Conservatives more trusted by Britons to grow the economy but Labour more trusted on reducing cost of living

Ahead of the Spring Statement, the March 2022 Ipsos Political Monitor finds that Britons are still more positive than negative about Rishi Sunak’s performance as Chancellor.

The author(s)

  • Gideon Skinner Public Affairs
  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs
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  • 44% satisfied with the way Rishi Sunak is doing his job as Chancellor, 34% dissatisfied.
  • Meanwhile, half of Britons support the principle of no longer buying oil and gas from Russia – even if it costs them £1,000.

A new poll from Ipsos ahead of the Spring Statement shows Britons are still more positive than negative about Rishi Sunak’s performance as Chancellor, but overall people are split on whether Labour or the Conservatives would do a better job of managing the economy.
Rishi Sunak satisfaction ratings as Chancellor - March 2022 - Ipsos

  • 44% are satisfied with the way the Chancellor is doing his job, little change from last November (45%).  One in 3 (34%) are dissatisfied, a slight improvement from 39% last year. However, his scores are lower than during the height of the pandemic when as many as 64% were satisfied at one point (Sept 2020).
  • Among Conservative supporters, 70% are satisfied, 16% dissatisfied, again broadly little change from November.

Conservatives versus Labour on the economy and public services

  • 48% do not think that ‘in the long term, this government’s policies will improve the state of Britain’s economy’, with 41% agreeing they will. Figures are similar to November 2021 (43% agreed the government had the right policies and 48% disagreed).
  • Concern is greater on public services, with six in ten (60%) disagreeing that “in the long term, this government's policies will improve the state of Britain's public services”. Just 31% agree they will. Last November, figures were almost identical (60% and 32% respectively).
  • When asked whether a Labour Government under Keir Starmer as Prime Minister and Rachel Reeves as Chancellor would do a better or worse job than the current Government at managing the economy, 26% say Labour would do a better job with 27% saying worse, and 34% saying about the same.
    • This is a similar finding for Sir Keir Starmer’s party compared to last November, but better for Labour than in 2015 when Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell (22% better, 41% worse – Nov 15), and Ed Miliband and Ed Balls, were at the helm (19% better, 37% worse – March 15).
  • On growing the economy, the Conservatives are more trusted, by 36% to 23% for Labour (but Labour’s score has fallen 8 points since January).
  • However, on reducing the cost of living it is the reverse, with Labour on 31% and the Tories on 22% (though again Labour’s score is down 7 points since January).

Russian oil and gas

  • 51% said they would support Britain and other countries stopping buying Russian oil and gas even if it personally costs them / their families an extra £1,000, with 34 % taking the opposite view
  • 59% backed such a stance even if it cost them £500, with 28% against.
  • 69% would support such a move even if it cost them £250, 19% would not.
  • 74% would back this proposal, at a cost of £100 to them, with 17% against.
  • Support for ending purchasing Russian oil and gas tends to be higher among older people and men than women and younger adults.

Gideon Skinner, Head of Political Research at Ipsos, says of the findings:

With historically high levels of public concern about the economy, there will be a lot of attention paid to the Chancellor’s Spring Statement on Wednesday.  Although Rishi Sunak still receives more positive ratings than either Boris Johnson or Keir Starmer, his scores have dropped from their near record levels earlier in the pandemic, and are now broadly in line with our long-term average for Chancellors.  In particular, the Conservatives could be vulnerable over public services and the cost of living, which will be areas to watch out for announcements in the Chancellor’s speech.  At the same time, the economy isn’t the only public priority, and concerns about rising costs aren’t enough to stop support for economic sanctions against Russian oil and gas in response to the war in Ukraine (although they do slightly moderate it). 

Technical Note

Ipsos interviewed a representative sample of 1,000 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone: 9th  to 16th March 2022. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population. All polls are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error.  
On the basis of the historical record of the polls at recent general elections, there is a 9 in 10 chance that the true value of a party’s support lies within 4 points of the estimates provided by this poll, and a 2 in 3 chance that they lie within 2 points. This is especially important to keep in mind when calculating party lead figures.

The author(s)

  • Gideon Skinner Public Affairs
  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs

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