This week’s YouGov results for the Sunday Times are now up here.
The topline voting intention figures are CON 35%, LAB 41%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 7%. The six point Labour lead is unusual, typically YouGov have been showing Labour leads of around 9-10 points for the last few months. In the absence of any big announcements or developments that could explain a big drop, I would urge caution… sure, it could be the sign of some Conservative recovery, but just as likely it is random sample error. The rest of the survey concentrates on the economy, wealth taxes, Nick Clegg, Heathrow and honours.
28% of people think the government’s economic policy is basically right (including almost three-quarters of Tory supporters), 56% think it is basically wrong. People unhappy with the current strategy though are divided over what changes they would make – 24% of them would like bigger spending cuts to fund tax cuts, 21% would like the opposite – tax increases to reduce spending cuts. 17% would like more short-term borrowing to reduce spending cuts, 4% would like more short-term borrowing to fund tax cuts. 35% say they would like something else or that they don’t know.
Turning to the question of a wealth tax, 57% of people support the principle of such a tax, with 29% opposed. The most popular cut off point for a wealth tax is £1 million (supported by 34%). 19% would support a lower threshold than this, 35% a higher one. There is a noticable regional pattern here, with people in London much more likely to oppose a wealth tax and supporting higher thresholds if there is one.
Arguments about taxes on the rich damaging the country do not have much cut through. While 66% people think that there is some risk that high taxes on the wealthy will drive them abroad, two-thirds of them still think it is the right thing to do under the present circumstances. 48% of people think that higher taxes on the rich will raise more money even taking into account this risk (31% disagree). Overall 39% of people think higher taxes on the wealthy would help an economic recovery compared to 18% who think it would damage the chances of an economic recovery (31% think it will make no real difference).
Moving onto questions about Nick Clegg, 17% of people see him as an asset to the government compared to 58% who think he is a liability. These figures are almost identical to George Osborne (16% asset, 58% liability) putting the two of them as the lowest rated of the politicians YouGov asked about. The most positively rated by some distance was William Hague – 43% of people think he is an asset, compared to 29% who think he is a liability.
30% of people say that Clegg should remain as leader, compared to 40% who think he should be replaced. However, asked whether they think the Liberal Democrats would do better at the next election if they keep Clegg or replace him only 18% think they’d do better with Clegg, compared to 53% who think they would do better if they changed. Amongst the Liberal Democrat party’s own supporters 60% think that the party should keep Nick Clegg… but only 31% think that the party would do better with Clegg at the next election. 47% of Lib Dem supporters think they would do better with someone else.
Amongst those who think the Lib Dems would do better if they changed 28% think they would do best under Vince Cable, far above all the other Lib Dem politicians in the question but less than those who said None or Don’t know (43%). A significant part of questions like this are simple name recognition – Vince is a very well known politician, while other serious contenders like Tim Farron are very little known outside the circles of we political anoraks!
Turning to the subject of Heathrow, 35% of people support Heathrow expansion, 32% oppose it and 33% don’t know. However, when asked specifically about whether David Cameron should keep his manifesto pledge on Heathrow only 19% of people think he should break it and go ahead with Heathrow expansion. 35% think he should rule it out and 32% think he should reconsider the issue at the next election.
Finally on the honours systems, people think too many awards go to figures from entertainment (69% too many), senior civil servants (61% too many), national politicians (67% too many), local politicians (48% too many), sportsmen and women (39% too many) and business leaders (37% too many). They would like to see more awards go to people from charities (71% not enough), scientists and academics (64% not enough) and people working in the public services (66% not enough).