Sunday, 23 January 2011

Who's Got the Best Policy?

Part of a YouGov survey, fieldwork dated 16th -17th January, generated some interesting data regarding the Public view on which party has the best policy for handling various key issues.

Another YouGov survey, field work 17th-18th,  generated some additional data, that when cross referenced with the information from the previous survey, leads to some implications for all the parties.

People to were offered a list of issues and asked
"Which of the following do you think are the most important issues facing the country at this time? Please tick up to three."

"Which of the following do you think are the most important issues facing you and your family at this time? Please tick up to three.
Here are the results:

What is most notable is that when asked about their own lives, Immigration, Crime and The Economy fall back significantly. Immigration and Crime are often subject to a high level media coverage, but this coverage probably overstates the impact they have on most people's day to day existence.

The Economy can be quite abstract: inflation up by 0.5% and Q4 GDP down 0.3% doesn't directly impact most people in an obvious fashion. People notice unemployment if it affects them and increases in key prices such as petrol.

The issues which affect people daily - the tax they pay, access to the doctor and transport (bus times and traffic jams) are much more significant.

The problem this data raises for policy makers is that the headlines in the tabloids are a poor guide to what really irks the public.

So which party has the best policies for to tackle the big issues?

Here is the data:

Historical evidence shows that the party who most trusted with the economy, all things being equal, performs well during a General Election. Therefore, when Ed Balls and George Osborne do battle over the next few years, the prize is huge. Whoever is correct on the Economy will probably put one of their Leader's feet into 10 Downing Street at the next General Election.

Further analysis of this data regarding how the Liberal Democrats answered the question gave the following results:

What is interesting is broadly they have far less confidence in the policies of their own party (Con and Lab mostly rated their own party at 75%+).

Between Conservative and Labour as a second choice, on the big issues the Liberal Democrats remaining after the post Election loss of support seem to much more disposed to the Conservatives. This suggests that Labour has probably extracted the maximum benefit from tempting over left-leaning Liberal Democrats.

It must be noted the sample sizes were not huge, but the data is still interesting, and may offer a few pointers.


  1. Garry,

    Excellent data... good idea to add/subtract from wider society or personal family, if I am making sense...

    I wonder do people place their vote on behalf of wider society or just themselves?

  2. It's really hard to tell.

    In 1992, people voted for an unpopular PM, as they trusted the Blues more with the Economy, and were not keen on the personality of Neil Kinnock.

    On the other foot, there have been occasions when greatly noble ideas have been ignored for self interest, once people have got into the booths.

    What is clear to me is that if the NHS plans don't deliver (likely I think), GO's plans are unsuccessful (touch and go), and Ed B can devise a decent alternative Economically, it would look good for Labour at the next GE I think.

  3. Garry,

    I would side with self-interest at a push..

    Also, i dont think voters like change anywhere near as much as they pretend they do..

    I must say, Ed Balls appointment has completley re-shaped the political landscape.. anything is possible now..

    with Alan Johnson reds were headed for election defeat..