YouGov’s daily poll for the Sun got people hugely excited over the headline figure of 83% backing the child benefit changes last night – but the actual story is more nuanced than that.

The principle of limiting child child benefit so people on higher incomes don’t receive it is hugely popular, with 83% of people supporting it and only 15% opposed. However, that question was about the principle of the policy. YouGov then asked about the practicalities of the policy, and the way that a couple both earning £30k would keep child benefit, while a couple where only one worked and earned £44k would not. 41% of people agreed that this was a fair compromise given the cost of fully means testing child benefit, but 46% thought it was unfair and that the policy should be based on a proper means-test. So the principle of the policy is extremely popular, but people are split over the implementation of it.

I’ve seen a lot of assumptions that the 15% who oppose it is the 15% or so of people who will be directly affected, it’s a lazy assumption that almost certainly isn’t true. Look at the cross breaks of any poll and you’ll find people do not vote nearly as much with their pocketbooks as you’d think. Obviously in most cases people who suffer from a policy are more likely to oppose it and people who benefit from it are more likely to support it, but it is rarely if ever black and white. There aren’t income cross breaks in the table, but looking at the other cross breaks, 21% of Labour supporters oppose the idea, compared to 9% of Conservative supporters. 18% of ABC1s oppose it, but so do 10% of C2DEs.

416 Responses to “83% support limiting child benefit, BUT…”

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  1. I thought we’d seen the last of Hain. Shame.

  2. Rob S,

    ‘Obviously some account should be taken of MP’s preferences.’

    I take it you are pleased the TUs didn’t gave a vote on the shadow cabinet? ;-)

  3. @ Howard

    Simply Red?
    ROFLOL ;-)

  4. Have just put in full shadow cabinet result and it’s gone into moderation. Now to work out which candidate has a slightly naughty name.

  5. @Howard – “Simply Red”

    A bit laboured, I know, but Holding Back the Tears and Money’s Too Tight to Mention for the other two?

  6. Roger Mexico

    Obvious: its BENN

  7. @ Rob

    EdM can choose whoever he wants for whatever posiiton.
    Yes, in theory he can.

    I was wondering what they’d do about Wales, given no Welsh MP in the cabinet. Hain would be the continuity candidate – but, in theory, Ed M was not supposed to have any extra picks. Maybe they make an exception.


    Thanks for that. So Hain is rejected by the electorate, but gets in any way?

    Labour in Scotland (and possibly Wales as well) used to scream about the undemocratic nature of List MSPs being elected on the list, if they had lost a constituency seat.

    This might shut them up, if Hain gets appointed through a leader diktat!

  9. I’m expecting Healey to get [shadow] Communities & Local Government – if that’s acceptable to a man who came so high on the list. 8-)

  10. oldnat

    yes its not a wonderful scenario: Hain on snoozenight was blaming the fact that “8 welsh MP’s stood for the shadow cabinet”…

    It would probably be better- if we HAVE to use this elected method (and I am not convinced we do)- that Welsh and Scottish mp’s separately elect their respective shadows.

    So that he gets to have a beef with Pickels?

  12. Is Healey any relation to Denis? That would add to my nepotism theory.


    “that Welsh and Scottish mp’s separately elect their respective shadows.”

    It’s one of the “unintended consequences” of asymmetric devolution that the solution you propose would marginalise the career prospects of Labour MPs representing Welsh constituencies even more than they are already. The “top” Welsh/Scots politician could aspire only to the SoS post (and what happens if the government of the day does away with the posts?)

    As it is, I suspect that Milliband has a very limited range of posts that he can appoint Murphy/Alexander/McKechin to.

    Many ministries (because the UK Government simultaneously act as the English Government) deal only with matters affecting England – it seems inconceivable that a Scots MP could be appointed to any of them.

  14. @Rob

    I fear you may be treading on West Lothian territory…

    It is a very odd state of affairs where there isn’t a single Welsh member of a Labour front bench team. I know it’s happened before, but it’s still odd.

  15. @ RAF

    :-) LOL 8-)

  16. Antony, could we have another Open Thread? I’ve got a few ideas I’d like to bounce around that aren’t really appropriate for the normal blog. Nothing rude or anything, just some very general politico-philosophical things.

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