Two quick topical questions from YouGov’s daily polling over the last couple of days. First, after David Gauke’s comments yesterday YouGov asked if people thought it actually was morally acceptable to pay tradesmen “cash in hand”. 49% of respondents said it was morally acceptable to pay “cash in hand”, 36% thought it was not.

Secondly, ahead of the (now cancelled!) strike by border, immigration and other Home Office staff YouGov asked whether people thought it was or was not acceptable for PCS staff to go on strike around the time of the Olympics. 64% of people said striking at the time of the Olympics would have been unacceptable, 24% said it would have been acceptable.


251 Responses to “YouGov on Cash-in-Hand and Olympic strike action”

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  1. I’d be interested to see the cross-breaks by class for the cash in hand question. I’d suspect that AB disapproved far more than C2D.

    Mind you, now I’ve said that I’ll be wrong.

  2. @Chris NS (FPT)
    Of course we needed to economise on petrol post 2010. But Osborne’s aversion to petrol made him so keen to reduce fuel consumption that he’s managed to stall the engine.

    What we’re experiencing isn’t an inevitable consequence of the last recession.

  3. Top Hat – tables should be up shortly, but your suspicion is indeed correct.

  4. I’d predict that you’d find a mirror-image sort of class-breakdown for more middle/upper class forms of tax avoidance. It’s as if people generally disapprove of tax avoidance, except those types which they engage in.

    Personally, I think that tax avoidance’s moral status depends on degree (like laziness, offensiveness, polluting etc.) and that doesn’t stop it from being meaningful. Baldness is a matter of degree, but there’s stiff a definite difference between Ken Livingston and Boris Johnson in that respect. So cash-in-hand payments or a bit of common prudence regarding charity/inheritance? No problem. Massive tax avoidance while using the protective facilities of a country? A big problem.

    The most that the cash-in-hand example shows, I think, is that tax avoidance as such is not wrong.

  5. Oh, and Ed Miliband’s response was very, very clever. He’s got into a bit of a rhythym, has young Ed…

  6. Shocking GDP figures even by my pessimistic expectations.

    Any polling evidence that this has much of an immediate effect on VI? I can see a headline of “Britain back in recession” doing that but not sure if this will just be part of a drip drip drip of bad economic news rather than a “that proves things are bad” type feeling.

  7. The latest GDP figures are damaging for the gov, and in particular GO and DC. The big damage IMO will be in perception of competence and incompetence. The notion that somehow only the Cons, never Lab, could/should be trusted on the economy is shown to be false.

    Add to it the cash-in-hand mistake, and we have the makings IMO of a hardening of the opinion of joe public that the Cons and GO/DC are incompetent.

  8. No ‘Thatcher moment’ from the PCS strike threat. No more redundancies & 1,000 personnel to be [re-]hired.

    Mark Serwotka giving press conferences & the government tight-lipped or too busy fretting about the Olympics to say much.

    Public perception will stay 60/20 against the Union, regardless of who ‘won’. PCS won’t much care; their members are keeping their jobs & some who’ve already been made redundant will be able to apply for the 1,000+ new jobs.

    The cash-in-hand question is interesting. Did the question mention tax evasion or is simply having to handle the grubby paper stuff enough to bring out moral superiority in the AB classes? ;-) I guess we’ll find out when the tables go up.

  9. Shevii – GDP figures normally have no impact whatsoever. The exception is, as you say, things that produce headlines of “back in recession” etc.

    If these figures had just shown the country still in recession I would have expected them to make no difference. People think we are in recession anyway, it’s already in the price.

    If they had shown the country was out of recession I would have said no difference either. People would still feel in economic hard times, it would just be a technical economic measurement (between the two dips polls showed most people didn’t think we were out of recession and that things were going to get worse, regardless of the fact that the GDP figures said we were growing)

    These figures, showing an even worse fall in GDP and even deeper recession? I think it is possible there could be some impact from that, though it’s equally possible that people opinions are already pretty much set and it won’t change anything. We shall see.

    There is a tendency for people to vastly overestimate the likely effect of things on voting intention…. and more annoyingly they don’t learn. It does rather frustrate me when I see the same people predicting that some event will have a massive impact on the polls and the Tories are bound to be below 30%, see the polls the next week are unchanged and that they were wrong, but then continue to make the same prediction again, and again, and again after every event. At some point don’t people think “Hold on, I’m letting wishful thinking override my judgement! Maybe I should stop and think”?

    Worse is the unfalsifiable: “I think this will have a negative effect on the polls, but only very slowly over a long time”. Well, thank you for your untestable hypothesis.

    (That isn’t directed at you in particular at all, by the way, you have have the bad luck to have triggered a general rant about people not learning how stable polls are, and how few things have any impact at all!)

    Top hat – tabs for Cash in Hand are now up: http://cdn.yougov.com/cumulus_uploads/document/a08jg8z74t/YG-Archive-CashInHand-250712.pdf

  10. SCOTLAND IS GOING TO LEGALISE SAME-SEX MARRIAGE!

    Thank you AW for all the polling data on the topic, I’m so happy we’ve finally got to this stage!

  11. Mike N

    The really big issue for smart Tories is that, actually, they lost their reputation for economic competence thanks to Lamont, and have never properly got it back. This is, arguably, a big reason they couldn’t get a majority this term as the electorate merely trusted them more than a discredited Labour party, not *actually trusted* them as such.

    As a result, pretty much the worst thing they could have done was chosen an incapable Chancellor, as this was, in the eyes of much of the electorate, their chance to prove they could be trusted again and Osborne may have blown it.

    If you subscribe to the theory (as I do), that elections are usually mostly about the economy, then the Tories have to do something extraordinary in the next 2 years to even stand a chance of victory. I think few reflective Tories would honestly concede that Osborne could engineer the turn-around that they need, considering his track-record of misjudgement.

    I admit, I find him a fascinating figure. I genuinely cannot understand how a traditionally rational and pragmatic party could have got into the position of letting someone so patently unqualified into the position he is in right when a capable Chancellor was the single most important thing for the new Government to get right, and I think political scientists will be puzzling over this question for some time.

  12. GDP is a shocker. Even BBC are saying they ‘did a double take’ & asked the Treasury: were they sure they hadn’t made a typo.

    George Osborne looked & sounded stunned. He has followed the advice of Mervyn King, the Treasury & some of the past Tory Chancellors, no doubt – & he is faced with a contraction which is worse even than the gloomiest forecasts. Even ‘our’ Alec was surprised by -0.7%. :-(

    The Tories might get a pass in the polls because Tory voters were told austerity would hurt before it worked, we’ll just need to wait to see what happens next.

    I expect the Sun will be adding a question to the next YG poll, are you drafting it now, Anthony?

  13. Anthony

    I notice that there is another Olympics poll up on the website with fieldwork 22-23 July:

    http://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/co8o3wrc1d/YG-Archive-Olympics-MainPoll-250712.pdf

    This actually asked some of the same questions as for Sunday (f/w 19-20 July). But their are big discrepancies. For example the agreement with All things considered and with the benefit of hindsight, do you think London should … have bid to host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games? goes from 44% to 53%. A 9% swing is a lot for 3 days (and way outside MoE).

    Similarly interest in the Games has gone from 44% (v 55%) to 51% (v 48%). Obviously you might expect interest to increase in the run up, but not this dramatically. Even if you’re living on a remote rock in the Hebrides you won’t have just started hearing about the Olympics (though if you have, that probably explains why you are so happy).

    Was there some problem with the first sample or are YouGov starting to keep on asking questions till they get the right answer? :P

  14. @Chris Riley

    ‘Economic competence’ is always a bit of an oddity in a Conservative Party that has preached (at least since 1979) that Governments are at best a hindrance to economic growth. From an ideological point of view that sort of means that economic competence is more about not doing things than doing things. When the economy does well they look great, but when it doesn’t it attacks not just their competence, but also their ideology.

    Unlike you I tend to take Nate Silver’s line that although the economy is a factor, it is not a single over-riding factor. The research in the US certainly seems to back this up, and I’d be amazed if it was different over here.

    @AW

    I’m impressed, but slightly concerned, with your adherence to testability – after all most things you poll for can’t be tested in an absolute sense!

  15. My prediction for Thursday night’s YouGov:

    Con 29/30
    Lab 43/44
    LD 10/11

    Just so I can say told you so to AW.

  16. This debate over economic figures and how they actually change public opinion is an interesting one. I was reading Nate Silver’s “FiveThirtyEight” because it’s the big thing in American Polling as of now. (Though I think it’s too focused on too many variables to be a fully effective analysis, I’m not much of an expert though) Anyway, in one of his blog posts was the following:

    “President Obama’s chances of winning the Electoral College fell slightly in Monday’s forecast, to 66.8 percent from 68.0 percent on Saturday.

    Part of the reason is a new round of bad news from Europe, where investors are growing more concerned about the ability of Greece and Spain to meet their bailout obligations. The stock market declined on the European news, which in turn caused a decline in the economic index that our model uses.”

    Considering that the Debt Crisis/Austerity in Europe is one of the big problems in the world economy right now, it is understandable that one would suggest that it’s woes will make things harder for Obama in November, that I will not dispute. However, using the latest European news to determine what Obama’s chances are seems like a fools errand, because it would imply that this news provides a shock which would change public opinion a certain amount. I highly doubt that the latest news increased European and general economic pessimism in a way that will change the election, that already seems to be at a maximum.

  17. @ Nick P

    Good luck with that. :-)

  18. I think with this prolonged but shallow recession, people may end up becoming somewhat accustomed to low economic expectations: thus although things might seem pretty awful, they are not declining sharply enough to drag down VI with it, unlike the more usual sharp, deep recessions such as in 2009.

    nevertheless, I’m sure people would be pleased to see some decent growth at some point. It might be a while.

  19. Personally, I’m expecting some odd polling results whilst the Olympics are on – like a Bank holiday weekend but lasting for longer.
    8-)

  20. Personally, though I fully understand the calls for Osborne’s head, I REALLY cannot understand how Mervyn King has still got his job.

  21. @Thesheep

    I’m not sure the economy is the *single* overriding factor, but I think it’s the most important. A case in point is that, despite what many commentators would have you believe, it wasn’t Iraq, or civil liberties or infighting or whatever cause du jour campaigners would have you believe caused Labour’s downfall, it was only after the economy went badly wrong that they were ousted, and that only half-heartedly.

    The Tories, before that, got through all sorts of social upheaval with few electoral scratches, but once Lamont sang in the bath after we handed over our currency reserves to George Soros and his chums, it was game over for them (I’ll accept that the Major administration might have had a few other hiccups, but nothing a Government with a good economic rep couldn’t have handled).

    Of course, there are other factors that can derail a Government, but, let’s be honest, if a UK Government can commit to a tremendously controversial war on flimsy evidence and still win an election, what else is there?

  22. @Anthony; thanks! That really is a large split. I can’t imagine it’d have any huge impact on the polls, but I guess it reinforces the “out of touch” notion, in that the Conservatives are mostly a party of middle class concerns.

  23. The YG cash-in-hand question does mention the customer receiving a lower price & the potential for tax evasion by the recipient. Thereby adding a clarity which the minister – or at least the reporting of the minister – did not.
    8-)

  24. On the subject above, I’d be interested to see a poll along the lines of: “Do you think the following individual would make a good Chancellor”, with Vince Cable, George Osborne, Ed Balls, Alistair Darling, and William Hague listed. I have the gut feeling Vince Cable would do extremely well.

  25. RM wrote
    ‘Even if you’re living on a remote rock in the Hebrides you won’t have just started hearing about the Olympics (though if you have, that probably explains why you are so happy).’

    :-) :-)

    If the BBC is going to base its studio according to importance of events, should not George Aligiah be sitting in Aleppo?

    AW
    If ABs are more censorious about paying in cash, I am pleased, as usual, to be an exception to their impertinence. Mind i rarely do, but my landlord in Italy last holiday more or less forced me to go several times to the cash machine, which had to be planned, as one could only withdraw €250 at a time on any day. I moaned and he accepted half cash half credit card!

  26. BILL PATRICK

    @” So cash-in-hand payments or a bit of common prudence regarding charity/inheritance? No problem. ”

    Actually it is a problem-reportedly a £2bn problem for HM Treasury.

    …………but as you say, the key criterion is how posh or rich the perpetrators are.

    Definitely :-)

  27. Colin: “love-in” prompted by you of course but its a somewhat childish description of a meeting which many – what I like to call “people” – use.

    So I’m afraid you can’t have any claim to originality

  28. It is just a casual observation, but as politicalbetting.com has got more rabidly right wing over the years, and with it become a profoundly nasty and unpleasant “forum” (read bear pit), it seems that UKPR has become a haunt for almost exclusively centre and left posters.

    I suspect that the 2 trends are not unconnected. Anthony is a great host. Nuff said.

  29. AMBER STAR

    @”No ‘Thatcher moment’ from the PCS strike threat. No more redundancies & 1,000 personnel to be [re-]hired.
    Mark Serwotka giving press conferences & the government tight-lipped or too busy fretting about the Olympics to say much.”

    Actually Damian Green was on Sky-very loose liipped.

    I thought Serwotka’s lips however were visibly tight.

    Still-can’t win ’em all Mark eh ?

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

  30. PAUL CROFT

    @”So I’m afraid you can’t have any claim to originality”

    Don’t be-I wasn’t looking for any.

    Merely to be called “Colin” rather than “people”

    :-) :-)

  31. The Q2 GDP number was certainly a shocker.

    My own view of it’s political impact is that it will come when 2012/13 Deficit forecasts are re-done in the Autumn Statement-and next years Budget.

    At present , DC & GO have taken to talking of ” 20% reduction in the deficit already”

    This is based on :-

    Legacy-2009/10 £ 157 bn
    Actual 2011/12 £ 126 bn

    The 2012 Budget Red Book shows the forecast for 2012/13 Deficit is £ 92 bn-a huge further decrease of £34 bn.

    This is clearly already compromised by interim Public Finances numbers -and the shortfall on forecast tax revenues now staring GO in the face will do further damage.

    Steady reduction of the Deficit is the key objective of policy. Slippage is one thing-already two years have been added to the original timescale.

    But if Deficit actually stopped falling-or worse, started to rise again, that imo would be politically very difficult.

  32. Colin: But I was referring to its general, rather than specific, use. I thought I’d made that clear.

    Anyway, for the record:

    IT WAS COLIN WOT SAID A PERFECTLY NORMAL MEETING WAS A “LOVE-IN”.

    And jolly well done to hime for that.

  33. The two announcements today on jobs-from Jaguar & Hitachi/John Laing are very welcome.

    However, having read of the IoD’s criticism that “Too often, ( government) programmes are moving ahead at glacial speed. “; I couldn’t help wondering why the latter contract has taken 3 years from preferred bidder stage to agreed contract.

    I would love to know whether these appallingly long times are a function of civil service innefficiency ,& lack of appropriate skills, or ministerial prevarication & mind-changing.

  34. PAUL CROFT

    Cheers.

    Much appreciated -enjoy the new flute :-)

  35. PAUL CROFT

    ……..erm I don’t mean to be picky………..but it wasn’t “normal”.

    “Normal” , for the leader of the opposition would be inside the Elysee.

    :”French president Francois Hollande has brushed aside protocol rules to give Ed Miliband a warm public welcome to Paris.
    The president overruled the advice of officials that opposition leaders should be greeted in private and insisted on coming to the steps of the Elysee Palace to shake Mr Miliband’s hand in front of the cameras.
    The move will be taken as a further sign of the developing warmth between the two centre-left politicians and stands in marked contrast to the president’s prickly relationship with Prime Minister David Cameron.”

    UKPA

    Bit of tit for tat it seems :-)

  36. I think the “will you take cash” idea stems from the absolute direct realisation that, having worked hard/saved up/borrowed to getthe money to buy a new kitchen or, say, a new flute, you are handing over £20 in every hundred to pay for a banking crisis or incompetent government …[add your choice]…. and you feel you’d rather not [unless of course you’re bonkers.]

  37. Colin: ” erm I don’t mean to be picky”

    erm….. I think you do Colin.

    [Have you ever been to a “love-in”? What’s it like?]

  38. Lets face facts. The UK economy has got to change back to ‘making things’ and not be so reliant on the service or retail sectors. The banks were providing a false level of security by paying a lot of tax on the back of gambled money. The UK won’t have this level of income going forward.

    So this recession is going to last for quite a while, before any ‘infrastructure projects or investments in manufacturing are going to make any difference.

    The alternative, is that the UK builds up a massive level of ‘armed forces’, with spending switched to defence and we embark on an attempt to rebuild the empire. But probably best to start this away from Europe, as they are not worth taking over.

  39. Judge not, for fear that you will be judged …

    Nobody is asking about how morally correct the whole concept of money is. How is it that a handful of blue, brown and green notes can keep one class in clover and another in rags ?

  40. Border terriers are great – especially our little Rosie.

  41. @R Huckle

    “…The alternative, is that the UK builds up a massive level of ‘armed forces’, with spending switched to defence and we embark on an attempt to rebuild the empire. But probably best to start this away from Europe, as they are not worth taking over…”

    Best time, surely. C’mon, we can get to the Rhine by Saturday and the Dniester by week Friday. Everybody’ll be watching the Olympics, it’ll be easy-peasy. FORWARD!!!… :-)

    Regards, Martyn

  42. @ Martyn

    Everybody’ll be watching the Olympics, it’ll be easy-peasy.
    —————————–
    As most of the UK forces are working at the Olympics, I think there’s a flaw in your otherwise cunning plan. ;-)

  43. scotswaehae

    “SCOTLAND IS GOING TO LEGALISE SAME-SEX MARRIAGE!

    Is that any surprise?

    A majority in each of the two largest parties, and in the cabinet, are for it. Public opinion generally approves more than in England. Two parties have an openly gay leader.

    Then there is the Founding Principles.

    Unitarians, Quakers and Liberal Jews, are ready to carry out S-S weddings as are a fair number of CoS ministers. One of the latter tells me that he sees it as a done deal and a request when it becomes legal will be treated as nothing unusual or controversial.

    A handful of ministers will go to the Free Church as always. I’d guess no more than 5.

    The debate now is about whether it can become law this year or early next year. I’d say eight months or less. Possibly those who are pressing the issue can get it through this year.

    Like it or not, the outcome is not in doubt.

  44. @ R Huckle & Martyn
    “The alternative, is that the UK builds up a massive level of ‘armed forces’, with spending switched to defence and we embark on an attempt to rebuild the empire. But probably best to start this away from Europe, as they are not worth taking over”

    “Best time, surely. C’mon, we can get to the Rhine by Saturday and the Dniester by week Friday. Everybody’ll be watching the Olympics, it’ll be easy-peasy. FORWARD!!!…”

    Why bother, when we can thrown billions at private security companies to do it for us? Much more efficient than that government army nonsense ;)

    @ Colin

    “Bit of tit for tat it seems”

    I don’t think it matters much – the way things are going Cameron will be doing well to cling on to No. 10 until the end of the year.

  45. Ah. Well spotted, that Amber. OK, everybody: spontaneous invasion of Europe is postponed til after the school holidays. Everybody meet back here on August 31st, when we shall crush them under the heels of our…heels. Don’t forget to bring a packed lunch and some sunscreen. VICTORY SHALL BE OURS!

    Regards, Martyn

  46. @ Martyn

    “Best time, surely. C’mon, we can get to the Rhine by Saturday and the Dniester by week Friday. Everybody’ll be watching the Olympics, it’ll be easy-peasy. FORWARD!!!… :-)”

    You have a point. Some would probably like to be taken over. e.g Greece. Italians will be too busy checking their hair and whether they look cool in the mirror, to notice any invasion. Spain will probably just think it is the normal British Summer invasion, looking for a bit of sun. With the French, more difficult as their farmers will mount their usual blockade. Although the French militancy has been a bit quiet in recent years, so maybe a sneeky invasion, via the Euro tunnel or with our Army on sports bikes, with Wiggins Sideburns.

  47. Child Poverty Action Group are ascribing the dreadful GDP figures as being heavily affected by the cuts in child tax credits and otehr benefits.

    Seems entirely plausible to me. Those benefits cuts have sucked a vast amount of demand out of the economy. If Labour can make that link in the public’s consciousness, that could severely undermine support for Plan A and highlight that Plan B is essential.

    There are going to be a lot of worried Tories scurrying around trying to find out what is the reason. And they are going to be very unhappy if benefits cuts are the cause. I don’t think rain and Jubilee can account for it – the OBR spokesperson didn’t sound at all convinced .

  48. The OBR – what a waste of space and money. Surely it should be disbanded?

  49. @R Huckle

    You said “…With the French, more difficult as their farmers will mount their usual blockade. Although the French militancy has been a bit quiet in recent years, so maybe a sneeky invasion, via the Euro tunnel or with our Army on sports bikes, with Wiggins Sideburns…”

    Excellent idea! We’ll invade dressed as thirty-year old Mods. I’ll get the scooters, you get the Parkas. It’s a perfect plan, they’ll never be expecting it…

    @Mike N

    You said “…The OBR – what a waste of space and money. Surely it should be disbanded?…”

    I love the OBR: they have some very nice people working for them, but they are never knowingly correct… :-)

    Regards, Martyn

  50. “Scotland to legalise same-sex marriage.”

    Presumably a kilt issue.

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