The full tables for YouGov’s weekly Sunday Times poll are now online here. There are a couple of questions on the Boris bandwagon, but mostly it deals with the Olympics.

Taking Boris first 39% of people think that David Cameron should remain Tory leader at the next election, 37% think he should step down. As might be expected the largely majority of those wanting David Cameron to go are supporters of opposing parties – the overwhelming majority of Tory supporters (79%) want him to stay, with only 14% thinking he should stand down. Were Cameron to go, Boris Johnson would be the most popular replacement, but is only picked by 24% of people and a third of Tory supporters, so it hardly suggests a great groundswell of support. William Hague is second on 14%, 34% of people say don’t know and 16% say “somebody else”.

The Olympic questions were almost a pleasure to receive on Friday. Most polls of the British public are a litany of grumble and complaint (partly, of course, because of what papers ask about – people being happy with things doesn’t normally make good news). People’s opinion on the Olympics is almost unremittingly positive. People now think hosting the Olympics was the right thing to do by 57% to 29% (compared to 53% to 35% before the Games started), 71% of people now think the Games will be a success, compared to 60% before they began.

74% of people think the Olympics so far have been well organised, and 69% think they are lifting people’s spirits. 11% of people say it has made them more likely to take up sport themselves, though of course, it is one thing to tell a pollster this and a different thing to actually put it into action!

There was also an overwhelmingly positive reception for the opening ceremony. Amongst those people who watched at least some of the opening ceremony, 60% said it was very good, 29% good. Only 10% had a negative opinion of it. 68% said it made them feel proud to be British. Asked to pick their favourite parts of the ceremony the Queen’s appearance with James Bond came top on 29%, followed by the lighting of the cauldron and the opening sequence showing the industrial revolution of British social history (both on 18%).

There was very little sympathy for Aiden Burley’s comments about the ceremony, only 15% said his description of it as “leftie multicultural crap” was fair. Despite the positive reviews for the ceremony people still though too much was spent on it, though there has been a significant shift since July – 52% of people still thought £27m was too much to spend on it (down from 67% in July), 32% thought it was about the right amount to spend (up from 16%).

There are very positive reviews of the BBC’s coverage of the Games. 87% of people who are watching at least some of the Games say the BBC has done a good job in covering it, 82% think the commentators have been well informed. So far respondents say they have most enjoyed watching the swimming (19%) and cycling (17%).

On Ye Shiwen, 46% of respondents think she is probably not using drugs compared to only 15% who think she is. 52% think it was wrong of John Leonard to voice his suspicions.

On Olympic sport, Squash – the only sport asked about that is not an existing Olympic sport or planned to become one – actually had the highest proportion of people thinking it should be. 64% of people thought Squash should be contested at the Olympics, with only 18% saying it shouldn’t be. There was also high (63%) support for trampoline gymnastics remaining an Olympic sport. People thought beach volleyball should be an Olympic sport by 49% to 32%, BMX cycling by 45% to 36% and rugby sevens by 45% to 36%. Golf, due to be introduced at the 2016 Olympic games, was only seen as something that should be an Olympic sport by 21% of people, with 62% thinking it should not be.

Finally Michael Phelps was seen as the greatest Olympian by 20% (of course the survey was conducted on Thursday to Friday, and Phelps has won several more medals since then!), with Steve Redgrave in second place on 17%.

238 Responses to “YouGov on the Olympics so far”

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  1. There has been a rumour going around that people are looking to move outside of Europe if they can, as if the EURO does go down the pan, the UK will also be severely affected. If we start to see a rise in expensive properties going on the market in London and elsewhere, then perhaps the rumour is true.

  2. Labour already has a Corby candidate, Andy Sawyer.

    So, will Boris put up or shut up? Mensch’s majority is small but a celebrity Mayor like Boris should have no worries standing a constituency this close to London.

    Let the games begin – & the Olympics aren’t even over yet!

  3. LM’s resignation presents a major headache for Cameron, but I don’t think we’ll see Boris go for this one. If he did, it would be a big gamble.

    The political obituaries for LM are over the top, IMO. She hasn’t covered herself in glory on the News International story, being one of the weakest members of the select committee, and her many public pronouncements have usually appeared to be far more intent on ingratiating herself with Cameron rather than a serious attempt to explore issues or find her own stance.

    She was clearly a political climber, and highly ambitious, so this raises the obvious question of why she stood in the first place and why she is leaving now.

    To be fair to her, I suspect few outside politics really understand the stresses of being an MP, so her protestations about familial strain may well be genuine. But then, for someone who is feeling such strain so harshly, she did seem to spend an inordinate amount of time putting herself forward for the TV camera’s – no apparent hint of time pressure there.

    Personally I judged her to be one of lesser caliber new MPs, I didn’t see any evidence that he anything materially impressive to contribute, and I’m tempted to view her reasons for resigning as being as false as her much doctored facial features.

    I’ve often posted my thoughts that Cameron’s A list strategy contained the seeds of future problems, and this may well be another sign that ambitious non politcos do not present the greatest source of strength to the PM in times of crisis. Put simply, I think Mensche is highly ambitious, has plenty of other ways she thinks she can earn her living from, and doesn’t want to be on the losing side in 2015.

    Tory MPs ‘spending more time with their families’ has a long tradition as cover for a multitude of sins. I suspect we could see a lot more of this in the years ahead.

  4. 2010 Corby:

    Con 42.2% (+2.3)
    Lab 38.6% (-4.5)
    LD 14.5% (+1.7)

    Since its creation in1983 Corby has gone with the government party at general elections.

    Range of support in seven GEs:

    Con 33.4 – 44.5%
    Lab 38.6 – 55.4%
    LD 7.5 – 20.3%

    UKIP/Referendum Party have polled at around their national average in the seat, but did not have a candidate in 2010 – BNP picked up 4.7% on their first showing. Boris has been on the look-out for a seat close to London… and a safe one.

  5. @jack (9.42am) – yes, that would be worth noting if it brought Australia much more sporting success than our system brings us. I notice they are 24th in the medal table though…

    @amber star – I know other people have mentioned this, but please please stop with the indiscriminate use of emoticons!!

  6. The tories have had a slight differential turnout advantage in the rural parts of Corby but that could be wiped out just by UKIP standing a candidate this time so Labour has a good chance of gaining the constituency by 2000 or slightly more IMO even though there are not so many swing voters in this constituency .

    It was certainly a relatively poor Conservative result in 2010.

  7. Corby looks a nailed-on cert for a Labour win.

    The only real question is where will other parties finish?

    LD to finish 5th? Behind EDL or similar?

    Con to finish 3rd behind UKIP?

  8. The range for Labour should be 36.1 – 55.4%

  9. BillyBob

    I’ll stick you a tenner that Labour get 44% of the turnout give or take 1%.

  10. @jack (9.42am) again – sorry to bang on but this is from the Guardian today:

    ‘The president of Australia’s Olympic Committee John Coates blames his athletes’ failure to achieve the expected gold-medal success from the London Games on a shortage of government funding and a lack of compulsory sport in schools. The failure of Australia’s swimmers to provide the impetus for a gold medal rush led Coates on Monday to downgrade his London medal expectations from 46 to between 30 and 36 – ruling out a predicted top-five finish.

    Australia found itself 24th on the games medals tally at the end of the ninth day of competition, with only one gold medal, 12 silver and seven bronze. Neighbouring New Zealand, with less than a fifth of Australia’s population, was 14th with three gold medals.’

  11. @Jack – I think you’ve perhaps missed the point about school sports. They can’t train athletes to elite standards – as you say, that is the role of the various clubs and associations.
    What schools can do is introduce youngsters to sports and encourage a positive attitude to participation, linking wherever possible to those outside sports clubs.

    Worth noting here that the UK rowing performance director started out coaching rowing while teaching history at a London comprehensive, and the school produced Olympic rowers in the early days of UK’s rowing resurgence.

  12. @ Fareham Grecian

    @amber star – I know other people have mentioned this, but please please stop with the indiscriminate use of emoticons!!
    Loads of people on here use them.

  13. @Chris Todd

    By elections in this parliament have often seen Labour getting back towards 2005/2001 levels of support – that could be anywhere between 43 – 49%. Still a way to go to get to 55% (1997) though.

    Corby really has been tight in the past… 1992 for example:

    Con 44.5%, Lab 43.9%, LD 10.2%

    The 14% for LD in 2010 was their best result since the Liberal/SDP merger in 1988.

  14. Well, well, LM resigns.

    So, a by-election ahead.

    The result will be significant I suggest for DC, NC and EM.

    A wide-margin Lab win will send shock-waves through the Cons, and reinforce EM’s position.

    A narrow-margin Lab win will hurt DC but perhaps not casue too many worries for the Cons. I iamgie a narrow win might lead some to question EM’s leadership and ability to win the next GE.

    A bad result for LDs could see LDs question whether NC is the right person to leaf them and whether staying in coalition is far too damaging. A ‘good’ result will surely help NC.

    Might we see an electoral pact between LDs and Cons, heer?


    I like emoticons.

  15. iamgie = imagine

    leaf = lead

  16. @ Alec

    Re sports, I agree. The UK education system does not embrace sports. Almost all training & competetive events take place outwith school hours. Participants are expected to make their own way there, bring all their own kit etc. The biggest audience they can hope for is a few ‘soccer moms & dads’ who have nothing else to do on a Saturday morning.

    Training hard, turning out for every game & taking an interest in sport & gaining a sports related qualification gets zero credit with most colleges, universities & employers. Unless you are capable of winning an Olympic gold, school sport is of zero value later in life.

    If the UK was serious about making sport part of our lives, they’d have inter-class &/or inter-school matches during school hours. And credit would be given for sports qualifications as well as academic ones, given that sport is said to improve mental acuity, character, team-work etc.

  17. @Amber Star – ” …a constituency this close to London”

    According to google maps the bike ride into Westminster would be just 9 hrs 9 min. :)

  18. Syzygy

    I believe that this effect also occurs for the current crop of journalists and media bods. A recent survey, by Open Democracy, of 24hrs reporting on the BBC indicated that 67% of the reporters were privately educated and over 20% went to Oxbridge. My own survey of BBC news reporters indicated an even higher % were educated privately and that in addition to the 20% being Oxbridge graduates, overwhelmingly they held degrees in English or languages. The only science graduate was Sarah Montague who if I remember correctly took a Biology degree.

    IMO these backgrounds explain an enormous amount about the inadequate way in which the news is framed…

    The Open Democracy story was a bit dodgy (only one day and an untypical one) but there was a fascinating programme on Radio 4’s Thinking Aloud last week about class and the media last week

    Jobs for the Boys

    which showed how much the production of what appears in the media is produced more and more by a smaller and smaller section of society.

    The irony here is that the processes that made the media more elitist are due to structural changes that were supposed to open out the media to ‘competition’. As so often relying on the market to provide diversity or choice or even better value did the exact opposite

  19. @ Alec

    LM’s resignation presents a major headache for Cameron, but I don’t think we’ll see Boris go for this one. If he did, it would be a big gamble.
    It’s his moment, though. Don’t you think he’ll be seen as having ‘bottled out’ if the ball is pitched to him & he lets it sail by?

  20. @Billy Bob

    According to google maps the bike ride into Westminster would be just 9 hrs 9 min.
    LOL :-) Let the train take the strain?

  21. I don’t think the lovely Louise would have been looking forward to standing next to the victorious Labour candidate in 2015 – bad for her image.

    Amber: Smiley-things:

    “Please sir, those boys doing it as well” is NOT an excuse suitable for an adult. Neither is the use of smileys.

    I know for a fact that neither of the Ed’s use them as I get regler Lab Party e-mails.

  22. I should’ve considered the possibility of a Con win in Corby…

    This would generally strengthen DC’s position, and seriously raise questions about EM.

    And if BoJo decides to stand? I doubt he will, but what if he does and wins? IMO, it is then a matter of days before DC is replaced as leader of the Cons.

  23. @Amberstar – On school sports, I was actually saying the complete opposite. There IS a lot of competitive sports in state schools (Labour increased this significantly BTW) state schools have a good record at getting pupils started on the journey to elite levels, and my point was the complete reverse of what you have just posted – the actual evidence suggests that the oft stated ‘state schools don’t do sports’ is a myth, consistently pushed by those who went to private schools (and a few others, apparently).

    On Boris – he’s put himself between a rock and a hard place. He promised London he would serve a full term – breaking this could hurt him. Yet he is clearly aggressively positioning for the PM’s role. Problem.

    I’m also not sure he will want to contest 2015 as PM. I’m sure he would like to succeed Cameron, but once that particular election is lost. However, I could well be wrong and maybe he believes he can deliver that majority.

    Whatever Boris thinks, I don’t believe he is the right man for the job. Perfect for Mayor, but PM would need a reinvention on the man, and I’m not sure he’s capable of that.

    I really like his style though. Apparently he turns up the Olympic Cobra meetings with bicycle clips, little rucksack and helmet which he plonks onto the table. He constantly mutters humorous comments under his breath and he is the only minister or civil servant who refuses to address Cameron as ‘Prime Minister’.

  24. Billy Bob

    Are you sure your not mixing it up with Corby in Lancashire. I think Bradly Wigens would ride to Corby in Northamtonshire in about 1.5 hours.

  25. Paul Croft
    Earlier you mentioned a number of things you thought council tax paid for. May i suggest you look at your CT demand and supporting info and accounts? You did keep it didn’t you?

    Most of local authority expenditure is raised via central taxation and distributed according to ‘Barnett’ and specific grants.

    It used to be about four fifths in the 90s but governments (especially when Gordy was Chancellor) lowered it to two thirds. It is thus still an unfair tax, even since the failed poll tax attempt to make it less so, and it is getting less fair as the process continues.

  26. Alec
    You think BJ is ‘perfect for Mayor’.

    Which part of strategic infrastructure and environmental long term planning do you consider his forte?

    Of what specific knowledge of local police watch committee arrangements do you think he is master?

    Apparently turning up to meetings in bicycle clips and rudely muttering while others are speaking is an advantage for the London Region? :-)

  27. @rogerrebel

    From Corby (Lancs) would be over 21 hrs by bike to Westminster according to google maps.

    They seem to think that averaging much beyond 10mph over 90+ or 210+ miles is a bit of an ask for mere mortals.

  28. @ Alec

    I wasn’t saying the opposite to what you said; I was referring to this:

    “They can’t train athletes to elite standards – as you say, that is the role of the various clubs and associations.
    What schools can do is introduce youngsters to sports and encourage a positive attitude to participation, linking wherever possible to those outside sports clubs.”

    Which basically says that state school sports should encourage a positive attitude to participation. That’s what I was agreeing with – but then I went on to say that schools shouldn’t just ‘encourage a positive attitude’ they should embrace sports & give it a bigger place in the curriculum.

  29. @Howard – Quite right to pull me up on that. I meant his persona is the kind of thing people want in a mayor. I didn’t mean to imply anything about whether he was good or otherwise at the job, but a showman for mayor might be good, whereas gravitas could be better for PM.

  30. @Amberstar – understood and agreed.

  31. Apparently he turns up the Olympic Cobra meetings with bicycle clips, little rucksack and helmet which he plonks onto the table. He constantly mutters humorous comments under his breath and he is the only minister or civil servant who refuses to address Cameron as ‘Prime Minister’.
    What a guy! Gosh, I wish my colleagues were like him. Being ill mannered & constantly attention seeking during meetings; that’s exactly the kind of person I’d think of as an asset to the team. :roll:

  32. @ Alec

    I thought you were being facetious when you posted the comment about Boris in meetings! :oops: I didn’t intend to be sarcastic.

  33. I suspect the facts are that indulgence in sport is more likely to land you in Casualty than anything else. Five a side football crocked my ankle when i was 32 and left me with a slight limp and weakness there for life..

    Surely a nation’s health is more accurately measured by personal girth and degree of substance misuse (fags and booze chiefly) than anything else?

    Polls (see, on topic) shew that people do not consider themselves overweight even when they or their children are obese.

  34. @Amberstar – no offence taken. I just rather like the idea of not massaging the PMs ego and ditching the aires and graces of the powerful.

  35. I do agree with Alec (oops, Amber and I are so judgemental :-) ) that the use of first names by colleagues is to be recommended, once clearly admitted by each. I also admired Ken Clarke who never refers to anyone except in that way. It proves that he would always be an excellent coalition partner.

    He always referred to Lady Thatcher as ‘Margaret’ which must have been very annoying (to her)..

  36. @Alec – “I don’t believe he is the right man for the job.”

    Neither does the author of “Just Boris: A Tale of Blond Ambition”:


  37. Downing Street has announced that Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister, will make a statement about Lords reform this afternoon.

  38. @Amber Star
    “Downing Street has announced that Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister, will make a statement about Lords reform this afternoon.”
    BBC reporting, “Nick Clegg to announce Lords reform being abandoned”

  39. … in which case, I think now’s a good time for the Lib Dems to counter the image that the Tories always walk over them on everything and vote down the boundary changes.

    There will be howls of outrage over this, but only from Tory supporters who won’t be voting Lib Dem anyway. I don’t see a problem myself – this time, the Lib Dems are fully justified in saying the deal on constitutional reform’s off.

  40. I bet you Nick Clegg will say that the HOL reform is not a priority given the economic challenges, but that it is right for the boundary changes and resizing of constituences to go ahead, as that it is an issue about fairness.

    Wonder what deal Nick Clegg has done with Cameron, in lieu of dropping HOL reform. If Clegg cannot show that he has stood up for the LD’s in coalition, it does not look good for them. Voters may view this as weakness and therefore polling for the LD’s may not improve.

  41. Howard: “council tax”

    Have never mentioned it. I demand a withdrawal of whatever I was accused of.

  42. If Nick Clegg really does say something that weak, he’s going to be in big big big trouble with his own party. Up to now, the grass roots Lib Dem membership has been surprisingly patient. That may well be the final straw.

    If he’s got any sense he’ll defer the issue until either i) the whole of the Lib Dem front bench make a calculated decision to support it, or ii) he allows the Lib Dems to split on this and argue that was a decision made by the party.

  43. Mensch resigning (while sad) is just what we’ve been waiting for, a true test of Cameron vs Miliband.So far Labour have only been able to hold onto their own seats with increased majorities, the opportunity hasn’t arisen so far in this parliament to take a government seat.

    Corby being a marginal will also add to the mix, if Cameron can’t keep seats like Corby, then he won’t be PM after 2015.

    While I do thoroughly expect Labour to win, and think Ed will be PM in 2015, if they were to lose this seat, I think we’d see questions about Ed’s leadership arise again.

    I can’t see a major candidate like Boris going for the seat, it would harm his reputation as he only just won the Mayoralty again 3 months ago, and he gave up being an MP to be Mayor. It will be two unknown candidates with Labour getting a decent majority, of around 4,000. Enough to so that the Cons can’t call it close, but close enough so that it will still be listed as a marginal target in 2015.

    As Amber said, let the games begin.

  44. Made up that Ms Mensch is departing these shores – the very epitome of a sycophantic, fly-by-night.

    @ Mike N – “And if BoJo decides to stand? I doubt he will, but what if he does and wins? IMO, it is then a matter of days before DC is replaced as leader of the Cons.”

    How on earth would that work? Surely he couldn’t be leader of the Conservative Party (let alone PM) and Mayor at the same time? Has he really got the stomach for the scrap that a Corby by-election would be?? Like you, I’d be surprised…..

    And on emoticons – Amber wouldn’t be Amber without the signature shades, Colin wouldn’t be Colin without the stream of smileys, leave them be!

  45. @R Huckle

    Apparently the deal is that Mr Clegg has been promised the safe Tory seat of Corby…

  46. If DC has dropped the HOL reforms it would be intresting to see EdM offer to revise the current bill and introduce it from the opposition bench.

    How would the Lib Dems react to this? It would be a very direct challange to the coalition especially if the Lib Dem membership and back bench supportted the new bill.

    Interesting times!

  47. If NC does not state that the LDs will vote against the boundaries reform everyone will see him and the LDs as utterly useless and makers of idle threats that they cannot deliver. Moreover, many will say that ‘coalition’ does not or cannot work in the UK.

    I’ve said it several times over the past two years, but entering coaltion was the biggest single political strategic error for the LDs.

    Even the spurious claims that the LDs were doing it for the sake of the country in order to deal with the economy is shown to be hollow as the economy has got worse not better.

  48. I suspect that the small increase in Lib Dem support we’ve seen over the last couple of months was due to Clegg’s appearing to be set on HoL reform. Partly because it’s the sort of thing that many Lib Dems care about, but mainly because many ex-LDs were pleased to see Clegg to stand up for Lib Dem policy on anything.

    If HoL reform is now binned, I can see tremendous problems for Clegg both externally and within the Party. If nothing else it’s surprising that he didn’t try to put it off till after the conference season.

  49. Woodsman

    I can’t see BoJo standing for Corby. (Im not sure Corby could stand for BoJo, either!)

    But in a way the timing is right for BoJo, and perhaps the Cons, too.


    It could be that Clegg wants the announcement made during the Olympics, when there isn’t much public attention on politics.

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