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. Polly Wolly

    You’re an old cantankerous miserable git.

  2. PHIL
    In the run up to the last NE referendum the tv and newspapers were full of such interviews. It was rejected because people realised that another layer of politicians, especially mediocre ones who were not thought good enough to be Mps, would improve their lot not one jot. I don’t doubt that despite being told what they should want by the usual suspects, they will again say no thanks.

  3. @oldnat

    Two interesting points about the BT pledge. Firstly, with an agreed Bill by January with cross party support it could have been passed before Parliament is dissolved. Secondly, the pledge says nothing about the agreed package and a commitment to legislation being included in the Unionist parties’ manifestos.

  4. RMJ1 & PHIL HAINES

    I am sure you are right, regional assemblies are (A) not the answer and (B) would not be supported either. People are not looking for the Balkanisation of England.

    Indeed I once remember going ballistic because Adrian Chiles had said on the air, that calling oneself “English” suggested a rather racist or (worse) Tory attitude. I wouldn’t think that kind of talk is going to help any cause.

  5. @AC

    “I watch them all the time and I can’t mind them saying anything of the sort??”

    You’ll find them saying it or ‘singing’ it in the first 30 seconds of this (or any other show they do)
    h ttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2C75mVdqQQ

    You may want to watch the whole show but I suppose it might be a bit challenging for you :-)

  6. @ALDO_MACB

    “In previous Scottish opinion polls the constitution did not rank highly either but look at the turnout in the referendum. It obviously was very important.”

    Considering the possible consequences either way it’s maybe not that surprising that it should have generated a large turnout once it became a reality. However there’s never been a particularly strong demand evident for a referendum, with the only pro-referendum party, the SNP, receiving 31% of the votes on a 50% turnout in 2011.

  7. @CHOUENLAI

    “I am sure you are right, regional assemblies are (A) not the answer and (B) would not be supported either. People are not looking for the Balkanisation of England.”

    Perhaps you need to be more open to doubt. (Are Germany, Switzerland and the USA ‘Balkanised’, BTW.)

  8. CHOUENLAI

    Regarding AC, he is of course half-Croatian, Mrs H and I conferred that we had seen a shedload of his lookalikes on our recent visit there. I suspect his remark has its origins in this fact.

  9. Hireton: “with an agreed Bill by January with cross party support it could have been passed before Parliament is dissolved.”

    A major constitutional bill passing both Houses in 2 and half months? Not a chance. I’d imagine that amendments from the SNP in standing committee will take longer than that to discuss.

  10. GUYMONDE

    Okay okay I got mixed up with them and the Teletubbies but thanks for the link….Something to watch tonight before bedtime.

  11. @Chrisriley

    Interesting article in the New Statesman which suggests your dilemma for the SNP is the culmination of Alex Salmond’s political strategy in Scotland.

    http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2014/09/post-no-scotland-should-snp-have-made-more-radical-offer

  12. Crossbar

    We are ready to play that blinder. Ashcroft has the Tories in the twenties quite often and while that’s not going to happen, the concern has to be that the Tory share is not recovering well enough at present.

    If Cameron gets less than 35% he’s gone its as simple as that.

  13. RogerH
    I think that in a thousand years, historians will, (unless all electronic documents are erased through some wipeout) have a mine of information about the amazing contradictions thrown up by USA federal history.

  14. “not recovering well enough” would seem to be a bit of an understatement. It would take a miracle to get close to 35%. He only managed 36% in the ideal circumstances of 2010.

  15. @HOWARD

    Perhaps the USA wasn’t the best choice!

  16. Tonight’s YG should give some indication on how the recent macbethian event has affected VI, if anything. With a few minutes to go, I suggest (getting warmed up to this prediction business) no effect, zilch, nothing, none.

  17. @ muddywater

    My Whitehall experience in the Cabinet Office tells me differently. You are ignoring the work and discussion prior to Introduction and 1st Reading to secure cross party support. The risk would be that the Unionist parties couldn’t control their members in the HoL. The SNP would I imagine be very happy to get the Unionist parties to the point of not delivering “devo whatever it is today” just before the GE. I think that is why the Unionist parties are scared of legislating before the GE (when there I plenty of space in the Parliamentary timetable)

  18. Hireton

    From that article –

    “With Salmond on the way out”.

    The author would have been well-advised to listen to what Alex actually said when interviewed by Andrew Neil !

  19. SNP now the 3rd largest party in the UK by membership:

    http://news.stv.tv/scotland-decides/news/293040-thousands-join-pro-independence-snp-greens-and-ssp-after-referendum/

    Given that the 44K members would probably be predominantly Scottish, and the Scots having 8.7% of the population, that would equate to 505K members if the party were a UK one with similar support.

    That would be more than Labour and the Conservative memberships, combined.

    I know!

  20. With my Northumbrian rather my Scot hat on, one of the main reasons people voted against the NE Regional Assembly last time was the explicit linkage between abolishing district councils and creating the assembly (to avoid 3 levels of local government).

    However it is relevant to note that the North East is now the only English region (except London) to be comprised entirely of Unitary Authorities so this downside at least is no longer there.

    I think you could win votes for Regional Assemblies in the NE, Yorkshire and Cornwall at least. (The only district councils here being North Yorkshire which have relatively weak allegiance compared to the North Riding identity.)

    I also think the NW would work if you went with 2 City Regions (Manchester and Liverpool) and a Cumbria / North Lancashire assembly. The whole NW region is just to big and without the historic identity of Yorkshire.

    Once you get a few assembly’s up and running successfully then sooner or later everyone will want one.

  21. YouGov/Sun poll tonight – Labour lead by two points: CON 33%, LAB 35%, LD 7%, UKIP 14%, GRN 5%

  22. Thanks Toonie

    See, told you.

  23. Toonie: “YouGov/Sun poll tonight – Labour lead by two points: CON 33%, LAB 35%, LD 7%, UKIP 14%, GRN 5%”

    Once again, a very tight race with the Conservatives probably having the upper hand on the economy (3 % GDP growth, 6 % unemployment, 1.5 % inflation), immigration, and, now, potentially on constitutional reform as well (because of EV4EL).

    If it were not for UKIP, the Tories would be comfortably (5 or 6 points) ahead. Does anyone really assume though that, on polling day, UKIP will still get more than 10 % of the national vote ?

  24. I also don’t see Constitutional reform in England as an either Regional Assemblies or English parliament issue.

    I think you need both. An English parliament to provide legislative frameworks and co-ordinate some national issues and regional assemblies to deliver services like Transport, Schools, NHS, Police and Fire at a sensible regional level.

    I suspect to begin with the English Parliament would have to take a Grand Committee format but ideally you’d want to remove it from the London bubble as soon as possible. Post HS2, Birmingham would seem the ideal location with fast trains to all regions of England.

  25. Hireton

    Then your Whitehall experience is very different from mine. So we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

    But I would say that the SNP will be missing a major own goal if they don’t use the Bill – whenever it’s introduced – to force Labour and the Conservatives to vote time and time again against “devo-max” amendments. I think they’re smarter than that.

  26. On more important events, one ‘Mick Cash’ has been elected GS of the RMT. He conforms to tabloid hopes on just having two syllables for his name, but what of the glottal stop? We wait with anticipation of the trade union expected credentials being fulfilled.

  27. @chrisriley

    Another take on your SNP dilemma:

    http://www.newleftproject.org/index.php/site/article_comments/buying_time_after_the_scottish_referendum

    The interesting point from a polling perspective is that Scottish Labour’s devolution offer is the weakest of all the Unionist parties. Our own Amber has written here about the Enough is Enough tendency in SL ‘re devolution. And even if SL were to become born again devolutionists the Westminster Party which pulls its strings will rein it in. So it looks as though SL will have to hope that its cross border solidarity pitch will work but Westminster Labour is pitching for an English centre left vote.

  28. @oldnat

    Indeed AS’ political obituaries are likely to be premature!

  29. @MrBruno

    “If it were not for UKIP, the Tories would be comfortably (5 or 6 points) ahead.”

    There would appear to be little evidence to support that, though.

  30. Northumbrianscot

    Your analysis of your home area sounds sensible.

    What many of those in England seem to be missing on the constitutional debate is the difference between
    1. devolving the administration of government, and the allocation of budgets to local needs, and
    2.making laws.

    The London Assembly is totally irrelevant to the question of legislation. It doesn’t have such powers.

    “Devolution to England” involves only those from England legislating on issues that only affect England, and England being given a budget by the UK to run the services devolved to it.

    “Devolution within England” can only refer to administrative devolution. Devolving legislative power to Regional Assembliesmeans that the legal entity of England would effectively disappear.

  31. The problem with regional assemblies in England is creating regions where there is a natural feeling of unity or belonging. For example Herefordshire is regard as part of the west midlands but the people of Herefordshire have no affinity with Birmingham, the supposed capital of the West Midlands. Similarly the people of Cornwall have no affinity with Bristol, the so called capital of the South West. Regional assemblies and regional government in those big cities would seem as remote as Westminster and Whitehall. Regions that have meaning to residents are likely to be geographically small, just a county or two, and very diverse.

  32. Northumbrianscot

    I hadn’t seen your latest post on that very issue, when I posted the above.

  33. @MW

    “to force Labour and the Conservatives to vote time and time again against “devo-max” amendments”

    I imagine they’d just introduce a guillotine on debate.

  34. Howard: the most significant information in the polls so far has not been that the Conservatives are down to the 31-33 % range, but rather that Labour cannot climb above the 35-36 % ceiling. That puts Labour in a vulnerable position if the UKIP vote collapses.

  35. @OldNat

    “The London Assembly is totally irrelevant to the question of legislation. It doesn’t have such powers.”

    Some powers are devolved to London’s mayor and assembly yet London’s MPs can still vote on such matters elsewhere in the country. The difference is only of degree.

  36. RogerH: are you suggesting that the second preference of UKIP voters would be Labour ? Or that, if they were not voting for UKIP, they wouldn’t vote at all or would be undecided ? I find those assumptions implausible.

  37. a Christie

    I may be all of those things.

    On the other hand I am also intelligent……………………..

  38. @MrBruno

    “Labour cannot climb above the 35-36 % ceiling”

    Except they got 37% in tonight’s Populus poll.

    “you suggesting that the second preference of UKIP voters would be Labour”

    A few but a significant number would be non-voters.

    (New thread, BTW)

  39. @Tony Cornwall

    Agreed, any English regional devolution will need to be to areas much smaller than the current regions. Only the North East and possibly Yorkshire have a chance of working as assemblies.

    I suspect most of the rest would be either extended city regions or groupings of 2-3 traditional shire counties.

    It is for this reason that as Old Nat says these would not be legislative bodies but delivery bodies, supervising delivery of local services that require a broader delivery area than existing local authorities.

    It’s fiendishly complicated to come up with a workable national system which is why you need to start with a few low hanging fruit and make them work before trying to extend it elsewhere.

  40. Tony Cornwall
    True but I can (as an ex SWRA member) confirm that the supposed Bristol domination was a complete myth.

    In fact, as the Assembly dealt with purely strategic planning and transport issues, the input of Cornish representatives was more than significant. I have fond memories of such input.

    I think the real problem with these discussions is that the majority of voters do not have the faintest notion of what one is talking about or its significance. Yesterday, I was accused of trying to say that voters should not have a vote because of this truth (which I had not). Typical straw man argument. Since when have voters ever really known what they were truly voting for? The SWRA was not directly voted in, but what if it had been so elected? So what?

  41. “It is for this reason that as Old Nat says these would not be legislative bodies but delivery bodies, supervising delivery of local services that require a broader delivery area than existing local authorities.”

    That would be guaranteed to satisfy no one outside Whitehall.

  42. RogerH

    They could timetable the committee stage; but the principle of line-by-line scrutiny is a limit on how severe the timetabling can be, and would hand the SNP another propaganda tool presented as Westminster overriding “Scotland’s will”. Major constitutional Bills also have a whole-House committee stage, which raises the profile of the process.

  43. @RogerH

    The point being the London Assembly has extensive powers for delivering Transport, Policing etc but it cannot change the legislative framework in those areas.

    Other regional assemblies would need to be similar. I believe the main additional powers needed to make Assemblies work are control over regional NHS infrastructure and a role in supervising Free Schools, Academies, LEAs in their area. It’s bonkers that DfE and DfH are trying to manage individual schools and hospitals for 55 million people.

  44. Rogerh

    Surely, the powers that the London Mayor/Assembly is to instruct officials how to apply spending and to make local government rules within the legislative structure that they are constrained by.

    In the varied structures of Local Government within England, how does the role of MPs vary?

  45. @RogerH

    I agree that popular will is not there in most of England for such bodies… yet.

    But if you had a few of the more dynamic City Regions like Manchester get an assembly up and running and start making real progress on delivering transport projects, local healthcare etc, other areas might sit up and say we want a slice of what they’re getting.

    You need to pick your pilot areas well though.

  46. “I agree that popular will is not there in most of England for such bodies… yet.”

    Well my point was more that there’s a need to devolve power. Regional delivery bodies (which we had under John Major) aren’t going to be acceptable to most.

  47. @OLDNAT

    The mayor and GLA have devolved powers that other LAs don’t possess. Even the Scottish Parliament is constrained by a legislative structure put in place by Westminster (the only sovereign parliament).

  48. MBruno

    Re UKIP and the Tory vote

    Labour’s VI has dropped by 5-6% over the past 12 months. Where do you reckon it has gone?

  49. COLIN
    “To do this they are talking about regional / city governance -ie devolution of power within the country of England, rather than to the country of England.”

    Yes, but not, I think, to avoid the WLQ, which they clearly regard as an irrelevance in practice and in the popular view (the wot?), but as a now long-established favoured instrument for investment and an effective means of regional planning. And of meeting the democratic deficit while not messing with the FPTP elective system; retaining BTW the HOL but subjecting it eventually (on the agenda at the constitutional convention) as a regionally elective second chamber and a needed source of experience and expertise in government.

  50. NORTHUMBRIANSCOT
    “But if you had a few of the more dynamic City Regions like Manchester get an assembly up and running and start making real progress on delivering transport projects, local healthcare etc, other areas might sit up and say we want a slice of what they’re getting.”

    A more likely starter for ten will be regional authorities based in city hubs with delievery and planning capacities, and with consultative mechanisms. I take Howard’s point about the participation of Cornwall reps in SWRA. It would be this kind and level of participation, but around specifically Cornwall projects and planning, which would permit Cornwall participation in and acceptance of a Bristol regional body with consultative instruments and requirements. Cornwall would continue to debate its own priorities at county and district levels, as would Devon, Dorset and Somerset. They all in reality depend on Bristol as a geographical and economic hub and in specific business and transportation networks, the planning process reflecting the geographical economies and comparative advantages and specialisms that make up the region.

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