Sunday Polls

The weekly YouGov poll for the Sunday Times. Topline figures are CON 32%, LAB 41%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 12%. YouGov have had a couple of polls in recent weeks with polls leads up around 9 points, suggesting that beneath the normal random variation the Labour lead has crept up slightly over the last fortnight with energy prices back in the news. The rest of the polls was largely taken up with questions about confidence in the workplace, but there were a few questions on Labour and the Unions and unqualified teachers.

57% of people think the trade unions have a lot (23%) or a fair amount (34%) of influence over Labour, and on balance this is seen as a bad thing: 41% think they have too much influence, compared to 10% who think they don’t have enough and 24% who think it is about right. This is largely due to Conservative voters though, amongst Labour’s own supporters 48% think the level of trade union influence is about right. On Falkirk 41% of people think Unite probably did fix the selection, but almost half of respondents said don’t know, suggesting it is an issue that has not really caught the attention of the general public at all.

People are evenly split on whether unqualified teachers can be as good as qualified ones – 42% think it’s possible for people with expertise in other fields to be just as good, 43% that teachers with proper qualifications and training will always be better. Despite that a clear overall majority (63%) still think that schools should only be allowed to employ qualified teachers.

Meanwhile the fortnightly Opinium poll for the Observer has topline figures of CON 31%(+4), LAB 37%(-1), LDEM 7%(-2), UKIP 16%(-1). It shows a sharp decrease in the Labour lead, but it’s almost certainly just a reversion to the mean after the anomalous eleven point lead a fortnight ago. Putting that one unusual poll aside a seven point Labour lead is typical of Opinium’s polls over the last few months.

Opinium also asked about people’s perceptions of BBC bias. 37% of people think the way the BBC covers the news is politically neutral, 27% think it is biased towards the left, 14% think it is biased towards the right.

284 Responses to “Sunday Polls”

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  1. @Oswald, @AW

    I agree, and think that Miliband is now starting to strike the balance about right.

    Broad themes now, so that people are clear what Labour stands for. Keep repeating these day in, day out. Detail can come later and can,, if necessary, be tweaked in response to what the Government does. (And you can also use the “we thought of it first, Government is responding to our pressure” argument if the Government does do something along similar lines in response.)

    Lots more broad themes need to be developed though (e.g. mansion tax, corporate tax avoidance?) and earlier popular ones re-emphasised (e.g. opposition to 50% tax cut). John Smith left it too late in 1992.

  2. AW- as per above. I see self selecting as particularly problematic in 2 age groups. 18-24: most young people of that age are really not interested in participating. So, really self selecting. 60+: that assumes Internet access etc. do it might slant this demographic towards ABC1’s.

  3. Anarchists Unite – by recruiting on very *non*-political routes. You advertise on very non-political sites, attract people in through surveys about pizza, or football, or music or what not.

    You’ll still get a bias towards people who want to give their opinions in general, but sadly the same applies to all modes of research. In phone polls the overwhelming majority of people don’t agree to do the survey (Martin Boon quoted a response rate of about 1-in-12 a couple of years back) so there is massive self-deselection – you still end up with a skew towards the engaged. I suspect they are much of a muchness.

  4. “Regarding the living wage, energy price freeze etc, does anyone think Labour are unveiling these a little too early given we are 18 months from an election?”

    I think it is about right in the timing, 6 months before the 2014 EU and local elections, we are heading into a turbulent time, the Cons have to make a stand on the EU to hold onto the possible voters leaving for UKIP, the only problem is the PM is saying it is in our best interest to stay in the EU which will not go down well…

    The PM is straddling a fence or trying to, promising a vote on the EU in or out; the big problem is proclaiming one thing and doing another, renegotiation on parts of the treaty that are going to have an impact on UK workers rights is like waving a red flag at a bull…

    This is after all the rhetoric of immigration, once these changes are highlighted to the UK workers what will be the response I think the PM has got a problem, my personal opinion is that any in out vote will not even be close, all because of previous rhetoric.

    The government cannot blame the public if any EU vote is out; it will be their own rhetoric and party politics which will have caused the problems.

    I think the Conservatives need to understand the pit they have placed us all in.

    So all these problems are now on the immediate horizon and Labour drop policy propositions, I think those propositions are against core Conservative beliefs of low wages and free market etc, remember the rhetoric when the minimum wage was introduced, we are hearing the same again over the living wage, if the difference between the minimum wage and the living wage was paid in increments over a small period of time say 3 years with tax benefits to companies meeting a portion of the cost it could well take many, many people off welfare allowing the remaining welfare budget to be targeted effectively.

    We are soon going to be in an era where governments will be able to ask the people what they require, once we get online voting, it will be easy to ask major policy questions in a referendum once the secure sites are set up they should be used. If it safe enough to claim benefits through an online site then surely it would be safe enough to vote online.

  5. Chatterclass – social class is controlled for in the sampling, so that’s not an issue (might be easier to recruit more affluent pensioners, but when you actually draw a sample you make sure the proportions are right).

    Young people is trickier. I think it affects all polls, and personally I think it may be one of the causes of the Lib Dem overestimate at the last election. In the post-mortem at the last election we found the young people were were getting were skewed towards graduates, so since then we’ve been controlling for educational achievement in sampling under 30s

  6. @ AW

    Do you know how the lead in on a phone poll is handled?

    I may have done the same thing many years ago (not interested) when someone phoned up from Mori talking about wanting to do a survey. The idea of answering questions about cornflakes for 15 minutes didn’t appeal and they didn’t present it as being a political poll so they got as far as ‘we are doing a survey’ before being told ‘I didn’t have the time’. Thinking about it I probably wouldn’t want to spend 15 minutes doing a political poll anyway when pollsters seem to cope pretty well and get accurate results without my input :-)

  7. Is it possible to over-tweak polling responses?. I understand the reasons for the various weightings and re-allocations etc, but can you reach a point where it’s like sawing sawdust, and something gets lost along the way ?

    When activists canvass on the doorstep or by phone there is no weighting applied to the results, but we can at least judge trends by comparing results with previous years.

  8. Good stuff from the West Country, r-wise, John Pilgrim.

    I used to live further South in Devon. When we first moved there, and had to have the washing machine plumbed in, the original fixings were all very old and needed dismantling. Our local plumber took one look at them and said, ”Ooh, arrr, I’ll have to take ‘ee abroad.” Took me a second or two to register, I’ll tell you.

  9. Do we have any idea the polling percentage that the new Party, Left Unity, could attract ?

  10. Hello Everyone,

    Did I miss something ?

    Is there a new Political Party called ‘Left Unity’ out in the field?

  11. “Hello Everyone,

    Did I miss something ?

    Is there a new Political Party called ‘Left Unity’ out in the field?”

    We think that is what Colin and TOH have been busy setting up and why they have been absent for a while.

  12. Really good PMI data from Markit today.

  13. CR

    Great news – I shall turn the central heating up slightly.

  14. Sine Nomine

    Hello Everyone,

    Did I miss something ?

    Is there a new Political Party called ‘Left Unity’ out in the field?

    You wish

  15. Left Unity are hilarious, just because their name makes them hostages to fortune to a ridiculous degree – especially because far-left groups don’t have a great history of unity.

  16. Does Left Unity really have any more of a chance than:

    The Socialist Labour Party (1996-)
    Socialist Alliance (1992-2005)
    Respect (2004-)
    SWP (ongoing, just about)
    Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) (no, really)

  17. Left Unity?
    Now what was it Lenin had to say about left wing alternatives to the Labour Party …oh that’s it, “an infantile delusion “. Nuf said l think.

  18. With a name like ‘Left Unity’, I fully expect the founders to have fallen out and split the party by Christmas.

  19. All this talk of lefty parties reminds me of the Life of Brian sketch ‘PJF splitters’.

    Warning. Link contains bad language.

  20. I read the other day that Socialist Labour Party policy is to reopen the mines. Ol’ Scargill’s still at it – maybe he could become head of the National Mud Board?

  21. @Anarchists Unite – “Ed Milliband is the only major party leader who is openly atheist.”

    Clegg did publicly declare himself an atheist in 2007. Before the election though he a wrote a piece in the Church Times (CoE) saying that Christian values were central to his policies. He also agreed with Miriam that the children were to be raised as Roman Catholics.

    Cameron once said he was a typical member of the Church of England (married at East Hendred, Christenings etc in Kensington), and stealing a line from Boris Johnson described his faith as ” …a bit like the reception for Magic FM in the Chilterns: it sort of comes and goes.”
    Since the election he has on adopted what has been called “a moderate Christian patriotism” in the odd speech, plus he is rather good reading the lesson at big events in St Paul’s (Diamond Jubilee service of thanksgiving/Margaret Thatcher funeral).

  22. Mr Nameless,

    I don’t think that most people would mind paying a few more pennies of their pounds on their energy bills if it meant having pretty coal-fuelled powerstations again.

  23. Wait until we see a split-off group called “United Ulster Left Unity”.

  24. I shouldn’t think Ed Miliband’s atheism would change a lot of votes, beyond maybe neutralising a few who wouldn’t vote for him if he was Jewish.

    That said, if I was a party leader I wouldn’t want those people’s votes.

  25. You’ll be telling me next that Ed doesn’t believe in Santa.

  26. @Anthony

    “by recruiting on very *non*-political routes. You advertise on very non-political sites, attract people in through surveys about pizza, or football, or music or what not”

    That’s a clever (and sneaky) way of doing it. I guess it is, though, a problem that can’t be avoided. That respondent rate is really low though, but I guess there’s no good way of improving it (especially in the era of telemarketing)

    @Ewen Lightfoot

    “Now what was it Lenin had to say about left wing alternatives to the Labour Party …oh that’s it, “an infantile delusion “. Nuf said l think.”

    Well, strictly speaking he was speaking dismissively of non-Party (that is the Party as the vanguard of the workers) led variants of socialism to achieve communism (specifically anarchism). Given how well the Party led movement turned out, I think we can all reasonably take Lenin’s comment with a pinch of salt…

    @Billy Bob

    “Clegg did publicly declare himself an atheist in 2007. Before the election though he a wrote a piece in the Church Times (CoE) saying that Christian values were central to his policies. He also agreed with Miriam that the children were to be raised as Roman Catholics”

    Thanks – I forgot about that (he did smother the revelation rather quickly with what he said about his wife and children).

    I doubt Cameron is a serious believer either; but he attempts to stay onside. Like I said I doubt it makes much difference (most people will reasonably judge on policies etc.) but, as the famous/infamous Kennedy/Nixon debate demonstrates, people do occasionally make judgements based on more superficial reasons.


    “You’ll be telling me next that Ed doesn’t believe in Santa.”

    Are you implying that Santa isn’t real? o.0

  27. Left Unity is actively organising.

    It’s founding conference is on the 30th November.

    Already groups in major cities have formed, and I am quite sure that they will stand in the locals next year.

    Initially, policy will be a broad brush position rather than series of detailed policies. Left Unity has drawn from Labour, Trade Unionists, Greens and others. This means that agreeing detailed policies will be a difficult task.

    Given their small size and obvious financial limitations, I think local agreements may emerge so that every ward has one ‘anti-austerity’ Candidate. Therefore, I think they will stand in Ward X if the local Greens focus on Y, for example.

    There is an active and vigorous debate among the smaller left parties – Greens, TUSC and now Left Unity about strategy. It may well get ugly in my view. I know from the Greens, we are very local and independent, so agreements may or may not apply to very small areas.

    There is one big trap – ‘the people’s front of Judea’ effect.

    This isn’t a selling pitch AW, it’s just some background to a question posed.

  28. A d.m. reporter went to the Unite offices and said,is Len in.

  29. Ireland to hold a referendum on same-sex marriage. This will be a very interesting one to watch – won’t be as clear-cut in favour as our debate was.

  30. Left Unity- given that most parties seem to be aiming their attention mostly at the ABC1 demographic, I’m a bit surprised that a left-wing party has not emerged before. It might at least counter racism.

    However, even if the new party joins UKIP in winning nil seats in 2015, if it has any following at all it could affect the outcome in marginal seats, a kind of UKIP effect on the left.

    Does it have any policy on the EU? I’m thinking maybe a radical left-wing anti EU position? Relevant to 2014 euroelections…

  31. I understand that Keane and O’Neill are to become Ireland (that’s Eire) football managers. This United Ireland approach – could it be significant in VI? This is UKPR so i feel justified in raising it.

  32. Anarchists unite
    “Given how well the Party led version turned out I think we can all take Lenin’s comments with a pinch of salt”
    Well yes…although I don’t see a bunch of Anarchists beating the Third Reich !;)

  33. Catmanjeff ,loved the reference to the peoples front of Judea.Watched the Life
    Of Brian recently.My favourite is”what did the Romans do for us”so clever and
    Contrary to the way Romans are usually portrayed in Jesus biopics.

  34. EWEN
    “Well yes…although I don’t see a bunch of Anarchists beating the Third Reich !;)

    Don’t be so sure. The East German Communist Government was brought down, according to one its leaders who gave a post-fall of the Berlin wall talk at Cambridge, by a combination of the Pen Club, anarchists, cyclists union, and girls in summer dresses – if I remember rightly.
    And the Socialist Government in Bulgaria was brought down by girl medical students who wrapped the trees on the road from the Sophia Church in bloodied bandages, whited up and wearing black men’s suites carried a coffin with the corpse of freedom to the National Assembly, where they did a dance chanting “Security Policemen can’t jump up and down.”

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