Today sees the first polls taken since the nationalisation of Northern Rock. A snap Populus poll with a small sample size for the Times found that 49% of people agreed that it was right for the government to nationalise Northern Rock, with 40% disagreeing -although 69% thought they should have tried harder to find a private buyer. 58% of people said the government was to blame for the problems affecting Northern Rock to some extent, but this was lower than the proportion of people who blamed the credit crunch, the city authorities or the management of Northern Rock itself.

The poll appears to show Brown and Darling back ahead of Cameron and Osborne on economic trust, though it’s worth noting that the poll doesn’t appear to have been politically weighted. Answers to questions like that are often extremely party partisan, so this shift will be largely to do with weighting, rather than a change in public opinion.

While there is support for nationalisation, it doesn’t mean that Labour’s handling of the issue is a positive for them, it may simply be a recognition that it is only practical opinion at this stage, the public could still think the overall way the problem was handled is poor. A second poll, this time by YouGov for the Economist, found only 11% thought the government’s handling of Northern Rock over the last few months was excellent or good, 51% think it has been poor or awful.

Does this benefit the Conservatives? In the short term at least, not at all: if anything, their reaction appears to have backfired on them. 59% of people agreed the Conservatives would have done much the same and they are just playing politics. That may reflect no more than a low opinion of all politicans rather than the Conservatives specifically, but the proof of the pudding is in the voting intentions – and the figures for the Economist show a marginal shift from the Conservatives to Labour in the wake of the nationalisation – the topline figures with changes from the last YouGov poll were CON 40%(-1), LAB 34%(+2), LDEM 16%(nc). As ever, we shouldn’t read too much into small changes in a single poll, but it looks like this hasn’t damaged Labour.

64 Responses to “First post-nationalisation polls”

1 2
  1. If I met an investor who said “I want to put my £50m in Northern Rock @ 6.49% , not (say) a European property fund run by (say) Hammerson”, I’d think he’d gone completely mad!

  2. I’d hope the Tories can expand in North Tyneside – as I think there are 1 or 2 seats won in 2007 that weren’t won in 2004 (after the candidate row blew up), but overall control looks quite a tough prospect.

  3. Nick Clegg has come out for a referendum on EU membership…

    Here are the various figures with Membership polls at the bottom;

    Of course it’s a good move for Clegg with the Tories biting in to his vote and UKIP fading.

    It’s unlikely to happen so he can play the standard local LibDem tactic of backing a popular cause that they no fine well they will never fulfil.

    I remember John Farquhar Monroe and Charles Kennedy doing well campaigning against against Skye bridge tolls even though the executive they were part of was backing them and JFM had proposed the toll bridge when he was a Highland councillor.

    Even in the unlikely event of a referendum, the Libdems would vote yes and probably so would the public so it’s win win for Clegg, No referendum because it might be close and he can look good, a yes referendum he looks good.

    It will get his profile up and a lot of people will probably buy into it. I wonder of Nicol Stephen will try the same tactic in the hope that the SNP either avoids it because we would lose, or call it and then lose?

    Watch this space.


  4. Peter – Do you think the UK withdrawing from Europe would bring Scottish Independence closer? Presumably, Scotland would want to stay in.

    I believe the UK would vote to stay in, whatever the current polling figures – the main argument for not wanting a referendum is that we’d lose a little leverage if we “renewed our vows” (we’d no longer be able to hint that we might leave if we don’t get our way).

    If that’s a winning argument, Clegg could be made to look naive.

  5. Clegg’s argument that most of the electorate has never had the chance to vote on EU membership in a referendum could be applied to a whole range of things. I have never been asked if I wish to live in a monarchy, for example, or whether I am satisfied with our current electoral system. Both equally important constitutional issues, among many others. But there is no detectable public demand for referendums on any of them.

    Of course he’s entitled to try to score points off both the other parties with this demand that he knows will never be met. But he knows that the EU is most unlikely to be among the top concerns of most voters, in spite of all the efforts of a strange alliance of the far-right and far-left – and of the Murdoch media in particular.

    He is right that the real issue of the benefits (or otherwise) of EU membership has not been properly or seriously discussed for decades. If he really wants to make a contribution on this, he should stop trying to score points against Labour and Consevatives over a non-issue, and keep speaking up on what he sees as the benefits of our membership.

  6. John t t – an interesting possibility. It could go either way. At times the SNP has toyed with the idea of Independence outside Europe, although I’m pretty sure this is not current policy. Also, there are many in Scotland who might have liked to withdraw to protect the fishing industry, although I suspect the time for this has passed…

    Personally I think the idea of a referendum on the new treaty is silly, as no one will have read it and it will not be a rational vote, just a screaming match. There is little point IMHO in aving referenda on such technical issues, save it for the big picture stuff.

  7. Alasdair Cameron

    Yes, the demand for a referendum on what is a highly technical issue is a dangerous invitation for people to “bash the government of the day” rather than consider the actual issues.

    No government has put any of the other treaties, such as Mastricht (sp?) to a referendum, with good reason. The only issue that could make sense would be “in or out” – but there is no strong demand for this, and Clegg’s motives for calling for this are suspect (to me anyway).

    I’d bet that even most of the more politically aware (perhaps even most of those who post here) haven’t read the thing, and have only a vague idea of most of its contents. Blair was uncharacteristically daft to get hoist with that unnecessary petard, even for the originally proposed Constitution.

    By the way, since it would affect all of us, not just Scotland, I hope the whole of the UK electorate would have a vote in any (highly unlikely) referendum to split up the United Kingdom.

  8. The televised debate in The House on the Treaty is a great help in understanding the issues. The speakers are most impressive in their grasp of the detail, and what they see as the key issues.

    The promised”line by line” consideration has not been possible because of the time constraints imposed by the government-much to the annoyance of parliamentarians on all sides. But the debate is a real one & very informative.

  9. Source= a FTSE 100 Treasurer. It’s the Debt markets, which are scary enough already, that it impacts most directly.

  10. A new poll by ComRes for tomorrow’s Independent shows a three point move back to the Tories since last month. The shares are CON 41% (+3): LAB 30% (nc): LD 17% (nc)

  11. Current SNP policy is Independence I the EU and membership of the Euro, and that’s likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.

    However their is a move backed in part by the Tories for the Scottish Parliament to hold a consultative referendum in Scotland on the EU treaty.

    Although it wouldn’t be binding on the Uk it would send a powerful message. So far Alex seems to be “open” to the idea as although we are pro EU membership the SNP opposed the treaty as it didn’t reform the CFP which is still a big issue particularly in the North and North East.

    There is a one of the private referendum being held (backed by the Tories) in East Renfrewshire Europe minister Jim Murphy’s seat.


  12. NBeale, you’ve either misheard your source or garbled it somehow. It certainly is difficult to raise funds from banks for gearing purposes, as it now costs a lot more, but that’s not the same as raising funds from investors (private and institutional), who continue to see benefits in investing in low-ish risk, well-managed funds rather than in Northern Rock or any other haigh deposit bank account.

  13. Apparently the BBC are running a story saying NR bailed out Newcastle Falcons rugby club with £15 million just before asking for emergency assistance. No possibility of getting the money back allegedly. Of course if the bailiffs seize Johnny Wilkinson maybe the RFU will pay up

1 2