The YouGov/Sunday Times results are now up here, with topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 43%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 7% – still within the margin of error of the 9-10 point Labour leads that YouGov have now been showing for a couple of months. The rest of the poll had questions on exam results, tuition fees and Julian Assange.

On exam results, 48% think the reason A-level results are consistently improving is because the exams are getting easier, 22% think teaching and school standards are improving, 12% that pupils are cleverer or working harder. 61% of people think it is right to introduce a tougher marking regime.

Turning to higher education, 30% of people think that a university education is worth £9000 a year, 53% think it is not worth £9000 a year. However, asked if they think graduates will or not be be better off if one balances the debt they will incur from university against the increased earnings they may achieve people are evenly split – 41% think most graduates will still end up better off, 42% think they will end up worse off (this does pose the question of how some people can think that a university education isn’t worth £9000, but that people paying that will still end up better off in the long run.)

On a different subject, 60% of people think Equador was wrong to let Julian Assange shelter in their embassy, and 55% think they were wrong to offer him asylum. However a majority (54%) also think that Britain should respect diplomatic convention and not attempt to enter the Equadorian embassy to arrest Assange (33% of people think we should). By 51% to 25% people think that Assange would receive a fair trial in Sweden, but by 51% to 29% they think he would not in the USA.

239 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 32, LAB 43, LD 10, UKIP 7”

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  1. Our resident psephologist continues his look at the proposed boundary changes – this piece considers the West Midlands/Shropshire border and in particular Telford:

  2. I do wonder if other countries are as obsessed with making sure we have less people at the top of their class every year, instead of more.

  3. @Martyn,

    “Given that they have a perfect opportunity to do just that immediately (dissolve the Coalition, pass a vote of confidence and form a minority government) I’m not sure that’s true.”

    Many Tories strongly believe that they would be better off going it alone.

    In any case, now that the boundary changes are less likely to go through, being the largest party is really the best that the Tories can hope for in 2015 and would be a real achievement IMO. It would also enable them to increase their chances of ruling for a generation going forward, as they could push for boundary changes for the 2020 GE and they’d also benefit from the individual voter registration changes from 2015 onwards.

    Politics is about planning for the medium and long term as much as it is the short-term.

  4. Ambivalentsupporter

    “being the largest party is really the best that the Tories can hope for in 2015 and would be a real achievement IMO. It would also enable them to increase their chances of ruling for a generation going forward, as they could push for boundary changes for the 2020 GE and they’d also benefit from the individual voter registration changes from 2015 onwards.”

    On current form I think it would be a miracle if they were the largest party after a GE in 2015. It seems to me that the failure to get on top of the economic difficulties combined with their frequent U-turns and the animosity engendered by their attempts to restructure the NHS, develop forests/Greenbelt etc will prevent anything like that outcome

  5. I see IDS has made a scathing attack on the BBC, singling Stephanie Flanders, accusing her of “peeing all over British industry”.

    Yes, stop it Steph. We can’t have reporters usurping the role of the government.

  6. If largest party is now seen as a “real achievement” then things must be pretty bad for the Tories.

    And IDS suggesting that Stephanie Flanders is “peeing all over British industry” would seem to add to that picture.

  7. Mike N – snap! Only yours is snappier than mine ;-)

  8. Woodsman

  9. So, despite the apparent increase/drop in dis/approval of EM, Lab maintain their 40+ share of VI and despite the Olympics and DC’s almost continuous exposure, the Cons are still in the low 30s.

    Was EM’s drop due to lack of exposure in the last three weeks? Would DC’s approval figures been better if he hadn’t had so much exposure in that same period?

  10. Re Stephanie Flanders and her reporting of last week’s (un)employment figures. There is at the heard of these figures some issues, which Steph rightly drew attention to.

    Although Steph did not specifically mention it, there is IMO great concern about the increases in part-time workers. Essentially low earnings are damaging to income tax and NICs revenues.

  11. Ambivalent

    The Tories have had polling VI figures over 40% for only three brief periods in the last 23 years. It is a leap of belief to imagine a party with that track record to be remotely close to being able to rule for a generation, without some great transformative event or process occurring to them, their opponents or the country.

    Failing such a transformation, I truly do not see how the Tories’ expectations can rise above having brief periods as the largest minority, or possibly small majority party. I do wonder whether the realities of their polling position over the last generation have really been absorbed by the Natural Party of Government.

  12. heard = heart

  13. @SoCalLiberal – “Now, I’d like your opinion of the following candidate and his website.”

    Waxman, Henry. Not the best name for a superhero perhaps, but I liked this comment: Democratic colleagues routinely joke about his persistence and tenacity. “Don’t get into an argument with Henry,” says Miller. “But if you do, bring your lunch. He won’t let you go.”


    Funnily enough an old friend of mine bears more than a passing resemblance to Henry – his parents emigrated from the same region but to the UK.

    Websites. I have to say – this not a criticism of Waxman, it applies just as much to Labour candidates here – the first thing that hits you are the sign up/donate/contribute/get invoved buttons… which is great and it has proved a no fuss way to raise funds/reach the faithful; a bit off-putting if you are just visiting the site to get the feel of a candidate you don’t know.

    Huffman (you are right, his profile is 3rd person) – follow the Youtube links from his site and you start liking the guy already. Brownley – multimedia on her site means a string of photos, so you have to go to the trouble of searching… in which case you find some mediocre performances (KADYTV), some better, plus the one where she shadows security guard Chauncey Jones covering a 16 acre college campus for the day. I’m not sying she wants to be slick – she doesn’t – but the media profile needs more definition imo.

    Btw, I will be following the 36th district Dr Raul Riuz vs Mary Bono Pack challenge. Michael Shure (TYT February interview) seems to think he is in with a shout.

  14. Lefty:

    I think it has – which is why they are so cross.

    As I commented a few weeks ago its hard to visualise a society that has become increasingly liberal in its attitude over half a century, continuing to vote, en masse, for a party with its head still partly in the 1950’s.

    I think DC has done the best he can – its just not very good.

  15. I don’t think things are as bad as they could be for the tories as they are consistently at 32/33% and they have a decent chance of recovering to 37% when the push comes to the shove (assuming UKIP doesn’t poll more than 5% in a general election).

    It remains to be seen whether Cameron can pull another rabbit out of a hat but he might have played his hand too soon with the EU veto business.

  16. These results have been recorded before. It would need a whole week of these or better before one could conclude that there has been a shift. The lead is not important for Lab, it’s the percentage of Con that is relevant. If you bump up Con to 36 it halves the Lab overall majority (giving a couple of points to LD and taking a couple from UKIP / Others) but that is perhaps, privately, preferable for Miliband, as it reduces the chances of infighting and is still sufficient to stuff the lefty rebels, once in power.

  17. The IDS tirade is fascinating, and frankly rather unbecoming of a minister.

    Personally, I’ve tended to see Steph as being broadly sympathetic to the government in her reporting of the economic stats. This isn’t because she is, but is more to do with my own tendency to focus more heavily on the negatives. I think IDS has got it wrong.

    One of the facts that SF highlighted was the big drop in productivity. This has been relatively marginal in the service sector (-0.3% or so, depending which measure you use) but has been extremely substantial in manufacturing (-2.5%). This offers clear evidence of companies holding onto the skilled Labour in the hope of an upturn. Last week the CIPD suggested that many firms are now preparing to shed staff, in a survey that tended to back up the notion that the GDP figures are broadly correct and the employment stats are distorted by staff hoarding.

    Ministers sometimes try to rattle the BBC’s cage, but in this case I think IDS is misguided and has done himself no favours. The stats are very clear, that productivity has fallen and much of the growth is in part time and self employed work, with a large amount of under employment evident.

  18. @A Cairns – “I don’t think things are as bad as they could be for the tories as they are consistently at 32/33% and they have a decent chance of recovering to 37%…..”

    Ordinarily that would be really quite an odd thing to say. In effect, that the governing party would hold it’s entire vote share in government – highly unusual in normal circumstances.

    However, this time you may be right, given the probable reduction in Lib Dem vote share. However, I don’t think this is cause for Tory optimism. They failed to win in 2010 on 37%, with a terrible performance from Labour.

    It seems almost certain that Labour will pick up more Lib Dem leavers than the Tories, so it’s highly unlikely that the Tories would get as good a result on 37% in 2015 as they did in 2010.

    In terms of another Tory/Lib Dem coalition, even if the Tories remained the largest party after losing some seats, with fewer Lib Dem MPs any deal would be potentially quite unstable.

    Politically, it could also be difficult for the Lib Dems to stick with the Tories if both parties had lost a significant number of seats with decent Labour gains – the public might view this as backing the ‘loser’, even if they had more seats than Labour. In any event, if the Tories stick on 37%, it’s likely that Labour would have the largest number of seats, meaning a coalition with the Tories would be extremely unlikely.

    Events aside, in my view it’s extremely difficult for a rational scenario to be constructed that sees a Tory PM for a second term, even if they match their 2010 vote share.

  19. As things stand my current prediction (if the GE is held in 2015) is

    Lab 37
    Con 37
    LD 14.5
    UKIP 5

    which would result in Labour comfortably the largest party on current boundaries but more possibly a dead heat with boundary changes.

  20. @NickP – don’t know if you are out there, but there has been some speculation on TMS that the content of the texts sent by KP to the South African players included references as to how to get some of his England team colleagues out.

    If true, that’s about as bad as it gets.

  21. a cairns

    Not sure if you are indulging in wishful thinking or not as you don’t seem to offer any justifiaction for Labour to fall back from 40% or more.

    I think Lab vote share is likely to go up in the next couple of years, rather than down.

  22. @A Cairns – that’s not too bad a scenario, but I’m interested in why you think the Tories will get back to 37%, while UKIP add 2% to their vote share?

  23. alec

    pah. Speculation ain’t evidence. And what do you think all those pundits do all day…”he doesn’t like the short ball,” “he get bored and have a go at one outside off stump.”

    Sorry, disagree. And it looks like we’ll be chasing a big total without our best batsman.

    And all based upon speculation and not liking the outsider.

    Still hope they lose.

  24. IDS’s outburst is what you expect to emerge from the bunker.

    I heard Flanders’s report on R4. It was eminently fair and precisely what you would expect from a senior economics commentator. There is a clear and persistent disconnect between GDP figures and employment figures. Flanders examined the possible reasons for that disconnect in careful and impartial detail. To do less would have been insulting the intelligence of her listeners.

    If IDS geniunely sees some nefarious plot in that sort of reporting, then I fear for his sense of proportion.

    Of course, it is far more likely to be agenda-setting politicking going on…

  25. @NickP – was KP the outsider at Hampshire, Nottinghamshire and Natal, by any chance? He was chucked out of all of those teams as well, as it happens.

    Besides, it cuts both ways. Had KP not thrown away his wicket on the first day of the series and batted for the team rather than his own ego, we probably wouldn’t have been 1 down now.

  26. PS. I emphasise that Flanders went through ALL the likely reasons for the inconsistency between GDP and employment figures, including the possibility that the GDP figures are systemically wrong. THAT would be a very good story for the Govt. Funny that IDS doesn’t mention that part of her report.

  27. alec

    That’s nonsense about batting for the team. He played how he plays.

    There’s plenty of idiots getting out for England apart from KP. Make them publish all their private correspondence to make sure they don’t to be sacked.

  28. I agree. I will say that I do sometimes feel the BBC to be bias, but to me, I’ve always seen them as being bias towards the government of the day. Whoever is in power seems to get the government’s support. Reading some of Flanders article I’ve mostly found them fair and balanced, but personally I thought she may lean a little to the right. Now I’ve seen IDS come out and blast her and the BBC and it is unfounded and just makes them look desperate to find someone to blame.

    As for the Assange situation, what a mess. I have never seen the UK government go after someone with such intent and vigour who’s only supposed crime is that he MAY have unprotected sex. I doubt the UK government would go to such lengths to arrest anyone else, risking diplomatic humiliation and the possibility of souring relations with an emerging South America just to arrest one man.

    Also as for the threat, and it was a threat, to storm the embassy, I couldn’t believe what I was reading, I thought we were back in the colonial era. Hague may now try to sugar coat it, but we all know what he meant first time.

    Your landlord doesn’t remind you he can chuck you out on a regular occurance just so you know his options, most would see it as a threat. When that Chinese dissident fled to the US embassy, imagine the outrage if China had threatened to enter the US embassy to arrest him because he broke their laws.

    Whatever your opinion of Assange, whether you think it should be free, or if you think he should be behind bars, you can agree that the UK government have made a right mess of the whole situation.

    I fail to see why the US sheltering a man who has broken the conditions of his house arrest is ok. But Ecuador sheltering a man who has broken the conditions of his bail in something terrible.

    It smacks of double standards.

  29. Really, Labour need a decent working majority in 2015, especially with the Lib vote likely to take a tumble (and thus, any coalition will be more fragile). Being the largest party would be a very poor showing giving the current Eurozone crises, Uk recession and huge (and unpopular cuts across the board) and hugely favourable current electoral system (without the boundary changes). They’d also want to be in a good position to reject any boundary changes for the 2020 GE and be in a good position to ride any possible unpopularity with the British electorate if the economic situation/Eurozone recession is ongoing.

    Ed should win comfortably in 2015.


    In my opinion IDS had got this all wrong in regard to BBC/Flanders.

    What does he expect them to do. Just report what a wonderful job the government is doing in helping business to create jobs.

    As to why jobs are being created in a depression. More than half of the jobs created were in London. Many of these will be part-time or temporary. There are also over 160,000 people who are on zero hours contracts. They get a text or phone call, telling them when they need to work and they only get paid when they work I.E there is no retention pay so they make themselves available. Due to this, they will not be in receipt of JSA.

  31. Anmary

    “As for the Assange situation, what a mess. I have never seen the UK government go after someone with such intent and vigour who’s only supposed crime is that he MAY have unprotected sex. ”

    You are incorrect that the allegations against him are only that he had unprotected sex and it is quite frankly sickening that this is repeated by defenders of Assange. The actual allegations in full are given here.

  32. @ Anthony

    (this does pose the question of how some people can think that a university education isn’t worth £9000, but that people paying that will still end up better off in the long run.)
    Did YG ask if they’d be better off or better off financially? Education isn’t just about the money; if the 2nd question wasn’t specific, it’s a rational position. :-)

  33. 61% of people think it is right to introduce a tougher marking regime.
    That 61% likely being people who have already taken their school exams. :roll:

  34. Good Afternoon.

    JAYBLANC. Grammar at the top: Fewer not Less- people at the top.

    Students whose parents are able to pay the £27K up front are getting places with grades below that which they were required to obtain at A Level when offers were made through UCAS. Great!

    Marking is a problem since the Boards are having to recruit non graduates to mark the essays, since £3.00 an hour is not enough to recruit markers. The work is marked electronically, on a screen. We do not see the papers anymore; much cheaper that way. Great!

    One of the exam boards is owned by the publishing company, Pearsons.

  35. Pietersen out for a golden duck for Surry in CB40 against his old club Hampshire,whom he left in acrimonious circumstances. Beeb commentator relates that “But it was greeted as though Southampton had won the Champions League and the FA Cup at the same time – 50- and 60-year-old people standing up and cheering with their arms in the air.” Biased, or what?
    De Villiers out.
    Come on England!

  36. My old maths tutor was also a maths GCSE and A Level examiner and he told me that exam papers haven’t got easier over the years but that exam boards find out what Joe Bloggs needs to get an A/B/C and artificially set the grade boundaries so they can record an increase in the pass rates over time. So exam papers haven’t got easier but it’s easier to pass/get a better grade.

  37. There’s been a suggestion of a small LD recovery – although anyone’s share can go up or down with no real reason or pattern. The Conservatives will be relying and hoping (perhaps) that the LD’s will do better in time and help pull down the Labour vote to something reachable, eg mid-to-highish 30’s, in order to get a Conservative OM. Even with that aid, they have to be polling low 40’s. Still possible, but seemingly more unlikely as more time passes. More likely some sort of Labour victory is in the offing, but highly unlikely to be a landslide.

    Whoever wins power next time would probably prefer even more than usual to avoid coalitions. There’s big decisions to be made, that coalitions naturally make difficult.

  38. Education is the system by which values are passed down to the next generation – so in future the doctor’s/nurse’s/teacher’s/lawyer’s(ad infinitum) mind might momentarily drift off into musing about the “break-even point” during a tedious consultation… instead of, as was previously the case, coming back wilth a smile after remembering who it was who had collectively paid for their education.

    Schooling In Capitalist America: Educational Reform and the Contradictions of Economic Life, reports the findings of study which found: the best predictor of academic performance is docility, following rules, getting along with others – not inquisitiveness, ability, etc.

  39. …and they’d also benefit from the individual voter registration changes from 2015 onwards.
    Has the legislation for this been passed? I thought it hadn’t been passed, yet.

  40. @Amber,

    As I understand it, it has already been passed.

  41. @AmbivalentSupporter

    “We have the opportunity to get this right since the Bill is still before Parliament.”
    Some background on the 2012 US Presidential election here as well:


    The Electoral Commission, while broadly supportive, still has reservations about the proposed legislation:


  42. Bit of a shock score from Man City where they already lead Southampton 1-0.

  43. @ Billy Bob, Ambivalent,

    Thanks, BB. :-)

    I thought that I’d read somewhere about the LibDems having second thoughts about supporting individual registration in the way it is currently proposed.

  44. “As I understand it, it has already been passed.”

    Actually, a quick glance through Billy’s link suggests I am wrong about this.

    Having said that, I don’t think this bill is in any danger of not being passed since Libs, Tories (and even Labour) support it. Even Lib and Tory support is more than enough to see it comfortably through. It’s actually due to be brought slowly in as early as 2013, but most of the changes will only take effect after 2015.

  45. @KeithP – “There’s been a suggestion of a small LD recovery….”

    I didn’t realise Alan Beith had been ill.

  46. @Amber, Billy,

    A recent Lib Dem view on individual voter registration and how the changes to some of the details have helped to appease some concerns.

  47. The Libs broadly support it is as the imposition of fines (recently changed) for failure to register could, they believe, mean extra votes for them. So, in theory, they now believe they will benefit from the changes.

  48. @ Ambivalent

    Despite having ‘all party support’, I think the single voter registration bill might just hang forever in parliamentary limbo because agreement can’t be reached on the details… we shall see.

  49. @ Anmary: August 19th, 2012 at 1:45 pm
    “It smacks of double standards.”

    More like it smells of the US wanting to get Assange either as revenge for what he’s achieved, or as a means of silencing his organisation (Wikileaks).

    No evidence, of course. [God, how stupid would they be?] But Sweden refusing to ensure he won’t be extradited?

    Draw your own conclusions, of course. But the US is mine.

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