This week’s YouGov/Sunday Times tables are online here. Topline voting intention is CON 31%, LAB 44%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 8%. In line with the increased level of Lib Dem support Nick Clegg’s approval figures are also up slightly – his net approval is minus 45, still extremely bad, but his least bad figures since March.

Most of the rest of the survey dealt with the subject of Europe, and like ComRes’s poll last nights showed hints of a shift in public opinion towards remaining in the EU.

As usual a majority of people (59%) support the idea of a referendum on Europe – people will almost always say they support a referendum on anything we ask about. On how they would vote in a referendum on the EU membership, people would vote to leave by 42% to 36%. This is a significantly lower lead for leaving the EU than YouGov usually find, indeed, they ask it as a monthly tracker and only last week found a 15 point lead for leaving the EU. This could easily be a blip, but could also be a sign of the intervention of the US Embassy and Richard Branson’s comments already having an effect.

Asked if there should be a straight referendum or the renegotiation then a referendum that David Cameron is likely to announce, people prefer the latter by 48% to 22%. Were David Cameron to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with EU and then recommend people vote to stay in, in the way Wilson did in 1975 and Cameron is likely to say he’ll do later this month, then people say they would vote to stay in by 50% to 25%. This too is a shift from the last time YouGov asked the question in July 2012, when people said they’d vote to stay in by 42% to 34%.

The contrast between how people would vote in a straight referendum now and how people would vote in a post-negotiation referendum with Cameron recommending a vote to stay in is mostly a switch of Conservative voters, who say they would vote 51%-33% to leave in a straight referendum now, but would vote 64%-21% to stay if Cameron recommended a yes vote on renegotiated terms.

Asked about the potential impacts of leaving the European Union, by 40% to 9% people think Britain would have less influence if we left the EU and think our relationship with the USA would be worse by 24% to 10%. They are far more divided on the potential economic impacts of Britain leaving the EU – 29% think the country would be better off outside the EU, 34% worse off. 27% think leaving the EU would be good for employment, 30% bad for employment. 18% think they personally would be better off, 20% worse off.

187 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 31, LAB 44, LD 11, UKIP 8”

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  1. @ Phil Haines

    I take your point but here’s why I think Ed M has shown his hand: David Cameron has been kicking the EU can down the road since the middle of last year. Hence the ‘tantric’ thing. Ed Miliband has put David Cameron in a position where he must make the speech & he can’t hedge his bets.

    The anti-EU Tories now know that any referendum must be in this parliament because, if the Tories don’t win the 2015 GE, there isn’t going to be a referendum in the next parliament.

    Ed M showing his hand has hugely turned up the pressure on David Cameron, IMO.

  2. How likely is Labour to go along with today’s pension proposals if elected in 2015?
    I also do not recall seeing a statement from Labour indicating acceptance of bringing forward the later retirement age to 2020.I assume that they retain the option of reverting to Adair Turner’s schedule.

  3. Steve 2

    Other political reform measures included introducing proposals for reform of the House of Lords by December 2010.

    While technically as it didn’t say the parties had to vote for it the Tories weren’t in breach when they failed to comply .

    However, the same applies to boundary changes as there is no obligation in the Coalition Agreement for the LD’s to vote in Favour of a Tory generated proposal.

    If by some quirk this did pass with SNP support IMO the appearance of Tory Gerrymandering would outweigh any potential seat gain in any case.

    It would also be difficult to see the Coalition survivng such a move

  4. Nick Robinson on Radio 4 says 4 criteria need to be met for a refererendum.
    1)Tories need to win a majority
    2)Tories need to persuade European powers that a treaty change is needed
    3)Cameron needs to win back some powers during the negotiation
    4)Cameron needs to feel he can win a referendum.

    If all 4 criteria are met,then there`ll be a referendum in 2017-2018.We await Cameron`s speech to see if Nick R is right.


    Reaction to the pension changes continues to mount, but I can’t help feeling the focus has been on higher earners and current pensioners, rather than the group that I think will lose out the most, at least in terms of the proportion of income lost.

    I’ve posted previously that anyone currently earning over the lower earning limit (£107 pw) will qualify for SP2 as if they earned around £14,400 a year. Effectively this means that each year worked, they get a guaranteed £1.50 pw SP2 on top of their basic pension entitlement. If they earn less than the secondary earnings threshold (currently around £625 per month) neither they, nor their employers will pay any NI contributions. These benefits were changed by Gordon brown in 2002 as a way to focus more help on the lowest paid. This only applies to those who are not contracted out, but the media focus so far has been on the higher NI bills faced by those currently contracted in.

    I don’t pretend to know how many people this affects, but if you work part time on low wages, but earn over the LEL of around £460 per month, and continue to do so over a period of 40 years, you would be expecting a total basic + SP2 pension in today’s money of £167 pw or so. The £144 therefore represents a huge cut in entitlements for the very poorest.

    Many others with higher earnings will also be affected, but as these will increasingly be expected to have private pension income as you go up the earnings scale, I would imagine that the greatest hardship will fall on those who have had a life time of modest and low earnings.

    In general, I’m all for simplicity in pensions, but I fear that there are simply too many losers from this proposal, and the emphasis has been on cutting costs, rather than providing decent pensions to those in most need.


    Given that the reductions are proportional so that scotland retains the same share of the Parliament as now I can’t see how it reduces our influence.

    As with Uk debt and assets I don’t have a problem with our fair share which is what equal constituencies with allowance for remote and large scarcely populated constituencies gives us.

    As I understand it Scotland getting 50 out of 600 is almost exactly in line with our share of the UK population.

    Now if you were cutting to 600 by making scotland Independent that would be better, but I see no reason for the SNP not to vote for this.

    We could certainly argue that we could find better uses for the money that paying nine MP’s when the vast majority of their work is better covered by Holyrood anyway.


  7. alec

    I thought the Government said they would honour SP2 entitlements already accrued?

  8. Given IFS’s verdict on pensions says practically everyone will be worse off is it a good thing ministers not doing Oral Statement (less ammo for Lab)? Or a bad thing (can’t rebut it)?

    What with EU referendum debacle when government can’t even explain what would happen if it lost a vote on renegotiated terms and Angus Reid showing Conservatives down on 27% this much vaunted relaunch is beginning to look like it was organsied by John Major

  9. Angus Reid:

    “The Labour Party remains the first choice for voters in Britain as the governing Conservative Party has reached its lowest level since its electoral victory in 2010, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found.

    In the online survey of a representative sample of 2,015 British adults, 42 per cent of decided voters and leaners (unchanged since late November) would support the Labour candidate in their constituency if a General Election took place tomorrow.

    The Tories are a distant second with 27 per cent (-1), followed by the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) with 11 per cent (=) and the Liberal Democrats with 10 per cent (=).

    Support is lower for the Scottish National Party (SNP) (3% nationally, 36% in Scotland), the Green Party (also 3%), the British National Party (BNP) (1%) and Plaid Cymru (also 1%).

    This month, Labour posted particularly good numbers in the North (51%) and London (50%). The opposition party is also the first choice for voters in Midlands and Wales (46%). The Conservatives are still ahead in the South of England (34%), while Labour and the SNP are tied in Scotland (36% each).

    More than half of respondents (57%) disapprove of the performance of Prime Minister David Cameron, while 32 per cent approve (-4). Only one-in-five Britons (20%, -2) approve of the way Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is handling his duties, while 30 per cent (-1) are content with Labour leader Ed Miliband”

  10. @ Alec

    IFS saying almost everybody will be worse off under the flat-rate pension, except some self-employed people.

    And I think that the self-employed will likely have their NI contributions increased in future, to reflect the fact that they’ll be entitled to a better state pension.

    It’s also not clear what will happen to people who do not have 35 years contributions. Presumably they will be able to claim some sort of social security.

  11. As far as I can tell, contracted out credits (public servants) might not count towards the flat rate, but they did count towards the basic pension. This is the same as self employed (?)

    So if the self employed get an NI rise and the full flat rate, I assume that public servants will…unless there are different and conflicting rules. Or means testing!

    My guess is that public servants will get the flat rate and so will the self employed, but both groups might have increased NI contributions in 2017.

  12. Link to Angus Reid is here (AW’s doesn’t work)

  13. Guardian

    “Public sector workers who have opted out of the state pension will be allowed to accrue more credits from 2017 until they retire and will be paid more than the basic £107 a week in line with those extra payments until they save enough to qualify for the £144 weekly rate.”

    But the self employed, unemployed, lower paid and carers will get the full flat rate based upon the lower credit?

    I think I had 18 years credits before I joined the Civil Service and could work for 7 years between 2017 and age 66. So I will get the old basic (£107) and a top up of 25/35th of the difference between the flat rate and the old basic rate?

    Good thing it is all much simpler now!

  14. Good Evening All, from cold Bournemouth.

    Thank you Nick P and Phil HAINES.

    One year ahead of one of my five brothers you were, Nick.

    Labour’s lead seems solid. Lib Dem figure is high, I think, as AMBER said yesterday; about the 7% figure.

    The Con figure suggests the Government is not the toast of the man in the pub at present.

    The figure for Wales seems low for Labour.

  15. NickP

    On simplification.

    It reminds me of GB’s ‘simplification’ of doing away with the 10% tax rate. I am still puzzling over the logic behind that one. I came to the conclusion (pro tem), that it was advised by a particularly malevolent civil servant, when he saw that GB had other more important things (like stuffing Blairites) on his mind.

  16. Maybe I can continue teaching until 2021 when I will be 66, and also have state pension, as well as my contributory teacher’s pension.

  17. Fwiw, the Wikipedia polling page has been updated… there was by the look of it much discussion before going ahead with the changes, but… they have now moved UKIP from “Others” to a column of their own. The change is retrospective to the begining of 2012, and a “third party lead” column has been included in the tables:


  18. BILLY BOB.

    Very many thanks.

  19. Chrislane1945
    “Labour’s lead seems solid”

    At 11.1 av. for the past 8 polls in 10 days from 1-2 Jan; unwaverfing, e.g. any response to dc and NC mid-term statement, and consistent with all other polls.

  20. Vote on delaying parliamentary boundary change WON by 69 votes. This now goes to Commons and LDs have said they will back it too. Bad news for the Tories.

  21. Atleast AW might have got the clarity he craved.

  22. @NickP – “I thought the Government said they would honour SP2 entitlements already accrued?”

    They have, but I’m talking about future accruals after 2017. As is the IFS – in effect, the longer it is until your retirement date, the more you stand to lose, as the greater SP2 entitlement you could potentially have built up after.

    Taking my own example as a modest earner, relatively recently contracted back in, by 2017 I will have 35 qualifying years so will get the £144, plus I will have around £18 SP2, giving me about £162 pw if the assumptions are correct.

    Under the existing scheme, I would get the £107 basic, plus the chance to accrue around £48 total SP2, giving me a total of £155. So I will be better off, but were I 10 years younger, my potential SP2 could be £16 higher, meaning I start to lose.

    Having said that, I am assuming that I continue working up to retirement age for these calculations, whereas under the new scheme I could stop in 2017 without harming my pension.

    The bottom line is that a new entrant to the labour market in 2017 will find that the maximum state pension they could qualify for is £144 in today’s money. Currently, the maximum SP2 possible is £159, which means a more than 50% cut in total potential pension for future workers. Even low paid workers could easily get £90 SP2 in total, without even paying any NI, so they will feel this too.

    This is why the new scheme gets cheaper as time goes by.

  23. Smukesh – not quite, it’s still not quite dead (obviously it’s almost certainly dead so I’m working on the assumption that it will die, but I’ve been doing that for months!)

  24. The thing that pezzles me that I had enough credits already (34) to get the basic state pension but because 16 of these were contracted out and the qualifying number is 35, I don’t qualify for the flat rate higher version.

    So does that mean I no longer qualify for the old amount and will in fact only have 18/35th of the new total? Or 18/35th of the difference between old and new?

    I suspect a stitch up, and the system is no simpler and looks like deliberate smoke and mirrors.

  25. @AW

    Does it go back to the commons?What happens if it wins in the commons?Seems unlikely as I think SNP are now opposed to it?

  26. @chrislane1945

    You’re welcome.

  27. ‘“Public sector workers who have opted out of the state pension will be allowed to accrue more credits from 2017 until they retire and will be paid more than the basic £107 a week in line with those extra payments until they save enough to qualify for the £144 weekly rate.”

    Does it follow that a civil servant or teacher, who has spent his entire career in a contracted out final salary scheme, will not receive the higher figure of £144.? I have in mind people intending to cease work at 60 in 2014 in expectation of receiving the State Pension at 66 in 2020.

  28. Sorry – that should have been ‘ @ Alec’

  29. graham

    I suspect that they get SOMETHING. But it ain’t clear what.

    Common sense says they will get at least the basic (now defunct) Old Age Pension. But it appears they won’t get the flat rate. If they have been contracted out all their working lives then they will either get

    -nothing; or

    -a reduced flat rate equivalent to the old pension.

    Be nice to know!

  30. I may have misunderstood this, but the contracting in/out only affects the SP2. Entitlement to the basic state pension is independent of this, I had thought.

    My understanding is that anyone who has worked and paid NI for 35 years will get the basic £144. The bit in doubt is the SP2, although I have to admit I haven’t explored the public sector side of things.

  31. Graun reporting on the Lords voting Yes to delaying the reduction in seats:

    “Cameron will make a final desperate effort in the Commons before the end of the month to reverse the Lords decision, but has only a fragile hope that he can offer something to nationalist MPs in order to win their support, which is needed to defeat the Liberal Democrat/Labour majority. If Cameron fails to win over the Democratic Unionists or Scottish Nationalists, he will be defeated in the Commons…”

  32. No – I’m wrong – the flate rate pension is reduced for contracted out current workers.
    That’s a bit weird, as contracting in/out should be for the SP2 bit.

  33. new thread.

  34. It’s SP2 that the defined benefit scheme opted out of.


    “Public sector workers who have opted out of the state pension will be allowed to accrue more credits from 2017 until they retire and will be paid more than the basic £107 a week in line with those extra payments until they save enough to qualify for the £144 weekly rate.”

  35. Can anyone explain why Ed Miliband has a commanding poll lead over the Conservatives when both he and the Labour Party are even more untrusted on the economy than the Tories.
    For someone who just says what the disgruntled public want to hear and jumps on every bandwagon that comes by without any coming up with any policies himself, do Labour really deserve to win the next general election???

  36. Mrcjbeaven

    No one deserves to win the next election!!

  37. @mrcjbeaven – I refer the honourable gentleman to the comments policy discussed previously.

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