This week YouGov/Sunday Times results are here. Topline voting intention figures are CON 34%, LAB 38%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 12%.

Politically the most interesting questions were about Harriet Harman and the ongoing NCCL/PIE/Daily Mail row, essentially measuring its lack of impact. Only 34% of people say they have been following the story very (6%) or fairly (28%) closely. 42% of people haven’t followed it at all or are completely unaware of it. This is reflected in the other questions which all produced large levels of “don’t knows” – it appears to be a story that hasn’t really caught the public’s attention or at least, the public don’t know what to think about vague allegations from long ago.

Public opinion towards Harriet Harman is very much divided – 26% say PIE probably did have influence over NCCL, 33% that it probably didn’t, 41% say they don’t know. 34% agree with Harman that is it is just a politically motivated smear, 35% that it is legitimate investigation. 35% think that Jack Dromey probably did active condemn PIE, 20% think he probably did not, 45% don’t know

Overall 34% think that Harriet Harman and Jack Dromey do have cause to apologise, 32% think that it’s a storm in a teacup and they do not. There’s a consistent party skew to the answers throughout – most Labour voters think it’s a smear and take the side of Harman and Dromey, many Tory supporters think they have something to apologise for.

The broad thrust of the results is that the story hasn’t really cut through to the public – rather than some great swathe of public outrage, people who disliked Labour to begin with seem to think they’ve done something wrong, people who support Labour to begin with seem to think it’s a smear, most people don’t seem to care one way or the other.


332 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 34, LAB 38, LD 9, UKIP 12”

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  1. First.

  2. As someone who has always voted Tory, but will probably abstain in 2015, I do think this is a bit of a witchhunt against Harman and Dromey, who seem less implicated than Patricia Hewitt.

    That having been said, I can remember her when Harman was a panellist on BBC QT in 1981 in her role as NCCL spokeswoman, before she was elected as MP for Peckham in a by election, advocating a reduction in the age of consent from 16 to 14, and Hattersley and Heseltine both disagreeing, the former rather less forcefully than the latter.

    Not sure than any mainstream politician who was seeking advancement would be advocating such a policy now. Attitudes change over time.

  3. Not a great success for the Daily Mail and perhaps a sign of its declining influence (assuming it ever had much).

  4. This first registered on my radar about a week ago, but I assumed it to be nothing more than an average and normal Daily Mail smear. However, my wife (who reads that paper – although heavens knows why as she is a very Left-wing late Durham miner’s daughter!) told me in more detail about it from yesterday’s article. She thought it might be damaging to Labour until I told her what AW has now posted at the mast of this thread – that most Labour supporters will assume it is a smear – whether it is or not.

    This brings me to an interesting idea about the impact on VI that newspaper campaigns have. There is no doubt in my mind that the articles in the likes of the Daily Mail aimed to reduce Glegg’s support during Gleggmania in the 2010 campaign did have some impact in reducing LD support by polling day. However, it was unusual for members of the Daily mail reading cohort to consider voting LD in any event; therefore they could decrease this temporary and soft potential switch in support.

    However, the impact of the Rennard issue smears against Clegg had no impact in the run-up to the Eastleigh by-election, and now this smear against Labour politicians is having no effect on VI.

    I wonder if the Tory newspapers’ circulations are such that nowadays they only have the effect, at best, of shoring up the Tories’ own core vote?

  5. @ Catmanjeff (previous post)

    “Re: Ukraine and Crimea. It looks more complicated than perhaps our media has represented it.”

    I agree.

    An objective assessment of what has happened in the Ukraine in the last 2 weeks is that there has been a fascist coup in Kiev, sponsored by the New European Order (EU), overthrowing the democratically elected President (Yanukovich), to the understandable annoyance of Russia and concern in those parts of the territory inhabited primarily by ethnic Russians.

    This shows that the EU does not fundamentally believe in democracy.

    In European history books about the period before 1945, one reads about the dream of the Ukrainianists in Germany to create a separate Great Ukraine under German hegemony, to provide Germany’s “hinterland”. These ideas had the support of the then Reichskanzler, who was at the time keen on the combination of Germany with Poland against Russia.

    Whose foreign ministers have recently been in Kiev?

    Plus ca change, ……

    In the end, the UK then had to ally itself with the world’s worst mass murderer (Uncle Joe), to stop German domination of Europe.

    The EU’s approach to the Ukraine is extremely dangerous, and on its own is enough to question the UK’s continuing membership of this European super-state, as it is clearly a vehicle for Germany to achieve what she did not do in 2 world wars (she did achieve it briefly in 1918 before being defeated on the Western Front). However pleasant the current Reichskanzler’s speech to the House of Commons last week, she has a fundamentally different view of Europe that is alien to this proud island nation (to paraphrase W.Churchill).

  6. @Tony Dean

    The DM has a circulation of over 3 million. But I take your point over the declining influence of newspaper campaigns.

    I wonder however whether people are telling the truth!

  7. 35% think that Jack Dromey probably did active condemn PIE, 20% think he probably did not,

    -Of course it is a matter of public record that He did ,which of course the Daily **** knows as well.

    Which perhaps indicates that peoples opinions are not necessarily influenced at all by facts but by pre conceived political leanings.

  8. Circulation figures aren’t the whole story for the potential impact of newspaper campaigns – the Daily Mail website is one of the most visited in the world (as is the Guardian’s, for that matter). Of course – how many of those visitors are looking for political insight, and how many ogling bikini-clad teens, is another question altogether.

  9. Tony Dean

    The Daily Mail has very good womens section or so my wife tells me. I read it often with great amusement as some of the views expressed approximate to my own on issues like Europe, Labour, Trade Unions and taxation. Littlejohn is usually a sheer delight.

  10. hat having been said, I can remember her when Harman was a panellist on BBC QT in 1981 in her role as NCCL spokeswoman, before she was elected as MP for Peckham in a by election, advocating a reduction in the age of consent from 16 to 14,

    -Several Countries have lower ages of consent than the UK including France Spain and Iceland.

    Equating age of consent with PIE appears to be something of a Putin Moment

  11. Well I have refrained from posting for a while now but since pie is the thread lead…

    The DM have kicked a hornets’ nest, although I do think they were doing a smear campaign, like it or lump it the nest has been kicked and the Sunday People are bringing you the latest instalment, not good news for the Cons either….
    Of course not that I believe anything in the papers…

  12. “people who disliked Labour to begin with seem to think they’ve done something wrong, people who support Labour to begin with seem to think it’s a smear, most people don’t seem to care one way or the other”
    And this is why, ceteris paribus, there is little doubt about the election result.

    @Nigel – A stepped lower age of consent – i.e. where e.g. 14 year olds are allowed to have sex with their peers (as happens anyway) but are protected from predatory older paedophiles – is entirely defensible and used in countries such as Canada and Finland. There is nothing magical about the number 16 – it is just a rule of thumb that we currently use. It works okay, but it’s silly to prohibit discussion of alternatives.

  13. @ Wes

    An interesting picture of the current Reichskanzler can be found at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2101614/Greece-debt-crisis-Greeks-brand-Germans-Na zis-taking-control-economy.html

  14. @ Nigel

    “advocating a reduction in the age of consent from 16 to 14, and Hattersley and Heseltine both disagreeing, the former rather less forcefully than the latter”

    Not followed the story that closely apart from what has been said on here and probably take the middle line (Maybe Neil A?). Mistakes were probably made but nothing that sinister or outrageous.

    With regard to the 14-15 issue- maybe Yougov should do a poll on when people lost their virginity to put this into perspective (and if don’t knows come out at 42% we’ll know not to take the results seriously!).

    I suspect from the friends/family I know that perhaps as high as 50% did lose their virginity before the official age of consent. I’m sure we had this discussion before about how a 60 year old having sex with a 16 year old is far worse than a 16 year old having sex with a 15 year old 2 days apart in age or whatever. So a fixed age seems a bit narrow but at the same time you have to have something in place and it would certainly get complicated if you started doing bar charts of 16 year old and 14 year old allowed but 21 year old and 15 year old not allowed type thing. Especially as some it of it will depend totally on the maturity of the people involved and the relationship.

  15. There’s nowt as queer as folk the saying goes & answers given to the questions about cancer in today’s yougov appear to prove that.

    From what you have seen or heard, do you
    think the NHS does or does not treat cancer
    quickly enough when it is diagnosed?

    Does 36% / Does not 39%

    Thinking about the treatment you or your
    family member personally received after
    being diagnosed with cancer
    How promptly were you or they seen and
    diagnosed?

    Total Promptly 74%

    Total not promptly 22%

    And from what you have seen or heard, do
    you think the NHS does or does not make
    the best drugs and treatment available to
    people who are diagnosed with cancer?

    Does 23% / Does not 55%

    Were you or they given access to all the
    most appropriate drugs, or do you feel there
    were drugs that would have been useful that
    you/they were not given access to?

    I/they had access to all the most appropriate
    drugs 46%

    There were drugs that would have been useful
    that I/they did not have access to 18%

  16. I have a post in moderation that speaks only about the cancer polling questions in today’s yougov.

    Please can a) it be released & b) tell me what triggered auto-mod ?

  17. @Tony Dean

    “I wonder if the Tory newspapers’ circulations are such that nowadays they only have the effect, at best, of shoring up the Tories’ own core vote?”

    The reason why the Daily Mail was so desperate for other news outlets to pick up the NCCL/PIE story was because they recognise the very point you’re making. Their power, for what it is, lies in their ability to set the news agenda and if organisations like the BBC, ITV, Sky and other newspapers pick up Mail initiated stories then, as they say, they have legs beyond the narrow based Mail readership. Job done from a Mail point of view.

    However, I wonder if their self-damaging story about Miliband’s father has done the Mail harm in the sense that other media outlets are less likely to touch their stories now?

  18. 1970s? I hate to imagine what I thought then. No-one should be blamed for anything so long ago. It’s not relevant as hindsight makes it to easy to criticise…

  19. @Wes

    By 3 million I meant to suggest the DM is probably the most influential newspaper in the UK.

  20. Crossbatt11

    “Job done from a Mail point of view.”

    Indeed, I also don’t think the spat about Ed M’s father was a total failure either.

  21. @RAF – yes, and I presume you’re right – I meant my post to respond to Tony Dean’s point about declining circulations. I only mean to say that declining hard copy circulation does not necessarily equate to declining readership. The Mail and Graun are both in the top 20 most visited websites in the UK according to Alexa.com

  22. “I also don’t think the spat about Ed M’s father was a total failure either.”

    So it was a partial success ? In what way ?

  23. @Toh

    Sorry to hear you have dyslexia however mild.

    Interestingly, during my social work career I read debates in the education press about dyslexia. Some argued it was a condition that could be assessed and hopefully treated, while others viewed it as simply a lack of aptitude or talent. My memory is that lefties held the former view while those on the right put it down to lack of ability.
    Have you ever come across this prejudice?

  24. @Nigel – “As someone who has always voted Tory, but will probably abstain in 2015, I do think this is a bit of a witchhunt against Harman and Dromey, who seem less implicated than Patricia Hewitt. That having been said, I can remember her when Harman was a panellist on BBC QT in 1981 in her role as NCCL spokeswoman, before she was elected as MP for Peckham in a by election, advocating a reduction in the age of consent from 16 to 14, and Hattersley and Heseltine both disagreeing, the former rather less forcefully than the latter.”

    Please don’t take this personally, but I have to say that I have some difficulties with your comment.

    You initially establish yourself as a Tory sympathizer, but then establish your apparent authority to speak on the matter in an unpartisan way by declaring your current ambivalence.

    Next, you purport to recall an individuals stated stance on a political panel programme – 33 years ago? Something here doesn’t stack up.

    I can accept that some people have extraordinary memories, and genuinely can recall tiny details from decades ago, but it really is a rare talent. I struggle to recall if I even watched QT three weeks ago, let alone remember who was on the panel and what they said, and this from three decades ago.

    You have a great memory.

  25. Norbold

    Just to make clear I am not talking about the rights or wrongs of the story about Ed M’s father. I also agree it was perceived as a failure but to my mind what it did do was to add to the “Red Ed” idea. When it comes to the election people will, among other things, have to decide whether or not they trust Ed M. Some will remember the story which will probably be revived and I suspect it will have some effect especially amongst many of the blue-collar workers who used to vote Tory and are at present undecided. If it tips their vote to the Tories the Mail will have achieved what it set out to do.

  26. Sorry my last post should have beeb to OSWALD.

  27. @TOH
    come to think of it, I’m sure I’ve read a column by Littlejohn where he was very dismissive of dyslexia- He said teachers and their ilk used it as an excuse for poor teaching methods. Bring back the 3Rs etc!

  28. @DAODAO: “An objective assessment of what has happened in the Ukraine…”

    Possibly the least objective and most far-fetched assessment I’ve seen.

  29. Valerie

    I did as well, I didn’t say I always agreed with him ,just that I find most of the stuff he rights a joy. At his best attacking bureaucratic nonesense.

    As a sufferer it’s very real, but I never mind people taking the pi**

  30. @Alec

    YouTube tend to have this sort of thing to hand – if not the BBC will have a transcript.What he says ties in with the facts as they are known. The NCCL archives are at Hull University . Patricia Hewitt has agreed, following a search there, that her name was on a press release calling for a reduction in the age of consent and the legalisation of incest. Jack Dromey alleges he opposed the PIE in 1976 although at that time he became best known for his involvement in the Grunwick dispute – Wikipedia calls him ‘young ambitious’.

  31. This Ukraine thing begins to look ominous, and I think the west has played a poor hand. Everyone now seems backed into a corner, and I think we are seeing a classic situation of ‘I wouldn’t have started from here’ – just the position that diplomacy is meant to avoid.

    I’m certainly no foreign policy expert, but my guess is that this stems from a ‘something must be done’ mentality, allied to an ongoing desire to neutralize Russian influence.

    I just feel very uneasy that the west jumped in very quickly to recognise what was, in effect, an unelected insurgency government, that clearly lacks the support of a significant minority. The UK banned unions from show of hands strikes in the 1980s, yet here we recognized the full legitimacy of a government who were only accepted once their names were read out in front of the crowds in Kiev.

    Russia has legitimate interests in the Crimea, and many Crimeans are nervous of Kiev. Elections are the only way to establish a workable authority, and perhaps we should have been seeking a much more conciliatory path from the outset, which involved Russia in the planning and delivery.

    We could have established a joint position with Russia, enabling Yanukovych an escape route and exploring open options – even the secession of Crimea, along with the establishing of a Ukrainian Black sea access corridors and other safeguards. The imperative was to reassure Russian Ukrainians and Russia itself, which has deep cultural and strategic ties with the Crimea.

    Instead we jumped in, with a somewhat simplistic view of the nation state, siding most definitely with one side, clearly unnerving Russia and Russian Ukrainians. As we have done so many times before, we simply can’t seem to grasp the historic sense of threat from the west felt by Russia.

    We are now in a manufactured stand off, where Russia controls the terrain and the west cannot win unless Russia allows us to. In this, we’ve helped further reinvigorate Putin’s reputation, which has other, longer term consequences.

    I’ve felt for a while – really since 9/11 and the second Gulf War – that we’ve increasingly approached foreign affairs with a falsely simplistic binary viewpoint, whereas dealing with the European/Russian competing influences needs far greater analysis and flexibility.

    We choose which insurgency movements to back, we fail to recognise Russia’s reasonable expectations, and we take positions we ultimately can’t defend, rather than lowering our sites and aiming for a next best solution that we are more likely to deliver.

    Ultimately however, if this situation does descend into conflict, it’s the Ukrainian people we will have let down.

  32. @Wolf – “YouTube tend to have this sort of thing to hand….” – no doubt, but if so, this makes my point for me.

  33. @ rogerh

    When I referred to “objective” assessment, I was only referring to the first paragraph of my post “What has happened in the Ukraine in the last 2 weeks is that there has been a fascist coup in Kiev, sponsored by the New European Order (EU), overthrowing the democratically elected President (Yanukovich), to the understandable annoyance of Russia and concern in those parts of the territory inhabited primarily by ethnic Russians. This shows that the EU does not fundamentally believe in democracy.”

    I accept that the rest of my post was personal interpretation of the situation. However, it was written in the light of previous history, deep suspicion of German motives, attitudes of leading parties in the new Ukrainian regime such as Svoboda and the Pravy Sektor, and belief that is wrong for the UK to ally itself with countries that support this type of regime change.

  34. DAODAO There is something really quite unpleasant about your posts.

  35. I don’t think a government that uses snipers to kill unarmed protestors has any legitimacy. And Russia has no interests in Crimea which can justify its armed intervention.

  36. Over quite a few years now, from my very regular comments to the present day, I have railed against people claiming that, this that or the other mild embarrassment will bring down PM’s and governments. Cameron, was going to fall at least 6 times in the last 4 years, according to his very numerous enemies on this board. This Daily Mail attempt to hurt a person [snip] will fail also.

  37. “When I referred to “objective” assessment, I was only referring to the first paragraph …”

    So was I.

  38. @ Alec

    A detailed and sensible post, making clear what the issues are.

    If the Anglo-Saxon countries (UK/USA) are not careful, this could end up as WW3, because of German recklessness and imperialism (under the aegis of the EU). The UK and USA need to work with Russia to resolve this crisis, as you have outlined. After all, they once met in the Crimea (Yalta, 1945) to ensure as best they could that they would sort out Europe post-WW2 amicably.

  39. @”, we fail to recognise Russia’s reasonable expectations,”

    That is really funny-but not so funny in Syria & Western Ukraine.

    I can imagine the Poles , Czechs & the Hungarians nodding in remembrance of Russia’s “expectations”

    Someone mentioned 1914 a while back.

    The date which comes to my mind is 1968.

  40. ROGERH

    Agree completely with you.

  41. With regard to Miliband senior, most people don’t remember the Marx brothers. Rather like Obama being a Keynesian, only a few people know his father was from Africa.

  42. @ Rosie&Daisie

    Press now folks.
    ————
    Done.

  43. Colin

    Yes 1968 comes to mind.

  44. Hi Rolly-how are you?-well I trust.

    As you can see the game rumbles on here-waiting for the great day when all the Rules & Theories & Laws of Nature will be tested by the Great British Public.

  45. @Daodao – thank you for your comments, but it makes me nervous being applauded by someone who apparently thinks German and EU motives are inspired in some way by fascism. I don not believe they are, in any way.

    @Colin – ‘reasonable’ may have been a somewhat misleading word, but the thrust of my point stands. Diplomacy is about resolving competing world views. Russia has always been deeply mistrustful of the west, having sustained centuries of attempted encroachment by western nations and their allies. Our views are clouded by the Cold War, which is now over.

    On the issue of Crimea, this was always Russian, but was casually gifted from Russia to Ukraine by Khrushchev in 1954. This was announced without consultation, and was ‘debated’ for 15 minutes in the Soviet parliament. I think we can agree this does not really qualify as a democratic mandate.

    Post Soviet Russia sees it as a quite reasonable rectifying of an historic wrong to return part of their former territory, which retains a majority Russian population and culture.

    I’m not stating whether I think this view is right or wrong – just that this is their view, which they deem to be reasonable. I maintain that we have failed to appreciate this, and have gone into this situation in an overly simplistic manner, without taking account of alternative viewpoints and other potential outcomes.

  46. PAUL

    You are getting excited again & doing that yappy dog thing.

    Asking after the health of someone you like is unconnected with one’s views of their opinions-one way or the other………..well unless one lives in some Orwellian Nightmarish Totalitarian State,

    In the spirit of friendly advice I advise you to “press the button” in private as advised by AW -then leave it ti him.

  47. Alec: It’s rather more complicated than that and Crimea certainly wasn’t ‘always Russian’. It’s never been part of Russia itself and doesn’t even share a border with it. Nor is it certain that the majority of the current population – even the Russian-speaking ones – wish to be annexed by Russia.

  48. “Yes 1968 comes to mind.”

    A bit too similar to 1938. What other territorial ambitions might Putin have?

  49. @Colin

    I believe it was me who referred to 1914. I don’t believe it’s anywhere near as serious as that but we should take heed of the historical lesson of how complex alliances designed to prevent a wider conflagration may in fact cause that very scenario.

    The difference with 1956 and 1958 is that neither Hungary nor Czechoslovakia were ever part of Russia. Crimea was, until the Khruschev area. There are two other differences: (a) The USSR crushed protests amounting to independence movements in Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Crimea is just a region of a much larger country; (b) the Crimean people consider themselves Russia, speak Russian and would in all probability welcome Russian annexation. In 1956/8 both the Czechs and Hungarians overwhelmingly opposed the Soviet invasions – the Hungarians fought them tooth and nail.

  50. ALEC

    I agree with you.

    John Pilgrim (I think) and I had a discussion at the time of the Ossetian crisis about the lack of wisdom that the EU had shown in making simplistic “Western” assumptions about state boundaries in the former Soviet Union.

    The borders of these new states weren’t established with the consent of all their peoples, As in many other areas of the world, old imperial borders were simply declared to contain the new states, when the Soviet Union collapsed in rather a chaotic fashion.

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