Ipsos MORI’s July Political Monitor for Reuters shows that the Labour vote in opposition is firming up, while the Liberal Democrats are being squeezed, although Cameron is still doing well and - with the exception of 1997 - satisfaction with the government is still higher than any government two months after an election ever recorded by Ipsos MORI . People seem be coming round to the idea of ‘Big Society’ with awareness and perceived understanding up from May. On balance, people think it will be a good thing, but there is some scepticism about how it will work in practice and the reasons behind it.
CON 40(+1); LAB 38(+7); LIB DEM 14(-5)
Our July Political Monitor shows that, among those who are absolutely certain to vote, 40% say they would vote Conservative, 38% Labour and 14% Liberal Democrat.
This marks an increase in Labour support since June, mainly because Labour supporters are now more likely to say they are certain to vote (70% compared to 61% in June). It seems that Labour voters are now sure of their opposition to the government. The Liberal Democrat share of the vote is five percentage points lower than in January, and ten percentage points lower than the Liberal Democrat share in the General Election.
Satisfaction with Clegg, Cameron and the government have decreased since last month although are still positive. Net satisfaction with Nick Clegg (the percentage satisfied minus the percentage dissatisfied) stands at +13, from +26 in June. For David Cameron, it has dropped from +31 to +23, and net satisfaction for the government is at +3, from +10 in June.
Nick Clegg’s net satisfaction amongst Liberal Democrat supporters has dropped 26 points, from +64 in June to +38, whilst Cameron’s ratings among Conservative supporters have improved by seven percentage points, from +81 to +88.
Our Economic Optimism Index returns to positive territory, at +3%, from -5 in June. There is still uncertainty about Britain’s economic prospects for the next 12 months. Over a third (37%) think that the economic condition of the country will improve over the next 12 months, but a similar percentage (34%) think that it will get worse.
The public are also split on whether the government’s policies will improve the state of Britain’s public services – around half (45%) agree, and the same percentage disagree. However, this is better than any score the Labour government got since the end of 2001.
Around half of the public (52%) have heard of the Big Society, and, of these, two fifths have heard at least a fair amount (44%), This is in both instances an increase from just after polling day, when two fifths (42%) had heard of the initiative.
On balance, people think it will be good for them personally, for their local area and for the country as a whole. People are more positive that it will be good for their area and Britain as a whole than for them personally.
Broadly speaking, more are positive than are negative about the idea of the “Big Society”. When people are told that the plans for creating a Big Society involve “providing support” to individuals there is more support for the idea compared to when it is described as “giving responsibility” to individuals.
Despite general agreement that Big Society is a 'good thing', just over half of the public are sceptical about whether it will work in practice and the reasons behind it. Half (54%) agree that “Big society is a good idea in principle but won’t work in practice” and 57% feel that it “is just an excuse for the government to save money by cutting back on public services”.
Those who know at least a fair amount about Big Society are more positive than the public generally about it for themselves personally, but are slightly less sure that it will benefit their area or the country as a whole. They are also less sceptical about whether it will work and why the government is doing it.
Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,009 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 23-25 July 2010. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.