From the TUC

Public opinion moves on cuts

11 Jan 2011, by in Politics, Public services

In my presentation at Netroots UK I included graphs showing how public opinion on the cuts has moved since the election using data from YouGov.

Today they have published a further data set for a poll conducted Jan 8-10 in which they have again asked these questions.

In a weak joke I have made far too many times I say one pole does not make a telegraph system. I have high regard for YouGov, but the laws of probability mean that polls are occasionally inaccurate.

But if today’s polls are right then there has been a significant move in public opinion as the astute Anthony Wells notes.  More people expect to be diectly hit by the cuts, there is a marked shift in whether people think they are good for the economy (which is the one I think is crucial) and the majority who say they are unfair has increased again.

Here are some graphs:

Net directly affected by cuts

Net directly affected by cuts (ie those who think they will be directly affected by the cuts minus those who do not)

Net good for the economy

Net good for the economy

Net being done fairly

Net being done fairly

Public opinion is therefore moving away from the coalition.

But there is no room for complacency.

For the first time YouGov has asked the question that I would have liked to have been there from the beginning, which is whether the cuts are necessary or unnecessary:

  • 52 per cent say necessary
  • 35 per cent say unnecessary

As a snap-shot question it doesn’t tell us a great deal as some people would have said “necessary” even if they think the depth and scale of what the government is doing is too great, but if it’s going to be used as a tracker question in future it will be interesting to see how it moves.

And while I’ve not tracked this question in previous polls (though it has been asked):

  • 40 per cent say the last Labour government is most to blame for the cuts
  • 22 per cent say the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition.

So things are a little better than they were in the pre-Christmas polls – particularly on ‘good for the economy’ – but there is still a long way to go so nothing in what I said needs adjusting despite some encouragement in this latest data set.

3 Responses to Public opinion moves on cuts

  1. Tax Research UK » People now think the cuts are unfair – and they haven’t happened yet
    Jan 12th 2011, 9:55 am

    […] a fascinating analysis by Nigel Stanley of the TUC on the Touchstone blog this morning commenting on a YouGov poll on […]

  2. Tweets that mention Public opinion moves on cuts | ToUChstone blog: A public policy blog from the TUC —
    Jan 12th 2011, 1:12 pm

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Alice Hood. Alice Hood said: Public opinion moves on cuts […]

  3. Michael Green
    Feb 28th 2011, 8:25 pm

    I posted this comment on Richard Murphy’s Tax Research website. I don’t know if the argument might be useful.

    Barclays claim that because their employees pay £2b tax, the company really pays it. It might be worth turning that argument on its head.

    Our son is a school teacher and standard rate tax payer, earning about £40k a year. He pays income tax, but as well as that he pays national insurance, his employer pays national insurance, he contributes to the Teacher’s Pension Scheme, his employer contributes to the Pension Scheme. You know about tax and could do the calculations better than I can. My calculation is that if he receives an extra £1 in salary, 49.25p goes straight back to the Treasury, 32.23p as tax, and 17.02p as an interest-free loan. Even putting in tax allowances, the overall rates are 44.03%, 27.01% and 17.02%. (Of course his chances of seeing an extra £1 of salary are not great, or indeed of seeing a fair pension in return for his contributions)

    If the argument is accepted that tax paid by employees of banks should be taken into account, then the tax paid by public sector employees should be deducted from the cost of the public sector, making the true cost not much more than half of what is claimed.