of workers. It is highly unlikely that the other member states would wish to create a second tier membership in this way. The obligations that arise from the single market are a result of the four fundamental freedoms that are enshrined in the treaties. Member states will be unwilling to compromise these general principles, even for a short period of time. But even if they did, this would require the amendment of the EU treaties, which would take enormous political capital and far more than two years to achieve.

    The second method for a transitional agreement would be to create an entirely new international agreement between the UK and the EU. This would take effect in international law immediately on withdrawal. The problem here is that it would be a trade deal with all the required formalities of a treaty. It would potentially be a ‘mixed agreement’ between the UK and the EU, requiring ratification by all member states, in exactly the same way as a permanent agreement. It is very unlikely it will be ratified by all parliaments by the time withdrawal is likely to take place in 2019.

    When I wrote about this in October, I did not consider one further option, which now seems to me possible, under certain conditions (for example, consent by the WTO under the ‘most favoured nation’ rules). It is clearly very difficult to bring about an international agreement, which would work as a common legal basis for both sides after withdrawal. But it is possible that these arrangements could be organised on the basis of two parallel legal grounds, one for each legal order. This would be a ‘parallel sources’ agreement………

    A binding transitional arrangement seems to me to be the single biggest obstacle to an orderly withdrawal from the EU. Unless a transitional mechanism is found, the UK will go head first into the cliff of WTO rules. It is therefore very important to make something work in law. The proposal made here is one such practical solution. Constructing a transitional arrangement on the basis of two parallel sources, one domestic and one based on EU law, will not be perfect, but it may well be the only realistic way to construct a smooth transition on the basis of binding rules. It will not be an elegant or complete solution, but it could just work for a short period of time.”


    The counties which make up NI are often referred to collectively as the “province” on the basis that it is only 6 of the 9 counties of Ulster and the northernmost tip of the island is in the republic.

    The Express reported on it in May with their ‘Plan for United Ireland’ Professor warns Britain will LOSE Northern Ireland after Brexit. They seem pretty relaxed about it.

  42. @ smiley ben and Barbazenzero

    my Latin is not so hot is the plural Barbizenzero or Barbazenzeri or is it something entirely different? :-)

    On NI without the position paper we are speculating immensely, one question I have is have the DUP, given their relationship with the Government had any input, it may well affect their reactions!

  43. @ CR

    “Personally I would prefer that NI wasn’t part of the UK”

    Though I think you put it a bit harshly, I think this is an interesting (if academic* question). What do people in mainland UK think should happen to NI? Would a majority prefer a united Ireland, or rather the status quo? Or, more likely, do they just not care? (As long as there is no violence on the mainland – most people away from NI don’t pay much attention to the continuing lower level intimidation still going on in NI).

    * academic since the destination rightly needs to be decided by the inhabitants, not the rest of the UK, as in the case of Scottish independence.

  44. WB

    BARBAZENZERO is cod Italian for Ginger Beard, a physical characteristic I happen to have. I haven’t come across anyone else using the term but if multiples existed, the Italian plural would end in I.

    I agree re speculation on the position paper. Unless it’s very different from the speculations we’ve seen, I can’t see the Irish government being happy with it. Equally, I can’t see the DUP being happy with it either, and we know they’re against an Irish Sea border.

    That said, they may well hold their fire until well after Barnier & Co have rejected it.

  45. @trigguy

    I think it’s fair to say that most GB residents have little opinion on the future of NI. As you say, as long as the solution is non-violent, most people probably feel the decision belongs solely on the island of Ireland, if they think about it at all. Of course there are plenty of Imperialists out there who would prefer British dominion over most of the world.

    What could be interesting would be if the Irish border question forces us to keep free movement of people in some form; would leavers in GB then push for a united Ireland as a way out of it?

  46. “No surrender to the ECJ…”

  47. Sam: ” Unless a transitional mechanism is found, the UK will go head first into the cliff of WTO rules.”

    Thanks for the link. I think the key takeaway is that the ‘parallel sources’ plan “may well be the only realistic way to construct a smooth transition on the basis of binding rules. It will not be an elegant or complete solution, but it could just work for a short period of time.”

    In other words, it could be the least worst option for the UK. But it will still be difficult, complex and require enormous commitment of time, effort and expertise on both sides.

    The trouble with that is that I just don’t see any evidence of willingness or ability on the UK side to put in the necessary spadework. There is too much division over aims and means to create the necessary effort. Civil servants appear demoralised and uncertain. The Times today reports leaks that the promised position papers are being put together in “essay crisis mode”.

    If the government is still behaving like a bunch of disorganised students who’ve done barely any effective work with finals starting to loom uncomfortably close, then I fear something like the ‘parallel sources’ agreement just isn’t going to happen.

    Instead, the easiest ‘solution’ is to accept that it’s all too difficult and go along with the lemming-rush to the cliff edge. (Actually, I prefer the imagery of floating in the waters above Niagara. Some distance away, all is deceptively calm and there is time to paddle gently around wondering what to do. But slowly, imperceptibly, the current strengthens and the roar of the distant cataract grows. A bit of frantic paddling ensues, but it’s too late. Nothing to do but relax again and hope that a miracle sees the country bobbing up into sparkling foam on the other side…)

    So, I really do think that inertia and indolence mean that hard brexit and WTO is where we’re heading. For a long time we’ve been a millstone around the neck of EU development. And we all know what happens to millstones when they are successfully cast off: they sink to the bottom and settle into the mud.

  48. @ Barny

    “would leavers in GB then push for a united Ireland as a way out of it?”

    Yes, that might seem to many as the neatest solution, but it has one killer argument in the current political situation – DUP would absolutely never agree. There is no doubt in my mind that they’d bring the government down if it were the direction chosen. Possibly to no avail if the next government went the same way, but it would be political suicide not to do so. Not just LimDem+tuition fees scale, it would be far worse.

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