This week’s YouGov/Sunday Times results are here. Topline voting intentions are CON 32%, LAB 39%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 12%.

People’s opinion of how Cameron has handled the floods has crept up slightly since last week, but a solid majority still think he hasn’t done well. 29% of people think he’s handled the flooding well (up 4 from a week ago), 60% badly (down 2). The figures for the environment agency are still very similar – 27% say well, 63% badly.

While opinion has moved slightly in Cameron’s favour, on the question of whose fault the flooding is blame is gradually shifting towards the government. Compared to a fortnight ago 27% now blame the government (up 10 points), 23% the environment agency (down 5), 41% say it is just freak weather and nothing could have been done (down 8). Support for more spending on flood defences has also steadily risen – now 50% of people, from 49% a week ago, 38% a fortnight ago. People have also become more likely to think the flooding is connected to climate change – 47% now say the weather causing the floods is likely connected to climate change (up 7), 39% think it is not (down 5).

Looking forward, 57% of people would support a ban on building houses on flood plains, 33% think it is acceptable with appropriate anti-flooding measures. The public are almost evenly divided on whether we should keep on defending the most vulnerable areas – 39% think we should defend all settled areas, whatever the cost, 38% think there are some settled areas that are such a high risk of flooding it is not worth the cost to try and defend them. 47% of people think those people who have bought property in areas of high flood risk and ended up being flooded deserve our sympathy, 22% think they have only themselves to blame.

There was also an Opinium poll in the Observer with topine figures of CON 28%(-1), LAB 37%(+1), LDEM 8%(nc), UKIP 17%(nc). Their flooding questions had very similar results to YouGov – people thought Cameron hasd responded badly to the flood by 51% to 23% thinking he’d done well. 51% think the floods were related to climate change, 24% did not.


191 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 32, LAB 39, LD 9, UKIP 12”

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  1. Amber Star

    Is it their moats & swimming pools which are causing their flooding problems?”

    I think that is in very poor taste.

  2. shevii

    You should definitely vote labour then.

  3. Colin!

    If I were Neil A, in court, and suitably bewigged, I’d say, “Thank you very much,” on hearing what you’ve just said, and rest my case and sit down – wouldn’t I?

  4. “Toff tax.”

    Don’t think “Toff” translates into Russian or Arabic.

    Your average to middling Oligarch or Sheikh could buy an English Toff with his taxi money.

  5. I saw a film once, called ‘Hammer the Toff’. I was very young (my aunties took me to something and it was the B picture.) I thought it was something to do with making toffee! (And I was surprised how good I thought the film was.

  6. I’ve never worn a wig in court. I’m bald enough to need one, though.

  7. Ah, well, don’t even need a wig then!

  8. COLIN DAVIS

    Evidently your Aunts liked films about upper class detectives :-

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hammer_the_Toff

  9. Don’t know about that, although they were true blue enough. For some reason I can’t recall the A picture we went to see. It must have been disappointing. Hammer the Toff was great though.

  10. Fareham Grecian

    Your right of course and I shall stop posting now. Just correcting some of the nonesense that appears on here from time to time.

  11. I suspect the reason we don’t have the same flood defences as Holland is that we don’t need them.

    Bad as the floods have been for those involved if you compared the GDP of both Holland and the UK and then look at the potential cost of a major flood as a share of GDP or the percentage of the population in danger the figures for the UK would be a tiny fraction of what could happen in Holland.

    The danger of a knee jerk “Money is no object” response is that we pump money in to schemes (no pun intended) which could be better used on other things.

    Long ago when I worked in buying I learned that “Stock was Dead Money” and did everything I could do to have the stock we needed with a small margin for an unexpected order.

    On day we had two big orders and couldn’t complete both. As one of the customers made an issue of it (even though he got enough to see him through with spare till we restocked) so my line manager went nuts and next day over my head ordered what we the equivalent of eight months stock.

    Needless to say we didn’t run out again but we had spent money we didn’t need to on more than we could sell!

    Peter.

  12. This thread is going to need judicious application of AW’s laser beam.

  13. R and D and NickP

    The real tossers are those who stump up the cash to pay their wages.

  14. That’s the nearest I get to a footy comment.

    I tried to get to the Opinium tables but they are rather coy with them.

  15. Howard

    They usually put them up Monday morning but cunningly always seem to put the previous weeks date on it to throw people off the scent.

  16. @catmanjeff UKIP:

    There is now evidence to show that a significant portion of their support (as opposed to their activists) is coming from the traditional swing voters (white van man, mondeo man etc) who voted Thatcher, Blair, Cameron. This is something I have felt for a while – both by looking at the polls and anecdotally on the doorstep. Blue collar workers. Hit by austerity. Hate the political classes with a visceral hatred. Voted Conservative in the last election, but have not swung back to Labour.

    http://www1.politicalbetting.com/index.php/archives/2014/02/08/swing-voters-havent-stopped-swinging-theyre-just-doing-it-differently/

    About 1/3 will not vote Tory to keep Labour out. They have voted both in the past. They don’t want either- that’s why they support UKIP.

  17. Thanks Roger Mexico. My interest is to see the partisan breakdowns to the ‘who is best’ questions. The Observer (Grauniad) was quite fair in its reporting, as such, I felt.

  18. @TOH – “Yes a lovely day in Surrey and where I live on the high chalk the walking was OK today considering just how much rain we have had locally.”

    Let’s just hope there’s enough chalk left underneath you.

  19. Seems to be a bit of grumpiness on here with regard to the 5,000 or so softie southern flood victims tonight (that was a joke, btw). My memory might be failing, but I don’t recall such strong calls for assistance for the 50,000 predominantly northern souls flooded in 2007.

    To be fair, most of these people didn’t have water lapping in their kitchens for several weeks, but equally many of them were flooded for several days, with repeat episodes shortly after. For people in places like Morpeth, flooding has been monotonously regular, as for them, money certainly was an object, as defences were delayed and delayed again. Numbers then were far higher, average earnings of victims far lower.

    I don’t think anyone would disagree with the idea of limited hardship funds for people affected, regardless of circumstances. Insurance should pay for all expenses related to flood damage, but we know many people now can’t get cover, so there is a role for immediate assistance for those in trouble, although in truth, this really should be related to savings and earnings.

    What I think is a really, really bad idea is the talk of ‘compensation’ for householders and landowners. The state – we as taxpayers – have no obligation to provide cover for natural events. That’s what insurance is for. We do a pretty good job on spending on flood defences etc, but unless there has been negligence, the primary responsibility for flood protection remains with the landowner, as it should. If that worries you, move to a hill top.

  20. @Chatterclass

    If you are right (and I have no reason to disbelieve you), then Mr Cameron has his work cut out in 2015.

  21. I don’t even like the idea that flood defence spending rules have been abandoned for the Somerset Levels – but nowhere else. Why are they so special?

  22. @RosieandDaisie

    Re: Mourinho

    He got shown up for this childish manner in Spain. Even his own club’s media lackeys who ordinarily defend the indefensible got fed up and started laying into him.

  23. @alec

    Even though I’m a soft southerner, I agree with both your last posts. If there’s money to spend on flood defences, spend it on protecting towns, not on farms.

    And despite working in the public sector in the middle of a flood plain, I agree with the minority 22% of the poll who say that if you choose to live in a flood plain it may not be wholly unreasonable to expect to be flooded!

  24. YG have released the result of a single Macbethian question in a poll.

    The link is in its proper place in Servants Hall.

    http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/8621/comment-page-9#comment-887847

  25. Re flooding in various parts of the country, including the Somerset levels, I came across this the other day.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/02/13/uk-flooding-met-office-and-all-that-a-map-from-878ad-tells-us-more-than-slingo/

    That part of Somerset was known as swamp land going back to 878ad.

  26. @Alec
    Most of the flooding in Somerset and Surrey/Berkshire has been on reclaimed land. And the purchasers of properties there would have known it was reclaimed land. The insurers of those purchasers also would have known this and their actuaries would have worked out the rates necessary to protect the insurers in the event of flooding of these properties.

    However…no-one expects these events to happen to them.

    Government should help because when these things do hapoen , only government has the resources to provide emergency relief.

  27. Interesting that they didn’t release the Scottish VI on that question by party, and no sign of SNP or ‘other’.

    Maybe I should start my own (Scottish) polling company.

  28. I thought Henry Porter, again not a commentator I normally agree with, was very good on the climate change debate in the Observer today. He was uncannily where I am on the subject; becoming more and more convinced that mankind is contributing to the climate change that we’re witnessing, but prepared to listen to those who are sceptical. Where he was absolutely right, I thought, was his contention that it was becoming increasingly beholden on the sceptics to provide evidence to counter the growing scientific case that the climate is changing as a result of human activity. It was no longer enough just to deny and attempt to rubbish the climate change science, it was now important to argue the contrary with evidence.

    It’s disappointing to see the debate divide on political lines, although when you see the list of arch sceptics like Lawson, Booker etc, it’s tempting to automatically side with their antagonists, but surely the argument should be evidence based. I can see why those on the right are intrinsically and temperamentally opposed to the economic implications that arise from the probability of man’s contribution to a changing climate, but that shouldn’t excuse a tin ear being cocked to clear scientific evidence should it exist.

    Inconvenient truths test all our old political sacred cows eventually.

  29. I may have missed it (in which case, apologies), but the question of appl-y-ing to the EU for funding to help deal with the flooding doesn’t seem to have been dealt with on here.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/uk-weather-uturn-may-see-david-cameron-reluctantly-tap-eu-flood-assistance-fund-9127137.html

  30. @Crossbat XI

    Most of the scientific evidence is clear that man is largely responsible for recent changes in climate.

    However, surely a better argument is that man made or not, you have to be a real fruit loon not to believe that the climate is changing and that sinething urgently needs to be done about it.

  31. @Crossbat XI

    I know you like your cricket. NZ 246 being on India’s first innings score, are 347-5 in their second innings (Lunch, Day 4) Brendan McCullum and BJ Watling have put on an unbroken stand of 253 for the sixth wicket.

  32. @Alec

    ‘I don’t even like the idea that flood defence spending rules have been abandoned for the Somerset Levels – but nowhere else. Why are they so special?’

    According to Guardian research, the Somerset Levels haven’t been a special case. 294 flood defence schemes across the whole of England that were in line for funding 2010/11 were cut – including Yalding, the Dawlish railway tracks and Hinckley Point:

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/feb/16/flood-area-defences-funding-cuts

  33. statgeek

    Interesting that they didn’t release the Scottish VI on that question by party and no sign of SNP or ‘other’.

    Actually the question on the Scottish pound:

    http://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/s1ec3emgrq/YG-Archive-140214-Scotland-Pound.pdf

    is just another question in the regular Sunday Times poll. The fieldwork dates and sample size are identical. It’s not credited to the ST and for some mysterious reason was released to the public an hour later than the rest. Has the UK Government announced that it won’t allow you to share the same time zone?

  34. Statgeek / Roger Mexico

    I’m afraid that (along with a couple of posters on the previous thread) you exhibit the behaviours of the nouveax riche. Invited to dinner with the posh folk, you insist on discussing unseemly matters in front of decent people.

  35. ON

    “I may have missed it (in which case, apologies), but the question of appl-y-ing to the EU for funding to help deal with the flooding doesn’t seem to have been dealt with on here.”

    Its jolly good being in the EU isn’t it?

  36. Roger Mexico

    I suspect that separate release of a single question responses isn’t “mysterious”.

    Most probably, someone else will have “piggy-backed” a question on another poll.

  37. @Oldnat

    “I’m afraid that (along with a couple of posters on the previous thread) you exhibit the behaviours of the nouveax riche. Invited to dinner with the posh folk, you insist on discussing unseemly matters in front of decent people.”

    Haven’t you got work to do, Mr Hudson?

  38. Statgeek

    I’m busy polishing Mr Wells’s boots!

  39. “I’m busy polishing Mr Wells’s boots!”

    Its the way you tell ‘um oldnat.

  40. @Colin

    “Well it was a helluva night down here-but the wind has now abated. Just reading an article about the meteorological causes of the global weather patterns recently. It all centers on a southerly deflection of the Jet Stream.over seas which are warmer than normal.A similar deflection of the southern hemisphere jet stream has brought floods to South America & drought to Australia.

    The Jet Streams have a history of drift, over decades. The “source” of this winters perturbation is an unusually high pressure area over The Aleutians.

    Whilst it is possible to identify a global warming trend, the periods measured & comparisons made are always a source of argument-and it is never possible to identify any one weather event as caused by a global warming trend.”

    ———

    Hmm. That makes it sound like it might not be man-made climate change, but just some normal variation in the jet stream. However, the article I read also gave a reason for the change: the warming in the Actic.

    This in turn leads to a weaker jet stream, since the strength of the stream is partly driven by the temperature difference between the Arctic and the mid-latitudes. If the Arctic warms, there is less of a temperature difference (bit like in a river: the flow is weaker if the gradient is shallower, although in the case of the jet stream we are talking about a temperature gradient, rather than the gradient of the slope of the land).

    And if the jet stream is weaker, it is forced off-course more easily, leading to what we have been experiencing.

  41. ” The danger of a knee jerk “Money is no object” response is that we pump money in to schemes (no pun intended) which could be better used on other things.

    Long ago when I worked in buying I learned that “Stock was Dead Money” and did everything I could do to have the stock we needed with a small margin for an unexpected order.

    On day we had two big orders and couldn’t complete both. As one of the customers made an issue of it (even though he got enough to see him through with spare till we restocked) so my line manager went nuts and next day over my head ordered what we the equivalent of eight months stock.

    Needless to say we didn’t run out again but we had spent money we didn’t need to on more than we could sell!”

    ———-

    Ah yes, the “just-in-time” fad of the eighties!! Trying to hold as little inventory as possible, only buying in stock at the last minute, so as h free money up for investment elsewhere. I recall the owner of Linn Sondek complaining about it, saying “I don’t believe in ‘just-in-time”, I believe in ‘just-in-case!!'”, after losing weeks of production due to a holdup in delivery of some small part of which they had insufficient stock.

    Which is not good news if customers then turn to a rival turntable manufacturer and build a relationship with them, buying their tonearms and cartridges and even speakers from them down the line instead.

    Whereas if you are the lone supplier of something people need, they will wait for you to get more stock. Equally, you can keep less stock if you know if one supplier fails you, you can go to others at the last minute.

    One can at times apply business principles to the management of the economy etc., but at times it doesn’t always fit so well. If we turn out to have insufficient flood defences, we can’t very well go to a different weather supplier instead, to try and buy weather we can cope with.

    And cost-benefit analyses tend to assume that the more extreme events won’t happen, so you hold less stock, or have less flood defence, but then when they do…

  42. Michael Fallon says “the councils, the civil authorities can always call on troops… the troops are there…they’re always pleased to help…”

    This was news to me.

    Any councillors/ civil authorities care to comment?

  43. I think a lot depends on exactly what you stock. Turntable parts probably don’t change very often, and therefore don’t lose their value. But a retailer that bought in 3 years worth of iPhones “Just in case” would find the excess worth a fraction of what he paid for them.

  44. @Neil A

    Yep, it’s horses for courses…

  45. @JOHN PILGRIM

    “CARFREW It’s an economic decision rather than a technical one. The point of factoring in the 5 or 20 or 50 year high flood level, done on the basis of past record but possibly now requiring adjustment for climate change, is that it allows you to reckon the cost against the benefit of never again suffering the losses which high floods create. How big will be the continued losses in housing, infrastructure and lost economic activity. This is done against cost to the householders, cost to local authorities, to business and to the economy. What the Government can’t do is shrug its shoulders. In the present case the question is does money no object mean compensation for losses of and restoration of private homes, payments to local authorities for restoration and permanent changes to infrasture? No, apparently, only “relief”. But it cannot be let undone, and this is – as per Orleans – a Government responsibility.”

    ———

    Well, this is the thing. Yep, they do their cost-benefit analyses, and decide to build the Thames Barrier, making it sufficient to survive a once-in-a-thousand year event.

    Whereas the Dutch built a comparable barrier to last a one-in-TEN-THOUSAND year event. Is the City of London somehow of lesser value? I think not. I mean the population of London isn’t far off the whole of Holland, and there’s quite a lot of valuable stuff in it. (Admittedly, more and more of it is owned by folk from other countries, but still…)

    Then you have to factor in the cost of replacing our barrier, since it was only supposed to last till 2030, whereas the Dutch one was built to last 200 years. But now we have the global warming issue, rendering the barrier less reliable than before. Our response? Not to improve the barrier, as the Dutch would, but to delay its replacement till 2070??!???!???

    In other words, I put it to you John, that whoever is doing the cost-benefit decisions has possibly not quite got the hang of it.

    Especially since… they instead tend to try and “manage” these problems, otherwise known as “do as little as possible and hope the more extreme events don’t happen on your watch”!!!

    What makes this even worse, is that, ok, let’s suppose you decide it isn’t worth the money to properly protect the Levels, to handle the more extreme events, so you just do a bit and that’s that, knowing there will likely be some flooding. Ok, but since you know the defences are inadequate, AT LEAST HAVE CONTINGENCY PLANS FOR WHEN THE FLOODING HAPPENS!! At least make sure the temporary barriers get deployed, that there is a chain of command, not different agencies passing the buck onto each other, and that we have some high-volume pumps, instead of having to wait for the Dutch to give us some of theirs.

    Instead what happens, is we cut the Fire service as well, who then complain they have less manpower – and high-volume pumps of their own – to help out with the floods and rescue people.

    This is before we get to the other end of the cost-benefit thing: the VALUE in doing things properly. Instead of just calculating the economic hit of a flood, consider the economic benefits of, say, building a lagoon. Because now, not only will you get more protection against floods, but a load of renewable leccy, boost to the economy via construction, technology you can export, etc.

    On top of which, you can reclaim the land properly, and do more with it economically. The Dutch may spend more on flood defences, but they can even build airports on the reclaimed land, whereas we couldn’t dream of doing that on the Levels. But of course, bigger projects take longer to plan and deliver, and other governments down the line may reap the rewards. In other words, one suspects that quite often, the real cost-benefit analysis being done, is not so much economic, as political…

  46. Meanwhile it seems the big Dutch pumps in Zummerzett have now been switched off because they’re more than the river banks can cope with.
    Glad we thought that one through thoroughly then.

  47. @GuyMonde

    And to where is the water being pumped? To the saturated land downstream?

  48. Alec

    “What I think is a really, really bad idea is the talk of ‘compensation’ for householders and landowners. The state – we as taxpayers – have no obligation to provide cover for natural events. ”

    I agree with you, short term immediate help yes but other than that no.

    Thanks for your good wishes, there is more than enough chalk on the North Downs I’m pleased to say. I have always chosen to live on high ground for what are now obvious reasons.

  49. RAF

    I think you are calling a very large number of people real fruit loons (whatever they are) as many many who do believe in climate change don’t think much can be done about it adding to the views of the sceptical and non believers so I suspect a majority think that little can be done or will be done about it.

  50. @Raf

    In between the FA Cup highlights on ITV, I watched a bit of the morning session of the the NZ v India Test Match from the beautiful Basin Reserve ground in Wellington and Watling and McCullum were leading a doughty rearguard action. I now discover that they eventually put on 352, the highest sixth-wicket stand in Test cricket history. I’ve thought for some time that McCullum was one of the most underrated captains and middle order batsmen in international cricket and he deserves greater recognition than just being regarded as an explosive one-day and T20 specialist. He’s a pretty decent wicketkeeper too.

    Having visited all the Australian Test Match grounds bar Hobart, my ambition is to spend a lot of my retirement trying to visit as many of the other international venues as possible before I hang up my sun hat and binoculars. The “Basin” as they call it in Wellington, would be pretty close to the top of my list, as would Queens Park Oval in Barbados and Eden Gardens in Kolkata India.

    Mind you, I’m also planning to visit all 92 football league grounds too. I got to 52 by the early 80s, but half of them don’t exist any more, so I’ll be starting more or less from scratch. If Villa are in the Conference by the time I retire, I’ll roll those grounds into my little odyssey too!

    Wistful and blissful dreams of retirement indeed. I’ll be revisiting the undone things of a largely misspent youth.

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