The full tabs for this week’s YouGov poll for the Sunday Times are now online here, covering a wide range of topics including Jimmy Carr’s tax, GCSEs, global warming and Julian Assange.

On the regular trackers David Cameron’s net approval is minus 18 (from minus 25 last week), Ed Miliband’s minus 27 (from minus 25), Nick Clegg’s minus 53 (from minus 55). There were also shifts towards the government in some of the other regular trackers – the proportion thinking the government is bad for people like them has dropped from 62% to 55%, the proporton thinking they are handling the economy well is up 5 points to 34%. This tallies with the voting intention figures, which are marginally less bad for the government than they have been for the last month or two… but still show them trailing badly.

Turning first to tax avoidance, 60% of people think it is unreasonable for people to use artificial schemes to avoid tax, compared to 36% who think it is reasonable enough and the government should pass stricter laws if they want to stop it. 67% also agreed with a statement that tax avoidance was as bad as benefit fraud…nevertheless, asked directly whether Cameron was right to criticise Jimmy Carr only 38% said yes and 50% said no. Part of this will be as suggested in the question – distate at the Prime Minister commenting on an individual, but it will also be a reflection of partisan viewpoints – Labour voters are most critical of tax avoidance, but are also least likely to view David Cameron or his actions in a positive way.

Moving onto GCSEs, people think they have got easier in recent years by 60% to 22% and by 50% to 32% would support a return to an O-level style system, with less academic pupils taking some equivalent of the old CSE. There is also very strong support for the idea of moving to one single exam board, supported by 75% with 12% opposed. People are less suportive, however, of abolishing the national curriculum. Only 20% think this would lead to a rise in standards, compared to 38% who think it would make things worse.

Turning to the topic of climate change, 70% of people think that the Rio conference will make little difference, with only 9% expecting it to lead to a better environment. YouGov also asked about broader attitudes towards climate change, a repeat question from 2010, and found a slightly larger proportion of people believing in man-made global warming. 43% of people thought the world was becoming warmer due to man (up from 39%), 22% thought the world was becoming warmer but not because of man (down from 27%), 15% thought the world was not getting warmer (down from 18%). 20% of people said they didn’t know, up from 16%. While the trend here is towards belief in manmade global warming, it is still lower than the same question was showing in 2008, when 55% of British people thought the world was getting warmer due to man’s activity.

Finally the survey asked about Julian Assange. 60% of people wanted to see Assange extradited (44% to Sweden and 16% to the US, though I believe the US haven’t actually asked for him to be extradited), 16% think he should not be extradited. However, a majority of people (60%) also think that diplomatic norms should be respected and Julian Assange should be allowed to take sanctuary in the Ecuador embassy. 24% think the police should breach diplomatic rules (and, indeed the law, though this was not made clear in the question) and arrest him regardless.

158 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times round up”

1 2 3 4
  1. I am shocked at the Assange response. I thought the much triumphed British spirit of fair play would see support for this whistle blower. I have the utmost respect for Assange, and I hope the Ecuadorean government grant him asylum.

  2. The Private Sector / Public Sector responses are interesting :-


    DC “doing well/ badly”
    45/49 = -4
    30/64 = -34

    EM “doing well/badly”
    27/61= -34
    35/53 =-18

  3. @Anmary,

    As always with these things, I prefer to leave the matter for the relevant criminal courts.

    If the Swedes feel they have enough evidence to prosecute Assange, let them do so.

    Your position must involve either one of two assumptions;

    a) The allegations against Assange must be false and his accusers are lying as part of some secret plot so devious it can’t be uncovered by his defence team.

    b) Assange is such a fantastic examplar of free speech and open government that it simply doesn’t matter whether he is a sex offender. His personal conduct must take a back seat to his importance to liberal democracy.

    I prefer not to make either of these assumptions.

  4. Anmary

    The sense of fair play you cite certainly ascribes itself to whistle blowing- but probably not to being accused of several rapes! Which is what the Swedes want to extradite him for (on the basis of evidence in a warrant) NOT the former more noble issue.


    Labours leadership Achilles heal numbers still pretty stark in their negativity. No OM for Labour unless/ untill Eds personals and best PM numbers are beating Daves by a big margin (and are in +be territory).

    Still looking like a hung parliament to me.

  5. Good Afternoon, sunshine at last here.
    Anthony: Thank you for your commentary and analysis.

    I very much agree with your post on the hung parliament being a strong possibility.

  6. Anmary may be referring not to the issue of whether Assange deserves to be tried in Sweden but whether the Swedes will promptly deliver him to the USA.

    That I understood was his ground for resisting being taken to Sweden. I have no idea whether his fears are justified.

  7. Does our soothsayer from Sheffield know how it will be hung and I don’t want to hear ‘well’.

  8. @Howard,

    I don’t like to assume people’s intentions when they express themselves in writing, but I don’t see much scope in the wording Anmary chose for your interpretation.

    Besides, as I understand it, the US haven’t even expressed an interest in extraditing Assange.

  9. If Sweden has grounds for extradition and we have a treaty he should be judged on that and extradited if the evidence is there.

    Being a campaigner for free speech doesn’t preclude him from being guilty on a charge unrelated to wikileaks.

    If Nelson Mandela ran over a child in Paris he wouldn’t stop being a great campaigner for justice, but he would still be liable to extradition to France to face charges.

    If the US want to extradite him given recent cases I suspect they have more chance of the UK handing him over than Sweden.


  10. Neil A, I admire the fondness for our legal process, but surely even you must acknowledge its flaws.

    Assange exposed global politics for the sham it is and they’ve been dying to find something to pin on him, now 2 young ladies pop out of the woodwork claiming rape all seems rather convenient to me. The allegations were made against him before, but were dropped, now after his latest reveals they’ve been revived again. Maybe I’m an old fool, but I’m no conspiracy theorist, but even to me there’s just something not right about this.

    We’ve already discovered the US Government has little regard for international law or the legal process. The American government involves itself in torture, and Guantanamo is still open, as well as having secret military tribunals, with no public access to those deemed a threat to national security.

    If we hand Assange over, there’s no telling what they would do to him, even if he committed the rapes which I doubt I still would not be comfortable with extradition because of the reasons mentioned above.

  11. now 2 young ladies pop out of the woodwork claiming rape all seems rather convenient to me


    by all accounts, as the law stands in sweden, a woman (or man?) can consent to sex and then change her (his?) mind afterwards and claim rape. the case rests – if people will forgive me being blunt – not on whether or not it was so, but on whether or not there is semen present.

    methinks assange has no hope of getting away from such a political hook. if extradited.

  12. So, option A) then.

  13. No Neil A, I’m not confident they are false, I’m saying I have doubts but the thing I am certain on is that we can not extradite him. Please someone explain to me why a self confessed terrorist like Qatada or Hamsa can’t be deported, but a whistleblower, who MAY have done something wrong has to be?

    ” a woman (or man?) can consent to sex and then change her (his?) mind afterwards and claim rape.” “but on whether or not there is semen present.”

    I don’t know where to begin with that one. I’m not sure if you are saying that’s how it works normally, or if this is just a bizarre rule they have in Sweden? Surely you can’t withdraw consent after it’s all over? How easy would it be to trap a man then? As far as I am aware, Assange doesn’t deny intercourse, he denies rape. So the comment about semen being present is rather odd, also because the accusations date years back so little evidence of that sort would remain.

  14. @Big TIm,

    I imagine Swedish law is similar to English law, and that a woman is entitled to withdraw her consent during sex. The idea that withdrawing it after sex would retrospectively make the event rape seems pretty unlikely. Such a law would never survive the attentions of the ECHR.

  15. @Anmary,

    We are not permitted to extradite anyone (whatever they’ve done, however strong the evidence, whether or not they admit it) to a country where they may be executed or subjected to torture.

    That, sadly, is why we can’t extradite terrorists to the Middle East.

    To the best of my knowledge Sweden doesn’t torture or kill people, which is why Assange is basing his appeal on the spectre of the USA which (arguably) does. And why he has approached a fierce enemy of the USA for asylum.

    I imagine if Wikileaks were to publish a list tomorrow of corrupt ruling party officials in Ecuador, or details of Correa’s bank accounts, Assange would have a rethink.

  16. @Anmary

    There is no evidence that the US will go to the effort of extraditing him. In fact he would probably be safer if he went to Sweden – as has been seen from the NatWest 3, McKinnon et al it is far easier to be extradited from the UK than from almost anywhere else in Europe (including Sweden).

    As it is, if he were extradited to Sweden and the US wanted to extradite him then Sweden would be in breach of their treaties with the UK if they allowed it.

    Conclusion: Assange(TM) thinks that he would or could lose the rape trial. The US is just a convenient mechanism for avoiding confronting his questioners.

  17. Neil A, as you can guess my knowledge of human rights law is lacking.

    I thought the UK had a treaty of some sorts with the USA which involves an agreement on extradition, I believe there is a boy with learning difficulties who is also facing extradition to America because of this, and he too, could face the death penalty, because he managed to hack into the Pentagon but his child like mind simply found it like a game.

    If the ECHR stops us from extraditing people to countries where torture or death penalty is used, how comes our relationship with America has not been questioned when America openly uses the death penalty and only recently stopped using torture.

  18. Our extradition treaty with the USA has an explicit codicil that we will not hand people over if they face a risk of execution. If the offence, and the jurisdiction, might hazard the death penalty, then the court must give a binding undertaking that it will not be imposed.

    The difference with countries like Jordan is that our Appeal Court will not accept the assurances they give, regarding them as unreliable.

    I agree with Thesheep. I have no opinion on Assange’s guilt in relation to the allegations, but I don’t think his grounds for opposing extradition stack up and I think his asylum application is mendacious.


    Posted without comment, to remain non partisan.

    The tax avoidance story is going to run for awhile and I am not sure how this will affect polling.

  20. Julian Assange violated his bail conditions by seeking asylum at Ecuador’s embassy in the U.K..
    The Metropolitan Police have said that he is “subject to arrest” for failing to report to his bail address Tuesday night.

  21. “Experts and authorities believe that even if Ecuador were to grant him asylum, he would face arrest as soon as he walked out of the embassy because he has breached his bail conditions.”

    Daily Telegraph.


  22. 32% of the Scots sample in YG poll give the appropriate answer – “No idea”,

    68% give an opinion, despite most having as much knowledge of GCSE as they have of the Luxembourgish School Certificate.

    Mind you, that may well apply to many respondents from south of the border as well! :-)

  23. @Old Nat

    When I was at school, I wanted Scotland to have the same qualifications as the rest of the UK but with better results. ;-)

  24. Amber

    That’s just your desire for conformity.

    Why shouldn’t other parts of the UK have things like A-levels, GCSE etc if that’s what they want?

    You must learn to curb your desire to impose your own experiences upon others. It’s really not healthy to be a cultural imperialist.

    Let England be free from the imposition of Scots! :-)

  25. @ Old Nat

    I think it is probably due to the ‘compete on a level playing field’ thing more than conformity or cultural imperialism.

  26. Amber

    That’s still no reason for you wanting to impose Highers on England!

    A much better “level playing field” would be for a common European/OECD/World system of qualifications – or at least a system of equivalences.

    There are such equivalency tables, but the reality is that each education system favours its own qualifications.

    Of course, if you were in Senior School now, that “level playing field” would involve your paying up to £9,000 a year in tuition fees at a Scottish University. Doubtless your young self (or her parents) would be overjoyed at the consequences of your desires.

  27. @Old Nat

    The finance qualification which I hold is international; it was ‘born’ in Scotland as a qualification for people who could not afford to pay to be a chartered apprentice & spread throughout the world. You are preaching to the choir regarding international qualifications & affordable education.

  28. Howard,

    You win! It looks like last night’s Lib Dem figure was around 9.4…

  29. Amber

    “it was ‘born’ in Scotland as a qualification for people who could not afford to pay to be a chartered apprentice & spread throughout the world.”

    However, had Scotland not had it’s own system of educational qualifications, it would have been still-born. Your school age self wasn’t capable of understanding the benefits of different systems. Fortunately, you now see the benefits that it brings.

  30. Italy to win with a goal in the first period of extra time !

    England have been pretty poor.

  31. R HUCKLE

    Both have been pretty poor.

    Probably for the first time, the commentators have been reasonable from my point of view, and I’m (mildly) supporting the last remaining neighbour.

    It would be easier to enjoy the match if there was any decent football!

  32. Regardless of the penalty result, Germany should be confident of progressing to the final.

  33. While we’re on penalties, this is from report by the Bank of International Settlements –

    “The world is now five years on from the outbreak of the financial crisis, yet the global economy is still unbalanced and seemingly becoming more so,” it stated. “Big banks continue to have an interest in driving up their leverage without enough regard for the consequences of failure: because of their systemic weight, they expect the public sector to cover the downside.
    “Another worrying sign is that trading, after a brief crisis-induced squeeze, has again become a major source of income for large banks. These conditions are moving the financial sector towards the same high risk profile it had before the crisis.”

    Even withing the banking world we’re seeing the idea forming that protecting the banks has not produced the results required.

  34. @ Old Nat

    However, had Scotland not had it’s own system of educational qualifications, it [international finance qualification] would have been still-born.
    That’s so wide of the mark! The point was anybody could take the exams whether they had school qualifications or not.

  35. Italy were rubbish & England worse. Thank God it’s over & we can watch some football.

    Roll on Germany v Spain.

  36. Guardian headline

    Young to lose Housing Benefit

    He bluddy deserves it after that penalty.

  37. Amber

    Oh dear. Educational qualifications doesn’t equal school qualifications. Didn’t you realise that?

  38. NICK P.
    I vividly remember the Monday after the Sunday 14th June 1970 defeat v West Germany.

    The class of boys sat in stunned silence waiting for the day to begin. Crown Point .

    On the Thursday that week Wilson lost the GE, having won the March 31 1966 GE and then the World Cup in June 1966

    Then ‘we’ did not win a proper majority again until ‘we’ elected aa winner… 1997

  39. @R Huckle
    ‘The tax avoidance story is going to run….re Daily Mail story ‘Sugar daddy’ Tory donor’s company earns £125million a year….but pays just £77,000 tax’

    Yep, next time Cameron starts banging on about Union donations to the Labour Party, Ed Milliband now has this one nicely lined up.

    With England thrashed 0-0 in the Euros, does this mean there a drop in the Tory support in the coming week due to a feel bad factor? ;-)

  40. NICKP


    Candidate for post of the year!


    “does this mean there a drop in the Tory support in the coming week due to a feel bad factor?”

    Only if you anticipate a rise in Tory support in Wales and Scotland.

  42. I mean …’does this mean there will be a drop in’

    You know what? I read it 3 times before posting and still it appears with missing words!

    Hopeless! I’ll get my coat.

  43. @Nick P



    Watch your language please in school:
    It’s = wrong, lol

  45. Roy Hodgson is always dignified…a genteman..good choice for England manager…

  46. Will he last longer than the coalition? the tabloids will hound him out for being too boring..

  47. RM

    The tabloids would hound him for just existing.

    Neil A
    I thin k you misunderstood my comment. i did write I did not have a clue.

    ME Yes beware the Lib Dem surge. This last is written in homage to Ken.

  48. @ Old Nat

    Oh dear. Educational qualifications doesn’t equal school qualifications. Didn’t you realise that?
    Oh dear, you have missed the point. What you said was:

    “However, had Scotland not had it’s own system of educational qualifications, it [the international finance qualification] would have been still-born.”
    And you were completely wide of the mark because the international finance qualification of which I speak would have more likely been ‘still born’ had the Scottish Corporation of Accountants not joined with other independents e.g. The London Association of Accountants.

    Its success came from working first with like-minded neighbours, then reaching out to the rest of the world – i.e. nothing to do with Scotland having its own system of educational qualifications.

  49. Italy were the better side simply for not having anyone who looks like Wayne Rooney or John Terry.

  50. @Howard,

    I didn’t reply to your comment. I am confused…

1 2 3 4