As usual, the Sunday Times commissioned questions on quite a grab bag of topics. The full results are here, and here are a few of the other interesting findings therein. Firstly, asked about the pre-budget report, the majority of people supported the measures – 54% to 30% – but there was also little confidence that that they would help make the recession shorter or less severe. 28% thought they would definitely (3%) or probably (25%) make things better, 17% thought they would make things worse, 45% thought they would make little difference at all.

Borrowing still appears to be the weakness in the government’s approach. 27% agreed with the statement that ‘It is right for the government to increase borrowing sharply at a time like this, in order to support the economy and stop the recession becoming too deep’, but 48% agreed instead with the statement ‘It is wrong for the government to increase borrowing so sharply: any short-term benefits will be less than the longer term costs to the economy and to taxpayers’. Notably, this is the same question that YouGov asked for the Telegraph on the day of the PBR – back then the figures were 33% to 50%, so the balance of opinion has shiftly marginally against borrowing since then.

YouGov went on to give respondents a list of other statements about the economic debate. On the idea of Gordon Brown as a major global figure, taking a lead in deciding world policies was narrowing disagreed with, 44% to 40%, though given the normal public cynicism towards politicians I’d regard this as a very positive finding for Brown. Other findings were less good, 53% agreed that the government weren’t actually interested in doing what was best for the economy, only what would help win the election (32% disagreed), 43% thought David Cameron was right to say that Labour’s spending plans can’t be afforded (32% disagreed). Finally, as with ComRes’s survey, there was surprisingly little support for the accusation that the Conservative were a “do nothing” party: 38% agreed and 39% disagreed. As with the question of Brown as a world leader, I’d expect normal public cynicism about politicians to produce support for this statement, but it hasn’t.

It would seem from these figures that a weak point for the government seems to be the accusation that they are borrowing too much, a strong point Gordon Brown being seen as a global figure in the forefront of the global effort to manage the economic crisis. The Government attack on the Conservatives as a “do nothing” party meanwhile, doesn’t seem to have as much traction as one might have expected.

Moving on, for what I think must be the first time in several years they asked about attitudes to the Euro. 31% of people said Britain should rule out joining on principle, 22% said Britain should not join for the next four or five years at least, 27% supported joining when economic condiction were right, 11% supported joining now. Asked how they would vote in a referendum on joining the Euro, 24% would vote yes, 59% no.

Finally, YouGov asked about airport expansion. 50% of respondents agreed with the statement that “we have to expand out airport capacity or else suffer long-term economic damage”, 30% that “we shouldn’t expand airport capacity anymore even if it does hurt the economy” (there were 21% don’t knows, which I suspect may be high because of respondents who believed you could stop airport expansion without damaging the economy”). On the specific question of the Stanstead protesters, while 48% sympathised with their motives, 81% disapproved of their methods.

62 Responses to “More from YouGov’s Sunday poll”

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  1. Its out Con 38%, Lab 33%, LibDem 19%

  2. Tony – no idea why you’d think I was “right of Cameron”. Insofar as I’ve discussed my politics here, it’s mainly been in terms of my contempt for Brown and my dislike of how authoritarian Labour has become.


  3. So three of the pollsters have the Conservatives under 40% now. Also loads of other good news for Labour. The LibDems seem to be doing quite well too. But Labour still need to Raise the game, get their % up. Winning a majority with a lower % than the Conservatives would not be good, neck and neck would be fine.

  4. an artical in the exspress today reported that the labour party has been talking election talk with its election mistro’s and is talking about a febuary election. bottler brown will bottle again. nd ow yes an add champigen is on the way for the new year.

  5. I can’t see any argument for a February election – it would look like cutting and running and it will be freezing then! June is the earliest respectable time although my money is on October unless the polls are so bad he is forced to wait till 2010

  6. I imagine that if Brown were to call any election in 2009, he would be accused of “cutting and running”, when he doesn’t actually need to call an election until the middle of 2010. I doubt he would go in February when the nights are dark and the weather is bad, but a few mischievous off-the-record briefings about a possible February election might allow him to claim credit for waiting until his real preferred date – maybe sometime in June?

  7. One strong argument for a Feb 09 election…. Desperation.


  8. It seems that the Brown bounce as come to a shuddering halt, look, the Conervative lead has only reduced by 10% to the previous poll.

    Long may the faltering Brown bounce continue.

    I think the two biggest things from the poll is that Brown is now 11% in front of Cameron on running the economy and the Conservatives have dropped to 38%.The second one being the most important as most people point to the fact that if the Conservatives manage 40% or above they will be the biggest party at an election.

    There is apparently a few more polls to be reported in the next few days so we will see if Brown bounce continues shuddering to parity between the main parties.

  9. Low results for both Conservative and Labour in the ICM poll. The theme seems to be around a 5 point lead for the Tories though.

    Four of five pollsters have Tories 5 points up +/-1pt.

    I feel that it’ll need to reach parity before an election is called. Could be awkward for Labour to manage that if the Euro reaches parity with the pound before then. If it reaches 99p then recovers they may not suffer as much, but if it reaches the psychological milestone of 100p there’s going to be a lot of negative press that may be too much to recover from.

  10. i’ve just finished updating the polling data for the month to-date the current average for this month is

    CON 39.2 -2.6

    LAB 35.0 +1.7

    LD 15.2 -0.1

    OTH 10.6 +1.0

    changes o last months total

  11. Peter:

    “Equally if Labour felt it was being yanked on Salmond’s chain I bet that would chaff. It might even be too high a price for them if they thought it would do them long term damage in England.”

    Worse than that, how would Labour in the SP cope?Some New Labour loyalist MSP’s would be in therapy.

    If it were the other way round, I think Annabel Goldie is level-headed enough and smart enough to act in an adult fashion, and the Conservatives are not the alternate main party of government.

    There can never be a (leftish) Labour party coalition in Scotland with the SNP nor a New-Labour coalition with the Conservatives until we have an independence for the Scottish Labour party whether that comes in an independent Scotland or not.

    An intriguing question is whether, in the event that an formal arrangement was being worked out between a minority Labour government in Westminster and the SNP, would the Labour leader in the Scottish Parliament (a) be consulted, (b) be forewarned (c) find out about it when he was questioned by a journalist? or worst of all (d) when told by Alex Salmond.

  12. Mark M

    “I tend to go for ‘Gordon Brown, the Great Economic Saviour of our Time’ when referring to him.”

    I know you’re joking and even GB doesn’t believe that, but I’d rather have a PM that would rather put some effort into avioding a crisis than one who like TB was over confident about his ability to sell “tough decisions” or be the economic or other saviour of our time. I’d rather have a boring government than an exciting one.

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