Govt approval falls to lowest ever: -25%


8:40 am - January 13th 2011

by Sunny Hundal    


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The government’s approval ratings fell to their lowest yet, at -25% (31% approve, 55% disapprove), according to YouGov yesterday night.

Voting intentions were: Con 36%, Lab 43%, LD 9% – but they are within the margin of error. If the numbers remain there then the government is in serious trouble.

It’s also worth noting that approval ratings for the government’s cuts vary strongly according to age.

18-24 (-22%)
25-39 (-15%)
40-59 (-17%)
60 + (+12%) according to YouGov (ht @FaisalIslam)

Stating the obvious: a campaign focus on how the elderly are going to be affected by the cuts could seriously undercut government support.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


My prediction is that the 60+ opinion will reverse dramatically as this year progresses. I take the point that so far the tax changes have/will affected younger people (eg tax credits, child benefits) or have benefited older people (pegging pensions to inflation).

However, the cuts have not happened yet. So libraries closing (including mobile libraries), cuts in social care and nursing care and the devastating cuts to the NHS (2011/12 hospitals will be paid 1.5% less for every procedure they perform, when healthcare inflation is in the region of 4%-5%, that means longer waiting lists and lesser quality care).

These cuts will affect the elderly badly. While the rest of us will grumble and shoulder the cuts (and some will just dip in their pockets to buy the services), the elderly (and other vulnerable parts of society) will feel the cuts much more.

Of course, the 55+ group is most likely to vote, and most likely to vote Tory. IPSOS/MORI gives these figures for the 2010 election:

55-64 turnout 73% Con lead over Lab 10%
65+ turnout 76% Con lead over Lab 13%

They are a key demographic.

Richard, it is also possible that the government may have to cut bus passes, winter fuel payments etc. They have not done this so far, aware of how many votes the elderly provide, but they may be forced to do so later in the Parliament if the economy does not improve as planned. That would also impact on elderly voting intention.

“Voting intentions were: Con 36%, Lab 43%, LD 9% – but they are within the margin of error. If the numbers remain there then the government is in serious trouble.”

Depends how long those figures remain that way. If by the next election they’re still like that then yes, the government is shafted.

Voting intentions were: Con 36%, Lab 43%, LD 9% – but they are within the margin of error. If the numbers remain there then the government is in serious trouble.

You ain’t seen nothing yet! I’ve been saying for ages that I expect regular double digit Labour leads by the spring. But that’s also what the Coalition have been predicting – it’s all priced in. Chasing opinion polls 4 years out from an election was the besetting sin of the previous Govt and I hope that the new Govt are sensible enough not to worry about it.

The article on here about Obama lists his approval as 53% and makes no mention of his disaproval. But this article doesn’t lead with the government’s approval rating of 31% and makes heavy mention of their disapproval unlike the Obama article.

Daniel, I think that’s to do with how approval is traditionally measured in the US and UK rather than any editorial jiggery-pokery on this site. In the US, the actual “approval” figure is usually quoted in the media. In the UK, pollsters like YouGov tend to focus on “net government approval,” which is approval minus disapproval. Personally I think the latter figure is more instructive, but it hasn’t caught on in the US.

Note that in the AP article linked to, Obama’s disapproval is recorded as being 46%. That means 99% of people expressed an opinion one way or the other, which seems pretty high – perhaps presidential approval polls ignore “don’t knows” or “no opinions?” Certainly YouGov factor those into their headline figures, which might be another reason for the difference.

7. Roger Mexico

I’m sorry, but it’s important not to get fixated on government approval (GA) ratings. You’d think a government with a rating of -23% (32% v 55%) six weeks out from a general election would be stuffed. But Labour went on to win the 2005 election fairly comfortably. Indeed that -23% rating went with a 1 point lead over the Conservatives.

You’ve got to remember that the GA figures include all the people they polled – some may have a negative opinion on the government but will not put it into action at the ballot box.

If you comment on them though, it helps to get the figures right. Last time I looked 31-55 = -24. You haven’t been taking maths lessons from Alan Johnson have you? [end of obligatory remark criticising LibCon headline]

That’s not to say that you can’t get interesting data out of GA, especially if you look at movement over time and/or the details in the data tables.

With regards to the cuts, again the devil is in the details. See pages 3-4 of:

http://today.yougov.co.uk/sites/today.yougov.co.uk/files/YG-Archives-Pol-Sun-results-100111.pdf

The figures quoted above as “approval ratings for the government’s cuts” are actually in response to the question Thinking about the way the government is cutting spending to reduce the government’s deficit, do you think this is… Good or bad for the economy? with an overall rating of 38% v 47% = -9%.

However if asked if it is “necessary” agreement is 52% v 35% = + 17%, even though voters believe that the cuts are “Being done … unfairly” (54% v 32% = 22%) and “Having an impact on [their] own life” (72% v 18% = 54% – a big jump from 37% in December). Only 22% of voters think that The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition … is most to blame for the
current spending cuts
.

The age variation mentioned above shows a similar difference with the over 60’s to some of these questions. However the response to the “Having an impact on my life” question is:

18-24 56% v 26% = +40%
25-39 68% v 20% = +48%
40-59 79% v 14% = +65%
60+ 73% v 20% = +53%

So they claim to already be feeling the cuts more than any group other than 40-59 year olds (no doubt the poor old squeezed middle). So campaigning may have less effect than hoped.

Andy, thanks for the info.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Government approval falls to lowest ever: -25% http://bit.ly/hIGoom

  2. ally

    RT @libcon: Government approval falls to lowest ever: -25% http://bit.ly/hIGoom

  3. Jane Phillips

    RT @libcon: Government approval falls to lowest ever: -25% http://bit.ly/hIGoom

  4. Oasis Caretaker

    RT @libcon: Government approval falls to lowest ever: -25% http://bit.ly/hIGoom

  5. punkscience

    RT @libcon: Government approval falls to lowest ever: -25% http://bit.ly/hIGoom

  6. Daniel Pitt

    RT @libcon: Government approval falls to lowest ever: -25% http://bit.ly/hIGoom

  7. Dave Lewis

    RT @libcon: Government approval falls to lowest ever: -25% http://bit.ly/hIGoom

  8. Cha Sea

    RT @libcon: Government approval falls to lowest ever: -25% http://bit.ly/hIGoom < typical Eng, we disapprove, do F all but tut tut tut tut

  9. Break The Cuts

    RT @libcon: Government approval falls to lowest ever: -25% http://bit.ly/hIGoom

  10. sunny hundal

    Gov approval ratings fall to lowest ever: -25%; elderly need most persuading on cuts http://bit.ly/hIGoom

  11. Ronaldinhio

    RT @libcon: Government approval falls to lowest ever: -25% http://bit.ly/hIGoom

  12. TeresaMary

    RT @sunny_hundal: Gov approval ratings fall to lowest ever: -25%; elderly need most persuading on cuts http://bit.ly/hIGoom

  13. Ma

    RT @sunny_hundal: Gov approval ratings fall to lowest ever: -25%; elderly need most persuading on cuts http://bit.ly/hIGoom

  14. Bored London Gurl

    RT @sunny_hundal: Gov approval ratings fall to lowest ever: -25%; elderly need most persuading on cuts http://bit.ly/hIGoom

  15. Lauren G

    Seeing this, proud of #wisegran http://j.mp/emgh4G She tells us every chance she gets how she doesn't trust the Tories to look after the old

  16. Soho Politico

    .@Sunny_hundal surely right, tho, to encourage 'campaign focus on how elderly are going to be affected by cuts' http://t.co/DIPOPcl

  17. Soho Politico

    .@Sunny_hundal surely right, tho, to encourage 'campaign focus on how elderly are going to be affected by cuts' http://t.co/DIPOPcl

  18. Rhi McCrorie

    RT @sunny_hundal: Gov approval ratings fall to lowest ever: -25%; elderly need most persuading on cuts http://bit.ly/hIGoom

  19. Rhi McCrorie

    RT @sunny_hundal: Gov approval ratings fall to lowest ever: -25%; elderly need most persuading on cuts http://bit.ly/hIGoom

  20. allen_osuno

    RT @geeoharee: Seeing this, proud of #wisegran http://j.mp/emgh4G She tells us every chance she gets how she doesn't trust the Tories to …

  21. Paul Wood

    RT @libcon: Government approval falls to lowest ever: -25% http://bit.ly/hIGoom

  22. cheesley

    RT @sunny_hundal: Gov approval ratings fall to lowest ever: -25%; elderly need most persuading on cuts http://bit.ly/hIGoom

  23. Chris Patmore

    RT @libcon: Government approval falls to lowest ever: -25% http://bit.ly/hIGoom

  24. Joshua G B Hardy

    RT @libcon: Government approval falls to lowest ever: -25% http://bit.ly/hIGoom

  25. Pucci Dellanno

    RT @libcon: Government approval falls to lowest ever: -25% http://bit.ly/hIGoom

  26. Wendy Maddox

    RT @libcon: Govt approval falls to lowest ever: -25% http://bit.ly/hIGoom

  27. Wendy Maddox

    RT @sunny_hundal: Gov approval ratings fall to lowest ever: -25%; elderly need most persuading on cuts http://bit.ly/hIGoom

  28. czol

    RT @libcon: Government approval falls to lowest ever: -25% http://bit.ly/hIGoom

  29. Chris Keegan

    Government approval hits new low: 31% approve, 56% disapprove. The lib dems continue to renege and reap what they sow. http://bit.ly/elED3e

  30. Staffordshire UNISON

    RT @MsWigsy: RT @libcon: Govt approval falls to lowest ever: -25% http://bit.ly/hIGoom

  31. Broken OfBritain

    Government approval falls to lowest ever: -25% http://fb.me/ySOciQYN

  32. Sandra

    RT @BrokenOfBritain: Government approval falls to lowest ever: -25% http://fb.me/ySOciQYN

  33. Greg

    RT @BrokenOfBritain: Government approval falls to lowest ever: -25% http://fb.me/ySOciQYN

  34. Jules Clarke

    RT @BrokenOfBritain: Government approval falls to lowest ever: -25% http://fb.me/ySOciQYN





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