This morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun had topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 39%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 13%. Whereas once the YouGov daily poll was pretty consistent in showing an average Labour lead of ten points or so, the lead is now in single figures more often than not, suggesting an underlying average of around 8 or 9 points. Full tabs are here.

The Sun this morning also had some YouGov polling on how people see the political leaders, in particular how they compare to Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, both in their own way challengers to the current system and politicians who manage to present themselves as “anti-politicians” (Farage quite explicitly, Boris just by being Boris!). Full tabs are here.

Farage and Boris are both seen as more in touch than any of the main party leaders, and are both seen as less stage-managed than the main party leaders (though Farage is still seen as more stage managed than genuine). In terms of honesty Boris is seen as the most honest of the five, but not by a large amount. The biggest contrast is on whether they would be interesting or boring to spend time with, where Boris is in a completely different league to the others. The two “anti-politicians” score very differently on competence questions. Here the incumbent still does best, with David Cameron scoring the highest on being good in a crisis and on being up to the job of governing. Nigel Farage scores very badly on both – people may well think he is doing well as leader of UKIP, but he is not seen as someone who would be good at governing. In contrast Boris Johnson is only just behind Cameron on both measures – he’s managing to keep that anti-politician charm, while at the same time looking up to the job.

Also out today is some new polling for Lord Ashcroft, or actually two new polls, a telephone one asking voting intention and a couple of other questions, and a longer online one asking background questions. Voting intention there stands at CON 27%, LAB 37%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 15% (as far as I know Populus conducted these polls for Lord Ashcroft, but even if not, they appear to be using Populus’s methodology).

The other findings in the poll are mostly swings and roundabouts, the Conservative lead over Labour on competence and having clear ideas has grown slightly, but they have fallen slightly further behind on values and being for everyone. The people who say they are satisfied with David Cameron as Prime Minister has fallen slightly, but the proportion who prefer him to Ed Miliband is almost unchanged. One interesting point is that David Cameron is no longer significantly more popular than the Conservative party as he was a few years back. It is now much more evenly matched – 18% say they are more favourable to Cameron, 22% more favourable to the Conservatives (the rest were equally favourable/unfavourable about them both). Compare that to Ed Miliband though, who still trails badly behind Labour – 10% are more favourable to Miliband, 38% the Labour party.

Ashcroft also re-asked a question on the European Union from last December, asking people if they were favourable or unfavourable towards the EU and if they think Britain should stay in or leave. Only 19% have a favourable opinion of the EU, compared to 50% with a negative opinion. However, a significant proportion of those anti still think Britain is better in than out, so of the 50% with a negative view, 17% think Britain is better staying. This means that despite negative perceptions of the EU, overall 36% think we are better off in, compared to the 33% who think we would be better off out (the other 32% profess no strong views either way).

152 Responses to “New YouGov and Ashcroft polls”

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  1. Howard – You’re after CTRL+ALT+e, unless your computer is infuriating and spits out a Euro sign.

    I’d say ‘bloody Euro’ but that would be a cliché. See?

  2. I scanned the front of the Telegraph and the story about paying in more than you will get out. The problem is here;

    “A person who earns an average salary of £50,000 over a 43-year career will contribute £219,039 to state welfare and pension spending”

    Average earnings are are less than half that, with those over £50k in the top 10% of earners. With a graduated tax system it would be pretty odd if someone in the top 10% didn’t pay out more than they put in.

    The Guardian does have a left leaning stance and chooses stories accordingly but it doesn’t do it as blatantly as this. As said above this is either very bad fact checking or trying to push a political line without the facts to back it.


  3. I have a suggestion on corporate taxation… I’ll float the balloon and let you all shoot it down in flames (like English bowlers disposing of Aussie batsmen).

    As I see it, the majority of legal avoidance arises from the offset against taxable profits of (a) interest payments and (b) investment.

    Historically, the primary reason for these allowances was that corporate profitability enabled corporate growth, and this was good because growing companies employed more people. These would then earn more income, and hence pay more income and sales taxes, which would wholly or substantially compensate the treasury for the loss of corporate tax resulting from the allowances. A wholly laudable idea, supported for many decades by all sides of the political debate (other than communists and extreme small-state libertarians).

    However, the world has changed. Few industries nowadays (outside construction) are labour-intensive, and for many industries the labour component is a minor part of the operation. Hence, the rationale of the allowances has disappeared.

    Furthermore, much “investment” and borrowing is not for purposes of corporate production at all. Much is purely investment in financial instruments, investment in land to go into unproductive land-banks, and investment in the equity of the corporation itself, its competitors, or other corporations in the supply chain.

    My simple proposal therefore is that the only investment and interest which may legally be offset against corporate tax is investment DIRECTLY relating to the primary productive purpose of the corporation. This will include all plant and machinery, the capital cost of IT equipment, costs of education and training, R & D costs, construction or renovation of factory/workshop/office/shop premises used by the business for its primary purpose, etc. Also interest on loans used to finance the above. It will specifically exclude all investment in financial instruments, equity, and land.

    Since I don’t wish to harm corporate profitability. merely ensure corporations pax proper tax, I would compensate for the lost allowances by wholly abolishing employers national insurance contributions. This will reintroduce the original role of the allowances, namely the encouragement of employment.

    On a separate issue, I think profits earned here should be paid here. So I would stop the idiot idea of allowing the tax to be paid where the bills originate; and would also prevent the fraudulent offshoring of multinational corporation profits performed by “purchasing” from other parts of of the corporation in low-tax countries at above-market-value nominal costs. All cross-border intra-corporation transactions will have to be written down to full open-market value.

  4. @bcrombie.

    Sorry I don’t understand your note at all. There are plenty of left wing newspapers and publications, Guardian, Independant, The Mirror. It’s a myth peddled by a lot of those on the left that all the media is right wing. It simply isn’t.

  5. @ MiserableOldGit

    As I see it, the majority of legal avoidance arises from the offset against taxable profits of (a) interest payments and (b) investment.
    The majority of legal avoidance by multi-nationals is:
    (a) Intercompany interest payments across borders; &
    (b) Intercompany management expenses (including use of IP, brands etc.) charged across borders.
    These are two of the most significant ways in which corporations shift profit to a lower – or zero – tax country or state within a country.

  6. @Miserable Old Git – my solution for companies that effectively claim not to have made any profits, thereby not pay Corporation tax, is much simpler. If a company hasn’t declared a profit, ensure that they cannot pay shareholder dividends.

    Vodaphone has declared a zero net profit for the second year for the purposes of CT, yet has payed £4.8B in dividends, which are the distribution of profits to the investors. So wealthy share holders get a share of the profits, but not the taxman. If companies were barred from distributing dividends unless they had declared profits to the taxman, the sheltering of earnings would soon stop.

  7. Back to polling:

    Not sure if this has been posted before, but Ashcroft poll shows 47% who voted Tory in 2010 moving towards UKIP.

  8. Alec

    Why aren’t you Chancellor?? You could combine it with looking after badgers I expect.

  9. @ Alec

    The dividends are paid from a different company than the company (or branch) which trades in the UK.

  10. Billybob

    ” It’s true engaged people get information from obscure blogs like this one”

    Go wash your mouth out with soap , how dare you insult AW and the gang in this way!!! (Yellow blobby thing)

  11. @ Amber.

    Read my last paragraph.

  12. @ MiserableOldGit

    I did read it. ‘Writing down to full open market value’ would not work. This is one approach open to HMRC already; it is what leads to many of the negotiations, deals & court cases because defining ‘full open market value’ is subjective.

    I just didn’t want to point out that your ‘solution’ is actually part of the current problem; but you’ve pushed me into it, sorry.

  13. @ MiserableOldGit

    Just FYI – It is known as a ‘transfer pricing’ review, if you wanted to find out more about it.

  14. amber

    “@ Alec

    The dividends are paid from a different company than the company (or branch) which trades in the UK.”

    Alec – you should stick to badgers.

  15. Amber

    Why aren’t you Chancellor? You could combine it with something gurlie I expect.

  16. @Amber

    Apologies. Point taken. However, I still feel that my primary point, whilst maybe not the killer, would move in the right direction.

  17. Chatterclass, if UKIP can pull half the 2010 CON voters plus some LD and LAB supporters, they could be pulling mid-20s poll ratings on a consistent basis.

    If they can we’ll see a very smiley Mr. Farage.

  18. @richard in norway

    If I am not mistaken, even AW himself finds it remarkable when occasionally, just one of the esteemed commentariat takes notice of any caveat about taking one poll out of context etc.

    In view of the disparity between newspaper readership stats overleaf, and the UKPR statcounter (so what if one or two OMG “famous people” are supposed to lurk here), I should have said “… obscure inconsequential little blogs like this one.”

  19. (Apologies AW, I didn’t really mean that!)

  20. @Mr Nameless

    Farage is already smiley. We need to.cheer up.Gove.


    “…I scanned the front of the Telegraph and the story about paying in more than you will get out. The problem is here; “A person who earns an average salary of £50,000 over a 43-year career will contribute £219,039 to state welfare and pension spending”…”

    To earn an average salary of £50K pa over 43 years (assuming 5% rise pa) would require you to be earning over £200K in year 43. I assume if somebody is earning that, they ain’t reading the Telegraph.

    (I know I’m just reiterating the point you were making, but it was a good point and needed reiterating)


  22. @ Paul Croft

    Why aren’t you Chancellor? You could combine it with something gurlie I expect.
    Yes, I agree; I could probably fit being chancellor into my schedule whilst continuing with my embroidery & knitting activities. ;-)

  23. @ Martyn

    I sometimes read the Telegraph – only the politics stuff, mind you, not the rest of the drivel.

  24. Amber, I have a comment in moderation aimed at you. I don’t know why – it’s not partisan or insulting. Must be just a rogue word I suppose.

  25. @Amber

    You baffled me completely with all that tax stuff. Please don’tt tell me you can make scones* too.

    *Pronounced “skonn” of course.

  26. @Amber

    If you are implying you earn over £200Kpa, then I need to point out that my birthday is less than seven months away, and that chocolate makes a welcome gift…:-)


  27. All gurls can multi-task as eny fule no.

    Unfortunately they are also soppy.

  28. @ Postage Included

    Tattie, plain or dropped scones? ;-)

  29. YouGov –
    Con 30, Lab 40, Lib 9, UKIP 14

    Leader Approval –
    Cameron -27 (-1)
    Miliband -35 (-1)
    Clegg -53 (+4)

    Weighted averages-
    7-Day Weighted Average (changes on a week) –
    Con 30.5 (+0.8), Lab 39.2 (+0.4), Lib 9.8 (-0.7), UKIP 14.2 (-0.1), Green 2.4 (-0.2)

    30-Day Weighted Average (changes on a week) –
    Con 29.9 (-), Lab 39.2 (-0.1), Lib 10 (-0.2), UKIP 14.6 (+0.3), Green 2.3 (+0.1)

    Long-term trends are relatively straight forward (last 6 weighted 30-day averages on the day of the ST poll, so one each week) –
    Con 31.3, 31.1, 30.8, 30, 29.9, 29.9
    Lab 40.2, 40, 39.6, 39.5, 39.3, 39.2
    Lib 10.6, 10.3, 10, 10.1, 10.2, 10
    UKIP 11.8, 12.4, 13.2, 14, 14.3, 14.6
    Green 2.1, 2.2, 2.2, 2.2, 2.2, 2.3
    Others 4, 4.1, 4.1, 4.1, 4.1, 4

  30. Good Morning All.
    As ever, Tinged Fringe, thanks for the early analysis.
    Labour still doing Ok.

  31. It looks like my MP (Bridgen, Andrew NW Leics) is determined to commit electoral suicide…

  32. Tim Yeo seems to be in some bother now, over allegations of sleaze in his role on the energy select committee. He is denying the central claims, but he is filmed apparently making promises of things that appear to be very naughty.

    We already have Mercer, and now possible Yeo in considerably trouble. It does make me wonder if Dave still believes we should have a power of recall, which is something he seemed to promise us way back when, in the days when his was to be the most transparent government in history and was to legislate on parliamentary lobbying.

    Transformational, as some might say.

  33. Peter

    We often get slanted reports in the right wing media about the disproportionate amount the “rich” pay in tax.

    All of these ignore the fact that in terms of growing wealth the richest 1% have seen their wealth increase 4 times faster than the poorest 40% over the last 3 decades, the richest 10% 2 and a half times faster .

    Which means over this time the richest 10% in the UK are now 100 times richer than the poorest 10%.

    With the exception of the USA this level of wealth disparity is not seen in any other developed economy.

    The only group currently seeing a real terms increase in the in post or pre tax income in the UK are the richest 5%. The wealth INCREASE alone of the richest 1% in the last year is more than the total wealth of the bottom 10%.

    Yet all of this is ignored when the Media and Tory MP’s bang on about the disproportionate share of tax paid by the rich and anything to the contrary is just envy.

    All VI polls indicate that Labour maintains a constant lead over Tories on honesty and fairness and IMO the above facts have much to do with this.

  34. @steve,

    You site uk and usa as having the biggest disparity between rich and poor, but that is simply innacurate. I often see this sort of thing in left wing publications and articles without any factual back up.

    Most developed countries have big disparities, you might argue it’s the trade off you have against a more socialist system where everybody is kept poor. Anyway. I have dug out an article I remember reading a few years back, Hong Kong and Singapore were 1 and 2. Uk wasn’t even in the top 5.

    ps; I would like to see a fairer society in terms of income levels, but you need to be careful with redistribution as there must also be incentives to reward endeavour and aspiration. This tends to be where the left historically fail in this country and eventually lose the electorate.

  35. I thought this was a pretty balanced article from The Guardian today on the challenges facing Labour in the run up to the next election;

  36. Rich you are simply wrong.

    The OECD figures of income disparity for the top 28 Developed Economies put the UK in 27th and the US in 28 in terms of income disparity. With the gap widening

  37. Mind you the list I saw didn’t include Hong Kong (Which isn’t a country) or Singapore which has a population half the size of London.
    The most equal country in the World is that poverty stricken socialist paradise Sweden!

  38. maybe we are looking at slightly different measures. My point was that whether you take UK, USA, China, Russia, Singapore, Hong Kong etc etc there will be huge disparities all over the world as basically capitalism won out as the economic system of choice. I won’t take a view on that, it’s just an explanation.

  39. and yes Scandinavian social democracy models are probably what the left should be looking towards, not old school socialism which many still see as a drag on aspiration and ability/endeavour differential.

  40. The Gini index – composed by the CIA!

    Lists the USA as the 41st and the UK as the 60th most unequal countries in the World in total and the Two most unequal industrialised nations.

    So I have no idea where you are getting your data from.
    Incidentally that Socialist Paradise Austria ranks as One of the most equal societies in the World too!

  41. Mr Nameless thanks for the ‘acute’ tip. It unfortunately does not work on my machine (this could be because I am on a UNIX OS I expect).

    I shall surf for an answer, thank you anyway.

    This latest poll demonstrates to those who got excited a day ago that one swallow does not a summer make.

  42. Rich,
    Who in the UK today is arguing for old fashioned soviet-style socialism? The Labour party never did, it always promoted democratic socialism, far more like what was seen in Scandinavia. Just who are you arguing against? Who here has said everyone should have an equal salary?

    You are misrepresenting the modern mainstream left, which wold not look out of place in the Conservative Party of the post war period.

    If you counter every argument for slightly higher marginal tax rates on the wealthy by talking about the Soviet Union and removing all incentive for hard work, it looks like you don’t have a real argument.

  43. “Conservative MP Tim Yeo is facing allegations that he used his position as chair of the Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee to help a private company influence Parliament.

    Sunday Times investigators secretly filmed the former environment minister.

    He told them he coached the boss of a firm – owned by a company that was paying the MP – on how to give evidence to the committee, the paper alleges.

    Mr Yeo denies this and says he intends to contest all the allegations.

    The BBC understands Mr Yeo has referred himself to the Parliamentary standards commissioner.”

    The allegations keep on coming

  44. @loserer,

    Plenty of people on the left still find it hard to condemn some of the past punitive higher tax rates of the left, or the inherent economic truth in the laffer curve. In fact taking in to account that curve, what top rate of tax would you be looking for?

    there would be plenty of things that I would agree with in terms of moderate left politics (more social housing seems to be pretty obvious to me), which I often think isn’t quite the case when people on the left look at successful moderate right political changes. Many of which have become the political norm now.

  45. @Rich,
    I don’t have it to hand at the moment but i read that something like 60-70% maximises revenue, but that would only be for very high income (millions), above which the marginal benefit to the individual is questionable. I would say the fifty percent rate as it was reflects a good balance, and stresses that success is not solely due to your own efforts, it also depends on wider society. Basically, the wealthy have benefited disproportionately, and they should pay disproportionate tax, but not so much they are no longer wealthy. The market does not distribute wealth justly.

    But I think inheritance tax (not 100%) is also important, as it is a central part of the idea of social mobility and everyone having a fair chance.

  46. Paul Krugman on the Laffer curve (in the US context):

    “But can you collect more taxes from the rich? Won’t the money just go underground? No. Yes, raising rates will lead to more tax avoidance and evasion – but bear in mind that the United States has moved top tax rates around a lot over the years, giving us very good evidence on how taxable income actually responds to rate hikes and cuts; and what that evidence tells us is that rates would have to be a lot higher than they are now, at least 70 percent and probably above 80, before you’d need to worry that we might be on the wrong side of the Laffer curve.”

    The “wrong side” of the Laffer curve means that the tax take goes down due to the disincentive to earn.

  47. Rich

    Here’s the biggie for me.

    Back in the 80s, we were sold the concept that we had to let go of the reins that held back the high earners in the post-war world. We were told that the punitive rates of taxation that we imposed on hi earners was destroying the productive potential of the country. We were told that a wave of entrepreneurial endeavour would emerge once we started letting the entrepreneurs earn and keep vastly higher amounts of their income than they had done since the War.

    The result?

    Between 1955-1980, average real GDP growth in the UK was 2.1% per annum. Between 1980 and 2007, it was 2.1% per annum. I haven’t looked at the average from 1980-2013, but I suspect it is now well below 2% per annum.

    The explosion of growth never occurred. We plodded on at the same rate of real GDP growth as before. What DID happen was tht the proceeds of that growth went disproportionately to the top few percent of earners. The ones that the DT was whipping up into a lather yesterday by telling them the extent to which they are subsiding the Shirkers.

    [1]Those are ONS figures. I’ll send you the spreadsheet if you like.

  48. @ Martyn

    Not yet – but starting from year 25 actual & working forward to year 43 @ +5% compound each year, in THEORY it would be £250k in year 43. Year 25 wasn’t the best year but not too bad.

    And I’d certainly sent you Brodie’s chocs on your birthday, if t’were possible for me to do so. They are delicious; handmade in Scotland by a small family firm (I have no connection to them so I am not ‘spamming’!)

  49. @lefty,

    Yep I agree on the GDP figures, you could argue we have trundled along at a moderate rate of growth for a long time, and actually it’s falling over the long term, very worrying! 80s were also boosted by oil revenue too…

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