This week’s YouGov poll for the Sunday Times is now up here. Topline voting intention figures are CON 30%, LAB 39%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 16% – continuing to show a boost for UKIP from their local election successes. Economic optimism also remains higher (or at least, less strongly negative) than it has been since May 2010. The rest of the poll covered immigration, europe and the monarchy.

Immigration

The public do not rate the government’s current handling of immigration – only 15% think they are doing well on the issue, compared to 75% who think they are handling it badly. Asked which party they would most trust on the issue of immigration UKIP now have a convincing lead, 30% to the Conservative’s 17% (Labour are picked by only 12%).

Asked about whether some of the government’s recent proposals are workable, a large majority (80%) think fining companies who employ illegal immigrants would work and 60% think stopping illegal immigrants from receiving non-emergency health care would work. Opinion is more divided over whether requiring landlords to check the immigration status of people renting a property is practical – 48% think the idea is workable, 40% think it is not.

EU Referendum

62% of people think there should be a referendum on Europe (as usual!), with the vast majority of these thinking it should be held before the next general election (if you support something, why wait?). More interesting is that people also tend to think it would be possible for David Cameron to deliver this if he really wanted to – 48% think that Cameron would be able to get the support of other parties for a referendum if he tried, compared to 31% who think other parties would not agree to holding a referendum before the election. In practice, most people still do not expect there to be a referendum in the near future. Only 6% expect a referendum this Parliament, only 31% in the next Parliament.

Asked how they would vote if there was a referendum, at present 30% would vote to stay, 47% to leave. This is a comparatively large lead for the “OUT” vote compared to YouGov’s recent polls on the topic, although still smaller than the sort of 20 point plus leads that OUT had last year. If David Cameron renegotiated British membership, said that Britain’s interests were now protected and asked for a YES vote, people continue to say they would vote to remain in the EU in by 45% to 32% (the key difference is Conservative voters, who would currently vote to leave, but say they would vote to stay if Cameron renegotiated and recommended a yes vote. In practice, of course, this would depend on whether Cameron could sell whatever he negotiated to his supporters).

Monarchy

A majority (53%) of people think the Queen should remain in her role for life, compared to 33% who think she should abdicate. Asked specifically about what should happen if the Queen were to become too ill to carry out her duties 48% think she should then abdicate, 43% think she should continue as Queen even if many day-to-day duties were carried out by other members of the royal family. This is a turnaround from March when a majority wanted to see the Queen continue even if too ill to carry out her functions. There has also been a significant shift in attitudes towards Prince Charles – 50% of people now think that he will make a good King when the time comes, up from 37% when YouGov asked the same question back in May 2012.

My guess is that the two shifts are not unconnected – the drip-drip of news stories of the Queen cutting down on engagements, stopping flying and Prince Philip’s stays in hospital (perhaps too the abdication of Queen Beatrix or even the death of Baroness Thatcher, who was very close in age to the Queen) is gradually making people consider the Queen’s future, and making them consider Charles as her successor. It has previously been reported that the Queen sees the monarchy as a lifelong duty and that she would never abdicate, but public opinion does seem to be gradually preparing itself for the point when she is no longer Queen.


Friday Round Up

The end of the week, and a couple of polls that have come out over the last few days.

  • Firstly Ipsos MORI have released their quarterly monitor on Scottish public opinion. Holyrood constituency voting intention stands at CON 16%(+3), LAB 36%(+1), LDEM 8%(+1), SNP 39%(-4). Voting intention in the referendum on Scottish Independence stands at YES 31%(-3), NO 59%(+4). Full tabs are here, and there is some commentary from Bob Worcester here
  • On the subject of Scottish polls, Lord Ashcroft has done some polling on attitudes to nuclear weapons in Scotland here. His polling has voting intentions in the Independence referendum at YES 30%, NO 56%, similar to the MORI poll – Ashcroft’s commentary on the nuclear weapon results is here.
  • Populus have been doing a weekly poll asking people – unprompted – what news stories they have noticed in the last week. I love questions like this, not for when they show a story has been noticed (for example, the budget is noticed by a very high proportion of people, hence why it changes votes so much) but for the way it sometimes underlines how little impact a story has on normal people. Hence this week 33% of people mentioned the Ohio kidnaps, 9% Alex Ferguson’s retirement, just 3% the Queen’s speech.
  • There is a big chunk of analysis here from Peter Kellner for Progress magazine, looking at the challenge facing Labour and including new polling on how people see Labour and the Conservative party.
  • And finally, this morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline voting intention figures of CON 30%, LAB 39%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 14%. Full tabs here. For people who are interested in that sort of thing, there are also some questions about Alex Ferguson here.

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The Sun have tweeted out tonight’s YouGov figures and they confirm the UKIP boost we saw in yesterday’s poll. Topline voting intention is CON 27%, LAB 38%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 17%.

The 17 points for UKIP is, obviously, once again their highest. This has a knock on effect for Labour and the Conservatives: the Labour score of 38% is the lowest that YouGov have shown them at for over a year (the last time they were that low was February 2012), the Conservative score of 27% is the lowest YouGov have shown them this Parliament (and, indeed, ever – you have to go back to before YouGov started regular polling in 2002 to find that sort of level of Tory support).


As well as voting intention YouGov also had a poll this morning on attitudes to Europe, asked on the back of Nigel Lawson coming out in favour of withdrawal from the EU. The poll had 46% saying they would vote to leave the EU, 35% that they would vote to stay. This is pretty typical of recent YouGov polling on a EU referendum which for the last couple of months has tended to show an “OUT” lead of between 7 and 11 points. Last year polls were showing much bigger leads for “OUT”, but they narrowed dramatically in January when Cameron made his referendum pledge before settling down at around their current levels. Tabulated tracking data is online here.

This morning’s YouGov poll also asked about some of the arguments that Nigel Lawson had put in the piece supporting Britain leaving Europe, put against opposing arguments. There was majority agreement with the arguments that David Cameron would probably be unable to secure a major renegoiation with the rest of the EU (53%) and that it was possible for Britain to continue to be a good neighbour to other European countries from outside the EU (55%). Other arguments were far more finely balanced. 31% of people thought the EU was deliberately trying to cut back the power of the City of London, but 26% thought they were right to want tighter banking regulations and it was not a deliberate attack. 38% thought Britain would save billions and be better off outside the EU, 34% that Britain would suffer economically outside the EU. 45% thought the EU had become bureaucratic and undemocratic and beyond reform, 36% think it can be made to work more effectively. 32% think Britain will inevitably be marginalised within the EU as Eurozone countries make decisions without us, 40% think Britain can still play a constructive role inside the EU but outside the Eurozone. 34% think Britain should focus its attention on the emerging economies and Commonwealth rather than Europe, 41% think Europe will always be an important trading partner who we should work closely with.


The Sun have tweeted out tonight’s YouGov/Sun voting intention figures, the first with fieldwork conducted wholly after the local election results. Topline figures are CON 29%, LAB 39%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 16%. The 16% is the highest that YouGov have shown for UKIP (their previous high was 14%, and that was only achieved in the last week or so.)

It’s not a surprise to see UKIP increasing their support on the back of their local election performance – parties that do well at elections and are seen to be doing well and making progress often see a boost in the polls, success breeds success. That probably goes double for a smaller party, since the extra publicity and being seen as a serious contender makes so much difference.