The weekly YouGov/Sunday Times results are up here.Topline figures are CON 33%, LAB 40%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 12%.
Almost half (49%) of the country now think the economy is showing signs of recovery (38%) or is on the way to full recovery (11%), up from 43% in December. The public remain more pessimistic about their own personal finances, with only 16% expecting them to improve over the next twelve months, 36% expecting them to get worse. This has been the defining feature of polling on the economy over the last year – public optimism on the state of the economy as a whole has been gradually rising, but it’s yet to translate into optimism about their own personal finances.
38% of people give the government some credit for this economic improvement, thinking their policies made the changes necessary for recovery, 24% think their policies didn’t actually make much difference either way, 28% think their policies actually prolonged the recession and made things worse. A substantial proportion also think that things would be worse if Labour were in power – if Labour had won the last election 39% think the economy would be worse, 19% better, 29% much the same.
Looking at potential measures for the budget, increasing the personal tax allowance is overwhelmingly approved of (by 83%). Extra taxes on the rich also meet with majority approval – a mansion tax would be approved of by 61%, putting the top rate of tax back up to 50p gets 58% approval (and cutting it to 40p would be opposed by 64%). Increasing the threshold of the 40p tax rate gets the approval of 55% of people. That’s a policy that could potentially have gone either way (tax cuts that target the poorest or ordinary people are almost always popular, tax cuts for the richest are usually unpopular) so the approval suggests it is something that kicks in far enough down the economic tree to avoid public hostility… but we shall see if it happens.