Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 31%, LAB 45%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 8%, so back to a fourteen point Labour lead.

The big temptation in looking at polls is to see patterns that aren’t really there, to twist purely random movement into patterns and trends and then seek to explain something that isn’t actually there. So one way of looking at the last couple of weeks with YouGov is that Labour had a boost from the local elections that produced a couple of 14 point leads, which fell back last week as the local election effect faded and this week has grown again as the government get into another tricky patch of U-turns and omnishambles.

The alternative explanation is that random chance produced a couple of polls on the high side one week and a couple of polls on the low side another week, and actually the underlying Labour lead has been at around about 12 points for the whole time. The first explanation is more attractive – our minds like to seek out narratives and patterns in data – that doesn’t make it more likely to be true.

188 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 31, LAB 45, LD 9, UKIP 8”

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  1. I see no ships

  2. First?
    Big lead

  3. @AW

    We display some cups/glasses of various designs in our gallery/design store by placing them randomly on the top of an ercol dinning table to cover the whole surface. Try as I might it is almost impossible to get a random layout! Patterns are the way our minds are built and randomness will just not come easily to us.

  4. After today, Hunt, Uturns galore, if Labour aren’t on 50% plus they really are rubbish.

  5. David,no way are labour rubbish,but the next poll will be
    really interesting.

  6. @AW

    the ukpr polling average is looking a bit dated — would you update it when you have a minute. Thanks



    “Surely the 15 point Labour lead can`t be that far away,even sans media support.”

    I think it’s actually closer to 15 than to 14 tonight (before rounding off).

  8. David, you are being satirical……..

  9. Very good analysis Anthony though still great for someone like me! I would suggest it can only get worse for the Tories. Hunt at Leveson, Coulson being charged for perjury whilst working in No10 and more budget u-turns all making the PM’s judgement look very bad. After all the PM did appoint Hunt after he knew about his strong support for the Murdoch bid for BSkyB, appointed Coulson after being warned not to and he signed off the budget. I’d expect Labour on 48-50% by the end of next week.

  10. Every 31% for Conservatives revives memories of the old flatlining days which dogged them a decade ago.

    Quiet desperation until this proves to be a just a short-term dip.

  11. Yep! Reggie I am being satirical If they aren’t on 60% plus they are rubbish.

  12. @Billybob,

    Exasperation, yes. Desperation, definitely not.

    However, if the Opposition wants to believe that it’s all over bar the shouting, that suits me. Ed M’s personal ratings suggest to me that Labour are coasting on the wake of the government’s travails, rather than garnering solid support. But as AW says, we see what we want to see.

  13. I think Lab is gaining because there is nobody else to vote for.

    I seriously expect Con below 30% next week. But then, like Tony Adams and offside, I always expect that.

  14. @Anthony Wells

    You make a fair point.

    Nonetheless, I predicted last week that we would be back to double digit leads this week for the reason that Leveson was due to hot up again this week after last week’s lull. And behold!

    So we can at least say that the pattern of polling over the past three weeks is entirely consistent with the view that Leveson is harming the Conservatives, even if it might just be coincidence.

  15. Yes David and unless Labour on 60% also Ed Miliband must be toast?

  16. Labour really ought to be on 100% or more by now.

  17. My 14% prediction was a day early.

  18. phil

    Of course leveson is hurting the Tories. What’s more, their big hope…that Blair would get New Labour dragged in…seems to have had the opposite effect.

    The verdict is that Blair handled Murdoch, but Mordoch owned Cameron et al.

    I said a long time ago that Cameron would be thankful for getting out from under Murdoch. But it appears now that populist tabloid policies with the Sun’s backing and Coulson’s spin was the sum total of what they had to offer.

    They need to adjust to a post-Murdoch world quickly. They still have 3 years. But they have just as few policies as Lab who are in opposition.

  19. @Neil A,

    Labour has to do nothing, except not make any mistakes.

    As the cliche has it, Governments lose elections, oppositions don’t win them and this government are doing their best to lose.

  20. @NickP,

    That’s YOUR verdict, which I suspect you arrived at months, if not years ago.

    Blair is certainly a sharper operator than Cameron or Hunt, and Campbell was far better at hiding skeletons than anyone the Tories have got. It seems to me pretty obvious that all of the papers, and all of the journalists, are as dishonest as News International. And politicians of all stripes kowtowed to them out of political necessity. I exclude noone from that. But that’s MY verdict, also arrived at months (years) ago.

    I doubt that the average member of the public really understands what Leveson is even about. I expect there has been a lot of switching over the channel when the news comes on. The real damage to the Tories was the budget which betrayed a ridiculous lack of political nous. But it was pretty obvious way before the last GE that whoever won was going to find themselves pretty unpopular before long.

  21. Twelfth !!!

  22. @Nick P,

    It’s not fair to say the government has no policies.

    It’s just that as soon as opposition to its policies gets hot, or in the case of the pasty tax, cools down, they abandon them!

  23. @Jolubecohada,

    I absolutely agree. But the point is that Labour mustn’t rely on the Tories to keep shooting themselves in the foot. They haven’t really addressed their underlying weakness in economic policy and personal appeal. Osborne has simply given them a good deal of cover to hide behind and a lot more time/space to fix things.


    If Labour’s ambition were simply to appear less incompetent than other potential parties hoping to rule the UK, then that strategy would doubtless result in a continuation of the unrelenting negative view that GB (mostly English) voters of their political choices.

    What a depressing attitude to what should be real choices as to how political decisions are made!

  25. neil a

    Although I accept that my bias and your bias exists, I think you both over and under estimate the “public” over levenson.

    You overestimate them when you say they will assume they will tar every journalist and every politician as black as pitch.

    Where you underestimate them is, they perfectly understand News International and the current crop of Tories. They have seen the Giodfather.

  26. @Neil A – “Exasperation, yes. Desperation, definitely not.”

    Con on 31% is most likely a short-term dip… but in the unlikely event that they did poll in that region (as in 1997 and 2001, up to a whopping 32.4% in 2005), it could mean one in every three current Con MPs losing their seat… let’s just say they be happier never to see that 31% again. ;)

  27. MAIL leading on, Cameron clears Hunt after 25 minutes.
    Once again shooting from the hip.The headlines are
    awful for tomorrow.Why on earth do they not give a
    considered response.

  28. @Neil A

    I absolutely agree. But the point is that Labour mustn’t rely on the Tories to keep shooting themselves in the foot. They haven’t really addressed their underlying weakness in economic policy and personal appeal. Osborne has simply given them a good deal of cover to hide behind and a lot more time/space to fix things.


    True that Labour’s weakness is in personal appeal. EM is not winning many people over in that respect.

    But Labour are also weak because they were very tired and unpopular after 13 years in office – only 24 months ago.

    Despite that they still have a good 10+ lead over the Conservatives.

    The question is, is that lead robust or weak? I suspect – as I imagine you may – that that lead is pretty weak.

    But there is still some time to go before a GE…..

    `Labour has to do nothing, except not make any mistakes.`

    While the government are shooting themselves in the head,I hope Ed is doing something productive and not chillaxing.

  30. BigTim:

    At 10-34 you stated that you were in 12th place. I don’t want to appear petty but I’ve double-checked and you were actually in 20th.

    Would you care to withdraw your claim?

  31. I think Hunt’s performance today, and Cameron’s apparently unhesitating acceptance of his integrity will do the party a great deal more harm.

    I would not be surprised to see the next poll showing a significantly wider gap between the two parties.

  32. @Big Tim,

    I’m not so sure it is “weak” exactly. I think the LibDem defectors that are such a large part of that 40+ Labour score will take some shifting to go anywhere else.

    But I think that it is a mistake to assume that VI scores stay where you put them. The Tory vote has been pushed down towards 30% by, lets face it, daily screwups and bad publicity (sometimes more than once a day). But if the government were able to staunch the flow of mistakes, and reorder itself a little, would we see the Tory VI stay at that level? Or would it creep up gradually. So long as the hammer blows hit every other minute, Labour will be doing fine. But I suspect its a little like whack-a-mole, a most of the hammer swinging has been done by the government itself (and by the international economy). I haven’t seen all that many blows coming from Labour directly.

  33. @ Neil A

    I think Labour were on the point of giving more detail on economic policy – then Hollande won. Now ED & Ed have a golden opportunity to see what plaudits & pitfalls await our man in France. To have this chance to observe France before committing to an economic policy, Labour would be mad to pass it up.

    We also need to wait to see: Will the Coalition do a U-turn on the economy? And what will happen in the eurozone? Labour are wise to avoid having the wrong policy & being caught out by events?

  34. Big Tim,who seems tired and unpopular now,after only
    two years?

  35. Ann (in Wales)
    “MAIL leading on, Cameron clears Hunt after 25 minutes.”

    Mail also reporting that a rift is developing between the PM and Chancellor

  36. Nick Herbert on Newsnight apparently believing that telephoning Murdoch is not against advice to Hunt not meeting Murdoch.

    I can’t believe how low some of the government’s defence is becoming.

    Can’t believe that LDs are accepting the government’s position.

  37. About time the voting intention and Labour Majority figures wee updated too I think.

    Why not do it every time a new poll is announced?

  38. Neil

    “most of the hammer swinging has been done by the government itself”

    I can’t see why you find that reassuring.

  39. @NickP,

    Because I think faults can be rectified.

    The Tories can’t “rectify” Labour. They’re not the Ba’ath Party (or the Corleones, whatever you may think – there’s more to organised crime than putting an explanation mark on the end of a text message!).


    Herbert also doing the “it’s OK for us to break the rules, since Labour did that as well” line.

    Don’t these people understand how they are constantly confirming the public perception of politicians (with some exceptions) being dishonest and self-serving?

  41. @Neil A
    `Because I think faults can be rectified.`

    Did you mean,by not sending any text messages or emails? :)

  42. Liz,thank you,rather interesting .But not surprising.LOL

    `Can’t believe that LDs are accepting the government’s position.`

    The Lib Dem line is apparently that it`s a Tory problem according to the papers.

  44. @Smukesh,

    Well yes, not sending any more texts or emails would be a start….

  45. @Neil A
    `Well yes, not sending any more texts or emails would be a start….`

    Ofcourse,but not communicating with beneficiaries of quasi-judicial decisions would be better…And not clearing people without proper enquiries would be even better.

  46. @Smukesh,

    If you have any additional evidence of wrongdoing by Hunt, please submit it to the police. Leveson seemed to cover pretty much everything to me (literally – line by line, text by text).

    Cameron said he won’t hold an enquiry unless evidence of wrongdoing emerged today. It didn’t. He won’t.

    It will be chip paper in a week. Of course in a week there will probably be another scandal about something else. The government should probably invest its energies into working out what that will be and stopping it before it happens…

  47. There is no way the non Murdoch press are going to leave the Hunt issue alone. They will continue to hammer Cameron and his government even more so on a daily basis, until the pressure works.

    It is just a question of time and Cameron will have to reshuffle his cabinet. Probably after the Olympics,

  48. “Oppositions don’t win elections, governments lose them” has been a mantra of my political life and one I’ve longed for Labour to understand!! During my lifetime they have lost elections they shouldn’t have when in Government several times.

    Have the Conservatives now forgotten a mantra they used to ruthlessly apply? I think they might have!! If I am right what we are seeing now has its seeds in John Major’s inability to control the eurosceptics which lost them the 1997 general election.

    Another problem for Labour is the ever present one, made more stark since the collapse of Communism, of what it is for. What is it there to do? Run capitalism more gently? Or does it aspire to offer something different? If so what?

    As to the poll it seems to me that the Labour lead has been pretty steady for a few months now, the Conservative boost from the euro veto did little to hurt Labour’s vi, the boost came from elsewhere and has gone elsewhere. This suggests that the Labour vi is fairly solid. The question then is whether the Conservatives can pull off a trick, The trick of appealing to UKIP voters without loosing their pro-Europe vote (after all they took us into the EC and have signed every major treaty since).

    The other problem for the Conservatives is demographic. Their vi is older and a proportion of that will not be voting at the next GE.

  49. @Neil A
    `If you have any additional evidence of wrongdoing by Hunt, please submit it to the police. Leveson seemed to cover pretty much everything to me (literally – line by line, text by text`

    People see what they want to see…I am sure it can be proved that 2+2=5 too…I won`t dwell on it as I`ll only get moderated.

    My point is there needs to avoidance of sleaze rather than the focus of trying not get caught.

  50. Hi folks! Lots of lovely charts, since its the end of the month.

    First the median absolute deviation for the last 30 polls, a comparison of tonight’s ‘mad’ with the one from the 27th of February (when I first switched to the 30-poll setup), and a simple chart of the changes themselves. The last is a little untidy, as the white labels float through the bars, but you get the jist:

    h ttp://
    h ttp://
    h ttp://

    Now for the calendar month changes across the regions, November to May. UK & London, RoS & Mid/Wal, and North & Scotland.

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    A quick glance at the simple averages of the 30-poll groupings (each dot is about six weeks, with the last dot amounting to 23 polls so far). Note the UKIP lines in these ones. I leave UKIP out of the Scottish graph, as it hover in the 1%-3% area. Basically it’s all Labour and UKIP.

    h ttp://

    Lastly, the approval ratings so far (again, simple averaging). The first shows the government approval since May’10 to the present calendar month (simple averaging). The second shows the regional breakdown. It’s interesting to note that the government is almost as unpopular in the ‘Rest of the South’ now, as it was in ‘The North’ (5.5 points away from said landmark). Lastly, the leadership approval ratings. Cameron has climbed back out of the -30s, but Miliband is staying ahead. Clegg seems to be languishing in the -55 region.

    h ttp://
    h ttp://
    h ttp://

    I dare say NickP and Amber will enjoy that lot. :)

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