Winter stalemate between British parties

Britain’s first national opinion poll of 2018, from YouGov for The Times, shows that the Christmas holiday period has not led to any real movement between government and opposition parties. Despite widespread media coverage of winter-related problems in the health service, and continuing Brexit difficulties, Theresa May’s ruling Conservatives see their support holding firm at 40 per cent of voting intentions. The opposition Labour Party appears to have hit a plateau in its attempts to exploit the weakness of May’s minority administration, with a score of 41 per cent here being in line with other recent polls before Christmas. Difficulties in Britain’s hospitals have led to ‘Health’ moving up sharply when YouGov asks respondents to name their three ‘most important issues’, going from 39 per cent in December to 53 per cent today (and second only to ‘Britain leaving the EU’ on 60 per cent). But so far this switch in focus does not appear to have either damaged the government or benefited Labour.

The third-placed Liberal Democrats reach their best score in a YouGov poll since the General Election in June 2017, although whether this level of backing can be sustained beyond a single poll remains to be seen.

Also unmoved in this poll are May and Corbyn’s personal ratings: she is still seen as ‘best Prime Minister’ by 37 per cent, compared to 31 per cent for the Labour man, with 31 per cent undecided. It is worth noting, however, that interviews for this poll were carried out just before this week’s clumsy cabinet reshuffle, which provoked a fresh round of negative headlines for the Prime Minister.


YOU GOV 10 January
Voting intentions, per cent
(change on 21 December in brackets)

Labour Party (Lab) 41 (-1)
Conservative Party (Con) 40 (nc)
Liberal Democrats (Lib Dem) 9 (+2)
Scottish National Party/Plaid Cymru (SNP/PC) 4 (-1)
UK Independence Party (UKIP) 3 (-1)
Green Party 2 (+1)
Others 0 (nc)

Fieldwork: 07.01-08.01.2018. Release date: 11.01.2018. Participants: 2006. Method: Online poll, weighted by likelihood to vote. Media partner: The Times. Full tables here.


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