In terms of support for the strike, there is a pretty clear picture. YouGov have been asking questions on whether people support or oppose strike action for the Sun and Sunday Times quite regularly over the last year and have consistently found people more likely to oppose than support the strike. In the most recent questions the teachers strike was opposed by 49% to 41%, civil servants striking were opposed by 51% to 39%.

This has been broadly consistently since June – while it varies slightly depending upon what sort of workers you ask about and the other questions in the poll, generally speaking around 35%-40% support the strikes, 49%-55% oppose them.

It makes a little difference whether polls ask about public sector workers, civil servants, teachers, headteachers – there is marginally more support for teachers than “civil servants” – but we are talking a percentage point or two, not a vast contrast.

There was also an agree/disagree question on support for strike action in a ComRes poll for ITV this week, 38% agreed that they supported the strike action, 47% did not. There was also a TNS poll yesterday, which asked a rather strange question on whether people thought public sector workers should strike (40%) OR the government should continue with the reforms regardless (37%), which is rather tricky to interpret as it deals with both whether people should strike and whether the government should proceed.

While people are generally opposed to the strike, they are not without sympathy. While ComRes found people opposed the strike, another poll conducted slightly earlier found that 61% of people agreed that strikes were justified, and another found 48% of of people said they had sympathy with people striking against cuts (as opposed to pensions, though my suspicion is the difference is more sympathy -vs- support!).

Turning to the issue itself, people are pretty evenly divided upon the pension changes. 41% of people say they support the pension changes, compared to 44% opposed (although in this case, opinion has moved slightly in the government’s favour – in July the break was 41% support, 46% opposed, in June 37% support, 47% oppose).

Suffice to say, opposition to the pension changes is greater than support for the strikes (albeit, not by a huge amount). This shouldn’t be particular surprising – if you support the pension changes you are hardly likely to support strike action over them, yet there will undoubtedly be some people who oppose the pension changes but think strike action is unwarrented or counter-productive.


258 Responses to “Polling on the strikes”

1 2 3 4 6
  1. Alec

    I have no problems with holding Hands with guys but I like to know who they are first. Internet dating is not my thing!!

  2. @RIN
    “But also my own political leaning are changing very rapidly or I am becoming more aware of where I stand.”

    Good luck and I hope you don’t find it as upsetting as I did when deciding to sever my connections with the LDs.

  3. @Richard in Norway

    Definitely find myself agreeing with you more than I ever used to! [translation: you’ve shifted left]

  4. Oh and what about that maroon background, Anthony! :)

  5. @ LizH

    I do feel sorry for those footsoldiers and supporters who’ve been used and abused by the Neoliberal Democrats, but it seems to be the way by the main parties these days. Are you party-less now, then?

  6. @Craig

    I have now become a paid up member of the Labour Party ( I have never before joined a Party but supported LDs for a long time) as I feel we can’t sit on the fences anymore but can’t seem to colour me red on this site.

    [Try again, you should be able to now – AW]

  7. @ Julian

    If, of course, 30% of public sector workers were in favour of pension reform, that would be worth knowing.
    ——————————————–
    Not really; because e.g. not all public sector workers will be affected by the changes which are currently being negotiated.
    8-)

  8. Thanks Anthony.

  9. It would be good to get a colour specifc to the ‘don’t knows’. People who feel that they need to be convinced.

    A rainbow perhaps? :)

  10. @ Henry

    You ask who is ripping off the private sector pensions and the answer is the Government, and the culprit GB.
    ————————————–
    Partisan mis-information, IMO. It could just as easily be argued that it was Nigel Lawson’s changes – encouraging the taking of ‘pension holidays’ – which brought about the demise of defined benefit plans in the private sector.

    It was all roses, whilst the market was rising & holidays were taken; the dung hit the windmill when the market fell & it transpired the holidays shouldn’t have been taken. Most companies refused to make up the contributions & closed the plans to new entrants.

    To be non-partisan, it is necessary to consider that both changes played their part.

    You might also want to consider, which of the Chancellors did things which could be considered as the state compensating for some of the reduction. Fuel allowance, subsidised travel & other retiree entitlements….
    8-)

  11. Wow

    Even mentioning changing my background color produces a prodigal son type reaction, I’m touched, but I wonder how Henry will feel?

  12. You put yourself in hock to the markets, by living beyond your means, this financial crisis is perfectly manageable if we sell a few assets and cut a few overheads, after all, we have been very silly in our economic management, running up massive debts and then wondering why ‘the markets’ worry about our ability to repay.
    I wouldn’t dream of pointing a finger at the person responsible, but now we have to bite the bullet, and pay for his extravagance……………! My view is that we are asset and cash backed, to the extent that we are perfectly able to stay in the game comfortably, if the markets felt that we were in any real danger of default we would have been hammered long ago, but not even the markets are that daft.
    We are like a Dowager aunt living in a stately home, the roof is leaking and the plumbing needs replacing, she struggles on with help from the bank, but subconsciously she is comforted by the knowledge that in the cellar there are works of art sufficient to more than cover her liabilities. She doesn’t need ’em, but she wants to keep ’em, touchingly sentimental but ludicrously unrealistic. :-)

  13. @RiN

    He can just change his background to blue. :wink:

  14. @Ken

    Trident included, yeah?

  15. ALEC………….A ‘mommoth’ is a small flying creature that lives in your mother’s wardrobe and eats her clothes. :-)

  16. CRAIG………I’m not sure you are engaging with the spirit of my proposal, Trident is there to protect us when we are de-leveraged enough to be a target. :-)

  17. @craig
    The concept of being over a barrel with no pants or trousers on, may appeal to you. But not to most of us in Britain. Therefore, Trident stays.

  18. Ken -you obviously missed my solution to the whole problem that I posted last night:

    I must say I’m amazed by the untypical modesty of your proposals. Forget the BBC or the National Parks. We are always being told that the true wealth of Britain lies in the qualities of its people. We must capitalise on that. What we must do is sell the bankers

    Obviously not just the bankers of course. There are those running our most ‘successful’ companies; the management consultants; the top accountancy firms with their myriad experts; the bond traders and derivatives specialists. These people all tell us that they are the envy of the world and they are worth every penny of their very large salaries (plus bonus plus perks). So we should have absolutely no problem in raising more than enough money to pay off the deficit and indeed debt when they are sold off to the highest bidder.

    In the unlikely event that no one wished to purchase them (surely not, they have assured us of their value), then I suppose they could be allowed to redem themselves, though the price will have to be high to make sure that someone isn’t buying cheap via the back door. But they don’t seem short of a few bob.

    So that’s sorted then.

  19. @ Ken
    I’d rather be annexed by France or Germany than be left in the state you envisage. :)

  20. …No, you’d rather us over the barrel by capitalists instead.

  21. chouenlai

    The concept of being over a barrel with no pants or trousers on, may appeal to you. But not to most of us in Britain. Therefore, Trident stays.

    You know I used to disbelieve the feminists when they claimed that for some men weapons were seen as a substitute/supplement for their private parts. But you, Roland, have convinced me. :P

  22. ROGER MEXICO……….I have to draw the line there Roger, I couldn’t possibly countenance the closure of all my favourite restaurants……! :-)

  23. AMBERSTAR
    ‘Partisan mis-information, IMO. It could just as easily be argued that it was Nigel Lawson’s changes – encouraging the taking of ‘pension holidays’ – which brought about the demise of defined benefit plans in the private sector.’

    As far as partisan misinformation is concerned you would say that but I am disappointed that you do. I am quite happy to stop repeating my view so long as the Government returns the tens of billions it has taken from the pension funds. Although this won’t affect me, it would benefit many in the private sector who now will receive releatively tiny pensions based on annuities, which IMO (however misinformed) is a total rip-off.

    ‘To be non-partisan, it is necessary to consider that both changes played their part.’

    Correct if I am wrong, but you have consistently dismissed the suggestion that taking 6 billion a year from the pension funds has affected private sector pensions. Perhaps you could have demonstrated your non-partisanship by admitting that at least this massive annual raid played some part in the demise of private pensions.

  24. @henry – “You ask who is ripping off the private sector pensions and the answer is the Government, and the culprit GB.”

    Rubish. Try taking a look at the fees charged by financial companies. This is where your pension money is going.

    I’ve said it on here until I’m blue in the face, but go to Europe and invest an identical amount into a pension there as you do here and you’ll find you get a pension around 30% better when you retire. The reason is that charges in the UK are unregulated and around 3 times greater than elsewhere. The charges apply to all kinds of pension fund. The estimates of excess pension fees range from around £8b – £12b – about the amount typically paid out in annual bonuses.

    What really narks me about this, is that such shocking value investments would never cut it in the market place without the bonus of tax relief. Without the government chucking £20b tax relief at these awful products, no one would bother investing in them and the city would have to start working harder for their money. We’re paying through the nose twice for the privilege of being ripped off – once through the charges, and again through the tax system.

    I wish Gorgeoues George had announced yesterday that pension relief would no longer be paid into schemes with total charges exceeding 1% from january 1st – that would have been fun.

    Pensions aren’t seen as being very exciting, but if you really want to get angry about them, for heaven’s sake get angry about the right things.

  25. @amberstar
    We have had this argument many times Amber, but the fact remains, during the the 80’s the collapse and closure of Final Salary Pension schemes was tiny by comparison with the naughties. The pension holidays were only permitted if schemes were fully funded and the ones that closed tended to be because they were to small to support the FS admin costs. The advanced corporation tax changes introduced by chancellor Brown however, really did put the tin lid on many schemes. You may remember me saying previously, I was very much involved in the pensions industry from 1981 to 2004 when I retired. I have kept off of my Conservative hobby horse about this, but blaming Lawson is not valid. Lawson did cause some problems at the time which led to mis-selling, however nothing to compete with your countryman when it comes to the destruction of the private Final Salary Pension Scheme.

  26. Anyone up for a flutter on tonight’s Yougov ? I’ll stick my neck out and risk humiliation with……….

    C 40
    L 38
    LD 11

  27. RinN
    ‘Even mentioning changing my background color produces a prodigal son type reaction, I’m touched, but I wonder how Henry will feel?’

    Devastated. However, I would still enjoy reading your posts.

  28. Roger

    Not sure about selling the accountants, if this is anything to go by they are worthless

    http://goo.gl/9dgZc

  29. @henry – “Perhaps you could have demonstrated your non-partisanship by admitting that at least this massive annual raid played some part in the demise of private pensions.”

    this accounted for around 10% of the shortfall. Living longer is by far the biggest factor, followed by low interest rates. Fees are also a major perrenial factor, but these have always been bad.

    Ask yourself why unfunded public sector pensions are an increasing problem – these aren’t affected by the tax changes (that were supported by all parties BTW) but are still getting more expensive for exactly the same reasons.

  30. @roger mexico
    Thinking of my privates as a weapon is not applicable in this instance. Feeling very frightened and very vulnerable,
    with no means of defending myself is the mindset I am sure, most people understood me to mean.

  31. KEN

    @”You put yourself in hock to the markets, by living beyond your means”

    What an interesting concept.

    But I thought it was “our” money-you know “free”.

    Will give your concept much thought

  32. @Anthony Wells

    You said “…Have now sent cross email. Should do this more often…”

    This is where it starts, dude. Next you’ll be posting on the website, and eventually you’ll end up writing excruciatingly detailed posts onto the comment section of political websites about more and more arcane areas of knowledge like explaining how the IMF works or the exact size of the UK debt…

    …er, I’ll get me coat… :-)

    Regards, Martyn

  33. @Old Nat

    I really don’t think the attempt to portray the SNP as being to the left of SLabour are going to continue working as well as they had. Declaring it a ‘Duty’ to cross a picket line, is going to give a lot of ammunition to the ‘Tartan Tory’ line.

  34. Alec

    ‘Pensions aren’t seen as being very exciting, but if you really want to get angry about them, for heaven’s sake get angry about the right things.’

    So Government allows us to be ripped off by finance companies and then takes away a further 6 billion a year.

    No argument Alec, I don’t run pension funds. Just so long as the Government pays back the tens of billions it has raided from the private sector pension funds, I shall be satisfied.

    While I escaped the damage done to pension funds, I feel it is only fair that those currently saving whether in the private sector and public sector get a fair pension. Currently it is not the case with the private sector, which is why so many in the private sector may not seem to be supporting the strikers (however misinformed). My opinion is worth one vote, but if shared by millions of others may well result in the Coalition Parties winning elections.

  35. Alec
    ‘This accounted for around 10% of the shortfall. Living longer is by far the biggest factor, followed by low interest rates. Fees are also a major perrenial factor, but these have always been bad…’

    Thanks Alec for attempting to provide a balanced argument, but then you are green, albeit slightly reddish green. This is the first time that someone outside the Coalition on this site has not dismissed my comments on private sector pensions as 100% rubbish.

    I agree all factors played a part although we would probably argue about the percentages.

  36. @ALEC
    No my friend, Henry’s comment is not rubbish, it has a very strong element of truth in it. As for reduced charges, it was tried by the last government, it failed. You may remember, it was called “Stakeholder”. The industry did not sell it because there was no money in it and there was no element of compulsion introduced. Therefore, as ever with pensions, the great unwashed did not attempt to buy one. No one ever thinks about their pension until 3 days before they retire from work. The perfect vehicle with minimal charges has been available for years. It is called an ISA, there was even a Tory version well before Mr Brown changed the name to ISA.

  37. Tonight’s You Gov?

    Wish:

    Lab 45
    Con 33
    LD 7

    Probable:

    Lab 41
    Con 36
    LD 10

  38. COLIN……….Some Treasury antics leave even me bemused, they can only be described as juvenile……….touting our country around the World, begging for money, is only one of ’em.

  39. Tonight’s You Gov?

    Possible

    Lab 42
    Con 37
    LD 8

    Probable:

    Lab 41
    Con 38
    LD 9

    Anything that gives a Labour lead of 6% or more; or 2% or less (including a Tory lead) is IMHO an outlier!

    I think we’ll need to average out this weeks polls and next Mondays poll to get a proper view of the immediate reaction (YG) on the momentous autumn statement.

    Anyone know if their are specials coming out from non-YG either today or at the weekend?

  40. Ken

    ” but not even the markets are that daft.” So you believe that the markets are not as sane as we have been led to believe, but the whole of western economic policy rests on the premise of rational markets. We are so forked!!

  41. ITN political correspondent just tweeted

    “Meanwhile lib dem lord @oakeshottm tells me party signed a 5 year deal with tories not 7 and mustn’t look like ‘chained’ to them.”

    Yep…

  42. Same person:

    “Simon hughes tells me lib dems are ‘clearly concerned’ over 2 year extension of govt cuts given coalition agreement only lasts until 2015.”

    Double Yep…

    This will run and run and rumble on through to the Lib Dem spring conference IMHO

  43. Rob

    Maybe the absence of vince from the front bench yesterday was not just coincidence

  44. KEN

    @”Some Treasury antics leave even me bemused, they can only be described as juvenile……….touting our country around the World, begging for money, is only one of ‘em.”

    You seem to have something specific in mind, which I missed ?

  45. Rob

    I understand your torment during the 80s, not much fun to be a labourite in those times. In many ways the political climate wa similar to today’s and certainly the climate we shall have in a couple of years. The long crisis of the 70s broke the post war consensus , folk were looking for radical solutions and Maggie had them, it seems strange now to think that Maggie was a radical but she was, at the time her policies were a radical departure from the orthodoxy of the day. Many pointed to her victory in 79 as a failure of the left to offer an alternative to the (failed?) Post war consensus, in the 83 GE all three parties were offering a radical departure from the status quo, less so the alliance but even their vision of a European model social democracy was radical in British terms. Today by contrast there is very little real difference between the parties, in fact there is less difference between the parties than there were between the various factions of the main parties in the 80s. If I am right and the public do begin to search/demand radical alternatives in the face of everlasting austurity, who will provide it? Every other crisis has resulted in a shift in political direction, the 30s and WWII led to the keynesian consensus and the stagflation of the 70s has led to the neoliberal consensus. Can that consensus survive a decade of austurity, I don’t think so, will it result in a farther shit to the right? Quite possibly and absolutely certainly if there is no alternative from the left. Remember the 30s and the rise of the far right, now imagine if there had been no radical left to oppose it!!

  46. @ Henry

    Perhaps you could have demonstrated your non-partisanship by admitting that at least this massive annual raid played some part in the demise of private pensions.
    ————————–
    That’s exactly what I did, when I said it needed to be considered that both changes played their part in the demise of private sector defined benefit plans.

    I refrained from throwing in excessive gambling/ profit taking by pension firms but that possibly played a part too.
    8-)

  47. I don’t quite see the problem for the Lib Dems-at least why is it a different problem to the one they would have faced anyway?

    So the deficit reduction objective has slipped two years out of the artifical constraints of the Coalition Agreement & Parliamentary term -that was always a possibility.

    GO has taken a broad view on how the objective is to be completed. The Lib Dems will just have to decide whether they still identify with it -or have changed their minds

    But the big policy imperative for 2015/19 ( and beyond !) will not be deficit reduction ( which will be substantially completed even after the Autumn Report)

    It will be Debt reduction & Debt servicing costs. We will have peak debts of £1.5 Trillion-80% of GDP-and who knows what gilt yields.

    We could have annual interest costs of £60bn pa or more

    The big questions will be how to service this Leviathan of Debt & still produce decent public services-ie what %GDP is sustainable-how many years of budget surpluses and/or tax increases are required to achieve it-will the markets allow us free choices , or will they dictate them?

    Labour will have to answer the same questions.

    It will not be party time-not for some years.

  48. @ Chouey,

    We have had this argument many times Amber, but the fact remains, during the the 80?s the collapse and closure of Final Salary Pension schemes was tiny by comparison with the naughties.
    ———————————–
    And I have done a bit of homework since then. The holidays may have been taken in the 80’s but the collapse happened in the naughties because that was when the companies found they’d moved from a surplus to a deficit. Having holiday’d in the ’80s, they refused to pay the bill in the ’90s.
    8-)

  49. @I have no intention of commenting on the exceptionally bad tempered question time. Save to mention, my son knew Bercow better than I before he joined the army. Having watched today’s exhibition, I commented to my son that Bercow thinks he is Napoleon, he replied, “no dad, Napoleon thought he was Bercow”.

  50. @ RiN

    Not sure about selling the accountants, if this is anything to go by they are worthless…
    ——————————–

    Thanks very much ;-)

    I’m glad the US corporation which I work for doesn’t share your view.

1 2 3 4 6