The full tabs for the YouGov/Sunday Times survey are now up here. On the regular leader trackers David Cameron’s figures have returned to somewhat more typical figures after his big increase last week – he is on minus 24 (from minus 18 last week), Ed Miliband is up on minus 25 (from minus 27), Clegg on minus 54 (from minus 53).
Attitudes to the economy have not changed much, with the public continuing to be broadly split. The trend towards people supporting a change in economic policy continues – those who would prefer the government to concentrate on growth now outnumber those supporting concentrating on the deficit by 38% to 30%. Asked if the government’s economic policies are working, only 8% think they have started to work, but a total of 36% think they will eventually work, compared to 39% who think they will never work.
George Osborne himself is viewed very negatively. Only 15% of people now think he is doing a good job as Chancellor, with 56% thinking he is doing badly. Amongst the Conservative party’s own supporters less than half think he is doing well. Asked if David Cameron should replace him, 24% think Osborne should stay as Chancellor, 45% think he should be replaced. Despite these negative findings, he does still have a slightly lead over Ed Balls on who would make the better Chancellor – 28% prefer Osborne, 22% Balls, 50% say don’t know.
On the fuel duty, there is massive support for the cancellation (80% think it was the right thing to do), but that doesn’t necessarily translate into positive perceptions of the government. 46% think it is a sign of government weakness or incompetence, as opposed to 33% who see it as a sign they are listening. These figures correlate strongly with voting intention, which is a good illustration of how the public tend to view things through the prism of their existing positive or negative perceptions of a party. So three-quarters of Tory supporters think a U-turn shows the government being willing to listen and change its mind, three quarters of Labour supporters think it shows a government that is incompetent or weak.
Moving on, YouGov asked who people thought had been the best and worst Chancellor of the last 30 years. Surprisingly Gordon Brown comes top of both. Nigel Lawson and Ken Clarke are seen as the next best Chancellors, Osborne and Lamont as the next worst.
The reason Brown dominates both is interesting methodologically – it is at least partly down to the fact that in the last 30 years there have only been two Labour Chancellors, but six Conservative ones. People tended to answer the question along partisan lines (over half of Labour supporters named a Labour chancellor as best, a Conservative Chancellor as worst, and vice-versa for Conservative supporters), but the Conservative answers were split between six different Chancellors, the Labour answers split only between Brown and Darling.
Going back to the poll, YouGov found predictably negative views of the banks. Hardly anyone thinks they have substantially improved their behaviour since the crisis began. People think they are dishonest by 49% to 28%, and incompetent by 45% to 36%. Only 34% say they trust them a lot or a fair amount with their money. On the futures of Stephen Hester and Bob Diamond, only a minority (35%) think Hester should lose his job over RBS’s software failures (47% think he should stay). In contrast an overwhelming majority are in favour of Bob Diamond resigning – 78% think he should go, compared to just 10% who think he should stay.
On other issues, 56% of people think the Queen was right to shake hands with Martin McGuinness, compared to 24% who think she was wrong to do so. YouGov asked a similar question on the day of the handshake for the Sun, which also asked whether respondents themselves would be prepared to shake hands with Martin McGuinness if they met him. 39% said they would, 39% said they wouldn’t.
There was also a new ICM poll out in yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph. Their “wisdom index” (that is, respondents predictions of what shares of the vote people would get, rather than how people themselves would vote) stands at Conservatives 31%, Labour 38%, Liberal Democrats 17%.
ICM also asked some questions on potential benefit changes. Overall people tended to think the current benefit system was too generous – 56% thought so, compared to 12% who thought it should be more generous and 24% who think the current balance is about right. On specific measures, there was support for capping child benefit for people with 3 or more children (65% support, 25% opposed), and setting a time limit for how long jobseekers allowance can be paid (48% support, 36% opposed), fairly even splits on stopping housing benefit for under 25s (40% support, 40% opposition) and varying benefit rates by region (39% support, 44% oppose… with, as would expect, a strong regional skew) and opposition to means testing pensioner benefits like the winter fuel allowance (38% support, 51% opposed).