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. @Jim JAm
    “1) Does anybody know whether wage increases are set to beat RPI as well as CPI?”

    The graph on the link here answers your question. Real average earnings are expected by the OBR to exactly match RPI from now to 2019. That is, they will remain about 9% below their 2009 peak.

    http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2014/03/why-miliband-right-keep-banging-about-living-standards

    At the same time, the IFS expects inequality to rise to 2015/16.

  2. Sorry, that should be “the increase in average earnings is expected by the OBR to exactly match RPI from now to 2019”. Meaning that real average earnings will be unchanged and about 9% below their 2009 peak.

  3. JIM JAM

    Found your numbers-answer on previous thread.

  4. MRNAMELESS

    In a way you’re right, it is an inoffensive tax change – but the underlying message is read that those chappies up norf will not be tempted to vote Ukip if they don’t tax whippets, mushy peas and flat caps.

    [snip]

  5. GUYMONDE

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

    From OBR commentary on the Budget :-
    Yr./CPI/Average earnings growth.

    2014 1.9 / 2.5
    2015 2.0 /3.2
    2016 2.0 / 3.6
    2017 2.0 / 3.7
    2018 2.0 / 3.8

    On RPI , OBR says this :-

    The calculation of RPI inflation in the UK does not meet international statistical standards, but we continue to produce RPI forecasts as they are necessary inputs in our fiscal forecasts. The method of calculation drives a wedge between RPI inflation and CPI inflation (the ‘formula effect’) and leads RPI to overstate inflation. The RPI also includes mortgage interest payments (MIPs), council tax and housing depreciation, which are not included in the CPI
    RPI inflation averaged 2.6 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2013, compared to our December forecast of 2.8 per cent. The lower RPI figure was driven by items contributing to lower CPI inflation as well as lower-than-expected housing depreciation.
    In the first quarter of 2014, we expect RPI inflation to fall back for the same reasons as CPI inflation. Over 2014, a rise in housing depreciation (resulting from higher house price inflation) boosts RPI inflation relative to CPI inflation. From 2015 onwards, market-derived
    Bank Rate expectations imply that mortgage interest rates will rise, pushing RPI inflation towards 4 per cent at the end of the forecast period. As with the path of CPI inflation, the path of RPI inflation is below that of the December forecast in the near term, but similar in
    the medium term. “

  6. A new poll by YouGov, which showed people the picture tweeted by Mr Shapps, finds that the negative response was not exclusive to twitter.

    54% have a negative reaction to the image, while 28% react neutrally and 14% react positively.

    Although the biggest reaction amongst conservatives is neutral (38%), more (36%) have a negative reaction than a positive one (24%).

    The poll also finds that only 8% of people play bingo more than once a year, while 4% play it once a year and 9% play it every few years.

    There is a slight variation in frequency of bingo playing by income. 12% of those earning under £25,000 play it more than once a year, as do 9% of those earning between £25,000-£39,000, 6% in the £40,000-59,999 bracket and 4% of those earning £60,000 or more.

  7. Crossbat11
    Hopefully you did not see my post yesterday, I think I lost a day somewhere. With Mrs H abroad, but expected back today, I think I got a little confused. However, I still think the first poll after the budget is still too soon to be significant in that way and Anthony’s answer, on when fieldwork submissions are made, proved that.

    The eagle has now landed so I am hopeful sanity (mine) will be regained.

  8. David
    If any of those well off pensioners go on, say, two cruises p.a , they will have played bingo, as there is nothing else to do except eat.

  9. @AW

    “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”

    So, essentially, most of this parliamentary tradition stuff originates from the fact that someone really liked spy novels once upon a time? ;)

  10. Thanks Colin and Carfew FPT.

  11. Back in the realms of the rare policies that unequivocally have an effect on VI, the student loan system is under heavy, sustained and probably fatal attack.

    http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/massive-budget-hole-predicted-as-rab-charge-rises/2012189.article

    (I wouldn’t be too trusting of the Guardian reports on the subject as they have, to put things delicately, made some statements that cannot be backed up).

    I feel a little sorry for the Lib Dems. This is the policy that they crashed their support for and, er, it doesn’t look like it will outlast them in Government.

  12. Alec,
    I absolutely agree with your 3.10 post.Even if EM had been delivering the 10
    commandments he would not have been heard above the racket .The brief
    Clip I heard was that this was a budget by the privileged,for the privileged ,
    [Snip – AW] No doubt this will be moderated. [Well, yes, of course it was because it broke the comments policy – AW]

  13. Sorry, I realise I’ve been unduly harsh on the Guardian there. Rather say that they’ve indulged in speculation that I think is inaccurate.

  14. Very interested to see how this will play out in the polls in the coming weeks.

    I had a positive feeling from the budget and I am already looking forward to the income tax cut lined up for the 2015 budget.

    I can see the polls being <2 points come July.

  15. No one outside Westminster ever cared about any post-Budget speech or could tell you whether Miliband’s latest was better or worse than any previous examples.

  16. @Chris Riley,

    This is one of those policies where I’ve had the worst possible timing for being on the receiving end.

    Might give Labour some ammunition (and a chance to unveil their policy on fees, which I’m not sure they’ve stated).

  17. Thanks to Colin and Phil H for answering my (not Jim Jam’s) Q1.

    It seems that on the RPI measure earnings, having declined 6 or 7% under this government, are now set to bump along the bottom with no real increase until 2019 at least.

    What I’m not clear about is how RPI (which we have used since Noah was a boy, until recently) differs from CPI. I have an idea of the technical differences, and I’m aware that CPI is said to have more relevance to international standards, but I’m interested in what all this means to – to coin a phrase ” the pound here in Britain, in your pocket or purse or in your bank”

    If, as I suspect but don’t know, people’s perceptions of the cost of living are closer to RPI than CPI that might have quite an effect on VI. Though actually, between here and next May, I very much doubt there will be appreciable feelgood factor derived from a rise in earnings v CPI – or any other measure – of about half a percent.

    Oh, and for my price of beer watchers – no change in my local. Looks like they’ve pocketed the 1p.

  18. The National Union of Teachers is calling on its members at all schools and sixth form colleges to take action on Wednesday. DT suggesting 10,000 schools will be affected.

    I have two grandchildren at Sixth Form Colleges-working to get their offer grades at A level.

  19. @Blueblob – “I had a positive feeling from the budget and I am already looking forward to the income tax cut lined up for the 2015 budget.”

    Seriously? You really are looking forward to getting an extra £1.92 per week in a years time?

    Especially when the actual (real terms) raise is a cool £1.15 per week? [Inflation means the tax threshold should increase by £200 anyway, so the saving is only actually 20% of £300…].

    I’m constantly amazed at what floats people’s boats, but I personally would struggle to get over excited about half a small Costa’s coffee a week in thirteen months time.

  20. But Alec, £1.15 is a whole loaf of bread & sometimes you can even get change ! How much it will cost in a years time is as yet unknown.

    Exciting times (for some)

  21. @Guymonde – I think that most people will emotionally experience inflation more akin to RPI than CPI. I say this for two reasons.

    Firstly, RPI effectively includes housing costs (including council tax) plus student loan repayments, whereas CPI does not. Most of us have some housing costs, so it seems fair to assume price alterations in these will affect us.

    Secondly, RPI is an arithmetic mean, while the CPI is a geometric mean. This means (ha!) the CPI will always be lower than the RPI, even if they are measuring exactly the same thing.

    My understanding is that this is done to reflect the theory that consumers will switch to cheaper alternatives when prices rise, and so therefore the CPI is probably more likely to reflect their actual living costs.

    There is some sense in this, but in political terms, I don’t see much benefit here. If people can’t afford to buy the products they used to purchase, due to price rises, they may still feed, clothe and house themselves for a reasonable total amount, but this doesn’t mean they will ‘feel’ just as well off. In fact, switching to cheaper/poorer quality replacements may well be economically literate, but isn’t what tends to make voters feel good.

  22. Looking at the crossbreaks it is interesting how alike those intending to vote labour are to UKIP in some ways and how different in others. They are alike in their pessimism about their own personal financial prospects and those of the country. They differ in their attitudes to Balls, the welfare cap and green levies.

  23. @Howard

    “Hopefully you did not see my post yesterday, I think I lost a day somewhere.”

    No problems, and I have many a day like the one you have described! I wasn’t entirely sure myself about the timing of the fieldwork for the latest YouGov, but it would appear to have been conducted mostly post budget announcement. It is early days, and the weekend polls may give us a better picture, but I remain surprised that there doesn’t appear to have been any immediate boost for the Conservatives.

    By the way, I’m glad we both share a Mrs H, although not literally, I hope you understand! lol

  24. ALEC

    @” [Inflation means the tax threshold should increase by £200 anyway, so the saving is only actually 20% of £300…].”

    Hmmm-neatly ignoring the step changes above inflation made by the government since FY 2009/10

    So lets have another go :-

    Tax Free Allowance FY 2009/10 £6475.
    Inflated at CPI to 5/4/2015 £ 7600 ish
    Actual TFA at 5/4/2015 £10,500

    Real gain 20% X £2900 = £ 580 pa=£11.15 pw

    …and of course since this above inflation escalation, has been phased in since 2011/12 , the cumulative gain is greater.

    …and of course since average pay hasn’t kept pace with inflation-even the application of CPI understates the gain.

  25. CB11

    After a rush of blood to the head in which Mike Smithson declared GOs Budget a “narrative changer” a la IHT, this morning’s YouGov Poll seems to have converted him to your particular viewpoint:-

    “It is as though voters have already made their minds up and nothing will shift them. Maybe my prediction of yesterday that we’d see a narrowing will not be proved right.”

  26. ”Real gain 20% X £2900 = £ 580 pa=£11.15 pw”

    That’s not ‘the income tax cut lined up for the 2015 budget’.

  27. @ Colin and Alec
    Thanks!

  28. ROGERH

    Accepted-but since the last increase was part of a series , I thought it worth saying .

  29. @Alec: “My understanding is that this is done to reflect the theory that consumers will switch to cheaper alternatives when prices rise, and so therefore the CPI is probably more likely to reflect their actual living costs.”

    That would seem to benefit the rich over the poor as the former are likely to have greater scope for savings with the poorest already using the cheapest alternatives.

  30. @ Colin,

    Smithson also thought Shapps’ silly poster was a game changer.

    My conclusion here is: don’t listen to Mike Smithson.

  31. @MrNameless

    Labour’s fees policy at time of writing is still to bring them down to 6k p/a (which will significantly reduce the RAB), but the finances and politics of this are extremely complex and they’re doing more work to try to unpick it. I think (I don’t know) that’s why Liam Byrne was given the HE brief. The last thing the situation needs is for an incoming Labour Government to jerry-build a new policy too quickly. This is something that will affect the country for decades and it needs to be done properly.

  32. When does campaigning for the Euro elections start?

  33. YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST
    New Statesman today announced “The Budget Revealed Osborne’s 35% Strategy” in a piece by Marcus Roberts.

    Sharp eyed UKPR readers may have notices that on 19th March a suspiciously similar analysis was posted by our own Alec, and was swiftly named “the Tory 30%-35% strategy” by RAF.

    Are they by any chance related!

  34. Chris Riley

    Is that Labour’s policy throughout the UK?

  35. Has there really only been one VI poll since the budget ? AW implied there would be a few but I have only seen the YG one.

    Can anyone point me to any others ?

  36. To be fair I’ve looked at Smithsons post on the Shapps bingo poster and he describes it as a mistake… which considering that Cameron was probably gnashing his teeth and most talk is that Shapps can forget having any role in the election strategy is a pretty balanced comment.

  37. The Student Loan “Maths error” is likely to keep the LDs toxic and not likely to help the Con’s economic competence. Looks to me like they didn’t factor austerity into their income calculations.

    Is there a solution? Should we be going back to free but less places? What would the non-University goers do?

    Could it turn into a sort of 11 plus (the 18-plus?) With some going to university if they have the money or very high marks and the rest going to, er, retail or prison?

  38. Good Morning Nick.
    Fewer places in HE is not what the world is doing.

    Dawkins and Grayling run their New College with £20K, approx, up front fees.

    Graduate Tax is best, IMO.

    But not sure if any impact on VI.

    On the matter of Bingo and Beer: is this a sort of ‘dog whistle’ with Labour being painted as the puritanical party which knows best about how the ‘proles’ should spend their money?
    I think so:

  39. Barry – perhaps only one conducted entirely in the wake of the Budget; hopefully we’ll see a bunch published this weekend.

  40. CL1945

    @”Graduate Tax is best, IMO.”

    The current policy IS a graduate tax.

  41. Tuition fees are actually a lot like a graduate tax. The question is basically one of debt vs. equity: a graduate tax is giving up some proportion of your future income (above a certain point), whereas tuition fees are like a bond (which activates when your income rises to a certain point).

    IIRC, generally speaking selling equity is a better option (for the seller) than selling debt. In fact, a graduate tax is a particularly good option for students, in that it would presumably be impossible to tax someone who had left the country.

    Somewhere in between is a proposal variously called “higher education bonds” or “social opportunity bonds”. The idea would be that students give universties (or the government) NOT a flat fee, but a negotiable share in their future income. For example, imagine you go to York university and get a bond at 2% of your future income. If you end up earning £500,000 on average a year, then you pay 2% of £500,000 = £10,000 on average a year. Someone who earned, on average, £12,500 a year would pay £250 a year on average. Obviously, as the income got very low, it probably wouldn’t even be worthwhile for the universities to pursue it. However, just like any other debt, it would apply even if the graduate left the UK.

    This would continue the existing principle that someone should only have to pay for their higher education insofar as they end up earning money, but rather than the current system of an effective “flat tax”, would be a progressive way of linking higher education with graduate income.

    Policy Institute estimated nearly ten years ago that graduate bonds of just 2% would be sufficient to fund Scottish higher education, while 3% would be a major funding increase. (Incidentally, such a system would incentivise universities to offer high value-for-money: the more they promote the opportunities for graduates, the more they are funded. Results, rather than reputation, would be what matters in university competition.)

  42. Policy Institute called them “University Bonds”.

  43. The problem with a “graduate tax” is that simply taxing everybody a little bit more would work much better.

  44. Does anybody expect Labour to go in to the GE with a meaningful manifesto commitment on student finances|?

  45. robin

    When does campaigning for the Euro elections start?

    It already has in my area.

  46. @Colin
    “The current policy IS a graduate tax.”

    I’m a graduate. I paid zero fees and instead got a maintenance grant, despite my parents being well off.

    The current policy isn’t a graduate tax. It’s a young graduate tax. Older graduates pay nothing and never have done.

  47. Labour’s £6K tuition fees policy is still in trouble, as repayments are based on the current scheme, so contain the same fundamental flaws.

    On the university bonds idea – this reads very like many other think tank inspired policy. Philosophically sound (if you share that kind of philosophy) based on solid economic theory, and completely impractical in the real world.

    HMRC has enough problems deciding what people’s income is today, so I doubt universities would welcome having to establish what would in effect be their own revenue assessment operations, and the idea of negotiating at 18 on the basis of future earnings is difficult for all concerned. Defaults would still be an option – legally it’s very hard to see how these tings could be enforced overseas, so risk would be transferred to universities – again, something they would not appreciate.

    We need a simpler system, that provides security of funding, sufficient places, and sufficient quality.

    We’ve pretty much all accepted that the state as a whole benefits from degrees, so should contribute something, but 100% direct government funding can’t do the job. We’ve also accepted that individual students benefit disproportionately, so should contribute something extra, but at present it’s probably too much and isn’t working.

    Business repeatedly calls for better numbers and quality of graduates, but at present is the one part on the university benefit triangle that isn’t being called on to contribute. Again.

    Perhaps we should start to look at adjustments to employers NI payments as a third strand of funding. Somehow we need to allocate the costs of higher education to those bits of society who gain the financial rewards, which in my book means a three way split between the state, those who are educated and those who use employees education to make more profit.

  48. CHAR;LES
    “They differ in their attitudes to Balls, the welfare cap and green levies.”

    For a moment there I thought you said “green wellies”.
    Those also, I suppose.

  49. “@ spearmint

    @ Colin,

    Smithson also thought Shapps’ silly poster was a game changer.

    My conclusion here is: don’t listen to Mike Smithson.”

    Mike is just doing his job, as the owner of the PB site. Any site including UKPR, has to have regular new threads that provoke people to visit to read or add comments. The more people who visit, the more the advertising revenues .

    As for polling after this budget, I don’t think they will change much. I don’t think there was any particular budget measure that would change the voting intention of enough people to make a difference.

    The pension change will be popular with some, but I have a feeling that there will be a lot of people who will not be happy. If you work in the Insurance industry and your job is now at risk following the change, you might have a different view. If an annuity was going to be your choice as the best option to provide for a long retirement, it is possible that any annuities now on offer, will offer worse terms, as less people will be taking them up. The government appears to have made the announcement, without consulation, so many people are going to be very confused about their options.

    Also the governments childcare help of up to £2k, is apparently worse than the old scheme for some people. The BBC Moneybox programme will be telling parents to check which scheme is the best option for them, before they make the decision. The old scheme is still available via vouchers through employer benefit schemes.

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