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.


The weekly YouGov/Sunday Times results are up here.Topline figures are CON 33%, LAB 40%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 12%.

Almost half (49%) of the country now think the economy is showing signs of recovery (38%) or is on the way to full recovery (11%), up from 43% in December. The public remain more pessimistic about their own personal finances, with only 16% expecting them to improve over the next twelve months, 36% expecting them to get worse. This has been the defining feature of polling on the economy over the last year – public optimism on the state of the economy as a whole has been gradually rising, but it’s yet to translate into optimism about their own personal finances.

38% of people give the government some credit for this economic improvement, thinking their policies made the changes necessary for recovery, 24% think their policies didn’t actually make much difference either way, 28% think their policies actually prolonged the recession and made things worse. A substantial proportion also think that things would be worse if Labour were in power – if Labour had won the last election 39% think the economy would be worse, 19% better, 29% much the same.

Looking at potential measures for the budget, increasing the personal tax allowance is overwhelmingly approved of (by 83%). Extra taxes on the rich also meet with majority approval – a mansion tax would be approved of by 61%, putting the top rate of tax back up to 50p gets 58% approval (and cutting it to 40p would be opposed by 64%). Increasing the threshold of the 40p tax rate gets the approval of 55% of people. That’s a policy that could potentially have gone either way (tax cuts that target the poorest or ordinary people are almost always popular, tax cuts for the richest are usually unpopular) so the approval suggests it is something that kicks in far enough down the economic tree to avoid public hostility… but we shall see if it happens.


The monthly Ipsos MORI poll for the Standard is out today and has topline voting intention figures of CON 32%(+1), LAB 35%(-3), LDEM 13%(+1), UKIP 11%(+1). Full tabs are here.

There’s quite a lot of other stuff in this month’s poll. 47% of people now think that the government is doing a good job managing the economy, 46% a bad job (compared to 36% good, 55% bad when MORI asked by in 2011), there is also a big shift in the government’s favour on unemployment, 44% now think they are doing well at keeping unemployment down, up from 15% in 2011. However, there is still a perception that the rich are benefiting more than others. 73% think the government have done a good job of raising the standard of living for the rich, but only 19% think they’ve done the same for the poor (for respondents themselves, 30% think the government have done a good job of improving their standard of living).

MORI also asked about which party they think deserves the most credit for the £10,000 personal tax allowance – something that the Conservatives and Lib Dems have been arguing over taking the credit for and which in hindsight I’m rather surprised no one has asked before. 45% of people give the Lib Dems credit for it, compared to 33% who give the Tories the credit.


Sunday Polls

Today’s results for the Sunday Times are up online here. Topline figures are CON 32%, LAB 39%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 13%. On the leader good job/bad job ratings Cameron’s net score is minus 12 (up 3), Miliband’s is minus 38 (down 3), Nick Clegg’s is minus 58 (down 7). 75% now think Clegg is doing a bad job as Lib Dem leader, just 17% a good job. It represents Clegg’s worst score since last May.

THE ECONOMY

The regular economic trackers are continuing to get better (or at least, less bad). 44% of people now think the government are managing the economy well, 48% badly – their best score since 2010. The feel good factor (the proportion thinking they’ll be better off in the next year minus those who think they’ll be worse off) has risen above minus 20 for the first time since the election.

YouGov also asked a question about what people’s reaction to Labour having a agenda that was criticised by big business (often pollsters ask questions which become out of date by the time they are published because of changing events. This one was the opposite, we asked it before Ed Balls announced 50p and got laid into by business interest groups, so for once events made it become more topical!). 45% think it would be bad for the economy if Labour won with policies that large businesses were unhappy with, only 18% think it would be good. On people’s own personal finances 29% think it would be bad, 15% good. (Note that it isn’t actually possible to tell if people think the policies that business is unhappy about would be bad for the economy, or just Labour winning per se. In hindsight it would have been good to have a split sample, with half getting a control question that just asked about a Labour government)

In a separate Survation poll in the Mail on Sunday, 60% of people supporting re-introducing the 50p top rate, roughly the same sort of proportion who opposed it being abolished in the first place.

SYRIAN REFUGEES

Going back to the YouGov poll, on balance people are opposed to Britain accepting refugees from Syria, but not by a vast amount. 47% think we should not accept any, 39% think we should – considering how hostile polls often are on issues of immigration this is closer than one might have thought! Those people who support accepting Syrian refugees are actually rather generous in regard of the number we should accept. While politicians are discussing a few hundred, 40% of those who support accepting Syrian refugees think we should offer to take more than 1000.

ROYAL FAMILY

Most of the rest of YouGov’s poll dealt with the Royal family and the gradual handover of the Queen’s duties to Charles. The public gradually seem to be coming round to the idea of the Queen cutting down on commitments, and to Charles’s future succession. While a majority of people would still oppose the Queen abdicating, 47% of people would now support her abdicating in the future if she were to become too ill to regularly carry out royal duties or appear in public. 46% of people would still prefer her to remain Queen for life, even if she handed over her duties to other family members. This is the first time YouGov have shown more people in favour than opposed to the Queen abdicating if she becomes too ill to continue work.

There is very widespread support for Charles taking over more of the Queen’s duties, 75% think it is a good idea, only 13% a bad idea. By 42% to 36% people would even support Charles taking over ALL the Queens current roles and responsibilities as Prince Regent, allowing the Queen to effectively retire.

Over the last decade YouGov have asked if people would prefer to see Charles succeed as monarch, or the crown skip a generation to William. Having seen a peak in favour of William after the royal wedding, the public now seen reconciled to Charles as King, with 53% now saying the crown should pass to him, only 31% saying it should skip a generation. It’s the first time this question has shown support for Charles as King rise over 50%. There has not been a similar increase in support for Camilla becoming Queen. Only 17% think she should have the title of Queen, a figure that has remained steady for the last six years.

ICM in SCOTLAND

There is also a new ICM poll on the Scottish referendum, conducted for Scotland on Sunday. Unlike most Scottish referendum polling, normally notable for its stability, this one actually shows a significant change! 37% say they would vote YES, up 5 points from ICM’s last Scottish poll in September, 44% say they would vote NO, down 5 points from September.

John Curtice already has a detailed trawl through the poll here and unlike me he has the luxury of having seen the tables. He picks up one particularly interesting thing: the swing since September is strongly concentrated amongst young people. Amongst over 45s there’s no change, amongst people aged 25-44 support for YES is up 6 points, amongst under 25s it’s up 33 points (!). That rings a few alarm bells, but as ever, one shouldn’t read too much into very small subsamples – it could mean ICM had a weird sample that gave them a weird results, or that they had a weird group of under 25s but the overall sample was fine, or that there genuinely is a big shift towards YES amongst younger voters. We shall see.


YouGov’s weekly poll for the Sunday Times is up here. Topline figures are CON 33%, LAB 39%, LD 8%, UKIP 13%. Good job/bad job ratings for the leaders are minus 15 for Cameron, minus 35 for Miliband, minus 51 for Clegg.

On the economy there is a big contrast between people’s attitudes to the economy as a whole, and their own personal circumstances. On the wider economy there is optimism – 36% of people think things are better than a year ago, 24% worse. Ask about people’s own finances and only 14% think they are better off than a year ago, 39% think they are worse off. Asked about the year ahead, only 17% think their own household’s finances will get better, 37% think they’ll get worse. People are pessimistic, but it’s a measure of how bad things were (and how things are turning round) that this minus twenty net score is the best so far this Parliament.

Asked which party is closest to different groups, the Conservatives are overwhelmingly seen as the party that best represents and understands the rich (by 83%) of people. Labour are a mile ahead of the other two parties on representing and understanding the working class and people on benefits (though around a quarter of people think no party really understands or represents them). Despite Ed Miliband’s recent foray, the Conservatives are still seen as the party that best represents and understands the middle class. Even amongst Labour’s own voters 30% think the Conservatives better understand middle class people.

Asked to describe themselves, 46% of people say they are working class, 42% middle class. It’s interesting to compare the ABC1C2DE social categorisations of people (which is based on their occupation) with their self-perceptions: 35% of people in “middle class occupations” consider themselves working class, and 28% of people in “working class occupations” consider themselves middle class. Obviously the ABC classification is pretty crude in its own way, but it’s also a sign of perceptions of social class are an awful lot more complicated than people’s own current occupation.