YouGov’s regular voting intention poll for the Times has topline figures of CON 41%(+1), LAB 42%(+1), LDEM 7%(-2). Fieldwork was Tuesday to Wednesday and changs are from early January.

The regular tracking question on “Bregret” finds 45% of respondents saying Britain was right to vote for Brexit, 44% think it was wrong. This is the first time YouGov have found more people saying right than wrong since last August, though I would caution against reading much into that. On average this question has been showing about 2% more people thinking it was the wrong decision than the right decision, but normal sample variation from poll to poll (the “margin of error”) means that with figures that close random chance alone should produce the occassional poll with “right” ahead, even if public opinion is actually unchanged. As ever, don’t get too excited over one poll, and wait to see if it is reflected in other polls.

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602 Responses to “YouGov/Times – CON 41, LAB 42, LD 7”

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  1. Should be enough for a majority

  2. Good Afternoon from a now sunny Bournemouth.

    NICK P.
    Hello to you, I think ED M was further ahead than JC at this stage, but on the other hand it is hard to see the Tories gaining much more.

  3. “Should be enough for a majority”

    Who for?

  4. Peak Corbyn:-)

  5. Updating my model I get the following:

    Lab 284 (+22)
    Con 280 (-38)
    SNP 48 (+13)
    LD 15 (+3)
    PC 3 (-1)

    Using the last YouGov all Scotland poll (12th – 16th Jan 2018) for Scotland it looks like this:

    Lab 296 (+34)
    Con 287 (-31)
    SNP 28 (-7)
    LD 16 (+4)
    PC 3 (-1)


    All money on another hung Parliament

  6. AW – any chance of some more interesting Brexit questions about the possible outcomes from negotiations?

    Some question(s) about whether or not people think A50 could be revoked, whether or not EU would allow us to stay on same/worse terms, whether or not voter would want to immediately rejoin via A49 on same/worse terms etc would be interesting as well.

    The hindsight question isn’t moving and although ‘Bregret’ might be worth tracking it tells us little about the future desire or intentions of voters.

  7. If anyone wants to play around with predictions there is a great online tool:
    As CMJ’s numbers show, make sure to open up Scotland and put those numbers in!

    @ CMJ – broadly agree your numbers. JIM JAM’s comments on last thread, which I also broadly agree with, show how important Scotland is to the outcome. The lower set of numbers you’ve posted would probably give Corbyn enough credibility to go it alone and not rely on SNP, the top set would probably make SNP far more demanding and any solo effort far less likely to last long – even though that scenario has a higher ABT number

    Of note though the bottom numbers give a “left” total of 327 and if we add CON, LDEM and DUP (assume stay at 10) you get 313 for “Centre-Right”. Given the higher rebel votes we’ve been seeing from LAB MPs that is a pretty thin margin and might require watering down of some of Corbyn+McDonnell’s plans or a stronger desire to ensure LAB-moderates are deselected before next GE and replaced with more loyal candidates (at the risk of backfiring with the electorate though)?

    CON only have one ‘friend’ although they are a very loyal friend. I very much doubt LDEM would offer CON any support on a vote by vote basis but as we’ve seen with DUP this time you might only need 10 MPs to have ‘kingmaker’ status and the numbers might be that close.

  8. Polls show that Labour under Corbyn is probably at the top of its range whereas the Tories with the unremitting bad publicity re brexit NHS and so on nowhere near the top of its range.
    If I was sitting in Tory HQ I might be forgiven in thinking that hanging on to 2022 is not only possible but likely. And depending on a reasonable deal over brexit winning against Corbyn in 2022 is more than possible, especially with a change of leadership, but even with May in charge a Corbyn lead party will struggle to win a majority.
    But whoever wins the next GE the days of landslide victories for any party is for the foreseeable future over.

  9. Boundary changes impact on seat numbers.

    If you click those on Electoral Calculus you see how much of a difference it makes. Roughly it would give CON 30 more seats than LAB versus a near tie using current seat boundaries. DUP would lose one MP and some CON MPs would lose a v.small number seats but LAB would be hit the hardest and to a lesser extent also SNP, LDEM might be the hardest in % terms losing almost half their MPs

    Clearly not priority #1 for CON right now but it will be a strong objective before the next GE as they’d be much closer to holding on to power with DUP (or alone) under the new boundaries.

  10. Turk

    “Polls show that Labour under Corbyn is probably at the top of its range whereas the Tories with the unremitting bad publicity re brexit NHS and so on nowhere near the top of its range.”

    Which polls? The expatriate right-wing loony polls?

  11. Cannot see any possibility of the boundary changes getting through this parliament.

  12. @ TURK – there is the somewhat significant event of Brexit that will have finished before next GE!

    We can’t be sure how much of LAB VI is Remain that seem to think Corbyn is going to stop Brexit and might change their mind by 2022 – probably becoming non-voter but possibly moving back to LDEM (or SNP in Scotland), maybe even moving to CON if Brexit is not the disaster that they still predict :)

    LAB partisans will claim some of CON-Leave might move to LAB once Brexit is done of course – possible perhaps?

    In the unlikely event of a GE before Brexit is completely finished then Corbyn will have to support a more Remain position and that might cost him a lot of seats in the Midlands-North and simply vote stack in safe LAB London and Uni seats.

  13. Too much water to flow under too many bridges between now and the next GE to really get any sense of where this is going. May could be a hero (a bit weird, as she’s probably prefer to be a heroine) Corbyn could be gone, or not gone, the NHS might implode, Brexit might have happened, or been stopped, Nigel Farage could have turned into a huge balloon with ‘Fart Now’ written across it, Scotland could have won the World Cup…..well, apart from the World Cup thing, anything could happen.

  14. NickP

    No just the regular polls that appear here most weeks, recently Corbyn has had a free run in the media over mainly the NHS and before that brexit but has failed to obtain anything like a lead in the polls. I believe it’s because Corbyns form of socialism doesn’t reach across the broad spectrum of voters or ages.
    The Tories have had taken some hard knocks of an inept GE a sceptical media regarding brexit and the latest NHS crises and yet it still runs Labour neck and neck in the polls.
    It’s perhaps easier to see how the Tories could do better than how Labour could.

  15. Trevor Warne

    “DUP would lose one MP”

    A leaked map from the NI Electoral Commission shows a revised boundary plan that would be likely to prevent SF gaining a seat from DUP.

    Whether that will happen or not – who knows? – but it is exercising partisan political discussion in NI.

    Meanwhile, Mary Lou McDonald will be the new President of SF, and that might mean a slightly different voting pattern in both parts of that divided Ireland.

  16. Alec

    Re World Cup

    True. The Final won’t be played until 7 July 2019.

  17. @Alec

    Too much water to flow under too many bridges between now and the next GE to really get any sense of where this is going.

    I fully agree.

    However, the exercise is useful to demonstrate what sort of polling numbers begin to look like a Labour majority, Conservative majority or hung parliament. The current numbers show that there needs to be a much larger difference between the Labour and Conservative numbers to form a majority government.

  18. Re: Scotland, the electionpolling site shows how marginal a lot of the seats are up there – i make it 46 out of 59 that were won by less than 10%? Not going to count the number in England and Wales won by less than 10% but i think it might be a bit over 100 out of 570 so a much lower proportion. Importance of Scotland to Labour’s prospects is shown well by the following page

    I suppose one extra thing in Scotland is tactical voting and campaigning. At the last election i got the impression that the Unionist parties largely focussed on different constituencies although i think that a few were probably genuine three way fights. With the SNP having a lower vote now (although still more than half the seats) and there being a hung parliament, maybe Labour and the Conservatives will fight against each other more?

    On that note, a quick link to the Rutherglen declaration which was the first Scottish result. Not one we got on the UK coverage i think but was featured on the Scottish results. Don’t think you will often see a Conservative candidate that happy with a Labour gain! (Felt a bit sorry for the SNP woman – can’t be easy to hear that you’ve lost your job and we are now going to go up on stage and announce it but such is the MP’s lot). Its at 3:14:20.

  19. I still don’t accept the premise that it’s that bad a polling environment for the Tories.

    The poll says the dominant issue is Brexit. It’s basically progressing. Roughly to timetable. To those who follow in enough detail, the Parliamentary process is going ok, with the Conservatives far less split than the Opposition.

    The Government in Chaos meme plays to some of the obsessed and the partisan. Outside that circle not so much. For the good reason it isn’t really true.

  20. It also follows that the Government might well get through to a post-Brexit election.

    In which case the key question then might be: is Labour just badly split and hopelessly Parliamentarily ill disciplined over Brexit or is it badly split per se.

  21. A reminder that the year before the 2015 GE Ed Miliband was typically 5-7 points ahead. On that basis JC has virtually no chance, especially if there is a change of leader on the Tory side. Interesting too that some of the local election results in the North are showing a swing back to the Tories.

    I think that the Tories will be firmly on the front foot next time after the debacle last year. I suspect that Labour on its present course will be back near the 2015 position and will possibly win the following election with a new leader.

  22. @ PeterW

    “I still don’t accept the premise that it’s that bad a polling environment for the Tories.”

    Fair enough, I agree, but I don’t think I’ve heard many people championing that premise here recently. If anything, the opposite. Are you referring to some other source?

    The polls are what they are, in as much as you can trust them, and as others have said, it seems all to play for right now. Although a GE is still a long way off, and they’re never a good guide, I’m still very much looking forward to the local elections in May. It could give us some insight into whether the polls are on the right tracks or not.

  23. Trigguy

    The local election results in Scotland in May are likely to be the subject of intense analysis by party researchers and serious political analysts [1] here.

    Although turn out will, inevitably, be lower than in a Scottish or UK GE, the preferential voting system of STV will give significant clues as to the direction of potential vote shifts in specific constituencies.

    With so many marginals, and the multi-dimensional nature of politics in Scotland, those indicators will be invaluable.

    [1] that excludes the posturing of every politician, and the writings of the polemical commentators who have the temerity to call themselves “journalists”.

  24. Trigguy

    Cancel that last comment! The LA elections were last year.

    I need a holiday!

  25. @TRIGUY
    guess it was mainly Turk’s comment but there’s still a general tone of “How are the Tories not lower” at times. And my answer is that it’s because on balance they’re managing the current hand they’ve been dealt ok. And undoubtedly better than Labour.
    Thanks for link on last thread re Article 50. Would just say it reinforces my view that the jury (or CJEU) is still out so anyone who says it’s black or white is full of it.

  26. Turk (6:31)
    “It’s perhaps easier to see how the Tories could do better than how Labour could.”

    I see where you’re coming from, but at the last GE despite the poor campaign the Tories gained over 2m votes compared to 2015, and the biggest share of the vote since 1983, so we could be near ‘peak tory’ as well as ‘peak Corbyn’.

    Oldnat (6:31)
    “Meanwhile, Mary Lou McDonald will be the new President of SF, and that might mean a slightly different voting pattern in both parts of that divided Ireland.”

    Do you think she might change the policy of not taking up Westminster seats? That would put the cat among the pigeons!

  27. Pete B

    Of course the fact May managed a Gain of nearly 2 million votes dispite a useless campaign could be seen as a pointer to what could be achieved if the Tories run a much better campaign in 2022.
    I think Tory fortunes are linked in with brexit if they get a reasonable result and the economy doesn’t go into free fall Labour will find that a very difficult hurdle to overcome, not that I think any party will gain a landslide but just as the Tories have had to deal with internal wrangling ,imo Labour will find just as much discourse within there own party as one faction seeks control over the the old Blair centralist wing of the party.

  28. Alec

    Another World Cup possibility. Scotland & NI qualified today.

  29. As per usual, ‘Latest Voting Intention’ 6 weeks out of date.

  30. Pete B

    SF at Westminster? I doubt it. Their voters are strongly against the idea.

    Representation in Dublin and Europe are important – but Westminster?

  31. @BarryP

    You could always look here, it’s not difficult:

    AW is busy, so what is the point in him duplicating what is freely available elsewhere?

  32. Pete B

    Of more potential interest is a proposal from 3 “elder statesmen” Unionist politicians (DUP, UUP, UKIP) that the three most contentious issues in re-creating a NI Assembly should be settled by a referendum in NI.

    The issues are – equal marriage : abortion : Irish Language Act.

    Too early to anticipate a response from SF, but might be worth keeping an eye on the idea.

  33. I’m surprised no-one seems to be discussing the fact that in the 2017 GE Labour closed the gap from 20% at the beginning of the campaign to 2% at the end.

    That is consistent with Corbyn being pretty poor at the business of maintaining support during everyday opposition, and pretty good at the business of drumming up support when it matters.

    So it strikes me as pretty complacent for Tories now to be saying, “level pegging at this stage is bad news for Corbyn.

    I’m not saying he’ll put on 18% again in the next campaign; clearly a lot of the low hanging fruit has been picked and is still in his basket. But I can’t see why 5% or more isn’t realistic, given his performance last time.

    Of course, as others have said, a lot is going to happen between now and the next GE. But that shouldn’t affect the ability of Corbyn to out-perform his current ratings in the next campaign.

  34. @ PeterW

    OK, I understand your comment better now. Yes, I think the public aren’t too fussed either way right now. No major disasters recently, just the usual Westminster intrigue that most completely ignore. And they are probably right to do so.

    How long this inertia will continue is difficult to say. I’m sure that the next year must bring more definite news, good or bad, about Brexit, which surely will have some effect.

  35. Andrew JM

    Actually only one Tory local election gain from Labour in the north since November. By some strange coincidence the only Tory Bolton MP appeared on the local BBC news complaining about pot holes a couple of days before their only gain in…..Bolton.

  36. Guylemot

    I don’t remember your posting before. If you have, my apologies for missing them. If new, then welcome.

    If you think your local BBC News is biased, then that perception is common.

    However, the sad reality is that local politicians (of every party) will always complain about the provision in their area, or the withdrawal of some local facility – even when their party is in control of the relevant decision making, or the decision actually leads to better provision (but a few miles further away)..

    Whether that has any effect on voting, I don’t know – but it seems unlikely.

  37. The Labour loss in Hulton, Bolton is of no surprise.

    Since the inception of current ward boundaries (2004) All seats were Tory until 2014 when UKIP gained one in 2014. In 2015 and 2016 Labour did gain Councillors there.

    In the by-election this happened:


    CON Toby Hewitt – 1,455
    GREEN James Tomkinson – 52
    LABOUR Rabiya Jiva – 1,179
    LIB DEM Derek Gradwell – 67
    UKIP Bev Fletcher – 190

    MAJORITY: 276 TURNOUT: 29.68%

    It ls looks like a UKIP collapse straight to Tory, on a low turnout due to appalling weather.

    Nothing to see here really.

  38. Vote with percentages:

    Hulton (Bolton) result:

    CON: 49.4% (+16.7)
    LAB: 40.1% (+3.0)
    UKIP: 6.5% (-18.0)
    LDEM: 2.3% (-0.2)
    GRN: 1.8% (-1.5)

  39. AW (and everyone into polling for a change),
    granted there is that pesky margin of error, which says there is virtually nothing here to talk about, no significant changes at all. But lets just theorise as if the numbers are precise (which is one possibility, after all)

    Slight boost to both main parties. Voters minds have been concentrated by something. This is the effect which took place throughout the election campaign. As in that campaign, a notch up in vote share is shown as a notch down in undecideds. The figures do not give comparisons from previous survey of DK/wnv by party vote last time, but the libs who showed a drop in support this time have a whopping 27% of former supporters now as undecideds, compared to 14% of con and 12% of lab, who saw current share rises.

    While on the point that former voters becoming dont knows is a sign of discontent by supporters, I note remain voters DK stands at 13% and leave at 19%. While I appreciate leave/remain is only indirectly correlated to con/lab, the hindsight question gives a pretty strong correlation between tthese groups at around 2/3. There might therefore potentially be some more labour support lurking in these ‘dont knows’ who are dissatisfied with leave. Alternatively, it might be just this group of dissatisfied leavers who have deserted the tories already, and potentially could be won back.

    I see there is a higher number of WNV/DK in the lower age groups, who by inference from other questions are potentially more attracted to lab/remain. There seems to have been a consensus that last time out, increased youth turnout was significant, and these numbers suggest there is still potential there.

    Theresa May had a tiny rise in best PM, again from dont know. The under 24s went for JC, the 25-49 went dont know, and the 50 and above went TM. Seems to be a battleground there in 25-49s who are uncertain which way to go. The ongoing argument about whether there are human reasons making people more conservative with age, or social reasons which impact different age groups differently.

    73% of tories have the EU as most important issue, about the same as the percentage saying it is right to leave. I suggest that most people holding a strong view it is wrong to leave have already abandoned the tory party.

    Labour had top issue health 60% then EU 56%, and most probably have collected the ‘wrong to leave voters’ in their tally listing this issue. Ithink I remember EU dropping to third place for labour, and that relative to others it has come up a bit in this poll. Perhaps in both cases it is renewed debate about the EU which has driven the uptick of support.

    Slight rise in disapproval how the government is handling negotiations. Leave supporters break half and half doing well or badly. Remain supporters think they are doing badly.

    A suggestion why conservatives are doing a little better recently: they have changed policy from hard brexit to soft brexit. Hard brexit proved a resounding vote loser in the election. I just checked the previous times poll, and I see leave voters have moved from 48/41 saying the government is negotiating badly, to now 42% badly 43%well

    Perhaps the right/wrong to leave question is affected by the kind of brexit the governmnt seems set upon, and a soft brexit is exactly what some of those people voted for, whereas they reject hard Brexit.

    Interesting whether some who voted for a hard Brexit will now consider remain preferable to soft Brexit.

  40. @ Oldnat

    “Of more potential interest is a proposal from 3 “elder statesmen” Unionist politicians (DUP, UUP, UKIP) that the three most contentious issues in re-creating a NI Assembly should be settled by a referendum in NI.
    The issues are – equal marriage : abortion : Irish Language Act.”

    Very interesting if taken up: I imagine that if this was done it would be the first votes (on abortion and equal marriage) that would not split on purely sectarian lines. I would think the major groupings would be based on old v young and rural v urban. Still sectarian on the Irish Language though so I think that may be a reason why SF don’t go for it (that and the fact that it has been thought up by the other side).

  41. Turk

    “recently Corbyn has had a free run in the media”

    I take it you don’t get the Mail, the Sun, the Express, the Telegraph, the Times etc. in America.

  42. Oh, perhaps I should add this. Voters make up their minds as matters unfold, of course. I dont know whether there has been a shift towards support for soft brexit rather than hard. Difficult to track, because when we started Brexit there were no such positions. Tories have tried hard to eliminate the perception that there are two possible courses, hard and soft, which I would characterise as hard-total break with EU, soft as essentially still belonging to the european trading arrangements and following those rules.

    However, ‘have cake and eat it’ still predominates much discussion. I doubt the public is clear that the implication of a soft brexit is inevitably also following EU rules. I just suggested that the tory move to soft Brexit might account for their slight poll boost. But future developments making clear that our influence over the rules we would be following would be much less under soft brexit than membership, might cause further party support changes. (both hard leave deserting the tories, and soft leave becoming remain)

    Paradoxiacally, I am suggesting a rise in support for leave now might be one step on the path to remaining, because in reality it represents a rejection of hard leave, and might also become a rejection of soft leave as the details firm up.

  43. Further update on Hulton.

    The new ward was created in 2004, and was 100% blue until 2015 and 2016 when Labour won, when UKIP polled 25% and 29%, splitting the Tory vote.

    The locals this year are vs 2014, when UKIP polled strongly and gained many seats. If Hulton is typical of the unwinding of UKIP, this suggests that TM might have a good night in May.

  44. @ CMJ

    “this suggests that TM might have a good night in May”

    Yep, could be, will be interesting to see what happens. It’s worth catching the opening article on Broadcasting House this morning, musing on the apparent demise of UKIP. Given the mess UKIP are in, it seems certain that on the time-scale of May 2018, UKIP voters are likely to be heading back to Con (and some to Lab I guess). But the bigger question is, in the longer term, is there still 10ish% of the vote out there waiting for a viable right-wing party to arise (be it UKIP reborn, or another party)? I think it’s unlikely myself*, but it’s something the Tories probably should worry about.

    * I feel what made UKIP work as a political force was its united desire to leave the EU, the other motives seemed rather diverse and contradictory.

  45. Snippets of a new Opinium poll for the Observer are in their Jeremy Corbyn under pressure to shift Labour policy on Brexit today. No mention on the Opinium site as yet, but the numbers quoted are as follows:

    Opinium found that among all potential Labour voters at the next election, 56% want the party to back permanent membership of the single market and customs union, while just 13% think it should remain opposed; 30% had no firm view either way.

    Among younger voters, the balance in favour was even clearer: 63% of all “young professionals” who are potential Labour backers were in favour, against 10% who were opposed. Of the “young blue collar workers” who might back Corbyn’s party, 61% were in favour of the change against just 4% who were against.

    Significantly, even among Labour voters who backed Leave, 37% said they want Corbyn to support permanent single market and customs union membership compared with just 26% who did not.

    Some 51% of Labour’s potential pool of support backs a second referendum on the final Brexit deal, against 23% who oppose the idea.

    Overall, most voters think that both the Labour and Tory positions on Brexit are unclear. Only a quarter (26%) think Labour’s position is clear, while 60% think its position is unclear. The Conservatives – who are committed to taking the UK out of the single market and customs union after a transition period – fare only slightly better. Just over a third (36%) think the Tories are clear on Brexit while just over half (53%) think their position is unclear.

    56%: Potential Labour voters in favour of the single market. Only 13% of those polled opposed it.
    63%: Potentially Labour-voting young professionals who support single market membership

  46. May’s latest pronouncements on her apparent agenda of making the economy work for everyone –

    It’s hard not to be a little cynical, as all her previous pronouncements have been followed first by inaction and then later by quietly dropping or watering down key pledges, and this is clearly a reaction to events, rather than a thought out, longterm plan independently hatched by someone who genuinely cares about the issue.

    However, it fits the general direction of politics at present. Amongst all the discussions over where the polls are, whether Labour should be further ahead and if the current polls are good for the Conservatives, this general direction is telling.

    Whatever the different parties positions in the polls really are, it’s very hard to envisage a Conservative party opening a decisive majority winning lead by returning to a more right wing, free market agenda. They might be able to score off a Corbyn led Labour party, depending on circumstances, but it really is rather difficult to envisage the kind of free market, hard line Brexit scenario favoured by more traditional Tories, based on free trade, tax cuts, deregulation, privatisation, small state etc.

    Whether it’s the NHS, Grenfell or corporate raids on workers pension funds, the policy tide seems to be running more for the left of centre agenda. May seems to be making a half hearted attempt to cling onto this bandwagon, but it’s unnatural territory for a Tory PM to occupy. Against this backdrop, I think it is wise to pay attention to what someone pointed out upthread, that Labour gained around 18% during the last election campaign.

    This could have been to do with May’s missteps and generally poor performance, or it might have been more down to the general drift of politics to a more left of centre point. The shift away from automatic electoral support for austerity has been notable in the last year or so.

    Simply assuming Conservatives will be better managed next time might be relevant, or it might just mean they are alot more effective at getting out a message to voters that they don’t want to hear.

  47. People elsewhere are much exorcised about Mandatory Reselections for MPs. Some even refer to them as power-grab.

    What is their opinion on Primaries for almost all electoral positions in the USA ? Presumably, they believe sitting Senators and Representatives should be selected for life and Primaries dispensed with !

  48. Amusing looking back and seeing how many people predicting the likely result of a General Election some unknown time in the future were the ones predicting a Tory landslide last June. One thing we all should have learnt from that result is there are so many unknown factors that we simply don’t know. I’m predicting nothing.

  49. Looking at the seats UKIP won in 2014 in the locals, the ones that had the Tories second go blue if there is a UKIP to Conservative swing of the following:

    0.5% – 4 seats
    2.5% – 32 seats
    5% – 46 seats
    7.5% – 55 seats
    18.5% – 65 seats (all of them them)

    Labour second (swing UKIP to Labour required):

    0.5% – 4 seats
    2.5% – 32 seats
    5% – 52 seats
    7.5% – 66 seats
    18.5% – 81 seats (all of them them)

    I know that some seats have already been lost due to standing down etc.

    There are also some genuine three way UKIP, Conservative and Labour marginals too.

    I think UKIP will lose most of these seats, however.

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