Sunday round-up

Results of this week’s YouGov poll for the Sunday Times are here, with questions on the usual grab bag of subjects – most notably on tax avoidance and energy. The topline voting intention figures are CON 32%, LAB 43%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 9%, so despite several YouGov polls in a row showing single-figure Labour leads things still appear to be averaging up around the 9-10 point lead that has been the norm for six months or so now. Leader approval ratings are Cameron minus 19 (from minus 20 a week ago), Miliband minus 18 (from minus 14), Clegg minus 56 (from minus 58) – Ed Miliband’s conference boost is still evident, but continues to gently unwind.

On tax avoidance, 64% of people think it is unacceptable to avoid tax compared to 26% who think it acceptable… however, 42% of people say that they personally would avoid taxation if they had an accountant to show them how. 71% of people think that high tax rates on business and the rich encourage tax avoidance, however only a minority (19%) think that this means tax rates should be reduced. The majority (52%) think that government should crack down on avoidance rather than cut taxes.

Turning to energy, the energy companies themselves are by far the most widely blamed for increasing energy prices – 58% think they are most to blame, compared to only 17% saying rising gas and oil prices and 11% the cost of carbon emission targets. Asked about shale gas and fracking people were evenly split – 32% think it should go ahead, 30% that it shouldn’t. 38% said don’t know, probably indicating it is an issue that many people have very little awareness of.

In the Mail on Sunday there was also a Survation poll, which had topline figures of CON 30%(+1), LAB 43%(+2), LD 8%(-2), UKIP 12% (nc). Changes are from the previously published Survation poll on the 23rd September. The Mail on Sunday’s write-up appears to be a prime example of how not to report opinion polls. It begins with a subheading of “Conservatives 13 points behind Labour, one point ahead of UKIP Party” which is clearly untrue, though probably an innocent error. The rest of the article though is worse – Conservative support hasn’t “fallen to 30”, it has increased to 30. They haven’t “dropped five points in ten days”, they have increased one point.

In the absence of any other polls from about ten days ago showing the Conservatives at 35 I can only assume that the 5 point drop comes from comparing the poll to the YouGov poll conducted on the 11th of October. This is doubly wrong – first it is deliberately cherry picking an unusually high score as a point of comparison to exaggerate the movement. Secondly (and assuming there was not some unpublished Survation poll they are comparing it too), they are comparing polls from different companies using different methodologies that produce consistently different results. Since April YouGov’s polls have shown an average Conservative support of 33% (the 35% was either a blip or a party conference publicity boost), since April Survation’s polls have shown an average Conservative support of 30%. In other words, the poll does not show Conservative support “plummetting”, it shows Conservative support at exactly the same level that the pollster in question has been showing them at for months and months.

158 Responses to “Sunday round-up”

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  1. @Anne in Wales – “Which prime minister recommended this?”

    Heath the OBE (1972), Thatcher the knighthood (1990), John Paul II the papal knighthood (1990).

  2. The “Establishment” honoured Saville.

    Which PM signed the recommendation seems to be the least important factor.

    The victims should matter most – except to those who indulge in the pettiest of political point scoring.

  3. Accoding to Wiki Savile “was awarded the OBE in 1971 and was knighted in 1990.”

  4. Latest ICM 41/33/14 with the lead for Camborne over Milliballs on the economy down to 4%.

  5. RED RAG

    love Milliballs wish i’d thought of it -john

  6. @ Billy Bob

    “He also comments in another article about how Gallup (the most Republican leaning polling organisation) has been getting wildly disproportionate coverage in the media over the weekend. Generally the popular vote seems tight, but based on his analysis of the battleground states, Silver reckons Obama currently has a 2/3 chance of winning the electoral college.”

    I think that when those in the media want a narrative, they tend to report the polls that best fit their narrative and not those that don’t. PPP btw does not skew Democratic. In the last election, it actually skewed Republican. Now they have been very, very accurate this year but they apparently do not poll cell phones, which is a major problem and may be skewing them a little bit more GOP. On the other hand, I think last week, they definitely picked up a trend towards Romey in several key swing states (even if a small one).

    What will decide this race is the turnout. Because the same polling outfits show wildly different results depending on who bothers to show up the polls. For example, the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll just out yesterday shows a tied race nationally with Romney and Obama each at 47%. That’s among likely voters, those voters who the polling company believes are likeliest to vote. But among all registered voters, Obama leads by 6%. An ABC/News Washington Post poll found Obama leading by a narrow 49%-46% among Likely Voters in a poll released just a week ago (seems like a month or year ago). But the President led 50%-43% among registered voters. The same discrepancy appears in the Ipsos-Reid/Reuters poll and even in YouGov polling. YouGov was actually very accurate in the 2010 elections.

    Unless the national race is literally dead even and decided by just a few hundred thousand votes nationwide, whoever wins the popular vote will win the electoral college.


    Thanks :-)

    Yes-I completely agree.

    “I don’t really see how there’s anything at all controversial going on here.”
    Well, no, if you think that child care, and the whole institutional structure of post-industrial society has been protective of children, and that the actions and policies of governments of both hues has been adequate for the past fifty years. It has IMO been the are of the greatest failure of Labour as a movement, too much concerned with material distribution, and with owning the Establishment, and too little with moral responsibility, and to total indifference to most of the Conservative Party.
    The indivisible Latin infinitive, absolutely; which means we can’t do such beautiful enveloped infinitives as “dolce far niente”. Somehow “to do sweet nothing” or even “doing sweet Fanny Adams” don’t come near it.

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