Ipsos MORI Political Monitor, January 2006

Ipsos MORI's latest Political Monitor confirms the relative popularity of the new Conservative leader, David Cameron, among the general public. The poll, conducted between 19 and 23 January among 2,078 British adults, shows that 31% of public is satisfied with David Cameron's performance as leader of the Conservative Party, with 17% dissatisfied.

Ipsos MORI's latest Political Monitor confirms the relative popularity of the new Conservative leader, David Cameron, among the general public. The poll, conducted between 19 and 23 January 2006 among 2,078 British adults, shows that 31% of public is satisfied with David Cameron's performance as leader of the Conservative Party, with 17% dissatisfied.

These findings illustrate two important factors when interpreting public opinion about the new leader. First, the majority of the public (52%) are still to make up their minds; and second, among those who have, opinion is generally positive -- almost two to one in favour.

These findings are particularly informative when we compare David Cameron's satisfaction ratings with the public's appraisal of previous Tory leaders after similar periods in office, as shown in the table below:

Leader Satisfied Dissatisfied Don't know Net satisfied
  % % % 177%
Cameron (Jan 06) 31 17 52 +14
Howard (Dec 03) 22 21 57 +1
D Smith (Oct 01) 22 14 64 +8
Hague (July 97) 21 24 55 -3

David Cameron is currently perceived more favourably than any of his three immediate predecessors two months or so after each had been elected leader. However, the key figure to watch over the next few months is the "don't knows" -- will more of the public become satisfied with David Cameron's performance as they begin to make up their minds, or will they be turned off -- as has happened with every Conservative leader since 1997 as shown below?

It is also useful to compare David Cameron's current satisfaction ratings with those of Tony Blair after the latter became leader of the Labour party in 1994:

Leader Satisfied Dissatisfied Don't know Net satisfied
  % % % 177%
Cameron (Jan 06) 31 17 52 +14
Blair (Sep 94) 33 19 48 +14

Here we see almost identical satisfaction ratings from the public. And in contrast to Conservative leaders post-1997, Tony Blair's approval ratings rose as the public got to know him and he regularly recorded satisfaction ratings in the high 40s and low 50s in the three years running up to the 1997 General Election. The contrast with the Prime Minister's current standing is clear -- in January 2006, just 36% of the public is satisfied with Tony Blair's performance and a majority are dissatisfied (57%). Perhaps, it is just a matter of a few months before more of the British public are satisfied with the Conservative leader's performance than are satisfied with the Prime Ministers?

Voting intentions

The Ipsos MORI Political Monitor results show that the headline voting intentions -- based on those who say "they are absolutely certain to vote" (shows the Conservatives with a two percentage point lead over Labour (40% to 38%) with the Liberal Democrats polling 17% (down six points on their 2005 General Election result), following the resignation of Charles Kennedy.

Issues facing country

The latest monthly poll also reveals that domestic issues are dominating the public's concern about issues facing the country, with more people spontaneously citing crime/anti-social behaviour/law & order (36%) as one of the main issues facing Britain than any other issue (probably reflecting the government's recent respect agenda), followed by NHS (30%), schools and race relations/immigration (28%). Since November last year, concern about defence/foreign affairs/terrorism has reduced substantially -- down 15 points to 26%.

Topline Results

  • Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative quota sample of 2,078 adults aged 18+ at 202 sampling points across Great Britain.
  • Fieldwork was conducted face-to-face on 19-23 January 2006.
  • Data are weighted to match the profile of the population

Voting -- all absolutely certain to vote

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' (1,163)

  %
Conservative 40
Labour 38
Liberal Democrats (Lib Dem) 17
Scottish/Welsh Nationalist 2
Green Party 2
UK Independence Party 1
Other 1
 
Lab lead (177%) -2
 
Would not vote 1
Undecided 7
Refused 2

Voting -- all

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 naming a party (2,078)

  %
Conservative 35
Labour 42
Liberal Democrats (Lib Dem) 17
Scottish/Welsh Nationalist 2
Green Party 2
UK Independence Party 1
Other 2
 
Lab lead (177%) 7
 
Would not vote 12
Undecided 10
Refused 2

Q3 Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way the Government is running the country? Q4 Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way Mr Blair is doing his job as Prime Minister? Q5 Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way Mr Cameron is doing his job as leader of the Conservative Party? Base: 1,076 British adults 18+

  Satisfied Dissatisfied Don't know Index
  % % % 177%
Government (Q3) 32 60 9 -28
Blair (Q4) 36 57 6 -21
Cameron (Q5) 31 17 52 +14

Q6 Which one of the following politicians, if any, would you like to see lead the Liberal Democrats? Base: 1,076 British adults 18+

  %
Menzies Campbell 19
Simon Hughes 18
Mark Oaten 3
Chris Huhne 2
Stewart Lewis 1
Other 1
None of these 11
Don't know 46

Q7 What would you say is the most important issue facing Britain today? (Spontaneous) Q8 What do you see as other important issues facing Britain today? (Spontaneous) Base: 1,076 British adults 18+

  Q7 Q7/8
  % %
Crime/law & order/violence/vandalism 16 36
National Health Service/Hospitals 9 30
Race relations/immigration/immigrants 16 28
Education/schools 8 28
Defence/foreign affairs/international terrorism 12 26
Pensions/social security 3 11
Economy/economic situation 4 10
Pollution/environment 3 9
Morality/individual behaviour 3 7
Drug abuse 2 7
Poverty/inequality 2 7
Unemployment/factory closure/lack of industry 2 7
Taxation 1 7
Housing 2 6
Common Market/EU/Europe/EURO/Constitution 2 4
Petrol prices/fuel 1 4
Local government/council tax * 3
Transport/public transport * 3
Nuclear weapons/nuclear war/disarmament 1 2
Countryside/rural life * 2
Inflation/prices * 2
Public services in general * 2
Low pay/minimum wage/fair wages 0 2
Privatisation * 1
AIDS * *
Animal welfare * *
GM/GM (Genetically Modified) foods * *
Northern Ireland * *
Pound/exchange rate/value of pound * *
Scottish/Welsh Assembly/Devolution Constitutional reform * *
Trade unions/strikes * *
Tsunami/ South East Asia 0 *
Beef/BSE/Mad Cow Disease 0 *
Foot and mouth outbreak/farming crisis 0 *
Other 6 6
Don't know 6 4

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: 1,076 British adults 18+

  %
Improve 13
Stay the same 46
Get worse 36
Don't know 5
Economic Optimism Index [EOI] -23

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: 2,078 British adults 18+

  %
10 -- absolutely certain to vote 56
9 6
8 7
7 4
6 2
5 8
4 2
3 2
2 2
1 -- absolutely certain not to vote 9
Don't know 2
Refused *

More insights about Public Sector