The full results of the YouGov/Sunday Times poll are now available here. As usual with the Sunday Times, there were questions on a broad range of topics, these are the ones I found most interesting:

First, there were some broad brush questions on people’s attitudes towards the recent events in Egypt – naturally we can’t really expect the general public to be experts in Middle Eastern geopolitics, so it was more whether the uprising made people more pesimistic or optimist about the future of the Middle East – 51% were more pessimistic, 14% more optimistic.

Secondly there were some questions about the sell-off of Forestry Commission land in England. We’ve already had YouGov questions on this for the Sunday Times last week and for 38 Degrees and this one shows the same pattern as the previous ones: very widespread opposition. 71% oppose the disposal of the Foresty Commission land with only 12% supporting it.

Thirdly there were some questions on crime and policing, mostly dealing with the new crime maps. An interesting question asked people how they thought the police should priortise different areas of crime, and what they percieved as the police’s priorities. People viewed violent crime, sexual crimes, mugging then burglary as the things that should be police priorities, with anti-Social behaviour, car theft and vandalism less so and traffic offences least so. Their perception of the police’s actual priorities were that sexual crime, violent crime and traffic offences were the police’s top priorities, followed by mugging, burglary, ASB with car theft and vandalism the lowest priorities.

Essentially people see the police as putting crimes in roughly the same order of priorities as they would themselves, with the exception of traffic offenses, which the public say they perceive the police as prioritising above things like mugging or burglary.

There was also an ICM poll in the News of the World. The NotW is behind a paywall now, so I haven’t seen it myself but it doesn’t appear to have contained any voting intentions or anything earthshattering – the question that has received the most publicity was one asking people to choose between the coalition or Labour or neither, which showed 32% prefering the coalition, 26% Labour and 29% neither. Incidentally, it was conducted online, which seems to be increasingly common for ICM polls. A couple of their polls on the Alternative Vote for the ERS last year were online, but I think this is the first party political one of theirs I’ve seen.

137 Responses to “YouGov on Egypt, forests and crime”

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  1. John Fletcher

    How will it play out? Not significantly, I wouldn’t think. Labour will have a little bluster here for a wee bit, but the SNP position has been vindicated by the released documents, while Labour have been shown to be two-faced.

    As to al Megrahi’s survival thus far – abiraterone acetate is still not licensed for use in any part of the the UK.

  2. @TGB

    I’m confused. Quickest I can find at short notice is this:

    * h ttp://

    and that says “yes, Charlie Falconer is still being a total fat [badword], the filibuster continues…”

    But the sources you’d expect to carry this (e.g. h ttp:// or h ttp:// or even h ttp:/ ) have not done so. So it’s either a) a new event that happened today that hasn’t yet been picked up by everybody else, or b) an event from Friday that was just reported in the Guardian today. Your guess is as good as mine. No doubt we’ll find out over the next couple of hours

    Regards, Martyn

  3. I don’t find all these ‘grassy knoll’ discussions very helpful and i would imagine if I feel like that (as a political anorak) then voters at large will be even less helped in their VI considerations.

  4. @iananthonyjames
    You said “…I think Labour’s economic policies are the best available…”
    1) Please state what the current economic policies of Labour are (and give sources).
    2) Please state what the current economic policies of the other parties are (and give sources), including the Greens and UKIP.
    3) Please state what metric you have in mind for ranking those policies.
    4) Please give the rankings of each party according to your chosen metric.
    I should point out that my genuine intent here is not to get at you, it’s to illustrate the point that most people choose party allegiance regardless of what their policies are, and oftentimes without even knowing what they are.

    Martyn – you have raised a strong argument against my tribalism here. You could say I have been found out. Please don’t sigh. It is natural.

    I am not interested in UKIP or Greens because realistically they can’t win an election. Their policies are thus irrelevant.

    I don’t suppose I can persuade somebody as sophisticated as you but let us just take one main economic policy which I believe is preferable.

    Cutting the deficit in 5 years altogether (Tory policy) or cutting the deficit in half in that time (Lab)

    The way of measuring this is based on so many different factors. The general levels of unemployment and crime will be part of it. Figures on growth are clearly another.

    But deep down I think you are right. It is about what Wittgenstein would call “a fundamental judgment of value”. At this point the argument ends and politics is merely a battle of strength. There was a good article by Gary Younge last year in which he expounded at length about why he detested Tories.

    I feel the same. I have big doubts about them.

  5. Eoin

    From the Lords website:

    This afternoon, during the first day of the report stage of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill, Members of the House of Lords voted in favour of an amendment that will mean that the outcome of the referendum to change to an ‘alternative vote’ system for general elections will not be binding if there is a turnout of less than 40% of the electorate.

    Pigeons: meet cat.

  6. ha ha ha I expect the Government will love that amendment. Fan…may I introduce you to some excrement?

    I believe that the HoC can ignore all the Lords amendments if they wish? Do they have to debate them?

    Will Tories be likely to support it, though?

  7. Roger Mexico

    George Cunningham – you should be living at this hour!! (actually I think he still is).

    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery (and for those of you who don’t understand my amusement) –

    Although the Yes side won, Labour decided to implement George Cunningham’s 40 % rule and refused to endorse the Scotland Act. The Callaghan government, and in particular Labour MPs such as Tam Dalyell and George Cunningham preferred to risk losing a general election rather than giving Scotland the assembly which it had voted for.

  8. Nick P –

    If a Bill gets amended in the Lords it goes back to the Commons, and they vote on whether to accept the Lords amendments or not.

    If they accept the amendments, the Bill gets royal assent. If they reject it them, it goes back to the Lords again, and it goes back and forth until both Houses agree on the same Bill.

    It’s informally known as Parliamentary ping-pong.

  9. @iananthonyjames

    That’s one of the nicest replies I’ve gotten in a long time, thank you.

    @Roger Mexico

    The last time we had a getout clause like that was the 1979(?) Scottish devolution referendum, and it was widely decried then as being a sack of [badword]. The sooner the HoL is abolished, the better. Preferably by flamethrower.

    Regards, Martyn

  10. What if the Tories decide that they like the 40% amendment (apart from the Ministers?)

    Will the Libs be cross? How likely is 40% turnout?

    If the vote gets postponed to non-May sate so it doesn’t coincide with the other ballots, how likely is a 40% turnout in, say, September with no other reason to vote?

  11. I’m warming to the Lords, myself.

    It really is just a great big game isn’t it? Tory/Lib play politics by making a hybrid bill when it should be two separate bills. Labour go to work to delay. Deals are discussed. No side gives in on anything that matters much.

    All still in the balance.

    And oddly absolutely none of the issues being so hotly disputed matter one jot to the wider public. They don’t care much about AV and they certainly don’t care about the reduction to 600 MPs. And how many of them care whether the two bills are linked? Or whether the boundaries reflect a 5% or 10% tolerance of equality?

  12. Martyn/Roger,

    Thanks as usual.

  13. @ NickP – And how many of them care whether the two bills are linked? Or whether the boundaries reflect a 5% or 10% tolerance of equality?

    Hundreds have already rallied under the flag of St Pirran to express their displeasure at being corralled into a constituency with the natives of Devon.

    So where it matters, it matters.

  14. Well you see, Woodsman, I’m sure the Lords are thinking of St Pirran.

  15. I seem to remember that the Cunningham amendment was that 40% of the electorate had to vote for the referendum rather than just 40% in total vote. However if the polls are in favour going into the referendum, the No Campaign could encourage abstention on the referendum.

    Incidentally would it be possible to vote in local or national elections, but abstain in the referendum? How would this be recorded? Just spoiling your vote wouldn’t work, as that would still be recorded in turnout.

    I can’t immediately find a figure for overall turnout in the 2007 local in England, but a quick skim of some authorities shows 40% would be more than most achieved. Of course Wales, Scotland and NI should be higher than 40%, but they would be counter-balanced by London where there are no elections except the referendum. And there are other unitary authorities with no elections this time. So an overall figure of 40% might well be pushing it.

    By the way the amendment was passed by one vote – 219 to 218.

    Even if no more ‘accidents’ happen at the report stage, I can see a lot of Tories wanting to vote for this amendment when it goes back to the Commons – and in that situation no way will Labour resist supporting it. If it passes there, there will be hell to pay in the coalition and Clegg will look like a complete fool.

    Of course a lot of Conservative MPs are only now realising what a mess the seat re-organisation will be for them personally, and for little Party benefit (now if had they read UKPR …). So they might welcome the whole double-headed monster coming to an untimely end. Which would leave both Party leaders deeply, deeply embarrassed (which wouldn’t worry a lot of Tories at all).


    Hundreds have already rallied under the flag of St Pirran to express their displeasure at being corralled into a constituency with the natives of Devon.

    This sounds like Woodsman was laying on the rhetoric, but is literally true.

    ht tp://

  16. It’s really a brilliant tactic, isn’t it?

    Instead of advisinf people to vote “no”, the “no” lobby can just tell people NOT TO VOTE AT ALL.

    That way the Yes voters (the only ones voting!) will need to be 40% of the electorate.

  17. thanks Roger!

  18. What a fantastic opportunity for Tory anti-AV partisans. Keep the amendment, get the boundary changes, doom AV and get to blame Charlie Falconer.


  19. @ Roger M – Incidentally would it be possible to vote in local or national elections, but abstain in the referendum? How would this be recorded?

    Surely the locals and referendum will be on different voting slips? So easy to vote in one but not the other?…..

  20. I reckon the Yes lobby can mobilise 40% even in September with no other vote.

    Unless Clegg keeps supporting it, of course…

  21. Roger – you can vote in one but not the other if you ask the presiding officer at the polling station for just one of the ballot papers. Not many will do it (unless, I suppose, the threshhold sticks and people opposed think that turnout being under 40% is more likely than No winning outright).

    “Of course a lot of Conservative MPs are only now realising what a mess the seat re-organisation will be for them personally, and for little Party benefit (now if had they read UKPR …). So they might welcome the whole double-headed monster coming to an untimely end. Which would leave both Party leaders deeply, deeply embarrassed (which wouldn’t worry a lot of Tories at all).”

    The Tory whips are apparently using boundary re-organisations as a threat to hold over naughty MPs, but to be honest it’s a bit of an empty one. I wouldn’t expect many Conservative MPs to suffer through it – they’ll lose fewer seats to start with, and in most cases they’ll probably be enough voluntary retirements for the remaining seats to go round. For those that aren’t, I expect some convenient peerages will be doled out (assuming, of course, that the House of Lords hasn’t been made 100% elected).

    As to the partisan effect- we all know that a majority of the bias is not down to seat boundaries, but don’t go away with the idea that the contribution from seat boundaries is not substantial, because it is. Anyone expecting the electoral bias in the system to vanish completely will be disappointed, but it will still shift the balance in the Conservatives’ favour by a noticable amount.

  22. It won’t happen in the timeframe, but if we did go to an elected HoL I’d imagine there’d be a few current Tory MPs that would actually want to leave the HoC so they could stand for the HoL. Less work, more kudos. No brainer!

  23. Unless the Labour Lords have some more tricks up their sleeves.

    The other thing…if the Tories vote for the 40% amendment when it goes to a vote Labour might not support it and neither might the Libs. Would that doom it…and the boundary changes which they’ve linked to it?

    I suppose it might depend upon the Maths.

    I have a feeling that the Government should have split the bills and used the whip to get the AV referendum and then easily passed the boundary changes. They have tries to be clever and at the moment those grizzled old Labour Lords are looking a wee bit cleverer.

    But there may yet be more twists.

  24. Incidently Anthony…the argument about Con not losing too many seats after reorganisation only applies if their vote doesn’t collapse too far, doesn’t it?

    Once they start to slip much below 30% they aren’t going to have enough seats in the HoL.

  25. NickP – It doesn’t quite work like that. When the Bill returns to the Commons the Conservatives and Lib Dems will vote to reject the 40% amendment (it remains to be seen what Labour do, they voted against the same amendment when it was put forward in the Commons, but may take the opportunity to change their minds, vote for it and hope enough Tory MPs rebel to get it passed).

    If the 40% amendment is removed by the Commons it will then go back to the Lords to see if they will accept the Commons having removed their 40% amendment.

    Splitting the Bills wouldn’t actually have helped get the boundary changes through – the AV bill would have got through swiftly, but there would have been exactly the same obstruction to the boundary bill in the Lords. There wouldn’t have been the same strict deadline for the legislation, but the government have other business to get through the Lords so even without a strict deadline this sort of filibuster could be effective.

    Basically, any government is vulnerable to obstructionist tactics in the Lords. If an opposition has the stamina they can come up with hundreds of amendments and spend weeks debating them and bring business in the Lords to a halt. In the past, however, no opposition has ever chosen to do that… hence the absence of a guillotine in the Lords, there isn’t one, because it’s never been needed.

    That may ultimately be the more important impact from the passage of the Bill. If it sets a precedent for the type of behaviour that is acceptable in the Lords then the current system of timetabling business through gentlemanly agreements through the usual channels will eventually break down and a more formal method of timetabling business introduced.

  26. NickP – no, I meant seats lost through boundary changes, not seats lost through actually losing support.

  27. But if Tory MPs get moved from safe seats to less safe seats, or even if that is proposed, then they would want a deal too, wouldn’t they?

    The Labour Lords are adamant that if the bills were split it would be business as usual, they would just have more time for the boundaries/reduction part.

    It’s making it a hybrid that is getting the Government in a mess.

    Mind you, they can hardly change their mind now.

  28. Anthony

    I don’t think that method of not voting will work in this case – it would muck up the vote resolution stage. Thinking about it, I suppose presiding officers could keep the unused ballots separate and use the total of them to make the figures balance (you’d have to do something similar with un-returned referendum postal ballots), but it might well mean lots of new regulations and guidance.

    The trouble is you would need two different turnouts – one for the referendum, one for the rest. It doesn’t matter normally when you have different pieces of paper (I think they just would put the blank ballot in the box) but it would here.

    As far as Conservative seats being lost in reorganisation, while it is true that the nett number of Tory seats lost won’t be great, for an individual MP that’s no consolation. If it’s yours that goes or becomes vulnerable or safe Labour, you don’t care if someone two counties away is better off. Furthermore nobody will be sure if that is their situation or not till 2013. There also was such a clear out last time that there won’t be that many retirements next time, so competition will be fierce.

  29. Why would the Tories not support the 40% amendment? If they are amenable to the whip, why not just let them vote the AV bill through on its own?

  30. Roger…does that mean that a vote for something else might count as turnout for the referndum even if no vote was cast?

    Simplest thing to do would be to hold it on a separate day altogether.

    If the amendment was defeated and it went back to the Lords, I assume they wouldn’t add it back again. But would all that time taken already make the the May referendum unlikely?

  31. From the Guardian:

    “The Rooker amendment would mean that parliament would have to decide whether to accept a yes vote if turnout fell below 40%. Under the government’s plans a simple yes vote, regardless of the turnout, would lead to the introduction of AV for elections to the Commons as long as the plans to reduce the number of MPs are also in place.”

    So if the Tories didn’t want to pass it if there was under 40% turnout, the Lib Dems could bring down the Government and Lab (and the Lib Dems) could put it into effect.

  32. John Fletcher

    “A question to the Caledonian posters here. How will this [Megrahi] play out in Scotland?”

    If it were not for political point scoring, the Americans and Wikileaks, half the population of Scotland would not be able to tell you if Megrahi was still alive or not.

    It’s not the SNP that is keeping the issue going, and they have had nothing to say that they did not say at the time of the release. I think the Justice minister’s statement was about 25 minutes. Yo cansee it on the internet.

    Everey new attempt of the SNP’s opponents (and now Labour’s opponents) to raise the issue gives the SNP an opportunity to make their case which they would not otherwise have. As much as anything it demonstrates the unremitting oppositional nature of SLAB’s stance, just as the opposition to sensible SNP proposals adopted by NewLabour in England (eg minimum alcohol pricing) do.

    Support for the decision is directy related to the distance from Greenock jail. Those who get their news from Fox News in Texas don’t vote in Scottish Elections.

    Given the anti SNP stance of the media, the overall effect may be detrimental to the SNP.

    Notwithstanding that, there are two factors that are of particular interest to pollsters furth of Scotland.

    1 The two largest churches are unusually strongly supportive both of the decision and the minister’s integrity. One RC leader commented with an impressive clarity of expresion as well as clarity of analysis.

    2 My retiring constituency MSP is the minister for windmills. I will be reminded of him for the rest of my life every time I see a windmill. Had some other MSP been the minister for windmills I would take much less interest in windmills.

    Perhaps other UKPR posters whose MP/MSP is a minister recognise that reaction.

    I thnk it is likely that voters in Edinburgh East and Mussleburgh take a closer interest than in the debate on this issue than most do. Perhaps even more than the prisoners in Greenock jail.

    These people are respectable middle class Christian Democrat burghers who, even if they would have decided differently with regard to the release, will respect the integrity of their athiest MSP and deprecate the vilification he has endured.

    I knew, from personal correspondence before he became a minister, that Kenny MacAkill was a person of integrity who would recogise a matter of principle when he encountered one. If I know that, his constituents know that too.

    To put it at the lowest, politicians of integrity are not as common as we would wish. In a constituency 20 miles away, thousands of voters who undoubtedly rejected his far left policies supported a good local MP/MSP because they respected his integrity and resented an injustice to the extent that he had the highest vote and the highest majority in the Scottish parliament standing as an independent.

    My conclusion is that even if the SNP loses votes overall on this issue, there will be a positive swing in Edinburgh East and Mussleburgh, which is significantly more favourable to Kenny MacAskill than the swing his party receives generaly and that he will garner more votes in the constituency than his party receives on the list in that constituency.

  33. Roger – Hmm. I’m sure you can do that at other elections when there are two on one day, but you raise a good point. I suppose you’d need two registers to cross people off of, one for the local elections or Scottish elections, one for the referendum.

    (On that basis, I’ve no idea if that is or is not what currently happens for elections on the same day)

  34. @NickP

    You said “…I’m warming to the Lords, myself…It’s really a brilliant tactic, isn’t it?…”

    I’m not sure I can respond to this with a productive level of politeness. But you may wish to read my post to iananthonyjames below.


    As you responded so politely to my original post, I’ll do likewise. My position is as follows:

    I’ve been arguing for some time now that we do not, in fact, live in a democracy. The executive is indirectly elected, the electoral system is unsatisfactory, and half of the legislature and the head of state are unelected. Power alternates between members of a political caste who know little of us and care less, mediated by print and audiovisual media with their own agenda but no thought. We have a class of people called “opinion-formers”. We are subjects, not citizens, as speciated as insects.

    Meanwhile, laws are enacted. Those laws tend to hurt people. I saw the Thatcher administration pit one half of the state against the other, the Blair administration coat Iraq with blood, the Brown administation accrue a debt so large it’s routinely denied, and the Cameron administration maintain a war in Afghanistan which turns British soldiery into blind amputees. It’s not funny, and it’s becoming very difficult to be proud of my country.

    In an attempt to avoid this, I have advocated the use of fairer voting systems and more distributed voting – referendums, in other words. In theory, the combined mass of sixty million people would make better, more considered decisions than six hundred MPs. The AV referendum was the first stage of that: we would, as individuals, debate and conclude a matter of state. Power would, if only briefly, be in our hands. And then we could do it again and again.

    To that end, I have worked hard to get people on this board to engage in the process, and sometimes that has been hard. Hal and Amber’s misunderstanding of what the NAO does meant that I had to crash-read lengthy documents on Friday/Saturday, and actually walk them thru the ONS and NAO reports step-by-step. But that was part of the process: just remain calm, and talk people thru the facts. Just another day in the trenches.

    But this is confounded by tribalism: people are not making up their own minds, they are voting as their political allegiance dictate. Partisans hold views about us only slightly removed from Earl Butz’s. And now we have the final antidemocratic insult: unelected Lords retaining the right to overrule us…because they can. Which makes the whole thing pointless.

    Partisanship and tribalism lead to the ultimate abdication of personal responsibility: people voting for a party regardless of what they stand for. I understand your avocation of tribalism: it’s hardly uncommon, and I’m not deluding myself things will change because of my pretty speeches.

    But I hope you understand why I say I hope you rise above your tribalism.

    Regards, Martyn

  35. Martyn

    Yeah it doesn’t work terribly well.

    On the particular Lords’ tactics we are currently seeing, you can find the cause in linking two bills that shouldn’t be linked. Most unbiased observers (not me obviously) would be able to spot that they are only linked for political expediency. Because there is a coaltion they want to force through two incompatible things.

    Because of the cynicism of that linkage, I can accept the cynicism of the response. My understanding is that it is not the first time, Tory Lords talked out the (far more important) first attempt to repeal Clause 28.

    So I am amused by the antics. Nobody is going to die here, no wars are threatened…it is a purely political game about boundaries and esoteric (and not dramtically different) voting methods and the reduction in MP numbers which will makes us less democratic, not more.

    So be cross, if you like, The issue isn’t worth it here.

  36. You would get some partial relief if you moved to Scotland.

    As I told Alex Salmond, the SNP is missing the best argument for independence. With it you get a parliament fit for purpose.

    It is quite unnecessary to break up such a small country to get good government, but some of us can get what you want by voting for independence.

    As my ex-MP (Lab) said “That’s a terrible thing to do to the English.”

  37. Re Lords

    Again an argument for abolition of it. People refusing the elected Lower House wishes- and totally unelected. I don’t particularly like the linkage, but it should be the elected people who make a choice.

    If Lords are going to do this at least let them be elected so we can pass judgement on their silly behaviour.

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