Tonights’s Yougov tracker has topline figures of CON 37%(+1), LAB 33%(-1), LDEM 18%(+1), so the Tory lead goes back to four points. As I said yesterday, we’ll never know for sure whether yesterday’s two point lead was just an outlier, or whether it was a real narrowing reversed by the budget.

This poll was conducted between yesterday afternoon and this afternoon – so it is entirely after the Budget was delivered, but not necessarily after people had heard or read about it. Certainly many respondents would have answered the survey before having read the newspaper coverage of the budget this morning. While this first test of public opinion after the budget suggests it is not a game changer, there may well be more to come in the weekend polls.

My view is that the budget was more of a risk than an opportunity for Labour – Darling had no money for giveaways and the last two budgets had a strongly negative impact on Labour’s poll ratings. If Labour emerge unscathed, it’s probably good news for them… if they emerge unscathed – this is, after all, just one early poll and I expect we’ll have a lot more to digest over the weekend.


409 Responses to “YouGov Daily poll – 37/33/18”

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  1. Is it just me or have the Tories gone into hiding in anticipation of George Osborne’s Sun/Mon announcement?

    I think form the few who have posted- their main message will be targetting the “over-burdened” tax system.

    Does anyone know if there is a poll where voters expressed their views on Tax?

  2. “Does anyone know if there is a poll where voters expressed their views on Tax?”

    There’s one on YouGov. Not sure how out-of-date it is though.

  3. @Matt, Ta…..

  4. All these Tax cuts have been proposed by Osborne in the past. None of them are new. The media re-raising these now is to keep him “homest”.

    If they aren’t in his shadow budget, he will have to explain why not.

    If they are, he’ll need to explain how he’s going to pay for them.

    Osborne is now hostage to this media coverage of his drip, drip past ‘promises’ of tax cuts every time Labour raised them.

    He also has to meet the ring-fenced NHS & Overseas aid spending committments made.

    I’m thinking it’s no coincidence that the tax cuts article first saw light in the Indie. IMO – Gideon is being monstered by the media!

  5. @Amber

    The Daily MAil / Daily Telegraph/ Daily express have been on this story all day

    so far teh Gaurdian and Mirro have not otuched it…

    ie.. friendly media have tlaked about it.

    Daily Mail said -“its not a case of if but when”
    Daily Telegaph -“I’d put asmall fortune on an announcement”

    Your right to say each and every one has been mentioned by the tories before …. putting them out as testers no doubt

    but when the package comes together it is £87 billion

    they will present it in year on year terms so it has the appearance of little sweetners…. eg not 87 but say £17 bill per year…

    ring fencing oversseas aid is to change the nasty image…. it was probably made in haste and in all likliehood they are regretting it…

  6. James Kirkrup osted an article in the Telelgraph tonight

    James chapman and Andrew porter posted this morning…

    Amber is correct to say the Indy are very sceptical but the Tories will not hiding these cuts… the Shadow Budget will be their election centrepiece make no mistake abou tit…

  7. Amber – Alastair Campbell was talking about it today too. Apparently it’s George’s new “wheeze” (I quote)

  8. @ ALEC
    ” I was very interested in the IFS figures also.,,,, I just can’t work out who is going to benefit in polling terms”

    Hi ALEC-nice to see you posting again.

    Yes-IFS bless ’em-where would we be without them.

    Did you see IFS’ attempt to quantify Con’s ” THe bulk of the structural deficit” and compare it with “halve the deficit in four years” ?

    Clearly they must have needed to make assumptions about the meaning of “bulk” etc-but anyway-their assessment of the difference is £8bn over the Parliament-the equivalent of rounding error on an economy this size!!

    It’s completely bonkers ALEC. You could sum it up as :-

    GB says- Labour cuts will be “fair” & painless.
    Byrne says – no cuts, just “efficiency savings”
    AD-Worse cuts than Thatcher
    GO-Faster & deeper.
    IFS-Unringfenced Departments cut by 25% over 4 years, or 7% pa-Cons an additional 3% over 4 years or 1% pa . additional.

    THere is no difference to speak of according to IFS.
    But it is Cons who are playing the difference up-and paying the price at the Polls!!

    Of Labour’s three messages-it’s Brown’s which people have bought-a) because that’s what they want to hear-and b) because no politician anywhere is telling them what % cuts in non-ringfenced departmental spending will take place-and all the politicians know-you & I know since we follow IFS research-but the average punter?-forget it!

    You couldn’t make this up!!

    My take is :-

    Lab will continue with the two basic messages-Brown’s to the voters & Darling’s to the Investors. If they keep stum about the numbers they might get away with it on the doorstep/in the polling booth. If it is exposed in tv debates/interviews it could go off like a handgrenade.

    Cons will major on a committment not to implement the Employers NI increase in 2011. Its a sound policy with support in Industry & it supports their “Recovery friendly” claims. GO will funk Employees NI though leaving £5bn pa to find.
    So he will find this figure as additional cuts somewhere in the massive pile of Public Sector bloat. Whether this will be any more credible than AD’s “efficiency savings”& tax rises, £20bn of which IFS says have yet to be identified ,seems doubtful.

    IFS just about sum it up:-

    Robert Chote says ” ‘There are an awful lot of judgments still to be made, or revealed, notably with regards to public spending over the next Parliament. This greater-than-necessary vagueness allows the Opposition to be vaguer than necessary too.”

    What a disgrace .What an insult to the electorate.

    One is left with the feeling that whoever dissembles most effectively wins.

    And at present that is Gordon Brown.

  9. Greens win by-election in Mid Suffolk 26/03/10

    Anybody know anything abou this? It was previously a Tory seat (council).

  10. @Colin

    “the massive pile of Public Sector bloat”

    Tories are better sticking with the britain is overtaxed mantra…

    that public sector bloat is relied upon by many for health education jobs police etc…..

    If tories are seen to be zealous tax cutters I imagine it would play bad with voters…. hence GO should blame Brown and not push negative message on public sector….

  11. I haven’t picked up on the tax cut articles, but I would say this will present major problems for Osborne based on the pretty relentless attacks they have made on the deficit. There is an perfectly valid argument to be had in favour of reducing taxes to promote growth, but it full of complexities and nuances and would ineviatbly lead in the short term to higher deficits or deeper cuts. To the layman, after being told how the deficit has to be closed quickly, any talk of tax cuts will be confusing and risks being seen as a U turn in response to bad polls. Given that Tory ratings on the economy are falling this represents a very difficult balancing act. There are steps that could be taken – introducing a flat tax NI rate, so that low/middle earners get a tax cut while the full rate is extended right up the wage scale. This could be a tax neutral cut for most at the expense of the wealthy, but I can’t see osborne doing this after his criticism of the 50% IT rate.
    I will be very interested in what transpires but he is going to have to be very clever.

  12. @Alec

    Osborne plan is simple enough

    just dont implements Darling’s planned .5% rise

    If benefits ordinary workers so cannot be termed as only benefitting the rich

    putting mor emoney in ordianry peoples pockets stimulates growth

    whereas labour would be open to charge of cyncial giveaways- the tories could simply claim “we are a natural tax cutting party”

    but they need to stay clear of colin’s lingo or else the working class will think the Tories will relsih stripping away the welfare state…

  13. @ Eoin

    “If tories are seen to be zealous tax cutters ”

    I respectfully suggest Eoin that you are getting a little carried away-you have been all day by the look of it.

    Saying that Cons will not implement a Labour Plan to increase Employer NIC ( a tax on jobs) -if they can possibly avoid it-does not constitute “zealous tax cutting”.

  14. @ Éoin

    That’s the beauty of it – George is now being monstered by his own party’s media. They want to make sure there’s no flip-flopping on the tax cuts.

    Remember the thumping Cameron took from his own re: Marriage tax cut.

    Cameron & Osborne are now between a rock & a very hard place. Most of the beneficiaries of this largesse would be voting Tory anyway.

    And Labour + LD will find it easy to persuade target voters that they’ll be paying for these tax cuts via cuts in services.

    “Same Old Tories” will be the message on the day.

  15. Alistair Darling’s quote coveres by both BBC and ITN last night regarding “deeper cuts than those seen under the Thatcher years” will bring little comfort to most.

    Some of my clients even quoted this today, along with expressing general concern over the fuel price hike.

    This, coupled with the Network Rail and BA fiascos is earning Labour little respect in the transport industry.

  16. How anyone on here can class the budget as a game changer, I will never know.
    I doubt it will move the polls one inch.

  17. @ COLIN

    So he will find this figure as additional cuts somewhere in the massive pile of Public Sector bloat. Whether this will be any more credible than AD’s “efficiency savings”& tax rises, £20bn of which IFS says have yet to be identified ,seems doubtful.
    —————————————————————

    Either there is “public sector bloat” which makes AD’s efficiency savings entirely credible; or there isn’t – which makes your post not credible.

    Would you care to square the circle for us, please?

  18. and to continue my unpartisan approach,,, (as reading some of the partisan comments you realise how boring they sound)

    I just feel somehow Cameron and Osborune have got themselves in to a bit of a pickle, when really they should have walked this election, given the weakness of the current PM.

    I think the nub of it, is that they have not come out early with 4 or 5 clear concise themes and policies and stuck to them.

  19. @eoin – they still have to be mindful to ensure they explain where the money will come from in order to pay for this. And about the Mid Suffolk DC by election result – 32% Con to Green swing. Work that one out.

    I’m carefully watching for Anthony’s bucket of porridge here, but if I were a labour spin doctor I would want to remind voters of Osborne’s plans for an emergency budget in 50 days ‘after we’ve seen the books’. They have avoided specifying spending cuts by arguing they don’t know the figures, so if they now claim to be able to make tax cuts without seeing the figures, something is wrong. Offering any tax cuts in the current situation is fraught with difficulty and the very worst option would be one that enables your opponents to paint you as unbelievable – this election, more than most, will be won or lost on credibility.

  20. @ Eion

    ‘Greens win by-election in Mid Suffolk 26/03/10

    Anybody know anything abou this? It was previously a Tory seat (council).’

    Mid Suffolk – Gn +45%, Con -21%, LD – 21%, Lab -4%

    Must have been an exceptional Green candidate – in some way or another ?

    Also Yesterday – Bracknell TC – Lab (42%) gain from Con (41%).

  21. Sorry Eoin – got your name wrong in last post !

  22. Mid Suffolk election
    In fact the results showed a different picture to that here painted. The results were:
    Green 444 (61.0; +45.4)
    Con 176 (24.2; -20.9)
    LD Chris Vecchi 51 (7.0; -32.4)
    Lab 32 (4.4; +4.4)
    UKIP 25 (3.4; +3.4)
    Majority 268
    Turnout 41.57%
    Green gain from Con
    Percentage change is since May 2007.
    I got this from the ALDC web site whose commentary was somewhat circumspect as you can imagine. The turnout cannot be blamed on the result as 42% is quite respectable for a local election. An interesting result.

  23. Contributors may be interested to know that Peter Snow’s 2005 swingometer is still available online.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/vote2005/swingometer/html/labcon.stm

    There was a 3% swing to the Conservatives in 2005. What is interesting to note is that a 3% UNS on this swingometer would have given Labour a majority of 104 in 2005 – not 66 as it actually was.

    The argument of bigger swings in the marginals really does ring true and should be borne in mind by those wishing to project opinion poll results into general election forecasts.

  24. Bracknell TC result. A usual miserable 22% turnout there. Nevertheless the results showed poor Con preparation following on a disgraced MP standing down of course. It’s not the sort of result the agent would want to see at this stage but it’s as safe as houses.

  25. Alec
    A good investigative journo would ask GO ‘if there are ‘books’ you require to see, how come the IFS don’t feel the need and in fact while you are about it could you specify them and we will do a FOI for you, indeed why haven’t you’ (and so on and so on).

    Abe Lincoln had a phrase for this sort of thing. I listened to the Cable PPB (saddo I am) and no more detail there than from anyone else. These people should really be put under the microscope. Where are the so-called ‘quality newspapers’ when you need them?

  26. @ Howard.

    Thanks for correcting my Lab -4% mistake for Mid Suffolk. Started the scotch too early !.

    ‘Where are the so-called ‘quality newspapers’ when you need them?’

    Are there any left these days ??

  27. A few days ago I commented that while there was definitely something going on out there that was feeding into the narrowing polls, I wasn’t too sure I knew what it was. In some ways, I still don’t, but I wonder if it’s in some part due to this. Brown’s character and temperament, his inherent unpopularity if you like, was generally regarded as a key electoral asset for the opposition and, come election night, it may still turn out to be so. However think about this theory? What if, to borrow from the jargon of the stock exchange trader’s floor, his stock “bottomed” at the right time in the political calendar. In other words, his nadir in terms of popularity occurred sufficiently ahead of an election that the only way since, albeit in micro steps, has been up? Was it possible to be more reviled, pillioried and ridiculed than he was 18 months ago? Possibly not, and is it just possible that sufficient numbers of hitherto sceptical voters have decided to see a more positive and benign side of him. Of course, died-in-the wool Tories loathe him intensely, but I detect, ever so slightly, a softening towards him, an acceptance of his failings and weaknesses and maybe, just maybe, a belated appreciation of his strengths. Of course, none of this may save him from what still feels like his inevitable fate come election night, but I’m picking up faint straws in the wind that the old curmudgeon might have the faintest a flicker of a chance.

    Just a thought.

  28. @ AMBER
    “Would you care to square the circle for us, please?”

    Certainly.
    Read my post.

    “Whether this will be any more credible than AD’s “efficiency savings”& tax rises, £20bn of which IFS says have yet to be identified ,seems doubtful.”

    …..means that if IFS have doubts about AD’s “efficiency savings” , they will have them about GO’s too.

    It would be much more preferable-for both AD & GO- to specify programmes & activities & functions which can & will be ceased.

    After all-if “efficiency savings” are available-they should long ago have been made.

  29. @Alec, Ian and Howard

    thank you very much fo the update on suffolk.. that is some swing away from Tory….

  30. The opinion polls seem to be heading in the right direction for labour.
    The issue is who has the commanding narrative for the election.
    What direction for the country to go?
    That is based on results of the party’s policies, the values that party’s stands for and their ability to lay these simply out to the people.

  31. jay Blanc –
    “The money would not be ’switched’ to better use, it’d go to paying of the deficit. Something that in economic terms ‘destroys’ the money and removes it from the economy. This would reduce the total amount of money going around the economy.”

    So lets not bother shall we, lets borrow borrow borrow and to hell with it….
    Borrowing more means that we pay more in interest payments (ultimately we pay higher interest rates and that pushes up the cost as well) and that means we either spend less to compensate or borrow even more to cover it which means even higher interest payment which means ….

    The notion that paying off debt somehow is lost money is so risible as to make even the most dead, late, stiff parrot fall off its perch.

  32. @Colin

    you are confused

    The 35 billion pound NI cut less than half of the overall tax cut

    theres loads more, marriage , inheritance, council tax, corporation

    hardly carried away

    a five pronged attack at reducing the tax (blue would say burden)

    answer em this- if you may? do u support these five policies

    they strike me as zealous,,,, but im zealous about lots of things its all about having the courage of your convictions i suppose?

    so colin is it cut cut cut spending or tax?

  33. Easy ride for minor parties
    When you think about it if I asked you what are the fiscal measures that the Greens, UKIP BNP are proposing I expect the silence would be deafening. Yet these are the choices some 7 to 10 % of voters have been flirting with, albeit as a protest of one sort or another. It might have been a good idea for the financial debates if an adjunct examination of these parties’ financial gems were examined. I excuse teh nationalists because this issue is not in their gift, at least directly.

  34. @Amber,

    thefallout form it could go either way…. it is cclear blue water i’ll give u that… it will be the most polarised election in decades. I have always forsaw a collapse in th eothers vote. something like this will facilitate it

    as we say in Belfast, it is time to pick and stick

  35. @ HOWARD

    ” in fact while you are about it could you specify them and we will do a FOI for you, indeed why haven’t you’ ”

    A very interesting point Howard.

    In GO’s response to the Budget , he reminded Yvette Cooper ( who stood in , in AD’s absence) of the events of last September, when they received a leaked Treasury paper setting out departmental cuts , at a time when GB was saying there would be none.

    In his criticism of the refusal to publish a formal Departmental Spending review before the GE,he produced that document & challenged Cooper to confirm that similar work will have been done now, and to publish it. He said that he had written to the Treasury Secretary to ask for it to be published.

  36. @TrevorsDen

    *sigh*

    If it were Free to borrow money, then actually, yes, it would be a perfectly good idea to just keep borrowing and never pay off because there’s be no benefit to it. But in the real world, borrowing costs money in the form of interest. And even if you never intend to pay it off, you still need to service the debt.

    However, that does not alter the fact that a government paying off it’s debts reduces the amount of money in the national economy.

    So it’s a balancing act for any government in ensuring they don’t destroy too much economic activity, but also are able to keep the debts they have serviceable.

  37. @ Éoin

    I think these tax cuts are already factored into the Tory market price. What will make the difference? How Labour deal with it, that’s what.

    I think lightly dismissive is what Darling’s going for. Calling them a ‘wheeze’.

    Osborne is either trying to build suspense or buy time before presenting his ‘shadow’ budget. I wonder which it is…….

  38. @Ambér,

    It would be very easy to construct a good argument to expose the £87 billion cut….

    My only concern would be the Thatcher quote yesterday… if osborne is bright and cheery giveaway and there’s a dark cloud of austerirty over darling then it might take a while to win that argument

    Brown should have insisted on presenting his budget… his depth of economic experienc eis vastly superior- afterall when he first said spendyour way out of a recession everyone laughed- he was right

    now Osborne wants to tax cut his way to growth…… he might be right who knows? ;)

  39. Feel free to slap me down if I’m being unduly presumptuous, but I assumed that GO’s planned tax cuts policy was an admission that the Cons would roughly equal but not go beyond Labour’s spending cuts.
    The trouble is, unless you believe that the corporation tax cuts will stimulate the economy towards massive growth, GO will need to cut far deeper than AD overall as he will have to find money for both the same level of spending cuts plus 60-80bn of tax cuts.
    I could of course be wrong (it has happened before).

  40. Cuts and reasonable attitude to specifying them.

    I think parties are allowed to have some rope. In the Newsnight debate on the ‘plucked out of a hat’ figure of £550 million NHS sick pay savings from Paxman which Cable and Hammond leaped upon, thereby demonstrating their lack of original thought, Byrne replied that the figure came from Andy Burnham and he personally had little idea how it would be achieved other than that the NHS had hired consultants who produced a report stating it could be achieved. It was not his job, as Treasury Secretary to second guess Andy Burnham’s department.

    This seemed very reasonable to me. At that hour I think 90 % of the population were doing something else which shows what a sterile exercise this is. Trust the IFS instead? What if they are Tories, everyone is something……. I trust nobody and the rest of the population don’t either. They were down the pub or fornicating or a few watching QT on BBC 1 – ah yes some of you perhaps!. Who knows what inputs people are getting to form their views about the Budget?

  41. @RAF,

    I could not have put it better.

  42. Jay Blanc,

    That kind of logic is why Brown was so keen to support ever increasing house prices.

    Pumping money around the system which produces no tangible benfits merely results in inflation. The gross nominal figures look bigger, but in real terms we are poorer.

    Government receipts used to reduce government debt also reduce future inteerst payments, meaning that future taxes can be reduced, thereby enabling future real growth to generate more receipts to furtehr reduce the debt and so allow furtehr taxe cuts etc. That is a virtuous circle.

    Borrowing in order to spend money on unproductive programmes which then push up future interest payments and tax requirements choke off economic activity, leading to lower tax revenues which require either more taxes or more debt, which in turn depresses future economic activity etc etc. That is the vicious spiral Brown has been engineering the past few years.

    The only sustainable way to eliminate the deficit so taht we can start to reduce the debt is to cut spending. Darling knows that – as he admitted with his comparison to the spending “cuts” of the 1980s – but he won’t publicly say what those cuts will be.

    (FWIW, govt spending “cuts” in teh 1980s were not actually cuts, just reductions in the rate of growth – but why spoil a good line with the facts. Whoever is Chancellor after 6th May is going to have to implement cuts in nominal spending, not just contain the growth rate.)

  43. Raf,

    your post appeared after I had posted mine. The answer to your question is that tax cuts are more effective at stimulating the economy than public spending. This leads to increased revenues despite the lower rates. Tried and tested many times in many countries. The problem we face at present is that we have such an empty cupboard that the rate at which taxes can be cut is necessarily constrained.

  44. Eoin
    I now have two replies in to you on your Tax cut question to me.

    They are both in moderation-I dont know why.

    I am not confused.
    Your numbers are wildly wrong.

  45. Excuse if this is already news here;-

    According to the Guardian, Brown will announce some election pledges tomorrow, one being Darling is to remain at No 11 if Labour wins the election.

    I really believe this will be a huge bonus for Labour as people have confidence in Darling.

  46. Ah

    Anthony

    Could you release my post in response to Eoin please.

    I believe it to be non-partisan-it’s all about figures.

    Thank you.

  47. @ Eoin
    “you are confused”

    I think not -at least not on this occassion Eoin.

    Let me try :-

    The marriage tax break-
    the last discussion I saw for the many options available was a package costing £0.6bn pa.suggested by IDS. Of course there are a number of approaches to this -depending on how far you want to go, who you want to target, and when you implement.

    The Council Tax Freeze:
    Two year freeze-cost Yr1 £0.5bn, Yr2 £1.0bn

    The IHT nil rate band increase;-
    Self financing-Non Doms surcharge.

    Corporation Tax rate reduction:-
    Paid for by scrapping targetted / specific existing tax deductibles & reliefs-nil net cost.
    (THere is , I concede, a political dispute about the relative effectiveness of individual corporation tax reliefs & allowances vs a general cut in the applicable rate of CT )

    NIC:-
    Cost of 1% reduction £5bn pa ( HM Treasury Tax Ready Reckoner-Dec 09-Table 5-page 15 )

    So-in the life of the first Parliament that’s :-

    Council Tax 2 yrs.-£1.5bn total
    NIC-from April 2011 to April 2015-4yrs @ £5bn =£20bn
    Marriage tax break-say from April 2011-4 yrs @ £0.6bn=£2.4bn

    Total over the Parliament £23.9 BN

    Total Tax Revenues are around £700BN pa-so for a five year parliament that’s £3500BN

    Therefore the loss of tax revenue flowing from the above GO proposals represent 24 /3500= a 0.7% reduction.

    And since we are running annual Budget Deficits throughout this Parliament ( still 3% to 4% of GDP at it’s end) the above expressed as a % of Total Government spend is an even smaller %.

    No Eoin-this is not zealotry
    Yes Eoin I do support those policies
    Yes Eoin it is cut spending -whichever government you get ( see IFS report)
    Yes Eoin it is cut taxes with a Conservative government if it is sensible, conducive to recovery, affordable & appropriate.

    I expect GO to demonstrate that these proposals meet all of those criteria.

  48. @Colin,

    your posts are usually very fair- i cannot imagine its anything specific just a word press or something…

    I might not get it until tomorrow old chap (or young chap I dont know)

    I have detailed the costs below- borrowed tehm from andrew grice (indy)

    *National insurance

    To halt 1 per cent rise
    Cost: about £7bn a year.

    *Inheritance tax

    To raise the threshold
    Cost: about £1.5bn a year

    *Council tax

    To freeze bills for two years.
    Cost: £500m in 2010-11 financial year and £1bn a year afterwards.

    *Corporation tax
    To reduce corporation tax paid by business.
    Cost: rising to £3bn a year, met from abolishing some tax reliefs and allowances for firms.

    *Marriage
    Fully transferable tax allowances would cost £4.9bn but restricting the move to married couples with children up to the age of three would limit the bill to £600m

    you have to multiply them over 5 years (lifetime of parl-madate and all that)

    :) :)

    embrace the Tax cuts they’ll do your party good…. if you read my earlier posts i predited a poll bounce for you on the back of them

  49. Eoin

    You do realise -don’t you-that over a five year parliament total tax tevenues will be £3500BN.

    And since we are running Budget deficts throughout that period , Total Government expenditure is even higher.

    So in terms of significance, any number less than £50bn or so over the term , falls into the category of margin of error -if not margin of certainty!

  50. “embrace the Tax cuts they’ll do your party good…. if you read my earlier posts i predited a poll bounce for you on the back of them”

    I think so too. I would be surprised if they didn’t.

    I have to admit to not liking Osborne much though – I find him irritating.

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