The press reaction to the PBR hasn’t be particularly nice, but now we have to wait for the first polls to show us how the public have reacted. We are due the regular YouGov poll for the Telegraph this week – normally on Friday but it could be earlier. ICM’s poll for the Guardian is also awaited, and I’d expect that to turn up soon. I’d be surprised if there aren’t other ad hoc polls run by other companies.

When they do turn up, look for two things. Firstly remember the broad range of figures we’ve seen in recent polls. If an ICM poll pops up first showing the Conservatives with a 10 point lead it doesn’t mean that the PBR has been a hideous disaster for Labour sending the Conservatives back to a double point lead after the gap fell to only 3 points, as the last ICM poll from before the PBR showed the Tories with an 11 point lead anyway. Conversely YouGov have been showing some of the smallest leads for the Tories – their last poll had Labour on 36% to the Conservatives’ 41%, so a 5 point lead from them would be no change, rather than a Labour triumph. Given the contrasting figures, it’s important to compare like to like.

Secondly, pay attention to when the fieldwork was done. There is an urgency in the media to have the very first poll out and get the exclusive. It should go without saying that polls that were conducted prior to the PBR can’t give us a real answer as to how it has gone down, but also be careful about those done immediately afterwards. Amazingly enough not everyone is glued to BBC News 24 – if a poll’s fieldwork is done straight after a speech or announcement, respondents might not actually see the news until they watch the news or read the paper the next day. It can take a while for people to digest the news. A good example would be after the May 2008 elections – they were the trigger that pushed the Conservatives from around about 40% in the polls to around about 45% in the polls… but the very first poll afterwards, conducted partially while the London mayor votes were still being counted, showed the Conservatives unchanged on 40%.

14 Responses to “Waiting for the verdict…”

  1. I suspect that given the negative reporting the immediate result will be a significant increase in the Tory lead. However I would predict that when Obama gets into power and starts taking similar measures views will begin to change and the Tories will start to look out of step with the rest of the world. Time will tell!

  2. All goes without saying, Anthony. ;)

  3. Then my work here is done ;)

  4. Who was that masked pollster…….


  5. PAUL said “I would predict that when Obama gets into power and starts taking similar measures views will begin to change and the Tories will start to look out of step with the rest of the world. ”

    All I agree with on that statement is that Obama will copy Brown and has already started to – it will be the downfall of both of them – they will both be known as “One Term Obama” & “One Term Brown” in 4 years for Obama and 18 months for Brown.

    This latest budget is a gift for the Tories – just watch the POLLS coming up !

  6. Brown should cut MP’s salaries by 50% – a very popular measure.

  7. From a popularity point of view the reduction in VAT won’t do much in my opinion. The idea to cut VAT to 15% was a Tory one, Ken Clarke first muted the idea some time ago and in my opinion it was not very wise to take that idea on board.

    If people have no money, it doesn’t matter if VAT is 0%, people will still not be able to buy. If however N.I or P.A.Y.E tax contributions had been lowered, it would actually put the money in people’s hands and the poorer amongst us would undoubtedly spend it which would help the economy. The argument to increase N.I by half a percent in a few years time would have been met with a far more favourable view if N.I had actually decreased this time around.

    Not very well thought out from a political point of view in my opinion, however this decision isn’t supposed to be about party politics so maybe the idea of the V.A.T reduction will actually put 12billion into the economy and it might just work but without any credit being given to the Government for doing it that way!

    With regards to the 5% tax increase for people earning over £150,000 per year, dont forget the tax part will only mean an extra £5,000 a year for someone on £250,000 and that is well affordable – even more so if they have a mortgage commensurate with their salary and have either a tracker or SVR mortgage!

    I can’t see this Government giveaway gaining much support for Brown but who knows, the electorate are a little strange!

  8. Have to say that Darling has repeated the mistake they made on stamp duty with the VAT cut. How to kill consumer spending in the run-up to Christmas in one easy lesson.

    Either people believe the VAT cut will reduce prices – in which case postpone buying presents from this week-end until December – or else it makes no difference thanks to the massive sales / discounts on offer – in which case what was the point ?

    Plus, he raised all the excise duties so that fuel, booze and tobacco are not going to be cheaper anyway. Too much spin and not enough thought as to the real consequences.

    Have to ay that teh media coverage – especially in teh freebies – has been much harsher than I expected. It certainly does not bode well for Labour in London.

  9. Correction

    Have to say that the media coverage – especially in the freebies….

    Must check before posting.

  10. Celtic are out of europe having been beaten away from home yet again…

    Just thought I’d share the pain.


  11. This budget appears to be just as much about winning the next election as it is about helping the economy. A budget they hope will ensure the turnout of their core vote.

    But the problem with getting so heavily into debt is that it is very hard to imagine that anyone will be spared the impact of the severe spending cuts and tax bomb to come. Delaying the pain of the recession until after the election is likely to induce cynicism.

    Whether this budget will lessen the impact of the recession I will leave to educated guesses of the economists. But I guess a lot depends on how much unemployment rises over the next 18 months for the long term prospects of the economy and the reputation of Labour.

  12. Philip,

    You can’t win an election on your core vote, you need the middle ground too and it will be decided a lot on how the people in the shires see this in ayears time.

    I suspect that by then although we may be seeing a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel the majority after a decade of rising living standards won’t be that inclined to thank a government that has put up there taxes and given them falling house prices.

    That might be harsh and indeed unfair, but then the publlic can be harsh and no one ever said they had to be fair.


  13. Peter,

    You are right that Labour need the middle ground to win. But the local elections and by-elections have shown Labour that they cannot necessarily rely upon their core vote. And the focus on appealing to their core vote in this budget may be a reaction to that.

    Some of the recent polls do suggest they have gained some of the middle ground. But there is not enough consistancy among the polls to be confident of this. We should have a better idea if this is the case by the end of the year.

  14. Tory lead down in the latest YouGov poll.

    Not long before the Tories fall below 40%. If i was a Tory i’d be very concerned at not only the complete lack of ideas of dealing with the world wide economic problems, but how at this stage of the parliament, they are struggling to keep in the forties in the polls.

    All that after a pretty horrendous first 12 months of Brown as PM and nearly 12 years of Labour government.

    It appears the Cameron honeymoon is over as he is floored by the clunking fist.