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. Cm a in gain = maintain. Wonderful smart phones…

  2. I still haven’t had an answer to my original question.

    Scottish media have run with the “UK sell chemicals to Syria” story – but is this simply in the media here? or are the London press picking it up?

    (Whether the story has significance isn’t actually the issue I was asking about – but whether there is differential coverage of UK [as opposed to devolved] issues.)

  3. @ OldNat and Carfrew

    The truck system is well and alive in many parts of England and Wales.


    I had thought I was referring to a historical situation. How does it still operate?

  5. @ Old Nat

    I did post earlier that it is the front page story in Mondays Independent.

  6. @ Old Nat

    Vouchers can be given up to 20% of the wage… It was tested in court sometimes in the early 2000s.


    Thanks. I’d missed your earlier post.

  8. @ Old Nat

    I’m afraid IP numbers aren’t devolved, so where ever you are in the UK, you get the same stuff from national media except if you use proxy server or you express your demand for a particular location (eg BBC).


    Thanks. If that’s based on statutory employment law, it will probably apply in Scotland and Northern Ireland as well – even if the ruling was determined in an English court.

  10. There are lots of oddities in employment. Closed shops are illegal, but one of the major electronics companies’ collective agreement states that new recruits are expected to join xxxx union within 6 months.

  11. LASZLO

    You are suggesting that I actually look at the product of the London media??? :-)

    Shock! Horror!

  12. @ Old Nat

    I use a German IP when on my Linux, but good old BT when on Windows or Android. There are differences. Quite funny search engine differences too.

  13. LASZLO

    I’m no longer surprised at the different search results between here and North Carolina.

    Over there, I keep getting directed to independent food franchises at Highland Games sites, unless I’m very careful about my search terms. :-)

  14. @ Old Nat

    Hourly wages in the UK up to the minimum wage level must be paid in cash BUT deductions can be made for housing supplied by the employer. This is how some employers get around minimum wage laws & it’s why they won’t recruit local workers.

    I didn’t know this was the situation until Ed Miliband mentioned it as being one of the reasons why some agencies only recruit for foreign workers currently living outside the UK. The agency provides sub-standard, over-crowded accommodation & takes a huge deduction from the minimum wage.

  15. Amber

    Thanks for that rather depressing explanation!

    I don’t suppose you know if similar rules apply in other EU/EEA countries?

    Despite my resistance to Westminster rule, I wouldn’t like to think they are uniquely tolerant of such practices!

  16. @ Laszlo

    I agree that everybody should have productive work to do.

    I view social security as deferred or advanced wages; the state has chosen to pay a retainer whilst people do nothing rather than employ them at a living wage – which is a foolish choice – but society gets to make such choices.

    And people on retainers should be allowed some choice as to how the retainer is spent. If they choose to accept help with budgeting – as Neil A suggests – well that is fine. But to have that ‘help’ forced upon them is akin to punishment.

  17. @ Old Nat

    I do not know off-hand but it is a pertinent question & I will try to find out!

  18. @ Martyn

    A U-turn which would be visible from space, as they say.

    Ed Miliband has consistently said that Labour will support action when certain conditions have been met. Labour were clear about this & Labour never asked David Cameron to rule out a second vote.

  19. @Amber

    I know that Ed’s position is (and has been) as you state, so it’s a cruel dilemma he’s in. But having (accidentally?) caught the mood of the country by being seen as the leader of the anti-war movement and been rewarded with the concomitant poll boost, he’ll lose in equal measure should he now vote *for* a war.


  20. Amber

    Thanks. It would be good to know.

    On the subject of help being made available to people, I was always impressed by a Dundee initiative which seemed to produce results (but since the funding was discretionary, was ended).

    “Families” (though I think it was mainly single Mums) with severe debt problems (and often chaotic lifestyles) were offered places in one of the, now demolished, high rise blocks which had 24 hour concierge service and constant social work, child care and nutritional expertise on hand.

    The purpose was to show people how they could make the best use of the cash they had, and then transfer back into normal council housing arrangements.

    A full evaluation was never published (or, at least, I never found it) but it seemed to be a sensible effort to help people to move to controlling their own lives.

    Since that 1980s concept involved employing a large number of middle class professionals (no doubt from Broughty Ferry!) it may not have been the most sustainable model. Lots of “ordinary” folk could probably have provided equally (or better) role models for the clients!

  21. @ Martyn

    I think people are not quite as simple as that, as polling on Syria shows. Mostly they have specific concerns, rather than being pacifist or isolationist.

  22. @ Old Nat

    I think that the study which you mention would have been interesting because I’m not sure that taking people out of the environment in which they will have to live thereafter would help them to make permanent changes. Perhaps they are going to report their conclusions after a given period so that the people who participated can be followed up once they’ve spent some time back in their normal environment.

  23. @Amber

    If a second vote does come to pass (presumably between the Congress votes on 9/9 and the Friday thereafter, in time for the bombing on the weekend), then it will be unsarcastically interesting to see if the polls move as you suggest.


  24. @ Martyn

    Well I am sceptical about Labour having had a bounce in the polls. I think it is MOE combined with a brief round of applause which will rapidly fade in any case.

  25. @ Martyn

    I am deeply sceptical that there will be a vote in congress. I think that, absent a UNSC resolution permitting action, President Obama will find another way to resolve/ walk away from (delete according to taste) the situation.

  26. Amber

    That scheme took place 30 years ago! I think we’d have seen the results by now! :-)

    It was of its time, and I suggested that parachuting in external middle class “experts” may not have been the most appropriate approach.

    However, “taking people out of the environment in which they will have to live thereafter” isn’t a wholly accurate description (if you know Dundee!)

    Couldn’t the same criticism be made of rehab clinics etc?

    My experience of the policy of insisting that troubled/troublesome pupils had to be returned to exactly the same environment which reinforced their behaviours, instead of freeing them from such expectations and pressures, makes me doubtful of that concept.

    As my much revered former boss (and Labour worthy) David White once remarked, “I’m all in favour of provision in the community – as long as that community is Bearsden!”

    I suspect that your environment is currently more Bearsden than Saltcoats! :-)

    I’m sure that it was unintentional, but there was a sense of “those people will always remain in that environment” about your comment.

    You know full well that lots of people have escaped from the trap of their circumstances, but they often need a helping hand to do so.

  27. @ Old Nat

    That scheme took place 30 years ago! I think we’d have seen the results by now! :-)
    Yikes – the 1980s is 30 years ago. How time flies.
    Couldn’t the same criticism be made of rehab clinics etc?
    Yes, & I think it frequently is. That’s partly why I’d have been interested in the results of the study. I’d like to know whether it gave the participants the skills to improve their lives in the environment to which they returned or helped them to move on from that environment, if that was their goal or whether it inculcated new goals which they had the skills to achieve.
    You know full well that lots of people have escaped from the trap of their circumstances, but they often need a helping hand to do so.
    I know that I needed more than one helping hand. And I got them. Free university education, an affordable starter home, some free nursery school hours for my son, free NHS etc. etc. And I will never forget it; nor will I ever believe that others are less deserving of help than I was.

  28. @Amber

    I really like your idea of social security as a ‘retainer’. But why should it be a retainer for doing nothing? Surely for those people available for work it could be a chance to offer some really decent retraining/job experience and/or a chance to work for the state. My objection to the current schemes is not that they are bad in principle but they are useless and exploitative in practice.

  29. Within the 3% either way margin for error, tonight’s Yougov could be anything from

    Con 28 Lab 44 (14% lead)


    Con 34 Lab 38 (4% lead)

    I wonder…

  30. @Amber,

    Shouldn’t the state have given you the cash to pay for your nursery placement, rather than free hours, and for your university education, rather than a free place? Isn’t that the gist of our debate?

    Or can we trust people to spend their rent money effectively, but not their childcare money and their education money?

  31. @Hehe, Nick I think you’re (wilfully) misinterpreting the concept of MOE!

    Your proposition assumes that the last poll represents the new “midpoint” of MOE, rather than the edge of it. You could of course be right, but in that case why not assume that the last poll was the lower edge of a true Labour lead and that the new position is really C28 L43. In that case, with MOE we could have the next poll at C25 L47. A handy 22% lead (like in the old days).

  32. I don’t think that Ed Miliand and Labour will gain an instant bounce in the polls over Syria. But from what I can see they are on the same side of UK public opinion, not to take any action in regard to Syria without a proper UN process. If Labour continues to have policies which chime with public opinion, then they may see this reflected in better polling.

    The right wing media is having a hard time in deciding how to report on EM and Labour over their decision on Libya. They appear to be in agreement, but are questioning Labours motives. One minute we have the Ed is Carp reporting and now we have devious Ed. This is a bit silly, as all Ed and Labour have pointed out, is that last Thursday was too early to decide on military strikes and there would need to be a more considered process. Even Obama appears to agree with this. The Tories can’t decide whether the HOC vote is positive or negative. They appear to have given up on a further HOC vote, even if more information comes out about Assads forces being responsible and a UN vote is won.

  33. My problem with Syria is simple; why is the west Judge and executioner? ( Especially given our hypocrisy over such matters.) There are international forums and international courts. use them.

    If we don’t use them it is merely the west bombing people they feel like picking on – or at least that will be how it’s perceived in Arab /Muslim countries.

    One must not merely be concerned with morality and legality – one must also live that way. We don’t.

  34. “In that case, with MOE we could have the next poll at C25 L47.”

    Now that is promising. How long till the reall thing, again?

  35. Morning Everyone,

    Lots of wishful thinking going on here today. :)

  36. @RHuckle

    “The right wing media is having a hard time in deciding how to report on EM and Labour over their decision on Libya.”

    According to Rawnsley in yesterday’s Observer, and he’s usually quite reliable in terms of the tittle-tattle of Westminster politics, the personal relationship between Cameron and Miliband has become poisonous and, while the Commons shenanigans on Syria have no doubt contributed to the worsening relationship between the two of them, they haven’t been getting on for some time apparently.

    Wednesday’s PMQs should be interesting, for once, and I wonder what this increasing acrimony might mean in terms of public’s perceptions of the two men? Miliband’s possible advantage from a personality point of view is that he appears better able to control his temper and, therefore, less likely to descend into name-calling and personal insults. I’ve always thought that one of Cameron’s weaknesses, and this may be behind his relatively lukewarm popularity, is his occasional charmless outbursts when under pressure. It’s the one lesson he didn’t learn from Blair and whilst studied charm comes easily to him, grace under pressure obviously doesn’t.

    My sense is that if things get a little personal between them, then it’s advantage Miliband.

  37. What is happening with polling?

    44% yes, 43% no.

    But then on nearly the same day:

    29% Yes, 59% No

    Why the huge difference?

  38. Has anyone seen the timelines on recent postings? It would appear UKPR has a night shift nowadays.

    We have 24 hour news so we have 24 hour UKPR.

  39. Timelines…

    Yes, in the unlikely event of having to identify UKPR posters/bloggers from within a random group of people, I would guess we might be higher than average on being well-informed, below average on sleep.

  40. In a previous thread Charles had made the point about the arrogance and madness of leaders being followed by their destruction, and that certainly has seemed true of G.W. Bush, at least in terms of reputation, and I agree with the point in general.

    But to my surprise we seemed to have some quite nuanced comments from some MPs (not all !) and I think it is simply a very complicated question.

    There are factors like the Syrian opposition and government both having positive and negative aspects, in varying degrees, the conflict between the different branches of Islam, and the underlying struggle between the largest powers in the region, Saudi and Iran, each with their allies.

    I hope the UN can take some strong action against those who used chemical weapons. I have read that the former League of Nations was disbanded in the end because it was ineffective – was it the action of Abyssinia?

  41. 8 days to our election but probably 2 to 3 weeks before we have a new govt, it depends on how quickly the parties on the right can do their negotiations. The polls aren’t really moving a lot most of the movement that is happening is inside the right wing bloc as the conservatives lose voters to the right and the centre, that’s folk expressing which way they want the next govt to lean, in a way the voters are already involved in the post election negotiations

  42. @ Amber

    Yes, accommodation is one (employees actually have no choice) and transport to workplace (again no choice).

    There’s also tools of work (including protective clothing) that have to be bought from the company (common practice in meat processing, otherwise known as butchering).

    I can’t find the court case – it was vouchers (not allowing choice) for the company’s canteen that also sold cigarettes and coffee and alike).

  43. We seem to be in a completely surreal place with this Syria issue now. As with the PM last week after the vote, this morning we have the DPM absolutely ruling out a second vote, and therefore any UK involvement, on military action.

    This is logically absurd. Our government is saying that regardless of any new evidence, or new acts by the Assad regime, or vote by the UN, we will steadfastly refuse to budge. It is, in simple logical terms, completely untenable as a position.

    Meanwhile, we have Labour clearly stating that should new evidence come forward, they would consider a second vote, with their response being judged on exactly the same terms they set out last week. While this may well appear contradictory to many voters, to those who actually followed the story, this is entirely consistent.

    I remain completely and utterly at a loss to understand why Cameron ruled out any intervention, when he was never asked to do so. At the time I thought it was an off the cuff response of a deeply rattled and humiliated PM in the heat of the moment, but finding that this is the settled response of a government previously very gung ho for action leaves me even more baffled.

  44. Sorry, accidently copied the same link, here is the link to the other poll:

    So who is right? Panelbase or Yougov?

    One says Scotland will declare independence, the other says the pro independence vote are going to suffer a landslide defeat?

    What does that say about the polling industry when you can get 2 such completely different results reported within a day of each other?

  45. Come on Alec- PMI day one- wakey wakey!

  46. More discussion on the Scotland poll:

    “The poll was commissioned by the SNP and, as I’ve noted before, it’s always wise to be sceptical of polls published by political parties, principally because the questions asked are often biased in favour of a particular outcome. But on the surface at least, there appear to be no oddities.”

    “It’s a stunning result for the SNP, and entirely at odds with the most recent YouGov poll (carried out a week earlier), which put the No campaign ahead by a record 30 points (59-29). Until other polls are published showing the nationalist side ahead, it’s wise to treat survey with caution (lest it prove to be an outlier) ”

    “In an encouraging precedent for Salmond, Panelbase was the first polling company to put the SNP ahead in the 2011 Scottish parliamentary election”

  47. Richard

    I know, it’s like London buses, you wait for ages for independence polls and then two come along at once[1]. In this case going in opposite directions.

    Both are politically commissioned. The 44/43 by the SNP using Panelbase and the 29/59 by Devo Plus (a No group with possible Tory links) using YouGov.

    Anthony may well do a saltire post when the tables are available and he has the time. There seems to be a query over the questions in the YouGov and I think there is a systematic problem with Panelbase’s Scottish polls. I’ll try to comment more later

    [1] Unlike Edinburgh trams where you just wait…and wait…and wait…for them even to get started.

  48. The 43/44 poll is well out of line with every poll on the referendum. In the absence of (a) some major event to shift Scottish opinion or (b) corroborating polls, I think it’s safe to say this was a rogue poll, and was publicised by the SNP because it was contrary to every other poll.

  49. @ Neil

    Shouldn’t the state have given you the cash to pay for your nursery placement, rather than free hours, and for your university education, rather than a free place? Isn’t that the gist of our debate?
    1. Because the state wasn’t giving me these things instead of a wage; &
    2. Employers can give vouchers for education & nursery places or provide it free without a cash alternative, provided you have more than the minimum wage; &
    3. The help wasn’t means tested, it was available to rich & poor alike based on merit/ local waiting lists; &
    4. At that time, the help which I received had never been paid to anybody in cash or vouchers so they weren’t punishing me for being poor &/or stupid.

    I’d add that point 1. is the most important of those which I’ve listed.

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