The overnight YouGov figures for the Sun had voting intentions of CON 43%, LAB 35%, LDEM 14%(!). The changes are well within the margin of error of the recent levels of support that the parties have been showing and it is the sort of figure we’d expect to pop up occassionally with the Lib Dems floating around 15% in recent polls, but it’s worth recording that this is the Liberal Democrats lowest level of support since well before the general election. On a uniform swing it would reduce them to a rather sorry 16 seats, though in practice incumbency does tend to give Lib Dem MPs some degree of protection.

UPDATE: I said in the previous post that we hadn’t had a Populus voting intention poll since the General election. Since then they’ve put up the tables from their post-budget poll, which did have voting intentions after all, though I don’t think the Times reported them at the time. They are, of course, long out of date now, having been conducted in late June, but for the record they showed CON 39%, LAB 33%, LDEM 18%.

Peter Kellner has a new commentary on the government’s approval ratings on the YouGov website here, looking at some of the cross-breaks behind the approval figures.

The decline from their peak at around the time of the budget, when 48% approved and 27% disapproved, is indeed largely down to Labour voters who had been suspending judgement now expressing their disapproval of the government. Approval of the government amongst Conservative voters remains strong (from 80% in June to 84% now), but looking at Labour supporters, 79% now say they disapprove of the government’s record with only 6% approving. In comparison, in mid-June only 51% of Labour voters had disapproved and 14% had approved.

Amongst Liberal Democrat supporters 53% approve of the government’s record, 19% disapprove and 28% don’t know. This is, however, amongst remaining Lib Dem supporters – amongst those people who voted Lib Dem at the 2010 election only 40% approve of the government’s record with 36% disapproving. It’s just that a lot of those former Lib Dem voters who disapprove of the coalition’s performance would no longer vote Lib Dem in an election tomorrow.

On that subject, we’ve also looked at the current voting intentions of people who say they voted Lib Dem at the general election, finding some support for the assumption that they’ve disproportionately shifted over to Labour. Only 46% of those claiming to have voted LibDem in 2010 say they would vote Lib Dem tomorrow, with 18% saying they would vote Labour, 8% Conservative, 5% other parties and 18% saying don’t know or wouldn’t vote.


Last night’s YouGov figures are now up on the website here. The latest voting intentions are CON 42%, LAB 35%, LDEM 15%, suggesting the 9 point and 3 point leads we’ve had over the last week were both just random variation, and we are still in a holding position of a Tory lead of around about 7 points.

More interesting is YouGov’s regular tracker on voting intention in the referendum on AV. Up until now it has shown a pretty consistent lead for AV of around about 10 points, in last night’s figures referendum voting intention had narrowed to AV 39%, FPTP 38%.

Very, very early days of course and there is no reason to think polling this far out has any predictive power, but the initial lead that AV seemed to likely to start the campaign with appears to be fading (looking at the party cross breaks, AV no longer has a clear lead amongst Labour supporters, who now split 42% AV, 40% FPTP).

Round up

I had a busy time last week and was on holiday at the weekend, so here’s a round up of some of the polls I didn’t have chance to write about. YouGov voting intentions in their Sunday poll were CON 40%, LAB 37%, LDEM 15% – that equals the lowest Conservative lead since the general election, but I’d urge the same sort of caution as I did on the 9 point lead earlier in the week. Until we see a consistent trend, it’s best to assume it’s just normal random variation around a Conservative lead of 6 or 7 points.

YouGov also re-asked who people thought would make the best Labour leader. David Miliband remains ahead on 17%, followed by Diane Abbott on 10%. Amongst Labour voters, who may or may not better reflect the feelings of Labour party members, David Miliband leads with 27%, followed by Ed Balls (13%) and Ed Miliband (12%). Regarding the Labour leadership contest, we are still awaiting any proper polling of party members.

Ipsos MORI’s monthly issues trackers has also been published. There are no massive changes – the majority of respondents continue to see the economy as one of the most important issues facing the country, a long way ahead of immigration in second. It is followed by unemployment and law and order.

On other bits and pieces, YouGov did a poll for Channel 5 asking if the Burkha should be banned – 67% of respondents thought it should, with 27% saying it shouldn’t. That’s broadly in line with a international comparative study that Pew carried out in May and published this month, which found 62% of British respondents approved of a ban on viels that cover the whole face. This compared to 82% in France, 71% in Germany, 59% in Spain and 28% in the USA.

There was also a YouGov poll of Londoners last week asking about the protest encampments upon Parliament square. 20% believed there should be no restrictions upon the right of protest in Parliament Square, 72% thought there should be limits upon long term encampments.

Cameron’s Honeymoon

It’s two months since the coalition government was formed, what is the public’s opinion of it so far? Voting intention has followed a fairly straightforward pattern – the Lib Dem vote has fractured since the election, presumably largely due to losing the support of more left wing voters who object to the coalition deal, or to the agenda the coalition have been following. The Conservatives have increased their support to the low 40s, while Labour have moved up into the mid 30s – positions that have remained largely static over the last couple of weeks. In yesterday’s figures we showed a nine point lead, the largest since the general election, but unless that is repeated over the next few days the underlying picture seems to be random variation around a Conservative lead of about 7 points.


While these figures are positive for the Conservatives (on a uniform swing they would be enough for them to win an overall majority), there is no sign of the sort of honeymoon in voting intentions that Labour received during their first months in power in 1997 when some polls put them at 60% or above. That said, 1997 was something of a historical abberation – no previous government had experienced that scale of honeymoon in voting intention polls either (many didn’t have any at all). Where there is an much larger honeymoon effect is in David Cameron’s own personal ratings.

On leader approval rating Cameron is doing well – from 48% straight after becoming PM (when 40% said don’t know, reasonably enough), his approval rating peaked at 64% in mid-June and remains high at 58%. His disapproval rating has gradually risen over the last two months, largely as Labour supporters initially willing to give him the benefit of the doubt have shifted over to disapproval. His net approval rating is currently +28.

Detailled perceptions of Cameron underline how the mantle of office has improved the way the public see him. His ratings on being strong, decisive and sticking to what he belives in are all up significantly. The quality where he scores the least remains “good in a crisis”, followed by being in touch with ordinary people, where he hasn’t really improved since the election. The only measure where he has dropped is on being charismatic – people are starting to Cameron as a strong leader, rather than just a charming one.

In contrast Nick Clegg’s figures have been on a downwards trend since the general election – this seems to be a continuation of the decline since the the peak of “Cleggmania” after the first debate. On some ratings, including honesty, being in touch with ordinary people and sticking to what he believes in, Clegg is now back to the sort of figures he got pre-debates. On other ratings like being decisive and charismatic he is still seem considerably more positively than at the start of the year.

The only obvious cloud amongst polling for the Conservatives in the coalition so far was reaction to the VAT rise in the budget, which polls found a majority opposing, and falling economic optimism, with increasing proportions of people saying they expect to be worse off in the coming year. Despite that the budget overall was well received, and the polls show the public continue to have confidence in the coalition’s ability to manage the economy (50% think they managing it well, compared to 30% badly). We are heading towards the Summer now, traditionally a time when the political to-and-fro stagnates somewhat. While at some point the honeymoon will start to fade, barring a major crisis I wouldn’t expect any major changes until we get into the run up to the conferences and the crowning of the new Labour leader.

(This is cross-posted to the YouGov website here)