The full tabs for this week’s YouGov poll for the Sunday Times are now online here, covering a wide range of topics including Jimmy Carr’s tax, GCSEs, global warming and Julian Assange.

On the regular trackers David Cameron’s net approval is minus 18 (from minus 25 last week), Ed Miliband’s minus 27 (from minus 25), Nick Clegg’s minus 53 (from minus 55). There were also shifts towards the government in some of the other regular trackers – the proportion thinking the government is bad for people like them has dropped from 62% to 55%, the proporton thinking they are handling the economy well is up 5 points to 34%. This tallies with the voting intention figures, which are marginally less bad for the government than they have been for the last month or two… but still show them trailing badly.

Turning first to tax avoidance, 60% of people think it is unreasonable for people to use artificial schemes to avoid tax, compared to 36% who think it is reasonable enough and the government should pass stricter laws if they want to stop it. 67% also agreed with a statement that tax avoidance was as bad as benefit fraud…nevertheless, asked directly whether Cameron was right to criticise Jimmy Carr only 38% said yes and 50% said no. Part of this will be as suggested in the question – distate at the Prime Minister commenting on an individual, but it will also be a reflection of partisan viewpoints – Labour voters are most critical of tax avoidance, but are also least likely to view David Cameron or his actions in a positive way.

Moving onto GCSEs, people think they have got easier in recent years by 60% to 22% and by 50% to 32% would support a return to an O-level style system, with less academic pupils taking some equivalent of the old CSE. There is also very strong support for the idea of moving to one single exam board, supported by 75% with 12% opposed. People are less suportive, however, of abolishing the national curriculum. Only 20% think this would lead to a rise in standards, compared to 38% who think it would make things worse.

Turning to the topic of climate change, 70% of people think that the Rio conference will make little difference, with only 9% expecting it to lead to a better environment. YouGov also asked about broader attitudes towards climate change, a repeat question from 2010, and found a slightly larger proportion of people believing in man-made global warming. 43% of people thought the world was becoming warmer due to man (up from 39%), 22% thought the world was becoming warmer but not because of man (down from 27%), 15% thought the world was not getting warmer (down from 18%). 20% of people said they didn’t know, up from 16%. While the trend here is towards belief in manmade global warming, it is still lower than the same question was showing in 2008, when 55% of British people thought the world was getting warmer due to man’s activity.

Finally the survey asked about Julian Assange. 60% of people wanted to see Assange extradited (44% to Sweden and 16% to the US, though I believe the US haven’t actually asked for him to be extradited), 16% think he should not be extradited. However, a majority of people (60%) also think that diplomatic norms should be respected and Julian Assange should be allowed to take sanctuary in the Ecuador embassy. 24% think the police should breach diplomatic rules (and, indeed the law, though this was not made clear in the question) and arrest him regardless.


Full tables for the YouGov/Sunday Times poll are now up here. On the regular trackers David Cameron is at minus 23 (from minus 26 last week), Ed Miliband minus 46 (from minus 44), Nick Clegg at minus 55 (from minis 54). The government’s continuing troubles don’t seem to have damaged David Cameron any further since last week, but to put it in context he was at around minus ten for the eight months or so before March, so neither has he recovered significantly.

Asked a slightly different way George Osborne has a approval rating of minus 40 – down from minus 31 at the time of the budget. Opinions of the budget itself have also become ever more negative – only 13% now think it will be good for the economy, 43% think it will be bad. More broadly, 27% of people thought that government had been doing well but has lost its way in recent weeks (14% think it hasn’t, 45% think it was doing badly in the first place). Of those, 33% blame George Osborne the most, followed by David Cameron on 23%.

Turning to the issue of Abu Qatada and human rights 70% think that the ECHR has too much power, and 77% would prefer the final ruling on Human Rights cases to be made in the UK. On the specifics of Qatada himself, 81% would like to see him deported now regardless of any appeal, 14% think he should be allowed to stay while his appeal is heard. Only 28% think Theresa May has handled the issue well, 54% think she has handled it badly.

Moving onto the proposed strikes by fuel tanker drivers and tube workers the public have little sympathy for either, a majority of people are opposed to the strike action by fuel tanker drivers (by 56% to 25%) and tube workers (by 53% to 22%). However, while these specific strikes don’t carry public support there is little support for strike bans for either group. Given a list of professions, a majority of people tend to support their right to strike – the only professions we asked about that people think should not be able to strike are police officers, firefighters and doctors.

Finally there were a series of questions on education. Respondents thought reading and writing was taught well in schools by 53% to 37% badly, on maths the figures are 50% well to 40% badly. Parents who actually have school age children were significantly more positive, with 73% thinking reading and writing is currently taught well, 72% thinking maths is. Despite this broad approval of current teaching standards, 60% also say that teaching standards are not demanding enough (47% of parents of school-age children would). 67% of people (61% of parents) would support keeping children back a year if they do not make progress, 64% of people (61% of parents) would support stopping child benefit for parents whose children persistently truant.

As well as the normal weekly poll, YouGov also has a French poll in the Sunday Times, conducted ahead of today’s general election. YouGov have Hollande ahead on 30%, Sarkozy on 26%, Le Pen on 15%, Melenchon on 14% and the various others on 15%. This is a bigger lead for Hollande than some of the other final polls, which have shown between a 3.5 point lead for Hollande (BVA and Ipsos) and the two main contenders equal on 27% (Ifop and TNS).

Overall, the final polls have Hollande between 27%-30%, Sarkozy between 25%-27%, Le Pen between 14%-17%, Melenchon between 12%-14.5%.


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I didn’t get chance yesterday to do a full rundown of the Sunday Times poll, so with full tabs long since up, here are a couple of things worth noting.

1) The problems of the new child benefit rules. The principle of withdrawing child benefit from households with a higher rate taxpayer remain very popular, with 64% of people supporting it and only 25% opposed. However, the practicalities whereby a household with two earners paying basic rate could have a higher income than a single higher rate taxpayer, yet still get child benefit, is still seen as unfair by 68% of people.

2) Perceptions of coalition. In principle 22% of people now think that coalitions are a better form of government than single party government, 55% think single party government is better. 21% of people say that the experience of the current coalition government has made them more positive about coalition, 39% more negative (ideally of course there would a “attitudes towards the principle of coalition” question from before the last election to compare things to, but alas, I couldn’t track one down)

3) Selective education. 37% of people would like to see more schools select by academic ability, 20% are happy with existing grammar schools to stay but oppose any expansion, 27% think the existing grammar schools should be opened to children of all abilities. There was a surprisingly positive response to the idea of re-introducing the assisted places scheme, suppored by 67% of people.

4) Religion. 12% of people think religion is more often the cause of good in the world compared to 58% of people who think it is more often the cause of evil. Conversely, only 17% think Britain is too religious while 36% think it is too secular (the apparantly paradox is probably a difference between thinking globally, and the thoughts of terrorism and armed conflict linked to religion that would almost certainly have come to some people’s minds, and thinking locally)


The full tabs for this week’s YouGov/Sunday Times poll are now up here, as usual, it covered a range of different subjects. On the regular leadership trackers both Cameron and Miliband are largely unchanged – David Cameron’s approval rating is minus 9 (from minus 10 last week), Ed Miliband’s is minus 24 (from minus 23 last week). However, in both cases this is a continuation of a slow trend as the effect of hackgate fades – hence it is Cameron’s highest rating since June, and Miliband’s lowest since hackgate.

On Libya, 48% of people now think Cameron has handled it well, 31% badly. Unsurprisingly the overwhelming majority of people (71%) would like to see the suspects in Yvonne Fletcher’s murder extradited to Britain, but opinion on al-Megrahi has now swung against his extradition (presumably given he is semi-comatose and close to death). 29% still think he should be returned to Britain, 55% now think he should not.

On the economy, people are now more likely to have confidence is Osborne than Balls to make the right calls on the economy. 30% have a lot or a little confidence in Osborne, 24% in Balls (when YouGov asked the same question in February both were on 31%). 28% have confidence in Ed Miliband, 31% Vince Cable. David Cameron scores the highest, with 41% saying they have a lot or a little confidence in him making the right decisions on the running the economy.

45% of people think that taxes on the wealthy should be increased, compared to 35% thinking they should be kept as they are and 11% who think they should be cut. Amongst Conservative voters, 30% think they should be increased. On the specific case of the 50p tax rate, opinion seem to broadly think it is about right as it is – 21% think it should be higher than 50p, 24% think it should be lower, 48% think it is about right. Public opinion towards the banks remains extremely harsh. Hardly anyone (3%) thinks they have reformed their bonus culture, only 14% think they have reformed their practices. 77% think the government have been too soft on them and 59% of people would support separating retail and investment banking, with only 9% opposed.

Looking at the other subjects in this week’s poll, opinion on free schools is still quite divided – 35% support them, 38% oppose them. There’s a similar division on whether people think Labour should support or oppose them – amongst Labour’s own supporters, 49% think the party should oppose free schools, 20% think they should support them, 31% say neither or don’t know. On roads, 39% would support increasing the speed limit on motorways. Half of respondents support building more motorways at taxpayers’ expense, 36% would support building new toll motorways. 40% of people perceive the government as too anti-motorist, with 24% thinking they get it about right and 8% thinking they are too pro-motorist.


YouGov’s daily poll for the Sunday Times has topline figures of CON 36%, LAB 40%, LDEM 11% – it’s a lower lead for Labour than we’ve seen in YouGov’s recent polls, but I’ll just leave that with my normal caveats about not reading too much into a single poll. It may be Labour’s increased hackgate lead receeding… or it may just be margin of error, and we’ll find Labour’s lead back to around 8 points tomorrow.

There is not much change from last week in how the political leaders are perceived as having responded to the riots – 45% think Cameron has responded well, 49% badly (from 45% to 49% last week), 42% think Miliband has responded well, 41% badly (from 40% to 40% last week). The standard leadership ratings for Cameron and Miliband remain largely unchanged too.

Most of the questions are still riot related – Almost half (48%) of people think the sentences for rioters are about right, with the remainder more likely to think they are too soft (31%) than too harsh (14%). On the specific case of the two men given 4 years a piece for failing to incite riots through Facebook, 32% think the sentences were too harsh, but 50% think they were right and 13% too soft.

Looking at further measures that have been suggested, 95% would support making those involved help repair the damaged caused, 81% would support naming and shaming those under 18s convicted, 81% would support making those convicted apologise to their victims. 68% would support stopping the welfare benefits of those convicted. On the question of evicting people who are convicted of rioting from council accommodation, 62% of people would support evicting tenants themselves if they involved in the riots, but this drops to only 34% when asked about evicting families whose children were involved in the riots.

Looking at longer term responses to the riots, 56% of people would support the re-introduction of national service, with 32% opposed (there is a strong correlation with age here, two-third of over 60s would support it, under 25s are marginally opposed to it). A national citizen service, requiring compulsory community work for all young people, is more popular – 77% would support it with only 14% opposed. There is less support for the government promoting marriage in the tax and benefit system – 39% think it should, 48% think it should not be the government’s place to promote marriage.

Moving to the topic of tuition fees, only 29% of people think that a university education is worth £9000 a year. However, they are evenly split on whether this means people will be better or worse off financially from going to university. 40% think graduates will still be better off as increased salaries will outweigh the costs of going to university, 42% think graduates will end up worse off.

Finally, on trains 79% of people think current fares represent bad value for money. 47% think the government should maintain rail subsidies, even if this means larger cuts elsewhere. 24% think that the government is right to cut subsidies.

Full tabs are here.