YouGov’s weekly poll for the Sunday Times is now up here. The fieldwork for the poll was delayed from the usual cycle, being conducted from Friday lunchtime to Saturday morning so it could reflect the aftermath of the Syria vote.

Topline voting intention is CON 31%, LAB 41%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 13%. Technically this is within the margin of error of YouGov’s recents polls, there have been instances of one-off YouGov polls showing 10+ point leads in July and June, however it would be a bit of a freakish co-incidence if one of those outlying polls just happened to come along the day after a big defeat for the government, so I expect it is showing a genuine increase to Labour’s poll lead.

Looking at the other trackers, there is actually only a very marginal change to David Cameron’s ratings. 36% think he is doing a good job (down from 38%), 55% think he is doing badly 55% (down from 56%) – all normal margin of error variation. There is a more noticable boost for Ed Miliband, 24% think he is doing a good job (up from 20%), 63% a bad job (down from 68%). So, a small increase in the Labour lead, and a modest increase in perceptions of Ed Miliband. What remains to be seen is whether those changes stick, or whether they are just a short term effect of a news event.

Looking at other more specific Syria questions, people are broadly split over whether David Cameron did or did not show strong leadership over Syria (39% think he did, 41% think he did not). In comparison 28% think Ed Miliband showed strong leadership, 46% that he did not (only 10% think Clegg showed strong leadership). Parliament as a whole comes out the most positively – 58% think it performed well, 27% badly.

66% of people agree with the argument that chemical weapons are especially horrific and should be regarded as a crime against humanity, 26% think they are terrible… but no worse than the mass killing people using other methods. People are not, however, convinced that the Assad regime has used them – 43% think they have, 43% don’t know. Overall 68% think it is right that Britain does not take part in military action, 16% think Britain should have taken part.

When people opposed to military action were asked why the effect of Iraq and Afghanistan becomes clear – 36% said it was because they wanted UN support for an attack, 38% that it would make things worse not better, but the biggest single factor (mentioned by 51%) was the fear that a limited missile strike would inevitably lead to more British involvement later, and ultimately Britain being dragged into another land war.

Looking to the future, while people were opposed to British involvement in an attack on Syria, they are not opposed to us offering support to the USA doing it! By 48% to 31% people would support the USA being allowed to use British bases in Cyprus, 70% think we should share intelligence about Syria with the US, 64% that we should support any attack diplomatically at the UN. It looks as though it is British involvement people oppose, not an attack per se.

Also out this morning is a new immigration poll from Lord Ashcroft. I am about to go out so will update on it later, but you can read about it yourself here.

268 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 31, LAB 41, LD 9, UKIP 13”

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  1. @Statgeek,

    Fair enough. The goalposts on this site might as well be on wheels for all they’re moved by people on both sides!

  2. @Statgeek

    Of course not. The state can look after that quite easily, and it’s one less thing to worry about when searching for work. Let’s be honest. For the state to pay money directly to a utility company to keep the electricity running is not demeaning, and it reduces the chance of the person getting into more difficulty with debts, addictions and so on.

    That takes away choice. Some people may choose to eat rather that heat their homes.

    Many poor families will be doing that this winter….

  3. @Statgeek

    Do you consider yourself a liberal?

  4. Holy mother

    Sarin attack on ukpr! you lot wanna watch out or uncle Anthony will launch a preventive action

  5. RiN

    If we hadn’t allowed fluoride to be added to water, this problem would not have arisen. Not only would they not have been able to turn water into sarin – but being toothless, they would also be speechless! :-)

  6. @ Statgeek

    Wow! I thought I’d never get you to STFU ;-)
    So you [Amber] would rather see a state of alcoholics, junkies and hopelessly addicted smokers (I am a smoker myself), funded by the state, than a more healthy potential workforce.
    That doesn’t wash. The state could ban the currently legal, addictive substances if it really wanted a more healthy work force (as opposed to a more healthy potential workforce).

    So, it seems you do not want a healthy workforce – only a healthy potential workforce – so you are setting a PUNISHINGLY[1] high standard for those who are only ‘potential’ workers as opposed to those who are currently working.

    [1] I must try harder to master wordpress italics for emphasis instead of SHOUTING.

  7. @Amber,

    For italics, before your quote put a (no gaps) and then close the italics with a .

  8. Argh.

    Didn’t realise it won’t even recognise the symbols in normal text!!

    On your keyboard, use the sideways V looking brackets (immediately to the right of the letter M). Before the italics, put the letter i inside those brackets, then after the italics put a forward slash followed by the letter i inside another set of those brackets.

  9. Or if you want to me HTML-correct, use an “em” instead of an “i”. Use “strong” instead of “b” for bold. But now I’m being nit-picky.

  10. @Amber

    This shows you how to do italics and bold

    ht tps://

  11. As for the point you’re trying to make, I don’t agree with your premise at all. Restricting people’s right to do themselves harm is illiberal. Restricting people’s right to do themselves harm at the state’s expense is prudent.

    I am going to read your mind again, and assume that your objection to non-cash benefits is really based on the belief that the cash is an absolute entitlement – to give equality with those in work – and that it shouldn’t be seen as some sort of conditional act of generosity with strings attached.

    I see your point (and actually it’s not really a party political one – the Tories generally see things the same way). I just happen to think that the extra suffering isn’t worth the maintenance of the principle.

  12. At the risk of trashing the site thank you

  13. & thank you

  14. @MrNameless

    Of course Leicestershire is the site of Plaid’s last major victory on English soil, when those pesky Welsh defeated good king Richard at Bosworth.

    I’m just down the A42 from you it would seem ;-)

  15. @CMJ

    I consider myself a responsible citizen. Liberal or not, whatever I answer, you’ll no doubt inform me of what you think. :)

    Look folks, I’m not talking about taking away choice. Eat or heat? We were talking about heat or spend on a substance dependence.

    Goalposts seem to be moving again (per Mrnameless’ comment on plenty of folk doing it).

    It’s interesting that many have leapt to the defence of addicts, while I suggest they have part of their finances secured from being channelled to that dependence. One would think that if we are to advocate state-help for people, addiction management ought to be part of it.

    Anyway, that’s the last post form me on the matter. It’s hardly polling-related, and it seems my idea is frightening the pro-benefit folk.

  16. @Amber

    “Wow! I thought I’d never get you to STFU ;-)”

    No, you won’t. Not with that language.

  17. @ Neil A

    Part of my objection is pragmatic.

    1. Sudden withdrawal of addictive substances, even legal ones, damages people physically & psychologically. Withdrawal needs to be planned & phased. That’s partly why states are reluctant to ban addictive substances that are legal but instead go for phased withdrawal e.g. bans on where people can smoke have been incremental; &
    2. Sudden withdrawal of addictive substances may lead to criminal behaviour amongst people who have previously been law abiding.

    Another part is that many social security benefits have an earned element. They are either advanced or deferred wages. Subsistence wages must be paid in cash not vouchers, I see no reason why advanced or deferred wages should be treated differently to current wages.

  18. @ Statgeek

    No, you won’t. Not with that language.
    I was trying it out to see if it was acceptable when blogging &/or being used in a humorous way because I complained about it on another site & was told to ‘grow up’, ‘get real’ etc. I am actually rather pleased to discover that it is not considered acceptable on UKPR, so thank you :-)

  19. @Amber

    My party trick is: press caps lock AND YOU GET THIS.


  20. @Amber,

    I don’t think public policy is quite as you present it. Restrictions on, for example, smoking are based entirely on the effect on people around the smoker. A happy side-effect may be an overall reduction in smoking (although I am not convinced) but I don’t believe that is the basis for the policy.

    Restrictions on advertising, packaging etc then yes I’d agree with you.

    But I was agreeing with Statgeek that part of a person’s benefits should be paid in cash and part should be paid either in vouchers or as direct maintenance of things like rent.

    I don’t mind people making an informed choice between their internet connection, car, pet or MP3 player and their addiction. I don’t want people to be able to make the same choice between their children’s clothes, food, rent, heating and their addiction.

    Professionally I get pretty fed up with people complaining about having no money whilst dragging on a cigarette that cost them 40p. And as it happens I think any “damage” that a person suffers whilst withdrawing from cigarettes or alcohol (or solvents or glue or legal highs or any other legal drug) is as nothing compared to the damage they suffer from not withdrawing from it.

  21. @Chordata,

    Am I the only one who thinks it was a bit cheeky that Labour complains about possible export of chemicals to Syria when they also profess not to be convinced that Syria has chemical weapons.

    As for the story, I think it is slightly out of proportion. It is an administrative oversight more than anything – and by a LibDem department at that. Anyone who thinks Vince Cable reviewed the license and thought “precursor chemicals for Syria? Yeah that’ll be OK” is smoking something.

  22. Neil A,

    I don’t think Labour are not convinced Syria has CW – they’re almost certain they do – they just aren’t 100% sure that on this occasion it was the Syrian government that used them or ordered their use.

  23. @Neil A

    I think the Labour Party is well aware that Syria has chemical weapons. The issue is about usage, not possession.

    However I’m with you about the ‘dual use’ substances. Firstly, at worst it’s probably an oversight. Secondly it’s a bit like calling steel a dual use chemical because you might use it in an atomic bomb…

  24. Neil A

    Re that story in the independant your absolutely right I’m suprised that it’s even a story export licences issued for chemicals for industrial use, coating window frames, but no chemicals ever sent because of UN sanctions.

    Mind you I hear Russia and China are great supporters of the Syrian Aluminium Window coating industry.

  25. @ Phil Haines

    My party trick is: press caps lock AND YOU GET THIS.

  26. Neil A

    Most of that 40p is tax, so maybe folk on benefits should get their flags tax free! More seriously it does show that so called sin taxes are extremely regressive

  27. So if we’re bringing back sumptuary laws for the poors who decides what is a luxury? Neil A implies the internet is a luxury that one can take or leave. But if you’re on Jobseeker’s Allowance and required to do a 35 hour per week job search suddenly that’s quite a necessity. “Just go to the library” you say, well they’re under threat of closure ‘ ’round these parts even if you could hog one of the few machines all day. Maybe a prole can apply for his internet vouchers after he has sold his piano and wedding ring.

    This definitely won’t cost way more to administer than it’d ever possibly save and certainly isn’t about punish the beastly poor for their moral failures and making a generally miserable existence that bit more unpleasant.

  28. Christ, what next?

    Let’s make them wear bright yellow clothes so we know who the scroungers are.

  29. Nick

    Not bright yellow, threadbare grey would be more appropriate

  30. @Berious,

    So you think an internet connection is essential? Fine. Let’s have an ISP allowance payable to directly to the provider of choice. Can’t have someone frittering away their one chance of finding employment, just so they can afford a couple of bottles of Frosty Jack…

    On a more serious note, perhaps the way to approach it would be to give cash as a default position, but to have a directed support/voucher scheme available which certain individuals can be directed onto if they demonstrably fail to cope with managing their finances – for example, rent arrears, or failing to feed their children etc.

    As for Nick’s “bright yellow clothes”, I don’t think it’s beyond our ability in 2013 to arrange this kind of programme through some sort of debit card which isn’t immediately obvious. For food allowances, I’d probably favour tendering the contract to a company like the Coop with an almost universal presence.

  31. On the use of capital letters to make a point.

    Economist Hulk (second entry down) must win some global prize. Genius.

  32. Piano Berious ? A piano ??

    Tsk, that’s a luxury item & must be cut up for firewood or sold before being allowed to apply for that vast sum of £71pw JSA !

    A piano…..tsk tsk, no no no, they shouldn’t be allowed to have one of those.

  33. In before AW comes in here with a flamethrower and a gas mask –

    Maybe instead of a debit card we could brand their arms with a picture of a frowning George Osborne?

  34. NEIL A

    But a voucher is really just a promissory note – “I promise to pay the bearer on demand …” – rather like a bank note.

    Indeed in the parts of the USA that I know, they are exactly that – an alternative form of currency, and like most alternative forms of currency, you tend to get a really poor exchange rate!

    Still, since we are talking about the “undeserving poor”, who cares?

  35. AMBER
    “I’ll grant you, my Whiskas comment was terribly flippant.”
    I did not think so, since my wife, who is Japanese and a member of the Labour Party in Scotland, insists on feeding a Gold Label variety of cat food from small beautifully made sachets to our Minou (rescue cat; fell onto railings from the thrid floor window of a banker friend’s Earls Court flat and cost 3k in operation and care costs). She thinks the cat is addictifve so can’t have any other more common brand.
    Personally I think this would be a justifiable subject of moral outrage, if anyone but our golfing and guitar playing neighbours knew about.
    My position is, I realise, compromised by the fact that we both feed her on demand, me during the night and she in thue daytime.
    However, I do think that, in so far as I have any leadership responisbilities in the matter, I feel that her ferocious mouse exterminating behaviour, while heavily disapproved of in the mouse, rat and vole community, justifies these rewards. After all, I argue, if we didn’t keep her supplied, she might take her talents and loyalties across the road, where there are wealthier Scots ex-famrers keeping even more expensive horses for their Edinburgh school-going daughters, let alone cats.

  36. @ John Pilgrim

    You have convinced me; I adore cats & were I in the position to have a Japanese wife, I would indulge her love of cats to the same lengths which you do. :-)

  37. @postageincluded

    Yeah, the residual thing is of interest. Something affects VI, it may subside later, but will it go all the way back, or will there be some left over.

    Ukip haven’t fallen all the way back. And there are still people not happy with Labour over Iraq it would seem, enough to be a factor in a vote.

    These residuals, may only be the odd percentage point, but they can add up. And crucially one has to note that this may be a tight election, wherein they may count more than usual.

    Another thing to note, is that some of these things cross party lines. Thus, there are some on the right who are interventionist, some isolationist. Some on the left interventionist, some pacifist etc. etc…

    So such issues can affect VI across the board…

  38. John Pilgrim and Amber

    Sad to see you both so “off message”!

    Isn’t the line that “foreigners” are nasty people that will be ostracised? :-)

  39. I am quite taken with the spiffing idea that whoever pays the money gets to say how it’s spent. So if the state pays, we as voters get to say what whether it’s spent on alcohol or not, and if you get your wages from Murdoch, then he gets to say what papers you buy.

    Possibilities are endless…

  40. @OldNat,

    I never said anyone was undeserving. Rather the opposite. I think that people who can’t generate their own income and don’t have the ability to sensibly manage their own finances are very deserving of benefiting from a system that actually helps them to provide for themselves and their families and doesn’t leave them to fail.

    My main bugbear is the payment of housing benefit as cash to tenants. Despite my anti-statist tendencies, I’d much rather provide an actual rent-free home than leave people with that hostage to fortune. The other measures could be used only remedially to help people who, as I said, had demonstrated they needed help.

    The whole concept is not all that alien you know. Referring back to an earlier point about the similarities between public sector pay and benefits, when I first joined the police there were a whole range of “allowances” which were very similar to benefits, and were delivered in much the way I am suggesting. Police officers were provided with a free house, or flat, or hostel room (depending on their housing need). They received a boot allowance, dental allowance, eyecare allowance, dry cleaning vouchers, stocking allowance (only for ladies, which I thought was a little discriminatory…) etc. Never once was I hounded down the street or pounded with vegetables as a result. Even now, we are expected to purchase essentials on a corporate credit card, rather than trusted with cash. If we go on an away trip, we are given a meal allowance – but it MUST be spent on food (receipts required). We are only allowed to purchase one alcoholic drink with our meal. Even though we are off duty and entertaining ourselves, it is considered a waste of public funds to spend the money on a bag of chips and three litres of cider.

    I suppose I am influenced by the sort of work I do and the sort of households I visit, but the misty eyed approach I perceive in others just doesn’t seem to fit the world I see.


    It’s hardly a new idea! “Tommy-shops” where the factory owner owned the housing and the only store, and couls charge what he liked (especially since he often paid in tokens/vouchers) were rather common in the 19th century.

  42. “Never once was I hounded down the street or pounded with vegetables as a result.”


    This might just possibly had something to do with your being a police person or something. Dunno if you’ve heard of it but they have this curious ability to arrest people and have cars and radios and all kinds of kit to that end.

  43. OLD NAT
    Not at all. My exchange with Amber (I won’t presume to speak for her) was about morality, in the Knoxian tradition (as distinct from moral outrage) and about wealth distrribution: the need to take into account the economic good implicit in value-added consumption patterns and their linkage with employment and production systems. RIN could probably put some figures to the monetary value of the debt/exchange elements in cat feeding: the backward sloping supply curve of garden voles as against levels of Gold Label cat food supply, for example.

  44. @Oldnat

    “Still, since we are talking about the “undeserving poor”, who cares?”

    And there go those goalposts again. Out of interest, what makes the ‘deserving’ if ‘undeserving’ is considered derogatory?

    I don’t think in terms of deserving or undeserving, rather than more or less deserving, based on contributions and personal effort (i.e. not getting oneself into unnecessary debt). The 55 year old with 40 years of NI contributions should be at the front of the dole queue and so on, while the 18 year old with the best prospects should be steered away from the dole queue and into the job queue.

    Isn’t that sensible, rather than all this ‘deserving’ malarkey?

  45. NEIL A

    Yes. I understand the nature of the complex police allowances that used to exist, as I come from a family with many polis members!

    So, what’s the likelihood of a local tradesman giving a crap return to someone who could pick up on his other little scams?

    You can put an alcoholic drink on your expenses? Wow! That’s something you can’t do in Scottish Local Government. Still, maybe you can’t survive without a drink, and the taxpayer just has to pick up the tab?


    Can I suggest you take a break from stats and read Pygmalion – or, if you prefer, watch “My Fair Lady”.


    “i.e. not getting oneself into unnecessary debt”

    Seems fair – we should have jailed the bankers, not given them lots of extra cash.

  48. @ the benefit

    I thought Amber gave the answer earlier.

    My interpretation (! – I don’t think Amber would approve at least some of it): as benefits (apart from pension, sick and disabled) are immoral (what else can be to pay someone without exchange) we have to (!) look at the intention behind paying any benefit and look, what we find – it is the government’s interest to perpetually cm a in gain this immoral situation. The general public find it immoral, but many also see through the government’s trick: maintaining this situation through paying these benefits (instead of breaking the situation) and waging the war against the recipients of these benefits – who are recipients because of the government’s policy.

    The solution is rather simple, but as it involves locking up ministers, it is unlikely to succeed (eg the state has the obligation to provide you with a job according to your qualification or provide training in a trade that in the medium term would bring equivalent income as your current skill. Failing to do that is a criminal offence by the minister punishable by a day imprisonment for each person. The individual who does not accept the offer would get absolutely nothing. Charities providing anything to these individual would also commit a criminal offence, thus their heads could also be put in prison – oh sweet dreams).

  49. @OLDNAT

    “It’s hardly a new idea! “Tommy-shops” where the factory owner owned the housing and the only store, and couls charge what he liked (especially since he often paid in tokens/vouchers) were rather common in the 19th century.”


    Yes, once capital gets involved, possibilities increase even further…

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