The Times has a new Populus poll tonight – topline figures are CON 35%(-1), LAB 41%(+2), LDEM 11%(nc). Others are presumably on 13% – the Times report says UKIP are on 5%, the Greens on 4%. There is a slight move towards Labour since last month, but well within the normal margin of error. The changes since last month are not really significant, and the six point Labour lead is pretty much in line with YouGov’s daily polling.

Populus also asked about the situation in Libya. 49% said Britain should be prepared to use military force to prevent foreign regimes launching attacks against people campaigning for fredom, 45% disagreed. They also found 68% of people in fabour of helping refugees from Libya, compared to 28% against.

These are quite sharp differences from the YouGov poll at the weekend, which found large majorities opposed to British troops intervening in Libya and opposed to Britain accepting refugees from Libya. I expect it’s a case of measuring similar but different things. YouGov asked about British troops being used to removed Gaddafi (i.e. regime change), Populus seem to have asked about British troops being used to protect civilian protesters against attacks (i.e. more akin to peacekeeping). On refugees Populus seems to have asked about “helping” them, YouGov asked about allowing them to come to Britain – in both cases they are addressing superficially similar, but very different questions.

Still to come to tonight is the regular YouGov poll at 10pm.


88 Responses to “Populus/Times – CON 35, LAB 41, LDEM 11”

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  1. The weirdness is that a few months we were talking about the intolerable strain that would be put on the Coalition if the AV referendum resulted in a NO vote. Now we are talking about the intolerable strain that will be put on the Coalition if the AV referendum results in a YES vote. Perhaps the political reality is that the Coalition is already strained, and what ever happens at the referendum will simply add to the building pressures.

    I’d be lengthening the odds on a full term government.

  2. @Neil A

    “Well there you go then. “Forced” only by their “members”.”

    Or rather, forced by people who became members solely for the purpose of destroying the entity they joined. Members only in the narrow legalistic sense of the legislation that made it possible/profitable.

    What if 100s of people joined a local Conservative association, then voted to disband the association and distribute the substantial assets amongst members? Don’t you think the genuine members of that association might not feel a tensy bit “forced”?

  3. DavidB – “is there much actual evidence that AV would lose the Tories 40 seats almost as a matter of course?”

    Nope, it’s people looking at projections of what would have happened at the last election and assuming that it will happen the same at future elections, despite Lab voters now being far less likely to give 2nd preferences to the Lib Dems, and LD voters being far more likely to give 2nd preferences to the Conservatives.

    Somewhat ironically, given their stance against it and firm belief that would be awful for them, there’s a fair chance that the Conservatives would do better under AV.

  4. @Oldnat

    What planet are you on? Do you seriously think people who do bother to vote in local elections do so purely on a local issues. There is always an element of protest vote and sending a message to the national goby.

    Labour had better hope it gets into a double digit soon as if the economy turns around by 2013/14, they will be dead and buried re 2015. Seen it all before, a 6 point lead disappears pretty quickly as Kinnock found out on more than one occasion. Indeed, I’m pretty sure he had a double digit lead on both occasions!

    On the subject of UKIP, they are becoming a real political force. I know a lot of ex Tories who will sticking with them. Hence, they are becoming more than just a protest party.

  5. P.s Goby? Sorry – Govt. I’ll never get used to this iPhone keypad….

  6. @JamesW

    haha what planet is OldNat on? What planet are you on? If UKIP indeed is becoming a “real political force”, where do you think those votes are coming from? You said it yourself: Tories. But apparently they’ll be demolishing Labour in 2015 if the economy recovers (righto!) so how will they be doing that?

  7. @Anthony W
    Somewhat ironically, given their stance against it and firm belief that would be awful for them, there’s a fair chance that the Conservatives would do better under AV.
    I actually thought this was a pro-AV release trying to get a rather divided Labour on board by over-egging it’s detrimental effect to the Tories.

  8. @colin – I don’t necessarily object to a rise in pension age. It is sensible with rising life expectancy. What is poor, in my view, particularly for women, is the rushed way the rise in pension age has been brought in with the budget deficit as the excuse. Women have very little time to adjust, and any rise in pension age needs to be given a lengthy period of notice.

    I note no one has responded to my post on the political impact of the state pension reforms. I was hoping some of the pension experts might chip in and tell me I’ve got it wrong. The way I read the initial proposals means that by removing the state second pension, someone working throughout their entire career and paying full NI stamps will get the same state pension as a complete slacker who has never worked in their life. To me, this doesn’t sound right.

  9. I’m beginning to think that AV might have changed things back in the 80’s with a heavily divided opposition, but it does not seem that that scenario is coming again soon. By the time it does, we might be into full PR mode and it won’t matter.

  10. Al Jazeera just reporting :-

    Gaddaffi envoy spoke to Rebellion’s “National Council” on Sunday offering his stepping down & leaving Lybia-provided they guarantee immunity from prosecution for him & his family & unfreezing of his families assets.

    !!!!!

  11. Alec-its not really a question of “objecting” or not objecting.

    There is a pension time bomb sitting in the Public Finances of the EU countries.

    It has to be addressed. To the extent that State Pension liability is unfunded actuarially, this is a mandatory charge on future taxpayers , most of whom have not been born yet, let alone voted.

  12. As AV is bound to have the effect of keeping the third party permanently in power in a broadly three party system….it’s capacity to stimulate better politics or better government eludes me….

    The history of the FDP in Germany doesn’t inspire confidence….

    I did see a Yes poster in Vauxhall the other day. But the subject of the referendum isn’t making small talk on the Clapham omnibus…or at least any of the buses I use!

    I guess that’s why there are so many don’t knows… and may be as many don’t cares….but I guess there must be a point where turnout or lack of it has impact upon the legitimacy of the result either way….

  13. James W

    You seem a tad tetchy this morning.

    I would have thought, however, you would have seen the difference between the comments in your two posts –

    “Simply because of the defence cuts issue, I’ll be voting UKIP at the local elections.” No mention of any local issues, or quality of candidates, having any effect on your VI for the locals. If the UKIP candidate has the attitudes of Councillor O’Rourke, he’ll get your vote.

    and

    “There is always an element of protest vote”, which is probably true in elections here on Gliese 581 c (as you Earthlings so delightfully call it) as well.

  14. @Alec:

    I apologise if I gave the eroneous impression of being favourable to any of the policies I mentioned…I was merely making an observation about the intent behind those of the government….

    With regard to strucural deficits….an increase of 1/4% in trend growth of the UK would eliminate any structural deficit we were running between 2002-2006/7….if indeed that deficit was structural….

    And as the government is confident its policies will both rebalance the economy…whatever that really means….and restore confidence…it purely a matter of time before we’re all a-wash with more money than we or Bob Daimond will know what do with….or am I missing something?

  15. @colin – “To the extent that State Pension liability is unfunded actuarially, this is a mandatory charge on future taxpayers , most of whom have not been born yet, let alone voted.”

    Talk of a ‘pensions time bomb’ is wearliy overdone. Sure, we have an aging population and a reliance on the taxation of incomes and salaries that will mean a rising proportion of the current tax base will be required for pensions.

    The underlying situation is far more benign however, if people can understand the limitations of the current taxation regime. On average, the economy grows by 2 – 2.5% pa, while the number of pensioners grows by about 1.5%. This means a bigger economy supporting a relatively smaller pensioner burden every year – if you get the taxation right.

    We have a pensioner population that has grown steadily wealthier in terms of assets and wealth value, but supporting them from current earnings is eating deeper into the income derived taxation pot. The simple solution is to use the increasing asset base of the country to provide the finance for the pensioner demands, utilising the gap in growth between the size of the economy and the pensioner population to completely avoid any pension time bomb.

    At present, your unborn taxpayers are going to pay the price for middle class families to retain intact their estates when they die. I felt Labour’s proposal for a estate charge agter death was an ideal start to the rebalancing we require.

    The bottom line is that there is an ever growing economy out there that can pay for rising pensioner numbers with no sign of time bombs. We just need to remodel the tax system and stop protecting the wealthy at the expense of earners.

  16. @John Murphy – my expectation is that the structural deficit calculation will go the same way as Gordon Brown’s definition of the ‘full economic cycle’ – it will be self defined by the individual who chose it as the basis for their policies.

    By 2015 we will still have a deficit, but somehow it will no longer be structural.

  17. I disagree with Anthony. I think there is a slim to none chance that Conservatives would do better under AV.

    MORI conducted 4 waves of polling prior to May. It did show a preponderance for yellows to break reasonably evenly between reds and bllues.. in one of the polls the actually broke more for blue *in the seats that mattered”.

    I understand Anthony’s logic that this combined with the fact that yellows and reds are bedfellows means that yellows might retain that modicum of affection for blue.

    I also understand the prospect that a “tactical rewind” might not happen. ITs hard to explain but after a century of voting tactically between red and yellows would reds continue to do so at the next GE…

    aschroft’s populus polling showed that once reds became aware ot the dangers of a blue getting in on the back of their unwillingness to vote vote say Huhne or Clegg, they quickly behaved themselves and returned to camp… and so the questions exists as to whether this would continue to happen…

    Of the 57 seats yellows hold… 27 are between quite to very safe due ot their majorities…

    in 11 cases they look set to face a very tough to losing battle with reds to hang onto them…

    In 13 cases the margin is sufficiently tight with blue to be of the opinion that they might lose them… I have a list of these seats but I don’t want to clog up Anthony’s thread…

    In these 13 seats, my guesswork is that yellows will in fact lose these to blue but I regard that less to do with AV and more to do with the natural decline in yellow popularity from that special high of 24%.

    so to be clear….

    The seats blues think they’ll prosper under AV from yellow, I think they are likely to win anyway even under FPTP..

    The tactical reind that I see as saving 27 yellow seats next time, i think yellow will hold regardless of the system..

    The Redcars, and Bradford’s of this world I suspect yellows will lost ot red regardless of whatever system…

    In marginal seats… AV or FPTP it will be tight regardless… but I think that the relative equalisation that occurred between red and blue in yellows second prefs [theoretical] build up since 1997, happened because of incumbency disillusionment… this undoubtedly hurt the attractiveness of reds….

    Incumbency parties lose their attractiveness as a second vote preference because of the water under the bridge that ccurred from their time in power…

    check voting systems that have a preference vote… the party in power suffers. And so It is my view that yellows will break fro reds in the marginals… and that reds will continue to vote for yellow in sufficient numbers for them to retain their seat regardless of the system..

    I think the 24 seats yellows [leaving the BC changes aside] are struggling to hold, I think that the result would largely go the same way irrespective of the system.

  18. *yellows and blues are bedfellows

  19. @Alec:

    You’re such a cynic….and I’m sure you’re absolutely correct.

  20. Alec

    THank you.

    Of all the analysese & commentaries I have read on the funding problems associated with state pensions-yours is the first to describe it as “wearliy overdone”

    And when I see your solution I understand why you are so relaxed-the old left wing trick-tax their “assets”.

    Have we learned nothing about the transitory nature of asset values in this country from the last few years?

    Perhaps I can comment on :-

    “By 2015 we will still have a deficit, but somehow it will no longer be structural.”

    Yep-THe AD plan produces £ 74bn deficit in 2014/15- 4% of GDP .-with cumulative DEbt to GDP % still RISING.

    THe GO plan ( till Budget day anyway) produces £37 BN deficit in 2014/15-2% of GDP-with cumulative Debt to GDP % FALLING.

  21. @Colin – “Have we learned nothing about the transitory nature of asset values in this country from the last few years?”

    That issue is part of my general approach. We are very prone in this country to asset bubbles, with one of the reasons that there are insufficient stabilising mechanisms. One such mechanism is a well structured tax system, so that when asset values rise there is a compensating take from the tax man. Income tax has such an effect, not so much on suppressing wages, but in generating greater revenues with which to deal with negative consequences of unwarranted wage growth.

    I also fail to see why you throw the ‘left wing trick’ jibe at me. I’m not arguing for greater taxation. I just want to see taxes on incomes treated fairly and on a par with taxes on assets.

    The central point remains however, that in general the economy will grow faster than the pension age population, and that therefore the burden on pensions will reduce in proportion to the size of the economy. That’s why I describe this as wearisome.

    What everyone needs to bear in mind is that a great deal of the heat generated around ‘pensions crisis’ stories comes in the end from the finance industry. They have convinced successive governments that state pension provision (the cheapest, most secure and most efficient pension provision by a country mile) is dreadful and only private pensions via the finance industry can save us.

    I wouldn’t mind being lectured on pensions crises by people if those same people also targeted the malpractice and inefficiencies of the city pensions industry.

    A Dutchman and an Englishman walk into a pub and take out an indentical private pension plan in their own countries. Forty years later the Dutchman has a pension 35% bigger than the Englishman for exactly the same contributions because the UK finance industry takes 3 times the amount of fees and successive governments have failed to regulate properly.

    OK, so it’s not a very funny gag, but if we really do have a pensions crisis, I’d start with the banks and improve private pension provision by 35% overnight.

  22. alex

    so you would tax wealth accumulators rather than wealth creators

  23. @RiN – I think the tax base has to be as wide as possible and consequently not as deep in some areas, but essentially yes, that is my position.

  24. @oldnat and craig

    just as people vote labour to keep out the Tories (whilst not agreeing with all their policies and maybe having more in common with a minority party) so people vote Tory to keep out labour for the same reasons. Long term however there is definitely a gradual shift towards UKIP amongst Tory voters and the Tory’s will not always be able to rely upon people to vote for them simply to keep Labour out. And vice versa with Labour. The level of disaffection will ultimately reach a point where people are simply not willing to do that. That’s how major party’s are ultimately supplanted by one time minority party’s. It’s how the Liberals were replaced bt Labour and the ulster unionists were replaced by the DUP. Can you really say that the Tories and Labour will still be the two major party’s in fifty or a hundred years time? I don’t think so. I detect discontent in both Labour and the Conservative party.

    Nevertheless, I shall still be voting Tory in 2015 – but without a great deal of enthusiasm – simply because I don’t want another Labour economic catastrophie. Nevertheless, if I thought UKIP could win, I wouldn’t hesitate to vote for them.

    How many people vote for who they really want in Government at a GE? Not that many. That’s the problem with the electoral system we have. Ultimately, it comes down to a choice of voting fir one of two parties, neither of which one is totally enamoured with…

  25. p.s I think AV will be voted down. Had there been a choice between genuine PR and fptp, it might be a different story. I for one have started to take the view that there are benefits to PR. And it would certainly accelerate the process of realignment on both the left and right.

    Apologies for the typo’s – still getting used to the keypad on the iPhone

  26. @ ALEC

    “so that when asset values rise there is a compensating take from the tax man.”

    Taxing inflationary increases in asset values-forcing their conversion to cash in order that they can be paid over in tax.
    I think this is pretty daft idea.

    “I also fail to see why you throw the ‘left wing trick’ jibe at me”

    I suppose it was your throw away line “At present, your unborn taxpayers are going to pay the price for middle class families to retain intact their estates when they die”-
    ie the evocation of all that is evil in society-the Middle Class-“getting on”-working hard -“accumulating wealth”-weilding those sharp elbows in the faces of the unfortunate masses
    .
    But I agree-you are right to reprimand me. This totemic group have now been adopted by the Left -first by GB , now by EM-as JP said all those years ago “we are all middle class now”.
    So taxing the increase in house values will hit socialists too now Alec :-)

    RE “The central point remains however, that in general the economy will grow faster than the pension age population, and that therefore the burden on pensions will reduce in proportion to the size of the economy.”

    I have the distinct feeling that this is quite flawed.
    The key relationship surely is the number of working taxpayers per non-working state pensioner.
    As you will know, this ratio is collapsing

    RE your longstanding complaint about the fee / charges structure in UK private pension provision industry-I heartily agree.

    But its a different issue to the problem of funding state pensions for a larger & larger proportion of the population.

  27. jamesW

    you are proof that the ref is being won, even if the vote is no. the fact that we are having a vote at all makes people think about voting systems and the possibility that we could have another way of doing things

    BTW it has been said that UIKP is just the BNP with creased trousers, i suspect that this is unfair could you enlighten us a little on their other policy positions

  28. @ Richard in Norway

    What I am an example of is the increasing number of people in this country without any fixed political loyalties. As I have said before, there are many policies positions I actually prefer the Liberal Democrats on (e.g. civil liberties). There are other I prefer the Tories on, and others I prefer UKIP (e.g. Europe). Who would I prefer to vote for at present – UKIP, because I am disappointed with the performance of both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats in Government. For example, I think the Liberal Democrats have let the country down on civil liberties and Education. Quite simply, they have not stuck by their own principles.

    As for your final comment about the BNP and UKIP – how completely silly. Such stereotypes cheapen politics. My own view on immigration for example is similar to that of most Liberal Democrats – I think immigration is a good thing. It reinvigorates the country. If you say no to immigration, you simply end up like Japan – a country with an ageing population going gradually into decline. I hardly think such views are compatible with the BNP, but does that disqualify me from empathising with many of UKIP’s policies? Of course not.

    The problem with those with fixed political loyalties is that are incapable of looking outside of their own confined political box. Instead of looking at whether people with alternative views are right or wrong, they simply dismiss their ideas (believing for example that just because a party like UKIP is perceived to be right wing, its supporters must empathise with the BNP). They need to look at the wider picture, stop being simplistic, and stop trying to put everything into a narrow political box. The world is too complicated for that and has moved beyond the world of ideologies and political dogma’s. Get real. Joining a political party and voting for it come what may is always a bad idea (unless you want to become a professional politician and actively change things). I think more and more people have arrived at that same conclusion and will simply do what do I – sit back, watch, see what happens, and then make up ones mind. Come 2015, I could easily vote either Liberal Democrat, Conservative, or UKIP. We will see. I can’t imagine myself ever voting Labour. But, if on the road to Damascus Labour were to see the economic light, undergo a transformation and drop their Keynesian dogma, and then present sensible economic policies for the future – well, who knows!!!

  29. JAMESW

    What a refreshing post to read.

    I have a feeling that opinions like “Joining a political party and voting for it come what may is always a bad idea” puts you in a group which is not well represented on political blogs.

    ;-)

  30. JamesW

    I can’t imagine myself ever voting Labour. But, if on the road to Damascus Labour were to see the economic light, undergo a transformation and drop their Keynesian dogma, and then present sensible economic policies for the future – well, who knows!!!

    I can’t imagine myself ever voting Tory But, if on the road to Damascus the Tories were to see the economic light, undergo a transformation and drop their Privatisation dogma, and then present a more Keynesian economic policies for the future – well, who knows!!!

  31. @ Roger Rebel

    Thank god your not running the country or we would all be bankrupt

  32. @Colin – “I have the distinct feeling that this is quite flawed.
    The key relationship surely is the number of working taxpayers per non-working state pensioner.
    As you will know, this ratio is collapsing”

    That’s precisely the point I am making. We’re trying to squeeze far too much from a shrinking group through an excessive reliance on taxing earnings. And the core argument isn’t flawed – barring short periods of recession, the economy really does grow faster than the pensioner population.

    In terms of hitting the middle class, that misses the point. I am middle class. I have a mortgage on a house worth a decent bit more than the average UK house, and I hope that by the time I die I will have long paid off my mortgage.

    I don’t have much to spare in earnings and I wouldn’t appreciate losing much more in taxes as it would affect my lifestyle, even though I count myself as reasonably well off. What I will have when I die is a large capital asset for which I no longer have any personal use.

    If someone can guarantee me that my partner and I will get good quality personal care when we are elderly, a reasonable state pension and not have to burden my children with excessive taxes to pay for it, I would be quite happy to see half the value of my property (more or less – I’m quite relaxed about the rate) be used to fund this after I’m dead.

    Sure, my kids won’t get quite so much in inheritance, but they can’t expect anything at present – if I need long term care for a few years the house is sold and the money spent anyway, but the broader point is that if I can pay for myself out of my own accumulated assets it will reduce the tax burden on my children to balance out the generational transfer.

    Sadly, in the UK we’re fixated on handing down our estates intact, regardless of the cost – and there is a cost, both in general taxation levels and an entrenching of inequality. Working people from poor families with no inheritable assets will be paying the same excessive earnings taxes as others who will receive an inheritance, but with no compensating flow from the older generation that they are funding.

    I just don’t see why my elderly care should be paid for by people on low incomes when I have the financial basis to make a greater contribution myself in a completely painless way.

  33. Alec

    THanks .

    Interesting point of view.

    I suspect that the main difference between us though lies in your phrase “an entrenching of inequality”.

    The idea that each generation must start again , with a clean slate as it were may well have appeal for some individuals. I see that however as their choice -and not one for the State to impose.

    Its a big subject -and we had best leave our differences here I think :-)

  34. I think the yes to AV campaign has probably missed a trick by failing to try and wheel out a right wing supporter of AV/AV+ like Farage.

  35. @Colin – I don’t think we’re actually that far apart – we’re just looking at the same prism from different ends.

    I see the burden imposed on earnings taxes as an invasion of individual choice as much as you see excess inheritance tax as a state inspired imposition. In my view its a question of balancing out competing inequities, and I just think the effect of increasing tax thresholds in line with prices and not earnings and the growth of NI and VAT, has tipped the balance heavily against current wage earners and away from wealth accumulators.

  36. If we encourage our wealth accumulators to dispose of their assets and pass nothing on to their children, we will of course increase equality. But what of those would-be inheritors who don’t have the emotional/intellectual wherewithal to make it on their own? There’d be some clawback in terms of the state supporting those whose parents might otherwise have supported them instead.

    And although the numbers of pensioners may rise more slowly than long term GDP, I don’t think that a) this is guaranteed to remain a truism and b) that the costs of caring for pensioners are necessarily proportionate to their numbers as a percentage.

    A 1.5% increase in pensioners might well add up to a 2.5% increase in state spending on health, care costs, pensions and other requirements.

  37. Alec

    Perhaps you’re right-same thing from different ends.

    For my part I am ( was!) happy to see my earned income progressively taxed.

    I am happy with the idea of IHT , provided it does not impact middling estates in the specific context of property values. I want to pass as much as possible of such of my income as I have accumulated, on to my children. That’s what I accumulated it for.

    I would be more than happy to see a progressive delay in the entitlement date for State Pension, as a function of increasing longevity. That seems sensible & equitable to me as a means of funding it adequately.

    I agree with you about balance-this is the commodity politicians should deal in.

    And for me there is a definite point at which those with the talent to create wealth, will decide not to bother if they cannot also accumulate it. -What is the point of going through the risk & sacrifice?

    Past that point “taxing wealth accumulators” becomes self defeating.

  38. The higher the State pension age, the fewer poorer people will benefit as they tend to die younger.

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