YouGov’s weekly Sunday Times poll is now up here. Topline voting intention are CON 34%, LAB 34%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 14%, GRN 5%.

Most of the survey was made up of questions about the budget and government spending. If George Osborne has money to spend in the budget 44% would prefer it goes on public services, 25% on tax cuts, 20% on the deficit. In general people would like to see any spending focused up helping low paid people in work (59%), followed by people looking for work (31%), small businesses (25%) and homebuyers (25%). People saving for their retirement, incidentally, comes bottom.

On specific measures most of those YouGov tested got the thumbs up – the most widespread approval was for increasing the personal tax allowance again (83%), limiting child benefit to three children (73%) and raising the NI threshold (71%). Letting people buy back annuities they bought when they were compulsory gets low support, but mainly because of a very high don’t know (I expect people simply don’t understand the change). The only measure that was actually opposed by more people than supported it was cutting taxes on alcohol (33% would support, 50% would oppose).

Moving onto government spending in general the areas people would most like to see protected from government cuts are the NHS (79%), education (50%) and policing (35%). The areas people most wanted to see cut were overseas aid (66%), welfare benefits (36%) and environment and climate change (29%). As I discussed in the weekly round up, defence and welfare were unusual in being issues that had both significant numbers of people wanting to prioritise them for cuts and significant numbers of people wanting to protect them from cuts.

Asked specifically about whether the government should commit to 2% of GDP spending on defence, 52% think they should, 27% that they should not. Asked the equivalent question about overseas aid only 24% think the government should commit to the 0.7% target, 59% think they should not. On Trident, 31% think it should be replaced with an equally robust system, 29% replaced with a cheaper system, 24% scrapped completely.

Outside of Scotland itself, the idea of the SNP being in a position of influence at Westminster is seen negatively – 63% think it would be a bad thing if they held the balance of power in Westminster, 64% think it would be bad thing if they were involved in a coalition. Overall 53% of people think that Labour should rule out doing a deal with the SNP, but this is largely made up of Labour’s opponents, their own supporters are far more split over the idea. If there was a choice between a minority Labour government or an SNP/Lab coalition with a majority, Labour voters would be evenly divided but if the alternative was another Tory government Labour voters would back a deal with the SNP by 6 to 1.

527 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 34, LAB 34, LD 7, UKIP 14, GRN 5”

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  1. On May 5th 2010 Kellner predicted Labour would get 230-240 seats, and the Lib Dems 75-95.

    No disrespect to Anthony’s boss, but he’s far from infallible. And that was two days before the election, not two months before.

    To be fair to him, his Tory prediction was spot on, and maybe it will be again.

    But I wouldn’t put my money on it.

  2. I like Peter Kellner and I always have. I liked listening to him.

    But his latest prediction… ?! It is the prediction of someone who wants LAB to do well and is over-rating CON’s performance.

    Peter, if you are there, it won’t happen. LAB will do better than that. CON will do worse.

  3. Days of the week and VI

    (The claim was first half second half without examination of a potential Monday effect, although if it’s Tuesday, then It’s Belgium if I correctly remember the title of the film).

    A priori assumption: no such an effect. Data (according to Unicorn) after cleansing – small effect. thus I would expect a p value of 0.001 even to consider the result. P=0.033 is just noise.

  4. I’m not an expert, but The yougov ‘do/don’t do a deal with the SNP ‘ numbers look pretty dramatic and clear cut! The conservatives should go hard with ‘vote labour/UKIP get SNP’. If that were to sink in, they win.

    As for labour, they should immediately rule out a deal with the SNP. The SNP would not dare bring down or prevent a minority labour government so there’s no reason to even talk to them. If labour don’t do this and voters smell ‘no overall majority’ with just days to go, labour could lose big in england on a late ‘anti-SNP’ sentiment.

    Just my humble opinion.

  5. Basically an 0.033 p value in such a design would move the 90% confidence of “no effect” to 88% (I might have miscalculated it, but it’s close).

  6. @ David in oxford

    I never bet, but I am very tempted to put the Cons on 300 plus one or two now.

    Go and bet £50 on it.

    If you win, you’ll be happy.

    If you lose, you might learn something from the experience.

  7. The debates are on !!

    Well Ed B versus George might be (plus or minus Danny boy )

  8. @ David colby

    As for labour, they should immediately rule out a deal with the SNP.



    They will have been elected – fairly and squarely – by the same system that every other MP has been elected by.

    They will have been elected to represent their constituents. In exactly the same way that you want your MP to represent you.

    Why must they be “ruled out” of government?

    It is because they are Scottish? Or because they want (when they can get it) Indepdence? Those certainly aren’t reasons to exlude democratically elected MP’s from government.

    What other reason ought they to be “ruled out” of office?

    Sounds like Conservative politicking to me. Nothing more and nothing less.

  9. @ Anthony

    I’m looking at the detail of most recent YG Scottish poll & I can’t figure out how the Lab weighted 2010 vote number of 335 is arrived at.

    Is there an explanation somewhere?

  10. Oh spare my bleeding heart david in france.
    I was commenting on how the two main parties should react to the data in the yougov poll. labour should rule out a deal because if they don’t they risk losing votes in england because the yougov poll indicates that this might be the case. It’s politics. The SNP are going to support labour regardless.

  11. I think today’s Times YouGov has a push poll question. The SNP at no point has suggested that a second independence referendum would be any part of post GE negotiations, so why the question?

  12. Couper

    I suspect that many of the assumptions about “what the SNP will ask for” are based on fevered imaginings, rather than bothering to look at precisely what the SNP have said they would be seeking to have implemented.

    Expressing those imaginings is, however, simple politicking designed to scare the English horses.

  13. Just about every piece in today’s Sunday Times on the election could have been written by Conservative Central Office. To see PK’s article in all this was a surprise. He was essentially saying that the Tories could get over the om line if for example they had a good budget. However he did not explain convincingly why he thought they would be close to that line in the first place. I don’t question Peter’s integrity in the slightest-I’d just like to see some evidence.

  14. There is a very interesting letter in the Sunday Herald today: close friend of Margaret Curran and Labour Yes voter Bob Holness speculates that if Curran does not hold her WM seat she will become an MSP and leader of Scottish Labour. He then suggests he might persuade her to support independence.

    I find it hard to believe Curran did not approve the letter.

  15. So Couper the referendum blood letting continues! Wasn’t the referendum supposed to decide the issue?

  16. @ David colby

    Oh spare my bleeding heart david in france….

    Quite correct.

    I ought to have listened to the old adage “education is an admirable thing but nothing worth knowing can be taught”.

    It often applies on the internet.

  17. Why would a unionist party rule out an arrangement with our good friends in the north ?Alls fair in love and war.

  18. @couper2802

    Eric Joyce recently suggested in his blog that Labour could move to supporting independence.

  19. The Margaret Curran story is nonsense, gossip and supposition pretending to be news.

    One of LiS problems in recent years is that a by product of being largely supported by the press and very close to most of the senior journalists any bickering within LiS makes the news.

    It’s this kind of tittle tattle in the press that must exasperate the more professional in LiS!


  20. Talking about “models” for predicting the outcome.

    I have a ridiculously simple one for using the basic GB swingometer on this site.

    I factor in that Labour has lost 2% GB-wide because of their currently expected debacle in Scotland.

    I then punch in the numbers from the latest poll adding 2% to Labour’s score.

    I get the predicted result of the GB swingometer.

    I then deduct 35 seats from the Labour total and award them to the SNP.

    Hey presto – that is where we are at for that snapshot poll.

    It works for me…….

  21. ” I don’t question Peter’s integrity in the slightest-I’d just like to see some evidence.”

    I don’t question his integrity either but he has written quite a few pieces in recent years informed by a worldview (some might say prejudice) that, post-Blair, Labour have not positioned themselves in such a way as to secure a plurality of either votes or seats at a GE. He deserves credit for sticking to his position in the continued absence of any polling evidence that a 36-31 type result is likely to transpire, but at this late stage it can only be informed by instinct, not evidence. Perhaps he will be right and perhaps not but I don’t see his position as having any more credibility than anyone else’s off-the-cuff speculation.

  22. @ Peter Cairns

    “The Margaret Curran story is nonsense, gossip and supposition pretending to be news.”

    Could be.

    But because of the moral high ground in your post …

    I suppose the story about the SNP candidate in Dunfermline and West Fife falls in the same category? Why hasn’t he been dselected?

  23. Eric Joyce recently suggested in his blog that Labour could move to supporting independence.

    They might get more support if they moved to “not drunkenly punching colleagues”.

    If anyone wants to know why Scottish Labour are in trouble, they need look no further than Eric Joyce. Carelessness, incompetence, indiscipline and moronic infighting, all in one fortunately-expelled-from-the-party package. The Jeremy Clarkson of the Labour Party, if you will. (Although without the base of supporters.)

    That is brilliant!
    If it flies, will UKPR even survive?

  25. Spearmint

    You forgot “putting false expenses on a HoC credit card and having your pay docked”.

  26. @ OldNat

    “You forgot “putting false expenses on a HoC credit card and having your pay docked”.”

    Is it worse than excusing wife beating?

  27. @Spearmint

    Eric clearly couldn’t wait for his prediction to come to pass. He’s already an Independent.

  28. Laszlo,

    No it isn’t the same because one is gossip and the other is a direct quote from the individual involved. Secondly marital abuse and violence is a lot more serious than politicians taking the huff.

    Having said that for the benefit of those who don’t get Scottish papers this is what he said 3 years ago before Walker was convicted.

    “I know that Bill has been a supporter of Women’s Aid in Fife, and the allegations are inconsistent with the discussions I’ve had with Bill on these issues over the years.”

    “I would ask those trying to make hay with the allegations to look back over their lives and consider whether they have ever done anything that’s blameworthy.”

    “some of these events took place 20 to 30 years ago, and the moral code was very different; the way divorces were conducted was also very different. In no way am I condoning any violence against men or women, but it was a different time”.”

    While I don’t agree with his comments the first part is basically saying it isn’t the face he’s shown me, but as most of us will acknowledge abusers like Walker can often be very good at hiding what they are.

    I don’t like the bit that is sort of “Cast the First Stone” because abuse isn’t a mistake or error of judgement it’s a conscious decision, and the last part about a different time is just nonsense….what next “Well back in those days the holocaust was just the way things were”

    Should he resign, he should certainly think about it, should it have come up during selection, perhaps but would you spot as a panelist or think as a candidate a poor judgement in an interview three years ago would be an issue?

    Difficult for a panel to spot and a lot of candidates and politicians think that things others wince at are not such a big deal largely because of there ambition and nature.

    Will it cost him votes, particularly amongst women, quite probably. Will it cost the SNP a seat they might have won, time will tell.


  29. Party Politics aside – I can see no problem with any party in the Union Parliament doing a deal with others to make a government – that is what after all PR assumes will usually be necessary. If the parties to the coalition are content then who is to gainsay it?

    There is also a long pedigree for Nationalists supporting the English mainland parties – from the time of Parnell – practically all Liberal govts needed Nationalist votes on some basis – and from 1906 the Conservative and Unionist Party as it had become took support from the Ulster Unionists in their various guises.

    I do not recall anyone on the Conservative side complaining that it was SNP and Unionists in Ireland who brought down the Callaghan government. Finally, there did not seem to be any moral question when Mr Cameron was making his Devi Max offer to an SNP govt in Scotland nor did he attempt to prevent the Referendum – which legally and principally he might have chosen to do – had there ever been any principle involved.

    The noise off-stage is otherwise party politics – if Labour is in a mess in Scotland so are the Conservatives – and that problem they have not yet resolved despite the fact they claim to want to keep Scotland in the UK and If Labour has failed in that respect then never forget they too have failed to resolve the Nationalist problem from the Declaration of Perth by Ted Heath to date. If the union is such a valuable principle it was never the responsibility of a single party – Labour – to ensure Scotland remained inside. That is a job for all the UK parties.

    As pertinent a question for the Conservatives is why if they are a national party do they have such little representation in its constituent nations?

  30. I suspect Margaret Curran’s friend is Bob Holman, well kent anti poverty campaigner, not Bob Holness, late host of Blockbusters and saxophonist extraordinaire.

  31. @ David Colby
    “That is brilliant!
    If it flies, will UKPR even survive?”

    Well David, let’s see if it works using AW’s polling averages adjusted with my “quirks” in May!!!

    and yes – UKPR will survive whatever any of us come up with for as long as AW wants to be our host – it is simply too much fun to stop it!

  32. @John Murphy


  33. @Steve

    Little known fact. The late Bob Holness was one of the first James Bond’s. He played the part on radio in South Africa.

  34. David in France

    My infallible guide to political betting

    Go and bet the £50 on the side you don’t want to win

    If they win, you have the money to drown your sorrows

    If they lose, you win as would you then care about the money?.

  35. Good evening all from Benington Hertfordshire.

    “.In general people would like to see any spending focused up helping low paid people in work (59%), followed by people looking for work (31%)

    “The areas people most wanted to see cut were overseas aid (66%), welfare benefits (36%)”

    On one hand we are generous and on the other we are scrooges and am talking Charles Dickens 1843 Ebenezer Scrooge stuff here.

    I don’t think the public really understand what they are being asked and tend to contradict themselves when giving answers.

  36. @ Laszlo

    I knew you’d understand the approach which I was considering for an election model. Your comments are all very helpful & I will make use of them.
    Thank you.

  37. @Steve

    Thanks of course don’t know if it was tablet auto-correct or my dyslexia but yes Holman.

  38. @AC
    ” I don’t think the public really understand what they are being asked and tend to contradict themselves when giving answers.”

    Nah. They just want to have their cake and eat it.

  39. La Sturgeon to speak in London tomorrow on why she will be constructive,why the deficit should be gently reduced and why the snp are jolly good.

  40. @ John Murphy,

    If the parties to the coalition are content then who is to gainsay it?

    The Opposition, presumably. But they can, in the words of the internet, “cry moar”.

    I strongly agree with the rest of your comment. It is incoherent to ask Scotland to remain in the union and then complain about its representatives voting in the union’s legislature, and it’s frankly embarrassing that the Tories and the Liberal Democrats have made themselves so staggeringly unpopular there that keeping Scotland in is somehow Labour’s job. If merely sharing a platform with the Conservatives is so toxic that it results in a landslide defeat, on some level it’s not really Scottish Labour that have the problem. (Although they do have a great many other problems, and I think that’s an overly simplistic explanation for their present difficulties.)

    It’s kind of amazing that Cameron a) doesn’t seem to care and b) has no apparent ambition to reach out to the voters he’d need to win a majority. Say what you like about Labour, they’re at least concerned that most of Southern England hates them and indulge in period bouts of navel-gazing about it.

  41. @Andy S

    In expressing scepticism about the various VI figures reported for LD, Ukip and Green and also about the related seat projections, you seem to be working with a model of the following form:

    For LDs, start with 2010 vote share. Then reduce by proportional drop indicated by regional crossbreaks. (Apply exactly the same proportional drop over each and every one of the seats.). Finally, introduce an incumbency adjustment.

    This seems a reasonable enough model. But like Electionforecast and @LouisWalsh’s model, you would want to test it against whatever evidence is available to date.

    How do these algorithms fare when applied to seats in which Lord Ashcroft has done some of his polling? If the alignment is good, then perhaps you have a plausible replacement for the models that currently project that the parties will do so much better (or worse) thsn you expect.

    Instead of just saying that the standard models look misguided, why not show that you can do a better job when it comes to projecting VIs in seats where we have access to polling data about the individual constituencies?

  42. * perodic bouts of navel-gazing

  43. periodic!

  44. Wintour in the Grauniad –

    Labour is close to ruling out forming a coalition with the Scottish National party that involves SNP ministers. But Labour argues it is impossible to rule out any looser relationship without questioning the legitimacy of Scottish MPs at Westminster, something the pro-union party is not prepared to do.

    Labour believes the demands being made by David Cameron for it to rule out even “a confidence and supply relationship” with the SNP, or something even looser, are ridiculous. They argue it would virtually imply all Scottish MPs should be disenfranchised at Westminster – without a vote on the Queen’s speech or the budget, the two key elements of a confidence-and-supply arrangement.

    “David Cameron for his own electoral purposes is trying to suggest Scottish MPs should have no vote at Westminster and that is an extraordinary position for a Unionist politician to adopt,” said one Labour source.

    That’s an interesting one. On the Clapham St Omnibus do they know or care enough about the difference between “SNP” and “Scots” to appreciate the Lab argument?

    Or will it reinforce a latent feeling that they don’t care whether what label is on a Scots MP – they shouldn’t be able to influence England?

  45. RAF

    “Nah. They just want to have their cake and eat it.”

    You’re not wrong in that respect!!!
    “La Sturgeon to speak in London tomorrow on why she will be constructive,why the deficit should be gently reduced and why the snp are jolly good”

    That’s great news, I was going to drive my little cousins into London tomorrow and take a trip on the London Eye but I’m thinking N Sturgeon’s speech will be a more dramatic event.

    Thanks for the heads up.

  46. @ OLDNAT

    I think the hostility to Scots MPs having an influence over English matters is very, very overplayed in importance. My experience of people is that most of those who have a grudge about Scots MPs having a vote on English matters tend to be those with instincts on the Right of politics anyway, and thus will probably vote Conservative or UKIP anyway. If heavily prompted some Labour voters might be goaded into thinking Scotland has it too good in terms of spending per head, but the overwhelming majority of instinctive Labour voters really don’t care that much.

    The bottom line is that Lab/Con partisanship amongst English voters has much more resonance than Scots MPs having votes at Westminster. If Scotland were about to elect 50 Conservatives, Labour folk would have the same hostility that Conservatives currently have. I don’t see the Conservatives getting that much mileage out of the SNP/Labour deal thing in actual votes in the box on the day.

  47. Tony Dean

    That’s reassuring. I hope you are correct.

    The picture that we get here is what the London based media choose to portray.

  48. The Kellner prediction that stands out like a sore thumb is the SNP 35 seats.

    Just seems to me that the Scots have made up their minds and there is no obvious reason why they would change their minds in the next 8 weeks. All the polling suggests only a few non SNP MPs can hold on through a personal vote. I’d now be quite surprised if they didn’t end up with close to 50 MPs and I’m a bit bewildered at the 35 seat prediction to be honest.

  49. Amongst many interesting posts – and others – on here I must say Spearmint’s are the ones I most enjoy. Lucid, logical and….. err [need an l word ………………………..]

    lovely, literate, laid-back, light-but-heavy.

    A great mix of humour and seriousness.

    And she’s just a gurl !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  50. Who to trust with polling results in the lead up to the 2015 UK GE is a huge issue for me, so I went back and looked at the last 3 polls for YouGov and the last Survation poll prior to the 2014 EU election.

    One of the issues I have heard often mentioned on this site is that pollsters are now trying to determine how to compensate for overestimating UKIP support and Ofcom in their January decision said they were aware that there was a very real concern that LD support was being underestimated by the pollsters.

    I will start by comparing YouGov in RoS with actual 2014 EU results, May 18th – 21st:

    UKIP 30.3% – actual 32.3%
    Con 25% – actual 30.4%
    Labour 20% – actual 14.3%
    LD 11% – actual 9.1%
    Green 10% – actual 9.9%
    Other 3.7% – actual 4%

    So YouGov seriously underestimated Conservative and overestimated Labour, and slightly underestimated UKIP and overestimated LD.

    Turning now to Survation who actually broke the poll down by EU UK region, May 19th – 20th:


    Labour 27.6% – 36.7%
    Conservative 22.7% – 22.5%
    UKIP 18.3% – 16.9%
    LD 18.7% – 6.7%
    Green 8.2% – 8.9%
    Other 4.5% – 8.3%

    Survation absolutely missed the mark on LD, underestimated Labour by a similar large amount, but were very accurate with Conservative and Green and pretty accurate with UKIP.

    Survation in the Southeast:

    UKIP 36.2% – 32.1%
    Conservative 32.2% – 30.9%
    Labour 20.5% – 14.7%
    LD 7.5% – 8%
    Green 3.3% – 9.1%
    Other .3% – 5.1%

    Survation wildly underestimated Green support, but were spot on with LD and close with Conservative and UKIP, but considerably overestimated Labour

    Survation in the Southwest:

    UKIP 37.9% – 32.3%
    Conservative 20.9% – 28.9%
    Labour 23.4% – 13.7%
    LD 9.8% – 10.7%
    Green 5.8% – 11.1%
    Other 2.2% – 3.4%

    This is the one region where UKIP was considerably overestimated and Conservative equally seriously underestimated and Labour, as in the Southeast, was found to be below it’s 2010 GE result and not picking up support post 2010.

    LD was very close, but again Green was totally underestimated. In terms of Other, this was the region where Survation best estimated Other.

    And what I see is LD overestimated by both pollsters in London and Green seriously underestimated in the Southeast and Southwest by Survation.

    I was not able to crosscheck results for Comres, Opinium and TNS. In conclusion, as political scientist, it really concerns me that pollsters could be so off in regions where certain political parties have been electing MEPs for a decade and a half.

    Comres’s poll media article last night stating: “Green Surge halted”. Really? Is that fact or wishful thinking? Sadly I remember journalism when fact mattered.

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