YouGov’s final Sunday Times poll of the year is online here. Topline figures are CON 33%, LAB 43%, LD 10%, UKIP 8%.

YouGov repeated their semi-regular trust tracker they have asked since 2003. While people in the survey said the Mitchell affair had made them trust the police less, the percentage saying they trusted local police officers was actually almost unchanged – 67% trust local police officers a great deal or a fair amount, typical of all the times YouGov have asked the question in the last few years. There was a slight drop in the proportion of people who trusted senior police officers with 47% of people saying they trusted them. While this is the lowest YouGov have recorded, it is not a significant change from the 49% who said they trusted senior police officers in November.

In contrast the Savile affair does seem to have significantly damaged trust in the BBC. Today’s figures actually show a slight increase in trust in the BBC since YouGov last asked the question at the very height of the Savile affair – now 51% of people say they trust the BBC, compared to 44% a month ago – however this is still a significant fall from the BBC’s 60% trust rating at the start of the year.

Looking at the more specific questions on plebgate, Andrew Mitchell is now narrowly more believed than the police – 31% think Mitchell is telling the truth, 28% the police, 41% don’t know. 43% of people still think that Mitchell probably called the police officer a pleb, but this is a drastic change from September when 69% of people thought he did.

Despite the turnaround in opinion people still think Mitchell was right to resign by 49% to 26%. 29% of people think he should be offered another government job, 40% think he should not. Even if Mitchell’s own version of events is proven to be true, many people think that should be a resigning matter anyway – asked about Mitchell’s admitted version of events, where he said to the officer “I thought you lot were supposed to f—— help us”, 38% of people still think this would be a resigning matter, 44% do not.

169 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 33, LAB 43, LD 10, UKIP 8”

1 2 3 4
  1. Rather appropriate that the final Sunday Times YouGov should end with a 10 point Lab lead given thats been the average for much of the past 9 months.

  2. Well my view on Mitchell hasn’t changed whether he said “Pleb” or not.

    Anyone who swears and berates Police Officers who tell him that, the same rules apply to him as anyone else, because he thinks he is above the rest of us deserves to be shown the door.

    Oh and as I posted yesterday on the late thread about UKIP and Independence, this appeared in today’s Herald!


  3. I haven’t looked at the gender bias for a long while, but there it is in the tables. The Lab-Con scores are Male: 41-34, Female 46-31. However the important factor is Don’t Know: Male 10, Female 21. This means the apparently high score for Lab amongst Females is mostly due to the higher Don’t Knows.

    Putting DK back in gives Lab-Con Male: 37-31, Female 36-24. So the real story is the collapse in support for Con amongst women, into the Don’t Know column.

    You can see this effect also in the tables for some of the other questions. Govt approval is Male 26 Female 19 when including DK. There is little gender bias in the Cameron well/badly question but for Miliband, there are 10% fewer female badlys but 10% more DKs.

    There are few DKs in the economy questions so I think the main effect seems to be about party identity and personalities, particularly Miliband.

  4. Back in August there was something of a recruitment drive, with articles apprearing about how Cameron was going to reinstate the whips’ office as a training ground for future mimisters… Heath and Major amongst others came up that way (Thatcher was in favour of the restoration of birching but she never got to be a whip).

    I get the impression a number of people turned down the job of chief whip before it went to Andrew Mitchell; his departure meant that Sir George Young came out of retirement (first stint as whip in 1976). I’m not sure whether any of this has helped solve the problem of Tory indiscipline.

  5. It will probably be a happier Christmas in Camden than in Chipping Norton.
    as to Nick and Miriam Feliz Navidad vergüenza acerca de las encuestas de opinión.

  6. Peter Cairns

    Even if were established that Andrew Mitchell were completely wronged by conspiritors, the fact remains that the old-fashioned word “pleb” has a refreshed currency because it has a meaning which, rightly or wrongly, a large part of society beleves iis uniquely appropriate to describe how the government, and even a wider metropolitan “elite” think of the rest of us.

  7. The Police Federation well & truly on the back foot.

    The Met has a huge responsibility to get to the facts -all of them.

    If the Police can stitch up a Cabinet Minister, they can stitch up any ordinary member of the public. There is a direct line from Hillsborough & South Yorkshire Police , to DowningstreetGate and the Diplomatic Protection squad.

    ….and all the time the Police Federation demands “respect” for the Police.

    Interesting to see the BBC & the Police go through similar problems at the same time-both borne of arrogance & an attitude that they are above accountability & public opinion.

    A very healthy outcome will result for these unreformed pillars of the Establishment.

  8. “”The humiliation of Theresa May, the Home Secretary, at the last Police Federation Conference springs to mind, as does the behaviour of certain factions in the Federation that have exploited the Plebgate story. Not only were these individuals wrong to adopt the tactics that they did, they were also foolish, for now it is they who are in the dock, in effect, not the man who did the swearing. Their treatment of Mitchell was injudicious and juvenile”.”

    Sir Paul Stephenson.
    Former Commissioner of the Met.

  9. “England has 39 police forces, headed by 39 chief constables or commissioners. In the past 18 months, seven have been sacked for misconduct, suspended, placed under criminal or disciplinary investigation or forced to resign. That is not far off a fifth of the total.
    In the same period, at least eight deputy or assistant chief constables have also been placed under ongoing investigation, suspended or forced out for reasons of alleged misconduct. No fewer than 11 English police forces – just under 30 per cent – have had one or more of their top leaders under a cloud.”

    Andrew Gilligan

    The time is opportune for TM to press home reforms of the Police force in this country.

  10. The way I look it is this – IF the police had lied about the use of the word *pleb* then it is also very likely the whole affair was a fit up to get him the sack.

    For me, swearing is definitely not a sackable offence, especially as it is so commonplace (and in common language) these days. Pretty much everyone, beyond the 1950s brigade, accepts that it is a totally acceptable part of modern culture and is used regularly by virtually everyone against everyone.

    I guess my perception of the whole thing depends on the results of any investigations, but it is looking fishier all the time IMO.

  11. For me, if the police conspired to get Mitchell the sack, it is also probable that they deliberately wound him up by significantly delaying his exit (as was suggested by Mitchell at the time), and that this procedure is unusual for senior politicians.

    If they went to the hassle of conspiring to concoct false witnesses (we don’t know that yet) etc. then it seems likely to me that the whole affair was just some big conspiracy to get him the sack by winding him up from the start.

    Obviously we will have to wait until the findings of any investigations before deciding.

  12. I had a friend who used precisely the same argument as Colin ‘If the police can get away with doing this to me, what are they going to do an uneducated person from a sink estate?’.

    His problem was rather like that of Andrew M. in that he was stopped by a couple of police when riding a bicycle and asked a lot of questions about what was doing at that time of night etc. Unwisely he decided after a while that he had had enough and rode off. The upshot was that he was pursued by a police van. thrown into the back of it, had a rib broken and charged with being drunk in charge of a bicycle..

    As it happened, he was not drunk but diabetic and kept long enough by the police to be very short of sugar and to start behaving very oddly. In the end the police offered him £5k, he refused to accept it, took them to court (against my advice, although I believed him completely) and lost at a very high financial cost. This started a train of events that ended in his suicide.

    Over time I have seen policemen do some extraordinarily good things and also, as in the above example, some things that I have seen as very bad. How on earth one gets more of the good behaviour and less of the bad, I haven’t a clue. Perhaps some of the police who participate in this site can give an answer.

  13. I’m sure if it is proven that Mitchell didn’t use the word ‘Pleb’, he will get a senior role back in government.

    @John B Dick,

    “Even if were established that Andrew Mitchell were completely wronged by conspiritors, the fact remains that the old-fashioned word “pleb” has a refreshed currency because it has a meaning which, rightly or wrongly, a large part of society beleves iis uniquely appropriate to describe how the government, and even a wider metropolitan “elite” think of the rest of us.”

    I agree. Problem is that Labour MPs and politicians are as guilty of this ‘them and us’ mentality as the rest. The expenses scandal really showed what many of the politicians and MPs of all colours really think of the ordinary UK citizen.

  14. Colin
    “If the Police can stitch up a Cabinet Minister, they can stitch up any ordinary member of the public. There is a direct line from Hillsborough & South Yorkshire Police , to DowningstreetGate and the Diplomatic Protection squad.”

    You DO realise how much wry amusement we on the Left are deriving from this don’t you? This sudden realisation of the Right that perhaps the police can stitch up people?

    If you like, I’ll reel off the names of a dozen friends who had their lives ruined by malicious police action during the Miners’ Strike. Including charges of Riot that were dropped without explanation after 18 months. Long enough for the people concerned to have lost their jobs and in one case, his marriage and home.

    Welcome to the world that some of us have known about for decades.

  15. Only just over a couple of years (at most) to the next election already.

    And it looks as if those LD voters who moved to support Labour are staying there. I see Chris Huhne is touted as a replacement for NC. I think it will take more than that to get those votes back. Getting out of government is the first step, and then hope that protest votes start trickling their way rather than UKIP.

  16. , in particular, Does anyone have a plausible reason as to why the police would conspire to get Andrew Mitchell the sack.? There seems to be an absence of motive.

  17. I’m not to sure Cameron will be that down hearted by the polls, that 10% lead by Labour hasn’t snowballed out of control and is more based on what Coalition has done or cocked up depending on your point of view, than anything EM has put forward as Labour policy.
    The emergence of UKIP again this hasn’t grown as yet to make them the third party, and maybe it’s possible to see them fall back next year and the Liberals start to recover slightly
    Of course the Tories would like things to be closer but there is still over 2yrs before the next GE all in all still in the could do better stage for all the parties, particularly those in the coalition, but plenty to look forward to.


    If only there was a “like” button on here a la Facebook….

  19. This website has been hijacked by the debate over the Police rather than UK polling……..


  20. @Couper,

    “, in particular, Does anyone have a plausible reason as to why the police would conspire to get Andrew Mitchell the sack.? There seems to be an absence of motive.”

    I can think of at least a few major reasons. Major cuts to the police budget, not to mention massive cuts to public sector pensions and pay.

    Not saying there was a conspiracy – we’ll have to wait and see the outcomes of any investigations – just that there is definitely a motive for such a conspiracy to exist.

  21. LEFTY

    Thanks for the welcome-you could have called it a rude awakening.

  22. Whatever the findings of any inquiries I doubt AM will get back into the Cabinet. It would be a very unwise course for the govt to pursue on the back of these polls. Ergo it wont happen.

    Moreover I think the whole episode has seen too many bridges burnt between AM and the Con leadership. Its sad for him (and outrageous of the police involved – for which their rightly should be some holding to account) if he has been “fitted up” but perhaps one of the most telling things against him was that his colleagues only ever offered lukewarm support at best. Perhaps they could have imagined him doing what was charged?

  23. @Lefty
    “Welcome to the world that some of us have known about for decades.”
    Spot on. Please also see my reply to you on the previous thread.

  24. @Ghrinports,

    I disagree. IF he is found not guilty of using the word ‘pleb’ and a conspiracy is found to have existed (i.e. he was stiched up) then I think public opinion would change further than current polls exist, especially as the results of this stich up would be all over the news/newspapers. Even as things stand, only 38% of people think that if he merely swore at the police it would be a resignable offence – and this 38% is disproportionately made up of Labour supporters/voters anyway.

  25. *suggest*

  26. the problem for mitchell wasn’t just being stitched up by the police but cameron knew about the cctv evidence querying the story at an early stage and said and did nothing. i wonder what mitchell thinks about cameron privately?

  27. Anthony, re:BBC

    Why is a 7% rise ‘slight’ (44 to 51), but a 9% fall ‘significant’ (60 to 51)?
    It seems to me you could just as easily read the data as suggesting a temporary fall in trust due to the Saville story that’s now heading back to previous levels.

  28. It was his colleagues that forced his resignation, not the police.

    As for the police, my first experience of this sort of thing was being attacked and thrown over a garden wall at the Grunwick picket. Next day the press was full of stories about picket violence when the reality was an organised assault on the pickets by the SPG.

    Thankfully I wasn’t charged with riot or assaulting the police, the usual insult added to injury.

  29. Hello, long time no see!

    On Mitchell, I feel he is grandoising (is that an official word? If not you heard it here first) in order to salvage his reputation and get back into the whips office, or another job. Obviously Police lying is a serious offence, however, it does not change the facts.

    Mitchell only denied using the words plebs and morons, he never denied the other offensive things he said, and refused to comment on whether he threatened the officers (allegedly saying “you’ve not heard the last of this”). It was highly unprofessional. As a Scotsman I swear like a trooper at the best of times, however, he is an MP, a different thing entirely.

    His resignation letter specifically accepted that he had sworn AT the officer, and on these grounds he offered his resignation and it was accepted. Therefore this desperate clamouring to appear entirely innocent is ridiculous. He has resigned as a result of his actions, and quite right too.

  30. I see YouGov is still lumping in UKIP with the ‘others’, something known to reduce their share. Are they still also using the reduced voting intent applied to ‘minor’ parties as well?
    There seems to be almost a delibarate attempt by some polls (or the people paying for them) to deny UKIP an equal playing field. They should at least be treated the same way as the LibDems.
    Whether this is a YouGov decision, one by the poll owners, or that organisations choose YouGov because the underestimate UKIP I dont know. It would be interesting to see what a choice of Con, Lab Other, then choose an ‘other’, does to the LibDem vs UKIP percentages…

  31. Why is there any talk of a conspiracy at all? As far as I can see, one person tried to add weight to what had been reported (or, perhaps more likely, tried to make sure it wasn’t just swept under the carpet), by contacting his MP. It was certainly questionable action, but is there anything else that can be called into question at all? The CCTV may show that he wasn’t there, but it certainly doesn’t exonerate Mitchell, far from it – there was enough disturbance that one member of the public took a strong interest.

  32. @Couper2802

    See John Kerry

  33. “He has resigned as a result of his actions, and quite right too.”


    I’d get all partisan if I thought of another party’s MPs not resigning when they ought to have.

    Glass houses and all that.

  34. Seems to me that the answer as to whether or not individual MPs should/shouldn’t be sacked for offence X is primarily along partisan lines.

    I remember when (primarily) Tory supporters on the Net were calling for Dianne Abbot to be sacked (rightly IMO). The list goes on.

    As it stands, as I said before, Mitchell should be sacked IMO. But if it comes out that he didn’t say ‘pleb’ , or that such a conspiracy did exist, then I don’t think he has a case to answer for.

  35. Anyone who is surprised by the notion of the Police telling lies IMHO clearly has not had very many dealings with them, or spoken to different types of people who have.

    Based on both personal and professional experience this has been a regular feature of policing since the 1980s and I very much suspect before that as well.

    I have no sympathy for them in this case.

    It’s also different from the BBC and has nothing to do with notions of public sector monoliths. BBC was about inefficient corporate structures (ironically related to the importation of private management techniques) along with a private sector ‘esque obsession with the brand image meaning difficult issues were either swept under the carpet or not dealt with correctly.

    On the other hand the Police culture of ‘dog biter’ in the Fed magazine and the related ‘canteen culture’ have for decades been about a group of mainly men (despite the increasing numbers of females) who see themselves as essentially untouchable and proverbially a ‘law unto themselves’; who have a basic authoritarian and un-nuanced ‘right or wrong’ mindset on the world at large where ends justify means if ‘we get the bad guys’. For decades it has attracted a particular type of social pyschology and mindset. This has all been known about for a long time in the work of various researchers- the exemplar being policeman-turned-university academic Simon Holdaway with his covert research (‘participant observation’) of occupational culture.

    On the other hand Mitchell was damned at the time not just by this Police stitch up but also by what his colleagues said about him, past employers and his long standing and long suffering neighbours!! The man is clearly an awful bully and arrogant person: perhaps precisely the type you need to whip the Tories if you are Cameron and only have sub 35 poll numbers to look forward to over the coming 24 months along with a 3rd place in the Euro elections…..

  36. The problem is, if it were a Labour Minister forced to resign as a result of fabricated police statement, I’d want the copper’s head and I would be screaming injustice.

    The whole thing stinks, and I don’t like it. The police look bad, very bad, especially when you add in phon hacking.

    Extraordinary reluctance to investigate actual crimes even when they have piles of evidence put alongside actually making up stuff to pursue a Minister over something that even if true is pretty petty. Is it a crime to call a copper a Pleb?

  37. I suspect alone amongst the commentators Here I have actually worked as a Police Officer in Downing Street together with many years doing a real policing job outside of the confines of security and protection.

    I am not of course going to say corruption and fit ups don’t happen of course they do,I personally have never witnessed any but the evidence stacks up that they do upon occasion take place.

    However, in this case ask yourself a question.

    Downing street and that section of Whitehall probably has the most CCTV per square yard of any road in the country.

    If you were going to enter into an elaborate conspiracy against a serving cabinet minister involving evidence which could be easily dismissed by reference to CCTV which you must know are viewing your every move would you do it there?

    Only if you were some kind of congenital idiot.
    What on Earth would be the point?

    I have no idea what was going through the minds of the individuals involved , but some elaborate clandestine plot to bring down one individual cabinet minister is frankly pretty ludicrous.

  38. The police may have some questions to answer, such as did Mitchell really say “I’ll have your job for this”. This was the justification behind filing a report in the first place. As for deliberately winding up Mr Mitchell or significantly delaying him, I think the cctv footage shows an officer opening, holding, and closing the side gate after him.

    The Mail claim that Mitchell demanded (and was granted) a chauffeur driven £60K Jaguar when he was made cheif whip, neither his predecessor nor Sir George Younger were awarded a car of any kind.

    In the meantime he was insisting that police open the main gates for him. It was reported that there had been some kind of incident on the Tuesday evening with police explaining the rules about bicycles – the “plebgate” incident occured on the Wednesday – and the Mail reported that twelve hours later on the Thursday morning, Mitchell made another mounted attempt on the Downing Street main gates.

    According to the Sun: “Sources say he got his BSD nickname after once storming into Tory HQ ranting: “Why am I not on the bloody front pages? Don’t you know I’m the Big Swinging D*** around here?”

  39. Colin

    If the Police can stitch up a Cabinet Minister, they can stitch up any. Welcome to the real world Colin the police have been stitching up ordinary member of the public since Peel.

  40. I’m a bit fed up witha this speculation but the most likely thing surely is that this was personal? All talk before was that Mitchell was arrogant, in general. Perhaps the police just reached the end of the line with being treated ike plebs and then sworn at

    In the end the police will maintain he said plebs and he’ll maintain he didn’t: maybe what is more important is whether he showed them any courtesy and this seems unikely.

    Anyway its all bad for the govt as they have eulogised the police for decades and this wil always be known as “pleb”gate, so it won’t matter what he said.

    Happy xmas DC.

  41. @ Colin

    When any organisation (or nation) becomes fractured or deliberately separated into elites & others, the special people begin to think the rules do not apply to them.

    I am glad you have had a ‘rude awakening’. Too many people choose to believe that what happened to Ian Tomlinson could never happen to them; that being framed or falsely accused could not happen to them; that being found guilty & imprisoned could not possibly happen to them! Now it seems possible that it could.

    Please stay awake, Colin. Especially if you are ever called to serve on a jury! And remember, the relationship between the police & some sections of the media is not a healthy one! Politicians usually prefer not to challenge either (pace Heywood & DC’s decision not to challenge discrepancies or release CCTV footage).

    Remember also, it was the ‘whispering campaign’ against Andrew Mitchell by his peers which eventually forced him to resign. They chose to believe the media & police version of events when they had no actual evidence upon which to judge. Why? Because it has been ingrained over many years that we should take the word of the police? Because it always easiest to bow to media pressure?

    And finally, there should always be tension between politicians, the media & the police. When cosy relationships are formed anywhere within that triangle, the public are at the mercy of the 3 most powerful forces upon which almost all of us must rely for our governance, our information & our safety.

    This is why we have the FOI Act, this is why we have human rights legislation, this is why we have a court outside the UK to which we can appeal! Remember: Aba Qatada (the ‘Aunt Sally’ of the anti-ECHR media) has not been found guilty of any offence in the UK!

    If the police can credibly be accused of framing a cabinet minister, why should people be barred from standing as police commissionaires because they have had a run-in with the police years ago? If people can be framed, why should prisoners not have rights? Why should they not have a vote? If it is better that guilty men go free due to the presumption of innocence, surely it is better that all prisoners have some rights because there will be innocent men & women in their midst. Remember, the last man to have been hanged in Britain died, not because he murdered anybody but because police officers claimed that he had uttered words of encouragement to his friend!

    And yes, it may seem incongruous that a big state, leftie believes passionately in legislation which protects the individual from the state. I’ll simply have to be incongruous because that’s what I believe. I also believe that we need more protection from some of the press; adopting Leveson’s recommendations could be a step in the right direction.

    Apologies for the long comment!

    I think your assumptions about polling for other parties are mistaken. YG is an online poll so must present all parties together as a fill-in-the form (‘tick which one’) basis. Ideally the parties would be on that form in alphabetical order or regularly switched around so as to eliminate any bias.

    What you complain of is the presentation of the results, which is another matter.

    If I am mistaken, I await AW’s clarification. Also, if you are right, you do indeed have a very serious point.

  43. I suspect voters may be in a state of half knowledge about Plebgate as indeed must the comment makers here. Thus the varied results of the poll.

    Just to vary the input , I read that Mitchell was known as ‘Thrasher’ when at Rugby School. If this refers to a practice of allowing senior boys to administer corporal punishment to juniors, then the thought makes me puke.

    When this saga began, i said here that I was somewhat surprised, as Mitchell, in his OD job, came over as concerned and anxious to be competent.

    If I had been in his position, I would have adopted low profile and worked towards retaining my seat, I assume however, for some reason, that it must be ultra safe though. I’ll have to look him up. Can I be bothered? Nah!

  44. Amber

    Great post. It s also worth adding that most tories seemed to find it very believable that Mitchell would act in a crass, high-handed manner and a lot just didn’t seem to like him because of that.

  45. @ Paul C

    Thank you, I am blushing!

    I am going to take the opportunity to add: To lose one’s 2nd job because one has been ill-mannered to the police is a misfortune. But I will believe that AM has truly learned from this experience when he ceases whining about his own predicament & uses his political leverage to actively support anti-blacklisting legislation! Many people – most of whom had done nothing except be ‘ill-mannered’ to their employer about legitimate health & safety or minimum wage legislation or the right to belong to a union – have been black-listed.

    These people have ‘lost’ not their 2nd job, but their primary way of earning a living! I think you will agree, the sooner AM stops talking about his personal grievances & begins to empathise with others in similar circumstances, the better will be our perception of the man! We may even begin to feel some genuine sympathy for him.

  46. Amber
    An excellent and eloquent post.

    Your sense of freedom is mine, too.

    Is the time approaching when the UK will experience a peoples’ spring I wonder? Corruption is evident throughout the ‘establishment’. A small but powerful group – the bankers – is perceived as no better than organised crime and yet receives financial support from ‘us’.

  47. How many MPs and Councillors does the Isolationist Party have. Do you think their attitude on women only being fit for the kitchen and on aborting children with disabilities is a big turn-off?

  48. I thought it was only left wing mutters like me that believe in conspiracy theories

  49. I think that Steve makes a very reasonable point.The strangest thing of all in this strange incident,is why Mitchell went back the next day and tried to do the
    Same thing again?Very,very odd.

  50. Howard – all companies except Survation prompt by only the major parties and for good reason – I looked at it in more detail here.

1 2 3 4