YouGov’s latest poll for the Times has topline voting intention figures of CON 40%, LAB 40%, LDEM 6%, GRN 5% – the first time that the Conservatives have lost their lead in a YouGov poll since Boris Johnson became leader. Opinium also put out a poll showing the parties neck-and-neck at the end of August, though there most recent poll has the Conservatives ahead again. Other recent polls have also showed a narrowing – Redfield & Wilton had 2 point Tory lead this week, Survation 2 points and NCPolitics 4 points earlier in September.

To some degree this isn’t really a surprise. The Conservatives no longer have the advantage of a more popular leader, with Keir Starmer consistently getting higher approval ratings than Boris Johnson. The “rally round the flag” factor – the tendency for people to support the government at times of national crisis – has now vanished, and public opinion is increasingly critical of the government’s handling of the corona outbreak. In YouGov’s tracker the proportion of people thinking the government are handling corona well is down to 30% (lower than any of the other countries tracked). The question may perhaps be why the Conservatives aren’t doing worse?

Part of that may be the underlying factor of Brexit. Boris Johnson was elected primarily on a platform of delivering Brexit – it is still seen as one of the most important issues facing the country, and the Conservatives still have a solid lead on delivering it. There is also still a lack of confidence in the Labour party – while Starmer is seen as a potential Prime Minister, people still appear to have very little idea what he stands for (the YouGov poll today contained questions asking what issues people cared about the most, and what issues people think the Labour party and Keir Starmer himself cared about. The latter returned an overwhelming Don’t know). Only 28% of people think that the Labour party looks ready for government, and they have negative trust ratings on issues like the economy, Brexit or defence & security. While Starmer’s leadership has had a good start, the Labour party has a way to go.

Either way, at this stage in a Parliament the importance of less is less predictive (after all, there are probably years to go), and more the impact on party morale, and how the parties are percieved. Remember, one of Boris Johnson’s main selling points to the Conservative party was that he was popular with the public. He was the Tory who could reach parties that other Tories could not. What becomes of him if Labour pull ahead and the Tory party realise that he isn’t popular anymore?

1,317 Responses to “Labour and Conservatives neck-and-neck in latest YouGov poll”

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  1. So Lord Dacre to be put in charge og Ofcom and Chatles Moore to be the Chairman of the BBC. The extreme right Brexit takeover of the insitutions of the British state continues apace. So much for the Johnson one nation, socially liberal government.

  2. Steve

    To make my point another way – the 845 deaths on 5 April reflects the infections taking place in mid-to-late March, when it was estimated that new infections were running at 100,000 per day. There was no effective testing system at that time.

    The 30-40 deaths a day we’re seeing now reflect the level of infections we had in early September, so officially around 1,000 per day, and in reality probably 2-3 times that number.

  3. So another person who urges law-breaking to be given an important job, chairperson of the BBC.

    Charles Moore`s articles, encouraging people to refuse to pay their licence fee, will come back to haunt him.

    His father would be so ashamed.

  4. @James E

    Good points, although the testing capacity is limited, its much better than at the start of the pandemic. Individuals more likely to be tested as well for a rapid return to “normality”.

  5. @Colin

    Stand by, London :-”

    Has Danny gone there to protest about the “fake epidemic”?

  6. Opinium’s fortnightly poll usually comes out around 8pm on a Saturday.

    So one hour to go…

  7. Re the political (formerly regulatory) agency known as OFCOM.

    NEW: Dacre will use Ofcom job to tackle BBC bias and bureaucracy – but will also go after internet platforms who peddle fake news (Tim Shipman)

  8. James E
    So less people getting seriously ill then.
    Not just here apparently France 14000 cases twice previous peak 39 deaths today over 1400 at april peak.

    I am not disputing the numbers getting infected are likely to be way down but frankly this doesn’t impact the numbers being admitted to hospital and seriously ill which is also down 95% .

    Why won’t people accept the obvious if those at greatest risk aren’t exposed or have already succumbed they won’t be dying now or in the future from covid.

  9. Can’t see Dacre getting the Ofcom job, to me seems like a planted story to serve as a distraction to get away from the many problems the Government has

  10. Hello all

    Just an update on my mate and his quest to get his daughter out of Scotland.
    Pleased to advise he crossed the border safely and the family now in a Newcastle hotel.

  11. Westminster voting intention:

    LAB: 42% (+3)
    CON: 39% (-3)


    Chgs. w/ 11 Sep

  12. First Labour lead – and a swing of nearly 15% from Opinium on 26 March – their last poll before Starmer took over from Corbyn.

  13. Hugo

    The fool!

    Delivered her straight into the hands of the Geordie white slaver gangs!

    Mind you, he might get a good price for her.

  14. Congratulations to Labour, ditched Corbyn and the imbeciles and reaping the rewards.

  15. The virus being transmitted to Saffron Walden by over-anxious parents will be well timed to pass on infection to Cambrdge freshers arriving next weekend.

  16. @Davwel


    No – she had no face to face meetings whatsoever or physical lectures in the first two weeks – all online.

    My son is at Edinburgh (2nd year) and it looks like it will be the same tho’ he is in a better situation as he is sharing with another guy on his course in a nice flat and he is on a graduate apprenticeship so has work links too.

  17. More from the Opinium poll

    1. Keir Starmer leads on “Best PM” question by 4 points:

    Starmer:36% (+4)

    Johnson:32% (-1)

    2. Boris Johnson sinks to his worst net approval rating of the pandemic:

    Johnson net approval: -12 (-6)

    Starmer net approval: +19 (-2)

    3. Approval of the government’s handling of Covid-19:

    Approve: 30% (-1)

    Disapprove: 50% (+2)

  18. James as forecast most likely but tbh did not think 3% – lets see but I stick by my level pegging on averages over next 2 weeks or so.

    I don’t think Sunak’s announcements will sway many in the short term at least and the student situation with ‘disappointed/angry]’ parents and grandparents will push a few more Tory 2019 to DK.

    I expect tables will still have a modest direct Tory 2019 net vote move to Lab, maybe 1.5% swing up from the 0.5% swing we have seen since Johnsons badly received address and the Cummings story soon after.

  19. JIM JAM.


  20. Opinium say Labour helped by Leave voters moving to WNV. Is the LTV affect of Marmite Johnson perhaps?

  21. Evening All.
    I wonder whether my local MP might be looking at a new Cabinet place sometime soon.

    I have not mentioned it, but Tobias Ellwood is in my seat, or the other way round, in the Blue Wall area of the south coast.

    Sunny and cold here, but politics is heating up, and one wife of a ‘LOC’ person got woken up by a cheer when the poll came out on his e mail.

    Have a good night all of you, friends and ‘colleagues’ of UKPR

  22. Colin – you saw it coming as well and like me you have been on here for enough GE cycles to know that a Lab lead was inevitable at some point; also that is does not change that the most likely outcome for the next GE is still a modest Tory OM.

  23. Jim Jam
    “Opinium say Labour helped by Leave voters moving to WNV. ”

    I expected this to start happening a bit later once the trade deal is finally concluded or not, but as I’ve said before a lot of Tory voters in 2019 came from WNV or Brexit Party (many of whom were previously WNV).

    So it is just a lot of people who were only energised by Brexit returning to their usual apathy. That doesn’t help the Tories of course. All Unclear Keir has to do is say nothing of note until 2024 and he’s home and dry!

  24. That is an encouraging poll for Lab. It would be churlish to suggest. Given the ongoing politicisation of the BBC it is so important that Labour win the next GE.

  25. Jim Jam

    Opinium is generally 2-3 points better for Labour than the rest, so level-pegging looks likely to me.

    Average of the last 7 polls – all from different pollsters – is a 1% Con lead.

  26. Imagine in 2015 being told the headlines of 2020:

    PM Boris ignores extended pandemic lockdown after contracting Covid-19

    Scotland and Northern Ireland consider UK separation after Brexit

    Dennis Skinner song tops the charts

    US President Donald Trump jokes about staying in power for 12 years

    Wake me up in 2021.

  27. The other point about the poll is that it has broken the 40% barrier for the Conservatives

  28. Not sure where the story about the Kings phone app showing decline in infection comes from.

    According to the website :

    September 25, 2020

    ?According to the latest COVID Symptom Study app figures, there are currently,16,130 daily new symptomatic cases of COVID in the UK on average over the two weeks up to 20 September (excluding care homes). The number of daily new cases continues to climb in the UK, with the highest numbers still in the North of England and the Midlands with London playing catch up.

    The R values for the UK are currently England 1.4, Scotland 1.3 and Wales 1.4.

  29. Note also that the new cases recorded today are 19,247.
    I don’t match the statistical sophistication of many on this site but I’m reasonably confident that 19247 is more than 16130.

  30. @Guymonde

    The Red lights are now all flashing for sure. Time to take action.

    I gather the Red lights are starting to flicker in Sweden as well, where certain posters assured us there was “immunity”.

  31. JIM Jam.

    Not if it’s BJ vs KS.

    A new Con leader _ then maybe.

  32. Opinium poll

    Not that Scots numbers much affect GB VI, but perhaps worth noting that the Lab rise in this poll is unrelated to any change in Scotland, where SLab dropped (an insignificant) 1% from 18% to 17%.

    Well done England!

  33. The odd sub-samples by type of seat with Opinium continue.

    The rolling averages now show a Con>Lab swing of 12% in ‘Con hold’ seats’ and a 2% Lab>Con swing in ‘Lab hold’ seats.

    The swing in seats that the Tories won from labour in 2019 appears to be about 6% Con>Lab.

    One other observation from cross-breaks – though I don’t yet have the figures to back this up: Labour under Starmer appear to have recovered support more among older people (i.e 45+).

  34. Agree and 2022 my best guess for the change after poor locals in May.

  35. James E

    “Labour under Starmer appear to have recovered support more among older people (i.e 45+).”

    Voters in E&W who remember Blair?

  36. ON

    Thanks for that – Opinium does indeed show the Tories ahead of Labour in Scotland and in Wales, while the London cross break is only an 8 point Lab lead.

    It’s England-outside-London where the movement appears to have taken place, with Tories falling from 15 points ahead at GE2019 to 3 points behind Labour, per this poll.

  37. Seems to be a great deal of fuss in some quarters about some teenagers not leaving their bedrooms for a fortnight.

    Normality, n’est-ce pas?

    Meanwhile, if the story about Dacre and Moore being given top jobs is true – and there are some reasons to be doubtful – Conservatives should be highly concerned.

    In the US, there is already the concept of the four yearly changeover of political appointments across Washington, and the packing of Supreme Court judges under a written constitution that gifts the right an inbuilt advantage is a genuine way to secure long term dominance (albeit not without it’s own risks).

    Under the UK winner-takes-all system, where there are no checks to a sovereign parliament, messing with conventions and dispensing with some modicum of consensus in areas like key public appointments will reverberate.

    The day will come when beaten Conservatives look to the BBC for some balance against a powerful left wing government – but they will have already burnt that bridge.

  38. ” and a 2% Lab>Con swing in ‘Lab hold’ seats.”

    The more dedicated corbyn support shifting to DK/WNV/something else?

    There is likely to be more of this in solid labour seats and there has been a few actions of Starmers recently that have not sat too well with that part of the political spectrum.

  39. ON

    “Voters in E&W who remember Blair?” (re 0ver 45s)

    I guess that’s so. The Tories still lead with the over 55s, but only by 8 points in the 55-64 sub-group. And it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a labour lead in the 45-54 sub-group (it’s C37, L43).

  40. Good evening all from a rather pleasant evening here in Winchester.

    Woooooofff…. Labour are now ahead of the Tories!!

    I think the red wall is giving BoJo the boot. Working class people are seeing what this Tory regime is all about. Sure, they temporary gave the Tories their vote to get Brexit done but this regime and it’s lies, spin, weirdos and it’s inability to get on top of ol Covie has voters turning to Labour faster than a pumpkin carved into a big boob.

  41. James B (re Lab hold seats)

    The Greens seem to be a point-or two up from GE2019, and that may well be from the Labour left.

    However, the Opinium sub-samples (which are about 300 voters in this group x 6 polls) actually show the Tories gaining a few points in these seats, and the Greens on only around 5%.It may just be down to unweighted sub-samples.

  42. Guymonde,
    “Not sure where the story about the Kings phone app showing decline in infection comes from.

    According to the website :

    September 25, 2020

    ?According to the latest COVID Symptom Study app figures, there are currently,16,130 daily new symptomatic cases of COVID in the UK on average over the two weeks up to 20 September (excluding care homes). The number of daily new cases continues to climb in the UK, with the highest numbers still in the North of England and the Midlands with London playing catch up.”

    Funnily enough I was just looking at their latest release. Cant say what the reasons were for what you describe, but I was just musing that we would expect the rise in cases to decline soon.

    On the website they do indeed report steady rises recently. However, their reports are based upon app users notifying that they are ill. They assume each person stays ill for a certain length of time, I have an idea it is ten days.

    Anyone reporting as ill is given a series of questions to differentiate what they have and whether it is covid. Some are also sent test kits so they can veryify the conclusions from the questions.

    I would infer therefore that while they report the number of users each day saying they are ill, this is not precisely the number with covid. However, I would expect it is related to the number with covid, so more reporting ill I would expect more covid cases, and the reverse.

    On approx 5 sept a general rise in numbers ill began. This plateaued about 8 Sept. About 11 sept another rise began to a second plateau on 13 September. All in all an approximate doubling in 8 days.

    However, since then new reports of illness plateaued again and now are falling. There is a spread in different regions, but maybe 1/4 to 1/2 the rise in new reports of illness has now disappeared. So right now we are only up maybe 50% from 5 sept.

    Now, the announced totals for cases are summed over the last ten days or so, and the charts they publish for new cases in different regions are averaged over the last 14 days.

    For simplicity imagine the inital rate was 1000 new cases a day, which jumped to 5000 on one day. Before the change they would be reporting ten days worth making 10,000 total cases. On the first day of the rise 9000+5000=14,000. On the second, 8000+10,000=18000, 3rd 7000+15000=22000…and so on until the tenth day when the total would be 50,000. But thereafter it would stick at 50,000.

    A step change in cases would be reported as a steady rise, even though in reality it as a one off step change. After the averaging time is over, the rise will disappear and be left with a new steady state plateau level.

    That would seem to be what is happening. Although, actually the higher platau seem to be decaying back, so cases will fall again.

  43. @ALEC

    The day will come when beaten Conservatives look to the BBC for some balance against a powerful left wing government – but they will have already burnt that bridge.

    Absolutely – I found your comparison to US judges very apt for that reason. When they reduced the effective Senate confirmation threshold for most judges from 60/40 to a simple majority in 2013, the Senate Dems gained a short-term advantage for Obama in selecting appeal court judges. And as soon as the Republicans took power they applied the same standard to Supreme Court nominees and the result is the Dems have had to watch as Trump appoints two, probably now three, Supreme Court judges they could have forced substantial compromise over with the old rules.

    An immediate small advantage leading to a far more drastic setback within only a few years – increasing the politicisation of appointments is a reckless game for any side to play.

  44. As to why this might happen, two changes come to mind. One is reopening of schools. The other is government telling people to go back to work.

    However, it is not necessarily the case this will lead to runaway growth. It depends if the return has increased the chance of a new infection generally, or just released a limited number of new victims, who will be used up and then cases stabilise again.

    Universities seem to be a case in point. fI thousands of new students gow] to universities where they only really socialise with each other, then they may all catch covid. But few if any will become seriously ill, and they wont be socialising with people outside the university to give it to them. Net result, a burst of cases which then dies out quite safely.

    But now we have insanity of trying to lock down those universities and saying students will not be allowed home at christmas. Whereas just letting them all catch it means that by christmas – in fact within a month – they will all have had it and be no risk to any elderly relatives by the time christmas comes.

    Similarly, a case might go through the reopened factory. But then doesnt spread further.

  45. Statgeek,
    “The week commencing 30th March had a total of 2,322 cases, then 2,206, then 2,275.”

    Kings app found 1.7 million cases aged 20-70, with symptoms so not counting asymptomatic, on 30 March, which is when the app began. So about 170,000 per day.

    Add 50% for the other age groups. x4 to allow for asymptomatic. Total around 10 million cases at that time, just before peak or 1 million new cases each day. In 60 days that would have been the entire population.

  46. Keep fooling yourself Danny. I’m done wasting my time with you. Find your trolling elsewhere.

  47. Back in 1998 the writing was already on the wall for the Major administration.
    John Major and his government were an order of magnitude better than the crowd of inept, nepotistic snake oil salesmen currently ruining the country but the public perceived them as useless none the less.
    The combination of covid and the likelihood of a at best hugely damaging and disappointing brexi t with shortages and pictures of the new lorry park formerly known as Kent, could reinforce this image .
    I wouldn’t be surprised to see Labour and Starmer individually 20% ahead by Easter.
    It takes a very special government to spaff away a 24% lead and turn it into a 20% disadvantage in a year but the village idiot government are up to the challenge.

  48. Danny
    While I don’t agree with all your analysis locking students away from their families at Christmas is ridiculous, it’s bad financially and for everyone concerned mental health.
    My son’s girlfriend , whose been living with us during lockdown is shortly returning for her last year at university and will be receiving just 4 hours a week of in person learning, what’s the point of paying £10000 a year plus living costs to sit in a bed sit and conduct study remotely.
    A conclusion our son reached some time ago and moved from a conventional university to the Open university , no extra living costs half the price and designed for decades to deliver by distance.

    The covid hysteria risks destroying higher education, costing billions and hundreds of thousands of jobs and for what gain?
    Protecting grand parents from the grand children the want to see, but aren’t permitted to by covid sheltering any way.

    It’s dumb and will be totally ignored.

  49. JIB
    Agree with your 8.08 post, there’s a rarity.
    Sweden’s mortality rate per day remains around 1 , where it’s been for months. Just 15 people seriously ill with covid.
    I doubt there will be a major call there for a change in policy while hardly any one is getting ill.

  50. @Steve – “I doubt there will be a major call there for a change in policy while hardly any one is getting ill.”

    Tegnell now saying they will recommend lockdowns for short, local application.

    I would have thought that by now, everyone would have grasped that it’s much more a matter of timing than anything else.

    People in the UK were saying ‘but look, less than 7 deaths a day’ barely a month ago. It’ll be past 50 by the end of the week, and keep rising unless we control transmission.

    There are no magic bullets here, no golden scenarios. Just different levels of suffering, depending on how badly governments miscalculate.

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