The first poll since the PBR is in the Telegraph tomorrow. The YouGov poll has topline voting intentions of CON 40%(-1), LAB 36%(nc), LDEM 14%(nc).

The poll was conducted Monday evening and today, so was entirely after the PBR, though as I said in my earlier post, it may be too soon for the full effect to be apparent: most respondents will have filled in the survey before seeing the newspaper coverage of the polls this morning. So far there doesn’t appear to have been any significant effect from the PBR: there is no significant change in levels of support, though in the one minor change there is the trend is continuing to run against the Conservatives.

The full figures are not yet on the Telegraph or YouGov websites, but there are some figures mentioned in their report: the Conservatives have maintained their lead on the economy, but Labour continue to be seen as best to handle the current crisis. Looking at the specific measures contained in the pre-budget report, the main ones meet with widespread support…60% supported the cut in VAT, 72% supported the new 45% tax band. However, according to Anthony King’s analysis a large majority of people think none of them will do much to actually help the recession.

Moving to the Conservatives – two-thirds agreed that the Conservatives were right to warn people that tax cuts now would inevitably lead to big tax increases in the future, and about half of respondents said it was wrong for the government to borrow so much as the economy would suffer in the longer term. However, their problem is still that people don’t think they are offering much of an alternative. Two thirds think the Tories are spending too much time blaming the government and not enough saying what they would do.

28 Responses to “First post-PBR poll shows a 4 point Tory lead”

  1. Am I right in thinking that the bulk of this would have been done before the PBR, and certainly before the later analysis? Something to do with YouGov’s methods/the timing of the poll?

  2. I think you will find that this poll was conducted after the PBR on Monday evening and today. Anthony’s comment regarding giving the announcements time to be understood by people is likely to mean that we must be patient and wait for the next polls to see if Labour has had a positive effect or have the Tories benefitted. :)

  3. David – the thing you recall about YouGov’s methodology is that all the emails go out at the same time, so most of the responses come early in the fieldwork period.

    In this case, the poll wasn’t set live and invites didn’t go out until after the PBR, so all the responses were after the PBR itself, though you are quite right that many or most would have been before the analysis in the next day’s newspapers.

  4. I’d be surprised if the gap wasn’t bigger after the mauling the PBR and Darling got in the press. Yes the Tories are still over 40% but shouldn’t they be running away with it at this stage? At this point in 1995 Labour had leads of between 17 and 40%.

    The Conservatives have firmed up their vote, but not closed the deal with an electorate that thinks they have a weak front bench and are great at attacking Labour but without showing much policy substance themselves.

    Cameron must be hoping that his internal polling – and ICM – are closer to the truth than MORI and YouGov. Otherwise with the usual tightening in polling before the election could see the Conservatives snatching defeat from the jaws of victory…

  5. Anthony,

    Just a suggestion, but I had a look at the latest genral election prediction and thought it would be improved if the two predictions showed the change from the current number of seats.

    Unless you know what these are the changes particularly to the likes of the LibDems (and yes the SNP) aren’t readily apparent.

    I know you already have more than enough to do but I thought I would mention it.


  6. That’s a rather large proportion who approve of the 45% tax rate for £150k plus.

    I’ve read and heard a lot of analysis that suggests people would vote for tax cuts for the wealthiest on the basis that they aspire to being among their number (the IHT virtual abolition from Osborne last year not least).

    It seems that 71% are now in favour of pip-squeak taxation of the rich – has there been a shift in the polls against rampant free-market big bonus capitalistm ?

    I’ve just heard Lawson encouraging Osborne to guarantee reversing the 45% tax hike. Will he agree, and will he oppose the escalation of fuel duty and abandon last summer’s proposal of a fuel duty escalator ?

    Whatever the outcome, I’m personally very happy that the next election is more than likely to be won and lost on policy differences , and that the current polls seem to be reflecting policy recognition in favour of the fatuous nonsense of media-friendliness issues.

  7. Oh come on John TT,45% on income >£150 K is scarcely making the pips squeak-indeed it is little remebered that at the time of the 1988 Budget,Mrs Thatcher would persoanlly have preferred then-Chancellor Nigel Lawson to only remove the 60 and 55p tax bands,and leave the 50 and 45% bands.The economic hubris over the period 1988-1993 only cements my point(I have a ‘C’ in A level economics)
    I personally believe:
    (a)David Cameon is open to a charge of ‘favouring the privileged’ if his Shadow Chancellor appraocahes the election opposing this
    (b)Continuation of interest rates (and hopefully mortgage rates!) will continue to build a bunker of people who,come the election,take the mindset ‘Better the devil you know’ (Although I am a Labour Party member I am wiling to debate!)

  8. Another good poll for Labour, in that the gap is shortening. Too soon to say how big an effect the PBR will have but it seems to have started well for Labour. The press has been negative so far but like the Conservatives has not given any alternatives. Interesting to see how other polls over the next couple of weeks go, could be a turning point for Labour or a firming up of the Conservative lead.

  9. ive just been on the bbc web-site very pro brown for some reason they must have be paid (ha ha) normal from the pro labour channal

  10. Hi all,
    Just to warn you. That you gov survey, make a note that there were ten or so questions prior to that about other products (how would you rate them for brand appeal) with another ten or so after on yet pro and cons of other brands. The economic stuff wasin the middle. I must admit that I was switched off when it came to the government bit.

  11. I don’t normally ciriticize YouGov but wasn’t this poll taken just too soon after the PBR to be meaningful ?

    I’ll wait till the next poll to see the real effects of the PBR on voters I think.

  12. I think the timing point may be somewhat undermined by the fact that YouGov asked specific questions about the PBR measures, although its right that there has been litle time for reaction to these to reform people’s snap assessments.
    I’ve been struck by the rather tawdry nature of Cameron/Osbourne’s response. It is a genuinely difficult task for an opposition to come up with a creditable alternative at such times, but standing behind cartoon images of the PM without putting together a single stich of viable alternative policy is surprisingly weak. Maybe this is why negative press hasn’t at this stage affected Labout support?

  13. With such big Conservative losses in YouGov polls, this latest one which seems to show the trend ending can only be a good thing for them.

  14. The press narrative has shifted from ‘Gordon saves the planet’ to ‘OMG WTF is this going to work?’ The worry for Labour is when (if?) the narrative becomes ‘this isn’t working, is it?’

    Don’t know about DC but Philip Hammond walked round the higher rate elephant trap by saying that any tax reductions from the Conservatives would focus on the lowest paid.

  15. There is an issue over £150k/year and the media, which is some of the top people in the media (not most journalists by a long way) but the editors and key newsreaders and columnists, do earn that much or nearly that much, and so are unlikely to be impressed. They also believe that most people earn much nearer that level than they do (the papers were insistent this week that £50k/year was about a middle salary).

    But £150k/year is actually very high, less than 1% of the country – outside London hardly anyone. And it’s a long way from even most people’s aspirations.

  16. Anthony, over on, a number of commenters are saying they completed a YouGov opinion poll on Monday before the PBR – it was sent out in the morning with a 3pm deadline.

    There are a couple of theories:

    (a) party internal polling

    (b) the Telegraph originally wanted to run “before” and “after” polls but there was so little difference they didn’t bother.

    (c) the Telegraph poll was started early (although I have discounted this given what you say about it being sent out Mon evening).

    Do you have any comment on what this earlier polling might be?

  17. I think polling reaction to the PBR is extremely dangerous and premature – especially considering the reaction to the changes to the 10p tax band took almost a year to filter through into the general consciousness (as it began to hit pay packets).

    A no-change result at this stage potentially shows a new-found healthy scepticism and that we are no longer prepared to jump to conclusions having experienced the sensation of being burnt by previous attempts at news manipulation.

    This story of the economic crisis is not going to quietly or quickly drift off into the ether, so people are likely to play their cards close to their chest and wait until the experts have satisfactorily digested the implications.

    I think it is likely that the polls will start swinging within the next month as the Christmas trading period progresses, but I think it is clear that the public is now looking for the party which offers the best solutions, not the best spin. So I don’t expect that we will see a miraculous surge in consumption as a result from this stimulus, but perhaps that is no bad thing if personal debt levels are paid down.

    We will have to hold onto our hats as we wait and see whether the New Year brings any resolutions!

  18. D J Howitt – no there weren’t, you must have taken part in a different poll.

    Phil C – I know exactly what it was, but obviously I can’t comment on client stuff. I can say it was definitely not (c), this poll went out after the PBR.

  19. That also seems to be a very large number in favour of the VAT cut, considering that there will be very little benefit seen by ordinary folk. Most food is already VAT-free, and fuel and alcohol will stay the same because duty went up to counter the effects of the cut.

    The phasing out of the personal allowance for high earners is a very dangerous precedent to set as it goes against a basic principle of tax, namely that everyone is entitled to an amount of tax free income. If the government is able to decide that those earning above a certain amount are not entitled to a personal allowance, the logical conclusion ends in a 100% tax band and all income provided by state benefit.

  20. Mathew. I agree, and Polly Toynbee wrote an article on this subject just yesterday. In fact, nearly half of the country earn less than £23,000 as a wage and only 10% earn more than £40,000, never mind £50,000 or £150,000. The figure for those earning more than £150,000 was something like 1.3%….

    And let’s not forget even this tax hike will only take about £3000 from those earning £150,000 a year, hardly crippling.

  21. The tax hike seems to have exercised a lot of people but it’s neither here nor there with regards government spending and debt. It’s going to raise, what, £2 billion? And the government intends borrowing £118 billion. Gradually it’s going to dawn on people that that level of debt isn’t going to be paid off by minor tax hikes for the highest paid. I guess the government is hoping that this won’t dawn on most people before the next general election but I suspect that it will.

  22. In the past I think there has been two counter-suggestions to the idea that so few people earn these amounts that they can’t be politically damaging to tax them.

    1) People aspire to earn such money and don’t like to think that aspiration if achieved would all be taxed away.
    2) People think they are in the top 10% of earners when in fact they aren’t (this was very true of the US I remember).
    3) There’s a view that high earners contribute a lot to the economy, or have achieved their wealth through being more successful and so in a sense it’s not ‘fair’.

    On (1) I think most people at the moment are aspiring to keep their jobs, not get enormous pay increases. Furthermore (2) the numbers are numbers, not %-ages, and most people can see quite obviously that they aren’t going to ever earn anywhere near that much money. Finally (3) the implosion of the financial sector (as Willem Buiter said this morning, it’s not a crisis in or of the financial sector, the financial sector has ceased to exist) and the need for State ownership has rather put paid to a lot of that too.

  23. I see this as a pretty much no change poll from other recent ones,
    there’s good and bad in it for both main parties.

  24. Anthony: I think I am right in saying that there is normally an immediate bounce for labour immediately after a PBR or budget, as many still like the idea of the chancellor spashing other peoples cash. however it normally returns to earth within a couple of weeks as people realise it isn’t all that it seems. Thoughts?

  25. “Yes the Tories are still over 40% but shouldn’t they be running away with it at this stage? At this point in 1995 Labour had leads of between 17 and 40%.”

    That is true, but then the parties were more or less neck and neck the year before Mrs. Thatcher came to power.

    Could I ask a question: why on earth wasn’t this YouGov poll published this Thursday night, as they are usually published on the last Friday of the month in the Daily Telegraph – surely that would have been more meaningful and would have shown us more of a reaction for or against the PBR?

  26. Andy D: “the parties were more or less neck and neck the year before Mrs. Thatcher came to power” – true, but Labour had at that point lost it’s majority. As Anthony has pointed out, Govts with healthy majorities are rarely replaced with new Govts with healthy majorities of their own – the Conservatives still have a 60 seat majority to overcome before going into hung parliament territory, a much steeper hill to climb than Mrs Thatcher faced.

  27. Where are all the Tory Shadow Cabinet.? Vince Cable works ten times as hard as any of them.