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Concern about the economy continues its dramatic collapse – but that could mean it’ll be less of an issue at GE2015

July 24th, 2014

Don’t assume that voters do gratitude

All the economic indicators in recent months have been positive for the coalition and this is picked up in the July Ipsos-MORI Issues Index where concern about the economy has continued its sharp and quite dramatic fall.

This is the monthly polling that has been carried out in exactly the same unique way for nearly four decades and is regarded as the best measure of saliency. Those sampled are asked entirely unprompted to name with no limit on number the main issues facing the country.

    The big hope of both the Tories and Lib Dems is that the improving economy will be reflected at the ballot box on May 7th next year but will it? Could it be that as the economy declines in importance that it will be less of a vote driver?

The economy was improving strongly by 1997 and the polls had the Tories ahead on the issue. This didn’t prevent the Blair landslide in the general election.

Likewise a grateful nation at the end of the war in 1945 didn’t cast their votes to keep Churchill in power.

Paddy Ashdown who is heading the Lib Dem 2015 campaign is always warning his party that “voters don’t do gratitude”. I’m sure he’s right.

Voting in a general election is a forward looking act not a backwards one and if “being ahead on the economy” is so electorally important then how come the Tories are still behind?

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble