BMG Research has undertaken exclusive polling for The i newspaper. The polling covers topics including vote intention, leader satisfaction, the cost of living and the recently announced Spring budget by Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt:

  • There is no early evidence of a post-budget budget bounce for the Conservatives. Labour’s lead remains unchanged at 17 points, the same margin as it has been for the last two months.
  • Again, broadly in line with January, just 52% of those who voted Conservative at the 2019 General Election say that they would do so again.
  • 29% are satisfied with the job Rishi Sunak is doing as Prime Minister (cf. 25% in February / 24% in January), becoming more in line with what was seen in Early November / December (31%). This gives the PM a net satisfaction score of -11. On the other hand, Starmer’s satisfaction has remained stable at 30% (cf. 31% in February), giving him a net satisfaction rating of 0.
  • A quarter (25%) of those who had seen, read or at least heard something on the Spring budget felt positive about the announcements made. A third (31%) view it negatively. When compared to Kwasi Kwarteng’s September mini-budget, Hunt’s announcements are viewed a lot more favourably with over half (55%) viewing Kwarteng’s budget as negative.
  • Overall, policies tested from the Spring budget are seen as popular, with the Energy Price Guarantee having the most support with nearly three-quarters (74%) viewing it as positive.
  • Whilst on a granular level the policies are supported by respondents, as a whole over half (53%) of the GB public do not think that the announcements made by the Chancellor will make any difference to their lives, with this remaining true across all income groups.
  • In terms of the cost of living, 3 in 5 households (59%) say that their household/personal finances have gotten worse over the last 12 months, with just 1 in 10 (11%) saying that they have got better.
  • Around half (51%) believe that their finances will get worse over the next year, remaining consistent with recent waves (cf. 53% in February / 52% in January)

Jeremy Hunt has had 6 months to prepare his first full budget following the disastrous “Kami-Kwasi” mini-budget last year. The overall pitch that Jeremy Hunt and Rishi Sunak are attempting to make to the public is around competence and stability. Some of the headline measures are not as eye-catching, making a case that the Conservatives can run things more competently and calmly with the grown-ups back in charge.

Viewed in these terms, there is a case to mark the budget as a qualified success. Albeit a low bar, Hunt’s budget is viewed much more positively than Kwarteng’s mini-budget. More of those who voted Conservative in 2019 are positive about it than view it negatively, which could look like a win if you squint hard enough.

Much of what Hunt announced centred around his 4 E’s – Enterprise, Employment, Education, Everywhere – and on most of these measures the public is cautiously optimistic that Hunt’s budget will deliver. Around 3 in 10 believe it will have a positive impact on the ability of businesses to invest and create new jobs, as do a similar share say it will have a positive impact on economic growth. This is more than say the opposite on both measures.

The headline measures are also popular, particularly the extension of the Energy Price Guarantee and the big changes to childcare. Even the least supported measure – the abolishment of the Lifetime Allowance on pensions – is supported by more than oppose it.

That all being said, the reality is that while perhaps a qualified success, the budget does very little to shift the dial politically, at least in the short term. It is still early days, but there are no obvious signs of any post-budget bounce for the Conservatives, with the Conservatives stuck in the high 20s in terms of share of the vote.What’s more, with over half of the public still saying they expect their finances to get worse over the next 12 months, the broader picture on living standards still looks incredibly tough. While certainly not the car crash that was Kwarteng’s budget, ultimately Hunt’s Spring 2023 budget looks likely to be remembered more for what it wasn’t than for what it was.

An article by The i on voting intention, the budget and the cost of living can be found here.

Methodology, fieldwork dates, and a full breakdown of these results can be found here.

For a more detailed breakdown of results from this poll, or any other results from our polling series, please get in touch by email or phone.


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