Budget polling

We won’t have any more voting intention polls till tonight, but we have had some polling as the budget itself. YouGov’s Sun poll also had some specific questions on the poll, ComRes had a poll for the Daily Politics, Populus have some findings here and Political Betting have a new poll from Angus Reid. At first glance the two latter ones look rather contradictory – ComRes implies the budget has gone down well, Angus Reid doesn’t. Compare all three and the picture is slightly more consistent.

A majority of those with an opinion disapprove of the budget.
Angus Reid found 54% disapproved, 30% approved. YouGov found 41% thought it wasn’t fair, 32% thought it was. This is not unusual though, or necessarily that bad. Budgets are not usually very popular. In recent years I’ve commented here about polls that have found all the measures within the budget are approved of, but the budget as a whole is still frowned on. People just don’t like them!

If YouGov’s “net fairness” for this budget is minus 9, that needs to be seen in the context of previous years. In 2009 it was -16, 2007 it was -14, 2006 -7, 2005 +15. Hence the budget is not seen as being as fair as those in better times, but it is being received considerably more positively than recent budgets.

ComRes, incidentally, gave people the option of saying the budget wouldn’t make much difference, and the majority of respondents too it! Of those who thought it would make a difference more thought it was good (18%) than bad (12%)

The budget has improved Alistair Darling’s reputation. This was the big finding from ComRes’s budget poll, that Brown & Darling lead Cameron & Osborne as the most trusted on the economic downturn by 33% to 27% (Populus asked a similar question and found a similar lead for Brown & Darling). This is in contrast to other recent poll findings still showing Cameron & Osborne ahead, but that will largely be because ComRes offered the third option of Clegg & Cable, whereas most of these economic team questions ask only Brown & Darling v Cameron & Osborne (it also looks as though neither poll was politically weighted – Populus’s question on how people’s vote was affected by the budget implies the sample is far more Labour than their normal ones).

In contrast YouGov’s post-budget poll asked a normal best party on the economy question giving people a forced choice between Labour and the Conservatives and continued to find a narrow Tory lead (34% to 30%) – though some of that difference will also be from asking parties rather than politicians.

More interesting is that when ComRes previously asked an identical question in December Cameron & Osborne were ahead, so there is movement in the direction of Brown & Darling. YouGov also found a boost in Darling’s reputation. They asked the same questions on the Tuesday before the budget and straight afterwards. Pre-budget 17% of people thought Darling would make the best Chancellor, that rose to 20% afterwards. His job approval rating rose from minus 17 to minus 14.

Economic optimism has dropped. Asked immediately before the budget YouGov found economic optimism at minus 10, straight after the budget it had fallen to minus 19. Like previous budgets, this one seems to have reminded people quite how bad the economic situation is. Increasing economic optimism does appear to have played a significant role in Labour’s recovery over the last 6 months, so this could be significant.

156 Responses to “Budget polling”

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  1. @ RAF

    “There is no reason why it necessarily should. There are many anciliary protocols,”

    The reason-at least the one I quoted-is because Merkel has said we will need Treaty amendments.
    I believe she exerts. a little influence in these matters.

    By the way-having read it again-Van Rompouy has been tasked to chair a working party on “European Economic Government”. His group will include all members-not just the Eurozone members.

    As to :-
    “Of course the UK is signed up to the Stability Pact, which does include assurances on our part that out debt will not higher than a certain % of GDP”

    I think you make Merkel’s point for her. “Assurances” which everyone ignores, and then comes running to Germany when the cash runs out -she is not happy with.

    I find this a little ironic since Cons have a policy-if elected-to install the OBR. If Merkel has her way, it won’t be needed, since the EU will be signing off the UK budget!

    Re UKIP/Cons.

    The Eurosceptics always said that monetary union would lead to political union . That you cannot have monetary union without fiscal union. This shows that they were right.

    Shadow Europe Minister Mark Francois has said that the British people would get a vote on this change if the Tories win office:

    “There is no clear proposal on a treaty. As we have set out, we would change the law so that any treaty that handed over areas of power from Britain to the EU would be subject to a referendum. That is our firm and clear position.”

    UKIP can’t deliver that.

  2. Roland – no, that can’t stack up at all. Remember Angus Reid have the Conservatives about 13 points ahead in their voting intention polls, so the methodology that produces those figures on the budget also produces a much great Conservative lead.

    You can’t compare Angus Reid’s budget figures with a different pollsters’ leads in voting intention. It’s reasonable to assume that given the difference in the level of Labour support they find, other pollsters would also find different figures for which party people support on the economy.

  3. @oldnat,

    your being michevious! :)

    Wishing thinking old chap…

    The Liberals are the most geographically representitative party in Britain.. Old Gladstone’s midlothian campaign made sure of that :)

  4. @ ANTHONY
    ” Last time Populus did a poll of Unite members (they did it before in 2009) they did it online, so it would have been a case of asking their whole panel (or possibly the panels of other online panel providers) if they were members of trade unions, and then contacting all those who indicated they were members of Unite.”

    I am interested in your reply to AMBER.

    I understand now how it was done.

    But how would they have tried to make the sample representative of all UNITE members?

    Perhaps that wouldn’t be possible from a random subset of their panel??

  5. Many thanks Anthony.

  6. oldnat
    Now how does Cleggie decide on mandate for UK issues and mandate for English issues?

    Excellent point, which logically could lead to him supporting two minority governments – the “official” unionists for English governance and their “provo” opponents for the UK’s finances, defence and foreign representation. If nothing else, it would certainly confuse everyone!

    “I think the Chancellor’s Debates will reset the news cycle ”

    I very much agree.

    Do you happen to know the format of the C4 prog on Monday….questions from-via the Chair?
    Questions from audience?
    questions/answers between the three?

  8. Eoin Clarke
    The Liberals are the most geographically representitative party in Britain.

    Not so. The Liberal Party [see liberal.org.uk] now has no elected councillors outwith England. The L-Ds wrongly persist by including the word Liberal in their name but in reality are the successors of the old SDP.

  9. Eoin Clarke

    Mischievous? Moi?

    Now you and I know it makes little practical difference whether the Official or Provo Tories run the English Ministries – Tory attitudes either way. But the LDs are supposed to be a Federal Party.

    If they keep a minority Lab administration in power and Lab/LD MPs from Scotland (for the first time since devolution) troop through the lobbies to enforce Tory policies by Labour on England, as opposed to Tory policies by Conservatives, that will raise interesting constitutional issues.

  10. @ Anthony

    Quite simply, the polling evidence does not support your theory. Other tracking questions look as if the narrowing is due far more to people becoming more positive about Labour and Gordon Brown.
    For me, Sue & AL J too – this is super :-) Thank you.

    I happily concede: Howard & Roland’s “FGF helps Labour” wins the day.

  11. COLIN
    Do you happen to know the format of the C4 prog on Monday….questions from-via the Chair?

    Looks like it’s to be from the chair when C4 say: “Krishnan Guru-Murthy will be asking the tough questions.

    They also say: “From 7pm on the night, we will be hosting a discussion of the debate right here. Send in comments via our widget, or use your Twitter account to get involved.” That rather implies that the hoi-polloi won’t get to ask anything.

    See http://www.channel4.com/microsites/A/askthechancellors/

  12. @ WOODSMAN

    “Can he realistically leave it any later than Monday do you think?”

    Probably no.

    But it does depend on the programme format, and how the three interact.

    Remember also, Darling has given no detail for 2011 on which GO can counter with.

    We only have the IFS analysis ( blessings be upon them !) to tell us that the Budget implies cuts of 25% over 4 years in non-ringfenced departments. And the problem with the Chair throwing that at AD was demonstrated on QT, when Dimbleby did it to Byrne.

    Byrne just waffled about “difficult choices” & refused to acknowledge the IFS analysis.

    This whole charade is hugely annoying, and an insult to us all.

    Maybe a handgrenade will go off on Monday evening.

    Maybe it will just be more obfuscation.

  13. Brownedov, actually the LDs are a merger of the SDP and Liberals and the current Liberal party is basically just a small splinter group – with most of the original Liberals joining the LDs.

    The current Liberal party is also pretty negligible – being part of that No2EU group in the last European elections, which failed to gain any MEPs and then collapsed, is probably the most significant thing they’ve done.

  14. Something occurred to me last night. We’ve been bleating on about why with such a terrible narrative for the last few weeks the polls have continued to narrow.

    Other than myself, I don’t know a single person who
    a) buys a paper
    b) watches the news.
    Most of my friends couldn’t name the three leaders.

    Perhaps a significant minority, who, nonetheless vote just haven’t actually heard any of it?

  15. Duncan
    actually the LDs are a merger of the SDP and Liberals and the current Liberal party

    That is indeed how they began, although old Liberals like me would argue that they left the Liberal Party to join the new one.

    However you read them, the L-D’s backing of Calman and removal of much of their federalism, the ex-SDP faction has “won”. I agree that the current Liberal Party policy on the EU has lost them backing – one of the reasons I haven’t re-joined.

  16. @SUE MARSH………….Announce a tax cut, that’ll get ’em running to the newstands. :-)

  17. ‘@SUE MARSH
    My son (an army officer) is called Edward. At a function last w/e
    I was talking about his time at Sandhurst when he won a boxing blue. I then said “all Edds are thugs (a play on my Edd being a Para,) look at Edd Balls”. An ok yar young woman in the group said “is he an army friend of your sons? I said no he is a government minister, she said “oh yuk”.

    People are just so into politics, especially young ones.

  18. Audience figures Channel 4, Monday 22 March 2010
    8:00PM Dispatches 0.93 million viewers
    9:00PM The Secret Millionaire 2.79 million viewers

    I don’t think the audience figure will be significantly higher for the Chancellors’ Debate this coming Monday. EastEnders which has a much higher viewing figure will be on BBC1 at the same time for the first half hour.

    The general public wasn’t interested in Dispatches and I doubt that they will flock to watch the Chancellors’ Debate. It will be interesting to see how the news media report the outcome of the debate.

  19. I think I just about count as a “young one” Roland. A friend asked me who the PM was the other day.

    Anthony might be able to help here, but I believe there was some poll recently and a significant amount of people didn’t know what happened at Westminster or what a hung parliament was.

    I am a crucial member of our quiz team as there is always a politician in the photo round and I am without fail the only one to ever get them right.

  20. @old nat,

    That is the loudest I have laughed in a week…

    I know you cannot post which faction of the Tories you would ascribe either of those titles to but I think I can guess!!!

    I would say every SNP strategist worth their salt is praying (presbyterian style of course) for a hung parliament… so a minority tory government can win power….

    halairious :) ;)

    ps. I tried both- they are as bad as each other


  22. 39

    both parties will breath a sigh of relief i think, blues probably a little more so but that is the lowest dip after a pre budget or budget statement that Darling has ever had

  23. BROWNDOV-thanks.

  24. That result would leave Tories 20ish seats short of a majority….

  25. Prediction for tonight’s you gov

    Tory 38
    Labour 33

  26. Ok, I’m going YouGov
    My first “wishful thinking” prediction

  27. Sorry if its already been mentioned, but what polls are expected this evening?


  28. According to the old predictor on this site Tories 17 seats short.
    However, with the small marginal boost they would be in with a small majority. If one is an Andy Cooke fan – loadsa seats.

  29. news of the world,tories 8 points ahead of labour!

  30. That Mori Poll would be good news for the Tories after all the 4% & 2% leads.
    Back to within a whisker of that magical 40% mark!

    And further more it is exactly my prediction earlier on today- :o

    Also interesting will be the YouGov Poll which will more than likely show a lower lead than Mori of perhaps about 5% or 6% at most.

    Must keep reminding you all of my GE prediction.

    40 30 20 10

    Tory Majority of 20-40


  31. ICM for NOTW C39 +1 L 31-1 LD 19 nc

    Not much of a change is it? well within MOE from recent ICM polls

    I too project You Gov 38 33 19

  32. Eoin,

    Apparently, Henry Macrory has tweeted there’s a small rise for the Conservatives across tonight’s polls, so that prediction sounds plausible.

  33. Of the 1000 people questioned 24% said they would be LESS likely to vote Lab after the budget, 9% said they would be MORE
    likely to vote Lab after the budget. Thats making AR look a bit better than ComRes on the budget front.

  34. @SEAN FEAR
    Is this one of the lost sheep you mentioned ?

  35. Prediction for tonight’s You Gov
    Con 38
    Lab 32
    Lib 18

  36. **Other tracking questions look as if the narrowing is due far more to people becoming more positive about Labour and Gordon Brown.**

    **For me, Sue & AL J too – this is super Thank you.**

    Too True ;-)
    And my prediction for YG tonight is

    Con 37
    Lab 34
    LD 19

  37. If we remove Ecosse from the figures we have Con39 Lab28 LD19.
    Almost supports these annoying people who say “40, 30, 20”.

  38. @Sean,

    Well if he has included YG in that statement it could be significant

    afterall wed nite had a 2% lead

  39. @ Eion

    I think with the swing bigger in marginals 39/31/19 would be good enough for a majority.

    I’m sure Tory HQ would take this at election day in a second but my guess is that this poll is more of an outlier just like the yougov two point spread polls are.

  40. @AL J
    **Other tracking questions look as if the narrowing is due far more to people becoming more positive about Labour and Gordon Brown.**
    Based on the fact 15% of people in the ICM POLL are now less likely to vote Labour, your comment above looks a bit over confident dont yer think.

  41. @ Éoin

    Not at bad prediction by yourself. ICM was 6% gap last week – now at 8%. Your prediction for post-budget was CON +1.5 to 2%, wasn’t it?

    :-) B) :-)

  42. Oh the polls are cruel mistresses.
    I am not feeling very objective or reasonable tonight, so stick with my 36/35 for YouGov to ensure that the cat is well and truly amongst the pigeons

  43. Wonder how much a factor the debates will have. With this being the first time the debates could get a lot of attention.

    The debates are actually a benefit I think for Labour because it could give Brown a chance to reintroduce himself and a lot more people think Cameron will win the debates. I think Cameron’s better setting is PMQ than a debate setting. Cameron is best on the trail while Brown isn’t as good on the trail.

    What is the format? Are the candidates going to be interacting with voters? I think Brown would do better in a structured standing up debate. I don’t think he is as good interacting with voters because his body language isn’t great while Cameron would be better in a debate format interacting with voters.

  44. @Ambér,

    well I also happen to think that it settles down pretty quite to its pre-budget level, with this budget being so uneventful I expect a 6-7 in the next ICM….

    if theres a populus tonite id say it wil be an 8%
    a AR 12% (factoring in convergence)
    a Ipsos Mori 7%
    and a YG 5%

  45. Roland
    **Based on the fact 15% of people in the ICM POLL are now less likely to vote Labour, your comment above looks a bit over confident dont yer think.**

    No Roland me’ old chum – because I didn’t say it — haha

    It’s a quote from Anthony ;-)

  46. Lastest ICM good news for DM. I also undestand the private polling by the Cons show a even better result.
    Baby, A budget may of helped?
    Strikes to have an effect to come?
    Bad speach by Brown today, poor mans Blair.
    Hes better off being himself.
    Yougov tonight to show 6/7 Con lead ish.

  47. I would predict a 2-3% rise in the Tory lead in all the polls. The polls are moving in the right direction for Tories, but not enough for it to be a disaster for Labour.

    I think the greater poll changes might occur after the Tory’s tax plans are released. It remains to be seen which way this will move support (i.e. it could narrow or widen the Tory/Labour gap).

    I still stand by what I said a few days ago – a hung parliament (minority Tory government) looks the most likely. I still wouldn’t rule the Labour party out of getting enough seats to form a Lib Dem coalition though.

  48. I will go with a 5/6 point Cons lead in the YouGov poll tonight.

  49. Just watched the news. You know, I think Clegg really DOES hate Labour.
    I never got the same sense of venom from Paddy or Charlie. What a time to get a Tory in LibDem clothing :(


    Anthony has a new thread up for “POST BUDGET Sunday Polling”. See you all there :-)

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