Ipsos January 2011 Political Monitor

Confidence in Britain's economic prospects falls away, as support for the government decreases. However, Cameron remains liked and the public have not yet made up their minds about Ed Miliband

  • Confidence in Britain's economic prospects falls away, as support for the government decreases. However, Cameron remains liked and the public have not yet made up their minds about Ed Miliband.
  • CON 33(-5); LAB 43(+4); LIB DEM 13(+2)
  • The first Reuters/ Ipsos Political Monitor of 2011 shows the lowest level of economic optimism that Ipsos has recorded in almost two years.

With the latest GDP figures showing a decline in economic growth between October and December of last year (reversing the trend of the previous months), more than half (53%) of the public think the economy will get worse over the next 12 months, compared to a quarter (24%) who think it will get better. These represent the most pessimistic figures since March 2009, when the UK was at the beginning of he recent recession.

However, confidence in the government's long term economic policies remains slightly more positive, though this has declined slightly since October; 49% agree that they will improve the state of the economy, compared to 43% who disagree.

Slightly more people think that the government should increase taxes on banks, even if it makes the British banking sector much less competitive (50%) than think it should not do so because the banks are important to Britain's economic recovery; (42%).

Confidence in the government's ability to improve the state of public services has also decreased significantly since last year. Three in five people now disagree that, in the long term, the government's policies will improve the state of our public services (59%) compared to 32% who agree. This continues the trend of falling confidence seen since July last year.

The gloomy economic situation appears to be having an effect on support for the government. Voting intentions this month are....CON 33(-5); LAB 43(+4); LIB DEM 13(+2).

Looking at the results across demographic groups, those who have swung away from the Conservative party since December include men, those in social grade DE and voters in the Midlands.

Satisfaction with the government and its leaders has declined significantly since December. Net satisfaction with the way that David Cameron is doing his job as Prime Minister has fallen 18 points since last year to -14 (38% are satisfied, 52% dissatisfied). These are Cameron's lowest ratings since September 2007. Satisfaction with the government has fallen amongst Conservative and Liberal Democrat voters.

Nick Clegg's ratings as Deputy Prime Minister have fallen by 11 points amongst the general public to -23, and he is the least popular leader of the Liberal Democrats since Paddy Ashdown in July 1989, after having seen his popularity peak in April 2010 (net satisfaction score of +53).

Ed Miliband's ratings remain unchanged from the end of last year, with a quarter of the public yet to make up their minds about the Labour leader (26%).

This month we also asked whether people `like' the leaders and their parties. Cameron is the most `liked' leader, by 47% of the public, compared with Clegg (40%) and Miliband (36%).

However, in terms of parties, the story is reversed; the Labour party is the most liked, at 45%, with 40% liking the Liberal Democrats, and 37% liking the Conservative party. Put simply, Cameron is more popular than his party, and the opposite is true for Ed Miliband.

Technical note

Ipsos interviewed a representative sample of 1,162 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 21st- 24th January 2011. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.

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