The YouGov/Sunday Times results are now up here, with topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 43%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 7% – still within the margin of error of the 9-10 point Labour leads that YouGov have now been showing for a couple of months. The rest of the poll had questions on exam results, tuition fees and Julian Assange.

On exam results, 48% think the reason A-level results are consistently improving is because the exams are getting easier, 22% think teaching and school standards are improving, 12% that pupils are cleverer or working harder. 61% of people think it is right to introduce a tougher marking regime.

Turning to higher education, 30% of people think that a university education is worth £9000 a year, 53% think it is not worth £9000 a year. However, asked if they think graduates will or not be be better off if one balances the debt they will incur from university against the increased earnings they may achieve people are evenly split – 41% think most graduates will still end up better off, 42% think they will end up worse off (this does pose the question of how some people can think that a university education isn’t worth £9000, but that people paying that will still end up better off in the long run.)

On a different subject, 60% of people think Equador was wrong to let Julian Assange shelter in their embassy, and 55% think they were wrong to offer him asylum. However a majority (54%) also think that Britain should respect diplomatic convention and not attempt to enter the Equadorian embassy to arrest Assange (33% of people think we should). By 51% to 25% people think that Assange would receive a fair trial in Sweden, but by 51% to 29% they think he would not in the USA.

239 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 32, LAB 43, LD 10, UKIP 7”

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  1. @Colin

    “Osborne might suffer Lamont’s fate-being told that green shoots have not been seen by statisticians-so they don’t exist…………….and relaxing at leisure in opposition as he reads the statisticians “revisions”.”

    I wouldn’t worry. Outside of Osborne’s own mind I don’t think there’s much chance of this scenario coming to pass ;)

  2. UKIP 7; perhaps some tories may now understand why preferential voting is the best idea…

  3. Chris Lane,

    – “… do you know why they are doing so well, the Lib Dems I mean?”

    S.L.D., R.I.P.

  4. @Colin

    It is inconceivable that some sort of economic recovery won’t occur before 2015, even if the Coalition has mishandled things appallingly up to now and continues to do so for a good while longer. The economy was growing slowly but steadily before they came into office and while their fiscal tightening and austerity drive caused the growth to slow to such an extent that we’re now in a (statistical) double-dip recession, things will no doubt pick up. It’s called the economic cycle and it is inherent in a capitalist system and while the banking crisis threw a gigantic spanner into the works of capitalism, growth will return to developed economies at some stage, as it has already to the more robust economies in the Eurozone. China, India, Indonesia, South Korea and Brazil are growing exponentially and, at some point, unless we go into a slump (highly unlikely), the UK will grow too as consumers regain some confidence and key sectors like manufacturing and construction revive in response to a recovery in domestic demand.

    The political question will be what sort of recovery it will be, who will be the main beneficiaries and what sort of political dividend will the incumbent government enjoy? These are key questions, but so too are personalities, social policies and the attractiveness or otherwise of opposition parties. Better economic statistics need to convert to a feeling of well being before they can be converted into votes.

    I’m not sure that the unpopularity of this Government is entirely down to the state of the economy. There’s something else going on that I’ve not yet been able to put my finger on, but the political weather post March this year has definitely changed and I sense something quite interesting might be taking place. I may be wrong, but I think that a lot of leading members of this Government are grating with the public and it may well be, as Colin has hinted, that they just don’t do politics very well.


    @”Three Straight A’s are required PLUS the full fees paid up front.”

    Hope they read Martin Lewis first.

    For many many undergrads-these are virtual costs-they will never be called upon to repay anything-or only part until the balance is written off by the government.

    There is still much ignorance :-

  6. @ Colin

    Resources for Strasbourg to deal more quickly with cases would be helpful. States rely on the process being much too slow. We will see whether or not the international spotlight on this case will result in it being fast-tracked.


    You forgot to mention their charismatic, while verbally and emotionally restrained, leader – Willie Rennie!

    Incidentally, where’s Charlie Kennedy? He was supposed to be playing a major role in the No campaign.

  8. BILLY

    @”I wouldn’t worry. Outside of Osborne’s own mind I don’t think there’s much chance of this scenario coming to pass”

    I am worried.

    It’s in my mind too.

    …and I’m sure it’s in EM’s, and makes him sleep well just now.

  9. R Mexico
    Land o cakes
    It seems you are likely to make money on no referendum. For those furth of Scotland, the chances of UK break up seem even more remote. Half the population are now decided against break up with the other half split between separation and un-decided.

  10. @Martyn,

    “If you mean a referendum in the Conservative manifesto for the May 2015 election, then I’d say there’s a high probability of that: I know Cameron wants to keep it out *but* I think he’s lost control of his party.”

    Yes, I meant an EU referendum as part of the Conservative manifesto.

    Would it affect the outcome of the 2015 GE if he did? If so, would Labour follow suit and also offer a referendum?

  11. CB11:

    I agree – and also that its difficult to put into words. My own feeling is that they almost all come over as very rich, posh and/or odd. Dave is much more like the likeable gentlemen farmer in The Fast Show, being very sweet to Paul Whitehouse’s amazing “Ted”, but most of the rest you’d cross the street to avoid – except its more subtle than that and I know you could say that about most politicians.

    Maybe its the very simple, their time as a national party is just dripping very slowly away: the statistics don’t lie and they are now heavily Southern based with a few pockets elsewhere.

    Its not enough.

  12. Does make me wonder whether politicians actually research issues, before they make statements. All parties in government have allowed school playing fields to be sold off. but if you are going to make a statement following hosting the Olympics about school sports, then a little research might help.

  13. CROSSBAT11

    @”There’s something else going on that I’ve not yet been able to put my finger on, ”

    There is-but I don’t think enough credit has been given to EM for it.

    He picks away at every little problem.

    Obviously, I think it is empty rhetoric-no policies, criticise everything & leap on the tv every time there is a problem.

    But that’s what oppositions do-& he does it well.

    And DC’s lot respond either not at all-or not effectively.

    ……………but a GE campaign WILL be different………..won’t it ?

  14. Crossbat.

    1 point of fact and 1 opinion.

    1) The economy was actually growing really rather strongly as the Coalition came to power. Taking the 12 months to June 10, GDP increased by about 2.4%. Higher than Darling had predicted in the 09 Budget, when Osborne and Cable called him a fantasist.

    2) There is no guarantee that we will see anything of decent a return to growth by 2015. Japan was emerging from the early 90s recession quite nicely when they decided to go the Austerity route in 96-97. They went into the Lost Decade, and their GDP didn’t reach the 96 level again until 2011. A sobering lesson which has unfortunately been barely mentioned in UK debate.

  15. Barney

    You missed some labels. Did you forget “divorce” and “abandonment”?

    Always better to be Rennie-esque,

    “are now decided “. So not much point in Labour putting up candidates for Holyrood then?

  16. @Crossbat11

    “I may be wrong, but I think that a lot of leading members of this Government are grating with the public and it may well be, as Colin has hinted, that they just don’t do politics very well.”

    They may not do politics very well, but they are the best surrealist comedy troupe since Monty Python hung up their suits of armour :)


    “…and I’m sure it’s in EM’s, and makes him sleep well just now.”

    There’s a still a long way to go, so I don’t think he’ll be complacent just yet.

  17. @Barney Crockett Indeed. An iron law of politics comes into play: turkeys do not vote for an early Christmas. The SNP government will therefore not hold an independence referendum. No doubt some reason will be found which will satisfy followers and which will revolve around the perfidious English.


    @”but most of the rest you’d cross the street to avoid ”

    With respect-I would say that of practically the whole shadow cabinet.

    It’s a very subjective criterion.

    I do concede though that DC has lost something which he seemed to have initially.

    Perhaps it’s the pristine innocence of opposition .

    I mean-look at Hollande-hasn’t taken long for him has it?

  19. hmmm I think you know my leanings.

    What the Coalition are guilty of is presuming that the majority like their policies. They don’t seem to, do they?

    Yes, the majority agree that the deficit and debt need to be reduced, that we need as a country to live within its means (over the cycle anyway).


    Doesn’t mean they like the reduction of the NHS, BBC, selling off public assets or even sacking public servants and cutting benefits including disability. They don’t even agree with free schools or privatising the police or anything else much.

    As Colin says, if it works the voter will shrug and accept it. But they don’t like, believe it will work and worst of all it ain’t working.

    And yet apparently all the spokespeople for the Government seeme to think the public want what they want.

    They don’t.

  20. Colin: I did add myself that you can say that of them all. I just think there is something “other” about the current lot – in general.


    AW doesn’t like us discussing PMQ “scores”.

    Just as well really :-)


    @”I just think there is something “other” about the current lot – in general.”

    I feel the same about Miliband E & most of his crew.

    It doesn’t get us anywhere really.


    “perfidious English.” (definition – Deceitful and untrustworthy)

    You really shouldn’t be so nasty about those south of the border.

    I don’t describe them that way, nor does anyone else I know. Why do you?

    Surely you aren’t one of these sad people who characterises political opponents as racists – I thought that was Ian Davidson’s prerogative.

    There is a reasonable discussion to be had over Scotland’s constitutional position, and there will be many views.

    Alas, you are probably not someone who can participate in a reasonable discussion.

  24. It’s the policies, in the end.

    If the Tories really want to go back to the “golden age” of the fifties, they need to trust in both our great institutions and a lot more central planning (and possibly ownership).

  25. @AmbivalentSupport

    You said “…Would it [an EU referendum as part of the Conservative manifesto] affect the outcome of the 2015 GE…”

    I assume it would capture many votes from UKIP from Con’s right. whether it would *lose* votes from Con’s left is debatable. My gut[1] tells me that he would gain more from UKIP than lose from others and hence increase his net vote but not by as much as you’d think. Whether this is sufficient to make a difference in 2015GE outcome is not known to me, but I assume it wouldn’t *hurt* their chances.

    You said “…If so, would Labour follow suit and also offer a referendum?…”

    Possibly. There is no first-mover advantage for Labour to offer a ref (Labour offers a ref, Con offers a ref, Con vote increases, ooops) but there may be a FMA for Con, which is why I asume Con will offer one first. It would make sense at that point for Lab to offer one too, but whether they will or not is not known to me.

    Regards, Martyn

    [1] Of course, my gut is stupid. But it’s what I use in the absence of actual facts… :-)

  26. can you have a user name with spaces in it?

  27. @Amberstar

    “It’s not a competition; & it ought not to be about which individual personalities &/or regimes we prefer.”

    I quite agree. Unfortunately, Julian Assange doesn’t seem to think so. He cosied up to Putin when he accepted a show on Russia Today (which is, for all intents and purposes the mouthpiece of the Russian government) and therefore doesn’t seem to have any problems with how the Russian state behaves.

    He also praises Ecuador as a bastion on free speech whilst ignoring the lawsuits the President directs against his own journalists – you can bet he would have been the first to complain is David Cameron or Barack Obama had sued him for libel. In fairness, now is not a good time for Mr. A toberate the Ecuadorian government, but he has nothing to lose by saying what he thinks about Russia’s treatment of its most high-profile dissidents.

    Assange can demonstrate he’s not an apologist for Russian oppression of free speech by speaking out. The longer he’s silent, the more reason we have to believe he supports or at least tolerates it. It’s not impossible that the rape allegations are part of a stitch-up – but even if it is a stitch-up, that doesn’t stop Assange being a massive massive hypocrite.

  28. COLIN.
    Before retiring for the night.

    I am sorry, you are not correct about New College, london.
    They DO pay up front. It is a private enterprise new venture.

    In terms of wider student body, I agree. The system is not rational. The loans are often not paid back.

  29. @AmbivalentSupporter – ” …would Labour follow suit?

    It is almost as if it was the other way around. In May, noises from the Labour hierarchy were that they were very relaxed about the prospect of an EU referendum, knowing that any splits over the issue would be minor indeed compared to faultlines in the Tory Party.

    In the space of a couple of days in June Cameron had ruled out, then in, then out again, the prospect of a referendum.

    Currently Tory MPs divide 100 in favour of the UKIP position on EU membership (withdrawl), 100 wanting substantial renegotiation, and 100 in favour of keeping quiet and carrying on. There is also the question of how open disagreement might affect the attitude of party donors.

  30. @ CROSSBAT11

    I agree that the economy will make some recovery before 2015.. and I wonder whether the £31 billion of interest on the QE re-purchased gilts and bonds is significant. I am confused as to why HMT should be continuing to pay interest on bonds that are effectively cancelled. However, it appears that this considerable sum (identified by Neil Wilson) is lodged with the Debt Management Office unused, and presumably could reduce the structural deficit down to more manageable proportions at any time.

  31. I’m sure had Assange organised hacking of the Venezuelan or Russian government and/or military they would still have supported his right to do so.

    Actually, as I typed that a small frisson of doubt crept into my mind.

    I dunno….. maybe they wouldn’t.

  32. a bit parochial seing things only in terms of nation state nationalism.

  33. A Cairns:

    To whom was that addressed? Personally I’m all for an equal approach and despise hypocrisy from any side.


    I think there is a difference between “organising” hacking, and publishing the details from the hacking that someone else has done.

    In every country, governments prefer to keep lots of stuff under wraps on the pretext of national security, but actually to avoid political embarrassment. The people that they really want to keep in the dark, are not potential enemies (who probably know it all already) but their own population, and their allies.

    That said, Assange’s position does seem to be rather self-serving.

  35. ON:

    I agree that there is a difference of course but when he published he knew he was breaking US law.

    My point is pretty simple: would the same countries who are offering “asylum” be quite so laid bak about it if it was THEIR secrets that were being hacked?

    And we all know the answer. So both he and they are being completely hypocritical.

    That leaves aside the fact that he has been charged with a separate offence in an EU country with a fairly sound legal reputation and we are obliged to agree to his extradition.

    As for those who say the charges are trumped up I’ll offer Mandy’s comment back to you….

    “they would say that wouldn’t they?”

    [or was that Christine Keeler????]

  36. I think it was Mandy Rice-Davies.

    I like the Assange thing. Theatre.

    He’s probably a t*sser to know, like Pieterson. But I’m on their sides at the moment!

  37. NICK P.
    Mandy Rice Davies: ‘He would say that wouldn’t he?’ of Lord Astor’s denials.

  38. The only thing that could ’embarrass’ the USA is not having enough oil. Same goes for us actually.

    Leaked scenes of US Army turkey shoots of foreigners has no influence on it whatsoever.

    If you saw my question about the shootings in Chicago to Socal, you will understand why this may be the case.

    80% of US soldiers in Iraq thought they were there to eliminate Al Qaeda.

  39. have not has

  40. CHRISLANE1945

    Did the mention of Mandy Rice-Davies prevent you from retiring for the night? :-)

  41. Howard

    What do you mean “us”, paleface? (Tonto to Lone Ranger). :-)

  42. Howard

    “80% of US soldiers in Iraq thought they were there to eliminate Al Qaeda.”

    Which simply demonstrates my point made earlier – governments lie to their people.

  43. OLDNAT

    Including Mr Salmond?

  44. NICKP

    Governments are more than one person – or didn’t you realise that?

    I don’t trust politicians of any party. We need to use them and their parties for our purposes – not allow them to use us for theirs.

    Your comment was less than clever, because my comment referred to all governments, of every party in every country. That’s politics.

    I’d be happy to see you claim that Labour Governments haven’t lied to the people – so easy to counter.

  45. Hi Howard (just picked up your old post)
    ‘Oh ye of too much faith Henry! Look back at analyses of how many people are aware of the marginal nature (or much else) about their constituency. Have you ever canvassed?’

    Well yes since 1964, and more recently, in the GE we took a significant % of the labour vote; which is why our MP first won and then retained her seat, and most notably in 2008 in a local ward where with we took 60% of the vote in the predominately labour part of the ward to take a safe seat away from the blues.

    If LDs want to win, then they need to inform using focuses or whatever, as well as calling, to make people aware of the benefit of tactical voting.

    Mind you, I do not canvass anymore.

  46. paulcroft @ CB11:

    “Maybe its the very simple, their time as a national party is just dripping very slowly away: the statistics don’t lie and they are now heavily Southern based with a few pockets elsewhere.”

    That’s how it happened in Scotland. From North to South over nearly 50 years.

  47. Henry

    “If LDs want to win, then they need to inform using focuses or whatever, as well as calling, to make people aware of the benefit of tactical voting.”

    Whatever makes you think that people don’t already do that?

    Despite YG’s requirement that panellists register a “what do you generally think yourself as” question, most people have no loyalty to any party. They do tend to have deep antipathies to a particular party at a particular time.

    In my part of the world, that has changed during my lifetime. Folk voted for the Scottish Unionist Party in the 50s because Labour was seen as centralising power in London. Later, Labour devolved more administrative powers to Scotland, then political powers, while the Thatcher legacy (while wholly accurate or not doesn’t matter) burnt deep.

    Liberals (the LD label is largely irrelevant) did well in the Highlands because they were a distinctive voice against Labour dominance in the Central Belt (I suspect a similar situation might be true in Cornwall).

    Currently, the SNP is still credited with being a competent government, while Labour doesn’t have that credibility (though at Westminster nything is better than the Tories – and now the LDs).

    That will change again, and the SNP will be voted out because they are no longer seen as being the most competent party.

    Partisans are the exception rather than the rule. Only on sites like this will you find a preponderance of people who are committed to a particular party – and not all of us who have joined a party for one particular purpose have that blind faith in it as a vehicle for all that is good, that I see in so many partisans for the UK parties.

  48. Republican candidate talks about “legitimate rape”!

    With so many of my family in the USA, I do have concerns as to their safety when a major political party considers such an appalling person to be worthy of being a candidate.

  49. Oldnat

    It’s not so challenging for the SNP. They don’t even need to remain competent. They just need to be relatively less incompetent.

    The Unionist parties are no threat if they do not Bavarianise. The Greens have a long way to go though catastrophic man-made disasters could give them a boost.

    No, the only threat to the long term dominance of the SNP is of course Independance.

  50. LeftyLampton,

    Not sure where you got that thing about Japanese austerity from 96-97 :

    – does a budget deficit of 4% of GDP equal austerity? What about 7%?

    In fact, the Japanese budget deficit was lower druing the period when it “was emerging from the early 90s recession quite nicely” (your words, not mine) than the 96-03 period –

    For reasons that Keynes knew in the 1930s, the budget balance is not a reliable guide to movements in demand. This is because, once a central bank sets a given nominal target, the government can at best theoretically increase demand up to the level require to meet that nominal target.

    In reality, once a central bank decides to fix on price stability, like the Bank of Japan in the early 1990s, fiscal stimuluses are like compressing air into a punctured tire: you can pump and you can pump and it will never stimulate demand. That’s the Japanese experience:

    Every time inflation begins, the Bank of Japan simply cools the economy off by raising interest rates and knocking the economy back to price stability-

    – and used QE when deflation was too persistent for its tastes e.g. in 2001 to knock deflation back to about 0% in 2003 (there is a lag effect between changes in the money supply and inflation, especially when there is a lot of spare capacity as there was in Japan).

    As long as the Bank of England has a long term goal of bringing inflation down and keeping it to around 2%, the government is powerless to stimulate demand. For instance, if Osborne tripled the budget deficit tomorrow, all the Bank of England would have to do would to raise interest rates and make a very public commitment to its inflation target.

    Brown signed away control of demand in 1997 and since then Chancellors being able to affect demand has been the exception rather than the rule e.g. the recapitalisation programme of 2008 which helped aggravate the credit crunch and the accomodation by the Bank of England of fiscal stimulus since 2009.

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