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Poll Watch: November 2007
Crowded street
A MORI poll suggested 70% of people were unhappy with the government's handling of immigration and asylum

In the latest monthly Poll Watch, the BBC's political research editor David Cowling casts his expert eye over November's political opinion polls.

This month was dominated politically by Labour's efforts to withstand the veritable firestorm that threatened to engulf it, including the aftermath of losing millions of personal details in the post and the saga of political donations.

By the end of the month, Populus/BBC Daily Politics (sampled 28-29 November) found 53% of respondents agreeing that Labour appeared more sleazy than the previous Conservative government, 60% having less trust in Gordon Brown than they did when he first became prime minister; and 60% disagreeing that he led a competent government.

Immigrants 'work harder'

The month began with a MORI/Sun poll (sampled 31October-1 November) on immigration. This suggested that 70% were dissatisfied with the government's handling of immigration and asylum; and 64% supported tougher immigration laws (67% took this view in a January 2003 poll).

Also, 68% thought there were too many immigrants in Britain. However, 45% thought immigrants work harder than people born in Britain, compared with 8% who thought they did not.

ORB/BBC Newsnight (sampled 2-4 November) found 44% thought immigrants to the UK did more to help the country, as opposed to 41% who thought they did more to harm it.

Tube shooting

In terms of the impact of immigration upon individual respondents, 37% said they had a positive impact on their community as opposed to 27% who thought the impact was negative (30% thought they had no impact at all).

Views on the economic effects of immigration were fairly evenly divided: whilst 52% thought immigrants posed a threat to UK employment, 46% agreed that without them our economy would suffer.

On the issue of Britain's "unique identity", 62% agreed that it would be lost "if immigration continues as it is".

Conservatives 40%
Labour 27%
Lib Dems 18%
ComRes survey, 23-25 Nov

But for all the dissatisfaction with the government's handling of this issue, perceptions of which party would be best in dealing with it showed 29% nominating the Conservatives and 26% Labour.

Populus/Times (sampled 2-4 November) discovered the public was evenly divided over whether the Met Police Commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, should resign following a jury verdict that health and safety laws were broken when innocent Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes was shot on a Tube train in 2005: 48% said he should resign and 46% disagreed.

But over two-thirds (68%) thought that applying health and safety laws to police activity would make it harder for them to prevent future terrorist attacks.

ComRes/CARE (sampled 9-11 November) tackled some of the issues around IVF. Some 77% thought the current legal requirement for IVF clinics to have regard for the need of IVF-induced children to have a father was important.

Lost discs

Whereas 53% of men thought the absence of a father likely to harm a boy's development, 42% of women shared that view.

And whilst 49% of men thought the development of girls would be similarly harmed in the absence of a father, only 36% of women agreed. ICM/Sunday Telegraph (sampled 21-22 November) probed attitudes towards the loss of discs containing the personal details of 25 million people.

When asked who was most to blame, 19% said the junior civil servant who sent the disc, 45% said senior civil servants at HM Revenue and Customs and 22% said government ministers.

The same poll tested attitudes towards identity cards for all in the aftermath of this loss of data and 61% said they were a good idea (36% declared them a bad idea).

ComRes/Independent (sampled 23-25 November) gave us a brief glimpse at the occasional complexities of public opinion.

Their straight voting intention question suggested a 13 point Conservative lead over Labour(Conservatives 40%, Labour 27% and Lib Dems 18%).

Yet when the respondents were asked how they generally thought of themselves, 28% answered Labour, 24% said Conservative and 13% said Lib Dem.

Some 29% of women thought of themselves as Labour, compared with 21% who answered Conservative.

And among party voters, 72% of Conservatives identified with the party, compared with 86% of Labour supporters and 63% of Lib Dems.

Poll Watch: October 2007
08 Nov 07 |  UK Politics
Poll Watch: September 2007
05 Oct 07 |  UK Politics
Poll Watch: August 2007
04 Sep 07 |  UK Politics
Poll Watch: July 2007
01 Aug 07 |  UK Politics
Poll Watch: June 2007
03 Jul 07 |  UK Politics
Poll Watch: May 2007
30 May 07 |  UK Politics

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