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Ipsos MORI Political Monitor August 2013: Economic Optimism

Optimism about the economy increases to highest since January 2010, but George Osborne and Ed Balls remain neck and neck

Published:16 August 2013
Fieldwork:10 - 12 August 2013
Sub-Theme:Political Monitor
Keywords:Chancellor, Economic optimism, Economy, Ed Balls, George Osborne, Politics/Political
(Click on keywords to find related Research)

Economic optimism has risen for the fifth consecutive month, according to the latest Ipsos MORI Political Monitor, and our Economic Optimism Index stands at its highest since January 2010. Forty-four percent of people expect the economy to improve in the next twelve months, 29% stay the same, and 24% get worse, giving an Economic Optimism Index score of +20 (% improve minus % get worse).

The Ipsos MORI Economic Optimism Index has risen every month since March 2013, when it stood at -30, and only one in five expected the economy to improve. Since then, it has risen consistently to its current three-and-a-half year high:

Ipsos MORI Economic Optimism Index
 March 2013
 April 2013
 May 2013
 June 2013
 July 2013
 August 2013
Source: Ipsos MORI

Economic optimism is much higher among men than women (+33 vs +6), and among the middle classes compared to the working classes (+34 among ABC1s vs +1 among C2DEs). It is also higher among the Midlands and the South (+24 and +25 respectively) compared to the North of England (+5).

At the same time, the public are split over which of the Conservative’s George Osborne or Labour’s Ed Balls would make the most capable Chancellor, with the same proportion choosing each (36% for Mr Osborne, 35% Mr Balls). This continues the close-fought race we have seen between the two in recent years. In June Ed Balls had a small three-point lead, but the two have often been neck-and-neck since 2011. At the same time, three in ten answer “neither” or “don’t know”.

George Osborne holds the lead among the more optimistic groups: men, older people, and the middle classes. On the other hand, Ed Balls is seen as most capable by women, younger people, and social classes C2DE. Both have clear leads among their own party supporters, but Mr Osborne has a lead among Liberal Democrat and UKIP voters.

Ipsos MORI Political Monitor August 2013

(Click the image to enlarge)

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

“The heatwave may have ended but the public’s economic outlook continues to get sunnier. However, they are no closer to deciding which of George Osborne and Ed Balls would get their final vote.”

Technical note:
Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,007 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 10th – 12th August 2013. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.

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Bobby Duffy

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