In the week before the Spring Statement, Ipsos MORI’s latest Political Monitor reveals that a majority of the public remain pessimistic about Britain’s economy. Half the public (54%) believe the economy will get worse in the next year (up 2 points), while one in five (22%) think it will improve (up 2 points) – leaving an Ipsos MORI Economic Optimism Index (EOI) score of -32 (no change). The last time pessimism dipped below 50% was in May 2017 before the General Election, when it stood at 43%.
Pessimism about the economy is particularly high among the young – 66% of 18-34 year olds think the economy will get worse, as do 55% of those aged 35-54, compared with 42% of over 55s.
Public satisfaction with the way Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn are doing their jobs is also little changed from the beginning of the year. The poll reveals that two in five (41%) say they are satisfied in how Theresa May is doing her job as Prime Minister (up 3 points from January) while half (52%) say they are dissatisfied (down 3 points) leaving the Prime Minister with a net satisfaction score of -11.
Her ratings are similar to Jeremy Corbyn’s, for whom 37% say they are satisfied (down 1 point) with his job as leader of the Labour party and half (52%) dissatisfied (up 3 points), leaving him with a net satisfaction score of -15. The public remain unsure about Vince Cable with two in four (38%) saying they have no opinion – a quarter (25%) say they are satisfied and 37% dissatisfied, giving him a net satisfaction score of -12 (no change from January).
Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn get similar levels of support among their own party supporters. Three quarters (74%) of Conservative voters say they are satisfied with Mrs May while one in five (22%) are dissatisfied. Jeremy Corbyn enjoys the support of 71% Labour voters who say they are satisfied with him and 26% dissatisfied.
Our ongoing voting intention figures continue to show the two main parties running neck-and-neck with the Conservatives at 43% (up 4 points) Labour at 42% (nc), and the Liberal Democrats at 6% (down 3 points).
Gideon Skinner, Head of Political Research at Ipsos MORI, said:
Compared with Brexit and the NHS, the economy is not as high on the public’s agenda as it was a few years ago, but that doesn’t mean Britons aren’t concerned about it. Economic pessimism has been a constant backdrop since the election – every month since then at least half of Britons have told us they expect it to get worse.
Meanwhile, the two main parties continue to dominate, even though neither has been able to build a clear lead. Both rely on distinct blocs for their support – young people for Labour and older voters for the Conservatives, while the middle-aged are split – and so far there is little sign of much switching between the two.
Notes to editors:
Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,012 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 2-7 March 2018. Data is weighted to the profile of the population.
Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,012 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 2nd – 7th March 2018. Sample consists of 70% landline numbers (RDD) and 30% mobile numbers (a mix of RDD and targeted numbers). Data are weighted to the profile of the population.
The facts may have changed on Brexit - but people’s minds have not
Reflecting the national vote in the 2016 referendum, voters in Bedford split almost the same way, with 51.8% voting to leave the EU. Two years on, we joined the BBC Radio 4 Today programme to ask local Bedford residents what they have to say on the matter now.