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)