Public split on who to trust on economy

The latest poll for The Sunday Times shows the public are very pessimistic on both parties' chances of maintaing the recovery and preventing another recession.

Though the headlines were stolen by the collapse in the Tory lead, yesterday’s YouGov poll for The Sunday Times shows voters have exactly the same levels of trust – and distrust – in both Labour and the Conservatives when it comes to leading Britain to recovery, with half of all voters pessimistic on the short term future of the recovery.

Thirty one per cent of those polled trust Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling “to propose policies that would reduce borrowing without harming Britain’s chances of recovering from recession”, against 30 per cent for David Cameron and George Osborne.

The figures for those who said they distrusted each party’s top two are equally split, 64 per cent not trusting Brown and Darling much or at all and 63 per cent distrusting Cameron and Osborne.

When asked whether they believed Britain would slide back into recession, the response of the public makes grim reading for those in charge. More than half of those polled believe this a likely possibility, with only 38 per cent thinking it unlikely – with only 6 per cent of voters saying it is very unlikely and the economy will grow steadily this year.

The findings were, however, slightly better for the Liberal Democrats, with 32 per cent of voters trusting Vince Cable and Nick Clegg against 49 per cent distrusting the pair not to harm the recovery.

Another point of note for the Lib Dems was that, when asked what they should do in the event of a hung parliament, 30 per cent of respondents said “form a coalition with Labour”, 26 per cent favoured a coalition with the Tories, 26 per cent said neither and 18 per cent didn’t know.

4 Responses to “Public split on who to trust on economy”

  1. Shamik Das

    Interesting finding's from Sunday's YouGov poll: RT @leftfootfwd: Public split on who to trust on economy: http://is.gd/8VNEj

  2. Sophia Parker

    Shamik, I think this is really interesting, not least because a trawl through the British Election Survey shows that the public’s views on who is best placed to manage the economy is the strongest predictor of electoral outcomes (see for example 1992, when the Tories maintained their lead on economic management despite polls mainly indicating a Labour victory; or 2005, where Labour maintained their lead on this indicator even when broader polls looked more bleak).

    The latest Populus poll (Feb 2010) suggests that as well as the headline figures you note, the direction of travel on economic management is interesting. In December last year Team Cameron and Osbourne commanded a 14-point lead over Team Brown and Darling – a lead that has halved in just three months, with the Conservatives now just 7 points ahead of Labour.

    Here at the Resolution Foundation we’ve commissioned some additional polling work which reinforces the voter pessimism you note in your post. Our data indicates that people are pretty glum about their own personal economic situations as well. Worryingly, the people who are least optimistic about their fortunes are the UK’s ‘low earners’ – workers earning between approximately £12k and £20k – whose personal economic expectations have dropped almost 20% since 2001. Understanding and addressing the causes of such pessimism is likely to be a critical part of any winning electoral strategy, given that low earners make up roughly a third of the electorate.

  3. ResolutionFoundation

    RT @leftfootfwd: Public split on who to trust on economy: http://is.gd/8VNEj

  4. ResolutionFoundation

    Sophia Parker comments @leftfootfwd -low earners least optimistic about economic future. Whoops wrong link b4! http://tinyurl.com/yakhlc4

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