Today’s Autumn Statement signals an acceleration in the Conservatives’ re-election strategy. The headlines will focus on the new stamp duty system and multinational tax but from a political strategy perspective, this announcement shows the Tory Plan A for re-election is faltering and the Chancellor is stepping in with policies designed to help boost Conservative polling figures.
Re-election strategies are laid years in advance and it was assumed in 2010 that the fortunes of the coalition’s parties would be wed to the economy: Save the economy and save yourself. However, Cicenomics finds that whilst people appreciate the economy is well-run and improving, they’re not pegging their voting intention to either the Conservatives or Liberal Democrats as a result.
Politically, the deficit figures won’t concern the Conservatives, it will be the good news that causes the real alarm: Today, people are less worried financially, more supportive of the coalition’s cuts, and feel safer in their jobs. However, as these figures have steadily risen over the last 12-18 months, Conservative support has not increased with them.
As the above Cicero Elections analysis shows, people are feeling more secure over their mortgages, job prospects and disposable income, yet Conservative support continues to stagnate. From these figures, Osborne will have identified a gap between the public benefitting from government policies and their support for the government itself. This Autumn Statement looked to bridge that gap.
Today’s announcements on roads and stamp duty are a Conservative push to link improvements in voters’ economic outlook to the government more directly. Strong GDP growth has proven not to be as tangible to the electorate as improved motorways and a cheaper home; so Osborne has designed policies that will produce visible and direct benefits for voters that can be showcased on the doorstep. Today, we saw Osborne’s last significant statement as Chancellor, and his first as the Tories’ election strategist.
Cicenomics – Cicero Elections is powered by YouGov data.
Find the full analysis of #AS2014 by Cicero Group here.