The Coalition Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) was released on the 20th October 2010. In order to understand more about how the public has reacted to these proposals, and capture their views on wider economic and political issues, Ci Research have been undertaking a tracker survey to monitor public perceptions through a mixture of street, online and telephone interviews.
This survey uses the conjoint technique ‘Trade-Off’ to gauge the relative strength of support or opposition to a range of proposed spending reforms. The survey has now been conducted twice, once in November 2010 shortly after the CSR was announced and more recently in January 2011. In both waves of the survey over 200 interviews were completed over five days.
This week’s ‘top ten’ contains the key findings from the 2011 survey and highlights how opinion has changed between the two waves of the tracker:
- Since 2010 interest levels in UK politics and the UK economy have declined from 68% of respondents describing themselves as ‘having more than a passing interest’ in politics in November 2010 to 57% in January 2011. Interest in the economy also showed similar levels of decline.
- Of those who claimed to have ‘little or no interest’ in November 2010, their views have remained largely unchanged. The media attention on spending reforms has had little or no effect on this sub-group with only 10% becoming more interested as a result of the spending review. The largest growth in interest was amongst those who were already interested.
- Overall public perception of the CSR had not changed since 2010 with just over a fifth (21%) of respondents feeling positive and 39% holding mixed views (consistent with 2010). There were notable demographic differences, with Conservative voters significantly more positive.
- However, over two thirds of respondents felt that the increases in VAT and rises in inflation were having (or were likely to have) an impact on their financial situation (69% and 67%). Increased tuition fees and rising rail tariffs were having particular impact on respondents aged 24 and under.
- The rising cost of fuel was already having an impact on over a third of respondents; with almost half feeling this would become an issue for them in the future should additional fuel duties be introduced.
- In terms of job security, just over a quarter (27%) of those in work felt that their job was under no threat due to the current economic conditions. In contrast, one in ten felt their employment was under ‘a great deal of threat’. Male respondents and Labour voters felt less secure in their jobs.
- When given the opportunity to consider a range of options for reducing public sector spending (and despite the announcement of the royal wedding since the last tracker) cutting the royal budget was still the most strongly supported suggestion for spending reform.
- Despite the media coverage of plans to transfer public health spending to GPs, the issue was viewed neutrally among the public however, Conservative voters were the least supportive.
- The strongest opposition to spending cuts were those that would impact on the police force and the national defence budget.
- Overall respondent were more likely to be in favour of cutting national welfare and benefit benefits over reducing public services, for example police budgets and bin collections suggesting a preference for a tailored response to spending reforms based on local needs.
Ci Research conduct a significant amount of research with local authorities and public sector bodies across the UK including Stockport Metropolitan Council, Medway Council, London Borough of Hounslow, Waltham Forest Council, Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council, Peterborough City Council to name but a few.
Should you wish to talk to us further about the research or how we may be able to provide your organisation with this type of insight then please get in touch via the contact details below-
 Conjoint (or ‘trade-off’) analysis is a methodology through which respondents are forced to make specific choices between two different factors and can provide vital insight to help local authorities when making tough choices.