Labour increases its lead on healthcare and education

Labour increases its lead on healthcare and education - but falls back as the best party on the economy says a new Ipsos MORI poll.

Ahead of the Labour Party Conference, the latest Ipsos MORI poll shows which party the public thinks has the best policies on key issues.

The public see the Conservative Party as having the best policies on managing the economy (5 point lead over Labour), crime and anti-social behaviour (10 point lead), and asylum and immigration (7 point lead), according to the latest poll from Ipsos MORI. Labour however are seen as the best party on: healthcare (30 point lead over the Conservatives), unemployment (by 13 points), education (12 point lead), taxation (by 5 points), benefits (by 4 points), housing (13 point lead) and transport (by 8 points).

Economy, Unemployment and Taxation

Having not held the lead over the Conservatives as the best party to manage the economy since September 2007, Labour had appeared to be regaining economic credibility with the public in May of this year when it pulled level with the Conservatives.

However, since May the Labour Party has fallen by five points with one in four people (25%) now saying that the Labour Party has the best policies on managing the economy, compared to 30% who say the Conservative Party (down 1 point). Only 7% say the Liberal Democrats have the best policies for managing the economy.

Despite the Conservatives being seen as the best party on the economy,  Labour is seen as strongest on unemployment (Conservatives 22%, Labour 35%) and taxation (Conservatives 26%, Labour 31%). The economy, along with unemployment, has consistently topped the list of public concerns in Ipsos MORI’s Issues Index since 2008.


Labour holds a 30-point lead over the Conservatives as the party with the best policies on healthcare. Forty-six per cent say the Labour Party has the best policies, 16% say the Conservative Party and 6% the Liberal Democrats. This is the lowest score for the Conservative Party since September 2004 and the highest for the Labour Party since May 1998. Health is traditionally a strong point for Labour with its best performance when Tony Blair led the party in opposition (63% in October 1995).




Just before the General Election in 2010, the Conservatives were level with Labour on education (29% and 28% respectively). Labour now holds a 12-point lead over the Conservatives as the party with the best education policies (Conservatives 24%, Labour 36%). This is the highest score Labour has had since 2002, though again it was even higher in the late 1990s and early 2000s (53% in May 1998 and 44% in February 2001).

Crime and immigration

The Conservatives' biggest leads come on crime/anti-social behaviour and asylum/immigration. Their 10 point lead over Labour on crime is the same as in March 2010 (but compares to a 19 point lead over Labour in August 2008) while their 7 point lead on asylum/immigration is down slightly from 11 points pre-election, and from their lead of 21 points in August 2008.


Climate Change


Liberal Democrats' highest ratings are on climate change (14%) though they are on a par with the Labour Party (15%) while 18% chose “other” parties and three in ten (30%) say they don’t know who has the best policies on climate change. This score for the Liberal Democrats has hardly changed since just before General Election.

Gideon Skinner, head of political research at Ipsos MORI, said:

“The Conservative Party’s policy strengths are in their traditional strongholds: immigration and crime – and also on the economy. David Cameron worked hard in opposition to make inroads into Labour’s grip on health and education policy in particular. Despite enacting major reforms, this has been reversed as Labour has once again extended their lead over the Conservatives among the public on these issues. But on the economy – the most important issue to voters – Labour have slightly slipped back.”

Which party do you think has the best policies on…. the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats or some other party?  
  LAB % CON % LDs %  Other % None % Don't Know CON Lead ±
Asylum & Immigration  19  26  7  5  20  22 +7
Crime & anti-social behaviour  22  32  6  4  13  22  +10
Education  36  24  7  4  10  19  -12
Healthcare  46  16  6  3  11  19  -30
Managing the economy  25  30  7  4  17  17  +5
Taxation  31  26  9  3  12  19  -5
Unemployment  35  22  5  4  14  20  -13
Benefits  33  29  6  3  10  18  -4
Climate Change  15  9  14  18  15  30  -6
Housing  33  20  6  5  11  25  -13
Transport  27  19  7  5  12  30  -8
Base: 1,006 British adults 18+


Technical note

Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,006 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 15-17 September 2012. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.

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