This week’s YouGov/Sunday Times poll is up here. Topline figures are CON 29%, LAB 41%, LDEM 12%, UKIP 12%.
The economic trackers are as bad as usual for the government – people think the government are managing the economy badly by 65% to 25%, 67% think George Osborne is doing a bad job as Chancellor, only 11% of people expect their economic situation to get better in the next twelve months. Asked if the government’s economic strategy is working only 7% think it is, 36% think it isn’t but will in the fullness of time, 45% think it is unlikely to ever work. Take note of these figures – they are the background to this week’s budget and we’ll see next week if it has a positive or negative effect (in recent years budgets have had negative effects far more often than positive ones).
On the budget itself YouGov asked people what they wanted to see happen to spending and taxes in the budget – and how it would be paid for (otherwise everyone tends to say they’d like more spending and less taxes). 32% of people (mostly Conservaitves) said they wanted to see spending cut more, 25% (mostly Labour) that they wanted to see spending cut less, 25% that cuts should stay at about their current level. People were similarly divided on taxes – 24% wanted to see tax cuts, 22% tax rises, 38% that taxes should stay at their current level.
These should all be seen in the context of the more regular YouGov polling on cuts that does show that people dislike the spending cuts – they consistently say they are bad for the economy, too fast and being done unfairly. However they are also consistent in saying that they think they are necessary, which proably explains why people answered this week’s poll as they did.
The survey also asked about ringfencing spending on various areas after Liam Fox’s call for NHS spending not to be protected. His stance was, unsurprisingly, not widely popular! 74% think it is right for NHS spending to be protected, 18% think it is wrong. There is also widespread (67%) support for protecting spending on education, but 76% are opposed to protecting spending on international aid.
The poll also had a series of questions on Leveson, which generally speaking show the public pretty evenly divided. Some of the aims of the proposed regulations, such as forcing newspapers to print corrections or making newspapers who do not join the system subject to larger libel fines met with widespread support (90% and 62% respectively), but questions on the details of how the system works met with divided replies and large proportions of don’t knows. To be honest, I suspect that while people would like an effective and independent system of press regulation, few outside the industry or politics really care about the difference between underpinning by royal charter or by legislation.