In terms of support for the strike, there is a pretty clear picture. YouGov have been asking questions on whether people support or oppose strike action for the Sun and Sunday Times quite regularly over the last year and have consistently found people more likely to oppose than support the strike. In the most recent questions the teachers strike was opposed by 49% to 41%, civil servants striking were opposed by 51% to 39%.

This has been broadly consistently since June – while it varies slightly depending upon what sort of workers you ask about and the other questions in the poll, generally speaking around 35%-40% support the strikes, 49%-55% oppose them.

It makes a little difference whether polls ask about public sector workers, civil servants, teachers, headteachers – there is marginally more support for teachers than “civil servants” – but we are talking a percentage point or two, not a vast contrast.

There was also an agree/disagree question on support for strike action in a ComRes poll for ITV this week, 38% agreed that they supported the strike action, 47% did not. There was also a TNS poll yesterday, which asked a rather strange question on whether people thought public sector workers should strike (40%) OR the government should continue with the reforms regardless (37%), which is rather tricky to interpret as it deals with both whether people should strike and whether the government should proceed.

While people are generally opposed to the strike, they are not without sympathy. While ComRes found people opposed the strike, another poll conducted slightly earlier found that 61% of people agreed that strikes were justified, and another found 48% of of people said they had sympathy with people striking against cuts (as opposed to pensions, though my suspicion is the difference is more sympathy -vs- support!).

Turning to the issue itself, people are pretty evenly divided upon the pension changes. 41% of people say they support the pension changes, compared to 44% opposed (although in this case, opinion has moved slightly in the government’s favour – in July the break was 41% support, 46% opposed, in June 37% support, 47% oppose).

Suffice to say, opposition to the pension changes is greater than support for the strikes (albeit, not by a huge amount). This shouldn’t be particular surprising – if you support the pension changes you are hardly likely to support strike action over them, yet there will undoubtedly be some people who oppose the pension changes but think strike action is unwarrented or counter-productive.

Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 38%, LAB 41%, LDEM 9%, Others 12%. A three point Labour lead, but not out of line with the average Labour lead of five points or so that we’ve seen of late. Note that the fieldwork of YouGov’s daily polls goes from roughly 5pm each day to around about 3pm the next day, so the overwhelming majority of the fieldwork for this poll was done before George Osborne’s autumn statement – if you are looking for any impact in the polls it’s tomorrow’s poll and those in the days following you’ll need to look at.


Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 37%, LAB 39%, LD 9%, Others 14%. After a nine point lead for Labour yesterday, we have an outlier in the other direction today, strongly suggesting the underlying Labour lead remains at around 5 points.

Meanwhile the monthly ComRes telephone poll for the Independent also shows a two point Labour lead (in fact, it’s almost identical to YouGov). Topline figures there with changes from ComRes’s last telephone poll a month ago are CON 37%(+3), LAB 39%(+1), LDEM 10%(-4), Others 14%. The sharp drop in Lib Dem support is probably just a reversion to the mean, after an usually high figure a month ago.

There is also a second ComRes poll for the News at Ten, which asked about support for the strikes on Wednesday. 38% of people thought public sector workers were right to strike, 47% disagreed (close to the YouGov/Sunday Times questions on whether people supported or opposed the strike, suggesting the contrasting findings in the ComRes/BBC poll were indeed down to asking whether strikes were “justified”, rather than whether people supported or opposed them)

There is a new Angus Reid poll up on their site here. Topline figures with changes from last month are CON 33%(nc), LAB 42%(+1), LDEM 8%(-2), Others 17% (including UKIP unchanged on 7%). There isn’t much change on last month – Angus Reid do tend to show some of the biggest leads for Labour.

Secondly there is a ComRes poll of Londoners, the first I can recall seeing since Brian Paddick was selected as the Lib Dem candidate (and, therefore, the first to have a voting intention question with a proper candidate names for all parties, rather than featuring “a Lib Dem candidate”). Voting intention in the mayoral election stands at Boris 48%, Ken 40%, Brian Paddick 7%, Others on 4%. In a run off between Boris and Ken, they have first and second preferences totalling Boris 54%, Ken 46%.

As far as I can recall the last proper ComRes poll of London voting intentions was in March (there was one that asked which candidate people were inclined to support in September, but it was a small sample and wasn’t really comparable), and showed Ken very narrowly ahead, so this suggests a move towards Boris though, given the difference in the question now that other candidates are known, I wouldn’t read too much into that.

The full tabs for YouGov’s weekly poll for the Sunday Times are up here.

On the strikes, 50% opposed headteachers taking stike action (38% supported it), 49% opposed teachers taking strike action (41% supported), 51% opposed civil servants taking strike action (39% supported). The YouGov poll had a cross break by public sector and private sector employment – as one might expect, public sector workers are more likely to support strike action, private sector employees are more likely to oppose it though the difference is less black and white as one might expect. For example, public sector employees support the civil servants’ strike action by 53% to 39%, private sector employees oppose it by 56% to 34%.

On the subject of public and private sector workers, note the main voting intention question. Public sector workers are more likely to support Labour than private sector workers… but not monolithically so. Amongst public sector workers this week’s voting intention was CON 30%, LAB 46%, LDEM 10%. The sample size was only 404, so give it due scepticism, I mention it solely to knock down the lazy assumption I occassionally see that all public sector workers are Labour voters.

Going back to the issue of the strikes, YouGov asked how well people thought David Cameron and the government had handled the issue of public sector pensions and negotiations – only 23% though he had handled them well, with 59% thinking it had been done badly. Turning to Ed Miliband, YouGov asked if people thought he should support or oppose the strikes – 23% think he should support them, 33% oppose them, 27% neither. Amongst Labour supporters 41% think the strikes should be supported, 14% opposed and 34% neither.

YouGov then asked about various policies and whether people would support or oppose them. Most of these were largely as you would expect – 83% supported cancelling the rise in fuel prices, 64% would support spending more on big infrastructure projects, 54% support building a high speed rail link to the Midlands and North, 48% oppose a new airport in the Thames Estuary, 53% support underwriting mortgages for new build houses.

The full tabs are here, and also have some questions on energy and Rugby.

I also said I’d have a look at the new (presumably Populus) polling for Lord Ashcroft. The poll found Cameron & Osborne were more trusted on the economy than Miliband & Balls (they did some interesting split sample tests, seeing if the answers were different if you asked just Osborne or Balls, or Cameron, Osborne & Clegg. None of it made that much difference though).

There were also some interesting questions on whether people trusted Labour or the Conservatives more on specific aspects of economic policy. The Conservatives were significantly more trusted to cut borrowing and debt, to steer the economy through tough times and to stop Britain getting into the same problems as Greece and Italy. Labour were significantly more trusted on creating jobs. The two parties were pretty much neck and neck on helping business and making banks behave responsibly.

Asked about what aspects of the economy most worried people rising prices easily came top, though I’m slightly sceptical about how much the options in the question led to this. For example, low pay rises wasn’t on the list, and while there were some wider issues like national debt and the Eurozone crisis, low growth in the British economy wasn’t there. It is probably not a co-incidence that the three top issues on the question (rising prices, national debt and the Eurozone crisis) were the only three that affected everyone – the other options on the list were things that were largely dependent on people’s circumstances (job insecurity is not a direct issue for the retired, making mortgage payments only for homeowners, finding somewhere to live only for non-homeowners, etc).

Ashcroft also asked people if they thought the economic situation would be better or worse if we had a Labour government, or Conservative government without the Lib Dems. 21% thought the economy would be better with Labour in charge, but 39% thought it would be worse (41% thought it would be much the same). 19% thought the economy would be better if the Conservatives were governing alone, 24% thought it would be worse, 57% thought it would be much the same.