COMRES POLLWATCH: WARNING LIGHTS ON THE POLITICAL DASHBOARD
WARNING LIGHTS ON THE POLITICAL DASHBOARD
a dodgy mechanic trying to persuade a vulnerable customer that they need more
time to carry out extra work on their car, so George Osborne and David Cameron
warned last week of red warning lights flashing on the economic dashboard.
This was a
calculated, political move and we're likely to hear more on the subject when Mr
Osborne stands up and in the House of Commons next week to deliver to the
entirety of this Parliament commentators and pundits - including this
author - predicted that the next General Election will be all about the
economy. The "red light" warning is recognition of the fact that the
Conservative campaign team are worried that that is no longer true, or at least
not in the way they hope and need it to be. The economy, and economic growth,
is diminishing in importance as a public priority. We've all seen plenty of the
Chancellor donning his hard hat and hi-vis jacket to welcome more good economic
news: unemployment continuing to fall, GDP growth et al.
trouble for the Conservatives is that the good economic news brings bad
political news. As the economic indicators swing towards the positive, so
public concern about the economy has receded and with it less focus on the folk
who would run the economy. Immigration, the NHS, reducing the cost of everyday
items and the welfare system are all now rated as higher public priorities than
economic growth for the government. Hence the warnings of economic turbulence
credibility is the Conservatives' only remaining electoral strength
over Labour, not withstanding Mr Miliband's low personal ratings. David
Cameron's Party enjoys a 14 point lead over Miliband and co. when it
comes to being trusted to grow the economy. Labour meanwhile lead on
keeping down the cost of living and the NHS while UKIP are a long
distance the most trust to control immigration.
Expect therefore, to hear a great deal more
about the potential economic danger on the horizon. It plays into the
Conservatives’ hands to see the economy rise back up the public agenda and turn
voters’ attention towards who they most want as custodians.
Switching the debate to economic credibility
has added urgency because while things may be improving in the economy at
large, it has yet to trickle down to voters. Just 17% say their own personal
financial situation has improved. The disconnect between the economy and the
pound in the pocket not only supports Labour’s argument that the Coalition
government has done nothing to improve things for “hard working families” (the
political euphemism for ‘ordinary people’) but it has also helped UKIP’s rise.
Many UKIP supporters are the economically “left behind” who have felt little
benefit from economic growth.
The worry for Number 10 is that the economy
won’t be a sufficiently major electoral issue in May 2015 as voters become
comfortable with an improving situation and their heads are turned by other
priorities which do not play to Tory strengths.
The Autumn Statement provides the government
with the last real chance to make an impact on the economy and the way people
feel about their finances. Next year’s Budget will come too late for anything
other than promises. The warnings about red lights are designed to make voters
consider who they want at Numbers 10 and 11 in difficult times. However, the
tightrope the Conservatives have to walk is to convince voters that more work
needs to be done on a car that appears to be working ok.
ComRes on Twitter for the latest polls and analysis: @ComResPolls
Author:Tom Mludzinski @tom_ComRes
Head of Political Polling
Be prepared for GE2015 with
the new ComRes Election Toolkit
The 2015 Battlebus is an online survey of 1,000
adults living in the 40 most marginal constituencies where Labour and the
Conservatives share first and second place between them and battle head-to-head
to get their candidate elected. This survey offers unique access to the opinions
of those voters who will win or lose the election for the main parties - all at
omnibus price levels.
the run up to the election, and whilst the parties are drafting their
manifestos, this research tool is ideal for ensuring that each of the parties
know the importance of your policy issues to those who will be decisive in
getting them elected. This can be very powerful for lobbying material or for
generating media hits.
Based on forecasts
using our long-term voting intention surveys and careful psephological
analysis, we have formulated a method of gauging the most likely composition of
the House of Commons after May 2015.
sample of 100 of those MPs and PPCs who are most likely to take a seat in
Parliament after 2015, ComRes is offering its clients a chance to gain vital
insight into the levels of support for policy issues post 2015, enabling
organisations to be on the front foot for when the new Parliament sits.
ComRes, Four Millbank, London, SW1P 3JA ComRes
is the trading name of CommunicateResearch Ltd, a company registered in
England and Wales. Company number: 4810991. Registered office: Coveham
House, Downside Bridge Road, Cobham, Surrey KT11 3EP.