Weekend polls

YouGov in the Sunday Times have topline voting intentions of CON 42%, LAB 37%, LDEM 12%. It also has what I think are the first questions on William Hague’s statement – the balance of opinion comes down strongly on Hague’s side on whether he is telling the truth or not (46% think he is, 12% think he isn’t) and whether he was correct to release his personal statement (59% think he was, 17% that he wasn’t). However, on the question of whether the initial decision to share a room with his advisor was an error of judgement, the public are more evenly divided – 43% think it was an error, 42% think it was not.

There is also a YouGov poll in the Scottish Mail on Sunday. Holyrood constitutency voting intentions there are CON 19%, LAB 39%, LDEM 11%, SNP 29%. Holyrood regional voting stands at CON 15%, LAB 36%, LDEM 12%, SNP 26%. Note that the write-up in the Herald says the poll was conducted a month ago. I guess they’ve got the dates wrong there, and it was actually carried out this week – I’ll confirm when I get in the office on Monday.

As we get close to the Pope’s visit to Britain this month, there are also two polls asking questions about it. A poll for the Tablet by MORI found 25% supported the visit, 11% opposed it with 63% having no strong view. 29% of Catholics interviewed said they were likely to go to one of the events during the Pope’s visit.

Asked about the Catholic church in general 49% had a positive view about the Catholic church having strong moral views. 41% agreed it was a force for good, with 17% disagreeing (this was asked as a split sample – the other half of respondents were asked about religion in general, where 52% thought religion was a force for good, and 22% a force for bad. On the specific issue of the child abuse scandal, 55% thought the Catholic church had responded badly, only 11% thought they had dealt with th

MORI also tested if people could identify Pope Benedict – 65% correct identified a photo of him. This compared to 50% who recognised Rowan Williams, 73% Fabio Capello, 86% Simon Cowell, 90% David Cameron and 95% Prince Charles.

There was also a ComRes poll on the visit for Theos. ComRes asked if people agreed or disagreed with 12 statements taken from the Pope’s encyclical letter, Caritas in Veritate. In almost every case people overwhelmingly agreed, largely one suspects because they were pretty bland, inoffensive, non-religious statements, such as “We must prioritise the goal of access to steady employment for everyone” or “The natural environment is more than raw material to be manipulated at our pleasure”. The only statement that people disagreed with was the sole one to mention god: “Poverty is often produced by a rejection of God’s love”, which 81% of people disagreed with.

Despite agreeing with most of the statements he made, people were broadly negative towards whether or not the Pope should comment on world issues. Only 18% thought he responded wisely to issued (49% disagreed), 40% said they generally disagreed with the Pope’s views (20% disagreed) and 41% thought the Pope should not speak out on social and political issues (36% disagreed). I suspect the apparent disconnect between these two banks of questions is down to people associating the Pope with his views on things like abortion, homosexuality, contraception and the church’s child abuse scandal, rather than his views on the environment and the economy.

288 Responses to “Weekend polls”

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  1. They don’t tell us whther ‘the pope’ would have counted as opposed to Benedict.

  2. Sorry off topic but having watched Leadesship candidate debate in Sky this morning.
    EB, AB, DM – EM very disappopinting.

  3. Over at PoliticalBetting.com Max from Edinburgh (a well-known and reliable Tory activist) says of that YouGov/Scottish Mail on Sunday poll:

    “There are a couple of errors in the Herald report. The Tory figures are 16%/15% and the poll was done on Wednesday and Thursday last week.”

    I have asked him to confirm if he is getting that info straight from the “dead tree” copy of today’s paper.

  4. I had better things to do than watch Labour talent contests.. My Tablet comment also applies to the A of C. I am not sure I could have rememberd his actual name but I would have known who it was so one wonders whether the titles, Prince of Wales, England Football Manager, that ghasty man on the TV talent shows, the Prime Minister, would have counted? They ought to have done because face recognition with job was the purpose of the poll.

    Will any of you change your vote as a result of what you have been watching? Did any blues or yellows watch it? Who do the latter fear most now?

    I wish to side with Old Nat on his remonstrance against of racial sterotyping that occured earlier. Apart from anything else it displayed a lack of original thought and a soaking up of tabloid tattle.

    Mind you, I imagine Mr Hague shared a room for no other reason than he is a Yorkshireman.

    They say you can always spot two Dutch men in a bar. One glass of beer, two straws.

  5. Scottish poll
    Thanks Stuart. Am I not right in thinking that had the figures been from last week, they are not a fat lot different to those a month ago anyway?

  6. Is it unreaable to surmise there might be some correlation between people’s attitude to religion in general and the views on the Pope’s visit?

    If I am not mistaken sept ’79 was the last time Papa Giovanni was here… 0.5-1mill turned out in Liverpool see him give Mss, thus one must cosnider that perhaps for some they are strongly in favour of the visit and they rest are indifferent / hostile.

    also isnt thins a bit like an olympics style question: eg.. do you think the Oylmpics are going to go well? Most are sceptical until the event occurs and then people have a more favourable opinion. I suspect it will be the same for the Pope.

    But then post-event polls are rare arent they?

  7. Max, Edinburgh writes:

    “Yeah got a print copy.

    Figures are:

    Lab 39%/36% (54 seats)
    SNP 29%/26% (35 seats)
    Tories 16%/15% (19 seats)
    Lib Dems 12%/11% (18 seats)

    There would be three greens as well.”

  8. Funnily enough, Salmond got 35 seats in the initial 1999 election (which the SNP were absolutely delighted with back then!), then Swinney got on 27 seats in 2003, then Salmond got 47 seats in 2007.

  9. Sounds like a Lab / LD shoe in (perhaps with green too – would that go down well as a collegiate move?).

  10. Howard,

    You’re a chancer! But, yes DM might push for that. Tis up to Gray though.

  11. The two papal polls contain a fair bit of loaded questioning as Anthony points out (the Tablet is a Catholic magazine and Theos a religious think tank). It’s not just the motherhood and apple pie statements. For example the Ipsos-Mori/Tablet statement:

    It is wrong that members of the Royal Family who are, or have been married to a
    catholic give up their right to become King or Queen

    May get agreement from those who think only those still married to Catholics should be banned. (I assume the statement is correct – Anthony, who can probably recite the Acts of Settlement backwards – will no doubt tell us).

    Similarly the question:
    To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement:
    “Religious organisations should be allowed to run some schools”

    Gets a different response to the recent YouGov poll which more relevantly asked:
    Schools should be for everyone regardless of religion and the government should not be funding faith schools of any kind

    Because the question of Government funding isn’t raised in the first.

    I also can’t help wondering whether there are some ask-a-silly-question responses. Do 18% of Catholics really think women can be priests? Someone has been missing Mass. (Yes I know it’s only a sample of 117 – that doesn’t stop them doing pie charts!) Mind you who would admit to knowing who Simon Cowell is?

  12. Roger – no one knows, their are alternate interpretations of the Act of Settlement. The wording is “That all and every Person and Persons that then (i.e. 1689) were or afterwards should be reconciled to or shall hold Communion with the See or Church of Rome or should professe the Popish religion or marry a Papist should be excluded and are by that Act made forever incapable to inherit possess or enjoy the Crown” – my emphasis.

    My reading of that (and what seems to be the most common one) is that anyone being Catholic or marrying a Catholic after 1689 is forever barred from the line of succession, with no accommodation for anyone who ceases to be married to a Catholic.

    The alternative interpretation is that the test is only applied at the point of succession. So if someone marries a Catholic, but their Catholic spouse pre-deceases the monarch (or converts from Catholicism themselves prior to the monarch’s death) they would not be barred as they weren’t married to a Catholic at the moment the legislation applies.

  13. Note: the Scottish Green Party are HIGHLY unlikely to enter into a formal coalition agreement with Scottish Labour.

    For example, SLAB are moving more and more towards a pro-nuclear power stance (in order to differentiate themselves from the SNP), and I just cannot see the Scottish Greens turning full circle on that key point.

  14. AW
    How depressing your knowledge is to this republican. In the 60’s I never thought the monarchy would last this long and I just wish we had a population that did not need this kind of thing.

    I believe however, there is still a big majority for retention and that the percentage is only lowered when it concerns the next accession.

  15. Scottish election?
    Yes Seat predictions very similar to 1999 Don’t remember SNP happiness at that out-come. At this stage I think they were polling much higher. There is therefore a very long way to go. As far as government make up is concerned, obvious down-side to deal with Lib Dems therefore much tougher negotiation. Alternative? Labour minority with green support? Or if SNP give up on independance, who knows.
    Declaration of interest?
    I am a possible candidate for Aberdeen Donside (similar to Aberdeen North)

  16. @Stuart
    I wonder whether a single issue such as this prevents coalition. I cite LD and Con differences over the same issue in Westminster which parliament decides this issue anyway (whoops – that’s not devolved is it??).

  17. Howard,

    Planning is devolved, therefore the Scottish Government can effectively block new nuclear power stations using the planning system.

    If you look at all the new nuclear power plants approved by the last Labour UK Govt, then you will note that there are none in Scotland. Cos they couldn’t get them through without SNP support.

  18. Howard

    If you’re depressed as a republican (and you can count me in on that) I am even more depressed as an ardent atheist.

    Only 22% of people think religion is a force for bad?!?

    Its enough to make Richard Dawkins weep.

    There’s an argument for better science and history teaching in schools.

  19. I believe that the scottish greens are pro-independence – that is why it was easier for them to ally with the SNP. Nobody else is remotely pro-independence, as far as I know.

  20. Lab 39%/36% (54 seats)
    SNP 29%/26% (35 seats)
    Tories 16%/15% (19 seats)
    Lib Dems 12%/11% (18 seats)

    Does anybody think there is a possibility of an SNP/ConDem coalition alliance? Cameron has had more face time with Alex Salmond than with his own Scottish Party.

    How much does being leader of Holyrood mean to Alex Salmond? Would Salmond be willing to lead such an alliance without getting a referendum on independence to sweeten the deal?

    And how would the Scottish electorate react to this?

  21. Stuart
    Yes I had overlooked that and of course the IPC will not have jurisdiction in Scotland. I was of course thing of Energy policy but of course the devolution operates like a long stop doesn’t it?
    Gary yes equally depressed about that too, but I don’t think we will see any significant change in our lifetimes. Neither is there any evidence that education will change anything because it hasn’t yet.
    The Pew poll (reported Telegraph 22.6.10) shows over 40% of Americans believe that Jesus will return before 2050. It does not appear to be a voodoo poll (oh dear this is getting mixed up).

    I’d like to think our voters are more educated than they but it might be interesting to repeat it here.

  22. Amber
    The problem for that idea is that LD’s (who are indeed are dems like everyone else) will only attempt to coalesce with the winning party.

  23. Amber
    I think that Labour is going to win the Scottish elections and with a majority. I just can’t help but feel a strong dissatisfaction towards the SNP. I know the polls don’t show it at the moment but they might do later on. I suppose that if some SSP (Scottish Socialist Party) and more Greens were elected, then Labour might just have a chance.

  24. @ Howard

    The problem for that idea is that LD’s (who are indeed are dems like everyone else) will only attempt to coalesce with the winning party.
    Thanks for the above reply, I hope you are correct about this. 8-)

    Also, does it bother you that I call the LDs ‘Dems’? I’ll try to remember to use LD, if Dems irritates you. 8-)

  25. “Asked about the Catholic church in general 49% had a positive view about the Catholic church having strong moral views.”

    How depressing.

    Just what would the Catholic church have to do to make these people open their eyes?

  26. @ Kyle,

    You could be correct about feelings towards the SNP. The circumstances that got them elected in 2007 have changed significantly.

    I agree the Labour Party will win a majority – but not an absolute one (i.e. not more seats than all the other parties added together because the STV system makes that practically impossible).

    I believe that Tony Blair lost Labour the 2007 election – apparently Tony Blair confesses to believing this too, in his book.

    TB underestimated the strength of the anti-war sentiment in Scotland & how unpopular this had made him. It wasn’t only ‘ordinary’ voters who chose SNP because of the war, people who were committed Labour activists moved to the SNP because of it. 8-)

  27. If 76% of the population are either opposed to or indifferent about the Pope’s visit, and 88% are unlikely to go to one of his events, why on earth, particularly in these austere times, are the public being forced to fund his visit? It’s madness.

  28. Never mind the Pope and religion.
    1 in 10 people couldn’t identify the Prime Minister.
    These people are presumably voters.
    How depressing is that? :(

  29. “1 in 10 people couldn’t identify the Prime Minister.”

    Shows an apathy of news and current affairs amongst many people who don’t feel politics has much to offer anymore.

    Hard for anyone on this site to understand as we are all obviously political anoraks. ;-)

  30. Dems
    No, Amber it doesn’t bother me – it’s just not an explicit abbreviation. I find ConDem not very good either because it does not scan (needs n on end). I like intellectually sound witticisms – but that’s just me. I rail at Tories who were not ‘wet’ being called ‘dry’. It did not make sense. The opposite of ‘wet’ is brave or steadfast. or courageous. Margaret Thatcher was complaining that some in her Cabinet were gutless. It was her sales tool to sound tougher than men and the Russians later walked right into it and gave her a present with ‘Iron Lady’.
    I’ve actually often wondered whether the translation meant quite what it was chosen to mean.

  31. Eurgh. It is depressing. What’s not to like about politics? It’s so much fun!

  32. @HOWARD
    SUE came up with ConDemNation. That’s pretty good don’t you think? (from the literary point of view of course. God forbid I’d ever be partisan here).

  33. @ Howard

    Re Iron Lady

    According to my cousin who speaks Russian, it’s correct translation would be cold, hard like frozen ground that never thaws; & not ‘Lady’, woman.

  34. I have just posted on the Richmond thread. It is noticeable that nobody had previously posted there about Hague’s recently publicity. Which probably shows how little people are actually bothered about the matter – certainly not enough to justify the considerable personal distress which will have been caused.

    The big news about the Papal visit is that it is not big news. It is a big contrast with 1982. Even living in a city with very strong religious connections, few people around seem to be interested. I suspect that it is a case of if you ask questions on a topic people will answer them.

    Politics will wake up when the “Cuts” are announced in October. I doubt whether people will even be very interested in the Conferences and the new Labour leader.

  35. @HOWARD & AMBER re. Iron Lady.
    Remember, Stalin was a nickname which was similar to the word ‘steel’ in Russian, the similarity wasn’t accidental I’m sure. That’s not to say it was an insult. The nickname would have been meant as a compliment in most Russians’ minds.

  36. @ Julian Gilbert

    I don’t think it was intended as a compliment to Mrs T. Have you read Mikhail Gorbachev’s book? 8-)

  37. @AMBER
    No, I haven’t read it. Can you sum up what he said about her without breaking the non-partisan rule?

  38. A LibLab coalition in Scotland would certainly be interesting. It would surely be difficult for LibDem spokesmen to attack/blame the national government to deflect blame from themselves, given that they’re a part of it (particularly with Scottish MP Danny Alexander being a high profile Treasury Minister)

  39. Condemnation
    I like that much better. Well done Sue. I still think something more satirical could be devised and i will contribute if I think of one.

    Amber and Julian
    That’s what I was getting at. I would assume any monniker applied by a rival nation would not be complimentary and so assumed at the time, but the British press appears to have been so much in thrall -it seems difficult to believe now and I was abroad so only got snippets. It certainly was not thought to be complimentary in the Netherlands.

    On the SNP perhaps someone knows where these supporters tend to align. I mean, after Independence is gained, they all still have to decise if they are left or right. Has any poll revealed where the SNP support breaks down in those terms?

  40. “I believe that the scottish greens are pro-independence – that is why it was easier for them to ally with the SNP. Nobody else is remotely pro-independence, as far as I know.”

    The SSP and Solidarity are both pro-independence, but they are obviously of rather limited significance these days. I don’t haven’t heard that Margo MacDonald will retire, and would imagine she would keep her seat (independent, pro-independence).

    There was also a poll about the leaders of the Scottish Parties, by YouGov, commisisioned by the SNP. The figures were:

    Salmond: 31% (he was 27% in April 2007, just before the election)

    Gray: 9% (McConnell was 27% in 2007)

    Goldie: 9% (was 10% in 2007)

    Scott: 4% (Nichol Steven was 8%)

    Harvie: 1% (No Green figure for 2007)

    None of these: 25%

    Don’t know: 21%

    Linky: http://www.snp.org/node/17272

  41. The poll reaction to the Hague scandal shows how much more level-headed and non judgemental the public are compared to those in the Westminster bubble. Even the room-sharing which received universal tutting from the bubblites only split voters 50-50. Certainly the vox-pops I’ve heard from his constituency show nothing but indignation towards the press. It would be interesting, however, to know what, if any, part Coulson and the No.10 press machine had in the statement about his marriage that Hague produced.


    I wouldn’t get too depressed about the poll results. After all agreeing with It is a good thing that the Roman Catholic Church has strong moral views doesn’t mean that you agree with those views; you just think that’s what its job is.

    Actually what is fascinating about these results is the widespread resistance to religion and the RC Church in particular. In Britain, all religion tends to get a free pass in the media as being generally a “good thing” and currently Catholicism (especially in the ultra-conservative form that the current Pope promotes) gets a lot of boosting from the likes of the Telegraph.

    And yet the ComRes figures, in particular, show that the public respond to the Pope with, at best, lack of interest; and usually with some antagonism. Only 18% think his views are even “generally” wise. Some infallibility!

  42. @ Howard

    SNP support – IMO, a Scottish alternative to the Dems in a nutshell. Caring Conservatives who know the Tories can’t win here, Anti-War voters, Anti-Trident voters, tactical Anti-Labour voters. The Dems have equivalent voters who are unionist or have a high profile LD MP (e.g. Charles Kennedy).

    I don’t have any specific polling to hand but I’ve generally absorbed most of the issues polling that has been reported in the Scottish press over the years.

    I’m sure Barney or Old Nat will be along to correct me if I’m wrong. Old Nat may even know of some polling that either confirms or rebuts my opinion. 8-)

  43. Religion? Don’t forget last census had 7 million down as atheists and under 2 million go to Church regularly (and falling). The media avoids religion, but religion is moving from central to life to marginal- religion is for BMD and no other time for the majority. Or not at all for many.

    There is a dichotomy between how ‘power / media’ treats religion and the fact that the majority dont pay any attention to it.

  44. Anthony

    I know I’m a bit nerdy but the Act of Settlement is about 1701…it only becomes necessary after Queen Anne’s son dies which raises the question of whether or not James II’s son is a potential heir. James II was said to have ‘abdicated’ in 1689 by fleeing the country leaving the throne vacant…his abdication as it wasn’t legally formal left the claim of the young pretender untouched. Queen Anne incidentally was keen to allow him to suceed if he threw over his religion…which wasn’t provided for in the Act.

    All Catholics needed to be debarred to block all the more senior Stuart claims thought the daughters of Charles I…Sofia being the only protestant descendant of James I and VI.The Whigs then put the lock on it with the additional bar to all catholics.This was contentious. At the same time the crown is stripped of powers over both judiciary and bishops…both appointed henceforth during good behaviour.

  45. @ Gary

    “If you’re depressed as a republican (and you can count me in on that) I am even more depressed as an ardent atheist.

    Only 22% of people think religion is a force for bad?!?”

    Do all atheists think religion is necessarily a force for bad? I am a non-believer on a personal level but feel quite comfortable about the fact that others do believe and that it plays some role in our social life. Is that inconsistent – it doesn’t feel like it is to me?

  46. Re the Pope’s visit…

    I have a problem with this. On BBC this morning the argument was made that the UK should pay the costs of the visit as it is a state visit. I can see the merit of this argument as Vatican City is a state within Rome.

    But I’m kind of uncomfortable with the concept that we (the UK) will be content for the head of another state to have special meetings with large sections of our populace/society. Should a head of state conduct him or herself in such a way that encourages a large section of the host country populace to connect with another state in this way?

    I don’t fully understand the protocol of state visits, so I could be simply wrong.

  47. @Islandradical

    IMO, religion is not itself ‘bad’. Many of those who are religious do great things around the world.
    Unfortunately, there are some who use theirs or others ‘religion’ to justify perpetration of ‘bad’ things around the world.

  48. re.Iron Lady.
    Russians like the idea of a strong leader. Putin is the latest example of this. Gorbachev was generally seen as being too soft, that’s why he’s still unpopular over there. Iron Lady I’m sure was a respectful name
    Couldn’t say what Russian’s think of her now though.

    re. Catholics.
    I’m married to a Catholic but I’m not one myself. I know there are the historic reasons why there are barrs to Catholics taking certain roles but I’ve never really understood the whole Catholic/Protestant hatred thing myself.
    I once had a boss from Glasgow, an intelligent guy, who tried to explain to me why he thought Rangers shouldn’t have Catholic players.
    He actually had some convincing arguments, believe it or not. Don’t ask me what they were now though.
    It’s all poppycock to me of course. ;)

  49. Russian’s??!! :(
    A spot of apostrophitis, sorry.

  50. Gorbachev soft?
    That a novel notion. I am not sure the relatives of the 269 people who lost their lives when the Korean airliner was shot down might not have interpreted Gorbachev’s reaction to the incident as ‘soft’.

    That’s just for starters.

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