Just catching up on YouGov’s latest poll for the Times yesterday. Topline voting intention figures were CON 39%(-1), LAB 42%(nc), LDEM 8%(+1), so didn’t show any meaningful change. The two findings that got rather more attention were on best PM and Brexit.

On who would make best Prime Minister Theresa May has now lost her lead over Jeremy Corbyn, with both of them now equal on 33%. 35% of people said they weren’t sure, meaning that actually came top – the first time I recall seeing don’t know/not sure ahead on the question. The clear implication is that a very significant chunk of the public aren’t enamoured of either of the main party leaders.

Also notable was YouGov’s regular tracker on whether people think Britain was right or wrong to vote to leave the European Union. 42% of people now think that Brexit was the right decision, 47% think it was the wrong decision. The five point lead for “wrong” is the highest that YouGov have shown in this question since they started tracking it after the referendum. All the usual caveats apply – all polls have a margin of error, and it’s wrong to get too excited over small movements in a poll that may be no more than normal random variation. The important thing to do is the watch the trend, and while the country is still quite evenly divided over the merits of Brexit as I wrote last month, the regular trackers do appear to have started to show some small movement towards regret.

Full tabs for the YouGov poll are here.

413 Responses to “Yesterday’s YouGov poll”

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  1. @RO

    “It appears to me that politics in the UK has settled down into a new paradigm,which is more or less a reversion to where it was in the 1950s.

    This situation, has been helped in no small measure, by the fact that the Lib Dems and the Greens are now little more than a laughing stock, the purpose of voting UKIP has gone away, and the SNP has lost much of its’ appeal.”


    Indeed. The liberalism that took over the main parties from the late Sixties onwards is being rejected.

  2. @Allan C

    “Excellent post. Some people are detached from reality and really don’t know what it would be like to live on JSA or equivalent benefits.”


    Thanks you. What I find interesting in this context, is precisely how people process these things. Frequently they come up with a solution that they think avoids the problem. Whether it does or not is something else.

  3. Charles
    Ah yes, as always the silence is deafening…

    You’ve missed out being allowed to buy bananas exceeding a certain proscribed curvature, and in all probability foodstuffs well past their EU dictated sell by dates, if only because they’ve been sitting on a boat waiting for the queue for customs for a month or two, as red tape is dispensed with in all matters of health and safety and political correctness.

    Under the same conflagration, we will be able to return to the good old days of treating farm animals with cruelty, and eat raw eggs with salmonella in. Oh how I have missed those far off days when the sun was always shining and money was worked out in dozens

    People will be allowed to fall off ladders and be crushed by machinery at work with no recourse to compensation just like the old days.

    The one I’m particularly excited about today, as I hadn’t considered it before, is being able to race skyclad through fields of wheat in pursuit of the mighty British badger and seeing it off with my bare hands (although having seen wild badgers in the flesh, and the damage they can do when brought into contact with cars and motorbikes, I’m anticipating building up fairly slowly and carefully to that, or maybe leaving it to politicians of questionable sanity).

    “Under the same conflagration, we will be able to return to the good old days of treating farm animals with cruelty, and eat raw eggs with salmonella in. Oh how I have missed those far off days when the sun was always shining and money was worked out in dozens”

    Now if I had a guinea for every time I’ve thought that… I’d still be skint


    I do not agree with idea that liberal democrats and green have become a laughing stock per se. I believe that Labour have parked their tanks on their lawn and more importantly everyone accepts their vote is wasted by voting for these parties if they reality is they choice between Tories and Labour. The return to two aprty politics is due to the fact that we have the FPTP system more than any party is out of favour per se. Although I do believe the Lib Dems are in the wilderness in the areas where they were once seen as a reasonable alternative to the Tories.

    The opinions of people outside the industry are really not worth a spit but are listened to respectfully by farming and horticultural support or representative organisations, themselves an industry too much derived from and dependent on governmental and political sructures and interests – notably those stemming from the government’s and Mrs M’s response to Masstricht and what was seen primarily as trading opportunities with the EU, and specifically that of large scale marketing and related value added systems in the meat industry. The latter are inimical to the essentially regional and local basis of specialist and small and middle level beef and mutton farmers, and related dairy.
    The concept of the mixed enterprise farm was, I thought in the 1990’s when it was though up (faming families sleeping in the polytunnel while providng their bedrooms as B&B, always a false diversion from measures, essentially market and gvoernement-derived,for viable specialist farm production and related market structures. These included the District Council based meat,veterinary and health and safety services, destroyed rather than replicated in the ensuing regional and EU systems.
    While the majority of EU countries,most engaged in hobby farming and mixed farm/residential/non-farrming income systems, cheerfully manipulated EU systems including “subsidiarity”, Honest John UK multiplied their suppressive effect on its high intensity high-quality productive and viable farming systems, centuries in the making and supported by superlative training and advisory structures and science institutions.
    Structural funding to “equalise” farming and other elements of disparate economies, especially those of France and the southern European states of Spain,Italy and Greece, and then of the post-Soviet Eastern European states,have flown in the face of reality and of agricultural and market economics.
    NFU and AHDB, notably in respect of this AHDB report on the impact of Brexit, should rethink their policies and their sourcing of advice, notably in recognising who they serve and who supports them. They should look again at where they are deriving their policy ideas, notably, and notably in regard to the origin,, quality and purpose of the information on which their advice to the farming and horticultiral industries is based. It is properly that of those industries at every level, and of the British public,and not those of the government or of the EU, and not that of the current jacks in office or of any side in an argument over market interest and policies over Brexit, not directed to the interests and qualities of UK farming and horticulture and of its small, specialst, and – by comparison with the rest of British industry – highly efficient, productive and market-sensitive farmer-owners and market gardeners.

  7. I am strongly pro-remain, but the trend in the polling is not quite definitive yet, imho, looking at the visualisation and table here: https://whatukthinks.org/eu/questions/in-highsight-do-you-think-britain-was-right-or-wrong-to-vote-to-leave-the-eu/

    Casual prediction: it may yet turn definitive over the next three months.

  8. @Carfrew – thanks for the additions to my list. I had meant to cover the ‘EU is going to break up anyway’ with the word ‘moribund’. The other points were not there and should have been as they resonate with some people.

    @theexterminatingdalek and guymonde = thanks for your points. I had tried to cover them under bonfire of regulations but lacked your wit and panache.

    Generally I think it would be useful to get an agreed list of the hopes for Brexit as a way of checking the realism of the case and also of trying to decide what it is worth ‘negotiating’ for and whether we can get some of what we want by other means.

    For example, I don’t think that it is true to say that we are generally under the thumb of Mrs M or the good people of Brusssels. After all we went to war against their will but in keeping with the will of the USA. Something that suggests that if we are under anybody’s thumb it is not the EU’s.

    That said, John Pilgrim’s posts seem to be suggesting that we have got farming policy wrong and that is partly the fault of the EU, If John P is right we should be putting a high priority on getting out of the CAP. On the other hand it is silly to pretend that a trading nation is ever going to be able to trade without some framework of law and so the equation of ‘sovereignty’ with getting rid of the ECJ is a ridiculous handicap to our negotiating position.

  9. @PADDY

    Agree with your prediction but I think it will be too late by then I would suggest that for any political change it would need to be 60:40 in favour of brexit is a bad idea before politics of this issue has the momentum for any change.


    Currently as I understand it the main sticking point is a RAL part of the budget currently I believe the UK share is between £25B-£31B this in addition to the current account with respect to the transition is another £20B

    Currently as I understand it the UK is prepared to pay the transition but not the RAL. I believe the EU has set out the RAL in broad terms and the UK has not countered indeed it appears to have said they will not pay. After all that was their initial position from the First Juncker-Barnier-May-Davis meeting, that they did not need to pay anything and that they were not liable for anything.

    So a no deal would be seen in that light. I believe at some point no matter what we will be paying the £25B-£31B because that is what we agreed to in the budget and as part of methodology for generating the projects. Most of the other payments are indeed not payments they are loan guarantees which we may or may not pay depending on the progress of these projects

    So at best a no deal is saving initially 20B since we will not have a transitionary period. Germany has the largest share of trade with the UK at something close to 7% of their GDP,everyone else has figures far below that. The UK trade with the EU is at around 40%. our problem is that in many cases we have embedded supply chains with the EU tariffs and no tariffs barriers makes business harder across the board and tariffs are paid by the customer. so we will trade less with the EU but that means also that we may therefore have less VW investment for example or see a long term acceleration of manufacturing for some companies away from the UK to make supply chains simpler and final costing more predictable.

    I do not know how much that costs since the government will not say however I presumed if it hurts the EU more than us it would be a card that would have played as you have said yourself as you did not need to sell your house you didn’t however if you did then what would you do.

    So essentially we are trading no deal against £5B a year for 6 years let say. for a simple continuation of goods trading of 40% of our trade.

    Lets pretend it was not the EU versus the UK but a third country say Norway would you say no deal or not? Looking at it from a third party I think you would say that is a good deal. and the idea of no deal was self defeating.

    I always believe the problem with the EU is that it is rules based and the UK approach in the main is not to be rules based it means that politically you can be flexible and when you have the power then flexibility is is always to your advantage.

    The reality is that at every turn in its deals the EU has been very much a rules based entity even when dealing with greece and switzerland. They offered greece a number of options including leaving the euro, The argument has alway been how they were going to sustain their economy when no one would lend them money. I remember the UK sniping from the sidelines but the UK would not lend the them money and indeed only lent money to the Irish at a bigger mark up than that which was lent by the EU. No country or organisation is a charity without reason and we have given the EU no reason to be charitable.

    But hey, if it is no deal, I should be satidfied that you would be happy with it. presently I would agree if we had to pay £100B then a no deal would make sense but that is not what is being asked for. Indeed the EU has been conspicuous by trying to agree a methodology as I said £50B divorce bill is about what I think we owe we may not like it and I think it would have been hidden but if I was buying a BMW or Merc a 10% tariff will not stop most of us and I think the germans have shown they are masters of making that 10% tariff go away.

    As always reality takes care of itself.

  10. @John Pilgrim

    Your post on agriculture is interesting, if a little indigestible (pithier points and shorter sentences please, for us mere mortals).

    As I understand them, your key points are:

    1. Trade bodies like NFU and AHDB reflect the govt/EU/agribusiness consensus and thus support the status quo. Their analysis and prescriptions should be viewed in that light.

    2. The best interests of British farming lie in promoting small and medium-sized mixed farms responding to local and regional demand, and should take into account democratic wishes (presumably landscape and habitat conservation, food quality, animal welfare etc)

    3. NFU, AHDB etc should focus on the views of “highly efficient, productive and market-sensitive farmer-owners and market gardeners.”

    Well, if I’ve summarised fairly, then I think many of us would be happy to see a return to a farming industry dominated by smaller, locally-focused mixed farms and market gardens. Whether we could, post-brexit, adopt that as a policy objective is worth debating. But I suspect the answer from most of the farming community would be, “can’t be done without big tariffs/small quotas on imports.” And that’s directly contrary to the “global trader” model of our post-Brexit future.

    Put more bluntly, back to the future isn’t going to work.

  11. Somerjohn:

    I too would be happy on your three summary points.

    But it will be hard to achieve this stability post-Brexit when so many eyes are fixed on diverting the CAP subsidies away from farming. And the protection route of big tariffs/small quotas on imports would undermine the free-trade model with the non-EU world that the Brexit dreamers embrace.

    What is needed now is a clear statement from the Tory government that a similar system to CAP is envisaged post-Brexit, but with some limits on maximum acreage payments and more emphasis on conservation features.

    And that none of the present EU money will be diverted away from agriculture/horticulture.

    It`s getting too late to save the small farms and market gardens – the skills are becoming extinct, the land built on or amalgamated – so we certainly don`t want another set-back coming from the let-the-market-rip-freely brigade.

    I say that with some remembrance of cutting lettuce and bunching forced rhubarb in my youth.

  12. DAYWEL
    Good points. Much could be achieved by marginally better supermarket prices, which is where good industry representation could come in.


    It looks like Mrs May and Britain have, more friends in the EU than the UK Remainiac fifth columnists do.

    Does this photo look like one of people who aren’t secretly co-operating?

    Frau Merkel stated today that there is ‘zero indication (sic) that these talks will fail’, and has conceded that the ‘ball is now in the EU Court’ as well as in the UK’s.

    ‘Mutti’ also added that she is in “permanent conversation” with the British prime minister and that

    ”what I heard today was a confirmation of the fact that, in contrast to what you hear in the British press, the process is moving forward step by step . “You get the impression that after a few weeks you already have to announce the final product, and I found that — to be very clear – absurd”.

    Joseph Muscat, the Maltese Prime Minister, who has always been dismissive of Britain said that Mrs May’s performance was her “best yet”. Even Mr Varadkar has been praising her in public.

    I have always said that the fact that these talks are not moving forward publicly does not mean that they are not progressing privately. You do not negotiate serious matters like this by gobbing off in public.

    Far more has been going on behind the scenes than in front of them.

    And Organ Grinders are Frau Merkel and Macron, not the EU clerical monkeys.

    The best way of giving Mrs May the ammunition to get us the best deal possible, is for Eurosceptics to carry on telling the world that we are ready to Leave with No Deal at all.

    The Remainers, who are going around telling the world that we cannot possibly Leave without one are fifth columnists and are inciting the EU to offer is a terrible ‘take it or Leave it’ deal.

    75 years ago they’d have been put in internment camps.

    I’ve also been reading the advice that the Lawyers on both sides are offering This payment the EU are demanding could go to International Arbitration and we could agree to pay whatever the arbitrators say.

    The legal advice on both sides however, is that if it did, the arbitrators would find that the UK is obliged to pay virtually nothing, and definitely far less than Mrs May has offered.

    So think on EU. Give us a Free Trade Agreement and we’ll give you some money.


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