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Half of Labour voters support housing benefit cap

October 31st, 2010
“Support or oppose cap on housing benefit” (YouGov) All sampled CON voters % LAB voters% LD voters %
Support 72 94 52 78
Oppose 16 3 35 11
Don’t know 13 3 14 11

Should the red team and Boris re-think their strategies?

After a week when domestic politics has been almost taken over by the row on housing benefit there is some polling on the issue – by YouGov for today’s Sunday Times.

The findings with cross tabs on voting intention are above and suggest that some of the rhetoric about “final solution“, “cleansing” and “Kosovo” has not chimed with voters – in this poll at least.

There seems to be emphatic support for the cap right across the board with even Labour supporters backing it by 52% to 35%.

No doubt Downing Street will be delighted to see that Boris Johnson’s controversial intervention has failed to resonate in London – where most of those who will be affected by the cap are living. The split in the capital is 69% support to just 20% against.

All of this suggests that politicians and commentators, at least, should be careful about using grossly over-blown rhetoric before seeing some polling data.

This, of course, is just one survey and before the question was put there was a long preamble rather going into some detail about the background. This read: “The government have proposed that there should be a cap of £400 a week (around £20,000 a year) on the amount of housing benefit anyone can claim. Some people have said that these changes would be unfair on poorer people living in high rent areas like central London and would lead to tens of thousands of people losing their homes. Other people have said that it is unfair that people on benefit should be given more money to spend on rent than many people in full time work can afford.”

Where Cameron and co have been smart/shifty (depending on your point of view) is that there is a lot more in the changes than just the cap but whenever they’ve talked about it they’ve focused on the element they believed was most popular. That’s politics.

Mike Smithson