YouGov’s latest voting intention figures for the Times are CON 44%, LAB 25%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 11%. The nineteen point Conservative lead is the largest YouGov have given them in government, the 44% share of support the largest since the coalition’s honeymoon back in 2010.

The budget seems to have got a modest thumbs up. 32% think it was fair, 24% thought it was not – a fairly so-so rating compared to past budgets (YouGov ask the same question after every budget; the only times a budget has been seen as unfair were the Omnishambles budget in 2012 and George Osborne’s final budget in 2016).

On the individual measures, everything was approved of, with the most divisive policy being spending money on new free schools – 41% thought this was a good idea, 38% the wrong priority (interestingly that wasn’t just a partisan answer – a third of Tory voters also thought it was the wrong priority). Increasing NI contributions for the self-employed to the same level as employees was seen as a good idea by 47%, the wrong priority by 33%.

While people did approve of the NI rise, the majority of them did think it amounted to breaking a manifesto promise. 55% think the government have broken their pledge not to increase taxes, only 16% think they’ve kept it. Whether that really matters or not is a different question – the public tend to think all government break at least some of their promises anyway, so this may be seen as par for the course.

It’s crucial to note the timing of the poll: fieldwork was mostly conducted on Wednesday night with some during the day on Thursday. That means while it’s all post-budget, it’s very immediately post-budget. Most respondents will have answered the questions before the more hostile press coverage on Thursday morning, before the ongoing pressure and the government delaying the National Insurance rise. It may be that the unravelling of the budget on Thursday and Friday has lead to more negative perceptions – but we won’t be able to tell until the next round of polls.

Looking through the rest of the poll, the Conservatives & Theresa May have a lead over Labour & Jeremy Corbyn on almost every economic measure YouGov asked about (36 on cutting the deficit, 32 points on managing the economy, 15 on providing jobs, 11 on keeping prices down, 11 on improving living standards, 6 on getting people on the housing ladder), the only exception was reducing the number of people in poverty, where Corbyn & Labour had a 7 point lead.

Philip Hammond meanwhile is still very much an unknown quantity with the public. 25% think he’s doing a good job as Chancellor, 21% a bad job, 54% don’t know. In comparison, the government as a whole are getting the benefit of the doubt on the economy – 44% think they are handling it well, 38% badly.

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361 Responses to “YouGov/Times – CON 44, LAB 25, LDEM 10, UKIP 11”

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  1. SAM
    I’ve been reading up on quite a lot of stuff on Universal Credit over the past month. Some of the case studies I’ve read touch upon what you have mentioned in your comment.

    However, besides the issues over the rollout of the UC benefit, there are a lot of little unknown things that don’t quite make it into the news. For example.Claimants wanting to phone the UC helpline are charged for the call which is totally unacceptable because many don’t have access to a landline phone and rely on pay as you go top up mobile phones which charge 10p a minute.

    All claims must be done online which is a huge barrier for those who don’t have access to the internet or are not familiar with computers.

    On the phone issue….Claimants can request to use a phone at their local benefit centre and if such a request is made then the claimant must have access to a phone. However, this advice is not given to claimants and is only available to DWP staff or freedom of information requests.

    I’m personally taking a keen interest in the UK’s benefits system and its impact on mental health. At work, we are encouraged to give something back to the community and to get involved outside of work with local charities, Schools, youth clubs etc and I’ve chosen Mental Health Awareness.

  2. @Tancred

    “Point taken – and amply demonstrated by Theresa May. We now have a country in which 52% of the population has dictatorial powers over the other 48% – some ‘democracy’ this is!”

    Isn’t that a little disingenuous? The issue in question is not some ‘sliding scale of grey’ decision-making where an extremist policy is being implemented on a technical majority: it is a binary choice with mutually-exclusive options and no middle ground. We can’t be “a little bit members of the EU” any more than one can be “a little bit pregnant.”

    Given that, and knowing ahead of time that the country was going to be roughly split down the middle, there was never going to be a “good” option. We are rather implementing the least bad option, which is that the 52% “dictates” (as you put it) to the 48% simply because the only other alternative is that the 48% “dictates” to the 52%.

  3. AW

    My comment in response to SAM has gone into moderation. I tried modifying my comment but still went into moderation so I’m not sure what word has triggered the auto mod.

    If you’re about, can you release the comment, please?

  4. @ NEIL A
    “Is it possible to prepare for something you don’t think will happen, and to believe it would be bad but that in the end you’d be fine?”
    I didn’t see an answer. Did you expect one?
    You go to the doctor about some pains. You don’t think it’s likely to be cancer, but …
    If it is it’s caught early and though the treatment will be nasty, all will be OK in the end.

  5. @Sam,

    Is that the same Eric Joyce of Labour who was charged with four counts of common assault? And also charged with illegal removal of his electronic tag, ow yes and drink driving too…

  6. SAM….Re Nissan, they have form here, as Britain’s biggest tax fraudsters, in 1993 their British distributors Nissan UK, were convicted of false invoicing and evading tax, their directors, Octav Botnar, Frank Shannon, and Michael Hunt, were jailed for tax fraud carried out over a 20yr period, resulting in them making, in Botnar’s case, billions of pounds, the others, hundreds of millions. Botnar, as a Swiss citizen, avoided prison by staying in Switzerland, since there was no reciprocal extradition treaty, he was, however, Britain’s biggest private charitable donor, he could, of course, afford to be.
    Google it, it makes fascinating reading, 20yrs of fraud.

  7. Lucid Talk are opening a Unionist Unity & Border poll

    Should be interesting, when results come out.

  8. “However, there is a large constituency in the U.K. Who are eager to believe that the the negotiations will take the form of an EU diktat.”
    @joseph1832 March 12th, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    What, you mean there are a lot of people in the UK that know that once we leave the EU club they will want their club rules to apply as they do to any other country outside the EU? Surely it is better to look at this from the point of view of a disinterested outsider looking in to describe how the negotiations are to be done.

    The EU will clearly want to continue as normal, as it is us that are leaving, not them that are pushing us out. How is that diktat?

    If it helps you understand what the future holds remember:

    Brexit means Suez

  9. @Rich

    Yes, I think it is that Eric Joyce. Or,perhaps it was that Eric Joyce. He may not be that man any more.

    I have over 400 convictions for uncommon assault and talk only uncommon sense.

  10. Al Urqa

    “The EU will clearly want to continue as normal”

    Yes. As far as it can. I’m rather impressed that they seem to have (see my link to the Buzzfeed article upthread) accelerated the importance of the NI Border issue in the negotiation process, to protect the interests of one of their medium sized members – Ireland.

    Understandably, despite the occasional warm words, “Wangland doesn’t have a land border with the EU, so doesn’t necessarily care much about the issue.

  11. @Sam

    Call me old fashioned, but I do prefer my members of parliament, or at least the ones lecturing me, not to have multiple convictions…

  12. Rich

    Mr Joyce is not a member of any parliament now. When he was, he was a Unionist Labour MP.

  13. Popeye
    ” it is a binary choice with mutually-exclusive options and no middle ground.”

    That is how May chooses to define it. Some of us would be happy enough with EEA membership.

  14. Opening Gambit

    Now we are close to the starting line and in order to get the negotiations going in the spirit of gooodwill I would propose:

    1. To agree to pay 4bn pa to the EU for 10 years into a new aid fund specifically designed to help emerging EU nations. The UK should pay this from our existing 0.7% aid budget. Extra Cost to uk taxpayer. Zero.
    2. To Agree to pay an additional 1bn for other schemes that we are part of ie Erasmus etc

    3. Sort out the citizen problem with a 5 year holding agreement

    And then in the afternoon of the first day……

  15. Irish polling, from Twitter;

    Gavan Reilly? @gavreilly Mar 11

    POLL: STimes/B&A (Feb 28-Mar 8, MoE 3.3%)

    FF 28 – 4 (4wks)
    SF 23 +4
    FG 22 +1
    Lab 6
    IA 6 +1
    Inds 8
    Solidarity/PBP 2 -1
    Greens 2
    SD 1 -1
    WP 1

    The Northern Irish election result has clearly boosted SF in both NI, and in the Republic. With it, there’s greatly increased commentary from Irish sources on the possibility of Irish re-unification.

    NI does not make T May’s Brexit negotiations any easier.

  16. “I’m rather impressed that they seem to have (see my link to the Buzzfeed article upthread) accelerated the importance of the NI Border issue in the negotiation process, to protect the interests of one of their medium sized members – Ireland.”
    @oldnat March 12th, 2017 at 9:11 pm

    Yes indeed. The Conservative and Unionist Party will have to square that circle with the mantra of controlling our borders. I fear that their fall back position will be, because we have to have nothing to do with the EU, the border will become a hard border.

  17. @PatrickBrian

    Oh absolutely EEA membership seems like a reasonable position. That would be unequivocally out of the EU though, on the issue we voted on. And I’m not sure it’s fair to say the binary question is May’s definition: it was in the question, so more like Cameron’s choice if we were in the business of looking for one person responsible maybe?

    The actual in/out of the EURef question had no middle ground. If the question had been a broader: “Whaddya think of European transnational integration then people?” there would absolutely be space for a kind of “compromise” outcome from a close result. And while it doesn’t technically follow, I think it’s a reasonable assumption that we can infer something of that within the answer to the specific EU membership question, whenever we think about how integrated we ought to be with other European nations generally. That shouldn’t impinge on resolving the specific EU membership issue on which we voted however, and on which I don’t think it is fair to call “undemocratic” or “dictatorial” the implementation of the best/most democratic (or maybe least worst/least undemocratic) option.

  18. Al Urqa

    “I fear that their fall back position will be, because we have to have nothing to do with the EU, the border will become a hard border.”

    From a Scottish viewpoint, that’s my fear too, as it will then rapidly become no border at all, and rUK’s (Wangland’s) only remaining land link with anyone will be with us – unless climate change reverses and Doggerland re-emerges to unite England with it’s pre-historical identity as European. :-)

  19. What an odd spat between Lab & SLab.

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/15150429.Corbyn_flayed_by_Labour_MPs_after_backing___39_indyref2__39_/

    You would almost think they weren’t a single party.

  20. @oldnat

    It seems that SLab agree.with the Tories but not with their own UK leader. Strange times.

  21. I’m not sure who had the biggest spring conference in Scotland but the Lib/Dem showing looked very poor during Alistair Carmichael’s speech.

    https://www.commonspace.scot/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/field/image/img_13961_0.jpg

  22. Allan Christie

    Size isn’t everything! (or so I’m told)

    But this weekend coming will have the Spring Conference with the largest number od delegates.

    (In the past, I’ve been at regional meetings of SLab and Scot Libs that had more attendees than their “national” conferences attract now.)

    I met a traveller from an antique land
    Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
    And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:

    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    ‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
    Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.

    As to which (of any) leader’s countenance exhibits “frown,
    And wrinkled lip, and sneer” will be very much a matter of partisan choice. :-)

  23. OLDNAT

    A nice wee lament to slab and the Scots/Lib/dems. :-)

  24. via Britain Elects

    Scottish independence poll:

    Yes: 48% (-1)
    No: 52% (+1)

    BMG/Herald
    Chgs. w/ January.

  25. Laszlo,
    “It doesn’t make them more reliable though”

    The thing about DK/WNV though is that they seem to be 25% of those who voted in 2015 or who voted in the referendum. They voted before so presumably they will in reality vote next time. Its a bigger number than express support for labour (17%), and nearly as big as express support for conservative (29%). I suggest it is symptomatic of current politics that there is no majority of support for either of the main political parties, 29% for the conservatives is a miserable showing on which to be allowed to govern, but it is also not sufficient given the 25% uncommitted to guarantee a win.

    The poll really says that while the conservatives have a plurality of decided voters, voters have not made up their minds.

  26. OLDNAT

    Great poem by PBS and i liked your non partizan:-

    “As to which (of any) leader’s countenance exhibits “frown,
    And wrinkled lip, and sneer” will be very much a matter of partisan choice. :-)”

    Very good! :-)

  27. Popeye,
    “We can’t be “a little bit members of the EU” any more than one can be “a little bit pregnant.””

    Actually, we can. It was clearly discussed as part of the campaign that alternative degrees of leaving exist. It is only that May has chosen to go for a total departure, despite polling suggestions this would not be the will of the people. It does however suit the electoral needs of the tories.

  28. This is probably not the kind of analysis the government really wants to see – https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/mar/12/families-lose-sixth-income-national-insurance-nics-universal-credit-uk

    Of course, it’s hypothetical, and may not affect many people, but it does rather expose the rhetorical gap between what is being said and what is being done.

  29. More, mainly good news on how business sees the future.

    Markit UK Business Outlook
    UK business confidence recovers to its strongest since mid-2015
    Key findings:
    UK firms signal sharp rebound in confidence since October 2016
    Stronger optimism helps drive recovery in job hiring plans and capex intentions for 2017
    Inflation expectations revised higher, with cost projections the strongest since 2011
    Data collected February 10-24 February data from the Markit UK Business Outlook survey reveals that business confidence has strengthened appreciably from the four-year low seen last autumn. At +52%, up sharply from +39% in October 2016, the balance of UK private sector companies expecting a rise in business activity over the year ahead is the highest since June 2015. UK business sentiment compared favourably with the levels recorded in each of the big-four euro area economies in February. Moreover, the rise in the headline index since last autumn was larger than in all other countries monitored by the survey except the US. A more upbeat assessment of future business activity reflected greater optimism at both manufacturing and service sector firms. UK manufacturers were slightly more confident overall (+55% in February), but service providers experienced the greater rebound since the autumn 2016 outlook survey (index rising from +37% to +52% in February). Reports from UK businesses attributed their positive sentiment to the resilient domestic economic backdrop and improving client demand so far in 2017. Service providers mainly commented on new product launches and increased technology investment as key growth drivers. While some firms also noted growth opportunities linked to the weaker sterling exchange rate, there were also widespread comments from panel members citing UK business activity expectations concerns about the impact of higher inflation on consumer spending. Volatile import prices and Brexit-related anxieties were again prominent in the manufacturing sector, alongside general worries about the outlook for trade policy worldwide. However, in the near-term, a number of UK manufacturers commented on a competitive boost from the weaker exchange rate. There were also reports that entry into new export markets was expected to drive growth. Closer to home, some manufacturers cited a boost to sales from strong demand among construction sector clients.

  30. @Danny
    There is only one degree of leaving. What there *are* many degrees of is future possible non-member relationships with the EU once we have left. The one thing (the only thing) they all have in common is that they all involve us leaving the EU!

    I concur that the apparent approach of the executive branch of government to future relationships with the EU may not chime with the nett national mood, but I don’t accept that it has anything to with leaving or remaining in the EU. You might put it down to an unimportant philosophical difference, but it matters in that there is a definite mandate on the specific question of membership that was asked, and it seems to me disingenuous for anyone to try and drag the democratic legitimacy of leaving itself into the very valid question of the democratic legitimacy of any specific post-Brexit relationships (where no definite popular mandate exists for anything, and to which the numbers 52% and 48% are an irrelevance).

    If anyone could be said to be “undemocratically dictating” to anyone on the matter of post-EU relationships, it is the minority of voters who elected the governing party. But then that happens on every other policy area as well.

  31. @S Thomas

    I do agree that some elements of negotiation could be conducted and agreed very speedily.

    Why not just give Greece £40bn straight away, and be done with it? On condition they pay our banks back…

    Its a win win.

  32. Re the Irish question, Anglo-Irish agreement and Brexit etc.

    Imo there will be much disagreement on other aspects of Brexit; trade, free movement, payments etc whatever is agreed will be doable maybe at or cost or not but certainly doable.

    The border with ROI, though, is potentially the most difficult to issue to resolve.

    My information is that the Irish Government are prepared to strengthen further the controls at Dublin and other entry points for non-Eu-nationals, perhaps with some financial support from the UK, so in effect one of our borders is in the ROI.

    In theory EU nationals can enter ROI legally and then move anywhere in the UK as no control on Ferrys at present but this would make them illegal immigrants. The political class think the number of illegals would be minimal, this may be accurate or complacent I don’t know?

  33. popeye,
    it matters in that there is a definite mandate on the specific question of membership that was asked”
    Unfortunately, the devil is always in the detail. If a general question is asked, then it can readily be criticised for not covering specific points. If a specific one is asked, then it can be criticised for forcing voters to make a stark choice which is not really their intent. And then of course it was only advisory.

    Strictly speaking on the face of it, remaining a member of EEA would be leaving the EU and the question and answer would have been strictly complied with. EEA membership is therefore a legitimate outcome, but the government seems to be rejecting it anyway.

  34. @Jim Jam

    Thanks for that post.

    It would be interesting to know whether citizens of the Republic of Ireland would be in favour of increased border controls.

    There is potential with this proposal.

  35. @POPEYE

    “Isn’t that a little disingenuous? The issue in question is not some ‘sliding scale of grey’ decision-making where an extremist policy is being implemented on a technical majority: it is a binary choice with mutually-exclusive options and no middle ground. We can’t be “a little bit members of the EU” any more than one can be “a little bit pregnant.””

    All the more reason to hesitate before taking such a massive step. And though it is a binary choice, the narrowness of the referendum implies that we shoud try to find a halfway house solution if possible, i.e. EEA and the customs union. May has decided on a hard Brexit even though there is no mandate for this. To give an example of a halfway house solution, France came out of the political organisation of NATO in the 1960s while remaining in the military structure.

  36. Good morning all from a very bright and sunny rural Hampshire.

    Lots of peeps mentioning our good friends across the wee pond, aye our Irish Celtic cousins. I’m actually off to Dublin this evening for a few days…work related of course.

    I’ve been reading an article on “Huge Oil Price Spike Inevitable”

    “IEA: supply deficit looms unless drilling picks up. The IEA issued a new report at the conference that looks at the oil market over the next five years, and the agency warned that although shale drilling is coming back and the market is currently oversupplied, relentless demand growth will soak up all the excess. By the early 2020s, the market could be short of supply, resulting in a price spike. The IEA says the draconian cuts to exploration spending over the past three years will result in too few barrels coming online in the five-year timeframe. OPEC will be stretched to its limits as demand soars”

    http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Oil-Majors-To-Boost-Production-As-IEA-Warns-Of-Supply-Deficit.html

    Could prove to be significant during the next Scottish independence campaign if oil is to be showcase issue.

  37. Some good news for Brexipeeps

    Theresa May will call on Brussels to hand back £9bn of UK assets held by an EU bank when she fires the Brexit starting gun — dramatically cutting Britain’s final bill.

    Senior government sources say that when the prime minister triggers article 50, she will point out that Britain is entitled to the return of funds held by the European Investment Bank (EIB).

    Legal advice circulating in Whitehall — seen by The Sunday Times — says that not only is the government not legally obliged to pay Brussels a penny, but the EU should pay Britain for its share of the funds in the EIB.
    ………..

    This might fall under the barnet consequential rules and surely Scots would be entitled to about £800 million of the £9 billion.
    Something else to chuck into the indy ref melting pot.

  38. @POPEYE

    You also seem to think that a referendum implies an absolute obligation on the government to follow though on its result. In the UK constitution this is not so. Ultimate sovereignty rests with parliament, and as parliament has decided to blindly go along with the vote, then responsibility for all consequences will lie with Westminster. This is something MPs should reflect on before deciding which way to vote today.

  39. Tancred – I agree re Parliament but their mistake was voting for the referendum to take place in the first place,
    having done that they are rather obliged to act on the result.
    IMO.

  40. @ALLAN CHRISTIE

    “Legal advice circulating in Whitehall — seen by The Sunday Times — says that not only is the government not legally obliged to pay Brussels a penny, but the EU should pay Britain for its share of the funds in the EIB.”

    I’m sure that the EU will have a different legal interpretation!

  41. @JIM JAM

    Any obligation is moral rather than legal, but I agree that Westminster would lose face to a massive extent if it ignored the referendum. However, withdrawal from the EU does not mean being outside the EEA and customs union, a point that repeatedly been made by LibDems, SNP and others.

  42. TANCRED

    “I’m sure that the EU will have a different legal interpretation!”
    __________

    I’m sure the buggers will but it’s another bargaining chip for the UK.

    I really wish you would pull yourself away from this pro-EU mantra…Who knows, it might improve your life expectancy and bring that blood pressure down to acceptable levels.

  43. I’m sure the buggers will….

    Or perhaps its the offensive language from certain Brexiteers which cause the high blood pressure……..

  44. @Tancred
    “You also seem to think that a referendum implies an absolute obligation on the government to follow though on its result.”
    But the government distributed a leaflet saying clearly that it would. Parliament should have held the government to account then, as exceeding its authority. It didn’t, so concurred (on the British constitutional principle of ‘what is not forbidden is allowed’)

  45. @ Tancred

    We’re on opposite sides on the Brexit debate but I suspect in 2 years we’ll be a lot closer than either of us think at the moment. I have real moments of angst about the EU train and it’s ultimate destination, you’re probably feeling the same about the UK. Reality hopefully will come to bear.

    Has Nicola Sturgeon shot her bolt? Her speech today smacks hard of opportunism and will play well with the hard line SNP however maybe not quite so well with the common sense undecideds. The latest poll suggests another referendum will end in failure again.

  46. @ALLAN CHRISTIE

    “I really wish you would pull yourself away from this pro-EU mantra…Who knows, it might improve your life expectancy and bring that blood pressure down to acceptable levels.”

    I have to thank Cameron and May for my high blood pressure. But the high blood pressure is not just on the pro-EU side, it is very much on the leaver side as well. Every time there is a challenge to Brexit the hysteria on the leaver side reaches fever pitch.

  47. I love this debate about how much we will or won’t have to pay the EU that dominates the tabloids and so many here… £9bn from the EIB as a UK bargaining chip… Seriously.

    We are about to go into discussions with a trading block with a £13 Trillion GDP even after we’ve left estimated at around 20% of Global GDP and people think £9bn gives us leverage….

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_the_European_Union

    I get in to trouble when some take the hump when I use the term “Little Englander” but there are some who seem to be so confident of the UK’s strengths they just ignore the figures.

    I remember once having a discussion with a Defence Journalist who had been with Royal Marines in excercises in Northen Norway.

    In a conversation in a tent he realised that non of them knew that the Soviet force they were supposed to deter was something like 60k and they were outnumbered more than fifteen to one.

    There was a stunned silence until one of the Marines replied;

    “Ah but we’re Professionals!!!”

    Peter.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_the_European_Union

  48. @BANTAMS

    “Has Nicola Sturgeon shot her bolt? Her speech today smacks hard of opportunism and will play well with the hard line SNP however maybe not quite so well with the common sense undecideds. The latest poll suggests another referendum will end in failure again.”

    I don’t believe most Scots want independence and probably Sturgeon knows that as well. However I can’t blame her, as a politician, to take advantage of the opportunity to further her goals. If Brexit negotiations are badly handled and end in failure, the anger in Scotland may rise to a level at which enough unionists may change their minds and support independence. It all hangs on that.

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