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The state of public opinion before 'Axe Wednesday'

By Tim Montgomerie

Timthumb-8.php 'Axe Wednesday' is the front page headline in the morning's Independent. The countdown to George Osborne's big reveal is producing a blizzard of opinion poll findings. Listed below are some published in the last 48 hours including a new ComRes Cuts Index for tonight's ITV News At Ten.

Headline voting intentions

  • Ipsos-MORI has the Conservatives on 39%, Labour on 36% and the LDs on 14%
  • YouGov has the Conservatives on 42%, Labour on 39% and the LDs on 11%

Economic competence

  • Ipsos-MORI: 38% says Conservatives and 25% say Labour has the best economic policies
  • ComRes: When it is framed more personally, Cameron/ Osborne lead Miliband/ Johnson by 45% to 23% on most trusted to handle the economy

Overall cuts

  • ComRes: 43% of the public trust David Cameron to see the country through the current economic climate, while 32% trust George Osborne, and 34% trust Nick Clegg
  • YouGov: 60% of voters agree that the cuts are "unavoidable"
  • YouGov: 46% most trust the Tories to cut the deficit and only 20% most trust Labour
  • YouGov: 48% most blame Labour for the current spending cuts, just 18% blame the Coalition
  • YouGov: By 52% to 25% voters agree that Labour DOES NOT have a serious alternative to the Coalition's plan

Fairness of cuts

  • ComRes: 38% agree that the Coalition is cutting in a fair way, and 43% disagree
  • Ipsos-MORI: 67% believe that benefits “should only be provided to the people that need them most, not for the well off"

Optimism/ pessimism

  • Ipsos-MORI: 48% believe the economy will get worse over the next year, and 27% think it will get better
  • ComRes: 38% of the public believe the Government is on course for another wave of recession, compared to 24% who are more optimistic.

None of these numbers mean much at the moment. Until the cuts bite we won't really know how voters will react to the Coalition's austerity programme. And they will not bite tomorrow or the next day. VAT will bite next January. The cuts in child benefit will bite in 2013. 500,000 public sector job losses will bite over an extended period. Tomorrow is only one step in what will be a very long process.

More from Ipsos-MORI here and from YouGov here.


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