This week’s YouGov polling for the Sunday Times has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 42%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 9%. No sooner had a posted that it looked as though the Labour lead in YouGov’s daily was consolidating around 12 points, we’ve had polls showing a ten and nine point lead. Such is life!

The rest of the poll concentrated upon the Autumn Statement and the royal baby. All the economic figures remain extremely pessimistic. 77% think the economy is in a bad state, 57% expect their financial situation to get worse next year. 33% of people say they have confidence in the government to get the country out of the current economic crisis, down on when YouGov last asked in January. However, the Conservatives are still preferred to the alternative. 37% trust Cameron & Osborne more on the economy, compared to 26% for Miliband and Balls.

On YouGov’s semi-regular question about economic strategy people are evenly split – 36% think the government should continue to prioritise the deficit, 37% think they should prioritise growth instead. Turning to the specifics of the statement:

  • 36% of people think they personally will be worse off compared to only 6% who think they will benefit.
  • 33% of people think that it was right to limit increases in benefits to 1%, 19% think the government should have gone further and frozen benefits completely, 35% think they should, at least, have been increased in line with inflation.
  • On tax evasion and avoidance, 73% of people think the government should be doing more
  • There is a fairly even split over teachers pay – 47% think they should be paid on national scales, 43% think they headteachers should pay them on performance.
  • The cut in Corporation tax is supported by 43% and opposed by 26%. More generally 51% think it is a good thing for the country to have low corporation tax, 25% a bad thing.
  • Shale Gas also produces a fairly even split – 34% think it is right to give more financial incentives to extract it, 32% think it wrong, 34% don’t know.

Moving to the royal questions, people overwhelmingly think it is right that the law is to be changed to treat men and women equally in the line of succession (87% think the law should be changed, 6% do not). There is similarly overwhelming support for a change to the laws governing the succession of other titles (81% support).

Prince William is seen as the member of the Royal Family who has done most to improve perceptions of the Royal Family, picked by 33% of people, followed by the Queen on 27%. 47% of people think he should remain in the armed forces once his commission expires next year. Finally, of the bookies’ favourites for royal baby names people prefer George (17%) and Diana (21%) as names.

While I am here, yesterday morning YouGov also publishing polling on the X Factor for the Sun. For historical reasons, the political department at YouGov always do polling on the X Factor (essentially when YouGov were first starting to do polling, well before my time, they did a really good poll predicting the 2001 election for the Sunday Business… that didn’t really get them noticed at all. Then they did a poll predicting that Will Young would beat Gareth Gates in Pop Idol and suddenly the calls started coming on. The rest is history). The poll had Christopher Maloney coming in third, whch has indeed happened, and has James Arthur beating Jahmene Douglas in a run-off between the two of them: James Arthur 45%, Jahmene Douglas 38%, Decide who to vote for on the night 14%….

288 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times and X Factor”

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  1. But Anthony how does Yougov take into account multiple voting?

    I actually think you are right and that James will win, but I’m curious to know how you factor in multiple votes.

    I will be voting for Jahmene 10x, now usually when you poll you take a cross section of society in your poll and weight it, but my decision to vote 10x doesn’t have anything to do with my socio-economic background so how do you measure it?

    Do you maybe replace likelihood to vote with “number of votes”?

  2. ” Finally, of the bookies’ favourites for royal baby names people prefer George (17%) and Diana (21%) as names”

    I wouldn’t mind Diana but George? It’s a pub name!!


    “I will be voting for Jahmene 10x, now usually when you poll you take a cross section of society in your poll and weight it, but my decision to vote 10x doesn’t have anything to do with my socio-economic background so how do you measure it?”

    EasyPeasy…You watch X Factor..nuff said!! ;)

  4. A thread/poll about the Royal Family AND the X-Factor [which obviously I have never seen]. Finally I grasp the meaning of “dumbing down.”

  5. ” Finally, of the bookies’ favourites for royal baby names people prefer George (17%) and Diana (21%) as names”
    I wouldn’t mind Diana but George? It’s a pub name!!

    -How about Austerity for a Girl or Sciver for a boy?

  6. jahmene is a jolly good name for the “royal” baby – or paul.

    or sid or doris perhaps.

    actually I don’t really care.

    apropos rien [<<<< forrun] when we have our first openly gay married royals [with cheering crowds] i will believe that prejudice really has ended.

    More importantly, it is our new puppy's [Daisie] first walk today, along with her older puppy chum Rosie who's doner it all before, and knows about sticks and balls and rivers.

    the sun is shining which shows that god [a complex anagram of dog] likes puppies.

  7. STEVE

    “How about Austerity for a Girl or Sciver for a boy?”

    i’m fine with them but no to the pub name.

  8. Allen Christie

    Do you think those royals knew they were naming there children George after a pub name whatever that means.
    George 1
    George 11
    George 111
    George 1V
    George V
    George V1.

    Seems to be popular down the pub with those Royals

  9. Don’t forget King Conquering Hero and Queen Barrel and Belly.

  10. AW
    “No sooner had a posted that it looked as though the Labour lead in YouGov’s daily was consolidating around 12 points, we’ve had polls showing a ten and nine point lead.”

    Mm…within the normal statistical margin of error?

  11. John – yep… so we can’t tell if we had a run of polls towards the top end of the normal margin and it was 10 all along, or if it is still 12 and these are normal variation towards the bottom end, or there was a real increase that faded away

  12. AW
    Or didn’t

  13. Anthony -you have, I am sure inadvertently, depressed me immensely this morning and the comments here on royal names sent me into further gloom. (except Turk, I wonder if they understood you and of course George VI was really Albert).

    I would even prefer Ken’s football gloating (it will come).

  14. Steve

    “How about Austerity?”

    Genius. Eras are named after the ruling monarch. Elizabethan Age, Edwardian Age etc.

    Given that the Age of Austerity looks like being stretched out until the forthcoming sprog is actually on the throne, this would be an inspired name!

  15. Finally we get a really important poll, I think that polling showing James Arthur James leading shows that Britain is becoming a modern European nation with a relaxed attitude to repeating names

  16. AW

    @”Such is life!”

    Worry not Anthony.

    It will soon be back to consolidating around something else-probably a bigger number.

  17. The responses in this Poll to the 1% cap on benefit increases seem to indicate a net support ( if you include-should have reduced them as support).

    GO’s ploy to make Labour vote on it therefore seems good politics.

    On DP this morning Chuka Umunna hedged a bit ( haven’t seen a Bill yet) , but did seem to indicate Labour will vote against.

    …..elephant walks willingly into elephant trap………or does the elephant know something?

  18. Wow that x factor polling is amazing who would have thought that 100 of people would be watching on tv(obviously we know that’s a statistical error, but 99.9 would look so untidy and who cares about some boring political anoracks who won’t be watching) I’m a bit disturbed that a large section of the population wants to see the return of Simon cowell, obviously the nation still likes his nasty boy image, maybe other well known figures(or even figures that should be well known but ain’t) which are struggling with their popularity should take a leave out of his book and embrace their inner nastyness as it seems to be the sure route to success despite Mrs may’s objections

  19. @Leftylampton (FPT)- “Alec:
    “(Darwin) remains probably this nations greatest ever thinker.”

    That’s quite a claim for a nation that produced Newton and Clerk-Maxwell.”

    I did say ‘probably’, as clearly there is room for debate, but in general I would hold to this. The reason I say this is that while Newton and Clerk Maxwell undoubtedly changed our understanding of science, and in doing so changed our lives, neither had to swim against what must have been an almighty (or Almighty, more correctly) tide of fear regarding their own findings and theories.

    Indeed, at the time of his greatest work, Newton claimed to be detailing the laws of nature that god had created. He was certainly not challenging the basis of a widely held religious belief that pretty much the whole of his society held very dear indeed.

    Darwin, by contrast, developed a theory of evolution that blew out of the water centuries of religious teaching. It wasn’t a case of establishing a scientific theory and then gathering the plaudits – he faced real risk and enormous uncertainty. Indeed, it was Darwin’s fear of publication that made his ‘Origins’ work quite so brilliant. He delayed publishing for years until he was utterly certain and had completed study after study to confirm his thoughts.

    On a scientific level, while I wouldn’t ever down play the brilliance of Newton’s thinking, it’s also worth pointing out that while Newtonian laws are still with us today and used everywhere, he didn’t get it all correct, with Einstein and quantum theory superseding elements of Newtonian physics.

    On top of that, by all accounts Darwin was a lovely individual. I can’t speak for Clerk Maxwell, but Newton was a jealous and petty man, fearful of his rivals and rather unpleasant. Darwin, by contrast, remains pretty much blemish free as an individual. One last remaining hero, perhaps?

    By contrast, Darwin’s thinking has got progressively more and more accepted as new discoveries underpin just how brilliant he was. When he first published in 1859, he predicted a mechanism for carrying biological traits through the generations, years before genes and DNA was discovered. There remains some debate over small elements of Darwin’s ideas, but his central tenets have, if anything, gained in strength over the years.

  20. @ Colin

    I’m not so sure re benefits. You could be right but it may well consolidate the core vote (35%) to see a Labour leader actually stand by a belief for once instead of always going by what the polls say. Providing he comes up with policies to deter the ‘scrounger’ element then I don’t think it will damage him, especially as it will not be a key policy issue to make people vote against him come the election.

    The very time when there is an excuse for someone to be unemployed (especially in the case of the young) is the absolute wrong time to be hammering people on benefits. No-one seems to care much when things are going well which is the one time there is more justification for hammering benefits when there is the chance of work.

  21. Alec

    Fair points. You are probably correct that Newton and Clerk Maxwell were swimming with the tide and that someone would have made the findings that they did. Darwin’s contribution was more the Kuhnian paradigm shift. I an still quite astonished by the sheer breadth of contributions that Newton and Clerk Maxwell made though. It’s fascinating that the latter is barely known by the public, despite being one if the most fertile intellects that these isles have ever produced.

    As for Newton’s personality, I’m surprised that Hollywood has never made a movie in that theme. Flawed genius, plague, vindictive nastiness, the fight against corruption, all with a backdrop of Restoration ribaldry. It couldn’t fail.

  22. And I’m going to take the line I always take… Policy Polling is almost always bunk.

    For instance, if there had been a recent reminder that Corporation Tax is the one used for the “Corporation contracted employee” tax loop-hole… And of course there is an even greater amount of “Don’t Knows” answering, so Colin’s derived opinion above that “People support the cut to benefits” is on shaky ground.

    A problem here is that people don’t like GO’s policies, primarily because they haven’t been working. But you can’t go to an opinion poll to find out what our economic policies *should be*, because the general public don’t know. It’s why we elect people who we think should know.

  23. @Lefty – we’ll declare a score draw, and both be content that these isles have produced more than their fair share of world beating intellects.

    It’s what I call Darwinian cooperation.

  24. SHEVII

    Umunna gave me the impression that Labour expect a LibDem rebellion-so their calculation looks similar to their EU budget vote.

    I certainly don’t think “hammered” is a reasoned characterisation.
    GO says that over the last five years those on out of work benefits have seen their incomes rise twice as fast as those in work. Assuming that statement is correct, there is some element of ” fairness” which can be argued.
    Conversely, the unemployed have a very very hard time of it & will feel let down.

    As I understand it disability benefits are not included.

    As for in work benefits, the higher basic rate tax band compensates .

  25. If it’s a girl, I wager Elizabeth will be one of the names. It’s shared by the paternal great-grandmother (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, aka QEII), the mother (Catherine Elizabeth Middleton), and the maternal grandmother (Carole Elizabeth Middleton)

    “Mary” is a good bet also. it’s shared by the paternal great-grandmother (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, aka QEII) and – at a stretch – Camilla (Camilla Rosemary)

    You could also make a case for “Anne” or “Alexandra”

    As for boys: well “Arthur” and “Philip” will be there somehow: the paternal great-grandfather (Phillip), the paternal grandfather (Charles Philip Arthur George) and the father (William Arthur Philip Louis).

    “James” is a good bet: the mother’s brother (James William Middleton) and it ties to Scotland.

    Additionally, don’t discount “George” and – seriously – “Charles” (paternal grandfather again)

    Me, I want “Victoria”, “Rose”, “Stephen” or “Richard”. But then I’m a sentimentalist.

    If it’s “Wayne” or “Shavonna” I give up.


    His side
    Elizabeth Alexandra Mary
    Charles Philip Arthur George
    Diana Frances
    Camilla Rosemary
    William Arthur Philip Louis
    Henry Charles Albert David

    Her side
    Catherine Elizabeth Middleton
    Philippa Charlotte Middleton
    Carole Elizabeth Middleton
    Michael Francis Middleton
    James William Middleton


    Agree with 1% increase 33%
    Should be no increase 19%
    Should increase with inflation 35%
    DK 13%

    ie the max % who could be opposed to anything less than an inflation linked increase is 48%.

    I agree it is finely balanced.

  27. I really think the x factor poll is the most significant poll this year, it tells us so much about the country’s attitudes. Gary barlow ain’t so boring, at least compared to the other judges. This poll tells is so much about the public, I just wish I could understand it!!!!!

  28. @Colin

    And how many understood that “no increase” in real terms means an increase with inflation. How many really understand the concept of inflation, and that a freeze or below inflation ‘rise’ is a cut to the amount purchasable with those benefits? If you explained these thing in the question, how would it change?

    That’s one of the problems with asking this kind of policy question. It assumes knowledge that may not exist in the respondent.

  29. @John Pilgrim –

    “or didn’t”

    That’s the same as, “if it is still 12 and these are normal variation towards the bottom end”!

  30. People being sarky about the X factor on here should know that more people will probably watch X factor, than watch any political show.

    I think Anthony’s X factor poll is probably going to be correct in terms of order, but I don’t think the margin will be as wide. I think James Arthur will win, but I think Jahmene will definitely be close behind.

    As for royal baby, you can put a 1000/1 bet on it being Chardonay!


    I agree-who knows?

    Best ignore the whole thing eh?

  32. @ Colin

    …..elephant walks willingly into elephant trap………or does the elephant know something?
    Labour could propose amendments for particular things which people have some sympathy with. If the government loses the vote on the amendments, they look weak; if they win, they look nasty.

  33. MiM

    ” People being sarky about the X factor on here should know that more people will probably watch X factor, than watch any political show.”

    Yes I was being sarky but I was also being serious as well, I am well aware that X factor is more popular that all the politics programmes put together, I’m also painfully aware that Joe public will talk about X factor 100 times more(at least) than any political policy or idea. Also what I said about the X factor poll telling us more about the country than any other poll is an honest opinion but as I don’t watch X factor I’m in no position to interpret what the polls tell us, but it would seem that the public’s love of Simon cowell tells us that the public respond well to folk who give their honest opinions in brutal fashion and it might be that the Tory party should embrace their nasty party image instead of running away from it and in that context maybe the effective cut in benefits is a masterstroke.

  34. Of course it might be silly to try to relate X factor polling to political sentiments but it wouldn’t be the first time a poster here has been guilty of silliness

  35. Liking someone who tells the honest truth bluntly is very different from voting for your benefits to be cut, or for a bunch of arrogant posh boys to cut taxes for their millionaire mates while taxes on grannys pension goes up.

    I don’t get why more people can’t embrace both politics and x factor, I personally enjoy both.

    As for the poll, AW has replied since my last comment, but didn’t answer my question, how do you account for people voting multiple times in this poll?

    I don’t know what to call it, maybe the Silver effect, where you get the result right, but the degree of confidence is far overstated.

  36. I would enjoy X factor more if it was just the political maneuvering of the judges without the awful talent bit. Maybe we could have an X factor for politican, it would either be really fun or really really boring, I think in such a show I could learn to love Simon cowell as he rips into politican presentation skills

  37. Here’s an interesting observation by Anthony Painter.

    “..the YouGov question specifies benefits and doesn’t mention tax credits. My hunch is that people don’t see tax credits as benefits. Humans are conditioned with deep loss aversion. If you ask them about a loss of credits that will hit them rather than other people then the polling result could be very different. There is a framing issue here.”

  38. RIN

    A good idea, you could have the debates based on X factor style. maybe 2 politicians from each of the 6 UK wide parties.



    To give you a final 12, then each week they debate a topic (similar to X factor themes) then the public vote.

    Only problem would be who the impartial judges would be as no one would be satisfied at the impartiality. Maybe, Dimbleby, Paxman, and as its compulsory to have a woman, Andrew Neils Co Host on the Daily Politics. Think her name is Jo.

  39. MIM

    Much more fun with completely partial judges as long as they don’t all agree. I always like it on these reality shows when one judge is scathing and the next is gushing

  40. “Maybe we could have an X factor for politican…”

    It was called “Vote for Me!” as was on ITV, Kelvin McKenzie was one of the judges. Even he thought the eventual winner was too extreme – a former solicitor who had been struck or for fraud with a far-right anti-immigration platform. He stood against Michael Howard in 2005, endorsing the BNP elsewhere in the country, and got all of 153 votes.

    I don’t think the experiment will be repeated any time soon.

  41. Maybe instead of BNP as we don’t want them, Monster Raving Looney party, as after all we need a joke act. Or does Cleggy fill that role?

    But if you had partial judges then there would have to be 6 on the panel.

  42. Anthony while your here, how do you factor in multiple votes in your x factor poll or do you not factor it in?

  43. Not factored in (though it is asked, so I expect if we noticed all one contestant’s supporters voted once and all another contestant’s supporters voted multiple times we’d factor it in somehow)

  44. I think this is clearly one area Labour can/must? improve on before the next GE – economic confidence. It’s ok benefiting from the incumbents’ unpopularity, but GO and DC still lead EM and EB by 37% to 26% on who the public most trust to run the economy, give or take a few % either way. This is one area that could still come back to haunt Labour during a GE campaign, leader/chancellor debates and as the GE gets closer (i.e. within a few/six months).

    Of course, many will feel that this is merely because Labour hasn’t (wisely, perhaps) discussed any specifics regarding its economic policy yet. This may be well be true, but until Labour manages to convince the electorate that it has a set of alternative economic policies, the GE in 2015 will continue to remain open IMO.

  45. *Labour manages to convince the electorate that it has a set of *more viable* economic policies than the Tories*

  46. @ Colin

    Sure and I would feel a bit gutted if someone on minimum wage was getting minimum wage increases regularly and nothing more, but the minumum wage increases have been barely more than that 1% anyway.

    I do understand the importance of making it pay to work and it is probably one of my (few) right wing opinions if that is a right wing thing, just there has to be a safety net and, taking nothing else into account, the idea that inflation is 2% and possibly more for essentials and benefits are up 1% isn’t much of a safety net if you are right on the line.

  47. @AmbivalentSupporter

    Ed supports a living wage of £7.20 minimum. He would like wages to take up a larger percentage of UK national income. He believes the present policy of austerity is wrong although he has also said it would be ‘crackers’ to expect the next Labour Government to spend as much as the previous one.

  48. AMBER

    Yes-that could be their plan. I agree.


    It is tough I agree.

    But I’m bound to say that the column inches expended over the difference between a 1% rise & a 2% rise in welfare , compared with what is happening in RoI for example, indicates to me that we probably haven’t grasped how serious the state of UK public finances is.

  49. Pity that they didn’t take the opportunity to remove the institutionalised discrimination against RCs in the royal succession.

    They haven’t removed the ageism bit either – equal rights for the younger siblings!

    Best just left to claimants to the throne to fight it out – perhaps via a new version of “Royal It’s A Knockout”.

  50. Today is the last day of the electoral year 2012 in the EU, with the GE in Romania. Exit polls results have already leaked in the Romanian political blogs, and give a 45(!) point lead to the center-left alliance USL (“Social and Liberal Union”, regrouping Social Democrats of PSD, Liberals of PNL and two minor parties) over the Right Wing Alliance ARD (mainly the right-wing Liberal Democratic Party PDL, plus minor satellites). USL is around 60, USL 15, the newly-formed populist PP slightly over 10 and the party of the Hungarian minority UDMR around 5-6. This landslide was predicted by all VI polls and it is the most catastrophic result ever for the Romanian right. If verified, it will mean an OM, maybe of 2/3, for the USL. USL leader, the Social Democrat V. Ponta is already the PM of Romania from early 2012, but as a result of a toppling of the previous ARD-UDMR govt. by means of parliamentary defections. More solid results late this night, and tomorrow or Tuesday I will have a post with a roundup of all six GE in 2012 in EU, plus a roundup of Regional, Presidential and other elections…..Of course the news of the day is the Italian snap election in February 2013 (instead of April) after the vampirish come-back of Berlusconi and the resignation of independent PM Monti….. the misfortunes of European right and especially the EPP do not seem to end with 2012, all VI polls predict an unprecedented defeat for the Berlusconians….

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