From the TUC

Voters split on cuts v tax

23 Sep 2009, by in Economics, Public services

Not surprisingly the Guardian stressed the bad news for Labour in its report of its latest ICM poll(pdf) . But buried in the questions was this:

Politicians from different parties agree the government will have to make savings in the future to reduce the size of the national debt. Do you think the MAIN emphasis should be on:

  • Raising taxes including the taxes you pay, or
  • Reducing the amount of money being spent on public services, even if it affects those public services you use.    

There was 45% support for tax increases and 47% support for cuts. That’s a pretty even split considering how the media have framed the deficit as one exclusively about cuts.

There are also some interesting details in the small print:

  • Men back cuts by 55% to 39%.  But women back tax increases by the slightly smaller margin of 51% to 39%.
  • There’s a big age split with the under-35s in favour of cuts while the over 35s are in favour of tax increases.
  • People at the top and bottom of the social structure – the ABs and DEs favour tax increases, while the middle C1s and C2s back cuts.
  • Lib Dem supporters are the biggest supporters of tax increases.
  • The further north you go the stronger the support for cuts.

Of course this is an artificial question as a mix of both is the likely outcome of any deficit reduction programme, but it is a challenge to the way that those bits of the media that should be opting for balanced coverage report this debate.

And why there are three times as many don’t knows in the Midlands as the North is a complete mystery.