A new year brings with it new topics. But it’s interesting to look back at 2018 and recall what we learnt from polling during what was, to put it mildly, an eventful year.
We didn’t learn much about changes in voting intention because there were hardly any. The Conservatives and Labour started the year right where they ended it – neck and neck.
On Brexit we learnt a bit more. Beneath the noise – and there was plenty of that – there was a bit of movement on the key questions of whether the 2016 vote was the right or wrong decision, how people would vote in a new referendum, or whether or not there should be one. But despite the volume of newsflow, very little has changed, and the next few months remain particularly uncertain given the unpopularity of Theresa May’s deal.
But polling is always about more than the voting intention “horse race” or the (currently rather similar) questions around Brexit. What about the “big picture” questions, such as what the British public thinks about capitalism?
There is cause for concern for capitalists. Sixty-one per cent of eligible voters think ordinary working people don’t get their fair share of the nation’s wealth, while only half believe in private enterprise. It turns out that there’s also an awful lot of indifference, with many on the fence (particularly among the younger age groups), although there is still plenty of hostility towards banks and bankers, as Number Cruncher/CapX polling ahead of the Lehman Brothers anniversary found.