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reaction to Labour having a agenda that was criticised by big business (often pollsters ask questions which become out of date by the time they are published because of changing events.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. If only that Scottish poll was right.. I mean, if only the Young in Scotland do really have the ambition and drive to want their country to be an Independent nation!

    So many young today – and who can blame them! – seem bereft of any kind of ambition or idealism.

  2. BCrombie

    “So you think you shouldn’t pay any tax at all then? Does that 5p make that much difference?”

    Where did you get that from? I certainly never said anything like that. Try reading my posts again. As it happens i have been long retired and do not pay tax at 45%, only 40%. I was talking about when i was working in the 70’s and early 80’s.

  3. Yippee Another Chance to have a Post in permanent moderation!

    On the Off Chance it does get through would be nice to see if there has been some polling data out on Balls tax proposal. I believe there might be some.

    When Osborne cut the rate to 45p I seem to recall a poll saying around 80% thought that was a bad idea.

    Regarding the Scottish Poll I suspect in common with most Young People those in Scotland wish to maintain freedom of movement for themselves and I am not sure that becoming a Smaller Nation actually is consistent with that.

    However, as I live South of the Border I don’t get a vote.

    Interesting polling today on Sky News indicating that Scottish independence is more popular in the rUK than it is in Scotland,Perhaps the SNP should have campaigned for the Franchise to be extended throughout the UK after all we didn’t get to vote on the Act of Union perhaps we should on it’s potential dissolution.

  4. TOH

    It was linked to the ‘I earned every penny of it’ suggesting that no taxation was justified.

    I don’t see though how a 45% to 50% rise suddenly means the end of any incentive to earn and will lead to all business closing down.

    I do appreciate that the last paragraph is not really your view

  5. So if the Yes for an independent Scotland lose this referendum when the next referendum comes along they might win easily (more than one referendum on an issue ? Of course- consider the EU). Once it is acceptable to have referendum on such a topic then the issue is never closed…

    On another topic

    has an interesting analysis on religion and voting tendency.

  6. I would hesitate before questioning the “gold standard”. ICM have a great track record. We can be reasonably sure that something is stirring in Scotland.

    3 things occur.

    Watching Sky News then Salmond looks more relaxed and confident than Darling and certainly more personable. If that is the position when No are in front then what will it be like if Yes keeps closing the gap? Is Darling the right guy to be up front? Big question and real problem for the No camp.

    How would Cameron be seen if he “loses Scotland” and hasn’t even been bothered to debate? A blow to prestige and reputation that would finish him totally.

    Lastly the Yes campaign have at least a framework and platform in the White Paper. The No campaign have nothing hence the negativity and Darling’s total inability to articulate a positive vision even when pressed by Murnaghan.

  7. Before the Saltires wave too much, it has to pointed out that Curtice also says:

    Amongst those aged 16-24 [support for independence] has jumped from 24% to 57%. … Here we should note that the younger the voter the more difficult they are to get to participate in a poll (even when, as in this case, the poll is conducted online). In this instance ICM were only able to interview half as many 16-24 year olds as they wanted to. Although this deficit has been overcome by upweighting every 16-24 year old in the poll so that they count as two persons rather than one, it means the poll’s estimate of how this group will behave is based on a particularly small sample and thus can be very volatile – as appears to be true in this instance.

    Indeed, we might note that if we compare the raw unweighted data in this poll with that in ICM’s previous poll we find that, at 34%, the proportion of Yes voters is exactly the same.

    So this may just be due to the usual problem with Da Yoof which we’ve seen distort so many YouGov polls in the past and ICM have less experience and a smaller panel than YouGov has. In previous polls we’ve seen the under-25s to be, if anything, more against independence than their immediate elders, so while movement is possible, we should be cautious before considering this to be more than a blip.

  8. bcrombie

    You misunderstood my comment , I have no objection to paying tax at 40% and when I worked I had no objection to paying tax but I did object to paying tax at above 60%, not unreasonably in my opinion.

  9. L Hamilton

    “A blow to prestige and reputation that would finish him totally”

    Why, the last polling I saw on English voters attitude to Scotland was that a majority wanted Scotland gone. I may be wrong on that perhaps AW can comment.

  10. l hamilton

    I would hesitate before questioning the “gold standard”. ICM have a great track record. We can be reasonably sure that something is stirring in Scotland.

    ICM certainly have a long record, though I’m not really sure about being a ‘gold standard’ – you’re only ever really as good as your last poll. But in any case that reputation is built on phone polls and this is an online one.

  11. Lord O’Donnell, who stepped down as Cabinet Secretary last year, said figures from the independent Office for Budget Responsibility show 48 per cent would be ‘revenue-maximising’.

  12. @ Graham (last thread)

    “I do not recall the same hysteria from rich businessmen and the media when Thatcher kept the top rate at 60% from 1979 – 1988.”



    So many crocodile tears and even toys being thrown out of the pram this morning! What happened to the mantra of ‘all in it together’ and ‘those when the broadest shoulders’ when dealing with economic problems of this country.

  13. Roger Mexico

    Yes but this is the ICM gold standard not some micky mouse survey.

    Like any poll it will be subject to all sorts of caveats but the Curtice overall analysis is that this is the “best poll ever” for YES.

    I think the No side have problems – particularly with their leadership.

    It is going to be an interesting few months.

  14. Young people will get more engaged with the debate the closer the poll looms I suspect. The older voters will have engaged with it for many years now.

    Does anyone know what the SNP were getting from that demographic (well minus the 16/17 year olds) at the 2011 election?

  15. @AW (FPT)

    “High taxes on the rich are popular on the face of it… but they bring a risk of looking anti-business or “old-school socialist” (obviously a plus for some people!). On the other hand, they might also create an image of being more in touch with ordinary people, ready to take on the rich to stand up for the little man.”

    Since political debate can accommodate only so many themes, you also need to consider the implications of what might dominate political debate if it’s not this. The Conservatives won’t want voters to focus on issues of fairness or who should contribute most to cutting the deficit. Much better for them to try and focus debate on “welfare scroungers”, immigration, standing up to the EU and the like, with the qualification that the latter two themes do emphasise UKIP’s agenda as well.

    I’m of the impression that Miliband (rightly, in my view) considers that a focus on the scale of inequality and the highest salaries and wealth is a vote winner, sufficiently so to override any disbenefits from a charge of being anti-business that he’ll do his best to dispel anyway. I think that Labour’s polling strength in the wake of the 2012 budget tends to bear this out.

    It can surely do Labour’s core vote no good that C2DEs currently consider that the statement “It seems to chop and change all the time: you can never be quite sure what it stands for” still applies just as much to Labour as to the Conservatives or Lib Dems. And ABC1s consider that it applies more to Lab than the Conservatives.

    If Labour’s VI over the next few polls varies in the range 36%-38%, I might have to revise those opinions. But I think we could see a few more 40%s or possibly even above.

  16. *with

    Dam-it! I’m sure I typed with. ;-)

  17. Interesting that Balls also raised the mansion tax again in his Marr interview. Another policy that will appeal to disaffected Lib Dems, amongst others.

    And Balls seems to now be making a more concerted attempt to counter the Conservative mantra on Labour’s record in government.

  18. Business thinking Lab policies are good bad for the economy is a very poor question – leading to a poor interpretation – as a lot of people would think it makes no difference so the should have been bad for the economy yes/no/don’t know

  19. I’m becoming increasingly intrigued, although not obsessed I hope, by this continuing lack or correlation between government approval ratings/responses to sub-questions (nearly always centre-right inclined)/leader’s personal ratings and the voting intention ratings. There has been a slow narrowing of the Labour lead, and some churn amongst the smaller parties, but the two major parties have resided within pretty narrow bands of support for almost two years now, irrespective of political and economic events (Labour 37-40%, Tories 30-34%). There is something going on here that many of us are missing, and let me share my hunch as to what that is.

    Firstly, let’s remove some of the distracting noise. This may be controversial, and even irritating to those who like what it says, but I think a lot of the opinion polling sub-data produces a shoal of red herrings. Some of the questions are tendentious, bordering on leading or loaded, and don’t really touch on subjects of importance to people, thereby eliciting prompted responses on issues where no strong opinions exist. I suspect that business leaders attitudes to a Labour Government is one such issue, but there are many others where the data produced garners undeserved headlines. It leads to blind alleys.

    Then there are the government approval and leader’s personal ratings. Think about them a bit. They tend to follow party affiliation and loyalty lines and still remain, for the government and all three party leaders, firmly in negative territory. Degrees of negativity are still negativity when all is said and done and I don’t think we should be surprised that voting intentions are untouched by them. In football terms, we’re looking at a relegation battle here, not a race for the Championship title. We don’t think much of the Government and we don’t really think any of the party leaders are up to much. Hey ho and away we go and the caravan moves on.

    So, to my hunch. I think we need to go back all the way to May 2015. The Tories were denied a clear popular mandate in extraordinarily propitious political circumstances for Her Majesty’s Opposition. The electorate wanted to boot Labour out but weren’t much keen about the prospect of the Conservatives replacing them and, to me, this says much about the structural nature of the Tory vote and the extent of its potential reach. Hence my analogy about positive political and economic news continuing to push at limp string in terms of boosting the Tory VI. Maybe, just maybe, the potential just isn’t there and there is an ingrained reluctance amongst much of the electorate to ever countenance voting Conservative. There is certainly polling evidence that suggests this to be the case and it is why there is so much traction to be gained by their opponents in painting the Conservatives into this image of being representative only of a wealthy elite, living lives completely apart from the vast majority of the people they govern. Fair or unfair, you decide, but that’s the conversation I hear on the street and the pubs. It sticks to them like toxic glue.

    Let me come clean a little here too. The way the economy is now developing leads me to think that, in normal political circumstances, the incumbent government should be a shoo-in in May 2015, especially running against an opposition party that had been in government for 13 years and was ejected comprehensively only four years ago. Throw in the fact that the Opposition Leader is held in low esteem, and the electoral alchemy looks very favourable. And yet, and yet, as they say. Look at the polls and look at them very closely. There is no Tory surge in evidence at all and we shortly head into by-elections and Euro/Locals where the expectation is that they’re going to get monstered again. Negative headlines, morale shattered and foot soldiers culled. UKIP lies smirking in the shadows too.

    When is the key question going to be asked and then answered. Why on earth aren’t the Tories doing better?

  20. The more polls I see with a labour lead but a widening gap between DC and EM the more I think people use opinion polls to sting the Tories into doing something on the single issues Milliband keeps picking. I think the danger for Labour is they become seen as a good opposition picking out little issues here and there that the Government mostly seem willing to take action on but less preferred to takeover the running of the whole country. People by now must be savvy that when a pollster rings up/etc they can say labour and maybe get some action out of the government on a single issue but will they do the same at the ballot box??

  21. The debate from the last thread carries over in places, and the question raised in the latest polling – what (would be) people’s reaction to Labour having a agenda that was criticised by big business – casts an interesting light on that debate, I think.

    45% thought it would have a bad effect, only 18% good. 29% thought it could affect their own finances badly, only 15% well. Isn’t that just a little bit of an eye-opener when the VI figures in the same poll are Conservative 32%, Labour 39%? In the same poll, Cameron’s ratings are up and Miliband’s are down, and approval of the government’s handling of the economy picks up on the back of the optimism (on the government’s own part) that things are getting better.

    Labour’s (what I think is) 38% remains untouched, therefore. Two issues, it seems to me (rejection of the ‘nasty party’ as such, and the ‘those who are in a position to take advantage have been taking advantage big time’ mode of thinking) are punching above their weight – i.e. they are enduring issues for the Labour 38% – and this has been going on throughout the parliament.

    I think that shows a rejection (by the 38%) of the philosophy first applied in UK politics by Mrs T. I think it shows that at least the 38% feel that discarding her neo-liberalism is of greater importance than the debate about whether the economy is really improving or not; and that re-establishing social – as opposed to socialist – thinking is the most important first move that a society seeking recovery must make. I think it shows that the 38% look on Mrs T’s philosophy as the true cause of the crash that was – and of the crash that many think is soon to follow it.

    Against all of the above, people argue here that, if middle class incomes pick up, the numbers will swing back. But how many middle class are among the Don’t Knows or the Won’t Votes? And how many of those that are UKIP will be turned from their quite distinctive UKIP mindset on the back of a small fillip in their incomes?

  22. I’m not sure that many people will regard a 50% rate on incomes above £150,000 as an excessive level of taxation. Even the majority of AB types aren’t going to be affected by it. I agree that perceptions may be more important but doubt it’ll have much effect by the time of the next election. Smart of Labour to get it out of the way early, IMO.


    Janan Ganesh on SP this morning described Ball’s 50p announcement as another example of the “35% strategy”.

    I prefer your interpretation-a “40%” strategy which stuffs Cons completely.

    ie-Core vote comfort & Hug the LibDem defectors tight ( without whom Labour would nearer 30% than 40% )

  24. Nostra

    Agree completely.

    Colin Davies

    disagree completely.

  25. A question based around “Labour having a agenda that was criticised by big business” seems so vague as to make any responses almost meaningless.

  26. Odd that in the monarchy question set there was no analysis as to whether the respondents were republicans.

  27. @Colin Davies

    That is my motivation to vote Lab and I would pay the 50pc tax and would be happy to for public services and a fairer society. I think we have gone too far to the right as a country and we need a ‘rebalancing’

  28. Colin

    On principle I ignore anything Ganesh says

    He is one of the worst examples of metropolitan smugness that I have ever seen – convinced of his own smartness and he would be able to see it if there wasn’t an absence of light in the place where his head spends so much time!

  29. Chordata – “Lord O’Donnell, who stepped down as Cabinet Secretary last year, said figures from the independent Office for Budget Responsibility show 48 per cent would be ‘revenue-maximising’.”

    The Office for Budget Responsibility is as independent as Conservative Central Office, and “This Is Money” is a branch of the Daily Mail. Nothing to see here to suggest that the OBR and DM have suddenly disproved the large amount of data suggesting the revenue-maximising tax rate to be much higher.

    What’s more, what is revenue-maximising is not necessarily what is in the moral and social interests of society.

  30. Colin Daies

    I actually think that IDS is doing more to improve the future for those at the bottom of Society than anyone since 1945. He is working really hard to get people out of the poverty trap and onto the first rung of the ladder to a better life. Not recoignised by most yet but if he has the chance to finish his work I think he will go down as one of the great reformers.


    @”On principle I ignore anything Ganesh says”

    Jolly good.

  32. Based on the polling, bringing back the 50p tax rate seems more like a 60% strategy.

    Also an interesting intervention from the Lib Dems, who used to argue that the top rate of tax should stay at 50p until a mansion tax was brought in but who have apparently changed their minds. If I were Danny Alexander I don’t think I’d be quite so keen to get my party on the unpopular side of this issue… but then I suppose he’ll be looking for a job in a bank a year from now, so his future employer’s good opinion may mean more to him than his current constituents’.

  33. TOH

    Agree completely on IDS.

  34. “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.”

    Well regardless of what the polls say the referendum is going to be very close, even closer than this poll suggests.

    Labour have won by-election after by-election and they attribute their success as some sort of wish list with people voting against independence.

    Labour tanked the SNP in Cowdenbeath .and as I now have found out thanks to OLDNAT the 11,400 people the SNP were Canvassing in the constituency was taken by a variety of measures giving a more accurate indication how people will vote in that area in September.

    Think it was 43% Yes and 28% undecided.

    Just a wee quirky note, Yesterday when I was driving down to visit relatives I was behind a range rover with a Yes Scotland sticker on the back window coming off the M4 junction at Winnersh (my hame toon). Word is getting about…

  35. Remember those 35 signatories from Big Business supporting Osborne’s spending cuts in 2010?

    I wonder what Marks and Spencers, Boots, Mothercare, Ocado, Next and even Harvey Nichols think about it now?

    I mention it because we have seen this before and it coincided with a massive switch of Lib-Dem voters to Lab. Yes, all the “opinion formers” and talking heads will line up behind the Tories but do they really think that the support of banks, energy companies, pension companies etc will help?

    Being “anti big business” is going to work in Lab’s favour, I suspect.

  36. Chris Martin

    It would be interesting to see the workings behind this 48% figure – from what I can see it is mainly based on such significant extrapolations of people’s behaviour and it is probably subject to much error…..


    It doesn’t surprise me that is your view on IDS – I have another. There will always be a poverty trap and need for social security whilst we do not have full employment.

    As far as I know the Tories are against any notion of full employment as it reduces competitively. How can everyone move of social security payments when there are no jobs for them – real jobs not just free labour for Poundland!

    At least Labour, in the past, was a proponent of full employment so their position on it was logical if flawed in other areas.


    What do you mean by “Full Employment” ?

    Do you mean everyone employed & no one unemployed, at any time ?

  38. @Spearmint

    “Based on the polling, bringing back the 50p tax rate seems more like a 60% strategy.”

    Yes, I can’t imagine why Colin thinks anything else. Even a large chunk of Conservatives support it.

  39. Colin

    Yes it is jolly good because I have never heard or seen an insightful comment from him just a rehashing of the same old same old

    You can be impressed by him if you want but I see better comments on here than in his writings

    Unfortunately, he and his identikit pals (whether Labour or Tory) are there like the three wise monkeys on Sunday Politics – not at all impressed

  40. Hi TOH,

    I had a South African friend (many years ago, haven’t seen him in years) whose parents were Dale Carnegie fans. He used to parrot the DC mantra: ‘Whatever happens to you is the best thing that could ever possibly happen.’ I said to him (hypothetically): “You’ve lost all your money, the bank’s repossessing you, it’s the middle of winter and you’ll be out on the streets… what will DC say?” he replied, with a grin: “Things can only get better.”

    I reckon that’s the only way IDS is helping the millions he is affecting, and (yes, I know you won’t agree, but) I also reckon DC was porkie-pie-ing.

    (This post went into moderation as soon as I posted it, so I changed a word to see if it’s a machine or not….uggghhhhhhhhhhhhhh….

  41. And this is a first for me…Posting on UKPR in another country. Looks slightly different, the view from the window has changed.

    Anyway…… ” 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”

    It’s a no brainer, Yes big business can’t have a free hand but politicians can’t be allowed to have a free hand on wrecking the economy.


    @”Yes, I can’t imagine why Colin thinks anything else”

    I haven’t expressed any opinion on its effectiveness.

    My interest ( as opposed to my political affiliation that is ) lies in political differences, tactics & strategy .

    I have no credentials with which to forecast their VI effect.

  43. RogerH
    “I’m not sure that many people will regard a 50% rate on incomes above £150,000 as an excessive level of taxation.”


    Channel 4 has a survey on their site at present. So far 612 out of 948 respondents said that it was “only fair that the richest contribute the most”.

    An opposing view, that the 50p top rate of tax will “punish achievement and discourage business”, was agreed with by 24 per cent of respondents.

    They are also running the same survey on facebook where the majority of people, 60 per cent out of 100 respondents, answered “yes”.

    Additionally 13 per cent said “it’s a start”, 11 per cent answered “no”. The answers “I don’t care” and “I ain’t bovvered” polled six per cent of votes together.

    Eight per cent of people answered that Mr Balls was not going far enough, with two per cent voting that the top rate should be 90 per cent, and six per cent saying it should be 75 per cent.

    I’m looking forward to seeing the effects in polling of the political debate where, by arguing against the 50p rate, the govt are forced into defending the wealthy.


    @”You can be impressed by him if you want but I see better comments on here than in his writings”

    I didn’t say I was !!!

    I referred to his view in connection with Phil Haines thoughts.

    Dear oh dear-can’t you read ?

  45. Colin

    I think there is plenty of literature on the concept of full employment – and it is not 0% as you well know

  46. “I actually think that IDS is doing more to improve the future for those at the bottom of Society than anyone since 1945.”

    Well-meaning but useless would be my most generous view on Mr Smith. I think the emergence of food banks will be his legacy, something largely unknown in this country since the Welfare State was established. His attitude to the Trussell Trust did him no credit.


    I’m asking you what you mean by it. because you referred to “Full Employment” a moment ago.

    Still -if you don’t know what you mean by it that fine.

  48. TOH. If the changes IDS is making affected you personally,i suspect your view may be different.

  49. Colin Davies, RogerH

    As you say we do not agree, history will tell us who is right.

  50. @Colin: “What do you mean by ‘Full Employment’?”

    Beveridge defined it as 3% unemployment as there’s always a certain level of churn between jobs.

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