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. RiN

    Pension entitlement in UK is significantly affected by gender.

    Quite why the UK clings to a version of entitlement that advantages men is somewhat unclear – except that parties consider that it somehow benefits them, as opposed to the people.

    Probably some party is considering a system which would remove that discrimination. I wonder who that might be?

  2. Old nat

    I got norweigen pension points for staying at home with the children, but not very many, they have made changes now to reward stay at home parents more I think. Of course Norway has a huge pension fund, so there is some chance of the pensions being paid out, fingers crossed!!

  3. @Virgilio

    As ever, thank you for the data.


  4. RiN

    Hopefully, the Norwegian system will work in your favour.

    What i find odd is the reliance of so many systems is the reliance on the Prussian/UK early 20th century model of National Insurance payments as the basis for state pensions.

    Simultaneously, I find it odd that when so many are concerned with the demographic time bomb, that there seems to be so little concern that UK policies seem designed to transfer resources from those with chidren to those without such encumbrances.

    Doubtless, voting considerations are significant in relevant decisions.

  5. @Oldnat – ” I wonder who that might be?”

    The Lib Dems were talking about a residency based system at the last election, but I wasn’t sure whether that was officially in the manifesto. The current plan is also talking about rewarding carers and stay at home parents with qualifying pension years, so the Tories are clearly thinking about these matters anyway.
    Labour reduced the qualification period from 44 years to 30 – a massive reduction and one that really made an enormous difference to women.

    So that’s three parties. I can’t think of any others looking at this problem, but I’m sure there could be others…..

  6. Having pondered on the pensions story overnight, it seems there are some further political negatives emerging for the government. Pension campaign groups are angry that come 2017, we will see existing pensioners on one basic pension, with newly qualified pensioners on the new higher rate, presumably with any SP2 entitlements added on top. This is going to cause resentment, even if the changes are ‘good’.

    It also looks like millions of workers paying in to contracted out schemes will now have an extra tax bill, or face reduced contributions. Again, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing if the overall package of reform is positive, but it creates a lot of losers today, who won’t see the benefit for many years.

    As we are talking about future pensions however, maybe this won’t register with voters at all?

  7. Paul Croft and Amber Star
    We still use sheets and blankets. I had not realised what a labour saving device, sheets and blankets are. A gap in the market here?

  8. “As we are talking about future pensions however, maybe this won’t register with voters at all?”

    Therein is the problem…will joe public like the idea of paying more in tax (which NICs are, in all but name) for some vague promise about a flat rate pension at some distant date? I say ‘vague promise’ because if there is one think which is certain is that pension reform will continue and perhaps the State pension will be subject to further reform and/or no increased in line with inflation etc. Very few people can be certain of what they will get come retirement.

    The State pension reform sounds ‘good’ but I doubt it will have much if any effect on VI.

  9. It also looks like millions of workers paying in to contracted out schemes will now have an extra tax bill, or face reduced contributions. Again, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing if the overall package of reform is positive, but it creates a lot of losers today, who won’t see the benefit for many years.-
    At a time when State sector workers (80% on contracted out schemes) have their pay frozen amounting to a 20% drop in real pay over 6 Years and are experiencing increases of their pension contributions by up to 4% of their income often for a smaller pension received 5 Years later, making them pay another 1.5% in NIC to get a state pension potentially lower than they are already entitled will IMO go down LIKE A Tonne of Bricks!

    Unless of course the intention is to get them to leave their Pension Schemes completely, because it will probably be quite effective on that basis.

  10. When shaking out your duvet [when its got all lumpy] take it to the top of the stairs and dangle it over the banister, shaking vigorously but taking care not to topple over as that takes a bit of explaining.
    This saves you having to lift your arms above your head.
    I have more.

    -Does this work in a Bungalow?

  11. @Steve – “…to get a state pension potentially lower than they are already entitled…”

    this is technically true, if the reports are correct. It seems that any SP2 earned will be honoured, on top of the new basic, although this presumably wouldn’t affect contracted out workers. Therefore the state pension they would get (not their public sector employment pension) would still be higher than at present.

  12. The link to the British Future polling from Oldnat makes interesting reading. It appears that 61% of Scots will still feel British if Scotland becomes independent. Since it is non-sensical for this figure to increase after independence, it therefore follows that that at least this amount currently feel British. Why would existing assumptions be wrong? The census data might not be reliable, as many people might not feel able to tick two boxes.

    Either way, this is bad news for the Yes Campaign.

  13. Steve:

    I’ve covered the bungalow question


    How very retro of you and Mrs Howard

  14. Steve:
    I’ve covered the bungalow question
    How very retro of you and Mrs Howard

    -I have tried the lumpy duvet solution the residents on the landing below were not impressed!

  15. I have always felt Scottish and not British even though I live in England.

  16. alec

    From BBC website:

    “And, on a more technical point, some people on a workplace final-salary scheme pay less National Insurance (NI) because their state second pension is “contracted out”. The government will have to decide if these individuals should receive a reduced version of the flat-rate pension to acknowledge the fact that they have not been contributing to the state second pension in the preceding years.”

    For me I’ll have a total of 46 credits at age 66, with 19 years contracted out and 27 years contracted in.

    So I won’t get the 35 years contracted in to get the full flat rate. Oh well.

  17. Some reports that Ulster Unionists won’t back boundary reforms and seat reductions. Would that kill the maths?

    Anybody know if any Tory MPs would vote against?

  18. I suspect Nadine Dorres will vote against – her seat of Mid Beds is abolished under the current proposals – and her chances of selection elsewhere so slim as to be non existent.

    She may abstain, rather than vote against, though.

  19. Many on the left think the EU is set up to serve the interests of large capital.

    It was only tolerable to many because Jacques Delors came to the TUC in the early 90s and promised a social Europe. This convinced people that the EU could be an ally against the reactionary instincts of the UK govt.

    At the moment that is still a postion held by many, despite the growth of a purely anti-EU left, that growth caused by the democratic deficit, the pro-market Lisbon treaty and the way EU law is being implemented in industrial disputes, setting damaging precedence throughout the EU for locally negotiated agreements, wages and conditions.

    So, if Mr Cameron’s renegotiation means even more bias against working people in favour of capital, ‘reforms’ to lengthen working hours and increase ‘competition’ to drive down wages, then I predict a strong vote to withdraw from many who currently support membership.

    It is a mistake to imagine that all oppostion to the EU comes from the right. Support or opposition is conditional on what the EU is for.

  20. mikems

    I agree. If “reform” means opting out of the social chapter including minimum wage etc, I’d vote against.

  21. Nick p

    What the hell do you think reform means when said by the Torie

  22. Any real left wing party has to favour leaving the EU because Thr Nhs reforms can’t be undone while we remain members, because of the thatcherite Lisbon treaty

  23. NickP – the Ulster Unionists don’t have any MPs so it is irrelevant! However, the Times article was actually quoting a DUP MP. He was talking only about himself, so of course the DUP as a whole could yet vote in favour, but if his is indicative of his party then it’s almost impossible to pass without their support.

    Of Tory MPs two have given clear statements that they would vote against:

    Philip Davies has said he will vote against
    Glyn Davies has said he will vote against

    Some have been a bit more ambiguous, and there may be some playing to the choir

    Geoffrey Cox said said he accepted that his seat would go, but would vote against any sordid deal with the Lib Dems.
    Nadine Dorries said that “some MPs” wouldn’t vote in favour, implying that she would abstain or vote against. but I would be surprised if her voting behaviour is not a consideration in whether she gets the whip back…

  24. (Just to clarify, it was the Times that spoke about Ulster Unionists, not Nick’s mistake)

  25. aw

    doesn’t 2 Tories voting against make it a dead heat, assuming Lab & LD vote against?

    It doesn’t look very do-able to me.

  26. “An alliance of Tories, the SNP and DUP members would number 317. There are 312 Labour and Lib Dem MPs. ”


    2 Tories and one DUP make curtains?


    While the data tables aren’t out yet, the British Future report is, and reads a bit like an investment opportunity brochure!

    “Even in tough times Britons in 2013 share a deep national pride, feeling strongly that they would “rather be a citizen of Britain than any other country in the world”

    Eat your heart out, Gilbert & Sullivan!

    For he himself has said it,
    And it’s greatly to his credit,
    That he is an Englishman!
    For he might have been a Roosian,
    A French, or Turk, or Proosian,
    Or perhaps Itali-an!
    But in spite of all temptations
    To belong to other nations,
    He remains an Englishman!

  28. @Nick P
    2 Tories and one DUP make curtains?

    The individual interests of some Conservative MPs are so markedly out of line with their party’s that the prospects of a united front seem scant. I suspect that there are quite a few other Conservative MPs quietly keeping their heads down who are planning nonetheless to absent themselves from the vote for spurious reasons come hell or high water. That would minimise the party backlash whilst ensuring that the changes fail.

    In terms of the political fallout, that would amount to Labour’s dream scenario. i.e. the SNP support the Conservatives on such a critical vote, but all to no avail as the changes are rejected anyway.

  29. The really great thing about being British, at this poont in history, eads me to >>>>>>>>>>>

    TIP NO. 3

    Amost everything can be blamed on the EU in general and the fact we live our lives under diktat from Brussels in particular – which is a centre of world evil and accepts no input at all from EU member states, especially the UK, making up rules for maximum disruptive effect.

    e.g. square golf balls.

  30. Nick – basically its impossible unless there are some Lab or LD abstentions or rebels in the other direction.

    Speaking personally, I do wish they’d hurry up. Some of us do have big internet election guides to update and would like to know for certain which set of boundaries to use.

  31. NickP:

    “2 Tories and 1 DUP make curtains”

    I hope they benefitted from a business start-up grant.

  32. Anthony:

    “hurry up”

    This is the problem with politicians – they can’t see the bigger picture.

  33. As boundary changes were in both the Tory’s GE manifesto and the Coalition agreement, I’d have expected this vote to be a Three-Line Whip for Tory MPs with resignation expected if they rebel.

    You can’t sign up to a manifesto commitment prior to an election and then vote against your party come the day.

    Dammit Jim, that just isn’t cricket.

  34. Paulcroft – damn right, won’t someone think of the psephologists?

  35. “An alliance of Tories, the SNP and DUP members would number 317. There are 312 Labour and Lib Dem MPs. ”

    What about all the other parties? There’s 12 others to consider (not counting Sinn Fein).

  36. @Steve2 – although it was in the manifesto, the detail of how to reform seats, and the actual proposals themselves, presumably weren’t specified? This would allow MPs to vote against proposals that they disagree with, but not necessarily reject the concept of reform, to which they could remain committed.

    Additionally, I assume LD support will be contingent on some other offer on party funding or some such. Tories could argue that this gives sufficient reason to vote against.

    I’m also interested in the SNP position. Would they be voting on UK wide reforms, and if so, is this normal. I had assumed that abstained on English only matters, but I could well be wrong.

  37. @ Nick P

    Aren’t there 305 Tories + 8 DUP + 6 SNP (who haven’t confirmed they’d vote for the changes) = 319 -2 Tories -1 DUP, if they will not vote for the changes = 316.

    Labour is 257 + 57 LD = 314 + Eric Joyce = 315. Maybe +2 Tories +1 DUP = 318, if they will vote against not abstain.

    So that leaves for GB:
    Respect 1
    Green 1
    Plaid 3
    Independent 1
    And for NI:
    SocDems 3
    Alliance 1
    Independent 1
    SF 4 + 1 vacant (Gerry Adams)

  38. @Mike M, @RiN

    I share your scepticism from a perspective from the left. And thus I’m likewise hardly impressed that Miliband has thrown away his best card when it comes to securing any significant concessions, such that there seems no prospect now of any significant change in the terms of EU membership under a Labour government.

    To some earlier on the thread who consider that the salience of the EU as an issue will fade henceforth, I suggest that that overlooks the impact that a second wave of mass migration from Eastern Europe will have from January 2014 onwards, when the remaining barriers fall. The issue will be most pertinent for those at the bottom end of the Labour market, whose interests ought to matter more to Labour than that of business elites.

  39. I am starting to wonder if things are not only as bad as they seem for the tories but even worse.

    Europe looks like a disaster on all fronts and many of their “reforms”/redundancies have yet to really hit. A recent report on police numbers showed that far from being fine because 99% of police are “pushing pens” there are actually the lowest ever number of young police in the forces in history.

    Excellent strategy? Well, probably not.

  40. Nick/Amber –

    Caroline Lucas has confirmed she’ll vote against, the SNP have said they will not do a deal, which isn’t quite 100% watertight (after all, they could say “we didn’t do a deal, we backed the review on its merits”) but given it was coupled with a quote saying the review was a waste of time strongly suggests they’ll vote no.

  41. @ Phil Haines et al

    David Cameron hasn’t listed or asked for, never mind got, his repatriation of powers yet so it is all a bit academic.

  42. @Amber

    True, and we could be having a much more meaningful debate when we know Cameron’s intentions, which is why I think that Miliband should have bided his time.

  43. @ Anthony

    I expected Caroline Lucas & Respect to vote against but the update on the SNP position is very useful.

    I do not see how the SNP could vote with the Tories without being able to say they got a really sweet deal for Scotland. Saying they voted to reduce Scotland’s influence in the UK ‘on its merits’ simply wouldn’t cut it, IMO.

    It looks very much like the Tories will need a deal with the LDs to have any hopes of getting the changes. It would need to be something that doesn’t require a vote or it would risk another Tory rebellion so I can’t think of anything that would get it done.

  44. @RiN

    “What the hell do you think reform means when said by the Tories”

    Destruction? I think they use the word literally – they seek to re-form things, which first requires that they take them apart.

  45. @ Phil Haines

    True, and we could be having a much more meaningful debate when we know Cameron’s intentions, which is why I think that Miliband should have bided his time.
    Ed M has no need to bide his time if the repatriations are opt-outs rather than absolute changes which release all the non-Eurozone states from the regulations. Why do I say this?

    Because assuming David Cameron gets some one-time opt-out repatriations which don’t suit Labour, Labour will simply stick it in their manifesto that a Labour government will opt back in.

    The EU will be sure to make any opt-outs a one-time thing; they are not going to have the UK doing an opt-in/ opt-out hokey cokey every time the UK government changes.

    If the changes are absolute changes which release all the non-Eurozone states from the regulations then there’s not much Ed M can do about it anyway except make a manifesto commitment to pass mitigating UK legislation.

    IMO, That’s why Ed M doesn’t need to bide his time.

  46. Surely the tories ren’t daft enough to try – nd then fail – to get seat reduction through?

    Or, even dafter, think its a great wheeze for puling the plug on the coalition.

    Nothing would surprise though.

  47. PHIL
    “Miliband should have bided his time”
    This assumes that EM follows your reasoning based on the assumption that reform of the EU must come from the outside. If you were, as I would recommend, to break policy down into policy formulation, legislation, regulation and management, you’ld find much of the need for reform in inept policy management, but the Commission or by a combination of the Commission and interested Member Country use of subsidiarity. Thus, for example, the management of policy for the EU meat market, which saw the Thatcher government use the regulations to force the creation of large-scale highly regulated slaughter and transportation systems to favour UK agri-business, doing in the process great damage to local breed conservation and production, and to animal welfare, till then in the hands of local farmers and small slaughterhouses and specialist butchers e.g. in respect of the Devon breed and its local livestock and meat marketing and retail. A more terrifying example of atrocious policy management was that of the Commission management of the TACIS programme in Russia and the CIS, to follow US/World Bank led dismantling of the Soviet social security and health management system, built around industrial/municipal soviets manaaging polyclinics, child care housing, old age benefits, housing and heating etc, in order to pursue a strategy of centralized tax and benefits management,, somewhere over the reform horizon. Result, age expectation of males in Russia dropped from 65 to 56 in ten years. Or, closer to home, the CAP…… Almost entirely these policy management atrocities are down to the incompetence and arrogance of the Commission’s managers and staff, and need root and branch reform. This has, however, to be done from within, since it depends on replacing incompetence with competence; not on the UK or others threatening self-amputation.

  48. @Amber

    You’ve misinterpreted what I mean’t (I think). I mean’t that Miliband should simply have waited a week or two for Cameron to have declared his hand first, and then made Labour’s position clear.

    If Cameron gives a clear and unequivocal commitment to a referendum following renegotiations, a position which is overwhelmingly popular even if withdrawal is a bit less so, then it seems foolhardly for Miliband to be unequivocally ruling one out. If Cameron doesn’t, then Miliband could have chosen to be more nuanced, perhaps differentiating Labour on how its agenda would differ from Cameron’s, or might alternatively have chosen to trump Cameron by giving a clearer commitment that there would be a referendum under Labour (as advocated by Cruddas) however negotiations turn out.

    It’s usually easier to develop a popular position when you know where your opponent stands. Cameron now has that advantage.

  49. Paul – they may not have the choice. If the Lords amendment this afternoon is passed and the government accept it* or the Commons votes for it then the boundary process ends.

    If the law remains as it is though, when the Boundary Commission report the government are legally obliged to put it before the house and have a vote on it. It cannot be avoided (indeed, in 1969 the Labour government tried to avoid putting the recommendations before the House and people went to court to get a ruling of mandamus against them to force them to do so. Instead the government tabled the reports, and then voted them down)

    (*If the amendment passes both Houses, or passes in the Lords and the government think it will be passed by the Commons and the government still really want to have the vote on the boundaries they could pull the Bill and redo it next year, or just delay it until the BC have reported.

    If, on the other hand, they are willing to accept the boundaries are lost they may want to replace the Lords amendment with their own amendment, since the Lords one brings with it potentially serious problems. The current law requires the Boundary Commissions to report *at least* 18 months before an election so that there is time for the boundaries to be changed, local authorities to prepare for elections on the new boundaries, parties to reorganise and select candidates and so on. The Lords amendment will change it to say the BC must report *at most* 18 months before the election after next, meaning there will be an awful rush to implement said recommendations before the 2020 election.

    If they want an amendment to push the boundary review beyond the next election, much better to have said the BCs will report before October 2018, but NOT before 1 June 2015.

    That said, there’s a good chance the boundaries legislation will all be changed again after the next election anyway)

  50. Anthony:

    Interesting and informative – thankyou.

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