There are two GB polls in the Sunday papers. Opinium’s fortnightly poll in the Observer has topline figures of CON 28%(nc), LAB 35%(-2), LDEM 8%(-1), UKIP 19%(+3). Meanwhile the weekly YouGov poll in the Sunday Times has topline figures of CON 30%, LAB 38%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 15%.

Opinium normally produce higher levels of UKIP support than other companies, but even by their standards the UKIP score is the highest since July. For YouGov the UKIP score is the highest since June, and follows on from a 14% yesterday. As ever, once can never be completely sure about the reasons behind poll movements (nor certain they aren’t just blips) but it’s tempting to link these figures with the recent prominence of Eastern European immigration in the news. This is a useful reminder of how public opinion can be a lot more complicated than “popular policy => more support”. The YouGov poll finds that the policies David Cameron has suggested on EU immigration (putting residency requirements and time limiting benefits for EU migrants and, deporting EU migrants sleeping rough) are very popular – all received over 80% support. However the short-term impact in the polls does not appear to be more Conservative support, but to push the immigration issue up the agenda and, therefore, increase support for UKIP.

Then again, shutting up about it probably may not have been much better either – the media were shouting about Romanian and Bulgarian immigration anyway, and will likely do so even more as January approaches, and would also have spent their time demanding Cameron did something. It’s not really as if Cameron could had kept it off the agenda if he’d wanted to – not doing anything at all could have been even better for UKIP!

Following the publication of the white paper on Scottish Independence I’m expecting some new Scottish polls measuring if there has been any impact on referendum voting intention. In the event there only seems to be one in the Sunday papers – a Progressive Scottish Opinion poll in the Scottish Mail on Sunday. They have YES on 27%(nc), NO on 56%(-3), Don’t know on 17%(+3). Changes are from their previous poll in September. Progressive are not BPC members, so we have limited information on what they do, but suffice to say the poll does not show a massive change from prior to the white paper. I’m hoping there will be more Scottish polling in the next week or two on the back of the white paper, so we shall see if it paints a consistent picture.

524 Responses to “Sunday YouGov and Opinium polls”

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  1. I keep reading about this Toby Rowland and thinking about Tiny Rowland, businessman extraordinaire and the colourful ex-Chairman of Lonrho. He was, somewhat bizarrely, also the Chairman of the Observer newspaper for a time in the 1980s.

    Do you think PC Toby Rowland is Tiny’s long lost son now, on behalf of his father, settling old scores with the Conservative Party?

    More seriously, if you were a Tory strategist, this latest development in the Plebgate affair is starting to look like one of those horrible political stories that just won’t go safely back into its box.

    Where is the Government’s Alistair Campbell???

  2. Couper,

    The Tax Cut was not a mistake as it was the right thing to do. Well partially right it should have gone back to the 40% that worked well for years.

    Anybody who knows the Tax system knows it was right, all the false politics and playing on most people’s ignorance should not hide the government should take the correct decisions for the country

    [Ahem – can we please stick to discussing public opinion on policies, rather than whether people here think they are any good or not. Different people will have different views that will inevitably lead to tiresome partisan back and forth – best agree to differ, and discuss what this site is actually supposed to be about – AW]

  3. Fraser,

    I think it is Labour who won’t want to mention health with Burnham still incredibly the spokesman on that.

    Gove is class, watch him in debate in the commons, it is a master at work. On Education Labour’s record is big spend without the results to match, Gove will be a big asset for the Tories in the run up to 2015, which is wide open.

  4. OldNat,

    I quite like our system of PR, because it let’s me vote for up to three different parties on the same day (local, list and constituency), which allows me to get around the fact that no single party has even the same general political philosophy as me, let alone agrees with me on all the key issues.

    As it happens, I’ve only ever voted for as many as two parties on the same day, but I’ve done that every time I’ve voted at Scottish general elections.

  5. Regardless of the merits of the tax cut economically, it has been a disaster politically.

  6. couper/nick

    ignore-ance is best.

  7. @couper2802

    I wish more people would then politics and this country would be better for it.

    I wouldn’t think twice if there were a role for me that had a decent income. I’m never going to be a candidate, and the other political jobs don’t seem to pay very much.

  8. I was going to press the ‘report’ button on IW’s posts (it would only be the second time ever) but thought they unintentionally spoke very well as they stood.

    Gosh, how wonderful it must be to be so certain of everything. All these voters watching parliament TV and marvelling at the amazing debating performances.

    I don’t think even most UKPR contributors do that (please reassure me that you don’t).

  9. @Postage

    Well, I agree with you in part. Rather scary, the activist thing at times, compelled to swear Black is White over and over again.

    But I disagree as to their power. No doubt they can have an effect, but this can be rather limited… The much-vaunted Libdem activism… Well take a look at their VI. And especially take a look at seats where they don’t benefit from a tactical vote.

    They threw the kitchen sink at Eastleigh and even then Ukip, without even a plugs, never mind a sink, nearly took it. If it hadn’t been such a quick election…

    Activism has real difficulties compensating for when a party screws up bad, which is precisely when you most want recall.

    In any event, the argument falls foul of the problem that if you rule out recall because of activist influence, then you would have to rule out elections too on the same basis, since activism features rather prominently there too.

  10. @ Pups,

    I wonder if his aim is a formal, time-limited, let us finish the job, continuation of the status quo.

    Literally everyone hates the status quo except for the tiny group of Clegg-esque Lib Dems, so that’s going to be hard to sell. ‘Course, if Mr. Nameless has his way in Sheffield Hallam it won’t be Nick’s problem for long…

    @ Ian,

    Gove will be a big asset for the Tories in the run up to 2015

    He’ll be a big asset for someone, certainly.

    @ Anthony et al,

    We know the big political impact of the omnishambles budget: a mass Tory defection to Ukip.

    Ashcroft’s detailed Ukip polling might be able to get at whether the disaffected Ukippers were put off by incompetence (pasty tax) or poshness/”They don’t care about people like me” (50 p tax rate and granny tax), but I’m not sure how we could separate the second two. (Plus there’s Anthony’s usual caveats about people’s inability to understand and accurately report the motivation behind their own voting intention.)

  11. @AW

    RE: 50p tax rate

    People tend to forget quite quickly that Brown / Darling put in the rate of 50p in 2009, and that for 12 years they had the 40p rate. It was one of several populist actions, and one which did little for the economy. Like the 10% allowance, all it did was increase the political divide, rather than improve lives.

  12. Howard

    I share IW’sabsolute feeling of certainty about the correctness of what I believe, not worth believing otherwise.

  13. @ Statgeek,

    That’s because Osborne repealed it so quickly, allowing all the bankers to defer their earnings to the next year so they wouldn’t be taxed. If your argument is New Labour should have raised it to 50 p back in 1997, then I certainly agree.

  14. Anyone know how much it costs to run a marginal constituency poll with a reliable pollster?

  15. The point about the top rate tax cut, was that it undermined the attempt to rid the Tories of prior perceptions about them, the attempt to detoxify.

    It also, as already said, undermined all in it together, Cameron had to stop using that phrase soon after. As a result, it undermined acceptance for the austerity measures. Even if people felt they were necessary, they could now also consider them implemented unfairly.

    On top of which, it allowed Miliband to develop his strong against weak, weak against strong narrative.

    And the memorable Image of challenging the caminetto to admit if they were benefiting from the tax cut.

    It also showed priorities. I mean, country’s in financial difficulties, and you wanna rush to cut tax for the rich? While futzing around with a pasty tax?? Pasties??!!!!!! Yes, that’ll save Britain…

    The tax thing is one of those gifts that kept giving. Especially as, here’s another thing, those in the middle have seen more of them pulled into the forty pence band.

    It is also reinforcing a narrative of looking after their own, when set alongside protecting the retiring boomers.

    But it was an omnishambles budget too, that didn’t help…

  16. Ian Wright
    “I think it is Labour who won’t want to mention health with Burnham still incredibly the spokesman on that.”

    What exactly is your problem with Burnham ? What has he ever done to deserve your scorn ?

  17. @ Aberdaberdoo,

    If you’re Dan Hodges you can run one for free, from the comfort of your bedroom.

  18. I must say I’m extremely bored with random posters suddenly turning up and slagging off Andy Burnham apropos of nothing.

    Is there some kind of rota somewhere that this site should be aware of?

  19. TOH
    Thanks for your reply but you didn’t need to bother for me – I’ve known that about you for ages. Hope you are keeping well BTW.
    All the best. H

  20. caminetto = cabinet

  21. @COUPER2802

    I agree with you about recall and the type of people likely to campaign for that recall. People vote in a GE for a MP for now the five year term that should not be overturned in a democracy.”


    Well, some on here have suggested two-yearly elections. I know there’s an argument that they don’t get to see a big plan through but they can always get a mandate to continue and anyway that’s what some of us worry about, the five year plan.

    If worried about activists there’s always the Jury service model…

  22. howard

    I am sure of very little – apart from me family, gurls and music [so much to play, so little time] – but especially in terms of politics and how the world would work best.

    I don’t understand why people in a coalition feel it essential to slag off opponents with such vitriol whilst at the same time saying that opposing parties can work together.

    Surely best [even if its an act for tactical/political purposes] to undermine Labour attacks by being polite and pleasant, even when disagreeing.

  23. “Gove is class, watch him in debate in the commons, it is a master at work. On Education Labour’s record is big spend without the results to match, Gove will be a big asset for the Tories in the run up to 2015, which is wide open.”

    Thanks for that Mr Right. I shall check him out asap ‘cos I’d [obviously incorrectly] always thought he was rubbish.

    En el otro mano I think Burnham will be a great asset for Labour, and then the country, in 2015.

    Lord Crofty of Barney

    [I did press the explode button but it seems who’s good and who’s not is legitimate “debate”.]

  24. howard

    “I was going to press the ‘report’ button on IW’s posts (it would only be the second time ever) ”

    Thought that was you, ya bugger.

  25. @TheOtherHoward

    “I share IW’sabsolute feeling of certainty about the correctness of what I believe, not worth believing otherwise.”

    That’s OK as long as you’re tolerant of different views and beliefs. If not, I fear what you say can be a slippery slope to fanaticism and bigotry.

  26. guymonde

    Am I being thick (again) 70% of kippers not from the tories o/w 10% from lab and 20% from didn’t. Where did the other 40% come from?

    It’s a bit confusing looking at the tables:

    to know which figures they mean, but if you look at the “Normal Weighted Table” you get the following percentages for the 2010 origin of the combined 126 UKIP voters:

    Con 30%

    Lab 13%

    Lib Dem 2%

    Other 37%

    Non-voter 21%

    ‘Other’ includes UKIP of course who did well (by their standards) in these two constituencies, and will include voters from Parties to the right of UKIP too. ‘Non-voters’ will probably include people who can’t remember how they voted last time and some of these may be those missing Lib Dems.

    UKIP seem to have a bit of an article of faith that they are attracting ex-non-voters in bulk. There will be some of course, but other polling suggests not many and I suspect even here it’s 10% or less with the balance being forgetters.

    If you look at “Normal Weighted Table and Likelihood Weighting” you get slightly different figures for the 135 UKIP voters[1]:

    Con 31%

    Lab 11%

    Lib Dem 3%

    Other 38%

    Non-voter 17%

    Which mainly illustrates that non-voters last time are less likely to vote this time and that Labour defectors to UKIP are more lightly attached.

    As you can see the sample sizes are pretty small and based on two disparate constituencies so it will only give us hints at best. Across the country I would expect to see more of UKIP’s vote to be ex-Tory and ex-Lib Dem, but it shows how it isn’t overwhelming from the Conservatives (and even what is won’t automatically go back at the first cry of ‘Look! Red Ed”).

    [1] Normally you should have fewer voters after applying LTV, but Survation then seem to weight everything back up again to the sample size used before. They also apply an ICM-style reallocation of Undecideds back to their Party last time.

  27. Oops! Forgot to put in the link to the Survation tables (in a comment that went to mod anyway). They are here:

    figures from pages 13 and 14.

  28. Interesting headlines on wind subsidies. In what looks like a bit of cobbled together deal, there seem to be relatively modest cuts to onshore rates, and a hefty increase in offshore support.

    Details not out yet, but there are some possible issues. If the 5% onshore cut is accurate, this probably won’t deter big developments – indeed, it could actually increase the pressure for larger schemes – but it is likely to prevent a significant number of small, perhaps single turbine community energy schemes. At this stage, there is no indication of a specific tariff for community schemes, so I can’t be certain, but the government is paying grants for development costs for such schemes, while possibly establishing the subsidy conditions that could dictate that these remain only as studies.

    This could be an example of what they call ‘joined up government’.

  29. Anthony

    I think I’m in a minority in thinking that the 45p tax cut didn’t actually do much short-term harm to the Conservatives in the omnishambles budget, and that it was actually the “granny tax” and the pasty stuff that did the damage.

    Well probably in a minority on UKPR, though possibly not among the media who seem to have taken the omnishambles line. You suspect they are unwilling to face the fact that a policy they promoted so vigorously caused such damage to the Party they (usually) support.

    Of course the “Party for the Posh” image problem existed before the Budget for the Conservatives and for Cameron and Osborne specifically, but as Couper pointed out that’s what made the cut in the top rate so damaging – it confirmed what people already thought and in the totemic area of headline tax rates. This was especially true for working-class social conservatives who were already suspicious of Cameron’s metropolitan elite-ness. If you forget IDS (and heaven knows they have tried) all recent Tory leaders have been from humbler backgrounds.

    Now these are the very people who have been defecting to UKIP and are responsible for the the drop in Conservative VI. That VI actually began falling before the 21 March Budget when the potential tax cut was being discussed, though the other omnishambles measures weren’t. Confirmation of the cut confirmed the movement and saw the unhappy voters begin to move to UKIP, starting their slow rise in the polls.

    Naturally the other measures and their coverage didn’t exactly help the Tories, but it would have been flash-in-the-pan stuff without the top rate tax cut to reinforce a story that people already half-believed.

  30. It’s clear (to me) that the top rate cut was the gamechanger not the other stuff. The pasty tax and granny tax didn’t cause the anger of a straight and massive gift to the richest at the same time as freezing public service pay, increasing pension contributions, raising state retirement age, capping welfare and limiting rises to 1% whatever inflation is etc etc

    It was a spectacular own goal. I remember a poll where people were asked whether they still thought higher rate cut should not be cut if they were shown that no more money was raised by the higher rate and a big majority STILL thought it should not be cut. So either they think it is symbolic or they just don’t believe the luffer curve stuff any more than I do.

    As AW says, hard to prove as there was so much other stuff going on. But it’s that tax cut that people will remember and Labour will be quick to remind people whenever other cuts are mentioned.

  31. If the top rate change was the game changer why did ukip vote start picking up then?

    it was the omnishambles element which did for the tories, and started to alienate a segment of their blimpish, bring-back national service, “we need the smack of firm government”, vote

  32. As people used to say you can heartless but you can’t be hopeless. the air of incompetence which clung round the tories was very damaging.

  33. “it was the omnishambles element which did for the tories, and started to alienate a segment of their blimpish, bring-back national service, “we need the smack of firm government”, vote”

    That’s that sorted then.

    Next topic??

  34. It seems appropriate that I should make my second venture into commenting on this site with a return to the same subject as the first time I commented; the dreaded 50p tax debate. You will forgive me, I hope, if I don’t bother repeating the list of citations regarding tax optimization and the laffer curve I left last time, but instead make two observations.

    1. Optimal tax rates are non-static, and it is exceedingly difficult to prove the relationship between tax rates and tax returns. A lot of people have tried. Wikipedia gives a decent (US centric) run down on it’s Laffer Curve page.

    There’s a fairly solid consensus that the optimal top-rate tax bracket is around 70%, making both 50% and 45% substantially below the optimal rate for returns.

    But enough people have disagreed about this over they years that, whether you agree or disagree, it is certainly not the case that the reduction to 45% was obviously good for the economy. This is an exceedingly complex area of economics.

    2. A lot of the debate, of course, is not about optimal returns but rather about social justice. A great many people dislike the 50% top tax rate because they consider paying half of your income in tax to be morally wrong. What interests me about this is not just that it is mathematically illiterate, but the way in which it is mathematically illiterate.

    We do not perceive numbers in a linear fashion. The difference between 45% and 50% is different than the difference between 82% and 87%. Part of this because we “anchor” to numbers that we have either heard before, or have some particular contextual significance. 50% has a powerful contextual relevance to do with notions of sharing (splitting half and half) and control (like majority and minority shareholders). For more on anchoring and non-linear perception of numbering you really need to go no further than Prospect theory and the work of people like Khaneman (sp., too lazy to check), and Thaler.

    To whit, the political debate surrounding optimum tax rates has little to do with the (very complex) economics of best returns and much more to do with the (also very compex) psychology of numbers and social debate about ownership. This is not trivial. Arguably, the feeling that a tax system is just can improve returns in itself (animal spirits etc.). It is also valid to design a system that satisfies people’s desire to be taxed less even if it incurs a greater social cost/increases their cost of living.

    But we shouldn’t kid ourselves that the debate is based upon an objective analysis of what provides the best returns to the state/best economic growth. It is much more to do with the dodgy importance we attach to particular numbers, and a general feeling of fairness (whether fairness is higher or lower taxes) that has a profound impact on how we make decisions.

  35. Interesting to note that Tories are also saying that the wind subsidy changes are directly linked to UKIP issues.

    I’m grown up enough to appreciate that all government decisions at some point have to make contact with political reality, but the sources being quoted tend to suggest that political expediency was a more significant driver that either energy or environmental policy, which is more worrying.


    Nice to hear from you. I must say i really don’t have a problem with 87 to 82 or 50 to 45. From what you are saying, most voters do.

    I believe that the number of people who understand percentages or fractions or who can translate from one to the other (even) are fewer than one might expect.

    It makes political debate about such matters rather pointless if the items discussed are not capable of being understood by those debating or those reading or listening to debates between others.

  37. Rosie and Daisie

    The certainty of some should come as no surprise. That certainty has been revealed in polling where the left of centre voters are always less certain than the right of centre voters and UKIP voters are even more certain than Con voters.

    That fact makes me wonder whether a test for oneself about how certain one is about various matters could prove where one will end up voting, even before one has considered the choices.

  38. Presumably I’m not the first person to attempt to quote Peter Bone this afternoon, given that my attempt to do so disappeared into moderation at the speed of light.

  39. Peter Crawford,I agree with your 4.31 post but I think you have the tense wrong.

  40. phil

    Don’t think you’re the first person to attempt to quote Peter Bone this afternoon, but all attempts to do so disappeared into moderation at the speed of light.


    I have done tests and found out that the further to the right you are the less advanced is your sense of humour and the more smiley boys you will need in any written “joke” [this is ‘cos you wouldn’t really be sure of, or why. its funny]

    If you can think of that well-known right wing “comic” ‘s name [can’t remember it meself] you will find clear proof.

  41. I can think of a couple of conservative comedians. Ned Sherrin director of That Was the Week that Was a TV programme that arguably brought down the Macmillan government. He was a high tory.

    Also Bob Monkhouse, who told this subtle joke against himself. “They laughed when I said I was going to be a comedian…They’re not laughing now.”

  42. @ T’Other Jim,

    There was also this:

    With rare exceptions cutting working-age benefits tends to be a vote winner for the Tories, but I suspect some threshold exists beyond which it all goes a bit Cathy Come Home and voters decide there’s a serious social problem the government should solve.

    Whether or not they’ve done enough to cross that threshold given the public’s baseline hostility to welfare is an open question, but get enough stories about malnourished children in the papers and we’re certainly going to find out, aren’t we?

    Plus, every day that goes by the election candle burns a little lower. The Murdoch titles are soon going to have to make a decision about whether to back Cameron. They’re obviously not going to back Miliband after he stood up to them, but if they decide to back Ukip or go NOTA these “Starving kiddies on Cameron’s watch!” stories are tailor-made for the Sun. The Mirror is already having a jolly time wallowing in IDS’s heartless incompetence, and why let a rival tabloid have all the fun?

  43. Er, the relevant point about the burning down of the election candle is that Tory vote share isn’t recovering and at present they look on course for a defeat, and with every day a recovery gets a little more difficult.

    Of course if they were going to win the Murdoch titles would be foursquare behind them. But historically they don’t back losing parties.

  44. I went to see Billy Bragg on Sunday.

    I am the milkman of human kindness
    I will leave an extra pint

  45. When it comes to tax and VI, it can be perfectly rational to support an increase in top rate even if it doesn’t raise any more money. Some tax avoidance is intended. We give allowances to people to invest in ways that would be useful. We may lose the direct tax, but still gain overall.

    Beyond that, it may not be all that easy for everyone to avoid the tax, which is why they clamour for reductions. Even for those in a position to do it, it’s hassle, it costs, it attracts stigma, it may leave you in a position of questionable legality. It’s like the argument over bonuses… Where people say they’ll just leave. But the truth is, many don’t want to leave London to live in a low-tax backwater…

    Of course, harder to raise money if you don’t close the loopholes. For those that do try and avoid, the idea is supposed to be that you close down the loopholes. Obviously they are more likely to get away with avoidance if you don’t do that as well. This is not an argument for less tax, but better enforcement. If you cut the inspectors as well, this is possibly not sending the right message…

    And take a look at the correlation between our growth rate and tax rate. And in America too…

  46. I am the milkman of human kindness

    The song is the worst earworm. Somehow its wheedling tones tunnel into your brain and lodge there, displacing all the better Billy Bragg songs you would rather have on mental autoplay for the next month…

  47. peter crawford

    If the top rate change was the game changer why did ukip vote start picking up then?

    it was the omnishambles element which did for the tories, and started to alienate a segment of their blimpish, bring-back national service, “we need the smack of firm government”, vote

    I’m presuming that you’re curious as to why the UKIP vote didn’t start to pick up straight away when the Conservative vote started to fall. In part it’s because the tax cut wasn’t confirmed till the actual Budget took place, but it’s also to do with how people change Party allegiances.

    People who do, don’t usually do so overnight. Instead they tend to shift into various ‘non-voter’ categories. They say they’re not sure who they want to vote for or they say that they are so disgusted with politics that they won’t vote at all. They may then go back to the Party they came from, perhaps after if does something they like, or they may, after a while, decide that another Party provides a better home. In some cases they may remain in this state of uncertainty till next they have to vote – and maybe even after.

    When considering UKIP, which will be a ‘new’ Party to many of these people, they may have been particularly reluctant to decide to commit, especially if they saw it as a single-issue Party about Europe. After the 2012 Budget UKIP’s VI only slowly rose from around 5% to around 8%, where it remained till towards the end of the year (when it started to rise again). Some voters may have switched to Labour first and only then to UKIP as immigration became an even-higher profile issue.

    Of course omnishambles didn’t help, but the actual tax changes such as on pasties and the ‘Granny Tax’ were actually pretty minor and governments are giving impression of incompetence all the time (and even if they’re not the media are saying they are).

  48. Check the polls…ukip started to creep up in march and got a spike in December, probably relating to the gay marriage.

    The U-turns were hugely damaging. omnishambles was a word which gained currency from that time.

    The incompetence is what started the ukip VI edging up.

    The whole idea of the tories is that they were tough but competent. Once they had blown the competence cover, they slid.

    The 50p rate was not that important, in my view.

  49. “The 50p rate was not that important, in my view.”

    And you are entitle to your view. Even though it’s wrong.

  50. Anyone done any analysis of the Murdoch influence on the last few elections? Would be interesting to see if their backing UKIP would have much of an effect, and if so what it’d be.

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