The tables for the YouGov/Sunday Times poll are now up here, with the usual range of issues: amongst others the budget, gay marriage, Prince Harry and Afghanistan.

As the overall voting intention figures seem to be heading back to the sort of position we were seeing last year, with Labour enjoying a 4 or 5 point lead, so do Ed Miliband’s ratings. His net approval rating is up to minus 38 (from minus 44 last week). These are Miliband’s most positive (or perhaps more accuately, least negative) ratings since they slumped at the beginning of January. David Cameron’s approval meanwhile stands at minus 9 (from minus 6 last week), Nick Clegg’s at minus 44 (from minus 47).

Turning to the budget questions, 73% of people support the Lib Dem idea of increasing the tax allowance through the adoption of a mansion tax. On the trade off between a 50p tax rate and a mansion tax, while people are more likely to see the 50p tax rate as both fairer than a mansion tax and more effective than a mansion tax, they are very evenly split on the idea of replacing the 50p rate with a mansion tax (34% would support it, 37% would oppose it). Asked what their view would be if the 50p tax rate didn’t actually raise any extra money, 41% would abolish it, 40% would keep it anyway, suggesting that a fair amount of people support higher taxes on the rich regardless of whether or not it actually brings in money.

On abolishing higher rate tax relief on pension contributions YouGov asked a more detailed version of the question that a fortnight ago, actually explaining what higher rate tax relief was. The answers, however, were very similar to what we got with a simpler question: a pretty even split. 38% think higher rate tax relief on pensions should be scrapped, 39% think it should be kept.

Turning to the questions on gay marriage, 43% of people support gay marriage, 32% support civil partnerships but not gay marriage, 15% are opposed to both. Attitudes to the church’s stance pretty much mirror this – 47% think they are right to oppose gay marriage, 37% think they are wrong. More generally, 62% of people think same-sex relationships are as valid as heterosexual ones, 27% do not.
The percentage of people supporting gay marriage here is, incidentally, very similar to that in ICM’s poll today in the Sunday Telegraph which found 45% in favour of gay marriage and 36% opposed.

Finally, on the issue of Afghanistan 40% of people think troops should be withdrawn now. YouGov have asked this question every fortnight since the election, and this is the highest level of support for immediate withdrawal we’ve seen (typically it is around 30%) – it would seem likely that the increase is due to the coverage of the death of six British soldiers this week.

UPDATE: Here is Peter Kellner’s take on the gay marriage questions.

138 Responses to “Full report on the YouGov/Sunday Times poll”

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    We had a similar leaflet through the door from the LibDems –
    In 2010 the local results were Lib 41%, Lab 33% – in 2011 it was Lab 48%(+15), Lib 33% (-8).
    The leaflet now reads, ‘It’s so close in our area!’.

    Unfortunately for the LibDems in this seat, even if the Tories didn’t field a candidate (and Tories voted LibDem) it’s still likely they would lose to Labour.

    On the IQ test/intelligence thing –
    IQ is a really poor measure of general intelligence and wasn’t even originally designed to do so.
    In fact, the whole idea of general intelligence, given what we know about neuroscience, is a laugh a minute.
    (E.g someone may perform poorly at traditional academia but be fantastic at sport – due to their spatial intelligence).

    The whole politics vs intelligence thing is nonsense – politics is largely emotional and to do with social psychology, as opposed to ‘traditional intelligence’.

  2. @Socal

    Evolvement? It’s a word I’ve never heard of, that’s all. What does it mean? :-)

  3. @ Valerie

    No worries (sometimes jokes go over my head).

  4. “The New Statesman, the banner of the Labour Left, can’t believe its hero would stoop so low.

    Damningly, it quotes Ken saying in 2009: “These rich bastards just don’t get it. No one should be allowed to vote in a British election, let alone sit in our Parliament, unless they are paying their full share of tax.”

    Outraged political editor Mehdi Hasan says: “The word ‘hypocrite’ is being whispered — and not just by the usual suspects on the Right.

    “You cannot run as the populist, banker-bashing candidate who backs higher taxes on ‘rich bastards’ if you’re quietly channelling hundreds of thousands of pounds of your own earnings into a company jointly owned with your wife. You just can’t.”

    Mr Hasan goes on to say that if he were Livingstone he would personally deliver a cheque to HMRC HQ, and take along a camera crew.

    Don’t hold your breath, Mehdi. Such is Ken’s duplicity that one of his former admirers, ex-Labour candidate Jonathan Roberts, has refused to campaign for him. In a scathing open letter, Roberts storms: “Your relentless cynicism and negativity is matched only by your hypocrisy.”

    T. Kavanagh-The Sun.

    Wonder if this will hurt KL in the Mayoral election ?

  5. This is the letter from Roberts :-

    He sounds pretty upset.

    Is KL officially endorsed as Labour Party candidate by the Parliamentary Party leadership?

  6. COLIN
    `Wonder if this will hurt KL in the Mayoral election ?`

    MIght do,especially in a close contest…Polls should give the first indication…Too late to change the candidate though.

  7. @ CROSSBAT11

    “… at a time when the SDP and the Alliance were delivering Thatcher landslides on 42% of the national vote. Vote SDP and get Thatcherism was the truism of 1980s politics…”

    Not true. An exit poll in the 1987 general election found that a plurality of Alliance voters would have opted for the Tories had there been no SDP or Liberal candidate on the ballot. Labour lost in the 1980s because they adopted stupid policies. The British people have never elected a party with an anti-European agenda.


    “On the points about IQ levels and political ideology, I don’t think those studies really show anything.”

    It’s surprising to hear you say that. In your country, polls routinely show those with post-graduate qualifications leaning towards the Democrats. Mind you, they also show those without any qualifications leaning in the same direction: it seems to be the middle strata who favour the Republicans.

  8. COLIN……….I raised the matter of Ken’s tax arrangements on here some time ago, Amber Star pointed out, quite rightly, that Ken hadn’t in fact been shown to have drawn down cash from the tax efficient vehicle, his limited company, however, we all know that he was avoiding tax……….or we’re naive. Had it been Boris using a limited company, Ken would have been all over him like a rash. :-)

  9. COLIN
    I can’t imagine it’d do much damage to Ken – but I guess when things are this neck and neck, any small advantage could be key to winning.
    I also think that national standing will be a lot more significant this time around – if the Cons get a boost nationally before the elections, I think it’ll swing it for Boris.

  10. @ Ken et al

    What has Ken done that many other small companies do not do? His company wasn’t raking in millions or billions of pounds.

    But this is the kind of thing I expected to happen sooner or later. It’s the typical tactic weve come to expect from his detractors.

  11. VALERIE…………. ” Who rattled your cage ? ” I caught the usual suspects peddling their dis-information and thought I would introduce some balance………by the way, you seem fairly sensible, for a leftie ! :-)

  12. @ Ken
    “Had it been Boris using a limited company, Ken would have been all over him like a rash.”

    I suspect you are calling for Boris to publish his tax records in full at the earliest available opportunity?

    Again, what has he done that is either illegal or immoral? And how much tax has he avoided?

    It’s a storm in a teacup. But it just goes to show the odds against Ken in this battle. He not only has to beat Boris, but pretty much the whole media machine.

  13. For the record (assuming the Guardian is right, which it often isn’t):

  14. When discussing gay marriage at the Lib/Dem conference in Scotland someone asked if gay marriage was a gay man marring a lesbian!! Silly/Dems springs to mind..

  15. #marrying

  16. RAF………….And that’s without introducing all the other charges against him, too many to be listed here, but corruption, anti-semitism, supporting radical homophobic Muslim clerics, are but a few, good old Ken. :-)

  17. Considering the media work Boris has done… I am entirely surprised at him saying he didn’t do it under a limited company. This is pretty much standard practice, for liability protection reasons more than the tax ones. Of course, he wouldn’t lie about it, would he. Particularly when it’s bound to come out if he did.

  18. Ken is standing in his glass house, stones at the ready, waiting for Boris, and anybody else he doesn’t like, to pass by….. :-)

  19. @Ken

    Anti-semitism? That’s ridiculous. Hi’s running mate when he was mayor was Nicky Gavron, who is Jewish. Just because he said a reporter was a N-Concentration Camp guard doesn’t mean he’s anti-semitic. He was stubborn in refusing to apolise to the guy (which he should have done), but there you go. He didn’t want to back down under pressure.

    Supporting radical Muslim clerics? I presume you mean Yusuf Al Qaradawi. Ken has always had this thing about him that he’s willing to listen to everyone. He also has this thing about him that no-one should tell him who he can or can’t see. It’s both a stregth and a weakness. YAQ is not considered radical in many parts of the ME. There are even people who think Tariq Ramadan (who advocates integration of Muslims in Western societies) is radical. I suppose it’s a question of where you stand.

    As for homophobic? I know you said that in relation to the cleric, but broadening the point, has any leading UK politician (which he is – at regional level) done more for the cause of gay rights than Ken? Even Peter Tachell refused to criticise him recently based on his records in office.

    I agree many people can’t stand Ken. He upsets some people. He’s bruque, has firm views and speaks his mind. But he remains popular in London. Popular enough to win? If there were a levelish media playing field, I think he would win. But there isn’t. And we all know what London’s only city wide paper thinks.

    Now, will this tax issue affect polling in the Summer? It’s more likely to affect polling now. Boris will pull away a bit. But that’s politics. It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.

  20. Jim Jam

    I think the roots must lie in the democratising influence of the Reformation and the respect for education leading to the Enlightenment advances.

    Much of that time the church was conservative but in the end rationality prevailed.

    I think it is Education that is the key.

    If you can read, you can learn to do anything. You can separate sense from nonsense if you hear all sides of the argument.

    If it were not for literate and numerate highlanders of frugal habits who had a fear of hellfire, the industrial revolution in England would have been hampered for the want of competent, honest bookkeepers.

    So far as race goes, links with African missions were an important influence.

    Since for centuries even the rich were poor, the merely comfortable recognised that their position was precarious.

    Mathew 25 carried great weight and still does in much that the Scottish Parliament does, not least same sex marriage

  21. I suspect this whole ‘Ken’s an X!’, ‘Ken’s not an X!’ is drifting into partisanship so perhaps it’d be best for it to be dropped?

  22. @TingedFringed

    Sorry. You are quite right. Although in @KEN’s defence he did make his observations with a smiley:)

  23. Speaking of polling – YouGov recently asked about Lab-Grown meat, 62% said they wouldn’t eat it – 19% said they would – including 14% of vegans/vegetarians (I suspect those who’re that way inclined due to ethical concerns).

    But does anybody know of any polling for if it should be legal or not?

    Given that we’re running out of food, globally speaking, lab-grown meat is going to make a big impact to feeding everybody (and should also have an economic impact, given that it will probably become more economically viable than ‘natural’).. so was just wondering if there was polling done on it.

  24. @Billy Bob

    I’m intrigued by Clegg’s claim – at least geographically it seems a long way from the case. The position in the North and Scotland is looking very bad for the LibDems… I suppose that technically they could claim they are one nation as they are going to perform equally badly everywhere.

  25. RAF………… A , ‘Smiley’ is the UKPR version of playground ‘Fainites’. Cross your fingers and shout, ‘fainites’ and it makes you immune from all danger. :-)

  26. Colin,

    It turns out the tax-avoidance charge for Ken L is untrue. He has paid income tax on all the income drawn from his company. See

    I expect NS will issue an apology. I don’t expect anything from the Sun, of course. I’m not even going to bother reading their drivel.

  27. @Thesheep

    Westmorland and Lonsdale still has a massive LD vote which has been maintained in local elections but I agree the LDs will be struggling to maintain any mainland Scottish seats.

  28. Or to put it another way:

    I’ve just discovered New Statesman is a company. TAX AVOIDERS! The journalists really should pay income tax on all the money they earn from magazine subscriptions.

    I expect Mehdi Hasan to rush round to HMRC, preferably with a camera crew, and write out a large cheque immediately. What is it with these journalists? Why do they think they can criticise others when they are doing the same themselves?

    (By the way, interesting to note the Mehdi’s article has entirely disappeared from the NS website.)

  29. HAL………….All Ken needs to do, to clear this matter up, is to publish his accounts………..his company doesn’t have to of course. :-)

  30. This tax story broke a few weeks ago and now that Labour are threatening to break free in London,it has got a second lease of life with the help of the ever-obliging media…Interesting to see how far it`ll go…It has echoes of the dogwhistling campaign last time with no charges brought in the end,but it has put some pressure on Ken

    Boris wants to put medics on the tube at a cost of 20 million…That`s literally the worst idea I heard of

  31. YOU GOV / SUN
    Lab 41
    Con 36
    Lib 9

  32. C36 L41 LD9.

    More of the same. Definitely looks like Labour have established a clear lead.

  33. Strange the Yougov website says:
    Latest YouGov/The Sun results 12th March CON 37%, LAB 42%, LD 9%; APP -27

  34. It does say that but if you click into the data, it is 41/36/9 ??

  35. The data has lots of comparisons on issues with two weeks ago, but this reveals absolutely no clue about the VI shift. Mysterious.

  36. HAL

    @”He has paid income tax on all the income drawn from his company. See”

    He avoided NIC by using the company.

    The tax rate on dividends is less than that for earned income. The Dividend tax equivalents of 20%/40%/50%
    are 10%/32.5%/42.5%

    Also-I presume that be drawing dividends he can rephase the incidence of income which would have been taxed at 50% as earned income, to have it taxed at a lower rate .

  37. @Colin

    There’s no suggestion Ken paid himself a dividend. I think it is fair to assume he paid himself via PAYE and so paid the usual income tax rates and NIC.

    My pension fund rephases my income so I pay only the standard rate on this income when I retire. Is that also tax avoidance?

  38. HAL

    He didn’t pay tax under PAYE-that’s the whole point.!!

    He has a variety of income sources from self employment & has routed them through a company.

    This avoids NIC & IT . If dividends are drawn IT is paid at a lower rate.

    But none of this is really the issue.

    The issue is KL castigated others who seek to legally minimise their tax liabilities ( “rich bastards” ), and said they should be denied the vote.

    The issue is simply one of hypocrisy-as it so often is with Mr Livingstone.

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