Budget not everyone's cup of tea as Voters Panel suggests plans unlikely to win back Tory 2019 supporters

Jeremy Hunt's budget is unlikely to win back many Tory supporters from the last election, the Sky News Voters Panel suggests.  

We have spent the last fortnight interrogating the views of our YouGov-run online community of more than 50 voters who backed the Tories in the 2019 general election.

Today they deliver their verdict on the budget - which suggests the £10bn tax cut won't instantly deliver the voters the Tory party needs.

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Some 31 of the panel said the budget made them less likely to vote Conservative compared to 20 who said they were more likely.

Asked to score Jeremy Hunt's efforts today, 17 gave the budget a positive score and 25 were neutral or negative.

Several of those who said they were more likely to vote Tory had previously indicated they were already sticking with the party, while some of those moving away from other parties - or said they weren't sure - were caustic about the chancellor's statement.

The biggest consistent theme across the responses was that the chancellor had failed to do enough to make a difference or improve their lives - that the moment did not rise to the challenge.

Mark, from mid Derbyshire, and is thinking of switching from Tory to Reform, said the budget "certainly won't help the cause".

"I think potentially they've played into the hands of Keir Starmer there really because they haven't been bold enough."

Matthew from Great Yarmouth, who is looking at switching to Labour, said it "made me even less likely to vote Conservative after this budget".

"I mean, where's the real help for the middle class, middle earners, working hard, paying tax, all the money always seems to go to the people who never pay in but take everything out," he said.

Carl from Croydon, who voted Tory for Boris Johnson in 2019 but will possibly go Labour this time, said succinctly: "Waste of time. Unhelpful. Time for them to go."

Asked to sum up the budget in a word, the most picked word was disappointing, two chose hopeful, but the majority of the rest were negative: unconvincing, lacklustre, tame, unexciting, inconsequential and restrained.

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Some voters were more positive with Holly saying: "I thought it was a fair budget. The cut to the national insurance by 2p was good.

"I think it will have a positive effect on most people and I understand there is a trade -off... Going forward I would like to see them consider more tax cuts because I think that's the only way they're going to win over the general population at the moment."

However Holly had already indicated she was likely to stick with the Tories, so the budget has not changed a vote in Rishi Sunak's favour here even if her response was positive.

The biggest measure in the budget was the 2p cut in national insurance.

Less than half - some 19 of the 50 plus panel - said this was the best thing about the budget.

This will unnerve Tories already worried that reducing national insurance - itself sometimes branded a stealth tax - may not generate the big political credit which Tory strategists need.

Some 22 of the respondents were negative about Keir Starmer, and the rest neutral or positive.