Full results for the Sunday Times/YouGov poll are now up here. As you’d might expect, given it’s silly season and it’s the only story in the news, the focus is again on the riots.

On the regular leadership trackers there is little change – David Cameron’s job approval stands at minus 12 (from minus 14 last week, and typical of late), Ed Miliband’s is minus 18 (from minus 22, still holding onto the increase he got from hackgate), Nick Clegg’s is minus 42.

As in the Channel 4 poll yesterday the primary causes of the riots are seen as criminality, gang culture and bad parenting (all named by 61% of people when asked to pick the main causes, and the top three when asked to pick the ONE main cause). That is followed, a long way behind, by social deprivation (23%) and unemployment (18%). Very few people though that the government’s cuts (10%) or poor policing (11%) were amongst the main causes.

45% think Cameron responded well to the riots (52% badly), 44% thought Boris responded well (45% badly). These are significantly up on similar questions YouGov asked for the Sun when the riots were still ongoing, which had 28% saying Cameron was doing well and only 24% for Boris – people are presumably viewing their reactions a lot more positively now things have quietened down. In contrast Theresa May is still seen as having reacted badly to the riots (31% well, 53% badly). For the opposition, 40% thought Miliband did well (40% badly) and Harriet Harman 26% well, 44% badly.

66% think the police responded well to the riots, with 31% saying badly – again this is significantly up on YouGov’s poll for the Sun in the week when the number thinked they’d handled it well was 52%. Asked how much confidence they have in the police to protect people and property from rioters 53% of people have some or a lot of confidence, 37% do not have a lot of confidence, 9% have none at all.

On the police cuts 56% of people think they should be cancelled, even if this means bigger cuts elsewhere. 23% of people think they should go ahead. Amongst the COnservative party’s own supporters 47% think the police cuts should be cancelled.

Finally there were some questions on Cameron’s “broken society”. YouGov re-asked a question from back in 2009 about whether people though Britain was a broken society, in regard of the area people themselves lived in, and in relation to the country as a whole. 37% think it is true in relation to the area they live (which is significantly down from 2009 when YouGov originally asked the question) with people most likely to agree in London. 74% think society is broken in Britain as a whole, virtually unchanged from 2009. Comparing ourselves to other European countries, 38% of people think British society is more broken than in other countries, 13% that British society is stronger and more stable and 39% that they are much the same.

There is very little confidence in the government’s policies solving the problems of “broken Britain” – only 22% think the government’s education policies will improve or mend society, 27% their welfare policies, 26% their law and order polices and 22% their economic policies. In every case a larger proportion of respondents think the government’s policies will make the problems in British society worse.

Tonight’s YouGov/Sunday Times poll has voting intentions of CON 36%, LAB 43%, LDEM 9%. Full report to follow tomorrow once the tables are up.


There is a further YouGov poll on the riots for Channel 4 News (and, of course, more to come in the Sunday Times tomorrow). Earlier in the week YouGov asked people to pick what they thought was the ONE main reason for the riots in a poll for the Sun, with individual criminal behaviour followed by gang culture coming up top. The Channel 4 poll gave people a longer list, and allowed people to pick multiple main causes, and then pick the one main one.

The overall picture was still much the same (and also similar to the ICM poll for the Guardian earlier this week) – the main reasons were seen as ones of criminality and culture/societal problems: 52% of people cited poor parenting, 47% gang culture, 46% criminality, 45% lack of punishment. This was followed by inequality (16%) and unemployment (13%). Even when allowed to pick multiple options comparatively few picked government cuts (12%), racial tensions (6%) or poor policing (6%, though 6% also said the shooting of Mark Duggan. We can’t say if it was the same 6%).

YouGov found that most people (84%) thought the police response was not tough enough, but overall most thought the police had handled it well (by 65% to 32%, significantly up from when the same question was asked for the Sun earlier in the week).

Finally YouGov asked what sentences people wanted to see handed down for people involved in the riots. YouGov asked about various different possible crimes committed during the unrest – criminal damage, looting, violent disorder, arson. In every case overwhelming majorities wanted to see custodial sentences (82% for criminal damage, 93% for violent disorder, 96% for arson, 91% for looting). A majority of people (56%) wanted to see relatively short prison sentences (a year or less) for criminal damage, but a majority (63%) wanted to see people get more than a year in prison for looting and violent disorder, and 60% wanted to see people get more than 5 years for arson.

If these figures seem surprisingly lenient in the context of polling figures showing people are happy for the police to use rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannon on rioters, it isn’t actually that unusual – the public are not always quite as reactionary on law and order as some poll findings suggest. On sentencing, while polls asking in the abstract if sentences are harsh enough invariably show people would like sentences to be harsher, if you ask people what sentences should be given for particular crimes they are often quite comparable to actual sentencing guidelines.

There is also a ComRes poll for the Indy on Sunday and Sunday Mirror – there are no voting intention figures, and the riot questions are, annoyingly, all asked as agree/disagree statements (I suspect the reason the Indy always commission questions in this format is financial reasons – looking at ComRes’s site in their online polls it’s significantly cheaper to commission ranks of agree/disagree statements than individual ones!). ComRes found 83% of people agreed with a statement that social media contributed to the levels of violence, that 59% agreed with a statement that TV coverage of the riots helped fuel them and that 50% agreed with a statement that the government’s response to the economic crisis helped fuel the rioters.

Still to come tonight we have the YouGov/Sunday Times voting intention figures, and I’ll do a post on the full results tomorrow.

ICM poll on the riots

The Guardian have an online ICM poll on the riots, conducted on Wednesday and Thursday. As in the YouGov poll at the start of the week, both David Cameron and Boris Johnson have negative ratings on how they handled the riots – 30% think Cameron did a good job dealing with them, 44% a bad job; 28% think Boris did a good job, 38% a bad job. In contrast Tim Godwin, the acting Commissioner of the Metropolitan police is seen as having done a good job by 45% to 27%.

The majority of the public (61%) are confident that the police are enforcing the laws fairly and without prejudice (36% are not), however only 41% are confident they have the resources available to control riots (56% do not).

Finally ICM asked people what they thought were the cases of the riots – as with the YouGov polling earlier this week people were most likely to blame it upon criminal individuals and cultural/societal problems, rather than economic, political, racial or policing problems. 45% said the main reason was criminal individuals, 28% a lack of respect within families and communities, 8% unemployment, 5% the shooting of Mark Duggan (2% said policing more generally), 4% the government and 2% the economic situation.

Yesterday’s daily YouGov poll for the Sun had topline figures of CON 35%, LAB 43%, LDEM 9%. Thus far there is no obvious effect upon voting intention from the riots… and that probably shouldn’t surprise us that much. The reality is that most things don’t have much effect on voting intentions, or at least, don’t have effects that are noticable underneath the day-to-day random variation from sample error.

If, like myself, you are the sort of political anorak who pays great attention to the ebb and flow of politics there is a temptation to think that everything has far more impact than it really does. In this case the riots really were a huge news story that I have no doubt even people totally uninterested in politics were aware of… but it doesn’t necessarily mean it has much impact on people’s party political views. Whether it changes attitudes to things like policing, civil liberties, social deprivation, etc is a different question.