Ipsos's October Political Monitor (carried out by telephone between 16-18 October among 996 British adults aged 18 and over) shows that voting intentions have returned to the parties' positions before the conference season, with both David Cameron's and Gordon Brown's personal ratings also up.
The Liberal Democrats have lost support to both the Conservative and Labour party since last month. Among those absolutely certain to vote, 43% intend to vote Conservative (up from 36% in September), 26% intend to vote Labour (from 24%) and 19% the Liberal Democrats (down from 25%). Last month's interviewing was completed just after the Lib Dem party conference (and before the Labour and Conservative conferences), so the drop in Lib Dem support may be attributable to the relatively high press coverage they received around this time, while the Conservatives may have benefitted in turn from the coverage they received during their conference. The voting figures are a return to levels seen earlier this year prior to conference season, with Labour and the Conservatives both back to the levels of support they received in August.
Gordon Brown and David Cameron's ratings have also improved since September. A third (32%) are satisfied with the way Gordon Brown is doing his job as Prime Minister and three-fifths (62%) are dissatisfied, giving a net satisfaction score (the percentage satisfied minus the percentage dissatisfied) 160of -30, a six point improvement on last month. Half (49%) are satisfied and one in three (34%) are dissatisfied with David Cameron's performance, a nine point increase in his net satisfaction (+15 now compared to +6 last month).
On the other hand, satisfaction with the Liberal Democrat leader has suffered slightly. Over two in five (44%) are now satisfied with the way Nick Clegg is doing his job as leader of the Liberal Democrats, and 27% are dissatisfied, giving him a net satisfaction score of +17, a four point decrease from September.
Satisfaction with the Government has fallen since last month. A quarter (23%) are satisfied with the way the Government is running the country and seven in ten are dissatisfied (72%, compared to 69% last month). The net rating puts the Government on -49, which is a six percentage point drop from September.
Economic optimism for the next year, though, continues to improve. Over two in five (44%) now think that the economy will improve over the next 12 months, and 23% think it will get worse. Ipsos's Economic Optimism Index therefore stands at +21, the highest standing since May 1997.
Ipsos interviewed a representative sample of 996 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 16th-18th Oct 2009. 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.