A poll by YouGov for The Sun seems to have excited people over the headline figure of 83% backing the child benefit changes last night. However, the actual story is more nuanced.
YouGov asked about the practicalities of the policy, and the way that a couple both earning £30,000 would keep child benefit, while a couple where only one worked and earned £44,000 would not. 41% of people agreed that this was a fair compromise given the cost of fully means testing child benefit, but 46% thought it was unfair and that the policy should be based on a proper means-test. So the principle of the policy is extremely popular, but people are split over the implementation of it.
A lot of assumptions are being made in the media and elsewhere that the 15% who oppose this measure are the same 15% or so of people who will be directly affected. This is a lazy assumption. An assumption that is almost certainly not true.
Obviously in most cases people who suffer from a policy are more likely to oppose it and people who benefit from it are more likely to support it, but it is rarely if ever so clear cut. There are no income cross breaks in the YouGov table, but looking at the other cross breaks, 21% of Labour supporters oppose the idea, compared to 9% of Conservative supporters. 18% of ABC1s oppose it, but so do 10% of C2DEs.