The full tables for the YouGov/Sunday Times poll are now up on their website here, covering the economy and taxation, planning and Libya.

The public are very evenly divided on the government’s economic strategy and the balance between prioritising the deficit or growth. 38% think the government should stick to its present strategy of cutting the deficit, even if this means growth remains slow, 36% think the government should change strategy to concentrate on growth, even if this means the deficit is cut more slowly or gets worse. Unsurprisingly the answers fall largely along party lines.

On the 50p tax rate, only 27% of people would like to see it abolished, with 60% supporting its retention. Only 18% of people believe that it is damaging the economy, with 39% thinking it makes no difference and 25% thinking it helps the economy. People are far more uncertain about whether it actually brings in any more money – only 38% of people think it brings in more cash, 35% of people think it does not. However, this doesn’t mean they necessarily oppose it – when we asked how people would feel if the 50p tax rate did not bring in any extra money, 42% of them would still keep it anyway, agreeing that it is morally right for the rich to pay more regardless. 45% of people would abolish it if it didn’t bring in more money. If we assume that the 45% includes the 27% who don’t support it anyway, it suggests public support for higher taxes for the rich is driven more by a belief that it is right that the rich pay more regardless, than it is because people think it is financially necessary.

The public remain strongly in favour of banking regulation. In our question on timing, 51% thought it should be done as soon as possible, compared to 26% who thought it should wait until the economy was stronger (8% said no extra regulation was necessary).

Turning to planning, support for the government’s proposals have dropped slightly since we last asked a fortnight ago. Then the broad thrust of their policy (simplifying the rules, giving more power to councils and presuming in favour of development) was supported by 54% to 21%, that has shifted to 49% to 28% – perhaps a reflection of increased media cover over the last couple of weeks. Asked about their understanding of the proposals, 38% say they think it would lead to more building in the countryside, 8% less and 31% no difference.

YouGov then asked people whether they thought there should be presumptions for or against development in different types of land. For Green Belt land, 80% thought that the presumption should be against development (including 39% would said planning permission should almost never be given in greenbelt land). For Brownfield sites, there was strong support for a presumption in favour of development – 41% thought planning permission should almost always be given there, 44% that it should normally be given there unless there was a good reason to stop it.For Greenfield sites opinion was slightly less one sided – 21% of people thought planning permission should almost never be given for greenfield sites, 45% thought there should be a presumption against development. 21% thought there should be a presumption in favour, and 5% thought permission should almost always be given.

The Conservatives continue to be seen as the party that best reflects the interests of the countryside, by 29% to Labour’s 12%. However, 33% of people do not think any party reflects the interests of people in the countryside, and 19% of people think that the Conservatives represent the views of the countryside less well than in the past.

Finally on housing, people overwhelmingly support the criminalisation of squatting (by 80% to 14%), and just as overwhelmingly think the government should be doing more to bring empty houses into use (by 80% to 13%).

Looking last of all at Libya and the secret services, 46% of people thought that it was sometimes justified for the secret services to use information obtained through torture, compared to 34% who thought it was never justified. On relations with Libya, people remain divided on whether it was right at the time for Britain to re-establish diplomatic relations with Libya under Gadaffi – 36% think it was right, 39% think it was wrong. However, they are significantly more accepting of the government exchanging information with the Gadaffi regime on Islamic extremism and Al Qaeda: 49% think this was right, 24% think it was wrong.

The SNP are also reporting a there is an Angus Reid poll in the Sunday Express showing Holyrood constituency support at CON 13%, LAB 29%, LDEM 5%, SNP 49% (a similar SNP post election boost to that shown by MORI) – there is nothing yet on the AngusReid site or the Express’s website, which only mentions a question on what the Scottish national anthem should be!


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.


-->

Full tabs from the YouGov/Sunday Times poll are now up here, asking about the normal sort of grab-bag of subjects that the Sunday Times normally choose when the news agenda hasn’t been eaten by a single topic like the riots!

There is very little support for putting British troops on the ground in Libya, even post-Gaddafi. Only 22% would support troops being deployed to help the new regime. Neither is there much support for any intervention in Syria – only 21% of people would support a Libya-style intervention in Syria.

On taxation, YouGov asked about various tax cuts (and in one case, tax increase) that have been mooted. The most popular proposals were cutting VAT and fuel duty, both supported by 86%. A married couples tax allowance was supported by 66% of respondents. Abolishing the 50% rate was only supported by 23% of people, with 59% opposed. The Lib Dem idea of a “mansion tax” was supported by 63% of people.

On petrol prices, YouGov asked whether people thought the oil companies themselves were taking advantage of the public with high prices – 52% of people thought they were, 36% thought the fault lay with world oil prices and the government’s taxes.

The recent deal with Switzerland on taxing private bank accounts was seen as a good deal for Britain by almost two-thirds of people (65%), with 11% thinking it was a bad deal. 40% of people thought it was acceptable for British people with Swiss bank accounts to still remain anonymous, 45% thought it was not acceptable.

In the benefit questions, people are evenly split on whether cuts to benefits are too large (28%), about right (26%) or not large enough (27%). On the specific policy of capping housing benefit, 75% supported it “even if this means people are forced to move house if they live in an area where the rent is high” (broadly comparable to when YouGov asked a similarly worded question last November for Channel 4). 56% of people think that EU citizens should not be allowed to claim benefits in other countries, 30% think they should.

Finally on planning, people are evenly split over whether current planning laws are too relaxed or too restrictive – 23% think it is too easy to build, 20% too difficult, 33% that it is about right. On the principles of the government’s proposals to simplify central planning rules, give more power to councils and have a presumption in favour of development, 54% support and 21% are opposed. However, asked about the National Trust’s criticisms of the proposals, 44% back the NT and think the change will pose a risk to the countryside, compared to 25% who think the NT are exaggerating.

This is broadly what I would expect on a subject where most people will have little or no detailled knowledge – neutral options on the status quo, a broadly positive reaction to things that sound good on the surface like simplifying and devolving power, but when faced with opposing claims from the government and a charity, people are going to tend to back the charity over the politicians.


The Times is reporting a snap Populus poll, which interviewed 500 or so people on Wednesday night. The sample obviously isn’t large enough for accurate voting intention figures, but gives us the first – rather mixed – signals of how the budget wasa received.

Most of the measures in the budget were supported. 65% supported the increase in the ISA limit, 58% supported the stamp duty holiday, 47% the scrappage scheme. 57% supported the new higher rate of 50% tax, with 22% opposed. The only specific measure to run into strong opposition was the increase in fuel duty, opposed by 68%.

Budgets, however, are more than the sum of their parts. Just because the tax changes in them are popular, doesn’t mean the overall package is, or that they don’t have a wider effect on how the government is perceived. So, while the 50% tax band was very popular, people were split on whether it was fair, and 53% agreed it was “the end of New Labour”.

A positive sign for Labour was that Brown & Darling once again lead Cameron & Osborne on the economy. Rather more omnious for them though is that 58% agreed with David Cameron’s attack on the government that “all Labour Governments end up ruining Britain’s public finances by spending too much”.

Something of a mixed bag there then, hopefully we will see the effect on actual voting intentions later tonight.


There was a Populus poll for the BBC on last night’s Westminster Hour asking some questions looking forward to the budget.

On balance respondents said they would prefer spending cuts to tax increases in the budget. 21% of people wanted the emphasis to be more (or entirely) upon tax increases, 36% wanted the emphasis to be more (or entirely) upon spending cuts. 37% preferred a roughly even split.

Populus then asked which areas people would like to see protected from cuts, and which areas they think should be cut. Notably these were both unprompted questions – people weren’t asked to pick from a list, but answered in their own words, which were then coded up by Populus. Questions like this are costly and time-consuming, but the answers aren’t influenced by the options the pollster choses to offer.

Of the 73% of people who said they thought some areas should be protected from spending cuts, the most popular areas identified were by some distance, the NHS (50%) and education (35%). 17% thought the police should be protected from cuts, 11% thought transport should – nothing else was mentioned by more than 5% of respondents.

Of areas that people thought should be particular targets for cuts, 46% of people said don’t know. The most popular thing mentioned was MPs pay and perks, which given the comparatively miniscule cost of MPs expenses when put aside public spending as a whole, could only ever make a symbolic contribution. After this was local authorities (9%) and defence (7%). Nothing else was above 5%. The public seem to back cuts in public spending in theory, but are rather more reluctant when it comes to specific cuts.

Since it was a BBC commissioned poll there were, as usual, no voting intention questions. The tables, incidentally, include cross-breaks by party which imply voting intention was actually asked, but reverse engineering that into voting intentions is unlikely to be possible unless Populus also asked likelihood to vote.