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Finally, on the issue of Afghanistan 40% of people think troops should be withdrawn now.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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  1. @Robert Newark

    “My vote would only waver if they get the economy call wrong, everything else is froth.”

    Isn’t that just a little one dimensional? I understand that the economy is a very important political issue, but what about foreign policy, the constitution, the EU, devolution, electoral reform, housing, education, health and defence, to name but a few? Was the Iraq war “froth” and would our involvement in an attack on Iran, if it occurred, be equally unimportant?

    I presume, from what you say, that you were an ardent Labourite from 97-07 as the economy boomed and most people’s living standards rose. I seem to recall Cameron and Osborne were admirers too until they became wise after the event!!

  2. Anthony

    I notice there’s a new Angus Reid poll (FPT). The standard Angus Reid link on UKPR isn’t much use however, as it just takes you through to the Vision Critical corporate public affairs site. Others might find it useful if you changed the link to this instead:

  3. crossbat11
    `I presume, from what you say, that you were an ardent Labourite from 97-07 as the economy boomed and most people’s living standards rose`

    I seem to remember the Tories having big leads in polls around 2007-2008 when the economy was still thought to be booming under Labour


    “The Church of England aka our State church.”

    That seems entirely reasonable for polling questions which were entirely English. Quite why YG’s clients want to ask these questions to those outwith England, or why YG doesn’t point out the stupidity of such questioning is something that passeth all rational understanding.

  5. Crossbat
    “I presume, from what you say, that you were an ardent Labourite from 97-07 as the economy boomed and most people’s living standards rose. I seem to recall Cameron and Osborne were admirers too until they became wise after the event!!”

    NEVER an ardent Labourite, (or any other kind of Labourite) although I admit that I was almost seduced by TB in 1997 but there was something about him I found not quite ‘right’, so I helped turn Lewes LD, instead. (which it still is).

    When I say froth, I mean that, if the economy is not right (& there is no money coming in) then much of the rest (not all) is irrelevant, as you can’t pay for it anyway.

    In terms of what the coalition is doing, then I am broadly happy with most of it, although I am getting rather fed up of certain LD ministers, who seem to want to be in Government & opposition at the same time. There is at least 1 who should be sacked in the next reshuffle and after today’s news, (re: the UK Bill of Rights commisssion), Ken Clarke should join him.

    As for the booming economy, history has proved that after 2003, that was largely illusory & based solely on an unsustainable housing boom. Many said so at the time but ALL politicians were blinded by the housing boom tax cash cow.

  6. Have been offline for quite a while – but couldn’t resist the gay marriage issue.

    Several posts seem to suggest s correlation between left and social liberalism. Hmmm. YG poll shows that
    almost as many (40%) Labour supporters supported a socially conservative stance by CoE on gay marriage as opposed it (47%).

    As to those who objected that YG’s question

    Do you think the Church of England is right or
    wrong to defend marriage as an institution for
    just heterosexual couples?

    is irrelevant in Scotland and presumably Wales where the Anglican Church is also disestablished, well I say “Come off It”. Give YG a break. The Q is perfectly clear. The vast majority throughout UK know what the CoE is, and that it stands behind Anglican churches in England, Wales, Scotland and N Ireland. OK the Q could have said Anglican but it didn’t and I bet it wouldn’t have a made an iota of difference if it had.

  7. @AKMD

    I live in a neighbouring constituency to Edgbaston (at least part of the time) which is going to be encompassed into a greater Edgbaston if the boundary changes go through and if the Conservatives think they’re going to win over bright young liberal things here by introducing Gay marriage then they’re deluded. Issues like tuition fees and unemployment are going to have a much greater impact. The more likely result is that they’re going to alienate social conservatives amongst their base.

    PS. Does anyone have any idea why Scotland is markedly more liberal on Gay marriage?

  8. @ Hannah

    PS. Does anyone have any idea why Scotland is markedly more liberal on Gay marriage?
    We like government to be everywhere, except in our bedrooms. ;-)

  9. Simple – Scotlands population is generally more prgressive than rUK

  10. @Oldnat

    Apparently there are people in Scotland that belong to a church based in Rome! Does this also passeth all rational understanding?

  11. @Amber Star

    “The NHS vote at the LD conference has ended in either:
    1. Disarray; with them now debating what they actually voted for; or
    2. The most ridiculous piece of fence sitting on a major issue which I have ever heard of. You can read about it in the G.”

    “Williams, made a speech during which she said ‘personalities’ shouldn’t be important; this didn’t stop her mounting a verbal assault on both Andy Burnham & Polly Toynbee, though.”

    It was quite interesting seeing what journalists wrote about the debate compared with what I heard when sitting through it. I’m not sure they were in the same conference hall as us. The text of the motion noted the work of peers over the last year and the changes made to the bill. Quite uncontroversial stuff. Two lines near the end of the motion were removed by vote of conference. These lines called for the government to introduce the 3rd reading of the bill in parliament. The amended motion was passed. There was no disarray and no fence sitting. Conference noted the work of the lords but didn’t encourage the 3rd reading of the bill.

    A few contributors tried to link the motion to Shirley Williams or Andrew Landsley, probably with the intention to sway the vote. Williams said personalities shouldn’t be important, the issues should be. She was, of course, right.

  12. @ Bill Patrick

    I agree with everything you say: IQ is a poor system for measuring intelligence (and is, for example, associated with discredited theories, such as the one behind ‘The Bell Curve’) but my comment was only meant as a brief quip.

    Yes, intelligence does correlate with social liberalism and economic conservatism. These two strands were once brought together in an outift called the Social Democratic Party, and that was a true powerhouse of talent and intellect. Just take a look at some of those who cut their teeth in the SDP:

    Daniel Finkelstein
    Shami Chakrabarti
    Robin Taylor
    Polly Toynbee

    Need I say more? In fact, I remember Shami giving a speach at the age of sixteen in which she blasted Tory education policy for the way it sought to “fill chidren’s heads with so-called moral values like they were empty jam jars”, and, in a reference to the exclusion of any mention of homosexuality in sex education lessons she said “To consciously omit is to indoctrinate”. All of us in the London Young Social Democrats knew that girl was destined for great things.

    Incidentally, I remember one particular occasion going out for a meal here in Southall (c.1990) with some Punjabi girls in their late teens: the dinner table conversation revealed that every one of them supported equal gay rights – even at that time. These were mostly second (and even in a couple of cases first) generation immigrants whose parents worked in factories and who lived in Southall’s semi-depressed urban environment, i.e. the very things you might think would cause someone to be culturally conservative. Yet because of the intellectual maturity (and, I would argue, basic niceness) which came about as a result of their Indian cultural influences, they all had what at that time would have been considered to be quite progressive views on this issue.

    @ John Ruddy

    Yes, you are correct: Dr Adrian Rogers did try to link homosexuality with paedophilia. He did so on a Channel 4 News programme after the 1997 general election. Not sure if he did the same thing during his campaign to win Exeter in that spring’s general election, although there was certainly thought to be a strong element of homophobia in the Tory campaign for that seat. It shows how far things have changed among a large part of the Tory Party, because by 2005 in the nearby constituency of Falmouth & Camborne the Conservatives actually fielded an openly gay candidate.

  13. I wonder if some of the Conservative vote in the polls may move to right-wing parties, UKIP in particular, in part due to the government’s latest (IMO) ridiculous claim that Christians have no right to wear the cross at work. Blue Labour much? I’m beginning to agree more with this contributors on this site like Richard more by the day. Basically, David Cameron is too far to the left on social issues that motivate small-c conservative voters not just in England but elsewhere in the UK as well.

  14. Colin Green

    That’s not as fun a story for the media to tell though.

  15. @ Colin Green

    ” Conference noted the work of the lords but didn’t encourage the 3rd reading of the bill. ”

    I am confused. Are the Lib Dems in favour of an amended NHS bill or not ?

    I understand that the Lib Dems wanted some of the reforms themselves, particularly regarding the way social care is organised. But they were not too keen on the way that commissioning of health services was to be arranged under the original Lansley plans. Yes the Lords have changed the bill, but it is not clear whether the Lib Dem membership accept the revised bill as it currently stands. According to the vote, the majority do not wish the Lib Dem lords to support third reading. It is therefore left for the Lib Dems in the HOL to decide on a free vote whether to support or not. I guess that because of the conference vote, Nick Clegg will not apply a whip.

  16. @Robin Hood

    “Daniel Finkelstein
    Shami Chakrabarti
    Robin Taylor
    Polly Toynbee”

    Politics is all about opinions, I know, but I’m not sure I find your list of former SDP heroes/heroines quite as impressive as you do! Polly Toynbee writes interesting and combative columns for the Guardian, and has become ever more viscerally anti-Tory as the years have gone by, but I find her writing much more impressive than her debating skills. Whenever I’ve seen her on TV, or listened to her on radio, I’m often disappointed by how inarticulate and unpersuasive she is. Danny Finklestein, now a rather tribalist Conservative (he’s made the same “journey” as old SDP colleagues Chris Grayling and Andrew Lansley) strikes me as a rather shallow fellow, well versed in the art of party political yah-boo but very little else. As for Shami Chakrabarti, don’t get me started! A shrill sixth form debater who harangues whoever she disagrees with and appears to have never left student politics behind. All slogans, cliches and large slices of motherhood laced with lashings of apple pie. I can’t abide the woman.

    I am afraid you’ll have to enlighten me about Robin Taylor.

  17. @Robin Hood.

    I cannot believe anybody takes Polly Toynbee seriously!

  18. @ Colin Green

    Let’s have it in a nutshell then – following the conference debate & motion, are the LibDems for or against the NHS bill?

  19. @Robin Hood – “….by 2005 in the nearby constituency of Falmouth & Camborne the Conservatives actually fielded an openly gay candidate.”

    I don’t know why, but my innate anti Tory prejudice made be wonder if ‘fielding’ was some arcane anti homosexual Eton ritual or such like, when I first read this.

  20. @Crossbat 11

    I have to agree with you re. Chakrabati. I don’t think she is any near as good as she thinks she is.

    It’s amusing how Polly T gives some Blues apoplexy. She must be doing summat right!

  21. Hannah

    ” Does anyone have any idea why Scotland is markedly more liberal on Gay marriage?”

    Jim Jam

    “Simple – Scotlands population is generally more progressive than rUK”

    Yes, and the CoS wasa generation ahead of the CoE on hanging, race, colonies, nuclear weapons,divorce, and women clergy, but recognising that is so is not an explanation or an answer to the question.

  22. @ CROSSBAT11

    “I am afraid you’ll have to enlighten me about Robin Taylor.”

    He is perhaps the greatest of the lot. As well as being a member of the SDP’s standing conference, he was a psephological genius who once walked the corridors of MORI’s 32 Old Queen Street offices (c.1985-90).

    However, these days he spends most of his spare time posting on the “UK Polling Report” website.

    Never met him but I hear he’s quite a guy.

  23. How has the Kansas Primary left the GOP presidential race? Read the latest in our in-depth analysis of the American Primaries.
    Follow the link:

  24. Robin Hood,

    Not my favourite set of people (though I don’t mind Sharmi Chakrabarti, at least on civil liberty matters) but I think there’s a good chance that they’re a cut above the average socially illiberal Labour intellectual.

    The absence of a significant economically conservative (and the SDP is indeed a good example on a lot of issues e.g. their greater realisation of the benefits of free trade for ordinary people in comparison to Old Labour) and socially liberal party in Britain is something that (mildly) annoys me to this day.

    As a result, I’ve moved between just about every major party out there at one point in time or another (even Labour, in 2001). All of them have their virtues and vices. And all of them are more appealing to me now than they were in, say, the 1980s: they’ve all become more socially liberal (especially the Tories) and economically more right-wing (especially Labour). It’s very heartening to have a cross-party consensus on nationalisation AND to have gay marriage on the table, both of which seemed very unlikely even 30 years ago.



  26. HAL

    There are also people who attend churches based in the USA. And your point was?

  27. Angus Reid has no recovery for Lab in Scotland, but Con are very low indeed:

    Across Britain, two-in-five decided voters and leaners (40%, +3 since January) would support the Labour Party candidate in their constituency in the next General Election.

    The Tories are a distant second with 32 per cent (-3), followed by their coalition partners—the Liberal Democrats—with 10 per cent (-1), and the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) with seven per cent (+1).

    Support is lower for the Scottish National Party (SNP) (4%), the Green Party (2%), the British National Party (BNP) (2%) and Plaid Cymru (1%).

    Labour remains dominant in the North (52%), and keeps the upper hand over the Tories in London (45% to 35%) and Midlands and Wales (42% to 34%). The Conservatives are ten points ahead of Labour in the South of England (41% to 31%). In Scotland, the SNP garners the backing of almost half of decided voters (47%, with Labour in second place at 34%).

  28. @Valerie

    “It’s amusing how Polly T gives some Blues apoplexy. She must be doing summat right!”

    Ditto, although Cameron’s inner circle, certainly when they were in opposition, took great heed of her words, once famously remarking that they should quality-check all their policy stances against a “would Polly Toynbee like it” yardstick!

    It would appear that they haven’t been very successful! lol

    I was never an admirer of the SDP, I have to say, finding it more of a safe haven for middle class former student radicals who couldn’t quite bring themselves to go the whole hog to Conservatism. You can see people like Martin Kettle of the Guardian wriggling his tortured way to Conservatism along this well trodden route, first flirting with the Liberal Democrats before the Tories inevitably claim him for good. I’d give him two years at the most. Of course, people like Lansley, Finklestein and Grayling reached their natural destinations many years ago, as did many other less famous former SDP people no doubt.

    Respect, however, to those like Toynbee who found the SDP to be the mirage and political blancmange it always was and returned leftwards to their social democratic roots. They were fortunate, however, that the likes of Kinnock, Hattersley, Cunningham, Healey, Gould, Mandelson, Smith et all fought the good fight in the 80s and that there was a social democratic Labour Party to return to. They were busy fighting to save the party they loved 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.

  29. Something that intrigues me from a previous comment about intelligence and political affiliation……….If people on the right, are less intelligent than people on the left, why is it that the intelligent ones, are massed in the failing North, and the unintelligent ones, are massed in the successful South……….perhaps it’s because I’m an unintelligent Tory that I don’t understand……….it must be the educational effect of day time telly on Northerners that makes them so intellectually able. The failing inner city cohort in the South exhibits the same high intelligence, filling in benefit claims creatively and benefiting from exposure to daytime reality TV. :-)

  30. @Amber Star

    “Let’s have it in a nutshell then – following the conference debate & motion, are the LibDems for or against the NHS bill?”

    We’re more united than Labour on, say, the issue about which is the better Miliband.

  31. John B,
    You are right my answer does not expalin why Scots are more progressive, I am sure you and other Scots will take as the compliment intended.

  32. @Jim Jam

    Depends what you mean by ‘progressive’. I notice that Johann Lamont attacked that word in her recent speech.

  33. KEN


    May I suggest you read this before buying the story of IQ relatedness to political left/right.


  34. JIMJAM……….Haven’t you heard of the, ‘Gay Gordons’ :-)

  35. COLIN……………It seems to be fashionable, ‘ right on’ intellectual snobbery, people are judged by what they say, not by what they think and do. It always strikes me as odd that there are people sleeping rough, and suffering privation, yet we have millions of left wing types who should be taking them into their homes and sharing their food, some of the richest people I know are,’social Liberals’, but in name only, they talk the talk, but, naturally are too self obsessed to walk the walk, sign of the times I suspect, do as I say, not as I do. ( And don’t get me going on gay marriage :-) )

    It strikes me that the Labour Party had an AV vote and picked a Milliband.
    The LDs had an AV vote on what topic to debate, then a straight majority vote on an amended version of it, and I still don’t know what is the party’s position and how the parliamentary faction will interpret it.

  37. Really interesting data from money supply fetishists in todays Telegraph. Various measures like narrow money M1 are suggesting big problems in around 6 months or so, and the slightly worrying fact is that this analysis has been pretty accurate in predicting the ups and downs of the crash, recovery, recession and partial recovery cycle we’ve so far endured.

    The southern Euro zone looks to be in a shocking place at the moment, and the smart money suggests the US is going to grind to a halt again. China is the jack in the box – some very sharp falling indicators there, but it’s a funny country – no one really knows how that economy will respond.

  38. “Liberal Democrats are the only true one nation party.”

    This claim from Clegg’s conference speech was reported as a move onto Cameron’s turf… much has been written about how the orange-book section see any revival in their fortunes coming at the expense of Tories in the near term.

    But what chance of behind the scenes cooperation?

    It is well over a year since there was any overt discussion of a Con/LD electoral pact.

    But thinking about Anthony’s recent comment on Rawlings and Thrasher projections going awry – because the three main parties are increasingly failing to put up a candidate in local elections where they stand no chance of winning – will there be any local deals?

    I say this because the LD flyer for the May 3rd locals has just dropped onto the doormat. LDs gained one of the two ward seats briefly in the mid 2000s, but in bpoth 2008 and 2010 they have been down at around 25% (along with the Tories), and Labour in the 46-50% range.

    So what does the LD flyer say?
    “It’s a close fight with Labour. Many Conservatives are switching to LD this time.”

    Conservative campaign is nonexistent, will they even field a candidate?

    The local elections will be more representative of the national picture this time around:
    2,599 Con, 2,436 Lab, and 1,162 LD councillors up for reelection.

  39. @Ken

    I’m with you brother!! Totally agree with your last post.

  40. What is the collective noun for a gathering of Trolls ?

  41. OZWALD………..Perhaps, ‘ An Ozwald’ :-)

  42. I liked Kellner’s article. I think he’s right. I don’t think there’s that much of a political benefit to Cameron doing this.

    On the points about IQ levels and political ideology, I don’t think those studies really show anything. IQ tests tend to be extremely subjective and don’t always record accurate results. People are entitled to their own views without being personally insulted (over their intelligence or their looks or their socio-economic status) for it.

  43. @ Billy Bob

    “Well in 2009 Cameron did publically repudiate his earlier crusading stance against the repeal of Section 28. That earlier stance may have been more about appealing to the party faithful… such as in the candidacy selection battle with Andrew Mitchell for Witney.

    By 2005 he had come out in favour same sex unions, though some speculate this may have been down to the influence of Samantha (an arts graduate) – to whom he also owes the “there is such a thing as society, it’s just not the same thing as the state” slogan.”

    Evolvement on an issue is more than believable. It’s happenned for a lot of people. I don’t see why Cameron would be immune to the trends that affect everyone.

    Who’s to say that people who were close to Cameron either from his Oxford days or his days as a political operative (or whatever he did after that cause’ I don’t remember) came out to him and that didn’t affect his views or lead him to change his opinions.

    When you think about that funny Bullingdon Club that Cameron belonged to, they seem like the type of people who wouldn’t invite in a student who was openly gay. But it’s more likely than not that over their long history they’ve had some closeted gays in their ranks. A young Bullingdon Club fratboy, like Cameron, is probably going to hold homophobic and heterosexist views at a young age. And Cameron’s opposition to the repeal of Section 28 probably reflects that. But some fratboys grow up and if some learn that some of their other fellow fratboys are gay, they might change their minds and realize that their earlier positions were wrong. If that happenned to Cameron, then it explains why he changed his views.

  44. @SoCalLiberal

    Fwiw, the left/right thing was about neuroscience rather than IQ (relative size of anterior cingulated cortex compared to amygdala):


  45. KEN

    Thanks-agree totally.

    …..and I wouldn’t dream of “getting you going on gay marriage ” ! :-)

  46. @ Ray North

    Thanks for the analysis. Not surprising that the GOP turnout is incredibly low.

    No one knows who’s going to win tommorow’s southern primaries. Whoever does gets a large momentum boost. Two national polls of the GOP race show Romney only leading by 4% nationwide and Santorum leading by 4% nationwide respectively. This suggests that Romney still has not locked up the nomination and not gotten the neccessary boost out of Super Tuesday.

  47. @ Socalib

    Evolverment??? 8-)

  48. @Ken

    Blimey, who rattled your cage?

    Remind me how much we Northerners are forking out for the London Olympics?

    Manchester managed to put on a very good show for the Commonwealth games. I’m not sure how much taxpayers in the SE contributed.

  49. @ Valerie

    I think I’m missing something.

  50. @Crossbat11

    I finally gave up on the Guardian when they supported the Lib/Dems at the last GE.
    And then didn’t their leader writer go off to write Cameron’s speeches?

    I’ve never been a fan of Dame Shirley either. I well remember the Gang of Four and how that opened the door to Thatcherism.

    She could have stayed and fought rather than jumping ship.

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