I don’t usually comment much upon the “others” scores in regular voting intention polls – there’s various reasons for that: support for them is so low that movement from month to month is hidden away by rounding, for the SNP and Plaid you really need proper Scottish and Welsh polls to get anything meaningful, and for minor parties like UKIP, the Greens and BNP their support has little impact, whether any of them breaks through to win seats at Westminster depends far more upon them getting concentrated support in particular constituencies (as Caroline Lucas did in Brighton) than their overall support.

Nevertheless, the comparatively high levels of support for UKIP last week produced some comment, so I thought it time to have a better look at the figures. The graph below shows a four-week rolling average for the others in YouGov’s Sunday Times polls (obviously a rolling average of all YouGov’s daily polling would be better… but would take 7 times longer to type into a spreadsheet!)

graph

As you can see, there is an overall upwards trend, but different patterns for the different parties. The BNP’s position is largely unchanged from last Summer, with no obvious trend up or down in their support. The SNP & Plaid (YouGov do not separate them out in GB polling) have a rise in support, particularly in the run up to the Scottish and Welsh elections last May – very much in line with the increase in SNP support that we know happened at the time from Scottish polling.

The Green party have a clear upwards trend in their support, though total levels remain very modest. By far the biggest increase is for UKIP, who have gone from around 2% last July to around 5 or 6 percent.

One can only speculate about the reasons. It seems a fair assumption that the increase in the last week is due to the issue of Europe moving up the agenda (though it’s worth noting that UKIP’s support is not always based on the issue of Europe – in past polling we’ve seen that issues like immigration are more important). I’d suggest other factors could be support from the disgruntled right of the Conservatives, and perhaps more significantly, the Liberal Democrat entry into government meaning the Lib Dems are less available as a vehicle for protest votes from those opposed to the main two parties, and that other parties have the opportunity to pick up these votes.


258 Responses to “Growing support for “other” parties”

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  1. My ‘socks’ discussions with the wife are generally along the lines of:

    “I’ve found a good pair of socks to wear tonight out to dinner, they sort of match the shirt and tie.”

    ‘Well you’re not going out in those!’

    End of discussion!

  2. So
    Con (+2), Lab (nc), Lib (-1), UKIP (nc), SNP/PYC (-2), Green (nc), BNP (-2)
    So BNP>Con in this poll? SNP>Con sounds unlikely but there could be some Lib>Con.

    I suspect, assuming that the BNP hasn’t imploded – the Con figure of 37 is an outlier and we’ll be back to 35 tomorrow.

    Would be an irony to lose eurosceptic right-wingers to UKIP, only to see roughly the same number return from BNP.

    Also, I could be wrong, but a stable-ish -30 would be the worst point in approval (along with a stable-ish 35 VI).
    Looks like the Tories should hope that the drop in their VI/Approval is from world events and not a growing disapproval with the government itself.

  3. I still think we are in the phoney war still. If unemployment starts to climb that will be the real killer.

    I’m impressed that the Con vote keeps holding up…but I’m still not convinced they can improve upon it, whatevr happens.

  4. Noticed something interesting about GDP debate – we’ve once again changed the way that we judge GDP figures.

    Govt now decides that a 9-month GDP figure is the standard (despite nobody ever using it in the history of mankind) because it ignores Q4 2010 – and the opposition decides that Q/Q growth isn’t good enough but Q vs same Q last year growth is the real indicator.

    Good that we can move on to using a decent standard to judge growth.

  5. NICKP:

    the FT is reporting that Osborne wants to dodge the commitment to put up welfare benefits in line with inflation.
    What a charming man.

    Ah we must remember that we’re all in this together…noblesse oblige will see us through….

    Those transferred from Incapacity Benefit to one of the new benefits were told in writing that their benefit level would not be affected….assuming their condition was unchanged…

    From next April those transferred into in the ESA group will have their benefit cut by up to £60.00 per week.

    A personal friend of mine was assessed by ATOS and allocated to ‘the ESA Group ( fit for work but needing support.) after a ‘ full medical assessment’…but was a week later found in need of two hip replacements by an NHS consultant ( a facxt told to but ignored by the ATOS examiner). He also has a permanently impaired kidney function cause by another disability….that flairs into repeated periods of urethritis…his age is 63…twice he’s been medically retired…

    It’s interesting for example that ATOS don’t show their findings to the ‘patient’ examined. Their assessment is for the DWP alone. I think it should be available to all those examined and they should be able to show it to their medical advisers, GP’s and Consultants for their comment. After all these are the professional actually responsible for the treatment of the individuals concerned….

    Moreover, all those in ESG are meant to see an career adviser…one year he’s been on it…not a word…

    And I’d love to know what employer would want to employ him……with medical conditions that mean he can’t always walk at the moment and maybe once a month is in bed with a kidney infection…for at least a week…a condition which is known to be aggravated by stress once the kidney is physically impaired…

    So he’s now writing to his MP and fighting…but he can’t do it by himself…he’s not able to manage the stress of paperwork…nor is he an one off…and the worry over money has made his conditions noticeably worse…

    Another with a similar medical history and conditions was put into the ESG without any medical assessment at all. Again from April his benefit drops £60.00 per week.

    In another case of someone I know well who was in treatment for severe depression and had made a suicide attempt after losing her second baby… was assessed by ATOS as found fit for work….The DWP cut all her benefits…fortunately her psychiatrist got her reassessed….

    In any cases of mistakes do ATOS apologise…no…does the DWP apologise…no…and Mr Grayling assures Parliament these teething problems have been ironed out…well they haven’t. And for those who suffer at the hands of this bureaucratic nightmare it isn’t teething problems its an assault upon their human dignity.

    It will be even worse once the replacement for Disability Living Allowance comes through….

    ATOS are at least incompetent. Their doctors have been shown to be negligent in the design of the medical assessment . The DWP shares some of that responsibility…ATOS loses most of the appeals…and court cases are in the pipeline.

    Of course the articulate can fight for such rights as they have…but those who can’t do that are just left to get on with it….

    This isn’t and never was about benefit reform it was about getting the numbers down…the same way as in the 1980s the government put 1 million people on to Incapacity Benefit to keep them off the Unemployment Register….

    This latest version is a carbon copy of workfare. It will play out exactly as it it in the USA. The research shows Unemployment/ Benefit claiming rates have dropped…but there’s now around 17-30% of the poor using soup kitchens and unable to pay for accommodation…the under-class expands…they just conveniently don’t show up on government statistics nor of course do they show up in the polling booths.

    Ah but but privileges of the privileged must always be protected…but what can expect from of governing class who receive privileged educated and live in a world filled with opportunities brought through favours, family connections and backstairs access to intern-ships. Their lives are so far from those realities…..

    ….As Tallyrand said of the Bourbons…they’ve learned nothing and forgotten nothing….

  6. John Murphy

    It’s very depressing but sadly, as chou might point out, this sort of slaughter of the poor seems popular with the voters.

    At least until they start to lose out, presumably.

  7. SOCALLIBERAL

    ‘Um….didn’t your side win and haven’t you been proven correct and vindicated? Although comments against your side were nasty and dismissive, I’m not sure they amount to slander’

    You are absolutely right.

  8. “Beware of Greeks when bearing gifts”

    A headline
    Canadian National Post.

    :-) :-) :-) :-)

  9. PHIL
    ‘I have developed this amazing predictive algorithm. You just leave the Lab vote unchanged, split the Con difference in the last two polls, assume the LD vote will move in the opposite direction to Henry’s latest prediction, and always allow for a rounding error.’

    While in the short term, some of my predictions may have been a trifle over-optimistic, I think you will find that my longer term predictions of a massive recovery in the LD vote by the next GE will be spot on. Tonight’s poll (using my revised methodolgy)looks like being Tory 36, Lab 41, LD 9.

  10. HENRY

    @” I think you will find that my longer term predictions of a massive recovery in the LD vote by the next GE will be spot on. ”

    Your unshakeable optimism is one of the few things which make life worth enduring just now Henry !

    :-)

  11. Colin: “Beware of Greeks when bearing gifts”

    Orrrr. ‘Beware of Greeks when buying gilts’?

    Hey, I had a late night last night!

  12. NickP (to Colin)

    ”But you don’t like a public sector at all much, do you?”

    Perhaps, like me, it is because of his high regard for the public sector and his recognition that an efficient and effective PS is needed to support UK’s social and economic success that he is so enthusiatic about introducing reforms to ensure that the PS delivers and at a price we can afford.

    I apologise if I am wrong Colin and if so please correct me, but you have never talked about abolishing the PS but merely reforming it.

  13. henry

    I’m sorry but I’m afraid I’m a bit sick of people saying how my agreed pay package is unaffordable, especially as we pour billions into the black hole of the banking crisis.

    Chou is in receipt of a taxpayer funded army pension. He’d soon get cross if the Government chopped it in half.

  14. Nick Poole
    ‘I’m sorry but I’m afraid I’m a bit sick of people saying how my agreed pay package is unaffordable, especially as we pour billions into the black hole of the banking crisis.’

    I was unhappy with the earlier offers assoicated with PS pensions, however I feel (as does my wife who is a public sector worker like millions of others) that the latest offer is quite reasonable.

    We all get sick of some things – I share with you the anger about the banks; it is a disgrace that they were so poorly regulated. I also sympathise with you that you feel protective about your pension; as a private sector worker I was furious when GB took £6 billion a year from priuvate pensions and thus ended final pay pensions for most of the private sector.

  15. I think its should just be “beware of Greeks” at the moment, regardless of what they do.

  16. “Robin Hood tax” is gaining momentum. Watch the squeals start about “endangering the recovery”.

    The good ideas are coming from outside Governments (and oppositions). I thinkk we are finding just how much all the main parties and politicians are in the pocket of narrow vested interests.

  17. “GB took £6 billion a year from private pensions and thus ended final pay pensions for most of the private sector.”

    h
    ttp://www.channel4.com/news/articles/business_money/factcheck+did+gordon+destroy+our+pensions/171020.html

  18. If the Greek parliament votes against a referendum and the Government falls, I wonder if PM George Papandreou will sweep back as the only one seeking the views of the people?

    Interesting times.

  19. Neil A,

    You didn’t cheat: I said I’d ALLOW people to guess the economist; I didn’t say that’s how they had to work out whom he was!

    Bluejock,

    A very interesting question. I think that the key factor was that during the UK’s big monetary crises in 1980 and 1985 (the former a problem of overvaluation, the latter a problem of undervaluation viz. the dollar) the exchange rate had been the best indicator. However there was a huge intellectual confusion in the UK targeting the DM and then joining the ERM, because we had moved from relying on monetary targets based on our own economy to following the Bundesbank, which set money supply targets for the German economy.

    So an economy, by tying itself to a monetary system driven by German monetarist restraint, ended up with inappropriately tight monetary policy. Thankfully, no-one has ever made THAT mistake again!

    Iceman,

    All things considered, I think that the UK has ended up about as well as could be expected, given that we’re in the EU and we’re not getting out without a tidal shift in politics. We’ve managed to benefit from trade with Europe without joining the single currency, and that is arguably one of Labour’s better achievements.

    Socalliberal,

    FDR was sometimes TOO effective in his first term. His gold-buying programme stimulated the US economy so much that even Keynes advised him to cut back. It’s a shame that he did: the US could have been fully out of depression by 1936 if FDR had kept things up. FDR understood that increasing the money supply was effective even with near-zero interest rates. Obama, on the other hand, seems to think that monetary policy is irrelevant right now- he hasn’t filled the spare places on the Fed board, for instance.

    Obviously the Republicans weren’t hawks when they had a president in office, just like they badgered Volcker in the 1980s for keeping monetary policy tight and Greenspan in the early 1990s. Equally, Obama was a fiscal hawk as a senator and a dove as a president. I’m sure there are putative justifications in both cases.

    I suspect that, in a minority of cases it is pure ideology/principle* (the Austrian School types like Ron Paul, who was just as hawkish under Bush) and in the majority of cases it is everyday subconscious partisanship.

    * ‘Ideology’ and ‘principle’ being the rare case of an irregular noun: I have principles, you have ideology.

    Nick Poole,

    I think we’re already endangering the recovery with the bank levy, new capital requirements, and new regualtions. A financial transactions tax is just a continuation of the suicide of Britain. And yet people don’t even wonder why our inflation/growth split is so lousy.

  20. billybob

    I get a bit fed up with responding to those “Gordon Brown destroyed this and that£ comments. You won’t change any minds.

    [Then (a) Don’t respond! I keep telling people this, the whole problem with partisan comments is they drive other people to respond to them, and before you know it we have a dull and predictable argument of people trotting out party lines. Rebutting a partisan comment is as bad, or worse, as making it! (b) Mote and Beam. Mote and Beam. I’m sure other people are tired of responding to comments about how bad the government’s stance on public service pensions are. You won’t change any minds – AW]

  21. STEVE
    :-)

    HENRY
    Thanks

  22. Really the Coalition has a responsibility not only to cancel the tax arrangements that took 6 billion pounds from private pension funds but also to repay the ten of billions already taken. However. I appreciate that this would be difficult in the short term, given the massive debt that has been accumulated, and needs to be reduced.

  23. I regularly receive reports of the overall value of private sector pension funds and the volatility of the global markets is the biggest single factor affecting the assets/investments of these funds. The can almost overnight go from having enought assets to meet actuarially assessed liabilites to being many millions of pounds shortfunded.

    As Nick poole says…”You won’t change any minds.”

  24. Bill patrick

    “I think we’re already endangering the recovery with the bank levy, new capital requirements, and new regualtions.”

    Let’s just leave the banks unregulated to do what they want then.

  25. A very interesting article on the Guardian :”The era of the Tory supercharged backbencher”

    Is the power of the Whips slipping?

  26. Nick Poole,

    That’s a false dilemma if there ever was one.

  27. What is screwing funded defined benefit schemes at present is low interest rates.

    For example :-

    Retiree with 40/60ths of final pay £32 k -entitled to £21k pa pension.

    To buy that in the market place ( Female aged 65/Joint Life/50% survivor’s/3% escalation) the annuity rate is 3.9%

    So you need £538k to buy that pension.

    To accumulate £583 k over 40 years invested in UK 30year gilts ( yield 3.27% yesterday) you need to put £6500 pa in , each year for 40 years.

    For someone with £32 k after 40 years of 3% pay increases, that represents 31% of average pay.

    ………..so the employee pays……what?…….9%?

    Leaving the employing company ( or taxpayer) to find the other 22% of pay to meet that promise.

  28. sounds like the greek government has just collapsed, elections being the next thing not referendum.

  29. @ Colin
    “What is screwing funded defined benefit schemes at present is low interest rates.
    For example :-
    Retiree with 40/60ths of final pay £32 k -entitled to £21k pa pension.”

    Everyone I know receiving, or entitled, to a public sector pension, teachers, soc. workers, local govn, etc, etc i.e., the overwhelming majority, get, or will get, 40/80ths. So why have you used 40/60ths??
    Even if retirees commuted the whole lump sum into income, they would get nowhere near 2/3rds. Is this part of your dislike for the public sector, v. reasonably commented on by Valerie etc.

    & as usual no comment on the ineptitude of the people running private pensions, from the CEOs to the financial advisors.

  30. ‘Bill patrick
    “I think we’re already endangering the recovery with the bank levy, new capital requirements, and new regualtions.”
    Let’s just leave the banks unregulated to do what they want then.’

    Joking I hope; that’s what has has caused the current economic problems. Time for much more regulation and even full nationalisation given banks performances in the last decade.

  31. Jack

    yes we need a nationalised central bank and a nationalised high street one too.

    Let the private ones go the wall if they make risky bets.

  32. Reports that the Greek PM will resign and the bailout will be ratified by a coalition Government before elections held.

    So no referendum.

    I predict mass civil disobedience in Athens and a possible military coup.

  33. Jack,

    The record of nationalised industries is not an impressive one.

    Nick Poole,

    “Let the private ones go the wall if they make risky bets.”

    There we agree. My preference is for neither more regulation nor the status quo, but rather a good dose of fear in finance. There has been much too much stress on confidence and profits, when fear and losses are just as much a part of a true market.

  34. “The record of nationalised industries is not an impressive one.”

    Depends what you are measuring. The privatised utilities are good at making profits, but that ain’t what I want. I want affordable energy supplies.

    The private banks have a record of bankrupting the world, as far as I can see. A publicly owned one could hardly do worse.

  35. Nick Poole,

    “Depends what you are measuring. The privatised utilities are good at making profits, but that ain’t what I want. I want affordable energy supplies.”

    So you would want banks to lend based on what people want? So we’d have dangerously low interest rates and risky lending at the taxpayers’ risk? Plus la change…

    “The private banks have a record of bankrupting the world, as far as I can see. A publicly owned one could hardly do worse.”

    Why not?

  36. ROBBIE ALIVE

    “So why have you used 40/60ths??”

    Because that’s what alexander has offered-correct me if I’m wrong.

    BY the way -one of the largest ( probably the largest now!) funded Defined benefit schemes is in the Public Sector -THe LOcal Government Pension Scheme.

    You might be interested in this entry on its website :-

    “It is however important that overall the scheme remains affordable, so increases or decreases in the cost of providing the scheme may, in future, need to be shared between members and employers. This will be in accordance with government guidance.”

    You might also be interested in this :-

    ht tp://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/robertpeston/2010/12/100bn_hole_in_local_government.html

    So this massive public sector pension scheme is underfunded by £100bn!-it’s trustees will be using investment advice & actuaries-just like its private sector counterparts ( what few are left)

    Promising pensions linked earnings , decades into the future is fraught with difficulties-whether you are a private sector or a public sector employer.

  37. While reading the article to which billy Bob linked at 11.23am, I noticed and read another article which was also interesting. This is called “Are economists too obsessed with GDP figures?” and can be found at:

    http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/business_money/are%2beconomists%2btoo%2bobsessed%2bwith%2bgdp%2bfigures/3767177.html

  38. The Civil Service Scheme has three schemes:

    classic…1/80th scheme costs 1.5% per month closed to new joiners for some time

    premium 1/60th scheme costs 3.5% per month closed to new joiners now I think

    nuvos which is a career average scheme for all joiners since 2009-ish I think

    So the preferred new career average model has already been imposed on all new joiners by the last Government. What we are arguing about it those people in classic or premium switching to a career average scheme, paying 3% more and which has a later pension age.

    The increased contributions are a straightforward extra tax on public sector workers in addition to the pay freeze. They apply also to those in the nuvos scheme.

    So this “enhanced offer” is nothing of the sort, it’s just part of the negotiations still being carried out in public by the Government to drum up anti-public servant feeling.

    As a 50+, I’m happy I will now not suffer any reduction in my pension (although it is unclear whether that applies if they are stupid enough to promote me) but there are lots, repeat lots, of public servants who simply cannot afford to pay increased contributions after 2 years of pay freeze and soaring cost of living.

  39. Henry

    I was unhappy with the earlier offers assoicated with PS pensions, however I feel (as does my wife who is a public sector worker like millions of others) that the latest offer is quite reasonable.

    Can I take it from this remark that you and your wife will be retiring in the next few years.

  40. @Bill Patrick – for clarity, I don’t hold any particular country or economic policy as being solely responsible for the mess we’re in. Clearly it’s a combination of factors. China does bear some responsibility for falsely undervaluing their currency in pursuit of exports, and the global trade agreements didn’t recognise this so tariff action couldn’t be applied to rectify this particular imbalance.

    But there were numerous cut off points when action in the west could have been taken but wasn’t. We collectively failed to recognise the true situation and permitted debt imbalances to build up in our own economies. Sub prime, lack of regulation, the Euro – lots of culprits.

    i guess the bottom line is that many different economic systems can work, and work very well for a considerable time. But eventualy they all break down as circumstances change.

    What we have learned is that when we reach these breakdown points, political leaders tend to remain wedded to the old ways and find it extraordinarily difficult to switch horses mid stream. Recognising when the sands are shifting is the biggest problem in economic management.

  41. NICK POOLE..
    “but there are lots, repeat lots, of public servants who simply cannot afford to pay increased contributions after 2 years of pay freeze and soaring cost of living.”

    I’m 40 years old and am on 55 quid a week because I look after my father with dementia full time.

    Do you think civil servants/ ps workers would be able to survive on that?

  42. “Recognising when the sands are shifting is the biggest problem in economic management.”

    And probably other spheres too.

    We really do need to escape the current mindset. I notice part of the Greek deal is that they must sell off publicly owned assets. How will that help? Just means the 1% own some more stuff, and the rest don’t.

    Failed dogma driving us all further and deeper into the mire.

  43. NICK POOLE

    Maybe i should be classed as a PS worker.
    I then may be get myself a tasty pension paid for by the public.

    I’d happily make do with £10 K a year in my retirement.

    Do I think i deserve it ? You betcha
    Do I think £21 K is gold plated ? Yes, frankly I do.

  44. bradc

    The most years I can do at age 60 is 22. So I will get a pension then (if I retire) of 22/80 times my salary. Just over a quarter of my salary.

    Not bad, but not enough to live on.

    I accept that is a LOT better than no pension, which is what I had before in the private sector.

    However that pension is integral to my pay package. Whenn I joined in 1997 (employment Service) the bummff I got explicitly stated that pay was low compared to the private sector but this was offset by a generous index linked pension.

    It’s not good enough to pay me less for years and then say, oops can’t give you that pension after all. Let’s have a pay increase instead (my pay has been frozen now since this lot got into power).

  45. Nick P,
    With the greatest respect, a pension of a quarter of your pay IS liveable as it’s probably what I’m surviving on.
    OK i’ve made assumptions on your salary, but there are PS workers who are not north of 50 who still stand to gain from what i would describe as a generous pension.

    I agree that literature stating one thing and then turning out to be another is wrong, but if were a legally binding document they wouldn’t be able to do it.

  46. Re Public Sector Pensions,
    We have heard little about Labour’s plans regarding this.If returned to power in 2015 would they still feel bound by the agreement already reached by Alan Johnson in the last Government? On what reasonable basis could they depart from that?

  47. A quarter of my salary is well below the £10,000 you quote.

  48. I don’t think any future Government will undo anything this Government does to devalue public service pensions.

  49. NP
    carers allowance £55 * 52 weeks = £2860 pa

  50. Alec,

    Insofar as the Chinese government kept their currency artificially low, I think the prime victims were the Chinese people rather than the West. We got cheaper goods and all we had to export in return was pieces of paper.

    I think that the key thing is to constrain with rules and minimise discretion. If there’s one thing we should learn from this crisis, it’s that old fuddy-duddy rules (like the Bank of England’s stuffy pre-1997 regulatory approach, which had special authority from the lender-of-last-resort function) have something to be said for them.

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