Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 40%, LDEM 11%, Others 15% (including UKIP at 7%). The 6 point Labour lead is, of course, entirely in line with the Labour leads of 5 points or so that YouGov have been showing lately, but it’s worth noting that 34% is the lowest YouGov have shown the Conservatives at since March.

Of course, the usual caveat I add about any voting intention poll showing anything unusual applies – sure, it could be the start of a trend, but it’s more likely that it’s normal sample error and things will be back to normal tomorrow.

Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 36%, LAB 41%, LD 10%. A five point lead is pretty much in line with the norm. In YouGov’s polls so far this month we’ve had the Conservatives steady at 35-37%, Labout at 40-42%, the Lib Dems at 7-10%.

Generally speaking voting intention is very steady these days. There are very minor movements, for example the Labour lead at the moment is around 5 points, in October it had narrowed to around 4 points, back in July and August it was up at around 8. The only reason we can even spot these minor and not particularly consequential variations is because of daily polling – in the old days of monthly polling it would have been completely indistinguishable from variation due to normal sample error.

It’s worth noting that in the last Parliament we were rather spoilt in terms of polling volatility – the effect of Cameron’s election as Tory leader, then the Brown bounce (and rapid reveral after the election-that-never-was), the government’s rallying of support after the bank bailout, the effect of the expenses scandal and finally Cleggmania during the election itself. The rollercoaster of voting intention polls we experienced then are not necessarily the norm!

Compare it to the 2001-2005 Parliament, where there were significant shifts from the Iraq war and the Brent East by-election, but generally speaking the polls chuntered along quite steadily, or the 1997-2001 Parliament where, other than the fuel strikes in 2000, the polls essentially spent 5 years doing nothing whatsoever. Perhaps that’s just because 1997-2005 were relatively stable political times, with Labour in the ascendent, the economy running nicely and the opposition in no fit state to make the political weather. Whatever, despite being in more turbulent times, the polls seem very flat at the moment. Since the election, we’ve seen a major shift of the more left-leaning Liberal Democrats from the Lib Dems towards Labour, but beyond that, all seems still…


I don’t typically write much about US polls and elections, mostly because there are many American polling blogs that can do it far better and more thoroughly than I could ever hope to do. I did want to share the chart below though, from Mark Blumenthal’s Pollster (now part of Huffington Post), showing support for candidates in the Republican primary race so far.

The Republican Primary race has been a rather fascinating battle to be the “not-Romney” – Mitt Romney’s support has remained relatively consistent across the last six months, with various right-wing alternatives coming to the fray, consolidating the support of those Republicans who want someone other than Romney to be the candidate, before fading again. Looking at the graph above you can see Michelle Bachman peakig in July, before being overshadowed by Rick Perry’s entry to the race. Perry himself faded after poor performances in debates, to be replaced in turn by the pizza magnate Herman Cain. Cain peaked in October, but has started to fall since becoming embroiled in allegations of sexual harrassment.

The latest couple of polls show Newt Gingrich becoming the latest non-Romney – a poll from ORC has Gingrich at 22% to Romney’s 24% (with Cain down to 14%), PPP has Gingrich at 28% to Cain’s 25% and Romney’s 18%. Another seven November polls have shown Gingrich on the rise. It remains to be seen whether it will last, or whether he’ll crash and burn like all the other non-Romney’s before him.

A little later than intended, here’s a full update on the weekly YouGov poll for the Sunday Times, full tabs for which are now up here. This week’s poll covered the Eurozone, immigration and border control, Iran and the upcoming teachers’ strike.

On the Euro, YouGov mostly repeated the Eurozone questions asked for the last couple of weeks. Despite the developing story and contagion moving from Greece to Italy, British public opinion has not much changed. The overwhelmingly majority of people (84%) think it is important for Britain’s economy that the Eurozone debt crisis is solved, but a majority (55%) still think that Britain should not contribute any money towards a bailout. 60% of people think that Greece should be made to leave the Eurozone, compared to 17% who think it should be allowed to remain. For Italy, 45% think it should be made to leave the Eurozone, 29% think Italy should stay.

Turning to immigration and border control, 52% of people think that Theresa May is wrong to blame the relaxation of controls upon civil servants and 56% of people think she should resign (though to some degree this is partisan – amongst Tory voters 38% think she should resign, 49% think she should stay).

On the broader issue of immigration, there is widespread support for Cameron’s stated aim of reducing immigration to “tens of thousands”, supported by 78% of people. However, there is little faith in his ability to deliver on it. 75% of people think it unlikely he will deliver. The Conservatives are ahead of Labour on the party people most trust on immigration, but only narrowly: 18% to 13%. When YouGov normally ask this question they give just the main parties, and the Conservatives normally have a big lead over Labour. This poll gave people the choice of the minor parties too, and found 9% of people who said they most trusted the BNP on immigration and 7% UKIP, both ahead of the Lib Dems. 38% of people said they did not trust any party on immigration.

Moving to the issue of Iran, 67% of people think Iran probably is trying to develop a nuclear weapon, compared to just 7% who think they are not. Around two-thirds of people would support further sanctions upon Iran to prevent them developing weapons, but only 30% would support military action by the US or Israel to destroy their nuclear programme.

Finally, on the teachers strikes 55% of people oppose headteachers going on strike (37% support them), 53% of people oppose teachers going on strike (37% support them). The poll shows support for the strike marginally lower than it was before the last strike in June, when YouGov found 40% support and 49% opposition, but the question itself was slightly different, so I would be cautious of concluding that support is dropping.

Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sunday Times has topline figures of CON 36%, LAB 41%, LDEM 9%. As usual, I will put up a proper report on the Sunday Times poll tomorrow morning.