The tables for this week’s YouGov poll for the Sunday Times are now up here. This week’s topline figures are CON 32%, LAB 43%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 9%, very much in line with YouGov’s recent daily polling results. The rest of the poll mainly dealt with benefits and train fares.


On the overall issue of welfare benefits Labour are the more trusted, by 30% to the Conservatives 22%. Despite the later questions showing significant minorities of Labour voters backing many Conservative welfare policies or arguments, responses to the question were very much along party lines: Labour voters trusted Labour, Conservative voters trusted the Conservatives.

On the list of specific policies YouGov asked about – some actual government policies, some that have been floated – the most popular were stopping child benefit for households where someone earns over £60000 (supported by 77%), capping the total amount of benefits a family can claim each year at £26000 (supported by 74%) and stopping benefits for people who refuse to accept offers of employment (supported by 76%). All these of these policies are supported by a majority of Con, Lab and Lib Dem voters.

People are more evenly split over the other policies YouGov asked about. People supported limiting the increase in benefit payments to 1% for the next three years by 45% to 35% – the policy was supported by 70% of Conservatives, but opposed by 56% of Labour supporters. People were evenly divided on the idea of stopping age-related benefits for pensioners earning over a certain amount – 43% supported the idea, 40% opposed it. The least popular of the policies tested was stopping housing benefit for under 25s – 32% of people supported this, but 43% of people were opposed.

(Remember the difference between YouGov, ComRes and MORI polls over the uprating figures that we looked at here – one of the possible reasons for it that looked quite convincing was that MORI mentioned that the freeze included jobseekers, income support and child benefit. This YouGov question cited the same examples though, and still showed people in support. Hmm)

Testing more general approaches towards welfare reform, more people had sympathy with the Conservative argument that it was unfair for benefits to rise by more than 1% when wages were rising at less than inflation (50%) than had sympathy with the Labour argument that increasing benefits by less than inflation was unfair on the many families in work that relied on benefits to make ends meet (34%). On attitudes towards benefits for those out of work, 28% thought the government was too harsh, as most people on benefits would like to work if they could, 47% thought the government should be harsher and do more to force people to work.


16% of people think the train services they use have got better in the last five years, compared to 33% who say they have got worse. The gap is similar amongst regular train users, 22% of whom think their train service has got better, but 38% of whom think it has got worse.

Only 8% of the public and 10% of regular train users think the recent fare rises are justified, but the main blame for this is put upon the train operating companies (49%) rather than the government (30%). 35% of people would still prefer a freeze in prices even if it meant higher general taxes to pay for it, 23% would prefer prices to rise (as you’d expect, regular train users were much more supportive of tax subsidies to keep rail ticket prices down). Asked to balance increased fares against improvements to rail service people were far more evenly split – 33% would rather see better services, even if it meant higher fares. 36% would rather see fares frozen or reduced, even if it meant less investment in service improvements.

There is also a Survation poll in the Mail on Sunday, with topline figures of CON 29%(-1), LAB 38%(nc), LDEM 11%(+2), UKIP 16%(+2). Little change for the main parties and the usual high score for UKIP from the company that tends to give them their highest levels of support.

14 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 32, LAB 43, LD 10, UKIP 9”

  1. In terms of Train service, I suspect the nation is viewing things through Nostalgia Goggles rather than make a fair comparison. Polling here simply shows people think things “used to be better”.

    Things did substantially improve due to larger investment of money. There is of course still an argument to be made that most of that investment came from Government in the end, with many TOCs skimming a profit from a subsidised service that could have been directly run by Government.

    I suspect that we’re heading to a point where for-profit TOCs refuse to bid on some franchises, and we end up with a hodgepodge of private and government run franchises.

  2. Roger

    Since this is another Scottish thread, I’ll take up your point about Argyll as a Con target.

    Two elections ago it was Alan Reid’s concern, but in the event he took an increased share of the poll and the Cons lost theirs. If there is a change, it will be to SNP. Labour are not in the game, and there is no reason for the Con vote to go anyhere except the crematorium.

    Your point about incumbency is, at least in the Higlands, worth far more potentially than 1500. I direct you to the record for Caihness in the Scottish Parliament, and the record breaker from Falkirk West, Denis Canavan.

    Negatively, there is no limit. 10,000 Conservatives in Tatton would recognise that.

    Which brings us back to Agyll. Alan Reid is not helped by devolution. Scottish MP’s postbags are empty. MSPs deal with the things that constituents write to their MP about.

    Alan Reid inherited a majorty whch had been built up over decades, and has seen it gradually melt away. The SP seat has gone, and with it the opportunity to piggy-back the MSP.

    He will be the casualty of the leadership’s insoucient approach to Highland losses, (having done nothing to protect the northern flank) recalling WW2 generals.

    There are hardly any LibDems (or Cons) in Scotland. I suspect there are many fewer NewLabour or Nationalists than you might imagine, though there are OldLabour tribalists (a threatend species).

    I am sure the majority in Scotland are anti-Cons.

    They will vote tacticlly for anybody. They aren’t picky.

    Increasingly that is Labour in the West Cental belt, and SNP anywhere North of that.

  3. Interesting that there is support from people who aren’t regular rail users for higher subsidies and lower fares, albeit a marginal one.

    Although my main grip is still the negative subsidy given to the East Coast and West Coast Main Lines. If a line is profitable, we should be using the profits to provide the best possible service, not milk the passengers as cash cows.

  4. This is a Scottish thread?

  5. Isn’t it about time that YouGov gave UKIP a column of it’s own in their “latest voting intention’ chart?

    Maybe their graphic dept, is not up to it. ;)

  6. John B Dick:


    Since this is another Scottish thread, I’ll take up your point about Argyll as a Con target.”

    2 problems, the two which most annoy me about the comments on UKPR:

    1) Please don’t reply to old threads on new threads unless you really have to. It’s confusing to see the second post on a thread being a reply to someone who hasn’t commented, about a subject that isn’t in the OP or other comments. It also means those of us who have the (apparently superhuman) ability to look at old threads don’t get to see how things develop
    2) The obsessive nature of the Scots Nats who can’t help but turn anything and everything into being about either how Scottish Independence is so obviously great and anyone who disagrees is an idiotic ‘Brit’ or how amazing and wonderful the SNP are and how awful every other party north of the border.

    This thread was about benefits and trains. Both are GB-wide issues.

  7. Oh god not another scottish thread, why are there never any welsh threads?


  8. Danivon

    Firstly I’m not a nationlist. In recent years I have voted SNP, Lab (on being canvassed by an SNP councillor the day before the poll). LibDem and SNP.

    Secondly I didn’t even say anything about the SNP other than that they were the challengers in Argyll.

    The joke about it being about a Scottish thread is that the metropolitain consensus is so ignorant of the different dynamic in Scotland that, if the Conservatives calculate that they have a chance in Argyll (as reported by Rodger), that ignorance is itself one of their big problems. It is in fact the proximate cause of the rise of the SNP.

    The fact that you have fallen for the wind-up about it being a Scottish thread has helped to make it one.

    If I have anything to contribute here it is to draw attention to the fact that Scotland is different. Some people think it is so different it would be better if it were a separate country.

    Take trains for example, or subsidised public transport more generally including ferries as well as buses.

    Over two thirds of the land mass of Scotland and a sizeable proportion of the UK, it is impossible to maintain any passenger transport operation at all without either running down the capital, (which may itself have been subsidised) or a subsidy to meet running costs and possibly profit.

    If the market cannot produce enough passenger income to meet costs and produce a return on capital, there are two things that can be done other than subsidy. Services can be reduced and prices can rise. In either case passenger numbers will fall as people use cars more, move into the cities or travel less.

    Ignoring, for simplicity, the environmental and economic costs of more cars on the roads, there comes a point where falling passenger numbers, increased fares, and less frequent services make the service unsustainable.

    A spiral of decline continues. Depopulation follows. The Health Centre, the Pharmacist, the primary school go, and the church has gone already.

    Ultimately if the problem doesn’t solve itself, there is the St Kilda solution.

    I get subsidised travel thanks to the generosity of the English taxpayer. Buses are free. Most of the buses have few passengers and there are seldom more than one or two paying passengers, often none.

    If it were not so, there could be no timetabled service, children could not get to school, or the fare would need to be more than a taxi fare.

    Subsidised travel stems depopulation. Depopulation reduces labour available for economic activity.
    Businesses close and unemployment reduces passenger numbers.

    So we go round again and another rural school closes, and there are fewer economically active people in the community.

    So should transport in areas of low population density be free, and so save the cost of collecting fares, to put this cycle in reverse? Of course not, that would be Socialism and bring about the end of the world.

    Should we let the market decide? Stop transport subsidies (including road maintenance), and leave most of Scotland for golf, fishing and hunting for those who happen to have the cash to come and go by helicopter?

    Politician, commentators,pollsters and their clients, know all about the situation of commuters into London.

    Rural Scotland is different. Sometimes better, sometimes worse, usually neither and both.

  9. I think I might have voted Green too. (on the list, of course)

  10. John B

    I dont know about free bus travel in rural areas but free bus travel in cities is a no brainer. Much more efficent, buses would be faster and they wouldnt need to be so many of them, plus the drivers would be safer

  11. John B Dick – a lot of those issues also relate to non-Scottish rural parts of the country. So, umm, no, nice try to make this Scottish again.

    And it’s still annoying to cross-thread discussions.

  12. Interesting, the public buys the Tory line on benefits, but wants to vote Labour.

    The public is deeply hypocritical about benefits. 40% of the budget goes on over 65s. 65% of claimants are in work.

    Bashing the unemployes will not have an impact.

    Almost every family has a benefit claimant. Child benefit, tax credits, pensions included. They all want someone elses benefit cut.

    Personally I don’t think anyone should be allowed both child benefit AND tax credits.

  13. Dafydd – “Almost every family has a benefit claimant. Child benefit, tax credits, pensions included. They all want someone elses benefit cut.”

    Most households don’t, but yes, most extended families do have someone on some form of ‘benefits’. And that last sentence is very true. Some of the most vocal people about benefits scroungers are those who are legitimately on them (partly, I think, because they think that fraud comes out of their money, when it doesn’t really).

    I think that the benefits and tax system which has evolved was well-intentioned, but it has become too complicated and in some cases can be a disincentive. The problem is that while IDS is using that as his justification for ‘Universal Benefit’, and Osborne is adding in the ‘undeserving poor’ argument, that the outcome will not necessarily be any fairer.

    It may keep support up in some quarters, but when those who oppose benefit fraud etc find that they are losing out themselves, it will lead to people who may not be voters making a choice.

    I think it could be a similar effect to the ‘single mother’ demonisation of the 1990s (I know of several single mothers at that time who had been Tory voters or non-voters until that started)

  14. ‘Personally I don’t think anyone should be allowed both child benefit AND tax credits.’

    Child benefit is in return for raising children that go on to benefit society with their work and the continuation of humanity into new generations. That’s a good thing. Better than child poverty or a falling population.

    Tax credits are to supplement wages that are too low for living costs. Why shouldn’t the low paid have children? Is it a crime to be poor in a society that manufactures poverty as a matter of course?