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Ipsos MORI Political Monitor May 2013

Economic optimism reaches 3 year high as Labour supporters curb their enthusiasm

Published:15 May 2013
Fieldwork:13 May 2013
Sub-Theme:Voting Intention (only those 'certain to vote')

CON 31 (+2); LAB 34 (-4); LIB DEM 10 (nc); UKIP 13 (-2)

Click here for the "Leaders and Coalition" data from the May Monitor

With the news that the Bank of England has raised its growth forecasts, the May Ipsos MORI Political Monitor also shows that the public’s economic optimism has risen for the second month in a row to its highest point since July 2010. Based on fieldwork over the weekend as some more positive economic news was reported, three in ten (30%) now say they expect the economy to improve in the next 12 months (up 8 points since April) while the same proportion (31%, down ten points) expect it to get worse. The Ipsos MORI Economic Optimism Index (% improve minus % get worse) now stands at -1, up 18 points since April. 

Download the InfographicThe research also finds support for Labour, among all those certain to vote, at the lowest it has been since the 2010 General Election at 34%. However, this is due to a fall in the strength of support among Labour voters rather than a switch to other parties.  Only 57% of Labour supporters say they are certain to vote at the next election (down six points over the month), compared to 67% of Conservatives, 68% of Liberal Democrats and 75% of UKIP supporters.   Among all those naming a party, Labour is unchanged from April’s poll at 38%.

There is no significant change among support for the other parties, which means in the headline voting figures among all those certain to vote Labour hold a three point lead over the Conservatives who are on 31%.  UKIP are still at historically high levels on 13%, above the Liberal Democrats on 10%. The Green Party are on 6% (their highest since September 2012).

Despite the rise in economic optimism, satisfaction with the government is broadly unchanged over the month with 28% satisfied and 63% dissatisfied, a net rating (satisfied minus dissatisfied) of minus 35.  However approval ratings of the leaders of the Coalition parties have increased this month:

  • David Cameron’s satisfaction ratings have increased among the general public since April: 36% are satisfied with his performance, 57% dissatisfied (net score of -21, up from -28). However, among Conservatives satisfaction with Mr Cameron has fallen: 67% are satisfied, 27% dissatisfied. His net rating of +40 among his own supporters is down nine points from April, and his lowest since October 2012.
  • Nick Clegg’s satisfaction ratings are also up slightly, although they are lower than for any of the other leaders. 26% are satisfied with Mr Clegg and 63% are dissatisfied with a net rating of -37 (up from -44 in April).
  • Ed Miliband’s ratings are largely unchanged from last month with 35% satisfied with his performance and 49% dissatisfied, a net rating of -14.  Satisfaction with him among Labour supporters has slightly increased, from a net rating of +18 last month to +22 this month.
  • Nigel Farage has the highest net satisfaction ratings of all the party leaders, though as more people give an opinion on him (those saying “don’t know” are down 10 points but still at 30%) both his satisfaction and dissatisfaction ratings increase. Forty per cent are satisfied with the UKIP leader (up 6 points from April) and 29% are dissatisfied (up three), a net rating of +11. Mr Farage also enjoys the highest ratings of any leader among his own supporters, 88% of UKIP supporters are satisfied with the performance of their leader and just 4% are dissatisfied.

Head of Political Research at Ipsos MORI, Gideon Skinner, said:

“We know the economy is the most important issue for supporters of all parties, so this rise in optimism will be important - if it is sustained.  Meanwhile since the local elections Labour voters have lost some of their enthusiasm but haven’t left the fold, while support for the other parties is broadly unchanged.”

Technical details
Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,009 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 11-13 May 2013.  Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.
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