YouGov, ‘pitched 16 policy ideas against each other’. Respondents chose, which they would prefer out of two. The ‘winner’ then proceeded to the next round, and so on, until there was one winner.
Peter Kellner, the President of YouGov compared the type of survey to a sports competition, saying:
"The contest proceeds like Wimbledon or the FA Cup. Starting with eight pairs, the “winners” proceed to the next round of four pairs, and so on until a winner emerges."
In each round, respondents were asked: ‘Thinking ahead to 2015, which, if either, of these would be better for Britain?’. They were then given two options.
In the ‘final’, the policy statement: ‘Ban immigrants from claiming welfare benefits for their first four years in Britain’ was heavily preferred over the statement: ‘Renationalise Britain’s railways by returning them all to public ownership when the current franchises of the private railway operators expire’ (60%-26%).
This suggests that there is a strong demand in the country for banning benefits for migrants for their first four years in Britain, however, there is also a strong demand to renationalise the railways. But in terms of prioritising the two, banning welfare for migrants is higher up on the public’s lists.
In the final, 80% of those intending to vote Tory preferred banning migrants' benefits, whist 43% of those voting Labour, 41% of Lib Dems and 84% of those who would vote UKIP also agreed. Renationalising the railways however, was preferred mostly by Labour voters (43%), then Lib Dems (41%), then UKIP voters (10%), then Conservatives (9%).
On the way to the ‘final’, restricting welfare for migrants beat increasing the minimum wage to a living wage (51%-39%) in the final four, whilst renationalising the railways proved more popular than the policy idea to ‘Give head teachers and hospital managers more freedom to decide local priorities, and set fewer national rules on running schools and hospitals’ (42%-36%) - again in the final four.
In good news for Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, and bad news for Nigel Farage, UKIP’s leader, when voters were presented with either having a referendum on EU membership by 2018 and the freezing of energy prices for two years - in the first sixteen - the latter was preferred (46%-36%).
Overall, the poll suggests that being tough on migrants claiming benefits is a well-received policy by many voters, as is renationalising the railways, however, only the former is likely to happen.
The full results of the poll can be found here. 2,088 GB adults were questioned between the 10th and 11th of December 2014.
Which policy would you prefer to be implemented? How does this type of survey compare to other measurements of public opinion?