Just a quarter (24%) say that the Conservative Party would be better at managing the cost of living, according to a new poll by Savanta ComRes for the Daily Mail.
Two in five (39%) say that the Labour Party would be better, one in eight believe a different party would be the best choice, while a quarter (25%) say they do not know.
However, just half (53%) of those that voted Conservative at the last election think that the Tories would be best to manage the rising cost of living, compared to four in five (80%) 2019 Labour voters who say that their party would be best.
Despite this, just 15% of 2019 Conservatives think Labour would be best, and are much more likely (24%) to say that they don’t know.
Among current Conservative voters, a more encouraging three quarters (76%) think that the Tories would be best to manage the rising cost of living, but still a greater proportion of current Labour voters say that their party would be better (88%).
The public appear split on who is most responsible for the rising cost of living, with the UK government (25%), the Russia-Ukraine war (22%) and the Covid-19 pandemic (20%) all being ranked first by at least one in five, and ranked in the top three by more than half of all respondents.
Just one in five (20%) current Conservative voters would put the government in its top three most-to-blame, compared to two thirds (67%) of Labour voters.
Yet nine in ten (90%) say that parties’ response to the rising cost of living will be an important factor when deciding how to vote at the next election, ranking alongside the state of the NHS (89%) and significantly higher than the police inquiries into Covid rule-breaking by politicians (56%).
And regarding such a response, the public are broadly supportive of a variety of measures that could ease the impact of the rising cost of living on people up and down the country. A windfall tax on the profits of oil and gas companies, so far resisted by the government, is the most supported (75%), closely ahead of increasing the minimum wage (73%) and cutting fuel duty (72%).
Scrapping April’s 1.25% National Insurance raise is the least supported (56%) but still only one in six (16%) oppose it.
Chris Hopkins, Political Research Director at Savanta ComRes said, “The rising cost of living could well become the defining issue of the next election, with voters in this poll saying it could be the most important issue upon which the next government is chosen. While Partygate damaged the Prime Minister’s reputation and poll standings, he was always likely to have opportunities to redeem himself in plenty of time before the next election.”
“Helping the country through rising bills and inflation is, in a way, an opportunity for the Prime Minister to do just that, but for a government who’ve already been loose with the purse strings throughout the pandemic, the temptation to tighten them now when households up and down the country are struggling so much could be a political gamble that comes to hurt the Conservatives at the ballot box.”