The full results of YouGov’s weekly Sunday Times poll are now up here. Topline figures are CON 34%, LAB 34%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 13%, GRN 6%. The rest of the poll dealt mainly with perceptions of Labour and the Conservatives on tax, spending and business, plus the row over Trident and “stabbing in the back”.

60% of people expect that taxes would rise if Labour won the election and formed a government, including 48% of their own supporters. Asked which taxes they expected to see increase under Labour the top rate of income tax came top (unsurprisingly, given Labour have promised to increase it!) followed by capital gains tax, the higher 40p rate of tax, petrol duty and national insurance.

Asked the same about the Conservatives, only 38% of people expect taxes to rise if they win (including 23% of their own supporters). Amongst those who do expect Tory tax rises, VAT is most expected to rise, followed by fuel duty. I suspect fuel duty being high up for both parties reflects a public belief that its one of those taxes that always ends up going up…but that alone doesn’t suggest that the Conservatives are getting much public credit for repeatedly freezing fuel duty in past budgets.

If there is a 22 percent gap in expectations of whether a Conservative or Labour government would increase taxes, there’s an even bigger gap on increasing spending. Only 11% of people think that a Tory government would increase spending on public services, 52% of people think that Labour would increase spending on public services, including a majority of Labour’s own voters. This could pose a problem for Ed Miliband if he is the next Prime Minister and does stick to his stated plans – if most Labour supporters genuinely do believe a Labour government is going to increase spending, and Labour are genuinely committed to tough spending limits to close the deficit, someone is going to be disappointed.

Turning to attitudes towards business neither leader is perceived as being in the right place. Only 29% of people think Miliband’s attitude to business is right, 33% of people think he is too hostile. 27% of people think Cameron’s attitude to business is about right, 50% that he is too close.

On those figures, while the political debate is often about whether Labour’s positioning towards business is right or not, it’s David Cameron who has the bigger problem. I suspect, however, that this is actually tied into the wider problem of perceptions of the Conservative party and the rich. YouGov asked about that too in the poll with questions on what would happen to the taxes paid by the very richest and wealthiest in society under a Labour or a Conservative government. 69% think that the wealthiest should pay more tax. If Labour win, 75% expect the richest to pay more tax, if the Conservatives win 34% expect them to pay less tax.

Turning to Trident and Michael Fallon, 38% of people think that Britain should replace Trident with a similarly powerful system. 28% think Trident should be replaced with a cheaper and less powerful system than Trident and 19% think Trident should not be replaced at all. Turning to people’s expectations, 44% think that a Labour government reliant upon the SNP for a majority would still replace Trident – getting support from MPs from other parties. 27% think that Labour probably wouldn’t replace Trident if they needed SNP support.

That suggests most people don’t really buy into Michael Fallon’s argument anyway – while most people want Trident replaced, on balance people think a minority Labour government would still manage to do so. The language about Ed Miliband stabbing his brother in the back gets a further thumbs down – 51% of people thought it wasn’t a fair description, and 51% thought it wasn’t fair to link it to Trident.

People reacting badly to negative campaigning only really matters it if is noticed though. Despite the timing of the poll just after Fallon’s comments, there really wasn’t much difference in perceptions of how positive or negative the two main parties’ campaigns were. 22% thought that Labour’s campaign was mostly positive, 34% mostly negative. 23% thought the Conservative campaign was mostly positive, 38% mostly negative. Supporters of both parties perceive their own campaign as being positive, their opponent as negative (and presumably filter out evidence to the contrary!)

554 Responses to “More from the YouGov/Sunday Times poll”

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  1. ALEC

    @”They haven’t actually said ‘no more borrowing’, but have recognised the need to avoid running a current account deficit, while borrowing for long term infrastructure etc.”

    Lucy Powell said they would borrow for “investment” and only balance the Current Deficit.

    Ummuna , this morning, said they would not borrow for investment because they plan a Current Surplus, and that no additional borrowing was required.

    The bloke from IFS this morning said we don’t know whether they will end the Parliament with zero Deficit, or £30bn Deficit. He also said that since no timescale for Deficit reduction within the Parliament is not stated, we don’t know what the level & phasing of spending cuts will be.

    But , I must say, EM made it all sound very prudent -he is pretty chipper at present.

  2. Reference tax, always surprised me the emphasis put on income tax by both the press and commentators. Seem to remember it only makes up around 27% of the UK tax take, rest made up of indirect taxes, corporation tax etc.
    In 2014 ‘The poorest 10% of households pay eight percentage points more of their income in all taxes than the richest – 43% compared to 35%, according to a report from the Equality Trust reported on the 16/6/14 in the Guardian

    To be fair to the coalition Government they have tried to address the issue with the rise in the tax allowance but much more needs to be done. As for reducing inheritance tax on one million pound plus homes, if we have money spare for tax cuts (not sure we do) I would like to see cuts in VAT and employees National Insurance contributions. Unfortunately I do not think any Political Party agrees with me.

  3. @ Alan

    Were we not told that Cameron has been burning the midnight oil re-writing (sorry, fine tuning) the manifesto this weekend?

    Re writing at this stage is reactive and evidence, I think, of being rattled.

    Further evidence might include, whining about Ashcroft, backstabgate, unfunded promises for NHS funding, rail fare freezing etc.

    And why did they have to “give way” to Labour’s manifesto launch?

  4. 20-poll median w/changes since yesterday

    con: 33.0% (-0.3)
    lab: 34.2% (-0.1)
    lib: 8.2% (-)
    ukip: 14.1% (+0.3)
    grn: 4.9% (-)
    oth: 5.5% (+0.1)

  5. The full Labour manifesto if anyone’s interested:

    Btw I don’t feel rattled. This election is *wide* open and there’s only a few% stopping either the Tories or Labour from forming a governing majority via coalition/c&s. Far, far too early to write the Tories out as some are doing.

    Some general comments. I agree with some others about the seeming role-reversing of the parties lately – it is fascinating. I’m fairly sure the Tories are making “unfunded” promises because they know they won’t win an outright majority, therefore they know coalition partners *will* make them raise taxes allowing them to just pass the buck.

    Also this debate on Thursday… this will be a real test for Ed Miliband. We will see how good a debater he is. Everyone on that panel will be focused on winning votes from Labour – not each other. Labour is who they are running against. Ed will be under constant attack. He could really shine on Thursday, or he could come out looking like Tory-lite without their credibility.

  6. @Omnishambles

    “Everyone on that panel will be focused on winning votes from Labour” and also from the LibDems and Conservatives. Who won’t be there to defend themselves. And from each other.

  7. ALEC

    Looks like Ummuna & IFS are correct.

    P17 of the Manifesto :-

    “We will only lay a Budget before the House of Commons that cuts the deficit every year, which the Office for Budget Responsibility will independently verify. We will get national debt falling and a surplus on the current budget as soon as possible in the next
    Parliament .
    We have no proposals for any new spending paid
    for by additional borrowing”

    IFS chap also correct-no phasing provided so no idea of Public Spending programme.

  8. @thesheep

    As the Coalition aren’t there, the focus will be on Labour. After all it’s meant to be a debate – the leaders can’t debate people who aren’t there. There will be some barbs towards the Coalition but surely when the actual debating begins, it will have to be aimed at Ed

    “And from each other.”

    Really? You have Labour, SNP, PC, UKIP and Greens.

    SNP – not really running against PC, UKIP or Greens
    PC – not really running against UKIP, Greens or SNP
    UKIP – not running against PC, Greens or SNP
    Greens – not running against PC, SNP or UKIP.

    They all want Labour votes. Some of them like the SNP and PC aren’t really running against Tories either, it’s Labour votes they want.

    Also this debate on Thursday… this will be a real test for Ed Miliband. We will see how good a debater he is. Everyone on that panel will be focused on winning votes from Labour – not each other.
    April 13th, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    Not sure that is entirely correct, yes the four smaller parties will probably not be too concerned with attacking each other but suspect UKIP will be focussed on winning votes from the conservatives, Greens from the Liberals/labour, SNP from Labour/Liberals. But along with Plaid they will also leave the audience in no doubt what they think of the conservatives.
    Yes of course there will be attacks on Labour, the difference will be Miliband will be there to put his side.

    I of course could be wrong and the conservatives barely get a cross word from the 5 party leaders, I just doubt it that’s all.

  10. @neilj

    The thing is it’s a waste of time for parties like Plaid and the SNP to spend half the time engaged in Tory-bashing, their target audience already know they opposed to the Conservatives. They’re all fighting for a slice of the anti-Tory vote, so their strategy will probably revolve around making Labour look the same as the Tories.

    I expect the Greens and Nationalists to bang on about being anti-austerity while Labour (in their narrative) is pro “Tory austerity”, and I expect Farage to bang on about the lack of an EU referendum on offer.

    It’s high stakes imo. If Ed smashes it and comes out looking responsible and principled, it will be a great boost for them.

  11. *them being Labour

  12. @Neil A – “It’s not just nationalism that does that.”

    I agree entirely. I hope I didn’t sound too harsh on @Barbazenzero.


    You may be right, but cannot see the SNP, for example, wanting to be seen to be attacking Labour and letting Conservatives off the hook. NS is very much cleverer than that.
    As to Nigel, he will have a field day, can see David Cameron’s immigration pledges playing a big part for him.

  14. Not sure Farage will have a field day on Thurs. Can see him coming attack from all other four

  15. Alec

    I think you are concatenating a number of different comments from the IFS about the SNP’s policies.

    BZ linked to the actual analysis of the £7.6bn, which I couldn’t find, but did read.

    I can’t find their commentary on the 5% departmental budget increase, but it was reported in the Press –

    Its [IFS] analysis showed that Labour could meet its target for a balanced Budget by the last year of the next parliament and still increase departmental spending in real terms by £9bn a year between 2015-16 and 2019-20.

    The think tank said that this £9bn increase equated to an average growth of 0.5 per cent a year – the same as the SNP proposals.

  16. Better poll with the Tories given its with Populus who from memory have been more Laboury and given UKIP vote is higher

  17. @Exilein Yorks

    I am not sure exactly what you are trying to achieve by comparing the variance of the individual Ukip and Con VIs with the variance of the sum of these two.

    If the two VIs were independent of one another (a counter factual assumption, by the way) the variance of the sum of VIs would be the same as the sum of the variance of the two VIs separately computed.

    Where there is a negative correlation between the two (as with these two parties) the variance of the sum could be smaller than the sum of the variances. (An extreme example would be a pseudo-election in which voters were forced to opt for one of just two parties – with no abstention permitted. In this case the variance of the sum would always be zero, as the sum would always add to exactly 100%, and this would happen even if the individual VIs displayed real variation.)

    As I say I am not entirely clear what question you are posing yourself, but I do suspect that comparing variances is not going to furnish an answer for you.

  18. 5% -> 0.5%

  19. I see that the LD unweighted sample, while nearly the same in actual respondents 355 April 3rd – 4th as compared to 354 April 11th-12th, has dropped from 35.8% of 2010 values to 29.1% – which I think is getting YouGov closer to my take on LD actuals than they have ever gotten to before.

    And whereas YouGov upweighted their LD sample by 10 on April 3rd-4th on April 11th-12th they downweighted it by 17 on April 11th -12th.

    This results in their weighted LD value against 2010 dropping from 42.1% on April 3rd-4th to 30.3% on April 11th-12th.

    Still a tad high for my liking, but not ludicrously out of whack as I thought it was on April 3rd-4th. So credit where credit is due. Don’t say I do not acknowledge appropriate corrections when undertaken.

  20. The Tory attack line for Labour’s manifesto seems to be ‘Look at Nicola Sturgeon’. They really are having a mare this week.

  21. @Little Red Rock
    ‘That’s a pretty good Populus poll for the Tories. I had a quick look and whilst there have been a few ties Populus hasn’t had the Tories ahead since June 2010.’

    That is not so – Populus came up with two Tory leads in August 2014.

  22. A few observations;

    Regarding Tories being rattled – Labour was, in all likelihood, tuning their own manifesto until very recently. Some observers may have seen my ‘On This Day in 2010 on UKPR’ feature yesterday, when the talk at precisely this time in the 2010 campaign was of Tories hitting the panic button – and back then they were 8% clear.

    Manifestos – so far, I think it looks quite good for Labour. The next few hours will be significant, with likely attacks from both sides. Tories and Lib Dems saying you can’t trust Lab with the deficit, Nats and Greens more cuts.

    The BBC is billing this as a big gamble – any of this might help or hinder. Overall though, the detail is so vague as to enable Labour to argue almost anything – it’s the abiding public perception that is going to make the difference, if there is any, and on this we await the polling judgement.

    I would also suggest that pro Lab posters [I’d suggest anyone considering themselves a “pro-Labour” poster start following the comments policy and posting in the spirit of non-partisanship – AW]

  23. Regarding the Thursday debate. Today Balls and Chuka Umunna gave up on Murphy and Scotland. They are obviously tired of the trouble Murphy is causing for them in their attempts to be fiscally responsible.

    I saw Daily Politics and Chuka was very definite:
    ‘There will be spending cuts post 15-16″ in direct contrast to Murphy’s claim yesterday and the barb ‘The leader of Scottush Labour does not write the budget’

    So on Thursday Miliband will be trying to ensure that Sturgeon does not frighten the rUK voters. So I imagine a fairly consensual debate with very little shouting.

  24. I haven’t read anything from any member of the coalition so far in their responses to Labour’s manifesto that doesn’t scream “we would have said this no matter what is in the document”. Wouldn’t be at all surprised if Labour’s response to the Tory manifesto isn’t similarly lacking in any evidence that a word of it has been read, never mind analysed.

    It seems that the majority of the reporting on EdM’s speech so far has been positive, which (sadly) is probably more important than the speech itself, or the manifesto, in terms of any effect on polls. Labour do seem to be on an upward trajectory – if the Tory manifesto tomorrow is not so well received from the commentariat then that will be one more nail in the coffin of “crossover”.

  25. @Oldnat – “I think you are concatenating a number of different comments from the IFS about the SNP’s policies.”

    No I’m not. I cut and pasted the exact quote from the IFS a couple of days ago which explained what they had done.

    It’s not difficult to work it out.

  26. *is* similarly lacking.

  27. @ Graham

    Quite right. Well spotted.

    Underlying point still stands though. For a Populus poll, it’s a good one for the blues.

  28. Mark Littlewood from the IEA’s verdict on Labour’s deficit reduction proposals:

    “This manifesto does little to inspire confidence in Labour’s ability to manage Britain’s economy. With an annual deficit still running at a staggering £90 billion, vague pledges to merely reduce it each year are simply not good enough.

    What little detail we have is exemplified by funding giveaways through price caps, fare freezes, levies and wealth taxes. This smacks of the politics of envy and is liable to reduce competition and investment in the UK.

    Politicians need to be honest with the public about their fiscal plans and wake up to the size of the debt time bomb in the UK. Very significant spending restraint and reform of welfare entitlements will be necessary in the next Parliament and beyond to begin to get our debt levels back under some semblance of control.”

  29. @Mitz – Gove was on the BBC simultaneously saying that the Labour manifesto was very thin and without any big announcements, whilst also saying it was fiscally irresponsible.

    Technically, he could be correct, but the message sounded strangely mixed. I don’t think Cons have sorted out their attack lines yet.

  30. AdamB

    Relative to the average of pollsters (which may or may not be correct). Populus seems to be about Con -1 LD +1 UKIP +1 (not net zero due to tiny differences in Greens, others etc)

    So a relatively good poll for Con but nothing significant or worth mentioning in isolation.

  31. @Alec

    Gove’s comments exemplify exactly what I am talking about:

    “It’s got no credibility at all. We know every page in Labour’s manifesto will be subject to sign off by Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon. Labour cannot get into Downing Street except on the coattails of the Scottish National Party so every promise they make today is subject to veto or endorsement by the SNP.”

    So Mandy Rice-Davies it’s not even funny. Very poor from a senior politician, and typical of the Tory campaign to date.

  32. Alec

    Thanks. I must have missed that. Can you provide the link to the source you cut and pasted from, please?

  33. What is wrong with gove saying that? They will need SNP support – he’s not going to start talking about C&S vs coalation and the viewers eyes would gloss over

  34. My brother has persuaded me to go and Nigel Farage tonight ,he is in Essex.I have to say I would love to gauge what sort of audienece he has,yes we can all speculate,but be interested to try and glean whether any of these may waiver at all.

  35. Re: Populus poll

    Any comparisons with previous Populus polls in terms of house effects, etc are meaningless due to the party weighting changes in today’s Populus poll.

  36. AdamB

    It is generally a good idea to wait for the votes to be cast before forming a government.

    I don’t remember people talking about a Conservative/Lib Dem coalition before the last election.

  37. AdamB
    The problem is that it doesn’t actually challenge Labour’s manifesto or policies at all – it’s just a repetition of an attack line they’ve been using for months.

  38. Scottish Tories are again kicking their Lib Dem counterparts when they’re down. This is beginning to look like a strategy.

    Ruth Davidson said the following, according to the BBC feed:

    “This will be akin to their 1948 wipe-out. Alistair Carmichael is going to be the last man standing. You will see the Liberal Democrats in increasing desperation circle the wagons around the 11 seats in which they have an MP. You’ve seen from independent individual seat polling that in a number of those seats their candidate is already in third and they are not the best person to back if you’re looking for an anti-SNP candidate.”

  39. Alec

    Love the cricketing analogy.

    It’s very hard to judge the Lab manifesto as there is nothing really juicy in it, more of a “We’re competent on the economy too… honest” (without providing the detail to see exactly what they plan, with an apparent disagreement between Jim Murphy and the rest of Labour as to what they mean.) It’ll be down to public opinion as to how it’s received and will largely be in comparison to the Con manifesto.

    The manifestos will be compared and how they fare relative to each other will be what drives the narrative. If Cons can pull a rabbit (or more than one) the focus might well be on the rabbits vs. the non-rabbit (whether people like the colour of the rabbit, who knows). We might simply see a bit more economic detail to give the IFS something to comment on.

    We might see a few rabbits turning up to shoot Labour’s foxes. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist that mixed metaphor)

  40. I don’t think that manifesto will do Labour any good. It could curb the slight momentum they’ve had so far.

  41. Hi everyone, I’ve merely been an observer of the weekend chaos on this site – it got a wee bit chippy, didn’t it? :) Seriously, guys, in the words of Peter Snow, it’s just a bit of fun :) I’m not defending either the SNP or Labour supporters here, you were both guilty of being a bit contrary. One minor point I would put to the SNPers – if Jim Murphy is such a useless leader (as you keep on telling us, and the polls seem to agree), why do you get so worked up about him? I’m just interested to know why he and Ruth Davidson elicit such an enraged (and partisan) response from people on this site who normally know better?

    Looking at actual polls, I wouldn’t read too much into either the Populus or YouGov polls, both are pretty much par for the course (tapping into the Augusta theme from last night). There’s something for both Labour and Cons to take heart from these polls. If you look at the tabs comparing the weighted 2010 vote to the current opinion polls, the Tories aren’t really losing much at all, while Labour are gaining about 30% more than last time . The weighted recall for Labour in the Populus poll is particularly harsh this time, which is probably why it’s a tie overall. There’s nothing good to take from these polls for the Lib Dems; I know we shouldn’t look too hard at the crossbreaks, but the Populus xbreak for Wales/SW (LD 6%) is particularly horrible, considering the SW is the LibDem stronghold.

    @Andy S

    I understand that you have a horse in this race – but can you at least try to give a bit of actual scientific evidence to suggest that the sampling approach of all of the pollsters is wrong? Yes, there is some variation in the headline figures for UKIP support, but this can be almost entirely explained by reweighting of unknowns to 2010 results (in the case of ICM) or weighting to a dubious demographic (in the case of Survation), which gives you the upper and lower limits. A poster above suggested that this election is very different from 1992 – I would also discreetly point out that this UK general election cannot be compared in any way with the Canadian federal election of 1993, which in British terms could only be compared with the 1832 election after the Great Reform Act.

  42. I received this from a Canadian friend last night

    Someone might want to comment on the accuracy of this assessment that seems to blame Conservative PM John Major, Labour PM Tony Blair and now David Cameron for this fiscal mess, with Lib Dem Danny Alexander asknowledging they were poorly negotiated “initially”.

    We call these public private partnerships in Canada, PPP, and what the auditors are now finding is that it is sharply driving up the cost of public infrastructure, because profit and shareholder dividend has to be built into the public costings.

    In one instance BC Hydro (electric power) is stuck with some Independant Power Producer contracts that will drive up the cost of electricity to the consumer for the next 30 to 50 years.

    My experience in local government, even when put out to bid, was that some contractors tried to drive up the cost simply because it was a government contract.

    The contracts that got done on time and under budget were small projects using local trades and labour.

  43. Recent Tory tactics and election promises seem designed to shore up their core vote rather than to reach out to floating voters in marginal seats. Freezing train fares is unlikely to be of great interest to many beyond commuters in the South East. Raising IHT thresholds probably only affects an already captive constituency. The latest move seems to be to threaten voters with Tartan bogeypeople. I can imagine that appearing a compelling argument to tory stalwarts. But it is unlikely to have much bearing for those still wondering which way to jump. Perhaps their own research indicates that their Ukip facing flank is more vulnerable than is currently suggested by public polling data.

  44. Regarding the debate on Thursday ,it is a high risk strategy for EM for the
    reasons that Omnishambles has stated.However he sounds both confident and
    relaxed,the manifesto has been launched and he has survived unscathed two
    tricky debates.Short of some unforeseen faux pas he gains yet more publicity.
    And let us not forget why Cameron and Clegg are not in attendance to defend
    their record.Do we know who is in charge of the debate?

  45. I’m not sure Anthony would agree to a discussion of PFI deals on his site.

    Such discussions always end up in a partisan bickering which is nothing to do with polling.

    Stop trying to wind people up.

  46. louiswalshvotesgreen

    I think you’ll find that Caledonian commentators, from all parties and none, have recognised Davidson’s ability as a skilled politician and communicator.

  47. @Alan
    i thought 8bn large ones on the NHS was a pretty big rabbit ;-)

  48. @louiswalshvotesgreen

    As it happens, I rate Ruth Davidson very highly and have said as much on here before. Her problem is that the Tories have been operating with a very low ceiling of support in Scotland for a long time. But I think she is aware of this and is trying to do something about it, by marginalising the Lib Dems.

    Murphy, on the other hand, I think is the most over-rated politician (by political hacks) in the whole of the UK. Hacks give him credit for the referendum result when he had naff all influence on the outcome. The biggest effect of his tour was to increase his own profile in anticipation of a Scottish Labour leadership vacancy. His debating style seems to entirely consist of pre-written “gags” and shouting over people. His venturing north was supposed to turn the tide. There’s been absolutely no sign of that, yet he doesn’t get any criticism in the press.

  49. @Ann in Wales

    D. Dimbleby

  50. Weird ICM / Guardian poll:

    Con 39 (+3)
    Lab 33 (-2)
    LD 8 (=)
    UKIP 7 (-2)
    Green 7 (+3)
    Others 5 (-3)

    Ukip 7%? Really?

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