A YouGov poll in Saturday’s Telegraph gives us the first proper idea of what Liberal Democrat party members think of Charlie Kennedy’s position. The full poll will be published on Monday but, given that there is a fair chance that it will be old news by then, the preliminary results are being published today.

The was conducted on Friday, after Kennedy’s announcement that he had sought treatment for an alcohol problem, but mostly prior to the announcement by 25 Lib Dem MPs that they would not serve under Kennedy – the sample size so far is only 284, so bear in mind that the margin of error is about 6%.

Asked who they would like to see lead the party at the next election, only 27% of Lib Dem members said Charles Kennedy. 65% either named an alternate leader, or “someone else”. Asked who they would vote for in a leadership election if Kennedy stood down, 49% backed Menzies Campbell, 21% Simon Hughes and 14% Mark Oaten. While Lib Dem elections are carried out using a transferable vote, and candidate with the most first preferences doesn’t necessarily win, with almost 50% support Campbell would obviously be in a very strong position in such an election.


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