This week’s YouGov results for the Sunday Times are now up here.

The topline voting intention figures are CON 35%, LAB 41%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 7%. The six point Labour lead is unusual, typically YouGov have been showing Labour leads of around 9-10 points for the last few months. In the absence of any big announcements or developments that could explain a big drop, I would urge caution… sure, it could be the sign of some Conservative recovery, but just as likely it is random sample error. The rest of the survey concentrates on the economy, wealth taxes, Nick Clegg, Heathrow and honours.

28% of people think the government’s economic policy is basically right (including almost three-quarters of Tory supporters), 56% think it is basically wrong. People unhappy with the current strategy though are divided over what changes they would make – 24% of them would like bigger spending cuts to fund tax cuts, 21% would like the opposite – tax increases to reduce spending cuts. 17% would like more short-term borrowing to reduce spending cuts, 4% would like more short-term borrowing to fund tax cuts. 35% say they would like something else or that they don’t know.

Turning to the question of a wealth tax, 57% of people support the principle of such a tax, with 29% opposed. The most popular cut off point for a wealth tax is £1 million (supported by 34%). 19% would support a lower threshold than this, 35% a higher one. There is a noticable regional pattern here, with people in London much more likely to oppose a wealth tax and supporting higher thresholds if there is one.

Arguments about taxes on the rich damaging the country do not have much cut through. While 66% people think that there is some risk that high taxes on the wealthy will drive them abroad, two-thirds of them still think it is the right thing to do under the present circumstances. 48% of people think that higher taxes on the rich will raise more money even taking into account this risk (31% disagree). Overall 39% of people think higher taxes on the wealthy would help an economic recovery compared to 18% who think it would damage the chances of an economic recovery (31% think it will make no real difference).

Moving onto questions about Nick Clegg, 17% of people see him as an asset to the government compared to 58% who think he is a liability. These figures are almost identical to George Osborne (16% asset, 58% liability) putting the two of them as the lowest rated of the politicians YouGov asked about. The most positively rated by some distance was William Hague – 43% of people think he is an asset, compared to 29% who think he is a liability.

30% of people say that Clegg should remain as leader, compared to 40% who think he should be replaced. However, asked whether they think the Liberal Democrats would do better at the next election if they keep Clegg or replace him only 18% think they’d do better with Clegg, compared to 53% who think they would do better if they changed. Amongst the Liberal Democrat party’s own supporters 60% think that the party should keep Nick Clegg… but only 31% think that the party would do better with Clegg at the next election. 47% of Lib Dem supporters think they would do better with someone else.

Amongst those who think the Lib Dems would do better if they changed 28% think they would do best under Vince Cable, far above all the other Lib Dem politicians in the question but less than those who said None or Don’t know (43%). A significant part of questions like this are simple name recognition – Vince is a very well known politician, while other serious contenders like Tim Farron are very little known outside the circles of we political anoraks!

Turning to the subject of Heathrow, 35% of people support Heathrow expansion, 32% oppose it and 33% don’t know. However, when asked specifically about whether David Cameron should keep his manifesto pledge on Heathrow only 19% of people think he should break it and go ahead with Heathrow expansion. 35% think he should rule it out and 32% think he should reconsider the issue at the next election.

Finally on the honours systems, people think too many awards go to figures from entertainment (69% too many), senior civil servants (61% too many), national politicians (67% too many), local politicians (48% too many), sportsmen and women (39% too many) and business leaders (37% too many). They would like to see more awards go to people from charities (71% not enough), scientists and academics (64% not enough) and people working in the public services (66% not enough).

187 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 35, LAB 41, LD 9, UKIP 7”

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  1. Anthony

    Has there been a sample error with the Female VI ?

    It is a bit odd.

  2. Nope – sample is perfectly normal (well, it could be that the women are too Tory and the men are not Tory enough, but overall the sample is normal)

  3. Good Morning, as we start a gloomy week with new school year.

    Since, imo, the Lib Dem 9% figure is much higher than the real voting figure, and since the LD vote may well go mainly to the Blues, DC should feel happy and ED M should be worried.

  4. “Since, imo, the Lib Dem 9% figure is much higher than the real voting figure, and since the LD vote may well go mainly to the Blues, DC should feel happy and ED M should be worried.”
    Based on what evidence?
    Do you have any ‘would consider voting’ polling or even going back to the AV polling, 2nd preferences?

    The evidence is in my bones and guts. Instincts that the LD vote is soft, and that faced with a Labour Party threat, they will go Tory, as happened in 1992, to some extent.

    I also think that Labour should consider changing their leader, but they will not, of course.

    End of a good Summer polls often are good for the Government, however.

  6. This poll is an outlier and will be shown as such over the course of this weeks polls. I still think Labour are on about 42%, Tories 32% and LD 10%.

    What Anthony has said about female VI, is not evidenced by previous polling over the last 6 months. For whatever reason, todays polling is showing Tory Female VI 8% above the norm.

  7. I have just watched George Osborne on the Marr show, and understood him to say that the Government has two options: to sink or to swim. Asked about whether the Government should by various measures increase public sector investment and industry he did not appear to answer. [Snip – AW]

  8. that should read “in businesses and industry”

  9. Labour lead was last at 6 points on April13th with YouGov.

    Two 35s for the Tories on YouGov recently.
    ICM gave Con a 36% in May.
    In April a 35% from IpsosMori, two 35s and a 36 on YouGov.

    Dec 2011 – March 2012 was the period where any company had the Tories consistently polling in the mid-high thirties (plus an occasional maximum of 40-41% again only on YouGov), with a spate of MOE leads over Labour.

    One has to go back to September 2010 to find a clear lead for the Conservatives.

  10. 12 point lead for Labour cut in half in just 3 days. Bad news for Labour.

    The above comment was just to show I haven’t listened to a word Anthony has said in any of his pieces about outliers and reading too much into one poll :-)

  11. Chrislane1945

    Your comment on LD 2010 vote going to the Tories is at odds with the data from the poll.
    Of 2010 LD voters 16% say Con, 39% say Lab and 32% LD.
    Maybe you should ask a doctor to check over your guts and bones?

  12. Odd looking result but not that odd. YouGov had Cons at 35 just once in August, but rated 34% eight times. Labour had five 42% scores in August and no 41s, so the Labour result looks marginally more eccentric, but within normal variation.

    To be mischievous, the rise in Tory fortunes – if real – is likely the result of the prospective reshuffle, and the possibilty of seeing Osborne removed from the Treasury.

  13. Curses! Too old for html!

  14. The poll is probably an outlier – the next few days should tell us if that is the case.
    Good to see Archbishop Desmond Tutu calling for Blair & Bush to be put on trial. He is also absolutely correct to point out the hypocrisy of Western leaders being treated differently to tyrants from other countries.

  15. Heathrow expansion? No.

    The problem is that if you live overseas the only airport you have heard of is Heathrow. So, rename Stansted ‘Heathrow -Stansted’ and get all the new flights landing there. After all, it can easily take extra flights at the moment and take expansion. And the overseas people are happy as thoer flights are landing at ‘Heathrow 2’

    Problem solved. :)

  16. @Chrislane1945 – “Since, imo, the Lib Dem 9% figure is much higher than the real voting figure, and since the LD vote may well go mainly to the Blues, DC should feel happy and ED M should be worried.”

    I too was going to ask for evidence, but as @tingedfringe has already done so, we now know there is none, other than what is in your ‘bones and guts’.

    As you are getting on in years, what’s in your bones is likely to significantly more brittle, and as for what’s in your guts, this will be a mixture of bile, partially digested food, and sh*t. So I’ll take your intervention in the same spirit.

    Earlier in the week we had @AW postulating that the Labour lead seemed to be widening slightly, based on a number of polls but with the usual caution, and this poll with an unusually low lead looks out of line, unless and until we get corroboration from further polls.

    I see no polling or voting evidence to suggest that 9% for the Lib Dems is artificially high, and indeed, what evidence we do have suggests a slight recovery in their fortunes.

    I see no evidence that if it is a false figure, this 9% will go ‘mainly to the blues’. Indeed, lets have a look at the Corby vote to get an idea shall we? I’m looking forward to your post by election analysis on this one, and likewise I’d be interested in your analysis of the local election results in England this year (‘real votes’, as you call them) when from memory I thought Labour picked up a lot of support – more so than the Tories.

    I am with @Colin on judging you. Whether it’s the catholic in you or not I don’t know, but your chosen path is to repeat tired and discredited mantras time and again, with no reference to reality or evidence. It doesn’t do anything to elevate the quality of discussion on here I’m afraid to say, in my view.

  17. I was also going to add that far from being happier than Ed, the current political landscape looks far worse for Cameron. He’s been forced into a reshuffle he didn’t want, and the string of ministers appearing on TV saying ‘I don’t want to move’ is a testament to how weak he is.

  18. @Graham

    Re: Archbishop Tutu on Blair

    It will never happen. And the hypocracy is getting far worse now with Libya and Syria. Might is right, don’t you know? I just hope at some point we stop giving out this guff about morality.

    Re: Latest YouGov
    As for the poll, it’s a one-off for now, but I suspect it may be a useful ondication that while the general trend is Lab +10, in quiet periods/less baf periods for the Tories, they have every chance of reducing the gap to 5%.

    I suppose what I mean to say is that the Tories are keeping themselves in the contest. They probably need some mighty clangers from Lab to take a consistent lead, but they have time. Time though is a double edged sword. As GE’s are referendums on governments, is there are no Lab clangers, and things do not improve, Lab stand to win handsomely.

    As for the LD vote, I would suggest that most saying LD now, will vote LD in 2015, as well as a few % extra. LD tend to increase their share over a GE campaign, and I suspect if they ditch Clegg and leave the coalitoon before the GE, they could achieve 15%+. Who these extra % will come from is unclear. You would assume Lab supporters having tasted opposition will want to win again, and that left leaning LDs may stay with Lab for fear of another LD/Tory.coalition. But if clegg goes, they mat return – at least some may. That is what I anticipate will happen.

  19. Jack

    Let me guess – you work for Ryanair.:D

    I have never understood the obsession with Heathrow. There seems to be a terror that people, especially business people will go to Schiphol instead and therefore decide to do business there. Actually of course they’ll just catch a short hop to London City and it won’t take any longer to go to get to Central London than it would going via Heathrow.

    In any case I suspect business travel worldwide has peaked. Increases from developing economies will be offset by increased use of technology. So most of the growth will be in leisure which will be less Heathrow-fetishist and more easily spread through the day.

  20. @ChrisLane1945

    Basically, like most Blairites, you’re just left trying to make up reasons why Ed must go? “If only we could replace him with Saint Tony (won three elections y’know!)” etc.

    The Liberal vote – at 9% – is basically their core vote (ie the type who voted for them in the 50s and 60s), give or take two percentage points, so unless you’re saying that there’ll be no-one voting for Liberals (which is absurd), Ed has little to worry about on that front – it’s a potential return from UKIP that should concern him.

  21. I got the impression that Chris was making a joke. But that could just be me.

    I think we should have a General Election now. Who should I see to arrange that?

  22. I think this demonstrates the problem of not doing things oneself: someone has obviously muddled my request for a 45/31 poll and come up with 41/35.

    Not to worry, I’ll conduct my own via the approved “feel it in my water” method [which is MUCH better than blood and guts]

    Right, its coming though now, as I thought: 45/31

  23. How would a mouse tackle the question of Heathrow expansion?
    Nobody but a mouse can answer that.
    Too many implicit assumtions about mice – it’s not a sensible question.

    Would asking if Cameron is like a chambermaid have been any better? Probably not.

    Is Clegg “pathetic”? Did anyone say that?

    I think Con/Lab supporters would be annoyed if people were being prompted to that response in relation to Cameron/Miliband.
    “Miserably or contemptibly inadequate?”, it’s not a million miles from there to asking: “Is x a complete ****er, or what?”

  24. Regarding LibDem ‘deserters’ to date: YG table has a helpful column showing exactly that information; it is on the extreme left (LOL) beside the Scotland regional x-break.

  25. Funnily enough, from the perspective of the on-looker, rather than the table, the LibDem ‘deserter’ analysis is on the far right.
    So maybe Chris Lane isn’t entirely wrong. ;-)

  26. BillyBob: My own research shows that mice are all for Heathrow expansion – and the more restaurants the better.

  27. Amber Star – “from the perspective… of the table”

    It’s ok, nobody in a million years would suspect that you don’t know your left from right. ;)


    In the words of Devo : “god made man / but he used the monkey to do it / apes in the plan / we’re all here to prove it.”

    I’m guessing mice are in the plan too, YouGov should not be joining in with the assuption that somehow mice are less competent than men.

  28. Just to alert you all to the fact that ICM are planning a poll looking at voting intentions for the Lib Dems under Clegg versus under Cable.

    How do I know? I’ve just been polled by them over the phone.

    Frankly this whole “Vince Cable to challenge Clegg” rumour is utter nonsense. Vince Cable has got as many policies through as Business Secretary as he would as party leader. Had he wanted to become leader, he would have put himself forward before.

    Sadly, given the ageist society in which we live, he is simply not a viable candidate and everyone knows that. He would be trashed by a hostile press in just the same way Clegg has been.

  29. Cable is to the LibDems what Boris was to the Tories a few weeks ago; a stalking horse. Boris does hope to lead the Tories which is why he denied it. Cable doesn’t have real ambitions to lead the LibDems, or he would NOT have said he did. That’s the topsy turvy world of politics. ;-)

    Regarding a real challenge to David Cameron, if it happens during this parliament, it will likely be Hague. And polling seems to support this being the case. As I’ve said before, Hague believes he only lost the last time because it was Blair he was up against. IMO, Hague is definitely lining himself up for another shot at it.

  30. @ RAF
    ‘Re: Archbishop Tutu on Blair

    It will never happen. And the hypocracy is getting far worse now with Libya and Syria. Might is right, don’t you know? I just hope at some point we stop giving out this guff about morality.’

    I fear that you are correct, but I do find it heartwarming and reassuring that someone as universally respected as Desmond Tutu essentially sees Blair as persona non grata. If Blair and Bush elude the Courts they both richly deserve the Bin Laden treatment – including being dumped at sea.

  31. One very good commentator today on tv shot down a self-selecting poll and demonstrated how to deal with these, followed by a slew of twitter commentators waving today’s YouGov poll around and arguing it means Ed’s lead has been ‘slashed’.

    Positive one: David Aaronovitch on Sunday Politics on BBC1 this morning took apart the presenters summing up on a poll on views on squatting that showing 82% against it on moral grounds, which was then presented as somehow being a reliable poll.

    Although I suspect in reality a proper poll might show similar results, he pointed out the folly of asking a very narrow demographic – in this case Sunday Politics viewers – a question and then presenting it as a representative poll.

    Then, today, we find the opposite of sensible reporting. … with numerous commentators, including some that should know better, jumping on the 6-point headline and a) comparing it to ICM as well as b) claiming it means Ed’s in trouble because his lead has suddently halved.

  32. @ Anthony,

    Past polling which has been done shows that hardly anybody, of any political colour, is in favour of building on the greenbelt. Or is it my lively way of expressing an opinion which got me in trouble?

  33. What’s clear is that Mr Cameron is preparing for a struggle, perhaps with his own party, over housing policy. We shall hear more about this on Thursday, but already it looks as though the loosening of green belt restrictions will prove controversial.
    From ConHome, already.

  34. Amber:

    I think Hague is one of – well, probably one – who would have the slightest chance of bringing the Tory party into some semblance of a straggly, squabbling line.

    However the coalition skews everything: disturb it and it inevitably leads to an election. Its one thing changing PM when you have a substantial majority but quite another when so much is hanging together by little threads.

    They will have to muddle on for a while yet and hope for the best.

  35. @ Paul Croft

    I agree; & that goes for the LibDems vis-a-vis Nick Clegg too.

    On the assumption of a Labour majority (which is what polling says we would have, were an election held today) In the aftermath, Hague will be in the running for the Tory leadership; I think Cable won’t be for the LDs.

    Fair point about the coalition making replcing the leader impossible. Another issue is how to do it at any time. Cameron voluntarily stepping down and Hague winning the leadershhip is one thing; Cameron being ousted and replaced by Hague (or whoever) is completely different, and more toxic – the ousting of Thatcher left divisions in the party which still haven’t healed, and the ousting of Blair could easily run as long.

    Beside which a lot of commentators say Hague isn’t interested in the job.

  37. Strange poll in current political circumstances and, until we get some possible corroboration on Monday night, then we must suppose it’s a bit of an outlier due to random sampling error. Unless Cameron’s getting a Para Olympic boost, that is!! lol

    Belated RIP for Rhodes Boyson, by the way, who passed away earlier this week. Hardly ever agreed with anything the old boy ever said, but he was an authentic Tory and very much his own man. I always rather enjoyed his combative interventions in the political debate at the time and I gather, in private, he was a much more agreeable man, and nuanced politician, than his public persona often suggested. He was also rather a good headmaster in his early days, I understand.

    While I revered politicians like Alf Morris, Jack Ashley and Roy Mason, I didn’t have that degree of affection for Boyson, but I recognised a genuine and sincere politician whenever I listened to him and his kind are sorely missed in today’s Parliament.

    RIP Rhodes Boyson

  38. Plenty of people have speculated that this may be just be one of those outliers that happens from time to time. What no one has touched on yet is that this coincides with the raid on London Met, which by now will have filtered through into the polls. It’s just the kind of thing that might help the Tories win back a few Kippers and perhaps 1-2% of floating voters.

    It doesn’t really worry me though, as even if that has caused some movement in the polls, I don’t expect it to last long. And indeed it’s possible that it could just be an outlier after all and it’s much ado about nothing.

  39. CB11

    @”RIP Rhodes Boyson”


    Boyson was a Labour Councillor, leaving the Labour Party in 1964 after studying the early history of the Manchester Cotton Industry.

    Boyson wrote a thesis on Henry Aswhorth, a Victorian Lancashire cotton manufacture who was the brother-in-law of Richard Cobden and a Radical campaigner, and who also had a reputation as a model employer. It was published in 1970 by the Oxford University Press as The Ashworth Cotton Enterprise. The Rise and Fall of a Factory Firm. 1818-1880.

    RB famously supported & jointly authored the Black Papers on 1970’s education & it’s descent into anarchy.

    This famously reached it’s apotheosis at William TYndale Junior School , Islington. Boyson supported the campaigner & part-time Tyndale teacher there, Dolly Walker, whose efforts to expose the methods of Terry Ellis & Brian Haddow , culminated in the withering conclusion of the Auld Report in 1976.

    RB was much in demand for his thoughts on the “progressive” teaching embodied at Tyndale, his favourite story being of the teacher who “refused to teach decimals because it was used in the form of accounting which accompanied the capitalist system”

    RB was Headmaster of a Comprehensive School-Highbury Grove, which he ran on traditional lines with a house system, strict regulations -and use of the cane.

    Highbury Grove was regularly oversubscribed.

  40. I remember Ali G interviewing RB and saying much respect (I paraphrase) for his support of getting caned in school.
    BillyBob – you must have had an uncontrollable urge to write your post.
    It made me wonder is Paul Ryan a creationist, intelligent design believer?

  41. @Jim Jam

    Apparently it is very hard to find evidence of Ryan’s view on ‘intelligent’ design. However Romney seems to have been against teaching it in Massachusetts.

    Ryan has, on the other hand, made public statement that indicates he does not believe in man made global warming…

  42. Probably is an outliers, but I wouldn’t be suprised to see the polls close slightly, the goverment has been embarked on some more populist decisions of late, immigration figures fallen slightly, crackdown on bogus students,tightening of exam results and now a relaxation of planning codes,plus the opening split between Milidand and Balls.
    Dispite the usual negative responds of the BBC and I suspect most of the contributors here, these are the type of thing that play well with the public and will appeal to those Tory voters that had drifted away from the party. Of course the goverment will have to keep out of trouble and try harder to stop scoring own goals, but if Cameron really had courage he would wait to reshuffle his cabinet bring in a radical Tory programme, force a split with the Liberals, run for a short while with a minority goverment then call a GE but of course thats only a dream.

  43. RAF
    If I understand Desmond Tutu correctly, neither guff nor morality defines his demand for prosecution of Blair and Bush, but rather a deep conviction in the need for the rule of law to be maintained in the west’s interventions in Third World countries, regardless of regime.

  44. Amber

    “On the assumption of a Labour majority (which is what polling says we would have, were an election held today)”.

    Any idea why SLab seem intent on alienating those who agree with equal marriage?

    A Scottish Labour spokesman said: “This is remarkable generosity from the First Minister and it’s nice to see an occasion where Alex Salmond upholds the values of marriage in Bute House.”

    “The values of marriage”????

    Can we look forward to Lamont making a comment?

  45. I don’t know what the green belt contributions were that AW snipped, but the above looks very disjointed to me.

    I doubt whether one person in ten knows what Green Belt means and what are the planning rules are that apply.

    From countless letters to editors over the years, i observe most seem to think it means ‘countryside’.

    They are wrong, so the political outcome of the issue is likely not to relate to the issue.

  46. @Jim Jam – “uncontrollable urge”

    Ho, ho, ho. Let’s just hope there’s no surge for The Romney/Ryan ticket following their convention.

    Any chance that Ryan’s fondness for absurdly oversized business suits is a tribute to David Byrne in Stop Making Sense?

  47. HOWARD

    “the political outcome of the issue is likely not to relate to the issue.”

    That would be nothing new!

  48. @Turk

    Cameron doesn’t have to “engineer a rift” with the LDs, he can just throw them out of Cabinet. It’s *his* government – he forms it on behalf of the Crown and can hire and fire as he wishes. He can make up a Cabinet with the cast of EastEnders if he wants.

    A minority government would work for a unspecified period (see Canada for an example). But would it survive a vote of confidence? The numbers are chancy. And if he lost, what then?

    Under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, the Prime Minister loses the right to call a GE directly. If his government loses a vote of confidence, there is a 14-day window in which anybody else has a chance to form another government that would win a vote of confidence. If that person succeeded, then he/she would become PM without a intervening GE.

    Regards, Martyn

  49. @ Old Nat

    The Sunday Herald then learned that Hui Liu and her groom were allowed to use Bute House in Edinburgh for their humanist ceremony.
    Well, I assume that the Labour spokesman meant that marriage should be equally valued, regardless of whether it happens as a religeous ceremony in a traditional church (I’m using the term ‘church’ generically) or a civil marriage in a non-religeous establishment.

  50. For the past two years, many here (including myself) have attributed the bulk of Labour’s recovery to the LD’s decision to nail their colours to the right and in so doing prompt a large chunk of their former support to defect to Labour. Support on the left has coalesced around a single party on the left for the first time in a generation.

    The narrowing of the Labour lead may be down to moe. But alternatively it might (at least in part) be down to a slight reversal of the above. Have the LDs done anything in the past week that might cause support on the left to reengage? Potentially, yes, in terms of (a) their call for a wealth tax and (b) the nascent moves to oust Clegg, the symbol of their realignment.

    The wealth tax is clearly consistent with the principles of responsible capitalism hat Miliband has been putting forward and it’s overwhelmingly popular (we didn’t need this latest YouGov to tell us that). So why Labour has left the field clear for a wealth tax to be seen purely as a LD policy leaves me dumbfounded, whether or not it’s the explanation for this poll. I’m just hoping that this acts as a wake up call for Miliband and (in particular) Balls.

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