There is also a YouGov pre-budget poll in this morning’s Sun. In MORI’s poll they showed a drop in economic confidence, YouGov (who ask about the financial situation in people’s own household, rather than the economy as a whole) found an even sharper drop, down to -43, the worst since last January.

Nevertheless, people on balance supported the government’s economic policy, with 47% expecting cuts to be good for the economy compared to 30% bad. However, the public were evenly split on whether the cuts risks puttign the country back into recession and whether they would be carried out in a far manner or not. Blame for the impending cuts continued to be placed upon the outgoing Labour government, with 49% blaming Labour, 19% the coalition and 18% both of them.

Respondents expressed strong support for both an increase in the personal tax allowance (64% support) and a new tax on banks (76% support). Asked about other specific tax rises, the most popular were the “sin taxes” on alcohol and cigarettes, higher corporation tax and a rise in the higher rate of income tax. This is pretty much par for the course – polls normally show the most popular taxes being those on people richer than the respondent, those on businesses and the “sin taxes”.

The least popular options were higher petrol duty, higher council tax, VAT on food and childrens clothes, or an increase in the basic rate of income tax.

UPDATE: Tables are here

UPDATE2: Voting intention figures from the poll are now also up on the YouGov website here (and lest it be misconstrued by me putting it up at 4pm, these are pre-budget voting intention figures from yesterday). Voting intention stands at CON 41%, LAB 33%, LDEM 18%. Note that these are also being carried out with YouGov’s new post-election weighting figures, of which much more later.

There are two new polls out tonight, both looking forward to the budget. ICM in the Guardian have topline voting intentions of CON 39%(nc), LAB 31%(-1), LDEM 21%(nc). Changes are from the last ICM poll a month ago.

ICM found support in principle for the government’s economic policy and cuts in spending, with 59% agreeing with immediate cuts and 36% disagreeing. 55% think the government’s actions will improve the economy and 60% trust them to make the right decisions on the economy and spending.

However, people do not seem to be convinced that the cuts will be fair – 63% expect the cuts to hurt the poor the most (though this may be a recognition that poor people are more reliant upon public services), and the public are pretty evenly split over whether cuts risk a return to recession – 46% think it won’t happen, but 45% think it is a possibility.

Ipsos MORI’s monthly political monitor has voting intentions of CON 39%, LAB 31%, LDEM 19%. This is their first voting intention poll since the general election, and like ICM and YouGov have the Conservatives up slightly, Labour up slightly, and the Lib Dem’s down significantly since the general election. Full tables here.

They too have some questions on the economy and spending in advance of the budget. Economic optimism has turned negative again, back down to minus 5. Despite this, respondents told MORI they had faith in the government’s economic policy – 61% thought the government’s policies would improve the economy, and 60% thought they were being honest about the economy.

Asked about the need for spending cuts, 58% agreed “there is a real need to cut spending on public services in order to pay off the very high national debt we now have”. This compares to 49% when MORI asked the same question in March (and only 40% when they asked it a year ago).

MORI also asked whether the government should take various deficit cutting measures, and whether they would do them. A large majority of people expected the government to do nearly all the things they asked about, 76% even expected them to increase income tax. The exception was ending final salary pension schemes for teachers, which only 49% expected the government to do. Asked which measures they should take, the most popular option was cutting universal benefits like child benefit for the well off (74% thought they should), followed by reducing the pension age to 66 (55% thought they should) and freezing public sector pay for a year (55% support). The least popular were cutting spending on frontline services (33%) and increasing VAT (35%).

UPDATE: On YouGov’s website there are also voting intentions from the end of last week – figures are CON 39%(-1), LAB 34%(+2), LDEM 19%(+1)


There is a new new ComRes poll in tomorrow’s Independent on Sunday, topline voting intention figures stand at CON 36%(-1), LAB 30%(-3), LDEM 23%(+2). Changes are from ComRes’s last voting intention poll at the start of the month, and show a slight widening of the Conservative lead but nothing significant once one takes into account the margin of error. Note the contrast in Lib Dem support between this and the Harris’s poll in the Metro a week and a half ago, which both show very little change from the general election, and the drop we’ve seen in Lib Dem support from YouGov and to a lesser extent ICM. That will be something to look at in more detail if it persists and once the pollsters post-election methodologies have settled down (presently ComRes seem to be weighted recalled vote to the actual shares of the vote from 2010, which I expect will not be their long term position).

On other questions, ComRes asked if people agreed that child benefit and/or pensioners winter fuel allowance should be means tested – 53% agreed that child benefit should be “withdrawn from better-off familes”, only 39% agreed winter fuel allowance should be “withdrawn from better-off elderly people”. It provides an interesting contrast – I can think of possible explanations (for example, people may think that elderly people who are in need are more likely than families to be detered by a means-test) – but of course, the polling questions themselves don’t tell us people’s reasons.

The other questions, 38% agreed with the statement “The coalition government is deliberately exaggerating the financial problems to justify cuts to the public sector” and 48% agreed with the statement “I would be prepared to pay more income tax rather than see public services cut”.

UPDATE: Hmm. The Indy on Sunday have the Conservatives as being up one point (or at least, they do at the moment) – changes are quoted as being from the ComRes poll on the 2nd June, which is here and definitely has them on 37%. Presumably just a typo.

YouGov have some new questions up on their website on Afghanistan, the alternative vote and – most topically – the government’s spending cuts. These are all questions that will be part of YouGov’s regular trackers over coming months, replacing some of the pre-election trackers that were very election campaign orientated.

Voting intention for the referendum on switching to Alternative Vote currently stands at YES 44%, NO 34%, wouldn’t vote 5% and don’t know 17%. A lead for alternative vote, but not a particularly large one. Prior to the question wording being decided, the yes and no campaigns being organised, and the public being exposed to many arguments for or against AV, I think we can only conclude that the referendum could easily go either way whenever it is called.

On Afghanistan the public have actually become rather more positive since the same questions were asked last year. 25% think British troops should be withdrawn immediately (down from 35% last year), 42% think they should be withdrawn within a year or so, and 24% are happy for them to stay for as long as the Afghan government needs them. Asked if victory over the Taliban is possible 40% think so, compared to 33% last year. 46% think it is not, down from 57%.

The most topical questions at the moment are on the government plans to cut the deficit. 49% think this will be good for the economy, with 31% thinking it will be bad. The public are more evenly divided over whether the government will make the cuts in a fair fashion – 37% think it will be done fairly, 33% unfairly. 48% of people say that the cuts are already having an impact on their own lives. The government does seem to be in strong position to blame their predecessors for harsh cuts though, asked who they blame for the cuts in public spending, 48% say the last Labour government, compared to 17% who blame the coalition (19% blame both, 9% neither).

Today YouGov also published results on what the public consider the important issues facing the country – unsurprisingly the economic remains the most important issue by far (80%), followed as usual by immigration (53%), with other issues a long way behind. Compare this, however, with a second question that asked people the most important issues facing the respondents and their families. The economy remains top by far (64%), but is now followed by tax (34%), health (32%), pensions (32%), family and childcare issues (17%) and education (16%). Immigration is right down on 12%.

There is a new Harris poll in this morning’s Metro, I think it’s their first since the general election. Voting intention stands at CON 36%, LAB 30%, LDEM 25%. Unlike all the other companies we’ve seen reporting post-election voting intentions (YouGov, ICM and ComRes), who are all showing the Lib Dems suffering from their decision to go into coalition, Harris have them above the level of support they got at the general election (in fact, they don’t have any significant change from the general election shares of the vote at all). 52% of people said they did not expect the coalition to last the full five years intended, much in line with similar findings in polls conducted at the time the coalition was announced.

It’ll be interesting to see which pollsters continue to produce regular political polls in the wake of the general election. Newspapers don’t tend to have much money to spending on polling after general elections, and it tends to be the time that contracts are not renewed. This time round there were several new entrants to the market, presumably polling in the run up to the election to get the publicity. We know that ICM, YouGov and ComRes are continuing to poll for their respective clients and I assume we will shortly see Populus polling for the Times again and that Ipsos MORI will soon resume their monthly political monitors. It looks like Harris will still be polling for the Metro, but only time will tell whether we continue to see regular voting intention polls from Angus Reid, Opinium and TNS BMRB.

There was also a new BPIX poll in the Mail on Sunday yesterday, their first post-election effort. Topline voting intention figures were CON 39%, LAB 32%, LDEM 19%.

Finally, there is a YouGov poll for Migration Watch reported in the Telegraph here. Despite the Telegraph’s report the poll does not say that half of Labour and Lib Dem voters would have switched to the Conservatives if they had boasted a stronger policy on immigration, rather it says that amongst people who said the Conservatives were their second choice – which was under a fifth of Labour and Lib Dem voters – over half included a tougher stance on immigration amongst the things that would have made them switch. Of course, that would still be a notable amount (a couple of percent points would have given the Conservatives a majority), but I will voice my normal extreme caution over polls asking about things that would make you likely to vote for X or Y. It doesn’t mean people would actually change their vote, rather people tend to use questions like this merely to indicate which policies they like (or dislike) – and we know from almost all polling on the subject that the British public tend to support stricter limits on immigration.