YouGov’s post-budget poll for the Sun shows a broadly positive reception. Overall 57% think Osborne made the right decisions for the country as a whole, with 23% thinking he made the wrong decisions. 42% think he made the right decisions for them, 33% the wrong ones. Overall government approval is up since before the budget, from 41% at the start of the week to 46% now. Headline voting intention stands at CON 42%, LAB 34%, LDEM 17%.

In YouGov’s pre-budget poll the two obvious concerns for the government were that the public were evenly split on whether the cuts would be fair or unfair (34% thought it would be fair, 35% unfair), and whether they would push the country back into recession or not (40% thought it might). Osborne seems to have made progress with swinging public opinion behind him on both counts. The proportion of people thinking that the deficit will be reduced in a fair way has risen 11 points to 45%, the proportion of people who think cutting the deficit now might put the country back into recession is down to 33%. Overall 50% thought that the budget was fair, compared to 27% who thought it was unfair.

Asking about the specific measures, all but one measure met with the support of a plurality of respondents, with the most popular measures being the rise in personal allowance on income tax and the tax on the banks. Reducing tax credits for families earning over £40k, limiting housing benefit, increasing capital gains tax, restoring the earnings link and helping councils freeze council tax all met with overwhelming support. Support for increasing the pension age to 66, reducing corporation tax and (slightly surprisingly) scrapping the planned increase in tax on cider all met with lukewarm support. The only measure that was opposed by a majority of respondents was the VAT increase – this was supported by 34%, and opposed by 54%.

Despite the overall approval of the budget, people were actually very pessimistic about its short term effects. Optimism about people’s own financial situation over the next 12 months has fallen, with a net optimism falling from minus 43 before the budget to minus 48 now. 55% of respondents said they thought the budget would increase unemployment in the next year or two (19% disagree) and 44% think it will increase poverty (32% disagree).

52% of respondents thought that the Liberal Democrats were right to back the budget, this included 69% of their own voters. 17% of Lib Dem voters thought that they were wrong to do so.

Finally YouGov asked if people thought the economy would be run better if Labour had been in power instead, or if the Conservatives had obtained an overall majority. In both cases people expected the economy would have been run worse, and found the same when asked if Labour or Conservative governments would have looked after the poorer better, or would have better helped people like the respondent. Notably Labour supporters overwhelmingly thought that the Conservatives alone would have been doing a worse job, perhaps suggesting that the Liberal Democrats will be able to sell a narrative that they have tempered a Conservative government (in fact, even 22% of Conservative supporters thought that the Conservatives alone would not have been as good at protecting the poorest in society).

The poll was conducted between Tuesday evening and Wednesday afternoon, so not quite as rapid as some of the instant reaction polls we’ve seen after budgets in the past. All the same, at past budgets we have sometimes seen bad news from the budget emerge in the days that follow, which could alter the public’s reaction. The initial response, however, seems to be that people see the budget as pointing to hard times ahead, but are broadly supportive of it.

281 Responses to “YouGov’s post budget poll”

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  1. @ Sheps in Pyrmont

    YouGov details are here:

    ht tp://

    closing up usual gap.

  2. Sue I think that we find that we have a very different view of how capible the Labour candaidates are. If they are going to keep on opposing the cuts without any alternative of their own, then they are going to be accused of being in cloud cuckoo land.

    I prefer low honeymoon figures anyway. It keeps David Cameron on his toes and avoids the risk of getting carried away. A honeymoon period is a double edged sword in my opinion. The magic can go at any minute.

  3. What is also suprising is that governments nearly always get a boost post budget. This government is not an exeption. It has bucked the trend that I forcast. I would say that this is one of the most surprising polls in history. ;)

  4. Interesting that the combined Lib/Con vote has been within the 58-61% range at and since the election. The public seems to have made up its mind ntil it changes it. It was ever thus.
    As I have said before, if I were a Conservative I would be feeling quite optimistic. If the economy deteriorates it will almost certainly because the rest of Europe and the US is in the same boat – every country in the world seems to be hoping to increase its exports! In that situation I would not bet much on the public turning to Labour- certainly not if the past is any guide at all.

  5. @ ROLAND

    “I suppose the Scots can start hateing Osbourne now rather than Thatcher.”

    If the SNP weren’t so useless at persuading Scots of the virtues of independence-they could have a Labour Chancellor up there to love & cosset them.

    I remember Amber on here likening an economy to cup of coffee-and declaring that The State should generate the black bit-and the Private Sector the “froth on top” (!)

    It would be wondeful to compare and contrast a ConLib government at Westminster taking the State back to 40% of GDP, with a Labour Scotland employing Ambernomics and State spending of 50% + of GDP.

  6. The worst is yet to come I am afraid Johnty. I feel cautiously optomistic.
    There is bound to be more pain ahead and the Emergancy Budget was only skimming the surface. I am quite pleased with Mr Osbornes mantra of “We’re all in this together”.
    Everyone is going to be affected. Also I am quite pleased that we have got the Whigs in with us.
    I have to say, they have grown on me a lot. It was a long time since I voted for them. The last time in fact, was when the Liberal parlimentry party could fit in the back of a taxi. So that was long ago.
    If all works out in five years time, then the Tories would get back in. If not, then I would have to put a gun to my head and vote Labour.

  7. Thankfully, it is no longer Labour’s job to outline the cuts. Harriet was happy to outline the bits of the budget she supported, the rest is down to the government.

    It is the coalition’s turn to be scrutinised, criticised and judged. Do any of us remember a time when either the Libs or Cons did Labour’s job for them? Supported them unequivocally in what they tried to do? Thought not..

  8. Several people have raised the possibility of an early election.Realistically, this could only happen if the LibDems agreed to it – which is most unlikely at present.If Cameron tried for a dissolution the LDs would surely pull out of the coalition and so raise the possibility of an alternative Government being formed.If the Queen is advised that another Government can be formed from the existing House of Commons she would not grant a dissolution.

  9. @COLIN
    Its exactly why I am a great Alex Salmond supporter. The sooner they separate and become the Norse
    Socialist Paradise, the better. Then we could enjoy your comparison in comfort.

    You really need one of your bright young men to tackle this in parliament duck-bod. The Divine Miss H is a tiny bit of a larf and its not helping Labour.

  10. The problem is Sue that Labours plans are too timid. I support the budget because it shows that the government has taken its head out of the sand and is starting to tackle the Medusa like deficet. Labour was going to cut to. Alistair Darling said that Labour was going to implement cuts worse then Thatcher.

    I think of the econamy as a Hot Air Baloon grounded by many weights. You have to take some weights off for the baloon to take off again. Same with the econamy. Well that is my narritive. I would prefer an open thread where we could discuss these issues without the fear of becomming too partisan.

  11. Sue,

    Actually, if you look back over the past 13 years you will find numerous occasions where the opposition have quietly supported the Govt (esp Blair) when the proposed action was sound or perceived to be in the best interests of the country. At times that support was necessary in order to face down opposition from within the Govt ranks (esp re welfare and public sevrice reforms).

    The role of HM’s loyal opposition is to hold the executive to account and offer constructive criticism.
    Criticisim with no viable alternative offered is not constructive.

    Whether the Labour policy of deferring any cuts and relying on state spending (and debt) to keep the economy afloat is viable is a moot point, but it appears that the public do not agree. At least, that is how I read all the polling evidence presented since the GE.

  12. Paul H-J – True, they did support the war I suppose.

    Labour would have cut the deficit by half but the public have voted to get rid of it all.

    The polls will tell us how they feel about that decision as time goes by.

  13. Various posters mention the next election coming sooner rather than later. Well all I can say is I hope the pleasant One Nation Tories are in a position to win or at least control the wild beasts like Cable and Alexander who clearly gain pleasure in seeing books balance despite the suffering caused by their 19th century Manchester Liberal economic policies.

  14. Roland – lol

  15. The day we will see an early election will be the day the Whigs will get a 20 point lead in the polls :)

  16. Kyle – Lol2

  17. Just joined the Labour Party! I think it was reading Wayne’s earlier comments that propelled me into action. Not that I will be posting partisan comments…..

  18. Valerie – Lol3 and a little yippppeeeee. Welcome.

  19. When I read some comments about cutting the deficit, it’s clear lots of people believe it can only be reduced by cuts in public expenditure.

    There is another side to the equation. People in employment pay taxes which will reduce the deficit. People claiming dole do not and it will increase.

  20. Going to have to hold judgement. One poll is one poll. And even a group of polling on one day is just the polling on that day. We should all remember ‘Clegmania’.

    On the day of the Budget, GO was pretty much unopposed in getting to define the budget. So it’ll likely be the peak of the polling in support of the budget.

    I still suspect public opinion will turn on things like the DLA cuts.

  21. Hi Sue
    First time I have belonged to a political party. Gonna text my friends and suggest they do the same! :-)

  22. The YouGov VI figures are more or less as expected, and similar to what we’ve seen in other post-Election polls, both after the latest and other GEs. Winning party up a bit, Lib Dems down a bit. I suspect that the Conservatives won’t get much more above 40%, but the Lib Dems will need to worry if they go below 15% in more than the odd rogue poll.

    There’s still a general feeling of “wait and see” about the coalition and a willingness to give them the benefit of the doubt. The feeling that the budget was generally fair and that everyone must share the pain is mainly opposed by the core Labour vote – though there are a lot of don’t knows.

    How long that lasts is another matter. I think particularly the revelation that the Child Tax credits will be withdrawn in future years at the 30K mark will unsettle a lot of people. If both parents work that’s pretty low earnings and for such families there’s often substantial costs associated with both working as well.

    The real problem will be when the cuts have to be laid out in the Autumn. When the reality (or more likely unreality) hits, the Coalition may well get very unpopular, split or both. The question then is whether Labour can benefit. Remember that at the moment even a third of its own voters blame it in part for the crisis.

  23. Roger – perhaps the libs aren’t doing so badly though. At the height of Lab’s popularity, they were regularly polling 13 – 15???

  24. The rarefied world of Macroeconomics is a bit strong for most readers of the Sun Mirror, Mail and Express.
    People on this site can put forward their Thatcherite or Socialist views until the cows come home but the public remember (if anything at all ) things like £104,000 Housing Benefit, paid to of all people an Afghan family. This is one family amoung 800 in the UK in reciept of £100,000 pa or more in this benefit.
    A drop in the ocean I hear you cry, given the scheme of things, but with so much rending of garments and grinding of teeth from the left about “poverty”, can you really expect people to take Labour’s wellfare spend seriously? There are so many examplesof lunatic spending, as perceived by Mr & Mrs Average not some Guardian reading BBC executive, that the adroit Con LD propaganda machine can keep going for years.

  25. Ignoring the fact that you seem to have the wrong site Roland, for every one of those examples, Labour will be able to show us a genuine case of suffering from the cuts. actually, I’m sure the media will do it for them.

  26. @ROLAND “things like £104,000 Housing Benefit, paid to of all people an Afghan family. This is one family amoung 800 in the UK in reciept of £100,000 pa or more in this benefit.”

    It’s possible to imagien that the landlords are setting the rent too high, but without knowing all the details (e.g. number of household members and locality) it is impossible to offer a comment that justifies the level of HB payments or that renders them as inappropriate.

    Can you supply the details for all the 800 cases you’ve drawn attention to please?

  27. What happened there? There was a posting from Roland and then it wasn’t.

  28. Ah, I’m in moderation now (too I guess).

  29. I would prefer an open thread where we could discuss these issues without the fear of becomming too partisan.

  30. Roland – can you word it a bit less confrontational manner?

    The point Roland made was that it’s not really the macroeconomic arguments that win over the public, but little illustrations that together build a narrative. Examples of someone getting £100,000 in housing benefit probably have more effect on public opinion that statistics showing most don’t. Equally, as Sue says, individual stories of people suffering from cuts in benefits or expenditure would probably have just as much effect in the other direction.

    Mike – please don’t try to start a political debate over it the particular example, underneath the wording, there’s a reasonable point there about how parties sell and criticise cuts by using small examples, rather than dry figures.

    Kyle – I’m reluctant to do them too often, in hindsight I think they may be counterproductive.

  31. @AW
    Apologies for the tone Anthony, and thanks for explaining exactly what I meant. On this theme, I would add that the “average person” would see no justification for any government of any colour (or mix of colours) spending £100,000 on someones rent.

  32. Sue (at 3:12)

    It depends whose poll you look at. During the last parliament on YouGov the Lib Dems only went below 15% regularly in Autumn 2007. On ICM they never went below 16%.

    I estimate their core vote is probably about 14% so if they go below 15% and stay there they’ve got problems.

  33. We need to see more post budget polling to see if this confirms what YouGov polls. I am not too keen on instant reaction polls. Prehaps in a years time when the VAT rise has taken affect, then we can see the picture.
    I also think it is too early to predict the next election. Prehaps now, the Tories will win, but will people be saying that in 18 months time? I don’t think we should jump to conclulsions. The election is five years away and there are many many polls to come.

  34. Without being biased –
    What is fairly obvious from this latest YouGov poll is that the Torys are going up up and away !

  35. Kyle

    Election within the next twelve months nailed on

  36. ‘WAYNE
    Without being biased –
    What is fairly obvious from this latest YouGov poll is that the Torys are going up up and away !’

    Of course, the majority of people still prefer other parties; but that’s what is wrong with FPTP.

  37. @WAYNE
    I am not so sure about a forthcoming election. If Clegg gets mutinies all over the place perhaps the Tories will be forced into it. Right now however, its nice to have a “progressive” friend to support the Tories through these cut backs in spending. Its not just the wicked Tories at it again, its the Liberals agreeing it “must be done”. I am a life long Tory (in case you didnt know) and I am convinced that Cameron short of having a very large majority, likes this deal fine.

  38. Wayne – Or that this is as good as it gets and it’s all downhill from here. Let’s meet back here in one year and see which it is?

  39. @JACK
    Please, enough with the huge disappointment you have had to deal with. A large majority of voters have got exactly what they voted for a Con/LD alliance. And we did not need PR to achieve it.

  40. I would prefer Rock Paper Scissors to PR. At least that is fun.

  41. I think that those suggesting an early election are baying at the moon. The only real danger for the coalition is a double dip recession. If that happens there will be a storm that they will find it difficult to weather. But I don’t think though it would necessarily be fatal. For the Solcialists,however it would be a setback. The only attack that would register on the public conscience or more likely the press is a double dip.

    I think the frenzied attacks on the Liberals will be counter productive as it only resonates with the Socialist core vote. Perhaps, on reflection that is a policiy of the candidates, pushing for votes.

    It will not, however split the Liberals enough. The Tories only need about 11 votes to survive a vote of no-confidence. ( there are 22 in the government )

    While it will be interesting over the next 36 months, note I say 36-nothing less, the following 24 months will consolidate the coalition’s popularity.

    The real 64 thousand dollar question will be how the coalition fights the next election?

  42. Gracious me! I agree with Glenn Otto!!

    No way anything of note will happen for at least three years and the worst scenario of all for the coalition would be double-dip (though even stagnation will be hard to counter)

    However the “frenzied” attacks on the Libs are exactly what every Left leaning person wants to hear, whether they are Labour voters or left leaning Libs. Every single one of their policies has been watered down by the coalition and strategically, Labour are more likely to pick up dis-enfranchised Libs than Tories, after all.

    As usual agree with you in general. The party which needs to be careful is Labour in the current situation. They are looking like the good old boy who was so kind to his fellows he went bankrupt and his own family landed in the work house. In the meantime the landed Tories and the Liberal trades people showed the population that prudence paid dividends.

  44. Listening to Harriet Harman and reading Sue Marsh, I am so struck with the emotional similarity between a sexual betrayal and Labour and the LDs.
    “You know we had something once, I thought you still had some feelings for me, the way you looked at me sometimes. Now, you run off with WHO ? Bloody Reggie Tory. Well I just hope the snooty little w….r makes you happy”.

    I hear you Trev ma man, but them others are wearing eye patches and ear muffs, singing la la la la la la.

  46. @Trevorsden

    I think we have two things to thank Brown for.
    He kept us out of the Euro.
    He and Darling acted decisively to avert economic meltdown ,starting with rescuing Northern Rock. You will recall DC and GO opposed this. Thank God they weren’t in charge then.
    I know DC is behaving as though the Tories won a handome majority but Tory supporters don’t have to because FACT the Cons lost the election.

  47. ROLAND

    Very funny ;-)

    Actually though I really feel this is not unrequited love at all.

    It’s much more visceral.

    First-they let the b****y Tories into Downing Street. For that Labour MPs would castigate JC himself.. ie Revenge

    Second-a bit more psychological. I well remember a lefty lady on here describing them as “the dear old Lib Dems”-ie Mini-me Socialists; Leftys, but a bit …well you know ; Second Division Labour Party .
    There to be patted on the head & patronised -Labourites really you know-but never quite qualified for the real world……then all of a sudden they are in the government & we are not. : ie Jealousy

  48. @VALERIE
    I am an elderly pensioner and my memory is very suspect. Therefore I need clarification regarding the outcome of the recent General Election based on your post. I understood David Cameron does have a very good majority and that the Conservative Party was the largest party by some margin over Labour. Further, a smaller party chose to join the Conservatives in a coalition. Whilst on the subject of my misunderstanding and forgetfulness, I recently married one of the girls who models Marks & Spencers underwear, however I have forgotten where we live. ( I do not expect help on this matter.)

  49. Whigs being squeezed with Cons rising and Labour not doing too badly, given honeymoon and the lack of a leader and analysis.

    Clever, incremental attack on the welfare state

  50. Ha! Haines, I’ve found you out!!! Had you married the M&S girl, there’s no WAY you’d forget where you live.

    You and Colin should give up on the pseudo-psychoanalysis, the Freudianism of Clegg and Cameron would open a whole hornets nest.

    (By the way Valerie, tis just banter, Roland couldn’t type before the election for saying that if Cameron couldn’t win the election he didn’t deserve to govern)

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