YouGov on Leveson

YouGov’s weekly poll for the Sunday Times is now out here. The fieldwork was done a day later than usual, between Friday and Saturday, so it could contain some proper post-Leveson questions. The voting intention figures are CON 31%, LAB 44%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 10%.

As we’ve consistently seen, there is majority support for the principle of tougher regulation of the press – 68% of people think there needs to be tougher regulation, 21% do not. There is majority support amongst supports of all parties.

On the main dividing line that has emerged from Leveson, 58% of people think that there should be laws backing up the new regulatory system, compared to 26% of people who are opposed. Again, a majority of supporters of all parties back a new law. However, later questions in the survey suggest some reservations – 52% of people agree that MPs should have no role in the design of the system of regulation, and 47% of people think there is a risk of future governments using the laws to control the media.

Overall 25% of people thought that giving the state a role in the regulation of the press would be a major and welcome change, 21% of people think it would be a major but worrying change. 32% think it would only be a minor change and 22% don’t know.

Asked about the stances of the three party leaders respondents start to fall into more partisan responses. People think David Cameron is wrong to oppose the recommendation of new laws to back up new regulatory body by 50% to 29%, but Tory voters support him by 48% to 34%. Responses become even more partisan when YouGov asked why David Cameron was opposing the new laws – by 59% to 26% Conservative supporters think it is because he believes in the principle of the free press, by 74% to 8% Labour supporters think he is currying favour with newspaper editors . We see the same pattern in attitudes to Ed Miliband, Labour supporters think he is supporting the recommendations to protect the victims of press misbehaviour by 54% to 24%, but by 75% to 15% Conservative supporters think he is just trying to undermine the government.

It’s a lovely illustration of something I’ve written about before, of how people interpret political events through the prism of their pre-existing political views. Hence people tend to support legal underpinning for media regulation, but when current Conservative voters see David Cameron opposing this and Ed Miliband supporting it they see David Cameron acting out of principle and Ed Miliband being opportunistic, when Labour supporters see the same thing they see Ed Miliband acting to protect the victims of press intrusion while David Cameron sucks up to the newspapers. Events are as likely to reinforce existing political views as change them.

That doesn’t mean Leveson won’t have any impact – the 13 point lead for Labour in today’s poll is fairly high and we’ll see if it sticks, although that could equally be the knock-on impact of the high levels of UKIP support we’ve seen over the last few days.

326 Responses to “YouGov on Leveson”

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  1. But, even

  2. I don’t know about Kate M but the BBC coverage of her pregnancy is making me physically sick.

    I wish they’d stop saying how joyful I am. Frankly, I couldn’t give a damn.

  3. If the baby is a girl at least that will be something – the end of the male line :-)

    I am a republican but have given up any hope of change to the extent I had a royal wedding party – any excuse to wear a hat and drink champagne – so I may have to wet the baby’s head when it arrives :-)

  4. @ Tingedfringe

    Stalin didn’t come to power till 1923, 25, 27, 34 (pick your own interpretation) and the provisional government (why was it socialist? There were some mensheviks in it, that’s it) was overthrown in 1917-20 (Russia is big andthere was civil war), so what you wrote is not right.

  5. TingedFringe, Tito was backed until the day he died, wasn’t he? Also, he was probably the mildest dictator seen – which is why his memory is still cherished by many in former Yugoslavia. The worst thing he did was generally imprisoning people for a few years (in most cases) and send people into forced exile. “People” here being nationalists, who decided to destroy the country after he died (hence again why Tito is cherished by many still).
    When he died, all his possessions were put in a museum or given away – his family now lives in oblivion or relative poverty (not because of people getting back at him, but because it was his will).
    It seems a bit unfair to group him with those other murderous, clan-based, stealing dictators.

  6. There’s a failure of logic in the Conservative (rather than Government?) position on Leveson.

    They are saying that legislation would be to cross the Rubicon/line in the sand/red line/ step to far into press control.

    They say that if the Press don’t come up with a plan to self regulate, they will legislate.

    So the second is either a bluff or it isn’t a step too far, surely?

  7. @ Nick P

    Cameron wants to keep the press on his side, as he obviously still believes that they can make a difference to how a government/party is judged by the electorate. So he is trying this middle path of getting the press to implement Leveson, so that he can then argue that legislation is not necessary. The problem is that Leveson and most MP’s believe that you need some legislation to act as a backup, if independent regulation does not work.

    Personally I am not bothered whether they legislate or not, as the print media will be gone within 10 years. Most of the news will be made available on mobile media and the internet. If the legislation does not cover mobile and and internet media, then I can’t see the point.

  8. R Huckle
    Spot on. Politicians, the BBC and others give far too much importance to newspapers. I don’t know anyone who takes a daily paper any more. Certainly in terms of influence on the electorate, their role is already very small.

  9. Pete B

    Milton later had a job as government censor. Fancy – hypocrisy in a politician!

    Quite – though to be fair you could argue that if you are going to have censors, it’s better that they be people who don’t actually believe they should be doing it. They’re more likely to implement the rules even-handedly and as laxly as possible (Galileo for example benefited from this).

    That said, Milton’s belief that such freedoms were mainly for people he agreed with (rather than say atheists or catholics[1]) would make him fit well among certain UKPR commenters. So for the record the all sorts of things should be covered by freedom of speech even if they offend various definitions of political correctness. These include: xenophobic rants on trams; burning poppies wherever[2]; announcing riots that no one turns up to; being rude about people’s religions (or lack of one); saying spiteful things about sportspeople; offensive t-shirts celebrating criminals; weak jokes about airports; rants about the armed forces or their victims; or any of dozens of other cases where police and judicial intervention has somehow been deemed necessary.[3]

    Of course freedom of speech also applies to those who wish to deal with such outbursts by reasoned argument, mockery, scornful pity or just telling them not to be so stupid.

    Furthermore anyone with a judicial function higher than milk monitor who thinks that such ‘provocative’ statements are somehow made worse by being ‘broadcast’ on Facebook or Twitter should be taken to one side and have the modern world explained to them very, very, very slowly before they are allowed to make any decision (including “how many sugars in that?”) ever again.

    I can see why New Labour fan boys such as Rob S and Colin are so keen on Blairite legislation that is supposed to prevent anyone being ‘offended’, but why the rest of us should put up with what will inevitably result in the expression of anything that doesn’t fit the current whims of the Establishment becoming illegal is another matter.

    [1] Indeed one of his main arguments against censorship was that it was a very Papist thing to do. AS usual this didn’t change anyone’s mind, but it did manage to annoy everyone on the grounds that it was true. It’s also worth pointing out that he was attacking pre-publication censorship while Leveson is effectively about what happens after publication.

    [2] In itself a rather ambiguous gesture – what if it was a protest treatment about the treatment of veterans? And if burning it is so bad, how much worse are the rest of us who just throw it in the bin every year?

    [3] Obviously things such as harassment, actually starting a riot or burning someone else’s poppy are already covered by other legislation.

  10. @NickP
    Was yr post ironical or are your feelings of sickness an “an other-oriented emotion elicited by and congruent with the perceived welfare of someone in need”?

    Male posters on here are odd about women. Yesterday [?] old men were drooling on about Ms Churchill, whoever she is. Now they’re slagging Kate the Bait.
    My medical advice: don’t watch TV: avoid celebrity gossip.

    I go with Zappa.
    “I’m vile & pernicious, I’m obsessed & deranged,
    I’ve existed for years & v. little has changed,
    Have you guessed me yet?
    I’m the slime oozing out of yr TV set!.”

  11. R HUCKLE

    Whilst I think your 10 years may be a touch apocalyptic, you are right about the trend.

    When you look at the circulation figures for the quality papers, you realise what a minority activity it is. The Indy & Guardian in financial trouble; The Times only existing by Rupert’s generosity.

    Depressing-but then I expect it’s just another generational change. We don’t miss Town Cryers now do we?

  12. I will not be sorry if some of the worst printed media disappear but today sees the very last printed edition of the Dandy and this is a real blow. Korky the Cat and Desperate Dan spoke more sense than some humans I could mention. I guess I will have to order the Beano instead.

  13. NICKP

    It’s not a bluff-it’s a threat.

    If they don’t produce something which is Leveson compliant , with the exception of statutory oversight, the they will have to put up with statutory oversight.

    By the way they won’t be producing “self regulation”-that’s gone.

    THey will produce independent regulation, which is what Leveson proposes.

    THere can be no problem with “independence”-Leveson specifies what it means in terms of maximum numbers of press people on the REgulator & it’s Appointments body.

    If demonstrating credible independence really is a problem, then Leveson’s own Regulator cannot be implemented.

    Robin identified their key tasks-demonstrating credible Authority & power to impose Sanction-plus the crucial question of inclusivity.

    Anyway-best not rabbit on or Howard will be doing his world weary , can’t we talk about Dutch stuff & other interesting things act.

  14. @Tinged
    “If UKIP do start to peel away large sections of the Tory-right, then Conservatives should start to really worry.

    Not only does it split the right-wing vote, but if events (poor growth caused by a collapsing Eurozone) then peel away. entrist voters toward Labour then the Conservatives are hit from both sides.”
    There’s a good chance the Conservatives are already being hit from both sides, though I’ve not seen much talk of it.

    A little while back Richard in Norway queried Kellner’s lumping the Lib Dems in with Labour in one of his analyses, on the grounds that Richard felt that if you took the seventies as an example, Lib Dems were not necessarily that left wing.

    I too wondered about the Keller thing, on the grounds that if we look at the present day, many of us have reason to believe from the polling data that the more left wing of the LDs have already fled (often into the arms of Labour).

    Which means in turn… that the remaining rump of Lib Dems, are not that fussed about the u-turns and are quite comfortable with the more right wing coalition policies.

    So why aren’t they already voting Tory then? Well, the remaining rump of Libs, here and elsewhere, commonly cite two reasons for remaining with the party: voting reform, and Europe. The voting reform thing’s a bit of a stretch after the fiasco of the “miserable compromise”, so that leaves… the Tories’ favourite topic. Europe.

    In other words, the right are not split two ways as commonly discussed, but three ways. Europhile right in the Lib Dems, Europhobes to UKip, and Tories perched uncomfortably between the two. Therein lies Cameron’s dilemma. Move towards UKip on Europe and lose votes to the lib Dems, and vice versa.

    Unlike the economy, where if it improves, everybody wins (or most people anyway) , Europe is more of a zero sum game. Whatever he does, some on the right are liable to be disappointed. And worse still, ignoring the issue or making eurosceptic noises doesn’t work as one of the main reasons people are moving to UKip is frustration with broken promises on referenda etc.
    Europe transcends even the economy and party loyalty for a goodly number, as Europe is what might be considered a “Meta-issue” that affects not just the economy but much else besides.

    If one goes with this, you can see the difficulty for Cameron in trying to grow his party’s share of the vote. On the other hand it suggests that about fifty percent of the voters are actually right wing, if you combine LD, Con and UKip polling, maybe slightly more…

    Of course given that a fair number of Labour voters are eurosceptic, it’s possible that a move towards the UKip end might see him better off on balance. But how would the business backers feel about that?

    There’s the irony for Cameron. If he did preside over an economic recovery, he might still lose out in the end over Europe. You can also see why perhaps Miliband is one minute taking a hard line on Europe, the next minute, trying to reassure.


    @”I can see why New Labour fan boys such as Rob S and Colin are so keen on Blairite legislation that is supposed to prevent anyone being ‘offended’, ”

    Ummm-you haven’t been concentrating have you?

    The folk who don’t want anyone being offended ( well just themselves really) are to be found on a petition website being run by Hacked Off & the Labour Party.

  16. If the baby is a girl at least that will be something – the end of the male line

    -As we are supposed to all get excited about the birth of yet another Windsor perhaps we can have a public competition to name that baby!

    My suggestion if it’s a girl is Austerity!

  17. @ CYT

    It depends which period. After the fallout with Cominform (1947-48) it was much harsher (barren island) and there were executions (mostly by prison guards). Tito’s nationalism (redrawing bounderies of the republics, denyinf citizenship rights from Kosovans if they were not in their home republic) at least contributed to the way in which the events of 1991-92 happened (though perhaps the first diplomatic actions of the unified Germany were more important).

  18. colin

    “it’s not a bluff it’s a threat.”

    In that case, if legislation is not out of the question, why not just do it now?

  19. Colin:

    “the folks who don’t want anyone being offended – well just themselves really”

    Like Charlotte Church, the Dowlers, McCanns you mean?

    Perhaps if you want to attribute low motives to those with whom you disagree it would be better not to use such a broad-brush approach; it does you little credit.

  20. NICKP

    Presumably because DC ( & others) perceives the downside of statutory oversight as worth avoiding-if at all possible.

  21. HEADLINES !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    William visits Kate in hospital !!!!

    Blimey, what an unusually caring hubby………….

  22. It makes me sad as well as cross that so many people, on any side of any topic, either attribute base motives to their opponents or use straightforward, gross exaggeration – “it will lead to dictorship” “DC is toadying up to the press” “we’ll end up like Greece” etc.

  23. “dictorship” – which means “being ruled by Dicks” has been the case for years of course. What I meant was dictatorship – which is coming soon – just a few more steps.**

    ** Reminds me of Python’s career advice from Cleese to Palin:
    “from chartered accountancy to lion-taming – via banking.”

  24. COLIN
    Is” statutory oversight” the necessary or intended result of legislation. Legislative backstopping is a concept which derives from, say, health and safety legislation, which is statutory but which both contributes actively to and depends on self-regulation. Since the aim is an ethical and responsible press this seems to me to be an essential part of the route map.

  25. leftylampton @ RobS/PaulC

    “I’m basing my prediction of an improvement in Con & LD positions by 15 on the assumption that neither party is entirely bereft of tactical political skills, despite appearances.”

    I’m basing my pediction on the assumption that these people haven’t been listened to in the past and nothing changes in an authoritarian organisaion unless the leader changes his view, or the the leader is changed. There is a better chance of the latter, but it isn’t certain that a new leader would be better.

    We are not exactly in polldrums because there will be a very gradual but clear decline in support for the coalition parties as the unintended consquences of their faith based economic policies becomes apparent to voters though not to authoritarian followers, and the intended consquences fail to appear.

    It should be good for Labour, and it will, but not as good as it would be if there was any confidence that they were significantly more competent.

    In 2010 a significant proportion of the Scottish electorate, nowithstanding that they were among the huge majority who assented to the proposition that Labour were “tired and failing”, in the same poll admitted an intention to vote for more of the same.

    If there was ever an election in which nobody “won” this was it: – until the next time perhaps.

  26. John B Dick

    Does the YES campaign know something I don’t?

    December 3rd, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    oldnat @ JOHN B DICK

    I think they know what you do!

    I should have said “Does the YES campaign have polling evidence to support my interpretation of the thinking betrayed by the ranking of the LibDems behind not only the Cons but also the SSP

    If so, they are in even more trouble than I had imagined. I knew it was bad of course, but not that bad.

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