Conservative voters now say government is mishandling inflation

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
February 03, 2022, 12:36 PM GMT+0

Public confidence in government handling of inflation slumps further still

The cost of living crisis is the only news story that seems able to barge aside space in the media agenda around the partygate scandals, with recent days seeing news that grocery and heating bills are set to rise significantly.

Now new YouGov tracker data reveals that public opinion on how the government is handling inflation has become even worse, and that Conservative voters now also believe the powers that be to be mishandling the issue.

For all of 2020 and most of 2021, the government generally held a positive public opinion record on inflation, with more Britons considering them to be managing it well than badly.

But supply chain problems in September saw disapproval of the government’s handling of inflation surge from 38% in our 6 September poll to 53% by the end of the month.

Opinion remained at about this level until late January, leaping another 10pts from 56% on 17 January to 66% on 24 January, where it remained in our most recent poll a week later.

Of particular note is that crossover has now occurred among Conservative voters, who had previously been split to slightly favourable of the government’s handling of rising prices.

Between mid- and late-January, however, Conservative opinion went from 46% saying they were handling inflation well vs 43% badly to just 35% saying the government is doing well vs 53% badly. These figures are virtually unchanged in our latest poll, at 36% and 52% respectively.

YouGov trackers also show a slight uptick in disapproval for other economic measures. Over the same time period as the recent inflation surge, Britons have become more likely to disapprove of the government’s handling of tax (from 58% up to 64%), and the economy in general (from 52% up to 57%).

On tax too, Conservative voters have turned against the government, with 47% saying they are handling it badly vs 40% who say they are handling it well – down from a 3pt lead in mid-January.

On the economy in general, however, Conservatives still think the government is doing a good job by a huge margin: 59% to 34%.

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