Time for a catch up of the YouGov polling over the last few days. Questions on the emergency budget show some pretty negative expectations – 70% of people expect the budget to increase taxes paid by and/or reduce benefits paid to people like them, only 10% of people expect to avoid the cut.

In one sense, I suppose the Conservatives wouldn’t be worried by that – they would want people to be prepared for harsh measures. The other findings though indicate a lot of doubt about how they will be carried out. People were evenly split over whether the cuts will be carried out without harming front line services (34% think they will, 36% think they won’t). Almost half of respondents (49%) thought the cuts would not be fair in the way they affected rich and poor, with only 26% thinking they would be. Looking forward, 24% of people think the budget will put the country back into recession, 35% think it won’t, 41% don’t know.

We have the first government approval rating (as opposed to questions on whether people approve of the coalition). Not particularly meaningful yet of course, 34% of people reasonably enough say don’t know, but it’s a starting point – 43% approve, 23% disapprove.

On the Bill of Rights, 24% of people would like to keep the Human Rights Act, 53% of people would like to replace it with a British Bill of Rights. 61% of people think it is a good idea to set up a commission to look at it (though we can’t tell if people think it is a good idea compared to acting now, or a good idea compared to doing nothing).

Finally, perceptions of the party leaders – scroll down to page 7 and the questions on leader attributes for Cameron and Clegg (Brown has obviously stopped being asked about), and look at the way perceptions of them have shifted since the coalition deal. The big shifts for Cameron are more people seeing him as strong (30%, up from around 20% during the campaign) and decisive (32%, up from the low twenties during the campaign) being seen as good in a crisis is still his weakest rating, but is up to 13% from 10% during most of the campaign.

Clegg on the other hand has seen his ratings fall. On “sticks to what he believes in”, he is down to 19% from 27% before the election, honest is down to 28% from 32%, in touch down to 30% from 37%. Of course, the pre-election figures would still have had something of the Cleggmania about them, so while the deal has damaged perceptions of Clegg, he is still viewed more positively than before the leader debates (indeed, it’s possible the fall is due to the debate factor fading, rather than the coalition. We’ll never know).

115 Responses to “Budget, human rights and leader ratings”

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  1. @ Andrew Chandler

    “I always take the view that something doesn’t need to run efficently by making it more democratic. Surely, thats the whole reason we have an elected government.”

    Had a good smile, in spite of being in endless short meetings in such a wonderful weather.

    I agree with your point. Furthermore, the coalition, except if it’s all rhetoric or if they manage to ringfence it properly, could be up to big surprises: not only the “professionals” will be discontented, but also those “democratic circles” they want to create who will feel that to do their job properly would have to have a much bigger say in other matters (including government ones – taxation, budget, etc.). Since I don’t see any intention of satisfying such a demand, they would also be pretty fed up with the government.

  2. Some polling on the perceived benefits or not of elected police chiefs would be very interesting.
    Some polling of the police themselves, even more so.

    I may be wrong but I don’t get the feeling of any groundswell of support for this idea. I don’t hear people on the street saying “ooh, yes,let’s elect our police chief”. I do hear people on the street saying “oh yes, let’s get fair votes for Westminster now”.

    I agree with Andrew C above. To me, the idea of giving power back to the people to elect police (amongst others) is a smokescreen that is more likely to lead to “jobs for the boys” and the favouring candidates supported by the biggest bankrollers.

  3. I posted on some of these polls yesterday, so this is a bit of a repost. What struck me about all of them was a fair degree of uncertainty in the public mood but with a willingness to see what the coalition would do. Which is perfectly reasonable of course, however annoying for us poll watchers.

    What is interesting is that neither Clegg nor Cameron are getting very good figures – everyone is more “wait and see”. As Anthony noted, Cameron has got a bit of a boost in leadership type things, but only from a low base. Actually expectations of both Cameron and Osbourne rated so low with many people (including myself) that any action was going to boost their reputation with us

    Some of the rather odd assortment of new polls (mainly for the Sun) on the YouGov site are interesting. Again a lot of implicit “wait and see”, but some pointers to the danger that the Tories may get more credit for coalition successes than the Lib Dems. Having said that, it’s partly skewed by Tory voters being very loyal to their party at the moment. That’s something that indicates that internal opposition to the coalition will probably remain inside the brains of a few Telegraph talking heads, at least until things start to go wrong.

    This loyalty to Cameron’s policy and to the idea of coalition government is confirmed by a poll sampling 20th May, which Anthony hasn’t discussed yet. This shows that the compromise policy document produced yesterday was backed by 65% of Tories as better for Britain as opposed to only 12% of Conservatives who would prefer a government programme based on Tory only policies. There’s not much there yet for dissidents to build on.

    The Human Rights polling is only interesting in that the Sun wanted to poll on it. It confirms my suspicion that much of the “scrap the HRA” pressure comes from New International’s worry about an effective privacy law being established based on HRA judgments. I suspect the public are less fussed.

    There’s no VI figures in this rather diffuse set of polls, though the weighted figures on the Party Attitudes imply Con 34%, Lab 27%, Lib Dems 22%, others/dks 18% (like AW I speet on your 100% polls). Interestingly the Con sample was the most weighted up – Shy Tories already?

  4. Thomas Widmann/ James L

    Obama began with approval ratings in the 60%s

    If I am not mistaken Brown and Geroge Bush finished with approval ratings in the 30%s

    It all depends if you view 43% as being closer to the former or latter?

    It all depends if you view 43% as likely to rise or fall?

    It will fall to 30%s very soon. Post budget in all probablitiy.

    Now if I had told you that David Cameron’s administration would have approval ratings akin to George Bush within two months of taking power, how would you have reacted?

    Blueys are finished before they have even begun.

  5. @ BT Says

    I’m not in disagreement with the logic, but completely disagreement with your assumptions.

    Although economists tend to manipulate multiplicators, they do exist and the effect of 6 billion is much bigger because of this (not to mention that actually the last Labour budget contained cuts).

    The whole question is on a small word in your post: “practically”. It may also contradict to your last sentence. There are many people in the UK, who are at the wall, so they won’t take your suggestions very kindly. Depending on the interpretation of “practically” and “reassure” it could be very mild, barely noticable, or suspension of the habeas corpus and using the army (instead of the police) – I don’t know how the army would take to this. So, it will be a compromise, whatever happens – the questions are: on what principles and at what levels.

    As I mentioned earlier – there is absolutely no data that shows that business wants to do business (I don’t blame them) or growth (data may even suggest the opposite).

    There has not been a proper discussion about the debt and debt burden during the election campaign or since. There are too many different opinions (political, expert and lay – and sometimes the latter is the better) and many different scenarios (for example, it is not discussed at all that the structure of the UK public debt by maturity is extremely good – except for a collapse, it’s unlikely that the UK government would have difficulties with financing. Now, I’m not convinced that with suddenly going back to recession would not change that. However, I agree that the government should show that it listens to the markets – but that’s it.)

  6. BT says…

    Did You know that Ken Clarke handed over the reins of the chancellor’s post with debt of c.£400bn?

    surely you do not want rid of all debt?

  7. @Woodman

    “I may be wrong but I don’t get the feeling of any groundswell of support for this idea. I don’t hear people on the street saying “ooh, yes,let’s elect our police chief”. I do hear people on the street saying “oh yes, let’s get fair votes for Westminster now”.”

    Personally I’m surprised you’re hearing either.

    Most of us are a lot more interested in getting the economy back on track – I often hear people worried about the deficit and its impact on the country’s economy.

    But tinkering with the voting system I just don’t believe has the momentum behind it that politicos on this site think it has.

    Even the fact that a company does a poll on it and more people want to change it than keep as is doesn’t mean it’s high on their agenda, or even on their agenda at all.

  8. @Eoin
    Blueys are finished before they have even begun

    Tis wishful thinking,

    The coalition starts from a low base so it won’t crash and burn, and the sense of disappointment both in America and Europe over Obama having to be first and foremost Paresident of the USA is far deeper and hurtful than anyone who thinks DC is not as good as they thought he was in three months time…….
    and by then maybe the realisation that LAB actually lost the last election fair and square will hit home when Diane Abbott is giving her first leaders conference speech

  9. @ Roger Mexico

    Thank you.

    So does it suggest that apart from strong party affiliation the general public is rather indifferent (resigned?)? Could result in a major shift in either directlion depending on the outcomes of the next month or so.

  10. Re “elected police chiefs” if you look at the Coalition Programme its actually much more ambiguous:

    “We will introduce measures to make the police more accountable through oversight by a directly elected individual, who will be subject to strict checks and balances by locally elected representatives”

    Now this sounds to me more like a elected Head of the Police Board or maybe Police Ombudsman than it does a Chief Constable. It’s oversight not operational. I’m surprised more people haven’t picked this up.

  11. EOIN 3.36

    Aren’t we allowed a little poetic licence when debating?

    3.29 “Obama began with approval ratings in the 60%s

    If I am not mistaken Brown and Geroge Bush finished with approval ratings in the 30%s

    It all depends if you view 43% as being closer to the former or latter?

    It all depends if you view 43% as likely to rise or fall?

    It will fall to 30%s very soon. Post budget in all probablitiy.”

    I agree – but unlike you I don’t think it means blueys are finished. When the economy recovers, their part will be acknowledged and they will recover in the polls.

    Whether they stay there by the next election time is another question.

  12. @ BT says – Personally I’m surprised you’re hearing either

    Well we’re frequenting different streets obviously.

    There is strong momentum behind Take Back Parliament a nationwide movement that has only begun since the election.

    Of course people are worried about their jobs, I wasn’t suggesting otherwise, but it doesn’t stop them also being concerned about their representation in securing them.

  13. @ BT Says

    I don’t think either that the blues are finished.

    However, I really don’t see how the private economy recovers without substantial state support (maybe if the pound goes under 1 euro, but then inflation will be a massive problem). The people chosen as Business Secretary and the Chancellor do not fill me with confidence…

  14. @ Roger Mexico

    In her speech on Wednesday Teresa May made it quite clear to the police fed conference that it was going to effect Chief Constables the most, and the elected element will decide/ feedback on what local priorities should be as passed on by the voters.

    So if the Chief Constable wants to prioritise Industrial espinioage in Rural Wales the locals can through their elected police bod demand that he concentrate on sheep rustling instea

  15. @ Laszlo

    I get the impression that there’s a general feeling of good will towards the Coalition (even 20% of Labour voters approve with a further 40% undecided), supplemented with a certain caution. As you say it’s early days.

    One extra indicator in the most recent poll is a slight but definite increase in people’s estimate of how long the Coalition will last.

  16. @ Eoin – it doesn’t “depend” on anything. If the Coalition holds together, there won’t be another general election for 5 years. Of course the polls are going to move around in that time. You’re setting up a straw man – the idea that anyone imagines that there’ll be some sort of non-stop lurrrrrve for the Coalition for 5 years. I doubt there’s a single sane person in the country who imagines such a thing. If the Coalition holds, my guess is there will indeed be a dip in support as cuts bite, and a post-cut rise again if the economy starts to improve.

    A lot of people have described this as a good election to lose and one can certainly see why. But, on the other hand, it could also be one hell of a proving ground – if Cameron pulls it off, he’ll enter the pantheon of great PMs. High stakes, but the Tories have never struck me as very risk averse.

    So far the polls show that most voters are either supportive or at least open-minded towards the Coalition. This isn’t only a reflection on the two parties involved but also on the highly unusual (in terms of a UK govt) event of a coalition govt of any hue. The latter is will be perhaps the most interesting thing to monitor, since it is likely to affect many people’s opinions about the viability of PR.

  17. @ Roger Mexico

    Thanks. That really IS ambiguous!
    So an elected chief of some kind backed by another new elected body? Or is that just the local Council?

  18. Before the election DC and NC had approval ratings of 50%+

    Immediately following the coalitions one poll recorded a 62% support for it

    43% support for the coaltion and some favourability ratings for Clegg and Cameron already in the 30s leaves them in a very vulnerable position indeed

  19. @Laszlo

    “However, I really don’t see how the private economy recovers without substantial state support (maybe if the pound goes under 1 euro, but then inflation will be a massive problem).”

    If the pound goes below 1 euro, this business goes under! We import a fair bit here.

    I agree a reduction in red tape and taxes for SMEs would be most welcome though.

  20. @ Roger Mexico

    That’s interesting. So the real question is not really the figures but the assumptions, beliefs of people behind these figures…

  21. James,

    It is good for you that you seem to believe what you are saying. A healthy dose of conviction is to be admired.

    I share a similar conviction and belief :)

    43% pre-budget is likely to be c.36% post budget

    and then one of my favourite songs comes to mind….. ‘down down down down’ :) :)

    With Labour already up 5% they will be touching 40% at xmas….

  22. @ CLIFF & ALEC

    RE: PFI

    What Osbourne appears to want to do re PFI is to bring Contingent Liabilities into the UK Balance Sheet.

    Let’s be clear – if that practise was followed by Private Sector companies, there would likely not be a solvent UK Bank or Financial Institution!

    My guess, he is doing this so that when a PFI contract satifactorily concludes, as most will over the coming 5 years, he can remove it from the ‘artificially inflated’ debt figure & claim he has reduced UK debt.

  23. @ Eoin (again!) – vulnerable to what?

    You keep insisting that a) these results are dire (they’re nothing of the sort) and b) they’ll have some terrible consequence for the Coalition. What consequence, given that there isn’t a general election on the horizon for years?

    Are evil goblins going to take out Cameron if his approval ratings don’t reach the level you think required to avert evil goblin repercussions?

  24. @ BT Says

    A second devaluation would have rather varied result in the UK economy – some businesses would benefit from it (not only exporters), some would be wiped out – if there is not enough transitional period. The real problem would be inflation. I also don’t think that the rest of the EU would tolerate a second devaluation of the pound.

    The coalition agreement gave pledges only on headline corporate taxation. It does not mean much…

    I am more concerned about the fate of clusters of SMEs, than individual SMEs.

  25. The Guardian today gives 76 (Con) ministerial + 92 backbenchers supportive, with 118 backbenchers against the 1922 Committee reforms.

  26. @ Amber Star

    Very good point. There is no doubt that he wants to manipulate government financial statistics. The Office of Dodging Budget Responsibility (TM by Amber Star) could be part of it…

  27. Eoin

    You’re not really comparing like with like (as you know full well ;) ). Approval ratings of party leaders are always higher than of Prime Minister. You can think someone good for their party, but hate what that party stands for. Or you might be pleased with someone’s party leadership because they’re so bad they’ll never get elected. :)

    And there’s still very high don’t knows at the moment. If people were honest it probably ought to be about 95%.

  28. @Amber Star

    I can say you are right in your assertion of what GO will do and claim, but its not smoke and mirrors, as potentially all the possible debt is still debt.

    My business runs on the basis of people owing me money for months before paying, now I know most if not all will pay, but as a contigency I have to show it as not realised until it actually comes in, and that is how the UK has to view all PFI contracts.

    Also the taxpayers money to the banks is counted as a whole, we are all in for 9k each, which is not realised in our day to day living or take home pay, but if all banks failed thats our liability,….refer you to the situation in Greece.


    …..with 118 backbenchers against the 1922 Committee reforms.
    The rise of the ‘evil goblins’ begins… ;-)

  30. @ Cliff

    The UK government finance is quite unique because of the treatment of current revenue and expenditure flows, extra-budgetary funds, borrowing. Budget headline figures don’t give the picture, so it’s appropriate for manipulation.

    PFI is really tricky from economic (rather than accounting) point of view, because it has to be assessed case by case (very much as a bank assesses its credit portfolio). You can argue in different ways how it should appear in the books.

  31. Amber Star

    ‘Thou art mortal Ceasar’ (reported comment of one backbencher).

  32. @Laszlo

    Again I agree with your conclusion

    May I also say that my contributions are always with how the voters will respond in mind, thus tenously keeping the polling link.

    The PFI figures will be simplified as you say,however just as the 3 million unemployed figure under Maggie did not explain the complex reasons of why it happened, it will be that figure that will get into the public psyche

    I always remember what my philosophy tutor said, Hitler’s Germany didn’t happen because the argument was too difficult to understand

  33. @ CLIFF

    RE: Your business – It is standard accounting practise (SAP) not to recognise revenue until it is realised.

    RE: PFI – It definitely is not SAP to include contingent liabilities on the balance sheet; & Osbourne doing this ought to be resisted by the Private Sector, PFI, companies.

    Osbourne is effectively saying these Private Sector companies will soon be bankrupt or otherwise unable to complete their side of the contract! That is the implication of turning guarantees into liabilities.

    Were I a CFO of one of these contracting companies, I would be extremely unhappy about Osborne’s plan. It would throw doubt on the viability of my company.

    As a CFO, the only way that Osbourne could get this past me, would be by allowing my company to terminate an onerous contract without cause.

    Therefore, I can see only 2 reasons for Osborne doing this:
    1. He plans to allow the contracts to be terminated without cause, thereby doing the private sector a huge favour at the public expense; or
    2. It IS smoke & mirrors.

  34. James Ludlow

    evil goblin repercussions

    Do you mean voters?

    If approval ratings dip considerably expect back bench revolts, leadership challenges and coalition breakdown..

    Does John Redwood constitue an evil goblin? He does have rather pointy ears.

  35. @Roger M,

    Very true :)

  36. @Amber Star – I think that hits the nail on the head. Effectively it’s a contract to spend a lease payment over an agreed period. The position of public sector pensions is alittle more complex, but what usually happens here is that commentators talk of £XXB of pension commitments, whereas these are nearly always the total liabilities rather than the annual requirements which are actually very modest and servicable with some minor adjustments.

    In terms of the debate between Eoin and James L about relative poll ratings, I think the picture is quite middling. Labour didn’t implode, have begun the process of rebuilding at local level, and should take heart that they did not fall victim to the threaten crush between the SNP in Scotland and the Tories everywhere else. London in particular was much better than expected for them, and a post coalition boost does mean that while they have clearly got to address their mistakes, they are still right in the game and should not entertain the rather dafter notions of a generation in opposition.

    Cameron is also doing well, although the LDs will be a little worried. A Tory front bencher has told journalists that the tactic is to ‘fix the new [constituency] boundaries and gobble them [LD’s] up at the next election’. So far they are on track. I am sure Labour (and the LDs) will mount vigorous local campaigns as part of the boundary proposals, as it was their success in presenting ccoordinated and well organised responses to Boundary Commission proposals last time around when the Tories were in disarray that help swing some of the changes a little more their way. I’m also pretty sure that the Lib Dems in government will try to delay major changes if they possibly can.

    I would posite that the key questions (apart from the general mid term blues which could be pretty acute this time around) will be what impact a falling Lib Dem vote will have at the next election – ie will labour be seen as the only party of oppostion? and what happens to the Tory right.

    One thing Cameron has done spectacularly is alienate large sections of his own parliamentary party. ‘Hate’ is a word now being briefed by a number of backbenchers, which is frankly a remarkable achievement for the new PM. While cameron can balance this against the Lib Dems for now, any party with significant splits stands to lose votes.

  37. @James

    Permission to bother your ‘evil goblin’ analogy?

    I’ve already stole one from woodsman but I could patent evil goblins in Russian Doll format…

    David D

    open him to reveal

    John R

    open him to reveal

    ahem I’ll stop

  38. @ Cliff

    Yes, I can see that it could be sold in different ways to the public (after all Labour could not say that we want to build a number of things, but we don’t dare to increase your income tax, so we spread the cost and hope that the economy will be OK). I’m not sure if the pro OB propaganda is so easy to engrave in people’s mind, but I can see that it could happen what you are saying (how many people knew that their employer got subsidy for firing them in a number of industries in the 1980s). And yes, it could affect polling… Huh, I managed to become an undecided… :-)

    @ Amber Star

    There is such an amount of vested interest in and against PFI crossing many sectors that I cannot see your first option happening if they dare, it could burry the government. Second is more likely.

  39. @ Laszlo

    I am as concerned as you about the idea that the public sector will be cut & the private sector will soak up the unemployed & grow enough to off-set the fall in GDP.

    I agree, there is no evidence of any private sector intention to make any significant investment, or go for growth anywhere in Europe (including the UK), in the coming 5 years.

    I am extremely concerned. :-(

  40. @ Eoin

    I agree – some underestimate the dynamics of the processes. Legitimacy could become a major issue (of course, not in constitutional terms) if poll ratings suffer. It will be used by everybody, making the life of the coalition impossible.

    On the other hand, it may just not happen because of the same dynamics.

    Polls will be important (whether we compare like for like or not).

  41. @Amber Star

    It doesn’t really have anything to do with individual PFI contracts, it is the total exposure that will be announced, remember they are charging us for running these places on our behalf, so they aren’t exposed like a normal supply and demand business.

    Take a community project ‘company’ in Yorkshire had a contract with us to provide training for the unemployed, it was parttly council funded, when the council pulled the plug on them they had to renege on the contract unless the shortfall was picked up, so we had to pick it up to get our trainees through the course.
    The exposure was on our budget even though we opted not to take on the final year of the contract, but we had to show until that decision was made that we were in for another years cash.

    Just like when we underspent we had to send the money back to the treasury so they could allocate it out to us the next year and count it as expenditure in both years, its not what but whats intended that counts in Govt.

    It will be like the EU, where the accounts have not been signed off by auditors for 14 years in a row, but still the money is paid in, and the EU business gets done, and no one has any real idea of who owes what to whom and what for, particularly the average voter.

    But when Nigel Farrage tells them how much it costs the UK in membeship

  42. @ CLIFF

    We are about to descend into nit picking that the public at large are unlikely to understand :-)

    But… Osbourne can ‘announce’ what he perceives the liability to be & talk about it as much as he likes.

    He cannot add it to the PSBS without going against GAAP (Generally accepted accounting principles).

    Therefore, it most likely IS smoke & mirrors.

    It may be a very successful ‘trick’ that has the desired impact on voters; then again, it might not. 8-)

  43. @ Cliff

    Yes, this is one way to show it in the account. The other way the government could address it by having risk provision/guarantee/hedging insurance – hence you could reduce the balance sheet impact.

    Since we dug in this. There are further implications – these investment projects are off-balance sheet currently. Fine (whether bringing it in or not does not matter). But as far as I could see there is no provision for the increased working capital once the investment is activated. Are these already considered “efficiency savings”? All these could have a major effect (this is one of the reasons why “efficiency savings” end up as cut (as they were intended, but never stated): it makes sense to close down whole units as you save on working capital as well) in future commitment – private businesses make this mistake too, but because of the sheer scale, it could be extremely dangerous in public finance.

  44. @ Eoin – “If approval ratings dip considerably expect back bench revolts, leadership challenges and coalition breakdown”

    Most governments have intermittent back bench revolts. That’s business as usual. As for leadership challenges and coalition meltdown – I very much doubt these would be triggered by anything as ephemeral and predictable as a dip in approvals. There will no doubt be – and indeed already have long been – grumblings about Cameron. But the fact is that he made the Tories electable again after the wilderness years, and unless he seriously and repeatedly screws up, that will buy him a lot of mileage.

    If the Coalition falls apart, it will be because of significant intractable policy differences exacerbated by personality clashes, not because of ratings.

  45. @ Amber Star

    I agree – but wouldn’t it nice to educate the public in financial accounting? (there is a Brasilian company, ok, it’s quite unique, where every employee is sent on a basic course of reading financial statements)

    The UK public finance accounting does not follow GAAP (I am a bit hesitant, but add: for good).

    But I think you are right: smoke and mirrors. Can they sell it to the public? Cliff’s example of the perception of EU financial accounting sounds rather convincing…

  46. @ Laszlo

    Yes, I probably should’ve said fundamental accounting principles, rather than GAAP.

  47. @ James Ludlow

    The weakest point of the coalition is not theTory Party (what you wrote about upheavals, I fully agree and it’s almost a modus operandi for the conservatives and a rather effective one), but the LibDems. Half of their parliamentary party is in the coalition government.

    Their financial problems are big (there is a general quietness about that Newsnight report of demanding some money for financing expertise as if they were an opposition party) and could be bigger by loosing a lot of councils in England, Scotland and Wales. The conservatives could bail them out, though I don’t think it would go down well if it is leaked.

    That could come to a breaking of the LibDem party, legitimacy is raised (parties have no constitutional function in the UK), threat of popular vote against the coalition, etc. Such things could potentially put things in motion.

    But, of course, it’s possible that none of these happen to any degree.

  48. James L

    Gordon Brown faced three coup attempts..

    LD’s have had coups galore at the carnival store in recent years

    Tony Blair was removed in a silent coup

    Margaret Thatcher was removed via coup…

    If history shows anything it is that it is just as likely to go mid-term as it is imediately following an election…

  49. @James Ludlow,

    “Most governments have intermittent back bench revolts. That’s business as usual. As for leadership challenges and coalition meltdown – I very much doubt these would be triggered by anything as ephemeral and predictable as a dip in approvals. There will no doubt be – and indeed already have long been – grumblings about Cameron. But the fact is that he made the Tories electable again after the wilderness years, and unless he seriously and repeatedly screws up, that will buy him a lot of mileage.

    If the Coalition falls apart, it will be because of significant intractable policy differences exacerbated by personality clashes, not because of ratings.”

    I totally agree. As a Tory, I can honestly say that I am not one bit worried about polls or approval ratings in the next few years. I fully expect this government to be very unpopular very soon, but that’s the nature of most governments. That’s the joy of being the ruling party – you don’t generally have to over-concern yourself with opinion polls until close to a GE.

    Don’t forget Labour were 20% in the polls just a short few years ago, with GB getting very low approval ratings. They managed to recover somewhat, avoid a GE and a Tory majority. The simple fact is that it would take a very major capitulation of some kind for this coalition not to last the full 5 years. 8-)

  50. @ Eoin – ummmm

    Gordon Brown was almost the most unpopular PM in history but still clung on to within a month of the last possible election date at the end of a 5 year Labour term

    Tony Blair survived for 10 years

    Margaret Thatcher survived for 11 years

    If Cameron can manage as long as the latter two, I should think he’ll be well happy!

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