YouGov’s monthly poll for the Telegraph has topline voting intention figures, with changes from the YouGov poll for the Economist a week ago, of CON 40%(nc), LAB 33%(-1), LDEM 16% (nc). The Economist poll was taken just after the Northern Rock nationalisation and suggested that, while people thought Northern Rock had been badly handled, it certainly hadn’t been a boost for the Conservatives – this poll seems to confirm that.

The Telegraph’s other tracker questions like which party is best on the economy (the Conservatives lead by 3), who would make the best PM (Cameron by 2) and Gordon Brown’s approval rating (minus 34) are all largely unchanged, though there is a significant drop the net proportion of people who think David Cameron is doing a good job – down from a net position of plus 11 to plus 2 this month.

Even up to two years away the likely pattern of the next election is pretty easy to discern – change vs risk. The Conservatives will be pushing a “time for change” message, Labour will be countering it with the message that people shouldn’t risk electing the Tories. This month YouGov asked a question that mirrors that pattern – whether people thought the Conservatives would do better, the same, or worse than Labour if they were in power. 36% of people thought they would do better, and naturally enough are very likely to be voting Tory. 30% of people think they would be much the same – people who have no positive reason to vote Tory, but for whom a risk message would presumably not work. 27% think the Tories would do worse than Labour, none of these people say they would vote Tory.

YouGov also asked about the financial propriety of MPs, and the Speaker in particular. 66% of respondents agreed that most MPs made lots of money from improperly using public funds, 37% though most or all MPs were improperly claiming expences, with another 37% thinking many did. This suggests an overwhelming belief amongst members of the public that MPs are lining their own pockets.

For the Speaker specifically 55% thought he was abusing the system of Parliamentary allowances and 45% thought he should resign, compared to 28% who thought he should stay in office. When the full tables come out it will be interesting to see if that is a partisan response with Labour voers defending him (or indeed, given the Speaker’s supporters belief that many of his opponents are driven by class snobbery, whther there is a difference between ABC1s and C2DEs).

24 Responses to “Two thirds think most MPs are lining their pockets”

  1. The “better, the same or worse” question is only really interesting for level of the “about the same” people. If I were Labour that would be alarming me: even left-leaning non-Labour voters would have previously at least said Labour were marginally better.

    Presumably these same people would give different answers to more granular questions, the usual “would Labour, the Tories or someone else be better on X”, and probably opposing ones.

    It’s understandable from my partisan perspective: the Tories would be better on ID cards, but worse on social security, for instance. And I reckon I’d tick the “about the same” box.

  2. Poll pretty well spot on to Weighted Moving Average (40:32:17 but due to rounding error the CLead is 7)though the Retrospectives suggest that this level was reached last week. My feeling is that the CLead will gently rise by about 1% per month until it’s back to 10.

  3. I’m not sure about that. I think the average Tory lead will remain in the 5%-8% range. IMHO, there will be the occasional 10% lead but it won’t be the norm. The Tories need to do better in Scotland, Wales and the North in order to have a consistent 10% advantage.

  4. The critical thing is who has the truth on LibDems-YouGov or ICM?

    Yes Tories are stable-but so are Labour

    If the next ICM Poll still says 21% for LibDems-and it is correct, the Tories should be concerned.

    Seems to me the punters are saying a muted yes to DC & his team-but they are waiting to be really convinced by them.They had better start coming out of the traps & convincing them soon because GB is about to launch a lot of Conservative policies.

    If the voters start to accept that Labour will at last address things like uncontrolled immigration,and workshy on benefit- and show signs of actually being able to do it in the next two years — all those “competency” gains by DC will disappear.

    GB will go hell for leather on reversing anything from the last ten years that the public don’t like-and that’s quite a lot.

    Where are the differences of political philosophy? Where are the differences of principle? If there aren’t any-or the Tories don’t talk about them,then how do the voters choose?

  5. I suspect that the third or so of the population who say “about the same”, are largely the third who just don’t really decide till closer to the election.

    What will be interesting from the full tables is where this “third” are, as that might well have a real impact on the election result, how it’s fought and where.

    For example, if there aren’t many undecideds in the south and the Tories are well ahead there then the Tories will be in a very strong position even with an 8% lead, because they will be hard to beat in the seats they need to win.

    Likewise if there are a lot of waverers in the North of England it doesn’t matter because if the go Labour it won’t get Labour more seats just bigger majorities in the ones they hold.

    Equally if the swing to the Tories it probably still won’t be enough to overturn the big Labour majorities.

    So where the “about the same” vote is geographically could well decide if “Change” wins out over “risk”.


  6. I think Colin has summed it up about right. Labour are by no means buried, but they face a real fight. If they manage to close the poll gap DC will come under great pressure, and there are real and consistent variations between the polling companies, particularly on LD support but also the Tory lead. As I’ve said before – I don’t put much store in the WMO – someone here is right and someone is wrong, so combining all polls into a WMO doesn’t really help us.

  7. I’ve long thought the libdem vote is going to be very important at the next election, it could make the difference between a minority conservative government and a majority. Basically it seems that over about 17% or so things get tougher for the Conservatives to get a majority, basically because they need to mop up lots of southern libdem seats they lost in 1997. That is assuming the labour vote doesn’t collapse, or shoot up unexpectedly.

    I think about the better/worse question, the government have demonstrated in the recent past they are not so good on delivery, whereas many people have forgotten what the last Conservative government was like and hope the next one with fresh faces might be better than either. Whether that is actually true or not is another question entirely. Generally I would add that there seems a feeling that the current government has run out of steam and a change is necessary.

  8. Keith-

    your not far out in what you say about the LD vote some lib dem seats in the south west only have majoritys of say 1 or 2% any swing of more than 2% from Ld to Con in this area could be pivital for the conservatives. also in scotland their vote looks like falling into a black hole at the moment but i don’t think maney LD seats in scotland will go to the conservatives maybe 2 seats at a maximum in the borders where the conservative do have some kind of a base vote.

    andy stidwill-

    i can not see any reason why the conservative lead will not be higher by the local elections but, if labour do put their foot down and start nicking conservative ideas as colin is saying then thay had better watch out beacuse voters may go back to labur if DC has no come back plan, one thin is sure and most of us take this for granted now and that is the current govenment is a dead duck, but what people want is a strong opisistion and at the moment i think that is lacking, more ideas and less gimicks from dave and he should win in 2009/10.

  9. I think the public have every reason to think that MP’s line their pockets – the last 11 years have made appalling reading to the average guy in the street.

    That’s one of the reasons the POLLS are the way they are at the moment !!

  10. There is certainly a mood of cynicism about MP,s abuse of expenses.The revelations about MEP’s are even worse, and their complete resistence to any accountability-even to their official auditors-is a two fingered gesture to the taxpayers of breathtaking hubris.

    There are votes for any political leader willing to clean out these Augean stables.

    Cameron seemed to teeter on the edge of an initiative at last PMQs-but does he have the guts?
    His put down of Lord Mancroft was not encouraging in that respect.

    “A plague on all your houses” would be a reasonable response in the Polls at present.

  11. On the WMA – it’s not a question of YouGov vs the rest – ICM, YouGov and Populus all come on average within 0.1 of the WMA – and are within 0.4 on the Retrospectives. There is *weak* evidence of anti-C bias in Ipsos/Mori and pro-C bias in BPIX and CommRes of about 1%, but there are not enough samples to be statistically significant.

    The point of using the WMA is that it gets rid of much of the “noise” caused by sampling error. For example the Std of the C Lead in the polls this year is 3.4 but the Std of the WMA C Lead is only 0.9.

  12. Mike “the orifice” Richardson,

    You were doing fine till the 11 years bit.

    The implication being this is associated with the government. The legal abuse of the MP’s self determined expenses system is decades old and all parties have been involved.

    When you try to bend things we all know are true for all parties to make a party political point you just make a fool of yourself.


  13. I saw this being covered on “This Week” with Michael Portillo saying that the system in Parliament wasn’t corrupt, but ‘corrupting’. If this is the case perhaps the cynicism against MPs is for once actually well founded.

  14. It is interesting to note that before the Brown Bounce, Conservative support had only hit 40% once since David Cameron became leader according to YouGov, and was usually around 37-38%. Since the Brown Bounce ended, it has not fallen below 40%.
    Admittedly Labour has also edged up a little since a year ago, when they were often as low as 31%. I don’t believe YouGov has shown Labour below 31% yet.

  15. That’s interesting – it looks as though YouGov has not yet shown the Conservatives under 31% either.

  16. NBeale-I rather thought that those who understand these things have cautioned against averaging Polls with disparate methodologies.

    To my simple mind there does seem to be a basic difference-with a choice to be made. I feel more comfortable recognising the difference & monitoring it, rather than forcing it into an average which might suggest a spurious & misleading accuracy.

    I see it like this :-

    Straight average of the last three polls for each of ComRes/Populus/YouGov ( in that order):-


    These look very ( ? remarkably) similar & might be expressed as 39/32/17 & be within the margin of error for all three.

    ..but they seem quite different from ICM ( again straight average of last three Polls) which is :-

    Electoral Calculus converts the former into Cons 20 short of a majority, and the latter into Lab 20 short of a majority-so it makes a difference.

    I will be watching that ICM LibDem figure as closely as any.

  17. colin- i use Electoral Calculus, UK Elect and the predicting software on this site and all of them seam very different Election Calculus give the CON’s 209 seats Labour 346 and the LD 66, UK ELECT gives the CON’s 213 seats labour 248 and the LD 60, and the papers and BBC give it as CON 210 LAB 348 LD 62, who’s right i don’t know all i do know is that if the vote for any party is more than 5% up or down the predicted number of seats is within one or two of being level with one another who’s right

  18. note UK ELECT LAB 348 not 248 as stated above

  19. Colin

    Three polls is far too small a sample to conclude anything meaningful. But you are of course very welcome to think about the polls in any way you like. No-one is forced to use Weighted Moving Average. However from a Statistical PoV the poll methodologies don’t matter much to whether or not it makes sense to use a WMA. So long as they are unbiased the more different the methodologies are the better because it will make it less likely that the errors are correlated.

    Nor do I see the point of using seat prediction software so far in advance of an election.

  20. “Nor do I see the point of using seat prediction software so far in advance of an election”

    No -nor do I .
    I was merely using it to demonstrate to myself that the current difference between YouGov & ICM predictions would be electoraly significant.If they weren’t it wouldn’t be worth bothering about them.

  21. it looks like GB will not call an election untill 2010 but anything can happen, a very bad set of results at local councils, a crash in the housing market, stock markets falling and losing value, a revolt over high tax, more protests over tax, theirs lots of things, but what is clear is labour have gained a point over the past few months and the lib dems are slowly making a come back, the biggest hit so far has been taken by the others losing 2% in as many months in some polls but gaining from labour in other polls by the same value 2%. but over all of that is the prospect of a full 3rd tearm in office for labour no election unless things g bad untill 2010.

  22. 50 MPs reported to have removed family members from their payrolls.

    Speaker Martin has Expense Claim Forms pre 2005 shredded.

    Musn’t let the voters find out what we’re up to!

  23. WMAs were 41:33:16 27/12, 39:33:17 27/1 and the latest (27/2) is 40:33:17 Hard to say there is a clear trend – even the WMA has a standard error of about 1.5%.

  24. NBeale,

    A bit of a cheek on my part particularly with the lack of polls but you can’t do a WMA for Scotland could you.