I’m expecting several polls tonight as the papers commission surveys to test the post-budget mood. First out of the traps is a new ICM poll in the News of the World, topline figures are CON 39%(+1), LAB 31%(-1), LDEM 19%(nc) – so a slight widening of the Conservative lead. More to come later.

UPDATE: Two more polls: YouGov in the Sunday Times have topline figures of CON 37%(nc), LAB 32%(-1), LDEM 19%(+1). There is also a BPIX poll in the Mail on Sunday, Sky have only mentioned the Conservative and Labour figures, but they are 37%(+1), LAB 30%(-4). So far all three are showing some degree of increase in the Conservative lead – the budget does appear to be having a negative impact for the government.


655 Responses to “Post budget Sunday polling”

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  1. @ MITZ

    “I would personally be far more persuaded by a) which is at least a logically put statement, than b) which is obvious rampant electioneering”

    Me too.

    That’s why GO outlined a) this morning.

    Eoin has got himself in a bit of a pickle-he says that b), which GO did not say, is more absorbable by/attractive to voters, and a) which GO did say is not “simple policies plainly put”…..

    …….and yet he forecasts a 2% poll increase for Cons as a result of this announcement…….

    ……and then tells Sue “Voters have rejected tax cuts three times now….”

  2. I now feel guilty for posting after DavidB’s rebuke :(

    Holding the chancellors debates in march forced the Tories to reveal their hand early. I think george woul dhave preferred to wait.

    Regualr readers will know that i have never thought a 6/5/10 date likely.

    Would decent council elections for Labour provide a springboard for a june contest…

    I am not an accountant and I have heard the argument that labour is bankrupt and cant afford two elections. Leavign that aside please, could someone give m their thoughts?

  3. Aside from cost the three main reasons that it will be May 6th are:

    a) Probable catastrophically low turn out for the local elections if they are stand-alone, leading to
    b) Probable disaster for Labour in said local elections, leading to
    c) Irretrievably lost momentum on the way to the aforementioned general election.

    Believe it, mate – it will be May 6th.

  4. @Colin I am giving a nuanced analysis and none of the points are incompatible.

    They could get a 2% bounce they could get 40% a win….

    georgie has called the NI increase a Tax on jobs…. (Times: 25/03/10) I never atttirbuted either a) or b) to geroge…

    Not everyone likes tax cuts, some of us more unhinged folk would happily forgo them, hence why I said all is not lost from a red perspective.

    poll bounces usually settle down again…

  5. Just to offer a view on how this NI ‘cut’ may play.

    It was the 2009 Budget when AD announced the 0.5% increase to employee and employer rates. AD also announced that the threshold at which the employee NICs would start would be raised to well above above the level of the income tax personal allowance.

    In the 2009 pre-Budget report AD announced the further 0.5% increase to the NICs rates. This is a good 6 months after GO and DC came out against the first 0.5% increase.

    I’ve posted very much earlier in this thread that the increase to the employee NICs threshold in 2011 could be something like £1500. This would cancel the effect of the whole 1% increase for the group of employee earnings £20K. For this group the increase to the threshold would mean a reduction in NICs of about £160 – pretty much the amount extra they would pay because of the extra 1%. (assuming my arithmetic is accurate.)

    The group of employees earnings above £20K will also ‘enjoy’ the higher threshold for NICs. So, the effect of the 1% increase on their pay packets will also be mitigated.

    Two questions…

    Is GO advocating that the increase to the NICs threshold for employee NICs is cancelled?
    And, why did AD/GB go for a further 0.5% increase in the rates knowing that GO and DC would jump on it, as they have done?

    I think Lab have deliberately invited the Cons to say they’ll cut the NICs increase.

  6. Polly,

    Perfectly possible for Labour to be 33 short of a commons majority but still being the largest party, and hence “winning” in that sense.

  7. Here’s what the LibDems will do:

    1. Hope for a hung parliament that favours the Conservatives.
    2. Wait until something bad happens e.g. interest rates or unemployment rising enough to make the public angry.
    3. Support Labour when they have a no confidence vote.
    4. When the second election is forced, say Labour couldn’t win, the Tories can’t govern – it’s time to vote LD for a strong, popular government.

    Nobody wants a 3rd election – so we all vote LibDem ;-)

    Do you think enough people would vote LD in those circumstances to get them a majority?

  8. VARY, interesting hypothesis, MikeN – I really am looking forward to 8pm to see how much of everybodies’ theorizing comes out into the open!

  9. @ Everyone,

    All good fun this BUT with the general reaction about the budget and the Conservatives response coupled with the brilliant latest poster campaign and now the treasury debate tonight I can see the Conservative poll rating just nudging the 40% mark once again.

    I’m really sorry to keep reminding everyone on here of my GE prediction but we keep on revisiting:

    40 30 20 10 :o

    Conservative majority of 20-40 :o

  10. VARY = VERY

  11. @Trevorsden – I think you might have missed the issue here. darling will make the savings in 2011/12 and reduce the deficit, but if he is banking on the same savings as Osborne wants to use for the 0.5% NI cut then that money is spent – Osborne needs to raise that amount every year from elsewhere.

    @colin – the theory is that this will boost the economy and help reduce the deficit. It will have very little impact as it’s too small. Interesting that Osborne decried a £12b VAT cut stimulus as a waste of money but believes a £4b NI reduction will do the job.

    I don’t have Eoin’s confidence that this will bring in swing voters in any great number. For tax cuts to work they need to be substantial and believable. Individually these cuts are about as small as they get and the numbers don’t add up. Tory economic credibility is at stake here and I think the opportunistic tendency could well have blown it. Handing back the mantle of fiscal responsibility to one G. Brown would be quite an achievement for the Labour party, but I think that’s what Osborne has just done for them.

  12. @ THE “IN CROWD”

    Maybe we should set up our own little blogging & comments site – then once we’ve seen the polls we can go off & be incestuous – & not upset David B & Polly Tick ;-)

  13. For information, the headline now on the Politics Home website is ‘Questions Over NI Tax Cut Plan’ and the story refers to an analysis by the IFS that concludes;
    ‘Reducing the deficit more quickly than the Government plans to will therefore require even greater cuts to public services spending, or to greater reliance on welfare cuts or tax increases that might be as economically costly as the NI increases they are seeking to mitigate.’ The IFS have declined to confirm the savings are or are not achievable, which rather undercuts the claims this proposal has been properly costed, and is clear that Osborne will have to cut more spending or increase other taxes to meet his previous statements on the deficit.

    This is no magic bullit for the Tories

  14. You havn’t and wouldn’t upset me Amber…I’m not that type..honest.

  15. Amber,

    I’m never sure on this kind of question, being a bit of a lone gunslinger, shootin’ from the hip an’ tellin’ it how it is. Ahem. Am I part of your putative “in crowd”?

    Yours enquiringly…

  16. alec – that’s interesting because I did a little news sweep after the announcement and they had quite a favourable article up.

  17. Quite a natural progression then, Sue. At first, the reaction to a “radical new approach” sounds great. Lower taxes AND aid the economy? Brilliant! Then people start looking at things a bit more closely. Not saying that GO will find it impossible to back everything up with justifiable figures, but until he does (and if he doesn’t) there is bound to be scepticism following the initial eyebrows-raised-ears-pricked-up-really?-that-sounds-interesting stage.

  18. Mitz – I flippin hope so.

    Re : In crowd, whatever, it’s the same with any blog. Some get tonnes of posts and you just have to plough through them. Boring if you work all day I know, but that’s life.
    There is no in-crowd. Post as much or as little as you want

  19. *Psst, Sue. I’ll let you into a secret: don’t tell anyone, but I’m not really that bothered about being in or out. OK? Cool.*

  20. Mitz – I actually meant that for DavidB, but Colin and I are burnt out, so I’m not giving it my all.

  21. In that case, DavidB – listen to this woman – she knows what she’s talking about!

  22. @Sue Marsh – these things always take a little while to unravel. Its clear that this is a bit of a wing and a prayer initiative. That isn’t to say these things don’t sometimes work in polling terms – Brown’ make a speciality of this kind of thing and it worked for about 10 years. I don’t this this one will though. The problem is that it’s so at variance with everything they have been telling us about the deficit and austerity that they’ve undermined their own credibility. What worked for IHT won’t work this time.

    Ever since some brilliant minds in the Major government came out with the ‘Traffic Cones Hotline’ as a way to re energise the government I’ve realised that politicians (of all parties) are very rarely as bright as we think they are. They play small scale games but have little grasp of reality and the consequence is a stream of ill thought through mush from all sides.

  23. MIKE N

    Interesting observations.

    Perhaps this from IFS helps :-

    The Government has already announced that all rates of NI will rise by 1% in April 2011, but the employee threshold – the point below which employees
    do not have to pay NI contributions – will rise by £1,170 per year. Overall, this would leave low-earners paying less NI, and high-earners paying more.

    The Conservative Party proposes to go ahead with the increase in NI rates,but to raise the level of earnings at which employees start paying it (the Primary Threshold) by an additional £1,248 per year on top of the Government’s proposed increase, and the point at which employers start paying NI (the Secondary Threshold) by £1,092 a year. They also plan to
    increase the NI Upper Earnings Limit by £1,508 a year, which means that higher earners will pay the standard rate of NI on more of their income before
    moving to the lower 2% rate above the UEL. This increase means that those above the new higher UEL (those earning about £45,500 a year or more) will
    not gain from the changes in employee NI that the Conservatives plan to make, relative to the changes already announced by the Government.

    Compared with the Government’s plans, the Conservative Party’s proposal would mean lower employee NI contributions for those with earnings
    between about £7,100 and £45,500, with those earning between the new Primary Threshold (about £8,200) and the current UEL (about £44,000)
    gaining about £150 a year.
    We estimate that the Conservative Party’s proposals would reduce NI revenues by £5.6bn a year”

  24. I’m no Tory voter but I am amazed that they don’t just come out with a list of easy wins for public sector spending cuts and challenge Labour to follow suit. I’m thinking particularly of Trident and ID cards, but I’m prepared to bet that scaling back the Olympics to a more human scale would also be popular. These could all be portrayed as cost savings without impacting on front-line services. It’s true that the savings would not arise immediately, but you’ve got to start somewhere.

    Or are we to assume that Cameron likes Trident and IT cards?

  25. @Sue. I’m not at all sure that U-Turning is really a big issue for the electorate, if it were “labour investment vs tory cuts”… etc. Actually Labour’s recovery came when they did a “U-Turn” and admitted they would make cuts as well. Darling has much higher ratings than his boss.

    But to be fair to the Conservatives they have always said that their priority would be to reverse these 1% rises: the difference is that now they have Gershon identifying the savings from which it can be funded.

    I genuinely don’t see how Darling, or anyone else, can effectively oppose this. The 1% increases are undeniably harmful in themselves and can only be justified as regrettable necessities. And so is government waste. The idea that “there is no waste” is ludicrous, and they can’t really say “Gershon is incompetent” because he was their own adviser on efficiency.

  26. Anybody who doesn’t mind a certain amount of ‘chatter’ amongst their polling specific talk is welcome to join the ‘In Crowd’.

    Mitz – you are a ‘fully paid up member’ ;-)

    Polly Tick – you can join up given your reply post :-)

    The thing is, we all talk about the polls to begin with. It’s only as time goes by that we go off topic.

    I was just being mischievous in my last post.

  27. can you moderate/post the comment from 13.23 please?

  28. This is from the same IFS document which Colin sited a couple of posts ago:

    “The Government is currently planning to cut public services spending outside the NHS, defence and overseas aid by 2.4% in 2010–11, after adjusting for whole economy inflation. We estimate that the additional £6 billion cut planned by the Conservatives would increase this to 5.1% and would leave these unprotected areas of spending 2.8% below the level planned by Labour. (The figures do not sum precisely because of rounding and we cannot be entirely precise about the declines until new 2010–11 Departmental Expenditure Limits are published in the Treasury’s next annual public spending statistics). The largest unprotected area would be schools.”

    You heard it here first: the Conservatives are planning to cut spending on schools!!!!!!!

    At least, that is what Darling and Cable will be saying this evening…

  29. Amber,

    Brilliant! Who is the treasurer so I can get my subs in?

  30. @Mike N – I think you could be right. It has now just dawned on me what Labour will do next. Osborne has identified £6B of ‘savings’ Labour apparently was going to leave in the budgets this year. Labour argues that to cut now would risk the recession, so they have £6b to use to announce juicy one off projects in marginal seats during the campaign, using money identified by Osborne. Then they argue that in suceeding years they’ll use this money to reduce the deficit while Osborne needs to looks for more cuts or tax rises. IFS says the Tory plan needs additional cuts of 2.8% in the unprotected areas, including schools.

  31. the large majority oif potential voters will only be aware ot the broad-brush attitudes and intentions of political parties. they will however be aware of the following and it takes little logic or intellect to spot the flaws.

    1/ Tories have been emphasing appalling state of finances

    2/ They have highlighted the urgency of paying down part of the debt immediately.

    3/ They have said this can be done by savings/cuts, also to be made immediately.

    4/They now say they have identified areas where they can make cuts [hooray !!!] but ———————-

    5/ Have now decided it is important to use a large amount of the “savings” to reduce taxation.

    It seems to me that they’re in a double bind: if it is to work politically they have to emphasise the tax savings but if they do that they are also emphasing the fact that they now don’t really think it’s quite as important as they’ve been saying to pay as much debt off as quickly as possible.

    I think this is the moment for Vince Cable’s to step forward.

  32. Unite is to raise £700,000 to support striking British Airways cabin crew with an “unprecedented” mandatory 2% levy on members, the union decided today.

    Unite are leaking membership like a seive apparently.

  33. If the IFS said ‘schools’ that is a gift for Labour. But I can’t imagine Darling going for any jugulars tonight. He is not an aggressive debater.

  34. @paul Croft – my point entirely.

    Interesting quote below from the FT;
    “The government ‘efficiency drive’ is one of the oldest tricks in the book. The trouble is, it’s nearly always just that – a trick. In fact it’s such a cliché, there was an episode of Yes Minister about it, called ‘The Economy Drive.’ Ministers are summoned, officials instructed, the media prepared for sweeping savings in the running costs of government. And then, a few months down the line, the sheepish-looking ministers and officials come back and say ‘well actually, it wasn’t quite as straightforward as we’d hoped, Prime Minister.’”

    May 19th 2009 – Rt Hon David Cameron MP

  35. Normally you would expect the two opposition parties to have a bash at the incumbent (in their own seet ways at least), but no matter whether or not Clegg has taken the LibDems slightly to the right Cable will surely have a go at Osborne on this matter. IMHO the LD economic policy is far closer to Labour than Con.

  36. Colin – thanks for the info from IFS. Interesting – I had assumed that the Cons were simply planning to cancel the Lab proposals on NICs. Nothing is that simple!

    Just to comment on some figures (and be a pedant): the £1170 should I think be £1330 as the current annual primary threshold is £5715 and the annual personal tax allowance is £6475. The difference is £760 to which is added the £570 further increase announced in the Budget. My figure of £1500 includes the potential increase of the tax allowance due to indexation – which I posited would be 2% in Sept 2010.

    No mention of what would happen to the 1% increase in employer NIC rates.

    Now, assuming that the later 1% increase is cancelled, the overall cost of these proposals I suggest is about £15 billion. This is made up of the lost £9billion or so revenue projected in the Budget and the further £6 billion reduction identified by IFS. Or have I read the IFS comment wrong, because it’s a little ambiguous?

    So, far from being peanuts, this is big amounts. GO will have soe explaining to do.

  37. Commentators and the elctorate will view it as a u-turn but only the fomer care.

    They will in the next couple of days credit the tories for this policy. That is politics- Osborne played it well.

    Actually, it i snot a U-turn the tories have been sayin git for a couple of years….

    People chose to listen to cameron instead of osborne.

    just like people chose to listen to brown instead of darling.

    this election is now shaping up to be the exactly i the contest i craved.

    Colin is right i do see everything in black and white. Amen to that

  38. View from the common man, I hate to bang on about wages but people are simply not interested in complex formulae for deficit reduction or debt repayment, give them more money to spend and they will take it, it’s an obsession. Speak to any ordinary non-political person and they will tell you that pay-day is what they work for, all the rest is conversation.
    In my opinion people are generally happy, of course at the margin some folks are miserable, but you won’t win ’em over with a tax rise, no matter how well intentioned.
    Discount tonight, but when the tabloids go to work on, ‘it’s the pay packet, stupid’, my prediction…

    C 41
    L 30
    LD18

  39. Amber,

    Agree with you re AD’s debating style. But if he is briefed properly (and of course he will be) he won’t need to be overly agressive. It’s not going to be a bear pit – all three of them demanding attention with a whoever-shouts-loudest-gets-heard outcome – all three will have the opportunity to put across their points within a specific time structure. Good for Darling and Cable, less so for Osborne, I feel.

  40. COLIN:
    “Unite are leaking membership like a seive apparently.”

    Would you expand on that as to how much they have lost and in what period?

  41. “It’s the pay packet, stupid”

    Well, quite. And in times like these people are quite protective about having a pay packet at all. It is all very well for GO to convince people that their pay will be a bit fatter under a Conservative government. But he also has the task of convincing them that their jobs (and the pay packets that go with them) will be safer under the Tories. Might be a bit trickier for him.

  42. Ken

    I think you are right. There are some VERY clever people from both parties on this site. The public although not stupid don’t want to get too bogged down in the fine details etc.

    Rightly or wrongly if the Tories can nail this one to their mast I think it may well be a vote winner. Can’t wait til tonight now…

  43. @ken and Mitz speak a lot of sense.

    Tonight’s poll wont pick it up tho

    so expect a 36/33 or there abouts

    opinium’s will shorten to 6%

  44. Polly Ticks – “…it may well be a vote winner”.

    Offers of tax cuts hasn’t worked out well for Cons at recent GEs, as the voters have gone for Lab instead.

    We’ll find out if the mood of the country has changed on this, of course.

    But your comment (see above) could equally apply to Lab.

  45. I’m 100% with Mitz – 50p extra in your pay packet is rubbish if you lose your job in 6 months & nobody is hiring. Or you’ve got kids trying to find a job.

  46. Prediction for tonights you gov poll anyone?

    my guess is:

    con 38
    lab 32
    lib 18

    reckon tonights debate between ‘potential chancellors’ will be a vote swinger!

  47. Polly,

    What about the very clever people here from a third party? Or from no party at all?

    Everyone, much earlier GAVAN posted a question that got a bit lost in the rush. Here it is:

    “Can anyone shed light on the following

    Places like Electoral Calculus predict Conservatives short of overall majority by approx 25. This site mentions Conservatives short by 40. Polls are geenrally tightening and Conservatives will probably win the popular vote by 3-5 percentage points. Given the seat bias in the system to Labour, the seat predictons above are in the right ball park (Conservatives 285-300, Labour 265-280).

    The point is that the spreadbetting sites are quoting the Conservatives at 325-330 and Labour 228-233. Now, traditionally, bookies are very good at assessing outcomes – and they are bettng the house on the accuracy of their predictions (especially the spreadbetters). If we geenrally believe the polls (and th associated seat presictions), then we should all be buying Labour (@233) and selling Conservatives (@325) and making soem money. If we dont, then this implies we fundamentally believe that the polls are SIGNIFICANTLY underestimating the poll gap.

    Me – I believe the polls and think the bookies have mis-priced”

    Hope someone can answer you GAVAN, because I’m interested myself…

  48. I predict that the YouGov poll tonight will still show a Tory lead in the region of 4/5% tonight.

    However, like a few others on here, I can see the tax cuts pushing its overall lead up to somewhere in the region of 6-8%.

  49. The Conservatives may have conducted a poll, specially in the marginals, which could have showed that tax cuts would be favoured. Its not about the safe seats and core voters but the marginals and the floating voters.

    As for tonight’s debate, out of the three only Vince Cable has an Economics background and whether he leans towards Alastair Darling or George Osborne would also determine how its received by the small number of viewers I expect would be watching. Many of whom, I believe, would already have made their minds up.

  50. “However, like a few others on here, I can see the tax cuts pushing its overall lead up to somewhere in the region of 6-8%.”

    Of course, the effect that any tax cuts will have on the polls won’t really start to show for another week or so (i.e. when news of them really filters through). Hence, I don’t think there will be a lot of change in the polls during the next few days.

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