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Coffee House

The public’s verdict on the Autumn Statement

7 December 2012

1:23 PM

7 December 2012

1:23 PM

We’ve only had two days to digest it, but the early signs from YouGov are that George Osborne’s Autumn Statement has gone down a lot better than his March Budget. The Chancellor’s personal ratings are still dire – just 24 per cent think he’s doing a good job — but that’s a lot better than 15 per cent five months ago. His approval rating had tanked after the Budget, but Osborne does seem to have turned that around:

And the government’s approval rating on the economy similarly seems to have been helped by the Autumn Statement, and is back up to pre-Budget levels:

Though a 35 per cent approval rating on the economy is not exactly great, it’s notably better than the government’s overall approval rating, which is currently just 26 per cent.

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One thing the Autumn Statement hasn’t achieved — despite containing a nine-page section dedicated to the topic — is convincing the public that the government’s cuts are ‘fair’. Just 25 per cent think they are, while 61 per cent say they’re ‘unfair’ — no better than last week. But this may not matter as much as the coalition clearly thinks it does: back in March, YouGov found that when asked to choose, 60 per cent of us place improving the economy above ‘making Britain fairer’.

Working against the government, of course, is the weakness of the recovery: 72 per cent say the economy’s bad, and 45 per cent think it’s still getting worse. But in the government’s favour is the public’s scepticism of the alternative: just 24 per cent believe the economy would be doing better under a Labour government, while 38 per cent think it’d be worse.

The coalition is still managing to keep much of the blame for our current problems on the previous government. 37 per cent say Labour is most to blame for the cuts, and a further 24 per cent blame both governments equally — just 26 per cent blame the coalition more than Labour.

And despite the majority thinking he’s doing a bad job, Osborne still beats Ed Balls. For a year now, he’s held a six-point lead over his opposite number on the question of who’d make the best Chancellor:

It is striking that the Tories have the country’s preferred options for both Prime Minister (Cameron leads Miliband 34-24) and Chancellor of the Excehquer, but still trail Labour by ten points when people are asked which party they’d vote for:

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


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