Just the two regular polls in Sunday’s papers. The weekly Opinium poll for the Observer has topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 35%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 14%, GRN 6% (tabs), the weekly YouGov poll for the Sunday Times has figures of CON 34%, LAB 34%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 14%, GRN 5% (tabs). Both very much in line with the broader picture of Lab & Con almost neck and neck, Labour just a touch ahead.

YouGov asked whether people would consider voting for each of the main GB parties and their awareness of their policies. Of the two main parties, 40% would consider voting Conservative, 42% Labour – a slightly bigger pool for Labour but only just. The pool of potential voters for the other three substantial parties is pretty similar – 23% for the Lib Dems, 26% for UKIP, 25% for the Greens.

Asked about how aware of are of each party’s policies, 63% say they know a lot or a fair amount about Tory policies, compared to 59% for Labour, 45% for UKIP and 37% for the Lib Dems, 27% the Greens. Note how more people think they know about UKIP policies than those of the Lib Dems – a sign of how the Lib Dems have struggled to get a clear message out from within coalition.

YouGov also reasked the “protest party” question they asked about UKIP last year about the Greens. They found 15% of people think that the Greens are a serious party with workable policies, 56% a protest party for those unhappy with the main parties. These are very similar to the figures for UKIP, with UKIP 17% thought they were serious, 62% a protest party.

Moving onto other issues, 51% of people would support a ban on MPs having second jobs, but only 25% would support it were it to be offset by a higher salary. Asked about the current £67,000 salary for MPs and the appropriate level or reward for the sort of people they’d like to be MPs, 32% think the current salary is too much, 16% too little, 46% about right.

Finally there were some questions on defence and what sort of threats Britain should be prioritising. 16% of people think that Britain spends too much on defence, 49% too little, 20% about the right amount. By 52% to 18% people think we should be focusing resources on defending against threats from Islamist terrorism and insurgents, like Islamic State, rather than potential threats from states like Russia. 50% of people think that the West’s sanctions against Russia haven’t been strong enough, but on balance people are opposed to even the sending of British troops to help train and advise the Ukrainian army – 43% are opposed with only 36% support.

Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun (£) has some fresh Syria questions, just tweeted out by Tom Newton Dunn and reported on Sky News. The public remain overwhelmingly opposed to British troops being sent into Syria, but more importantly the poll also asked specifically about whether people would support a missile attack on Syria. 50% of people would oppose this course of action, 25% would support it. Even Tories are against missile strikes by 45-33% (Labour voters are against by 54% to 26%, Lib Dems by 47% to 27%)

UPDATE: Tabs are now on the YouGov website here. Regular voting tabs are here – today’s topline figures are CON 34%, LAB 39%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 12%.


The full tables for YouGov’s weekly poll for the Sunday Times are now up here. As one might guess from five point Tory lead in voting intention, they are unremittingly dire for Ed Miliband.

On leader ratings David Cameron stands at minus 3 (from from 7 last week), Nick Clegg at minus 50 (from minus 49 last week) and Ed Miliband at minus 53, his worst so far and the first time he has dropped below Nick Clegg. Only 18% think Miliband is doing well, compared to 71% who think he is doing badly. Amongst Labour’s own supporters 50% now think Miliband is doing badly.

Asked if Labour had the right policies and the best leader for them, only 8% thought they had both. 31% think they have the right policies, but only 14% think they have the right leader. Even amongst the 31% who think they have the right policies (and are therefore must be somewhat well disposed towards them), three quarters think they don’t have the best leader for them. Only 24% of people, and only 26% of Labour’s own supporters, think that Miliband should lead the party into the next election.

Turning to Labour’s policies, YouGov asked how well people think they understand the Labour party’s position on the cuts. 37% say they understand it very (4%) or fairly well (37%). 54% say they don’t understand it well or don’t understand it at all. Asked about Labour’s decision to support the 1% cap on public sector pay rises, 50% said they agreed with the decision to not reverse the cap. Labour supporters were evenly split – 41% supporting the decision (and therefore the cap), 38% disagreeing with it.

As well as this there were a series of questions on the “Boris Island” airport, which generally speaking found people opposed to the idea by about 2 to 1. YouGov also found opposition to the idea of a new Royal Yacht – only 24% of people supported it, compared to 64% who were opposed (of the 24% who supported it, 62% thought the taxpayer should contribute, with 37% thinking it should be funded wholly from private funds)

Finally there were some questions on the Falkland Islands. 57% of people think they should remain British, 12% think they should be given to Argentina. Were the Islands to be invaded again today, 58% of people say they wouls support military action to defend them, 27% say they would oppose it.

During the day yesterday YouGov asked people for their first reactions to the defence cuts – so this was largely conducted before David Cameron’s formal announcement, but after almost the whole contents had been announced in the morning newspapers.

A majority thought that the size of the defence cuts were either appropriate (38%) or too small (13%), with 37% saying they went too far. The details of the cuts however met with more negative reactions. 48% of respondents thought the reduction in troop numbers was too large, with only 28% thinking they were acceptable.

The most controversial decision in the review, scrapping the Harrier Jet early and leaving Britain’s aircraft carriers without fighter planes until around 2020, was rejected by most respondents. 60% thought leaving carriers without fighters was unnacceptable, 23% that it was an acceptable cut until 2020.

The most interesting question there though was who people thought was to blame. 30% said the coalition and 34% said the last Labour government. Compare that to the regular YouGov tracker on who people blame the cuts in general, which is still finding 48% blaming Labour the most and only 18% blaming the coalition most. My suspicion is that this is because people blame the last Labour government when it is just generic cuts, but once specific cuts are announced they may begin to apportion more of the blame more upon the present government as they are the ones who chose to make these particular cuts.

Voting intention was CON 42%, LAB 39%, LDEM 11%.

An ICM poll for the BBC today is showing a increase in support for British military involvement in Afghanistan. There are still more people opposed than supportive of British involvement – 48% to 40%, but this is down from when ICM last asked in 2006 when the figures were 53% opposed and 31% in support.

I’m inclined to agree with ICM’s Nick Sparrow that Prince Harry’s deployment in Afghanistan may have boosted support, but that’s probably only a part of it. Coverage of Harry in Afghanistan was all positive, but then so is most of the mainstream news coverage of British action in Afghanistan – it is normally reported in the context of brave British soldiers fighting against the Taliban in Helmand, compare and contrast with the more mixed portrayal of British involvement in Iraq.