This week’s YouGov/Sunday Times results are here. Topline figures are CON 33%, LAB 37%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 11% – closer to the recent YouGov average than the two very close Sun polls on Wednesday and Thursday. As usual fieldwork was Thursday afternoon until Friday afternoon, so finished before Labour’s policy announcements and almost all of the reporting of Godfrey Bloom’s eventful day at UKIP’s party conference.
As you’d expect in the week of Labour’s conference there was a batch of questions on Ed Miliband (as there was in the ComRes poll for the Sunday Indy), but they only really show the pattern we’ve already seen – only 16% think he’s provided an effective opposition, only 17% think he’s made it clear what he stands for, only 9% think he is a strong leader, only 17% think he is up to the job of Prime Minister. Predictably Conservative voters have a low opinion of Miliband, but in many cases even Labour voters have a negative opinion. While Labour voters do tend to see Miliband as trustworthy and in touch with ordinary people, most think he has not made it clear what he stands for and has not provided an effective opposition and only 44% think he’d be up to the job of PM.
In one sense it will be interesting to see whether perceptions of Miliband improve as a result of the Labour conference. I expect they will a little bit, but it probably won’t make any major or lasting difference to the negative perceptions of him; it’s a hard task to change the public’s opinion on a politician once it’s set. The question is more how much it matters (thus far Labour have remained ahead in the polls despite Ed Miliband’s poor ratings) and how much it might or might not matter when we get closer to the election, a question that’s impossible to answer right now.
The poll also asking about banning the wearing of traditional Muslim dress for women and about climate change. Two thirds of people would support a ban on people wearing the burqa or the niqab in Britain (a quarter of people would even support banning the hijab). Three quarters of people would support allowing schools to ban the wearing of veils, 81% support hospitals being allowed to ban staff from wearing the veil.
56% of people think that the world’s climate is changing as a result of human activity, 23% think that the climate is changing, but not because of human activity, 7% think it is not changing at all. This is a marginally higher level of public believe in man-made climate change than the last couple of times we’ve asked, but realistically it isn’t something that changes massively from month to month. 39% think that the risk of climate change has been exaggerated, 47% think it is every bit as real as scientists have said.