Is it “the economy, stupid”
The above table is reproduced from the June Ipsos-MORI “Issues Index” survey which has been carried out face-to-face in the same manner for decades. What’s unique about this polling series is that two questions are put totally unprompted, and the pollster has detailed records going back to the 70s.
The first asks respondents to name the single most important issue facing the country while the second involves people naming all the issues they think are relevant.
As can be seen just over one in five people rate inflation as an important issue facing Britain and that has doubled in the past two months. Petrol prices are also causing a lot of concern and the figure there has risen to its highest level since immediately after the fuel crisis in 2000.
Perhaps the most striking figure from MORI’s historical records is that between 1993 and January of this year, concern about inflation was never higher than 8%.
It is very easy, and I know that I am a culprit, to look at the polling moves simply in terms of the personalities of leaders. This element does matter enormously but mostly in the way it affects the confidence level that voters have in ministers to deal with their concerns.
So the fact that many don’t warm to Gordon would be less of an issue if prices weren’t soaring.