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. Alec

    Like I said before, find me the space to build four new Southhamptons before the next election. Or alternatively, lets start developing an equitable and morally acceptable solution to population growth in one of the most crowded countries on earth

    But isn’t most of England’s current population increase due to immigration either directly or to a lesser extent indirectly (first generation immigrants tend to have larger families)? The trouble is that it is very difficult to implement population policies in a single country – especially when there are few restrictions on travel from some other areas.

  2. @ Colin

    ” we are put to shame by US philanthropists”
    To some extent true – if by “we” you mean the super-rich here.

    America is however “put to shame” by its lack of free universal health care. Perhaps a fair taxation system imposed on all US super wealthy might be of more benefit to the nation than random acts of philanthropy.

    I ajso see no contradiction as it happens in the notion of “Working class Tory” You may well be from a poor background but believe that logically your best hopes of happiness are in a society where you can start a business in a free market with a commitment to socially traditional values.

    The key facet of democracy is one’s rights to articulate your own personal belief systems within the system regardless of your class background.

    @ Alec and Roger

    Given that I live from a country I would deem slightly underpopulated (Scotland) I do wonder how big a problem overpopulation actually is in England. Economically and in terms of infrastructure, by and large, England appears from my perspective to be at a sustainable population level, at least in the short term and compared to other Western democracies: the wider global issues of environmental degradation and resource depletion notwithstanding. ( These are potentially so huge, of course, that they dwarf the finding of some more houses in the South of England however serious, or otherwise such a problem may be.)

  3. @Iceman – “Were we to look for real hypocrisy then it is in so called philanthropists whose contributions to charity are used as means of tax avoidance and who seek to use every legal means available to avoid contributing to the public purse.”

    I think this is a little unfair. No charitable donation (unless its fraudulent) can be done for the purpose of avoiding taxation, unless you give the money away in the first place. In other words, you might save a proportion of donations in reduced tax liabilities, but you will still have to be a net loser financially.

    It’s also worth mentioning that most donors agree to pass on the tax benefits in Gift Aid, meaning the government puts the tax that the donor has already paid on the income being donated back to the recipient group.

    I think where you might have a more valid philosophical argument is in debating the rights and wrongs of allowing people to accumulate such wealth that they can afford to be large scale philanthropists and also in discussing whether it is morally right to organise a society so that it relies on charities.

    I’m with Colin on philanthropy – it should be encouraged and supported. Where I think we need to be very careful is in establishing a proper tax regime in the first place and ensuring that philanthropy is not used as a shield for cuts to basic services the state should provide.

    @Roger Mexico – it’s correct, that immigration is a major factor in the need to build one new city every year in the UK.

    I do not believe that the EU policy on the free movement of people is tenable any longer and member statesmust be permitted to set their own agenda’s on levels of migration. Business wants access to unlimited cheap labour but it doesn’t want to pay the taxes to sort out how we look after an ever expanding population.

    I any logical world we would collective have some sort of agreed notion through the political process of what level of population we desire in our own country, and then construct all the other policies around how we achieve that goal.

    Dare I say it, we need a target.

  4. Lots of negative comments on here and in the media about the UK/world.

    If the coalition government have taken the country backwards, why has this not really affected Tories polling, only the LD’s ?

    Do people view the state of the economy and social issues, as something politicians have no control over ?

    If someone asked me what policies the coaltion government were following to help the economy and improve the social fabric of the country, I could not explain it in simple terms.

    Is it me or has the coaltion lost the plot in terms of offering a clear sense of direction. Perhaps this is down to the uncertain world we are in.

  5. R Huckle – on the economy, people clearly think it is in a dire state, but tend to blame the former Labour government for it more than the current one (though they also tend to be negative about the current government’s handling of the economy).

    On the social fabric of the country, both YouGov and MORI asked “broken Britain” questions after the riots that repeated questions from when Cameron first coined the phrase several years ago. Both pollsters found fewer people thought society was “broken” than did in 2008/9 (or whenever it was the original questions were asked)

  6. @R Huckle,

    I rather thought the point of being a Tory was that you didn’t construct “policies” to “help the economy”, that being the sort of corporatist, nanny-knows-best approach of the Labour party.

    Tories, generally speaking, consider reducing regulation and taxation to be “helping the economy”. The current government is proposing both of these, along with various other less Tory approaches like good old fashioned enterprise zones.

    I’m not convinced by the reducing regulation approach (particularly in terms of relaxing planning controls). I think the watchword should be improving rather than reducing it. One policeman who stops a crime is better than five policemen who don’t.

  7. SOCIAL LIBERAL

    A person in utero when delivered after 28 weeks does have legal rights after emerging into the world.

    But if that person (with a soul) stays in utero does not have rights.

    Illogical I think.

    Also a distinction between moral and legal rights I think

  8. @Iceman – population density in the UK is 255/km2, the third highest in the EU (excluding Malta). We’re behind Belgium and the Netherlands (393/km2).

    However, taking England as a whole, density reached 395/km2 in 2008 according to to the ONS, while the Netherlands dropped slightly, making England the most densely populated country in Europe. Exclude large tracts of largely unpopulated uplands like the North Pennines and parts of the SW, landscape areas the Netherlands don’t have, and the effective population density for the inhabited parts of England climbs even higher.

    It really isn’t in the least sustainable to add a further 0.5% of the population annually through migration to what is already the most densely population country in Europe.

  9. The point the government appears to be missing is that if there is insufficient investment/risk taking in the economy, then the chances are that it will stagnate or recede. It is ok setting up enterprise zones and offering incentives/reducing red tape etc, but this is reliant on entrepreneurs with capitol to invest. At the moment the people that have capitol have moved to the BRIC and other countries where they can earn money. From people I know who work in international investments, they are not looking at the old western economies, presumably because they see them as too risky.

    My opinion is that the government needs to look at what more they can do to encourage investment in the UK. If this requires changes to EU rules, then they need to take up the battle, as they can’t be held back by an EU straightjacket. I would have thought that It is in the interest of all EU countries to make changes. This is an opportunity for Cameron and Osborne to challenge the EU in a positive way and I am sure they will have the backing of most people, if they have sensible plans for reform.

  10. @ Alec

    Quite stark figures right enough Alec, Thank you.

    I am beginning to see that immigration may indeed be a real issue in England – as opposed to a manufactured cover for xenophobic or racist attirudes.

    I had always tended to assume that opposing immigration was largely code for a virulent right wing nationalism ( my own prejudices and memory of NF marches of the 70’s perhaps) .

    In the bigger picture, population is of course the key issue affecting the sustainability of the planet as a whole.

    I am out of ideas myself on humane and fair means of controlling populations which maintain individual freedom of choice and what I would regard as civilised treatment of us all as individuals.

    China’s laws are draconian, and may be ineffective. Education, development, availability of birth control and growing economic and personal opportunites for women to choose don’t appear to be working as brakes on population growth at present.

    Immigration controls seem unworkable, and presently illegal for EU citizens. This appears an insoluble problem that we need to solve.

    Oh dear!

  11. My impression is that the majority of voters consider the rioters / looters to be like an irritating fly (perhaps a swarm on the night in question) on the nose of society (their society). It’s also how voters approach the issue of deprivation, race and immigration.

    They just wish these people would go away and leave ‘us’ alone.

    Thus some of the more extreme solutions are being taken semi-seriously at present.

    I also notice that the pronouncements on Al Megrahi by leading politicians were symptomatic of what I called populism.

    I don’t agree that the 1945 voters were following populist policies. The WW2 conditions indicated to them what perhaps could be achieved.

    The same applied to the 1979 voters on a free society not subject to bullying by corporate bodies (IMO)..

  12. Neil A

    “Tories, generally speaking, consider reducing regulation and taxation to be “helping the economy”.

    Not when it comes to the planning system:

    **POLL ALERT**

    More than half of Conservative Party members oppose plans to reform planning rules so that the default answer to development is ‘yes’, according to a poll published by ConservativeHome website.

    The survey found that the coalition government’s controversial plan to introduce a presumption in favour of sustainable development is backed by only 45 per cent of grassroots party members, with 52 per cent opposed.

    The presumption in favour of sustainable development would require councils to grant permission where a local plan is “absent, silent, indeterminate, or where relevant policies are out of date”.

    Last week, the government’s row with environmental campaigners over its planning reforms deepened, when decentralisation minister Greg Clark accused the National Trust, which has criticised the plans, of “misleading” the public.

    The ConservativeHome poll also found that the proposed High Speed 2 train line between London and Birmingham is opposed by 56 per cent of Conservatives and supported by 43 per cent.

    The website polled 1,348 Tory members on 25 and 26 August.”

    I can’t wait for this whole process to end though: if only to get the awful Schapps off the nations TV screens. Just like today on housing numbers: anyone with the slightest knowledge of the system knows that reduced housing numbers are a factor- in the main- of two things: 1) the desire of local communities (and their councillors) to halt housing developments near them using the localist power (already in existence) of the planning system; 2) in the longer term the total retreat of the state from providing affordable housing in the numbers needed to house those that don’t want to buy such that the rather parasitical buy to let investors wither-and-die and private stock-along with new build- can scoop up all the first time demand there is at prices that reflect more widely the European average.

  13. Howard: Good to see you :-) a few old faces have moved yet again ..… a mouse click away :-)

    Interesting on Planning figures as Rob S reports.., also alarming to see that‘ Only 27 per cent of Tory MPs said they supported greater use of renewable and clean energies even if they added costs to businesses and households, while 72 per cent said they were opposed.’ Considering the Oil Crunch may be much earlier than suggested, this is foolish to say the least.

  14. R Huckle

    “If the coalition government have taken the country backwards, why has this not really affected Tories polling, only the LD’s ?”

    Per chance because the yellows ‘betrayal’ has soured them with many prior supporters- those who liked Charlie K basically and then stayed on when the clunking fist took over.

    That combined with the ‘way out there’ zaniness of the beard-and-sandals brigade; the distasteful non-erudite aggression of bootboy right wing, the gin soaked Euro obsession of the UKIP blazer brigade and the uninspiring leadership of a certain Edward Milliband….these could all be reasons why the Tories have not fallen below their GE performance.

    The Tories are just doing what Tories do so why should they take a poll hit- they are still hovering around the number they got 15 months ago in the GE.

    It won’t last though.

  15. @Alec

    You said “…I do not believe that the EU policy on the free movement of people is tenable any longer and member statesmust be permitted to set their own agenda’s on levels of migration…”

    There’ll be all sorts of opinion about that, both pro and con. For the moment, however, I’ll restrict myself to saying that you’ve just told my elderly uncle to move back from Cyprus: he’ll won’t be best pleased… :-)

    Regards, Martyn

  16. @ Rob

    Correct analysis on the whole.
    Why would anyone who has chosen a Tory government and seen one delivered after 13 years abandon them easily. The problem for Tories is that there is no obvious population above this that they can easily attract as voters. I suspect they are maxing out at around 36-38%.

    They have a core of about 32-34 however – Ed lacks the Tory attractiveness gene of Tony, to pull many ex-Tories.. That notwithstanding,I still have a belief that Ed will deliver more effectively as time goes on. NOTW stuff showed he had it in him. he has been handed a gift with Libdems in coalition, and he is not Foot nor Kinnock. He actually has a message which resonates when the public get over his apparent geeky Mr Bean persona.

    I think Ed should not try to change too much but persevere with an intelligent considered long term response to situations and hope it pays dividends. the danger of changing persona can be seen in Scotland where the apparently intelligent, consensual figure of Iain Gray, somehow transformed at Holyrood question time to Mr Grumpily Ineffectual. I suspect someone had suggested he become more confrontational and less himself – with catstrophic consequences. Iain Gray is not a confrontational politician and his yah boo tactics looked increasingly absurd. I think were Ed to start going for the jugular every week he would look similarly absurd. He is better ploughing on in his own style. It can be effective and over the piece it may make him appear more reasonable and prime ministerial than DC.

    That said it didn’t work for Hague, who like Ed was saddled with a “peculiar” appearance and voice. Perhaps I am wrong and appearance will turn out to be all as regards Ed. I hope not though!

  17. @Martyn – no I haven’t. I’ve just said that it should be up to the people of Cyprus who they allow to live there.

  18. @ Henry
    “the reason for the removal of targets is that to meet a target results in other equally important routines being neglected.”

    While all political parties appear committed to maintaining and improving the NHS, their solution and approaches will differ and one approach may be more effective than other. To suggest that one party is cynically manipulating statistics to hide the result of their actions says more about your political bias than Tory or LIB Dem or Labour health policies.”

    “Other important routines …” Such as?

    Under the last Tory government waiting times for eg hip, back, knee operations became ridiculous. These were reduced by the Labour government, & targets played their part.
    As for cynical manipulation: recall that neither the Lib-Dems or Tories projected a massive top-down reform of the NHS before the election, but afterwards immediately preceded with one; only faltering when the refoms were branded as “creeping privatization” & Clegg, an initial supporter, got cold feet. No one now knows where we are on these “reforms”.

  19. Neil A

    “What we need is for people to believe that they will be brought to account any time that they do shoddy work, not just once in a blue moon when that shoddy work results in calamity.”

    That’s true of course, but like carrot and stick there is another side. Police organisation probably needs to be top-down authoritarian and we depend on a high degree of observance of professional principle at the top.

    We also need the other side: “We can do it, yes we can!” Whether someone came into your hospital with their arm in a carrier bag and left with it reattached, or you built the tram system on budget and on time, nothing succeeds like success, and success builds high morale.

    Sometimes, believing that you can do it is enough.

    I once had an early and critical but quite small part in a project where all of the team were new, inexperienced and ignorant. If we had known that what we were attempting was impossible in the timesscale we wouldn’t have started it, but nobody told us that till after we had done it.

    I’m not sure how we managed it, except that everybody dropped whatever they were doing to move the thing on, even those who were known for making more than minimal effort and never did it again. Nobody had pressed them to make an exceptional effort.

  20. The idea of ‘core voters’ is very flawed IMO. Labour fell to the 20s at the last GE, so that in itself shows that beyond a relatively small proportion of tribal voters on either side, most voters can change their mind (either way). That’s why a relatively small event or headline has typically been a poll changer in the last 9 months. You also forget that the Tories were regularly hitting the high 40s not that long ago, and Labour the mid/high 20s. Things can change very quickly in politics.

    If the Tories stay on 36-37 over the next few years (something I very much doubt) – make no mistake, they will fancy winning the 2015 GE as much, if not more, than Labour. As I have said before, I can’t see this happening in light of (probable) poor economic news and the Coulson scandal. But if they manage it, they are very much in the game.

  21. @Alec

    Although you may be making a distinction without a difference. I do get your point.

    But it’s not just Cyprus. There’s Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, Greece, Spain, Malta, Italy… How many retired expat Brits live in these countries and who may be forced to return under the rules you proposed?

    Regards, Martyn

  22. @Alec (continued)

    Thinking about it, that’s just the Channel 4 holiday home destinations. What about those Brits who live and work in France, or Holland, Germany, Denmark, Ireland…

    I don’t want to rain on your parade, since you make a valid point. But the door will very much swing both ways on this…

    Regards, Martyn

  23. “They are born to mother who were first pregnant in adolescence in social classes 4 and 5.”

    So they are grandmothers now.

  24. Probably worth pointing out to Alex that, according to OPEC, only Mexico has more people living in other counrries than the UK.

    Yes, migration is a two way flow; British people do live in other countries and take their jobs / houses/ enrich their economies by working hard / do Gap years / learn foreign languages / take rubbish jobs the locals are to lazy to want to do / put down roots and have children who become hardworking citizens of the new country etc.

  25. I’d bet the vast majority of Brits abroad are retirees. That brings it’s own issues of course(pushing house prices out of the reach of locals, strain on their healthcare system etc) but it’s a different kettle of fish from immigrants moving somewhere looking for employment who’re competing for a shrinking pool of low/semi-skilled jobs.

  26. Robbiealive

    The only Tory commitment (which the LDs sign onto) I can recall is that the NHS expenditure would be ring fenced; many of the reforms currently being discussed were already started under Labour.

    The Tory Govt you refer to was ousted in 1997; since then I think the budget has increased by something like 80 billion. I see that as being sound investment, although billions were squandered on systems that did not work. I am glad that the Coalition are not cutting NHS expenditure and I think this reflects in part DC’s own expereince of the NHS ( he appears committed 100% to maintaining and improving standards), and partly to the influence of the LDs (Beverage of course playing such an important role in developing it in the first place).

    If the Coalition fail on either the NHS or repairing the economy, then I would see little chance of them succeeding in 2015, and I am sure that they see that as well. If you beleive that the Tories only intention is to damage the NHS, then you just need to be patient and Labour will be returned perhaps for another 10 years or so.

    As someone dependent on the NHS I would not vote for any party who tried to destroy it and I expect that most voters feel the same way. However, to many of us ‘privatisation’ or not of various services within the NHS is not an ideological concern.

  27. Ambivalent Supporter

    The idea of ‘core voters’ is very flawed IMO. Labour fell to the 20s at the last GE, so that in itself shows that beyond a relatively small proportion of tribal voters on either side, most voters can change their mind (either way). That’s why a relatively small event or headline has typically been a poll changer in the last 9 months. You also forget that the Tories were regularly hitting the high 40s not that long ago, and Labour the mid/high 20s. Things can change very quickly in politics.

    Your analysis seems pretty accurate and you make a sound point. However, I do believe that there is a core vote, be it much smaller than in the past.

    It seems to me that about 25% are committed to both Labour and Tories whatever dire mistakes they make. On the other side whatever the polls may show, in practice any party would be delighted these days with 40% or more in a GE.

  28. @Henry,

    “Your analysis seems pretty accurate and you make a sound point. However, I do believe that there is a core vote, be it much smaller than in the past.

    It seems to me that about 25% are committed to both Labour and Tories whatever dire mistakes they make. On the other side whatever the polls may show, in practice any party would be delighted these days with 40% or more in a GE.”

    Yes, I totally agree.

  29. @Henry,

    Note: By saying ‘beyond a relatively small proportion of tribal voters on either side, most voters can change their mind (either way)”, I was referring to the kind of 25% figure you very correctly IMO suggested.

    I have to say I agree completely with your analysis.

  30. ICEMAN

    ‘The problem for Tories is that there is no obvious population above this that they can easily attract as voters. I suspect they are maxing out at around 36-38%’.

    It make it sound Oh so easy for Labour, the Tories cannot get more than 38% and the LDs are a spent force; so Labour I assume will come home with a GE % between the mid and upper 40%s.

    On the other hand most people believe that the Tories are cutting too much and too fast, and many fear for their jobs. With the unpopular Tories gaining 36% to 38% in the polls now, what would happen if they proved even to be partially right?

    If you beleive that this is impossible you could make a packet as the bookmakers currently favour the Tories as the largest party.

  31. Rob Sheffield

    the Tories have not fallen below their GE performance

    Except they have. If you look at the Sunday Times figures (a good poll for them) their support is down from 857 panel members to 778 – drop of 9%. Only Labour has a real increase from 697 to 844 – up 21%. We don’t think of this because it affects all the parties to some extent as between elections voters become disillusioned or disengaged, but there’s no guarantee that the ex-Tories will necessarily return to the fold. Even Labour have 12% of their 2010 vote they have to win back.

    These ‘non-voters’ are the real battleground, I suspect very few people switch from Party A to party B overnight, most lose faith and wander in political Limbo a bit before choosing a new option with more or less enthusiasm (which may of course be the same as their old choice). In the end these are the people politicians have to attract.

    (I’m not having a go at you on this by they way. Nearly everyone has been saying it recently. And you’re all wrong! :D )

  32. @Roger Mexico

    Thanks Roger

    and what of the 57 (1% of 568) GE2010 LD voters who would now vote BNP?

  33. Roger Mexico

    “I’m not having a go at you on this by they way. Nearly everyone has been saying it recently”

    I think most people are referring to the VI headline numbers compared to their GE headline number- rather than the more esoteric panel number analysis !!

    In any case I said the Tories were “hovering around their GE level” (36%) as opposed to seeing it being eaten into by “events” and their own performance :D

    Iceman

    “The problem for Tories is that there is no obvious population above this that they can easily attract as voters. I suspect they are maxing out at around 36-38%.”

    IMO this must be correct.

    The best time for a government tends to be in those first 12 months: though the coalition had a particularly short-lived “honeymoon” by historical standards- as most of us pointed out when it turned in early-to-mid November 2010. I seem to recall one notable exception on this ;-)

    The logic is then that the government support falls away into the depths of the mid-term only to rise back up again to a level at or near their previous GE level and…VICTORY! Unless they are going to be defeated in which case they tend to be behind for most of the parliament and never make back the significant loss in support- clunking fist being the recent example par excellence.

    However- successive governments don’t tend to add to their previous GE total- their VI levels tend to be chipped away bit by bit at each election.

    So history would suggest the best that Cameron can do is to not lose much of his 2010 36%.

    Of course that won’t get him anyway near a majority even under the gerry, er, boundary changes.

    At the same time EdM has benefited by an almost once-off (it happened pretty darned quickly) exodus of around a half of the 2010 GE Lib Dem support to Labour between his election as leader and that damned student fees vote.

    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 ??

  34. From the BBC Today.

    No probe into Coulson severance pay, says watchdog Mr Coulson was arrested last month on suspicion of corruption and phone hacking
    No investigation will be launched into whether Andy Coulson broke electoral law by failing to declare payments he received from News International while working for the Conservative Party.

    Mr Coulson is thought to have received thousands of pounds in severance pay from his ex-employer while working as David Cameron’s communications chief.

    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.

  35. Ambivalent supporter

    “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……!!!!!!!!!!

    :D

    …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)…

    29.0% is a pretty hefty floor; 36.1% is a pretty feeble ceiling.

    I’m just pointing this out.

  36. Robbiealive

    As for cynical manipulation: recall that neither the Lib-Dems or Tories projected a massive top-down reform of the NHS before the election, but afterwards immediately preceded with one; only faltering when the refoms were branded as “creeping privatization” & Clegg, an initial supporter, got cold feet. No one now knows where we are on these “reforms”.

    We do actually. The Health and Social Care Bill comes back to the Commons for its report stage and third reading on 6-7 September. You can click through from the above link to all 306 clauses and 24 schedules should you desire. There’s also the ‘latest news’ on the Bill though for some reason this seems to stop at 13 July (there’s probably some procedural reason for this).

    In addition you can click though via ‘All Bill Documents’, but the amendments at report stage don’t seem to be listed yet. This was where the abortion advice amendments that I commented on earlier in this thread would go, though it may be that the DoH will attempt to enforce these by regulation.

  37. There are still a lot of questions over the Health Bill and not just over potential amendments. Alec and others have pointed out the dangers in the Bill over alterations to the legal situation of the NHS. These fears haven’t gone away according to an article in the Guardian today:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/aug/29/nhs-bill-lansley-wash-hands

    You really need to read the whole thing, so I’ll just quote the first paragraph:

    The health secretary will be able to “wash his hands” of the NHS after forthcoming legislation which will take away his duty to provide a national health service, according to legal advice funded by campaigners.

  38. Rob Sheffield

    Oh I know why everyone’s saying it! The point I’m making is that you’ve got to compare like with like. 36% of the 2010 vote isn’t the same thing as 36% of the VI now.

    There’s a political/campaigning point here as well. Politicians should always be trying to reach out to the disaffected to win them, rather than preaching to the converted and hoping the straying sheep will return to the fold for the next election.

  39. TSISIKAMA
    Whoever your god is let us thank him/her together that the BBC piece you refer to has hit the headlines. The worst culprits of anti Tory conspiracy’s appear to have left or been removed from this board. What a relief.

  40. Howard

    No it’s not.

    It’s 1% of (100-(5+19))% of 568 = 4.

    See how easy it is to make such mistakes (even if you don’t mix up 1% and 10%)

  41. @henry
    On the other hand most people believe that the Tories are cutting too much and too fast, and many fear for their jobs. With the unpopular Tories gaining 36% to 38% in the polls now, what would happen if they proved even to be partially right?

    I make this excellent point (when I can be bothered ) quite often. People argue about whether the Tory vote is anywhere near their GE vote and get all sweaty when they find it is not. What do they expect at times like these? Your comment is highly relevant.

  42. Can anybody tell me when an incumbent Westminster government last increased its percentage share of the poll at a general election?

  43. @chouenlai

    Except most of the “pain” is largely theoretical at this point. Public sector lay-offs have only just begun and the most radical reforms are still at the legislation stage. If the recession(my neighbour lost his job) becomes a depression(I lost my job!) you’ll really see some blowback that won’t be deflected by a few thousand thugs breaking windows and setting fires. It’s a huge gamble, the Conservatives are betting Keynes was wrong – we shall see.

  44. chouenlai

    I wouldn’t hold out much hope that the Coulson and phonehacking scandal has been safely buried. It’s shown more ability to bounce back from the dead than Dracula on a pogo stick. Even on this fairly small matter (IMHO) of Coulson having two paymasters, there’s still accusations of him having mislead a Commons committee about it.

    What does surprise me is why people (including your good self) are being so partisan about it. Unless someone can produce a document where Cameron pledges to obey every word of Coulson in his role as His Murdoch’s Voice, all the PM is guilty of is bad judgement about who he employs and perhaps loyalty to old friends when it would be wiser not to do so.And we’d all worked that out already.

    The real villains of the hacking scandal have been (most of) the Press and the upper mangement of the Met Police. And yet some Conservatives have felt obliged to defend these as ‘innocent by association’ even though most of the wrongdoing happened when Labour was in power. Equally, the attempt by some Labour supporters to personally pin all the blame on the Conservatives, while most of the benign neglect of phonehacking actually happened under Labour is implausible. And News International’s relationship with Blair was hardly frosty.

    If there’s anything worse than partisanship, it’s pointless partisanship.

  45. @BERIOUS
    We know damn well Keynes was wrong.

  46. ‘Why would anyone who has chosen a Tory government and seen one delivered after 13 years abandon them easily. The problem for Tories is that there is no obvious population above this that they can easily attract as voters. I suspect they are maxing out at around 36-38%.’

    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.

    Of course the challenge will be for Labour to actually hold on to ex LDs and make sure they do not just stay at home so I agree it would be foolish for EM to change from a more socially liberal course IMO.

  47. @roger mexico
    From my point of view partisanship does not come into it.
    I have certainly not tried to defend the Murdoch Empire or the Uniformed Wing of the Guardian (Met Police). My concern was seeing UKPR becoming the most boring political board on the airwaves, thanks to one or two people.

  48. “A person in utero when delivered after 28 weeks does have legal rights after emerging into the world. But if that person (with a soul) stays in utero does not have rights. Illogical I think. Also a distinction between moral and legal rights I think”
    The problem with this argument is that it assumes that a soul exists. Since we have to base our legal system on provable assumptions, it’d be illogical to take it in to consideration.
    Burden of proof and all that jazz.

    On the ‘Champagne Socialist’ thing – it’s typical divide and conquer nonsense that seems to somehow work historically well on the left.
    There’s nothing hypocritical in being rich and believing in redistribution (either directly or indirectly through services, etc) to the poor.

    Aside from a few hardcore ‘libertarians’, the social-democratic consensus [1] is pretty solidly ingrained in British society that even the major right-wing party wouldn’t dare challenge the foundations of it.

    And on core votes –
    Why don’t we take a look at the polling? [2]
    This poll, by Ashcroft, had the figures –
    Con – 35, Lab – 34, LibDem – 12, Other (incl probably wouldn’t vote) – 17
    Those who would definitely vote for the major parties are –
    Labour – 15%
    Conservative – 13%
    LibDem – 3%
    But what people mean by ‘core’, I’d imagine they mean people who are most likely to vote for parties, given the options.
    So where do we judge that from?
    If we go 9-10 likelihood of voting, we get these figures –
    Labour – 21%
    Conservative – 20%
    LibDem – 6%
    8-10 likelihood gives –
    Labour – 28%
    Conservative – 29%
    LibDem – 12%
    Which is around where most people have a general ‘feeling’ of where the core votes are.
    Interestingly, the figure of 12% for the LibDems is exactly the same as the VI figure.

    Another interesting figure to look at is how many people would definitely *not* vote for each party –
    Lab – 35%
    Con – 35%
    LibDem – 38% (with 2010 LibDem voters being at 15%)
    That would give a range of possible [3] voters for each party –
    Lab – 15% to 65%
    Con – 13% to 65%
    LibDem – 3% to 62%

    So their current polling positions (in yougov – 38/41/9) would mean their relative position (between highest and lowest) would be –
    Lab – 52% of their potential ‘swing vote’
    Con – 48% of their potential ‘swing vote’
    LibDem – 10% of their potential ‘swing vote’
    So all in all, both major parties aren’t doing that badly, while the LibDems are, relatively (but we kinda knew that).
    Sorry for the long post?

    [1] Social-Democracy itself being an idea founded by Marxists, who believed that the goals of Marxism would be best achieved through regulation of a capitalist economy with a welfare state.
    I’m not sure many Social Democrats would like being lumped with Marxists anymore though – another split in the left. ;)
    [2] .ttp://www.lordashcroft.com/pdf/14052011_general_population_10k_poll_tables.pdf
    Pages 298-305, tables 75-77
    [3] Absolute-Core to 100-NeverWould

  49. “Can anybody tell me when an incumbent Westminster government last increased its percentage share of the poll at a general election?”
    Yes, I can!
    Clement Attlee increased vote share from 46.1% to 48.8% of the vote (2.7% swing) in the 1951 general election.
    The Labour government, due to FPTP, still lost the election, despite having a vote share 0.8% higher than the Conservatives.

    Anthony Eden increased vote share from 48% to 49.7% (1.7% swing) in the 1955 general election.

    Harold Wilson increased vote share from 44.1% to 48% (3.9% swing) in the 1966 general election.

    Harold Wilson increased vote share from 37.2% to 39.2 (2% swing) in Oct ’74, from Feb ’74.
    But that was under specific circumstances of a hung-parliament leading to a minority government.

    But since then, all incumbent governments have lost vote share – even Thatcher saw losses (although 1987 was only a small loss of 0.2% of the vote).

  50. Blimey that 1951 result is a doozey. Like Bush beating Gore.

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