Do you approve?

Yesterday's YouGov/<i>Sun</i> poll is the best snapshot of the mood of the British public. So how ar

I like opinion polls. I go to YouGov's interesting website most days to get a sense of the changing mood of the nation. Today, it had some interesting results that are worth discussing, especially on the economy, in the YouGov/Sun poll taken between the 5 and 6 September.

First, after some recent evidence that the Labour Party's lead over the Tories was narrowing, it has widened again to 6 points: Labour 43 per cent, Tories 37 per cent and the Lib Dems 9 per cent.

Plus, there were some striking findings on the economy that make interesting reading. The government looks to be in trouble on the economy.

Question 1 Do you approve or disapprove of the government's record to date? (per cent)

Approve 30; Disapprove 55; Don't know 15.

Question 2 Thinking about the way the government is cutting spending to reduce the government's deficit, do you think this is . . . (per cent)

a) Good for the economy 35; Bad for the economy 49; Don't know 16.
b) Being done fairly 27; Being done unfairly 59; Don't know 14.
c) Necessary 57; Unnecessary 31; Don't know 12.
d) Too deep 47; Too shallow 9; About right 27; Don't know 17.
e) Being done too quickly 52, Too slowly 8; About right 28; Don't know 12.
f) Having an impact on my life 68; Not having an impact on my life 23; Don't know 9.

Question 3 Thinking about the next two or three years, how worried are you that people like you will . . . (per cent)

a) Not have enough money to live comfortably? -- Worried 70; Not worried 27; Don't know 3.
b) Suffer directly from cuts in spending on public services, such as health, education and welfare? -- Worried 71; Not worried 26; Don't know 3.
c) Lose their job/have difficulty finding work? -- Worried 64; Not worried 32; Don't know 4.
d) Lose their home? -- Worried 43; Not worried 53; Don't know 4.

So, Britons think that cuts are necessary but are being done unfairly; are bad for the economy; are too deep; are being done too quickly and are having an impact on their lives; they are worried about the future impact of the cuts and losing their jobs, and they disapprove of the government's track record. I agree, of course. I suspect the lack of support for the coalition's economic policy is going to spread as the economy slows further in the second half of the year. I will keep you posted.

David Blanchflower is economics editor of the New Statesman and professor of economics at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire

David Cameron shows Labour how to do it

Leftwing rhetoric masked rightwing reality in Cameron's conference speech.

“The tanks are in the kitchen,” was the gloomy verdict of one Labour staffer to a speech in which the Prime Minister roamed freely into traditional left-wing territory.

But don’t be fooled: David Cameron is still the leader of an incredibly right-wing government for all the liberal-left applause lines.

He gave a very moving account of the difficulties faced by careleavers: but it is his government that is denying careleavers the right to claim housing benefit after they turn 22.

He made a powerful case for expanding home ownership: but his proposed solution is a bung for buy-to-let boomers and dual-earner childless couples, the only working-age demographic to do better under Cameron than under Labour.

On policy, he made just one real concession to the left: he stuck to his guns on equal rights and continued his government’s assault on the ridiculous abuse of stop-and-search. Neither of these are small issues, and they are a world away from the Conservative party before Cameron – but they also don’t cost anything.

In exchange for a few warm words, Cameron will get the breathing space to implement a true-blue Conservative agenda, with an ever-shrinking state for most of Britain, accompanied by largesse for well-heeled pensioners, yuppie couples, and small traders.

But in doing so, he gave Labour a lesson in what they must do to win again. Policy-wise,it is Labour – with their plans to put rocketboosters under the number of new housing units built – who have the better plan to spread home ownership than Cameron’s marginal solutions. But last week, John McDonnelll focussed on the 100,000 children in temporary accomodation. They are undoubtedly the biggest and most deserving victims of Britain’s increasingly dysfunctional housing market. But Labour can’t get a Commons majority – or even win enough seats to form a minority government – if they only talk about why their policies are right for the poor. They can’t even get a majority of votes from the poor that way.

What’s the answer to Britain’s housing crisis? It’s more housebuilding, including more social housing. Labour can do what Cameron did today in Manchester – and deliver radical policy with moderate rhetoric, or they can lose.

But perhaps, if Cameron feels like the wrong role model, they could learn from a poster at the People’s History Museum, taken not from Labour’s Blairite triumphs or even the 1960s, but from 1945: “Everyone – yes, everyone – will be better off under a Labour government”.

Stephen Bush is editor of the Staggers, the New Statesman’s political blog.