Today’s YouGov voting intentions and government approval ratings are the worst for the Conservatives since the election. The net government approval rating is zero – 40% of people approve of the government’s performance, but 40% of people disapprove. On voting intention the Conservative lead is down to 2 points, the lowest since the election campaign. Topline figures are CON 41%, LAB 39%, LDEM 12%.

Government approval has been on a slow downwards trajectory since the its peak straight after the emergency budget in June. This has been partially down to Labour voters’ hardening disapproval of the government, and partially due to falling Liberal Democrat support. The remaining Liberal Democrat voters still say they approve of the governent’s performance, but there are far fewer of them.

In voting intention, the level of Conservative support actually remains strong. Our daily polling has shown them consistently at or above 40% since the budget, significantly above the 37% support they received at the general election. Their narrowing lead in the polls is actually down to Labour increasing their support off the back of the collapse in Liberal Democrat support. Labour are consistently polling at around 37%, up 7 from their general election score, while Liberal Democrat support stands at just over half their general election vote.

The drop in government approval is to be expected, with the exception of the Blair government after 1997 (and to some extent 2001, when the government’s approval dropped, but then spiked after the attack on the Twin Towers), no British government sustains a positive approval rating for long. The Conservatives rating in the polls remains quite positive, but I’d expect that to start falling at some point once the cuts really start to bite: again, it is clearly what they expect, the Conservative strategy appears to be to take the unpopularity to start with and hope to recover once the cuts have been digested and the economy is in better shape. Right now, the interesting poll rating is that of the Liberal Democrats – the Conservatives have 5 years to get over low poll ratings… unless the coalition falls apart. To date the Lib Dems have been pretty sanguine about the collapse in support, despite stories about Charles Kennedy’s non-defection or Simon Hughes’s semi-regular soundings off, there is no obvious sign of panic.

In a separate poll, YouGov have also released voting intention figures for Holyrood constituency vote carried out for the SNP. Topline figures are CON 14%, LAB 36%, LDEM 12%, SNP 35%. Full results here

301 Responses to “Latest YouGov voting intentions”

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  1. Neil A – Haha, just posted a link above. US Housing data described as Horrendous.

  2. @ Rob Sheffield

    Deficit management: I’m a finance person, I wouldn’t have a deficit to deal with, if I’d been head of treasury. ;-)

    Okay, for real now: I’d ask my department heads for voluntary, efficiency targets; the rest I’d look at getting from taxes.

    Gordon &/or Darling’s mistake was to attempt to be ‘business friendly’. They gave an extension allowing businesses to pay their taxes late – Of course, every business that could took advantage of the scheme.

    They were trying to prevent businesses having to borrow to pay taxes (or perhaps go under if their bankers refused). I’d have done the exact opposite – I’d have given businesses & individuals a discount for paying early & brooked no delay, unless there was evidence of real hardship or risk to the business.

    That would likely have got me a much smaller deficit to deal with (in the short term).

    I’d have put VAT on food – we are a nation of fatties. I wouldn’t have cared how much the supermarket giants screamed. I’d have increased benefits & pensions to compensate for (at least some of) that VAT increase.

    I’d have probably increased other taxes too. I won’t list all my ideas, you’d die of boredom.

    If there had to be spending cuts, I’d have looked for public sector workers to voluntarily reduce their hours (no point looking for voluntary redundancies or early retirement, that costs more than you save!).

    So no cuts, only voluntary actions from a committed team – in Amber’s world.

    But we are where we are. Politics = the public
    want(ed) to hear about cuts & were not going to believe anybody who said no cuts at all.

    So politically speaking, you win the debate. 8-)

  3. Embargo? Poll, maybe?

  4. @Laszlo – enjoyed reading your earlier post (how cuts can end up costing money), and Garry K’s story about how job cut efficiencies at his workplace have proved to be bad for business. You mentioned inventories… is there a discernible trend atm?

    @All – thanks for today’s reading :) you lovely lot.

  5. No, It’s a news embargo on a UK domestic issue.

  6. Earier tonight Neil A (I think) mentioned how an emergency and temporary tax rise would be acceptable if it was clear how it would reduce the deficit and with certain caveats.

    Personally, I feel this approach – not so much the tax rises but a series of emergency and temporary measures, explained to the public with a clearly laid out timescale, is the way to gain better public support.

    I very much feel Cameron made a strategic error (another one) when asked by a fire service officer at one of his events about whether the cuts would be reversed. He very clearly said no – he has effectively given the impression that he favours lower spending based on ideology, and this makes opposition to the measures much easier politically in many ways. A better answer would have been to ask people to accept that some changes would be permanent but when the economy grows again we can look at reinstating some of the more painful measures.

    Going back to Neil’s point, I have been pondering a dramatic action on pensions. It would be painful, but with no immediate adverse impact on the economy, but the complete suspension of all pension tax relief payments would cut spending by nearly £40b pa without any withdrawal of demand from the economy.

    Such a measure would cut the deficit by about 2.5% so should help calm the city. It also affect the richest the most and is highly progressive. There would need to be some reduction in public sector pension entitlements to avoid extra deficits on these funds, but if it was in place for 2 or 3 years it would give the kind of breathing space needed. In the meantime the business of making equivalent permanent cuts would have to proceed – such as IDS is campaigning for. It gives us that breathing space to rebalance the economy without the slash and burn mentality that frightens consumers and damages growth.

    It would need to clear that the support would be reinstated, and for younger people especially there would be time to repair the damage to their pensions.

    As it stands, Cameron is losing the support of people just when he needs it most, whereas a harsh action with a clear timetable to cure a specific problem is much more acceptable than a general and permanent attack on government spending in many people’s minds, especially if its the kind of step that very poorest wouldn’t even notice.

  7. Sorry, meant to add economic.

  8. Amber,

    An excellent post. I worked as efficiency savings manager for Coca Cola Ireland 2001-03. The savings on blue chep pallets (GKN) Improving load utilisation, halting sub contracted work, and employing night shift dirvers saved us a fortune.

    When I left, (for half the salary to teach) there were still many many savings to be made…

    The word efficiency has been dragged through the dirt, I never underestimate the potential of it.

  9. i’m dying of suspense

  10. tiny o tim
    Scottish poll yougov?
    The poll was comissioned for the snp. They must have made up the questions. Cracking questions on Megrahi. Not exactly objective
    Also presumably no regional figures because Labour so far ahead. Much hilarity about SNP giving publicity to poll showing them losing…just not by so much. Mind you News of the World warning Labour not to be complacent. I read it on the web…honest

  11. Its an embargoed IFS reort showing that Osborne’s budget will hit the poorest hardest – two papers running with it.

    ‘Tories hurt the poor’. Hardly news.

  12. Neil A

    You said “…Are we due any key economic data from the US today? Sue, it’s your job to know such things isn’t it?!…”

    Neil, there are sites that collate/timeline upcoming news. The one I use is forexfactory dot com, tho’ Sue may be able to recommend other, better ones.

    According to that, the next newsworthy regularly scheduled UK release is Nationwide’s house price index, but that’s not due until Thursday at the earliest. Faisal refers to it as a major domestic UK economic news story, so I am at a loss.

    Of course, Faisal could just be b********ing you… :-)

    Regards, Martyn

  13. IFS say poor families bear the brunt of the austerity drive?

    Working families stand to lose 5 times as much from the budget.

    But we already knew that didn’t we?

  14. Martyn – I’m at a loss too. I just can’t see any data that big coming up.

  15. @ alec

    i’m dreadfully sorry i just realized that i’ve been getting your name wrong all evening and i know that this is not the first time either

    no slight was intended, i don’t know why i see xxx which are not there

  16. The only news from US was on snoozenight = 27% reduction in US house sales- worst figure in a decade.

    Bank of America warned yesterday that too fast too soon fiscal retrenchment was in danger of killing the goose etc etc

    Markets spooked.

    If it is that new IFS report it is hardly a surprising conclusion as someone else already said….to us. But IFS gets a lot of ‘received credibility’ on t’news and non-geeks pay attention to it.

    So could add to those minus 2 (dis)approval woes.


    specific time delimited measures- excellent post.


    yes- the real world is always a bit of a sh*tter isn’t is 8-)

  17. Poor families, as a percentage of income lose five times as much compared to wealthy, as a result of GO’s budget.

  18. Alec – Can’t be that, because we knew about the IFS report hours ago. A LibDem rebel made murky threats about the Lib conference because of it.

  19. “Cigarettes more expensive than Granola shock”?

  20. Just an obvious point. If the SNP are really only 1 point behind after three and a bit years in Government then they will almost certainly win the election.

  21. @Sue – Some of us knew it, but quite a few heard GO say ‘progressive’ several dozen times in the budget and thought it must be true. As ever with twitter, it seems the anticipation outstrips the event.

    However, where this will matter is within Lib Dem ranks. Depending on what precisely the IFS say, this will leave many Lib Dems with deep problems as they insisted they had helped protect the poorest. Portraying yourself and the balance to the coalition only works if you do actually achieve a balance. It will hasten the exit of some Lib Dems.

  22. This is on twitter as well from 15 minutes ago:

    “Honeymoon turns sour as health charities hammer Government’s wasteful £3bn plan to dis-organise and privatised large chunks of the NHS “

  23. It will be interesting to see just how the IFS have formulated their figures. I suspect it will include quite a few assumptions about the impact of reduced services, rather than direct income comparators, but I could be wrong…

  24. @Richard in Norway – don’t worry. My real name is Mary anyway.

  25. Alec – There was a story about the IFS at 10pm, it wasn’t embargoed.

  26. @Sue – currently debating whether it’s worth waiting the extra 24 minutes or if I should go to bed

  27. Rob – Unite (I’m tired, might be the wrong union :oops: )have issued a legal challenge based on the NHS constitution.

  28. Front pages already On PoliticsHome:

    Guardian and Telegraph running with IFS story- so I guess these are the ‘two papers’

    FT on market jitters over double dip

    Times on Miliband brothers feuding breaking out into the open

  29. Alec – I think I will have to wait 21 more minutes….

  30. I agree with those who think the IFS report could be incredibly important to the Dems.

    There is no hiding from this, the IFS seems to say: The Dems are propping up a government who are making the poor pay for the mistakes of the markets. 8-)

  31. @ mary

    i was debating the same thing, but i can’t be bothered to wait

    good night all

  32. With so many big news stories already AND a new baby in No10, it’s hard to keep up.

  33. “Poor families bear brunt of austerity drive” headlines guardian

    “Osborne’s budget described as ‘clearly regressive’ by respected think tank” sub heads Guardian

    “Budget hits families and pensioners twice as hard” headlines Telegraph

    This is bad for the Lib Dems- Clegg hammered on about the ‘progressive budget’. A lot of us saw through that but like I said: non-geeks pay attention to this organisation.

  34. @ Rob S

    yes- the real world is always a bit of a sh*tter isn’t is
    It certainly is. 8-)

  35. @Sue M

    You said “…Martyn – I’m at a loss too. I just can’t see any data that big coming up….”

    Hmmm…it depend’s on Faisal’s definition of “big”…we’ll find out in twenty minutes.

    Regards, Martyn

  36. Cat woman film revealed as spoof – crazy cat likes to be hidden in bin.

    Well it is still August

  37. I hope somebody posts what the story is in 15 or 20 minutes – or I will be lurking for nothing. 8-)

  38. We are sad aren’t we?

  39. Sky leading with iFS report details. This is regressive, last government plans were progressive.

  40. @Sue M

    You said “…We are sad aren’t we?…”

    I’m an electoral reform advocate…for me, “sad” is a step up… :-)

    Regards, Martyn

  41. Martyn – :lol: :lol:

  42. It IS the IFS report. That is absolutely the last time I believe a twitter tease.

  43. Sue-

    it was on PH over 30 minutes ago- the ‘two papers front pages’ etc etc !!

    Damaging for Clegg- wonder what Hughesie will be saying tomorrow….

    There is also though that Times ‘miliband brothers feud’ as well.

    I wonder what certain posters will deem the most important of the two stories…. ;-)

  44. @Sue M

    You said “…It IS the IFS report. That is absolutely the last time I believe a twitter tease….”

    So Faisal’s big news story is…something we knew five hours ago. Coming up next on Channel 4 News: large elliptical balloon catches fire in New Jersey. I’m off to bed: nighty night, all…

    Regards, Martyn

  45. Deary me, embargoed til midnight!
    Hold the front pages.
    Outgoing govt with no prospect of having to carry out their measures, no plan to deal responsibly with their deficit and need to appeal to their core voters, pass budget which is “progressive”.
    Evil nasty party inheriting enormous mess pass emergency budget which is “regressive”
    And in other news, apparently the Pope intends to announce on his visit to Britain that after years of fevered debate he is indeed a Catholic…

  46. I just came back to say we insomniacs do not have to hang around as we are always here like the poor (and I gather from the IFS story to be soon even poorer).

  47. @Hooded man

    well played sir :-)

  48. DM says a Labour Party led by any of his rivals would be seen as naive by the public. NI headline interprets this a fraternal feud.

    Someone has told him to get real or he risks everything.

  49. Billy Bob
    It’s a golden sales rule never to refer to the opposition but simply praise one’s own product

  50. Thanks Howard… and don’t be afraid to state the obvious, because some of us forget. ;)

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