Tomorrow is the second round of the French Presidential election, the run off between the top two candidates, Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande. YouGov have once again done a pre-election poll, which has figures of Hollande 53%, Sarkozy 47%. Tabs are here.

Looking at all the final French polls there is very little variation – all nine companies that have carried out polls in the last couple of days are showing a Hollande lead between 5 and 7 points. Unless the polls are horribly wrong it looks extremely unlikely that Sarkozy can win.

Full tables for the YouGov/Sunday Times poll are now up here. On the regular trackers David Cameron is at minus 23 (from minus 26 last week), Ed Miliband minus 46 (from minus 44), Nick Clegg at minus 55 (from minis 54). The government’s continuing troubles don’t seem to have damaged David Cameron any further since last week, but to put it in context he was at around minus ten for the eight months or so before March, so neither has he recovered significantly.

Asked a slightly different way George Osborne has a approval rating of minus 40 – down from minus 31 at the time of the budget. Opinions of the budget itself have also become ever more negative – only 13% now think it will be good for the economy, 43% think it will be bad. More broadly, 27% of people thought that government had been doing well but has lost its way in recent weeks (14% think it hasn’t, 45% think it was doing badly in the first place). Of those, 33% blame George Osborne the most, followed by David Cameron on 23%.

Turning to the issue of Abu Qatada and human rights 70% think that the ECHR has too much power, and 77% would prefer the final ruling on Human Rights cases to be made in the UK. On the specifics of Qatada himself, 81% would like to see him deported now regardless of any appeal, 14% think he should be allowed to stay while his appeal is heard. Only 28% think Theresa May has handled the issue well, 54% think she has handled it badly.

Moving onto the proposed strikes by fuel tanker drivers and tube workers the public have little sympathy for either, a majority of people are opposed to the strike action by fuel tanker drivers (by 56% to 25%) and tube workers (by 53% to 22%). However, while these specific strikes don’t carry public support there is little support for strike bans for either group. Given a list of professions, a majority of people tend to support their right to strike – the only professions we asked about that people think should not be able to strike are police officers, firefighters and doctors.

Finally there were a series of questions on education. Respondents thought reading and writing was taught well in schools by 53% to 37% badly, on maths the figures are 50% well to 40% badly. Parents who actually have school age children were significantly more positive, with 73% thinking reading and writing is currently taught well, 72% thinking maths is. Despite this broad approval of current teaching standards, 60% also say that teaching standards are not demanding enough (47% of parents of school-age children would). 67% of people (61% of parents) would support keeping children back a year if they do not make progress, 64% of people (61% of parents) would support stopping child benefit for parents whose children persistently truant.

As well as the normal weekly poll, YouGov also has a French poll in the Sunday Times, conducted ahead of today’s general election. YouGov have Hollande ahead on 30%, Sarkozy on 26%, Le Pen on 15%, Melenchon on 14% and the various others on 15%. This is a bigger lead for Hollande than some of the other final polls, which have shown between a 3.5 point lead for Hollande (BVA and Ipsos) and the two main contenders equal on 27% (Ifop and TNS).

Overall, the final polls have Hollande between 27%-30%, Sarkozy between 25%-27%, Le Pen between 14%-17%, Melenchon between 12%-14.5%.


This coming Friday has the general election in Ireland – for those who are interested, here are the latest polls.

Date Fianna Fail Fine Gael Labour Sinn Fein
Ipsos MRBI/Irish Times 21/02/11 16 37 19 11
RedC/S. Business Post 20/02/11 16 39 17 12
Millward Brown/S. Independent 20/02/11 16 37 20 12
OI/Daily Star 17/02/11 17 39 18 10
Millward Brown/Independent 16/02/11 12 38 23 10
RedC/S. Business Post 13/02/11 15 38 20 10
RedC/S. Business Post 06/02/11 17 35 22 13
Ipsos MRBI/Irish Times 03/02/11 15 33 24 12
RedC/Paddy Power 02/02/11 18 37 19 12
Millward Brown/Independent 02/02/11 16 30 24 13

I’ve no particular insight to offer into polling methodology in Ireland – Millward Brown and Ipsos MRBI are traditional face-to-face polling using quota sampling, RedC is phone polling very much along ICM lines, with past vote weighting and suchlike (I have a recollection that it was set up by a former ICM employee). That said, there isn’t a huge difference between the pollsters anyway (though RedC appear to be showing Labour slightly lower).

Across the board Fianna Fail have collapsed to well under half of their general election vote, Fine Gael are just below 40%, Labour have doubled their support since the election. I haven’t included them in the table, but the Greens are in low single figures, but Independents/Others are up in the mid-teens (I haven’t tracked down any recent polls on the company websites that have broken that “Independent/Other” down into it’s component parts).

With STV I don’t think there is a widely accepted equivalent of a swingometer to translate shares of the vote into seats. Certainly it will depend to some extent how votes transfer between the parties in individual constituencies.

There is a nice table and graphing of voting intention polls here, and some commentary from my Irish equivalent (imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!) at IrishPollingReport.

Interesting poll in the Republic of Ireland by RedC. Firstly, there’s the voting intentions themselves post Ireland’s economic troubles, just as an opportunity to marvel at the complete collapse of support for a governing party. In an election tomorrow respondents said they would vote Fianna Fail 13%(-29), Fine Gael 32%(+5), Labour 24%(+14), Sinn Fein 16%(+9), Greens 3%(-2) – changes are from the levels of support in the last Irish general election in 2007.

To put this in context, the most famous annihiliation of a governing party in a Westminster-style Parliamentary system is probably the Conservatives in Canada in 1993. They went from 43% to 16%, leaving them with just 2 seats. If the results in this poll were repeated at the next Irish general election then it terms of support it would be even worse than the example of the Canadian Conservatives (I couldn’t say what it would be likely to do to similar to Fianna Fail’s number of seats!)

What has got more attention this side of the Irish sea though is that Conservative MP Mark Reckless commissioned a question on the poll asking if Irish people would support Ireland leaving the Euro and “re-establishing a link with the pound-sterling”. The poll suggests 34% of Irish people would support leaving the Euro and having a currency link with the pound, with 62% opposed.

Somewhat counter-intuitively, this was most-popular amongst Sinn Fein supporters, though this may well be purely a result of small sample size – there were only 108 Sinn Fein supporters in the sample (though as Mick Fealty suggests, it could just be the result of Sinn Fein being the party that appeals to Irish Euro-scepticism).

The BBC World Service have a Globescan poll of attitudes towards climate change in 23 different countries. In each country they asked how serious a problem people thought climate change was, and whether people supported action to address it “even if it hurts the economy”. I’m not a great fan of questions asking how serious a problem something is, but it’s still useful to see comparisons between countries.

Comparing the different countries surveyed, the most concerned about climate change were South American countries, the Phillipines and Turkey, where 80% or more of the public thought it was a very serious problem. The countries were the fewest thought it was a serious problem were the two African countries surveyed (Kenya and Nigeria), Pakistan and India, Russia and the USA. In all these countries less than 50% thought it was a very serious problem. In the UK 59% thought it was very serious.

The second question of whether people would support government action to combat climate change had surprisingly little correlation. The Phillipines and Turkey, two of the countries were people were most likely to view climate change as a serious problem, were also two were comparatively few people supported government intervention (only 32% and 49% respectively). The African countries Kenya and Nigeria were some of the least likely to view it as a serious problem, but had some of the highest levels of support for government action (77% and 68%).

52% of US respondents said they supported government action to fight climate change, the lowest of all was Pakistan on only 19%. 70% of UK respondents said they supported government action to fight climate change, the fourth highest. The highest of all was China with 89%, though I suspect that may be a cultural thing. In fact, I suspect a lot of the differences we see here may be down to different political traditions and viewpoints (and probably different attitudes towards answering the questions – there are vast differences in the proportions of don’t knows for example) rather than just attitudes towards climate change.

UPDATE: Note that the BBC compares the changes in the poll since 1998 when Globescan first did it. They have actually done more recent waves in 2006 and 2003 – see the results here. On average the countries that were surveyed in both 2006 and 2009 still show an increase in the perceived seriousness of climate change, but in many Western countries, including the UK, France, Germany and USA, the proportion of people saying climate change in a serious problem has fallen.

UPDATE2: There was also a climate change question in the YouGov Sunday Times poll – 21% of respondents thought that “the planet is warming and human activity is mainly responsible”, 62% thought that the planet was warming and human activity is partly responsible, but there were also other factors. 8% thought that the planet was warming, but it was nothing to do with human activity and 4% thought the planet was not warming at all.