Nearly half the public believe the Government must prioritise growth over economic prudence, research for a think tank found.
But one-third of voters believe the next government will be powerless to improve living standards, says the Resolution Foundation.
It found that while eight out of 10 voters agreed that they cannot trust a political party on the economy unless prudent management of public finances is the top priority, the same number also believed promoting growth should be the Government’s number one aim.
Forced to make a choice between which should come first, 49 per cent backed growth while 38 per cent backed prudence.
Overall, half of the public believe that, with the right policies, Government can secure rising living standards but 35 per cent think that is beyond the ability of Ministers and the most that can be hoped for is a stable economy and sound public finances.
The Resolution Foundation report, entitled 2015 – The Living Standards Election?, found Conservative supporters were most pessimistic about the issue, with 64 per cent believing it is hard for a government to secure higher living standards, compared 43 per cent of Liberal Democrats and 20 per cent of Labour supporters.
Peter Kellner, of YouGov, said: “The larger truth is that pessimism abounds.
“The dominant mood is that things will continue to get worse. The challenge of political leadership is not just to decide the best policies but to frame a plausible narrative that can dispel the gloom.”