This week’s YouGov poll for the Sunday Times is up here, topline figures are CON 32%, LAB 38%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 13% – in line with the average YouGov Labour lead of six points or so. The rest of the poll was very much August fare (when a poll comes along with a big chunk of questions on whether TV presenters should have beards you know you are deep in silly season), though there were some repeats of YouGov’s semi-regular questions on how Ed Miliband is doing as Labour leader. As usual they are not very complementary.

I’ve written about the strange anomaly of Ed Miliband’s poor ratings several times (normally voting intention and best PM are far more closely correlated, and being ahead in voting intention tends to be accompanied with an opposition leader having more positive ratings. The sharp contrast between Ed Miliband’s poor personal ratings and Labour’s long-term lead in voting intention is unusual). I see how it resolves itself is one of the great unanswered questions of the next general election – whether Labour continue to do well despite Miliband’s poor ratings (as the Conservatives did despite Thatcher’s poor ratings in 1979), or whether the negative perceptions of Miliband weigh more heavily on the public as we get closer to a general election and a choice between who they want to form the next government, and Labour support is consequently dragged down. We cannot tell.

What we can tell is that perceptions of Miliband seem to be heading in the wrong direction. Today’s YouGov poll has the proportion of people thinking he is a weak leader up to 51% (from 47% in July and 37% last September), the percent thinking he is not up to the job of Prime Minister is up to 62%, from 57% in July, 51% in May. Whether this actually matters or not is a different question – personally I find the evidence of repeated British Election Studies that perceptions of the party leader are an important factor driving voting intention compelling… but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be outweighed by other factors that are presumably responsible for Labour having been in the lead now for over 18 months.

471 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 32, LAB 38, LD 10, UKIP 13”

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  1. @ RiN, Martyn and Colin

    The debate between Kaldor and Friedman in two issues (Kaldor’s article, Friedman’s response and Kaldor’s repost) of the Lloyd Economic Review in the 1970s covered your debate. RiN’s position is very much like Kaldor’s and it’s closer to the reality (Friedman had a purely ideological stance). The style of the response and response to the response is fantastic. Such a style today would disqualify any article.

  2. @ Amber

    Yes, it is a municipal, conscription and reservist army. But the officer corps are based on class in the reservist army.

    As one of my ex colleagues said (true upper class Trot) – a revolution in the UK would have to rely on public schools (cadets) to handle weapons which is not very promising.

  3. @ Colin

    No, I have in mind the ability of shareholders to limit their loss to their equity regardless of how badly the industry sector performs. They can sprinkle their assets around, to spread their risk.

    How can car workers similarly spread their risk & limit their losses? They have only one working life. How can they spread their risk?

  4. Laszlo

    That’s nice to know, cos that was entirely my own thinking and I was dreading having to argue my position without haveing quotable academic backing

  5. @PeterCairns – ” …this is the point they need to lance the boil.”

    Ed (who turned down the chance to appear on the Today programme this morning) is probably still hard at work on his conference speech (and reshuffle). Others will no doubt correct me if I’m wrong, but bar him deciding to stand down, the only way to “dump him” would be if 50+ MPs put their names to an alternative candidate in advance of the annual conference.

    When it comes to major themes at the election… at times it seems that a disorderly break up of the Coalition could be on the cards, then the possibility seems to recede again. This week there was a signal that Con/LD leaderships are preparing mutually negotiable manifestoes… but it seems MPs and members (crucially in the case of LDs) are not keen on any repeat performance.


    THis is from a piece in Forbes , back in April 2013.

    “Among the 50 largest cities in the United States, Detroit has the highest property taxes. The city has a home property tax of 3.3%, a commercial property tax of 4.1% and an apartment property tax of 4.2%. Residents pay as much to the city as they pay interest on their mortgages.

    Detroit has a corporate income tax of 2% and a personal income tax of 2.4%. A small corporation with as little as $1 million in revenue would owe Detroit an extra $20,000, pay an extra $24,000 personally or perhaps even both. Detroit even taxes nonresidents who work within the city. These are city income taxes piled on top of the Michigan state income tax rate of 5%. No wonder businesses were leaving Detroit.”

  7. @ RiN

    I didn’t mean it like this, I hope you know it. Only wanted to say that I he debate has been around for some time, only it’s forgotten. Actually some of it was already in the debate between the banking school and currency school in the 1840s, though it was gold standard.

    And I think your argument is right. The example Kaldor gives is that just before Christmas the government wants to reduce money supply and allows people to take money only at one place in the country and only £5. The economy (through debt as you said) would create an alternative monetary system.

    Central Banks do not control monetary base, only influence it (and not much).

  8. In a way regardless of who you think made the mistakes Detroit fits in well with the US political philosophy.

    In a free market cities should be just like companies or private hospitals competing in a free market.

    Some adapt and change better than others, some prosper some fail.
    The cause of the change they need to adapt too isn’t always their fault and can sometimes be just to big and two fast.

    I’d hardly blame the dinosaurs for the Asteroid that wiped them out. I am not maounting a defence of Detroit just making a general point that letting a city fail like a bank is in line with US philosophy of light touch.

    As to when to intervene, if at all, that depends on whether you think the pain spreads to far and will cause ripples and needs to be contained. Do you rescue the badly managed company for the sake of the workers or bail out the bank to protect the pensioners savings.

    It’s all very well to say shareholders should be open to the risk up to total loss, but I doubt many teachers would agre to that if it was their pension fund that held the shares and they were facing a retirement in poverty after a lifetime of contributions.

    Depending on where you are on the political spectrum you will apportion blame and responsibility somewhere.



    @”No, I have in mind the ability of shareholders to limit their loss to their equity regardless of how badly the industry sector performs. They can sprinkle their assets around, to spread their risk.”

    I don’t know what you mean.

    Of course a shareholder can choose which company to invest in. They do the research, choose the company , and buy the shares. If the company goes bust they lose the lot.

    I’m not sure I understand the point you are making.

  10. @ Colin

    The only people who make money as a “class” in publicly quoted companies are the managers and their friends – certainly in the US.

  11. @Colin

    Detroit’s public funding problems started long before the collapse of the economy. Detroit’s public finances have been crumbling for a long time. And they started because of the “Tax Payers Revolt” movement in the 1970s. A coupling of wide-spread tax avoidance, and legal and political movements to reduce what taxes were applied.

    With surrounding, but substantially better off regions making a race-to-the-bottom on taxes, Detroit was struggling. Caught between the demands of the “small-government” tax revolt, the need to clean up generations of industrial pollution and decay, and surrounding better off regions offering nicer living conditions and lower taxes… Have you *seen* pictures of Detroit’s abandoned buildings? There are so many city blocks that are just abandoned husks, and this has been going on for a long time, because without direct intervention the default in the US *is* small or entirely absent government.

    In the small government, low tax, leave it to the market world, Detroit Dies. Detroit Dies because there’s no market value to cleaning up the decaying infrastructure of a failing city, you just let it fail. How *do* you regenerate a City in as bad a state of decay like Detroit without huge government intervention?

    What happened to Detroit could well have happened here too, Manchester would have gone the same way had there not been government intervention. The US has no real equivalent to the European Regional Development Fund, and the bulk of politics would think it political suicide to ever even suggest doing so. To blame the failure of Detroit on “Big Government” is absurdest.


    Thanks-from what I read , Detroit certainly didn’t qualify as “In the small government, low tax, “.

    If a “government” goes bankrupt , what other reason is there than mismanagement . ?

  13. @ Colin

    Of course a shareholder can choose which company to invest in. They do the research, choose the company , and buy the shares. If the company goes bust they lose the lot.
    No they don’t lose “the lot”; the amount they lose is limited to the stake they put in. Everything else which they have is protected. Hence the term, LIMITED liability.

    Regarding workers, generally speaking they get one education, one apprenticeship & one working life.

  14. Sorry Amber

    I’m not on the same wavelength.

    You want a limit of one company per shareholder -and that they put all their investments in that one company????

    Well it would be an interesting model of corporate funding-that’s for sure.

    Workers have “one working life” ?……… ……..yes . And as many opportunities to change job as their education/inclination & the economic conditions facilitate.
    And workers can be shareholders too.

    I just don’t understand the parallels you are trying to draw here.

    I guess there’s nothing more I can usefully say.

  15. Dear Employer,
    I would like to limit my liability in the event that your company or industry sector were to collapse. Therefore, I am hoping you will grant me a one-day apprenticeship as a car mechanic/ IT programmer/ miner/ welder/ accountant so that I can spread my risk.
    Yours sincerely,
    A worker who’d like to have relative parity with the framework which applies to shareholders.

  16. Anyways, we have a new thread, so my musings on capital v workers can either be:
    1. Curtailed;
    2. Continued here;
    3. Continued on the next thread.

    I think people will choose #1. but I’ll check back here just in case. :-)

  17. @Colin

    When a Government goes bankrupt due to a fiscal slide that occurs over generations… might you consider it was the fault of the voters voting for lower taxes and ignoring infrastructure decay when it wasn’t in their region…

  18. Jayblanc,

    Compared to other US cities, Detroit has very high taxes, including property taxes that are twice as high as anywhere else.

    Detroit developed a model of (a) high taxes and (b) terrible public services. Quite impressive.

  19. “Nope-I’m suggesting that Big Government gave them costs which were not sustainable. ”
    Alternatively you could attribute the decline of Detroit’s motor industry to market forces, especially the loss of market share due to cheaper imports of more fuel-efficient cars which buyers were turning to. Capitalism and free competition at work.

    The situation was worsened by the exodus of many business, and high earners / taxpayers, to other states, partly caused by civil unrest.

  20. The US has a particular problem with local administrations having control over their own destinies.

    Outlying, wealthier suburbs tend to hive themselves off into their own “city” – removing the tax base that in the UK and other countries would support the “main” city with all of it’s problems with poverty and urban decay.

    There are some conurbations in the UK where this also exists (for example low-wealth Salford being seperate from higher-wealth Trafford) but it is much less pronounced and has been arranged by central government not by the populations of the wealthier areas.

  21. “As one of my ex colleagues said (true upper class Trot) – a revolution in the UK would have to rely on public schools (cadets) to handle weapons which is not very promising.”


    We had a shooting range at school. I passed the Army Empire test… What more do you want at sixteen?

    Mum was an excellent shot though, she’d lived on a farm…

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