YouGov’s voting intention figures for the Sunday Times this morning are CON 37%, LAB 42%, LDEM 10%, so pretty much stable. On the regular trackers, leader approvals are Cameron minus 4 (from minus 6 a week ago), Clegg minus 46 (from minus 49 a week ago), and Miliband minus 32% (down from minus 23 a week ago, and easily his worst ratings so far).
There is also negative news for Ed Balls on the question of who would make the better Chancellor. YouGov first asked the question straight after Balls’ appointment, and found him neck and neck with George Osborne, 27% a piece. Osborne now leads Balls by 29% to 22% (48% of people said they don’t know). The poll would have been only just after Balls’ speech calling for a VAT cut… but I wouldn’t necessarily expect most people to notice a speech by the shadow chancellor anyway, such is the nature of opposition. More generally YouGov asked whether or not the last Labour government spent money wisely – 27% thought it did, 56% that it did not.
On the subject of the economy, 55% of people said they thought the worst was still to come for the financial crisis and the effect on the economy, with only 22% disagreeing. 37% of people think the government is managing the economy well, 53% badly (slightly up from last week, when it was 35% well, 58% badly). Overall the “feel good factor” stands at minus 48, with 10% expecting things to get better for them over the next 12 months, 58% to get worse.
Most interestingly though we have some questions on the public sector strikes and pensions (though sadly not any direct questions on whether people would support or oppose strike action on cuts, or by teachers. I’m sure some will turn up soon!).
In terms of strikes, a majority of people continue to think teachers should have the right to strike, but don’t think doctors or the police should. On the whole people do have sympathy with the idea that there should be a turnout on strike ballots – only 24% think a strike should be allowed on a simple majority, 7% that there should be a relatively lax 25 percent turnout threshold, 24% a fifty percent turnout threshold, 24% an exacting seventy-five percent threshhold. 11% simply disagree with the right to strike altogether.
Turning specifically to the issue of public sector pensions, 38% of people think that public sector pensions are too generous, 14% not generous enough, 25% about right. This means people are evenly split between thinking public sector pensions are too generous, or about right/not enough, and indeed when people are asked if they support the recommendations in the Hutton report there is a broadly even split, with only slightly more opposing than supporting – 38% support them, 43% oppose.
The YouGov tables also have cross-breaks by public/private sector workers and by whether people are trade union members. These are interesting in themselves. To start with the caveat, these are cross-breaks, the poll is weighted to be representative overall, not necessarily of trade unionists or public sector workers – it can only be indictative of those sub-groups. That out of the way, Trade Union members are, as one might expect, overwhelmingly Labour supporters – Con 15%, Lab 68%, LD 4%. Public sector workers are also more Labour than people in the private sector, but the contrast is not as large as think some people imagine – Labour lead by 11 points amongst public sector workers, compared to 2 points amongst private sector workers.
Turning to the pension questions, public sector workers are unsurprisingly less likely to think that public sector pensions are too generous (though 18% do!), and only 21% support the Hutton Report’s recommendations, with 66% opposed. Amongst private sector workers 46% support Hutton’s recommendations, 33% are opposed. It’s worth remembering that people’s opinions are not entirely selfish. While clearly self-interested, there are people who support policies that may be detrimental to their own interests, and people who oppose policies even though they personally benefit from them.