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6 September 2011

Do you approve?

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

By David Blanchflower

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)

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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.