There was a Harris poll in the Daily Mail yesterday. Voting intention figures are incomprehensible. To quote from the Mail “The Tories are down from 36 per cent at the election to just 29 per cent, while Lib Dem support has collapsed from 23 per cent to just 12. Labour are on 28 per cent, down from 29 at the election. But a huge 17 per cent of people said they were undecided.”

Where to start? Firstly the Harris poll was of Great Britain, not the United Kingdom, so they should be comparing it to the GB result (CON 37%, LAB 30%, LDEM 24%). Secondly, 17% for don’t know isn’t huge, it’s comparable to other polls. Most importantly, they haven’t repercentaged to exclude don’t knows, so obviously all the parties are down. It is unclear whether or not they have also excluded won’t votes, so it’s not even possible to repercentage yourself. If they have excluded won’t votes, it implies 17% support for other parties, which seems unfeasible (though the newer online pollsters did tend to produce some very high scores for others before the election). If they didn’t exclude won’t votes either then it implies shares somewhere in the region of CON 36%, LAB 35%, LDEM 15%, but we can’t be sure.

On other questions, Harris found 26% thought Cameron had done better than they expected, 22% worse. 42% said he had been in line with expectations, though obviously we don’t know if those people’s expectations were positive or negative! For Osborne 12% thought he had exceeded expectations, 20% that he had done worse, Clegg was 19% and 29% respectively and Cable 13% better and 21% worse.

On opinions of the government, Harris asked people which words they’d use to describe it, with particularly unenlightning answers! All the words quoted in the paper were agreed with by about 52%-59% of people, included positive and negative ones – so 59% thought they were honest, 52% effective, 59% united… but 57% thought they are disappointing, 59% unpopular and 52% unbalanced. At least, I suppose there is an answer that everyone liked.

The only poll I’m aware of from the Sunday Papers is YouGov’s regular tracker survey – voting intention stands at CON 42%, LAB 37%, LDEM 13%.

UPDATE: Tabs for the Harris poll are here now. Had the poll been repercentaged it would have shown voting intentions of CON 38%, LAB 36%, LDEM 16%, Others 10%.

261 Responses to “Harris/Daily Mail poll”

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    Two things occur to me about your comment. The first is small local militia’s is about all we are going to finish up with. The second is, if billions upon billions upon billions, has been squandered on education, to very little avail, should we not now think of another way of dealing with the problem? Because it is quite obvious that the concept of throwing money at every issue out there is totally wasteful and does not work.

  2. @ROLAND -“…billions upon billions upon billions, has been squandered on education, to very little avail….”
    That’s probably true. But the fact that billions have also been wasted on military campaigns in the past doesn’t mean we should stop funding the military. Does it?
    I’m going to press you on this point because it gets to the core of the arguments.
    Most people. right or left, agree there are some things that need state funding.
    On the right there are libertarians, mainly in the US, who don’t believe in anything being state controlled, including the military.
    Likewise there are anarchist types on the left who also don’t believe in any state services at all.
    I think neither you nor I would fall into either of those categories, correct me if I’m wrong?
    The only argument between us then is which state services should be funded and to what degree.
    Am I right?

  3. @DAVID B
    This might be rich coming from me, but its coming anyway, this board is not The Tony Benn Woodcraft Folk Appreciation Society. Some people thought and think Margaret Thatcher was a great PM. Further, I have half a brain and see the present financial balls up in a 100% different light to you. There are people on this board who——wait for it, are not socialists, or social democrats or liberals. We are Tories and my guess is, you wont change things.

  4. Will be interesting to see how the polls go with Cameron out of the lime light for the next couple of weeks. Considering in the past he has often polled more favourably than his party, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Con vote decreased a bit. Perhaps LD vote will increase.

    I have clearly given you the impression that I am a thick variety of cannon fodder, who can only understand concepts if put in a military setting.

    The point is military campaigns for this country should mean self defence which is beyond price or cost.
    However, I do grant Afghanistan and Iraq have blown that one away. Thanks Tone (a straight kinda guy).

    The claptrap and social experimentation which has been inflicted on several generations of our school kids has left us with far bigger problems than ever existed in my day. Having waisted many billions, we have gone backwards many miles.

  6. @ROLAND -“I have clearly given you the impression that I am a thick variety of cannon fodder, who can only understand concepts if put in a military setting.”
    Not at all. Your intelligence manages to shine through despite your attempt to hide it behind a facade of grumpy Toriness. ;)
    However, I have clearly found a question you would rather avoid answering.
    Does the military count as a state service worth funding or not? (Regardless of past disasters.)
    And if so, why not health and education?

  7. Nick Ok,

    I suspect you are correct… Looking at Clegg’s diary he has plenty lined up.. Social mobility is to be his theme but hsi profile will certainly be raised.

    I have a sneaking suspicion this Sunday’s paper will have a disloyal blue leaking something or other.

    The disloyal reds used to to the same when our leaders went on hols.

    Aside from that, the Murdoch press will need to create a crisis for each othe three parties that ahs tobe faced down at their party conferences so we have that to look forward to…

    perhaps in a fortnight we might get a 40 36 16

  8. Amber

    “The process required to target ‘eternal reprobates’ will sweep up innocent by-standers in its net. ”

    No it won’t-I am refering to people who commit crimes.

    “Welfare to work… who will decide those who are fit to work & those who aren’t?”

    For me the first question is-is there substantial abuse. The answer appears to be yes-certainly Labour have mounted intiatives to reduce it. Like you I hope that the process does not penalise those who really cannot work-and there will be some. Conversely many people with disabilities are able to wok & want to work-they just need the opportunity & a helpful employer . My daughter has never been ambulant , and works. Its not easy-but she has two children to feed, and her pride to consider. DSS told her to apply for Disability Benefit. She refused-what she wanted was Working Tax Credit.

    “Are Big Society volunteers to provide jobs for all the welfare to work people? Surely, if the work is worth doing it should be a ‘real’ job at a living wage. ”

    I don’t think unemployment is going to be “solved” by asking people to work for nothing at all. It is a ridiculous suggestion.
    Volunteering is….voluntary-whether you are in work or not.
    Will/Can trained & skilled Social Enterprises, and indeed Commercial enterprises help get unemployed people into work mind set -& jobs-absolutely.

    Amber-I have found this exchange very hard work. I first thought that I was communicating poorly. That may be part of it -but I can see a huge gulf between us in ideas about civic society & the individual within it.

    I fully understand your desire to ensure fairness, and absence of exploitation. But I think you forget that these things must apply to all citizens.

  9. @ Éoin

    Nick Clegg ‘wrote’ an article for the Observer. He said 100 days is too short a time to form an opinion of us. Trust us & wait 5 years before judging.

    I do not think his article was well received by anybody, even his supporters. The concensus was: Mr Clegg, you work for us – not the other way around. We will decide when to judge you; if you do not like our judgement, do something to change our minds.

    Nay nay sir, I do not avoid answering the question one bit. I was delighted to hear Cameron say “a governments first duty is defence of the realm”. I was sickened to realise that he doesn’t mean a word of it.
    Anyway, yes of course a nation must fund education and fund it fairly. But left wing dogma is now so integral in the system that I fear the worst. No discipline in many schools, political correctness to the point of insanity and ridiculous pretence that it is all working splendidly. There has to be another way.

  11. @ Julian Gilbert

    “And if so, why not health and education?”

    No reason…is there?

    Who says not?

  12. Amber,

    Cleggie weiggie is in for the worse year of his entire political life.

    AV will fail.
    Holyrood will be a disaster for him.
    Unemployment 3mill Inflation 5%
    Stagnation to boot.
    in 57 weeks time he has to stand before a yellow party conference and tell them what 16 months has bought him….

    I suspect inside he will be happy with his lot. Afterall, he is an oldfashioned whig ameliorative reform and political reform are his tipple….

    But his party will know that his left flank is crumbling. If we elect either Miliband it will turn the noses of a few of the grandees…

    tuition fees, iraq, id cards- will all be distant memories.

    I have no reason to doubt that he is finished. it is a question of when…. he might stagger to 09/12.

    by the way- I do not think that it necessarily means an end to the coalition.

  13. @ Colin

    No, I don’t think there is a huge gulf between us. Your latest post makes things much clearer than the post I took exception to.

    Working family tax credit is a good, pragmatic thing. May I ask, why should those in welfare to work jobs not be eligible to claim it? 8-)

  14. @COLIN
    There are times when I have finished a lengthy exchange and felt that, well for instance Julian and school funding. We both think it should happen but matters like amount and what is taught, disipline standards ect differ big time. Sometimes however, basic concepts are just so far apart its impossible to find any mutual ground. Looking on the bright side, with that in mind, Cameron and Clegg have done very well regarding their mutual political bonding.

  15. Well, some interesting Big Society news… Tony Blair is donating all the money from his book (including the £5M?) advance to the British Legion.

    Will the British Legion accept it? I think they will; they can do a lot of good with the money, whatever they think of Tony Blair. 8-)

  16. @ROLAND -“Anyway, yes of course a nation must fund education and fund it fairly.”
    You see, you agree with us trendy lefties more than you think.

    @COLIN -“Who says not?”
    Just checking. There are some people out there you know with such strange ideas.

  17. @ROLAND
    Unless you think we should go back to thrashing children, you might find we agree on school discipline standards more than you think too.
    I’m a teacher. ;)

  18. Amber

    I may not have understood your question-but in my daughters case-as I understand it -she could have claimed ( successfuly I assume) Disability Benefit -and not work.

    However, she did not want to do that, and knew that if she could find a job she could access physically, and get the appropriate hours , she could claim Working Tax Credit.

    She gets other benefits which are related to her lack of mobility-but wanted to earn her main source of income ( with quite a bit of help from Gordon’s WTC ;-) )

  19. Three cheers for Gordy! :)

  20. Would you settle for two Eoin ? ;-)

  21. Colin,

    I certainly would… better than a sharp implement in his back! ;) Although all that is in the past now right? :)

  22. Eoin @6.06pm
    I love Italy. We stayed at Pescheira which I think is in Venito.
    Visited Venice (wonderful) and Verona (good). Nice to see they have adopted Shakepeare’s Giulietto and Romeo. Sirmione was just beautiful.
    If there is reincarnation I want to return as an Italian.

  23. Mike N…

    Awwww, it sounds like you had a perfect time. I guess you will be counting down the weeks until you return, next year I presume? It is worth it i think- all that hard work throughout the year so you can put the feet up…

    Consider a flight to Bergamo in the winter (I go most winters)… the walled city at the foot of the alps is perfect..

  24. Hmmm I predict a thread discussing blood-money versus philanthropy any minute now…….i

  25. @ Sue

    It is quite a substantial ‘gesture’, that’s for sure. 8-)

  26. @ Colin

    I believe everybody should work, if they can. I doubt you’ll find a post by me saying that people should not contribute – indeed you know what I think of the indolent be they rich or poor. I know we agree on that as well as many other things. 8-)

  27. I don’t think the Big Society is aimed at professional services, so much as some of the “neighbourly” conduct that has been outsourced to paid employees in recent decades.

    My disabled mum used to have a home help that came round a couple of times a week to help her with cleaning etc. She was a lovely, but illiterate, Irish lady (I’m not linking the two, Eoin!). Over time they became friends and my mum would help her read and reply to letters, fill in forms etc. Eventually they reached the point that Colleen would be at my mum’s flats almost every day, but was only paid for two of them.

    I suppose the point is that if society functioned as we’d like it to, there’d actually be a lot less need for some of the (state) services we currently take for granted.

  28. Amber – What a nasty little article from the Beeb. Almost no attempt at neutrality at all. Sickening.

    ht tp//

    Hubby and I were chatting a few nights ago about Bill Gates. We really are a strange species. The man revolutionised a new age practically single-handedly and is now giving away most of his vast fortune to attempting to eradicate malaria. Malaria has killed half of the people that ever lived. Not only this, he has convinced the NEXT richest man in the world to do the same thing and is recruiting Millionaires left right and centre with the 50% pledge.
    I flinch every time I hear anyone make dismissive comments about him giving his money away, We are a mealy mouthed and unpleasant species at time.

    If anyone looks back on our generation in, say, 500 years time, they will surely conclude Gates was some kind of Messiah, yet all we do is tear people down.

  29. Sue Marsh

    “I flinch every time I hear anyone make dismissive comments about him giving his money away, We are a mealy mouthed and unpleasant species at time.”

    I agree with every word of that Sue.

  30. @Eoin and Mike N,

    I am heading off to Italy myself in a few weeks, on my honeymoon. Staying in Rome, Assisi, San Gimignano, Verona, Malcesine and Venice….

    Never been to Italy before so thought I’d take in as much as I could.

  31. Neil A,

    Sounds beautiful…. three of your destinations i have not been to- Assisi- you’ll have to report back on the maintenance work to repair it! There was some pretty bad damge done to it quite a few years back!

    You’ll come back even more in love than you left that is for sure!

  32. YouGov; CON 41%, LAB 37%, LDEM 15%

  33. Sue and others.

    It’s certainly laudable that Gates and others are giving away shed loads of money. I hope that some of it goes towards increasing the food production of Africa, otherwise you are just helping more survive to starve to death. St Bob Geldof said something similar recently.

  34. It’s a shame that throughout the 50+ pages in Harris’ poll, they didn’t feel it worthwhile to determine which parties these ‘Other’ votes were going to.

  35. LD 15 ‘steady as she’ no I won’t do that anymore (leave the inane comments to others)

    Neil A
    Pity you won’t see Monterosso on the Cinque Terre.

    As good as our own AONBs. Very romantic too.


    I fully understand where you come from politically and I think you are out of place and out of time.

    I meet Tories from time to time, including younger ones believe it or not, and frankly they find Tories of your ilk a sad embarassment.

  37. @Craig

    You do realise you just immediately identified yourself as someone who had not read the cross-tabs you are decrying?

    Harris did in fact identify the minority party breakdown.

  38. Wow we are getting a bit deep on the philosophy!
    No one should question that the Tories are plugging in to something significant in the talk of the Big Society. People feel that the state is too big, rightly or wrongly and sense that more can be achieved with an added ingredient of, lets not be squeemish, love.
    Ian Duncan Smith probably was affected by the example of Bob Holman.
    It is not a miracle that the Tories have picked up on this. It was probaly straight from private polling which only the Tories could afford excess of in the lead up to the GE.
    The challenge comes from understanding the under-pinning realities. Most important of these is that voluntary sector provision is not an alternative to state provision but another method of delivering that provision. The truth is not only that the overwhelming majority of the funding for the voluntary sector comes from the state but that each year that overwhelming proportion grows.
    It is also important to understand that it is not cheap but usually more expensive. It also, as the row with IDs suggests requires front-loading. Neither is it immune from the arguments of efficiencies of scale and dogeat dog competition.
    So far the evidince is that very little of this is understood in government circles.

  39. Craig

    Page 3 (agree layout is horrible and type really small)

  40. Sue
    Yes bbc coverage seems quite astonishing. “Blood money” is in the third paragraph of the story and second paragraph of the inset from the commentator.

  41. @ Barney

    People feel that the state is too big, rightly or wrongly and sense that more can be achieved with an added ingredient of, lets not be squeemish, love.

    All you need is Love, tra la la la ;-)

  42. @ Barney

    Thank you for your post to me on the previous thread. It was much appreciated. 8-)

  43. DavidB,

    If one has faith in their own creed- and I think you have expressed it incorectly.

    It is fine and dandy that some ‘younger’ tories might have views more in sync with the 21st century but they comprise less of a share of the electorate than they older fuddy duddies.

    The most baffling thing about the centreground of UK politics is the evanglesist fundamentalist streak in it. the UK would be very unhealthy if we all agreed

    Theorectically speaking- your best friend could hold the polar opposite political viewpoint to yourself…

    Tolerance has a capial T, and someone from the fabian society should know better

  44. @Eoin and DavidB,

    I suspect that many “younger” people (not quite sure where to draw that cut off but I reluctantly accept that I am certainly on the wrong side of it), whilst they are modern and 21st century in their outlook, feel slightly uneasy about a lot of what “modernity” represents and still feel a pull towards the world as seen by Roland. In general I think the world has moved in the right direction, but in a number of areas it seems a colder, more clinical place.

  45. On a final goodnight note, did anyone see Lord Prescott and Simon Hughes on Newsnight? Ole Prezza came across even more than usual as a man with two skulls and no brain.

  46. Roland

    Looking back on the original posts you made which caused all the kerfuffle (4:51 and 5:41), I think you’re wrong – though not deserving of some of the abuse you’ve had since.

    The reason you’re wrong is that the “reprobates”, you refer to, are already isolated. There aren’t very many of them and they don’t exist in every community, but where they do they tend to form their own sub-culture of perhaps just a few families. They see themselves as outcasts or outlaws already – how else did the ASBO become a badge of honour?

    Oddly enough they tend to exist where community ties are strongest – long settled, if hardly salubrious estates. What threat is worse than “I know where you live”? But you can’t say that in an anonymous community.

    You can’t expect the community to be the people to take action against them. Apart from all the legal restrictions, if any avenging mob were to form, you can bet they’d be at the front of it – that’s the sort of people they are. In the end you need the might and the carefulness of the State to keep them in check.

    There not necessarily even wholly dependant on benefits – they often live off a mixture of benefits, crime and black economy employment. As, I think Neil A pointed out, benefit fraudsters, tax dodgers and criminals are often the same people. Actually going after the tax side may be the best way to catch them (think Al Capone).

    Incidentally they’re not to be confused with the mass of offenders, who are variously feckless, clueless, addicted, explosive, drunken, stupid or unlucky. (Hey it’s the seven dwarfs). They may be some or all of these things, but it’s their self-centeredness and culture of disrespect for their neighbours and the law that marks them out.

    Having said all that, this is based on the scale down versions I see locally and what I read, see or hear in the media (even though, unlike most MPs, I don’t think “Shameless” is a documentary) so Neil A and others with more real-life experience can feel free to shoot me down on this. :)

  47. @Neil A
    There have been some strange, inadequate and incompetent MPs from all parties in my time, but Prezza is in a class of his own for apparent stupidity and illiteracy,

    No-one could possibly be as stupid as he appears and yet reach such high offfice. Does anyone have any ideas about what his very well-hidden talents were?

  48. To return to the subject of the Harris poll, one thing I couldn’t help noticing was the 48% v 29% agreement with “Tax increases are an essential step towards tackling national debt”.

    Even more interesting agreement was strongest among Tories (62%), though Lib Dem (56%) weren’t far behind and even Labour voters agreed more (44% v 39%).

    You could argue that this is support for the VAT rise (though people tend to think personal taxes when “Tax” is mentioned; also post budget support was not this strong). Also there was big Tory (60% v 23%) and Lib Dem (52% v 19%) for “I think the coalition government will get the balance right between tax increases and reduced spending”.

    But note that the second question is “will” so I suspect it acted more as Party reaffirmation than a genuine question (Labour supporters were 77% v 8% against). Even then 29% of both Tories and Lib Dems were “not sure”.

    It’s all broad-brush stuff of course as sub-sample sizes are small, but there does seem a sizable feeling for a better balance between cuts and taxes, even though it doesn’t seem much on politicians agendas.

  49. @ Roger Mexico

    It wasn’t Roland who posted the 4:51pm, it was Colin. He & I already had a lively debate about it. He acknowledged that he may not have communicated quite what he intended to. 8-)

  50. @ Richard Mexico, Éoin & David B

    I think David B was responding ‘in kind’ to this post by Roland:

    @DAVID B
    This might be rich coming from me, but its coming anyway, this board is not The Tony Benn Woodcraft Folk Appreciation Society. Some people thought and think Margaret Thatcher was a great PM. Further, I have half a brain and see the present financial balls up in a 100% different light to you. There are people on this board who——wait for it, are not socialists, or social democrats or liberals. We are Tories and my guess is, you wont change things.
    I thought it was funny in a gruff kind of way; I also thought DavidB’s reply was a tongue in cheek response ‘in kind’ – that maybe read in a slightly harsher way than was intended.

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