The final YouGov poll of the year is up here. Voting intentions are CON 34%, LAB 40%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 11%. The six point Labour lead is the same as the average in YouGov’s polls across December, in comparison in December 2012 YouGov was showing an average Labour lead of eleven points, so year-on-year Labour’s lead has almost halved – the YouGov average for December 2013 is Conservative 33% (up 1 since 2012), Labour 39% (down 4), Lib Dem 9% (down 1), UKIP 12% (up 3).

Labour leads have seemed a tad lower since the Autumn statement, but the vast majority that narrowing came in the early part of 2013 when economic optimism first stating picking up. We can see the changes in attitudes to the economy in the other regular YouGov trackers here. 17% now think the economy is doing well, 50% badly. It’s still strongly negative, but compare it to December 2012 when it was 5% well, 73% badly. 41% of people now think the coalition are managing the economy well, 51% badly – it’s still a net negative, but compare it to December 2012 when it was 31% well, 59% badly.

The most interesting questions in the rest of the poll were on shale gas and fracking, 44% of people support fracking/shale gas, 29% of people are opposed. This is up slightly since YouGov last asked in August when it was 41% to 33% opposed. Asked about its impacts people see it as safe by 47% to 33%, as good for the economy by 64% to 14%, but as environmentally damaging by 42% to 34%.

Compared to other potential ways of generating energy, fracking is seen as broadly preferable to coal or imported gas, but seen as less desirable than nuclear or renewable energy. People would, unsurprisingly, be less positive about fracking in their immediate area. Only 25% of people would support fracking within a couple of miles of their home, but it rises to 32% support if its further away, but in a local town or village, and goes up to 46% support if it was somewhere else in their local county, but not their own town or village.

316 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 34, LAB 40, LD 9, UKIP 11”

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  1. @ OldNat

    Do you think that the EU election results will have any effect on the outcome of the Scottish Referendum?

    For example, were UKIP to do very well might more Scots find that continued union with the southern English makes even less sense than it does now?

    Or might the anti-EU Scots (of whom there seem to be quite a few) be more likely to vote to continue the Union?

    Merry Christmas to one and all

  2. @Howard

    “Just watch the polls in two week’s time after those annual demands roll in. Actually I had mine from HMRC on Xmas Eve – nice one.”

    Yes, Howard, I agree – and not just the annual demands, but also the fuel bills reflecting Oct/Nov/Dec usage despite the govt inspired £1 pw tweak downwards mitigating some of the otherwise continuing substantial rises. My hunch is that the failure of cost-of-living improvements for ordinary hardworking voters is what may lose it for Tories in 2015 – but, the same may well be so for Labour’s re-election chances in 2020?

    The problem we now have is that as Britain adjusts to its new economic relative position in the world no government of any party can actually deliver long term on cost-of-living benefit – unlike in the period 1945 to 2007. The trajectory for the average British family over the next 25 years is, with bounces, to slip backwards to a standard of living much lower than our global rivals – even if the British economy does better. The reason is that any income benefit of economic growth is so skewed towards rewarding those already better off. Britain seems structurally set-up to do the opposite of what “The Spirit Level” advises for the maintenance of a healthy society and democratic national life.

    In VI terms will this result in endless pendulum swinging as voters are perenially disappointed with new incumbents? Watch this Space!

  3. Many families who lost their child benefit because One family member earned over £50K didn’t de register for the benefit or register for self assessment. Of course if there are two earners both earning £49K each they get to keep it

    The latest figure I saw was over 250,000 families in this situation.

    They will receive a minimum additional tax bill of £380 for One child in January and a Minimum additional bill of £1700 next January if they remain registered.

    Additionally there will be an automatic fine of £100 for failure to submit a return on time and subsequent additional fines,interest charges and penalties.

    If you are in this situation there is still time to de-register and submit your tax return and payment on line but you will have bills to pay.

    The “victims” are those “hard working families” who might be regarded as natural Tories

  4. MIKEN

    @”It would seem some Tories are beginning to recognise the danger for the Cons election chances in maintaining the salience of immigration in the mind of voters.”

    Doesn’t seem to be a problem-it ( Rac) has become more salient as 2013 progressed:-

    Eurostat forecasts in the Press today showing England becoming most densely populated country in Europe won’t do anything to reduce it’s salience either.

  5. @miken – Tories just don’t know what to do with right split/ UKIP. Don’t think Bright Blue has much influence. Especially now that Lynton is a full time employee. Party hasn’t taken much notice of Lord Ashcroft, who has been saying the same thing for ages.

  6. Colin
    I’m unsure about the point you’re trying to make.

    Note however that in May 2010 Rac reached 38% and the Cons failed to achieve an OM. Are you suggesting that the Con ‘win’ that year was attributable to the issue of immigration?

    In Dec 2013 the Rac is back to 37%.

  7. Chatterclass

    You may be right about ‘Bright Blue’ and Lynton Crosby influence, but there is a hint in the article of dissent within the Cons as to strategy/emphasis.

  8. One of the best articles I have read on The Guardian for a while. Makes a change from the same old ‘arnt the Tories nasty’ etc.

  9. Rich,

    I think that article has a lot of good points, and I’d extend it to basically all parties and politicians (with few exceptions). As Pierre duPont put it-

    “It is necessary to be gracious as to intentions: one should believe them good, and apparently they are; but we do not have to be gracious at all to inconsistent logic or to absurd reasoning. Bad logicians have committed more involuntary crimes than bad men have done intentionally.”

    I’d even add that, since it is possible to reason logically to a false conclusion, one should even assume that persons one disagrees with are bad reasoners (or worse reasoners than those one agrees with). Sometimes, we’re just plain wrong, for all our goods intentions and good reasoning. That’s just the human condition.

  10. @Bill,

    I agree. Too much politics of stereotyping these days. It’s scary when I see how partisan and stereotypical some young people can be on social media. Balanced opinion seems to be hard to find at the moment.


  11. JOHN B

    I think the only polling evidence is the May Panelbase poll.

    “Commenting on the poll findings, Ivor Knox, of Panelbase, said: “The prospect of the UK leaving the EU has little impact on those Scots who have formed a view on independence, but among undecided voters three times as many tend to support independence as oppose it, under those circumstances.””

  12. Rich,

    Maybe that’s why a non-partisan place where politics (and particularly polling) could be discussed in a calm and non-competitive atmosphere would be so attractive. If only we could find such a place!

  13. @Bill Patrick
    I rejoice at having found such a space (although most of us stray from time to time, we usually self-police before the snipper snips) recently.
    A hearty thanks to Mr Snipper and to him and all who post here a happy, prosperous New Year filled with rational debate!

  14. @Rich/Bill P

    “One of the best articles I have read on The Guardian for a while. Makes a change from the same old ‘arnt the Tories nasty’ etc.”

    Er, just hang on a minute, but the article you’re referring to was written by Mark Wallace, the executive editor of and a former Campaign Director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance. You may well like what he has to say but it would be nonsense to suggest that he is anything other than a highly partisan commentator.

    The fact that he writes articles for the Guardian is, as you suggest, a testimony to that fine newspaper’s liberal policy of giving platforms to political commentators with views diametrically opposed to both their own editorial stance and the majority of their readership. Tory inclined and right of centre writers like Ian Birrell, Wallace, Max Hastings, Simon Jenkins and Geoffrey Wheatcroft all feature regularly and I read them whenever they appear, even if their blatherings tend to raise my blood pressure to unhealthy heights!!

    I await the Owen Jones and Seumas Milne guest columns in the Daily Mail, Sun, Telegraph etc etc!! lol

  15. @Mike N

    The Bow Group bites back…

    ‘Both in policy and philosophy UKIP is a conservative party, and genuine conservatives should have nothing to fear in joining forces with them. For Bright Blue, Shorthouse and many of their ilk however, it is simply the case that they are, at heart, Liberal Democrats who have found their way into the wrong party.’


    Where that leaves Richard Ottoway and Alok Sharma is hard to say, beacause they are listed as parliamentary supporters of Bright Blue and Bow Group alumni.

    In their latest offering Crossbow (yes, that is the name the Bow Group magazine) compares the current malaise to “the mediocrity of Heath’s leadership.”

  16. ‘Both in policy and philosophy UKIP is a conservative party, and genuine conservatives should have nothing to fear in joining forces with them.’

    But you cant vote for them as a split Conservative vote leaves tons of room for the Labour party.

    Perhaps the Tories should rerun a Preferential voting referendum? OR support the return of Scottish independence….

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