This week’s YouGov results for the Sunday Times are now up here. Topline results are CON 31%, LAB 40%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 11% (slightly bigger Labour lead than other YouGov polls this week, but nothing outside the normal margin of error. We’d need to see some consistent 10 and 11 point leads before pondering whether the recent narrowing in the polls had faded away again).

The rest of the poll had various questions about party leaders, UKIP and the Conservatives, some questions on Abu Qatada, benefits and the NHS. Let’s start with Nigel Farage. Asked whether he is doing a good or bad job as leader of UKIP Farage gets very positive ratings – 44% think he is doing well, 20% badly giving him a positive job approval rating of +24, compared to the negative ratings of the three main party leaders. Of course, based on the actual question asked people should say this, whether someone likes or dislikes Farage’s politics, if you’ve taken a minor party that got under 3% at the last election to around 11% in the polls you are doing a good job!

Compare and contrast this to when YouGov asks if Miliband, Clegg and Farage would make a better PM than David Cameron. Despite a much, much better job approval rating only 11% think Farage would be better at being PM, 40% think he would be worse. Now, I don’t think any serious commentators were thinking that UKIP support was based on people thinking they were a serious alternative government anyway (it is largely a vote based on anti-immigration, anti-Liberalism sentiment, an anti-government protest and general positive reactions towards Farage’s anti-politician stance), but it underlines the difference between job approval ratings and whether people think a politician is a plausible Prime Minister. People thinking you are doing a good job as the leader of a minor party is clearly not the same thing as people thinking you’d do a good job running a country.

Asked about Cameron himself, a third of people say he has not done enough to modernise the Conservatives, 24% that he has gone too far and abandoned too many traditional Tory policies, 20% that he has gone the balance about right. As you’d expect, most current Tories think he has got things about right, most Labour and Lib Dem supporters than he hasn’t gone far enough, most UKIP supporters that he has gone too far. There is an even divide (36% to 36%) over whether David Cameron is a Thatcherite or not, though the party split is interesting – it is Labour supporters who are most likely to think Cameron is a Thatcherite (presumably respondents who do not regard this as a good thing!), most Conservative supporters don’t think he is. Only 15% think that Cameron was right when he said “we are all Thatcherites now”.

Abu Qatada

61% of people think that Qatada should be deported regardless of what happens to him in Jordan, compared to 25% who think that he should only be deported if we are satisfied that evidence gained from torture will not be used against him. However, when people are asked directly whether it would or would not acceptable for evidence obtained from torture to be used against Abu Qadata 51% say it would be unacceptable, compared to just 28% who accept it – an apparent contradiction in people’s views. My guess is that this is down to people thinking it is wrong for evidence from torture to be used against Abu Qatada… but that it is not an excuse for him to remain in Britain (essentially a “yeah, it’s very wrong, but it’s not our problem”).


Asked about the general overall package of benefit changes that the government have introduced over the last month (including cutting council tax benefit, capping benefits, reducing benefits below the rate of inflation and the so-called “bedroom tax”), a majority (56%) say that on balance they support the changes, compared to 31% who are opposed. Supporters of the benefit changes include a third of Labour voters.

Accident and Emergency

Overall 29% per cent of people think A&E has got worse since the coalition came to power, compared to just 5% who think it has improved and 32% who think it has stayed the same (and compared to a more neutral verdict about what happened under Labour). People are less negative about A&E at their own local hospital – amongst those who have attended their local A&E in the last three years 21% think it has got better, 28% worse, 40% stayed the same. This is a fairly common pattern we also see on crime, schools and about people’s own MPs, people are more positive about their own local services than they are about services in the country as a whole.

308 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 31, LAB 40, LD 11, UKIP 11”

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  1. Not another debate on partisanship !!!

    -It reminded me of when my Children used to argue over which was best the Teletubbies or the Tweenies.

    EH OH!

  2. Lala and Fizz.

  3. STEVE,

    “EH OH!”

    Clearly you give the game away with this showing your irrational dogmatic support for the Teletubbies! Do you really expect any of us right minded rational people to be convinced by your sad emotional inability to realise that the Tweenie are Britain’s only hope!


  4. “Miliband will on Monday answer critics who claim he has no policies by publishing an alternative Queen’s Speech containing six key economic bills.”

    Haven’t Labour given us enough bills already?


  5. Time for Tubbie Toast or possibly a Mackie Breakfast!

  6. Steve,

    I suppose you think the Chancellor should be Lala….?

    (I’ll just throw that one up foe someone else to hit)


  7. The problem for the Teletubbies is that “In the Night Garden” now has a growing following. The Night Garden has a colourful and charismatic leader in Iggle Piggle and followers of the Teletubbies are now defecting in droves. Their ratings are down and it could spell the end for them….

  8. Steve,
    I suppose you think the Chancellor should be Lala….?
    (I’ll just throw that one up foe someone else to hit)
    -I thought they already were!

  9. Osborne’s definitely La La and Alexander is clearly PO!

  10. The problem with the United Kingdom of Iggle Piggle Supporters or UKIPS for short (now there’s a coincidence) is that they know they hate Noo Noo’s and Fizzes but they haven’t got a clue what to replace them with!

  11. Alec,

    I assume Ed Miliband has been looking up my advice online and using it. I don’t mind… It would be nice to get paid, but that’s ok… This time….

  12. Interesting interview with Alan Johnson in today’s Guardian, the juiciest morsel being his admission that he was prepared to stand as an interim leader/PM as part of a potential coalition deal with the Lib Dems in the aftermath of the 2010 General Election. He believed, unlike some reports I’ve read about the Labour/Lib Dem negotiations, that they were quite close to cutting a deal that involved concessions to the Lib Dems on PR and ID cards. One condition that they accepted was that Gordon Brown had to go and that was why Johnson was happy to put his name forward as leader and potential PM of a Lab/LD coalition government (with a little help from other friends required too!). He felt it would be a difficult, short-term job and didn’t want to jeopardise the longer term leadership chances of younger contenders like David Miliband. He also goes on to say that he regretted his admission to Kirsty Young on Desert Island Discs in 2007 that “he didn’t possess the necessary qualities for leadership”. By 2010, he felt he would have been able to take on the top job.

    This is all water under the bridge now, obviously, but interesting nonetheless. I’ve always been an admirer of Johnson and, along with people like Healey, Castle and McLeod would be tempted to put him in that always controversial “Best PMs we never had” category. He’s a natural communicator and has a genuine rapport with Joe Public. He’s one of those very rare politicians who bears an uncanny resemblance to the people he represents and I’d have been fascinated to see what sort of a national leader he may have become. Rather a good one, I suspect.

    I also rather liked his cryptic observation in today’s interview when he said that this coalition government inherited growth and delivered a recession yet, if you listened to them, you’d have thought they’d done the opposite! Doesn’t tell the whole story, admittedly, but it’s just the sort of potent and simple political message that seems to have eluded Labour’s economic front bench spokesmen team up to now!

  13. Labour’s alternative Queen’s Speech

    Housing Bill

    ?The housing market has changes significantly in recent years. There are now 3.8 million households in the private rented sector, including more than one million with children.
    ?Many are being ripped off through hidden fees, which are costing tenants £76m per year.
    ?More than a third of all privately rented homes are not up to decent standards, with more than 15 per cent lacking minimal heat in winter.

    The Bill would:
    ?Introduce a national register of landlords, to allow LAs to root out and strike off rogue landlords, including those who pack people into overcrowded accommodation.
    ?Tackle rip-off letting agents, ending the confusing, inconsistent fees and charges.
    ?Seek to give greater security to families who rent and remove the barriers that stand in the way of longer term tenancies

    Finance Bill

    ?Since the government’s Spending Review in the fourth quarter of 2010, the UK economy has grown by just 1.1 per cent – compared to the 6 per cent forecast by the Office for Budget Responsibility at the time.
    ?The lack of growth means that the Government is now borrowing £245bn more than they planned.
    ?Prices are rising faster than wages and people are now £1,700 a year worse off than they were in May 2010.

    The Bill would:
    ?Reintroduce a 10p rate of income tax, paid for by taxing mansions worth over £2m.
    ?Stop the cut to the 50p rate of income tax for those on the highest incomes to reverse cuts to tax credits.
    ?Reverse the Tory-led Government’s damaging VAT rise now for a temporary period – a £450 boost for a couple with children.
    ?Provide a one year cut in VAT to 5% on home improvements, repairs and maintenance – to help homeowners and small businesses
    ?Put in place a one year national insurance tax break for every small firm which takes on extra workers – helping small businesses to grow and create jobs

    Consumers Bill

    ?Families are facing record fuel bills while energy companies are enjoying huge profits. Since the election average energy bills are £300 a year higher.
    ?Rail fares are rising by up to 9 per cent a year, after the Government gave back to private train operators the ability to increase some fares by up to another 5 per cent above the fare increase ‘cap’.
    ?Upon retirement a pensioner can discover that up to almost half the value of their pension fund has been wiped out by hidden costs and charges.

    The Bill would:

    ?Abolish Ofgem and create a tough new energy watchdog with the power to force energy suppliers to pass on price cuts when the cost of wholesale energy falls
    ?Require the energy companies to pool the power they generate and to make it available to any retailer, to open the market and to put downward pressure on prices
    ?Force energy companies to put all over-75s on their cheapest tariff helping those benefiting to save up to £200 per year

    ?Apply strict caps on fare rises on every route, and remove the right for train companies to vary regulated fares by up to 5 per cent above the average change in regulated fares.
    ?Introduce a new legal right for passengers to the cheapest ticket for their journey.

    ?Tackle the worst offending pension schemes by capping their charges at a maximum of 1 per cent;
    ?Amend legislation and regulation to force all pension funds to offer the same simple transparent charging structure so that consumers know the price they will be paying before they choose a particular scheme;

    Jobs Bill

    ?There are nearly 1 million young people out of work.
    ?The number of people out of work for two years is half a million – the highest since the end of the last Tory Government in May 1997.
    ?Since David Cameron became Prime Minister, the number of unemployed people has risen.

    The Bill would:
    ?Introduce a Compulsory Jobs Guarantee, a paid job for every adult who is out of work for more than two years. People would have to take up those jobs or lose benefits. The £1 billion costs can be funded by reversing the government’s decision to stop tax relief on pension contributions for people earning over £150,000 being limited to 20 per cent
    ?Guarantee a 6 month paid job for all young people out of work for over a year, paid for by a bank bonus tax. Those offered a job would be required to take it.
    ?Require large firms getting government contracts to have an active apprenticeships scheme that ensures opportunities to work for the next generation.

    Banking Bill

    ?Lending to businesses is falling month on month, including a fall of £4.8bn in the three months to February according to the latest Bank of England figures.
    ?The Government’s schemes, such as the Merlin deal, the National Loan Guarantee Scheme and the Funding for Lending Scheme have all failed to help businesses.
    ?The Treasury has allocated just £300m in funding to their Business Bank, which isn’t a real bank, is staffed by BIS civil servants and is still not up and running.

    The Bill would:
    ?Create a real British Investment Bank on a statutory basis, at arms length from government and with proper financing powers to operate like a bank.
    ?Set out that one of its purposes is to support small and medium sized businesses, including across the regions of the UK through regional banks.
    ?Provide a general backstop power so that if there is not genuine culture change from the banks they can be broken up.
    ?Put in place a Code of Conduct for bankers so that those who break the rules are struck off.
    ?Toughen the criminal sanctions against those involved in financial crime.

    Immigration Bill

    ?In certain sectors there is evidence that workers, particularly migrant workers, are being exploited by being paid less than the minimum wage. A recent Kings College study found that between 150,000 and 220,000 care workers are paid less than the minimum wage.
    ?Enforcement is weak. There has not been a single prosecution for non-payment of the National Minimum Wage in the last two years.

    The Bill would:
    ?Double the fines for breaching the National Minimum Wage and give local councils the power to take enforcement action over the NMW
    ?Extend the Gang-masters Licensing Authority to other sectors where abuse is taking place.
    ?Change NMW regulations to stop employers providing overcrowded and unsuitable tied accommodation and offsetting it against workers’ pay.

  14. ? is what I get instead of bullet points when copying from LL.

  15. Nice twist on immigration, I can see the spitfire now. Tough on immigration, tough on the causes of immigration. But seriously it a good idea to try and make immigration a Tory problem

  16. Spitfire should be soundbite

  17. That is not a policy announcement, that is a bunch of stuff they’ve been saying for months compiled into a single list. And dear God, that housing policy is feeble.

    OTOH it’s a lot more comprehensive than Ed Balls’ 5 Point Plan + one more point, so on the scale of disappointments I suppose this squib could be even damper.

    And I agree with Richard, it’s a clever way to tackle immigration. Especially because this is something people might believe they would actually do and the Tories won’t (attack big business for bad labour conditions), as opposed to Labour’s usual claim they’d stop more people at the border which for good reason no one finds credible. Props to Yvette Cooper and Chris Bryant for coming up with something substantial on this.

  18. @ Spearmint

    That is not a policy announcement, that is a bunch of stuff they’ve been saying for months compiled into a single list.
    Agree & agree the housing piece is as weak as…

    However, I suppose it does give a handy summary of policy proposals & it shows an intention to make the very well off pay a little bit more tax than they are now.

  19. spearmint

    That is not a policy announcement, that is a bunch of stuff they’ve been saying for months compiled into a single list. And dear God, that housing policy is feeble

    Is this because there is nothing for you to attack? I agree that the housing policy is weak, our branch is going to put forward a motion to conference to reintroduce rent control in the private sector.

  20. Does anyone know when Ed Milibands policy speech is or have I missed it ?

  21. Good to see George is encouraging more Film makers to come to the UK. Just what we need — plenty of fantasy!

  22. @ Amber,

    Yeah. To be fair, it was Sunny Hundal pre-briefing they had a policy announcement, not them. If this gets their current policies extra exposure it can’t hurt, although putting in something new might have encouraged the media to cover the speech.

    @ Roger,

    No, no, I gripe as a concerned friend. And one who thinks the Tories have left their flank wide open on housing, but it does Labour no good if they’re too frit to offer up a substantial policy.

  23. @spearmint.
    ‘frit’ – that’s something I haven’t heard for a very long time…

  24. @RogerRebel

    …and watch as it gets ignored.

    Agree with @Spearmint, it wasn’t worth the interest.

  25. Spearmint,
    I do not think that EM is frit as you put it,just very careful not to make himself
    a hostage to fortune so far away from the election.I remember Cameron being
    bounced into promising he would safeguard winter fuel allowance et al,by GB
    During the election campaign.I am sure he regrets that now.
    Just heard the world at one interview with Martha Karney.He fended her off
    Quite well.It will be interesting to see if she is quite as ferocious with Cameron
    on Wednesday.

  26. Hmmm

    Well on the basis of Kearney vs Miliband on today’s WATO, I’m really looking forward to the GE campaign.

  27. Ah Colin, another one-liner that says nothing that speaks volumes.

  28. Craig

    And you know ll bout Labour Conference because?

  29. Ah Colin, another one-liner that says nothing but speaks volumes

  30. colin


    Well on the basis of Kearney vs Miliband on today’s WATO, I’m really looking forward to the GE campaign.”

    How very sad.

  31. VALRIE

    @”Ah Colin, another one-liner that says nothing but speaks volumes

    Sorry to have interrupted the Labour stream of consciousness here Valerie.

    Actually I thought your phrase “He fended her off
    Quite well.” spoke volumes.

    But if your happy with that interview-so am I.

    And if you are unhappy that I have the temerity to say so that speaks volumes too.

  32. An opportunity to hear everyone’s own policy suggestions?….

    Implement the Living Wage as the mandatory national minimum wage, offset company costs by using the £8bn Income Support budget plus savings on other benefits to finance business tax cuts.

    All people unemployed for longer than six months to carry out community work to earn their benefits. Work will be at Living Wage rates, this will therefore be part-time so still allowing time to job hunt.

    End VED and transfer revenues to fuel duty. Heavy road users and owners of gas-guzzlers are more effectively targeted here and there is no opportunity to evade payment.

    Publicise the minimum housing standards for landlords, introduce a whistleblower/complaints hotline and enforce with sizeable fines.

    All court fines/compensation now to be paid in full within 28 days regardless of income of offender. No more passing belongings to friends to evade bailiffs, no more £5 per month cheques which never get paid etc.. Offender is responsible for selling property, obtaining loans etc. to pay up.

    All tradesmen to belong to self-regulatory Guilds which enforce standards. Tradesmen will be required to have Guild membership to operate.

    Average Speed Cameras on the entire motorway network to cut down on speeding/tailgating that cause the majority of phantom jams and congestion.

    Variable speed limits at rush hour to increase capacity.

  33. One more….

    All new public servants to be on renewable three-year contracts to allow governments and councils to reduce staff without punitive redundancy costs which currently hinder major public sector restructuring.

  34. STEVE2

    @”All new public servants to be on renewable three-year contracts ”

    For HMRC-could we make that monthly?

    I have been on the phone to them this morning:-

    An hour dialing & redialing their wretched 0845 number trying to get it to put me through.

    40 minutes listening to music whilst I wait for someone , at my expense, after being put through.

    A fruitless conversation about why they have issued the wrong Coding notice to my annuity provider.

  35. Steve2

    I like most of them but my rent control is better, like tradesmen one I don’t like the idea of subsidizing low paying companies rest were good

  36. @Spearmint

    Is Sunny Hundal employed by Ed Miliband? I’ve seen him in the Guardian, I thought he was one of the jokers they employ to wind up the white readership by calling them all racists

  37. Lots of laudable policy suggestions (and some duff ones) but I think the problem with new policies is that quite often the “levers” are broken.

    For example, Steve2’s issues with court fines are great, but it’s pretty much (apart from the 28 day limit) the current policy. The problem is enforceability. You can pass any law you like, but if your officials can’t devise a practical way to carry it out then you might as well not bother.

    Besides which, the level of the fine takes into account ability to pay. So if you want the magistrate to ask themself “what can this drug addict on benefits afford to pay in the next 28 days” the net effect may be to reduce the actual fines imposed dramatically.

    Some of Labour’s plans are quite good. I like the tax incentives to raise the wages floor in a company, although even that I suspect will become unenforceable in the field. Companies will get the tax incentive, but employ subcontractors who pay minimum wages – that kind of thing.

    Overall though there is a sort of “Their version doesn’t work so we will make a Labour version that works” theme. No doubt they will point out that the current cake tin provision under the Coalition sees a large proportion of the country’s cakes turn out badly, and that they will introduce a new National Cake Tin which is designed to make sure that in future cakes will always turn out brilliantly and to replace the current market-based range of options which have so clearly failed us.

  38. Alternative Queen………..Nothing there for the Tories to borrow, hardly dynamic change, just a Titanic deck furniture rearrangement.

  39. Whack the successful, increase dependency on the State, I don’t think we’ll be seeing any dancing on the Southbank come election night. Cue……..’.Things can only get duller !’

  40. Neil A

    If sub contractors have to pay living wage its no problem

  41. @ Steve2

    End VED and transfer revenues to fuel duty. Heavy road users and owners of gas-guzzlers are more effectively targeted here and there is no opportunity to evade payment.
    Eh? There are ways to evade payment of fuel duty. They can use fuel bought legally outside the UK &/or smuggled fuel supplied illegally &/or farm diesel without being entitled to use it. And that’s just the ways to avoid/ evade fuel duties which I’ve heard of!

  42. “Labour has no policies!” becomes “These are policies that Labour already announced!”, and I expect will become “These are laudable policies that we just can’t afford.” will become “We have always supported these policies ourselves, and will bring them in within the next two parliaments.”

  43. Ken

    Alternative Queen………..Nothing there for the Tories to borrow, hardly dynamic change, just a Titanic deck furniture rearrangement.

    If you don’t want it Ken then we must be moving in the right direction

  44. @ Steve 2

    All tradesmen to belong to self-regulatory Guilds which enforce standards. Tradesmen will be required to have Guild membership to operate.
    All workers to belong to self-regulatory Unions which have the right to enforce employment standards? Workers will be required to have Union membership before they can accept a job?

  45. jayblanc

    The Tories want use any of them, Ken as spoken.

  46. Also, a Mea Culpa on my earlier post… I’d got my figures the wrong way round. But still think talking about the Eds being pushed out because a 11 point lead turned into a 9 point lead, is premature.

    Looking at the YouGov graph, do I detect a pattern of a slight dip in Labour the last three springs anyway? Is it some kind of Budget effect? A benefit from economic cheerleaders promising that the Recovery is just around the corner, that subsides when those promises don’t bear fruit?

  47. @ROGERREBEL………….Moving ! Standing still is more like it, at least it’ll create jobs in the Prozac business.

  48. @ COLIN

    All government helplines are like that. You have to wait at least 30 minutes to get through and you wondered why you bothered. What has happened over the last 10 years or so, is that successive governments have made redundant the people who would have answered your call within a few minutes. Recently there were reports that last year HMRC failed to answer over a million phone calls. Also I believe that in many cases, it can take them months to deal with written enquiries.

    Just my take on this. If you want to have an efficient government tax collection department, don’t you need the staff to enable this ? Billions has been paid in redundancy for civil servants and there are apparently problems with HMRC collecting taxes that are due.

    Think some people are still working on the assumption that IT systems remove paperwork and you can do without people looking after this new paperless system.

  49. @ Steve2

    My last was a tad facetious but the original trades unions were based on the Guilds of which you speak. That’s why there were closed shops, differentials in pay by trade/ grade & a ban on flexible working i.e. electricians only did electrical work, welders welded, plasterers only did plastering not painting & decorating, apprentices only did labouring for their own tradesmen etc.

    Apparently this was all a terrible idea; that was unions gone mad, that was! As ne fule kno, ne fule can weld a seam, bang in a rivet & safely use lifting gear to move heavy loads.

    But when it comes to having an extension built which will house their family or having a stay in hospital, it seems to be the same people who were against ‘restrictive practises’, who are the first in line calling for Guilds & high standards i.e. accredited specialists with the proper qualifications, training & aptitude for the job.

  50. @R HUCKLE…………To be fair, you have to speak as you find, and I for one have always found HMRC to be accessible and helpful, I got through to them yesterday very quickly, about a corporate matter, and found them very ob;liging.

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