More than half of voters think Truss and Kwarteng should resign - poll

More than half of voters think that prime minister Liz Truss and chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng should resign in the wake of their disastrous mini-Budget, according to a new poll.

The survey for The Independent found that clear majorities – including among Conservative voters – believe the measures contained in the £45bn package will be bad for the UK economy and bad for ordinary people’s living standards.

An overwhelming 70 per cent of those taking part in the Savanta ComRes poll believed that the Truss government’s economic strategy favours the richest in society, compared to just 5 per cent who thought it benefited mainly the middle classes, 5 per cent the poor and 12 per cent all working people regardless of income.

Even among Conservative supporters, some 69 per cent said high-earners would benefit most, against just 16 per cent who said the government’s approach would benefit all income groups.

Some 52 per cent of those questioned said that Ms Truss should resign because of her handling of the economy, with 28 per cent saying she should not. Even among voters who backed the Tories in the 2019 election, more than a third (37 per cent) thought she should go, against 46 per cent who want her to stay.

The number of Tories wanting the chancellor to resign outnumbered those who said he should remain by a margin of 46-36 per cent. Among voters overall, 53 per cent wanted him out and just 23 per cent – less than a quarter – thought he should be kept at the Treasury.

The poll was taken on Saturday and Sunday, before the chancellor’s dramatic U-turn on the most unpopular element of his package, the abolition of the 45p top rate of income tax for earnings over £150,000.

Looking at the package overall, 68 per cent of voters said it had had an immediate negative effect on the economy, 62 per cent said it would harm the economy in the long term and 67 per cent said it would damage living standards. Even Tory voters saw it as having a negative effect in the short term (by a margin of 74-15 per cent) and the long term (56-27) and being harmful to living standards (62-22).

The 45p rate abolition was the most unpopular element of the package, opposed by 57 per cent and supported by just 21. Among Tories, it was opposed by a margin of 59-22.

Scrapping the cap on bankers’ bonuses was also given the thumbs-down by a margin of 57-23, and by 60-24 among Conservative voters.

Opinions were split 34-34 on the decision to scrap a proposed hike in corporation tax. But other elements of the package were popular, with 62 per cent backing the cut from 20p to 19p in the basic rate of income tax, 59 per cent supporting cuts to stamp duty on home purchases and 52 per cent the reversal of Rishi Sunak’s 1.25 per cent hike in national insurance contributions.

Ms Truss famously described the abolition of the 45p rate as “a decision the chancellor made”.

But any hopes she may have had of distancing herself from responsibility for the calamitous measure were undermined by today’s poll.

Just 8 per cent of those questioned said Mr Kwarteng was solely to blame for the turmoil which resulted from the mini-Budget, while 14 per cent named the prime minister and 53 per cent said both should carry the can.

And it appears that repeated efforts by both Truss and Kwarteng to portray the financial instability of recent weeks as a result of global factors, including Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, were in vain.

Just 13 per cent of those questioned said that someone or something other than the prime minister and chancellor should take the blame.

Savanta ComRes questioned 2,191 adults in Britain on 1 and 2 October.