The full tables for the YouGov/Sunday Times poll are now available here.

Looking at the other tracker questions they follow the same trends as the voting intention. Brown’s net approval rating is minus 25, down from minus 17 last month and minus 13 the month before, a month ago Cameron & Osborne’s lead on which team people trusted to raise their standard of living had withered to just 1 point, now it is back up to 7. As ever with the Sunday Times poll though, there were a large number of questions on a wide variety of other subjects – here’s some highlights.

The economy

As with Populus’s poll, economic optimism has again fallen. The proportion of people who think the economy is doing badly has gone from 88% a month ago to 92% now. More importantly, given that almost everyone thinks things are bad and the issue is really how bad, the proportion of people who think things are “very bad” has grown from 42% to 52%.

People also seem to be more worried about the economic turmoil affecting their own lives – last month 42% said they were afraid that they, or someone else in their family, might lose their job; that has now risen to 47% (in some ways of course, in the longer term that might not be so bad for Labour. 47% of households are not going to see someone lose their job, so if it is an expectations game, that’s probably one Labour can exceed!).

Most of the blame for the economic crisis is still being placed firmly upon the banks. 82% of people agree with the statement “This is a global recession caused by the banking crisis”. A bare majority (50%) reject the statement that “This is ‘Gordon Brown’s recession’ caused mainly by this Government’s management of the economy”, 37% agree.

On the face of it one might think those figures aren’t too bad for Labour – people blame the banks, not the government. Actually it’s probably just a result of putting statements that are rather too black and white – asking people who the main culprit is, rather than whether people share some of the blame. Even if one believed that Gordon Brown had handled the economy badly and contributed to the recession, it would be rather stretching things to claim that the government’s economic management is the main cause of what is very clearly a global situation.

YouGov also tested the “Conservatives are a do nothing party” line again. This time 39% of people agreed and 41% disagreed, split, unsurprisingly, very much along party lines. The same question was asked back in December, when the split was 38% agree, 39% disagree, so while the tiny move against isn’t significant, we can at least conclude that it hasn’t gained any traction in a month.

Taking a slightly wider view, YouGov asked how they thought the economy should be balanced between the private and public sector. On average people said they would prefer an equal balance, with a slight preference towards the private sector. The question gave them a 10 point scale, and 44% picked the dead centre, with 26% picking a point on the private sector side and 20% a point on the public sector side.

Asked how they perceived the British economy at the moment, 60% of people thought the private sector played more of a role than the public sector. On average, therefore, people would prefer an economy that they perceive as more balanced and less dominated by the private sector. However, if you look at the party breaks this is not the same across the board. Labour voters see the economy currently as very tilted towards the private sector and would like things to be tilted towards the public sector. Conservative voters see the present economy as slightly tilted towards the private sector…but would like it to become more so.


Nationwide support for the Heathrow expansion stands at 29%, with 42% opposed. On the face of it this suggests people outside London are slightly more hostile to Heathrow expansion than those in London, who a YouGov poll last week found divided 35%-43% against. In fact, the questions that were asked are different, but looking just at the London break in this poll, Londoners appear to be very marginally more in favour, but the difference really isn’t much to get excited about.

Asked about airport expansion in general, 26% of people opposed expanding our airports at all. 59% said airports should be expanded, but were split evenly between whether that extra expansion should be at Heathrow or elsewhere (interestingly there wasn’t much difference in regional splits – one could easily imagine people wanting airport expansion, but not near them, or people wanting airport expansion in their own region, rather than always in the South-East. Actually neither of these happened (or they cancelled out); apart from in Scotland there was no real difference at all).

Prince Harry

YouGov also asked a couple of questions about the royal family and racism on the back of the Prince Harry story. A large majority of people backed Harry – 68% agreed with the statement “it was used in a good-natured way and wasn’t racist”, 19% said it was unacceptable. An even larger percentage of respondents – 78% – were unconcerned about Prince Charles calling a friend “Sooty”. 66% of people said the royal family were not racist, 17% thought they were.


Finally – though these are just my selection, there is some other stuff in the poll if you follow the link – YouGov asked about the conflict in Gaza and who was to blame. 18% said Israel, 24% said Hamas, 39% thought they were equally to blame.

38 Responses to “YouGov on the economy, Heathrow, Harry and Gaza”

  1. 37% think that it’s ‘Brown’s Recession’. Seems high. I’m a conservative and it’s a global recession caused by overlending. My big problem with Brown is the amount of debt he put the country in when everything was fine. To me, it isn’t his recession, but it is his policies that mean we are going to be paying for it for a long time.

  2. Scottish figures are the following;

    Lab 28%, Tory 28%, LibDem 14%, SNP 27%, Others 3%.

    The Tories on 28% is something I have trouble with as although Labour have been moving back I really can’t see the Tories jumping 9% since the last poll and 6% above their highest of 22% for 2008. It just doesn’t fit with any current narrative.

    On this labour would have lost 1)% and the SNP 3%. I could understand us down 3% but not Labour down 10%. At 14% the Libdems are 2% or so above their 2008 avaerage, although I can’t see a reason for that.

    So overall I suspect that Labour are down and the Tories up near 20% but not 28%.


  3. Weighted Moving Average 42:33:15 CLead seems to be 9 – this “Brown Bounce” appears to be evaporating just like the previous two: as suspected.

  4. @Cllr Peter Cairns (SNP)

    I think you may be wrong and you are seeing the first of the real protest votes.

    On a seperate note, I watched a comedy programme the other day where gordon brown was thought of as ineffectual and a pantomime that joked about Gordon’s chances at the next ellection (Robin Hood with john Barrowman) Robin was seen as Camaeron and Brown was seen as the one who “robs from the poor to give to the rich”. It’s an intersting commentry from current celebrity eviws of what’s happening. Even Jo Brand had little in the way of support to offer.

    Sorry I know this point makes little difference in the polls, but maybe it adds a bit more narative outside of westminster…ps the panto was in birmingham and well worth seeing :-)

    PS Question from a comment on a previous poll….When dead cats bounce, do they still land on their feet or do they land on their feet still?

  5. It was interesting to read the tables. It was the last question that both made me smile and yet feel disgusted with the nEU-Labour years.

    I have no time for Mr Ross, but am encouraged by the support he gets from those who agree that he has been punished already, so let him get on with his life. Shame that the same sentiment is not shared for all crimes – however heinous – and the implementation of the rule-of-law is not equally respected.

    One question for Anthony: your constituency-guide graphic. Who came up with the colour scheme/distribution…?

  6. A very reassuring poll, from my point of view. Nice to see common sense prevailing on various issues that the media has been quite extraordinarily over-excited about.

  7. As ever, given the small sample sizes, the regional figures bounce around a lot.

    But the marginal-rich Midlands are still looking pretty good for the Conservatives.

  8. “The Tories on 28% is something I have trouble with ”

    so-a Rogue Poll for Scotland eh Peter?

    or maybe the policy initiatives which Scottish Cons are forcing in return for Budget support resonate with Scots?

    Better control of Public Spending for example?-or the inner city regeneration fund?

  9. Somehow I just can’t escape this nagging feeling that we are watching a Labour government lose, rather than an interesting or even vaguely good opposition win. There’s been a series of snippets in the last few days that make me feel the Conservatives will really struggle if/when they achieve power. Cameron hasn’t got his roof mounted wind turbine, two years after he made such a fuss – all spin? Villiers hasn’t ruled out Boris’s plans for a Thames estuary airport – so opposition to Heathrow is not about the environment but west London marginals? Shadow minister says police should have only one job, while has three worth £100K on top of his MPs salary – as hypocritical as ever. Serious revolts over the return of Ken Clarke – has the party really changed? I don’t think we have a very good government at present, but neither do I expect it to get any better if Cameron wins – just posher accents and more smarmy.
    I honestly believe that if we hadn’t had the economic derailment Cameron would be in serious trouble right now. I still think its well worth a punt on a Brown majority in 2010, although it would be one of the most depressing bets I’ve ever placed.

  10. “just posher accents ”

    As observed in an interesting article in The Times today-our social mobility problems result from Classroom, not Class.

    “economic derailment ”

    Very goog-that’s a new one-don’t think it chimes with “made in America” too well though -can trains cross the Atlantic?

    Actually “made in America” itself looks a bit shaky after today’s revelations about UK Banks lending to dodgy Russians.

    I’m getting really confused about our Banks & Gordon’s Rescues.

    In the FT GB has just said :-

    “One of the necessary elements for the next stage is for people to have a clear understanding that bad assets have been written off,

    “We have got to be clear that where we have got clearly bad assets, I expect them to be dealt with”

    ….”Next Stage” ????

    What was the £37 BN all about then?
    Wasn’t that to recapitalise Banks as a result of Asset write downs?

    Now they are going to get Billions more -is this to guarantee the New Lending we so desperately need-or to “guarantee” past lending which has gone bad?

    This is beginning to look like a dogs dinner.

  11. Colin,

    If either of these initiatives had received any real coverage in the Scottish media it could have an impact, but they haven’t and even if they had it’s highly unlikely to be 10% in one month and 6% higher than the high point for last year.

    I didn’t in any way rule out that the Tories could be back up to about 20% which is higher than last years average, what I very much doubt is that it brings them any where near level with Labour and ahead of the SNP.

    As I have said before these samples can potentially give an indication of the direction of change and if Scotland is moving in the same direction as the rest of the UK.

    What they can’t give is any precision to base a prediction on.


  12. Perhaps it’s tme for Gordon to have a word with Ken Clarke on ‘Managing Your Way out of a Recession’ and ‘Knowing the Limitations of Government’.

  13. ken clarke, an old dog with no new tricks, he’s to pro-EU for me, but i would like to see him in the lords up against the prince of darkness, beacuse i think the key to winning the next election is beating mandelson in the lords, giving the public the picture he is not up to the job. as for the conservative lead it’s good to see that the public are starting to come back to them but, the conservatives should not think that the storm force winds are over yet, as we all know polls can change over night and at the minuet there is all still to play for as swing voters do not know where to turn. in respect to scotland i would exspect to see the conservatives hit around 22 or 23% at the next election more in line with the rest of the country.

    the average data shows that. at an election the conservatives would finish with a majorty of 34.

    CON 342 42.5% con lead 9.7% month so far
    LAB 254 33.8%
    LD 24 14.8%
    OTH 30 9.9%

  14. I wonder whether it’s possible that the Scottish section of this poll is about right and theanti-Labour majority in Scotland is switching from the SNP to the Conservatives.

    The key element of SNP belief is that Scotland should be independent, but the catastrophic collapse of Scotland’s two main banks, which is continuing, demonstrates that Scotland would be bankrupt on its own, and the huge bail-outs coming from the English taxpayer advance the cause of Unionism which is most associated with the Conservatives.

    This could be a highly significant element in the equation because numbers like YouGov’s today would produce material Conservative gains in Scotland.

  15. sorry lab vote 32.8% not 33.8%, mix up from last month however the above data for seats is correct

  16. ‘“just posher accents ”

    As observed in an interesting article in The Times today-our social mobility problems result from Classroom, not Class.’

    All studies of education in the western world show the strongest predictor of how well a child does at school is home background; the least important is schooling. Home is about creating educational skills; schools are about certification. For example, the strongest predictor of whether a child goes to tertiary education is did the parents–not surprising guess which skills the parents value and encourage; reading, books, writing, discussion, educational trips to museums, holidays where history is seen etc..

    Tories and labour like to look at the exceptional in schools- the odd great teacher, the odd great school- and argue that all schools should be like that but mathematically the exceptional is obviously exceptional.

    This is because political parties can then avoid pointing out to most parents that their children are good / fair / poor because the parents are the same. Parents vote, you see– so you can’t blame them.

    And yes, I can cite all the academic articles to support the above.

    Is it class? The very left would call it straight social hegemony; those in power determine the content of education to reflect their values…

  17. Clive,

    Except that the last two Yougov polls (Nov & Dec) have had SNP and Tory scores of 30%/15% and 29%/17%. In Jan Labour were at 42% the Tories at 20% and the SNP at 27% with the Libdems on 8%.

    So you could say the SNP has slipped back 3% since Nov and 2% since just before Christmas, but those declines (which could be realistic given the focus on the credit crunch and Westminster) don’t account in any way for the Tories rising by 13% from Nov and and 11% since Christmas.

    In fact the SNP at 27% are at the same as early January. In contrast the Libdems are up 6% the Tories up 8% and Labour have slumped 14%.

    So if there is a change then, as I said on another topic, it could be that it’s a shift in voting patterns within the unionist parties that we are seeing and that is causing these swings.

    I did think it could be down to a focus on Westminster but it could equally be that as the SNP has a strong core support the share of the SNP vote susceptible to a swing is lower particularly when Labour are sliding.

    Another reason for these swings other than a sudden Labour failing or Tory breakthrough could be that earlier factors are wearing off.

    If the positive effect of some of the big announcements that boosted Labour in October are fading and some of their smaller initiatives since then also dropping out ( much like older polls in Anthony’s average) then Labour could drop for no apparent recent reason.

    However although that could well be part of the explanation for this shift I just don’t think it’s enough to explain double digit swings in one month.


    P.s. Ken Clarke has just rejoined the Tory cabinet, mark my words it will all end in pies…….

  18. Again I repeat that we are seeing in Scotland a protest vote and SNP (as they are in power) is not where it’s going. I think you will see this figure sustained of the next few polls.

    I do agree with the comment about SNP core support though.

  19. Keir,

    Maybe we aren’t that far apart in our views it’s just the scale of the protest that is the issue.

    However although Labour may well suffer in very few seats are they at risk and if it is the Libdems and Tories that benefit more than the SNP it may well be that not many seats change hands.

    We’ll have to wait until Anthony separates Scotland out for Poll average and seat predictions.


  20. La Tonbee in the Guardian is worth a look re the Heathrow ecision

    In particular it reflects on the paranoid and disfunctional nature of the Prime Minister and his impact on decisions. It is this that will grind labour in the dirt if he is allowed by the party to hang on to the bitter end, as he asuredly otherwise will do.

    Stand by for the pressue on him within the party to mount again as the feeling spreads (as it was last summer) that staying with GB will result in an even more catastrophic result than ditching him late in the day.

    Stand by for a mounting challenge in the summer, his eviction in the early autumn and a late 2009 general election under a new Labour leader

  21. La Tonbee in the Guardian is worth a look re the Heathrow ecision

    (link awaiting moderation)

    In particular it reflects on the paranoid and disfunctional nature of the Prime Minister and his impact on decisions. It is this that will grind labour in the dirt if he is allowed by the party to hang on to the bitter end, as he asuredly otherwise will do.

    Stand by for the pressue on him within the party to mount again as the feeling spreads (as it was last summer) that staying with GB will result in an even more catastrophic result than ditching him late in the day.

    Stand by for a mounting challenge in the summer, his eviction in the early autumn and a late 2009 general election under a new Labour leader

  22. My apologies to Ms Toynbee for mis-spelling her name

  23. The Scottish result is determined on sample of only 186 and is pretty worthless. I will eat my left foot and the shoe and sock on it if the startling Tory rise it shows is anything other than a complete nonsense.

  24. It appears to be the case now that Gordon Brown has missed his opportunity to leave office wish some degree of respectability, and for the Labour party to concede with a respectable loss in an election. I think that a loss was inevitable, but from this point on, I only see things getting worse for Labour… much worse.

    It is my view that it would have been good for the Conservative party to have lost the 1992 election. This would have avoided the decimation/humiliation that they subsequently faces, and are only now starting to recover from.

    I think that this missed opportunity runs a very real danger of doing the same to the Labour party, and years in the wilderness must now be a very alarming prospect for them

  25. @Cllr Peter Cairns (SNP)


    and unfortunately agreed.

    This will be where unless you have an agreement like the Lib / Lab pact not to stand against each other, then very little changes in Scotland (pity the Scot).

    My hope is that apathy of labour supporters will be telling at the next election. It’s one of those items that the polls struggle with and why the tories tend to do better than the polls and labour worse. I’m hoping this will be even more evident this time around.

  26. So Ken Clarke is back. It rather confirms my thinking that the present crop of Tory talent in waiting is extremely modest, to say the least, if Cameron has to rewind 12 years to find a big hitter.
    Conservatives here should not kid themselves that this is a repeat of the mid 90’s, with an impressive opposition sweeping all before it. In those days Brown, Blair, Cook – even dear old Mags Becket – regularly shredded their opposite numbers in Parliament. The talent availble to Cameron (including his own abilities) is dire, and but for a global crisis they would really be struggling against a third rate third term government.
    Even with the present situation they still have a projected majority of just 34 – we should be in once in a lifetime landslide territory by now.

  27. @ Alec – that sounds a lot like grapes souring … Clarke was never exactly “gone”. Unlike, say, Peter Mandelson, he’s still an MP. He’s unpopular with the Tories’ “I may vote for UKIP, mutter mutter grumble” wing but pretty popular with everyone else (except worried Labour supporters, I guess).

    He’s certainly going to give the unelected, twice-ousted Mandelson a run for his money.

  28. The recent Comres figures are;

    Labour 35%, Tory 13%, LibDem 7%, SNP 36%, Others 9%?.

    This poll has;

    Lab 28%, Tory 28%, LibDem 14%, SNP 27%, Others 3%.

    That’s Labour -7%, Tory +15%, LibDem +7%, SNP -9%, Others +6%, based on two polls in the same week.

    Like I say the sub-samples can give you an idea of a trend or that something is starting to change, but they won’t tell you anything that you can make a prediction on.


  29. Alec

    This is pure wishful thinking on your part.

    Madnelsonian spin managed to fool some of the people some of the time – but each “Brown Bounce” is weaker than the last, and I think there will be great public anger that they were lied to about the recession.

    We’ll be back to 20 point C Leads within a couple of months – and there will be a leadership challenge to Brown at or before the next conference.

  30. Alec – “…Cameron has to rewind 12 years to find a big hitter.”

    Brown was forced to bring in the twice-disgraced Mandelson. Big hitters are few and far between, and these are the lengths you have to go to bring them into the cabinet.

    Sadly the talent on both sides is sorely lacking. Miliband, Balls, Cooper and Harman are not exactly big hitters either. It’s the lesser of two evils whichever way you vote.

  31. Clark and Hague are about the most popular front line politicians in the country.

    Smiley, youthful Cameron and Osbourne give an air of ‘newness’ and dispell the ‘myth’ of nastiness in the party.

    Anyone who’s ever seen Gove talk on tv would have to class him as a heavyweight too. I reckon the Tory front bench is looking pretty hot personally!

    Bringing in Clark, with all the media spin about his views beng opposed to his partys, also reminds people of a eurosceptic bent (potential UKIP defectors) that, in the main, the party is NOT very pro-European at all.

    So his inclusion cements the sceptic ideas in the publics mind without Cameron having to announce anything that sounds too ‘core vote’ or right wing.

    Bloody genius in my opinion!

  32. Much of the hype about Clarke as a ‘big hitter’ is largely unjustified. I suppose he hits the headlines, but he was hardly a ministerial success. A mediocre Health Secretary and an ineffectual Education Secretary, even as Chancellor he tried to double the rate of VAT on fuel bills and thereby hurt most of all the disadvantaged. He could hardly fail at the Exchequer, following the unfortunate Lamont and the disastrous ERM fiasco, initiated by one J. Major as Chancellor. He is cheerful, very knowledgeable about jazz and likes a cigar. Will he resign as Vice-Chairman of BAT? I cannot see his return affecting polling figures.

  33. Bah humbug, John C …

  34. Ken Clarke was in fact very effective as a Health sec and an Education sec – particularly in dealing with strikes. As chancellor he was at least a sight better than Brown or Darling, which matters. I think the main risk with bringing Ken back is that he might not be able to keep his big mouth shut on Europe. Europe is deeply unpopular (and rightly so) not only in the Conservative party, but in the country generally.

    Personally I can’t see much Tory-UKIP effect happening, particularly with William Hague around to keep Ken in check. William Hague is a real big-hitter, very funny, a great public speaker and very popular, even outwith the party.

    What mileage can Labour get out of his appointment? Very little – after Mandy they cant exactly make “Old Dog” jokes, and even if he starts sounding off about Europe, the Labour party would have a nerve to say anyone else is divided, particularly after the summer, when the entire cabinet will be after GBs job.

  35. IPSOS/MORI Poll – Conservatives 14% ahead of Labour.

  36. Well well well – thank you MR CAIRNS for finally agreeing that there is the very high possibility that the Tories will scoop the 11 to 12 seats in Scotland i predicted over 18 months ago and was derided for.

    Of course the Scots will back the Tories at a GE – they are suffereing as much as anyone else in the country under this present regime – if not more so.

    Labour are heading for a massive wipeout in the GE – never to be seen in their present form ever again.

    Each month now that passes everyones financial position will be getting worse and they will realise that there is a reason that the British Pound is collapsing on world markets and no other major currency is doing the same – is because it NOT a world crisis – it is a British crisis – started here and in America. The Americans can buy their way out – we can’t cos’ the two men at the top in the last 11 years have spent all the money and left the cupboard empty!!

  37. Mike,

    Can you read?


  38. David MacEwan Hill

    That’s about right. The Scottish Cons are – as the hospital spokesmen used to say – doing as well as could be expected. If they stem the decline of half a century they will have achieved something worthwhile.

    I can believe they might gain a handful of points but not more. There isn’t going to be any dramatic change in Scotland, a modest advance mostly in rural areas for the SNP, a big loss of votes where they can afford to lose them for Labour.

    The Scottish conservatives are not getting media attention because they are neither the present government nor the likely next one.