Labour strengthens lead amid economic gloom

By Alex Stevenson

Labour has increased its lead over the Conservative party to seven points, as the government's popularity remains stable in the doldrums.

Twice as many people are dissatisfied with the coalition's performance than are satisfied, according to November's Reuters/Ipsos Mori political monitor.

It saw the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats unchanged on 34% and 12% respectively.

But Labour improved its advantage over the Tories to 41%, up three on October, at the expense of minor parties.

"It is interesting that at a time of great turmoil in the eurozone, reflected in the public's concern over the economy and recognition of the influence Europe's economy has over our own, domestic political indicators are still quite stable," Ipsos Mori's head of political research Gideon Skinner commented.

Unmoving verdicts on the three party leaders, which continued to see David Cameron's 39% satisfaction rating ahead of Ed Miliband's 34%, came amid another drop in economic optimism.

Only 15% expect the economy will improve in the next 12 months, despite Bank of England governor Mervyn King predicting last week that the economy would resume solid levels of positive growth by mid-2012.

That puts optimism at its lowest since 2009. There are some data which Mr Cameron and George Osborne can take heart from, however: over half of those surveyed believe the pair have responded better to the economic crisis than leading European politicians like French president Nicolas Sarkozy and German chancellor Angela Merkel.

Ipsos Mori interviewed 1,006 adults between November 19th and November 21st.