YouGov’s daily poll for the Sun tonight has topline figures of CON 40%, LAB 39%, LDEM 12%. It’s the lowest lead YouGov have shown since the election (and, indeed, since the election-that-never-was), although ICM have already shown the two parties neck and neck.

We have been seeing the gap between Labour and the Conservatives gradually narrowing over the summer. We are rapidly heading towards the conference system, which looking at past elections has normally produced a lot of up and down in the polls as each party gets some sort of boost from the media coverage of their own conference – I’d be surprised if we didn’t get a poll showing Labour ahead during their conference if we don’t get one this week.

407 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – 40/39/12”

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  1. Unless the Tories have a good conference they could find themselves behind in the polls during what should still be the honeymoon period.

  2. Blues 42s and 43s seem to be leaving us behind.
    Yellows two 14s seem to have been tempoary respite before normal things are resumed
    Reds seem to be consolidating their 37s and now on something of an upward trend.

    Conference season has over the last couple of years seen a net 1% gain for reds when all the hype dies down. Most certainly, reds will take the lead on the YG 26.09.10 poll.

    Regardless of who the leader is there is a strong chance reds will be back in front over the xmas break. Yellows will be releived that the slight upward trend in red of late seems to be at blues expense.

    39% blue 39% red 13% yellow might become the norm for the next couple of months.

    Still no events of note- the effect the polls in any great way. the Coulson and Hague stories came and went. Babies and burials and Charlie K phantom defections have all been an gone.

    Just how bad will that CSR be?

  3. Personally I’m a bit surprised they’re not in front already considering the day in day out negativity about cuts and unemployment. I don’t think there had really ben a honeymoon period.

  4. Best explanation for the narrowing?

    The growing intensity of the debate around cuts over the last week- as said yesterday, Nick Robinsons 18:00 and 22:00 news reports from up and down the country last week were a marvellous piece of public service reporting: “I think people should have their benefits cut”/ “Do you have any benefits”;”No”/ Do you have winter fuel allowance”; “Yes”/ “Do you have a free bus pass”; “Yes” etc etc etc and ditto with Tax credits as well.

    There is an increasing focus now on the coalitions economic and social programme by ‘ordinary’ folks that is only going to grow. As opposed to us geeks who have understood what it meant all summer.

    The May election result was not a mandate for a four year eradication of the debt. But so complacent were Cameron-Clegg that this was all they had planned for in their pre election strategy and when put in the position of failing to win an actual majority (despite not mentioning this plan in their manifesto) . A plan B is needed, and pretty sharpish.

    Both the Darling and new Labour leadership far more modest approach to deficit reduction (both in terms of amounts and time scales) will prove to be far more popular over the coming 12 months and on into the real rollercoaster ride of 2013-2015.

    We are not seeing the beginning of the end of the coalition (yet).

    But we are seeing the end of its beginning.


  5. Does anyone know of any polling which shows what the difference in polling would be if either David or Ed M was leader of the Labour party. i.e. would either of them lead to a boost for Labour and by how much?

    Usually those sort of polls have a big impact on who the party picks.

    Anyone ????

  6. On the latest poll AW’s swingometer would produce :-
    Con 289 seats ( – 17 )
    Lab 321 ( +63 )
    LD 15 ( – 42 )

    But of course this could only become reality if DC tells Her Maj – “I’ve changed my mind and I don’t want the job after all – thanks all the same”

  7. @Cozmo

    neck and neck in seats then: as the Conservatives requirements for the Boundary Comission are to secure it between 40 and 50 seats in the redrawing ‘exercise’.

    But neck and neck in seats before even 150 days are up. No recent historical comparison for that.

    Great stuff.


  8. We are neck and neck before the Reds get a leader, a shadow cabinet and some policies and before the Whig/Tory alliance does its worst

  9. The last time Labour lead in a poll was in Jan 2008. What’s the longest period of time that one of the two major parties has gone without leading in a poll?

  10. @Rob Sheffield
    Interesting times ahead ! Lab are out of office but at least these figures put paid to the claims that they were ‘finished’ and would be replaced by LD.

  11. Chris,

    Possibly. Not as straightforward as that. Amber has made some thoughtful comments about a new leader being priced in. I wonder if we had fought May 2010 without a leader how we would have done?

  12. Will we get crossover before the first conference????

  13. @Chris

    Fighting the election without a leader wouldn’t have made a difference. The media had been almost universally negative towards Lab for several years and set the mood of the public. Nothing Lab could have done in the circumstances could change the result, only long-term antipathy towards and uncertainty about Tory policies stopped them from winning rather than being the largest of the three losers. It quite impressive how quickly they seem to be spending the political capital governments get in the honeymoon period though.

    I’m almost looking forward to the CSR announcement to see what the public reaction will be when the penny drops for the average person about the impact of cuts on themselves.

  14. @ Rob Sheffield – “… plan B is needed”

    Where from? Gove?
    No. It is Osborne or bust.
    David Davis was a picture on the back benches today.

  15. Not to rain on anyone’s parade, but this is just one yougov poll, other than this Labour have been more or less static on 37% and the torries on 42/43% for a few weeks now. what will be more telling is if polls over the next couple of days show a lead of around 2% then it will become meaningful.
    I didn’t expect Labour to be able to pick up much more before getting their new leader, weather or not the increased reports on cuts has changed this we will just have to see over the next few days.

  16. Well, I am Labour & therefore I’m very happy with this.

    Just a wee word of caution to myself before I cartwheel around the room:
    1. A new leader – be it one Mili or t’other – is already priced in. There could be negative fall-out in the aftermath, if anybody’s supporters throw their toys out of the pram!
    2. The spending review – the public are geared up for it to be awful; if the coalition have second thoughts, or are able to make it less awful than expected, then their polling collapse could be delayed until January’s VAT rise takes effect.

    But still…. nice to see such a fast rebound by the Party that Clegg reckoned he was going to relegate to the recycle bin. 8-)

  17. @eoin
    Wise words re leader. There has been no fixed target for govt to aim at or media to ‘interrogate’. A pick ‘n’ mix of subtly, and unsubtly, contrasting policies and intentions across all five that all strike a chord individually but need to be carefully woven into a coherent and responsible opposition position. And then explained to the electorate, to the extent it differs from Lab manifesto in May.
    Frankly, IMO, labour has been in easy street with no leader, no individual to take the heat for the deficit (GB cleverly dropped from sight) and can easily mop up those who are worried about ‘cuts’, feel betrayed by libs and feel anti-govt/Tory. It may be harder when the spotlight is on one individual who has to articulate something more credible than “Well, we wouldn’t do that…”

    And no 10? I shouldn’t think they give two figs about the polls right now. Job to do, and it was never going to be popular. How could it ever be? Running the country with goodies to sprinkle is easy, this situation is much more precarious.

    I expect the new leader of the lab party will be delighted if he or she can live in opposition for quite a long time.

    Can’t wait til May 2015

  18. Folly, ill-considered, short-term.
    Words used in a report from the Tory chaired Defence Select Committee about the “reckless pace” of planed cuts to the armed services.
    What’s good for the goose…

  19. JoshC

    “The media had been almost universally negative towards Lab for several years and set the mood of the public. ”

    I don’t know which media you are exposed to – but it certainly isn’t the media in Scotland!

  20. Billy Bob

    Clearly the Armed Services (and the Police, and MI5/6 etc) should be privatised. It’s the obvious answer.

  21. Hooded Man,

    Wise words I agree but I can’t claim them as my own. T’was Amber Star wot dunnit.

    Ps. In NI we have 6 guys quite famous called the ‘hooded men’. I strongly doubt you are one of them. But are you aware of them? Liam Shannon is probably one of the more infamous ‘hooded men’. It is too late for me to remember the other 5.

    Clue? When Waterboarding meets Belfast.

  22. @ Hoodedman

    Just popped in to say “and so it begins”

  23. @ Old Nat

    Clearly the Armed Services (and the Police, and MI5/6 etc) should be privatised. It’s the obvious answer.
    LOL :-) You are being very light-hearted recently. I am beginning to think a SNP/SLP coalition might be a happy experience.

    I’ll try to get a grip on myself. ;-)

  24. @ Hooded Man

    And no 10? I shouldn’t think they give two figs about the polls right now. Job to do, and it was never going to be popular.
    I don’t think so. Cameron is not loved by his back-benchers; Clegg has dissent to contend with.

    “We think you are rubbish & the country think you are rubbish too.”

    That is not a comfortable position, even when it’s early days in a parliament. 8-)

  25. Amber

    “I am beginning to think a SNP/SLP coalition might be a happy experience.”

    Again, it’s the obvious answer! It would really annoy some in your party (like Barney who sees other countries volunteering to join the UK). Equally, it would really distress those in my party who cling to the label of “independence” like a security blanket. The careerists in both parties would be incandescent!

    Tough. Most of the people who vote for both of our parties would agree (if the polls are right) that Scotland should have a status similar to Catalunya or Hegoalde.

  26. @Amber

    I don’t think so. Cameron is not loved by his back-benchers; Clegg has dissent to contend with.

    “We think you are rubbish & the country think you are rubbish too.”

    2011-2012 is going to be back to 1981- 1982 and below in terms of unpopularity/ backbench rebellion/ and byelection catastrophes.

    Only THIS time without the gang of four, Michael Foot, Tony Benn and a couple of small Islands in the south atlantic to help the Tories out


  27. Totally off topic!

    I just got a message about my grandson in the USA

    “He played his first football game today. He scored a brilliant goal after dribbling half the field. Unfortunately he had been running the wrong way and contributed to his team’s 5-1 defeat,”

    Obviously he is a strong contender for the Scotland team. :-)

  28. @eoin
    ‘Ps. In NI we have 6 guys quite famous called the ‘hooded men’. I strongly doubt you are one of them’

    Sound like a delightful bunch……
    The truth is far more prosaic – a regrettable episode ten years ago when a brief skirmish with blond highlights was linked to a 1980s TV version of Robin Hood and it’s theme tune. HM or ‘Loxley’ has stuck ever since.

    I like to think (though I’ll probably end up wrong!) that the Tories have learned from 13 years in the wilderness and a few ill-judged lurches to the right, and although there will be sabre-rattling from the current right, DC has got the party into govt. The party may not love him, but the modernising agenda made them electable (just!) and that will buy him time, especially if his adoption of the centre ground results in Ed M across the despatch box. The pragmatic among us realise that the Tory right (much like the Labour left) is virtually unelectable, so their mutterings will hopefully gain no traction. I hope we’re not in the minority!

    We all know the polls will turn against blue, but, IMO, the next election will be fought on the success or otherwise of GO’s plans…

  29. I agree with the person who said Camereon will not be worried about this but would go further and say not worried even when labour take the lead later thisi year.
    During the last parliament the Con averaged over 40% for most of it even sneaking above 45% a for a few spells; in the end they managed 37%.
    So if labour are to score 38-40%and win in 2015 we need over 45% for a sustained period and the cons to be 30% or lower for a long time.
    Rob is right about 81/2 but where we differ (i think) is that I believe the prospect of an early GE is unlikely – LD turkeys voting for xmas not probable imo.
    Prediction test, when will lab score be higher than ATTAD in UKPolling Average (a outlier will do earlier no doubt maybe even late this winterot just after budget)?

    My guess is next autumn, I will go for October 2011.

  30. “the next election will be fought on the success or otherwise of GO’s plans…”

    Spot on HM

  31. JimJAm

    I googled and it’s a group that entertains OAPs but I don’t think that can be right.

    I see the Defence committee has agreed with my comment last night that the Defence Review should first work out what needs to be defended before altering provision for it.

  32. AMBER – how are you comrade? I don’t think that the fact that Labour will have a new leader has been “priced in” as you do, actually – I believe there will be a further boost for Labour when either Ed or David Miliband is elected, though that’s not to say it would be permanent of course. The Conservatives will be concerned that they haven’t managed to keep a significant distance between themselves and an essentially leaderless Labour Party, and I think Labour’s boost is to do with concern at the coalition’s policies, not because a leader is about to be elected. You’re right about the cartwheels or lack of them though, it is only one poll though others have been quite close too in the last few days.
    As Anthony has often pointed out before, polls which show how voters “would vote” if so-and-so were elected leader are of little real interest, since people don’t know how they’d react until the event’s actually taken place.

  33. Amber @ 12.04am

    Wise words.

    May I add one more caveat.

    The Labour leader has to decide what his stance on the deficit is.

    It has to sound credible.

    DC & GO have fired no bullets at Labour yet-but when the Target is up they will.

  34. Amazing result for Labour; with no Leader and no policies they are nearly winning.

  35. @Howard

    I think that, for this board, it means Add Together Tories And Dems. Something like that, combined poll scores. Currently 52. I think that Amber or Sue may be able to refresh our memories.

  36. @jack
    yeah it would be an amazing result….but theres some time till 2015.
    you have to ask yourself why they are cutting so deep so early.and its much in the same answer as why labour didnt cut when many in the labour party thought they should be scaling back.
    i think there getting everything thats bad out of the way so early on,that when crunch time comes along,the economy etc etc will be in better shape.
    in 3 years time and lets say there are no more cuts to come……these polls will mean……zip

  37. Cozmo
    Many thanks. If so I consider it a meaningless figure in terms of FPTP or AV polls (especially the latter). We heard yesterday that LD has no intention of entering an election pact with the Tories, indeed to do so would indeed be curtains for us.

    The old Tory party is further from us in terms of both policy and culture than Labour. We are only in the coalition for our own ends and that would have been the same for one with Labour. Without Cameron, I suspect it’s over.

    Adult politics is something the old parties do not want to accept because it spoils their scenario.

  38. THe exchanges between the New Leader & DC are going to be very interesting.

    When he says what GO said in HoC the other day :-

    “”£61 billion [of the spending scaleback]…will come from reductions to departmental expenditure plans. It is worth reminding the House that £44 billion of that £61 billion was assumed in the figures left to us by the previous Government. In other words, for all the synthetic noise and fury that we hear, £3 of every £4 that we are having to cut were cuts that the Opposition were planning to make. Unfortunately, not a single one of those pounds was allocated to a specific programme.”

    … the answer :-

    * Well we didn’t get round to allocating it-but it would have been different to you.


    * Ah-but we’ve changed our minds-we don’t think any cuts are neccessary now-AD was wrong.

  39. Colin – I would answer (and it’s supposedly 83 billion by the way)

    “My right honourable friend now has the pleasure of deciding for himself how to deal with the economy, but should he need any help adding up, my door is always open”

  40. @sue

    “I would advise my right honourable friend not to wait up – given his party’s track record on “fiscal competence” I’d sooner seek advice from Florence”

  41. “ahhhh just keep pumping money into the economy,we may not have it but who cares really” lol

  42. Hooded Man – Funny how our very own Colin cut and pasted figures on debt as % of GDP showing that Labour actually kept the figure BELOW the figure they inherited from dear old JM right up until the credit crunch.

    Now of course, we all know GO wouldn’t have saved the banks or used fiscal stimulus so just exactly where do you think we’d be now????

    Colin – Labour’s deficit reduction is clearly set out in the March budget and more detail is given in the manifesto. Would you like me to post it for you? an intelligent man such as yourself would surely never fall for the line that Labour had no plans at all?

  43. @sue
    out of a weird interest,between america and the uk….one of which we know let a bank collapse and of course we propped them up.
    which of these 2 countries is in a stronger position.
    i honestly dont know and not being rude.

  44. @sue
    Colin’s stats were interesting, but as you well know there are two sides to fiscal policy. Labour forgot to balance revenue and expenditure, as evidenced by the structural deficit. GB had breached his own golden rule well in advance of the crisis.
    Economy strong? Spend. Economy weak? Spend. It simply does not add up over time…..

  45. Just notioced that the employment figures for the quarter May to July are out, including:
    • the employment level in May-July was 286 thousand higher than in the previous three months, and up 301 thousand on the year.
    • the employment rate is 70.7%, up 0.4 percentage points on the quarter and 0.1 percentage points on the year.

    So, is the coalition gov or the outgoing Lab gov that will be credited with this in the public’s perception?

  46. Sue

    9.31 am–I think you miss the point. Of course GO is “deciding for himself how to deal with the economy”.

    The point is -what will Labour’s policy be-and therefore how will it frame their criticism of GO’s policy?

    re “Labour’s deficit reduction is clearly set out in the March budget “-yes I am aware of it-as I am of EB’s repudiation of it, and EM’s equivocation on “New Labour” policies per se.

    So-I repeat my question -how will the New Leader/ SCoE frame their economic stance?

    No need to answer-we will find out in due course.

    But please don’t imagine that this period of “holding fire” by the Government will pertain once the “whites of their eyes” are in focus.

  47. Hooded Man

    “Labour forgot to balance revenue and expenditure”

    Exactly-running Budget deficits when the economy was growing produced a momentum of State spend & Debt which excacerbated our public finance disaster, when Tax revenues suddenly fell off the cliff.

    Hence AD’s own plans for fiscal tightening-albeit never subjected to a Spending Review allocation.

  48. No problems Bullman

    The US is looking incredibly dodgy. It’s the big old elephant in the room. Arguments have been made that they didn’t make their fiscal stimulus large enough and the failure of Lehmans sent shock waves literally all around the world.

    The thing is, we can’t really compare the two based on the single factor of bailing out the banks or not. They simply HAD to bail out Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac as most mortgages were tied up with them in some way or another. The sub prime crisis originated there and though we were no angels, the US were in it up to their necks. Recent housing figures were described as “horrific”. Low growth with continuing high unemployment.

    The great UK coup IMO was in buying the shares of Lloyds and RBS. At some point, they will be worth an absolute fortune, realising a very handsome profit indeed for UK PLC (thanks Gordon). Had the US done the same with Lehmans they would at least have had an asset to show for all the money they had to spend.

  49. @mike n
    it’s a tricky question. We’d all say (even blues) that it was outgoing govt credited, but given the poll yesterday where large numbers of the electorate think DC and GO are responsible for the deficit, you never know!!
    Personally, I think the improved employment figures, per se, can be claimed by Labour, but any uplift in confidence arising from them will more benefit the coalition.

  50. @Bullman – “… let a bank collapse”

    I think it was a case of halting a full domino effect that would have gone round the world a few times… ‘economic meltdown’.
    A late 1920s scenario was developing, and business leaders were actually starting to jump out of the window. The spectre of it leading to a 1930s style social and political landscape was becoming frighteningly real.
    Gordon Brown’s global leadership is recognised by some.

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