A new poll by YouGov indicates that the public is in favour of publicly run railways, as opposed to privately operated one.
Respondents were asked about a series of services (some currently run privately and some run publicly) and had to say whether they should be run in the private sector, the public sector, or that it did not matter as long as the standard of service was maintained.
For railways, 52% said they thought that railways should be ran in the public sector, compared to just 14% who disagreed, saying that they should be operated privately. Additionally, 27% of respondents said that it does not matter so long as the standard of the service is maintained.
Of voters backing Labour, 69% thought that they should be ran publicly, whilst 58% of those intending to vote Liberal Democrat also said the same. As for UKIP voters, 60% said that railways should be publicly run.
However, the Conservatives were the only party without a majority of voters in favour of nationalising railways, with the party being evenly split on the issue. 34% said they should be ran publicly and 34% said they should be ran privately. 29% said that the sector did not matter as long as the standard is maintained.
Overall, the survey suggested that people overwhelmingly back public sector schools (62%-30%), hospitals (74%-3%), post delivery (54%-13%), prisons (62%-9%) and roads and motorways (62%-25%). On the issue of banks, 27% said public sector, 33% said private and 31% said it did not matter. As for utilities, the poll suggests that 47% of the public support that they are run by the public sector, as opposed to 16% saying the private sector.
There were also some noticeable trends from the poll:
Despite UKIP being seen as a party often to the right of the Conservatives and nationalisation generally seen as a left wing policy, in all areas UKIP support for nationalisation was higher than Tory support for it. Furthermore, the area in the UK most in favour of having the services listed in public hands was Scotland, with the country's respondents having the highest share saying that services should be run in this way in six of the eight questions. Additionally, YouGov’s Will Dahlgreen made the argument that voters are more ideological than pragmatic on such issues, however, he highlighted that the Conservatives were much less ideologically-driven on such issues than Labour.
The poll is interesting as it suggests that the public back certain industries in certain sectors which are not currently there. It also shows the party divides between the voters, which will be interesting in the run up to the general election.
The full results of the poll can be found here.