We headed into this budget with the Labour party pulling ahead in the polls. The latest YouGov/Times voting intention survey from the 7th-8th November put Labour at 43% with the Conservatives at 40%.
Today’s budget announcement offered the Conservatives a prime opportunity to reach the electorate and turn their fortunes around. But did they do enough to get cut through to the politics-weary public?
To get a very quick read on reactions, Portland partnered with Maru Usurv to run a flash poll with 500 members of the general public. The results were back within the hour and will fall short of the reassurance that the Conservative party will be looking for.
Firstly, the context is undeniably challenging with optimism about Britain’s future low. After hearing about the downgraded growth forecast, a total of 88% were concerned about the future prospects of Britain as a whole, 86% were concerned about the future prospects of British business and 78% were concerned about the potential impact on their own life.
Within this context, the key policy announcements that were designed to prepare the economy for the future appear welcome but insufficient. After seeing a brief description that included spending pledges for Brexit, infrastructure, the tech industry and education a total of 53% felt that they were a step in the right direction but only 24% agreed that they went far enough.
Beyond this, the Tories were keen to capture the attention of the young people. But policy announcements directed at the young, including stamp duty, housebuilding, railcards and the living wage only fared slightly better. They appeared to have the power to catch attention with a total of 64% feeling that they were a step in the right direction. But still only 37% think that they go far enough, showing that they may have significantly more to do to attract this demographic.
This is far from an in-depth study, but it appears to indicate that the latest budget will fail to secure the position of the Conservatives in the eyes of the public. They are still seen as acting in the interests of the privileged few rather than addressing the needs of the masses. And to make matters worse, their competence in managing the economy also seems to be under question. Today’s significant downgrading in Britain’s growth forecasts the given the significant economic pressures in light of Brexit the Government’s ability to reverse this looks increasingly challenging.
Labour will no doubt look to capitalise on this opportunity, and the poll results show that they are in a relatively strong position to do so. Rather than weakening their position, most people felt that the budget announcement left Labour in a similar or stronger political position than before. We may see the narrative change over the coming days, but for now it seems like the voting intention polls are unlikely to be reversed.
Note: Data was updated on 23/11/2017 following weighting of initial results.
All figures are from MaruUsurv, with a total sample size of 500 UK adults weighted to be nationally representative. Fieldwork was undertaken on 22nd November 2017 between 15:45 and 16:20pm. The survey was carried out online.
MaruUsurv is an internet company which has developed a self-service online survey platform that delivers the fastest, most cost effective method of running short online surveys.
It has made quantitative research by making it accessible to small businesses for the first time, as well as providing a more efficient, faster solution to traditionally heavy users of research such as major brands, marketers and PRs, by delivering meaningful results in close to real time at a fraction of the price of traditional offerings.
The company was established in the UK in January 2012 by a team that includes successful online entrepreneur, Martin Bysh, and experienced market research director, Guy Potter. It is was acquired in January 2017 and is now part of the Maru Group.