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”).

Benefits

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. Caption Competition

    “High Street bakery Greggs has warned of lower than expected profits this year after reporting falling sales.”


    First Prize A Years supply of Absolutely Nothing

  2. @ AMBER STAR……My friend built himself a beautiful extension, he and his son run a garage business…….I think, if you’re of a practical bent, you can turn your hand to most things, a lot of myths exist about, ‘ trades’ , you don’t need to be a tradesman to do DIY.

  3. @ KEN

    It’s Steve2 who wants to bring back Guilds, not me.

  4. Does anyone on here think that today’s exciting Alternative Queen’s speech, will capture the public’s imagination enough to affect VI ?

  5. @ AMBER STAR……….I really should have gone to Specsavers, on the other hand, my mate next door could probably knock me a nice pair of bi-focals up, he’s good at DIY. :-)

  6. @ KEN

    LOL!

  7. @AMBER STAR………I was skiing in Taos, ( New Mexico ) a few years back, and on a visit to Taos Pueblo reservation, I met an old native American who explained that he was a medicine man and professional drinker, he had also made his own false teeth out of wood , apart from being brown, in every other respect they were as good as you would get here on the NHS.

  8. Ken,Amber et al
    l admire your tenacity but….. ROLL ON THE LOCALS!!!!

  9. Having read Labours latest offerings I agree thay look like a list of things already announced and cobbled together probably in response to criticism that Labour was in danger of becoming a party of protest with no new ideas.

    Instead of allowing himself to be pressured into this publicity stunt EM should perhaps concentrate on the economy and show in detail how Labours approach would be different to the coalition rather than tinkering around the edges.

    If EM can convince the public he has a radical approach to the economy then perhaps the other things mentioned would fall into place with the possible exception of immigration I really think in the public mind it’s a lost cause for Labour due to their open door policy.

    However I fear like the coalition already know their is very little room to manoeuvre on the economy, continually bashing the bankers or talk of soaking the rich will not fix it and it’s misleading to pretend it would even if it is presented as a simplistic cause for the countries problems in order to shift blame from politicians past and present.

  10. Ken
    Well DIY keeps the NHS in business so it’s good all round, not only for the firms that make the unwanted stuff (that’s me talking again, tut).

    You’ve heard the slogan ‘do it yourself then come to us’.

    Bit like local politicians (see Ewen, I’m back on topic) who think they know better than their officers and civil servants. So naive.

  11. Personally whilst I felt Tax Credits did a good job of alleviating or mitigating poverty I was always uneasy that employers who paid decent wages are in effect subsidising low wage ones through the tax system.

    (Tangentially I don’t think IT threshold increases are the best way of assisting low earners partly for this reason and partly due to the ownership of Government spending argument).

    In this context the carrot of rewarding employers who pay the living wage (easy to demand of contractors BTW) appeals as a concept.

    The details need to worked out; there may be a regional element and what about employers already paying the living wage or those paying some of their staff just above who might need some support to maintain a differential even if at a lower level.

    The key philosophical point is to emphasise what Labour would like to highlight as what they will claim is a difference in approaches to reduce welfare.

    The aim is to contend that the coalition want to cut welfare spending through attacking the vulnerable whilst Labour seek a more positive way of reducing that spending whether through this living wage policy of through Housing policy. (agree timid)

    The success or not will depend on 3 things imo.
    First the actaulm impact on individuals and families and the number of hard luck news stories that feature, secondly how well Labours’ alternatives are thought through and presented. Most of all, though, how the Economy performs in the next 2 years as some voters will tolerate hardship for others if they see what they consider a worthwhile improvement.

  12. Don’t think that Labour’s policy announcements will make a great deal of difference.

    Everyone poorly disposed to them will naturally dismiss them and continue to pretend Labour have no policies and that not making firm policy announcements two years from an election is a dreadful imposition (even if it’s exactly the same sensible strategy that got their team in this time).

    Everyone kindly disposed to Labour will conclude that they’re sensible policy frameworks that will inevitably lead to a much-delated roaring economic recovery in June 2015 and if they don’t, it’ll be the Tories’ fault.

    Floaters won’t have noticed because they’re not really being reported

  13. I’m giving up the polling prediction game, my last effort was pathetic, ( got LDs bang on though ) these daily snapshots are too trying.

  14. Chris,

    From this floater’s perspective (I now prefer “non-aligned” or “independent”, btw, less um, toilet-y) , these policies lack any real vision and just seem to be tinkering at the edges.

    Saying that, none of the Big Three/Four have given us any Big Ideas to consider of late (UKIP’s anti-EU policy is still bland as Heck) to the point that there are many policies you would struggle to assign to a party, if they were presented to one ‘unlabelled’.

  15. Well you should always consider using a tradesman for anything technical or dangerous, plumbing, heating, electrics or heavy structural stuff.

    Having said that I only used them when needed for about 20% of the two two storey extensions I put on my house!

    Peter.

  16. So, no-one wants to present their own political agenda?

    Cowards!

  17. @ Rich

    The Graun article which you linked to was written by:

    Jonathan Jones, who writes on art for the Guardian and was on the jury for the 2009 Turner prize.

    So a giant of a political commentator who is also well known for being in touch with what ‘the man on the Clapham omnibus’ is thinking.

  18. @amber,

    I posted the link, as I have the Guardian app on my windows phone, and typically it’s rather left wing, especially the comment, but I was surprised this was so critical with phrases like ‘posturing to the left’.

    Rich

  19. Steve2
    I will present my manifesto –
    “As a nice rule of thumb, think of it as a site about politics, not a venue for politics.”

  20. @ Rich

    An art critic indulging in some posturing? Wealthy patrons (of the arts) might enjoy reading his unfavourable opinions of a left leaning politician, perhaps?

  21. @Rich

    The Guardian hasn’t really had a very good political editorial staff of late. The “You should vote Lib Dem, unless you should vote Labour, we can’t say anything more on that, but if you vote wrong it’s not our fault!” line they used as their “endorsement” going into 2010 was pretty much the death knell for the Guardian as a leading left-wing editorial. Then they went into a period of blaming Labour for not being left wing enough/not being right wing enough/being for AV/being against AV/Being Pro-Europe/Being Anti-Europe/Supporting Immigration/Not Supporting Immigration… No one really knows where the Guardian wants to put it’s self on the political spectrum any-more, and I don’t think the Political Editorial staff there do either. I suspect some may have partaken in the poison chalices of “Balanced Reporting” and “All view points are valid”.

    Hence a lot of those who used to read the Guardian for its political position, departing for the Independent. Or vacating newspaper reading all together for online sources.

    About the only thing they’ve made a clear standing on was being against Murdoch, and calling for press reform. If only they could apply that editorial focus to making up their minds on what political editorial voice the paper should have.

  22. Aside from it political views whatever they may be, the guardian is a bloody useless paper and the comments section is plagued by simple minded trolls from both sides of the political debate

  23. Of course the comments of amber star are always well written and worthwhile and are possibly the only good reason to visit the guardian site

  24. @jayblanc, Richard et al,

    What is a good paper to read? I have been most disappointed in The Independant of late that I used to pick up quite often, but it has really seemed to go very left. Some of the online blogs are hard left in my opinion.

    Of course I like The Telegraph and The Economist, but you will no doubt say they are right of centre, but The Economist really has some superb writing, in particular the geo-political articles are fantastic.

    Rich

  25. R HUCKLE

    Thanks.

    So many organisations now-private & public sector have resorted to the pre-recorded telephone filtering system which takes the caller through umpteen options.

    I wouldn’t mind that so much-it is clearly a good idea to categorise calls-if you were actually put through to the appropriate help after being filtered. But there is invariably a long wait ahead, even after filtering.

    So far as HMRC are concerned, I think they have never really recovered from the merger of HMIT & Customs.

    The quality of the help you get is what ultimately matters, and my experience today was not a good one. My Annuity provider ( who answered the phone within minutes) had very trenchant views of their experience on PAYE with HMRC.

  26. @Amber

    I can’t recall reading a more superficial or poorly argued political commentary in the “Guardian”, totally devoid of any serious analysis.

    What are we to make any commentator that sees fit to use trite phrases such as “..if Miliband projected a clear voice on the ishoos…”?

  27. RICH.
    I fully agree that the Economist has the best writing. In schools we get them very cheaply.

    On an old thread about Mr Churchill: The collection of letters by Mrs Churchill contain rebukes to her husband about the way he spoke about Mr Attlee and other Labour people in the Wartime Government.

    On Labour Policy; a few phrases to be repeated over and over again is, I think, the best way to communicate with the great British public. TB was quite good at this, I tink.

  28. @ Colin

    You have to know when to phone these helplines. If their lines open at 8am, then get dialing shortly before this and you will get straight through. If you phone later, you will be in for a long wait or just ask Ken to phone for you, as he gets straight through every time.

    I had to phone a financial services company the other day and their IVR system did not work properly. The options they gave did not make any sense and you had to key your reference number in, followed by other details, so the call was routed to the right people. When the call got through to a human, I had to give all the same details I had just entered, but at least the operator was helpful.

    On a different note, I think tonights local election broadcast by Labour was very good and I think some voters may be inspired to put their hope/faith in them. We will see whether this is the case on Friday. Not that many people watch the broadcasts and Labours big problem is getting people out to vote. Many younger people don’t bother and Labour will need votes of the under 40’s, if they stand any chance of winning a majority at the GE.

  29. @Rich

    Baffling article. It quite rightly notes that he’s resolutely centrist and at pains to obscures his stances, and has yet to pledge anything radically different than his predecessors, so then how does it square that he’s presenting/managing an image of a leftist? Bit odd to be constructing an image that gets undermined every time he opens his mouth?

  30. Listened to that extraordinary WATO EM interview again.

    His claim that a 12 month cut in VAT would result in a reduction in borrowing will, I think , be examined critically.

  31. @Rich

    The i is quite good, if you want the outline of the news in the Independent, still with much depth but without so much of the commentary. And if you don’t like it, it’s only set you back 20p.

    I have no particular problem with any of the Telegraph, Times, Independent or Guardian. Each contains just about enough news for you to make up your own mind independently of their own interpretation of it.

  32. R HUCKLE

    I think the fact that Ken’s query was corporate, and doubtless involved substantially bigger numbers than my own humble PAYE coding query might explain our different experiences.

    Whether you think that such a differential approach is justified, is of course yet another matter.

  33. COLIN.
    Possibly Ed M’s argument may look something like this:
    VAT reduction lowers prices, thus boosts demand,and employment and consumer confidence, thus boosts tax receipts, thus cuts the deficit.
    Lower welfare payments result since people are in employment, and thus the deficit falls.

    That is the theory anyway, I think.
    It may not convince voters, though, since the Messenger does not seem convincing, at the moment.
    I would recommend he brings TB into the Shadow Cabinet as his communications chief.

  34. CL1945

    Oh I understand the logic.

    It’s the maths & the timescale , let alone the principle, which is worthy of some thought.

    He really did not want to say , under much invitation from Kearney, that he would increase short term borrowing.

    I like your tongue in cheek suggestion-but fear it’s not likely to happen

  35. Ir appears the Revenue is too busy using its extensive powers investigating its own staff to answer Colin’s calls (or chase big Corporations).

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/apr/29/hmrc-goldman-sachs-tax-osita-mba

  36. NICKP

    Jeez. Unbelievable !

    The way to receive good service from HMRC is clear then-be a wealthy banker.

    Don’t suppose any of them have to use the Phone number
    for ordinary oiks.

  37. Re: the Guardian. I deal with them quite a lot and they don’t really have a strong editorial line on anything any more, other than

    a) they’re a bit lefty and
    b) bad news gets more clicks than good news

    It means you get a much more eclectic range of views than most other papers, but they’re not very coherent.
    J. Jones is perfectly entitled to his views – I’m not interested in them.

    They’re not (if they ever were), a lefty Daily Telegraph (which is even more incoherent, but in a different way).

    Re: the Economist – a very good read as long as you remember that their solution to every single problem is ‘more free markets’, which may not actually be the solution to every problem. If they’re writing a piece on an area not directly connected to their core expertise, they tend to ask the right people, as opposed to the broadsheets, who will usually ask the people they think most likely to give them a line that fits the conclusion they’ve already come up with.

  38. @ Colin

    II agree with your points on VAT. Over the weekend I went through all the Economic Reports of the President between 1969-1995. Their promised policy outcomes all failed essentially on the considerations you mentioned in your first paragraph.

  39. The Economist is a centrist magazine – their recommendations go with the centre – it is not their fault that the centre in economics is occupied by various descendants of the Chicago School. But they do it intelligently and informatively.

    As Chris Lane mentioned it is a good way to introduce school kids to this world (the English translation of Das Capital is really awful so not a good alternative…) and also good for foreign students.

  40. @ COLIN…………..I do have the HMRC chap’s direct line, but even so, I have a fairly sanguine view of their general service levels…….wealthy banker’s never contact HMRC direct, always go via PWC or KPMG et al. :-)

  41. Um, do I understand some of you actually *buy* newspapers?

    What for?

  42. @COLIN
    “The quality of the help you get is what ultimately matters, and my experience today was not a good one”

    ————-

    That’s what happens with cuts. Rang Trading Standards a decade ago, got someone very knowledgeable with the time to give me all the info I needed and could answer any questions. Rang more recently and I got someone who spoke like working in a call centre off a script and couldn’t really help.

    This is as nothing however to some of my contact with support in the private sector *shudders*

  43. I thought I’d be contrary and put forward a polling observation.

    I’ve had the impression in recent years that where Lab.is ahead, its lead tends to diminish (not spectacularly but noticeably) in the final couple of weeks before an multi-seat election.

    As for newpapers/journals, the Economist is the best read. Very well written, imformative, mature and with an attacking style. The right wing newspapers tend to be the best written. The Times and Telegraph in particular. But there is a very obvious slant with both. And not just editorially. The Times is more balanced and probanly.more New Labour than it thinks. The DM is well written but with.far less actual news and very emotional. The red tops are good at being succinct, but with little news. The Indy used to be great – with lots of foreign news and superb comment from various points of view. The Guardian is poorly written and has the most confused editorial line of the lot. It’s actually quite stereotyped and rigid in its viewpoint but applies itself haphazardly. All it really knows is that it doesn’t like EM, EB or GO.

  44. “an multi-seat election”. Oh dear!

  45. I like Amber’s paper bestsist – The Star. The footy coverage is good and world events and politics are dealt with with suitable brevity.

  46. @Howard

    – To save on eyestrain
    – To sit having a nice coffee reading a paper with friends
    – To save on battery life with a tablet
    – To get the bits that aren’t online
    – To support publications you may care about

    It’s also handy as a barrier when you want to stay in your bubble. People be wanting to get in your bubble. .

  47. Regarding my earlier comment on newspapers, perhaps the Telegraph should put Matt behind a pay wall.

    Today’s is just brilliant. (Guard dog made redundant by Suarez).

    Regarding this ‘will Ed M need to borrow more’. If the plans don’t work, the answer is yes, if they do, then not, indeed a lessening of borrowing.

    That’s the point of this financial juggling in the margins, nobody can say it will be one thing or the other.

    If, say, it worked, then detractors would say iT did so, *despite* the reckless policies.

    And so on.

  48. Colin

    Think back to 2010. Following the 08/09 stimulus (of which the VAT cut was a big component) GDP growth in 2009 & 2010 was way above forecasts. In the March 09 Budget, Darling’s Treasury forecast a contraction of 3.5% in 09 and growth of 1.2% in 2010. I’m sure you recall that Osborne called him a fantasist at the time.

    As it was, we had a 0.9% contraction in 09 and 1.5% growth in 2010 (the latter even despite the sharp contraction in Q4 2010) as GO discovered that winters bring snow.

    And so to the deficit. The Treasury prediction at Budget 09 was for a 09/10 deficit of 12.0%GDP. As it was, the deficit turned out to be 11.1%.

    Now I’m sure there are arguments why the VAT cut did not lead to higher than expected growth and lower then expected borrowing. There have usually been strong arguments from those who are philosophically against stimulus, when stimulus worked and Austerity didn’t. After a while though, the empirical evidence really starts to mount and the arguments against stimulus look more and more like evidence-free faith.

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