Tonight’s YouGov/Sun voting intention figures are CON 42%, LAB 37%, LDEM 11%. A slightly larger Conservative lead than recently, but not necessarily anything meaningful – we’ve seen plenty of temporary blips along the same lines.

While I’m here, an update from last night’s YouGov poll. As well as voting intention, we asked about the Conservative plans to force the long term unemployed to take part in compulsory work placements or risk losing benefits. 74% of respondents supported it, 22% were opposed – very strong support, including a majority of Labour supporters.

More broadly, the polling on this, on the housing benefit cap, on the measures in the spending review and so on does seem to suggest people are supportive of the welfare benefit cuts the government have proposed – often very supportive. The two caveats we need to consider on that front are, first, the policies appear very popular now, but may be less so once they come into action and some people start losing out.

The other potential downside is the effect on party image. A point I often make here is that policies that are popular in themselves, can still have negative effects upon party image. The Conservative party has in the past struggled against the public perception that they are party of rich people, and don’t really care about the less well off. Benefit cuts may be popular, but there is a risk they could also play into these negative perceptions. So far, however, this does not appear to be a problem – on YouGov’s party image trackers the Labour party continue to be ahead of the Conservatives on having their heart in the right place, and wanting to appeal to the whole country… but the Conservative position has not got any worse.

399 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – 42/37/11”

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  1. So far so good.

  2. haven’t seen any good yet

  3. We’re almost exactly where we were three months ago. In fact practically every variation in the last three months could be explained by MOE. I still think the movement is in Labour’s direction, but the rate of growth is so slow you could practically measure it in voters rather than percentages..

  4. woolas?

  5. That’s really unfair Pete. I have no doubt that Ed M, along with 99% of the Labour Party and 90% of the demonstrators present object to the violence and destruction. I seriously think we should shy away from partisanity on this issue. Let’s just ignore the handful on the left who claim that the criminal behaviour shows “the strength of feeling” and call a spade a spade. It’s the usual parasites riding on the back of legitimate demonstrations to carry on their personal thrill-seeking. In their world it’s just a game of Anarchist Paintball.

  6. Pete B,

    I really hope he does, as I have not heard anything yet.

    Just seeing the footage on the news again, I am saddened by what happened. They may be hacked off, but kicking in someone’s windows and breaking and entering is wrong, and Ed needs to say so. If he remains silent, it plays into the hands of the Coalition.

    I have heard nothing or seen anything to suggest the police were even remotely provocative.

    No excuses for this I am afraid…

  7. Neil A
    I quite agree that it’s the usual Rentamob crowd piggybacking on a legitimate demo. It’s just that i hadn’t heard any condemnation of the violence by the Labour leadership. I may have missed it, but if not then I am surprised.

  8. 53% supporting the coalition parties.

    So the headline in tomorrow’s Indepedent – that the protests represent the end of the coalition’s era of consensus – is rather wide of the mark.

  9. Just to confirm, I agree that the Students protesting were probably not responsible for the violence,

    It’s the violence that needs condemning, not the Students

  10. 43, 36,12 tomorrow

    i’m going to bed

    good night all

  11. RiN

    nite nite

  12. Neil A

    While attending environmental meetings, there was always a small group (terrible to type-cast) who smoked rollups and goodness knows what else and whose opinion on the subjects under discussion was usually in the ‘whatever’ category.

    To say I felt a fish out of water in their presence is an understatement.

    My initial opinion, recorded earlier today, was that they would drive the Con poll up tomorrow. I wonder. I believe there is a section of the electorate that wants a quiet life and such scenes could pitch them in the anti coalition direction. It would need of course to be supplemented with powerful arguments on the issue.

    I think here lies a problem for some who would like to see that.

    Tonight’s poll, amplified by AW’s analysis, shews that the country is still in a populist frame of mind.

    But this issue, dangerously for the government, affects millions. not just a few workshy.

  13. Nice 1, Howard

    You said 43 but also mentioned a 5 point lead in another post you made on the previous thread.

    Well done. 8-)

  14. I always thought that this Parliament could unpleasant and unrest could occur.

    Today has started something I feel, and we are in for more dark times. I grew up with the unrest of the eighties, and I get a feeling it may be back.

    I hope I am wrong.

  15. Hope you stick around Richard for a few months’ time when I will be here to remind you to eat some humble pie.

    You think it is possible to throw a million people onto the scrap heap with no political consequences? You joker.

  16. Bit depressing, but inevitable given the way unemployment is framed by politicians and the press, that the workfare programme is popular, despite it being a failure (in almost every conceivable way, except politically I guess) everywhere it’s been tried (US, Canada, Australia to my knowledge), as that DWP report commissioned a couple of years ago says. About 3% of the unemployed (including economically inactive but looking for a job) have been unemployed for over a year if I remember rightly (and this has shot up since the recession) and yet all this energy and time going into them.

    About the student protests, I’d love to know what coverage it would have got in the press if it had have been entirely peaceful (not that coverage in the press is necessarily a sign of success).

  17. Ed M is on paternity leave, no need for him to rush to comment on anything.

    Andy Burnham has the Education brief. John Denham has Business & Skills. Harriet is a very experienced deputy. If there’s need for a statement, they’ll give one in due course.

    Do you know what I find surprising? Everybody has got so used to Labour being in government that a comment on every event of significance is expected from Ed M or one of his ministers.

    When Labour made policy announcements or statements about events, nobody was agog for an opposition comment. Nobody cared until about 8 weeks before the GE. 8-)

  18. AW’s caveats are important, and it would be unwise to get carried away by a populist bandwaggon. It costs nothing a Labour voter to say “Yeah/whatever (in principle)” to various yes/no policy questions.

    The answer inevitably evolves to “yeah but, no but…”

    One small item about the mortgage interest relief benefit that have already been cut for unemployed and pensioners, a saving to the government/taxpayer of £60-150 per month.
    In some cases this will mean parents/grandparents losing the family home.
    It will come down to competence.
    In how many cases will the ‘saving’ lead to a fresh HB payment of £350 per month?

  19. The real message today was surely just an escalation of what we have been seeing. Clegg is the target more than the Conservatives. The Lib Dems are the losers. 250 students from Aberdeen went down targeting local Lib Dem MPs
    Private Eye now has the coalition as Downton Abbey with predictably Cameron as the lord and the Lib Dems as the retainers.

  20. Amber, Thanks for posting something sensible on here, and putting my thoughts to print.

    Why are others calling for Ed’s comments when he is otherwise occupied, trying to blame him I suppose.
    If there is violence I do not condone it, but I was predicting riots at the weekend and there will be more, think back to Thatchers days, remember?
    There will be anger, understandably, perhaps not alwAys wisely expressed.
    There are many forms of violence, and some of the policies we are seeing may be perceived as such.
    Goodnight all.

  21. @Barney,

    It depends what you mean by the message today. If you’re referring to the violence then I don’t think there is a message. If you’re referring to the demonstration itself then perhaps. But demonstrations don’t necessarily lead to political earthquakes. The Poll Tax protests were followed by a Tory election victory. The Iraq War protests by a Labour election victory.

    People will demonstrate against a reduction in their personal financial wellbeing, which is natural. The only demonstration that actually means anything is the one done with a pencil in a polling booth.

  22. @PamF,

    I’m afraid based on your last post you are on of “the few on the left” that I will ignore on this issue.

  23. The thing about workyshy benefit scroungers is that, like pedophiles, serial murderers and people who drop cats into dustbins, everyone is against them….everyone has heard of them…often they’ve been told about one by a friend….Often they’ve never actually met one.

    As these questions partly pose self identifying social behaviours we’re predisposed to regard as bad…we’re relfexively in favour of a ‘remedy’ to them.

    The same sort of questions have also for example might been asked about trades unionists, homosexuals or hanging over the last 40 years and produce a similar unequivocal negative results.

    Such questions often obtain a confirmatory response for some propsed remedy.

    Twenty or thirty years back many people said they beleived homsexuality was intrinsically wrong or evil.

    Large majoriteis at times agreed that such individuals should be locked up…or dealt with by one means or another. That was a general attitude…

    But particular attitudes differed from that norm… the gay couple whom individuals knew were seen to be very different…. These people were to be excepted from the general rule and were often protected by their family and friends

    Similar, juries often aquit individuals who’s self evident crimes seems self-evidently worthy of imprisonment. Yet the very same jurors if asked a general question might give the same general answer. But once they deal with the particular they are both discriminating and interestingly consistently and carefully so….

    Another example I beleive is the EU referendum in 1975 that obtained a 60 -40 vote in favour of staying in. A year before those pooled were 60% against.

    bperhaps all those people ‘changed their minds’…. Perhaps a single question never fully tested the complication of the percevied reality. The heart wanted out but the head said stay in. Life and decisions in life are constantly riven with such contradictions.

    Polling reveals much about attitudes but nothing about how they may be shaped by informed debate. That’s why informed debate is important. It’s why the greatest danger to democracy comes from those who peddle opinion as fact and publicise the same as news…

    Like jurors, after a time electorates, make reasoned judgments based on evidence…. they may not always be right…but they try to be on the basis of what they know or are allowed to know.

    The thing I find interesting is that a good case made consistently well that challenges the most entrenched preconceptions does and has changed attiudes…

    The polling data decribes the challenge but doesn’t not define the outcome…

    Or maybe I’m a hopeless optimist….

  24. @ Neil A

    “In their world it’s just a game of Anarchist Paintball.”

    Excuse me, but Anarchism’s definition is a world without government, not without order.

    It may shock you, but the two don’t go hand in hand.

  25. John M

    Your post much appreciated.

    I hope always for informed debate, but then polls tell us we can rarely hope for it.

    In the EU debate in the 70s we were already in due to a PM with vision who knew he could not win on fact informed debate and jsut did it.

    I don’t know what to think about our acquiescent plebs. They’ve regretted it ever since..

  26. @John Murphy – “… a good case made consistently well that challenges the most entrenched preconceptions does and has changed attiudes”

    For example, a report today about research into the history of head injuries/brain trauma in people who are sent to prison.
    These types of injuries can lead to anger outbursts and inability to control behaviors.
    They present to authorities as uncooperative, and the slurred speech leads to an assumption of drug/alcohol use.
    Programs have been trialed, such as sending texts reminding sufferers to practise their calming techniques as they approach stressful situations.

  27. Amber
    “Do you know what I find surprising? Everybody has got so used to Labour being in government that a comment on every event of significance is expected from Ed M or one of his ministers.”

    It is simply traditional that in time of war, or unnecessarily violent demonstrations, or certain other national situations, for the opposition to come out with statements supporting the government’s position, at least up to a point. A deafening silence just seems odd. It is as though they can’t bring themselves to either condone or condemn.

  28. @ Valerie

    Astonishing, isn’t it? All the blue gentlemen rushing around attempting to blame Labour for violence at a student demo & being denied their jolly because the Labour team are not commenting yet.

    Therefore their ire is turned on the Labour ladies who comment here (Roland & Ken in good humour, the rest without a trace of it).

  29. Howard
    “I don’t know what to think about our acquiescent plebs. ”

    This says more about you than it does about the ‘plebs’. I wonder, do you support democracy or oligarchy?

  30. Pete B

    It was a troll just for you.

    It was only because of the magic acronym EU that you bothered to respond, which of course we knew you would.

    Roll on the day we really do have straight bananas. The curved ones take up more space in the fruit bowl than is convenient.

  31. In my experience this sort of civil disorder tends to bolster support for rightish parties, not just in the UK.

    However, once the rioters have gone home and the dust settles, it begins to drift back after a while.

  32. @ Pete B

    It wasn’t particularly violent. The police did a very good job & are being criticised for it!

    They stayed calm, didn’t over-react & behaved, at all times, with an awareness that the vast majority of protestors were angry kids who were being pushed forwards by others behind them.

    Thankfully, the police behaved with absolute calm & good sense – or we could’ve had another Hillsborough with kids being trampled & crushed.

    I gather the first wave of demonstrators simply walked into the Millbnk lobby. Having been allowed to walk in, the protestors were then detained by security guards. Apparently, the windows were broken from inside as demonstrators broke out. The police did not, at any time, lose control of the situation, IMO.

    Hardly a war or national emergency situation. 8-)

  33. Shouldn’t Nick Clegg standing in for Cameron come out and say something. After all the students are protesting against one of their policies.

    And Pete B there isn’t a war on that the Opposition has to come out and show solidarity. We all know that the majority is against violence and Aaron Porter has already said that the student union is opposed to violence. That should be enough.

  34. @Billybob

    Thanks for that…

    I’m inexpert in the reasearch institutes that inform your comment. It’s reassuring that they reach such a perceptive audience and influence thought….

    I’m sure they’re highly respected. I’m sure their field work is impeccably reseached. I’m certain from your brief digest that their data will be impartially anaylysed.

    Of course in that they’ll certainly not be members of institutions funded by personally-interested donors with intellectual pretentions beyond their own abilities who often seem to populate the wilder reaches of intellectual improbability and are often seen on Foxe news posing as informed experts….

  35. Amber,

    good post- I was exceptionally pleased with the police (makes a change eh ;) ).

  36. Howard,
    You flatter yourself. I do not actually read most of your posts. Your comments about plebs just stood out as being incredibly snobbish and patronising. I don’t know or care where you are on the political spectrum, but you need to learn some respect for your fellow human beings, and I don’t mean me!

  37. @ Keith P, Pete B

    The rioting in central London on 31 March, 1990, was not the first demonstration against the so-called poll tax to end in violence. In the weeks beforehand a number of protests around the country had culminated in violent skirmishes.
    In the London poll tax riots, up to 3,000 demonstrators turned on police, attacking them with bricks, bottles and scaffolding poles, and 340 were arrested. Of 113 people injured, 45 were police.

    By the end of the year, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had been forced to step down. She was replaced by John Major who scrapped the charge in favour of the council tax that continues today.

  38. Amber
    And your point is…? By the way, I thought the so called Poll Tax was a great idea. What could be fairer than everybody pays the same?

  39. @ Éoin

    Yes, you & I are reasonably level headed (I hope). If we censure, we also give praise where it is due. 8-)

  40. Amber,

    Tis true… :) :)

  41. Howard


    “Roll on the day we really do have straight bananas. The curved ones take up more space in the fruit bowl than is convenient.”

    By definition, curved fruit will fit better into a bowl. :-)

  42. @ Pete B

    My point – that rushing to condemn the anti-poll tax campaign & demonstrations was part of the reason that Neil Kinnock did not win against John Major:

    Support for the Tories collapsed, but Neil Kinnock’s Labour Party failed to capitalise on the anger. Kinnock ensured that the party was not associated with the “illegal” non?payment campaign.

    Thatcher attacked the anti-poll tax movement in parliament, saying, “Demonstrations organised by the militant left… are a negation of democracy. I condemn anyone, particularly members of this house, who choose to disobey the law by refusing to pay.”

    Disgracefully Kinnock responded, “May I first of all agree with everything that the prime minister just said.” Kinnock later denounced protesters as “Toytown revolutionaries”.

    The movement continued to gather pace, despite Labour’s attacks.
    I am hoping Labour has learned from this experience. Gather the facts & think twice before over-reacting & rushing to agree with the incumbents. Opposition’s job is to oppose – if they do not have a dissenting point or argument to make, then say nothing. 8-)

  43. “What could be fairer than everybody pays the same?”

    Pretty much anything.

  44. After reading some of the comments regarding the students protests – I am surprised that I have not heard any references to anarchist groups who often hijack peaceful protests. This has been the case for as long as I can remember – since I went on Aldermaston marches from the mid sixties. There was always a group of Anarchists around to make mischief and violence but the majority of the protesters kept clear of the problems. Most of them were “peace activists”. I suspect that the violent bit of the protests we Anarchist group. The students have a right to protest.

  45. @PETE B – “I thought the so called Poll Tax was a great idea.”
    Please please pleeeease can the coalition propose reintroducing the poll tax?
    I predict approximately three days after the announcement, YouGov would be;
    Con 12 Lab 68 LD 4
    No such luck I suppose? ;)

  46. Stevie G

    The anarchist logo spray painted in the lobby might give some support to your idea – as would the “salaried” protester talking to Sky News from the roof.

    It could be that the 4 guys smashing the windows were LD agent provocateurs – but that seems a little unlikely.

  47. @OLDNAT -“it could be that the 4 guys smashing the windows were LD agent provocateurs..”
    No, no they must have been Soviet agent provocateurs paid for by Moscow to ferment unrest in the capitalist ……
    Oh. Sorry. For a moment I was back in 1986.

  48. @ Stevie G

    “There was always a group of Anarchists around to make mischief and violence”

    They’re not proper Anarchists – they just hi-jack our symbols.

  49. Julian

    No, No!

    They were MI6 agents pretending to be Tory thugs, in the guise of Soviet agents, protecting their LD stooges.

    I thought that was obvious! :-)

  50. @John Murphy,

    I take your point on serial killers et al. But on “paedophiles” I’m afraid you’ve tapped into a personal bugbear of mine.

    Paedophiles are, literally, everywhere. We used to have a map of the area covered by my Child Protection Team in North London, with pins in it to mark where the (convicted) paedophiles lived. It is not an exaggeration to say that few people lived more than 5 minutes walk from one. And that was just the convicted ones, ie a fraction of the total.

    Our constant battle was against the perception that people who are sexually attracted to children are as rare as Scotch Mist, and easily detected by the fact that they had mad staring eyes and trousers held up by string. In a world where everyone hates paedophiles, but noone is prepared to believe that anyone they know could be a paedophile, children can be abused with relative impunity because when they name their abuser all and sundry cry “No, that can’t be true. I’ve known him for years. He’s not like that..”

    In fact, I’d prefer it if there was a little less of the hatred and a little more confronting of the uncomfortable truth.

    As it happens, I’ve met my fair share of bona fide benefit scroungers too. But I put that down to the populations that people in my profession are disproportionately exposed to.

    I agree on the general point that populist rhetoric can whip up the masses, and reason tends to intrude when the noise subsides. I understand why you picked the example of paedophiles (ie Tabloid Outrage Priority Target) but it is a very nuanced area.

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