We are unlikely to get any proper polling on the budget until tomorrow night, so in the meantime here is some new YouGov polling on the European elections that was published in this morning’s Times. Topline voting intentions for Europe are CON 24%, LAB 32%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 23%, GRN 5%. Labour retain their lead for the European elections, the Conservatives and UKIP are still in a tight race for second place… but with UKIP in a narrow third place.

If we look at just those people who say they are certain to vote then it is better for UKIP, as their supporters are the most likely to say they’d turn out. Taking just those who say they are 10/10 certain puts UKIP up to second place and 26%, ahead of the Tories on 22% and behind Labour on 34%.

How the European elections play out will be very much a game of expectation management. In the event UKIP did get 23% it would be a very strong performance and a solid increase on their 2009 score… but coming third would in practice probably be seen as a huge disappointment when there was talk of a victory. As it happens I still think there is a fair chance of them winning – they will get a lot more publicity in the two months running up to the campaign (especially given that OfCom has ruled they they should be treated as a major party in England and Wales and given equal coverage to the other major parties), and I’d expect their support in European election polls to climb in the coming weeks – also this is just one poll, and others have shown them doing better. As ever, time will tell. Full tabs are here, European election polls so far are here.

135 Responses to “YouGov/Times European poll”

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  1. NICKP

    @”Pile in loads of money into pension when paying 40% or 45% tax relief and then take it out whenever I like at 20%.”

    Better vote Conservative then-Balls has pledged to restrict the relief to 20% lol

  2. @Colin

    Restricting tax relief would really effect me but I still wouldn’t vote Con. However it seems a logical follow on from this announcement that tax relief will be restricted whoever comes to power.

  3. Alister1948,

    I would add that the Tories, even without assuming a shift to the governing parties in the GE, look set to do better than at the 1997, 2001 AND 2005 election. They had a very big mountain to climb in 2010 in terms of seats, which will almost certainly be much smaller in 2020.

    Also, while I think that adopting the position as “the party of austerity” had very great costs for the Tories in 2010, I think that the long-term benefits have already been significant (things could be much MUCH worse for the Tories) and they will give the Tories a basic narrative club with which to beat Labour during the next parliament. Whether that translates into beating Labour in 2020 is another, unknowable matter…

  4. Also, I expect a tremendous urban-rural/suburban divide in the next election and for quite some time to come, since the Tories look set to pick up a lot of non-urban Lib Dem seats (which the Lib Dems will struggle to get back given the importance of personal factors in their success) and Labour look set to utterly dominate the cities in both the north and the south of the country.

    (One could add that, if we vote “naw” and the SNP significantly suffer in terms of their Westminster vote, the Tories could pick up a number of seats in rural Scotland as well as rural England/Wales.)

  5. I’m on the verge of full retirement & yet am unmoved by this budget. Why would I be?
    It gives me a few more quid from an ISA, which in effect pay 0.5% above the non-Isa rate, & a government bond also paying slightly above a safe market rate.
    In both cases the return barely matches inflation = real rate of interest = Zero%. A wasting asset.

    Yes, the forced purchase of annuities is unpopular given their miserly rates, but where is the safe alternative which provides an income + a modicum of inflation proofing. There isn’t one. Just more wasting assets.

    What I want is a rise in interest rates of 1.5-2% on safe investments: what I’ve got is a bit of tinsel.

  6. @Colin

    @”Pile in loads of money into pension when paying 40% or 45% tax relief and then take it out whenever I like at 20%.”
    “Better vote Conservative then-Balls has pledged to restrict the relief to 20% lol”

    I would love it if Balls intended to restrict relief to 20% for 40% taxpayers too, but unfortunately I think that so far he’s only announced a restriction to 20% relief to those over the 50% (i.e. current 45%) tax threshold.

    That said, the Budget seems to open up such an unrestricted route to escalate tax avoidance that maybe the end of annuities might prompt Labour to look again at fully closing that loophole.

  7. Re: EM’s budget response, do opposition leaders ever try to attack the details of a budget in their response? I assume they’ll have had very little time to look at it properly, and wouldn’t want to make snap arguments on detail that they could very easily get wrong and come back to haunt them. Makes more sense to pore over it in detail first, and use the response to make more generic attacks.

    In this case, I thought the Eton attacks were mildly amusing (even Gove laughed from behind the chair he was hidden behind) but couldn’t see any relevance or point to them. But then Grant Shapps posted his “let them play Bingo” tweet which suddenly made it look like perhaps a disgruntled LD leaked the Beer and Bingo advert to Lab, and EM was laying the groundwork for the Lab response to it. Either that or EM just got lucky.

  8. I’m not sure that Mike Smithson is actually saying Tories will win the Euros. If I understand his methodology (and I’m not sure I do!) it seems to be about beating the odds. When he sees over generous odds he takes them and then hedges his bets down the line probably no different to what the City do.

    Savers- I think this is mainly mood music rather than an immediate boost for savers over the next 12 months- the only thing that does that is an increase in interest rates. It might just sway some UKIP voters back feeling the government has their interests at heart but not in terms of feeling better off.

    Pensions- some good bits in there in terms of getting away from the traditional locked in elements of a pension fund/annuity but in practical terms benefits the better off and especially those who can employ an advisor to manage their cash. Most people need a pension and can’t run the decision making themselves (when do I dip into it and how much can I dip into if I live to 100?) and I think there are risks if someone at 65 can just take the whole lot by paying some tax. There are plenty of people when they are working who can’t manage cash but at least they have years of income ahead of them before it becomes an issue.

    And ciggies- imagine raising tax on them by 20p a pack 50 years ago- would have been a monoshambles budget back in the 1960’s and cost a government the election- how times change. Alf Garnett’s claim to be paying for the health service and smoking for Queen and country comes a step closer. Actually it doesn’t as more people give up and tax revenues remain static but £12b a year to find from other sources if everyone gave up is a bit scary!

  9. Reading the small print, I’m pressed to see how many existing pensioners will benefit at all from the Budget.

    If you’ve already retired and converted your savings into an annuity, you can’t reverse that decision.

    And how many pensioners are adding £15k a year to their savings in retirement, rather than drawing down on their savings?

    It seems instead to be a budget for those in their 50s, in particular those in higher rate tax brackets with a great deal of spare cash to invest annually.

    On the other hand, the cap to the welfare budget will affect anything less well off pensioners get, other than the state pension itself.

  10. @Bill Patrick: “They had a very big mountain to climb in 2010 in terms of seats, which will almost certainly be much smaller in 2020.”

    Depends what happens should they return to opposition in 2015. They may self-destruct but by 2020 it would be 28 years without having won a majority.

  11. The days immediately following a budget are never the best to judge how it will play politically in the long term and I’m rather attracted to the time-told theory that the greater the initial rapture the more of an economic and political turkey it usually turns out to be. Osborne has got some form here and causing short term embarrassment to political opponents is never a very reliable prescription for a long term economic policy. Hubris can play poorly with the public too.

    That said, Osborne is a clever and accomplished politician and shouldn’t be underestimated. This is a political budget down to its bootstraps, designed to lay golden eggs in May 2015 with probably very little attention paid to time periods beyond that political horizon. Hence the focus on the elderly vote, conservative by inclination and more likely to vote than any other demographic group. They’ll march to the polling stations in far greater numbers than the young unemployed or insecurely employed families living near the breadline. To some extent, they can go hang.

    So, considering this budget is really a starting gun to the next election, the political ground is now being carefully and clearly staked out by the government. Get Labour’s fingerprints on all that’s gone wrong and get theirs on all that’s gone right. Old style and well worn politics but, if played skilfully, still effective come election day.

    No knock-out blow, or even a swinging left hook from Osborne yesterday, but a powerful jab nonetheless and the Tories will undoubtedly get a poll boost. The challenge for Labour is how they respond strategically and while it’s tempting for inveterate Miliband-baiters to belittle his instant response in the Commons yesterday, that pantomime matters not a jot because the real test for him and his party is how they present a credible alternative government to the electorate in May 2015. His ace card, and probably the only reason he’s still in the game really, is that he is up against a government still largely unloved and distrusted, but he needs to start trading some blows now as the serious stuff is only just beginning. The danger for him is that he’s forced on to the ropes; good for hanging on in there but not a great place to win from.

  12. Mr Nameless

    “May or Osborne could do it but neither seem particularly popular”

    Or Boris or Gove. What do you think Gove’s Eton remarks were about?

    Paddy Power have T. May at 4/1, BJ at 9/2, Gove 7/1, Osborne 11/1 as next leader (plus L Fox at 33/1!)

  13. Boris Johnson isn’t an MP and probably won’t be by the next leadership election. Cameron isn’t going to parachute him in via by-election if he’s a possible challenger.

    As for Gove, he may fire up the base but nobody outside the party seems to like him. He’d likely be quite unsuccessful electorally, but then people said that about Ed Miliband and he’s doing okay.

  14. I live in a strong Tory Area but even here UKIP has made a major change to the politics. We have had Tory Councillors go over to UKIP and with them many of the Tory Party Election Workers.
    In my village pub there was a discussion (mostly about the Budget) that went on till quite late last night.
    All of the UKIPpers were adamant that although this Budget favoured them it would not change how they would vote in future.
    They pointed out that they are STILL strongly Eurosceptic whereas David Cameron is Pro-EU and that they were not fooled by the bribe yesterday.
    One of the ladies said that if the PM and Chancellor were so keen on helping Savers and Pensioners then why didn’t he do it sooner rather than wait for an election?
    Many of them were sore that it was David Cameron’s Government that had taken away from them the Higher Age Related Tax Allowance.


    @”a government bond also paying slightly above a safe market rate.”

    You know of a safer investment than NS&I ?


    Thanks-I stand corrected.

  17. Mr N

    If Boris decides to go for it (and I’m pretty sure he will) DC would have his work cut out to stop him: he’s hugely popular in the Con Party and (for reasons of personality, certainly not attainment) in London.
    In fact I might just mosey down to Paddy Power…..

  18. Not sure BJ’s pro-immigration and pro-EU views will take him all the way.


    @”And how many pensioners are adding £15k a year to their savings in retirement, rather than drawing down on their savings?”

    I don’t think that is the point.

    Taken together with the freedom to take cash from a small pension pot this is targeted at those who do not enjoy a Defined Benefits , Index linked entitlement; but a series of smallish Defined Contribution Scheme pots from various jobs.

    A £30k pot-or three £10k pots can now be ISAd into two goes over a tax year end-in cash or equities as you choose. Or there is the Pensioner Bond with NS&I

  20. @Crossbat

    I really don’t think Osborne is anywhere near as smart as the Westminster Village bobbleheads and he himself believe.

    This whole ‘strategic genius’ aura surrounding him largely dates from the inheritance tax wheeze he pulled off in 2007. By 2010 however the Tories were backpedalling away from it.

    That’s Cameron & Osborne in a nutshell. Good tacticians, but haven’t got a clue about strategy. It’s important not to overestimate their genius, because overestimating one’s opponents is just as dangerous as underestimating them.

  21. I was looking at the Topline voting intentions for Europe this morning…
    It must be very difficult for Cameron right now. Every time he tries to move the Tory Party towards the centre of politics his Right Wingers pull him back. Now he has to “out right wing” UKIP as well.
    He can give all the tax advantages etc. he likes to the minority at the top of the economic pile but minorities do not win you an election.
    I am reminded of the quotation (I think it was Abraham Lincoln) that said,
    “God must love the common man, he made so many of them.”
    There are not many common men at Eton are there?

  22. Apparently it’s all down to this bloke:

    “He’s the top economic adviser to George Osborne, and the man some call the ‘real Chancellor’ and ‘the most important man you’ve never heard of’.”


  23. Trying to get a feel for numbers on the pensions front :-

    The numbers contributing, or having contributions paid into a scheme (active members),in 2012 was 7.8 million ( 12.2 million at the peak in 1967.)

    5.1 million active members were in public sector schemes ( Defined Benefits) , and 2.7 million** were in
    private sector schemes.( mostly Defined Contributions now.)

    The total number of preserved pension entitlements s (members who are no longer actively contributing
    into the scheme but have accrued rights that will come into payment at normal pension age).was 10.2 million in 2012.
    3.7 million of these were in the Public Sector ( Defined Benefits Schemes)
    6.5 million** were in the Private Sector . These will be preserved rights in closed DB Schemes, and Pots from prior membership of DC Schemes.

    ONS Occupational Pension Schemes
    Survey, 2012

    ** These will include GOs Budget target -but ONS does not provide the DB element of Private Sector Preserved entitlements which would not be affected by the reforms.

  24. @Crossbat11

    “The danger for him is that he’s forced on to the ropes; good for hanging on in there but not a great place to win from”

    Rope-a-dope worked well for Ali – and Milliband the Younger has shown some form in that tactic in the past (energy price freeze)


    “Not sure BJ’s pro-immigration and pro-EU views will take him all the way”

    I’m sure Boris could find a way to change his principles if necassary

  25. @ Colin
    You know of a safer investment than NS&I ?”

    Obviously not. What I meant was, & perhaps I did express myself with less than my usual immaculate clarity, was that pensioner bonds offer merely a modest premium on existing safe investments.

    My point was that I’m not excited to learn that the real rate of interest on cash savings will continue to be 0%.

    I am not dependent on this type of savings but millions of people are: they feel the pinch & continue to do so. They need a rate rise of 2% to prevent the attrition of their savings, one which has intensified in the last year or two as rates have plummeted.

    The fact that the media are so excited about the “savers’ budget” shows the pitiful level to which expectations have fallen.

  26. ROBBIE

    Obviously all savers are waiting for an interest rate rise.

    But that’s in Carney’s hands -not GO.

    Meanwhile the rates NS&I will offer on the two Pensioner Bonds are better than you can get in the market-unless you really want a 1 year Bond with The Islamic Bank of Britain at 1.9% pa **

    **Money.co.uk this morning.
    Top rate-I year Deposit.

  27. @ Colin
    “Obviously all savers are waiting for an interest rate rise.
    But that’s in Carney’s hands -not GO.”

    Exactly. So why should I, or they, get excited about the budget!

  28. ROBBIE

    No reason for you to get excited-perish the thought.

    But GO’s measures are of benefit to savers & active members / members with preserved rights of Defined Contribution pension schemes.

    What’s not to like for those people ?

  29. I’d gently suggest that

    1) The emotional reactions of entrenched partisans to a budget by an enemy chancellor are not that interesting. Osborne could have given everyone in the country a pony and we’d still be saying “These ponies are ponies for the rich! Where are ordinary people meant to keep them when they’re being driven from their homes by the Bedroom Tax!?”

    2) Insofar as Ukippers are entrenched partisans, this means the Budget is likely to fail at its political purpose. But Osborne isn’t after Guy or Robbie’s vote.

  30. @ Crossbat 11,

    that pantomime matters not a jot because the real test for him and his party is how they present a credible alternative government to the electorate in May 2015

    Agreed. I think Miliband’s, er, unusual response yesterday was actually a sign of how confident he is that he’s going to win- it had a distinct vibe of “I don’t have to play the game on Budget Day because I’ve seen the toxicity polling, and I know reminding people George Osborne is a Tory by repeating the word fifty times is a more effective attack than complaining about any specific policy.”

    I suppose it neatly exposes what a farce the whole Budget pantomime is, but I’m rather irritated with him. It’s the first time I’ve seen something from Labour that looks like a 35% strategy. The response to the Budget is the Opposition’s big chance to set the media agenda about it, and not bothering to make one because you know you have 35% of the vote in the bag from ABT is just lazy and complacent. He couldn’t have anticipated the pensions changes but it would have been easy enough to do a “Here’s all your ‘rebalancing the economy’ initiatives from the last three budgets, here’s how well they’ve worked, why should we believe you this time?” speech.

  31. @spearmint

    Miliband does something similar with the EU argument. Both are easier than having to come up with things open to scrutiny, and both are easily forgotten or deflected as non-arguments later down the line.

    I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s a strategy. Strategies tend to be things which propel forward, unless we’re talking WW1 trench warfare strategy.

    I understood the point of it all, and while most of it was plain old ‘nasty Tory party’ jibes, the one about a ‘race to the bottom’ had me falling off my chair.

    Forgetting the partisan leanings of the source, see the comparisons with previous budgets:


    I think Miliband knew there would be a neutral to positive budget, and prepared a catch-all, have at the source, rather than the content, as the content is hard to criticise without the detail losing the audience.

  32. @AW

    Moderated again. A hint as to the cause might help me avoid it in future.

  33. Roger H,

    Actually, the Tories performance is similar to Labour’s wilderness years, except if Labour had been in a position to go into coalition with the LDs in 1992 as the Conservative vote didn’t hold up so well in that election. And, most surprisingly, despite the rise of UKIP the Tories look likely to do only slightly less well in 2015 than in 2010, which is bizarre for a party governing during austerity and is very hard to explain.

    My point was that they have a smaller mountain to climb. Whether the climbing party gets along is another question!

  34. Bill Patrick

    Returned home to find there is a new thread, but yes I agree with your outlook, but time will tell.

  35. @statty

    re: autoschmod…

    the word “famili-ar was in the link…

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