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. Billy Bob,

    I have posted before that I regard Dina Ab very highly. She just is not macho but macho is not the same as smart. :)

    Her undoubted intellect is just not shouted from the rooftoop :)

  2. @ Colin

    Can you give me any figure that suggest a serious diversion from the long term trend – let’s say from the last ice age in biodiversity?

    “Rubbish” is not an answer. Can you be more specific? Maybe ratios that have been historically stable?

  3. Laszlo – if you haven’t already, perhaps you might point out to your colleague that his feedback might improve if he appreciated the connection between over-time and relevance to his students. Does he actually listen, or does he just bang on (pot-kettle going on there, I’d better quit…)

    No amount of enlightening, entertaining pefrormance by GB would have worked if the baker was about to shut, and her need for a loaf be frustrated.

    Rich, lean and free. What a goal! Free exchange of ideas is the way forward. Question Time rings out in the background, and I’m reminded that some appear for a fee, some appear to deliver lines, and most are there to lean (rather than be lean)

  4. john

    I haven’t seen the film

    I admire India tremendously. The world’s largest Democracy. Peacefull seeming religions-happy people.

    I would be very surprised if the the subjucation of women amongst the rural poor were any better than in any other equivalent developing country…………….but would be happy to accept any evidence.

    Education is the key. If girls are denied education -because of culture-or culture masquerading as religion-then you know that having children is an economic imperative-so population increase is inbuilt.

  5. @ Eoin

    You’re not hoping that the BA strike will maroon you permanently in Manchester are you? ;)

    Agree with you on Diane A. Always thought her a lightweight, but she was very impressive on Treasury Select Committee. NuLab then took her off it of course.


    The literature on the so called Holocene Extinction-essentially the impact of man on his environment is voluminous.

    Take your pick.

    Bodies like IUCN have data on extinctions.

    Polynesia is an interesting area-the impact has been devastating-islands of couse-so particularly vulnerable.

    Look at Hawaii-the culmination of mans destruction of a pristine island habitat. Again the literature is comprehensive.

  7. Eoin, she is much liked, well beyond Labour supporters, our first Black woman MP. People know instinctively that she will not come out with some conditioned response, she is a disinhibitor if you like.

  8. I’d just like to point out that the Irish Famine was caused by monocultures, the like of which we see constantly utilised today in the massive Palm Oil plantations in Asia and also wheat farms, both of which are under threat of disease due to decreased biodiversity. Look up Ug99.

  9. @ Colin

    Oddly enough the intensifying of cultural heritage among a diaspora seems quite common. For example you see little girls in Britain wearing the hijab headscarf, but back in Pakistan their cousins probably aren’t (and in most of the Arab world it would be thought a bit weird).

    Or consider how the IRA used to get greater support in New York than in Dublin.

    Usually these things die out in a few generations, but external factors can sometimes keep then going.

  10. Colin – my ill-researched theory only applies to the educated (who progress further than their less-educated siblings who emigrated with their less-educated husbands)

    Laszlo – so you would agree that the 30 minute weekly PMQs might be extended if the PM decided to break with tradition and engage in answering Qs from equally “next thinkers” who posed interesting Qs?

  11. Matt Boothman – that is a great intervention !

    Without yet looking up what you suggest, I suggest the answer is better science rather than anything you might have been implying by ref to Irish Famine (and/or miscegenation !) and I’d suggest we’re getting there as far as crops go. (but could do better)

  12. @ Éoin

    I’m glad Diane is standing but she won’t win.

  13. @Roger,

    Lol. I am not nearly so posh as to fly BA. Now if Ryanair went on strike I’d be in diffs ( :) )


    I hope the left of the party does not split itself along several candidates. She would be an excellent leaders of the party.

    D Miliband would be an unmitigated disaster. There is only so much pragmatism/opportunism I can handle :( .

  14. Diane Abbot? Sent her son to City of London but told others to go to comprehensives. End of story
    Ealy boundary change/larger constiuencies? Bit iffy as it would see Lib Dem collapse in Scotland where they have a sixth of their seats. They would be likely to lose seats in Edinburgh and East Dumbaronshire as they would contain more Labour voters. Their rural seats are mainly in low population, some very low population,areas and in the current five in the crofting counties (3 in new boundaries?) would suffer for being associated with Tories associated with rapacious ancient landlods.

  15. I’ve just seen the latest polls. (My computer broke down, hence my absence from here over the past few days.)

    Good news for the Tories and Labour XD. The Tories back up to the high 30s for the first time in quite a while, and Labour benefiting from the Lib Dem drop.

    Not sure if polls really matter that much in the next few years, but they are still interesting all the same. I fully expect the Tory vote to collapse in the next few years, after the scale of the cuts is revealed. The important polls will take place in 2014/2015 IMO – if, indeed, the coalition lasts that long, which I personally suggest it will. ;) )

    Nice to be back posting again. ;) )

  16. @ Éoin,

    Yvette or Caroline will be the first woman to lead the Labour party.

    Caroline just played a blinder on QT, IMO. The Blair Babe persona is gone; she is playing hardball now 8-)

  17. Eoin

    D Miliband looks like the late lamented M Foot c1945-55 – check it out. I am trying to channel a little of the great man into him. Perhaps he can find it in himself.

  18. @Amber

    I agree on Yvette :) Flint was ok on QT but she aint the most loyal.


    Welcome :)

  19. @Eoin,

    Thanks. ;) )

    All is well in British politics for the moment. The Tories and Libs have formed a stable coalition (or so it seems), and Labour will form a good, strong opposition in the years ahead. ;) )

  20. For a man that likes to take control of his party and the political scene I cant believe DC puts Theresa May out on QT with such regularity. And worse has put her in as home sec. A desperately weak politician.

    So bad I would suggest, and I might take flak, but it can only be tokenism…………

  21. @ John TT @ 10:42 pm

    It’s almost poetic :-) Really enjoyed it. Thank you.

  22. @Laszlo May 20th, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Thank you for your reply and posting the result. I’m not sure how swing translates to seat change and I’m not sure I agree with your approach (were you doing some kind of multivariate modelling/multivariate logistic modelling? Is that why you were adding dummy variables?) but thank you for doing the work: I appreciate it.

  23. As we seem to be rambling on about politics in general, I’ll just stick my oar in.

    Though nothing at all has happened yet – we haven’t even had the Queen’s Speech! – the coalition does look quite interesting, I am slightly dubious about the 55% majority to kick the government out, and Cameron and his cronies getting themselves on the 1922 committee seems a bit undemocratic.

  24. @ John TT @ 11:06

    Sorry – went to watch Newsnight and QT… Maybe it was a mistake…

    I actually think that… Odd world… There are hundreds of questions with which they could engage with and they could still speak about the same thing… It would be quite entertaining – would give a showpiece to the public how our politicians think, how they attribute, how they illustrate and how they confront contradictions (even more, how they learn from their mistakes – either done, thought or raised).

  25. @ Martyn

    I added the dummy because regional voting did not want to work… So I added a variable first with dichotomous values, then with three then with five.

    As I said, inserting the dummy was purely for playing. What the main outcome was that it was not better than using national figures. I did a quick homogenity analysis: at least in four English regions (see below: regions are somewhat arbitrary) although homogenity existed, it was not statistically significant.

    It was a kind of multivariate (I admit really basic – with raw data it would be possible to do much more – if there was PR and a party with lots of money they could do it) – first using only regional, then regional and national, then giving them different weight, then I even adjusted the region with neighbouring (of the particular region) constituencies. Then I made an attempt (even though the boundary changes made it invalid) merge the data from 2005. It did work in some regions, but the incumbent still played significance.

    I used only linear model, but then just out of interest, I transformed it to log linear. The outlayers became less striking.

  26. @ Colin

    Can we separate two things. One is about reducing biodiversity and the other what should the human kind do about it.

    The second is as simple as it can be: if there is a decline, we become poorer.

    The first is more complicated. If we take the end of the last ice age, 80% of all large mammals disappeared and many small, non-vertabrates too. In the last 40 years or so, there has been a marked decline compared to the last 200 years, but not if we extend the period (fits the trend). The humankind quite clearly dislocated a huge number of species – some that could cope, some that could not.

    These are attributed to direct (deforestration) and indirect (global warming) human activities. The orignis are pretty well modelled, but the effects of these to the biodiversity are actually not – it is simply an extrapolation from the models. They may be correct. However, what I argued against, and rightly as these models do not include such a thing: that the cause is “overpopulation”. Nevertheless, every species that we loose is a kind of crime – but it is because we have the means to deal with it.

    My point was and remains that it has nothing to do with overpopulation as you posited even if it is a result of human activity (while it’s shown in global warming, the uncertainty here is much bigger) – we have the capability to manage biodiversity and population growth at the same time – it is the social conditions that do not allow us.

    As to the fixed ratios: agriculture: improvement of plants (without hybrids there would not be plum trees in Europe), improvement of photosynthesis, attempts to get grains to achieve what peas could do (utilising the nitrogene). Animal husbandry: crossing resistance to local diseases and high milk/meat producing types. Water: changing purification methods, changing technologies in water intensive industries. Minerals: high recycling ratios, utilisation of man made materials, utilisation of alloys, etc.

    It’s not technological determinism. The point is that all these would change the ratios between resources and population – therefore it is meaningful to speak about overpopulation only within a closed system – but our system is open. Hence overpopulation is theoretically non-existent, while it is very much alive in politics.

  27. @ LASZLO
    “we have the capability to manage biodiversity and population growth at the same time ”

    We have not-we do not-we will not.

    “Hence overpopulation is theoretically non-existent,”

    I shall rember that little gem Laszlo, when I puzzle-as I do so often -over the anthropocentric viewpoint of the political left.

    Perhaps it is part of all that “onward & upward march of the proletariat”…the “the supremacy of the toiling masses”-the “supremacy of man” indeed.

    There is probably a learned treaty on it somewhere.

    I find it depressing & frustrating.

  28. treaty-should be -treatise.

    sorry john tt!

  29. Since YouGov’s fieldates are later than ComR and ICM can we say that support for blues has dipped slightly since the initial bounce post election/coalition?

    Also it is hardly 3 points onto Labour’s score. Surely it is more 4-5% points.

    ICM normally have reds higher than YG so the later dates for YG and 1% higher rating would indicate that they are sustaining the swing back to reds.

    Lastly, it is unlike YG to have others at 8%. I wonder has there been a genuine switch away from smaller parties? Are the tables up so that we can see which smaller parties are suffering?

    It does appear that the coalition is getting little of a honeymoon period among voters. Especailly since yellow can no longer complain of lack of exposure.

  30. LASZLO

    World Population-millions

    10k BC 1
    1000CE 310
    1800 978
    1900 1650
    2000 6070
    2010 6700

    All clothed, fed, watered, housed.

    Look at the hydrology of cotton cultivation; the environmental cost of synthetic fibre & plastics production and consumption, loss of habitat to deforestation &agriculture, the pollution of oceans &rivers, the loss of wetlands to housing , industry & transportation………..

    This has been unsustainable & will continue to be unsustainable.

  31. PeterBell, MrSB

    I do apologise for the tone of my comments yesterday about Nick Clegg’s part in Gordon Brown’s downfall, perhaps you can feel some sympathy for my wounded feelings, and I hope I did not upset you. (Dreamed of NC last night, that guy is *so* persuasive!).

  32. Just wanted to flag up to the site management that some of the new constituencies in the ‘target seat’ lists are directing people to the wrong constituencies. I noticed two in a brief search

    The Sutton & Cheam link (17th on the Conservative target list) directs you to the Sutton Coldfield constituency page and for some reason if you click Sheffield Central you get sent to Sedgefield :-)

  33. The ‘winner’ of an election usually (1987, 1992, 1997, 2001, 2005) gets a post election bounce in the polls. This can be anything from 5-10% in the month after the general election.

    Why is it that in 2010, the ‘loser’ has got a bounce in the polls, of up to 5%? This is most unusual is it not?

  34. @Laszlo/Colin – Laszlo – you obviously come into this from a theoretical economist viewpoint. The track record of economists is dubious, and while there are truths in some of what you say you are missing the point. Technological advances will and have helped, and population per se is not the issue, but the combination of rapid and sustained population growth and exponential increase is consumption is clearly unsustainable.

    Likewise your view on biodiversity. Comparing today’s position with the last ice age is bogus. The key issue here is that no species has ever created the conditions for such a mass extinction as we are currently witnessing as humans have. To say that we have the means to overcome this is also incorrect – we simple don’t have the space to allocate to many species, and the pervasive impacts such as global warming and pollution have gone beyond our control. The situation is much worse than this in many ways – not only do we not have the means to avoid the loss of biodiversity, but we actually don’t have the means to fully understand it. To quote that great hippy Joni M “you don’t know what you’ve got ’till its gone”.

    While technology will help immensly with productivity, it is not limitless. Pre credit crunch the cost of PV panels was rocketing due to competition for high grade silicon from the computer chip industry – there isn’t enough. China has already secured 90% of the supply of the metals required for new battery and fuel cell technologies. GM crops with resistant and high yeilds are fine, but they need water to grow, and more water if they are to produce more.

    But beyond all of the theory and technological discussion there is one simply question you have to answer. Namely, do we want to live on a world with 9b+ people? I don’t think we do.

  35. Re: My jokey comments about the mirror a day or two ago.

    They are at least running full pages on each candidate that puts themselves forward for the Lab leadership, allowing them the space to put forward their ideas in their own words without being mis-represented. Very helpful.

  36. Alec,

    I appreciate the point you are making and it seems clear to me that you care with a big c about the issues you are discussing.

    I have some sympathy for Laszlo on this matter. Over population theory has dominated each of the last 8 generations of intellectual thought. Japan and Germany took it to the extreme in the 1930s. The English did not cover themsleves in glory in Ireland during the 1840s as neither did the Americans in the decades afterwards on their buffalo plains.

    The simple truth is that liks minded people such as yourself has been cuatious in embracing population growth for two centuries now.

    Bearing in mind that Russia has a surface area of c8million square miles and nobody lives in it, I do not view it the problem in the same way. The population density of Australia is similarly small as is Canada.

    The United States and Africa have only moderate population density.

    Bearing in mind that India, China and Pakistan have shown themselves to be resilient at absorbing much higher population densities then I must say this ever increases my confidence that a higher world population IS sustainable.

    Yes you are correct to worry about bio diversity and dietry intake (lets face it dependancy on the potato did not do the Irish many favours).

    But surely the solution in this instance is to target the high consumption ecnomies such as the United States. They eat guzzle and consume enough to feed African growth several times over.

    My worry is that when one over-concerns themselves with bio-diveristy and population explosion it places undue pressure on the developing economies.

    the purchase of carbon credits is one such scheme that alarms me.

    As for endangered species, we have wbeen losing species since time began. It would be a source of consternation if the rate of loss quickened and our furry friends are welcome. But of greater concern is that poorer countries have the same rights to push for their industrial revolutions that we enjoyed.

  37. John TT – I do enjoy your posts and the often unrecognised irony therein.

  38. Eoin, Alec,

    Bear in mind that Germany is leading the way in developing legal (I almost said human) rights for animals. But I agree with Laszlo that as a species we are still in the ‘childhood’ irresponsibility stage of our development, and do not properly realise our relations within the biosphere. We could sustain higher populations, with low footprint/impact, and live more rewarding lives, but that would involve big changes to our assumptions

  39. Not posted here for a while.However as a Tory supporter,I really like Dianne Abbot and agree with her on a lot of things.She can bang on,but she does a huge amount for her constituency,which is a microcosm of a lot of the problems in the UK.As an East London born boy,I share her frustrations that people in this area are left behind and forgotton regardless of colour .One thing that unites this part of the world is the vast uncontrolled immigration in the last 10 years into areas like this.The 2nd generation immigrants of ALL colours have worked their socks off to make something of themselves,these people are more angry than the so called indiginous population of these areas.Regardless of her left wing views ,she speaks from the heart and Labour could do worse than elect her.She is also right about a tube station for Tottenham ETC,She recognizes the investment a now CL football club are giving back to the community and government Should at least match help with transport infrastructure. At last someone who cares about their community !

  40. @Billy Bob and Laszlo – that’s why I was very careful to conflate population growth and consumption levels as connected parts of the same problem – they can’t be separated and I’m not trying to.

    The simple truth is that regardless of population growth rates, if all countries at today’s population levels had UK or USA levels of individual consumption, the biosphere as we know it would be doomed. We have instead rapidly rising population and rising consumption, so we will in due course reach the same end.

    Talk of unpopulated areas like central Australia (a desert) and Siberia (cold in winter, swamp in summer, and with billions of tonnes of carbon and methane locked up in peat bogs that would create runaway global warming if disturbed by agricultural development or building) misses the point. People don’t live in these places in any numbers becasue they are not very hospitable nor is life there very sustainable.

    California is a classic example – the Colorado River is one of the great rivers of the world, but it no longer reaches the sea as all the water is abstracted. Instead, the desert is gradually being turned into irrigated farmland and then abandoned after a few years as the salt deposits render the land useless. This is what happens if you try to populate marginal areas.

    While I’ve enjoyed this thread, I’m going to desist from any more responses – we’re way off Anthony’s guidelines and while we are not partisan, it’s hard to see AW maintaining his silence indefinately on this.

  41. Nothing to do with population, but has anyone noticed the borrowing figures released today? Borrowing for March has been revised downwards by £5.5B, the April figure is less than forecast, and the total for the last financial year was ‘only’ £156B, £10B less than Darling forecast in the 2010 budget and £22B less than the 2009 budget assumption. Effectively Osborne has therefore already got his £6B cut plus an additional £3B or so on top.

    While the situation is still poor, the figures do give support to people like Danny Blanchflower who argue that excessive cutting is not necessary. Their argument has always been that the crisis was caused mainly by a collapse in tax receipts rather than overspending, and as the improvement for several months has come almost entirely from a rapid bounce back of production and income taxes, there is now some hard evidence to support their view that a recovery would see a much faster than expected decline in the deficit.

  42. Alec – Blanchflower positively venomous about GO today (possibly to be expected, but still)
    Almost begging him not to cut.

  43. Sue Marsh – how very kind ! Like you, I tend not to worry if people don’t respond (I myself go off to bed and sleep sometimes); I have enjoyed the contributions on this thread from all quarters, and look forward to being stretched more.

    Sometimes I read posts and feel I should read more books!

  44. @Sue Marsh – the fact that we are already about £12B better off than Osborne expected when the election was called does rather undercut his argument that we have to cut £6B now.

    Posters here will know that for a long time I have been saying that the debt issue is less serious than many people think and the tune has been called by debt fetishists and those in the city who frankly, don’t know what they are talking about. There is an argument about the most appropriate way to get the economy growing again, but Osborne’s 80/20 split between cuts and tax rises is on the wrong side of the line I feel.

    Inccidentally – I read an interesting analysis about the coalition tax plans that indicates that the tax rises they already specified alongside Labour’s already announced rises, fully meet the 20% of fiscal tightening they need. In other words, a rise in VAT (or any other taxes) in July would be an unnecessary scam, if we are to believe his rhetoric on spending cuts.

  45. @Eoin,

    “Why is it that in 2010, the ‘loser’ has got a bounce in the polls, of up to 5%? This is most unusual is it not?”

    Quite a few former Labour voters deserted to the Lib Dems at the GE? Since some Lib Dem voters feel betrayed by the Lib-Cons coalition, they have decided to switch back to Labour. That seems the most likely scenario IMO.

    Of course, there is a major question mark over the usefulness of pre-election polls, especially with a GE potentially a full 5 years away. Don’t forget that the Tories were 20% ahead in the polls just a year and a half/2 years ago. That doesn’t, of course, mean that they are not interesting though. :-)

  46. @Matt,

    Yes you are right. Aside from impact on leadership changes or coalition breakdown, they do not inform as to an election outocme in 2015.

    It wont stop every party pouring over them for insight into how they are performing.

  47. @Eoin,

    Yes, if anything, they will be more useful in assessing how long this coalition may last. Expect the opposition (i.e. Labour) to lead the polls before long – as the opposition party usually does – but the size of the lead will be interesting. :-)

  48. @ Alec and others

    I’m sorry, but in the morning I had to find the means to feed and clothe myself and my family…

    I really think that the stuff about overpopulation and others was off topic, yet it created quite an interesting discussion.

    And yes, Colin, the left has faith in the humankind, the right does not…

    I also think that politically it is an extremely important debate, but also that view are far too polarised (and I don’t speak about the GWDs) and it obstruct us to see the dynamics of the processes. It is not helpful at all.

    In the 800s in our calandar there was an overpopulation problem in Europe: the wheat produced only about twice as much as the seed (and it was infected with fungi that killed people), the forest clearance soil was bad for sustaining agriculture on them. It required oxen to break the top soil to go to the rich humus. But to use oxen it required teaming up of villagers and it required redistribution of land so that long furrows could be made. Now, history it is unplanned ways overcame that problem, we have a different problem, but the history of our species, in spite of the horrors that we inflicted on nature and on fellow humans, shows advancement and perhaps there is a chance not to leave the solution to the trick of history (Hegel).

    Of course, if we project our consumption patterns of today, it will show that we leave a barren earth to our successors (the 19th century is full of writings (political and literature) about this). The problem is: there is absolutely no evidence that consumption patterns are stable over the time.

    I would like to thank everybody’s critical or less critical comment, I learnt from them and spurs me to make my argument much more precise if it ever comes up in any discussion in any situation in my life.

    Ps.: Alec, although originally I was a theoretical economist, today (after about 20 years of practice) I would describe myself comparative organisation analyst.

  49. “And yes, Colin, the left has faith in the humankind, the right does not…”

    I think that’s a rather crude generalisation. :-)

  50. It is certainly true that the right sees humans as inherently flawed. It also accepts that most humans (generally) need financial incentives if society is to function properly.

    I have to say I agree with this. I don’t personally see how a communist-type system where people all earn the same is workable. Many people would not accept roles of responsibility, or which required hard work. Who could blames them? I know I wouldn’t. :-)

    The simple and irrefutable fact is that the vast majority of people are at least partly self-interested. I think the Conservative position is to accept this, and design our capitalist (and social) system around this basic assumption, so that our society can function in the best way possible. :-)

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