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Home arrow Market Research Findings arrow Government and Politics arrow The Ipsos MORI Delivery Index Budget Briefing
The Ipsos MORI Delivery Index Budget Briefing PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ipsos MORI   
25 Mar 2008

11 March 2007

Public Sceptical About Darling And Predict Tough Times Ahead

And Labour has lost its lead as the best party to get value for public money


Alistair Darling delivers his first Budget as Chancellor this week having faced a number of difficulties since entering 11 Downing Street last summer, such as an economic slowdown and criticism of his handling of Northern Rock. These difficulties are reflected by almost half of the public (44%) being dissatisfied with his Chancellorship, while fewer than three in ten (28%) are satisfied.

Attitudes Towards Darling as Chancellor

Darling's first ratings are similar to Gordon Brown's final ratings as Chancellor and similar to those of previous Conservative Chancellors (who, like Darling, assumed the role in the middle of a Parliamentary term). They are nevertheless far behind the first ratings of previous Labour Chancellors Brown and Denis Healey.

… but his first ratings as Chancellor are far below Brown and Healey

Labour has lost its lead as the party best able to get good value from the public money it spends. The public are now split between the Labour and the Conservatives on this issue, whereas just before the 2005 General Election Labour was 11 points ahead of the Conservatives. This will be a crucial issue ahead of the next General Election, given the similarity of the two main parties' economic policies and widespread perceptions that there is little economic room to manoeuvre in the current financial climate.

Getting value for public money

Pessimism towards the economy has however grown in recent months, reflecting the range of economic difficulties facing the UK. Indeed, more of the public have been viewing the economy as a key issue facing Britain across recent months, and the battle over the prized asset of economic competence will be a vital one for the main parties in deciding the outcome of the next General Election.

The Ipsos MORI Economic Optimism Index

Bearing in mind the possibility of 'Green Taxes' forming part of Darling's Budget, it is interesting that more of the public are pessimistic than optimistic on the government's ability to tackle climate change. Nevertheless, more of the public are positive about this than they are on other key issues facing the government, such as crime, pensions and immigration.

The public's mood on the future of public services remains pessimistic overall, although the situation has at least stabilised in recent months. There are also some signs of an increasingly positive mood on the NHS and on opportunities for young people. Education continues to be the government's flagship.

Topline Results

  • Ipsos MORI interviewed 1,012 British adults 18+
  • Fieldwork conducted by telephone between 7-9 March 2008
  • Data weighted to the national population profile
  • An '*' indicates a finding of less than 0.5%, but greater than zero
  • Where percentages do not add up to exactly 100% this is due to computer rounding, the exclusion of "don't knows" or to multiple answers
  • Download the data tabulations pdf, 380KB




Q1 Do you think a Labour or Conservative Government would be most effective in getting good value for the public money it spends?

Base: All 18+

 Apr 2005Mar 2008
Labour Government4127
Conservative Government3029
Don't know1219

Q2 On balance, do you agree or disagree with the statement that in the long term, this government's policies will improve the state of Britain's public services?

Base: All 18+

 Nov 2007Mar 2008
Don't know1212
Net agree-20-22

Q3-7 Thinking about … over the next few years do you expect it to … ?

Base: All 18+

 The NHSThe quality of educationPublic transportOpportunities for young peopleSkills in Britain's workforce
 Nov '07Mar '08Nov '07Mar '08Nov '07Mar '08Nov '07Mar '08Sept '07Mar '08
Get much better2443333434
Get better21222730262623282324
Stay the same37354238383737313834
Get worse28251919242228252624
Get much worse111245586868
Don't know2335553446
Net better-16-11+8+90-1-8-1-6-4

Q8-11 How confident, if at all, are you the government will … in the next few years?

Base: All 18+

 Control and manage immigrationDeal with climate changeDo the right thing about pensionsListen to people's priorities
 Sept '07Mar '08Sept '07Mar '08Sept '07Mar '08Sept '07Mar '08
Very confident35562543
Fairly confident1720333321182622
Not very confident3431363540423839
Not at all confident4240212131313033
Don't know44555533
Very/fairly confident2025383923233025
Not very/not at all confident7671575671736872
Net confident-56-46-19-17-48-50-38-47

Q12 Please tell me whether you are confident in the current government, or not, when it comes to cracking down on crime and violence?

Base: All 18+ (split sample - 510)

Yes, confident30
No, not confident67
Don't know3

Q13 Can you tell me whether you are satisfied or dissatisfied with the way Alistair Darling is doing his job as Chancellor of the Exchequer?

Base: All 18+

Don't know28
Last Updated ( 14 Jul 2008 )
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