The first weekly YouGov/Sunday Times poll is out this morning here. Topline voting intention figures are CON 31%, LAB 40%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 14%. Nine points is a larger Labour lead than YouGov have shown so far this week, so normal caveats apply.

17% of people expect their financial situation to get better in the year ahead, 36% expect it to be much the same, 41% still expect it to get worse – a net “feel good factor” of minus 24. While other polls show people starting to think the economy as a whole is improving, they are still pessimistic about their own economic fortunes. That said, they are increasingly less pessimistic. This minus 24 is actually much less bad than most of YouGov’s polling over the last four years, only once last year did they show a less negative figure (-23 in September 2013).

Moving onto the specifics of spending cuts YouGov asked what areas people would like to see prioritised for cuts. As usual overseas aid came top by far (71% want to see it cut), followed by welfare benefits (37%), defence (20%) and local government (11%) – there is no other area that more than 10% of people actively want to see prioritised for cuts. On the other side of the equation, people most want to see the NHS (67%), education (54%), pensions (39%) and policing (33%) protected from cuts. For welfare in particular, 15% want to see it protected from cuts, but 37% want to see it prioritised for them.

Note how overseas aid is widely identified as something people want cut with few people wanting to protect it and, at the other end, many people want to see the NHS, education and policing protected with few wanting to see them cut. Welfare and defence are the two interesting battlegrounds as both have substantial numbers of people wanting them cut and wanting them protected.

Looking at specific potential benefit cuts, large majorities would support stopping immigrants from receiving benefits, even for lengthy periods of time. 76% would support a two year ban, 62% a five year ban. The is also solid support for the current benefit cap of £26,000 (supported by 76%) and 49% would support a lower cap of £15,000. A limit on child benefit so it is paid for only 2 children would be supported by 68%. People are least enthusiastic about stopping benefits for the under 25s – they would support an end to housing benefits for those under 25 by 49% to 34%, but a solid majority (59%) would oppose ending all benefits for under 25s.

On the state pension and the minimum wage, 65% of people support Cameron guaranteeing the triple lock for the state pension until 2020, 12% are opposed (as one might expect, there is a heavy age skew – 87% of over 60s support it, 46% of under 25s); 66% would support a substantial increase in the minimum wage, 19% of people would be opposed.

Moving onto the issue of immigration, 76% of people support David Cameron’s stated aim of reducing immigration to the “tens of thousands”, but the overwhelmingly majority (83%) of people think it is unlikely he will achieve it, only 9% think it is likely. When YouGov asked the same question two years ago 15% thought it was likely Cameron would hit his target, so while net immigration has fallen somewhat over recent years, its not registering with the public.

31% of people in England support free schools, 42% of people are opposed. Looking forward, 24% want to see free schools continue to open, 18% want to see them stopped, but those that already exist retained, 26% of people think current free schools should be brought under local authority control.

219 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 31, LAB 40, LD 9, UKIP 14”

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  1. Is it possible people have already made up their minds and polling could stay like this until the next election.UKIP have got to have improved their vote and the ABT or ABLD could be already set in stone.With a new set of policies from Labour this year it could deal the Coalition a vicious blow.

  2. “Note how overseas aid is widely identified as something people want cut with few people wanting to protect it and, at the other end, many people want to see the NHS, education and policing protected with few wanting to see them cut”

    I’m not surprised at this. We send aid to India and Brazil and both countries have larger economies than the UK.

    Now I understand per capita both India and Brazil are light years behind most western economies but sending hundred’s of millions to India and Pakistan who are both perusing an aggressive arms build up is in my view wrong.

    Maybe is some of the countries we send aid to spent less on arms then people back here might be more sympathetic to over seas aid.

    As for the NHS, education and policing , well all are being protected in Scotland so I have no issues with that.

  3. This idea of ‘protecting’ budgets is one I don’t really go for.

    I have seen at work the consequences of a protecting project budgets. What happens is that the ‘protected’ project is managed more inefficiently, because resource is there and there is poorer prioritisation.

    The idea of prioritisation vs value/benefit is lost when some things are protected and others aren’t.

    I know that in Government this is more complex and moving resources from health to policing is not something that can be easily done. But it can also be in areas such as capital investment, training investment etc that is cross-functional

    The word should be prioritised not protected

  4. “. People are least enthusiastic about stopping benefits for the under 25s – they would support an end to housing benefits for those under 25 by 49% to 34%, but a solid majority (59%) would oppose ending all benefits for under 25s”

    Again this is another daft ill thought out policy.

    I left School at 17 and then went to collage for two years after which I went into fulltime employment (5 years now) and if I was to lose my job (after paying NI for 5 years) I then would be told to take a hike if I wanted to claim benefits??

    If Cameron is serious about stopping benefits for the under 25’s then please exempt the ones in work from the tax system all together…

  5. The Truth that appears to be reflected in this survey is that if you are going to protect the 50%+ of the Benefit Budget paid to retired and you are not prepared to accept increased taxation of the rich (inclining the retired rich) then the only people left to target are the younger benefit recipients.

    If it is explained to individuals that the majority of these people aren’t the feckless wasters portrayed in the press ,but are actually in work but low paid or unable to work through infirmity and that 80% of their benefits in reality go to subsidising low wages or paying excessive rentals then IMHO the results would be different.

  6. Allan,
    I suspect you have some lovely art work as a result of your time in collage.Smiley thing.I agree with your post.

  7. Nine points is the largest lead this week, but it is the third to show Labour on 40 (alongside the Populus poll which also had Labour on 40). There have been two leads of 8 so it might indicate a shift from the 38%/5 or 6 point lead average seen in December.

  8. A lot of these answers are contradictory. People want welfare cut but not pensions, local government cut but not policing or schools (and they’ll probably be the first to complain when any local services are threatened). And overseas aid (a relatively trivial amount) can include all manner of things – even the pensions paid to former colonial officials.


    LOL I had plenty of time to do some fine art work at collage but it was more the digital sort rather than the traditional paint and brush.

    I should had taken an HNC on how to use the Galaxy S4, still can’t seem to delete pics appearing on my gallery app.

  10. Of course people generally vastly overestimate the amount of Govt spending that goes on overseas aid.

    Our newspapers have a fantastic chance here to educate the public. I cannot begin to imagine why they don’t seize that chance.

  11. Interestingly, the American public is equally ignorant of the facts of overseas aid spending.

  12. Housing benefit to landlords is a massive issue and nothing ever get mentioned in polls on this issue its always the victims.. the poor.. i think there should be a housing benefit cap on landlords especially in the south . Labour’s lead is solid even though the Tory press wont admit it :)

  13. Unusual cross break in Midlands/Wales showing substantial Con lead, offset by larger than usual Lab lead in London and smaller Con lead in South. Maybe suggests poll is an outlier ?

  14. Thanks Lefty that’s really quite astonishing – even more of a disconnect than the ones about proportion of immigrants or nature of welfare spending.
    Private Eye readers – even those who like me think aid is important and should be protected (OK BCROMBIE I agree, prioritised) – will be a touch queasy about dodgy dealings since the delivery mechanism was privatised.

  15. @Welsh Borderer

    With unusually high UKIP support in London of 17% (highest I have on my data from Nov’11. That’s up from a ten-poll average of 10%.

    The Midlands & Wales Con lead is akin to Sep’12 leads (one of which was definitely an outlier, with the other probably extreme MoE.

    Yes, the whole poll seems a bit out of sync with the others of this week.

  16. Germany cut their foreign aid budget this year according to Der Speigel, due to budget pressures, despite having little if any deficit.

    The UK increased theirs by a billion to get closer to the 0.7% target despite a £110 billion deficit. One of the few countries that have increased the budget. Though not a huge sum in the whole budget, it is a curious signal when cutting services that are crucial within the UK.

  17. Why is it that when the Tories talk more about issues with the UK’s EU membership, support for UKIP increases ?

    Surely it would make sense for the Tories to stop blaming the EU for UK problems and to steer the debate to more positive stories on UK companies doing very well. For example Jaguar Landrover have recorded record world sales. The government should be putting all their efforts into making sure current growth can be sustained. I am sure that this will help Tories polling, more than discussing the EU.

    Tories talking about the EU, just feeds back into people believing that they are so focused on one issue, that it stops them being an effective party of government. UKIP are the receptacle for votes of people who are fixated on the EU, so let them continue this and it may lead to flirting Tories coming back to the Tories.

  18. William Hill have Ed Miliband 8/13 to be next Prime Minister.

    unless there have been some huge bets backing Ed Miliband the bookies do believe he will do it

    Boris Johnson is the first Conservative at 12/1—Next-Prime-Minister.html

    like many here I am interested in policies and not myself interested in personality politics, but the public/electorate probably are when it comes to the vote

    opinion polls are probability snapshots which are really about predicting the future (elections) and the bookies’ business is based on probabilities

    I am a little surprised that a Conservative is not lower odds, e.g. because Cameron has to resign for health/scandal reasons or is ousted

    Conservative’s main strategy of making the next election a Presidential contest could be a big mistake

  19. Lefty,

    I do find figures like that quite interesting, because it shows that a lot of people aren’t really thinking their answers through.

    I’d like to see a poll conducted where people are presented with all areas of government spending, and have to allocate percentages according to how much they think is spent on each area until they hit 100%. I’d put money on the results being way off the mark.

    On the poll referenced in the main post, I suspect people don’t think of the police and education when they think of local government.

    “Local government” to a lot of people means lefty councils running non-violent direct action workshops for black lesbians who can’t speak English. They don’t think of that friendly PC Bob or Mrs. Jones the elderly primary school teacher.

  20. @ Rogermexico

    You’re normally the one I turn to to work these things out!

    There is a Mori poll about economic optimism etc which seems to have voting intention but I have not seen this released in that form.

    I Guess it is December data so maybe not that relevant but has weighted figures of: ( on about page 3)

    Lab 535 Con 422 LD 108 UKIP 160

    So maybe you can translate this into a proper opinion poll?

  21. Shevii,

    that works out as:

    Lab 43.7
    Con 34.4
    LD 8.8
    UKIP 13.1

    But we don’t have Nat, Green or other figures, so nobody get too excited. Squish all those figures down by about 10% or so, maybe. Looks bad for the LDs either way.

  22. @Stephen B:

    Housing Benefit is already capped, based on Local Housing Allowance levels, but restrictions tend to hit tenants rather than landlords. The amount being paid out is scandalous but the way to deal with it is to increase public housing provision – a cross-party policy before the late ’70s.

  23. Latest figures from the ONS on manufacturing showed no sign of any ‘recovery’ Neither did those on the construction industry.

    The alleged recovery seems to be largely in the minds of the coalition and those who support it. With Osborne promising a future of cuts and more cuts it’s very hard to see any future prospect of recovery either.

  24. Reginald Maudling,
    Thanks for the link,fascinating.

  25. Overall, the first week back gives some indications that Labour might have eased up a notch, but it isn’t completely clearcut.

    I would also say that the consumer optimism results are interesting. These mirror several other measures, which suggest sentiment is still pretty heavily negative in terms of households own prospects, but significantly less negative than a year ago. The really interesting point however, is that the improving sentiment appears to have gone slightly into reverse in the last 2-3 months.

    This trend has been picked up by several surveys, and while the slippage is tiny, it hasn’t stopped reporters claiming consumer confidence is rising. In fact, it has fallen back ever so slightly, and this slippage has coincided with the emergence recently of less positive industrial data as well.

  26. Shevii

    I saw the report of the British Future poll last night and thought “Well they won’t have the tables up till at least Monday”. So thanks for the heads-up.

    Assuming a similar 7% for Others as the average of this week’s YouGovs, I would make the Westminster VI figures out to be:

    Con 32%

    Lab 41%

    Lib Dem 8%

    UKIP 12%

    Other 7%

    At 41% the percentage of Don’t Knows, Won’t Votes, etc seems very high for an online poll (as this one is) so I’m not quite sure what MORI are doing with their weighting (though I assume as usual there won’t be any political corrections).

    They also asked about the euro-elections (see p 29). I reckon these work out as:

    Con 21%

    Lab 29%

    Lib Dem 6%

    UKIP 20%

    Green 6%

    SNP 2%

    Others 15%

    I’ve dropped the Others from 2009’s 17.7% to 15% due to the collapse of BNP. This time the participation looks a little high rather than low (the question rather plaintively includes the words “If you do get along to vote”) and of course there’s no likelihood to vote shown on either.

    Anthony will be quick to point out that the polls didn’t start getting anywhere accurate until a week before the election date, so we need to be careful, but I suspect that we won’t see a similar boost in UKIP’s ratings this time purely because they already have a much higher profile. Labour may also not suffer the drop they did, both because they are not in Government to be ‘sent a message'[1] and because the simultaneous local elections will be in more Labour areas rather than the Counties of last time.

    [1] Asked why they would be voting they the way they intend, 33% in this poll said as their main reason “To a send a message to other parties that I’m unhappy with the way Britain is being run”. Including 7% of Tories and 19% of Lib Dems, presumably unhappy with the other coalition partner.

  27. @ Lefty,

    Of course people generally vastly overestimate the amount of Govt spending that goes on overseas aid.

    I’ve often thought Labour could do themselves a favour by vowing to cap overseas aid at 0.7% of the budget, or whatever the miniscule figure actually is. Likewise with working age benefits.

    Just keep shouting the current percentages from the rooftops, and everyone will think you’re proposing massive cuts. ;)

  28. I expect UKIP’s turnout to be better than that of others for the Euros, pushing their actual share significantly higher.

  29. I’m sure most of you saw these numbers last year.

    I find this deeply depressing. It brings democratic decision making down to a level of ignorant prejudice and guesswork.

    On a similar topic, it’d be fascinating if pollsters asked “What percentage of immigrants/single mothers etc would YOU find acceptable in modern Britain. I wonder whether people’s acceptable limits would be far from the actual levels.

  30. statgeek (fpt)

    “To some extent, the training is like a driving licence. We don’t let novice drivers alone on the road without training, why take the risk with teachers?”

    My grandfather never had one, and drove all his 84 year old adult life, and never had a crash or points. Isn’t the ‘risk’ simply that not all qualified people make good teachers, and not all teachers need a qualification, if they can demonstrate the qualities that we would expect from good teachers (confidence, communication and so on)?

    Actually I bet he did have a driving licence, what you mean is that he never passed a test to get one, having started before 1934. But this is arguing by exception and along the lines of “My grandfather smoked 40 a day and lived to 85″[1]. In actual fact traffic accidents in the 1930s were horrendous – 7,305 died in 1930 compared to 1,754 in 2012[2], despite there being many, many fewer vehicles on the roads and them being slower. So it was decided to introduce something that would “demonstrate the qualities that we would expect” or a qualification as they are known.

    [1] This is true too.

    [2] Figures from


    @”0.7% of the budget, or whatever the miniscule figure actually is.”

    0.7% of GDP actually.

    This piece in the Guardian sets out the rationale for that target ( which we have only recently reached) -as well as the many controversies surrounding it’s definition & content..

    The article talks of the upset felt by some Tories over Aid, and this Poll certainly confirms a general antipathy towards it. across the political spectrum-though UKIP identifiers seem almost entirely in favour of cutting it.

    Whilst I think Greening has brought a more critical eye to where this money goes than her predecessor, there are still two things which rankle :-

    * Countries which seem not to need out taxpayers’ help.
    * The philosophy that is inherent in the YG Poll question-when times are hard-charity “begins at home”.

    The presence of the latter viewpoint in an otherwise charitably generous country was brought home to me the other day.
    A friend told me that his wife had written to DC saying if more cuts are needed they should include Overseas Aid out of fairness to our own population.
    I would have put this couple down as Conservative voters of “Silent ” middle class variety-so I was surprised at the strength of feeling from them on this issue .

  32. From Lefty’s link :-

    “The overestimation in the number of Muslims is staggering with the general public believing that 1 in 4 of UK residents are Muslim, and this is also the case for single parent families”

    It may be statistically staggering-but I don’t find it in the least surprising.

    Where do most people get their impressions of life in Britain from ( discounting their own area) ?

    The News-tv & papers.

    So they have underestimated the number of Christians & overestimated the number of Muslims-wonder how that correlates with the frequency of mention in news outlets of those two religions ?

  33. @Roger Mexico

    And the test was also suspended during the war. My mum had a licence obtained without a test and, despite never having driven, acted as the qualified driver while my dad taught himself to drive. He passed at the sixth attempt.

  34. Woman selected as Tory candidate for South-East Cambridgeshire after allegedly losing open primary.

    One more cynical than me would ask if David Cameron was going to be badgered into opening a police investigation.

  35. @Colin

    There is another way to view the 0.7 % GDP to overseas aid.

    “Charity begins at home”

    There is enough wealth in the UK to ensure that no-one lives without a decent home, warm, and good food. That is matter of how we address wealth’s distribution here. Decisions are made on issues such as taxation of incomes, businesses and the availability of housing. I think we could do that much better.

    Secondly, helping other parts of the world can reduce wars, famines and other things which drive immigration. Isn’t this something people say they want?

    Finally, stable, economically viable nations provide opportunities for UK exporters.

    Many reasons why 0.7% of GDP is a mighty good thing :)

  36. @Mr N

    “One more cynical than me would ask if David Cameron was going to be badgered into opening a police investigation”

    You naughty boy. Anyway, why do you think he’s got it in for badgers?

    There are two bizarre parts to this
    1 Counting ‘officers’ manage to get 23 votes out of a total of 132 wrong, in a poll with (I assume) 2 candidates. Incompetence on an epic scale!
    2 In an electorate of 82265 (Dec 2010) all of whom I understand are eligible to vote, only 132 did

  37. @Guymonde

    I really hope those people are not organising the GE ballot……

  38. mrnameless

    Woman selected as Tory candidate for South-East Cambridgeshire after allegedly losing open primary.

    Some interesting comments from Conservative members on the Cambridge News piece:

    Still I’m sure it will receive just the same level of media coverage as the Falkirk selection process and that Anthony will aready be planning the questions for the next Sunday Times.

    (I wondered if this might make the seat vulnerable to UKIP but they seem to stronger in the North and West of the County).

  39. I went along to the Bath open primary and was disappointed to find I was one of only a handful of non-party members present (they all had to hold their membership cards up at the end to confirm the selection). The first Tory open primary, in Totnes, was by postal ballots distributed to everyone on the electoral roll and over 16,000 voted. (Most interesting thing, I thought, was that they use AV.)

  40. So, a married couple under 25 years old with 2 kids… both parents work at the same company which then makes them redundant… and the Tories want to refuse them benefits.

    Where is this family supposed to live and how are they supposed to purchase food etc. to survive?

  41. My grandfather never had one, and drove all his 84 year old adult life,

    Nice to Know He was still driving at the age of 102!

  42. Apropos the UKPR discussion on Retailing, a couple of reports in today’s papers caught my eye.

    Britains fastest growing retailer is a company I have never heard of.-on-line fashion emporium Asos, saw sales rise 35% over Christmas.
    With 7m registered users , & annual sales of £1bn-it is now valued at £6bn.

    Analysts are talking of a tipping point having been reached in UK confidence in on-line shopping. Slicker logistics, delivery performance & the advent of click & collect has taken on-line mainstream.

    Nearly 20% of total retail non-food is now on line & growing in double digits. And UK is way ahead of the world -we rank number 1 in per capita on-line spend -ahead of Australia & twice the level of USA.

  43. I suspect logistics is behind a lot of that per-capita spend. We’re a smaller country than those two so delivery is quicker.

  44. @Colin
    There is another way to view the 0.7 % GDP to overseas aid.
    “Charity begins at home”

    -Another way to look at it would be to note that the entire Overseas aid budget is less than 1/10th of the INCREASE in the Wealth of the 1000 Richest people in the UK in the last 3 YEARS according to the Sunday Times Rich List.

    The increase in Wealth is the equivalent of the Entire English Health and UK Defence budget combined for a Year (You can throw in the Over seas aid budget as well)

    Kind of gets thing in perspective don’t you think?

  45. I’ve been asked how many constituencies include parts of the River Thames.

    Anyone got the answer?

  46. Old Nat

    The Answer is None you need an extension of the franchise to fish.

  47. old

    None in the actual river, that I know of.

  48. That’s the problem the Tories love to talk about cuts to benefits but there is very little to cut in reality. how can you make cuts when it cost a £1000 pound a month to live at present and living costs are going up ?

  49. @ Pups,

    Depends on how much flooding there is.

  50. STEVE

    Sure-was just commenting on perceived opinions.

    It isn’t everyone who thinks of all state spending in terms of its relationship to the wealth of others.

    Interestingly The Times List of top 100 UK philanthropists contains anyone giving 0.65% or more of their wealth away- The Top 30 give at least 2.66% of their wealth away.

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