Budget polling

The budget is fairly unusual as an event that people actually pay attention to, and which actually has the potential to change voting intention polls. I spend most of my time hear stressing that the ins and outs of Westminster politics, the speeches, the gaffes, the policy launches. Hardly and of it is noticed by normal people who change their vote. Budgets are one of the exceptions – an annual event that does sometimes change minds. Regular readers will recognise the chart below from its outings at previous budgets – it shows the two YouGov polls before and after each recent budget (in recent years, its the weekly averages for the two weeks before and after each budget).

Effect of past budgets on government lead in YouGov polling

As you can see, while there is often talk of Chancellors revealing great vote winning bribes in budgets, when they do have an effect it is more often a negative one. Budgets can have a positive effect (2003, 2006 and 2011 all look like they shifted things marginally in the government’s favour), generally speaking the only big budget effects are negative ones – in 2008 and 2009 Alistair Darling had to deliver news of just how bad the economy was, while the 2012 budget contained the pasty tax, the granny tax and the 45p tax rate.

Anyway, while we’ll have the usual YouGov voting intention overnight, remember that the overwhelming majority of that will have been conducted before the budget was given. The actual figures we need to look out for will be those published Thurs/Fri night, and those published in the Sunday papers once the ups and downs of the budget have had time to register with the public.


278 Responses to “Budget polling”

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  1. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/topics/weather/9947340/Gas-is-running-low-as-chill-continues.html

    Not quite sure how serious the short term gas shortage could be, but the government will desperately hope that this is a bit of inflated media worrying. If gas does start to run low, it’s pretty inconceivable that voters will find their ovens go off, but the large industrial consumers are usually of interruptable supply contracts, and the knock on to output is not what we want when trying to avoid recession.

    The entire UK energy supply issue (gas and electricity) is a real mess, which is likely to start having considerable impacts soon. To blame this government would be harsh, although they haven’t done anything to bring certainty and investment into the energy market in their first three years. In truth, we’ve failed to organise energy policy since privatisation, so many governments need to accept responsibility.

  2. Alec
    It is late, but I wonder if you considered the political realities when deciding to press ‘send’ before reviewing the post?

  3. I mean the earlier one on pension actions.

  4. @Howard – as it happens, yes I do. As I said, it would be a hugely controversial measure, but there comes a time when governments need to do the right thing, rather than the easy one.

    That’s the trouble with this budget. Osborne has reduced himself to tinkering and hoping, and it’s a really weak response, either for growth, or his own avowed austerity.

  5. Some fellow over at the DT reckons that George is a great backgammon player and thinks he’s going to be throwing a double 6 in the shape of the next governor of the BoE, it’s a very odd prices of writing but apparently George has played a blinder by doing nothing but wait for his wizard to arrive from Canada!!

  6. I’ve got a perfectly good comment stuck in auto mod, no idea what I did wrong this time

  7. Well your lights go might go out but not mine, Scotland produces more electricity than it uses and is less dependent on gas.

    “It’s Scotland’s Sparks”

    Seriously though, we have been told to warn about this for years and we have dithered over nuclear, carbon capture and nimbyism over wind farms.

    The SNP’s push for renewables hasn’t been perfect, but we have at least started to address what we have been warned about for decades.

    Peter.

  8. All this talk about beer…Is it a reference to budgets gone by where I seem to recall chancellors making jokes about their favourite whiskey, as they cut the tax on Scotch? Is it simply a nod to someones hero?

    Alec, didnt I just read cyprus is planning to raid its pension funds? was it Portugal or spain did this? So now we have reached that stage?

  9. richo

    ” The irony of socialism is that in practice, because oft he inevitable economic failure, it often relies on totalitarian and oppressive state control to survive. .”

    You are forgetting Clement Attlee’s Government. Socialism works very well. In fact, it’s the only system that can work.

    It’s unbridled Capitalism that has failed pretty well absolutely.

  10. @ GRHinPorts

    “Is their any polling evidence to support this contention?”

    I did not think it was the sort of thing that polling could reliably provide evidence for. What ‘would have been’ never polls very reliably, however, in 2010 we were expecting cuts, so they should have got on with them.

  11. Nickp,

    Well I am left of centre but as to “Real Socialism”,

    Real Socialism is like Real Ale a few beardies love it but the rest of us think it’s crap.

    See how I did that, I linked the socialism and beer posts……

    Peter.

  12. Anthony

    I know that some people keep bugging you about this but when are we going to have a little purple box with the ukip average along side the other 3?

  13. And another week of disaster in local elections for the Tories

    http://www.englishelections.org.uk/england/lby/

    Adeyfield West – 43% Tory in 2011, 21% tonight, Tories 3rd behind Lib Dems and Labour

    Gooshays – UKIP won with 39%, replacing Tory elected with 25% in 2010

    Junction proves the theory that Lib Dems will be wiped out in a Lib Dem/Labour /race – Labour won with 62% compared to 40% in 2010. St Georges confirms again. Labour 71% this time, 33% in 2010, Lib Dem vote completely collapsed.

    Still waiting for the Stours, if the Tories lose that they are really in trouble come May…

  14. “The irony of socialism is that in practice, because oft he inevitable economic failure, it often relies on totalitarian and oppressive state control to survive.”

    ————-

    If it’s totalitarian then it isn’t socialism. And so the quest continues to find a right winger who knows what socialism is. Or indeed, what a stimulus is…

    A few years ago I uncovered a poll that showed that right wingers were rather more likely to read the right wing press than the lefties who read more broadly. Which might explain a few things…

  15. The right wingers were more likely to read the right wing press than lefties to read the more left-leaning, to be clear. ..

    Eg the Times readership was 30% Labour. But the Graun was a lot less than 30% Tory, as an example. I think it was 8% or something. ..

  16. Latest YouGov / The Sun results 20th March – CON 32%, LAB 41%, LD 11%, UKIP 10%; APP -35

  17. That should be the 22nd?

  18. @Richo

    Something like is?

    “No Socialist government conducting the entire life and industry of the country could afford to allow free, sharp, or violently-worded expressions of public discontent. They would have to fall back on some form of Gestapo, no doubt very humanely directed in the first instance.”

  19. The tug of war of politics is between the extremes of slavery to corporate interests at one end and slavery to the state on the other.

    It’s clear to me that the electorate prefers a mixed economy where capitalism is bound by rules, where monolopies are prevented or dismantled, where opportunities are available to all, wealth is shared around the weakest and most vunerable are protected and looked after.

    We are just arguing about the detail, really. I don’t believe Colin and The Other Howard want Tesco to control the world, any more than I want my whole life planned out for me by some central planner.

  20. @Richard

    Junction proves the theory that Lib Dems will be wiped out in a Lib Dem/Labour /race
    Except there was a 17.7% swing Lab > Lib in Adeyfield West? It suits a Labour partisan of course to ignore that, and the poor Labour result in Gooshays, but it we could do without such partial readings on here (not least because it means I’ll have to defend parties I despise, like the Lib Dems).

  21. Lidl would be better. Their oranges are really cheap .

  22. @THESHEEP

    “No Socialist government conducting the entire life and industry of the country could afford to allow free, sharp, or violently-worded expressions of public discontent.”

    The problem with this is that Labour weren’t all that Socialist….

  23. @Nickp – I really like your way of putting things. Why is it so difficult for Labour to formulate a clear economic philosophy that both reflects it and attracts enthusiastic support?

  24. What about John Lewis? …

  25. NickP
    It should say ’21st’, because that’s the last date of the fieldwork.
    Has YouGov let the work experience kid update things recently?

    I also notice the weighting information in the tables is err.. not as it should be.

    No real change yet, but a boost back up to 32 would be better for the Conservatives than the decline down to an average of 30 – then they just have to hope it’s sustained.

  26. @Carfrew

    What about them?

  27. @Carfew

    Aha, I see the definitional problem: socialist governments are totalitarian -> if it isn’t totalitarian it isn’t socialist enough.

  28. @Danny – “Alec, didnt I just read cyprus is planning to raid its pension funds?”

    I’m not talking about raiding pension funds – just diverting the massive amounts of tax relief that go into them for a limited time period. While there are lots of downsides from this, one key upside is that no one gets hit in terms of immediate loss of earnings (except city fee merchants) while the freed up revenue can be used with maximum multiplier effect to boost investment and growth asap.

  29. Still digesting the budget, but my sense of what I see continues to get clearer.

    Overnight I was struck with the complete contradiction to sentiments Osborne expressed at earlier budgets. If we compare and contrast ‘march of the makers’ and ideas of rebalancing the economy to the current budget, I think we can see how far Osborne has retreated from any sense of being a visionary reformist, back to the tired cliches of dropping political nuggets for select groups to curry favour at the polls.

    I was also increasingly thinking about @Petercairns point about childcare help. Increasing demand is bound to increase price. Surely acting to increase supply and restricting costs is a better approach?

  30. THESHEEP
    @Carfew
    “Aha, I see the definitional problem: socialist governments are totalitarian -> if it isn’t totalitarian it isn’t socialist enough.”

    ————

    Haha the definitional problem arises from listening to too many other right-wingers who haven’t read any Marx.

    Socialism is being equated with state control when it isn’t really about that at all.

  31. “The tug of war of politics is between the extremes of slavery to corporate interests at one end and slavery to the state on the other.”
    Only if you believe that economic politics exists on an axis between market capitalism (and even then, what you’re arguing isn’t really market capitalism, corporatism is actually a hybrid between two ideals) and Hobbesian state planning.

    What about anarcho-communism? What about ‘free soil, free labour’ anarchism? What about penal labour? What about conscription/national service?[1] Co-operatives? Communal ownership? Lottery systems? Feudal/Caste systems. [2]
    Or any hybrid of any of the morphological building blocks?

    Politics is the enforcement of a social grammar – if your political ‘vocabulary’ is limited, that doesn’t mean that all politics is limited in the same way.

    [1] Which you might say ‘Ho Ho Ho, what a silly idea for the distribution of Labour outside of the armed forces, which was abolished by Macmillan’, but we still effectively have conscription for jury service.
    [2] Which we still have in this country for the division of labour when it comes to selecting the head of state.

  32. CHARLES
    “@Carfrew
    What about them?”

    ———

    They are an alternative model that require neither rampaging capital nor massive state control.

    Also they are rather well-regarded. ..

  33. @TINGEDFRINGE

    “Only if you believe that economic politics exists on an axis between market capitalism (and even then, what you’re arguing isn’t really market capitalism, corporatism is actually a hybrid between two ideals) and Hobbesian state planning.”

    ———

    To be fair to NickP he may have just been arguing that these are just the two mainstream choices we are commonly presented with by the major parties (or which are presented in discussion) ….

  34. TheSheep
    “Aha, I see the definitional problem: socialist governments are totalitarian -> if it isn’t totalitarian it isn’t socialist enough.”
    “What is Property?”
    To paraphrase Marx – State-planning “is merely the organised power of one class for oppressing another” – Property on the other hand “is merely the organised power of one class for oppressing another”.

    If, under either systems, more people seek to oppose those systems, then the state will become more authoritarian. That’s the whole purpose of the state.

  35. @Carfrew I like it but not if pushed too far. Wasn’t one version of fascism about getting everyone – trades unions, businesses, churches, ordinary people behind one core vision and leader?

  36. Carfrew
    But I disagree that what we see in the two main parties are a choice between those two ideals – that’s a false dichotomy. We see a hybrid of all ideals, to various degrees from all parties.
    Take the NHS for example – the NHS is state-owned (Hobbesian) but it still often outsources work (market capitalism) and as far as it’s users are concerned, it’s use is based upon need (communism) and not a cost-benefit analysis of which sort of people should be saved (Hobbesian).
    It’s a hybrid system. And nobody’s really pushing for a major change to the system of ‘each according to their need’.

    Or take Jury service – it’s based upon conscription (socialist ‘equal labour’) but because the labour supply is larger than demand, it then uses a lottery system to determine who should be selected. They then vote on the guilt or innocence (democracy – which is socialism of decision making).
    Again, a hybrid legal system.
    Those pushing for a Hobbesian system (of which economic state-planning is founded upon) would argue for the abolishing of the jury system and replacing it with a judge-led system because judges know ‘what’s good for us’.
    Hardly anybody argues for a full judicial system based upon the market ideal (although we do allow it) where the guilty party comes to an ‘out of court agreement’ with the victim.

    Every party supports a fully hybridised system – they just tend to lean more toward one solution over the other. And it’s far more broad, even within the ‘big two’ parties, of which hybrid system we choose than Hobbesian state vs market.

  37. In fact, Carfrew, I gave a better example in my original post – the selection of the head of state.
    Where’s the party offering Hobbesian ‘selected by a panel of experts’ state-planning solution or the market-solution which would be to offer the ceremonial position to the highest bidder?
    Both of the ‘big three’ support the caste-selection system and there are a few republicans in either side who support democratic decision making.

    Again, it’s a false dichotomy to argue politics is the balance between two ideals, even broadly, it’s a morphological balance between *all* basic ideals.

  38. The Tories failed to win a majority in 2010 because they were still widely mistrusted in large parts of the country and did little to make an appeal to them other than ‘we’re not Gordon’.

    It’s not a question of them keeping schtum about their policies (good politics, the right thing to do under the circumstances, and that’s why it infuriates the Tories so that Labour are doing it now), and it’s not a question of better communication.

    The simple problem was that the north, the cities and Scotland didn’t think the Tories had anything good to say to them and didn’t really know how to make them an attractive offer. ‘Better communication’ would not have won the Tories the 2010 election because the polls consistently show that those parts of the country unconvinced by the Tories in 2010 have hardly become more convinced by a Tory government.

    The problems for the Tories go far, far deeper than that.It’s abundantly clear that Tory support has become more and more geographically concentrated and that they don’t know what to do about it.

    A case in point: the new housing initiative are largely seen up here in the blizzardy north, even by right-leaning voters, as a measure to ensure the Tory core Home Counties vote maintain their property values. This is unfair, but the party hasn’t gone out of its way to earn a fair hearing from the north.

    it is going to take a radical overhaul of the party before it becomes attractive to much of the country. The Tories have shown time and time again that they don’t have the stomach for the kind of transformation Kinnock and Blair performed (for better or worse) on Labour. After all, you don’t join the Tories to spend time toiling in Opposition.

    I think there’s a real, serious crisis coming for the Conservative Party after the next election and I’m not at all sure that they have it in them to face it.

  39. @nikp, I actually agreed with your last post. The country is poorer, especially the younger demographics, and there is a move to the left, and yes I guess people do want capitalism with fairer rules. My general point was that a society as developed and free as ours is never going to want true socialism.

    @carfrew, I couldn’t disagree more about your press point. Go on something like The Independant blogs which are very left wing now, and it’s just people preaching to the converted.

    As for me. You might be surprised to find the only newspaper apps I currently have on my phone are The Guardian and The Economist.

  40. @CHARLES
    “Carfrew I like it but not if pushed too far. Wasn’t one version of fascism about getting everyone – trades unions, businesses, churches, ordinary people behind one core vision and leader?”

    ——————–

    Eh? I don’t think John Lewis are a conduit for fascism. ..

  41. @Richo

    Well it wasn’t completely plucked out of thin air. I can’t remember the original poll I came across a number of years back but this pretty similar…

    http://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/poll.aspx?oItemId=2476&view=wide

    Interestingly things do seem to be getting a bit more polarized now in the 2010 figures compared to the earlier ones I saw. Though the rise of online readership and paywalls may skew things.

    I agree that in numerous places on the net we are seeing the decline of the right, or more specifically the Tories. UKip have their tales up and increasingly dominate the right wing enclaves.

    Go back a few years and there were plenty more Tories about. But as AW noted their prevalence is rather related to their party’s fortunes (and what policies their party gives them to defend). So you don’t find many takers for defending last year’s budget for example, or more recently the impact of the bedroom thing on the disabled, or the possibility that the housing help may be used for second homes etc.

    Defending on the economy can’t be much fun either. Lib Dems of course rapidly became as rare as hen’s teeth for similar reasons. Where they do participate they don’t say much about the Lib Dems (except when fondly referring to the past). Meanwhile Labour supporters took a good kicking due to the crash and have their tails up more now.

    But if you look closely in a lot of other places, many of the lefties aren’t much for Labour, which leaves them freer to post without having to defend a party…

  42. @TINGEDFRINGE

    “But I disagree that what we see in the two main parties are a choice between those two ideals – that’s a false dichotomy. We see a hybrid of all ideals, to various degrees from all parties.”

    ————-

    Yes, I agree. I think that was rather NickP’s point, the problem of being presented with a false choice between two extremes. ..

  43. @Carfrew – I like John Lewis and I would like more such things and perhaps more co-ops and non-token workers’ representatives on boards and in general more of anything that makes ordinary people feel that they have more of a stake in the wealth they make. So all I would object to would be an implication that everything should be like John Lewis or that it provided some model for the state (mothers at home also need recognition and a stake),

  44. @Charles

    Ah, I see what you mean. Rather than a model for the State, it’s more a model that requires less need for the State. ..

  45. Watching the politics shows yesterday I realised how much of a mess we are in. It seems that we made the wrong decision in 2010 regarding Austerity and now it is 3 years later and the policy has made matters worse with problems lasting a decade or more. It is very depressng to have made the country a worse place for our children and grand-children.

    If we could turn the clock back I am sure even GO would not now choose Austerity.

    We cannot be sure that Labour’s plan would have worked but we know the Coalitons plan definitely has not.

    There is virtually no chance of an upturn prior to 2015 – and apart from a the chance of a housing bubble in the South – which will only get Tories seats they would have won anyway – I can’t see any short-term feel good factor either.

  46. @ Couper 2802

    “It seems that we made the wrong decision in 2010 regarding Austerity ”

    No we didn’t “make the wrong choice”. No one in 2010 expected net exports to be in trouble due to the Eurozone crisis, which is also hanging over business confidence like a black cloud. No one expected high oil and food prices. No one expected the savings ratio to be as high as it is, sucking demand out of the economy.

    Basically, back in 2010, no one was willing to be level with the voters about what difficult task Britain faced in putting its finances straight. The Coalition’s mistake was in being too optimistic and assuming that the international background to the UK would be a help instead of being a massive hindrance.

    Labour is doing well simply because it has the luxury of presenting itself as having wisdom with hindsight. In reality, nothing it would have done would have made a blind bit of difference.

  47. “No one needs a 600k house and to be penalising the poor with spare bedrooms while subsidising the rich in 600K houses is just wrong,”

    There could be some interesting comparative case studies before the next election!

    I think the Tories know the game is up. It’s just damage limitation from now on. We are depending upon the Lib Dems to stop them selling off the rest of everything between now and 2015 when they go into the wilderness for the foreseeable future.

  48. rc

    Where WERE you in 2010?

    A whole batch of economists were predicting EXACTLY the outcome we now have if you make those spending cuts in a recession.

  49. @rico “My general point was that a society as developed and free as ours is never going to want true socialism.”

    But there is not and has never been fixed definition of ‘true socialism’. And also question how ‘free’ this country is. If you have plenty of wealth – than yes. But struggling to house, feed and clothe yourself – the situation for increasingly large numbers of people in the UK – restricts your freedom considerably.

    In addition we have ever increasing amounts of technology driven central control – ever expanding the power of the state – be it nominally captialist, social democratic, socialist – to control and order our lives. Do we really want to live in a society where nobody can ever escape from the police? Where ‘correct behavouir’ is monitored and enforced – from parenting to motoring to lifestlye?
    Both the supposedly ‘libertarian’ tories and labour have been very keen to use the welfare system to control and order the lives of the poor. Both persue a draconian policy on drugs, controlling the internet and clamping down on political protest.

  50. @ RC

    “No one in 2010 expected net exports to be in trouble due to the Eurozone crisis, which is also hanging over business confidence like a black cloud. No one expected high oil and food prices. No one expected the savings ratio to be as high as it is, sucking demand out of the economy.”

    There were many who knew that the crisis had not been over (it’s still not over – the banks’ balance sheets are really frightening).

    Actually, the corporate sector is leveraging (and not deleveraging as so many believe), so it eased the effects of the cuts/no public spending increase).

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