There are two new polls out tonight, both looking forward to the budget. ICM in the Guardian have topline voting intentions of CON 39%(nc), LAB 31%(-1), LDEM 21%(nc). Changes are from the last ICM poll a month ago.

ICM found support in principle for the government’s economic policy and cuts in spending, with 59% agreeing with immediate cuts and 36% disagreeing. 55% think the government’s actions will improve the economy and 60% trust them to make the right decisions on the economy and spending.

However, people do not seem to be convinced that the cuts will be fair – 63% expect the cuts to hurt the poor the most (though this may be a recognition that poor people are more reliant upon public services), and the public are pretty evenly split over whether cuts risk a return to recession – 46% think it won’t happen, but 45% think it is a possibility.

Ipsos MORI’s monthly political monitor has voting intentions of CON 39%, LAB 31%, LDEM 19%. This is their first voting intention poll since the general election, and like ICM and YouGov have the Conservatives up slightly, Labour up slightly, and the Lib Dem’s down significantly since the general election. Full tables here.

They too have some questions on the economy and spending in advance of the budget. Economic optimism has turned negative again, back down to minus 5. Despite this, respondents told MORI they had faith in the government’s economic policy – 61% thought the government’s policies would improve the economy, and 60% thought they were being honest about the economy.

Asked about the need for spending cuts, 58% agreed “there is a real need to cut spending on public services in order to pay off the very high national debt we now have”. This compares to 49% when MORI asked the same question in March (and only 40% when they asked it a year ago).

MORI also asked whether the government should take various deficit cutting measures, and whether they would do them. A large majority of people expected the government to do nearly all the things they asked about, 76% even expected them to increase income tax. The exception was ending final salary pension schemes for teachers, which only 49% expected the government to do. Asked which measures they should take, the most popular option was cutting universal benefits like child benefit for the well off (74% thought they should), followed by reducing the pension age to 66 (55% thought they should) and freezing public sector pay for a year (55% support). The least popular were cutting spending on frontline services (33%) and increasing VAT (35%).

UPDATE: On YouGov’s website there are also voting intentions from the end of last week – figures are CON 39%(-1), LAB 34%(+2), LDEM 19%(+1)

5 Responses to “Pre-budget ICM and MORI polls”

  1. I think MORI & YG are likely to be correct with the level of LibDem support at 19%.

    Clegg, Laws & Alexander have had their 5 minutes of fame. You won’t see them again until the AV referendum moves up the agenda – if it ever does. 8-)

  2. Looking back on the historic ICM info on the Guardian data blog that Cozmo helpfully pointed us to, we’re seeing a pretty standard pattern in post-election polls. Lead party up a few points, Lib Dems down a few.

    I can’t be bothered to go through the various budget choice questions. Partly because it’s late but also because you can get such different answers by asking slightly different questions, altering the question order etc. The political class usually puts this down to inconsistency, self-interest and inability to think; but I think it’s more to do with the problems of trying to fit what can be subtle and contextual thoughts into the grid of any opinion survey.

    The voters meanwhile always tell you what they think of the political class in such surveys, by expecting the burdens to be placed on the public to even harder than they usually turn out to be.

    To make a wider point, I’ve commented before on the general naivety of this government, and indeed all recent governments, towards cuts; and its belief that it can cut the deficit with an 80:20 percent split of cuts to tax. Contrast that wise left-winger Margaret Thatcher who went for 50:50 and a top tax rate of 60%.

    Now it’s clear that part of the rationale of going in for cuts so heavily this year is to “get them out of the way”, and hope they’ll be forgotten in five years time. However people tend to remember cuts – the physical reminders are often all around them. Ironically it’s tax rises and indeed reductions that they forget quickly – who now recalls the 2% standard rate drop that came with the 10% band abolition?

    If the Coalition were clever, now is the time to start to raise taxes – the UK has been under-taxed for many years as many on this site have shown. I think they’re still too hamstrung with ideology to do it.

  3. Ah well, what to do but to sit back and see how the government’s budgets work, or fail to.
    Sniping comments from the sidelines entirely optional.

    Voting intention isn’t particularly important at this point beyond establishing trends. How (non-tribal) people will actually vote in the next election will be determined over the next years and in the next campaign.

  4. What surprises me is the voting intention for Labour. Usually after a defeat, especially after so many years in power, the defeated party slips further in the polls, and we already see this e..g in the Netherlands, where post-GE polls are very negative for the CDA (one would think that 13,7% was the lowest point to which they could fall, but apparently they can do even worse). Now Labour, defeated in the GE, excluded from any coalition, still without a leader and with the new government still in its “honeymoon phase”, increases nevertheless its score up to 34%. Of course this means nothing for the next GE, but it constitutes a solid base upon which to rebuild confidence in Labour.

  5. I think the resilience of Labour in the polls following defeat could be a combination of a number of factors:

    1. Core Labour support had probably fallen about as low as it can go at the moment without fundamental changes in either our society or political system.

    2. Although the election was in many ways a rejection of Labour, it was hardly a ringing endorsement of any of the parties. In the absence of an attractive alternative, voters are left with Labour, although maybe not enthusiastically so. This is re-enforced for the left leaning voters (especially in England) by the LDs being in coalition with the Tories.

    3. It also means they are the focal point for all opposition to cuts from the coaltion which gives them an immediate boost.

    4. Bizarrely, there may actually be an advantage at the moment to not having a leader to be the focal point of attacks, whilst Brown having gone allows a certain break from the failures of the past.