Satisfaction with the way the government is running the country, and satisfaction with the way Tony Blair is doing his job as Prime Minister has reached an all time low. Blair's ratings are not anywhere near John Major's woeful scores -- yet -- but they're getting there.
Yet this public disquiet is having little real effect on voting intentions. True, the Tories are up from their flat lining 30% average they've scored since 'Black Wednesday' over a decade ago, September 16 1992, but not by much.
In the latest MORI poll, carried out at the beginning of the month, the Conservative's share was just 34%, Labour was at 36%, and the Liberal Democrats at 24%, their best rating yet in MORI's polls this year, based on those saying they are certain to vote, some 52% of the electorate.
On this narrow two-point margin, the distribution of marginal seats is such that even only two points ahead of the Tories, Labour would win by another landslide of around one hundred seats majority over all other parties in the House of Commons.
While Labour has a six point lead among women, men favour the Tories by two per cent. But it is those 65 and over who really have turned against Labour. And their votes count. Only 22% of the electorate, they represent 27% of those most likely to vote. While 36% of the electorate are in the 18-34 age group, they only make up 28% of those certain to vote. They are really punching above their weight.
Labour has a 10-point lead among those who say they might vote, but as this would suggest a turnout of 76%, compared with the 59% turnout at the last election, this shows that those anxious to see the Prime Minister out of Number 10 are more determined than those who would keep him in office.
Just 30% of people say they are satisfied with the Prime Minister's performance, down from his 1997 post-election high of 75%, a fall of some 45 percentage points. Now nearly two people in three (63%) say they are dissatisfied with his leadership, with half the electorate having switched since September 1997, when only 13% expressed dissatisfaction.
The government's failures to deliver on the public services, public concern over the future state of the economy and worry about increased taxation with little to show for it, the continuing pressure from the Hutton enquiry and the war in Iraq, the sharp rise in anxiety about asylum seekers and immigration, with 35 % of the public now saying it is one of the country's most important issues, now in second place only behind worry about the NHS at 45 %, and the precipitous fall in trust in the Prime Minister, have all taken their toll on his popularity. Yet Labour still rules, and is likely to go on doing so through the next election.
MORI interviewed a representative quota sample of 1,850 adults aged 18+ at 203 sampling points across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted face-to-face on 28 August -- 2 September 2003. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.
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: 1,850 British adults 18+
|Liberal Democrats (Lib Dem)||21|
|Lab lead (177%)||+10|
|Would not vote||12|
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 (989)
|Liberal Democrats (Lib Dem)||24|
|Lab lead (177%)||2|
|Would not vote||*|
Q3-6 Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way the Government / Mr Blair / Mr Duncan Smith / Mr Kennedy are doing their job? Base: 971 British adults 18+
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: 971 British adults 18+
|National Health Service/Hospitals||16||45|
|Crime/law & order/violence/vandalism||7||24|
|Defence/foreign affairs/international terrorism||11||20|
|Unemployment/factory closure/lack of industry||2||10|
|Common Market/EU/Europe/Single European Currency||4||9|
|Nuclear weapons/nuclear war/disarmament||2||4|
|Low pay/minimum wage/fair wages||1||3|
|Local government/council tax||*||3|
|Pound/exchange rate/value of pound||*||1|
|GM/GM (Genetically Modified) foods||*||*|
|Beef/BSE/Mad Cow Disease||0||*|
|Foot and mouth outbreak/farming crisis||0||*|
|Scottish/Welsh Assembly/Devolution Constitutional reform||0||*|
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: 971 British adults 18+
|Stay the same||40|
|MORI Economic Optimism Index [EOI]||-26|
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: 1,850 British adults 18+
|10 -- absolutely certain to vote||52|
|1 -- absolutely certain not to vote||10|