The full tables for the Yougov/Sunday Times poll are now up on YouGov’s website. I’ll start with the standard leaders approval ratings – which we can compared to those in the last YouGov Sunday Times poll just before conference season – Cameron’s approval rating is virtually unchanged, from +28 to +27, Brown’s is slightly up from -44 to -39, Clegg is slightly down from +17 to +13.

Moving on the more varied topics, as usual the Sunday Times asked topics on a range of issues. Asked about whether MPs should be made to pay back expenses that Sir Thomas Legg has ruled are unreasonable, even if they were within the rules at the time, 65% of YouGov’s respondents thought they should, with 28% thinking that retrospective rule changes are wrong. 69% also thought David Cameron was right to say Tory MPs who do not pay up will not be allowed to stand as Conservatives at the next election.

38% of people agreed there should be an immediate election to “purge” Parliament of MPs who abused the expenses system, 53% disagreed. I expect even these answers are more about partisan opinions of the government than expenses – 63% of Tory voters think there need to be an election, 84% of Labour voters think there shouldn’t.

YouGov also asked if people might consider voting for a minor party or abstaining over the expenses issue. I don’t like questions like this, since it is psychologically a lot easier to say in a survey that you might switch than it is to actually do it, and the question sets very low thresholds indeed (“might consider switching”). However, the party splits are interesting – amongst Conservative and Labour voters 7% say they would definitely consider switching to a minor party or abstaining, but amongst Lib Dem voters it is 12%.

As I mentioned yesterday, YouGov also asked if the BBC was right to invite Nick Griffin onto Question Time. 63% agreed with the statement “The BBC was RIGHT to invite him, as the BNP has two members of the European Parliament”, 23% that “The BBC was WRONG to give him, as it should not provide a platform for someone with such extreme and objectionable views”.

There were also some questions on the Lisbon Treaty. Voting intention in a referendum on the treaty stands at 18% YES, 41% NO and 41% don’t know or wouldn’t vote. Opinion on Tony Blair’s candidancy as President of the European Union remains split, 38% support to 38% opposed.

While I’m on the issue of Sunday polls, the Mail on Sunday also claimed to have a poll conducted in Redditch asking about Jacqui Smith. As fas as I can tell it was conducted by 3 Mail on Sunday journalists going up there with clipboards, so I’d be gobsmacked if there was any attempt at representative sampling or weighting. Ignore (if you weren’t already).

I haven’t had any confirmation, but on normal timings we should be getting ICM in the Guardian today or tomorrow.

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

  1. Interesting on the ‘switching to minor parties’ question. Do we assume from this that Lib Dem voters are simply less bloody-mindedly partisan as to consider minor parties, or is it a case of many wanting to vote for the Greens if only their profile and/or chances were higher?

  2. Or Lib Dem voters more inclined to think about politics…

  3. On the Legg issue, isn’t it the point that Legg is looking at what expense claims should have been allowed under the rules at the time, rather than actually changing the rules retrospectively?

    Having said that, this government has brought in several retrospective laws to apply to other people, notably in the areas of pensions and taxation; so if the rules were changed retrospectively it would be a case of the biter bit.

  4. Or Libdem voters more likely to be “outraged” by the expenses thing…

  5. Or, they already have done the switching, and consider the Lib Dems a minor party.

  6. Or Lib Dem voters have fewer chips on their shoulders than other people…

    ( a rephrase I know…)

  7. Many, if not most, LibDem voters are anti-Lab and/or anti-Con rather than pro-LibDem. That’s why they can split vote for Grn/SNP/LibDem according to which party looks the best buy to beat the candidate(s) they don’t want.

    They also get votes for people for whom one or more rural issues are paramount. In Scotland the SNP is in direct competition for both these sorts of voters.

    The LibDems ought to claim that they are worth voting for because they can’t possibly be any worse than the other two.

  8. Or perhaps the Lib Dem voters are the flakes that I always suspected?

    Come on, it has to be admitted that the Lib Dems suffer through a lack of defined message/image/point to which the voter can screw their courage. When they do, ala the Iraq war, it helps them, but unfortunately for them there can’t be a divisive war every five years (wait, hold on…)

  9. Lib Dems are also what’s left for left people to vote for now that Labour is rightwing…

  10. On the other hand they are very much a rural party (as still are the SNP to a great extent) and the concerns of the media and the parties of alternate government are of less importance to their core vote in the places where they have MP’s or are the challengers.

  11. @Jack

    (I am going to keep this response psephological rather than partisan.)

    That may have been true even a couple of years ago, Jack, but the Lib Dem leadership have firmly turned their tiller towards the right, with an eye to electoral fortunes. read the Orange Book sometime.

    Should a hung parliament occur, the current leadership team is likely to support a Conservative administration into power over a rejected Labour government. You will very quickly see divisions opening with the membership/activist base who remain dominated by left-wing refugees of the last ten years, as well as the older core of SDP-ites (who were also ex-Labour refugees).

  12. Ahoy there, Cap’n!

    “the Lib Dem leadership have firmly turned their tiller towards the right”

    Are you sure about that? You of all people should know that turning the tiller to the right leads the boat to turn to the left!

  13. John,

    “You of all people should know that turning the tiller to the right leads the boat to turn to the left!”

    It makes perfect sense as it suggeste the Libdems are weaving about aimlessly with no idea where they are going. Seems pretty accurate to me.


  14. John,

    Equally, the Captain may think he is going to the right but the rest of the crew are convinced they are heading left.

    We should not be so cruel to a once-proud (and powerful) party, but it is a sorry reflection on their leadership that it has come to this.

    At least when David Steel said go back to your constituencies and prepare for government the Alliance was level pegging with Labour in the polls (and had even been ahead of both main parties – albeit briefly) with a solid track record of by-election perfromance. Unless I missed something, LD’s have not won a Parliamentary by-election since summer of 2005.

  15. John,

    Actually, LDs may still be a rural party in Scotland, but if you look at their English councillors they are now quite clearly an urban party. Moreover, while their English MPs represent a mix of rural and urban seats, it is probably the urban seats which are the more secure. This is likely to be much clearer after the next election.

  16. Nice jokes – I’d pictured them on a river-boat, heading off up a creek without a paddle.

    I was in Crosby in the heady days of 1981 – it’s now changing to Sefton Central. I wonder whether the LibDems will target that one as a possible gain from Labour, or whether they’ll concentrate on holding neighbouring Southport?

  17. Arrr!

    John TT, your navigational skills are perfectly accurate.

    I see myself more in the style of Horatio McAllister, the Sea Captain from the Simpsons rather than a true nautical salt.

    My comments stand

  18. While not understanding Capt Scooby’s nautical directions, and am all at sea as to whether he thinks LDs are moving left or right, I do agree there is some uncertainty over LD meandering. As someone who is usually Lib dem, I have become a little uncertain of the direction of the party.

    My impression is that the Party’s stance on inheritance tax, pensions for the 40% tax payers, and the introduction of a property wealth tax places the party well to the left.

    Policy on local government and decentralisation, id cards and a curb on cctv shows it still is liberal at heart, and surprisingly compatible with David C on these points.