Ipsos Political Monitor September 2012

Approval ratings for the government and all three main party leaders are down after the Olympics, with the September Ipsos Political Monitor showing Nick Clegg is hit with his worst ever ratings.

Approval ratings for the government and all three main party leaders are down after the Olympics, with the September Ipsos Political Monitor showing Nick Clegg is hit with his worst ever ratings.  These findings come at the beginning of Conference season with Liberal Democrats gathering in Brighton this weekend.

Satisfaction with the government has fallen from 32% in August to 28% this month, while dissatisfaction rises to 64% (a net satisfaction rating of -36)

  • Satisfaction with David Cameron has fallen from 39% to 34%, while dissatisfaction rises to 58% (a net satisfaction rating of -24)
  • Satisfaction with Ed Miliband has fallen from 41% to 38%, while dissatisfaction rises to 47% (a net satisfaction rating of -9).  This is though still his best rating since last summer (excluding the Olympics period)

Satisfaction with Nick Clegg has fallen most of all, from 31% to 23%, while dissatisfaction rises from 58% to 66%.  This gives him his worst ever net satisfaction rating of -43.

Nick Clegg also has the worst rating among his own party supporters, more of whom are dissatisfied than satisfied with his performance.  His negative net rating of -8 among Liberal Democrat voters compares to positive ratings for Cameron and Miliband among their supporters of +42 and +21 respectively.

There has been little significant change over the month in the parties’ standings.  Among those certain to vote, Labour’s share is 41% (down 1), the Conservatives are on 30% (down 2, to their lowest share since April 2006 when Tony Blair was Prime Minister), and the Liberal Democrats on 13% (up 2).  This gives a Labour lead of 11 points – right in line with its average lead over the Conservatives since May. 

However, when the public is asked which of David Cameron or Ed Miliband is strongest on a range of leader characteristics, David Cameron has the lead on most image ratings:

  • Mr Cameron has strong leads as more eloquent (by 59% to 15%), Prime Ministerial (by 57% to 17%), tough enough for the job of PM (by 54% to 18%), smart enough (by 54% to 22%), represents Britain (by 46% to 26%), and as a man of faith (by 34% to 16%).
  • Mr Cameron also has the edge as fun to meet in person (by 34% to 21%), likeable (by 38% to 29%), is a good person (35% to 30%), and marginally on having the right values (by 37% to 35%). 
  • Ed Miliband, on the other hand, leads on two characteristics: understanding people like me (by 36% to 26%), and will protect British jobs (by 37% to 31%).

Meanwhile, Ipsos’s Economic Optimism Index has risen for the second month in a row, from -27 to -9.  This is the highest we’ve seen since July 2010.

Gideon Skinner, head of political research at Ipsos, said

“Ahead of the party conferences, the political paradox continues. Labour has kept up an eleven point lead over the Conservatives – their average lead since May – but when asked to compare David Cameron and Ed Miliband, the public puts the Prime Minister on top. And with the Liberal Democrats the first to hold their conference, Nick Clegg suffers his worst ever approval rating.”


Technical Note

Ipsos interviewed a representative sample of 1,006 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 15th to 17th September 2012. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.

Where percentages do not sum to 100 this may be due to computer rounding, the exclusion of “don?t know” categories, or multiple answers. An asterisk (*) denotes any value of less than half a per cent. Voting intention figures exclude those who say they would not vote, are undecided or refuse to name a party and in the headline figures, those who are not absolutely certain to vote. Data are based on all adults unless otherwise stated. 

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