This morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 39%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 11%. It comes after an eight point lead yesterday, and a couple of six points leads at the end of last week, so we’ve had a couple of polls in a row with leads at the top of the normal range. I’m always wary of reading too much into polls that could be explained by normal sample variation, but it could be that the price hikes from British Gas and the renewed prominence of energy prices as an issue over the last few days has given Labour a bit of a boost. Or it’s just random sample error – keep watching the trend.

There were also some YouGov questions in the Times on Free Schools, which found a significant drop in support since YouGov last asked in September. A month ago 36% of people in England supported free schools, 40% were opposed… a pretty even split. Now 27% of people support free schools, 47% are opposed. I suspect the shift is more to do with the coverage of the dysfunctional Al-Madinah free school in Derby than Nick Clegg’s recent comments, but looking specifically at his comments 66% of people agree that schools should only be able to employ qualified teachers, 56% that all schools should have to follow the national curriculum.


The weekly YouGov poll for the Sunday Times is here. Topline voting intention figures are CON 34%, LAB 39%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 11%, so a five point lead for Labour. The rest of the poll had some questions on social mobility, the security services and Royal Mail privatisation.

32% of people think that society has become more mobile over the last thirty years, 44% that it’s become less mobile. This does not translate into support for universities giving lower entrance requirements to people from deprived backgrounds (34% would support this, 49% would be opposed), nor for an expansion of grammar schools (37% would support this, 21% would support keeping but not expanding grammar schools, 25% oppose them entirely).

Only 19% of people think that the security services have too many surveillance powers, most think their powers are either about right or should be increased. However, in contrast to this 46% think they shouldn’t be allowed to store the details of ordinary people’s communications, 38% think they should. Asked which statement best reflected their views of recent leaks about security service methods, 35% thought the leaks were a good thing that helped hold the security services to account, 43% that it was a bad thing that helped Britain’s enemies.

5% of people say they have applied to buy Royal Mail shares (this is actually quite a bit higher than the figures Vince Cable has reported, but I expect this is largely because of people saying yes when it is actually their spouse or another family member who has applied, and partly because the most disengaged and marginal members of society tend to be under-represented in polls). 21% of people think it is right for the government to sell shares in the Royal Mail, 56% think it is wrong. 43% think it has been sold for less than it is worth.

There is also a Survation poll in the Mail on Sunday, which has topline voting intention figures of CON 27%(-2), LAB 37%(nc), LDEM 11%(nc), UKIP 18%(+1). Changes are from their previous poll back in August. They also asked about voting intention in the European elections. I think its largely pointless to poll on secondary elections like Europe so far in advance, but for the record the figures are CON 21%, LAB 35%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 22%.


YouGov’s weekly poll for the Sunday Times is now up here. Topline figures are CON 33%, LAB 41%, LD 9%, UKIP 10%, so a higher Labour lead than usual, but with a recent average lead of six points it’s well within the margin of error. As usual with the YouGov/Sunday Times polls there is a broad range of subjects, including the economy, the NHS, education and support for stay at home mothers.

The regular economic optimism question now shows a feel good factor (the proportion of people expecting their financial situation to get better, minus those who expect it to get worse) of minus 25. While still negative, it equals the least negative rating since April 2010.

Asked more specifically about the state of the economy, 25% think the economy is still getting worse, 34% that it has stopped getting worse but there are no signs of recovery yet. 30% now think there are signs of recovery and another 5% think we are on the way to full recovery. This is a big shift from when YouGov last asked the question in April, when only 14% thought there were any signs of recovery. Asked how much they think the government have contributed to any economic recovery, 32% of people think the government’s actions have helped the economy recover, 23% that they made little difference, 36% that they made things worse.

41% of people think that A Levels got easier over the last ten years and 53% think that the toughening up of the exam marking last year was the right thing to do (21% disagree). An Oxbridge education is seen as being worth £9000 a year tuition fees by 52% to 29%. People are more evenly split over other top universities (37% think they are worth £9000 a year, 41% do not), and almost two-thirds of people think tuition at universities outside the top twenty is not worth the money. Despite this people are still evenly split over whether it is financially worthwhile going to university – 41% think increased graduate earnings are worth more than the cost of going to university, 40% think they are not.

Labour maintain their usual strong lead on the NHS, 32% to the Conservatives’ 20%. Only 21% think that Jeremy Hunt is doing a good job as Health Secretary, 52% a bad job. Looking to the future 51% of people think it will be possible to keep the NHS free at the point of delivery, even if costs continue to rise, 38% think that the NHS will eventually become unaffordable. A majority (58%) would oppose means testing NHS services in the future.

By 39% to 14% people think the government is doing more to help mothers who go out to work than those who stay at home (15% said they were doing equal amounts and 32% didn’t know). Asked which group NEED more help, 43% say they both need support, 25% think working mothers need more support, 15% think stay at home mothers need more support. The £1200 a year allowance for childcare for working parents is supported by 49% to 34%. People are less supportive of giving similar financial support to stay at home parents, 41% would support it, 41% would oppose it.

Finally, by 67% to 20% people see zero-hour contracts as a bad thing, and 56% would support a ban on them.


The weekly YouGov/Sunday Times results are now online here. Voting intention is CON 31%, LAB 39%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 13%. The leader ratings are Cameron minus 18 (up from minus 25 last week, and his best rating for a couple of months – perhaps on the back of statesmanlike coverage at the G8), Miliband minus 33 (from minus 35 last week) and Clegg minus 52 (unchanged). The rest of the poll largely covered the NHS and education.

58% of people don’t trust the NHS much, if at all, to be to open about its standards, a drop from last weekend as cover-up stories continue to come out. Neither are people confident that the rules will be changed to stop future cover ups.There is widespread support for the sacking of staff found to be involved in cover ups (88%), their criminal prosecution (71%), and slightly less so for stripping them of their pensions (54%).

Labour continue to have a narrow lead as the most trusted party on education, 26% to the Tories’s 22%. Michael Gove’s approval rating stands at minus 27%, and his flagship policy of free schools is supported by only 29% of people (38% are opposed and 33% don’t know). The balance of opinion is that British schools are worse than those in other western countries, and that standards have dropped over the last three years. In contrast most people think our universities are equal (33%) or better (31%) than those in other western countries, though a majority (63%) think that tuition fees do not represent value for money.


This week’s YouGov poll for the Sunday Times is CON 33%, LAB 45%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 8%. The climb of UKIP support into the mid-teens that has been appearing in other online polls doesn’t appear to be replicated in the daily YouGov polls. The rest of the poll dealt with immigration, gay marriage, the royal baby prank call and teachers’ pay.

Two thirds of people (67%) think that levels of immigration into Britain over the last decade have been bad the country, compared to 11% who think it has been good for Britain. 80% say they support David Cameron’s stated intention to reduce net immigration to the “tens of thousands”, although there is very little confidence in his ability to deliver it (only 15% think it is very or fairly likely he will deliver the pledge). On the specifics of foreign students, 50% of people think they have a positive effect on Britain compared to only 15% who think they have a negative impact. Despite this 53% people think they should be included in the immigration figures, only 40% think they should be excluded. Finally on the subject of immigration, people are evenly split on whether British companies should discriminate towards British workers – 45% think they should, 47% think they should not.

People support gay marriage by 56% to 36% who are opposed, pretty typical of YouGov’s previous polling on the subject. There are the same demographic patterns that we’ve seen in other polling on the subject – women are more supportive of gay marriage than men, and young people are MUCH more supportive than over 60s. Asked if David Cameron should continue with the proposed changes in the face of opposition from some Conservative MPs the figures were very similar – 51% think he should continue regardless, 36% think he should abandon the policy.

There is very little perception that supporting gay marriage will help the Conservatives electorally. Only 9% think it will help them, 17% damage them, 66% think it will make no difference (needless to say, people’s perception of whether it will help or hurt the Conservatives is not necessarily the same as whether it will. Polling on how policies directly affect voting intention is extremely dubious, but what there is suggests it is very much a case of swings and roundabouts – they lose about the same as they gain). Asked how they would react to their own son or daughter being gay, 63% of people say they would be very or fairly comfortable with it. 17% say they would be fairly uncomfortable, 8% very uncomfortable.

On the Royal Baby prank call 67% of people think that the Australian radio station should take some or a lot of blame for the suicide of the nurse who took the prank call. However, they are fairly evenly split over whether the DJs responsible should be sacked – 39% think they should be, 43% think they should not. 61% think that the offer of AUS$500,000 to a memorial fund to the nurse’s family is the right way to make amends, compared to only 24% who think there should be greater compensation or people should pay with their jobs. More generally, 50% think that similar prank calls should not be allowed in the future, 41% think they are harmless as long as they are done responsibly.

Finally people continue to narrowly support the existing arrangements for teachers pay over more performance related pay (by 48% to 43%). Asked about the role of teaching unions, 26% think that they are an obstacle to reform and that the government are right to take a hard line, 45% think that the government should listen to them more (28% say don’t know or neither). 31% of people would support a ban on teachers taking strike action.