There are two new YouGov polls today – one in the Sunday Times, one in the Sun on Sunday. The Sunday Times poll concentrates on the current political agenda (in this case mostly UKIP, racism and Ed Miliband’s rent controls) and the Sun on Sunday on the wider political landscape.
Westminster voting intention figures both show Labour leads of three points. YouGov/Sunday Times has CON 33%, LAB 36%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 15%, YouGov/Sun on Sunday have CON 33%, LAB 36%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 15%.
European voting intention figures both have UKIP narrowly ahead of Labour. YouGov/Sunday Times has CON 22%, LAB 28%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 29%, GREEN 8%. YouGov/Sun on Sunday has CON 23%, LAB 26%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 29%, GRN 7%. Note the Greens ahead of the Lib Dems in the Sunday Times poll – the first time we’ve seen that. Looking at the multiple YouGov Europe polls this week the broader picture seems to be that UKIP and Labour are neck-and-neck in first place, Conservatives are third, Lib Dems and Greens are neck-and-neck for fourth place.
Both the polls had questions on which party people prefer on various issues. The questions were actually different (the Sunday Times asked about best policy, the Sun on Sunday asked about trust), but the patterns were much the same – the Conservatives lead on economic growth and crime, Labour lead on prices and on public services, UKIP lead on immigration.
The Sun on Sunday also had some leadership questions. David Cameron is way ahead on being suited to the job of Prime Minister, being good in a crisis, being a strong leader and representing Britain abroad. He has a more modest lead on having the best ideas for the country, and comes just ahead of Ed Miliband on being likeable. Ed Miliband is seen as the most honest of the party leaders. Nigel Farage and Ed Miliband come joint top on being seen as in touch.
The Sun on Sunday asked people what they though the best and worst things the coalition government had done were. The government’s best achievements were seen as the £10000 personal tax allowance (39%), the benefit cap (28%), freezing fuel duty (24%), cutting the deficit (22%) and same-sex marriage (20%). The worst things are seen as the bedroom tax (35%), tuition fees (28%), privatising royal mail (27%), increasing VAT (19%) and cutting the 50p top tax rate (19%).
The Sunday Times poll had some more extensive questions about UKIP and the accusations against them in recent weeks. A majority (58%) of respondents did think that UKIP were more likely to have candidates with racist or offensive views than other parties, but on expenses they didn’t think they were any different from the other political parties.
Even if people think the criticisms of UKIP are fair, they don’t necessarily diminish their support. 60% think the accusations about some of UKIP’s candidates being racist or extreme are fair… but only 21% say it has damaged their view of UKIP. 57% say that the accusations that they’d fiddled their expenses are fair… but only 22% say it’s damaged their opinion of UKIP. My guess is that because most people aren’t voting UKIP with the idea that they are going to form a government tomorrow these thing don’t necessarily matter – they are a way of registering a message about immigration and Europe and the political establishment… so it doesn’t really matter if they attract a few oddballs (and indeed, nothing burnishes the impression of being anti-establishment than having the establishment constantly attack you).
Touching on Newark and Nigel Farage, only 18% think he should have stood in Newark and a majority of UKIP voters (54%) think he was right not to.
Finally 56% support the idea of governments introducing rent controls, 33% would rather landlords were free to set their rents (YouGov asked about the broad principle of rent control, rather than the specifics of Labour’s policy). More generally 56% think Ed Miliband is right to suggest more government intervention on things like energy prices and rents, 29% think it’s the wrong direction and governments should generally leave prices to the market.