The weekly YouGov poll for the Sunday Times is now up here. Topline voting intention figures are CON 30%, LAB 40%, LD 11%, UKIP 13%. The bulk of this week’s questions were on benefits (and there is a second YouGov poll in the Sun on Sunday also asking benefit related questions, though tabs for that probably wont be up till tomorrow morning).

Looking at the broad findings, a chunky majority of people think that the present benefit system needs reform in some way. Overall, 70% of people think the current system works badly and needs significant (38%) or major (32%) reform.

However, looking beneath that concern seems to be more widespread about who benefits go to, rather than the level of them (though it would be wrong to deny many were not also concerned about that!). 63% think that the benefit system is not strict enough and too open to fraud, 22% think it is too strict, 9% about right. Compare this to 37% who think it is too generous and benefit payments are too high, 21% who think they are too low and 26% who think they are about right. In previous polling we’ve often seen that overall people want to see less spent on welfare, but are actually well-disposed towards benefits for some groups like the disabled or the elderly – the driver of disatisfaction with the system does seem to be exactly who it goes to.

The YouGov/Sunday Times survey asked people what proportion of welfare they thought went to people who genuinely needed and deserved support, and what proportion went to people who did not deserve it and were taking advantage of the system. 36% of people think that half (23%) or more than half (13%) of people claiming benefits do not deserve help and are taking advantage of the system. A further 42% of people think there are a minority of claimants who are not deserving help. (Again, we’ve seen previously that people vastly overestimate the level of fraud in the system, but this is not actually the same question – people may well think that people are perfectly legally claiming benefits within the current rules, but that the rules should be tighter).

Asking more specifically about some of policy proposals and whether they are fair or not, 78% of people think it is fair to put a £26,000 cap on the benefits a household can receive each year (10% think it unfair) and 59% think it is fair to limit the increase in working-age benefits to 1%, less than the rate of inflation. People are more evenly split over the “bedroom tax” – 47% of people think it is fair that people have their housing benefit reduced if they are considered to have more rooms than they need, 40% think it is unfair. The survey in the Sun had a similar batch of questions that asked if people supported changes, rather than if they were fair/unfair – the results were very similar though – 79% supported the cap on total benefits and opinion on the “bedroom tax” was 49% support/44% oppose.

Asked about the challenge made to Iain Duncan Smith to live on £53 pounds a week, only 26% think it would be reasonable to expect someone to live on this amount of money. However when asked about whether it would be reasonable to live on £71 – the current rate of income support or jobseekers allowance for a single adult over the age of 25, 57% of people think it would be reasonable to expect someone to live on this compared to 31% who do not . That said, people are slightly less optimistic about whether they themselves could live on that much money! Only 44% say they could, 48% say they could not.

Incidentally, there was also a question on welfare in the Opinium poll for the Observer. In the Observer’s write up here I was somewhat bemused to find that “When asked for their views on the need for further welfare cuts, just 10% of people said they believed more should be made. Only 14% of Tory supporters backed further welfare reductions compared with 10% of Lib Dems and 5% of Labour supporters”, given how it flew totally in the face of all other polling on the subject. The actual Opinium results are now up here and give a rather different picture – while only 10% think there should be “more cuts”, a further 15% think the government should continue with their present cuts and 57% support a rather “have-your-cake-and-eat-it” option of thinking there should be cuts, but only if they are targetted to protected the poor and disabled. 14% think there should not be any cuts to welfare.

282 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 30, LAB 40, LD 11, UKIP 13”

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  1. @Lazlo

    This report mentions Bush had a poll bounce after Reagan died.

    “The survey shows that President Bush has improved his political standing over the past month. His overall approval rating increased slightly, from 44% in May to 48%. Notably, all of Bush’s gains occurred after Reagan’s death on June 5. Prior to that, Bush’s approval rating was the same as in May (48% disapprove/44% approve). But during the remainder of the polling period (June 6-13), Bush’s approval rating increased to 50%”

    News reports in the US at the time were very positive as I recall, I was visiting at the time, this article confirms that

    So it will be interesting to see if the pomp and ceremony impact the Tory numbers. I see Labour have suspended campaigning as well as a mark of respect.

  2. @thesheep,

    Panorama have just said that victory over communism was seen as victory over world socialism, so perhaps not such a dumb question to ask? I was only inviting opinion more than anything…

  3. Neil A

    I’ve taken the same approach and already cleared 2 people from my Facebook who are posting statuses about Thatcher, and I’d do the same to any right wingers celebrating the death of, a left wing politician.

    Laszlo, I don’t know what point you are trying to make, we are all well aware that Liverpool and the surrounding area aren’t fans of the Conservative party, or of Mrs Thatcher herself.

  4. Neil A
    I suffered greatly from Facebook (only joined so i could read some blogs, which were otherwise not available) until I discovered an obscure parameter buried deep in the profile pages, where one could stipulate no emails from Facebook.

    I don’t make myself available to anyone (not even my children!) and I suppose this may not be the typical image of a Lib Dem. In fact it’s the capital letter syndrome. As a liberal, I am deeply conservative.

  5. My take on some of the unsavoury comments regarding MT is a combination of sourgrapes (understandably in some cases), and a fear of some post-Thatcher revival of her policies/ideals.

    If Thatcher were in charge of the current welfare situation…ouch!

    RIP Maggie. One of kind, regardless of one’s politics.

  6. Typo: One of a kind.

  7. @ MiM

    You misunderstood it. But it is not the point.

    You have posted rather partisan and, as I said, insulting pieces knowing that today criticism of the faults of your misinformed/ideologically driven points would be judged partisan following AW’s warning.

  8. Laszlo, wrong as usual.

  9. Neil A

    I have decided to Unfriend anyone on Facebook who is too ecstatic or celebratory about Thatcher’s death – it’s turning into quite a good clearout.

    Well if that’s true of the social circles of a Conservative policemen living in the South, imagine what the reaction in the rest of the country will be. There may be a attempt to play down anti-Thatcher celebrations or even statements, though the Mail is already working itself up to outrage:

    That said I have little sympathy with all those who spent the 80s (and since) denouncing Thatcher while then supporting and often benefiting from similar or even more extreme policies from New Labour.

  10. Right, I will have a go at prediction. The YG result for today will not be greatly influenced by MT’s passing, but tomorrow’s could be, possibly, but more with the effect of commentary heard and watched than the event itself. I would expect a hardening. LD tacticals that were beginning to drift back from Lab will resume their support for Lab. Con who were considering UKIP will be influenced to make that step. Of course, how long that would continue will depend on how long this ‘event’ is dragged out, if at all.

    On the other hand the blanket coverage (which we here at chez H have thankfully missed; we even listened to radio 2 for the first time in a decade in the car) may begin to wear on others more pliable towards the news media.

  11. @ Tony Dean

    Thanks for educating me about the National Liberals, about whom I knew virtually nothing. Weird to see that their original split from the mainstream Liberals was linked to their willingness to accept the Conservatives policy of tariffs rather than free trade!

    I see that Michael Heseltine first stood [unsuccessfully] as a National Liberal

  12. @ Nick P

    Margaret Thatcher is to be cremated according to the Downing Street press release about her funeral.

  13. eh?

    I could have quoted many others on both sides of the debate.

    [Not without starting a debate that is outside the comments policy you couldn’t. And as ever, if you wrote it yourself here it would be moderated, that you are quoting someone else is not a get out for posting partisan stuff – AW]

  14. @ Richard

    Thank you. Very useful and interesting.

  15. Incidentally, I do like the headline from a local newspaper near me. Bless local newspapers!

  16. amber

    You’d better tell Mr MacManus.

  17. Tim Bale’s a Tory isn’t he? I can see why you might not like EC’s partisan view.

    Isn’t the idea that MT being an idealogue losing the Tories their election winning capability relevant to a polling site?


    Will there be a by-election? ;)

  19. NickP

    Not really when they won again 2 years after she left office.

  20. Anthony

    As a true local patriot I’m sure you’d agree that after failing to get elected in Dartford it was downhill all the way. (Though she did get a husband out of it I seem to remember)

  21. (basically Mr Bale was suggesting that pre-MT the Tories were pragmatic, adaptable beasts not nailed to the cross of Truth. Unlike Blair and Cameron, perhaps, who bent more with the prevailing winds.)

  22. ICM first out of the blocks with a poll for the Guardian about Thatcher.

    Hardly worth a link as the reporting doesn’t give much detail… 25% think she was very good, 20% very bad.

  23. I think the death of Thatcher will spell disaster for Labour in Scotland. No longer can they wheel out the boogeyman/woman around election time and terrify voters into voting for them.

  24. @ Allan Christie

    It’s more likely that a combination of better together & Mrs Thatcher passing will allow the Tartan Tories to go home instead of opting to vote ABL & choosing the SNP.

  25. So you guys want to hear something really funny? At least I think it’s something that will be enjoyed by all here regardless of your party affiliation (whether you’re in mourning today or whether you’re irritated over the press coverage of your former PM).

    And I SWEAR to you (and to god) that I didn’t start this and in fact I had NOTHING to do with it.

    Maggie Thatcher and her legacy has entered the LA Mayoral race.

    To give you the background. You have a runoff election between two Democrats, both of whom are very progressive (almost difference on major state and national issues). One would be the first woman mayor. She’s been courting massive labor union support and even tried to call her opponent “anti-union.” Well today she put up a photo of Maggie Thatcher, with the words “Rest in Peace, Iron Lady” and then underneath wrote “one of the greatest leaders in history.” The reaction on her Facebook wall and even on Twitter has been kinda priceless.

    Apparently, there are some Los Angeles voters (a few dozen perhaps out of the 4 million…..which actually might matter in a May 2013 election) who are familiar with British politics and know about Thatcher beyond the movie. They were NOT happy to see this announcement.

    Reaffirms my decision not to vote for her to actively support her opponent.

  26. @ Anthony

    I can type ever so fast. And I’m sorry for rising to it.

  27. @Roger M,

    You might be a little surprised by my friends list. There are more anarchists on it than policemen (I don’t really associate with colleagues outside of work), and attending a trendy progressive school means I have lots of arty types who are fashionably left wing. I also have a few lesbian friends who have never forgiven the Tories for Clause 28 (including the wealthy woman I just unfriended).

    I have actually just realised, however, that I do have one scouser on my list. A former policewoman called Tina. Her response to the death was RIP Margaret Thatcher. You may not agree with her politics but she was one hell of a ground breaking woman. A sad loss. So I guess you never can tell…


    “@ Allan Christie

    “It’s more likely that a combination of better together & Mrs Thatcher passing will allow the Tartan Tories to go home instead of opting to vote ABL & choosing the SNP”

    Why the mention of the SNP? Surely you’re not suggesting something??

  29. @ Allan Christie

    I was making a political observation. What do you think I was suggesting because I am at a loss to understand your comment?


    Just my own observation but a comment on Scottish Labour tends to be followed by a Nat attack.

    Of Course I’m absolutely non-partisan!!

  31. Great leaders always inspire controversy, I really admired Maggie and supported her efforts to repel the Luddites, but my wife thought she was, ‘common’, anyway, R.I.P. Maggie, it’s a pity we’ll never see your like again, the current bunch, left and right, aren’t worth bothering with, no talent apparent anywhere, IMO, of course.

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