What liking Monty Python says about your economic view

February 12, 2014, 9:54 AM GMT+0

YouGov CEO Stephan Shakespeare on the unique features of Britain's economic winners and losers.

Using the huge amount of data we at YouGov have been collecting for years, we can create detailed profiles of various groups in society. Here, I will paint a picture of two distinct groups in Britain today: those who expect to be better off in the near future and those who – despite the economic upturn – still think it will get worse.

As of the last quarter of 2013, those expecting to be worse off, totalling 25.1m, far outnumber those expecting to be better off, at 11.1m, while the remaining 27.5m think their situation isn’t likely to change much.

The economic winners tend to be from London and the south east, while those expecting to be worse off hail from Wales, the west Midlands and the north east. Britons with a pessimistic economic outlook are more likely to be over 55 years old, left school at 16 or earlier, voted Labour at the last election and read red-top newspapers.

Those with a sunnier outlook are more likely to be under 35, active on social media, and many didn’t vote at all in the last election.

If you think things will get better over the next 12 months then you are more likely to admire David Cameron and Margaret Thatcher, enjoy reading Spectator editor Fraser Nelson and turn on Monty Python when you’re in the mood for a laugh. The worse off tend to admire Ed Miliband and Dennis Skinner, read Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee and get their laughs from Ronnie Barker and Jo Brand. The former prefer brands offering convenience, while the latter go for value.

These portraits are painted with a broad brush, but they come from up to 100m data points we have on our over 400,000 UK panellists, and they reveal important lessons for businesses and politicians who are looking to connect with consumers and voters in each of these groups. The conventional economic thinking is that if the economy continues to improve the better off group will grow as more people improve their lot. We will be watching closely to see how the picture changes.

This article originally appeared in City A.M.