YouGov’s daily poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 36%(-1), LAB 34%(+1), LDEM 17%(-1). Back to a very tight 2 point lead, and signs that the Lib Dem boost we saw last week is subsiding. The poll was conducted almost entirely before the budget, and wholly before the main media reaction to it tonight and tomorrow morning – so realistically it is already out of date.

I normally offer a caveat about waiting for other polls before concluding anything from a widening or narrowing of the lead. In this case we will never know. If tomorrow’s poll shows a bigger Tory lead we’ll never know if this was a blip, or was a genuine narrowing stamped out by the budget. If tomorrow’s poll confirms this one we’ll never know if this one was the beginning of a trend, or it’s really a budget boost for the government and this one was just a co-incidence.

In terms of when we can expect to see a reaction to the budget, the next YouGov/Sun poll (the one that will be published in 24 hours time) went into the field late this afternoon, so will be entirely post budget and we may see an impact then. On the other hand, we may see a different result once people have watched the media reaction on the TV tonight, or in the newspapers tomorrow – if that’s the case we will need too wait for the polls in the Sunday papers for the full story. Time will tell.

239 Responses to “YouGov Daily poll – 36/34/17”

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  1. I beleive it’s part of a trend & though it’s ”wait and see” as per usual – I feel optimistic – but not over excited because I keep telling myself to calm down ;-)

  2. And there you have your answer EOIN!!

  3. Labour are only 1% less popular than 2005 in my experience that is not a credible argument.

    Are the public unimpressed and worried about the Tories-Yes

    Is GB massively unpopular – Yes

    Do the public hate the political establishment and think all politican’s are corrupt-Yes

    Those three questions = a very interesting election.

    Sue Marsh/Eoin Clarke- If the Labour party only had some guts a few months ago and got rid of GB. I think the election would be in the bag. Labour supporters should not underestimate how disliked GB is. I see it all the time when canvassing.

  4. Is there really a mystery in the latest poll figures?

    Unemployment down for the second month running
    Expected government borrowing lower than forecast
    And a return of the Gay Vote following Dave’s cock up!

  5. @Sue
    “The poster asked if this had ever happened before, and I have to say I’d be interested to know the answer. Just how is this possible?”
    It probably happened in 1992, it’s just that the polls before the GE didn’t show it . Now they do.
    The electorate in 1992 were tired of the Tories but scared of Labour. Now they’re tired of Labour but scared of the Tories. Replace ‘shy Tory’ with ‘shy Labour’.
    Mind you, as a Labour supporter I only hope it doesn’t turn out the same way for GB as for John Major in the long run.

  6. this is the outlier which balances the line of best fit, explains the YouGov Con+7 recently, will surely go 36 32 18 again if the Budget has no effect, after all, ‘What have the Labour Party ever done for us?’
    36 38 16 by Easter????

  7. Well, Hill’s don’t buy the YG figures according to these latest odds –

    Most Seats At Next UK General Election – 31 Mar 10 ( General Election Specials )Selection Odds
    Conservative Party 1/6
    Labour Party 7/2
    Liberal Democrat Party 125/1

  8. *sigh* Simon, do you not think I hear how unpopular David Cameron is when I’M canvassing? I don’t think I’ll answer the canvassing one again.

  9. Well 2% in a YG poll alone is not significant, though undoubtedly many will hope it is not repeated whilst others will hope it is the beginning of a Labour ‘break through’.

    It has been postulated above that the right wing of the Conservative party may start saying that the fall in the polls of the Conservatives is because DC is not Conservative enough – they have been saying that for some time. But look how DC put Tebbit in his place over the European Elections.

    Unless YG have changed their policy on ‘likelyhood to vote’ then this 2% lead for the Conservatives would actually represent between 3.7% at the least and 7.1% lead at the most when ‘likelyhood to vote’ is factored in. Again at this early stage of the campaign (which really started today) having such a lead is a good position to be in. Though of course it is not as good as having a 20% lead.

    I somehow doubt, solely because of personal experience, if any significant number of Conservatives are worried by the position they find themselves in with regard to the poll, annoyed yes, but worried no.

  10. Don’t know why we Labour supporters are being called hysterical. Any hysteria going is coming from one or 2 Tories instead.
    NBeale – I think calling the poll a “rogue” slightly overstates your case. I personally think the Tory lead is probably a little bigger than YouGov do, about 5% or so, but MOE would account for these results.
    HOWEVER – if the next few polls do bear this out, then it doesn’t look like a rogue at all.Exciting times.

  11. 1992 repeat? People sticking with a boring uncharismatic leader and chancellor in difficult times?

  12. David Greybeard – “And a return of the Gay Vote following Dave’s cock up!” I think you could get sued for saying that!!!

  13. @Sue

    Enjoy shameless, Dave will be watching too.

    It is soooo dificult to get a constructive discussion

    I am off out to some fiddley dee…

  14. @Ollie
    “Well, Hill’s don’t buy the YG figures according to these latest odds –”
    This is a misunderstanding of how bookies work. They don’t only consider the likelihood of something happening but how many people think it is likely to happen. They judge that by how much money has been placed.
    So far most money has been placed on the Tories to win, for obvious reasons.
    Labour to win would be worth a flutter, but do it before the prices start to change.

  15. @Eoin Clarke

    Cameron would argue he has made the party more progressive… not all aspects of lib/lab are progressive eg (big bro state) so technically 62 % is unprovable

    I applaued the overall sentiment of the post however….


    I use ‘Progressive’ in the broadest sense. Parties of the Left and Centre-Left. But fair point.

    As to making the Conservatives more ‘Progressive’:- Well, yes and no.

    First off Cameron rightly realised that he had to do that. And he did do so. There were policies on the environment, social policies and so on. And when he made those noises, the Conservative party support levels went up to the mid 40’s.

    But in recent months? We have seen more hardline policies. Not least a virtually Thatcherite approach to the national debt. And those right wing policies have seen support for the Conservatives drop.

    The trouble is, as I mentioned, the hard right are their vocal wing. They are the ones on the TV and on the internet forums. And the Conservatives still feel the need to play up to this wing of their party.

    It will cost them government. As indeed it already has done.

    The Conservative party MUST move to the centre.

  16. @ Sue Marsh

    I take your point. It all depends who you ask and where they live. But you cannot dismiss canvassing . After all why do we all do it?

  17. Sorry Mr Clarke – my post seems to be sent twice. I am in a formal mood – after being far too too upset elsewhere at left wingers who think the deficit is no problem really.

    We have had a mish mash of tory votes = 40 in London. 35 in someplace and 37-38 elsewhere.

    these daily polls highlight clearly one thing – opinion polls are not reliable – the change they show over 1 day is just ridiculous and some of the LD movements plain laughable.

    What I am shocked by as I read places like this is the sheer manipulation that goes on with these polls. the fact that some polls take people who say undecided and will not vote and to guess at how they will vote.
    then we have a ‘certaintly’ to vote weighting. How reliable is the weighting and how reliable is the estimate of certainty.

    Mr Wells dresses all this up very well but come on … its all just plain alchemy – and against a background where the electorate are totally pissed off and if not actually fuming they are totally jaundiced about the political process.

    This affects the polls and it may well affect the election. But how?

  18. Mainly to sure up our core vote, surely? And to let voters know how much we care ;)

  19. Anthony
    On a technical matter can you answer the first part of my question?
    Do the polls show the likely size of the vote (turnout)? Are we seeing former Conservative voters deciding not to vote in much bigger numbers than before? Is there a hidden secret vote for minor parties, EG UKIP, BNP etc.?

  20. A reminder that in 1992 the parties were neck and neck – Labour did not have a 5-7 point lead.

    The Conservative victory caught everyone by surprise even then.

    This is pointing to a hung parliament or a slim Tory majority if their position improves during the campaign.

  21. @David in France
    “I would dearly love to see the Conservative party split from the extremists in it’s party and return to the Centre-right position occupied by so many of the mainstream parties of Europe.”

    The problem is, they’re already virtually indistinguishable from Labour. I follow politics more closely than most (though probably less closely than most on here), and I can’t see any major difference between the two. It’s all a matter of degree – “We’ll cut quicker or slower than the other lot” or “We’ll tweak this or that tax allowance more or less than the other lot”. Unless the Tories have some seriously good policies up their sleeves for the campaign proper, it will just be a choice between different managers, both of whom are corrupt in many peoples’ eyes. Many voters will thus probably settle for the devil they know.

    If the Tories had not alienated what you call the extremists (presumably UKIP), their lead would be much bigger than it is.

  22. Sue Marsh – “*sigh* Simon, do you not think I hear how unpopular David Cameron is when I’M canvassing? I don’t think I’ll answer the canvassing one again.”

    Can you explain then how DC has a rating of +10 and GB a rating of -28 in the polls this week? Perhaps your canvassing is done in extremely pro-Labour areas?

    The above figures are contrary to what one would expect with the party polls at present, but both lots of polls are valid.

  23. @Andrew Myers
    “A reminder that in 1992 the parties were neck and neck – Labour did not have a 5-7 point lead. ”
    That’s true. But it’s also true that the pollsters were not clever enough to weight for the so-called ‘shy Tory’ voter or the myriad of other things they do now. I think we’re probably seeing a pretty true picture of the state of play now in a way that we didn’t back in 1992.
    Which would mean we’re heading for a hung parliament, not an incumbent majority like in 1992.

  24. Tony M – I have said it before and say it again – unless a poll discloses 30% of its respondents either will not vote or cannot vote that the poll is useless as it is not representative. Only say 70% of the electorate turn out.

    And now we have someone saying that a YG poll where a 2% lead really means a 7% lead. And we are supposed to take all this seriously?
    A stopped clock is right 2ce a day – pollsters will get it right every now and again.

  25. I can’t explain it Bill Roy, except to wonder if beneath GBs unpopularity there lies a grudging respect.

    Incidentally, I’m going to bed now, but my joke was extremely funny and none of you laughed.

  26. This is not a blip in my opinion. Cameron is good at attacking and making jokes, but people want to hear the substance of policy before they make up their minds.

    It will remain neck and neck up to election day, with people making up their minds on the day. Do they back the change being offered or do they opt to stick with Labour, in the hope that they will take the right decisions to restore the economy to health.

  27. Andrew
    “A reminder that in 1992 the parties were neck and neck – Labour did not have a 5-7 point lead. ”

    Yes but back in 1992 it was the Tories who were defending a majority – it is the reverse situation this time.

    and anyway going on the poll tonight they are nearly neck and neck again…

  28. “I can’t explain it Bill Roy, except to wonder if beneath GBs unpopularity there lies a grudging respect. ”
    I can explain it. Popularity of a party’s leader is not what makes people vote for it.
    Thatcher was extremely unpopular but she kept winning elections.
    Must be that a lot of people prefer a grumpy bad tempered leader to a bright bushy tailed one.

  29. @ R Huckle
    “Do they back the change being offered or do they opt to stick with Labour”

    The trouble is, the only change being offered is a change of personnel. There’s no apparent difference of vision yet. The campaign will be extremely boring if it carries on like this.

    At least in the 80s there was a choice between left and right. Now it’s between Management Team A and Management Team B (with Management Team C possibly holding the balance of power).

  30. Tony M – I have said it before and say it again – unless a poll discloses 30% of its respondents either will not vote or cannot vote that the poll is useless as it is not representative. Only say 70% of the electorate turn out.

    And now we have someone saying that a YG poll where a 2% lead really means a 7% lead. And we are supposed to take all this seriously?
    A stopped clock is right 2ce a day – pollsters will get it right every now and again.
    (again sorry if this has gone 2ce)

  31. As a long time gambler i know how how bookmakers work. If we are to believe YouGov polls then Labour will be the largest party. If the bookmakers believed these polls then Labour would be odds on. The bookmakers like when they price up any event will base the odds on the likely outcome. They would not offer 7/2 about an odds on chance.

    On a general point do people get the impression when chatting to friends/family etc that just about as many of them will be voting labour as conservative. I know that such questions prove nothing but I do not know anyone who is going to vote labour

  32. You’re right it proves nothing. Most of my friends and family are Labour supporters. But that proves nothing either.

  33. @Julian Gilbert
    “Thatcher was extremely unpopular but she kept winning elections.”

    She was unpopular at times, but this is a quote from the Telegraph on 17/9/08

    “The last time the Conservatives polled more than 50 per cent was in August 1988, when Mrs Thatcher was considered at her height after her third general election win.”

  34. @Paul – me neither.

    I know that’s an old argument – that one tends to know like-minded people, but in the past I’ve always known people with completely different opinions to mine – not this time.

    With their daily tracker can Yougov not go back regularly to the same people and monitor *changes* of voting intention – that would be the real story, people who are actively changing their minds from day to day – clearly they are out there if the polls are to be believed.

  35. “The bookmakers like when they price up any event will base the odds on the likely outcome. They would not offer 7/2 about an odds on chance.”
    Aaah but they’re not pricing up this event. They’ve been offering this to the punters for some time now and the weight of money placed on the Tories to win must be considerable.
    Add to that the fact that if the bookies encourage people to think that Labour could win, (by improving their price)and Labour do win, they would lose a lot more money. But if people continue thinking that the Tories will win, and they don’t, they stand to win a lot of money.
    This is not the same as the nags or the dogs because of the much longer time scales involved. And the fact that there are only two runners in the race (sorry LD supporters)!

  36. Barnaby – how do you explain the bookmakers prices?

  37. Maybe this proves that at times of national turmoil, being the centre of attention is quite impotant. The last week’s news has all been about Labour and the government. Mainly bad news, but news is news.
    And the only time we see Cameron is when he launches into tirades against Brown. He may feel quite strongly about what he sees as the litany of failures by Labour, but he is starting to look somewhat hysterical. He needs to be more measured and precise, with a greater degree of gravitas. His use of comic similies in his Budget response was a little embarrasing. He has a case to make, and he has ideas. But he is too easily distracted by the Yah Boo stuff.
    And yet again the LD are marginalised. Hello? This is a party that could poll between a fifth and a quarter of all votes cast. It’s all really quite unfair.

  38. @ Sue Marsh

    “On a non-partisan analysis, Labour have suffered from a hugely unpopular war that keeps on giving and the worst recession in a generation. All the while, the polls are marching in their favour. The poster asked if this had ever happened before, and I have to say I’d be interested to know the answer. Just how is this possible?”

    It happened in 1970. A horrible economy (IMF in 1966, devaluation in 1967), tacit support of an unpopular American war (Vietnam), party strife (George Brown, etc), political failure (de Gaulle’s second “non” in 1968; Wilson/Castle losing “in place of strife” to Callaghan and Solomon Binding in 1969). A personally unpopular prime minister (Wilson) and a distrusted opposition leader (Heath). And guess what: a poll deficit in the 20%s in 1968 crept up to equality, then a labour lead, in spring 1970.

    The parallels, on all fronts, are striking.

    As to how it’s possible, nothing but good news to report on this front: people don’t automatically do either (a) what other people tell them to do, or (b) what other people expect them to do.

    The sad footnote to the 1970 parallel is that Heath won in 1970, against the message of the polls, and instigated an economically disastrous (but nontheless exciting) decade.

    And I see the same thing happening 40 years on.

  39. I suspect that it isn’t a positive embracing of Labour, rather than voters looking at the Tories and thinking “no way”.

    People underestimate the class hatred directed towards the Tories. When Brown made his “playing fields of Eton” joke his popularity with Labour voters went up. Shame Mandelson told him to shut up. People enthused by that quip are not going to vote Tory.

    Another example, I was at a meeting last year when a leading trade unionist read out TUC polling of public sector workers and found the overwhelming majority were not going to vote Labour. But the Tories and their media fans have consistently attacked public sector workers. So they have just slipped back to Labour.

    A fair percentage of people will vote Labour with gritted teeth just to keep out the Tories and wipe the smile off the city fat cats and the right-wing media. One in the eye for Murdoch.

    My own prediction (shared I think by Geoffrey Wheatcroft in his Strange Death of Conservative England), until the Tories get rid of the Maggie worshippers on the Telegraph and Mail they won’t win.

  40. Well the other night I said if the Conservative lead was 4% or less I would switch off and go to bed!!

    So good night everyone. :o

    (By the way I don’t believe YouGov one bit) :o

  41. Every time people on here express disbelief or bewilderment at this or that “bad for labour” story not being reflected in voting intentions, it makes me wonder why they’re expecting it to do so in the first place.

    Who would be prone to voting Left and say to themselves “gosh, that’s terrible publicity they’re getting today, I’ve changed my mind.. I’ll vote Right instead!”? It’s an insane notion.

    To borrow Cameron’s football analogy no supporter of Liverpool is going to start cheering on Manchester United because their own team has done badly in their last match.

    We have two parties fighting over who will end up with the largest 30 someting percent of the votes of 60 percent of the people.. The numbers of changeable minds who can be won round are miniscule.

    The idea that the conservatives have lost a huge amount of support is the illusion because of high poll ratings betwen elections…they soared to huge leads without ever really being in the news or having any policies or personalities the public could name.. they did so simply because they were the “other” party . Between elections people are asked the question “who will you vote for?” but — I’ve always assumed – they’re really answering “who is getting the best..or least worst…news coverage at the moment?” Come an imminent general election, as we have now, people start answering the question that’s actually asked.. who will you vote for?! and the answer is very different.

  42. Julian

    That’s interesting. I’ve never been a betting person -so I’ll show off my ignorance.

    Are you saying that the bookies give odds on how people have been betting and change them very slowly rather like an oil-tanker? And that they don’t reflect the polls because they would end up losing money? Seems pretty obvious when you tell it like that -though I wouldn’t have guessed it.

  43. The bookmakers are often rubbish at predicting elections, especially the closer you get to the result.
    I have been mortified on occasions when the bookmakers predicted a easy labour win in Glasgow east and a Yes vote in the first Irish referendum, literally with an hour to go or even after the polls had closed, only for these massive odds predictions too be utterly wrong.
    John Kerry took over as a favourite to win the presidency (on a major bookmaker) I was using, with an hour to go before the result was declared in the 2004 election. This made me go so mad I told my pal to pull all his money out of the bank and put it on John Kerry. After all it was a dead cert I thought. (He didn’t take his money out ).
    The bookies panic like everyone else. Now I have said that they will be probably right.

  44. I’m actually really rather surprised at how strong the “You can’t blow up the same bridge twice” effect I predicted actually turns out.

    The Conservatives really do appear to have completely played out these attacks, and people just don’t pay attention to something they already made up their mind up on a year ago.

  45. Looks like the underlying trend of Labour recovery is reasserting itself. But time is running out for them fast to close the gap.

    That the ‘lobbying’ thing didn’t move the polls is no surprise. Sleaze needs someone in the field seen as squeaky clean to make a difference. I’m afraid that noone is – except maybe the ‘Others’. Could work against them being ‘squeezed’ and so actually work against the Cons. Don’t say it will – but politics is full of little ironies like that.

    I suspect when the campaign proper starts the LD will revive a bit. Whether they revive where it matters is key – we’ll know about that the day AFTER the election and not before.

    SNP will do much better than last GE – when they did very badly – but it may well not translate into extra seats.

  46. AL J
    Bookies certainly change the odds (they call it the price) according to how much money is placed. At a race this happens very quickly and is almost entirely dependent on money changing hands at the course. The GE is diffreent because the time scales are months and even years. This means that the weight of money placed on the likely winner becomes more and more over a longer period and therefore is less likely to change the prices.
    This gets complicated. The bookies know that people are less likely to put money on something with long odds, in this case Labour. They obviously want Labour to win, because of the amount of money placed on the Tories. There would have to be an enormous amount of money out on Labour to win now in a very short time to change the prices at this late stage.

  47. Bookmakers base their prices on two things, The amount of money they have taken and the likelihood of something winning. If they consider a horse a 10/1 shot and they can lay it at evens then they will take fortunes on it. In the same way if bookies offered 10/1 on an even money shot then punters would hammer it as well.
    What I am basically saying is that bookamkers are rarely wrong. If we are to believe these YOUGOV polls then they are massively wrong


    I agree.



    Also I get a sense of ‘we are where we are’ and the past is the past.
    People want to know what the future will be.
    Labour have set out their prelimary stall.
    The help for small businesses, +20000 univ places and the extra tax on £1m houses was important for defining the dividing line for labour. The Tories would never have done the latter- the public will sense that.

    Osbourne needs to present his cuts showing Tory fairness – a difficult task.

  49. Subject of course to what other pollsters tell us over the next few days, it does start to look as if Yougov has drifted significantly out of line with all other polls. I wonder why this should be?

  50. I think people are starting to be bored with Cameron after 5 years. They peaked too early.

    For 8 months people on this site just ignored the little 1% drops in support and said it was insignificant. 20 points has turned into 2% – 6% which equals a Labour minority government.

    I think it’s all down to me and my leafleting :-) I joined the Labour party 8 months ago hehe…

    Im only 24 and its the first time I’ll be voting. I’ve seen what Labour has done to help in the last year. Maybe other people are seeing the same??

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