This morning’s Sun had YouGov’s first post-budget polling. General voting intention stood at CON 32%, LAB 41%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 10% so no obvious impact there.

On the budget itself most of the actual individual measures were widely supported. The increase in the personal allowance and cancelling the rise in fuel duty were by far the most widely supported (89% and 85% supported them). The cut in employers national insurance, interest free loans to help people buying new build houses and the cut in beer duty were all supported by more than half of respondents. Least popular were the revenue raising changes of course, but even then they weren’t very unpopular – the end of contracting out of NI was opposed by 38% to 31%, limiting public sector pay for another year was actually supported by 45% to 41%.

However, budgets are far more than the sum of their parts – there have been cases in the past when polls showed people liked most of the individual measures in a budget, but overall still gave it the thumbs down. It is the whole package that counts.

In this case, there appears to be a cautious thumbs up: 39% thought it was a fair budget, 31% thought it was unfair, a big improvement on last year’s budget which 48% thought was unfair (and that was even before most of the pasty tax coverage!). However, while people support the individual measures and think the budget was fair… they still aren’t convinced it is going to do any good. Only 14% think it leaves the country better off, compared to 52% who think it will make no real difference and 24% who think the country will be worse off.

Neither has it helped George Osborne’s own ratings – only 22% think he is doing a good job, down from 24% at the end of last year and 28% at the last budget. He is still preferred to Ed Balls though – 31% think Osborne would make the better Chancellor, 25% Balls.

210 Responses to “YouGov/Sun post-budget poll”

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  1. @RiN

    They might have vouchers for it and everything! !!…

  2. Just watched Anwar Damon’s CNN Iraq 10 Years After documentary; superb investigative journalism, on the appalling destruction and destabilsation of the country, and its cost in lives and familes, followed by an interview with Prescott, who firmly withdrew his support of Blair’s allying of the UK with the US intervention, and arguing against any similar attempt at “regime change” in Syria or Iran..

    “Roads are essentialy consumables-they are constantly being replaced”
    By ‘essentially” you mean “if I say so”?
    Roads are, of course, capital investments, and huge economic generators (not your old motorways to the Hebrides, of course, which are your private anti-Keynesian Cloudcukooland) and are renovated and maintained, not “replaced”.

  3. I seem to remember an internet lecture (linked to by someone on UKPR) where it was suggested that John Howard’s determination to eliminate AUS government debt proved at best futile, and at worst counterproductive.

    Paul Keating had this to say: “When Peter Costello runs around saying, ‘Oh we’ve paid off the debt,’ it’s like the pea and thimble trick.”

    Other Keating quotes (relating to Costello) are also available:

    Thallium… a slow acting dope.

    He’s the greatest L plater of all time.

    All tip and no iceberg.


    This low flying person.

  4. By eck but there’s some slack use of language in here tonight.

    What was this “boom” that severalpeoe are talking about? If we are going to use terms, we really ought to define them so that we all know what the terms of the discussion are. Otherwise, the debate is simply playground name-calling.

    So. Anyone want to have a go at explaining in quantitative terms how they reach the conclusion that we had a boom under Blair/Brown?

    [No, they probably shouldn’t, since no discussion of Labour’s economic record is likely to rise above silly party-partisan back and forth – AW]

  5. @Richo – “I am happy to listen to all the left arguments about debt as a ration of GDP, but I don’t think anybody could ever convince me we ‘needed’ to borrow £40bn per year at the height of the Blair ‘boom’. ”

    Perhaps if you recalled the state of our hospitals and schools in 1997 you might wish to revise that thought.

    To be clear, I don’t suggest that we should just keep borrowing for the hell of it. If there is something useful to spend it on, and that is done efficiently, then there is a case to borrow, even in the good years, so long as long term your debt ratio isn’t constantly rising.

    @Colin – of course recessions make a mess of the accounts, which is why I did say it might be a good move to engineer surpluses now and then.

    Your other point about the state never paying off the debt isn’t really relevant. The real point is whether the value gained by the spending outweighs the costs – ie if the GDP growth generated by the spend is sufficient to keep GDP moving ahead of debt. Besides, we do actually pay off debt – the difference is we replace it with new debt.

    I would also reject your classification of revenue spend for state spending. It is, in classical economic terms, in that it recurs annually, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t useful in generating capital growth in the economy as a whole. Teachers salaries are ‘revenue’ costs, but everyone seems to think education is a good thing that helps the economy along.

  6. ^ I always said the last election was going to be a bad one to win. My update is the next one is going to be even worse.

  7. Apart from AW’s remonstration, with which I agree (not that that is relevant) – it’s pointless. Whatever voters think about blame and retribution is what they think, which was my point. You don’t need any knowledge to have an opinion, viz, Cypriots burning Merkel effigies.

    What we do know is that not many people were panicking in 2007 before they needed to panic, by which time it was too late. This applies to Cypriot bank depositors and investors, a few of whom are sitting pretty, because they withdrew their funds and took their profits a while back. One thing about the euro is that those fortunate souls could could have found a safe haven at least without incurring currency conversion costs.

    You can’t have a game of pass the parcel without players.

    You see, I know nothing about finance, but I am not so daft am I? Neither are voters, I believe. They know it’s all just a game. Some win, some lose. Most never take part, draw their wages each week and blow them before the crisp notes even hit their palms. Savings, what are they, they cry..


    @”By ‘essentially” you mean “if I say so”?”

    A little sharp , if I may say so, for the first response after leaving us so suddenly.

    No John-it is a way of saying “intrinsically” , or “fundamentally” , or “inherently”.

    A Thesaurus will help you get the picture.

  9. AW

    Your call of course. For the record, I wasn’t looking for a punch-up about Labour’s economic record, just a clarification of what has become an accepted “fact”. It appears to me that people have decided that since we had. Bust, we must have had a boom beforehand.

    And I know you have better things to do than babysit us little buggers, but it’s just a tad frustrating that the original posts that raised the whole issue about boom, bust and Labour’s record pass without the application of the censor’s razor.

  10. Peter Mandelson, in a speech last Thursday said ” “I can’t quite remember which member of the government it was who claimed to have abolished boom and bust. Well, we abolished boom!”

    He should know I would have thought.

  11. The demand for AAA UK bonds was high during the time Brown was chancellor due to Chinese expansion & the bulge in pension schemes ‘maturing’ & requiring risk free investments. Some believe that bond rationing could’ve caused as big a calamity as the financial crisis.

    So, once the bonds were issued to meet demand, what to do with the receipts? Set up a ‘sovereign wealth fund’ to buy up chunks of the private sector as investments? That would’ve gone down like a lead balloon. Imagine it: Brown is trying to nationalise the utilities/ telecoms/ railways/ banks by stealth! The UK wealth fund is ‘driving up the price of shares’ in UK companies & distorting the market etc. etc.

    The reason for deficits during a boom was to meet demand for government bonds; once the government had the receipts there was nothing acceptable (by the market) to do but spend them. It’s as simple as that.

  12. Colin

    That was kinda my point. And that may well be the first time I have ever agreed with Mandelson.

    I hope AW will indulge me if I chuck a couple of figures in. And I’ll reiterate that this is not a partisan comment. I suspect that we’d have seen very similar figures under a Ken Clarke Chancellorship.

    According to ONS figures, the inflation-adjusted growth rate between 1955 and 2008 was something around 2.8-2.9% p.a. (Q1 1958 GDP was £91.0bn, Q1 2008, £372.7bn – I make that to be an equivalent growth rate of 2.86%.)

    We’ve had 4 big crashes in that period, 73, 79, 90 and 08.

    The average growth rate in inflation adjusted GDP in the 3 years to the top of the cycle in each case was

    Q2 1970 – Q2 1973: £136.8bn – £157.1bn – 4.7%

    Q2 1976 – Q2 1979: £155.9bn – £175.0bn – 3.9%

    Q2 1987 – Q2 1990: £204.4bn – £230.0bn – 4.0%

    Q1 2005 – Q1 2008: £341.1bn – £372.7bn – 3.0%

    I repeat. This is not a partisan point. The pre-bust growth rate was very close to the long-term trend and was much lower than the spurts preceding previous collapses. I put this down to the big global drivers underpinning what we thought was the Great Moderation as Bernanke put it. As I say, I suspect that Clarke would have seen very similar growth and of course Cameron and Osborne were perfectly happy with the situation pre-08.

    The partisan aspects come in when we start discussing the rights and wrongs of running a deficit through the period 01-08. This is not the place to do that and I have no intention of doing so.

  13. Con 28%(+1), Lab 38% (-1), Ukip on 16% (-1), LD 9% (+1), UKIP 16% (-1).

    Opinion/Observer changes since a fortnight ago.

    25% voters expect a Labour majority after the next election, 29% a Labour-led coalition.
    9% expect a Conservative majority, 16% a Conservative led coalition

  14. BB

    2 mins late mate

  15. It saved all the bother of clicking on your link though Paul.

  16. @lefty

    What are you talking about? Are you saying you don’t believe the Labour government presided over one of the largest economic booms in modern times? The facts say differently, we had constant growth, from the late 90’s right up until 2008.

    Labour’s only failure was that they did not save any of the money for a rainy day meaning when the crash came, we had to resort to massive borrowing. They should have fixed the roof while the sun was shining as it were.

  17. Richo

    Your a bit behind, I was already saying that the next election would be a good one to lose right after the last, I’ll go further and say that the election after that might not be such a good one to win either

  18. Wow ten years of moderate growth is a boom, I wonder what Howard and Oldnat think about that seeing as they lived through the long boom

  19. MiM

    You are in danger of blundering into the minefield that AW steered us away from a little way up the page.

    Me, I’m saying nothing. The figures on the other hand state that what we saw in the run up to the 08 crash was a 15 year period in which the annual growth rate was more or less stable, and more or less bang on the long-term growth rate that we had seen over the preceding 50-odd years.

    I’m not sure how a sustained period of matching the long-term growth rate qualifies as a “boom”, but some people seem to have more certainty than me on that point.


    I think your post of 9.13pm is spot on. Politicians of all parties will make claims that their policies produced good results and the other parties policies produced bad results. The truth is that the UK economy gets blown around in the wind that is the global economy. The UK economy may be the 6th, 7th or whatever biggest economy in the world, but the truth is that parties policies make little difference and much of it is borrowed from elsewhere.

    We will continue to have see-saw politics, with left and right parties having periods in office, as people just get fed up after a while, with seeing the same faces. Also the perception is that Labour look after one sector of society and the Tories another, which if this is the case, enables a balance over a period.

  21. lefty

    You’re just jealous ‘cos you didn’t think of the roof/sun analogy………………

  22. PC

    I’m seething at my failure to coin such an apt, pithy and novel phrase…

  23. The attack re fixing the roof while the sun is shining analogy is just a political game. I can remember the state of much of the UK’s infrastructure going into the 1990’s, with school classrooms having buckets to catch the water leaking through their roofs. If we had decent growth in the 1980’s, you would question whether spending on schools was sufficient. Also NHS spending was pretty low in comparison with other healthcare systems. The government at the time were not spending that much and the countries finances were not brilliant either.

    As with all matter economics/politics you can debate all these issues and how it forms peoples views when they consider the party to vote for, but it does not really make much difference. As I pointed out, each period in office is different, as you have a different set of circumstances, mostly outside of the UK’s control.

  24. If Opinion poll is sound, it is guaranteeing a Lab outright victory in 2015, if we get that far. I don’t see any of this coalition nonsense possibility – it’s a landslide.
    Well done PC. Clearly an Observer adherent.

  25. On the other hand I don’t think it is remotely controversial to state that private sector borrowing got out of hand during the Labour years. And of course they should carry the can for that, though in their defence a similar thing happened to varying degrees in most Western countries.

    It would seem there was something fundamentally wrong about the way private sector debt was regulated, but it is not clear that anyone has the answers about what exactly was wrong or what to do about it (beyond a few token restraints on banking).

    I’m not sure that apportioning blame for it has any bearing on the current economic predicament. Presumably the public feels the same, which would explain why there’s very little discussion of it.

  26. Don’t you think there is a possibility that one can have genuine growth with real benefits like mobile phones (although I manage without them, except when wanting to find out in which aisle Mrs H is in the supermarket – that’s about twice a year) and gambling on property values, which equates to the Dutch tulip speculations in the 17th century, the south sea bubble in the 18th or the Railway Mania in the 19th?

  27. Hal
    Good points. succinctly made.

  28. Who said that EM was unpopular,clock the latest poll.Or have I read it upside
    Down or something.

  29. Ever since I heard this accusation concerning sunshine and roof fixing, etc, I have wondered exactly how much rain or how big a storm should we have planned for, and whether it was actually possible for us to do that much about it anyway, and if even if we could, would people have wanted to spend money and effort doing so, or just carry on having a party, happily convinced it really was all blue skies forever? Anyway, it’s plainly way too late to worry about it and we’ll have to get used to buckets for a while.

    As far as whether the recent “boom” was a boom or not – I think it was, but sort of stretched out and flattened so it didn’t look so much like one. Then again, some other nearby countries did have proper booms, and we are now sharing some of their misery in the bust. Then also there is the effect of China and India on the world stage. You just don’t get countries that big industrialising without some effect on everyone else.

    I’ve seen politicians of both main parties in power, riding high in the opinion polls, and disturbingly, it coincided with generally good economic times globally. Also, we have had bad times, and then voters have decidedly less patience with politicians, and thus will more readily dump an incumbent. Thus I forsee a period of more rapid switching of incumbent.

  30. I’m watching the American version of house of cards at the moment, it no where near as good as the original but Kevin spacey is quite good

  31. New Opinium gubbins here –

    Con 28 (+1), Lab 38 (-1), LD 9 (+1), UKIP 16 (-1)

    Who do you think will win? – Lab majority 25, Lab Coalition 29, Con majority 9, Con Coalition 16. Don’t know 17, Other outcome [like what, revolution?] 4.

  32. Ann on EM

    I simply cannot see him dispensing of his more gauche attributes but clearly he doesn’t need to worry about it.

    I certainly would not worry about it if I were him. What discipline he maintains, never sticking a nose unnecessarily above the parapet, and just stabbing away when opportune!

    Hat off to a clever operator.

  33. Wes
    I don’t follow your last bit. What are those figures and what do they say?

  34. Richard in Norway,I have not seen the English version but I have just ordered
    The book,which I am looking forward to reading.

  35. Apologies for above posting which everyone else had clearly already seen hours ago!

  36. @ Howard

    I think I am agreeing with your post about the unlikely prospect of a coalition in 2015.

    The strange thing is that although the polls currently show a 100 seat Lab majority, the general public do not seem to see this as the most likely outcome with more saying it will be a Labour led coalition.

    I am struggling to get my head around why people think this, especially as hung parliaments do not happen very often (one since the 1970’s). Maybe it’s what they want, Maybe it’s anticipating a repeat of 1992 or maybe they just expect coalitions to be the norm. I doubt many of the general public have got arouind to thinking about such things as incumbancy, maybe people just think that neither of the two main parties votes are solid based on low opinions of them.

    I just tried the swingometer on various permutations and, while accepting the fallibility of the swingometer, it is actually pretty hard to get numbers that specifically produce a Lab minority government. I think anything with a Lab lead of 2% gives them a majority and most of the hung parliaments with Lab in a minority are where the Tory vote is actually higher than Labours.

  37. Howard – that is the percentage of people who thought each of those outcomes would happen when asked… So essentially most people think Labour will be in government in 2015, and most of those think it will be a Labour-led Coalition government.

  38. Howard,Indeed!

  39. In the small print of the Guardian graphic, it seems to suggest the sample was of “parents of children aged 18 and under”. Why only them, if so?

  40. Wes
    I failed to see the first words, apols. As it happens, I can’t see the value of that question. The voters collectively haven’t a clue.

  41. Howard

    Mobile phones are not growth really, they are a technological advance

  42. RiN

    But what is growth if it is not the exploitation of technological
    advances for the benefit of humanity?

  43. PS

    I meant to add.

    Benefits like Howard being able to find Mrs Howard in the maze of Sharwoods sauces and multi-grain cereals.

    Think how many lives were blighted by an accidental, but permanent grocery-related separation in the pre-mobile days!

  44. Lefty

    Yes even as I wrote it I felt it was not totally correct, which brings up the question of what economic growth is?

  45. I had a Dutch girlfriend who had a very easy way of finding me in the supermarket, she just whistled, if only mobile phones had come out sooner I would probably still be with her but alas her Dutch logic couldn’t understand why I found it demeaning

  46. YouGov making cash by polling for both the Yes and No campaigns in Macbeth’s country.

    Alas, asking slanted questions from both camps may enhance Anthony’s pension, but do little to inform.

    Ask people if they want debates between X & Y or Y & Z, they’ll answer Yes. I imagine they would have answered yes if asked if equivalents should debate too.

  47. Boom as a journalistic term for fast growth is a meaningless, undefined appeal to instincts.

    Boom in economic terms is the period when the economy reaches the previous maximum size (after a recession) till the next downturn. In this way the UK had a more or less 15 years long boom. It’s the longest since the first business cycle (1823) and it was a boom.

    Although it was not the purpose of it, the quick increase in government spending from 2001 bascially made an impending recession to one that never was (which in turn is one of the causes why the current recession is so bad). The massive investment in social infrastructure generated demand for both goods and services and some inflationary pressures (counterbalanced by the high value of the pound). The activated new, completed projects then triggered higher demand for goods and services to keep these operational (e.g. new schools need new teachers, kitchen staff, etc). This partly caused, partly simply coincided with increased private borrowing, extending the boom period. This pattern is also one of the main reasons why the government finds it so difficult to cut public expenditure (irrespective whether cuts are good or bad).

  48. Let’s see how much the council housing prioritising to those born here helps the Conservatives.

  49. YouGov
    Con 30, Lab 41, Lib 12, UKIP 12
    Approval -38
    No sign of a bounce from these figures – basically where we were a week ago.

    7-Day weighted average VI (changes over a week):
    Con 30.7 (+0.5), Lab 40.9 (-0.3), Lib 11.3 (nc), UKIP 11.2 (-0.4)
    The +0.5 looks quite good for Con – but on that day we had a 29 for Con and the day before the average figure was 30.7 and day after was 30.6, so that’s perfectly fine for statistical variation.
    So effectively no change.

    30-Day weighted (changes over a week) –
    Con 30.8 (-0.1), Lab 41.5 (-0.4), Lib 11.2 (nc), UKIP 10.9 (+0.3)
    Since this figure is for longer-term trends, it hasn’t ‘caught up’ yet – so it shows UKIP moving toward 11, Con settling around 31 and Lab moving down to 41 – exactly what we saw as the ‘new trend’ post-Eastleigh.

    If this continues, the budget will have made absolutely no impact on VI – which is not the worst case scenario for the Cons.

    Pure Approval:
    Cameron 36 (+4)
    Miliband 31 (+1)
    Clegg 21 (+3)
    Osborne 26 (+9)

    Cameron -23 (+7)
    Miliband -25 (nc)
    Clegg -50 (+4)
    Osborne -37 (+13)
    Quite a shift in Osborne’s approvals.

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