- Public worried the government is cutting spending too much and would prefer the speed of cuts be slower.
- The Coalition’s argument that “we are all in this together” is not resonating with the public; most think that the poorest will be hardest hit.
- But previous Labour government is seen as more to blame for the cuts than the Coalition.
Ipsos MORI's polling for the Economist ahead of the Budget shows that just three in ten British adults believe that the government has got the balance right between raising taxes and cutting spending (28%). Two in five (43%) feel the government is cutting spending too much while one in five (20%) think it is raising taxes too much.
Seven in ten (70%) think it is better to cut spending more slowly in order to reduce the impact on public services while a quarter (25%) agree with the government’s argument that it is important to cut spending quickly. Public opinion has been fairly stable on this measure since June 2010.
The government’s argument that “we are in this together” does not seem to making an impact on the public as only a quarter (23%) believe everyone will be affected equally by its plans to reduce the national deficit. Seven in ten (71%) believe the poor will be hardest hit.
The previous Labour government is blamed for the level of cuts in public services. When asked to make a choice between the two, half (49%) blame Labour while a quarter (26%) blame the Coalition. However, when given the opportunity, the public also apportion blame to the banks and the global economy (although more still say the previous government is responsible than anything else).
The Liberal Democrats are suffering most out of the two Coalition partners in terms of who has been truer to their pre-election plans to address the national deficit. Just 8% say the Liberal Democrats have been truer while 44% say the Conservatives have.
William Hague is currently seen as the most capable Coalition member to succeed David Cameron as Prime Minister. A quarter (26%) think the Foreign Secretary would make the most capable Prime Minister if David Cameron were to resign while around one in ten name George Osborne and Liam Fox (9% and 8% respectively). One in five (18%) say they think Nick Clegg, the current Deputy Prime Minister would be the most capable PM.
Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,000 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 11-13th March 2011. Date are weighted to match the profile of the population.