The full results of YouGov’s post CSR poll for the Sun are now up on the YouGov’s website here.

YouGov reasked many the economic questions from their pre-spending review poll at the start of the week to see if attitudes has shifted. Mostly they hadn’t. There were slight increases in the Conservative lead over Labour on cutting the deficit and encouraging growth, but on the other hand, the proportion of people thinking the cuts were unfair and avoidable both rose slightly. No changes were large enough to be sure the shifts weren’t just margin of error – the big picture remains that people think the cuts are unavoidable and Labour’s fault…but are being done unfairly and too fast.

Turning to the details of the spending review, most of the measures in the review were actually pretty popular. Large majorities supported the permanent levy on banks (82%), withdrawing child benefits from households with higher-rate taxpayers (74%), putting a cap on the benefits a single household can receive (84%) and – unsurprisingly – ending MPs final salary pensions (85%). There was also strong approval for the reduction in the BBC budget (64%), making public sector workers contribute more to their pensions (59%), freezing the basic level of the working tax credit (56%), and increasing the rent paid by future council tenants (49%).

Opinion was more evenly divided on increasing the state pension age to 66 (49% support, but 40% oppose), reducing the availability of legal aid (42% support, 42% oppose), allowing higher rate taxpayers over 60 to keep bus passes and winter fuel allowance (43% support, 47% oppose) and cutting 490,000 public sector jobs (39% support, 44% oppose).

Only two of the items YouGov asked about met with majority opposition – using more community sentencing rather than prison was opposed by 60%, while allowing rail fares to rise faster than inflation was overwhelmingly opposed, with 80% against.

However, as we’ve often seen in polls after budgets, people’s reactions to budgets and spending reviews are much more than just whether there are more popular measures than unpopular measures. In the past we’ve seen budgets where people told pollsters they liked all the specific things asked about in the poll, but thought the budget as a whole was bad. It’s the overall impression that counts, and on that front things are a lot more evenly balanced. 40% think the government made the right decisions on where to cut spending, 41% think they made the wrong decisions. 44% thought the cuts were too harsh, 44% thought they were about right or too cautious (38% and 6% respectively).

So far, it looks as though reactions to the spending review are pretty evenly balanced. Whether this is good or bad news for the government is, I suppose, a question of expectations. If you thought their support would plummet after cuts, this is good for them, if you thought it may have bolstered their position in a similar fashion to the emergency budget this should be disappointing.

It’s also worth noting that the public do sometimes take time to react to events – all of the fieldwork for this poll was conducted after the spending review, but about half was conducted before this morning’s papers, and reactions to the announcements will probably continue over the next fews days. The initial response is not always the same after a few days.


358 Responses to “YouGov’s post Spending Review poll”

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  1. I didn’t expect the announcement of the cuts to make much difference to the polls.

    And it looks like that has been the case.

    No change.

    But as the cuts are actually ‘executed’ – things will, presumably, swing against the coalition.

    The question is: to what extent will they swing against the coalition and for how long.

  2. It takes time for the public to recognise the effects of fiscal measures (eg Budgets).

    IMO, this is the best it gets for the Cons. Public opinion will increasingly move against these cuts.

    Everyone knows cuts are necessary, but now the public are beginning to see where the impact will be and what it will mean for themselevs, their families and friends.

  3. I had a good look through the YouGov table, and my first impression is that Anthony was very restrained in his analysis.

    Considering that the government were about to unleash the worse cuts since Thatcher, the response of the public was very mooted. There was no backlash so to speak. One stat that stood out it that 47% of reds think blues are prepared to take the tough unpopular choices. This indicates to me that what I call the ‘medicine effect’ will take hold.

    What is the medicine effect?

    Well in short it is a form of mass deranged hysteria began by George Osborne and aided by Allisdair Darling, that cuts are a necessary pain that we must all bare. Throughout YouGov’s table’s sado masochism is prevalant. In that respect blues done a good job over the summer, priming the public for this. Yellows might ask why they are taking the hit, but that is always the way in coalitions. Government disapproval grew last night to -5% but if you go an look at the table you will see that government approval also grew. The don’t knows where reduced accross the board, so it seems that the event has crystalized the opinions of many voters. So it is quite an early stage to say how Sunday’s poll will go so I will wait until Howard does his round of gathering ‘psot’ CSR’s before I give mine.

  4. *bear :(

  5. Decent analysis by Anthony.

    Could have mentioned- as could others- the fact that this *not* a ‘post cuts’ poll, rather it is a ‘post CSR announcement’ poll.

    Its not the announcement but the reality of what they mean in practise that matters.

    Cuts- for those parts of society that will be affected- will only make an impact in 12 to 36 months. Over that period polling will begin to relect the reality of the cuts and will decisively turn opinion one way or the other.

    I think this set of numbers- at this stage in the whole cycle- are pretty good for Labour :-)

  6. No surprise that the Sun is reporting that “large majority support the cuts”. Actually a large majority support the need to cut public spending, but now on “these cuts” people are evenly divided.

    Clegg is obviously rattled by the charge from the IFS that the cuts are “clearly regressive” (although the govt own figures show this) and the issue of fairness is all over the papers this morning so I think there may well be delayed reaction against many of the measures.

    This could be greater if Labour can mount a coherent argument as to how they would cut better/fairer/and at a slower pce. Otherwise any boost for Labour will only be temporary or minimal.

  7. My ‘post CSR’ prediction for Saturday night’s YG poll

    Blue 44%
    Red 38%
    Yellow 10%

    Oh and this link is a good analysis of the public’s take on Gideon’s Axe

    h ttp://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/oct/21/spending-review-george-osborne-voters

  8. @ Eoin

    I think tough decisions are appreciated as long as they are seen to 1/ end in a good outcome and 2/ if there is no personal pain involved (e.g. leaders who launch an unpopular war but win with minimal casualties).

    I think these numbers supporting the cuts are incredibly soft and could be exploited if Labour could mount a coherent counter-narrative that “Tories supported the spending to support the country in the crisis/banks to blame/our cuts would be slower and work better and fairer”. But to do this they have to set out an alternative framework.

  9. Adrian B,

    Yes there are some gaps for Labour to exploit (I count 4) but these gaps are not what they could have been.

    The IFS reports that these cuts amount to 14% and compares them to Labour’s 12%. Is that gap big enough for Labour’s criticisms to be credible? With good marksmanship, reds should be able to land a few blows. Let’s wait and see.

  10. @Eoin

    Yes, I think the only way is really to exploit the residual anger at the banks (which I think is going to go away soon) and say something like “we’d hit the banks harder then save child-benefit, less cuts on welfare” etc.

    Not sure AJ is the right man for the job. Balls would be a better marksman but would be perhaps too tainted with the previous regime and is on the wrong side of the argument on the need to big cuts.

  11. Adrian,

    Tellyougov is a fantastic site. I reccomend you log on and check out the views on Alan Johnson. I am a) too much of a geek and b) too lacking in emotional intelligence – to get Alan Johnson. But it is clear from the website that he is VERY popular with “Joe Schmow” It was a cracking decision to apoint him for this leg of the parliamentry cycle.

    My own view is that bashing banks is unlikely to wash with the public. I think personal taxation would have worked better, or indeed a new utilities tax. The public know for now that our banks are not yet creaming it again… meanwhile Vodafone et al. are.

  12. I cannot help admitting that I am stunned, but in a good way. I certainly thought the coalition stock would go backwards for a couple of years, after these announcements. Very clever expectation handling and a well sold “its Labours fault” story, has left them in front with a decent level of support.

  13. Adrian,

    Here is the AJ link:

    h ttp://www.tellyougov.com/topics/1646

  14. I am astonished that people think the Conservatives &/or the Coalition is doing well.

    They have had the biggest honeymoon in the press of any government, ever; thanks to novelty of a Coalition – rather than an ‘old fashioned’ electoral pact – but what has happened….

    Despite a relentless media war against Labour & public sector workers & benefit claimants, Labour is up 10 points in the polls & nipping at the Tories’ heels.

    The collapse in Dem support is seen as being the inevitable consequences of junior partnership in a coalition. It was not inevitable, IMO. Lib Dem voters have simply been quicker to face the music & admit to buyers’ remorse.

    It is the shape of things to come for the Tories too. Many who backed the blues are just being a little more stubborn, a little slower to accept they made the wrong choice.

    For now, they are clinging to the idea of a private sector upsurge returning us to the heady days of boom & boom that we were used to under Labour. And they expect it happen in about 6 months from now… oh boy, they are going to be disappointed.
    8-)

  15. Adrian,

    Now if you contrast that last link with this link on GO, you will note that the comments are not detail speciifc but more about the two guys personalities. In the past blue have prospered by diminishing the argument to vacuous waffle and making it more about image. The early signs are that Labour and in particular AJ could make a lot of gain from smiling/waffling his way through this.

    h ttp://www.tellyougov.com/topics/73

  16. I think this poll is too soon; it will take some time. In particular once 600,000 are sacked… Each one of those knows what, 10 people? I certainly feel a double dip recession is now far more likely; note sales down on the High Street…

  17. It is interesting to note that Britain’s cost of borrowing has dropped to below that of Germany.

  18. The question I ask myself is this:

    The cuts have been announced but not implemented. No-one has felt the pain yet. How will polling fall out once the pain does come?

    For me, The Coalition’s polling must fall. Like many financial measures, people may say they generally support cuts, when they specifically affect them, they are much less keen. I can’t believe that when people feel the pain they will say ‘This is good for me, and I support the Coalition more.’

    So allowing for this fall in support that will come, The Coalition need to be ahead now to counterbalance this.

    It is looking like this is not the case, and if Labour are polling close now, then they will be delighted and the blues should be worried.

  19. Labour desperately needed to win back some economic competence credibility.

    Osborne – that canny political genius – handed it to them on a plate. ‘Deficit deniers, profligate, unable to make the tough choices but I am cutting 1% less than Labour would have…….’

    Really, George? So Labour pretty much had it right, then? Good to know.

    GO just passed the economic competence ball back to Labour. It will take a little time to sink in with the voters – but Darling is unashamedly doing the rounds on the media saying, “Well George has pretty much followed the plan I laid out, it’s very gratifying.”

    A very good strategy: Darling’s experience combined with AJ’s everyman approach; & GO gratuitously enabled it.

    The icing on the cake: The IFS saying the little progressiveness that exists in the budget & CSR is due to measures adopted directly from Darling’s last budget.

    GO has set the foundations for Labour gradually re-emerging as top dog in the economic competence with fairness league.

    Thanks, George 8-)

  20. @Amber

    A relentless media war against labour, where?

    I read the Scottish papers and it appears to be a media war against the Snp.

    Backed up with some serious pro labour reporting on Scottish issues by BBC Scotland.

  21. @Alec

    We shouldn’t expect a serious rise in GDP when our broad money is growing at 0.9% yoy. It seems reasonable to me to boost this measure while rebalancing the fiscal side which has been so expansionary. I agree with you of the consequences of QE with the effect overseas The old powers are all trying to alter the terms of engagement with the new tigers.
    As I said QE is only necessary if there is no pick up in bank lending. However an alternative would be direct govt lending. The govt could use its AAA rating to borrow at very fine rates to lend on to housing associations for a major housebuilding program. There is nothing to stop the housing associations issuing bonds which would be eligible for QE,missing out the middle men.

    @Amber

    Fiscal policy is being tightened hard but that is from an extreme position of expansion. We are running deficits for every year of this parliament under both the GO and the AD/AJ plan. Everyone except EB seems to agree that some cuts are needed.
    If the GO 14% cut in overall departmental spending is ideological then surely the AD/AJ 12% cut is only slightly less ideological. Your 11.27 post suggests there is no difference in approach. You quote AD ‘ “Well George has pretty much followed the plan I laid out, it’s very gratifying.”

  22. @AMBER
    What you say is true, except you fail to mention the constant blitz krieg from the media of CUTS CUTS CUTS. The fairness of these cuts, as you well know, is called into question in certain quarters. By any normal measurement Labour ought to be 10 to 15 points in front of the Tories. As for the LDs, well they have upset many of their own, who knows how it will pan out.

  23. Aleks,

    GO’s 14% is predicated on a lot of what ifs. I still expect it to come much closer to Darling’s 12%. I said throughout the summer, I never really saw much difference in what both AD & GO were trying to achieve.

    Whether or not the public will get that is looking increasingly doubtful. Alan Johnson oozes a “ahh but my cuts would have been nicely cuddly cuts” charm that threatens to cast GO in a negative light almost regardless of what he does.

    Ed Miliband deserves credit for selecting a very disarming foil for GO.

    How long this act will last, is very difficult to say. But it makes blues efforts to throw off the ‘nasty party’ image more hazardous.

  24. Nick Clegg was very very ill advised to speak out aginst IFS. HE has drawn attention to himself at the precise moment where any anger there was against the gov. was mostly being directed at GO. Seriously silly, I wonder who advises him.

    His negativity score is accelerating on TellYG, and he threatens to overtake GO in the volume of posts. What an eejit.

    h ttp://www.tellyougov.com/topics/1191

  25. Eoin
    “Seriously silly, I wonder who advises him.”

    Interesting comment…some months ago I quoted an article in The Times saying that sources at No 10 say DC advises NC on how to present things to the LD party.

    If I were NC perhaps I’d pay no heed to such further advice….

  26. @ Dawve

    A relentless media war against labour, where?
    ——————————————-
    I don’t think there’s been a single policy announcement or appearance by a Tory politician that hasn’t included either:

    1. anti-Labour polemic, or
    2. ‘bloated public sector’ rhetoric, or
    3. ‘unemployment is a lifestyle choice’ comments.

    If they can squeeze the word ‘toxic’ into a sentence, anywhere at all, they will do so at least once (or about 15 times in the same sentence, if their name is Warsi). 8-)

  27. I’m content with the current VI figures. We need to keep n mind that the Cons have their nuclear bunker/shield (ie the LDs).

  28. Mike N,

    Your most recent post is very poignant. I think it is impossible to overstate the point you make. COntemplate this for a moment, what criticism has DC taken this week? Now suppose this CSR was GO/Ad’s handiwork, would Gordy have gone as unchallenged?

    I expect Blues to remain above 40 until xmas at least. Yellow might perhaps go to 8.

  29. Mike,

    GB (not GO) :)

  30. @ Roland

    Are you on the naughty step? Your comments appear upthread out of nowhere. Anyways, it is nice to see you. I was wondering where you were & hoping it was somewhere nice.

    The media CUTS, CUTS, CUTS, I discount as being encouraged by Mr Coulson & the Coalition.

    All done to create balancing time for the government to explain their position; & to have a go at Labour, the public sector & the unemployed.

    The C,C,C media blitz also set the scene for the cuts being not quite as bad as people expected when GO eventually rolled them out.

    Has it worked, then? Should Labour really be a gazillion points ahead already & Coulson has played a blinder?

    A big switch from blue to red would require a volte face by the blue voters; as I say, they have not yet given up hope that the Coalition can quickly create a private sector & house value boom. Normal service resumed… I believe they will be disappointed. 8-)

  31. @Amber

    Every report I read in the scottish papers say the cuts are the fault of the Snp.

    Usually with quotes from a SLAB Msp telling us why it is all the fault of the Snp and nothing to do with the Labour party.

    Over the past few months announcmentd such as hospital waiting times being down and a large decrease in the amount of knife crime have been totally hidden in the scottish press. Or covered by a few lines then buried by attack after attack on the Snp government.

    Not everything is a media war against labour, the Scottish media are carrying out their own media war for SLAB against the Snp.

    How will the Scottish media report Grey’s apparent u turn on radio Scotland that he does not oppose the council tax freeze or the removal of prescription charges?

    You say labour are facing a media war from one section of the media, but do not mentioning the media war being waged for labour by another section. Why?

  32. @ Aleksandar

    Fiscal policy is being tightened hard but that is from an extreme position of expansion. We are running deficits for every year of this parliament under both the GO and the AD/AJ plan. Everyone except EB seems to agree that some cuts are needed.
    —————————————————-
    Cuts are not needed, they were demanded by the bond markets. And GO has consistently said that he is meeting their demands to keep interest on borrowings as low as possible.

    What the bond markets are not demanding, is more QE. Everything GO is doing with the cuts, he will undo with QE. Inflation will rise, there will be bond market demands for higher interest rates.

    GO will be back where he started. More cuts, as interest payments increase the deficit? More QE in an attempt to kick-start the economy. More borrowing reluctance by retrenching businesses & individuals – especially in the face of rising interest rates.

    These are exactly the policies that cause stagflation. And GO is setting the economy up for a large dose of it. 8-)

  33. @ Aleksandar

    If the GO 14% cut in overall departmental spending is ideological then surely the AD/AJ 12% cut is only slightly less ideological. Your 11.27 post suggests there is no difference in approach. You quote AD ‘ “Well George has pretty much followed the plan I laid out, it’s very gratifying.”
    ————————————————
    Here, I was pointing out that Labour are making good politics out of a bad situation.

    I am in the EB, GB, YC camp & I was never a fully paid up fan of the Darling approach from an economic perspective. It cost Labour the election.

    Having paid so dearly for Alistair’s budget, it is nice to see a little political return from it, at long last. 8-)

  34. Amber,

    Encore encore! :) Deficit Denial Rocks :)

  35. @Amber
    GO just passed the economic competence ball back to Labour. It will take a little time to sink in with the voters – but Darling is unashamedly doing the rounds on the media saying, “Well George has pretty much followed the plan I laid out, it’s very gratifying

    Big difference,tories want the debt paid off in one parlaiment,Labour would start cutting when they stuck their finger in the air and thought the recovery was according to them locked in. Whenever they judged that to be correct.The government has already reduced the debt more competently overnight as the bond markets love osborne’s CSR and have reacted very positively therefore drawing down the debt.Remember
    in the public’s eyes according to the polls people blame Labour for the record deficit and establishing a benefit dependancy culture which this government has to break .Chucking more and more people into a public sector to keep down unemployment and seeing them earn more than the private sector and have their jobs protected (some may say to win traditonal votes) has played with the public who work in the private sector and have taken their share of pain.
    Yes this policy is a risk,but there is fundamental difference in policy and one which Labour may struggle to win the arguement given they were in power when it all went wrong.The global recession and we would cut slower but we don’t know when clearly is not washing with the public before or after the election/CSR

  36. United States debt is £13 trillion (govenrment)
    United States debt is £54 trillion (population at large)

    What is our trillion between friends? :)

  37. @ DAWVE

    Every report I read in the scottish papers say the cuts are the fault of the Snp.
    ————————————————
    Are Labour playing the Coulson game in Scotland? Very unattractive, I’d much rather they didn’t.

    There is barely a difference between Labour & the SNP. They should form a coalition of Scottish social democrats against the Tory cuts – Desperate times call for desperate measures. That would be my preference. 8-)

  38. @ Michael B

    Big difference,tories want the debt paid off in one parlaiment,Labour would start cutting when they stuck their finger in the air and thought the recovery was according to them locked in.
    ——————————————————–
    You are making my point for me.

    How can Osborne claim that he is paying down the deficit faster than Labour after saying his cuts are LESS than Labour’s would have been?

    Osborne has stepped off an economic & political cliff. Like Wiley Coyotes, he & his fans just haven’t realised there is no ground beneath their feet. Let’s see what happens next…….
    8-)

  39. @Amber

    Yes according to the papers and the labour Msp’s they interview the cuts are the fault of the Snp.

    I would agree with you on the differences between SLAB and the Snp, if SLAB would only loosen the strings from the British party.

    There was plenty of rumours of policies jack mcconell wanted to implement, but was over ruled by the British party.

    It’s part if the reason I stopped voting for labour in Scotland. Why stand for the Scottish parliament then have your policies watered down by labour Uk. Purely to stop the labour party looking bad in the other home nations.

  40. A fascinating chart, take a look

    h ttp://www.visualeconomics.com/gdp-vs-national-debt-by-country/

  41. Anthony:

    Cool that’s fine….I felt better for getting of my chest!

  42. @ Michael B

    ….the bond markets love osborne’s CSR and have reacted very positively therefore drawing down the debt.
    ——————————————————
    Please would you explain what you mean by: “therefore drawing down the debt”.

    Are you saying there was an issue of fixed interest UK gilts today & it was over-subscribed? Because I wasn’t aware that there had been a significant issue since the CSR. 8-)

  43. @Eoin

    The only problem with that chart is that the numbers are quite out of date! I can’t tell which CIA World Factbook they are from but I’d guess it is 2007 or 2008. Things have changed a bit since then in the UK.

    I can’t see that polls on the CSR tell us very much. Even though the cuts have now been announced we are still in phoney war territory as people wont experience their reality for sometime yet – in some cases not until 2014. This is going to be a slow motion event.

  44. Eoin

    Just looked at the chart…and the UK looks really good in comparison to the others.

  45. @AmberStar

    The yields in the trading market have dropped. To levels below Germany’s. It is the trading market prices that new issuance gets priced off so you don’t need a new issuance to be able to see what is happening to UK government debt costs.

  46. MichaelB,

    Chucking more and more people into a public sector to keep down unemployment and seeing them earn more than the private sector and have their jobs protected (some may say to win traditonal votes) has played with the public who work in the private sector and have taken their share of pain.

    Do you really believe public sector jobs were increased to reduce unemployment? What is you evidence for this?

  47. @Eoin

    What that chart does show is how utterly and completely fegged Italy and Greece are. As their position has gotten worse too.

  48. Mike,

    Yes, i agree, which is why I’m a DDer and proud :) There are online realtime debt clocks for most countries. you should check out a few of them. The US’s is a shining light to the DDers in da hood :) [tongue in cheek- before anyone clips my ear]

  49. Fandango-

    Here is a real time world debt clock, visually represented on a map :) The Uk are amateurs at clocking up debt.

    h ttp://www.economist.com/content/global_debt_clock

  50. @ Last Fandango

    Ah, so you are talking about the secondary market. Therefore it’s impact on the UK economy may be a marginal strengthening in the £ against the USD?

    I would venture to suggest that the applause (demand) is coming from China. They are having a spat with the US & want to reduce their holdings of USD denominated debt.

    The CSR had nothing to do with it; but it is politically expedient to say it did. On the whole, I think the news about yields will not excite the average UK voter.

    The securities themselves are fixed interest, yes?
    8-)

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