Even Tory voters want cuts to be temporary

A large majority of the general public - and a slim majority of Tory voters, do not want to see the size of the state shrink and cuts to be reversed at some point

New poll data from http://www.yougov.polis.cam.ac.uk/ show that two-thirds of the public believe that the Coalition’s spending cuts should only be temporary, with just a fifth thinking they should be permanent.

Over the last year, polls have sought to gauge public opinion by asking people about ‘the cuts’ – are they fair or unfair, necessary or unnecessary? But, of course, ‘the cuts’ mean different things depending on whether you think they are temporary belt-tightening to reduce the deficit or  an ideological attempt to roll back the state for good.

Last summer David Cameron came clean that – for the Tories – these cuts are permanent:

“Should we cut things now and go back later and try and restore them? I think we should be trying to avoid that approach.”

This should come as no surprise, given the ideological ambitions he expressed as opposition leader: as he told the CBI, long before the financial crisis hit:

 “what really matters is reducing the share of the national income taken by the state”.

So we thought it was time to ask the public about it. And the results are not good for Cameron. Of all those expressing an opinion, 69% want the cuts to be temporary and think that “the Government should increase spending on public services again when the public finances are in better shape”, while just 22% want the cuts to be permanent and think that “the Government should look to reduce its role for the long term” (a further 9% opt for neither). (Including ‘don’t knows’, the figures are: 64% temporary, 20% permanent, 8% neither, 8% don’t know.) This is a huge rejection of the Tories’ Thatcherite, state-shrinking ideology.

Even more interesting is the fact that a clear majority of Tory voters want the cuts to be only temporary. Of those Tories expressing an opinion, 56% want the cuts to be temporary, while just 39% want the cuts to be permanent (a further 5% opt for neither). (Including ‘don’t knows’, the figures are: 52% temporary, 36% permanent, 5% neither, 7% don’t know.) This is a huge rejection of the Tories’ Thatcherite, state-shrinking ideology from Conservative voters.

 

As I comment in today’s Independent, it’s been perhaps the best-kept secret of the last 30 years that that around half of Tory voters are fundamentally un-Thatcherite about the state – deeply attached to public services and fiercely protective of their social entitlements.

 These voters – who I like to call Daily Mail Collectivists – offer Ed Miliband a real chance to win the next election if Labour can make them a convincing offer on public services and social security, since a Conservative government focused on shrinking the state will always struggle here. Over the next few months, the Fabian Society will be looking in more detail at this interesting group of voters and the electoral vulnerability they create for the Conservatives.

 The polling, analysed in detail in the latest issue of the Fabian Review, was part of a huge survey of the UK conducted by YouGov in May 2011, which included some key questions to explore attitudes to the state, tax and spending. For more details, visit the Fabian Society website and YouGov@Cambridge

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75 Responses to “Even Tory voters want cuts to be temporary”

  1. Cookie Monster

    Blow to Cameron & Osborne as new poll shows even a majority of Tory voters think the cuts should only be temporary http://t.co/IquqTvo

  2. Will

    Blow to Cameron & Osborne as new poll shows even a majority of Tory voters think the cuts should only be temporary http://t.co/IquqTvo

  3. Olly

    How is arguing that “cuts should be temporary” fighting on Tory ideological grounds?

  4. Sam McBratney

    Blow to Cameron & Osborne as new poll shows even a majority of Tory voters think the cuts should only be temporary http://t.co/IquqTvo

  5. Richard Hall

    The majority of people, including Tory voters, don't want the cuts to be permanent. http://j.mp/p1IlT5

  6. Ian Mackay

    Blow to Cameron & Osborne as new poll shows even a majority of Tory voters think the cuts should only be temporary http://t.co/IquqTvo

  7. Andy S

    Blow to Cameron & Osborne as new poll shows even a majority of Tory voters think the cuts should only be temporary http://t.co/IquqTvo

  8. Liz Whitehead-Davies

    Blow to Cameron & Osborne as new poll shows even a majority of Tory voters think the cuts should only be temporary http://t.co/IquqTvo

  9. Patrick Osgood

    Blow to Cameron & Osborne as new poll shows even a majority of Tory voters think the cuts should only be temporary http://t.co/IquqTvo

  10. Chopper Grip/Death.

    Blow to Cameron & Osborne as new poll shows even a majority of Tory voters think the cuts should only be temporary http://t.co/IquqTvo

  11. janet ewan

    Blow to Cameron & Osborne as new poll shows even a majority of Tory voters think the cuts should only be temporary http://t.co/IquqTvo

  12. John Nor

    Even Tory voters want cuts to be temporary: http://bit.ly/r5imOx : writes @thefabians ' @timjhorton

  13. Mark

    Even Tory voters want cuts to be temporary: http://bit.ly/r5imOx : writes @thefabians ' @timjhorton

  14. CamperVanTim

    Blow to Cameron & Osborne as new poll shows even a majority of Tory voters think the cuts should only be temporary http://t.co/IquqTvo

  15. Pedro

    Even Tory voters want cuts to be temporary: http://bit.ly/r5imOx : writes @thefabians ' @timjhorton

  16. David

    Utter tosh.

    The voters have revealed again and again in the ballot box that they say one thing to opinion pollsters and another when they vote. In this case, the polling questions appear to be particularly dumb.

  17. Francis Mallinson

    Blow to Cameron & Osborne as new poll shows even a majority of Tory voters think the cuts should only be temporary http://t.co/IquqTvo

  18. Leon Wolfson

    Er, the part which goes ” These voters – who I like to call Daily Mail Collectivists – offer Ed Miliband a real chance to win the next election” perhaps?

  19. Dom Garman

    http://t.co/DFcigZO shows the true nature of tory support

  20. Top Politics Tweets

    Blow to Cameron & Osborne as new poll shows even a majority of Tory voters think the cuts should only be temporary http://t.co/IquqTvo

  21. Natan Doron

    And even Tory voters want cuts to be temporary http://t.co/9mDHgQq

  22. Nigel Anthony

    Blow to Cameron & Osborne as new poll shows even a majority of Tory voters think the cuts should only be temporary http://t.co/IquqTvo

  23. DJE

    Majority of Tory voters want cuts to be temporary. Original Fabian research from @timjhorton here http://t.co/PauptHM

  24. Dave Citizen

    I tend to agree Leon – this kind of politiking is ok at the fringes but not until the core fundamentals are clearly established (I’m thinking clear goals on healthy levels of inequality, policy aims to return land and property from self serving private investment portfolios to the entrepreneurs of tomorrow etc.) Otherwise we just go round the focus group merry-go-round again and Britain stays stuck in its rut.

  25. Zero-credit

    RT @thefabians: Majority of Tory voters want cuts to be temporary. Original Fabian research from @timjhorton here http://t.co/LHxO1BW

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