- Looking ahead to the rest of the year, economic optimism slightly improves – but little sign the Conservatives are benefitting
As the IMF releases pessimistic forecasts for the UK economy, new polling from Ipsos reveals that 67% of Britons believe the worst of the cost of living crisis is still to come, while 27% think that its impact has already reached its peak. Younger people are particularly likely to think the worst is yet to come (80% of 18-34 year olds vs 56% of those aged 65+). When asked in March 2012 about the economic crisis, several years after 2008, 56% believed the worst was yet to come, and 41% that that crisis had reached its peak.
Taking a long-term view over the next 12 months, 57% believe the economy will get worse, 24% better, and 16% stay the same, giving an Ipsos Economic Optimism Index of -33. Nevertheless, this is an improvement on last month (in December 2022, 69% felt the economy would get worse, and just 14% better), and is the best EOI score since last January. Again, pessimism is higher among young people (68% of 18-34s think the economy will get worse, compared with 41% of those aged 65+), and also among women (63% vs 51% of men).
Despite this, when asked if they would be better off under a Conservative or Labour government, just 16% think they would be better off under the Conservatives, and 31% Labour – though even more, 46%, think there would be no difference. In September 2013 and 2014, the two parties were relatively level-pegging on this measure – although then economic optimism was much more positive than it is now.
Gideon Skinner, Head of Political Research at Ipsos, said:
Britons remain very worried about the cost of living, especially young people. However, looking further ahead the entrenched economic pessimism of the last year is showing signs of getting slightly less gloomy – but this isn’t as yet benefiting the Conservatives much, as people are twice as likely to think they would be better off under a Labour government (though even more think it would make no difference).
Ipsos interviewed a representative sample of 1,001 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone between 18-25 January 2023 . Data are weighted to match the profile of the population. All polls are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error.
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