The latest YouGov/Sun poll today has topline figures of CON 37%, LAB 42%, LDEM 8% – still very much in line with YouGov’s recent polling.

For those looking for any polling effect from the strikes, you’re a day too early! Remember YouGov’s fieldwork period is about 5pm or so through to about 3pm the next day – most of the responses come in overnight. Not, I should add, that I’d particularly expect a sudden strike effect anyway… it’s not as if people weren’t aware it was going to happen.

Tabs are here

Today’s YouGov poll for the Sun has a fresh set of polling on Thursday’s strikes – full tabs are here.

On balance the public remain opposed to the government’s proposed changes to public sector pensions by 47% to 37%. However, while they oppose the pension changes, they also tend to oppose the strike – 40% of people support the teacher’s strike on Thursday, 49% of people oppose it.

The figure was not actually that different amongst parents of school age children – 39% of whom supported the strike, 51% of whom opposed it. Support was very marginally lower amongst GB adults for the civil servants striking than for the teachers – 38% supported their strike, 50% opposed it.

Looking at reactions to Michael Gove’s various comments, 28% of people said they would respect teachers less if they striked, 10% said they would respect them more and 55% no difference. Only 37% supported the idea of getting parents to help in schools to keep them open, with 52% opposed.


Unless it is called off I have no doubt there will be more polling on the teachers’ strike in the next few days, but as I promised yesterday, here’s what we’ve got so far.

Firstly on the issue of public sector pensions themselves. 38% of people think public sector pensions are too generous, 25% about right and 11% not generous enough (meaning there is a broadly even split between people who think they are too high, and people who think they are about right or not high enough). There is also a broadly even split (38% support, 43% opposed) towards Lord Hutton’s proposals (YouGov, June 18th). A more specific ICM question asked only if people would support raising the retirement age for public sector workers, and not including higher contribution rates and lower payouts – on this specific point 49% supported the measure, 41% opposed (ICM, 19th June).

Secondly, people support the principle of strike action. 54% think it is legitimate for unions to take strike action to protect the pay and conditions of their members, with only 18% disagreeing (Populus, 19th June). While many people think that people like police officers and doctors should not have the right to strike, a clear majority (68%) of people believe that teachers should have the right to strike (YouGov, June 18th).

That brings us to the specific strike this week. There are a couple of questions that have asked this – ComRes asked if people agreed that “public sector workers” were right to take strike action over maintaining their pension plans. They found 48% agreed and 36% disagreed (ComRes, 19th June), a second ComRes poll today asked if people agreed that “In their dispute over pensions, public sector workers have a legitimate reason to go on strike” – 49% agreed, 35% disagreed (ComRes, 27th June) – very similar figures.

Of course, thinking that someone has a legitimate reason to do something, isn’t necessarily the same as actually supporting them in that action, so finally we have a MORI poll and two YouGov polls that asked if people actually support the strike action. MORI’s poll asked if people supported strike action by “people in a numbre of public sector jobs” over job cuts, pay levels and pension reductions – they found 48% in support, 48% against (Ipsos MORI, 19th June.) The first YouGov poll asked if people supported strike action by two teaching unions and the PCS over pension changes, job cuts and a pay freeze – 39% supported it, 42% opposed it, so a pretty even split (YouGov, 16th June). The second poll on the 24th June asked specifically about teachers taking strike action on the 30th June over changes to pblic sector pensions that “mean teachers will have to work longer and pay more towards lower pensions.” This found 38% support, but 49% opposition. (YouGov, 24th June)

So, all that aside, do people support or oppose the strike on Thursday? It’s hard to see – people do seem to think strikers have a legitimate grievance and say they are “right” to strike… but ask if they “support” them going on strike they are evenly divided or opposed. Alternatively, the difference may be because ComRes and MORI has asked about public sector workers, YouGov have asked about teachers. No doubt there will be more polling on the issue to come over the next few days.

UPDATE: Missed out a MORI question, added it to the main text!

There are two new polls out tonight. Firstly there is a ComRes poll in the Independent, with topline figures of CON 36%(-1), LAB 40%(+3), LDEM 11%(-1), Others 13%(-2). Changes are from the last ComRes telephone poll at the end of May.

Meanwhile the daily YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 37%, LAB 42%, LDEM 10%.

The full tables for the YouGov/Sunday Times poll are up here. Aside from the normal trackers questions in this week’s poll largely cover representation of women in politics and educational issues.

The Conservative apparently think they are struggling amongst women and there is some truth to this. Prior to Christmas the regular YouGov polls were showing the Conservatives still leading amongst women while they fell behind amongst men – this year Labour have more usually lead amongst both groups – certainly it looks at first glance as though the Tory advantage amongst women is fading. The graph below shows a two week rolling average of the Tory lead amongst men & women in the weekly YouGov/Sunday Times poll.

YouGov asked about perceptions of which party best represented various groups – most followed the pattern you’d expect – the Conservatives were seen as better representing middle class people and the rich, Labour were seen as better representing the poorest, immigrants, trade unionists, pensioners, etc. For our purposes here though we were really interested in who people perceived as being closer to women – 26% think Labour is closest to women and better understands their views compared to 13% for the Conservatives… but 26% say none of the parties do and 23% don’t know (it is even more pronounced amongst women voters, 32% of whom say none of the parties understand and reflect women’s views).

The reasons for the difference are hard to pin down – other questions in this poll showed that Labour were seen as having more women in senior roles, but it’s hard to say how much difference that actally makes. In terms of actually policy there is normally little difference between men and women policy. Women normally say they are concerned at pretty much the same issues as men (the idea that women care about “soft” issues like education and health and men care about “hard” issues like defence, crime and the economy is basically nonsense), and on most policy questions there is little difference between the genders – I’ve commented about this before, specifically in regard of attitudes toward nuclear power and energy and regulating pornography, which are unusual as being issues where there is a large gender difference.

In this poll YouGov asked a quick bank of policy questions looking for gender difference. In ending child benefit for families with top rate tax payers and criticising men who abandon their children – both issues where one could reasonably have expected to find contrasting attitudes between men and women there was no significant difference. Two policy areas that did have significant differences between women and men were tightening restrictions on sexualised music videos and adverts broadcast when children might see them and equalising the pension age at 66 by 2020.

Moving onto education, 24% of people think the government have the right polices, compared to 47% who think they have the wrong policies. There is also a perception that levels of teaching are worse than 10 years ago, and a very widespread perception that behaviour is worse (this, of course, is not a sign that education standards are actually falling – cf. perceptions of crime)

On schools, 42% of people think central government has too much power over schools, 27% think local councils have too much power, 28% that teaching unions do. In contrast 38% think parents do not have enough power over schools and 41% think headteachers do not have enough power. Despite this people are almost evenly split over support for academy schools – 36% support them, 36% oppose them. For “Free schools” the split is 34% support, 40% oppose.

Finally on the teachers’ strike, 38% said they supported industrial action by teachers, with 49% opposing it. There have been various polls asking support or opposition to the teachers’ strike over the last week or so – I will try to do a round up post covering them all later on tonight.