The tables for Populus’s poll are now available here and do indeed include lots of interesting data on the party leaders.

As I wrote in Monday’s post, Gordon Brown’s ratings have improved considerably since Populus asked a similar bank of questions in September. While he still has negative ratings on most things, and trails David Cameron on almost every measure, his ratings are substantially better than they were. His best ratings are the one on being for ordinary people (net score of +38), for being clear about what he thinks (+2), and being substantial rather than lightwieght (net score of 0). His worst ratings were on being out of touch (-21), people seeing him as bad for them and their family (-20) and not being likely to get things done (-18). His most negative rating last time was on being charismatic/dull, which was not asked again.

David Cameron’s ratings meanwhile are almost unchanged since September. While the proportion of people who think he is strong compared to those who think he is week has dropped (net score of +34 compared to +44 in September), all his other scores are within a couple of points of last time. His best ratings are being decisive (+41), being better than his party (+40) and being strong (+34). His weakest ratings are being on the side of rich people (-8), having clear ideas what to do about the economy (+2), and being good for people and their families (+13). On the two last figures though he still scores more positively than both Brown and Clegg.

Finally Nick Clegg. His approval ratings in polls have been quite positive lately, even coming top in a couple. On these questions though he too trails behind Cameron on all but one measure and, as with his national approval figures, his ratings have fallen slightly since September. His most positive ratings are being on the side of ordinary people (+46), being better than his party (+17), being in touch and being clear about what he thinks (both +10). His worst ratings are not being up to the job of PM (-38), being lightweight (-32) and not having clear ideas what to do about the economy (-28).

154 Responses to “Populus leaders’ ratings”

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  1. @Colin- good post.

  2. @Mark R – I agree with you and see no reason for you to apologise to me – your request was quite reasonable.

    To both you and Colin – please accept my partial apology for the expression ‘hard and fast’ – it was a little emotive. My post was based on the cumulative impression that I think the Tories are trying to give – as they haven’t given us any detailed numbers we don’t know what they plan to do, but we know Darling sees the toughest public spending cuts for 20 years and the day after (I think) Cameron told us he would cut spending faster than Labour. We know that Labour plans to reduce the deficit by half in four years and Osborne says it needs to be quicker. That is the basis on which I made my comments, but if the language was too flowery, please accept my explanation. I think Colin (and Osborne) are right to point out that what the markets need to see are credible (and I mean credible) plans to cut the deficit. This doesn’t necessarily have to rely totally on spending cuts, and the timing issue is crucial or we could make the cumulative deficit worse overall. Where Brown has failed is in making a credible plan, but Darling might be able to do a better job for him. However, the postponed spending review is a pointless political manouvere to avoid announcing these plans until after an election. Labour says that this is ‘because we don’t know what the situation will be’, but frankly, that could be used at any time – thats why governments use projections. This lack of clarity is what is spooking the markets, not the debt itself. having said that, I can’t any clarity in Tory plans either, and I don’t think we will get any this side of the GE other than the general mood music referred to earlier.

    @KTL – Greece is in trouble because as a member of the Euro there are restrictions on the budget deficit and devaluation is not an option. [Everyone pause now, and congratulate one G. Brown who steadfastly refused to let Blair take us into the Euro…]. In addition, Greece is seen by the bond markets as a much less reliable country with less ability to put in place the necessary measures to restrict the deficit without major political upheaval – this is why they would be in trouble with lower debt levels than UK. By contrast, UK is seen as much more stable politically, and as we are still the 6th biggest exporter in the world, there is a general recognition that UK debts are safe so long as governments take the debt issue seriously enough and outline the said plan.

    It is all about timing and speed, but my overall point is that on balance I am personally less worried about what I think Labour and Lib Dem plans are on debt, and slightly more worried about what I think the Tory plans are. But only on balance.

  3. @ ALEC

    “It is all about timing and speed, but my overall point is that on balance I am personally less worried about what I think Labour and Lib Dem plans are on debt, and slightly more worried about what I think the Tory plans are. But only on balance.”

    It is about timing & speed.
    Whether you are worried about a particular set of proposals is-I am sure you would acknowledge-of less significance than what turns out to be appropriate for the country.

    And since what is appropriate remains the subject of very significant disagreement, what remains for us all is to try and portray what politicians have said with some degree of accuracy,
    It helps make discussion here worthwhile, and I am grateful for your reflection on the matter Alec.

    In the absence of consensus on timing & speed what the public & the markets need is what the Times 11, and the HoC Treasury Select Comitte have demanded-clarity.

    I agree that we are not getting it from either side Alec.

    There is a role here for IFS during the GE campaign akin to Osborne’s proposed Office of Budget Responsibility:-

    An Office of Election Fiscal Honesty.

  4. @Colin – the trouble is these are matters of opinion and interpretation, and so even if we had all ‘the facts’ there would still be completely honourable disagreements. [Get two economists in a debate and you’ll get three opinions…]. I also struggle to see what the Office of Budget Responsibilty would bring to the debate. It would be appointed by government with terms of reference created (and amended) by government. I can’t see much merit in the idea, and it’s another quango when I thought we were getting rid of them. I would prefer a much more robust system of parliamentary scrutiny and better quality opposition.

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