This week’s YouGov poll for the Sunday Times is now up on their website here. Topline figures are CON 33%, LAB 38%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 11%. The five point Labour lead is their lowest this year (the last time YouGov’s Labour lead was this small was back in November 2012). Obviously it could be a bit of a blip – polls have a margin of error – but it fits in with the recent trend of Labour’s lead narrowing a bit as UKIP come off the boil.
The rest of the poll had some interesting questions on immigration. 56% of people think that immigration into Britain has been bad for the economy, with only 19% thinking it has been a positive factor. However, on balance immigrants are seen as harder working than people who are born in Britain. 32% of people think that immigrants who come to work here are harder working, 12% less hard working, 46% much the same.
Asked about various groups of immigrants, 70% of people think we should allow fewer (or no) low skilled workers to come to Britain, 59% think that we should allow fewer relatives of people already living in Britain to come here to join relatives. People are actually far more positively disposed towards other immigrant groups – only 28% want to see a reduction in high skilled immigrants looking for well paid jobs, only 27% want to see a reduction in foreign students coming to study in British universities. Asylum seekers split opinion – 42% want to see a reduction in the number of people fleeing persecution allowed to come here, 47% are content with present numbers or would allow more.
Viewed as a whole it suggests people are far more positive about some types of immigration that you would think. It’s one of those times that, in hindsight, you wished you’d asked an extra question – in this case to find out what proportion of total immigration people think is made up of those groups. Given overall public hostility towards immigration I imagine they think it is mostly unskilled and relatives, rather the skilled workers and students they are apparently well disposed to, but it would be good to test.
Asked about specific government policies on immigration, views are once more the typical anti-immigration responses: 71% support requiring a £3000 bond for visitors from high risk countries, 84% support the idea of forcing benefit claimants to learn English or risk losing benefits.
In the Sunday papers there was also a new Opinium poll for the Observer, which had topline figures of CON 27%(nc), LAB 37%(+1), LDEM 7%(nc), UKIP 19%(-1). No sign of a narrowing in the polls there, although worth noting that the higher level of UKIP support is normal (Opinium are typically one of the companies that show the highest levels of UKIP support, something that they have said is probably due to them not using any political weighting).
Finally there was an ICM poll in the Sunday Telegraph, largely covering recent benefit changes and the spending review. 87% of people supported stopping benefits if people won’t learn English, 53% supported making people wait 7 days for benefits. 64% support a cap on the cost of benefits that excludes the state pension, 23% think it should include the state pension. However, 56% would also support means testing age related benefits like the winter fuel payment and free television licence. ICM don’t ask voting intention for the Sunday Telegraph, instead asking respondents to predict what they think the shares of the vote will be at the next election – answers this month were Conservatives 29%, Labour 34%, Lib Dems on 15% and UKIP on 13%.