Last night’s YouGov daily poll has some initial questions on the Autumn statement, full tabs are here. As we regularly see in the trackers on the Sunday Times polls, the public are deeply negative about the state of the economy and how they will fare over the next 12 months – that hasn’t changed. 56% of people think the government is handling the economy badly, with 34% thinking they are doing well. That said, while people think the government are doing badly, they think Labour would be worse: 37% of people think the economy would be even worse were Labour in power, with only 25% thinking that Labour would be doing a better job.

There is a similar picture if you replace the government & Labour with Osborne and Balls. People think George Osborne is doing a bad job as Chancellor by 49% to 24%, a sharp decline from when YouGov asked the same question after this year’s budget when 34% thought he was doing a good job. However, Osborne’s lead over Ed Balls on who would make the better Chancellor has grown. 30% would now pick Osborne, with Balls on 24%, compared to a lead of 25% to 23% in July.

The survey goes on to ask people’s preferred party on various aspects of economic policy and here views are a bit more nuanced. People see the Conservatives as the party best able to reduce the country’s deficit, steer the economy through the crisis and support British business. However, Labour are seen as more able to create jobs, keep prices down and encourage growth.

Asked what is most to blame for the much lower growth forecasts, the government are continuing to avoid the largest share of the blame, with only a minority blaming them for the current state of the economy. Asked to pick the two main factors for slow growth the largest group of people blame the debt crisis in the Eurozone (44%), followed by the last Labour government (32%), the banks (31%) and 28% the current government.

YouGov asked about the specific measures contained in the Autumn statement, with mostly predictable results – it goes almost without saying that large majorities approved of the cancellation of the January hike in fuel duty, a lower rate of increase in rail fares and an increase in the bank levy. Interesting ones are the public sector pay freeze (supported by 47%, opposed by 41%), increasing the state pension age to 67 by 2026 (supported by 40%, opposed by 51%) and increasing the discount on right-to-buy (supported by 34%, opposed by 50%). The decision to update benefit payments in line with the 5.2% rate of inflation split opinion down the middle – 40% of people thought it was the right thing to do, 44% think it was wrong.

Finally YouGov asked about perceptions of what parts of the country the statement helped most. I thought this would be interesting given many of the big infrastructure projects were in the North, and whether that would be picked up at all. It doesn’t seem to have been! There were large chunks of don’t knows on all the regions, and those who did answer percieved it to have helped the South the most. Of course, in floating the possibility of regional pay scales for public servants the statement could indeed help the South the most, but I expect the answers to this question actually just reflect people’s pre-existing view of the Conservatives caring more about London and the South than the rest of the country.


298 Responses to “YouGov poll on the Autumn statement”

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  1. Incredible the PR job the banks have done, only 31% blame them. But that might change when more banks start failing, there was a near miss two days ago.

  2. I have to object to the “they think Labour would be worse” statement. Directly stated in the poll, *only* 37% think they would do worse, the rest either being Better, Much the Same or Don’t know.

    I strongly urge you to retract the statement, considering the poll also supports me saying “A majority think Labour would have handled the economy equally as well or better than the Conservatives.”

  3. Mervyn King’s entreaty to the Banking and financial system to not pay bonuses at such a catastrophe moment in economic history is amazingly significant.

    Whatever happened to the notion of ‘paying the market rate’ and ‘paying for the talent we need’?

    He has just fundamentally challenged that argument.

    I would hope someone extends that out across our wonderful private sector- and says the same thing to CBI chef execs who have given themselves a 40% income rise this year alone.

    pace RiN = I wonder how this will impact on opinion??

    “we are all in this together” ???

  4. “A majority think Labour would have handled the economy equally as well or better than the Conservatives.”

    Indeed.

  5. Reported from last

    Rob

    What Mr king is saying is that it is politically difficult to bail out the banks again, you notice he also mentioned dividend payments as well. This is because the silly bankers have taken money from reserves to pay dividends and bonuses leaving them with very little to cover losses, in effect betting on bailouts. Mr king is subtlely warning the banks that bailouts might not be forthcoming. Of course its all talk cos at the same time Mr king was in the forefront of organizing the subsidized dollar swap lines.

    Free market economy, my behind!!

  6. I cant help thinking that the reason why this country is in the mess that it is in is because 69% of people dont realise the banks are to blame

  7. I am rather pleased that only 37% think Labour would do a worse job of managing the economy than the Government.

    This coincides with the Tory VI – & yes, I have looked at the tables & I know it’s not quite as simple as that, but still…
    8-)

  8. Richard in Norway

    @”Incredible the PR job the banks have done, only 31% blame them”

    How much PR do they need when profligate EZ politicians & the results of their proligacy are paraded daily in the Press ?

  9. @JAYBLANC

    Surely though, more people believe that the current government are better, or no worse than Labour. Bottom line: the people are less confident of Labour’s ability to manage the economy.

    It seems Labour is considered better at creating jobs. Can I object on the basis that public sector jobs creation should not be included in such a poll, since the economic situation doesn’t allow for it. Is Labour still the best party to create jobs then?

  10. ED Conway on Sky got MK to concede that BoE are planning for EZ break up.

    I don’t know whether to be relieved that they have it covered, or terrified that he actually said it .

  11. WHY DOES THIS ALWAYS HAPPEN TO ME? I see a poll been up on YouGov for ages, presume Anthony isn’t going to analyse it, spend ages crafting a long commentary, and then discover he’s gone and put one up just before. :cry:

    Anyway to repeat some parts of it on the correct thread, there are some bad signs in it for the Osborne – only 24% think he is doing a good job compared to 34% in Spring – but Labour isn’t doing much to impress as an alternative. Asked If Labour had won the last election and formed a government, do you think the economy would be doing better, doing worse, or would it be much the same the result is:

    Doing better 25%
    Doing worse 37%
    Much the same 29%
    Don’t know 9%

    So Labour needs to set out new policies – they can’t just continue with the line of being the same but nicer.

    The poll also shows the continuing hold of the importance of deficit reduction in people’s minds. Asked who would handle ‘Reducing Britain’s deficit’ best the Tories get 41% to Labour’s 19% – even though Labour leads on ‘Encouraging growth in the economy’, ‘Creating jobs’ and ‘Keeping prices down’. The Conservatives also lead on ‘Steering the economy through the economic crisis’ and ‘Supporting British businesses’, though in each case by only 7 points and with both Parties getting under 60% between them. So the deficit is still the Tory trump card.

    YouGov also asked:

    George Osborne has delivered his autumn statement, in which the forecast growth of the British economy next year was reduced from 2.5% to 0.7%. Which one or two, if any, of the following do you think is most to blame for the low rate of growth?

    and got the replies:

    The debt crisis in the Eurozone 44%
    Debts run up by the last Labour government 32%
    The banks 31 %
    The current government’s economic policy 28%
    Higher world energy and commodity prices 15%
    Don’t know 11%
    Something else 2%

    This is a bit muddier than other attempts such as ICM to get an answer for this because there’s no way of telling if people rated their second choice as culpable as their first, but it shows that Labour also has to act harder to pin the blame on the government.

    There’s also questions about where people think the Chancellor is helping most (summary every outside London and the South thinks London and the South) and assessing the rate of support for various policies.

    The war on the public sector is still (just)being supported with the 1% pay limit getting 47% to 41% but the increase in the state pension age is opposed 51% to 40%. As usual only the over-60s are in favour – given this shouldn’t they introduce it now and make it retrospective? As you might expect the most popular measure are cancelling the fuel price rise (84%) and pegging back the increase in rail fairs a bit (80%). Whether either will be remember past (or even by) the first week in January is another matter.

    Raising the levy on bank profits is also popular (74%) but no choice or information was given on how much, so some opposition may have been from those who thought it too little. Interestingly ‘Increasing the discount for people buying their council house to 50%’ is opposed 52% to 34% – even Conservatives oppose.

    Increasing ‘out-of-work benefits in line
    with inflation’ is opposed, but only by 44% to 40%, so this may not be as easy a target to pick as some on the right may think (and of course some opposition may come from those who think the increase should have been more).

    Finally the £50 each to be paid to South West Water customers may be designed to keep the SW Lib Dems sweet, but the public are against 49% to 24%. Even Lib Dems oppose 36% to 33%.

  12. Amber

    I also noticed the connection with the con VI, it made me think that the labour voters were more realistic about how much control the govt of which ever color actually have

  13. William Davis – the question was specifically about the current low rates of growth. If you ask who is the blame for the credit crunch itself the banks score much, much higher. People overwhelmingly think the banks are to blame.

  14. I strongly protest, only 25 % say Labour would do a better job. In the Ministry of Circumlocution where I work, at least 80% think Labour would do a better job. Osborn’s lead over Balls has grown as well, rubbish, who does these bloody polls. Its all a bit like my actuary finding things that don’t look good for HM’s opposition when they were HM’s Gov, the guy must be bent.

  15. @ Roger Mexico

    To summarise: People approve of things which benefit them personally & disapprove of anything which doesn’t. Nice…..
    8-)

  16. @ROGER MEXICO

    Thanks for your summary. I noticed the overall good job/bad job on a party basis and wondered if, after the detailed questions are asked that people are again asked about the chancellor, given that they have had time to consider the points.

    It would be interesting to see if the don’t knows change opinion (I assume those declaring a party will not change on a single poll).

    @ANTHONY WELLS

    What’s the chance of the detailed questions, then the overall question on a subject after?

  17. Statgeek – I try to avoid, it’s rather too much like “polling as a magic 8 ball” – polls aren’t suppose to divine the correct answer, just what people think, however wrong or ignorant they are.

    It has some purposes, for example, in a scenario where there is a reasonable expectation that people will be exposed to the arguments in the future, it gives a clue as to which way the wind might blow (e.g. in 2009 we did polling like that on the AV referendum, that suggested exposure to arguments for and against would move people towards NO), but it’s use is limited (plus they are bloody difficult to write, as they need to be very carefully balanced, otherwise they measure just the accidental bias of the writer).

    Normal polls tell you what the public think, polls like that tell you what people would think *if exposed to a particular set of statements in a controlled environment*. Generally speaking this is not often useful information to have.

  18. “””retirement at age 60 and 35H week were serious faults which we are now paying heavily the consequences”

    Tweet -Sarkozy speech this evening.

    The penny is beginning to drop over the Channel-how soon before it does so here?

    Are you smiling Wen Jiabao ?

  19. Apologies for taking the mickey above, I just could not believe certain reactions to an inconvenient truth.

    That truth is: appalling, doom and gloom, nothing good to look forward to, 7 years of austerity, complete and utter uncertainty in that centre of excellence Europe, media preaching wall to wall disaster and still the public don’t trust Labour to handle it. Still the public don’t blame the Tories as much as they blame Labour.

  20. In passing: the UKPR polling average doesn’t seem to have been updated since 20th November.

  21. Go on then Andy, you’ve shamed me into it. Will try to do it tonight (I am, incidentally, changing my broadband provider over the weekend – so if I am strangely silent, that is the reason)

  22. Thanks Anthony.

    That made quite a difference! – the projected Labour majority almost cut in half from 60 to 34 seats. And that’s on the old boundaries of course.

  23. Pondering that – do I update the projection once all the provisional boundary recommendations are out? After all, they are not the actual recommendations, and the projection is what would happen in an election tomorrow… and if there was an election tomorrow, it would be on old boundaries.

    I’m inclined to wait at least until the final recommendations are done (or possibly till they are laid before the House), but am yet to decide.

  24. Chouenlai
    ‘In the Ministry of Circumlocution where I work, at least 80% think Labour would do a better job.’

    Your ‘circumlocution office’ of Dicken’s Little Dorrit (one of my favourites) –
    ‘Whatever was required to be done, the circumlocution office was beforehand…in the art of perceiving – HOW NOT TO DO IT.’

  25. Colin
    ‘The penny is beginning to drop over the Channel-how soon before it does so here?’

    To be to us we have picked a Government that recognised this before France, Greece, Spain, Italy etc. which perhaps explains why despite the fact we had a bigger national debt to deal with we are in a stronger financial position than many EZ countries.

  26. @ Colin

    ““””retirement at age 60 and 35H week were serious faults which we are now paying heavily the consequences””

    Sarkozy is fighting for his survival. He would do anything. Even cite things for which he does not have any evidence and ignore contradictory evidence (that it actually helped the French economy) – well… just like you.

  27. @ Henry

    “we have picked a Government that recognised this before France, Greece, Spain, Italy etc. which perhaps explains why despite the fact we had a bigger national debt to deal with we are in a stronger financial position than many EZ countries.”

    I respect your opinion and I normally read it with interest, but this is delusion:

    1) “we have picked” ?????
    2) Before all those countries – what did the UK government actually recognised and something that these government recognised?
    3) We are in a stronger financial position than many EZ countries – I thought the Con-Lib narrative was that we are in a horrible financial position, really terrible, close to abyss (please don’t tell that the last 18 months changed that).

    With the greatest respect.

  28. @ Anthony Wells

    “I’m inclined to wait at least until the final recommendations are done (or possibly till they are laid before the House), but am yet to decide.”

    Obviously, it’s your call, but probably wiser to wait. There is a long way from the glass to lips…

  29. What Sarkozy is really saying is that at least one of the big French banks is going to go under because of some very bad bets and you the taxpayer is going to have pay up and cover their bets, oh and by the way you need to stump up some more to prop up some other banks which are wobbling dangerously. So if you all work just a little bit harder for a little bit longer and for a little bit less pay we might be able to save our banks

  30. @ANTHONY WELLS / LASZLO

    What’s the procedure on the BC changes? Are they individually battered through, collectively accepted or rejected?

  31. @chouenlai – “left wing journo”

    I thought I was being reasonably non-parisan there… Rawnsley’s only political affiliation was to one of the coalition parties (well, SDP as it was then).

    His interest is confined to the rise and fall of the political personalities of the day, and to some extent has built his own reputation by being one step ahead of the pack in developing a media narrative around Blair/Brown tensions, the demise of New Labour, and Brown’s character flaws,

    No doubt Viking will be wanting another book out of him soon.

  32. Anthony

    “in 2009 we did polling like that on the AV referendum, that suggested exposure to arguments for and against would move people towards NO),”

    Was one of the arguments they were exposed to in the 2009 poll, an AV referendum proposed by a Lib Dem DPM supporting a Conservative government ?!

    Because that is what turned a significant proportion of people on the centre and left from DK’s and Yeas into NO’s (though not me)…

    [Nope, since I got my dates wrong. We actually ran it in summer 2010 – AW]

  33. @Rob Sheffield
    “Because that is what turned a significant proportion of people on the centre and left from DK’s and Yeas into NO’s (though not me)…”

    Totally agree. I and everyone I know who voted LibDem at the last election were determined to deny Clegg this victory.

  34. Andy JS

    good for you !!

    We are likely to have a period now when the average poll rating gap between red and blue widens (however limited that is).

    By convincing AW to act today you have secured a 39-36 (maj 34) banner for a good 10-14 days: allowing you to post about narrowing leads and declining majorities ‘and those under the exiting boundaries’ ;-)

  35. Roger Mexico

    Ta for that- excellent extensive analysis.

  36. @Rob Sheffield
    “By convincing AW to act today”

    I am sure Anthony will be updating the projections on a daily basis from now on to give a clearer picture.

  37. LASZLO

    I respect your opinion and I normally read it with interest, but this is delusion

    I am prone to exageration on this and other occasions I accept. This really is not very simple. Even so, UK’s Government chose an austerity programme popular or not while a number of EZ countries seem to have had austerity thrust upon them by external forces (IMO)

    However, you express your disagreement in a very courteous and pleasant way. Thanks

  38. I know we all cherry pick the bits of polls we like best, according to what fits our partisan preferences, but shouldn’t we be surprised by the findings in this poll that suggest that the majority of the electorate, only 18 months after they were ejected from office, primarily because of their perceived economic failures, now think that Labour are best able to “create jobs, keep prices down and encourage growth”?

    This leads me to pose the following rather intriguing question. What exercises the minds of voters more? Prices, jobs and growth, or deficit reduction?

    Just a thought.

  39. @Anthony Wells

    How difficult would it be to maintain two different projections – one for the old boundaries, and another for the new? It might be instructive to see the difference between them.

  40. LASZLO

    @”well… just like you.”

    Cheers -coming from you I take that as confirmatory of my view :-)

  41. Crossbat

    “shouldn’t we be surprised by the findings in this poll that suggest that the majority of the electorate, only 18 months after they were ejected from office, primarily because of their perceived economic failures, now think that Labour are best able to “create jobs, keep prices down and encourage growth”

    I am not sure: they really did think in late 2010 that “the recovery is secured”/ both Dave and George really did believe that the Darling last AS and final budget growth would continue unabated.

    They managed to convince a significant number of the public as well- or at least hold off on making up their minds. Schoolboy errors.

    Anticipate carpet bombed adverts repeating those immortal phrases and the associated video in election campaigns to come over the next 3-4 years

    The pillars and roofs are collapsing in around their heads now. The illusion of fast and deep austerity (as a political tactic/ a philosophical tract as opposed to a technical economic response) has become apparent. So they are starting now to slowly pay the price.

    Dave and George are just lucky its the two Eds up against them (currently without an economic policy pot to p*ss in between them)- otherwise their numbers would be cratering rather than glacially declining!

    Though at least EdB has started to polish his act a little in recent weeks I have to say (and tonight has given a well received speech to the CBI arguing that the ECB becomes a lender of last resort backstop.

  42. Statgeek – It’s a single vote I believe (well, two votes, one in the Commons and one in the Lords). Once all four commissions have reported the Home Secretary has to lay an order before the House to implement them.

  43. @CROSSBAT11

    “What exercises the minds of voters more?”

    Fear. That’s the prime motivator. Fear of pain, poverty or discomfort. After that, it’s all a little specific to each individual. Scare mongering doesn’t work for long without factual data or predictions realised.

  44. Statgeek – for the first periodic boundary review in the 1950s the Commons did vote on separate orders to implement each group of constituencies.

    It was not a particularly enlightening debate.

    I think they learnt their lesson after that!

  45. @AW

    Thanks for that. The common sense part of my mind assumed it was collective, but then I won’t put anything past the politicians’ abilities to make a simple thing long-winded.

  46. I would recommend the play ‘Collaborators’.

    About Stalin and his men.

    The Regent Centre, Christchurch, showed it live from the NT.

    Thought provoking and moving.

  47. It is remarkable that the government that is imposing such massive cuts is still relatively popular. This suggests that Labour’s narrative that the Government’s plan is “wrong” is not convincing people.
    The Coalition narrative: that Labour was profligate in office, has no plan now; has a weak leader, is in hock to the unions, and that the economy will only be restored by determined action does seem to be a pretty durable one. Labour needs to show that it will not screw up again if elected.

  48. @ROB SHEFFIELD

    You said “…Though at least EdB has started to polish his act a little in recent weeks I have to say (and tonight has given a well received speech to the CBI arguing that the ECB becomes a lender of last resort backstop…”

    Without making a judgement either pro or con on the abilities of Balls, it has to be said that the UK Shadow Chancellor talking to the UK CBI about ECB behavior is absolutely pointless. Why isn’t he in Berlin talking to the SPD? They’re not in government but the way things are going they might be in a few years and, even if they’re not, if you want to change the ECB you’ll have to alter the German Constitution to do it, and that means setting up a German consensus. So anybody who thinks the ECB should change has to talk to Germans. So why isn’t somebody from the Labour party doing this? You’ve got a former Foreign Secretary going spare, for crying out loud… :-(

    Regards, Martyn

  49. @Anthony Wells

    “do I update the projection once all the provisional boundary recommendations are out? ”

    Should the worst happen and a general election is called in the next 18 months or so, it will be run on the current constituencies. Parliament will only vote on the matter in 2013.

    You might want to run 2 parallel predictions for the fun of it, but I’d suggest waiting a couple of months until the boundary commission publishes it’s revised proposals.

  50. Martyn

    You see, no difference between them, both ed and George want the ECB to print and bail out the banks, and once they start printing it won’t stop at the sovereign debt, it will quickly progress to buying up the commercial real estate loans where the real problems lie and after that it will be home loans and after……………

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