For the Mail on Sunday, with the only opinion poll that took place after Andrew Mitchell’s resignation on Friday, we take a polling look at the political issues of the week.
Topics include including leader ratings and characteristics, voting intention, an in/out EU referendum, Andrew Mitchell and George Osborne.
Fieldwork was conducted over 24 hours Friday – Saturday 19th-20th of October.
Data tables can be viewed here:
This latest poll reveals that the majority of the public would opt to exit the EU if they were offered a referendum on membership with only 33% stating they would vote to remain in the Union. The older generation appear to be the most Eurosceptic group with the over 55′s being almost twice as likely to want to leave the EU than the youngest age group (18-24). Even amongst Liberal Democrat supporters, whose party has the most pro European policy stance, almost half would vote to exit the Union. This demonstrates the level of Euroscepticism that exists amongst the public across all parties and suggests that politicians should be more careful when considering what question they pose to the public in relation to the EU if they wish to remain a part of the Union in future.
The ‘Plebgate’ scandal
Whilst it is not surprising that the majority of those polled believed Mitchell was right to resign in the wake of the ‘plebgate’ scandal even greater numbers of Tory voters stated that Mitchell had made the correct decision to stand down. Over 70% of those who voted Conservative at the last election believed Andrew Mitchell was right to resign which indicates that amongst the party faithful the preservation of Mitchell’s position was viewed as detrimental to the party itself. However the damage may already have been done as only 20% of Tory voters in 2010 believed Cameron dealt with the issue fairly well or very well and more than 50% felt the Prime Minister should have sacked Mitchell immediately. At a time when the Conservative party most need to demonstrate strong and decisive government Cameron will surely be disappointed that a majority of his own voters are at odds with the decisions emerging from No. 10.
Despite the recent scandal surrounding Mitchell, Cameron is still perceived as the more competent of the two main party leaders. What is particularly interesting is that whilst over 80% of those intending to vote Tory believe Cameron is competent in contrast only 55% agree that Osborne is competent. This suggests that amongst the core Tory voters there is a lack of confidence in the ability of the Chancellor to manage the economy prudently. However it is clear that Cameron is struggling to convince the public that he is doing a good job as leader of the Conservatives, with only 30% believing this to be the case. Whilst Cameron needs to work harder to persuade the general public of his ability to effectively lead the country, the party also needs to convince their own voters that the economic strategy pursued under this government is the correct one.
By Vanessa O’Donnell