The weekly YouGov/Sunday Times poll is up here – topline figures are CON 32%, LAB 41%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 9%. This week’s poll is very a grab bag of questions on various issues – the most interesting ones (energy & long term care show the usual sort of results) were on smacking and roads.

Over two thirds of parents say they smacked their own children, though there is a clear generational pattern. 78% of those parents who are now over 60 say they smacked their children, more recent parents are less likely to have done so – only 41% of parents under 40 say they have smacked their children. Only 16% parents who smacked their children say it is something they regret having done. Turning to the legal angle, only 17% of people would support making it illegal to smack children, compared to 72% of people who are opposed. There is far less support for corporal punishment in schools – only 40% of people think it should be legalised, 54% think it should be illegal.

Turning to roads, 66% of people say that the government does not spend enough on roads. However, there is relatively little support for actually *raising* more money to spend on roads. Only 18% would support higher taxes to fund road improvements, only 16% would support an annual fee for using motorways to fund road improvements. The highest support was for motorways tolls, which were supported by 35%, but opposed by 53%. Essentially people support the idea of spending more on roads, but aren’t willing to actually pay for it. Asked about the planning system, 45% thought it was important that local councils and residents should be able to block roads that damaged their local area, 30% thought that self-interested councils and residents shouldn’t be able to block road developments that are important for the economy.

Meanwhile, full tables for the Survation poll of Eastleigh are now online here

112 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 32, LAB 41, LD 11, UKIP 9”

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  1. Yer tis – its a guddun.

  2. Boring Poll-boring questions.

  3. AW

    A masterful comment on roads. It neatly sums up our national schizophrenia on the public sphere. We, collectively, have a ridiculous and immature mid-Atlantic attitude that wants European levels of public services with American levels of taxation. Arguably, the Blair-Brown mistake was, in a perfect example of Blarite triangulation[1], to try to give us both. Hence, public spending rose from 2000 onwards, but tax income didn’t keep pace and so we ran a 2-3% deficit to make up the difference.

    [1]AKA “Not trusting the public to be sufficiently mature to realise that hard choices need to be made, but instead telling them that the choice is unnecessary and that both wishes can be fulfilled…”

  4. My new slippers are bedding in well and have survived the attentions of Rosie and Daisie for nearly 24 hours.

  5. Charging for motorways diverts traffic to the ordinary roads.

    Only a few more children get killed by the extra traffic, but they are pleb children aren’t they? So that’s all right then.

  6. In Scotland it is illegal to smack children under three.

    Sixty years ago the argument for a referendum (on Home Rule) was countered by the argument that we could equally well have a referendum for abolishing hanging and corporal punishment and other things. That would be too expensive, soit was best to leave these things to the good judgement of parliament.

  7. Quite a lengthy report on [email protected] from Eastleigh.

    LDs out in force, the candidate is rather cagey about whether he feels comfortable about coalition with the Tories.

    Predictable exchange with Nigel Farage.

    Two appointments between the BBC correspondent and Maria Hutchings broke down. Eventually Chrisopher Grayling is sent round to field questions about whether she is “too much of a loose canon”… futher attempts to contact the candidate meet with a “too busy” or no reply.

  8. Lefty/RC –
    Since your discussion was the existential crisis of the LD party with loss of voters, which occurred early on in the coalition and has remained fairly static since then, let’s consult some polling from the time.

    Lord Ashcroft polled 2010 LibDem voters in seats that the LibDems won (2000 voters polled – fieldwork 18th-29th Nov)

    4% of 2010 LDs voted as a tactical anti-Labour vote, 1% because the Cons had no chance of being elected, 1% disliked Gordon Brown.
    So let’s say that’s the ‘6% anti-Labour bloc’

    10% voted as an anti-Tory vote, 3% because Labour had no chance of being elected, 0.4% (not really worth counting) disliked Cameron – so that’s a ‘13% anti-Tory bloc’.

    They were also asked –
    “Had you known on election day that the Liberal Democrats would end up forming a coalition government with the Conservatives, would this have made any difference to your vote?”
    62% said no, 36% said yes.
    21% would have voted Labour, 2% would vote Tory, 7% would have voted for another party, 6% wouldn’t have voted, 1% DK.

    Interestingly, this general pattern applies in both Lab/Lib seats and Lab/Con seats and equally across regions.

    So straight off the bat, you have at least a fifth of voters that they would have lost in 2010 to Labour – and remember, this is only in seats that they *won*, meaning where they do better than elsewhere.

    Then there’s the questions about which parties you would/wouldn’t vote for in the future –
    Never Consider/Would Consider
    Cons – 55/43
    Lab – 30/69

    On balance do you agree/disagree with the deficit reduction plan?
    Agree – 65%
    Disagree – 31%

    Who will you most likely vote for in 2015?
    Con 5%, Lab 22%, Lib 54%, Other 8%, Wouldn’t vote 1%, DK 9%
    So a fifth of LibDem voters in LibDem seats disappear straight to Labour – 27% in Lib/Lab seats, 18% in Lib/Con.
    So with DKs removed –
    Con 6%, Lab 25%, Lib 60%, Other 9%

    Which of the following would you like to see as the outcome?
    Con majority – 10%
    Con/Lib coalition – 28%
    Lab/Lib coalition – 24%
    Labour majority – 27%
    DK – 10%
    And with DKs removed –
    Con – 11%
    Con/Lib – 31%
    Lab/Lib – 27%
    Lab – 30%

    The idea that losing 20-25% of your voters, in the seats that you occupy, in a period when Populus (who do Ashcroft’s polling) were showing a national VI of Con 37/Lab 38/Lib 15 and at a time when your coalition partners weren’t suffering such a drop, isn’t something to worry about is in the ‘head in sand territory’.

    Just as much as ‘if the economy improves we’ll get in’ is from either coalition partner or ‘if we just wait, LDs will collapse and we’ll be in power’ from Labour.

  9. @JBD

    “In Scotland it is illegal to smack children under three.”

    Remarkable. Under 3 is when smacking has most justificastion IMHO – when it is least likely that careful explanation will have a the desired effect. How do you set boundaries with a child that does not understand?

  10. “Essentially people support the idea of spending more on roads, but aren’t willing to actually pay for it.”

    Sounds about right. Not helped of course by elements of the media convincing swathes of the population that there is loads of spare cash around due to the ‘inefficient’ public sector and/or that we spend about 900x on immigrants and lose about 900x as much on welfare fraud as we actually do.

  11. The thing about wanting better roads but not being willing to pay for it, is misleading?? Disingenuous?? The fact is that what the public wants is the money they pay on road tax and petrol duties etc to actually be spend on roads and public transport. The public believes that the purpose of these taxes is to fund transport and that politicians have pulled a fast one by diverting this money to other projects.

  12. PaulCroft “Rosie and Daisie”

    Puppies ? Kittens ?

  13. @ROBIN

    “Remarkable. Under 3 is when smacking has most justificastion IMHO – when it is least likely that careful explanation will have a the desired effect. How do you set boundaries with a child that does not understand?”

    I can’t believe you said that. If the child is too young to understand what’s the point of hitting him/her as s/he won’t know why you’ve done it? All it will mean is that an adult who the child has learned to trust can suddenly violently turn on him/her . What lesson will s/he take from that!?

  14. @JBD,

    Are there many prosecutions in Scotland for smacking of under-3s?

    My main problem with an outright ban on smacking is that even as the (English&Welsh) law currently stands, most low-level “physical abuse” is not subject to criminal action even though it is technically illegal.

    If we were to ban smacking, I expect there would be a steady stream of “abuse” reports coming into police and social care offices which would be filed without action. An increase in paperwork for no change in practice.

  15. Charts updated folks.

    Hopefully the MAD data helps to iron out some of the poll volatility of this week.

    Government approval has dipped this week too (looking at the current month).

  16. Does the law follow culture or does it lead culture, Britain does have a child smaking culture, of course that been changing for a while but has it changed as much as the countries that have introduced “smaking laws” or was it because of the law that those countries have a less violent attitude towards children. Here there are laws forbidding physical assault on minors but that’s within a culture where even raising your voice to a child is frowned upon, that not saying that there is no physical violence against children happening in private but even joking about giving one of your kids a clout round the ear appears to be shocking to Norwegians. So here the culture seems to be in step with the law, would that be the case in Britain or is the idea to promote a faster change in culture?

  17. Chordata

    One year old border terrier [Engish side]

    4 month old Schnoodle [mosty mini-scnauzer]

    Both lovely

    My 2-1 win for Vila to CB11 yesterday was spot on

  18. @PaulCroft

    I was hoping they would be toddlers, in which case you could give ’em a good whack, so long as you’re not in Scotland

  19. Over three in Scotland and they fight back. That’s why they have the age limit.

    I should have said badgers in homage to Alec and his badger fetish.

  20. @Norbold

    “I can’t believe you said that”

    Do you have children? Sometimes you need to set a boundary, often for the child’s own protection, and how else can one do that if they can’t understand an explanation? Yes it shouldn’t be routine, yes it should be avoided if possible. But sometimes there simply is no realistic alternative.

  21. I am concerned that we haven’t heard fro The Other Howard for a while.

    If you are reading this Howard please say hello.

  22. “smacking”

    My daughter seemed to be able to

    1/ Understand Engish quite early


    2/ Respond to “Don’t do that sweetheart” by stopping doing it.

    Mind you, she has a great Dad.

  23. Yes, Robin, I have two children and two grandchildren. I have never seen the necessity for smacking them. Ever. I always found an alternative to assaulting them.

  24. Smacking is assault and should never be allowed.

    Smacking an elderly person if your care is correctly labelled as elder abuse, smacking, or any form of harm to a child should be labelled child abuse with no exceptions.

    Smacking just teaches children that violence is a viable method to solve a problem.

    Smacking is used by bad parents who have no ability or will to even try and think of an alternative to bring discipline other than assault. Ruling by fear is not respect.

  25. Last para way over the top hyperbole.

  26. Mitm

    Wow. You are a tough cookie. No wishy washyness from you. But it seems from polling that you are ahead of public opinion. Do you believe that a change in the law would change British culture or would a significant portion of the population feel “got at”

  27. RIN

    Always better to be ahead of public opinion than behind I say :)

    “Do you believe that a change in the law would change British culture or would a significant portion of the population feel “got at””

    I don’t feel these 2 are mutually exclusive. Initially there will be people outraged, claiming the state is interfering etc, but gradually they will come to accept it, then in a few decades when a few more fossils die off, people will look back on smacking with disgust as they do other similar Victorian practises. Relatively no one now advocates the cane apart from a few hardliners who are near death, but at the time, the cane was accepted as an effective tool.

    With regards to soooo many social issues, the government needs to lead the change, initially there is resistance by traditionalists, but in the long term people will wonder what all the fuss was about and why people would want to keep it.

  28. Mitm

    But would the same attitude apply in other issues for instance Europe.

  29. RIN

    I think so. Back in the 70’s when it was about whether or not to remain in the common market there was fierce debate, but now even those wanting independence want independence but with the free market. So it’s taken nearly 40 years, but now next to no one is suggesting we shouldn’t be a part of the common market.

    I think if you start to address some of the Daily Mail stories which drive public anger at the EU, such as the ever increasing budget, then you will win the argument on Europe.

    The EU just needs reform, more democracy, more transparency, more visibility (for the good work it does) and less bureaucracy.

  30. There is a difference between ‘smacking’ and belting’. Belting is wrong. Smacking regularly is wrong. Smacking as an emotional response by the parent is wrong.

    But what I call a ‘toy’ smack to support the idea that misbehaviour has happened is fine by me. In other words smacking as part of a logically thought out response to show disapproval of seriously irrational behaviour (or very irrational, or dangerous) by a child is fine by me.

  31. @Norbold

    I’m so glad your parenting was superior to mine. Or perhaps your children were superior.


    Yes, telling a child to stop will often do the job, and wherever possible that is obviously to be preferred. But sometimes it requires a raised voice. How raised? I’m far from certain that a raised voice is always preferable to a sharp smack.

    Suppose a child keeps running off towards a busy road, and ignores you when call to them, no matter how loudly, no matter how much urgency you express. Depending on the child and the circumstances, might a sharp smack sometimes be the most effective way to get through to them?


  32. If we are going to outlaw culturally accepted assaults on children, I’d rather start with male circumcision than with smacking.

  33. PaulCroft – nice dogs and yeah, I saw your prediction was spot on. Am very happy Man Utd have just gone 12 points clear so my thanks to Arsenal for RVP :-)))

    Smacking debate will doubtless become very heated so I’m going to refrain from commenting.

  34. Neil A

    I agree with that 100% that is much more important to ban. However, once again child abuse is covered by freedom of religion.

    It doesn’t matter that the child may not want to join that religion, their parents impose it at birth.

    Why does Freedom of religion continuous trump all the other rules? Why is the Church of England allowed to discriminate against women for example when no one else is? Or why is a church allowed to refuse a gay couple, any couple in fact the right to marry. Why are the Jews and Muslims allowed to mutilate their childrens bodies soon after birth?

    Freedom of religion should not be an excuse for otherwise breaking laws.

  35. @Chordata


  36. VED raises approximately £6bn, while fuel duties raise a further £27bn. VAT on fuel raises about £10bn. PESA data show spending on national roads was just £3.1bn in 2011-12, with local roads adding a further £4.9bn for a total of just £8bn compared with taxes on motoring of well over £40bn before including any tolls already levied. Roads spending is often anti-motorist: road humps etc.

    The Highways Agency business review shows that the road network for which they are responsible is depreciating at around £900m p.a., yet they are spending barely £300m p.a. on maintenance.

    In short, the public have it right: government spending is way below what it should be to keep the roads adequately maintained, and they are already taxed a large multiple of spending for their use of the roads.

  37. MitM

    lol, nah, its just that IMO smacking is a topic that brings out the worst in people.

  38. It doesn’t add up

    But you have to add money spent on public transport as well cost I’ve heard many say that the taxes on motoring wouldn’t be so bad if there was a decent alternative

  39. “It doesn’t add up…”

    Interesting facts. Trouble is I suppose that there is a school of thought that public expenditure is by definition wasteful .
    Money in = Good. Money out = Bad.
    So we should all be happy to cough up our taxes and fuel duties and be content that we are helping to balance the books.

  40. Road humps are “anti-motorist”?

    I’ve lost the thread here. Someone help me out please.

  41. @Paul C

    Just returned from the nerve-racked torture chamber that is Villa Park and I have to commend you for your uncannily accurate prediction. When West Ham got it back to 2-1 in the 87th minute, I left because I couldn’t face what I thought was then inevitable; a West Ham equaliser, from a corner, in the 94th minute! Seen it far too many times before. It wasn’t until I got back to the car to wait for my friend to return (his nerves are better than mine) that I found out we’d hung on. A few well-oiled Sky viewers spilt out of the local pub to pass on the glad tidings. Mind you, looking at the state of them as they stumbled into the cold early evening air, I waited for some rather more reliable confirmation before celebrating the result!

    Suitably impressed by your soothsaying, I would be grateful if you now could tell me the result of the forthcoming Eastleigh by-election so I can get to Ladbrokes first thing tomorrow morning!

  42. Little support for motorway tolls or an annual charge for their use. Does this mean the government has backed away from broader toll roads initiatives?

    There had been talk of any new road (“A” roads included) being payed for by toll charges, but there was much confusion over what constitutes a “new road”. Would that include where an existing road had been widened, new junctions installed etc?
    Let alone the chaos that would result from motorists taking to the back roads and avoiding tolls.

    I notice Edinburgh city council is doubling its roads maintenance budget with an extra £12 million to tackle the city’s potholed roads.

    It will be interesting to see whether in England cash-strapped councils allow the condition of roads (which everyone needs be they a corporation, a bus passenger, or a housebound person who relies on people getting to them) to deteriorate still further… to the point where there the government sees an opportunity to raise a new taxes?

  43. @ManintheMiddle
    “Why does Freedom of religion continuous trump all the other rules?”

    It doesn’t. There have been four recent cases in the European Court where freedom of religion was tested against other things, and it only won in one of these cases.

    “Why is the Church of England allowed to discriminate against women for example when no one else is?”

    Plenty of other organisations are allowed to discriminate against women, or against men. And not only on religious grounds. The question is whether a particular role has a good reason to be restricted to one gender. In this case, the question is whether religious doctrine about what a bishop is means that it is reasonable to restrict a religious role to a particular gender. Incidentally, the only reason the CofE did not pass the women bishops legislation is that they couldn’t agree on provisions to keep opponents within the church. Not allowing them to make the decision themselves establishes the principle that government gets to dictate religious doctrine. And if that’s the case, we’ve just said goodbye to both freedom of religion and pretty much any form of secularism.

    “Or why is a church allowed to refuse a gay couple, any couple in fact the right to marry.”

    Why should a church be forced to marry a couple whose marriage is not in accordance with their beliefs about marriage, when the couple could get married in a civil ceremony? And why would any couple want to get married by an organisation that does not consider their marriage to be valid?

    Freedom of religion is a very important right that has been hard fought for over centuries. Lets not attempt to throw it out just because religions don’t agree with certain aspects of 21st century small-l social liberalism.

  44. There will be a time not too distant, when our government will introduce black boxes for cars, oh it will be as a cost cutting exercise for the motorist (insurance companies will insist), then those same little black boxes will be able to charge per mile for road use( we will scrap road tax and may be fuel duty etc)

    and of course no more speed cameras, your car carries its own speed monitor (black box) and no more problems with identity of driver as you will have to insert your driving license into said black box…

    It is coming the government has no choice, if electric/non petrol/diesel cars take to the road in and sort of numbers, the government still needs the revenue… anyone should be able to see this is coming, and then drivers cannot blame speed cameras or the police or any other excuse for their own responsibilities.

    So yes I think we will see toll roads… but not like people expect.

  45. A thread in which I agree with Robin AND a “Green Christian”? Is this real life?

    Robin: I think you make a very rarely made point regarding smacking. It should only ever be a last resort, but children under three (and above a variable minimum age, obviously) are not so stupid that they can’t make a link between doing something and getting punished for it. Children are like flowers: the challenge is to let them develop their own way, but within clear and safe boundaries.

  46. For Richard in Norway:

    The total government spend on transport is £20bn, of which rail is £7.6bn, and public transport £3.6bn. I should have added in the VAT raised on new vehicles, which is probably a further £5bn+.


    There is no presumption that all spending is bad. Of course people recognise that tax revenue is not hypothecated in general. However, when there is a large disconnect between revenue raised and spending it is insulting to be told that more road spending can only be achieved by raising more money from motorists. Current levels of spending are inadequate to maintain the road assets. Failure to keep roads maintained has economic costs, because

    a) road damage can become much more severe and costly to repair if roads are not properly maintained, with the underlying course needing repair rather than just surface dressing;
    b) damaged roads lead to increased costs for road users as suspensions suffer damage and routes become slowed by potholes and other dangerous road conditions.

    Current levels of road taxation in the UK are already among the highest in the world. That of itself damages our economic competitiveness. As Robert Halfon’s campaign on fuel duty has pointed out, road taxes now are so high that they damage employment and increase welfare spending. Switching to alternatives to fuel duty (which has the merit of being the lowest cost tax to collect) will add to motoring costs ever bit as much as duty increases. Tolling is expensive: half the London Congestion Charge goes in collection costs.

  47. ROBIN

    @”Suppose a child keeps running off towards a busy road, and ignores you when call to them, no matter how loudly, no matter how much urgency you express. Depending on the child and the circumstances, might a sharp smack sometimes be the most effective way to get through to them?”

    I commend you for putting this as a question , rather than an assertion.

    Because the answer might be no-if the parent administers what Jack calls a “belting” rather than what he calls a “toy smack” ( and by what measure do we tell the difference?)-or if the smack is to one part of the body rather than another ( is a smack to the back of the head -the old clip round the ear-a health risk ? )

    Is close physical restraint possible in your example, and isn’t that preferable to smacking?-and if it isn’t possible should a child be exposed to the risks of a busy road?

    Having experienced the upbringing of my two children , and observed their parenting of my six grandchildren, I have become less certain of the validity of platitudinous prescriptions about child rearing.

    It all depends so much on the circumstances .

    I think there is only one rule which can & must be applied to all parents-children must not be harmed. And that is a matter for the law.

  48. A new “poll” for MSN readers has UKIP winning the Eastleigh byelection with 38%, while the LibDems come fourth on 4% behind Labour on 35% and the Tories on 19%.

  49. TOJIM

    The real economics of electric cars are not favourable. They can only be made to appear economic by imposing large taxes on other vehicles and granting electric vehicles large subsidies. Special cases might be made for cities with very high levels of pollution due to their geography: Mexico City is one, encircled by mountains that trap pollution while the altitude means conventional fuels aren’t fully burned.

    Improved vehicle economy is a virtue not a vice, both on grounds of reducing pollution, and on grounds of greater economic efficiency. The general consequence has tended to be that greater fuel economy promotes more economic activity.

    Installing black boxes seems to be more about comprehensive monitoring of the movements of citizens than about raising taxes. Such a move was you may recall the subject of the largest petition in this country this century. Of course, we now have ANPR and such absurdities as a camera every 130 metres on the M1 between Luton and the M25 just to check on potential jihadists heading for central London.

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