General Election 2010 – Present:
Updated daily. UKIP tracked from 6 Jan 2012. Sourced from YouGov.
The Cicenomics Trackers
Interpreting economic trends isn’t always easy. Here, our aim is to break apart the issue of economics by picking out the key variables that really shift votes. By understanding the following three points, we can read past the data and start to make some concrete assertions about voting intention.
- 1. Wage Growth (January: +1.5%)
- 2. Net Financial Security (April: -6%)
- 3. Net Economic Approval (April: +9%)
Opposition parties can capitalise, even if living standards improve:
When the point comes prior to the Election that wage growth firmly overtakes the cost of living, two unavoidably negative factors remain: that living standards will still be below their 2008 peak and that the rate at which wage growth outstrips inflation will take some to reach pre-crisis levels of buoyancy – the Institute of Fiscal Studies don’t expect this to happen until 2018. This gives plenty of firepower to the Opposition.
The feel-good factor need not turn positive:
The “feel-good factor” here, or net financial security, is drawn from difference between the positive and negative indicators. The coalition parties need only improve on the net feel-good factor recorded from May 2010 when they took office for people to feel more positive relative to how they felt when voting at the last election when it stood at -19%. Any improvement on this will mean a more positive disposition towards the direction of the current economic track, meaning that the incumbent parties will be most likely to benefit.
Does voting intention reflect economic policy approval?
Despite the fracturing of the Right with UKIP, the Conservatives have held their polling position, arguably in large part due to the soaring of economic approval. However, this indicator began to stagnate in May 14′, and, with our other two indicators showing little major movement since this time, the public sense of importance has pivoted away from the economic approval, as shown by our Issues Tracker. New positive developments are thus required in the economy to lend greater capital to the Conservatives.
Our first tracker looks at the question which is on the tip of every economists lips: When it is that wage growth will consistently overtake consumer prices – or “the cost of living”. This will tell us whether people’s perceptions are being underpinned by economic reality, as well as the extent to which the performance of the economy is translating to household finances.
Next, we look at people’s outlook of their own prosperity over the next 12 months, giving us our “feel-good factor”. This tells us how everyday people feel that their circumstances fit into the wider picture of an improving economy. Any closing of the gap in pessimism within this indicator shows heightened voter investment in maintaining the economic status quo.
We complete the Cicenomics formula by tracking people’s approval of the Government’s economic policy. As the health of the economy has remained peoples’ top issue throughout this Parliament, from this we learn what proportion of people prefer to “stay the course” over alternatives.