The Telegraph have published the first voting intention poll since the budget. The topline figures in the YouGov poll, with changes from their last one, are CON 45%(+4), LAB 27%(-7), LDEM 18%(+2). It was conducted between Wednesday and Thursday afternoon.

Needless to say, it shows a collapse in the Labour vote with both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats benefitting, though the changes are probably slightly exaggerated since the last YouGov poll showed a rather high level of Labour support compared to other recent polls.

Two things are worth noting – first, this isn’t necessarily the result of the budget, this is also the first YouGov poll since the “smeargate” story, and some polls were already showing Labour down below thirty.

Secondly, it is possible for instant reaction polls to be too instant. Most of YouGov’s responses would have been received on Wednesday, before the print media’s pretty hostile reception today and the post-budget discussion of spending cuts. This poll may not be showing the full effect of the budget.


110 Responses to “YouGov Post Budget poll”

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  1. @Ivan

    National statistics do have a strict protocol. This includes releasing them to the government 72 hours before publishing them (i.e. the day before the budget in this case). Darling should have been aware of the figures, If Darling was unaware of the release, it is because he asked a spad to read the release and then asked the spad “should I read it now?” In black-ops terms plausible deniability. The Treasury had been notified. This is what prompted my questions.

    There is a reasonable argument to warning the government, in that a government may need to prepare (e.g. ordering the BofE to intervene in the market after the announcement, or to ask to borrow from the IMF), but what we actually see is that the government (of whatever colour) misuses this window for party advantage by emphasising favourable statistics and ignoring unfavourable statistics and hoping the media accept the spin.

    Yes, the government was incompetent, but the incompetence was to schedule the budget immediately before the ONS announcement. The result was that the horrible figures got publicity during all the “how does the budget affect you” news pieces. If they had the budget earlier, and the media had moved on, this would only have made the business section. Instead, Brown, as usual, went for tactics instead of strategy, and didn’t look far enough ahead. Brown tried for good headlines in the G20, followed by good headlines in the budget. He never was an economist (He’s a historian, specialising in the history of the Scottish Labour party!) and one must conclude that despite 10 years of throwing phones at Treasury staff, he still does not have a feel for the impact of ONS statistics and missed the accident he scheduled for himself. The political equivalent of Wile E Coyote running off the edge of the cliff. Brown’s now in mid-air holding up the sign saying “Oops!” and the next scene is the economy in a coyote-shaped hole on the Canyon floor.

  2. The current trend in the polls is not surprising given the perception that government policies have exacerbated the impact of the global economic downturn on Britain. The fact that the IMF is predicting a worse economic performance this year for most other European countries.

    I wonder what would the impact on the polls would be if we knew some detail on Tory policies for dealing with the level of public debt. By chance I came across a Tory researcher in a pub near Westminster recently. Admittedly he’d had a few drinks, but he was going on about the fact that talk in senior Tory circles involved a public sector pay freeze for 3 years and a recruitment freeze for two years except for the NHS, police and military. Interesting stuff!

  3. Fascinating reading – while I have no doubt that Brown and Cronies contributed to the ‘crisis’, and it’s only right that they reap their rewards now. But isn’t it fascinating that not one commentator has raised the question ‘would it have been any different under the Tories?’

    Does anyone seriously believe that they would have controlled the greed of the city – and the stupidity of the city – any better? Of course they wouldn’t.

    Fascinating, too, that labour haven’t had the nous to spot this trifling anomaly!

  4. “Admittedly he’d had a few drinks, but he was going on about the fact that talk in senior Tory circles involved a public sector pay freeze for 3 years and a recruitment freeze for two years except for the NHS, police and military. Interesting stuff!”

    Interesting times ahead.

    If the finances deteriorate further, as is likely, the prospect of across the board public worker pay cuts in the 5 -10% range become ever more probable. If the incoming government included every public sector worker in it, including the civil service, courts, MPs etc they might be able to justify it without too much unrest.

  5. “Does anyone seriously believe that they would have controlled the greed of the city – and the stupidity of the city – any better? Of course they wouldn’t.”

    Besides the point.

    The Conservatives (or Lib Dems) could claim that if they had been in power for the last 12 years, that they would have run surpluses during the boom years and controlled public spending. Thus leaving the UK in a much better position to weather recessionary times.

  6. Don’t want to stoke party political tensionsany more than they already are but I think that Andrew Heenan’s post deserves a factual retort. The regulation of banks up to 1997 was based on keeping the leverage ratio of banks at around 1. Brown (or more accurately Balls) then introduced a system based on ‘risk management’. All well and good if the risks are assessed accurately but clearly this was not the case. Banks being able to lend 7 times as much as they were lent fueled the asset boom and left then much more vunerable to collapse. So under the Tories this crisis a) probably wouldn’t have happened, or b) wouldn’t have been nearly as bad. Of course overall growth may not have been as great as loans would have been harder to come by.

  7. Public sector workers could not legitimately complain about a pay freeze for two reasons :

    a) inflation is negative so the usual argument of wanting a rise to keep up with the cost of living does not fly
    b) private sector workers are having pay freezes and huge job losses so having a stable job with good benefits (pension etc) is good enough for now even for the most greedy.

  8. @ Andrew Heenan – “But isn’t it fascinating that not one commentator has raised the question ‘would it have been any different under the Tories?’”

    Not really, no. Hypotheticals are a bit rubbbish. What if Hitler had won WWII? What if JFK hadn’t been assassinated? What if John Smith hadn’t died? What if Gordon Brown was a good PM? It’s all a bit pointless. You are assuming the Tories would have done more or less the same as Labour. Maybe they would have. On the other hand, a few months ago Jeremy Seabrook – a leftwinger looking at the current mess in horror – argued that the Tories understand the capitalist economy far better than Labour and are therefore better able to read and play it. Maybe he’s right. We don’t know because it never happened.

  9. Does anyone know if there are polls due out tonight?

  10. Ivan – a 10% yield isextremely high given the low interest rates. Once they’r eup to 7%, demand will “shoot up” (though I agree prices will remain stable as there’d be no reason for yields to compress again)

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