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Polling report – Week commencing 14-21 November – The economy, smoking, and ….. Thatcher?! By Oli Denne

by on November 22, 2011

Last week saw a small narrowing of the polls, but Labour’s lead returning to just 4 points is nothing to get excited about as it is a return the average over the past few months following a week long increase to around 6 points. I thought I’d take the chance to explore some of the more regular features of the weekly YouGov tables. 40% of respondents think Cameron is doing well as PM, 52% badly. These are the most positive rating of any of the three leaders, only 27% of respondents feel Miliband is doing a good job as leader of the opposition, a measly 20% think Clegg is doing a good job in government. Yougov also asks weekly questions on economic situation; 79% of respondents think the economic situation is bad in the UK. Only 9% of respondents think their own personal financial situation will improve over the next 12 months.

Looking at some of the less regular questions, YouGov asked about employment. There is general opposition to measures which might help improve employment, for instance 73% of respondents oppose the reduction of the minimum wage, and 56% oppose the relaxation of employment laws to make it easier to hire/fire people. Interestingly, 51% of respondents felt that companies should give priority to British workers even if more highly skilled foreign alternatives were available, compared to 39% refuting this. This is perhaps another product of the Euro-scepticism I mentioned last week.

Some of the more particular questions this week involve people’s opinions on smoking, a majority all favour blank packaging, the banning of display in outlets and a ban on smoking in cars with passengers. However, only 34% of people feel that smoking in private cars should be banned altogether. With regards to the privatisation of Northern Rock, 48% of people are in favour of this compared to 23% against, with a majority agreeing that the government got a good deal for £747M despite the loss made.

Probably relating to the build up to the film the Iron Lady, YouGov also asked some questions on Thatcher. 27% of respondents think Thatcher was the greatest PM since 1945, compared to 20% Churchill and 9% Blair. Respondents also felt that Cameron’s style of leadership is closest to that of Thatcher – surprising considering the difference in parliamentary majorities. 50% of people think that Thatcher was either a good or great PM, 33% a poor. This clearly shows Thatcher to be a ‘love or hate’ character – the ratings for other PM’s are far more evenly spread. Finally 5% more people feel Thatcher’s time as PM brought about more good times for Britain than it did bad times.

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