This week’s YouGov/Sunday Times results are now up online here. Topline voting intention figures are CON 30%, LAB 40%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 14%. The ten point lead is now on the upper side of YouGov’s recent polling (the Labour lead has started to settle at around 8 or 9 points) but within the normal margin of error.

Attitudes towards the economy remain pessimistic, but less so than the last two years. A majority of people now regard David Cameron and George Osborne being at least a fair amount to blame for the state of the economy. 25% think Osborne should take a lot of the blame, 28% a fair amount; 21% think Cameron should take a lot of the blame, 30% a fair amount. However Gordon Brown is still much more widely blamed for the state of the economy, with 37% blaming him a lot, 32% a fair amount.

Of the people asked about (Cameron, Osborne, Brown, Darling and Balls) Ed Balls is the least blamed, but even then 44% think he should carry a lot or a fair amount of blame, only 35% little or no blame. I’m intrigued by this finding, for the political anoraks amongst us Ed Balls is a man who was extremely close to Gordon Brown and was his political ally, confidant and one time advisor. However, I can’t believe the public, 36% of whom can’t even recognise a photo of Ed Balls are particular aware of that. It does raise the question of why people are so ready to put at least some blame on someone who didn’t even hold an economic portfolio at the last election. Some of it will be a purely partisan answer of course, but even 23% of current Labour voters think Balls should carry some blame for the current state of the economy. Perhaps it’s just some people putting some collective blame on all the last government, or blaming the whole of the current political class.

Moving on to Ed Miliband’s welfare announcements, we knew from previous polling that people supported the idea of stopping Winter Fuel Payments for richer pensioners and supported the ending of child benefit for higher earners – they still do. 62% of people also think that Miliband’s proposal to cap the total cost of benefits is a good idea.

There is less confidence whether Miliband really believes in what he is saying – only 23% think he is capping the cost of benefit because he thinks it is right, 60% think he doesn’t believe it but is only doing it for political reasons. This may well just reflect general cynicism towards politics though, rather than anything about Miliband in particular – YouGov found almost identical figures in the past when we asked about David Cameron and gay marriage.

Finally YouGov asked a chunk of questions about social mobility. People are broadly divided over levels of social mobility in Britain today. 38% think that anyone with talent who is willing to work hard can rise to the top, 43% think that success is mostly reserved for those from privileged backgrounds. 37% think that social mobility has improved, 40% that is has got worse. There is a very obvious difference between supporters of different political parties, the vast majority (71%) of Tory voters think that talent and hard work will bring success, wherever you start from, most Labour supporters (59%) think success is mostly reserved for those from privileged backgrounds.

The perception seems to be that social class is much more of a barrier in the professions than age or gender. Only 21% think that senior professional positions are unfairly dominated by white people, 63% think they are open to people from all racial backgrounds. 39% think they are unfairly dominated by men, but 49% think men and women have equal opportunities. When it comes to social class 56% think the professions are unfairly dominated by the affluent middle class, while only 31% think they are open to people of all class backgrounds. This may, of course, just be an “I’m alright Jack” distinction – most respondents are white, so won’t be personally disadvantaged by race. Almost half of respondents will be male, so shouldn’t lose out through gender. However, for almost all respondents there will be someone higher up the class scale who they can worry they are losing out to.

On nepotism people overwhelmingly think it is acceptable for parents to help their children to get jobs (by 78% to 12%), and would overwhelmingly arrange for a child to get work experience at their own place of work, or call in favours to arrange work experience elsewhere. A majority (55%) do, however, think that it is wrong and unfair for companies to offer UNPAID internships.

146 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 30, LAB 40, LD 9, UKIP 14”

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  1. Just a thought on whether coming from a certain background is an advantage. My eldest son was the first state educated boy taken on by a certain city-firm, his boss later admitted he’d been hired because certain clients found the public school boy types too intimidating. So it worked in reverse for him.

  2. Sorry to go off-topic already, but did anyone else watch Alex Jones on the Sunday Politics just now? He might have made some valid point for all I know, but all I could think was that looks and sounds very much like Jon Culshaw doing an impression of a conspiracy theorist, except that I don’t think Jon Culshaw could compete with that outburst at the end.

    Ah well, that’s the centrepiece for next week’s Have I Got News For You sorted.

  3. It is not just the opinion polling which is looking a bit grim for PM Cameron & Co. The punters have been piling their cash on non-Tory outcomes, eg:

    Next UK general election – Next government (Paddy Power)

    Labour majority 5/4
    Labour / Lib Dem coalition 4/1
    Labour minority 4/1
    Conservative majority 9/2
    Conservative / Lib Dem coalition 6/1
    Conservative minority 9/1

    Those prices look about right to me, although if I was forced to choose at current prices I suppose I might consider 50 pounds on a Lib-Lab coalition after the next UK GE. Con Maj would have to be priced at least 10/1 to start being value.

    However, you don’t need to wait until 2015 for the next big test of public opinion (at real ballot boxes, as opposed to pollsters tick-boxes). Those who were hoping to humble FM Salmond on 20 June look like being in for a disappointment:

    Best prices – Aberdeen Donside by-election

    SNP 1/33 (Ladbrokes)
    Lab 47/1 (Betfair)
    Lib Dem 142/1 (Betfair)
    Con 142/1 (Betfair)
    UKIP 200/1 (Paddy Power)
    Grn 250/1 (Paddy Power)

  4. @Chris Neville-Smith

    “Ah well, that’s the centrepiece for next week’s Have I Got News For You sorted.”

    What a shame it’s not on any more…

  5. Oh dear. That’s a missed opportunity. They’ll just have to bring back Have I Got News For You specially next week.

    Failing that, I’m sure it’s also going to be the centrepiece for 10 O’Clock Live.

  6. C N-S
    What’s wrong with the wireless (The News Quiz 1230 Saturdays on the Home Service, although I think that is paused at present)? In fact the latter programme started the genre and is a lot funnier too (IMO).

  7. The Norwegian version of “have I got news for you” is still the highest rating TV show in Norway, odd that it never achieved the same kind of success in it’s home country

  8. Only problem with the News Quiz is that when Andrew Neil signed off this segment, with Alex Jones ranting away behind him, he made funny but highly unprofessional hand gesture (something which on he could do and get away with it). Not sure how you could do that on the radio.

    (Anyone who saw this will know exactly which bit I’m talking about.)

  9. Not many surprises in those answers AW, but I suppose you have to ask the questions anyway. This one:
    ‘only 23% think he is capping the cost of benefit because he thinks it is right, 60% think he doesn’t believe it but is only doing it for political reasons.’

    – must be the one most worrying the Lab strategists. It may be just a way of saying ‘bandwagoning’ but it demonstrates EM’s weak link with the voters at present. In fairness, they are all at it (BBC – ‘PM wants web firms ‘action’ on child porn’) so perhaps it just reflects a jaundiced view of politicians, as you suggest .

  10. C N-S
    That is why I prefer the radio. I detest such gestures which are pandered to by TV producers (reminds me of Esther Rantzen’s techniques, probably imported I suspect, as it was on the Bernard Braden show – I go back that far, oh dear).

  11. Here’s the clip in question for anyone who still doesn’t know what I’m on about.

  12. That’s classic. Thanks, Chris.

  13. I imagine the voters willingness to blame someone, anyone, in general and politicians of every ilk in particular is partly no more than a very accurate reflection of the human condition.

    We’re always in favour of people taking responsibility for that or this – so long as it isn’t us personally that is expected to take the responsibility in question. The Good Book tells us that ever since Adam and Eve we’ve been busy passing the buck. One does not have to be a creationist to understand the story of Paradise Lost reflects on the well worn characteristics of our very human failings.

  14. C N-S
    Demonstrated what i hate, thanks. We the viewers are quite capable of decidng the sanity of Jones, I don’t need neil to gesture to me.

  15. My dad’s American and likes the political system much better here, because the conservative people are at least rational. Alex Jones makes the likes of Melanie Phillips and Peter Hitchins look positively enlightened.

  16. Here’s something that the more I think about it depresses me?

    24% of over 60’s are saying they support UKIP. If we assume that their average age will be around 70 in 2015.then they were born around 1945, making them 15 in 1960.

    That means that they were the teenagers of the swinging sixties, who bought the Beetles and Sung Imagine, they were the Quadraphenia kids, who wouldn’t get fooled again. The people who gave us the “Summer of Love” are now worried about Guy Marriage.

    They were going to change the world and now they are rallying and railing against the things they fought for.

    As a teen in the seventies I admired and looked up to these people because they were trying to build a better fairer less bigoted world. they wanted to travel the world and visit Marrakech and India and now they are worrying about foreigners changing the British way of life, which now seems to be more about Vera Lynn than John Lennon.

    Can someone tell me where it all went wrong!


  17. Having just watched the Sunday Politics I have come to the conclusion that as the World is apparently really run by a shadowy group of Nazi Lizard Men it is irrelevant who wins the next election.

    The question I have to ask myself is why they would meet in Watford?

    If anyone has some spare tinfoil for my anti spy ray helmet please let me know.

  18. One other important update to this story: according the Andrew Neil, the moment Alex Jones knew he was off-air, he stopped ranting and laughed. It was an act.

    All I can think is that the audience he is playing to actually gets taken in with that sort of performance. Unfortunately, if that’s what he thinks, I fear he might be right.

  19. One other important update to this story: according the Andrew Neil, the moment Alex Jones knew he was off-air, he stopped ranting and laughed. It was an act.

    -Wrong it was because he didn’t have enough tin foil on his spy ray helmet.

  20. @john murphy,

    Spot on.

  21. I was confused up until I watched the YouTube clip because I was thinking;

    ” Doesn’t she present the One Show on the BBC?”


  22. Aled Jones has really let himself go since leaving Songs of Praise!

  23. Steve,

    “Aled Jones has really let himself go since leaving Songs of Praise!”

    Ah, but did he leave or was he pushed???


  24. Alex Jones certainly gave Ed Balls a run in the bulging eyes stakes this morning.

    A close run thing.

  25. Colin,

    It would help greatly if you clarified just which Alex Jones made Ed Balls eyes bulge this morning… Within the bounds of good taste and decency!


  26. PETER.

    The Alex Jones in question was the one mentioned up thread-who was allowed by the BBC , this morning, to advertise his moneymaking scheme ranting in an Andrew Neil interview. One imagines Jones’s eyes bulge constantly on his USA radio show-as do the eyes of most of his listeners one imagines.

    I am not aware that Jones’ eyes had any effect on Balls-who was interviewed separately by Neil on the same show. Ball’s ocular gymnastics are not, so far as I know, connected to those of the above mentioned American conspiracy theorist.

  27. Cloud Spotter,

    I think it depends very much exactly which cohort you follow. While the number in the 11-15 age group is projected to stop falling and turn up again in 2016, presumably it will be several years later for the 16-18s. I think the figures I saw previously must have been for 18 year-old leavers, which are falling and not due to turn up again until about 2020 – which fits with the above observations.

    Looking at the England and Wales 2011 census figures, the lowest birth numbers were in year mid 2001-mid 2002, so that puts the low point for 18-yr old school leavers in 2019, for 16-yr olds in 2017,, whilst the intake of 11-yr olds to secondary schools reached its lowest in 2012 and is already climbing.–2011-census-based-/stb—mid-2011-census-based-population-estimates-for-england-and-wales.html

  28. ..and Neil managed to extract from Balls an agreement that Miliband’s new Welfare Spending Cap , will include the State Pension.

    I think that probably produced quite a lot of eye bulging in certain quarters.

  29. Alex Jones is a CIA operative who’s mission is to discredit perfectly reasonable conspiracy theories by associating them with crazy irrational tin foil theories

  30. They would say that wouldn’t they .

  31. That’s just a crazy irrational tin foil conspiracy theory Richard.

    He’s just a normal conspiracy theorist, who also makes a lot of money from it.

  32. He is just a bit eccentric conservative…

  33. Hal

    Thanks. That makes sense. I’ve forgotten the original point you were making now though!

  34. The year is 2031.

    You’ve just finished your three day work week and it’s time to take a break with a nice and relaxing four day weekend.

    As you walk into your home, you are greeted by your wife, who was busy drinking a glass of tesco bought raw milk, and three children, who were busy working on their homework assigned by their private school. The aftermath of the 2015 election and the elimination of the public sector had brought forth a new enlightenment and cultural renaissance had sparked a better society. Statist dissidents had tried to fight against it, but were met with only failure and were forced to acquire jobs in the booming economy.

    As you sit down on your sofa to watch the news, your servo-bot comes up to you. It sits there, awaiting orders, and nods its head as if it it already knew what you were thinking. Immediately the servo-bot bolts off to the kitchen to bring you a cold beer that was made in England.

    As it comes back and places the beer next to you, the news s tarts to talk about the ongoing colonisation of Mars by British private enterprises. You start to drink you beer and say, “I’m so glad I voted for UKIP”

  35. Iain (M) Banks died today I’m quite upset by that.


  36. The social mobility questions in this poll struck me as odd because both statements may be regarded as true eg. open to all ethnic backgrounds but also dominated by white people or open to both sexes but nevertheless still dominated by men etc.

    I’m surprised to see examples of this in a yougov poll – they are much more prevalent in the self-selecting type of poll used by newspapers.

    Sorry if anybody has made this point previously – I haven’t read the comments on the previous page.

  37. Would people please differentiate;

    AJ(OS); Alex Jones One Show


    AJ(NJ); Alex Jones Nut Job


  38. @David

    We can all find an anecdote for the very rare occasions when an affluent background is not a huge advantage. I know of an excellent-paying organisation that does not interview Oxbridge graduates because they’ve never found one able to work with their experienced key workers, most of whom are local and have never been to university.

    But when you do examine the backgrounds of people in well-paid and influential roles, they are disproportionately from a narrow range of affluent families – and things are getting worse. This is across all sorts of occupations.

  39. @PeterCairns

    ‘The people who gave us the “Summer of Love” are now worried about Guy Marriage.’

    So would you if you knew old Guy, he’s worse than that Alex Jones.

  40. @Colin

    It’s being reported that Labour would cap ( i e cut ) State Pension. Not a vote winning strategy you would think.

  41. Martyn

    Bugger. That’s the world one superbly talented and provocative man light.

  42. Wolf / Colin

    Ed Balls has tweeted “We committed to triple-lock on state pension – got to monitor long-term pension spend – Tory reaction very rattled.”

    There’s also a piece by Nick Watt in the Guardian clarifying EBs comment.

  43. @Chordata

    On Yahoo there are a lot of comments saying that Balls has lied / misled people about pensions before. Pensions are a sore topic anyway .I overheard a conversation last week where someone who didn’t look like a Tory was laying in to the Government for withholding her pension until 67. She said she had been disadvantaged twice, once in the 1970s by being paid less than the men she worked with and now by not getting her pension when it was promised.

  44. “I can’t believe the public, 36% of whom can’t even recognise a photo of Ed Balls”

    That’s nothing..Yesterday I was at the Leith Festival and I asked the person in the Labour tent “who’s that over at the Better together stand”?

    He didn’t know who he was but it was actually the local Labour MP for Leith Mark Lazarowicz.

    Anyway the Yes Scotland tent seemed to be doing a roaring trade and were handing out Yes badges like sweets.

  45. WOLF

    It’s intriguing isn’t it?

    The Miliband / Balls speeches were clearly a response to being on the wrong side of public opinion on Welfare Cost control-but also a response the challenge inherent in GOs upcoming Spending Review.

    They were obviously going to be challenged to say whether they would follow Brown in 1997 & accept inherited forward spending plans. So they have got in before the question is asked -Balls said they would represent their “starting point”. AN on his show this morning questioned what that actually means & pressed Balls to say whether they would adopt them.

    Balls said they would if things continue as they are ( or words to that effect). Asked by AN what he thought of recent indicators of sustained recovery, Balls clearly stated that he thought they would not represent anything significant.

    So he is nailing his colours on a failure of “green shoots”-and making that the excuse for adhering to inherited spending restrictions. Quite how that agenda will sound in the event of say 1.5% to 2% growth this year, and 2% + in 2014 is difficult to imagine.

    RE the Welfare Cap-that again is getting his response in first before GO announces his plans for what he called “Annual Unmanaged Expenditure) ( ie AME in the Red Book) . It looks as though GO will specifically exclude State Pension from any overall future envelope for AME . So Balls is setting up a contrary position. I don’t know why & agree with you-it looks odd.

    The only context I can suggest is that on AN’s show this morning , Balls referred a number of times to the payment of benefits to “well off” pensioners.

    Still-you would think any suggestion at all , that State Pension might be subject to Spending controls , would be universally unpopular.

    Don’t get it I’m afraid-all will be revealed no doubt!

  46. @LeftyLampton

    Aye, you’re not wrong. What with Ebert and Harryhausen dying, and Pratchett with dementia, it does feel as if somebody’s going thru my bookshelves and killing the authors…

    Me and Banksy had a (virtual) falling-out round-about the Iraq War: the man who invented the Culture and Special Circumstances couldn’t get his head around the war, whereas I felt it was a logical continuation. His later “M” books got a bit big – I couldn’t finish Matter, and didn’t even start Surface Detail, so we effectively parted. But he’s still one of the biggest sections of my bookshelves, and I have two Consider Phlebas – one for reading, another so you don’t crack the spine…:-).

    His Proper Novels for Proper People were better known, even though he did seem to write “poor Scottish lad gets rich, successful, takes lots of dr*gs, gets reality check, returns to Good Woman” a couple of times too often. Even so I have fond memories of The Bridge and Walking on Glass

    I’ll probably have to buy The Hydrogen Sonata now: you have to say goodbye to your friends somehow, even when you’ve never met…



    That Guardian article makes Balls’ statement even more bizarre.

    He says State Pen in “triple locked”-ie guaranteed to increase by some measure each year .

    He says because Pension is “structural” it has to be included in any definition of Welfare cost which is subject to a possible future cap.

    THen-“One senior source said: “Pension spending is technically structural because it does not go up with the economic cycle. But it is also structural spending that is controlled by the triple lock which means the room for manoeuvre is limited. Pensions should be included in the cap but it is a pretty immovable part of the cap.” ( Guardian)

    ……so-you include in an envelope of costs to which you wish to apply a cap, a significant component which is “pretty immovable” , and guaranteed to rise each year……therefore making any cap applied even more stringent for the components other than Pension.


  48. “On nepotism people overwhelmingly think it is acceptable for parents to help their children to get jobs”

    Well yes, I help my children with homework and schoolwork, to help them get a job in the future. But that’s not nepotism, right?

    Seems like a badly worded question to me.

  49. My MP has openly called for David Cameron’s replacement as leader:

    Seems he and Patrick Mercer are the only ones to have been outed, but I bet if he feels bold enough to say it then the mood in the ranks is pretty mutinous.

  50. WOLF

    I think it’s one of two things-something very clever which we don’t yet understand…….or a cock-up.

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