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What “everyone knows” is wrong: the Budget was popular with young people

John Rentoul

Budget1 What everyone knows is wrong: the Budget was popular with young peopleEveryone knows that George Osborne designed the Budget to help repulse the UKIP threat to older once-Tory voters, especially working-class ones. What is more, it succeeded. Recent polls by ComRes, YouGov and Populus have seen Labour’s lead cut.

All hail the political genius of the Chancellor.

Except that it is not so.

The brilliant Leo Barasi points out that the swing from Labour to Conservative was confined to the under-60s: the younger the voter, the stronger the swing back to the Tories. Among the over-60s, in fact, the swing went the other way, with Labour increasing its support slightly while the Tories held steady.

Barasi speculates that the liberation of pensions did not have a direct effect on the polls, as it would have been most important to the 40-59 age group:

The reality may be that these changes aren’t actually the result of rational policy calculation in response to the pension changes. Perhaps they’re more about the feeling people have had from the Tories projecting a sense of direction and accomplishment.

More important, his analysis of polls carried out before and after the Budget shows something else:

It’s a reminder that the (near) universal opinion about what’s going on in politics is sometimes completely wrong.

Credit where it is due: Patrick Briône, research director of Survation, first made this point on Monday, as Barasi acknowledges.

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  • ARDNASSAC

    It is odd that Peter Kellner did not pick this point up, or maybe I missed it. It may explain why UKIP’s polling did not suffer although it is difficult to see the over 60s swing to Labour as anything other than an anomaly. Need a month or so to confirm any trend there.

  • Rich Jones

    If there was any proof that the moronic youth in this country need to be put down.

  • Ciaran Goggins

    93% of us owned 16% GDP under Labour and still do under Con/Lib.

  • JohnJustice

    I think this poll swing among younger voters has more to do with the impact of Help to Buy which is now being felt by them as they go after their first homes. It will no doubt peter out when they find themselves being priced out of the market as a result of this housing bubble and when mortgage repayments start to rise.

  • Pacificweather

    “It’s a reminder that the (near) universal opinion about what’s going on in politics is sometimes completely wrong.”

    As the near universal opinion about what’s going on in politics comes from pollsters and pundits it nearly always completely wrong. You are too young to remember time and motion studies. Turn up the lighting and productivity improves. A month or so later turn down the lighting and productivity improves. The over 60s remember this and are therefore less susceptible to the minor attentions of their puppet masters.

  • greggf

    Social sciences Pacific, never reproduce the same answer twice to the same circumstances …. I may have said this before if so I apologize for …….!


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