Reuters/Ipsos MORI Political Monitor - July 2011

Half of the public think the phone hacking scandal will lead to major changes in public life, but large minority think it will blow over with no significant impact.

Reuters/Ipsos MORI Political Monitor - July 2011

Conservatives’ vote share falls following hacking scandal, but not translating into support for Labour; similar to the “anti-establishment” sentiment we saw after the MPs expenses scandal

Miliband enjoys personal ratings boost while Cameron’s ratings are his lowest since becoming Prime Minister

Half of the public think the phone hacking scandal will lead to major changes in public life, but large minority think it will blow over with no significant impact

CON 32 (-5); LAB 39 (nc); LIB DEM 11 (nc)

The Reuters/Ipsos MORI Political Monitor for July – our first poll since the phone hacking scandal broke – shows that half of the public think that Prime Minister David Cameron has handled the phone hacking situation badly (52%) while a third say he has handled it well (36%). By contrast, almost half of the public think that Ed Miliband has handled the crisis well (47%) compared to a third who think he has handled it badly (35%).

This is reflected in public satisfaction with both leaders. Cameron’s satisfaction ratings have fallen and are his lowest since becoming Prime Minister (and lower than any of his ratings as leader of the Opposition since September 2007). Two in five (38%) are satisfied with the way he is doing his job as Prime Minister while half are dissatisfied (53%). Miliband’s satisfaction ratings have improved this month, although they are still negative on balance, to level Cameron’s at a similar time in his period as Opposition leader. Satisfaction with Nick Clegg remains unchanged this month.

Despite the improvement in Miliband’s personal ratings, this has had little effect on Labour’s vote share, which remains unchanged this month on 39%. The Conservatives are down 5 points to 32%, while the Liberal Democrats are unchanged at 11%. Seemingly the main beneficiaries of dissatisfaction with the Conservatives are the smaller parties – 18% of those ‘certain to vote’ say they would vote for a party other than Labour, the Conservatives or the Liberal Democrats, an increase of five points from last month. This ‘anti-establishment’ sentiment was also expressed in the immediate aftermath of the expenses scandal in 2009.

Satisfaction with the government has also declined this month: 29% are now satisfied with the government, down from 36% in June. Dissatisfaction has risen by nine points to 63%. As with Cameron personally, these are the worst ratings for the government since taking office last May.

Rebekah Brooks and Rupert Murdoch are perceived by most of the public to have handled the hacking scandal badly (both 70%). Two-thirds say that the Police have handled the scandal badly (63%).

Half of the public think the phone hacking scandal will lead to major changes in public life in Britain (51%). However, a significant minority think it will blow over in a few months with no significant impact (41%).

Economic optimism remains largely unchanged this month, with 22% thinking the economy will improve in the next year but almost half (48%) saying it will get worse.

Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,001 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 16-18 July 2011.  Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.

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