Most people think the government is doing a bad job on unemployment, tax and spending and managing the economy – but few think Miliband and Balls would do better.
Economic optimism falls to its lowest point since December 2008 and people’s concerns about being able to pay the bills, retire as planned and their children’s job prospects are rising.
Voting intention: CON 34 (-1); LAB 38 (+1); LIB DEM 12 (-1)
The October Reuters/Ipsos MORI Political Monitor shows that most people think the government has done a bad job on economic matters since it was elected, and concern about household finances is growing. On the other hand, few think Labour’s Ed Miliband and Ed Balls would do better.
The public’s ratings of the government’s economic performance are as follows:
- Half (55%) think the government has done a bad job of managing the economy while a third (36%) say they have done a good job
- Three quarters (77%) say that the government has done a bad job in keeping unemployment down –15% say they have done a good job
- Three in five (60%) say that the government has done a bad job on taxation and public expenditure, 32% say they have done a good job
- Half (51%) think the government has done a bad job of protecting British interests in the global recession, 36% say they have done a good job
These findings compare unfavourably with New Labour’s first year in office when most people felt the government was doing a good job on managing the economy (60%) and keeping unemployment down (55%), although of course the economic conditions then were very different.
While these findings make bad reading for the government, it is tempered by the fact that just one in five people (20%) think that a Labour government with Ed Miliband as Prime Minister and Ed Balls as Chancellor of the Exchequer would do a better job of managing the economy than the current government. Three in ten say they would do a worse job while around half (47%) think they would be about the same.
Economic optimism has fallen to its lowest point since December 2008; just 16% believe the economic condition of the country will improve in the next twelve months, while almost six in ten (57%) think that it will get worse. The Economic Optimism Index of -41 (improve minus get worse) is the lowest since December 2008.
The public are more worried about the effects the economic downturn is having on their lives than they were in February 2009.
- A third (34%) worry about their ability to retire as planned, up from 21% in 2009.
- Around a third (35%) worry about their children’s job prospects, compared to 26% two years ago.
- Almost two in five (37%) worry about their ability to pay the bills.
- 37% worry about their ability to buy the things they are used to buying.
Gideon Skinner, Head of Political Research at Ipsos MORI said:
“As David Cameron joins European leaders to discuss the eurozone crisis it is clear that the economy is the number one issue among the British public – and concern about its impact on daily lives is increasing. But while the government is not winning many plaudits, half think the situation would be the same under Labour.”
Satisfaction with all three party leaders is largely unchanged this month, although Miliband’s rating has increased slightly since his worst ever position last month. David Cameron remains the leader with the highest level of people saying they are satisfied with his performance (40%, Miliband 34% and Clegg 30%). Nick Clegg meanwhile has the highest levels of dissatisfaction, 58% compared to 54% for Cameron and 48% for Miliband. Miliband and Cameron are now level on net satisfaction (satisfied minus dissatisfied) both on -14, with Clegg on -28. Net satisfaction with the government has fallen to -33, with 32% satisfied with its performance and 63% dissatisfied.
Voting intentions this month are Conservatives 34%, Labour 38% and Liberal Democrats 12%, among those who are certain to vote. This is in line with voting intentions in September suggesting none of the parties enjoyed a polling boost as a result of Conference season.
Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,002 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 22-24 October 2011. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.