Exclusive: Three quarters of voters believe PM and chancellor out of touch

Just under three quarters of voters do not believe the prime minister and chancellor appreciate the rising cost of living, according to a poll conducted by Survation for Progressive Polling.

Just under three quarters of voters do not believe the prime minister and the chancellor appreciate the rising cost of living, according to a poll conducted by Survation for Progressive Polling.

When asked ‘how well do you think George Osborne and the prime minister David Cameron appreciate the rising cost of living on the public?’, 71 per cent of voters said they did not believe the prime minister and chancellor appreciated the rising cost of living, and just a quarter (23 per cent) said they understood it ‘well’ or ‘fairly well’.

In the poll, conducted in the two days following George Osborne’s budget, we also asked: ‘thinking about your current financial situation, do you feel you are better or worse off than in 2010?’.

Just under a quarter (21 per cent) of voters said they were better off, while 49 per cent felt worse off and 30 per cent said ‘about the same’.

The most affluent socio-economic group (AB) were most likely to report that they felt ‘much better off’, while the poorest (DE) were most likely to say they were ‘much worse off’.

This reinforces a sense that coalition policies are favouring the richest over the poorest in society.

Women were more likely to say they were worse off under the coalition than men. Over half (54 per cent) of female voters said they were worse off, compared to 45 per cent of male votes.

Many organisations have highlighted how women are being disproportionately hit by government cuts and this appears to be reflected in the poll.

We then questioned voters on how they expect to feel about their finances at the time of the next election. We asked ‘thinking about your future financial situation, do you expect to be better off or worse off than today?’. The result was a close split, with 31 per cent of voters expecting to be better off in 2015 compared to 35 per cent who expect to be worse off.

Again men were slightly less pessimistic than women.

Coming so soon after the budget this suggests that three in 10 voters believe their situation will improve over the next two years. Fresh after the budget they may be hopeful that many of the announced measures will help them.

Perhaps most interesting is voter awareness of whether national debt and the deficit are falling or increasing.

A majority of voters are now aware that the coalition government is not succeeding in meeting many of its economic targets. The Labour Party has made a concerted effort in the last six months to emphasise that the deficit and debt are rising not falling and voters are starting to believe them.

79 per cent of voters told Survation that they believe UK debt is rising, with 21 per cent believing it is falling. Three quarters (72 per cent) of voters believe that the UK’s budget deficit is rising.

Given so many voters don’t believe David Cameron and George Osborne appreciate the cost of living, Labour is perhaps wise to make 2015 a ‘cost of living’ election, particularly if economic forecasts remain bleak.

The poll was conducted by Survation on 21st-22nd March 2013 and questioned 1,000 UK adults. The full results can be viewed here.

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