YouGov have a poll for the Sunday Times tomorrow – full results are up on the YouGov website here. Topline voting intention figures, with changes from the Thursday poll, are CON 43%(nc), LAB 36%(+2), LDEM 16%(-1). Putting aside YouGov’s poll on Tuesday which looked like a bit of an outlier, this is the higher Labour have been for a long time (though they remain 7 points behind the Conservatives, also high compared to most recent polls), and the lowest the Liberal Democrats have been. Support seems to be polarising around the two main parties.
Looking at the approval ratings of the government, Cameron and Clegg, net approval is down on all three – although in every case it remains well into positive territory (Government net approval is at +15, Cameron’s net approval at +34 and Clegg’s at +27). In every case the drop is mostly down to an increase in those disapproving and a drop in don’t knows – it looks as thought some who were reserving judgement have come down against Cameron/Clegg (the proportions approving of Cameron & Clegg have also dropped since the budget, the proportion of those approving of the government is above that pre-budget).
Reactions to the budget are pretty much the same as YouGov found in their poll for the Sun, a plurality of people thought it was good for the country (41%) and was fair (49%). Asked who would loose the most, 33% thought people on middle incomes would, with 18% thinking all incomes groups would suffer. 18% thought the rich would suffer the most, 29% thought the poor would.
Asked about individual measures, once again almost of them met with majority approval, including freezing child benefit (52% approval), freezing public sector pay (55% approval) and cutting housing benefit and DLA (56% approval). The sole exception was, once again, VAT – which 52% of people said they disagreed with, compared to 38% who agreed. Asked if they would rather have had an income tax rise instead though, only 31% said they would, with 52% preferring VAT.
YouGov went on to test what people thought about the VAT rise given the Conservative and Lib Dems’ statements about it during the election campaign. Asked about the Conservative statement that they had no plans to raise VAT, 53% of respondents thought they had intended to all along, and just didn’t want to admit it for electoral reasons. 34% of people thought they really hadn’t had any such plans, but were forced to raise VAT by the state of the economy. The public were slightly more forgiving towards the Liberal Democrats – asked if they had abandoned their principles by supporting a tax rise they had attacked during the campaign 43% thought they had, but 43% thought it was a necessary compromise to secure other measures that helped the poor.
There is also an ICM poll due out tonight – I’ll update on that when it appears.