The latest Ipsos Political Monitor, taken 14th to 20th June 2023 asked the public about the key issues that would impact their vote at the next General Election and which party had the best policies to deal with them.
Healthcare and inflation are the issues that are currently most important for the public when deciding how to vote at the next General Election.
31% said healthcare and the NHS (-21pts from Dec 2019) and inflation and the rising cost of living (+27pts). 22% said managing the economy / economic situation (+12pts). 15% said asylum / immigration (+8pts), although this was the second most important issue to Conservative supporters.
In terms of which party the public think has the best policies on key issues, Labour holds strong leads on the issues that matter most. 41% think Labour has the best policies on healthcare, 11% say the Conservatives. 37% say Labour has the best policies on reducing the cost of living, 15% say the Conservatives. In fact, the only issue where the Conservatives are seen as having the best policies is on defence (Conservative 33%, Labour 15%).
Most capable Chancellor (and value for money)
The public were also asked who they think would make the most capable Chancellor. Rachel Reeves has extended her lead over Jeremy Hunt, with 41% saying she would make the most capable Chancellor (+6 pts from November 2022), compared to 29% who said Hunt (no change). 10% said neither (+1 from Nov 2022) and 20% said don’t know (-7).
The public were asked whether a Labour or Conservative Government would be most effective in getting good value for the public money it spends. Almost half said Labour (48%) compared to just 22% who said the Conservatives. This represents a marked change from June 2013, where 38% said the Conservatives would be most effective in getting good value for the public money it spends, compared to 36% who said Labour.
The public were also asked to consider whether the Conservatives and Labour would spend too much, too little, or the right amount of public money, if they won the next General Election. 42% said that the Conservatives would spend too little, compared to 21% who said the right amount and 23% who said they would spend too much. However, 37% said that a Labour government would spend too much, compared to 34% who said they would spend about the right amount and 15% who said they would spend too little.
What do party leaders stand for (and what would their parties do if they win)?
Despite Labour’s strong poll lead overall (and by key issues) the public do not feel well informed about what a Labour government would look like – and do – if they win the next General Election (though similar could be argued of Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives based on these numbers).
- 50% agree they don’t know what Keir Starmer stands for (+6 pts from January 2023), 28% disagree (-5)
- 45% agree that they don’t know what Rishi Sunak stands for (+5 from January), whilst 34% disagree (-4).
- 58% said they think both Labour and the Conservatives have given ‘too little’ information about what they would do in office after the next General Election. 19% said Labour had given about the right amount, compared to 18% for the Conservatives. 15% said they did not know for either party, with 5% saying it is too early, or that they did not think they needed to give information. Only a small number thought each party had given too much information (3% for Labour and 4% for the Conservatives).
Meanwhile, the public were asked to spontaneously name members of Labour’s current Shadow Cabinet other than Keir Starmer. 54% said they did not know any, with a further 11% saying they don’t know, meaning almost two-thirds were unable to name a member of Labour’s team aside from Starmer. The most well-known member of Labour’s Shadow Cabinet was Deputy leader Angela Rayner (23%). She was followed by other members of Labour’s senior leadership team, including Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves (9%), Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper (5%) and Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting (5%). No other Shadow Cabinet member reached 5%
Reaction to Labour’s green energy delay
The public were asked to consider Labour’s recent announcement of their delay for their policy of spending £28 billion a year investing in green energy projects if they won the next General Election.
- 42% said that it shows that Labour will say anything to win a General Election, closely
- 41% said that it showed flexibility as circumstances change.
- A third said that it showed Labour were prepared to take tough decisions (34%), that they will spend too much public money in office (33%) and that they are indecisive (32%).
- 31% said it shows they take green issues seriously, compared to 18% who said it shows they do not take green issues seriously.
- Three in ten said it shows they would manage the economy responsibly (30%).
- Just over one in four (27%) said that it shows Labour cannot be trusted to deliver pledges it makes but the same number say it shows they are ready for government.
Ipsos Director of Politics Keiran Pedley said, “Despite Labour’s large poll lead there is some evidence that Keir Starmer and Labour still have work to do to seal the deal with voters. Many still don’t know what Starmer stands for or feel they have a good idea about what a Labour government would do in office.
That said, perhaps it doesn’t matter. With the government so unpopular and the public assuming Labour would do a better job on the issues that matter most to them, perhaps the next election will be a case of ‘better the devil you don’t know’ for British voters.”