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budget, and wholly before the main media reaction to it tonight and tomorrow morning – so realistically it is already out of date.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. Julian

    Thanks – in other words we shouldn’t take the bookies too seriously.

    I’ve lost count the number of times someone said to me ”yeh but what about the odds?” and I never had an explanation ;-)

  2. Paul if you really think that bookmakers know more by taking bet money than pollsters know by means of scientific polling, then you are SOOO on the wrong site. I remember when Peter Tatchell was a very, very warm odds-on favourite to win the Bermondsey by-election, for example. Things change and bookies tend to be slow to change with them. Julian’s analysis is admirable & you’d do well to read it rather than have a go at me.

  3. I also think it only fair to point out that you can’t believe the YouGov polls THEN say they’re massively wrong. :) :)

  4. Naylor

    Your leafleting is paying dividends. Please don’t stop. lol ;-)

  5. How many times have peole backed the favourite and a 100/1 outsider won? Lots and lots of times. If you want a safe bet, put your money on Monster Raving Loony party :-)

  6. Looking at the bookies gives an indication of how many people think something is going to happen over a very long period. The people who put money on the Tories over a year ago are still affecting the prices (the odds).
    It would be like making an average of the polls from the last two years and then expecting them to show the present state of play.
    Opinion polls are a much better indication of the outcome because they are up to the minute.

  7. Anthony

    in your UKPR rolling average, it seems YouGov have taken over simply because they are producing a poll every day and everyone else is about once a week. Thus the average given is heavily biased toward yougov’s methods (about half the polls involved are from them). Perhaps there is a way to moderate this.

  8. May I just comment on ‘Bookmakers odds’

    There are two kinds of bet, the first which many may be aware of is the ‘starting price’ odds, these are what the odds are at say the ‘start’ of a horse race – the odds are worked out by taking the accumulated monetry value of all bets cast.

    The second type of bet is the ‘anti-post’ bet, here odds are fixed at any given time and are not reliant as such on the accumulated monetry value of the bets cast but on the likelyhood of a result at that given time (although if the race is close they – the bookmakers – may factor in the monetry liability they presently hold, though this is often offset by so-called ‘laying off’ of bets with other bookmakers). The GE result is usually done on the anti-post betting system, if you were to walk into a bookmakers tomorrow morning you would be given ‘odds’ that would hold no matter what other bets are subsequently placed after yours.

    Sothe net result is that the bookmakers will alter their odds on anti-post betting odds relatively slowly and this will reflect the monetry value of bets subsequently being placed after the last time they issued the odds. So if the Conservative odds went from 6-1 on to 5-1on this would generally indicate that more money had been placed on Labour winning than Conservatives in the intervening period of the setting of the odds.

    Sorry it is so long winded – and this is very much the abridged version!

  9. Notwithstanding the above, 2% ahead is not a lot. Labour and Conservatives are leaking support to the Libdems and others. The Conservatives have more to lose and their boat is sinking a bit faster.

    I wish we could be more certain which of the others is actually benefiting the most. If it is UKIP, then the biggest swing might well be Conservative to UKIP not Labour to Conservative, that would certainly be worth a “wow” or two.

  10. Hi, I tend to hover and not post cos I’ve nothing good to say. But the way I would calculate the average is, take the last poll from each pollster, and only the last one. So todays Yougov would replace yesterdays, this weeks ICM would replace last week, and so on.

    But I am ILLITERATE.

  11. @Bill Roy
    That’s all true. However, it gets even more complicated because the bookies also know they can manipulate the amount of money placed on the expected winner by the price they give. If they thought that Labour was going to win, they would want to discourage money on Labour. If they were to drastically change Labour’s price at this late stage it might ironically encourage money to be placed on Labour because most people prefer to back the favourite.
    If you’re the cynical type (I am), this would mean that the more Labour looks certain to win, the less likely the bookies are to change the prices because they still want to encourage money on the Tories. Bookies also take the view that the ‘wisdom of the crowd’ is the best indicator to follow because it’s the safest for them.
    Labour to win most seats is definitely worth a flutter at today’s prices.

  12. I think the Tory share is probably correct but I’d be surprised if Labour are quite as high as 34%.

  13. I suspect a lot hangs on the debates. If two of the leaders turn up wearing Richard Nixon masks, all bets are off.

  14. Whether or not this poll is accurate doesn’t matter to a large extent. The public only care about what the media focuses on and if this poll means there is any chance of a poll showing a Tory lead of 1 or 0 then it’s important. That would be a massive news story and either scare people into voting Tory or reassure them they could flood back to Labour and not be pariahs.

  15. @ Eoin

    Nope, Tory partisan comments are never moderated here….

  16. Julian Gilbert – yes fixing is a problem (one the TOTE was meant to abolish and give punters a fair deal -huh, how many times has that ideal fallen flat on its face, but that is an aside). Of course the contrary is also true that they may want to discourage bets on the Conservatives so they increase the odds offered on them making people think they are not looking as likely to win!

    I think many statisticians have studied bookmaking either during their degrees or afterwards. It is a fascinating field of inquiry but is ten times more difficult to understand than even politics and opinion polls! :)

    It will be interesting to see by the way if any polls are done in areas where military bases are, could Labour be in for a bit of a hammering here? (Chilcott, married quarters, treatment of wounded service personel, etc..)

  17. About six months ago I said that the 20 points lead of the Conservative Party was not justifiable and was exergerated. Some of the criticisms of Gordon Brown from the press and every Harry, Dick and Tom were, in my view, over the top and inappropriate at times. I likened population behaviour, as exemplified by opinion polls, to the movement of share prices. Following a long period of consolidation, the share usually moves sharply up or down. Labour was then just emerging from a languishing long period of consolidation. I expect the trend to continue baring any calamity to Gordon Brown or Labour Party. The momentum is behind the Labour Party at the right time and the Conservative Party appears to have fired all the bullets. In the final analysis, it is policies and big issues that should win elections and not presentation or style. The Conservative Party policy of quickly and aggresively cutting the budget deficit is their achilles heel and this wont wash with the voters. It is now too late for them to wriggle out of it.

    Sam Ahamefule

  18. Well Labour have never done well amongst servicepeople, except in 1945. In any case no-one would conduct a polls specifically in military areas. Obviously the national polls area conducted in all sorts of areas including military ones.

  19. I think Labour will be more worried than the Tories.

    To come back from 20 points down to 2 points. It’s so close… but the last mile is the hardest.

    Do Labour have enough momentum to carry them over the winning line? When will the weekly polling of the marginals begin & what will they show? The suspense is killing me!

  20. @ Julian:

    “Labour to win most seats is definitely worth a flutter at today’s prices.”

    Fair point, 4/1 means you only have to think they have a 20% chance of pulling it off to make it worthwhile.

  21. the bookmaker argument is a strange one. In by elections in scotland there has been an snp strategy of encouraging activists to bet on them therby making them look favourites. It won me a lot of money in glenrothes.Bookies are guided by weight of money and 6 months ago many professional pundits saw a tory bet as a safe place for their money to be. I backed labour at that point. labour odds are mage generous to try and balance the in take hence limiting the bookmakers exposure. i saw an expert from ladbrokes on working lunch jst before the leadership election/coronation who said GB would not win in his opinion but john reid was going to be the bookies man. aye… some expert’

  22. One thing I find interesting is how eager people, even Tories, are to ignore other pollsters other than YouGov for example Ipsos MORI. I know that’s not being discussed specifically in this thread, but what is it that makes people think that YouGov has become the pollster of pollsters? Their constant drumbeat of polls? It’s pretty good advertising but doesn’t convince me they are the most accurate polling organization out there. They could end up being, but I’m still skeptical. Their refusal, for example, to change their weighting of their Scottish sample which even they admit is off tells me that there is very possibly something wrong with their weightings. I just believe MORI more than I do YouGov (and ICM more than I do MORI).

    It is an also interesting question (to me as an American) exactly what the Tories have done to manage to slash a lead as large as they had even a few months ago though. By anyone’s polling they’ve somehow shot themselves in the foot.

  23. The best odds to watch are the Spread Betting. These do not depend on bookies or on past weight of money.

    In my view the CLead has gone down because they started talking honestly about the cuts that would have to be made – since they realise that it is no good being elected without a mandate to make these cuts. But Brown simply denies that there will be need to be real cuts and since lots of people depend on “the state” for their income he hopes to get the pocket-book vote.

    Though I still think the underlying CLead is more like 5% not 2% (and so does the UKPR average) and that the campaign will move about 5% towards the Conservatives. But we shall see….

  24. Too much attention to YouGov!

    The interesting numbers are the latest UKPR averages: 37/31/18, showing Tories one seat ahead of Labour and 40 short of a majority under UNS.

    Given their potential advantage in the marginals, the Tories should outperform UNS by 20-40 seats. Not enough for a single party working majority, though, so maybe the great opportunity that Alex Salmond was referring to last weekend to extract the maximum amount of money for Scotland from the situation.

    I can see the time coming when the media will lay off Clegg and start asking Cameron questions about whom he’d prefer to work with in a parliament with no overall majority. Media specualtion about the SNP would not go down very well in Tonbridge Wells and Dorking, methinks.

  25. I wish people would stop quoting bookies odds. Three points:

    1) Bookies make a ‘book’. The do so to attract money. They do not care who wins and are not in the ‘prediction’ business.

    2) The market is very small (as most people do not care about politics) and can therefore cause wild swings on small amounts.

    3) Spread Betting/Long Delay bets tends to be an activity of the better off. The better off tend to be Tory. People mostly tend to mix with thier own social/fiscal ‘class’. I would suggest those that are betting at present would tend to have a Tory Bias built in as fundamnetally Tory and little contact with other views.

  26. @NBeale – “In my view the CLead has gone down because they started talking honestly about the cuts that would have to be made – since they realise that it is no good being elected without a mandate to make these cuts. But Brown simply denies that there will be need to be real cuts….”
    I think thats the problem for the Tories – they have talked about the need for cuts but absolutely haven’t been honest about what they will be. As it now stands, we have clearly identified £19b of tax rises and £11b of savings from Labour (but these aren’t necessarily believable) but from the Tories a pretty miserable £4b cuts, which are equally falsely constructed, and further tax cuts rather than rises. I can’t get across more strongly – this idea that Osborne has somehow ‘told it like it is’ is completely wrong. Darling has shown far greater detail and honesty, but even he hasn’t been fully open. Additionally, if the Tories maintain their line – wrongly in my view – that 3% growth by 2011 is too optimistic, then there is an additional burden on them to name the cuts to cut the deficit faster. The reason the Tory lead has fallen is that they have frightened people with the broad thrust of their assessment yet failed to assuage them with any policy detail. This has made them look shifty and much less honest than Darling.

  27. My Dad ran betting shops for years and in my student days I ran a couple of books on Pool competitions.
    In one competition I ended up with one of the favourites and an outsider in the final. If the favourite won I lost a little if the outsider won I made plenty as all bets like for the GE are antipost.

    What to do?

    Edge my bets or odds and give better odds than accurate if judged by liklihood to win to the outsider and very short odds to the ‘favourite’ . Once I had taken enough new bets on the outsider so I would make money whoever won I made the odds more accurate.
    In essence I traded the risk of losing on one outcome for more potential profit with the second outcome.

    Bill Roy explains it well in that in the last 2 years lots of money will have been placed on Tories most seats and as such Labour highest number would net the bookies more profit.

    They will set odds now to attract the bets they need to endeavor the make the same profit on both outcomes.

    Of course it does not always work and there comes a point when I gambled on the outcome I expected once I could not lose but the bookmakers rarely gamble.

  28. Just to add professional punters to do the same edging.
    So if one had placed a small bet on Labour biggest party when they where 20pts or more behind they may have got 15/1.
    Now if they edge on the cons at 1/6 they are bound to make money.

    My Dad used to bet against England at Soccer sometimes as he said he would be happy whatever the outome. As Englands odds are always shorter than they should be due to the patriotic bet he made money more aften than being happy with England winning.

    I wonder if some PB cons will have have a taken a small Labour largest party position a year or 2 ago; I wish I had!

  29. I suspect that the narrowing of the polls is due to economic considerations. When the credit crunch started people were bewildered and fearful of a repeat of the 1980s recession or even the 1930s depression. They didn’t necessarily understand the complexities of mortgage backed securities and the shadow banking system and simply blamed the incumbent government, hence the large Conservative leads which appeared from autumn 2007 onwards.

    In the last six months we’ve come out of recession and the jobless figure seems to have peaked at a figure way below most people’s expectations. There’s been a collective sigh of relief which is manifesting itself as a recovery in Labour’s poll position.

    I suspect it will be economic news (rather than tittle-tattle) which drives the polls over the next few weeks, and, in the end will determine who wins the forthcoming GE.

  30. Re the betting conversation – surely it’s ‘hedge’ bets rather than ‘edge’?

  31. I think Young Mark you have a point. The economy as it stands at the time isn’t always the main cause of election results, but even in 1997 it was inasmuch as the image of Norman Lamont did real damage to the Conservatives’ economic credentials, and it usually is crucial. The emergence of Britain from recession is one reason for the narrowing, but I still maintain that the Conservatives’ difficulties in presenting a coherent alternative are bound to be echoed in the polls as the election draws nearer.

  32. @BARRY P

    So these figures suggest Labour has only lost support of about 1 in 18 or so of it’s supporters since 2005

    I don’t think so


    You are absolutely correct ! However, you are forgetting the Iraq protesters who went away from Labour last time either voting LD or actively abstaining. They are back with a vengence, me included.

  33. Budget 2010 did not kill Labour chances of GE victory.

    Yes the growth forecast will be hard for voters to believe, yes overall debt is massive..

    But th eheadlines of undershooting borrowing, beating unemployment, and predicted growth, in the medium term, has strenghtened New Labours hand.

    Tactically, GO has a two choices today. Hi sleaders choice was to look backwards and castigate 13 failed years.

    Osborne’s narrative is very different. It will play well with woters demanding change. Instead of attacking the budget, Osborne is planning to call it a ‘phantom budget’. He can do thi swith good reason, since VAT, Nat Insur and Income Tax were not touched. He can do it because a comprehensive spending review has not been carried out. If he pursues thi sline of attack, and backs it up with plans of his own, it may help satisfy voters who are unsure about what precisely the Tory plans are.

    George Osborne, is like any shadow chancellor. He has never had a chance to prove himself. It explaisn why voters are unsure. Budgets are three day events nnow, not one. So for an accurate appraisal of polling impact, it is not tonights polls but Sunday’s polls that we must wait on.

  34. Anthony

    “… the leader’s approval ratings. In previous elections, notably in 1992, these have proved to be a more accurate predictor of outcomes than polls of voting intentions”

    So says Mike Smithson today iin NS

    I was wondering do you agree with what seems like a bold assertion

  35. The reality is that David Cameron & George Osborne have frittered away their commanding lead. Impartial observers often say that Government’s lose elections, rather than oppositions winning them. In this instance people have turned away from Labour, but do not like what they see over the road. Thus a high Dont’ Know in all polling. It is still open for anything between a Tory landslide and a Labour 4th Term.

  36. 30% agree with the Conservative view that “the national debt is the greatest threat to the economy and the deficit needs to be cut quickly, starting this year” while 57% say that “it should not be cut so soon as reducing spending may stop the recovery”. (data from Ipsos Mori)

  37. Surbiton, that seems to be the crux of it. I hear it time and again. I know that’s only the anecdotal evidence of a partisan canvasser, but it does seem to be a significant response. “I didn’t vote in 2005, but i have to this time to keep the Tories out don’t I?”

    Everyone will absolutely hate this next bit, but I wonder just how much impact the “playing fields of Eton” remark really had. It was around the time the polls started to narrow and also when the mydavidcameron website was set up allowing the spoof posters. Overwhelmingly they focused on how out of touch Cameron must be , very many focussed on his background and most were done by non-political web users who hadn’t really thought about it much before. (over 300,000 were generated, a staggeringly successful underground campaign)
    I know the “class” question gets people very hot under the collars, but perhaps that small thing just tapped into the zeitgeist at the right time? Firstly, fairly or unfairly, it reminded people of the image of the Tories Cameron was trying to play down (rich, elitist, out of touch) secondly it didn’t matter when times were good, but became much more important when the credit crunch hit and bankers became so reviled.
    So, this of course is not what will win or lose the election but perhaps it ties into everything else Cameron tries to say – “Care for the vulnerable” – yeah right, he’s too posh. “Attack the bankers” Yeah right, he’s too rich “Sort out the economy” What with his pal Osborne from Eton? I hope this isn’t culled as I truly think this may have damaged the view of Cameron’s “Caring, Progressive Conservatives” the most and could be the underlying factor for the narrowing gap and the constant problems of his campaign

  38. Anthony:

    Your tracker poll got namechecked and slightly badmouthed on Newsnight last night.

  39. @Sue,

    The political correctness of some lambasted the “playing fields of eton” speech…

    I strongly doubt whether Tessa Jowells’ views were shared by many ordinary voters…

    I seen a poll last year which showed that 88% of Britains believe that Britain is a country where social class matters. I will try and dig it out.

    I think to deny that antagonisms built up around class is at the very least highly naive if not cynically dishonest.

    In a country where a tesco bag is derided and a M&S bag applauded, how can we conclude that this jibe from brown did not play well?

  40. Ooooh, Quincel, what did they say?

  41. @Sue,

    Guardian ,

    Saturday 20 October 2007

    89% said they think people are still judged by their class – with almost half saying that it still counts for “a lot”. Only 8% think that class does not matter at all in shaping the way people are seen.

  42. EOIN – thanks for that, I really hoped it would be taken as I meant it. If something possibly makes a large impact on the campaign, it must be OK to discuss it?

  43. Wow – that’s even higher than I would have imagined. So it really could be one of the most important facts behind the drop

  44. It’s entirely possible that drumming Stephen Byers, Patricia Hewitt, and most of all, Geoff Hoon out of the Labour Party is the single most popular act of Gordon Brown’s career.

  45. @Sue,

    Well I pledge to back up what I am saying with poll research in future. Constructive conversation backed with research will be harder to neuter I would imagine. I have a photo memory for figure so i am sure I could dig about and get more of this kinda stuff….

    Class antagonism is a taboo topic for one very very good reason of which I dare not comment upon

    but as the elction tightens I expect it will influence some voters… that is why I asked you if you helped register voters..

    in NI 25% catholics, in some areas, dont fill in census returns fully- it means they are ineligible to vote… The Clintons spent a lot of tim ein the Rio Grande valley back in 1979 working on registration voters- they found it more productive than canvassing…

  46. Sue,

    Do you feel as though more people are likely to vote this time around?

    I had always thought that the turnout may drop because of the growing distrust the public have about politicians. Your comments suggest that this will not be the case. Certainly if Labour “can get their vote out” then the Conservatives should be very worried

  47. Oh yes EOIN, I forgot, I asked about that. Yes we do a lot of work registering voters, apparently.

  48. Sue – I don’t think Osborne went to Eton, but I imagine most people think the entire tory front bench did.

    I hope it matters less than their policies when it comes down to the GE.

    The real question in most people’s minds isn’t how they were educated, but what they are offering to do.

  49. My dear Sue – good morning to you comrade.

    Just a small correction. Osborne in fact went to St Paul’s School, which I’m afraid is where I too attended. (I don’t have memories of the place at all.) He is as far as I know the only current MP to have gone there. Remarkably there are no Winchester or Harrow old boys in Parliament. St Paul’s most famous old boy is surely Monty – Field Marshal Earl Montgomery. He would certainly have been a Conservative, quite possibly even UKIP nowadays.

  50. Steve – I really don’t know about that. I’m not too blinkered to say that there are no disillusioned Labour voters too, but in my quite limited experience, it seems for every one who says they won’t vote Labour this time, another says they DIDN’T vote in 2005 but will now. crudely, that would lead me to think the Labour vote could well be much unchanged from 2005 and might explain why so many posts say “But NO-ONE is voting Labour”. They are, but tactically, not necessarily because they have a love fest going on with Gordon.
    I canvass in 4 marginals in the South East and I genuinely think we’ll hold onto two of them, the other two are ludicrously marginal.

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