ComRes financial crisis poll: public not so impressed by Gordon’s (think Dave would have handled it worse)

by Stephen Tall on October 18, 2008

Tomorrow’s Independent will carry a poll from Communication Research, the first poll conducted since last week’s financial bail-out of the banks (and therefore of more interest than LDV would normally give to any individual poll). John Rentoul reports the headlines over at the paper’s Open House blog here:

We asked whether people agreed or disagreed with the following statements:

It is right that taxpayers’ money should be used to bail out banks.
Agree 37% Disagree 58%
I will scale back my Christmas spending plans to save money.
Agree 62% Disagree 36%
Gordon Brown’s decisive handling of the bank crisis means that Labour has a good chance of winning the next election.
Agree 37% Disagree 54%
If David Cameron had been prime minister, he would have handled the bank crisis better than Gordon Brown.
Agree 25% Disagree 56%

So, there seems to be a fair amount of scepticism about the Government’s handling of the crisis, despite the laudatory reviews Mr Brown’s received over the past few days. But there seems to be an even greater scepticism that David Cameron would have handled it any better.

I’m a little disappointed by the Indy’s choice of questions: for example, ‘It is right that taxpayers’ money should be used to bail out banks?’ – many might not think it ‘right’ exactly (with its moral connotations), but they might think it necessary. And to ask voters to agree or disagree with a statement as bald as ‘Gordon Brown’s decisive handling of the bank crisis means that Labour has a good chance of winning the next election’ invites the public to respond along partisan lines.

Far better, in my view, to have asked two direct, but neutral, questions which seem pretty relevant right now: 1) do you agree or disagree with the Government’s decision to bail-out the banks; and 2) has the way Gordon Brown has handled the financial crisis made you think of him more or less favourably? The answers of the public to those questions would have been much more instructive of the likely political effects of the last week’s economic turmoil.

For the record, there seems to have been little significant shift in voting intentions, all within the margin of error: Conservative 40% (-1%); Labour 31% (+2); Liberal Democrat 16% (-2); Other 13% (+1).