- Ipsos MORI’s Budget Reaction Poll for the Economist shows public support for the Coalition's first Budget, and indicates that the new government is being given some licence to cut spending for the good of the country.
- George Osborne is the most popular Conservative Chancellor recorded by Ipsos MORI.
- However, people think the Budget will be bad for them personally, and many appear to be reserving judgement.
The Budget is seen as the best for the country of any Conservative Budget measured by Ipsos MORI since 1976. Half also believe that the government’s policies will, in the long term, improve the country’s economy (50%). Yet, although the public largely believe that this Budget is good for the country (54%), they tend to think it will be bad for them personally (48%). On balance, more people think the Budget will help to get Britain's economy going (43%) and that it will increase other countries' confidence in Britain (46%), although a similar proportion also say that it will make the rich richer and the poor poorer (45%).
Public reaction to this Budget is similar to Gordon Brown's first Budget in 1997, which was also perceived to be good for the country (56%), but bad for people personally (37%).
George Osborne has the highest satisfaction ratings of any Conservative Chancellor in Ipsos MORI polling and far outperforms his predecessor Alistair Darling. More people now have a view about the Chancellor than before the Budget, with fewer saying they “don’t know” and more expressing a postiive or negative opinion.
The shift in public opinion about how quickly to cut the deficit continues. The public now seem to accept the government’s stance that cutting the deficit needs to begin immediately. In March, over half said the national debt should not be cut this year as it may stop the recovery – just a third (35%) say the same now. By contrast, 44% now think the deficit needs to be cut quickly (an increase from 28% in March). Conservative supporters are more likely to be in favour of immediate cuts (81%) while Lib Dems are more split - but more Lib Dems do think that cuts should happen now rather than later (43%, compared to 27% who favour cutting more slowly).
Specific Budget announcements have had a mixed reaction. There is very strong support for freezing funding received by the Royal Family (87%) and making single parents look for work once their youngest child goes to school (73%). Freezing public sector pay and child benefit, and cutting housing benefit, are also supported by the public. The strongest opposition is towards raising the rate of VAT to 20% (59% oppose), and people also oppose raising the age of the state pension and stopping the planned increased in tax on cider. Furthermore, only 32% think that the government has made the right decisions on which services to cut and which to ring-fence.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, those of lowest social grades (DEs) are most negative about the Budget. They are most likely to think Budget is bad for them personally (56%) and for the country (41%), as well as being most likely to oppose the rise in VAT (67%) and most likely to oppose raising pension age (60%). Among this group there is also higher opposition to cutting housing benefit (43%).
For more details:
Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,005 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted online 25th - 28th June 2010. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.