This week’s YouGov poll for the Sunday Times is CON 33%, LAB 45%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 8%. The climb of UKIP support into the mid-teens that has been appearing in other online polls doesn’t appear to be replicated in the daily YouGov polls. The rest of the poll dealt with immigration, gay marriage, the royal baby prank call and teachers’ pay.

Two thirds of people (67%) think that levels of immigration into Britain over the last decade have been bad the country, compared to 11% who think it has been good for Britain. 80% say they support David Cameron’s stated intention to reduce net immigration to the “tens of thousands”, although there is very little confidence in his ability to deliver it (only 15% think it is very or fairly likely he will deliver the pledge). On the specifics of foreign students, 50% of people think they have a positive effect on Britain compared to only 15% who think they have a negative impact. Despite this 53% people think they should be included in the immigration figures, only 40% think they should be excluded. Finally on the subject of immigration, people are evenly split on whether British companies should discriminate towards British workers – 45% think they should, 47% think they should not.

People support gay marriage by 56% to 36% who are opposed, pretty typical of YouGov’s previous polling on the subject. There are the same demographic patterns that we’ve seen in other polling on the subject – women are more supportive of gay marriage than men, and young people are MUCH more supportive than over 60s. Asked if David Cameron should continue with the proposed changes in the face of opposition from some Conservative MPs the figures were very similar – 51% think he should continue regardless, 36% think he should abandon the policy.

There is very little perception that supporting gay marriage will help the Conservatives electorally. Only 9% think it will help them, 17% damage them, 66% think it will make no difference (needless to say, people’s perception of whether it will help or hurt the Conservatives is not necessarily the same as whether it will. Polling on how policies directly affect voting intention is extremely dubious, but what there is suggests it is very much a case of swings and roundabouts – they lose about the same as they gain). Asked how they would react to their own son or daughter being gay, 63% of people say they would be very or fairly comfortable with it. 17% say they would be fairly uncomfortable, 8% very uncomfortable.

On the Royal Baby prank call 67% of people think that the Australian radio station should take some or a lot of blame for the suicide of the nurse who took the prank call. However, they are fairly evenly split over whether the DJs responsible should be sacked – 39% think they should be, 43% think they should not. 61% think that the offer of AUS$500,000 to a memorial fund to the nurse’s family is the right way to make amends, compared to only 24% who think there should be greater compensation or people should pay with their jobs. More generally, 50% think that similar prank calls should not be allowed in the future, 41% think they are harmless as long as they are done responsibly.

Finally people continue to narrowly support the existing arrangements for teachers pay over more performance related pay (by 48% to 43%). Asked about the role of teaching unions, 26% think that they are an obstacle to reform and that the government are right to take a hard line, 45% think that the government should listen to them more (28% say don’t know or neither). 31% of people would support a ban on teachers taking strike action.

204 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 33, LAB 45, LD 9, UKIP 8”

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  1. There has been a lot of unwarranted excitement about UKIP.

    Even getting 12%, 14%, 16% in some polls, they would still fail to win a single seat at any General Election.

  2. Very interesting that UKIP hasn’t increased like in some of the other polls although one or two of the others have changed their methodology which essentially means they are not comparable to the older surveys.

  3. I was wondering if anyone could tell me whether the apparent drop in Labour support when UKIP get a good figure is down to more people expressing a preference and less don’t knows.

    For example say Labour gets 40 out of 80 people who are included in the figures of expressing a preference then they would be on 50% of the vote. If the remaining 20 people out of the 100 who were categorised at don’t knows are then treated as UKIP the Labour vote is then 40 out of 100 = 40% of the vote. So although Labour hasn’t lost any support they have lost percentage of total voters.

    Or is it simply that some Labour voters have moved to UKIP?

  4. @ That Old Bloke. It is not about how many seats they could win (it is clear that they won’t win any). What is interesting is the damage they could do to the Tories. If they get anywhere near 10%, 2015 is going to be a disaster for Cameron.

  5. What I can’t understand is Cameron’s determination to pursue the issue of Gay Marriage against the wishes of a lot of his core voters. He can hardly afford to drive away rural Tories, surely. Does he seriously think this will win him lots of new “liberal” voters to help him in urban seats?

  6. blackrat

    have you considered the possibility that he is sincere?

    Not everything has to be based on some sort of tactical, poitical aim

  7. Paulcroft. To be honest, no. I suppose it is possible.

  8. BR

    That’s a very fair answer

  9. @Paul Croft/Blackrat

    Of course, one of the credibility obstacles on gay issues that Cameron and a lot of leading Conservatives have to overcome is that most of them, as recently as 2003, voted against the repeal of the infamous Clause 28. I accept that Cameron did one of his now famous apologies for this in 2009, but it is difficult to avoid at least speculating that his motives then, and now, were largely driven by political tactics and positioning. You don’t have to convene too many focus groups before you conclude that you’re running against the tide of public opinion on a particular issue! If Cameron had been a lone and brave campaigner against his party’s attitude towards Clause 28 in 2003, then his current position on gay marriage may have more credence. The fact that he opposed its repeal only nine years ago suggests a volte face to me and volte faces usually have expedient causes.

    In 2003, liberal attitudes on homosexuality were well entrenched and I do find it surprising that a young politician like Cameron, as he was then, could have adopted the stance that he he did. It’s another case, I guess, of will the real David Cameron please stand up! Who’s the authentic version? The 2003 version or the 2012?

  10. Let’s not have a discussion of politicians motive’s please – given we can’t know the answers, they are normally entirely partisan (shock horror as Labour supporters think Conservative politicians have base motives!)

  11. @Crossbat, Paul Croft and Blackrat,

    I tend towards Crossbat’s view of the motives, although in truth we don’t really know and people can have genuine changes of heart. However, the tactics used have been such a dogs dinner that these alone may end up hurting him.

    It seems that they made up the bit about a law protecting the CoE from GM, without actually asking them first before it was announced in the house.

    Now we have an open letter from CoE bishops and vicars who say they will defy this by blessing gay couples in CoE churches who have got officially married in other religious centres.

    Today we have warnings of an ‘exodus’ of Tory activists over the issue, with the clear implication that, whatever the rights and wrongs, this was part of the Notting Hill Set’s metropolitan agenda, which was not consulted on but rather imposed as someone thought it was a great electoral wheeze.

    At the very least, it’s made the Tories argue amongst themselves, at worst they look incompetent. It’s probably a strategic mistake (they don’t seem to be getting much credit for it) and tactically it’s been badly handled.

  12. Blackrat

    What I can’t understand is Cameron’s determination to pursue the issue of Gay Marriage against the wishes of a lot of his core voters. He can hardly afford to drive away rural Tories, surely. Does he seriously think this will win him lots of new “liberal” voters to help him in urban seats?

    Well he actually could “afford to drive away rural Tories” or at least quite a few of them. A couple of thousand off a 20,000 majority won’t dislodge an MP. In any case where would they go? UKIP probably hasn’t got critical mass to get a single seat (and may never have) and SSM opponents are hardly going to vote Lib Dem on that issue.

    Apart from personal conviction (probably genuine but not strongly held) I suspect Cameron is backing SSM for two reasons. One is demographic. As Anthony points out it has one of the steepest age differentials around – under 40s support by 4 to 1; over-60s oppose by 2 to 1. He’s not only going where the votes are, he going where the votes will be in future.

    He may also be wary of letting the issue become an indicator of the Conservatives as the ‘nasty’ Party among younger voters – as it has begun damaging the Republicans in the US. And this is also an issue on which public opinion has changed fast – I suspect many of the 33% of over-60s who now support SSM wouldn’t have done so 10 years ago. Cameron doesn’t want to joining a sinking ship.

    The second reason for support is less subtle. He has to do something for the Lib Dems. Clegg has got so pathetically little out of the Coalition (and a lot of that reversible or insignificant) – something that plays well to the Lib Dem base will help.

    Apart from this it’s worth pointing out the parliamentary mathematics of the topic. Labour and Lib Dems will vote overwhelmingly for SSM and so will a substantial minority of Tories. To prevent SSM going through the Commons at least would require Government interference to try to stop it happening, probably resulting in a rift with the Lib Dems and a humiliating defeat for Cameron. Even if he was personally opposed, it wouldn’t be worth it.

  13. AW
    ‘More generally, 50% think that similar prank calls should not be allowed in the future, 41% think they are harmless as long as they are done responsibly.’

    The whole issue surrounding this is associated with the word ‘responsibly’. Hospitals are there to treat us, cure us and possibly save our lives – any petty pranks that may prevent them doing their job as well or wasting their time is totally irresponsible. Pretty obvious I would have thought.

    Of course anytime people are humiliated in public, there is a danger of a tragic result, as in this case. It is difficult to see how making people feel foolish in public in this way could ever be seen as responsible. It is certainly unpleasant.

    Actually the whole area of ‘data protection’ is often an excuse for poor service where concerned people legitimately need information. This occurs with utilties and other services quite frequently. My experience with NHS treatment is that they put patient , friends and relatives ahead of insisting in a long interrogation to prove id. In future will the 100s of thousands of worried people phoning in about the health of love ones have to face detailed vetting? Is so then the disservice done by this radio station is enormous.

  14. Crossbat
    Perhaps the 2003 Cameron was one who had to build alliances within his party and didn’t want to stand out too much, but the 2012 one is the more sincere one?

    A lot of people are making the point that gay marriage isn’t an important political issue – much like Clause 4 wasn’t actually that important to remove when seeking new economic policy – but it’s a symbolic act.
    Cameron has spent a lot of time in the detoxification of the Tory party and to rid the party of the perception of them being a bunch of traditionalist dinosaurs.
    This is a perfect symbolic fight for him to go for – if it is a Conservative who legalises gay marriage, it ‘proves’ that the Conservatives are a modern party.
    Much like removing Clause 4 ‘proved’ that the Labour party were a ‘modern’ party, for the time.

    Lord Ashcroft’s research shows that although Conservative Loyalists (voted Con in 2010, still do) are more likely to be against gay marriage (44% against, 31% for), joiners are more likely to support gay marriage (45% for, 35% against) and the same of people who consider voting Tory (46% for, 25% against).
    However, only 9% of loyalists (their ‘core vote’) say that they’d be less likely to vote Conservative if they backed gay marriage, 15% of joiners and 12% of considerers said they’d be more likely to vote Conservative – but for most people it’d make absolutely no difference to their vote.

    So the risk is that by only pushing for that ‘core vote’ of loyalists (making up around only 26% of the country), and retoxifying yourself, you’re unlikely to be anywhere near a majority.

  15. Good Afternoon All.

    45% for Labour, is I think, where the ‘party’ needs to be to be a serious contender for a majority govt after the next GE.

    Warm here today, thank God.

  16. AW:

    I wasn’t being partisan: as a no-con voter I was suggesting that Cameron may well be sincere in his views.

    Of course it may be just political expediency or a mixture of motives but the common tendency to see the worst in all politicians, rather than looking for the best is not doing our democracy any favours.

    My own view is that the media has led on this for a very long time and that politicians are now in the invidious position of trying to defend themselves from any and every criticism. As Nigel Farage [who I also won’t be voting for] has shown its far better to have a set of values, articulate them and stick to them.

  17. Predictions in Japan election are for a big majority for the centre right and with the far right emerging as a third national party.

    Japan has had 20 years of deflation and recession.

    The leader of the centre-right has promised to increase public spending and ease monetary policy in order to (finally) get Japan out of the hole they have been in for so long.

    When I was at university in the mid to late 1980s Japan was held up as a stellar example of both business and economic management.

    Could they be again in 2015?

  18. @Amber (previous thread)

    “Labour can offer an in/out referendum on the EU AND say that they will back staying in but it will be up to the voters to decide. Cake & eat it; delicious for Labour.”

    No, they offered one in their 2005 manifesto and backed out of it.

    “Sure, that’d be nice but it doesn’t seem likely does it? The Tories are now working to Darling’s 2018 timetable so isn’t it a bit much to expect a return of the feel-good factor by 2015?

    I agree with the fact that they will probably not do it by 2015. Strangely, people think that the country votes Labour when the books are balanced. If that’s the case, the Conservatives should try not to balance the books too well?

    “Yep, the key battleground demographic of ‘strivers’ will be really excited about HS2 & 99% broadband (I think not!); the £10k tax allowance doesn’t compensate for the loss of tax credits for most ‘strivers’.”

    Well in 2010 Labour promised 16.8 Meg broadband for all by 2012. They mistakenly promised ‘Megabytes’, rather than ‘Megabits’. They meant to say 2 Megabits. In reality, this was not achievable either, as the sheer cost of rolling out 2Mb to every house in the UK is massive.

    “The Living Wage, not gay marriage, is the Tory’s ‘Clause IV’ moment. Will they step up & hit it out of the park or will they let it sail on by?”

    No idea, but the ‘living wage’ is a fallacy. The country can’t afford it.

  19. @ Statgeek

    1. Labour offered an EU referendum in their 2005 manifesto and backed out of it.
    Labour are ‘under new management’; the Tories presumably will still have DC & his ‘cast iron guarantee’ to work with.
    2. On the economy we agree, it is swings & round-a-bouts whatever the economy does; so we can leave it there.
    3 (a). Well in 2010 Labour promised 16.8 Meg broadband for all by 2012.
    That was a nod to the business community that the government would invest in infrastructure; it wasn’t a policy expected to have significant voter appeal.
    3 (b) ..the ‘living wage’ is a fallacy. The country can’t afford it.
    IDS seems to think we can afford it; he’s implemented the Living Wage for 500 DWP staff.

  20. Statistics show that employees are more productive and companies do better when they sign up to a living wage.

    We are NOT a third world country: the opposite to a “living” wage is what? Tax credits is one answer but I believe its the country that pays that.

    A living wage that is not taxed until one earns enough to live seems pretty sensible to me and if it really is so unaffordable perhaps we should save on other things.

  21. @ Rob

    The leader of the centre-right has promised to increase public spending and ease monetary policy in order to (finally) get Japan out of the hole they have been in for so long.
    They finally realised where all their chairs are & how to get some back. ;-)

  22. I see that the LD MAD numbers have jumped up the way in London, while the UKIP vote dropped slightly.

    Leadership ratings have changed a bit. Cameron into positive figures in RoS, and managed to pop ahead of Ed in Scotland. Not sure where these changes are coming from.

  23. @Amber

    New management in the form of the old Management’s underlings…

    The 16.8 Meg figure was either bad research, or was designed to grab the headlines. Either way it was a silly statement with no basis of fact.

    500 departmental staff does not a country make. If Ed promises it, he has to deliver it. If he does that, the private sector will have to shed jobs to afford it. The private sector economy fund the public sector economy. When I said “the country can’t afford it”, I was referring to the private sector.

  24. Why are people so sure UKIP will struggle to win a seat? I would think Farage was now high profile enough that he could well pull down a serious vote himself, if the party chose to focus its resources in whichever seat he stands in.

    I must say there is an irony in seeing Conservative fears of a split vote working against them, in the FPTP system they campaigned so hard to keep.

  25. @ Statgeek

    When I said “the country can’t afford it”, I was referring to the private sector.
    Ah, so in your view, IDS is simply being over-generous with the tax-payers’ money by ensuring DWP workers receive the Living Wage. I don’t agree with you.

  26. Wes
    “Why are people so sure UKIP will struggle to win a seat?”
    Because their support is large but spread widely – unlike, for example, the Greens whose support is much smaller but much more concentrated.
    So it’s unlikely for UKIP to win seats, even given their levels of support – which will be a great result in 2015.

    If UKIP do better than the LDs, at the expense of the Tories, but get no seats (say, the current 14%-ish that many pollsters have them at), I imagine support for PR will jump quite rapidly*.

    * Except in the Labour party.

  27. With all this news about a Japanese election, I was expecting to see Virgillio on here posting away as he posts so often about elections no one really cares about. Or does he only post when its the left wing who are predicted to win?

    Anyway, really couldn’t care less about Japan (or Romania/Lithuania for that matter)

    On the topic of gay marriage, I think its part of Camerons strategy of alienating his own party.

    The Mail columnist on Question Time this week got laughed at, but I think he was right, Cameron seems to get a kick out of alienating his base. As I was saying to Smukesh, there is probably very few people who say “If the Conservatives bring in gay marriage they will definitely get my vote in 2015” but there are a lot of bigots who say “if Cameron brings in gay marriage , I definitely won’t vote for him in 2015”

    As they were saying on This Week, George Osborne is a terrible strategiser. None of his plans have ever really worked. They didn’t get an OM in 2010, every so called “trap” they set doesn’t really effect Labour, and every move they make just makes their VI drop.

    Hope gay marriage does get passed though, I used to be on the fence not really caring either or, not really sure, but after actually meeting gay people and seeing their relationships are just the same as ours, having gay friends (cliche I know) and actually being able to put a real face to the gay community, I can’t see any genuine reason to oppose, but lots of reasons to support. If it harms Tory VI as well then that’s just a bonus.

  28. Living Wage: Cabinet Office and Ministry of Justice may follow DWP and back increasing low earners’ pay by more than £2 an hour
    You need to have a word with all of them, Statgeek!

  29. “The private sector economy fund the public sector economy.”

    Complete simplistic fallacy that. If the Home Office moves out of Croydon, there’s many a private coffe/sandwich shop will close along with most of the retailers in the Whitgift Centre.

    The economy is NOT us and them. It’s a great symbiotic eco-system, currently being leeched of its life blood.

  30. statgeek

    Sounds like EM should just give up to me.

  31. Hello. I mostly lurk, although I did make one comment a couple of months ago.

    I am posting to bring your attention to this poll which I believe is a classic example of a poll which includes bias in the questions:

  32. @PC

    Based on their productivity and output levels 90% or so of MPs should give up and give business-minded and people-minded individuals a chance.

    The Westminster-minded are not doing very well, and haven’t done well for some time (except for themselves).


    I have already replied to that questionaire as has my wife and given them the answers that they did not want to hear.

  34. There has been some dispute here on what constitutes a push poll…

    I hope we can all agree that this constitutes one –

  35. Um, when political parties do things like that they aren’t trying to find out opinion (they know full well what does and doesn’t makes a proper poll), neither are they usually seeking to use the results as propaganda material (after all, who would take it seriously?). They are collecting email addresses.


    I cannot see the point of that poll – all it is doing is re-enforcing a view the Cons already hold. And even if they use it in the press to pretend their policy is widely popular – it will not change anyones opinion,
    So what are they trying to achieve?

  37. @Couper2802

    Multiple things, first “We consulted with the public on this matter, and found agreement.”, second “pushes” opinion by using the poll to get their point across rather than gauge opinion on it, third gathers e-mail addresses for electoral campaign purposes.

    And I do think we have a clear looks like a duck, walks like a duck, sounds like a duck on this one being a push poll.

  38. AW
    Now who’s assuming ulterior motives? ;)

  39. Aw
    “They are collecting email addresses.”

    That’s why when I voted I made one up. So long as it has a ‘@’ and the right format most of these sites are fooled.

    e.g. ‘[email protected]

  40. Voting intention sidebar has been updated.

    Thanks, Anthony. :-)

  41. @Amber Star

    Why doesn’t Ed promise to increase the National Minimum Wage by 20%? Can’t see anyone in the private sector doing this voluntarily. Any estimates of job losses?

  42. WOLF

    Ever since the minimum wage was suggested (1906?) it was predicted that it would result in job losses.

    I’m aware of research that has found no evidence of any significant job loss as a consequence of introducing a minimum wage. Do you have access to research that shows the opposite?

    The private sector didn’t end child labour voluntarily.

    You ask an interesting question. Why doesn’t Ed propose raising the minimum wage to a living wage level? Is there any evidence that this would negatively affect employment?

  43. MitM

    Your post about Virgilio was petty and doesn’t really deserve a reply.

    But I’ll reply anyway. If you spent a bit if time actually reading Virgilio’s posts, you would find that they concern elections and polling in EUROPEAN countries.

    You may not care less about those discussions. I suspect care more about them than we do about your opinion of them.

  44. Interesting report on the Japanese election here from the BBC’s Tokyo correspondent : –

    His assessment suggests that all the mainstream parties are losing popular support and voters are drifting to mainly far right splinter parties offering a return to the glories of Japan’s imperial and militaristic past. The centre right LDP, who presided over Japan’s slump and stagnation for 20 years will be back after a 3 year sabbatical, but there’s no suggestion whatsoever that they are riding a popular surge. They will merely be the beneficiaries of an urge to kick the incumbents in the goolies Their leader, Shinzo Abe, is attempting to tack right to fill his sails with the prevailing political wind but, according to this article, he doesn’t cut a particularly convincing figure.

    Isn’t it ironic that a party who presided over 20 years of economic failure, and who were unceremoniously dumped out of power only three years ago, are now on the verge of a return? Their offer to the electorate? We’re not the other bloody lot.

    It works every time!

  45. @Oldnat

    Given that Labour introduced the Nat Min Wage around the same time of increasing public sector employment, and given that the unemployment percentages were dropping before it was introduced, it’s hard to ascertain if the minimum wage made a big difference either way.

    If something like this had been introduced at the height of the 1984 or 1993 unemployment peaks, what job creation would have come about?

  46. statgeek

    “based on ‘output and productivity’ 90% of MPs should give up.”

    As you like your stats I look forward to a detailed breakdown of the MPs, and the calculations whereby you arrived at the above figures.

    Unless of course you just made them up?


    1. The minimum wage is not a unique UK measure. Its effects can be looked at in a number of economies.

    2. Why have you tried to move the discussion from predicted job losses due to minimum wage, to “job creation”?

    I prefer evidence based decision making to simply assuming that any additional cost to companies will have a deleterious effect.

    That may not be your assertion, of course, but it is a fair representation of the stance taken by many on the right.

  48. Paul Croft
    ‘As Nigel Farage who I also won’t be voting for’

    Is he standing in your constituency? How exciting.

    By the way it’s ‘whom’ and I know you are keen on such stuff. So am I. :-)

  49. I tried this before but will again. Have those of you who posted on the tragic death of the nurse taken into account that the tapes were played over and over again (only involving her because the radio producers did not want to be accused of playing the parts of the tape from the actual nurses who gave the actual medical reports to the supposed caller).

    If she had the radio on in her digs, alone, is it not likely that that this constant repetition could have been significant? It is this factor that caused my tirade against the news media and I do not understand why that issue is not being pursued. Perhaps it is because the said media are ashamed?

  50. @MitM

    You are denigrating a valued poster… someone who less than a fortnight ago went to the trouble of giving full answers to all the queries which you directed @Virgilio.

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