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. Actually Peter, you might know something about this – if Scotland becomes independent, would all the Scottish soldiers serving in the armed forces be withdrawn?

  2. Billy Bob

    Intellectuals seem often to be short on…well…intellect.

    If Ashdown actual believes that – especially when we don’t actually know what happened and how many casualties there were then I despair and for his ridiculous little party as well

  3. BCrombie,

    “the drones have left lots of collateral damage? These are peoples lives we are talking about!”

    Which is exactly why I made it clear that we have to learn the lesson of Afghanistan and not use Drone strikes to target Individuals in urban areas.

    A tank in a field is one thing a man in a house is different. Drones can be effective but only if tightly controlled.

    If you can’t be sure don’t fire has to be the rule.

    Thats why I said we have to be prepared to accept that if they hide we can’t go in and get them and that the best we can do might not be enough and we need to be prepared to accept that.

    If we go in understanding the limits of what we can do and both accept them and stick to them then fine. But if we want accept them we shouldn’t go in and if we do go in don’t forget our limitations and chase victory.

    One of the common but fatal arguments you get is that we need to fight on because if we leave the sacrifice of those who have died will be for nothing but that leads to needless deaths as you chase victory because you won’t accept defeat.

    I’ve been as clear as I can about what I think we can and can’t do. People might not agree with the specifics but I hope they can accept the basic premise that to avoid “Mission Creep”:

    We need clear objectives.
    We need to set limits on what we are prepared to do.
    Everyone has to be clear on the two above and
    We need to stick to them even if our objective can’t be achieved.

    If we can’t achieve our objective with the agreed means we don’t start changing the means or the objective because that is where the problems begin.

    I think we can deal with Assad’s Air Defence System and we might , just might be able to remove the CW threat to civilians.

    If people are prepared to do that while accepting we go no further and will stop either after that or if it doesn’t look like we can achieve it fine.

    But if your not happy with trying that and stopping if it doesn’t work then don’t try at all.


  4. Somebody must have hijacked Peter Cairns’s account… On the other hand, it could be that my monitor shows the wrong yellow colour… Or that personal history comes in the opinion in particular ways.

  5. An attack by Britain and the US on Syria would be an act of cowardice – as was the invasion of Iraq in 2003. There is no courage or bravery attached to a country mounting an attack on another country which lacks the technical capability to respond in kind. If this comes to pass , I hope that somehow the attackers end up with a bloody nose. It would be rather good to see Russia launch a retaliatory strike against the rebels!
    I would have been delighted to have seen the Iraq invasion defeated – on the basis that unprovoked aggression can never be justified.This has to apply to British /American aggression in the same way it applies to others. Had the League of Nations continued post- World War 2 , I am sure that following the examples of Japan , Italy and the Soviet Union in relation to the attacks on China, Abyssinia and Finland, Britain would have faced expulsion post – 2003.

  6. “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”

  7. Looking back at the last war we went into without a UN mandate:

    That article attributes Labour’s fall from 47% to 39% over a few months directly to the Iraq war. Looking at the graphs on the right of this page, Labour never really recovered.

    Once it becomes clear that intervention in Syria does not have a clear legal basis, which will hopefully be clearly exposed by opposition mp’s and the media over the coming weeks, I wait with interest to see if we see Tory poll numbers collapse by similar levels back into the 20’s.

  8. If I have promoted theses on this ‘ere board, they are:

    1) Germany and Greece will both be in the Euro on January 1 2014
    2) The Coalition will last the whole distance
    3) There will be a very small Conservative majority after the 2015 election
    4) Governments will be doing repressionomics for 20-30 years
    5) Paul Mason is Godlike

    * 1 is looking pretty good at the moment
    * 2 also looks good, tho’ I’ll have to make it more specific by saying “Both parties will be in Cabinet on the day of the last Queen’s Speech”, since they’ll probably break up between that day and the election
    * 3 I abandoned this when the boundary changes were lost, tho’ I might resurrect it at some point

    But as for 4 and 5, I submit the following for your inspection…


    “The lesson is to copy the good bits of the invasion and avoid the bad bits of the occupation. ” etc etc

    The trouble with your and other armchair strategists’ position is that you feel qualified and entitedl to have one, and that it has similar validity to that of advisers with real power to inform the political leaders with their hands on the levers of military action.
    From the standpoint of VI, thatt is, of an informed electorate’s say in respect of military intervention in counmtries in conflict, in what are long domestic histories of inequality and maladministration, there is only one answer, which is: don’t.
    Staying clear of the giddy pleasure of commanding armies and air power, does not stop us using the influence and resources of our wealthy and powerful powers; but it does demand recognising that the inequalities and religious and secular interventions which we observe are pathological, in relation to the steady change which can be observed, for example in the health and education of rural populations in countires faced with internal conflict, or the emergence of the mixed economieswhich link them to international trade.
    Not in our back yard? If there is any justifiable intervention which we should look for and support in UK policy it is towards equality of opportunity and access to education and employment both at home and in countries with which we have common interests, including South Asian and Middle Eastern countries, in which a lack of the means for the ordinary enjoyments and stability of a domestic economy, those of the mass of ordinary families, gives rise to despair and extremism.

  10. @John Pilgrim

    I will start by saying that I don’t agree with military intervention in Syria.

    But the problem with your argument is that it also permits the genocide in Rwanda and the chaos in Yugoslavia. You are also being an armchair strategist, but your strategy is not to use military power that we have. To paraphrase your comment people should also be wary of the giddy pleasure of claiming the moral high ground through inaction.

    Decisions have consequences, and the decision not to take action also has consequences.

  11. No YouGov poll today? Things really do go to pot in Anthony’s absence…

  12. @STEVE

    Cameron acts resposibly and you make a snide comment about him being on holiday. Your in a minority, the public think it’s reasonable for the PM to have four short breaks with his famil;y by 61 for to 30 against, see Sundays YouGov.


    Very well said.

    All these moralists seem to appear from their holes only when someone asks the question “how can we let this continue to happen ” ?

    Whilst it was happening we never hear a peep from them.

    America bad-don’t talk about Assad ,seems to be the extent of their interest in the carnage in Syria.


    @”I think we can deal with Assad’s Air Defence System ”

    I think that is probably true

    @”and we might , just might be able to remove the CW threat to civilians.”

    I think that is highly improbable.

    I detect behind your military strategising a feeling that we must stop Assad slaughtering civilians-if so I applaud it.

    But it is all too late-two years too late. What was a spontaneous civil uprising was put down with tanks-that was the time to intervene.
    Now-two years later, a legitimate opposition of citizenry , led by brave defectors is riddled with religious extremists with an agenda we have witnessed in the guise of democracy in Egypt.

    Islam’s factions , led by their Nation representatives are at each others throats like dogs -always ready to use an opportunity.

    The UN is neutered by Russia’s geo-political interests & they cannot even establish with certainty who delivered the CW attacks.

    Armchair war games are all well & good. But the battle field is very very complicated now.

  15. Colin,

    I suspect part of the inaction over the last two years might be down to rebuilding inventories. Libya wasn’t on the scale of Iraq but unlike decades ago we don’t have huge warehouses full of dumb bombs and shells.

    Modern so called smart weapons aren’t cheap or easy to produce so we tend to buy and store far fewer and it takes time to replace them.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if immediately after Libya were did have enough available precision guided munitions to be sure we could degrade Syrian Air Defence to the point where we would be sure we could accomplish something meaningful.


  16. STEVE
    May I repeat: the inequalities and religious and secular interventions which we observe are pathological, in relation to the steady change which can be observed, for example in the health and education of rural populations in countires faced with internal conflict, or the emergence of the mixed economieswhich link them to international trade.
    As it happens I am not inactive in what I regard as an effective respose to conflict in the countries you mention, and which arises to quite a large extent from unemployment or from pressure on scarce land. As Colin ends up by saying, military intervention in Syria is likely to be both harmful and impossible to manage. What alternatives do you support on the part of either the Government or of a Government in waiting?

  17. Steve

    When did you start speaking for the Public?
    You seem to ignore the opinion poll on the subject Which I quoted in my first post. The Public do not agree with you.

    As it happens I am not a fan of Cameron as anybody who has read my posts over a long time will know.
    I regret posting because as AW suggests I should resist responding to silly partisan posts.

  18. STEVE
    Sorry – above post was meant to be for SHEEP.

  19. PETER

    Mmm–it was the political inaction I had in mind too.

  20. I make no comment on how many holidays Cameron should or shouldn’t have it’s at best partisan and at worse just petty.

    I do think that his return may well be because the Obama Administration may well have made in clear privately exactly what would trigger Military action and what it would be and that perhaps like Blair with Bush Cameron has already agreed to support it.

    Coming back from hoilday and recalling parliament may well be about rubber stamping a decision that has already been made.


  21. I don’ t think DC can rely on this HoC ” rubber stamping” a strike against Assad.

    The big question is-will he agree to make a HoC vote on the matter, decisive.?

  22. Colin

    It’s unthinkable that the UK would refuse to support the US, any vote won’t be binding

  23. Richard in Norway,
    Is it unthinkable that the UK would refuse to support the US?Wilson did not over Vietnam.I think that Cameron’s unfortunate habit of shooting from the hip
    Has put him in a very difficult position.He and Hague are pressing for intervention but everyone else ,from Douglas Alexander,military generals and
    Perhaps from their point of view more importantly,the Daily Mail and Telegraph,are urging caution.

  24. I’ve got a post stuck in mod. Who does the modding if Anthony’s off on holiday?


  25. Thatcher also didn’t support Reagan in Grenada, she was ‘deeply disturbed’ by the invasion. If the vote goes to the HoC it will almost certainly be defeated. If it is, I suspect they may go ahead anyway.

  26. MeNameless

    Interested to know why you think it will be defeated.

    On the ‘for’ side the Cameron Tories, the Blairite interventionists and the Lib Dem payroll vote

    On the ‘agains’ – Labour, LD rebels, the Nationalists and Green

    Seems a win for the ‘ayes’ to me as the LD surely will not go against Clegg who seems to have given it support.

    The same argument will be used against waiting for the UN that Blair used – no chance of a consensus – with Russia taking the French role.

    Don’t know how Clegg will sell this but will be interesting watching!

  27. “Martyn

    I’ve got a post stuck in mod. Who does the modding if Anthony’s off on holiday?”


    That honour falls to me and your post is staying in mod isolation. I don’t like por#ographic material on a political website. ;-)

  28. Some simmering down would be a good idea.


    I think that intervention in Syria would harm Tory VI, but not as much as Iraq did to Labour: firstly, because of the scale of the intervention and secondly because many Labour voters back in the day were anti-war (if not pacifist) by inclination.

  29. TOH

    I am as entitled to speak as a member of the public as you are, who appointed you as arbiter of public opinion?

    The question in the Sunday Times Poll said is it ok to take a few days away 4 times a year with the family.The answer unsurprisingly was yes. The Poll also indicates less than 3% of respondents take as many Holidays a Year as Cameron and IMO if the question that had been asked was is it right for the Prime Minister to take 6 Holidays a Year the answer would have been very different.

    You are entitled to your opinion but that is all it is an opinion but judging by your response apparently I am not entitled to the same courtesy.

    Enough of this now .

  30. Bill Patrick

    When you talk of ‘simmering down’ I hope you mean from our political leadership?

    I don’t know how much Tory VI will be affected but surely LD support would have an effect on theirs. The same arguments we see from the current Government are similar to the ones used by Blair

    The scale may be different but that is only because the US is incapable of attacking Syria in the same way, and Syria is a different proposition than the others for a number of reasons. The principles stay the same though

  31. If Assad had used chemical weapons then the blame must be on the countries who armed the rebels and terrorists.
    A wounded beast is a very dangerous one and will do anything to survive.

    I think an attack on Syria will happen because Russia has pulled most of its assets out of the East Med but one can be assured, if Russia was even to put a fishing boat in the East Med then I think any NATO attack would be called off.

    Because as on Russian general said..”No one talks of an armed conflict between Moscow and the West because that come with all the consequences”

  32. To Richard in Norway:

    A vote will not be binding unless the PM says it will be, but to lose a vote, or ignore Parliament, and then be seen to have jumped when the US said jump is hardly a thinking person’s politics. With Russia opposed, a win in Syria is unlikely, let alone a decisive win, such as would (just possibly) convince an unwilling public – and even if we got a ‘win’, at what cost would it come in terms of UK and Syrian life?

    DC is misreading the context of Mrs T’s remark that she was going to open a business called ‘Get a spine’, I think. He may well have electoral thoguhts in his mind. But Mrs T said what she said in the light of a conflict she had already won – and it’s easy to boast when the danger to all parties is past. And she said what she said in the light of a conflict in which she acted without much US support, whereas here we are acting at the USA’s bidding. Politically Mrs T was milking a good situation (for her). DC is fronting a very, very bad one (for him).

    Then there is the little issue of morality. Morality is hard to apply in complex situations, fair enough, but we have to try. Allowing there really is evidence of chemical weapon attacks on its own people by the Syrian government, this becomes a truly knotty ‘ends and means’ situation. One absolute requirement for letting the ends ‘justify’ the means, however, is that the means and the likely ends (taken together) really are more desirable than the current situation. Does the aerial bombing of Syria – accompanied by vast civilian loss of life, leading to the (possible) fall of Assad – truly outweigh the current situation, bad as we have allowed it is? How likely is it Assad will fall? Will his replacement by a rebel force, possibly the Muslim Brotherhood, be any better? And have we really explored all other avenues?

    Everyone will have different opinions, because we can only make informed guesses about the future. But can anyone answer the above questions in a way that assures us the invasion of Syria is a moral necessity?

  33. #would come

  34. If Clegg does back military action and it seems he will, what is that going to do to libdem VI?

  35. Richard in Norway,

    Probably increase to 38%.

  36. Reading these comments it would seem that the consensus is that both
    Cameron and Clegg are in a fix.EM however has room for manoeuvre .How
    That old events quote rings true.

  37. AW

    Just delete that conversation with Bill Patrick please

    Apologies – shouldn’t react!

  38. Bill

    I really can’t see libdem VI improving in the event of them backing military action, their already thin credibility will be shot to peices

  39. @Steve

    Of course you are entitled to your opinion, I objected to you trying to speak for people in general. As you say enough of this, I have better things to do anyway.

  40. @Ann In Wales
    “How that old events quote rings true.”
    A shrewd point indeed. I am a labourite but that does not stop me giving credit where it is due. I think William Hague and DC have handled the Syria situation well so far. I am watching the meeja with interest to see how they handle this WMD crisis and how their approach compares with previous ‘events’.

  41. “On the ‘for’ side the Cameron Tories, the Blairite interventionists and the Lib Dem payroll vote

    On the ‘agains’ – Labour, LD rebels, the Nationalists and Green”

    Well I’m interested, so I’ll do a bit of maths. If we add together the Tories (304), Lib Dems (55), and the DUP (8) then we see a logical clear majority of 367 votes.

    The Blairites I haven’t included because they’re a bit of an unknown quantity. Given that a good third of the PLP broke a three-line whip to vote against Iraq in 2003, it seems likely that the majority of the party was against the war even then but chose to save their necks by voting with Blair. I would estimate there are probably around 20 of them now, if we’re going from the leadership of Progress and a few other hangers-on. We also don’t know if they’d dare incur Ed’s Milibarrage by voting for intervention, so they may either fall into line or abstain.

    Let’s assume ten Labour MPs vote for. 377 votes.

    Thing is, as you rightly say, that there would be LD rebels. We know from the tuition fees vote that there are at least 29 MPs willing to break ranks (51% of the parliamentary party) and if we assume a similar break for this vote (21 against, 8 abstain) it brings the support down to 356. If we’re being generous, we could include the one Alliance MP taking the LD whip and bring the total to 357. I actually think more will rebel, but that’s the highest I’ll care to estimate. Of the five independents, three supported Iraq.

    Then we come to the against votes. Labour loyalists (247), LD rebels (21), the SNP (6), Plaid Cymru (3), SDLP (3), Green (1) and Respect (1, if he bothers to show up). Of the independents, one strongly opposed Iraq so we’ll include him here. 283.

    I haven’t included the 5 SF abstentions, John Bercow and David Ward who never voted on Iraq so we don’t know.

    So on an initial inspection, it looks like a defeat for the Noes, at 357-283. However, the wild cards here are the Blairites (we don’t know which way they’ll run under we know the Labour position and how strongly they’ll be whipping) and the Tory backbenchers.

    The Tories are interesting here actually. Fifteen Tory MPs voted against Iraq in 2003, but since then they seem to have become more wary of intervention, possibly after seeing the results of Iraq. In June, 81 of them backed this letter by Andrew Bridgen asking for a chance to veto intervention:

    If 38 Tory MPs vote against, the motion will be defeated. That’s possible, given the level of concern among the Tory party about both their own survival and their opposition ideologically to intervention. It only becomes more likely if there is a higher level of LD rebellion or the Blairites abstain rather than support the motion.

    Perhaps I was too hasty in saying it would almost certainly be defeated, but it’s going to be a fierce debate.

  42. Also: New Populus VI figures: Lab 37 (-1); Cons 33 (+3); LD 13 (+1); UKIP 10 (-2); Oth 8 (+1) Tables here:

    They have new ‘noticed news’ figures too, which interestingly are actually about the things we’ve been discussing this week:

  43. Mr Nameless

    Thanks for the number crunching

    It will be interesting to see how Miilband plays this. I think he is more instinctively aligned with the old Lib Dem position on UN approval being key, with some exceptions but only to meet an acute humanitarian need

    Could it be we see the strange situation where the Labour Party vote against intervention and the Lib Dems for?

    It is important for Miliband to show some leadership on this and have a clear position – it will do him some good if he can pull it off.

    The reaction of Clegg is of most interest though as the LD have made this a core principle and it would be a final nail in their credibility if he goes for intervention without UN support

  44. @ Mr Nameless

    What makes you think that Labour’s position will be against a one-time, ‘tactical strike’, ‘send a message’ type intervention in Syria?

  45. I doubt we will get a ‘clear position’ from Labour regarding Syria. It is a complicated, nuanced issue & Labour are the most complicated, nuanced Party in the UK so a straightforward or simple position is unlikely, IMO.

  46. Amber Star

    Depends on what the evidence is that they did it?

    If there is evidence then they should support on the proviso there is a UN approval – this would probably be forthcoming if there was strong evidence.

    Just and ‘I reckon’ and bluster from Hague and Kerry doesn’t cut it in this complex situation.

    The role of the inspectors is being undermined already – what is the rush? Why can’t we wait until evidence has been collected and reported?

    If Assad approved this then it is a case for the ICC as well as it contravenes the Geneva Convention.

    Whatever we need to have evidence!

  47. @ B Crombie

    Evidence would certainly help matters – but I have a feeling we are not going to get anything which is conclusive. BTW, I’d very much like to be wrong about this!


    @” Why can’t we wait until evidence has been collected and reported?”

    We have been waiting-whilst Assad & Russia stalled on approval for the site visit.

    They have done it again today-second site visit put off.

    We don’t need “evidence” for god’s sake-haven’t you seen the footage?

    We need an unequivocal allocation of responsibility-guilt.

    And the UN inspectors will not be providing that.

  49. Amber Star

    Without evidence, without a UN mandate, no acute humanitarian crisis …..what is the legal justification?

    If it is not conclusive, then how do we know it wasn’t a ‘false flag’ attack – the Kurdish leader is suggesting this and he is no friend of Assad or the ‘rebels’?

    The UN in May said that they were pretty convinced the rebels had used sarin so in this fog of war we should not move without evidence

  50. Colin

    So footage from an unknown source is ‘evidence’ now is it? Who prepared this footage? How many casualties are there 200-1500?

    The US has said they were certain it was the Syrian Government – good, now show us what the evidence is?

    Why is 5 days too long to admit inspectors – what is this based on? Seems there are still people in hospital.

    I am a chemist as well, sarin doesn’t degrade in days it takes weeks and the analytical tools available will enable detection if it was there. The 5 days limit seems to be a response from people with a political agenda rather than based on science.

    If he has used sarin then a response will be necessary and he needs to be tried in front of the ICC. The important word is ‘if’

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