This morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline voting intention figures of CON 32%, LAB 40%, LD 11%, UKIP 11%. The eleven points for UKIP is the lowest YouGov have shown since the local elections (indeed, its the lowest of any poll since then). All the usual caveats apply about unusual figures normally turning out to be outliers, but it is certainly in line with a gradual unwinding of UKIP support as their immediate publicity boost from their local election successes unwinds. It is also worth noting that their level of support is still up on earlier in the year, so even if the short term trend in their support may be downwards, the longer term trend is still positive. Full tabs are here.
Later on today we have the government’s spending review. As I’ve noted before, the annual budget is one of those events that actually gets noticed by the public and can make a difference to voting intention. The spending review almost certainly ISN’T like that – don’t expect any big impact.
Naturally there has been plenty of past polling on the cuts – YouGov do a regular raft of “cuts trackers”, asking if the cuts are good or bad for the economy, if they are fair, if they are too fast and too deep and so on. The tracking data is all here. In summary opposition to the cuts has declined a bit since last year, but the broad picture remains the same – people think the cuts are bad for the economy and being done unfairly, but they think they are necessary, and are more likely to blame Labour for them than the present government. In short, people don’t like the medicine, they think the medicine may be making things worse… but they see no alternative but to take it.
On specific questions on where the cuts should fall, people tend to want to see the NHS and education protected from cuts, and their first preference for where cuts should fall is overseas aid (ironically the three areas where the government has ringfenced spending to some degree). The most divisive areas tend to be defence and welfare, where they are significant bodies of opinion that both want to see them protected, and want to see them prioritised for cuts. 20% would like to see defence face larger cuts, 17% would like it to be protected from cuts; 39% would like welfare to face larger cuts, 16% would like to see it protected from cuts.