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. @Alec

    I am beginning to think the SNP aren’t serious about independence but rather are using the referendum to promote their parties policies.

    If they were serious it would be a vote on independence rather that a vote on independence+SNP manifesto. And as you point out a two stage vote first on the principle then on the agreement. The second stage might be a UK wide vote if some sovereignty was to be shared.

  2. Regarding the UKIP-commissioned poll in Thanet:

    1. It doesn’t support the idea that if support for UKIP implodes, the Conservatives will make up significant ground on Labour, something on which Con hopes are pinned at present. Asked what they would do if UKIP were not standing, 22% of erstwhile UKIP voters would vote Con, but 19% would vote Lab. 41% would not vote at all. Lab would then win the seat by 48% to 41%.

    2. Although 1 is good news for Lab, of sorts, it is in the context that UKIP are indeed eating significantly into potential Lab support as well as Con support. Lab needs to take the threat from UKIP just as seriously as the Cons are.

    3. UKIP’s parliamentary support (30%) is well below what they gathered in recent local elections there (36%).

    4. Although the poll was commissioned by UKIP, Thanet South was supposed to be their best shot at a parliamentary seat, and it while it shows them in contention it doesn’t really (within moe, which is big in a small constituency poll like this) support a case that UKIP rather than the Cons are better placed to beat Lab.

    5. Survation say that this is the first of 8 polls they are conducting in seats where UKIP fancies its chances. So we can expect another 7. What if those don’t really show a UKIP surge, in seats not as favourable as Thanet South? Presumably they will still have to be published regardless and as such by revealing their existence I wonder whether Survation may have dealt UKIP a hostage to fortune.

  3. @ COUPER2802

    “I’m beginning to think the SNP aren’t serious about independence but rather are using the referendum to promote their parties policies.

    If they were serious it would be a vote on independence rather that a vote on independence+SNP manifesto.”

    Absolutely correct. The document they produced yesterday presupposes that they are going to win the first election held. They just cannot assume that after independence nuclear weapons will be removed or the bedroom tax repealed etc. etc. That cannot be part of any independence agreement. Unless, of course, it is to introduce one party rule.

  4. Presumably the new rules on withdrawing benefits to EU migrants will apply equally to Brits returning from living in the EU?

    This could be the largest group by nationality that is affected. It will be interesting to see how it is going to be policed. Proof of residence over a period of time for absolutely everyone?

  5. @Norbold

    In terms of the “longest suicide note in history”, for length this one could beat the current (1983) record by some margin.

  6. @Hal

    Do you believe that this ‘announcement’ is actually going to happen or is it merely a case of appearing to appease those that worry about the Jan 1st immigrants ?

    Every official body reports that immigration has been to the countries economic benefit & imo, it’s a shame that more isn’t done to allay the worries of the residents instead of bashing the immigrants.

  7. To be frank, based on what I have read of expert opinion of and from the White Paper… In the unlikely event of a Yes vote, the SNP will attempt to negotiate from a point of weakness to gain everything they want. Official independence would keep being postponed as negotiations stretch on, and the mutually exclusive demands of remaining in fiscal union with the UK and being a fast track member of the EU would fall apart.

    Scotland would be much delayed in becoming an independent country. And it’s circumstances much downgraded by loss of special privileges the UK held in foreign negotiations.

    Plenty of time within for the SNP to fall out of grace, and for a second referendum to indefinitely postpone independence.

    The SNP independence white paper was clearly an exercise in politics not planning. With the harsh result that attempts to actually use this white paper as an independence plan would fail, because it requires every single political assumption made to come true.

  8. @Hal,

    No. Currently benefits are based on being a British citizen and passing the “Habitual Residency Test”. That is irrespective of where in the world a British citizen has been living.

    I have genned up on this recently, as my brother has lived in the US for 25 years but is still a UK citizen. He has recently suffered a banktruptcy and has serious health problems for which he can no longer afford treatment. He may have to move back to the UK next year. So long as he can show that he either lives permanently in the UK or is intending to do so, he immediately becomes eligible for both NHS treatment and income-based welfare benefits.

    US citizens, obviously, aren’t allowed to do this. So it is not true to say that the status of returning UK citizens is tied to the treatment of people from other countries arriving for the first time.

  9. Regarding the SNP’s currency proposal, I think a lot of commentators and the SNP itself are seriously underestimating the level of hostility in Whitehall and Westminster, not to mention Brussels and Washington, to their proposed secession. There is simply no way any UK govt worth its salt would let the terms of divorce be dictated by the minor departing party.

    In the event of a Yes vote, the eventual divorce may be superficially amicable, but the final terms will bear little resemblance to yesterday’s white paper. I do think the SNP could dial down talk of breaches of trust if the UK refuses or attaches stringent conditions to the continuing use of sterling.

    On that note, the Scots financial sector has shown itself to be just as incompetent and hubristic as London’s, and just as destructive of the public finances. The kind of guarantees it would take to let Scotland use sterling would have to be so severe that I have trouble seeing Salmond accepting them, and would make a nonsense of any actual independence.

    There are ten more months of this to come, and little of it is assuaged by the white paper. The currency issue alone indicates the kind of uncertainty Scots are being asked to vote with. I don’t know if I am relieved that I can’t vote.

  10. I think some people south of the border are more worried about England becoming just that little bit less important if the Scots leave than the actual welfare of the Scots themselves.

  11. Maybe some people, unable to deal with real issues in the White Paper, would rather throw stones at the English…

  12. @Allan Christie

    And you sum up a major problem with the SNP. Criticism of the SNP’s plan, even just criticism on the basic mechanics of their plan, are dismissed as ‘the English being against an independent Scotland’ if the person making the Criticism is south of Berwick.

  13. carfrew

    Maybe some people, unable to deal with real issues in the White Paper, would rather throw stones at the English…
    __________

    Well who would that be then? I’m English living in Scotland.

  14. “Well who would that be then? I’m English living in Scotland.”

    ———-

    Well, if you are having a pop at the English, and can’t deal with the problems in the White Paper, you figure it out…

  15. @Allan Christie

    You seem to have the mistaken idea that being English and living in Scotland automatically makes you level headed and unbiased.

    You fail to see a comment of “I think some people south of the border are more worried about England becoming just that little bit less important if the Scots leave than the actual welfare of the Scots themselves.” is prima facie demonstration of bias. Being north or south of the Scottish Border is not relevant to an honest appraisal of the SNP Independence White Paper.

  16. JAYBLANK

    I stand by my point.

    I want an independent Scotland for two reasons.

    One, I think the Scots are better suited to running their own affairs rather than being controlled by a parliament which is out of touch with reality in Scotland.

    Secondly. Within the next few years there is the real prospect of myself returning south (job related) and it would worry me at the prospect of England having a Labour government.

    I welcome Scottish independence with open arms and welcome the return of a Tory government after 2015 in England.

    Whatever the outcome I don’t want another Labour government.

  17. CARFREW

    No I’m not having a pop at the English it was just an observation.

  18. jayblanc

    @Allan Christie

    You seem to have the mistaken idea that being English and living in Scotland automatically makes you level headed and unbiased
    __________

    Oh excuse me and the rest of you are experts?

    I hang my head in shame.

  19. @Allan

    Lol, trying to reframe it as just an “observation” won’t do it, it’s just noise, and you are just proving my point about the issues in the White Paper.

  20. CARFREW

    LOL, I stand by my observation that some down south are more worried about England becoming that little bit less important than the welfare of the Scots.

    Or another observation I have observed. The Tories really have the Union in their hearts and want the UK to remain where as Labour only have their own vested interests in mind, ie retaining Scots MP’S in Westminster to weaken any prospects of a Tory government.

    Controversial? You bet!

    Will I retract? Not a chance.

  21. @Allan

    Wanting to grant the Conservative party a favourable distribution of seats is not really a strong valid reason to support Scottish Independence.

  22. Lol, Allan you are just restating. And still haven’t dealt with the genuine concerns re: the White Paper, which is what we are bothered about, and consequent VI effects.

    I’ll leave that with you… I’m off to look at buying a coat…

  23. jayblanc

    @Allan

    Wanting to grant the Conservative party a favourable distribution of seats is not really a strong valid reason to support Scottish Independence
    ___________

    Hey listen I have two hats. A tartan one and a tartan Tory one.

    People vote for all different reasons but despite my rational I honestly do think the Scots are best placed to run their own affairs and it will be a bumpy ride but so was the act of Union.

  24. CARFREW

    I’m not an expert so I can’t comment on the White Paper.

    Buy yourself a raincoat it’s a bit wet outside.

  25. @Allan Christie

    Even without their Scottish MPs the polls would still be pointing to a Labour majority in 2015.

    http://wingsoverscotland.com/why-labour-doesnt-need-scotland

  26. so much for the welfare of the Scots…

    I do worry that the welfare of the people in Scotland is not the foremost in the effort to independence, but that is for the people of Scotland.

    The problem as I see; is If there is to be a split then the remainder of the UK needs to be brutally protectionist, that is after all what the SNP will be doing, if the choice is made for independence then the welfare of the people of Scotland is no longer the foremost concern for the rUK, the rUK will have to look after the welfare of the people of the rUK .

    It is not the rUK that is asking for the choice to split from Scotland and if the people of Scotland are certain we’re better apart then let’s actually be apart and manage our own risks.

    If that offends any Scots I am sorry, but at the end of the day it will be the choice of the people of Scotland but they should be informed of all consequences not just the consequences the SNP want to happen, I can see a lot of tears and blame…

    I am married to a Scots lass and she is furious, her opinion is be tough and give nothing away at all, and don’t forget to put in border controls…

  27. ROGERH

    Thanks for the link and I was aware according to the latest polls Labour would command a majority even without Scottish Labour MP’S present.

    AW tracker at the top right of the page shows 76.
    But polls are polls and are only a snapshot and come 2015 I think it will be a ;lot closer than the current polls suggest.

  28. JIM

    I don’t disagree with hypothesis of your post but come on
    ..
    “I am married to a Scots lass and she is furious, her opinion is be tough and give nothing away at all, and don’t forget to put in border controls”
    ….

    Oh dear don’t they even get a share of Blackpool rock?

    PMQ’S on. Away to watch the big man take on the wee man.

  29. My lost post went into auto MOD.

    Should appear by Friday.

  30. @Neil A

    That is the concern. To be legal under EU treaties, the rules have to be applicable to all nationals, not just extra-nationals. So they would have to apply these new prior-residency rules to returning British Ex-Pats as well as new immigrants.

    I make no implication that this may in fact be their intent, and that they have found a nice way to spin a large benefits cut to returning british nationals.

  31. @neil a @ Hal : Habitual Res Test already being used against Brits. Just met young man went to teach abroad in poor country for couple of years. Needed a bit of support when got back (did not earn much abroad teaching), but ended up street homeless before he won his appeal against HRT decision. Is now in YMCA hostel trying to get back on his feet. How exactly does that benefit our economy?
    Cannot discriminate against European workers.

  32. Anthony Wells

    Shall post later, but two pointers.

    Followed by three points. Are you trying for a job with the Spanish Inquisition?

    Remember what I’ve previously said about how people should be *extremely* sceptical of polls commissioned by political parties or their proxies.

    By ‘proxies’ are we, for example, thinking of something like, say, a newspaper group with a political agenda? [evil grin smiley]

    The problem with these constituency polls is the small sample size. The MoE on the VI figures is over 5 points because the high number of Don’t Knows, Won’t Votes and Won’t Says that you get[1] reduce the sample size to just over 300. So any analysis of UKIP voters is only based on under 100 people for example.

    Actually what strikes me about Survation’s South Thanet poll is that it is more or less what you would expect and it illustrates UKIP’s problems. Even in their low-lying heartlands they are unable to get much above 30% – they’re simply not attractive enough to the majority of people and seem to have a natural ceiling. Now in some cases this and local factors[2] may be enough to let them win the seat by a narrow margin in a tight bunched finish. But by definition there won’t be many such places.

    In his associated statement, the poll commissioner, Alan Bown, says that I also believed that UKIP’s popularity and recent phenomenal growth meant that in our strongest areas support was likely to be significantly higher than Ashcroft’s figure of 10 -14% nationally would suggest.[[3] and while this is going to be true in a handful of seats it will still not be enough to give UKIP a substantial Parliamentary presence.

    [1] The 35% here isn’t particularly high for a phone poll – the latest MORI is 34% for example and it’s not uncommon for the combined figure to be over 40% before squeeze questions or reapportionment.

    [2] The poll was actually taken 19-25 November, so nearly all before Sandys announced she would not be standing again.

    [3] This is a bit odd because Ashcroft’s polling was mainly in Con-Lab and Con-LD marginals, where you would expect the UKIP vote to be suppressed if anything. Its very solidity in such places is what is surprising, if not helpful to UKIP because of its evenness.

  33. Anthony Wells

    Shall post later, but two pointers.

    Followed by three points. Are you trying for a job with the Spanish Inquisition?

    Remember what I’ve previously said about how people should be *extremely* sceptical of polls commissioned by political parties or their proxies.

    By ‘proxies’ are we, for example, thinking of something like, say, a newspaper group with a political agenda? [evil grin smiley]

    The problem with these constituency polls is the small sample size. The MoE on the VI figures is over 5 points because the high number of Don’t Knows, Won’t Votes and Won’t Says that you get[1] reduce the sample size to just over 300. So any analysis of UKIP voters is only based on under 100 people for example.

    Actually what strikes me about Survation’s South Thanet poll is that it is more or less what you would expect and it illustrates UKIP’s problems. Even in their horizontal heartlands they are unable to get much above 30% – they’re simply not attractive enough to the majority of people and seem to have a natural ceiling. Now in some cases this and local factors[2] may be enough to let them win the seat by a narrow margin in a tight bunched finish. But by definition there won’t be many such places.

    In his associated statement, the poll commissioner, Alan Bown, says that I also believed that UKIP’s popularity and recent phenomenal growth meant that in our strongest areas support was likely to be significantly higher than Ashcroft’s figure of 10 -14% nationally would suggest.[[3] and while this is going to be true in a handful of seats it will still not be enough to give UKIP a substantial Parliamentary presence.

    [1] The 35% here isn’t particularly high for a phone poll – the latest MORI is 34% for example and it’s not uncommon for the combined figure to be over 40% before squeeze questions or reapportionment.

    [2] The poll was actually taken 19-25 November, so nearly all before Sandys announced she would not be standing again.

    [3] This is a bit odd because Ashcroft’s polling was mainly in Con-Lab and Con-LD marginals, where you would expect the UKIP vote to be supressed if anything. Its very solidity in such places is what is surprising, if not helpful to UKIP because of its evenness.

    [re-posted to get rid of L-word]

  34. Of course when you think that something going to be stuck in mod for ages because Anthony’s busy, it’s out in seconds.

  35. I know this is going to be a bit controversial but is it right to cut benefits of people who live here and contribute to the economy either through tax and or expenditure and pay benefits to ex pats who have not paid any tax here for several years?

  36. Jim (the other one)

    Great post that is exactly how I feel if they want to go let them go but give them nothing, I would advocate that we (the rest of the UK )block them from joining theEU

  37. leftylampton

    My Uruguayian colleague and her husband who are currently moving to Edinburgh to work on a five year contract WILL get a vote.

    No she won’t, unless she has another nationality. According to the Electoral Commission

    To register to vote, you must:

    • be resident in Scotland. There are special provisions for some voters who live abroad or do not have a fixed address. If you are unsure whether you are resident in Scotland, contact your Electoral Registration Officer; and

    • be aged 16 or over on 18 September 2014. This means that a person will be able to register to vote if their date of birth is 18 September 1998 or earlier; and

    • be a British, Irish, other European Union or qualifying Commonwealth citizen. Qualifying Commonwealth citizens are those who have leave to enter or remain in the UK or do not require such leave; and

    • not be subject to any legal incapacity to vote

    – See more at: http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/the_independence_referendum/frequentlyasked_questions.aspx#sthash.EQ5bL1GL.dpuf

    I know the BBC says otherwise (“Essentially, everyone over the age of 16 who lives in Scotland”) but the franchise is basically the same as for the Euro-elections and Holyrood.

    If your colleague is really desperate for a vote she could always move to the Isle of Man. We’re really unfussy.

  38. Lizh

    I have always thought it odd that for example some of the 600,000 UK retired living in Spain can claim winter fuel allowances.

    Old Age Pensions may be claimed anywhere in the World which seems reasonable as they individuals would get it if they remained here and by living overseas reduce the costs of services However, if you live outside of the UK they don’t go up yearly which is arguably unreasonable.

    Of course if you are retired abroad with a UK pension other than OAP it isn’t true that you pay no tax here if it’s above the tax threshold you pay in the same way as anyone else.

  39. @ Neil A,

    My post was about not being able to discriminate between Brits and other EU citizens. So the Habitual Residence Test has to operate the same way.

    What the difference between your brother returning to the UK and a Romanian citizen (for example) arriving and claiming that they intend to live and work in the UK permanently?

  40. RM

    My mistake. They had clearly not done their homework when they told me that.

    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.

    But you see the point. People with no long-term connection with, or commitment to Scotland will have a say in the most important decision for 300 years on the future of Scotland. Whilst people who were born and bred in Scotland, but whose work has moved them to another part of the same state will not. That seems quite perverse.

  41. I think post-2015, even if they do win a handful of seats (which is not an unreasonable assumption) we may be able to recycle the old Spitting Image joke:

    “Oh David, why are SDP men such great lovers?”
    “Because we’re so good at coming second.”

    The point Roger makes about a ceiling for UKIP seems to be correct. There was a recent poll (I forget who did it but I’m sure I’ll be told) of parties people would never vote for and I seem to recall UKIP came top with 43% never considering voting for them.

    A 43% anti-UKIP vote is a powerful force, if it’s strong enough to drive people to vote tactically. It’s entirely possible there’ll be a lot of second places for UKIP (especially in places with a LD meltdown where they take from the Tories) but very few wins.

    Of course second places give a party an opportunity to take them next time, but 1) it causes the ‘wasted vote factor’ when they fail to win and 2) disappointing election performances cause tension within parties.

    The SDP couldn’t hold it together after 1987 (with a much bigger membership of around 58,000 and many more public personae than just Nigel Farage and Des Lynam).

    Still, the Greens took Brighton Pavilion on a 31% vote share and in many seats that’s not an unreasonable objective for UKIP. Some of the relatively more four-cornered seats in 2010 (Plymouth Moor View, South Thanet, Boston and Skegness) might allow them to sneak in.

    When John Bercow is no longer speaker, he’s possibly a sitting duck in Buckingham as well. The Cons don’t seem best pleased with how he treats them in parliament.

  42. Jayblanc,

    “Wanting to grant the Conservative party a favourable distribution of seats is not really a strong valid reason to support Scottish Independence.”

    True, and neither is its nationalist analogue- “Vote Yes and never get a Tory government again”.

    The best argument for independence that I know is that, after four or five years or so, Scottish politics will finally start being mainly about issues other than the constitutional question. On the other hand, voting “No” is a vote for 10 years of discussion of further devolution and another 15 years of debate on a second independence referendum. All the while, no major party in Scotland will be stupid enough to be innovative or otherwise daring in any other field of politics, due to the danger of alienating people on the constitutional question, and so we’ll get a soggy centrist decline as a nation.

    If you want a vision of Scotland’s future in the UK, imagine the constitutional question stepping on human faces- forever.

    (I’m not a nationalist; it’s just that the above is the strongest argument I can formulate for them.)

  43. “Oh dear don’t they even get a share of Blackpool rock?”

    Only if they pay for it, like the rest of us…

    “block them from joining the EU”

    I think If the rhetoric of “if we don’t get want we want, then we won’t play” is exactly why or when it would be used

    I do get the perception that the SNP think of independence similar to a divorce, and they want a settlement that includes still having the washing done and food provided free…

    Which is not going to happen and god help any Westminster government that does not look after the best interest of the rUK, they cannot be seen to give anything for nothing it has to be fair and I don’t mean SNP fair.

  44. Chordata,

    I think you are right that some of the measures announced will prove impractical and will be quietly dropped. But the idea of the announcement is to be as controversial as possible and create lots of publicity for anti-immigrant intentions.

    It all sounds a bit like an episode of Borgen.

  45. MrNameless – when John Bercow is no longer Speaker he will almost certainly go to the Lords as a crossbencher. One has to go back a very long way to find a Speaker who remained in active party politics after ceasing to be Speaker

  46. AW,

    Thanks for that – you learn something new every day.

  47. @Bill Patrick

    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…

    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?

  48. @Jim (The Other One)

    I suggest that the SNP white paper is a demand for divorce, with a stipulation that duties of the marital bed still be kept, while also proposing a new marriage to third party.

  49. AW and Mr N
    I must admit, the idea of John Bercow, having opted for a soft number, not opting for an even softer number eventually, does stretch my credulity.

  50. @Steve

    If you have paid into the system for the required amount of time imo, you should be able to claim old age pension no matter where you live. I would go so far as to say that you should be entitled to all the benefits if you have paid into the system for the required number of years (I don’t know what that is or should be). I think whichever government collected your tax should be responsible for looking after you when you require help.

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