Just back from the EPOP conference, so this is a rather brisker update than most Sundays! This week’s YouGov figures for the Sunday Times are CON 33%, LAB 43%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 6%, so back in the more normal range after the six and twelve point leads we saw last week. The rest of the poll looked at David Cameron, the reshuffle, planning and Heathrow.
Looking at the details of how people see Cameron, his biggest weakness remains being seen as out of touch. Respondents saw him as out of touch by 67% to 23%, although this was pretty much unchanged from when YouGov last asked in July. On other ratings there was a notable decline – Cameron was seen as weak rather than strong by 51% to 33% (down from July when the figures were 47% weak, 38% strong) and as having run of out of ideas by 57% compared to 26% who think he has plenty of ideas (again down from July when 52% thought he was out of idea, 32% thought he has plenty of ideas). His best (or least worst) figures was still being seen as likeable – 41% think Cameron is likeable compared to 45% who think he is not.
This month YouGov also threw into the mix whether people thought Cameron was a male chauvinist – only 27% of people did (overwhelmingly Labour supporters), 42% did not.
Moving onto the reshuffle, 32% of people thought it had made the government more right wing, 29% thought it has reduced the amount of influence that the Liberal Democrats had. Overall though the verdict was very much one of no difference – 9% thought it had changed the government for the better (almost all Tory supporters), 19% thought it had changed it for the worse (mostly Labour or Lib Dem supporters)…72% said no difference (55%) or don’t know (17%).
On the future of the coalition, YouGov asked a straight queston on whether people would prefer the coalition to continue, or for there to be minority Conservative government. The party results are interesting. Most Labour supporters said don’t know, as presumably they would really prefer neither, but of the remainder they were more likely to support a minority government… presumably as it would be less likely to last! Amongst the remaining Liberal Democrat voters a large majority (71%) preferred the Liberal Democrats to remain within the coalition. Amongst Conservative party voters 58% said they would prefer a minority Conservative government to the coalition.
The next set of questions were about planning. I’m always quite wary of these, since my experience is that the general public have almost no awareness of how the planning system works, and if you have to do quite a lot of explaining in a question you really risk measuring opinions that weren’t there to begin with! Anyway, general opinions of the existing planning system were very evenly split – 27% think it is too strict, 25% think it is not strict enough, 32% think the balance is about right.
Turning to the government’s specific ideas, 40% think extending permitted development rights for house extentions is a good idea, 44% a bad idea. People are slightly more opposed to softening affordable housing requirements, but it is still a farily even split (38% support, 45% oppose). The idea of spending money directly on building more affordable homes and guaranteeing loans to developers is much more popular – 65% support it with only 19% opposed.
Finally, on the topic of Heathrow 47% of people think Cameron delaying the decision until after 2015 is dithering, 33% think there is no hurry and the delay is the right thing to do. Asked directly if of they support or oppose the extention of Heathrow people are very evenly split – 32% support, 34% oppose, 33% don’t know.