I’ve been predicting for a while that we’d see some conference polls with Labour ahead, and bang on time tonight we have. The first voting intention poll with Ed Miliband as Lavour leader has topline figures of CON 39%, LAB 40%, LDEM 12%. It’s YouGov’s first poll with Labour in front since the election-that-never-was in 2007, and indeed the first time they’ve hit 40.

Conference polls are a strange and rather artifical thing of course, Labour might well do even better after Miliband’s speech tomorrow, but I’d expect them to go back behind next week when the Conservatives enjoy their own conference boost. Nevertheless, it’ll be a good boost to Labour morale and presumably Ed Miliband will be delighted to be back in the lead in the polls in his first poll as leader.

More to come later (or tomorrow morning) once the Sun publish the rest of the poll.

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

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  1. @Nick Hadley
    Good post. I believe that your points about the long-term decline of the Conservatives have also been made by various psephologists. I read that most voters form their opinions at a fairly early age and stick to them for all / most of their lives.

    This meant that many who voted in the 1940s and 1950s were born at a time when the two major parties were Conservative and Liberal. The passing years have seen the balance change and this has favoured Labour.

    Blues never had to tweak boundaries in the past to win healthy majorities. It would seem that the chances of blues polling in the mid or high 40s again are very slim. Maybe they will always have to look to LibDems for long-term support?

  2. @John Murphy,
    Great post.Iparticularly liked the reference to punditry!Your comments were very refreshing.

  3. Nick Hadley,

    Have you seen an electoral map of the UK recently? It is rather blue all over England, which is pretty impressive for a “South Eastern English party”

    In 2010 blue polled 10.7m votes, which is as many as red in 2001, and 1.2m votes more than red managed in 2005

    In 2005 which was seen as a poor election for blue under Michael Howard, blue managed 8.7m which is more than red managed this year

    In 2001 which was seen as a disaster for blue
    under William Hague, blue managed 8.4m which is almost as much as red this year.

    Reports of the decline of the Tory party have been greatly exaggerated…………

    To echo the red comments about their shiny new leader, underestimate the Tory party at your peril…….. ;-)

  4. Hooded,

    That post was uncharacteristically out of sync for you :)

    EB was dependant on noone (perhaps Brown on him – I dont know). BoE ind. was his idea as was No to the Euro. He is a very talented politician in his own right. No his loyalty was born of of mutual respect not dependancy. So Hoggart’s theories are ….. well they are plain wrong in this case.


    Irrespective of Ed M’s stance on AV, I’ll be voting for it, although I must say it is almost doomed to failure now.

  5. @Hooded Man – “… true loyalty”

    The Brown’s Years (Steve Richards BBC Radio 4) quotes No.10 press officer Paul Sinclair saying that Gordon Brown’s reaction the the famous D Miliband Guardian article (where he did not mention the leaders name!) was very relaxed… he agreed with the article.

    Hours later other Brown allies had launched an attack, which turned an article (“this is not about personalities”) on the ideas raised at the national policy forum, into a weeklong leadership feeding frenzy:

    “Those who sought to prove their loyalty, and measured it in their own brutality, were the people who ultimately undermined Gordon Brown.”

  6. Eoin,

    LOL – talking “Balls” would knock anyone out of sync!

    So why do his own party not love him so?

    And the high ground on BofE Independence is getting very crowded now, isn’t it? So far we have Ken Clarke, Tony Blair, Ed Balls and Gordon Brown.
    As they “success has many fathers…………”

    And No to the Euro was straight from us blueys, he just sat in the back of a cab and found five ways on a napkin to prevent his own party from adopting it :-)

    PS Hoggart wasn’t actually talking about Balls, I just liked his “law” yesterday and corrupted it for my purpose ;-)

  7. Hooded,

    His own party do are growing to love him. 16% is a pretty good third place show.

    It is a bit like allistair campbell (who showed inspired loyalty to Blair).. the net result ot their loyalty is personal career set back. Our AC (Not your coulson) is one of the best assets reds ever had. He is cast aside, or was, because of the revulsion to spin…

    EB/GB’s loyalty had similar reprucussions for EB’s career and similar reprecussions for Charlie whelan.

    Look at Mandleson’s career 1997-2007 – the media hounded him and forced his resignation twice..

    in AC, CW, PM, EB there is a pattern… the media know how important these guys are to the top guys so they hound them and caricature them as evil….

    Just watch how they repeat the same trick on Cameron’s closest advisors.

    Loyalty is the most depised quality of all by journalists.

    Why? Because it does not sell newspapers.

  8. Eoin,
    Agreed, they will certainly try.
    I’m *naively* hoping (once Coulson’s future is determined one way or the other) that Cameron and Clegg learn the lessons from the last govt when the spin-meisters allowed themselves to become the story. Mandelson and Campbell (and Whelan to an extent) all became too central to the plot. Yes, parties need to get the story the way they want but I don’t want anyone unelected in my party to get caught up so ‘publicly’ the way Campbell was over Iraq for example.

    Write the story but don’t be the story..

    A forlorn hope I know ;-)

  9. @Anne in Wales

    Thank you for your kind comments

    @ Hooded man

    Well it comes to something when a party that got 14m votes as recently as 1992 should be purring about 8.4 to 8.7 million votes…..

    I also remember Labour getting 13 million in 1966….though I don’t go as far back as 1951 when it got 14m and lost.

    Like it or loathe it the two party system….an aberrant moment in the history of British politics…died sometime around 1974….I think Labour lost in 1970 with a bigger % than it won with in Feb 1974…..And any other voting system than AV would accelrate the demise of the two big parties…..it seems in this international world where everything is decided beyond national boundaries only politics remains local or even parochial….

    Perhaps that’s the real lesson of the banking crisis…and solving that problem may take more than the combined talents Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg…and even Mr Milliband. And in addition, Mr Cameron may find that the reduction of the size of Parliament without a correpsodent reduction in the size of government may look less like a reform and more like a further step along the path of making Parliament irrelevant to voters…it may also prove less favourable than the Tories hope…particulalrly if combined with a failure of the AV referendum….

    Of course the House of Lords may make one reform dependant upon the other….

    Exciting times…………..

  10. @Hooded Man

    “Have you seen an electoral map of the UK recently? It is rather blue all over England, which is pretty impressive for a “South Eastern English party””

    Yes I have and it’s a rather misleading picture based on the geographical size of most Tory held constituencies. FPTP means that a Tory candidate could win half of Herefordshire on 38% of votes cast (probably smaller percentage of electorate as a whole) and the map turns blue. Looks very impresssive on a colour coded map but the underlying figures tell a rather less flattering story. Thousands of unpopulated acres all coloured blue, although I suppose you could argue that the wildlife and livestock may have Tory sympathies (surely not foxes and badgers, though!!)

    “In 2010 blue polled 10.7m votes, which is as many as red in 2001, and 1.2m votes more than red managed in 2005”

    We’re comparing apples with oranges here and ignoring the size of the electorate and the turn-outs. The turn out in 2010, though still very poor historically, was 5% higher than in 2005 and 6% higher than in the all time low year of 2001. Percentage vote shares are the key. Let’s forget the total numbers of votes cast for now, and it’s misleading to do so anyway for the resons I’ve stated, but the Tories polled in the low 30s in both the elections you cite and lost the 2001one spectacularly. 2005 was a closer run thing on vote share, mainly due to the Iraq war factor and the leakage of Labour votes to abstentions and the Lib Dems. Howard had a bit of a dead cat bounce from Hague’s dire 2001performance but only increased the Tory vote share by about 2%. Crumbs of comfort, maybe, but if you were a Tory activist from the glory days you’d be disbelieving of these sorts of electoral performances, wouldn’t you?

    “In 2005 which was seen as a poor election for blue under Michael Howard, blue managed 8.7m which is more than red managed this year ”

    I repeat my comment from above plus the rider that you’re comparing Howard’s performance with Labour’s second worst showing since 1918. Apples and oranges again. The key statistic is that Howard got 33% of a smaller turn out compared to Labour’s 30% of a slightly higher turn out. A race to the bottom, perhaps!?

    “In 2001 which was seen as a disaster for blue
    under William Hague, blue managed 8.4m which is almost as much as red this year.”

    I think we’ve exhausted the apples and oranges metaphor by now, havent we?

    The case I argued in my earlier post, and supported by various eminent psephologists, is based on the ever declining Tory vote share, a trend established and more or less maintained since 1951, and the retrenchment of their core vote into ever reducing areas of the country . Their vote share in the last four general elections, has averaged 32.5% with a range of only 6% between the worst (1997) and the best (2010). In the same time Labour have plumbed lower depths, I admit, polling just 29% of the vote in 2010, but have scaled the heights of 43% in the same period whilst still retaining a semblance of electoral competitiveness in most areas of the United Kingdom. That said, and it is a real concern for Labour, the 2010 election result saw them almost disappear completely in South Eastern areas of England outside London. In fairness to them however, that wasn’t the case in the 1997, 2001 and 2005 elections. The Tories geographical shrinking goes back much further to Mrs Thatcher’s hegmonic heyday.

  11. Nick Hadley, I understand your points but
    looking at it geographically still you can’t pretend Tory seats from the rest of England and Wales are in the South East.
    If you exclude Scotlands seats, where granted the Tories are unrecognisable from years ago, and the South East seats, the Tories have 231 MPs in the rest of the UK compared to Labour with 213.
    Hardly a South East England party?

    And I realise that apples and oranges can’t be directly compared but the notion that the Tories are in decline to the degree you originally suggested is not borne out by the most recent elections.
    I would attract much opprobrium if I suggested Labour were in relentless decline back to industrial northern inner cities, wouldn’t I? ;-)

  12. …Now that Ed has been elected has leader, this will give labour a boost in the polls, as already seen.

    But it still doesn’t clear up what they would’ve done if labour had won? The deficit needs to b reduced, at the same time the economy needs to grow too.

    On the other hand, labour did have a deficit, reduction, plan which brown did specify on during pmq’s once.
    I dnt agree with the tories puttin vat up and this will hit the poor hardest! I dnt believe labour would’ve put vat up but i do think they would’ve put some taxes up, it would of been unavoidable.

    But we are under a “tory, natured, government with a lib dem influence of some kind.
    But not one lib dem policy has been put forward yet, vat the lib dems ipposed durin the election, cap on immigration they also ipposed too, so it seems that lib dems have given up on all their policies just to sit on that sidce of the house!

    But there’s more tory seats than lib dem seats which mite explain tory makin decisions.

  13. Totally disagree with Anthony’s suggestion that the Labour lead in the poll is going to last for just a week.
    This is going to be a permanent feature of the polls for the next years. Sorry Blues it is time to get real.

  14. Billy,

    Well you were right in one respect. The lead did not last for just a week.

    ’twas just a day !

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