YouGov’s first post-budget poll is in this morning’s Sun. Topline voting intentions are CON 34%, LAB 39%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 10%. Five point Labour lead is broadly normal, though obviously you want to have several polls to get an idea of whether an event has had any impact, you cannot judge on one alone.

On budget and economic questions most of the specific measures in the budget are approved of, but then, they normally are. Income tax cuts and cuts in taxes on savings and so on all get the majority support you’d expect. The the rule change on annuities is supported by 66% of people, opposed by 8%, with 26% saying don’t know. The bingo tax cut is actually the only one that gets more opposition than support – 31% support, 38% oppose.

As I wrote earlier in the week though, budgets are more than the sum of their parts. It’s not really whether people approve of all the fiddly little bits, it’s the overall perception of the budget that counts. On that front, it seems to be a thumbs up so far. 47% think the budget was fair, 26% unfair – YouGov ask that same question after every budget and this is the most positive since 2010. 26% think the budget will leave the country better off, 15% worse off (again, significantly better than last year – net positive this year is plus 11, last year it was minus 10). 21% think it will leave them personally better off, 18% worse off (net score of plus 3, compared to minus 20 last year).

Of course, this is just an instant response – YouGov’s fieldwork runs from about 5pm to 3pm the next day, so many of the people responding wouldn’t have seen how the budget was reported on the evening news or the next day’s newspapers. Give it a couple of days before making any firm conclusions.


190 Responses to “First YouGov post-budget poll”

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  1. Wonder why the cut on Bingo tax is opposed? I would have thought it’s probably the least objectionable thing in there.

  2. Yes -a strange reaction to the Bingo Tax-all except Con voters opposed. Their might be a Shappsian analogy there somewhere lol.

    On the whole va good reaction to the Budget-GO will no doubt be pleased.

    Back to the Jim Jam unconformity…and “waiting for next” week-the UKPR default mode. :-)

  3. Anthony – are you able to say anything about when during the 5pm to 3pm window the bulk of responses typically come? I would guess mostly in the evening but then maybe some people log in from work :)

    Colin – We poll watchers are all in this together!! Luckily there should be a slew of them at the weekend…

  4. Problem with Budget is its irrelevance to the majority of people.
    Crucial economic Q in YG poll is the last one. 53% say it will make no difference to their prosperity. By and large they are right. This was the theme that Andy Burnham stressed effectively I thought on
    QT last night. There was very little for the bottom 60%. Their real incomes have been cut and for those in the public sector at least that will continue probably for years as the unions have been left too weak to protect their members living standards. Labour know the problem but have they got the balls to insist on real wage increases to catch up ? Even if that reduces the number of low paid jobs ? Tories clearly tickling their natural supporters tummies with this budget – have Labour got the nerve to do the same ?

  5. Bingo and beer- because if we still need to make cuts, this is a waste of money and reinforces perception of rich out of touch millionaires. (1p off a pint)
    Once met a cameraman who told a revealing story about making a film about Prince Charles. After filming finished, crew were invited for drinks. Director and producer taken into one room to share wine in silver goblets. Rest of crew given beer in mugs on wooden boards in the servant’s quarters.
    The tweeted poster just confirmed the perception.BTW look out for the Orwell one.

  6. Number cruncher –

    Normally about 1100 in the evening and overnight, 600 during the day the next day

  7. @Chatterclass – that’s still very much the pattern on shooting days.

    My local was surprisingly busy on Wednesday night, and the beer reduction was treated really very scornfully.

    Interestingly, I’ve been thinking again recently about road fuel duties and come back to my view that Osborne has missed a trick. Petrol prices are at a three year low, and another 2p fall looks likely. Again, he has scrapped a due rise, which he will get no political credit for, but that leaves a hole in the finances that needs plugging elsewhere.

    I can understand the politics of avoiding rises when fuel is a hot issue, but right now it isn’t. He could have eased up duties by a penny or two, with minimal inflationary or political effect. Drop it again in future if prices shift up by all means, but in the meantime, you’ve added a little to the deficit reduction program.

    It’s clear that deficit reduction is really no longer the central theme of his tenure, at least until 2015. Getting re elected is much more important.

  8. Interesting to see that the Markit Household Finance Index dipped marginally this month, halting the four month rise. Also households prospects for the next 12 months returned to the red, after a marginal fall to 49.0 from 50.5 in the previous month. Cash availability still fell, but at the slowest pace since last August.

    If this survey is accurate, things are still getting worse.

  9. Yes it is an instant reaction, based on a limited perception of what had really been announced while the smoke and mirrors were in the process of clearing.

    From this question on approval/disapproval I’m wondering whether YouGov shared those misapprehensions:
    “Capping the total amount of money that governments
    can spend on benefits (but not including pensions or
    unemployment benefits)”

    From that question, I suspect that many who didn’t know otherwise thought that pensioner benefits generally were excluded. Yet capped benefits now include several exclusive to the over 65s – pension credit, winter fuel allowance and attendance allowance – plus others which pensioners are also eligible for.

    What might the reaction have been if the question had been phrased to emphasise the some of the benefits in the cap rather than those outside it?
    e.g. “Capping the total amount of money that governments can spend on many benefits (including child benefit, benefits to those in low paid jobs and to poorer pensioners, winter fuel allowance and benefits to disabled people)”

  10. What will be interesting is to see how much this budget moves the Tory VI in the next few days polls. Today’s YouGov and Populus polls, albeit a little early in the day, suggest no discernible effect, but I’m sure Tory strategists will be casting nervous glances at what’s to come. If there’s no significant uptick, and the positive vibes being picked for most of the budget measures don’t translate into increased Tory support, then worry beads will gather apace. Make no mistake, Osborne will be looking for most of his measures to stroke voters erogenous zones and he’ll want to see an appreciable beneficial polling effect. Forget long games and slow-burners, instant gratification will be what he’s looking for.

    If, however, it doesn’t come then more grist to the mill for the argument that something rather strange and intriguing is going on out there.

    Slightly (or totally!) off the topic of the thread, and maybe a final thought on the subject from me, but I thought there were some fine personal tributes paid to Tony Benn in the Commons yesterday. Stand out contributions for me were from Hilary Benn, for very obvious reasons, and the Tory veteran MP, Sir Peter Tapsell. Tapsell put Benn alongside Enoch Powell, Nye Bevan and Michael Foot as the finest parliamentarians of their generation.

    High praise indeed and the House of Commons at its very best. Inspiring and moving in equal measure.

  11. As an economic illiterate I would still like to comment on the response to the budget and after a day or two it seems to me that parts, at least, of the budget, are beginning to unravel.

  12. @Crossbat11 – I can’t help thinking that O will be bothered by the The Times headline today. It fits with the IFS account, and really isn’t part of the narrative he wants to project.

    I wouldn’t go as far as @Thewash and say it’s unraveling, but the macro economic picture isn’t great.

    The latest deficit figures are also worse than predicted. We were told in January to await for late tax payments in February before making too much about the weak income tax data, but now it’s in, it does seem like payroll taxes are weaker than expected.

  13. ‘As an economic illiterate I would still like to comment on the response to the budget and after a day or two it seems to me that parts, at least, of the budget, are beginning to unravel.’

    Not sure about that, I am very sure that the budget response by Miliband unravelled after a few seconds, so bad was it.

  14. I’m pleased to see the beer tax go down a penny. CAMRA have been lobbying for it.
    Whenever the tax goes up a penny its always pointed out that this will be marked up with overheads etc as 10p. So the penny, never mind no increase at all, will have an effect on prices.

    Bingo tax has gone down but the betting machine tax has gone up – so the govt are helping harmless socialble ‘gambling’ at the expense of shocking attictive gambling. All the posters sneering are showing how ignorant and out of touch they are. Why should BINGO be taxed at all??

    The govt inherited a shattered economy and a massive deficit. This is not a bad budget and it is doing something big to encourage peoiple to save for their pensions.

  15. Anthony – Thanks, that is very helpful

    Alec – The monthly deficit numbers are so volatile and the seasonal patterns so unstable that the ONS doesn’t even attempt to seasonally adjust them (not even the quarterly data). Trying to infer anything from them is like taking a poll in isolation (they don’t have sampling error like polls do, but they have other sources of volatility with a similar impact). Only the yearly data is really any use.

  16. This is probably naughty as I copied FPT, but I’m eager to hear your learned views (and it is budget related, not Scottish!):

    Just a thought…
    All these silly little pension pots (a la Jim Jam), poor value perceived on management of same and poor value on annuities.
    When I was running a small pension scheme it came to my notice that the Danish Government (?) were starting to market a scheme here which charged a fixed fee of £x per annum per pensioner irrespective of the size of the pot. Even for our very young and small scheme this was dramatically less of a charge than we could get in the ‘normal’ market and it would become ridiculously cheap by comparison as pension pots built up. We didn’t do anything about it as other changes overtook us.
    What’s not to like about this proposal:
    – the government offers a similar scheme open (but not mandated) to all employers running a pension fund. This is placed in a non-profit company guaranteed by the govt but with extensive governance arrangements for participants, employers and great-and-good NEDs
    -Anyone with a pension pot has the option to transfer it/them into this scheme
    -Scheme offers annuities (properly evaluated by actuaries) to holders of pension pots in the scheme (and perhaps pots outside it) in competition with private sector providers
    I can see a variety of benefits which would flow from this. Why don’t Lab cook up something like this?

  17. @Hookeslaw
    At the risk of being boringly repetitive, last year’s 1p cut lasted 6 weeks in my boozer before being superseded by an 11p rise, followed 6 months later by another 10p rise.
    So despite his nibs’ efforts the price of beer went up by 7 point something percent over the year, which makes a 0.3% reduction a touch academic.
    FWIW I agree with you about the govt doing the right thing hurting shocking addictive gambling but the Bingo change is pure politics – turned into a shot foot by Master Shapps

  18. Has Populus been posted here already? Missed it if so –

    Lab 38
    Con 34
    LD 9
    UKIP 12
    SNP 3
    Grn 2
    PCY 1
    Other 1

  19. Mr Fisher was on DP today. Seems like a nice man. Thinks his model is better than the Bookies.

  20. Alec

    “It’s clear that deficit reduction is really no longer the central theme of his tenure, at least until 2015. Getting re elected is much more important.”

    Sadly that’s the problem with Democracy. If he had cut twice as deeply early in the Parliament the economy would be in a much better state now and re-election easier.

  21. ALEC

    @” We were told in January to await for late tax payments in February before making too much about the weak income tax data, but now it’s in, it does seem like payroll taxes are weaker than expected”

    “Income tax reported in February 2014 increased by £0.5 billion, or 2.8% compared to the same month last year.”

    “In February 2014, central government accrued current expenditure was £53.8 billion, which was
    £3.9 billion, or 7.8%, higher than February 2013”

    ONS
    Public Sector Finances, February
    2014

    Spending is the problem-not tax revenues.

  22. Phil Haines

    ““Capping the total amount of money that governments
    can spend on benefits (but not including pensions or
    unemployment benefits)”

    I would like to see a legal cap set on the total expenditure of governement, at a level considerably less than it is now.

  23. ALEC

    @” I can’t help thinking that O will be bothered by the The Times headline today.”

    Eh ??

    Which edition is that.

    Mine says “Voters back Osborne’s pensions revolution”
    on the front page.

    ………and inside there’s an article entitled “One by one, Labour is losing the arguments”. I won’t mention the author because he gets rude remarks about 80s Rock Drummers & Tony Blair when I do.

    [snip]

  24. @TOH

    “If he had cut twice as deeply early in the Parliament the economy would be in a much better state now and re-election easier.”

    “I would like to see a legal cap set on the total expenditure of governement, at a level considerably less than it is now.”

    Any comment I made in response would go into moderation.

  25. The problem with “legal” caps is, as we have seen with the shameful changes to the Civil Service Compensation Scheme, anything “legal” can be changed by Parliament and even made retrospective.

  26. I am pondering the hundred pints of beer I need to drink I order to save one of those nice new pound coins for my pocket.

    My opinion on the detail of the budget matters not it’s public opinion that will matter. I actually think the pension changes are bold on many levels but recent history of consumer behaviour over property equity hardly makes one feel that we will behave more responsibly with these assets. My guess will be that a significant numbers over time will spend their gains rather than investing them wisely. I know many struggle just choosing how to invest their pension contributions in defined benefits schemes.

    Still once we start down that road the case for and/ or the ongoing basis for treating pensions as a tax deductible saving will not be sustainable in the longer term. At the end it may go the way of mortgage interest tax relief which did so much to fuel the growth post war in home ownership.

    This reform is like demutualising building societies or privatising public monopolies – it sounds attractive but it will necessarily benefit the better educated and better organised and in the longer term . Jam today and gruel tomorrow …..

  27. Quite a few people have commented on Miliband’s Budget response. Apparently it has been custom and practice for the Leader of the Opposition to receive an advance copy of the Chancellor’s speech – with market sensitive sections redacted. This year no advance copy was forthcoming – and there was no warning of the government’s intent. I imagine that such an act of discourtesy will be well remembered and used as a precedent to discomfort future Tory leaders.

  28. ‘Colin – you’ve done exactly what I was saying not to do – taken one month in isolation. The January figures were poor, so we were told to wait for late declarations of income in February. These were marginally up, but nowhere near enough to balance the unexpected fall in January.

    The tax take figures from income don’t (at this stage) appear to match the notion that there is a huge increase in viable employment.

    Indeed, these figures would tend to give some credence to the notion that employee numbers are falling – as the ONS said yesterday.

  29. @Guymonde – that’s exactly the kind of thing I’ve been banging on about for some time now. Around the time Gladstone was PM, the PO offered secure and good value annuities, but were forced to stop after pressure from the banks and finance houses. Labour could resurrect something similar.

    Alongside such a scheme that you highlight, I would also suggest Labour could look at doing something similar with asset release from property. With increasing value locked up in property, state supported schemes to allow good value and secure income draw down would help solve the pensions gap.

    Of course, this comes at the expense of inherited wealth, but again, once such a system is established and trusted, it could become normal for mortgage payments to partly at least, double as part of you retirement package.

    There is a great deal of scope for imaginative government thinking out there, but I see very little evidence that the Tory position contains much imagination.

    Essentially they appear hidebound by the finance industry. Government needs to tackle this industry, which everyone recognises hasn’t been functioning, but I don’t know yet if Labour have the Balls, as it were.

  30. ‘Why should BINGO be taxed at all??’

    Why shouldn’t it ? Surely it would be unacceptable for businesses not to pay taxes ?

    The punters aren’t taxed on their winnings – it’s a business tax & all other businesses have to pay taxes on their profits & Bingo halls should be no different.

  31. @Graham

    Indeed – and, furthermore, it seems sympathetic voices had been primed that the Labour leader might not be able to deliver an effective response. You have to take your hat off to the Chancellor for a cunning ruse there and he seems to have extracted a good deal of political advantage from it.

    However, I think it will go down as one of the things that seems clever at the time but may not in the long term. Should Labour win in 2015 the next Tory leader – who may be Osborne himself – is going to suffer for it.

  32. I thought I saw Ed Balls holding a document entitled Spring Budget 2014. If so, the Labour party received an advance copy although whether it included the ‘surprise’ elements regarding pensions is unknown. If they did receive a copy, Milliband’s speech was pathetic.

    What was clear, however, watching the opposition benches was that they thought that their fox had been shot.

  33. Does the ‘Latest Voting Intention’ only get updated when there is a lower Labour lead?

  34. Graham/Chris –

    I think it’s been rather overblown, or over-interpreted. It comes from one unnamed quote from someone in the Labour team, while a similarly unnamed quote from Osborne’s team says they’ve never done that in previous years either, and when Alistair Darling was Chancellor he didn’t do it either.

    The other party leaders do get some stuff an hour or so in advance, but if I recall correctly it’s some redacted parts of the budget document itself, not a copy of the speech – hence the reason Chancellors often announce the big thing right at the end of their speech (Osborne with pensions this week or, for example, Brown’s 2p basic rate cut). It’s not just the drama of ending on a high… it’s to make it as tricky as possible for the leader of the opposition to respond.

    Many years ago – well 16 years ago – I did the running about for William Hague when he responded to Gordon Brown’s first full budget. A couple of hours before the budget speech the opposition leaders get an envelope of, if I recall correctly, rather sparse economic data from the budget – delivered cloak and dagger style (myself and someone from Paddy Ashdown’s office had to meet someone from Brown’s office underneath the statue of William Pitt in St Stephen’s Chapel). I then dashed that back to all the Tory party’s economic people who were camped in the Shadow Cabinet room behind the speaker’s chair to try and fillet what they could from it in an hour. During the speech itself they quickly worked out responses to what Brown was saying, which I then rushed up the corridor on little bits of paper to be passed to William on the front bench. Thus is the way these things are done.

    All very silly of course. There’s no good reason at all for the Leader of the Opposition to have to go through the annual rigmarole of having to listen to the budget and then respond on the spot, without any warning or direct access to economic advisers. It would be far better all round if they were given access shortly before to compose a proper critical response (if they are that worried about market sensitive info, they could even physically lock them in a room with it for two hours before!), but a lot of the traditions of Parliament owe more to high drama then any sense of good governance.

  35. @Anthony

    “…I did the running around for William Havue…”

    Crikey, you get all the best jobs, don’t you??

    What have you done wrong in a previous life ?? Lol

  36. @ Graham,

    I know, but I’m increasingly convinced there was still no excuse for the speech he gave. There are two things he could have done without advanced sight of the budget, both of which would have been a) more effective, b) less discourteous to Parliament, c) less provocative to the lobby, and d) objectively better than his response.

    1) The parts of the Budget about rebalancing the economy were extensively trailed, not in the detail but in the principle. At every budget Osborne trumpets his new rebalancing measures, and every year he comes back and announces a new set and never speaks of the last set again because they were a dismal failure.

    This is a very easy attack line, and it simultaneously plays into Labour’s overall economic narrative, attacks the Government’s record for economic competence and defends the last Labour Government’s record for economic competence (because a lot of their rebalancing measures were working before Osborne scrapped them). There is good no reason not to use it. It should have been in his speech regardless of what he thought the main thrust of the Budget might be.

    2) He is fourteen months away from a general election. Labour should be starting to set out its prospectus for government. It’s all very well to say the Budget has nothing in it for the majority because it was written by public schoolboys and Labour could do better, but now it’s time to produce the goods. He should have presented an alternate budget in that speech, in broad outline if not precisely costed. He should have been doing this anyway, regardless of what was in Osborne’s budget.

    I think the takeaway message from Bingogate and Miliband’s response is the same: neither failure was significant or likely to impact the polls in itself, but both suggest worrying gaps that need to be filled before the general election.

  37. And I certainly hope a Labour Government won’t adopt this Government’s customary discourtesy to the Opposition and Parliament. The Opposition is a government-in-waiting- we want to know what they think of the Budget so we can decide what to think of them. Hiding it from them to score political points just tempts the Leader of the Opposition to waste everyone’s time with a party political broadcast like Miliband did on Wednesday.

    Although I take Anthony’s point that wasting everyone’s time with nonsense is a longstanding parliamentary tradition. ;)

  38. @COLIN

    “Eh ??

    Which edition is that.

    Mine says “Voters back Osborne’s pensions revolution” on the front page.”

    ——-

    Over at the Beeb where they look at the days headlines, it says it was an earlier Times headline, then they changed it…

  39. So the secrets out Anthony delivered the beer all those years ago – no wonder Hague had the time for 16 pints and could apparently complete the task.

  40. It turns out that contrary to all precedent, Miliband wasn’t given an advance copy of Osborne’s speech.

    http://politicalscrapbook.net/2014/03/dirty-tricks-osborne-stitches-up-miliband-by-witholding-speech/

    And, in turn, that sets a precedent for the future.

  41. @Spearmint – I honestly can’t see what the fuss is about re Ed’s speech. I think it’s pretty preposterous to suggest he should use his response to set out some kind of alternative policy framework – would just get completely buried in the noise – a useless blowing of media opportunity. You do these things when people are listening to you – not to analysis the budget.

    Ed’s speech came across reasonably well in the snippet covered on the news, which is the important bit. It says nothing about anything, and has no effect on voters.

  42. @CROSSBAT11

    “Crikey, you get all the best jobs, don’t you??

    What have you done wrong in a previous life ?? Lol”

    ——–

    He has to spend his days modding us lot now though, over and over, like Sisyphus, only brought up to date for the era of “new media”. Karma and all that. I’m wondering what the storage voting demographic did wrong, for whom there was NO HELP in the budget…

  43. Eds response will have miniscule impact on polls with the only possible impact imo being an effect on the morale of respective back-benchers.

    The serious point is whether the ‘cost of living’ crisis will have sufficient if any potency by the time of the GE.
    There is debate about the spread of benefit but assuming for now that the typical working family will experience real terms increases from sometime in the second half of this year through to the GE, will they feel better off.

    Again, assuing non interest rates rises, patently typical families would have more to spend so should feel better off.

    In recent years, however, many people would have put off fixing that gate or put up with a tired carpet or got by with a fridge that does not work that well.
    I think in many cases extra disposable income will be used for stuff put off that little of the extra will finds its way in to an improvement in daily living standards.

    (in other words family capital spending cut when real wages depressed so as they recover overdue capital spending comes first)

    Of course the multiplier will help but believe the best argument for the Tories will be less about what they have delivered but about what they can claim to be on its way – so don’t let Labour put at risk.

    In short I think are you better off than 5 years ago will have plenty of traction still.

  44. “Not sure about that, I am very sure that the budget response by Miliband unravelled after a few seconds, so bad was it.”

    Hi Bernard, and all the other ‘Ed was crap’ posters I’ve scrolled down since to see,

    I didn’t know Ed hadn’t been sent any material on Osborne’s speech, but I thought he did rather well in the circumstances anyway. He couldn’t plug his own policies or set out his alternative agenda, because the answer to Osborne’s ‘the economy is on the mend’ massage can only be a nuanced one right now. It’s not for the bear garden.

    What Ed M’s reply to the Budget did was mark it down as what Ed M believed it to be, i.e. (rightly or wrongly) window dressing and waffle. His, ‘Yes, so, you’ve heard it all before, they line their pockets, you don’t’ won’t have carried the day, but it did create a ‘we non-Tories don’t have to pay a lot of attention to this’ message, which is part of the mood music he was aiming to play overall. The Budget favours the government when bearing gifts – economic strategy was nowhere on display here – so it’s not a bad response to say “timeo”.

  45. @Jim JAm

    1) Does anybody know whether wage increases are set to beat RPI as well as CPI?

    2) If they beat CPI but not RPI, what’s the effect on actual real people?

  46. @ Alec,

    The fuss is because he didn’t actually mention the Budget! I agree, it’s not a huge deal, and Labour probably did a calculation that said “It’s better to have ‘Eton mess!’ in the five second news soundbite than anything of substance,” and they probably aren’t wrong about that. But surely that’s a depressing reflection on the state of politics.

    I’m not saying they should use it to announce a new policy- that would be daft; the announcement would just get swamped by the pensions changes- but they already have an alternate budget framework. It would have looked much more serious to present that alongside the complaints about how out of touch the Government is.

    @ Jim Jam,

    Agreed. Plus all the public sector workers are still getting a real terms wage cut- the number of households in which at least one earner is suffering from that must be huge.

  47. @Spearmint

    What with this karma thing going round Crossbat was on about I’m not taking any chances!!

  48. @AW
    Isn’t discussing Ed Miliband’s performance yesterday ,or George Osborne’s, come to that, akin to discussing how they come across at PMQs?

  49. @AW

    isn’t discussing Ed Miliband’s performance yesterday, or George Osborne’s come to that, akin the weekly Wednesday afternoon ritual?

  50. Valerie – indeed, can we stop it please

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