Sunday Polls

Today’s results for the Sunday Times are up online here. Topline figures are CON 32%, LAB 39%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 13%. On the leader good job/bad job ratings Cameron’s net score is minus 12 (up 3), Miliband’s is minus 38 (down 3), Nick Clegg’s is minus 58 (down 7). 75% now think Clegg is doing a bad job as Lib Dem leader, just 17% a good job. It represents Clegg’s worst score since last May.


The regular economic trackers are continuing to get better (or at least, less bad). 44% of people now think the government are managing the economy well, 48% badly – their best score since 2010. The feel good factor (the proportion thinking they’ll be better off in the next year minus those who think they’ll be worse off) has risen above minus 20 for the first time since the election.

YouGov also asked a question about what people’s reaction to Labour having a agenda that was criticised by big business (often pollsters ask questions which become out of date by the time they are published because of changing events. This one was the opposite, we asked it before Ed Balls announced 50p and got laid into by business interest groups, so for once events made it become more topical!). 45% think it would be bad for the economy if Labour won with policies that large businesses were unhappy with, only 18% think it would be good. On people’s own personal finances 29% think it would be bad, 15% good. (Note that it isn’t actually possible to tell if people think the policies that business is unhappy about would be bad for the economy, or just Labour winning per se. In hindsight it would have been good to have a split sample, with half getting a control question that just asked about a Labour government)

In a separate Survation poll in the Mail on Sunday, 60% of people supporting re-introducing the 50p top rate, roughly the same sort of proportion who opposed it being abolished in the first place.


Going back to the YouGov poll, on balance people are opposed to Britain accepting refugees from Syria, but not by a vast amount. 47% think we should not accept any, 39% think we should – considering how hostile polls often are on issues of immigration this is closer than one might have thought! Those people who support accepting Syrian refugees are actually rather generous in regard of the number we should accept. While politicians are discussing a few hundred, 40% of those who support accepting Syrian refugees think we should offer to take more than 1000.


Most of the rest of YouGov’s poll dealt with the Royal family and the gradual handover of the Queen’s duties to Charles. The public gradually seem to be coming round to the idea of the Queen cutting down on commitments, and to Charles’s future succession. While a majority of people would still oppose the Queen abdicating, 47% of people would now support her abdicating in the future if she were to become too ill to regularly carry out royal duties or appear in public. 46% of people would still prefer her to remain Queen for life, even if she handed over her duties to other family members. This is the first time YouGov have shown more people in favour than opposed to the Queen abdicating if she becomes too ill to continue work.

There is very widespread support for Charles taking over more of the Queen’s duties, 75% think it is a good idea, only 13% a bad idea. By 42% to 36% people would even support Charles taking over ALL the Queens current roles and responsibilities as Prince Regent, allowing the Queen to effectively retire.

Over the last decade YouGov have asked if people would prefer to see Charles succeed as monarch, or the crown skip a generation to William. Having seen a peak in favour of William after the royal wedding, the public now seen reconciled to Charles as King, with 53% now saying the crown should pass to him, only 31% saying it should skip a generation. It’s the first time this question has shown support for Charles as King rise over 50%. There has not been a similar increase in support for Camilla becoming Queen. Only 17% think she should have the title of Queen, a figure that has remained steady for the last six years.


There is also a new ICM poll on the Scottish referendum, conducted for Scotland on Sunday. Unlike most Scottish referendum polling, normally notable for its stability, this one actually shows a significant change! 37% say they would vote YES, up 5 points from ICM’s last Scottish poll in September, 44% say they would vote NO, down 5 points from September.

John Curtice already has a detailed trawl through the poll here and unlike me he has the luxury of having seen the tables. He picks up one particularly interesting thing: the swing since September is strongly concentrated amongst young people. Amongst over 45s there’s no change, amongst people aged 25-44 support for YES is up 6 points, amongst under 25s it’s up 33 points (!). That rings a few alarm bells, but as ever, one shouldn’t read too much into very small subsamples – it could mean ICM had a weird sample that gave them a weird results, or that they had a weird group of under 25s but the overall sample was fine, or that there genuinely is a big shift towards YES amongst younger voters. We shall see.

296 Responses to “Sunday Polls”

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  1. Does the ‘Latest Voting Intention’ chart on the right of pages only get updated when the Labour figures are not so good?

  2. AW
    I hope you will have the patience to ignore the post at 1.22 pm.

  3. @ Roger Mexico

    You state the obvious, at length.
    Yes,obviously Scotland could use sterling & obviously “the pressure will be to compromise and produce workable solutions.”

    “The position of Westminster MPs for Scottish constituencies once Scotland became independent” is equally obvious. Such arrangements will cease as representatives of a foreign state could not sit in the HOC!

    A YES vote would be the 4th factor making May 2015 probably the most complex of post-war elections.
    The other 3: dissolution of the Coalition; potential collapse Lib-Dem vote – transfer to Lab; potential surge in UKIP’s vote.

  4. JobBoy asks a good question about the 2015 elections if the Scots vote for Independence. In my view, the Scots should be banned from voting on any matter continuing after 2017 from the day after the result of the referendum. It won’t happen though.

    The chances are that the Scots will give themselves ridiculously generous severance terms, as has already happened in relation to the National Debt. Who caused the banking crisis in 2008? Not the Ciry of London.

    The English will get dumped on yet agin, no doubt.

  5. @Roger M

    It’s worth noting that, despite it being an ICM poll, there is no turnout filter of any kind. That is more important than hitherto because (a) turnout varies with age and with the widening of the franchise the 16-24 group is now quite significant in size and nearly as big as the 65+ group and (b) the margin in the poll narrowed with the inclusion of the squeeze question for undecided voters, who might reasonably be assumed to be less inclined to vote given their hesitancy.

  6. R and D
    One could perhaps look at Malta or Luxembourg for inspiration? the latter is the wealthiest of the EU fraternity and they don’t have oil. Malta has… sunshine?

  7. This is the second opinion poll in a row to have the LibDems under 10%. If this happens in the next poll, and perhaps the one after that, we will begin to think that the LibDems have taken a serious “hit” over their recent crisis regarding sexual behaviour. Tis may not be a big loss of votes, but it is a critical one because it places UKIP clearly as the third party.

  8. PS. @ AW provided a good summary of Irish history. But the comparison re Scotland is complicated by the fact that Eire did not become a fully independent state for many years.

  9. @ John Pilgrim

    Thanks for the link. Totally irrelevant but I knew Roy Anderson when he was a postgrad and I was a lowly undergrad.

  10. I see that almost two thirds (64%) of people in that poll believe that Scotland should “become primarily responsible for making decisions about taxation and welfare benefits in Scotland”, compared to 28% who do not.

    This might be a key finding. If the Westminster leaders were to offer devo max on a no vote, they win the referendum. Alternatively, if Yes Scotland capitalise on there being no devo max option, more people might be convinced to vote Yes.

    I got to thinking about the under 24s (small cross-break aside). What if the over 40s carried the referendum to stay in the UK, while a majority of the under 40s had voted to leave the UK?

    I doubt there would be much sympathy for pensioners for 20-30 years.


    “Does the ‘Latest Voting Intention’ chart on the right of pages only get updated when the Labour figures are not so good?”

    No update after a 3% lead, so that’s not it.

    Meanwhile, Chuka Umunna gives a brief statement as he takes the post of head of the Russian security services –

    (I saw FSB and thought of the wrong agency, so decided to share it)

  11. Phil Haines

    There is a turnout filter used on the Euro-election poll, but I assume you were referring to the referendum not having one. It is a little odd as everyone else seems to be using one, and if you look at YouGov’s last poll there was a substantial age gradiant (62 to 89) on ‘Absolutely certain to vote’:

    that said the higher the overall turnout, the less this will matter and it’s not so dramatic if you look at the gradient for LTV 8-10 (76 to 92).

  12. It’s looking rather ironic that there’s a good chance that the UK might be represented in the EU primarily by UKIP and the SNP, while the UK Westminster parties might be sidelined.

    I suppose there’s less chance of party political strategies falling from one to the other that way.

  13. RE: The FSB photo, I should have added that Cameron is also doing it. –

  14. @ Frederic Stansfield

    Given that the Lib Dems have been at 8% or 9% in YouGov Polls 8 times between 16 Dec and 16 Jan I’d say there is no significance whatsoever in two consecutive 9%s. They’re still in the same electoral hole they fell into quite some time ago.

    On a completely unrelated matter I note that the response of some in the Gay community to the latest in a seemingly endless succession of UKIP eccentrics has been to launch a campaign to put ‘It’s Raining Men’ by the Weather Girls (from 1981) back in the music charts. It’s at no.23 so far.

    This too is of no electoral significance whatsoever but at least it’s amusing.

  15. This idea of “two regulations out for one new one” seems barmy.

    What if all the old regs. are perfectly sensible or even essential?

    Is the end idea for every government dept to get down to just one regulation and what happens if the one left IS rubbish but you can’t get rid of it for a good new one ‘cos you’d need two olduns to do a swap?

  16. Can be only a matter of time before some LibDems come out in support.

  17. Regarding,the 50%,the argument for its abolition was that it did not raise much
    Money,so why all the appalled reaction if it is raised.,again.

  18. @NickP

    Thanks. Off message in spades. The tone of his comments took my breath away, given its source.

  19. Just need Littlejohn to say he is voting Labour.

  20. @statgeek – “UK might be represented in the EU primarily by UKIP and the SNP”

    Some people are making the prediction that SNP gets 3MEPs, which would make them the largest party in Scotland.

    SNP would need to take all six, and Labour would need to lose more than half of their 2009 MEPs across the UK (as it stands they look certain to make gains) for your statement to make sense.

  21. Of the 27 polls so far this year, 23 have put Labour on 37% to 40% (most: 8 on 40%). 24 have put the Tories on 30% to 33% (most: 10 on 32%).

  22. @Warren Morgan

    “Of the 27 polls so far this year, 23 have put Labour on 37% to 40% (most: 8 on 40%). 24 have put the Tories on 30% to 33% (most: 10 on 32%).”

    I don’t suppose you’d find anything much different in the 100 or so polls conducted before the end of 2013 either. The lack of any sort of appreciable movement is startling.


    Oborne says a lot that I disagree with and is a natural Tory at heart, but he is refreshingly maverick from time to time which marks him out from most political commentators, both left and right leaning. For example, while most of his compatriots were dissing Miliband’s conference speech about predatory capitalism a few years ago, he thought it the best speech of the Conference season, certainly in terms of content if not delivery.

    My rule of thumb about deciding whether a political commentator is interesting and worth reading or listening to is to ask myself this question. If I can safely predict what he or she may say about something or someone before the event has occurred, or the person has spoken, then I’m talking about a partisan hack. If I’m constantly surprised, irrespective of whether I agree with them or not, then I’m probably looking at a proper journalist. Now, if I read somebody relentlessly and implacably left wing, then I might be getting my prejudices pandered to, but I’m unlikely to be greatly enlightened by the experience. Ditto a right wing reader and writer. My only caveat is that there are far more right leaning commentators in both the print and broadcasting media so the danger of a political momoculture and group think is far more likely.

    Oborne is a proper journalist in my view, but I fear he’s in limited company.

  23. @Crossbat11

    Limited company agreed. There aren’t all that many political commentators I rate too highly. I find most of them quite intellectually lazy and they seem to view politics as more of a game, and focus obsessively on personality clashes and maneouvring rather than more profound philosophical clashes. The problem likely stems from the fact that most of them are drawn from similar backgrounds.

    I get rather annoyed at most of them, because to be in a position to influence the civic discourse of our nation is a very privileged position to find oneself in, and many of them treat it far too flippantly for my liking. The problem seems to be greatest with the relatively young ones, those in their 30s and 40s. Those I enjoy reading tend to be the older hacks, such as Oborne.

    One notable exception among the younger hacks however is Owen Jones. I can’t describe how much of a breath of fresh air I find him. I hope he turns out the vanguard of a new generation.


    @”One notable exception among the younger hacks however is Owen Jones. I can’t describe how much of a breath of fresh air I find him. .

    I can’t describe how much of breath of fresh air I find him either.Not on here anyway !

  25. I agree Peter Oborne is one of the better commentators ( or hacks?) on the Right, he’s especially good on the subject of the Middle East and Israel but there aren’t many like him.
    More typical are the likes of James Delingpole, Dan Hodges and Janet Daley ( and they write for the “quality” paper of the Right – let’s not even start on the tabloid hacks! )
    Worth reading for being so unintentionally hilarious! No wonder satire is virtually dead at the moment, Private Eye couldn’t parody the above mentioned.
    I honestly can’t think of any equivalents on the Left as bad as them.

  26. paul a

    To be fair they do provide a perfect balance of nastiness and deceit.

  27. Paul A,

    Seumas Milne is quite irritating, and Owen Jones can have his moments.

    And whoever it was who wrote that article claiming Movember was racist.

  28. @ Crossbat

    I don’t entirely agree with your recommendation of Obourne’s article as being a particularly good one.

    Yes of course I am delighted with his ‘moral’ views and he makes some valid points about which group of people has taken the brunt of the recession, but actually he doesn’t address the issue of a 50% tax rate itself and certainly not the criticisms that business leaders etc are making about it.

    I guess the two counter arguments (that I have heard) are that it doesn’t raise much, if any, additional money and that (in the case of the business leaders letter) that it is a disincentive to investment.

    I think a decent article would have worked through the issues of what money the 50p tax rate raised. Although personally I think it is difficult to quantify because those people affected by the tax held off bonuses etc in the expectation that this government would reverse the rate. Had they known the tax was in place for 10 years it might have made a difference.

    As far as the deterring of investment goes, this is becoming an increasingly irritating soundbite. I’m getting a bit fed up of people using this as an easy cliché when they don’t want something to happen. In this particular case (even more so than the energy companies) I’d rather like the business leaders to explain their reasoning. I can see corporation tax causing a rethink on investment, I can’t see why top employees paying more tax would de-incentify investment one little bit. As long as they can get the workers I can’t see why the decision makers would care at all what the rate of tax those workers are paying.

  29. @SHEVII (5.48)

    “As far as the deterring of investment goes, this is becoming an increasingly irritating soundbite. I’m getting a bit fed up of people using this as an easy cliché when they don’t want something to happen. ”

    Totally agree. I am very concerned at the ability of the right (politicians and business leaders) to make sweeping statements condemning Lab policies without the media ever questioning them as to whether the facts support the statement. IMO, the right has an excellent PR machine and unless Lab do something to get the facts into the media then they may have problems come 2015.

  30. “And whoever it was who wrote that article claiming Movember was racist.”


  31. AW:
    Thanks very much for the detail on the 1922 ‘Collins Treaty’.

    I think there were still the negotiations over whether there would be a nine county Ulster, as there always had been, or whether there ‘Catholic’ counties of Cavan, Donagal and Monaghan would be part of the Irish set up, rather than the UK Parliament. In addition there were talks about Fermanagh and Tyrone.
    Carson and Craig insisted on the Six County solution, rather than the Four County or Nine County solution, so the six counties in the North East of Ireland had seats in Westminster.
    Stormont continued until 1972, I think, when Ted Heath ‘betrayed’ his Unionist allies, thus helping him to be in second place in the Feb 28 1974 GE; the first one in which I voted.

  32. What complete twaddle. I thought Movember was an attempt to highlight the dangers of prostate cancer to men in a less serious manner.

    It seems there’s nothing that isn’t offensive these days. Who are these people? (Don’t bother)

  33. The next couple of week’s polls will be interesting…even if there is essentially “no change”.

    We now have some clear attack lines for the Government apart from Labour’s supposed “record”. Alongside that we have weekly reiterations like “worrying about immigration is not racist”, “benefit scroungers” and some musing about improved pensions.

    On the other side we have 50% tax and energy freeze being roundly attacked but so far stubbornly popular.

    It’s going to be the longest general election campaign ever, ain’t it?

    I think the race card and benefits and hard working families stuff will shore up the base but lose those Lib Dem shifters. It all looks fairly set in stone at the moment.

    i am expecting to see a slight Lab gain over the 50% tax and if the Government and allies in the media keep attacking it, that gain might get entrenched…even become more than slight.

    Playing Labour’s game now?


    Some people find racism everywhere -but I must say a prostate cancer awareness campaign strains at the limits & becomes a parody of itself.

    And they call that stuff “journalism”

  35. @Nick P
    I agree re the importance of the next couple of polls. Tonight’s will I think be the first with fieldwork since the 50p rate proposal and it’ll be harder to automatically dismiss any movement up or down as m.o.e.

  36. Phil – no, Populus today would have also have had fieldwork “post-50p”.

    Should be ComRes and YouGov tonight.

  37. Interesting comment in the Times.

    As president Kennedy observed to Americans in 1962′ “it is a paradoxical truth, that the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long term, is to cut the rates now”.

    It’s common sense really, it discourages tax avoidance, as it becomes not worth the bother, from those already here and it encourages new entrepreneurs to come and set up business in the country, creating more jobs.
    Thatcher learnt it, Obama knows it, Holland is getting the message eventually and Labour knew it in 1997′ but seems to have forgot ton it, much to the chagrin of the people who made Labour electable in those days.

  38. MS describes tonights ComRes as “sensational”.

  39. Robert Newark

    As president Kennedy observed to Americans in 1962? “it is a paradoxical truth, that the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long term, is to cut the rates now”.
    It’s common sense really…

    Except when it’s VAT?

  40. Who is MS?

  41. @Peter Bell – ” …sweeping statements condemning Lab policies without the media ever questioning them”

    In a belated attempt at balance the Beeb had Mike Smithson patiently explain polling data about the popularity of the 50% tax band to Martha Kearney on [email protected] today. She was curiously muted after that and gave Chuka Umunna a reasonable hearing.

    My favourite moment was when she bellowed at Ed Balls “No one believes you! You’re doing worse in the polls than at the election!”… at a time when Labour had enjoyed a 10% lead for the best part of a year.

  42. Mike Smithson?

    New thread to speculate about the 10 o clock poll…

  43. Paul A,R&D,
    Hodges was writing in the Mail today.Now is that a promotion or demotion?

  44. Ann

    It’s finding a home.

  45. Statgeek and MrN

    Thanks for drawing that guff on Movember to my attention, as l let slip on here a while back l have Prostate cancer and only survived it,so far at least, thanks to a sports injury related visit to my GP and reading a poster in the waiting room advising that all men over 50 could ask for a PSA test; l had virtually no symptoms ,other than needing to go for a pee in the middle of the night, which l put down to getting older. Anything that gets men to take a bit of notice has got to be good. Prostate cancer kills around 10,000 men a year in the U.K., which is a similar mortality rate to Breast cancer, which is ,rightly , screened for.

    To go back to the article slightly, Prostate cancer itself could be said to be racist ,in that it kills more men from the African Carribean community than any other . Politically correct it ain’t.

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