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. barney crockett

    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 country. A large number confirm that this is what they might do, preponderantly the young.

    I’ve not seen the tables yet, but I’m not really convinced. The sample size is only 500-odd so the number of the young in that will be pretty small and perhaps unrepresentative. Furthermore the young tend to be those who expect to leave in any case, so without a control question to see whether they think they would stay in Scotland in any case, you don’t know if this is a difference and of course wording is important. And that’s before you even get to what you might call the ‘Jim Davidson Effect’ as Peter pointed out.

    Given the choice between the Sunday Express’s vociferousness and John Curtice’s silence, I think we can make a guess on which is more credible.


    “on the general notion”. Don’t know if it was general or not. It was my notion.

    Your general point was absolutely correct – but “it’s not what you say, but the way that you say it”! :-)

    Any party that is so self-absorbed that its dislike of its main rival overcomes its ability to connect with what the people actually want is likely to lose.

  3. AW,

    That was actually very informative, thanks! Apologies if I sounded conspiratorial – I was probably just repeating something I misheard months ago.

  4. While we’re on Angus Reid polling – On home ground they find “Canadians Lukewarm on Monarchy”

    What will that do to Barney’s ambition for the UK to expand to include further territory?

  5. Speaking of the Commonwealth, does anyone know what happened to Julia Gillard wanting Australia to become a republic? Is it still Labor policy or has it been defenestrated with her?

  6. @ Old Nat

    Any party that is so self-absorbed that its dislike of its main rival overcomes its ability to connect with what the people actually want is likely to lose.
    The Labour/ SNP coalition for Edinburgh Council seem to be getting along reasonably well. There’s been no ‘storms’ of which I am aware.

  7. “almost half would prefer to see Prince William as the next monarch, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found.”

    They must be the ones who had prizes at school!!

    On the passport thing… Once Independence is achieved, what about people born subsequently in Scotland, who don’t have English/Welsh etc. parents. Would they still expect to get a British passport?

  8. Amber

    I suspect that most politicians would actually get on quite well together, if they were operating in the same political sphere.

    It might well be that they have more in common with each other, than us punters! :-)

    Since neither the SNP nor Labour are actually the “opposition”, one would not expect oppositionalism from either of them. Indeed just look how well Labour and Tory get on in Stirling.

    The critical test would surely be the extent to which party tribalism leads a party to oppose (not to improve – just to oppose) in a situation where they are out of power.

    Council situations are less likely to reverberate than national perceptions, I would suggest. Those might well be different at Holyrood and Westminster. after all, in the latter, the supposed “enemy” isn’t actually taking more than a fraction of your vote!


    Who knows what they would expect?

    Any decision on that would be for the rUK Parliament to determine. They could treat Scots in the same way that they determined dual citizenship for the Irish, or decide that native born Hyperboreans would be beyond the Pale (if I can continue the Irish analogy).

  10. @oldnat

    But what they expect is important from a VI perspective, since it may colour perceptions re: Independence. A number of things concerning independence do not seem all that clear, and this may affect the outcome. Equally, some things may be portrayed as being clear when maybe there’s doubt, eg the EU thing…

  11. Australia?
    The referendum on Australia becoming a republic is often quoted as an example of how reluctant people are to change. There is limited appetite to re-visit. Gillard’s comments are mainly about putting off a decision There is a Labour politician keen but he wants to decide what type of republic to have then vote on it. An early move doesn’t seem likely
    Canada is even more surprising. This poll may mark a bit of a turn but the lack of interest until now must count as a shock. Again an early move is unlikely in my view because it risks again polarising regions and ethnic groups in what is always a difficult balance. A marked feature I know in Canada (and it may well be true also in Australia) is that active support for the monarch is strongest amongst immigrants from the Commonwealth especially India.
    More broadly, the strange survival of monarch in such unlikely surroundings is part of the larger and growing appeal of the Commonwealth. Last month my own city had a massive governmental visit from recent new member, Mozambique, with President and five ministers.

  12. @ Old Nat

    I think Holyrood has become more adversarial than was intended. I expect it’s because the referendum is a yes/no affair so there’s no middle ground. You & I could rehash the circumstances in which it came to be a straight yes/no – but I think we’ve been there & have the T-shirt.

    On the assumption (based on current polling) that Scotland votes No, I am wondering whether Holyrood elections will become even less important to Scottish voters (52% turnout 2011). I’m wondering what both Labour & the SNP will do to address the general apathy which may follow in the wake of the referendum!


    Agreed, Some things are in doubt. eg If we remain in the UK, will we maintain our EU membership?

    Some things, of course, remain very clear. If we stay in the UK, we will not only have to pay our share of the Trident replacement, but the nukes will continue to be based only 25 miles from our largest city.

  14. R Mexico
    As always, I sit at your feet and learn! Thanks

  15. OldNat
    I just thought that the totally insignificant AR poll could not possibly have generated so much post so goodness knows what will happen when there is a 5% shift.

  16. @oldnat

    Lol, I admire your desire to balance things up. You’re balancing a bit assymmetrically though, because you’re balancing something that’s a given against something unclear. It might be more appropriate to weigh a given against another given?

    Assuming it’s a given. I had the impression that maybe the deterrent could be bound up in the NATO membership thing?…

  17. Amber
    Put bluntly, the Scottish Parliament is more adversarial because A Salmond is in it! As Tom Harris said in his campaign for the Scottish leadership, he didn’t learn how to be his kind of First Minister in Holyrood!
    I agree with you on possible apathy for 2016.

  18. Amber

    “less adversarial than was intended”?

    One could take that to mean that the built-in Lab/LD majority that Dewar and Ming Campbell discussed meant opposition would be somewhat pointless.

    Or, it could mean that a smaller party would always be there to moderate the bigger one – like the LDs securing PR for local government as the price of maintaining the Coalition.

    Or it could mean the parties opposed to the new 2007 Government using their power to force a slice of the budget to be devoted to the Edinburgh trams – Wow! what a success that was.

    Or it could mean that the main opposition party might propose amendments to the Budget – then abstain on their own motion.

    Or it could mean opposition to minimum alcohol pricing (and getting crates of Peroni lager delivered to them in return)

    Or, or, or

    All of that has nothing to do with the referendum taking place. if Labour had had any sense, they would have taken Wendy Alexander’s advice to “bring it on”.

    If Scotland votes No (and I agree, current polling suggests that will be the case) then I would be extremely surprised if the demand for the consensus that Scottish polling reveals around some form of “Devo-Max” settlement magically disappears.

    In the event of a No vote, I’d expect the SNP to continue their policy of maximising Scottish autonomy, but will Labour match that? Will that make a difference?

    I don’t know any more than you do! :-)

  19. @Oldnat – “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?”

    Not sure. I am aware that Scottish Universities themselves are very concerned at the prospect of losing English student fees post independence, which are worth anything from £40 – £60m pa to Scottish higher education institutions.


    You may not be the least dispassionate observer! :-)

    As a fellow historian, however, I’m surprised that you give so much importance to a single individual than the forces which put them in place.

    Historical revisionism is all the rage, so I expect to see articles from you about “If Oliver Cromwell had been strangled at birth, then we would all still be living happily under the Divine Right of Kings” and “Lenin : If he hadn’t been born at all, then the Romanovs would still rule the Russian Empire.” :-)

  21. Laszlo

    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”.

    I think it’s a mixture of things. Sometimes it’s that particular topics obsess the media classes. Some of this may be politically motivated such as the endless “Ed is rubbish” questions and sometimes questions aren’t asked for the same reasons. I can’t find much recent polling on rail re-nationalisation for example.

    Other topics may be more about things that those sort of people are interested in – what I always think of as West London Dinner Party Questions. There’s a classic set in the latest YouGov on ‘Car Clubs’which is of so little interest to most people that they ended up asking a subset of 29 people – most of whom probably thought it was about the RAC and AA.

    But even in timely topics, when clients don’t get the answer they want or expect, they might want things asked differently because they are sure that if things were stated in another way, they will get the ‘right’ result. Alternatively they may just ignore public opinion (see Syria).

    Of course it’s not just the questions people are asked, it’s the options they are given to choose between that matters. But as you say people aren’t stupid[1] and I always find it revealing when you suddenly get a large number of “Don’t Knows” in a question which most people might have an opinion on, which clearly indicates that people feel that their preferred option wasn’t there or that the options are weighted in some way.

    [1] Of course some of them are and it’s possible that one problem with opinion polls is that this group is under-represented.

  22. ALEC

    That micro-economic sector is right to be concerned, if suddenly those English fee paying students become free places, with no compensation for that.

    As I’m sure you know, Austrian universities (no tuition fees) had a significant input of students from the remaining southern German Lander that still charged fees.

    Its not a new phenomenon.

    What I was asking if there had been research done as to the net gain to the economy from these students studying in the host University.

    The answer to that might well prove useful.


    “people aren’t stupid[1]”


  24. At last we know why the world is in such bad shape, apparently God is a libdem

  25. howard

    I just thought that the totally insignificant AR poll could not possibly have generated so much post so goodness knows what will happen when there is a 5% shift.

    I think it’s just that there has been a lack of reliable Scottish polling over this year[1] coupled with a rather hothouse atmosphere surrounding the referendum. With such a lack of reliable information, every crumb gets leapt on and worried to death (and then misinterpreted back to life).

    [1] I reckon only nine this year, plus this half-pint from AR and the Wings Over Scotland one which didn’t really ask the same question. And not all these ask the same things – we haven’t had a single proper Westminster VI poll for Scotland all year as far as I can tell.


    There’s been a reasonable amount of reliable Scottish polling this year. It’s shown the SNP increasing their poll figures for Holyrood.

    That no one can be bothered to ask how Scots would vote in a putative UK election, in which the parameters (regardless of the referendum result) would probably be very different, may also suggest a remarkable level of common sense on the part of those commissioning polls!

    however, feel free to emulate Wings over Scotland and crowd source the funding to ask about Scots Westminster VI in 2015! :-)

  27. “Apparently God is a libdem”

    That seems to be what people thought in about April 2010.

  28. RiN

    “God is a libdem”

    Is that statement based on evidence that neither actually exist?

  29. One of the biggest questions regarding Scottish independence which has not been asked is…

    In the event of a YES vote what will Anthony Wells call his website?

  30. Technically it would still be the United Kingdom. Just the United Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

    On something completely different, the front pages seem to be beating the drum for war. Dan Hodges has taken to Twitter to say that:

    “Saying we shouldn’t intervene in Syria because of Iraq is like saying we shouldn’t have intervened in France in 1940 because of the Somme.”

    Now I’m not saying Dan Hodges is an idiot, that would be reductive. But it does seem he has no clue what happened in France in 1940.


    “people aren’t stupid” – though it appears they can be exactly that on Twitter.

    You get indy supporting eejits on there too, but a Unionist falling for an April Fool line from a paper supporting dependency is rather rich!

  32. “Technically it would still be the United Kingdom. Just the United Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland”

    So I asked.. “In the event of a YES vote what will Anthony Wells call his website?”

    Your answer “Technically it would still be the United Kingdom. Just the United Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland”

    Would it not be easier just to still call it UKPR?


    Since the site covers GB polling, which almost always excludes Northern Ireland, and is consequently currently misnamed, I’d suggest that the name will remain unchanged for a long time.

    Just as the fleur de lys was part of the English royal coat of arms from 1340 to 1801, the site will eventually catch up with reality – just a few hundred years too late. :-)

  34. That’s what I was implying! It’d still be UKPR, just the UK would mean something different. Sorry if it was a roundabout way of saying it. It’s late. I’m tired.

  35. OLDNAT

    LOL, well better late than never ;-)

  36. If turnout for Holyrood falls below 50% in 2016, it will be hard to convince people that Scottish citizens actually want Holyrood to have more powers (Devo-max).

  37. Amber Star

    “If turnout for Holyrood falls below 50% in 2016, it will be hard to convince people that Scottish citizens actually want Holyrood to have more powers (Devo-max)”

    Following your rational then can one also assume that it will be hard to convince people that Scottish citizens want less powers for the Scottish parliament if turn out falls below 50%?

    It has work both ways!!

  38. I see it looks like we are about to go to war again, now with Syria.

    What impact did the:
    – Libya war
    – Algeria hostage + Mail intervention

    Have on Cameron’s polling numbers?

    From what I can see people are very opposed to the Syria intervention. Will this send the Tories back to the low 20’s? Will we see the Lib Dems or Labour or UKIP oppose intervention to give the electorate a real choice to vote for a party that doesn’t believe the UK dropping bombs all over the world is the answer to these sorts of conflicts? Or are they all going to rally around because it would be unpatriotic to say otherwise?

  39. “Or are they all going to rally around because it would be unpatriotic to say otherwise?”

    I don’t care how unpatriotic it seems, I don’t want the UK to attack Syria because we can’t afford another war, either financially or in manpower (both ours and innocent Syrians that would undoubtedly get caught up in it).

    Cameron seems to be itching to start military action and to do so without a vote in Parliament on the spurious reasoning that it would take too long to recall MPs yet it wasn’t a problem when Thatcher died !

    Parliament resumes next Monday so I expect most MPs are back from their holidays and preparing for work so a recall would involve a days travel – big deal !

    His reluctance to recall suggests to me that he doubts he would win the vote – many of his own MPs are against military involvement.

  40. @OldNat

    “…native born Hyperboreans…”

    A quick glance at the wiki site indicates you may be correct in your use of the term (I initially thought you were making a Conan reference), but even so, wouldn’t “Caledonian” have been a better choice of word?


  41. @ Allan Christie

    It has [to] work both ways!!
    I don’t think that it does. Decisions get made by & for the people who show up.

  42. @Chordata

    Unless we want to go in without the US then we’re going to have to wait for Congress to be recalled. I don’t think that military intervention is likely to happen in the near future because of the need to build a coalition, go to the UN, be rejected by the UN, rebuild the coalition, get approvals from congress etc… (Not to mention the merely military issues).

    One of the positive outcomes of Iraq has been that parliament is now firmly involved in the war/no war decision process. It’s wasn’t the case in the Falklands… I can’t see how Cameron could politically play not taking the decision to Parliament.

  43. It’s probable that any parliamentary recall would go like this: Cameron whips for military action but still gets a few rebels (Ken Clarke was very much opposed to Iraq, Sarah Wollaston has already come out against it).

    Miliband would probably allow a free vote to placate the Blairite hardliners, but advise a no vote.

    The Lib Dems should vote against, but will likely meekly abstain or reluctantly vote for, with only a few against.

    It will be close and I’d say the minor parties will be important. It’s one debate Galloway would actually show up to (against) and I can’t see the SNP or SDLP or Plaid being big fans of intervention.

  44. STEVE
    You can bounce facts and figures about like wild fire but I really do think when voters are faced with the prospect of having EM as their PM then Cameron will walk it.

    -Facts are indeed awkward when you have already reached a conclusion based on gut instinct.

    However, this is a website that looks at the facts and figures relating to VI and referring to the facts and figures of actual past votes can’t exactly be a revolutionary idea.

    I will leave you to write your own posts if there is something you wish to reiterate I have no doubt you will
    do so.

  45. There is no poll this morning from YouGov but there is a very interesting article by Will Dahlgreen regarding the real effect on VI (not a lot) of the Ed is Crap agenda.

    Will identifies that Labour’s support was between 40-43% Between July 2012 and April 2013 and that this has only dropped to 38-39% now.

  46. The sheep

    I’m pretty sure that Obama can authorize air strikes without congress, it is actually unconstitutional but it’s been done so many times before that it shouldn’t be a problem, ditto for camao

  47. @Oldnat – re the impact of overseas students of the economy – it might not be too hard to work out. All we need to know if the numbers, and the amount of income they spend outwith the educational institutions, and you have something like a gross inflow of income.

    If students can survive on, say £15,000pa living costs pa, then for every 1,000 then you have a gross benefit to the economy of £15m. From this, I guess you should subtract the cost of those goods and services bought from overseas. Normally on a straight pro rata this would be something like 60%, although for students, it’s probably less, as housing costs would take a higher proportion of their total spend I would imagine.

    In any event, the economic benefit of overseas students is irrelevant to the issue I raised anyway. The point is, Scotland already has the economic benefit of English students studying at their universities, with their fees paid into university coffers. Once those fees cannot be charged, as the EU rules dictate, there will be a substantial and direct loss to Scottish universities.

    Even SNP MSP’s are commenting on this, and suggesting that the free tuition policy will likely not last much beyond independence, as an independent Scotland couldn’t afford the mix of policy choices it currently enjoys.

  48. New Populus poll: Lab 38 (=); Cons 30 (-2); LD 12 (=); UKIP 12 (+1); Oth 7 (-1)

  49. OldNat

    I saw the WOS story and thought it was rather unfair. After all when you consider some of the pieces that the Scotsman publishes in all seriousness[1] such as the ‘poll’ which turned out to be adding the last five MORIs together or leading on a former Free Church Moderator predicting the “Scots are less likely to back independence because the royal baby will woo more voters than ‘overweight politicians’”, that April Fool story looks like one of their more plausible efforts.

    Actually I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that the Scotsman is really in the secret pay of the SNP as so much of its hysterical[2] coverage of the independence issue seems designed to discredit the pro-Union side by publishing a mixture of blatently spun information and over-inflated scare stories.

    Oddly enough I suspect what is currently going on in Scotland has very little to do with independence at all. It seems to be more about a clash between an older establishment based in part on patronage from London and a newer one which owes its only allegience to Edinburgh. Hence the bitterness of the fight but also its relevance to the rest of Britain which is also suffering from an increasingly centralised state which listens only to the voices in its own little world.

    [1] Isle of Man Newspapers is also Johnston Press. We feel your pain (and our website is even slower).

    [2] In both senses of the word.

  50. Richard

    The President could act without Congressional consent there is ample precedent in recent decades, including President Bill Clinton’s air war in Kosovo, and Obama’s strikes in Libya, of presidents acting without Congressional authorization.

    However, President Barack Obama will consult Congress on Syria before any military action is taken, according to a White House official .

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