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. @Roly/Norbold,

    The expression “shoot to kill” always amuses me. If a police officer shoots someone, they are always shooting to kill. There is no tactical option of “shooting to injure” in their manual.

    What people really mean is a “plan to shoot” policy.

  2. @ Roger Mexico

    DC has been saying for ages that he won’t do the debates. His previous point was that they suck the life out of the rest of the campaign. It’s probably the only thing about which I agree with ‘Dave’. That said, I actually mean it. ;-)

  3. @NEIL A
    Thank you for the heads up guv. ( to many episodes of the bill.)

  4. @ Neil A

    I saw a TV programme once where a US special firearms officer shot the person in the hand, making him drop the gun. It wasn’t a hostage situation, though.

  5. “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.”


    There are already far more than could ever possibly be kept track of hence why the security services are always wanting more powers but personally I don’t want to live in a police state just because of ****ing Blair.

    There isn’t a good solution any more as it’s already too late imo but the political class could at least stop increasing the size of the problem with their open borders policy..

    (Also even with a full-on police state you’re not going to stop impulsive jihadist attacks like someone driving a lorry through a town and gets antsy over Christmas decorations and decides there and then to plough down a bunch of pedestrians.)

  6. MrJones,

    Open borders is a very very long time ago. If you are talking about EU citizens only, then freedom of movement goes back to 1973 when Heath was PM, as it is in the treaty of Rome. I don’t know what it has to do with Blair. And in any case, the threat of terrorism is not caused by EU citizens moving from one EU state to another.

  7. @Laszlo – “cattling”

    Malapropisms always welcome.

    Kettling (aka corralling)… possibly derived from German military term .

    My neighbour kept me in a state of perplexity for months with talk of her antique “jug on air”.

    Every bit as descriptive as a jardinière.

  8. Once it became clear that hostages had already been killed, then the “plan to shoot” policy has an obvious justification in terms of saving the remaining lives.

    Presumably it would be the same on this side of the Channel too?

  9. Roger Mexico

    I agree totally – it’s why I said ‘the vaguest hint.’ At this stage I am not reading a great deal into the data – though Statgeek’s chart on this thread is possibly a bit supportive of that hint!

  10. @Colon

    You really are a very silly old sausage, aren’t you, and as for stalking, well those old pots keep calling the kettles black don’t they? For quite some time, the only posts of yours that I ever read were those addressed to my own!! CB11 and all that, but quite why you kept reading my posts, which you obviously still do, was and is quite beyond me.

    As for the size of the gonads, all up to shape and in good working order, you’ll be glad to know. I hope that now concludes your rather disturbing interest in my genitalia too.

    If you know what I mean, Colin, because the thing is Colin, I saw your last post Colin….


    See you Colin.


  11. neil a

    “The expression “shoot to kill” always amuses me”

    Yes, I always get a good laugh out of that as well.

  12. @Neil A

    “The expression “shoot to kill” always amuses me. If a police officer shoots someone, they are always shooting to kill. There is no tactical option of “shooting to injure” in their manual.”

    That’s an interesting point and you’ll obviously know more about these matters than I do, but I got the impression that the police marksman shot to injure the Woolwich murderers, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale rather than to kill them. I thought that showed extraordinary calmness and professionalism considering the officers were under fear of death at the time, although I suppose it might just have been a shoot to kill that didn’t actually kill the intended targets.

    However, I do remember thinking at the time that it looked like a very calculated attempt to immobilise and disable the murderers rather than an outright attempt to kill. It certainly enabled them to be brought to justice rather than endow them with the martyrdom that they dearly craved.

    Of course, I might be utterly mistaken about all this and could well be reading too much into a chaotic set of events.

  13. Crossbat ,
    Hold on.What about the unarmed man killed on the tube by several armed officers .

    @ 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

    It’s okay I could also pick up on numerous spelling and grammar mistminers from various posters but it only stifles the debate.

    Anyway I wasn’t aware DC had already chosen his tactic but merely agreed to something to shut EM up.


    “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”

    I couldn’t agree more.

  16. @Amber,

    I think I know the one you mean. Mentally ill man sitting on a chair in the street, keeps getting up and waving a handgun around, then sitting back down again, then repeating?

    That marksman used something called “patterning”, where the suspect’s movements were repetitious and predictable. He was confident he could hit the gun/gun hand, and was given authority to try. I don’t doubt there was at least one other marksman ready to double tap the guy’s chest if the objective wasn’t achieved.


    Yes I wondered that. Of course it’s perfectly possible that a marksman could choose a non-fatal target area, for whatever reason, but it’s not what they’re trained to do. The chest is the default target. Perhaps if a suspect was wearing body armour, you might aim for the thighs as the “best stopping shot”, given the head is very hard to hit. Or as you say it could just be that they aimed for the chest but shot low.


    If police officers couldn’t get amused about crimes and other sad happenings, we’d lead very emotionally stilted lives..


    I expect in the UK the situation would have been covered by “Operation Kratos” – i.e they would have suspected that the suspects might be wearing suicide belts, and that no-warning targeted head shots at short range should be used if possible, as that is the only mechanism that can guarantee that they can’t detonate their payload as they die. (That’s what happened to Charles de Menenez).

    In the specific circumstances of the French sieges it would probably have been academic. All three men died whilst in the process of actively attacking the police.

  17. Neil A,
    I seem to remember a post by you yesterday saying one of the men was obviously dead before the police went in.So how was he actively attacking the
    police?.Not for one second defending these people but just wondering why your posts differ.

  18. @Neil A

    Thanks for the reply and you could well be right about what happened in the Woolwich incident. That said, I thought it was, considering the gruesome circumstances, just about the best outcome. Two killers, rendered unable to cause any further harm to anyone else but fit to face justice. They can now sit in their prison cells, for a very long time, reflecting on what they did and, I hope in time, feel remorse for their actions too.

    @Anne in Wales

    I think Neil A has answered your point about Charles de Menenez above. Appalling tragedy but a combination of circumstances, that were understandable at the time, came to bear.

  19. @Ann in Wales.

    One of the hostages was dead. The terrorism was firing on the police, and then came charging towards them and tried to dive through the front door, carrying a gun. Needless to say about 300 rounds were fired into him and he didn’t get any further than the pavement.

  20. @Crossbat,
    I agree. No to martyrdom, Yes to the tedium of the court system and the anonymity of HMP Belmarsh. I just hope they’re keeping them away from other young muslim inmates.

    I do wonder if we need some sort of isolation system for those who proselytize terror whilst in prison. But it’s probably against their Human Rights.

  21. @ Neil A

    Yes, that was the one. It was pretty impressive shooting; & there were indeed other marksmen available to follow up, had the humane option not worked.

  22. @ Allan

    Anyway I wasn’t aware DC had already chosen his tactic…

    It’s very gracious of you to say so.

  23. IIRC, the French & the US constitutions don’t allow their military to fire on their own citizens. The UK constitution does allow it. That could be why France have a different approach to ours regarding non-military, armed response teams.

  24. NeilA,
    I see.

  25. Re martyrdom. Mightn’t it be best to get rid of the problem quickly by killing the troublemakers rather than take them through the courts possibly for years, and giving them fresh publicity all the time. And when they finally go to prison they have the opportunity to influence others.

  26. NEILA


    Most interesting.

    Your assessment of the 24/7 surveillance capability here is worrying given the numbers of UK jihadis abroad, who may return.

    I do think the key to this is improved surveillance capability & reform of Islam in UK to enforce approved liturgy nationwide.

    But god knows what can be done about overseas & cyber radicalisation ?

  27. @Amber

    Is that right? Gendarmes are military personnel, and they opened fire on three of their own citizens this week.

  28. Shoot To Kill.

    Having spent virtually my entire adult life using firearms in the Infantry, and being such a good shot that I used to represent my regiment at Bisley year in, year out, and having even be pistol team champion one year let me assure people that there is no such thing as shoot to wound. You always take the centre of what you can see. To show how good a shot, I could group with a standard SA80 to 150mm at 500m. In short, I would hit you in the centre of your face, 10 times out of 10, at a distance of 5 football pitches, no problem at all, or 1000m with a sniper rifle

    You always shoot to kill. And when they are down, if they move, shoot them again.

  29. Scotland:

    OK so we’ve now had a full run of YouGov Westminster polls since the Scottish Labour leadership election, so we can properly take stock of what’s happened. The short answer is not very much. Compared with the ten polls right before the Labour leadership election, the swing from SNP to LAB is a little over 1%:

  30. “I do wonder if we need some sort of isolation system for those who proselytize terror whilst in prison. But it’s probably against their Human Rights.”

    Neil, if I had a say then NO one killing “in the name of allah” [or any other “god”] would be provided with any right to prayer, until and unless they acknowledged that they were wrong in their interpretation of their particular belief systems.

  31. Crassprat

    Thanks for the First Person communication-wasn’t that difficult was it old chap?

    So much more intimate than the obligue Third Person .

    So now we can really get to know one other :-) :-)

  32. I think everyone agrees that the UK poll reflects the happenings in Paris.

    Of greater interest is the significant coverage of the NHS, with plenty of criticism ,has not produced a similar increase in the Labour vote.

    In Andy Burnham there is a EM appeal problem. EM will regret his Weaponise statement .

    If Labour can’t rely on a boost from NHS issues DC doesn’t need to be concened about coalition options.

  33. @ Neil A

    IIRC, When the operation involves French citizens, the Gendarmerie are under the control of their home office, not their MOD.

  34. AMBER STAR, The French Army equivalent of the SAS – BFST, were in attendance at the two brothers last stand and even had snipers in helicopters over the area as well as assault teams in position. They weren’t there for the good of their health.

  35. PENN

    I’m not convinced that Paris caused the UKIP uptick this morning.

    Admittedly the fieldwork would allow for knowledge of it.

  36. @Colin,

    Personally one of the reasons I am fairly relaxed about sacrificing some freedom/privacy to increased electronic surveillance, is that it allows the security services to more accurately target their live surveillance.

    I’d rather have machines in Cheltenham poring over my webmail than have armed surveillance officers milling around everywhere when I’m walking down the street.

    As for reforming Islam, the problem is that there’s no agency or authority that has the power to do it. There’s plenty of enthusiasm in some Islamic circles for redefining the traditional relationship between Muslims and the state, so that any country that permits the unrestricted worship of Allah counts as a “Muslim Country” rather than just those which are actually governed by Islam. But that’s a debate within Islam, and one which interventions from non Muslims probably won’t help (and would probably hurt). And even if the new thinking got the upper hand generally, it would have no sway over those mosques, schools and other organisations that didn’t agree with it.

  37. Colin,

    God knows what can be done about everything.

    Unfortunately, we lesser mortals are not omniprescient, and must hence try our best – in a glass darkly.

    It would certainly help if more imams were to speak out against such terrorism, which most certainly is not being carried out in furtherance of God’s will, whatever the fanatics may claim.


  38. Former Labour Person

    “The Scottish Labour Party is allready campaigning hard for the GE”

    I’ve seen a number of tweets from SNP & LiS folk that they have been out campaigning. Good for them.

    “that has started to show an increase in their vote mainly at the expense of the SNP”

    Well, there is some support for the first part of that statement.

    Number Cruncher has a post on his blog about this –

    However, “the full figures and changes for the aggregated model are SNP 42 (-1) LAB 27 (+1) CON 17 (-1) LIB 5 (-1) UKIP 5 (+1) GRN 4 (+1)”

    so you have some way to go to demonstrate that the LiS gain is from SNP and not from your erstwhile allies – the Tories/LDs, or that the SNP loss is to LiS and not primarily to their referendum allies – the Greens.

  39. NC

    You sneaked in that post about the 1% swing, while I was busy reading your blog!

    Damned devious I call it! :-)

  40. NEILA

    I agree with your first two paras.

    Yes-the structure of Islam seems to allow for no central authority over mosques & preachers-at least in a secular democracy.

    And the rest of us don’t really help-I see Lord Carey (no less) has recently said that Britain’s fear of criticising Islam has led to a ” self-imposed ‘blasphemy law’,”

    In states where Islam is part of the state apparatus , the wretched clerics & their “interpretations” rule supreme.

  41. PAUL H-J


  42. @ Billy Bob

    Thanks. My spellcheck didn’t like anything I tried to put in and I was too lazy to check it. However, I was reading a book in which a wild herd of cattle was driven in the corral (after killing the three lead Bulls – so I just opted for the wrong word.

  43. Paul H-J,

    I think if there is a key, it is probably not in what peaceful muslims say about terrorism, it’s in how peaceful muslims feel about and react to the state’s efforts to tackle Islamist terrorism.

    When an Islamist carries out an attack, it is rightly pointed out that it is not an attack by “all muslims”.

    When the authorities target a suspected Islamist, it is frequently claimed that it is an attack on “all muslims”.

    That is such a poisonous and pervasive claim. It discourages the authorities from taking firm action (for fear of being painted as “the bad guys” if they get it wrong or, often, even if they get it right). It encourages more terrorism (the purpose of which is generally to divide muslim communities from their host societies). And of course it is part of the indoctrination process for new recruits (even if you’re peaceful, your community is under attack, so it is your duty to take up arms to “defend” them).

    The authorities need to keep trying to improve their performance both in accurately targeting the “right” muslims, and in encouraging a good relationship with muslims generally. But that’s the lesser part of the solution, in my view.

    What’s more important is that campaigners who don’t support Islamism realising the effect of hyperbole and propaganda statements when they react to armed police carrying out a search warrant, or people being searched in the vicinity of public events etc.

  44. @ Colin

    I agree, but I think in order to break to power of the clerics ownership (in particular land) rights would have to be changed in those countries (it was certainly the central issue in Bahrein).

  45. ANDY

    “You always shoot to kill. And when they are down, if they move, shoot them again”

    That appears to be what’s happening with the Lib/Dem VI.

  46. @oldnat

    Haha you never now when I might pop up with another chart!

    We really, really, need Ashcroft’s polling now….

  47. NC,

    Did you see the same uptick for UKIP in Scotland that appears in Statgeek’s graphs? I assumed that was the aggregate for December, but then it could be January. Hard to tell as the graphs are not labelled.

  48. LASZLO

    I see no hope whatsoever of influencing teaching of Islam in other countries-particularly Arab States.

    We are utterly reliant on their leaders to root out radical teachings which preach war against non-believers.

    The concept of Appostacy & Blasphemy is so alien to western secular culture now, I can hardly understand its place in some of these countries. The gulf is enormous.

  49. Why is Benjamin Netanyahu marching in Paris? His army carry out acts of terrorism against civilians every day.

    What a shocker.

  50. We will see, but I really doubt that the UKIP increase is due to Paris, but we will see. True, suppressed feelings are verbalised.

    Anecdote. One of my nieces whom I considered to be somewhere else on the political sphere came out (on FB) in support of a DM (not David) columnist and also recycled thousand times disproved claims. Still I don’t think she would vote for UKIP or the Conservatives (it’s the Northwest after all).

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