YouGov polling for the Fabian Society asked the public for their view on higher taxes at the top of the income range, including the measure introduced by Alastair Darling today.
Introducing a new top rate of 50% for people earning over £150,000
Support: 52% (26% strong support, 26% tend to support)
Oppose: 28% (9% oppose strongly, 19% tend to oppose)
Don't know: 4%
Labour voters split 62% to 20% in favour.
LibDem voters split 55% to 24% in favour.
Tory voters split 38% to 45% against. (19% support strongly, 19% tend to support; 15% neither support nor oppose; 26% tend to oppose; 18% oppose strongly).
This compared to the following opinions on the previous 45p proposal, which had already been announced at the time of the poll.
The government has said it will introduce a new higher top rate of tax of 45% for people earning over £150,000. How strongly do you support or oppose this proposal?
Support: 76% (45% strong support, 31% tend to support)
Oppose: 13% (4% oppose strongly, 9% tend to oppose)
Don't know: 2%
Labour voters split 87% to 5% in favour.
LibDem voters split 84% to 6% in favour.
Tory voters split 64% to 24% in favour.
A 50p rate on earnings over £250,000 was backed by 69% and opposed by 18%. Conservative voters backed that by 58% to 31%, while a 45p rate on earnings over £100,000 was backed by 59% to 23%. (Conservative voters backed this by 46% to 39%, while Labour and LibDem support was 66-17 and 67-16%). It is perhaps surprising that a 50p rate on earnings over £150,000 was less popular than a 45p rate starting earlier at £100,000.
The YouGov poll of 2044 people was carried out between 28th November and 1st December 2008.
Interestingly, a slim plurality of Conservative voters oppose the new proposal, whereas a strong majority backed the higher 45p rate. Will this change the Conservative party politics of this debate?
The question on the new rate was asked as one of various proposals, saying "Some people have argued that the government should go further. How strongly do you support or oppose the following measures?"
I wonder whether public advocacy of the new changes - now announced - might perhaps shift opinion further in that direction, or whether the differences between opinion on a 45p rate and a 50p rate will hold up.