The full tables for the YouGov/Sunday Times survey are now up here, largely covering the Labour leadership and atttitudes towards taxes on the rich.

The comparisons between Ed Miliband and David Cameron show the regular pattern we’ve seen in other polling and in the Opinium poll last night: Cameron is regarded as a stronger leader, more decisive and more likeable. He is also seen as having a clearer vision for the country and a better strategy of the economy. Where Cameron falls down, and Miliband has the advantage, is in being seen as in touch with ordinary people where Ed leads by 40% to 19%. On being trustworthy there is very little to choose between the two men.

On Ed Miliband’s leadership in particular, only 23% of people say he has made it clear what he stands for, 58% think he has not. 31% think he has been too close to the trade unions, 35% think he has not been close enough to business – surprisingly perhaps, given the often hostile attitudes polls find towards big business. While people saying Miliband is too anti-business are largely Conservative supporters, even 20% of Labour voters think Miliband has been too anti-business.

While Miliband’s ratings remain poor, he is seem as a much more appealing leader than Ed Balls or Yvetter Cooper. In both cases more people say Balls or Cooper would make them less likely to vote Labour than say they would make them more likely to vote Labour. Ed is, however, still seen as less appealing than his brother. 18% of people say they would be more likely to vote Labour with David Miliband as leader compared to only 7% who would be less likely.

Turning to taxes on the wealthy, 55% of people think that rich people are not paying enough tax and should pay more. Asked at what point higher taxes on the rich should cut in, the median point of those who gave an answer was £100,000.

However, while there is widespread support for more tax on the rich, this doesn’t necessarily translate into support for wealth taxes on the rich, as opposed to income taxes on the rich. When YouGov asked whether people thought it was fairer to tax wealth or income, 69% said income to only 22% who thought it fairer to tax wealth.

They also tested whether people generally saw the rich as making a positive or negative contribution to the country and found a fairly even split – 30% of people thought that rich people generally make a positive contribution to the country, 38% of people think they make a negative one. This goes to explain some of the other attitudes to taxes on the rich – 67% of people think that increasing taxes on the rich risks driving wealthy people abroad, but two thirds of those would support it anyway.

174 Responses to “More on the YouGov/Sunday Times poll”

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  1. @ Colin

    I think you are mistaken. The UK did not have an IMF loan per sé, my understanding is: there was a stand-by facility which, at the end of the day, was not used.

  2. Well,I thought that was a very impressive speech from Ed Balls today and I
    Have not rated him highly before.If EdM follows that with something different
    But equally impressive I would say that this conference could be a game changer in respect of peoples view of labour as an alternative government.


    Completely agree with you…Ed Balls has always been a very impressive politician…It does grate that eventhough his predictions for the pace of cutting turned out to be true,commentators and politicians try to ignore that and turn to smears and his association with the last government inorder to undermine him.

  4. Martyn: I am saddened that you feel it necessary to out-source for fish references. Stocks are plentiful in this very boutique.

  5. @ Colin

    I think the confusion is because the UK had a legitimate, short-term loan from the international bank of settlements. The IBS makes ‘loans’ when there are balance of trade issues caused by over/ under valued currencies.

    The ‘loan’ was very short-term, just 6 months. This short-termism was spun in such a way that it caused market speculation in the £, making the situation worse. The UK ‘used’ approximately half of the IBS loan but my understanding is that it was a paper only type transaction, i.e. balancing the books due to unrealised currency gains/ losses.

    Nevertheless, the market turmoil plus erroneous figures from the Treasury & BoE (some say conspiracy, some say cock-up) led the government to apply for a stand-by facility from the IMF. The UK never drew down on the IMF stand-by because the markets/ Treasury/ BoE had got their sums wrong.

    When I have time, I will go back over all the books & records which I’ve read on the subject & try to find the definitive paragraphs then I’ll post them with all the references.

  6. AMBER

    Then you had better get the National Archive to alter the Cabinet Papers covering the period :-

    Could you also contact Allen Lane & get them to amend Dominic Sandbrook’s history of the event in his “Seasons in the Sun”. Page 500 refers.

    Doubtless there will be other records to change-you have a considerable task ahead of you.

  7. Ed Milliband has sole, man. He has a bream, and I wish people would give him a fair herring. He’s not as charismatic as that Salmon bloke, but he’s not always carping about nothing. He smelt a rat over hake-ing. and didn’t just sit on his perch. I mean, blenny, he’s turbot charged!

  8. Gibraltar has been for gaining provisional membership of UEFA – another minnow to fill Scotland’s net :-(

  9. “for gaining”???? = “granted”.

  10. @Paulcroft

    You said “…I am saddened that you feel it necessary to out-source for fish references. Stocks are plentiful in this very boutique…”

    Yes, but…this fish reference is no more. It has ceased to be. It’s expired and gone to meet its maker. This is a late fish reference. It’s a stiff. Bereft of life, it rests in peace. If you hadn’t nailed it to the fishnet it would be pushing up the daisies. Its metabolical processes are of interest only to historians. It’s hopped the twig. It’s shuffled off this mortal coil. It’s run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. This…is an ex-fish reference.

    I’ll get me coat.

    Regards, Martyn

  11. @NickP

    You said “…Ed Milliband has sole, man. He has a bream, and I wish people would give him a fair herring. He’s not as charismatic as that Salmon bloke, but he’s not always carping about nothing. He smelt a rat over hake-ing. and didn’t just sit on his perch. I mean, blenny, he’s turbot charged!…”

    Cod help us.

    I’ll get me other coat.

    Regards, Martyn

  12. Smukesh,I agree,a powerful presence,perhaps due to be revalued.

  13. NickP:

    I am impressed: or depressed.

    Am off out for fish and chips.

    [Did you know there are only 99 cod in the North Sea now they’ve got ole Billy?]


    Where’d you get those references from?

  14. NickP

    Teehee :-)

  15. @ChrisLane 1945

    I’m listening to a superb programme about Hobsbawm on Radio 4 now (it started at 9.00pm but will be available later as a podcast if you miss it). It consists of a wide ranging interview he gave to Simon Schama a few years ago but also dips into an archive of much older interviews. Schama fills the gaps between Hobsbawm talking with giving his own reflections on Hobsbawm’s extraordinary life and his impact as one of the 20th century’s greatest historians.

    I could listen to the man talk about his life and politics all day. Only the BBC could make programmes like this, by the way. An absolute joy.

  16. CROSSBAT11

    Likewise have just watched Steph Flanders tv programme on Marx-the third in her series which covered Hyek & Keynes too.

    Brilliantly informative

  17. @Colin

    I believe you are mis-interpreting the introduction, which is vague to say the least. But I will be happy to be corrected: Please do post a link to the actual amount of the IMF loan which was used; it’ll be much appreciated

  18. Those National Archive synopses are simplistic and of questionable accuracy.

    For example, “In 1976 Britain faced financial crisis. The Labour government was forced to apply to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a loan of nearly $4 billion. ”

    No discussion of the context of the egregious Treasury mistake that precipitated the IMF loan. With that as an example, I wouldn’t take as a given the comment about us drawing on the IMF loan, without some direct reference to a source.

  19. Chrislane1945,

    If I simply disqualified Labour politicians for intellectual error, I wouldn’t rate any of them. Though Callaghan was right to oppose devaluation in 1964: Britain’s problems were not a lack of demand and devaluation is no panacea for industrial decline in the long-run, especially for a value-added based manufacturing industry like Britain’s.

    I admire Callaghan for his character, restraint and leadership qualities. Just as I admire Stafford Cripps for his discipline, logic and courage.

    Funnily enough, had the Tories won in 1964 (they only needed a few percent or two to do so) then Maudling’s plan was to float, as Canada had done in 1960. Given the appalling state of UK economics at that time, we’d have had the early 1970s experience a serious pursuit of a 4% > growth target, rapid inflation, and the discrediting of Keynesianism about five years before it happened.

    We’d still be stuffed, but the US and much of the world would have been spared much of the trauma of the 1970s stagflation.


    I’ve had enough experience in the world of economic measuring and forecasting to never suspect incompetance or malice when someone gets something wrong. It really isn’t that easy and anyone who implies sedition for such a mistake is ignorant.

    Poor Labour were stuffed from 1974 onwards though. No country has ever successfully gradually brought down inflation from 20% >, to the best of my knowledge (at least not in a democracy) and there was no way that a Labour government with a majority of 3 was going to pull off a shock therapy strategy. It’s hard to blame them too much for reinflating in 1977-1979.

    Britain was always going to have 3 million plus unemployed after the Heath-Barber boom, but there’s a big difference between 5 million unemployed for two years and 3 million unemployed for five or more years. Thatcher was similarly stuffed and only saved by the Falklands and record productivity growth.

    This is why devaluation and the end of the Bretton Woods system was a fool’s paradise: Keynesian orthodoxy recommended pushing up demand to keep unemployment low/growth high, as in the Heath-Barber boom, but that doesn’t lower unemployment in the long run and inflation can only be brought down along with much higher unemployment (which can result in skills erosion/social problems). It can take literally decades to get the inflation out of the system. Many areas of Britain have never recovered from the Keynesian experiment in the early 1970s.

    Would you not agree that it depends where the Keynesian investment is directed, and how well; i.e. that if it is into Spanish white elephants, the long-run effect is negative; it it is into transport systems which lower the cost of marketing and provide value-added returns, it may increase production levels and generate second phase employment ?

  21. John Pilgrim,

    No, not particularly. Keynes argued that even building pyramids or burying bottles of earth would be beneficial under conditions of less-than-full employment, and Keynesians often say that WWII brought countries out of depression despite the fact that (a) private sector employment contracted and (b) the increase in economic activity was almost all going into killing people (including millions of civilians in Germany and Japan) which was necessary but hardly welfare-enhancing.

    However, let’s assume that Keynes and the Keynesians are wrong and where the money is invested does matter. Well, in a totalitarian country like Hitler’s Germany, the investment will go into the dictator’s pet projects like Hitler’s unsustainable and disastrous rearmament (Adam Tooze’s “Wages of Destruction” is an excellent study of this). In a democracy, like Britain and America in 1971-1973 or in 2009-2010, investment will go into those areas which it is most politically profitable to invest. And even an idealised technocratic government would have the problems of –

    (1) Identifying good avenues for investment outside a market system of profit & loss.

    (2) Getting investments going before the economy recovers without malinvestment.

    (3) Identifying those areas where there are BOTH idle resources and good opportunities for investment.

    Still, let’s assume a magical pixie-led government who used various spells and enchantments to get around all these problems, and set them the objective that Heath & the Keynesians chose in 1971-1973 i.e. to reduce unemployment below 3% without major supply-side reform. The modern monetarist Phillips Curve, accepted by almost all modern “Keynesians” (the inappropriately named “New Keynesians”), implies that unemployment could only be lowered to the numbers that the Tories wanted through constantly increasing the rate of inflation. From 1960 onwards, the British experience was that of a rollercoaster: higher and higher levels of inflation, followed by reductions in inflation and higher and higher levels of unemployment-

    – and this process was only brought to an end through a bat guano government that was willing to tolerate an appalling period of mass unemployment that tore much of the UK to shreds. That was the UK’s “cold turkey” period and we’re still not 100% again. It would have been much better if we’d never taken the first sips of the drug in the first place.

    To put some numbers on the problem: nominal GDP growth (GDP without taking inflation into account) averaged about 13% from 1971 to 1973. So to sustain the already-high level of inflation we had on average from 1971 to 1973 (about 9%) we needed to keep up REAL GDP growth of over 4% a year, something we’ve never done for a sustained period (the long-run UK average is about 2%).

    We’ve only really tried traditional Keynesianism (targeting full employment through aggregate demand policy) once, in 1971-1973. One can’t infer much empirically from a single datum, but I think there are well-established general principles that were consistent with that experience that suggest that Heath’s government not only shafted poor Jim Callaghan’s government, but set the stage for many of our social problems today.

    (I don’t think Heath and Barber were bad guys- I’ve no special access to their souls- but I do think they were terribly, terribly wrong.)

  22. @Bill Patrick

    Economic conditions in 1930 and 1971 were very different, with the former being by far the more relevant parallel with our situation today, as well as being the same situation that Keynes was directly addressing. Heath messed up both early in his term – when pursuing policies Osborne would be perfectly at home with – and also following his U turn but only in terms of providing a case study in how not to reflate an economy at breakneck speed largely through tax cuts, rather than a proof that measured and targeted reflation will always fail regardless of context. The post 1930 experience provided an example of its success in bringing economies back from their knees.

    The idea that government has a role in determining the scale and direction of some significant investment
    has more currency now that we’ve experienced the lending market failure associated with a liquidity trap. The credit crunch has demonstrated the unwillingness of banks to make available the liquidity available to them other than at prohibitive cost to the borrower, if at all. So the banks’ failure means that, yes, there is a role for government and particularly so in present circumstances.

  23. Why does the last comment posted show a time of 8.20 pm ?

  24. now 1106 pm

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