This morning’s Times has their regular YouGov polling figures, a chance to see if the ongoing row over anti-Semitism in the Labour party has had any actual impact outside the Westminster bubble. Asked if Jeremy Corbyn is doing a good or bad job as Labour leader, 56% now think he is doing badly (up from 37% back in December), 31% think he is doing well (down from 45% in December). It’s a big drop, but since the question was last asked at the tail end of last year one cannot necessarily assume it is due to the anti-Semitism row, many other things have happened in the last three months.

More importantly, it doesn’t seem to have had any real effect on voting intention. Topline vi figures remain neck-and-neck, with Labour actually a couple of points up on last week’s poll (though the change is well within the normal margin of error) – CON 42%(-1), LAB 41%(+2), LDEM 7%(-1).


183 Responses to “YouGov/Times – CON 42%(-1), LAB 41%(+2), LDEM 7%(-1)”

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  1. “That translated into a 2% winning margin for the Tories then, suggesting that all sorts of other voting determinants were at play.”

    ——–

    Well quite. It’s easy to fool yourself with polling, and pollsters do it all the time.

    You can look at year’s of polling, and note that policy doesn’t seem to make much difference, and then note that other things therefore seem to make more difference, like leadership ratings.

    But if for decades we’ve had various different shades of Liberalism offered as policy, obviously it won’t make much difference to mess at the margins with it.

    Then someone comes along and offers some different policies, and oh look, it makes a difference, and leadership ratings don’t matter so much.

    Thing is, we already know this. Look what happened to Churchill in the face if a different policy offering, his leadership ratings mattered little. He had to accept the policy changes to get elected.

    Polling has been mired in the liberalism that dominates the press, and so the pollsters fool themselves.

  2. Colin
    Number Cruncher I believe

  3. The detail behind the latest YouGov is available now on their website. Although the gap between the two parties has closed, that is the fifth poll in a row with the Tories in the lead (6th if you include the Matt Singh). As already pointed out the Cons are stretching their lead on best for prime Minister and best for economy which as JIMJAM rightly records I used to get the correct 2015 election result. However like RO I still think Labour and particularly LibD’s will do well in the May locals.

  4. It’s strange how some who always seem to say that there is nothing intrinsically wrong about wealth, generally to excuse rich, Eton educated Tories, seem, at the same time, to find it perfectly logical to sneer at the mythical “rich liberal”.

    And then make up even odder stories about their supposed eating habits whilst on holiday abroad.

  5. @Carfrew

    “Polling has been mired in the liberalism that dominates the press, and so the pollsters fool themselves.”

    Not absolutely sure what you mean by “liberalism” here, certainly not in the context of the interpretation of polling data, but I think I agree with the general gist of your post. I think recent political events, certainly referenda and election results, suggest that we need to be much more careful and nuanced about polling data and remain guarded about seizing on, and inflating the significance of, titbits that play to our political agenda. We’ve all done that in the past although some of us have learnt a little quicker from our past mistakes, I think!

    I’ve just pondered on my little alliterative reference to “general gist”. If I was writing a modern day version of Bilko, I might cast a General Gist as a sort a platitudinous bumbler, good on vague summarising but terrible on detail.

    A bit like me, perhaps!

    :-)

  6. @Crossbat11

    Forget Bilko: we need General Gist here on UKPR. And his nemesis Major Flaw. Not to mention Private Party, Marshal Plan…. and Batman.

  7. CB11

    “General Gist”

    I like the idea of him giving the troops a rough idea of the general direction to the battle front.

    I invented a character [non-alliterative] for a book [or comic] to be called “Gullible’s Travels”. I thought VIZ would have been good for it.

    You can pretty much write all the scenes for that yourself of course: sadly I never bothered to do so myself.

  8. @Crossbat11 Haven’t read much from you of late. Apologies if I haven’t been paying attention at the right time or welcome back if you have not been around.

  9. Worrying signs for Europhiles in the latest figures coming out of Europe looking at both the Eurozone Retail PMI and the Eurozone Composite PMI (inc services) by Markit. March Retail PMI dropped to 50.1 (only just positive) from 52.3 in February. Sales down on annual basis and squeeze on gross margins intensifying. The weaker growth reflects weaker growth in Germany, stagnation in France and contraction in Italy. The Composite PMI shows growth slows further in march after slowing in February.

    In Germany retail sales were down 0.7% in February and have fallen in 6 out of the last 8 months. Industrial production output was down 1.6% the largest monthly fall in three years and factory orders look weak.

    Some commentators think the Eurozone is heading for a new recession. I would not go that far yet, but I certainly would not bet against it. In my view the single currency remains inherently unstable and so far there have been no meaningful reforms.

    Have a good afternoon all, off to see Giselle at the Bolshoi this afternoon (via Cinema link)

  10. @Crossbat

    The Liberalism thing is tricky, but is useful to get right, and I’ve had to modify it in the face of objections, because it explains quite a lot that otherwise confuses.

    Here’s a simple way of putting it I’ve been working on. Conventionally one breaks Liberalism down into social liberalism, and economic liberalism.

    Labour adopted Social Liberalism with Jenkins – equal rights etc. – and continued it with Blair etc.

    Tories adopted economic liberalism with Heath – deregulation, free markers, limited government role, continued it with Thatch etc.

    Blair then adopted the economic Liberalism (privatisations etc.) and then Cameron the Social Liberalism (SSM).

    By this point, you are not going to see policy make that much difference in polling because much policy is aligned now.

    (There’s ANOTHER dimension of Liberalism though, the degree of authoritarianism and centralisation. Neither Blair nor Cameron nor Thatch etc. we’re keen on that decentralising, democratic aspect of Liberalism).

    The first sign that different policies other than the liberal COULD make a big difference in polling was the rise of UKIP. Then Corbyn showed it some more. But in truth, we always knew it, going back to Churchill etc.

    A key point, is that Liberalism came to dominate because it’s what the press promoted. But voters do not tend to like extremes of socialism, liberalism or anything else, so in recent times we have had a reaction, via UKIP, Corbyn etc. not to liberalism per se – people still like equal rights, and don’t want the state to run everything – but to the EXCESS of it.

    And this is all confounding polling expectations a bit.

  11. @CMJ

    While the singular of data isn’t anecdote, I have some recent experience in collecting signatures for LibDem nomination papers in ‘black hole’ wards in my outer-London Borough and it is certainly more difficult now to find non Party members willing to sign them than in 2014, even when I tell them that it does not commit them to voting for the candidate. NCP’s figure for London may be closer to the true figure than YG’s. The Tories here seem quite confident about taking the currently Labour-controlled Council, but then they always do, so I put little weight on that.

    NCP’s approach is interesting, while we all know the sampling errors for different sized samples the systematic error is harder to pin down and I would like to see more results from their ‘river sampling’.

    I noticed one point from NCP’s tables; they do show an effect which I have seen before, but not consistently in YG surveys, which is that the LibDem vote is ‘softer’ (Q1 on Page 2) suggesting that a GOTV approach is more important for LibDems than for Tories or Labour.

  12. @Crossbat

    Regarding writing style, you can write very evocatively, and peeps seem to like that. One can see the place as a kind of hive mind where people contribute the things they’re practised at, and experiment with other stuff they’re maybe working on, and there’s an opportunity for things to be refined via critique if comfortable with that, though not everyone necessarily sees it quite the same way!

  13. @Crofty

    “I invented a character [non-alliterative] for a book [or comic] to be called “Gullible’s Travels”. I thought VIZ would have been good for it.”

    I love the sound of “Gullible’s Travels” and I hope the concept sees the light of day eventually.

    Considering Swift wrote the original novel as a political satire, then you’re in very good company. Or maybe you could invent a fictional “Gullible’s Travels” travel company, offering guaranteed sunshine holidays to Siberia or cruise trips around Belarus.

    Reading your posts over the years, I think you’d be very good at it too. Don’t abandon the idea.

  14. @Leftie Liberal

    I guess we will found out very soon who is correct about London voters.

    Over confidence among local activists is a common flaw in my view, but often required, as most wards fought cannot be won by more than one party very easily. Have a hope beyond the facts make it easier :-)

    NCP’s approach is interesting, while we all know the sampling errors for different sized samples the systematic error is harder to pin down and I would like to see more results from their ‘river sampling’.

    Indeed. I have issues with some of the samples, but unless the polling is repeated, we will never know. A faulty gauge can occasionally tell you the right result by coincidence alone. For it to be proven it needs to a) be reliable and repeatable and b)calibrated vs a known thing (ie a real election).

    Looking at tables from polls, it’s clear that Lib Dems are more likely to vote tactically. It like that with Green voters. Therefore, herding them to vote Lib Dem must be harder.

  15. CMJ
    You have my respect, my veganism lapsed about seventeen years ago for pragmatic reasons rather than an irresistible desire for cheese, I remain so in spirit and largely in fact, although to claim the title would put me in the same category as vegetarians who eat fish and chicken and other things I would identify as meat.

    I disliked milk intensely as a child, and refused to drink the free milk at school, a rebellion at the age of five which probably coloured the rest of my life in education, since having stood up to them once it became far easier to do so again and enabled me to pass through my whole school life largely untouched by competitive sports. I’ve never liked eggs or most other dairy products either, so veganism makes sense.

    My perception is that it is probably a bit easier to be vegan now than it was twenty years ago, just as much improved for vegetarians in the twenty years which preceded that.

    It seems ironic that a lefty/liberal diet should now be considered mainstream, while any idea to the left of anything espoused by En*ch Powell is considered to be the gateway to a Soviet style dystopia.

  16. “Labour actually a couple of points up on last week’s poll (though the change is well within the normal margin of error) ”
    That’s what’s called having your cake and eating it.
    If the figures are ‘well within the normal margin of error’ then you cannot be sure that there has been any change at all.

  17. @TED

    It is much easier now for sure.

    For what it’s worth, Sainsburys now do a range of really good vegan cheeses now, that are great. Years ago they were like blocks of tasteless plastic, now they are good.

    Before I go out and buy ingredients for a kick-ass chilli tonight, a lovely little vegan anecdote. You know what’s it’s like – ‘Do you get enough vitamin x etc. My wife (who does triathlons and runs ultra marathons – typical weedy vegan) went for some bloods tests recently (ladies mid-life hormones and all that) and was told she has too much vitamin B12, so has to cut down.

  18. Dave

    “That’s what’s called having your cake and eating it.”

    No, it’s what’s called ‘stating fact’.

    It is a fact that Labour are up 2 points in this poll compared to the last one. It is also a fact that this change is well within the normal of error. There is no suggestion in AW’s initial statement that there is any surety of a real shift in Labour support. The exact opposite, in fact.

  19. Crofty: I’ve got no beef (genetically modified or otherwise) with “rich liberals”. The people I’m criticising aren’t liberal – they are people who like to dictate to others how to live their lives, even in cases where those decisions have no repercussions in the public sphere. That’s the opposite of liberal.

    It’s one thing restricting people’s freedom in cases where there are significant negative externalities. The smoking ban, for example, was a public health triumph, and passive smoking, which indiscriminately punished smokers and non-smokers for smokers’ behaviour, is now a thing of the past. But where are the negative externalities in chlorine-washed chicken? If they even exist at all, they are certainly significantly less than for many of the sugar- and fat-laden products already on the market.

    And please note, when I talk about “freedom”, I’m not talking about monstrous things like the “freedom” of rich people to avoid paying their bit towards the public sector we all need (for that is an action with particularly brutal negative externalities). I’m talking about the ability for ordinary people to live their lives how they want. To spend their money how they want. And, in cases where that doesn’t leave them with much freedom because they don’t have much money to spend freely, of course I want them to enjoy more of both, by direct redistribution from the state if the market isn’t providing for them.

  20. “”A Government source told The Sunday Telegraph that the British authorities had a “duty of care” to both Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, as they continued to recover after being poisoned with a Russian-made nerve agent.””

    This duty of care doesn’t include allowing a close relative to visit and comfort the recovering two Skripals, so this is clear hypocrisy.

    And what a twisting of probabilities into certainty has the paper done. Far better to have said “poisoned with a Russian-developed nerve agent”.

    It`s not as though the Telegraph papers can`t put in cautionary words when they choose. On Friday when the DTel ran a short piece on the Yulia – Vicktoria phone call, they managed 5 such words in 3 sentences – “claimed”, “purported”. The paper clearly thought that contact of Yulia with Russia undermined the UK government spin, so couldn`t have happened.

    I saw that the head of Porton Down refused to answer when asked if they had made novichok there, or had stocks of it. But the obvious inference from the PD statement that the Salisbury poison was industrial-grade, State-produced novichok, was that PD had enough to make the comparison needed to recognise the type. So if we can make the stuff, maybe 10 other regimes can, including some very dodgy ones like Iran.

  21. Seeing the discussion on the pre-eminence of liberalism within the political establishment, made me wonder about the Leave vote.

    It has been quite widely accepted that there was a strong anti-establishment component, but it occurs to me that it might also be anti-democratic and/or anti-liberal.

    Its a bit more deep-seated than envy of toffs.

    There is something going on, and I wonder whether it is ultimately linked to resentment arising from the increasing economic dominance of a small minority:

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/apr/07/global-inequality-tipping-point-2030

  22. Tried veganism a quarter century ago. Lasted six months!

  23. Polltroll: But where are the negative externalities in chlorine-washed chicken?

    In the same place as the negative externalities (what’s wrong with “drawbacks” or “downsides”, BTW?) of restaurant meals cooked in filthy kitchens, but deemed safe because they’ve been heated adequately.

    In other words, it’s better to produce food in clean, safe conditions than to rely on chemicals to kill the bugs later.

    Of course, there are people who regard the hygiene ratings on restaurants and takeways as just another example of excessive regulation and nanny state-ism.

  24. I thought the issue of chlorinated chicken related to the lives they had led before slaughter and which made it necessary to wash off the infections crawling all over them. I accept that I may simply have swallowed some fake news. However there are presumably other issues of this kind (growth hormones, use of antibiotics, welfare standards). Because we are desperate to sign trade deals we are not going to be quibbling about such issues even if we would like to. And if we start letting these things in are we not going to be forced to have hard borders in Northern Ireland and so on.

  25. @Millie

    Indeed. Part of the rise of UKIP and the Leave vote, is a reaction to extremes of liberalism.

    Free movement is another level of social liberalism, and the EU pursues a lot of economic liberalism.

    The reaction against Liberalism is not just here, you see it in the States with Trump. It’s more obvious there because they have an overtly Liberal party there, rather than here where they pretend not to be liberal. Because here, overtly Liberal parties tend to do very badly since the war.

    They only do better if they pretend to be more left wing, like LDs. Then when people realise “oh, you’re still Liberals really”, they’re back on the naughty step.

    This in turn explains in part why you get more hostility when mentioning Liberalism. Some don’t realise they’re supporting a lot of effectively Liberal policies when voting Blair or Cameron, and some do, but don’t want to be rumbled, given how unpopular overt liberalism can be.

    Even now, with Cameron and Osborne’s overt liberalism having been banished from Tories, and Corbyn banishing liberalism in labour, some folk are still struggling with it. But it explains an awful lot…

  26. Oooooh, Anthony’s just posted an interesting thread on how well a new Centrist party might do!!

  27. @ Norbold

    “”.”If a party 15-20 points ahead then goes onto lose a GE (as indeed happened in 2015) how can one that is behind expect to win one?”

    Isn’t that self contradictory. If one party is in front by 15-20 points and loses, doesn’t it follow that the party 15-20 points behind must have won? “”

    No not at all, I am talking about how far ahead opposition parties need to be in order to stand a chance of winning a GE.

  28. The Other Howard: Worrying signs for Europhiles in the latest figures coming out of Europe looking at both the Eurozone Retail PMI and the Eurozone Composite PMI (inc services) by Markit. March Retail PMI dropped to 50.1 (only just positive) from 52.3 in February. Sales down on annual basis and squeeze on gross margins intensifying. The weaker growth reflects weaker growth in Germany, stagnation in France and contraction in Italy. The Composite PMI shows growth slows further in march after slowing in February.

    In Germany retail sales were down 0.7% in February and have fallen in 6 out of the last 8 months. Industrial production output was down 1.6% the largest monthly fall in three years and factory orders look weak.

    Some commentators think the Eurozone is heading for a new recession. I would not go that far yet, but I certainly would not bet against it. In my view the single currency remains inherently unstable and so far there have been no meaningful reforms.

    Too many sourced facts to be the real ToH.

    Have a good afternoon all, off to see Giselle at the Bolshoi this afternoon (via Cinema link)

    Live stream to Petersburg? We all know ToH goes to the allotment and I doubt they will be doing Giselle in wellies.

    I suppose we could find if it is the real ToH by asking his birthdate, but it is better if someone else does that.

  29. Hello

    I’m an ad-hoc reader of this site, though follow politics pretty closely (though not like some on here!).

    Was thinking earlier about how the Con party, and potential leadership contest, changes post-Brexit. We saw that UKIP’s support plummeted as soon as the referendum was over given that what they always stood for had happened, and therefore there was no reason to support them any more.

    Similarly, whilst if there was a Con leadership contest pre March 2019 Boris, JRM, Gove etc might do well and/or win, in a Con leadership contest after March 2019 they’d need to stand for something more than Brexit – almost having to re-invent themselves given that all they talk about today is Brexit. As such, their chances to me seem to change massively post-Brexit, similarly to UKIP’s ratings post-referendum.

    Importance of this, in my mind, is that the timing of a leadership contest would therefore have a huge bearing on the next election (assuming 2022) given that I personally don’t believe that a Boris/JRM would have the appeal to win a GE and would be forever tarred in a large share of the electorate’s mind with Brexit. A more centrist leader, would seem to also have a sizeable gap in the political spectrum to appeal to given where Corbyn is positioning Labour.

    Interested in any views.

    Adam

  30. @AdamB – I think they could do a lot worse than pick someone like James Cleverly. I think BJ would be a disaster. JRM is a marmite character much like Corbyn, and I am not sure he would have broad appeal.

  31. @AdamB

    Yes, that is an interesting idea, that those for whom Brexit is a selling point, it might profit them to force a leadership election before Brexit is concluded. Not sure about there being a catch though. I shall refer people to your question on the latest thread.

  32. @Roger Mexico

    The whereabouts of Old Trafford? I suppose the clue is in the name , duh :-( . In my defence, the ground is half a mile away from Salford quays. I suppose the Manchester Ship Canal is the boundary. I live in Chorlton which is about two miles from Old Trafford and even closer to the cricket ground.

    Moving on

    @Turk

    The GMC or greater Manchester Council was abolished by Thatcher in 1986.

  33. Some of you may be interested to read Matt Zarb-Cousin’s (former Corbyn aide) take on this:

    http://www.huckmagazine.com/perspectives/opinion-perspectives/new-centrist-party-fail-matt-zarb-cousin/

    A particular highlight is this:

    “It’s fitting that a centrist party aiming to maintain or, at best, slightly ameliorate the status quo – appealing to those Liberal types who only avoid voting Conservative because they feel guilty about it, and who don’t agree with Brexit anyway – is the brainchild of LoveFilm’s founder Simon Franks. Because a business which asked people to post rented DVDs back instead of physically returning them to a shop is actually analogous to centrism. It doesn’t ask fundamental questions about the purpose of renting a physical DVD, or consider how DVD renting isn’t really a thing of the future. It just tries to slightly improve the process of renting a DVD. And then it becomes irrelevant.”

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