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. Very interesting polling. I suppose – to be fair to the leave side (which I am not on) – it was always to be expected that there would be low points at the negotiation stage of Brexit.

  2. Profhoward You are the class standard for the term “in denial”. The negotiations are a disaster, the country is heading down the tubes, and you can only comment that there are bound to be some low points.
    For myself, I predict that the slow move to the remain side will accelerate along with the disapproval of the government and that this is not a low point but a turning point.

  3. @ ProfHoward

    “there would be low points at the negotiation stage of Brexit”

    Fair enough, what worries me is that the negotiation will take several years, and it will consistent entirely of low points. No evidence to the contrary as yet on that score.

  4. Strabilla,

    I am not in fact a “leave” supporter but I always expected that – if we were to vote to leave – that negotiations would appear hopeless at times before ultimately being consummated more satisfactorily than feared at those low points.

  5. Charles
    I responded to you on the previous thread.

  6. Trigguy.
    You may be right. I believe we will be negotiating terms of cohabitation with the EU for many years after formal exit.

  7. Agree with the comments in general on here. I suspect we will not reach a deal with the EU and that our continuing economic struggles will continue. Growth forecasts lower than Greece over the next five years are pretty dismal.

    I suspect that by March 2019 a considerable majority will be against Brexit. Unfortunately it’s not like a General Election where you can kick out the governing party every five years. Brexit could be for keeps.

  8. Charles: Can anyone explain to me why on earth the economic future outside the EU is going to be so bright? And if it is why couldn’t we have had it without all this disruption?

    Good questions, which I honestly don’t think anyone has answered convincingly.

    Most of those who appear optimistic about brexit assume some sort of unleashing of hitherto suppressed animal spirits amongst British businesses. There’s maybe a feeling that they have become featherbedded and complacent, and that a good shock will wake them up. And that a plethora of new, favourable free trade deals will provide great new opportunities.

    Well, maybe. But leopards don’t easily change their spots, and I think you’re right to be sceptical.

  9. http://news.sky.com/story/micheal-martin-brexit-makes-hard-irish-border-inevitable-11081416

    I think this might well be correct, that the EU would have difficulty with no customs border between UK and Ireland, if the UK is outside the EU customs area.

    We keep hearing both David Davis and Theresa May use the words ‘ immaginative or innovative solutions’, but i am not sure the EU knows what they mean exactly.

  10. Good evening all from a very mild Stevenage.

    I like visiting UKPR when I’m in Stevenage. .it sort of has a feel good factor to it unlike that horrific X Factor.

    Now, moving on. Top line polling still strong for Labour and ol Corby is just as popular as TM for who would make best PM.
    I watched part of prime ministers questions and ol Corby certainly has a spring in his step and seemed to have been empowered by a successful party conference unlike the calamity May in Manchester.

    Moving on further. ..So according to this poll more people think Brexit was a bad idea than good. I voted Brexit and to be honest the whole thing has been one big botched mess.

    I’m no fan of the EU for numerous reasons but we clearly don’t have the right people managing our exit so on that basis it was a mistake to leave.

  11. SOMERJOHN
    “Most of those who appear optimistic about brexit assume some sort of unleashing of hitherto suppressed animal spirits amongst British businesses. There’s maybe a feeling that they have become featherbedded and complacent, and that a good shock will wake them up. And that a plethora of new, favourable free trade deals will provide great new opportunities.
    Well, maybe. But leopards don’t easily change their spots, and I think you’re right to be sceptical.”
    Your post appears to place the weight of importance on attitudes. The reasons for poor economic projections post-Brexit are themselves economic and derived from present and actual economic criteria,e.g.the value of the pound, credit ratings, productivity, gdp,skills supply and the behaviour of labour, It is not the leopard’s spots or attitudesof business which would be critical to whether the UK business sector would make Brexit work, but its economic consequences and particularly on their terms of trade and their markets.

  12. Viewed from the outside over here in the US it’s no wonder people over in the UK are beginning to lose a little faith in brexit, mainly when the UK media is so unrelenting negative in there coverage of anything to do with brexit.
    It seems at least from here that any attempt at a balanced view has been abandoned, sacrificed either on self serving Political views or because the person owning the station is a remainer or both
    It’s rather sad to see the rather spineless view that the Uk cannot survive without the EU and nothing but disaster can come of leaving but I suppose it’s to be expected with the present crop of political pygmies in both the main parties bickering like children and a generation who have known only the EU and believe a federal states of Europe is preferable to a independent UK.

  13. I read in the Telegraph that the DUP are pressurising Theresa May to deal with the “menace” of Phillip Hammond to Brexit.

    What a fix the UK is in, having a small Ulster party trying to dictate policy.

    But I suspect the DUP will not carry all their voters in this attitude, and maybe will endanger their own position in NI.

  14. TURK
    “Viewed from the outside over here in the US it’s no wonder people over in the UK are beginning to lose a little faith in brexit, mainly when the UK media is so unrelenting negative in there coverage of anything to do with brexit”
    ——–
    Yeah will spare a thought for voters of Scottish independence. Them poor peeps have been putting up with negativity from the media for decades so I guess it’s time for UK nationalists to feel the pain.

  15. ALLAN CHRISTIE
    “we clearly don’t have the right people managing our exit …”
    They are the same people who engineered it. This may have been for reasons which either signified incompetence, including economic illiteracy, or because they saw it as the road to the embedding in the UK’s economy of the factors which have led to an acceptable inequality. This would, for example, be a philosophy which in the past has justified low wages and high unemployment, and an unequal educational system.

  16. rjw and Somerjohn

    Thanks for answer to my question,

    I am older than RJW (20 years older it seems) and I am slightly consoled by brighter prospects for Labour, But not that much, We could have moved to the left without Brexit and will be tempted to all sorts of right wing shifts to survive with itl

    I will add ‘healthy shock’ to the list of explanations I don’t believe. 80% of the economy is services, How will the shock benefit that. We can sell to China at the moment. We just don’t. And are we going to develop the products, contacts and linguistic skills we need to do it? The falling pound may help a bit but we have had that benefit and its more like feather bedding than cold bath therapy,

    But surely someone has an answer. There are clever leavers on this site not to mention John Redwood, Roger Bootle, Vacuum Dyson and even the Pindar loving Boris, Why can’t they come up with a plausible answer?

  17. TURK

    That really is nonsense. The Express, Mail,Sun and Torygraph are cheerleading Brexit all the way. However it has become very clear that those leading negotiations from our side are unfit for purpose.

  18. IIRC the call for “imaginative solutions” to the Irish border question post-Brexit was first made by the EU in their initial position papers.

    That the UK simply parrots that call, but without much practical suggestions as to how such imaginative solutions would work, does seem to be an abrogation of their duty to protect all UK citizens (not just Tory voters, or a narrow majority in E&W).

    The Special Economic Zone status for NI would seem to be a possibility, but unless the UK propose it as a mechanism, then it is but one of many “solutions” to an intractable problem, that have been suggested by those not in the narrow club of the UK Cabinet which has to propose such things!

    From the geographic crossbreaks London and Scotland have been consistently more pro-EU than the wild lands of unreconstructed E&W.

    But, if the wee samples are anywhere near representative, then Scotland being more determined than London that the decision was wrong (23% Right v 67% Wrong against 33% Right v 57% Wrong in London) probably tells us something about the prevailing attitude,

  19. R Huckle.

    ”I think this might well be correct, that the EU would have difficulty with no customs border between UK and Ireland, if the UK is outside the EU customs area.”

    Agree except A Customs area with the EU may well be enough.

  20. There is an advert on this site saying that the british government is issuing free brxit checks to the british people. is this the answer to my question.

    @turk It is not my impression that the British Press is anti-brexit. The ones that you read may be but I guess you don’t go for the mass circulation ones.

  21. A second referendum might not be a farfetched proposition as some people try to make out. If both parties remain divided on the issue a second referendum might be an attractive vehicle to get them off the hook.

  22. R HUCKLE

    Thanks for the Sky News link. Unsurprising that Martin was underwhelmed. Good satire re Davis & May, though.

  23. OLD NAT
    “London and Scotland have been consistently more pro-EU”

    Or, rather, they ave been and consistency continue to be status-quo, primarily for economic reasons but also for reasons of cultural, political and social stability, and benefit and means of the maintaining of peace, for which the EU has provided a structure and mechanisms for the past half-century. That is not the same as “the EU”.

  24. @Turk
    “It seems at least from here that any attempt at a balanced view has been abandoned, sacrificed either on self serving Political views or because the person owning the station is a remainer or both”

    The fly in the ointment (as we must say nowadays apparently) is that the BBC is the most influential broadcaster bt far, and it is not privately owned. It is blatantly pro-Remain and staffed largely by self-styled ‘liberal elite’ people who are wildly out of touch with ordinary folks.

    @John Pilgrim
    “This may have been for reasons which either signified incompetence, including economic illiteracy, or because they saw it as the road to the embedding in the UK’s economy of the factors which have led to an acceptable inequality. This would, for example, be a philosophy which in the past has justified low wages and high unemployment, and an unequal educational system.”

    If we assume that Brexit will result in fewer poorly-qualified and low-paid workers from eastern Europe being here, then surely unemployment will reduce still further and there will be greater scope for wages to increase.
    ——————————-
    @various folks
    The Irish question is obviously very difficult. I understand that around 60% of Eire’s trade is with the UK, so to me the logical thing would be for them to leave the EU as well, especially if the UK leaving would mean that Eire’s contributions to the EU budget would have to rise significantly.

    G’night all.

  25. “The Irish question is obviously very difficult. I understand that around 60% of Eire’s trade is with the UK, so to me the logical thing would be for them to leave the EU as well, ”

    Or for UK to remain in the Customs Union and Single Market. If we did this then it would completely resolve the issue in hand.

  26. Pete B

    “The fly in the ointment (as we must say nowadays apparently) is that the BBC is the most influential broadcaster bt far, and it is not privately owned. It is blatantly pro-Remain and staffed largely by self-styled ‘liberal elite’ people who are wildly out of touch with ordinary folks.”

    Does that include Laura Kuenssberg? Have you ever read what the Left think of her and the overwhelming pro-Tory bias in the BBC?

  27. NORBOLD

    Quite. Andrew Neill,Laura Kuenssberg,David Dimbleby, John Pienaar, Chris Patten….the BBC are stuffed full of socialists.

  28. PETE B
    “If we assume that Brexit will result in fewer poorly-qualified and low-paid workers from eastern Europe being here, then surely unemployment will reduce still further and there will be greater scope for wages to increase.”

    We probably,on the evidence,cannot make that assumption. The likelihood is there would be more Bangladeshi, who are at present the lowest paid workers and have the highest level of unemployment.
    Further there is a general understanding that unemploynent, at about 4.5%, is at the lowest in Europe, and a tenth that in the Third World, about as close to full employment as we are likely to see.

  29. John Pilgrim

    I accept your amended phrasing, but I was just using the shorthand that is extensively used by historians when they talk about support for the French alliance or the English Alliance or the Hanseatic alliance.

    For a small country (especially one with a dominant neighbour) the game is always about the best way to maximise advantage from whatever circumstances exist.

    That reality hasn’t changed in centuries!

    Only really foolish people imagine that their country can bend the world to their will – unless they have overwhelming military might, and the willingness to use it to crush opposition.

    Perhaps the majority in E&W are no longer foolish? ?

  30. John Pilgrim: Your post appears to place the weight of importance on attitudes. The reasons for poor economic projections post-Brexit are themselves economic and derived from present and actual economic criteria,e.g.the value of the pound, credit ratings, productivity, gdp,skills supply and the behaviour of labour,

    I agree that pretty well all the rational economic analysis points to a brexit disaster. That being so, defenders of brexit have to fall back on faith, hope and some mystical transformation in the energy and effectiveness of British business that will be unleashed by the brexit shock. If I didn’t make it sufficiently clear that I think they are delusional in this hope, I apologise.

  31. OLD NAT
    “Only really foolish people imagine that their country can bend the world to their will – unless they have overwhelming military might, and the willingness to use it to crush opposition.
    Perhaps the majority in E&W are no longer foolish? ?”

    Or they do not agree with that perspicacious US professor who has written an article saying that the colonial empire was a good thing, and should have continued for another hundred years, instead of the neo-colonialism which has prevailed for the last fifty.
    He is right about the latter, of course.

  32. I am very much on the leave side. It would be surprising to me if there were not some who voted Leave who regret it enough to wish it had gone the other way.

    The EU’s position in the negotiations is more negative than pretty much anything predicted by the Remain side in the negotiations. Did anyone predict a refusal to negotiate? Or the €60bn+ plus bill as a thank you for all the money we’d given them over the years? I never believed in the “cake and eat it” approach, but did believe that there would be something vaguely like the sort of negotiations you’d have seen the rUK have with Scotland.

    It would be surprising if a significant number of Leave voters could not be convinced that it would have been better not to have gone down this route.

    It may be that the EU is attempting to teach us a lesson in our powerlessness and insignificance. It may succeed. But there is a strong difference between wishing you had not started a fight because the opponent turns out not to be interested in a bit of sparring but wants to knock your teeth out. It is another thing to give up once the fight has started.

    Hence the disparity between the answer when the question is posed in terms of regrets or going back to 23.6.16, and where the question is about what to do now.

    It does however leave Brexit very vulnerable to a superficial “generous offer” to throw in our hand – providing the EU continues to refuse to negotiate, or (more likely) reveals layer after layer of demands. Hence why Labour avoids ever criticising the EU’s positions even in a timid fashion, it is vital that EU can be presented at the end as being magnanimous in the face of British incompetence – and not as having given us a good kicking.

  33. John Pilgrim

    Since Scotland decided to join the (then) English Empire in order to maximise the economic opportunities that it created (and they were unable to create for themselves due to English antipathy), and did rather well out of the exploitation of the colonies, I’m sure many would have wished that it had continued.

    Indeed, the first political meeting that I went to in Ayrshire in the early 70s concerned the closure of a local mill – and SLab councillors and trade unionists were vociferous about how terrible it was that Egypt was processing its own cotton, and doing them out of a job!

    Self-interest and ethical behaviour seldom sit well together (and it’s coincidental when they do!)

  34. @Allan Christie: “I’m no fan of the EU for numerous reasons but we clearly don’t have the right people managing our exit so on that basis it was a mistake to leave.”

    The EU’s public diplomacy effort has been rather relentlessly based on this message.

    But I think that the UK could have ministers with the talents of Metternich and Talleyrand, and it would not help. The EU knows that, if the matter came to a crisis point, they almost certainly have a majority of the House of Commons in their corner. This is why the EU is free to replay the tactics that Varoufakis describes – why negotiate if you know the other side will give in?

    Why was a House of Commons elected that essentially has the EU’s back in the negotiations?

    Because what really at matters in a representation democracy is how many voters care sufficiently about an issue to change their votes. How many care so little that they are fobbed off with vague reassurances by a party which plainly will use any excuse to go off in the other direction?

    Hence, Brexit hurt the Tories in Remain areas, but barely helped them in Labour voting Brexit areas.

    Mr Wells often reminds us of the uselessness of surveys on what might prompt people to change their votes. I think we have very clear information on the effect of Brexit from the result in the election.

  35. Charles, I keep asking that question, clearly you’ve not been paying attention because apparently German car makers are going to kick off and save us, and if they don’t then we’ll take British Leyland out of mothballs and the world will clamour for the relaunched Allegro, while the electric car market will be catered for by the mkII Sinclair C5.

    Meanwhile Scotland can export snow for most of the year, and N Ireland can get rich on collecting tariffs on livestock sixteen times in each direction as farmers move their sheep from one field to another.

    Wales can market itself as a unit of measurement.

    I’m fairly sure that’s the explanation that was given recently, and it put my mind at rest.

  36. Joseph1832

    “did believe that there would be something vaguely like the sort of negotiations you’d have seen the rUK have with Scotland.”

    You must be relieved that the EU is being so much more reasonable with the UK than Westminster said it would be with regard to Scotland then!

  37. JOSEPH1832
    “It does however leave Brexit very vulnerable to a superficial “generous offer” to throw in our hand – providing the EU continues to refuse to negotiate, or (more likely) reveals layer after layer of demands. Hence why Labour avoids ever criticising the EU’s positions even in a timid fashion, it is vital that EU can be presented at the end as being magnanimous in the face of British incompetence – and not as having given us a good kicking.”
    That assumption may be necessary to your argument, which is based on Brexit and its negotiation being accepted to be reasonable, thus permitting you to think it is a known and arguable body of reasonable propositions, having a consistency and life of its own, and thus “vulnerable”.
    If,however it is a package of unfounded and damaging propositons and does not equate with either the UK’s or the EU’s interest, then it deserves to be dismantled, and any vulnerability can be seen to be derived from its own irrationality and wrong-headedness or worse.

  38. joseph1832: Did anyone predict a refusal to negotiate?

    We agreed to a two-stage process, where moving to the second (trade) stage depended on sufficient progress in the first stage.

    There have been first stage negotiations. They haven’t got very far. That is not a refusal to negotiate. Can you, for instance, explain what the UK has offered in terms of the NI border that would represent a satisfactory solution, and which the EU has unreasonably rejected?

  39. TheExterminatingDalek

    “Meanwhile Scotland can export snow for most of the year”

    Why else would Sturgeon have been attending the Arctic Circle Conference in Reykjavik?

    https://arcticeconomiccouncil.com/

  40. OLDNAT
    Self-interest and ethical behaviour seldom sit well together (and it’s coincidental when they do!)
    No, I think it’s called trades unionism, and sat very well with colonial empire.

  41. @ PROFHOWARD
    “Or for UK to remain in the Customs Union and Single Market. If we did this then it would completely resolve the issue in hand.”

    Yes, it would, but we would have to adhere to the principle of free movement i.e. new arrivals from the EU have full access to our welfare system.

    If free movement meant no passports, it would be so straightforward.

  42. Thanks Mike, I’d overlooked all those other rabid Corbynistas….

  43. John Pilgrim

    In my example, they certainly did – but it equally applies to many other groups.

    The finance industry would be a notable example, as would the Tory politicians who hide their extensive land holdings and other wealth in tax havens.

    I’ve always been disinclined to believe anyone who suggests that a particular group is “ethical” and others “unethical”, just because it suits their own particular (and self-interested) selection of ethics.

  44. OLD NAT
    A group from the International Institute of Environment and Development held a fringe meeting at the Labour Party Blackpool Conference in 1994, to argue for controls on carbon emission and CFs to stop damage to the ozone layer. They were shouted down by (drunk) union members from Sellafield, who hadn’t cottoned on to the fact that their argument and the evidence was in favour of the nuclear industry. So a case of ethical ideas, sitting badly with self-interest and sheer bl–dy ignorance. However, on being shouted at variously as daft b-ggers and ignorant s-ds, they retreated to the bar for the rest of the evening.

  45. jonesinbangor

    “we would have to adhere to the principle of free movement i.e. new arrivals from the EU have full access to our welfare system. ”

    You’ve been reading the Daily Mail again!

    The requirements of free movement are just that non-citizens must be treated in the same way as the citizens of the receiving state.

    Not much of a problem then (at least in England) –

    No one can go to A&E unless referred by an overworked GP

    Be a minute late for an appointment, and be sanctioned for months.

    Fortunately, few migrants from the EU would face such problems – they work hard, pay more in taxes, and claim less than the natives.

    Since the UK successfully treats the poor like sh!t, then it would satisfy the Free Movement principle by treating claimant migrants in the same way.

  46. John Pilgrim

    :-)

    Spending the evening in the bar sounds like a rational response to that.

  47. @ OLDNAT

    I assume that post is somewhat….tongue in cheek?

    It’s not reading the Daily Mail, it’s a genuine concern that hard pressed Tax Payers are disadvantaged several times over
    1. Through up front contributions to the Brussels budget;
    2. Followed by subsidies to the wages (Tax Credits, Family Allowance etc) of new arrivals being paid minimum wages
    3. The whole vicious circle of an increasingly low wage / low investment /poor productivity economy – to the advantage of whom?

  48. @ OLDNAT

    I assume that post is somewhat….tongue in cheek?

    It’s not reading the Daily Mail, it’s a genuine concern that hard pressed Tax Payers are disadvantaged several times over
    1. Through up front contributions to the Brussels budget;
    2. Followed by subsidies to the wages (Tax Credits, Family Allowance etc) of new arrivals being paid minimum wages
    3. The whole vicious circle of an increasingly low wage / low investment /poor productivity economy – to the advantage of whom?

  49. jonesinbangor
    Ultimately what @Old Nat describes in the economic basis of international labour movement under the Single Market,but its logic is not derived from the EU but from an understanding of wages as being made up of the monetary wage and the social wage: the latter including access to social services and welfare, health,education and housing.
    The system is defeated and leads to popular resistance if a participating country does not invest in the services and infrastructure which it requires, or which has such poor governance and such a poor structure for distribution of investment and returns that pockets high low wage immigration occur jointly with deprivation.

  50. OLD NAT
    “Spending the evening in the bar sounds like a rational response to that.”
    Yes,they weren’t bad lads, and we recognised that they had good intentions. We just did not want the nice intellectuals from London to be bullied.

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