YouGov’s monthly poll for the Telegraph has been released. The topline figures, with changes from the last YouGov poll a week ago, has topline figures of CON 41%(+1), LAB 27%(+2), LDEM 18%(-2).

Unlike ComRes in the week, this poll does not suggest any great boost for the Conservatives from their victory in Norwich North. In fact, my impression is actually that there’s no real change here – that drop in Lib Dem support merely puts them back where they normally are with YouGov, making last week’s 20% look like a bit of an outlier. It’s also worth noting that this is Labour’s highest score in a YouGov poll since the expenses scandal broke.

In the Telegraph’s report they concentrate upon the extreme negative rating for the government. Only 17% of people now approve of the government’s record, with 70% disapproving – a net approval rating of minus 53. The Telegraph seem to have focused on this because the dying Major government got the same figures in July 1996, a year before their annihilation. It’s worth noting however that this isn’t actually the worst this government have recorded – they managed minus 57 back in May. (For that matter, it’s not the worst Major recorded either!).




I was rather disappointed that this morning’s ComRes poll didn’t seem to include voting intention figures, so I’m pleased to report they’ve actually just held them back a day. The topline figures, with changes from ComRes’s last poll a week and a half ago are CON 42%(+4), LAB 24%(+1), LDEM 18%(-4).

This is the first poll since the Norwich North by-election, and there’s a significant increase in Conservative support. This isn’t unusual, by-elections do often give the winning party a boost in national polls because of media coverage of them being “winners” – a “halo effect”.


Afghanistan

Today’s Independent has a new ComRes poll on Afghanistan, rather a strange thing to commission considering their Sunday stable-mate commissioned very similar questions from ComRes just only a week and a half ago. Still, the rivalry between daily newspapers and their Sunday equivalents never fails to surprise me.

Anyway, ComRes found 75% of respondents agreed with the statement that British troops lacked the equipment they needed to perform their role safety in Afghanistan, and that 58% agreed that the war in Afghanistan was unwinnable.

35% agreed that more British troops and resources should be devoted to Afghanistan (almost identical to the figure ComRes found last week). 52% of people thought that Britain should withdraw troops from Afghanistan immediately.

This is a good lesson in the difference minor differences in question wording can make. Last week’s poll with slightly different wording found 64% of people wanted troops withdrawn. Here are the questions, my own emphasis added

All British forces should be withdrawn from Afghanistan as quickly as possible – 64% AGREE
British troops should be withdrawn immediately from Afghanistan – 52% AGREE

The reason for the difference is pretty obvious: as quickly as possible could be taken as meaning as soon as the situation stablises, or a staged and managed handover – it could take months or even years depending on how you interpret it; immediately implies packing up straight away, regardless of the consequences.

Both questions are valid representations of public opinion, they are just asking slightly different things. The point is, we only see the difference because we have both questions to look at – if we had only one, the temptation would be to take just that as the proportion of British people who want out of Afghanistan when in this case (and, to be honest, most other cases) public opinion is rather more nuanced.


Yesterday’s Sunday People had a new YouGov poll that, as far as I can tell, everybody missed. The topline figures, with changes from YouGov’s last poll, were CON 40%(-2), LAB 25%(nc), LDEM 20%(+2), Others 16%. It was conducted between the 21st and 23rd July, so was finished prior to the Norwich North result and any halo effect the Conservatives enjoy on the back of it.

Labour and the Conservatives are at the same sort of level as we’ve seen in recent YouGov polling, but it’s worth noting that 20% figure for the Liberal Democrats. It’s the highest YouGov have had them since September last year (though before you get too excited, the monthly YouGov poll for the Telegraph should be along this week, so let’s see if that confirms it).


Ipsos MORI’s monthly political monitor has been published and has figures of CON 40%(+2), LAB 24%(+3), LDEM 18%(-1). I don’t have the figures for “others”, but looking at the changes from their last poll we can assume that, like all the other recent polls, they are in decline.

In this case, it’s Labour who have gained the most, but together with the other recent polls that have shown the Lib Dems or Conservatives with the largest increase I think we can reasonably conclude that the decline in support for minor parties has not disproportionately benefited any of the big three.