The latest YouGov poll for the Times has topline figures of CON 43%(+1), LAB 39%(-3), LDEM 8%(+2). Fieldwork was Monday to Tuesday, changes are from last week. The full tables are here.

The big risk when watching opinion polls is to pay too much attention to exciting looking outliers and not enough to run-of-the-mill polls showing not much has changed. Polls have a margin of error, and normal sample variation spits out unusual results sometimes even when public opinion is actually unchanged. Before one gets too excited about an unusual or interesting looking poll one should wait to see if it is replicated in other polls or is just a blip. Sure, this could be the start of the Tories opening up a lead, but it could just be random noise. Given the government’s current travails, I think it’s more likely to be noise, but we shall see.

As ever, the thing to watch is the trend across the polls as a whole. So far 2018 has produced two polls showing small Tory leads, three polls showing the parties equal, five polls showing small Labour leads, suggesting that the actual picture is that the Conservatives and Labour have very similar levels of support. That itself is interesting – the Conservative government often seem paralysed by infighting and are doing very little except for Brexit (which most people think they are doing badly). Yet they remain equal with the opposition when past governments stuck in similar mires – such as those of Gordon Brown or John Major – trailed badly. I can see a couple of possible explanations – it could just be that the public aren’t paying attention, there is so little happening in politics and they are so turned off that they aren’t noticing this stuff. Alternatively, it could be that people are just lined up along EU divisions – for now, the Conservatives are the party that’s delivering Brexit, so those who want Britain to leave are sticking with the Tories. A third possibility is that Labour have reached a ceiling in their support – Jeremy Corbyn may be very popular among Labour supporters, but he is anathema to others and the alternative of Corbyn’s Labour is propping up Conservative support that might otherwise be faltering. Naturally, these are not mutually exclusive.

Meanwhile, in the interests of reporting the non-exciting poll figures, the YouGov tracker on whether Brexit was the right or wrong decision has returned to normality after an unusual figure last week. 43% think it was the right decision, 44% the wrong decision – typical of recent months.


553 Responses to “YouGov/Times – CON 43%, LAB 39%, LDEM 8%”

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  1. Mike Pearce,
    “The Tories are far more divided over Brexit than Labour and are openly at war with each other.”

    I have argued before that this might be attractive to voters, not discourage them. There are at least three positions on brexit, soft hard and remain, and tribal tory voters might be in any camp. So if some prominent members of the party are still promoting each camp, it would have the effect of encouraging all camps to stick with the tories.

    Strategically, i’d suggest it is an excellent idea for the tories to show disunity at this point, in public at least. In private it would make sense for them to be united, that their strategy is to show public disagreement.

    Bigfatron, (TW, Alec, and those in the economic discussion)
    “@TW
    You’re misleading people AGAIN – your basic maths was just wrong.”

    TW, you keep making detailed economic arguments about Brexit. Despite that you know these can only be estimates and potentially subject to huge errors. Yet you seek to whittle down the cost of Brexit. It might be suited to an academic debate on the best figures to put in a published paper, but it doesnt help your case here. Its all ‘how many angels on the head of a pin’ stuff. A variation on the theme of discrediting experts, by missing seeing the wood for the the trees. Brexit has cost a lot of money and will cost a lot more. That is the fact.

    Those politically committed understand that the economics will sway voters minds, so it is to the interest of remain to demonstrate clear losses, and to leave to obscure the issues.

    Personally, I pointed out a couple of issues which have not been picked up. One, in the debate on GDP nationally or per capita. You argued that per capita growth made no difference, since it was more money but divided between more people and cancelled out. I and others argued that nationally it makes a real difference in considering the national finances how big the pot is. But on a personal level, a per capita average of GDP is quite meaningless, and the important question is how much reaches the average citizen. I created an example how immigration could be a real benefit to the average Uk citizen, far more than implied by the average GDP figure. Because, we exploit the cheap labour of immigrants to benefit those already citizens.

    And then I discussed the question of industry simply leaving the UK. None of these estimates bandied about seem to consider how much industry will leave the Uk because of Brexit. This has always been my chief concern economically. Its obvious this will happen. In as much as government can influence such things, it is even policy to allow it to happen!

    But quite honestly, I fancy the nationalist and racist issue is much more important to brexit than many like to credit. The news item that the most original inhabitants of the Uk in recent times had dark skin and blue eyes was most amusing, since very few people living here now would fit that description, yet many were motivated by nationalist and racist sentiments to vote leave to keep out aliens. Britishness is a myth.

    Again, the government policy on reducing immiration is falling apart, because a plan to limit immigration would have the effect of starving the nation of essential workers, like nurses and doctors (but also farm labour and cleaners). While we could train these ourselves, government is patently refusing to do so, but even if we did, we once again currently benefit from cheap imported labour. The policy proposed by the government is a con, just as it was over the last 7 years, when essentially its official aims were precisely the same yet failed to limit any immigration. The tories must understand that their policy cannot possibly work, and this is yet another reason behind my arguments that their private strategy is to stop Brexit.

  2. Trevor warne,
    “Speaking of misleading though, let’s check in on Deutsche Bank jobs news”

    I am getting very tired of this propaganda war. No one knows what the results of brexit will be (if it even happens), because no one knows what the future relationship of UK to EU will be. While it is sensible to discuss alternative cases, any particular announcements simply reflect the news of the day as the propaganda war rages.

    The UK can remain a member, and no jobs will be lost.

    the UK could enter a close economic union despite surrendering politcal control via membership, and few jobs would be lost.

    The UK could leave formal close arrangements, no more passporting but possibly equivalence and noticeable jobs would be lost.

    The UK could lose all interoperable relaionships and the losses would significantly diminish London.

    The UK and EU could engage in a banking war, and London would cease to be a dominant financial centre.

    In the long term, once again it is the loss of the backing of the EU as a whole which threatens the Uk banking industry just as it does all UK industry. Finance is a particular case, because currently London is the major financial centre throughout europe. Obviously the EU will not permit this to continue if we leave the formal arrangements which have protected London. Keeping and growing London has been one of the net gains the Uk has had from membership. The threat to it and the huge proportion of Uk revenue it represents is very real.

  3. Trevor Warne,
    “Maybe let’s just stick with 16% until we see the full details of the report”

    Didint someone suggest that in fact this is not a worst-case WTO scenario, but actually a canada +++ scenario?

    Sam,
    “The truth is that Carillion was living on borrowed time from about 2011 onwards”

    While it might have been a zombie company (though some zombie banks are still walking and even loking more alive), it has paid its workers for 6 years and contributed something to their pensions. But it seems very likely money was syphoned out of the company as imaginary profit when it was really a ponzi scheme, and in payments for the ‘success’ of its management. (though obviously success is relative, and any investors who received those unwarranted dividends might consider the management deserved every penny for their efforts at creative accounting)

    Alec,
    “I’m pretty sure he isn’t listening to party members on Brexit”
    I cant say if he is listening, but Labour’s position has preserved its option to go full remain in the future. Taking a position short of remain right now might have made that harder.

  4. While the Cabinet havers over what to do the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Planning in Ireland has been encouraging the making of plans.

    “In 2016, Irish exports to the United Kingdom(UK) were valued at €15.0 billion –of which €13.4 billion was to Britain (GB) and €1.6 billion to Northern Ireland(NI).The UK accounted for about 13% of total Irish exports and is Ireland’s largest export market. However, almost half of Irish agricultural exports and a third of food and drink exports went to the UK with much higher proportions in some food sub-sectors such as cheese (60%) and mushrooms (90%).

    Imports from the UK in 2016 were valued at €16.6 billion –of which € 15.6 billion came from GB and €1.0 billion from NI. The Republic is the UK’s fifth largest export market and accounts for a bigger market share than China, India and Brazil combined. About a quarter of agricultural imports and over a third of food and drink imports to Ireland come from the UK.

    About 200,000 Irish jobs depend directly on exports to the UK. The equivalent figure for the UK is similar, meaning that about 400,000 jobs depend on trade between the two countries.”

    http://www.centreonconstitutionalchange.ac.uk/sites/default/files/papers/CILT%20Policy%20Stament%20on%20Brexit%20_Goods_.pdf

  5. Sam,
    “While the Cabinet havers over what to do the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Planning in Ireland has been encouraging the making of plans. ”

    The problem is governments need to preserve plausible deniability, which is difficult if you have made plans.

  6. Good Morning All from a wet Bournemouth and just ten weeks from London Marathon weekend where we hopefully will run past the Palace of Westminster.

    I think a sitting Government is normally well behind at this stage of an electoral cycle, so Corbyn’s Team may feel disappointed by these figures.

  7. MIKE PEARCE
    Are you serious? The Tories are far more divided over Brexit than Labour and are openly at war with each other.

    Absolutely. It can’t be doubted are openly at war, with malcontents on either fringe of current party policy publicly kicking off.

    As to which is more so, there’s few objective tests. The one there undoubtedly is, and the only one that matters ultimately as regards the sort of Brexit we end up with, is the division on parliament. And there, objectively and unarguably, Labour is in far worse disarrray.

    I’d argue in the volume of the noises off, there’s more from Labour too. And, Ken Clarke apart (who is hardly visible for all his routine rebelliousness) from bigger beasts. But that’s opinion. What is not is the dozens of Labour MPs from both Brexit wings who have routinely voted against the whip on Brexit dwarfs the handful of Tories who have.

    Actions speak louder than words.

  8. @DANNY
    Whereas I argue things havnt moved because nothing of any import has happened.

    Actaully that expresses my view better than I did myself. There’s no resonance as nothing that might resonate has happened. Just a lot of froth.

  9. Burns Night is not so long ago. OLDNAT and others might be interested in this.

    https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/feel-the-burns-an-irishman-s-diary-about-scotland-s-national-poet-1.3367343

  10. DANNY

    -:)

  11. PETER W.
    Labour Party Conference Policy Vote was for staying in Customs Union and Single Market. Normally ‘The Left’ is very keen on Conference Policy being obeyed.

  12. Here is the actual meaning of what May agreed in December – https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/feb/09/northern-ireland-will-stay-in-single-market-after-brexit-eu-says

    The EU draft states that NI will remain in effect in the single market, operating under full EU law in all areas impacted by the Good Friday Agreement. They are drafting a sunset clause which would drop this in the event of a comprehensive trade deal or other solution that covers all the required areas. The special status for NI will operate beyond the transition period.

    This is the implication of what HMG agreed in December, but the reaslisation of this in hard legal copy is going to cause a huge row.

    Many of us said at the time that the crowing Brexiters simply didn’t understand what they had just signed, and their rush to celebrate progress in the talks as a way of getting one over remainers was as sad as it was amusing.

    Trouble ahead.

  13. PeterW

    “Actions speak louder than words.”

    Factually accurate, Labour, at least so far, are more split on Brexit in terms of action.

    “Just a lot of froth.”

    How true and it goes on and on. No wonder the quality of this site has declined so much. It really is a tired Remainers talking shop now. Polls get discussed very briefly in the main now.

    CHRISLANE45

    “I think a sitting Government is normally well behind at this stage of an electoral cycle, so Corbyn’s Team may feel disappointed by these figures.”

    I think they have been for some time now.

  14. So………………JC told EU Labour would keep us in the CU.

    Cunning Plan Corby :-)

  15. “The European Parliament has backed a review of daylight saving time”

    BBC

    Going to The Dark Side .

  16. I posted this link some time ago. It seems to me to be a good review of the difficulties around the NI /Irish border.

    http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2017/596825/IPOL_STU(2017)596825_EN.pdf

  17. Chris/ToH,

    I share reservations about Labour getting a majority under its current leadership but I think a check back at Jan/Feb 2016, a similar period after the 2015 GE might be instructive.

  18. Peterw,
    “It can’t be doubted are openly at war, with malcontents on either fringe of current party policy publicly kicking off. ”

    It most certainly can be doubted. The tory party has managed internal disagreement over the Eu for 50 years. The referendum was not created by pressure from within the tory party but from the outside pressure group UKIP, and its purpose was not to decided in or out, but to get rid of UKIP.

    These are experienced politicians. You need to think machiavelli not Andy Pandy.

    Alec,
    “Many of us said at the time that the crowing Brexiters simply didn’t understand what they had just signed,”

    Or they understood perfectly and unanimously agreed. Strategy seems logical to me. You discover you have no choice but to stay in EU, but you have to sell it to the public. So you must be seen to be resisting at all points.

  19. Chris,

    ”Labour Party Conference Policy Vote was for staying in Customs Union and Single Market”

    I cant find this anywhere and is news to me, please can you show me.

  20. @ Carfrew

    Do you know if there will be continuous live streaming of the Tesla from Falcon Heavy? It would be worth taking a look in about three months as I believe (although off course) it will pass Mars: there might be some good images given the quality of the filming so far.

  21. @Danny – “It most certainly can be doubted. The tory party has managed internal disagreement over the Eu for 50 years.”

    That’s quite a healthy gloss on the situation! Europe has effectively riven the party for decades, arguably bringing down three Tory PMs and being responsible in large part for their catastrophic losses during the Blair years.

    I don’t personally think it’s a useful way to analyse history to conclude that the Conservatives successfully managed this issue. The best they have done is to bury it at times, but when this can’t be done it tears them apart.

  22. alec: Here is the actual meaning of what May agreed in December – https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/feb/09/northern-ireland-will-stay-in-single-market-after-brexit-eu-says

    ….

    This is the implication of what HMG agreed in December, but the reaslisation of this in hard legal copy is going to cause a huge row.

    Many of us said at the time that the crowing Brexiters simply didn’t understand what they had just signed, and their rush to celebrate progress in the talks as a way of getting one over remainers was as sad as it was amusing.

    Trouble ahead.

    Indeed trouble ahead. But I think that the crowing brexiteers understood full well and have a different take.

    It all comes down to Barnier’s staircase diagram. The UK through May’s red lines has pushed itself to Canada plus, but the phase 1 agreement as modified by the DUP intervention suggests BINO. The crowing brexiteers already understood Barnier’s diagram and could see that all the options between EEA and Canada had been wiped out.

    Effectively, it left a very clear task for the brexiteers, which is to use May’s pre-stated red lines to demolish BINO and EEA and get down to WTO at least. I would suggest that they kept quiet during phase 1, because phase 1 would do the heavy lifting of wiping out most of the soft options apart from ones which could be dismissed as so soft that they do not comply with the referendum.

    The crowing was more or less about the fact that they could resume pushing for the hardest brexit. I don’t think that they care about the Irish border and I suspect that this suits their chums in the DUP very well. For all their public declarations, I don’t think the DUP are concerned to keep the border open and given the choice, between a border to the south or one to the UK, they would pick the border to the south.

  23. WB: Crunch time is around the corner!

    The interesting thing is the EU stating that para 50 of the phase 1 agreement is an internal matter for the UK. This is where we see the brexiteers decide whether to go for broke and no deal whatsoever with the EU or whether they are going to let the DUP down and have a sea border.

  24. CL1945

    @”“I think a sitting Government is normally well behind at this stage of an electoral cycle, so Corbyn’s Team may feel disappointed by these figures.””

    Apparently they’re not-its all going to drop in their lap:-

    https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/staggers/2018/02/why-team-corbyn-aren-t-worried-about-polls

  25. @alec

    And if NI stays in the SM and CU the arguments for Scotland doing so also come back into play.

  26. @TO – “I don’t think the DUP are concerned to keep the border open and given the choice, between a border to the south or one to the UK, they would pick the border to the south.”

    That’s an interesting take, because what they agreed was the exact opposite – that’s why the legal document is being drawn up the way it is now.

    We’re not going to have a hard Brexit. That would involve a complete loss of business confidence and in my view would make a complete ditching of Brexit far more likely. Last night I posted about how the UK government is bringing emergency legislation into parliament to ensure British drivers can still drive in the EU. There is a 21 day deadline to sign up to the 1968 Vienna Convention so that this is in place before next March. Even under this, the 75,000 UK truckers that drive into the EU will need to compete for the 1,200 certificates that are available to the UK under this convention. It would be a disaster, and that is but one tiny part of what a hard Brexit would look like. It’s not going to happen – the government would fall before then.

    Like I have said all along, I really don’t think that many people actually realise what Brexit will involve, and the warnings by ‘experts’ that have been ignored throughout are finally coming to the fore, leaving the hard Brexiters looking foolish and politcally naked.

  27. @” the hard Brexiters looking foolish and politcally naked.”

    Oh dear-nasty image !

  28. @ Colin

    “Apparently they’re not-its all going to drop in their lap”

    If that’s what they’re thinking, I agree that would indeed be presumptuous. However, I think they’re right that, particularly at this stage, poll watching is like “worrying about tealeaves” when they should be worrying about more important things. They can leave the tea-leaves to us. Clearly the local elections can’t be ignored, but I don’t think they have to worry about a GE just yet.

  29. @Hireton – indeed. I felt that the December agreement led us well down the path of differentiating separate technical jurisdictions within the UK, which created an accepted logic for Scotland to adopt if the need arises. If there is to be a border along the Irish Sea, then just do something between England and Scotland.

    Given the way the votes split, this would have significant democratic backing as well. If Brexiters wanted to fall back on the old argument that the UK voted for Brexit so Scotland should just accept it, then Scots can ligitimately ask how come NI isn’t just accepting it but getting special treatment? The December agreement means that argument simply falls apart.

    Of course, Brexiters may say that this is impossible – the technical challenges would be huge. To which I would reply how come they are so huge on the Sco/Eng land border, but magically simply on the NI/RoI land border?

  30. TRIGGUY

    Yep-the tea-leaves will be different under a new Tory Leader.

    So today’s Polls don’t help anyone.

  31. Colin,

    But Chris is wrong if you look 7-8 months in to the 15-17 parliament, Tory leads pushing 10% average.

  32. @JOHN B

    “Carfrew and TW c. 6 p.m.
    Helpful up to a point, thanks.”

    ——–

    Up to a point?! Honestly, you Scots peeps can be hard to please. I even did it in French for you.

    Incroyable!!

    I suppose I could have done it in German , aber mein Deutsch ist nicht so gut und Ich weiss nicht die Deutsch für “free trade”…

  33. @WB

    “@Carfrew
    Do you know if there will be continuous live streaming of the Tesla from Falcon Heavy? It would be worth taking a look in about three months as I believe (although off course) it will pass Mars: there might be some good images given the quality of the filming so far.”

    ——–

    Ooh, there’s a thing. I really don’t know, shall have to look into it. Not sure but it might make interesting viewing in that I’ve read that its trip to the asteroid belt and possibly beyond might expose it to more radiation which would degrade the organics and so it’ll gradually fall to bits. Or else it rather ups the chances of a collision with an asteroid…

    On the plus side it demonstrates Musk’s contention that the rocket is capable of pushing payloads further out than Mars…

  34. @ Carfrew

    The interesting thing is that 27 Merlin (he must like Spitfires) engines fired simultaneously, presumably in terms of future payload ratcheting up the number of engines should be relatively straightforward in comparison to getting to 27 in the first place.
    Of course the future of leaving earth’s gravity well is not in rocket technology but in materials science, once a sufficiently light/strong material is developed then the funicular space elevator beckons and the sky is literally no longer the limit!

  35. @WB

    I’m not sure why being further away from the sun would lead to more radiation… But anyway, according to this article…

    https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/08/elon-musk-shares-the-epic-last-photo-of-starman-in-the-red-tesla-he-shot-into-space.html

    …you can see the last photo before the connection to the Tesla was lost, so no more live streaming it seems…

  36. @alec

    Re reality biting, it is also being reported that the UK Government is now proposing to all the countries that have trade and trading agreements with the EU that they should continue to regard the UK as an an EU member during the transition for the purposes of those agreements.

  37. colin

    Re tea-leaves etc.

    I agree that there is very little to be gained by analysing current poll when so much is set to change.

    However, the flaw in the optimistic analysis is that it predicates great new ideas by Labour versus no change by the Tories.

    That is always possible but seems very unlikely to me. I certainly wouldn’t put any of my own money on any particular outcome.

  38. @WB

    If you scroll down on that page there’s a YouTube vid of over four hours of streaming of the Tesla, which is something at least.

    Regarding more engines, Musk is already onto it, the Falcon Heavy is an interim measure while Musk readies his real goal: the BFR.

    This will be even bigger rocket, capable of taking 100 colonists to Mars. It will have even more engines, of the Raptor design, which uses Methane, not the Kerosene of Falcon Heavy.

    Methane allows the BFR to be refuelled on Mars for the return journey, using Methane converted on Mars using the Sabatier process, whereby Carbon Dioxide and Water is converted into methane and Oxygen.

    The BFR will be fully reusable, including the upper stage, slashing costs further. Musk hopes to reduce the cost of travelling to Mars from the billions estimated currently, to just a couple hundred thousand dollars per colonist.

    (Obviously Anthony will need to be on an early flight to the colony, to conduct polling etc…)

  39. CHRISLANE45
    “I think a sitting Government is normally well behind at this stage of an electoral cycle, so Corbyn’s Team may feel disappointed by these figures.”

    I think all talk of the electoral cycle is rendered utterly inapplicable by Brexit.

    If the government gets to 2022 it will own whatever it has done with Brexit and what happens will be determined solely by attitudes to that.

    If what the Government has done is seen as a resounding success it wins. If what the Government has done is seen as a failure it loses. If it’s too early to say the matter disappears off the agenda and we fight on other issues. In all cases current Brexit loaded polling is utterly irrelevant.

    If the Government falls before Brexit, all bets are off too.

    It’s maybe not very logical for me to go to the effort of typing this here if i am right, but I don’t think Westminster polling has ever been less relevant.

  40. PeterW
    Agreed. The public is metaphorically holding its breath until Brexit is done.

  41. CROFTY

    Agreed.

    Unless I knew for certain Cons would opt for Rees-Mogg-in which case I’d be down the Bookies with a wheelbarrow now.

  42. @WB

    Problem with Space Elevators is that the cable needs to be long enough to reach geostationary orbit, and we don’t currently have materials strong enough that won’t break under their own weight.

    An orbital ring, however, can hang tethers down from it that are much shorter. But it would be a big engineering project. Worth it because the ring itself could serve as a space station and means of transiting the globe quickly. Go up a tether on one continent, travel along the ring, down another tether onto another continent. You

    http://youtu.be/LMbI6sk-62E

    A rather less challenging method might be to use Skyhooks. Long rods, spinning end over end, with the longer end swooping down into the upper atmosphere where it could dock with a waiting vehicle and carry it up into orbit. Synchronising the capture at speed would be a challenge but not insurmountable.

    http://youtu.be/TlpFzn_Y-F0

  43. A strange parallel between this analysis & the political straightjacket May is stuck with:-

    https://news.sky.com/story/sky-views-europe-could-bring-down-angela-merkel-11241397

    ……..and another opinion in even more strident terms:-

    https://www.politico.eu/article/angela-merkel-martin-schulz-cdu-spd-government-of-losers/

    The Future of the EU- the subject which must not be discussed in the Brexit debate -is as fluid imo as the Future of the UK , and arguable as important .

  44. Alec,
    “arguably bringing down three Tory PMs and being responsible in large part for their catastrophic losses during the Blair years.”

    Granted its a difficult combination with a small majority, but so is any determined minority issue. Polling used to say that few people cared about the EU, I think past governments had other bigger difficulties. Our current predicament also illustrates that being a member can also be promlematic, because then the government has to pick a policy of belonging to this, opting out of that, vetoing something else. But as I said, the public was usually happy to leave them to it.

    Trigguy,
    ” I don’t think they have to worry about a GE just yet.”

    Oh I do think they have to worry about that, this government could collapse quite suddenly. For starters, the DUP could very suddenly decided being part of it is not in their interest. But I dont think they have to announce any position until an election is called.

    Alec,
    ” If there is to be a border along the Irish Sea, then just do something between England and Scotland. ”

    How intriguing. A free trade zone between scotland, ireland and the EU. It would provide an interesting comparison of how the economies develop. It just might revitalise Scottish industry.

  45. @Alec @Danny
    ” How intriguing. A free trade zone between Scotland, Ireland and the EU. It would provide an interesting comparison of how the economies develop. It just might revitalise Scottish industry.”

    Can Wales have a bit of that? Perhaps we can become the USC (United States of Celts)

  46. On closer inspection the latest YouGov looks like little more than the usual random motion, with perhaps a few odd subsamples (especially London, Scotland and C2DE and the Con lead among women also looks anomalous). As often the figures for the whole sample before LTV and removal of DKs etc are less dramatic (often because of little more than rounding distorting the headline):

    Con 30% (-)

    Lab 28% (-3)

    Lib Dem 6% (+1)

    SNP/PC 2% (-1)

    Green 2% (-)

    UKIP 2% (-)

    Other 1% (-)

    Would not vote 11% (+1)

    Don’t know 18% (+1)

    Which just looks like Labour losing rather than Conservative gains. In part this must be driven by the endless denunciations of Corbyn for not being more pro-EU[1] – the way in which he has no real support in the media will always penalise Labour when the public are not really playing attention.

    But why Corbyn is still being so cagy about Labour’s position can seen by another poll this week:

    https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/dsdrcmpnk3/Youthonomics_Results_Jan18_Brexit_W.pdf

    YouGov first asked[2] Imagine at the next election the Conservative and Labour parties bothsupport going ahead with Brexit, and the Liberal Democrats are opposed to Brexit. How would you then vote?

    Con 31%

    Lab 22%

    Lib Dem 18%

    Other 5%

    Would not vote 8%

    Don’t know 17%

    and then And imagine at the next election the Conservatives support going ahead with Brexit, and Labour, the Liberal Democrats are opposed to Brexit. How would you then vote?

    Con 34%

    Lab 30%

    Lib Dem 8%

    Other 4%

    Would not vote 9%

    Don’t know 15%

    So either way Labour worsen their position by making a decision at the moment.

    Now Anthony would point out (correctly) that we always need to be very careful about hypothetical questions. Respondents often use them to ‘send a signal’ rather than reveal how they actually would vote. Labour remainers are less likely to switch to Lib Dem and cause an enormous (probably hard Brexit) Tory majority, just because they don’t get exactly what they want.

    Similarly Labour leavers may be less likely than they say to switch to Con (or abstain), letting the Tories in to implement other policies they abhore. But it does show how Labour’s support can be lost by adopting a hard-line approach to Brexit, either way.

    [1] Some of it from people who would then denounce him for ignoring the will of the people if he did.

    [2] As above these are before LTV and include DKs etc.

  47. @Danny “It most certainly can be doubted. The tory party has managed internal disagreement over the Eu for 50 years. ”

    So has Labour. Gaitskill’s 1962 address about 1,000 years of history. Labour policy being against Europe in the 1960s. The Labour civil war over Europe in the 1970s. Labour against Europe for most of the 1980s until Delores speech at the TUC congress in 1988.

    It was not really until Blair that Labour became very enthusiastic about the EU. Now they have a leader who is a lifelong Brexiteer, they have a rump of 20 Leave MPs but now have 2/3rd of their MPs in Leave voting Constituencies, so yes they have been very split in the past and now they are at loggerheads over what to do with 50 odd arch-Remainers in their ranks.

    The Conservatives are arguing about how closely we align once we have left. The fact we are leaving has clearly been decided by the vast majority of the party with just several malcontents. Labour on the other hand are fighting with each other about how to deliver the Referendum or trying to overturn it.

  48. @ Danny

    “For starters, the DUP could very suddenly decided being part of it is not in their interest.”

    Indeed this is possible. After the last GE I always felt the crunch time would be end of 2018/start of 2019. If the government falls, it’ll be around then, is my opinion. But I’m not sure it’s that likely.

    Is this a possible scenario: DUP get fed up with C&S agreement and start voting against the government in Brexit (and other) matters, but continue (without agreement) to support them on a no-confidence motion (since they don’t want to see JC elected). Thus the current government really does become a lame duck, not being able to move forward with anything much, but also stuck in office not wanting to leave. How long could that last? Maybe some time.

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