On Thursday morning ConservativeHome gave The Sun a ‘Brown-noser’ award for its Budget coverage. The Sun talked of an "income tax gift" from The Chancellor to the British people and its leading article warned that the Tories’ opinion poll lead could easily melt in the spring sunshine. Well… a Populus survey for The Sun’s sister newspaper, The Times, shows that it’s Brown’s opinion poll standing which is facing the heat. Just 11% of Populus’ respondents expect to pay less tax than before the Budget and many more – 26% – fear that they will pay more tax. "The most worrying finding for Mr Brown," says The Times, "is that the number of voters thinking that he will be a good prime minister has dropped from 40 to 30 per cent since last December." Yesterday’s Telegraph/ YouGov survey gave a similar message.
The irritation of The Sun at Mr Brown’s smoke-and-mirrors Budget was, I think, revealed by Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun’s veteran political commentator, at the end of this morning’s Today programme. Compared to the positive piece Mr Kavanagh wrote on Thursday morning he was very downbeat today. The Sun won’t have enjoyed being made to look a fool by Mr Brown. There could be consequences. Let’s hope so.