Labour's NHS Crisis
Yesterday evening, ComRes released a poll British voters on the NHS. As ever, if you get some time, do have a look through the data tables themselves, but here are the top 6 take-aways from this poll:
1. People think the NHS provides a high standard of care for its patients, but think the service has gone downhill over the years. A whopping 71% of respondents to the ComRes poll agreed that the NHS does a good job for patients, with only 17% disagreeing. But 56% said that patient care has fallen over the last decade. Perhaps this is part of a wider perception that the NHS is becoming too bureaucratic: 58% of respondents agreed that the NHS is more concerned about hitting Government targets than ensuring high-quality care for patients, with only 22% disagreeing.
2. And Jeremy Hunt is taking the flak. Only 12% of voters think Mr. Hunt is doing a good job as Secretary of State for Health, with a majority – 53% - thinking otherwise. Most damningly, 35% of people currently intending to vote Conservative think he is doing a bad job, with 25% thinking he’s carrying out his duties well.
3. Interestingly, though, when questions are centred around actual experiences with the Health Service, responses are slightly more positive. While a majority of people think care has gone downhill over the years, only 28% said they had experienced unacceptably poor service in the past 2 years, with 68% saying they hadn’t. Plus, while a fairly large proportion of people (43%) said they’d experienced trouble seeing their GP in the past year, a majority (54%) disagreed.
4. Despite all this, voters would prefer the NHS to be in the hands of the Conservatives and Theresa May than Labour and Jeremy Corbyn. This is fairly extraordinary. The NHS is supposed to be Labour’s home turf. But there’s a complication: in the last YouGov poll on issue ownership in early January, Labour maintained a lead of 8 points. But, as seen in this ComRes poll, when the leaders’ names are included, the Tories take a large lead of 12 points. 43% of voters said they’d prefer the May-Tory team to be in charge of the health service, with 31% saying they think Corbyn and Labour would do the best job. What’s clear, then, is that while Labour still has its traditional lead on the NHS, when Jeremy Corbyn is included on the ticket, their polling plummets. The importance of this data point is hard to understate.
5. Almost half of voters agree with the Red Cross that the NHS is in a ‘humanitarian crisis’. 47% agree, with 36% saying the charity’s pronouncement is ‘over blown’.
6. 53% of people are prepared to pay higher taxes if the revenue were earmarked for the NHS. Only 31% of voters disagreed, giving the policy proposal a lead of 22 points.
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