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Ipsos MORI Political Monitor December 2012

Ed Balls loses lead as most capable Chancellor despite sharp fall in economic optimism

Published:12 December 2012
Fieldwork:8-10 December 2012
Sub-Theme:Political Monitor

Balls loses lead as most capable Chancellor despite sharp fall in economic optimism

CON 35 (+3); LAB 44 (-2); LIB DEM 9 (n/c)

Download the InfographicThe December Ipsos MORI Political Monitor shows that despite the public’s economic optimism falling sharply, Ed Balls has lost his lead over George Osborne in being seen as the most capable Chancellor.

Following the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement last week, a third of Britons (34%) believe that Mr Osborne would make the most capable Chancellor, while the same proportion of people (34%) choose Mr Balls. This is an increase of five points for Mr Osborne from 29% post-Budget in June and a decline for Mr Balls (from 37%). One in five people (22%) now say that neither man would be the most capable Chancellor, up from 14% in March.

After reaching its highest level last month since July 2010, the Ipsos MORI Economic Optimism Index (EOI) has dropped again to -27 (from -6 in November). Almost half of the British public (46%) believe that the economy will get worse in the next year, while a third (33%) think that it will stay the same and just one in five (19%) believe that the economy will improve. This is a return to the outlook over the summer when, post-Budget and pre-Olympics, the EOI was around -30 for several months.

Among all those certain to vote, 44% say they would vote for Labour at an immediate general election, 35% would vote for the Conservatives, 9% for the Liberal Democrats and 7% for UKIP.

Approval ratings for the government and all three party leaders have also remained broadly steady from November, though satisfaction with David Cameron has dipped slightly:

  • 30% are satisfied with the government, 63% dissatisfied
  • 37% are satisfied with David Cameron, 56% are dissatisfied
  • 40% are satisfied with Ed Miliband, 43% are dissatisfied
  • 27% are satisfied with Nick Clegg, 60% are dissatisfie

Gideon Skinner, head of political research at Ipsos MORI, said

The voters are focused on the economy, and they've picked up the gloomy news from the Autumn Statement. And yet Labour is still finding it difficult to convince the public that they would do any better

 

Technical note

Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,023 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 8-10 December 2012. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.

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