Voters Are More Worried About The Economy Than Before The Autumn Statement
Polls carried out in the days after Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement indicate voters are now more worried about the outlook for the economy and their own financial circumstances than they were before.
Support for the Conservatives’ overall remains damaged after former prime minister Liz Truss and her chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng rocked the economy with their calamitous “mini-Budget”, leading Labour’s poll-lead to soar.
While Hunt’s Autumn Statement was relatively well-received within the Conservative party last week after it succeeded in calming the markets, many MPs worried that its austere measures would leave them worse off with voters nonetheless.
Polling conducted by Ipsos on 17-18 Nov suggests that their worst fears may indeed be realised. The online survey found that 40 percent of people polled felt the Autumn Statement made them more concerned about the economy, while only 25 percent felt reassured and 23 percent said neither. It also found that 46 percent said they were more worried about their personal financial circumstances and more concerned for Britain’s public services.
The Conservatives’ reputation on managing the economy does not appear to have recovered either, with 79 per cent placing blame for the current economic difficulties on decisions made by Truss and Kwarteng. Truss resigned in October after a raft of tax cuts in her so-called mini-budget triggered a spike in borrowing costs and an emergency intervention by the Bank of England.
“The Conservatives have a brand image problem, with many also blaming not just Liz Truss’s mini-budget but also the Conservatives’ whole period in office over the last 12 years, so improving confidence in the Conservatives’ long-term economic policies is likely to need more than a short-term fix,” Gideon Skinner, Head of Political Research at Ipsos UK, said in a statement.
A poll by YouGov gave a mixed and uncertain response to the Autumn Statement, suggesting the Conservatives have their work cut out to win over the public by the time of the next general election which must be called by December 2024.
YouGov’s polling showed 31 per cent said the Statement measures would be fairly bad or very bad for the economy, 24 per cent said they would be fairly good or very good, but 45 per cent said they did not know.
YouGov also said 28 per cent said they tended to support or strongly supported Hunt’s measures, 26 per cent tended to oppose or strongly oppose them, but 46 per cent said they did not know.
“Any chance that the Conservatives have of defending their majority at the next election hinges on their ability to convince the British public that they can solve the cost-of-living crisis and restore economic stability,” Patrick English, Associate Director of Social and Political Research at YouGov, said in a statement.
Polls gauging voting intention released after the Statement on 17 November showed no sign of a recovery for the Conservatives, who have slumped behind Labour since the collapse of the Boris Johnson and then Truss administration.
A poll by PeoplePolling showed the Conservatives popularity had remained stable at 21 per cent, while Labour had risen five percentage points to 47 per cent. A poll by Redfield & Wilton had the Tories up 1 point to 28 per cent while Labour was also up one at 49 per cent.
“I think Labour will try, as much as possible, to focus on visible signs of government failure in regards to public services provision and economic performance,” said Chris Hanretty, Professor of Politics at Royal Holloway, University of London.
“Starmer's leadership so far has largely involved keeping quiet and letting the government mess up on its own. In that respect he's been very fortunate.”
Joshua Martin is a Senior Analyst at Dods Political Intelligence. If you would like to find out more about Dods Political Intelligence, please click here.
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe