YouGov's Post-Budget poll
This morning, YouGov released their latest poll conducted for The Times. Conducted between 8th and 9th March, it covers the day of the Budget itself and the day after, too.
Let's dive in.
1. The Conservatives are 19 points ahead of Labour. That's not a typo, by the way. A 19 point lead is the Tories' first since October 2009 and Matt Singh of NumbrCrunchrPolitics has said this is the party's biggest lead while in government since October 1987. Naturally, this has changed the Polling Digest rolling model: the Tories are now exactly 17 points ahead of Labour. This lead is their biggest this Parliament.
2. A note of caution: While this poll was, strictly speaking, conducted after the Budget, the full media cycle sparked by the Chancellor's speech had not yet ended when the poll was taken. The 8th, the day of the budget itself, allowed for voters to see the media response only via the internet, and although the poll was also conducted on the 9th, the first whole day since the Budget, with the terrible newspaper headlines, the media onslaught will have a kind of trickle down effect, impacting voters' perceptions of the parties a little later on. It's fashionable (and accurate?) to say the print media is dying, but it seems unlikely that any party can get wall-to-wall bad headlines on two consecutive days (the papers today are still Budget focused and negative) and not take some kind of hit. Anyway, back to the poll itself...
3. The actual content of the Budget was quite well-received. Although this will no doubt change as the effect of the media's response filters through into voters' opinions, reception has so far been quite positive. Hammond's announcement about an extra £2bn for social care was met with a very positive reaction: 81% of voters like the policy, with only 7% thinking that the Chancellor was wrong to put the announcement in his first Budget. The new 'T-levels' were also well-received, with 56% of voters responding positively in YouGov's poll. More controversial, however, was the additional £320 million for the construction of new free schools - 41% liked the policy, with 38% not liking it. The Chancellor's announcement about the increase in NIC for self-employed people from 9% to 11% was, actually, fairly popular - it has a net positive rating (47% to 33%).
4. Overall, the Budget was seen as more fair than unfair. While 32% of voters thought that the Budget was a fair one on the whole, only 24% thought it was unfair. It should be noted, however, that 44% of voters don't know what they think about the Budget as a whole, and these are the voters most likely to be swayed by the overwhelmingly negative media coverage. At this stage, half of voter (49%) think that the Budget won't have much of an effect on the country as a whole.
5. People think the Conservatives broke their manifesto promise. While voters' initial reaction to the Budget hasn't been nearly as negative as the press' response, they do think (55% to 16%) that the Tories broke their promise not to raise NIC.
5. People are fairly content with the government's taxation policy, but if they're not, they're more likely to favour higher taxes. This polling question is quite an odd one: instead of asking voters about their position on fiscal policy as a whole, it focuses on taxes only. Thus, when YouGov asked voters if they'd like taxes to increase, voters who agreed comprised those who'd like those taxes to be spent on public services as well as 'austere' voters who thought that those taxes should be used to close the deficit. Overall, 35% were happy with the level of taxation we have. 32% of voters, though, would like taxes to increase, with only 9% disagreeing.
6. On the government's expenditure-reduction policy, voters think it is necessary (47% to 24%), but that it is being done unfairly (44% to 22%). Voters are fairly split on whether it is good for the economy (34% think it is good compared with 32% who don't), and slightly more feel unaffected by the cuts than do (39% to 34%).