Ipsos MORI Political Survey August

Two thirds of the British public (64%) believe that it is fair to say that Tony Blair is "all spin, but no substance" according to Ipsos MORI's latest political poll exclusively for The Sunday Times. Just 28% of the public say that this criticism is unfair, giving a "spin over substance" index of +36. The public is divided about whether this accusation can be applied to Gordon Brown: 41% say it can and 45% say it cannot (an index of -4). A large proportion of the public have yet to decide about David Cameron, but where people do give an opinion they are more likely to say he is all spin, but no substance. Cameron's spin index is +11 (with 42% saying he is all spin and 31% saying he is not). Opinion about the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Menzies Campbell, divides three ways: 28 % agree he is all spin, but no substance; 36 % say he is not; and 36% say they don't know. This gives Campbell an index score of -8.

Spin City? Are Our Political Leaders All Spin And No Substance?

Two thirds of the British public (64%) believe that it is fair to say that Tony Blair is "all spin, but no substance" according to Ipsos MORI's latest political poll exclusively for The Sunday Times. Just 28% of the public say that this criticism is unfair, giving a "spin over substance" index of +36. The public is divided about whether this accusation can be applied to Gordon Brown: 41% say it can and 45% say it cannot (an index of -4). A large proportion of the public have yet to decide about David Cameron, but where people do give an opinion they are more likely to say he is all spin, but no substance. Cameron's spin index is +11 (with 42% saying he is all spin and 31% saying he is not). Opinion about the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Menzies Campbell, divides three ways: 28 % agree he is all spin, but no substance; 36 % say he is not; and 36% say they don't know. This gives Campbell an index score of -8.

Half The Public Want Blair To Resign Now

Almost half (47%) the British public say Tony Blair should step down as Prime Minster 'immediately', an increase from 36% who said the same in September 2005.

Brown Leads Cameron As Most Capable

Gordon Brown retains a lead of seven percentage points over David Cameron as being seen as the most capable Prime Minister. Although Gordon Brown's ratings have fallen by four percentage points since March this year this does not seem to have benefited David Cameron -- his score has fallen by two percentage points as well (not a statistically significant shift).

Immigration: The Public Want Tougher Controls And A Limit On Immigrants Allowed Into The Country

While the British public divided about as to whether immigration is generally good for the country, there is a consensus that immigration laws should be much tougher and three quarters say there should be a strict limit on the number of immigrants allowed into the country. Detailed analysis of sub group attitudes towards immigration reveal a complex picture, with women (37%), social grades C2DE (32%) and Conservative voters (35 %) among the least likely to think that immigration is generally good for the country.

Very few people think that immigration laws should be relaxed (5%) or abolished (1%), and the proportion saying that they should be much tougher (63%) has increased since Ipsos MORI's last poll on this topic in April 2005 (from 58%) -- and this poll was conducted during the General Election campaign when there was heavy political and media attention on immigration. A substantial minority of the public (12%) advocate stopping immigration altogether -- this is consistent with the 11% who said the same at the last General Election -- but it is worth noting that among social grades DE and social renters the proportion rises to around one in five who want all immigration to end.

In an experiment to test whether informing the public about the scale of immigration to Britain affects whether they think a strict limit should be set, half the sample of respondents were informed by our interviewers that "according to the latest 2001 census data, 4 million, 300,000 adults living in Britain in 2001 were born outside the UK. In total in 2001 there were 61 million, 400,000 people living in Britain". However, as can be seen from the results below the provision of this information makes no difference to whether people support a limit or not. In fact among those who do think there should be limit, about three in five say they do not know what this limit should be -- however, the preamble does make a difference to what people say they limit should be, among those who offer a number.

When asked which of the three main political parties has the best policies on asylum and immigration, over half the public say none of them (52%) and a further nine percent say they don't know. The Conservative's rating has halved since the General Election (from 36% saying it has best policies to 16% now), which again is likely to reflect the lower profile the party has given to this issue since May 2005.

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Topline Results

  • Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative quota sample of 975 adults aged 18+ by telephone between 11-13 August 2006
  • Data are weighted to match the profile of the population

Q1 Who do you think would make the most capable Prime Minister: Gordon Brown, David Cameron or Menzies Campbell?

  Dec 2005* March 2006 August 2006
  % % %
Gordon Brown 31 35 31
David Cameron 27 26 24
Menzies Campbell 13 9 11
None/Don't know 29 30 34
Labour lead +4 +9 +7

*Question asked about Gordon Brown, David Cameron & Charles Kennedy

Q2 When do you think Tony Blair should step down as Prime Minister?

  Sept 2005 August 2006
  % %
Immediately 36 47
Before the end of 2005 4 n/a
In 2006 8 9
In 2007 3 7
In 2008 3 3
In 2009 1 *
In 2010 1 *
Immediately before the next general election 6 7
After the next election (expected in 2009/2010) 6 6
Other 19 10
Don't know 13 10

Q3 Politicians area often accused of being all spin, but no substance. Would you say this is or is not a fair criticism of the following politicians?

  Is fair Is not fair Don't know Index
  % % % %
Tony Blair 64 28 7 +36
David Cameron 42 31 27 +11
Gordon Brown 41 45 14 -4
Sir Menzies Campbell 28 36 36 -8

Q4 There are different opinions about immigrants from other countries living in Britain. By immigrants we mean people who come to live in Britain. How much do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Immigration is generally good for Britain.

  %
Strongly agree 14
Tend to agree 29
Neither agree nor disagree 10
Tend to disagree 15
Strongly disagree 30
Don't know 2
Agree 43
Disagree 45
Net agree -2

Q5 Which one of these statements comes closest to your views on laws about immigration in Britain?

  April 2005 August 2006
  % %
Laws on immigration should be abolished, so any one can come and live in Britain 2 1
Laws on immigration should be relaxed 8 5
Laws on immigration should remain as they are 19 17
Laws on immigration should be much tougher 58 63
Immigration should be stopped altogether 11 12
Don't know 2 2

Split sample -- half given this preamble. Half not:

According to the latest 2001 census data, 4,300,000 adults living in Britain in 2001 were born outside the UK. In total in 2001 there were 61,400,000 people living in Britain.

Q6 Do you think the government should set a strict limit on the number of immigrants allowed into Britain each year? IF YES: And what should be the limit?

  Total With preamble No preamble
    (494) (481)
  % % %
Yes 77 77 76
No 21 21 21
Don't know 2 2 3

Q6 Do you think the government should set a strict limit on the number of immigrants allowed into Britain each year? IF YES: And what should be the limit?Base: All who said that there should be a strict limit on the number of immigrants allowed into Britain each year

  Total With preamble No preamble
  (745) (382) (363)
  % % %
Zero 7 8 6
1-99 3 3 3
100-999 3 3 4
1,000-9,999 6 6 7
10,000-99,999 7 6 8
100,000-999,999 7 8 6
1 million + 4 7 2
Don't know 63 60 65
Mean* 1,024,075 1,612,737 338,256
Median** 16,149 46,327 8,701

*Please note that the mean number includes all values stated (incl. zero), and excludes 'don't knows'**Please note that the median number excludes zero and 'don't know'

Q7 Do you think that the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats or some other party has the best policies on asylum and immigration?

  Sept 2003 Sept 2004 April 2005 August 2006
  % % % %
Conservatives 26 21 36 16
Labour 14 14 18 11
Liberal Democrats 8 8 10 8
Other 49 52 3 5
None 6 52
Don't know 27 9
Con Lead +12 +7 +18 +5

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