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. Robin,

    The final result was 55.3% to 44.7%.

    At 5:4 that is 55 v 44 ( 5×11 and 4×11) an error of 0.3 and 0.7.
    At 11:9 it is 55 v 45 (11×5 and 9×5) an error of 0.3 and 0.3, which by my mathes is less.

    If you want to trivialise 9:11 try this;

    Like I said High Dudgeon!


  2. Hal,

    I don’t think that strategy would work, unless coupled with (a) abolishing the House of Lords to avoid its scrutinising role and (b) reducing devolved powers to widen the range of Scottish (or Welsh or Northern Irish) matters that fall under Westminster’s business.

  3. As for a constitutional convention, it has at least been said that before the late 1940s, there was a general informal rule in this country that constitutional changes were done with the broad consent of parliament, and that Labour did away with this principle when they abolished plural voting and university seats.

  4. Both seem to have been valid reasons to have ignored such a convention.

  5. Roger H,

    Right, but that means that there’s no principled reason for a constitutional convention, rather than making changes through parliament.

  6. @Spearmint

    It wouldn’t, and it didn’t. There was a big Labour rebellion on it and Blair didn’t have the votes amongst his English MPs. It was Scottish votes that put it through, from people whose own constituents were unaffected by the legislation

    I now see that you referring to the 2004 vote to increase tuition fees from £1,000 to £3,000, rather than the 1998 introduction of fees and loans. Interesting how the Tories and LibDems were so united in opposing such huge fees. I note that the SNP, PC, and Northern Ireland all voted with the Tory opposition, as indeed did Tam Dalyell and some other Scottish Labour MPs. There were 72 Labour rebels – and it does seem likely that if the vote had been for English and Welsh MPs alone it might have been lost by Blair, but I am have not seen the figures for England and Wales alone.

    I wish that Blair had lost that vote, so I do have some sympathy for your point of view.

  7. @Peter Cairns, Robin

    16:13 is a better approximation than 5:4 or 11:9.

    It’s also better numerology as the unlucky losers get the 13 ;)

  8. I have discovered that the Clacton by-election is being organised by Tendring District Council. That name rings a bell somewhere.

    Are the polls or local press still predicting a UKIP gain following the defection of the sitting Conservative MP?

  9. Postage included,

    Ok I’ll go with 16:13 and call it our Cape Corvo moment!


  10. Spearmint @ 11.03 and 11.20 pm:

    Come off it.

    You have made biased and wrong statements.

    On tuition fees, you and many other English nationalists are distorting the figures for 2004. On the final reading of the bill the Labour government would have scraped home by 1 or 2 votes.

    I used to have the full figures on hand to regularly argue against people like you. Where you go wrong is not including the MPs from Scotland who voted against the bill.

    And adding in Labour MPs from Wales who voted in favour, which you shouldn`t argue against on the grounds that the bill affected the tuition fees in Wales.

    We have never had the UK parliament with different classes of MPs able to vote on different matters, and it is outrageous that many rightwingers aided by the BBC, e.g. Sarah Montague on Radio 4 Today this morning, should be suddenly wanting this when they never tried to defend Scotland against it in the past.

  11. I just don’t see that many people changing their voting intentions over EV4EL. People imo are still far more concerned with the money in their pockets (or lack of in many cases).

    Anyone see the mail story about the accountant who was struggling on £370,000? what with some struggling to eat or heat my heart bled for them.

  12. Pete

    Linking tsunami to 9/11

    Oh dear.

    A tsunami is a natural event caused by weather, like a hurricane.

    9/11 was a specific, planned event and a massacre organised by one group of people against another.

    Do you see the difference?

  13. R&D

    yeah but which group?

    Seriously don’t talk about 911 while I’m around

  14. @David Welch: “…you and many other English nationalists…”

    If you think that Spearmint is either an English nationalist or arguing for the Tories’ EV4EL, you haven’t been following the discussion carefully enough.

  15. The big problem with the EV4EL idea is that makes no practical difference for the North and West of England. They would still be governed from London under the useless FPTP system (which is far more unfair than WLQ from a democratic point of view).

  16. MW:

    This is what Spearmint said at 11.03 pm last night:

    “””Tuition fees in England were railroaded through with the votes of Scottish MPs who knew they would not affect their own constituencies, where students wouldn’t have to pay a penny. That is, objectively, a democratic outrage. The West Lothian Question is a genuine problem”””

    How can someone assume that youngsters in Scotland will never want to go onto universities in England or Wales? The WLQ is a TINY problem that would be solved if regional assemblies were set up in England., but people in England chose to vote against it.

    Without tuition fees being charged on students from England, universities in Scotland would have been overwhelmed by applicants from England. I agree that the present system is unacceptable and wrong, and in this case I believe the Scottish parliament was wrong to keep tuition fees free. They should have put up with the majority UK view.

  17. I think you can exaggerate the significance of Scottish votes in 2004. Perhaps Blair would have had to have made some concession to force the legislation through but I doubt it would have been abandoned. It’s not as if EV4EL wouldn’t create more than enough anomalies of its own.

  18. “This is what Spearmint said at 11.03 pm last night:


    So what? Your characterisation of Spearmint’s outlook and views on EV4EL is still wrong – as you would have known if you’d been following the discussion more carefully.

  19. David Welch

    Spearmint’s only following the story as repeated at the time:

    It reports 46 Scottish MPs supporting the Bill and 21 opposing (5 Lab, 5 SNP, 10 Lib Dem, George Galloway) so the 25 vote surplus certainly put Labour over the line as they only had a majority of 5. I’m not sure if the Bill covered Northern Ireland (they control fees locally now but may not have at the time), but even the 14 votes against (6 DUP, 3 SDLP, 5 UUP according to Public Whip) wouldn’t have evened things up.

    I agree that the West Lothian Question isn’t that important. I also think Spearmint is wrong in saying the pre-1999 situation was similar to the current situation on legislation affecting only parts of the UK because Scottish laws applied to all Scotland automatically and were always passed irrespective of the views of Scottish MPs rather than it just very occasionally happening the other way with the WLQ. But in this particular case it does seem to have made a difference.

  20. Labour’s “U-turn pledge to freeze child benefit” — it’s a cap but that’s not how many will report or perceive it – seems maladroit, polling wise.
    Labour have women on their side & should be appealing to the v. high proportion of women — 17-19% — persistently reported by YouGov as DKs — twice the male proportion.

    CB is seen as a mother’s income & the cap — which will save £80 mill a year — is already overshadowing the Minimum Wage proposals.

  21. @RobbieAlive

    Perhaps Labour take the view that many parents these days are non-European and therefore unlikely to switch votes

  22. Hi R&D Not paying enough attention I left this for you in the wrong pigeon hole at 2.40am. Wouldn’t want you to miss it.
    @ Rosie and Daisy:
    I have never warmed to Alec Salmond but saying he is “astonished” at the speed at which “Westminster leaders are reneging” on the promise made is a new low.
    They are not. All that has happened is that some Tory MPs have made noises about a link to English powers, which was not part of that original agreement.
    Does he expect the three Westmister leaders to stop others even offering an opinion on the matter now?
    This really is petty politics of the very worst kind. No wonder people tire of it all.
    By working together it is quite wonderful what you are able to achieve in bringing wit and sanity to otherwise occasionally dull patches of Anthony’s amazing ongoing 24/7 political party and infofest.
    However, In spite of my love and admiration for your work, R ‘n’ D, I notice that a tiny glitch appears at the end of this otherwise very welcome and timely pricking of the Salmond balloon.
    Apparently nobody outside the Scottish homeland has felt it right or appropriate as yet to air a few home truths about this person during the referendum campaign. Now we are all one nation again in the UK, he is now one of our whole family’s political giants, not just the former prospective saviour of the Scots. When he did his rousing “we will fight on, we will never surrender, no surrender, no, no, no” speech and then, two hours on, did his “O.K. Keep up the good work, I’m out of here” cut and run speech he instantly left off being the sacred personification of the Sovereign Will of the Scottish People and became a sad, tired old Caber Tosser, open to vilification like every other UK politician and a poor comparison the one who should be the Scott’s real Darling, Alistair. One told the truth as he saw it throughout the campaign, the other abandoned any semblance of intellectual integrity and thereby doomed his cause, lost its support at the end and betrayed all true believers in Scottish Isolationism. Shame upon you, AS.
    So that is why I think you both have, jointly and severally, made a tiny error in saying ‘no wonder people tire of it all’.
    I don’t see how they or we ever could, or ever should tire of politics. It was Salmond’s, ghastly, mendacious, petty and spite ridden campaign politics of which they quite rightly and very justifiably grew tired. Just in time, thanks be to the better part of Scotland. Thanks to Hume, Adam Smith, John Smith and all. I hope you agree that I do have a point.

  23. Gordon Brown was hired for the position of Prime Minister for a week by David Cameron to save the union and in return Labour lose control in England by booting out interfering Scottish Labour MP’s.

    And they say Salmond was cunning!!


  24. CROSSBAT11
    “Now 11,000 applications for new SNP membership waiting to be processed.”
    Is this the first case of rats scrambling on board a sinking ship?

    The rats you refer to are probably ex Labour voters swimming away from the sinking MV SLAB and onto something more promising.

    All aboard please……

  25. I am getting lost in all this English votes for English laws business with in the UK Parliament – is it to be suggested that a minister or secretary of state or PM would be placed in the position where they could not vote on their own government’s business though they would be the speakers to the house on the business?

    Are we suggesting that sovereignty of the UK Parliament could exist in different classes of MPs voting on issues of confidence if the question involved only new business before the house in relation to England. The clerks themselves will then be kept busy deciding who or what is solely English law and the speaker would decide what was an issue of confidence for the UK government. Above all how does this apply to the upper house which cannot as currently constituted divide into nationalities?

    Since 1689 the UK ‘union’ constitution rests upon the notion that the party kingdoms and principalities incorporated in the UK have similarly incorporated their sovereignty in the single legislature at Westminster in return for a larger cut of the political pie than population and wealth alone might have provided to them – the English state in short wanted to pay a price for the political and economic advantages of a union – it’s rather like the Senate in the USA over represents the smallest states in the federal legislature.

    There is a question of English devolution but surely in principles of usage now established such devolved powers must be administered through representatives elected under some system of PR – as in all the devolved assemblies and London, Otherwise English citizens in jurisdictional matters are left at a disadvantage none of the other citizens of the union are placed in. That will be further aggravated when and if the HOC is reduced to 600 members. We could keep FPTP for this chamber for the Union.

    All this needs to be thought through in relation to the wider issues of the organisation of the Union parliament itself. There is no quick fix that will make matters better. My suggestion is to create a Senate of 300 as an upper chamber that is elected by PR in nations or regions and votes in nations or devolved regions and that this chamber exercises the functions of the “English” Parliament over legislation coming from the Commons. It could delay such legislation for up to one term or the government could put the matter to a referendum.

    The Commons retains full sovereignty of the Union but the upper house in addition to being the place where EU legislation gets incorporated in to UK law has a proper devolved function. Ministers drawn from the new senate could then properly represent business before Parliament on behalf of the devolved English interest without conflict of not being able to vote on it.

  26. “Apparently nobody outside the Scottish homeland has felt it right or appropriate as yet to air a few home truths about this person during the referendum campaign.”

    Nick Cohen has:

  27. statgeek

    Looking at the Others of that most recent poll, UKIP and the Greens have been almost wiped out. Maybe it’s a rogue poll.

    It’s an odd one this though. Because Survation only asked constituency vote and last time the Greens didn’t even stand for those. So Green voters have learnt to give another Party on the constituency question. Similarly for UKIP voters. The last YouGov:

    had Greens 4 to 9 and UKIP 3 to 5 when you move from Constituency to Regional votes.

  28. Statto

    The most notable thing about the Survation poll of Scotland , for both Holyrood and Westminster VI is the huge number of undecideds.

    Actually it’s not really. Unlike most Survations this was a telephone poll and they always have a much higher rate of uncertain voters than online ones. Though it’s still high-ish, especially for Westminster and may suggest people are uncertain of their loyalties after the Referendum. Though seat projections are actually impossible as they didn’t ask the regional vote.

    One thing they were clearer on (52%, or 57% if you exclude don’t knows) was that they did not want another referendum .

    Sounds to me like an electorate exhausted from a long and stressful referendum, which is not yet ready to make any decisions on either election.

    I was actually surprised by how high it was. 39% (versus 52%) agreed with “There should be another referendum on independence within the next 15 years” which suggests there is still a lot of appetite around. Of course if it is perceived that promises made have not been not kept, the percentages could change quite dramatically – every Yes voter would feel justified and you only need 5% to change sides.

    Ashcroft’s rather flawed poll:

    also asked If it turns out that a majority has voted NO in the referendum, for how long do you think the question of whether Scotland should be independent or remain in the UK will remain settled? and found 31% giving the minimum reply possible (“For the next five years”) with another 17% for ten years. Interestingly the combined 48% included 38% of No voters. (Another irritating thing about the Survation poll is they didn’t ask how people voted).

  29. @ Robbie
    I agree. I think by proposing to cap child benefit Labour has thrown away an opportunity to differentiate themselves from the Tories. Why alienate mostly women voters to save £80 million . A paltry sum in the scheme of things.

  30. @Peter Cairns

    “At 5:4 that is 55 v 44 ( 5×11 and 4×11) an error of 0.3 and 0.7.”

    Your maths remains offensive :-)

    5:4 equates to 55.56 v 44.44 (to 2 decimal places)., not 55 v 44 (where is the missing 1%?)

  31. Monday Populus
    Fieldwork 19 to 21 September

    Lab 37 (+1)
    Con 33 (+1)
    LD 9 (=)
    UKIP 12 (-3)
    Others 8 (=)


    Electoral Calculus on those percentages
    Lab 348
    Con 259
    LD 18
    UKIP 0
    Nats 7
    Others 18

    Labour majority 46

  32. @Robbie Alive

    “Labour’s “U-turn pledge to freeze child benefit” — it’s a cap but that’s not how many will report or perceive it – seems maladroit, polling wise.”

    Totally agree. Our bedside radio would not have survived this morning had I had a brick to hand. Balls/Miliband are mad if they think that this renewed emphasis on austerity is going to deliver Labour a poll boost.

  33. Today is the start of the election campaign, and the CB cap is a high-profile measure that will give the impression of fiscal prudence while having almost no effect at all. Inflation is going to stay low for quite some time, so the impact of a 1% cap on both public finances and recipients will be minimal. (IIRC those on income support and tax credits will not lose out either since their other benefits will compensate.)

    It’s all about spiking Tory guns, and reassuring those who might be swayed by arguments about economic competence. Every question from here on in will be answered using this as an example of how Labour are “taking tough decisions” etc.

  34. @Phil Haines

    Totally agree. Our bedside radio would not have survived this morning had I had a brick to hand. Balls/Miliband are mad if they think that this renewed emphasis on austerity is going to deliver Labour a poll boost.

    I think that the strategy of trying to triangulate (as practiced by New Labour) will be the one Ed and Ed will choose for the next GE – sort of austerity with a heart.

    I cannot see this helping shift the image ‘they are all the same’.

  35. @Phil Haines

    I am also unsure why Labour seem more concerned about placating the Daily Telegraph than their own core vote.

    This isn’t going to stop D*n H*dges writing mean things about Ed every time he has a deadline to meet.

  36. Hi, it’s nice to be able to join in the conversation here now that it seems to have finally moved on from constitutional matters.

    Hasn’t Osborne frozen Child Benefit for 3 years then capped at 1% until 2016 ?

    That’s certainly what it says in this Telegraph article dating back to the 2012 Autumn Statement

    so I think Balls is proposing extending the existing cap for a further year. This is not the same as cutting it.

  37. Passing a still functioning cathode ray tube I just noticed a functioning Edward Balls simulacrum holding forth. We still have free speech I thought let it have a say. I can look, listen and learn, at least until I hear his first verifiably false to fact statement.

    What he had to say was along the lines of “Ed Milliband, our Great Leader and this country’s next Prime Minister and as for David Cameron and George Osborne going round the country telling people they have ended the recession and that people have never had it so good….”
    By the time I had permanently disabled the verbiage dispensing device I had heard more than one false to fact statement, I’m sure. I know for a fact that that Cameron and Osborne are going round the country stirring up apathy, something we all need much more of after the febrile excitement we have almost all suffered from in for the last couple of weeks, probably brought on by a nasty attack of food poisoning or perhaps polity poisoning caused a virulent strain of the salmondella virus

  38. John Murphy: “I am getting lost in all this English votes for English laws business with in the UK Parliament – is it to be suggested that a minister or secretary of state or PM would be placed in the position where they could not vote on their own government’s business though they would be the speakers to the house on the business?””

    According to the reports we are getting from the press, te (English) Health or Education secretaries for example will be part of a separate English executive, which will be responsible for introducing English bills. The HoC will sit as one of the two houses of the UK parliament when considering UK bills and as the English parliament when considering English bills, except that, when sitting as the English parliament, its membership will be restricted to English MPs only (maybe Welsh MPs also, at least in the short run).

    The situation you mentioned where a minister would not be able to vote on the legislation he/she introduce will not arise because all English bills will be handled by English ministers, who will be English MPs and, therefore, part of the English parliament within the HoC (or, as some posters here prefer to call it, the “English committee” of the HoC). Likewise, there is no risk of a Scottish MP not being able to become PM, or, Foreign Secretary, Defence Secretary or Chancellor, as all those ministerial portfolios would still be part of the UK government, drawn from and responsible to the full HoC, and will not be involved in English domestic affairs.

    In fact, English home rule as envisaged in the Tory proposal would work pretty much like in Scotland and Northern Ireland, except that, rather than having to set up a new, separately elected English parliament and new English executive departments/civil service, the proposal takes advantage of existing UK institutions (the HoC, the relevabt UK government deparments that already handle English affairs only, and the UK civil service) to create an English government. It is therefore a minimalist approach that many English voters are likely to support,

  39. a Christie

    “Brown PM for a week etc etc”

    Problem with your post – though not a huge surprise of course – it that your first point is not true and just silliness and your second is conjecture about something that has NOT happened, close to certain that it never will happen but presented as though it is an established fact.

    What is the point?

    Politics, like life, is just not that simple – although, admittedly, some elements are I suppose…………………..

  40. Tesco

  41. MBRUNO

    Thanks for that-I had been looking for the detail & didn’t realise that had leaked.

    Looks pretty good to me.

    As you say-simple, cost free, addresses the problem.

    Scottish & Welsh Labour voters are relieved of the trauma of screaming ” I didn’t vote for this” on NHS & other devolved matters; at last English Conservative voters will have the same privilege.

    Balls is reported to have ditched the wriggle room on borrowing for Capex, whilst balancing Current Budget. Reeves said he has announced the will balance the overall Budget……………..though asap still provides wriggle room.

  42. @Colin

    How do I split my vote for the UK and English parliaments under this arrangement? What if (for instance) I want Tories in charge of the economy, but Labour in charge of the NHS?

    The Scots have that option. Why not the English?

  43. ” It is therefore a minimalist approach that many English voters are likely to support,”

    Except for the 62% of English voters who would have to put up with a 61% Tory majority of seats in said English parliament.

    It also fails to address the point that we might want different representatives for different parliaments, which people in Scotland, NI and Wales have. It disenfranchises English voters uniquely.

    It also fails to address London MPs rights to vote in the English parliament on devolved matters, setting up a new ‘West Ruislip Question’.

  44. MBruno

    How bizarre. A system apparently designed to produce exactly the reverse of the distribution of responsibilties which English voters might wish to achieve – except, of course, in the unlikely event that they prefer Labour’s economic, foreign and defence policies but think that the Conservatives have the best approach to the NHS and education.

  45. We do actually have some polling evidence for what people think about a new constitutional settlement. The week before the Referendum the ST YouGov:

    asked two related questions (combined for space here):

    In the event that Scotland votes [YES/NO] and [becomes independent / remains part of the UK, but with a much greater level of devolution], which of the following would you most like to see happen in England?:

    [This question was only asked to English respondents; n=1540]

    Things to remain as they are, with decisions about laws affecting England made at Westminster by MPs from England, [Scotland], Wales and Northern Ireland 29% / 26%

    Decisions about laws affecting England to be made at Westminster, but only by MPs representing England 24% / 29%

    Decisions about laws affecting England to be made in a new English Parliament, similar to the Welsh and Northern Ireland assemblies 18% / 15%

    Decisions about laws affecting England to be made by regional assemblies, similar to the Welsh and Northern Ireland assemblies 11% /10%

    Don’t know 17% / 21%

    And it shows a general picture of uncertainty – something should be done, but no agreement on what. Being before the result, it’s not contaminated by partisan rows since over EV4EL and the rest. There is little variation by any of the usual political and demographic splits. Indeed those keenest on the status quo are Conservative voters. Those from the North are keenest on regional options but not by much. It should remind us to be sceptical of some of the ‘forced’ questions we have seen since.

  46. R&D

    The point I’m making is Labour have been shafted good and proper.

    They appear to be facing some sort of backlash in Scotland and Cameron has stitched them up down South.

    As the Tweenies would say………….”Uh Oh”

  47. Floating Voter

    “Labour majority 46”

    Is that before or after Cameron’s Westminster’s reforms?

  48. Roger Mexico,

    As a pro-federal type, that the largest proportion of Englanders across all regions prefer the status quo depresses me a tad. I am miffed. And a little urked.

  49. “Is that before or after Cameron’s Westminster’s reforms?”

    If Labour get a majority of 46, there won’t be any Cameron reforms.

  50. And remember it’s not just the 41 Labour MP’s who would be taken out of the equation it would in fact be 58 Scottish MP’s not including the panda..sorry Tory in Scotland.

    Advantage Cameron by a staggering 58 in the Commons.

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