The full results of YouGov’s weekly Sunday Times poll are now up here. Topline figures are CON 34%, LAB 34%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 13%, GRN 6%. The rest of the poll dealt mainly with perceptions of Labour and the Conservatives on tax, spending and business, plus the row over Trident and “stabbing in the back”.

60% of people expect that taxes would rise if Labour won the election and formed a government, including 48% of their own supporters. Asked which taxes they expected to see increase under Labour the top rate of income tax came top (unsurprisingly, given Labour have promised to increase it!) followed by capital gains tax, the higher 40p rate of tax, petrol duty and national insurance.

Asked the same about the Conservatives, only 38% of people expect taxes to rise if they win (including 23% of their own supporters). Amongst those who do expect Tory tax rises, VAT is most expected to rise, followed by fuel duty. I suspect fuel duty being high up for both parties reflects a public belief that its one of those taxes that always ends up going up…but that alone doesn’t suggest that the Conservatives are getting much public credit for repeatedly freezing fuel duty in past budgets.

If there is a 22 percent gap in expectations of whether a Conservative or Labour government would increase taxes, there’s an even bigger gap on increasing spending. Only 11% of people think that a Tory government would increase spending on public services, 52% of people think that Labour would increase spending on public services, including a majority of Labour’s own voters. This could pose a problem for Ed Miliband if he is the next Prime Minister and does stick to his stated plans – if most Labour supporters genuinely do believe a Labour government is going to increase spending, and Labour are genuinely committed to tough spending limits to close the deficit, someone is going to be disappointed.

Turning to attitudes towards business neither leader is perceived as being in the right place. Only 29% of people think Miliband’s attitude to business is right, 33% of people think he is too hostile. 27% of people think Cameron’s attitude to business is about right, 50% that he is too close.

On those figures, while the political debate is often about whether Labour’s positioning towards business is right or not, it’s David Cameron who has the bigger problem. I suspect, however, that this is actually tied into the wider problem of perceptions of the Conservative party and the rich. YouGov asked about that too in the poll with questions on what would happen to the taxes paid by the very richest and wealthiest in society under a Labour or a Conservative government. 69% think that the wealthiest should pay more tax. If Labour win, 75% expect the richest to pay more tax, if the Conservatives win 34% expect them to pay less tax.

Turning to Trident and Michael Fallon, 38% of people think that Britain should replace Trident with a similarly powerful system. 28% think Trident should be replaced with a cheaper and less powerful system than Trident and 19% think Trident should not be replaced at all. Turning to people’s expectations, 44% think that a Labour government reliant upon the SNP for a majority would still replace Trident – getting support from MPs from other parties. 27% think that Labour probably wouldn’t replace Trident if they needed SNP support.

That suggests most people don’t really buy into Michael Fallon’s argument anyway – while most people want Trident replaced, on balance people think a minority Labour government would still manage to do so. The language about Ed Miliband stabbing his brother in the back gets a further thumbs down – 51% of people thought it wasn’t a fair description, and 51% thought it wasn’t fair to link it to Trident.

People reacting badly to negative campaigning only really matters it if is noticed though. Despite the timing of the poll just after Fallon’s comments, there really wasn’t much difference in perceptions of how positive or negative the two main parties’ campaigns were. 22% thought that Labour’s campaign was mostly positive, 34% mostly negative. 23% thought the Conservative campaign was mostly positive, 38% mostly negative. Supporters of both parties perceive their own campaign as being positive, their opponent as negative (and presumably filter out evidence to the contrary!)

554 Responses to “More from the YouGov/Sunday Times poll”

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  1. @James

    But embarrassing for the Guardian after their ‘Day the polls turned’ headline a few days ago

  2. Well.

    Either ICM or ever other pollster is going to look pretty stupid on May 8th.

  3. @Unicorn

    I’m sure most of those policies are designed to bring the Kippers home. Train fares – that would be all those commuters in those UKIP target seats; inheritance tax – that would be all those older UKIP voters, and the horrible SNP – I’m sure I remember a poll that showed that chimed most with UKIP voters, but I couldn’t find it.

    And the UKIP vote IS vulnerable (in marginal seats), just look at the last set of Ashcroft marginals – they were down on average 36% in those 10 seats.

    If they can get some more of that moving their way, that seems to be the only option I can see of significantly moving things in 3/4 weeks.

  4. @James
    wth !! the world has gone mad,I thought ICM was quite reliable ;-0

  5. Just had a phone call from “NQR Polling” who asked me all sorts of questions about the upcoming election. They knew my name and constituency, was just wondering if anyone had any experience of who they are/what they do/where I’d see the results of this research.

    Sorry that it’s off topic to the post above, just thought so people here may know!

  6. OMG< ICM

  7. Unicorn

    It does smack of a strategy to win back some of the votes from the flank of UKIP that might be turned. Keep banging the drum and maybe they’ll eventually hear it (maybe).

    Whether that’s a good strategy remains to be seen. One Vox Pop I saw stood out in my mind

    “I’m the last person you should ask about politics, I know nothing, absolutely nothing.”
    “How will you vote?”
    “I dunno, probably UKIP”

    If that is your target audience, hitting them over the head with the drum probably wouldn’t even provoke a reaction.

    It’s likely the only route to an OM though, a large chunk of UKIP see them as a busted flush and move back. I just don’t see it happening in the numbers required, what sort of numbers will we see move back? Somewhere between 0 and a fair bit.

    Will the UKIP bubble pop in the polling booth? There seems to be a target of unsettling them enough for some of them to think again. This sort of strategy is about emotion over reason so would likely have an effect late into the close campaign where a handful of seats could change the outcome of the election.

    There might also be an element of “we told you so” in the event of a second 2015 election when the evidence mounts up that UKIP had the opposite effect on the election they were hoping for.

    It might not be the only string to their bow but if you are going to use it, it needs to be a sustained message.

  8. What the hell?

  9. @Mibri

    It doesn’t matter how big the rabbit is because the electorate can see that it has been pulled out of George Osborne’s sleeve, and suspect that it’s not a real rabbit anyway. As for Labour with the economy and the LibDems with regard to everything, the Tories are going to need to do more than say some numbers to persuade voters they are trustworthy on the NHS.

  10. Hmm, just as I was conceding it was all looking good for Lab, ICM release that poll. Very interesting. This does seem like the most unpredictable election for decades.

  11. Startling figures from ICM, seemingly at odds with most over the last week. ICM spokesperson quoted as saying even he thought the raw data “could be a just touch too Tory”.

  12. @oldnat

    I’m sorry if my previous comment was a bit over the top – I would never put your good self into the collection of angry SNPers :)

    Having watched the STV and first BBC debates, my feeling was that, at least in terms of staying on the message, Ruth Davidson was by far the most proficient. She was consistently able to put the Conservative approach across and didn’t reduce everything to a mere repetition of bull**** soundbites which we’ve heard endlessly during the campaign.

    How about a new broadcasters’ code – every time in the next three weeks that the terms “fairness”, “equality”, “working families”, “finish the job”, “future generations” or “long-term economic plan” are used, a QI-like klaxon goes off with the offending phrase blazoned across the screen!!!


    Fair enough :)

  13. It is obviously an outlier.

  14. It seems that even Guardian has a problem with this poll (longish article on different kinds of polls).

    Polldrums (TM Amber) for the time being

  15. @postageincluded,
    I was being tongue in cheek,.If anyone can get away with rabbits though it is the tories as they are seen as far more competent on the economy than Labour.I think we all want to know though,how they propose to pay for this rabbit

  16. The Graun:

    Discussing the result, Martin Boon, of ICM Unlimited, said: “There is inevitably random variation between different polls, which generally falls within a ‘margin of error’ of plus or minus three points. The movement we’ve recorded since the March survey is within that normal bound, albeit only just.”

    Boon said the sample chosen looks “demographically sound”, but acknowledges there are signs in the raw data that this sample “could be a just touch too Tory”. In particular, there are more 2010 Conservative voters than ICM would ordinarily expect, and also more voters from the professional occupational grade. (my bold)

  17. Anyway, if I counted it well, we should have one more Conservative lead, and then a Labour one.

  18. @Ann in wales
    wishful thinking or based on something factual??

  19. So icm reckon a very big swing from ukip to tory and a big one from labour to green .


  20. A fair chunk of the Tory lead in that ICM poll is due to a crazy Scottish sub-sample – SNP 44%, Con 35%, Lab 12%. Other way round for Con and Lab would be more realistic.

  21. ICM have the Tories 23 points ahead of Labour in Scotland…

  22. What’s ICM’s weighting policy again?

  23. Weird ICM poll, but if it did happen that could give the Conservatives 305 seats (to 247 for Labour).

  24. Hang on, I remember reading a comment in *this* thread where someone predicted a 6 point Conservative lead later today (I assume it was in jest)

    Who was that? Or am I imagining things?

  25. @LouisWalshVotesGreen

    Why do you not wonder at the level of nastiness posted about SNP and their supporters on this site Maybe, you don’t notice?

  26. ICM: It could be all the Con HQ have prayed for – or it could be an odd rogue. UKIP look very low on recent form….and Greens quite high….

  27. 35% For Cons in Scotland…

    The last time that the Cons had three times as many votes than Labour in Scotland was the 1900 General Election.

    1955 when the Tories had more seats in Scotland than the Labour Party.

  28. Having defended the polllsters a few posts ago, I’m looking at the ICM with incredulity :) A few quick points that I can spot:

    (1) 33% of 1042 people gave no voting intention – therefore MOE is closer to 4% than 3%.

    (2) What collection of people did ICM find in the North of England??????

    (3) I asked a few threads back about the statistical error introduced by reweighting. I’ve not really found anything incredibly useful on how to estimate the error introduced by sample bias – however, a little nosy at Table 2 in the ICM poll, and in particular the column marked C2, will give a indication as to what can happen when there is a skewed sample which is then significantly upweighted……..

  29. @ChrisLane
    I hear Ruth has been getting a lot of good reviews,but that would be lazarous type.

  30. Why are ICM still polling with half the sample size of all the other pollsters? Surely this just increases the noise?

  31. I stated some time ago that I felt that Miliband was key to the outcome of this election, not because we’ve suddenly lurched into a presidential-type electoral contest, but because it seemed to me that his drag on his party’s polling was probably going to prove to be the difference between Labour winning or not. I have a feeling that Tory strategists agreed with this view too, hence the relentless targeting of Miliband’s perceived weaknesses and their hope and expectation that he would crash and burn in the campaign crucible.

    This Miliband personality issue is particularly important because Labour have maintained a lead over the Tories throughout this Parliament, not just in the VI polls for most of the time, but continually in terms of party popularity and the size of the potential pool of voters at their disposal. However, that’s not enough to win elections and what any party needs to do, but particularly a centre left party like Labour, is to give centrist voters permission to vote for them. Blair did this with knobs on, while Brown always struggled, and Miliband has experienced similar difficulties.

    But if, and it’s very big if, Miliband starts to peel away at the reasons centrist voters are wary about him and his party, then all those other things Labour have going for them come into play. That’s why the Thursday Challengers Debate affords him both risk and opportunity. Risk in the sense that he may compound the doubts about him but opportunity in that he builds on his early success in this campaign and gets more people to listen to him and reconsider their view of him.

    This morning’s manifesto launch suggests a politician gaining confidence and finding his voice. If gets to a stage in this campaign when he neutralises most of the antipathy towards himself, then I think he can turn this election on its head.

    This is still Miliband’s election too lose. Nothing I’ve seen in the polls (including today’s ICM) and over the first two weeks of this marathon campaign has changed my long held view on that.

  32. Perhaps ICM and ComRes should gotten a double act and tour the club circuit

  33. Grauniad is claiming this is indicative of a difference between online and phone polls. Phone polls have Tories higher and UKIP lower by about four points each, apparently. Other GB parties are about the same with both.

  34. I’ve been telephone canvassing and the amount of dud landline phone numbers and people not in – no answer so definitely not in – is staggering. I called all the numbers two Saturdays in a row and I only got a response rate of around 10%. Plus a lot of people now don’t have landlines. I do wonder whether telephone pollsters will get egg on their face this time around.

  35. Another weird crossbreak on that ICM poll

    North 47% Cons, 31% Lab

    And another
    Male 44% Cons, 30% Lab

    And it looks like they could do with applying that methodology change that Populus did today, final table has 305 men, 263 women, exaggerating that odd male crossbreak even more…

    I’ll write this one off as clearly too odd to be taken seriously.

  36. louiswalshvotesgreen

    See? A couple of nice comments about Ruthie on here, and the Tory vote soars in Scotland.

    Oh, the power. :-)

  37. Quick straw poll: how many people here only ever get land line calls from one of two groups of people these days:

    1) Parents
    2) Cold callers / canvassers

    Second quick straw poll: how many people here hang up immediately if it turns out to be the latter?

  38. Any poll showing a six point lead either way at the moment is just plain wrong!

  39. Martin Boon, of ICM Unlimited, said: “the sample chosen looks “demographically sound”, but acknowledges there are signs in the raw data that this sample “could be a just touch too Tory”.


  40. @Mitz

    We don’t even answer our phone any longer unless we recognize the number. I’ve heard most people do this due to the explosion of marketing calls.

  41. @Oldnat

    Should I use that power for good or for evil? Who out there deserves a boost? Is Danny Alexander beyond saving? ;)

  42. I am a mobile-only person, and I have been polled by Ipsos Mori.

    They appear to have a phone-based panel, as originally they contacted me at random. I agreed to have further polls as I am interested in polling.

    However, since receiving non-stop nuisance calls from O2 and British Gas, I now usually reject calls with no ID on my phone.

  43. OK, third question to people with caller ID on either their land line or mobile phone: do you ever answer unknown numbers? So far 0/2, or in fact 0/3 if I include myself.

  44. my 4 year old answers the landline on every occassion,she is the best gatekeeper in the world,if you don’t like paw patrol you are not speaking to mummy or daddy.
    So I’d like to see the pollsters get past her

  45. Working in the city with people around me desperate for some good news – the ICM poll doesn’t get a cheer – it’s too obviously wrong, nothing newsworthy has happened to cause it, a 36%-34% might have made them happy.

  46. New thread

  47. Crossbat11

    I tend to disagree, if I may say so. This is Miliband’s election to win – he has to convince the British people of his fitness for office. I have to conclude, following the launch today, he still has some way to go.
    I think we’ll see a confident PM tomorrow being quite upbeat about the future.
    As for the polls, you of all people should not look at them in isolation – but if you comment on them daily, then you’re going to be jumping around all over the place. Still neck and neck in my book.

  48. I was chased down by Populus in a phone poll a few years back which is the one and only time my opinion has been sought! They never asked me again – obviously something I said…

  49. Mibri

    Agreed it was a large one, especially in the face of Labour only stumping up 1/3rd the money needed to properly fund the NHS.

    It’s a bit pointless (in economic terms) to try and say precisely where 8 Bn will come from in 5 years time (As Chuuka Umunna basically paraphrased today with regards to investment levels, “If growth is higher we have more money to pay for investment”).

    That said, a policy that raises 8Bn would be the equivalent of giving the rabbit a bazooka.


    Yes it increases the noise, but it doesn’t double the noise. Which is why we see very few 10k sample size polls, the costs increase linearly but the reward doesn’t.

    The MOE of the sample mean for the Con vote is 3%, for Lab 2.9% for LD 1.7%

    Increasing the sample size to 2000 would reduce this to 2.2%, 2.1% and 1.2% not enough to dramatically change the credibility of an individual poll..

    For comparison, the MOE on the sample means of the Scotland crossbreak for SNP, Con, Lab are 10.5%, 10% and 6.9% (and they aren’t weighted appropriately by region, only from the UK demographics as a whole). Oddly weighted polls with a sample size of 90 are completely hopeless and if you look long enough you will see some real corkers, good for entertainment purposes only.

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