Full tabs from the YouGov/Sunday Times poll are now up here, asking about the normal sort of grab-bag of subjects that the Sunday Times normally choose when the news agenda hasn’t been eaten by a single topic like the riots!

There is very little support for putting British troops on the ground in Libya, even post-Gaddafi. Only 22% would support troops being deployed to help the new regime. Neither is there much support for any intervention in Syria – only 21% of people would support a Libya-style intervention in Syria.

On taxation, YouGov asked about various tax cuts (and in one case, tax increase) that have been mooted. The most popular proposals were cutting VAT and fuel duty, both supported by 86%. A married couples tax allowance was supported by 66% of respondents. Abolishing the 50% rate was only supported by 23% of people, with 59% opposed. The Lib Dem idea of a “mansion tax” was supported by 63% of people.

On petrol prices, YouGov asked whether people thought the oil companies themselves were taking advantage of the public with high prices – 52% of people thought they were, 36% thought the fault lay with world oil prices and the government’s taxes.

The recent deal with Switzerland on taxing private bank accounts was seen as a good deal for Britain by almost two-thirds of people (65%), with 11% thinking it was a bad deal. 40% of people thought it was acceptable for British people with Swiss bank accounts to still remain anonymous, 45% thought it was not acceptable.

In the benefit questions, people are evenly split on whether cuts to benefits are too large (28%), about right (26%) or not large enough (27%). On the specific policy of capping housing benefit, 75% supported it “even if this means people are forced to move house if they live in an area where the rent is high” (broadly comparable to when YouGov asked a similarly worded question last November for Channel 4). 56% of people think that EU citizens should not be allowed to claim benefits in other countries, 30% think they should.

Finally on planning, people are evenly split over whether current planning laws are too relaxed or too restrictive – 23% think it is too easy to build, 20% too difficult, 33% that it is about right. On the principles of the government’s proposals to simplify central planning rules, give more power to councils and have a presumption in favour of development, 54% support and 21% are opposed. However, asked about the National Trust’s criticisms of the proposals, 44% back the NT and think the change will pose a risk to the countryside, compared to 25% who think the NT are exaggerating.

This is broadly what I would expect on a subject where most people will have little or no detailled knowledge – neutral options on the status quo, a broadly positive reaction to things that sound good on the surface like simplifying and devolving power, but when faced with opposing claims from the government and a charity, people are going to tend to back the charity over the politicians.


375 Responses to “More from the YouGov/Sunday Times polls”

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  1. What’s the difference between a champagne socialist and a limosuine liberal? I feel like they’re similar but not quite the same.

    This poll makes me happy:

    http://people-press.org/2011/08/30/muslim-americans-no-signs-of-growth-in-alienation-or-support-for-extremism/

  2. @ Henry

    I am not saying “Oh so easy for Labour”. I am saying :

    1. The Tories are in power in difficult times gambling on an economic analysis which reality is severely damaging. We are stagnating as an economy, in a stagnant world economy following the same strategy of austerity, and the Tory government has no strategy for growth.This economic situation threatens its core policy of deficit reduction. In those circumstances it is very difficult to see how they increase their vote beyond last year when they faced a tired Labour party coming out of a huge recession with an electorally unpreposessing leader.

    2. Much of the Lib-Dem support is an anti Tory vote – and will not return to the Libdems in 2015. It may, in fact not go to the Labour party – much of it in Scotland went to the SNP – but go to abstentions or Greens where they are available – if Ed M does not match the values of these individuals then he may well struggle to get a majority.

    3. Ed got one of the great strokes of luck with the coalition. Had we a majority Tory government then unquestionably Labour would be desperately trying to fend off the Libdems as the alternative to the Tories and would quite possibly be losing that battle. Clegg would by now be the most coherent voice opposing Tory cuts and proposing a new alternative to the failed policies of both main parties. With this stroke of luck the Labour party has not only inherited left leaning Libdems but it is the only opposition party for those to protest to go to in England. As the cuts bite and real incomes decline such protestors will increase over the next two to three years, This gives him a great electoral position.

    If the economy recovers – and it is a recovery with both jobs and some prosperity – then the Tories will turn out in the numbers from 2010 – and the Libdem abandonees may return in sufficient numbers to prevent a Labour majority. If not, then I think a Labour majority seems highly likely.

    Given the last month’s news with Libya ( a perceived success) and the Riots ( a shifter of opinion to the right) I would expect to see anyone even considering voting Tory expressing this wish at the moment.

    The Hacking scandal was never party political. For me the joy of it was the cutting of Murdoch down to size – rather than any perceived VI gain for Labour ( How could they expect a gain when Blair was in bed with the same individuals as Cameron, and most of this happened under Labour’s watch and should have been pursued long ago)

  3. @A Cairns

    “I would say the Tory ceiling is about 39% (at least for this gvt). (about 18% in Scotland, 29% in Wales and 42% in England) whereas the Labour ceiling is possibly 3% higher.”

    I think you make a fair point here, although I think you may be erring on the upper tolerance limits for the optimum Tory vote share at 39%. I’d say about 37-38% on all the evidence of the last 20 years, borne out in local and national elections as well as parliamentary bi-elections where their performances have been almost universally lamentable.

    I’ve occasionally made this point myself on these pages, bemoaning Labour defeatism in the face of an imaginary irresistible foe. The mighty “electoral beast” of John Major’s folklore is no more and while it’s quite possible that the Tories could win another General Election, I think it would be almost entirely dependent and predicated on a calamitous performance from Labour of 1983/2010 proportions (likely?) and/or an evenly divided left of centre vote.

    Labour’s vote has a wider range of tolerances, both upper and lower,I think and here again, I tend to agree with you. The low tolerance point was probably plumbed in May 2010 and the high level in 1997, but in 2001, they were the last political party to scale the magic 40% VI share and I believe they are probably the only one capable of doing so again, especially if they can retain the recent Lib Dem defectors.

    I think what’s curtailing the Tory vote potential is partly structural. They depend very much on the over 50s for the bulk of their support and their brand still retains a lingering toxicity amongst the younger sections of the population. This factor, coupled with the geographical skewing of their vote that’s emerged since the 80s suggests the key demographics may be accelerating the downward speed of the electoral escalator they’re attempting to climb.

  4. tsitsikamma & Roger

    “Labour’s Tom Watson asked the Electoral Commission to investigate if this amounted to a “political donation”.

    It has ruled out any “further action”.

    Looks like that one has died a death. That’s if Tom Watson lets it go.”

    Drip ..

  5. @Rob Sheffield,

    ““The idea of ‘core voters’ is very flawed IMO. Labour fell to the 20s at the last GE”

    http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/RP10-36

    117 pages of detailed analysis for you- but the key stat is that Labour got **29** per cent of the vote……!!!!!!!!!!”

    Yep, which is in the 20s. Much lower than the so-called Labour core vote of 33-34% that some claim. The so-called ‘Tory core vote’ is probably similarly low IMO.

    “The key question is: are we in new electoral times and can the Tories pick up the 6% more voters (on top of their 2010 GE level) that will give Dave and George a working majority in 2013-2015. And if so where are they likely to come from ??”

    Yes, I actually happen to agree with you on this, which is why I think that a Tory majority in 2015 is less likely than a Labour one. ;)

  6. One thing that I’ve found fascinating recently is the number of economists who’ve been saying, ‘Actually, Marx was right’.*
    Hopefully this’ll lead to a more rounded look at Marx’s work and not just as a lazy ‘but the soviet union!’ talking point.

    *In the sense that his explanation for why crises of capitalism happen, not at all in support of his solutions.

  7. @Rob Sheffield,

    “…and under Brown…and at the zenith of the credit crunch induced recession…..and at the worst point of the electoral cycle at a time forced upon him by the ending of the term (Brown dithered until the last possible moment rather than picking a contest at a time of his own choosing i.e. 2007)…”

    It wouldn’t surprise me if the ‘Tory core vote’ is tested in the next couple of years, what with poor economic growth (possible recession), high inflation, high unemployment, widespread (and deep) public sector cuts, public sector pension changes, the HackGate scandal etc. etc.

    I think it will all kick off soon enough.;)

  8. I don’t think the Tory VI will fall much lower than 34%-ish.

    Even if everything goes badly, will people who support the Tories now back a centre-left Ed Miliband? I have my doubts.
    So it’ll be a vote for the Tories because ‘they’re the only party I can vote for’.

  9. @TingedFringe

    In my exotic student days of the 1970s, I studied Marxian Economics for a while and read as much of Das Kapital as my boredom thresholds would allow! His critique of capitalism was masterly, the cyclical and repetitive crises, the concentration of wealth in fewer and few hands, the commercialisation of, and intrusion of the market into, nearly every part of human life; he was a prophet in many ways. The problem wasn’t that his diagnosis was flawed, it was that his cure was much worse than the disease.

  10. @ Chouenlai

    “My concern was seeing UKPR becoming the most boring political board on the airwaves, thanks to one or two people.”

    We have to accept that boredom is in the eye of the beholder………………but it is a bit like reading forecasts of your death, day after day if you are a Con supporter.

  11. @TingedFringe,

    Yes, I think you may be right. As you so rightly say, especially as Ed is left-of centre. If his brother were leader, I expect the Tory vote would really be taking a pounding by now.

    If I were a betting man, I’d say the most likely scenario is still a hung parliament in 2015 with Labour being the largest party. I don’t think Labour can win outright with Ed as leader, but at the same time I can’t really see the Tories reaching 40%. In the event of a hung parliament, this time I think the Libs may well side with Labour.

  12. At the risk of flogging an old horse to death, what’s striking about the YouGov Sunday Times poll is that for the first time in ages the respective proportions of those who say that they voted Conservative and Labour in 2010 is close to the proportions in the actual result i.e. 857 Con v 697 Lab. The previous polls all had very much lower proportions of 2010 Conservative voters.

    No surprise then that the Lab lead has fallen to 3%.

    What’s also striking is that the Lab lead was exactly the same in the most recent ICM poll (i.e. 3%) before ICM’s final adjustments (some highly dubious IMO) turned that into a 1% Con lead.

    So there we are. YouGov and ICM back in line at last (save for the Lib Dems’ share, but that’s another story).

    (Apologies in case this might be repeating previous comments down this and previous threads, all unread as yet thanks to a bank holiday worth of internet absence.)

  13. @Colin

    “We have to accept that boredom is in the eye of the beholder………………but it is a bit like reading forecasts of your death, day after day if you are a Con supporter.”

    Some short memory syndrome going on here, Colin, methinks. When I was on this site early in 2010, many right of centre posters, most now long departed, somewhat mysteriously, were dancing all over Labour’s grave. According to these people, I was supporting a a party about to be consigned to third place and the dustbin of history!

  14. @TingedFringe,

    Another interesting question is how much will these so-called ‘core Tory voters’ be prepared to suffer before they turn their back on the Tories? I mean, if you take the issue of tuition fees – in many respects it is the lower middle classes, on relatively low incomes, who will suffer the most from the tuition fee changes. Then you have the issue of child credit/benefit cuts etc. all of which will affect the middle classes.

    I think Ed’s challenge is to appeal to Middle England, at least to some extent. Tony Blair had it right on this.

  15. @ Crossbat

    Your final scenario came perilously close actually. Thankfully not.

    What we can alll agree on I think is the increasing volatiltiy of the electorate. Circumstances will dictate. 2015 ( or sooner) seems destined to me to be a Tory defeat and Libdem catastrophe. By 2020 we could see a Labour government turfed out on its ear by a disappointed and disillusioned public. My gut feeling is that this is likely. We have structural problems with the world economy which neither party has the power to resolve, but can be blamed for, a growing demand for more inaccessible energy supplies globally, similarly with food to drive up imported inflation. I think we are destined for a significantly extended period of declining living standards almost regardless of who is in power and incumbents will bear the brunt of public resentment. We are reaching a point, where no election will be a”good one” to win a la 1951, or 1997.

  16. @Iceman,

    I would agree that any government’s stay in power over the next 30 to 40 years is likely to be short. We are now entering a new age of politics IMO, with greater economic and financial constraints – as you pointed out. I mean, even if Labour came back to power in 2015, the people who voted them in would expect their living standards to rise (as promised), and for the government to pay out more in benefits /abolish the new tuition fee rates etc. etc.

    Of course, the same goes in subsequent GEs, whether the Tories or Labour win them.

  17. Of course what the last few posts are indirectly suggesting is consensus politics.

    Anyone for proportional representation, AV, etc.

  18. iceman

    We are reaching a point, where no election will be a”good one” to win a la 1951, or 1997.

    Following both of which the winning Party won the next two general elections convincingly. They may not have been ‘good ones’ to win, but it certainly beat losing.

  19. On the discussion on the poll figures, the core vote, the possibility that the Blue vote might drop further and ceilings for support, with floors for support,

    I think that all the figures point to a substantial Tory victory in 2015.
    i. As with 1951, the Liberal collapse will benefit them.

    ii. As in 1955, 1959, 1983, 1987 and 1992 they are faced by a poor oppostion (Clem was exhausted in 55)

    iii. Cons normally do better in rough economic times.

    iv Labour does well in times of optimism: 1945 and 1964/66 are the examples, and in 1997 the post ERM boom had made the country prosperous.

    v. boundary changes and funding changes will add to Labour’s problem.

    vi Only in 1974 there was an election ending a one term tory government since 1874 and 1892. And in 1974 Heath would still have been PM if the ulster unionists had stayed in alliance with the Cons, (They left, of course, after Heath had introduced one man one vote in the six counties/ulster.

    vii. England is a tory country which sometimes votes Labour as Maudling used to say.

  20. Crossbat

    Some short memory syndrome going on here, Colin, methinks. When I was on this site early in 2010, many right of centre posters, most now long departed, somewhat mysteriously, were dancing all over Labour’s grave. According to these people, I was supporting a a party about to be consigned to third place and the dustbin of history!

    I started reading the posts as recently as just before the last election. The main thread was that many of those in red were talking up the LDs and Nick Clegg.

    After the election someone raised the point that there seemed to be no Tory or LD posters, and the response from one of the few Tories was that they were too busy running the country. Most of the posters now seemed to be attacking the LDs, particularly NC.

    I cannot talk before early 2010, but since then it has seemed to me that the vast majority of posters appear to be to the left of centre. As has been pointed out PB posters seem to be right of centre in the same proportions.

    As far as who is going to win the 2015 GE or improve on the 2010 election, I am concerned for the LDs as I believe they have the biggest mountain to climb and although they have some quality MPs they have very weak PR. Also unfortunately, they appear to be more split than the Tories or Labour.

    I do not share the view of a number of posters that Labour is doing well or is on the path to easy victory in 2015; they can hardly garner a lead at this stage, even though at least in England they should be picking up the protest vote that usually goes to the LDs.

  21. Chris Lane 1945

    ‘On the discussion on the poll figures, the core vote, the possibility that the Blue vote might drop further and ceilings for support, with floors for support, I think that all the figures point to a substantial Tory victory in 2015.’

    I like the analysis as you are not bringing in value judgments, that one party will win because it is good while the other party is full of sinners who wants to destroy the country.

    Your conclusions appear to favour the Tories more than the bookies at this stage, and if you were confident that you were right you could get decent odds on an overall Tory victory.

  22. @Iceman

    “What we can alll agree on I think is the increasing volatiltiy of the electorate.”

    I’m not sure that’s right, is it? We’ve only had two changes in Government in the last 32 years! That points to evidence of a declining volatility to me, albeit assisted by the 35-40% of the electorate who now no longer participate in elections. It would appear that a party gaining a clear parliamentary majority and forming a government is very difficult to dislodge.

    That said, we now have a coalition made up of two parties, thereby changing the political dynamic significantly.

  23. @Henry

    “I like the analysis as you are not bringing in value judgments, that one party will win because it is good while the other party is full of sinners who wants to destroy the country.

    “I do not share the view of a number of posters that Labour is doing well or is on the path to easy victory in 2015”

    Where on earth has anyone said any of this nonsense on this site? I’ve been a regular reader and poster for 20 months and I haven’t seen anybody even remotely making any of the comments or claims that you are alleging.

    The straw men ride again.

  24. @CrossBat11,

    I think iceman was referring to the growing volatility with the polls post-economic crisis. Like him (and most economists), I think we are in for decades of economic and political uncertainty, as well as declining living standards.

  25. @ChrisLane1945

    As you know, your real sin in my eyes is your allegiance to Ma*ch*st*r U*it*d, but I’d like to make some observations on your list of, in my view, highly debatable claims.

    “I think that all the figures point to a substantial Tory victory in 2015.”

    Come on,Chris, while it’s quite possible for the Tories to win, I think you’re straying into wishful thinking here.

    “i. As with 1951, the Liberal collapse will benefit them.”

    Only if a substantial number of former Lib Dem voters decide to vote Tory. The evidence at the moment is that a substantial number have gone to Labour, thereby hurting the Tories who now largely depend on a split centre left vote for any hope of electoral success.

    “ii. As in 1955, 1959, 1983, 1987 and 1992 they are faced by a poor oppostion (Clem was exhausted in 55)”

    A subjective judgement entirely. I hesitate to say partisan.

    “iii. Cons normally do better in rough economic times.”

    Try telling that to Ted Heath in both elections in 1974 and, to some extent, to Cameron back in May 2010.

    “iv Labour does well in times of optimism: 1945 and 1964/66 are the examples, and in 1997 the post ERM boom had made the country prosperous.”

    I thought the Tory optimism about the next election was based on a booming economy and a tax cutting pre election budget in early 2015. What are you saying now? It’s going to be dire and we’ll flock to the Tories to get us out of the mess they didn’t clear up in the preceding 5 years? I sense a tautology developing here!!

    “v. boundary changes and funding changes will add to Labour’s problem.”

    The expert jury on this one is still out, I contend. I wouldn’t be so sure about it, if I was you.

    “vi Only in 1974 there was an election ending a one term tory government since 1874 and 1892. And in 1974 Heath would still have been PM if the ulster unionists had stayed in alliance with the Cons, (They left, of course, after Heath had introduced one man one vote in the six counties/ulster.”

    We haven’t got a Tory Government, we have a coalition. The Tories didn’t win in May 2010.

    “vii. England is a tory country which sometimes votes Labour as Maudling used to say.”

    A bit of a self-serving canard this one, although a popular myth nonetheless. England quite regularly votes Labour (1945, 1966, 1997 by very large margins too) and you should remember that the Tories polled less than a quarter of those who were eligible to vote in England in May 2010. Tory England? Hmmmm, let me think about that one for a bit.

    That said, well played against Arsenal Reserves the other day! lol

    [Crossbat – play the ball, not the man. Not least because I believe Chris is a Labour supporter, so his partisan love for the Conservative party is unlikely to be twisting his comments…. – AW]

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