YouGov’s weekly poll for the Sunday Times has topline figures of CON 44%, LAB 31%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 6%, GRN 2%, down to a thirteen point Conservative lead compared to sixteen points in the week (and twenty-point-plus leads when the election was first called). It suggests that the mid-week YouGov/Times poll was picking up the start of a trend, rather than just a blip (though given that ORB hadn’t done a recent poll and Panelbase changed methods, we haven’t really seen confirmation from other companies yet).

If the Tory lead really has fallen, the next question is why. As ever, it’s impossible to know for sure (though I will make my usual warning about assuming causality from petty campaign events – a few events like budgets, leaders speeches at conferences and so on can have an measurable impact on national polls. Calling someone a mugwump does not).

One thing that is interesting is Labour don’t knows. Looking at the entrails of the YouGov polls, it looks as if some 2015 Labour voters who were saying “don’t know” a week ago are now saying Labour. When YouGov were showing those twenty-point leads around 20-25% of people who voted Labour in 2015 were saying they didn’t know what they would do at the election, in the last couple of polls that has dropped to 11%. The other thing worth considering is whether those twenty-point leads were real at all, or just the result of temporary enthusiasm? Were Tories all cock-a-hoop and itching to take part in polls last week, Labour voters too despondent to bother? Political weighting of samples should go a long way to counter-act any such biases, but it may not do so entirely.

81 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 44, LAB 31, LD 11, UKIP 6”

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  1. TANCRED1967

    “No deal, not even an agreed exit, which will mean the UK would have to leave the EU illegally! ”

    There would be nothing illegally about that. My understanding is that at the end of 2 years from activating Article 50 the UK will have left the EU quite legally as per the EU legislation covering Article 50..

  2. The E.U. have said sufficient progress must be made in areas (including debt) before issues, such as a trade deal can be discussed/agreed. I suppose it is the definition of sufficent progress, but at the very least I would have thought that would include the broad parameters as to how the debt would be finalised and what it consists of.

    Thinking about it further though May needs no wriggle room, six times in the ast few months she categorically ruled out a snap election and here we are.

    When the time comes for it and if she decides to agree the broad principles/scope of debt repayment before a trade deal, she will just say it was in the best economic interests of the country to do so, especially if she does have a large majority.

  3. S Thomas
    I can afford to provide food for myself and my family.
    So, no, if there was a shop giving away what I normally buy, I’d leave it for the people in need.

  4. S Thomas

    I have to say that I consider having a mobile phone, being able to drink wine, buying books and newspapers (considering the closures of libraries), going to theatre, even to cinemas human rights in a country like the UK.

    So it is unlikely that we would agree.


    Seems to me the Tory strategy is to keep a low profile until after the locals and the manifestos are out, and instead focus on hammering home a single message for now (‘strong and stable..’) but otherwise to deliberately let Labour make the running initially. This gives Labour the opportunity to slip up with all their myriad spending promises, yet if that doesnt happen it allows for a tightening of the polls which works to their advantage in the end because it helps avoid complacency amongst Tory voters which is probably their biggest fear. The locals are likely to show Labour being much closer to the Tories than the national polls imply and they will also use that to serve as a wakeup call to voters to not take the GE for granted. They’re well aware of voter fatigue as pointed out by the lady from Bristol so not going all-out at this stage is no harm.

    However, the Tory big guns will come out in a couple of weeks at which point it will be a relentless onslaught until the vote. They will really go for Corbyn to seek to destroy any remaining belief within the electorate that he is at all suited to being PM. I’m sure they will also take full advantage of Sturgeons statement just after the GE announcement that she is prepared to take part in an anti-Tory arrangement/agreement/coalition etc after the vote. We will also see the Tories reminding those still minded to vote UKIP that the only way they will see a clear brexit being carried out is to vote for May. I think in the end we will see a bigger collapse in UKIP support than the current polls are showing.

  6. @S Thomas

    As has already been mentioned, the agency does not lie with the person getting the food from a food bank, but with someone referring them. The argument you detailed would therefore have to be framed in the sense that: “If there is more capacity at food banks, more professionals will refer those in need to such services.”

    I’m sure that this is somewhat true, much in the same way that if you build more oncology departments, more patients will be referred by doctors to such places for treatment. I’m not sure you could make the leap to say that the number of clinics would affect people’s decision to get cancer though…

  7. David In France – “If the UK welches on it’s (legally obligated) dues”

    Isn’t the EU legally obligated to have properly audited accounts before it presents us with a bill?

    Here is their conclusion for 2015:


    For 2015, we conclude that revenue was free from material error. For the expenditure budget as a whole, our estimated level of error of 3.8 % leads us to provide an adverse opinion on the regularity of expenditure

    end quote

    Given that the bill is for future expenditure, and that there is significant error in how it is being spent, then we must conclude that something very fishy is going on and can’t disburse final amounts till they sort it out. They haven’t managed to sign off the expenditure since 1995…

  8. COLIN

    Your post to Valerie. Now we clearly agree, my own thoughts on the campaign so far. Corbyn has laready made a significant number of lareg spending promises. No doubt Conservative Central Office will be diligently costing these.


    “So it is unlikely that we would agree.”

    Looking at your list I suspect the vast majority of voters in the UK would disagree with you if you expect the state to fund it.

    [Laszlo & Howard – obviously the public views on such things are very much what this site is designed to discuss. Whether it chimes with your or Laszlo’s opinion… not so much- AW]

  9. Colin

    I should have added exactly to the sentence ending so far.

  10. The YouGov detail is up for those interested on the YouGov website.

  11. Syzygy –

    “Labour still have a strong advantage on the current boundaries”
    “I thought that that was shown to be no longer be true in 2015. Anyone else know the current situation?”

    Complicated – the way boundaries are drawn still favours Labour in terms of seat size, but “bias” in the electoral system is made up of lots of different factors. Differential turnout still favours Labour, unequal seat size still favours Labour, but distribution of the vote and the interaction with the distribution of the vote for smaller parties currently *strongly* favours the Conservatives – hence, at the moment the overall “bias” in the system strongly favours the Tories.

    If the Lib Dems recover at this election, UKIP start doing less well and the SNP become a little less dominant in Scotland that bias would unwind to some extent.

  12. The Other Howard

    Yes, I know :-). And what else I haven’t included!

    Thanks for the note that the tables are up.

  13. @Candy: “They haven’t managed to sign off the expenditure since 1995…”

    We are ‘they’ – one of the big three. If anything fishy is going on then we’re at least as responsible for it as any other EU member.

  14. @Rogerh

    Well, as a parting gift of “responsibility” we should insist that it is all properly cleared up before we release any more money. I’m sure they’ll thank us for setting them on the path to honesty.

  15. Food banks usually supply food to families in need, usually because of the effect of “sanctions” on a family’s income.

    We know from leaks within the DWP that those operating the benefit system have to meet a certain number of sanctions each month. That would explain why sanctions can be given for the most trivial of reasons, including being late for a DWP interview because of attending a job interview.

    I met a man who had been sanctioned. He had an inoperable aneurysm and a heart condition. He was approximately 60, I judge. If I was an employer I would not have given him a job. The effort of speaking left him breathless. He was sanctioned when a physiotherapist concluded he was fit for work and he declined to look for it. He won his appeal. The successful appeal rate is high.

    People who have been sanctioned have taken their lives and left notes to give that reason.

  16. TOH

    We seem to have two “Colins”-

    Seems to me the Tory strategy is……[email protected] me.

    Could I ask our “new” COLIN to redesignate him/herself with a number to distinguish from me.


    COLIN :-)

  17. When facing a crisis about six years ago I was asked by my GP and a Citizens Advice worker if I had enough to eat. I was lucky with very helpful neighbors and friends so I did.

    If I had been referred I would have got three days food. No more, you would need a further referral.

    I dont drink, and obviously I had already sold my mobile phone and all of my clothes to keep toh and others happy.

  18. I was one of many who put too much faith in the polls last time around. Nonetheless, I still see them as valuable quantitative information, which give strong indications of the direction of travel of VI when it is sustained and showing up across as range of polling organisation.

    The big news of the first week of the campaign was a bounce in Con VI and a corresponding collapse in UKIP. The announcement of the election forced UKIP supporters to ask themselves what is the best way to secure Brexit. Not surprisingly many have opted for a government that has nailed it’s colours to the Brexit mast, rather than UKIP itself. The high Con VI is underpinned by strong scores on economy, leadership, and other issues so I am persuaded that the movement of this block of voters is real and will hold. I expect UKIP to leak more votes over the campaign, but will they follow the early movers and also go to Con?

    So what of week two? This week main story has been a recovery in Lab VI. This is plausible against the flow of events. The LD’s had a poor week and have achieved little traction. Boris Johnson (the boy who can’t say no to US military interventionism) and his petty insults was (for Con) an unhelpful reminder of what many disliked about Cameron and his Bullingdon cronies. Add to this the fact that Con campaign was not much more than a couple of endlessly repeated slogans while Lab offered up policies, it seems quite plausible that Lab would attract some of the Lab leaning “undecided” back into the fold. Against a back drop of a potential Con landslide, there will be some in the centre and centre-left who are no fans of Corbyn or TM’s Conservatives asking themselves which do I dislike least. A dilema which some won’t resolve until pencil is in hand in the polling booth.

    So as we approach week 3, we still see a comfortable but reduced Con lead, a recovering Lab VI, a stalled LD VI, and a collapsing UKIP VI.

    I don’t expect any significant change in strategy from any of the main players until the Local Elections are out of the way. Spinning the results of those will be a lever to change the narrative which LD and UKIP will definitely need. We haven’t heard the last of “Strong and Stable Leadership” or “Coalition of Chaos” – this might have gone stale already for polical geeks, but for the average voter it still has mileage left.

    There will be no panic in the Con campaign over the narrowing of the lead this week, but if it keeps narrowing beyond next weekend nerves will start to fray. Over the next few days I expect to see a continuation of the current strategy, pattern, and VI trends.

    As ever Scotland is different.

  19. New thread…… again

  20. @ AW

    Differential turnout still favours Labour, unequal seat size still favours Labour, but distribution of the vote and the interaction with the distribution of the vote for smaller parties currently *strongly* favours the Conservatives – hence, at the moment the overall “bias” in the system strongly favours the Tories.
    Many thanks for taking the trouble to answer so fulsomely. I appreciate it … and in fact, UKPR in general :)

  21. On Food Banks, I actually know people who have used them for no other reason than they could and it was free. I dare say some people are in genuine need, however if I opened a Beer Bank I would have a queue a mile long – not because there was genuine need but because it was free.

  22. @COLIN (‘Original’ Colin that is.)

    Sorry! I had an account but it wasnt logged in when I posted my earlier longer post starting “Seems to me the Tory strategy…”. My fault. That should have appeared under the login BALDBLOKE.

  23. JenglerUK
    “Labour received 30.4% of popular vote in GE2015. Hard to believe they will get close to that, let alone more, given relative ratings of Corbyn v Milliband.

    Trump was standing at something like 2/3 of the nation thought he would be a bad president, but here we are. It doesn’t matter if your opponents think you would be a bad president because they were never going to vote for you anyway. Its only the views of those who might who count. Corbyn has been slowly gaining support amongst labour inclined voters over the last few polls. Gaining 30% of the popular vote allows for 70% of those voting to detest you.


    I’m guessing the irony of using anecdotal evidence on a website such as this to justify your views is lost on you.

  25. NeilJ

    It really doesn’t matter what Theresa May says… she will do something completely different if it suits her interests… Single Market, Heathrow, Election date, NI contributions, even ECHR; these are just the u-turns in the last year!

    First thing I expect after the election is for VAT to go up….

  26. I see in that latest Yougov survey people want to stay in the Single Market (including Freedom of Movement, mentioned in the question) by 51% to 26% against. And 59% want to stay in the Customs Union

  27. Have the pollsters forgotten about the local elections which are only four days away.

    By common consent people are much more likely to support their local Labour Council or Mayoral candidate than they are to support Corbyn in a General Election.

    So when people say ‘Labour’ they might well be swayed by their intentions for this Thursday, rather than by whether or not they have yet decided to vote for Corbyn on June 8th.

    How many people who, for example, are intending to vote for Andy Burnham for Mayor will be voting for Corbyn on June 8th ? Quite possibly, not even Andy Burnham himself.

  28. Ronald,

    Well, since Corbin will the candidate in Islington, and that 200 miles from Manchester, the answer is likely to be “close to none”.
    (There may be some people in Islington who have second homes in Manchester – or vice versa – so there may be some.)

  29. My view is that we will end up with a good deal and future relationship with the EU. TM the PM is wise to call an election now, it’s just not the EU exit that has made her move, she must have realised the opportunity to go toe to toe with the SNP was there as well.

    But the main thing she’s after is 5 uninterrupted years.

  30. jonesinbangor
    Yes I agree, its the time factor. But my reasoning is she expects negotiations to be protracted and/or a bad outcome. If there is a deal everyone can agree is good then she has nothing to fear at another election.

  31. @Candy

    The EU’s accounts ARE signed off EVERY YEAR. Where on earth do you get your info from?

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