Driven by data; ridden with liberty.
Ipsos MORI have published their third Political Monitor of 2016 . The polling work was completed between 19th and 22nd March 2016, with questions asked to 1,023 British adults . Results are then weighted to match the overall population.
The March headline voting intention is that 36% would vote Conservative (down by 3 percentage points from the previous month). Labour’s central estimate of vote share has grown slightly, from 33% to 34% in March. The headline Conservative lead has declined from 6 percentage points to 2 points in one month. The UK Independence Party (UKIP) were backed by 11%, and the Liberal Democrats have jumped from 6% in to 10% in March.
Nigel Farage is currently the most popular party leader, with 38% saying they were “satisfied” with his performance, and 40% responded with dissatisfaction. The UKIP leader had a net score of -2. The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has improved his position from February, with a net satisfaction rating of -11. 35% say they are satisfied with his performance as Labour leader, with 46% expressing their dissatisfaction. Despite having the largest proportion of people giving a neutral response, Tim Farron is the third most popular leader: 24% respond with satisfaction to his performance as leader of the Liberal Democrats; 36% are dissatisfied.
David Cameron, the Prime Minister and Conservative leader, has the lowest net satisfaction score of -25: 59% of the public are dissatisfied with his performance as Prime Minister.
Economic optimism — where respondents are asked if they think “the general economic condition of the country will improve, stay the same or get worse over the next 12 months” — is currently negative. This means that those who believe things are going to get worse economically (40%) outnumber those who think the economic condition will improve (23%). The British public have been economically optimistic since around 2013, but are now more pessimistic.
Since the Budget was recently given, Ipsos MORI provided their typical batch of questions about the Chancellor of the Exchequer. 60% of the general public are dissatisfied with George Osborne’s performance as Chancellor. Whilst he normally had a negative rating throughout his time in office, this has sharply grown to levels observed in 2012 and 2013.
People were asked two questions relating to their support or opposition of Budget proposals. 69% of respondents supported “putting a new tax on soft drinks high in sugar”, whilst 84% were against the idea of “cutting disability benefits for those who need help with daily living”.
When asked about the long-term, whether “this government’s policies will improve the state of Britain’s economy”, 43% said they agreed, and 49% had disagreed. This negativity is larger than in March 2012, labelled by the Leader of the Opposition Ed Miliband as the ‘omnishambles Budget’.
Regaining British optimism for their economic future may be a key challenge for the governing party in the future.
The other major political topic is the referendum on the European Union .
Ipsos MORI first ask:
As you may know the United Kingdom will hav ea referendum on its membership of the European Union on the 23rd of June this year. How will you vote on the question – should the United Kingdomn remain a membership of the European Union or leave the European Union?
If the person says they are undecided or refuses to answer, the respondent is then asked:
Which way would you be most inclined to vote?
On only the first part of this question, 43% of respondents support remaining in the EU, versus 36% wanting to leave. When people are pushed to give a response, and their consequent suggestions included, the lead increases to eight percentage points: 49% favour remaining, and 41% want Britain to leave.
The survey also asked if David Cameron should resign in the event of a British exit from the European Union. 48% say the Prime Minister should resign, and 44% respond that he should continue. As expected, this is rather partisan: only 34% of Conservative voters believe he should resign, whereas 56% of non-Conservative voters would like the Prime Minister to go if the ‘Brexit’ actually occurs.
Interestingly, despite the declarations that the pro-EU side are instigating ‘Project Fear’: it is the Remain voters who are most hopeful for the future of the country if Britain stays in the EU, at 54%.
In contrast, 48% of Leave voters respond that they are “hopeful for the future”. 39% of both sides say they are fearful for the future if the opposing side is the victor on 23rd June.
 Ipsos MORI, 2016. Ipsos MORI Political Monitor, March 2016 Charts. Available from: https://www.ipsos-mori.com/Assets/Docs/Polls/political-monitor-march%202016-charts.pdf [Accessed: 30th March 2016]
 Ipsos MORI, 2016. Ipsos MORI Political Monitor, March 2016 Tables. Available from: https://www.ipsos-mori.com/Assets/Docs/Polls/pm-march-2016-europe-tables.pdf [Accessed: 30th March 2016]
 Skinner, G., Gottfried, G., and Weekes, T., 2016. Half think David Cameron should resign as Prime Minister if Britain votes to leave the EU. Ipsos MORI. Available from: https://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/3714/Half-think-David-Cameron-should-resign-as-Prime-Minister-if-Britain-votes-to-leave-the-EU.aspx [Accessed: 30th March 2016]