Conservatives hit six-year low for being seen as a party ‘concerned about people in real need’

Just 17% of Britons think the Conservatives are 'concerned about people in real need in Britain'.

The author(s)

  • Gideon Skinner Public Affairs
  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs
  • Dylan Spielman Public Affairs
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Ipsos MORI’s latest Political Monitor asks the public what characteristics it associates with the Conservative Party. Highlights include:

  • Just 17% of Britons think the Conservatives are ‘concerned about people in real need in Britain’. This is down from 26% a year ago and almost half of the 32% that said the same in September 2015.
  • Just over one in five (22%) think the Tories look after the interest of ‘people like me’, down from 28% a year ago, and a recent high of 38% five years ago.
  • Just three in ten (30%) think the Conservatives ‘understand the problems facing Britain’, compared to 34% last year and a peak of 48% in October 2016.
  • However, just 22% of Britons see the Conservatives as ‘extreme’, the lowest for six years, and down from 33% in November 2019 during the height of the Brexit debate.
  • The Conservatives are also seen as much less divided than they once were. 44% think the party is divided compared to 73% in November 2017.

ConservativesWhen compared to the Labour Party, the Conservatives lead Labour by 5 points or more on:

  1. Will promise anything to win votes (Con +15)
  2. Fit to govern (+7)
  3. Different to the other parties (+7)
  4. Extreme (+6)

Whereas Labour leads the Conservatives by more than 5 points on:

  1. Concerned about people in real need in Britain (+31)
  2. Understands the problems facing Britain (+9)
  3. Divided (+12)
  4. Looks after the interests of people like me (+11)

Elsewhere in the poll:

  • When asked to choose between the parties, just 21% say the Conservatives would be best for ‘looking after the interests of working people’ compared to 43% saying Labour.
  • However, the Conservative lead over Labour on having the ‘best policies for Britain’s businesses’ has grown. 41% choose the Conservatives compared to 17% choosing Labour. This lead of 24 points for the Conservatives is up from +18 points in March 2018.

best partyAnd finally, 44% say the Government has handled the Covid pandemic fairly or very well, with 36% saying fairly or very badly, giving a net score of +8 well, compared to +7 well in August.

Gideon Skinner, Head of Politics at Ipsos MORI, says of the findings:

The Conservatives go into their conference with a base to build on: ahead in the polls, the Prime Minister still with the backing of Conservative voters, net positive scores for their handling of Covid, and an Opposition seemingly making little progress in convincing the public that they are a credible alternative government. However, belief that the party is genuinely looking out for ordinary people’s interests – and particularly those in real need - has taken a hit compared with the hopes just before they won the 2019 election. Addressing growing concerns about the economy, and making the argument that the Conservatives really are the best party to improve living standards for working people, are likely to be key priorities for Boris Johnson and his team in Manchester.

Other releases from Ipsos MORI's September 2021 Political Monitor can be found here and here.

Technical note

Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,008 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone: 17th to 23rd September 2021. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population. All polls are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error. On the basis of the historical record of the polls at recent general elections, there is a 9 in 10 chance that the true value of a party’s support lies within 4 points of the estimates provided by this poll, and a 2 in 3 chance that they lie within 2 points. This is especially important to keep in mind when calculating party lead figures.

The author(s)

  • Gideon Skinner Public Affairs
  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs
  • Dylan Spielman Public Affairs

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