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Voters support slower path to deficit reduction

By Tim Montgomerie

Overnight The Times (£) has published its latest Populus poll. It seems a good opportunity to take an overview of the opinion polls:

  • Populus has the Conservatives on 39%, Labour 37% and LibDems on 14%.
  • The daily YouGov poll has the Conservatives on 41%, Labour on 38% and the LibDems on 12%.
  • ComRes from 5th September had the Conservatives on 38%, Labour on 34% and LibDems on 18%.
  • ICM published last on 15th August and had the two main parties both on 37% and the LibDems on 18%.

The numbers below show an overall high level of satisfaction with Coalition performance, so far:

Screen shot 2010-09-14 at 08.40.05 The below-the-headline numbers are more worrying for the Coalition, however. George Osborne's approach to the deficit is the least popular of three approaches tested by Populus:

  • "More than a third of voters, 37 per cent, say they prefer Labour’s position to halve the deficit by the next election and deal with it over ten years.
  • The same number say that protecting the vulnerable and keeping unemployment as low as possible should be bigger priorities than reducing the budget deficit.
  • Only one in five voters, 22 per cent, agree with the coalition plan to deal with the deficit by the next general election, in five years’ time."

YouGov's tracker of satisfaction with the Coalition shows a clear descent into negative territory. 8% more voters are now dissatisfied with the Coalition, than satisfied.

Screen shot 2010-09-14 at 08.32.12 As I argued yesterday, "extreme unpopularity" is coming. The Coalition must govern as if it only has one term and not worry about the opinion polls. If it rides through the valley of mid-term blues but makes the right policy changes it has a hope of being re-elected but, most importantly, it will have been the government Britain needs.


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