Tables for the weekly YouGov/Sunday Times poll are now up here. Topline voting intention figures are CON 34%, LAB 39%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 11%. In the lack of any really big news stories this week, the rest of the poll was a bit of a grab bag of issues – Labour and Falkirk, accident and emergency, cyclists going through red lights…

The ongoing Falkirk story still doesn’t seem to be having a particular impact with the general public. Only 26% of people said they were following the story very or fairly closely – 48% were not following it at all or were totally unaware of it. On most of the questions YouGov asked they found a high level of don’t knows – for example, 19% think Miliband has handled Falkirk well, 36% badly, but 45% don’t know.

On wider trade union issues, 55% would support changing the law so strike ballots required the support of 50% of eligible members, not just of those voting. 65% think the “leverage tactics” used by Unite in Grangemouth were unacceptable and 54% would support a ban on trade unions involved in a dispute protesting outside the private homes of directors.

Moving to the NHS, amongst people who have used their local A&E in the past few years 82% say they received a good service. 18% thought their local A&E services had got better, 23% worse. However 41% thought waiting times had got longer. More generally 50% are confident that A&E will be able to meet people’s needs this winter, 38% are not. If they had to choose, 46% would prefer retaining A&E services even if it meant resources were stretched, 26% would prefer fewer but better resourced A&E.

Finally 44% of people have personally seen a cyclist go through a red light in the last month, 43% have not. 63% think it is fairly or very common for cyclists to go through red lights. 87% of people think this is unacceptable even when a cyclist can see the way ahead is clear and 78% think cyclists who go through red lights should be prosecuted. Amongst regular cyclists themselves (that is, people who say they cycle at least once a week), 18% say they have gone through a red light in the last six months. 24% think it is acceptable to go through a red light if they can see the way ahead is clear and 69% would support the prosecution of people who cycle through red lights.


146 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 34, LAB 39, LD 10, UKIP 11”

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  1. Some interesting figures on inheritance tax from the ONS, quoted in the Guardian yesterday. This possibly has some bearing on @Bill Patrick’s point re the NHS.

    In the two years 2008 – 2010, only 3.6% of people received an inheritance of more than £1,000, with over half of these getting less than £10,000 and 90% being under £125,000. Virtually all of these would almost certainly have been from estates not liable to inheritance tax. These figures indicate that only 0.36% of the population received an inheritance above £125,000 in the two year period.

    While we need to be careful, in that the annual rate of the population getting a +£125,000 inheritance appears to be around 0.36% of the population from these figures, clearly most people will only get one major inheritance in their lives, so it might be theoretically possible that over a long period these annual numbers add up to a significant part of the populations, but that doesn’t really work. Even over twenty five years, just 9% of the population would get a £125,000+ inheritance on these figures.

    The ONS calculate that in the same period, £57B of the total £75B (76%) of inheritance went to the richest 20% of the population, with the clear implication that reducing inheritance tax (or not increasing it) is merely designed to protect the wealthy, at the expense of the less well off.

    It’s absolutely clear from any rational view of the economy, that there are large assets being transferred between generations amongst the very wealthy, much of which represents unearned income through asset price inflation. Targeting this for some additional tax revenue would seem to be a perfectly reasonable and fair means to provide additional resources to, say, the NHS.

    For example, if £10B pa in additional taxation could have been secured from top end inheritance tax between 2008 – 2010, the NHS could have had a 10% increase in funding and the richest 20% would still have reaped a £37B windfall, with no adverse effects on the wider economy.

    What’s actually worse, is that the obsession with preserving the estates of the dead means that the 96.3% of working age who didn’t receive an inheritance above £1,000 are being asked to pay more tax to ensure that wealthier people can retain their estates and the 0.36% can continue to get large inheritances free from tax.

    We would never design a system like this from scratch, but it’s also worth noting that those average people who often talk about reducing inheritance tax have been completely bamboozled into supporting a position that means they will pay more tax, while their rich neighbours will absorb the benefits.

  2. Alec

    and it will only get worse as more and more people use their wealth for personal care…

    I agree with you, and I think the Inheritance Tax question is one that has been inexplicably overlooked over the last few years

  3. Not complaining about clamping down on cyclists or any other vehicles who jump red lights, but any chance of the same amount of attention going to motorists who think that pedestrian crossings are acceptable places to queue, even when the green man is on? That instantly renders the crossing unsafe for anyone with a wheelchair or pram.

  4. You can’t do anything about the ‘same old, same old,’ results of the poll Anthony, but it does make for a dull outcome.

    I had to think where the nearest traffic lights are (at least 15 kms away). Come to think of it, I had to wonder at when I last saw a cyclist. We only get the Tour de France types here, who like our vertiginous hills and they are the best chance there is of seeing off another LD Member, this one. Menaces the lot (I am a Wiggo fan though!).

  5. Alec,

    Inheritance tax has the problem of encouraging the rich to consume rather than to invest, insofar as it’s effective at all (it’s more easily avoided than income tax, obviously). A higher income tax or a progressive consumption tax is a better means of obtaining the revenue, with no loss of progressitivity and without penalising saving. The benefits of inheritance tax are primarily political (some people derive pleasure from the idea of rich children inheriting less) rather than egalitarian or fiscal; it’s akin to corporation tax in this respect.

    Also, as regards the number of people affected, 9% is the difference between being short of a majority and a landslide, and the number of people who consider the possibility of being in that 9% will obviously be greater than 9%, so raising inheritance tax is not a free lunch for the Chancellor, and it has a high unpopularity vs. revenue tradeoff.

    Still, this highlights the problem: politicians will have to increase unpopular taxes (or introduce unpopular taxes) in order to deal with rising healthcare costs. As I say, the NHS will be a noose around the neck of every future government for the next 50 years or so, and it may be the first nationalised industry to bring down governments due to (perceived) mismanagement.

  6. @ Howard

    Ed Miliband has decided to “under promise & over deliver”, so we are told. That’s apparently why he isn’t making promises on tuition fees etc. Therefore, given he’s promised an energy price freeze, I am now expect a whacking great cut in prices. ;-) (No, not really; but logically I should be…)

  7. (Inheritance taxes also have the political problem that they become more unpopular as the population ages. The taxes that will make political sense over the next 50 years are those primarily paid by the young and not by the old.)

  8. Even though I would have to pay it, I favour a property tax. Perhaps based upon rental value.

    Provide it was universal and uncapped there would be no need for inheritance tax on the property, at least.

  9. @Bill P – I don’t agree. Encouraging the wealthy to recirculate wealth is a better option in many ways anyway, income or consumption taxes don’t prevent the key problem, which is the concentration of unearned wealth through capital gains.

    Perhaps a simpler way would be to make all property gains eligible for capital gains.

    I would add that as I see it, the danger is that this would become an extra tax, whereas long term what we really need is a broader tax base. in this context, I see moves on IT and capital gains being balanced by consequent reductions in income taxes – again good for the economy. So the worry of the 9% would be offset by the gain of the 90%.

  10. I cycle a fair bit, and my way of looking at it is that if I’m riding my bike on the road, I have the same responsibilities as if I was in a motorised vehicle – that includes stopping at red lights.

  11. Cyclists jumping red lights, Falkirk……

    Any chance of some polling on issues of substance next week?

  12. Very strange to debate/poll this aspect of cycling when it is the lack of infrastructure and road safety that needs to be addressed. How many times have we seen motorists run reds, speed and use thier mobiles? Also, I seem to recall there are as many as 20% of drivers without insurance or tax. And by the way 97% of adult cyclists own a car too and have every right to call for consideration in highway engineering design.

    Only this week we have witnessed a hit and run death of a 3 year old and another lorry driver killing a cyclist in London and yet the debate is about a minority of cyclists.

  13. Why not tax inheritance money as income with a tax-free allowance?

  14. “More generally 50% are confident that A&E will be able to meet people’s needs this winter, 38% are not”

    One wonders of which particular emergency treatment voters are actually expecting to avail themselves. This one was asked of all the polled, remember. A somewhat depressing outlook if you are in the 38% not confident.

    Noted is that 93% of UKIP voters would ban the niqab (incidentally note the (presumed) typos in the question) which indicates to me that UKIP voters are mainly driven by fear of strange cultures. The figures were Con 75% Lab 60% and LD 39%.

    So not such a dull poll after all

  15. Alec
    “Virtually all of these would almost certainly have been from estates not liable to inheritance tax. ”

    I see where you are coming from on this but I’m not sure that you can necessarily make that assumption. It is quite common for wealthy people to leave amounts of say £1000 to grandchildren, God children, carers, nephews & neices etc.

    Maybe the fairest system would be to scrap inheritance tax altogether & instead of taxing the deceased’s estate, tax the beneficiaries at their marginal rate of income tax. That way, the wealthy pay at 40/45%, & those who don’t pay tax will pay nothing. Charitable beneficiaries will continue to benefit as now.

    On the face of it, what could be fairer?

  16. @Graeme Clark

    The issue of dangerous cyclists was debated on Loose Women recently.That shows it’s pretty important to some people.

  17. “63% think it is fairly or very common for cyclists to go through red lights. 87% of people think this is unacceptable even when a cyclist can see the way ahead is clear and 78% think cyclists who go through red lights should be prosecuted”
    ___________

    I’m more concerned at the amount of drivers who skip lights when pedestrians are trying to cross the road. When the law starts clamping down hard on motorists who injure and even kill other road users through stupidity and lack of proper road attitudes then I might take the above poll seriously.

  18. Amber
    perhaps the parties could indicate in their manifestos just how serious their proposals are.

    One could have a grading for voters:
    1. The leader will fall on his sword if not implemented but only if we have sole power.
    2. Events could scupper this one -it’s those unknown unknowns.
    3. Not much hope but we have to include it to satisfy our members.
    4. This is definitely in the ‘motherhood and apple pie’ category but we just want to be popular with everyone -who doesn’t?

    It’s a bit more helpful than ‘under-promising’ which I find a bit vague, personally .

  19. In my local forum there is no question more likely to provoke a fixed battle than the presumed iniquities of cyclists, with extreme warrior spirit being unleashed on both sides. Admittedly controversies 2 and 3 are dog poop and spitting. Perhaps YouGov should run polls on these crucial matters.
    I like the idea of Inheritance (and capital gains for that matter) being taxed at marginal income tax rate. Amongst other things that might encourage a wider spread of legacies. I would tend however to default to 45% unless it could be proven that tax at a lower rate would be paid by a UK taxpayer.

  20. @Robert Newark – “Maybe the fairest system would be to scrap inheritance tax altogether & instead of taxing the deceased’s estate, tax the beneficiaries at their marginal rate of income tax. That way, the wealthy pay at 40/45%, & those who don’t pay tax will pay nothing. Charitable beneficiaries will continue to benefit as now.”

    I would agree. “There’s no such thing as a free lunch” has always applied to normal people, but never seemed to apply to those with rich relatives.

  21. See, I should have got up and punched Natalie Bennett. Nothing personal against the woman, but it wold have made interesting news.

  22. Occasional Notes on Cycling No. 267

    1. Typical, & indeed pathetic, that a (rare) poll on cycling should focus on the faults of cyclists!
    People who froth about cycling misdemeanours should study the data.
    2001-2010. UK. Pedestrians killed or seriously injured by cyclists = 500. By cars = 50,000.
    When did YouGov last have a poll on the murdering motorist?

    2. Anti-cycling propaganda causes drivers to be more aggressive to cyclists, if indeed that were possible. Recall my last occasional note reporting on the twerp who knocked a guy off his bike & then boasted on twitter. She has been charged with driving without due care & attention. Why not dangerous driving?

    3. The Netherlands reacted to their massive cyclist fatality in the 70s by revolutionising road use. Now over 30% of the adult population uses a bike as their main mode of transport. The figure for UK = 2.2%, the lowest in Europe. I wonder why!

  23. Unsurprisingly, more in the Scots sample have views on the Falkirk situation. There has been more media coverage of it in the Scottish press and TV.

    Not that one would make much from such a wee sample, but worth noting that (GB figures in brackets)

    43% (26%) have followed the events closely
    42% (36%) think Miliband has handled the situation badly
    59% (39%) think events in Falkirk have damaged the Labour Party
    51% (39%) that Unite probably did undermine the previous inquiry
    46% (43%) that Labour should re-open their Falkirk enquiry
    60% (55%) that at least half of eligible members should be required to call a strike
    75% (65%) that it is unacceptable to have demos outside directors’ homes

    And that’s from a sample which has a similar % of Labour VI to the GB figure.

  24. RobbieAlive
    I have the answer to your number 3 question.

    Fewer hills.

    Also if you went back 20 years from the 70s, the proportion of Dutch cyclists would have been over 90% (reason – few cars). The Netherlands is in fact an environmental disaster zone with nearly as much motorway tarmac as grass.

  25. Alec,

    “in this context, I see moves on IT and capital gains being balanced by consequent reductions in income taxes – again good for the economy. So the worry of the 9% would be offset by the gain of the 90%.”

    A large proportion of that 90% already doesn’t pay income tax.

    Anyway, I thought that this was supposed to be a way of raising additional revenue for the NHS? I think that’s too simplistic. 90% of the population do not care as much about a given additional pound spent on the NHS as 9% will care about a large reduction in their inheritances. I’m a member of that 90% I haven’t used the NHS for anything other than a check-up in two years; if you spent an additional £10 billion on the NHS, I wouldn’t even notice.

    “income or consumption taxes don’t prevent the key problem, which is the concentration of unearned wealth through capital gains.”

    I thought the problem was raising revenue for the NHS?

  26. R Huckle,

    “Without getting political, I am not sure how the commissioning process is going to help increase productivity/efficiency of running the NHS. If you start to have many private providers take business away from NHS hospitals, then you will have reduced incomes, but with all the overhead costs having to still be paid. The private providers will have many more casual staff employed under temporary contracts, so they will have an advantage over NHS hospitals. You could then see parts of NHS hospitals having to close, with staff being made redundant or having their contracts changed.

    Not sure the latest NHS reforms are the right way forward as they cause more problems than they solve. Some patients may benefit from having a quick operation at a private hospital, but if this leads to their local NHS hospital closing, they may have a longer ambulance trip in the event of an emergency.”

    I don’t know the ins-and-outs of it (even the notion of “public sector productivity” sounds dodgy to my subjectivist mind) but I imagine there are various trade-offs involved. The fact that even politicians (with their inane myopic grasshopper view of the world) are worried about the financial implications of the NHS suggests to me that it’s a problem, but we shouldn’t assume that every problem has a solution.

  27. I’m neither a cyclist nor a motorist and I have a low opinion of both, although I’ve been hit twice by cyclists, but never by a car. However, this is largely because cars are easier to avoid, and I was living in Cambridge where there are a lot of psychopathic cyclists.

  28. ROBBIEALIVE

    Excellent post and some eye opening facts.

    As well as cycling I also drive a car and I see the arguments from both sides.

    Too many drivers don’t think about the person riding the bike but just the bike itself and treat it as second rate. Attitude’s in the UK towards cyclists stink and no government has the balls to bring in tougher laws including law of ‘strict liability’.

    “The Netherlands and Denmark have a law of ‘strict liability’ to protect vulnerable road users from more powerful road users. Under this law, in crashes involving vulnerable road users, unless it can be clearly proven that the vulnerable road user was at fault, the more powerful road user is found liable by default. This makes Dutch and Danish drivers more cautious around cyclists and pedestrians and is responsible for their safe roads”
    ….

    It’s all about attitudes towards other road users.

  29. @ Bill Patrick

    “I’m neither a cyclist nor a motorist and I have a low opinion of both, although I’ve been hit twice by cyclists, but never by a car. However, this is largely because cars are easier to avoid, and I was living in Cambridge where there are a lot of psychopathic cyclists.”

    Fairly typical that the mention of cyclists should bring on an attack of anecdotage.

    Earlier this year a Cambridge resident made a Freedom of Info. request to the Cambridgeshire Constab. asking for data on deaths/injuries caused/suffered by/to cyclists, motorists.

    The reply was:
    “Unfortunately, we have been unable to locate any information to satisfy your request, as we do not hold this information.”

  30. @ Howard

    “I have the answer to your number 3 question.
    Fewer hills.”

    I was never much of fan of geographical determinism.

    Manchester is as flat as a (Dutch) pancake from the City Centre for miles in all directions, save North. You don’t see many cyclists. And don’t tell me the winter weather drier/warmer in the Netherlands than here.

  31. @ Allan Christie

    Yes the law in the Netherlands was changed in the ’70s as part of their velo-lution.
    As @ Howard pointed out the rise in Dutch fatalities was caused by the massive increase in post-war car ownership.

  32. @Amber

    Labour aren’t sure what to do about tuition fees. The maths involved are very complex and the data they require to make an informed decision is not always present. They also lack a little of the necessary expertise.

    Also, and to put it brutally, most people don’t go to university and so it’s a minority issue. Health and pre-HE education affect more voters.

    To add more complication, the Russell Group don’t want fees to come down, they want them increased (the actual academics in the RG feel differently, but they don’t get a say). The 1994 Group packing in this week has made the RG even more powerful.

    The counter-argument is that if the people concerned about the future financing of the sector are right (SPOILER: almost certainly), the window to fix the issue is quite narrow.

  33. RobbieAlive,

    Anecdotes are bad as pseudo-evidence and potentially good as accounts of experience. My comment fell within the latter category.

  34. It does seem the Falkirk story has failed to have the impact on the public some ares of the media would perhaps have liked. Perhaps because the cost of living narrative just has a greater impact on most people’s lives. The polls are looking pretty stable now as well.

  35. RobbieAlive.
    Thanks, yes, forgive my cycling polemics on a Sunday afternoon and remember that I cycled for 15 years in Holland so I do have some experience. It’s the wind in Holland (when going east) that is the killer. Around town, there are few cycle paths in the central areas of the old bits (So in the Amsterdam grachten – watch yourself).

    The Dutch love of the motor car is still very strong and the press motoring articles make J Clarkson look like a tree hugger.

    How’s that for a Grauniad type paragraph?

  36. @ Alec, etc.

    You will recall that Osborne’s 2007 conference speech on I. Tax panicked the Labour government.
    Until then the rule was that the surviving spouse did not pay any IT & that the IT exemption on the latter’s estate, when he/she died, was the standard £325,000.
    Darling, spooked by Osborne, changed it so that the surviving spouse now bequeaths a double exemption = £650,000: quite a change! tho I have no idea of the revenue implications. This applies retrospectively & I guess would be hard to reverse.

    The Tory line is that IT discourages enterprise. I’m of an age when many friends have inherited their parents’ largely unearned house value. The first thing they consider is a form of enterprise known as early retirement.

  37. @AllanChristie and/or Robbiealive

    “This makes Dutch and Danish drivers more cautious around cyclists and pedestrians and is responsible for their safe roads”

    Road deaths per 100000 inhabitants:

    Netherlands 3.9
    Denmark 4.7
    UK 2.75

    I don’t take issue with your general view about the UK and cycling but I don’t like seeing the myth of dangerous UK roads perpetuated. In fact (per that infallible source, Wikipedia) UK road deaths are bettered only by San Marino, the Maldives and Micronesia!

  38. RobbieAlive,

    “The Tory line is that IT discourages enterprise. I’m of an age when many friends have inherited their parents’ largely unearned house value. The first thing they consider is a form of enterprise known as early retirement.”

    I’m glad we’re now avoiding the “anecdotage”.

  39. Guymonde

    The attitudes in the UK towards cycling are appalling .

    With only around 2% of the UK using a push bike regularly compared to the 30% + in the Netherlands then I would had hoped deaths per 100,000 were much much lower.

    I put the low death toll in the UK for cycling mostly down to cyclists themselves.

  40. AC
    The low death toll for cyclists per 100,000 pop in UK is due to the fact that so few people are cycling. Try the deaths and serious injuries per kilometre travelled stats.

    You have to watch it with transport stats!

  41. HOWARD

    I’d imagine that the increase in deaths of vulnerable road users in Scotland, while overall deaths reduced would be replicated in other parts of the UK.

    http://vanfleetworld.co.uk/news/2013/Oct/Continued-drop-in-road-deaths-in-Scotland-married-by-increase-in-vulnerable-road-user-deaths/0435011380

  42. HOWARD

    Absolutely agree with you and you put the point across much better than I did.

    Where I live in Glasgow you are lucky to see a handful of cyclists per day and its the same in many other parts of the country so I’m not at all surprised at the low deaths per 100,000 when people just don’t cycle in the first place.

  43. OLDNAT

    Yeah interesting report that and puts cyclist road deaths down to increasing numbers of people using bikes.

    Not think it could also be put down to increasing amounts of traffic and people not fit for purpose when getting behind a wheel?

  44. @ Old Nat

    I’m not sure I should ask but what’s the Falkirk incident about? Wasn’t it represented by a Labour MP who got drunk and then started a bar fight with some Tory MPs before getting arrested and having the party whip withheld from him? Did he resign or is he still there? I can’t remember and I’m too lazy to look it up right now.

    @ Howard

    I have a friend or acquaintance really from my one glorious semester of grad school who has become a cycling advocate in LA. He’s been pushing for more and better bike lanes and has been fairly effective at it (and leading criticism of elected officials who block bike lanes). I’m trying to encourage him to run for his City Council seat in 2015, which is open and will have no clear favorite. I used to be anti-cycling (so many cyclists break all traffic laws and make driving more difficult) though I like these ride share programs though for bikes. The cyclists who use them (at least in DC, cause’ in LA we haven’t started a program yet) follow the rules of the road and respect drivers and pedestrians.

  45. Okay, I’m curious to get your take on the following story:

    http://www.dailynews.com/government-and-politics/20131108/la-mayor-eric-garcetti-defends-pick-for-top-economic-post?fb_action_ids=180284575506740&fb_action_types=og.likes

    If a British (or Scottish) elected official made a move like this, regardless of political party, what would you honestly think?

    I ask because you guys have the best outside observations.

  46. Good afternoon (I think) Socal.

    It’s me I am afraid, but i would just want to know if she is a ‘looker’ (now recently a favourite British description) or whether she is a cheaper choice.

    Otherwise, I would ponder if she has something, in the J Edgar Hoover approach, to influencing those around her.

    The last I would suspect is if she has anything special to say about economics.

    But that’s me I am afraid, whoops, already said that.

  47. SoCal
    The guy looks like Jeremy Hunt, so that inclines me to think he’s a bit dodgy. Seriously, as long as the selection process was transparent and the candidates faced the same criteria, then it does not look obviously corrupt. Or does the Mayor have ‘previous’?

  48. “…British (or Scottish)…”

    Hey! Why do the Scots always get special treatment?! As for the mayor, his name means I can only think of him as Aidan Gillan from “The Wire” – likeable but slimey,,,

  49. *Gillen.

  50. Speaking as a cyclist and a motorist, the only two crashes I’ve ever had both occurred when pedestrians stepped into the road as I was cycling past. The second one was texting as she blithely walked into the road, clipped me resulting in my going straight over the handlebars and almost in front of a bus. I was left with long term problems with my ACL from the landing on my knee. She walked off.

    When are we going to have a poll on dangerous pedestrians?

    Or maybe the story is that there is a small minority of selfish, feckless, sociopathic tw*ts in every field of human activity?

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