The weekly YouGov/Sunday Times poll is up here. Topline voting intention figures are a very normal CON 33%, LAB 37%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 14%. The rest of the poll dealt with Europe, Coulson and Iraq.

Dealing with Europe first, by 40% to 14% people thought Cameron was right to oppose Juncker, 46% of people said don’t know. On the other hand, 36% of people said it has probably damaged Britain’s ability to negotiate in Europe, 7% say it has probably helped. Note the fieldwork was done before the summit.

On Coulson YouGov asked how seriously people took Cameron’s error in appointing Coulson. 34% said it was a very serious error, 36% a fairly serious error, but no worse than many others made by politicians, 21% not seriously at all. Looking at the crossbreaks though is a salient reminder of why things like this don’t really make much difference to voting intentions – people see them through the prism of their pre-existing political views. 59% of Labour voters saw the appointment of Coulson as a very serious error, only 6% dismissed it as not being serious. 48% of Tory voters dismissed it as nothing serious, only 9% thought it was a very serious error. On the wider issues around phone hacking, by 53% to 33% people think the thorough investigation was worthwhile and 69% think the CPS was right to attempt the prosecution of Rebekah Brooks and let the jury decide, despite her ultimate acquittal. People are pretty evenly split over whether the investigations and prosecutions will make journalists behave better in the future – 44% think they will, 47% think they won’t.

Turning to Iraq, public opinion remains extremely negative towards Britain’s role in the Iraq war and its consequences. 59% think Britain and the USA were wrong to take military action against Iraq, 62% think it has increased the risk of terrorist attack against Britain, 48% think it’s made the world less safe and 40% think it has made the ordinary lives of Iraqis worse. 67% of people think that British “jihadists” going to Syria or Iraq to fight do pose a risk when they return to Britain, 17% think the risk has been exaggerated. 63% think Muslim community leaders in Britain should do more to prevent it, 61% think social media sites should do more to remove jihadists recruiting material.

There was also a Survation poll in the Mail on Sunday with fieldwork conducted on Friday (tabs here). Topline figures there were CON 27%(nc), LAB 36%(+4), LDEM 7%(-2), UKIP 22%(-1). The rest of the poll dealt mostly with Juncker, and again opinions are split largely along existing party lines – so 38% saw Cameron’s opposition to Juncker as a sign of strength, 36% as a sign of weakness… but 75% of Tories thought it was a sign of strength, 57% of Labour voters thought it was a sign of weakness.


140 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 33, LAB 37, LD 8, UKIP 14”

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  1. Neil A

    ” facing a legally binding referendum decision to withdraw from the EU!”

    There is no such thing as ‘a legally binding referendum decision’. Any law that one parliament passes can be reversed by another, subsequent, one. No parliament can tie the hands of future parliaments.

    Therefore, if some fools in the current HoC try to pass such a law, they’ll be wasting their time. In the circumstances you describe, all the new government need do is, firstly ignore the referendum ‘decision’ and, then, proceed to repeal the act.

    In the words of the Parliament website:
    “Parliamentary sovereignty is a principle of the UK constitution. It makes Parliament the supreme legal authority in the UK, which can create or end any law. Generally, the courts cannot overrule its legislation and no Parliament can pass laws that future Parliaments cannot change. Parliamentary sovereignty is the most important part of the UK constitution. “

  2. @NewhouseT,

    You’re technically correct of course, but the trajectory for the new Labour government would be pretty strange to watch. A mandate of a 1/3 of the electorate, ignoring the expressed will of the majority. They would then “own” completely every single negative headline about the EU for the next 5 years, and would be relying on a dramatic turnaround in UK affection for all things EU by 2020 to avoid annihilation.

    I think they’d probably rather get on with negotiating an exit.

  3. @PETER CAIRNS

    I don’t imagine most people will know the true meaning of Jihad (including that it doesn’t necessarily mean an armed conflict anyway).

  4. @NewhouseT,

    You’re technically correct of course, but the trajectory for the new Labour government would be pretty strange to watch. A mandate of a 1/3 of the electorate, ignoring the expressed will of the majority. They would then “own” completely every single negative headline about the EU for the next 5 years, and would be depending on a dramatic turnaround in UK affection for all things EU by 2020 to avoid annihilation.

    I think they’d probably rather get on with negotiating an exit.

    (Reposted with a change of word as the word “rel*ing” triggered automod).

  5. The thing is though, Neil, most people couldn’t really care less about the EU. And of those that do, the majority are probably actually in favour of staying in.

  6. @RogerH,

    On that basis I suspect that the many muslims don’t know the meaning of Jihad either. I think it’s one of those words which has strayed very far from its original meaning.

    @Norbold,

    I agree that the EU isn’t that salient for most people, but overturning a referendum result wouldn’t just be about the EU. What agitates people is the sense of being ignored and taken for granted by the political classes, or at best being humoured whilst in the background a hidden agenda is being played out.

    In this completely hypothetical, impossible scenario, I very much believe that the government would suffer horribly in opinion polls.

  7. @NEWHOUSET

    And I don’t believe any referendum can itself change anything. If the Scots vote ‘yes’ the UK government has agreed that ‘Scotland would become an independent country after a process of negotiations’ but it (perfidious Albion) could, in theory, renege on that agreement.

  8. I don’t think any incoming government could defy the referendum result and hope to survive.

    But the situation would never arise, because Cameron needs to “renegotiate” so he has a fig leaf to campaign for Better Off In and since he knows perfectly well renegotiation is impossible he doesn’t want to attempt it before an election.

  9. “On that basis I suspect that the many muslims don’t know the meaning of Jihad either. I think it’s one of those words which has strayed very far from its original meaning.”

    I think they probably do. And it hasn’t strayed from its original meaning; it’s just that the media only pick on one of its several meanings.

  10. “I don’t think any incoming government could defy the referendum result and hope to survive”

    What if a party with a manifesto promise not to leave the EU won the election? (Of course it would require a somewhat perverse electorate but with differential turnouts it’s not an impossible scenario to get two conflicting results on the same day.)

  11. The difference between a binding referendum and a consultative one is essentially whether it has any consequences in law.

    So, the European referendum in the Private Members Bill is a consultative one. It requires the government to have a referendum using a particular question before 2017, it doesn’t say anything about what happens if there is a yes or no. A government would be legally free to pass legislation implementing a vote to leave the EU or not as it saw fit.

    The AV referendum was a binding one – the statute introducing the referendum also contained sections to change the electoral system in the event of a YES vote, so if people had voted yes the electoral system would as a result have changed unless the government had specifically acted to prevent it happening.

    Neither way would have bound a future government – governments would have been free to ignore the referendum in both cases, it’s just one could be ignored by just ignoring it, in the other case it could only be ignored by specifically passing legislation to negate the result.

    Politically of course it’s a different matter, it would probably be extremely difficult politically to ignore any referendum result… but what is legally possible and what is politically possible are often different things (one possibility is, as Roger suggests, if a government ran on a specific manifesto promising of ignoring a referendum result)

  12. @NEIL A

    ” but overturning a referendum result wouldn’t just be about the EU. ”

    Yes, I agree with that.

  13. ROGERH

    @”I don’t imagine most people will know the true meaning of Jihad (including that it doesn’t necessarily mean an armed conflict anyway).”

    Most people will just observe what those using the term mean by it-ie killing Christians , or other Muslims , or anyone else that seems appropriate to them.

    The “true” meaning is utterly irrelevant.

  14. @ RogerH et al: all the new government need do is, firstly ignore the referendum ‘decision’ and, then, proceed to repeal the act.
    “I don’t think any incoming government could defy the referendum result and hope to survive”
    “What if a party with a manifesto promise not to leave the EU won the election?”
    General elections happen every few years (5 if the fixed term parliaments hold)
    The party (parties?) forming a government does so having on the basis of numbers of seats won giving a majority in the House of Commons. People vote for a party on the basis of balancing several issues judged against party policy, manifesto commitments, party history of fulfilling expectations and capability, plus the reputation of the local candidate. You could not therefore interprete a win by a party with a manifesto commitment to leave the EU as showing definite support for that action.
    However, the winning party could expect say 45% of the popular vote. That is almost bound to be less than the number voting to leave the EU if that result was obtained on the same day. That large numbers would vote in the GE and not vote in the referendum is very unlikely, and >50% would be needed to carry an OUT vote. The referendum itself would have been a single clear issue, voted on after (for some) years of campaigning with previous promises and manifesto commitments not producing a referendum.
    , and not expected to be repeated.
    So, the government would be faced with
    1. taking no action to leave, with the expectation of criticism for
    a. ignoring the result b. as Neil A puts it, the sense of being ignored and taken for granted by the political classes,
    This would continue until the government actually set about repealing the referendum act, assuming that that Act had specified that the referendum
    was to be acted upon, and not merely consultative. That would require a majority in the Commons. That might not be obtainable, for there are/would be in a new government members who might well vote against repeal either on the grounds that the referendum result should be upheld because they wish to leave the EU, or more generally on the principle that a rare event specifically enacted to reveal the public will should not be overturned. Either way, a no confidence motion might well follow. The difficulties would depend on the actual sizes of majority in the House, share of popular vote in the GE and majority in favour of leaving the EU. There is also the possibility of another party or a private member putting forward a bill to compel the government to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, either before or after any repeal bill – or even an amendment to the repeal bill to the effect that it should only take effect after Article 50 had been invoked. In that case the precise wordings of the original referendum Act and the repeal bill become significant.
    Very deep waters for a new government to swim in. Worse than the expenses scandal because the ire would be directed at the governing party.

  15. @DAODAO

    You’re quite right I expressed myself very badly indeed! I take your point that Scotland will speak in a way on this matter in its Independence referendum….I was suggesting the treason of just getting a UK referendum over and done with at the GE next May….which has about the same chance of happening as a snowball’s chance in in hell’s fire….but it would have the benefit of getting the business out of the way for another generation….save those who do not get the answer they desire will call for another one as soon as the first one is counted.

  16. @Colin: “The ‘true’ meaning is utterly irrelevant.”

    Not if that’s the one that those promoting Jihad have in mind. And it’s not a question of a ‘true’ meaning. Both meanings can be true depending on the context.

    There was a programme presented by Boris Johnson a year or so ago in which he talked to a group of Turks about the meaning of ‘crusade’. Johnson explained that in English you might have, for example, a crusade against litter whereas they interpreted the word specifically as a religious war against Islam. Something George Bush should have been aware of when talking of a ‘crusade against terrorism’ in 2001.

  17. Referendums are arranged by political parties that can’t come to a decision on an issue within their own ranks. It has nothing to do with ‘giving the British people a say in their future on this vital matter’.

    It happened with the Labour Party under Wilson and now it has been forced on Cameron by the differing views within his party. There is no evidence that Cameron was ever enthusiastic on the matter particularly as he has made very clear that he will never campaign for a No vote. In addition, if I remember correctly, he has only promised a referendum to back his acceptable negotiated terms: if he fails to achieve terms acceptable to himself, then no referendum is promised.

    At the next general election, the public will have a clear opportunity to vote for parties whose EU policies suit them:
    UKIP – leave EU immediately.
    Tories – stay in the EU but only after certain, yet to be announced, terms are changed and with the specific agreement of the electorate by referendum – simple majority, no minimum involvement criteria.
    Labour – stay in EU and attempt to negotiate, yet to be announced, better terms with a referendum promised if changes involve treaty changes.
    LibDems – [I’ve no idea but probably something similar to Labour.]

    I can’t, for the life of me, imagine that one of those parties would gain an overall majority in the HoC on the same day that an EU in/out referendum produced a result totally at odds with their stated policy. At this late date, there can’t be any chance of a referendum on GE day in any case. How would the legislation to hold it get through Parliament?

  18. Well, we’re desperate for a bit of rain up here, so it’s heartening to see so many anoraks are out on here.

  19. I was expecting an Observer/Opinium poll today, but can’t find any sign or hint of it. Anyone know?

  20. Half time break, so a quick dip into one of my favourite websites! I’m desperately trying to find something either new or interesting to say about these static and unchanging polls, and failing. Still, here goes, and I’ll rely on the leaders personal approval ratings. Miliband and Clegg still much the same but Cameron appears to have taken a minor hit, slipping from -13 to -18. A Juncker/Coulson, effect perhaps, but the responses are so party politically skewed, I’m not sure how meaningful they really are. If Miliband could persuade a few more Labour voters he was doing a half decent job then he’d be more or less dead level with Cameron. Still pretty negative, but at least on level terms in terms of voter disdain!

    I think we’re probably all looking in the wrong place anyway, and I’m not at all sure that these leaders ratings are exercising much influence on voting intentions. Maybe Miliband has got the greater scope for improvement because it must be easier to persuade your existing, and seemingly loyal, supporters that you’re doing well!

    Coulson and Juncker won’t make much difference beyond suppressing the Tory vote a little. The caravan will soon move on.

    Blimey, what a goal from Santos for Mexico!!! Must go. :-)

  21. @Newhouset
    “I can’t, for the life of me, imagine that one of those parties would gain an overall majority in the HoC on the same day that an EU in/out referendum produced a result totally at odds with their stated policy”
    Can’t you? Keep the NHS free at the point of use and increase its funding; nationalize the railways; increase the minimum wage – vote Labour
    Clamp down on immigration – vote OUT of the EU.
    (Maybe not entirely accurate or logical, but then ….)
    However, ” there can’t be any chance of a referendum on GE day in any case. How would the legislation to hold it get through Parliament?” Very true.

  22. The impact of the Juncker debacle on next week’s polls is hard to call and will be fascinating. I suspect we might see a minor Ukip bounce, but I have no idea whether it will be positive or negative for the Tories.

    What I do think interesting is that this whole thing is very much media driven. Six weeks ago I suspect not 1% of the population could have identified J-C Juncker; now I suspect 60%+ would identify him as a dangerous foe of Britain, just because some papers and politicians say so.

  23. In terms of Real Politick this question is meaningless, because I don’t think there’s going to be a referendum.

    The reason for this is simple. For all they complain about things like the European Transaction Tax, the absolute last thing that the City of London wants is the risk of the UK leaving the EU. Because City of London Commodities trading merged into ‘Euronext’ a long time ago, and London’s position as a trading hub between west and eastern hemispheres, long ago became dependant on links with Europe. Take those away, and the City of London suddenly becomes a less useful place to do business.

    Leaving the EU would be an existential crisis to the City of London, and that’s before you get to the issues of EU dependant jobs in the rest of the UK and so on… Yes, fringe economists sometimes pop up to say “Oh, but it’ll all be alright in the end if the UK leaves”, but they often make some odd assumptions such as the City of London still maintaining it’s position as a trading hub.

    Those proponents of leaving the EU all make much the same economic and political arguments as the SNP does in regard to Scotland leaving the UK. A rash of economic wishful thinking, assumption that they would be treated with kindness and deference in the divorce proceedings, and declarations that the government could do all kinds of nice things if only they were out of the grip of those tyrants… And in both cases it does not convince those who’s livelihoods depend on maintaining those ties.

    A Conservative party that actually led the charge on leaving the EU rather than merely wanting to put the brakes on deeper integration with the EU, would be a Conservative party without half it’s current funding. And in reality, the party is almost certainly going to go through a period of nasty in-fighting over this, because even if Cameron wins in 2015, he would then be committed to having to try to reform his party as one in favour of the EU to defend a IN vote! I wouldn’t be surprised if there was even a leadership challenge within the party over it.

    It was always folly to have made any declarations one way or the other within the Conservative party, because it always set up a conflict over the wedge issue between Nationalist Conservatives and Business Conservatives. In the end the Business Conservatives either must win, or must leave, and either way results in a Conservative party unable to offer a referendum.

  24. A brilliant summary of the dilemma that has been facing the Conservative Party for at least 20 years, Jay and led to the demise of many a leader.

  25. @ Ben Foley

    Fortnightly and I’m sure they had one last week.

  26. Looking at the polls and the most recognised stories I think Cameron missed a trick when he didn’t take the chance to bite Junckers!

    Peter

  27. @PETER CAIRNS

    But there’s a heck of a backlash against Junck food at present..

  28. Here’s one of those quizzes people like.

    http://www.people-press.org/quiz/political-typology/

    It is for the US but it’s worth a look …. I am a Solid Liberal

    Unfortunately for DaoDao Germano-Celtic insurrection it’s wasn’t available for me to choose!

    Peter.

  29. Guymonde,

    I think you should focus on Eurown diet not Cameron’s!

    Peter.

  30. Chris Lane

    Ah, fair enough. I don’t ever venture into the Mail so it’s only the stuff plastered all over the front page that registers with me.

  31. Whatever my diet, I’m also a Solis Liberal ( no surprise there). I thought some of the questions were biased
    (EG, “the growing number of newcomers”)

  32. JAYBLANC says at 8.23
    ‘Yes, fringe economists sometimes pop up to say “Oh, but it’ll all be alright in the end if the UK leaves”, but they often make some odd assumptions such as the City of London still maintaining it’s position as a trading hub.’

    This and some of your other points are correct. Would anyone seriously vote for leaving the EU if it ment an end to inward industrial investment and for instance the gradual exporting of car buildoing jobs abroad?
    Who can say this would not happen without serious safeguards – and those safeguards would in effect make little difference to where we are now – we would be in the EEA.

    The question is why does no one point this out. Those who profess to hate the EU and those who see it as a good thing are reluctant to say that as long as we are in the EEA then things would not be much different.
    Of course EEA countries (only Norway really) are in Schengen. And again no one seems to want to admit that if we leave the EU and then try to get some nice cosy arrangement to protect our car and finance industries, the price we will be asked to pay would be to join Schengen.

  33. Guymonde,

    “I thought some of the questions were biased”

    I suspect that as Pew does focus groups as well they would have asked questions on issues when creating the classifications and then built the questions around the kind of things typical people in each group said.

    They felt like “Average Joe” statements more than bias ones.

    Peter.

  34. Frighteningly I just tried Pews quiz on news that is mostly about the US and scored better than 65% of Americans!!!!!!

    Peter.

  35. I see that Labour won three seats on Barnet council on Thursday.
    Meanwhile the LDs are storming it on Littlehampton Town council !

  36. BRAMLEY.
    I only read DM on line for the footy gossip.

    AW has the details of SURVATION Poll up on this thread.

    I do not really believe the figures on there though.

  37. @ Ewen,

    Those seats in Barnet aren’t Labour gains- it was always a Labour ward.

  38. Ooh, new Ashcroft marginal polling out this Tuesday, apparently.

  39. Oh and the average has been updated. 31 isn’t good for the Tories, especially not 10 months before GE day.

  40. Yes apparently Sunday Times predicts Lord Ashcroft will say Labour would win 7 seats from Lib Dems.

  41. I’ve just remembered that I’m part Costa Rican.

  42. Spear
    I knew they wasn’t gains ! Still a huge margin of victory though, given that the Standard put out a London poll last week claiming the Tories were ‘surging ‘ back in the capital.

  43. RnD
    My wife’s ex-sister -in -law’s mother’s nephew is the Costa Rican phisiotherapist !

  44. Or is it physiotherapist ?

  45. R&D

    I’ve just remembered that I’m part Costa Rican.

    Should not drink so much of that coffee then.

  46. Meanwhile, here at the centre of the Free World,

    “A Tea Party candidate who lost to Rep. Frank Lucas in Oklahoma’s Republican primary last week plans to contest the results, because he says his opponent is an impostor serving as a body double for the real Frank Lucas, whom he claims was executed in Ukraine in 2011.”

    It seems that they are still trying to catch up with the UK’s world championship silliness entry, that any policy taken by the UK Government, on anything at all, is “non-political”.

  47. CB11
    ” it must be easier to persuade your existing, and seemingly loyal, supporters that you’re doing well!”

    Is’nt the main and most interesting news the the irrelevance of the leadership polling based on “doing well”? Do you think that “the economy, stupid” needs to be rephrased, perhaps.

  48. Sounds plausible to me ole nat: have you any proof its not true?

  49. For all the civilities exchanged between DC and Herr Juncker yesterday, the EU’s goal remains the same and is summed up in the words of one of its founders (Jean Monnet) as early as August 1943:
    “There will be no peace in Europe, if the states are reconstituted on the basis of national sovereignty… The countries of Europe are too small to guarantee their peoples the necessary prosperity and social development. The European states must constitute themselves into a federation…”

  50. Jay (and others).

    Re EU and Economics.

    I think you are right but at least NF has said that leaving the EU may lead to a drop in GDP but that control over your own destiny is more important, credible at least imo.

    Similarly re Scotland, I think once the debate becomes about Economics the No campaign has the edge as uncertainty is inevitable and claim and counter claim dominates.

    To me the issue should be one of identity and sovereignty first and foremost; I can be Scottish and British but does staying in the Union dilute my Scottishness to an extent I can not accept?

    So in both cases a possible negative Economic impact of leaving the Eu/UK would be more than compensated by the identity issue and being in control of our own affairs would in time mean policies more suited to our society etc.

    For the record am pro EU and hope the Scots vote no but can understand why many will vote yes and if I lived there may well do so myself.

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