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. Alec

    I presume you are referring to Working Tax Credit.

    Certainly from the employee point of view it has a transformative effect on the sustainability of short hours as a viable source of family income. I know this through my daughter’s experience .

    But I don’t quite see how one could plausibly argue WTC as a cause of increased shorter working time as an alternative to redundancy. WTC impacts the employee, whereas the employer will have weighed the cost/benefit balance between redundancy/loss of skills & continued payroll cost/retention of skills in deciding on his employment strategy through the downturn..

  2. Colin

    Agreed that a lot of employers (and their staff) prefer to share out available work among their employees (and thus keep that expertise available for when an upturn occurs).

  3. Martyn,
    I don’t see having a flexible work-force and flexible working practices as being a right wing preserve.

    It is all about balance and imo the US job market is tilted too far one way and the French the other with Dutch, UK and some others in between.

    French employment laws militate against employers taking people on in the first place and freezes out youngsters even more than here; whereas US ones accentuate the fear of losing a job adding to the working poor and greater income disparity.

    As you allude to in this recession there has been far more flexibility from employers but I would suggest unions as well. Unlike the 80s overtime has been cut to keep skilled employee numbers higher and workers have accepted this in many cases to keep more of them in jobs; real solidarity in action.

    The extended leave on reduced pay (can’t recall the level) in some large car plants is a good example.

    I think that presently low consumer confidence and less demand is more of a factor than a perceived lack of employment flexibility as a barrier to further job creation in the UK. Also as growth kicks in (which it will we just don’t know how much) I reckon earnings will recover ahead of siginificant job growth as underemployment reduces (part-time to full-time, more over-time and maybe the new self employed getting more work). This will of course trickle down to extra spending and create new jobs eventually but sadly too late for many youngsters.

    Earnings growth will probably help the Governing parties recover some support but how much? Wouldn’t we like to know.

  4. JIM JAM

    Good post

    re”t is all about balance and imo the US job market is tilted too far one way and the French the other with Dutch, UK and some others in between.”

    Was just reading in the Sunday papers about a second wave of French business people leaving France for UK.
    In addition to upcoming penal income taxes, the difficulties of setting up in business, hiring & firing in France were given as reasons to leave.

  5. @ Nick P

    Your argument seems to be that cohorts of voters don’t forgive the governments that were in power “when they were young”. I have always thought the opposite true. That there was a clear swing within each age cohort towards the party that had been in power (or in the case of the Libs, had been doing well at the time) when they first became politically aware.

    Is there any evidence either way folks?

  6. @Alec

    “It’s not a subject I know much about, but I do get the feeling that we haven’t found our way to a sufficiently bombproof system on financial regulation yet, if indeed such a system is theoretically possible.”

    I’m not an expert either, but I suppose one way of calculating the ‘acceptable’ risk within financial regulation would be to involve insurance companies. I appreciate there has to be a balance between safety of investments and growth of investments. One way to minimise the risk would be to legally make individual traders financially liable for losses they incur (i.e. risky losses, but not losses that are caused by unforeseen global events, such as 9/11).

    Once the risk takers have the risks shared, the investments will be more sound. Perhaps that’s a naive view, but I’m a sucker for decision makers being responsible for the bad decisions.

  7. @AW…May I ask which word caused my post to go into moderation queueing? So I can avoid it in future.

  8. Good Evening All.

    A good eceonomy is not always a bad thing for Labour when in Opposition.

    Peter Shore always said that Labour did well when there was optimism in the air.

  9. The British Social Attitudes 29th Report (2012) should be released at midnight, tonight.

    It usually has interesting data, and I expect this year to be no different.

  10. Anthony (or anyone else)

    Is there a technical difference between a “survey” and a “poll”?

  11. Just because it’s such a lovely little graph, I’ll post the correct link this time.

    htttp://i46.tinypic.com/2dtdg5d.jpg

  12. @Colin – the WTC was one thing I was thinking about, and while I agree that this doesn’t directly affect employers, it does mean that employees can agree to reduced hours whereas in the past they may have taken redundancy.

    However, I did say the current events are not the preserve of either party. If we still had intransigent unions calling strikes without proper democratic votes, I would see no chance of the kind of cooperative working we see in our better companies – Thatcher take a bow here please. Unions themselves are in general much better today, and also deserve some credit.

    Oddly enough, Thatcher deserves some further credit (if that is the correct term) for demonstrating how short sighted the rapid move to redundancies could be for businesses. Her tenure was blighted by bouts of layoffs interspersed with periods of inflation producing skills shortages. She taught firms to value labour – not what she really intended, I suspect.

    Incidentally, am I alone in wondering whether John Major’s ‘green shoots’ intervention today may not be helpful?

    This, along with calls for loyalty from the Tory backbenchers gives me that warm 1990’s feeling all over again.

  13. @Statgeek – “I’m not an expert either, but I suppose one way of calculating the ‘acceptable’ risk within financial regulation would be to involve insurance companies.”

    But wasn’t this what credit default swaps were, in effect?

    The biggest US insurer had to be bailed out in the credit crunch as they couldn’t sustain their losses, so conventional insurance wouldn’t appear to be the way out, in my view.

  14. @DRUNKENSCOUSER

    “I just want to point out that I find it rather frightening that 41% of the public think memorising times tables and past monarchs qualifies as proper learning.”

    There is of course a perfectly respectable argument in saying that the amount of rote learning should be limited to where it is genuinely relevant. As far as “tools” are concerned there is just no substitute for it and it is IMHO idle to dismiss rote learning per se. You cannot, for example, learn to read and write a language without a humungous amount of rote learning (irregular verbs anyone?). Furthermore if you do not learn your times tables by heart your capacity to do mental arithmetic is absolutely crippled. You end up needing a calculator for the simplest multiplication sum. People dislike rote learning because it is boring hard work. I agree, it is boring hard work. Sometimes however that kind of tedious drudgery is necessary – life’s a beach and then you fry.

  15. @Alec

    “The biggest US insurer had to be bailed out in the credit crunch as they couldn’t sustain their losses, so conventional insurance wouldn’t appear to be the way out, in my view.”

    That would suggest that the underwriters had not scrutinised the financial safeguards of the insured. The theory is sound, but how it is/was practised is certainly in question.

  16. Frederickl,

    Those are all fair points. Maybe I misinterpreted the result a little, as it was a forced choice. If a three-way choice had been given, between the ‘traditional’ ways, the new-fangled airy-fairy ways and a combination of both, most people probably would have gone for a combination of both.

    Alec, I’ve read plenty about ‘labour hoarding’, which many companies have been engaging in since the GFC struck. Perhaps it’s a case of enlightened self-interest?

  17. @ Old Nat

    Graun’s 1st take on the Attitudes survey.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/sep/17/public-spending-higher-taxes-survey

  18. @FrederickL

    Proponents of “Immersion learning” language teaching, such as those who use the ‘Rosetta Stone’ teaching software, would disagree with you there.

  19. Amber

    At least the Grauniad mentions that the survey is of attitudes in 2011 c/f 2010.

    The BSA is great for political historians, but not of great use in current politics. Some fascinating stuff buried in the report though.

  20. “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.”

    No love for Michael Jamieson? Or Tom Daley?

    @ Nick P

    “Are we sure Bradley Wiggins is a Tory? Looks like a lefty to me.”

    I’ve decided to leave athletes alone. Well at least the ones I like and admire. I don’t want to ruin it and find out what they actually believe in politically, you know? (Although I do appreciate the NFL players who have been speaking out in favor of same-sex marriage).

  21. @ Statgeek

    “That would suggest that the underwriters had not scrutinised the financial safeguards of the insured. The theory is sound, but how it is/was practised is certainly in question.”

    Yeah, I don’t think there was underwriting, that was the problem. Predatory home loans were made to people who couldn’t afford them. Then those loans were securitized and bought up by major companies on Wall Street, many of which engage in more than just banking or insurance but also engage in trading as well. Thus, a big insurance company like AIG would invest in those faulty mortgage securities as a good buy without ever underwriting them.

    You know what really annoys me about these people? It’s not that they did what they did or that the whole economy nearly got taken down in the process or that our tax dollars had to bail them out. That’s I’m all fine with. I file it under the sh*t happens category. What really annoys me is that all this happenned and these same people still see themselves as the smartest people on the planet and the people best suited to dictate economic policy to the rest of us.

    @ Jim Jam

    “French employment laws militate against employers taking people on in the first place and freezes out youngsters even more than here; whereas US ones accentuate the fear of losing a job adding to the working poor and greater income disparity.”

    Yeah, I worry that with the way that employers here are behaving, we’re going to wind up with less employer flexibility and tighter, more French style laws. I want at-will employment but when you have employers who like firing people (or saying “you’re fired!”), the public is eventually going to decide to get rid of it.

  22. @ Old Nat

    You had asked about the effect on Romney that his actions deciding to politicize the attack on the Benghazi consulate and resulting murder of 4 American Diplomats as well as the riots directed at U.S. embassies in response to that anti-Islam film. Here’s the first poll to ask about it.

    http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/main/2012/09/obama-up-5-in-virginia.html

    Now, it’s not a national poll but Virginia did pretty much match the nationwide vote last time around. Now I would caution that PPP does tend to be more favorable to Republicans and it’s a poll of likely voters (they didn’t give a crosstab for registered voters) which will swing it more Republican (I have a feeling Obama is ahead by more).

    41% Approve.
    48% Disapprove.

    I am a little bit disconcerted about the first number. I’m not expecting people to change their votes or support for a candidate simply based upon one action. But are people so blind to pure partisanship that they will support their candidate no matter what their candidate does?

    Even in your hyperpartisan (British) system, could you imagine what the public response would have been on 7/7, if David Cameron or Michael Howard (I forget which one was leading the Tories at the time) had taken the opportunity to make public statements lambasting Tony Blair for his handling of national security and terrorism?

    This incident of course doesn’t rise to that 9/11 level (although it appears to be a deliberately planned and premeditated terror attack that happenned on the anniversary of 9/11). Nevertheless, the same rules should still apply.

    I mean imagine god forbid you had a terrorist attack on a British Embassy somewhere and hypothetically Alex Salmond came out and took the opportunity to bash David Cameron, launch a political attack on the Westminster government, and to pump a yes vote on Scottish Independence (and to cap it all off, criticized the actions of British diplomats who were currently under seige and used seemingly made up facts to attack Cameron), could you imagine the response? I would think that you wouldn’t change your position on independence and you wouldn’t change your political affiliation as a Nat but wouldn’t you be deeply bothered by that kind of action? Of course it’s purely hypothetical because Alex Salmond has too much character, integrity, and intelligence to ever do something like that. But for the sake illustrative example, I use it.

  23. statgeek

    @Alec

    “The biggest US insurer had to be bailed out in the credit crunch as they couldn’t sustain their losses, so conventional insurance wouldn’t appear to be the way out, in my view.”

    That would suggest that the underwriters had not scrutinised the financial safeguards of the insured. The theory is sound, but how it is/was practised is certainly in question.

    _______________________________________________

    Regulation of the banks sounds nice in theory and is close to impossible in practice, and the same goes for banking insurance, at least the way things are currently set up.

    The reason it’s so diifficult is that there are so many transactions, many automated, and many are both complex and opaque, and may involve maths that is beyond the reach of many.

    And then you have mis-selling, which lies behind the Crunch, convincing people they could afford mortgages that in fact they wouldn’t be able to when the fixed term ends, and then packaging those mortgages up in opaque ways to fool even the banking community itself.

    Even worse than that, you had a bonus structure that made it personally rewarding for people within the finance sector to make deals that would enrich them massively while taking down their employer in the long term.

    As if that wasn’t enough, banks can poach the most able and experienced regulators, and can operate with relative impunity by not only bakrolling parties and offering them sinecures on retirement, but as Portillo himself put it banking is a utility for most of us so, like the water supply, we cannot allow it to fail and have to bail it out.

    Faced with such a stacked deck, neither regulation nor insurers (who can be similarly hoodwinked) is liable to be a panacea, and hence those who experienced the Great Depression of the Thirties eliminated the problem at source: they split retail and investment banking.

    And hence they didn’t have to worry so much about bonus structures and complexity and opacity and regulatory capture and mis-selling because any harm was isolated from essential banking. But then you had folk like Black and Scholes applying the diffusion equation of chemistry to financial transactions like derivatives, providing a model for pricing risk in complex transactions and everyone goes “Hey everyone, we’ve eliminated risk!!!” and they get rid of the split and everything goes a bit crazy after that in predictable ways..

    Because the equation didn’t eliminate mis-selling, capture, opaque packaging, bonus-shenannigans, and all the rest. And doesn’t do anything about the problem that when the banking system screws up, it is not like a paperclip manufacturer going out of business…

    It is a fantasy of neo-liberal thinking, that companies will – under the profit motive – seek not to engaged in the opacity/mis-selling/complexity/capture/deluded-bonus-thing as it will be counter to their interests and if they screw up well then anyway they’ll take the hit, not us. Here on planet earth, the reality is rather different…

  24. carfrew

    A good start would have been lots of very long prison sentences accompanied by sequestration of assets.

    But then the banks own the lawmakers. One can but dream.

  25. @Social Liberal

    Obama’s on record as wanting to appease Iran. Not very sensible.

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

  27. @Carfew

    Long post that, so I’ll try to be as concise as possible.

    ““Hey everyone, we’ve eliminated risk!!!” and they get rid of the split and everything goes a bit crazy after that in predictable ways.. ”

    A regulator with any professional ethos would not have allowed such a naive attitude to banking. There is no elimination of risk. To eliminate risk we must eliminate financial investment, or eliminate greed.

    I’m no mathematician, nor am I a lawyer or an insurance agent, but after a couple of hours of reading about financial leverage ratios and capital requirements, I was more than aware of how these institutions and their employees were able to employ immoral (if not illegal) financial practices.

    The use of the shadow banking system to avoid taxation and fund the main banking system is/was tantamount to fraud. A short-term, unsecured system used to finance the rest of the market with little regulation doesn’t sound much like “risk has been eliminated”.

    I liken this aspect of the banking system to the restaurant scene in Goodfellas (the one with goods going in the front and out the back). Organised crime.

  28. @Statgeek

    The aim risk of banking is to remove unquantified risk, and price for quantified risk. If you get it right then you ensure that risks are spread out (you might, for example, have to foreclose on one mortgage but enough money is made on others to make up for that and return a profit).

    Difficulties arise when:
    * products are so complex you can’t understand the risk
    * the risk isn’t linear/bounded (for example some forms of spread betting)
    * your general risk model is totally wrong

  29. @nickp

    One can but dream.

    ___________________________________________________

    Well, on the bright side, we did have a split for fifty years or so. Hope springs and all that. And even now they recognise the need to reintroduce some separation at least, albeit the usual informal, gradualist, British way of doing things.

    The Americans were more hardline about the split in the first place, but also more hardline about being all neoliberal about things and letting Lehmans fail which turned the drama into a crisis.

  30. @Statgeek

    Well, if it’s long it’s because the banking crisis exposed so many, many problems in banking, and hence difficulties for regulation. It could have been a lot longer. I could, for example, have included problems with the ratings agencies and their conflict of interest in being employed by the banks who they were supposed to be rating. Or the practice of banks selling dodgy packages to other banks and then hedging against them (likened to selling someone a car with dodgy brakes and then taking out life insurance on them).

    That is the “challenge for regulation. There is so much to regulate, and a lot of it is fundamentally hard to regulate because complex, and opaque, and there is a slew of incentives to game the system. More fundamentally, the very idea of proper regulation seems fanciful when there is regulatory capture. How do you ensure proper regulation when it does not suit those in power?

    Because, in the end, you say no regulator with a professional ethos would allow it, but that’s a bit of a red herring when the whole point for some is to try and stop there being many regulators with such an ethos in the first place, and those that haven’t been bought out or marginalised are going to be really up against it because there are so many transactions, many are very challenging to get your head around, and they are packaged up in ways to make it even harder to see what’s going on, so badly that the banks themselves couldn’t tell what they were buying.

    Even now, banks don’t know their full exposure. That’s part of the point of the crisis: the reason the banking system froze up is because banks couldn’t tell how up the creek the banks were, so they stopped lending to each other. If the banks themselves couldn’t tell it’s a bit much to expect some hapless regulator at arms length to know.

    Even with a highly capable regulator with impeccable ethos and not undermined by government, it’s a tall order and we have to remember… people make innocent mistakes too. And the banking system is too fundamental to risk needless error. In the airline industry, where lives are at stake if it’s possble for a bad thing to happen, rather than try and oversee, they will seek to obviate. Try and make it impossible for the bad thing to happen, or at least if it does, stop it from being critical. And we more or less had that in banking with the split.

    Yes, of course risk wasn’t eliminated, my point was that they were acting as if it were no longer a factor to take seriously. Because the Black-Scholes equation gave them a means to price the risk and so knowing that they could hedge against it, keep appropriate capital ratios and so on. My point is that this was a chimera because even if you can accurately price the risk it’s undermined by all the other practices… mis-selling, opaque packaging, regulatory capture, dodgy ratings etc etc etc.

    And it was a chimera in part used to justify getting rid of the split in banking. You say that no regulator with a professional ethos would have allowed such a naive attitude but in the end it wasn’t the regulators but the politicians who ordered an end to the separation. Clinton in the States getting rid of Glas-Steagal, and over here Thatch set in motion the end of our more informal separation during the Big Bang era.

    Still, if you can explain how regulation could be made to reliably address all these issues thrown up by the crisis it would be good to know…

  31. An international study conducted by YouGov-Cambridge shortly before the American embassies attacks, finds that the US has a poor reputation

    A large majority of people in Glasgow think that the Pope is a Catholic.

  32. 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.

  33. Have the Olympics made it more difficult for the SNP to win a referendum on independence ?

    Alex Salmond was booed at the weekend, with people waving union jacks, celebrating Olympic success.

    My thoughts are that the Olympics have stirred up a pride in the United Kingdom, which may see a reduction in polling numbers for those supporting independence.

  34. AW

    A nice illustration of your comments on jurnalists and interpretation of polls is here:

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/referendum-news/voters-fear-economic-impact-of-independence.18889142#comment-652923543

  35. Interesting that the opposition to means-testing Winter Fuel payments is only 50% to 45%. That potentially indicates that this would only be a slight vote-loser amongst the over-60s and a big vote-winner elsewhere, outweighing any differential with voter turnout.

    Of course, it’s not just a matter of who supports and who opposes the move – it’s who would actually change their vote over this issue. Not sure how that could be measured reliably. But I wonder if the parties will look at this and re-think their policies of no cuts to any over-60s benefits ever ever ever.

  36. I always find it odd that those Left-of-centre (like me!) often object to means testing. Means testing is surely more progressive than universal benefits because it re-distributes money from those who don’t need it to those that really do? Is that not so? There are some really wealthy OAPs who get shed loads of handouts paid for by poor workers who are tasked because they earn just a whisker over the personal tax allowance. Seems bonkers to me not to means test ALL benefits including the old age pension itself!

  37. Whoops! Read “Taxed” where I typed “Tasked”

  38. @ Wolf

    “Obama’s on record as wanting to appease Iran. Not very sensible.”

    Well then my dear, if Obama is on the record, could you please provide me a link of that speech where he said he wanted to appease Iran?

  39. Forgot to add that standard Old Age Pension per week could be raised significantly if it were means tested and thus wealthy OAPs not given it..
    Provided the pension were raised in line with what was saved by means testing, I wonder what impact that would have on public opinion?

  40. Not sure you can justify supporting or opposing a change in government policy just because of how the government *might* implement it. I could just as easily argue that if we don’t put means-testing into pensions a Tory Chancellor will cut pensions for everyone. 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.

    I can’t see any chance of that scenario happening. Any chancellor who sets the threshold of means testing so low that virtually no-one qualifies for it, they’ll get canned the same as a chancellor who scraps the state pension completely. However evil you might like to believe the Tories are, no politician is going to do something that will, in all probability, cause them to lose the next election.

  41. Three main problems with means testing:

    1 universal benefit is a lot cheaper to administrate
    2 as family income is assessed, the person who needs it doesn’t always get it unless paid direct
    3 it has to be claimed and comes with a stigma, so those who need it don’t claim it

    On top of that, the level it gets set at is likely to be very low.

    Bear in mind that nominally these so called “universal benefits” like State Pension and JSA (contributions based) are qualified for by NI contributions. So having paid in for years on the promise of a pension at one age, the goalposts are suddenly moved and you don’t get it till later.

  42. Surely more efficient to make benefits like winter fuel universal and treat them as income.

    That way the benefit gets to all the people who might otherwise miss out through ignorance, bureaucratic mix up, or who feel humiliated enough to forego a means tested hand-out. No more anxiety or domestic arguments about whether I/we can afford to keep the heating on. No problem.

    Once a year you fill out the tax assessment and it balances out if your income is high.

  43. If you made the state pension means tested, then what would happen to occupational pensions?

    When I reach 66 I’ll get 28/80ths of my final salary plus my state pension if they haven’t moved it away again.

    If they means test it I assume I’d not get it because of my occupational pension. So I might as well stop paying into the occupational pension.

  44. Perhaps CNS we could have a poll on what the threshold should be, and perhaps you would like to start.

  45. Not only those, but when removing universality, you remove it being seen as a societal role for all, and those who then don’t qualify for it could see their support for retaining it dwindle, and be encouraged to resent it by the usual suspects.

    If we’re going to redistribute wealth, I can’t think of a worse way of doing it than excluding people from services and making it blatant they’re to pay for others.

  46. For many years boys outperformed girls in exams and this was blamed upon ignoring coursework and a big winner-takes-all exam at the end. You could do no work all year and excel at the exam an bobs-yer-uncle.

    This was addressed by including coursework in the marks and now girls are ahead of the boys.

    Looks like Gove is going to give the advantage back to the boys.

  47. @NickP

    Isn’t someone who can go years without doing anything, but ace a single test, considered to be the ideal Politician?

  48. SOCALLIBERAL

    Thanks for that Virginia poll.

    While that 41% “support” for Romney’s remarks may be that, it could also be that many GOP supporters didn’t actually know what they were, and just assumed that he would be right!

    Having met Florida Republicans who seriously believed that the US should simply nuke the Arab world and turn it “into glass”, nothing would surpriseme!

  49. @ `Social Liberal’

    Looks like somebody is crying Wolf over Obama…

  50. JOHN B DICK

    The inability of Settle to understand that a survey conducted in 2011 is not a “2012” poll, should be surprising – but isn’t.

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