While we won’t have any post-budget voting intentions yet, there is a snap online Populus poll for Which, conducted straight after the budget, results are here.

On the details of the budget, 92% supported the rise in the personal allowance, 77% the increase in stamp duty, 68% the increase in tobacco duty, 64% the change in the threshhold for the withdrawal of child benefit and 51% not changing fuel duty. In contrast, 46% of people opposed the reduction of the 50p tax rate to 45p, with only 34% in support. The freezing and gradual abolition of the age related personal tax allowance, which looks as though it may end up being the most controversial part of the budget, was not asked about.

In the past, however, we’ve seen budgets where people liked all the individual parts but still disapproved of the whole. Asked about the budget overall, 46% say it was good for the country, 20% bad for the country; 39% said it was good for them and their family, 19% think it was bad. There were more mixed findings when Populus asked if the budget made people more or less confident. People said it made them more confident about the economy overall by 33% to 25%, however they were more negative about its effect on their own personal spending. On confidence in spending on everyday essentials 31% were less confident, 18% more confident and on paying for big ticket outcomes 27% were less confident and 8% more confident.

Bear in mind, however, that initial responses to the budget sometimes don’t reflect the longer term view – these answers will in many cases be the first people had seen of the budget, or have been answered before people saw the media analysis and reporting of the budget, which may well change opinions.

Meanwhile tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figurs of CON 36%, LAB 41%, LDEM 10% – back to the sort of five point lead we were seeing last week. Note that the fieldwork for today’s YouGov poll was overwhelmingly done before the budget, so you won’t see any budget effect yet. For any budget impact on voting intention you’ll need to wait until tomorrow or the weekend.


171 Responses to “Populus snap poll on the budget”

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  1. “Note that the fieldwork for today’s YouGov poll was overwhelmingly done before the budget, so you won’t see any budget effect yet.”

    Beg to disagree. You will, but only of the effects of the leaked nice bits. The effect of the nasty bits is to come.

  2. Yes, that’s a fair point, if the bits of the budget that have got the most attention are increasing the personal allowance, cutting the 50p rate and the “grannytax”, two of them were pretty well flagged up already.

  3. It would be better for a poll on the budget to be taken a few days later when the dust settles. It has taken a few hours for the “Granny Tax” to come out….mainly because Osborne refused to mention it in the House knowing full well it was a lead balloon and hid it away in the red book, so I assume many of those in the Populus poll wont have even knew about it.

  4. @ Red Rag

    I think if you read the budget you will find that he did mention the ‘Granny Tax.’
    Interesting results from the snap poll, particularly on the fuel duty.

  5. Dingo – spot on. I certainly heard him mention it under the euphemism of “tax simplification” and immediately understood what he was proposing. Being a pensioner it effects me. Proof that you are right and RedRag is wrong is that Ed.M mentioned it in his “reply”

  6. Very bad newspaper headlines for the government in the morning.

    http://news.sky.com/home/uk-news/media-gallery/16193832

  7. Wow, universally bad headlines – even from centre right newspapers.

  8. He mentioned “tax simplification” however, unlike all the other proposals he didn’t mention how many people it would effect and how much and it took a few hours for that to come out.

    Like all budgets it doesn’t take long for it to come out…the headlines from even the right wing papers don’t look too good for Gideon. Grannytax# is also trending on twitter… http://www.politicshome.com/uk/article/49479/the_financial_times_thursday_22nd_march_2012.html

  9. Red Rag: Not only did he mention it during the speech, he explained it in some detail. Regardless of whether you agree with him, his reasoning was that with the tax-free threshold rising to £10,000 as it is, the higher allowances for pensioners are no longer needed.

    What he didn’t mention, but Chancellors rarely do, was that the measure is projected to raise raise £1.2bn annually by 2016-17, relative to keeping pensioners’ thresholds above the rest of ours.

  10. Philip[ – You are absolutely right and RdeRag is just plain wrong.

    On the subject of news paper headlines I am ot sure these days just how much effect they have. Most people get their news off the TV and tghe power of the press has diminished greatly over the years.

  11. On the so called granny tax what’s been missed is that the freeze comes into effect from April 2013 after it actually increases from £9,940 to £10,500 for over 65s and from £10,060 to £10,660 for over 75s next month.

    I suspect in the short term it might hit the Tory vote over the next couple of weeks but once this increase kicks in along with the £5.30 a week increase in the basic state pension next month the hysteria will fade and the Tories will probably recover.

  12. People get used to bad headlines about government, they can have short term effects, but generally they are ignored, people don’t care enough. What affects people is the direct effect, in the pocket, the tangible hit, so far people aren’t feeling it, and they won’t in the main as things improve……AW’s advice on short term judgements, very wise. :-)

  13. Can we please not post on whether or not people think the budget is any good or not*. This isn’t a place for political debate, keep it to what the impact may be on public opinion.

    (*if you happen to be interested in finding out others opinion, I can give you a short summary now – Conservative supporters think it is good and Labour supporters all think it is rubbish. That saved you some time, didn’t it?)

  14. Anthony, my original post was pointing out that quite possibly the original poll by populus wouldn’t taken into account of the fallout from the “tax simplification”. I didn’t even mention if it was good or not.

    In other news polldrums at Yougov.

  15. RedRag – I know (and I very much agree with you! See my 4th paragraph in the post), I was thinking of some other comments that I’ve pruned.

  16. Osborne will probably be mildly pleased that less than 50% disapprove of the top-rate tax cut.

  17. @Red Rag

    “polldrums”

    Whatever else we’re looking at, it’s not polldrums. Following my usual approach of averaging over 5 consecutive polls, the Tory vote is in freefall, having dropped over 2 points this month (Labour +2).

    It’s going to be very interesting to see how long the current fall carries on. Con VI is only 1 point above the previous floor of about 35.5% (the near irreducible minimum below which the Tory vote has refused to drop – apart from one week in March last year). The big question is whether this is the end of the unwinding of the boost from the ‘veto’, or represents the first signs of the Tory core vote deserting.

  18. I think the “Granny Tax” is a great bit of labelling that will come back to haunt the government over and over, perhaps like the 10% tax rate abolition which caused Labour so many troubles. It’s one of those things that will persist long after the facts have been forgotten.

  19. KEITHP
    I agree totally.

    PETER BUSS
    Whatever you think about newspapers, these are not the headlines that the Smug One would have hoped for, or expected. We are talking core vote here.

  20. I think that the substance of the budget won’t ‘budge’ the polling numbers. There’s nothing really surprising in there when you consider that we have a Tory chancellor; surely that is already priced in to expectations and VI.

    What -might- have an effect is that the ‘good’ bits from the red book were known beforehand, and today has largely revealed ‘bad’ bits: the expectation would have been that GO would’ve saved something really juicy to unveil today, considering he’d know that the ‘granny tax’ would catch the eye. Labour should get a short-term boost from that; if it affects the long term, it will only be as a catalyst allowing The Thing With Two Eds to capture the narrative and nullify the Tory advantage there.

  21. @AW

    “Can we please not post on whether or not people think the budget is any good or not*. This isn’t a place for political debate, keep it to what the impact may be on public opinion.

    (*if you happen to be interested in finding out others opinion, I can give you a short summary now – Conservative supporters think it is good and Labour supporters all think it is rubbish. That saved you some time, didn’t it?)”

    Well said!

  22. @ Lee Tay

    I suspect in the short term it might hit the Tory vote over the next couple of weeks but once this increase kicks in along with the £5.30 a week increase in the basic state pension next month the hysteria will fade and the Tories will probably recover.
    ——————————-
    That’s what Labour thought about the removal of the 10p tax rate…. I’m not sure Labour did ever fully recover from that.
    8-)

  23. The reaction to the budget from older voters will be interesting.

    I’m not sure that scrapping additional allowances for pensioners is going to be very unpopular – & I’m surprised that the media has picked up & used Ed M’s line about: Tax bombshell for pensioners ‘buried’ in the budget.

    Many wealthy pensioners went on TV or in the media to say that they didn’t need the winter fuel allowance or free bus pass & just donated the money to charity. Well, GO has taken them at their word – that they are receiving too many concessions – so I don’t think they’ll change their VI or not vote because of this. But I could be wrong…
    8-)

  24. George Osborne is not: “the Smug One”

    Labour is not: “The Thing With Two Eds”

    Most of the ‘regulars’ here could think up much wittier & more amusing names for them – but we don’t because this isn’t the place for it. So can you please, just stop doing it.

    Thank you. :-)

  25. .People over 60 (who disproportionally vote Tory ) haven’t had much from this government. Can’t imagine that will do Cameron much good

  26. @ Anthony,

    I tried to check whether or not this poll for Which? was weighted for political party id but I couldn’t find it on Populus’ website.

    If you are looking at this later today, please would you be so good as to let us know.

    Thanks, 8-)

  27. “if you happen to be interested in finding out others opinion, I can give you a short summary now – Conservative supporters think it is good and Labour supporters all think it is rubbish.”
    Is that a hint to Yougov’s polling on the subject? ;)

  28. “Most people get their news off the TV and tghe power of the press has diminished greatly over the years.”
    Sadly I wish this were the case – TV editorial policy is going to be largely dictated by the rest of the press (the BBC’s headlines focusing on the ‘granny tax’ while avoiding all the popular budget measures) – so it’ll probably have some effect.

    But I agree with Leetay – I think pensioners will look at the increase in their money and will ask ‘What was all the fuss about?’, so the polling effect for Labour will only be temporary (assuming that over-60s don’t leap from Con to UKIP).

  29. @leetay – “On the so called granny tax what’s been missed is that the freeze comes into effect from April 2013 after it actually increases from £9,940 to £10,500 for over 65s and from £10,060 to £10,660 for over 75s next month.”

    I think what you are missing is that from next year, any newly retired people earning, say £10,501 of taxable income (ie a very low income) with find themselves £300 a year worse off. He is abolishing the relief entirely for new pensioners.

    @Amberstar – “Many wealthy pensioners went on TV or in the media to say that they didn’t need the winter fuel allowance or free bus pass & just donated the money to charity. Well, GO has taken them at their word – that they are receiving too many concessions – so I don’t think they’ll change their VI or not vote because of this. But I could be wrong…”

    I thinkl you are, and the secret is in the first three words of your quote. There was a lot of noise from ‘wealthy pensioenrs’ but most pensioners are not wealthy. Oddly enough, this change doesn’t affect wealthy pensioners – above £29,000 pa you don’t get the age related allowance. So Osborne has hit the low and middle earning pensioner population.

    I find this a very dangerous place for a chancellor to be. If you believe that the elderly should do their bit, then go after the benefits for the wealthy – don’t go after the poor and middle earners.

    One other way I think this will damage him long term is in image. To date, I’ve given Osborne credit for avoiing Brown’s habit of burying bad news deep inside the budget detail. osborne has now done exactly this, and I suspect his open and honest approach to budget day will now be a thing of the past. He will now be viewed with suspision and as another slippery chancellor.

  30. I have no doubt that Osborne had national interest in mind while increasing tax cuts for the rich,but all the tough decisions in the budget seem unfair,especially for the Pensioners. because of this move.And coupled with their savings not growing due to low interest rates and buying power reduced due to quantitative easing,their patience with the Tories might not be ever-lasting.

    And whenever I see a pensioner reading a paper,it is almost always the Mail and Telegraph…With the right-wing papers going with the `granny tax` narrative,hard to escape the impact on voters.

  31. Alec,
    I am more with Amber on this one aboiut the policy and don’t think the ‘Granny tax’ will affect VI much after a few days.
    In fact I think there is little in the budget imo to move anyone away from their current positions.
    The consequences may do when the measures come in and many are from 2013 (threshold increase).
    M guess is a moderate drop in con VI in the coming months as public sector (mainly) job losses and WFTC cuts kick in after April.
    The jam tomorrow follows after 2013 and we can expect a con recoivery to start later that year as people feel better wit the extra dosh – the question is will that be enough to lift on VI to OM territory over the following 2 years?

  32. @Jim Jam – I don’t necessarily disagree with you on VI impacts, but I do think Osborne has lost quite a lot in terms of long term credibility with this budget.

    The impact on investment – the absolutely central requirement for the recovery – has been miniscule – about 1% increase according to the OBR. Instead, he has favoured political fixes, largely ignoring the economic needs.

    I don’t feel the assumptions on the new 45% rate are credible, as it is genuinely hard to conceive that people currently avoiding tax on 50% will decide to move resources so that they become taxable at 45%. I also can’t see how given a personl benefit to wealthy earners will de facto increase investment and jobs.

    It’s also iteresting that we still have a 50% tax rate in place anyway – if you earn between £50,000 and £60,000 and have children. The 0% IT rate plus the draw down on child benefit equates precisely to 50%.

    Long term, the raising on the lower threshold will also create nasty consequences. We can now see a scenario where a two income family on total income of £18,000 pay no income tax, where a single earning household on £41,000 is paying at 40%. The telescoping of the basic rate into an ever tighter band is going to have great economic and political consequences. I don’t believe it’s a useful position to have millions of people think income tax is something other people pay and will create problems for all political parties.

    Far better would have been to deal with the mess of NI and income tax at the bottom end and look to alter tax rates rather than thresholds. We need a 10p starting rate and much better grading of rates through the earnings scale.

    I suspect that what Osborne lost yesterday was the notion that he was a reforming chancellor. He is a political fixer – no more, no less. In tough times, these kinds of chancellor always come unstuck eventually (have a chat with Gordon). This is where the Granny tax will hit home in years to come.

  33. The grannytax problem for DC and GO is that this is an issue that will run and run and eat into the support of the section of the populace who typically support the Cons in greater numbers than other parties.

    I can see this issue being similar to GB’s abolition of the 10p tax rate.

    Eventually pressure on and from Tory MPs may compel DC and GO to abandon the changes or ameliorate them somehow.

    Whatever one thinks about whether it is a good or bad thing, this change marks a significant point in the perception of the Cons and this gov I suggest.

  34. Alex – I tend to agree with you on policy but think that there is enough in the budget for the cons not to lose any support.
    Like TB/GB their focus is on the next GE and my guess is that those who agree with the Gov’t program will still do so in 2015.
    Any unravelling will occur after then.

    BTW due to NI contributions the marginal rate for £50-60k is 52%, whether right or wrong being over 10% of income higher than 47% for ‘millionaires’ may have some impact at some stage on VI?

  35. It seems a very strange budget to me. The government strategy so far seems to have been to protect pensioners at the expense of younger voters. Compare the different treatment of the long established family allowance with the retention of the universal winter fuel allowance. The polls all show the reason for this – without the over-60s the Conservatives would be sunk. This is even stronger in those polls that factor in likelihood to vote, because this is the group that will (or at least say they will).

    So a budget that will make middle-class pensioners worse-off in the run up to 2015 looks, shall we say, a little brave. And I think Leetay and Ken[1] are wrong about the reality of present increases outweighing future losses. The public are ungrateful b*ggers – look at what little credit the various non-increases in petrol tax have earned – and believe the media myth rather than the reality[2].

    The 45% tax rate is odd too – the sort of compromise that will please no one. They might have been better leaving it as it was and blaming the Lib Dems (expect a lot of that in Press tomorrow anyway), though that might increase support for the Lib Dems. I suspect another year of the 50% would show how much the tax brought in and that might have caused a crisis of faith in the Holy Laffer Curve and lead to accusations of heresy from the College of Commentators.

    [1] Assuming Ken isn’t being ironic. I can never tell.

    [2] Mind you some might say that, without that, hardly anyone would vote Tory in the first place.

  36. Nick Robinson says Osborne “may regret answering the question about whether he paid the 50p rate” during his 8.10am Today interview.

    Jam tommorow… or is the burden of austerity being shifted to 2016-17 and after?

    Rachel Reeves sitting next to Danny Alexander on NN said “we don’t know whether the election will be in 2015 or 2014” – Danny sat tight lipped studying a patch of the carpet.

  37. I disagree that the “Granny Tax” will only have a short term poll impact, disappearing when the pension rises kick in – if it becomes embedded in the publics mind the effect VI could actually increase over time. The problem for the Government is that people don’t really think in terms of how much money is in their pockets, more along the lines in what they can buy with that money. So even if the other budget measures actually leave a typical pensioner better off, everytime they struggle with the daily shopping, or can’t afford some luxury the “Granny Tax” is likely to get the blame. This will probably be true even if it hasn’t actually started affecting them yet.

    In the same way that I’m sure Labour will be at pains to blame every bit of bad NHS news on the reforms, they will be trying to keep the phrase “Granny Tax” alive so every instance of pensioner hardship will be blamed, rightly or wrongly, on this ‘tax’. In the same way the Chancellor still referred to Labours “Jobs Tax” in the budget as he still feels that phrase has the capacity to hurt Labour, so I feel the phrase “Granny Tax” will be bandied around for years to come.

    What will be interesting is what effect it has on VI. As has been pointed out, the over 60’s are the most pro-Tory, so this change directly impacts their biggest vote base, potentially risking the largest number of voters. On the other hand this is the most anti-Labour demographic, so how likely are they to switch allegience? The biggest effect could be a switch to don’t knows or won’t vote, maybe pushing apathy levels among the over 60’s a little way towards those amongst younger age groups. But I suspect this could affect VI of those towards the older end of the 40-59 age group more, those people seriously contemplating their retirement, but not directly affected by the changes, forcing them to rely on news headlines and stories to judge the effect.

  38. “Business leaders and politicians have hailed GlaxoSmithKline’s decision to build a new factory in Cumbria as a major vote of confidence.

    The drugmaker will spend about £350m on the site at Ulverston, which it said would create up to 500 permanent jobs.”
    BBC

    “The Chancellor also pointed to the announcement today by GlaxoSmithKline that it will invest £500m in manufacturing in the UK as a sign that the Budget was making businesses change their minds about the UK. The pharmaceutical company’s chief executive Sir Andrew Witty told the Today programme: “I’m not unhappy about this being described as a rational decision in response to the change in the tax regime and I think this is exactly what it is, and of course it’s both the patent box and the fall in the corporation tax rate.”

    Politics Home

  39. Despite all the squeaking and squealing from the left, the bottom line is that we have a crisis that has to be managed, as usual we don’t have any alternative suggestions, just criticism. We have, IMO, lost any sense of National responsibility, hard decisions have to be made and some will feel hard done by, others will be fortunate, but if you’re in a lifeboat you feed the rowers, the passengers, even though they have paid for their passage, come second in the survival strategy. So, all you fully paid up passengers, you’ll probably remember rationing, when Britain was at its healthiest, cut back and you’ll live longer, and, in April, you’ll be better off anyway, I wish I had a freedom pass. :-)

  40. Well done Colin, though Justin Webb for once to be fair to him, pointed out that it was shoddy for Osborne to try to take credit for this – The GSK decision was the a result of an an initiative by the previous Labour government.

  41. BILLY BOB.
    Good Morning.

    Does George Osborne therefore earn less than £42 K for being Chancellor?

    Very strong article on Ed Balls in the ‘Independent’ today or yesterday. Very critical.

    AMBER STAR.
    Good post, thank you. I did not think ‘Smug One’ was a reference to GO, however.

  42. @chrislane1945 – “Does George Osborne therefore earn less than £42 K for being Chancellor?”

    I think so. Nick Robinson was alluding to how in answering that he did not pay the 50p rate, Osborne was putting pressure on other cabinet members.

    There is also the question of “other income” which various papers are exploring. The main argument against the 50p rate seems to be that it was too easy to avoid paying it.

  43. @JimJam
    The budget may not lose Con much support, but it is hard to see how it will add to it either.

    I just watched Simon Hughes getting skewered on BBC News 24, as he struggled to answer whether or not he supported the budget. There is something in the air – the generosity afforded the Con-LD coalition is starting to unravel.

    This is a very strange budget from an electoral politics point of view. Within minutes it is being called ‘the millionaires’ budget’, and ‘granny tax’. At this stage in the parliament, less than three years before campaigning for the GE begins, Con should be looking to widen their pool of voters, and if anything, the reverse is happening. They (as Tim Montogomerie eloquently wrote 2 days ago) are painfully aware that they did not win in 2010, have not done so since 1992, and barely scored the same as Blair did in his third GE win. To be gifting Lab so many soundbites in the space of 2 days (the NHS and now the budget) suggests something seriously wrong in the trasmission of the message. And the soundbites will run until the GE, Lab will make sure of that.

    Thinking laterally, I wonder if Con are hoping for a pro-independence vote in Scotland which would sort out their voter share problem in an instant.

    But I also I think we can finally lay to rest the ‘George Osborne strategic genius’ mantra.

  44. Retail sales fell sharply last month and the January rise has been revised downwards.

    I find this a great surprise as the economy is prospering.

    The Budget statement said so.

    Very surprising that demand for consumer goods is so flat.

  45. One thing that struck me yesterday was one talking head on BBC News, a recent graduate doing part time shop work who was pleased with the increase in personal allowances as it allowed her to do some overtime without worrying about having to pay tax on it. Now I don’t know anything about the young lady or her circumstance, but it just seems very selfish, this reluctance to earn a little extra because of the fear that 20% of it might go to pay for the countries education, hospitals, police, millitary etc.

    Now I suspect this person is in no way representative of the majority, but you do seem to see or hear of this kind of attitude more and more. It started with the higher earners, but appears to have filtered down through all levels of income. Sure, we’d all like to keep as much of our wages as possible, but if people are really turning down jobs, promotions or overtime because they can’t keep 100% of their earnings (or 80% or 60%) then I think we have a real problem in this country. I wonder if there has been any polling to see if these views are widespread are becoming more or less prevalent .

  46. Colin,

    My home town is Barrow-in-Furness – don’t care who takes credit I am just glad with GSKs announcement.

    I can’t resist what was G.O’s answer re 50p tax?

  47. GSK are investing in the UK because of our competitiveness in the international labour market, and our new tax regime, the patent box is a bonus, but overall, the UK is now becoming a better place to invest.
    The fall in retail sales is probably due to sensible people paying down debt, rather than buying tat, on-line sales were strong, as were food and drink……… but hopefully, now that the UK is becoming more competitive, we will start manufacturing our own tat, and another retail boom will occur as a result of the jobs created. :-)

  48. @Tark

    But I also I think we can finally lay to rest the ‘George Osborne strategic genius’ mantra”

    Thank goodness George is thinking long term and for the good of the country as a whole. You could not be more wrong on your comment.

  49. This budget was amazing – in the past Labour budgets (and particularly those by GB) seemed to be great at the time (I remember everyone praising GB’s slight of hand about abolishing the 10p rate and reducing the general rate to 20p) and then got panned the days and months after.

    This budget got panned on the day, once the Granny Tax implications leaked out. The morning headlines are now awash with “Grannies pay for Millionaires Giveaway” headlines.

    @ Dingo – it is incredibly disingenuous to say that GO mentioned the Granny Tax in his budget. He lowered his voice and talked in jargon about simplification and that “no pensioner will lose out in cash terms”. I.e. they will lose out in real-terms and for the coming years.

    The question on VI is whether this will have any affect. Voters still blame Labour more for the current economic woes, and Lab are not suggesting they would reverse the changes (or if they did how they’d pay for it). Only if Lab can peg these particular policies on a Tory ideology, rather than “the need to get UK working again”, will there be some VI traction.

    Weekend polls will be interesting.

  50. Ken – are we becoming more competitive as a manufacturer, hasn’t the falling £ pushed up prices of raw material imported to manufacture?

    I think you are right about people paying down debt, although lower real incomes has an impact as well, but with austerity expected for another 4 or 5 years the MPC rate may not change that quickly to create a new retail boom.

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