The Times have a new YouGov poll in tomorrow’s paper, conducted after Wednesday’s budget. It’s not good news for George Osborne.

Every budget has positive and negative parts, and it’s the same here: some parts of Osborne’s budget are popular, some aren’t. Increasing the personal allowance is popular (83% say its a good idea), as is cracking down on international tax avoidance (81%), freezing fuel duty (74%) and the sugar tax (62%). People are more divided over the increase to the higher rate threshold (46% say it’s good, but 37% the wrong priority), and are negative about the cut in corporation tax (32% good idea, 43% wrong priority). The worst ratings are for the cuts to disability benefits for people reliant on aids or appliances. Only 13% of people support the disability cuts, 70% think they are the wrong priority at the present time, including 59% of Tory voters.

Budgets are more than just the sum of their parts of course. After each budget YouGov ask the same question about whether people think the budget was fair or unfair, this year 28% thought the budget was fair, 38% unfair. Both of last year’s budgets were seen as more fair than unfair, so were the budgets of 2014 and 2013 (past figures are all here). You have to go all the way back to 2012 to find the last time an Osborne budget was seen as unfair… the omnishambles budget. That is not a good precedent.

Meanwhile voting intention stands at CON 33%, LAB 34%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 16%. This is very much in line with the ICM poll earlier in the week that had Labour and Conservatives equal. People were understandably wary of reading too much into one poll, but we now have two polls both showing Labour and the Conservatives neck-and-neck, suggesting something is genuinely afoot.

548 Responses to “YouGov/Times budget polling”

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  1. @ Candy

    I think your example of NI proves the exact opposite of what you are saying.
    for 30 years it was treated as a purely policing / security issue without much success. It was only when John Major, followed by Tony Blair invested substantial time and effort in trying to achieve a political settlement that anything approaching peace was achieved.
    I’m no expert on NI and accept that it may be far from perfect now, but I doubt many in NI would want to return to the violence of the 70’s and 80’s

  2. Alec
    “Leave @TOH alone – he’s perfectly polite and entitled to his views. I think it’s a little naughty of people to demand that others justify why they believe what they believe, as that isn’t the point of UKPR so this is not the right forum for those point scoring debates.”
    If you don’t mind me saying, that’s somewhat hypocritical for someone who got as stuck into the scottish referendum debate quite as rigioursly as you did.
    And I would argue that whilst TOH has a right to his opinions (that are often totally unrelated to polling, such as his allotment, cricket etc), I have just as much right to challenge them.

  3. @ Alec

    ONS is preparing a nice stochastic model for immigration, but there are both theoretical (epistemological really) and political (framing) problems, so I’m not sure if methodological changes would be soon.

  4. Also, if austerity, welfare cuts and the role of the state aren’t relevant to polling, I don’t know what is.

  5. @Kentdalian

    I don’t think you clicked the link I provided.

    The NI lot are getting a terrorist attack pretty much every two weeks in 2016 – so more frequently than Brussels. Over the course of a year, the same amount of dead, and it would be worse without the efficiency of the NI police.

    Yet politics was supposed to solve it.

    The truth is that these people are thugs. Police work is the only solution.

    @LouisWalshVotesGreen – “I’m not quite sure what Sinn Fein, even those I’m no fan of their politics, are supposed to do about dissident republicans who are manifestly opposed to their participation in the Northern Ireland Executive (hence the word dissident), but hey ho.”

    Well you said that terrorism would be solved by politicians “reflecting”. The Sinn Fein people are politicians, and I’m sure they are reflecting. Bit of a turn round for you to say “not sure what they are supposed to do about it”. Why not concede that politics and “reflecting” isn’t the solution and the only thing to do is lock up thugs?

  6. @ Candy

    NI is really a bad example.

    Being in a perfectly peaceful nationalist household in NI and the house being searched in the middle of the night by the armed police did not remove any threat, and didn’t gain friends for the police, I can tell you.

    The idea of the whole thing being a police question was a glaring error, just as the assumption that the European Islamist, separatist and neonazi terrorism is a police (information services) question (while these services are needed).

  7. @ Lurkinggherkin

    Excellent point about the nature of waste, slack and flexibility. But this is an ideological and not an operational issue (although there are some overlaps).

    But it’s very alien to British business (and the civil service is happy to copy their mentality).

  8. @ Lazlo

    ” Being in a perfectly peaceful nationalist household in NI and the house being searched in the middle of the night by the armed police did not remove any threat, and didn’t gain friends for the police, I can tell you ”

    When I was at university in the early 80’s I shared a flat with someone from Londonderry who told me the exact same story.

    This must have happened time after time after time.

  9. @Laszlo

    This is 2016 – and the NI terrorism is still happening.

    If police work isn’t the answer and politics isn’t the answer (see LouisWalshVotesGreen saying “I’m not sure what Sinn Fein, [elected politicians in the NI govt], are supposed to do about it”) – then what is the answer?

  10. With Euro16 little more than 10 weeks away in France (arguably the second biggest sporting tournament in the World) the French authorities really have got their work cut out and will have to get a grip on its border with Belgium.

    The EU will surely have to dump Schengen before and during the tournament and possibly for good.

    If the attacks in Belgium today were a direct link to the arrest of the Paris terrorist then possibly the bombs used were premature and intended for a latter date during Euro16 in France.

  11. @ Candy

    I’m not trying to say that the police dont have an important role, but they are just firefighting and as brussels has shown as fast as they put out one fire another springs up, and very likely will continue to do so until the fuel that is causing the fire to ignite is removed.
    They can round up 100 terrorists but they will never know if there isn’t just one more somewhere, unless the government bring in such authoritarian measures that they and the police start to look like the people that they trying to protect the public from.

  12. Alec

    Nice of you to comment as you did, not that I needed any help.


    Glad your not upset, that was not my intention. I don’t mind being challenged at all, just don’t get annoyed if my answer isn’t what you want to hear..

  13. @Kentdalian

    There’s a lot Belgium can do without becoming authoritarian – like normal policing which hasn’t been happening there.

    Brussels, a city of 300,000, has six different police forces, all with separate regulations and who spend most of their time fighting over turf than policing. Just getting a unified force with proper command and control and communication, should do wonders. Their problem has been caused by an absence of policing resulting in lawlessness and petty crime in the area the jihadis hid out.

    See the following:

    On a polling note – the Americans have another set of primaries and caucuses tonight – and the events in Belgium should play into Trumps hands. I expect the Republican establishment is gnashing their teeth.

  14. @ Candy
    I’m happy to concede on the details of the Beligian policing system. It’s something I freely admit to knowing nothing about.

  15. @Jamie – we all stray sometimes, although I do try to frame comments with their influence on polling in mind.

    Speaking of which, this is where I think the IDS resignation letter may well hurt the most. He has extremely publicly denounced much of the Tory approach to welfare cuts. Polling wise, to date welfare cuts have been generally popular, albeit with unpopular specifics, but IDS has helped close the debate down to an extent and heighten mistrust of the Tories.

  16. Alec

    Re the IDS letter, you may be correct about that, it could have a long term effect and I am sure we both look forward to future polling on the subject with interest.

  17. @Candy, TOH, Truce? Sorry if I was a bit ratty with the comments earlier, it’s been a bit of a stressful day. I know you both have your own views on things, and even though they’re wrong (!), I can accept that your opinions are sincerely held. Maybe I should get an allotment…. or take Carfrew’s Gibson if the storage tax is costing too much……

    Just on the US primaries tonight, on the Republican side, Trump is expected to win in Arizona in any case, but in Utah they have a caucus, where Cruz is very likely to win (also, the Mormons in Utah don’t like Trump too much after he had a pop at Romney).


    Fine by me, we all have our off days. Got my planting done so I had a good afternoon.

  19. @Kentdalian

    Some of the stuff in that politico article are jaw dropping. Like this bit:


    “Belgian passports have long been prized by criminals because they give easy access not just to the Schengen zone, but to the many countries with which Belgium had visa-waiver agreements. In 1998, Belgium belatedly decided to centralize the production of passports, which had previously been a responsibility for each of the then 520 town halls. Before that, those wishing to forge passports needed only to break into some local town hall to steal blank passports.”

    End Quote

    Our silly govt signed the Single European Act and Maastricht allowing free movement of people while that was going on! When they should have been pulling out the veto and saying “are you crazy, we’re not agreeing to a thing till you get that sorted”.

    It makes you wonder what other loopholes still exist across the sprawling mess that is the EU.

  20. @Alec,

    I think it’s worth remembering that unemployment statistics are better now than they were under Labour pre-crash. I suspect that is really the heart of our productivity problem. We’re using poorly-paid labour in place of technology – partly as a result of massive immigration inflows that feed our labour supply.

    But of course we don’t live in a bubble though, and if the international economy was performing as it had been predicted to do, there would be more work for UK companies to distribute between that record number of employees and productivity would increase. I’m a great believer that the levers of power in the 21st century have only limited traction. We praise governments when things go well and condemn them when they go badly, when most of the time the broad outcome was outside their control.

  21. On Brussels / Belgium / Terrorism,

    I’ve certainly heard and read that Belgian law enforcement is of a pretty low quality, and that France regards her gallic cousin as an embarrassment and a liability.

    As for law enforcement not being the answer. I seem to remember that when intelligence services / special forces were used (Guantanamo, rendition, black ops etc) the cry was very much that law enforcement was the answer.

    I’ve yet to hear any particularly compelling description of exactly what kind of political/cultural action would prevent all terrorists from resorting to violence. Given the sort of world they seek, I expect nothing short of total surrender would do the trick, but then as the terrorists have assorted different aims, the brands that didn’t secure our surrender would probably carry on bombing and shooting anyway.

    It all smacks a bit of White Guilt to me, frankly.

  22. @ Kendalian

    You have to be careful when using Derry and Londonderry :-)

    @ Candy

    I may agree with you on a number of things (depends on the details). But the past casts very long shadows and those shadows, unfortunately, are often real, not just lights that accidentally lit up in the bogs.

  23. @ Neil A

    I’d be interested to hear of an instance where a terrorist campaign has been brought to an end by policing alone.

  24. @ Lazlo

    dont i know it ! :-)

  25. Changing back to the economy for a minute.

    The budget was approved by 310 to 275 a government majority of 35. Commenting on Osborne’s opening speech today the G’s snap verdict was ended with “ it has probably done enough to edge him out of the crisis zone and to lift his standing a little. By no means a triumph, but it could have been worse”. From that source almost praise! It seems the Tory whips managed the debate well from the governments point of view.

    But of course what will future polling show, that perhaps is more interesting.

  26. The proposed cuts were stopped and the tax cuts were still in, would have been amazed if the budget was not passed.
    But history will tell whether i was good for the country to have a tax give away at a time when we still have a huge debt

  27. @TOH

    “From that source almost praise! It seems the Tory whips managed the debate well from the governments point of view.
    But of course what will future polling show, that perhaps is more interesting.”

    Agreed. However on the premise that turkeys don’t vote for Christmas, I can’t see how any Government MP in any party at any time would ever vote down their own Budget.

    Also, correct me if I am wrong but I suspect most people minded to vote Conservative (whether they be Tories or believe in liberal economics) actually like GO as a Chancellor, although not necessarily as a future PM.

  28. @ Raf
    ” … although not necessarily as a future PM. ”

    from yougov 8% of all voters and 18% of conservative voters think GO would be up to the job of PM

  29. You’ll be glad to hear that I’ve fallen off my high horse from earlier on. Seeing as it’s too dark for gardening :) – a cold Belgian blonde is helping with the relaxation. I was just looking through Wikipedia at the opinion polls for the next election (!). The usual pattern isn’t quite there, but the monthly ICM and ComRes polls for the Guardian and Mirror respectively are continuing, and there is the addition monthly ComRes for the Mail (as well as our beloved YouGov polls). Does anyone know if there will be a ComRes/Mail poll this week? And does anyone know what has happened to Survation?

  30. Belgium is a daft country-I wonder how much of its language based intolerance , & over governed bureaucracy has contributed to the ability of terrorists to hide in plain sight & be undetected by “The Belgian State” for so long.

  31. Everyone’s an expert on Belgian policing today?

    Leaving competence to one side, there’s only one police force in Brussels – or anywhere else in Belgium – which is responsible for anti-terrorism. That’s the Federal Police. The six local police forces in Brussels (whose existence owes precisely nothing to language politics and everything to localism) do not have “lead the fight against domestic terrorism” as one of their objectives.

  32. @Angus,

    The fight against terrorism takes place at various levels. Community policing plays a significant part. If the Federal Police are disconnected from the forces actually dealing with local communities (and receiving community intelligence, recruiting informants amongst local criminal elements etc) then the effectiveness of policing is severely compromised.

    In the UK the Met has primacy in counter terrorist policing, but there are Special Branches in all of the other forces who are tasked specifically with understanding and monitoring such threats and are integrated with both their own force and with the national effort.

    I can’t speak specifically to Belgium, but I’ve certainly heard it said that their community policing is very poor, and their national intelligence effort underfunded and badly coordinated.

  33. I’ve only just dipped into this thread but, if I get the gist of it right, it looks like those bloody foreigners have gone and ballsed it up again.

    Daft countries, daft people, useless police; bloody typical.

  34. @Crossbat

    If it helps, the German BKA are a shining example of competence. And our own National Crime Agency is a pointless paper tiger.

  35. All I know about Belgian Policing is that they use “Little Grey Cells!”


  36. Crossbat11 – “I’ve only just dipped into this thread but, if I get the gist of it right, it looks like those bloody foreigners have gone and ballsed it up again. Daft countries, daft people, useless police; bloody typical.”

    You’ve summed it up!

    Seriously though – ever since the Paris attacks, the Belgians are supposed to have been on high alert.

    Yet they got attacked at an airport and a subway, public utilities.

    I can understand the French not being able to predict attacks at nightclubs and restaurants, there are so many of both, it’s impossible to have high security at them all.

    But to let an attack occur at your main international airport? Something has gone badly awry, especially as everyone and their dog knows that terrorists have a fascination for airports and public transport in general (9/11, London bombings, Madrid bombings). Y

  37. @Candy,

    In fairness, even at a state of high alert there’s not much you can do to stop a suicide bomber in a public concourse.

    The only way to stop this kind of attack is to know about it in advance, through intelligence gathering.

  38. @NeilA

    What’s all the airport security for then? I would have thought it would be one of the safest places to be.

    One bit of unexpected good news – the French air traffic controllers were on strike, so RyanAir and others had cancelled their flights from France to Brussels. For once their disruption saved lives!

  39. @Candy,

    The last time you went to the check in desks of an airport, how many security screens did you have to pass through? And how difficult do you think it is to “smuggle” a large package into an airport, where everyone is pushing a trolley loaded with baggage.

    Sure, there are armed police officers patrolling, and there are probably measures to prevent vehicles getting into the terminal, but if a terrorist decides to enter an airport with a suitcase full of explosives and blow himself up at the Starbucks, what exactly do you think would stop him?

  40. @Angus McLellan
    “Everyone’s an expert on Belgian policing today?”

    Touché. Substitute in whatever the subject of the day is, and you’ve described every political thread ever, in the history of the internets. An awful lot of people who have never fully explored the abyssal depths of their own ignorance, angry at each other because nobody’s really listening to each other :)

  41. @Alun,

    On what basis do you accuse me of ignorance about policing?

    I accuse you of ignorance about ignorance. Physician, heal thyself…

  42. Neil J says, I am sure correctly, that insofar as policing can prevent terrorism it will do so through intelligence, The latter I suspect will depend heavily on good relations with communities, Politically, however, it pays to appear tough and that tends to harm relations with communities. So there s a difficult line to draw and the drawing of it is not helped by our press and those politicians that stoke the fires. Hopefully the person who said that this is an auspicious day for Trump will be proved wrong, but I fear not,

  43. @ Neil A

    Before someone can walk into Starbucks in a suicide vest they have to get hold of the component parts first, not as easy in this country as on the European continent with free movement across borders. Our spooks are far better than our European counterparts on detecting & preventing attacks, we apparently warned the French something was imminent last year.

  44. @Bantams,

    Yup, you have the nub of it right there.

    After the Paris attacks, it was said that you could buy assault rifles fairly easily in Molenbeek, with people selling them out of the back of cars.

    That said, we know from experience that it’s far from impossible to construct an effective suicide bomb in the UK. It’s just that you’re more likely to get caught doing so here.

    We certainly shouldn’t be complacent. Our unarmed, soft-policing approach makes us vulnerable to Bombay / Paris style rampages and I know from personal experience that people can and do import the component parts for automatic weapons through our mail system.

    I believe personally we benefit more than some would like to admit from the resources and political capital that have been invested in GCHQ and its interception capability. And allied to that we have access to the Five Eyes intelligence network and so benefit from the capabilities of the Americans too. We also have a fantastic ANPR camera network and more CCTV than pretty much any other country. There are times when Big Brother is a nice person to have in your family…

  45. @ Neil A

    UKPR is not a forum (I can’t think any forum really) to discuss police and intelligence services tactics, procedures and routines.

    Even with knowledge about these things, one wouldn’t discuss these here – even if your claims on this are – problematic … Again I can’t, with conscience why they are problematic as I would have to state the alternative.

    I normally highly appreciate your comments and expertise, but in this case – I can’t. I cannot use any of the arguments (based on professional skills) to take apart your logic that leads to your conclusions (there are two levels in your argument which gives it away).

    It really doesn’t belong here, as your conclusions are dependent on claims that shouldn’t be discussed here.

  46. @Laszlo,

    I accept that it’s difficult to argue specifics, even since the Snowden revelations. We’ll have to agree to disagree, although the only “conclusion” I came to was that UK intelligence is pretty good at preventing attacks, but not infallible.

    Unless you consider my appreciation of the upside of intrusive surveillance a “conclusion”.

    But hey-ho, it probably doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. And there’s a new thread anyway.

  47. NEILA

    @” if a terrorist decides to enter an airport with a suitcase full of explosives and blow himself up at the Starbucks, what exactly do you think would stop him?”

    Landside vetting of passengers and/or cars as practised ( according to France24 this morning) in Israel, Australia & some African countries.

  48. Where are all the March polls?

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