This week’s YouGov poll for the Sunday Times is online here. Topline voting intention is CON 34%, LAB 44%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 7%. On leader approval ratings Cameron and Miliband remain pretty much equal – Cameron is on minus 26 (from minus 28 last week) and Miliband on minus 27 (from minus 22 last week). The rest of the survey covered cuts, trade unions and education.

On welfare spending and tax/regulation changes, 51% of people are opposed to a further £10bn cut to welfare spending, compared to 36% who support the idea. There is also majority opposition to Liam Fox’s idea of temporarily abolishing capital gains tax (25% support, 52% oppose). Reducing employment regulations to make it easier to hire and fire is opposed by 47% to 38%. There is, however, support for means-testing free TV licences and winter fuel payments (57% support, 33% oppose). As one might expect, this is heavily skewed by age – under 25s support it by 57% to 17%, over 60s oppose it by 50% to 45% (and over 60s vote a hell of a lot more than under 25s!)

Turning to questions around trade unions questions, in general 37% support public sector strikes over the cuts and pension changes with 49% of people opposed. The idea of a “general strike” though is significantly less popular, with support dropping to 27% and 59% opposed. Amongst public sector workers there is support for strikes (49% to 40%), but a majority oppose a general strike (52% opposed, 36% support). The suggestion of using the armed forces to fill in for striking public sector workers is supported by a majority of the public (55%) and opposed by 31%.

On education Michael Gove’s own approval rating as Secretary of state for Education is minus 31, so he is seen as doing worse than Cameron and Miliband. However, people are actually fairly evenly split over his policies – academies are supported by 35%, opposed by 35%. On free schools 36% support their creation, 39% are opposed. 41% of people support a more traditionalist approach to education, 36% think it would be wrong.

On GCSEs, 53% of people say they have not a lot or no confidence at all in the exam, and 46% of people think they have got easier. However, this does not translate into support for their replacement – 44% think the exam should be retained, compared to 35% who would like to see it replaced.

Finally on the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Bradley Wiggins is ahead on 20%, with Andy Murray and Jessica Ennis second on 13% a piece.

133 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 34, LAB 44, LD 9, UKIP 7”

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  1. @ Old Nat

    Check it out:

    Believe it or not, this is actually an improvement upon the 2008 margin for the President. I think the quotes from that one Romney voter were quite telling (perhaps proving my theory right……being black is a step below being a Mormon). Also, shows why I’m disconcerted by Romney’s politicization of the embassy attacks. Btw, I think that U.S. embassies were attacked at least 12 times during Dubya’s administration. Not one of those times did anyone use that opportunity to attack the President. That’s because whatever you think of Dubya as a President or as a person or of his disastrous foreign policy, when Americans are attacked abroad, they’re attacked as Americans. When diplomats are attacked, it’s a tragedy and not one that is justified under any circumstances.

    @ Paul Croft

    “Its socalliberal and I missed Obama’s “appeasement” speech.”

    Yeah, I missed that speech too. I didn’t miss the part about tougher sanctions on Iran (that are surprisingly effective) and effectively isolating them from the international community. Because it’s a lot more helpful when it’s not just the Americans and the Brits coming down on Iran but also the Russians and the Chinese as well.


    The Kentucky poll also confirms that earlier California one – that Romney voters are mainly anti-Obama, not pro-Romney, while Obama supporters are positive about their candidate.

  3. Sam Coates of The Times tweets..
    “Current attitudes to spending revealed tonight in the first instalment of the Times / Populus pre conference mega poll… Dramatic and ambivalent and complex. Tonight’s Populus poll cannot be explained in a sentence, but cleverly captures the voters’ dilemma… There’s a dramatic move on voting intention, backed up by some surprising other findings.”

    The only ‘dramatic move’ I could imagine for VI would be a shift back to the Conservatives, to pre-budget omnishambles (or better) levels.

  4. A shift to a much bigger Labour lead would presumably be equally dramatic! (I haven’t seen the figures – they probably won’t be out until very late tonight)

  5. A shift to the Lib Dems would also be dramatic, as would it to UKIP or the SNP or the Greens… Or am I being overdramatic?

  6. AW
    I would have presumed ‘dramatic move’ meant some sort of exciting figures – an increase in the Labour lead wouldn’t be too much to get excited about.. although would be in line with the general shift for yougov since July (the last time they polled?).


    “I would have presumed ‘dramatic move’ meant some sort of exciting figures”.

    Perhaps a hoped for increase in circulation figures?

  8. @ Billy Bob

    “Anyone remember when the US, USSR and China backed both sides in the Iran-Iraq war?

    Iran has conventional air defenses which preclude the type of invasion visited by the ‘coalition of the willing’ on Iraq. The range and accuracy extends to a capability to retaliate against bases and warships in the region.

    Those who cry “appeasement” (Bush was also accused of appeasing Iran) advocate a massive nuclear strike to obliterate the country… incidentally the prospect of restocking all those ICBMs makes financial sense to them as well.

    To be on the safe side the US would need to withdraw materiel/personnel from Mediterranean, mid-East and Gulf theatres, otherwise potential losses would be too high. Then again war is inherently unpredicable when it gets started, there are too many ways in which foolhardiness could lead to instability and vulnerability for the US, regardless of the fate of other countries.”

    Well to be 100% honest with you, no I don’t remember but I am well aware of what happenned. In fact, one of the reasons why the Iraq War was so strategically stupid was that Iraq helped act as a check on Iran. Sure Saddam Hussein was an evil guy (I’m not with the whole George Galloway crew) but he was his own diva in many ways. He didn’t allow terrorists into his country, he didn’t put up with the radical Muslim fundamentalists, and he scared the crap out of Iran. Now, we have no such check.

    Wars should be avoided at all costs. If we have to fight one, we’ll fight one. But it’s not something any of us should desire and this rush to go have a war with Iran seems utterly insane. The President has dispatched more naval units to the Persian Gulf but the point of that is to try and back the Iranians down by showing that we’re not afraid to use blunt force if we have to. If Iran attacks, we will bring down the full weight of the U.S. Navy upon them……but we don’t actually want to do that (well those of us with brains don’t).

  9. Presumably “dramatic” in a Populus context, which isn’t necessarily “dramatic” in a YouGov context.

    Their last Poll , in July was 34/40/12

    So I suppose 32/44/10 for example might be “dramatic” for Populus-but not for the readers of UKPR :-)

  10. @Chris Neville-Smith

    Or I could argue that if we spend more on infrastructure a Tory Chancellor will spend all the money on a ruby-encrusted drive to his house.


    Don’t give them ideas!! We’ve already had them claiming they live in a cupboard under someone’s stairs. Or have a real pressing need for a duck house.

    I don’t know about you but I think many of us find it a good idea in practice to consider where a policy may lead down the line. The thin-end-of-the-wedge thing. Once they’d introduced VAT in the first place, or the fuel escalator, you knew there was a chance it’d get ramped up.

    Politicians themselves frequently question the agendas of their rivals themselves and bring that into political debate so it’s rather difficult for us to avoid it. And if they really didn’t worry about pursuing policies that cost them votes, why say nothing about the plans for the NHS until after the election? Do you really believe the manifestos, because if you do you may have been sold an awful lot of swampland in Florida.

  11. `Respect leads!`…Now that would be dramatic

  12. @ socalliberal,

    I actively want Obama to get back in purely because I think there will be a more mature attitude to foreign policy. I am very nervous about the Iran/Israel situation under Romney.

    Obama is right on this one, we need Russia & China on board.

  13. Well, I suppose the fuel escalator is not the best example, since it is an escalator after all, though I wonder how many imagined how bad it’d get. Tuition fees, there’s a better example. Once introduced, not really a surprise it gets ramped up again… even though before the election some of them may have said otherwise.

    Even after the tuition fee thing had been implemented, we received assurances that many colleges wouldn’t go near claiming the full amount. Yeah, right. And Greenspan thought freeing up the banks was fine because no business would ever act against its own interests…

    So yeah, we really do have to look these “gift horses” in the mouth. Mission creep abounds.

    Look at the Iraq thing for how the original avowed intent – the 40 minute thing – soon becomes something else…

  14. Thing is-how annoying is that thing where people say “thing” all the time, to save doing that thing where you explain what you mean with words which exclude “thing”


  15. Colin

    Thing is-how annoying is that thing where people say “thing” all the time, to save doing that thing where you explain what you mean with words which exclude “thing”


    Never mind about our posting styles Col., you have weightier things to deal with, surely. How’s it going with that book? You discovered the Yom Kippur war yet and the resulting oil crisis?

  16. “On GCSEs, 53% of people say they have not a lot or no confidence at all in the exam, and 46% of people think they have got easier. However, this does not translate into support for their replacement – 44% think the exam should be retained, compared to 35% who would like to see it replaced.”

    So, there you have it then. We have no confidence in the GCSE exams, and think they’ve got easier over the years, but we’d quite like to keep them after all! Has there ever been a starker illustration of the strangeness of polls and, particularly in the case of sub-question responses like this one on GCSEs, the utter nonsense of them sometimes too?

    On a slightly different note, I was interested in the results of a study of British social attitudes that were published today. The data from NatCen Social Research – based on the views of some 3,300 people – showed that concerns about immigration and support for welfare reform are growing, but also revealed a widespread anxiety about the prospect of further spending cuts.

    And here’s the zinger. For the first time in nearly a decade, there was a rise in the number of those who think spending and taxes should be INCREASED.

    Pick the bleedin’ bones out of that little lot if you can! Particularly Liam Fox and David Davis! lol

  17. CROSSBAT11

    With the British (and Scottish) Social Attitudes surveys, remember that they take a year to analyse the data.

    The surveys were conducted between Jun & Sept 2011, so “were” growing would be more accurate than “are” growing.

    They may well still be growing, but the BSAS doesn’t tell us that.

  18. I am going to guess that the Populus poll shows
    Labour 36%
    Tories 36%
    Lib Dems 14%
    UKIP 8%

    From what I read, the questions asked about government policies tried to get people to look at the choices available. If people were asked these questions before they were asked about VI, could this have skewed the VI ? Possible in my opinion, as in the minds of some people that may have considered that the government had few choices and that Labour were not offering an alternative.

  19. Good Evening All.

    The TODAY programme this morning was showing that attitudes on welfare are harsher now than in 1992.

    When is POPULUS POLL out?

  20. I’m going to guess. Populus:

    Lab 46
    Con 29
    LD 10
    UKIP 11

  21. I guess.
    Con 40
    Lab 36
    LD 6
    UKIP 10
    OTHERS 8

  22. Stewart Jackson MP is tweeting:

    Bad double digit Labour lead on Populus in the Times. Mid term blues and a half.

  23. According to PB,the 15 point lead is here

  24. Nickp is right for once…Close enough anyway :)

  25. Populs Times

    Lab 45% +5
    Con 30% -4
    LD 10% -2

  26. Glad to be wrong on Populus

    Tomorrow, I won’t win Euromillions.

  27. Ooops . Slightly out there Chrislane1945!!

    What is the point of “guessing” opinion polls?

  28. NICK P.
    Good prediction.

    Maybe the two EDs are establishing themselves.

    Night All.

    Sleep well

  29. Populus: Lab 45% +5 Con 30% -4LD 10% -2

    Well, well, well; the legendary Labour lead of 15% emerges at long last. Mind you, as our old friend Mark Miwurdz might say, it really should be at least 20% at this stage of the electoral cycle! lol

    That said, you watch for tonight’s YouGov showing the lead down to 6%!!

  30. I’m not the sort to say “told you so” but……. I did say it was coming by the party conferences.

    Spirals are difficult to reverse – not impossible but very difficult.

    There’s only one re-shuffle left now and I don’t see that working so they’ll just hang on and hope for the best.

  31. Is the response to the education question all respondents, or just England? If it is all, isn’t the answer misleading since education is devolved?

  32. And perhaps a question to Anthony:

    While general questions about opinion should work fine (e.g do you believe students should pay tuition fees would work fine desopite the differences between nations), how is YouGov dealing with questions on devolved issues that are directly about specific issues that differ manifestly (e.g. ‘Do you believe A-Levels are too easy’ would make little sense in Scotland)?

  33. Christian – you’ve pretty much answered it yourself – general questions go to the whole country, questions on the specifics of GCSEs only went to England & Wales

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