The full tables for the Sunday Times YouGov poll are available here and, as usual, there are questions on a wide and wonderful variety of things.

Firstly on bank bailouts and bonuses, 62% of respondents thought that rescuing the banks will cost taxpayers in the long run, while 25% thought that eventually the taxpayer would end up better off when the government sells the banks back into the private sector. Asking about salaries and bonuses in general, rather than just about bankers, 55% of people did not think there should be any limit on earnings, as long as they were linked to performance. 13% thought no one in Britain should earn more than £150k, 15% backed a limit of £500k, 7% a limit of a million.

Moving on, YouGov asked about attitudes to Afghanistan. 78% of people thought that the stablisation of Afghanistan was a worthwhile objective… but the majority of these thought it was not worth risking the lives of British soldiers. The majority (64%) also thought that the war there could never be won. Neither did many people feel that the presence of troops in Afghanistan was containing the problem and stopping to spreading to Pakistan: only 21% thought it would help, 31% thought it made no difference and 26% thought it was making things worse.

Despite all this, only 17% thought all western troops should be withdrawn from Afghanistan. A further 26% wanted Britain to withdraw, but didn’t much care what other countries did. 7% wanted the status quo maintained and 38% wanted the West to send more troops, though the overwhelming majority didn’t want these to be British. More popular seemed to be a diplomatic solution – 64% said Britain and America should be willing to talk to the Taliban.

Closer to home YouGov asked about the protests by Islamist groups against British soldiers returning from Iraq. 53% of respondents said protesters such as those who called troops “butchers” and “baby killers” should be prosecuted for public order offences; 35% said that however offensive these were, it was their right to protest in a free socirty.

Despite the recent murders in Northern Ireland, the public remain broadly optimistic about the prospects for peace. Only 23% thought a return to the levels of violence in the 70s and 80s was likely (and hardly any thought it was very likely). 68% thought it was unlikely there would be a return to those levels of violence.

Finally YouGov asked about the media coverage of Jade Goody’s terminal illness. Respondents were evenly split on their reaction – 43% said it was macabre and of no interest, 44% said it was right that she was breaking the taboo and trying to earn money to keep her children after her death. There was, not particularly surprising given the audience of celebrity magazines, a sharp gender difference. Men thought it was macabre by 57% to 31%. Women though it was right by 57% to 31%.

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

  1. Anthony,

    I was wondering what you felt about the worthyness of asking questions leading to results such as ”78% of people thought that the stablisation of Afghanistan was a worthwhile objective… ”

    Is there much point in asking such a vague question? I mean, if someone phoned me up or I took part online and I was asked ”would world peace be a good thing” I am almost certain to say ‘yes’. The qu on Afganistan is surely too vague and fuzzy to tell us much – might it not have been better for Yougov then to have asked those 78% who said ‘yes’ to choose from a series of answers as to why they thought stabilization was worthwhile? Those answers migth have been more informative. Also ask those who said ‘no’ to choose from a list to show why they felt that way too.

    Just a thought.

  2. “13% thought no one in Britain should earn more than £150k, 15% backed a limit of £500k, 7% a limit of a million”

    Am I reading this right that that is 35% of *all* people? 35% of all people in the UK begrudge others being successful and want to place a limit on what they can achieve? I suspect this group is growing too.

    I wonder where the UK will be in 50 years. A broke, second tier European nation I suspect. An Eastern Europe type nation.

  3. most laws in this country are founded in the EU now a day and all have to conform to types of regulation that will not impead the flow of migration to this country, we should do what the french govenment has done, EU second place france first.

  4. or may i add impead any part of the human rights act 1998.

  5. The Bank of England says it expects a period of deflation. But that with the feeding of new money into the economy it is hopeful that this period will be short.

    Whatever the economic implications for deflation I think it, and very low inflation, is political helpful for the government in the short term. And I think this is a considerable factor in the present polls.

    It is only a matter of time, probably a few months, before we see prices rising again and people will feel less well off and more inclined to feel dissatisfied with the Labour government. I remain pretty confident that we will see Labour beginning to poll 26% before the end of May.

  6. “There was, not particularly surprising given the audience of celebrity magazines, a sharp gender difference.”

    That’s one possibility. The other is that Goody is suffering from a variety of cancer that only affects women so it’s not surprising that women might particularly regard the publicity as positive.

    The results regarding the Muslim demonstration against the soldiers in Luton were interesting. I’d like to see a poll that explored public opinion on Muslims and Islam in more depth. The crowd’s reaction in Luton would seem to suggest that patience and tolerance are wearing thin lately.

  7. James,

    I’d go with Anthony’s version. We here a lot about celebrity culture but the gender difference is stark. I suspect if you did a poll of various reality or “star” TV programmes or “Celeb”magazines you would find that close to three quarters of those who regularly watch or read this stuff are women.

    I am not sure how if at all that effects voting intensions etc. but it’s something that needs looking at.


  8. Is it just me, or is it not rather odd that the Scottish YouGov survey published on the same day has:

    Westminster voting intention: CON 20%, LAB 37%, LDEM ? – tbc, SNP 27%

    … yet the Scottish sub-sample of the GB-wide poll shows:

    CON 15%, LAB 39%, LDEM 9%, SNP 32%


    Obviously the full Scottish poll MUST be considered more reliable, due to being properly weighted etc, but still…..

  9. Stuart,

    There is no But about it the full poll will be a better indication. Although it could be a rough it’s unlikely.

    As I have commented before because of the distribution of things like the Libdem vote ( a third in a fifth of the seats) small samples can miss the true strength of a party.

    As the SNP and Labour tend to have the most even distribution and the largest votes they’re figures are probably the most robust but the Tory and Libdem figures swing about all over the place.


  10. ‘most laws in this country are founded in the EU now a day’


    a) I’d like the statistics
    b) So what, anyway, even if you are right. It’s the quality of the laws which is of interest, not the number, nor the place they are amde. The issue is really how many pointless laws which are made, not the number of good laws…

  11. Jack,

    Well said.

    It’s like the classic; “Unelected Brussels Bureaucrats”.

    In this country they are called Civil Servants, and we don’t elect them. In councils they are called officals or officers and we don’t elect them either.

    So the EU works on the same basis as the UK, at local and national level, but there it’s somehow seem as sinister or wrong.


  12. Stuart – the subsample has a margin of error of about 7.5% – you shouldn’t be surprised if the figures are up to 7.5 points off!

  13. Peter – “As the SNP and Labour tend to have the most even distribution and the largest votes they’re figures are probably the most robust but the Tory and Libdem figures swing about all over the place.”


    I have been following Scottish polls for years, and the erratic results for Con and LD are legendary.

    The funny thing is that you almost never see both Con and LD doing well, or both doing badly. It is always one up and the other down. During the last 3 years it has usually been Con up, LD down, but not 100% so.

  14. @ Peter – I’m not denying that but I think the publicity about cervical cancer aspect is also a factor. My mum had breast cancer a few years ago and since that rude awakening has campaigned for greater awareness, because awareness saves lives. Same thing with cervical and other varieties of cancer. Mum hasn’t read a celebrity mag in her life but she’s glad that cervical cancer has been getting so much more attention lately due to Goody and that more women are going for check-ups.

    I’m also not sure how it affects voting intentions, but it’s in the poll so worth a few comments :)

  15. M – I, too, am shocked that 35% of people believe there should be some form of wage cap. Why is success so frowned upon in this country? Yes, there are the few bad apples who earn vast amounts of money without seemingly earning it but I suspect that most people earning a high wage have worked, and continue to work, very hard to get where they are.

    Jack – I believe it’s 84% of our new laws that come from Brussels. Read Daniel Hannan MEP in the Telegraph, he often recites the figure. I think the main problem people have with Brussels’ laws is a perception that they are irrelevant. Outside of the smoking ban, I couldn’t name you a new law, Brussels or UK, brought in that has had any effect on anything done by myself or anyone I know. If a new law doesn’t have any effect, then you may well ask whether people are passing laws for laws sake rather than making an actual difference.

  16. M – i have a feeling that the public are more miffed at remuneration-committee-approved wages and would be OK if, say, some-one started a business selling things and made a fortune out of it.

    Still, it seems to be suggesting that higher taxes for the wealthiest are not as unpopular as they were. Maybe even the £2m IHT threshold will be reduced by Osborne as a result of such a mood-swing?