There are three new polls out tonight.

ICM in the Guardian have topline figures of CON 39%(-1), LAB 36%(nc), LDEM 16%(nc). Changes are from the ICM/News of the World poll yesterday so, as you’d expect, there are no significant changes. This does confirm the lowest Lib Dem score from ICM since the election wasn’t just a freak result though.

Interestingly in yesterday’s ICM poll 2 of those 16 percentage points for the Lib Dems were from the re-allocation of don’t knows – only 14% of people said they’d vote Lib Dem, the rest was people who said don’t know who ICM re-allocated according to how they voted at the last elecion. Of course, it doesn’t follow that the same applies to this one!

Moving to questions about the cuts themselves, 48% of people thought cuts went too far, 44% thought they were right or didn’t go far enough (36% and 8% respectively). 52% thought that the cuts were unfair, compared to 44% who thought they were fair.

Meanwhile Populus in the Times (£) has topline figures of CON 37%(-2), LAB 38%(+1), LDEM 15%(+1). Changes are since Populus’s last poll in mid-September. This is the first time Populus have shown a Labour lead since the election-that-never-was in 2007, though ICM, YouGov and Angus Reid have all shown more recent Labour leads and BPIX had one at the weekend. Looking at the spending review questions in Populus’s poll 58% thought the effects of the cuts would be unfair, a majority (but no actual figure) said that the cuts are too large.

While on the face of it the voting intention figures look somewhat conflicting, with trends apparently in opposite directions, I think the polling picture from the spending review is still pretty consistent. Nothing here conflicts with my conclusions yesterday – support or opposition to the cuts seems quite well balanced or even slightly positive; there is roughly even balance between people thinking cuts are too deep or about right/too shallow; people see the cuts as unavoidable and more Labour’s fault than the coalition. On the more negative size for the government, the polling suggests most people think the cuts are too fast, and across the board the polls are showing that people see the cuts as being done in an unfair way.

And voting intention? While the changes in ICM and Populus are in different directions, they are within the margin of error and looking at the broad spread of polls from different companies my impression is that there is a slight tightening – with a couple of polls showing Labour ahead, and YouGov’s daily tracker showing the Conservative lead dropping from 4 points or so to just one, I think the spending review may have led to a genuine narrowing in the polls.

Third poll tonight will be YouGov’s normal tracker in Sun at 10pm.

UPDATE: YouGov’s daily poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 40%, LAB 40%, LDEM 11%. That’s the first time YouGov have shown Labour catching the Tories since the end of the Labour conference.

The full tables for YouGov’s Sunday Times poll are now up on the YouGov website here.

The questions on the spending review have results very much in line with YouGov’s poll straight afterward Osborne’s announcement – time to digest newspaper reactions and an extra day’s new coverage don’t seem to have changed opinion as they sometimes do. 43% thought the announcements the government made were right, 43% wrong, 45% thought they went too far, 43% thought they got the balance right or didn’t go far enough (33% and 10% respectively). 51% thought they were unfair, and 45% continue to blame the last Labour government the most compared to 17% blaming the coalition.

One notable change from last week is to perceptions of who will suffer most from the cuts. A week ago YouGov found that 48% thought middle income households would suffer the most, ahead of low-income households on 35%. Presumably this was the result of the child benefit announcement and, perhaps, the tuition fees announcement. This week YouGov repeated the same question and people saw the poorest as likely to suffer the most by 48% to 36% (only 6% think the rich will suffer the most).

Looking at the polls on the spending review as a whole there seems to be a pretty coherent pattern. People are either evenly divided or positive about the cuts themselves, evenly divided over their size, and continue to see them as both unavoidable and more the fault of Labour than the Conservatives. However, they also tend to see the way the coalition have carried them out as unfair, and expect the poor to suffer more than the rich.

On other questions in the YouGov poll, the majority of respondents supported the decision to protect the NHS and schools from cuts, but opposed the decision to protect international development. 70% expect to be worse off from the changes.

There was little sympathy for the BBC – 48% thought the freeze on the licence fee and the end of government funding for the World Service got the balance about right, 31% thought the BBC should face larger cuts, with only 13% thinking the cuts went too far.

There is a continuing appetite for banker-bashing. We asked people if they thought George Osborne had succeeded in getting right what he called the balance between making the banks pay their share and not driving them abroad. Only 5% thought Osborne had gone too far, 31% thought he had got it right, a majority (52%) thought he had not gone far enough and taxes on banks should be even higher.

There was also a BPIX poll in the Mail on Sunday. The quoted shares of the vote in the paper are CON 35%, LAB 37%, LDEM 10%… but this implies others at 18% which would be a sharp contrast with other pollsters. In the past the Mail on Sunday have published figures from BPIX that weren’t repercentaged to exclude won’t votes, so this could be the case here, meaning all three parties are actually higher. BPIX don’t publish tables so we’ll never know.


No doubt we will have plenty of post-CSR polls tonight.

We have already had two brief ComRes polls for the Indy and the BBC Daily Politics at the end of the week. ComRes found 59% thought the cuts “were unfair because they hit the poorest people”, but also (in the other poll) found a majority (52%) supporting the cuts with 39% opposed, a slightly more positive balance than the YouGov poll for the Sun. Neither had any voting intention figures.

The first Sunday poll to be published is by ICM for the News of the World. This has voting intention figures of CON 40%(+2), LAB 36%(+2), LDEM 16%(-2). Changes are from a fortnight ago. It’s the lowest Lib Dem and highest Conservatives scores from ICM since June (though it would be a very good Lib Dem score from any other pollster!).

On questions about the spending review itself people think the cuts were more unfair than fair by a narrow margin (45% to 42%), and 48% think people on low incomes will suffer the most, compared to 20% who think middle income earners will suffer most and 5% that high earners will. 60% agreed with the decision to protect the NHS, international development and schools from cuts (though we’ve seen in many pre-CSR poll that the public actually have mixed views on this – protecting the NHS is supported, International Development isn’t). On who would make the best Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne leads Alan Johnson by 38% to 28% – presumably there was a large body of don’t knows.

I’ll post again later when more polls appear, there is certainly the weekly YouGov poll for the Sunday Times to come, and it wouldn’t surprise me if there were others.

UPDATE: The YouGov/Sunday Times voting intention figures are CON 41%, LAB 40%, LDEM 10% – the same as YouGov’s immediate post-spending review poll for the Sun.

The full results of YouGov’s post CSR poll for the Sun are now up on the YouGov’s website here.

YouGov reasked many the economic questions from their pre-spending review poll at the start of the week to see if attitudes has shifted. Mostly they hadn’t. There were slight increases in the Conservative lead over Labour on cutting the deficit and encouraging growth, but on the other hand, the proportion of people thinking the cuts were unfair and avoidable both rose slightly. No changes were large enough to be sure the shifts weren’t just margin of error – the big picture remains that people think the cuts are unavoidable and Labour’s fault…but are being done unfairly and too fast.

Turning to the details of the spending review, most of the measures in the review were actually pretty popular. Large majorities supported the permanent levy on banks (82%), withdrawing child benefits from households with higher-rate taxpayers (74%), putting a cap on the benefits a single household can receive (84%) and – unsurprisingly – ending MPs final salary pensions (85%). There was also strong approval for the reduction in the BBC budget (64%), making public sector workers contribute more to their pensions (59%), freezing the basic level of the working tax credit (56%), and increasing the rent paid by future council tenants (49%).

Opinion was more evenly divided on increasing the state pension age to 66 (49% support, but 40% oppose), reducing the availability of legal aid (42% support, 42% oppose), allowing higher rate taxpayers over 60 to keep bus passes and winter fuel allowance (43% support, 47% oppose) and cutting 490,000 public sector jobs (39% support, 44% oppose).

Only two of the items YouGov asked about met with majority opposition – using more community sentencing rather than prison was opposed by 60%, while allowing rail fares to rise faster than inflation was overwhelmingly opposed, with 80% against.

However, as we’ve often seen in polls after budgets, people’s reactions to budgets and spending reviews are much more than just whether there are more popular measures than unpopular measures. In the past we’ve seen budgets where people told pollsters they liked all the specific things asked about in the poll, but thought the budget as a whole was bad. It’s the overall impression that counts, and on that front things are a lot more evenly balanced. 40% think the government made the right decisions on where to cut spending, 41% think they made the wrong decisions. 44% thought the cuts were too harsh, 44% thought they were about right or too cautious (38% and 6% respectively).

So far, it looks as though reactions to the spending review are pretty evenly balanced. Whether this is good or bad news for the government is, I suppose, a question of expectations. If you thought their support would plummet after cuts, this is good for them, if you thought it may have bolstered their position in a similar fashion to the emergency budget this should be disappointing.

It’s also worth noting that the public do sometimes take time to react to events – all of the fieldwork for this poll was conducted after the spending review, but about half was conducted before this morning’s papers, and reactions to the announcements will probably continue over the next fews days. The initial response is not always the same after a few days.

YouGov – 41/40/10

The first YouGov/Sun poll since the spending review has topline figures of CON 41%, LAB 40%, LDEM 10%. It’s the smallest Conservative lead for a week or so, but there’s no massive change from the pre-CSR polls – no collapse or increase in Tory support – nothing, in fact, that couldn’t be normal variation within the margin of error. What is notable is the Liberal Democrat score: 10% is the lowest YouGov have ever recorded them, the last time any pollster had them that low was 1997.

Naturally YouGov asked a large number of questions on the spending review itself, which I’ll post about later once the Sun release them.

I don’t know if there are other polls tonight – Channel 4 News said a poll tonight would have the Lib Dems at a 20 year low. Clearly this shouldn’t apply to this poll, YouGov haven’t been around for 20 years, and it’s only 13 years since another pollster had them on 10%. That said, it could just have been human error.