Two new polls tonight – Populus for the Times (only their second poll since the election), has topline figures of CON 39%(nc), LAB 37%(+4), LDEM 14%(-4). Changes are since Populus’s last poll just after the budget.

YouGov’s daily poll for the Sun meanwhile has figures of CON 41%, LAB 38%, LDEM 12%.

UPDATE: YouGov’s government approval rating today hits a new low for the coalition, down to minus 8 (37% approve and 45% disapprove). To some extent this will be an outlier, but it is part of a continuing downwards trend in the government’s approval rating.

Moving onto Populus’s poll in the Times, as part of their poll Populus asked people to choose which of three approaches to the deficit they most agreed with, roughly representing the views of the coalition, Labour, and the trade unions (though the question did not identify them as such). Only 22% supported dealing with the deficit by the end of the Parliament, compared to 37% who supported dealing with it within 10 years. 37% preferred the policy of putting protecting the vulnerable and keeping unemployment ahead of cutting the deficit. This suggests little support for the coalition’s economic policy… except when people were asked if they approved of the coalitions policy 53% did, compared to 45% who disapproved.

Populus also asked who people blamed for Britain’s debt problem, and found most people blamed the banks. I would be cautious about the Times’s interpretation of how bad this is for the government though – Polls have consistently shown that if people are asked who is most to blame for the economic crisis they will pick the banks over the government. However, the banks won’t be standing at the next election.

If people are given a list of groups that could be at fault and asked how much blame each should bear, the overwhelming majority think the last government should have some degree of blame as well. The essential question politically is now whether the public blame the coalition government for the cuts they are carrying out, or whether the government can successfully shift that blame onto their predecessors.

On that front YouGov’s tracker on who people blame for the cuts (on page 5 of this pdf) gives a better measure, and this still shows 45% put more blame on Labour, while 22% put more blame on the coalition. The figures are very slowly drifting towards blaming the government, but very slowly – it’ll be interesting to see how it shifts when the actual cuts start happening and people start looking for someone to direct their anger towards. I suspect it will increasingly be the current government, but we shall see.

UPDTATE2: The graphic in the paper copy of the Times has a bit more info, and actually Populus did ask the blame question separately for each group, so 75% put blame on the banks, but 64% did also blame the last Labour government. Currently 49% blame David Cameron and George Osborne.


207 Responses to “New Populus and YouGov polls”

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  1. The YouGov poll also shows the lowest level of government approval since the election at -5.

    It is strange that this poll has come after a several in a row which appeared to show the situation stabalising. Maybe the reality of savage cuts is starting to hit home with the public.

  2. The YouGov poll has the government’s approval rating at minus 8.. it took Gordon Brown a lot longer to hit that level!

  3. @JAKOB
    Government approval is minus 8 in the YouGov poll.
    37% approve, 45% disapprove

  4. where did you hear minus 5 Jakob? According to YouGov’s twitter page, it’s -8

  5. It looks a bit like an outlier, but the continuing decline in government approval is undeniable.

  6. This also means that, unless this is a rogue poll, that even though the Lib Dems have sunk to 12%, the majority of that 12% disapprove with what they’re doing

  7. @Jakob

    Make that approval of MINUS EIGHT ! Or- if you like- DISAPPROVAL of plus eight ;-)

    These polls come at the end of a sustained period of debate in the media over the last week about the Cameron-Osborne-Clegg plans.

    Nick Robinsons 18:00 and 22:00 news reports from up and down the country last week were a marvellous piece of public service reporting: “I think people should have their benefits cut”/ “Do you have any benefits”;”No”/ Do you have winter fuel allowance”; “Yes”/ “Do you have a free bus pass”; “Yes” etc etc etc and ditto with Tax credits as well.

    It is only just- just a tad, just a tiny little bit- beginning to sink in with voters what this government are really about.

    And they did not vote for it in May.

  8. Which will come first the double figures minus approval or the single figure Lib Dem percentage?

  9. Colin Wobbles – the Labour government under Gordon Brown never hit minus 8. The highest YouGov’s government approval under Brown ever went was minus 22. Tables will be up tomorrow as usual, but from memory I think Lib Dem approval of the government was 52%.

    Red Rag – I’d expect double figure negative government approval earlier than single figure Lib Dem support. High levels of government disapproval are quite normal in the UK and comparatively these current figures are actually good (though I would caution against drawing those comparisons because this is a government with two parties supporting it). I would expect a double figure negative net rating relatively soon and almost certainly once we get to the spending review. Single figure Lib Dems on the other hand is something we haven’t seen for a while – it won’t surprise me after the spending review, but I wouldn’t necessarily expect it before then.

  10. Thanks Anthony

    It does make me wonder how important approval ratings are. Surely the more important data is the voting intention.

  11. AW

    the Labour government under Gordon Brown never hit minus 8. The highest YouGov’s government approval under Brown ever went was minus 22

    You Killjoy !

  12. @COLIN WOBBLES – “It does make me wonder how important approval ratings are. Surely the more important data is the voting intention.”
    Yep. We’re a bunch of whinging pommes us Brits but it doesn’t always stop us voting for the ones we whinge the most about.

  13. Cheers Anthony!

  14. @ Rob,

    I just posted on the other thread:

    @ Rob

    unfortunately over on the new thread AW has-rightly- pointed out that GB never even made it that HIGH (!)- best his administration did was -22.
    ——————————————-
    That was then, this is now. That was a single Party government after 12 years; this is a fresh faced coalition.

    So, I hear what you say… but Holey, moley anyway.
    ;-)
    :-)
    8-)

  15. Populus’ poll is gold dust in conjunction with YGs.

    We can say that 40/1 blue 37 red 13 yellow is broadly reflective of the wider picture.

    General elections do not ask government approval. They ask you to vote for a party. Thus 41% blue will always carry greater signifcance.

    Put simply, just because you might not approve of A does not automatically mean you approve of B.

    In addition if 10% of those that do not aprove are others (very generally speaking) those that dissapprove are not automatcally reds.

  16. Can we see this YG strengthening of the Labour vote as related to the weekend news of Ed M being slightly ahead in the contest?

    Or is it too soon to say? 8-)

  17. Amber,

    IF it is repeated tomorrow night one might conclude that a new option is being offered to voters,

    Until then- it would be lunacy to speculate.

    These two polls are an LD story- expect dodgy headlines for them.

  18. Amber

    Can we see this YG strengthening of the Labour vote as related to the weekend news of Ed M being slightly ahead in the contest?

    T’were it only so huh ;-)

    But Labours share is steady- its the LD’s and coalition approval that are cratering.

    Seriously though (folks) there has been increased debate about the cuts on prime time the last week. As I said above: Nick Robinsons 18:00 and 22:00 news reports from up and down the country last week were a marvellous piece of public service reporting: “I think people should have their benefits cut”/ “Do you have any benefits”;”No”/ Do you have winter fuel allowance”; “Yes”/ “Do you have a free bus pass”; “Yes” etc etc etc and ditto with Tax credits as well.

    I think therein lies any non-m.o.e explanation 8-)

    But two great polls though.

  19. Sue and Old Nat
    I posted replies to you a couple of threads back!

  20. I saw NR’s pieces, one or two of them. The blue collar workers in Grantham impressed me (remember when the Tory Party tried to say that MT came from the ‘industrial north’?) because they said that only one thing mattered, if next May they were in a job – approval, if not – disgust.

    The other pieces shewed that people agreed with cuts as long as they did not affect them. Po faced Britain again.

  21. @Amber

    We will have to wait and see whether this poll is reflected on Ed Milliband’s slight chance in winning the leadership race but its difficult to say considering we’ve had the Spending Review Debates on the t.v. which has seen spread around the local news, George Osbournes wanting to cut the welfare bill by a further £4bn, tensions between osbourne and IDS, royal mail privatisation, possible double dip and the News of the World scandal.

    So my only guess is to wait for the leadership result, see how ed or dave do and we will get a better conclusion.

    However, like i said before, ed will get a easy ride and will enjoy high poll ratings but he is too open to attacks about how he will present himself in the dispatch box, his personality, how he’s completely back stabbed new labour, his policies and finally how he’s berried his hands in the unions pockets.

  22. barney

    Things move fast here – I have great difficulty keeping up!

    You may have missed my apology.

  23. h ttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/8000545/Civil-unrest-likely-with-spending-cuts-police-leader-warns.html

    Front page of DT and TG- debate continues to intensify….

  24. All three parties backed cuts. And a hell of a lot of them too.

  25. old nat
    no I was thanking you for it

  26. I think the Police leader is talking about what this government is proposing namely a “hell of a lot more” than any Labour candidate or Labour-friendly economist is suggesting and over a much shorter time scale.

    The Police leader is not deconstructing the last general elections manifesto’s :-)

    Indeed in terms of that oft-repeated accusation:

    Horse; Gate; Open; Bolted ;-)

  27. “37% preferred the policy of putting protecting the vulnerable and keeping unemployment ahead of cutting the deficit.”

    Questions don’t come much more loaded than that.

  28. @R.Sheffield,’
    YES,to all your comments.
    At last people are starting to realise what cuts on this scale are going to meen.

  29. Of course I meant mean.

  30. Andrew
    With respect his name is Osborne not Osbourne.

  31. @ Rob

    There is an interesting story in the Guardian about the police sending an open warning to the government; to paraphrase: ‘we are not all in this togther’. Apparently, there will be two sides, when the cuts come.

    The police seem to be saying that they will have insufficient numbers to be on the government’s side, if they are subject to the cuts that they being asked to make.

    Neil A gave a similar hint in this forum a while back; I am surprised to see it being made openly, at such high levels, by the police force.
    8-)

  32. @ Éoin

    All three parties backed cuts. And a hell of a lot of them too.
    ——————————————————–
    Labour are in opposition; we can change our position.

    The coalition will change their position; the markets will force them to, IMO.
    8-)

  33. One incidental comment from a cabinet minister to Andrew Rawnsley about how easy it was in opposition to talk about sweeping away faceless bureaucrats.
    Now they have met them and like them, see the necessary work they do, the photos on the desks, and all the while prepare to actually sack them.

    As with all theoretical frameworks, not so easy in practice.

  34. Anthony, the daily YouGov polls are getting kind of ridiculous. Can’t you have a word with Mr Kellner and go back to three or four polls a month?

  35. @ GIN

    …the daily YouGov polls are getting kind of ridiculous. Can’t you have a word with Mr Kellner and go back to three or four polls a month?
    ————————————————–
    How could you? We live for these polls, our lives would be meaningless without them, how can you be so heartless? ;-)

  36. Amber

    Did you see this reported in the Scotsman?

    “For the first time, he [Clegg] accepted that there was “a serious issue” with the two elections being held together, but he went on to confirm that the Holyrood election would have to give way for the Westminster one.

    Liberal Democrat Scottish Secretary Michael Moore has written to Holyrood’s Presiding Officer, Alex Fergusson, asking him to consider using the Scottish Parliament’s existing powers of varying the election date by four weeks.

    But yesterday Mr Clegg suggested the UK government would go further and increase Holyrood’s powers of varying its election date to several months. This has raised the possibility of winter elections in Scotland as politicians try to avoid holiday periods.”

    It will be interesting to see how the Scottish LDs (and more importantly, the voters) respond.

    Could this affect the next set of Scottish polls?

  37. Definitely feel that the coalition is starting to lose its grasp on cuts narrative.
    Interesting article from The Sun today, in the sense that it’s quite anti-coalition: h ttp://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/campaigns/our_boys/3135652/Afghan-frontline-heroes-betrayed.html
    Would it be over the top to see it as a warning sign from Murdoch to Cameron (thinking Coulson etc.)?

  38. amber,

    we can. and we can significantly. if. when. and provided it is significantly, then I may change by opinion. Even then, I will have to judge if it is opportunistic. Mar. 24 2010 your preferred budget would have left me eminently more disposed to critque blue/yellow. Even then, I would have be honest and admit that 59% of those who voted backed it. Considering that 41-2% backed Blair and Thatcher at their absolute height, it is incumbent upon those among us, honest enough to admit it, that the country has never been more united on the direction ahead. I abhor cuts and all they represent/seek/mean. A favoured greater tax rises. I favoured investment in housebuilding a Public Works Administration. But the way I look at it is this, as I sit here now blue, red and yellow are singing off the same hymn sheet on cuts. Maybe the historian in me will be quelled in time for May 2015 to forget Darling’s mantra. Who know’s? Ed M has a good chance of sorting this. Pray to God he does.

  39. Eoin,

    “All three parties backed cuts. And a hell of a lot of them too.”

    Please don’t accept the narrative that we are facing a binary choice of cuts or no cuts! The debate is about extent – and so it should be. Consensus would be a damned good thing but it simply isn’t there.

    “Even then, I would have be honest and admit that 59% of those who voted backed it. Considering that 41-2% backed Blair and Thatcher at their absolute height, it is incumbent upon those among us, honest enough to admit it, that the country has never been more united on the direction ahead.”

    Government support figures might suggest otherwise…. As could the potential halving of LD support.

  40. Michael V,

    I have interrogated in minutae detail all three manifestos. Whatever makes you think I am acceting anything? A centrist opportunist I am not, and I urge you to look at the facts.

  41. @ Old Nat

    “For the first time, he [Clegg] accepted that there was “a serious issue” with the two elections being held together, but he went on to confirm that the Holyrood election would have to give way for the Westminster one.
    ——————————————————-

    ROFLOL – Will it be your Party or mine that benefits most from the collapse of the LibDem vote in Scotland? 8-)

  42. Eoin – is it not also a fact that the level of spending cuts proposed in the emergency budget and due to be outlined in the coming weeks are significantly higher – £83 billion-ish?

    An extra £30bn or more will have a significant effect on the economy and individuals (IMO).

  43. Amber

    “Will it be your Party or mine that benefits most from the collapse of the LibDem vote in Scotland?”

    Tell you what, lets share them equally!

  44. @ Michael V & Éoin

    I am not a historian. When the facts change, the government ought to change its position accordingly. 8-)

  45. Eoin

    The question was never whether there were going to cuts or not. It was always about how when and more importantly WHAT to cut. It was always obvious that after the moneys injected into the economy government was going to have to contact for a while, 1 to get its house in order and 2. to allow more space for private enterprise to grow further. This was basic. I expect Gordon’s book to say so much.

    I aso however have no doubt in my mind that Lab would have done it better and fairer and a Lab Lib coalition even more so. Had we had Darling and Cable working on getting the economy going and doing what needed to be done in the process the story would have been completely different. But that is now for the historic speculators amongst us. Its true that if Lab falls in the trap of a narrative of cuts opposition at all costs Lab will be unelectable next time round. Simple reason for this. Middle England will not trust Lab to handle the economy, thus we lose the good thing New Labour brought with it.

    Ed’s posturing during this election will make it more difficult for him in the general. He went left to win the party, coming back to center without suffering party disaffection will not be easy, but not impossible. If he wins he should lay off the economy and leave it to a fresher face to make the case, whilst he focuses on bigger picture politics – Co-operation Society versus Big Society.

    In political terms, the loss in 2010 might have been a blessing in disguise. If Lab won it would be proposing cuts even in this budget and getting worse in 2 3 years time. It needed it to be done and it would have just Lab more then the Cons. Lab now has the opportunity to simply sit back and just draw out what they would have differently had they been in power. This could be a strong narrative for 2015. However what Lab can never afford to do is to stray from the middle in terms of economic policy. The second it does that it would seal its defeat. Today economic is by and large more of a science then politics. Lab should treat it as such. It must show it will always do what makes sense rather than only what ideologically pleases it.

  46. Xiby,

    It is a good post. quite informative. I dont share your faith in a Vince and Darling combo. Ed M’ and his boxing himself in I also disagree with. If he gets elected on a different mantra to that of his manifesto he gives Labour more wiggle room. If DM is elected it is more a reaffirmation of Darling’s deficit reduction plan. In effect a coup de grace for Osbourne’s current position. At least of EM is elected he can at the dispatch box say that Labour voters have backed his new strategy over cuts…. eg. more tax rises and over a longer period than the halving in four years.

    The state is the biggest customer. For growth, jobs, investment we need the biggest customer at the table. That is not ideological gratification but common sense.

    I did not know that EM stated his position on the big society. Where can I read that?

    Ta :)

  47. Cuts come down to how they’re presented. Education cuts are always seen as bad. But recently schools have closed which public approval in Scotland after the Scottish Sun ( not normally a Tory paper ) revealed costs in these schools were higher per pupil than Eton they shut pretty quickly. No normal Scot wants to send their child to Eton.

  48. Anthony’s update on Populus is very interesting.

    49% blame blue for these cuts
    64% blame red for these cuts

    This offers evidence to those who think Labour would get away with denying their culpability in the financial crisis.

    If one views the prospect as likely that the blue % will continue to climb, without making any assumptions about the red % figure, then it will not be long before blues are labelled at fault for the current financial climate (most likely still beneath the banks). Blues might say it is a cruel old world but they need not.

    Provided GO’s strategy works, the climb in people blaming them might turn out to be a good thing. For one might argue that they, if GO is successful, might be more willing to credit him with the recovery.

    Had May 2010’s economy been rosy (some might say it was), the GO would have got no credit for pulling us back from the brink or bankruptcy or double dips. By partly instigating a sense of urgency (some might say panic), GO seems to have teed up this narrative quite favourably to reap the rewards should he pull it off.

    In the meantime, Bob Crow seems to have turned some Labour noses towards supporting early protests, civil disobedience, union action- call it what you will.

  49. Eoin – according to the graphic in the times, it’s blame for the deficit, not blame for the cuts (though the full tables aren’t up on Populus’s site yet, the question wording may end up referring to both)

  50. Anthony,

    Ta for that.

    Gee their blaming blue for the deficit. Uk politics- we become more like America every day.

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