The full tables for the YouGov/Sunday Times poll are now up here, covering the budget, fuel strikes and party donations.

On the regular leadership trackers there is a sharp fall for David Cameron, down to minus 27 from minus 11 a week ago. This is his lowest approval rating as Prime Minister (and I think as during his time as leader of the opposition too, though I don’t have them all collated in one place. I think his lowest then was minus 26). Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg’s ratings are also down slightly, Miliband to minus 41 (from minus 37), Clegg to minus 53 (from minus 46).

YouGov repeated the overall budget question from last week now there has been a further week for news of the budget to sink in (and for people to row over pasties… a move the poll found 69% in disagreement with). A week ago 24% thought the budget would be good for the economy, 34% bad. That’s now fallen to 13% good, 45% bad.

Turning to the fuel strike, 25% would support a strike by fuel tanker drivers, 52% would oppose it. If it did go ahead, two thirds of people (66%) would support using the army to deliver petrol supplies. On the government’s handling of the strike threat so far, an overwhelming 86% of people think they have handled it badly (59% think they have handled it “very badly”). This includes 78% of Tory voters who think they have handled the strike threat badly.

On party funding and donations, the figures suggest people are equally negative towards both the two main parties. 68% think donors have a lot or a fair amount of influence over Conservative policies, 69% think the same about Labour; only 25% of people trust David Cameron to be honest about his relationships with Conservative donors, only 24% trust Ed Miliband to be honest about his relationships with Labour donors.

68% of people think that British politics are very (21%) or fairly (47%) corrupt, 56% think it is probably true that policies have been changed in exchange for donations, 80% think it is probably true that honours have been given in exchange for donations. On the specifics of the Cruddas case, just over half (53%) think that he was telling the truth and the Tory donors really would get preferential access and influence.

Moving forward, just over half (53%) would support a cap on individual donations to parties, with 63% and 62% supporting caps on business and union donations respectively.

The full results for this week’s YouGov/Sunday Times survey are now up here, with the usual grab-bag of subjects. The poll covered the economy, workfare, Syria, police attitudes to sexual assault, strikes during the Olympics and smoking. On the regular leader ratings Cameron is at minus 6 (from minus 10 last week), Miliband at minus 44 (from minus 42 last week), Clegg at minus 47 (from minus 44).

The question on economic strategy still shows a pretty even split, 38% of people think the government should stick to the present strategy of prioritising the deficit, 34% think they should concentrate on growth instead. If there is money for tax cuts, a cut in petrol duty (34%) or an increase in the personal tax allowance (31%) are people’s most preferred options.

On workfare, YouGov repeated the same question as last week but – now that the government have changed the policy – without the threat of people losing benefit if they dropped out half way through. A week ago 59% of people had said they supported the policy with the threat of sanctions for dropping out half way through. This week 67% of people support the unpaid work experience policy without the threat. Asked what types of company people should be placed at, three-quarters think they should be placed at charities & voluntary organisations, 62% at public sector organisations and just under half (48%) at private sector companies (respondents were able to pick more than one option).

Following Len McCluskey’s comments in the week, the overwhelming majority of people (70%) think it would be unacceptable for Trade Unions to strike during the Olympics. The same proportion think it is wrong for Rail Unions to seek pay bonuses for working during the Olympics.

On smoking there is majority support for banning the display of cigarettes in stores (59% support) and mandating blank packaging for cigarettes (57% support). 60% of people support banning smoking in cars with passengers, but only 37% would support a blanket ban on smoking in cars. Respondents were evenly divided on banning smoking in public parks – 44% supported, 46% opposed.

Turning to the questions on the police and sexual offences, 64% of of people think the police take sexual offences very seriously (23%) or fairly seriously (41%). There is, however, less confidence in how effective they and the justice system are at prosecuting these crimes – only 31% think they are effective, 52% think they are ineffective. 7% of people say that if they themselves were the victim of a sexual assault they would not report it to the police (the large majority would).

Finally on Syria the picture is largely unchanged from last week – there is still majority support for economic sanctions, but very little support for any sort of military intervention.


In terms of support for the strike, there is a pretty clear picture. YouGov have been asking questions on whether people support or oppose strike action for the Sun and Sunday Times quite regularly over the last year and have consistently found people more likely to oppose than support the strike. In the most recent questions the teachers strike was opposed by 49% to 41%, civil servants striking were opposed by 51% to 39%.

This has been broadly consistently since June – while it varies slightly depending upon what sort of workers you ask about and the other questions in the poll, generally speaking around 35%-40% support the strikes, 49%-55% oppose them.

It makes a little difference whether polls ask about public sector workers, civil servants, teachers, headteachers – there is marginally more support for teachers than “civil servants” – but we are talking a percentage point or two, not a vast contrast.

There was also an agree/disagree question on support for strike action in a ComRes poll for ITV this week, 38% agreed that they supported the strike action, 47% did not. There was also a TNS poll yesterday, which asked a rather strange question on whether people thought public sector workers should strike (40%) OR the government should continue with the reforms regardless (37%), which is rather tricky to interpret as it deals with both whether people should strike and whether the government should proceed.

While people are generally opposed to the strike, they are not without sympathy. While ComRes found people opposed the strike, another poll conducted slightly earlier found that 61% of people agreed that strikes were justified, and another found 48% of of people said they had sympathy with people striking against cuts (as opposed to pensions, though my suspicion is the difference is more sympathy -vs- support!).

Turning to the issue itself, people are pretty evenly divided upon the pension changes. 41% of people say they support the pension changes, compared to 44% opposed (although in this case, opinion has moved slightly in the government’s favour – in July the break was 41% support, 46% opposed, in June 37% support, 47% oppose).

Suffice to say, opposition to the pension changes is greater than support for the strikes (albeit, not by a huge amount). This shouldn’t be particular surprising – if you support the pension changes you are hardly likely to support strike action over them, yet there will undoubtedly be some people who oppose the pension changes but think strike action is unwarrented or counter-productive.

Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 37%, LAB 39%, LD 9%, Others 14%. After a nine point lead for Labour yesterday, we have an outlier in the other direction today, strongly suggesting the underlying Labour lead remains at around 5 points.

Meanwhile the monthly ComRes telephone poll for the Independent also shows a two point Labour lead (in fact, it’s almost identical to YouGov). Topline figures there with changes from ComRes’s last telephone poll a month ago are CON 37%(+3), LAB 39%(+1), LDEM 10%(-4), Others 14%. The sharp drop in Lib Dem support is probably just a reversion to the mean, after an usually high figure a month ago.

There is also a second ComRes poll for the News at Ten, which asked about support for the strikes on Wednesday. 38% of people thought public sector workers were right to strike, 47% disagreed (close to the YouGov/Sunday Times questions on whether people supported or opposed the strike, suggesting the contrasting findings in the ComRes/BBC poll were indeed down to asking whether strikes were “justified”, rather than whether people supported or opposed them)

The full tabs for YouGov’s weekly poll for the Sunday Times are up here.

On the strikes, 50% opposed headteachers taking stike action (38% supported it), 49% opposed teachers taking strike action (41% supported), 51% opposed civil servants taking strike action (39% supported). The YouGov poll had a cross break by public sector and private sector employment – as one might expect, public sector workers are more likely to support strike action, private sector employees are more likely to oppose it though the difference is less black and white as one might expect. For example, public sector employees support the civil servants’ strike action by 53% to 39%, private sector employees oppose it by 56% to 34%.

On the subject of public and private sector workers, note the main voting intention question. Public sector workers are more likely to support Labour than private sector workers… but not monolithically so. Amongst public sector workers this week’s voting intention was CON 30%, LAB 46%, LDEM 10%. The sample size was only 404, so give it due scepticism, I mention it solely to knock down the lazy assumption I occassionally see that all public sector workers are Labour voters.

Going back to the issue of the strikes, YouGov asked how well people thought David Cameron and the government had handled the issue of public sector pensions and negotiations – only 23% though he had handled them well, with 59% thinking it had been done badly. Turning to Ed Miliband, YouGov asked if people thought he should support or oppose the strikes – 23% think he should support them, 33% oppose them, 27% neither. Amongst Labour supporters 41% think the strikes should be supported, 14% opposed and 34% neither.

YouGov then asked about various policies and whether people would support or oppose them. Most of these were largely as you would expect – 83% supported cancelling the rise in fuel prices, 64% would support spending more on big infrastructure projects, 54% support building a high speed rail link to the Midlands and North, 48% oppose a new airport in the Thames Estuary, 53% support underwriting mortgages for new build houses.

The full tabs are here, and also have some questions on energy and Rugby.

I also said I’d have a look at the new (presumably Populus) polling for Lord Ashcroft. The poll found Cameron & Osborne were more trusted on the economy than Miliband & Balls (they did some interesting split sample tests, seeing if the answers were different if you asked just Osborne or Balls, or Cameron, Osborne & Clegg. None of it made that much difference though).

There were also some interesting questions on whether people trusted Labour or the Conservatives more on specific aspects of economic policy. The Conservatives were significantly more trusted to cut borrowing and debt, to steer the economy through tough times and to stop Britain getting into the same problems as Greece and Italy. Labour were significantly more trusted on creating jobs. The two parties were pretty much neck and neck on helping business and making banks behave responsibly.

Asked about what aspects of the economy most worried people rising prices easily came top, though I’m slightly sceptical about how much the options in the question led to this. For example, low pay rises wasn’t on the list, and while there were some wider issues like national debt and the Eurozone crisis, low growth in the British economy wasn’t there. It is probably not a co-incidence that the three top issues on the question (rising prices, national debt and the Eurozone crisis) were the only three that affected everyone – the other options on the list were things that were largely dependent on people’s circumstances (job insecurity is not a direct issue for the retired, making mortgage payments only for homeowners, finding somewhere to live only for non-homeowners, etc).

Ashcroft also asked people if they thought the economic situation would be better or worse if we had a Labour government, or Conservative government without the Lib Dems. 21% thought the economy would be better with Labour in charge, but 39% thought it would be worse (41% thought it would be much the same). 19% thought the economy would be better if the Conservatives were governing alone, 24% thought it would be worse, 57% thought it would be much the same.