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. I wouldn’t be surprised if the next majority government (assuming we have one) repeals the Act.

  2. Colin

    “Do you know anyone living within earshot of the metronome “thrum” of a group of large turbine blades -day & night ?”

    I’m tempted to say, “so what?”

    I spent the first 20 years of my life living 400m from a pit that worked 24 hours a day. Every night, the sir was full of shouts, klaxons, the clanging if shunted wagons and strange, metronomic thrumming.

    The only time I ever had trouble sleeping was for the first few weeks after the pit closed in 86. The silence was oppressive.

    Humans are remarkably resilient creatures. And, of course, we have to generate our power somewhere. I had my turn of living with the consequences, so you’ll forgive me for not shedding too many tears over someone else taking their turn.

  3. I grew up half a kilometer from the runway at East Midlands Airport and the M1 – when I was three, Concorde flew over my house. I slept like a log, and the only trouble I’ve ever had is when recording videos and accidentally capturing plane noise.

    As Lefty says, humans are adaptable, and even if the noise is objectionable a rather striking view may be some compensation.

    I was on the M1 the other day driving towards Rotherham, and went past a wind farm. Remarkably beautiful structures, I think – can’t understand the ‘spoiling the landscape’ objection. They’re surely no worse than pylons.

  4. Mr Nameless – it’s what happens in Germany where there are normally fixed term elections. In 2005 Schroder deliberately asked his MPs to abstain on a vote of confidence in order to precipitate an early election.

    There were legal challenges to this (the Federal court had previously ruled that it should be allowed and that early elections should only be allowed when the Chancellor had genuine difficulty passing legislation), but in the event the courts upheld the vote and allowed the early election.

  5. @ Lefty/Mr N

    Living on the Heathrow flightpath as I do I am subject to huge amounts of noise and air pollution from people complaining about planes that I rarely notice (now Concorde has gone).
    It actually all comes down to their precious house prices and the numpties haven’t worked out that if Heathrow closed (as they wish) and moved to Boris Island, all those multinationals based in W london would – over time – move East (nearer continental markets too) and – over time – W London or at least the outer fringes where I live would decline, and house prices with it!

  6. “It’s unfortunate timing for the government to have the EU elections this year and then 12 months later a GE – I’m sure we’ll see UKIP’s profile raised due to this, and it’ll probably stay quite well raised between the two. Not that the issues they are associated with are unknown in the media anyway.”

    -UKIP received around 20% in the 2009 Euros despite high profile migration issues this had dropped to around 3.5 %at the 2010 GE

    Continued high support between 2014-15 is of course possible but in terms of parliamentary seats it will probably convert into a big round 0.

    That’s the wonder of FPTP for a Third/Fourth party with no regional stronghold.



    “Do you know anyone living within earshot of the metronome “thrum” of a group of large turbine blades -day & night ?”

    I’m tempted to say, “so what?”


    Well quite. And can someone explain how the noise, air pollution, light pollution Alec was on about, plus potential pollution of the water, is somehow better than the metronomic thrum thing. Oh, and earthquakes and stuff like that…

  8. And all the traffic and need for water…

  9. On our debts: I don’t see how we (i.e. the Scots) can possibly hope to get into the EU without negotiations now. If the rUK is the country going to be paying UK sovereign debt, then they are most clearly going to be the successor state, and inherit all treaty powers.


    I agree with almost all of your points. I expected the Better Together campaign, being Labour-led, to make a nationalist out of me with their negativity and dirigisme. In fact, their main strategy has been to let the SNP talk, and it’s worked fairly well thus far.

  10. And the claim that Scotland would have joint control of the Pound has presumably now finally gone down the plughole, where it should have gone the second it was first put forward.

  11. RC

    @ Allan Christie

    “I reckon Luis Suarez will score more goals this season than the Lib/Dems will have MP’s after the 2015 election.”
    I reckon you should stop making taunting, partisan posts that add nothing to discussion of polling data.

    Just a suggestion

    Well I have him down on my football tracker to score 50 goals this season in all competitions so if anything I’m being partisan favourable to the Lib/Dems.

    Speaking of taunting and I’m not trying to taunt but I think the Lib/Dems could lose Taunton to the Tories. They only have a majority of 3993.

  12. @Carfew/Lefty L

    You describe one of the great imponderables of life in this country; how do you square the circle of trying to improve our infrastructure (housing, roads, railways, energy sources etc) by consent whilst avoiding almost perpetual impasse and stalemate. The quandary, and endless attempt to reconcile the irreconcilable, leads to the nonsense of taking 25 years to build a high speed railway line and thirty years discussing a by-pass. It’s a bit too trite to put it all down to nimbyism, but if we kowtow to every protest group, many of whom will be arguing from entirely self-interested and selfish viewpoints, then progress becomes utterly impossible.

    I’m not advocating a Chinese path to progress where the public wish is totally ignored, but if a broad consensus is arrived at in terms of what must be done, and that doesn’t equate to zero opposition by the way, then it must be done swiftly and single-mindedly. Otherwise every conflicting interest boxes each other into a standstill and weak-willed politicians, with maximum five year horizons, take the course of least resistance. In other words, they do nothing and hope it all disappears into the long grass.

    As a slightly mischievous thought, I’m always intrigued as to why it takes far less time to agree to plough a new road through a deprived urban area than it does through our affluent and leafy suburbs. HS2’s ultimate sin is its unavoidable route through the affluent heartlands of our green and pleasant land.

    We need some politicians with pairs of gonads and a clear vision on what needs to be done. Explain and consult by all means, but eventually get on and do it. Democracy does allow for our representatives to make difficult decisions on behalf of the greater good, even if they make enemies along the way. Unanimity is impossible on these matters and shouldn’t even be attempted.

    It’ll never happen of course and we’ll still be holding public inquiries into fracking sites circa 2050, I would imagine.

  13. He has a point. If instead of Suarez he’d said Walcott would score more goals this season, that might have been harder to take…

  14. Scotland will likely have to negotiate, but the mess from basically saying tens of thousands of people living in Scotland are no longer considered Scottish Citizens whilst the tens of thousands of people living across Europe are no longer considered EU citizens.

    Meanwhile on the pound, I have a pound in my pocket – it will always be a pound. They should go for a short term deal, but either Scotland can manage on the pound in the short term.

    I find it quite funny that people believe the BoE is prioritising any part of the UK other than London though. End of the day a move to a new currency will be a positive move to take more control over monetary policy. In the current system this is not even an option yet the negatives of remaining attached remain.

    Honestly both sides have pros and cons and I do like that the main negative seems to be the current state of Scotland prohibits it from leaving the union but somehow leaving the union will leave it worse off.

    Lots of noise over this debate. EU is important but the pound is a long term issue that will not change in the short term. The BoE is basing is not following targets anymore; Scotlands position is unlikely to seriously change its policy either independent or not.

    Problem I have with the EU argument is I feel as secure in membership voting yes as I do voting no!

  15. No populus today?

  16. shevii

    @ RC

    The most partisan bit about Allan Christie’s post was that, by my calculations, he was assuming Suarez gets about 4 goals against England :-)

    Could be worth putting a wee wager on that though!! ;-)


    @”can’t understand the ‘spoiling the landscape’ objection.”

    You should get out more then-uphill preferably.

    All of this has destroyed & fragmented sensistive ecosystems permanently.

    The concrete & steel & cables & ducting will stay there-permanently.

    And you are comparing this with a drill hole?

    Regarding operational impact, I think we need to see what regulatory regime is written for a fracking well . I certainly hope it’s an improvement on upland wind farm permissions-or I will be against it.

    With regard to water use-again until licences are issued I reserve judgement-and in the meantime take note of reports like this :-

    “Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin collected water use data from all 423 of the state’s power plants. They estimate that the water saved by switching from coal to natural gas is 25 to 50 times greater than the amount of water used in fracking to extract the shale gas in the first place. In 2011, the researchers estimate that Texas would have consumed an extra 32 billion gallons of water if all its natural gas-fired power plants were instead burning coal. ”

  18. @Crossbat

    Well Bevan’s solution to the problem of inertia due to potential self-interest was to stuff their mouths with gold…

  19. Chris –

    Populus is out. It’s:

    Lab 38 (-2); Cons 33 (=); LD 12 (+1); UKIP 9 (+1); Oth 7 (=)

  20. I believe that the best reserves of shale gas are thought to be located in the south east, an area which already suffers from water shortages.

    But, in addition, the advice of the Environment Agency that there was a risk of contamination of drinking water in East Sussex has been dismissed by gov’t.

    ‘.. across Sussex, 75% of drinking water comes from these underground supplies, raising fears of widespread contamination if the county’s huge shale gas reserve is exploited.

    “Just this week, the Government’s former chief scientific advisor said people’s fears about contaminated water from fracking were entirely rationale.”

  21. Furthermore, in the US, the long term promise of shale gas seems to have been hyped up in a bubble:

    ‘At a time when much of the world is looking with a mix of envy and excitement at the recent boom in USA unconventional gas from shale rock, when countries from China to Poland to France to the UK are beginning to launch their own ventures into unconventional shale gas extraction, hoping it is the cure for their energy woes, the US shale boom is revealing itself to have been a gigantic hyped confidence bubble that is already beginning to deflate. Carpe diem!’

  22. “Regarding operational impact, I think we need to see what regulatory regime is written for a fracking well . I certainly hope it’s an improvement on upland wind farm permissions-or I will be against it.”


    Given you’re unimpressed with the wind farm regime, why would you trust the fracking regime to be better?

    And some concrete and ducting is one thing, but surely the risks of water pollution etc. are another?

    Out of interest, what disturbs the habitat more? Left-over concrete foundations, or left over concrete-lined wells?…

  23. Alec

    It is not just Salmond who is pointing out that today’s announcement strengthens Scotland’s negotiating position in the event of a Yes vote, it is just about everyone else apart from Peston.

    Peston manages to cram so many elementary mistakes into one contribution that it makes one wonder about all of his other musings.

    There is no prospect of Scotland taking on the title of debt which it is now accepted legally belongs to the Treasury. Why should they? There is the possibility of Scotland agreeing to service the debt if the negotiations on assets are reasonable. Since servicing the debt is worth between £3.9 to £5.5 billion a year then that is by definition a powerful negotiating position.

    The interest rate on the stock of debt will by definition be the same and the Treasury would be in no position whatsoever to ask for a higher rate than they are paying on the debt to the markets.

    The coupon on new Scottish debt will depend on Scotland’s debt to GDP ratio and economic prospects. There are plenty of other countries in Europe who kept the triple A status that the UK lost. Finally the split of financial assets and liabilities has got nothing whatsoever to do with the division of natural resources which take place on a geographical basis.

    Peston sounds like he has been on the receiving end of a pretty panicky rearguard briefing from the Treasury in the face of the FT story but it is very sloppy journalism.

    Give Peston’s job to Norman Smith who seems to have a much better grasp of all of this.

  24. @ RC,

    May I gently suggest that you use our comments to practise coming to terms with a disappointing general election result, just in case? If you’re this upset by Allan’s mild joke I hate to think how you’ll cope on the night if things don’t go in your favour.

    Speaking of which, does anyone understand why the Lib Dems are being so sanguine about fracking? If I were them, my party political broadcast would heavily feature this Youtube video:

    “This is the fate the Tories have planned for your drinking water”, sort of thing. It seems like a perfect opportunity to leverage their green credentials and southern NIMBYism into retaining most of their seats, but we don’t hear a word from Clegg or Davey.

  25. SUE

    You touch on the Achilles Heel of the USA Shale Gas “bonanza”.

    Putting aside nods, winks & suggestions about bankers &
    Enron, there are more than enough credible reports of slim margins in the industry-including in the FT-to concede that this may be what constrains it-not the Eco Warriors.

    The stories seem to centre around short life wells with high levels of repeat investment needed to maintain production -and acceptable margins.
    The other story seems to be one very large deposit providing good returns, masking many more fields at the margin financially.

    We shall see-and I guess if the Industry is in fact a flawed business model, and , as has been suggested, UK deposits are deeper than in USA, the the Test Drilling Licences will pretty soon tell us whether its a runner here or not.

  26. Clacton is not on the Thames. It used to be about 400,000 years ago. But not now.

  27. Colin
    “Do you know anyone living within earshot of the metronome “thrum” of a group of large turbine blades -day & night ?”

    -Back as Young PC I lived in a Police Section House in Soho .

    It was right next to the Berwick street daily Market ( stalls with metal wheels out every morning at 4am and because it was in the Restaurant district the local authority had a daily bin collection at 3am!

    Added to that it was noisy the rest of the time owing to it’s proximity to all the Tourist attractions.

    Did’t prevent me sleeping.

    You get used to anything

  28. “It is not just Salmond who is pointing out that today’s announcement strengthens Scotland’s negotiating position in the event of a Yes vote”

    …What doesn’t strengthen the ‘Yes’ campaign in Salmond’s mind?

  29. @Crossbat11

    Delays and objections, even entirely selfish ones, have saved us from some potentially disastrous decisions, particularly in post-war planning when the fashion was for comprehensive development. A quick decision is rarely a good decision.

  30. @ Steve2,

    …What doesn’t strengthen the ‘Yes’ campaign in Salmond’s mind?

    Well, presumably a “No” vote. But I’m not counting even on that…

  31. STEVE

    I think the general background clammer you describe is different.

    I an talking about things like the rhythmic pulsed trailing edge noise ; and so called infrasound of air pressure pulsations, less than 20 Hz; not audible, but felt.

    There is plenty of opinion on this on-line.

    You can make your own mind up.

  32. Colin
    I would rather have a thrum than a bunch of bin men yelling abuse at each other every day at 3am in the morning while merrily scattering the contents of the refuse from the local tandoori in the general direction of the back of the **** wagon.

    But I am sure you’re right a thrumming blade must be cruel and unusual punishment.

  33. My noise was both heard and smelt!

  34. @ AW

    Any chance of you being a bit naughty with one of your questions next week? Specifically the Nick Clegg comment about looking at the polls which suggest “people want another coalition of some sort or another”.

    I’m not aware of any polls covering that topic unless you know different. Aside from the being naughty bit it would be quite interesting to know the answer as I don’t think the general population does want another coalition although most of us would probably put it as the second option to not having the party of our first choice.

  35. Colin

    You’re still struggling to convince me.

    The valley I grew up in prompted Walter Scott to say in the 1700s “the kingdom has no fairer sight to offer”.

    Most of the land was owned by absentee aristocracy, who didn’t give two hoots about the environment. They, and their partners planted 6 coal mines along 4 miles of the valley, with the associated spoil heaps and slum housing, and eventually, Europe’s biggest coke works and a power station. The entire valley was full of rhythmical and irregular noise, in addition to the permanent stench of sulphurous fumes from the coke works. When the land on which the coke works sat was reclaimed in the 1990s, by the civil engineering company I worked for at the time, we wore protective clothing of a similar standard to CBRN suits, such was the carcinogenic content.

    I think I’d cope with a bit of sub-20kHz infra sound.

  36. @Colin

    As so often, when it comes to the environment, we see the world through the same eyes … As you say, the US fracking story seems to be one very large deposit providing good returns, masking many more fields at the margin financially.

    My biggest concern is the diversion of investment away from proven and new renewable technology into tracking. The other is the push for geoengineering solutions like seeding the atmosphere/oceans … or the more fantasy, giant mirrors in space.

  37. Steve2 and Spearmint

    None of that alters the fact that today’s Treasury statement does indeed strengthen the negotiating position of Scotland following a YES vote.

    To make an argument the other way is so convoluted as to make trends in the gilts market look simple.

    The markets will be looking for signs of more agreement between both sides otherwise they will start to factor in the thought that the Rest of the UK could end up servicing the same level of debt with an economy 10 per cent smaller. That would be enough to make Danny Alexander swot up on economics.

    Salmond sounds reasonable on this and Westminster would be wise to recognise that.


    Though Scott wrote Ivanhoe in 1820 about Coninsbrough as it might have been in the 12th century.

    While checking the reference I found that Denaby Main was described as “The Worst Village in England” at the end of the 19th century.

    “…so repulsive that many who have never been near it will probably refuse to credit the story …[where]… nearly all the men, and most of the women, devote their high wages to betting, where religion is forgotten, home life is shattered where immorality and intemperance are rife, where wives are sold like cattle, and children are neglected”

    Blaming the victims of exploitation / the undeserving poor (delete according to political bias) for their condition has been going on for a long time!

  39. norbold

    “Clacton is not on the Thames. It used to be about 400,000 years ago. But not now.”

    … have they notified the correct department about their move though?

  40. L Hamilton, The rUK will presumably withhold assets to the value of Scotland’s calculated debt.

    You want assets, you take on equivalent debt. Simple.

    I fail to see how this “dramatically strengthens Scotland’s position”, to quote Salmond.

  41. LEFTY

    @”Most of the land was owned by absentee aristocracy, who didn’t give two hoots about the environment. They, and their partners planted 6 coal mines along 4 miles of the valley, with the associated spoil heaps and slum housing,”

    Just like the wind turbine industry then !

  42. How come no one is commenting on the new Populus Poll – how odd – I thought that’s what this site is really all about lol

  43. STEVE2

    “The rUK will presumably withhold assets to the value of Scotland’s calculated debt.”

    Should they do that, then Scotland will have no share of the debt. It will already have been paid in kind to rUK!

    I have seen nothing from the UK Government about their being willing to share out the assets as well as the debt.

    Sharing both assets and debts is the only sensible stance for both sides, and is the position that the Yes side has consistently maintained.

  44. OldNat

    My understanding is that the reason that Scott set Ivanhoe partly in Conisbrough was because he had seen the valley and castle whilst passing nearby in a stagecoach. It was that experience that prompted his eulogy, not an imagined idea of how it had been in the 12th century.

    Interestingly, as the industrial scars have begun to heal over the last 30 years since the pits closed, the valley is now returning to something like the state that Scott would have seen, albeit with several thousand additional people there compared to his time. When I was a kid, I only saw the filth and the industry. Nowadays, it is an achingly beautiful setting.

    As for Denaby, I was born and raised there. That description was a tad over the top, coming from self-righteous Christian missionary types. But only a tad; the place wasn’t a great deal better than that in the 1970s! But if it was a hard place, it was also one that bred bloody hard workers.

    Until the work vanished and the hard workers suddenly became the villainous scroungers who are to blame for the chronic unemoyment that has bedevilled the place ever since…

  45. Sine Nomine,

    It’s completely in line with most other recent polling, so all there is to say is ‘steady as she goes’.

    It’s times like these we devolve to the Indy Referendum, Tunnock’s Wafers and John Major’s loins.

  46. SUE D


    Do you happen to know ?:-

    In USA , as I understand it, if you own the land you own the gas-so a developer’s business plan has to contain a land purchase phase-with attendant funding.This may or may not be producing an asset price bubble, and there are serious commentators suggesting it lies behind continued output at low/non-existant margins.

    I have read that in UK developers will not buy the land-they will rent it -and that ownership of some extraction rights rests with the Crown.

    Do you know if there is this difference with USA-if there is in fact no land investment component to the business plan here-I see that as a plus:-
    as It reduces entry costs & removes land price bubble risks.
    Do you know anything of the situation in UK ?

  47. Oldnat

    Exactly right. What’s at stake for the rest of the UK is debt servicing of 3.9 – 5.5 billion a year from a Scottish Government which it is now accepted by all sides has no legal obligation to pay anything. There are few countries in the world with no debt to service and Scotland would be in surplus in 2016/17 with no debt servicing.

    That is why Salmond’s position of we’ll service the debt for a fair share of the assets is so strong and reasonable and why , of course, it is what will happen.

  48. norbold

    Clacton is not on the Thames. It used to be about 400,000 years ago. But not now.

    Well according to the Wiki on the Thames Estuary:

    The eastern boundary if as suggested in a Hydrological Survey of 1882-9 is a line drawn from North Foreland, Margate, Kent via the Kentish Knock lighthouse to Harwich in Essex. It is to here that the typical estuarine sandbanks extend

    So if you include all the land on the Thames Estuary as being on the Thames, it looks like it is.

  49. @RogerH – ““It is unlawful for fracking companies to drill under your home without your permission. Search your postcode and join the legal block today to protect your home and community from fracking.””

    My understanding is that this is nonsense. The Petroleum (Production) Act 1934 vests all rights to oil and gas reserves under land to the Crown.

  50. SUE

    Found it :-

    ie-the Taxpayer owns the gas in UK.

    It will be a different business model here-whether that will make it a more profitable one remains to be seen !

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