The full tables for the YouGov/Sunday Times poll are now up here. On the regular leader trackers David Cameron is at minus 25 (from minus 23 last week), Ed Miliband at minus 27 (from minus 20 last week), Nick Clegg at minus 54 (from minus 52). Cameron has the best rating again, but realistically him and Miliband have much the same rating and have done for the last couple of months.

While the GDP figures this week don’t seem to have had any effect upon voting intention, their impact is visible on some of the economic questions. Economic ratings and optimism remain very low. 80% of people think the economy is currently in a bad state (including 35% who think it is in a very bad state, up from 26% last week before the GDP figures were announced). Only 25% think the government is handling the economy well. 51% of people say they personally feel worse off financially than they did a year ago and only 10% of people expect their financial position to get better over the next 12 months.

The support for a change of economic strategy continues to grow – now only 28% of people say the government should stick to their current strategy compared to 45% who would like to see growth prioritised instead. David Cameron & George Osborne’s lead over Ed Miliband and Ed Balls on who people would most trust on the economy has also fallen, now down to 3 points. 34% would trust Cameron & Osborne more, 31% Miliband and Balls more.

Asked about various changes to economic policy spending more on large infrastructure projects and cutting taxes seem to be the most popular options (and no, that isn’t necessarily contradictory! YouGov presented them both as being funded from borrowing – there was very little support for bigger cuts). People would support more spending on big infrastructure projects by 46% to 37%, the most popular option. 41% of people would support cutting taxes to encourage growth, but 43% would be opposed. There is significantly less support for reversing spending cuts, supported by 32% but opposed by 48%, or reducing spending more quickly, supported by 24% but opposed by 60%.

Support for George Osborne has continued to drop. Only 19% of people think he should remain in his role with 52% of people thinking he should be replaced. Amongst Conservative supporters only 48% think Osborne should stay, compared to 28% who think he should go and 24% who don’t know. The most popular replacement for Osborne remains Vince Cable, but this is again a largely partisan response – Labour and Liberal Democrat supporters would like Vince Cable to take over, but Conservatives would prefer Hague or Clarke.

Finally on the economy YouGov asked whether people believed the GDP figures, or the claims of some commentators that the unemployment figures suggest that the economy is actually doing better. The majority (61%) of people think the economy is as bad as the official figures suggest, only 18% of people think the employment figures are a better indicator and the economy is, in fact, doing better than the official figures suggest.

Moving onto “cash in hand”, 64% of people say they have paid a tradesman “cash in hand”, but only 26% say they have done this in the knowledge that they were intending to avoid tax. 30% of people say they have asked for a discount for paying cash-in-hand. The majority of people think that it is not wrong to pay cash-in-hand, or to ask for a discount for doing so. However, 57% of people think it is wrong to pay cash-in-hand if you know the person you are paying intends avoiding paying tax on it.

Finally on the Olympics there is growing optimism that they will be a success – 60% of people now think they will (up from 53% a week ago), with only 15% thinking they won’t be successful. People think they will improve Britain’s image abroad by 50% to 7% thinking they will damage it. The survey was, of course, done before the opening ceremony – I expect we’ll have it asked again during the Games so we can see how figures for interest and if the Games have been a success go up or down.

158 Responses to “More from YouGov/Sunday Times”

1 2 3 4
  1. @Roger Mexico

    “The real danger is that Conservative politicians themselves will start to fall for this self-delusional nonsense – believing their own propaganda. The tiny, narcissistic politico-media-PR world they inhabit tends to encourage this – the spin is not just more important than the facts but becomes the ‘true’ reality. Unfortunately when the results of decisions taken from this viewpoint meet the real world, the consequences are unexpected and unpleasant.”

    We are indeed seeing a concerted attempt by the authorities to talk up the economy in the face of reality. Whilst I share what seems to be your disquiet that such spin is no substance for concrete policies to inject some demand into the UK economy, at least the spin may help to minimise a potential further collapse of economic confidence following some shocking GDP figures. So in a sense you can’t blame the authorities for that reaction.

    I am though struck by the contrast with the middle of 2010. At that point, it suited the same politicians to paint the UK economy they had inherited in the worst possible light in order to justify an austerity programme of unprecedented severity. No attempt there to draw attention to growth of over 2% over the past four quarters, or of 1.1% in Q2 2010 alone, all of which is now well and truly in reverse. I am sure that the rapid resultant collapse of confidence was made worse by that unremitting message of gloom.

  2. Alex Harvey
    “…whereby companies would receive the unemployment benefit of any long-term unemployed people they hired as a sort of ‘offset’ to their wages.”

    There is something similar in place but I believe it is quite restricted in scope and the payments made to participating employers is in the form a ‘grant’ and must meet certain EU requirements which I guess are to do prevent unfair competitive advantage.
    I think you may find that the idea of ‘paying’ the JSA of formerly long-term unemployed to employers might clash with EU rules.(But I could be wrong about the EU requirements.)

    There is also the argument that NMW may well be held down to encourage employment.

  3. Of course, a higher NMW with a proper fiscal policy to invest the higher tax rates therefrom would decrease unemployment as well… but I am an old centre-leftie.

  4. @Colin – the internet – I hadn’t thought of that!

    You are quite right – shop closures may well not paint a true picture of the real economy, so scrub my last post.

    @Roger Mexico and @Phil – I don’t think we should be too critical of politicians talking up or down the economy for their own ends – Labour is doing this every bit as much as the Tories, and this is politics.

    However, I think there is a genuine debate to be had here with the disparity between GDP figures and the employment and tax revenue stats. Where I think this debate is heading in the wrong direction is that too many people are claiming one set of data is correct and the other wrong, and too few people are trying to examine the possibility that both could be compatible – which is, in my view, the most likely option.

  5. @Alex Harvey

    “Governing parties do always lose members though – Labour saw a massive slump 97-2010.”

    Fair point, although I think you’ll find that, not a long time after Cameron became their leader in 2005, the party started to lose members whilst still in opposition. This at a time when you would have thought that new members would have flocked to the cause, rather as they did in the Labour party in the 1994-97 period up to the General Election. Blair frenzy was then at its peak and the party got to the dizzying heights of 450,000 members by 1997. Membership levels did then decline markedly through the governing years, admittedly, and by 2010 they stood at no more that 120,000, although I gather that they’ve gained 65,000 new members in the last couple of years under Miliband’s leadership.

    Does any of this matter though in these days of disillusionment with party politics and when a general apathy stalks the land? The days of mass party memberships have obviously long gone, but they do matter in terms of party financing and foot-slogging capability on the ground come election time. Low membership and disappearing councillors usually spells trouble at General Election time and I wonder if this double whammy might now be creeping up on the Tories; a party still suffering from a near death experience under Major in the mid to late nineties. I still don’t think, on the ground, they’ve ever really recovered. There are lot of moribund Tory Party local organisations around now, certainly in my part of the woods, where once they were strong.

  6. On the real economy, there has been a big fall in new mortgage approvals and net mortgage lending, with the mortgage approvals numbers being of particular significance.

    Part of this could still be the unwinding of the stamp duty holiday, but even so, these figures are significantly worse than analysts expectations, which presumably factored in such effects.

    Similarly, the BoE has just announced a big fall in the M4 broad money supply. In June it fell 1.6% on the month and 5.2% year on year – the biggest annual fall ever recorded.

    Again, these statistics are entirely consistent with the very poor GDP numbers.

  7. Rather than speculate on whether the GDP figures are correct, why not just wait and see. It’s obvious from this forum that interpretations are clearly along party lines.

    Either way, even with upward corrections, the figures are pretty dire.

  8. @Alex

    One point that has to date escaped comment (I think). Q2 2012 is Q1 2012/13 in financial year terms, so it coincides with a start of an even more severe financial year for the public sector than the one ending in the previous quarter. So, with the exception of those who subscribe to neo-Con doctrines of “crowding out” and the like, you would expect some sort of further retrenchment in the public spending elements of GDP from Q2 2012.

    Also, I share your view that apparent “inconsistencies” of GDP and unemployment data are no reason to doubt either.

  9. Going back to the opening ceremony the exclusion of Python, Dickens, Shakespeare et al was compounded by the brevity of the Stones, Beatles cameo and the extended performance of the most appallingly phrased version of Abide With Me that I’ve ever heard – non-musician members of my family even commented on it. This from a young singer who most of the population will never have heard of and will almost certainly be completely unknown in the relatively near future.

    Without always harking back to the past I do think longevity should play some role in assessing suitability fot such exposure.

  10. Sorry, Alec not Alex

  11. That’s fine, I agree with him on that so no problem ;)

  12. @ Paul Croft

    Emile Sandes version of Abide with me, was fantastically well done. It was deliberately phrased in the way that it was, as a more gentle and emotional performance. It related to a short piece for the victims of the 7/7 bombings and was backing to a choreographed dance routine . Emile has a fantastic voice and she could have belted it out in the normal fashion.

    Suggest that you watch it again, perhaps while not under the influence of drink and try to understand what the dance routine was portraying. If you open your mind, you may realise what you missed.

  13. As a case study to demonstrate the occasional (at least) irrationality of political betting markets, can anyone better this:

    Even today, after a ConHome poll in which his support was too low even to meet minimum thresholds for statistical significance, Osborne is still 2nd favourite to become next Conservative leader.

  14. @ALEC”the internet – I hadn’t thought of that! You are quite right – shop closures may well not paint a true picture of the real economy, so scrub my last post.”
    I don’t think you were far wrong, though. High streets full of shops that have closed or been replaced by charity shops and the consequent reduction in local job opportunities certainly feed a mood that things are getting worse, even if that perception is misleading.

  15. @PaulCroft,

    “Without always harking back to the past I do think longevity should play some role in assessing suitability fot such exposure.”

    Not if Paul McCartney’s performance was anything to go by. Or most of the old timers at the Jubilee concert – only Tom Jones and Shirley Bassey came out of that with any credit.

    The Olympics should always be forward-looking IMO.

  16. “This at a time when you would have thought that new members would have flocked to the cause, rather as they did in the Labour party in the 1994-97 period up to the General Election.”

    Funilly enough this was the exact period that I resigned from the Labour Party and tended to vote Green where possible!


    Ah-I can see that you have reverted to default mode-they are just saying that -they don’t really mean it-they can’t -they are Tories. :-)

    Don’t be too hard on Hitchens. He was after all a Trot . & Labour Party member. They do tend to go a bit Ga Ga when they see the light.

  18. PHIL

    @We are indeed seeing a concerted attempt by the authorities to talk up the economy in the face of reality.”

    Are we?

    I have read a few economic journalists trying to make sense of it .

    But “the authorities” ??

    Which “authorities” , and what did they say?

  19. The Police apparently lost the electronic keys to Wembley Stadium.

    They thought first , that they had been stolen.

    Then they discovered that they had been lost by a police team who had returned to check the venue several weeks after it had been secured and sealed by colleagues.

    I think this prompts major questions about the role of the Public Sector in Policing. Any plans to increase Public Sector involvement should be stopped until the recruitment & training practices of that sector are reviewed by a Judge.

    Indeed the whole question of Public Sector involvement in Public Services provision is brought into question after this typically slipshod & cynical attitude to contractual obligations is exposed……………….etc. etc.


  20. @Ambivalentsupporter – “Rather than speculate on whether the GDP figures are correct, why not just wait and see. It’s obvious from this forum that interpretations are clearly along party lines.”

    It matters not a jot what we each think on here, but in the real world this debate matters enormously. It’s the central question of economic and political policy, and depending on which side is correct, the truth matters hugely.

  21. @Colin – nice one. Although I suspect that you would agree to there being some quantitative difference between losing a set of keys and failing to deliver several thousand members of security staff to the venues on time?

  22. “We have just stunned the world with what was the best opening ceremony ever produced – and by quite a margin. Danny Boyle’s filmic mixture of Blake, Dickens, Tolkien, JK Rowling etc etc has confirmed London’s status as the global capital of art and culture. Right-wing critics should be reassured that the meaning of the Mary Poppins-Dementors clash has been widely misunderstood. I am told by one figure close to proceedings that the bellicose nanny figure was intended by Danny Boyle to stand for Mrs Thatcher in her struggles with the NUM and other militant trade unionists. So that’s all right, then, eh! In any case, the Queen has made her first cinematic appearance – in the Bond movie segment – and deepened the admiration in which she is held in Britain and around the world. James Bond and the Monarchy – not to mention The Eton Boating Song… How can anyone call that Lefty propaganda?”


    Priceless :-)

    Go Boris:-

    One teeny quibble-why is that Dancing for Horses stuff an Olympic sport?

  23. ALEC

    I suppose that depends on whether they left it locked, or unlocked.

    But anyway-I am afraid that The Plod do not usually feature highly in my Public Sector Service Providers of The Year Awards.

  24. @Colin

    That remains my impression from what I read and heard last week. And I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you gained a completely different one.

  25. PHIL

    Yes, I too have read financial journalists on the topic.

    But you said “Authorities”.

    I ask again-which Authorities & what did they say?

  26. Good Afternoon All.

    I thought the Opening Ceremony was a wonderful social History of Britain. Shakespeare was enacted at the start.
    Abide with Me was deeply spiritual, I believe, especially in the context of the dancing.

    Some things have to be cut from our ‘island story’ for a one hour show.

    The ECONOMY.
    I really think hysteria is taking over; we are nowhere near the 1929-31 catastrophe.

  27. @Alec,

    “It matters not a jot what we each think on here, but in the real world this debate matters enormously. It’s the central question of economic and political policy, and depending on which side is correct, the truth matters hugely.”

    But when the vast majority/everyone on here is incapable of unbiased, unpartisan analyses, any speculation is merely along party lines. This renders any conclusions drawn completely meaningless.

  28. @Chris Lane

    Well, technically the slump has been worse than 29-31. I think people are saying it’s the worst in this century.

  29. @Colin

    Forgive me, my memory’s so poor nowadays that even after nearly a week I can’t remember exactly who said or wrote what, but I can tell you hand on heart that my impression was that the “authorities” (meaning public figures who chose to comment as opposed to mere financial journalists) were trying to give the impression that the figures weren’t really all that bad and we should thus look on the bright side (i.e. the figures were being talked up).

    So, having answered your question honestly and to the best of my ability, without cheating back by referencing to the internet to see if I was right, can I ask you – can you recall precisely what did you read or hear and from whom to make you dispute my comment?

  30. @Alex Harvey.
    I am very sorry to contradict, but this country is in a totally different place from where we were in 199-1931. We are not in a Slump.

    It was wonderful, IMHO as they say, that Danny Boyle opened with four national songs, three of which are prayers.

  31. PHIL

    Thanks for that.

    It wasn’t me-but you-who claimed the “Authorities” were seeking to downplay the official GDP numbers.

    I just asked for evidence & references because so far as I am concerned :-

    The CoE has not said the GDP numbers are wrong-nor to my knowledge has anyone in the Treasury.

    I have not heard any reports of any Government Minister saying GDP is better than reported.

    BoE ditto.

    But I accept that you cannot remember .

  32. ALEX

    Unemployment peaked at over 20% in the 1930s.

    It is around 8% at present.

  33. I think there are some similarities to post-war austerity.

    But I also think we have not travelled far enough from the start of the process to know how bad things will get. Looking at one measure will not tell us that much.

    No two recessions are the same. Except they are not much fun if you’re at the sharp end.

  34. @Colin

    Then were at cross purposes. Neither of us has heard the anyone in authority say that the figures are “wrong” as you put it. I vaguely recall the ONS referring to their estimates being more uncertain than usual, but that is different. What I was referring to was the spin being put on the figures – factors such as the bad weather and the bank holiday being used to try and paint a context in which to interpret (correct) figures. It is that spin that I recall.

  35. KEITH P.
    As I have written here before, in the 1930’s my Mum’s Dad who served with the BEF could not find work on Cardiff Docks, and had to have food stamps in exchange for the house furniture.

    Post 1945v austerity with fierce rationing is not being repeated here in England now.

    Boyle’s Film on the NHS reminded me of how far we came, despite Churchill’s speech saying that my Grandad and his sons who stood for Labour in 1945 would be as bad as The Gestapo. (They also served in ww2)

    Itaque, the tough times today are so dfifferent. Maybe that is why Aidan Burley was so angry with Danny Boyle.

  36. @ Ambivalent

    I am going to give my incredibly partisan view:

    The London ‘plod’ are not on my Christmas card list at the moment. Hackgate, Ian Tomlinson… losing/ misplacing a set of keys is a minor infraction compared to what has recently been seen!

    Are G4S etc. any better value for money, more effective or efficient? No, IMO, they are as bad or possibly worse in some aspects. We need government + local government that solves the issues with the London Police force(s), not a transition from bad to potentially worse with nothing resolved.

  37. @Chris Lane

    It depends on what you mean by “we”.

    In the case of the UK, it’s estimated that it took just over 4 years to restore GDP to the level it began at when the 1929 recession commenced. But four years on from 2008, the UK’s GDP remains well below the levels reached then and is once again heading back down after a brief recovery a couple of years back. So the 1929-1933 and 2008-? recessions are comparable in the UK, and if anything in pure GDP terms this one’s worse.

    On the other hand, in terms of the change in world GDP this is nothing like as bad as the 1929-1933 period, because the strong recovery in North America, the BRIC economies etc. pulled the world economy out of recession fairly quickly, and even though that recovery’s slowing it’s yet to go into reverse.

  38. In terms of GDP contraction/length of time, this recession is worse. Naturally, the 20s being a far less enlightened time unemployment could soar a lot more easily – let’s not forget it averaged 8% throughout the 20s even when the economy was doing well.

  39. @CL1945 – “I really think hysteria is taking over; we are nowhere near the 1929-31 catastrophe.”

    This did bring a smile to my face, as I’m sure a few months ago you posted reference to the 1930’s in one of your several entries bemoaning the spread of food banks in southern England.

    Clearly, we are not where we where in the Great Depression in terms of social impacts. What is very interesting though, is that on the technical numbers of GDP impact and the scale of the credit shock, I think we have surpassed the 29-31 period – or at least come very close to doing so.

    That this has not yet transferred to anything like the same level of real world impacts says much about a greater level of social awareness and basic civilisation – could I terms it ‘The Welfare State’ perhaps?

    There is a long way to go yet, but we remain prepared to be far more gracious in our dealings with the less fortunate than in previous generations.

    On the Euro crisis; Confusion in Euro land. Markets clearly believe the ECB is about to launch mass bond purchasing. Many Germans seem to disagree. Crunch time – within a few days quite likely, we will discover which way this crisis will fall, from it’s currently finely balance point of unstable equilibrium.

    On the Olympics opening ceremony; Having just read Melanie Philips rather grumbling take on this, I have been struck at the odd role reversal between left and right on this. Traditionally, it’s po faced, overly serious lefties who complain about inappropriate images or representations in national festivities (ref the jubilee and ‘what about the workers?’ etc).

    Now we are treated to the right wing commentariat mumbling and grumbling about ‘this this isn’t really British’ etc. It’s all quite funny. Their response to similar occurrences when the boot is on the other foot is usually to suggest that people get a sense of humour and that it’s only a bit of fun. Perhaps they should take a dose of their own prescriptions.

  40. On the subject of the Olympics, has anyone been watching the Archery? It’s oddly compelling; I’ve decided to support the Danish woman for no particular reason.

  41. Does Andrew Sentance count as an ‘authority’? If yes, then Phil apologised too soon:

    According to Mr Sentance, if we adjust GDP for everything + the kitchen sink, the underlying UK economy has grown about 1% over the past year:

    “In the three months March to May, output in the services sector was up 1.3pc on a year ago but manufacturing production was down 1.6pc. Averaging these figures (with services given a higher weighting because it is much bigger than manufacturing) produces underlying growth of about 1pc over the past year. This is not spectacular. But it is a very different picture from the headline GDP estimate released last week, which shows a decline of nearly 1pc.

    “So, once we strip out all the erratic factors, including the impact of the Jubilee public holiday in June, the picture that emerges is an economy that is growing slowly rather than shrinking. And this is easier to reconcile with the picture from the labour market of a rising jobs total.”

    Recession denier? :-)

  42. @Amberstar – I read his article and I noted that he didn’t mention the apparent big loss of productivity within the ONS employment data.

  43. – “Syria’s most senior diplomat in the UK has quit his post in protest at the “violent and oppressive” actions of the regime of president Bashar Assad, the Foreign Office said.

    In a blow to Damascus, chargé d’affaires Khaled al-Ayoubi informed the British authorities that he was “no longer willing” to represent the government amid the brutal repression of rebels.”

  44. @Amber Star

    Goodness knows where we’d be now if the rest of the MPC had followed Sentance’s calls for interest rate rises in 2010 and 2011.

    Anyway, it wasn’t an apology, nor a retraction. It’s just I’m not willing to go back and double-check in detail whether an impression that I formed a week back from comments made then remains correct. If someone else wants to cite evidence that contradicts that then matters would be different.

  45. @ Phil,

    I was using poetic licence, sorry. Facts are sacred but I like to jazz up everything else. ;-)

  46. NickP,
    I would suggest that if the Labour party learn anything from the opening ceremony, it’s that ‘This is for everyone’ is an amazing slogan.
    “Britain is for everyone”, “The NHS is for everyone”, “Education is for everyone” etc

  47. @Phil – without also going back through the entire thread, my assumption on this is that you are correct in saying that a number of commentators have tried to argue that the GDP figures are incorrect. Some of these have done this for political reasons, while for others it is to back up their individual views of the economic situation and possibly their past predictions. This was indeed, quite prevalent when the figures came out (as indeed it was when the last set of GDP figures were published).

    Where (I think!) @Colin was challenging you was in your use of the word ‘authorities’. Using this term normally implies the government, and I took Colin’s challenge to you as being asking for evidence of this.

    To be fair to Colin, I don’t think there is much evidence of this. The government in general seem to have kept fairly quiet on this, for understandable reasons. ‘These figures are [email protected], but you know, they’re really not as [email protected] as they look’ tends not to be a great political stance.

    Reading what you both originally posted, I think you are both correct in what you meant to say. It’s just the way you each said it is what we need to debate.

  48. @RHuckle

    “Cameron a curse ?”

    My beloved Villa have been in steep decline ever since he declared himself a supporter.

    I wish he’d go off and support Birmingham City!

1 2 3 4