Government approval and the economy

October 12, 2012, 3:49 PM GMT+0

Approval of David Cameron has started to slowly recover after a sharp drop in May, although it remains negative.

George Osborne, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband’s ratings all continue to fall in September’s approval poll. Two thirds of respondents reject the idea of referendums on House of Lords reform and EU membership. Confidence in the world’s major economies has increased but eurozone problems are expected to continue with Greece seen as very likely to leave the common currency.

Approval of key political figures – September 2012

Base: Jun-10, 877; Sep-10, 697; Apr-11,904; Aug-11, 938; Dec-11, 803; May-12, 835; Sep-12, 936 UK "Influentials"

May saw approval ratings for many key Government figures drop sharply since respondents were last asked in December 2011. September’s poll continues this trend for George Osborne, Nick Clegg, and Ed Miliband. However, David Cameron sees a slight uplift from his sharp drop in the previous wave, although this remains negative. In May, William Hague and Vince Cable have seen their ratings improve. Ed Miliband’s score rose from -65 in December to -24 in May and is now -32, an improvement since December but still negative.

It will be interesting to see how the party conference performances affect scores for the three main party leaders.

Policy and party performance – May 2012

Almost two thirds of respondents agree that due to necessary austerity measures, the parties implementing austerity will suffer. 89% also think that the Liberal Democrats will struggle with low support for years to come. This ties in with the question on how respondents think the local elections will impact the balance of power between the two Coalition parties: 43% believe the Conservatives will gain power, another 43% believe the balance will remain as it is. Only 7% think the Liberal Democrats will be able to gain more power in the Coalition following their poor showing in the local elections.

The ‘influentials’ are divided over Nadine Dorries’ accusation that David Cameron and George Osborne are out of touch with the public – 53% agree with her comment, 44% disagree. Labour, too, is still seen as facing difficulties; three quarters believe that the party would do better with someone other than Ed Miliband as its leader.

Base: 835 UK "Influentials"; 24 - 31 May 2012

61% of respondents were against holding a referendum on House of Lords reform, and the same proportion reject having a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU. However, examined more closely, the data varies between these two questions. Those who would vote Liberal Democrat at the next general election were far more likely to reject holding a referendum on House of Lords reform – 75% were against this, compared to 62% of Conservative and 63% of Labour voters. This is different for the question on the referendum on Britain’s EU membership: in this instance, both Liberal Democrat and Labour voters were predominantly against a referendum, with 81% choosing ‘No’. Conservative voters are more balanced here, with 53% against but 47% for a referendum on Britain’s membership.

YouGovStone interviewed 835 members of its ThinkTank of 4000+ influential Britons between 24/05/2012 and 31/05/2012 and 936 in 17/09/2012 and 26/09/2012 with panellists including those drawn from politics, business, media, academia, NGOs, and the public sector.