Tonight’s YouGov/Sun voting intention figures are CON 42%, LAB 37%, LDEM 11%. A slightly larger Conservative lead than recently, but not necessarily anything meaningful – we’ve seen plenty of temporary blips along the same lines.
While I’m here, an update from last night’s YouGov poll. As well as voting intention, we asked about the Conservative plans to force the long term unemployed to take part in compulsory work placements or risk losing benefits. 74% of respondents supported it, 22% were opposed – very strong support, including a majority of Labour supporters.
More broadly, the polling on this, on the housing benefit cap, on the measures in the spending review and so on does seem to suggest people are supportive of the welfare benefit cuts the government have proposed – often very supportive. The two caveats we need to consider on that front are, first, the policies appear very popular now, but may be less so once they come into action and some people start losing out.
The other potential downside is the effect on party image. A point I often make here is that policies that are popular in themselves, can still have negative effects upon party image. The Conservative party has in the past struggled against the public perception that they are party of rich people, and don’t really care about the less well off. Benefit cuts may be popular, but there is a risk they could also play into these negative perceptions. So far, however, this does not appear to be a problem – on YouGov’s party image trackers the Labour party continue to be ahead of the Conservatives on having their heart in the right place, and wanting to appeal to the whole country… but the Conservative position has not got any worse.