Today’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 35%, LAB 39%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 8%. The four point lead looks very much like an outlier, so I would treat it will some scepticism unless later polls this week show a similar pattern.
YouGov also repeated their semi-regular tracker about trust in various professions following the BBC’s recent troubles. The proportion of people saying they trusted BBC News journalists to tell the trust was down from 57% last month to 44% now, and for the first time marginally more people said they didn’t trust BBC journalists than said they did.
To put this in context, BBC News journalists are still more trusted than journalists on other channels or newspapers, but there has been a sharp decline in recent years. The impact of the Newsnight affair is just a further blow to an already declining reputation. When YouGov first asked the question back in 2003, prior to Andrew Gilligan and the Hutton Report, 81% of people said they trusted BBC News journalists to tell the truth. The drop from 81% to 44% is close to a halving of public trust in BBC journalism over the last decade.
The long term trends show a number of interesting patterns over that decade. There has been a decline in trust towards most groups, the exception being those that were not particularly trusted to start with. So doctors, teachers, local police officers and judges remain the most trusted professions, and the only ones trusted by more than half the population. Police chiefs are trusted by 49% of people, down from 72% back in 2003. The recent revelations over Hillsborough do not, incidentally, appear to have do any particular damage, the drop in trust towards police chiefs came back between 2003 and 2006.
All journalists have seen a drop in their trust ratings, though this has effected tabloid journalists the least (because very few people trusted them to begin with). Trust in mid-market newspapers like the Mail and the Express has halved over the decade, from 36% in 3003 to 18% now. Trust in the broadsheets has fallen from 65% to 38%. Surprisingly there appears to be very little lasting effect from the phone hacking affair. If you look at the figures from July 2011 – conducted when the phone hacking scandal was at its height – there is an obvious drop in trust towards newspaper journalists, trust in broadsheets fell by 6 points, in mid-market papers by 5 points, in tabloids by 4 points. However, if you look at the figures from January 2012 and since then trust in the newspapers appears to have recovered to the sort of figures there were showing prior to phone hacking.