Political landscape shifting?

Public Opinion // Economy 20.06.2012

Michelle Harrison

CEO, TNS BMRB

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Are people in the UK feeling positive about 2012?

With huge national events such as the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee taking place over the summer, 2012 is a big year for the UK. In this context you might expect people to be feeling positive, but over the last 6 months the overall mood has remained stubbornly gloomy.

Between December 2011 and May 2012, the number of people who think that they will receive a pay rise in the next year has never risen above a fifth (21%) whilst around one in ten said they expect their pay to fall.

Key Numbers

  • 31% of people not in work expect their income to decline
  • 56% feel the economy is worse than last year

Asked how the economy will fare over the coming year, the proportion of people who expect it to improve has never risen above 20%. In May 2012 only 15% were willing to predict an upturn in economic conditions whilst nearly a third (30%) thought the economy would actually deteriorate over the next 12 months.

These concerns are influencing people's opinions on the biggest challenges facing Britain today with unemployment consistently cited as the country's most pressing concern, followed by inflation and rising prices.

This negativity is inevitably impacting on the coalition's performance in opinion polls with the Liberal Democrats suffering the most. They have lost approximately half of their vote share since the 2010 General Election; falling from 23% at that time to 11% in December 2011.

In December 2011 the Conservatives we on 35%, just three points behind Labour who were on 38%. By May 2012 however they had slipped to just 30%, allowing Labour to open up a substantial 13 point poll lead on 43%; their biggest since the election.

Obviously these are turbulent times, and voters appear frustrated at the slow pace of economic recovery. As such the economy will continue to be the pivot on which the political landscape continues to hinge.

 

Source : TNS

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