Defence And Asylum Rise Up The Agenda

Against a backdrop of increased concern about war in Iraq, Tony Blair's satisfaction ratings have fallen another five points in the past month, with only one third of the electorate now saying they are satisfied with the job he is doing as Prime Minister. Even fewer — 26% — are satisfied with the way the Government is running the country — the lowest figure since the fuel crisis in September 2000.

Against a backdrop of increased concern about war in Iraq, Tony Blair's satisfaction ratings have fallen another five points in the past month, with only one third of the electorate now saying they are satisfied with the job he is doing as Prime Minister. Even fewer -- 26% -- are satisfied with the way the Government is running the country -- the lowest figure since the fuel crisis in September 2000.

The latest Political Monitor from the MORI Social Research Institute shows 64% highlighting defence/foreign affairs as one of the most important issues facing Britain -- almost double the 35% recorded in December. This exceeds the 60% recorded in September 2001 after the Twin Towers attacks, and is the highest since the 65% recorded in January 1991 at the time of the Gulf War.

The NHS is now seen as the second most important issue in the eyes of the public (mentioned by 35%), with asylum seekers/immigration rising to third on the list (34%, up from 23% in December).

A year ago when MORI asked the British public whether they were satisfied or dissatisfied with the way Mr Blair was doing his job as Prime Minister, just over half the electorate, 51%, said they were satisfied, and nearly four in ten, 39%, said they were dissatisfied.

Twelve months later, in the latter half of December 2002, 38% said they are satisfied, but a majority of the country, 54%, said they are dissatisfied, a 'swing' against Mr Blair of minus 14%.

Now, at the end of January, this has fallen to a third of the electorate, 33%, saying they are satisfied, and 58% dissatisfied with the PM.

But 33% is nearly double the number who say they are satisfied with the performance of Iain Duncan Smith, of whom only one elector in six, 18%, express satisfaction. Even among the 27% of those who say they would support the Tory Party at an election, six points down on their 2001 result, more say they are dissatisfied than satisfied (46% versus 33%).

MORI's new voting intention figures based on all are 27% Tory -(-2 on our December figures), 44% Labour (+1) and 20% for the Lib Dems (-3). When we look at the views of the 51% who say they are absolutely certain to vote, the Tories move up to 31%, while Labour drops slightly, to 40% and the Lib Dems tick up to 22%.

The survey also highlights concern about prospects for the economy. MORI's latest Economic Optimism Index stands at -46, down from -40 in December. The EOI has fallen every month since September and represents the most pessimistic measurement since the immediate aftermath of September 11.

Topline Results

  • MORI interviewed a representative quota sample of 1,989 adults aged 18+ at 199 sampling points across Great Britain.
  • Fieldwork was conducted face-to-face on 23-27 January 2003.
  • Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.
  • Results are based on all respondents unless otherwise stated
  • An '*' indicates a finding of less than 0.5%, but greater than zero

Q1 How would you vote if there were a General Election tomorrow? IF UNDECIDED OR REFUSED AT Q1 Q2 Which party are you most inclined to support? Base: All absolutely certain to vote (1,008)

 %
Conservative31
Labour40
Liberal Democrats (Lib Dem)22
Scottish/Welsh Nationalist3
Green Party2
Democratic/UKIP Party1
Other2
 
Lab lead (177%)+9
 
Would not vote1
Undecided8
Refused1

Q1 How would you vote if there were a General Election tomorrow? IF UNDECIDED OR REFUSED AT Q1 Q2 Which party are you most inclined to support? Base: All respondents (1,989)

 %
Conservative27
Labour44
Liberal Democrats (Lib Dem)20
Scottish/Welsh Nationalist4
Green Party2
Democratic/UKIP Party1
Other2
 
Lab lead (177%)+17
 
Would not vote14
Undecided10
Refused1

Q3-6 Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way the Government / Mr Blair / Mr Duncan Smith / Mr Kennedy are doing their job? Base: 1,036

 SatisfiedDissatisfiedDon't knowIndex
 %%%177%
Government266510-39
Blair33588-25
Duncan Smith184933-31
Kennedy422037+22

Q7 What would you say is the most important issue facing Britain today? Q8 What do you see as other important issues facing Britain today? Base: 1,036

 Q7Q7/8
 %%
Defence/foreign affairs/international terrorism4864
National Health Service/Hospitals535
Race relations/immigration/immigrants1434
Education/schools327
Crime/law & order/violence/vandalism521
Economy/economic situation412
Nuclear weapons/nuclear war/disarmament69
Drug abuse16
Pensions/social security16
Transport/public transport16
Unemployment/factory closure/lack of industry16
Common Market/EU/Europe/Single European Currency15
Poverty/inequality15
Housing14
Morality/individual behaviour14
Inflation/prices*3
Low pay/minimum wage/fair wages*3
Taxation*3
Local government/council tax*2
Trade unions/strikes*2
Countryside/rural life*1
Petrol prices/fuel*1
Pollution/environment*1
Privatisation*1
Foot and mouth outbreak/farming crisis01
AIDS**
Animal welfare**
Beef/BSE/Mad Cow Disease**
GM/GM (Genetically Modified) foods0*
Northern Ireland0*
Scottish/Welsh Assembly/Devolution Constitutional reform0*
Pound/exchange rate/value of pound00
 
Other211
Don't know43

Q9 Do you think that the general economic condition of the country will improve, stay the same, or get worse over the next 12 months? Base: 1,036

 %
Improve8
Stay the same30
Get worse54
Don't know7
 
MORI EOI-46

Q10 And how likely would you be to vote in an immediate General Election, on a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 means you would be absolutely certain to vote, and 1 means that you would be absolutely certain not to vote? Base: 1,949

 %
10 -- absolutely certain to vote51
96
88
73
63
58
42
34
22
1 -- absolutely certain not to vote12

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