The weekly YouGov poll for the Sunday Times is now up online here. Topline voting intention figures are CON 32%, LAB 38%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 13%, showing the six point Labour lead that has been typical in YouGov polls of late. As well as regular trackers, today’s poll also has some questions on Syria and on the whole Edward Snowden, GCHQ, David Miranda, Guardian affair.

There is still minimal support for any intervention in Syria (if anything there is slightly less support than when YouGov asked the same questions back in May). While 77% would support sending humanitarian supplies to civilians in Syria and 41% would support sending protective clothing to troops fighting against Assad, a majority would oppose any other type of intervention – 58% would oppose sending small arms to the rebel troops, 74% would oppose sending British troops in Syria itself (just 9% would support military intervention on the ground).

A batch of questions on Edward Snowden and GCHQ show people pretty evenly divided on the principle of GCHQ’s behaviour, 41% think it is right that GCHQ should be able to listen into internet and communication data, 45% think it’s wrong. People are still split on whether the Guardian was right to publish stories about it – 40% think it right, 45% think it is wrong.

As the questions move onto the government and security services’s response, the destruction of the Guardian’s hard drives and the holding of David Miranda at Heathrow the balance of opinion moves slightly towards the security services. In questions about the Guardian hard drives people are, on balance, supportive off their destruction – by 54% to 23% they think it was sensible, by 41% to 34% they reject the idea it was pointless. Finally on the question of David Miranda’s treatment at Heathrow airport, 46% think the police were right to use anti-terrorism laws to detain David Miranda, 36% that they were wrong. 49% think it was a sensible use of powers to protect national security, 34% think it was a misuse of powers to interfere with legitimate journalism.

Also in today’s Sunday papers was an ICM poll in the Sunday Telegraph. The Telegraph article doesn’t make it clear, but I think this is actually one of ICM’s “wisdom index” polls (that is, rather than asking people how they would vote they ask people to guess what the percentages will be at the next election and average them) – the figures look more like ICM’s wisdom polls than their regular polls, and ICM don’t do standard voting intention online. For the record the poll has the Conservatives on 30%, Labour on 32%, Lib Dems on 16%, UKIP on 12%.

There is also an Angus Reid Scottish poll in the Sunday Express, already well written up by John Curtice here, which found current referendum voting intention standing at YES 34%, NO 47%.

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

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  1. PC

    “Did I mention we have had an open border with the Irish republic since 1926”

    Now Now some might accuse you of posting (An inconvenient truth). ;-)

  2. @ Roger Mexico

    The question is: why were these questions asked (thus, not the wording)?

    I don’t think that the public is stupid – they answer to these questions whatever seems reasonable and they then “read between the lines”.

    @ Anthony Wells

    Has YG ever asked for feedback from the panelists on the questions (it SEEMS that on some consumer surveys you do)?


    YouGov does ask for feedback. I regularly suggest to them that asking questions about “British” education, NHS, local government etc etc is misleading and silly.

    Since they continue with the practice, it is conceivable that they seel feedback, but choose to ignore it.

  4. It would be interesting to see a poll that offered panelists across the uk the option to choose between Westminster and Holyrood policies in key areas like;

    The NHS; Reform, privatisation and PFI
    Education; Free schools, school choice, league tables, no tuition fees.
    Law and order; children’s panels, single police force, compassionate release.
    Parliament; PR, Single chamber.
    Others; No bridge tolls, Free elderly care etc.

    In the past any polling seems to have focused on “Is it fair they get what you don’t” making it more about Barnet than the specific policies. Taking that out to look at the merit of both choices would be interesting.

    I full suspect that on both sides of the border people would choose their own , but, if it was asked in terms of a straight choice, I suspect that Scotland’s policies would be more popular in England than the other way round.



    When I was in North Carolina, just after the al-Megrahi release, I was asked what I thought about it. I said I was in favour of compassionate release arrangements, but observed that they had that facility too – it was just wasn’t used.

    The questioner (being somewhat liberal) liked the concept of compassionate release – but had never known that it also existed in the NC Penal Code.

    (That may now have changed with the Republicans controlling all parts of NC Government – though probably not, since it was a provision long defunct!)


    Worth widening out the range of options. I quite like the sound of the Welsh Early Years curriculum.

  7. @ Steve,

    Why would you think Conservative votes will rise since the last election (they never have achieved this before)

    The splintering of the Lib Dems has raised the Tory baseline as well as the Labour one.

    I think Allan’s overall election prediction is wrong for a whole host of reasons, starting with his bizarre premise that Scotland will not send MPs to the 2015 Parliament (even if they vote for independence, which they probably won’t, the split will not be instantaneous), but the idea that the Tories will increase their vote share is not completely ridiculous. Remember, they were polling in the 40s as late as 2011.


    Correct – the split would not be instantaneous. However, in the eventuality of a Yes vote, it would seem unlikely that rUK would want to create a government on the basis of elected MPs who would be there only for a year or so,

    One of the useful things about an uncodified constitution is that you can make up the rules as you go along!

    Again, if there were to be a Yes vote, then the basis on which Scots decided to pick their Westminster MPs would be radically different.

    If the referendum were to produce a small No margin, then again the basis on which Scots chose their MPs might be very different again!

    Assuming that the referendum result would make no difference to the composition of our Westminster contingent seems unwise.

    We haven’t seen a Scottish poll on Westminster VI for some time. However, if the slump of the LDs in Holyrood VI were to be translated to Westminster (always difficult to know whether it would or not) then not only would the SNP and Labour pick up FPTP seats, so would the Tories.

  9. @ Old Nat

    Sadly, the Yes voters I know (both in my family & with whom I’m acquainted) either couldn’t care less about the EU or are actually against it. They’d rather get a visa when going to Spain on holiday than see Scotland (or the UK for that matter) providing education & benefits to non-Scots who are EU citizens.

    The problem (for Yes) is the ones whom I convince about the EU being a good thing, change their mind about independence too & say they’ll vote No.

  10. Amber

    “going to Spain on holiday” – So they’re not heading for Catalunya then? :-)

  11. I think Mrs Merkel killed Yes, Scotland when she locked the euro printing press then turned it on when she discovered that the German banks were in the ‘carp’ with the rest of them. Before that, I think Scots would’ve been okay with the euro.

    To add to the problem, she – together with some others, of course – made a pig’s ear of addressing the Cyprus banking problem. Now Scots don’t want to even think about holding deposits in third party currency – which is what GBP would be, post independence!

  12. @ Old Nat

    LOL! They’ve probably never heard of it.

  13. What happens to Scottish MP’s in the event of a “Yes” vote is interesting.

    The possible alternatives are;

    They step down immediately as the have a conflict of interests in the negotiations assuming Parliaments not just Governments have a role. The SNP has made it clear that they want all the Holyrood parties to be involved not just the government.

    They stay on till 2015 and step aside at the next election with their constituents represented by their Constituency MSP’s on reserved matters until negotiations are over and full Independence.

    Scottish Constituency MP’s don’t stand for re-election in 2015 but stay on as dual constituency MP’s paid by Holyrood but representing their constituents on reserved matters until Independence.

    (I think this is a daft idea but I am willing to bet a lot of Scottish Constituency MP’s advocate it on the basis of the Christmas Turkey Rule and that they raise lots of serious issues that prolong the negotiations).

    As to the House of Lords and the status of peers that’s anyone’s guess but as I’d happily get shot of the lot of them I really don’t care.


  14. @Petercairns

    Or they stay on as having a valid role until the actual split occurs. At that point both countries have a GE to determine their respective governments.

  15. Bill Patrick

    I wonder if the “black swan event” might turn out to be the Common Weal, originated by the Jimmy Reid Foundation?

    It get’s a splash in today’s Sunday Herald

    It would be an attractive concept for many/most SNP, Labour and LD voters (and even some Tories). The SNP, Greens and SSP might well endorse it, although the Westminster based parties obviously wouldn’t.

    As with any black swan, though, we can’t know in advance!


    “At that point both countries have a GE to determine their respective governments.”

    Wouldn’t that cause a problem at Westminster under the current rules about timing of elections, unless the governing party and the opposition conspired to force an election?


    Indeed could either Tory or Labour afford to have another election so soon after the last one?

  18. Amber,

    “Sadly, the Yes voters I know (both in my family & with whom I’m acquainted) either couldn’t care less about the EU or are actually against it. They’d rather get a visa when going to Spain on holiday than see Scotland (or the UK for that matter) providing education & benefits to non-Scots who are EU citizens.

    You need to get out more.

    The majority of Scots and yes voters support EU membership and tuition fees. I haven’t seen a poll on;

    “Would you vote for tuition fees if it meant not having to provide free tuition to EU citizens in Scottish universities”

    If there was it would be a resounding “No” as the vast majority of Scots are more than smart enough to realise that giving free education to up to 20,000 Eu students is worth it to get it for over 200,000 Scottish ones.

    It’s not ideal but it is like the Council tax freeze, people in band H save three times as much than in a band A so the argument is that it favours the better off and so should be ended.

    The problem is that there are only 12,000 band H’s but over half a million band A’s, so for every family in a big house who can afford it you take an extra £3 off you need to take £1 from over forty families in small houses many of whom can’t.

    That,’s why every time Labour attacks the Council Tax freeze the SNP burst out laughing and when it comes to an election Labour can’t win.

    Like your description of the views of the “Yes” and “No” voters you know it reflects a narrow what’s in it for me attitude in both cases which is exactly the politics of greed and envy, fear and loathing that those of us who want Independence want to see the back of.



    I would hesitate to criticise Amber for any aspect of a “what’s in it for me attitude”. She has shown a noble concern for those who live under a different NHS system from her! :-)

    The Sunday Times ran a Project fear story today about English students who pay £9,000 a year getting places at Scottish Universities with lower grades than Scottish students, and suggesting that somehow Scots applicants would be frozen out.

    They failed to point out that the places funded by the Scottish Government hadn’t reduced at all, and that appropriate Scots with less than desirable grades could also get a place by paying £9,000.

    That’s nothing new. My parents paid for my brother’s fees for a year after he screwed up exams and resits, and Robin Harper’s family for a couple of years more than that!

    As for EU students getting free places – has anyone done an analysis of the cost/spend benefits to the economy of their presence at Uni without paying fees?

    Might it be better than the cost per worker of schemes like building aircraft carriers?

  20. @Petercairns

    What makes you think that the actual date of the split would be so soon after 2015? It might be, but then again it might not. There are many aspects of negotiation, legislation etc…

    As for the current decision on election intervals, there is nothing to stop a future Parliament changing that, for example in a “Independence of Scotland Bill”.

  21. I know there hasn’t been much mention of this since Nadine Dorries got slapped down for suggesting it, but have we heard any movement on multi-party tickets for General Elections?

    There’s some obscure piece of legislation which legally allows two party logos per candidate on a ballot, which as I recall was implemented to facilitate Lib Dem/Tory candidates.

    I think though, that the Tories are hushing it up because they have more to lose than to gain. Lab/PC, Lab/Green, Lab/SLF tickets would be formidable forces in marginal seats and something I can see the minor parties (particularly the nationalists) being on board for if it increases their presence in parliament. Perhaps not the SNP, there’s too much animosity between them and Labour.

    Meanwhile, there are something like twenty seats where the Tories were denied victory by a UKIP vote (assuming they’d all have voted Tory otherwise, which they wouldn’t). Even then, most of the current UKIP VI comes from the Tories, so at best they’d be regaining their original vote.

    There are other problems too (angering anti-Tory UKIP voters and the chaos that would be organising whips for intertwined parties) but I think we may be some way from it yet.

  22. Scotland?
    One reason which attracts people to this site is that the cold statistics act as a partial corrective to our human drive to over-rate the probability of very unlikely events. But this only partially works. Statistically, a separation vote in Scotland is mamothly unlikely. Within margin of error, the polls have recorded no change in my lifetime. A third or so have always wanted a separate Scotland and this is still true.
    John Curtice points to the salience of benefits and pensions in the forthcoming debate but does not mention the contribution to this argument made by the poll which asks if a Yes vote would influence participants to leave the counctry. A large number confirm that this is what they might do, preponderantly the young. The Express article mentions the impact that this would have on tax income.
    The referendum poldrums has provoked some division in the SNP camp with some such as G Keravan suggesting the need for a much greater radicalism, wheras others such as Harvey Aberdein, a wealthy SNP backer, argue for a position of saying nothing will change.
    B Patrick has explained previously that the vote is barely coupled to support for the SNP or Labour and those outside Scotland should try to understand that the support for the SNP enjoyed at Scottish Parliament elections is firmly rooted in exactly the issue of frozen Council Tax P Cairns mentions and the populist policy of covering up its long term effects.
    The challenge for those like me who support Better Together is to ensure that the victory is decisive to prevent a neverendum.
    At heart, the SNP is a low tax party similar to other populist groupings which have emerged across northern Europe.


    “which as I recall was implemented to facilitate Lib Dem/Tory candidates.”

    it’s a long-standing provision. The most common two-party label (not logos) is Labour/Co-operative Party duality.

    There were 28 of them elected in 2010.

  24. The sheep,

    “What makes you think that the actual date of the split would be so soon after 2015?”

    Balance of probability; both sides will argue their case up to the referendum and it suits BT to talk up long and difficult negotiations, but if there is a “Yes” vote it is in everyone’s interest to get it done and dusted as quickly as possible.

    Neither side wants long drawn out and acrimonious talks to undermine a long term relationship that is of mutual benefit.

    If I was Cameron I’d aim for a draft in 6 months and push as much as possible in place before the General Election. He gets rid of about 52 opposition Mp’s forty or so Labour and a just under a dozen of those pesky LibDem’s.

    Labour in 2010 got 28% of the vote in England and 191 seats. They got 42% in Scotland and 41 seats. Add the 26 welsh seats and Scotland accounts for 14% of their total in Westminster.

    For the Libdems it is even more acute. They got a lower vote in Scotland than England but got 11 Scottish seats as opposed to
    43 in England and 3 in Wales. That’s almost 20% of their seats on less than 7% of their votes.

    Make no bones about it from the perspective of MP’s at Westminster they are much more scared of the SNP’s threat to their seats than Independences impact on the UK.


  25. I’d be happy to have multi party candidates.

    I think it might be a nudge that leads to some form of genuine PR.


    So you support the Common Weal vision then? Good to hear it.

  27. Barney,

    The reason John Curtiss doesn’t pay much attention to the “I’ll leave if theirs a Yes vote” is that people have been polled on “leave if they win” in election after election for decades and it never happens.

    Despite many stating it and papers saying “Last on to leave turn off the Lights” there was no waves of left wing émigrés after Thatcher moved into Number 10, nor did businesses flee and the rich head for Australia when Blair got in.

    It doesn’t happen.

    As to Covering up the long term effects I’d be intrigued to know what they are. There has been a lot of coordinated wailing and mashing of teeth from Labour and the public service unions over the council tax freeze but Audit Scotland figures show that services in the last five years have improved and so has public satisfaction.

    Be in no doubt Councils have had to make some hard choices but having spent many an hour going through the figures for Highland Council I can tell you absolutely that we were able to find efficiencies while maintaining services.

    More importantly a good number of those efficiencies wouldn’t have been implemented if Councillors could have raised the Council Tax and blamed Gearing Ratios, the Scottish Government, the Westminster Government, Inflation, the recession or anything else that would avoid them being unpopular.

    In the first two years of the freeze about have of the savings proposed and implemented in the north were things that had been previously proposed but rejected as they couldn’t be done and we had been “forced reluctantly” to raise the Council Tax instead.

    I have only one regret about the Council Tax, that it takes a strait jacket from central government to make Councillor look for real efficiencies and live within their means.


  28. I’ve heard of ‘The Scottish Play’ but now we have The Scottish Thread. Why?

  29. Bureaucracy gone mad; P.C. gone mad; Health & Safety gone mad…yes, Test match umpires – that means you!


    Yep-we would have got them.

    Clarke was fussing around the Umpires like an old hen.

    I don’t get it-we were batting & wanted to carry on.

  31. I doubt any separation could be quick or painless, because there is so much money involved and everyone will want to keep the assets and offload the liabilities. Six years seems more likely than six months.

    Until then do Scots really want their foreign policy, pensions, etc decided for them by an English/Welsh/NI Parliament? It’s very much in Scotland’s interest to keep their Westminster MPs in place until the very last minute- you want to negotiate the terms of exit with your own government, not a foreign one- and as you point out, it’s against the interests of Labour and the Lib Dems to throw them out (not to mention the SNP). So where does Cameron get the majority to do it, especially now that he’s been discredited as the Conservative and Unionist prime minister who presided over the breakup of the United Kingdom?

    I doubt they’re going anywhere until at least 2020, regardless of the outcome of the referendum.

  32. @ Mr. Nameless,

    I don’t know. From a rational standpoint joint candidates make sense, but I don’t think politicians are rational about this. The progressive parties may loathe the Tories, but it is nothing compared to the virulent hatred they feel for each other (well, Plaid and the Lib Dems and Labour- no one really seems to hate the Greens). Right now the rightwing Tories kind of like Ukip because it pushes Cameron right, but if it costs them seats at the next election I’m sure we’ll be seeing a new blood feud form.

    And how does the small party on the joint ticket make sure the big party actually implements their policies? Labour MPs brandishing Labour manifesto pledges have a hard enough time getting Labour governments to implement them, much less some Green policy that only a few joint-ticket MPs support. When was the last time we saw a discernibly Co-op policy? Caroline Lucas isn’t going to get any policies through either, but at least her supporters have the satisfaction of knowing she won’t be whipped into voting for a policy they hate.

  33. Howard,

    “I’ve heard of ‘The Scottish Play’ but now we have The Scottish Thread. Why?”

    Because the last part of Anthony’s post was about an Angus Reid poll on the referendum and John Curtiss’s article about it.


  34. HOWARD

    And because there is a Saltire on the post heading. Anthony’s way of signalling that there can be discussion of Macbeth’s country!

    Fortunately, most of us have managed to do that within the UKPR policy of not making partisan posts.

  35. @mrnameless

    I don’t think the joint party legislation was aimed at helping the Co-operative party.

    Nick Boles was one those close to Cameron who was calling for a Con/LD electoral pact in 2015… they were actually called “purple plotters”: John Major + MPs Nick Boles, Glyn Davies, Peter Lilley and Jacob Rees-Mogg.

    It came to a head at the OE&S byelection in January 2011, when the Independent reported Andrew Mitchell (in a meeting of the cabinet) called for everything possible to be done to help Liberal Democrats beat Labour.

    It’s all gone quiet since then… in fact Cameron’s problems with backbenchers/rightwingers in the party seemed to take off at about that point.

    The Conservative party has stated any MP who tries to stand on a joint ticket with UKIP will be disqualified.

    Farage is resolved to make fewer public appearances for the time being, while he gets a grip on party organisation (after UKIP’s chief executive resigned the other week). Tories will be hoping UKIP runs out of funds after the EU elections, and that Nigel can be persuaded to have limited ambitions for 2015.

    Rees-Mogg, after advocating a Con/LD pact, now seems to suggest that the traditional type of ‘understanding’ (where UKIP stands down candidates where there is a eurosceptic Tory) is still on the cards… Farage’s demand for Cameron to stand down as leader is “negotiable” if he can secure further concessions.


    I agree. The details will need some time to work out – but the essential principles can be agreed fairly quickly.

    For example, if rUK wants to be the sole successor state, take “our share” of common assets and accept all of the UK’s liabilities (for that is what would be involved), then we could probably live with that.

    Alternatively, rUK could adopt the sensible position of sharing assets and liabilities on a pro rata basis as envisaged by the Vienna Convention.

    Sadly, that means rUK gets to keep the whole of the Palace of Westminster. I so wanted to open a fast food joint in our bit of it. :-)


    Labour Co-op MPs have been around since the 1920s (at least).

    I don’t think that current legislation has anything to do with discussions held in 2015.

  38. Oops! I was wrong.

    Some partisan posting has crept in. Peter and Amber stop it!

  39. @ Peter

    I’m wondering why you seem to think that I personally determine the policies of the Labour Party.

  40. Amber

    I’m sure that no one thinks that your reasonable views have any influence whatsoever on the policies that the Labour Party adopts.

  41. @ Old Nat

    I know… I was just trying to have a friendly chat with you about people’s attitudes to independence within the EU vs independence outwith the EU vs Scotland being part of the UK & doing whatever the entire UK collectively decides regarding the EU.

    I was trying to be as non-partisan as possible, given we already know that you & I have many similar views & some that differ. I’m always interested in your points, whether I agree with them or not.

    I also dislike ignoring comments addressed to me but maybe in this case I should make an exception – unless Peter wants to join in with the ‘spirit’ of our friendly discussion.

  42. P Cairns
    If Local Income Tax is the answer according to the SNP and the SNP has a majority in the Scottish parliament, why isn’t it in place?
    Old N
    No. I am as most regular readers here know a moderate slightly left of centre Labourite.

  43. Oldnat/BillyBob –

    The legislative changes were to correct a drafting error in the legislation allowing logos on ballot papers that was only spotted in the run up to the 2010 election. Joint candidates have been allowed for years and years, however in the run up to the general election it was noticed that the legislation providing for logos on the ballot paper did not cover joint candidates.

    It was purely a drafting error, from memory it was something like sub-section (a) of a particular section allows a party description, sub-section (b) allows a joint-party description, but when the legislation later sets out the rules for party symbols it only refers to candidates nominated under sub-section (a) of the previous section, rather than sections (a) AND (b).

    Anyway, this came to light in the run up to the 2010 election, the electoral commission sent out last minute guidance meaning that joint candidates (primarily Lab/Co-op candidates) could not legally use the Labour logo. As a result many Lab/Co-Op candidates chose to withdraw their nominations and resubmit nominations as Lab candidates so they could legally use a logo.

    Once the election was over the Electoral Commission recommended the government amend the law to correct the error, which is the reason for the amendment. All the stuff about it being part of some Con/LD pact plan, or Con/UKIP pact plan or whatever is a crock of sh*t.

  44. Amber

    Our chat was pleasantly non-partisan. I never thought otherwise.

    In politics, if we ignore the tendency of people to be quite happy about the cognitive dissonance between different beliefs they hold, then we do so at our peril.

  45. @Old Nat – “Labour Co-op MPs have been around since the 1920s”

    So why was it such a priority for the Coalition to start drafting new legislation in 2010?


    Thanks for the clarification.

    Nice to know that Westminster parliamentary draughtsmen can be just as crap as the Holyrood ones. :-)


    Thanks for the clarification.

    “moderate slightly left of centre Labourite”s (whatever their earlier political motivation) are not in favour of the vision underlying the Common Weal Project.

    That seems clear enough.

  48. @AW

    I stand corrected… just bad timing that John Major was calling for a “prolongued” Coalition, a 2015 pact, and possible Con/LD merger thereafter.


    My thanks for your clarification seem to have triggered something in auto-mod.

  50. Blarney,

    “If Local Income Tax is the answer according to the SNP and the SNP has a majority in the Scottish parliament, why isn’t it in place?

    Three reasons.

    Firstly we didn’t have it in our manifesto for implementation in this parliament.
    Secondly we didn’t put it in because we didn’t think we could get it through. Thirdly, as it is revenue neutral but has set up costs we decided that the costs would better spent elsewhere.

    As I said above we learned to take our lead from public and their priorities were the Economy and the NHS and they seemed happier with the freeze than the change.

    Given that we did as well as we did because we had delivered on what we promised we decided not to over stretch ourselves and try to do to much.

    That worked very well in electoral terms but left us with a dilemma.

    Do we do what we can even though we didn’t promise it or do we do only what the promised even if we can do more.

    Cameron didn’t say he would launch a major reform of the NHS but he did and it hasn’t been popular. Clegg promised to oppose Tuition fees and he raised them and people really didn’t like that!

    So deciding not to implement Local Income Tax isn’t ideal but as to the tactical decision to leave it out of the manifesto for this parliament or to not implement it even if we can, I think we are best to let it wait for now.

    Oh and on the general notion that I am being Parisian, pointing out that opposition for it’s own sack against a party with popular policies is politically inept isn’t partisan.

    It’s a statement of the obvious!


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