This week’s Opinium/Observer Political Poll reveals that, while there has been little change to the state of the parties, voters are cautiously optimistic about the New Year but concerned about the cost of living.

– The Labour Party retains a 7 point lead with 37 per cent of the vote vs. 30 per cent for the Conservatives

– Liberal Democrats remain at 8 per cent of the vote

– UKIP is up one point to 17 per cent

Overall optimism for 2014:

Voters are (narrowly) optimistic that 2014 will be better than 2013. Nearly a third (32%) thinks 2014 will be better for them and their families than 2013 was, while a quarter (26%) thinks it’ll be worse. Two fifths (40%) think there will be no change to the situation and it will be about the same as the year just gone. When it comes to sentiment, 39 per cent said they are generally optimistic about 2014 while 27 per cent are generally pessimistic.

Cost of living on the rise:

On specific issues, people are a bit more negative. The cost of living is the big concern for this coming year, with 69 per cent of likely voters expecting the overall cost of living to get worse in 2014 while just one in ten (9%) expect it to improve. When it comes to their own personal finances, 31 per cent of expect them to worsen while 26 per cent expect them to get better.

Cards and Cash © The economic VoiceGloomy prospects:

Despite recent encouraging economic news, Brits are divided on the prospects for the UK economy. While almost a third (31%) of likely voters expects the economy to do better, over a quarter (27%) actually expects it to get worse in 2014. Finally, Brits are more pessimistic about the country’s health than their own with nearly half (43%) expecting the NHS to get worse while 79 per cent expect their own health to be unchanged or to improve.

Adam Drummond, Opinium Research comments:

Positive news about the economy has clearly had some impact, with more people expecting it to get better in the next year, rather than worse. However, voters are ambivalent about their personal financial situation and the cost of living getting worse is the one prediction they appear certain about.

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