YouGov’s latest poll for the Sunday Times is now up on their website here. Topline voting intention figures, with changes from the end of last month, are CON 40%(+1), LAB 32%(nc), LDEM 18%(-3) – that’s the first time the Conservatives have been at 40% and the Lib Dems below 20% since the first leaders’ debate.

There are slight drops in Cameron and Clegg’s approval ratings, but both are still up in honeymoon territory at plus 41 for Cameron and plus 38 for Clegg. 66% think the coalition are working well together, 48% think they are running the economy well (24% disagree, with 28% saying don’t know).

On the Labour leadership, support amongst the general public is now David Miliband 22%(-1), Diane Abbott 13%(+4), Ed Miliband 7%(-1), Ed Balls 5%(-1), Andy Burnham 4%(nc). Amongst Labour supporters the figures are David Miliband 38%(+4), Ed Miliband 11%(-2), Diane Abbott 9%(+2), Ed Balls 8%(-2), Andy Burnham 6%(+2). We are still awaiting any polling of Labour party members or eligible trade union members, which may or may not bear any resemblence to that of Labour voters!

Asked about the potential for cuts in public spending there are the usual rather contradictory answers – asked where the government should cut, the most popular option is (as usual) international aid, followed by benefit payments then public sector pensions. Asked which areas should be protected, the NHS unsurprisingly comes top. Asked specifically if the NHS should be protected even if it means deeper cuts elsewhere, 70% agree. However, asked if they think a properly managed NHS could be better for patients even if the budget was cut, 60% agree. 66% thought most government departments could and should make cuts of 20%.

Perhaps more enlightening are questions on specific cuts in spending. YouGov gave respondents a list of eight spending cuts and asked people if the government should or should not do them. Most popular was cutting international aid (75% thought the government should), followed by ending final-salary pensions for new public sector employees (63% agreed), a majority also supported ending higher rate tax relief on pension contributions (61%). After that it got tricker – pluralities supported means-testing pensioner benefits like free-bus passes (48%), and freezing welfare benefits other than pensions for three years(43%). Other suggestions were rejected – 42% supported taxing child benefit compared to 45% opposed, 31% supported ending final-salary linked pensions for current public sector employees, with 49% opposed. Freezing the state pension for a couple of years was overwhelmingly rejected (18% support, 68% opposed).

Asking about the other side of the balance – tax hikes – 49% of respondents said the government should raise taxes as part of their strategy for reducing the deficit, compared to 39% who said the government should not do so, even if it meant larger cuts. YouGov then asked people to say whether – if they had to choose – they’d prefer income tax to rise, national insurance to rise, or VAT to rise. VAT came ahead on 39%, followed by NI on 27% and income tax on 19%.

225 Responses to “New YouGov/Sunday Times poll”

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  1. First (Thatcher) Howe budget lowered basic rate from 33% to 30%

  2. @billy bob

    “First (Thatcher) Howe budget lowered basic rate from 33% to 30%”

    …and at the same time almost doubled VAT from 8% to 15% :-)

  3. MH in NS makes a good point on this poll:

    “YouGov bosses should hang their heads in shame:

    The YouGov poll for yesterday’s Sunday Times included this ridiculous question:

    Do you agree or disagree with the following statements?

    The government could save billions of pounds by eliminating unnecessary “non-jobs” in the public sector.

    Agree 85

    Disagree 6

    Don’t know 9

    Can you imagine a more loaded phrase than “unnecessary ‘non-jobs’ in the public sector”? I’m amazed that even 6 per cent disagreed. I mean, they might as well have asked people: “Do you agree with the state paying people to do nothing?” It would have elicited the same response.”

  4. Rob/Billy,

    Please I have suffered “mad Howe disease” for many years since his 1980/1 budgets. I beleive it is a latent disease that is only ressurected upon mention of him. I am going a deep yellow colour as I type.

  5. Alec,

    It is ironic but I must mention that the Irish free state’s austerity package is now admired by many a reagan/thatcher disciple the world over… They are looking at the emerald isle starry eyes, but for all the wrong reasons.

  6. @ Éoin

    I also look starry eyed at Ireland’s austerity package. Public sector pay cuts that still have the average employee earning more than their UK counterparts & post cuts welfare benefits that are, comparatively speaking, double those in the UK!

  7. Amber,

    Ture except they do not have a health service and social housing is an historic concept. Maternity/Single Mother/ Child Benefit is all quite poor. ROI only works if you’re a married man.

  8. “ROI only works if you’re a married man.”

    Is ‘ROI Republic of ireland or return on investment?

  9. “…unnecessary “non-jobs”…”

    Is ther such a thing as a ‘necessary non-job’?

  10. Mike N

    the former :)

  11. Alec – I totally agree about the OBR and said the same some time back. We have other countries to compare to, also, who used the “GB model of recession survival”, so if the growth turns to recession and the double dip comes, I fail to see how the coalition won’t get the blame.

    Also, I was thinking today….. How many people work at the Treasury??

    How many people work at the OBR??

    What if the OBR are wrong and the Treasury were right? Then the coalition will look even sillier.

    If I were in the shadow cabinet today I’d be making as much noise as I could that already, the coalition economic plans have cost the economy 0.4%……

    Finally, open letter to Clegg from grass-roots, pleading with him not to abandon ALL their tax commitments quite significant IMO.

  12. @Sue marsh – “If I were in the shadow cabinet today I’d be making as much noise as I could that already, the coalition economic plans have cost the economy 0.4%……”

    I’m not sure you can read this from the OBR report, although the £6b cuts are indeed the equivalent of around 0.5% of GDP. Rather Sir Bud said that the growth forecasts had been revised in response to ‘recent events’ – this is more reference to very weak Eurozone growth failing to assist in stronger UK exports given our new competitive advantage.

    In terms of whether the Treasury or the OBR is right – they both are (or they are both wrong). The OBR and the Treasury are the same thing. All the OBR officials with the exception of Sir Bud are the same ones who advised Darling, and they are using the same forecasts. This is why DC and GO goofed politically by trying to ramp up speculation that the OBR would savage the earlier forecasts. They wrote the forecasts as accurately as they could and off record boasted that they had ‘Gordonproofed’ the numbers to allow for his desire for a higher headline growth figure by using very pessimistic assumptions about tax income and spending.

    In truth, these figures show that on a sensible and inpartial analysis the UK fiscal position is poor but not disastrous. Action is needed, but putting aside the arguments over who was responsible, the fact that we came through the worst global and domestic financial calamity for nearly a century but did not collapse and have a difficult but credible path through the problems should give people some cause for optimism.

    The danger in DC’s overtly political, fear based approach to this is clear from an industrial survey this morning – industrialists report the biggest monthly drop in confidence since the survey began in the 1980s, but reported strong growth in orders in May. Work that one out.

  13. @Sue Marsh – I have to admit to having a somewhat comtemptuous view of Danny Alexander’s remark tonight about suspicions of Darling’s forecasts being ‘significantly optimistic’. Presumably this is the same ‘significant optimism’ the Lib Dems had before the election that they didn’t need to cut £6b this year?

    How did they justify that change of heart? Ah yes – recent events in Greece. But of course their political opponents are not allowed to revise their forecasts, are they?

    We are seeing a very clear example of the corruption of power – I’m sure I recall that nice Mr Clegg saying they stood for a different kind of politics. Sounds like the same old drivel to me.

  14. Alec – Economists rarely agree and I’m sure if you asked 10 Economists why they thought growth had been downgraded by 0.4% they would come up with at least 10 different answers.

    I just said what I would argue if I was in opposition ;)

  15. @Eoin,

    “A VAT rise would be fuel to Labour strategists who will instanteously point out “same old tories”

    True, which is why I don’t think a VAT rise is a given. I guess the Tories (and Libs) will weigh up which tax rise they believe will be the most unpopular. The choice will be based on this.

    “Income Tax at least only affects those with a job.”

    Or those with savings.

  16. @Amber,

    “Darling used the treasury’s worst case scenario for unemployment & related costs.”

    But he used repeatedly used extremely optimistic growth forecasts post-economic crisis. Most independent economists said as much at the time.

    Let’s face it – Darling, Osborne, Cable – they all use forecasts in their favour. It is politics, pure and simple.

    “Well, it is no secret on here that I believe Darling’s budget & his failure to reframe the ‘cuts worse than Thatcher’ debate lost Labour the election. :-(”

    It was no more pessimistic than the Tory message. They lost many points in the March polls because of their ‘doom and gloom’ message.

  17. Matt,

    Ahhhh I see…… could that explain blue aversion to an old income tax rise? I did wonder about the precise nature of the allergy


    Private sector demand has taken a dander…. the sad thing we have in the UK is the belief that the public and private sector are separate- they are each other’s no. 1 customer. Thus, if one stops doing business (ID cards, NHS database, Investment grants for overseas companies, RDA cuts, infrastructural, 3rd runway halted, olympics budget trimmed, capital expenditure scaled back, new builds, help with financing new generation nuclear stations… and many many more) You could get 0.4% out of that very quickly…..

  18. As Alec says, the 6.2 billion in cuts equates to around 0.5% of GDP so I’d say it’s a pretty easy case to make.
    If you wanted to, of course.

    Less confidence over austerity message could easily do half a percent alone, surely?

  19. @Eoin,

    In true blue fashion, I think that most of the deficit reduction will come in the form of public spending cuts rather than tax rises.

    Of course, both will be necessary to some degree, but I would caution against assuming that some of the tax increases will necessarily come in the form of either, 1) a rise in income tax or 2) a rise in VAT. They could well go for neither IMO.

    “Ahhhh I see…… could that explain blue aversion to an old income tax rise? I did wonder about the precise nature of the allergy”

    Politics is a terribly cynical game, I’m afraid. All sides are vying for power, and spin over substance is quite often the result. Look at previous Labour and Tory governments, and you’ll see exactly what I mean. :-(

  20. @Sue,

    Yes, £6.2 billion may sound like a lot, but it’s merely a drop in the ocean really.

  21. to all the labour folk

    the reason your lot lost was GB’s decision not to go though with the GE he planed earlier

    if he had fought that GE he would have won
    if he had never planed an earlier one, he would have won this one

    i don’t have hard facts for this view, just the sense i get from talking to family in england, they saw him as a coward after that. strangely duffygate helped him, maybe he looked brave going into the lions den(duffy’s living room)

    i know that this is anchint history but i thought i’d menstion it while you are doing the whole “where did we go wrong, shall we go to the right or the left thingy”.

  22. There were numerous reasons why Labour lost IMO.

    1) The Iraq war.
    2) The expenses scandals. Rightly or wrongly, it is usually the incumbent government who incurs the wrath of any scandals.
    3) The economic crisis.
    4) GB’s personality. Although he was personally my favourite Labour leader, he lacked the oratory skills which make a political leader popular with the public.
    5) They’d been in office for 13 years. This leads to the accumulation of the above scandals/problems.

    Etc. Etc.

    I would say Labour’s defeat was not down to any one of these, but a combination of all.

  23. Dont forget pointless paperwork and pointless targets. And also turning the UK into a police state with paranoia everywhere.

  24. @Eoin,

    My priorities would be restoring old-fashioned respect (i.e. tackling yobbish and anti-social behaviour), and tackling educational inequality.

    My socially conservative views on criminal justice, the family (i.e. marriage) are the main reasons why I will always support the Conservative party from now on.

  25. Oops, wrong thread. Apologies.

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