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. On immigration
    What a load of thickos we are (collectively).

  2. I don’t think it’s so much that statistics on the news are not noticed or not believed, I think it’s more a question of most people not actually watching the news.

    We are, in the end, considered quite weird. Us with our interest in current affairs and politics..

  3. Come on H ,wasn’t it you on tpt who said that we here on UKPR were capable of seeing through things that ‘the voters’ were taken in by .One can and should forgive the poor sods for being a bit bamboozled over immigration ,when most of the “facts’ come from those bastions of integrity ,the popular press and Nigel ’27 million Rumanians/ Bulgarians have already set out for the UK” Garage.

  4. Well, there’s conflicting information, or conflicting presentations of information, which may give a different impression. On top of that, official figures may carry some doubt with them, including estimates of illegal immigration. Also, regarding government policy, there may be a difference between stated policy, and what people suspect the actual real intent or expectation may be.

  5. I think the last paragraph is actually the most interesting.

    It does very much seem that people’s opposition to immigration is about protecting low-paid British workers. People are very concerned that auntie Sharon shouldn’t lose out on a cleaning job to Agata Pietraciewicz, but not particularly bothered if Jasper Fotherington-Smythe loses out on that registrar job to Dr Adebayo.

  6. My ‘we’ was intended to describe ‘the voters’ (includes us of course). I didn’t intend it to mean the royal UKPR ‘we’, although we have had some ‘don’t confuse my opinions with the facts’ on here, have we not?.

  7. Neil A
    Exactly, Mrs Duffy rules OK.

  8. Shouldn’t that be ,

    ‘Mrs Duffy rules UK !’

  9. @ Neil A

    “It does very much seem that people’s opposition to immigration is about protecting low-paid British workers.”

    If it was, but I’m afraid it’s not the case. In another poll they are benefit cheats (excluding Aunt Sharon).

  10. It always gets me that students are included in migration figures. Anyone who is here on a short term visa has NOT migrated. Obviously my comment also applies for short term skilled people coming into the country. Migration is for permanent settlement.

    In Australian migration figures these are not counted.

  11. @Laszlo,

    No, no, no you are wrong. The attitudes to benefit cheats are cut from exactly the same cloth as the attitudes to unskilled immigrants. The British public sympathise very much with British workers earning a meagre crust for solid, hard work. They are against anything they perceive as being “unfair to aunti Sharon”, whether its competing for work with foreigners, or having to get up at 5am every day and take a bus to work, when the woman in the house next door gets exactly the same take-home income without having to lift a finger.

    You can of course disagree with this way of thinking, but if you ignore it then you lose sight of why such a large section of the C and D class still cleaves to the right.

  12. @Jack,

    Yes but migration figures also include British residents moving abroad for education or work, and the return of students and temporary workers to their home countries, so the impact of changing the way things are totted up might not be so great as you think.

  13. @MSmithsonPB: Tonight’s YouGov poll for Sun has LAB lead at 8%
    CON 32%
    LAB 40
    LD 10%
    UKIP 12%

  14. No doubt about it, the Labour lead seemed to climb from about 4 points to about 7, in one big rush, across all pollsters, and now seems to have stablised at the new level.

    Which I think (I haven’t gone back and checked) is pretty much a straight reversal of the slight improvement the Tories managed to cobble together over the Summer, but still better than the 9-10 points it was at one stage. Two steps forward, one step back?

  15. I actually don’t think it has nothing to do with the media (even though DM and DT are unreadable when they discuss it) – it’s just an exercise the skill in which people are the best – blaming. It’s a powerful power, but not in the general election in the UK – might be in other countries – including Mrs Duffy of whom Brown formed a correct first opinion.

  16. I also think it’s a factor of people’s willingness to be put out about things.

    I am sure if you asked people to say whether they thought British energy prices were higher or lower than the European average, the vast majority would say “higher” when in fact that’s completely wrong.

    It’s the British attitude to the weather infecting all other aspects of their lives. We are a nation of stoic, nostalgic Eeyores.

  17. By the way, this is not a calculated effort to single-handedly rebalance the politics of the UKPR comments section. I am just feeling a little more engaged than normal. Perhaps its because as a Spurs supporting Englishman, I don’t want to think about sport this week and need a distraction.

    Also, my massive Child S**ual Exploitation case appears to be about to unravel, as today we caught my main witness trying to blackmail one of the suspects.

    Suddenly a board full of lefties crowing about an impending Labour landslide seems the most hospitable alternative…

  18. neil a – 8 point lead.

    “pretty much a straight reversal of the slight improvement the Tories managed to cobble together over the Summer, but still better than the 9-10 points it was at one stage. ”

    Mmm ….. I think you mean wurser.

  19. @ Neil A

    Sorry, my response was too condense.

    But I don’t think you are right. At the level of words, yes, it is what you described. In actions: there is no solidarity. Or only in very defined communities. Lots of sympathy (the same as the coppers put in the collection boxes on Sundays), and complete lack of empathy.

    My reading of the polls is that the being poor is the fault of the poor in the eyes of the majority of the public (even in the bottom of the recession), let’s watch the telly as the soap is about to start.

    Because of the be very liberal social settings it’s rather difficult to find the right group to blame: immigrants, the poor, cheats, bankers, badgers, whatever.

    Yet in the EU the UK remains the most tolerant country…

  20. @R&D,

    The subject of my sentence was “improvement for the Tories” so I definitely meant better…..

  21. Apologies for all the errors – mobile phone…

  22. @Laszlo,

    I think the public blame them all at once (OK maybe not badgers, unless you’re from rural Devon).

    People on benefits are sponging off us, foreign workers are stealing our jobs, bankers are ripping us off, energy companies are ripping us off, criminals are stealing from us, anti-social youths are making our streets uninhabitable, politicians are putting themselves before the voters, etc…

    Eeyore, Eeyore, Eeyore….

    Blame everyone except the donkeys.

  23. @Laszlo – I’m afraid I can’t agree with what I think you are saying in your last post. I see very substantial empathy with people in distress. I don’t recognise your description of our general attitudes to those less well off.

    I would agree with @Neil A. Where people get hacked off is really very simple to understand – where they perceive people as getting a free ride.

    Sometimes, I do find the theorizing of the political classes and commentators becomes so elevated above the most readily understood and logical sentiments that it’s no wonder politics loses touch. People tend not to like free loaders, but I see no evidence that we are becoming any less tolerant – just perhaps a bit less tolerant towards those who we should not tolerate in the first place.

  24. Some interesting economic stats out today, seemingly all pointing in a similar direction to the declining household financial surveys.

    Banks have reported a small fall in mortgage lending in October, with signs that lenders are becoming more wary of over extended borrowers and over valued prices.

    Business lending also showed a sharp fall, although this comes on the back of a big rise in September. Unsecured household borrowing also rose only fractionally (up £12m) with the smallest increase since March.

    I think it’s quite interesting to see all the figures now rolling in, and there is a definite sense that the rapid advances in the economy in the summer have paused at least, with signs that some key areas are actually in decline (household confidence, for one).

    I don’t yet have the feeling that this will be a serious reversal, but it is definitely a setback to those who were becoming increasingly (over) confident in the recovery.

    I still feel that most commentators haven’t yet picked up this trend either. Most are either ignoring poor stats or making excuses for it, but if we have another month like this I suspect suddenly we will see the return of ‘tough times’ reporting.

  25. @ Alec

    I’m happy that you have this experience.

    Quite unfortunate that we have contrary evidence…

  26. “Two steps forward, one step back?”

    ————

    Pretty much, Neil. The combination of a focus on welfare, immigration, Ed’s carp, plus maybe a bit of recovery seemed to be working, but got checked and put into reverse by Ed M deflating the weak thing via Syria/Daily Mail/taking on energy, plus cost of living.

    My thinking on this has to do with “viscerality”. Many with views on welfare, immigration, don’t necessarily experience it directly. Whereas most experience energy bills.

    So arguments in defence of energy companies or situation were doomed to fail.

  27. While not scientific, this years Children in Need broke all records. Hardly a sign that the nation is blaming the poor for their own plight.

    I’m really not sure we do have the evidence.

  28. @Anthony Wells

    “…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…”

    Er, the vast majority of people are correct: the balance of migration has been positive for each year since 1994, and mostly positive for each year since 1983. See h ttp://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/interactive/theme-pages-1-1/index.html

    If net inward migration is 4 last year and 3 this year, immigration hasn’t fallen: it’s still positive, just not as big. If I gave you tenpence last year and fivepence this year, you haven’t got less: you have more.

    It occurs to me that I might be nitpicking here…:-)

  29. @Howard

    “…You made a big assumption there!…”

    More accurately, I;m testing an assumption. We know that UKIP support is greater along the east and south coasts from about the Humber to the Isle of Wight. Numerous reasons have been advanced for this but I’m not looking for causes, I’m looking for some kind of proxy: is there anything that rises and falls as UKIP rises and falls? For reasons that don’t need exploring at this juncture, I’m going thru the IPS data and I note that unlike other groupings (e.g. EU15) that are concentrated in London/South East, the EU8 migration since 2004 is more evenly spread (with the exception of Wales and the North East). So I was wondering if we could use it as a quick-and-dirty proxy.

    “…How about UKIP getting volunteers candidates in areas where they hardly ever see an ‘immigrant’?…”

    In which areas does one hardly see an immigrant? And is UKIP support lower in these areas?

  30. @Roger Mexico

    “…His other recent stuff on the marginals also showed a pretty even spread of VI across (mostly) England. I’m not sure that the IPS helps much[1] because high rates of immigration don’t usually correlate with concern about immigration. It’s fear of immigration that seems to raise support on these issues – you used to see this with the BNP’s scattered successes as well. The areas where UKIP did well enough to gain seats in May tended to be low in immigrants and their worse English region is London…

    You make a good point about London: *the* high migrant area, but low UKIP support. Which makes me think: would rate of change be a good proxy instead? If I take migration since 2004 in area X and divide it by migration 1975-2004 in area X, will the results act as a good proxy?

  31. Is it mandatory that all Govt bills are on behalf of “hard working families” ??

    Whatabout the rest of us?

    I demand a bill for me and the pups.

  32. Is it mandatory that all Govt bills are on behalf of “hard working families” ??

    Whatabout the rest of us?

    I demand a bill for me and the pups.

  33. @Alec,

    And Children in Need was immediately on the heels of the response to the DEC Phillippines appeal, which was hugely gratifying.

    I also think that people are quite discerning in their view of the “underprivileged” that they actually know first hand. In general they are far more tolerant of them than of the great mass, but where criticism is deserved, people can be quite savage (but, I think, fair) in their views.

    *Anecdote alert* – I was at a Hayseed Dixie gig in Totnes at the weekend and a group of men next to me, pints in hand, were discussing their mate “Richie” who was apparently being very ill somewhere and “had clearly taken something more than just alcohol”. Views were canvassed as to whether they should go and find him and check he was OK. One of the men said “To be honest, if you take drugs and you die, that’s your own fault”. They all nodded, took a swig, and went back to enjoying a Bluegrass band playing “Bohemian Rhapsody” at twice normal speed, complete with four part vocal harmonies.

    It reminded me a bit of Begbie from Trainspotting, but in general my reaction was “Harsh but Fair”.

  34. @all

    OK, if number of local councillors isn’t proportional to UKIP support, then…what is?

    If I wanted to know UKIP support by country/region and by year…where would I be looking?

  35. @Martyn,

    I guess you’d have to tot up total votes cast in all elections, then weight it to the number of elections that were actually held in those areas. Good luck…

  36. @ Martyn

    “If I wanted to know UKIP support by country/region and by year…where would I be looking?”

    ——–

    Well others have expressed the view before now that those with greatest concerns around immigration, don’t necessarily live with many immigrants nearby.

    On that basis you might try an inverse correlation with migration levels in a region…

  37. Laszlo

    […]it’s just an exercise the skill in which people are the best – blaming. …including Mrs Duffy of whom Brown formed a correct first opinion.

    I’m going to stick up for Mrs Duffy here (and I think Brown just misunderstood her). I think she was trying to indicate that people were worried about preferential relaxation of controls on the movement of people resulting in neo-liberal inspired directed employment practices being used to undermine the earnings and conditions of workers already in the country. Which is more or less what you’ve said yourself in the past.

    I actually think the British attitude to immigration is fairly sophisticated. Even if they are disconcerted by the process in bulk they tend to be even-handed towards individual migrants and seek common ground with them, work with them, befriend them, marry them and so on. They are prepared to leave a certain amount of space for separate cultures, but worried about complete isolation. And greater knowledge tends to lead to greater tolerance, and, as I pointed out in the previous thread, political resistance tends to be strongest in those communities with least experience.

    Whether this subtlety is always reflected in opinion polls is probably more a fault of those that commission the questions that those who answer them. Though it is odd that the further the beneficial owners of such newspapers live from the UK the more angry they claim to be about immigrants.

  38. @Howard

    “the royal UKPR ‘we’ ”

    ‘We’ are suitably amused.

  39. @ Martyn
    “If I wanted to know UKIP support by country/region and by year…where would I be looking?”

    ComRes polls would serve your purpose.
    They have a GOR breakdown.
    Just aggregate several monthly polls until you have regional sample sizes that you’re satisfied with.
    Then repeat it for polls in earlier years.

  40. @Martyn

    This site is doing a good analysis of the areas where UKIP is strong:

    http://www.allthatsleft.co.uk/tag/ukip/

    Go down a bit and look at the posts with a title “UKIP target#’

    My take is it doesn’t have that much to do with immigration, it is more just a protest against the main parties.

    So we have lots of declining seaside towns in the South. Labour can’t win there, same as Tories can’t win in the North. Lib Dems were the opposition, but as they are in government now, so voters need a new protest party.UKIP picks up the vote as the only other protest vehicle.

    And then the HS2 protest vote – see target #8.

  41. PHIL HAINES

    See Roger’s trilogy on the last thread about aggregating cross-breaks.

  42. UKIP looking quite low. I’d expect that to change around the new year with immigration in the media.

    Although immigration levels are probably declining slowly, and many will base views upon the tabloids, it’s a bit much to say immigration is falling definitely. Immigration from the EU is very hard to measure, though that is less than 50% of recorded migration. The UK’s ability to record whether people from outside the EU who are visiting on tourist or student visas are leaving is very poor. No data is kept by UKBA at airports and ports. Much is based upon surveys which are flawed.

    Where I live the massive demographic changes occurred around 2004-6. The changes since are smaller but continuous. Local authorities take ONS migration figures with a pinch of salt and instead look at school, NHS, housing records for a better picture. Much of the data isn’t automatically linked. Estimates of undocumented people are around 25%. This is zone 3 London.

  43. @COLIN DAVIS

    “Re Carfrew, above, re Collins:
    So the money runs out and unless we increase debt we can’t address problems. And we can’t increase debt, so Blairism is the only way….

    Or, of course, we increase the tax take. Income tax is no way forward, so we have to redistribute wealth.

    Redistribution of wealth also removes the need for ever more growth. Growth, like debt, can’t go on for ever. Taxing of wealth is green as well as economically necessary.

    We just have to think new things or we become sardines scrabbling our way out of an ever tightening net.”

    ———-

    Perhaps ironically, the Blairite approach was to up taxes, and do some redistribution.

    Not taxes aimed at the wealthy so much, of course… They cut Capital Gains for them. But more of the middle got sucked into the 40% tax bracket, then you had all the taxes going up on drink, petrol, etc., plus tuition fees…

    What Collins doesn’t talk about, is the reason the money ran out. He argues that Miliband’s concern with making Capitalism behave is because of the cost-of-living thing, but there are more reasons to do it than that. To avoid further crises, up employment, and consequently have more money for the services Collins is concerned about.

    His recipe for improving public services – targets, inspectors, customer choice, professional freedom etc – illustrates how they never properly got what it takes. Indeed, if they understood systems, they would have foreseen the possibility of the crash.

    Not that these measures are of no merit, but they are insufficient. There is more that can be done, but you need the right approach.

    There are examples where at times, they did begin to get it. And example was the Literacy and Numeracy Hours, which did see an improvement in results, plateauing again afterwards.

    This was not a case of just setting a target and leaving people to it. It was a direct improvement to the system, albeit a simple one. Quite often, if something needs improvement, it is not enough just to set a target and leave them to it. Quite often, the target is obvious – eg better literacy and maths would be good – and the problem is people don’t necessarily see or agree on a solution. Thus intervention is necessary.

    I think sometimes if politicians don’t know a system, or aren’t comfortable with the systems thing, they just want to set a target and hope it’ll work out. In wartime though, when you don’t have that luxury, then politicians do the sensible thing, appoint as close to a genius as possible for whatever department, and let them sort it out properly, intervening as they see fit.

  44. One possible reason for low UKIP results in London (though is that the case?) is that likely voters have left in large numbers to surrounding counties. Where I lived experienced something of an ‘exodus’ over the past 10 years. Many moved out into Kent or Sussex. I’d say 80% of people I know. The demographics of the area have changed a lot.

    I would say this ‘white flight’ phenomenon was not the result of racism for most. Some sure, but for most I knew then no. Colour wasn’t the issue but behaviour of a sizable amount of people moving in. There was a big rise in anti social behaviour and I can’t blame people for wanting to get away from it. Things like dumping of rubbish and fly tipping which was endemic, anti social parking, inconsiderate late night noise etc. Low level stuff perhaps but when it happens with increasing frequency in your immediate locality I can’t blame them for wanting out. Add in busier roads, public transport, schools, doctors etc which occurred. Rising house prices made the switch a lot easier too.

    I would think that levels of UKIP support amongst those people would be quite high. By the way these are working class people not middle class who have been less directly affected by the downsides in my experience.

  45. @Neil A, @Phil Haines, et al…

    So. I can go thru the ALDC site and strip out the UKIP proportion of the vote (even tho’ local authority vote aggregated by region isn’t a good proxy for national vote by region)
    Or I can go thru the ComRes polls and extract UKIP support from the cross-breaks (even though the first rule of UKPR club is “we don’t talk about the crossbreaks”)

    OK, two good suggestions (albeit with real disadvantages), Anybody got anything better?

  46. MARTYN

    How about paying for a suitably constructed poll? AW could probably use the cash.

  47. @Old Nat
    “See Roger’s trilogy on the last thread about aggregating cross-breaks.”

    you omitted “….. in Scotland”.

    What I would take issue with is an argument that all aggregated regional cross breaks throughout the UK can be ignored in all circumstances. My view is that they provide a ball park pointer which can be interpreted in the context of what we know about the pollster’s methods.

    For example if – as I think Roger M suggested there are reasons to believe that the Conservatives tend to be systematically overstated in Scottish YouGov cross breaks – then that is something that can be allowed for in the interpretation.

  48. @Ed

    “…The UK’s ability to record whether people from outside the EU who are visiting on tourist or student visas are leaving is very poor. No data is kept by UKBA at airports and ports. Much is based upon surveys which are flawed.
    Where I live the massive demographic changes occurred around 2004-6. The changes since are smaller but continuous. Local authorities take ONS migration figures with a pinch of salt and instead look at school, NHS, housing records for a better picture. Much of the data isn’t automatically linked. Estimates of undocumented people are around 25%…”

    Yes. And no.

    Surveys such as the IPS are flawed (people don’t accurately report their end destination, using words like “London” when they mean, say, Southall or Essex) and the ONS figures derived from them have a similar problem. But this isn’t to say that they’re not usable. To be useful, a statistic has to be consistent and comparable: if I compare region A to region B or year 1 to year 2, does the comparison reflect reality? And they work pretty well for that.

    There is also the question “if you don’t use statistics…what do you use?”. We’ll never know deterministically how many people enter/leave the country: there are far too many people in far too many airports, ports and border crossing to do an accurate head count (the perenially porous Ireland border doesn’t help). And if you can’t count every grain of sand on the beach or every sweetie in the jar, you use aggregate methods and estimates instead – in other words, statistics. The level of accuracy you require isn’t really doable.

  49. @OldNat

    Well, I could do a couple of K if stretched. What’s Anthony’s price list?

  50. @Martyn

    I had a post in moderation – have a look here:

    http://www.allthatsleft.co.uk/tag/ukip/

    See the UKIP target articles, that may help you.

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