YouGov’s poll in the Sun today has topline figures of CON 41%, LAB 31%, LDEM 18%, so little change in the Conservative lead as we head towards the election.

This poll has a significant methodological change, albeit one which has made hardly any difference to the topline figures. Unlike nearly all of the other pollsters YouGov do not normally take into account likelihood to vote in their topline figures – based I believe on the theory that away from elections polls are snapshots, rather than predictions.

In 2005 in YouGov’s final pre-election poll they did factor in likelihood to vote, which decreased the Labour lead slightly and made YouGov’s final prediction more accurate. At this election YouGov have decided to factor it in from the start of the campaign, so on the assumption that Brown will call the election tomorrow, they are now in election mode and the figures are weighted by likelihood to vote in the same way that Populus do.

This actually makes very little difference to the figures. Without weighting by likelihood to vote the figures would have been CON 40%(+1), LAB 31%(+2), LDEM 18%(-2), so all the likelihood weighting did was push up the Conservatives by one point (which, I should add is pretty typical of the testing we’ve done over the last month. It’s never made more than 1 point difference).

Methodological discussion aside, YouGov’s poll shows Labour rising at the expense of the Liberal Democrats, though obviously the lead has a rather greater contrast! Given the normal doubts about polls over bank holidays, I think the chances are that YouGov or ICM have got a strange bank holiday sample (Opinium don’t have any political weighting, so are likely to be a bit erratic anyway).

With recent polls coming together somewhat around a Conservative lead of around 10 points or just below, it’s probably better to be sceptical of the ICM poll until and unless other pollsters show a similar narrowing of the lead. I expect we’ll have no shortage of polling over the next few days to enlighten us.

528 Responses to “YouGov show 10 point Conservative lead”

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  1. @Matt
    The reason many people give up youthful left-leaning views is that when they have to make a living in the real world, they realise that left-wing idealism is a luxury that becomes less important when you own property, have a family etc.

  2. Amber Star
    @ MATT

    In the past, Labour/ LD lost the youngsters when they started reading newspapers here…………
    When I was at University, it was said that at 20 if you are not a socialist, you haven’t got a heart and at 40, if you are not a Tory, you haven’t got a head.

    I have not conformed to the latter as this would be the 4th election after my 40th.

    My piece on people gradually becoming rightwing as they grow older: It’s the income bracket , stupid! The idealism is lost and straightforward money-counting starts. [ I am talking about the general population ]

    Of course, that didn’t happen with me either. The tax changes this year will hurt me – but my political sympathy will not change. I have mellowed somewhat, I guess. I am a Social Democrat now, I suppose [ not the SDP type, I hasten to add ]. More like an European Soc. Dem.

  3. Ken
    I was trying to make a joke at poor Glen’s expense but I did not get through this time I suspect.

    Where do i find this info – i too would like to discuss details of a poll


    I have now been in moderation for 18 hours despite making serious comments whilst Roland Haines gets away with making nasty little comments at my expense.

    Could try and persuade people to behave responsibly during the campaign.

  5. Amber Star

    “so far, nobody has taken up the challenge of reviewing the ICM/ Guardian outcomes & critiquing them”

    You could have a go, you know you want to. Oh, all right then, I’ll do it.

    ICM have polled a stable result for Labour all year. A one point climb, then hold steady, then another 1 point climb. The last two have been a bit odd though. 29 is the lowest then 33 the highest that ICM has given them in the 11 polls undertaken this year. Whilst the 29 corresponds closely with other pollsters around the same time, 33 is higher than everyone else and has only been matched by YouGov about a month previously. Average them and you get 31 which is more like their previous results leading me to suspect that the last two polls are subject to a little random variation. If the next ICM poll is in the range 30 – 32 then I’d be tempted to put these results down to noise.

    Moving on to the Conservatives, ICM have been tightly packed with the other pollsters, indicating a gradual fall over the first 10 weeks of the year followed by a small recovery over the last 2 or 3 weeks. Their last result being the lowest of the 3 polls yesterday probably has no statistical significance and can probably only be analysed fully in the light of the next poll from ICM.

    Again, ICM have followed the other pollsters in reporting the LibDem vote, with the notable exception to Opinium, who under report by a few points when compared to everyone else. Their poll before last gave the Lib Dems their highest result yet in 2010, matched by Angus Reid’s one point less the day before. Given the apparent rogue nature of that poll’s Labour result, some might question the Lib Dem result too. Their 1st of April poll seems to have given an undue swing from Lab to LibDem which was reversed on their poll of the 5th.

    With statistical data based on small samples, it is better not to overly analyse one result in isolation but to look at sequences of data. ICM generally correlate well with other pollsters, giving confidence that their results are generally accurate and reliable. A sudden jump one way followed by a jump the other suggests random noise. I’d be tempted just to average them out.

  6. Amber, the Tories are splitting hairs over Europe. They moved out of the European peoples party and formed a Euro Sceptic block of nutters and others. Europe is full of the bloated waste that the Tories hate and if they are really pro Europe, they wouldn’t be banging on about Sovreingty. They really are in a bit of a pickle about Europe and I think most of the pro EU garbage they sprout is just for show.

  7. @Matt……………..The media are pushing youth to the right, as Amber pointed out Fox in the US is using very sophisticated methodology to influence young people. The reason is commercial……..they need a high level of consumption of their, and their client’s products. Over here Murdoch is using his UK group to this end. I suspect we will see a change in the attitude of young people to politics, left, right, and centre.
    Personally I support the old dictum………If you’re not a Socialist ’til you’re 30, there’s something wrong with your heart. If you’re a Socialist after that, there’s something wrong with your head ! :-)

  8. 33% in YG Sunday poll had the PM doing well. Now I know the Tories are thinking “well that is not very high”, but lets slow down for a minute…

    We are trying to ascertain what is the ceiling to labour support. I think we should all be honest and admit that it is probably the least certain aspect of the three parties support.

    We know the Tories will be anything heading towards or even bang on thirty.

    But is the 33% who think Brown is doing a gd job, evdience perhaps, that there is still room for improvement in Labour’s share.

    I firmly beleive that the flickers of 33% 34% which we have witnessed at various intervals, not least yesterday, will be the parties eventual share of the vote.

    There was an old US polling site I regulalry visited on Fox News channel in the US presidential elections. It had some useful candidate approval and presidential approval rates to compare to.

    If I am not mistaken Bush had lower ratings before he went on to beat Kerry.

  9. @Surbiton…………….Blimey, I thought it was lost in the mists of time………slight divergence in age though. :-)

  10. Oh dear Oh dear, the last leader popularity stakes statistics from YG.
    BROWN – 28
    CAMERON + 17
    CLEGG + 31

    For Labour supporters there is good news and bad news.
    Good News, Brown has not gone down further.
    Bad news, Cameron and Clegg have both increased their popularity.

  11. ew of that to others but I understand their frustation.

    Eoin polling issues
    As a middle aged (nowadays at 64) I’ll tell you what really does surprise me in the polling. When you get to my age, your parents and elderly relatives need oodles of cash to keep them alive if, as is now the case, your wife or anyone else is unwilling to be a carer. So you have to pay for it. But from 65 to 80?
    I say this with no fear or favour. The ten years GB was chancellor have been tremendous for the elderly. As POA for three of them, they benefited hugely under GB’s various credits and handouts – I mean hugely. In each case they were actually increasing their savings before they passed on or went into the home and of course that is going to the grand children ASAP before the authorities swipe it for care costs.

    The shame is that GB will never got any thanks from them because they became dement and no longer had any idea what was being done fore them. But I know. BTW I heard the argument about Equitable Life and I have a differing view of that to others but I undrestand their frustation.

    The question is – how many compos people do know and why do pollsters not ask people about that? if someone could point me to such a poll question I should be very interested to read the results.
    BTW I heard the argument about Equitable Life type policies and I have a differing vi

  12. @Howard……………And Amber didn’t get my, ‘bluebell wood’ cryptic either ! Still can’t win ’em all ! :-)

  13. Apols for the mixed up post – perhaps I’m getting older than I thought!

  14. @Roland……………….I enjoy your posts, but,I like to see all points of view, some only see their own, sad ! :-)

  15. @Howard,

    Your message was crystal clear and I agree fully.

    For once, I will be optimistic, I think the media scrutiny over the next few weeks will examine it closely

    I hear Alan Johnson and Cris rGayling and Chris Huhne are to have a TV debate. Maybe that will bring out some of these issues.

  16. Late entry into the “how would your kids vote” straw poll:

    My daughter (12) and younger son (6) couldn’t give a stuff, much to my chagrin. Particularly disappointed with my daughter who I thought was a bit more engaged than that.

    My older son’s response to the 6 O’clock news this evening was quite interesting though. We watched footage of Brown announcing the election date with the cabinet all round him, and then Cameron by the river talking to his people. My son would vote Labour, he said, because he doesn’t trust Cameron. He is 10 and high-functioning autistic. Make of it what you will.

    My opinion (and this is purely anecdotal) is that more young people that I know who are preparing to vote for the first time will go for Cameron.

  17. Obviously the LDs principal aim must be to secure electoral reform.

    However, why does electoral reform require a referendum? We didn’t have a referndum on votes for women, on reducing the voting age to 18, or on expelling the majority of hereditary peers from the Lords. I see no reason why the LDs could not demand, as the price of support, a commmitment to STV as the voting system for the election after this

  18. It seems to me that political obsession is a family thing, left wing politics play a much bigger part in left wing families, than right wing politics play in right wing families.
    Reading the posts of left leaning parents is very enlightening, I simply don’t have experience of a politically influenced upbringing, my parents were typically middle of the road, and political debate didn’t play any real part in our life.

  19. My stepdaughters are 13 and almost 17. I don’t suppose either could name the UK’s political parties. The older one could only name about 10 European countries in a pop quiz I gave her yesterday. They don’t know anything about current affairs, history or geography. Neither can write an essay, and the older one struggles with basic arithmetic. I don’t know whether this all suggests that younger people shouldn’t vote, or that state schools in the Plymouth area are truly atrocious…

  20. Anthony, Any chance of fast-tracking these links through moderation. They are ICM poll articles from the Guardian.


    I hope these links will work & not be too long in moderation

  21. @ HOWARD

    I have posted links to Guardian article(s) which I’m hoping Anthony will un-mod soon. They will jump back in time to 7:27 if he does okay them :-)

  22. ”@ SUE MARSH
    Roland – I’ve been going right off you lately

    A combination of the young Sean Connery and Jonathan Ross.
    Devilishly irrisistable, but a horrid rank Tory.

  23. By the way are we starting a prediction session for YouGov poll tonight?

    Shall I start it off as there is only 2.5 hours to go!

    Con 40

    Lab 28

    LD 19

  24. @ Sue Marsh

    “John Fletcher – Tory maj 9,300 here”

    I can better that one. Arundel & South Downs. If all the labour voters & Lib Dems got together in the last election they still would have lost by 3,000 votes!!

    Whats more the Tories are likely to do even better here. Current majority is 11,309. I put money on nearly 13,000 majority this time.

  25. You’ve confused me now, Roland. I don’t think Jonathan Ross is THAT irresistable. And I’m quite sure that Connery was never a Tory.

  26. Same here in South Croydon, Mark: Tories>(Labour+LibDem) by a comfortable margin.

  27. My son is eight this month. He has drawn a beard and glasses on Gordon Brown, and asked if we can put a picture of David Cameron in our garden. Mind you he also supports my football team so I wonder where parental influence wanes and political awareness takes over?

  28. I was adopted, the people who brought me up were lower to middle middle class small business Tories from Hertfordshire.
    My real parents (who never married) I eventually met seperately.
    My mother has lived in California for 55 years and is a very liberal Democrat, but was a Tory before she emigrated. My father is from a South Yorks pit family, but management not hewers.
    He became a teacher then headmaster in North Notts all his woking life. I dont know but I would think Labour perhaps Liberal.
    Imagine, I might of been on the site singing the Red Flag.

  29. @MITZ
    I lied.

  30. Simon H

    I had a conversation with my boys a while back. Went something like this:

    Me: Do you support Swindon Town like your Dad?
    Boys: No way!
    Me: What about Crystal Palace – they’re your local team?
    Boys: Naaah.
    Me: Well, who do you support then?
    Boys: Chelsea – they win things.
    Me: Sigh.


    Unbelieveably, the Tories are sniffing here. Thanks to the Muslim vote !

    Muslims everywhere else are voting overwhelmingly against the Tories.

    Some local views would be welcome.

  32. KEN – didn’t understand your point. I never put the word “claptrap” after the word “Marxist”……

  33. Interesting debate on file sharing today in the Commons, the luvvies in showbiz and their spokesman Ben Bradshaw……….trying to force through an anti freedom bill, before Parliament dissolves.
    If kids need a reason to blow out Labour , this is it.

  34. @ KEN

    :-) I will be a leftie to infinity & beyond.

  35. Mark Rose – We are neighbours!

    Re : Young people voting. In the hospital today I heard a woman tell her (16? 17? year old) daughter, “That one is David Cameron and that’s his wife. This one is Gordon Brown”


  36. ROLAND

    That’s an interesting story. Our lives are shaped by values we are brought up around – mostly.

  37. @ Ken

    It’s interesting you say that left-wing families tend to be more political. On the one hand I’ve heard it said that Labour is more tribal than the Tories and the Lib Dems….but this would imply a higher propensity to vote regardless of Labour performance I’d have thought….which doesn’t tally with the view that low turnout helps the Tories and indeed with the polls suggesting that Tories are more likely to turnout and vote….perhaps Labour voters have to REALLY unhappy to ditch the Labour vote whereas Tories will skip off to UKIP as soon as there’s a whiff of Lisbon in the air.

  38. @Barnaby…………….Sorry, I got carried away. :-)

  39. Amber – me too.

    Ken – Selective reporting!! The Tories have threatened to get rid of BBC3, Radio 1 and GB is starting a fight with Murdoch to stop him keeping the world cup to himself.
    All in the name of balance you understand.
    Anyway, keep up, they all use spotify now didn’t you know? Perfectly legal.

  40. @Amber……………….That’s what I love about you. :-)

  41. MITZ

    My son is also autistic. But, sadly, not in a position to articulate any views. He is 9 but I suppose with a mental age of perhaps 2.

  42. @Sue………………I’m not a fan of the Beeb, they tax me for J. Ross etc., the spirit of free enterprise I salute you ! :-)

  43. My mother was a bit of a contra-stereotype. A nurse turned social worker who was also a lifelong Tory. Being towed around as she delivered leaflets and put up posters might have swayed me, but I was actually pretty left wing (or at least I believed in spending more on everything) until I found out about the national debt. Even now I think I’d probably be a Liberal Democrat if they weren’t so europhilic and had a bit more “OrangeBookness” about them.

  44. Hi Howard, Sue, Barnaby & all

    I have posted a link to the Guardian ICM article. It is out of moderation.

    There is two articles but once you’ve found one, the other should also be findable.

    BTW, Howard – ICM asked a question about care for the elderly as it is discussed a little in the article.

    I’m not sure if the G has a link to the actual data yet. If anybody finds one, let us know where it is. Thx.

  45. KEN – don’t mean to get territorial but I loved Amber first. :) :)

  46. I have a mixture of left and right-wing views. My social views tend to be, on the whole, conservative (with some exceptions), but I believe in helping those who need help i.e. I think old people and the disabled get a very raw deal in the UK at present. I guess I occupy the centre ground overall.

  47. anyone any thoughtson how the 3 way watford seat will work out?

    mitz, i was in south croydon not long ago……….the demographics seemed to favour labour…… am i wrong?

  48. Amber – the most striking thing to me was that it seemed to imply half of all LibDems would consider voting tactically. I wonder how much of that is influenced by the chance of AV/PR whatever. OR of course it could just as easily be those who can’t bear another 5 years of Labour?

  49. @ Barnaby

    Aw that is so sweet – you are utterly adorable :-)

  50. One other polling point. When I saw the results last night, i figured both YouGov AND ICM must have got a strange sample because of Easter. Much as I liked the idea of an ICM 4, it was rather un-expected, and similarly, YouGov putting the Tories on 41 seemed unlikely too.
    i think I really ought to switch off and look again in a week.
    (Yeah right…..)

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