Ipsos Political Monitor March 2013

The March Ipsos Political Monitor shows that support is down for both the Labour and Conservative parties (to the Conservative's lowest for ten years), although the Labour Party's lead remains stable at 13 points ahead of the Conservatives.

Eastleigh bounce for UKIP and the Liberal Democrats at expense of Conservatives and Labour

CON 27 (-3); LAB 40 (-2); LIB DEM 11 (+4); UKIP 13 (+4)

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The March Ipsos Political Monitor shows that support is down for both the Labour and Conservative parties (to the Conservative’s lowest for ten years), although the Labour Party’s lead remains stable at 13 points ahead of the Conservatives.

In a bounce following the Eastleigh by-election, support for the Liberal Democrats among those certain to vote has increased by four points since last month to 11%, as has support for the UK Independence Party (UKIP) also up 4 points to 13%. This level of support is the highest for any fourth party since the SDP (26%) in October 1981. Increasing support for the Liberal Democrats and UKIP has been at the expense of the other two main parties, with Labour down two points to 40% and the Conservatives down three points to 27%. This is the lowest level of support for the Conservatives recorded by the Ipsos Political Monitor since January 2003.

With UKIP now ahead of the Liberal Democrats for the third consecutive month and reaching their highest ever level of support, for the first time Ipsos has also asked about satisfaction with UKIP leader Nigel Farage. Mr Farage has the highest satisfaction rating of any of the main political parties; 35% of people are satisfied with the way he is doing his job as leader of UKIP, and a quarter (26%) dissatisfied. Mr Farage is the only party leader with a positive net rating (+9). However, almost four in ten people (38%) don’t have an opinion on Mr Farage, which is more than twice the level who feel the same way about Ed Milband (17%). Mr Farage also enjoys very high ratings among UKIP supporters with 90% satisfied with his performance as party leader.

Satisfaction with the Government and all three party leaders has fallen since last month:

Net satisfaction with the Government has slipped to -44, with 68% now dissatisfied with the Government’s performance for the first time since July and 24% satisfied.

David Cameron’s net satisfaction rating has fallen by six points since February to -30 (31% are satisfied with Mr Cameron’s performance as Prime Minister, and 61% dissatisfied). Conservative supporters are also less satisfied with how well Mr Cameron is doing as Prime Minister; 69% of Conservative supporters are satisfied, down from 75% last month.

Overall satisfaction with Ed Miliband has also declined, with 32% satisfied and 52% dissatisfied to give a net satisfaction rating of -20 (compared to -11 in February), his lowest since February 2012. However, there is some good news for Mr Miliband as his support among Labour party supporters has increased slightly since its low last month to 50%, though this remains low compared to satisfaction with David Cameron among Conservatives.

Nick Clegg’s net satisfaction level remains the lowest of all the party leaders and has fallen still further to -43 (22% satisfied and 65% dissatisfied), which is down ten points since January. Support for Mr Clegg among Liberal Democrats, with a rating of -6 (41% satisfied and 47% dissatisfied) is by far the lowest for the party leaders among their own supporters.

Gideon Skinner, Head of Political Research at Ipsos said:

It appears as if Eastleigh has given the Liberal Democrats and UKIP a boost - time will tell how long this lasts. At the same time ratings for all the main party leaders are down, while Nigel Farage receives the highest satisfaction level, but also the highest number of don’t knows.”

Technical note

Ipsos interviewed a representative sample of 1,009 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 9 – 11 March 2013.  Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.

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