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. @NickP – “Does it cost more to means test pensioners to cut winter fuel, travel and other allowances than is saved?
    How much is it costing to identify higher rate taxpayers whose partners receive child benefit?
    Surely it is better to leave universal benefits alone and just up basic rate tax? Far more efficient.”

    To be honest, this is where we are suffering from the after effects of a condition known as ‘Brown’s Tinkering’.

    The idea of giving pensioners free buses, winter heating and TV licences were complete gimmicks, designed to catch headlines. They are expensive to manage and poorly focused. Yet to remove them now is a huge political elephant trap for any government.

    By far the simplest way to address issues of pensioners who can’t get a TV or heat their homes, would be to have been to increase the basic pension by an equivalent amount to these allowances. Zero admin costs and as pensions are taxable, it’s a good deal more equitable.

    Bus passes are a bit more difficult, as not all pensioners us them, so adding the costs of these to the basic pension might mean some who depend on lots of bus journeys would possibly lose out, but I suspect this wouldn’t be a huge issue once you consider the admin savings to be made in scrapping the scheme.

    I liked a good deal of measures that Brown introduced, but I’ve often been critical of these highly politicized, complex and expensive to administer gimmicks.

    He just couldn’t do simplicity, so now we are left scratching our heads about how we sort out these ill targeting spending measures.

  2. @Amber

    “…cue Martyn, telling me it couldn’t possibly work like that! :-)…”

    Given the circumstances, I don’t think anybody would be complaining at that point… :-)


    “…The Europe ref can’t be announced before the Scots independence vote because one of the major planks of the no campaign is Scotland being thrown out of Europe, as soon as the Europe ref is announced that plank is shot to peices. Of course that won’t stop Alex from praying every night that DC will be forced into it…”

    He could make it part of his support for the constituency changes.

    Incidentally, one thing’s been puzzling me since this thing began. Why doesn’t Salmond just hold a EU referendum for Scotland in 2013? It won’t be legally binding, but i think the holding of a non-binding referendum is within Holyrood’s powers, If a “stay in” vote then it’d cut Cameron off at the knees. If a “leave” vote then the situation would be clarified for the independence ref.


    Will look at your source in more detail when time permits.


  3. @Oldnat – that legal opinion seems sensible and is what many of us have been saying all along (including yourself, to be fair).

    I would maintain that the lack of certainty remains a much bigger problem for the SNP than for anyone else though – they need to convince people that nothing bad will happen, for which more certain answers will be needed. this can’t happen pre vote, as no one should waste time negotiating for something that hasn’t received democratic support, so the SNP will go into the vote having to admit they don’t know for certain what the EU deal will be.

  4. My summary of the legal opinion from @Oldnat and the statements of Barroso is that negotiations between the EU and the UK before separation would be a political not a legal matter and the outcome uncertain.

    However if there is no significant result in these negotiations, then rUK would be the successor state and Scotland would be de facto out of the EU.

  5. HAL

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

    I suspect that the opinion of a former ECJ judge is of a little more weight than yours or mine.

    Incidentally, the EC have confirmed that they have not sought or received any advice from the ECJ.

  6. @ Tinged

    It was Sunday’s Opinium poll which gave me carte blanche to discuss the Living Wage on a polling site (see below):

    Sunday’s Opinium/Observer poll asked people if they would be prepared to pay slightly more for goods and services if they knew that the companies they bought from paid their staff the living wage. A total of 47% of respondents said that they would probably or definitely be prepared to pay more, against 37% who said that they would probably or definitely not be prepared to, while 16% said they did not know.

    Among likely voters for the three main parties, Lib Dem voters were most in favour – 57% said they would be inclined to pay more – with 26% saying that they would not be prepared to pay more for such goods.

    Among likely Labour voters, 53% were inclined to pay more and 33% were not. Among likely Conservative voters, 48% were inclined to pay more and 41% were not.

    The above elicited from Anthony my all time favourite response:

    @Amber – surprised they managed to find 37% of people to answer yes to an “are you a selfish bastard?” question. Sigh.

  7. Phil Haines
    I tried to write a ‘LD / Clegg’ deprecating comment and you interpreted it as though I wrote some supportive text. I agree with you totally which is why I wrote what I did.

    That achieved in your case about what Eddie the Eagle achieved in the ski jump.

    My fault of course, I should not attempt satire and anyway the bl**dy smilies aren’t working.

    On the above discussion, it has occurred to me that if one held a bunch of referendums at the same time, one could achieve what they do in the USA with their multiple proposition choices.

    People would cease to think in partisan ways and would be so mesmerised by it all, they would fail to find out which party supported what and thus actually vote on the issue as opposed to like sheep.

  8. @SoCalLiberal

    There is a Huffington/YouGov out, it got a mention on BBC R4’s main news programme this evening:


    PM (as in 5.00 pm) also talked to a constitutional law author who came down very heavily on the side of the dissenting Supreme Court Justices:

    “right to keep and bear arms” protects only a right to possess and use firearms in connection with service in a state-organized militia. Had the Framers wished to expand the meaning of the phrase “bear arms” to encompass civilian possession and use, they could have done so by the addition of phrases such as “for the defense of themselves”.

    I don’t know too much about this (beyond the Second Ammendment page on Wikipedia), but there is something of a transatlantic cultural gulf on this subject. I have seen comments about how we here are hung-up on myths about gun-crazy Americans. My perspective would be that “gun-culture” as promoted globally by the entertainment industry etc, is seen as seductive in some ways, but raises deeply disturbing visions of possible social breakdown for European sensibilities… we would rather see the US on the same page going forward.

  9. Amber
    Thanks for that – but I wonder what the response would be if it was a legally mandated wage.

    I realise that isn’t Ed Miliband’s proposal – he wants a voluntary change, but there are plenty of people who support the living wage who want it to be a legal obligation.

    Living wage is an interesting discussion once you get in to the details of the living wage rates (working under the assumption that it’d be economically viable) – for example, the Joseph Rowntree foundation’s minimum income for a single person (which is effectively a living wage) assumes £10k a year for a single person, excluding rent (they assume £3600/yr for rent), but £2327 of that is for social and leisure activities.
    So there is a debate on whether social activities are required for a living wage, or because they’re spending of disposable income whether they should be excluded – if it were to be brought in as a mandatory system.
    So their post-tax living wage, minus social costs, is £11k (I assume post-tax), which is roughly minimum wage after tax on 40 hours a week – although this does mean that you don’t have any savings to fall back on in case of emergency (and doesn’t help people with children, etc, etc)

    So it’s a bit more complex than the headlines suggest – but complex is good.

  10. Billy Bob and Socal
    Apparently the Canadian stats on deaths from guns as half that of USA but still horrendous compared with ours.

    I wondered thus if your point about culture might have greater significance than the law itself. I haven’t found out yet what the law is in Canada (but will try, unless you know it).

  11. @ Tinged

    The UK Living Wage for outside of London is currently £7.45 per hour.

    The figure is set annually by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University.

    You can view the report which explains how the UK figure is calculated here. [here is a link on the above web page]

    The London Living Wage is currently £8.55 per hour.

    The figure is set annually by the Greater London Authority and covers all boroughs in Greater London.

    You can view the 2011 GLA report which explains how the London figure is calculated here. [again on the web-page this is a link to the way the wage is calculated].

  12. Amber,
    It looks like they use the Joseph Rowntree foundation’s MIS as a base – but thanks for the link so I can look at the details.

  13. @Howard

    It was bl***ing obvious that it wasn’t supportive text, and I’d clocked long ago that you’re no fan of Clegg. What makes you think that I thought otherwise? Aren’t we allowed to agree?

    Yours, Eddie.

  14. The lovely Mr Pickles has called historian and Labour MP, Tristram Hunt “a bit of a luvvie” for expressing concern about library closures.

    A shame Mr Hunt wasn’t thinking quickly as hye could have said “Well, you’re a bit of a lardass”.

    It seems the days of quick-fire, parliamentary repartee are behind us all now, more’s the pity.

  15. PaulCroft
    “Treat other commenters who don’t share your views with respect – it’s your chance to understand their point of view, not score points off them – and indeed, politicans from opposing parties with respect. Comments that talk about Zanu-NuLab, one-eyed Scottish idiots and so on are not conducisive to the non-partisan sort of discussion we want here and will probably never leave moderation.”

  16. Phil Haines

    Chastened, he retires hurt – but hopefully I’m the only one of we two. Thank you very much or the reply.

    I do think his speech will be instantly forgotten, blimey, I’ve forgotten it myself already!

  17. TF:

    Is this irony? I don’t get it anyway


    “I don’t get it anyway”

    Too much detail. :-(

  19. I’d like to see meaningful Scottish polls on immigration.

    Actually I’d like to see meaningful Scottish polls on anything at all. but this young fellow who wears a tartan plaid has a distinctive take on immigration according to his tweet. His grandfather campaigned for independence – in India.

    Humza [email protected]

    ” Muslim Minister representing Scottish Government off to light a Menorah later today to celebrate a Jewish festival ”

    09 12 tweet

  20. TF:

    Unless you’re a Mr Pickles fan? It was only a joke you know and you didn’t have to laugh. I thought him trying to belittle a serious point by calling someone “a luvvie” was as relevant to the issue as my suggested retort; in other words, not. That is the whole point of irony: it highlights the ludicrous:

    “I am concerned about libraries closing”

    “That’s because you are a ‘luvvie’.”

    There is no comparison at all with “one- eyed etc” which is a pretty dreadful thing for someone to say, especially on TV.

    As for other “commenters” I shall offer them the same respect they offer me,

    Dunno why your post was in quotation marks either – that rather threw me as I assumed that you were quoting someone else.

  21. @oldnat,paulcroft
    Thanks !
    lol :-)

  22. I did laugh at Zanu-Nulab

    Though with the attempted election rigging by cleggy with the whole AV fiasco, which would have ensured the Libs in constant goverment, and then cleggs 2nd attempt in the lords wouldn’t Zanu-LD be more fitting?

  23. MinM

    Any comparison to a brutal, murderous dictorship does little for my own capacity to laugh.

  24. Much is talked of benefits as if successive government had not chosen to spend what government called National insurance as ordinary revenue.

    The insured benefits which cannot now afforded were in theory already bought and secured by unwitting citizens.

    To dress these as unaffordable luxuries is patently nonsense when we see the BoE can create money to buy government debt. Were we at war what could we not afford?

    No, these are choices our masters choose to take from others whilst themselves retaining all the benefits that office might readily bestow upon them. Attacking the universality of provision will simply repeat what the demutualisation of building societies and deregulation of banks in the 1980’s and 1990’s did for the financial sector – it will undermine the entire structure of the welfare state.

    The rules are always bent to suit the needs of the few. As many who were invested in pensions schemes in the private sector found to their cost. Then too benefits were withdrawn because of necessity. The benefits of final salary schemes were taken from members because they could not be afforded – by and large as a direct consequence of directors and corporate shareholders taking what should have been put into the pensions funds as bonuses and dividends in the good times.

    And once the consequences of their games of smoke and mirrors catch up with them it is the poor man on Job seeker’s allowance and the cleaning lady who are expected to underwrite the follies and greed of their betters – the very same people who then tell them they will have to make do with even less because they’re workshy and feckless.

    The aristocracy of eighteenth century France could not better these Lords of the Markets for false airs and foolish graces….and we all know how they ended….

  25. Bugger!


  26. Ah yes, the Living Wage and all those philanthropic and altruistic employers just desperate to pay it! My heart goes out to them because it must be terribly upsetting not being able to pay a wage that someone can live on beyond mere subsidence levels. I know they’d all love to pay higher wages if only their businesses could afford them the ability to do so.

    We need to get real here, don’t we? Like tax avoidance (or optimisation), the compulsion to minimise labour costs runs through most employers DNA. They’ll pay the minimum that they can get away with and that’s why many decamp to countries where poverty wage rates are the norm. In advanced economies like the UK, they’ll be forced to pay rates that allow them to attract and retain staff, but the pressure will always be to limit wage growth. I haven’t met a single employer who is remotely worried or concerned about what sort of standard of living their employees can afford on the wages they pay but why is anyone surprised by this state of affairs? Like dogs chasing cats, cats chasing mice, employers driving down labour costs is the natural order of things in a deregulated capitalist economy.

    Most employers have had improved employment conditions like wages, holidays and pensions forced out of them by trade unions and politicians. Philanthropy and altruism are not prime motivators for them and that’s why pay rates for agency workers, in some businesses, run at 70% of those for permanent staff. High unemployment and weak trade unions have made the current labour market an employers playground. Tax credits subsidise poor pay rates too.

    A Living Wage will never become a reality by voluntary means. Parliament will have to legislate and that’s probably why it will remain a woolly-minded and mealy-mouthed aspiration. Sounds good though on a politician’s lips when he or she like to present their caring side.

  27. Wouldn’t the inability to remove the lib dems from power have made us a semi-dictatorship?

    With the Lib Dem leader constantly choosing the PM, and possibly disregarding the public vote.

  28. MiM

    Leaving aside my distaste at the continued link to Zimbabwe to what “inability” are you referring?

  29. The interview re gun law with an American on daily politics was really quite chilling in its absurdity.


    Very much agree with you.

  31. @ Tinged

    If you go past the Minimum Income link & stay with the Loughborough Report there are proper tables for each category: Single, Couple, Lone Parent with 1 child etc.

    There are also amounts for public & private sector rents; council tax & child-care. i.e. all the things which you said were omitted in the Rowentree Foundation stuff which you’d read.

    I didn’t intend to just give you more of what you’d already seen!

  32. Paul,
    As you probably knew, I was quoting the comments policy.
    And I know you were joking, that was sort of obvious, but there’s a point where ‘just a joke’ and pseudo-‘partisan nonsense’ starts to get a little bit blurry.
    And that just invites the sort of partisan back and forth which the comments policy seeks to discourage – by discouraging those sorts of jokes about politicians – even if you meant it in an ironic kind of way.

    Also I’m no fan of Eric Pickles – but surely you could find something other than his weight to mock? Too easy and a little bit normative. C-, try harder next time.

  33. Amber
    The Joseph Rowntree data has breakdowns based on family type, pre/post-rent and a general cost breakdown.
    They even supply a calculator, where you can insert your rent, gas & electricity, water, etc and your income (so you can see how far below/above the minimum standards you are).
    And I didn’t say the details were omitted – only that they were omitted from the ‘headline figure’, just as it is with the living wage campaign.

    But like I said, it’s interesting to see the varying methodologies for calculating a living wage – and it’s always good to see the details. :)

  34. And finally – a poll!
    ComRes/Indy phone poll –
    Con 31 (-4), Lab 41 (-1), Lib 10 (nc), UKIP 9 (+3)
    So UKIP improve in another poll.

    Generally Speaking do you consider yourself…
    Lab 40 (+2)
    Con 31 (-2)
    Lib 11 (-1)
    UKIP 6 (+2)

    Changes since last phone poll.

  35. The Other Site is reporting

    Conservatives 29 (minus 6)
    Labour 40 (no change)
    Lib Dems 11 (plus 2)
    UKIP 10 (plus 6)

    Conservatives 31 (-4)
    Labour 41 (-1)
    Lib Dem 10(no change)
    UKIP 9 (+3)


  36. TF

    Sorry you still don’t understand my reasoning.

    Pickles excuse for disregarding and diminishing Hunt’s motives was to call him a “luvvie”. I used Mr P’s weight [very commonly mentioned in political columns] to highlight how ludicrous things can get if one doesn’t stick to the subject, not that I care one way or the other what size he is.

    To further demonstrate that I was fully aware that my own suggestion was even more pathetically irrelevant than “luvvie” [the whole point of irony] I then referred to the sad passing of “quick fire repartee”.

    I found it funny: you didn’t, but we probably don’t need a poll because it definitely was.

    Anyway, you should stop trying to score points off of me – its against the comments policy.

  37. And we all know how Paul strictly adheres to the comment policy! ;)

    (winking smiley if it doesn’t work)

  38. So Populus also showing UKIP growing at Con’s expense, while Labour and Libs largely remaining in similar positions.

    I guess we’ll probably have to wait until after Christmas to see how lasting the damage is.

  39. Tf:

    You shouldn’t assume so much: I didn’t realise that was an excerpt from AW’s policy or I wouldn’t have been confused.

    This probably means detention or lines now I’ve been found out.

    Anyway, back to delicious polls.

  40. @Howard – “I haven’t found out yet what the law is in Canada”

    Sorry, I got sidetracked watching old episodes of Due South… perhaps the second clip in this sequence will help to explain :)


  41. mARTYN:

    Who’s “the other side”?? Are they polls of the dead or what?

  42. @ Billy Bob

    Is Due South the one with the Mountie & his dog? If it is, I used to watch it occasionally; it was ever so sweet!

  43. aMBER

    The dog or the mountie

    [funny hw we get used to words – that is a really weird one.]

  44. @ Paul C

    LOL. The program; the stories were kind of corny & sweet.

  45. Just a further thought on the Living Wage. A company’s primary responsibility is to its shareholders who want to see the value of their shares increase and their dividends paid. These two factors are governed by the profitability of the company and higher wages paid to employees eat into profits.

    Anybody care to square that circle for me and then explain to me why a company would voluntarily increase wages over and above the bare minimum that they can get away with?

  46. @PaulCroft

    @Billy Bob

    Thank you kindly.


  47. CB11:

    Me sir ! Me sir !!!!

    Is it because the workforce work better, are happier, more productive and less likely to leave the firm??

    [That’s what they said on the radio anyway]

  48. These polls are really worrying; Labour in the low 40’s – they should be doing much better than that at this point of the electoral cycle! ;-)

  49. Thanks Martyn

    So that’s “the other side” eh?

    What is their comments policy like? Can you call someone a lardass for example, just as a joke? Not that I want to – just curious.

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