While the polling inquiry continues and we all work out what went wrong the Guardian aren’t publishing their ICM/Guardian polls, but they are still being done. Martin Boon has tweeted July’s results, which have topline figures of CON 38%, LAB 34%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 13%, GRN 4%.

As I wrote in my previous poll, YouGov released a second bite of budget polling on Friday, this part conducted after the initial press reaction to the budget. This wave highlights some of the public’s rather complex views on benefits and the living wage.

Public attitudes to welfare are complicated, sometimes contradictory and it is easy to cherry pick polling results to show the public support or oppose big cuts to benefits, depending on one’s views. At the simplest level people like the idea of benefit cuts because they think they go to people who don’t deserve them and who haven’t contributed to them. Exactly who they imagine these people are is more difficult to say, since if you ask about most groups who recieve benefits people oppose cuts.

So, overall 38% of people say cuts to benefits have gone too far, 23% they they are about right, 24% would go even further. Asked about the level of benefits and the number of people who can claim them 45% say benefits are too generous, 40% they they are too low (23%) or about right (17%); 57% say too many people are eligible, 30% that too few (19%) or about the right number of people are eligible (11%). Looking at those figures people seem to be pretty pro-cut.

Asked about individual groups of people who receive benefits though and the public suddenly become much more charitable. Only 4% think retired people on the state pension get too much in benefits, only 9% think disabled people do, only 12% think people in low paid work do. 19% think working people with children get too much in benefits, but 33% think they should get more. Opinion on unemployed people is the most evenly balanced, with 28% saying they get too much in benefits, 24% too little, 31% about right. The only group where people come down heavily on the side of too much money being spent on benefits is better off retired people… the group that politicians never cut benefits from because they vote.

This raises the question of why people think benefits are too high and too widely spread if they don’t think the unemployed, pensioners, parents, disabled people or the working poor get too much. I hardly think when people talk about benefit cuts they are thinking of winter fuel payments, rather I expect the support comes from the continuing belief that lots of benefits go to categories not asked about like “people who aren’t really disabled”, “people who could work but can’t”, “asylum seekers” and so on.

Attitudes were similarly complex on the government’s national living wage. We saw in Thursday’s poll that this received overwhelming support. This poll however found rather more nuanced attitude. 31% of people think that the living wage will end up increasing unemployment… yet only 7% think it is being set too high (the implication being that some proportion of people think it more important that jobs pay a decent wage than unemployment is minimised). The principle of the government’s approach is backed – 39% think it’s better for government to reduce in-work poverty by forcing business to pay higher wages (even if it increases unemployment) compared to 19% of people who think it is better for government to reduce in-work poverty by using the tax and benefit system (even if it costs a lot). However, asked about their overall perceptions of the budget people think, by 39% to 28%, that it will leave people in low paid jobs worse off. The question the poll hasn’t asked is how much that matters to people. Too what extent, if any, would people rather low paid workers got more money in wages and less in benefits even if they are less well off.

337 Responses to “Latest ICM poll and more YouGov budget polling”

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  1. Staggers says it has seen private polling that suggests Corbyn will lead on first preferences tho given the house politics you might want to take that with a pinch of salt.

  2. Perhaps the IMF has also been misunderstood. As I understand it, the IMF are not offering to write off any debt. In fact it demands a place at the head of the queue to get its pound of flesh. It is merely signaling that without the others taking a write off, it is not willing to take part in a further bail out. This will mean that a further barrier will have been created in getting the package through the German parliament.

  3. Candy
    Correct me if I am wrong but I don’t think that German products have ever sold on a warm, Hovis aura of all-round niceness. The vague customer impression is of a cold precise professionalism informed by ruthless dedication.

    Mr Schauble seems an epitome if a little extreme. I don’t think German exports will suffer. For the moment Germany is I believe the number one export nation. I am confident that German companies like other Germans are contacting Ms M to say she is a pathetic softie who should be more like Mr S.


    “I seem to be pretty much a lone voice in trying to see something positive in the Greek settlement, so I’ll leave the Greek chorus to continue the chant of, “Oh woe! Doom and gloom abound! The end of the EU is nigh!””


    Yes, when in doubt there’s always caricature. Can’t say I’ve ever predicted the end of the EU though, so you must mean someone else. It’s just that the somewhat utopian neolib thing that has issues…

  5. @Candy

    “even though a Samsung product might be the same quality as an Apple product”


    Well I suppose it could happen…

  6. “The privatisation targets may or may not be met but I think many here are mis-interpreting the possible outcomes. Quite simply if the money isn’t raised the banks collapse, if I have understood correctly?”


    No, you’re possibly misreading the argument. Or deflecting…

    The privatisation issue was discussed on its own merits or otherwise. Not as a means of ignoring the banking issue. Though if they tie banking relief to privatisation, then the two become connected.

    The problem is that even if the banks get more funds, problems will continue if other parts of the bailout package don’t work.

    So you can’t just imply other aspects of bailout are irrelevant. Not on here, anyway. Might work on the doorstep…

  7. The above post should be addressed to Barney…

  8. Barney Crocket – “Correct me if I am wrong but I don’t think that German products have ever sold on a warm, Hovis aura of all-round niceness. The vague customer impression is of a cold precise professionalism informed by ruthless dedication.”

    True. But there’s a difference in being thought of as a precise professional and having the words “abuse”, “vindictive”, “destructive” attached to you.

    The latter is a marketing nightmare.

  9. @Barney Crockett

    If you’re to believe W

  10. Carfrew
    I think that the money due from privatisation is already split three ways with one slice to give liquidity to the banks though I find it hard to see how they can last that long.

  11. If you are to believe William Manchester’s history of Krupp written in the 1960’s German companies were not harmed by Auschwitz or the Luftwaffe – rather the opposite .

  12. 07052015,

    I can’t see it for the mound of salt I’ve dumped on it. “Private polling” had the Lib Dems on for winning 40 seats.


    “I think that the money due from privatisation is already split three ways with one slice to give liquidity to the banks though I find it hard to see how they can last that long.”


    Obviously if they let the banks go under then other issues become a bit moot.

    But equally, if they save the banks but then tank the economy with the bailout package, then also a bit hopeless.

    They are possibly expecting too much from privatisation receipts in the current climate, as I explained earlier…

  14. Wolf
    Who is w? You?

  15. “….(even though a Samsung product might be the same quality as an Apple product, nobody is going to pay a premium for a Korean vibe – which means they have to charge less).”

    Explains why my Samsumg phone battery is always flat then.

    @barney Crockett – yes, I would agree that there is a bit too much ‘this is bound to happen next..’ stuff going on, and you are correct to point out the actual opinions in some of the states at the centre of the storm.

    Sadly, that’s the nub of the problem – far too many people simply can’t see the obvious and are in a position of suspended belief when it comes to making judgements.

    The German public seems to be oblivious to the likelihood that their leader has just greatly increased the chances that they will lose even more money on the deal, while the Greeks have assumed that this bailout will actually help them, even though the IMF says they will end up owing more money.

    It’s really hard to see any real resolution to this crisis until sufficient numbers of voters and leaders in the key countries begin to engage with the underly!ing issues, in a way that simply hasn’t happened yet.

    I hope this doesn’t come across as arrogant – as it genuinely isn’t. I think a good example of what I mean is the unwinding of the details of this deal. Today it has become clear that the IMF told the creditors before they signed the deal that it wouldn’t work, and we also had the Euro commissioner in Brussells admitting that they don’t know how they are going to fund a key bridging loan, which is going to be the first essential step in the financing package. He says billateral loans can’t be used, so they are looking at the EFSM fund, even though when they set it up they expressly forbade themselves from doing this.

    Given this level of thought process, it’s hardly surprising that the electorate in these countries are struggling to appreciate the problems.

  16. @ALEC

    “Explains why my Samsumg phone battery is always flat then.”


    Also explains why Candy is so pressed for time if she’s using Android etc.

  17. Carfrew
    I agree about the receipts but the outcome is the banks not opening. The Chinese government did express an interest earlier but the delay may mean that they are no longer interested in what they referred to as the “Golden entrance hall to Europe”

  18. @Barney

    Yes, just restating your point ignoring my response is not very helpful…

  19. @Barney

    Slightly varying it each time doesn’t work either

  20. Wolf
    Yes that thought had occurred to me.

  21. 070515

    Big shift in the odds for the Labour leadership election:

    Burnham drifting a little, now available at odds against.

    Cooper variously 11/4 and 5/2, pretty much unchanged

    But the big change is Corbyn dramatically shortening, with the best price 5/1.

    Kendall is looking right out of it, and can now be supported at 9/1, having previously been as low as 7/2.

    I wonder whether some Labour members are inclined to vote for Corbyn, as long as he doesn’t end up the winner.

    The voting system is going to play a big part in the election, as will, perhaps, the polls/odds.

    The prospect of Corbyn winning must now be taken very seriously.

  22. Why not devolve all hunting rules to County Councils and Unitary Authorities and the Welsh assembly.
    This would enable people in country areas to choose for themselves without interference by people who are not directly effected !
    Why not have a National UK wide vote on English votes for English Laws and the level of the grant/subsidy to Scotland per person?

  23. There is some polling evidence to suggest that benefits may be regarded as rights. This analysis of the ICM 2000 State of the Nation poll was made by the Joint Committee on Human Rights in 2004.


    Respondents were asked what they thought should be protected in a Bill of Rights. The right to hospital treatment on the NHS within a reasonable time had 94% support. Protection of the right to join a Trade Union received 87% support with 86% supporting the right to strike.76% supported the right of the homeless to be housed. The Committee saw these results reflected in a survey undertaken by the NIHRC [Northern Ireland Commission on Human Rights] as part of its consultation on a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland. The survey found a high level of support for economic and social rights: support for the inclusion in the Bill of Rights of rights to healthcare and to an adequate standard of living was at 87% among Protestants and 91% among Catholics.

    The Committee stated: “Rights to adequate healthcare and education, to equal treatment in the workplace, and to protection against the worst extremes of poverty, deal in the substance of everyday lives.”

    If people still hold such opinions this government may face difficulties as the benefit cuts bite more.

  24. Carfrew
    Work on the doorstep
    Always good to be reminded I am so firmly below stairs in the UKPR universe. All I can do is stick to my last and can say it has meant I have been closer in my predictions on this issue than most others.

    The only point I was making about the privatisations is that shortfalls will fall on the people of Greece and not the creditors a far as I can see.

  25. More on opinion polls
    Polling in Germany shows that Green voters are strongest in supporting Merkel’s stance on Greece at over two thirds. Support from Christian Democrats and Social Democrats is just behind that of the Greens. A third of all voters wanted a forced removal from the Euro.

  26. Leaked private polling (and, we can all make a judgment on that!) suggesting Corbyn is well ahead on 2nd prefs and should win the leadership/


  27. What a laugh that would be.

  28. Left Left Left on the opposition benches it seems:-

    Tim Farron is odds-on to be elected leader of the Liberal Democrats on Thursday. But whether he or his rival Norman Lamb wins the contest, the party appears set to tack left as it begins rebuilding the coalition of voters that once saw it win a quarter of the popular vote.”


  29. @Barney

    It’s not that what you say is wrong, it’s just that it misdirects.

    Everyone knows that the banks need bailing out. There is no need to keep repeating it, it is so obvious peeps accept it without need for further discussion.

    You can repeat the fact as many times as you like, but it won’t alter the additional fact that the need to bail out the banks does not render issues re: privatisation or other aspects of the bailout moot.

    Both are important regarding the economy.

  30. Jon Trickett suggests the poll was leaked by a candidate whose campaign has been flagging.

    We can only hope this rekendalls that mystery candidate. Although not too much or it could burnham up and they might not be able to recooper their losses.

  31. I’m honestly not sure whether to be thrilled or horrified at the news about Corbyn. I’m in the unenviable (but likely quite common position) of actually agreeing with him on most everything and wishing he could be PM but sadly acknowledging that short of a major Tory screw up and a ultra slick Labour campaign he almost certainly would not win in 2020.
    One thing I will say though if he does win the leadership I’ll feel obligated to join the Labour party….which will probably make defeat in 2020 all the more bitter :(

  32. I’m feeling very alone in the party at the moment, since I think both Corbyn and Kendall would be disastrous for their own reasons. I don’t care all that much what positions the party takes up as long as they win them votes and are at least vaguely in keeping with their basic principles. I just don’t think either of their positions would do so.

  33. MrNameless
    I’m just worried that with Kendall seemingly destined for defeat her backers might jump ship to Cooper who I feel would be a disaster. Like them or loath them you can at least see the angle of the other three candidates and how they might win.

    Corbyn=Radical leftism, claw back most of the SNP and Green vote and likely a good chunk of the “left behind” UKIP vote, maybe win over some floaters with radical conviction policies on housing and such.

    Kendall=Tack to the right, steal half the Tories policies and hopefully regain the fabled mantle of “the centre ground” thus gaining lots of direct switchers from Tory to Labour due to seeming economically credible.

    Burnham=In the middle economically but importantly down to earth, relatively charismatic and with a regional accent. Popular enough to keep current Labour voters on board, normal and left wing enough to halt Green advance, regional accent makes him seem working class and thus gets some SNP and UKIP votes back and charisma allows for a good “leadership” score which we know the public equates into everything thus solving Labours economic credibility issue.

    Cooper though I don’t get her angle, she’s undoubtedly competent but she’s unbelievingly robotic, would not go down well with kippers, Greens or Nats and by being married to Balls the Tories will undoubtedly somehow spin that into a “don’t trust Cooper with the economy, she’s married to Ed Balls!!!”
    Recipe for certain defeat in my eyes.

  34. Rivers

    That’s an excellent summary of the Labour election options.

    I really think that Osborne’s budget has dropped a big brick in the Labour pond. He has effectively destroyed Kendall as a candidate: who would vote for someone who is saying the same things as the Tory chancellor?

    Come to think of it, he hasn’t done a bad job of making life difficult for Burnham and Cooper.

  35. Its three right wingers versus a hard leftist so perhaps it easy to speculate corbyn might do better than expected on first prefs.

    Imo the staggers story is prob based on dubious data and the torygraph certainly is just mischief.”Private polling” gives the game away.

    The torygraph copies the staggers figures of first prefs and then asserts that corbyn will do best on second prefs without any evidence whatsoever.

    So kendall supporters vote LK 1 Corbyn 2 -yeah right of course they will.Cooper 1 Corbyn 2 of course,ditto Burnham .

  36. Cooper and Burnham aren’t right wingers, they’re on the centre-left, same as most of the PLP. Kendall? Yeah fair enough.

  37. Humbly disagree mr N -kendall is copycat blairite, cooper is what I would call hard right ,burnham is catholic right .

    Reread staggers there is no info in their article,just quotes from two campaigns,on first pref polling just numbers of clp nominations.It then speculates- what if votes mirrored nominations.

    Good wind up but still a wind up.

  38. I don’t know how you can call Cooper on the centre-left given her track record as Shadow Home Secretary. At least Kendall is honest about the fact she just wants to copy the Conservative manifesto, Cooper would do the same but pretend she isn’t.

  39. Latest Labour Leader Betting Odds:

    Burnham: Evens
    Cooper: 11/4
    Corbyn: 7/2 (shortened from 7/1 earlier today)

  40. @ Barney

    “A third of all voters wanted a forced removal from the Euro.”

    These are your words not mine. Now mine: there’s probably expertise there.

  41. Anthony’s post suggests to me that those polled on the benefit reforms in the budget do not have a deep understanding of how much money is spent on benefits and on what it is spent. I confess some ignorance of the subject.

    I came across this breakdown of costs attributed to health inequalities from the NHS in England.At the heart of health inequalities are poverty and deprivation.If there are poor and unequal living conditions they are, according to the World Health organisation, “the consequence of poor social policies and programmes, unfair economic arrangements and bad politics.”


    The estimated cost to the NHS in England each year of the failure to address health inequalities is £5.5 billion.

    The estimated cost to England’s economy of the failure to address health inequalities is £70 billion.

    The link above leads to examples of health inequalities, including the more extreme.

    The average age of death of a rough sleeper is 30 years earlier than that of the average population.

    80% of street sex workers report using heroin and 87% use crack cocaine. Many have poor mental health outcomes, due to childhood abuse, homelessness.

    Gypsies and travellers continue to experience high infant mortality rates at 18% and high maternal mortality rates.

    Homeless people are 9 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population. 42% have attempted suicide.

    Probably most of those experiencing health inequalities are invisible. At least until they die. Born into families in poverty they are at once disadvantaged and live lives blighted by the effects of poverty.

    The remedy for reducing health inequalities is the redistribution of wealth, income and power.

    It would probably be useful if polling was to be done on the willingness of the public to accept the policy changes that would be needed to try to reduce health inequalities.

  42. Here’s a possible scenario: Many Labour members form a view that Corbyn is too far on the left to appeal to enough of the UK electorate at large, even though they sympathise with many of his views and are appalled by the recent statements of Harman, Kendall et al. So they vote 1.Corbyn, 2.Burnham, intending to make a protest while not expecting that Corbyn will make the final ballot, at which point they intend their vote will elect Burnham over Cooper when it really counts in the run-off.

    If a significant number do that, the result could something like this on 1st ballot:
    1.Corbyn (32%), 2.Cooper (30%), 3.Burnham (25%), 4. Kendall (13%) (or a variant in that order, with Corbyn further ahead).

    Kendall (who now seems destined to finish last come what may) is then eliminated, and enough of her support goes to Cooper to stop Burnham moving up to 2nd. So the final ballot is between Corbyn and Cooper. And those intended Corbyn to Burnham transfers come to nothing.

    I think that’s the most likely scenario in which the front runner, Burnham, could fail to win. If Corbyn is leading and Cooper is eliminated, I think the great bulk of her supporters’ preferences would go to Burnham over Corbyn, allowing Burnham to overtake Corbyn then.

    And it follows that if there is one candidate that would wish to talk up the prospect of Corbyn winning, it’s Burnham, in order to turn some of his 2nd preferences into 1st preferences.

    That said, Kendall may be getting desperate, so it’s not impossible that the NS feature may have come from her side. Note that the author is Stephen Bush who up to now seems to have been acting as one of her cheerleaders.

  43. @ Sam

    Do you really want to know the difference between public opinion in general and in concrete?

    I don’t have the link, but yougov did something like this. So, we are all liberals (well, I’m not) when the question asked, and we are all conservatives (I’m not), when asked about the neighbourhood.

    Depressing, isn’t? There are solutions to this. None of them are liberal.

  44. Labour Party elections: it is either Burnham or Cooper. Corbyn would be slaughtered on day one, so it’s a non starter. One has to remember that one thing is whom one votes, and the other thing is if the person voted can actually do anything (see Greece – apologies for bringing it in). Also the DT article seems to be ………………..

  45. Useful BES analysis of the polling debacle in England outside London


    Our analysis of the post-election BES data makes us much more sceptical about late swing, “don’t knows” and Shy Tories. By contrast, we are leaning strongly towards differential turnout as part of the explanation and think that it’s likely that sampling and weighting also played at least some role.

  46. Phil H

    I’ve been thinking on similar lines. I suggested in an earlier post that the electoral system, and the polls/odds themselves will be a factor.

    It is interesting to see the details of the last Labour leadership contest, and how the votes of those eliminated, including Burnham, broke to those remaining.

    Ed M was behind brother David all the way until Ed Balls was eliminated and his vote split to Ed.

    We are still a month away from the papers being sent out, so there is plenty of time for a lot of movement.

    I suspect Corbyn will top the poll, and Kendall will come last. Her second preference votes won’t go to Corbyn, so Cooper and Burnham will gain ground. It could then be very close, but Corbyn looks like making the final two. It could be very close between Burnham and Cooper as to who survives, and then most probably wins.

    There may be implications for any leader who, like Ed M, scrapes home.

  47. Phil H

    I also ought to have said that I would expect Burnham to receive more first preference votes than Cooper, but Kendall’s votes are perhaps more likely to break for Cooper than Burnham on gender and political grounds, etc.

  48. Varoufakis just voted NO.

  49. Greek Parliament votes Yes to deal.

    Athens to be renamed “Edinburgh of the South”.

  50. I’m sure you were trying to make some sort of prescient statement there, but I’m failing to see the links between Athens and Edinburgh, other than the fact they’re European capitals. I’m also unsure I want to be told the link, on account of the fact that not all links have to be to Scotland.

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