Time for a catch up of the YouGov polling over the last few days. Questions on the emergency budget show some pretty negative expectations – 70% of people expect the budget to increase taxes paid by and/or reduce benefits paid to people like them, only 10% of people expect to avoid the cut.

In one sense, I suppose the Conservatives wouldn’t be worried by that – they would want people to be prepared for harsh measures. The other findings though indicate a lot of doubt about how they will be carried out. People were evenly split over whether the cuts will be carried out without harming front line services (34% think they will, 36% think they won’t). Almost half of respondents (49%) thought the cuts would not be fair in the way they affected rich and poor, with only 26% thinking they would be. Looking forward, 24% of people think the budget will put the country back into recession, 35% think it won’t, 41% don’t know.

We have the first government approval rating (as opposed to questions on whether people approve of the coalition). Not particularly meaningful yet of course, 34% of people reasonably enough say don’t know, but it’s a starting point – 43% approve, 23% disapprove.

On the Bill of Rights, 24% of people would like to keep the Human Rights Act, 53% of people would like to replace it with a British Bill of Rights. 61% of people think it is a good idea to set up a commission to look at it (though we can’t tell if people think it is a good idea compared to acting now, or a good idea compared to doing nothing).

Finally, perceptions of the party leaders – scroll down to page 7 and the questions on leader attributes for Cameron and Clegg (Brown has obviously stopped being asked about), and look at the way perceptions of them have shifted since the coalition deal. The big shifts for Cameron are more people seeing him as strong (30%, up from around 20% during the campaign) and decisive (32%, up from the low twenties during the campaign) being seen as good in a crisis is still his weakest rating, but is up to 13% from 10% during most of the campaign.

Clegg on the other hand has seen his ratings fall. On “sticks to what he believes in”, he is down to 19% from 27% before the election, honest is down to 28% from 32%, in touch down to 30% from 37%. Of course, the pre-election figures would still have had something of the Cleggmania about them, so while the deal has damaged perceptions of Clegg, he is still viewed more positively than before the leader debates (indeed, it’s possible the fall is due to the debate factor fading, rather than the coalition. We’ll never know).


115 Responses to “Budget, human rights and leader ratings”

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  1. Besides, didn’t we discover that the Lib Dems and Tories had recently made it virtually impossible for there to be another GE in the next 5 years anyway by rigging the constitution?

  2. @James L,

    You should bottle your optimism and sell it. I would buy it ;)

  3. @ Matt

    I sincerely hope my scenario is not right, but let’s contemplate it in the contexts of the 55%. For reasons of collapse of LibDems in the councils, the party withdraws its support from the coalition or falls apart. New parties are formed, some join the government, some go opposition or 20 odd LibDems cross the floor to the Tory party (Ok, not cross the floor, just sitting a few seats to the right). Do you think that the British public would tolerate either of the “solutions”? Do you think it was the Conservatives’ interest to allow such a scenario?

  4. @Laszlo,

    I think the key point is that the Lib Dems have a massive reason to show that this coalition will work (and be stable). As they are fighting for PR and ‘consensus politics’, they need to demonstrate that coalition governments, which nearly always result from these, can be stable and get things done. If not, it will damage their case for PR.

    As for the Tories, they also have an interest to see this coalition through because of the unpopularity of the impending cuts in the next few years. They need to see the 5 years through so that they can fight in a GE in which, hopefully, the cuts/economic crisis will be less of an issue. If the coalition breaks down, they could be out of government for a decade or more.

    So, you can see that both parties have a massive reason to want this to work. That is probably why both are prepared to give so much ground on a wide range of policies. :-)

  5. Jems Ludlow: But Cameron did not get an overll majority.mandate.
    It is partisan, not fact to say that Borwn was the most unpopluar prime minister in History. I suggest you take another look at the General Election results.

  6. To be fair, James did say ‘almost the most unpopular PM in history’. Not quite the same thing. Not saying I agree necessarily, though I do think it would be hard to disagree with the fact that GB was fairly unpopular (wrongly IMO).

    No one has mentioned the constituency boundaries much. If they are changed, it would probably make it much easier for the Tories to be re-elected. It will be interesting to hear if the planned changes are still going ahead in the coming weeks. :-)

  7. @ Matt

    Yes, I agree with the interest of the two parliamentary groups… But events can overtake and it seems to me that the LibDems are more vulnerable to these events (in spite of the current support of the special conference).

    Also, I wold be careful with the concessions. Most of the coalition agreement is a kind of wish list with many caveats. At the moment I would rather say: nobody gave concessions, but gave concession to claim that they were ready to give concessions to each other.

  8. @Laszlo,

    “Most of the coalition agreement is a kind of wish list with many caveats. ”

    I would agree.

  9. Pam,

    The popularity of PMs is measured by tehri personal approval ratings, not the votes garnered by their parties.

    If you care to check the leadership ratings, I think you will find that Brown was indeed among the most unpopular PMs.

    That is about as objective a “fact” that one can establish in terms of popularity.

  10. @ Laszlo

    Hey Laszlo lol…did you miss me lol. I’m sorry i didn’t respond back to your comment but I was at university and I have just made my way back lol :P. Although you guys will all know how much i want to just sit here have good dicussion and debates.

    Thanks for agreeing with me on that point I made about having an elected police commissioner and PCT members etc. To be honest I didn’t think it would meet with any warm reception because it is sooo easy and tempting to say your empowering people this way but this kind of culture will just run down a “jobs for boys” route like you said.

    Now moving on to whats hot now you mentioned a wish list…i am total agreement with you that the coalition does hold a lot of list wishes in the agreement and these are wishes that they hope will come true. I mean, seriously…how many commissions and committees are they holding now!!!. I heard it somewhere its something like 12…you think that after 1999 electroal commission they will learn from their mistakes.

    If you ask me its a very dumb deal for the libdems…yes they might get their referendum but I anticipate it will have tough concessions i.e. it would need a high turnout, it might 60% + to agree on it but beside electroal reform…its a very Tory (lite) deal with cameron using the libdems to detoxify the party.

    I hope you can agree with me on them points lol…god, i sound like david cameron haha can you be my nick clegg :P

  11. @ Andrew Chandler

    Great to see/hear you in good mood :-). Having finished my meetings, making bread (it’s good to the soul – it’s the Breton method with lots of banging with the dough), watering silly tomatos and peppers that are completely confused about the season – my mood improved a lot.

    The commissions and committees are marvellous ways of not doing anything. They barely report and when they do, well… It’s good for the HoC’s library. If they played democracy, they should publish the briefing for each of these. We may even learn something from them. If there was any chance of sorting out these things delegations of the two parties could have done that (there is a more sinister way of looking at it: they actually have agreed, but they cannot tell anyone and they want the commissions and committees to do it for them).

    I think the LibDems were in a no choice situation. I wonder if they could have admitted it – now they could end up looking silly. Well, Clegg looked distinctly silly during his speech (the one in which he talked about the biggest reform since the 1832 Reform Act.)

    I have to think about your proposed role for me :-)

  12. @ Laszlo

    Well, as long as you come third in a national general election and lose seats then you are always welcomes to form this marriage…i mean party merger…i mean coalition should i say :D slip of the tongue :P.

    Although if you were a third party I am sure your food and cooking skills wont come third but first :D…although if we are going by election comparisons that makes your food Tories (hmmm lol).

    Yeah, to give the libdems some credit they were going to be damned for supporting labour and damned for supporting tories but the tories seemed more attractive because they got a better consensus from the public and were the largest party. But damn them when they keep saying that this is for the national interest, national interest my boot. They did it to get their foot in power and for what…they have got an electroal reform bill they do not want…thats like asking for apple pie but only getting the pastry with not apple. But I think in the end the libdems will feel like shooting themselves in the foot because soooo many of their legislation has been shelved by disgusing it as “a review, a commission, a report”…its just utter nonsense.

    Anyway…as i was saying…how would deputy prime minister feel for you…although you will have to share a house, you won’t get any prime time television media unless i am there to hold your hand, you won’t get a department, you won’t have any budget powers…oh and everyday you will have to look more and more like me.

    How does that sound :D LOL!!!!!

  13. @ Andrew Chandler

    It reminds me to J. Heller’s book, Something happened (I’m not recommending the book…). There is a lovely point in it: the subordinate’s handwriting starts to become similar to his boss’s. Will we see it in the change in Clegg’s?

    I know of poker only from the point of view of probability, but it seems LibDems played it badly. They won the first round – there was no other choice (actually there was, but for that hundreds of years of traditions would have been thrown out and the “politics of change” was not good enough for that). They believed that they won the second round (incorporating much of their stuff in the 6 pages). Now they are in the gambler’s fallacy – there are no aces left, so we have the face saving coalition agreement that serves Cameron marvellously. Now, what happens if there is a new deal? No more chips or cards-in-the-sleeves left for the LibDems…

    If we can set up a commission that investigates my right to plot against you or against my own party or against anybody whose act shows me really silly – the deal is on :-)

  14. @ Laszlo

    I will agree on your commission to investigate your right to plot agaisnt me or deter everything that your party stands for is providing that commission meets with a sub-commission to commission that commissons investigate the commission on your plot on me. LOL!!!

    Still, even though i highly anticipate this coalition to be a fail “new langauge, doesn’t make it new politics” I still find it very interesting. Not because its new politics, because it isn’t, not because we have a new government, because it isn’t really different now that the Tories have put everything they stand for into the fire, not because the libdems are in government, because they really arnt. NO!!! What i am finding exciting is whose going to crack first, whose going resign, what will cameron do when a libdem cabinet member gets caught in a scandal, when will the house of cards fall. VERY EXCITING!!!!

  15. Laszlo “20 odd LibDems cross the floor to the Tory party”

    Just crossed my mind whether an MP defecting to another part will be a serious wrongdoing which could allow constituency voters to recall the MP.

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