The latest Guardian/ICM poll shows a slight recovery for the Conservatives, improving their vote share to 36% this month (+3 after the calamitously received April Budget in the aftermath of which they dropped 6-points). Labour is holding firm slightly north of the political significant 40% threshold that is largely seen to be sufficient for an overall majority. For the Liberal Democrats, however, an 11% share reflects rock bottom: excluding the birth pang years of 1989-90, only in the hazy early days of the Tony Blair era have they polled lower (10%, Sept 1997).
For the Prime Minister though, the poll has little else to humour him. While still perceived to be out-performing his government (-21), David Cameron’s rating of -11 is as low as he has yet been, and only 1-point better than Labour’s oft ridiculed but improving leader, Ed Milliband (-12). Moreover, the crux of economic competence on which the Tory team has so far been able to rely is also looking shaky. Not only has Chancellor George Osborne’s rating dipped from -2 last December to -25 now, but the top Tory team has seen its lead over Milliband and Balls on economic management whittled away to only 9-points, the fourth consecutive narrowing of the gap.
While the public mood on austerity measures may be changing, the same cannot be said for the perceived culprits for Britain’s current debt predicament. The Tories might now be getting the blame for not bringing us out of recession quicker, but they are not blamed for us being in it. Nothing much has changed on the Blame Game since the question was last asked in November 2011, with the top answer still being the reckless spending of the previous government (29%).
As for the Euro, the public appear to agree with David Cameron that it is likely to tear itself apart. A quarter (26%) think it will completely collapse, with as many (26%) thinking that only the core members like Germany and France will retain it. Only 20% think the EU will support it no matter what, implying that an overwhelming majority think that Greece – and probably other countries – will return to their old currencies.
If our leading politicians cannot be said to be enjoying their finest hours in terms of public approval, the same cannot be said of the Monarchy. In this Jubilee year, and one year on from the wedding of William and Kate the Royal Family appear to have cast off public opprobrium associated with them over the last decade or so, and now sit happily basking in the glow of public acceptance and respect. A full seven in ten (69%) now believe that Britain would be worse off without them – the highest figure on record in a series dating back to 1997.
Prince Charles may be less enthused to see that the public still want his son to overtake him in the royal pecking order, but the gap between his own accession and that of William
ascending to the throne upon the Queen’s death is now only 9-points, with 39% believing he should receive his birth right compared to 48% who would prefer to see William as king.
Guardian Poll – May 2012 (PDF)
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