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. Reg, you suggested I had a grudge against the better-off. I’m public school/Oxbridge for God’s sake and have already benefited from the way things are stacked.

    And the wealthy are not taking as much hit as you claimed. The disabled take a hit on the spare room but aunt ethyl keeps the mansion etc.

    Many better off boomers protected too.

  2. AW

    Thanks for the info. Do you know if Eden and Heath made much after office? Also, why did Wilson end up hard up?

  3. Carfrew

    I didn’t claim the wealthy to be taking bad hits I was just saying they are not getting off scot-free.

  4. @Turk – “It’s time we stopped throwing insults and accusations around and had a grown up discussion about this terrible disease.”

    Indeed, which is all I have ever called for on this site. I’m afraid @R Huckle is incorrect, in that their isn’t a wealth of contradictory evidence on this – the evidence is particularly clear, in that bTB is a problem largely created and spread by the farming industry, who now wish to seek blame elsewhere in nature rather than address the significant management issues within their own industry.

    We’ve been here before. A study earlier this year by Prof Peter Atkins at Durham University found that bTB probably really took hold in the C18th with the advent of more intensive cattle production, probably peaking in mid to late C19th with 80% infection rates in cattle in some areas. It’s an airborne disease, so things like housing large numbers of beasts indoors, or cramming them into lorries for long distance live transport are critical infection areas.

    Post WW2, aggressive slaughtering of infected cattle (not of badgers, note) meant that we were bTB free in the cattle industry by the 1960’s.

    He finds that cattle to cattle transfer is the most likely vector, citing evidence that only 1 from 400 roadkill badgers from Cheshire tested over the last 20 years was bTB positive – and you might assume sickly badgers are more likeley to be be road victims.

    Intensive close quarters winter housing of cattle and the ridiculous ability to ship cattle quickly from one region to another are the key infection vectors here, as studies have time after time demonstrated. We learned this lesson very well during foot and mouth, but because farmers don’t want to have any restrictions placed on them and are happy to dip into the taxpayers pocket to bail them out instead, we keep seeing the same errors.

    Indeed, Prof Atkins tracked the spread of bTB post 2001 (FMD) and the epidemiology very strongly suggests that the spread of bTB was created by the restocking of many regions cattle from the SW, an area with low FMD incidence but relatively high bTB occurrence.

    I’m afraid the science of this is really, really overwhelming, and the farming industry is on the completely wrong side of the evidence. Because of the failure of farm management, we now have the situation where some very localised and well managed wildlife culling may be necessary, but it is abundantly clear that this does not represent a general control measure.

    Even without culling, the livestock industry could eradicate bTB itself if it wanted to, but it chooses to operate in such a way that greatly increases the spread of animal diseases with no regard to biosecurity.

    The only shame is that taxpayers have to bail out a failed industry time and again, as they lack the wit to manage their own affairs properly.

    I didn’t claim the wealthy to be taking bad hits I was just saying they are not getting off scot-free.”


    I suppose if we scratch around we might find the odd inconvenience for the wealthy. But inequality is not exactly shrinking massively is it?

    However all this pales into significance because this is a special day. I got snipped!!! I have never been snipped before. In the past I would see lengthy posts of mine vaporized in entirety while watching the posts of others have offending items surgically removed.

    This is a great day. I shall have to celebrate. I might go wild and have a posh salad with my coffee…

  6. Carfrew

    No, I would agree there, but at the same time at least we’re not in Russia where inequality is soaring.

  7. I would agree in turn Reg. We are definitely not in Russia. Though if Labour get in again some may start to worry about that…

  8. Heath did various work for banks and shipping companies investing in China, which I expect paid fairly well. No idea about Eden, but go back before Heath the Conservative PMs would mostly have had family wealth to fall back upon away.

    Wilson’s health was failing by the time he retired and suffered from dementia during his retirement, so didn’t really have the opportunity to make any money after office.

  9. AW

    Once again, thanks.

  10. Carfrew

    I would agree with the last point too.

  11. @Alec

    A very well written post re:bTB. I agree 100%.

    I seem to recall reading that Churchill had some financial worries after leaving office? Didnt he have some wealthy friends help him out?

  12. I was listening to local radio discussing MPs pay, most callers wanted the MPs pay to be reduced not increased and performance related, but the one I myself would consider was pay them 100K as the min, but no expenses on top or tax refunds and no outside employment etc whilst an MP, and any future pay rises should be linked to the same increase or cut to the lowest benefit cut/increase.

    I kind of liked that last one, but maybe starting from the pay the MPs are on now, after all we are in this together are we not

  13. Alec

    Using selective evidence re bovine TB does not prove your point one way or another, the science is certainly not overwhelming as you claim but regardless of that , we have is the situation as it is today, to blame past farming practises is a poor and pointless argument.
    However as we will never agree on the matter perhaps we should leave it there.

  14. @Turk – “Using selective evidence re bovine TB does not prove your point one way or another, the science is certainly not overwhelming as you claim but regardless of that , we have is the situation as it is today, to blame past farming practises is a poor and pointless argument.
    However as we will never agree on the matter perhaps we should leave it there.”

    a) It’s a bit like global warming, except even more so. The science really is overwhelming, as even the government’s own scientific advisers admit.

    b) I’m not blaming past farming practices – I’m very squarely blaming current practices.

    The proposed culls, even if implemented completely according to plan, which is doubtful, will only reduce bTB by 17% in the infected areas. This is from the people who support the cull. In other words, the other 83% of cases would remain, if nothing else was done.

    There really is no point arguing this – study after study highlights that at best, culling may have a marginal benefit in some areas, that culling on it’s own would have no benefit, and probably make matters worse, and that culling is highly likely to actually cause the further spread of the disease, due to the problems inherent in managing a cull of a wild population.

    The epidemiological findings regarding the spread of bTB are also absolutely damning for the farming industry. They demonstrate about as clearly as it is scientifically possible to do, that it was farmers and the industry who were the prime cause of the recent spread of bTB.

    The health impacts of moving live animals long distances have been well known amongst the science community for many years, but ignored by the industry.

    There are some very simple solutions out there. Each region should be completely locked down and self contained in terms of livestock movements. Smaller areas should be controlled for specific disease outbreaks where necessary. By using natural watersheds and rivers etc, these areas can be created to minimise any impacts from wildlife moving across boundaries.

    Once you’ve designed your areas, nothing live moves between them. There is no need for live transport. We have AI, as you will be aware of, so breeding stock doesn’t have to move. If the NFU started to back a sensible disease control policy, then they could also talk about supporting local abbatoirs, as the meat supply chain would need local infrastructure once again. This is turn would reduce transport costs, improve animal welfare, and promote employment in rural areas.

    In turn, this would help to support local supply chains and local provenance, and give farmers more of a chance to break the stranglehold of the 5 individuals buyers who go to the livestock markets representing the supermarkets and who dominate the sales (and who all the farmers complain about, constantly).

    Cross contamination would be virtually nil, and regions with diseases would be able to work to eradicate them, while protecting those disease free areas.

    If you really are a farmer, you will be well aware of the utter daftness of much of livestock practices in the UK. Unfortunately, farming is typically characterised by inherited tenancies and farms, with limited new entrants and a generally low level of formal education, particularly in the small farm sector.

    As a result, farmer’s tend to resist change, are slow to adopt new innovations, and don’t tend to read scientific papers, so there is a complete disconnect between the farming industry and science, leading to this impasse.

    This, coupled with the reliance on the taxpayer for much of their income that has developed since the post war years, means that whenever farming hits a problem, they turn to the government for help, rather than think more deeply about how they got into the mess in the first place.

  15. The other Jim

    The problem with no expenses at all is that some mps live a very long way from Westminster and it become obvious that a very large part of their income would be used in travel expenses and having some kind of second home in London, this is not to excuse the flagrant abuse of expenses but to point out a practical difficulty

  16. RiM

    MPs would know this from the start and make a choice.

  17. So Having recently returned from a Holiday in the £7 Million Chalet owned by His Mum and Dad and Having visited the Multimillionaire family of His Millionaire Wife, Millionaire Nick Clegg says He doesn’t need a pay rise.

    In Other News the Pope reveals He is Catholic and Bear’s announce their predilection for defecating in the woods.

  18. Roger

    And who would chose to represent the outer Hebrides? Of course with independence that becomes a moot question

  19. RiN

    Are you saying MPs only do it for money and Im sure you could find 100s who like like 100,000

  20. @ Steve
    So would you rather he took it?
    He only has two choices, take it or turn it down…seems he’s doing the morally correct one, no?

    On the question of Prime Ministers’ money, I lived near Major’s mansion near Huntingdon, a most impressive house and utterly unaffordable for someone who had only done a junior role in a bank for a handful of years before becoming an MP.
    Talk around the neighbourhood was that the money to buy it was lent (presumably at nil or very low interest) by a Tory grandee when Major was identified as a potential Conservative high-flyer, so that he could have a pad suitable for a senior Conservative cabinet minister.



    It’s good for UK & that’s what matters.

  22. TURK

    I agree with you about badgers.

    I don’t know why this animal is a protected species anymore. They have no natural predators & the population is increasing in UK.

    The damage they do to nests & young of protected ground nesting birds should justify culling in the afflicted areas.

  23. BigFat Ron

    Personally I would rather MP’s worked Full Time as MP’s rather than is the case for many fitting it around their professional and corporate interests.

    A Good Third of MP’s (Half approximately of the Tories) have incomes from external sources greater than their salary as MP’s

    If MP’s were required to devote their full attention to the job they are elected to then maybe a pay rise might be appropriate,but it is simply grandstanding on Clegg’s part to pretend there is any higher motivation than the ability to live very comfortably on His current family incomes.

  24. I worry we will only get career politicians, rich people or trade union sponsored MPs.

  25. @Steve
    I agree fully about MPs and second salaries – it stems from the days when being an MP was essentially a hobby, especially in the Tory party.

    In terms of Clegg, of course he is grandstanding, in the sense that he is making a political point – that’s what politicians do, isn’t it?

  26. Of course they don’t do it just for money, but it is a fact that a mp living near London will have fewer travel expenses than a mp a long way from london which could make those constituencies nearer London more desirable. Having said that I don’t know how necessary for mps to regularly visit their constituency

  27. A simple solution. All non-cabinet MPs to be restricted to rail travel on government money.

    HS2 would arrive in three years.

  28. Hey, can anybody on here tell me how to get rid off an ISP. It’s really annoying me. I know this is a polling website but this is relevant as it is affecting the behaviour of my computer.

  29. Rosie and Daisie think tomorrow’s gap will remain around 5% as they has seen “that nice Mr. Dave” on telly a lot and think he seems sincere.

  30. Reg, the ISP is the company that provides your internet access so removing them will leave you unable to visit any website.

    There are many different ones but you need to research (online) to find the company that suits your needs & pocket.

    I’m not sure if this is what you meant however.

  31. @Colin – “I agree with you about badgers.
    I don’t know why this animal is a protected species anymore. They have no natural predators & the population is increasing in UK.
    The damage they do to nests & young of protected ground nesting birds should justify culling in the afflicted areas.”

    Hmmm. Exactly the same logic could be applied to farmers.

    In fact, of all the problems, habitat loss due to changes in farming practice in the last quarter of the C20th have had the biggest impact on ground nesting (and all other) farmland birds.

    Indeed, badgers, as a predominately woodland species, will have far less impact on birds than farmers do.

    There is a serious point here though, about how we maintain a balance to protect species and habitats in an overcrowded island with an obese population obsessed with food and willing to see almost anything done to natural habitats to get calories on the table.

    Blaming badgers is a very weak argument for a biodiversity crisis caused entirely by human desires.

  32. @Jim Jam,

    I agree. The flip side of complaints that Cameron and Clegg are millionaires who don’t need the money is that if we cut the salary for politicians then the likes of Cameron and Clegg will dominate even more than they do now.

    I hold the very heretical opinion that in fact MPs are woefully underpaid and should probably get even more than IPSA are recommending – but I agree with those that say that there should be restrictions on their ability to earn money outside of their salaried employment (like, oh I don’t know, policemen?!)

    As for accommodation – I know it’s not very free market of me but I think the government should build a couple of blocks of nice 2bed apartments in a secure complex near parliament and provide them rent-free to any MP whose constituency is too far for them to commute. Those who are close enough to commute should be paid a Housing Allowance (a fixed amount annually, like, oh I don’t know, policemen?!) Anyone who chose to eschew the grave-and-favour pad could take up the highest rate of Housing Allowance instead (but would of course lose out overall – but this might appeal to the millionaires like Huhne, Clegg etc who want to live in a Georgian townhouse in London not a flat…)

  33. Alec

    “If you really are a farmer”

    You may choose to make stories up about yourself and what you do for a living, but please don’t tar us all with the same brush.
    It’s obvious from your piece you know little or nothing about farming or the management or movement of animals and a lot about uninformed prejudice against farmers, so there’s little point in engaging in pointless argument about it, please accept this as my last comment to you on the matter, as I find your tone insulting not only to me but farmers up and down this country who work long hours for little reward.

  34. Who has been proposing a cull of farmers? Will it be done humanely?

  35. @Reg

    Post your ‘ISP story’ at this site, in the ‘General Broadband Chatter’ or ‘ISP unhappiness’ section (don’t post in both; cross posting etc):

    Tell the whole story to get the best answers. Just ‘wanting rid’ of an ISP is not a solution, as your ISP provides your Internet connection.

  36. I’m a bit confused about why reducing the cost of our democracy is such a good idea. Dictatorship is the cheapest form of govt but apart from that has nothing to recommend it, unless you are a big fan of strong and decisive leadership

  37. @Turk – “You may choose to make stories up about yourself and what you do for a living….. ”

    As it happens, I don’t. I give out too much personal information about myself on here, as I’m of that generation that finds privacy valuable, but I never state anything false about myself either.

    “It’s obvious from your piece you know little or nothing about farming or the management or movement of animals…”

    I think not. I’ve lived in a hill farming area for the last quarter of a century, spending many hours helping neighbours dig sheep from snowdrifts, hay timing (I always end up stacking in the shed, which is a job that really sets off my sneezing) clipping hooves, debudding calves, getting beasts loaded up for market (shaving their heads before hand, etc) helping with big gathers on the fells, sheep shearing (I can do about 5 yows an hour with hand shears – slow, and it kills my back, and I am a lot faster with the electric shears, but nowhere near the speed of the pros), I wouldn’t like to calculate how many tonnes of cow sh!t I’ve shovelled from the byres in winter. In return, my garden grows well on a mix of well rotted farmyard manure, and my own homemade compost mixed with chicken litter.

    I don’t do tractors if I can avoid it – largely due to the fact that when I last did much driving most of my neighbours tractors didn’t have brakes to speak of, and one of them had no brakes plus a gear stick that came off in your hand if you moved it too abruptly, which left me psychologically scarred after a particularly hairy runaway.

    I’ve not actually been across with the lads when they take their overwintering yows over to the Solway grazings, but I’ve helped them load up, but I have seen the effects of pnemonia after wet animals were kept in the trailer for too long. In my professional life I’ve worked on a number of projects aiming to increase hill farm incomes through a variety of environmental measures.

    I feel I know a fair bit about farming, having spent a good deal of time with some good farmers, as well as a fair few poor ones. It’s up to you what you choose to believe about posters, but best not to judge, as you never really know.

    When I said ‘If you really are a farmer…” in hindsight that could be misconstrued, so I apologise if it came across badly. I was merely suggesting that, as a farmer, you would understand the issues that I understand.

  38. ALEC

    @”ndeed, badgers, as a predominately woodland species, will have far less impact on birds than farmers do.”

    Not at the nature reserve I am connected with.

    We have spent thousands of pounds & man hours trying to protect breeding Sandwich & Common Tern, Avocet, Redshank, Med. Gull, Oyster Catcher, Skylark from predation by Badgers & Foxes.

    There is a much simpler solution.

  39. Alec

    You are right about badgers. I worked for government nationally and internationally for 30 odd years at the interface of wildlife and user interests. No one who reads the data fairly could reasonably reach any other conclusion.
    I can add from even more direct experience that we experienced exactly the same misguided, and, self-interested desire to exculpate users and producers over avian influenza. Caused largely by global poultry rearing and production practices. Blamed ludicrously on wild migratory birds whom one British redtop memorably labelled as “winged merchants of death” in the ensuing media frenzy.
    But remember once you are up against the European farming and food lobbies …. the facts can go hang. Once we got down to the science, the proncipal causes were clear enough, and of course the smoking gun was then found in the Norfolk turkey factory farm which was importing infected poultry from East Europe. Trouble is that if you ask the public some of them probably still think it was those wild birds wot spread it…
    Meanwhile here in Wales the Government has opted for badger inoculation so we will be able to compare results soon.

  40. “I can do about 5 yows an hour with hand shears”

    That’s very impressive Alec.

    Still waiting for my shearers to arrive this year – due Thursday!


    I watched a travelling team of Kiwi Shearers at work the other day.

    Absolutely awesome.

  42. “The former forecasting head of the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development believes the shale gas revolution could spark a slide in oil prices over the next 10 years.

    In a report written with Puma Energy and seen by The Times, Dr John Llewellyn described the invention of ‘fracking’ to extract the gas as ‘game changing technology’.

    As a consequence Llewellyn would not be surprised to see the price of oil fall to around $50 a barrel between now and 2020.”

    The Times.

  43. Colin – indeed. We get a Kiwi/Cornish couple.


    An unbeatable combination I should think.

  45. @Colin,

    If it really pans out that way, then the waning of the UK’s (or Scotland’s….) fossil fuel resources has been well timed.

    I expect North Sea exploration would more or less halt – to be resumed in 20 or 50 years or however long it takes for the demand for oil to exceed supply again.

  46. I am happy for MPs to have outside jobs, as long as their salary as an MP is reduced pound for pound with their external income. Those who felt it really necessary in order to connect with the real world (an excuse primarily used by barristers it would seem) would have no difficulty in doing so…

    As for travel, for most backbench MPs the constituency is vital. These are the people who voted for them, and the people who need support most…

  47. coin

    “I watched a travelling team of Kiwi Shearers at work the other day.”

    D’you mean they shear those big rugby players!!!?

    Takes a lot of skill and courage I imagine but some of them definitely need it.

  48. Colin

    If oil goes down to 50 dollars a barrel then a lot of folk will be going bankrupt, I’ll believe the hype when I see it, but it’s a good marketing move from the oil industry , by holding out the prospect of cheaper prices in future they delay the move to renewables and maintain demand for their products and high prices which deliver high profits

  49. NEILA

    It would be a global political & economic game changer if it happened-that’s for sure.

  50. PAUL

    er-no-they are only about the size of a domestic chicken, and would never hold a rugby player down.

    They were shearing really tiny sheep, which , considering they only have wings is awesome to watch.

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