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”

1 6 7 8 9 10
  1. Psophologists – IIRC ’twas Postage Included who came up with that one. Tinged, please correct me if I’m wrong.

  2. My CLP sent me a letter a few weeks ago telling me they were selecting their PPC and that I wasn’t eligible to vote in the selection. Well that’s what I get for my £1 a year I suppose, an entirely useless letter.

  3. Ozwald
    I am sure I have seen Emily Jane or indeed both separately. Eat your heart out and perhaps try the M5.

    John Pilgrim
    Your response caused me to bone up and indeed apparently Gove wanted to introduce an O level stage Baccalaureate (which in the 1950s used to be called the ‘School Cert(ificate)’. IIRC you had to pass all (six?) exams to attain it. I also looked up baccalaureate and it just derives from the Latin (became French) for ‘batchelor’. Somehow, his U turn passed me by. Apparently the LDs were having none of it and it was not in the Agreement.

    My children in the Netherlands had to pass this type of exam at all levels. What was particular of northern european exams is that not only do you have to pass everything but everyone takes the same exam at the same time and there is only one exam in the country. Answers are usually posted online and radio and TV at about 1800 in the evening, like the football results (heavy emphasis where possible on multiple choice) so children more or less know how they’ve done without having to await diploma day.

    Incidentally, if you think Multiple Choice for English, say, (as a foreign language) is a cop out, I sat down to do that one at Gymnasium level and I found it quite difficult. Yes, I did well, but that would be expected. The questions were in English (not Dutch) and contained nuances of expression, so you had to be right on your toes.

    I hate(d) school – it gets in the way of education IMO. I hope that is not a partisan comment, unless there is a new party recently created for ‘thickos’, which I shall undoubtedly have to join.

  4. Re HS2

    If Lab are really smart they will announce they are cancelling it and at the same time announce some incredibly populist way of spending the cash.

  5. @Howard,

    I hate(d) school – it gets in the way of education IMO. I hope that is not a partisan comment, unless there is a new party recently created for ‘thickos’, which I shall undoubtedly have to join.

    I agree.

    We home educate both of our children, and they are doing brilliantly.

    I consider the “standard” education system to be a sausage machine. I’m glad my children are out of it.

  6. For that did not see the Russell Brand interview with Paxman.

    I agree with a lot of this. We need to smash the current political party system and have new parties which genuinely represent the people.

    If this does not happen, I predict that within 20 years we will have less than 50% of people voting in general elections.

  7. @AW

    “given Miliband and Labour’s horrid ratings on looking like a PM in waiting and being ready for government”

    I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve pointed out that EM and Labour’s ratings are only relevant amongst those who might actually vote Labour. Given that >60% of the electorate is not voting Labour, straightforward partisan arithmetic says that EM/Labour is doing exceptionally well if they ever get better than -20.

  8. @Amber
    Thanks for setting the record almost straight on the origin of “psophology” (the study of inarticulate noise). I disclaimed inventing the word (it was John Pilgrim’s typo originally) but did claim to have found a meaning, and an etymology for it in the Ancient Greek.

    However… I’ve since discovered that the word was really invented by renaissance mathematician Marin Mersenne. Nothing new under the sun, eh? Mersenne didn’t manage to get the word into general use as meaning “acoustics”, though, so recycling it makes sense after 300 years!

  9. Catmanjeff

    I suppose my somewhat flippant comment should not be taken too seriously. You and Mrs CMJ are (I expect) fully competent but what does the child born to ne’er do wells or ne’er can do wells do for an education?

    Just saw our ex-colleague Sue Marsh on the box. She looked well and feisty, but when I think what that girl copes with, it makes me feel very small. I feel a kind of reflected glory, isn’t that silly?

  10. @RHuckle

    Less than 50% of people vote in GEs now. You mean “of registered voters”. Yes it’s picky, but worth remembering.

    Like Brand as a comedian, but knew too many people telling the same political story in the 70s to fall for it again.

  11. PI

    To connect with my discussion with CMJ, did you do (Ancient) Greek at school or are these gems since acquired?

    To stir it a bit, I just sometimes think the exam system is there to select those who are to receive life’s prizes. I mean, if knowing that Henry 8th came after Henry 7th puts you one up on those who didn’t know that, what a farce, although I will admit that if someone worked out that from first principles, it might indicate a reasonable IQ.

  12. I think Russell Brand raises a rather valid point, which is that can we really call it democracy if it doesn’t serve the interests of a great many of its people and in many cases has spied on or tortured its own people?

    To quote Denis Healey, when asking George Bush about the difference between authoritarian and totalitarian regimes, put it like this:

    “When some regime fastens electric terminals to a man’s genitals, he isn’t consoled by the fact that they have an election every ten years.”

  13. I do not think for a minute that UKPR is mostly a labours supporter’s site; I think there are supporters from all parties, some days it appears as though one party’s supporters are in the ascendancy other days they are not.

    Energy bills
    The cost of our energy bills are a very serious matter, what I do know is that the perception is that wholesale prices have risen by only 3 % in the last 24 -36 months I believe, yet the energy companies have put my bill up by 35%, being disabled I have no choice about heating so I have to spend money that should go towards other things on my energy bills… many old, sick and disabled have to make the same choices some sadly don’t have a partner who works and can cover most of the cost but even we are beginning to struggle,

    we are turning the temp down which is not really good for my particular condition, to try and save a little we are also very energy conscious all energy saving light bulbs etc.

    if it turns out these companies have been screwing the people of the UK I would not like to see fines as such, I would much prefer the companies forced to offer the customers free energy periods to compensate (35% worth off my bills for the same sort of period they have adjusted the bills in their favour) a windfall tax does nothing for consumers .

  14. @Howard
    Latin was pretty standard, often compulsory, in Grammar Schools in the 60s. In my town 25% went to Grammar School so knowing a bit of Latin is common for people my age – even children of working class parents like me.

    Greek was an option, but I didn’t opt and I’ve not studied it – there’s this thing called the internet I find useful for Greek instead (the Perseus project at Tufts is excellent).

  15. I can’t see HS2 becoming a politically significant factor in the long run. There are far to many people in all parties who hold differing attitudes, without having anything other than parochial or other issues to steer them. Even the UKIP, which is officially against HS2, will have many members who are for it but, as it’s not why they became a member, will probably not speak out.

    I agree with the analysis that it is thought politically useful by Ed Balls to express that it could be reviewed if costs escalate (actually they haven’t much) . I might have done the same in his place.

    As it happens, I know quite a bit about this area of policy but I won’t bore you, hopefully. I am just commenting on what it could do to voters’ intentions and ‘not a lot’ is my conclusion.

  16. Howard,
    I mean, if knowing that Henry 8th came after Henry 7th puts you one up on those who didn’t know that, what a farce

    Did you attend school in the 19th century?
    To caricature the education system nowadays as a system for the learning irrelevant facts is quite silly.

  17. Howard

    The thing that’s good about multiple choice is that it tests your powers of reasoning rather than your knowledge of the subject, your given four choices, it’s easy to eliminate two of them and of the remaining two one will ways seem more right than another, for a reasonably intelligent person with a passing knowledge of the subject it’s impossible to get less than 60%

  18. PI
    Snap. I did the same.

    That underlines what I said earlier and also proves that ‘them as wants to learn’ can do so on the net, as indeed I do.

    However, my point to CMJ is that you have to begin somewhere so I suppose the 11 years of hell had to be endured in my case. My parents could never have done what CMJ and his wife are doing so admirably. They both worked full time and were knackered mentally and physically, every evening.

  19. RinN
    Yes that’s what I found when I did them. I wanted to find out just how well my daughters were educated in the Netherlands system and I did several of their papers. The answer is – I was very impressed.

    I also looked at my son’s stuff (he was brought through the English system in the 90s and 00s) and that was impressive too, although not so demanding IMO. He did alright so that’s that.

    I don’t know whether Mr Gove’s ideas were good ones as I know next to nothing about education. If he intended to achieve a more generalised result at 16 then it sounds a pretty good idea to me, as long as it included languages, which under Blair’s administration, IIRC, were put on the back pedal.

    Cloud Spotter
    I’ve given up on smilies, so you just have to make your mind up how serious I am.

  20. @PostageIncluded

    “Latin was pretty standard, often compulsory, in Grammar Schools in the 60s.”

    Latin was necessary to get into Oxbridge, so grammar schools that didn’t teach latin would have been negligent.

  21. I did spend a lot of time learning Greek which I don’t regret because it introduced me to some wonderful things, but should because from all practical points of view it has been completely useless,

    Personally I would have said that psophos meant sound rather than meaningless sound (hence no doubt the attempt to get it meaning acoustics). But it was contrasted with ‘phone’ (long e) which meant something more like ‘sound with a conventional meaning’ (e.g. spoken word). So Aristotle said that phone was a sound (psophos) that signified something (semantikos). (But the latter piece of knowledge I have only just acquired from the internet!)

    Right at the beginning of the sixties and lacking any sense of what I wanted to do after University I was a supply teacher for the then ILEA. I ended up in a school that couldn’t get a Latin teacher where nobody in the form I was teaching had ever taken O level let alone passed it and where the previous teacher had written only one sentence in correction in anyone’s book which contained seven mistakes. Unsurprisingly I had children who spent four years being taught Latin and had learnt literally nothing, (German was not much better. 60 pupils went in for German O level the year I was there and just four passed). One of my few contributions to human happiness was that I managed to get permission for my fourth years to stop learning Latin and learn Greek literature in translation instead, which they liked and got them O levels.

    The experience gave me a distrust of grammar school education at least for some children. (Later I had three children who all went to Grammar Schools which did them very well, although not I think some of their fellow pupils) What the pupils I taught were learning was meaningless to them (in my area of study at least) and they only valued it insofar as they could get an O level out of it, which experience suggested they were not going to get. They were bright and when they did want to learn they could do it – one boy had a religious conversion and wanted to become a clergyman and learnt it in a year.

    To be fair it also taught me the difference between bad teachers (me) and good ones. I did not believe in what I was teaching and had a kind of pact with the children – we got on and neither of us gave the other much grief. But I was succeed by a very small man with a reedy voice, whom everyone one said would be torn apart. In practice, however, he had a passionate belief in the value of Latin and in pursuit of this yelled at the children with almost superhuman power. And with this method he achieved results of which I could not have dreamed.

    My only achievement when there was to give some individual tutoring to the first pupil to get into Oxford from that school for 20 years.

    what relevance all this has to Mr Gove or voting intention I cannot see. But perhaps someone can perceive a link.

  22. @BCrombie

    Not a follower of any party site to be honest, but I did spot this in one of their recent articles:

    “Byelection results – 24 October

    By The Voice | Fri 25th October 2013 – 3:42 pm

    The Lib Dems gained one seat at yesterday’s county, district and unitary byelections.

    Congratulations to Eric Seward who held North Walsham East for the Lib Dems with a decent 5.8% rise in votes.”

    Of course ‘gain’ makes for better headlines, if the average reader doesn’t pay much attention to the details. :))

  23. @AW

    “you guys only *read* a website about political polling, how anoraky would someone have to be to *write* one?”

    Or geeky, for that matter. If I say the word politics, the missus leaves the room. Quite handy actually. :))

  24. @AW

    “The answers to polling questions will be largely driven by the big price tag (if you stick a price tag of £50bn in a question almost everything becomes unpopular).”

    Indeed. Perhaps the Conservatives should ask for the £150Billion per year of benefits to be tagged to polling questions of that nature?

    When you see the total anticipated costs of HS2 over 10-15 years, next to that…

    In that sense, it’s all political. On another point, do the Westminster politicians want the North connected to the South by a high speed, low-cost means of transportation? Imagine all those protesters shuttling up and down the country.

  25. Charles
    An immensely interesting posting. I hope Anthony does not mind such a discussion, as we are in the doldrums between the polldrums.

    The grammar schools lifted many children from very low earning potential to higher, just at the time that the economy was receptive to such. We all remember Skinner’s ‘amo, amas, amat’ rejoinder and I’ve looked him up and yes he passed his 11 plus a year early and went to grammar school. IMO he probably eventually escaped to the soft life of the green benches with the help of those years (see Wiki entry). Others such as Prescott failed the 11 plus and had to work up through other methods. Both used the trade union route as well as further education.

    My father’s attitude to education would have mirrored many such views of we ‘baby boomers’. He wanted his son to go to work for 0900 (not 0730), to sit in a comfortable chair, instead of on his feet at a lathe, and not to have to ‘go in’ on Saturday mornings.

    We’ve come a long way since 1945 and I know who is responsible for that.

  26. Statgeek

    Yes, it is unfortunate because there are many good, likeable posters on there but if anything typifies the problems with the LD as a whole it is this site.

    It tries to be all-inclusive and lovey-dovey – unfortunately there are a lot of quite angry current and ex-LD which makes it difficult to always mind the Ps and Qs. It is at these points when we see the partisanship come out. I will be posting on the morning after in May 2015 though…..

    I think it is impossible for a purely political website to avoid having ‘hot’ debates – some people are passionate about their politics

    Here is different because it focuses on polls so we should try and keep to that but there is also the opportunity to have some whimsical discussions and debates about general things which can avoid being too party political

    I am really pleased that Anthony takes the time he does to try and maintain the quality – and also hope he doesn’t despair too much.

    On the point Turk made about it being a ‘Labour’ site. It clearly isn’t that but there are more centrish-left than our colleagues on the other side. I would hope to encourage more

  27. @Howard

    “We all remember Skinner’s ‘amo, amas, amat’ rejoinder”

    I feel quite inadequate now as I must be the only person who doesn’t.

  28. Howard

    Loved your post

    Also, as I mentioned earlier the weather looks to be getting a bit lively on Monday morning in the South – take care anyone in the area that will affected

  29. @Howard IMHO Grammar Schools did many good things. My wife did fine out of hers, but she was ultra bright and ended up getting a first. Despite being a fervent Labour supporter, she never really agreed with comprehensives. My children did fine out of theirs but they were bright too and all went to Oxbridge. I guess the query is about the ones they went to school with, all of whom were extraordinarily bright (as it was immensely selective) but some of whom did not immediately become top of the class, decided they were thick and reacted accordingly.

    I think the difficulty with the grammar school I taught at was similar. It was defined as a sink grammar and that defined some of their view of themselves and their aspirations.

    We moved and my daughter went to a comprehensive. Something similar was happening there as there was an enormous difference between the top and second forms.

    Possibly its an endemic problem.

  30. Norbold,after university Latin ,the only thing I can remember is Veni ,Vedi Vice.
    Rather good though.

  31. We from Wolverhampton have enough problem with English, never mind this other languages

    Mind you Latin would be good as there are no native speakers to offend with my accent

    An actual quote from work (when I worked in Switzerland):

    Boss: What is his French like?
    Colleague: He knows all the words but his accent is terrible
    Boss: Pretty much like his English then

    and to make matters worse the boss was a Scouser!!!

  32. Prediction for tomorrows ST YG

    Labour 41%

    Tory 32%

    UKIP 12%

    LD 10%

  33. @Statgeek

    In that sense, it’s all political. On another point, do the Westminster politicians want the North connected to the South by a high speed, low-cost means of transportation? Imagine all those protesters shuttling up and down the country.

    I am a northerner and would much rather the HS2 money be spent on better links within the north.

    I would add what makes you think rail travel is a low cost transport method? I’ve just looked up York to London return. leaving York at 0600, arriving London at 0813, open return home.


  34. @bcrombie


    Ever since I moved here I’ve had my doubts… the garden fence regularly withstands 60mph gusts, but it has got to the stage where you can push holes in it with your little finger. If I take a peek over, there is a clear view down the Channel (in the direction of the Atlantic).

    This wind map is currently forecasting anything between 44-74 mph, so you can fry me for an oyster if the fence is still standing on Monday morning:

    Next door on one side use their backyard as a depository for unwanted furniture/household items etc… the other side has scaffolding up. I’ll be in the front basement.

  35. Catmanjeff

    I echo that – I have lived in the North most of my adult life and travel to London always seemed adequate – just not the price in most instances and I cannot see that changing

    I would like to see better infrastructure and investment in the Northern cities to keep people here and use their talents where they would rather be.

    I have never wanted to live in the South of England – I can think of nothing worse (sorry to all my Southern colleagues)

  36. Billy Bob

    Will keep my fingers crossed for you

  37. Prediction
    Lab 40
    Con 33
    Lib 10
    Ukip 12

  38. @ Amber

    “The people who comment here are incredibly nice. I have been surprised & delighted by the birthday messages I have received, they have really made my day + weekend!”

    To be honest though I think Anthony let you down- he should have given you your own choice of question to ask in one of his opinion polls :-)

  39. Prediction

    Lab 40
    Con 31
    Lib 10
    UKIP 14

  40. I am surprised that there has been little comment here about the bugging of A Merkel’s phone, ordered by George Bush and evidently not rescinded, and the profound effect on international relations. AFAIK, there is no evidence of TB’s phone being bugged. This of course could be due to two reasons: either the jamming was more effective or TB was considered a genuine poodle who did not need to be monitored. My unknowledgeable judgement is the latter.

    Obama’s defence is that he did not know about it. What does that say about what I would describe as the ‘J Edgar Hoover influence’.

    I know foreign affairs are not generally very influential, but I suspect that the LD to Lab escapees will be strengthened in their resolve, and perhaps even some Con to Lab ones.

    The relevance to VI of your good discussion of the place of Latin and Greek’s role in your lives, and possible inclusion in a universal, rational and valuable school and school to university system ( if I may), and thus the bac, is that without a grounding in language, the humanities and the natural sciences, our children and we as a nation will not have to tools to benefit from higher education. I deeply regretted the dropping of Latin as a university entrance requirement, having recouped it in a long and winding road to uni, because in my heart I thought it would diminish our abilities to understand other peoples and cultures; and that would be dangerous to peace. My Etonian friends didn’t. I thought what the hell do you know? It’s ours, us grammar school boys, who really know its value.
    To an extraordinary degree its place internationally has been taken by English, notably throughout Europe and Asia, where a nuanced and precise use of written and spoken English has become commonplace and necessary to a professional life.
    The main parties have a huge responsibility for the decline of education, and more generally of child care, in the UK. Any party or government that does not make available the breadth of education that the bac represents, and universal access to higher education and training, with equality of status with academia for trades qualifications, ‘in this day and age’, deserve a kick in the pants, and not my vote.

    BTW AMBER. O f course – in the hope that noone else already posted this, and its not too late – the hair of the dog for you, after all those pints of champagne, is the Amber Moon:

    Moon is a cocktail containing Tabasco sauce, raw egg, and whiskey or sometimes vodka.
    The Amber Moon is featured in the 1974 film Murder on the Orient Express, based on the 1934 novel by Agatha Christie. In the film, the butler Mr. Beddoes, played by Sir John Gielgud, brings this drink to his employer, Mr. Ratchett, just prior to the discovery of the murder. Beddoes knocks on the door of the dead man’s train compartment and announces “Your Amber Moon, Mr. Ratchett.” (wiki)

  42. Chris & Couper perhaps have forgotten the 0.8 GDP growth. I’ll go for:

    Con 34
    Lab 39
    Lib 11
    UKIP 10

    SNP at 30 in Scotland (just for fun)

  43. The outcome of the Czech Elections appears to be really a ‘victory’ for yet another oligarch new populist party.

    I suspect if established parties did more to eliminate the idea that they are on a corrupt gravy train, we would have less of this sort of development.

    But I expect Virgilio will give a better summary.

  44. Howard
    I suspect that TB was not listened into cos the US/UK surveillance services are so closely interlinked as to be indistinguishable for all practical purposes. Of course,the same could be said for Dubya’s foreign policy and TB’s.

  45. Tweet from Mike Smithson:-

    Mike Smithson [email protected] 8m

    New post and chart. Tories get closer in Mail on Sunday Survation poll

  46. @ Mr Nameless

    My CLP sent me a letter a few weeks ago telling me they were selecting their PPC and that I wasn’t eligible to vote in the selection. Well that’s what I get for my £1 a year I suppose, an entirely useless letter.
    When did you join? There’s a period of time during which you must be a member before you can vote in candidate selections. If you tell me which month & year you joined, I can check for you whether you should’ve got to vote.

  47. @ Billy Bob

    “Thanks for the link about Raul Ruiz.

    Thought you might be interested to see this story about Gove at a Jeb Bush hosted event…
    Talking of staying up on election night, it can be a very late night here due to the time difference, though it didn’t matter how long you stayed up in 2000. Btw I remember a lengthy BBC radio report on the final campaign speeches from Gore and Bush, with reaction from many US commentators. The final remark was “… the Bush team are increasingly confident, they think they have Florida in their pocket.”

    You’re welcome. I know he’s one of your new favorites.

    Funny thing, I saw Jeb Bush back in August. He was getting into an elevator at hotel in Chicago that I (and some family members) was walking out of.

    I watched the clip. I can’t stand these so-called “educational reformers.” They’re running a massive scam. It’s one that unfortunately many on the left have bought into. Wish it was different.

  48. @stargeek

    0.8% doesn’t sound much compared to the energy price rises. We will know in a few hours tbh I am not a great predicted I tend to be over optimistic.

  49. Sorry ‘ predictor ‘ iPhone again

  50. @ Howard

    I feel a kind of reflected glory, isn’t that silly?
    I think it isn’t silly at all. Sue is our friend & she’s pleased that we’re ‘proud’ of her achievements.

1 6 7 8 9 10