The full tables for YouGov’s weekly poll for the Sunday Times are now up here.

Things worth noting in the regular trackers are the continuing decline in Nick Clegg’s approval ratings, now down to minus 14. Ed Miliband’s approval rating is at plus 2, so no baby boost (not, it should be said, that I’d expect one. Personal issues do sometimes impact on politicans approval ratings – after the death of Ivan Cameron for example – but I think those tend to be those things where people feel such sympathy for the politican in question that it feels harsh to give a negative opinion about them to a pollster. Just having a new baby doesn’t really do much.) David Cameron’s approval rating is plus 8.

The rest of the poll had the normal wide variety on questions, on the Ashes (people are evenly split on whether England can retain them or not), David Cameron’s photographer (65% think he’s wrong to employ him) and Cameron’s trip to China. The most interesting bits to me thought are on the tuition fee demonstrations and Phil Woolas.

On tuition fees only 35% support the government plans on tuition fees, with 52% opposing. 62% think the Liberal Democrats are wrong to drop their pledge to oppose tuition fees (including 36% of the remaining Lib Dem voters).

Asked about the protests, 65% of people said they had some sympathy with the demonstration, but the vast majority of those disapproved of the damaged caused to 30 Millbank. Only 13% of respondents said they had sympathy with the direct action against the Conservative party headquarters. Asked if the violent scenes had helped or hindered the protesters’ cause, 69% thought it had damaged their cause, 11% that it had helped it (16% think it did neither). 87% expect their to be further violent protests against the coalition’s cuts.

More generally, YouGov asked if people thought violent protest was ever acceptable in a democracy. 19% thought it was, 75% thought it was not.

There were also some more questions about Phil Woolas. 67% thought that Phil Woolas should accept the court’s ruling and move on, compared to 17% who think he is right to appeal. Asked about Harriet Harman’s condemnation of Woolas, 34% agreed with the criticism that she had acted too soon and should have waited until the appeal process was exhausted, but 47% backed her and agreed that Woolas’s behaviour would still be unacceptable regardless of the outcome of the appeal.

Asked about the Labour MPs backing Phil Woolas’s bid, 45% agreed with the statement that it made them look out of touch and that they didn’t understand the seriousness of his actions, but there was also some sympathy (34%) for the view that he had the right of appeal and it was natural for his friends and former colleages to support him in it.

YouGov also asked if people thought Woolas was an isolated case, or whether people took the view that MPs from other parties were probably just as bad, and were just lucky no one had taken them to court. Unsurprisingly given the generally low opinion the public have of MPs, 49% thought other MPs and parties were just as bad as Woolas, 26% thought he was an isolated example.

324 Responses to “YouGov on Woolas and the tuition fee protests”

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  1. Anthony

    I presume that YouGov did its usual in asking inappropriate questions of the Scottish part of your sample?

    Ashes? You may as well have included the Australians in your survey? :-)

  2. Old Nat,

    While the polling police are still busy filling out Amber’s paperwork, I’ll take the chance to venture that the cross breaks for our countrymen did not show any significant increase in those believing England would fail to retain the Ashes. Just less thinking they would win and more DKs (probably more Don’t Care than Don’t Know in this case)

    And plenty of Scots have played for the England cricket team over the years…

  3. Hooded Man

    Only 12% of those in Scotland thought England would win the Ashes.

    There was no option for “Couldn’t give a ****”.

    “And plenty of Scots have played for the England cricket team over the years”

    Oh, lots of Scots have played for the “England” team in lots of other fields as well – Gordon Brown …… :-)

  4. I am looking forward to the ashes. Nice to see it being polled :) England to retain via a 2-2 draw :) [Holders retain if the series is drawn]

  5. Old Nat,

    I did see the stats.

    Picture this though, there would have been a heck of a lot more no’s if the Q had been “Do you think England will win the World Cup Final.”

  6. old nat

    you don’t like cricket or you don’t like the england cricket team?

  7. On that matter, it is a pity elections didn’t work like that. We might still have Gordy :)

  8. oldN,

    I know a few Wlesh and Irish have played for the England cricket team, but forgive me, i cannot think of a Scot? Jones/Croft Morgan/Joyce… Who is the Scot?

  9. RiN

    In your post “There was no option for “Couldn’t give a ****”.”


  10. Eoin,

    (Old Nat – look away now)

    Glad to hear a fellow Celt is looking forward to it as I am.
    Tough few weeks though doubling up day and night shifts…. :-)

  11. Eoin

    Better ask Hooded Man – but didn’t a Scot once captain the England team?

  12. Thankls to the Guardian I’ve actually seen the alleged lying leaflet. which puts me ahead of 99% of the poll sample I suspect. In another era World in Action would have produced 30 minutes to clarify the matter. Too many poppies around for that these days.

  13. Test wise, Douglas Jardine was of Scots background though born in India I think.
    Mike Denness, Gavin Hamilton (briefly),
    Dougie Brown (ODIs only I think)

  14. old nat

    i bet you like your curling

  15. Hooded!

    No better way to spend boxing day.. :) [sad I know] Michael Atherton, that’s my kinda cricketer!

  16. RiN

    “i bet you like your curling”

    Do you mean lips ?-they do that awfully well up there :-)


    “England to retain via a 2-2 draw ”

    Think there are five tests Eoin.

    The way we have started, I fancy 4-1, but would settle for 3-1 & 1 drawn.

  17. Hooded Man

    Denness. Knew I’d heard that name.

    While my original post was jocular (as I’m sure you knew) there is a serious point in it about polling.

    Not infrequently, I’m asked questions which affect matters which are wholly English. My answers (and those of others resident here) can only distort the poll.

    Whether this is due to the carelessness/ignorance/other epithet of the pollsters or the carelessness/ignorance/other epithet of their clients, or both, I have no idea.

    However, polling techniques should strive for the greatest accuracy. Adding in 8.6% of the sample which is wholly unaffected by the issue, is unlikely to add to the accuracy of the poll.

  18. Colin,

    There are always 5 tests yes.. but if one ends in draw… [Adelaide] then the other four will split between the two :)

  19. @OldNat…….I would have thought that cricket would suit the Scottish temperament, especially those of the Kaleyard school. :-)

  20. Ken

    I once appreciated cricket. A Sussex village, a glorious sunny day, and a beer tent.

    As to the Kailyard (nb sp) -“an overly sentimental representation of rural life, cleansed of real problems and issues that affected the people”. That’s the Tories here.

  21. Old Nat,

    I knew where you were coming from.
    Jock Ular are your middle names are they not? ;-)

    What Is your view about the tuition fees Q? Should that be asked?

  22. Poor Anthony. He goes to the trouble of writing a long, thoughtful comment about a long, complicated poll. And with typical perverseness we all start commenting on the one part of the poll he didn’t mention. ;)

  23. Roger M,

    Read again, we are dealing with AW’s points in order :-)

  24. Roger,

    Which part is that? Yo u have me confussed!

  25. Mike Dennes was the Scot who captained England [Oldnat]

  26. @OldNat…………Surely you’re not calling into question J M Barrie’s view of life ? :-)

  27. @Garry K

    Following on from your post on the previous thread, I agree with you. It is extraordinary that Alan Johnson should choose to highlight his disagreement with his party leader over such a core aspect of taxation policy as the future of the 50% rate. Whatever caveats he puts on it, it is a direct challenge to Ed M’s authority.

    One thing though. If Ed M decided to pick a fight with the Blairite wing, in order to put Johnson in his place, he could not choose a better issue on which to do it. He now has the potential to use an overwhelmingly popular issue with the wider public to define his authority within the party.

  28. Hooded Man

    To be serious (for once!). For Scotland, Wales (and NI) the relevant question wouldn’t have been on the “English” solution (tuition fees) to the “English”-created problem of slashing public expenditure on University teaching in England, but on the problem that the ConDems created in the first place.

    Barnett consequentials make the cuts relevant to all the UK. That is the relevant question – and it’s really silly that public funding is structured that way.

  29. i find it difficult to belive that only 62% think it was wrong for the dems to drop the pledge on tution fees

  30. Sorry just seen it hidden away there now :oops:

    But it ws hardly the main point was it?

  31. @Roger Mexico

    And I’m indirectly commenting on the other part of the poll that Anthony didn’t mention, namely attitudes to taxation of the very rich.

  32. Ken

    Indeed not! Barrie created a perfect representation of the Unionist dream of maintaining the pretence of world power – Never Never Land. Make up your own mind as to Peter, Wendy and Captain Hook are.

    Obviously the Lost Boys are the LDs. :-)

  33. @ Old Nat

    I’m auditioning for Tinkerbell ;-)

  34. old nat

    what was the problem that the condems created in the first place

    a lost boy

  35. I think that Alan and Ed will be fine and it’s quite possible that Alan’s comments about the 50p tax rate are designed to allow Ed to exert his authority and show cointrol over the Shadow Chancellor in contrast to Blair’s inability to deal with Brown!

  36. Phil,

    Yes that was the most interesting thing for me- by far!

    The people want more taxation- let’s have it! Its a pity they just asked about tax for the rich… I’d tax every income above the living wage by a couple more %. Spend the £40bn restoring spending ot higher education and introducing free childcare and some social housing! I would nto reverse those police and army cuts- i kinda liked those :)

  37. David B,

    Ed balls walks on water didn’t you know? On every major policy issue he has it spot on. The Yorkshire post carried an interview of him a couple of days ago. I attach it for your interest

    h ttp://

  38. @Amber…..Tinkerbell,………..Nurse, no medication tonight, I’ll sleep sound. :-) :-)

  39. Amber

    I believe in you! I really, really do! Don’t die!

  40. @ Old Nat

    I used to say that about the Labour Party, when it was New Labour. ;-)

  41. Amber

    :-) :-)

  42. Old Nat,

    Yes, the question in it’s current form does not work for Scottish voters.

    And Roger M will be getting more frustrated as the thread sweeps from cricket to Peter Pan…. :-)

  43. @ Hooded

    Were you around when we did Alice in Wonderland?

  44. the problem is that when you tax the rich, the ordinary folk have a feeling “we are next” the blues know this and play it for all it’s worth

    really the case for tax has not been made by anyone for the last 30 years apart from my mate at work who says that “you should pay your tax with joy in your heart” but i think his opinion might be influenced by his pacemaker

    myself i would argue that your tax money always comes back to you. if not directly through benefits,roads,schools and hospitals then indirectly by lower crime and a nicer social environment(fewer beggars and homeless, more tulips and daffodils)

    but selling tax is the great challenge for all who are not firmly on the right, i would include soft tories as people who have an interest in selling tax as a good thing

  45. Amber,

    Sadly I missed that, but I imagine it was fun.

    Who the f**k is (or was) Alice? :-)


    I eventually got round to your post from yesterday. Thank you for the citation but, I assure you, you paid me too much credit! :-)

  46. RiN

    While I know there has been some pressure against it, haven’t the Norwegian parties been very successful in only using 4% of the profits from the oil fund for capital projects, while keeping taxes high enough to cover the state expenditure on social services etc that are wanted?

  47. Of course 69% say the violence doesn’t help the students’ cause, but it’s noticeable that in the last month since similar questions were asked:

    ht tp://

    Opposition to the proposals has risen from 45% v 37% to 52% v 35%. Questions aren’t exactly the same but they are nearer than the more detailed ones in the following ST. Of course what the violence does do is draw attention to the cause and if the that is supported and the violence not seen as part of the cause then the effect is the other way. Don’t blame me, blame the media.

    Speaking of the media I found the wider shot of that iconic AP photo here:

    ht tp://
    (hat-tip Ben Goldacre)

    Of course the possible movement in the polls away from the Conservatives (usual provisos) also reinforces the point I made a few threads back about the violence also tainting the Government.

    The Lib Dems do need to worry though. Since the poll of a month ago, feeling against the abandonment of their pledges has gone from 46% v 41% against to 62% v 29% against. And remember this latest poll was taken before the latest revelations about Clegg not caring much about the issue anyway. Most of the loss of support is among current Labour voters and Don’t Knows, but that may mean that this is an issue that sways votes.

    And Roger M will be getting more frustrated as the thread sweeps from cricket to Peter Pan…. but I discussed Mandelson in the LAST thread.

  48. Roger,

    In philisophical terms you are spousing something of a Gramscian position. Is this an organic crisis?

  49. And in the wake of YG showing the Tories trailing, up pops David Cameron trailing the new Wellbeing Index to complement GDP as a way of measuring a country’s ‘success’.

    This is, IMO, definitely something they had banked as a potential PR & Cameron face time opportunity for just such a result as 39/41/10.

    Reference my comment on yesterday’s thread… Can I really see into the future?

    Of course – but being a charlatan, I would say that, wouldn’t I? 8-)

  50. Roger Mexico

    You raise interesting issues about the effect of violence on Government.

    The (illegal) but peaceful anti-poll tax protests in Scotland for a year previously had no effect on the Tories introducing it into E&W.

    Riots in London forced them to change tack.

    I’m reminded of the effect of “the mob” (different meaning from now) in London in 18th England.

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