YouGov have some new questions up on their website on Afghanistan, the alternative vote and – most topically – the government’s spending cuts. These are all questions that will be part of YouGov’s regular trackers over coming months, replacing some of the pre-election trackers that were very election campaign orientated.

Voting intention for the referendum on switching to Alternative Vote currently stands at YES 44%, NO 34%, wouldn’t vote 5% and don’t know 17%. A lead for alternative vote, but not a particularly large one. Prior to the question wording being decided, the yes and no campaigns being organised, and the public being exposed to many arguments for or against AV, I think we can only conclude that the referendum could easily go either way whenever it is called.

On Afghanistan the public have actually become rather more positive since the same questions were asked last year. 25% think British troops should be withdrawn immediately (down from 35% last year), 42% think they should be withdrawn within a year or so, and 24% are happy for them to stay for as long as the Afghan government needs them. Asked if victory over the Taliban is possible 40% think so, compared to 33% last year. 46% think it is not, down from 57%.

The most topical questions at the moment are on the government plans to cut the deficit. 49% think this will be good for the economy, with 31% thinking it will be bad. The public are more evenly divided over whether the government will make the cuts in a fair fashion – 37% think it will be done fairly, 33% unfairly. 48% of people say that the cuts are already having an impact on their own lives. The government does seem to be in strong position to blame their predecessors for harsh cuts though, asked who they blame for the cuts in public spending, 48% say the last Labour government, compared to 17% who blame the coalition (19% blame both, 9% neither).

Today YouGov also published results on what the public consider the important issues facing the country – unsurprisingly the economic remains the most important issue by far (80%), followed as usual by immigration (53%), with other issues a long way behind. Compare this, however, with a second question that asked people the most important issues facing the respondents and their families. The economy remains top by far (64%), but is now followed by tax (34%), health (32%), pensions (32%), family and childcare issues (17%) and education (16%). Immigration is right down on 12%.


265 Responses to “Latest YouGov trackers”

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  1. @Eoin …with respect, good intentions are not always enough, and outcomes not guarranteed (wisdom and humility are not mutually exclusive attributes)… also under the impression that Herr S-grubber *was* a criminal.

    I am shocked you use the L-word! :)

  2. @Eoin
    Totally agree eith you re those who hold power in the three main parties – which is why I think that STV, a multi-party system and a semi-circular parliament would be far more honest than the confrontational charade we have to endure in the UK.

  3. BillyB,

    The L word- you mean Liberal? I’ll have you know that I am as liberal as you are likely to meet. After all, what was Michel foucault if he was not liberal? (with a small s of course).

    JohnT,

    Agreed. STV would produce some decent debate. Italian campaigns are addictive even if the otucome is not often welcomed.

  4. John,

    Italians use a list system in some ways similar ot Germany (the latter have a threshold to prevent nut jobs getting in). patronage gives the central party a bit much power in deciding what order candidates are placed on the list but in terms of the smaller parties they stand a better chance of getting someone elected. What they done in Italy which was quite crafty was to join together under a nominal party name to pool their vote… so Greens and Libs for instance to produce 26-7% (just an example).

  5. Eoin Clarke 10:14 am

    “democratisation of the means of production is a basic requirement of a leftist. i do not know of any party in Britain advocating that. (alright maybe the Mutual/Coop movement but you get my point).”

    Try the Green Party.

  6. Ben,

    Greengrass would be proud of you… they have my vote actually in the forthcoming local elections (Labour do not contest in NI although they recruit).

  7. JohnT “It would be interesting to see a poll which asked people whether they agreed with the statement that “all politicians are basically the same”.”

    I’d agree with that statement.

    So, perhaps the statement/question should be more along the lines of “There is no difference at all between the policies of the three main political parties: C, L and and LDs”.

  8. “So, perhaps the statement/question should be more along the lines of “There is no difference at all between the policies of the three main political parties: C, L and and LDs”.

    No difference at all is maybe putting it a bit strongly, but very little fundamental difference, yes, I’d agree with that.

  9. Mike,
    By contrast, I would disagree with the first statement, and be very strongly tempted to agree with the second.

  10. Mike N,

    second statment I’d agree with

  11. So, there it is then: in a highly suspect voodoo poll three out of three psephological aficiandos said they could’nt tell the difference.

  12. Mike N,

    Not necessarily a bad thing in my view (I say that somewaht wistfully) but false consciousness aint so bad… Do you mind if I slip into a stupor to await an organic crisis, although if the collapse in a banking system does not provoke one, i have my doubts as to what will….?

  13. The colour yellow is associated with the Liberals back into the 19th century, but the exact shade of yellow has varied over the years, and if we go back far enough we find it defined as ‘buff’, a slightly reddish or orangey beige.

    If we go back further into the 18th century, we find the Whigs distinguished by wearing blue and buff; the use of buff alone was presumably precipitated by the Tory appropriation of blue.

    Going back yet further to the 17th century, we find that the original color of the Whigs, or rather their Country Party antecedents, supporters of Lord Shaftesbury and opponents of the government of Charles II, was green, members of a certain political club wearing a green ribbon or swatch of cloth as their badge. But Whigs also used blue at this time, and the Court Party, or Cavaliers, were distinguished by their use of scarlet.

    In short, the evolution of Whig colours has been something like green > blue > blue and buff > buff > yellow.

  14. David “In short, the evolution of Whig colours has been something like green > blue > blue and buff > buff > yellow.”

    Back to green, next? (combine of Y and B)?

  15. The two statements are of course completely different. The first could relate to individual politicians and to their perceived backgrounds, morals, dress preferences, whatever. The second is more specific.

    Actually if I remember correctly, whenever similar questions get asked, responses can vary enormously depending on much smaller differences in wording and even due to previous questions, placement of alternative answers etc.

    And that’s before you even consider what state of false consciousness they’re in. :)

  16. “So, there it is then: in a highly suspect voodoo poll three out of three psephological aficiandos said they could’nt tell the difference.”

    I think this would have been clearer with the words “between the policies of the main political parties” added at the end.

  17. David,

    Thanks for your colour association. Were blueys always blue? They and yellows kind of left a gaping hole for red to walk into if that is the case……

  18. @Colin – I really like the sound of the banking reforms. Whether they work in practice is another matter, as the BoE was still raising rates in 2007 as they worried about inflation and still hadn’t seen the impact of the looming credit crisis. But at least they will have to ask the right questions, which at least increases the chance that someone will spot disasters more quickly.

    I really don’t like the announcement of the cuts today. far too much is being cut from good quality industrial investment and it seems a blue print of the devastation policy of the 1980s. We won’t solve this by relentless cuts – we need growth, and smart investment will bring growth.

  19. Mike N/ Alec,

    A lot of Mike N’s prophesising seems to have occurred this afternoon. I must say I am quite stunned by a lot of Mr Alexander’s announcements. I would imagine it would have dealt a crushing blow to yellow optimists hopeful that this coalition could work out.

  20. @ Eoin

    “I must say I am quite stunned by a lot of Mr Alexander’s announcements.”

    Why is that? The 2 billion cut is only the statutory ones. There are much bigger cuts that have been implemented without being reported. For example, there is a 13% cut in the care for elderly. That did not need to be announced, so it was not.

    It is also interesting to read the Treasury’s explanation on some of the cuts. For the Sheffield ones: poor value for money (no impact study has been made) and it does not meet the government’s priorities (the not affordable criterion cannot apply for these projects).

    There are also other interesting things in the Treasury announcement: 1) likely cuts in the schoolbuilding programme (are you still sure Eoin that they won’t bulldoze the existing one down?), 2) Forced underspend on the departments.

  21. Laszlo,

    As I say- stunned! London 2012 was an opportunity to tackle obesity. 2/3rd of scots are obese (BBC). Thus, taking away the free swimming is almost certainly counter productive… The nuclear parts maker I heard huhne back the cuts… sounded poor.

    The big ones of oyuth/employment are very sorrowful. Noother descriptor. Itmust be a very very hard world for the young adults in 2010 UK.

  22. @ Eoin

    Yes, the free swimming cut is a strange (mean?) and counter-productive one. The argument is even stranger: “those who used it said they would have paid for it”. It’s an extremely sad, cynical argument. Especially from a Whig – about the LibDems people said that 28-30% would vote for them… and it happened to be 21%…

  23. Laslo,

    If I were a young man of average wealth and education I would be very very fearful of what lies ahead. Time to buy a rucksack for many I would imagine.

  24. Actually these cuts are much bigger as in many of the axed and suspended project the government money was a minority stake (e.g. in the National Film Centre it was 27%) and that could mean the withdrawal of the rest of the money from private investors or increasing cost of the project (because of the longer timescale).

  25. Yes, though I don’t know where they could go…

    One of the most disturbing aspect of these cuts is that they were aimed either 1) attempt to create some sort of industrial policy; 2) the wastefulness of the lower classes :-( :-(.

    If it continues like this on the 22nd…

  26. Laslzo,

    As far as I can ascertain the cuts amount to £10bn with a possible £8bn more to come this year? Can you put a more precise figure on 2010-11 cuts? One thing is for sure it is not £6bn

  27. @ Eoin

    There is a cc. 300 million overlap between the 2 billion and the 6.25 billion, so it’s already 8 billion, plus the suspended 8 billion (=16 billion). But quite a bit of this 8 billion is actually over 5-10 years, so the saving is probably only a couple of billion for this year at the very most.

    Compulsory savings are about 4 billion for the rest of year, but this is difficult to verify – I estimated it from “underspending”.

    From this I expect about 20 billion cut/tax on Tuesday (though there will be overlaps). Some of the cuts cannot be implemented without statutory instruments – these will likely wait until the autumn.

  28. Laszlo,

    And reds £11bn efficiency savings are they included in that? eg.. pay restraint etc..

    so are we talking £31bn?

  29. @ Eoin

    “So are we talking £31bn?”

    Yes, this is my estimate. The 11 billion will be part of it.

  30. And the public voted for ??? zero from yellows , 11 bn efficiency from red, and 17 efficiency from blue…

    instead we have 11 efficiency + £18-20bn in cuts + a possilbe VAT & CGT rise

    all in 2010.

    Wow!

    When I woke up this morning i thought it was 6bn, I’ll go to sleep with that tripled (+efficiency)

  31. I meant 20 billion as a combination of cuts and taxes.

    The real effect will be much bigger in the case of grants and business support (because of co-financing).

  32. Laszlo,

    Surely growth of 2.6% is ludricous (although May’s retail looked good)? there’ll be a negative quarter of growth within 6months–

    One positive is that inflation seems to be slowing (let’s hope VAT is left alone)

  33. The like-for-like sales were not so good.

    If there is negative growth, that would close to Black MOnday for the coalition – it would be perceived as economic incompetence and all the spin of the last months of so would be turned against the coaliton.

    The slowing of the inflation is good for the populus, I’m not sure if it’s so good for the government… I don’t see how they can do it without raising VAT or introducing a lower rate for the currently 0% rates.

  34. Laszlo,

    If one thing is certain- they re on a mission to avoid a headline grabber. hence cuts announced today hence 6.4 already announced… this budget will be a phantom..

    yes if the 0%s are inc. to 5%s and some of the 5%s inc. to say 7.5% that is where we might see an increase… or a raft of green taxes not on the customer but the manufacturer…

    Headline VAT i suspect will remain at 17.5

  35. Alec

    I heard the debate-the Forgemasters loan sounds like a pretty political gesture by Labour-with no money to back it up. They seem to have been going round with a bag of sweeties in the approporiate constituencies just before the GE ( sweeties they hadn’t paid for)

    …………still…….I hope this isn’t an anti-nuclear thing from VC.

    “Backing Winners” has a dreadful track record-if the company is viable, then it will get commercial finance-with VC’s help by the sound of it.

    As for the rest-it’s small beer yet. If we are going to reduce the deficit with a public spending reduction component, there will be pain-but the things announced today were just Labour “promises”.
    The idea that we can afford to offer free swimming for all under 16s at this time is ludicrous-and to get upset about not introducing it is to reduce the whole fiscal argument to farcical levels.

    The Labour benches today were pathetic- I really don’t think they understand ( I’m sure LIam Byrn did though!)

  36. Any new polls out tonight? Failing that a re-run of this afternoon’s “There is no difference at all between the policies of the three main political parties: C, L and and LDs” :)

  37. Hello chaps
    I’m not astonished at these announcements, and won’t be astonished if the polls reflect at worst a neutral effect.

    In 1997 Brown decided that sticking to the Ken Clarke stringency measures for two years would do two things. One, allow him to blame Clarke and two, get the pain over in the first two years.

    Clarke was miffed – claimed he would have found a little leeway to mitigate, and Brown’s opponents later claimed he’d stuck to Clarke’s plans because of a third reason – the Maastricht rules (which clearly don’t apply this time, strangely)

    What’s rather encouraging to my warped mind is that the risk of recession has been discounted. There’s no treading the fine line here, so there must be deep-seated confidence that economic conditions will allow us to bump along.

    2.6% sounds a lot, but it isn’t when you take into account the low starting point of a year ago.

    Whether the co-alition survives depends a lot on how the LDs see their portion. The trade-offs and mental gymnastics (they like power and don’t want oblivion at an early GE) would be fascinating if exposed.

  38. MikeN – a peculiarity of vegetable dyes is that they fade, and indeed change colour over time, what with all the wear and tear in those days, hence the neccessity of buying a new coat and hat each season. Possible a Tory in an old coat ‘appears to be’ a Whig?

  39. The USA has no greater friend in the world than Britain and yet the are enternally ungrateful for it. Suez crisis, Falklands, Northern Ireland, the US rarely backs Britain. And yet when it comes to Libya, Iran, Iraq, Aghan – the americans always have a true friend.

    In light of this- the antiBritish commentary arising out of the oil “accident” is repulsive. the New Orleans Tourist Board’s advertising Campaign is particulalry distasteful, especially when one considers the financial support and sympathy they received from Britain after hurrican Katrina

  40. @Colin – I think the Forgemasters loan (note loan) was a positive move, and the nuclear aspect was only part of the potential benefit. It would have meant the UK had the leading technology of it’s kind in Europe and was in all probability a good investment for the tax payer. The various unemployment schemes I’m not so sure – potentially very good if they work, as with any government scheme. Cancelling these, or not replacing them with something better for the unemployed if they thought these schemes were not good value, begins to demonstrate an unhelpful attitide to jobs and growth.

    I’ll say it again, but unless the budgets of the next year or two really savage some big ticket items of massive spending on the middle classes that will be extremely unpopular, there is no way the deficit can be closed by public spending cuts. Taxes will have to rise and economic growth prioritised.

    The only way Thatcher closed the deficits in the 1980s was through inflation, growth and privatisation receipts. Even with all that and spending increasing every year it still felt hugely painful.

  41. Alec

    There will be “big ticket items”

    The deficit cannot be closed without spending cuts.

    Economic growth will be prioritised.

  42. Eoin – In Hollywood Ca the badie is always a foreigner, often a feindishly clever brit (except in Buffy, when he is a good svengali). Obama’s father a Kenyan so not does not have the automatic hereditary bias of previous presidents, in fact there are is a bitterness about colonial history there too. After the devastation of the hurricane, this disaster has a human face :(
    All the instances you mention might have benefited to some extent from heeding friendly criticism rather than unquestioning support?

  43. BP already has a poor safety record in US :(

  44. @Alec – in some limited respects the current administration might get away with letting things drift… there are a lot of brand new schools and hospitals around. Compare these with the victorian edifices that had been allowed to reach a state of dereliction under Thatcher. Public buildings need major refurbishment work every five years?

  45. BILLY BOB

    “BP already has a poor safety record in US”

    Spot on.

    It has been cavalier in the extereme over this disaster.

    Deep water drilling with poor contingency.

    Trivialising the size of the problem.

    Crap technology & application in failed mitigation efforts.

    Planning for 1k bpd-then being told-by third parties-that they were *issin* 50k bpd into the sea.

    CEO complains he “wants his life back” when his company employees lost theirs-and US businesses & livelihoods get trashed.

    THe stuff on the shore is one thing-the stuff in the water column 9 this is NOT a surface spill) is something else entirely-the environmental damage will be incalculable & irrepareable.

    BP deserve whatever they have coming-including gaol sentences .

  46. BILLY BOB

    “BP already has a poor safety record in US”

    Spot on.

    It has been cavalier in the extereme over this disaster.

    Deep water drilling with poor contingency.

    Trivialising the size of the problem.

    Crap technology & application in failed mitigation efforts.

    Planning for 1k bpd-then being told-by third parties-that they were *issin* 50k bpd into the sea.

    CEO complains he “wants his life back” when his company employees lost theirs-and US businesses & livelihoods get trashed.

    THe stuff on the shore is one thing-the stuff in the water column 9 this is NOT a surface spill) is something else entirely-the environmental damage will be incalculable & irrepareable.

    BP & its Directors deserve whatever they have coming

  47. Virgilio

    So in the UK you would for Labour, but what for the Scottish parliament?

  48. Richard Manns
    @ Vergilio

    “Haven’t you just described your voting as an ABC (Anyone But Conservatives) pattern? I know quite a few people whose support, voting and even membership has migrated like that.”

    Do they all live in Scotland?

  49. how can any government dish out loans to private firms.
    i hear the arguement for it been the nuclear hub but why just that city.i know of many decent business’s around me would have loved some government backing.
    its a little too convienant that it was in the labour heartlands….and damm close to an election

  50. Eoin Clarke 10:14 am

    “democratisation of the means of production is a basic requirement of a leftist. i do not know of any party in Britain advocating that. (alright maybe the Mutual/Coop movement but you get my point).”

    …. and two socialist parties in Scotland,both of which, like the Greens are ant- trident and pro-independence.

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