This week’s YouGov/Sunday Times results are here. Topline figures are CON 33%, LAB 37%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 11% – closer to the recent YouGov average than the two very close Sun polls on Wednesday and Thursday. As usual fieldwork was Thursday afternoon until Friday afternoon, so finished before Labour’s policy announcements and almost all of the reporting of Godfrey Bloom’s eventful day at UKIP’s party conference.

As you’d expect in the week of Labour’s conference there was a batch of questions on Ed Miliband (as there was in the ComRes poll for the Sunday Indy), but they only really show the pattern we’ve already seen – only 16% think he’s provided an effective opposition, only 17% think he’s made it clear what he stands for, only 9% think he is a strong leader, only 17% think he is up to the job of Prime Minister. Predictably Conservative voters have a low opinion of Miliband, but in many cases even Labour voters have a negative opinion. While Labour voters do tend to see Miliband as trustworthy and in touch with ordinary people, most think he has not made it clear what he stands for and has not provided an effective opposition and only 44% think he’d be up to the job of PM.

In one sense it will be interesting to see whether perceptions of Miliband improve as a result of the Labour conference. I expect they will a little bit, but it probably won’t make any major or lasting difference to the negative perceptions of him; it’s a hard task to change the public’s opinion on a politician once it’s set. The question is more how much it matters (thus far Labour have remained ahead in the polls despite Ed Miliband’s poor ratings) and how much it might or might not matter when we get closer to the election, a question that’s impossible to answer right now.

The poll also asking about banning the wearing of traditional Muslim dress for women and about climate change. Two thirds of people would support a ban on people wearing the burqa or the niqab in Britain (a quarter of people would even support banning the hijab). Three quarters of people would support allowing schools to ban the wearing of veils, 81% support hospitals being allowed to ban staff from wearing the veil.

56% of people think that the world’s climate is changing as a result of human activity, 23% think that the climate is changing, but not because of human activity, 7% think it is not changing at all. This is a marginally higher level of public believe in man-made climate change than the last couple of times we’ve asked, but realistically it isn’t something that changes massively from month to month. 39% think that the risk of climate change has been exaggerated, 47% think it is every bit as real as scientists have said.

537 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 33, LAB 37, LD 11, UKIP 11”

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  1. @Ken,

    Thanks for that. I have started contacting companies. I’m also looking into the possibility of a starting up my own business – possibly a franchise.

  2. @Pete B

    Naïve and cynical! Yes of course it would be nice for that to happen. And it sometimes does happen, often with governments swearing blind it was their idea all along. Blair did this occasionally.

    But I also think you are being a little cynical. Parties are not just electoral machines. The Cons for example still believe in the, private, sector and smaller government and their policies reflect this.

  3. Turk

    Are you worried that if Labour’s plans are costed by the OBR that Labour might ask them to cost some of the present govt policies like for instance the help to buy program which as far as I can see hasn’t been tackled by the OBR at all


    @”I understood all parties were in favour of independent scrutiny of their manifestos. Is that your knowledge of Lab policy?”

    Just had a quick read of the Lab & Con 2010 manifestos.

    Can’t see a reference in either to manifesto scrutiny.

    Cons included this on Government Budgets :-

    “, we will set up an independent Office
    for budget responsibility to restore trust in
    the government’s ability to manage the public

    I would have thought the obvious port of call for EB is the IFS-formerly managed by Robert Chote , who now manages OBR.
    IFS is fiercely independent & objective & publishes endless analyses of government policy outcomes , the public finances etc etc.

  5. Presumably so long as house prices don’t collapse again, the cost of “Help to Buy” is very low indeed. Admin costs only.

    Whatever the rights and wrongs of stimulating the housing market, you can see the attraction. GDP boost on the stroke of a pen, with barely an opening of the government wallet.

    On the OBR costing plan, I simply wonder what the Labour Party’s response would be if they didn’t like the figures the OBR came up with.

    In principle I have no objection to it. I just suspect that no policy is ever so specific in its drafting that a truly accurate costing is ever really possible. There are all sorts of assumptions and subjective judgements involved – and that’s where the politics lies.

  6. Neil

    “Presumably so long as house prices don’t collapse again, the cost of “Help to Buy” is very low indeed. Admin costs only.”

    There the rub, cos if house prices crash again then it will cost loads

  7. @NEIL A
    “Presumably so long as house prices don’t collapse again, the cost of “Help to Buy” is very low indeed. Admin costs only.”


    Sure, it’s a low-cost stimulus, that carries considerable cost if it blows up. The Tories often advocate stimuli that don’t require upfront spending, eg cutting red tape, and some which may cost a bit, eg cutting taxes on business, but these don’t tend to work well as we’ve seen when doing Austerity as business lacks demand to invest.

    At least the housing thing actually works. But it’s a shame we had to lose the growth for three years because they put cutting the state ahead of investing in the economy.

  8. Charles

    You may be interested in this study that suggests there may be more than 400 thousand death per year in the states due to medical errors, what is known as “unnecessary deaths” which as you no doubt remember was a big subject of debate here once,_Evidence_based_Estimate_of_Patient_Harms.2.aspx

  9. RiN

    @”There the rub, cos if house prices crash again then it will cost loads”

    On Help to Buy 1-the Government would lose 20% X the fall in value if/when the property is sold.
    Otherwise, the Equity loan isn’t repayable until the mortgage term is finished-or after 25 years, whichever comes first. That term should ensure at least static house prices-and probably a rise-in which case the government takes 20% of the gain.

  10. @Howard

    Tend to type (subconsciously maybe*) what’s in my head, as it sounds in there, where my brains’ accent may not exactly match my real, which certainly isn’t BBC anyways. And good grammar goes right out the window.

    If ‘ya’ is the worst of it I’d be surprised. Lucky I can’t speak foreign or I reckon I’d end up changing languages every few words. Though I am aware I use ‘ya’ both for ‘you’, ‘your’, & ‘yes’…which isn’t sensible, but it’s what comes out my fingers….never ‘you’re’, but in the past ‘ya’re’ has happened. I’m trying to cut down :)

    *had to delete ‘mebe’ for this, for example.

  11. @Hoofhearted
    “I am now confused, are Labour going to scrap HS2?”

    The Government remains fully committed to it, with the likes of Osborne having staked a huge amount of their political capital on it going ahead, despite the hostility of Conservative backbenchers along the route.

    By contrast, for Labour the direction of the wind shifted today. Balls clearly got the green light to cast doubt upon HS2 and would no doubt find better things on which to invest £50bn if he had his way (Darling and Mandelson likewise). But the party remains split, with the likes of Adonis and Eagle set to be humiliated if Labour unequivocally backed out in one big step.

    So it’s possible that for Labour things may drift along now until the GE rather than being resolved immediately. One thing that would force Labour’s hand would be if the Government sought parliamentary approval to proceed to the next stage with HS2, and it would be enormously tempting for Labour to inflict a parliamentary defeat in combination with Conservative backbench rebels shortly before the GE. So in the short term what this has probably done is to scupper the chances of any fresh legislation on HS2 until after May 2015.

    Where is this going for Labour in the longer term? The significant part of Balls speech was to establish the new principle that it’s not just about whether costs rise above £50 billion but also the question of whether £50bn itself could not be better prioritised in the face of tough choices. A 2015 Labour government would have to face such choices and 99 out of 100 of those on the left would face only one way when faced with a choice between HS2 and say a big national social housing programme, or for that matter a long list of desired public spending projects which would otherwise have to be culled. £2,000 of investment per UK household would go a very long way. At that point, if not before, it now seems likely that the plug will be pulled. An unforeseen financial crisis that threatened previously costed Labour spending priorities could also cause HS2 to be abandoned as a low priority.

    Anyway, this link seems to be a fair summary of the state of play:

  12. TURK

    I think Andrew Tyrie’s SC is one of the best in HoC

  13. Well put Phil.

  14. Lords Reform = Syria = HS2

    Tory Rebels + Labour Opportunism = Undermine the Government.


    “Yes I could explain, I did think of correcting you earlier when you wrote “running deficits is not always a bad thing” I would have said running deficits is not always a GOOD thing””


    Lol, yes, I see what you’re getting at, but I think we’re mostly on the same Page.

    Regarding the private debt thing, it’s not a disaster if it increases provided there are plenty opportunities to pay it off again in a reasonable time frame). Which in theory should happen as the economy grows, but as we know, in practice the proceeds of growth do not necessarily trickle down very well.

    If government wants to use private debt to help get the economy moving, it needs to attend to this and help provide more people with more ways to benefit.

    (This is distinct from concerns that the fractional reserve thing may inevitably increase debt anyway, obviously…)

  16. Colin


  17. Turk

    Thank you, I notice that the govt insists repeatedly that the liabilities will be limited to 12 billion pounds but further on the OBR says that it hoping to include contingent liabilities in future reports meaning that the OBR has not studied this policy and has not costed it

  18. @Neil A

    If you’re for HS2, defeating the government = opportunism

    If you’re against HS2, defeating the government = the right thing to do.

  19. @ Shevii and @ ToH

    The 2007 financial crisis was a direct consequence of the bubble (then write offs) of the second half of the 1990s. The financial sector was forced then to pick up the bill and to manage their balance sheets they had to borrow and as a consequence then going for the ABSs. The real culprits are the non-financial corporates who, apart from a narrow elite produced losses for 20 years and covered this up by borrowing and government stimuli money. In addition huge amount of monies were expropriated by managers from public companies.

  20. Carfrew

    It’s such a shame, we were getting on so well! But private debt is a problem, you are no doubt familiar with the exponential effect, just have a look at the graphs of private debt and total debt and tell me that’s not an exponential curve

    You know the example of a football stadium with one drop of water in it, which doubles every minute. How long does it take for the football stadium to fill up and how many minutes between the pitch being covered in water to the stadium being full is there.

    I must hunt that example down

  21. Damm, another post in mod, it seems to be only the long ones that get stopped

  22. RIN

    “The OBR have not studed the scheme*

    From the report

    ” Professor Nickell of the Budget Responsibility Committee, as well as independent
    commentators, have argued that the mortgage guarantee scheme will increase demand
    for housing, but that existing constraints on the supply of new housing—largely as a
    result of planning laws—will mean that the primary effect of easier credit, at least in the
    short-to-medium-term may be to raise house prices. It is by no means clear that a
    scheme, whose primary outcome may be to support house prices, will ultimately be in
    the interests of first time buyers. This is the group the Government says it wants to

    For the professor to make such a comment I pressume he’s studied it regardless of his conclusions.


    Most of that report covers matters which Westminster controls only in England.

    “A Rebuilding Britain Commission”. seems a tad expansionist! :-)

  24. @HOWARD

    “The tedious continuation of discussion on that subject here this morning is an example.”


    Lol, Howard, you seem to find most things tedious!! Often saying something along the lines of “Honestly people, what’s the point??!!?” about something or other. The economy is bound to raise its head as an issue currently because of the conference policies etc. Your priorities may be different because older, so you don’t have to worry so much about the economy in twenty years time; like ToH you like talking about your hols. Which is understandable…

  25. @OldNat
    Where powers are devolved, there’s nothing apart from perhaps pride to stop Salmond following Miliband’s lead.
    For example, a “use it or lose it” tax on owners of long term derelict land who fail to develop it appeals to me, given the blight such land inflicts on surrounding communities. It would be a shame if it applied only in England.

  26. @Phil Haines,

    How about if you proposed HS2 in the first place?


    Or ” there’s nothing apart from perhaps pride to stop” Miliband following Salmond’s lead.

    Doesn’t alter the fact that, assuming the Independent story is accurate, that Miliband is exaggerating the extent of the power he would exert outside England.

    Why are English politicians so scared to be proud of what they can do for England?

    I do the man the credit of believing that he actually knows what powers Westminster has. Why the obfuscation?

  28. @Neil A

    How about if you proposed HS2 in the first place?

    Your name would be Alistair Darling, and you would have changed your mind.

  29. Automod seems especially sensitive lately…

  30. Turk

    I see through your spin

    Firstly, it doesn’t say that he made that remark on behalf of the OBR but the implication is there if you want to read it that way

    Secondly his remark has nothing to do with possible implications to the deficit and/or debt of the help to buy policy

  31. RiN


    I see through your spin ”

    We s’pose that just indicates an ability to read Richard but jolly well done anyway.

  32. Phil Haines

    Details of MIliband’s speech tomorrow:

    I love it, at last will be able to expand outside our boundaries into South Bucks and they won’t be able to stop it Absolutely Fabulous

  33. @Old Nat

    Why don’t you wait for tomorrow? The fine detail of the speech when made could be peppered with the qualification “except in Scotland” at every turn. Alternatively, Lamont may react positively to the speech, accept that many of those proposals are good ones that ought also to take effect in Scotland in so far as devolved powers apply, and state her ambition to see that happen.

  34. RIN

    “I see through your spin”

    I doubt from your comments you see very much at all.


    It could either be peppered with “except in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland”, but just saying “in England” would be a lot easier.

    At a guess, I doubt whether you have any idea of whether these policies would be 1. appropriate for Scotland (or Wales or Northern Ireland) 2. already in place in Scotland (or Wales or Northern Ireland) 3. omit totally legislation already in place in Scotland (or Wales or Northern Ireland).

    Even as far as England only is concerned, yet more housing expansion in the overcrowded South East may not be seen as the best thing.

  36. RiN – the football stadium/water example is here –

    “And seriously, who would you rather have more money? Doctors or bankers?”
    Surely it depends on the worth of the Doctor or the Banker. Without knowing the detail that is an impossible question to answer unless you are biased against either Doctors or Bankers”


    If you are concerned about bias against doctors, why consider a pay rise for them a waste, when it’s their job to do the rather important and stressful and challenging task of saving lives and we would like to attract the brightest and best for that role.

    But my point is that it seems strange to worry about doctors pay when some bankers get vastly more and yet take out seven percent of the economy…

  38. turk


    “I see through your spin”

    “I doubt from your comments you see very much at all.”

    Ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh !!!!!!

    You’re cattier than owr cat.


    “we would like to attract the brightest and best for that role” [doctors].

    That would be a fairly foolish strategy. Not all medical positions that are currently occupied by doctors, are best served by intellectual geniuses.

    It would also deprive all other callings of the “brightest and the best”. On the whole, I don’t fancy environmental disaster because environmental protection is left only to those who have difficulty understanding chemical reactions. :-)

  40. How about a monthly pedant’s award?


    Here’s another version of what Miliband’s speech is about.

    He is to say: “Let’s make sure, over the next year, we win the battle for the most important institution of all: our country.”

    Heavens! Lamont’s “virus of nationalism” has spread to Labour’s leadership! Quick. Get him some antibiotics!

  42. @oldnat

    You might have a point if doctors” pay wasn’t commonly eclipsed by numerous other careers, some of which are of dubious utility (eg bankers taking down the economy)…

  43. Some rather good quotes from that EM speech. I wonder if he’ll be giving it without notes this year?

    Also, made the discovery that two of my new flatmates are Tory party members. I will make no comment about the fact that they’re Toby, from Buckinghamshire and Oliver from Surrey.

    Someone could write a sitcom called “The Only Two Tories in Sheffield”. Although that would be three if you count Clegg.

  44. @RiN

    My reply to you is in autoschmod but basically I don’t disagree with you that private debt is a concern. I was just considering ways to address it…

  45. “How about a monthly pedant’s award?”

    I think it would be more accurately named as a “monthly award for pedantry”.


    My post concerned what you claim to want to happen – not, fortunately, the reality in which the brightest and best don’t all become doctors!

    I’m glad that you don’t actually want your dream to become reality!. :-)

  47. @Oldnat

    If what I wanted happened, then other careers would still offer competing inducements so it’s unlikely doctors would hoover everyone up and anyway it should be obvious I was talking about best at being doctors, as opposed to bridge building.

  48. @NEIL A

    “…Presumably so long as house prices don’t collapse again, the cost of “Help to Buy” is very low indeed. Admin costs only…”

    Milton Friedman wants a word with you

    The cost of Help2Buy and Help2Buy2 are enormous. Let’s go through it.

    There are ~25million houses in UK. Average house price is ~175K. Even if the excess house price inflation is only 1% per year as a result of H2B & H2B2, that’s a cost of £0.01x25Mx175K = £43.75billion. In one year. And that’s if it’s only 1%…

    TANSTAFFL. Somebody has to pay for this boost to house price inflation. It won’t be me or thee: we’ve both got mortgages. It’ll be the kids like MrNameless. Those born after 1992 are having a torrid time of it: huge tuition fees, and governments forever inflating house prices away from them.

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