Ipsos MORI's December Political Monitor (carried out by telephone between 11-13 December among 1,017 British adults aged 18 and over) shows, among those certain to vote, a swing to the Conservatives, following the pre-budget review the Wednesday just before fieldwork.
Among those absolutely certain to vote, 43% intend to vote Conservative (up from 37% in November), 26% intend to vote Labour (down from 31%) and 20% for the Liberal Democrats (up from 17%).
The figures are a return to the average throughout the latter half of 2009 - with a Conservative share of the vote in the 40s and a Labour share of the vote averaging in the high 20s.
Economic optimism for the next year has declined as well. Around a third (32%) now think that the economy will improve over the next 12 months (compared with a high of 46% last month), but, for the first time since July, more (36%) think it will get worse. Ipsos MORI's Economic Optimism Index therefore stands at -4.
One factor which may have had an impact on our figures this month is that the percentage of Conservative voters who are certain to vote has increased from 61% to 68% since last month, while at the same time. among Labour supporters this has decreased slightly (from 51% to 49%). It may be that the Pre Budget Report and subsequent reaction has resulted in shoring up Conservative voters' determination to get to polling booths, as well as curtailing economic optimism among the public as a whole.
The government and Gordon Brown's ratings have also declined since last month - fewer than three in ten (28%) are satisfied with the way Gordon Brown is doing his job as Prime Minister (compared with 34% last month) and one fifth (21%) are satisfied with the government (down from 25%).
Satisfaction with David Cameron has also declined since November, with a net satisfaction score of +6 now compared to +13 in November.
Nick Clegg remains, on balance, the most popular of the three main party leaders: his net satisfaction is now +13 (down slightly from +15 last month) although a third (33%) are not able to answer.
Over two thirds (69%) believe the result of the next general election is important to them personally, an almost identical figure to November. Again, this is higher amongst Conservative supporters than Labour supporters (84% and 76% respectively). Three in ten (28%) believe it is not personally not very or at all important to them.
Technical DetailsIpsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,017 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 11th-13th December 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.
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