This week’s YouGov results for the Sunday Times are up online here. Topline voting intention is CON 30%, LAB 40%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 14%, so no obvious effect on voting intention from the Woolwich murder. Economic optimism (the proportion of people expecting their financial situation to get better in the next year, minus those who expect it to get worse) is minus 30. This is still very negative, but is once again the least negative it has been since May 2010.

Turning to the Conservative party and their “modernisation”, 61% of people think David Cameron is not in control of his party, compared to only 24% who think he is. Only 16% of people think David Cameron got modernisation right – 33% think he did not go far enough (including most Labour and Lib Dem voters), 32% think he went too far and abandoned too many traditional Tory subjects (including three-quarters of UKIP supporters).

Asked about the famous description of the Tories as the “nasty party”, 18% reject the whole idea and think the Tories were never seen as the nasty party anyway, 14% think David Cameron has manage to make the Conservatives less of the “nasty party” but the largest group – almost half of respondents – think Cameron has failed and the Tories are still seen as the “nasty party”. YouGov asked the same question in 2011 when 23% of people thought Cameron had managed to detoxify the Conservatives, suggesting a gradual reversal of the progress he had once made.

Moving on to the Woolwich murder, 41% of people think the government are tackling extremism and terrorism effectively, 47% ineffectively. Asked about people’s own fear of being involved in a terrorist attack, overall 10% of people think that there is a very or fairly high chance of them, a friend of member of their family being killed in a terrorist attack. As one might expect this is marginally up on before this week’s attack, but less than it was at the time of the 7/7 attacks in 2005 when YouGov asked exactly the same question. Whether or not they agree with British involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, the vast majority of people (70%) think that it has increased the risk of terrorist attacks against Britain.

Asked about attitudes to British Muslims, 60% of people believe that there is a dangerous minority of British Muslims who feel no identity to the country and would condone terror, 14% think that a large proportion of British Muslims have no loyalty to the country and would condone terrorism. The question was again a repeat of a question YouGov asked straight after 7/7, comparing these results they are marginally worse than 7/7, but the change is hardly significant.

There was a second batch of YouGov polling conducted for Dr Matt Goodwin at Nottingham University, who specialises in studying extremism (of the EDL & BNP sort), and reported in the Observer. Full tables for that are here. Again the questions are mostly repeats from earlier, in this cast from October-November last year (originally done for Matt’s work on the EDL here). This makes it a slightly different comparison to the 7/7 questions, comparing results of questions asked during a normal period to the same questions asked just after an emotive event. One might have expected an increase in Islamophobia and anti-Islam opinions. The actual picture that Matt’s research finds is more nuanced.

On a few fronts opinion has moved in a negative direction, with an increase in the proportion of people who think that conflict between different groups is inevitable and an increase in those who think there will be a “clash of civilizations” between British Muslims and native white Britons (though worth noting there were similar shifts when asked about different religions and ethnicities too).

However on other figures there has been no movement, or even positive movement – 63% of people agree with a statement that “The vast majority of Muslims are good British citizens”, by 40% to 23% people agree that “Muslims make an important contribution to British society” – both questions essentially unchanged from last year. The proportion of people agreeing that “Muslims are compatible with the British way of life” is up from 24% last year to 33% now.

I suspect the contradicting trends in the figures is a case of the Woolwich murder reinforcing people’s existing attitudes. For those people who were suspicious, hostile or prejudiced towards British Muslims to begin with it has strengthened those negative feelings. For those with more positive opinions towards British Muslims it has strengthened their resolve not to stereotype British Muslims and not to let terrorism divide communities.

Matt’s poll also asked about the EDL and BNP anti-Muslim demonstrations, using a split sample. Half the sample were asked about their opinion of demonstrations against what the organisers call “Muslim terror” and whether they had a positive or negative opinion of such demonstrations – a majority (51%) said they had a negative opinion, 20% a positive opinion. The other half of the sample had the same question, but with the demonstrators of the demos identified as the EDL and BNP – that knocked support for such demos down to 17%, and opposition to them up to 60%.

There was also a Survation poll in the Mail on Sunday, which had topline figures of CON 24%(nc), LAB 35%(nc), LDEM 10%(-1), UKIP 22%(nc). It shows the very high UKIP score we associate with Survation, but again no obvious impact on voting intention from the Woolwich murder.

206 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 30, LAB 40, LD 10, UKIP 14”

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  1. I can see MP’s in all parties having trouble with pushing through the “snoopers charter”. But – it might go through.

  2. It will be interesting if Labour does decide to back the Tories if EM will manage to get his MPs in line – and prevent a Lab rebellion.

  3. jboy

    “Regarding the flap my comments have caused – I was only responding to Paul Croft. My view was no more biased than his.”

    Good grief – what have I said now that is so appalling???

  4. The interesting thing about the Communications Data Bill is that there isn’t public support for it, despite what the media seem to think. This YouGov poll actually asked and 44% of people said that “it was right to drop it” as opposed to only 31% who said “it should be continued with”[1].

    Labour voters were opposed 49-26 and their leadership would be mad to back it as it would be the sort of issue they would risk losing those vital ex-Lib Dem votes on. Current Lib Dems opposed 62-20 and those who voted Lib Dem in 2010 almost the same at 61-21. Even UKIP voters opposed 47-37 – perhaps on issues that would affect them they are more libertarian than they are sometimes seen.

    Interestingly Survation also asked a much less nuanced question A Bill in Parliament to increase government powers to monitor emails and other electronic communications was dropped earlier this year after concerns about civil liberties.[2] Despite this containing what has become press boo-words “civil liberties”, the result was also against reintroduction. 40% said “This Bill should now be brought back as it is needed to protect our security”, but 48% agreed “This Bill should remain dropped as it is a threat to our civil liberties”.

    I must say that, given the usual public support for “trad[ing] liberty for temporary security”[3] this surprised me, especially even in the rather loaded wording of the Survation question.

    [1] Options and preamble are quite long here:

    [2] Page of link to Survation tables I gave above.

    [3] Franklin said that you deserve neither if you do, but the more relevant point is that you get neither.

  5. Sorry that should have been page 14 – though a separate comment means I can link in full:

  6. Looking at the Survation trend, an average of their 2012 polls would show:

    Con 30%, Lab 38%, LD 10%, UKIP 12%

    UKIP overtook LD in August 2012. They leapt up a few points from the beginning of 2013, but the big advanvce has been after the May locals rather than Eastleigh, and appears to be continuing post-swivelgate.

    On the face of it UKIP’s surge seems to be 2:1 from Con and Lab, with LD unchanged… but the trend is not in fact inconsistent with what we see on YouGov. A fair number of 2010 LDs who had been giving a Lab VI are now opting for UKIP (either that or there is a 2012 LD movement to UKIP plus a 2010 LD move back to LD from Labour), Survation x-breaks for this poll appear to show something like 5:1:3 (2010 Con:Lab:LD >UKIP).

  7. Official Labour position is not to back the Communications Data Bill.

    Alan Johnson has spoken strongly in favour of the bill & (according to the Graun) has said Theresa May should resign if she cannot get full cabinet backing for it. Given Nick Clegg seems to be adamant that the LDs will not vote for the bill, I doubt Theresa May will be grateful for Alan Johnson’s ‘support’.

  8. I was relieved to see that you added UKIP to the trend profile recently, but can you please explain why you don’t add that Party to your measure of the UK Polling average. I can understand your reliance on past-trend and that you are probably modelling the prevailing Commons allocation etc into the benchmark for your measurement framework, but surely we have seen a genuine step change (or sea change) different in type and form to historical phenomena (the surge in support for the SDP, Green Party etc).

    Can you please explain why almost all pollsters (with the exception of Survation) do not explicitly state UKIP as a 4th choice. Does this not undermine the integrity of their current polling methodology?

  9. UKIP have to be around at the new percentages for a bit longer than one set of council elections to represent a ‘sea-change’ in my view.

    There have been parties that have quick surge and then disappear again; one notes about six years ago we were all watching the BNP grow in popular support. Now they barely register… (thankfully)

  10. Cheers!

  11. Amber Star

    Official Labour position is not to back the Communications Data Bill.

    Yes, but does that mean that they will oppose it. Or will they just sit on their hands and let it be steamrollered through for fear of offending the securocrats and the media on their latest ‘something be done’ rampage.

    For evil to triumph all that is necessary is for the Labour Party to worry about its ‘image’.

  12. Bily Bob
    You may be right about your musings on the movements (e.g. Lab to LD, LD to UKIP) but I think what must be exercising the minds of the party strategists is ‘how flaky are our deserters as opposed to the other partys’ deserters’. Intuitively one would expect true right wing voters to be more decided than others, but the deserters’ reasons may differ. For instance, LD deserters may be attracted by ABT reasoning, whereas Lab deserters may be doing so on immigration competition for jobs (Mrs Duffy). I imagine UKPR’s adherents will be grateful to our new-found champoin, Lord Ashcroft, for finding out for us.

  13. So why is Survation going against the grain in naming them implicitly? I consider this to be the most credible barometer, given the local Council results

    (BTW – If they do introduce a Snooper’s Charter, I sincerely hope BNP supporters are high up on their list of public enemies).

  14. Amber

    In his response to the Queens Speech, Ed M said:

    ” If he wants a communications Bill, again we will help him get it through.” Hansard 8th May 2013, column 18

    He immediately follows up with:

    “Even the Deputy Prime Minister might help him get it through, because he wants a communications Bill.”

    The point he was making was two-fold:

    a) the legislative programme announced in the Speech was very light &

    b) highlighting the difference between action & rhetoric when it comes to getting the support of his (DC’s) backbenchers.

    Alan Johnson & David Blunkett are very keen on Camerons proposals but I hope they will be defeated if ever a vote is sought on the matter.

  15. BB – apologies for the typo

  16. Jack

    I think polling 3rd is pretty credible for UKIP, they also finished 2nd in the European elections, something BNP never came close to doing, so its not just 1 local election result.
    I never remember BNP polloing above the LD’s either.

    If the pollsters listed Lab first, then, Con,UKIP,LD. They can always change the order if the trend is reversed.

  17. Fiona – these polls are trying to forecast a GE result based on current VI not council Elections.

    Previously when 4th parties (England) have been added to VI questions the numbers have proved to be way overstated for various reasons.

    You may or may not remember the Greens getting 15% in (I think) 1988 Euro-Elections and then fading in a GE.

  18. I really think that in 2015 UKIP will win no seats at all.

    Under FPTP, all they are likely to do is allow parties they like less than the Tories (Labour and Lib Dems) to get in.

    Will 2015 be the last hurrah of FPTP?

  19. @ Roger Mexico

    For evil to triumph all that is necessary is for the Labour Party to worry about its ‘image’.
    Quote of the month award to you, I think.

  20. If ‘Others’ (inc. UKIP) poll higher than one of the big two parties in 2015 but win no seats, which is possible, there will be a hell of a lot of noise made about PR.

  21. @ Chordata

    Thanks for that. Alan Johnson’s comment now makes more sense to me. Given the bill was in the Queen’s speech, shouldn’t that mean the PM knows the (coalition) government can pass the bill? So why would the Tories need Labour’s help to get it through?

  22. It would probably be a much better indication of the likely voting intention of UKIP supporters in a GE if polling was conducted in
    the top 100 marginals.

    In a safe seat the voter can vote for any minor or protest party, whereas in a marginal seat it is less likely that the voter who normally votes for A and believes A can beat B is going to vote for C where C is unlikely to beat A or B and B winning is the possible outcome.

  23. It seems to me that it could be the LibDems who are worried about their image. Did they allow the Communications Data Bill to be included in the Queen’s speech but are now having second thoughts about it?

    Or is there likely to be a backbench rebellion on this bill? David Davies, with his links to Liberty & his resignation over the Counter Terrorism bill, might well be the leading rebel.

  24. Jim Jam, sorry, don’t remember that far back.

    I understand that the three-party mindset has been part of our political patrimony for quite some time, but I sense that that has now changed.

    I looked through the recent council election results ward by ward, (couldn’t find a readily downloadable dataset for a more comprehensive analysis), but was struck by both the scale and the uniformity of the swing to UKIP, and not just in the East of England.

    I only pay a brief visit to this blog, perhaps once or twice a week, and don’t normally even look at the comments, but I am well used to analysing national time series’ and I think you are missing something here, a generational change, (esp. given the broader socio-economic factors currently in play). All indicators seem to suggest that the UK has shunted to the right.

    I appreciate the blog, by the way. Many thanks.

  25. The ‘snoopers charter’ seems pointless to me – it (at best) deals with the result of ‘radicalisation’ not the cause of it.

    Cause of ‘radicalisation’? Consider

    – How many wars against Muslim countries have the British military been involved in?
    -How many of these wars have arguable moral / legal justifications?
    -How many innocent Muslims have died in these wars? (The figure for Iraq being a questionable 100,000 civilians died)

    To stop radicalisation the above points need to be answered with a coherent and logical narrative; at the moment those questions are not answered by the politicians. This leaves the ‘story’ being one of Muslims picked on by a Christian west (and strongly echoed by the plight of the Palestinians); it is only when the questions are answered by a compelling – and logical – narrative that ‘terrorism’ will not be the answer.

    The snoopers charter may deal with some of the consequences of our behaviour; but we also need to consider our behaviour and the motivations for it.

  26. The only relevant part of the Queen’s speech appears to be: “In relation to the problem of matching internet protocol addresses, my government will bring forward proposals to enable the protection of the public and the investigation of crime in cyberspace.”

    So proposals were to have been brought forward as opposed to “legislation will be introduced…”, or “a bill will be introduced…”, or “a draft bill will be published…”, presumably because coalition partners/backbenchers were unlikely to back a “snooper’s charter”.

  27. @JACK

    What about Bosnia didn’t the West help the Muslims there?

  28. Fiona & Dan

    One thing you’ve got to realise about pollsters is that they hate to change how they do things. If you alter the way you ask the questions, it makes it much more difficult to compare things over time for a particular pollster – and it’s the changes you see in a particular pollster[1] that are important. So even though YouGov and Survation are showing a different level of support for UKIP, the interesting thing is that they are both showing that level has maintained itself since the local elections.

    The truth is that all pollsters end up measuring subtly different things from each other because of the way they ask the questions and how the process the results (how and if they use likelihood to vote for example). There’s no way of knowing which is right because there isn’t the general election tomorrow that they are asking how you would vote in. And the people being polled might not respond in the same way if there was.

    But they all can show how public opinion is shifting, which is why it is important that they don’t change the way they do things too often. So pollsters tend to very conservative in how they operate (especially the ones that have been around for several decades such as MORI and ICM).

    Survation being a newish pollster can afford to play around a bit more – not least because there are obviously some things it hasn’t got right yet (see my previous remark about their figures for the Greens). YouGov will stick with how they do things until they are sure changes are here to stay.

    Incidentally I think YouGov have done some tests with UKIP in the Premier League, seeing what happens if you split a sample in two (they definitely did one for Euro Elections) and ask half, but the trouble is that unless you use a very large sample and ask at the same time, it’s difficult to know if any difference is due to how you ask the questions, random variation or events effecting how people would vote.

    [1] Or in the case of, say, ComRes, who do both on-line and telephone polls, the method they use as well.

  29. I am not surprised that Blunkett is in favour of the Snoopers Charter but I am surprised to read that Alan Johnson agrees with him. I don’t think any of our governments have been too keen on the proles being able to communicate with each other quickly and easily. It might enable them to organise rebellions and revolutions ( Arab Spring for example). But I think our rulers first became twitchy as far back as the introduction of the penny post c1837.

    Then cor blimey somebody invented the telephone, then the mobile network, then the Internet. Who needs progress? “Can’t be doing with the plebs doing instant messaging.”

    But maybe if we keep banging on about how necessary it is to combat terrorism, and how it’s all for their own good really, then they might just go along with it. Next Orwellian step – make the TVs two-way so we can snoop into their living rooms.

  30. Just as an aside I wonder how muslims have been killed by other muslims, just because they have a slightly different slant on things?

    As I wrote in a previous thread, religion has the potential to be the trojan horse that destroys the world.

  31. @ Billy Bob

    The only relevant part of the Queen’s speech appears to be: etc….
    Thank you; unless somebody knows otherwise, it seems that this is becoming ‘another fine mess’ for the PM. I’m wondering who ‘got him into it’?

  32. @Roger Mexico – I understand the need for consistency and the reduction of noise to mitigate bias and maintain the integrity of the series.

    But there will be a critical mass of support for UKIP, which if sustained will directly affect the policies and future direction of the Parties, their leadership, and the coalition long before the next GE. My concern is that the scale of the prevailing transition in the national mood isn’t being accurately captured by most pollsters. The key issues for the electorate are fundamental, (rather than trendy, for want of a better word), and are highly unlikely to abate in the next 2 years.

    What is the point of statistics if not to aid decision-making? The reluctance to adjust, 6 months on, seems to me to be increasingly partisan.

  33. Jack,

    In 2001, how many illegal wars against Muslim countries had the West been involved in?

    We had supported Kosovans and Bosnians in former Yugoslavia. We had defeated (completely legally) the invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein. We had stayed out (military at least) of Israel’s wars with her allies.

    And yet Islamist extremists plotted a number of attacks on the West, culminating in the horrific murders of thousands of civilians on 9/11.

    You know nothing.

  34. Re the Electronic Communications Bill,I believe the bill included in the Queens Speech includes the part of the original proposals that make it easier to connect ISPs to individuals using them, but excludes the section which Lib Dems object to that would force internet providers and phone companies to retain details of calls and postings made, websites viewed, etc.

  35. @ Fiona

    But there will be a critical mass of support for UKIP, which if sustained will directly affect the policies and future direction of the Parties, their leadership, and the coalition long before the next GE.
    Your own caveat: “if sustained” shows that you are arguing with yourself – because you already know why the polling firms aren’t changing their approach or method.

    Personally, I am hoping that Lord Ashcroft will put his hand in his pocket & do some more marginal seats polling; also a revisit of his UKIP voters’ attitudes survey might be interesting.

  36. I guess we will se come the GE if the UKIP surge is much more than some right wing Tories, some protest votes and some anti-EU left leaners with most going home come the day leaving 5-8%.

  37. @ Fiona
    I don’t think you can extrapolate from recent poll and election data that UKIP is a sea change and fundamentally different from the surges enjoyed by the SDP, Greens, Referendum party, BNP or others.

    For example, UKIP have not polled anything like as well as the SDP Aliiance did (the Alliance hit over 50% for a bit), or won any by-elections (the SDP won Crosby and Glasgow Hillhead IIRC), nor for as long (the SDP Alliance were a serious force in the polls from 81-83).

    There seems to be a mistaken view that somehow UKIP is already different from these other ‘new’ parties – it might be, but the evidence is not yet in…

  38. Crofty
    Now don’t get going all Apocalyptic on our collective ass!

  39. Fiona – Sadly for me I am old enough to remember the SDP/Liberal Alliance reaching around 50% in opinion polls in 1981 and winning by-elections but then finishing third at the GE and that was with the advantage of incumbent MPs.

    As above we will see.

    I agree totally that one major factor is the impact of the UKIPs VI surge on Coalition (and in particular conservative MPs) policies which could swing a decisive number of centrists away from Tory to LD, Lab or DV.

  40. Sorry, should’ve been ‘go getting ‘.

  41. BFR – crossed posts

  42. NEILA

    Well said.

    The pre 9/11 timeline is indeed interesting :-

    1972. Munich
    1979 Grand Mosque Saudi-250 dead
    US Embassy Beirut-63 dead
    1985. TWA Flight 847-1dead
    1993. World Trade Centre NY-6 dead
    1993 Mumbai-257 dead
    1996. Khobar Towers SAudi-20 dead
    1997 Luxor Egypt 62 dead
    1998 Coimbatore India-46 dead
    1998 US Embassies in Tanzania & Kenya-224 dead
    1999 Russian apartments-Moscow etc-293 dead
    2000 Indonesia-18 dead
    2000 USS Cole-17 dead

    excludes injured-thousands.
    excludes attacks in Israel.

  43. Catmufflicker

    I dont think the greens will win a seat in 2015.

  44. Colin

    What about Iraq and Afganistan?

  45. “Israel’s wars with her allies” = “Israel’s wars with her neighbours”. D’oh.

  46. I think Labour would be mad to back anything cooked up by the tories.

    Far better to stand back and let them autodestruct, something in which they seem to have developed some degree of proficiency.

  47. @Dan,

    Read my earlier post that Colin was referencing.

    What we’re discussing is the anti-western terrorist activity that predates 9/11, Afghanistan and Iraq (and the pretext that Jack was suggesting gives the terrorists cause to act).

    The point is, if no white or Christian soldier ever left barracks again, there would still be attacks on the west by Islamists. Their cause is not driving us out of Muslim lands. That is merely a waystation on the way to the true objective of conquering us and replacing our systems with ones more to their liking.

    The main reason they get enraged about western troops being in Muslim countries is not the deaths that they cause, but the brake they put on the advance of Islamism in those countries. Islamist militants will not be happy with the building of the new Caliphate. The whole point of the Caliphate is as the launch pad for the Final Victory.

  48. @Martin,

    In terms of political tactics, you’re almost certainly right.

    However, it may just be that there are a handful of politicians left in parliament who believe in making choices based on what is right rather than what wins them votes, and that some of those politicians are on the Labour benches.

  49. Jim Jam,
    As I understand it, the SDP was a highly significant generational factor which resulted in the formation of the Liberal Democrats, and more significantly, the rise of New Labour etc.

    My impression is that it wasn’t ‘middle England’ who voted Green or SDP, ‘middle England’, the most stable cohort, do not easily change allegiance, but it is principally that part of the electorate (most significantly Conservative voters, but also growing numbers from Labour) who are now lurching right towards UKIP. (The Liberal Democrat vote is always the most fickle and harder to predict).

    One other point which is pertinent to this debate – the electorate start off as ideologues by nature – younger people overwhelming tend to vote Labour, LibDem or even Green depending on social and educational backgrounds. The responsibilities of jobs, families, debt etc tends to send them right towards the Centre. That shift to the right, when it happens, is largely unidirectional: they don’t shift back easily. Now that the centre itself has shifted right, this change is likely to be with us for a very long time.

    Commenter’s here are focusing principally on 2015. That is a very long way off, and I would be very surprised if either Mr Cameron or Mr Clegg (or even Mr Miliband, perhaps)
    were even on the radar then.

    I am more interested in the future make-up of British political parties, so am simply arguing along both strategic and academic fronts (i.e. the sustained bias implicit in current polling methodology).

  50. Martin

    “Mad to back anything cooked up b the Tories”

    Gay marriage, welfare cuts ,immigration policy

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