Rishi Sunak made a mistake cutting NI and not income tax ahead of general election, pollster says

A leading pollster has said Rishi Sunak made the “wrong political choice” cutting National Insurance in the spring budget, as 61 per cent of voters say there is zero per cent chance they will vote Conservative at the next election.

Director of More in Common Luke Tryl said there was only a 5 per cent chance of a Tory victory at the next election as new research by the thinktank revealed the extent of Tory woes - as voters reject key policies and the party haemmorhages support across demographics.

Polling by the thinktank shows that most voters feel that the government’s national insurance cuts won’t help them personally and would have instead favoured income tax cuts or other cost of living policies.

Only 44 per cent of voters said national insurance tax cuts would help their personal financial situation, while 40 per cent said they would not at all. Meanwhile, 65 per cent of voters thought cutting income tax would be helpful, and 77 per cent and 73 per cent thought price caps on energy and basic goods respectively would have a positive impact on their personal circumstances.

Jeremy Hunt unveiled a 2 per cent reduction in national insurance contributions in the spring budget (PA Wire)
Jeremy Hunt unveiled a 2 per cent reduction in national insurance contributions in the spring budget (PA Wire)

It was also revealed that six in ten voters (61 per cent) said there was a zero per cent change that they would vote for the Conservatives at the next election, with only 8 per cent saying they would definitely hand the Tories their vote.

In comparison, 46 per cent say that they would never vote for the Labour Party and 24 per cent put their chance of voting Labour at more than seven out of ten.

Mr Tryl told reporters that the results showed the Conservatives had made the “wrong political choice” in opting to cut national insurance and should instead have considered improving other policies that could have helped voters with the cost of living.

The chancellor announced a further two percentage point slash to national insurance among a series of tax cuts in his spring Budget ahead of this year’s general election, as support for the Conservative party dropped to 45-year low.

Jeremy Hunt‘s attempted to shore up support for his languishing party by unveiling the £10bn tax cut came despite warnings from the Budget watchdog that the average worker would still be hundreds of pounds worse off overall, and from economic thinktanks that the cuts would worsen economic inequalities and public services.

Significantly, the Tories have also lost their reputation as the party of pensioners as it was revealed that more people (35 per cent) think the Labour party better represents the interests of that demographic than the Conservatives (27 per cent).

Mr Tryll told the Independent that in focus groups conducted by More in Common, many pensioners were left “disappointed” by the spring statement’s focus on tax cuts for workers, with many left asking “what was in the budget for me?”

Keir Starmer is favoured as prime minister in the Red Wall (Danny Lawson/PA Wire)
Keir Starmer is favoured as prime minister in the Red Wall (Danny Lawson/PA Wire)

He explained that the over-70s were a key “swing group” for the Conservatives and “70 per cent of Tory to undecided voters are women and their average age is 61, so many of them are pensioners”. The Tories perceived failures to address the issues in the NHS – which came second on a list of voter priorities – has also caused the party to lose support in this group, Mr Tryl said.

Today’s damning findings will further concern the bealegued prime minister as Labour’s support rises across voter groups, including within the red wall, which was widely viewed as the backbone of the Conservative’s 2019 general election success.

Keir Starmer is now 18-points ahead of Rishi Sunak amongst red wall voters over the question of would make a better prime minister. Though Mr Sunak still maintains more support than Sir Keir in traditional rural Tory voting areas, Mr Tryl warned that the prime minister will struggle to “appeal” to lost 2019 voters because he is not trusted on issues such as cost of living and the NHS.

According to the research, 51 per cent of voters would describe the prime minister as “out of touch” compared to just 21 per cent of voters who attributed the descriptor to Keir Starmer. The majority of voters also agreed that Labour best represents the interests of working class people (53 per cent) and their families (51 per cent). This was down to 15 per cent and 17 per cent for the Conservatives respectively.