YouGov’s weekly results for the Sunday Times are out here. Topline figures are CON 33%, LAB 39%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 12%.

The poll started with an interesting question on the economy – directly addressing the queries you sometimes see on whether the GDP figures are actually reflected in ordinary’s people’s experience. 34% of people think the economy is now growing again across Britain as a whole, 41% do not. Asked about their own local area though, 22% think the economy is growing, 55% do not – people in London and the south are more likely to see the economy as growing, the north and Scotland less so. (Note more than half of the fieldwork would have been completed before the new GDP figures came out, so they won’t yet reflect that). You can look at this a pessimistic or optimistic way (or vice-versa, depending on one’s preferred outcome to the election) – one that the government isn’t benefiting from economic growth because many people aren’t feeling it in their own areas, the other that given many people don’t think the economy is growing yet, there’s plenty more potential upside for the government if/when they do.

Most of the poll deal with questions about energy prices. On the cost of living Labour have a lead, but only a tiny one – 26% trust Labour more, 24% the Conservatives. Solid majorities support all the energy price proposals made over the last few days, 72% support Miliband’s price freeze, 73% Major’s windfall tax, 64% Cameron’s reduction in green taxes. Asked to choose just ONE of them though the price freeze is the most popular, picked by 39% to the green tax reduction’s 28% and the windfall tax on 23%.

Looking more specifically at green taxes, only 15% of people support the continuation of the green levy on energy bills. 39% would rather the spending was funded directly from generation taxation, 34% would rather the money was not spent at all. In a forced choice question 52% would rather the government acted to cut bills, even if it mean less action was taken to cut CO2 emissions and protect the environment.

Looking to future energy needs the parties are exactly matched, 22% would trust the Tories more, 22% Labour more. On the principle of the new nuclear power station 49% support the deal, 30% are opposed. There are more concerns about the details – 55% think it’s unacceptable for French and Chinese companies to be involved, 49% think it is unacceptable for the government to promise to pay a minimum price for the electricity generated.

There were also a couple of questions on drug legalisation. 47% of people would support the decriminalisation (25%) or full legalisation (22%) or “soft” drugs like cannabis, 45% would prefer their sale and possession to remain a criminal offence. There is far less support for softening restrictions on harder drugs, 71% think that drugs like heroin and crack should remain illegal.

Looking at the rest of the Sunday papers, there is also a Survation poll” in the Sunday Times which has topline figures of CON 29%, LAB 35%, LDEM 12%, UKIP 17%, and a Panelbase poll in the Herald (but commissioned by Wings over Scotland) which has referendum voting intentions of YES 35%, NO 43%, Undecided 20%. This is broadly typical of Panelbase – with the exception of a single poll in Jan 2013 and the SNP commissioned poll with leading questions, they’ve been consistently showing a lead of between 8-10 points since summer 2012.

271 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 33, LAB 39, LD 9, UKIP 12”

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  1. @ Old Nat

    For example, in the last question, respondents were asked to agree or disagree with the statement “The Scottish people would make a success of an independent Scotland.”
    Well we’d just have to, wouldn’t we.
    Even I would answer yes to that question but, as things stand, I’ll be voting No.

  2. Even if the question was “would Scotland do better outside the Union” the sensible answer would be “I have no idea and it completely depends upon the criteria.”

    To be sensible for a change, if Scotland has no desire to still regard itself as part of a “world power”, with all that entails, then it makes perfect sense to be independent and opt out of trying to police the un-policeable.

    Pick something else and it may be the opposite.

    Most opinion polls like to force a yes/no response and life is not that simple.

  3. I wonder whether Angela Knight is a ‘Cassandra’. She was at the British Bankers Association when the banks went t*ts up and is now at Energy UK which represents the energy companies.

    Has this Woman done something in a previous life to deserve this ?

    I have a sneaky feeling that these energy companies are not as financially stable as they might appear. They may be making big profits, but if they struggle to keep financing their operations, they could go the same way as the banks. Not very many people predicted the banking collapse. They were making billions in profits, but somehow they were actually suffering.

  4. @Xanadan,

    Plymouth Labour had a “Freeze the Bills, not the People” stand in the City Centre two weeks ago, so I think its a national thing. Like you I thought it was a canny bit of campaigning.

  5. @OldNat,

    I think you mean that you agree with me, but I’m not entirely sure.

    You Nats make inscrutability into an art form. No wonder the other parties can never land a blow on Salmond and Sturgeon…

  6. I think she did something in this live to deserve it

  7. @ R Huckle

    They may be making big profits, but if they struggle to keep financing their operations, they could go the same way as the banks. Not very many people predicted the banking collapse. They were making billions in profits, but somehow they were actually suffering.

    The evidence is not that the banks were suffering prior to the banking collapse. There are daily examples exposing the fraudulent dealings of the financial sector… liar loans, Libor, manipulation of their capital assessments, subprime mortgages packaged as triple A, accountancy fraud .. the whole edifice seems to have been totally toxic. Actually, still is, as very little has been changed. The banks were/are a credit crunch waiting to happen. I don’t know if the energy sector is similarly dubious but doubtless they are as involved in the financial sector as all the big corporations seem to be, so I wouldn’t be surprised.

  8. In many areas of Norway the autumn midterm is called the potato week

  9. R Huckle

    Well Cassandra always foretold the future accurately but was cursed never to be believed. Dame Angela on the other hand always represents the past inaccurately to excuse the faults of those she speaks for and is unquestioningly reported by the media. So not much similarity

    You may be right that the energy companies are more unstable than they pretend. But if so it will be for the same reasons as the banks: shady business practices; overvalued acquisitions; over-gearing; complex inter-company set-ups that hide the true state of affairs; the operation of the business for the short term gains of those running it rather than the long-term benefit of the company, its shareholders, employees or customers.

    Naturally if it all goes pear-shaped the customers and taxpayers will be expected to pick up the bill for damages and further consolidation will mean that the industry will be in position to do the same thing all over again. And Dame Angela will complain about them being criticised.

  10. Amber

    Agreeing with the statement would be expected from most people – as indeed happens. Most people here agree that Scotland wouldn’t be the basket case that so many of our southern cousins who post on websites, or write for the Evening Standard and other London media appear to believe.

    As is clear from the poll, one can agree with the statement, and still vote No or Yes – as you and I will do.

    75% of those disagreeing were Coalition supporters in 2011. I can understand that they may define “success” as being part of a country that can still posture on the world stage. By that definition, every small country is a failure (and UK isn’t much of a success by that definition. They should really consider becoming part of the USA, or enhancing the EU to become a super state).

    There will still be some who subscribe to the “too wee, too poor” meme that was peddled for so long. Hopefully, the publication of an agreed set of data from Westminster and Holyrood statisticians will settle that one.

    There will be British Nationalists who cannot comprehend that anything that isn’t the status quo can ever be successful, and may not believe that the UK is successful either – but that question wasn’t asked!

  11. Looking at the detail of green taxes, I am not surprised they are not supported. Insulating homes has to be a good thing, but I would love to know whether it is being done cost effectively: £59 a year on every household’s bill is one hell of a lot of money. And why are we paying to buy electricity from people generating from solar panels etc? Surely it should just be sold to grid at market rate? Or deducted off your bill? IS rethink is needed.

  12. I did suggest to Anthony that there was so much data in this poll, that a Saltire thread on it would have been appropriate.

    Another question was “Do you feel that the following people and organisations have been acting with the best interests of the people of Scotland at heart?”

    As far as the “people” are concerned, then these net ratings should give some idea as to opinion in Scotland.

    Alex Salmond +15
    Nicola Sturgeon +12
    Alistair Darling -11
    Willie Rennie -13
    Patrick Harvie -14
    Anas Sarwar -18
    Ruth Davidson -18
    Johann Lamont -19
    Michael Moore -20
    David Cameron -42

    Among the undecideds (though unsurprisingly fwer had heard of, or had an opinion on, any of them except Salmond, Sturgeon and Cameron) the ratings aren’t hopeful for the pro-UK camp.

    Salmond +36, Sturgeon +34, Cameron -61

  13. It ought to pointed out that the wording of the Survation question is more subtle:

    Q11 At the moment the average annual household energy bill includes £128 in “green taxes”, used to subsidise items such as wind farms, and other government measures
    By 2020, this figure will be around £270 Do you support or oppose the existence of these charges?

    Support 18%. Oppose 70%

    Q12 This week David Cameron announced a sudden U-turn on “green taxes”. David Cameron had previously supported such “green taxes” but has now promised to repeal some of them.
    Which of the following do you think was his main motivation for this change of policy?

    Because he was worried about households facing high energy bills 25%

    Because he was worried about the popularity of Ed Miliband’s plan to cap energy bills 43%

    Because of John Major’s intervention in the debate 17%

    Q13 Do you agree or disagree with David Cameron’s decision to repeal some of these measures? (my bold)

    So there is a build up to the question and Cameron certainly gets less credit for his response than he might hope. And as pointed out before it’s only some green taxes the public don’t like.

  14. Questions like “How would you describe your feelings now compared to 15 months ago?” (More/less likely to support independence) are of little use when answered by those committed to either side.

    However, for the undecideds, while 55% are unchanged (probably haven’t looked at the issues – getting on with life being much more important!) 36% are more likely to vote Yes, as opposed to 9% more likely to vote No.

    “Project Fear” (as the No campaign have nicknamed themselves) may have had a counter-productive effect.

  15. @Oldnat

    No Miliband or Clegg?

    I’m fast coming to the conclusion that to make the decision on Independence, I’ll have to undertake my own research. Is it worth it though? All that for one lousy vote either way…


    Server time is out (that’s the 4th site I’ve seen today, so no big deal :))



  17. “Which of these will be the MAIN factors in how you vote in the independence referendum?” (% of Yes, No, Undecided respondents could pick up to 2 responses)
    The future of the economy, 35%, 56%, 65%
    The prospects for my children and grandchildren (and/or those of others), 48%, 35%, 54%
    Ensuring Scotland always gets the government it votes for, 62%, 7%, 25%
    Maintaining the UK’s international status and influence, 2%, 51%, 11%
    My own prospects, 18%, 18%, 25%
    Emotional reasons (eg national pride), 15%, 4%, 3%
    Other, 2%, 3%, 3%

  18. @Oldnat

    Not sure that population has anything to do with it really. At what point can the ‘No’ side declare a nation is “too small to survive on its own”?

    5 million? 7.5 million? 10 million?

    Switzerland is just over 8 million. Norway is less than Scotland in population.

    However, there’s a good case for taking into account the political plans of the new Scotland with regard its population and its ability to generate revenue.

    Can a socialist country survive (if at all) without a sizeable population to spread around the wealth? Will the wealthy move away from such a state? Take note, that the socialism of other European countries and the likely socialism of an Independent Scotland will not be the same.

    I wonder if we can survive financially without the benefits system being massively revamped, and those of work-shy disposition forced to contribute to the state in some fashion.

    If Scotland’s GDP alone is estimated at $235 billion, we should note some other comparative countries (name, pop, gdp):

    Switzerland: 8m, 632b
    Denmark: 5.6m, 314b
    Slovakia: 5.4m, 92b
    Finland: 5.4m, 250b
    Scotland 5.3m, 235b
    Norway: 5m, 501b
    Ireland: 4.5m, 210b

    Thus, it seems that population has nothing to do with it, and one’s ability to generate revenue is everything. Can Scotland compete with the rest of Europe as a socialist nation? I doubt it.

  19. Statgeek


  20. @RiN

    Why what?

    (And please don’t ask me to elaborate on an already long post – rather, state your own point of view, if it conflicts with mine)


    I wouldn’t describe most of the smaller European nations as “socialist” (though let’s not get into the barren discussion of whether social democracy equals socialism).

    Your list of small independent countries and their GDP, does suggest that being dependent has been pretty bad for Scotland – unless you subscribe to the idea that somehow, Scots are somehow incapable of taking advantage of the opportunities that independence clearly brings to others.

  22. What kind of socialist state will Scotland become after independence? Is it a given that Scotland will become socialist? Will it be one party socialism? Will Alex declare him self life long dictator? Have the snp secret plans to seize the means of production immediately after a yes vote? Are the Scots less patriotic than their Danish and Finnish (and Norwegian) counterparts and will leave if an independent Scotland puts up taxes to the same kind of levels seen in those countries. I don’t understand the rational behind the question “can Scotland compete with the rest of Europe as a socialist nation?”

  23. RiN

    Well much of that is the view of Anas Sarwar (hereditary MP and Deputy Leader of SLab) that Scotland is a dictatorship already. :-)

  24. @Oldnat

    Well obviously we’re not Switzerland or Norway, and we’re not going to be down the list as far as Slovakia, but are Ireland and Finland wealthy?

    In fairness, we have better climates than Norway and Finland in some ways (it depends on if rain is better than snow in the winter). We may also have a better head start on Ireland in infrastructure aspects and other established sectors.

    My worry is that no Scottish government, given Independence will have the courage to rebalance the public to private sector jobs ratio. It’s too high to maintain, and have a flourishing economy. Of course, if we can magically get the current unemployed levels down to next to nothing, the existing public sector jobs can be supported as the ratio changes.

  25. @RiN

    Your first question is pretty much what I’m asking. Everything from ‘Alex King etc’ was unionist diatribe. :))

    Is it a given? Of course. 40+ percent vote Labour, 5% Lib Dem and 25% SNP. 70% of the country are more left wing than right wing (or perceive themselves to be so, regardless of the political spectrum of the current parties).

    Hence the free prescriptions, bus passes, tuition fees and all that.


    Indeed. Listening to the SLAB is not the way to learn whether Scotland can exist without the UK. Unfortunately, they have the loudest voice in Scotland most of the time, and I feel that they will shout the loudest when the time comes. They have the most to lose.


    We “aren’t Norway” because Scots voted to stay in the UK, allow the state owned oil company to be privatised, and allow the oil revenues to go into the Treasury maw to bail out the UK deficit.

    We have to live with that, but continuing a bad path is usually unwise.

    What % of employment are you looking to be in the public sector? It’s currently 23%, but if you want to privatise Scottish Water, for example, that number would change. However, what economic advantage you imagine would come from that escapes me.

    Public = bad while private = good is a remarkably simplistic approach to anything.

  27. Statgeek

    I’m sure that all the Scandinavian countries have a higher public to private sector ratio than scotland, and yes Finland is wealthy it doesn’t have many wealthy people but neither does it have many poor people, just like all the Scandinavian countries(really I shouldn’t include Finland in Scandinavia, we have a separate term for the Nordic countries plus the other small countries in the northh

  28. Maybe the public to private ratio is too low to have a healthy flourishing economy?


    You may be living in the past!

    Voting figures for Westminster are somewhat unrepresentative of devolved Scotland.

    If you hadn’t noticed Labour haven’t been in power in Scotland since 2007, and the SNP still have remarkably high polling after 6 years in power.

    The Panelbase poll also has data on how people think they might vote in 2016 for a continuing devolved Parliament or an independent Parliament.

    In either scenario, there is a remarkable degree of “churn”, with around 20% not sure how they would vote under whatever circumstances emerge.

    In an indy Scotland, Labour get 22% of the vote. In a devolved Scotland, they get 20%. That’s hardly the picture you present.

  30. Oh goodness gracious, I’ve found out why Germany is such an economic powerhouse, their public sector is enormous!!

  31. Where is this site hosted? It’s clearly in a different time zone!

  32. ” At what point can the ‘No’ side declare a nation is “too small to survive on its own”? ”

    Three people and a dog? [Wuffly.]

  33. Oldnat – in exotic Maidenhead. I think you’ve spotted me not getting round to putting the clocks back on WordPress.

    “What is the lag time between indicators of economic growth and its benefits being felt in household income or employment, and how does this vary between classes and between areas? Anyone able to provide figures?”


    Good question. And it rather depends on government policy, like if they freeze your pay, up your pension costs and income tax, and put VAT on storage(!!!), this may be detrimental to disposable income…


    “Oldnat – in exotic Maidenhead. I think you’ve spotted me not getting round to putting the clocks back on WordPress.”


    Wouldn’t have happened in lovely Scotland, though…

  36. On the HS2 thing… There’s the VI effect of people feeling they’ll benefit from the line, that is more immediate (and countered to some extent by those who don’t want the line through their Chilterns, whatever they may be), but there’s the longer term effect of spreading the London economy northwards, a landscape-changer that would also have VI effects…

  37. Has Theresa May been messing with your server AW?

  38. @Carfrew

    My guess is that HS2 is going to make next to no difference to the outcome of the next election. For all the bluster, the number of people who actually bother turning out to demos for or against is tiny.

    The 2020 election may be a different matter though. If the government of the day utterly buggers up cost management, that will be a vote-loser (although the precedent from Crossrail, GWML upgrade and Thameslink suggests that is unlikely). If, on the other hand, either party stops HS2 and the situation in 2020 turns out to be as bad as I think it will be, there will be a resounding “told you so” for whichever party is blamed.

  39. @Carfrew
    I don’t believe that HS2 will “spread the London economy northward”; I think it’ll help suck any moveable bits of the northern economy down to the southeast. And this is a widespread opinion in the north of England. We were told the same story about motorways in the 50s. Since then the country has steadily become more London-centric.

    We’re looking very long term here, but don’t expect HS2 to bring any benefit to the North, or any voters to the Conservatives.

  40. “I don’t believe that HS2 will “spread the London economy northward”; I think it’ll help suck any moveable bits of the northern economy down to the southeast. And this is a widespread opinion in the north of England.”

    There is also a widespread view that you can magically solve the problem by piling more and more trains on to the existing lines. And that the capacity crunch at the end of the line doesn’t exist, in spite of load factor going up to 162% on some local services. Just because it’;s a widespread opinion doesn’t mean it’s right.

    I have very little faith in armchair economists and less faith still in armchair engineers.

  41. I wonder whether the NSA monitor comments on this site ? The agents that work for NSA should receive a pay rise for having to monitor all the worlds communications, most of which will be boring everyday stuff.

    I suspect the NSA probably know more about coalition tensions than the British public. All the phone arguments between Cameron and Clegg. Now that would be interesting to listen into.

    I wonder whether the Guardian have any Snowden documents about UK politicians or political issues. If they have such documents, it would be interesting as to how the Guardian would decide what to release and when. Going by media reports it would appear that the NSA have been monitoring politicians in different countries, so there is no reason why they would not monitor the UK as well.

  42. R huckle

    No need, in the UK the politicians are self monitored, it’s so much more effective

  43. I think the misconception in the eyes of the public is that the line is about speed when the problem is capacity. The name is wrong it should be called RC1 – required capacity 1.

    I used to think it was about speed and thought – “but it is only 4.5 hours London to Glasgow’. Reading this site I realised it was about capacity.

  44. OLDNAT
    Alex Salmond +15
    Nicola Sturgeon +12
    Alistair Darling -11
    Willie Rennie -13
    Patrick Harvie -14
    Anas Sarwar -18
    Ruth Davidson -18
    Johann Lamont -19
    Michael Moore -20
    David Cameron -42

    I’m not surprised the Tory leader in Scotland is more popular than Johann Lamont. After all Lamont acts more like a Tory than wee Ruth.

  45. Things I don’t understand about HS2. Rail has been privatised so why is the government paying for this? Who gets the profits once it is built?

  46. @Chris NS

    Yes, that was kinda my point: in the shorter term, it may not make that much difference. Some may be in favour since they may feel they”ll benefit, to some extent offset by those who worry about “copping it in the Chilterns”, as it were.

    So one may then question why, in VI terms the Tories should wish to continue with it, especially since, as you say, there may be headlines due to screw-ups.

    My point here is that in the longer term, it can have a significant VI effect if it spreads London’s economic effect northwards.

    Couple of months back we were debating the North-South divide, and where the divide was actually located. And there’s data that shows that basically it’s determined by a two-hour commute to London. People who can take advantage of London’s prosperity commute home and spend it in their local community etc.

    So the HS2 line could further spread that effect northwards.

  47. The train services are sort-of privatised, but he track is not, ever since the demise of Railtrack. It’s little difference to the roads, where almost all car and bur journeys are private. No-one calls for the nationalisation of car ownership.

    Anyway, to answer your question about who gets the profits, the short answer is the government. If the franchising system is still around in 2026, services on HS2 will be a easy profit-maker, just like East Coast and Virgin are now. So in order to get the franchise, you’ll have to pay the government a heft premium. And the more profit the line makes, the bigger the premium the government gets.

    The other possibility is that the government might sell a 30-year concession like they did for HS1. That recouped 40% of the costs in one stroke of a pen (but forfeited the money they could otherwise have made from premiums).

  48. @Postage

    Well, it’s true that if you allow more people to commute to London, they may elect to work there rather than locally. However, they will also spend their wages in the local economy. Making London commutable also allows people to stop living in London and commute instead.

    So, as I just said to Chris, data suggests prosperity follows commutability to some extent, determining the North-South divide. Make more of the North commutable, and they may well benefit, rather than just sucking everything to London.


    “Thus, it seems that population has nothing to do with it, and one’s ability to generate revenue is everything. Can Scotland compete with the rest of Europe as a socialist nation? I doubt it”

    That’s why I hope we don’t see a Labour government in an independent Scotland. []

    If we elect a government just to the left but with it toes dipping in the right then I expected to see our GDP grow year on year.

    Of course there are other European nations with a comparable population to Scotland with much larger GDP’s as you have pointed out but if you take those economy’s and look at the GDP per capita then they are also much higher than that of the UK.

  50. So, tonight’s YouGov poll will be the first to be conducted entirely after the Quarter 3 growth figures were announced and it will be interesting to see what impact the positive economic news has on the state of play. Certainly in the short term, I would expect a mild boost in the Tory VI, maybe Lib Dem too, because it helps the Government argument on economic competence and policy. I say short term because, as most of us agree on here, long term depends on people experiencing the growth personally in terms of an improvement in their overall living standards. If there’s a disconnect between the two that remains deep seated then I don’t expect the Government to benefit politically. Perversely, if the growth remains demographically and geographically skewed, they may even suffer politically as this feeds into the negative perception of them being out of touch and only interested in making the already affluent more affluent. I’m not saying that’s necessarily true, by the way, but it’s a perception that Labour will look to exploit.

    Positive economic data could well prove to be a double-edged sword for the Coalition, affording both benefits in terms of their narrative on the economy, but real dangers if the type of growth that occurs plays into negative political stereotypes.

    Still, in the short term, as I say, I would expect a boost for the Tories in tonight’s poll. Here’s my prediction: –

    Lab 37
    Con 34
    LD 12
    UKIP 8

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