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. @ Peter Cairns

    You’re from Scotland, I’m from Yorkshire, if either of us dropped 5p on the street a search would ensue! 9 Billion quid, we’d have an army of Scots and Yorkies after that amount.

  2. Sturgeon has announced that she will request permission for a new independence vote. My feeling is that May will block any vote until 2019 at the earliest.

  3. @ Tancred

    A nice bit of competence always gives you a chance, in footballing terms “you can only beat the team that’s put out in front of you.”

  4. “Everyone with any sense is aware that leaving with no deal, which means WTO terms and customs posts in place, would be a disaster for the UK”

    Why?

    Nobel prize winning international trade economist Paul Krugman says that tariffs are largely paid by the consumer country, not the supplier. And would have to be for the comparative advantage fiction of free trade to have any basis in reality whatsoever.

    So essentially if the EU put tariffs up, then they just tax themselves.

    The trick on our side is not to retaliate.

  5. Tancred

    I suspect if TM plays silly buggers by seeking to delay the indy vote, she’d be playing into NS’s hands by demonstrating that without independence, Scotland can’t have any meaningful say over it’s destiny.

    The polls are so close that a misstep like that could push enough of the disillusioned “no” camp into “yes”.

    Saying “We’re too busy with Brexit, so you have to wait until we’ve finished deciding what your future will look like” is unlikely to be met with “Fair enough, that’s a well reasoned argument”

  6. @ Alan

    I would force the issue if I were TM and say either June this year or October 2019, no other choices.

  7. The logical time to hold a second indyref is this October. It’s been less than three years since the last one and there’s much to be lost for all parts of the UK if there is a prolonged period of EU-UK negotiations while one of the governments of the UK is trying to leave.

    Nicola Sturgeon has been prompted for a vote due to a single issue (EU membership) so there’s not that much to discuss that wasn’t discussed prior to the last vote.

    A June referendum would be even better, but I think that both sides wouldn’t take it, since they wouldn’t have time to prepare.

    It would be a bit of a win-win for those of us who are unionists but would like Scotland to remain in the EU. And the guarantee that either Jeremy Corbyn or Nicola Sturgeon won’t have any authority over me after 2020 is a rather attractive one…

    And it’s a fascinating question for Scotland: the independence cause lost on an anti-austerity platform; can they win on a pro-globalization platform?

  8. (And presumably a pro-austerity platform, given the finances that Scotland would presumably face. Is free trade and movement with the EU worth deeper cuts?)

  9. TANCRED

    “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”
    _________

    Woooooff tell me about it. Everytime a remainpeep mentions a second EU referendum I’m having to de-boil my blood pressure. You might actually outlive me. ;-)

  10. @ Bill

    Assuming loads of trade deals will be signed immediately after March 2019, that might sway a lot of undecideds come October of that year.

  11. Alan,

    There is also the issue of Agriculture and Fisheries.

    May has indicated that she wants them to come to Westminster and then look at devolving some powers where appropriate.

    The view in Holyrood ( with cross Party support except the Tories) is that the Scotland Act was built on the principle that anything not specifically designated as a Westminster power is automatically devolved ans as both Agriculture and Fisheries aren’t and UK powers over them are already devolved, so powers over them returning from Brussels should go straight to the Devolved administrations.

    So much like the Vow we have behind the Independence debate another struggle over the division of powers between Westminster and Holyrood.

    If even without a Referendum Scotland comes out with more powers and uses them differently then it’s another step on the road…. Westminster becomes less influential in more and more Scots lives and in more and more areas Scotland becomes like a different Country.

    Peter.

  12. You’re from Scotland, I’m from Yorkshire, if either of us dropped 5p on the street a search would ensue! 9 Billion quid, we’d have an army of Scots and Yorkies after that amount.

    Isn’t the definition of a Scotsman a Yorkshireman with the generosity wrung out of them?

  13. Peter Cairns (SNP)

    Funny how all these details keep coming up.

    I suspect that in TM’s charge towards “Absolut Brexit” at least one of these details will turn out to be a land mine.

    I do find the position of “Whatever arrangement is being made for the Irish border could be applied to Scotland” amusing. Either TM is forced to admit that there is no solution to the Irish border or that the difficulties with the border post independence won’t be a severe as they would like to make out in their “no” campaign.

  14. Bill Patrick,

    There is nothing logical about holding a referendum in October where the issue is Scotland’s choice post Brexit before we know the terms of Brexit.

    Saying to Scots, you can vote on the deal but your not allowed to see it first, makes it like something Noel Edmonds would front!

    Peter.

  15. On the second indy ref. NS has tried to find a compromise with TM over Scotland’s position post-Brexit and despite TM saying she is listening, she just keeps sweeping NS aside.

    I’m passionate to see the UK leave the EU but I’m also a firm believer of Scottish independence and the Scots should vote to bolt from the UK if they feel their democratic voice is being undermined and if they think Brexit will disadvantage the Scotish economy. A federal UK is unlikely nd the Scots were sold well short of devo max which was promised last time.

    I also think politically (I’ve said it before) Edinburgh and London are so far apart that independence is all but inevitable.

    For a successful EU and UK, both sides will have to come to an agreement which benefits all. For a successful independent Scotland and rUK both sides will also have to come to an agreement that benefits everyone.

    We are told (rightly so) that the UK is too big to be bullied by the EU.Well, the same goes for Scotland. The UK’s economy compared to the rest of the EU is relative to that of between Scotland and rUK. No David and Goliath syndrome here…No sir!

  16. October 2019 seems the most logical date.

  17. Bantams,

    We’ve had 50 years of constitutional debates in Scotland. We’ve had 3 referendums. We’ve had a major party whose raison d’etre has been independence.

    I don’t think that we need more years of this keich. It just props up the SNP and Scottish Tories unjustifiably, much in the same way that the constitutional question props up the extremists in NI.

    I think it’s a straight choice: how much of a price is EU membership worth? Is it worth mega-austerity? I don’t see how unionists or nationalists need two years to debate that issue.

    For the unionists, I think that the key challenge will be turnout and campaigning with almost no MPs. For the nationalists, I think that the key challenge is how they can convince the extra 5% they need, when many of the 55% who rejected them in 2014 are Tories, English-born, and/or pro-Brexit.

  18. I suppose Nicola Sturgeon doesn’t play chess.
    http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/extra/nimzowitsch.html
    ‘Eine Drohung ist stärker als eine Ausführung’
    ‘The threat is stronger than the execution’

    Carrying out the threat of Scottish independence may well lead to Scotland in neither the UK nor the EU.

  19. Peter Cairns,

    Do you favour a third independence referendum after Scotland-rUK negotiations have finished?

    Would you campaign for the unionists if the UK got a really good deal?

  20. @ALLAN CHRISTIE

    “I’m passionate to see the UK leave the EU but I’m also a firm believer of Scottish independence and the Scots should vote to bolt from the UK if they feel their democratic voice is being undermined and if they think Brexit will disadvantage the Scotish economy. A federal UK is unlikely nd the Scots were sold well short of devo max which was promised last time. ”

    An interesting position. Most unusual, coming from an EU leaver. I wonde,r if in the case of independence, the millions of Scots resident and working in England would benefit from a presumably more generous state pension in Scotland if they go and retire there? And what about any English partners of these Scots? Would they benefit too? Just one of many quesitons that would need answering if and when Scotland cuts the tie.

  21. @jimjam

    Border control for people is relatively straightforward as Ireland is not in Schengen and the CTA provides a framework for.co operation. But what about freight and cross border trade?

  22. And a fourth independence referendum after Scotland-EU negotiations are completed?

  23. Moreover, if it’s illogical to hold an indyref prior to knowing the terms of Brexit, then why does Sturgeon want a referendum between Autumn 2018 and Spring 2019?

    Do you think that Sturgeon is being unreasonable? Have you raised your concerns with her regarding her grasp of logic?

  24. indyscot

    TM can point to the settled wish of the scottish people not to have a referendum now. grant it but not until 2022 would seem tactically sound.

    Presumably being a great democrat the wee bampot will ask a question this time which will not be a binary one.

    Presumably because of the stated ground of leaving it ought to be:

    “Are you in favour of leaving the Union even if we would not be a member of the EU or Efta”

  25. ““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! :-)”

    ———-

    It’s maybe not as partisan if you think all of them do…

  26. @BILL PATRICK

    I presume Sturgeon wants to seize the opportunity before the moment is lost. If the Brexit negotiations end up going well there is a risk that Scots could simply become resigned to it and lose appetite to leave the UK.

    There are a lot of ‘what ifs’. A second Indy ref is a massive gamble; if its’ lost again then it will kill the issue for several decades.

  27. TANCRED

    My position isn’t unusual at all. I was living in Scotland during the last indy vote and voted Yes after eventually coming off the fence. This time around I don’t have a vote (I don’t live in Scotland so I shouldn’t have a vote) but the political climate has changed.

    I’m not sure NS or the Yes side should campaign hard on a pro-EU card but go down a campaign route of social justice and how an independent Scotland would be much more compassionate than the current UK administration.

    On the pension question, you asked about..The last census showed there were around 850,000 Scots living in England (2.4%) and 400,00 English in Scotland (8%). As a proportion, Scotland would have far more grey English pensioners than England would have Scottish.

    If the Yes side can provide some hard evidence that pensions north of the border will be secure then it’s game up for the UK. It was the older demographic who pushed the No side over the winning line last time and many of them were born south of the border.

  28. @alan

    Any tariff free arrangements which the UK unilaterally extends to the EU outside of a comprehensive free trade agreement would have to be available to all WTO members.

  29. S THOMAS

    “Presumably being a great democrat the wee bampot will ask a question this time which will not be a binary one”
    __________

    You’re a lunatic.

  30. “The Lib/Dems are closer to their disastrous 2015 result than to their reasonable 2010 result. They need to do better before they can even think about registering on my positive Lib/Dem indicator.”

    ———-

    Clearly we need a Disasterometer. With someone like Catman doing some groovy stats, regression to the wotsit etc. etc. to show how close each party is to disaster. It could be like the doomsday clock, only for political parties…

    You could do it for leaders too…

  31. @S THOMAS

    In NI there is a rule which stipulates a minimum of 7 years between referrendums. If applied to Scotland then this would mean a referendum in 2021 at the earliest.
    May could use this rule as justification to delay the next Scottish referendum.

  32. S Thomas,

    The SNP came first in the Scottish election under PR a month before the Brexit vote with a commitment to call a referendum if circumstances changed and explicitly stated that leaving the EU would merit a second Referendum.

    The Greens supported that and between them they have a majority at Holyrood.

    So just exactly what is this settled wish other than opinion polling.

    NS is carrying out on something she campaigned on in the Holyrood Election TM is taking forward something she campaigned against in the EU one.

    One stood on a ticket of them for first minister and was elected to the position by MSP’s the other made PM after a resignation without a vote.

    Like it our not NS has more of a mandate for her actions than TM.

    Peter.

  33. peter

    can you point to one poll which shows the scottish people favour a second referendum?For 2 years the scottish people have not only dsid this consistently and by a large majority but there has been no opinion poll ever which has put independence ahead.

    Yet here we go again because she misjudged her position and even today like a spoilt child she chooses to announce this on the day the bill may become law. she does not like to be ignored.bless.

  34. CARFREW

    “Clearly we need a Disasterometer. With someone like Catman doing some groovy stats, regression to the wotsit etc. etc. to show how close each party is to disaster. It could be like the doomsday clock, only for political parties…

    You could do it for leaders too…
    ______________

    It certainly gets my thumbs up although with Tim Farron’s approval ratings CATMAN might find some major recalibration would be in order just so that Tim Farron could register on the damn thing ;-)

  35. If Scotland has a second referendum on Sturgeon’s preference of a pre-Brexit timetable and votes “Yes”, then on the same logic, before the dissolution of the union is carried out, won’t we need another EURef since things are different now? And then if that comes back for “Remain” this time, we’d presumably need a third Scottish IndyRef on the materially (re)changed circumstances, and then…

    ;)

  36. Peter Cairns – “There is nothing logical about holding a referendum in October where the issue is Scotland’s choice post Brexit before we know the terms of Brexit. Saying to Scots, you can vote on the deal but your not allowed to see it first”

    I thought the SNP wanted independence no matter what happens, deal or no deal, EU or no EU.

    So you might as well go for the ref in October 2017.

    It gives England clarity too – do we have to continue to carry the Scots, or are we going to be free of them. If we know in advance that we won’t have to subsidize Scotland anymore, it makes our Brexit calculations easier, as we can take greater risks because there will be more room in the budget to manoeuvre.

    I think independence will be good for Scotland, the bond markets will school you and you’ll end up standing on your own feet. It will be tough, but the sacrifices will be worth it. By hedging your bets and saying “lets see what the UK negotiates” it makes it sound that you don’t think the sacrifices are worth it. So what are you doing in the SNP?

  37. @POPEYE

    “If Scotland has a second referendum on Sturgeon’s preference of a pre-Brexit timetable and votes “Yes”, then on the same logic, before the dissolution of the union is carried out, won’t we need another EURef since things are different now? And then if that comes back for “Remain” this time, we’d presumably need a third Scottish IndyRef on the materially (re)changed circumstances, and then…”

    Thanks for demonstrating why referendums are so totally pointless!

  38. Saw this tweet, right on the money.

    Across Scotland we have a series of crises in our public services and now we have another two years of diversionary politics – heartbreaking.

    One issue party that has education well behind independance…

  39. I’m still surprised the SNP want to hold a second indy ref so soon.

    There’s no evidence that holding the referendum before the UK formally leaves the EU will make it any easier for an independent Scotland to stay in the EU or in the single market.

    The polls haven’t moved much.

    Economically risk averse Remainers who voted No last time would presumably like to wait as long as possible in order to get an idea of the relative merits of staying in a Brexiting UK or signing up for independence within – or closer to – the EU.

    I’d assumed that the SNP would want to be able to offer the electorate a pretty clear steer on what kind of relationship an independent Scotland would have with the EU, with mood music from the EU to match. No tick in that box either.

    I’m genuinely puzzled – can anyone enlighten me?

  40. I think NS’s choice of dates is probably about right looking at the opposition to those dates from those who are against it.

    It presents an interesting difference between the last referendum in which neither side has the advantage of being the status quo.

  41. “if its’ lost again then it will kill the issue for several decades.”

    I don’t think so. The SNP has nowhere to go but independence, and Scotland has nowhere to go but the SNP. Either a big change in Holyrood politics or a single “Aye” is needed for that dynamic to change.

    The “last chance for a generation” line won’t hold any weight this time.

  42. General points.

    Firstly Iam not at all sure we should hold a poll before the full Brexit deal is know, so I am for Spring 2019.

    Secondly I am still unsure if we can win. Quite clearly at the moment there isn’t a majority for one and one of the strengths of the last one was than be it independence or not for about forty years a majority of Scots had wanted one.

    However given that Brexit is currently the driving issue and has a two year clock L think it will focus minds. The next set of polls should be interesting and we are sure to get some soon.

    The last polls of support for Indy2 as I recall gave a range of options so no single option commanded a majority. The press rightly or wrongly tended to bundle it and have the Yes now option against all the rest, so I think the gap isn’t as big as some suppose.

    The next polls will be asking about a specific date, whether Westminster should allow it and what if any Brexit deal would alter the result. I know Anthony doesn’t place a lot of stock in those “Hypotheticals” but they’ll be asked anyway.

    Can we win?

    Well right now I’d predict as close as last time or a little better but still short. We have a somewhat forced or fortuitive window, take your pick and little option but to prepare for it. Sometimes your best change isn’t as good as you’d like.

    We will need to remember not to get carried away by our own supporters and that you don’t fight the same war twice. By toeing it to Brexit we remind people that we were told that a vote remain was supposed to Guarentee we stayed in the EU and we also force May to fight on two fronts.

    I’d expect the SNP to take things to the European Parliament in an attempt to push for successor state status. I doubt the Council of Ministers or Commission will want to go there but MEP’s might take a more independent line and in negotiations playing Scotland against the UK might strengthen the EU’s hand over Brexit…. That’s a bit of an if.

    On Oil we have already indicated that we should not have included Oil revenues in our figures so the focus will move from Boon to Resilience. We have endured the worst downturn in it’s history and pulled through so we have the strength to endure what the world might throw.

    We will be wary of the Celtic Tiger but will be clear that Iceland and Ireland have suffered worse and have endured and now recover. The only real counter we have to the stick with the U.K. because bigger is better is that all nations big or small face tests and we have the strength to endure them as much as anyone.

    Lastly I think the issue of EU nationals , if they are allowed the vote and how they vote could be crucial and to be honest I am not even convinced it will come to a referendum.

    As to a third Federal option, I think the SNP response will be if Westminster wants Federalism all it has to do is bring forward legislation, it doesn’t need a vote. We had the promise of “Near Fedreralism” before the Referendum and then we’re taking out of the EU against or will so this time bring forward your proposals first!

    Peter.

  43. @Allan Christie
    ‘It certainly gets my thumbs up although with Tim Farron’s approval ratings CATMAN might find some major recalibration would be in order just so that Tim Farron could register on the damn thing ;-)’

    That will be the Tim Farron who is less unpopular than David Davis, Jeremy Corbyn, Nuttall and Farage, and only just behind BJ (YouGov Dec 16)

    Clearly May and Hammond are unusually popular for national politicians currently and well done them, but Farron is actually nearer the front of the pack than the back, so describing his polling as requiring ‘major recalibration’ is completely wrong.

    I know you just can’t resist having a pop at the LDems, but – given that this is a polling website – please try to make your comments about polling results factually accurate…

  44. “By toeing it to Brexit we remind people that we were told that a vote remain was supposed to Guarentee we stayed in the EU and we also force May to fight on two fronts.”

    But everyone knows that. The people who currently support the Union all already know that Brexit means Brexit.

    You have to convince them that Irish-style austerity is worth the price of avoiding Brexit.

    I think another challenge for the SNP will be that a big margin will be needed to ward off any talk of Indyref 3 if they win. If it’s 56.1% Aye and 49.9% Naw, and negotiations collapse with the UK government, then how would the SNP avoid another referendum due to “a material change in circumstances?”

    More generally, Sturgeon has set the precedent that a referendum result doesn’t hold if there’s some big change in the two years afterwards. So Indyref 2 would presumably only have provisional validity according to the SNP.

    As it happens, I suspect that the challenges facing the unionists actually more severe, and I SLIGHTLY lean towards expecting a nationalist win.

  45. * avoiding Scotixt!

  46. * 50.1% Aye and 49.9% Naw.

    If it’s 56.1 Aye and 49.9% Naw, there will presumablybe a recount…

  47. “And then in the afternoon of the first day……”

    ——-

    Then… What? Establish a beachhead at Normandy? Ally with the Prussians to beat the French? Marry into Spanish royalty?

    I’m intrigued…

  48. @ Peter Cairns

    I would fully support a federal solution, we could invite the Irish on-board as well. Would a referendum in each country be needed? It would solve a lot of domestic issues but would create one major one. We will need a Senate or similar, location? Liverpool or Dublin for me.

  49. “Would a referendum in each country be needed”

    ——–

    Depends if you wanna know what the press think…

  50. Bill Patrick

    in the even of a yes, unionist parties would be perfectly allowed to put indyref 3 into their manifesto if they felt there were material changes and allow the Scottish people to vote them into Holyrood on that basis.

    The SNP did set out Brexit as a condition for revisiting independence and they with the Scottish Greens have a majority.

    One difference between the camps is that a large portion of people who currently think “no” to independence also think that TM isn’t looking after Scottish interests. If these people get more and more disillusioned with May’s vision of Brexit, it’s possible that these people can be targeted. There are far fewer people in the “yes” camp who might be able to be turned with the message “Brexit will be great for Scotland”.

    I suspect the result of any new referendum will come down to how well this part of the electorate can be convinced to change their mind.

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