The monthly ComRes telephone poll for the Independent is out tonight and has topline figures of CON 32%(+4), LAB 37%(+1), LDEM 9%(-2), UKIP 11%(-1). Changes are from ComRes’s previous phone poll (as opposed to their parallel online polls for the Sunday Indy) conducted at the end of last month.

Meanwhile today’s twice-weekly Populus poll also recorded a five point lead for Labour, in their case the topline figures were CON 34%, LAB 39%, LDEM 12%, UKIP 7%. Populus tabs are here.

Also out are the tables for a recent YouGov poll on immigration (it was published in the Times on Saturday, but tabs went up this morning here). Note firstly that while immigration has actually fallen over the last couple of years, the vast majority of people (73%) think that it is continuing to rise, only 7% think it has dropped over the last couple of years – a reminder that official statistics on the news are often not noticed or not believed. There is an equal lack of awareness of what government policy is on immigration. 37% of people say they have a good idea or a fairly good idea of what government policy on immigration is, but even then people are rather overestimating their knowledge – only 19% could actual pick out David Cameron’s stated aim of reducing net immigration to the tens out thousands.

Also interesting to note is people’s differing attitudes towards different groups of immigrants. 72% of people think the country should allow fewer (or no) unskilled immigrants, but people are actually far more welcoming about other groups. 63% are either happy with current levels or would like to see more skilled immigration, 68% are happy with the current or higher numbers of foreign students coming here. People are even split over asylum seekers (though we deliberately avoided using the actual phrase!) – 48% would be happy with more or the current levels of people fleeing persecution, 38% think there should be fewer or none at all.

393 Responses to “Latest Comres & Populus VI, YouGov on immigration”

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  1. Of course among all the rGB[1] complaints of “Well nobody ever asks us” about Scottish independence (of vary degrees of proper-ness), no one seems to have noticed that someone has. YouGov actually. Today:

    Next year there will be a referendum in Scotland on whether it should become an independent country.

    If you were able to vote in the referendum on Scotland’s future and this was the question, how would you vote?
    Should Scotland be an independent country?

    Yes 22%, No 55% Would not vote 8%, Don’t know 15%.

    The figure for Scotland (usual mega-warnings) isn’t wildly different:

    Yes 27%, No 61%, WNV 2%, DK 11%

    The lower degree of uncertainty reflecting the greater exposure to the arguments. It’s also worth pointing out that because there is no likelihood to vote used this probably underestimates the Yes vote as Yes voters are usually more committed to turning out.

    The interesting thing is how evenly the Yes/No votes are spread geographically there’s no additional sympathy in the North or extra desire to dump the jocks in the South. Even the Welsh seem no more or less in favour. In this it echos the evenness of support across the Scottish regions that we saw in Ashcroft’s Spring mega-poll – while Yes was slightly higher in strong SNP areas like the North East the differences weren’t much. SNP regional votes are also much more homogeneous than you might expect.

    Even stranger the all-GB demographic variations tend to mirror the ones we see in Scottish polls. So the lowest Yes vote is among the over-60s here too, but more surprisingly it is also low among the under-25s[2]. The class divide is also replicated with C2DE being more likely Yes voters[3]

    But where you would expect to see variation – between the supporters of the UK Parties, there isn’t much. The biggest Yes supporters are actually UKIP, but the difference is small enough to be MoE.

    [1] Not rUK because no one is still asking NI. Though given their effect on Scottish football, it’s probably wise to keep them out of politics.

    [2] All that fuss extending the vote to 16 and 17 year olds doesn’t seem to have paid off as expected by either supporters or opponents of the move.

    [3] It would be interesting to see more detailed breakdowns on this. TNS shows support notably higher among DEs and MORI has Yes only behind 40-43 in the 20% most deprived areas. A breakdown by educational attainment would also be revealing – I would suspect an Obama-style U-shape for Yes.

  2. @ Roger Mexico

    Thanks for posting that. I was saying something similar about past polls @ Steve the other day. It’s good to know that my memory had not failed me, regarding there not being much difference between Scots & rGB about the Scottish independence referendum.

  3. @RM

    Strange that they don’t give other parties (e.g. SNP) to Yes / No details. Only as far as UKIP. A slight gap in the psychological make-up of England-based polls, or something more sinister?

    (It’s a fix, I tell ya! :))

  4. I think we may have had another example of media headlines on the economy slightly overrunning reality once again. The theme of excessive confidence in the reporting of economic data seems to be continuing.

    This time it’s the detailed Q3 GDP data. Several outlets are reporting this as good news, with the headline +0.8% unchanged, and flagging up today’s announcement that business investment is up 1.4% on the quarter.

    This is encouraging, but the context is not so good. This comes after a 2.7% fall in Q2, and investment is down by 6.3% on the year – so the bigger picture remains significantly poor.

    In fact, the GDP details really don’t make for good reading at all, in many ways. The ONS has confirmed that exports fell by 2.4% on the quarter, described as a ‘violent slip’ by one city analyst, and the main driver of the headline growth was consumer spending.

    Given that since the end of Q3 we’ve had some pretty consistently poor numbers for consumer confidence and household finances, and some decidedly downbeat data from the retail sector, this really doesn’t suggest that the economy is doing quite as well as some commentators have been suggesting.

    Further evidence comes from today’s CBI retail sector survey, which shows things broadly static for the second month in a row. They are reporting that retailers are still anticipating a bumper Christmas, but it’s another month of excuses. I’m not a retailer, so I can’t really comment on whether their Christmas confidence is valid or not, but looking at the numbers for household incomes, confidence, savings and debt levels, I can’t myself see any reason to have confidence that the retail sector is going to surge any time soon.

    I’ve predicted for some months that the recovery as currently constituted cannot continue in it’s present trajectory, and for the last few weeks I’ve become increasingly convinced that something is stirring that will alter the narrative again.

  5. LizH
    Well, you don’t need to ponder that point. I get a Dutch OAP and an English one pro rata to the number of years I paid in and was resident. I might say that the 15 years I was in NL have been more profitable that way than my UK one, as were the benefits I received when I endured a long term 9 month sick period. (due to a car collision out there). Only applicable because of our treaty of course. Whether that predated our joining the then EEC I don’t know. What I do know is that during my lay off I was subject to both Soc Sec exams and their snoops visiting the house to check up on me; something about which some are getting in a paddy about here, although it seemed fair enough to me.

  6. Roger M
    The problem is that the wrong question has been asked in that poll. It should have been ‘Should Scotland be allowed to be an independent country if its people wish it? (rUK voters).

    The one asked is ludicrous, IMO.

  7. @Howard & Liz,

    The protection for returning ex-pats comes not from contribution-based benefits (such as the state pension) but from income-based benefits (such as the pension top-up). My brother worked in the UK for perhaps 3-4 years before going to live abroad, so he would only be entitled to a very small sliver of contribution-based benefit. But the state in it’s wisdom has decreed that there is a minimum floor to what people on benefits/pensions get from the state, and that would mean he is covered. Also, sickness benefits are never contribution-based, and given his current state of health, he would probably qualify for those.

    Perhaps its not ethical for ex-pats to claim benefits, or sensible for the government to pay them, but the alternative is to allow a UK citizen to essentially die of starvation and disease in a country like the USA. Like any family, we will take what help we can get.

  8. Neil A
    Yes, my comment was merely related to that which i knew about.

    On another subject, Lord Strathclyde (or Thomas Galloway Dunlop du Roy de Blicquy Galbraith, as he is known to his friends) is saying his party is scuppered for the next election on the basis of Clegg ‘playing dirty’ over the Agreement.

    I understood that the lack of boundary changes was worth, possibly about 20 seats to the Tories.

    Is that right AW (or anybody?).

  9. Jayblanc,

    “That does seem an awful lot like “If we don’t get a yes vote, we’ll keep on demanding all politics in Scotland be about independence anyway!” This would be similar to the Quebecois line, and has led to some wonderfully dysfunctional government there…”

    Perhaps Scotland just doesn’t have enough political diversity to sustain a devolved legistlature without constitututional questions? Perhaps we’re a failed sub-state, like Stormont-era Northern Ireland or Russia.

    “Surely the SNP are capable of having strong ideas about government that are not intrinsically tied to Scottish Nationalism? If not, do they deserve to have political power?”

    They have strong ideas; it’s just that SLAB and the SLDs have more or less the same ideas, and the SCUPs would like most people to think they do as well.

  10. Alec,

    I’m astounded by your reaction! Whatever happened to your sunny predictions of recovery being just around the corner?

  11. What do people think Cameron’s immigration moves will do to voting intention?

    When he last played on UKIP turf with the EU referendum, it seemed to boost UKIP numbers.

    With the focus now on immigration, what will obviously end up happening from my point of view is the EU will overrule him due to freedom of movement agreements we have signed up to. We can’t pick and choose parts of EU agreements, we signed up to the whole package.

    And when they do, that will play straight into UKIP’s hands “Look, we were right, you can’t control immigration and be part of the EU”

    So my prediction is UKIP VI goes up, Cons declines further.


    The poll you mentioned showing UKIP was the most toxic party. (43% say they would never vote for UKIP). But to be fair, that may mean people hate their policies, or it may just be that they think they are a wasted vote, we need more polling to dig into that issue.

    There was an excellent article in the FT a few days ago saying the Tories can’t understand why their poll numbers are so low. On the key issues (economy in general), immigration they lead as the best party on the issue. So why is that not translating into votes?

    So are issues polls really helpful? People say these issues are what really matter in a poll, but at the end of the day when asked who you will vote for, or when they actually vote, they base their decision on something else, as Ashcrofts ‘smell the coffee’ discusses.

  12. I am fascinated by the 1% of people who say they intend to vote Conservative who also say they would never vote for them….

  13. Norbold,

    Three possibilities spring to mind-

    (1) Folk in NI who would never get a chance due to the lack of a Conservative candidate.

    (2) People who don’t avoid confusion when not prevented from answering questuons that are not non-negative-including questions.

    (3) People who take the phrase “never say never” very seriously and very literally.

  14. @ Norbold

    I am fascinated by the 1% of people who say they intend to vote Conservative who also say they would never vote for them….
    On the off chance that you’re serious, it’s known as ‘fat finger’. Making an error in an on-line poll is the least of it. There’ve been huge financial errors & actual political gaffs; perhaps I’m being overly dramatic but it’s also possible that ‘fat finger’ has resulted in fatalities which might otherwise have been prevented.

  15. @Amber,

    Without question. The inputting of addresses and postcodes into computer systems by 999 operators, for example. And mistakes by ambulance crews with SatNavs.

    Not to mention medical staff with prescriptions – although fat fingers on computer/phone equipment probably causes less deaths there than rubbish handwriting does/did.

  16. Howard

    I don’t think the question YouGov asked is ludicrous[1], it’s just asking people what they would do if they were able to vote as a Scottish resident and has the advantage that the same question can be asked of those in Scotland as well. It’s just different from the one you propose, which is just as good, but asking something else. I think a similar question has been asked before (of non-Scots) and shown support for Scottish independence.

    Tom Strathclyde is being mischievous as usual in blaming Clegg. Partly because the difference in seats wouldn’t save the Tories on current polling, but mainly because the reason why it didn’t get implemented was because of Cameron stopping reform of the House of Lords. Which was stopped because of pressure from people like Tom Strathclyde. Still bare-faced cheek was how a lot of their ancestors got there in the first place.

    [1] If we’re talking about ludicrous questions, YouGov really ought to do something about that ‘Party I would never vote for’ question that Richard refers to. It asks:

    On a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 means you would
    never voting for that party, and 10 means you
    would definitely consider voting for that party,
    how likely would you be to consider voting for
    the following political parties

    But of course whether you would ‘consider’ voting for a Party is a Yes/No answer- you either consider doing something or you don’t. So most people end up answering the question that they think YouGov meant to ask. Which will differ from person to person, but will probably be along the lines of “How likely are you to vote for this Party?”

    This results in the percentages of people who reply “10 – would definitely consider voting for this party” actually being less than those who said they were actually going to vote for that Party.

    Labour 21% (31%)

    Conservative 15% (25%)

    Liberal Democrats 4% (7%)

    UKIP 7% (8%)

    The figures in brackets are the percentages of the combined sample from the two polls who gave those voting intentions.

  17. @NeilA

    “Also, sickness benefits are never contribution-based”

    Is that a new thing? I received contributions-based ESA for a while 3 years ago when my Statutory Sick Pay ran out. It was at the same rate as basic unemployment benefit (I forget which name that went under at the time), i.e. slightly less than the means-tested non-contributory ESA.

  18. Grand coalition has been formed in Germany:

    Concessions to the SPD:

    – Minimum wage.
    – Dual citizenship will be allowed.
    – Rent controls in some cities.

    Concessions to the CSU:

    – Road charge on foreign drivers.

  19. leftylampton

    Presumably the Croat friend of mine who also moved the Scotland last year on a temporary contract will get a vote? Whilst the bloke from Aberdeen who joined us last year on a temporary contract will not.

    The Croat will be able to vote in the referendum if s/he registers, though they won’t be able to legally vote in the Euros in both Croatia and Scotland.

    If the Aberdonian is only in temporary residence, they may have decided to keep registered back home (at parents or similar). They’re probably one of the 3% VI for SNP/PC showing in the London VI today.


    It was a GB poll remember so a separate SNP/PC column would be based on rather small number of people. Many of them with fat fingers.

  20. Berlusconi gets the boot from parliament. Hurrah!

    [OK that’s a tad partisan, but does anyone here actually like the man?]

  21. I’m not sure it’s partisan if it’s a personal judgement on a politician rather than their political stance. I know there are politicians from all over the political spectrum who I despise for various reasons.

    So I’ll join in that hurrah.

  22. Interesting point: The formation of the grand coalition means Die Linke (descendents of the old East German SED) are now the official opposition in the Bundestag.

    Could be one to watch.

  23. mrnameless

    Grand coalition has been formed in Germany

    Does anyone else remember how we were all assured that if a coalition government wasn’t formed immediately in 2010 then the economy would collapse, the markets would punish us, etc? What a good job the Germans have been so speedy, so as to avoid that terrible fate.

  24. Roger M

    Well perhaps I was a bit *too* brief in my ludicrosity allegation. Indeed I simply thought my suggested question a more logical one to ask rUK voters and more likely to produce interesting answers.

    Phil H and Mr N

    I don’t know what Snr Berlusconi ever did to you. I think we should judge foreign leaders on their relationship with us and I can only remember the ex Italian PM being extremely supportive within the EU and also in respect of foreign policy generally.

    For that very reason I cannot fathom why you should fear your comment as being construed partisan, but I also cannot see what relevance his impending demise has to voting intention in the UK?

  25. @Howard
    ” I cannot fathom why you should fear your comment as being construed partisan”

    Maybe it’s because I’ve had plenty of comments construed as partisan (i.e. moderated) for reasons that I cannot fathom.

  26. Howard

    Well it’s Wednesday night, so maybe you’ve helped Anthony with his head-scratching for questions to ask for Sunday.

    Snr B was a generous host to the Blairs on their holidays. Surely that puts the UK in his debt perpetually.

  27. @Phil Haines

    Plenty must like him as they continued to vote for him.

    He’s one of those people who despite his considerable wealth.and control of various media outlets, still has a reputation in Italy as an intrepid underdog. I suppose this goes back to the fact many see him as a self-made success story, against the odds.

  28. @Neil A, Kitsune

    Actually, Incapacity Benefit used to be contribution based. If you didn’t qualify for contribution based benefits, you only received Income Support with a Disability Premium.

    ESA does have a Contribution based component, but you can only claim it the maximum of a year, and it is no better a payment than the income related ESA so if you have no other income you may as well claim it because you then get free prescriptions, cold weather payments et al.

  29. Referendum 2014

    This report from the Westminster All-Party Parliamentary Taxation Group is interesting (and from my quick perusal of it) thankfully free from the posturing which so often makes documents on this topic unreadable!

    it looks at LIKELY arrangements resulting from different referendum outcomes –

    Yes < 40% (really disastrous for Scotland! – £4bn out of our budget)
    Yes 40% (Significantly greater devolution)
    Yes >50%, 60% (Even I think that’s somewhat unlikely!)

  30. Sorry. Greater/Less than symbols not showing properly. Last section should read

    “Yes : Less than 40% (really disastrous for Scotland! – £4bn out of our budget)
    Yes : Greater than 40%, Less than 50% (Significantly greater devolution)
    Yes : Greater than 50%, Less than 60% (Sovereignty for Scotland but practical arrangements not dissimilar to Devo Max)
    Yes Greater than 60% (Even I think that’s somewhat unlikely!)

  31. (really disastrous for Scotland! – £4bn out of our budget)

    I assume this is the calculation resulting from replacing the geographic Barnett formula with one based on need.

    I also assume this opinion will now become hard fact within the nationalist community.

  32. STEVE

    Try reading the report. Westminster does produce some really good analysis from time to time.

    Or – carry on making assumptions,

  33. @Oldnat

    In other words, the more people vote ‘Yes’, the more money we’ll get?

    If so, it sounds like the ‘Yes’ camp’s dream option to get more votes.


    Read the damn report!


    It’s a fascinating insight into how non-campaigning politicians are realistically looking at how political pressures and economic reality will force political decisions.

  36. I was initially annoyed by their “four scenarios” approach, but it makes a lot of sense.

  37. New post.

  38. On ESA & means-testing:

    Your income and savings
    Your income may affect your income-related or contribution-based ESA. Income can include:

    you and your partner’s income
    savings over £6,000
    pension income
    You won’t qualify for income-related ESA if you have savings over £16,000.

  39. @Oldnat

    When a report is 100 pages long and ten of those are appendices, I let others do the legwork.

    As my late Dad would have said, “You don’t keep a dog and bark yourself.”


  40. Oldnat

    That pretty much what I’ve been saying from the start

  41. “People fleeing persecution” is a loaded and bogus term, far more so even than “asylum seekers”.

    If someone comes from somalia, passes through North Africa, lands in Italy and travels through France to get to the UK they are not fleeing persecution are they? They are travelling to the UK, ignoring several safe countries on the way.

  42. It has not fallen immigration is still increasing just at a slower rate. It like when people say inflation has fallen when it’s at 2.5% instead of 2.9% it has not fallen it’s just growing at a slower rate.

  43. Immigration has not fallen, it has risen.

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