Is this Labour’s way back?
Politics Home is running quite a useful set of polls at the moment; they are good because they split the results by-party. The latest one is on economic confidence which shows something of a gap between good economic news around retail sales, house prices, car sales and how people actually feel about the economy. This is unsurprising when you consider the ‘lag’ around traditional factors such as unemployment; yesterdays local jobs night in my neck of the woods had a paltry 3 pages of jobs on offer. Overall the story is one of people feeling things have bottomed out and are not going to get worse but not better.
Arguably, increases in sales and such things could be the result of increases in lending as much as increases in disposable income. Also, increases in things like tax credits are likely to be temporary in nature as fiscal tightening takes hold to reduce the mountain in public debt. Maybe the increased awareness of this and the natural fragility following what was a big shock are feeding through to fragile confidence. Whatever the reasons, the figures tell some interesting political stories.
People feel that just about Britain is suffering worse than any other Western country (44%) but this only narrowly pips 40% who feel the severity is the same. So, this Conservative line of attack does not appear to be particulary effective especially when you consider 30% of their parties own supporters opted for the ‘same’ option. Similarly, those voting down the governments response was ‘fairly bad’ only narrowly triumphs by 34 – 29% thinking it performed ‘fairly well’. So, the Conservative game of ‘pin the tail on the Brown donkey’ seems to be limited in it’s appeal.
From our perspective we should take heed of the 43% of our supporters who think that the government performed ‘fairly well’ which shows a strong level of support for interventionism by the government in economic matters. We should also take note of the fact that Labour support seems to be solidifying which to my mind is what lies behind the recent spike in Labour’s poll ratings.