A hung parliament means weighing up policies

Stephan Shakespeare
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YOUGOV polling suggests a hung parliament is likely. In these circumstances, each of the parties has the power to block legislation. So how can they take decisions which its supporters find acceptable, given the data shown in the graph?

We have looked at the attitudes of different party supporters on four of the big issues facing the British economy: competitiveness; government intervention in foreign takeovers; dealing with the deficit; and adoption of the euro.
Forty-five per cent of respondents felt the British economy is “extremely” or “quite” competitive, although this was skewed heavily when broken down by party allegiance: 39 per cent of Tory voters versus 70 per cent of Labour voters thought Britain can still compete. However, on the question of government intervention in foreign takeovers, 68 per cent of the respondents (regardless of party) agreed that the government “should be able to intervene in some cases”.

The approaches to cutting the deficit produced some potentially problematic splits between different parties’ respondents. Forty-two per cent of Conservatives were in favour of having only public spending cuts as the government’s main approach to dealing with the deficit, while only 14 per cent of Labour voters and 19 per cent of Liberal Democrats agreed. These Labour and Liberal Democrat voters did recognise the need for some cuts, however, as 52 per cent thought that the government should raise taxes and cut public spending. Interestingly, party preference discounted, 75 per cent of men favoured some kind of spending cut, while only 62 per cent of women agreed.

If the Liberal Democrats are to form part of the next government, their attitude to the euro will come under tight scrutiny. It seems that even Nick Clegg’s own supporters are highly doubtful of his Europhilia, as only 23 per cent felt that the UK economy would be stronger if we joined the euro. Tory supporters were overwhelmingly against, as 69 per cent thought that adopting it would weaken the UK economy.

Stephan Shakespeare is co-founder and co-chief executive of YouGov