Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 42%, LDEM 9%. This is the first voting intention poll conducted wholly after the budget, though much of it was before this morning’s newspapers and the continuing media coverage we’ve had today (for the record, YouGov’s actual fieldwork times are from around about 5.30pm yesterday until around about 4pm this afternoon)

The eight point Labour lead equals the largest this year. It could be a budget knock for the Conservatives, though it is worth remembering that we also had another eight point lead earlier this week before the budget (in so much as it can be “before” a budget that had been so widely leaked), so it could be normal margin of error.

The YouGov poll has various other questions on the budget. The increase in the personal tax allowance is predictably popular, with 90% of people supporting the change. There are also solid majorities in favour of the cut in corporation tax, allowing shops to open on Sundays during the Olympics and the increaase in stamp duty on homes worth more than £2million.

Turning to the more controversial measures, 55% of people opposed the decision to cut the 50p tax rate to 45p, with 32% in support. The opposition to this measure is less strong than most of the pre-budget polling on the question – the difference is largely because polls before the budget tended to show Conservative voters opposed to the abolition of the 50p tax rate. The post-budget poll shows 60% of Tory voters in favour. Part of this might be because people are happier with a 45p compromise than abolishing the band completely, but a lot is probably Conservative supporters being more supportive of a policy when the Conservatives actually do it.

Where they haven’t done that is the least popular part of the budget, which predictably is the “granny tax”. Only 18% of people support increasing taxes paid by pensioners by phasing out the age-related tax allowance, with 64% opposed. This includes 57% of the Conservative party’s own voters and, as one might expect, 79% of people over the age of 60.

Overall just under a third of people (32%) think the budget is fair, compared to 48% who think it is unfair. To put this in context, YouGov asked the same question after last year’s budget and found 44% thought that budget was fair.

The survey also asked people whether they thought different income groups would end up paying more or less in tax as a result of the budget. 46% thought poorer people would pay less in tax, and 56% thought that the richest people in Britain will end up paying less tax. In contrast, 40% think people on average incomes will end up paying more, compared to just 23% who think they will gain and asked about “people like themselves” 21% of people think’ll end up paying less tax, 37% think they’ll end up paying more.

All this suggests the budget has not gone down well. What remains to be seen now is whether there is any real knock to voting intention once we’ve got some more polls to judge by (as ever, one should never put too much weight on one poll) and, if so, whether it lasts once the immediate negative coverage of the budget fades.

286 Responses to “YouGov’s first post-budget poll”

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  1. I’m just waiting for some desperate and not-too-bright spark to proclaim:

    “ATTAD 43% Labour 42%”

  2. First.

    Anthony: Fantastic work here, with some History in the making perhaps.

  3. I’ll take an 8 point lead for now, even tho’ we’ve seen an 8 pointer a few days ago.

  4. As a general rule the less popular a budget is immediately afterwards the better it proves to be economically.

    Scrapping the 50p rate was essential to make the UK competitive as a location for international business – it was economic lunacy.

    And these bungs to the over 65 and over 75 are completely unjustifiable and unaffordable as the number of people over 65 increases vastly.

  5. It is noticeable from the tables that the Lib Dem parts of the budget have strong public support but the Tory parts of the budget don’t. Not that LD VI has changed in the slightest.

  6. “Scrapping the 50p rate was essential to make the UK competitive as a location for international business ”


  7. The child benefit changed is polled twice – interesting to see different response.

    I like also that everyone thinks poor, medium, rich people will pay tax, but people like them will pay more.

  8. ROB SHEFFIELD……….ATTAD 43% Labour 42% . :-)

  9. Spelling mistake

    abolition not abolishion.

  10. In regard to the budget and polling, I wonder whether the briefing before the budget was delivered has actually backfired on them. Most of the budget was known before GO stood at the dispatch box and the only bit he kept secret appeared to be taking money off pensioners. The positive aspects of the budget, have therefore been overridden by the way the budget announcement has been managed.

    I know this is a coalition and there will be trading between the parties. But from now on, I think they should keep any discussions secret and let everyone know the budget details at the same time. Today David Gauke for the government appeared to say that leaking details of the budget was OK, because they were in a coalition.

  11. Nbeale

    “Scrapping the 50p rate was essential to make the UK competitive as a location for international business – it was economic lunacy.”

    You sound as if you are claiming this is a fact: it is not- it is an opinion. There are many others that say giving a millionaire a £40,000 tax break should not really have been a priority!

    News tonight from IFS that Osborne’s give-aways (such as to millionaires) are not fully funded by other budget decisions on thresholds, the pensioner tax raids and unspecified future welfare cuts.

    I wonder what the CRAs will make of that?

    FTSE down 1% today…..

  12. NBeale

    The 50% vs competitive is a flawed argument in my view but the real damage is political rather than economic. What is 3 bn between friends

    The reason why this budget is not a good one is that it is based on very optimistic growth targets. Either the chancellor is naïve to believe these assessments (based on past performance) or he is trying to implement a stimulus under the radar.

    Either way can someone tell me why we are going to grow at 2% in 2013 and 3% in 2014 when all the indicators suggest otherwise

  13. 8 equals the highest this year – but since the Tories came to power, what is the highest sustained Labour lead? (for example, Labour have a sustained lead of around 5 points at the moment).

    I can only think of when it was 5%, going up to 6-7 occasionally. Just wondering if Labour can now break through that glass ceiling and start preaching to Tory voters.

    If Miliband’s pro-NHS, anti-granny tax rhetoric starts breaking through to pensioners, the Conservatives are in real, real danger.

  14. Oooooohhhhhhhh Ken !

  15. @NBeale

    Re: 50%. Not quite sure how that square’s with GO’s claim that the rate was useless because hardly anyone ended up paying it?

  16. Very interesting budget with what looks like a return to the class based politics of the 80’s and before. The New Labour consensus that we don’t talk about redistribution of wealth and the importance of narrowing the gap for fear of alienating the middle class and aspirational voters is over.

    As a Labour supporter I welcome this. I supported John McDonnell in the leadership contest but Ed M is returning to a traditional agenda which I welcome. It took the Tories 13 years to add a further 7 percentage points just to become the largest party. Looks like young Ed has done that in less than a year and with a more socialist feel. There is still no appetite for a Tory government in this country. They have not won an election outright for 20 years.

  17. NBeale/Rob/Nick/Baz – now we have some evidence on public opinion on the budget can we please not slide back into discussion of the economics of it.

    MJones – there’s a link to all the polls so far on the right sidebar. The biggest sustained Labour lead since the election was around about March to April last year, when it was around 8-9 for a while.

  18. @Colin Green
    You either support this budget or you don’t. The Lib Dems are going to vote for the Finance Bill as a whole and if they voted against the Government would fall on what amounts to a vote of confidence. So there’s no such thing as the Lib Dem or Con parts. You can’t cherry pick to claim credit for the popular bits and yet try and disassociate yourself from the rest. Without Lib Dem support for the Conservatives, we wouldn’t have had Osborne’s budget.

  19. I know you cannot make any conclusions from the cross-breaks, but I find it fascinating that it’s 41% to the SNP *after* weighting people identifying with this party down from 43 to 31.
    Could it be that YouGov are weighting the SNP down too much, given the discrepancy between the 2010 Westminster election and the 2011 Scottish Parliament one? I’d expect people to identify with parties on the basis of the 2011 election, but perhaps YouGov are weighting the figures to match the 2010 election?

  20. I don’t think this budget will get more popular. The fuel duty rise is coming in a few months & this seems to be what a lot of folks are getting upset about.

  21. sorry boss

    (sidles off to bed sheepishly)

  22. NBeale

    Osborne even went to trouble to boast just how much lower our Corporation Tax is to other comparable nations now he’s slashed it.

  23. @ Thomas Widmann

    You’d better wait for the Mori Scotland poll; the Macbeth x-break has been up & down like anything lately. Statgeek runs averages & I think he’d say that today is probably an outlier.

  24. Interesting, thanks Anthony – considering opinion tends to swing back to the government towards an election (and I’m sure it will even more because of Miliband), I’d feel far more comfortable if Labour had a stable double-digit lead.

    That said, the best I think we can hope for (we being Labour supporters) is a hunt parliament again, with less Tory seats.

  25. Superb summary from AW again.

  26. Latest YG poll – Over 60s VI:
    Con 40 Lab 37

  27. Even the Telegraph and the Daily Mail joined in the feeding frenzy with attacks on the ‘Granny Tax’. When these two reliable supporters turn on the Tories, its a sure sign that the electorate are highly displeased with them.

    I think this budget has been a disaster for them. It may not lose them the next election, but it certainly won’t help them win it. And the NHS bill won’t have helped either.

  28. 34% points at serious trouble for the Conservatives. The one thing they cannot afford to do is lose votes from their 36% performance at last GE.

    I myself dont disagree with the reduction in the top rate, but probably this is a very bad time to do it, with some rather uncertain replacements to soak the rich another way not really seeming quite the same. As someone said on the radio today, if people have been used to finding ways to get around 50%, are they going to stop just because it’s a bit less? It’s going to take a while for the reduction to do its job. We’ll be relying on other countries upping their taxes (could happen), meanwhile Labour have a field day, with granny tax and NHS added on.

    That grey vote is big and comes out to vote reliably, no party wanting to win an election can afford to lose it.

  29. Raf – I debated with myself for a long time whether to mention that it in the post (I wrote something then deleted it again several times).

    Voting intention crossbreaks are very volatile, so I’d be very cautious about reading too much into one crossbreak in one poll – however much it fits with the narrative (in, fact, fitting with the narrative makes it even more important to resist the temptation to overanalyse, for we are so much more vulnerable to believing things that fit with the narrative).

    I would, however, keep a very careful eye on the age crossbreaks in the next few polls to see if there really is something there!

  30. @Anthony

    Thanks. I appreciate that. I just found it interesting!

  31. On the poll itself:

    1. The 2010 sample is broadly in line with GE voting shares, making it more likely that the 8% lead is genuine rather than down to sampling. It makes it more likely that this is a genuine movement. (By contrast, the 2010 Cons were heavily underrepresented in the other 8% Lab lead from a few days ago, which did look like a sampling oddity.)

    2. If there was a big pensioner reaction against to the “granny tax” you would expect the 60+ sub-break to move in just in the way that it has. Con lead down to 3. Con 40, Lab 37, UKIP 11, LD 6, SNP/PC 3, Green 1.

    3. And there has been a big pensioner reaction:
    15% of the 60+ group is in favour of the granny tax, 81% against (last question on the cross breaks). And its not just the elderly: even the 18-24 year olds are almost 4:1 against.

  32. The gap between income tax and corporation tax has stayed about the same so there is the same incentive to take rewards through profits rather than income regardless of other methods of avoidance

  33. Bazsc,

    The strange thing – and this isn’t new – is that the government is generally trusted with the economy even though people think things are getting worse. There’s a big question as to just how long this can continue (I remember asking this about a year ago!).

    Common sense would say that eventually if things don’t improve the government will get the blame.

    But maybe not. The big political success for the government has been selling the idea of a heroic battle against the monster deficit. So why can’t they carry on selling that, even if it the deficit never actually gets any smaller? Sounds like a smart strategy to me.

    So as you suggest, the purpose of the budget was actually to deliver a stimulus whilst pretending that the great battle against the deficit must go on….. and on…..

  34. @Anthony Wells
    Fair point on the 60+ group. But we can at least say that so far there’s nothing to contradict the impression of possible movement.

  35. If this is a budget reaction it’s pretty rapid. from memory I thought we normally wait until weekend polls before we see much movement, but I could be wrong.

    In polling terms there appear to be major risks now for the Tories. If the economy doesn’t pick up, which it isn’t really forecast to do to any great extent this year, then @NBeale’s idea that the 50% tax cut is essential for growth will become increasingly hard to sell.

    The actual revenue turn out from the cut is also going to be scrutinised, and a good number of people believe it won’t look too pretty, possibly making this a much less neutral budget than currently assumed.

    There are other more intangible risks also. Internally within the Tory party, I would imagine that there are lots of backbenchers wondering how Osborne landed them in this mess. They previously convinced themselves that Osborne is a master strategist, but this looks like taking a big knock. Without belief in the leadership, party wrangling can get ugly very quickly.

    Finally, as i said in the last thread, I think this was Osborne’s ‘Brown Moment’. He has relinquished the economic straight man image, and has become slippery. Imagine Alistair Darling slipping something similar into one of his budgets. The straight up and down image would take a pasting. This has happened to Osborne. If this sticks, it becomes very hard to convince voters in the future.

  36. Coverage tonight included specualtion about the 10bn welfare cuts outlied for 2016-18… what will be next to go – winter fuel (entirely), free TV license, bus pass?

    Significant moment for the coalition, it could well stick in the memory – LDs look foollish now IFS finds this budget to be below par in tackling tax advoidance (3rd worst in a decade).

    The “submarine”, as the Telegraph says, lurks and rarely surfaces, when he does he can be ‘ring rusty’. They quoted his remark about petrol being “jolly expensive”. Today he was talking about “a really big rise” for pensioners (a fiver).

    40K for millionaires says it all.

    Cameron will be privately furious – we’ll see if he has the courage to take back control.

  37. Very interesting indeed. But it is just one poll. If we have more like it in the next few days it will seem like a breakthrough for Labour.

  38. Alec

    “If this is a budget reaction it’s pretty rapid. from memory I thought we normally wait until weekend polls before we see much movement, but I could be wrong. ”

    Yep- I could not resist the ‘ATTAD’ point but I am waiting for Wednesdays YG next week before I make a judgement as to what the impact has been.

    But it does feel like a lemon in the way quite a few of Browns did…

    However, some lefty further up the thread calling victory for EdM in 2015 on basis of tonight’s poll (and in doing so asserting EdM has veered off to the left…which I am sure will be news to him and the rest of the front bench).


  39. @Alec
    Very good and thoughtful post. I too wonder how fast the idea that the 50% rate was holding back growth will stand, seeing as Thatcher tolerated far higher rates up to 1988.

    I think this is where the govt starts to unravel. There have been hints, but this has been the first time GO has ‘owned’ the budget. Every choice has been his own with little reference yesterday to ‘the mess we inherited from Labour’ etc. His choices are stark and he is starting to lose his lustre. How much more will the LDs put up with?

    This was not a budget of a party that desperately needs to attract more votes than it got in 2010. It perplexes me. I have thought this since summer 2010, but nothing so far dissuades me from foreseeing a Lab majority to 50-60 even with the new boundaries.

    Regardless of what happens now, GO is losing the confidence of his own party as a strategist. Someone leaked details of DC and GO’s meeting with the 1922 committee very quickly, and it points to hubris and a thin veneer. Since both DC and GO had the benefit of a good education, they must surely be familiar with Ozymandias.

  40. @Ken – keep whistling!

    Worth remembering that your prediction earlier this evening, which you claimed was ‘expectation management’ turned to be on the optimistic side. Are you sure you’re catching the mood here?

    More seriously, there is an issue about when political events lead to a breaking of the log jam and a change in the direction of the narrative. It happened clearly with Brown’s flunked early election. I don’t know if this is at all similar (I suspect not) but there is no doubt the government has been effective at placing blame on Labour’s doorstep, such that many very difficult decisions have not attracted the flak we might have expected.

    There is a chance that Osborne has punctured this balloon, and that as a result, media and the voters will become much more critical and less prepared to give the benefit of the doubt.

  41. BARNABY MARDER……………AW, not you, will be the judge of that, and I’ll accept the verdict with my usual good grace. :-)

  42. I seem to be in moderation – not sure why.

    I was just agreeing with @Alec’s thoughtful comment – I think the time the mud starts to stick to GO in a way that may be hard to shift. Whatever else this budget did, it really did not seem like it came from a party that needs to add a lot more votes to its 2010 score. It does perplex me. It looks like DC and GO are working from Karl Rove’s rulebook about playing to your base … but Rove actually won some elections.

  43. @ Rob

    I think most of us are pleased that Ed isn’t veering to the right despite the LibDems & the Tories giving him plenty of space to do so.

  44. @Alec (10.55)

    “The actual revenue turn out from the cut is also going to be scrutinised, and a good number of people believe it won’t look too pretty, possibly making this a much less neutral budget than currently assumed. ”

    IMO the revenue for 12/13 from the £150K+ will be very low – wherever possible they will ensure that any income is transferred to 13/14 to make use of the lower 45% rate. Then in 13/14 the tax take will be greater as the transferred money will be included in the tax take. This of course will prove GOs point and no doubt is part of his thinking. The true test will of course come in 14/15 and imo. the tax take will be significantly lower disproving GOs theory.

  45. @OLDNAT

    I noticed the crossbreaks too.

    Taking the last six polls (most recent last):

    Con: 21, 17, 16, 19, 17, 18
    Lab: 38, 44, 37, 38, 39, 33
    Lib: 8, 5, 5, 4, 6, 2
    SNP: 29, 30, 40, 34, 33, 41

    The Labour vote dropped (I assume a crossbreak outlier as yet), the Conservative vote didn’t drop, which is very surprising, as we usually expect SNP gains to come more from Con voters who won’t vote Labour. Lib Dems at 2 is pretty dire.

    Prior to this crossbreak, the general trend was little change in Westminster seats, other than Lib Dems losing half a dozen to SNP. Scotland Votes site (no boundary factoring):

    SNP 34 (+28)
    Lab 22 (-19)
    Con 2 (+1)
    Lib 1 (-10)

    Hence why I’m posting the SV site’s data with tongue in cheek. I’ll believe it when there’s been half a dozen poll with the SNP 5+ points ahead. :)

    I’d have expected Conservative drops though, with either SNP gains from them, or Labour/Lib Dem gaining a little. Instead we have the opposite. SNP gains from Lab and LD.

  46. @ALEC

    “If this is a budget reaction it’s pretty rapid. from memory I thought we normally wait until weekend polls before we see much movement, but I could be wrong.”

    Agreed, but I would trust the Monday/Tuesday polls, rather than the Sunday Times ones, as the weekend polls don’t always stick to the trends of the evening ones (which in fairness doesn’t mean they are wrong).

  47. At the beginning of this week Andrew Neil said that after the election George Osborne told him personally that by the budget in 2012 he expected the Tories to be between 15% and 20% behind in the polls. Perhaps he had this budget in mind when making that prediction.
    Presumably anything less than that will be seen as success by GO.

  48. @ Ken

    Oh, and by the way, please don’t challenge me with lists, I can match you point for point.
    No you can’t match me point for point because it’s 15 years since Labour were last in opposition & we’ve made one promise whilst in opposition this time: To reverse the NHS Bill.

    And if you start a bidding war over records in government, I will simply ignore you because that topic’s been done to death, both here & elsewhere. :-)

  49. Amber

    My point of course was principally that EdM can’t be said to have veered to the left because very few policies have thus far been presented: especially on important areas such as macroeconomics, tax, education, employment, welfare, transport, environment, infrastructure, housing, regional and industrial policy.

    I do suspect though that once Labour have an election manifesto prior to the next election (and policies on the areas above) that these will be a little bit to the right of your taste…


  50. ALEC……………IMO, this budget won’t be a game changer because we have time on our side, events dear boy, events. In this case we have a chance to manage events, not that we’ve done very well in that department so far, but I can’t imagine we won’t up our game. There are 3 yrs to put the house in order, enough time, IMO. You may well think differently, I can’t imagine why. :-)

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