The full tables from the YouGov poll in the Telegraph are now online here.

As I suspected, the poll doesn’t show that immigration is the “top issue” for anybody. The question actually gave people a list of 10 policy aims and asked which ones people would most like the Conservatives to do – so what it actually shows is that more people would support a reduction in immigration than would support the other policies listed, which were things like “scrap ID cards”, “build more prisons”, “cut taxes”, “bring back grammar schools”. It’s an okay question in itself if you want to see how popular the policies it asked about were compared to one another, but it certainly doesn’t show what the Telegraph thinks it showed.

The question gave no opportunity for people to say they’d like the Conservatives to deal with the economic crisis, or indeed do anything about the health service. If people thought education was an issue, but didn’t want selection brought back across the country, they couldn’t say that either. Questions that DO ask what people think the top issue is, and do give people a full list to pick from, universally show that the economy is the number one issue.

As well as the question I mentioned yesterday about whether people preferred Mandelson or Clarke as business secretary, the poll also included head-to-heads between Darling & Osborne, Miliband & Hague and Smith & Grayling. In every case the Conservative shadow was prefered to the Labour incumbent, but as one might expect, people’s responses were largely along party lines. More interesting therefore is probably how big the difference is in each case – we saw yesterday that the net preference for Clarke over Mandelson was 31 points, the net preference for Hague over Miliband was 19 points, for Grayling over Smith was 14 points (which probably says more about Jacqui Smith than Chris Grayling considering how new he is to the job), but for Osborne over Darling was only 5 points. It suggests that either Osborne is seen as the weak link in the Tory top team, or Darling is more positively regarded than his colleagues (or both!).

UPDATE: After pondering about the others in the last post, I forgot to look at them! It was SNP/PC 4%, BNP 4%, UKIP 2%, Green 2%. Another highish figure for the BNP. As I wrote before, don’t read too much into the other figures, they jump about a lot, but keep an eye on it.

43 Responses to “More from YouGov’s Telegraph poll”

  1. Interesting. To my mind, the Tory front bench is looking a lot more heavyweight these days than the Labour front bench. And Mandelson may be a dazzlingly clever political animal but people plain don’t like him.

    Hague seems to be very well liked – oddly he seems to have much more stature now than he did as party leader. Perhaps it’s partly age and partly that he’s better suited to his current role.

    Osborne, unfortunately, just doesn’t come across well. I don’t mind him myself but I can see why others find him lightweight and perhaps hard to trust.

  2. Help please.
    During May 2005 on General Election day a blue candidate scored 42.5% and a red candidate scored %57.5% in a straight fight for a County seat with a turnout of 59%.
    Can anyone help me on what would the result be if fought today with a 40% turnout?
    Also what woukld be the result if Lib Dems join the fray please?

  3. Anthony,

    One interesting item buried in the tables (not reported by DT) is that 60% of respondents thought that teh Conservatives would win the next election, with only 20% choosing Labour. Apart from fact that a Hung Parliament does not appear to have been an option, this would seem to indicate that a large chunk of Labour supporters already accept that they have lost.

    Larry Henson,

    The answer to your question has to be “it Depends” – on a wide range of factors, including, but by no means limited to, where in the country, composition of the local district council covered by the ward in question, and previous track record of the parties in that area.

    The point about local elections is that they are local, and so one cannot extrapolate the national standing of the parties to predict the result in any given local / county council ward – or vice-versa !

  4. Does anybody know if it is possible to get a bet on UKIP winning no seats in June?

  5. Anthony, according to the data here, there has only been one poll conducted by a Scottish newspaper, on Scottish voting intentions, since May 2007. Is this correct?

    There used to be a monthly Herald/system 3 poll IIRC.

  6. Stu –

    System Three still do regular polls for the Herald I believe, but these days they only ask about Scottish Independence and how people would vote in a referendum, not how people would vote in an election.

    There might be ones I’ve missed, for obvious reasons I don’t read the Scottish media down in Kent, but normally I’d expect someone to bring any Scottish voting intentions polls to my attention if they were being published.

  7. Interesting to look at the Scottish Sub-sample (with all the obvious caveats). SNP appear to be just ahead of labour. Tories doing well but lib dems struggling. Also interesting to note that the Greens get 4% (possibly taking some lib dem votes) and the BNP 0% (the latter very encouraging).

  8. YouGov is no better.

    I have just answered “don’t know” to questions about how “The Government” has handled crime and the NHS. I know what I think, but I don’t know how to answer.

    From 1974 for 17 years I was the chief finance officer of a Scottish Health Board. In my opinion Nicola Sturgeon is by far the best health minister north or south of the border since I first worked for the NHS in 1966.

    She has rightly earned the Politician of the Year award by rejecting New Labour gimmicry and marketisation.

    The consequential improvement in staff morale will in itself motivate staff, improve patient care and save lives.

    Clearly, my view of ” how the Government has handled the NHS” will be very different depending on which government is meant.

    Newspaper coverage of recent changes has noted that the Scottish and English NHS – which, for reasons originating in the Reformation and three 18th/19thC Cholera epidemics, have had significant differences since 1948 – are becoming increasingly divergent under the SNP government.

    Can someone tell me how I am supposed to answer these questions?

  9. The BNP figure is quite worrying in my view. For them to be on 4% when there aren’t particularly any factors why they should be doing well at the moment doesn’t bode well if events happen in future which might really boost their support, such as for example 3 million unemployed or some kind of terrorist attack. They polled 4.9% in the 2004 Euro election; it looks like they may be able to increase their vote according to polls like this.

  10. @John Moss – just walk into any betting shop and ask for odds or call any one of the online guys. They should be able to give you odds, but don’t expect that good odds.

  11. Andy Stidwill: The BNP figure is quite worrying in my view.

    Needless worry in my opinion, naturally the extreme right always benefit marginally from economic downturns. This is most likely merely a blip.

    Hardly alarming.

  12. @Dean Thomas – I wonder if people said the same in Germany a few years decades ago – If the troubles get worse and we start to see a depression, then expect that number to rise significantly. Standard motivational theory again, but people always look to the security of their own person and dependents first. If that’s what the BNP are preaching, then people will start to listen – so I think calling this a blip is almost as dangerous as the party themselves.

    Can you imagine a country where 4+ in every 100 people believes in the BNP’s veiws? Sorry but I’m with Andy on this one.

  13. Can anyone tell me why the BNP at 4% is worryoing or either surprising concidering the white working class fell let down by this government with no where to turn? They face the largest hardship if made redundent, can see if incorrectly or not that overseas workers take jobs, benefits and council houses and leave them fighting hard for whats left. This may be the case in some areas and not in others but its the perseived view that matters. Until this subject is met head on without fear of being branded racist then the BNP will continue to make headway in traditional white working class areas. This in turn could do damage to labour come polling day

  14. “so I think calling this a blip is almost as dangerous as the party themselves. ”

    So do I.

  15. “For them to be on 4%”

    It’s 5% in the London sub-set Andy-about a quarter of LibDem support levels in that region.

  16. The genuine ammount of BNP support is probably more accurately reflected by Euro Elections because their name is on each ballot paper and people can annonymously support them, which isn’t the case in other elections/polls.

    It’s also interesting that even the inflated UKIP vote in European elections does not seem to impact on the BNP, which, if the common thesis about the BNP’s votes coming from the right is correct (which I don’t think it is) is very surprising.

  17. Stephen,

    4% for the BNP in a national poll is worrying – even if it may not be surprising for the reasons you mention.

    At this level in a national poll there is a real possibility that the BNP could win one or two seats at the European elections in June. There are two reasons for this.

    Firstly, it is quite likely that, even at 4%, this poll understates the true level of BNP support. If we talk about “shy-Tory” or “shy-Labour” voters in polls, just imagine how shy most BNP supporters might be. I have only ever met two people who admitted to supporting the party in all my canvassing (both in last year’s local elections).

    Secondly, as you note, BNP support tends to be concentrated amongst white working class communities – hence they tend to be “natural” Labour voters, and not a threat to Tory prospects – who feel overlooked in comparison to adjacent immigrant communities.

    This means that there will be swathes of the country where BNP support could be statistically insignificant. On the other hand, to achieve 4% nationally, the BNP may well be hitting 10-15% or more in some regions – which would be enough to give them a European Parliament seat.

    The BNP may well be decades behind the French National Front in terms of their organisation and electoral success, but do not forget that Jean-Marie Le Pen made it to the second round of France’s Presidential election in 2002.

  18. @ Keir – “Can you imagine a country where 4+ in every 100 people believes in the BNP’s veiws?”

    Yeah, easily. In a number of other EU countries slicker equivalents to the BNP regularly poll 20+%. So 4% is astonishingly low in comparison. The time to start worrying will be when and if the British far right finds a figurehead as charismatic and clever as the late Jorge Haider. But until then, 4% is very marginal and it seems to me that every society is always going to have maybe 10-20% of its population supportive of either far right or far left politics.

  19. James Ludlow, I’m afraid that Westminster politicians in general have taken a huge knock as a result of the recent economic crisis, with the exception of Vince Cable (but not the LibDems generally). They just don’t seem to have a clue what to do. Also in response to you, Hague is obviously keeping a low profile because he does not want to detract from Cameron, specifically because of the latter’s lack of ministerial experience.

    I’m afraid I am also with Andy Stilwell concerning the BNP (see my recent comments for the consituency of Sevenoaks). The first part of response to James in my previous paragraph is relevant, though if the major parties with their greater size and experience can’t cope, there’s no way the BNP would. The worrying rise in the BNP vote may be due to economic conditions, but the trouble is that the economic good times don’t look like returning any time soon.

    Don’t forget that a 4% response to a poll of about 1,000 people represents very small numbers, and is correspondingly liable to sampling error.

  20. The Scottish sub sample is interesting with the SNP in the lead over Labour for the first time in some months.

    SNP 33 LAB 32 TORY 21 LIB 8

    This would still leave Labour in the lead in terms of seats ( 33-15 ) because of the nature of FPP according to Electoral Calculus


    look what happens if there is a marginal further shift to

    SNP 35% LAB 30 TORY 21 LIB 8

    Then it results in SNP 27 seats to Labour’s 21 –
    6 for the Tories and 5 for the Libs

    Perhaps a sea-change on the cards in Scotland?

  21. Support for the far-right in Britain is lower than in pretty much every other European country as far as I know, (with a few exceptions perhaps).

  22. “I wonder if people said the same in Germany a few years decades ago ”

    What like in the mid 80’s……..


  23. Peter, you really do make some pretty stupid comments!

    I do not think that levels of BNP support are worrying at all. While I strongly disagree with the BNP in almost every particular, I think they make some very good points which no other parties make and which need to be made. I do not think it would be a bad thing if they got some MEPs, in fact I dod not think it would be a bad thing if they got a few MPs too (not that I think that is likely). What would be a problem is if they were to start getting about 50-60 seats, then we should start worrying, but right now I think British politics is the better for a dose of BNP.

  24. By the way, while we are on the topic, does anyone know what the BNPs top target seats are for next year?

  25. All these mentions of the BNP are causing the Google ad banners to display ads for them now. >.>

  26. One thing that always surprises me is the strong reaction some people seem to have about the BNP. It’s as baffling as the venom that some people still express about Mrs Thatcher. The BNP are not even a “far-right” party, whatever that means. I think it’s just a way for the main parties to taint them with implied links with Nazism.

    If you actually read their policies you can see why their appeal is growing. They seem to be about on a par with say, a Sun editorial:
    e.g. Death penalty for paedophiles and terrorists
    Leave the EU
    Discipline in Schools
    Deport illegal immigrants

    If you don’t think that people with these views should have a vote, perhaps you are arguing for the franchise to be restricted?

  27. @ Forfar Loon:

    “SNP 35% LAB 30 TORY 21 LIB 8

    Then it results in SNP 27 seats to Labour’s 21 –
    6 for the Tories and 5 for the Libs”

    This does seem surprising, however I distrust Electoral Calculus in regards to some of its predictions. However, which pollster was this result from, as the last polling for FPTP Scotland I have is wholly different:

    Lab 34%
    SNP 27%
    Con 20%
    Lib 12%

    This would naturally result in a very different outcome, one which would seem to reiterate the (I believe rather fair) impression that Scottish voters aren’t fickle enough to change so dramatically against Labour as your polling result would haveus believe.

  28. What I find interesting about the detailed figures in the YouGov poll is that only 20% of people say that they are satisfied with the government’s record, yet 35% say that they would rather have a Labour government led by Gordon Brown to a Conservative government led by David Cameron. Don’t Knows were about the same for both questions.

    Has anyone got a plausible explanation for this? The best I can come up with is that 15% are Labour supporters who aren’t satisfied, but think the Tories would be even worse. If so, they must be really depressed!

  29. “They seem to be about on a par with say, a Sun editorial”

    I think that says more about the Sun than is does about the BNP.

  30. PETE B:-

    yes very odd….as is the 2% of people in “London” who intend to vote SNP/Plaid Cymru.

  31. Pete B,

    With the exception of BJFBW I think I could live with all the other points you listed. I agree with the idea that the Sun holds these views but if that is as bad as the BNP gets why the bad press?

    There must be more, surely. I will venture onto their website to find out for myself.

  32. “2% of people in “London” who intend to vote SNP/Plaid Cymru.”

    People with second homes can vote either there or in their home constituency, but not both.

    For example if you are a LibDem in a safe Tory seat but own a holiday home in argyll, then you can get a postal vote in a seat where it could get an libdem elected.

    In reality there are probably more Unionists who vote against the SNP/Cymru this way that vote for it.


  33. Thank you Peter for that explanation.

    The more I learn about our political system , the more
    daft it gets.

  34. I think that it is worth noting that 31% for Labour is the lowest that Yougov have scored for them in several months.

    Superficially this poll shows Labour to be regaining ground but instead it confirms that Labour are losing ground. Due to the fact mentioned above.

    While other pollsters have been scoring 25 to 30 Yougov until now persisted to score 32 for Labour. This may be down to their differing methodology.

    Most likely Labour are between 28 and 30%. The polls are eradic but I suspect the graph to show an overall decline in the months to come. By the end of May I’m guessing Labour will be frequently polling 25%.

  35. The 3rd of October is the last time Labour scored as low as 31% in a Yougov poll!

  36. Phillip J.W

    “By the end of May I’m guessing Labour will be frequently polling 25%.”

    Doesn’t that depend on if Cameron can actually make the floaters stick with him? As up till now they do not seem entirely won over with him, so Brown might just be able to win enough back again (like over X’mas). Just a thought, as he’s going to be doing an awful lot of global grand standing in the coming months…

  37. On the Scottish samples, as well as the usual caveats I’d point out that with 40% of the libDem vote concentrated in only about 10 out of 59 seats a poll across Scotland will tend to miss their strongholds and therefore probably only shows their true level of support (12-15%) in one in four polls.


  38. I think what this poll shows is the problems ahead for the Tories ,None of the policies their support wants them to do (especially bringing back grammar schools which would help get BNP votes) is very likely to occur.

  39. Wolf-you must be reading a different Poll to this one.

    The top six “things you would like a Conservative Government to do ” for Conservative supporters are all things which Cameron will try to do-though they will have to wait for Tax reductions!

    Interestingly, for Labour supporters the top six are the same, with one exception-Climate Change stuff rather than scrapping ID cards.

    So Labour supporters are signed up to Conservative supporterspriorities too-though they will have to wait even longer for tax reductions if they put a Labour Government back in power.

  40. “So Labour supporters are signed up to Conservative supporterspriorities too”

    I would be cautious about drawing that conclusion. Give people a question like this, and they feel almost duty bound to tick some answers even if they are the “least worst” ones. If the list of things had included lots of more “Labourish” ones, you would have seen Labour supporters chose them instead.

  41. Thanks Anthony

  42. Dean Thomas,

    I agree that Cameron has not done much to enthuse potential new voters. On the other hand he does come without the negative baggage of the past and has done well enough to create many more floating voters who will at least now consider voting Conservative.

    The great fall in Labour’s support will be due to great dissillusionment. After all this borrowing of many billions of pounds it will seem to these floating voters that it has achieved nothing more than a huge tax bill. Decades from now most historians may have a different opinion. But that will not help Labour win this coming election.