Full tables for YouGov’s post-budget poll are now available here. The overall position is a small thumbs up, but not one that had made any real difference to the bigger picture.

Overall 44% of people thought the budget was a fair one, with 31% thinking it unfair. This is less positive than the emergency budget back in June 2010 (which 50% saw as fair). George Osborne’s approval rating as Chancellor is up – 34% now think he is doing a good job, 40% a bad job (compared to 27% good, 46% bad before the budget).

On the specific measures in the budget, 81% supported the 1p cut in fuel tax, 78% the increase in the personal tax allowance, 71% the fuel stabilizer and 63% retaining the 50p as a temporary measure. Least popular were the 10% reduction in inheritance tax for those leaving 10% to charity (supported by 51%) and the announcement that future rises in the state pension age should be linked to rises in life expectancy (supported by 47%).

However, a budget is more than just the sum of its parts, and in the past we’ve seen budgets where people supported all the individual announcements contained within it, but where it still had negative impacts for the government. A better guide may be whether it has actually shifted perceptions of the government’s economic policy.

All the regular YouGov trackers have moved in the direction of the government, but by relatively small amounts. The proportion of people thinking the cuts are good for government is up 4, thinking it is fair is up 5, necessary is up 4. The proportion of people thinking the cuts are too deep is down 5, too fast is down 4.

The changes are positive for the government… but aren’t enough to change the bigger picture. Overall the majority of people still think the cuts are unfair (56%), and being done too fast (53%). 46% of people think they are bad for the economy. On the scale of the cuts, 44% think they are too deep, 39% that they are about right or too shallow.

However, 59% still think they are necessary, and people are still more likely to blame Labour than the coalition for the cuts. Asked who they most trust to make the right decisions about dealing with the deficit, the coalition continues to lead Labour by 38% to 24%.

The contrast between this last figure and voting intention is itself interesting – the overwhelming majority (92%) of Conservative voters trust the coalition to make the right decisions on the deficit. However, amongst Labour voters only 69% say they trust Labour to make the right decisions on the deficit, with 21% saying they trust neither.

19 Responses to “YouGov’s budget polling”

  1. Anthony

    Link doesn’t work.

  2. Anthony
    Do you know of any polling which establishes how many people think they have above or below average earnings as opposed to what is the case?

    The reason I ask is that my intuition says that most people think they receive (note I avoided the word ‘earn’ which is emotive) more than average income.

    I also think the same exercise is interesting for the expression ‘class’. I note people are classed in the surveys A B C etc, and I know that through other questions on income, size of house and so on, an objective assessment can be made. How do these assessments conform with a question ‘what class do you consider yourself to be in?’.

    In connection with this poll, I believe that Osborne (note spelling) will always come out well if he appeals to people who think they are ‘just that little cut above’
    – but they may not be.

  3. Oldnat – corrected now.

    Howard – incidentially I was just reading this post by Mark Pack on some old polling on that – here.

    I don’t think that particular bit of polling is actually very good for what you are looking for – the bottom category (the lowest 50% of incomes) is far too large, so it is impossible for well over half the survey to have underestimated their income compared to others – hence you get roughly equal overestimates and underestimates. It would be better to analyse it in 10% bands for what you want.

    I can’t lay may hands on a poll that’s done that right now – but I think I recall seeing in the past that people tend to underestimate their income compared to others. People who are actually comparatively wealthy compared to other people don’t realise they are.

    That isn’t to say that your wrong about people responding to policies that benefit people slightly better off than themselves – it’s not because people don’t realise they aren’t that rich (people may not know their *relative* income, but they generally know their *absolute* income – you know if you are a higher rate taxpayer or not!) it’s because they aspire to taking that next step up. People earning £35k may not be affected by a rise in the higher tax rate, but probably wouldn’t be that keen on it because they’d hope that in a year or five years time they might be affected by it.

    You get quite a lot of surveys with cross breaks of ABC1C2DE social grade and percieved social class – I’ll try to dig one out.

  4. Looking forward to the next poll now that the expenses system has been changed.

    Labour must be rolling in the aisles that the Tories have managed to infuriate the electorate just hours after producing a fairly popular budget.

  5. Anthony,

    What’s the craic with the YG tables on YG’s website? Is your dude that uploads them off sick?

  6. I suspect the Voting intent/Government Support is showing “Investment”… People who voted for the Conservatives, and still intend to do so, are going to be pretty heavily psychologically invested into support for Osborne’s plan. Much in the same way that if you asked someone who’s just spent a huge amount on a new car if it’s any good, they’re likely to tell you it’s great even if not.

    Conversely those who’re switching back to Labour are less “invested”, since they’re a lot more disconnected from them.

  7. Canadian Election looks likely… Maybe Angus will do us a favour and concentrate on Canadian polls for a while


  8. Anthony

    People earning £35k may not be affected by a rise in the higher tax rate, but probably wouldn’t be that keen on it because they’d hope that in a year or five years time they might be affected by it.

    Or in 12 days:


    Actually I do know that that’s after allowances, so no one will be in the 40% bracket till they earn at least £42,475; but I wanted to make the point that the lowering of tax band will surprise some people.

    Having said that, their real marginal rate is 42% as opposed to 32% below the lowered limit, as NI rates will drop from 12% to 2% at almost exactly that point. We effectively have the same tax rate of 32% applied to all people earning between about £7,500 and £42,475; then 42% up to £157,500 after which it rises to 52%. This very simplified system explains why the government is thinking of uniting Income Tax and NI, though

    All this is without allowances other than the basic personal one, so with suitable help from pension ‘contributions’ and so on, various millionaires will still be at a lower rate than their cleaners.

    This (very simplified) set of rates explains why the government is thinking of uniting Income Tax and NI, though that would also mean NI also became subject to all those lovely allowances and easier to avoid (I’m sure the Big Four will be heartbroken).

    To return to the effect of all this, I expect that some people will be unpleasantly surprised by their pay in April (and some pleasantly, particularly the lowest paid). As we saw with the abolition of the 10% band, these sort of changes tend not to be picked up by public or politicians till they hit the payslips, and these changes are subtler. As usual, April will be the cruelest month (though for who will be another matter).

  9. With regard to Howard’s perceptions of income distribution, there was an interesting article on this topic in America recently:


    (Hat-tip Gawker)

    It’s about wealth rather than income and they seem to have sat on the survey data for five years(!), so maybe we shouldn’t complain about YouGov being a bit late. However the discrepancies between perception, reality and what is seen as a fair wealth distribution are enormous (see page 3 of pdf). Though perhaps not as shocking as the fact that the actual percentage of wealth owned by the bottom 40% is so small it isn’t even visible on the bar chart.

    Because of the delay this is pre-US housing crash, but I haven’t noticed great strides in equality since then.

  10. Anthony,

    It seems to me that the last question – “who do you trust to make the right decisions on the deficit” – is a leading question. Because for most people the very question seems to be asking “who do you trust to get the defecit down the quickest”. I know in it’s pure form you could argue it is asking a neutral question about who you trust on the deficit (some people may trust Labour because they want the deficit to be tackled slowly, and regard this as “the right decision”). But the term deficit carries with it a perjorative sense – deficits (like debt) are bad so “right decisions” must mean getting rid of it quickly (I guess the same would be true if the question “who do you trust to sort out immigration”).

    The question that I think is most helpful here is “who do you trust most to run the economy” as that leaves any specific question about macro-economic policy to one side.

    Do we have any current figures on that question (whether party basis – Lab or Con – or personnel based – DC&GO or EM & EB)?

  11. Adrian – “who do you trust most to run the economy” as that leaves any specific question about macro-economic policy to one side. Do we have any current figures on that question ”

    Patience, patience ;)

  12. Roger Mexico

    Thanks for that link.

    I’ve just used it in one of the endless political transatlantic email debates normal in my family.

  13. Anthony

    There are times when you remind me of my Dad doling out our sweet ration over the week!

  14. That’s an odd idea. That the idea of running a deficit is “morally neutral”.

    It’s a bit like saying “who do you trust to reduce crime” is leading because it presupposes that crime is a bad thing.

  15. Russian reports that the United States and NATO partners are already making contingency plans for an April ground invasion of Libya


  16. http://www.au.int/en/content/consultative-meeting-libya-ministerial-level

    The African Union [EU equiv] have laid out a road map to peace that conflicts with the Coalition of the Willing…

    Libya [Gaddafi have accepted it in full]

  17. http://english.aljazeera.net//news/africa/2011/03/20113251588449258.html

    One million people now without shelter and displaced on the Cote D’Ivorie

  18. 45 Warheads used by the US contained depleted uranium in Libya.

  19. Interesting interview on BBC tv with EM:-

    You complain about the Government plans, but you haven’t told us what you would do….

    …..I have said that there would be cuts under us…..

    …..so why are you joining a No Cuts protest?

    Wonder how that will play for him?

    On Libya, I saw Ban Ki Moon’s speech yesterday. For the world’s most acomplished speaker in Anodyne, he sounded pretty cross about being conned by Gadaffi on ceasefires. He said MG had actually telephoned him to say he had ceased fire.

    THe most interesting bit was when he said that if Gadaffi did not comply with 1973 & stop killing his civilian population the UN might have to take “additional measures”…….?