- One week before the Budget, the full impact of the economic situation is hitting the public
- Half think their personal financial situation will get worse, two in three now think the recession will take more than three years to recover from
- Majority think the government is making the wrong decisions about where to cut spending and Conservative lead over Labour on best economic policies has fallen
- Despite increasing economic concern, Labour making no gains on voting intention
CON 37(+4); LAB 41(-2); LIB DEM 10(-3)
The Reuters/Ipsos March Political Monitor shows that economic optimism remains low. Half of the public (51%) think that the economic condition of the country will get worse over the next twelve months. A quarter (23%) think it will get better, putting our Economic Optimism Index (those positive minus those negative) at -28 (although this is up from -37 last month). Two in three people (60%) now believe that the economy will take at least three years to return to where it was before the recession, up from two in five in January 2010.
There is concern about personal financial circumstances in the near future; half of the public think that their personal financial circumstances will get worse over the next 12 months (48%). Almost two in five think they will stay the same and 14% believe they will improve. In April 2009, more thought that their circumstances would stay the same than get worse.
There is increasing disagreement that the government has made the right decisions about where spending cuts are made; over half (55%) think they have made the wrong decisions, and 35% think they have made the right ones. In October last year, the public were evenly split on whether the Government was making the right or the wrong decisions.
The Conservatives have lost most of their lead over Labour as having the best policies on the economy; 31% believe they have the best policies on managing the economy, compared with 28% who feel this is true of Labour.
Satisfaction with George Osborne as Chancellor has dropped significantly since the last time we asked the question in June last year. Almost half are dissatisfied with his performance (45%) compared to under a quarter (23%) last year. However, despite the fall, Osborne’s ratings are still higher than Brown’s and Darling’s when they left office. The public are split on whether George Osborne or Ed Balls would make the most capable Chancellor (35% say Osborne compared to 36% who say Balls).
Our voting intention figures show the Conservatives on 37%, Labour on 41% and the Liberal Democrats on 10%, amongst all those absolutely certain to vote.
This month shows slight improvements in satisfaction with the government and the Prime Minister although the public remain negative on balance. Nick Clegg remains the least popular of the three leaders although in the wake of the Liberal Democrat conference in Sheffield, satisfaction amongst his own party has increased slightly since February.
Ipsos interviewed a representative sample of 1,000 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 11-13th March 2011. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.