The Reuters/ Ipsos MORI December Political Monitor shows Liberal Democrat support continuing to fall, while backing for Labour and the Conservatives remains largely unchanged. Support for the Liberal Democrats has fallen to 11% amongst all those certain to vote, the lowest percentage intending to vote for the party that we have recorded in precisely two years.
CON 38(+2); LAB 39(-); LIB DEM 11(-3)
Almost two in five (38%) say they would vote for the Conservatives if there was a general election tomorrow, and a similar percentage (39%) say they would vote for Labour, a ten percentage point increase from the 29% they received in May. As with last month, this is the highest share that we have recorded for Labour since October 2007.
A quarter (24%) of the voting public voted for the Liberal Democrats in May, but only one in nine (11%) still support them at the end of the year. Our recent analysis has shown much of this support moving to the Labour party.
Looking at satisfaction with the government and party leaders, just under two-fifths (38%) are satisfied with the coalition government, up three points from last month. David Cameron remains the most popular leader; almost half (48%) are satisfied with his performance as Prime Minister. Nick Clegg is the least popular; for him, half (50%) are dissatisfied with the way he is doing his job. This represents a marked decline; between May 2009 and April 2010 he was consistently more popular than the other two main party leaders.
Ed Miliband's satisfaction ratings have been falling since he was elected: from 41% in October to 35% now, though three in ten (30%) are unable to give an opinion. Building on the gains that Labour has already made, Ed Miliband has recently been trying to woo disaffected Liberal Democrats. However, this may not be easy; Liberal Democrat voters are more satisfied with David Cameron's performance (58%) than that of Ed Miliband (39%). Furthermore, Cameron even has higher satisfaction ratings among people who voted LibDem in the general election by 44% to 37% (although it should be pointed out that these past LibDem voters are more dissatisfied with Cameron as well).
Looking at the different attributes of the three leaders, the public have a more positive image of David Cameron; he is felt to be more honest (taking over Nick Clegg's lead on this issue), more of a capable leader, better in a crisis, and have a better understanding of the problems facing Britain than the other two leaders. On the other hand half (51%) believe that he is out of touch with ordinary people, more so than Nick Clegg or Ed Miliband (43% and 34% respectively). Two-thirds feel that Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband are inexperienced (65% and 64%), though 44% feel this also still applies to David Cameron.
Our Economic Optimism Index has remained in negative territory since September, and now stands at -12. This measurement is taken by subtracting the percentage who think the economic condition of the country will improve over the next 12 months (29%) from those who think it will deteriorate (41%). This is an improvement from -20 in November, but still in contrast to the months before the election, when the Index was on balance positive,
The public is split about what Britain should do to help other countries in economic peril; 43% believe that it is in our "best interests to loan money to another country if it is on the verge of bankruptcy because our own economy relies heavily on others", however around half (51%) believe that "Britain should not loan money to another country, even if that country is on the verge of bankruptcy, because Britain should concentrate on sorting out its own economic problems".
This split is particularly obvious by class. Agreement in principle for international intervention rises amongst those in higher social grades, with those in social grades AB much more likely to agree that it is in our best interest to do so (63%) than those in social grade DE (27%). There is, though, no difference among voters of the three main parties, all of whom are marginally in favour of Britain loaning money to other countries. It is supporters of other parties, and in particular non-voters, who more strongly feel that Britain should concentrate on its own problems.
Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,004 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 10-12th Dec 2010. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.