A small avalanche of polling tonight – as well as the daily YouGov poll in the Sun, which will be up at 10pm, there is also the monthly Populus poll for the Times at 8pm*, the monthly ICM poll for the Guardian at some unspecified time (though “later than usual”), and a ComRes poll on the ITV News at Ten. I’m out at a meeting this evening, so ICM or Populus may sneak out before I’m home. If so, feel free to use this post to discuss them.

(*Sam Coates at the Times says there are “unexpected results” in the Populus poll. But then again, he wouldn’t say “deathly dull, don’t bother reading” ;) )

The full tables for this week’s YouGov/Sunday Times poll are now up here, and cover mainly the ongoing phone hacking affair.

So far 36% of people think David Cameron has handled the phone hacking affair well, 48% badly. In comparison, 49% think Ed Miliband has handled it well, 28% badly. This has fed through into Miliband’s overall leadership ratings, though they remain solidly negative – 32% now think he is doing well (up from 26% a fortnight ago before the story reached its peak), 53% think he is doing badly (down from 60% a fortnight ago). In contrast, despite people thinking Cameron’s handled the issue badly, his overall rating has remained largely steady over the last two weeks.

Still on the question of how people have handled the phone hacking saga, 69% of people think the police have handled it badly (only 16% think they have done it well), 79% think News Corporation have handled it badly. Respondents were also negative about other newspapers’ reactions – only 25% think they have handled it well, 43% think they have handled it badly. 80% of people think News Corp were right to drop the BSkyB bid.

There is overwhelming agreement that the relationship between newspaper owners/editors is too close to politicians (76% agree) and to the police (69% agree), and strong support for a register of meetings between ministers and journalists, reporters as well as editors and proprietors.

While the public remain overwhelmingly hostile towards the idea of journalists breaking the law to get stories (71% still think it is never acceptable), their opinion of “underhanded tactics” to get a story that’s in the public interest has softened somewhat – a week ago only 37% of people thought underhanded tactics were acceptable in the public interest, but that has now risen to 48%. A majority of people also thought that newspapers hiring private investigators was acceptable when trying to expose criminal behaviour or corruption, but not to look at people’s financial dealings or love affairs (of course, it doesn’t follow that they’d support private investigators hacking phones, bribing police officers, etc!)

Support for a formal authority to regulate the press rather than the PCC is little changed from last week – 27% support the PCC remaining, 59% support a new authority being established.


Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sunday Times has topline figures of CON 36%, LAB 42%, LDEM 11%. We can’t tell much from that – it’s perfectly inline with the 8 point Labour leads that have emerged from YouGov over the last week, but would also be inline with the lead returning to the six point or so gap that was typical before. The 11 point score for the Lib Dems is the highest YouGov have recorded since May… but usual caveats about waiting to see if it’s confirmed in future polling.

Full post tomorrow when the full tables are published.

There is a new ComRes poll in the Indy on Sunday/Sunday Mirror. Topline figures are CON 36%(-1), LAB 40%(+3), LDEM 10%(-1), Others 14%(-1) – changes are since ComRes’s last online poll a month ago, which had shown the Conservatives and Labour neck and neck on 37%. There does appear to be some effect on voting intention from the phone hacking saga – YouGov’s daily tracking seems to have moved from a Labour lead in the region of 6 points to one in the region of 8 points, now ComRes have Labour going from neck-and-neck to 4 points ahead. Whether it lasts of course is a different matter.

ComRes also repeated their leader ratings questions, which have Miliband significantly up since last month and Cameron somewhat down. 27% of people now think that Ed Miliband is turning out to be a good leader (up from 18% a month ago), 33% think David Cameron is turning out to be a good PM (down from 37% a month ago).

Still to come tonight is the regular YouGov/Sunday Times poll. I’m not aware of any other polling due in the Sunday papers.

There is a [email protected] poll out that included a question on how people would vote in a referendum on EU membership. 33% would vote to stay, 50% would vote to leave. This isn’t much different from last September, when YouGov asked the same question and found 33% would vote to stay and 47% would vote to leave.

Extremely important caveat though is that this does not mean people would vote to leave the EU if there actually was a referendum. Learn from the AV referendum – before it was announced polls consistently showed people rather liked the idea of electoral reform. Polls for the first six months after it was announced tended to show the YES campaign in the lead. When the actual vote came it was a landslide victory for NO. Going back to 1975 and the referendum on whether Britain should stay in the EC, in the January before the referendum Gallup was finding people saying it was wrong for Britain to have joined the EC and that they would vote to leave. In the actual referendum the YES campaign won easily.

Historically early questions on how people would vote in a referendum have not proven to be particularly good guides on how people actually vote if one comes along.