A quick round of of today’s polls. The weekly YouGov poll for the Sunday Times is here, and has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 39%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 11%. YouGov’s daily polling appears to be showing an average Labour lead of around about six points.

The rest of the poll deals mainly with the economy and the royals. Economic optimism continues to get slightly less pessimistic, the “feel good factor” (those thinking their economic situation will get better in the next twelve months minus those who expect it to get worse) is minus 27. Asked more specifically about the recent GDP figures, 38% think that it shows the economy is now on the mend and will continue to grow, 49% think it is bouncing along the bottom. Looking at the crossbreaks shows quite how much people’s opinions on the economy are shaped by their pre-existing views of the government and politics: three-quarters of Conservatives think the economy is now on the mend, three-quarters of Labour supporters think it shows things bouncing along the bottom.

George Osborne continues to have a negative rating as Chancellor – only 25% think he is doing a good job, 45% a bad job. However the widespread desire for Cameron to replace him that YouGov found back in March has declined somewhat – back then people wanted Osborne sacked by 51% to 17%, it’s now a less overwhelming 42% to 30%. He also has better ratings than Ed Balls, and people think Osborne would make a matter Chancellor than Balls by 35% to 27%. By 43% to 32% people think the economy would have been worse if Labour had won the last election.

On the monarchy 17% of people think Britain should become a republic, 75% that we should continue to have a monarchy. A new ComRes poll for the Sunday Telegraph found a similar pattern – 66% think Britain is better off as a monarchy, 17% that it would be better off as a republic. The Sunday Telegraph article has a rather overblown headline of “Confidence in British monarchy at all time high, poll shows” which is a bit silly on various grounds (the monarchy predates opinion polling by hundreds of years so we don’t have anything to judge by, and as far as I can tell the survey did not ask questions that have a long train of past tracking data to compare to).

The best long term tracker data on attitudes to the monarchy is probably MORI’s collection here. Even there things are a bit hamstrung by the fact that lots of polling on the royal family started in the early nineties when the monarchy was at a low ebb in the wake of the the failure of the marriages of Charles, Andrew and Princess Anne and the Queen’s annus horribilis – so most current polling does show the royal family being held in higher regard than in the 1990s…but those few trends that stretch back into the 1980s show much more positive ratings. I suspect the reality is “confidence in British monarchy higher than it has been for twenty years or so”… but we don’t have the data to be sure.

Finally the Sunday Times had a new Panelbase poll on the Scottish Independence referendum, which had YES on 37%(+1), NO on 46%(+2). Past polls on the independence referendum are here, and it’s worth noting the consistent differences between pollsters. Panelbase tend to show a relatively tight race, Ipsos MORI and TNS tend to show a much bigger lead for the NO campaign.


342 Responses to “Sunday polling round up”

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  1. I wonder if the Times narrower polls have anything to do with Murdoch supporting Salmond?

  2. Nick – um, the Ipsos-MORI Scottish polls with their much larger leads are carried out for the Times

  3. “Finally the Sunday Times had a new Panelbase poll on the Scottish Independence referendum, which had YES on 37%(+1), NO on 46%(+2)”
    __________

    All to play for but I have yet to be persuaded to vote Yes or indeed vote No.

    For the Yes Scotland camp to win my vote then they need to convince me Scotland will not just become another annex of EU interference from Sprouts in Belgium but Salmond is pro Europe so the fence continues to wobble.

    For the No camp to win my vote then they need to get away from negative scaremongering and project a positive vision for Scotland’s place within the UK and yes the fence continues to wobble.

    If Scotland remains part of the UK then so be it but if the Scots vote Yes then a wee right-ish Tory-ish Gov would also float my boat.

    Both sides need to do better to earn my vote.

  4. Panelbase also had Holyrood VI, still showing a very strong SNP lead despite 6yrs of Govt:

    Constituency/Regional

    Snp 48/48
    Lab 30/25
    Tories 13/13
    Lib Dems 4/4
    Green na/6
    Others 5/4

    Using Scotland Votes that would see a parliament of

    Snp 71 (+2) seats
    Lab 33 (-4)
    Con 16 (+1)
    Lib Dem 3 (-2)
    Green 5 (+3)
    Margo 1 (nc)

  5. NICKP

    Most papers in Scotland backed Salmond but all and I mean all were not convinced with independence.

    The Scottish Sun has a candid approach to Salmond but has made it clear they do not support independence.

  6. By 43% to 32% people think the economy would have been worse if Labour had won the last election.
    ————
    This is the polling outcome which would keep me awake o’ nights, were I Mr Balls.

  7. CATHCARTSHEEP

    I’m not surprised at the results of that poll because by in large the SNP have done a good job in Scotland.

    Or is it the lack of a credible opposition in Hollyrood?

  8. Using Scotland Votes that would see a parliament of

    Snp 71 (+2) seats
    Lab 33 (-4)
    Con 16 (+1)
    Lib Dem 3 (-2)
    Green 5 (+3)
    Margo 1 (nc)
    ____

    On this basis that would see the Lib/Dems drop to 5th place.

    Ouch!!

  9. @Shevii,

    Yep, agree that lowering crime rates cannot be attributed to the polices of any one government….as is evidenced by the fact that this phenomenon is being repeated throughout the developed world.

    I suspect the biggest reason is down to demographics, but I guess other factors are also at play….like better security systems/greater personal safety awareness, the Internet/PCs, better forensics etc. etc.

    Like yourself, I don’t totally believe crime stats….but they do show that the number of murders has also fallen sharply, a statistic that is hard if not nigh on impossible to fiddle. Then, of course, you have practically every western police force seeing similar declines, so they must be onto some underlying trend. It’s too much of a coincidence otherwise.

    For me, this demonstrates the fallacies of both the left-wing and right-wing social argument – or at least that they overplay such social factors which result in crime. Stats have proven that contrary to what the left say, increasing wealth inequality doesn’t equal more crime; similarly, contrary to what the right say, more single parents/family breakdown/modern family forms don’t equal more crime.

    Time for them both to admit that they are incorrect, or at least guilty of exaggerating the importance of these factors IMO.

  10. acey

    “Both sides need to do better to earn my vote.”

    I expect you’ve got the rascals thinking now Allan.

  11. PC

    I’m one of the 20% DK or undecided. If the debate continues the way it is now up until the referendum then I simply wont vote.

    Like I say both sides need to do better to earn my vote.

  12. I’ve voted for the Greens at previous GEs. I agree that there must be loads of undecideds out there.

  13. acey

    It seems fair enough to not vote if you are really unsure.

    I think, given it was such an important decision, I would be asking myself:

    “If mine was the casting vote and i HAD to vote, what would I do”

    I can’t believe anyone can’t have a gut feeling about it one way or the other in that scenario.

  14. “Economic optimism continues to get slightly less pessimistic, the “feel good factor” (those thinking their economic situation will get better in the next twelve months minus those who expect it to get worse) is minus 27”
    ________

    It depends on what way the wind is blowing.

    If it’s a South East wind then the Economic optimism continues to grow and if it’s a North West or North East wind then the Economic optimism continues to drop. ;-)

  15. PAULCROFT

    Excellent point but I did drop a wee hint in yin post regarding Salmond and his EU stance and from the Unionists a more positive vision for Scotland’s place within the UK.

    Maybe I’m a devo maxi at heart…

  16. ambi

    Just had a great classical guitar practice: did some Barrios in my last recital – Ultimo Cancion and Maxixe. It is lovely stuff indeedy.

    …………………………………………………………………………………

    By the way I must congratulate you for the manner and content of your posts: you are a very well – researched young man. Almost the opposite of me in fact – I tend to rely on natural brilliance…………….

    ………………………………………………………………………………..

    Although I have joked about Scotland I would hate to seem them leave. I think Cameron is utterly sincere about that as well. It would be sad for us all.

  17. “Do you think the economy would have performed better or worse over the past three years had Labour won the last election?” was the way in which the question was asked. I’d have liked to see an option of: “No difference” as well as or instead of “Don’t know”; but that option may have been excluded deliberately because it is also interesting to see which people chose when “No difference” wasn’t available.

  18. “Maybe I’m a devo maxi at heart…”

    Yeah, I think we are in England as well [for us all]

    The issue has been badly handled in my view with mayors, police commisioners and referenda. It should have been agreed between all parties and implemented.

    Possibly someone like Michael Heseltine – my favourite Tory of all – could have achieved that.

    I remember a speech he gave in support of Major in ’92 by the way in whch he said somethng like:

    “You can hear the beat of the socialists on the march – left, left, left, left.”

    Even as a Labour voter at the time I appreciated the humur and the deivery. That aside he is [for me] right at the centre of opinion on many things and wud have made a great PM, possibly genuinely re-creating a one-nation, Conservative party.

    Back to Bach……………………..

  19. @Paul Croft,

    I love Ultimo Cancion! Maxixe is nice too. Anyone who can play such tricky and beautiful pieces has my respect.

    I’m still learning to play the much simpler Spanish Romance. I can’t really play that well, but I enjoy it all the same. I’m very much a work in progress.

    “By the way I must congratulate you for the manner and content of your posts: you are a very well – researched young man. Almost the opposite of me in fact – I tend to rely on natural brilliance…………….”

    And your sense of humour….I enjoy reading your posts too…especially when you inject a bit of humour into otherwise serious debates. Always makes me laugh.

    Thanks!

  20. PC

    I’m sure Tarzan would had made a great PM and possibly created a one nation Conservative party, well at least in England.
    ….
    “I remember a speech he gave in support of Major in ’92 by the way in which he said something like:

    “You can hear the beat of the socialists on the march – left, left, left, left.”
    ___________

    Now that is amusing. ;-)

    I mind when he was on question time and was asked by Dimbleby who he thought the next Labour leader would be and he simply replied “I don’t care”

  21. My brother met him at his arbotoreum [sp ? – anyway ots of trees] and said he seemed a very shy man.

    Thought that interesting cos he is brilliant in interviews .

  22. Seems very litte interest in Egyptat the moment but the army coup and behavious must be extremely worrying throughout the resion and beyond.

  23. I used a random number generator to produce 100 numbers with mean of 40 and SD of 3. The series included successive numbers of 39, 37, 38, 33, 37 and 42, 40, 44, 41, 43. It shows how cautious one should be before reaching conclusions about changes in VI.

  24. Here he is giving that speech in 1976:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTCFTfI_EOY

    He’s one of my favourite Tories as well, purely for not being that right wing (he entered politics as a National Liberal) and recognising when things had gone too far (making sure Liverpool got regeneration money instead of being left to ‘managed decline’).

    Can’t say there are many others, really. Ted Heath and Ken Clarke are up there.

  25. @AC

    “Or is it the lack of a credible opposition in Hollyrood?”

    If a government is doing well, the opposition can do little really. I would say that Westminster demonstrates a government doing less well (in the eyes of the electorate), and also has a lack of credible opposition. Hence the voting apathy, and the inclination to vote for alternative parties.

    imho of course.

  26. Well there’s usually a way of criticising any policy from the right or the left, but yes if a government is doing popular things there’s little the opposition can do unless they can argue their case very well. Otherwise they just look curmudgeonly.

  27. Speaking of voting, just a question out of curiosity, but does anyone know what would happen (constitutionally speaking) if nobody voted at a general election?

  28. Anarchists Unite,

    I think they have by-elections if the votes in a constituency are tied, so presumably 650 simultaneous by-elections, with the incumbent government carrying on through the transitional period and by-elections.

  29. They toss a coin in the event of a tie I thought.

    Although how you toss a coin in the event of half a dozen candidates sharing a “nil points” score I don’t know. Perhaps they would roll a die?

    Either way, pretty sure it would be randomly determined – although if there ever were a seat where no votes were cast I expect that the process would be suspended whilst the returning officer checked to see if any shenanigans had gone on (like piles of boxes hidden in the kitchen at the Town Hall)..

  30. Bill Patrick – no, if the votes are tied in a constituency they draw lots to decide the winner. So technically, I suppose lots would be drawn in each constituency to return an MP from amongst those who stood.

  31. Re “no votes” I often wondered why there always seemed enough people who wanted – for example – to run an ironmongers shop or become a dentist and why that was.

    I know we do have shortages of some skills but generally the niche is filled.

    I could never figure out why, as a kid, someone would say:

    “I’d like to have me own ironmongers shop and sel all different size screws”

    I think the same about euphonium players.

  32. “Can’t say there are many others, really. Ted Heath and Ken Clarke are up there.”

    Yes, I was a Teddy boy as well. A much maligned figure who bore the brunt of the move to personaity politics but a bloke with his heart in the right place and who loved his Mum.

  33. Mr N,

    Michael Foot was a very likeable politician. Plus he gave the best speech I have ever come across in the HoC:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bD41YktmOH0

  34. @Allan Christie
    “Most papers in Scotland backed Salmond but all and I mean all were not convinced with independence.”

    Sorry Allan I really do not know where you got that one from. There is only one newspaper in Scotland which is anywhere close to supporting the SNP and that is the Sunday Herald. The rest are virulent in their opposition to the Scotland’s National Party.

  35. They think its all over…
    I pointed out a long time ago that views on Scottish independence haven’t changed in decades and were unlikely to change as they were so fixed. The Panelbase poll gives the latest indication this is true.
    The write up in the Times is that there are grounds for fear amongst the Better Together people (thats folk like me) that the victory may not be sufficiently great as to completely end the demand for a further referendum. So not really “all to play for” I would have thought.?
    For what it is worth, in the recent Aberdeen Donside by election, there was a historic shift downwards in support for independence. Some of you may question my impartiality! but all I can say is that the SNP were desperate to avoid any mention of it anywhere which should tell you something.
    That being said the SNP did win, campaigning almost exclusively on maintaining the council tax freeze and thereafter low tax. Its opponents don’t always understand just how important low tax is to the SNP’s appeal and therefore how unimportant separation is to their voters.

  36. @Allan Christie – I am puzzled by your European comments re. Salmond. As you are probably aware there is no guarantee that in an independent Scotland there will bean SNP Government. Scottish voters will choose which party they wish to govern them in 2016.
    In an independent Scotland the people of Scotland will choose whether they want to stay in Europe, not as at the moment the people of England.
    Independence means we make our own decisions, for me voting YES is a no brainer!

  37. bill

    “for me voting YES is a no brainer!”

    Are you saying you have no brain Bill? – that sounds a bit harsh on yourself.

  38. By 43% to 32% people think the economy would have been worse if Labour had won the last election.
    ————
    This is the polling outcome which would keep me awake o’ nights, were I Mr Balls.

    ——When polled people suggested that job seekers allowance was 100% higher than it actually is and that benefit fraud was 2000% percent higher than it actually is and that crime levels were higher now than 10 Years ago when they are lower, that migrants disproportionately benefit from housing and the nhs when they don’t.

    The thing about polls is that they test the public’s beliefs they don’t test if they are right to hold these beliefs.

  39. @ Mr Nameless

    “He’s one of my favourite Tories as well, purely for not being that right wing (he entered politics as a National Liberal)………….”

    Yes, he is one of mine too. He seems to come from an era of good “knock-about” speeches – whereas today when speakers from either side make speeches they sound just sneidy, sneering and dismissive – rather than just honestly combatitive – such a shame how the art of public speaking has declined so…it makes modern politics so unattractive! Politically too, he believed in coming up with answers to problems rather than just “sifting” problems away by planned news management.

    On the big issue of the narrowing of Labour’s lead to around 6 points, rather than the 9 it was earlier this year – if I were a Labour strategist I would be deeply concerned. Not because there is anything wrong with Labour’s game plan – they presumably have still to set out their stall – but the worry must be that the Coalition isn’t as unpopular as one would assume it should be at this stage of the electoral cycle? The LibDems must be in a bit of a conundrum. They were doing far better at holding off Tory challenges in LibDem areas (Eastleigh & Local Council By-elections) when the Coalition was very unpopular! How very odd it must be to be in a Government where party interests would dictate that the more unpopular the Government is the better your party fares electorally! An increase in Coalition popularity will work against the LibDems in Con v LD areas – bizarre, but true? Perhaps LibDem ministers can engineer a disaster for the Government just in time? (joke!)

  40. Anthony Wells,

    Thanks. That makes sense from a cost POV. If all candidates are tied, then that could result in quite an interesting parliament…

  41. Bill has covered the point I was going to make, that what you are voting for isn’t Alex Salmond or an SNP Scotland, but an Independent Scotland where the SNP will be just another party.

    If an Independent Scotland (IS) does become a “Puppet of Brussels” it will only be because that is what Scots have voted for and support. With a PR Parliament you would need pretty near an absolute majority and iron discipline to make that happen and to maintain it indefinitely.

    One of the things that makes it difficult for the Yes camp and easier for Better Together is that a percentage of people want “guarantees” that post independence they will get what they want.

    Truth is no one in either the Yes campaign or the SNP can give a guarantee of what the people of Scotland will decide and vote for after Independence.

    I am opposed to nuclear power and want an IS to be nuclear free, but if we elects a Labour government that decides to build new nuclear generation I’ll have to live with that.

    Voting “No” because we might get a post Independence pro nuclear Labour government is really voting against Democracy.

    It is like saying;

    “If people are given a choice they might make one I don’t like so I will not give them a choice.”

    I have a long list of things I’d like to see in an IS but they are things that post a Yes vote I would need to work, campaign and fight for, I don’t expect anyone to give me a guarantee that I’ll get everything I want just by voting yes.

    To be honest. I wouldn’t believe them even if they promised it.

    A lot of what Better Together is doing is playing the”Guarantee Card” pointing out that their are no guarantees on all the things that concern people; the NHS, Defence, Pensions, Benefits, you name it.

    It works because in Essense it is true, but what it misses and people don’t seem to really focus on is that none of these things are actually guaranteed now, as the coalitions benefits changes or Chancellor Browns pensions changes shows.

    The closest we have come to see it both was was the spring when the EU referendum debate was in sharp focus.

    Up until then Better Together had made a big play on the fact that the SNP couldn’t “Guarantee” EU membership and had the Scottish Government on the back foot. Suddenly it was the unionists who couldn’t guarantee EU membership for Scotland and that changed the whole tone of the debate.

    Peter

  42. Fair play for The Guardian giving Ian Duncan Smith a platform, even if it might be a tough audience!

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/28/proud-welfare-reforms-fair-benefits

  43. Evening All.
    Heseltine’s Major-era speech was his parody of the 1976 speech when he attacked Labour for going right, in 1996 I think it was.

  44. @PeterCairnes

    Brilliant post!

    One of the things that is most attractive about an IS (to me) is the opportunity to be a country which is energy self-sufficient as all the ingredients are here: wood, wind, wave, solar (or maybe not so much solar, except for this year), hydraulic and gas and oil (for as long as they last and I’d prefer to export them to finance the green alternatives rather than use them.) Energy self-sufficiency alone I would think makes an excellent case for the viability of an IS.

    My problem with the debate (such as it is) so far is that there is apparently no joined-up thinking. We get dribs from the BT group which are rubbished by the IS group. The IS group sets out a reason which in turn is rubbished by the BT group. I’ve been told by an elevated SNP member that the IS group are, like EM, holding their cards close to their chests (hairy or otherwise) until nearer the time but I worry that as with the Labour Party by they time they set them on the table people’s minds may already have been made immoveable up.

    I’ve started watching the Scottish Affairs Select Committee meetings in the hope that I’ll actually learn something. I wonder how many other people watch the committee meetings? They’re unexpectedly interesting.

    I’m sitting on the fence but wobbling toward YES.

  45. @Hal

    The old ones are always the best ones.

    Here’s his response to one of Geoffrey Howe’s budgets:

    “I turn to page two… there are no figures here… I have to admit I have a little difficulty with figures… yes, ah … but whenever I hear the Chancellor of the Exchequer speak, my self-confidence in this feild is refreshed.

    I was fortunate enough to see and hear one of Michael Foot’s lengthy speeches during the 1983 election campaign – in a packed St Andrew’s Hall, Norwich. There were no cameras or microphones (he couldn’t and wouldn’t adapt to the photo-opportunity or sound-bite), but I’d have to say it was an almost trancendental experience for me… up there with Bob Marley at the Crystal Palace Bowl in 1980!

  46. If there is an IS, when it comes to energy policy it will I suspect focus largely on oil & gas.
    If they progress things like wind power more progressively, I hope the people are happy to pay, as the real cost is extremely high, and certainly much higher than people realise.

  47. “I’m sitting on the fence but wobbling toward YES.”

    Good words for a song

    “It’s very, very high. If I fall I’ll be a mess”

    etc

    [to tune of singing in the rain]

  48. @Paul Croft

    The data you asked me about (stability of Lab and Con vote by Pollster) is here (2013 data):

    ht tps://docs.google.com/file/d/0BzTTW1ecy-NDVTdYNHRMcW9EMWM/edit?usp=sharing

    I have added a column of the standard deviation as a proportion of average vote, as if both had an SD of 3 %, yet one was polling at 20 % instead of 40 %, that is proportionately more.

    Of 9 companies, on that basis only 2 pollsters have Labour with more variance (IPSOS and Opinium). These ran only a combined 21 of 212 polls in 2013.

    The overall number of polls were 212, and when combined the proportionate standard deviation for Labour was 5.90 % vs 7.27 % for the Conservatives.

    I hope this makes sense!

  49. “I used a random number generator to produce 100 numbers with mean of 40 and SD of 3.”

    Ernie: have you no chums you could go out with?

  50. STATGEEK

    “@AC

    “Or is it the lack of a credible opposition in Hollyrood?”

    If a government is doing well, the opposition can do little really. I would say that Westminster demonstrates a government doing less well (in the eyes of the electorate), and also has a lack of credible opposition. Hence the voting apathy, and the inclination to vote for alternative parties.

    imho of course”
    _________

    Yeah fair point and I would go along with that.

    Have you got any info on Salmond’s approval ratings kicking about in your top drawer of stats?

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