We have our usual three Monday polls today:

The weekly Lord Ashcroft poll has topline figures of CON 27%(-6), CON 33%(nc), LDEM 9%(nc), UKIP 17%(+3), GRN 6%(nc). The drop in Conservative support looks striking, but is probably largely a reversion to the mean after the unusual neck-and-neck Ashcroft poll last week. Tabs are here.

The twice-weekly Populus poll meanwhile has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 37%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 12%. Tabs are here.

Finally the daily YouGov poll for the Sun tonight has toplines of CON 33%, LAB 35%, LD 7%, UKIP 14%, GRN 5%.

704 Responses to “Latest YouGov, Populus and Ashcroft polls”

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  1. Does Labour in Scotland have to be a Unionist party?

    With 37% of its supporters voting Yes, and probably a majority of young Labour voters being in favour of independence, is it not time for a re-think?

  2. @ Killary45,

    Given Scotland’s demographic profile, I don’t think that would be a wise move. They’re going to need help with pension funding once the oil runs out; I’m sure Scottish Labour is acutely conscious of those liabilities.

    Anyway, going by YouGov’s stats the youth vote is narrowly unionist, so it wouldn’t even help them with the younger generation.

  3. “With 37% of its supporters voting Yes, and probably a majority of young Labour voters being in favour of independence, is it not time for a re-think?”

    With 63% against independence? Also it doesn’t seem that the young were that much keener than anyone else:


  4. @Spearmint

    How does the rest of the UK manage for pension provision? Why can’t Scotland manage its pension provision without oil?

    I always find it amazing that somehow the rUK can have pensions without oil, but Scotland cannot. The oil will run out regardless of who taxes it, and it won’t be for decades anyway. In the early 1980s when I was at school we were taught that the oil would run out in the late 90s or the following decade.

    It’s a funny old world where Scotland or the UK has been systematically dooming and glooming what would have been a wonderful asset. One must assume that it was sold to foreign companies long ago.

  5. @ Colin and Shevii

    The Commonwealth Fund run fairly regular comparisons of healthcare systems around the world, and for all its warts the NHS (or to be precise, the UK healthcare system) comes out extremely well on nearly all measures, though heart attack and cancer survival were still poor despite dramatic improvements during the 2000s.

    Latest version is here:
    h ttp://www.commonwealthfund.org/~/media/files/publications/fund-report/2013/nov/1717_thomson_intl_profiles_hlt_care_sys_2013_v2.pdf

    Appended to one of the tables is an extract from a poll they conducted in 2010, where only 3% of UK respondents thought the system needed radical change. The nearest other country was Netherlands at 7% with most clustered in the low teens (and the US way out on its own at 27%)

    It seems we have a good system and we should be working on incremental improvement rather than major restructuring. I suspect most who post here could afford a degree of private healthcare but this is not true for the population at large.

    As to private provision of service,not many would argue that the NHS should make its own drugs or MRI scanners and I’m sure there are arguments in favour of back office admin and other non-core activities being undertaken by specialist companies. Provision of actual health services by the private sector has not been a beacon of excellence, to put it mildly and whilst I think it would be unwise to rule out pragmatic use, it would be more unwise to expand it as a matter of ideology.

    As to polling, there seems little doubt where the votes are.

  6. @ Statgeek,

    Um, because Scotland is demographically skewed older than the UK as a whole? It’s not some kind of nationalist slight against Scotland’s economic capacity.

  7. @ Statgeek,

    I should add- it’s not the Scotland can’t manage- obviously much poorer countries can and do. It’s just that you’d either have to reduce pension payments or raise taxes to do it because a smaller percentage of the population would be working to support the pensioners. It’s a needless cost if Scotland remains part of the UK and welfare isn’t devolved, and with their long tradition of risk pooling that’s the sort of thing I’d expect SLab to consider seriously before jumping on the independence bandwagon.

  8. Spearmint

    and why is Scotland demographically skewed?

  9. @ Candy,

    I can’t get a handle on Miliband. What fires his gut?

    The Red Sox?

    But more seriously, nothing, I think. There’s a story about him taking some internship in New York. His boss asked him his standard question-to-interns: “Is your hate pure?” Bevan or Blair or Brown or Balls or Burnham would have given this question the obvious affirmative answer in an instant (okay, in Blair’s case it would have been his hatred of the Labour Party he was referring to, but at least he knew his enemy). Miliband just gaped blankly for a bit and then stammered that he didn’t hate anyone.

    He’s a desiccated calculating-machine, which as we know is what we’re looking for in a Labour leader. He’s calculated that the current economic settlement is bad for society and so he is going to work, diligently and thoughtfully, to change it. But it’s an intellectual conviction not a visceral one.

  10. @spearmint

    Given the life expectancy rate differences, it’s not a problem. :))

  11. @ Richard,

    Dunno. The immigration rate is lower, which is part of it- maybe migrants are avoiding the midges?

  12. @ Statty,

    Yeah, I was wondering about that- given Glasgow you’d think Scotland would skew young, if anything. But it seems to be generally accepted that the pension liability will increase over time.

    Time to start frying more things, I guess!

  13. Candy,

    I suspect Miliband’s problems are largely a result of his image advisors, just like Gordon Brown. There’s a narrow mold which is hard to define and easy to identify (broadly a confident average-looking male between 40 and 55) and politicians fall roughly into three categories: (1) those who fit the mold; (2) those who try to fit the mold and fail; (3) those politicians who don’t care about fitting the mold.

    Brown would have done much better if he’d been (3) as PM; it worked for him as Chancellor. Blair, Cameron and Clegg fit category (1), of course. Miliband still has time to go for (3), and that means publicly developing a distinctive persona. For Miliband, part of that should be a snooty attitude towards tabloid filth, and if that was on his press agent’s notepad before any event/photo, he wouldn’t have messed up by posing with The Sun.

  14. @spearmint

    Of course you are assuming that all other factors remain the same and independence has no economic benefit compared to remaining in the UK.

    By the way, Ed Miliband was the Minister in charge of the Cabinet Office when I worked there. He may be many things but a dessicated calculating machine he isn’t.

  15. So you’re supposed to instantly say “yes” to “is your hate pure”…?

    Certainly sounds like a good way to make sure your staff is filled with psychopaths.

  16. Soearmint

    “Bevan or Blair or Brown or Balls or Burnham would have given this question the obvious affirmative answer”

    You’re just trying to win the Rosie and Daisie multiple alliteration prize.
    What a daft question – sounds like something from a B-movie thriller

  17. @ Hireton,

    Are you suggesting it’s the dessication that’s absent, or the capacity to calculate? :p

    If he’s passionate, he’s not very good at communicating it. Which is possibly fine- I’m quite happy with his thoughtful, decent policy wonk persona, and I think potentially the public could be as well, given a chance to see it at work in Number 10.

    But he can’t pull off the Andy Burnham second-coming-of-Nye-Bevan thing. Compassion comes through in Miliband’s speeches, but you wouldn’t want to storm a barn with him. You’d want him to draw up the plans and then go in with Balls and Burnham and Cooper while he stayed home.

    @ Wes,

    It was a newspaper, so that may have been what they were looking for! (Sorry, Mr. Nameless.)

  18. I think I’d answer “Dislike is just an alloy of hate and tolerance”.

  19. I think I would have answered “Only my hatred of ridiculous questions”.


    @”Provision of actual health services by the private sector has not been a beacon of excellence,”

    Have you had a look at the Hinchingbrooke Hospital story?

  21. @ Neil A,

    I think that might be too thoughtful an answer for the New York newspaper boss.

    (Or this year’s Labour Conference, to be honest.)

  22. My wife had an operation on her hand in a privately operated NHS clinic. It was fine. Other than a rather better coffee shop in the foyer, basically no different to a state-run clinic (if it was a brand-new one and still shiny and clean).

  23. Anthony – you’ve got CON 27, CON 33 under Ashcroft.

  24. @statgeek
    ” I always find it amazing that somehow the rUK can have pensions without oil, but Scotland cannot. The oil will run out regardless of who taxes it, and it won’t be for decades anyway”

    It is because oil represents a much higher proportion of Scottish GDP than it does UK GDP.

    Oil running out is therefore a much bigger hit to Scotland.

    I’m sure all those youngsters will be delighted to hear you are not concerned about oil running out just as they reach retirement after 40 years of hard graft.

  25. Colin

    I’d rather see examples like that than public hospitals, funded by the private sector.

    The former seems to be looking at ways get get the most from a hospital, the latter looking at ways to get the most cash from a hospital.

  26. Wes

    “So you’re supposed to instantly say “yes” to “is your hate pure”…?

    Certainly sounds like a good way to make sure your staff is filled with psychopaths”

    I think psychopaths would answer “no”

    so in other words definite proof that ed is a psychopath

  27. Heaven forefend I should defend Ed from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune – but If someone asked me if my hate was pure I’d imagine I had somehow got into an interview with ISIS recruitment team.

    I also think I’d stammer and I think I’d also say I don’t hate anyone. It does not fit me or otherwise to be PM but if asking rhetorical questions of this character is meant to divine anything it surely is a revelation of the descent into hell by our political elite. There’s no need to follow where they lead. I think I prefer to wait in patient expectation of the world to come!

  28. @ Richard,

    When you think about it, it’s quite surprising [email protected] H0dges hasn’t done a column on it.

  29. The principle reason for Scotland’s higher pension costs isn’t oil running out but lower population growth.

    The ONS figures Darling used to warn Scotland about pensions shows that Scotland will age faster as between now and 2040 Scotland’s population is set to grow by only 4.5%.

    That will be a slightly higher birth rate, longer lifespans and slightly more People coming here than leaving.

    The SNP was to grow the population by about 8% about 450k or some 200k more than the projection. An extra 10k growth a year.

    This was to be through better child friendly policies, better health care ( although that partly means more oldies) creating employment so that more people contribute and fewer leave and finally slightly higher immigration with as now England, Wales and both Ireland’s the largest group.

    People will find issue with much of that and one paper warned about a “City the Size of Edinburgh” being needed.

    By contrast compared to Scotland’s projected 4.5% growth England is predicted to grow by just under 25%, roughly 13-14m!

    Although higher births and fewer deaths will also be part of this there doesn’t seem to be any UK plans to discourage people from leaving or to get them to go elsewhere so it looks like 10m will be coming from overseas mostly the poorer Southern EU.

    Funny enough Darling didn’t talk about that or how much of Scootish tax payers Money would be needed to provide homes for 10m more in Southern England.

    Fact is the differences between Scottish and English pensions is the tip of the Ceberg because on theses projections Pension costs are set to triple and independent or not neither Scotland or the UK have a plan to deal with that.

    Scotland would face the crunch a decade sooner if Independent, but at some point those 13m extra mouths South of the border would start to get old after 2050.

    Still when the population of 75m starts to age you could always invite another 20m to live in Blighty!


  30. A good summary of the many other reasons Peter, thank you.

    I suspect much of the plan to deal with this involves us all working longer :-(

    Or maybe we will start to do a bit more of “live fast die young”. Ther is much to be said for quality over duration!

  31. COLIN

    I hadn’t seen the care quality assessment – which seems to be excellent – just the PAC report from last year which wasn’t very positive, plus that they were bribing GPs, firing their CEO etc.
    Still early days but that one is at least promising, cf some others EG anything marked Serco or ATOS

    “Provision of actual health services by the private sector has not been a beacon of excellence,”

    My personal experience of the private ector, three different sugical procedures, radiotherapy, advanced diagnosis tools etc etc as been uniformly excellent.

    Colin has already pointed out another excellent example.

  33. @STATTO

    When I was a smoker I used to argue we should be subsidised rather than taxed as we’d die young relieving both the NHS (after all, a year’s lung cancer is cheaper than 10 years Alzheimers) and the DWP of our burden.

    Now I’ve stopped smoking I say ‘tax the filthy b*ggers to the hilt’

  34. Last night I wrote that EM’s speech would be forgotten by 2200 – it was 2153 at the time! Well, I got that wrong! I have railed against ‘will say’ nonsense on here before and here’s the proof.

    It would be much easier if Ed just roneoed off his speech as a handout to everyone, not just the press, and then they could all go back to the bar, or visit the Manchester shops or something.

    What a farce!

  35. Just an observation but my friends in rural France can get an appointment with their medecin traitant (GP) on the same day almost without exception but in rural Northumberland you are usually talking two weeks. France is in many ways more socialist than the UK BUT they have no problem with a privately provided but largely publicly funded health service. As a nation we really have to sort this out or our health provision is going to deteriorate sharply. The demonisation of the private sector is profoundly damaging. Labour is playing politics with people’s lives.

  36. HOWARD.
    Good Evening to you.
    A long time ago I realised that I could not do the ‘ad-lib’ style of public speaking.

    It is humbler to just accept this, and so I have a written script, from which I can do some (practised) ad lib diversions.

    I wish someone could get hold of Ed M and help him.

    As to pure hate, I hope Ed is not like a Bevan. ‘Nye’, in the end was a disaster, I think, very sadly. Comments about ‘lower than vermin’ were just stupid, or even evil, even though he was provoked by Mr Churchill.

  37. RMJ1

    Well said, the French approach is well worth looking

  38. CL 1945

    With respect, you apparently mistook my meaning (nothing to do with EM or remembering speeches) I was just making a point about delivering speeches when there is no need. If attenders can read, then they could just make do with the handout. Similarly, TV viewers and radio listeners can fish up a pdf from the net (or have someone like Charlotte Green read the thing out).

    The only value in physical presence would be if attenders, having read the thing in the morning, held a dialogue with their leader in the time allotted.

    Now what makes me think that would have to be in private in this spin doctor age?

  39. “We’ll be better off than you, we’ve got loads of oil”

    But you’ll be buggered when the oil runs out surely?

    “Why will that make a diff to us if it doesn’t for the English?”

    Ho yes, I’ve missed the Indy squabble – I love logical debate.

  40. Ed ‘s problem is that he makes it all to much about him. The “I say ” this and “I say” that is profoundly offputing. For a leader of the humble he has little demonstrable humility. I think he needs to re-examine his aims and objectives but I don’t think he is about to any time soon. I know politicians are supposed to show self confidence but whoever is advising him is not doing him any favours. If he is to be Prime Minister then, for the sake of the nation, he must sort himself out.

  41. HOWARD.
    Hello again; I was just reflecting that the idea of doing the ad lib style is silly, if a speaker is not up to high risk speeches.

    Ed M should not be under estimated.

  42. It appears, per Survation, that the bungling 35% speech may be popular with more that 35% of the electorate. What happens then? http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2014/sep/24/ed-milibands-nhs-pledge-gets-good-reaction-from-public-polls-show

  43. Survation poll on reaction to the key pledges in EM’s speech.

  44. RMJ1

    I absolutely agree.

  45. CL 1945

  46. RMJ1

    The problem with individual anecdotes is that they are just that – individual. As it happens my Mother lives in rural Northumberland and is almost invariably able to get a doctor’s appointment on the day she telephones. Where an appointment is not available that day she gets a telephone consultation which has been followed by either a home visit – same day – or an appointment for the following day.
    This doesn’t say any more than your experience with the health service but it is completely different! Perhaps it depends on the seriousness of the problem?

  47. @RMJ and TOH

    Well our friends the Commonwealth Fund say that you have a 70% chance of a same/next day appointment in the UK vs 62% in France. The UK is better than France on 16 out of 20 of the factors measured and 4 times as many French than Brits want their system completely rebuilt.
    And the French system costs 20% more per head than the UK

  48. On the subject of anecdotes I think the ‘Is your hate pure?’ story, if it’s true, is one of the daftest things I’ve ever heard!

    Interviewer: Is your hate pure?
    Candidate A: Yes, my hate is pure.

    Interviewer: Is your hate pure?
    Candidate B: No, my hate is impure.

    Not only do I not know who I would appoint I don’t even know what it means.

  49. In Barney the doctors visit you regularly, even if yer not ill, just to check everything is definitely ticketyboo.

  50. @Guymonde

    “And the French system costs 20% more per head than the UK”

    Quite. We get the NHS on the cheap and expect it to do miracles, limiting its resources at a time when health care spending elsewhere in the developed world continues to grow. And while often it still performs miracles, it is clearly struggling to continue to do so. And that’s then taken as evidence of its failure, as if switching to a more inefficient and more expensive system is somehow the solution.

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