The monthly ComRes telephone poll for the Independent is out tonight and has topline figures of CON 32%(+4), LAB 37%(+1), LDEM 9%(-2), UKIP 11%(-1). Changes are from ComRes’s previous phone poll (as opposed to their parallel online polls for the Sunday Indy) conducted at the end of last month.

Meanwhile today’s twice-weekly Populus poll also recorded a five point lead for Labour, in their case the topline figures were CON 34%, LAB 39%, LDEM 12%, UKIP 7%. Populus tabs are here.

Also out are the tables for a recent YouGov poll on immigration (it was published in the Times on Saturday, but tabs went up this morning here). Note firstly that while immigration has actually fallen over the last couple of years, the vast majority of people (73%) think that it is continuing to rise, only 7% think it has dropped over the last couple of years – a reminder that official statistics on the news are often not noticed or not believed. There is an equal lack of awareness of what government policy is on immigration. 37% of people say they have a good idea or a fairly good idea of what government policy on immigration is, but even then people are rather overestimating their knowledge – only 19% could actual pick out David Cameron’s stated aim of reducing net immigration to the tens out thousands.

Also interesting to note is people’s differing attitudes towards different groups of immigrants. 72% of people think the country should allow fewer (or no) unskilled immigrants, but people are actually far more welcoming about other groups. 63% are either happy with current levels or would like to see more skilled immigration, 68% are happy with the current or higher numbers of foreign students coming here. People are even split over asylum seekers (though we deliberately avoided using the actual phrase!) – 48% would be happy with more or the current levels of people fleeing persecution, 38% think there should be fewer or none at all.

393 Responses to “Latest Comres & Populus VI, YouGov on immigration”

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  1. ON

    Re Pounds and Euros
    I thought as much.

    But there’s a seriou issue of course. Firstly, the fact that smaller EZ countries have effectively signed away their monetary sovereignty (to an EZ whose monetary policy is driven by the cares of Germany). Comparing France in the EZ to Scotland in a pound zone is fanciful at best.

    Secondly, at least smaller countries in the EZ have a theoretical say on EZ monetary policy (look at the effect that Finland have had through Olli Rehn…) But why should Scotland have any say on Bank of England monetary policy?

    Finally, why on earth stay with the Pound? Why not go the Latvia route and just join the Euro? It was your policy 6 years or so back. Why should the Pound be preferable now?


    “Has the issue of whether Spain will veto the application of Scotland to join the EU been sorted out?”

    Seems that it has. Sorry that the first link to the story came to hand was from the Express, but I’m sure you’ll cope with that!

  3. My infrequent polling on the matter of Scottish Independence ( I ask taxi drivers and call centre workers ,Scottish ones that is ,living in Scotland) is currently still running at around 80% ‘No’ . However, one chap l spoke to today HAS moved from definite ‘No’ to a slight doubt….

  4. ON

    Thanks for the Express link ( first time for saying anything).

    Maybe I’m a pedant, but the Express headline isn’t in any way supported by what the Spanish Foreign Minister actually said.

    My interpretation is that he said that you INDEPENDENCE is not a matter on which Spain would have any issue. Your EU membership position is another matter altogether.

    This isn’t a political sparring point. It is fundamental. If you are asking your countrymen to vote for independence, presumably you are able to give them a clear, unambiguous position on what that will mean for Scotland’s position regarding the EU? Presumably the SNP has squared this issue away with Madrid, and have been given assurances that Spain will not stick a spanner in the works?


    You really shouldn’t misrepresent what people say. If those who say “proper independence” (a fairly silly term) depends on some arbitrary definition like “controlling your own currency” then France is not an independent country in their terms.

    I’m happy for such folk to have such an opinion.

    I’m no apologist for a currency union with rUK being the long term answer. i’m more Green in that aspect. However, I can see the advantages in easing the transition that a currency union would realise.

    I can also see the advantages that would accrue to our biggest trading partner. The effect on the balance of payments on the sterling zone of the loss of the oil reserves (and Scottish food & drink exports) could be damaging to rUK. That’s not in our interests.

    As Alastair Darling said at the beginning of this year a currency union would be logical and desirable.

  6. Just catching up on the Scottish referendum issue on the 10:00 news tonight. One thing I genuinely don’t understand, so perhaps OLDNAT or someone can help me…

    How can the Yes Campaign say that an independent Scotland will improve childcare, get rid of the bedroom tax etc.? Won’t there be any elections? Why is it not possible for a party which doesn’t want to improve childcare or keep the bedroom tax to be elected? Why would independence in itself bring these things? Similarly, why is it not possible for a party that wants to keep nuclear weapons to be elected?

    I am, as I say, genuinely puzzled.

  7. @Sun_Politics: YouGov/Sun poll tonight: Labour with a 7 point lead: CON 32, LAB 39, LDEM 10, UKIP 12

  8. @ Old Nat

    In that article there is no mention of Scotland’s EU membership in any direct quotation… It seems to be Express’s interpretation. Who knows how the rock of Tariik affects the whole process.

    Romania, because of Transylvania would be an issue (but less important) and Italy for Southern Karintia.

  9. Keeping the Monarchy and keeping Sterling are both policies that smack of trimming as far as the ‘Yes’ campaign is concerned. The reverse of this is of course, what’s the point if there is no real difference to a little bit more financial control under Devo Max?

  10. ON

    You’re confusing my comments with others’. I haven’t said owt about “proper independence”. I spoke about monetary sovereignty. And I suggest that Scotland in a Pound zone would be more like Belgium than France in the EZ. Scotland would have SOME influence on monetary policy, but relatively little.

    Which brings us back to the question that you ignored: Why stick with the Pound instead of joining the Euro?


    If we’re into “guarantees” and “absolutes” are you guaranteeing absolutely that Scotland will remain in the EU after a UK in/out referendum?

    I made the point earlier that making judgements on the future depends on which set of assumptions you choose to accept. What future seems most likely?

    I’m sure that you know (but just forgot to mention) that the EU doesn’t want to touch the issue with a barge pole until an existing member state asks the formal question, which won’t happen until the Scottish or Catalan referendum makes it urgent.

    That the UK prefers not to ask the question and continue uncertainty on the issue is politics.

    It allows folk like you to play the uncertainty card!

  12. ON

    Good debating technique, but “absolute” is pushing it a bit far. How about “reasonable expectation with a bit of evidence”.

    See me? I’m a pragmatist. That will do for me.


    I think you should do some reading! I have no idea what 10.00 news you saw, but it seems to have been lamentably deficient in imparting information.

  14. @Norbold

    I wonder the same thing. Why is the issue of independence confused with the SNP manifesto? They should be separate. After independence there will be elections and then manifesto promises can be made.

    It makes it difficult to persuade Cons to vote Yes and folk that are against disarmament .

  15. @ Old Nat

    I agree that the “no” camp uses the uncertainty a bit ott (seems to be quite effective). But some of the policies of the white paper are clearly about reducing the FEELING of uncertainty, so the SNP in a way (on the opposite side) recognises it as a dominant narrative.

    I think it is a compromise that leads to a lose-lose situation. It hasn’t yet been verbalised – but it will happen.

  16. OLDNAT

    Blimey, that was meant as a little light relief [makes mental note]

  17. Thanks OLDNAT, that’s very helpful. You are a wonderful person.

  18. Keeping the Monarchy and keeping Sterling are both policies that smack of trimming as far as the ‘Yes’ campaign is concerned. The reverse of this is of course, what’s the point if there is no real difference to a little bit more financial control under Devo Max?

    We don’t have to share the monarchy with the Scots.

    They can have her 100% :)

    (just a joke folks…really..)

  19. Regarding the Spanish position, what Garcia-Margallo actually said was that Spain would not veto Scottish independence – and I assume by this he means EU membership – if the arrangement was accepted by Westminster. This is utterly critical.

    The position is therefore that rUK holds a de facto veto on Scottish membership of the EU. In many ways, this is the worst possible news for the SNP. It means that rUK will have an ability to make demands of Scotland, safe in the knowledge that refusal to agree to these will cut the critical lifeline of EU membership.

    Of course, this would depend on Spain retaining this stance, but given the internal issues in Spain, support for a separatist state that does not carry the consent of the partner states would be pretty inconceivable.

    The glee with which @Oldnat produced the linked is oddly juxtaposed with what the article actually says – that EU membership of an independent Scotland would be in the gift of Westminster.


    You only have yourself to blame if you choose to be a pedant! :-)

    I do recognise that you won’t have been informed of the attitudes of folk like the Danes who anticipate an easy transition of Scotland from membership as part of the UK to membership as an independent member.

    Not that what will “do for you” makes any difference to what undecided Scots voters think “will do for them”.

  21. Alec

    I’ll admit that I’m a political ingenue, but I didn’t read ANYTHING about Scotland’s position vis-a-vis the EU into Garcia-Margallo’s comments. It seemed to me to be what it was on the surface: a comment on Spain’s opinion on whether Scotland could become independent, not at all about what Spain would say if an independent Scotland applied for EU membership.

  22. Personally I think that the reality of international politics is that, were Scotland to become independent, both the UK and the wider international community would be welcoming and accommodating to her. I think Spain would be uncomfortable about it, but wouldn’t want to pick a fight that would look petty and defensive (and would probably increase Basque and Catalan resistance to Spain).

    Most of the democratic world (apart from Russia) generally acts in a broadly amicable and tolerant way towards fellow states, whatever their misgivings. Diplomacy is King.

    I regret that Better Together are so focused on planting the seeds of fear and doubt.

  23. “Stephen W

    “I say let Scots keep the pound. Charge them £10 billion a year for the pleasure. Another £10 billion a year to use our other institutions as well. Otherwise they can sod off”

    Don’t we get a discount? After all we would be chucking Trident back doon the water.

  24. @Oldnat – “I do recognise that you won’t have been informed of the attitudes of folk like the Danes who anticipate an easy transition of Scotland from membership as part of the UK to membership as an independent member.”

    Quite what the Danes have to do with this is unclear, but they, like everyone else, simply doesn’t know. A new treaty will be required, which will require unanimity among all 28 member states. All the Danes can really say is that they don’t foresee a Danish veto – beyond that it’s not relevant.

    We already know that Spain will take Westminster’s lead on this, and could conceivably veto if Westminster declares rUK unhappy with the negotiations. However, more significant I think that an actual veto will be the pressure for the removal of opt outs for Scotland. It may even be essential for Scotland to join the Euro.

  25. ON

    So we can wrap this particular part of the discussion up by agreeing that Scotland’s post-Yes position vis-a-vis EU membership is, shall we say, “fluid?”

  26. ALEC

    “Everyone knows” : “We already know”

    Those actually mean “you think”. But then we know your opinion already.

  27. “If those who say “proper independence” (a fairly silly term)”


    Lol, when it comes to silliness, hard to beat the time you thanked me for providing an explanation then a little while later complained I hadn’t offered an explanation. Or the time you tried to claim the study of history was confined to the unique, sans any proof… Productive Pedagogy was a bit of a hoot too. You figured it out what it is yet?

    But the current fave, is that when asked how things will turn out with currency, Nato, EU etc., all you can say is that… wait for it… The voters will decide!! Well duh. This may be news to you but most people already know that.

    You weren’t being asked who decides, but for info. on which they should make the decision. And neither you nor the SNP seem able to say. On key issues, it’s basically just… Dunno. No idea. Pas de clue.

    As for the currency, it’s a bit silly not to consider the downsides. We were not keen to join the Euro, because there are downsides to such an arrangement, as became apparent. We can trade without a shared currency as with Europe, so the idea it’s so very much in our interests is fanciful. We didn’t go for the Euro so the precedent is rather against you there. A shared currency is a risk…

    People have put the downsides, but you haven’t addressed them…

    If you don’t think sharing the Euro can impact significantly on your level of independence, I look forward to your considering the case of Greece. Or even Italy, countries that had politicians rather imposed on them…

  28. @Neil A – I would agree that a consented split would be fine. The difficulty would come if the agreement could not be settled. If rUK is unhappy about the proposed terms – and there really are some pretty big issues that could cause this – then the chance for Scotland to gain EU entry is almost zero.

    Faslane and the currency arrangements are the two issues I would expect rUK to refuse to move on, and in reality I think Scotland would have to accept the presence of a sovereign rUK base on the Clyde and fiscal control from Westminster if it wanted to use sterling.

    While I agree up to a point that Better Together shouldn’t just be focused on the fear message, the corollary of this is that the Yes campaign should stop claiming everything will be just fine.

  29. ON

    As for who should be done for on the Independence vote, don’t get me started in that one.

    My uncle who was born in Leith, who moved to Doncaster to work in 1965, who was married, who gave away his daughter and who buried his father (in Leith) in his family’s tartan and who always defines is nationality as “Scottish” will not get a vote next year.

    What will do for him is irrelevant.

    My Uruguayian colleague and her husband who are currently moving to Edinburgh to work on a five year contract WILL get a vote.

    What will do for them matters.

  30. leftylampton


    So we can wrap this particular part of the discussion up by agreeing that Scotland’s post-Yes position vis-a-vis EU membership is, shall we say, “fluid?”

    It’s already fluid because at present the next Tory government will hold a referendum on the EU so by irony I think Scotland’s place in the EU is under threat by remaining part of the the UK.

  31. @Oldnat – just to clarify – these weren’t what I think or my opinions – they are the stated policy and constitutional position of Spain. I didn’t mean to to misinform you.


    Apologies if your post was a genuine question. However, I’m sure that you’ll understand that asking “Won’t there be any elections?” might have suggested otherwise.


    “My uncle who was born in Leith, who moved to Doncaster to work in 1965, who was married, who gave away his daughter and who buried his father (in Leith) in his family’s tartan and who always defines is nationality as “Scottish” will not get a vote next year.

    What will do for him is irrelevant.

    My Uruguayian colleague and her husband who are currently moving to Edinburgh to work on a five year contract WILL get a vote”

    I was born in England and now live in Scotland and will have a vote. I have 6 Scottish born relatives living in England and they wont have a vote.

    What’s your point?

  34. ALEC

    “We already know that Spain will take Westminster’s lead on this” is not, and has never been” the policy and constitutional position of Spain”.

    Given the recent spats between the UK and Spain, that position would be even less likely!

    Spain has a stance on Catalunya, the Basque Country and other provinces as to the “indivisibility of Spain” as a constitutional issue.

    You didn’t misinform me, though you may have confused yourself.

  35. To me, one of the deepest underlying contradictions in the white paper is the insistence that an Independent Scotland will both be able to negotiate fiscal union with the UK, and also negotiate re-entry to the EU.

    It’s well established how mush benefit Scotland get out of Scotland remaining in fiscal union with the UK. It’s hard to identify what the UK get out of remaining in fiscal union with an independent Scotland. Yet never the less, it is simply assured that the UK will not only agree to such a fiscal union, but grant Scotland veto over monetary policy!

    And then what happens if Independent Scotland does get Monetary union with the UK? How does that affect the EU membership negotiations?

    At least now they admit they will have to negotiate membership by agreement of the current member states, not simply inherit it. But they seem to ignore that being in fiscal union with the UK is a potential deal breaker.

    Scotland seems to want membership of the EU with all the same concessions that the UK gets. And with no apparent plan to deal with what happens if Spain demands Scotland immediately sign up to the Eurozone, Schengen, et al. As we’ve seen, Spain are not feeling full of the spirit of cooperation right now.

    There doesn’t appear to be any plan for what to do if Spain decides they do not want independence seeking countries given easy entry to the EU, let alone allow them such concessions the SNP think will be granted after only months of negotiations…

  36. From Mike Smithson –
    “New Survation poll taken in the Thanet South has Ukip in 2nd – 5% behind LAB

    LAB 35+5 on GE2015
    UKIP 30+24
    CON 28-20
    LD 5-15”

    Well, we can see where support is flowing – but is second place pre-campaigning enough to win at a GE? Probably if UKIP stand Farage and Labour stand a rubbish candidate.

    Also, that’s fairly likely a Lib Dem lost deposit if the remaining LDs rally to Labour out of fear of UKIP. A pattern we may well see repeated elsewhere.

  37. @OldNat

    I think it’s valid to point out that the White Paper spent a lot of it’s word count on policy promises more suited to a party political manifesto.

  38. @Allan Christie

    Maybe anyone that would be eligible to play football for Scotland should be able to vote.

  39. Also interestingly from Mr. Smithson:

    “78% of Ukip voters in Thanet S said they wouldn’t vote CON even if the purples did not field a candidate”

    “52% of Ukip voters in Survation Thanet S said they would stick with their party rather than CON even if that meant EdM became prime minister”

  40. As @neil A says – there is a slight issue here as there is only a single SNP poster currently fielding a lot of critical questions, so we should remain respectful and careful not to stray over lines.

    In that vein, I’m going to muse on the polling effects of the SNP strategy. I’m hoping it’s not unduly partisan to suggest that the SNP position is to sound positive and upbeat about independence – quite naturally.

    While voters tend not to warm to unduly negative politics, I’m actually wondering if the SNP might have pitched things a little too positively. It will be a really tricky pitch to make, but my suspicion is that a more realistic sounding pitch might be easier to sell. While purely anecdotal, I am aware of a few Scots electors who have moved towards ‘no’ because the Yes campaign is ‘too good to be true’.

    I suspect this might be one area to watch for in the polling. The SNP now needs to maintain credibility on two fronts – both the structural and constitutional arrangements, and now also the day to day policy issues, like childcare, pensions, and oil funds. Given that they have suggested things will be really remarkably positive on all counts, this is going to require a good deal of belief on the part of electors.

    The risk is going to be that voters seeing an offer that looks too good might question the messengers honesty, and if there is any question mark over credibility, then the SNP’s task becomes almost impossible.

  41. @ Alec

    “There would be absolutely no political momentum outside of Scotland in favour of the contents of the White Paper. Absolutely none. rUK voters have not been consulted, and the Westminster government would have the duty to represent the best interests of those wishing to remain governed ultimately from Westminster. A 100% turnout with a 100% Yes vote wouldn’t make the blindest difference to this simple fact.”


    Indeed. The Taylor article is hilarious, way beyond “silly”. He claims that because the Scots will have discussed the SNP hoped-for items, that this gives them a “mandate” to “trump opposition”.

    Really now. So if a group of people discuss something, without others affected included in the negotiation, this gives them a mandate that trumps the concerns of others affected????

    Still, on the bright side, if it’s going to be that silly, we could make the best of it, and we in England can get together and discuss amongst ourselves whatever we would like from Scots, and Scots have to defer because our momentum and mandate will trump their objections!!

    Free whisky would be nice for starters…

  42. AC

    I’d t
    Have thought the point was blindingly obvious. Should the ability to vote on an epochal issue be decided by residency? Should someone who moved 3 hours down the train line but who considers himself “Scottish” be disenfranchised in the single most important decision on the future if his country?

  43. @Oldnat – you are quite right – Spain does not have a constitutional position per se on secessionist states in other countries. However, it’s government has clearly stated that it would not accept EU membership for such states if the split was not mutually agreed.

    I should have written my post more carefully, but the point still remains – Scotland will not have automatic right to EU membership, and will need to ensure all 28 nations accept the necessary treaty changes. Without rUK’s full backing, this is highly unlikely to happen.


    I posted earlier that it was made quite clear that the White Paper has 2 components.

    1. the process of and strategy for the negotiations they would lead to independence (as the Electoral Commission asked both sides to do)

    2. The SNP vision of how they would use the powers of independence should they be elected in 2016.

  45. Lets be clear here… Scotland (including myself) has 450,000 English born residents which most will have a vote in the referendum and England has around 900,000 Scots which most wont have a vote.

    There are also over 500,000 Scots abroad who wont have a vote but lets assume the 1.4 million Scots who now reside out of Scotland were allowed to vote in the referendum and their votes were decisive on winning a no vote.

    Would that be fair? Considering for one reason or another they decided to leave Scotland but still expect to have a say in its future?

    If it is fair then I would expect them to show up on Scottish tax receipts.

  46. couper2802

    @Allan Christie

    Maybe anyone that would be eligible to play football for Scotland should be able to vote

    Yes I’m all for that but they had better be good.

    On that note, Gordon Strachan said he will vote YES is Scotland invests more on football.

  47. ALEC

    That backing was enshrined in the Edinburgh agreement. If you are claiming that the rUK Government were dissimulating and would do all they could to damage Scotland, should it vote Yes, then you are entitled to your view.

    Posturing by politicians in a campaign is quite normal, but to suggest that the Westminster Government would be vicious and vindictive goes way beyond any criticism that I would make of Westminster.

  48. @OldNat

    And by conflating the two within the same white paper, they open themselves up to accusation of playing political games with the process.

    Yes, they made it quite clear that they were doing this. But that doesn’t make it stop being a problem. The white paper should have been their plans for negotiation of independence. The political aspirations post independence should have been their election manifesto. Combining the two is a clear attempt to say “If you vote for independence, then we can give you all these goodies!”

  49. @ALLAN CHRISTIE: “I might be wrong but I don’t think there has ever been a UK election where Scotland…”

    My point was just that even if there’s a ‘yes’ vote Scots will still participate in the UK’s 2015 General Election but I suppose it would mean their MPs standing down in 2016 (would it?).

    Could be interesting:

    But probably still not enough to give the Tories a majority!

  50. allan christie

    “It’s already fluid because at present the next Tory government will hold a referendum on the EU so by irony I think Scotland’s place in the EU is under threat by remaining part of the the UK.”

    Fortunately for the majority, polling evidence about both the Scottish Independence referendum and the next UK general Election shows that both those things are not going to happen for a good while yet.

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