The mountain Labour still needs to climb in terms of economic credibility has been revealed by an exclusive LabourList/Survation poll, which shows that nearly half of all voters (46.8%) believe that Labour “cannot be trusted with the economy”. Less than one-third (30.1%) believe that Labour can be trusted with the nation’s finances.
This question kicks off a set of polling data which we’ll be revealing each day this week on LabourList, as we seek to find a way towards “Securing Economic Credibility” for the party in a way that is also true to Labour values and electorally viable.
Yet crafting an economic message that can win through in an election campaign won’t be easy with Labour facing such widespread disdain over its economic plans. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of Tory voters don’t believe that Labour can be trusted on the economy (which obviously skews the results somewhat), but a worrying 11% of those who voted Labour in 2010 and 9% of those who are currently planning to vote Labour have also failed to be convinced by Labour’s economic plans. Lib Dem voters – both those who backed the party in 2010 and those who plan to vote Lib Dem now – are also more likely than not to believe that Labour can’t be trusted with the economy.
In none of the segments of our poll (gender/age group/region) do those who trust Labour on the economy outnumber those who distrust the party, indicating that even in Labour’s heartlands and strongest demographic groups there is real pessimism that the party has the necessary answers on the economy and has learned the lessons of the past. This distrust of the party is particularly pronounced amongst voters aged 55+, nearly two-thirds (58.6%) of whom think that the party can’t be trusted to run the exchequer.
Both Ed Miliband and Ed Balls are set to give speeches this week outlining Labour’s approach on the economy, and both are acutely aware that as things stand the party lacks the fiscal credibility we need to win in 2015. Yet whilst there has been much talk already of both men using this week to set out “tough choices” on spending, and show that the party can be fiscally responsible (i.e. make cuts), it isn’t yet clear that the party will be using this week to make the case for a genuinely Labour, growth-driven approach to the economy.
Our data, which we’ll be bringing you over the coming days, suggests that there is an audience out there for a message that both Ed Miliband and Ed Balls could advocate powerfully, and would resonate far beyond those who voted Labour in 2010, or even those who are currently planning to back the party in 2015…
Survation interviewed 1,121 adults aged 18 and over via online panel on May 24th 2013. The results have been weighted to the profile of all adults, and the data for the question referred to in this post can be found here