The full tables for the YouGov/Sunday Times poll are here, no tables yet for ICM, but the News of the World report is here.

As with Populus’s poll in the week, the individual measures announced in the budget were broadly positive received. 68% told YouGov they supported the increase in tax on “large environmentally unfriendly family cars”, 63% supported requiring supermarkets to charge for plastic bags, 77% supporting equiring people on incapacity benefit to attend work focused interviews. A slighlt plurality of people opposed the increase in alcohol duties – 48% to 46% – but this was hardly overwhelmingly opposition.

Despite that, opinion towards the government’s general handling of the economy looked very low – 86% though inflation was higher than the government said, 78% said the government wastes large amounts of money, 66% agreed the government spent too much in good economic times. All the measures of economic optimism were low. 47% agreed Alistair Darling was not up to the job, with only 22% disagreeing and the poll found Cameron & Osbourne had a significant lead over Brown & Darling as the team people trust more to help their standard of living – 33% to 21%. ICM’s poll also found a significant Tory lead on the economy – they were most trusted by 34% compared to 28% for the Tories. A second ICM survey in the Sunday Telegraph found 31% thouht the budget would make things worse, only 7% thought it would improve matters.

It’s an apparent contradiction – the individual measures in the budget are popular, but it looks as though it has really hit their popularity. Off the top of my head I can think of two explanations – it’s possible that people support what Alistair Darling has done given the circumstances he faces, but that the fact the government have found themselves in such circumstances has undermined their previous confidence in Brown’s handling of the economy. Alternatively it could just be that general bad economic tidings, brought home to them by the budget, have made them less positively disposed to the government regardless of whether they actually attribute any blame to them.

On other political trackers Brown’s approval ratings with YouGov slip ever lower – his net score is down to minus 26 from minus 21 last month. David Cameron’s remains unchanged on plus 14. Nick Clegg’s rating was minus 6, but that’s still with 35% don’t knows. In the ICM poll Cameron had a lead of 6 points over Brown on best Prime Minister.

As usual the Sunday Times asked a grab bag of questions of lots of other issues. On Lord Goldsmith’s proposals for Britishness 51% of people supported the idea of citizenship ceremonies, for school leavers… but only if they excluded the suggested oath of allegiance to the monarch, supported by only 15%.

Only 29% of respondents supported Heathrow expansion. 39% thought expansion should be elsewhere, either in East London or in regional airports. 18% were opposed to airport expansion entirely.

Finally YouGov asked about abortion law. 35% supported the status quo, 48% supported a reduction in the legal time limit to 20 weeks and 8% supported a total ban on abortion.

18 Responses to “More from the post-budget polls”

  1. There’s definitely a social desirability aspect to the answers that people give to questions about taxing “large environmentally unfriendly family cars”.
    Do people understand what a large car is or is it like asking whether people agree that those on very high incomes should pay more tax – ie it applies to people with bigger cars than theirs.
    Would a question like “Do you believe that taxes should be higher on large cars like Mondeos, Vectras or Nissan Micras?” have produced the same answers?

  2. Leaving aside the terrible results for labour in the headline polling intentions, I think this feeds into the general lack of faith in public bodies which people have. 86% of people thinking that inflation is higher than the government says is a bizarre figure for me. Based on what? INflation is a technical measure which is not really something one can estimate. Strange. A bit like someone saying that they think that the economy is smaller than the government says because they don’t fell well off…

    Incidentally not sure what to make of any of these polls as it seems to me (non-party political but not polling background) that they are all over the place, but with a conservative lead..

    Gotta say though, far more interested in what is happening in Tibet at the moment.. :I

  3. I simply don’t believe the findings that many of the individual measures in the Budget were popular. I suspect that often it is a green invocation of the infamous “Are you a heartless bastard?” polling questions, a la donating after the tsunami.

    Many people might actually object strongly to being charged more for their drink and see it as a tax rise not a change to improve social behaviour, but may feel uncomfortable saying so. “Are you a drunken oaf” perhaps being an alternative phrasing, people aren’t going to admit to being so unhappy at that.

    Any question using the words “environmentally unfriendly” is likely to get a distorted response too IMO.

    As well as the various items of the Budget itself, the response of “So What” by Ed Balls was truly shocking and will have offended many I suspect.

  4. Alasdair: As an Economics graduate I’ve always laughed when people say they don’t believe the inflation measures. It is a technical and definable figure.

    But this government has messed around with it. The official inflation figures the government now uses are significantly below the RPI figures that would have been and were announced previously before the government changed it.

    When you have two inflation figures and the governments version is half the historic figure, then you have a problem for credibility. Let alone the fact that many families look at their fuel bills, grocery bills etc and then hear the government say 2% is inflation.

  5. Interesting point about framed questions Phillip, although I do think that the political parties seriously under estimate the public concern over some environmental issues.

  6. 60% agreed with the statement:-
    “Taxes can be cut without public services suffering because it is perfectly possible to run our public services more efficiently”

    That has shot an important Labour fox-and indicates a distinct shift in opinion on Tax & Spend policy.

  7. good news, bad news poll-

    good news to conservatives are doing well in the north a slight up turn in conservative base hear but only a few points on the xmas totals, bad news in the south and midlands the labour message is not being put across but their 25% vote base post 2005 has held up well in the south but fallen to nothing in the midlands, in the last few polls the labour base has slitped slightly by a few points on xmas, in scotland the SNP are still averageing mid 30’s and labour the low 30’s with the consevative up slightly on xmas, but since xmas the biggest drop in voter base has been in the south and north, the slowest drop ha been in the midlands but looks like it’s speeding up hear to a 10pt gap for the last 2 or 3 month now more near 12pt gap.

  8. The ‘contradiction’ is understandable.
    ‘We know are backs are against the wall, but we know who put us there.’

  9. Anthony – I think you have a typo in your last para on abortion “48% supported a reduction in the legal time limit to 48%”, you probably mean “to 24 weeks” or whatever it is (or is 24 weeks the existing limit and 18 weeks the new proposed one? I forget…)

    On the discrepancies in support for budget items vs overall budget, I’m inclined to believe the second explanation – that it’s mostly attributable to the “feel good” / “feel bad” factor. People might agree on individual measures and even accept that the blame for the bad economic tidings is due to the global (or US) economy rather than being the government’s fault. But the fact still remains that the economy isn’t looking rosy at the moment, and that puts people in a bad mood with the government in general.

  10. Alasdair

    ‘Leaving aside the terrible results for Labour..’
    Oh, lets not. Not just yet.

    Summary of poll: ‘We have our backs against the wall and we know who put us there.’

  11. Scottish figures on the Oath of allegiance and “Britain Day” differ starkly.

    For the Oath issue 42% in the UK oppose it (with the lowest 39% who opposed in the South east). The opposition in Scotland is 57%.

    For Britain Day 67% agree, with the South east having 73% approval.

    In Scotland only 37% favour it.

    On the basis of where would the parties be without the SNP, going from a four to a three party system ( divide by 3 then multiply by 4) It would go from labour 30% to 40%, Tories 18% to 24% and LibDems 11% to 16%.

    That seems to suggest despite some recovery that labour are still way ahead of the Tories in Scotland and that it’s the SNP who have been the main beneficiary of the Governments problems.


  12. Could the volatility of the opinion polls be down to the discrepancy between a pessimistic economic outlook for tomorrow and the actual economic reality of today?

    Some or all of recession, significant falls in house prices, high interest rates, stagflation and rising unemployment may well come to pass – but they’re not here yet.

  13. Does anyone know if the YOU GOV poll in the Standard is an extrapolation of the YOU GOV poll in the Sunday Times.

  14. Cllr Peter Clairns.
    It clearly all depends on the phraseology of the question.
    I am sure that if offered a wider selection of ‘oaths’, the Scots might have found one they were be happy with :-)

  15. top of the shot – Nope, it is an entirely separate poll.

  16. Any more data on the mayoral poll? Was it a YouGov/ES poll or was it a different client? What were the head-to-head second round figures? Were there any general election/Assembly voting figures?

    Are we to expect a YouGov/ITN Mayoral poll next week?

  17. Sally,

    True they could come up with one that included the phrase,

    ” you know where you can stick it”….


  18. Peter,

    As a Tory, I assure you, I am very familiar with the question ‘Do you know where you can stick it… etc’. Its normally a muliple choice.