The full tables from the YouGov poll in the Telegraph are now online here.
As I suspected, the poll doesn’t show that immigration is the “top issue” for anybody. The question actually gave people a list of 10 policy aims and asked which ones people would most like the Conservatives to do – so what it actually shows is that more people would support a reduction in immigration than would support the other policies listed, which were things like “scrap ID cards”, “build more prisons”, “cut taxes”, “bring back grammar schools”. It’s an okay question in itself if you want to see how popular the policies it asked about were compared to one another, but it certainly doesn’t show what the Telegraph thinks it showed.
The question gave no opportunity for people to say they’d like the Conservatives to deal with the economic crisis, or indeed do anything about the health service. If people thought education was an issue, but didn’t want selection brought back across the country, they couldn’t say that either. Questions that DO ask what people think the top issue is, and do give people a full list to pick from, universally show that the economy is the number one issue.
As well as the question I mentioned yesterday about whether people preferred Mandelson or Clarke as business secretary, the poll also included head-to-heads between Darling & Osborne, Miliband & Hague and Smith & Grayling. In every case the Conservative shadow was prefered to the Labour incumbent, but as one might expect, people’s responses were largely along party lines. More interesting therefore is probably how big the difference is in each case – we saw yesterday that the net preference for Clarke over Mandelson was 31 points, the net preference for Hague over Miliband was 19 points, for Grayling over Smith was 14 points (which probably says more about Jacqui Smith than Chris Grayling considering how new he is to the job), but for Osborne over Darling was only 5 points. It suggests that either Osborne is seen as the weak link in the Tory top team, or Darling is more positively regarded than his colleagues (or both!).
UPDATE: After pondering about the others in the last post, I forgot to look at them! It was SNP/PC 4%, BNP 4%, UKIP 2%, Green 2%. Another highish figure for the BNP. As I wrote before, don’t read too much into the other figures, they jump about a lot, but keep an eye on it.