Osborne should not give up on austerity plan, say most Brits
YouGov poll shows Osborne has public on his side if he wants to freeze – or even reduce - benefits
AN ASTONISHING poll for the Blairite magazine Progress shows that George Osborne will have public opinion on his side if he cuts welfare benefits in real terms in his Autumn Statement on Wednesday.
The poll, carried out on a vast sample of 15,000 people, found that a majority of voters – 54 per cent - do not want Osborne to abandon his austerity strategy.
Forty-eight per cent also support reducing welfare payments to people who are unemployed. And – here's the big one - 56 per cent would like to see ALL immigration to Britain stopped.
Before the findings are dismissed by Labour as a rogue poll of right-wingers, it was should be noted that it was compiled by Labour luvvie Peter Kellner, the president of YouGov.
The poll was conducted at the end of October and its findings are published in the new edition of Progress.
It shows a split over cuts in unemployment benefit: most ABC1 voters (53 per cent) supported it but a majority of working class voters (45 per cent) opposed it. However, it's not as simple as that.
Kellner says in Progress that when the figures are broken down, "the C2s are every bit as keen on reducing benefits as the ABs and C1s; it is the DEs who are against the idea. In short, opposition to lower benefits is greatest among those who most fear losing out, or are currently relying on state benefits – scant sign there of working class solidarity.
"To observe all this is not to argue for Labour to adopt a reactionary agenda," says Kellner. "Any attempt to abandon principle and embrace the prejudices of C2 and DE voters would be counter-productive as voters would smell, and reject, the cynicism involved. Rather… it is worth understanding where people actually are, instead of where we might wish them to be."
In short, Ed Miliband needs to be careful where he goes with his 'one nation' schtick - attacking Cameron and Osborne for presiding over 'two nations', the rich and those on benefits - if he wants to keep public opinion on his side.
As Kellner warns, the YouGov findings will "depress anyone who thinks that progressive views have a special appeal to working-class voters".
They also help explain why UKIP has enjoyed such a boost during the the recent by-elections.