Ratings of how well Cameron and Osborne have handled the economic crisis in Europe increase over the month, while views towards leading European politicians harden.
Conservative support has risen significantly since November
Voting intention: CON 41 (+7); LAB 39 (-2); LIB DEM 11 (-1)
The December Reuters/Ipsos Political Monitor shows over half (56%) think David Cameron and George Osborne have handled the current economic crisis in Europe well, up four points from November. At the same time, 40% say leading European politicians such as Sarkozy and Merkel have handled the crisis well, down four points on the month.
There has also been an increase in satisfaction ratings with the government and its leaders. Thirty-six percent are satisfied with the way the government is running the country (up six points on the month), 43% are satisfied with Cameron (up four points), and 33% with Clegg (also up four). Ed Miliband’s ratings are unchanged, with 34% satisfied with his performance as Leader of the Opposition.
This all gives the Conservatives a marginal lead over Labour in the poll, by 41% to 39% . The Liberal Democrats are stable at 11%, down one point. This is the first time the Conservatives have had a lead in the Reuters/Ipsos Political Monitor this year.
At the same time, the economy remains the number one issue facing the country, and economic pessimism continues to grow. Only 12% think the economy will get better over the next 12 months, the lowest since September 2008.
The public are split on the government’s approach to reducing Britain’s deficit. Forty-four percent say it is making the right decisions, and 46% say that it is making the wrong ones. The Autumn Statement also appears to have made little difference to George Osborne’s ratings: 38% are satisfied with the way he is doing his job, and 45% dissatisfied, broadly in line with his ratings in March.
Gideon Skinner, Head of Political Research at Ipsos said
“The immediate reaction to the way Cameron has handled the eurozone crisis seems to be positive, with the government and particularly the Conservatives gaining across the board – much more so than many other political events this year. However, with pessimism about the economy continuing to grow, and with the news changing daily, the question is whether this will be seen as a watershed moment or a short-term shift.”
Ipsos interviewed a representative sample of 1,001 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 10-12 December 2011. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.