Poll shows little enthusiasm for Labour backing Tory spending plans (except from Labour supporters…)

4th June, 2013 9:29 am

Labour would risk losing as much support as it would gain by backing Tory spending plans – that’s the message from the latest question from the LabourList/Survation survey.

The overwhelming majority of voters (63%) say that Labour backing Tory spending plans would have no impact on their vote at the next election. Only 18.1% say it would make them more likely to vote for Labour if Ed Balls backed Tory spending plans, whilst 19% say it would make them less likely to support Labour.


This question is the second in a set of polling data which we’ll be revealing each day this week on LabourList, as we seek to find a way towards “Securing Economic Credibility” for the party in a way that is also true to Labour values and electorally viable.

In the hours since Ed Balls made his speech to Reuters, several journalists have sought to suggest that the Labour Party has already signed up to Osborne’s cuts after 2015. This is not the case. What Ed Balls said in his Reuters speech – and followed up on LabourList – was that Labour would inherit Osborne’s budget plans and that this would have to be the starting point for Labour in 2015 – that’s just a statement of fact.

However he was also very clear that the taps of spending won’t be turned on in 2015 – there will clearly be further cuts to come. That, he feels, is proof that he will handle the economy with “iron discipline”.

Yet our polling shows that there is no evidence to suggest that adopting Tory spending plans would win support for Labour. In fact, the group of voters most likely to say that backing Tory spending plans would make them more likely to vote Labour are existing Labour voters. 37.5% of current Labour supporters say they’d be more likely to back the party if Balls followed Osborne’s spending plans, compared to 21.4% who say they’d be less likely to back the party. Yet only 9.1% of Tory voters and 8.9% of UKIP voters would be more likely to back Labour if the party backed Tory spending plans. Lib Dem voters are more keen on the idea, with 21.8% saying this would make them more likely to back Labour.

In short, the vast majority of voters say that backing Tory spending plans would have no impact on their likelihood to vote Labour, the group most enthusiastic about doing so are already voting Labour, and for every person who says that they would be more likely to back Labour under such circumstances, a similar number say they’d be less likely.

The Labour Party would evidently gain little out of backing Tory spending plans. Apart from the fact that politically it would be disastrous (going into an election saying that we agree entirely with the Tories is hardly likely to be a vote winner) it’s clear that there isn’t the desire from the public for such a decision.

Whilst it’s clear that Labour needs to improve in terms of economic credibility – yesterday’s polling showing the public’s lack of trust in the party made that clear – apeing the Tories isn’t going to provide that credibility or boost our support. Instead, Labour must craft a different vision for what a Labour-led economy might look like. Over the rest of the week, we’ll be taking a look at what that might look like, and how popular (or unpopular) that might be.

Survation interviewed 1,121 adults aged 18 and over via online panel on May 24th 2013. The results have been weighted to the profile of all adults, and the data for the question referred to in this post can be found here

  • rekrab

    There is a seriously bad case of collapsing to this recession and not enough steel and imagination to move forward.

    Unless we’re all convinced the world is flat and we’re about to be blown off it’s edge, there’s no reason why we can’t service this debt crisis over the next few hundred years if need be.

    Come Mr Ball’s, work into the problem! don’t let the problem work into you?

  • http://twitter.com/waterwards dave stone

    Labour supporters back Tory spending plans?!

    The blind are leading the blind.

  • Jack Dees

    If we want to get the core vote out we won’t do it by following Osbourne’s disastrous plans.
    People want change not more austerity. Mr. Balls needs to feel the country’s anger rather than fear the middle England backlash.

  • John Ruddy

    Now this is a more interesting question, and the answer is something that those on the right of the Labour party need to answer – just why should Labour back the Tories austerity plans?

  • terryec

    The last time labour formed a new Government they followed Tory spending plans, what we saw over the following 13 years was the reduction of the standard of living for the working class and an increase for businessmen and bankers, To follow the same line again will only continue that trend toward a low wage economy, Turkeys voting for Christmas comes to mind.
    The ordinary people of this country want to see hope, they want someone who will stand up for them and the Labour Party are not doing that, to win my vote they will have to show me they mean to change the political landscape and make this a fairer society that they have helped to make very unfair.

  • Paul Trembath

    Sacrificing socialism for votes gains no votes. Ditching the core supporters appeals to the core supporters. What strategy could possibly be left to try? Standing up for something and trying to deliver it? (Hollow laugh)

  • Monkey_Bach

    Labour has stridently stated, quite rightly, that the Tory spending plans are wrong. By supporting these plans Labour is, by definition, not only an accomplice to social and economic wrongdoing but a Tory stooge to boot.

    What point is there in winning an election in this fashion?

    What point is there in being returned to office if, when once there, you do little different and hardly more than the people you displace and once vehemently took issue with?


  • Kathryn Rose

    It should be pointed-out here that spending a similar amount to the Tory-led Government does *not* mean spending it upon the same things. By spending money on building social housing and providing jobs for hitherto unemployed builders, a Labour Government could also bring-down the housing benefit bill through a reduced dependence on over-priced private sector housing. Would they be spending the same money with such a decision, quite probably, would the outcome be better for society – undoubtedly.

    • AlanGiles

      You have to offer people hope, Ms. Rose, and your ideas are good, but, sadly I doubt that the enthusiasm both you and me (and many others on LL) share for social housing, is matched by the current Labour party, and the impression I get from Ed Balls, is that he is determined to sound just as “tough” as Osborne, and again he is dancing to the coalitions tune, rather than suggesting we strike up a new tune.

      I have used the term before, but the Labour front bench is in the grip of “us, too-ism”, terrified of offering a genuine alternative for fear of what the tabloids might say. That timorous attitude is doing Labour no favours

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  • John Dewhurst

    Why the hell do labour say they will stick to Tory
    spending plans ? Ok spend just as much
    as the coalition but spend it on growth of the economy not on sustaining the
    recession and trying to out-tory the tories.

    When Margaret Thatcher gained power with a slim
    majority and the social democrats took control of labour the party lost its
    balls, now we have Ed Balls minus the socialism.

    What the people want is a real alternative the
    party who feel they have the divine right to rule (conservative) or the peoples
    supposedly (s0cialist) party labour .

    The have and have-nots divide has become almost Dickensian the rich protect their financial castles
    whilst the poor queue at foodbanks. And
    has been continued by the labour party
    throughout the Blair years,

    Bring back clause 4 To secure for
    the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most
    equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the
    common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and the
    best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry
    or service.

    Then maybe Labour will win back the respect and trust
    of the real wealth creators.

  • etonmess

    To be fair, the classic ‘does x policy make you more of less likely to vote for x party’ is, as Anthony Wells over at YouGov has pointed out, a problematic line of questioning. In general, Tory voters will say it makes them more like to vote Tory if it is a Tory politician proposing it, Labour more likely to vote Labour etc. etc.

  • Pingback: Why Britain will suffer if the welfare state pays out only to poor people | Neal Lawson | Latest News ChannelLatest News Channel()

  • jaydeepee

    The IMF have announced that austerity in Greece was wrong and very harmful to their economy and then up racks Labour with plans to ape Tory austerity plans!. It would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic that at a time when the British people need an alternative vision of a different future we get Tory lite.

  • Pingback: The Evening Post - Why Britain will suffer if the welfare state pays out only to poor people | Neal Lawson()

  • Pingback: Why Britain will suffer if the welfare state pays out only to poor people()


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