A new Populus poll for the Times has topline voting intentions of CON 38%(+2), LAB 40%(+1), LDEM 12%(-3). The poll was conducted between Friday and Sunday, and the vast majority of the fieldwork was conducted before Gordon Brown announced there would not be an early election, so unfortunately it doesn’t shed any light on how people have reacted to the non-election.

Labour are just ahead in this poll, but like YouGov’s at the weekend it shows both the main parties up in the high 30s and low 40s, with the Lib Dems way down. We’ve come to expect lower levels of Liberal Democrat support in YouGov polls, figures this low in one of the phone pollsters are something new.

There is also a shift in the overwhelming advantage Labour had on economic competence in a crisis last month – at the height of the Northern Rock crisis 56% of people said they would trust Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling rather than David Cameron and George Osborne come economic troubles, against only 18% the other way round. The figures have now shifted to 43% preferring Brown/Darling and 28% prefering Cameron/Osborne. Still a big gap, but it’s also a big shift. For the really interesting figures though we’ll have to wait for some polls conducted after the non-election announcement.


135 Responses to “October Populus poll”

1 2 3
  1. Luke,

    That it is. Any one would think the Labour government had increased the IHT threshold to £1m, which they have NOT. Surprising as it may seem the Tories don’t have a monopoly on policies fiscal.

    I’d be surprised if the government hadn’t been looking at IHT and other areas of taxation for some time. Personally, I wouldn’t have gone as far on IHT as they, seemingly, have. It’s not as though every single estate pays it as it stood; in fact, far from it. I have misgivings as to whether non-domiciles should be ‘taxed’ at all. As for the ‘plane tax’, we seem to have a ‘tri-partisan’ consensus now.

  2. Right Dave, its all a pure coincidence that Darling has decided to (1) Reform IHT (2) Tax non-domiciles (3) Tax flights not passengers. Purely unrelated to these being popular Tory policies.

  3. I think there’s bow a big difference in IHT policies – the Toy’s is to have a threshold of £1m for single people (and couples who aren’t clever enough to hire a financial advisor), and a threshold of £2m for couples who are clever enough. Labour’s is to keep current thresholds the same, but to make it unnecessary to be clever by changing the rules so that one’s £300k allowance can be transferred to a surviving partner, and it’s backdated to cover those who have lost partners already. Presumably, that transfer can happen on a serial basis so that (without being too gruesome) a widow(er) who remarries would effectively have £600k allowance in the new partnership.
    Arguments over who said what first are a bit silly. Aren’t we crying out for right to be done? It would be big of GB to give credit for the Flight tax to Cameron, but as long as policies are not written on the back of a fag packet, who cares?(and I’m assuming Treasury documents could prove how long the IHT changes have been in the making, if anyone were interested)

  4. Sorry, should that be Ming Campbell to be credited with the Flight tax idea?

  5. We now know why Brown let speculation about an early election grow. I have always said that there will not be an election till 2009, I now think it will be in 2008 (maybe). On inheritance tax I think the Tory policy and Labour policy are too different to have been copied. On flight tax, both Labour and the Tories stole that from the LibDems. And on non-domiciles, Labour have said for a few years they would do something, yesterday Labour rejected the Tory plans (which I have heard the Tories stole from the Observer).
    I think these last few days will be good for Labour, bad for the Tories and much as they have been for the LibDems (I feel sorry for them as they are the only ones who can claim that their idea was stolen).

  6. I don’t take such a forgiving view. Even if Labour were always going to do these things (which I struggle to accept even a partisan believes) they’ve announced them a few days after they were announced by the Tories and are being accused of stealing them from all quarters of the press. In that case, it was pretty silly politics to announce all of them just like this.

    I think it’s naked politics, and there will be a short term price to pay in terms of popularity. Simply stealing your opponents policies will not be seen as strong leadership or anything resembling a ‘vision’.

  7. With regard to the charge of Labour stealing policies, the issue here is timing. I have no doubt that Labour were planning to raise the threshold for IHT but they have only themselves to blame for the perception that they stole the idea. They forced the Tories to come forward with their proposals by ramping up the election talk and then Brown felt the need to spike their guns now rather than waiting till the Budget in March. His timing was purely political even though I do not think he stole the policy (not least because his proposal is markedly different to the Tories and is hardly novel).

    In response to Colin’s point about the threshold change being illusory because couples presently can get some tax advice and set up a trust to double their allowance, I agree that couples “could” do that right now. However given that most people are incapable of renewing the mortgage deal when their discounted deal runs out, I very much doubt that anything more than a small minority of couples have actually sought and acted on such tax advice. The attraction of Labour’s proposal is that it confers a benefit on all couples regardless of how clever and well advised they are which is to be welcomed.

    If there is a criticism to be made of the IHT proposals it is that they do not help divorced or single people and I am actually uncomfortable about that. It was only two weeks ago that Brown criticised the Tories for favouring married couples over single people and I thought he was right then and wrong now.

    The other charges of stealing ideas are a little woolly. The taxation of flights rather than passengers was a Lib Dem idea so the Tories can have no complaint there. With regard to non-doms, Labour have said they will consult before deciding what charge to impose unlike the Tories who have rushed out a promise to charge all non-doms with a flat fee regardless of income. The Labour consultation proposal is sensible as no-one at present has any idea what revenue can be achieved and what the effect may be of charging non-doms.

    The Tories proposed change on stamp duty has not been followed by Labour in any respect and with regard to CGT, Labour have suggested a radical proposal which the Tories have not touched on.

    The Tories have had their fun and would now be best advised to analyse and challenge the proposals that they believe to be wrong particularly the CGT reform. Their performance on the news last night was nothing more than crowing and the public is never attracted by that sort of behaviour. By contrast the Lib Dems spent some time homing in on the increased borrowing revealed by Darling and the Tories should do the same if they want to be treated seriously.

    Brown’s calculation of course is that he can ride out the abuse in the short term and in the long term he has spiked the one sliver of appeal that Cameron has managed to generate in the past 6 months. Cameron must now work out what his detailed vision is much as Brown must also. Both leader’s speeches were strong on general sentiment but very weak on the specifics as to how it might be achieved. Will Cameron dare to propose public service reform before the next election? I think that will be the big question going forward and the one that might separate the parties come polling day.

    Labour has not

  8. With regard to the charge of Labour stealing policies, the issue here is timing. I have no doubt that Labour were planning to raise the threshold for IHT but they have only themselves to blame for the perception that they stole the idea. They forced the Tories to come forward with their proposals by ramping up the election talk and then Brown felt the need to spike their guns now rather than waiting till the Budget in March. His timing was purely political even though I do not think he stole the policy (not least because his proposal is markedly different to the Tories and is hardly novel).

    In response to Colin’s point about the threshold change being illusory because couples presently can get some tax advice and set up a trust to double their allowance, I agree that couples “could” do that right now. However given that most people are incapable of renewing the mortgage deal when their discounted deal runs out, I very much doubt that anything more than a small minority of couples have actually sought and acted on such tax advice. The attraction of Labour’s proposal is that it confers a benefit on all couples regardless of how clever and well advised they are which is to be welcomed.

    If there is a criticism to be made of the IHT proposals it is that they do not help divorced or single people and I am actually uncomfortable about that. It was only two weeks ago that Brown criticised the Tories for favouring married couples over single people and I thought he was right then and wrong now.

    The other charges of stealing ideas are a little woolly. The taxation of flights rather than passengers was a Lib Dem idea so the Tories can have no complaint there. With regard to non-doms, Labour have said they will consult before deciding what charge to impose unlike the Tories who have rushed out a promise to charge all non-doms with a flat fee regardless of income. The Labour consultation proposal is sensible as no-one at present has any idea what revenue can be achieved and what the effect may be of charging non-doms.

    The Tories proposed change on stamp duty has not been followed by Labour in any respect and with regard to CGT, Labour have suggested a radical proposal which the Tories have not touched on.

    The Tories have had their fun and would now be best advised to analyse and challenge the proposals that they believe to be wrong particularly the CGT reform. Their performance on the news last night was nothing more than crowing and the public is never attracted by that sort of behaviour. By contrast the Lib Dems spent some time homing in on the increased borrowing revealed by Darling and the Tories should do the same if they want to be treated seriously.

    Brown’s calculation of course is that he can ride out the abuse in the short term and in the long term he has spiked the one sliver of appeal that Cameron has managed to generate in the past 6 months. Cameron must now work out what his detailed vision is much as Brown must also. Both leader’s speeches were strong on general sentiment but very weak on the specifics as to how it might be achieved. Will Cameron dare to propose public service reform before the next election? I think that will be the big question going forward and the one that might separate the parties come polling day.

  9. So, Luke, is the Government not allowed to come up with policies on issues that the opposition parties have talked about? Surely that would be daft? Darling’s IHT policy might well have been whipped up over-night, but it’s totally different from Osborne’s, and the issues deserve a debate more worthy than the playground nonsense. (Not accusiing you of that level, but Osborne won’t gain anything from it)

  10. Arnie, I think we hit the button at the same time – in the interests of balance, i think Osborne’s proposal was not necessarily rushed , and Cameron’s appeal is more than a sliver! , but with you on the need for debate about specifics – eminently winnable debate from both sides.

    Do you think that the IHT proposalsby Osborne, and their dramatic effect on the polls will entice the Tories to develop more tax-cutting ideas, and thereby create “clear blue water”?

    On a similar subject, I’ve just read somewhere else that the Maastrich rules prevent a new Government from departing from their predecessor’s spendin for two years, which explains why Brown stuck to Ken Clarke’s, and why Osborne has said he’ll stick to Darling’s. They have no option. Is that the case, does anyone know? If so, the debate over Europe could reach further than the Reform Treaty.

  11. Thanks John. I was being a little bit cheeky but my reference to a sliver was more directed towards policy differences. At the moment the Tories have yet to develop any hard policies to back up the warm words on mending society and making public spending more effective. If those policies come they could be a real vote winner or a disaster if people feel they are an attempt to break the underlying principle of the NHS for instance. My feel is that Cameron will continue to make the noises but not commit to any reform that might scare the voters.

    As for tax cuts, Cameron is very constrained by the public finances. I suspect he has gone as far as he can on personal taxation and that he may suggest some corporation tax changes. Cameron is smart enough to know that the main reason the Tories are out of power is that Labour have been the party who are more trusted to run the economy for the past 10 years. He cannot undermine the Tories’ credibility by offering uncosted tax cuts and given that he has committed to match Labour’s spending plans, his only option would be to identify nebulous efficiency savings. Hague and Howard both tried and failed with that policy.

    My feel is that Cameron’s best hope is that the economy goes downhill and that Brown loses the public’s trust on financial matters. Cameron will then present himself as a face of change and a safe pair of hands. However the electoral arithmetic makes it difficult for him to win an outright majority unless he can really energise the public in the way that Blair did and I can’t see him doing that without proposing real changes to the way public money is spent (and I doubt that he will grasp that nettle).

    I think for the next couple of months both parties will see how recent events shake out and affect the polls and then decide their strategy for 2008. The EU treaty will be the next fight and my suspicion is that Brown is hoping that he is rescued by another country holding and losing a referendum. If not he will have to argue that his red lines have been breached and get out that way which would be very messy.

  12. Arnie-I think you will find that Cameron’s speech is replete with a less centralised approach to the management of Public Services-In Health & Education-but also in areas like tackling the drug related effects on society.
    Claims of economic competence are beginning to look a little threadbare from this government.Borrowing- consistently mis- forecast by Brown when Chancellor, has yet again risen. THe error is over £10billion this time -indeed the “investment” in NHS which now continues at the expense of almost all other departments, is now borrowed. THis in direct contravention of the famous “golden rules” and Gordon’s famously flexible “economic cycle” seems now totally abandoned.
    While playing games with the fringe elements of personal taxation may make for amusing political jousting, it is the vast sums of money which have been poured into unreformed public services which are the important elements of our economy.And it is the massive size of the public sector created by this government which will topple Brown off his podium if economic growth falls below forecast. THe economy has been sustained by a mountain of State & Private Debt-Vince Cable rightly warns that here lies significant risk as both State & private borrowers reign in their largesse.
    And as the pinch on funding works through to Local Authorities, and Council Tax rises of 5% plus again emerge one wonders how people will take to Mr Brown’s continued crowing about economic competence?
    A quick scan of the papers this morning would indicate that Brown is losing his economic competency credentials very fast. The Independent , Anatole Kaletsky in The Times, and THe FT-all of whom have been supporters in the past make interesting reading today.

    Cameron should major on this-and as you suggest-explain that there is a different way of managing The States activities.

    Judging by this morning’s PMQs we are in for a two year de-facto election campaign.

    Roll on the next Polls!

  13. I think something very fundamental has happened here, and I’m not sure to what extent thas has been grasped.

    For 10 years there has been an understanding between the Government and the electorate that the public’s money was being invested into the public services and that tax cuts meant less for public services.

    The huge swing behind the IHT proposals suggest to me that this consesus has ended and that the public are growing tired of waiting for public service improvements and fee;l spent up and ready for their money back.

    I believe a brave Tory push on a return to bigger tax cuts at the expense of some public service investment could be a vote winner, and Labour have clearly spotted the ending of this good will by jumping on the IHT bandwagon.

    It’s a fascinating poker game at the moment and will be interesting to see which way Cameron jumps.

  14. “I think these last few days will be good for Labour, bad for the Tories”

    Garry gatter, time will tell but I think the indicators contradict your statement. I was astounded when reading the comments section on various Labour sympathising newspaper websites and more specifically on the supposedly neutral bbc website about the “so called” election climb down and policy plagirism claims.

    Over 1800 comments on bbc and of the first 200 or so I read less than 10 thought Brown had either planned this all along or approved of his handling of it. The overwhelming concensus was one that is damaging to Brown with many in Scotland sharing the view and saying they will vote for cameron, even those saying they are lifelong labour voters who will now switch allegience.

    Will their memories last that long when a raft of new political issus make this a distant memory? A lot will happen in between.

    The conservatives will now keep trying to instill in the public conciousness the “perception” that Brown is a dittehering, weak, bottler with no vision. None of us know if he really is or the real truth behind all this, but we all form opinions based on our own perception.

    The conservatives will likley withold policy until the election, citing yesterday.

    It will be left to Brown to try and reverse the past few days and to clearly demonstrate his vision in practise. Its his to lose or win.

    The economic indicators from the city are less than yesterdays forecast, he has taken a big gamble.

    Opposition parties rarely win elections, governing parties lose them.

    Voters often vote to keep them in or chuck them out.

    It certainly will be intersting from our warm and comfy sideline seats, can’t wait for the polls.

  15. Colin,

    Should the economy stay on track and not run into serious difficulties then there is going to be be a lot of egg on faces. Yes, I accept, under the circumstances, it is prudent to lower forecasts since it’s difficult to conceive that there won’t be consequences of the “credit crunch” on the international economy.

    The OECD has already said that interest rates may need to fall to boost the economy and the IMF has warned of a global slowdown in economic growth. The B of E, however, won’t cut rates until they are convinced that inflation (its litmus test re-economic stability)is on target.

    Should the UK plc sail into choppy waters the government will be judged on how effective, as to minimise any wider societal trauma, it stears it through.

  16. Adam 8, in contrast I’ve been on Right-leaning websites enghaing in a bit of “sheep-worrying”, and the noise from those is that the “traditional” tories want “traditional tory” policies back. I hope there are more policy announcements, as that will mean more polls from data-hungry newspapers.
    the BBC website is plagued with lunatics in my view, and I’m sure the different parties have members logging in all day to queer the pitch. I don’t know how Nick Robinson copes.

  17. A fascinating article in The Times today by Alice Miles which identifies the “geography” of Labour’s spending spree.
    Public spending as a share of GDP has risen from 40.6% to 44.1% since 1997-higher than any EU/OECD country-but the regional variations are enormous:-
    N. Ireland 70.5% ( I hasten to say-very understandable!)
    Wales 64.3%
    North East-63.0%
    Scotland-55.6%
    North West-54.0%
    London & SE.33%
    East-38.3%
    South West42%

    The gaps are widening , not shrinking.
    Parts of the country have economies which begin to look like the old Soviet Union. Even China today has a larger private sector than some parts of UK-and these areas are in “The North”
    So whilst voters in The North might welcome this State patronage, perhaps The South may come to resent it?
    If this situation is factored in to the lists of “Target Seats” for both Labour & Conservative which are given on this website-can any conclusions be drawn about how these regional economic trends might impact regional voting trends, and indeed the outcome of a General Election?

  18. Wow! I live in the South, and I don’t know anyone who resents people from other regions receiving the benefits “big government”. That’s only my narrow circle, but I’d be surprised if resentment over high taxes took on a geographical slant. Very interesting figures though!

  19. Anthony,

    Given the excitement of the last few days (including todays PMQ’s), when are the next polls due? (opinion polls obviously…)

  20. I am both fascinated and appalled by those figures, but I am not going to embark on a rant about them.

    In responce to the so-called theivery by the Government, I think it’s perfectly acceptible to adopt opposition policies in a strict governmental sense, but can be dodgy politics. In this case, I don’t see what harm it would have done to say that ‘Even Tories have good ideas sometimes- but we’re going to improve them!’ rather than pretending all these proposals, announced within days of them getting huge media coverage after the Conservative conference, were ‘always going to happen now anyway’. That is about as believable as saying that the decision to not hold the election had nothing to do with opinion polls.

    I think the Government are playing a dnagerous game here- the gap between rhetoric and reality is getting very large now, and I don’t believe anyone believes these policies would have been anounced anyway, or that the election cancellation had nothing to do with opinion polls. The media coverage reflects this fact- take the Guardian’s coverage, for instance.

  21. With regards the so called definite disastrous downturn in the economy. A Conservative leader has twice tabled questions in the Commons in the last 10 years which included the words”the forthcoming recession”.

    As I have said more than once,for all these quaters of growth we have had….the disaster seems a long time coming.

  22. Your ‘average voter’ doesn’t read BBC blogs or any one else’s blogs for that matter very much if at all and gets a sort of diluted impression of political events from newspaper and news headlines. They don’t watch Nick Robinson pontificating on Newsnight or webcasts of BBC News 24 when PMQs is one (and one wonders what happens to the BBC 5 Live listening figures over Wednesday lunchtimes?) People have some idea that there’s some working class lads ‘made good’ amongst Labour’s higher echelons and that some of Cameron’s most senior colleagues are, as he is, old Etonians from rich and privileged backgrounds and that influences them too. Most people don’t care who thought of a policy first and most people don’t get very excited about elections or possible elections and in the end most people (if they do vote) will go for whoever they trust most to maintain their standard of living. Did Kinnock lose in 92 because he overdid it at Sheffield or because the Sun’s headline about the last person to leave the country tutning the lights off which reinforced a feeling that Labour wasn’t to be trusted running the economy (and that was 16 years after Healey’s IMF debacle in 76).

  23. Colin has made a very interesting post.
    Unfortunately, it explains part of the Tories’ problem about taking enough marginal seats across the country.
    I can envisage a situation where they do well and maybe even reach 40/41 per cent [although not if it was held now], but they wouldn’t get it efficiently.
    I suspect West Yorkshire has become much more public sector dominated, and is part of the reason why they are struggling in about 10-12 vital seats there.

    I was very struck by Middlesbrough South and Cleveland East. This is not traditionally a safe Labour seat, but a marginal, won under John Major in 1992. It is a mixture of Council estates, suburbs, and rural communities. The share of public sector GDP rose from around 37% in 1997 to around 60% at the time of the 2005 General Election, when despite a fall in the Labour vote, they still had an 8,000 majority.

  24. Joe James, I remain sceptical about whether people think about their share of state spending when they vote, but I suspect like eveeryone here, the motivation behind a decison to vote a certain way, especially among those who change their minds, is a fascinating subject. It’s a pity that polling organisations can’t devise a reasonable way of divining such a nebulous process of thought, but I don’t think it’s their place to even try.
    David Botwell, I seem to remember a poll(or survey) of Sun Readers after the”Sun wot won it ” headline, which revealed that a majority of Sun readers had voted Labour! Clearly not uniformly, but I’ve never forgotten reading that in 1992.

  25. Adam 8, I know what you mean, when I get a bit depressed when reading the comments in the “left” Guardian (where they love to attack Brown) I like to read the comments in the “right” Telegraph (where they love to attack Cameron).

  26. John T

    Maybe even more of the Sun Readers would have voted Labour in 92 if it hadn’t been for that infamous headline!

  27. The aggregate figures from MORI’s polls in 1992 showed that 45% of Sun readers voted Tory, 36% voted Labour and 15% voted Lib Dem, so Sun readers did indeed lean to the Tories.

    What gives the lie to the “it was the Sun what won it” claim though is if you look at the swing amongst different newspaper readers in the last week of the campaign (the Sun’s headline was based on the claim that Sun readers had swung to the Tories in the last week or so), the largest swing to the Conservatives was actually amongst Mirror readers, whose coverage obviously didn’t feature Kinnock’s head in a lightbulb and so on.

  28. Thanks for that Anthony, just goes to prove there aint nought queer as folk hey?

    I dare say yesterdays CSR and PBR was watered down and Labour would have had a lot more giveaways if they had gone to the country.

    When are the next polls out Anthony?

  29. Anthony, I’m indebted, my memory was playing tricks on me, I must have remembered the oddity of Mirror readers crossing to the Tories or something!

  30. John T
    If one is not a political anorak and work as a Public Sector cohesion liasion officer for 60k and you fear you might lose your job if there’s a Tory government it makes it more likely one will vote Labour or perhaps Lib Dem.

  31. Joe James Broughton – a very good point, and when “savings” are talked about, it is really “reductions in headcount” that is in the offing. The quickest way to spend money is by creating jobs and increrasing wages, the converse is true, and it remains to be seen whether that will play on the minds of public sector people when deciding how to vote.

    Having accepted that, I still don’t think that people think about their regions proportion of national spending – it’s just too academic a set of figures. I don’t believe London and South East are more likely to vote Tory because the figure there is the lowest, it’s more likely because of the more traditional dividers, like “Big Govt vs Individual Responsibility” or perceptions of success/failure over Crime, the NHS and Economy(I am poersuadable, though, as the idea that the figures encapsulate the differences is one I hadn’t considered!)

  32. THat is exactly what I had in mind Jo James. People vote for lots of things-but personal financial security must be well up the list.
    So if you live in an area where most jobs are provided by the taxpayer, you are not likely to vote for a reduction in the size of state bureaucracy.ie you become reliant upon the State for your living and long term security comes from continued state employment.
    Conversely if you live in an area with a vibrant private sector, and good employment prospects you perhaps are more attuned to competing for jobs, changing jobs and ensuring that your efforts at work contribute to your employers long term viability.Your focus is perhaps on competition and things like low taxes. And low taxes are more likely if the State is spending less of your money.
    So the North South political divide in UK might be -at least in part-a function of the prevalence of a State provided job market.
    Todays Times is full of fascinating thoughts.
    THe pre-budget numbers appear to include a £400m swipe at State 2 pension !-THe CGT tax change aids second home owners & buy to let speculators (!!), whilst hitting small business entrepeneurs.Will the ranks of Labour MPs who sat silently listening to their Chancellor dole money out to middle class property owners start to think about Lib DEms as a more comfortable left wing home?
    And the very interesting point made up thread by Davwas is picked up by a couple of writers-how much longer will people put up with higher & higher taxes to feed the ever open maw of an un-reconstructed NHS?. Indeed will the other public sector entities-and unions-see the slowing down of State largesse as a “cut”-and protest accordingly.
    THe 2008/2009 Council Tax outcomes are going to be very very interesting!-and Lib DEms have a policy on that.
    THe Electoral Calculus website currently “predicts” a Labour majority of 54. If you feed in -just for a laugh!-Con38/Lab/30/LD 25-you get Cons 10 short of a majority…just a thought.

  33. Colin, whether or not the NHS is an “ever-open maw”, it employs far more people than it would under a Conservative Government. The question is, do people link Government “waste” with Government “job creation”? I don’t think they do. “where has all the money gone?” isn’t often answered with “to employ more people”, but I wonder who would gain if the point were made effectively? I’m in the private sector, but I’m happy for the tax I pay to be paid to employ other people, it enables the economy to grow. The question is a little wider than that, of course, because the intention behind the “waste of money” question is to find the added value. Is it worth it? Is the NHS improving?
    If the answer to that is yes, the regionality of the tax expenditure recedes.

  34. Anthony

    Very interested comment on the impact of tabloids during the 1992 election although the media attention given to the Sun headline might have had an impact on some voters more generally because it was a very memorable expression! I wonder what the voting breakdown of Sun readers has been in more recent elections?

  35. My comment has dissapeared,anyone know why?

  36. JohnT-you’re certainly right about NHS staff numbers!-they are in a league of their own.-Largest emloyer in the developed world-1.4m employees-outnumbering both the private & public workforce of Germany’s healthcare sector-a country with 25% more people than UK, and better health outcomes.
    I disagree with your asertion that employment of people in the public sector “makes the economy grow”. It has the reverse effect in fact.

  37. Colin – I wasn’t trying to say anything more than “more people in work = more money spent on goods/housing = increases in growth” We can argue about whether employment by the state leads to better growth than private sector employments, but that wasn’t my point.

  38. And I’d rather not argue about that here (not least because I might lose!)

  39. JohnT-I understand.
    The debate about the nature & extent of State activities, & the best options for managing them isn’t one for here as you rightly say.
    But it really ought to be one that the politicians engage in-if they could only bring themselves to do so in a civilised fashion!

  40. With regard to political bias of newspaper readers ; 1995 survey

    Sun; other 5%, Liberal 11% Conservative 23%, Labour 61%
    Telegraph– 3, 15, 52, 30
    Guardian– 3,10, 6, 80

    Mori 1995 survey quoted p242 Newspaper Power by Jeremy Tunstall.

    Does make me question whther Sun readers ever read the front couple of pages..

    On another issue concerning whether one should view IHT as something very significant or a ‘one-off’–I go with the one off idea. It’s pretty obvious that if you are taxed once when you earn it why should you be 2nd taxed? It’s an obvious inequity which appealed to no-one. Once it got into everyone’s faces it had to be dealt with (Wasn’t there an independent Senator elected in Australia in the early 1970s on just this issue? That meant it got abolished in Australia pdq after that happened.)

  41. jack, we’re straying a little herre, but it’s an obvious statement but not a fact. The house price increase has not been taxed (it’s house-price inflation that has brought this about) VAT is a more obvious double-tax, but all taxed money is re-taxed as it circulates.(My wages are taxed, but are paid out of taxed profits, which are in turn made because my companies customers paid taxed money for services, money they earned from taxed companies, etc, etc) The iniquity of IHT may or may not be justified, but not by reference to “double tax”

  42. Jack – thnks for the reminder, that must have been the survey I remembered. Thinking about IHT “double tax” there may be an argument for saying it’s wrong to tax gifts among the family, and I suspect the accusations of iniquity come from that.

  43. Jack

    Thanks for the 1995 poll information.

    Be interesting to see the newspaper readership figures now. Amazing that so few Guardian readers were Liberal and there appears to have been a big switch amongst Sun readers from 1992 which may well mean that some Sun readers do read the front pages given the way the Sun changed position between 1992 and 1995.

  44. Disappearing Comments – if you’ve left a comment and it isn’t here, then either it’s waiting in the moderation queue (shouldn’t take long, I check it a couple of times a day and if you’ve been posting a long time and follow the comments policy your comments go straight up) or your comment didn’t abide by the comments policy and got blocked.

    The comments policy in detail is below, but in short discussion here should be in the spirit of non-partisanship. Everyone slips up now and again, I don’t check every post and if you are a political anorak then you’ve got political views that are going to show through. As long as it’s all good natured we can live with that. Generally speaking though, try and keep discussion non-partisan – if you are writing a post saying that politican B is an idiot or policy A is downright silly, then ask yourself if it’s really the right place. Is it adding anything to discussion, or just dragging it towards “my party is better than yours, na, na, na”?

    I don’t like moderating and try not to do it, but one posts stat getting partisan it becomes a viscious circle because everyone wants to respond to refute X or defend Y and soon it is the same sort of bearpit as every other comments section. If you’ve made a comment that you didn’t intend to be partisan that got blocked, then try again using more objective language (or ponder whether it was really an objective post in the first place).

  45. Anthony: Apologies for asking again, but do you know when the next poll(s) are scheduled?

    Also would it be possible to have written down somewhere for reference what the ‘standard’ schedule is for the release dates of them? If there is one?

  46. For what it’s worth, the quality of posting on here has improved immeasurably in recent weeks. Although that could be down to poor Anthony spending his day weeding out the rants!

    I enjoy the fact that there is a political element to the discussion surrounding the polls and I find it very helpful to hear opposing (Tory leaning) views that are well considered, respectful and honestly made (Colin, Philip Thompson and Lukw to name but a few). It gives you some faith in human nature when compared to some of the unintelligible vitriol and bile you see on the BBC Politics or newspaper blogs which actually I find quite depressing.

    I think its partly because you have to be a real anorak to visit this site and actually care about the subject matter enough to be interested in what people of all political hues have to say.

  47. I come here to restore my spirits, and go to Iain Dale to dance with the wolves!(don’t follow me there, though, it can be fun but it’s rarely worth it!)

  48. Philip – no idea, I’d be very surprised if several papers didn’t commission polls to see what the reaction to the non-election is.

    The regular timetable is Populus on the first Tuesday of the month, YouGov on the last Friday of the month. ICM moves about a bit, but is normally on a Tuesday late in the month. MORI is mid month but it depends who pays the money what day it pops up on. ComRes seems to have mysteriously vanished.

    There are semi-regular polls by YouGov and ICM in the Sunday Times and Sunday Telegraph respectively, but they seem to vary which weekend (I think the Sunday Times is offically the second weekend of the month, but it moves).

  49. ‘Double tax’– I think it’s because the actual individual (or the estate, so in effect the individual) pays the tax which makes it a one off issue. Do I care if the company which employs me pays tax and I pay tax? Well, I do but I don’t think the person on the street would. It is also the emotionality of the 2nd taxation time; yep, the government kicks me when I have died. These elements are why I think IHT is a unique tax and why people respond to it as an issue. Now it has become an issue of ‘should the really wealthy be exempted / you nicked my idea’ it has been kicked into the normal play area of politics and I think will be far less emotionally interesting to the average person.

  50. And with regard to newspaper readership and power the book makes an interesting observation which has even more strength today–let’s not forget that daily readership of newspapers is dying. This may help explain why, even given a particular newspaper’s attitudes it will have less effect than say 20 years ago when daily reading was given. The book also points out which parts of the paers are most read;and TV program details are tops by a decent way. Only then the news.

1 2 3