The weekly YouGov poll for the Sunday Times has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 39%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 11%. Most of the rest of the poll asked about the “plebgate” row.
As various questions about Plebgate have continued to surface public opinion has moved in favour of Andrew Mitchell, albeit, not by that much. Back in December 2012 people were pretty evenly split over whether they believed Mitchell (31%) or the police (28%), now Mitchell is clearly more widely believed (37%) than the police are (27%). Back in December 43% thought Mitchell probably did call the officer a “pleb”, 34% thought he probably didn’t. The figures are now 40% think he did, 38% think he did not. On every question there are lots of don’t knows: remember most ordinary people will not be following the detailed ins and outs of the story!
30% of people think that there was probably a deliberate attempt by police to stitch up Mitchell, 21% think he was probably wrongly accused but through a genuine misunderstanding rather than a conspiracy, 24% that he was rightly accused and the police were just telling the truth. Despite the growing doubts about what he said, still only 29% of people think he should be offered a new government job (perhaps because many people think swearing at police officers should prevent him being re-instated even if he didn’t say “pleb”!)
22% of people say that “plebgate” has made them trust the police less, though the tracking questions don’t really tell the same story. 66% of people say they trust ordinary police officers (14% a great deal, 52% a fair amount), 48% say they trust senior police officers. Both are significantly lower than when YouGov started asking the questions back in 2003 (when 82% trusted normal officers and 72% senior officers), but not significantly lower than we’ve seen for the last year or two – the real damage appears to have been done before plebgate.