This week’s results for the YouGov/Sunday Times poll are online here. Topline voting intention stands at CON 32%, LAB 43%, LDEM 12%, UKIP 9% – so very much in line with the typical YouGov Labour lead of about 10 points. There’s no sign of any remaining effect from the EU referendum pledge here.


Almost three quarters of people blame food manufacturers (26%) or meat processors (46%) the most for the horsemeat scandal, rather than retailers (11%) or the government (6%). While a majority of people think that there is more the government could be doing to keep the food chain secure, broadly speaking the government is seen to have handled the horsemeat scandal well – 47% say they have handled it well, 39% badly.

68% of people do not think there is any actual health risk from horsemeat getting into the food chain and 37% say that, if it was properly sourced, they would be prepared to eat horsemeat.

Relatively few people say that they will substantially change their behaviour as a result of the horsemeat scandal – only 5% say they might change which supermarket they use to they buy their groceries, only 13% that they will reduce the amount of meat or beef that they will buy. However, a third of people say that they will reduce the amount of *processed* meat they will buy. In reality all these are likely to be gross overestimates: it is much easier to say in a survey that you will change your behaviour than it is to do so in real life – in practice most people will probably continue as usual.

Eastern European Immigration

On the general principle of the freedom to work and live anywhere within the European Union, 33% of people think it is a good thing, 56% a bad thing.

On balance immigration from western European countries like France and Germany is seen as a positive thing (39% think it has had a positive effect on Britain, 16% a negative effect, 31% neither). Immigration from Eastern Europe and from outside the European Union are both seen as having had a negative effect on Britain by a majority of respondents.

70% of people think that the rules on immigration into Britain from the EU should be tougher, almost the same as the 73% who think the rules on immigration into Britain from outside the EU should be tougher. On the specifics of the extension of the right to live and work across the EU to Bulgarian and Romanian citizens, 20% of people think there is no problem with this and Britain should welcome them, 19% think it will have a negative impact on Britain but we have no choice but to meet our legal obligations, 48% think Britain should limit the right of Bulgarian and Romanian citizens to live and work in Britain, even if it means breaking the law.


There is little support for fox hunting being legalised. Only 23% want to see the ban lifted, compared to 65% who would like it to remain. This includes 50% of Conservative voters.

29% of people who describe the area they live in as “urban” say the number of foxes in their local area has increased in recent years, but the overwhelming majority, 92%, say that they have never been attacked or felt threatened by a fox. Nevertheless there is significant minority support for a cull of urban foxes – 38% would support a cull, but 41% would oppose it.

Long term care and inheritance tax

52% of people say they support the government’s plans on capping the cost of long term with only 21% opposed. 50% of people say that it is right that the plans to reduce inheritance tax were shelved to fund the long term plans, 26% would rather they had been funded in some other way.

Asked a straight choice of whether they’d prefer inheritance tax to be reduced, or the cost of long term care to be reduced, far more people choose the later – 57% to 18%. This is particularly the case for older voters, people over the age of 60 say they would prefer a cut to long term care costs over a reduction in inheritance tax by 66% to 13%


Finally, 76% of people support the principle of withdrawing benefits from unemployed people who refuse to work. On the more specific recent court case, 55% of people think the government should be able to withdraw benefits from unemployed people who refuse to do unpaid work experience, 34% think they should not.

361 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 32, LAB 43, LD 12, UKIP 9”

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  1. @Paulcroft – it was UK based, whatever that means, but the point still stands. There are thousands of people fighting for peace, love and justice without a god in site.

    On Wiki they have a list of ‘Jewish Atheists’. Still trying to figure that one out.

  2. And I haven’t even started on the great reformers from the badger community.

  3. @CHRISLANE1945

    “…Do you know of any social reformers who were not driven by religious morives? UK based please…”

    The first one that sprang to mind was Tom Paine


  4. As to the BBC loading the audience, I’ve heard they try to make it representative of that particular area, so in Liverpool the audience is heavily Labour, in say Surrey, its much more Blue, and they balance it out over a series by going to enough places around the country, and getting a sample of those population, so that in total across the whole series they’ve done a balanced representation of the british public.

  5. @john pilgrim
    “Avoiding the environment might be a bit difficult. Even the Morrison Shelter used to fill up with water in our back garden.”


    Ah yes, the many life-sapping rigours of the garden thing. I dunno what a Morrison Shelter is but it sounds like a good idea and I could have done with one before I discovered Waitrose…



    Respect is due obviously but the dear god thing was more an indication of horror at the idea of becoming embroiled in the expression thing. Which didn’t work as now I am embroiled in explaining the “dear god” expression…


    “CARFREW: Interesting on OFSTED: causing havoc it is. Some inspectors are ‘liberal’ and some of them are ‘traditionalists’.”


    Some arent even teachers and you could even have a failed Head leading an inspection team. An Ofsted career is a handy alternative if you had to leave your school. I dunno who designed the system but whoever did needs to be appraised in the same way on their own performance. It’d be great! ! There’d be a league table and everything!! …

  6. Could be the start of a silly debate here. You give me your list of atheist social reformers and I’ll give you my list of Christian ones. Na ne na ne na na…………

    Thinking about it, let’s stop it there and get back to discussing the South African bowling attack. Much more interesting.

    Maybe a Sun tweet is required to get us back on track.

  7. An ofsted-ofsted sounds good: but who will check up on it?

  8. Paulcroft

    The ofsted-ofsted-ofsted, obviously. Headed by somebody of unimpeachable virtue. I suggest me…:-)


    An ofsted-ofsted sounds good: but who will check up on it?


    Are you angling for expanding your burgeoning monitor empire?…

  10. EDDIE
    – perhaps it would take less courage from Lab than from Con (by Nixon in China logic).

    I agree. Moreover, it is an opportunity for genuine reform. The problem is that the system is stuffed with well-upholstered bureaucrats and self-generating financing systems. UK aid needs to be cut away from the system tio some extent and some radical and constructive investments made which go to the heart of poverty and inequality. Turning to Amber’s post on muslim women’s education, for example, W.A.C. Matthieson, who was head of the Colonial Office in the late sixties, and served as Minister of Education in post-self governing Kenya, introduced a UK aid program based largely on achieving universal primary education for both sexes, which would have transformed Pakistan and Afghanistan. I would add a greater role for efficient and accountable NGOs – OXFAM and Save the Children do an excellent job of informed advocacy and at the grass roots – and I would aim it at UK interests – primarily through restoring the research and development in agriculture and health, and in teacher training, which have been traditional in pre-and post-independence from UK territories; and would advocate providing TA to IFAD, IDA and the regional banks for low cost credit in small farmer agriculture and small scale commercial development in rural areas. There should be radical and long term development of mutually beneficial trade in some countries totally replacing aid. Major investments should only be after a Royal Commission level of enquiry and reform aimed at cutting out the dead wood – of which there is much and much entrenched.

  11. carfrew

    No: I’m scared of Ann in Wales. To be honest I’m scared of most women and all Welsh people.

  12. Its annoyingy ironic that atheists will die and never receive the proof that they were right, whilst religious people who believe in the myth of heaven** will die and never receive the proof they were wrong.

    * As a child I used to wonder where it was, how they fitted so many dead people in, how you got in touch with yer grandad, whether they had cothes and if so how and if not wasn’t it a bit odd? and what you did all day, every day forever and ever and did you eat, go to the toilet… [etc etc etc etc]

    “Respect” for religion meant that, as I grew older, I never posed these questions to vicar or priest – and I think I’d be too embarrassed now, as I realise they haven’t the foggiest either.

  13. Going back to the PM poll its a sad end to his career that GB wil probably always be voted into last place: not the legacy he would have wanted.

    Surprised – yet pleased – to see ole Ted up in the top half above DC.

  14. CROSSBAT11
    “some of the old rituals and teachings from my formative years still resonate with me.”
    Subsitute mythology – as in Levi-Strausse – for fairy-tales, or go back to my old mate Durkheim (there was a non-religious reformer for you – headed up the reform of the French education system pre-1st World War,and demonstrated in “Elementary Forms of the Religious Life” the role of religion in providing us with a paradigm and reenactment of our social and ethical systems. Of course, they resonate, you silly old b-gg-r.

  15. CROSSBAT11
    I should have said, actually, lovely post, and to the heart of what we feel at great moments of reminder of our religious upbringings; and there in much of our great art and music and in our ceremonials. Imagine out lives without it!

  16. Lib Dem MP Stephen Williams was the driving force behind a plan drawn up by Portman Capital Partners to give RBS and Lloyds Banking Group shares to the 46 million adults registered to vote in the UK. A fixed nominal amount would have to be paid to the Treasury when the shares are sold, ensuring the government would recover the £66bn bailout of UK banks.
    Where does a person begin to list all the reasons why this is an ill-founded scheme. Let’s start with the electoral register: Who among us has confidence that it is a fair & accurate basis on which to distribute shares in a national asset?

  17. Actually, one too many in the Skinner’s Arms. Four or five blokes, including Reg, a tear in the corner of his eye – looking at you a moment too long over the rims of their pints, Here, Bats, you look as though you need that filling up, one of them says throatily; and I’m the old geezer with the pipe over on the bench in the corner, on his third black and tan…….

  18. @ John P, Crossbat 11, Paul C

    I think you 3 should have a Radio programme together. Specialist subjects: Crossbat11 – cricket & current affairs with a personalised twist of nostalgia; John Pilgrim – foreign affairs & dry wit; Paul C – music, madcap mayhem & household tips like ‘don’t fall off the roof of your bungalow whilst shaking your duvet’. All 3 – General back & forth, debate, grumpiness laced with humour; it would be a must listen show!

  19. @Alec, if you’re still wondering:

    I’m a Jewish atheist, ie enough of my ancestors were practising Jews for me to have been carted off in the 1940s had I been alive then and in the wrong place, despite never sharing their religious convictions.

    Some of my friends subscribed to those convictions as children but have abandoned them; they are still Jewish. It’s more than just a religious affiliation, but not a race – as ever, a complicated issue. I don’t think it’s possible to be an ex-Jew; a convert to another religion, yes, but complete disavowal, no. An individual might regard themselves as such, but someone, somewhere, would still classify them as Jewish.

  20. @Martyn

    Thomas Paine not driven by religious motives?

    Contained in your link is a quote from The Age of Reason, where Paine seems to be much motivated to reject anything which might be…

    “… dishonorable to the wisdom and power of the Almighty; that the only true religion is Deism, by which I then meant, and mean now, the belief of one God, and an imitation of his moral character, or the practice of what are called moral virtues – and that it was upon this only (so far as religion is concerned) that I rested all my hopes of happiness hereafter. So say I now – and so help me God.”

    Humanistic ideas very often grew out of Christianity without becoming atheistic.

  21. AMBER
    Much honoured.
    Called, and set in, “the Skinner’s Arms” perhaps, if Crossbat11 would permit, and possibly with Amber as savvy bar maid, economics, common sense and politics contributor, and thrower outer.

  22. YouGov
    Con 32, Lab 41, Lib 12, UKIP 8
    Approval -35

    “On Wiki they have a list of ‘Jewish Atheists’. Still trying to figure that one out.”

    This from Kitsune hits the nail on the head – “would still classify them as Jewish…”
    And ultimately that is what we’re dealing with, classification and why so many people fall in to the trap of ‘No true Scotsman’ or ‘All Muslims!’ because those classifications only really exist in our heads (although due to the way our minds work, we assume the reality that exists in our head is also the reality outside our head).

    There are only individual people who will classify themselves or have someone else classify them according to what seems an objective definition but often actually two people are talking about two entirely different concepts.
    So Alec assumed ‘Jewish’ meant ‘Practices the Jewish faith’ (hence why Jewish Atheist appears to be a contradiction) but many people (Kitsune, Ed Miliband) classify ‘Jewish’ as a people (likely due to the ‘Jewish’ mythology that they are ‘God’s chosen people’ and thus ‘Jewishness’ is genetic) so the religious factor doesn’t apply.

    This leads to all sorts of logical errors, like ‘No True Scotsman’ (as stated above) where we assume that the groups aren’t identification but actually exist.
    So we treat ‘The Germans’ as a unified block as opposed to a group of individuals (who may on average believe something when polled – so ‘the Germans believe x’) when that identification is largely based on arbitrary lines on a map (which again, only exist in our heads but we assume they’re actually real and thus treat them as real).

    So I could declare myself ‘Jewish’, but others wouldn’t recognise that identification (despite me having as much claim as anybody else to it) – this problem would be solved if we started thinking in E-Prime instead of English (See the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis or linguistic determination).

    So instead of saying ‘Jewish Atheists’ we would say ‘People who self-identify as Jewish and don’t believe in God’. Or instead of saying ‘That is wrong!’ (assumes objective ‘wrongness’) we would say, ‘I disapprove of that and you should too!” – thus we do away with the linguistic essentialism (which is a hang-over from Plato and Aristotle’s thinking).

    Then you may start to see the Fnords and realise that questions such as ‘What is art?’, ‘What is morality?’, ‘What is beauty?’, etc miss the whole point.

  23. And just to expand and bore everybody further –

    Politics (in ‘the west’ at least) largely consists of ‘Alpha-Primates’ (who we classify here as ‘Politicians’) abusing your belief in Fnords in order to get you to do what they want.

    So politicians talk about ‘The Immigrants’ as opposed to ‘Individuals that lack state-recognition of Britishness’ in order for you treat them as a homogeneous and thus scary bloc. Also ‘That land is mine’ = ‘I have state-recognised ownership of that land’ in order for this-hypothetical-you to have monopolistic use of that bit of land (and product of the land – or the ability to claim ‘rent’, if someone else uses the land).
    So ‘Squatters’ (people who use land/buildings that currently do not have anybody using them but the state recognises as belonging to somebody else) are ‘baddies’ (and therefore scary) because they ‘violate’ the ‘unalienable right’ of ‘property’ (which of course, only exists in your head – but you assume macrocosm must ‘be’ the same as the microcosm – so ‘property actually exists’).

    So once you can see the Fnords, they no longer have power over you – and you ‘are free’ to construct Fnords to fool others in to doing what you want. ‘Marriage is between a man and a woman’ = ‘Marriage Fnord Fnord Fnord’ = ‘I do not want “homosexuals” to have the state-recognised same rights as me’, etc

  24. (And you can expose faulty circular logic. “You shouldn’t do that!”, “Why not?”, “It’s wrong!” = “I disapprove of that. You shouldn’t do that!”, “Why not?”, “Because I disapprove and you shouldn’t do that!”)

  25. As it happens I too am a non-believer of Jewish origins. It seems to me a lot of people do indeed disavow their Jewishness. My local council has had 2 successive leaders, of 2 different parties (Conservative & LD – not the current council leader, Lord Nick True, I hasten to add) who I have it on good authority are of Jewish origins but have never admitted to it, and I think in at least one case has disavowed his origins. I have been a non-believer in God or the Jewish religion since a very early age, and my parents are both convinced atheists too, but I still regard myself as unequivocally Jewish. We are perhaps not a race, but we are an ethnic group.

  26. @TingedFringe

    Judaism is not (by and large) open to self classification in the same way that Islam and Christianity are. I could become a Muslim in five minutes by accepting the five pillars. I could become a Christian by professing the truth of Christ. In both cases I would then be recognised as part of those religious groups.

    Judaism does not encourage conversion*. There is an ethnic and genetic component to it that is borne out in genetic studies and in the prevelance of certain genetic disorders in Jewish populations. So it is perfectly reasonable to say that someone is Jewish (by descent) but Atheist by faith in a way that isn’t true for other religious groupings.

    *My sister converted when she got married, but that is in a US tradition that wouldn’t be recognised by many Jewish congregations.

  27. Good Morning All.
    I drink every month or so with friends who call themselves Catholic Atheists.

    Probably my ‘favourite’ social reform campaigner in modern times, motivated by Religion is Peter Benenson: founder of Amnesty. The Labour Party owes its existence primarily to Methodism. Fry, Shaftesbury, Wilberforce spring to mind, also, on this fine Half Term morning.

  28. TheSheep
    And you’re falling in to exactly the same logical trap that I was ranting about.
    ‘Jewish’ is a classification that exists only in your head – to argue over what a ‘True Jew’ is misses the whole point.
    So you’re assuming the classification (Jew) that exists in your head (Microcosm) also objectively exists outside your head (Macrocosm).

    Your argument consists of “I classify people with a certain genetic heritage as “Jewish” and therefore you cannot use that word for any different classification!”.

    An ‘Orthodox Jew’ would argue ‘I classify people with a certain genetic heritage who also practice my faith as ‘Jewish’ and therefore you cannot use that word for any different classification!”

    Therefore you’d be stuck in an argument of ‘What is a Jew?’ or ‘What makes somebody Jewish?’ which fundamentally misses the point since ‘Jewish’ only exists in your head (even though you may find yourself agreeing with somebody else (or a group of people) who share that classification, that only really exists in their heads).

  29. Atheist reformer: Clement Atlee.

  30. Ooops. Attlee!

  31. My Jewish atheist friends insist that Jewishness is a cultural, not religious, thing. They do the passover ceremony as a story about their ancestors.

  32. I believe Attlee was an Anglican.

  33. Amber, from an economic point of view, giving away shares would be close to helicopter money. Maybe its a way (in the current political climate) of getting a demand boost that couldn’t be obtained in any other way (barring a war).

    But there would be no £66 billion back to the Treasury. Or there would be no point to the scheme at all.

  34. Marx ?

  35. @TingedFringe

    Nihilism is fine as long as you don’t expect it to deliver an index-linked pension.

  36. Even Dawkins calls himself a CofE atheist.

  37. Friends who grew up Sligo tell me they used to get this –

    “Is your family Catholic or Protestant?”

    “We’re atheists”

    “Sure, but are you Catholic atheists or Protestant atheists…”

  38. My stepdaughters went to a Catholic girls school for a while (which they despised). One of them once asked me why “Catholics” have sex before marriage, are homosexual, take drugs, are violent, use contraception, have abortions etc.. (Not in the sense that they are worse than average for these things – just that they don’t abstain to them as she was being taught they should).

    The best I could come up with was something like “For a lot of people ‘Catholic’ is something you are, not something you believe. It may not really mean much more than ‘My grandmother was from Ireland’.”

    I think there is something of that in most religions, although to varying extents. My father was a Mormon, and I attended his chapel for a couple of years as a child. I don’t consider myself in any way “Mormon”. I expect it would be different if my surname was Smith or Young and I was descended from one of the founders. In those circumstances I suppose I might get described as “from a Mormon background” or “from a Mormon family”.

  39. As a footnote. One entire half of my ethnic background is unknown. My mother’s father was not named on her birth certificate and she never knew either parent. Her mother’s first name was “Lillian” which is sometimes a Jewish name. One of my father’s ancestors was mentioned in an old 19th century newspaper as being a member of a Jewish trade organisation in Switzerland, but there is no other trace of Jewishness and the rest of the evidence points to Calvinism.

    So, I have no idea if I am “Jewish” or not. Which I suppose confirms what is being said about self-identification.

  40. One of the things about religion is that, to a huge extent, well over 90% I believe, your religion is a matter of geography and/or parentage.

    Which means that to certain religions, whether you go to heaven depends upon where you were born.

  41. Amber


    I demand a TV series:

    “Vlad the Impaler – founder of the Church of England?”

    is ready [once I’ve made it up]

  42. By the way when do I get this money to buy a helicopter and can I spend it on a guitar instead?

  43. @TingedFringe

    You’ve fallen into the mistake of assuming that logic has any meaning when applied without relation to the actual world… By your logic any categorization “birds”, “rocks”, “leptons”, “conservatives” are all equally figments of your imagination. Sadly there are limits to what you can derive from purely a priori knowledge.

    Judaism is interesting because unlike most religions it’s religious definitions have led to a self defining gene pool – that can (and has) been tested a posteriori.

  44. WOLF

    @”Nihilism is fine as long as you don’t expect it to deliver an index-linked pension.”

    You really must curb your instinct to get to the heart of things Wolf.

    It does spoil the pontificating so.

  45. My Jewish friends always failed the cricket test. Fiercely British except when discussing Palestine when they instantly became Israeli.

  46. Midst all the clashing statements in the LibDem world about which assets they will , or will not tax, emerges this question :-

    Will a mansion tax be levied on the whole value of a house which is valued above the taxable threshold -or on the value in excess of the taxable threshold.

    It makes a lot of difference :-

    1% X £2,100,000 =£21,000
    1% X £ 100,000 =£1,000

    And on which of these two bases is Ball’s proposal based?

  47. TheSheep
    Those categories are figments of my imagination. There are things that exist that I classify.
    I use these words to communicate as best I can to explain things about members of that class. But that class only exists in my head.

    We may both classify things the same way, which gives the illusion og objective classification.

    This is v important to polling. If we wanted to know how many people in a group ‘are’ Jewish we would need to explain the features of the classification but a pollster would ask the group members – self identification, even though they may all differ on the class that exists in their heads.

  48. Paul

    How many angels can you get the head of a pin?

    An infinite number because they have no mass. That’s the answer to most of the questions.

    ” As a child I used to wonder where it was,…”
    Up there – see above

    “how they fitted so many dead people in…”
    No mass

    ” how you got in touch with yer grandad”
    You cant. Earthly things are irrelevant

    “whether they had cothes”
    No clothes (they have mass)

    “and if so how and if not wasn’t it a bit odd?”
    No sex organs (not needed)

    “and what you did all day, every day forever and ever”
    Praise God. I’m hoping that JSB was right and that his job application BWV 232 was successful, If I am right in my (about to be published) speculation that the Bassoon parts in the Quoniam are for 3-keyed Baroque clarinets I’ll be quite content for a few aeons if I can double on tympani too.

    “and did you eat, go to the toilet… [etc etc etc etc]”

  49. “An infinite number because they have no mass.”

    How do you know that?

  50. …know they have no mass?

    (Assuming existence if course. ..)

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