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. Ed

    Thanks for your interesting comments. I remember staying in Walthamstow earlier in the year and noting that if I did hear English spoken it would be by older Afro-Caribbeans (going on accent). Otherwise Eastern European, South Asian, West African languages predominated except when speakers of the various groups were interacting. I suspect many other areas of inner Outer London are the same.

    The trouble seems to be that it is no one’s interests to get the figures right[1]. People either want to minimise or exaggerate the changes. Ironically next year’s Euro-elections would provide the perfect excuse to do a thorough house to house survey (most immigrants will be qualified to vote[2], both in them and London Boroughs). Unfortunately local councils are both cash-strapped and have their own political agendas.

    [1] Even though it would help enormously in planning things such as school places. But apparently these will magically create themselves using only the power of the market.

    [2] We have discussed other sorts of under-registration in the past, but it would be interesting to know what the level for non-Comm/IR EU electors is. I suspect under 10% are on the books.

  2. OK, so we know the subsamples themselves aren’t weighted. The weighting is done over the whole poll.

    But, there would be demographic info. on those in the subsamples, necessary to do the whole-poll weighting.

    So why not use the demographic info. to weight the subsamples, which might also then make it easier to do an aggregate?…

  3. “But apparently these will magically create themselves using only the power of the market.”


    Yes, I’m not sold on the power of the market to cure all either. I mean, despite the obvious advantages of education… prior to the state system, it’s not like the market provided education for all at an affordable price.

    (Though I’d better add I’m told the Scots did better through the Church system…)

  4. Martyn

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

    I think you may have misunderstood YouGov’s product line. I’d try the Co-op if I were you.

  5. @Roger Mexico

    We’re here all week, folks…:-)

  6. Latest YouGov / The Sun results 25th November – Con 32%, Lab 40%, LD 10%, UKIP 12%; APP -28

    Five poll rolling average:

    Con 32.6
    Lab 39.4
    LD 9.6
    UKIP 11.6

    Lab Lead 6.8

  7. @NeilA

    The labour lead did not climb from about 4 to 7 in one big rush, but, as the Yougov data show, has been a gradual increase over several weeks. It seems largely due to a slow increase in Lab VI, but there may also have been a more recent slight fall in Con VI.

    The apparent sudden increas shown by several companies a couple of weeks ago was, I think, just chance. It is indeed striking that very few political “events” seem to have an immediate impact on VI.

  8. Flight out of London not just white, and in my experience mainly to do with house prices. London property unaffordable to most residents and latest bubble just exacerbates problem. 75% of new builds bought by overseas investors. As differential increases with prices, even if on the ladder can’t afford to move up. Bottom properties snatched up by buy to let. Rents now so high that you need salary of about £70,000 to rent a 3-bed even in Finsbury Park. Met a City solicitor last night taking a break with small children and even they are struggling to rent in Muswell Hill, which while decent is not the most expensive area. And can’t think of buying. Labour’s cost of living crisis resonates across demographic except top 1%.

  9. @Martyn

    If you can wait six months there’ll be a biggish (possibly 15m… 34% of the UK electorate) EU poll.

    Following on from that you might get a rash of OPs along the lines of “Ok thanks, but that’s a scarily big number for UKIP – would you guys mind telling us how you’ll be voting in the general election?”

  10. Martyn,

    I think Eastleigh was a good example of a place with very few immigrants and high UKIP support at the by-election.

  11. I think it’s going to be really fascinating to see how voters react to the big SNP launch today. Already there seems to be a big row about sterling, with the SNP saying that they will retain the pound, and that they might not accept their share of UK debts if they are refused entry to a currency union.

    I’m awaiting the details, but my expectation is that the SNP are trying to base their currency objectives on a completely illogical and irrational stance. If they are insisting on political and fiscal independence, there is no reasonable case that can be made for them remaining in a currency union with rUK. It would be criminally negligent of an rUK government to allow this, and the potential instability this could cause for the entire currency union should be a matter for a referendum vote in rUK – it would represent a very major constitutional change for rUK, let alone Scotland.

    The SNP position appears to be that sterling is an asset, which should be shared alongside liabilities. This is where they fall down. Sterling is a system. Sterling assets are assets, and these should be shared fairly, but the currency itself is a mechanism, which lies at the heart of nationhood. If you choose to leave the nation, then you choose to leave the systems inherent in that nation status.

    We’ve got here one of the clearest examples of ‘Have it All’ nationalism. I’m worried, as Scottish voters may be emotionally swayed by what are increasingly logically retarded arguments from the SNP, but as a Scot in residence in England, I’m waiting for rUK leaders to start representing my interests.

    Scotland needs to be told very firmly what can and can’t happen. rUK electors will not accept the risks stemming from a currency union where there is not direct fiscal control and a shared central bank. This is not independence.

  12. @ Martyn

    I tend to agree with you about the immigration question. The question put is very straightforward “is the number of NEW immigrants rising or falling” and the answer to that question should be falling as AW points out. However it is not surprising that people would skip over this and see this as meaning are there more immigrants coming into the country than leaving (or just simply that there is still immigration).

    The interesting bit in this poll which AW does not mention were the priorities in renegotiating the EU treaty which Cameron is talking about doing. The only issue that has more than 50% tick as something that needs renegotiating is immigration.

    The fewer regulations (although subtly worded to avoid H&S gone mad type responses) were not very well supported even amongst Tory voters- only 26% of Tory voters bothered to check the box (you could check 3 boxes out of 13) and as a whole only 16% said regulations on British business were one of their 3 priorities.

    Obviously a poll where you can choose 3 out of 13 options doesn’t tell the whole picture as it just gives priorities so it is difficult to tell how many more boxes would have been ticked if given the choice of ticking all of them and it would be interesting to know on that regulation of business how much people care at all with a yes/no answer.

    For me the big point of this poll is the terms under which the voters feel that Cameron would ‘succeed’ in his renegotiations. Other than possible restriction of benefits to immigrants from the EU (and even that seems unlikely) it is difficult to see how the number one issue of stopping/reducing immigration from EU countries is going to be renegotiated this side of an election.

    I don’t think we should underestimate the importance of Cameron having something to show before May 2015 in his EU negotiations, even if he has put a date of 2017 for negotiations to be complete. Personally I would say if you haven’t renegotiated within 3 years of saying you would do then you aren’t going to achieve much. If he doesn’t have anything then certainly UKIP will play on this but I think the general public as well will be rather sceptical that he will be able to make meaningful changes and he would be relying on the guarantee of a referendum to differentiate the Tories from Lab and LD and appeal to public opinion or at least the UKIP waverers.

  13. This is a quote from Nicola Sturgeon – “Sterling is a shared asset. The pound is as much Scotland’s as it is the rest of the UK’s. The UK government, in the wake of a yes vote, will want Scotland to take its fair share of liabilities. But that only works if we also get our fair share of assets.”

    She doesn’t get the blindingly obvious. Sterling isn’t the money that sloshes around the system. It’s the entire system. Spending budgets set in Westminster, tax rates, welfare payments, interest rates, the Debt Management Office etc etc are all part of the sterling system.

    If you want to be in the system, you have to accept the lot.

  14. @Alec,

    I don’t have nearly enough understanding of financial issues to know the truth, but when I heard the SNP’s position on R4 this morning (let us use Sterling or we’ll duck our share of the debt) it occurred to me that if it was as easy as that to duck the national debt, why doesn’t Scotland just do it anyway. Surely being in a currency union with rUK isn’t nearly so advantageous as starting with zero national debt?

    And if they’ve decided not to do that because of damage they feel it might do to Scotland, can they tell us now about that damage – so that Scots voters can consider that as part of the mix when weighing up the pros and cons.

  15. @Martyn

    “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?”

    I’m not sure I quite understand what you are trying to do, but rather my fault than yours I think. If by proxy you mean a substitute , I would make the tentative suggestion that there may be a weak inverse (negative) correlation between UKIP support and LD support. UKIP are quite strong in the East Midlands (LD MPs=0), South-East (LDs only 4 MPs, using UKPR regions), similarly the East . Scotland has UKIP weak, and LDs largest ‘region’ with 11 MPs. Not sure how South-West England fits into this pattern though!

    Both parties are substitutes (proxies) for the two largest parties and maybe there is just not room for them both?

    Of course it could be that the election results are an outcome of more liberal attitudes in the west than the east, but I have no evidence for or against.

    If you are literally (or littorally) looking at coastal areas, there have been attempts by the local authorities to try to make a case to governments for recognition of the special problems faced by these areas through decline of holiday market and fishiing, seasonal working etc. These may affect voting patterns.

    @Neil A.
    Man City a one-off 6-O pah! Man U…?
    As Spurs fans we have to take the long view.

  16. HAL

    “I think Eastleigh was a good example of a place with very few immigrants and high UKIP support at the by-election.”

    UKIP polled very well in the County elections this year in Tendring (Essex) – even got two councillors elected. In the 2011 census Tendring had over 98% white British residents.

  17. I’m a constituent of South Thanet and the MP (Laura Sandys) has announced she is stepping down in 2015. Will Farage take the seat?

  18. @ALEC @Neil A

    I am Scottish living in Scotland so have a vote.
    I was really pleased that NS said what she did this morning. I am a bit fed up with Better Together assuming that what we have as the UK belongs to rUK – treaty membership, royals etc. We are equal partners supposedly, so why does the rUK assume everything is theirs?

    I am a Labour voter and I think Lab should be careful not to alienate Scottish voters during this campaign by seeming not to stand up for Scotland and by running down Scotland. In fact as a tactic it would be better if they allowed a couple of highish profile MPs to join the Yes campaign as I am sure there are some that will vote Yes.

  19. Alec


    Effectively it would mean Scotland defaulting on its debt.
    Why would anyone want to lend money to a country whose first step on independence was to default on its debt?
    Sturgeon simply hasn’t thought this out..

    It would also appear that the SNP wish to cherry pick the system that applies for division Geography for Assets Population for Liabilities.

    Fine refuse to accept the share of Liabilities and don’t take the share of assets either.


    It is naive bordering on downright stupidity to expect that all the benefits of a currency union backed by another economy all the benefits of a shared free trade zone with unfettered movement of money and people a compliant neighbour who will provide all of these while as a nation you do your best to undercut them in terms of inward investment.

  20. @NORBOLD

    Isn’t there polling showing fear of immigrants is highest in areas of few immigrants. I wouldn’t necessarily think that UKIP voters would Benin areas of high immigration.

  21. @Couper282
    The issue is not about Westminster saying “you cant have this etc” – its about what happens internatioanally in these circumstances – what the international lawyers have to say about it.

    In international law, there is a successor state – which takes on all the treaties and responsibilities etc, and a new state, which would have to apply for membership of the EU etc… The fact is that Yes Scotland/SNP seem to avoid the reality of the world we live in, rather than the world as they would want it to be.

  22. The fact is that the Westminster parliament would decide the terms of separation before it happens. Anyone that wants something particular in the terms will have to convince a majority of the entire UK to enable it.

  23. @coupar2802 – I agree with you, but I don’t think you’re quite getting the point. Sharing the currency isn’t like splitting up a country estate. All a currency represents is a set of economic management practices – this is what is being shared, not a physical pot of tangible assets.

    Given the fact that that in the history of mankind, there has never been a single currency union ever that has survived without full monetary and political union, you might start to see where I am coming from.

    If Scotland wishes to retain sterling, it must accept the simple fact that it will be bound by tax and spend limits that are either pre agreed by proscribed formula or set in London.

    Option 1 is not particularly agreeable to anyone – ref the Euro – but to work, it would mean an independent Scotland would be forced by rUK to accept the framework established. Given the relative negotiating positions of the two sides, I would expect any deal on this basis to favour rUK.

    Option 2 might allow Scotland to have some limited influence in areas like setting budgets and interest rates, but I’m really unclear how Salmond proposes a politically separate Scotland getting involved in tax and spend decisions set essentially in Westminster.

    The currency is a set of rules, and which for the currency to work, effectively require the pooling of political and fiscal sovereignty. Not for nothing is the Euro described as a key part of the single European project.

    If Scots wish for independence, forget about sterling. If you wish for sterling, go for devo max.

    On the other issues, like EU and Nato membership, it isn’t the Better Together campaign saying these things. Nato very firmly said that Scotland would not be able to renege on nuclear capacity commitments and remain in Nato, and the Spainish government has explicitly said it will block Scotland’s automatic entry post independence. This is a veto matter, so it wouldn’t even be up to the rUK PM to decide on this.

  24. @John Ruddy

    There is a lot of international law protecting the rights of successor states that BetterTogether conveniently forget about.

    I agree currency union is a v tricky one for the Yes campaign. I am sure they would rather have been able to say they would join the Euro. But I think the response of ‘it is our pound as much as yours’ should make sense to most people.


    You exaggerate the non-ambiguity of international law.

    A sole successor state would inherit all the rights and responsibilities of the previous state – but also all the liabilities.

    The rUK could insist on inheriting both, but may find that less than desirable.

  26. @coupar2802 – actually, the Faslane/Nato issue is a really good example of @John Ruddy’s point.

    If the SNP expect to retain NATO status as of right, then they have commitments, part of which is to accept the UK’s existing nuclear capacity. You are arguing for grandfathered rights – so accept those grandfathered responsibilities.

  27. @Alec

    That is why DevoMax would make far more sense. It would also solve the defence, EU and NATO issues and should really have been on the table instead of the polarising yes/no.

    But for that to work Westminster would have to be reformed as Scottish UK MPs should only be able to vote on reserved matters.

  28. @Alec
    Seconded. Sturgeon’s argument is no more than word-play, and though it gives the Yes campaign something to say about the currency it’s not an argument that will look convincing to the unconverted.

    I agree that any divorce settlement should be put to referendum in EW&NI and in Scotland. I for one would not vote for any settlement involving currency union:. Why should we put up with the consequences of an artficially high sterling conversion rate if Scotland is the runaway success that the SNP predicts? Why should we endure a run on the currency if the Scottish Free State fails? But I see no chance of such a referendum coming about – unless Yes should be followed by a Lib-Lab Coalition, the package would then involve political reform south of the border too, to keep the EW&NI government viable.

    As I’ve said before I think Coalition is unlikely next time, and LibLab politically unfeasable. However, following a Yes, even with a UK majority, Ed would be wise to bring the LDs into government again specificaly to prepare for UK post-Scotland. But until that time, EW&NI are just not interested.

  29. I’ve long wondered why the right wing and UKIP advocate a massive reduction in immigration: wouldn’t labour costs rise enormously if there were far more unskilled jobs than unskilled workers?

  30. @chrisshipitv: We are entitled to a share of UK assets says Salmond: like BBC, Bank of England, sterling. Not for UK govt to say Scotland can’t have share

    I think this strategy will work.

  31. @Neil A
    “Surely being in a currency union with rUK isn’t nearly so advantageous as starting with zero national debt”

    If NS is right in thinking that Scotland can choose to walk away from an appropriate (Barnett formula?) share of the UK’s accumulated national debt, then that would open the eyes of the rest of us. In which case I would expect that Wales, the North, the Midlands, South West, East of England, South East and most of London would eventually follow Scotland’s lead. Leaving the rUK to consist of the City of London, which would then carry the responsibility of funding the entire accumulated UK deficit.

    Which admittedly is probably as it should be, given that much of the deficit stems ultimately from the consequences of those City wide boys’ activities over the past decade or two.

  32. COUPER2802

    There’s never been any question that Devo Max would have had overwhelming support in Scotland, had that option not been forced off the table by the UK.

    Today Downing St are saying that a No vote will result in “some form of Devo-Max”will result from a No vote, though they are unwilling to give any specificity.

    If the proposal was serious, there is no reason why it couldn’t be legislated for now.

  33. @ COUPER2802

    “Isn’t there polling showing fear of immigrants is highest in areas of few immigrants. I wouldn’t necessarily think that UKIP voters would Benin areas of high immigration.”

    Yes, I think you’re right. While out canvassing in one of the more affluent leafy parts of Tendring (Holland-on-Sea), one of the residents said he would be voting UKIP as he didn’t want a mosque built at the end of his street. The chances of a mosque being built at the end of his particular street are about the same as the Greens winning an overall majority in 2015 – probably less!

    For people living in areas like this I guess it’s a fear of the unknown which has no basis in reality.

  34. This link exposes much of the nonsense that is being put about by the SNP –

    This article is full of delusional stuff about how Scotland can automatically inherit everything it wants to, without any natsies thrown in.

    In fact, the EC official they quote from actually says that while there is no legal impediment to a quick negotiation “Of course, this would imply a change of the Treaties which could only be done with a unanimity of all Member States”.

    At no point does the article of any of the supportive comments pick up on this. Scottish membership of the EU will be dependent on achieving the support of all 28 current members for the required treaty changes. Every single one of them. Legalities can go hang – this is politics.

    At very best, Scotland will have to accept they will lose many of the opt outs, rebates, and favourable allowances currently applicable to the UK. At worst, countries like Spain, with their own independence agendas will delay or prevent treaty changes.

    Alec Salmond is asking Scottish voters to back independence on the basis of second guessing what 28 countries might demand of Scotland in the future, while telling those same voters that it’s all in the bag.

    The Yes campaign remains the most fundamentally dishonest political campaign I can ever remember in this country.

  35. @Oldnat – agree with you regarding devo max. Can’t understand why this isn’t on the ballot.

  36. @ COUPER2802
    “Isn’t there polling showing fear of immigrants is highest in areas of few immigrants. I wouldn’t necessarily think that UKIP voters would Benin areas of high immigration.”

    I seem to recall that Northamptonshire about the Most Caucasian Mono-Cultural area of the UK with the lowest level of migrants also has one of the highest levels of “concerns” over migration .

    While London with 37% of residents born overseas has one of the lowest.

    I am always slightly worried when visiting my Dear Old Mum, who for some reason best known to herself has chosen to retire to a dismal rural Northamptonshire village, that my vaguely off white middle eastern appearance might prompt the appearance of a wicker man on the village green.

  37. ALEC

    It’s not on the ballot because the UK Government and its Labour ally, insisted on it not being an option.

  38. I wonder how Spain and Romania could be persuaded to vote for admitting an independent Scotland to the EU (maybe even Italy could be a problem).

    If I understood AS properly it’s not a monetary union that is proposed but that Scotland would use the pound. Quite tricky for the fiscal policy but maybe just feasible. The EU could be a problem in this as well as new entrants have to work towards meeting the Euro criteria – little bit difficult without control over monetary policy.

    Considering that Scotland expects large oil income, a currency board system would have been more appropriate, but it seems the SNP thinks that giving up the pound is not exactly a vote winner.

  39. OLDNAT
    It’s not on the ballot because the UK Government and its Labour ally, insisted on it not being an option.

    -I thought it wasn’t on a ballot because it was a referendum regarding independence.

    You don’t need a referendum for additional devolution of powers.

  40. @Alec
    Interesting link, about which you raise serious points. I think of this side of the Yes campaign as Project Polyanna.

    Why is Devo-max not on the table? The most cunning man in UK politics flushed this hare so that David Cameron could catch it and wag his tail with pride. Perhaps, and only perhaps, one day Wee Eck will explain his reasoning.

  41. @Oldnat – aware of that. thought it was daft. Everyone knows Scotland will get devo max if there is a no vote, so why not use this as a tactic to scupper a yes vote? Having the option to support devo max would have enabled the no campaign to sound altogether far more positive and would have made the yes campaign even tougher. I thought it was a stupid move on Cameron’s part, and if the SNP do persuade Scots to vote yes (which is possible) Cameron will have to shoulder the blame.

  42. ALEC

    “Everyone knows Scotland will get devo max if there is a no vote”

    In my experience when people say “everyone knows”, no one actually does. :-)

  43. @Alex @old Nat

    Devo Max after a No vote – yes of course we will get it. Just like we got a parliament with tax raising powers after the 79 devolution referendum so as long as we are prepared to wait 20 years.

  44. @ALEC

    “@Oldnat – agree with you regarding devo max. Can’t understand why this isn’t on the ballot.”


    To try and put an end to it, for a good while at least. Scotland have already had devolution, but press for Independence, knowing that they may get Devo Max to buy them off. Then they can press for Independence again, hoping to get more concessions. And then again…

    It’s now clear even the SNP don’t want proper Independence. What they want is devo doubleplusmax, where they get to cherrypick pick precisely the bits that suit them.

    At least by forcing the Independence issue properly on the table, the matter gets settled for a goodly while and it ceases to be a way to pressure for more concessions.

  45. I do have a problem with the assumption devo-max (which sounds like a pumped up version of that 80s band with plastic hats) will swiftly follow if Scotland votes No. It was arguably logical for the UK govt to insist on a one-question referendum. But I don’t think a fallback for the SNP and Yes voters should be that the referendum was also simply a warm-up for further devolution.

    The EU position is much pess friendly than the SNP suggests, or thinks. Their contact with the EC has been very, very limited. The EC itself obviously discourages secessionist movements anywhere in the EU, but there are such movements in Spain and Belgium that are arguably more likely to succeed than the SNP … if given the chance. Should Scotland vote yes, I could see the EU placing a large number of obstacles in the way of ‘seamless’ EU membership. If Scotland, then why not Catalunya, Flanders, Corsica, Lombardy …?

    The white paper itself seems to me a series of unexploded bombs. The SNP has gone over it obsessively, of course, but I cannot help but think that 679 pages offers an awful lot of material and potential for snafus that a hostile UK govt will gobble up. The confusion of what to do with the currency, as Alec muses above, is just one of those, and that was well-trailed.

    Finally, as a citizen, but not a Scot, I do wonder about the SNP’s tactics. The person on the Govan omnibus may wonder that if they want to keep so much that is fundamental to inclusion in the UK, then why independence?


    “Proper independence”

    Care to define what that means in an interdependent world?

  47. @OLDNAT

    “Care to define what that means in an interdependent world?”


    Lol. You want independence and you can’t even define it for yourself!!!

    Here’s a clue: Independence is the opposite of being dependent. Like, for example, dependent on the currency…

  48. TARK

    Congratulations on your speed reading skills! :-)


    I understand what independence means. It was your understanding of the term “proper independence” that I was asking about.

    It may be a vain hope, but I had hoped that you had some understanding of your own terminology.

  50. OldNat

    Scan reading … many years of practice … but now my eyes are falling out of my head :)

    The SNP has avoided the temptation to go all Braveheart and saltires about this, but considering this is as much as wish-list as anything else, I think this was written in the anticipation of defeat as a negotiating tool after 2014, perhaps more than as a stand-alone white paper. My first reaction was that it is simply too long and technocratic, and reminded me of John Smith’s shadow budget that got shredded by the Tories in 1992. More than anything, it leaves an awful lot of loose ends that Bettertogether will broadcast loudly between now and September. I keenly await the Scots polls, but I don’t think Yes will get 40 per cent.

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