Friday, 28 March 2014

COMRES - A political Budget for an election on the economy

POLLWATCH: A political Budget for an election on the economy
Surges come and go; long term shifts are more difficult to sustain. Following last week’s Budget Statement the polls appear to have narrowed; while some show the gap between Labour and the Conservatives cut to just one or two points, the ComRes poll for The Independent had the lead narrowing from 8 points to 5. Clearly Chancellor Osborne’s Budget has had a short-term positive impact for the Conservatives, and the Sun’s front page on the morning after will have made happy breakfast reading at Numbers 10 and 11 Downing Street. However, we’ve seen this before with Cameron’s bounce after his 2011 “veto” in Europe and that didn’t last. With just a year to go until the General Election the Conservatives will need to work hard to make the surge stick, avoiding as many bumps in the road ahead as they can.   
While we can’t be sure how long the current narrowing in the polls will last, what we have seen over the last week is a defining of the battle lines for the long election campaign ahead. Labour are still seen as the party of living standards and personal finances while the Tories are the party of economic growth and deficit reduction.
This week’s ComRes / Independent poll found that around half (47%) of Britons believe the Tories are more likely than Labour to keep the economy growing, while just a third (36%) chose Labour over the Conservatives. The Tories are also seen are seen as the party most likely to eliminate the Government’s budget deficit, (49% to the 33% saying Labour).
Although the Conservatives have closed the gap on Ed Miliband’s chosen territory of living standards, it is still an issue of strength of Labour. Some 43% of Britons believe Labour is most likely to make their family better off, with 37% naming the Tories. But Labour’s lead has dropped from 10 to six points since last September.
Base: All GB adults (n=1,024)
Particularly interesting following Mr Osborne’s blatant attempts to woo savers and pensioners is that Labour is viewed as the party most likely to ensure pensioners have an adequate level of income in retirement (48% choosing Labour and 34% the Tories). However, George Osborne has had some success with the “grey vote” as those aged 65 and over are more likely to say the Tories would to ensure pensioners have an adequate level of income.
With the electoral maths looking very difficult for the Conservatives – needing to improve on their performance in 2010 to win a majority – it is easy to see why Ed Miliband and his team may be tempted to keep their heads down and stumble into Downing Street. However, the Tory “surge” should serve as a reminder that many voters have by no-means nailed their colours to the mast for any party just yet. They may be saying they will vote for Labour now, but the Party has to offer them a positive, credible message to secure their votes, especially if the economic narrative continues along a more optimistic road and the Conservatives are able to point to a record of improvement. Labour are keeping quiet for now, but they will have to turn up the volume pretty soon.

ComRes / The Independent
Conservative 31% (+1)
Labour 36% (-2)
Liberal Democrat 9% (-1)
UKIP 11% (NC)
Changes from 5th March.


Follow ComRes Chairman Andrew Hawkins on Twitter:

Author:Tom Mludzinski

Head of Political Polling

Making plans for 2014?
To find out more about how ComRes market and opinion research can support your work, please contact:
Jasmine Morgan
+44 (0)20 7871

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment is open to all feel free to link to this blog.