With huge national events such as the Olympics and the Diamond
Jubilee taking place over the summer, 2012 is a big year for the
UK. In this context you might expect people to be feeling positive,
but over the last 6 months the overall mood has remained stubbornly
Between December 2011 and May 2012, the number of people who
think that they will receive a pay rise in the next year has never
risen above a fifth (21%) whilst around one in ten said they expect
their pay to fall.
- 31% of people not in work expect their income to decline
- 56% feel the economy is worse than last year
Asked how the economy will fare over the coming year, the
proportion of people who expect it to improve has never risen above
20%. In May 2012 only 15% were willing to predict an upturn in
economic conditions whilst nearly a third (30%) thought the economy
would actually deteriorate over the next 12 months.
These concerns are influencing people's opinions on the biggest
challenges facing Britain today with unemployment consistently
cited as the country's most pressing concern, followed by inflation
and rising prices.
This negativity is inevitably impacting on the coalition's
performance in opinion polls with the Liberal Democrats suffering
the most. They have lost approximately half of their vote share
since the 2010 General Election; falling from 23% at that time to
11% in December 2011.
In December 2011 the Conservatives we on 35%, just three points
behind Labour who were on 38%. By May 2012 however they had slipped
to just 30%, allowing Labour to open up a substantial 13 point poll
lead on 43%; their biggest since the election.
Obviously these are turbulent times, and voters appear
frustrated at the slow pace of economic recovery. As such the
economy will continue to be the pivot on which the political
landscape continues to hinge.