This morning’s Sun had YouGov’s first post-budget polling. General voting intention stood at CON 32%, LAB 41%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 10% so no obvious impact there.

On the budget itself most of the actual individual measures were widely supported. The increase in the personal allowance and cancelling the rise in fuel duty were by far the most widely supported (89% and 85% supported them). The cut in employers national insurance, interest free loans to help people buying new build houses and the cut in beer duty were all supported by more than half of respondents. Least popular were the revenue raising changes of course, but even then they weren’t very unpopular – the end of contracting out of NI was opposed by 38% to 31%, limiting public sector pay for another year was actually supported by 45% to 41%.

However, budgets are far more than the sum of their parts – there have been cases in the past when polls showed people liked most of the individual measures in a budget, but overall still gave it the thumbs down. It is the whole package that counts.

In this case, there appears to be a cautious thumbs up: 39% thought it was a fair budget, 31% thought it was unfair, a big improvement on last year’s budget which 48% thought was unfair (and that was even before most of the pasty tax coverage!). However, while people support the individual measures and think the budget was fair… they still aren’t convinced it is going to do any good. Only 14% think it leaves the country better off, compared to 52% who think it will make no real difference and 24% who think the country will be worse off.

Neither has it helped George Osborne’s own ratings – only 22% think he is doing a good job, down from 24% at the end of last year and 28% at the last budget. He is still preferred to Ed Balls though – 31% think Osborne would make the better Chancellor, 25% Balls.


210 Responses to “YouGov/Sun post-budget poll”

1 2 3 4 5
  1. @ RogerMexico

    Those two Dorset elections were won with 200 and 300 votes respectively. That would equate to 10 activists each mowing someone’s lawn once a month :-)

    The interesting thing with those By-Elections is how well the LIb Dems have done. I know we can’t read anything into By-Eelections but even so it does mean that the Lib Dems do still have activists out there who can pull in their voters on a low turnout. and more so than the other parties.

    There was a narrative that the Lib Dems were losing their foot soldiers, councillors etc and would struggle to maintain their big campaigning advantage which is people out on the streets canvassing and having a high profile. On the recent By-Election results this doesn’t seem to be quite true, or if it is this will only show up when they have to fight loads of seats at the same time as in a GE campaign.

  2. If it is a major drawback to be linked to a previously unpopular government then why is there no mention that there are plenty of ‘old faces’ from both major parties who are now in leading positions ?

    This type of attack is constantly churned out by spin doctors. It is as old as the hills, predictable and boring.

  3. Alec
    I’m not sure I agree that either of those points will have much of an effect because I don’t think they’ll really go reported.
    But wait and see, eh?

  4. go reported = get reported
    Saturday Morning English for the win?

  5. Alec:
    it could be that George O is playing the only hand he can. It is kind of difficult to act strategically when your entire economic philosophy has been blown clean out of the water. Tactics, it would appear, are the last refuge of the neo-con.

  6. Shevii,

    Perhaps if the question was regarding the position of Court Soothsayer, the relative polls of Balls and Osborne would be different?

    People in general struggle to understand why others disagree with them on what they firmly believe, e.g. see Cheesewolf’s comment above.

  7. I think we have to face it – Balls is not popular, he is not going to become popular no matter how right he is. For some reason the public do not like him.

    EM has similar issues – now I can accept Labour going into the next GE with one polling liability but not with the top two as polling liabilities. If Labour do this then they are daft.

  8. The UKIP are saying they are going to target Labour voters at the same time they have announced a Daily Mail policy of stopping people on benefits buying cigarettes, alcohol and Sky TV (?).

    I think if they want Labour voters they should be very careful about targeting benefit receipitents, as the voters they are likely to attract are the poorer ones who respond to the anti-EU anti-immigration parts of their message, they may not appreciate being told how to spend their benefits.

  9. couper2802

    Can you see middle and upper class happy with the same rules (child benefit payments?)

    I would also like to see evidence of benefit recipients as the only income having sky tv, or do they intend to hit households with say… disabled benefit recipients in all this as well…

    If anyone thinks £71 per week unemployment benefit is enough to pay for sky could they explain how, I for one would be interested to understand how.

    Without at least one working income coming into the household budget there is no way to afford sky even if you are in receipt of disabled benefits, that I can assure you…

    [Snip – AW]

  10. @TOJIM

    Agreed

  11. to get us to help. ..

  12. carfrew

    I’m still puzzled by it. If they want to build new houses, they can build them.

    I think they think we are all stupid.

  13. GO is unpopular because he has had to make difficult decisions against the back drop of [snip] a melt down of the banking system and the almost total fiscal collapse of the southern EU coupled with an out of control welfare budget. I doubt if he would have chosen the austerity path had not those factors been in play.
    He also comes across as rather aloof and arrogant and out of touch.
    I wonder then what Mr Balls has done to be even more unpopular than GO after all he has never had the responsibility of being Chancellor I can only assume its a matter of trust.

  14. @Turk

    He was the equivalent of Albert Speer to Hitler. Actually more like Rosenberg with Von Ribbentrop’s charm..

  15. Can’t believe Ed Miliband is warning of a lost decade… At the very least, Labour have played their part in this.
    Can anybody answer me this serious question. Why in the boom years of 3% growth from circa 2002 – 2007, were Labour still borrowing up to £40b a year? Shouldn’t you have a surplus if you claim to be Keynesian? That is the one question Labour have to answer for me.

  16. RICHO

    He didn’t mention any of that.

    Or the Deficit.

    Or the Debt.

    Just that he would “run the country” like the Cadburys ran their company. “For the many , not the few”.

    And he would not offer “easy solutions” -but he would “wake up every morning” thinking about it all.

    So………….yeah………..

  17. Richo

    That’s an easy one, they were not claiming to be Keynesian then, no one was. Keynesian become popular very quickly around the globe when the banks needed to be saved, now that the crisis seems to have abated Keynesian economics is a dirty word again

  18. Can you help with my question Colin though? :-)

  19. as in why the need to borrow so much in boom years, I just honestly don’t understand. @richard in Norway, your answer doesn’t answer that either!

  20. As regards benefit claimants having sky, there is two possibilities 1 they have an extra source of income 2 they are stealing sky. I would say that more folk steal sky than you would think, at least I know a few that do. Of course there is a 3rd possibility, that a more fortunate family member is paying the sky bill

  21. Richo,

    A Keynsian would require a government surplus during a boom if the debt level is excessive.

    The debt level during 2002-7 was not excessive, in fact it was around the 40% of GDP level that was at the time regarded as stable (and is now regarded as extremely low). So there was no need for a surplus.

  22. RICHO

    Nope-sorry.

    You need to ask the MP for Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath.

    He knows .

  23. Richo

    Sorry I was answering this question

    “Shouldn’t you have a surplus if you claim to be Keynesian? That is the one question Labour have to answer for me.”

  24. As for why labour were not running surpluses, Well you could ask all the previous conservative chancellors the same question. I think the answer might be because they are politicians. Of course there is a body of opinion that says that running surpluses is a sure fire way to cause recessions

  25. 40% of GDP is OK when you think that we are going to probabaly be at 85-100% by 2015

  26. COUPER 2802

    It was 53% X GDP when GB handed it over………..and he was adding 11% PA to that when he walked off into the sunset.

  27. We didn’t have rotten snowy Springs ike this until the coalition got in.

    Bastards.

  28. I didn’t have trouble then with me Ls either.

  29. Richo,

    In more detail, government debt is not an intrinsically bad thing, in fact it is a necessary part of the economy. This is because government debt is the most stable part of the assets of a bank. Other assets, such as loans to the private sector, are liable to become bad debts and lose value during a recession. Thus if they have too high a proportion of such assets, then the bank is liable to failure (sound familiar?).

    So running a surplus to eliminate all government debt is a bad idea. Just as you would also not want the government to collect in all banknotes as tax and cancel them. The economy needs money to function, and government debt is one type of money.

    The only questions remaining are: what is a good level of government debt, and what is dangerously low or dangerously high? I don’t think there is a consensus here. But no-one anywhere is suggesting 40% of GDP is too high. (For what it is worth, I suspect, with hindsight, it is dangerously low, but that’s just my opinion.)

  30. “The debt level during 2002-7 was not excessive, in fact it was around the 40% of GDP level ”
    29.8% in Q1 2002, rising to 37% in Q4 2007.

    ..compared to 42.6% when they took over in Q2 1997, lower than the entire 1979-1987 period and Q2 1994-Q2 1997 period.
    Only 1987-1991 (rising from 1991 onward) and 1997-2002 saw falling debt in the post-79 period.

    Just for historical comparison.

    “Shouldn’t you have a surplus if you claim to be Keynesian?”
    Not necessarily, as long as GDP growth exceeds debt growth – if your GDP grew at 2% per year but your debt at 1%, your debt/GDP ratio would fall.
    Obviously this didn’t happen 2002-2007, but you don’t have to run a surplus to get your debt down – so if you borrow to invest and that investment leads to growth higher than the borrowing, you’re completely fine.
    A surplus isn’t a necessity during a boom, it’s just preferred.

  31. @Richo – theoretically at least, there is absolutely no need to ever run surpluses. So long as debt grows by a smaller % than GDP in each year, or over the economic cycle, or whatever other period you wish to define, debt can go on rising incessantly in gross terms, while remaining stable or falling in comparative terms.

    Whether this strategy is a good thing or not is another matter. A year or two of debt repayments (even relatively modest amounts) while the economy grows, is actually a very good way to reduce debt ratios quickly, and there is some merit in this to ensure you are in best shape for the inevitable crisis as and when it comes.

    However, you simply can’t isolate debt as ‘bad’ and surplus as ‘good’. If by paying off your debt, you are choosing to forgo investments in economic and social developments that would bring you strong economic returns in the future, by running a surplus and paying off debt you could well be making your children poorer.

    This is the fundamental silliness of those debt fetishists who claim government dent is ‘wrong’ and we should always have balanced budgets. It’s economical and statistical illiterate, and I’m always surprised these views seem to get so much of an airing.

    It’s illuminating when the right of centre adherents espouse these views in terms of ‘maxing out on the credit card’, rather than opting to use the analogy of a mortgage. Those of us who have 25 year mortgages understand that we will pay vastly more than the initial valuation overall with the interest payments added, but that at the end of the deal we hope to own a house with inflated capital value, and where the overall benefit from the transaction is greater than the cost. We wouldn’t dream of ‘running a balanced budget’, which would mean never getting a mortgage in the first place.

    Of course, debts and deficits need to be controlled and managed, and we shouldn’t over extend ourselves, but for national budgets, we shouldn’t get too hung up on running surpluses.

  32. Strange that folk still debate the origins of the fiscal recession. Especially on here with all this expertise that is displayed so frequently. Why not just look at what happened? The public is equally divided about our recession, see the polls, and they have no expertise whatsoever.

    As their long-term ISA fixed interest savings mature and they dive from 4% to 1.5%, perhaps they can ponder whether those banks that were playing ‘pass the parcel’ might have had something to do with it,

    The Cypriots are blaming Merkel for their problems that they brought about.

    It’s like telling the doctor off for diagnosing your ailment correctly and blaming him for the unpleasant operation and medicine that follows.

  33. @Alec,

    I am happy to listen to all the left arguments about debt as a ration of GDP, but I don’t think anybody could ever convince me we ‘needed’ to borrow £40bn per year at the height of the Blair ‘boom’.

    There is really a very strong argument now that the country has been on a long term decline for at least 25 years, possibly much longer, with the only recent boom one based on consumer credit, a housing bubble, and lax borrowing/banking rules. It’s a sobering thought.

    Rich

  34. Howard,

    Yes, within the eurozone rules the Cypriots only have themselves to blame.

    However there is also the wider question of who is responsible for an unworkable currency union. There’s an argument that signing up for the euro also meant signing up for joint responsibility for solving financial crises. There isn’t any clarity on how far this responsibility goes, so it is no wonder the various publics are confused.

  35. @HOWARD
    “The public is equally divided about our recession, see the polls, and they have no expertise whatsoever.”

    ———-

    Such are the political soundbites and media rhetoric that a pollster on the DP said that their polls indicated that the great majority of the public think this government are reducing the debt.

    It might affect their attitude to the recession and to VI if they learn the truth. Which might explain why Labour seem to be trying to point out the borrowing thing more and more. ..

  36. @”theoretically at least, there is absolutely no need to ever run surpluses. So long as debt grows by a smaller % than GDP in each year,”

    …………and GDP never falls.

    When it does , you nice plan to have “stable” Debt/GDP collapses-and that ration rises, unless you take corrective action.

    Running deficits in boom – watching your Debt/GDP ratio fall-and saying how clever you are , comes to a halt when the Boom is replaced by a Bust & your GDP falls.

    And by then of course you have constructed a State which expects constantly increasing Government spending .

    And it’s all a bit of a shock when you can only keep it going by waving goodbye to that oh so comfortable “stable” Debt/GDP.

    ……….unless you observed advice about counter cyclical fiscal policy & used your Boom years to retain surpluses & reduce your Debt/GDP whilst the good times rolled.

  37. @Richo

    You’re kicking at an open door when being critical of Labour economic policy before the crash. Everyone knows they xcrewex up and even Labour admit they made mistakes. It’s tricky for Tories to press on it though because prior to the crash they had signed up to Labour’s spending plans.

    Why do you run a deficit during good times? One reason is the same reason businesses borrow in good times: to ensure more growth.

    (Other more exotic reasons include Modern Monetary Theory which contends that the public sector has to run a deficit to allow the private sector to run surpluses. ..)

  38. “Running deficits in boom – watching your Debt/GDP ratio fall-and saying how clever you are , comes to a halt when the Boom is replaced by a Bust & your GDP falls.”

    ———————

    Depends how you do it. If for example that deficit is used in part to invest in a sovereign wealth fund you can use that to cushion through a recession. Provided you keep enough of it liquid enough.

    Also sure, when a recession comes you may fall back, but from a higher base. So you still wind up better off overall.

  39. ALEC

    @”We wouldn’t dream of ‘running a balanced budget’, which would mean never getting a mortgage in the first place.”

    Don’t think this is quite the right metaphor.

    The mortgagor pays off his debt , and interest on it -& acquires an asset .

    The Taxpayer never pays off the National Debt-and is paying for Revenue Expenditure in the main-public services-which are consumables-not long life assets.

    The metaphor for “balanced budget” is a household which does not spend more in a year than it earns-whether it has mortgage repayments to make or not.

  40. Richo re
    ”Can anybody answer me this serious question. Why in the boom years of 3% growth from circa 2002 – 2007, were Labour still borrowing up to £40b a year? ”

    You could ask also why Coservative leaders including GO and DC right up to Lehmann’s collapse said they would match Labour’s overall spending plans.

    So only the extra borrowing resulting from the ‘crash’ actually differentiates the 2 man parties (the LDs have flipflopped)

    I think GB/AD broadly got it right – for example DC/GO were against Northern Rocks rescue initially before changing their minds – but you are entitled to disagree.

    Main point don’t use (you may not be) 2002-07 to extol Tory Stewardship over Labour as there was no real difference.

    Truth is though that most voters won’t recall or want to find out what Tory leaders said when in opposition ( why should they?) and fairly or not Labour have a credibility gap, or chasm perhaps, to bridge.

    Ordinarily 5 years would not be enough and it won’t be this time but arguably the Government are neutering the value of Labour’s weakness with their own performance.

  41. @COLIN

    “The mortgagor pays off his debt , and interest on it -& acquires an asset .
    The Taxpayer never pays off the National Debt-and is paying for Revenue Expenditure in the main-public services-which are consumables-not long life assets.”

    ———

    You seriously don’t think government spending purchases assets? Ever used a road? Heard of anyone using the NHS orchestra state school? Or of all the assets that got sold off? ????…

  42. We must have had huge surpluses in the 80s – when the council houses and the utility companies were sold off.

    You can trace back a lot of the headlines problems this week to that time.

  43. CARFREW

    I said “in the main”.

    Most State Ependiture is on Social costs & the cost of State employees

    Roads are essentialy consumables-they are constantly being replaced…………they are round here anyway!

  44. Couper

    No, there were deficits throughout the 80s, the proceeds of privatization were used for tax cuts which had to be reversed when that pot of money ran out

  45. Of course the most famous deficit spenders of all time must be Reagan and bush the younger who both had the “deficit s don’t matter” mantra while in office although both thought they were very important when in opposition

  46. @RiN

    “No, there were deficits throughout the 80s, the proceeds of privatization were used for tax cuts which had to be reversed when that pot of money ran out”

    Indeed. The deficits in those benighted days were financed by our tendency, as MacMillan poetically described it, to sell the family silver. Public utilities, more or less anything that moved in fact, were put under the hammer to finance tax cuts and the social security spending required to cater for the army of unemployed.

    I was amused to listen to a Tory MP the other day, wailing on about a “French owned nationalised industry”, I think he was referring to EDF, playing fast and loose with the proposed new nuclear plant at Hinckley Point. The irony must have been lost on him for it was the Thatcher governments of the 80s who flogged our electricity, gas and water to whoever waved the fattest cheque, irrespective of who owned or controlled the successful bidding companies.

    My old mate, Eric, down the Skinners Arms moans about “these foreign companies” driving up energy prices now but I remember him cheering old Thatcher to the rafters when he bought and sold a few shares and made a pretty bob or two out of the family silver fire sales.

    It’s too late to tell Sid now, I fear.

  47. Come off it Colin, many assets need maintenance including your example of houses. ..

    That doesn’t make them “consumables”.

    Even if they were, you can still sell them, as cannot have escaped your attention. You seem quite keen on the idea. ..

    Yes much social expenditure does not involve assets but this is dodging the point. We are talking about the deficit, and its contribution to growth. That 30 or 40 Bn invested in infrastructure etc. buys you 2% plus growth.

    Not to mention that some of the public sector employees contribute to growth too…

  48. Social expenditure is on assets. Though it might be insulting to talk about people in that way

  49. @RiN

    True, but we’re also talking about selling assets and stuff and you don’t wanna be giving people ideas!!…

  50. Carfrew

    We are already heading that way, just another generation and we will be there!! Lol

1 2 3 4 5