The Phi5000 figures on Friday suggested we might be about to see a jump in Labour’s support through their handling of the current economic crisis and indeed we have. A new YouGov poll in the Sunday Times has topline voting intention figures, with changes from YouGov’s last poll, of CON 43%(-2), LAB 33%(+2), LDEM 14%(-1).

The poll was conducted between the 9th and 10th October so, while the Populus poll in the middle of week would have caught part of the recent economic troubles, this is the first poll to taken after the government’s rescue plan. While the change from YouGov’s last poll isn’t that dramatic, looking at the wider trend it is a significant improvement for the government when you consider that from May to September YouGov were consistently showing Tory leads in the region of 20 points.

Asked who they would most trust to handle the present crisis Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling are ahead of Cameron and Osborne by 33% to 27% and the rescue plan is supported by 59% of respondents, with 32% opposed.

However, it is not all good news…53% of people thought that the goverment were too slow in acting and while 29% think Brown is handling things well, 37% think he is handling things badly. Asked which team they think will improve their standard of living, people also continue to favour Cameron and Osborne over Brown and Darling by 34% to 25% (why the difference? Perhaps people are taking a longer view – they trust the experienced hand to deal with a crisis, but think Cameron would do better over time. Alternatively, perhaps they are including non-economic issues when they think about standard of living).

People are, unsurprisingly, very pessimistic about the economy. On the rescue plan 67% of people expect that taxpayers will end up losing at least some of the money spent proping up banks (including 39% who expect them to loose “a lot”). 90% of people think the economy is in bad shape, 75% of people expect house prices to fall next year (4% expect them to rise), 86% of people expect a recession in the next few years (including 20% who expect a 1930s style depression).

Turning to other questions, there has been a lot of speculation about how the current crisis will affect attitudes towards free-markets. YouGov gave people a list of three statements and asked people which they most agreed with. 20% thought that “whatever the short term problems […] the free market system with its risks and rewards, is the best way to increase prosperity” and that it would be a mistake to curb freedoms. 12% thought that the free market system was fundementally flawed, leaving a majority (54%) saying that free markets had both advantages and disadvantages and the time had come to introduce some tougher rules and regulations. Sadly we can’t really say this shows a decrease in support for free markets, since there are no comparable questions from before the present difficulties to compare it to.

Finally YouGov asked some questions about the return of Peter Mandleson… and people don’t seem overjoyed to see him back. 41% thought it was a bad appointment, compared to 17% who thought it was a good thing. 41% said they distrusted Mandleson, compared to 6% who trust him. 50% agreed with the statement that “leopards don’t change their spots, so his return to government will end in tears”. We’ll see I guess. 33% of respondents to the poll did not expect him to last in government until the next election.


119 Responses to “YouGov – Labour boosted by economic crisis”

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  1. I guess it must be the public’s admiration for those ‘twinkle toed’ Lib Dems that has led to them having such a high rating in th polls then thomas….

  2. Au contraire Nick, I’d say that their twinkle-toedness has been what has staved off the collapse, splits and subsumation into the other parties which has been predicted by their opponents for so long.

    The LibDems are dinosaurs, but they’re constantly evolving dinosaurs, so unlike the real dinosaurs they’re a long way from becoming extinct.

    Vince Cable is a particularly spritely reptile who looks like he actually experienced the original Wall Street Crash at close quarters, so it shouldn’t be any wonder that he has answers to the current crisis.

    I mean, if respected impartial experts employed by the nation are happy to broadcast their respect for a politician without fear of criticism, why should any of us hold back?

    Anyway, as a commenter here you should be aware of the standard criticisms of polls.

  3. Ecomomists aren’t usually businessmen or women,
    I trained as one, and they can often talk the talk.
    Where it becomes very difficult is knowing how to quantify knock on effects, and knowing what to disregard. Economists are often insulated somewhat as they are employed by large companies [as opposed to experiencing the sweat of setting one up].

    We are certainly seeing a closer contest between Tories and Labour but I suspect the downturn will be the reality check, although they probably will just about stabilise the banks.

  4. A fascinating discussion on the Daily Politics today:-

    The sainted Vince Cable was taken to task by Andrew Neil for making inconsistent & conflicting statements about policy re BoE-VC also apologised for incorrectly accusing the Tories of saying something they didn’t say.

    A “Banker”-asked to explain why, after the tsunami of liquidity pumped in by Central Banks, and the Share Purchase initiatives, the Inter-Bank lending market wasn’t unblocking-said it may take a few MONTHS until “confidence” returns!

    This whole “Gordon saves the World” circus appears to be upsetting a number of parties who claim to have urged Recapitalisation by States, before GB trotted it out.

    There are cracks appearing in the Treasuries strictures on Dividend payments in the Banks they invest in ,which have major implications for Pension Funds.

    There are many commentaries on the neccesity for LLoyds to be forced into a merger with HBOS, given that the latter is being supported anyway.

    And the whole excercise reduces customer banking choice in UK , and could severely reduce UK’s position as an international banking force.

    Cameron was right to support the principal, but astutely warned GB against “triumphalism” in the period of bi-partisan support.Predictably GB has been unable to resist it.

    We shall see how things pan out when normal political criticism is resumed.But the sight of the old guard from FSA admitting that they missed the signs at NR, and the housing bubble, and apologising for not acting sooner, will be grist to Cameron’s mill when he reminds the public who was in charge whilst this mess was boiling up.

    There is a case to be made against any Government which uses their current time in Office reversing the mistakes of their previous times in Office.

    I hope we shall soon here that case being made .

  5. I’m not surprised it will take time for confidence to return after the double-dealing and sub-prime “pass the parcel bomb”

    I heard Lamont on the radio the other evening expressing doubts over Brown’s Bail-Out. When asked for his own idea , he said something along the lines of “Well i think it might have been better if we had done what the US banks did”

    That little word “might” brought it all back! The blinking into the headlights, the singing in the bath.

    “if we prevaricate, we’ll better be able to say it was wrong later”. Hardly the stuff of leadership.

  6. Haven’t posted for quite some time, so here goes.
    I think the credit crunch has made UK politics much more interesting and much less predictable. Some of the Tory panic on these posts is frankly overdone, but there is more for them to worry about. I’m never sure how such arguments play with the mass of voters, but ‘small government’ at times like these when only governments can act has cut across the right of centre arguments, while the whole issue of what a new government could do is now obscured by poor economic news.
    On the upside, Brown was in charge, but the genesis of the crisis was the Big Bang in 1986 and sweeping deregulation of the city and an objective view must be that all parties and most countries share some blame – it just depends where it sticks. It was odd seeing Robert Peston describe this as the death of a major part of Thatcherism on the BBC evening news.
    As others have said, when the air of crisis passes and we get stuck into the recession, that should be easier for the Tories to exploit, but the point here will be down to ‘blame’. Labour’s plight will be eased by the fact that this will be a full on recession throughout the western world, and the recent crisis has probably helped to fix this idea into many people’s minds. ‘It all started with US sub prime…’ is something we will hear constantly from Labour – will it stick for the next 2 years? This is a trick the Tories themselves pulled off in the 80’s successfully, but they were helped by mistrusted opposition. It is going to be much harder for Labour to work this line successfully.
    The Scottish element will be key also – has the SNP ideal for small northern countries been trashed in the minds of voters? The next polls north of the border will be fascinating.

    Most off all, it will depend on how Brown performs from here. Up to this crisis he has been frankly awful. If the government has really been re energised things might be close, but I still would be quietly confident if I was a Tory.

    Do we know when the next polls are due?

  7. Is Lamont a leader of anything now?

    Sir Christopher Meyer ( again on The Daily Politics) made what I thought was the most honest statement about this crisis.

    He said that whilst it is clearly true that Regulation & oversight needs improving-as it always is being-the notion that the current system did not provide warning signs of debt levels & asset bubbles is clearly wrong.

    The warning signs were available but politicians in a number of countries-including UK chose to ignore them.

    If one allies that to the failure of Regulators to spot the risk which was building up in debt based traded instruments, you have the causes of the crisis.

    Meyer said that you take for granted human greed & excess-and look to governments & regulators to control it’s effects-that regulation may be “light touch”-but it has to be effective.

    Vince Cable agreed with this statement.

    I watched Bernanke on Bloomberg the other evening admitting that asset bubbles should be on central bankers’ agenda-and they weren’t.

    These truths are ones that GB is trying hard to avoid.
    Cameron & Cable need to put them before the public at some point soon.

  8. Following Peter Cairns, Nick Keene and Colin, if Scottish politicians and voters try to build a Scottish dimension out of the banking crisis they may not like the psephological consequences at all.

    Forgive me if I am wrong, but aren’t the two largest “British” banks that had to be rescued HBOS, including the former Bank of Scotland, and RBS, i.e. Royal Bank of Scotland? Both historically had their headquarters in central Edinburgh, George Square if I remember rightly, even if they have subsequently moved to Halifax or the Southern outskirts of Edinburgh. And I don’t know the exact constituency boundaries in the Scottish capital, but isn’t Alastair Darling, Chancellor of the Exchequer, MP for Edinburgh Central?

    And, as has been pointed out, doesn’t Alex Salmond, who seems to have been keeping notably quiet over the crisis at any rate in relation to the London media, have RBS connections as an ex-employee?

    Few people in England at the moment seem to see the national aspects of the international financial crisis as anything other than British, but the Barnett formula in respect to Scottish local government has started to cause English resentment. If the solution to the banking crisis gets to be seen as a Scottish Prime Minister and a Scottish Chancellor of the Exchequer bailing out Scotitsh based banks with tens of billions of pounds. mostly raised on the basis of English wealth and tax revenue, this will leave the Barnett formula at the starting post as a source of political discontent. It may well not be the Scots but the English breaking up the Union. I know we shouldn’t express opinions here, as opposed to pointing out psephological matters, but even as somebody who has in the past voted nationalist I hope for all our sakes we don’t have such a political meltdown on top of the economic one.

    If Scotland had been independent now, the Edinburgh banks would have left their country nearly as bankrupt as Iceland.

    If Scotland becomes independent in the future, English voters may well demand that Scotland alone takes on the Government guarantees to Edinburgh based banks, particularly as they were made by ministers from Scottish constituencies.

    It is far too early to tell what psephological effects the current banking and finance crises will have. People have more urgent things on their minds than how they will vote in 2010. But, as has been pointed out in various Westminster based media, it may well be bad news for the SNP.

  9. Just watched Panorama on the Credit Crisis etc.

    Some interesting snippets:-

    Public Sector workers recognising that their jobs will be vulnerable :-In the YouGov Poll of 10/10 the biggest “sectional” slippages in Con vote & Con/Lab gap from their 8/5 Poll( a peak for Cons & low for Lab) were “North” & “18-34s”.So will areas with high public sector employment of young families now see a vote for Labour as the best way of keeping their jobs?

    People saying they will now save more to provide a cushion-even keeping money under the bed:-That will excacerbate the downturn.

    The FSA staff portrayed as ill qualified to carry out the supervisory jobs they were landed with.

    Some lovely GB quotes:-

    circa 2004/2005:-

    Congratulating The City on it’s “Dynamism in developing modern instruments of finance”

    In the House saying “In any other decade a housing bubble would have led to bust”

    then 2008-“The Age of Irresponsibility is over”

    Priceless.

  10. Frederic Stansfield – you should try the october populus poll thread.

  11. “Meyer said that you take for granted human greed & excess-and look to governments ”

    He was quite right – the idea that you should have trust in individuals to behave altrruistically is dead.

    Thankfully, Cameron’s former colleague Lamont is nowhere near the levers of power now, though he’s still wheeled out over the parapet to give a “view”.

    How this recession is handled will be I hope very different from the early nineties approach, which seemed to be that nothing should be done to help businesses through, nothing should be done that might disturb the precious free market and its brutal effects.

  12. Letting credit go out of control is actually outside the universe of the free market, because it’s money that doesn’t exist of course.
    Of course, an unchecked free market can have this effect, as it goes on effectively printing money itself.
    In the early 80s, of course, the then government tried to control the stock of money, as we’ve discussed.
    But again, one shouldn’t do it too rigidly.

  13. I’m not quite sure what John’s criticism of Norman Lamont is, although I don’t agree with him on everything.
    He didn’t create the bubble in 1987-89 as he wasn’t senior enough.
    The government was still repaying debt and had a small PSBR under late Thatcher/Major/Lamont in 1990-91 – about the equivalent point to where we are now in 2008 – with the finances in a much worse mess already.

    Major did order the Treasury boost spending quite a bit in 1991, partly for the NHS.

    The ERM was a flawed mechanism being used for political union but it did force us to drive inflation down properly for once – in Britain – and we were kicked out at the right time.
    We should have got out before the Black Wednesday itself, which was hugely humiliating, although Lamont says he wanted to get out quickly in the morning.

    Afterwards, Lamont and Major put in place a sensible policy of inflation targeting which has served us well until now, effectively locked in by Labour with the Bank, but housing inflation should have been part of the remit.

  14. Although I did read a very funny article by
    Giles Brandreth where he said he visited Lamont in the Treasury one day at the end of 1992 and stood by the window admiring the view saying …
    “I just can’t believe it. I’m an MP. I’m standing here in
    the Treasury. And you’re Chancellor of the Exchequer.”

    Lamont looked daggers.

  15. JJB

    Very clear analysis, thanks (though giving the BofE a remit on house price inflation controls would face enormous geographical problems)

    I think all sites like this (non-partisan, tolerant, humorous etc) can be enlivened by a Lamont anecdote. My point about him was simply that he was regarded as a frightened rabbit in the financial crisis of the ERM fiasco.

    There is no great “free-market” solution being offered to counter the almost socialistic proposals of Brown. Lamont said “we might have better followed the US” – the operative word being “might” , reminiscent of, well, “erm…”

  16. Labour is to raise funds through debt. This money must come from China, India and the Arab counries with oil. These countries, through our outsourcing, investing and purchasing products from them, have more of our currency than we have. Thus, they will be able to afford to purchase our debt which we can then reinvest to boost our economies. Eventually, when these debts are called in, we will default, and they will end up owning us. The next recession, due when t the debts are called, will make this one look very mild. Of course the government could raise taxes to pay the debts, but that wouldnt matter to Labour, they wont be in government and it is a poison pill for whoever is.

  17. continuing some of the points about Lamont in the recession of 1990-92….

    Lamont says he realised he would be moved the day before, in May 1993.
    He went so some event – I think Portillo’s birthday at a Spanish place where lots of politicians were attending, and it struck him that Major, Richard Ryder (chief whip), Norman Fowler (chairman) hadn’t turned up, and was suspicious.

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