Labour conference round-up: popular support for party policies

Ed Miliband

A poll released during the Labour Party Conference suggests that Ed Miliband’s policies are enjoying popular support.

A lot of the coverage of the conference has been about Miliband’s speech and how he forgot parts on the deficit and immigration - topics that Labour would arguably wish to avoid.

The conference, in Manchester, ended with a closing speech from Harriet Harman, the deputy party leader.

However, YouGov’s latest poll (released 24th September) shows that despite a lack of personal approval, Miliband’s policies are proving to be popular.

A larger than usual sample - 2142 GB adults - shows that 75% of the public support making the winter fuel payment means tested ‘so it no longer goes to the richest 5% of pensioners’.

Interestingly, with this particular policy there is coherence across the board, with 81% of those intending to vote Labour, and 81% of those intending to vote Liberal Democrat, supporting the policy (including those who totally support it and those who tend to support it). 79% of those intending to vote Conservative support the policy, as well as 71% of UKIP voters.

Additionally, 54% of those questioned support ‘Freezing the level of child benefit until 2017’. However, the policy resonates better with non-Labour voters. Of those intending to vote Labour, only 49% support the policy, compared with 73% of Conservatives, 59% of Lib Dems, and 64% of UKIP voters. This policy is arguably aimed at non-Labour voters in an attempt to increase Labour vote share.

Furthermore, 72% of those questioned support a mansion tax on properties over £2 million, perhaps showing public consensus on the policy. 85% of those intending to vote Labour support the policy, but more interestingly, 66% of UKIP voters favour the tax, as do 58% of Conservative supporters.

Labour’s policy of increasing the top rate of income tax (those earning over £150,000) to 50p in the pound, is also proving a popular policy. The survey shows that 65% support the policy compared with the 23% that are against it. 82% of Labour supporters favour the policy.

However, the most interesting point is that out of those intending to vote UKIP, 60% favour a 50% top rate of tax. 36% strongly support it and 24% tend to support it, compared to the 33% who oppose the idea (21% tend to support it, and 12% strongly oppose it). This is in contrast to statements by UKIP leaders, as Nigel Farage recently stated that a 40% top rate of tax would be preferred.

The conference has now come to a close. It is clear that Labour’s policies are popular across the board - if this poll is to be believed. This, combined with Labour’s recent leads in the polls, shows that the country could be heading towards a Labour led government, whether that be a majority, a coalition with the Lib Dems, or a minority administration.

Of course, the party still has its problems: Ed Miliband is not the most popular leader, his lack of mentioning immigration and the deficit in his speech could put off some voters. Nonetheless, this YouGov poll shows a strong backing for the party’s policies.

The full results of the YouGov poll can be found here: http://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/8muu9rqbof/RedBoxResults_140923_Policies_Website.pdf