Poll worry for coalition as pain of cuts begins to dawn

Labour leads the Tories in the Times/Populus poll series for the first time in three years in the wake of the comprehensive spending review as voters begin to realise the full scale of the coalition's cuts agenda. Ed Miliband's party are up one point on 38 per cent, with the Conservatives down two points on 37 per cent and the Liberal Democrats up one point on 15 per cent.

Labour leads the Tories in the Times/Populus poll series for the first time in three years (£) in the wake of the comprehensive spending review as voters begin to realise the full scale of the coalition’s cuts agenda. Ed Miliband’s party are up one point on 38 per cent, with the Conservatives down two points on 37 per cent and the Liberal Democrats up one point on 15 per cent. Better news for the Conservatives, however, in the headline Guardian/ICM voting intention figures, which put David Cameron’s party on 39% (up 4 points on the month), Labour on 36% (down 1), and the Liberal Democrats on 16% (down 2) – the first time the Conservatives have a lead in this series since July.

Of greater concern to ministers are the economic confidence indicators and the public’s reactions to the cuts in both polls. Populus (£) found that only a third of voters believe the economy will fare well over the next year for the country as a whole (down from 44% in June), with 38% believing the cuts are fair (c/f. 57% in June), 51% saying they are cutting more than they have to (39% in June), and 53% saying they are getting the balance between tax rises and spending cuts wrong (31% in June).

While in the Guardian, ICM found that 48% of those polled said the cuts go too far, with 36% thinking the balance is right and 8% wanting them to go further, with overall public backing for the cuts down from 55% in July to 44% now, and opposition to the scale of the cuts up from 38% in July to 48% now. The poll also found 58% of public sector workers think the cuts go too far, as against 43% of private sector workers.

Today’s Times also shows (£) Labour ahead on an average of all polls since the 2005 general election for the first time since early 2006, while the graph below, showing the average of all polls since the 2010 general election (source: UK Polling Report), shows the gap between the Conservatives and Labour dwindling fast, with the Liberal Democrats in freefall:

The latest YouGov tracker poll for The Sun, meanwhile, shows the main parties neck-and-neck on 40% with the Liberal Democrats well below their ICM and Populus ratings on only 11%.

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