This week’s YouGov/Sunday Times results are now up here. Topline figures are CON 32%, LAB 34%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 15%, GRN 6%, with additional questions on a wide range of different issues:

Terrorism

33% of people think that Theresa May is doing well as Home Secretary, 41% badly (so her net score of minus 8 is slightly better than Cameron’s minus 13). Asked about the balance between protecting human rights and privacy and introducing anti-terrorism measures 37% think May should go further with anti-terrorism powers, 18% that she has gone too far and damaged human rights and privacy, 19% that she has the balance about right. Going through a list of the latest proposals there is support for all the new anti-terrorism measures, with most getting over 50% support. The few that do not (such as banning ransoms and extending TPIMs) are down to people saying don’t know rather than opposing the moves, there is still more support than opposition.

Immigration

Moving onto the issue of immigration, Nigel Farage continues to lead the other party leaders on the issue (Farage 21%, Cameron 18%, Miliband 12%… but 46% none of them or don’t know). On balance people think that EU immigration into Britain is bad for the country by 46% to 29%. However on balance people also think that we should accept it by 45% to 30% (30% think that it is bad and the government should break EU rules to limit it, 16% that it is bad but we need to follow the rules, 29% that it is good for the country and we should accept it). There would be widespread support for attempts to limit the right of EU migrants to claim benefits in Britain. 78% would support a block on out of work benefits for migrants who have been in Britain for less than 2 years, 72% would support a block on in work benefits.

Private Education

On balance 37% of people think that private schools are good for Britain, 48% think they are bad for Britain. Relatively few (19%) would actually support banning private schools, but on tax breaks people would happily go further than Labour have proposed – 27% would support a Labour style conditional withdrawal of tax breaks, but 46% think all private schools should lose their tax breaks anyway. The “class war” criticism of Labour’s private schools policy doesn’t seem to hold much water. Only 28% of people think Labour’s proposals are based on negative reasons and a desire to punish the wealthy. 45% think they have made the proposals for positive reasons.

House of Lords

A large majority of people (74%) would support moving to a wholly (43%) or partially (31%) elected House of Lords – pretty much unchanged from when YouGov last asked in 2012. Asked about how members of the Lords are paid, 15% think they should receive a salary, 51% that they should be paid for the specific hours and resources that they use, 18% that they should receive no payment, allowances or expenses at all. Just 7% support the current system of a daily allowance.

Class and political snobbery

People who consider themselves as middle class think that the Conservatives best represent people of their class, people who consider themselves to be working class think that Labour best represent their class. 70% of people think that most politicians look down upon ordinary people. This seem to be especially the case with David Cameron – 63% think he looks down on ordinary people, compared to 46% for Ed Miliband, 49% for Nick Clegg and 41% for Nigel Farage. Asked specifically about Emily Thornberry’s tweet from Rochester, 47% of people think she was being snobby, 26% think she was not.


196 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 32, LAB 34, LDEM 7, UKIP 15, GRN 6”

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  1. Relatively good issues polling for Labour here.

    On the specific issue of private schools and people being willing to go further than Labour propose, it fits into a long trend of this being the case – as with energy price freeze, railway bids by the public sector, etc. It’s interesting because I suspect it’s deliberate.

    It leaves Labour with room to raise the stakes. Emergency stores of gunpowder, as it were. When their finances are limited, it’s politically quite sneaky to say to the privatised services “look how far we’ve gone. Imagine how far we could go if you don’t behave”. Then if necessary they can grab a few days headlines by promising to take things back into public ownership.

  2. Looking at the opinions of the masses and correlating the various answers to the issues put forward, should give Labour a 1 or 2 % lead in the polls. Well what do you know!

  3. Interesting that Miliband, who proposes to do nothing about immigration, is behind Cameron on the issue. Cameron on the other hand has expounded a lot of hot air, and achieved nothing on immigration. Camerons contribution has convinced UKIP’s ex-Tories,
    that they have done the right thing and that there is no going back.
    Only the very real issue of the economy can now save the Tories. And, it may well do, but the whole Europe / immigration question is a busted flush for the Tories.

  4. 46% think Private schools should be fully taxed.

    No surprise there.

    I can’t believe for one moment that if the Private Schools were invented today, a wholly new idea, that any government would think “I know, let’s allow them huge tax breaks too”.

    Of course they should be taxed properly.

  5. Of course people find taxing the wealthy and private schools attractive. That’s all well and good, until those tax thresholds start falling, which they surely will. I don’t think anyone living in the real world believes Labour will keep the ‘Mansion tax’ at £2 million, the reason being it won’t raise anything like they suggest.

    All of a sudden, those people who find soaking the rich so desirable, find themselves being sucked into these taxes. It could be that ALL homeowners (I guess Labour consider any homeowner to be ‘rich’ of some sort) are drawn into a wealth tax. All governments believe they can spend your money better than you can, but Labour’s core motivation is to take money from those who can and give it to those who cannot (or increasingly will not).

    The Tories have a powerful opportunity regarding the mansion tax, if they can persuade the public that all homeowners could be under threat from a punitive tax grab – and I genuinely believe they are.

  6. “Labour’s core motivation is to take money from those who can and give it to those who cannot (or increasingly will not).”

    A very partisan observation. It could equally be argued that the tories core motivation is to take money from everyone and give it to the rich!!

  7. @Bernard S

    How will taxing public schools change to impact the vast majority of people? I can see the argument about the Mansion Tax (although I don’t agree, I suspect the worst that will happen is he threshold failing to rise in line with inflation)…

  8. Re House of Lords I personally think this is largely a waste of time as the government will do what it wants anyway and if the HOL is made up of partisan members then it just becomes a replica of the House of Commons with different dynamics.

    I’d be much happier if HOC legislation was scrutinised by “experts” in that particular field. Eg- Education made up of a panel of education experts, Finance bill made up of a panel of finance experts and so on. Clearly there is a chance that these “experts” will still be partisan or open to that accusation but it is no different to what we have now.

    At best the outcome this would mean the “experts” come up with amendments that make it a better bill. At the worst it would flag up where the government has gone against expert advice.

    I know a government will already have expert Civil Service advice when drafting a bill but there’s no reason to suppose that the government hasn’t ignored or manipulated that advice or simply told them what it is going to do and to make the best out of it.

  9. Is that it? Only one poll this Sunday?
    …….

    “70% of people think that most politicians look down upon ordinary people. This seem to be especially the case with David Cameron – 63% think he looks down on ordinary people, compared to 46% for Ed Miliband, 49% for Nick Clegg and 41% for Nigel Farage. Asked specifically about Emily Thornberry’s tweet from Rochester, 47% of people think she was being snobby, 26% think she was not”
    _____

    When politicians start to look down upon the public then that tells me they have been an MP for far too long and should move on.

    I certainly don’t see elitism and snobbery as a way to winning votes and tweeting about working class white van man with his tacky flags hanging from his house is an example of this.

  10. “A large majority of people (74%) would support moving to a wholly (43%) or partially (31%) elected House of Lords – pretty much unchanged from when YouGov last asked in 2012”
    _____

    Personally I see the House of Lords as the biggest barrier between ordinary people and politicians.

    Seeing hundreds of old decrepit unelected dinosaurs sleeping, wheezing and breaking wind all day and earning thousands at the taxpayers expense while millions are struggling to make ends meet shows me what is wrong with politics and in particular the Westminster system.

  11. The Sheep,

    You could start with conditional withdrawal of tax breaks for private schools (while keeping their charitable status) and then move onto doing the same thing for all kinds of charity, type-by-type. Start off with controversial charities (private schools, universities, churches) and then it’s just a matter of “standardisation”. Then the charitable sector is very easily influenced by the government.

    I’m not saying that that’s at all likely, but simply that it is a conceivable route, just like it was conceivable that the state takeover of most schools in the late 19th century would lead to National Curricula, centralised inspections,

  12. … pressing “submit comment” when you don’t want to do so, teachers losing their jobs for being members of legal political parties etc.

    If we always or never went down slippers slopes, things would be much clearer. We didn’t move down a slippery slope of nationalisation and we did move down a slippery slope of increased state control of education, for instance.

  13. The ‘popularity’ of any given tax is directly related to the number of people who have to pay it. Thus high taxes on the well off are popular, as is the suggested mansion tax, capital gains tax, inheritance tax, etc., and taxes on private schools would fall into the same category.

    Whether such taxes are fair or not, or whether they distort the economy or influence behaviour adversely are all irrelevant.

    The point is that popular taxes are those that are paid by ‘other people’.

  14. @ Roland Gatinoise,

    Interesting that Miliband, who proposes to do nothing about immigration, is behind Cameron on the issue.

    Miliband is just less popular in general, though- he doesn’t benefit so much from the default partisan backing phenomenon because so much of the Labour Party isn’t happy with him.

    I bet if you asked a dummy question: “Do you support so-and-so’s stance on the Fobberty Bill?” Cameron would come out ahead, just because you have a bunch of Tories clicking “Sure, fine, whatever” whenever they see Cameron’s name but [email protected] H0dges is writing a “How flobberty means Ed Miliband is doooooomed!” article even as we speak.

  15. @ Clive Elliot,

    The ‘popularity’ of any given tax is directly related to the number of people who have to pay it.

    That’s not true. The Bedroom Tax only affects a small number of people but it’s still become fairly unpopular. And that’s not even an actual tax (an intrinsically unpopular form of government policy), it’s a benefit cut (an intrinsically popular form of government policy).

    Likewise the pasty, static caravan and granny taxes from the Omnishambles Budget, which were a total PR debacle despite their extremely limited impact. How many people really eat hot supermarket pasties on a given day?

    The determining factor isn’t how widespread the tax base is, it’s whether or not the taxed population are perceived to deserve the loss of income.

  16. On the issues polling, I think it is misleading as it doesn’t really cover how important the issue is to people.

    Take private schools for instance. How many people will change their vote to Labour if they withdraw business rate relief from private schools?

    I would say it would be a vote loser, as people who don’t have kids in private school don’t really care either way, but for parents like myself, who is forced to send their child to a private school because the only state school she should get into has been in special measures for many years, and may no longer be able to afford the fees as a result of this change of policy, are very likely to change their vote as a result of this policy.

    Same with the recent immigration speeches. How many people are now going to vote Conservative because they won’t pay in work benefits to immigrants for 4 years vs how many Polish people will now become citizens and vote against the Conservatives as a result of this policy that directly impacts them?

  17. RICHARD.
    My wife and I have been in your position with regard to the choice of schools for our four ‘children’. Five terms to go for us now.

    In terms of private schools, and also for the Voluntary Aided Sector, it is amazing how many of the ‘elites’ use these schools, while at the same time belonging to parties who are officially opposed to them.

    In terms of Voting Intention the issue will, I think, be of marginal significance.

  18. I think most people know what a “mansion” is. Such a tax is never going to be levied on your average semi or terraced house.

    What surprises me is that Labour have failed to make that point clear. And that does make you wonder if there are other motives for not doing so.

    Why not base the tax on property size rather than value? If a property is more than, say, 500m2, it gets the mansion tax.

    (I’ve no idea whether it would be 500 or 1000 or 10 or whatever. It is just a figure. The point being that size is much easier to point at rather than price).

  19. Richard

    “How many people are now going to vote Conservative because they won’t pay in work benefits to immigrants for 4 years vs how many Polish people will now become citizens and vote against the Conservatives as a result of this policy that directly impacts them?”

    The normal requirement for naturalisation is that people have had to live in the UK for 5 years, so any new citizen will not be directly impacted – though they may see the policy as being targeted against “people like us”.

  20. Spearmint.
    Good point. I cannot begin to give my very partisan view on Fobbety,
    on this board.

  21. @ Richard,

    It’s an “implied manifesto” issue. The individual policies are probably vote losers for the reasons you state, but most people aren’t single-issue voters; they’re trying to find the party that will best represent their interests in general.

    Forcing private schools to partner with their communities or lose their tax exemptions says “The Labour Party supports the 93% of pupils who attend state schools, not the privileged 7% whose families can afford a private education.”

    Withholding in-work benefits for immigrants for four years says “The Conservative Party supports native British workers who have paid in to the system, not those nasty scrounging immigrants.”

    Since both parties have a massive problem with being perceived as out-of-touch, self-interested and disinclined to fight for ordinary people, it’s worth it to sacrifice your vote and that of the Poles if it means the overall perception of the party improves.

  22. @Oldnat

    Cameron said “So I will insist that in the future those who want to claim tax credits and child benefit must live here and contribute to our country for a minimum of four years.”

    There will be many EU migrants that have lived here for more than 5 years, but have contributed for less than 4 years – stay at home mothers probably being a large number of those.

  23. I think we should exclude Poles from any such measures, and come down harder on other Europeans. The Poles are blood brothers, not ethnically but historically. Bomber Command, Fighter Command, “2nd Polish Corps in Italy, the list goes on.

  24. I watched a robust defence of Charitable status by a spokesperson for Private Schools the other day on DP.

    I think she gave some numbers for the value of bursaries given by the sector.. It was a multiple of the charity tax relief received.

    I presume any loss of tax relief will be made up by dropping n bursaries to applicants from low income families.

  25. Richard

    Fair point – though, as in all these discussions, I’d like to see actual numbers rather than assumptions about immigrant (or any other!) populations.

  26. @ David in France,

    Because the whole point of the Mansion Tax is to tax the £5,000,000 London flats being bought up by foreign oligarchs for their property portfolios. Basing it on square footage rather than value would defeat the purpose. Labour (and to be fair, the Lib Dems whose policy it really is) don’t care if someone has a castle on Orkney; they care that the London property market has become ridiculous and the UK isn’t getting anything in exchange from the people making its capital unaffordable.

  27. CL1945

    @”In terms of private schools, and also for the Voluntary Aided Sector, it is amazing how many of the ‘elites’ use these schools, while at the same time belonging to parties who are officially opposed to them.”

    I observe a similar tendency in respect of “mansions”-one which has lead to a declared change in voting habits in certain quarters. :-)

  28. Roly

    You are Lord Tebbit – and I claim my 5 euros.

  29. RICHARD

    @”. How many people are now going to vote Conservative because they won’t pay in work benefits to immigrants for 4 years ”

    None I would suggest.

    But I do think this whole issue is about numbers-high numbers, & the perceived effects of those numbers.

    So any policy which did/does manifestly puts the ability to reduce the number credibly within the control of a UK Government would, I think, be a vote winner.

    The trouble for Cameron on his proposed policy is :-
    a) It doesn’t provide “control” -merely asserts changed behaviour.
    b) He doesn’t have any credibility on the issue.

    The only party offering credible methods of “control” is UKIP. If you aren’t worried about leaving the EU , its a no-brainer.

  30. @Unicorn (from previous thread)

    “I am a little concerned about throwing in anything and everything we can measure. There is an elegance in keeping things as simple as possible.”

    True enough. But sometimes things do reflect the influence of a number of different factors. I guess that a problem with throwing everything into an initial analysis, particularly one with not many observations, is that there is likely to be ‘over-fitting’ and a model which is an excellent tit to the data from which it has been derived but a very poor one for future sets of data.

    Perhaps a compromise might be to stick with the elegance of your one or perhaps two variable model and make predictions for new sets of data kindly provided by Lord A. You can then look at the residuals and see if, for example those where the runner up is Labour are higher or lower than those where it is conservative.

    You could do this with the analysis you presented yesterday and also try its effect when the predicted outcome depends on the question applying to this constituency. The numbers are very small but it might give you a sense of whether this was an important issue or not.

  31. Re. mansion tax, I continue to be appalled that nobody suggests the obvious and sensible measure of a % of value property tax, or a land value tax, to replace council tax.

    This seems to me to be the sensible way to encourage properties to either be sold or let rather than lying empty, as it would be proportional to the value (which I’m going to presume represents demand). Like the mansion tax it could be deferrable until sale if there’s an owner-occupier that can prove they have a low income, to avoid those caught in an area with huge increases in property value.

    Given that the council tax valuations haven’t been updated since last century (in England and Scotland at least) you might think this would be a hassle. However, many towns in the US use a property tax for local services, and they seem to manage to revalue every year.

    I wonder why this isn’t suggested by any major party ….

  32. OLD NAT
    No, but he is my hero. Its worth 2.5 euro’s.

    COLIN
    Public School Bursaries.
    Its a bit like the reduction in the top rate of income tax coining in MORE money than previously, or the rich now paying more tax than ever they did under Labour. Facts, just facts, nothing there to resurrect
    the Tolpuddle Martyrs or Kier Hardie.

  33. Alisdair

    Northern Ireland Have already commissioned a report on creating the necessary pre-conditions for applying LVT to replace the rates.

    http://www.nicva.org/resource/land-value-tax-northern-ireland

    Hopefully, the SGP can persuade the new cross-party commission to look at introducing LVT here too,

  34. @Roland
    “Its a bit like the reduction in the top rate of income tax coining in MORE money than previously, or the rich now paying more tax than ever they did under Labour. Facts, just facts, nothing there to resurrect”

    But not quite correct facts! https://fullfact.org/articles/top_rate_tax_50p_Treasury_revenue-27956

  35. @David in France

    “I think most people know what a “mansion” is. Such a tax is never going to be levied on your average semi or terraced house.”

    Balls, who looked in surprisingly good form I thought, answered this quite well when interviewed by Marr this morning, both in respect to the fiscal drag point and also the fear that a low income earner owning a house that had appreciated exponentially over the years would fall foul of the levy. Much devil in the detail I suspect, but he described Labour’s Mansion Tax proposal in such a way as to defuse both of Klass’s rather absurd and lurid allegations. Of course, beyond the tax raising efficacy of such a tax lies the symbolism of it all and Labour obviously want to pitch their tent on ground that sees them asking the wealthy and affluent to pay just a little more towards the NHS and help close the Stevens identified funding black hole. It’s a hugely political tax in reality and the YouGov poll today suggests he’s on fertile ground.

    Osborne was on Marr this morning too and acquitted himself quite well, although he appeared evasive about future VAT rises, but I felt when the two men, Balls and Osborne, got together on Marr’s couch at the end of the programme, Balls appeared the most confident and comfortable. That’s the first time I’ve seen Balls win the body language and tone battle with Osborne, I have to say.

    As for Public Schools, I need to declare an interest. I went to one in the 70s and their charitable status and tax exemptions were a hideous anachronism then and they are now. They also remain bastions of privilege and middle class snobbery and I would have thought that most parents who send their children to private schools do so as a form of benign social class apartheid. The prospect of any of their children being exposed to the state sector, and particularly state pupils, would fill them with absolute horror. Hunt’s proposals would invalidate why they spend thousands on educating their children privately. They do so, in the main, because of the kudos of opting out of state education. “I’ve got the money, so I can and I will.”

  36. @Richard

    With all due respect, you were not “forced” into the choice of a private school. You chose to because you lived in the catchment area of a state school that was failing. Perfectly acceptable decision, but you had a privilege of choice there that others did not.

  37. ROLY

    Yes-I presume those of them now sponsoring / staffing /helping Academies will also trim that spend too.

    Mind you-putting Fees up-the other option-is hardly going to result in a flight to the State Sector.

  38. ROLY

    Got this completely wrong-courtesy the Guardian.

    Labour tried closing Charitable Status in 2011 & lost. apparently .

    The latest wheeze for taming them is to do with Business Rates Relief.-said to be £700m over a parliament-ie £ £140 m pa.

    Big Bucks !

    Independent Schools claim that they . generate £4.7bn in tax and save the taxpayer a further £4bn, equivalent to building 460 schools, by educating children out of the state school sector.”

    Though the Gaurdian report doesn’t say what period that relates to.

    Anyway -none of it will wash with Tristram Hunt-there is nothing like a former Public Schoolboy for denigrating what his parents gave him , from the comfort of his later existence. :-)

  39. ……the court case was in 2011 Roly :-)

  40. @ Colin

    “I think she gave some numbers for the value of bursaries given by the sector.. It was a multiple of the charity tax relief received.”

    This may not be typical but I know about a public school in the North West that although they provide scholarships they have a policy that the parents of the child attending have to have a certain level of income to be accepted. In effect the policy has developed because the “posh” parents do not want their children associating with kids from Council estates. The irony being that staff recognise that in general a kid from a council estate/poor family will be far better behaved and ready to learn than someone who has had it handed to them on a plate.

  41. Spearmint

    Re the “The Bedroom Tax”, it is unpopular, but I think that is because of untrue propaganda eminating from one party and special interest groups . I think if voters actually understood that it was just bringing the Public sector in line with the Private sector it would be popular.

  42. SHEVII

    No doubt there are snobs & rotters in the Private Sector at all levels-Teachers/Parents/Schools.

    But I quite like to read about the other ones=like those who made this possible :-

    http://www.london24.com/news/education/london_academy_of_excellence_in_deprived_stratford_gains_six_oxbridge_places_1_3201342

    One wonders how many of its future alumni will be writing articles in left wing periodicals & blogs-or standing on political platforms ,denouncing their parents for abandoning their working class backgrounds , and cravenly giving them a superb education & filling their lives with guilt & comfort. ?

  43. @Jayblanc

    No, not really. We have 2 sides of the railway line. North of the railway line are where all the nice houses are and all the good schools, and the houses cost 400k+. South of the railway line are where all the plebs live like me in our nice terraced ex council pebble dashed houses, with all the failing schools, and houses cost 180k+. No way we could afford one of the 400k+ houses.

    And I agree that it is appalling that the quality of school is driven by the price of your house, but no one is sorting that out either.

  44. Crossbat11

    “Hunt’s proposals would invalidate why they spend thousands on educating their children privately. They do so, in the main, because of the kudos of opting out of state education. “I’ve got the money, so I can and I will.”

    I think that may be true in a few cases but in most the motivation is to give their children a better education. I sent my two daughters to private school at a time when I had only just begun to climb the executive ladder. It was a real struggle at the timeto find the money for fees and we did not have holidays but we felt it was worth it.

  45. With the new Student financing arrangments teachers will I guess only be part trained by the tax payer (some maintenance grants and tution fees for lower income families and still a smalll amount of central Government money to Universities).

    I would suggest, though, that the vast majority of teachers working in private shcools were trained mainly at the Tax payers expense.
    And lower TP ratios in public schools mean we need even more teachers trained to cover.
    A bit like staff in the private medical sector trained by the NHS and by eveyryones taxes)

    The full savings v costs of private schools operating would be a very hard calculation to accurately make.

    Seems clear to me, though, if you are getting Charitable Status tax breaks whether you are a public school or some other entity you should be able to demonstrate that you perform sufficient charitable/community work.
    Merely relying on we save money because the state secor does not have to cover is not a strong enough defence.
    As ToH likes to add all imo of course.

  46. Its areas like Private School tax that Labour should really push with their budget proposals. Bit like the mansion tax I think most people are quite shocked at all these celebs allergic to taxation (theres decent arguments against but these people are just ‘I don’t like tax’).

    Where Labour can make the right out of touch in their response they should push hard. Its what Miliband did well for his first half of his leadership; not sure what has been happening lately.

  47. JIM JAM

    @”(some maintenance grants and tution fees for lower income families ”

    A lot actually Jim Jam.

    One of my grand daughters went to Uni this year. She is from a low income family , reliant on on the earnings of a divorced mum.

    I budgeted for considerable support for her.

    I the event, the Grants & Loan she got from Sate Student Finance, plus a non-competitive National Scholarship/ Bursary ( which she didn’t even apply for) have provided more money than she has ever seen & plenty to keep adequately funded at Uni.
    She even plans to save a bit. !

  48. Coiln – thanks means that tax payer paying for a fair amount of teacher training for future teachers as well.
    Never hear public school ‘representatives’ acknowledge this.

  49. @Roland -“Interesting that Miliband, who proposes to do nothing about immigration,…..”

    Odd comment really, given that Cameron has just announced pretty much the same policies as Milliband did a while ago, and Cameron has also presided over a rise in non EU migration as well.

    I can see why you get so angry sometimes.

    BTW – I think if you made an exception for the Poles, based on their WW2 record, you might get a few gripes from the Czechs, the Dutch, the French, etc etc

  50. In my opinion the public need educating on the strengths of House of Lords, and fast, else we could see a constitutional outrage sometime over the next few years.

    The truth of the matter – that the Lords contains expertise and can scrutinise legislation much more effectively than the Commons can – is lost on most of the population. I see no public demand for more elections or politicians and see no way in which a partially or fully elected Lords would not produce more party politicians.

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