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. @Statgeek

    ‘Would it be true though?’

    Increasingly so!

  2. @PeterCairns – “No it isn’t and that isn’t where they are begin built.”

    Many beg to differ, including the John Muir Trust, most outdoor organisations and increasingly SNH, who have warned of the impacts on wild areas.

  3. @AmberStar

    I think you are absolutely right to identify the public’s perception of economic competence as a key problem for Labour. The gap is already wide and could well get wider if as I expect recovery continues.

    As you know I do not want a Labour Government so you must view my comments in that light but if EdB is to get anywhere he has to say what cuts Labour will make and where and what additional taxes he is going to impose. I refer to taxes as I understand that Labour plans to use tax more in deficit reduction.

    Of course if he does that he faces the probability that he will just upset more people who he wants to attract to Labour.

    By contrast the Tories have a very clear policy which Osborne has stuck with despite his critics. In doing so the Governments economic stategy has gained credence, reluctant credence admittedly.

  4. TOH

    You are probably right in as much that Osborne has achieve the perception of competence while by all the criteria He set him self has actually failed to deliver it in reality.

    But You and Amber and I (now that’s a terrible triumvirate) probably agree that perception is the key.

    A good example is migration despite the fact that there is a clear need for sustained net migration to any economy with an aging population and birth rate below replacement levels a issue understood by the OBR in the UK and the Right wing German Government .

    It would be a brave (suicidal) politician in the UK who would say what we actually need is more economic migrants not less as the public’s perception based on entirely subjective criteria, hysterical inaccurate reporting and the politics of fear and an underlying casual xenophobia which has been a tradition in the UK for centuries , is that somehow having millions of active often well, educated working age people arriving in the UK while millions of retired UK born people expatriate themselves to the coasts of Southern Europe is actually bad for the countries economy.

    People aren’t stupid but once they have a belief fixed in their head’s it is very difficult to dislodge it by logic and facts alone.

  5. AW
    Why’s that one in Moderation?
    Is there some word to avoid?

  6. AMBER
    “So Ed Balls needs to convince at least some of the people that their belief is wrong regarding Labour & the economy over the past 3 years.”

    Change the emphasis, from how much are we worth to how are we sharing it out.

  7. Morning all,and a particular Hello to Charles,who it is good to have back posting.

    lnteresting stuff from Farage about wanting to go forward by having significant groups of local councillors,this may be a worthy aspiration,but l wonder if the UKIP has the expertise,up and down the country, to deliver?

  8. @Steve

    As a long retired UK citizen the last thing i would want to do is exile myself to the coasts of southern Europe. Many of those who did so have lived to regret it.

    Your point on immigration is well made up to a point. However England is already the most densely populated country in Europe so i do not think that really is a solution for the long term. It’s one of the reasons i bang on about “big state is dead because it will be unaffordable”.

    As you say an you, Amber and i seem to agree that perception is all! Amazing!

  9. Polls display that there isn’t a wish to stop highly educated immigrants. What people are against are ghettoes forming in many cities. Can anyone really say Newham, Bradford, Blackburn etc. are good examples of integration? We also see people from other countries doing jobs for far less money, disadvantaging the host population. Money for the economy does not necessarily translate as money for the workers.

    Claims about immigrants being good for the UK is as ridiculous as claims immigration is bad. Depends who they are, where they are and how many. There are also social considerations. It’s not just about economics. Losing the East End culture was a grave mistake.

    A slower pace with social integration is required. Not the salad plate of division.

  10. New Populus poll:

    Lab 39 (nc)
    Cons 34 (+2)
    LD 11 (nc)
    UKIP 8 (-2)

    Evidence Cons are increasing their share at the expense of UKIP ?

  11. England is not the most densely populated country in europe

  12. @RiN

    Sorry I should have said “major nation in Europe”, Malta is more densely populated.

  13. Ok, it might be if we exclude all the little tiny states, then it’s a toss up between England and Holland. Which surprises me a lot

  14. TOH
    ” if EdB is to get anywhere he has to say what cuts Labour will make and where and what additional taxes he is going to impose.”

    2 years away from the GE – it would be madness to write a maifesto detailing specific spending pledges.

    Spending pledges need to be made when the state of the economy is known & the books have been looked at.
    Who would have guessed that Osborne was set to borrow an additional £250bn from what he promised in his forecast ?

    “I refer to taxes as I understand that Labour plans to use tax more in deficit reduction.”

    Really ? When did he say that then ? Link ?

  15. TOH

    Wrote reply in reaction without checking facts, it seems that just because something can’t possibly be true doesn’t make it untrue

  16. @RiN

    The figures were obtained in a parliamentary answer from the Office of National Statistics.

    In 2008 the average number of people per square kilometre in Britain was 253, rising to 395 in England.

    Latest figures from Holland show that its population density was 395 a square kilometre in 2002 and 393 in 2005. It is estimated that English population density will rise to 464 people for every square kilometre by 2031.

    The population density in England is already almost double the level in Germany and quadruple that in France.

    Thinking of my walk in the Surrey Hills yesterday when my wife and i only saw six other people in a seven mile walk, it surprises me as well.

  17. @Chordata

    Thats Ed B’s dilemma, if he spells it out which i agree is madness his in trouble. If he continues as now and the economy continues to improve the more positive perception of the Governments competence will be entrenched. Amber can see this as a major problem for Labour I’m surprised you can’t.

    On the question of taxation i am sure I have read that somewhere. I am afraid I’m not that interested to research it for you. I expect Amber can give you the context if you ask her.

  18. TOH

    We should just dump everyone in France seeing as they have got the room

  19. With regards to the renewabel energy generation in Scotland… its all a case of smoke and mirrors.

    The figures being quoted (and targetted) are based on the assumption that Scotland only exports “dirty” electricity to England, and only receives in imports “green” electricity. So that the result is that a higher % of green electricity is meeting demand.

  20. Alec,

    “Many beg to differ, including the John Muir Trust, most outdoor organisations and increasingly SNH, who have warned of the impacts on wild areas.”

    Well I gave you , and everyone else, a map that shows where they have been built, granted permission and been proposed which also shows the national parks and areas of outstanding landscape value.

    You may not like what it shows but “begging to differ” means your just ignoring facts you don’t like.

    Outdoor organisations are concerned about the natural environment and rightly so, but they are only one voice and don’t represent the majority view.

    The only political party in Scotland really campaigning against them are the Tories.

    Like the protest against the upgrade of the grid system it tends to be those locally effected making a lot of noise.

    Having sat on half a dozen wind farm planning applications I have had a good look at what goes into an application and getting permission is no easy process.

    The main reason for the protests out with the central belt is that the chosen locations are wherever possible close to grid connections and the power lines tend to follow either the main communications routes like the A9 or the hydro infrastructure.

    That means that they actually avoid the wilder more remote areas but are relatively close to the towns and communities that follow the same communications corridor from Thurso to Stirling or along the A96 to Aberdeen from Inverness.

    The most scenic areas are avoided but they are seen by most small communities along the route. What they change isn’t the character of wild scotland but the nice view from peoples window.

    Whitelees the biggest wind farm in Scotland is probably the best example of getting it right.

    About half a Gigawatt of capacity only 9 miles from Scotland,s largest city on what was unremarkable open moorland.


  21. NHS Direct is withdrawing from its 11 contracts with the 111 service & the only privately-run NHS hospital has applied to the DoH for a £3.5m loan.

  22. @Chordata

    Was going to mention this myself. The 111 service has come under sustained criticism and Dispatches did a pretty damning report. It looks like things have come to a head.

    It remains to be seen if it impacts VI, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it did.

  23. ToH/Chordata,

    EB has gave strong hints about 3 tax raising measures.

    Mansion Tax – being used as a wedge issue I guess.
    Bankers Bonus Tax – to fund Guarantee programme
    Top rate tax back to 50%.

    Also, they will ‘save’ by cancelling some Government spending to but as yet not specified.

    Plus possibly around £10Bn of additional borrowing to fund capital spending which would have some indirect effect on the current account due to the impact on tax revenue and benefit payments.

    The implied position (Coalition plans a starting point) is that the lower borrowing required for fulfilling the coalitions spending plans due to the measures above would be used for extra spending.

    FWIW, I think the ‘bedroom’ tax and some disability benefits will be the most likely ‘cuts’ for reversal.

  24. bankers bonus tax to fund jobs guarantee programme oops.

  25. Richard
    It’s true parts of the UK are crowded but believe it or not 93% of The UK is still countryside.

    80% of us live in the Towns and Cities which account for just 7% of the UK ,if you exclude urban green areas parks gardens etc the figure drops to less than 2%.

    In fact Towns and cities in Victorian England (No cars) were far more congested and densely populated than those of 21st Century UK.

    It is an urban/UKIP legend that the UK is full

    But it is a very good example of the power of perception over reality.

  26. Eric Pickles has suggested that people should be allowed to park for 15 minutes on double yellow lines.

    Would Eric be planning to run a trial programme outside of every Greggs?

  27. @ToH

    Comparing a census figure in 2002 with a providence lacking projected figure for 2031, is the kind of BAD STATISTICS that will get you mocked around here. “It is estimated”? By who? Using what basis for projection? What would the Netherlands figure be using the same methodology?

    Using latest available measures, between 2006 and 2007, the UK comes fourth, at 246 people per square km. This is quite distantly behind Belgium at 344 and the Netherlands at 394.

    Now, let’s also consider that the US has exceptionally low population densities for it’s GDP… But the rhetoric on Immigration is exactly the same as in the UK and the Netherlands. Meanwhile, in Belgium Anti-Immigration rhetoric is the reserve of minority far right parties.

    You can draw your own conclusions about the real verses political foundation over immigration rhetoric.

  28. @ Chordata & TOH

    Ed Balls has said there will be increased taxes.
    1. Mansion Tax;
    2. Return of the 50p rate; &
    3. Bonus tax (Bankers);
    4. Anti-avoidance measures.

    And possibly some tax reductions.
    1. Return of 10p rate;
    2. VAT reduction until the economy pulls out of its slump (estimated to be 1 year).

    I am not convinced that such tax cuts or rises will capture the imagination of the public. Whilst taxes on other people are always welcomed, the public seem to have difficulty believing that the increases & reductions will actually happen &/or work as described (i.e. benefit them &/or the economy in general).

  29. @ JimJam, TOH, Chordata

    I hadn’t seen JJ’s comment until after I posted mine so apologies for any duplication. :-)

  30. Nee bother Amber but has not the VAT cut been shelved as the ‘balance of advantage’ shifts towards more capital investing.

  31. @ JimJam

    …but has not the VAT cut been shelved as the ‘balance of advantage’ shifts towards more capital investing.
    Yes, the VAT cut is currently on the ‘maybe, it depends on how things are looking come 2015’ shelf.

  32. @ John Pilgrim

    Change the emphasis, from how much are we worth to how are we sharing it out.
    Labour do not seem to be getting traction for that tho’.

    Pre-distribution is intended to fundamentally change the way that earnings are shared but Labour haven’t yet convinced people that:
    1. They can make it happen – because they have said there’d be policies to encourage a living wage not that it would be mandatory; &
    2. It would not lead to an over-supply of Labour from outside the UK which would put greater strain on resources. Labour have yet to convince that perceptions regarding such an outcome are wrong &/or how they’d deal with it or – of course – how they’d convince people it would be a good thing, if the perception regarding increased immigration from the EU states is not wrong.

  33. @JimJam & Amber

    Thanks for the references to Labour tax plans. have just come in from the allotments.


    I was very careful to specify England in my reply and the current statistics show England as the most densely populated in Europe apart from Malta.

    I am not against immigration as long as it is controlled. I welcome those bringing either weath or expertise to the UK. I have major reservations about large numbers of unskilled workers coming in. Unemployment is still too high in England for that.

  34. The Dutch respond to increasing population density by building more land.

    Polders in the Thames estuary?

  35. Swamp mongrel

    Bugger that, just seal off the Irish sea and drain that

  36. @Swampmongrel, ToH

    That brings up a related oddity. The ONS statistics for comparative population density are seriously flawed, due to the British House of Commons library using political boundaries as defining the area of a country, not the land mass. That means including the 18.41 percent of the Netherlands which is water in it’s calculation. Obviously this somewhat reduces the Netherlands’s population density in the ONS’s figures, due to the stark difference between how much open water is within the Netherlands’s direct political borders, and how much is within England’s.

    Working this out using land mass area, not political geographical area, I get a current population density figure of 493 people per km square for the Netherlands, compared to 409 for England.

  37. @Petercairns – re turbines in Scotland, one of the key issues for many is that there are insufficient areas within Scotland listed as national parks and outstanding landscape value areas. Indeed, I think I’m correct in stating that until Loch Lomond and the Trossachs was designated a decade or so ago, there wasn’t a single national park in Scotland.

    It’s therefore quite easy to draw up a map showing turbines and designated areas and claim that there isn’t a conflict, but this interpretation could be as much about insufficient designated landscape as about well sited turbines. This is the view that most bodies charged with protecting the landscape are now taking. The map you cite is also 2 years out of date – in terms of Scottish wind farm development, that represents an age.

    I also don’t think it’s accurate to cite majority support for the current Scottish onshore wind policy. A YG poll in June this year found that 75% of Scots backed protection from wind development in core wild area. Defining what this means within a polling question provides a potential bone of contention, as ever, but the poll was commissioned by the JMT and they are actively opposing a number of schemes that they believe fall foul of this principle.

    There is also the issue of greenhouse gas emissions. Many existing and proposed Scottish wind farms are likely to be net contributors to global warming it now appears, as the carbon savings in energy production are more than offset by carbon release from the peat. This really is a very significant issue for Scottish wind policy, as it puts huge areas potentially out of bounds if climate change is a policy justification.

    I’m a supporter of wind power in general, but I wouldn’t want to see a target of 100% energy equivalent from wind in any region. This in itself is a recipe for overgeneration and unacceptable landscape impact, regardless of the economics and the state of the continental interconnector system. The principle of this is that it offloads English energy and environmental responsibilities onto the Scottish landscape, and it not an efficient response to such matters.

  38. @Jayblanc

    Good for year, does not invalidate the point i was making though, ie that England is already densely populated.

  39. @Amberstar

    Bankers’ bonus tax would be a purely political gesture; bonuses are already sharply down and will be cut further if it is re-implemented, both by changing pay patterns (more basic, less bonus) and by top earners moving offshore (which will cost the UK in tax revenue).

    As an example, all the support services for the major bank I used to work for are ready to hive off into a separate company that would provide services back to the bank on contract, removing 6,000 people and about £40m from the scope of the rules.

    And senior guys in the key business areas are prepped to move, with Singapore and Switzerland being the most places to go to.

    I can’t see going back to the 50% rate being very helpful in raising extra revenue either, as opposed to making a political point, and the idea of reinstating the 10% rate band is a joke – the aim should be to simplify, not make things more complex. EB should use any spare cash to increase personal allowances, it’s more efficient.

    Any government that is serious about raising revenue from the top end would concentrate on tackling tax evasion, tax simplification, and implementing the Mansion Tax…

  40. AMBER
    Some thoughts rather than a coherent answer on feasible wealth distribution which could be in EM’s locker:
    Reduction of removal of VAT on specific daily needs of ordinary households, and a return of the 10p tax rate do redistribute wealth, and are readily understood;
    Strengthening and upgrading of vocational/technical training and its upgrading to parity of quality and accreditation with academic qualifications would offer genuine opportunities to job seekers and provide long-term benefits to the economy;
    Investing in English language and related integration measures would reduce inequalities and ghettoisation of immigrant communities, open the way to skilled employment and reduce the populist idea that they aren’t British;
    Not only taxing, but negotiating for self-regulated moderation in bankers’ and other extreme reward systems would strengthen the sector and reduce inequalities.
    Creating high-density public sector supported city housing would strengthen the absorptive capacity and tolerance of population growth, much of which is going to happen regardless of immigration, and kick-start the economy..

  41. Amber Star

    Re pre-distribution the problem is most people don’t have a clue what that means.

    All parties are guilty of producing words or phrases that are ment to convey that parties big idea’s and in the Westminster bubble they make perfect sense to the mainly university educated politicians. But if you have a big idea using words like pre-distribution is probably not very helpful in getting that idea across to the general public.
    As Kelly Johnson said “keep it simple stupid” should be the by word for any big adea if you want any chance of getting your message across.

  42. @ToH

    Except that, as odd as this may sound, Immigration appears to be decoupled from population growth.

    It is consistently true in past figures, that France has practically always had lower net migration than the UK. It is also true that France has practically always had higher population growth than the UK. While we’ve recently surpassed France’s growth… The US’s population growth has also recently dropped down below that of the UK’s, despite still having much higher net-migration than the UK.

    As counter-intuitive as it sounds, there just doesn’t appear to be correlation between Net Migration and Population Growth!

  43. VAT rate cut as a stimulus idea is a very risky play right now. Even a small cut for a few months would cost several billion, and you are banking on a return on that up front cost to the treasury. I believe the last 2.5% cut we had cost around £9 billion a year.

  44. @Jayblanc

    Are you saying then that the growth in the UK population over the last ten years is not at all related to immigration?

    Yes, I agree clamping down on tax evasion, and doing it in the public eye and on a sustained basis, with a sanitised crorporation and tax avoidance systems set in place for the future could be a blue riban operation.
    On not intervening in excessive bonuses, I wonder how far this argument is intended:
    a) to divert attention from their grossly disproportionate size and dubious justification; and
    b) to openly blackmail the government, and – since this response is made primarily in the media – the public, with the hypothetical risk of all these clever men and women going off to nice places like Dubai and Stuttgart. Are there no even more clever, younger men and women with more recent computer skills and even more nerveless capacities for gambling with other people’s money waiting to take their place?

  46. TURK
    I see – the old illiterate electorate gambit.
    Have a look at the points in my post above, and, for my education, tell me which of them present problems of language or understanding for the masses?

  47. @ The Other Howard

    Sat here up north the only comment I have is that the south east of England may well be densely populated but there are huge tracts of land up here with very few souls to be seen.

    Anyway, the Populus poll is interesting. Labour’s position seems reasonably solid, with the Tory vs UKIP swing affecting the size of our lead. So the killer question is this – how many of those UKIP %s can swing back permanently into the Tory camp?

  48. Re 111

    I think there was a growing feeling on here from some of the Tory posters that Con were making progress on NHS in getting Labour to take some of the blame for failings in NHS trusts. This would likely set that back.

    I only see it as an admin issue rather than a service to users issue or life threatening in any way. Doesn’t mean that resources aren’t having to come from other areas to pay for 111 but the fact is you can still turn up at a walk in surgery or go straight to A&E so it’s an issue related to efficiency and the knock on effect of higher costs if it is not working properly.

    People were taking earlier about Spending issues that Lab has. I think it is win win for the Tories because it is difficult to counter the ‘maxing out the credit card’ statement on an issue Lab has traditionally been ‘poor’ on. Other than saying ‘no- we didn’t overspend and the overspending was caused by bailing out the banks’ what can they say to convince people? Any argument against Lab is going to be easier to portray in a soundbite and have more of a ring of truth because people know Lab spend more.

    Lab spend more than Tories and in a sense this is the way it should be. I’d say it was almost core to the doctrines of the two parties. Tories want low taxes, low spending- left wing prefer higher taxes and higher spending- that is the traditional reason why we have two parties! Arguments on these lines are about how much less taxes/spending and how much more tax/spending is acceptable to voters. Sadly I think both parties have tended to go for an option of pretending that “efficiencies” and “reform” can provide higher spending and lower taxes which I think is nonsense.

  49. @Amber Star

    On Ed Balls and his taxes that may fail to catch the imagination.

    Would it help if he tried to bring them together under some kind of general umbrella? And in doing this might he build on the Obama speech that you mentioned (i.e. that in fact the ability of people to amass wealth builds on the contribution of numerous other people whose contribution may not be recognized and many of them employed by the state).

    An idea of this kind might underpin the kind of approach that John Pilgrim seems to be advocating on more concentration on how wealth is distributed. And perhaps it needs to go with a more positive view of the state as a partner with and enabler of business rather than simply a drain on its resources. (And by this I don’t mean that the state simply subsidizes the wages of the low paid).

    And if the state could make this a reality, companies would need to decide if they could afford to flee the place the country in order to keep their greedier employees, and evade paying a decent living wage.

    And if they do so flee, we will need to decide if we are well shot of them or ought to work harder to give them the decent social environment and infrastructure that will keep them and make this a better place to work than Switzerland or Singapore.

    Obviously people may decide not to leave but find clever ways to avoid paying taxes instead. In which case I would suggest employing Bigfatron on an incentive basis, so that he at least could amass enormous wealth as a reward for stopping others from doing so unfairly.

  50. @ John Pilgrim

    The bankers’ bonuses are a tax on the banks, based on the bonuses paid to staff located in London. They aren’t a direct tax on the staff.

    Why would Deutsche Bank, for instance, not relocate its fifty top Fixed Income Traders to Singapore if, by doing so, it could avoid £50m in bonus tax?

    It makes no difference if there are other people willing to do the job in London, the actual job itself has been relocated to Singapore… and the UK has lost the PAYE on their salaries and bonuses, VAT on their spending, etc. etc. as well, not to mention the hundred or so support jobs that would follow them out there.

    None of this argues that their bonuses are proportionate, but if we start legislating on the basis of specific jobs being overpaid we do open an interesting can of worms.

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