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I'd be interested to know why pollsters think that a poll consisting of less than 600 people is accurate. Surely there is a massive margin of error there?

And should we be surprised by this poll anyway, that notwithstanding? Those who smoke, drink or enjoy food have been made to feel like lepers for years. Voters are simply saying what they believe is socially acceptable when pressed by pollsters.

A word of caution on this poll.

i) The sample is significantly smaller than those used for National Voting Intention polls

ii) Some of Populus's normal weighting methods have not been used in filtering the sample

iii) there are some interesting anomalies in Populus's sampling techniques.

See Mike Smithson's thread on Politicalbetting.com for the details.

In agree with Donal and further I wonder how many people will now profess such a view whilst planning their next trip over to the European mainland to stock up on alcohol and tobacco.

The thing is if you don't like these taxes you can easily and cost effectively avoid them.

Given all these points such a 'poll' is virtually meaningless.

It is only a small sample, but it may still give an indication that many voters could still see us as more likely to favour big business and the rich. This would mean we still have some work to do to shed the image in voters’ minds that profit is what matters for us, regardless of effects on families, society and the environment. Surely this is where we need to show we have changed: that we care about more than profit. It’s good David Cameron said there's more to life than money and if the price of financial success is damaged families, it’s not a price worth paying.

Voters think we’d be worse than Labour at helping small businesses?? John Redwood’s work on de-regulation relevent?? The TPA’s suggestion that tax relief should be directed at the lower paid would seem right to do anyway. Maybe we need to do more to show we’d help the so-called the ‘coping classes’, those struggling to make ends meet etc in face of ever higher bills for essentials - by cutting their taxes, for example. And the IHT cut promise was popular.

It has to be remembered that the fieldwork for this poll was being done just after the Budget. Many people then might have still bought the line that this was going to be about binge drinking and a small minority of high fuel consumption cars. The Times poll question explicitly referred to "large, so-called gas-guzzling" cars. I doubt people think that means a Nissan Micra. That is a push-poll-like question.

Let's see what people think as they learn more about the kind of taxes they'll really face.

Posted by: John Leonard | March 13, 2008 at 20:52:
I wonder how many people will now profess such a view whilst planning their next trip over to the European mainland to stock up on alcohol and tobacco.

The thing is if you don't like these taxes you can easily and cost effectively avoid them.

[sigh]Let me guess, you live in London or the South East...

What about people who don't live within easy driving distance of Dover? Hard to do a day-trip booze cruise if you live in, say, Manchester (?)

The key statistic was that the 65% of the sample hadn't been following the debate, and the vast majority 93% didn't trust politicians' good intentions.

With any telephone poll,you will find those whose free time is not at a premium, and who are more easily imposed upon, will take part.

The Populus poll link on the Times website didn't work so I will wait to follow up John Leonard's suggestions. But I wouldn't conclude that the public loves New Labour driving us all even further into debt...

If the voters are backing THIS budget then there is no hope left for Britain.

I don't think that there is anything that the Conservatives could say or do that will oust the evil nuLibBore bastards.

John Leonard is absolutely right. It's a small unrepresentative sample (i.e. it's not weighted for past voting intentions). Such polls always scoop up more Labour voters - there have been whole books written as to why...

Let's wait and see what a more substantive poll has to say about the budget. I suspect it was unpopular, but at the same time people accept that we wouldn't have done much different because the UK economy has now been boxed into a corner.

The serious long-term problem is that George Osborne could inherit an economy that is is fundamentally worse shape that Geoffrey Howe did in 1979. It will be a long haul to turn that round. Two terms minimum and possibly no overall tax relief until towards the end of the first term.

Was the poll taken before they knew about this?

As an analyst I would want to know a lot more about it before I took any decision. It doesn't ring true - and the key thing about research is you have to look at something from different angles to get the real story.

To start, according to the survey results at The Times 65% had not paid much attention to the debate. Therefore on what were they basing their views? BBC news output!!?? When was this phone call made - how much analysis had been done? Very little I suspect. Only around 40% believed they would be worse off - is this the 40% that did pay more attention? And who at that time knew about the 10% tax band or the NI increase?

It looks to me as if the questions were what is know in the trade as subjectively loaded - “large, so-called gas-guzzling” cars. As someone else said, did people know this meant them?

The paper says 55 per cent, agree with the big increases in duty on beer, wine and spirits. Women (61 per cent) agree more than men (50 per cent). Support is higher among middle-class than working-class groups. I'm sorry I don't believe that, what was the scale of agreement they used? What was the question put?

Was a question asked about whether people believed the chancellor would spend the 'green tax' on green issues. Did they believe in it? Many a survey can be disregarded because of the contextual questions it does not ask.

And finally, according to this so called representative poll of the UK population, 66% of us think that “Britain’s economic position and prospects are affected much more by the conditions of the global economy than by anything that the Chancellor of the Exchequer does”. Do you think that is true? Sounds like a sound bite right from the stable of BBC Pravda. Put this up against the 65% of the population who are dissatisfied with the Labour Government - results from Populus' March 08 (pre budget) omnibus on political attitudes.

And the link to the actual survey details is still down !! Odd that.

I think this tells you Conservatives one thing, and one thing only. People are dillusioned and in despair. You need to give them hope, you need to stand for something you can hang your hat on - not piecemeal policies. And when you have got that, you have got to work at grass roots level to get that message across via the key influencers in every community. You must stand up and be counted - you are still to wishy washy, and the more open goals you let go past the more wishy washy you look.

I suppose if people realise that a Chancellor has to raise tax taxes on gas guzzling cars (which most people don't drive) and booze are probably better than on anything else.
It must be becoming obvious to most people that the British economy is not in a good state at the moment and could easily become far worse in the near future. Fiddling around at the margins as Darling has is not going to make anything appreciably better.

The same poll (which is unweighted by past vote, so will pick up a disproportionate number of Labour voters) also finds that far more people think the budget will make a recession more likely than think the reverse, and think it far more likely that the budget will harm businesses than the reverse.

I have to say, though, that I don't know how any sample could believe that a Conservative government would be worse for small and medium-sized businesses than this lot are.

Who on earth believes that NuLiebor control freaks do not have at least one pollster under it's thumb?
I say it again, the ballot box, as far as that is not fraudulently rigged by this lot of cretins, is the one poll to believe. The utter dismay, anger, depression, hatred and cynical laughter everywhere against them is enormous. Follow all the blogs. LabourHome when rarely used, carries hidden despair too.

You Lot need a reality check , you do it every time , when a poll
doesn't go your way , it,s wrong, a dud , not weighed etc. If it,s ok then well done Dave Cam and Ossie Osbourne !

The only thing predictable is that if you carry on with Cameron and co your walking into a disaster for the party. I repeat my call to you all , Wake up ! Wake Up! now before it,s too late!

The crityicisms of this poll are more than justified and The Times who presumably structured the questionnaire should be ashamed of itself.

=Firstly nobody had a chance on Wednesday evening to read the details
=secondly as other have commented the sample was very small
=thirdly the questionnaire is critical (no wonder it's not available) The responses appear to indicate that the questions were 'leading' ones showing the preferred response.
=Fourthly Multiple choice questions of this nature just don't work on telephone polls
= fifthly The use of the term 'gas-guzzling' which is pejorative ensures the answert they got
=sixthly - What alternative were they offered to "increases in child benefit and the winter fuel allowances for over-60s" as beneficiaries of the new taxes???

It's total rubbish - just political spin. I can't imagine why Populus lent their name to it. As a former researcher I'm ashamed to see such drivel put out.

Read Miranda above. She knows what she;s talking about as in fact do most bloggers, it seems

Its about time that poll companies were required by law to produce an audio recording, of the questions that they ask. Immediately I type this I can see the drawbacks, but on the other hand if the present government, continues in the way that it has so far, it WILL seek to ensure that the poll companies produce results that indicate a growth in labour popularity.

Many people know that HOW you ask a question - where you put the emphasis in the sentence (heavens that is one of the basics of acting!) - the sequence of words, and what words you use - just to indicate one or two options that can be used to bias an answer!!

If these companies are not more vigilant, they will get a reputation of unreliability, in which case....

I seem to remember a comment on this site a couple of months ago, that Populous is known for a labour bias. I may be wrong!

For anyone interested in the questions, the full poll, questions and answers, is now on the Populus website, www.populus.co.uk. The poll was intended as a quickie, to measure immediate reaction to the Budget. That meant that the sample size, at nearly 600, was less than half what we would have in our normal voting intentions poll, which was why we didn't ask a voting intention question. The size of the sample has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 points, slightly larger than our normal bigger sample, but not altering the underlying conclusions. Similarly, the point about not weighting for past votes may have made a slight difference, but not nearly sufficient to alter the basic conclusions. To answer Miranda, the questions were very simple, as she can see from the Populus site. The poll reveals quite complicated patterns: clear support of the basic measures but a recognition by a big majority that their tax bills will rise and they will be worse off-- plus a degree of fatalism about what any Government can do. So the message for both the Government and the Opposition is not straightforward. There is no contradiction at all between the high level of dissatisfaction with the Government, confirmed in the Populus poll for The Times last weekend, and the belief that Britain's economic position and prospects are affected much more by the condition of the global economy than by antyhing that the Chancellor does. The two views easily sit alongside each other. So, please, do not attack a poll merely because you do not like the results.
Peter Riddell

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