Voters don’t buy Coalition cuts – with nearly half blaming them for the deficit

Asked which strategy for managing the budget deficit they agreed with, voters put the Coalition’s plans last. Just 22 per cent supported the Government’s attempt to deal with the deficit by the next election, compared to the 74 per cent who were evenly split between Labour’s proposal to reduce the deficit by half over the next five years.

A Populus poll published in The Times today reveals three in four voters disagree with the Coalition’s handling of the economy, five weeks before extensive cuts are expected to be announced in the Comprehensive Spending Review on 20th October.

Asked which strategy for managing the budget deficit they agreed with, voters put the Coalition’s plans last. Just 22 per cent supported the Government’s attempt to deal with the deficit by the next election, compared to the 74 per cent who were evenly split between Labour’s proposal to reduce the deficit by half over the next five years, and the TUC’s belief that protecting the vulnerable and reducing unemployment should take precedence over reducing the deficit.

Of Conservative voters, 51 per cent backed Labour’s plan, whilst only 31 per cent supported their own party’s strategy.

These figures show a marked change from those of Populus’ July 2009 poll, where 38 per cent believed the Tories would cut best, compared to 28 per cent putting their faith in Labour. They also reveal, as demonstrated by the graph below, that voters’ economic expectations have become notably more pessimistic after a recovery in the run up to May’s election.

What’s more, those polled do not see Labour’s handling of the economy as the chief cause of the deficit. Banks and the global recession are both more commonly blamed than the actions of Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling. Though out of power for the vast majority of the economic crisis, Cameron and Osborne appear to have been marred by association. Forty nine per cent – only 15 points less than for Brown and Darling – accuse them of being responsible for ‘Britain’s current economic situation’.

In terms of voting intention, it is the Lib Dems who lose out most according to the poll. The 4 per cent boost which sees the percentage of potential Labour voters rise to 37 per cent is accompanied by a corresponding drop in popularity of the Lib Dems, from 18 per cent to 14 per cent. The Conservatives remain on 39 per cent.

Interestingly, Populus figures which didn’t appear in The Times’ report show a correlation between views of the Coalition’s handling of the economy and socioeconomic class. The Government was thought to be doing well by 2% more DE voters that thought it was doing badly. This is compared to 26 per cent for C2 voters, 24 per cent for C1, and, by far the highest, 38 per cent for those from the AB group.

In other words, the middle and professional classes feel far more sanguine about Coalition economic policy than the working and lower middle classes. This is likely to be seen as encouraging by Labour figures, particularly Ed Miliband, who has announced his intention to regain the 3 million C2 and DE voters who dropped their support for Labour between 1997 and 2010.

A recent YouGov/Sun poll confirms Populus’ findings. It shows the government’s approval rating to be minus eight – the lowest figure since the election. Furthermore, it reveals that voters’ perception of the financial situation of their household over the next 12 months deteriorated significantly after the election. The ‘feel-good factor’ decreased from -19 per cent in the last pre-election poll (April 9-10), to -44 per cent in the latest figure (September 2-3).

37 Responses to “Voters don’t buy Coalition cuts – with nearly half blaming them for the deficit”

  1. Madhvi

    RT @leftfootfwd: Voters don't buy Coalition cuts – with nearly half blaming them for the deficit: //bit.ly/97cwz0

  2. isla dowds

    //bit.ly/9EVT7U Perhaps reality is beginning to dawn even on #Tories and #libdems -people do not agree with the government #cuts

  3. isla dowds

    RT @leftfootfwd: Voters don't buy Coalition cuts – with nearly half blaming them for the deficit: //bit.ly/97cwz0

  4. Shamik Das

    Voters don't buy Coalition cuts – with nearly half blaming them for the deficit: //bit.ly/97cwz0 reports @tobyjthomas on @leftfootfwd

  5. Political Scrapbook

    RT @leftfootfwd: Voters don't buy Coalition cuts – with nearly half blaming them for the deficit: //bit.ly/97cwz0

  6. yorkierosie

    RT @psbook: RT @leftfootfwd: Voters don't buy Coalition cuts – with nearly half blaming them for the deficit: //bit.ly/97cwz0

  7. Sam Coates

    RT @leftfootfwd: Voters don't buy Coalition cuts – with nearly half blaming them for the deficit: //bit.ly/97cwz0

  8. Melissa Nicole Harry

    RT @leftfootfwd: Voters don't buy Coalition cuts – with nearly half blaming them for the deficit: //bit.ly/97cwz0

  9. Phil BC

    RT @leftfootfwd Voters don't buy Tory cuts – nearly half blaming them for deficit: //bit.ly/97cwz0 << wheels coming off Tory narrative

  10. Stuart Vallantine

    RT @psbook: RT @leftfootfwd: Voters don't buy Coalition cuts – with nearly half blaming them for the deficit: //bit.ly/97cwz0

  11. Edward Leathem

    RT @leftfootfwd: Voters don't buy Coalition cuts – with nearly half blaming them for the deficit //bit.ly/97cwz0

  12. Tweet4Labour

    RT @leftfootfwd: Voters don't buy Coalition cuts – with nearly half blaming them for the deficit //bit.ly/97cwz0

  13. Warren Morgan

    RT @leftfootfwd: Voters don't buy Coalition cuts – with nearly half blaming them for the deficit: //bit.ly/97cwz0

  14. vi__sa

    !!! Nearly half blaming THEM for the deficit?!? And why are you pushing this story? If these people blame this govt. and not the last govt. for the deficit, how valid are their opinions any way??? Morons.

  15. Sam Jordan

    RT @averyps: RT @leftfootfwd Voters don't buy Tory cuts – nearly half blaming them for deficit: //bit.ly/97cwz0 << wheels com …

  16. Andy Sutherland

    RT @leftfootfwd: Voters don't buy Coalition cuts – with nearly half blaming them for the deficit: //bit.ly/97cwz0

  17. Simon Davies

    That 49% is bizarre. I’m not a subscriber to The Times so I can’t check the actual wording of the question. Does it specifically refer to the “economic crisis”, or could it have been interpreted slightly differently? I mean, strictly speaking they ARE responsible for our current economic situation (in that it is currently their responsibility), so there’s a neutral interpretation there. There’s also the possibility (I suppose) that Tory supporters are part of that 49% because they think the coalition has had a positive effect on the economy.

    I may be grasping but I find that 49% figure so difficult to believe! Was the question phrased in a vague way?

  18. Phil BC

    I'll tweet it again: the Tories *haven't* won the public over to their programme of cuts //bit.ly/97cwz0 H/T @leftfootfwd

  19. Anthony Parker

    RT @averyps: I'll tweet it again: the Tories *haven't* won the public over to their programme of cuts //bit.ly/97cwz0 H/T @leftfootfwd

  20. Elrik Merlin

    RT @averyps: I'll tweet it again: the Tories *haven't* won the public over to their programme of cuts //bit.ly/97cwz0 H/T @leftfootfwd

  21. jennifer roberts

    RT @leftfootfwd: Voters don't buy Coalition cuts – with nearly half blaming them for the deficit: //bit.ly/97cwz0

  22. Iain Carson

    RT @leftfootfwd: Voters don't buy Coalition cuts – with nearly half blaming them for the deficit //bit.ly/97cwz0

  23. Niall Millar

    RT @leftfootfwd: Voters don't buy Coalition cuts – with nearly half blaming them for the deficit: //bit.ly/97cwz0

  24. Shamik Das

    Hi Simon – here’s how the graphic appeared: //www.leftfootforward.org/images/2010/09/Times-Populus-who-is-to-blame-for-the-deficit-question.jpg; as a footnote: 17 per cent of respondents had never even heard of George Osborne!

  25. pete brookes

    RT @psbook: RT @leftfootfwd: Voters don't buy Coalition cuts – with nearly half blaming them for the deficit: //bit.ly/97cwz0

  26. Chris

    Labour must split this coalition at the earliest opportunity and force a general election, the road down which Cameron, Osborne and their LibDem punks are taking this country is leading to ruin. They’re using the financial crisis to frighten people into accepting cuts to the size and role of state, they’re hell bent on privatizing and outsourcing every facet of our public services.

  27. william

    the only poll that counts was the election, hardly a ringing endorsement of the history graduate who claimed the abolition of the economic cycle.to reclaim the lost 3 million votes next time round,when the cuts will be yesterday’s story,labour will have to have a new shadow chancellor untainted by the debacle post 2005.

  28. AndyN

    RT @averyps: I'll tweet it again: the Tories *haven't* won the public over to their programme of cuts //bit.ly/97cwz0 H/T @leftfootfwd

  29. Kevin Richards

    The tide is turning @leftfootfwd: Voters don't buy Coalition cuts – with nearly half blaming them for the deficit //bit.ly/97cwz0

  30. Samuel Tarry

    RT @averyps: I'll tweet it again: the Tories *haven't* won the public over to their programme of cuts //bit.ly/97cwz0 H/T @leftfootfwd

  31. Martell Thornton

    Voters don't buy Coalition cuts – with nearly half blaming them …: A recent YouGov/Sun poll confirms Populus' fi… //bit.ly/ctsO1f

  32. Fake Gordon Brown

    RT @psbook: RT @leftfootfwd: Voters don't buy Coalition cuts – with nearly half blaming them for the deficit: //bit.ly/97cwz0

  33. Mr. Sensible

    William, there isn’t exactly a mandate for these ideological cuts.

    In response to what the TUC has been saying, a Lib Dem talked about how the government had a mandate. They do not; his manifesto opposed cuts this year, and now he props them up. On the biggest issue of the election, the Liberal Democrats have sold out to get in to power. You are right Chris; the Liberals should pull out of the coalition at Conference next week and lets have a General Election.

    I wasn’t surprised to see the Lib Dems suffering, but I am surprised to see those striking figures in the Poll of what the public think of the Coalition’s strategy.

  34. Francis Irving

    Read UK Polling Report’s blog post and comments for some more analysis of this poll: //ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/2801

  35. Alexander

    Yet another copy and paste job showing little to no original thought or even interest into the underlying figures. How can an article be written on government spending cuts without even a cursory glance towards the theory of Ricardian Equivalence?!! Besides, let’s not forget that it was Gordon’s painful mismanagement of the economy during the superboom years, with no consideration towards a contingency plan for the inevitable superbust.

  36. Spending Challenge - of 45,000 ideas, just 3 are taken up | Left Foot Forward

    […] focusing on the minute economic details. Furthermore, polls have shown the majority of the public opposes Mr Osborne’s approach to deficit reduction. Share | Permalink | Leave a comment […]

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