Friday, 6 November 2009

Parliament's reputation returns to pre-expenses level

In the wake of the Parliamentary Expenses Scandal, public approval ratings of parliament dropped to new lows; whilst political corruption and sleaze became a major issue for voters.

For the first time since the revelations on Parliamentarians’ expenses claims, parliament’s approval rating has returned to the level that it was prior to the scandal, while the importance attached to corruption as a national priority is fading.

The findings come from - the only opinion research organisation to track public approval of the main public institutions every week of the year. Voters are asked to say whether they have a positive or negative impression of sixteen institutions. The negative scores are then subtracted from the positive scores to give a net approval rating.

Prior to the publication of parliamentarians’ expenses claims by the Daily Telegraph on 8th May 2009, the approval rating of parliament was -50%. Over the next six weeks, public opinion dropped, reaching a low of -64% before recovering over a ten week period. The latest available figures show the approval rating of parliament has reached -49%, the highest level since the expenses row broke.

PoliticsHome also tracks which issues the public sees as being the most important. Each week voters are asked to say which, from a list of 23 issues, they see as being the most important facing the country. The perceived importance of 'Political corruption and sleaze' increased during the expenses controversy, but has since fallen.

35% of voters thought it was an important issue facing the country before the Daily Telegraph started publishing details. This rose to 62% over the following three weeks, making it the second biggest issue facing the country. recent figures show 39% of the public see political corruption as an important issue.

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