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. @Paul Croft

    No not in my opinion, clearly a truth beyond doubt.

  2. Given Opinium don’t use political weighting, does anyone know offhand what the largest gap between Lab/Cons Opinium have shown this parliament?

  3. A sample of many thousands more at this week’s local council by-elections gave: Lab 35%, Con 29%, UKIP 26%, LibDem 4%

    I would rather go by those to be perfectly honest.

  4. @ Mark T
    The problem with that approach is that this is a highly unrepresentative sample, especially given the relative propensity of elderly voters to turn out in council by-elections versus younger voters.

    If UKIP get within 3% of the Tories in any parliamentary election this side of my demise I will eat my hat….

  5. AMBER

    If I thought I was the only person who needed reminding of it-that would be some reassurance.

    But I’m not reassured on the point.

    Comma forgiven. I’m not ideological about grammar.

  6. Mark – well of course you’d rather do that, as it tells you what you’d like to hear. That is not, sadly, a good rule of thumb in terms of telling what is accurate. If anything, it’s the opposite.

    Crude averaging of a handful of local by-elections is an exceptionally poor guide of national support for reasons that should be bleeding bloody obvious.

    Averaging of a even large number has sadly not proven to be a good guide to national support in a general election in the past – see here for when the crunched the data for the 1997, 2001 and 2005 elections:


    No flaw in mr reasoning, and yes you were meaning to be unpleasant posting views which you ascribe to me which clearly are not mine.

  8. Nope, ToH, you are misrepresenting me. I pointed out a logical consequence of your argument, and actually agreed with part of it.

    You couldnt actually quote what was wrong.

  9. Well they are what we call the BALLOT BOX.

    You know? What really counts?

    YouGov, forces you to select UKIP by having to go down another level in the selection process, therefore many people may not think they can vote UKIP.

    Is that accurate either? Lets be fair whoever you support – certain poll/election results either way will tell you what you want to hear. People who are used to the three party model simply cannot get their heads around what is happening and why.


    @”I’m sure the Lib Dems could tell us all about that!!”

    And Tony Blair-who actually did something about it.

  11. @CARFREW

    I was not making an argument I was stating a fact of life.

  12. @Colin

    You say that like it’s a good thing, lol…

  13. @ToH

    And all I did was point out that it is sometimes not a fact of life, and sometimes you are actually so right that people will pay to work.

  14. Which incidentally was my view, at no point did I suggest it was yours, as you claimed

  15. @ Mark T

    A sample of many thousands more at this week’s local council by-elections gave: Lab 35%, Con 29%, UKIP 26%, LibDem 4%

    I would rather go by those to be perfectly honest.
    How many of the council by-elections which you are including took place in Scotland &/or Wales?

  16. @carfrew

    It is always a fact of life, think about it. The fact that some are born with riches does not invalidate it.

  17. @ToH

    Depends what you mean by “owe a living”. Philosophically/morally, you may decide it is a fundamental principle. In practice, in terms of how it affects people, in the context of the debate and needing to compete and work hard, some are indeed relatively immune…

  18. Can anybody on this learned sit help me with a question?
    How many people of those answering polls on politicians themselves, have actually met the politician they are answering about?


  19. ‘learned sit’ was meant to be ‘learned site’.

  20. @Carfrew

    I am glad I have made my point philosophically,. that was all I was trying to do. Morality is not relevant

  21. @ToH
    Well not everyone would necessarily agree it is a moral principle. Some don’t even believe in morality.

    From the point of view of polling, my point really is that while having a pop at immigrants may be worth a few votes directly, in terms of indirect consequences economically I’m not so sure. And I’m not so sure the “everyone compete more and more for less and less like we didn’t have to” angle is an electoral winner either…

  22. To be clear, I saw the philosophical/moral thing as rather equivalent in this context…

  23. @Carfrew

    Well I certainly have strong moral beliefs.

    My intervention was on a philosophical principle only I did not want to get into a debate on immigration. I suggest we leave it at that as we both seem to understand the other better now.

  24. I think talking tough about immigration is a definite vote winner but I’m also pretty sure that any party putting it into practice in normal times would suffer electoral defeat as the middle-class marginal floating voters would experience a level of inflation which would be deeply unpleasant for them, I would go as far as to say that Labour would have lost the 2005 election if there hadn’t been mass immigration from eastern Europe

  25. @Mark

    “Well they are what we call the BALLOT BOX.

    You know? What really counts?”

    If we’re being objective, we have to accept that local election results may or may not reflect national General Election results (which is generally what polling companies are canvassing about in polls).

    It’s similar when you compare Holyrood to Westminster. The SNP got 20% in 2010, and about 45% in 2011. Different election; different priorities. Add to that, if a week is a long time in politics, two years is a fair old time.

    I agree completely with UKIP being taken of ‘others’, now that they regularly score more than the Lib Dems in some areas (SNP too actually).

    I’d also like to see YG regularly canvass on Farage in the leadership ratings in the Sunday Times polls. His party deserves the added coverage and the added scrutiny that comes with it.

  26. Fair enough ToH. The immigration thing is of course the subject of the polling but I was actually looking at knock on VI consequences. Because a lot of this boils down to the “all in it together” thing.


    @”You say that like it’s a good thing, lol…”

    I make the assumption that Labour supporters, Labour Party Members, and Labour MPs thought so in 1997, 2001 & 2005.

    Wouldn’t you ?

  28. @Colin

    Not really, no.

  29. We have to remember (we do here of course) that the voters’ view on the effect of immigration on the economy is determined by two factors; what they have observed personally – and what they are ‘informed’ is the case. Most voters will surely fall solely into the latter category?


    Right !

    So you would have preferred to lose those elections ?

  31. @Colin


    How could I “lose” the elections? I don’t even vote!!


    OK-lets rewind……..

    I offered the opinion that ideological purity is worthless if your party isn’t in power.

    You said-yeah-like the LibDEms.

    I said-yeah-like TB , who actually did something about it.

    You said that I made that sound like a “good thing”.

    I said -for Labour , its supporters & MPS-it was wasn’t it?

    You said -no.

    ……… I said words which meant-would you prefer Labour to have lost those three elections?

    …………so what’s your answer?

  33. @Colin

    Well you have changed the question actually.

    Now you are asking would I prefer Labour to have lost which as you know is a different thing.

    Initially the issue was whether it is a good thing for a party to trash its principles in order to get power.

    Now you have changed it and are offering me a Hobson’s choice. Would I rather one dodgy party prevail over another.

    To be frank neither appeal very much. Hence I don’t vote.

  34. Howard
    “We have to remember (we do here of course) that the voters’ view on the effect of immigration on the economy is determined by two factors; what they have observed personally – and what they are ‘informed’ is the case. Most voters will surely fall solely into the latter category?”

    Many (most?) voters will have direct personal experience of local jobs and housing going to immigrants. To many, that IS the economy. The government printing borrowing and spending squillions of quid is just too remote.

  35. @carfrew,

    I think you might have your idioms mixed up.

    I think you mean you were offered a ‘Morton’s Fork’, rather than ‘Hobson’s choice’. I am always picking people up on this, as its a common mistake.

    A Hobson’s choice actually only has one option, despite the appearance of a free choice. A Morton’s Fork has two options, both of which are of roughly the same unpleasantness.


  36. “I am always picking people up on this, as its a common mistake.”

    I bet you’re popular in your local :-)

  37. @Rich

    OK, take your point though Col may have been trying to set up a Hobson’s choice, lol.

    Waste of time though. Like trying to make me choose between pilchards and sardines. I suppose I could do it if threatened with watching endless reruns of Cameron and Miliband’s speeches or something. But in the end, both pilchards and sardines will make me heave.

  38. For reference, and I bet the premise appeals to our lefties no end, well at least the first part. :-)

    Morton’s Fork

    noun: A situation involving choice between two equally undesirable outcomes.

    After John Morton (c. 1420-1500), archbishop of Canterbury, who was tax collector for the English King Henry VII. To him is attributed Morton’s fork, a neat argument for collecting taxes from everyone: those living in luxury obviously had money to spare and those living frugally must have accumulated savings to be able to pay.

  39. don’t say I don’t occasionally give out useful information…


    The question hasn’t changed-it is central to my proposition-without power, ideologies are worthless.

    But since you don’t vote, I must presume you just like moaning about stuff, rather than changing it.

    In my book-if you don’t vote-you don’t get to complain.

  41. @Colin

    To express a view is not automatically equivalent to moaning. I liked Thatcher’s National Curriculum. How is that moaning?

    And I am perfectly at liberty to participate in various mechanisms of the democratic process even if I choose not to vote kthanx.

  42. @Colin

    I’m loathe to dogpile you further, but the report from the ST about overseas graduates coming to work in the UK finance industry isn’t ‘worrying’, and even the ST had to admit that there was no evidence that the propensity for globalised industries to recruit globally actually harmed the prospects of UK graduates.

    Well over half of the London jobs market is actually graduate level (at least using the rather crude metric used by the research team) and the uncomfortable truth for some swathes of opinion is that we don’t have enough graduates to fulfil corporate demand. London has one of the most skilled labour markets in the world. It’s something to be proud of.

  43. Bill Keegan is on good form this weekend, as ever:

    “Yet senior Labour party members, instead of capitalising on their success in attacking the government’s failed strategy, choose to hoist the white flag and accept the broad thrust of the chancellor’s policy, quibbling over the details, and even then sounding as though they are terrified of saying anything that might upset the rightwing press. They call this the need for credibility. Do they not see that in the very act of seeking credibility they are losing it? A veteran of many past Labour efforts at seeking credibility, Roy Hattersley, makes an appeal for sanity in a new book (The Socialist Way – Social Democracy in Contemporary Britain, I B Tauris). Labour has a choice, he says: “It can grub about in search of policies which will attract the swing voters and lose the next general election or it can become again an indisputable party of principle and win.” “

  44. And Colin… If your goals matter, then achieving power at the expense of your goals is self-defeating.

  45. @Phil

    Hal, nailed it in the previous thread, along with prior comments from Smukesh and Jimjam etc.

    Labour’s position currently makes electoral sense.

    Yes, there’s a cynical element: they know welfare etc. Is not that popular so in agreeing to maintain those cuts they are playing to swing votes.

    But economically, other forms of borrowing to invest carry a higher multiplier/return on investment anyway.

  46. toh

    “@Paul Croft

    No not in my opinion, clearly a truth beyond doubt.”

    Sorry Howard: keep forgetting that subjective/objective is something that, unusually, you don’t get.

  47. @ Rich,

    Thanks for that! I feel informed and clever now that I am armed with this bit of wisdom, and will be sure to pedantically correct everyone else in future.

  48. reg

    “How many people of those answering polls on politicians themselves, have actually met the politician they are answering about?”

    I think it’s three – maybe four.

    My Dad met Prince Philip when he docked the Britannia, if that helps.

  49. rich

    “don’t say I don’t occasionally give out useful information”

    Go on then.

  50. @Carfrew

    I don’t buy a word of that.

    My last attempt to disagree with you disappeared into moderation.

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