Full results for YouGov’s weekly Sunday Times poll are now up here, mostly concentrating on next week’s budget and Britain’s relationship with the USA. On the regular leadership trackers David Cameron’s approval rating is at minus 5 (up from minus 9 last week), Miliband’s at minus 45 (from minus 38), Clegg’s at minus 46 (from minus 44).

Looking at the budget questions, even when we prompt people to consider that rises in the personal tax allowance need to be paid for through tax increases, cuts or borrowing elsewhere there is still strong support for it. Only 18% think it should remain at the current level, 16% would support an increase to £9000, 34% to the Liberal Democrat’s proposed £10,000 and 20% higher than that.

On the 50p income tax rate, only 27% support it being abolished in this budget with 60% opposed. Amongst Conservative supporters the split is very even, 45% support, 46% oppose. Labour and Liberal Democrat voters are heavily against. Opposition for it being abolished is not much less to a pledge to abolish it in a later budget – 52% would oppose this, with 29% in support.

Unsurprisingly the overwhelming majority of people (77%) would support a decrease in the level of fuel duty. There is still a substantial majority in favour when YouGov asked people to balance the competing priorities of cutting the deficit or cutting fuel duty – 59% think it is more important to cut fuel duty compared to 20% who think it is more important to cut the deficit. Opinion on the higher rate of tax relief on pension contributions (even split) and the abolition of child benefit for higher rate taxpayers (majority support) remain the same.

Turning to the USA and the special relationship, 54% think the relationship between the US & UK is very or fairly close. 20% think it should be closer, 21% weaker and 49% think it is about right. Perceptions are now that the relationship has got a little closer since David Cameron became Prime Minister – 26% think it has got closer, 13% less close and 54% no difference. This is significantly better than when YouGov asked the same question in 2010, when the figures were 15% and 20% respectively.

People still, however, don’t think we have much influence over the USA – only 11% think we have a lot or some influence, 44% think we have not a lot of influence, 39% think we have no influence at all, not much changed from 2010. On the specifics of David Cameron’s trip to the USA, 28% think the reception was over the top, but 46% think it got the balance about right.


105 Responses to “This week’s YouGov/Sunday Times poll”

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  1. Amazing answers on questions regarding what GO should do in the budget!

    Only 20% think the Tory ‘holy grail’ of deficit reduction is more important than cutting the price of petrol/ diesel!

    Just 54% believe that the LD’s ‘holy grail’ of £10k (or higher) personal allowances is a good idea – which appears to suggest that about 20% of people are aware that at least once before this has been accompanied by a lowering of the 40% band to compensate – which resulted in about 200,000 more families (I think that’s the IFS figure) being likely to lose their child benefit.

    And speaking of child benefit, I think the YG question is pointless when it doesn’t mention that higher rate tax is 40%, not the 50% they just asked about; & also when it doesn’t mention that joint family income is not considered. We know from past YGs, this reverses the outcome.

    The 50% rate cut, itself – not popular with the general public at all. Even a comittment to get rid of it in the future is not popular. There must be a lot of pressure on GO & DC from ‘vested interests’ regarding this particular policy because, as a political decision, it’s a howler.
    8-)

  2. So – a new economic strategy for Labour. A big airbrushed photo of Ed in front of a state of the art petrol pump saying: I’ll cut fuel duty, not the deficit.
    :twisted:

  3. @Amber Star

    “So – a new economic strategy for Labour. A big airbrushed photo of Ed in front of a state of the art petrol pump saying: I’ll cut fuel duty, not the deficit.”

    Brilliant and you’ve passed my laugh-out-loud measure for humour!

    As for the minutiae of this latest weekend poll, the message seems to be a familiar one, if lacking a little in credibility. The majority of respondents seem to be saying, ” I think the Tories have generally got the better economic policies, and although I’m tempted a little by the “plague on all your houses” argument, if you pushed me, I probably have more confidence in their handling of the economy than Labour’s. I also think that their social policy and attitudes to welfare are better. Mind you, I’d like fuel to be cheaper and top earners to keep paying tax at a top rate of 50%. I don’t have much time for any of the leaders to be honest but again, if you pushed me, Cameron is probably less repugnant than Miliband and Clegg. Oh, and by the way, if there was a General Election tomorrow, I’d vote Labour.”

    Pick the bloody bones out of that little lot, if you can!!

  4. AMBERSTAR
    Just 54% believe that the LD’s ‘holy grail’ of £10k (or higher) personal allowances is a good idea…

    The 50% rate cut, itself – not popular with the general public at all. Even a comittment to get rid of it in the future is not popular.’

    Probably the LDs excellent and popular policies will utimately lead to significant and deserved increase in the LD share of the vote, and also before too long NC’s own popularity should rise well above that of EM.

    As those who earn 40K a year pay a marginal rate of 40% plus NI, I do not understand why anybody should object to those receiving 40K a week plus paying a gross of 50% to the state.

  5. Crossbat
    ‘I probably have more confidence in their handling of the economy than Labour’s. I also think that their social policy and attitudes to welfare are better. Mind you, I’d like fuel to be cheaper and top earners to keep paying tax at a top rate of 50%. I don’t have much time for any of the leaders to be honest but again, if you pushed me, Cameron is probably less repugnant than Miliband and Clegg. Oh, and by the way, if there was a General Election tomorrow, I’d vote Labour.’

    An excellent analysis of the current political climate.

  6. @CROSSBAT11

    “I think the Tories have generally got the better economic policies”

    “I probably have more confidence in their handling of the economy than Labour’s.”

    “I also think that their social policy and attitudes to welfare are better.”

    “Cameron is probably less repugnant than Miliband and Clegg.”

    —–

    “Oh, and by the way, if there was a General Election tomorrow, I’d vote Labour.”

    Pick the bones from it? I can’t begin to.

  7. Bearing in mind the UKPR projection of Labour 60 majority atm, and looking at reporting around the budget (“negotiations go to the wire/tug-of-war/epic struggle”), how does this play with voters?

    It could be presented as a sign of a mature coalition, balancing differentiation of the parties with what is best for the economy – or a create an impression that infighting between PM, Chancellor, Tory backbenchers, Clegg/Alexander and LD grassroots is contributing to conflicted and incoherent policy making.

  8. Henry

    As those who earn 40K a year pay a marginal rate of 40% plus NI, I do not understand why anybody should object to those receiving 40K a week plus paying a gross of 50% to the state.

    Actually most of “those who earn 40K a year pay a marginal rate of 40% plus NI” don’t pay NI on the amount over 40K. Or rather they will pay NI at a reduced rate of 2% rather than the full 12% on earnings over £770 per week – roughly £40k pa.

    I keep on having to point this out almost as often as the uselessness of Scottish cross-breaks, but it seems to be never pointed out by the media that effectively the UK’s rate of tax is 32% rising to 42% for ‘higher’ earners and then 52% at the highest rate which the powers that be are trying to get rid of. Put like that it doesn’t seem to be a particularly steep gradient and of course that’s before the wealthy even let loose the accountants.

    Strangely this easily available and widely used information doesn’t appear much in the media, which consists of endless complaints of how much the rich have to pay and how this will destroy life as we know it. Even the BBC seems to promote this view, no doubt following the belief of its top executives that it’s because their worth it.

  9. On the regular leadership trackers David Cameron’s approval rating is at minus 5 (up from minus 9 last week), Miliband’s at minus 45 (from minus 38), Clegg’s at minus 46 (from minus 44).

    A bit before my time but I checked back YouGov Cambodia from the 70’s and even Pol Pot had better approval ratings than this lot!! ;)

  10. @ Allan Christie

    Yes, the major Parties have certainly matured a bit & are no longer personality cults. Clegg mania appeared to be both the peak of & cure for that ‘disease’.

    Some of the smaller Parties have still to go up that particular learning curve. We wish them well, on their journey. ;-)

  11. Anthony:

    In a Labour majority of 60, the Scottish Conservative element will be in the range 0-1.

    The SNP will take seats from LibDems in the North as anti-Cons desert the Libdems in their thousands, but they may also take seats from Labour in the Central belt where the key to the outturn of the overall election is whether the SNP can reach the FPTP tipping point.

    In a Labour majority of OM 60, how many SNP and PC seats will there be, and also in an OM of 2 (as was recently predicted.)

  12. Anybody got any views as to why Miliband’s approval rating has fallen so sharply this week. He doesn’t appear to have done anything particularly wrong . The only change is that the health reforms have not been so high profile and of course the deputies took PMQs ,so he has not had much exposure.
    His and Balls announcements around Banker’s tax didn’t seem to get much press and Harman’s lack of knowledge on the subject looked pretty bad, but not really Miliband’s fault.

  13. Dingo – it moved up sharply last week, I suspect that one was a bit of an outlier and this week is a reversion to the mean.

  14. NHS doctors opposed to the government’s health reforms have said they will stand against high-profile coalition MPs at the next general election.

    As the legislation faces its final hurdle in parliament on Monday, a group of 240 healthcare professionals, including 30 professors, said in a letter to the Independent on Sunday that the health and social care bill was an “embarrassment to democracy” and pledged to stand as candidates against MPs who backed it.
    ————————————–
    Given polling shows doctors are much more trusted than politicians, this could be interesting!
    8-)

  15. AMBERSTAR

    ‘Given polling shows doctors are much more trusted than politicians, this could be interesting!’

    The doctors may get elected. On the other hand the doctors opposing the Coalition may split the anti-govt vote. Either way I agree it will be interesting.

  16. @Crossbat and @Amber
    Lovely!

    Thinking about what else might affect VI, Lady Thornton (Lab) today flat-out accused the coalition, esp Cons, of ‘lying’ about the NHS bill. I think this will resonate more in a year or so when, if the bill is passed, everything that starts to go wrong and cannot be fixed will be blamed (fairly or not) on Lansley and the bill.

    It adds to my bemusement about the number of traps the govt is setting up for itself. The best explanation (from a well-placed Con source) was that they are actually frightened and are governing as though they will never win another OM. They are changing as much as possible in as short a time as possible making it difficult to unravel. Seems to make sense, although it is awful governance if true. And where does this leave the LDs?

  17. Roger Mexico
    ‘Strangely this easily available and widely used information doesn’t appear much in the media, which consists of endless complaints of how much the rich have to pay and how this will destroy life as we know it. Even the BBC seems to promote this view, no doubt following the belief of its top executives that it’s because their worth it.’

    I think the 32, 42 and 50% rates are balanced, athough I would like to see all three rates lower, say 25, 35 and 45%, and I think the 40% comes in too early; perhaps 60K would be fair.

  18. AW

    if the doctors do get themselves together and stand a reasonable number of candidates, how will the polling companies deal with it? his could be especially difficult in a number of (likely) scenarios:
    1) They stand against specific LibDem or Tories only
    2) They stand in winnable seats (I.e. marginals)
    3) Labour do not stand candidates against them in all seats

  19. Roger Mexico

    @”effectively the UK’s rate of tax is 32% rising to 42% for ‘higher’ earners and then 52% at the highest rate ”

    But marginal rates-the tax paid on the next £1 can be much much higher .

    Age Related Personal Allowances are tapered away with income levels. For 2012/13 the PA for those up to age 65 begins to be withdrawn at £100,000. The allowance will be lost entirely where income exceeds £116,210.

    There are similar cliff edges with pension contribution reliefs for the higher paid.

  20. Wyre Forest 1997:
    Lab 48.8%, Con 36.1%, LD 8.0%
    2001:
    Health Concern 58.1%, Labour 22.1%, Con 19.1%.

    Even Lansley could be vulnerable in South Cambridgeshire.
    (2010: Con 47.4%, LD 34.1%, Lab 10.2%.)

  21. Gosh Colin I forgot entirely. What a dreadful thing that pensioners on a mere £100,000 a year might only get the same personal allowances as those working hard for about a tenth of that amount. How will they manage? Do you think food parcels would be in order? :D

  22. Currenttly on LibDem Voice

    there is a poster forecasting a lib dem vote of between 25-30%

    He is basing this on the by-elections and seems quite certain. I have tried to challenge this but get shouted down by him and some of the other ‘regulars’.

  23. @ BazSC

    Pop back after the elections; it’s not long to go now. S/he who laughs last etc.
    8-)

  24. Roger Mexico

    @”What a dreadful thing that pensioners on a mere £100,000 a year might only get the same personal allowances as those working hard for about a tenth of that amount. How will they manage? Do you think food parcels would be in order?”

    But I wasn’t commenting on the fairness or unfairness of the personal tax system.

    I was pointing out that your categorisation of personal tax rates was oversimplistic.

    …and it is everyone’s PA which is withdrawn over £100k pa-not “pensioners”.

    But I am willing to accept that you weren’t aware of the finer details. :-)

  25. BAZSC

    @”I have tried to challenge this but get shouted down by him and some of the other ‘regulars’.”

    Shouted Down!-No-really?-my dear chap-how awful!

    These LibDems have no respect have they ?

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

  26. Bazsc
    Whistling? Wind?
    Cllr Peter Cairns was restrained on his commentary which forecasted limited losses for Lib Dems in Scotland. An objective indicator would be how many incumbants are standing down or moving seat.
    In Aberdeen16 LDs were elected last time which is already down to 12 because of by elections and defections. Half of the twelve left are not standing with one moving constituency.
    Another measurement would be how many candidates other parties are putting up in multi-member wards. Across Scotland, the SNP and Labour will put up one more candidate in every ward where they have sitting member and there is an LD incumbant or I will be most surprised.

  27. Colin

    This forum is a model of decorum compared to some of the goings on on LibDem Voice!

    I have never seen the same amount of vitriol aimed at ex-voters of the party who try and raise an alternative voice.

    Mind you I am in perpetual premed over there along with most of the other self-confessed LD and I think my days are numbered. There are only so many email addresses you can use to get round modding and to be honest I don’t like doing it

    All strength to the continued good behavior on this forum – where even apologies are not infrequent!

  28. Barney Crockett

    It is unbelievable what some, not all, believe over there.

    It is this complacency that will do for them – I think that if you dig down the Tories are far more of a threat to them than Labour. There are fewer LD seats being targeted by Labour. There are a fair number of Labour seats on the LD target list but I think LD treading water would be a success for them.

    I am sure Tory High Command are aware that the more they create division between Labour and the LD the more it will help them capture LD seats in the south

  29. Alan

    I said ‘effectively’ when I outlined the rates, so I was obviously doing broad brush stroke stuff. Obviously every individual/household will have different thresholds according to the allowances and/or benefits they get and different sources of income. And of course marginal rates can go down as well as up, so someone over the NI limit but whose allowances mean they haven’t hit the 40% rate, will only be paying a marginal rate of 22%, not 32%.

    The worst marginal rates however tend to come with the withdrawal of benefits and for pensioners when small private pensions put them just over the limit for various things. So I was highly amused when the example Colin chose was that of millionaire pensioners gradually having their personal; allowance cut back to be the same as that of the workers. It is obvious that our social spheres have been widely different.

    I’m not quite sure why my thinking that the 52% rate should be kept implies that I am happy with marginal rates of 98%. By the same logic you’re disliking the 52% means that you think the tax rate for the rich should be 6%. Actually I do think that very high marginal tax rates are a bad thing – it’s just that I realise they mainly happen to the poor, especially the working poor.

    I do believe in one thing though – it’s usually more productive to tax the rich. That’s because they have more money.

  30. Bazsc
    I don’t necessarilly disagree with you. In Scotland the SNP may in the short term gain more than Labour, with the irony being that few will want Scottish seperation. But it is only facing up to facts. Many of the Lib Dem voters feel subject to ridicule from friends and family for having been made a fool of. Thats what seals the Lib Dem fate.

  31. Colin

    I hadn’t seen your reply when I posted my previous one, but I don’t think I over-simplified, just simplified. I do know that personal allowance are withdrawn – presumably to to make things complicated and force people to use accountants. But the main point I wanted to illustrate is that the drop of the NI component from 12% to 2% means that the higher rates are less harsh than some people think they are.

    I only mentioned pensioners because you did. Though now we are on the subject they aren’t paying any NI on their earnings so those millionaire pensioers are even better off. :P

  32. Amber Star

    @ Allan Christie

    Yes, the major Parties have certainly matured a bit & are no longer personality cults. Clegg mania appeared to be both the peak of & cure for that ‘disease’.

    Some of the smaller Parties have still to go up that particular learning curve. We wish them well, on their journey.
    __________

    I know I know I also wish the Greens and UKIP well too. ;)

  33. @ Allan Christie

    The Greens don’t have a leader – so you score 50%. :-)

  34. @bazsc – “There are fewer LD seats being targeted by Labour.”

    My guess is that the Tories might try to keep LDs alive in the Con/Lab marginals – possibly by giving them a free run at Labour in the odd council ward this May.

  35. @ BazSC & Barney

    With the exception of Scotland, it could well be that the Tories also benefit greatly in the local elections from the disaffection with LDs.

    I think this might actually be more of a wake-up call to the LDs than Labour ‘thumping’ them. If it’s only Labour, the LDs will keep kidding themselves that ‘when the Coalition policies are seen to be working, our voters will return’.

    In the event that the local elections see LD seats falling to both Labour & Tory, it may force the LDs into thinking seriously about the future of their Party. They (& their leaders) may even have start taking the YouGov polls seriously!
    8-)

  36. @ Billy Bob

    I usually agree with you – but nah! Remember Old & Sad.

    I think it’s unlikely that the Tories will be giving the LDs any quarter in the local elections – they will keen to test just how many wards they can take from LDs, if the LD vote splits between Labour & LD. And they won’t pass up the opportunity to see how close they can get to winning in some previously ‘safe’ LD wards.
    8-)

  37. Amberstar

    I thought the greens did have a leader now, having dispensed with the “principle speaker” title?

  38. @Amber Star – “… they won’t pass up the opportunity to see how close they can get to winning in some previously ‘safe’ LD wards.”

    No, but I’m thinking of a Lab/Lib ward in a Con/Lab constituency. Either they are just being very laid back – they are not mounting any campaign hereabouts as yet – or they don’t plan to…

    LD continue – as around the country – with the “Conservatives can’t win here” flyers; in this ward they also say “many Conservatives are switching to Lib Dem”. I don’t think the possibility of the occassional informal machiavellian pact can be entirely discounted – though they may not suceed work any better than at OE&S it doesn’t mean they won’t stop trying. ;)

  39. @Amberstar

    Actually, the Greens in England and Wales do have a leader, though a certain segment of the party isn’t happy that we introduced the post a few years ago. Although the polls don’t ever ask for an approval rating for her, most commentators seem to agree that she’s doing a pretty good job. She seems to be making more of an impact in Parliament than most of Labour’s front bench.

    If there is any personality cult around her, it’s because she is an effective politician, and because she is by far the most visible face of the party. It’s not because we view her as the Blair or the Thatcher of the Green Party.

    Incidentally, even though I can’t stand Nigel Farage, I think that both him and Caroline Lucas are more charismatic than Cameron, Clegg, or Miliband.

  40. @ Green Christian & Alan.

    Drat! The Greens have let me down again. They used to vote with Labour in the Scottish Parliament but they are in favour of independence, I think – & now they’ve gone & joined the personality cults which they used to eschew. :-)

  41. @ Allan Christie

    Apparently you get 100% & I get 50% :oops: Enjoy your gloatfest, it’s on me.

  42. @ Billy Bob

    Has the campaigning started in your neck of the woods? It hasn’t really begun in earnest here. Labour are campaigning already but the other Parties don’t seem to have started yet.
    8-)

  43. Tark

    ‘The best explanation (from a well-placed Con source) was that they are actually frightened and are governing as though they will never win another OM. They are changing as much as possible in as short a time as possible making it difficult to unravel’

    That is certainly my assumption… apart from the being frightened bit. I think that George Osborne’s major preoccupation has been to ease access to tax havens to ensure that the decline in living standards will not impact on his friends and relatives. So he will have no reason for fear. It also explains the headlong pace and lack of inhibition at dismantling all in one fell swoop because the Conservatives cannot be certain for how long they can keep the LDs on board.

    I understand that future governments wishing to reverse the long term contracts signed with foreign providers would be subject to WTO arbitration .. incuring heavy penalties for breaking the agreements. So the intention is to lock in this legislation irreversibly.. just like the EZ fiscal pact! Democracy is certainly taking a hammering.

    I also think this explains the lack of care that is taken in creating government policy. For example, if/when GPs fail to commission adequately, there will be a perfect justification to handing over the service to a global management company like KPMG or McKinsey. In other words, failures will be used to justify further privatisations. Gordon Brown spoke rather too soon in describing the Washington consensus as dead.

    I have also heard some informed commentators speculate that the UK will be in such a state by 2015, that it will be possible to argue for a postponement of the GE on the grounds of a national emergency. Then we really will be just like Greece.

  44. @ Syzygy

    I have also heard some informed commentators speculate that the UK will be in such a state by 2015, that it will be possible to argue for a postponement of the GE on the grounds of a national emergency. Then we really will be just like Greece.
    ——————————
    I can’t see that happening. It would be the surest way to lose the next election which was actually held – & they’d have to put an all Party, national government in place until an election was held.
    8-)

  45. @ Syzygy

    I understand that future governments wishing to reverse the long term contracts signed with foreign providers would be subject to WTO arbitration .. incuring heavy penalties for breaking the agreements.
    —————————–
    I knwo b*gger all about the internal workings of the Green Party, but WTO falls within an International Law remit so I know a little bit about it.

    Regarding Health Service provision: Unless there are new cases which I’m unaware of, no corporation has brought a case against a government, nor any government against another, to the WTO for arbitration regarding the provision of health or related services – so it really is not possible to say what, if any, penalties the WTO could/ would impose.

    I am an interested amateur & the WTO rules can & do bring forth varied opinions which are all as good as the other (or as useless) when there are no precedents to refer to.

    I will try to read more on this next weekend; I have been reading up on the EU position. I’m almost up to speed with that so I’m looking forward to resuming my WTO studies, with particular emphasis on expert opinions regarding Health & Related Services!

    If you have any good materials or links on this topic, I’d appreciate any references which you can provide.
    8-)

  46. Speaking of the Greens, UKIP & the SNP (which we almost were) – their leaders all go on Question Time, don’t they? The leaders of the 3 ‘major’ Parties don’t – or at least I’ve never seen anything mentioning them being on it.
    8-)

  47. @Amberstar

    That’s because the only people from the minor parties that QT asks on are the leaders. Though if they do something specifically for the London mayoral election, there’s a small chance they’ll ask Jenny Jones.

  48. Now that the Tories have linked the Health Billl with cutting
    pay I suspect their ratings will drop.

  49. “Now that the Tories have linked the Health Billl with cutting
    pay I suspect their ratings will drop.”
    I suspect that it’ll be the roads story that does it – when Labour tried similar road privatisation, there was outcry, with the general consensus being ‘I already pay plenty in road tax and fuel duty’.

  50. @ Tinged

    The outcry about the roads will likely die down when hypothecation is explained. Apparently, they roads won’t have tolls – they’ll be paid for out of future road taxes. A lot of motorists believe that road taxes should be used to pay for roads so I think it might be quite popular – provided road taxes won’t increase.

    Personally, I think the hypothecated taxes should be used to employ people to fix the roads we have! But that would mean the government investing directly, instead of it being a ‘disguised’ PPFI arrangement.
    8-)

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