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Most voters blame the banks for the crash

Most voters blame the banks for the crash

A year from the general election Progressive Polling has revisited who voters believe caused the financial crash in 2008. Despite the Coalition’s repetition of the claim that they are ‘cleaning up Labour’s mess’, most voters blame the banks. Pollsters Survation discovered that 53% of voters now ‘blame the banking industry the most for causing the UK financial crash in 2008.’

This compares to just 34% who blame the last Labour government. In fact 13% blame previous Conservative governments the most for the financial crash, perhaps reflecting the deregulation of the financial markets that took place under the Margaret Thatcher’s time in office. Women were notably more than twice as likely to blame past Conservative governments with 18% doing so compared to 7% of men.

Of those who voted in 2010 Lib Dem voters were the highest group who blamed the banking industry the most with 73%. Nick Clegg’s subsequent repeated claims that his party is in government to ‘fix Labour’s mess’ is therefore unlikely to be resonate with the bulk of those who backed for his party at the general election. Of those currently expressing a voting intention even 1in 3 Conservative supporters (35%) think the banks were most to blame for the crash and so do half (48%) of UKIP backers. This is not a narrow partisan political viewpoint but a mainstream view of the British public.

A separate poll for Class by YouGov in October 2013 found finding only 22% of voters believed 'enough has been done to avoid another banking crash like 2008 happening in the future'. Together the two poll findings suggests that Labour can speak much more vociferously about the banking industry’s role in the financial crash and the lessons the party has taken from it. The public appetite is there for greater banking reform to avoid a repeat occurance.

Labour does not need to be overly defensive about the global crash. The Conservatives are unlikely to want to talk about the City of London given their donations and opposition to a Financial Transaction Tax. Today’s poll finding suggests it is time that Labour were clear and vociferous about the recent past and future of banking.

Neil Foster, Progressive Polling

Full data tables from Survation can be found here