LONDON, July 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
- 30% would opt in to Unite's political fund
- 12% would join Labour as individual members
- 86% support government's £26k benefit cap
Only three in ten members of Unite would contribute to the union's political fund if they were asked whether they wished to do so, a new poll from Lord Ashcroft has found. Most do not think large donations to Labour are a good way of advancing their interests, and just one in eight would pay to become individual members of the Labour Party.
712 members of the Unite union were interviewed between 10 and 17 July 2013. The poll found:
- 49% of Unite members said they would vote Labour in an election tomorrow, 23% Conservative, 7% Liberal Democrat and 12% UKIP. At the 2010 election 40% voted Labour, 28% Conservative and 20% Lib Dem.40% said David Cameron would make the best Prime Minister, just behind Ed Miliband (46%). Nick Clegg was third with 13%.
- One third of members said they didn't know whether they contributed to Unite's political fund. 37% said they did, and 30% had opted out. Most Unite members (57%) preferred an opt-in system for the political fund; only 31% supported the current opt-out system.
- Only 30% said they would contribute to the political fund under an opt-in system; 53% said they would not. 17% were undecided. 12% said they would pay to join the Labour Party as an individual member if contributors to the political fund were no longer affiliated automatically. 73% said they would not do so.
- 46% of Unite members disagreed with the decision to donate nearly £12 million to Labour since the 2010 election; 43% agreed. They opposed future large donations to Labour by 49% to 39%. Just over a third (35%) said donating to Labour was a good way for unions to advance their members' interests; 65% said unions could do more to advance their members' interests by using the money elsewhere.
- Unite members were more likely to think the Labour Party did a bad job of representing ordinary working people (47%) than thought it did a good job (42%). 61% said neither Ed Miliband nor Len McCluskey really represented them or the things they cared about. Only 16% correctly identified a photograph of the Unite leader.
- 86% of Unite members supported the government's £26k benefit cap. 57% opposed Unite's call for an anti-austerity campaign involving strikes and civil disobedience. Majorities also opposed other key Unite demands set out in its Winning Together policy document: 55% opposed ending the right to buy for council tenants; 59% opposed raising the top rate of tax to 75p in the pound; 72% opposed lowering the voting age to 16.
In his commentary on the survey, to be published on Conservative Home, Lord Ashcroft says:
"Len McCluskey rightly observes that whether individual trade unionists will rally to Labour will depend on whether Miliband gives them 'reasons to want to be associated' with the party. This is largely about policy. But the policies he himself advocates seem unlikely to have the desired effect.
"McCluskey is quite right that his members are not queuing up to join Labour. And if Miliband takes his advice, nor will they."
Notes to Editors
- 712 members of the Unite union were interviewed online between 10 and 17 July 2013. 15,970 adults in Britain were asked whether they were a member of a union, and if so which one. Interviews continued with those identifying themselves as members of Unite. Unite has 1.42 million members. The survey's margin of error is 3.67%.
- Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC is an international businessman, author and philanthropist. He is founder and Chairman of the Board of Crimestoppers, a member of the Board of the Imperial War Museum and a Trustee of the Imperial War Museum Foundation, Chairman of the Trustees of Ashcroft Technology Academy, Chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University and Treasurer of the International Democrat Union. From 2005 to 2010 he was Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party.
- His political books and research papers include Smell The Coffee (2005), Minority Verdict, What Future For Labour?,What Future For The Liberal Democrats? (2010), Crime, Punishment & The People, Project Blueprint, The Leadership Factor (2011), Degrees of Separation, The Armed Forces & Society, Blue Collar Tories, Project Red Alert, They're Thinking What We're Thinking: Understanding The UKIP Temptation (2012), What Are The Liberal Democrats For?,Marginal Territory, and Are You Serious? Boris, The Tories And The Voters (2013).
- Full details of Lord Ashcroft's polling and commentary can be found at LordAshcroftPolls.com, where you can sign up for news alerts. You can also follow him on Twitter: @LordAshcroft.