This week the Guardian
published its ICM poll
, which showed that Labour is 12 points ahead of the Conservative Party (which at 29% is at the same level as Labour's 2010 share of the vote). However it also contained a question about the economy which does not provide so much good news.
Respondents were asked what they thought was the single most important reason for the renewed downturn apparent in the fourth quarter GDP figures. the poll showed 29% believed it was due to "Debts which the last Labour government racked up to finance unsustainable spending
", 16% ascribed it to "Chill economic winds blowing in from the troubled Eurozone
", 21% believed it was due to "Banks refusing to provide loans to firms that they need to invest in their businesses
", and 23% ascribed it to "The sharp cuts in public expenditure being introduced by the coalition government
" (11% said they didn't know).
I don't think we can draw firm conclusions from those figures but it is nonetheless sobering reading for Labour. Almost a third of the population holds Labour responsible for the "new economic downturn in the last quarter of 2012
" ie this is not a question about the recession post 2008 but the last quarter's reversal (the Guardian article on the poll
notes that "the same" question - obviously not quite the same - was asked in May last year and 29% blamed Labour for the downturn then too).
Regular visitors to this site will know that Labour's standing on the economy
is a continual focus of mine. And with some economists becoming more optimistic about the economic outlook, getting credible on the economy will remain a hard task that we need to work at and not a result that will simply land in our lap.