This week’s YouGov/Sunday Times poll is out here. Topline figures are CON 32%, LAB 32%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 18%, GRN 6%. YouGov’s average for UKIP this week has been running at only been 14%, so the 18% here looks unusually high – it could be an effect of the the events in Paris, or could just be a random blip.

Part of the rest of the poll addressed the attack on Charlie Hebdo – of course, these figures need to be seen in that context and people’s opinions may very be different in circumstances that are not so emotionally charged (it’s an issue I’ve sometimes commented on about polling about the death penalty – people only commission polls on the death penalty when there is a particularly heinous murder in the news, so polls are always influenced by a particular event).

Looking at the polling, a strong majority of people think the press should be free to criticise, mock and ridicule religion, but even in the current context a sizeable minority disagree. Around a quarter of people think the media should not be allowed to mock or ridicule religious beliefs or figures, 18% think the media should not even be allowed to criticise or question religion. More specifically, 69% of people think it was acceptable for Charlie Hebdo to publish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, 14% unacceptable. In the aftermath of the attack, 63% think that other newspapers should have reprinted the cartoons, 71% that the media in general have an obligation to show controversial items that might offend people if they are newsworthy.

Moving back onto party politics, YouGov asked about the two issues that dominated the first few days of campaigning last week – the economy and the NHS – along with expectations and preferences for the result.

A majority of people (58%) think that the pledges and promises that Labour have made mean they would end up having to increase taxes on people like them. However, people feel almost the same about the pledges and promises made by the Conservative party – 51% think they would end up having to increase taxes for people like them. Overall 37% think George Osborne has been a good Chancellor, 44% a bad one – a net rating of minus 7. This actually compares relatively well to people’s recollections of past Chancellors – Alistair Darling scores minus 19, Gordon Brown minus 18, Ken Clarke minus 8 and minus 19 for Norman Lamont.

Labour maintain their normal lead on the party most trusted to deliver NHS services – 31% would trust a Labour government under Ed Miliband more, 22% a Conservative government under David Cameron (there was a ComRes poll late last year that showed David Cameron more trusted than Ed Miliband on the NHS, which caused some comment. I think that’s probably just a salutory lesson of not paying too much attention to single polls with unusual results – the overwhelming majority of polls on the NHS show Labour are more trusted on it even if you do mention David Cameron and Ed Miliband in the question.

Asked about their own experience of GP services, 15% say their local GP service has got better, 34% worse, 40% that is has stayed about the same. 49% of people say they are normally able to get an appointment when they need one, 36% that they are often unable to. 8% say they have had to go to A&E when they were unable to get a GP appointment. Long waits at Accident & Emergency are mostly blamed on people turning up with minor ailments, rather than funding shortages from this or the previous government. 54% blame people turning up with minor problems, 29% blame immigration and health tourism, 28% not enough social care and 27% lack of GP out of hours service.

Looking towards the next election people are split down on the middle on their preferences – 38% would prefer the Conservatives to have the most seats, 38% for Labour to have the most seats. 52% would like one of the parties to win an overall majority, 24% would prefer a hung Parliament. Asked what they think the result will actually be, 59% expect a hung Parliament, only 18% expect a majority government. The Conservatives are seen as slightly more likely than Labour to be the largest party, 42% to 35%. Asked a more detailed question about coalition preferences, Tory voters would prefer another deal with the Lib Dems to one with UKIP (48% to 37%). Labour voters would prefer a Lib Dem deal to one with the SNP or UKIP (42% Lib Dem, 29% SNP, 12% UKIP).

289 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 32, LAB 32, LD 7, UKIP 18, GRN 6”

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  1. “Any visit to major stores at present seems to indicate lots of shoppers about.”

    All is well for poor people then. That’s nice news.


    @” Scotland. Polls currently give Labour circa 26% compared with 42% in 2010. That would be a loss of 1.5% in terms of GB voting share.”

    From this morning’s YouGov Poll

    Lab 2010 to SNP AND PC as % pts of VI :-

    (4% X 84% X 402) as % of ( 78% X 1684) =1.02%

    But of course, as I pointed out- the UK %VI effect gives no indication of the potential seat losses when “efficiently packaged” Labour votes in urban constituencies are lost.

  3. PAUL

    Ah one of your famous non sequiturs -you do do them well, I must admit :-)

  4. Truly amazing scenes in Paris.

    Their Republican Principles & Values clearly mean a lot to them.

  5. coli

    merci mon ami.

    I thought it was quite succinct: viz – busy shops don’t prove very much.

    [Except that SOME people are in shops.]

  6. Must say I am pleased to see Arsenal happily integrating workers from Chile…………………………..

  7. PAUL

    pas de problème

    On the contrary it “proves” quite a lot, if shopkeepers are experiencing an increase in customer visits.

    I make a habit of asking if they are busy, if I can find someone to ask.
    We visited a bedding retailer today-part of a national chain. Manager said best level of trade for this time of year in four years-their computer system crashed as we were ordering ! :-)

  8. I feel that a lot of the pundits who comment about the large vote /seats to be won by the SNP overlook a few facts.
    These are:
    Never underestimate the capacity of Alex Salmond to harm the SNP vote, he has done that time and time again since the large SNP win at the last Hollyrood election.
    The other main factor is that the Scottish Labour Party is allready campaigning hard for the GE and that has started to show an increase in their vote mainly at the expense of the SNP

  9. Meant to ask if you enjoyed watching the delectable Laure Berthaud & co again last night Paul.
    I thought it was up to the usual quality :-)


    Don’t recall seeing you around before-may one enquire why you are a “former” & not a “current” supporter ?

  11. @Former Labour Person

    “the Scottish Labour Party is allready campaigning hard for the GE and that has started to show an increase in their vote mainly at the expense of the SNP”

    The polls say otherwise:

  12. Relax everyone – no Ashcroft poll after all. He just doesn’t know what day of the week it is:

  13. @RosieandDaisie

    Careful, you’re getting love-bombed from a surprising source. I mean Paul, what I was really trying to say Paul, is that you really are Paul, one of those people Paul, who I think, Paul……………

    These are dangerous times.


    P.S. Arsenal quite impressive this afternoon, I thought. Have mercy on my rabble in a few weeks time.

    “lots of people in shops does not prove very much”

    Whereas of course, a Labour politician trying to prove that children in Birmingham in 2014, are like children in Leningrad in 1942, is a definite absolute truth.

  15. Crassbat

    Nice one-good to see you are alert .

    Actually I have stopped worrying about being stalked by you-I was recently directed to research which revealed that stalkers invariably have very small ***cks :-)


    It is a definitely a good news story on many levels. Well done Angela and the RSCH :)

  17. Statty,

    It looks like your graph shows some SNP VI shifted to UKIP in December!

    I think the main reason DC is unhappy about debates is the fact that he doesn’t get the synchronised steps properly.

    Brilliant :)

  19. Colin
    My calculation re-Scotland was based on the assumption that Scotlandaccounted for circa 8.33% of GB electorate. Thus, if Labour is down there by 16% it has th effect f depressing its GB share by 1.33%.

  20. GRAHAM

    Fair enough-but I was using You Gov’s Poll this morning-which I understand meets recognised standards for the publication of demographically representative data *

    * with caveats in connection with small sub-samples.

  21. Colin

    I have to admit I was not relying on a specific poll but on comments/analysis over a period of weeks.

  22. @ Former Labour Supporter

    Edinburgh Labour continues to have a five seat strategy. They intend to hold all four seats that Labour already has and take Edinburgh West from the LDs.

    If it’s true that Ashcroft has a constituency poll of Edinburgh North & Leith in the field, the Labour team will look closely at it for an indication of how much work they’ll have to do. But it’s only one poll, so not too much reliance will be placed on it.

  23. Ann in Wales,

    Ed Miliband said on the Andrew Marr Show that his principle is that energy producers should pass on costs to consumers-

    “We do want to see those wholesale costs passed on to consumers.”

    – i.e. retail energy market prices should reflect the volatility of wholesale prices. So Miliband wants retail prices to go up when wholesale prices go up and vice versa.

    Furthermore, even if this wasn’t his principle, an asymmetric forced price cut would increase the costs of cutting prices whenever the regulator WASN’T forcing price cuts, and increase the profits from raising prices when possible. And on the flipside it reduces the incentive to invest in the energy market, increasing energy costs in the long-term.

    Come on Bill, thats far to complicated for Ed’s fans. The poor starving
    and Cameron to sell NHS to Kaiser Healthcare of California, thats the stuff to give ’em.

  25. COLIN

    When I state that my ‘nom de plume’, if that is the correct term, is Former Labour Person, that doesn’t stop me voting and supporting the Labour Party.
    I’m sure that clarifies the matter.

  26. COLIN
    Don’t recall seeing you around before-may one enquire why you are a “former” & not a “current” supporter ?

    You see this type of thing all the time on Scottish forums. Scottish Labour use multiple monikers to try and manipulate any debate and mostly end up debating with themselves.

    One of the reasons I gave up commenting on any Scottish forums.


    I’ve always understood that as long as one keeps within the bounds of decency, you can call yourself what you like.
    Unless the conventions have changed recently.

  28. Former could mean s/he used to be a member or an elected councillor, MP, MSP etc. Or maybe worked for the Party.

    As s/he has readily admitted that s/he may well vote for the Party in 2015, s/he hardly fits the ‘disguised troll’ category which Allan is suggesting.

  29. SYZYGY

    I were a Tory strategist I would advise DC to only agree to a debate between himself and EM. That way the public can see what both potential PM’s have to offer without all the side show and populus antics from UKIP and the Lib/Dems.

    It would also even the debate out as with these debates the incumbent always gets the worse of it by being attacked from more than one opponent.

    Nothing to stop the broadcasters from having other debates excluding the PM and EM but involving everyone else.

  30. AMBER

    I’m not calling anyone a troll but I did highlight before the tendency of some posters to pop up and sort of come to the rescue of another poster at very convenient times.

    Hi Val.

  31. @ Allan Christie

    I were a Tory strategist I would advise DC to only agree to a debate between himself and EM.

    Then your advice would come too late – because DC’s already adopted the tactic of saying that the Greens should be included.

  32. @ Allan Christie

    I’m not calling anyone a troll

    Good :-)

  33. AMBER

    That’s true and that’s why I wrote “If I were”

  34. Colin @ 1.12 pm:

    It seems you are suggesting that Labour gets some unfair advantage from having urban Scottish constituencies “efficiently packed”.

    You ought to acknowledge that many urban constituencies in Scotland are large, with sizes above average.

    It`s the rural constituencies in the sparsely-populated parts of Scotland that bring the average down, and they don`t help Labour.

    Some urban examples, with 2010 electorates –

    82473 – Falkirk
    81756 – Linlithgow & E. Falkirk
    77729 – Rutherglen
    76580 – Livingston
    76190 – Lanark & Hamilton

  35. Graham

    There may be the vaguest hint that SNP support has peaked -this week 3 out of 5 YouGov crossbreaks this week have them dipping below 40%

    The change in methodology that YouGov brought in at the start of the week means that we probably need to see even more polls than in the past before we can draw any conclusions from the cross-breaks. They may be more accurate when we can, but a week’s cross-breaks are now worth even less before. UKIP’s 12% in Scotland today should act as reminder

    In any case, although three of these five were below 40%, they actually average out at 40.6%. More tellingly the corresponding Labour average is 26% – pretty much the figure we’ve seen consistently for them since October in ‘proper’ polls. It’s not just the SNP’s rating that matters, it’s how low Labour falls – and if they fall below that 26% they quickly end up with only a few or no seats. Differential swing might even make this worse.

    On the same topic, I must also point out yet again how difficult it is for the SNP to get about 30 seats as so many people are predicting. It’s possible with the SNP in the upper 30s of VI, depending on the split between the other Parties, but in most scenarios the jump between 20-ish and 40-ish seats is only a few points. That’s FPTP for you.

  36. @COLIN
    Agree regarding the show of strength and resolve in Paris. I very much hope that there is much more to it than this weeks media story.
    A very firm message needs to go out to certain persons. I think the French have handled the whole dreadful affair very well and I wonder if the Met for example, would have reacted as efficiently.
    I suppose, had this been a British tragedy, the usual suspects would be screaming for an enquiry regarding an obvious shoot to kill policy.
    Very proud of my French nom de plume at present.

  37. @ Allan

    If I were, I would have…, to be correct.

    I don’t usually bother about people’s grammar because my own falls short of perfect; I simply thought that you weren’t aware of DC having already chosen his tactic.

    I think the main reason DC is unhappy about debates is the fact that he doesn’t get the synchronised steps properly.

    Brilliant :)

    He’s not even bothering to look is he?

  39. achrisye

    “You see this type of thing all the time on Scottish forums. Scottish Labour use multiple monikers to try and manipulate any debate and mostly end up debating with themselves.

    One of the reasons I gave up commenting on any Scottish forums.”

    We need to polish up our techniques on this one then.

    [Mind you, sounds a bit racist to me.]

  40. Back in 1974, the SNP got 30% of the vote in Scotland and 11 seats.

    Their support then drifted to back to the Tories in 1979.

  41. Amber Star,

    And Labour: Labour performed relatively poorly in the 1974 elections (and in 1983, as it happens) and were only a little ahead of the Tories in Scotland in February 1974, but recovered for a very strong performance against the national swing in 1979.

  42. Anthony,

    Just spotted you on the Sunday Politics (Yorks and Lincs) talking about Sheffield Hallam. They really ought to get their CG people some more experience.

    Speaking of Hallam, it’s been back in the news again, in a relatively balanced post by Helen Pidd:

  43. FLP

    Thanks-I understand-a former Labour supporter who still votes for them :-)

  44. ROLY

    I certainly thought Hollande put on a good show today-and people responded in huge numbers. The Vox Pops seemed to indicate a strong re-affirmation of their Secular Republic.

    All power to them.

    Yes-their armed police seemed to do a pretty good job-I’m assuming
    the death toll in the supermarket could have been higher.

    The big question-yet again-is why were these people, known to Security Services, able to slip under the radar?
    Cock-up-or too many to track 24/7 ??

  45. @ Bill Patrick

    I think Labour’s increase in 1979 came mainly from the higher turnout.

  46. Well, the Kennedy School made a pretty good analysis why the missing of 9/11 was inevitable (the real one or if it was caught then the next one).

    The French law on engagement with armed suspects was defined at the time of gang warfare at the end of 1940s early 1950s. Very different compared to the UK. But certain police actions (cattling for example) that are legal in the UK would be illegal in France.


    I think the main reason DC is unhappy about debates is the fact that he doesn’t get the synchronised steps properly…. He’s not even bothering to look is he?’

    There’s always one away with the fairies :)

  48. Amber Star / Allan Christie

    “I were a Tory strategist I would advise DC to only agree to a debate between himself and EM. ”

    Then your advice would come too late – because DC’s already adopted the tactic of saying that the Greens should be included.

    Actually he hasn’t. What he’s said is that, if UKIP are to be included (as the OfCom ruling might imply – though in the end it’s a matter for the broadcasters) then the Greens should be as well. So Allan’s suggestion of a straight Cam-Mil (presumably two-humped) head-to-head would also fit the bill.

    Cameron’s ‘intervention’ is being sold (by no. 10) as either standing up for the public’s rights or (by everyone else) as an attempt to run away from the debate altogether. In actual fact it’s more about trying to avoid a situation where Farage will be able to stand there accusing the other three of being a triple-headed monster and himself as standing up to an unpopular political establishment. To some extent this is how Clegg did so well in 2010.

    If Bennett is there, she will take some of the anti-Establishment kudos off Farage. And she will probably be less afraid to attack him directly as well – she’s not trying to retrieve former voters now choosing UKIP, so she doesn’t have worry about alienating them in the same way as the other three.

  49. @COLIN

    The police and legal system have not been granted the necessary powers honestly; but then theres no clear legal power that would stop these messes beyond declaring all combatants a lost cause.

    Which would just mean keeping people expensively for 60 years till they died. That or follow them all their lives.

    It just doesn’t quite work. More effort by governments needs to target the exporters of terror but seemingly Qatar and Saudi Arabia are our bessies.

  50. @Colin/Roly,

    No the Met definitely wouldn’t have been able to manage the situation in the way that the French police did. They have at least threeadvantages over the British police.

    1) A national police structure rather than the awkward Balkanisation you see in UK policing.

    2) The existence of a separate national paramilitary policing organisation – The Gendarmerie (soldiers employed in law enforcement) – and within this a very specialised paramilitary counter-terrorism unit, the GIGN.

    3) Partly as a consequence of 2), vastly larger numbers of trained firearms officers available at short notice than the UK police could ever muster.

    As for “missing” the terrorists. 24/7 surveillance of a single suspected terrorist would probably require around 40-50 trained surveillance staff. My force doesn’t have anything like that number, so Devon and Cornwall wouldn’t be able to surveil even a single terrorist 24/7, even if we didn’t surveil anyone else. Of course there other capabilities – National Crime Agency, regional Crime Squads etc that have their own surveillance teams. As do MI5 and the Army. But I doubt that the UK has enough surveillance officers to carry out 24/7 surveillance on more than 50 people. Certainly less than 100.

    As with so many things, I suspect the media portrayal of policework is so inaccurate that people really don’t know what they’re asking for. Permanent covert surveillance (as opposed to tags etc) is simply not a viable solution for the majority of potentially dangerous people.

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