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.


181 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 33, LAB 43, LD 10, UKIP 6”

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  1. JOHN B DICK

    I really liked Ray Michie. Her constitutional views weren’t that much different from mine (as far as I remember from our pub discussion!)

  2. Surely it would undermine democracy by forcing large numbers of people to vote who don’t know or care anything about the candidates or politics in general. I’m sure I’ve heard that in Australia the top-of-the-ballot-paper party enjoys an inbuilt advantage for this reason.

    I agree with increasing political engagement from the population, and there are ways to do this, such as grassroots organisation, and having a less sclerotic electoral system, but compulsion is a blunt instrument for achieving this.

    ps. I also agree that a NOTA or recorded spoilt ballot option would be a useful addition.

  3. @OldNat

    I agree that differing colours are not necessarily an indication of material distinctiveness. What I was alluding to was that unless distinctiveness increases, turnout in UK GE’s will only be high (overall) in close contests between,Lab and,Con.

    4-0 to Murray in the Second Set.

  4. OldNat

    Google it and knock yourself out (it should keep you occupied for days) !

  5. Today is the Catalan National Day. Hope that Andy Murray can repay his second country with a victory.

    I wonder if the UK media will report tomorrow’s activities in Catalunya?

  6. ROB SHEFFIELD

    You mean you don’t know the answer to everything?

    Shock Horror! :-)

  7. Hannah

    Ah the argument of my Flemish colleagues again!

    The EB entry on this reads

    “Whether made compulsory in law or through social pressure it is doubtful that high voter turnout as such is a good indicator of an electorates capacity for intelligent social choice”.

    Did you write that?

  8. Oldnat

    And- by implication- you do?!?

    :-)

  9. ROB SHEFFIELD

    Someone (Roger Mexico?) already posted that old Scotsmen think they know everything. :-)

    I was actually interested (though only mildly – and certainly not enough to Google [other search engines are available] it) as to how the non-Serbs in the former Yugoslavia reacted to Serb sporting success/failure.

    I’d be interested if anyone has information as to whether the former (and rather nationalist) Yugoslavs are as sport obsessed as the Brits – and do they try to make political capital from it?

  10. Now the summer of sport is coming to an end and govt returning from recess, will the omnishambles continue where it left off. The reshuffle could be a precursor for policy change and future spending reviews, which gives scope for u-turns and in-fighting. Its delivery time on the deficit, health, welfare etc. Will the new ministers be less resistant to spending cuts? will there be a watering down of ambitious policies? I feel the polldrums may soon be a thing of the past, politics is about to get interesting.

  11. GREG

    “Now the summer of sport is coming to an end ”

    Hopefully just another set. :-)

  12. I really disliked the policies of her and her cohorts, but this

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9533863/TUC-Congress-T-shirts-rejoicing-over-Thatchers-death-sold-at-trades-union-gathering.html

    seems “inappropriate” – to say the least!

  13. OLD NAT – lets hope so, thrilling watch, just love the way Murray chases everything, mind you so does Djokovic, they’re very similar players

  14. GREG

    In my case – thrilling listen!

  15. Re. Andy, I hope he wins in 3 sets & ends the suspense for those of us following this match! :-)

  16. Amber

    That’s the trouble with sport when you want someone to win!

    Now if Andy was a 100m sprinter, we wouldn’t have this long wait.

  17. Amber

    You’ll appreciate this tweet

    “This is the quintessential Scottish sporting experience. Even when your guy is winning, it is excruciating”

  18. Hannah

    Surely it would undermine democracy by forcing large numbers of people to vote who don’t know or care anything about the candidates or politics in general. I’m sure I’ve heard that in Australia the top-of-the-ballot-paper party enjoys an inbuilt advantage for this reason

    Indeed. It’s known as the donkey vote

    If Rob S is denying it, it’s probably because his surname is Aardvark.

  19. The ‘donkey vote’ is a well-known phenomenon in Australia, whereby ultra-low-information who are only turning up to avoid the $50 fine voters vote 1-2-3-4-5… down the ballot paper. In very tight marginals it can be decisive.

    Speaking of Australia, the Tories should take heed of what happened to the last Tory government there. They introduced a set of workplace reforms called ‘Workchoices’ which sought to phase out collective bargaining, water down unfair dismissal rules and reduce the power of unions. They paid for it by shedding the ‘Battler’ voters en-masse to Labour and losing the 2007 election. The Liberal/Nationals have as a result taken workplace reform off the table (publicly at least) because they know it’s an election-loser.

  20. ROGER MEXICO/DRUNKENSCOUSER

    Your posts confirm why the Australian system is my least favourite.

    However, neither of you addressed my principal complaint that voting systems are determined by the dominant political parties in their own interests – not that of the voters.

    (Damn! 2-1 in sets)

  21. The Australian system is absolutely in the interests of the two main parties. Compulsory preferential voting at the federal level means that if people want their vote to be counted, they have to give a higher preference to either Labor or Lib/Nat. When preferences are counted, a slightly higher preference effectively counts as a vote, hence the ‘two party preferred’ that always adds up to 100.

    People have to fill out a full set of preferences for their vote to count, which means party workers stand outside the polling booths on elections day bearing ‘how-to-vote cards’ which instruct their supporters on how to fill out the ballot paper to achieve a formal vote. The vast majority of Labor and Lib/Nat supporters simply obey the party command. It leads to all kinds of wrangled preference deals between the parties.

    The two main parties in Australia between them hold 145 out of 150 seats in the Representatives. It’s a complete stitch-up. The Greens managed to break through and win Melbourne central at the last election because the Libs preferences them to stop Labor, even though they’re to the Left of Labor, but now the Libs have switched to preferencing Labor because the Greens have become a threat. And so the stitch-up continues…

  22. DRUNKENSCOUSER

    Quite right – but where is your criticism of the UK system that is also “absolutely in the interests of the two main parties”?

    That might be useful.

  23. Now this an appropriately poetic tweet about the tennis

    WigtownBookFestival
    Lights on all over Wigtown tonight.1950s radio reception. As if you can hear the whole town holding its breath amid the static.

    The Wigtown Book Festival is well worth going to btw!

  24. Oops 2-2

  25. A slight exageration, but school children effectively live under a dictatorship, and are then expected to instantaneously flip over into being participants in a democracy at age 18.

    People I speak to who never vote are not unaware of political issues, but they have either missed a crucial step in their education, or they have graduated to an advanced stage of cynicism, depending on your point of view.

    The IPPR proposal of once-only compulsion for first time voters could work if it was as a component in a genuine moves toward student democracy.

    IPPR also points out that currently it is possible for measures to targeted at demographic groups which the government feels fairly confident will not turn out to vote in great numbers.

    h
    ttp://www.ippr.org/articles/56/9056/the-case-for-compulsory-voting

  26. BILLY BOB

    Alternatively, the UK could adopt the franchise that currently operates for the Manx House of Keys (and that the SNP proposes for all elections) that the franchise should be extended to 16 and 17 year olds.

    Their is no reason to invent convoluted arrangements just to match a particular voting age limitation that exists at the moment.

    IPPR (and much of the British left) are actually very conservative, and certainly not very radical in their thinking.

  27. I would deprecate statements like “it would undermine democracy to make voting compulsory” as difficult to defend logically.

    Also, complaining that an increase in voting by the stupid is a bad thing is itself bad: the stupid, venal and cruel have as much right to express a vote as our[1] ultraintelligent, ascetic and kindly selves.

    For me, the clinching argument against making voting compulsory is that, in a free society, an election is something that is done for people, not to people. A government may have the power to punish people for doing bad things, but it should not have the power to punish people for not doing good things[2].

    There should be things that are neither forbidden nor compulsory and I think voting should be one of them.

    Regards, Martyn

    [1] Self-assessed, of course… :-)
    [2] I accept that there are exceptions, hence good-Samaritan laws, and the situation is different in wartime.

  28. MARTYN

    “There should be things that are neither forbidden nor compulsory and I think voting should be one of them.”

    Wholly agree – but if voting systems are created by the two main parties that are “absolutely in the interests of the two main parties”, should such a political structure be reasonably allowed to use the term “democracy” to describe itself?

    That the German Democratic Republic described itself as a democracy didn’t cut much weight in the West.

  29. @ Billy Bob

    I think Granholm’s speech was excellent so she got such a loud standing ovation from the crowd that I couldn’t hear everything she said. But I caught up on youtube. It was a barnburner. She’s someone who I wish could run for President someday. She’s got all those qualities needed in a female candidate.

    And I suppose it was a superior demonstration of great speeches. I just hope people were watching.

    @ Old Nat

    “Did you know of the “interesting fact” mentioned in the paper I referred to that

    “California Democrats once offered complimentary chicken dinners and chiropractic treatment as an incentive to voters”?”

    Yeah, that wasn’t the party (well I don’t think it was). That was the brilliant idea of then Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris, who was campaigning in a 1999 Special Election for a seat in the California Assembly. The coupons for free fried chicken dinners were passed out in an attempt to boost voter turnout. It offended a lot of people (looked like vote buying and looked subtlely racise) and Harris lost a very safe Democratic seat to Green Party candidate Audie Bock.

  30. SOCALLIBERAL

    Damn! You have to introduce facts to demolish a lovely conspiracy theory!

    Next you’ll tell me that the free chiropractic treatment was a one-off to encourage voters to pay big bucks to a chiropracter who was a relative of the candidate!

  31. @Oldnat

    Fair point

    Regards, Martyn

  32. Martyn

    I’m more interested in Andy Murray’s points at the moment. :-)

  33. Glad Murray’s points went the right way in the 5th set, and he’s finally won a Grand Slam.

    Sad that “Better Together” were tweeting on it – it’s nothing to do with politics.

  34. @Oldnat

    I see that Andy Murray has finally succeeded in becoming British, by 7-6 7-5 2-6 3-6 6-2… :-)

    (Incidentally, has Murray expressed a preference for the 2014 referendum?)

    Regards, Martyn

  35. @ Old Nat

    “Damn! You have to introduce facts to demolish a lovely conspiracy theory!”

    I know and we all shouldn’t be bullied by those factcheckers and be constrained by facts right? I mean, we could just stand around and have arguments with empty chairs.

    “Next you’ll tell me that the free chiropractic treatment was a one-off to encourage voters to pay big bucks to a chiropracter who was a relative of the candidate!”

    Well I never heard of that one actually. Well they wouldn’t be encouraging voters to pay big bucks to their relative, instead they would be giving away a free service. One that many voters would use once and that’d be it.

    Either way, you should never be out bribing voters to turn out to vote. I’m glad Elihu Harris got punished for it.

    For a post cript on that, episode Bock ran for reelection as an independent in the 2000 General Election (she had to leave the Green Party because she was forced to vote for a budget that didn’t comply with Green Party requirements) and she was defeated by Democrat Wilma Chan by a margin of 67%-22%.

  36. Martyn

    That line is so old that you may be the last to attach a smiley to it. :-(

    I have no idea if Andy Murray has any political views on anything. I do know that sir Chris Hoy has declined an invitation from the Brits to become politicall involved with them.

    I’m surprised that you seem to have entered the sport = politics meme – you are better than that.

  37. SOCALLIBERAL

    You mean Obama wasn’t simply an invisible man sitting on that chair?

    How can I ever believe anything coming from the Republicans ever again (OK “again” was a fiction). :-)

  38. And for those who object to my patronising other posters – yes! I was patronising Martyn – and he fully deserved it. :-)

  39. @OldNat

    It was reportage, not advocacy: I was passing comment on the overfamiliar meme that unsuccessful Scots are described as Scots and successful Scots are described as British. I wasn’t advocating that the meme be used.

    Regards, Martyn

  40. @Oldnat

    My reply is stuck in moderation for reasons unknown and will presumably be cleared in the morning

    Regards, Martyn

  41. @ Old Nat

    “I have no idea if Andy Murray has any political views on anything. I do know that sir Chris Hoy has declined an invitation from the Brits to become politicall involved with them.”

    I identify him as a Lib Dem. I have no reason to, I just sort of imagine him being one.

    “You mean Obama wasn’t simply an invisible man sitting on that chair?”

    No, he wasn’t. You gotta admit, that was pretty hysterical.

    “How can I ever believe anything coming from the Republicans ever again (OK “again” was a fiction). :)”

    Lol. Your saying “again” wouldn’t be any greater fiction than much of the Romney campaign.

  42. Latest YouGov/The Sun results 10th Sept – CON 31%, LAB 42%, LD 10%, UKIP 8%; APP -41

    Rest of the south very close now.

    Stayed up till 02.00 watching the battling Scot do the business. Feeling a bit bleary.

  43. @Old Nat

    “This is the quintessential Scottish sporting experience. Even when your guy is winning, it is excruciating”
    ———————
    It was, wasn’t it. But he got there in the end! :-)

  44. Latest YouGov/The Sun results 10th Sept – CON 31%, LAB 42%, LD 10%, UKIP 8%; APP -41
    ——————
    So, can we conclude that the 6s were blips then? :-)

  45. http://cdn.yougov.com/cumulus_uploads/document/9piq0n9szz/YG-Archives-Pol-Sun-results-100912.pdf

    The data in the tables appears very bad news for the Tories, if they are indicative of trends to come. They appear to show the Tories down a little within many of the groups. In the over 60’s the Tories have been below 40 in several recent polls.

  46. @SoCalLiberal – “She’s got all those qualities needed in a female candidate.”

    My ‘busting gaskets’ was probably the wrong choice of words – she was ramping it up in a knowing way, the audience were slightly in awe, but also in on the act… pushing the speech to its absolute limits.

  47. Another good sample for the under-25s – almost bang on quota. We may see less of the dramatic swings than before – which will disappoint the Sun tweeters, but be more accurate.

    I suspect Anthony has overcome his scuples about using disproportionate graduates/students in the sample on the grounds that any under-25s are better than none. Of course they may be more likely to vote than those who left education earlier, so it’s probably the right decision. The high number of Londoners in the sample may confirm the student and graduate increase – though London is also the youngest of the regions demographically.

    In any case the VI headline 31-42-10-8 seems plausible as the current YouGov baseline.

    In the tracker on leaders’ (positive) qualities, Cameron hits 49% for ‘None of these’ for the first time. So whatever the reshuffle did it didn’t make people feel better about him. Miliband’s ratings are still low though – even among his own supporters.

    How much this matters is another matter, though it is worth pointing out that it may matter differently for different Parties. People may expect a more collegiate style of leadership from Labour or the Lib Dems, while a tradition of strong leadership may be more important within and for the Conservatives.

  48. @Amber Star – ” …the 6s were blips then?”

    They could have been the start of a new trend, but they do look like blips. The 7s dropped out about two months ago, and it is a month since we saw an 8.

  49. The return of consistent double digit Labour leads, perhaps, or will we suddenly lurch back to the hokey-cokey turbulence of last week or so? You put your 6 point in, your 12 point out then shake it all about………….etc etc.

    I must admit, beyond some nebulous Paralympic effect, I couldn’t discern any political developments occurring in the last few weeks that were sufficiently favourable to the coalition parties, or damaging to Labour, to warrant a narrowing of the gap to 6%. More recent polls suggest this to be case. Normal business has returned and, quite possibly, certainly if today’s 31% for the Tories is anything to go by, things may be getting more difficult for the coalition, not better.

    The real level of the Tory VI interests me. Since March, most pollsters have put them very much in the low 30s with only YouGov and ICM getting them anywhere near mid 30s. Are the recent YouGov polls now aligning themselves with other pollsters, I wonder?

  50. Any talk of compulsory voting is unbelievable and frankly disgraceful. Our politicians moreso than most are responsible for our politics becoming a waste of time, and then to force people back into involvement by threat of fine? It would be seen for what it is.

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