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.