As well as the YouGov poll showing a 2 point Tory lead and the ComRes poll showing the two parties neck and neck (see post below for my write up of those), Ipsos MORI’s monthly political monitor for Reuters is also out tonight. Topline figures there are CON 41%(+7), LAB 39%(-2), LDEM 11%(-1).

Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 41%, LAB 39%, LDEM 10%, Others 10%. This is the first time that YouGov have shown a Conservative lead since December 2010. While I’ll add my normal caveat about a poll showing something unusual, it certainly looks as though the Conservatives have recieved a boost from David Cameron’s veto at the European summit. For the last month or so YouGov’s daily polls have been pretty steady in showing a Labour lead of five points of so. In the three YouGov polls conducted since the veto we’ve had two 1 point Labour leads, and now a 2 point Conservative lead.

There is also a new ComRes poll out tonight for the Independent which has topline figures of CON 38%(+1), LAB 38%(-1), LDEM 12%(+2) – also showing the two main parties effectively neck-and-neck.

There certainly appears to have been a boost for the Conservatives from the veto. How long it lasts it is a different question. Is is a brief spike in support from a populist action, or will it stick? We don’t know yet.

Europe is not generally a particular salient issue, most people vote on issues somewhat closer to home like the economy, health, pensions, tax and so on. In tonight’s YouGov poll 38% of people name Europe as an important issue facing the country… but only 11% pick it as an important issue for them and their family. In that sense, I wouldn’t expect it to make much long term difference. However, there are two possibilities that could lead to a lasting impact.

Firstly, for some people traditional right-wing issues are important, and some of narrowing in the polls appears to be UKIP voters returning to the Tory party. In previous months we’d seen a slow growth of UKIP support, getting up to 7% or so just after the Tory backbench rebellion over Europe. There are signs that much of this support has returned to the Tories, with UKIP back down to 3% in the latest YouGov poll. Will the summit convince right-wing voters that Cameron does share their instincts, or will they drift back again?

A second thing to look would be if the veto changes perceptions of David Cameron himself and his leadership. Europe may be on an issue many people don’t particularly care about, but if it makes people think David Cameron is a stronger leader who stands up for the country it may improve perceptions of him across the board. We don’t have any good before and after polling yet on perceptions of Cameron but watch them carefully when they do appear.


Last night’s YouGov poll for the Sun showed the Conservatives at 39%, Labour at 40% and the Liberal Democrats on 10%. Two polls in a row with the lowest Labour lead from YouGov since early September suggest there has indeed been an impact on voting intention from the veto, though how long this lasts for is a different question. At minus 19, government approval is also at its most positive since May.

The rest of the poll with YouGov’s questions on the European summit are now up here. 58% of people think Cameron was right to use the veto, compared to 21% who think he was wrong. Tory voters overwhelmingly back him (87% to 3%), Lib Dem voters by 47% to 36%, Labour voters are evenly split (38% to 39%).

53% think the veto was a sign of strength, 17% think it was a sign of weakness – this is probably the most important area. Europe itself is an issue of relatively low salience, although taking a tougher stand will no doubt firm up traditional Tory votes and act against Tory votes drifting to UKIP (who are down to 4% in this latest poll), what would have a wider impact is any longer term difference it makes to perceptions of Cameron’s leadership. Does it result in him being perceived as stronger, more likely to stick to what he believes in, more trusted (or indeed, less competent or efficent or whatever)?

While the public back the veto, people are more pessimistic on whether the outcome of the summit is good or bad for Britain. 31% think it is bad for Britain, 24% good for Britain, 45% neither or don’t know. The apparent contradiction between supporting the veto but thinking it is bad for Britain is because while 38% think that the veto was a good outcome, 20% think it is bad but that Cameron had no choice given other countries wouldn’t compromise. 24% think Cameron should have signed the deal or been able to negotiate a better one.

51% of people think that using the veto has decreased British influence in Europe. 63% of people think that the outcome of the summit leaves Britain isolated from other EU countries… however, most of those saying this (35% to 28%) think that this is a *good* thing.

51% of people say they trust David Cameron to look after Britain’s interests in Europe, compared to 40% who do not. In comparison, 32% would trust Ed Miliband, 52% would not. 22% trust Nick Clegg, 67% would not. The perception is that Tory backbenchers have far more influence over the government’s European policy than Clegg does – 61% think that Eurosceptic backbench Tory MPs have influence over the government’s European policy, only 31% think that Nick Clegg has influence over it.

Looking forwards, 44% of people think the veto makes it more likely that Britain will leave the European Union (5% less likely, 33% no difference), however this is still not seen as likely. 61% think Britain will probably still be a member of the EU in 10 years time, 23% think Britain probably won’t. Asked how they would vote in a referendum on EU membership, 43% would vote to leave, 36% would vote to remain a member.

Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 39%, LAB 40%, LDEM 10%, echoing the one point Labour lead we saw in the YouGov/Sunday Times poll at the weekend. The previous time that YouGov had shown a Labour lead as low as 1 point was back at the start of September. There is also a sharp uptick in net government approval – today’s figure is minus 19, the highest (or least low!) since May. It is looking as though the veto has given the Conservatives some sort of boost in support, though of course how long it lasts is an entirely different question.

The overnight poll also had some more detailed questions on Europe – the Sun have already tweeted that 58% think Cameron was right to use the veto, 21% wrong, but I’ll update more fully tomorrow when the full details are available.

The Times have a snap online Populus poll on the European veto, showing support for David Cameron’s decision. 57% of people thought that David Cameron was right to use the veto, with 14% disagreeing and 29% don’t know. 53% also agreed that the use of the veto showed that Cameron is willing to stand up for Britain.

On the impact of the veto, 56% of people thought that the use of the veto would reduce British influence in Europe (9% disagreed), 44% thought it would protect the City of London as a financial centre (12% disagreed). 24% thought the veto would weaken the prospect of economic recovery, 27% disagreed.

Finally, on the domestic political angle, 35% of people agreed that Cameron used the veto only because of pressure from his backbenchs, 22% disagreed. 35% of people agreed with the statement that the veto makes it less likely that the coalition will last, 16% disagree.

Fieldwork was conducted between Friday and Sunday, so would mostly have been before Nick Clegg cricitised the veto. The poll did not ask voting intention (the political crossbreaks in the Times’ write up are based on 2010 vote), so we’ll have to wait a bit longer to see if it has any impact there.