As far as I can see from their website the Sunday Times only reported the Labour leadership figures from their YouGov poll this weekend. The whole poll is now up on YouGov’s website here Topline voting intention figures with changes from last week are CON 39%(+2), LAB 32%(-2), LDEM 21%(nc).

David Cameron’s approval rating as Prime Minister is still in honeymoon mode at +42, Nick Clegg’s approval rating is similar at +44. 63% think the coalition partners are working well together.

YouGov asked people if they supported or opposed a series of policies put foward by the coalition. Most popular was an annual limit on immigration from non-EU countries (supported by 81%), followed by scrapping ID cards (63%), banning cheap alcohol from supermarkets (56%) and removing peoples DNA from the national database if they are not convicted (54%). A plurality of people also supported the immediate £6 bn in spending cuts (by 43% to 34%).

The most unpopular policy was the expected rise in VAT to 20%, opposed by 66% of respondents. A majority (61%) also opposed reducing the number of CCTV cameras and a plurality opposed the part privatisation of the Royal Mail (by 47% to 33%). While asked in isolation the VAT rise was very unpopular, YouGov also asked if they would prefer the rise in VAT or large cuts in public spending – in that context 46% of people prefered the VAT, 38% the larger spending cuts.

On the Labour leadership David Miliband remains the clear frontrunner, with 23% naming him as the person they think would make the best leader. Somewhat surprisingly Diane Abbott is in second place on 9%, followed by 8% for Ed Miliband. Diane Abbot’s popularity though is much higher amongst Conservative and Lib Dem supporters – amongst Labour’s own supporters she is in fourth place behind David Miliband (34%), Ed Miliband (13%) and Ed Balls (10%). As I warned last week though, leadership preference questions are this stage are largely name recognition.

Asked who would be the WORST leader, Ed Balls is top with 21%, followed by Diane Abbott on 18%. Amongst Labour’s current supporters Diane Abbott is seen as the worst candidate on 22%, followed by Balls on 13%.

Moving on, YouGov asked about the BA strike and who was most to blame. They found 32% of people blamed the Trade Union, 20% the BA management and 38% both of them. YouGov also asked if various groups should be allowed to strike – there were three groups where a majority thought they should not be able to strike – for both the army and the police 22% thought they should be able to, 69% thought they should not. For NHS staff 36% thought they should be allowed to stike, 55% thought they should not. A plurality also thought energy distribution workers shouldn’t be able to. For the other professions YouGov asked about people thought a majority should be able to strike, including 61% who thought airline workers should be able to.

240 Responses to “More from the YouGov/Sunday Times poll”

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  1. ““My mum had eight children. all are now tax payers.
    The state got its child benefit back many times over.”

    O boy-another one for the archives ;-)

    We have had some beauties on UKPR .


    “Two-fifths of the world’s people face serious water shortages,”

    “polluted water-borne diseases kill one child every eight seconds”

    “Half the world’s population is living in unsanitary conditions without access to clean water, ”

    “The world cannot increase its supply of fresh water: all it can do is change the way it uses it.”

    “70% of global water is used in agriculture” .

    ” In China it takes 1,000 tonnes of water to grow one tonne of wheat.”

    “13 percent of the world population – do not have enough food each day to sustain a healthy life,

    “1 in 8 of the world’s bird species is threatened with extinction as a result of un-controlled agricultural expansion and deforestation. The increase in farmland to the detriment of grassland, forests and hedgerows has drastically reduced biodiversity.”

    “The world population is currently growing by approximately 74 million people per year. ”

    ………there’s more………but it’s too too depressing

  2. Eoin – Shameless is quite brilliant. Do you remember I kept on saying during the campaign that it should be compulsory for all MPs to watch it. not just one episode, but whole series.

    Ironically, I think they’d find the “Big Society” they were looking for. It is full of humanity and quite brilliantly written. Survival & Community.

    I seriously doubt many of our elected representatives have a teeny tiny clue about the lives of the Gallaghers and the Macguires. I could write a whole thesis about how Debbie Gallagher is the blueprint for solving all of society’s ills lol :)

  3. Oh dear….

  4. Surely no-one can be surprised that Diane Abbot is the favourite for Lib Dem & Con voters. I think that would pretty much guarantee a considerable increase in both parties seats at the next general election.

    Ed Balls being 2nd favourite for them is hardly surprising either!

    Whatever you think of Gordon Brown’s abilities as a politician (or to do basic arithmetic) no-one can deny as a figure with presence he is going to be very hard for Labour to replace.

    None of the current Labour leadership contenders display anywhere near the presence of Brown or Blair or Smith or even dare I say Kinnock.

  5. :)

  6. Read “peoplequake” by fred pearce it will enlighten you

    In fact, population growth is slowing. For more than three decades now, the average number of babies being born to women in most of the world has been in decline. Globally, women today have half as many babies as their mothers did, mostly out of choice. They are doing it for their own good, the good of their families, and, if it helps the planet too, then so much the better.

    Here are the numbers. Forty years ago, the average woman had between five and six kids. Now she has 2.6. half the world already has a fertility rate below the long-term replacement level. That includes all of Europe, much of the Caribbean and the far east from Japan to Vietnam and Thailand, Australia, Canada, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Algeria, Kazakhstan, and Tunisia. It also includes China,

  7. Eoin

    Glad you happy with it all-I’m not.
    I have my own references thank you ;-)

  8. Oh please. There’s more to overpopulation than population density. There’s more to population growth than the % rates – the actual numbers you’re dealing with matter at least as much.
    Our current population is unsustainable in the medium–long term as it is, we place far too much stress on the environment just trying to feed ourselves, let alone the other negative impacts we cause.

  9. @Owain,

    Yes Ownain but other than slow down the birth rate (which is already happen) what elese do you propose? Surely all the wolrd is entitled to preventitiatve medicine? :)

  10. The world population explosion will reverse in the next few decades, not just because of famine etc. Research into the degradation of the Y (Male determinant) chromosome has shown parallels with other now extinct species. The result of this is reduced fertility in males.
    Added to the pollution that also impacts on fertility (female hormones in cattle etc), the population of the planet may well reverse not purely as a result of starvation etc, but also as a result of a loss of ability to replace ourselves.
    The question is, what impact will this have on the polls?

  11. @ Eoin
    “Yes Ownain but other than slow down the birth rate (which is already happen) what elese do you propose? Surely all the wolrd is entitled to preventitiatve medicine?”

    Far more drastic slowing. Several decades of a global one-child policy, enforced through tax breaks for have no children or one, and punitive taxation of those with more.

  12. I won’t write again about the overpopulation myth.

    Can I just point out that if you carefully reading the arguments against supporting children and child bearing above, the good old Malthusian thinking is lurking in it (because there is more in Malthus than the arithmetic growth of food production and geometric growth of population).

    These arguments on the one hand propose abstinence to the poor and indulgence of the rich (whose condition is unbridled businesses, withering of the state and pressure groups, changing value systems, etc.). Abstinence to the poor so they would not exhaust our resources, and indulgence for the rich so that demand could be created.

  13. @ Laszlo

    Oh you’re back to Sue’s game where anyone worried about global population is engaging in class warfare, rather than being concerned with the planet’s environment or the fact that we’re exceeding it’s carrying capacity. How parochial and partisan.

  14. Owain – I thought we sorted out last night that I wasn’t even replying to you. I have no experience or knowledge in matters of international population control and would not even dare to put an opinion. You’re arguments may be valid, I have no idea, but can we just drop the insults as you misunderstood me initially?? I merely replied to Robert in France’s assertions about 2nd children getting child benefit in the UK and made no mention at all of global population.

  15. How amusing this site will look as everyone comments to me and I may not respond. Please apologise on my behalf AW and explain you won’t let me.

  16. [abolishing Child Trust Funds] This , if Labour addresses it from the right angle, is the Con-Dem 10p tax moment. It will gain traction as time goes by and it sinks in that the first act of this Govt is to sting the most vulnerable.

    Did DC NCand GO have a few bob in their account at the age of 18?

  17. Sue – wrong colour?

  18. LASZLO

    “I won’t write again about the overpopulation myth.”

    Very pleased to hear it :-)

  19. @Lazslo,

    You are undoubtedly a very intelligent person. I look forward tremendously to your posts.

    Malthusianism lives on of that there is no doubt. The penny post would be proud as would Lord Trevelynn

  20. @Eoin,

    I think you have largely missed the point about Africa being underpopulated. According to projections, the population will more than double in the next few decades to approx. 1.5 billion. Most of the added housing/people will mean that further deforestation/loss of wilderness is virtually inevitable. Africa is a wild continent on the whole, and the only way it will be able to sustain such increases is by loss of wilderness/forested areas. That’s not to mention the increase in water/resources that will be needed. Of course, this will also mean that the extreme poverty issue is likely to be greatly exacerbated. Fewer resources and more people, mean that food and other resources (i.e. water/timber etc.) will become more scarce, with the poor suffering the most. Poverty levels in the third world could more than double over the next few decades.

    The population is slowing, but it will still almost double from current levels in the next 40 or 50 years. That means almost twice the usage of resources (discounting the fact that many developing countries are now industrialising/increasing their resource/carbon-based consumption massively – think India/China). That’s why countries such as India now acknowledge, that because of population and economic growth, they face an environmental catastrophe. A recent report said as much.

  21. Matt

    The hwole continent of Africa is well below a billion…

    China nad India are comfortably over a billion..

    Thus, in density terms it is quite sparsely population

    Other than Eygpt/Nigeria we really are looking and some very poorly populated countries indeed..

    put the UK’s 60 mill on a list of populated states. Correct me by all means since I am citing from memory but would the UK not be the second most populated place?

  22. Also, arguing that certain countries/continents are underpopulated and could, thus, absorb more people is wrong since these countries are either largely uninhabitable, or are usually rich in resources. For example, arguing that Canada could/should absorb another 200 million people is idiotic, since Canada contains a significant proportion of the world’s forests/wilderness areas. The highly sensitive ecosystems/resources would have to, sadly, make way for people.

  23. MATT

    Thanks for your logic & common sense.It is refreshing.

    ” The highly sensitive ecosystems/resources would have to, sadly, make way for people.”

    Make that “have had to”-and “will have to”-whilst the anthropocentric views paraded here are upermost.

  24. @ Sue
    You appeared to be quite addressing all the “environmentalists” equally last night.

  25. Matt,

    You didn’t mention the least over-populated continent of all – Antartica. Prime example of why acreage does not equal sustainable population.


    Actually, the question of sustainability is vastly more complex than simple numbers. Acceptable levels of population density vary according to a wide range of factors, some of which are human /social and nothing to do with environmental issues, but most are geographic, with water being the most crucial.

    Now, if we had a means of de-salinating the oceans, we could vastly increase the sustainable population on land – but what would be the long-term damage to the planetary eco-system ?

    The best approach is for each country to look at its own sustainability. No country should expect to dump its environmental problems on its neighbours.

    These things matter not just because they may have impacts decades down the line, but because they can cause tensions and flashpints in the near future. Wars are typically fought over resources. Expect more wars if misuses of resources by individual states are not properly addressed.

    And those misuses can lead to tensions within, not just between states.

    As a species we need to move away from the consumption=happiness equation which underlies most western society.

    Nations which confront these issues honestly and openly will ultimately fare better than those who ignore the problem.

    Parties which show themselves willing to grasp that philosophical challenge will be more successful (in polling terms) than those which do not.

    [Ha! bet you did not expect me to finish on a pure polling point !]

  26. For nearly 200 years over-population theories have been promulgated. Usually in wealthy densely populated countries and usally with a view to policy towards poorer less populated countries. Like minded characters to myself disagreed then, and I will disagree now. Every country has the right to wealth, industrialisation and more. The feeder ecnomies that produce that growth require man power. Just as England required Celts to build railways man cotton factories and more, likewise the other growth economies will require personnel to build dams roads etc…. ultimately we all win.

    My family run/built/ and own two hydro-electric power plants… growth and sustainability can happen in tandem.

  27. PAUL H-J

    “Parties which show themselves willing to grasp that philosophical challenge will be more successful (in polling terms) than those which do not.”

    Neat political conclusion. !

    Yes I agree-but in the long term.

    First will come the stress over resources within populous countries.

    Then will come stress between countries over tradeable vital resources.

    When that stress spills over into conflict , those politicians may come forward..

    But we will take it to the brink-humans always do.
    …and by then the environmental impact will have been terminal for many species & their ecosystems- and the Aral Sea disaster will rank as one of our lesser acts of vandalism on the planet .

  28. @Eoin,

    Yes, but overpopulation is all relative. Compared to two thousand years ago, the world/environment in the 1800s was, environmentally speaking, greatly degraded. Compared to today, the 1800s was, environmentally speaking, much healthier. I suspect in 200 years from now, people will marvel at how the earth still had open expanses of wilderness. That doesn’t mean that overpopulation isn’t a massive (and perpetually growing) problem.

    No one begrudges the developing world progress. We all want that. However, we have to accept that to prevent climate change, something needs to happen (and fast). If it doesn’t the future of humanity is in serious peril.

    However much people try to skirt around the issue, population growth and environmental degradation are strongly linked. Of course, that doesn’t mean reducing our carbon footprint/resource usage shouldn’t be the main part of the climate change drive. But without sensible population policies, reducing the effects of climate change/environmental degradation will be greatly compromised. In short, to have a cleaner, greener world we will have to strive to reduce our wasteful, whilst looking looking to minimise and reverse population growth. Otherwise, even halving our resource consumption will be almost entirely offset by population growth! In other words, little/no progress will have been made.

  29. @ Eoin

    Hurm, you seem to be taking a purely political and historical-based stance on population. My position is more environmental and scientific.

  30. @Eoin,

    Of course, as the Western world is the most wasteful, we will also have to bear the greater share of any lifestyle changes.

    To minimise (and reverse) population growth, we could make contraception more widely available in developing countries, and make the education of girls and women a priority. That would be a good start. It would also make their societies fairer.

  31. MATT

    “we could make contraception more widely available in developing countries, and make the education of girls and women a priority”

    Yes Yes Yes

    But how do you counteract the sheet anchors of religions which “teach” that contraception is irreligious, and cultures which are built upon the social & intellectual suppression of women?

    These are huge problems affecting massive numbers of people in the very countries which face population explosions & poverty at the same time.

  32. Owain,

    I am an Historian, naturally I will base more on history than Al Gore’s DVDs. Rhetorical of course, but I just prefer to view things over the long dureé.
    They say 25% of the worlds cunsumption comes from 5% of its inhabitants.

    I do no thtink those inhabitants were sub-saharan. They have enough demographic difficulties there, which we could assist in, and yes I accpet birth control is one one them.

    Howard made an excellent point, which was much more nuanced at targettign areas for growth restraint in population.

  33. @Colin,

    “But how do you counteract the sheet anchors of religions which “teach” that contraception is irreligious, and cultures which are built upon the social & intellectual suppression of women?”

    That is the big question. Until such problems are addressed, the problems of poverty, overpopulation and environmental degradation will continue. Perhaps International pressure (and agreement) is the only solution?

  34. Poverty in developing countries will also get a lot worse (and much more widespread) unless the overpopulation problem is tackled. Put simply, the poorest will suffer the most from climate change and resource scarcity.

  35. @ Eoin

    You seem to misunderstand. I’m not simply talking about fossil fuel consumption, CO2 production or the like, but food production.
    Food production is growing at a slower rate than population, it has been for over a decade. We cannot simply scale up current production methods to feed more people – we don’t have the arable land, fossil fuels or fresh water resources. This applies as much to Africa as the US as China. Our farming methods are unsutainable. More sustainable (in short and medium-term) such as organic farming can only feed a few billion people.

    As a historian you must be somewhat familiar with statistics, check out the FAO website, look at the trends and draw your own conclusions. Al Gore DVDs this ain’t.

  36. @Owain,

    Good post. Unfortunately, poorer people would suffer the most from food shortages.

  37. @Owain,

    “grow your own” has dominated legislative formulation since the 1780s…. We have these theories to thank for the Corn Laws.

    Primogeniture, was a sueful tool in ireland to end sub-division of land….

    Sloypin’s Land bank (1907) and Windbourne’s land act were too good examples of how state interference can encourage crop rotation and an end to the strip system.

    If poorer african countries are acting as feeder economies (see Wallerstein’s world system theory) then it is logical they will suffer food shortages… thus by switching crops from textiles, coffee, cocoa, sugar beer etc.. to crops more suited to domesti cconsumption then they could feed their own people

    But the key to this is ending third world debt, generic drug distribution, and a ban on all international arms sales.

    Unfortunately those three policies would badly hurt big Anglo-US corps in the banking division and beyond. If oil exploration in equatorial new guinea, and the niger delta were halted perhaps that would offset the carbon footprint of the developing industrial base of some of the smaller african companies.

    What I am saying is that their is an amoury in our grasp to help alleviate these problems, if we are serious.

    But to solve all white man’s ills at black men, women and children’s expense is imbalanced.

    If we are serious about helping these problems then a range of solutions are necessary. To resort to birth control as the first resort is a tad intrinsic.

  38. A report on the BBC about India, which highlights the kind of environmental problems facing developing countries with rising populations:-

    At least 45% of Indian land is environmentally “degraded”, air pollution is rising and flora and fauna is diminishing, according to a report.

    The State of Environment Report is the first to be published for eight years and is the first to use satellite imagery to support its findings.

    It focuses on water, energy, food, climate change and urbanisation.

    Another report released by the ministry says that India contributes around 5% of global carbon dioxide emissions.

    That is about a quarter of the emissions of China and the US.

    It says that Indian per capita emissions are one-twentieth of the US and one-tenth of Europe and Japan.

    Water crisis

    The State of the Environment report says that at least 45% of India’s land area is “degraded due to erosion, soil acidity, alkalinity and salinity, water logging and wind erosion”.

    Inflatable boat carries people displaced by flooding
    Access to clean water will present big problems in future

    It blames deforestation, over grazing, forest fires and the indiscriminate use of agro-chemicals.

    The report also warns of a potential water crisis in the country, pointing out that in the past, a combination of rainfall and surface and groundwater supplies were sufficient for the population.

    But now it says that rainfall has become more erratic, groundwater supplies are becoming more depleted and surface water is becoming more polluted.

    Addressing the problem of energy security, the report says that India may have significant reserves of oil, but it is “relatively poor” in terms of oil and gas resources.

    On climate change, too, the report paints a grim picture. It says that “with an economy closely linked to a natural resource base”, India faces big challenges in the future including a scarcity of water and lower crop yields.

    Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said on Monday that forests in his his country “have the potential to offset the world’s carbon emissions”.

    “India is one of the few developing countries where forest cover has increased over the last 20 years and continues to increase – today more than a fifth of the country’s land area is under forest cover,” he said.

  39. This is despite India’s per capita emissions being only one-twentieth of the US and one-tenth of Europe and Japan. This highlights the fact that large populations put an enormous stress on the environment, regardless of the population’s own individual carbon footprints/resource consumption. It also highlights the scale of the problem.

  40. @Matt,

    when it comes to pollution deforestation etc… I am on weak ground. I am about as environmentally aware as a lumber-jack. I adopt my lifestyle to be enviromental (no car etc.) but I know of little else.

    I accept that you, having voted for the Green Party before, are more concenred with these matters.

    My concern is social justice. It would be a backward step for us to interfere too much with the industrialsation of third world countries. I simply come at it from the point of view that we were there once…

    we can help with child labour/ prostitution by ethical consumerism etc… I am all in favour of that…

    Africa is full of intellectual, scientific, and commercial talent. i am of mind to let those great brains get to work.

  41. @Eoin,

    I don’t drive either. Partly on environmental grounds, but mainly because I’m dyspraxic. :-)

    I agree with you on the social justice issue. However, I approach it from a slightly different angle. My position is that it should be the duty of the Western world to help developing countries. We should ensure that everyone has enough food via overseas aid, however much it costs. We should not prevent people from earning a good living. We should stop cheap labour via International law. If we do all of these things, developing economies will be better able to grow.

    I think that we should also help developing countries to develop environmentally sustainable practices by subsidising them directly. That way, we can help African countries, for example, to develop their energy supply, whilst also building environmentally friendly power plants. We could also help them to create ‘green’ jobs. Education could actively encouraged and expanded, as should the availability of contraception. This would go some way to helping to alleviate poverty in developing countries, whilst at the same time be addressing environmental problems, including overpopulation.

  42. @Matt,

    An ambitious aspiration and one i would commend if it were implemented. A bit like Amber’s win win approach.

    Subsidising would be the key though! I have played Sim city a coal power plant costs me less :P

  43. @Eoin,

    I’m an idealist. :P

    Let’s be honest, the developing countries will never become developed countries. Sadly, western countries ensure that.

  44. @Eoin,

    It would require a total change of lifestyle in the West. Long overdue IMO.

  45. @matt,

    Yes long overdue. My partner’s dad has 7 cars (2 4xwd). I am sure there are other examples. Our beef eating gas guzzling lifestyle is unsustainable.

  46. @Eoin,

    I agree.

  47. @ Eoin
    ““grow your own” has dominated legislative formulation since the 1780s…. We have these theories to thank for the Corn Laws.

    Primogeniture, was a sueful tool in ireland to end sub-division of land….

    Sloypin’s Land bank (1907) and Windbourne’s land act were too good examples of how state interference can encourage crop rotation and an end to the strip
    etc etc.”

    Eoin you’re not sassing what I’m saying, frood.

    It’s not about the economics or farming policies anymore, it’s down to available resources. The overwhelming majority of arable land is already being used for farming, as is the vast majority of fresh water. We cannot keep ‘scaling up’ our current farming technology and even if we could it’s unsustainable in the long run due to soil degradation, increased soil runoff due to deforestation etc.
    Look at what happened to the ‘Fertile Crescent’ through thousands of years of far less intensive agriculture and deforestation. Swathes of it have been consumed by the desert.
    Not to mention the danger of collapsing fish stocks due to depletion.

    Our numbers are simply too great, and they’re still increasing.

    If everyone became vegetarian and livestock farming ceased it would help. If all food was distributed with less waste and more equally it would help. If scientists can develop better crops and technologies in time it will help. But in the long term we will still need to control our population. This planet has limited space, and it’s going to be a while before we can spread beyond Earth – if ever.

  48. This isn’t a question of overpopulation, but of an uneven distribution in consumption, and the way enonomies in developing countries have been designed/forced to meet our consumption needs rather than their own.

    One of my grandfathers had 18 children. But none of them consumed anything like your average American. It’s over-consumption that is destroying the planet, not overpopulation.

  49. @RAF,

    It’s both. I agree with most of what you say. We need to considerably alter our consumption and lifestyles. Of that there is little doubt. However, with population continuing to rise, any reduction, per person, in consumption of resources would be offset by the increase in population. Therein lies the problem.

    Put simply, even if we in Britain manage to reduce our emission by 80% over the next 50 years, if the African population almost trebles to 2 billion as forecasted, the 80% reduction will be more than offset by Africa’s rise in emissions. (Africa is forecasted to gain another 1.2 billion people – all of which would need feeding, water, timber, housing, cars, energy etc). Have a look at the article on India I posted, another country which consumes much less in the way of resources per person, but which is facing environmental catastrophe.

  50. A common misconception.
    More equitable distribution and less waste would, as I said, help for a while and give us more time – but it wouldn’t *solve* the problem.

    The common misconception bandied about is that we already produce enough food to feed the world and there should be no starvation. This is a bit of a myth. We produce enough *calories* to feed the world, but vitamins and protein are a different story. Having enough calories isn’t going to help kids with murasmus very much, nor those blinded by vitamin A deficiency or with weakened immune systems due to vitamin deficiencies.

    And as I said, farming methods since the Green Revolution are much more intensive in terms of fertilizer, fuel, and water – all of which are in limited supply, as is arable land. This was much less the case in our grandparent’s childhoods. We cannot scale up production indefinitely, and without significant advances in agricultural technology we cannot feed the projected 9 billion people in 2050, even if we cut down the rainforests we wouldn’t have enough fossil fuels or fresh water.

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