LONDON (Reuters) - Riots that broke out across English cities this month have had little impact on the standing of Britain’s largest political parties among voters, a poll published Thursday showed.
The August Reuters/Ipsos MORI Political Monitor shows satisfaction with the government is unchanged from last month, with twice as many people dissatisfied with the ruling Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition as satisfied (59 percent compared to 30 percent).
The standing of the party leaders among voters was also little changed.
Support for the governing centre-right Conservative Party was broadly unchanged at 34 percent, as was that for Labour on 40 percent.
The Liberal Democrats — whose support slumped after the party entered government with the Conservatives last year — saw an increase of 4 points in its projected share of the vote to 15 percent, their highest share since last September, although Ipsos MORI said it was too early to say whether this indicated a sustained shift in attitude.
A parliamentary election does not have to be held until 2015.
Looting and violence in neighbourhoods across London and other English cities shocked Britons and prompted widespread soul-searching as politicians and commentators looked to explain the outbreak.
The Conservatives, traditionally seen as the strongest party on law and order, called for a robust response to deal with perpetrators. The Liberal Democrats said those involved in the violence should be made to help rebuild their communities.
Prime Minister David Cameron, who coined the phrase “Broken Britain” while in opposition said he now believed some parts of Britain’s society were not just broken but “sick.”
But the findings of the poll suggest public opinion about the state of British society has not shifted significantly.
Three in five people (58 percent) of people surveyed for this month’s poll agreed British society was “broken” — a slight fall from the 63 percent who agreed with the question when Ipsos MORI last asked it in 2008.
“Indeed, our recent Issues Index, conducted during the riots and their immediate aftermath, showed that despite showing a marked increase in concern about crime and law and order following the riots, fewer are now concerned about crime and anti-social behaviour than throughout 2008,” said Ipsos MORI’s Helen Cleary.
Economic optimism continues to fall. Only a fifth (19 percent) believe the economic condition of the country will improve in the next 12 months, and half (52 percent) think it will get worse. Pessimism about the short-term future of the economy has been increasing month-on-month since May.
- Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,002 adults aged 18+ across Britain.
- Interviews were conducted by telephone August 20-22.
- Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.
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