The weekly YouGov poll for the Sunday Times is up here and has topline figures of CON 31%, LAB 36%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 16%, GRN 5%. There are some questions on the political leaders (particularly Ed Miliband in advance of this week’s Labour conference), but they show the usual pattern – David Cameron is more trusted than Ed Miliband on the Conservatives’ strong issues like law and order and the economy, Ed Miliband does better on Labour’s strong issues like the NHS. Ed Miliband’s own ratings remain mediocre.

On the Scottish referendum 32% think David Cameron handled it well, 54% badly. 25% think Ed Miliband handled the referendum well, 48% badly. Asked about English devolution 71% of people thought that Scottish MPs should not be able to vote on issues that affect only England (including the majority of Scottish respondents in the poll), 15% of people thought they should. On the Barnett formula there was a predictable result – English respondents thought it should be scrapped and Scottish funding reduced, Scottish respondents that it shouldn’t.

Survation also had a poll out today and found similar levels of support for some sort of re-arrangement of the constitution for England: 65% said that Scottish MPs should by banned from voting on English laws at Westminster, 59% would support an English Parliament. There is a crucial caveat though – Survation also asked what the top priority should be for the government – 31% said immigration, 20% the economy, 9% jobs, 9% public services, 6% combating terrorism and down on 5% constitutional reform. Don’t look at polls showing large majorities supporting English votes on English Laws and assume it also means people think the issue is urgent or important. It only means support is widespread, not that people necessarily think it should be a priority.

455 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 31, LAB 36, LD 7, UKIP 16”

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  1. @ RAF,

    Pressman believes young people vote.

    To be fair, Labour are relying on it.

  2. Will Hutton in the Guardian cites the McKay commission which reported, inter alia, on EVfELs earlier this year. It took 2 years to deliberate — & no one even mentions it.

    It states.
    “The then leader of the Conservatives, William Hague, spoke in 1999 of the need for ‘English votes on English laws’ and this commitment formed part of the Conservative manifesto for the 2001 general election.”

    The Coalition agreement of May 2010.
    “We will establish a commission to consider the ‘West Lothian question.”

    The Report. [The problem is more apparent than real.]

    “Since 1919, only in the parliaments of 1964–66 and February–October 1974 has the party or coalition forming the UK Government not also enjoyed a majority in England.”

    [The 1924 & 1929-31 Labour governments neither had English majorities or were in fact coalitions!]

    are they standing? didn’t think they could afford to lose any more deposit

    Richard they are standing and have put forward their candidate ;-)

  4. @AC

    There are plenty of UK wide issues that can only be decided at Westminster. The EU, immigration, external relations, currency, defence etc.

    As for the WLQ, we will need to maintain Scottish voting rights on English only issues until England has had its own constitutional convention and worked out what it wants in terms if devolution (regional, national, cities etc).

  5. Pressman

    You can’t leave us in suspense like that – who is this former Labour supporter whose really trendy and cool (do kids still say cool?) and popular with the newspaper reading masses of teenagers?

    Elton John?
    Tony Blair?

    Maybe it’s Freddy “Parrot Face” Davis? (Actually, not sure he was ever Labour, mind you the same applies to Blair come to think of it!)

  6. pressman murdochs press is a laughing stock in the eyes of the public and most people take what the sun says with a pinch of salt so in may2015 there will be no “its the sun wot won it ” headline if I was Cameron I would tell Murdoch to keep his gob shut !!!

  7. @ Pressman

    All credit to you if you pull off this young celebrities endorsement thingie.

    I think it will be a tough job- haven’t you noticed how quickly bands and celebrities are on their twitter accounts these days apologising for some random comment or other because their PR agent has told them it might affect their bank balance?

    Also isn’t Andy Murray’s abuse a warning to any of those celebs who feel like speaking out.

    There’s a blandness to most modern performers especially ones appealing to the younger generation. Most of them probably don’t have much in the way of political views anyway or are just anti politics which is pretty cool. It makes me nostalgic for the “old days”- you wouldn’t have got the Pistols rushing off to twitter apologising for their comments which were in no way meant to be derogatory towards the royal family.

  8. Well if David Beckham can save the UK then who knows? Maybe Pressman has a point.

  9. Dsvid Cameron, writing tiday in the Daily Mail, offers broad new powers to the Scottish Parliament (legislation by January to be passed only in the next parliament though) and, at the same time, challenges Labour to support “English votes for Engliish laws” or “explain themselves to the rest of the UK”.

    Exactly as I predicted he would do. Too early to be captured by the polls though;

    Ed Miliband is now forced to come up with a concrete counter-proposal, be it a separate English parliament or regional assemblies. The promise of a protracted constitutional convention will simply not do it.

    I suspec,t however, that any proposal on a separately elected English parliament or regional assemblies will be less favoured by English voters than an English parliament within the House of Commons, as English voters, when given a choice, normally reject extra layers of government and bureaucracy and will most likely prefer to achieve English devolution without the need to set up new legislative bodies and government depatrtments.

  10. constitutional issues bore the electorate and don’t move polls…on 9th october ukip will have their first elected MP and the momentum will be with them…the tories are done as has been clear for 2 years to me.

  11. james peel

    “..the tories are done as has been clear for 2 years to me.”

    and to me.

  12. Allan

    I think they might just save their despoit

  13. @M Bruno

    EM said on Marr that he supported implementing the McKay proposals. That’s an answer.

    EM also raised an issue DC did not even consider: there are already WL type situations in England which DC is not considering addressing. For example, the London Mayor and assembly is in control of transport in London. Does this mean London MOs should not be allowed to vote on UK transport matters in the rest of the UK? Hence EMs argument that a convention is required to deal with all of these anomalies, not just to deal with the one that suits DC.

    Whether the voters will buy EM’s more nuanced position is open to question. But it’s certainly a reasonable answer to DC’s challenge.

  14. Can I remind people that sarcastic and unpleasant responses to people who don’t share your views does make for an environment that is welcoming to people of all political viewpoints. It doesn’t make it very welcoming for the person making them either, as they end up on pre-moderation.

    If you find someone else’s comments unbearable just *ignore* them.

  15. “There are some questions on the political leaders (particularly Ed Miliband in advance of this week’s Labour conference), but they show the usual pattern – David Cameron is more trusted than Ed Miliband on the Conservatives’ strong issues like law and order and the economy, Ed Miliband does better on Labour’s strong issues like the NHS. ”

    Ironically, one reasonably likely outcome of EV4EL could be to hand each party power on the issues they’re least trusted on. An English Parliament might not be quite the disaster for Labour it first appears for the same reason.

  16. @Pressman

    Are you trying to hint that ‘One Direction’ are all Tories? Say it isn’t so!

    Actually, is there any evidence that celebrities shift people’s voting intentions? I would have thought it was the other way around – that people’s political feelings decide which one’s are ‘very good’ and which one’s are ‘overrated’ (for the passionate crowd) and then for normal people it’s a case of shrugged shoulders.

  17. I would also like to point out that the english parliament issue seems to me similar to the EU referendum. It excited the tory press and the tory/ukip side of the electorate but it had practically zero effect on polling.

    There were stories when Miliband ruled out the EU referendum that this somehow was a disastrous move from him, that the Cameron had played a blinder and now would win the election. Six months late, Miliband’s ruling out the referendum has freed his hand, should he become PM, and has had no demonstrable impact on his chances.

  18. RAF:

    All I can tell you right now is that, in today’s Opinium poll for the Telegraph, six out of 10 UK voters back “English votes for English laws”. The percentage of supporters is about the same in Scotland and in the rest of the UK. Furthermore, 46 % of Labour voters also support it.

    If EM sticks with postponing the issue in the form of a constitutional convention at some unspecified point in the future, he might pay a price in the general election.

  19. It doesn’t matter whether 60% of the electorate support ‘English votes for English laws” (as though that meant anything) if 36% of the electorate vote for Labour to be the UK Government, does it?

  20. MBruno

    Understood. But does AW not say in his blog above that Survation found only 5% of those polled considered constitutional issues the most most important task for the government?

  21. Spearmint,

    Two things:

    1) If health is entirely devolved, there would not be a UK health minister.

    2) The opposition can introduce a bill in the Lords.

  22. Nickp: The general election is still 8 months away. I wouldn’t put too much stock in today’s election polls. Besides, even today, some polls are already tighter than YouGov anyway.

  23. @ NickP & James Peel

    I’ll try to remember your predictions re the Tories being “done” and remind you come the GE.

    I’m hoping for a LD recovery but not holding my breath on this.

  24. ROGERH
    @”The other issue with an English Parliament, IMO, is that it doesn’t devolve any power to a more local level. ”

    Cart before Horse.

    You are trying to address government within a country before you sort out government of the country.

    EM is doing it too-for reasons I can understand.

  25. This is an important issue:…7 out of 10 may favour gay marriage, for example, but that doesn’ t mean that this issue is the principal driver of their vote…this is the mistake the Cameroons made. A clear majority supported the Same Sex Marriage bill but that they did not necessarily decide to vote Conservative because of it.

    People can express support for a particular issue but that doesn’t mean that the issue determines their voting behaviour. I suspect that many of the 60% who support “English votes for English laws” are inclined to vote labour…this one issue will not necessarily change their vote…

    this fallacy is often committed by pollsters and politicians….”8 out of 10 support x, therefore if you as PM do x, you will get a boost in the polls”. a very simplistic and illogical way of proceeding.

  26. I am quite happy to be reminded of the result. I have actually got money on the outcome so, apart from mocking notices on this website, i have a direct material interest in the result.

  27. EM told Marr that increasing the Minimum Wage to £8 by 2020 would be cost free because In work benefits/ tax credits would fall & tax revenues would go up.

    I waited for the obvious question-so there is no net benefit to recipients then ?

    But it didn’t come.

  28. mbruno

    Why do you put stock in the other poll figures then? Why do you think Ed M will pay th price at the general election?

    36% of the voting public will vote Lab (they say) fairly concrete, that.. 60% support “English votes for English laws”. No explanation of what that means or would entail.

    But you think the second is more important than the first?

  29. colin

    there will be a net benefit to those on low pay and not in receipt of benefits, and also to the public purse.

  30. RAF:

    Survation says the most important issues to voters are immigration and the economy. Well, the economy is growing above 3 % a year (the fastest growth rate in Europe) and unempolyment is down to 6 % with 1.5 % inflation. So, I guess the Tories have the upper hand on that issue. On immigration, on the other hand, I suppose most voters don’t trust any of the traditional parties, but they are likely to trust DC more than EM on that one.

    If Labour lose the debate on all major campaign issues (except perhaps the NHS), I don’t see how they can win the general election. Stalling on constitutional reform only adds to EM’s troubles.

    Please understand I don’t necessarily back the Conservatives (for example, I’m vehemently opposed to an EU referendum), but I’m just trying to be objective here.

  31. Paul, it isn’t someone who is young or cool but he is a former Labour supporter and that will be significant but there will be plenty of younger celeb endorsements for Cameron.

    I say endorsements, nobody pretends that Cameron is popular and [NewsUK] can’t sell the ‘your mate Dave’ to the Sun readership but he will be presented as the best PM for Britain given the horrific alternative option. That’s why the campaign has to be even more negative than 1992. And we have the curveball of UKIP this time, potentially causing havoc. It’s a big challenge but in the words of [NewsUK’s] veterans ‘ i can’t ****ing wait’.

  32. Anthony

    I know SNP may be on a “sympathy swing ” in Scottish VI just now, but was surprised to see that they now have 17% of the English vote according to the YG column on the far right hand side …and dear old Nigel will be worried that the walls of Clacton may not fall as UKIP only have one in a hundred true-born Englanders to blow the trumpet…

    Or is there some inwardness I overlooked,like a sudden love of Plaid on the other side of my border – I’m afraid rather a lot of Welsh politicians have been blathering about the need for English regional devolution during the referendum, but was previously unaware that this had attracted support from Middle England ? ;- )

  33. AW
    “Asked about English devolution 71% of people thought that Scottish MPs should not be able to vote on issues that affect only England (including the majority of Scottish respondents in the poll), 15% of people thought they should.”

    Whatever that question is about, it’s not a question about devolution. It’s a question about a means of trying to avoid devolution.

  34. @ Hal,

    1) EV4EL in its raw form doesn’t create an English executive, so presumably the English Health Secretary would still be appointed by the UK Prime Minister just as s/he is now.

    The John Redwood English Executive version is a slightly different animal, but just as democratically dangerous- here we get Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt confronted with an ambulance crisis and Chancellor Ed Balls refusing to release the funds to deal with it. A slightly less likely scenario, since as Neil A points out Labour are less austere and also tend to want public services to function, but still within the realm of possibility.

    2) Good point, and one I hope the Labour leadership is more aware of than I was.

  35. I live in Tory Surrey and I work in the public sector. For those of you who think the Tories aren’t “done” or that economic improvement will get that public sector vote back I can tell you the hatred and bitterness about enforced pay freezes, pension attacks, moderation and terms and condition attacks are ongoing and entrenched.

    Whatever you read here or online or in the press or on the BBC or Sky, they are not winning next time. The supposed backswing ain’t happening.

    Here on the sharp end of their policies we can’t wait to kick them out.

  36. @Valerie,

    To my mind, Spearmint did nothing to explain how gridlock would occur, she simply restated her opinion that it would occur.

    The only way that a UK government and an English government could interfere with each other is if the UK government used block grant funding to try and interfere with the English government’s decisions. ie Labour trying to interfere with the Tories. Do we really think that is likely?

    The comparison with Washington is completely invalid. True gridlock arises when you divide responsibility for the same competencies between two or more different bodies (what the US call “checks and balances”) and demand that they all agree before anything can be done. In other words if you had a situation where any decision from the Scots, English, Welsh or Northern Irish legislatures had to be agreed by the UK parliament, then you could truly have gridlock.

    But when you have two different levels of government, with mutually exclusive competencies, there simply isn’t a chance of gridlock. If the UK government tried to block a Scottish health policy, they’d be told where to go, and so should it be with an English health policy. The closest we could get to UK interference in areas where it is not competent would be something like the European matters (including the TTIP negotiations) where the consequence of obeying Brussels could have an effect on devolved matters within the home countries. But that’s a whole other issue, and at least the UK countries are fairly represented in the European Parliament.

  37. @Colin

    The Barnett Formula only relates to changes in public expenditure. This wiki summary is reasonably accurate:

    “The formula distributes expenditure to the constituent countries of the UK. Changes in public spending are applied in proportion to current population.

    It applies only to expenditure on issues which the devolved administrations (as opposed to UK central government) are responsible for. Its principle is that any increase or reduction in expenditure in England will automatically lead to a proportionate increase or reduction in resources for the devolved governments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Analogous arrangements apply to categories of expense which are only controlled by some of the devolved governments. The formula is not applied to all public expenditure, but is the default option if no other decisions are made. Expenditure is allocated en bloc, not by service, allowing each devolved administration to allocate these funds as it believes appropriate.”

    There is a good HOC library research paper on it which you can Google. Over time the expenditure levels of England and Scotland are moving closer in line with England’s higher population growth.

    Taxes don’t enter into it.

  38. Hannah

    “Ironically, one reasonably likely outcome of EV4EL could be to hand each party power on the issues they’re least trusted on. An English Parliament might not be quite the disaster for Labour it first appears for the same reason.”

    Well spotted – I’ve often thought of that irony, the “Peoples Party”, many of whose members and voters are more concerned with Health, Welfare and Social Services issues will be in control of the Defence of the Realm and the highest economic policies while the more traditional of the two main parties, largely supported by the military and financial establishment will be deciding on Bin collections in Gateshead and hospital organisation in Godalming!


    “I waited for the obvious question-so there is no net benefit to recipients then ?”

    Good point you make there but Marr is so obsessed with trying to trip Miliband up from the right (the perceived cost to taxpayers in this case) that he doesn’t question him from the “left” ( in this case the fact that low paid people may not actually benefit).

  39. A policy which increases the amount of money companies pay out, and reduces the amount of money government pays out, whilst leaving the recipients of the money unchanged, is surely properly referred to as a “payroll tax” isn’t it?

    The trick with the minimum wage is to keep it low enough that it doesn’t destroy, or prevent the creation of, too many jobs.

    £8 an hour doesn’t sound too unreasonable to me, in the time frame being discussed. There have been some even in the Tory party arguing for a significant increase, arguing that an overly low wage, combined with in-work benefits, is just a form of state subsidy to business (and therefore not very “Tory”).

    The proof of the pudding would be in the reaction of employers (and I mean that in the sense of their actual “action” rather than their words).

  40. @Hal

    Health is devolved. If there is a UK Health Minister the title should either be English Health Minister or you should find out what they are being paid for.

    Ed M`s interview on the AM programme this morning was revealing. Having spoken about the UK and devolution he then went on to talk about the NHS and “our country” but he meant England.

  41. Spearmint: as I understand it, William Hague’s commission will propose an English executive responsible to the English parliament within the HoC. The (English) Health Secretary will no longer be a UK government minister then, but rather an English executive minister. The UK treasury will allocate a block grant to the English executive, who in turn will be free to spend it as it pleases.

    The potential for conflict istherefore the same as the potential for conflict with, let’s say, the Scottish executive, which operates under similar financial arrangements. However, since the English parliament within the HoC and, hence, the English executive will be elected simulatneously with the full HoC and , hence, the UK government, the likelihood that the two governments will be controlled by different parties will be actually lower than it would be if a separate English parliament with a different voting system were set up.

    When Cameron argues it that way, most English voters, who traditionally favour minimalist approaches to government, will probably agree wth him.

  42. People forget that in the 80s the Government moved to prevent the GLC and other councils doing anything but follow their central policies. Do you think a UK Thatcher Government wouldn’t have dissolved a Labour English Parliament or at least block it from doing anything collective?

    Following narrow party advantage has a way of coming back to bite you later. It might well be that AV and PR would have been very useful to the right in the future…but they didn’t like it when they thought it favoured Lab so now it is ruled out.

  43. Re. celebrities, my experience (even in my not-quite-so-long-ago youth) is that if a celebrity is publicly political, it’s more likely to change someone’s opinion of the celebrity than their chosen political party. (e.g. “ah, shame about Gary Barlow, I used to like him in Take That”).

    I certainly saw that in the Independence referendum up here — with a few noteworthy exceptions, where the comment was more intelligent, celebrity endorsements were more-or-less brushed off by the neutrals. (“why do I care what a tennis player who doesn’t live here thinks about independence?”)

    I suppose at the margins someone who is leaning in a particular direction might take comfort in a celebrity endorsement and solidify their support — maybe.

    I’d love to know if there’s any literature on this (academic or informal) though I have absolutely no idea how you’d even start to test it. In this case I’d trust self-reported survey evidence about as far as I could throw YouGov’s server room.

  44. @Hireton,

    I think the effect of proper devolution on the Barnett formula would be to massively increase the amount of money raised locally, thereby reducing the amount of money doled out in block grants.

    When I hear the Scots arguing for the Barnett formula I don’t really think of it as being in favour of the actual formula itself (I don’t think they give a fig whether the SW or the Midlands gets a higher spend, or whether NI’s figure is as good as Wales’). All I hear is “Scotland should continue to get more money than England per person”. I don’t have a problem with that, as a practical solution to the “It’s My Oil” issue. I don’t think the Scots will mind us reforming the Barnett formula any way we want so long as they still get treatment which is similarly favourable.

  45. @NickP,

    Most Tory supporters (including me) don’t appear to be in favour of devolution per se But if there must be Scottish devolution then the logical outcome is a comprehensive devolution settlement all round. Thatcher didn’t have to worry about it because she ruled Scotland directly (some might say causing the problem in the first place, I know). The current issues were caused by Labour party policy. The Tories are just learning to live with it.

    As for London, you do realise that it has, and has always had powerful local authorities in the boroughs, right? Thatcher didn’t abolish local government in London, she merely removed a layer of it and returned most of the powers of that layer to the boroughs. The only thing that was truly a GLC-only responsibility was the LFB, which had to have a new authority created just for it (the LFCDA).

  46. Bramley – getting a majority for Cam will be tough but can be done. []

  47. In 1982, Liverpool voters were governed under the same rules as Glasgow voters.

    That is no longer the case.

    I am perfectly fine with devolving competition policy to local authorities, regional councils or the Kingdom of Northumbria, if that’s what the people of England want to do. But it should be up to the English to decide, as it is now up to the Scots.

  48. Them and the PLP both…

  49. neil a

    How will we know what the English want to do? Cameron seems to think we should ask William Hague.

  50. @NickP

    I guess we’ll have an election to ask them. You doing anything in May 2015? That date’s free for me.

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