The full tables for the YouGov/Sunday Times poll are now up here.

The regular economic trackers have fallen even further since last week, before the GDP figures, when they were already dire. Since then the percentage of people thinking the economy is in a bad state is up to 80% (which I believe is the lowest since the height of the credit crunch in 2008, when it got up to 90%). The “feel-good-factor” – the proportion of people who think their financial situation will get better in the next twelve months minus those who think it will get worse – is down to minus 56, equalling the worst since the bank-bailout in September 2008.

Asked specifically about the drop in GDP, 9% think it was entirely down to snow, 53% think the snow was a factor, but there were other underlying problems too. 30% think the snow was just an excuse. YouGov then asked if people thought the figures were a sign that the government’s policy was failing and they should change course, or if they were on the right course and shouldn’t be put off by one quarter’s bad figures – respondents were split down the middle – 36% to 36%.

Asked about some specific measures, 49% think the top rate of 50p should be made permanent, 33% think it should eventually be brought down. 51% would like to the see the threshold for the top rate brought down to £100,000, 29% would oppose this. 85% thought the planned rise in fuel tax should be cancelled.

There were also a couple of question on the phone hacking scandal. Unsurprisingly 85% thought the behaviour of the journalists concerned was illegal. Asked if there were any circumstances where it would have been acceptable, 71% said no, 21% thought it would be acceptable for journalists to hack into voicemail in some circumstances, such as investigating corruption. Just 1% thought it was legitimate anyway. 60% thought that the phone hacking scandal was an important issue that the police should be spending time investigating.

Finally there were a group of questions about the Sky Sports sexism row, which actually showed a fairly substantial minority thinking Andy Gray and Richard Keys had been ill treated. While an overall majority thought it was right that Gray was sacked (51%), and that Keys was right to resign (53%), a third of people thought that Gray had been treated unfairly.


163 Responses to “More from YouGov’s Sunday Times poll”

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  1. Neil A

    The Government led by Cameron (it’s hard when yoy can say neither coalition or conservative-led” :-) ) has already gone part of the way to address concerns.

    Counting for the referendum wouldn’t start anywhere in the UK till 4pm on Friday 6 May.

    The difficulty exists because they are insisting on the anti-fraud counting to go ahead for both, before counting can start for either. That’s difficult outwith England because the franchise is different for the Parliamentary GE and the referendum.

    A number of voters would have to vote at different polling stations for each vote, and cross checking between the two registers.sets of ballot boxes could be a nightmare.

  2. Neil A – Two fold answer for you.

    First, there is already some wiggle room in the legislation. Given fair winds, the Boundary Commissions should be able to get the final recommendations done by Oct 2012, rather than the October 2013 deadline. Given how long these things have taken in the past, and the tendency towards (or inevitability of) legal challenges, I expect they will in the event end up delivering their eventual final report sometime in 2013, but there is still some space there for the boundary commission to complete it’s work to the deadline even if it starts its work somewhat later than originally planned.

    The second consideration is that the government have put in place October 2013 as the date for the final report on the basis that it leaves 18 months until the election for parties to select candidates and get used to the new boundaries. That sounds like good practice… but they aren’t obliged to do it. They could spend another 4 months getting this bill through and then, if the boundary commissions then miss their target by 4 months, there would still be 14 months between implementation and election (and remember, most areas will have a fair idea of what’s happening to boundaries from the provisional recommadations this year – in the past very, very few have undergone substantial changed at the revised stage)

    No – the real reason the government are unlikely to just try and wade through the filibuster is that it would use up a lot more Parliamentary time and there are lots of other Bills they’d like to get through the Lords.

  3. On food markets, I accept that we are sometimes the victim of speculators who pile into something in the hope/expectation that by doing so as a herd they will all benefit in the long run.

    I do also agree with the suggestion that investors felt food was a safe bet for speculation because it’s unlikely to fall in value.

    However, I very much agree with Colin that the reason it’s unlikely to fall in value is down to a whole range of intrinsic factors that are nothing to do with the markets, and that is what makes it an attractive bet for speculators.

    I don’t argue against additional regulation of food markets, but I certainly don’t think that the trading of futures is the root cause of our food insecurity.

    Incidentally, in lots of ways food is actually extremely cheap. Until recently it was almost impossible for a lot of farmers to produce it at a profit. The real problem is that many of the world’s countries don’t have the financial resources to purchase it at its true value. That’s down to economics and overpopulation, not the price of food itself.

    Similarly with the Scots example quoted earlier, and with the Irish famine that is a better known variant of the same phenomenon, the problem isn’t strictly speaking that the markets aren’t working. The market is there to deliver goods efficiently to the people at the highest price they are willing to pay for it. The problem is with the “ability to pay”. In other words, it is money, not food, that is the commodity most required in a famine. If the money is available, markets will deliver the goods efficiently to those who need it.

    It is the responsibility of government to ensure that all of it’s people have sufficient wealth to be able to afford to feed themselves and their families. If people starve in a famine, it’s because the government has failed in that duty.

    (I am not suggesting that this is the only responsibility of government by the way!)

  4. Neil A
    “It is the responsibility of government to ensure that all of it’s people have sufficient wealth to be able to afford to feed themselves and their families. If people starve in a famine, it’s because the government has failed in that duty.”

    For ‘government’ I suggest ‘the people’ should be read.

  5. I think the threat is to delay the referendum until September. Won’t bother the Labour Lords much.

    I really really don’t understand why the Government don’t just split the bill then apply the whip to get both through the commons.

    After all, if they cannot get parliamentary support for both separately, tying the two up to get them through as one seems a bit unparliamentary.

  6. Neil

    You might be interested in this:-

    “UN special rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier de Schutter, says a combination of environmental degradation, urbanisation and large-scale land acquisitions by foreign investors for biofuels is squeezing land suitable for agriculture.

    “Worldwide, 5m to 10m hectares of agricultural land are being lost annually due to severe degradation and another 19.5m are lost for industrial uses and urbanisation,” he says in a new report.

    “But the pressure on land resulting from these factors has been boosted in recent years by policies favouring large-scale industrial plantations.

    “According to the World Bank, more than one-third of large-scale land acquisitions are intended to produce agrofuels.”

    The Guardian Oct.2010.

    The report refered to is here :-

    h ttp://www.srfood.org/index.php/en/component/content/article/1-latest-news/984-access-to-land-and-the-right-to-food

    Professor John Beddington, the Government’s chief scientific adviser, recently said the food system was failing.

    ‘Firstly it is unsustainable, with resources being used faster than they can be naturally replenished,’ he said.

    ‘Secondly a billion people are going hungry with another billion people suffering from “hidden hunger”, whilst a billion people are over-consuming.’

    A report for UK government by an organisation called Foresight concluded that the cost of food will soar by 50% over the next few decades .

    .

    Foresight said that the predicted rise in population from 6.9bn today to around 9bn by the middle of the century would see a more wealthy world in which the demand for food, water and energy will soar.

    It also revealed that a typical British household wastes £500 to £700 a year on food that they buy and then throw away !

  7. @ Old Nat

    “However, that is a very different thing from “liking a nation” – as racist?/ethno-centrist?/nationist?Some other kind of ist an idea as disliking people for the group they are part of.

    I’m always chary of the phrase (being much more cynical than Amber – or less disarming in my response). How many times have you heard people say “I like Americans, BUT ….””

    As Jerry Seinfeld once said, “if I like their race, how can that be racist?” And as you might imagine, I haven’t heard the phrase “I like Americans, BUT” all that often. Though one time on a train in France 17 years ago, my dad and brother met a British kid who expressed his liking for Americans except for his disapproval of Americans for talking too slowly.

    Also, did the potato famine affect Scotland as well as Ireland? Being a historian, you would know more about this than I would.

    “Had the government of the day had fighter jets, they would no doubt have had them flying over the square in Wick to quell the population.”

    You know, I think that is completely ineffective for controlling rioters. It reminds me of the LAPD’s deployment of helicopters. Admittedly the deployment of helicopters is not for suppressing the population (well generally speaking anyway) but it didn’t prevent rioters in 1992 from rioting. It’s great aerial surveillance and all but it doesn’t convince anyone of the need to behave.

  8. @ Mike N

    Unrelated to current posts but some time ago in response to my statement that the coalition government marriage of Cameron and Clegg was the happiest marriage in the UK since that of Basil and Cybil Fawlty, you asked me which one is Basil and which one is Cybil?

    And after the Oldham East and Saddleworth byelection, I’d have to say that David Cameron is definitely Basil and Nick Clegg is definitely Cybil.

  9. SoCalLiberal

    As Jerry Seinfeld once said, “if I like their race, how can that be racist?”

    Quite simple – whether liking or disliking, a judgment is being made out people because of the perceptions of the group they are part of, as opposed to them as individuals.

    Not only was Scotland affected by potato blight, but so was much on Northern Europe.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highland_Potato_Famine

    is quite a good summary.

    The reference to fighter jets was a joke designed (but failing :-( ) to make exactly your point about its ineffectiveness in Egypt.

  10. Socalliberal
    “And after the Oldham East and Saddleworth byelection, I’d have to say that David Cameron is definitely Basil and Nick Clegg is definitely Cybil.”

    I’m tempted but nervous to ask why.

  11. OldNat:

    Thanks for the PFI link.

    I’m a Chartered Accountant.

    There is nothing more to be said.

  12. @ Old Nat

    “Quite simple – whether liking or disliking, a judgment is being made out people because of the perceptions of the group they are part of, as opposed to them as individuals.”

    I actually agree with you though I thought Seinfeld’s line had a point…..to a degree.

    “The reference to fighter jets was a joke designed (but failing ) to make exactly your point about its ineffectiveness in Egypt.”

    Your joke didn’t fail, I got it. It was funny.

  13. @ Mike N

    Well by being tall, dark haired, slightly snobbish, and a Tory, Cameron is quite similar to Basil. They both have almost the exact same accent. Clegg’s hair color seems to match Cybil’s. But why I suggest this is because in the box set DVD, John Cleese suggests in commentary that so much of what created the great comedy and situations in which Basil would find himself was his absolute fear of Cybil and what she might do. And it seems like with Cameron begging Tory voters to vote for the Lib Dem in Oldham East, Cameron seems to exhibit just a little bit of fear of Clegg and what Clegg might do.

    I just think the comparison is funny in light of all the “marriage” and “in bed together” talk. Especially when both parties to the marriage aren’t all that happy about it.

    On a side note, when I read that David Miliband’s favorite tv show was Fawlty Towers and that his favorite movie was Twelve Angry Men, I became an instant fan. :)

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