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).


187 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 35, LAB 41, LD 9, UKIP 7”

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  1. Chrislane,
    Nye Bevan’s ‘lower than vermin’ remark was made in July 1948 so any electoral impact would surely have been present in the1950 election that Labour narrowly won.
    I agree that John Smith’s Shadow Budget was a tactical mistake in 1992 but it did occur right at the outset of the campaign.. I am sure that the last minute pro Tory swing had much more to do with Kinnock’s popstar antics at Sheffield a week before polling day.. Had he not lost control of himself Labour would at least have achieved a Hung Parliament..

  2. @Jim Jam

    “Hayek is interesting and a guru for many, Charles Kock, one the wealthiest people in the US is a big follower.

    As I see and unaldulteretd free market is like Commuinism – great in threory.
    Simplistic Communism to work requires the incentive of the greater good to be no less than the incentive to improve ones own (and family’s) share.
    Pure free markets are brilliant, we end up with optimisation of goods and services wanted at prices that work to sustain production.
    Trouble is of course that this is as simplistic as pure comminism in a modern capitalistic society as size and privelidege creates barriers to entry, long term investment is not tolerated by short term thinking by owners (investent funds etc) and managerialism is rife.
    Governments role is to aleviate or mitigate the ineffieciencies in the modern Economy as best they can.”

    ____________________________________________

    Yep, the nub of it is that the modern world tends to be way too complex to be shoe-horned into an ideology. People have hoped for too much from state control in the past, and they tend to hope for too much from the markets nowadays.

    One of my favourite “observations” on the banking crisis came courtesy of Alan Greenspan, when asked why he didn’t foresee the banking crisis.

    His answer… wait for it… was that he didn’t think business would ever act against its own interests. Seriously, he said that. I mean businesses screw up and act against their own interests all the time. And this is quite apart from the fact that business is not shy of mis-selling, which payed a big part in the crisis.

    The problem with governments allieviating things of course is that they may have their own naive ideologies, or else be captured by capital. More democracy is key in this regard, Lib Dems are right about that, though they have a strange way of going about it…

  3. http://assets.nationaljournal.com/gfx/exitpollhist.html
    Semi-Interactive charts of exit polling for US elections, 1980-2008.
    Graphs by combinations of race, age, gender, education, affiliation, ideology, marriage, religion and church attendance.

  4. CARFREW

    @”That’s quite an achievement given we never had a socialist administration…”

    Ah you clearly are not familiar with the heady days of 74 to 79.( too young perhaps ?)

    I was there-so were they ! :-)

    My remark-to which you felt it necessary to respond -was addressed to LEFTY-and was in connection with Thatcher’s election victory in 1979-not her subsequent
    administrations.

    If you had read my post, it would have saved you ( & me) some time.

  5. SHEV11 (is it 11 or II)

    On Green prospects, I think that you put your finger on it. I was tempted to be green (sorry, Green) but the ‘little englander’ stuff was a right turn off. Others would have been put off by what the press would term wacky ideas (as the press do).

    However i think the main problem is clearly the FPTP voting. If you thought your vote would actually get someone in you would very likely vote that. We know that voters are generally not aware about marginality of seats but they are sufficiently aware to know who doesn’t stand an earthly.

    In Brighton they knew there was a chance.

  6. Colin

    I know that it’s nice to imagine that the Grocer’s Daughter came to power armed with nothing but a handbag and a large pinch of good old British common sense, but that doesn’t really tie in with the facts. She was the figurehead of a well organised coup that transformed the Tory party, chucked out the One Nation nonsense and got rid of the Keynesian claptrap. The 1981 Budget was a stunning break with post-War tradition, in refusing to do the counter-cyclical stimulus thing. Ignoring political or economic opinion on the efficacy of this, it was an epochal change. You don’t seriously think that came about by accident do you?

    As for Thatcher and Hayek, whether she read the good Prof’s work is entirely irrelevant. It’s a matter of record that her close economic advisers like Seldon at the IEA were in very regular correspondence with Hayek. Seldon, Joseph et al were the intellectual back-seat drivers – Thatcher was the front-person for them. But they all shared the same aim.

    And I stand by what I said before. Thatcher’s genius was to sense that the time was ripe for a huge move from Keynesianism, towards Chicago/Austrian economics. She never explained what that would entail – that would have been Electoral suicide. But she distanced herself do far from Keynesianism that she seemed (to enough folk) to be on the right track.

  7. LEFTY

    @”I know that it’s nice to imagine that the Grocer’s Daughter came to power armed with nothing but a handbag and a large pinch of good old British common sense, but that doesn’t really tie in with the facts. ”

    It probably is-but I didn’t , as I explained to CB11

    Of course she intended to address what she saw as the decline of the nation. That clearly involved less of the failed Bennite interventions , and the con trick which was the Social Contract, and more liberal , less statist, economic policies.

    I am reading a history of the period thanks.

    I disagree with you about “Thatcher’s Genius” -if you must use that phrase.

    I have my own ideas of the central elements of her success in getting elected-and given the state of the country at the time-I repeat she could hardly have failed.

    As Powell implied-she was in the right place at the right time-and didn’t “funk it”.

    But of course I agree that she had an economic agenda-she b***dy well needed one.

    And yes-the “time was ripe” as you put it-and the voters agreed with her -despite/as a result of ( choose which you prefer) her being a grocer’s daughter from Grantham.

  8. A friend of my daughter’s has just posted this on her Facebook.

    “Shower seat needs replacing – had to wait 12 weeks for someone to come and “assess the situation” now a further 8 weeks for someone to do something about it…. I really am gonna stink by the time social services get their arse into gear!!! Gotta love their sense of urgency”

    ( Liz has cerebral palsy & uses a wheelchair .)

    Is this what is called “the public sector ethos”?

  9. colin

    You might not have noticed the swingeing cuts to local authority budgets that you have been cheerleading for months.

    Did you really think that services would remain unaffected?

  10. @Colin

    CARFREW

    @”That’s quite an achievement given we never had a socialist administration…”

    Ah you clearly are not familiar with the heady days of 74 to 79.( too young perhaps ?)

    I was there-so were they ! :-)

    My remark-to which you felt it necessary to respond -was addressed to LEFTY-and was in connection with Thatcher’s election victory in 1979-not her subsequent
    administrations.

    If you had read my post, it would have saved you ( & me) some time.
    ______________________________

    Oh I was there alright in the seventies Col, and although too young to vote I couldn’t help but take notice of what happened because of the impact on various people around me as well as myself. And I distinclly remember that the Labour government of the seventies did not pursue much in the way of a programme to set up workers co-operatives.

    When it comes to saving time, you could save us all some if you read a bit more of that book, you know…

  11. More likely it is a shortage of occupational therapists to “assess the situation” – certainly that tends to be the choke point in my area for disability adaptions to homes (they, along with transport engineers, are apparently a bugger to recruit just outside London where people can go just up the road and get London weighting on their salary).

    Now, enough making silly cheap points using anecdotes (that goes both ways. If I can repeat, if you see a silly partisan point, please don’t rise to it or rebut it. Ignore it. It takes two to turn a discussion into a silly partisan back-and-forth)

  12. We need a poll Anthony – oh, you already know the outcome!

  13. Graham

    “I agree that John Smith’s Shadow Budget was a tactical mistake in 1992 but it did occur right at the outset of the campaign.. I am sure that the last minute pro Tory swing had much more to do with Kinnock’s popstar antics at Sheffield a week before polling day.. Had he not lost control of himself Labour would at least have achieved a Hung Parliament.”

    It’s as good a theory as any, I guess. Course, there’s no polling evidence to back it up.

    The six polls immediately before the Sheffield rally had an average Labour VI of 39.5. The 6 immediately afterwards had a Labour VI of 39.3. The six immediately before the GE, one week later had an average Labour VI of 39.5.

    The polls were really very steady over the Sheffield storm period – all of them had Labour VI 3-8% higher than it ended up on polling day and none give any indication that Sheffield was a major driver of VI change.

  14. headlines about ‘reshuffle’. Surely if one has not yet shuffled, it cannot be a ‘reshuffle’?

    My tip is Eric Pickles for SoS of Health. This would keep up the tradition of having someone like Ken Clarke for the post.

    Don’t do as I do, do as I say. :-)

  15. Colin.

    Of COURSE she could have failed. As late as Oct-Dec 78, Labour was 3-6% ahead in the polls and her party preferred Heath to her by some considerable margin in one poll at that time.

    The Winter of Discontent was the turning point of course. But the fact that Thatcher stood for an approach that rejected the previous Tory ethos meant that she seemed (to enough people) like the answer to the ills that had finally exploded in the WoD.

    I’ll put it another way. Would a Heathite have been able to use the WoD to produce a 6-7% swing in the vote between Dec 78-May79? Personally, I very much doubt it.

    By the way, I use the word “genius” advisedly, although I still think it is justified. Maybe Thatcher was actually an inspired gambler. She gambled correctly that the public would not reject a platform that damned the past and promised a decisive (if not very well defined) break. Had the WoD not happened, Callaghan would probably have won a narrow majority in 79, in which case Thatcher would undoubtedly have been ejected in late 79-early 80. And the IEA influence on the Party would probably have gone with her.

    But that didn’t happen. So, by holding her nerve, gambling and getting it right, she did indeed display political genius.

  16. @LeftyL/Graham

    Always great fun to speculate how and why Labour let the 1992 election slip away, but the now legendary Sheffield Rally was not a major factor in my view; more urban myth than political reality. Kinnock’s infamous oratorical excesses that wild and heady night didn’t help him, I grant you, and they played into the “Welsh Windbag” caricature that the right wing press used mercilessly to lampoon and ridicule him. There was also a whiff of premature triumphalism about the Rally that allowed the Tories to frighten their sullen but ultimately obedient horses, but my reading of that election was that the electorate felt that they had their change of government when the Tories defenestrated Thatcher in 1990. I think they were always going to give Major a punt after that, seeing him as offering the sort of post Thatcherite centrist government they craved as opposed to Kinnock’s more left wing offer. That said, three years later they realised their mistake and, as we know, out went the hapless old Major in 97 with a rather large ballot box inserted where the sun doesn’t often shine.

    Of course, the other dog that never barked openly in 1992 was the English electorate’s distaste for Kinnock’s overtly proud Welshness. The London-centric right wing press dog whistled a fair few votes home for Major by gnawing subtly on that quasi-racist bone. I distinctly remember Heseltine, one of my least favourite politicians of all time, mocking Kinnock’s Welshness in a pseudo press conference that he’d staged for that purpose. The focus groups had done their work, obviously.

  17. Leftylampton.
    The polls were clearly wrong throughout the 1992 election which is why methodologies were changed thereafter.. Rather than the Labour vote, I believe the impact of Sheffield was much more on the Tory vote – it brought out the disillusioned and shy Tories. People who were contemplating abstaining or voting LibDem eventually held their noses and voted Tory again.

  18. Graham

    The corresponding Tory VI figures we’re

    Immediately before Sheffield 37.8
    Immediately after Sheffield 37.3
    Immediately before polling day 38.1

    I accept that the polls were badly wrong in 92, but it’s still a considerable leap of logic to believe that a)Sheffield significantly affected the GE outcome but b) the polls picked up no evidence whatsoever of this Sheffield effect.

    I thought it was well established that it was The Sun Wot Won It anyway? ;)

  19. @leftylampton

    I have seen a figure of an average Labour lead of 1.5% in fifty polls conducted in the month before the 1992 GE.

    Actual result: a Conservative lead of 7.5%.

    The graph shown on the link below suggests that polling companies in general reached a peak of accuracy in 2005 (way out in 2001 also, but they didn’t get the outcome wrong), and went slighly off again in 2010 – overestimating LDs by 3 points on average, underestimating Tories by a point, and understimating Labour (for a change) by two points.

    h
    ttp://www.research-live.com/comment/general-election-2010-did-the-opinion-polls-flatter-to-deceive?/4003088.article

  20. Alec:

    religion etc.

    You’re a very gracious man I feel. I’d certainly never have mentioned my atheism except as a response to what felt like regular “faith” references.

    Actually i’ve always been baffled the lack of acknowledgment that faith is in opposition to fact so completely – but that, as they say, is another story.

    Very chuffed with Arsenal yesterday: Wenger is a great manager and also extremelt shrewd. Hard to imagine him shelling out 45 mill for Carroll and Downing.

  21. Leftylampton,
    The Sheffield rally did not need to have ‘much’ effect to significantly influence the outcome in terms of seats. The actual Tory lead turned out to be 7.6%. Had it been 6.0% -Labour would have had – on a uniform swing – an additional 15/16 seats whilst the Tories would have had correspondingly fewer seats.. As a consequence the Tory lead over Labour in seats would have not been 65 but circa 35. A Hung Parliament would have resulted with Major needing Unionist support from the very beginning of the Parliament. Highly unlikely that the Parliament would have lasted beyond late 94 or early 95.
    I am simply saying that – in my view – Kinnock’s loss of control probably did make the difference between a Tory lead of – say – 6% and the actual outcome of 7.6%

  22. Graham

    You are perfectly free to draw that conclusion. I’m simply pointing out that there is no more than the merest shred of evidence in the polling that Sheffield had any effect at all.

    Which isn’t the same as saying that Sheffield had no effect at all.

    But we are on a polling site…

  23. CARFREW

    @”And I distinclly remember that the Labour government of the seventies did not pursue much in the way of a programme to set up workers co-operatives.”

    I suppose your tender years at the time would excuse your lack of interest in Mr Benn’s little Empire.

    When you have a moment free check out some of the workers co-operatives he threw money at -and what happened to them.

    Fisher Bendix (KME), NVT, Scottish Daily News come to mind.

  24. Leftylampton,
    Back in 1992 polls took no account of ‘likelihood to vote’ .Had they done so , I suspect they would have picked something up by eve of poll.
    May I point out too that in 92 the Tories held on to 4 seats by less than 100 votes – even the tiniest swing of 0.1% would have cost Major these seats and reduced his majority by 8.

  25. Billy Bob

    Fascinating data in that link. The Shy Tory of 92 is well known of course. But I didn’t know about the Shy Labourite in 10.

    And then. There appears to have been a net Shy Tory effect in 97 and 01, with the effect almost vanishing in 05.

    How’s this for a hypothesis?
    The shy voters are ones who are embarrassed about professing support for a party believed to be unpopular REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THEY ARE IN GOVT OR OPPOSITION.

    In which case, one assumes that the shy voter effect will be broadly neutral in 15 ;)

  26. ANTHONY

    Will check on the OT suggestion.

    Still seems inordinately long to me .

    Shouldn’t have mentioned it here though-mea culpa.

  27. Cracking video on Youtube of George Osborne being introduced at the paralympics and getting booed.

  28. @paulcroft – “faith is in opposition to fact”

    Friedrich Nietzsche:

    What, then, is truth? A mobile army of metaphors…

    Or as Quine put it:

    The common-sense theory about physical objects is epistemologically comparable to the gods of Homer. (Any statement can be held as necessarily true if the right changes are made somewhere else in the system. No statements are immune to revision.)

  29. @Alec
    “Cracking video on Youtube of George Osborne being introduced at the paralympics and getting booed.”

    And a brilliant one of Gordon Brown being cheered. Both videos here:

    http://eoin-clarke.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/gordon-brown-cheered-at-paralympics.html

  30. @Howard
    “I was tempted to be green (sorry, Green) but the ‘little englander’ stuff was a right turn off.”

    I’m confused by what you mean, I’ve never come across anything that could be described as “little englander” in Green Party policy or culture.

    “However i think the main problem is clearly the FPTP voting. If you thought your vote would actually get someone in you would very likely vote that. We know that voters are generally not aware about marginality of seats but they are sufficiently aware to know who doesn’t stand an earthly.”

    That’s always been the main structural problem. We’ve now begun to learn how to fight FPTP elections effectively – particularly at local council level. Hopefully we’ll keep getting better at it to the point where we have the kind of Parliamentary voice that we deserve.

    ——–

    @Paulcroft
    “Actually i’ve always been baffled the lack of acknowledgment that faith is in opposition to fact so completely – but that, as they say, is another story.”

    The reason for that is that faith often isn’t in opposition to fact. As a Christian, I would say that my faith is based on fact, and most people of faith would take a similar view. In my case it’s a combination of the historical evidence for Jesus’ resurrection, my personal experience of God, my friends’ experience of God, and what I see about the nature of the world. As an atheist, you almost certainly disagree with my interpretation of the facts on all these issues, but that doesn’t automatically mean that my belief (or yours) is in opposition to the facts. Asserting that it does is like a political tribalist opposing a policy because it’s been put forward by the other side instead of looking to see if it’s actually any good on its own merits.

    I don’t want this to turn into a side discussion on the rights or wrongs of religion vs atheism, I’m just hoping I can help you understand religious worldviews a bit better.

  31. Surely “faith” is in place of, rather than opposition to, “fact”.

    At least in the sense of belief in the absence of proof.

    But there is also the faith which is trust without conditions.

    Neither of these should, imo , be overly criticised. They provide great comfort to huge numbers of people.

    But faith which is in opposition to , or despite proven or demonstrable fact -doesn’t that become mere dogma, and requiring of vigorous criticism ?

  32. Can we all play the YouTube booing game?

    GB being booed at D Day celebrations :-

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WgUSMrooj8

  33. @Chris Lane, @Graham

    The telling statistic is that, after it’s initial launch, Labour devoted just one of its daily press conferences (on 30 March 1992) to the themes of John Smith’s shadow budget. The tactical mistake was not to publish a costed plan for government, but to fail to respond adequately to the Tories’ relentless misrepresentations of it, in the mistaken belief that issues such as education or health were more fertile ground than taxation. The absence of such rebuttal left Labour’s taxation and spending policies defined in the public mind by the way they were portrayed by the Conservatives.

    So the only failure was Labour’s folly of trying subsequently to dodge the taxation issue, rather than putting every effort into discrediting the manifestly false attacks on Smith’s proposals. The lesson wasn’t lost on James Carville and Democratic Party observers, leading to a focus on rapid rebuttal in Bill Clinton’s successful campaign later in 1992, after which similar techniques were adopted by Labour in 1997.

  34. @Colin
    “Can we all play the YouTube booing game?
    GB being booed at D Day celebrations ”

    Just in case you didn’t notice, Cameron & Osborne were booed today not 3 years ago.

  35. @Colin

    When you have a moment free check out some of the workers co-operatives he threw money at -and what happened to them.

    Fisher Bendix (KME), NVT, Scottish Daily News come to mind.

    _____________________________________________

    Wooooooow!! Seriously? That many??!! Makes you wonder why Thatch even bothered with all those privatisations, eh?

  36. @chrislane1945

    CARFREW.
    Good Afternoon to you.

    The Churchill 1951 GE win was, I think, partly due to Nye Bevan’ LOWER THAN VERMIN speech, Churchill’s own record in war as we went to war again, Attlee being persuaded to call a GE by the King, and the Tory party accepting the Welfare State.

    I agree that Labour needs to appeal to non Labour voters, which Labour did after 1994.The 1992 GE showed that a poor economy can be good news for the Tory Party, since it appears ‘safe’.

    Canvassing in that year really shocked me, since there were many undecided and Ashdown supporters who at the last minute almost came out to vote for Major.John Smith’s ‘Budget’ damaged Labour.

    ___________________________________________________________________________
    Hello again Chris…

    Well one could throw other things into the mix, like devaluation, and the observation that the Tories accepted the welfare state underlines the point about the desire for change in 1945. But anyway…

    Regarding Labour in 1992, there was a particular need to appeal to other voters somewhat more to the right because of the rise of the SDP/LD, a factor somewhat in abeyance for the moment, though with the wealth tax it does look as though LDs may want their deserters to Labour back.

  37. PAULCROFT
    “faith is in opposition to fact”
    Actually, no, and the reason why this is relevant to this blog is the congruence of faith with ideology and so, its relevance to politics or political system, and its connection into political questions such as Desmond Tutu’s demand for prosecution of Blair and Bush for the invasion of (and imposition of their faith-based ideology on) Iraq.
    Durkheim, who taught that religion is a a matter for empirical research on the nature of society “comme une chose”, tackles the question both in Elementary Forms of the Religious Life (1912) and in Suicide (1987). The thread proceeds through Marcel Mausse (the Gift), to Levi Strausse on mythology, and, via Chomsky, to Rodney Needham, and particularly Edmund Leach on Levi Strausse’s structuralism in “Rethinking Anthropology”.
    Wikipedia on Levi Strausse is quite good on this:
    connection in this body of work on the connectedness of language, myth, mental and social structure:
    “mental structures …underlie all acts of human behavior: Just as we are unaware of the grammar of our language while we speak, (Leach) argues, we are unaware of the workings of social structures in our daily lives. The structures that form the “deep grammar” of society originate in the mind and operate in us unconsciously”

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