This morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun had topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 38%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 12%. The four point Labour lead is lower than YouGov’s recent average, but well within the normal margin of error.

Today’s poll also had YouGov’s regular bank of tracker questions on the government’s cuts and these produced one striking figure. For the last couple of years public opinion on the cuts has been pretty steady. On balance people think the cuts are bad for the economy, they think they are unfair, many people think they are too fast or too deep… yet people think they are necessary. In short, people don’t like the medicine, they think it may be making things worse, but they don’t see any alternative to taking it.

However in the latest figures people were evenly split on whether the cuts are good or bad for the economy. 41% think they are bad for the economy, 41% think they are good for the economy. As ever, one should not read too much into a single poll, but this finding does reflect an ongoing trend. Over recent weeks and months public opinion has been moving in favour of the cuts.

Below is the tracker data on if people think the cuts are good or bad for the economy. They turned against them very early in the Parliament, at the tail end of 2010. Opinion got even more negative after the 2012 “omnishambles” budget, but since late in 2012 the trend has been moving in favour of the cuts, eventually reaching towards figures where opinion is evenly balanced.

Looking at whether the cuts are fair or unfair we have a different balance of opinion, but the same pattern of change. An overall majority of the public still think that the spending cuts are being carried out in an unfair way, but it bottomed out after the 2012 budget and since then there has been a slight movement away from “unfair”.

On whether the cuts are too deep, you can see the same pattern. By the time YouGov started this tracker in early 2011 public opinion had already decided that the cuts were too deep. Having moved in a bit it spikes back towards too deep after the 2012 budget, since then opinion has been moving towards the cuts being about right or too shallow (I’ve put about right and too shallow together in the graph – in the latest figures it’s 27% about right, 16% too shallow). I haven’t graphed the figures for whether people think the cuts are too fast, but they are very similar to those for “too deep”.

Finally here are the figures for whether people think the cuts are necessary. There isn’t really the same trend here – there’s a little bump after the 2012 budget, but broadly speaking the proportion of people who think the cuts are necessary has remained stable throughout the Parliament. However unfair or too deep or economically damaging they were seen to be, people have consistently thought the cuts were necessary. In some ways it will be interesting watching this question as we go forward – it’s possible that increasing economic confidence will make people think that cuts are working and, therefore, that it’s necessary to continue with them. Alternatively, people might think that if the economy is on the rise it is no longer necessary to continue with cuts. We shall see.

350 Responses to “Attitudes to the cuts”

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  1. #contracted

  2. Rich

    It’s a very long time since any industrialised nation has grown out of debt, if you look at a total debt(private and public)to GDP ratio graph it has risen continuously since the mid 70s only pausing in its acceleration in times of recession. We may grow out of our public debt but only if private debt increaces

    Arsenal holds the record for the longest uninterrupted period in the English top flight and would be placed first in an aggregated league of the entire 20th century”

    If I was an Arse fan, I’d want to forget the 21st century as well. Jackpoo since 2004.

  4. What LD poll revival? They remain at 10% in the UKPR polling average.

  5. stockport

    Strange point. I think 99% pf supporters would be delighted if their club was as successful and well-run as Arsenal.

  6. Paul

    Bloody gooners, you can sod right off

  7. Back pages of the morning papers full of Suarez saying Liverpool had agreed he could leave if they get a CL place this season.

    So my take on it is:

    Bale to Madrid (Levy would be mad not to sell if RM are offering c£80m)
    Suarez to Arsenal (coup if Wenger gets him although makes LS moans about the press a tad ridiculous)
    Rooney to Chelsea (boooo but if he feels like that, he can sod off but needs to realise he won’t be main man at the Bridge either)

    all of which paves the way for a return of Ronaldo to Old Trafford (yaaayyyyy)

    Re polls – no tweet tonight ? Maybe back to 6/7 point gap.

  8. RiN

    “Bloody gooners, you can sod right off”

    Bit Partisan Bellgrade intit. Pease desist.

    However as your envious tone suggests, they are joy good aren’t they?

    RE the Suarez clause – why would he agree to a clause that says, if somone bids 40 mill we must tell you – but you can’t go??

    What is in it for him?

  9. ps

    Re the Arse being well run. Real Madrid are 600 MILLION euros in debt.


  10. €600m in debt doesn’t seem to worry Platini & Blatter yet it makes an utter mockery of the financial fair play rules.


    It wasn’t strange at all. You were bragging about Arsenal’s success in the 20th century, I was pointing out they haven’t been that successful recently.
    I don’t doubt they are a well run club and you have a very good manager, but not as good as Fergie.

  12. Latest YouGov / The Sun results 6th August – Con 32%, Lab 39%, LD 10%, UKIP 11%; APP -29

  13. “I don’t doubt they are a well run club and you have a very good manager, but not as good as Fergie.”

    I thought he was history too?

    The future is CRYSTAL PALACE..!

  14. Good Morning All.

    Nick P. Glad All Over was the song back in the day, I was there with my brothers when Bert Head took them up. 4-2 versus Fulham.

    7% today, all pointing to a narrow, but real lead.

  15. Latest YouGov / The Sun results 6th August – Con 32%, Lab 39%, LD 10%, UKIP 11%; APP -29

    ———Yesterdays poll was probably an outrider this seems about right female cross break back in favour of Labour 18-24 Cross-break similarly.
    Labour ahead in every sub age group other than parity with the 60+ only oddity Tories apparently ahead in Midlands and Wales which I don’t believe for One moment but overall I suspect pretty much a true reflection of party support.

  16. Todays poll looks like an outlier the over 60’s at 35/35 looks wrong.

  17. It seems that my (previously controversial) claim that Labour need to start setting out more of their policy agenda is becoming increasingly the “common-sense” viewpoint on here.
    -Of course as we move into pre-election mode expect some policy announcements from both main parties.

    Now back to our football correspondents!

  18. TOH
    Not as wrong as a Tory lead in Wales!
    Actually it is only in the 65+ Which YouGov doesn’t include and other pollsters do that Conservatives normally have a lead.

  19. Steve

    I’m a bit puzzled by your post, you believe yesterday was an outlier even though it was within normal margin of area and you reject the tories could be about level in some areas of wales and the midlands but accept Labour are ahead in all age groups, but make no reference to the oddity of the over 60+ being level.

    If as you suggest some parts of the poll are wrong why should anybody give this poll anymore credance than yesterdys or is it people read far to much into one poll.

  20. turk

    “or is it people read far to much into one poll.”

    Yes. Some do.

  21. YouGov’s 60+ group showing Con/Lab at 35% each doesn’t look too out of line when you consider the 15% for UKIP – which is in line with the profile for today’s sample of 2010 Cons.

    One polling company (I forget which) gives 55-64, 65-74, 74-85 and 85+ breakdowns I think. Iirc Tories show a bigger lead in the 55-64 age group (reaching adulthood in the 1970’s).

    60+ would be a significant group for certainty to vote and UKIPish tendencies/newspaper readership, but spans two distinct generations (compared the tight 18-24 age break). I assume this is down to market research considerations – it is rather a blunt instrument for political purposes.

  22. Zero hour contracts

    “Employment: Zero-hours Contracts
    Asked by Lord Greaves
    To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their definition of the term “zero-hours contract”; and whether such contracts count as employment for the purposes of referring benefit claimants from job centres or by agencies carrying out contracts under the Work Programme.[HL6759]
    The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): I can confirm that jobseeker’s allowance claimants are not required to apply for zero hours contract vacancies.”

    But apparently this is not what is happening in job centres, some sanctions are being imposed if claimants refuse zero hour contracts…

  23. @Paul Croft

    Exactly, the point I was making to Steve. Both yesterdays poll and todays are well with expectation.

  24. I think zero contracts are bad for the country, bad for the people that are forced onto them and most of all bad for the people who have to rely on those employed on zero contract hours.

    But all it needs is a minimum rate for zero contracted hours, between £20.00 – £30.00 per hour to compensate for limited responsibility to those contracted, which is quite reasonable for someone who is practically self employed.

  25. I think Lord Greaves was trying to find out whether agencies are receiving a fee from the DWP for finding unemployed people zero hours contracts. That could be a lot of money being paid for nothing!

  26. Turk

    Both are within normal MOE I didn’t say yesterdays was an outlier and individual polls shouldn’t be given particular credence (a situation lost on our right wing press if they happen to show the Tories doing slightly better)

    As the latest poll pretty much reflects the UKPR average it is probably reasonably accurate.

    The Conservatives only consistently poll first in the Over 65 age Group. YouGov doesn’t split its sample that way and only provides a 60+ sample which is more weighted to Labour and tends to produce parity despite the fact that Labour is ahead overall.

    Our very own Statgeek can help you out with VI in Midland and Wales and He shows Labour on 41% Tories on 35% for the region as a whole.

    A fairly recent YouGov poll of Wales put CON on 22% and LAB on 51%.

    It is therefore highly unlikely that Tories have now commanded a lead in an area where they didn’t actually come first in the 2010 Election.

  27. Arsenal and Crystal Palace in the same thread!

    All I need now is a Sc*nthorpe fan on and I tell the old joke about the 3 teams in the football league that contain a swear word in their name… Arsenal, Sc*nthorpe and Crystal F***ing Palace. Boom Boom.

  28. These numbers are good for the government, but in reality only to be expected, given recent economic news. If the recovery stagnates again, expect these numbers to reverse. Labour is trying to shift the debate to what the recovery looks like, which they did with epic success in 1997. Many previously gloomy Tories suggested that a 2015 GE against a background of austerity wouldn’t be easy for Labour, as they are the party of redistribution in the good times, but the same people now seem to be saying recovery is better for them. Time will tell.

    This from the Telegraph –

    You can begin to sense the aura of complacency once again. It’s quite remarkable (and remarkably quickly forgotten) that William Hague (and other shadow cabinet members) actually stated in public that they were expecting a 100 seat majority – in March 2010. I saw the interview and was quite astonished then, and I’m equally astonished that after a couple of months of more reasonable, if not stellar economic data, senior Tories once again think they will canter to victory.

    It’s as if they have blanked out all those awkward issues of political geography, failed boundary changes, collapsing party membership and a UKIP rival now polling three times better than in 2010, even after a sustained settling in the polls.

    Away from part politics- we’ll see soon what Carney thinks about interest rates. I am increasingly concerned that the lowest ever rates in 300 years of central bank history are becoming a future problem. Cheap credit, government backed housing booms and the prospect of pre announced record low rates are not a good thing, in my view.

    I recall the pain suffered by millions as we broke inflation expectations on the anvil of mass unemployment and community breakdown in large parts of the country. Policy makers always fight the last battle, and my concern is they will remain fighting the permaslump long after it’s turned around, and allow assumptions of ultra low interest rates to harden. This will make for enormous pain when we return to normal levels, perhaps eight or ten times higher than today.

    The BoE since independence has achieved an ability to tweak rates without major market reactions, but the longer we wait for a rise, the more this is at risk. Although it’s a ticklish issue of timing, at some point in the next month or two a tiny rise is going to be needed, but Carney doesn’t sound like he will do this. Indeed, raising rates by a fraction would possible increase confidence, as it demonstrates where the bank think we are going, but sitting on 0.5% rates indefinitely will store up credit bubbles for the future.

  29. A UKIP politician filmed saying British aid should not be sent to “bongo bongo land” has stood by his comments.

    In film obtained by the Guardian, MEP Godfrey Bloom was recorded telling a meeting of supporters aid was spent on items like sunglasses and Ferraris.

    He added: “If I’ve offended anybody in bongo bongo land I will write to their ambassador at the Court of St James.
    The MEP is no stranger to controversy. In 2010, he was ejected from the European Parliament for directing a Nazi slogan at a German colleague.

    And in 2011, he said small firms would have to be “stark staring mad” to hire young women because of the risk of them needing maternity leave at a later stage.


  30. I can still clearly remember Michael Heseltine saying on television shortly before the 1997 election that he was confident the Conservatives would win….

  31. @ Alec

    Good post. It’s difficult to see the game plan for increasing interest rates to normality especially if house prices start to rise again. I suppose you could argue that the future economy could be based on low interest rates providing inflation is also low we don’t necessarily need a correction. The thing about interest rates though is that you don’t borrow at 0.5% and margins for companies borrowing to invest are much higher than in the past. SMEs borrowing at 2% above base was not unheard of in the 80’s and 90’s- I very much doubt anyone is getting that kind of rate now.

    On top of that is getting the massive government borrowings down to a sustainable level. If we do hit 90% of GDP this leaves no buffer for any future crisis.

    However none of this really affects the next election- it will be whether people see an improvement in living standards. If there is growth of 2% plus leading up to the election then this may filter down a bit- I have my doubts.

    The current polls have definitely closed but I’m not sure if this really is down to the economy or whether it is just an unwind from Con-UKIP and a strange drop in Lab vote that I suspect is down to undecideds.

  32. Paul-thank you.

  33. @Steve

    “Our very own Statgeek can help you out with VI in Midland and Wales and He shows Labour on 41% Tories on 35% for the region as a whole.”

    That’s a single poll dated 5th July. :)

    Mid & Wales 30-poll MAD:

    Con 34.7
    Lab 41.0

    Weight adjusted for time:

    Con 35.0
    Lab 40.8

    Mid & Wales Con?lab numbers today are outliers within said calcs. Yesterday’s numbers were more on the MAD data.

    Having said all that, the average of the last five polls in Mid & Wales have:

    Con 37%
    Lab 38%

  34. ALEC

    @”You can begin to sense the aura of complacency once again. ”

    [] I see no signs whatsoever of complacency.

    I think DC knows he has a mountain to climb since Clegg gifted half his VI to Labour.

    I read of Cons spending a fortune on election gurus -I don’t read of them saying this is a doddle because we are back to 5 pts behind.

    You musn’t confuse pleasure & encouragement at this long waited for trend, with complacency.

    …..and you might consider having a chat about complacency with some [] Labour enthusiasts.

  35. @statgeek @steve Interestingly Labour not doing well
    In Midlands for a while. If one agrees that Wales prob Labour, certainly not Tory based on other polling and by elections, that makes the VI for Labour in Midlands worrying. Also, quite a few target seats in the region.

  36. There are chunks of the Midlands that are very strong Conservative. Also Lib Dem oddities like Solihull, that you would think should be Conservative based on demographics. Can’t see them hanging on to that in 2015…

  37. @Colin – I think you are correct about complacency on here among many on the opposite side. The assumption that the ‘hated’ Tories would be booted out because they are, well, ‘hated’, was never a real basis for a campaign.
    I think on both sides, these views tend to show the narrowness of thinking that pervades politics.

    I was reading a fascinating article recently about the internet and ‘imaginary cosmopolitanism’. It was looking at research into the idea that modern communications were giving people the notion that they were more open minded, connected and cosmopolitan in their contacts and lifestyles, when in fact, detailed research into peoples habits, both in terms of the information they pick up and the circles they move is, shows that many people remain surrounded by people who think the same way as they do.

    Indeed, there is growing research to suggest that things like search filters, chatrooms and targeted marketing is actually reducing the variety of thoughts and opinions that people receive, meaning the mass communication available to us now is actually reducing the boundaries of our outlook. This makes us all very much more insular and tribal in our thinking.

    I can see this is a number of people I know, and indeed on here, where it’s almost a no brainer predicting how individual people will react to specific stories. The most recent example on here are the comments made by @Steve regarding the UKIP MEPs comments.

    I deliberately read the Telegraph and other outlets, as I get tired of reading things I agree with and I feel the need to retain a more open mind. In terms of those UKIP comments on ‘bongo bongo’ land and maternity rights, it’s very easy for us on our side of the debate to roll our eyes and scoff at these views, but my initial thoughts were as follows;

    1) Yes – loads of foreign aid is wasted on corruption, and inappropriate high status projects. This is a problem. How do we deal with it? The UKIP MEP used inappropriate language, but he represents a strand of reality and certain elements of truth.

    2) I’m completely at one with the idea that small firms are likely to not employ women they think might leave to have babies. It’s a real problem for small businesses and can be damagingly disruptive, many women play the system (have a baby, get maternity leave, and then resign, rather than resign when pregnant and allow the firm to get a permanent replacement). I also think that if you take time off work to have children (man or woman) you should expect to fall behind in the career stakes – it’s your choice.

    Much of the complacency on both ides comes down to this idea that people have restricted circles of contact and understanding. People’s views are reinforced by their social contacts and habits, so it becomes difficult to imagine others react in different ways to events. If the Tories cut spending, people must vote against them.

    This is why so many people on here struggle to accept polls that show a contrary view, and why pollsters will always be in business.

  38. @Alec

    Excellent last post, cuts through the partisan comments very well. I tend to agree with Colin that I see no signs of Conservative complacency, far from it.


    Sincerely hoping your wife recovers very soon.

  39. @Alec,

    I wholeheartedly agree. I also think there is a tendency to assume that other people make the same links and groups of ideas as we do.

    For example, police officers are generally virulently opposed to government cutbacks and austerity, and you will hear very negative views about the coalition in most police stations. If you were left wing, and opposed to the whole range of government policies, you might then suppose that those police officers are fellow-travellers and would share your thoughts on other issues.

    You would then be pretty shocked if you heard them discussing IDS’s welfare reforms, or Osborne’s childcare payments.

    It is the only group I really have knowledge of, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the same were true of many other “tribes”.

  40. Jeremy Warner has a different view on the “recovery” over at the telegraph, odd the story Alec referred to and the Jeremy one are totally at odds

  41. Alec

    While this particular individual may have a point (not a very good one IMO) it is best aired in this manner in the privacy of his own home or the local boozer with the like minded . if He wishes to inflict His opinions on the rest of us it should be in an appropriate way without reference to” bongo bongo land” etc

    He is an elected representative of the UK in Europe receives a substantial salary and expenses for doing this job and should conduct himself with appropriate decorum.

    I dispute entirely incidentally that loads of foreign aid is wasted on corruption, some is, most goes where it is intended and saves lives and your really quite ludicrous assertion that many women “play ” the system. Have you any evidence to support this or is it something you might have read in the pages of one of the newspapers?

    Having children isn’t a lifestyle choice .

  42. Damm, I’m in a tribe of one

  43. Is “conducting himself with decorum” the same as self censorship

  44. @Steve,

    I’ve no doubt that women play the system, and I’m not remotely surprised or horrified by that. Everyone plays the system. That’s what systems are for. I’m sure women see maternity rights in pretty much the same way rich people see tax avoidance. So long as what you do is permissible and you don’t lie, then you are entitled to do whatever is in your own interests.

    There seems no way that the procreation of their workers can’t impact on the profitability of businesses. Unless it’s being suggested that becoming a mum (or a dad) produces some sort of stellar improvement in your work ability, then the productivity that goes into parenthood has to come from somewhere.

    That’s not quite the same thing as suggesting that the rules should be changed and that women shouldn’t have maternity rights (and I am pretty sure Alec is strongly in favour of them).

    As for “Bongo Bongo” land. I completely agree that the terminology is nakedly racist and defeats the object of speaking out in the first place, but I also agree with Alec that the fact that Bloom has robbed his complaints of value by the way he couched them doesn’t automatically mean that they are completely untrue.

  45. @Alec

    Good post. I did smile when I read two posts, one after the other:

    (Steve) “———Yesterdays poll was probably an outrider”

    (ToH) “Todays poll looks like an outlier”

    Not that I assumed either were right, wrong or whatever, but that my first instinct was to guess at who supported which party (or didn’t support certain parties). I don’t tend to pigeon-hole people, but seeing two posts in a row like that was a good start to the morning’s reading.

    I can’t say I’m a big reader of newspaper sites; rather, I tend to use them for balance or substantiation. I find myself increasingly reading the comments of said sites’ political articles, and find it quite surprising, the vitriol of people against the party they ‘hate’.

    Like most, I have parties I favour over others, but I attempt to keep that to myself most of the time, and try my best to prevent my own opinions (i.e. the ones which could be argued as biased) from showing through on my site.

    For a while, I found it electorally exciting that UKIP were on the rise, as it replaced the polldrums with something new to examine. As such, some of my articles were a little UKIP-heavy (I also felt that UKIP deserved a little coverage, my site could be described as such). With ever-new rises in UKIP VI, I found myself trying not to get repetitive. Such are the more interesting aspects of polling when there’s a ‘fresh thing on the menu’.

    I generally agree with the point of the maternity leave comments, if not the original author’s way of putting them. Some small employers just can’t afford those kinds of situations. I knew of a woman who went on ML for one baby, and during the leave got pregnant again, and got another shift of ML. This was a large public org, and she was absent for the best part of two years (for department manager on a salary of more than 40K). I feel that the system was abused in this case. A small company couldn’t have operated with that situation.

    I have noticed some of the trending viewpoints on here. If there’s a big lead, the Con-leaning folk will point out that an election is a while away. If a small lead, the Lab-leaning folk point out that the Lab VI is strong.

    “Yes, the situation is less than I would like, but it’s better if I look at it from this perspective.”

    (Not to take anything away from the good folk on here, and I’m sure I’ve done it myself)

  46. @Steve

    “Having children isn’t a lifestyle choice.”

    What is it then?

  47. Of course having Children is a lifestyle choice.

    It could and indeed should completely change your life style at least for the first 10 years or so – if you are doing your job as a parent properly that is!

    And its certainly NOT up to the state/tax payers to fund your decision to start a family – A little tax break to help perhaps but no more – its the mother and fathers choice to have a family and if you can’t afford to start a family then you either don’t bother until you can or at least limit your family to just one.
    I appreciate every circumstance may be different but in general that should be the rule!

  48. Statgeek “yesterdays post was an outrider ” was a comment assigned to me not something I actually said and I always thought having children was a biological necessity we don’t all have to have them but if someone doesn’t we are in the cack.

    Even for those who appear to consider it is a lifestyle choice there is I think agreement that an aging population causes substantial (insurmountable ) demographic problems.

    Strangely enough the only solution to not having children in sufficient numbers within the UK is to import people from elsewhere a solution the SEL in UKIP also reject.

  49. “Of course having children is a lifestyle choice.”

    Society, obviously, would cease to exist if nobody had children. So if you want there to be a next generation in your particular society, and yet you do not want to contribute to their upkeep, then I suggest that you are a parasite on that society.

    Churchill said something along the lines of ‘There can be no better investment than putting milk into babies.’

  50. @sine nomine

    Let’s say for the sake of argument that the state should not subsidise the parent’s “lifestyle choices”.

    Does the state also have no obligations to the welfare of it’s new citizens? In this case the children who had no choice in the matter.

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