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. Bernie Sanders released his 2014 tax return in April 2016. He did not have all the figures for his 2015 tax returns then as the tax year had just finished , He was knocked out by Clinton and so the 2015 tax returns never became an issue,
    Trump promised to release his tax returns during the campaign as soon as an audit was completed. After winning he went back on his promise and refused to release them
    Cannot see how the Trump and Sanders situation is remotely similar. All it does show is that Trump is a liar, but then that is not really news to anyone

  2. Bernie Sanders released his 2014 tax return in April 2016. He did not have all the figures for his 2015 tax returns then as the tax year had just finished , He was knocked out by Clinton and so the 2015 tax returns never became an issue,
    Trump promised to release his tax returns during the campaign as soon as an audit was completed. After winning he went back on his promise and refused to release them
    Cannot see how the Trump and Sanders situation is remotely similar.

  3. CMJ

    Your argument, highly unusually I say, so I’m a bit puzzled, is like a sieve.

    But in the meantime: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=u52Oz-54VYw

  4. CMJ

    I agree entirely.

    The awful thing is that they don’t seem “have an answer”. Worse- I don’t think they feel they need one.

  5. @neilj

    You will get used to @candy’s alternative facts approach.

  6. CMJ/Colin,

    Some voices have used the kick in the establishment notion to try to in some way diminish the validity of the referendum result which kind of reinforces the ‘establishment’ in such voters minds.

    Imo sensible politicians of all persuasions have recognised that there is an strong undercurrent of discontent with not just politics but the way the economy and social developments have worked against them.

    The challenge is for political parties to acknowledge this and respond.

    This is easier said than done of course and the danger is that in addressing such disillusionment the middle class who have done OK in the last 20 years fell unappreciated.

    This is a bigger dilemma for Labour in E&W as they have always been a coalition of the successful with a conscience (as they would see it) and the less economically successful.

  7. Good evening all from a cold rural Hampshire.

    R HUCKLE

    “Russia has actively been funding various political parties and groups in different countries to try to stir up the politics. I should imagine that Putin was not that unhappy about the Brexit vote, as Russia has a problem with EU expanding up to its border”
    _________

    The West funds plenty of NGO’S in Russia or as they call it “the shadowy CIA”. The West also created the mess all around the middle east with obscure interventions and by supporting colour revolutions which went pear shaped.

    Putin has never said once that he was in favour of Brexit but the funny thing is…Trump has and even invited Mr Brexit Farage over to Trump Towers yet our media are more obsessed about what they think Putin is thinking rather than what Trump has actually come out and said with regards to Brexit.

    There is a whole World to be discovered outside of the BBC, ITN, CNN, NBC, FOX and the Hampshire Chronical.

  8. Jim Jam

    “This is a bigger dilemma for Labour in E&W as they have always been a coalition of the successful with a conscience (as they would see it) and the less economically successful.”

    Probably an even bigger dilemma for those who previously voted Labour in England.

    Who else do they vote for? Changes can be fairly rapid and substantial to a “new norm”, if the precipitating events are big enough.

    See this table from “What Scotland Thinks” of the shifts in VI that Panelbase have found in the last 2-3 years. (though Scots did have an additional party option, so I’m not suggesting it could be replicated in England).

    http://whatscotlandthinks.org/questions/how-would-you-be-likely-to-vote-in-a-uk-general-election?groups=null&companies=%5B%2274df1b10-8d73-47d2-ad16-a1c0011d7415%22%5D#table

    Us polling geeks get so used to looking at polls for short-term changes in VI, that sometimes sight of the forest gets lost.

  9. R HUCKLE

    Meant to add…

    “Russia has a problem with EU expanding up to its border”
    ___

    No, they don’t, the problem Russia has is with the expansionist tactics of NATO coming up to Russia’s borders and thanks to former US president and his reckless diplomacy towards Moscow the World is probably closer to WW3 than ever.

  10. @Mr Jones

    “so in the new mixed model all the money that used to be fed from savings into small business loans by the separate retail bank sector would gradually end up going into the high profit investment bank stuff at the top end instead
    so in that model not only would banking deregulation lead to the high risk for the public, low risk for the banks stuff that lead to the banking crash it would also starve the economy of SME loans
    that model must be wrong though or someone on the telly would mention it”

    ————–

    Yes I think we’re on a similiar page. The thing we’re leaving out, is the reason peeps felt they could take this sort of risk: because the development of new methods for pricing risk meant peeps felt risk was eliminated as an issue.

    As we know, that was mistaken, because didn’t take into account stuff like the misselling of toxic debt…

  11. @Mr Jones

    “so in the new mixed model all the money that used to be fed from savings into small business loans by the separate retail bank sector would gradually end up going into the high profit investment bank stuff at the top end instead
    so in that model not only would banking deregulation lead to the high risk for the public, low risk for the banks stuff that lead to the banking crash it would also starve the economy of SME loans
    that model must be wrong though or someone on the telly would mention it”

    ————–

    Yes I think we’re on a similar page. The thing we’re leaving out, is the reason peeps felt they could take this sort of risk: because the development of new methods for pricing risk meant peeps felt risk was eliminated as an issue.

    As we know, that was mistaken, because didn’t take into account stuff like the misselling of toxic debt…

  12. CMJ
    “I think the way Trump has been represented is quite ridiculous.”

    When the Republican President of the USA tweets about ‘so-called’ judges, ignores democratic procedures and openly expresses his desire to break up the EU, (among many many other things), this hardly seems like business as usual, or as we’ve ever seen it in my lifetime. It is how he portrays himself that causes the anxiety.

  13. MR JONES has just put me in the mood….

    Me and Mrs.Jones
    We got a thing goin’on
    We both know that it’s wrong
    But it’s much too strong
    To let it go now
    We meet every day at the same cafe
    Six-thirty and no one knows she’ll be there
    Holding hands, making all kinds of plans
    While the juke box plays our favorite songs

    Me and Mrs.Jones
    We got a thing goin’on
    We both know that it’s wrong
    But it’s much too strong
    To let it go now

    We gotta be extra careful
    That do we don’t build our hopes up too high
    Because she’s got her own obligations
    And so, and so, do

  14. Carfrew

    “the development of new methods for pricing risk meant peeps felt risk was eliminated as an issue.”

    yup

  15. Allan Christie.

    Surely the question is “if you add an immigrant to the Joneses, does productivity increase?”

  16. In the meantime in Lichenstein – the end is near.

    http://www.politico.eu/article/liechtensteins-populists-gain-ground/

  17. Cartmanjeff, Patrickbrian

    It has been clear for some time that Trump has taken the dormant Teddy Roosevelt theme in US politics and used it to challenge illiberal liberalism. And it must be said that he has done it very well.

    He does not play with a straight bat, and his liberal opponents are having a great deal of difficulty in coming to terms with his approach. One of his favourite techniques to to fly a kite that is opponents will hate, but is popular with the electorate, then use the backwash from that to apply targeted pressure.

    His ban on citizens of 7 countries is popular with the electorate, 47/35 IIRC – he has judged his play well. There are 10 Democrat Senators facing mid-term re-election with conservative electorates. They cannot win with out the support of Republican voters. This particular play means that they will need to establish a solidly conservative voting record in the House, or be in grave danger of losing in 2 years time.

    Hence they will have to back his Supreme Court nominee and his nominees for Govt. posts – with just enough rocking of the boat to be able to claim they are Democrats. He has put them in a corner and they have little choice.

    He will carry on with this approach until the Democrats build an effective counter strategy – what they are doing at the moment just helps him. The GOP never found one, which is why they are stuck with him.

  18. JIM JAM

    @”The challenge is for political parties to acknowledge this and respond.”

    Yep-and you are right to put them in that order. If you haven’t even acknowledged the problem -and you are in the “All UKIP voters are racists ergo we don’t want them” mode , you stand no chance.

    Its not just Labour’s problem here Jim Jam-TM acknowledged it on the steps of No 10, and interprets the Brexit vote in a wide context of dissillusionment. She is beginning to put a policy platform together on the theme-but Brexit crowds everything else out.

    In USA , they have a headstart-its a test bed for a populist solution to the mood. We will see if it does the trick-or just sows complete collapse of faith in modern democratic political representation.

    Just watched a Le Pen speech/rally. She is saying things that make you wince-things Trump wouldn’t say. In a way its a shame Macron has emerged as the untainted young pragmatist. I would like to have seen Fillon v LePen. played out.

    Netherlands is another place that this agenda is being played out.

    EU may not escape the effects of this mood-I don’t think Merkel’s Two Speed Europe comes anywhere near addressing lack of popular support for Total Integration-in fact it merely acknowledges it.

    At the heart of much of this is mass , uncontrolled immigration and the aftermath of the Banking/ Credit crisis.

  19. @Colin

    “At the heart of much of this is mass , uncontrolled immigration and the aftermath of the Banking/ Credit crisis.”

    I’d put it another way. At the heart of this (and the US problem) is the rapid and sustained switch of resources away from the workforce (at all but senior executive/professional levels) towards the owners and controllers of capital. A side-effect is the transfer from the young to the old, from productive workers to retired.

    I’d say the Labour party – for one – has moved on from the practice of calling UKIP etc voters thick racists into a space where the economic exclusion issue is acknowledged. The tricky bits are a) to shift the blame away from immigration (because it is not actually the problem) and place it upon the current economic settlement and b) to come up with some credible policies which will deliver benefit to working people (at all levels). Labour has barely started on either a) or b)

  20. Scottish Westminster voting intention:
    SNP: 47% (-)
    CON: 27% (+3)
    LAB: 15% (-1)
    LDEM: 4% (-1)
    (via Panelbase / 20 – 26 Jan)

    from Britain Elects – extraordinary turn around in Tory position in Scotland -still a long way to go to threaten the SNP but I think this confirms the gains they made in May are a trend and I can only see them making further progress although that may for the foreseeable future only being to sop the SNP getting a majority at Holyrood- I do not see what future Labour can have in Scotland as a serious party – with the SNP being a left of centre party other than propping up the SNP in a minority situation – a lot of credit has to go to Ruth Davidson.

  21. @Guymonde

    It shouldn’t be as MUCH of a problem as it is perceived as, if they used the proceeds of growth via immigration to alleviate pressure in services, indpfrastructure, employment, housing etc.

    And the EU could limit at source by doing more transfer payments to boost economies of the countries providing the immigration.

    However… some may still be exercised by cultural changes, environmental pressures of greater numbers etc., stuff proponents of free movement don’t tend to address…

  22. @Rodger

    Recent CBS and CNN polls.shows majority against travel ban.

  23. Guymonde – agree wholeheartedly.

    I heard Keir Starmer say that the referendum was lost not in the last few weeks or months prior to taking place but in the preceeding 10 years or more.

    I think the Labour Party (and others) have identified the correct issues but are no where near resolving and I don’t blame anyone for this as no easy solutions are apparent.

  24. @bobinnorfolk

    Ruffalo has a very effective strategy for permanent opposition.

  25. To be fair, the other day, Danny had a go at the environmental thing, saying there’s still plenty space,,if we use some farmland or summat.

    Peeps like Neil A though set a very high, almost implacable bar, whereupon it’s most unwelcome if a single extra hedge is sullied, and the aim is rather to reduce population significantly.

    How we then cope with the resulting lack of nurses for the ageing population no one has yet said, but it’s early days…

  26. Guymonde
    “The tricky bits are a) to shift the blame away from immigration (because it is not actually the problem) …”

    Immigration might not be the only problem, but it is certainly a major problem in many towns and cities throughout England at least, and particularly in the Midlands and the North. Many immigrants work in the black economy and thus pay no income tax. Others particularly from eastern Europe are prepared to work for minimum wage or below because that is still a lot of money compared to what they could get in their own country. This depresses wages for the indigenous population. Mass immigration also puts great pressure on housing, which is in the news lately. I could go on, but there are enough essays written on this site lately…

    UKIP VI is holding up pretty well despite apparently achieving their major aim, and will continue to do so (IMO) until a Brexit is delivered which includes much stricter controls on immigration, and also better controls on immigration from other parts of the world is achieved.

  27. @AC – “No, they don’t, the problem Russia has is with the expansionist tactics of NATO coming up to Russia’s borders …”

    Or: ‘Russia has a problem recognising sovereign democratic states have a right to choose their alliances etc etc’?

  28. BOBINNORFOLK

    That was the Scottish poll that we discussed on the last thread.

    Davidson claiming it is the “first post-budget poll” (it isn’t), and quoting the wrong changes since last poll.

    However, she has certainly established SCon as the main British Unionist Party, and SLab don’t have a coherent response.

    Sunday Herald reporting (though press political reporting isn’t necessarily reliable!) that there are still serious divisions within SLab over both stances and tactics.

  29. OLDNAT
    Allan Christie.
    “Surely the question is “if you add an immigrant to the Joneses, does productivity increase?”
    _________

    I’m not sure…It could depress wages and put rents up. :-)

  30. @Pete B

    I think what Guymonde means is that many of those economic issues are fixable, if politicians bothered to fix them. There are a few things things that you can’t necessarily stop, eg cultural changes. Some see these as a positive, some less so etc.

  31. ALEC
    @AC – “No, they don’t, the problem Russia has is with the expansionist tactics of NATO coming up to Russia’s borders …”
    …………….
    “Or: ‘Russia has a problem recognising sovereign democratic states have a right to choose their alliances etc etc’?”
    __________

    Every country has the right choose their alliances so we shouldn’t be too concerned if Russia and China decided to form a military alliance with each other to counter NATO aggression.

  32. @Pete B

    ‘Many immigrants work in the black economy and thus pay no income tax.’ Any evidence for this? In particular, any evidence that immigrants do it more than natives?

    ‘Mass immigration also puts great pressure on housing, which is in the news lately.’ Very true, and of course particularly so in London, where the housing shortage is far more acute than elsewhere. Yet UKIP is nowhere in London and Remain won solidly. With a few exceptions I believe there is a strong negative correlation between level of immigration and UKIP popularity (and I think Brexiasm)

  33. BOBINNORFOLK
    “I do not see what future Labour can have in Scotland as a serious party – with the SNP being a left of centre party other than propping up the SNP in a minority situation – a lot of credit has to go to Ruth Davidson”
    ____________

    I don’t know if I’m picking up your comment correctly but Labour propping up the SNP? Scottish Labour’s utter hatred towards the SNP would see them do a deal with UKIP or the BNP if it meant pushing the SNP aside.

    If you have time you should look through the last local election results in Scotland and see how any times Labour put the boot into the SNP and went into coalition with other parties.

    The SNP don’t need Labour and even when the two parties were separated by a single seat it was the Tories who acted as the proper opposition to the SNP despite them being the 3rd largest party at that time.

  34. Guy
    “‘Many immigrants work in the black economy and thus pay no income tax.’ Any evidence for this? In particular, any evidence that immigrants do it more than natives?”

    Only anecdotal, from personal experience. For instance all adult natives I know are either working, retired, or housewives, whereas every local manual car wash (and there are a lot) is staffed by eastern Europeans and you can only pay cash. I don’t use them once I discovered that.

    “Yet UKIP is nowhere in London and Remain won solidly. With a few exceptions I believe there is a strong negative correlation between level of immigration and UKIP popularity”

    I did specify particularly Midlands and North, but could it be that Remain won in some areas just because immigrants are such a large proportion of the population, and the European ones would presumably vote Remain. And just to pre-empt a possible objection to the argument, what checks are actually (as opposed to theoretically) made as to eligibility to vote? Also, second and third generation immigrants would (IMO) be more likely to vote remain as well.

  35. G’night all

  36. PETE B

    Sleeping is my drug, my bed is my dealer and my alarm is the police.

    I’m off too..Good night peeps..

  37. @Robin Anyone have any idea what the Lords will do?

    If their Lordships decide to intervene and table amendments that the Government will not accept 1 of 2 scenarios are likely to play out:

    1) TM will appoint enough Brexiteers to the Lords to ensure passage of said bill and once again make the Lords a conservative majority house. No bad thing for the Government in my view, especially as it can justify the move as implementing the referendum result against a bunch of unelected blocking Lords.

    or

    2) A vote will be called for a General Election. Whether Labour back this or not is another question, but I personally think it’s inconceivable that they wouldn’t and retain any credibility as a “Government in waiting” which the Opposition is meant to be.

    @Hireton

    The DUP campaigned for Brexit and supports the Government’s position, that’s why I used the words, “will likely vote”.

  38. @OLDNAT “Sunday Herald reporting (though press political reporting isn’t necessarily reliable!) that there are still serious divisions within SLab over both stances and tactics.”

    As they have in both England and Wales too. What a mess.

    On your comments on independence meanings; I would think the EEA paper has direct relevance for the SNPs tactics. I also find it strange that an avowed Scottish independence bod is now breezily unconcerned with levels of independence! Anyhow that discussion can be put to bed it seems.

  39. If those figures were replicated in 2020, then they would be the Scottish Tories’ best result since 1983, and SLAB’s worst since the modern electoral system began in 1918.

    The Lib Dems don’t seem to be making any progress nationally in Scotland, while the SNP have probably lost just a step but are obviously still riding very very high.

    If the SNP bide their time on the constitutional issue and focus on being “the effective opposition” at Westminster, and keep playing in safe at Holyrood, then I can see Labour go even lower, as the SNP make themselves palatable to more left-wing unionists.

  40. @Hireton – Catching up on past posts. Thanks for your input on the repatriation of powers from the EU and the possibility

    Much will depend on what does get repatriated.

    Personally I would like to see Devo-Max within a Federated states solution for England, Wales, Scotland…and a unified Ireland, but if that’s not to be then just Northern Ireland.

    In Sea Change’s world the Commons would become the English Parliament and the Lords would become an elected Federal Chamber with checks and balances. Three of the four nations would be needed to agree Federal policy and a majority of the representatives.

  41. JC & Article 50

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/05/labour-vows-back-article-50-no-matter-jeremy-corbyn-says-lenient/

    As a dyed in the wool leaver since the 1980s I would like to personally extend my heartfelt thanks to Brexit’s unheralded, but vital behind-the-scenes cheerleader, Secret Agent Corbyn. With JC on the team backing the Government’s position and Labour in complete disarray, full independence looks nailed on.

    This move just might save Stoke for Labour as well. In fact with Nuttall’s candidacy problems, Labour are once again the favourites to win Stoke with the bookies. 4/5 vs Evens

  42. Sea Change – I guess the HoC as an English Chamber would have been elected by a different Electoral system like the other devolved assemblies?

  43. Jim Jam –

    No I think FPTP produces more stable, effective governments, I have never been in favour of coalition arrangements unless absolutely necessary.

  44. So would you make Scottish and Welsh Devolved Elections FPTP too (NO special case of course)?

  45. Oops mean NI special case

  46. I think how the regional representatives are elected is a matter for the regions.

  47. How much of the vote for Brexit and Trump is anti Politician ?

    If there was a referendum to reduce the number of MP’s to say 200, i suspect that the public might well vote in favour.

    There is a current mood against Politicians, that they don’t have any solutions to the issues people face. That they are out of touch with the lifes of ordinary people and most of the legislation passed is to make life more difficult for people.

    Is the media to blame for politics becoming so toxic or is it Politicians acting in a way that puts people off from seeing any benefits in politics ?

    It seems to me that media and Political parties have created a very divisive outlook on most issues. It always seems to be them against us, wrong or right. There is no room for any real discussion, where issues are examined in great detail and different opinions are brought together to reach a position that is thought the most ideal. Decisions seem to be made mostly on what benefits one Political party or interest group, against the interests of others.

    One of the problems with Brexit going forward is that the divisive way of current politics is unlikely to serve UK interests very well. Government/leave supporters appear to have the attitude that they are the winners and therefore whatever Government decides is going to be implemented. Anyone who says they want a detailed discussion to reach a consensus is labelled a remoaner who wants to frustrate Brexit.

    At some point MP’s and Lords across the different parties will decide that they are not content with divisive politics and debate stiffled to suit the current Government. When this happens and it might happen on Brexit, you will see both Tory and Labour frontbenches lose control over their backbenchers, with votes going against official frontbench positions. The outcome might well be that both May and Corbyn have to allow more debate and free votes, so that Parliament decides on Brexit, not the Government.

  48. The 2 Nations plus 3 regions and compesit Nation plus Region championship does have much of a ring to it.

  49. GUYMONDE

    @”I’d put it another way.”

    You can put it any way you like.

    If your job has gone to a factory in Mexico or China & your town/city has become just another industrial museum on “Fly Over” America which the coastal “liberal elite” don’t give a toss about-I guess you can be forgiven for voting for anyone who seems to give a damn.

    If your town is now a summer camp for Eastern Europeans workers, or a cultural ghetto full of people who don’t even speak your language , and you are told that your concerns are “racist” , I guess you can be forgiven for voting for anyone who seems to give a damn.

    Certainly , a lecture in economics is unlikely to do the trick.

  50. The EU mandarins must be praying that Macron doesn’t implode like Fillon did.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/05/marine-le-pen-promises-liberation-from-the-eu-with-france-first-policies

    The French Socialist Party is on 17% in the Polls.

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