The Sun’s YouGov questions todayfound 55% of people supported £6 billion in spending cuts being carried out this year, with 28% thinking they should be delayed till next year amd 6% opposing them completely. Of course, non-specific cuts are likely to be more popular than whatever the government eventually decide to cut. YouGov also asked specifically about the expected rise in VAT to 20% – this was far less popular, only 31% saif they supported it, with 63% opposed.

The tables for YouGov’s Sunday Times poll are also up on the website here. Amongst other things they include a voting intention question, showing topline figures of CON 37%, LAB 34%, LDEM 21%. This is in line with the weekend polls from ICM and ComRes which also showed a shift of about 3 points from the Liberal Democrats to Labour since the general election.

On other questions, Prime Ministerial approval ratings for David Cameron and Deputy PM approval ratings for Nick Clegg were both pretty much as you’d expect in a honeymoon period: good net positives (+36 for Cameron and +32 for Clegg), but with high levels of don’t knows for both (40% in each case) as people haven’t really had much time to judge yet. Other questions on the coalition were pretty much in line with the findings we’ve seen elsewhere – people are broadly positive, but don’t expect it to last 5 years.

YouGov also asked about the Labour leadership, and like the companies found David Miliband in the lead, in this case on 29% compared to 7% for Ed Miliband and 6% for Ed Balls. YouGov also asked which candidate would make respondents least likely to vote Labour, and found Ed Balls the clear leader on 27% of all voters, and perhaps most importantly, amongst current Labout voters, 20% of whom said Ed Balls would be the leader least likely to make them vote Labour.

On unrelated matters, I have updated the lists of target seats to base them on the 2010 election results (Conservative target seats here, Labour here, Liberal Democrats targets here. They are all academic to a large extent, since the government propose to start a boundary review that will report in time for the next election, but they’ll do for now. If the government do hope their boundary review will report in time for 2015, then they will probably have to start the review as soon as possible, so for the psephologically minded one thing to look out for in the Queen’s speech next week will be whether the bill to reduce the number of MPs is there (and when the Bill itself arrives, how it changes the rules the Boundary Commissions operate upon). Since I’ve veered slightly off topic, I may as well take the opportunity to heartily endorse Sunder Katwala’s post on why it is a tragedy that Phil Cowley’s research on Parliamentary rebellions has still not received new funding.

405 Responses to “More YouGov polling on the coalition”

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  1. Amber,

    People have been worried about population growth since the 1800s. There is an obsession with Malthusian theory. It led some in the British political system to view the Irish Famine as a good way of dealing the percieved over-population of Ireland, which at the tiem was 8.5million…

    there are parts of england, scotalnd and wales that have the population density of a Chapel in a wednesday evening

  2. Laszlo

    This is going so off topic, but you are making me think of a kind of permaculture paradise that some people think has existed in some places in the past. Also I seem to remember that Mauritious was used as an example of how a population explosion, with careful planning, can lead to increased living standards

  3. Colin – I hope you remember a few years ago that one of the justifications for increased immigration was that we needed to boost the younger population (because we could not afford to sustain an ageing one)

    Now, and in the future, the argument shifts.

    It’s becoming more common for retired people to carry on working (and enjoy working)

    The question for the parties is not so much “how shall we address excessive demands on limited resources”, but “how will the argument shift in the next decade”

    The youngest people in the UK are rather more tolerant than the oldest. So the argument will shift again

    In the meantime, I’d expect such common sense, cheap ideas as asking immigrants to learn to speak English might become popular

    I was interested to reaad Amber Star mention the “two-way street” – A similarly ignored issue is the fact that skilled immigrants draiin their countries of origin of talent when they leave to come here.

    Yes, Colin, it’s all a problem but it’s isn’t only ours (and it is at the same time more than a problem of physical overcrowding)

  4. Eoin/Amber – I rode coast to coast across America on a motorbike through VAST swathes of emptiness.
    We passed billboards with the slogan
    “Don’t let the immigrants take your jobs”

  5. @ Billy Bob

    Of course, I didn’t say anything like that. The Soviet Union had to constrain its economic growth because infrastructure had to be built up for the rather fast population growth.

    My point was that there is fallacy here: we are talking about the way UK production and services are organised vis a vis population, but it is beautifully shifted in the argument as if an “absolute” production and service system was constrasted with population.

    In my example you have to account for the huge number of unnecessarily “inactive”, the horrific number of people employed in completely unnecessary activities, that production/service is stopped not when needs are satisfied, but when margins fall under a certain (relatively high level), that people are not provided with means so that in their free time they could develop their human potential, etc. etc. If you add it up you’ll have the trippling of the living standards.

    However, of course, we have a particular production and service system – then people arguing about overpopulation, resource constraints, etc. should state that and not some abstract stuff about resources versus population.

  6. johntt

    “Yes, Colin, it’s all a problem but it’s isn’t only ours ”

    I didn’t say it was john.

    It is-of course-a global problem.

    It is THE problem on our planet.

    The exponential growth in human population is destroying natural habitat & biodiversity at a frightening rate. We are consuming natural resources at an unsustainable rate-water-land-minerals………

    The problem will not be solved by politicians.
    It involves
    It involves the role & education of women.
    It involves the aspirational poor of the developing world.

    Per capita wealth is lowest where population growth is highest.

    It is a time bomb.

    Easter Island is the model-and the lesson.

  7. “It involves…”

    Incomplete!-should say :-

    ” It involves cultural factors-so often conflated with religious edict”

  8. @ Amber Star

    I didn’t know when we become ex-pats that we immediately fall on to welfare in the countries we decide to reside in? Examples please. And don’t think because I say this I don’t care. I very much DO! GB is full, our infrastructure just can’t handle any more immigration. Hospitals, courts, road and train system, housing, etc etc, overloaded.

  9. @ Colin

    There is absolutely no evidence that the destruction of biodiversity has increased in the last 200 years/100 years/50 years, etc.

    There is absolutely no evidence that there is definite ratio of sustainability between population/landmass/water/mineral, etc.

    It’s not an excuse for destroying rainforests, for killing animals, or for anything.

    It is just the statement that the popular belief about these things are just not true.

  10. Laszlo

    That is quite a paradigm shift we need to think about, thanks for that, btw I probably didn’t express myself very well about permaculture etc., definitely a lot of unnecessary activities as you say – people realise this even if only subconsciously and that contributes to apathy/cynicism.

  11. Colin – a disturbingly large number (ie more than zero) of women had their GE ballot crossed for them by the head of the family, in the polling station as well as via postal votes.

    Emancipation of women is likely to reach our shores after it has arrived in the countries of origin, ironically enough.

  12. And just see what happened here! This is the problem whentrying to get politicians to discuss immigration…. the debate expands & becomes about population & demographics…. then it all goes Global! ;-)

    At which point everybody can talk about huge concepts like religion & culture & globalism. The real issue has been avoided. Nothing need be done to fairly spread the benefits & burdens of whatever immigration policy our government chooses to pursue.

    And John TT’s point that the UK drains countries of their scarce human resources never comes close to being considered.

  13. The simple misconception that the planet has finite resources can be easily challenged bu looking up in the daytime (though not directly, such is the level of energy coming in)

    Finite water, yes, but do you know how much of that there actualy is?

  14. Eoin

    We can go on strike again :-)

  15. @ Laszlo

    Haven’t looked back at your previous notes, from your last one I assume you think population increase is a very good thing as the climate and environment is unaffected by this?

  16. A little off point i know but in the list of voting intention polls there seems to be the actual poll on may 6th missing. why?

  17. Amber Star – I agree with your desire to examine the Govt’s policy rather than the global issues.

    What I’m keen to hear from the big thinkers is what the consequences should be when framing Govt policy and appealing to Mrs Duffy et al.

    Brown was clearly more focussed on getting into his car than talking out the argument with her. There must surely be a way of making big issues simple to understand properly, without resorting to rubbish sound-bytes

  18. @ STEVE

    UK citizens are entitled to any number of benefits throughout the EU. If you are a welfare tourist, there are much richer pickings in Germany & Ireland than in the UK.

  19. Epochery – it’s missing because it was clerarly a voodoo poll with a ridiculously large, unrepresentative sample and dodgy weighting practices – imagine if a telephone pollster turned round and said “oops, run out of forms/time, you don’t count”?


  20. @ Amber Star

    I’m still not aware of any situations where ex-pats try to take advantage of this even if it is available?

  21. @ Steve

    No, I don’t think that population increase does not affect climate and environment. It actually affects it negatively. There is absolutely no question about that. However, it cannot be taken out of its own historic context and present it as it was some God given law.

    I had a completely different arguments. One is that population growth is a rather complicated phenomena, if you want it is a resultant or even indicator of other processes. These are in a rather intricate relationship. Secondly, that there are no predetermined, “natural” ratios. It’s up to us how we manage these processes – the humankind is still in its childhood in this respect and we have all read about children who burnt the house down. However, it does not mean we cannot grow up and manage these processes.

    Thirdly. We have tremendous resources (especially our species) that are horribly under utilised. It largely depends on the social organisation of our life – it is not a question for governments or scientists to change it, though they may try.

    My further argument was, in a completely different context, that there is no evidence that the trends in biodiversity (reduction) have changed in the last 200 years compared to the long term trends. The problem is that the fallacy is used on both sides to excuse rather loaded agendas.

  22. 118 trueblues, 187 blues, 57 orange
    258 reds, 28 others

  23. @ Laszlo

    I was actually thinking more of the over-population worries of the Sixties and Seventies, to which you had referred to in an earlier comment, rather than to Malthus. You can argue that they both overestimated the rate of population growth and underestimated the ingenuity of agronomists etc. Still they may have triggered the post-Mao one child policy which is something.

    I disagree with you on the impact of religion. Of course there are always exceptions and some settled, usually agricultural, communities control birthrate with late marriage for some and non-marriage for the rest (and often women who know how to “help out” an unwanted pregnancy). However most such places exported population: to domestic service; to the army and navy; to various colonies and new-found lands; and to that great devourer of youth – the City.

    Religion, or more correctly its interplay with society, does however affect birthrate enormously and, with the exception of the Shakers (founded by a woman, no coincidence), in an upwards direction. This is both negatively (banning of contraception and abortion; duty of a wife not to deny her husband) and positively (societal approval; enhanced state benefits for large families).
    Of course when religions are the only providers of social and medical services, this power is increased.

    I accept that a falling population does not imply increased prosperity – not least because falling prosperity is often the cause of depopulation; but a falling birthrate often does. This is because money is no longer all taken up with raising children and women (and to some extent men) have extra time to earn money outside the home or have surplus produce to sell (which to be fair was the point you were making).

  24. @ John TT @ 8:51

    I don’t know how exactly the words could be… I think it is a problem for the politicians too (and it does not depend on the PR gurus). In my rather diverse tasks in a week I rely heavily on rapport with my students and with my clients, etc. Without rapport I don’t think you can have an argument on such a controversial issue.

    I also think that the whole argument should be built around trade-offs (and if I’m not mistaken, if I did not read more in your post than there was), you also wrote about trade offs.

  25. @ Steve

    I’m still not aware of any situations where ex-pats try to take advantage of this even if it is available?
    To avail themselves or not is the ex-pats’ personal choice.

    Can you provide us with numbers of EU claimants in the UK & what the total amount paid out to them was for any given year?

    Can you provide us with a link to the detailed rules that apply to EU citizens trying to claim benefits in the UK?

  26. Laszlo – I hope you read more into my posts than I mean, as inspiration can come from open-minded appraisal of what may or may not be there to appraise!

    GB could have taken her for a cup of tea and a chat if he’d really wanted to (He ended up spending more when he felt forced to do so)

    My main concern (re perception and communication) is that the constraints of media and appointment-keeping, minders etc, stymie debate. I used to love my teachers ignoring the bell at the end of the lesson because there was learnin goin on

    And it’s not merrely time constraints – sometimes the constraints of the curriculum and the exigencies of memorising irrelevant, suspect precedents get in the way too.

    The contribution made by the Internet is not properly appreciated. A proper use of “resource” if ever the was one, and long may it be free.

  27. @ Billy Bob

    We can go on strike again :-)

    A very sensible decision by the Court. I am amazed it was 2-1 not 3-0, though.

  28. Amber’s right. Immigration is definitely an economic issue. It wasn’t even on the agenda until the recession started to bite.
    At the height of the new EU countries’ immigration to the UK, I was tasked with creating an English teaching programme for Polish drivers. As part of the job, I visited several firms, mainly in the Midlands. One large UK firm told me they had zero unemployment in the areas where their main depots were located. Their service was suffering because they couldn’t find enough drivers. They increased delivery drivers salary to just under 30,000 a year but still couldn’t get British drivers to do the job.
    In the UK, there’s a certain smugness to our discussions about immigration, as if it could never happen to us. Anyone remember Auf Wiedersehen Pet? It wasn’t that long ago. Any one of those characters could have been Mrs Duffy’s son.

  29. Just popped by to see what’s being discussed and can’t stay. However there seems to be a discussion on UK expats being able to avail themselves of all sorts of benefits when living abroad. I can speak for the situation in France only. When you move here you will be accepted into the health system if you have an E form or if you will work here and pay health cotisations out of your earnings (about 45% of profit if running a business). If your e form runs out (eg an E106 is usually only valid for about 2 years, or if you do not intend to work/run a business, then you MUST take out private medical insurance, otherwise you are living here illegally, even if from elsewhere in Europe. After 5 years residence in France (proved) you will be accepted into the system even if not able to pay contributions. Remember with an E form the bill is picked up by the UK, not France.
    Also the state only picks up about 70% of the cost, you must take out a top up insurance for the remainder. The result? The best health care in the world (as per WHO), no waiting lists & no MRSA. Oh, and the wards hold either 1 or 2 people.

    If a similar rule existed in the UK it would cut the NHS bill massively, because if you aint got private insurance, or an E form, or are in the health system by nature of long residence, then you pay the bill yourself. I know where I would rather be ill and it’s not the UK!!

  30. Laszlo – i certainly don’t believe thinkers should trafe their thought off against the ability to covey an important message. That’s for the politicians, as you say

    If anything, the Education should be applied to the Elected rather than the Electorate in order to convey the relevance of thoroughly-researched , useful ideas.

  31. Amber Star

    “I am amazed it was 2-1 not 3-0”

    At least we didn’t get a referrendum about it though :-)

  32. Billy Bob – At one point I thought Lufthansa were going to win it on penalties :)

  33. @ Laszlo, John TT

    I am more interested in the policy itself; if the government had been certain they had the correct policy, they would have had no difficulty framing an answer for Mrs Duffy.

    Then they could’ve been & said, “It is regretable that you feel your community were net losers from our policy; but we believed that migrant workers were essential to the UK economy & the advantages outweighed the disadvantages, over-all.”

    That’s what I would’ve said, if I was confident I had followed the correct policy in the first place.

    My big advantage over Brown, I wouldn’t have thought her concerns made her a bigot – regardless of how she expressed herself.

  34. John TT, mabe setlle it by eurovision songs, in which case A(nyone)B(ut)BA

  35. Billy Bob – ooh, nice one!

    Amber Star – yes, but there you lose me. What I would have done is first use my ears.

    And then used them some more.

    A sound byte is all very well, but a couple of questions, and a bit of understanding would in my view have won more votes (and been a bit more defensible ethically)

    Same applies to all issues- but is the New Politics able to eschew Rhetorism (aka spin) and embrace Rhetoric (aka healthy communication) ?

  36. @ Billy Bob & John TT

    :-) LOL :-) LOL :-)

  37. Billy Bob, Amber

    Yes one of our human rights has been upheld! 20 Days of fun begin :)

  38. @ John TT

    When it comes to public encounters – like Brown & Duffy – listening & listening again without responding isn’t acceptable to the media. A response is demanded.

    That’s why I opened with: Get the policy right, stand by it, do not get into the habit of dismissing people as bigots – even in ‘private’.

    You cannot change or re-frame government policy on the hoof. That is a luxury reserved for opposition.

  39. @ Roger Mexico

    Now I understand and I can agree with it – providing that religion is not simply beliefs, but it is woven into the life of these people and act as a preserving force. Yes, I agree.

    As to the 60s and 70s – my problem is that they all work with the unprounounced assumption of “all other factors unchanged”, essentially making a closed system from an open one.

    The one child policy of China is even more interesting. Since its introduction, for the first time for many hundreds of years the proportion of Chinese girls of all children reaching 5 years reaches the international trend (that is they are not neglected or killed).

  40. Billy Bob – re the Internet being so useful & your feeling for mnenomics…. if only I could think of a nother “W” word, I’m sure i could do something with “Willie Walsh”…


  41. @John TT,

    Yes- there is an old children’s nursery rhyme wit which one could have a lot of fun with aliteration

    wee willy winky :)

    @ps. Reds,

    What do the reds think of Diane Abbott?

  42. @ LASZLO

    “There is absolutely no evidence that the destruction of biodiversity has increased in the last 200 years/100 years/50 years, etc.”

    Absolute nonsense.
    Just read the science.
    Start with IUCN

    “There is absolutely no evidence that there is definite ratio of sustainability between population/landmass/water/mineral, etc”


  43. Amber Star – you make my point beter than I – if Brown had not been pre-occupied with his timetable he could have said “OK, let’s go and have a chat, because I can’t deal with the range of issues you’ve raised in the 30 secs the cameras are allowing us”

    It’s the constraints I object to, and your solution fails where it preserves and encourages simpoly better sound-bytes. That don’t wash anyway because we all suspect that the motive and rounded education is wanting in the modern politician.

    Laszlo – the Chinese one-child policy is of course circumventable by the payment of tax. They can have as many as they want – it’sjust that more than one costs more……(irrelevant to your point but hey)

  44. john

    “a disturbingly large number (ie more than zero) of women had their GE ballot crossed for them by the head of the family, in the polling station as well as via postal votes.

    Emancipation of women is likely to reach our shores after it has arrived in the countries of origin, ironically enough.”

    I didn’t know that john-but am not surprised.

    Your second point is intriguing-not sure that I agree though.

  45. Eoin Clarke – very clean (relatively) thanks :)

    The Reds as I know the Redmen, prefer Diane Abbot because anyhting’s better than a Blue-Nosed Toffee :)

  46. @ John TT @ 9:33

    It is another complex problem. I have a colleague. He is really a great lecturer (and consultant). He regularly overrun when it was necessary. Some students liked it, some students absolutely hated it and made the point rather forcefully on their feedback sheet.

    But of course I agree with you on what you are saying. It is the merits of the situation that should dictate the communication… if I understand you well :-). Well, it would be quite revolutionary – who knows it may even work.

    As to the Internet – I cannot agree more. Well, we are here exchanging ideas, forcing each other to be specific, etc. It creates a common language. One of the oddities was that internet evidence of voters’ intention was actually analysed by rather conventional methods in the media, ignoring the fact that it is not the function of the internet… It’s richer (and sometimes leaner :-().

  47. John TT, I can’t take credit for ABBA, heard it on the radio, and didn’t want to take up any more space on this forum dedicated to serious discussion by fessing up!

    Eoin, Diane Abbot wants a Tube station for Tottenham (good idea actually) with a mosaic of her face on it. (the joke question on Any Questions). Plus aren’t you worried she’d go into coalition with M Portillo?

  48. Colin – Bhaji on the Beach was a great film that portrayed the acceleration of Indian women’s development beyond that of emigrees to this country

    That’s my source _ i just expect that the yoke will be lifted in teh homeland before it’s lifted the land of hope and glory for many.

  49. @ Julian Gilbert

    Excellent point. Still, I do think, at least in some pockets, it was more an excuse than reality.

  50. The emancipation of women is a long way of in all countries.

    Relatively speaking Britain is slightly above average in how well women are treated.

    Of course countries such as Sweden or Czech Republic are much better in their treatment of women but Britain is no Ireland, Greece or Italy.

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