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”

1 2 3 4
  1. @ Alex

    My piont is not that it is not a good idea but that we need to take a long hard look at the full effects of any radical solution.

    I actually think that using proprty prices to boost the economy is a problem in itself.,

    I would like to see the debate opened up so we get away from the cut or not cut debate, as this isreally more of the same old arguements.

    It took a radical change from the norms with the introduction of Keynesian ideas in the new deal and in ar production to shake the world out of the last depression. (I am not suggesting that war is the route out before any body jumps on me only that the way the economy was set up worked well). It will take radical thginking again if we are not going to drift int 10, 20 or more years of low growth resulting more and more attacks on basic services which are “unafordable”.

    Now is the time to think big!

  2. @Davem – quite agree. I don’t believe there is a single ‘correct’ economic orthodoxy or theory. There are various systems that are reasonable for certain periods of time or sets of circumstances, but none of them are able to handle every conceivable event.

    Now and again, the orthodoxy needs changing, but the movers and shakers control the orthodoxy, and have all their credibility vested in it, so that the change is only ever effected after the point of crisis.

    Like you, I think we need to re examine everything. Where the IMF report is fascinating is less whether it is true or false, but more in the fact that it illustrates that there are other ways to manage money, and we are capable of making a choice as to which method we want.

    In this regard at least, we are less at the whim of the markets than the current orthodoxy would have us believe.

  3. @Alex
    Once again I think we are both coming to the same view.

    Oneradical view could be to even question the need for growth. Is there a piont at which needsandwantsare fullfilled and the reral question is one of distribution.

    One example could be to look at the issue of youth unemployment and retirement age as a single issue.

    We have created an economy which is more flexible and has resulted in staff being retained either on less hours or reduced pay. This is seen as a good, however if staff are retained employers do not have the capacity to employ new younger employees as the business picks up, they very rationally turn to the existing employees to make up the difference.

    Add to this the debate about retirement ages with everybidy agreeing that this must increase for the overall good of the economy as we can not pay the pensions. However if you increase the retirement age people stat in more longer, an increase of two years is the same as increasing the working age population by about 4%. In thers circumstances there are few jobs becoming available to young people, creating a drag on youth employment.

    These are two examples of unintended consequences which result in a knee jerk response of lets create more growth. But we have finite resources so growt must end one day. With that in mind should not be looking to see how the work which is available should be shared out.

    Which is better older people working into their 70’s to save on pensions but creating wefare costs for youth unemployment and social costs for a significant number of young people who will have their productivity reduced by the effects of long term unemployment.

    Or is it better to have retirement ages reduced to allow full employment for younger employees.

    As always this is never a zero sum game

  4. Old Putney – it is the same poll that is on Real Radio Scotland’s website, which you don’t need to subscribe too!

    The actual tables and the details of the questions asked don’t seem to be available anywhere. In fact, while Panelbase are a member of the BPC I don’t think I’ve ever seen tables for the results. I have emailled them to try and squeeze some out of them…

  5. Back onto polling data and opinion there of.

    This is an interesting article about Labours lost votes:

  6. @DAVEM

    Or the orthodoxy that says we cannot afford public services (NHS. Free Education). Why not? We used to be able to afford them and we have much higher living standards now.

  7. Davem

    Re growth

    As long as we have a debt based money system we must have growth to pay off the interest on the debt money, in fact its absolutely critical that debt and the economy grow. You could call it the growth trap

  8. @RiN

    “As long as we have a debt based money system…”

    And this is the point, isn’t it?

  9. Robin

    Yes as I have been saying for ages, debt based money is the problem

  10. @Dave M
    I find the rather hostile responses in the comment columns to be more convincing than Peter Kellner’s own analysis, which is very partial indeed. It makes reference to bits of polling data that support his case, and omits to mention other bits that don’t. It’s basically a rehash of Peter’s argument in the summer of 2010, which went along the lines of “the C2DE share of the electorate is continuing to decline, so Labour has to focus its appeal even more in the direction of the middle classes in order to become competitive again.” I’m not convinced, as you may gather.

  11. @Phil

    I remain to be convinced. However there is one debate which needs to be had and that is what is working class?

    as the nature of work has changed from the more manual based labour to an office based work force we appear to have left the old definitions of class untouched and hence see an increased middle class. However I would argue that thedefinition of working class needs to considered again. A large number of the new middle classes dont have any power or management responsibilities and in this way really remain working class but may see themseves as middle class.

    Labour I think needs to start adressing the question of efinintion as much as the size of the working class.

    I also think that Peter Kellners could try to look at the numbers in the same way. It would be interesting to see what difference that would make.

  12. DaveM

    “I am temped by the state money idea and know that in the past individual states have wiped out the debt of their citizen, however this was in pre industrial days and before the power of the markets. So I urge caution, but welcome new thinking.”

    I’m thinking I don’t fancy an elected body (HoC) with no proven skills in finance management in charge of the banking system. They haven’t exactly been proven to be better than the banks at financial planning etc.

  13. “They haven’t exactly been proven to be better than the banks at financial planning etc.”

    Yes they have, by virtue of the fact they haven’t bankrupted the whole western world.

  14. @ NICKP

    “They haven’t exactly been proven to be better than the banks at financial planning etc.”

    Yes they have, by virtue of the fact they haven’t bankrupted the whole western world.

    In fact it is the governments who have saved the banks!

  15. If the solution is as simple as the IMF say, then it must be carried out ASAP.

    When readng the article I was struck by the US farmers who had acted together to buy back their farms for one dollar. Anyone who sought to bid more was treated to a bruising. We should not afraid to impose our will on the bankers.

  16. Re the IMF report: the UK parliament already has the power to do this; it chooses to follow the market/ banking orthodoxy & allows the Bank of England to jog on, powered by QE.

    I keep trying to convince people that the UK state owns the Bank of England & therefore the supply of money; & that QE itself is actually the much mocked: ‘Labour magic money tree’. People seem to find it difficult to believe. I keep trying tho’….

  17. @Nickp

    “Savile counted himself as a friend of Margaret Thatcher and reportedly stayed at Chequers on a number of occasions.”

    There is a difference between inviting someone over to your house and witnessing something illegal(by work collegues)like child abuse.Its beyond me why anyone would wish to score party political points over this.

  18. jarrod

    Then there is giving him his own keys to all the cells in Broadmoor.

    I’m not sure it is party political. These monsters (like Saville) are highly plausible. What qualifications did Saville have to head up the Broadmoor project. Did you read the Telegraph article, how quickly he assembled material on the Broadmoor staff to stop anybody getting in his way?


  19. Re: Saville,

    Ministers have no share of the responsibility if they invited him over/befriended him but didn’t have any idea what he was secretly up to. He was a very popular celebrity figure and charity figure at the time, so as long as they weren’t aware of his secret activities, I don’t really know how any ministers could be blamed (in any shape or form).

    NB: Notice I said *if*. But until there is evidence to the contrary, I don’t really see how there’s anything at all controversial going on here.

  20. You’re right it is chilling

  21. I think there are certainly questions as to why he was allowed accessby the authorities without question etc. A lot of the nurses and hospital staff also have a lot to answer for (i.e. overlooking abuse for donations). But as for blaming individual ministers for inviting him over for a meal/drink, that is just ridiculous.

    After all, if you say that, can’t Blair and Brown be blamed for befriending Gheddafi etc. etc.?

  22. @ Jarrod

    Mrs Currie, with the benefit of hindsight & maturity, has realised she was taken in by Savile; that she was predisposed to believing ‘ordinary’ people were corrupt & that she didn’t recognise blackmail when it was ‘staring her in the face’.

    Mrs Currie recorded that during the meeting Savile had told her that he suspected staff were inflating their salaries – and that he had threatened to pass the information to the tabloid papers if the staff caused him any trouble.

    Savile also told her he had uncovered millions of pounds missing from budgets and poor use of the hospital’s housing stock.

    “In my diary, I wrote ‘Attaboy’, she said. “This was what he claimed to be doing; now it is hard to know whether any of it is true. And obviously when you look back, it does suggest he was prepared to use blackmail to ensure people did what he wanted.”
    Beware the volunteer who tells you what you want to hear?

  23. The point is, Saville “got away from it” because of his friends in high places. Whether that’s the BBC, Ministers, Editors of newspapers, all of those.

    I hope the police are going to look properly instead of doing a “one rogue reporter, no evidence of widespread wrongdoing” thing as before.

    Let’s gather evidence on the whole ring.

  24. @amber

    It was the wrong decision to appoint him on many counts.
    But its still worlds apart from being duped by him to being a bbc employee/nhs staff seeing something wrong and keeping quiet.

  25. @MIKE N

    I understand he got irritable with reporters…He`s under pressure for sure

  26. @ Jarrod

    Savile pretty much confessed to Mrs Curry that he was blackmailing NHS staff! Blackmail was as much a crime then as it is now.

  27. @Amber

    Again if that was true that is bad.But blackmailing is nothing considered to hurting those most vulnerable in society.

    Though if they were being blackmailed to keep quiet about his illegal acts, shouldnt it make us ask what sort of people we hire to the NHS.

  28. @ Jarrod

    Mrs Currie acknowledges that Savile had sufficient power to blackmail people by saying that he planned to tell lies about them.

    Let’s wait to see whether NHS staff did raise the alarm but were not believed. At least one NHS nurse has said this happened to her.

  29. I read an article about Jimmy Saville many many years ago in which he boasted about intimidation and outside the law behaviour when he ran nightclubs in the sixties.

    God knows what he got up to there.

  30. AW, you placed my comment in moderation but there was nothing partisan intended. It was a genuine observation.

  31. @Amber,

    I agree that there should be a very open public enquiry into everything. If anyone is found guilty, they should be punished.

  32. “There’s no point to you defending the indefensible on behalf of people who were ministers at the time”

    I wasn’t. All I was saying is that until there is actual evidence that ministers knew he was abusing under age girls/abusing his position, then there is little case to answer to (at the moment). Having dinner with a popular charity worker/celebrity of the time certainly does not equal culpability. If they knew he was up to something, well then that’s different.

    Like I said, a full-scale and independent enquiry…and then punish those who are culpable, whoever they may be.

  33. Note: I wasn’t saying that ministers were NOT in any way responsible, just that at present there is very little evidence that they were. If that situation changes, then obviously they should be held accountable. But until then, this is little more than partisan finger pointing IMO.

  34. @John B Dick

    Sorry I am late in replying but I agree with your post. In particular of the Scots (ex-)conservatives


    I summarised the independence polling on this thread at 8.10 pm last night.

    The VI details for Holyrood came out today.

    Constituency Poll

    SNP -45%
    Labour -33%
    Tories -12%
    LibDem -6%
    Greens -3%
    Other – 2%

    Regional Poll

    SNP – 45%
    Labour -30%
    Tories -12%
    Greens -6%
    LibDem -4%
    Other -3%

  36. Also the SNP were testing some approaches (I presume) via YouGov

    “In general, which government do you think is better at making decisions for Scotland?”
    The UK government 24% : The Scottish government 64% : Don’t know 12%

    “The ‘Yes’ campaign is deploying a series of arguments as part of their campaign to achieve a ‘Yes’ vote for an independent Scotland in the
    referendum in 2014 – for example they point to statistics showing that Scotland generates 9.6% of UK taxes, but receives just 9.3% of UK spending in return. If the ‘Yes’ campaign could persuade you that you and your family would be economically better off with Scottish independence, in these circumstances, how likely or unlikely would you be to vote ‘Yes’ for
    an independent Scotland in 2014?”
    Total Likely 45% : Total Unlikely36% : Don’t know 9%

    “Do you think that the Scottish Parliament should have more powers so that it can bring about the removal of Trident nuclear weapons from Scottish
    Yes 46% : No 35% : Don’t know 19%

  37. @Colin

    The last paragraph in that article sums the situation up brilliantly.

  38. Absolutely agree JARROD

  39. Its not saying a lot, and I’m sure I wan’t alone, but Savile was one of these rare “celebrities” who I not only couldn’t bear to watch but disliked almost to a point of loathing. I was at a complete loss to understand his popularity.

  40. Just realised that the reason for my comment above was to point out that, in my opinion, Savile was a very OBVIOUSLY creepy guy and I wouldn’t have. left him with my cat

  41. Isn’t it the same as Hillsborough?

    “First the truth-then justice”

    …….insofar as that can now be delivered on behalf of victims.

  42. PAULCROFT/ Anthony

    My observation about split-infinitives was meant to be droll but as I understand things it is OK to split these days – the rule naturally derives from Latin where it is not possible to split since the infinitive is a single word….though personally I think the action is clearer when the infinitive isn’t split.

  43. “Watch out for new Guardian/ICM poll. Coming soon …”
    From the Guardian.

    And @Colin –
    Completely agree with Dan Hodges here (probably the first time) – the most important thing is getting to the truth and convicting everybody who has committed a crime, everything else is secondary.

    The Telegraph’s reporting on the Savile case has been top-notch but I think this article sums up the situation best:
    It seems that Jimmy Savile is a small part of a much bigger scandal that has been covered up.

  44. @Colin

    Great article-right on the nail :-
    Hodges’s article is platitudinous drivel. It is all soundbites & no substance.

  45. Here is a piece by Nate Silver from back in June about how he goes about adjusting for house effects in his forecast:


    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.

  46. I agree with Paul.Saville always seemed like the sort of person one would
    Have crossed the road rather than meet.I wonder what the queen must have
    Felt about dubbing him a knight.Which prime minister recommended this?
    Please do not tell me it was Tony Blair,but I bet it was.


    For once, there’s something that Blair doesn’t get the blame for!

    Saville got his knighthood in 1996.

  48. “Saville got his knighthood in 1996.”


    I really hate the whole honours system. Him and Archer and the whole parade of liars, cheats and perverts.

    Thos who get an obe and their chests swell with pride, how do they think about Saville’s knighthood? Wonder what Alex Ferguson thinks about his “peers”?

1 2 3 4