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I'm not convinced that voters answer these questions about tax honestly. Of course people will tell a pollster that they want extra money for the NHS, children and fluffy bunnies but many will vote for tax cuts in the privacy of the polling booth.

34 % want to vote Labour?

Proof that the NHS mental health budget is not being directed to actual care.


Alan S - There is some truth in what you say however if everyone voted for tax cuts in the voting booth then we would be in office not opposition. I think it is more complicated, and comes down to ensuring that there is a perceived wider good in respect of tax cuts. It comes down to convincing people that things can be done more cheaply without being done 'on the cheap'. It is about making the argument on the difference between essential and discretionary spending and the scope of scaling back spending that is a matter of choice.

"We would like to think that CCHQ was conducting some intelligent polling on tax but we have received reports in recent weeks about the poor quality of CCHQ's polling operation. We will be posting on this subject very soon."

This is a story that has been begging to be written.


Most people think they pay too much tax shocker. Isn't it more of a concern that a third of people think that they pay the right amount or not enough?

Only two years ago intelligent friends were telling me, 'we ought to pay more tax.' But they were mostly people with plenty of money. Those who are struggling to make ends meet take the opposite view but, sadly, are less likely to vote and even less likely to vote Tory.

What a disappointing poll for us.ICM is now unlike others only putting the Conservatives marginally ahead and the Lib Dems at 20% or more.This is quite different from other pollsters. Does anyone know if they're using different methodology from other pollsters?
PS Regarding the tax question,isn't true that the majority of people always say they want lower taxes but do not want to see any reductions in spending either?

"67% tell ICM that their taxes are too high"

Big deal. Nobody actually likes paying tax anymore than they enjoy paying their gas bill. What did you expect?

"We would like to think that CCHQ was conducting some intelligent polling on tax but we have received reports in recent weeks about the poor quality of CCHQ's polling operation. We will be posting on this subject very soon."

There are some very very weak areas in CCHQ which Caroline Spellman is very ignorant of. She is sadly very disengaged from the terrible weaknesses in her IT area.

Surprisingly, to observers, she seems very bothered with who the CF pick as their annual leader.

No matter what the tax level was, people will always feel that they pay too much. Likewise they will always think that public services are not good enough. However, when it comes between paying less tax or getting better hospitals and schools, people have learnt that they prefer the latter. It is very easy for the Conservative party to say that they can do more for less, but unless they spell out exactly how, nobody will believe them.

34% voting Labour tells us that there is still a large client and payroll vote out there for Labour.

The problem is that ConHome has been highlighting polls which show opposition to tax cuts but downplaying those which show more support the current balance of tax/spend than want it lowered.

It is not clear to me why the ICM question was unfair. It seems a lot fairer than ones, like those conducted for the TPA, which are simply designed to display dislike of high taxes and wasteful spending. It is also fairer than the one proposed above which
a) Would specify the particular tax cuts, but not specify the particular spending implications
b) Talks of tax ‘cuts’ but ‘lower spending growth.’ This is inconsistent. It is fair to either talk in terms of share of GDP, in which case (assuming no extra borrowing) lowering tax share has to result in lowering spending share OR to talk in terms of take, in which case lower spending growth would be accompanied by lower tax growth.

We have to think of how any proposals we make would be framed in the heat of an election campaign, not in our ideal world. If we propose tax cuts, others will talk of public spending cuts. It may be that if we can propose very popular tax cuts to be paid for by cutting very unpopular spending that we could get away with it, but the public does not on balance seem ready for lower tax and spending.

I am afraid this poll gives yet more support to the tortoises.

There is some truth in what you say however if everyone voted for tax cuts in the voting booth then we would be in office not opposition.
A lot of people think that their taxes are too high, and want all kinds of extra spending for things including benefits for them and believe that most other people except for them are paying too little in tax - I think that is the major reason, most people live in their own little world and don't take into account that other people who don't have the same problems as them have other problems and so are probably just as deserving of tax cuts. Many on Working Tax Credit or on Pension Credit no doubt think they should be getting more and people on JSA\Incapacity Benefit getting less and vice versa, many lamenting about how much they pay in duties and Income Tax want business taxes increased instead, political parties of all persuasions struggle with such hypocrisy on the part of the general public and with elected politicians this fuels a temptation to them to go for stealth taxes and to allow PSBR to get out of control towards election times.

Couple of points on the ICM poll from Anthony Wells,

'ICM and Populus reallocate proportions of those saying don’t know to how they voted last time, other pollsters exclude them from the final figures...... Across all ICM polls since October the average effect of the adjustment is to reduce the Conservative share by 1.2%, increase Labour’s share by 0.5% and increase the Lib Dem share by 0.7%.'

The Guardian/ICM polls in particular are bad for us and tend to be favourable to both Labour and the LDs.

'The poll continues the pattern we’ve seen since September last year of Labour doing comparatively better compared to the Conservatives in ICM polls done for the Guardian than in polls done for other clients. As I said when I first commented on this apparent pattern, I can find no obvious explanation for it, but as the months go past the pattern seems to be consistent. The shift in voting intention from the last ICM/Guardian poll, which may be the better comparison, is Labour down 1 and the Lib Dems up 1.'

Mike Smithson over at PB. ran a thread on 'The Guardian effect'.
Noone seems to know the answer. Everyone wants to believe the polls that are most favourable to them. In our case that would mean we try to ignore Populus and ICM for the Guardian!
Assuming we don't...Populus recently showing us with a 9% lead and at 40% was remarkable. [for them].

Noone seemed to be expecting this poll. It wasn't due out yet and it was thought it would be out later rather than earlier because of half term.
The joke amongst poll obsessives is that we are always waiting for the next poll to inform us of how we should have read the last.

"if everyone voted for tax cuts in the voting booth then we would be in office not opposition."

Why? I don't believe a Conservative government would implement significant tax cuts. When have they ever done so, or even promised to?

Fact: Our Taxes are too high under Labour and the public know it.

Fact: Labour's waste, bloated and needless bureaucracy, and massive spending on political correctness are areas that ought to be anathema to anyone who calls themselves a Conservative and are ripe for serious and real savings in public expenditure.

Fact: Put those two concepts together and, low and behold, there is an alternative to Labour's excessive tax and profligate spending agenda... . . . ... if only Osborne would wake up and see it.

Thanks Northernhousewife.

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