YouGov have some polling out on attitudes towards the government’s tax credit changes – full tabs are here. They suggest that the policy is seen as unfair, and seen as likely to have a negative financial effect upon most recipients… but people are evely divided on whether it should go ahead.

Overall the changes are seen as unfair by 46% of people, fair by 28% of people. YouGov then asked about the combined effect of the tax credit changes, the minimum wage increase and the increased tax allowances and whether it will leave different groups better or worse off. By 45% to 1% people think they will leave those out of work worse off, by 57% to 13% they will those on the minimum wage will be worse off, by 53% to 7% they think those in work and earning low wages (but above the minimum wage) will be worse off. Whatever the actual facts of whether people will be better or worse off, the government have clearly failed to convince the public that the combined effect of the policies will leave people better off.

While it was seen as unfair and bad for most of the less well off, when YouGov asked it if it should go ahead people were evenly divided. People didn’t like the principle of the changes – 53% thought they were a bad thing, only 21% a good thing. However, within that 53% of people who disapproved, 16% thought they should go ahead regardless given the state of the public finances, 37% thought they should be stopped and the money found elsewhere. Adding up those who like the changes and those who dislike them but reluctantly think they should happen brings us to 37% wanting the changes to go ahead, 37% wanting them stopped.

Of course, that doesn’t necessarily answer the real question on the extent to which the policy damages the Conservative party, and George Osborne in particular. Currently we are still talking about a political row within Westminster that most people will pay relatively little attention to (the survey found 15% of people saying they were playing close attention to the story… and it’s likely polls over-represent those who pay attention to politics anyway). If the changes go through though the political impact will be on the number of people who actually see their income fall… assuming, of course, that they are still sore about it in four years time and it hasn’t been dulled by the passage of time. There is a good reason why politicians implement the unpleasant and unpopular decisions they want to make early in the Parliamentary term.

On other matters, Ipsos MORI have their monthly political monitor in today’s Evening Standard. Topline voting intentions are CON 36%(-3), LAB 32%(-2), LDEM 10%(+1), UKIP 12%(+5), GRN 3%(-1). Labour and the Tories are both down, with UKIP popping up to the sort of level that we’re used to seeing in other polls, but which is unusually high from MORI this year. Full tabs are here.


66 Responses to “YouGov on tax credits & latest MORI voting intentions”

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  1. Machiavellian 2

    If I was Labour and I genuinely wanted the House of Lords to be abolished then I would have voted for the fatal motion, thus forcing DC to appoint hundreds of peers so bringing about Lords destruction or to reform the Lords

  2. @ Couper 2802

    Your IVR theory is interesting but I’m not sure it holds water.

    Individual Voter Registration is a LibDem initiative. They are unlikely to vote down their own initiative. The Tories probably don’t need Labour to be looking at squirrels to get IVR through the Lords.

  3. I doubt if an unelected Lords has anything to fear from a regime in the Commons with only 37 % of the vote and more than a few unhappy backbench ” supporters “

  4. Wolf

    “I thought they were dead” is the motto of the House of Lords.

    Though as Cameron and Clegg have been filling up the benches with cronies, donors, office staff or anyone who they once met at a party, “I never knew they existed” is becoming more common.

  5. AW
    “Always best to ignore the crossbreaks in individual voting intention polls. That way madness lies.”

    That rather begs the question: in that case, why print them?

    If I may suggest why, it is that sanity lies in the rationality of the beliefs or mythoology we live and think by, not “the facts” the search for which would indeed lead to madness.
    We do in reality have the capability to follow cross breaks for age, occupational and gender groups and to factor in 6/7% MOIs – and even to be aware of bias in our attempts to communicate our own conjectures. And it’s fun and blogwisely sociable.

  6. Sorry, incomplete name in my 5.54 post

    AW
    “Always best to ignore the crossbreaks in individual voting intention polls. That way madness lies.”

    That rather begs the question: in that case, why print them?

    If I may suggest why, it is that sanity lies in the rationality of the beliefs or mythoology we live and think by, not “the facts” the search for which would indeed lead to madness.
    We do in reality have the capability to follow cross breaks for age, occupational and gender groups and to factor in 6/7% MOIs – and even to be aware of bias in our attempts to communicate our own conjectures. And it’s fun and blogwisely sociable.

  7. The composition of the Lord’s always looked like a problem in waiting and their lordships may regret showing their hand too early in the parliament. I do expect something to happen to change things there. As for Osborne, he has shown himself to be very resilient and has shrugged off setbacks all through his career. I have no doubt that the bulk of the tax credit changes will happen.

    There may well be some temporary reaction in the polls, but people’s memories are short and the Autumn statement may well take over as the political talking point quite quickly. The EU referendum will soon drown out all other noise in any case.

  8. GO went out of his way to give a balanced budget. Cuts yes, but the living wage, increases in middle class tax with the dividend tax and extra tax on landlords, and also getting rid of non doms. But all that is getting fixed in the public’s mind is the cut to tax credits. This will have long term implications of voter perception of GO, and therefore is ability to get the top job; and also on the Conservatives in their quest to be appreciated as CENTRE/right.

  9. If even now, the public is roughly evenly split over whether tax credits should go ahead or not, if Osborne introduces some sort of longer taper to the changes, as he has hinted, there will probably be a majority in favour.

  10. couper2802

    Your theory is similar to ones I have considered, even though denials abound from the key individuals, but I wonder if we are both making the mistake of assuming that this was GO’s cunning plan all along when perhaps he simply fell into a trap of his own making. Hard to say really without being a fly on the wall. Some Cabinet Ministers, in the high of the aftermath of the election win, repeated this ”get the tough decisions out the way early” mantra and GO seems to have agreed. But it has ended up as a piece of bad politics. Certainly the Lords seem to have saved the Government from itself. There has been a huge amount of chatter about the issue on Conservative minded sites / forums and anecdotally it seems to me that those who disapprove of the speed and scale of GO’s plans are more numerous than those in support. Hard to take the country with you when you can’t take your party with you. More MPs than have thus far gone public seem increasingly unhappy.

    On your thoughts on the Scottish subsample, indeed the SNP remain far off in first place where they will stay for some time and I share your suspicion that the ”direction of travel” (to use an AS phrase) could be for the Scots Tories to supplant Labour as the main opposition to them. RD’s strategy seems to be to portray the Scots Tories as as much of an alternative to the SNP as possible while LIS’s strategy seems to be to try to be as similar to the SNP as they can. It will be interesting to see which strategy is more successful!…

  11. @Roll A Hard Six

    I think GO possibly did fall into ‘get hard decisions out of the way early’ way of thinking and the Lords have luckily handed him a get out.

    I suspect the Autumn Statement will include a taper and an eye catching policy so the debate can move on.

    Personally, I am completely against tax credits, I was when Labour ramped them up. I’d rather deal with low pay via productivity and higher wages and through the tax system.

    Our problem is low productivity we need tax breaks for capital expenditure, training etc. And we should bring back ‘the additional dependents allowance’ on top of the basic tax threshold for those with children and caring responsibilities.

  12. @Amber Star

    Paddy Ashdown is speaking against the government and is urging the Lords to defeat gov’t on IVR. So my Machiavellian theory holds water.

  13. RMJ1

    I agree I think the bulk of the tax credit changes will happen, and I don’t think this will harm Osborne very much if at all in the long run.

    COUPER2802

    Totally agree with your comments about tax credits. I too would rather deal with low pay via productivity and higher wages and through the tax system.

  14. At what point does George Osborne consider his position? Should we also give John McDonnell some credit?

  15. got to laugh at people saying its unfair that the Libs have 8 mps but 110 lords

    it is unfair, but guess what, so was getting 24% of the vote and less than 10% of the seats in the commons, or even getting 25% of the vote and getting less than 5% of the season in the commons

    what goes around comes around, shame we can have this sort of scewed result for once in the chamber that actually matters

  16. @Allan

    ” CON 36%(-3), LAB 32%(-2), LDEM 10%(+1), UKIP 12%(+5), GRN 3%(-1).”

    Not only is there a rise in UKIP, but the margin between the Tories and Labour is just four per cent…so much for the ‘unelectability’ of Corbyn.

    And while the right-wing media rail against the House of Lords, they just cannot give credit where credit is due….

    It was two Labour motions in the House of Lords that defeated the Tories’ tax credit bill. This is a triumph for Corbyn and McDonnell, though you won’t read that in our press.

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