Sunday polls

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%.


250 Responses to “Sunday polls”

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  1. The Asylum Seeker result surprised me. Whenever I hear any moaning about immigration ‘asylum seeker’ seems to be the word that comes up more often than any other group. I guess if the wording of the question was ‘fleeing persecution’ that might explain it a bit.

    The DT/ICM poll is very annoying and seems like a waste of a poll asking what people think the result will be rather than asking who they are going to vote for. I don’t quite see the reasoning.

  2. I always like the predicted vote and apart from the fact that IMO it overrates UKIP by around 5% I wouldn’t be surprised if it is reflected at the next GE

  3. There is either some kind of mass telepathy or its the wisdom of crowds, but the people prediction probably isn’t that far off.

  4. Shevii – the question deliberately did not say “asylum seeker” for the reasons you give, it’s become a knee-jerk tabloid term that I think people see as a synonym for illegal immigrant, rather than its actual meaning.

    The survey asked about “People fleeing persecution or war in other countries”

  5. Whilst the results on Welfare do seem to confirm a shift that some people claim rightwards in terms of attitudes the immigration/asylum ones don’t.

  6. Colin

    All right for straw I’ve got about 120 bales if we need to hand any out.
    Been out looking at our winter sown oilseed rape another couple of weeks and we will out with combine harvester, looks like a good crop this year , lets hope the polls continue to be more optimistic for a change as well.

  7. That 87% figure for people agreeing with needing to learn English for benefits is a stand out one.

  8. @Rich

    I assume the 13% against are those that know that English is no use for such things. One needs to learn ‘government speak’ instead.

  9. @statgeek,

    No idea. All I know is on a pure polling basis, 87% is what you would call comprehensive, which means there is no chance of Labour changing that position.

  10. I think the ‘no benefits without speaking English’ is an easy headline, but very hard to implement.

    There are so many questions:

    What if someone who can’t speak English requires benefits to for food and shelter? ?Let them starve and live in a cardboard box?

    Who decides whether a person’s level of English is okay?

    When are benefits are commenced? When language training is agreed by start date, when it actually starts or when a level of proficiency is met?

    Are the resources there to for these language classes?

    It seems like a sledge-hammer to crack a walnut in my view. If I was being uncharitable I might suggest it’d the worst kind of dog whistle politics.

  11. Catman

    It’s ok, be uncharitable! I remember our Ukip type party had the same proposal in their manifesto along with a 50% cut in language classes, talk about mixed messages

  12. “Asked about various groups of immigrants, 70% of people think we should allow fewer (or no) low skilled workers to come to Britain”
    ______________

    Absolutely agree with this. We have over 2 million people unemployed in the UK and many of them could easily do unskilled jobs.

    I’m not saying for one minute that an unemployed qualified accountant should be made to do price checks in Poundland but many unemployed are unskilled and should be encouraged to fill the Labour gaps for businesses rather than watch hoards of immigrants shuffling over the channel to pick gooseberries etc.

  13. “However, on balance immigrants are seen as harder working than people who are born in Britain”
    ___________

    Well of course there is a greater incentive in that many immigrants send money back home and many don’t tend to take up leisure pursuits so it’s little wonder they put in more hours.

  14. Allan Christie,

    I agree that a qualified accountant shouldn’t be DIRECTED to fill such a job (as occured in some jobs in the 1940s) but would you agree that they shouldn’t be paid benefits just so they can maintain a standard of living without doing such a job if offered it?

    If qualified accountants can’t find accountancy jobs and can find Poundland jobs, that tells us that there are too many accountants and not enough people willing to do work in Poundland. It’s a problem that needs addressing, just like a Native American tribe with too many chiefs and not enough braves.

    Similarly, more people would pick gooseberries if that was the best way for them to get an income.

    The problem, of course, is that there is a conflict between (a) the kind of benefits system people want and (b) getting local people into low-skilled jobs. That’s why a negative income tax is a good idea: people must take low-skilled jobs if that their only offer, but the state should supplement their pay so that they can afford a basic standard of living even if the pay is very low. Tax credits and the Universal Credit are moves in the right direction.

  15. @Bill,

    The Philosopher’s Stone of social policy.

    Anyone who can get the benefits/taxation system to properly join up will be the Alchemist-General of the modern world.

    It’s a shame it seems to be like one of those incredibly hard equations to which no mathematician on the planet can find a solution.

  16. BILL PATRICK

    Okay I get your point and I was meaning qualified people shouldn’t be directed to unskilled jobs when they first go and register for benefits.

    However yes I agree that they should be encouraged to take up low/Unskilled jobs if after say 6 months they can’t find a job within their own profession due to saturation in that particular field.
    …….

    “The problem, of course, is that there is a conflict between (a) the kind of benefits system people want and (b) getting local people into low-skilled jobs. That’s why a negative income tax is a good idea: people must take low-skilled jobs if that their only offer, but the state should supplement their pay so that they can afford a basic standard of living even if the pay is very low. Tax credits and the Universal Credit are moves in the right direction”
    ______

    I could not had put that better myself and I would even add…People who come off benefits and into work should have a longer roll on period up until their first wage is due because in many cases people will have no income what so ever for a month.

  17. neil a

    “It’s a shame it seems to be like one of those incredibly hard equations to which no mathematician on the planet can find a solution.”

    I think dogma/politics gets in the way. One side thinks welfare should be cut, regardless of evidence. It’s one reason I think that Labour have more chance of stumbling on something that worksd a bit better…they are more evidence driven (at least at the moment while the party is run by pragmatists rather than idealists. It is clear that in the past the opposite applied).

    The real arguments…austerity vs stimulus, Europe vs isolation etc…seem to be fought as much within the main parties as between them.

  18. Allan Christie,

    That’s an interesting point about the roll-on period. I’d never considered it before.

    One thing to add is that the state also has a useful role in retraining people. If I’m a qualified accountant and I can’t find any work in accountancy, but I don’t want to work in Poundland, then I might be able to retrain for secretarial work, management, or wherever I think there are better-paid jobs I could do.

  19. @statgeek,

    No idea. All I know is on a pure polling basis, 87% is what you would call comprehensive, which means there is no chance of Labour changing that position.

    I find myself coming to the conclusion that modern politicians rely on polling far too much.

    Parties are terrified of doing anything if it seems out of line with current polling evidence. Rather than using polling as a legitimate way of seeing if they are perceived as they want to be, it has increasing become a source of policy creation. For example, should 85% of voters suddenly say they want to stay in the EU, I bet all parties would change their message to agree.

    I would rather each party looks at where we are, how their philosophy can improve the position, and then create a policy platform to deliver that. If their policy seems out of kilter with current polling evidence, they should set out to persuade the public, and not just flip the policy.

    I guess I am hope for something original in our times – genuine political leadership, leading opinion and not just following opinion.

  20. I’m not sure that there is an oversupply of low skilled workers, you have too remember that because of low wages many unskilled folk work much longer hours that their qualified counterparts. I wonder how many unskilled jobs would appear if everyone started working 40 hour weeks with no extra part time job

  21. @catmanjeff,

    Your last sentence reminded me of Tony Blair and his book I recently finished. Make of that what you will

  22. Talking about supply and demand in the jobs market reminds me of the economist that pointed out that there are a lot more economists looking for work that there are jobs but it seems to have no effect on their remuneration(for those that get jobs) thus disproving the basis of economic theory which they are expected to apply in their jobs

  23. @Rich

    If anyone was guilty of following opinion and not leading it, it has to be Tony Blair.

    I doubt he ever went to the toilet without running it past a focus group first.

  24. “If anyone was guilty of following opinion and not leading it, it has to be Tony Blair. ”

    Iraq?

  25. @nickp,

    A rare moment of agreement with you. lol. In the lengthy section of the book covering Iraq, there was a lot along the lines of doing the right thing and shaping opinion regardless of the opposition.

  26. Funny to read this debate about low skilled work. In the UK it is done by slaves – literally. All are immigrants. This trade is also used for money laundering – money made from prostitution, drugs, etc. But it doesn’t make good headlines, not even for the Guardian. The government(s) knows it, but the lobby groups are powerful. 45 pence an hour is the running wage there (e.g. butchering meat).

  27. Also: packaging, harvesting fruits, backing up servers, some parts of the construction industry, food processing, the actual work in recycling, etc.

    Right, so 6,000 pounds is charged per month in the accounts, but only 1800 for the customer. The workers start from 900 pounds. Less accommodation, transporting to work, charge for tools (e.g. knife at a large meat processing company), “errors” made. For 140 hours 65 pound is paid.

    Sometimes the child benefit and other benefits are pocketed by the contracting company.

    Let’s then continue the low skill discussion.

  28. The difference between 6000 and 1800 is the money laundering.

  29. Laszlo

    Would that be the same people that Nick Clegg wanted to give an amnesty to, that policy cost him dear because he didn’t defend it well but I like it much better than just ignoring the problem

  30. The Stones are at Glastonbury:

    “I aint Got no Sanotogen!”

  31. @ RiN

    Some. But the scale is much bigger. In the EU15 the entire food packaging and food processing industry would have to readjust.

    Gordon B tried but completely blundered it.

  32. TURK

    It was the number I was waiting for, so I was pleased to see it.

    MOE must of course be remembered-so it could be 8…………or 2!

    If AW says Labour’s lead is narrowing a bit , that’s good enough for me.
    I tend to think of the Polls as a tidal effect-you stand on the beach, and the waves keep braking, looking pretty similar-then every so often one advances over your shoes. If you stand there, & a few more come over you shoes-you know the tide is coming in.

    I hope we won’t need your bale-I think there are some straws around-we will see.

    Hope you get the weather you need on the farm

  33. @ RiN

    Probably half of them are EE EU so the amnesty would help half of them. Readind the small ads in EE recruiting slaves is disheartening.

  34. waves break…..doh!

  35. 56% of voters think immigration has been ‘bad for the economy’, especially the low paid job immigrant jobs (70%).

    So voters have it ‘in’ for the people who are doing all the jobs our own ‘lower achieving’ are unwilling to do, at least for the wages that the immigrants are willing to do. These immigrant low paid employees are the ones who make prices lower for the goods or services that voters purchase or make possible to even acquire (like elderly care and bog cleaning)).

    This is a lovely wicket to play on for the ‘dog whistle’ team and a very poor one for the ‘tell them how it really is’ side.

    I was interested that the poll questions did not distinguish between EU and other immigrants. One wonder whether voters know or care about the difference.

  36. I have to smile… when I read and then listened about the need to speak English all I picked up was if someone claiming benefits could not speak English then they would have to learn to speak English….

    I have to admit it is a brilliant headline…

    But I don’t believe I read anywhere that benefits would stop until they could speak English, only they would have to learn to speak English… which is quite a distance from the actual headline being used…

    Unless of course the government want more court battles which they would lose…

  37. Colin

    Nice analogy lets hope there’s a touch of King Canute about EM inability to stop the tide of narrowing polls.

    Mind you we are talking about the Tory party as we speak there busy looking for something else to shoot themselves in the foot with.

    The weather will remain fine in Dorset for the next 3 weeks I have assured by daughter (The new Boss) of that fact, based on the fact my wonky Knee’s not hurting and Meg down the pub has read it in the tea leaves who needs a met report.

  38. @”However, on balance immigrants are seen as harder working than people who are born in Britain. ”

    This perception-which has clearly taken root -usually seems to apply to unskilled work in un-glamorous jobs demanding long , or unsocial hours.

    But it is mirrored in a worrying account in today’s ST about graduates.

    A study by LSE of all graduate level jobs in London between 1997 & 2012 found that those held by people born abroad rose from 22% to 30%. Among 30-40- yr. olds working in London, the proportion was 40%.

    Overseas job recruitment in the Capital has increased by 174% since 1997-for people borne in UK , by 60%.

    ONS figures show NI registrations of overseas nationals entering UK in Year to March 2012 were up 25%-Spain Portugal & Italy showing high increases.

    A careers consultant at UCL is quoted :-

    ” EU students in particular are attractive to employers because they tend to speak at least two languages, are naturally geographically mobile , and are willing to pursue an internationally based career.”

    DC is quite right to emphasise the competitive global economy . He should include the occasional reminder that no one owes us a living-not even our own employers.

  39. Jim (TOO)
    Yes I understand the 7 day wait for benefits issue a sight more complex (complicated even) than has been represented by people who should know better.

  40. “These immigrant low paid employees are the ones who make prices lower for the goods or services that voters purchase or make possible to even acquire (like elderly care and bog cleaning)).”

    ——————

    It’s possible people may reason that the prices for many important things are not coming down but are shooting up: the employer reaping the benefits of lower wages not the customer.

    In the meantime people take a hit again on their taxes keeping the indigenous population on the dole.

    Of course in reality there’s a bit more to it than that…

  41. TURK

    @”Mind you we are talking about the Tory party as we speak there busy looking for something else to shoot themselves in the foot with.”

    Indeed. Some of them don’t seem to understand that ideological purity is less use than a bucket of spit , if you are not in power.

  42. “Some of them don’t seem to understand that ideological purity is less use than a bucket of spit , if you are not in power.”

    —————

    Lol, I’m sure the Lib Dems could tell us all about that!!

  43. @ Colin

    He should include the occasional reminder that no one owes us a living-not even our own employers.
    ————
    LOL – that is so much the core ethos of the Tory Party that, you are surely the only person in the UK who’d like additional reminders from the PM about it; also, I thought you had retired & no longer have an employer – or am I mistaken?

  44. @ Colin

    Please ignore the rogue comma which has infiltrated my sentence. :-)

  45. @Amber

    Yep, this is one of the problems for the Tory party. Led by folk like Cameron and Osborne with trust funds supported by a core vote of boomers who benefited from full employment and consequent upward pressure on wages… Prescribing medicine for others they won’t be taking themselves.

  46. I quite liked the rogue comma…

  47. @AmberStar

    Not only is it a core belief but of course it is true beyond doubt!

  48. CMJ

    “I doubt he ever went to the toilet without running it past a focus group first.”

    Glad I wasn’t in the queue. Sounds a bit rude to me though,

  49. TOH

    “of course it is true beyond doubt!”

    IYO – of course.

  50. Lol ToH did you miss the banking crisis and how we bailed them out?

    I’m loving how quickly the immigration polling has been turned into not just an opportunity to bash the immigrants stealing jobs (I’m the child of immigrants and we grew our own gooseberries thank you very much), but also an opportunity to bash most everyone else for not being “competitive” and working ever harder for less and less. Something the boomers didn’t have to endure themselves so much.

    What this polling indicates is that if you are an immigrant intending to work hard, it can help to hide the fact…

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