This morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 39%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 11%. It comes after an eight point lead yesterday, and a couple of six points leads at the end of last week, so we’ve had a couple of polls in a row with leads at the top of the normal range. I’m always wary of reading too much into polls that could be explained by normal sample variation, but it could be that the price hikes from British Gas and the renewed prominence of energy prices as an issue over the last few days has given Labour a bit of a boost. Or it’s just random sample error – keep watching the trend.

There were also some YouGov questions in the Times on Free Schools, which found a significant drop in support since YouGov last asked in September. A month ago 36% of people in England supported free schools, 40% were opposed… a pretty even split. Now 27% of people support free schools, 47% are opposed. I suspect the shift is more to do with the coverage of the dysfunctional Al-Madinah free school in Derby than Nick Clegg’s recent comments, but looking specifically at his comments 66% of people agree that schools should only be able to employ qualified teachers, 56% that all schools should have to follow the national curriculum.

488 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 32, LAB 39, LD 9, UKIP 11”

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  1. As I’ve just written in another place:

    Today’s is a classic example of an overall finding that is in line with current trends, but where some of the crossbreaks are wayward. The gender gap shows Labour doing worse among women than among men, contrary to usual findings. The Conservatives are doing very well in the 18-24s, while Labour is miles ahead among the 40-59s.

  2. Ed Miliband doing better than David Cameron as “best Prime Minister” in C2DE and level pegging in 40-59. Is that new or normal?

  3. It’s all a little polldrums, isn’t it?

    Hopefully the Falkirk by-election will be (proportionally) interesting.

  4. Blimey, even Tories are only barely in favour of free schools (38 for to 37 against). Lib Dems really don’t like them.

    They are also least unpopular amongst, shall we say, age groups less directly affected by them. Women don’t like them, and people of age likely to have school-age children don’t like them.

    There also doesn’t seem to be much of a party split on whether teachers should be qualified – people think they should be. And that all schools should follow the national curriculum. And that view seems pretty strong.

  5. “Blimey, even Tories are only barely in favour of free schools (38 for to 37 against). Lib Dems really don’t like them. ”
    Dunno why but that triggered a thought about party ID and I wondered if you could identify someone’s ‘normal’ political leanings more accurately by their responses to key issues, as opposed to simply accepting that they are truly a supporter of whatever party they claim to (normally) identify with.

  6. Oswald

    No, folk decide on the party and then defend the policies without thinking, we see it all the time here, and it’s borne out by polling which shows that people are more receptive to a policy if they believe it had come from the party they support

  7. Statgeek will be relieved that we’ve got a thread back that looks at some recent polls! The last two YouGovs showing 8% and 7% Labour leads were/are worthy of some discussion and I tend towards Anthony’s suggestion in his commentary that there may be straws in the wind that point to Labour beginning to widen the gap again. Early days, admittedly, but I suspect something may be afoot.

    This is the fun bit now; what might be causing the widening gap between Labour and the Tories? Anthony has pointed to the recent price hikes by the Energy Companies and, if he’s right, then it may suggest that Miliband’s wheeze on a price freeze has allowed him to stake out ground that is almost win/win for him. Whatever happens on gas and electricity prices affords him political capital, whether deserved or not. This may well be very clever politics, however economically illiterate his increasingly frazzled political opponents claim him to be.

    The other factor that’s sailing a little under the commentariat radar at the moment is Miliband’s improved personal ratings, certainly vis-a-vis Cameron. The Ugly Contest has taken on a new twist and I wonder if a very large and mangy Tory Fox is beginning to die a slow and agonising death.

  8. @Ozwald, RiN

    Exactly, which is why it’s so striking that opposition to free schools seems to cut across party lines.

  9. …it also suggests that Labour’s pledge to maintain free schools may not be a vote-winner.


    Apologies-I never learn lol.

  11. @ Chris Riley

    Labour will not close free schools, if they are meeting the needs of the area & the pupils. I’m not sure that’s a pledge to maintain them per se.

    But hair-splitting aside, this highly publicised (? non-)change in Labour policy has changed the debate. Labour have moved it from being an issue of ideology to being about the quality of the schools & their potential impact on the funds available for educating the majority of children, whose parents don’t have time to run a school.

    I thought that was a subtle message which Labour managed to get across by calling the schools ‘Parent Led Academies’ rather than ‘Free Schools’ [1]. We like things which are free, we don’t like things which imply we’ll need to do extra work when our lives are busy enough already, thank you so very much!

    [1] Like e.g. the ‘bedroom tax’, changing the name can change people’s perception of a policy.

  12. Any further news re Colin’s energy company launch?

    We are agog in puppy-land to see how it develops.


  13. @Amber

    Academies are more popular than Free Schools, it’s true.

    I’m not saying the policy is ‘wrong’ per se – it strikes me as foolish to close schools that are performing just because you don’t like how they were set up – I am saying it may not win votes.

    What I suspect would happen under Labour is a similar process to the way critics of academies say ‘forced academisation’ takes place – Free Schools would get stringent inspections and at the slightest hint of issues would be converted to academies.

  14. Anthony, Are you having any issues with the site because for the past couple of days, it has been crashing when I update using the f5 refresh key?

  15. I’m not. Don’t know if anyone else is experiencing anything. Nothing has changed on the site itself in the last couple of days.

  16. crossbatty

    “Early days, admittedly, but I suspect something may be afoot.”

    “Crowing” lecture due soon we finks.


    “Anthony, Are you having any issues with the site because for the past couple of days, it has been crashing when I update using the f5 refresh key. ”

    We wondered if it was you.

    Just stop doing it then. Otherwise its like the bloke who went to the GP saying his head hurt, every time he bashed it on the wall.

  17. @ Anthony,

    Thank you. If nobody else is having problems, I’m guessing it’s either my connection or my firewall that’s causing the issue.

  18. Anthony

    ” Nothing has changed on the site itself in the last couple of days.”

    That’s a bit rude: Colin is starting an “all-you-want-for-nothing” energy company.


    “Hi there. I’m looking for the UKPR site please. The one with the polling comments.”


    Well it’s supposed to be, but it is also where you take issue with serving pints to police peeps, and even exclamation marks, etc.

  20. @ Rosie&Daisie

    Just stop doing it then.
    Oh, if only life were that simple… but fish gotta swim & birds gotta fly & I’m gonna press f5 ’til I die. ;-)

  21. “There also doesn’t seem to be much of a party split on whether teachers should be qualified – people think they should be. And that all schools should follow the national curriculum. And that view seems pretty strong.”


    I’m not sure that I’ve seen anyone on here either, of any political stripe, backing the no-quals idea, or exemption from the Nat. Curriculum.

  22. My view on VI moves is that it is largely caused by the majority of the population who get their news via very swift looks/listens at headlines.

    eg “Clegg at odds with Govt” “speaker rebukes Cameron” etcand Nick Robinson’s unusual comment yesterday [which is why I mentioned it without any input of my own AW.]

    Recent headlines have been more favourable to Labour.

    The danger for the Tories is that they appear weak if they pull back and then fade again. Catching up repeatedly is not easy.

    On the other hand if it is all about headlines there’s only so much anyone can do. I still feel the mood of the country and the figures for an election are strongly against them and, as in the song, there may be trouble ahead…………

  23. The views on the Lib Dems in that Free Schools poll are rather interesting. The “Sit down and shut up” view of the Tories to their Hon. Partners was to be expected, but I would have thought more than 13% of Lib Dems want to leave the coalition. Seems they prefer to air their dirty laundry in public.

  24. Also interesting – very little difference on the National Curriculum. Slightly higher UKIP support (because Maggie did it?) but otherwise it’s pretty clear voters like it.

  25. “Slightly higher UKIP support (because Maggie did it?)”

    It’s probably because it’s called the NATIONAL curriculum. Call it a European Baccalaureate and see what happens…

  26. @RosieandDaisie

    ““Crowing” lecture due soon we finks.”

    Indeed. I fully expect to be vilified for my outrageous triumphalism and complacency. How dare I suggest possible good news for Labour in an opinion poll!! lol

  27. ‘RiN & Chris Riley
    Thanks, good points. I feel like we are chasing after the white rabbit etc ( you know the story ). It’s a sort of political cross-dressing! Very confusing. I will have a cuppa then lie down in a darkened room for a while. :-)

  28. @Carfrew,

    I am a total and unapologetic supporter of Free Schools, and I completely understand why they allow “Non Qualified” teachers.

    It’s because they are intended to capture the essence of independent schools, and therefore deliberately emulate the way those schools are managed.

    Independent schools are OFSTED inspected, but get to make their own decisions about the sort of teachers they employ and what they teach.

    In reality the majority of teachers in private schools, and in Free schools, have qualified teacher status. Those that don’t tend to be people drafted in to deal with specific parts of the syllabus due to their personal knowledge of the subject, or who are employed in areas of education (PE, or art) which have a less rigorous “Right Answer, Wrong Answer” structure.

    My stepdaughter’s small, independent progressive school was recently inspected and got an “Outstanding” despite the fact that the children basically run the school themselves, and that several of the teachers are not “Qualified” and a number of adults provide teaching input who are not even strictly viewed as teachers at all. For example, as a police officer I once went and gave an informal talk about drugs, and I often provide advice to their safeguarding officer.

    I know that the children who attend independent schools are hugely disadvantaged by the fact that some of their teachers aren’t “Qualified” and they weren’t following the National Curriculum. I often feel very sorry for the likes of Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne. Poor dears.

  29. “What I suspect would happen under Labour is a similar process to the way critics of academies say ‘forced academisation’ takes place – Free Schools would get stringent inspections and at the slightest hint of issues would be converted to academies.”

    Perhaps so – Labour certainly needs to enact a mechanism whereby schools forced against their wishes to become academies can apply to become LA schools again (or to join their number).

  30. @ Neil A

    I think most of the sort of examples you give about your school are not a million miles away from what normal state schools do anyway- having police in to give talks, having outside help with PE (or at least specialist PE).

    I just find it really odd that unqualified teachers would even be considered for core subjects. I can’t think of ANY other profession where that would happen (maybe football management?) and you probably have some idea of police training, for example, where you would see how silly that was to employ someone just because they seemed like a natural for policework.

  31. @AW

    I thought the site was very slow to respond yesterday. Faster today though.

    The partisan posts are less frequent today. That’ll be it.


  32. Me and owr Rose are thinking of starting a dog biscuits factory [for the plebby dogs of course – mam does us both lamb.]

    Has anyone got any advice on start-up costs, profit ratios, conversion rates, unions, whether it would be safe to have a factory dog or would a cat be better and so on?


    ps We haven’t got any money as such.

  33. the site has been very slow at times , most likely routing problems not UKPR

  34. @David Boothroyd

    I wouldn’t worry too much about the under 25s. YouGov did a proper, weighted poll of the undr 25s last summer and found Labour 47-23 up, this at a time when Labour overall lead was about 10.

    The problem with crossbreaks is they’re not weighted. YouGov have had the same problem with London before. The crossbreak in their daily polls typically show the Tories doing OK in London, but consistently down by double digits when they do a proper poll of Londoners.

    It may just be that YouGov’s methodology means that when they do their daily poll, the young people they do catch tend to be whiter, more affluent and upwardly mobile, meaning the crossbreak will skew Tory.

  35. Neil A
    Just a question what do you think about the Governments idea of parachuting high flyers from outside the Job into the Police Personally I think it will cause no end of trouble.

    You may or may not be aware but this was done Once before in the 1930’s Graduates when these were few on the ground)and Junior Army Officers got to Join the Met at the rank of Inspector they were known as “Trenchard Boys” and it was widely regarded as a complete disaster as they lacked any operational experience.

    The idea was abandoned after a few years.

  36. NEILA

    Interesting post-I agree entirely.

    I wonder why it makes sense to prevent a Head employing a candidate with an outstanding CV – a PhD, first-class bachelor’s degree, or professional success – who is gifted in the classroom ; and insisting on a less impressive candidate who happens to have the teaching qualification?

    …and why is that Teach First program , which puts gifted graduates who have spent just six weeks in a summer school into the classroom, so successful ?

    Could there be an element of protectionism in the “Qualified Teacher only” idea?

  37. Colin: Aren’t you an accountant?
    If you are you know very well why a qualification matters.

  38. CROSSBAT11
    ” I wonder if a very large and mangy Tory Fox is beginning to die a slow and agonising death.”
    if If I were Labour election manager, I would not want it shot, but allowed to have a lingering, life, with the occasional snarl and show of froth and yellowing teeth, up to the GE, but I am afraid carp has had its day on this site.

  39. TROTS57

    @”If you are you know very well why a qualification matters.”

    A University degree is a qualification.

  40. Or do I have an over-active imagination…?

  41. @ Colin

    A University degree is a qualification.
    Not if you want to be a qualified accountant/auditor/tax practitioner.

  42. Colin: A University degree is a qualification.

    So is a 25 metre swimming certificate, what’s your point?

  43. In which case why is it independent schools seem to manage fine with their unqualified teachers? Is there any evidence independent schools suffer from employing these unqualified teachers?

  44. COLIN
    Is there an element of protectionism?
    I rather doubt it. Teaching as such is a skilled profession which can be taught and learned, and without those skills and the level of practice needed for a teacher qualification, ust being highly qualified in a particular subject does not mean you can teach it.

  45. Beats me why teachers are regarded so poorly by some.

    Teaching is an art that not everyone is blessed with & possessing a degree is no indication of ones ability to convey knowledge in such a way as to hold the attention of a class & help them learn enough about a topic to pass the required exams to help them achieve their goals.

  46. @JP

    Honestly, your post wasn’t there when I started typing mine but….snap !

  47. @ Colin

    How do you know they are gifted in the classroom? By observing one lesson? By putting them on a 3 month trial? Those things happen anyway but will be much more structured with a qualification.

    To an extent you don’t know how a qualified teacher will be either, but you at least know they have studied the basics and should have been exposed to courses on child safeguarding and all manner of things that won’t necessarily come up in your first term or even year. They will have been trained to handle a child that kicks off which will include signs of abuse at home and need a totally different approach to a spolit brat kicking off.

    I’d like to say in the nicest possible way that you are being a bit patronising towards the job that teachers do. You wouldn’t dream of having an unqualified nurse or doctor just because it seemed like they were a natural at the job or had a good bedside manner.

  48. If you are around Anthony-I pressed the button for the very first time.

    I only mention it because nothing happened -and I cannot tell whether that means you disagree with me & find that post acceptable ; or the system has malfunctioned, or you haven’t reviewed it yet.

    Some idea of how the Report Button works would be helpful.

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