Friday, October 22, 2010

A desperate gamble

UK Polling Report has the results of a YouGov poll for the Sun newspaper carried out after the announcement of the Spending Review. Interesting reading. First, 47% of those polled felt the deficit crisis was the fault of the last Labour government, and voters had little faith in Labour to deal with the problem. But the good news for the coalition ends there.

Fully 49% felt the government was cutting too fast, and a remarkable 81% expected public spending cuts to increase overall unemployment, suggesting that growth-friendly fiscal consolidation is not a theory accepted by British voters. Only 34% agreed with the statement that 'the coalition had brought the country back from the brink of bankruptcy', the line pushed incessantly by government since Wednesday (45% disagree).

Most impressive is that fully 55% agree with the statement that the spending cuts are 'a desperate gamble with people's livelihoods'.

All in all, the British public feel that Labour left a terrible mess, but have little confidence in the current government's approach. The upshot in party political terms is that Labour are up on 40% to the Conservatives' 41%, whilst the Lib Dems languish at only 10%. In other words, the Conservatives seem to be getting all the benefit from the coalition, with the Lib Dems taking the strain. Centre-left Lib Dem voters, one can only assume, have been 'smoked out' as more left than right, and are moving back to Labour. How sustainable this will be is hard to guess, but Nick Clegg has work to do, and Ed Miliband has an extraordinary opportunity to place Labour firmly back in position as the dominant party of the centre-left.