Liberal Democrat support has tumbled sharply since the budget, a ComRes poll for The Independent discloses tonight. This, on top, of the YouGov poll yesterday showing the LibDems on 16%, 7 points down on their general election performance.
Backing for Nick Clegg’s party is at a post-election low – and at its second worst level for six months. The Conservatives have support of 40 per cent, a rise of four points since a ComRes poll for the Independent on Sunday on June 20. Labour is up one point at 31 per cent, while the Liberal Democrats are down five points at 18 per cent.
The poll also shows that the Tories have increased their support among 25-34 year olds, and the Lib Dems have dropped in this group. Tory support is up to 45% among people in social group AB and 49% among over 65s.
Only 68% of people who voted Lib Dem in May would still vote Lib Dem now – however this support is more likely to go to Labour than the Conservatives.
The challenge for Nick Clegg is clear. How one earth does he differentiate his party from its coalition partners while he is still in coalition with them?
Answers on a postcard to 4 Cowley Street...
He doesn't. That's why this coalition has all the durability of an England World Cup Team challenge.
With a strong majority regardless... allow some of his non-cabinet left-wing objectors a bit more a free reign to voice objections to 'Tory' policies?
At this rate how long do you expect it will be before a leadership challenge on Clegg. What will come first the leadership challenge or Lib Dems polling single figures?
It was clear that getting in bed with the Tories was not going to be popular with many Lib Dem voters. Yet they still went into the coalition, which was the least worst outcome for the country following the election. This I can respect.
Clegg doesn't give a stuff about the poll numbers. What he does care about (apart from joining a coalition for the good of the country blah blah) is getting voting reform out of this parliament that will see his party in power for most of the next fifty years.
But Clegg is in govt. Do the polls matter?
He is the most successful libdem leader ever and the most successful liberal leader since eighteen frozen stiff.
Does the fact that the lefty wing of the LDs has taken flight? If so this is a problem for labour.
Will we be voting for the Liberal Conservative Alliance at the next election? Or the Conservative Democratic Union?
The polls show what is effectively 59% support for the budget, a harsh tough difficult budget. The LDs were firmly part of that budget. There is no 3rd party to fudge the issue. This poll is not good for Labour.
The Lib Dems should be playing a long game for later gain - in terms of 2-3 parliaments.
They want a change in voting system for both houses of parliament - and stand to get it. Perhaps with PR for the Lords and even local elections.
The alternative was an unstable Lab - Lib - Fruitcake alliance followed by a stomping Tory majority.
Problem is Lib Dem membership is too dense to realise all this. So the scorpion will sting the fox anyway - its in their nature.
Stand bye for a general election again in 6 months to 2 years.
I wonder, if the coalition fails, if Clegg realising he isn't very popular will choose to go down with the devided Libdem sinking ship or could the taste of power entice him to jump ship and stay with Tories.
Solid assessment from trevorsden.
I'd add that the secessions might have been worse if they'd teamed with the Glorious Leader Brown.
The LibDems used to be the wasted vote party - free of the guilt of compromise and responsibility alike. Being a political party in office, with blood on their hands (it usually does come to that) wasn't part of the deal. There are a lot of Guardian reading ladies of limited intelligence in ethnic skirts out there who must be really struggling. Their natural place is on the sidelines of life. And they're making their way back there just as soon as they've finished this batch of organic yoghurt.
And a smaller party with the intellectual and emotional maturity to be in government will survive.
I agree with Nick. Who agrees with Dave. Everything's fine.
I have to disagree with the majority here; this is the first time the LDs have had any power for most of a century.
They might fall apart over it. Eventually. But as for polling a couple of months after an election, it's almost irrelevant.
History might serve as a warning: a) the party would rather split in 2 (or 3) than keep quiet, and b) the ones joining the Tories get the goods for the next 20 years.
So, if the Orange Book-ers think the Tories won't return to socially illiberal policies, then the lefties know they'll have to rip the party in 2 in order to leave.
Any volunteers? Simon Hughes is a lightweight, and Vince Cable has been a joke since the media woke up from their collective delusion and threw him a few punches. Who's going to lead them in the dash to recreate that electoral giant, the SDP?
The problem with modern political parties is that they respond to every poll that comes along. They should ignore all polls and get on with the business of saving the country. The voting population is as fickle as the wind; ignore them until it is time for the next election.
Does Clegg need to differentiate LibDems with Cons that much at this time? However they should be comparing proactively their pragmatism with Labour's fantasy, incompetance and lies.
I think the point is while they are in coalition they can't "differentiate" themselves from the Tories as they are fighting on a joint programme - which is why, in the hours after the election, I couldn't visualise them going into power with the Tories. In effect, they are part of the governing party.
The trick will be to show at the next election how important they were for the success of the coalition (if it succeeds) not responsible for its failure (if it fails) and what important measures they enacted that
would not have been enacted by a Conservative or Labour government on their own (which means one or both of Trident or voting reform).
In the meanwhile of course the opinion polls are going to be at best erratic for them. But if they accept in government you are in it for the long haul and not the next opinion poll they are a) in a reasonable position politically given the coalition agreement and b) will have got the point of government much better than Blair ever did, which will help if they have ambitions to ultimately hold either majority power or lead a coalition themselves.
Clegg is not concerned for the future of the Libdems. Let us not forget he was a Tory back in the late 1980s at university and it's a near certainty in my mind that he will simply defect to the Tory party once the Libdems have been obliterated at the next election.
As for the carrot of voting reform, the referendum will never pass and Clegg knows it. First, the Tories will be campaigning hard against it and secondly the Tory press led by the Sun will lead a despicable campaign full of lies to ensure that any referendum is defeated. "AV - the Paedophile's Charter" or some such nonsense.
The next election will see a return to cosy two party politics and any prospect of electoral reform will be dead in the water unless the new Labour leader happens to support it (and I wouldn't count on it).
Yes, the Libdems are in government but on every key issue that really matters to them, they lost out in the negotiations with the Tories (electoral reform, Europe, nuclear power, Trident, taxes on higher earners). What will they be able to sell to their supporters at the next election? "We raised the threshold of the lower rate of income tax by £1,000 but you can wash that down with a 2.5% increase in your VAT. Vote for us".
Am not sure why anyone is surprised about this. If the Libdems have an identity, it is as a left-leaning protest party. Their support is notoriously soft. The end result of this coalition will be a return of two-party politics, whatever the voting system. What possible reason would there be for voting Libdem? Not to protest against the government, as they are the government. And not because you want a centre-left party because Labour is a more serious centre-left party, and if you vote Labour you know that you are not voting for a Tory-led government. Maybe Mr Clegg is fiendishly clever and we are all missing something, but for the life of me I can't see it. Libdems are finished. Only chance for them is if Labour moves significantly to the left, but I think that Labour is not so stupid as to do that.
Well at least something positive has come out of the coalition................
I see no reason to hold this type of poll at this time. Why not be constructive Iain and have a poll on the coalition and the good they are doing.
I feel liberated since they came together and as a Tory I see the benefits daily of having the LibDems in the tent pissing out.
Time to stop tribal politics and trust OSBORNE and Cameron who are both doing a great job.
Labour are pushing the attack LibDem line and not getting nailed for the disaster they were in office. They should be held accountable daily for their sins.
Labour are in trouble just look at the candidates .
1) The Marx brothers a joke most certainly that make me laugh on a daily basis
2) The racist Black token who is so stupid she makes Forest Gump look intelligent
3)Eyelash Everton kid who used Hospital event to watch his side play Portsmouth
4) Blinky Balls the bully boy who claims he was bullied.
What a shower.
Yes, the way in which the Tories have cleverly made it look as though it is the LibDems who are fronting the cuts is very clever. Poor little Cleggy seems wholly oblivious to the way he is being used and abused - I assume one day soon he will abruptly awake from his slumbers.
@Richard Manns - you make a good argument Richard. What goes around comes around - the SDP may not have succeeded themselves electorally, but they blazed trails. Much of the accepted norms of the debate these days comes from SDP thinking.
I suspect that the LibDems won't summon up the courage to actually split, so they will go with a whimper rather than a bang - probably back down to the 15/20 seats they used to get pre-Ashdown.
Personally I find it a bit depressing that they were so railroaded during the "negotiations" over the coalition - clearly the Tory bosses were better at trampling than they look on TV. All that Eton fibre is worth paying for and Westminster oinks are left looking like little rabbits. Poor Danny Alexander looks like a glove puppet for Osborne.
I suppose on a Conservative blog I should expect Conservative comments. What I grasp from those comments is twofold: i) a failure to grasp that Labour are actually the enemy, not the Lib Dems and ii) a failure by non-Lib Dems to understand anything about what motivates Lib Dems. But it is still all interesting reading.
Their problem is that as government rather than opposition they cannot rely on protest voting but on policies. On the policies on which they have differentiated themselves from the Conservatives (supporting the EU, opposing nuclear, soft on immigration, uber enthusiastic about global warming & windmillery, fairly soft on crime, equivocal on the nuclear deterrent) their policy is way less popular. The only thing they score on is PR & I suppose Clegg is in a position to speak loudly on that.
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