Petitions are a rubbish way of measuring public opinion. In fairness, that isn’t actually their purpose – a petition is a way for individuals to record and express their opinion, a way of highlighting an issue and exerting pressure. They can indeed be very good at that job. Some people however assume that because a vast number of people sign a petition it must, therefore, reflect wider public opinion. That is not the case – if a million people sign a petition hey are not necessarily representative of anyone but themselves. It shows only what those themselves think, the rest of the population may think the opposite, but not be bothered to sign petitions about it (and some demographic or attitudinal groups may just be more inclined to express their opinions through petitions).

So it appears to be with the petition on the Trump visit. Well over a million and a half people have signed a petition against the visit, but a YouGov poll in the Times this morning shows 49% of people think the visit should go ahead, only 36% think it should cancelled (Though it’s important to note the poll question does not relate to the petition specifically. The poll asked if the visit should go ahead at all, the petition is about the more technical issue of whether it should be downgraded from a full State Visit).

This does not mean there’s a silent majority of the British public who like Donald Trump – quite the opposite, British public opinion is very hostile about him and getting worse. 62% now think he will be a poor or terrible president (up from 54% just after the presidential election) and people here are overwhelming negative about his policies. The ban on refugees and visitors from seven Muslim countries gets the thumbs down from 50% of British respondents and the support of only 29%. Other policies are even less popular (67% think his wall is a a bad idea, similar figures disapprove of his environmental policies)

One can only assume that the public think the invite to Trump should stand despite their dislike of the man and his policies because, like it or not, he is the leader of a country we need to work with. Asked what the attitude of the British government should be towards trump 51% say we should try to work with him, rather than distance ourselves from him (32%). Opinion there is moving swiftly though – there has been a large drop since November when 66% thought the government should work with him.

I do ponder what sort of reception Donald Trump will get of the visit goes ahead. The British public really don’t like him, and if that petition doesn’t measure the balance of opinion, it probably does give us a good idea of the pool of people available to turn up to any visit to protest. That said, there have been plenty of State Visits by unpopular world leaders in the past that have been managed without incident. I just wouldn’t count on too many large public events…


786 Responses to “YouGov finds 49% think the Trump visit should go ahead”

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  1. Many thanks AW as always a very fair summary of the poll and the aswers to the detailed questions. Clearly Trump and his policies so far are not liked in the UK, but don’t want his visit cancelled.

  2. For those interested broadly good news on UK manufacturing at the start of 2017 although cost inflation is a clear threat.

    Markit UK Manufacturing PMI at 55.9 in January

    Output growth at 32-month high

    Purchase price inflation at new survey record

    Summary:
    The UK manufacturing sector made a strong start to 2017. Output rose at the fastest rate since May 2014, as new order intakes expanded at a robust pace. Price pressures intensified, however, as input cost inflation surged to a survey record high and output charges also increased at one of the steepest rates in the series history. The seasonally adjusted Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index® (PMI® ) posted 55.9 in January, only a couple of ticks below December’s two-and a-half year high of 56.1. The headline PMI has remained above the neutral mark of 50.0 for six straight months. The latest expansion of manufacturing production was underpinned by a solid increase in new order intakes. The rate of growth in new business moderated following the prior month’s high, but remained well above the long-run survey average.

    If this trend were to continue i wonder how the polls would react?

  3. Dave

    Yes, I mentioned this on the last thread. The second has been running since yesterday am.

  4. Whether you agree or disagree with Mr Trump, his new Head of the National Trade Council’s attack on German manipulation of the Euro is correct.
    Germany has a trade surplus of nearly 9% – EU rules say a surplus of over 6^% of GDP is illegal.
    Either Germany pushes for full monetary union in the Eurozone – sharing debt, a banking union
    and domestic policies to boost consumption, or it leaves the Euro to give the likes of Greece, Spain and Italy a chance.
    At the moment, the Euro is a German racket – as Nicholas Ridley said back in 1990 a remark that cost him his job.

  5. Dave, yes the battle of the petitions.

    Pete pointed out that there was no alternative petition, I thought one might appear.

    So, in the battle of the petitions it’s about 8 to 1 not in favour of a state visit. That is somewhat more interesting as the caveats cancel.

    Petitions seem to follow an exponential decay curve so they will probably both fizzle but events may reignite them as they run usually run on for six months.

  6. Sorry, that should be Pete B above.

  7. Had we not voted for Brexit then Trump’s visit to the UK might had been toast but we are where we are and we need to deal with other countries as individuals rather than as one morphed block.
    ………
    AW
    ” I do ponder what sort of reception Donald Trump will get of the visit goes ahead. The British public really don’t like him, and if that petition doesn’t measure the balance of opinion, it probably does give us a good idea of the pool of people available to turn up to any visit to protest. That said, there have been plenty of State Visits by unpopular world leaders in the past that have been managed without incident. I just wouldn’t count on too many large public events”
    _______

    Probably one of the reasons Trumps visit is quite contentious even though he won’t have been the worse World leader to have visited the UK is because he is representing the free World. When the Chinese leader visited the UK we knew what his China stood for and to an extent accepted it..Trump to a lot of people is shock and awe when taking into the wider context of US values.

    However the alternative to Trump to many was even more horrific.

    …………………….
    OLDNAT & BOBINNORFOLK..Left you a response on the Tartan thread..

  8. Jasper22,

    Germany can’t do much to make the Euro rise in value, short of kicking out Greece and Italy.

    It could tell all it’s workers to stop being so productive or make such good cars, or indeed tell Germans to stop buying German cars (Why by a Merc, Audi, or BMW when you can have a…. Dodge!) and follow the British example of living on the never never to create debt driven growth.

    The US taking a kick at Germany by claiming it runs Europe is more of the fact that Trump doesn’t like the EU or for that matter the UN, WTO or pretty much any international organisation or trade deal.

    He wants a world where it’s just individual countries making Bilateral deals and where as the biggest, riches most powerful nation the US can dictate terms to everyone else.

    That’s fine from an America first President, but the rest of the world doesn’t have to like it or accept it.

    As for the UK we need to decide if we are going to oppose it or tag along.

    Peter.

  9. JASPER22

    “Whether you agree or disagree with Mr Trump, his new Head of the National Trade Council’s attack on German manipulation of the Euro is correct”
    _______

    It’s about time someone put Germany in its place. They have been treating the EU and the Euro like their very own little play things.

  10. Just to be clear, which the article is not, the poll asked about a State visit.

  11. Two things stand out, although as based on cross breaks we should as ever be careful of making too much of them.

    Firstly as well as a clear split on a Leave/Remain basics just how starkly UKIP supporters view on the refugee issue differ from all other Parties.

    They alone seem to substantially back the immigration ban and I suspect this indicates that immigration really is the big issue for most of them.

    The second is that Scotland does seem as elsewhere to be distinctly less in favour of Trump and his policies as elsewhere.

    Unfortunately we didn’t get an SNP column so can’t see how Party driven that is.

    As to the state visit, if it is going to be a security nightmare maybe like the Wall we should ask the US to pay for it.

    I wonder when he will be visiting France & Germany?

    Peter.

  12. An Ipsos/Mori poll in the United States has found that voters there support Trump’s travel ban by 49% to 41%.

  13. If Germany has been treating the Euro as it’s play thing because it has benefitted from a low value due to the problems in Greece, then London and California are in the same boat.

    Sterling would have been a lot higher if hadn’t had industrial decline in the North and the Dollar too if the same hadn’t happened in the Rust belt states.

    Germany is like California, benefitting from a tech boom where elsewhere in the Country some states struggle.

    Likewise the boom in London over three decades has seen those who own houses benefit from huge increases in property values while in some areas prices have stagnated.

    Trump can blame the ECB for a weak because of it’s Bond buying programme, but The US treasury and Bank of England started QE earlier and on a proportionally larger scale so we’re in Kettle and Pot territory.

    Bottom line; The Dollar, Sterling and Euro are all internationally traded currencies with independent central banks and their value is set by the markets.

    Parts of all three that are doing well, the US, UK and EU benefit from the fact that problems elsewhere keep the currency low.

    Does the fact that the post Brexit fall in Sterling help UK Exports make The UK a currency manipulator. Should the US retaliate with tariffs because we have deliberately weakened our currency to make ourselves more competitive?

    This is amateur hour, both in the US and on here.

    Something happens people don’t like, so they point the finger of blame! Low and behold they point it at people they don’t like, nice easy targets.

    Germany has a highly productive economy that sells lots abroad and has a trade surplus with the US and UK we’ed love to have…. So they must be cheats!

    Peter.

  14. The pro-visit petition reads as follows:

    “Donald Trump should be invited to make an official State Visit because he is the leader of a free world and U.K. is a country that supports free speech and does not believe that people that appose our point of view should be gagged.”

    Beautifully written… Any idea what it means?

  15. @AW

    “Some people however assume that because a vast number of people sign a petition it must, therefore, reflect wider public opinion. That is not the case – if a million people sign a petition hey are not necessarily representative of anyone but themselves.”

    ———–

    If a million peeps sign a petition, the chances that literally no one else agrees with them is pretty small one would think. The interesting thing, is how many are there who didn’t sign but still agree with the petition.

  16. Or to put it another way, what’s the ratio, the proportion of those signing to the total number who agree. As I said earlier, I think this might be more significant in the case of demonstrations…

  17. If polling asked the exact same question as the petition we might get a slightly better idea…

  18. Fascinating, the Guardian is reporting as follows”

    The European commission’s Brexit negotiators must strike a “workable” deal with Theresa May’s government to protect the City of London or the economies of the remaining member states will be damaged, a leaked EU report warns.”

    This seems to support similar comments made by the GoBE some time ago.

  19. Lewblew,

    Maybe the POTUS wrote it ?

  20. LEWBLEW

    I agree, not well written, but lot’s of people seem to understand it as it has now reached 212,000 and is growing more than twice as fast as the original petition. As I posted earlier I very much agree with AW’s view of these things

  21. @S THOMAS

    “I hope someone gives Theresa May a rocket about this”

    ————–

    Indeed she might send them into orbit. And should have a petition about the space port. And polling about it… one day peeps will look back on this time and go ‘I can’t believe we didn’t have a Spaceport already!!’

  22. I heard an interview this morning on Radio 5 with the chap who created the new petition. He said it was mainly the work of his 13-yr-old daughter.

  23. Carefrew makes a key point – the petition and YouGov asked very different questions.

    Although I oppose the state visit I declined to sign the petition against it because it specifically states that Trump should be allowed into the UK on Presidential business. My view which is probably shared by a significant minority is that he should not be allowed into the UK at all, in the same way that we would rightly ban other extremists who behave is way that undermines our basic human rights, freedoms and laws in a democracy. One needs to bear in mind that Trump is a lawbreaker – both of US and international law – who was elected as a direct result of interference in the US political process by Putin’s regime.

  24. SOz, the post i replied to has disappeared, delete mine if needed.

    [Indeed. Please don’t reply to partisan comments. It doubles the amount of moderation I need to do. In fact, it does much more than that, because then other people respond as well, and the initial person responds, and everyone gets into an unholy row and I end up having to go through and disinfect whole threads – AW]

  25. WB
    “One needs to bear in mind that Trump is a lawbreaker – both of US and international law – who was elected as a direct result of interference in the US political process by Putin’s regime.”

    I hope you’ve got a good lawyer.

  26. @Peter Cairns

    Is it really fair to call Trump a “self-proclaimed” leader of the free world?

    Trump seems to self-identify as the leader of the USA above all else, and the leader of the free world very little. His rhetoric has been about fighting for the USA’s narrow corner in foreign affairs and interest in other countries seems limited to the wish that they don’t the don’t step on the USA’s toes in whatever way.

    Is it more apt to call him a “proclaimed” leader of the free world, where he is proclaimed as such by those outside his circle (and indeed country) moreso than by those inside it? (And maybe that historical understanding of the role of the USA in the world needs revisiting!)

  27. AW, sorry. I should have waited.

  28. that people that appose our point of view should be gagged.”

    ———-
    appose ???

  29. Very odd. Does that mean the public oppose the rather strict argument restrictions we have on Somalians etc just hopping by a plane and coming here?

    Suppose a poll listed the countries and asked if the UK should have very strict vetting requirements, you’d get a very different answer from asking if you agree with Trump. You’d think people wanted the UK to do the full Merkel from this.

  30. Well, we Brits are a polite and well-mannered lot. No doubt people think that to rescind an invitation to Buck, House would embarrass the Queen even more than having to entertain the Trumps. Were respondents asked whether he should’ve been invited on a state visit in the first place?

  31. Sorry, but why is my comment partisan? when I say that most Trump protestors are being very choosy on what they do/don’t demonstrate against? Saying there is hypocrisy isn’t partisan, or at least I don’t think it is. The whole approach to Trump since he got in is a whipped up frenzy from many elements of the media and social media with a vested interested in the previous liberal status quo.

    [You didn’t say that – the comment was about the “liberal left”. And it was hostile and derogatory about the views of those you characterised as being on the liberal left. I’m afraid it came across as a rant about how people with views you don’t entirely share are “hypocritical”, “nauseating” and “self-indulgent”. More to the point, many other people commenting the site happen to hold the views you were so critical of, so would have taken a comment worded in such a way as accusing them of being hypocritical and self-indulgent. Comments like that almost inevitably lead to partisan back and forth and argument, and are not compatible with friendly non-partisan discussion – AW]

  32. WELSH BORDERER

    ” One needs to bear in mind that Trump is a lawbreaker – both of US and international law – who was elected as a direct result of interference in the US political process by Putin’s regime”
    ________

    Putin has been blamed for Brexit, blamed for Trump and will be blamed if Angela Merkel gets the boot in Germany. Personally I blame the voters for exercising their democratic rights to vote.

    However I do understand in order for the Liberal elite to function properly they do need a Boogeyman.

  33. @Conservative Estimate

    I live in a very safe Tory seat in rural Cheshire*. You’re wrong. They really do care. I have to stop normally apolitical friends and family banging on about it.

    (*although the ward we’re in voted Remain because there are a lot of well-heeled instinctively Tory professionals in law and accounting who read the small print and didn’t like what they saw and, more interestingly, a group of local farmers got very worried about issues in standards of farm produce – lamb, I understand, particularly exercised them – and campaigned quite hard).

    In short, a lot of ‘natural’ Tories really care about this […]

    Many of the more partisan conservatives appear to have looked at what Corbyn has done to Labour and decided ‘we’d like to alienate all our moderates too! It looks like tremendous fun!’

  34. The LucidTalk poll doesn’t seem to be on their website yet, but they’re obviously drip feeding information to the media.

    The Belfast Telegraph’s Poll: Arlene Foster rating plummets – DUP and Sinn Fein neck-and-neck includes:

    When asked which party people intend to vote for, the DUP’s share dropped by just over 3% to 25.87%. That compares to Sinn Fein who sit on 25.1%, a 1.1% increase on last year’s Assembly election.

    UUP, Alliance and the Greens also gain over 1%, with Naomi Long’s party looking to increase its vote share by almost 2% – the biggest gain of any party.

    It will be an STV multi-member election, of course, and it has been conjectured in the local press that non-hardline parties like the UUP, the SDLP and the Alliance are likely to share their second preferences.

    Whether LucidTalk polled on that question remains to be seen but should be very interesting if it is.

    The drop in Foster’s leadership rating is from 49.7% in December 2016 to 29% now.

  35. @Colin,

    Thanks, very good balanced article.

  36. MARKW

    ” I end up having to go through and disinfect whole threads – AW]”
    _________

    Dettol’s disinfectant spray kills 99.9% of bacteria on both hard and soft surfaces, keeping every surface in your home free from germs and smelling fresh!

  37. In case anyone is interested, at the time of writing 97% of the anti-Trump signatories and 98% of the pro-Trumps are at least purportedly from the UK,

    For some reason the constituency most likely to have signed the pro-Trump petition is The City of London followed by the Isle of Wight.

  38. COLIN

    I’ve not read the whole article from your link but the headline alone is an eye opener.

  39. Saying there is hypocrisy isn’t partisan, or at least I don’t think it is.

    ——————————–

    There you have it in a nutshell, Rich. Often people making partisan comments, and I include myself in this, don’t realise or accept the nature of the comments.

    On this site is probably best to avoid words like ‘hypocrisy’.

  40. Valerie – indeed. I’d suggest to people that the yardstick you should bear in mind is not “do I think my comment is partisan?” but “would people with political views different from mine think my comment is partisan?”.

    At least, that’s the rule of thumb I always try to use myself.

  41. NI Assembly VI – change since NI GE 2016:

    -3.3% DUP
    +1.1% SF
    +0.4% SDLP
    +1.3% UUP
    +1.9% Alliance
    +0.9% TUV
    -0.3% ukip
    +1.2% Greens
    ±0.0% NI Cons
    -0.1% PUP
    +0.7% PBP
    -3.5% Others

    From the Lucid Talk facebook page

  42. @conservative estimate

    The constituency map of the location of signatories to the petition shows they they are geographically widespread.

  43. According to the following article, Trump tends to go wild on the Sabbath when his daughter and son-in-law arn’t around to police him:

    http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/01/jared-kushner-ivanka-donald-trump-scandals

    quote

    Kushner, along with his wife, Ivanka Trump, is also an orthodox Jew who observes Shabbat. From sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday, the couple abstains from technology and work. And early in the incipient Trump administration, that brief period has been unusually fraught. Last week, the president personally called the Park Service on the morning after his inauguration to inquire about the size of the crowds who came to watch him take the oath of office. He subsequently delivered a widely derided speech at C.I.A. headquarters that afternoon, during which he blathered on about the media’s treatment of him and his inaugural crowd size. He then sent his press secretary, Sean Spicer, into the briefing room to falsely claim that it was the largest audience for an inauguration in history. During the tumult, some noticed the conspicuous absence of Kushner’s allegedly calming presence. “He wasn’t rolling calls on Saturday when this happened,” one person close to Kushner told me last week. “To me, that’s not a coincidence.”

    The timing of Trump’s executive order on Friday, just moments before sundown, meant that Kushner would not be in the West Wing to absorb another cataclysmic Saturday. Indeed, Kushner observed the Sabbath as thousands of people protested outside airports across the country, children waited for their detained parents, lawyers rushed to federal court rooms, taxi drivers went on strike, and one Democratic leader broke down in tears on live television.

    end quote

  44. It would appear that at one Lib Dem has broken ranks. Former Lib Dem leadership contender Norman Lamb has confirmed he will vote against his party’s whip and back Article 50.

  45. One aspect of Trump`s State visit that I have not seen discussed in the thousands of comments is the problem of the Queen`s being ill at the time.

    Trump has stated that he would be unwilling to meet Prince Charles on the visit. But what happens if the heir to the British throne has to deputise for his mother.

    Will Trump refuse to go to the Palace or Balmoral, or even abandon the whole trip.

    This row and upset has been so unnecessary, but obviously was provoked by Teresa May`s worries on trade after Brexit.

  46. Quite and interesting article…

    “Which White People Support Trump?”

    “A new poll run for BuzzFeed News, which delves into white voters’ self-reported ancestry, reveals surprising diversity in their political outlook. White voters who identify most strongly with their German or Italian heritage strongly support Trump, whereas those who self-identify as Irish, English, or Scottish are more evenly split between Trump and Hillary Clinton”

    Group… …Clinton…….Trump

    German 33% 51%

    American 33% 50%

    Italian 33% 44%

    English 37% 43%

    Irish 39% 40%

    Poll doesn’t have info on Scottish ancestry…

    https://www.buzzfeed.com/peteraldhous/trump-and-the-white-vote?utm_term=.cr0X25g9g#.yf62VwXjX

  47. Some people were quoting a SkyData poll. Turns out that it is Sky polling their subscribers. Here is their twitter account:

    https://twitter.com/SkyData

  48. P.S. Here is the tabs for that SkyData poll:

    http://interactive.news.sky.com/SMSXLIII_TRAVELBAN_300117_FP.pdf

    At the top it says:

    “Base: Nationally representative sample of 1,091 Sky cu
    stomers interviewed by SMS 30 January 2017. Data weigh
    ted to the profile of the population ”

    But of course Sky customers themselves are not representative of the population. All we can conclude is that Sky customers don’t want Donald Trump to visit.

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