YouGov’s post-budget poll for the Sun shows a broadly positive reception. Overall 57% think Osborne made the right decisions for the country as a whole, with 23% thinking he made the wrong decisions. 42% think he made the right decisions for them, 33% the wrong ones. Overall government approval is up since before the budget, from 41% at the start of the week to 46% now. Headline voting intention stands at CON 42%, LAB 34%, LDEM 17%.

In YouGov’s pre-budget poll the two obvious concerns for the government were that the public were evenly split on whether the cuts would be fair or unfair (34% thought it would be fair, 35% unfair), and whether they would push the country back into recession or not (40% thought it might). Osborne seems to have made progress with swinging public opinion behind him on both counts. The proportion of people thinking that the deficit will be reduced in a fair way has risen 11 points to 45%, the proportion of people who think cutting the deficit now might put the country back into recession is down to 33%. Overall 50% thought that the budget was fair, compared to 27% who thought it was unfair.

Asking about the specific measures, all but one measure met with the support of a plurality of respondents, with the most popular measures being the rise in personal allowance on income tax and the tax on the banks. Reducing tax credits for families earning over £40k, limiting housing benefit, increasing capital gains tax, restoring the earnings link and helping councils freeze council tax all met with overwhelming support. Support for increasing the pension age to 66, reducing corporation tax and (slightly surprisingly) scrapping the planned increase in tax on cider all met with lukewarm support. The only measure that was opposed by a majority of respondents was the VAT increase – this was supported by 34%, and opposed by 54%.

Despite the overall approval of the budget, people were actually very pessimistic about its short term effects. Optimism about people’s own financial situation over the next 12 months has fallen, with a net optimism falling from minus 43 before the budget to minus 48 now. 55% of respondents said they thought the budget would increase unemployment in the next year or two (19% disagree) and 44% think it will increase poverty (32% disagree).

52% of respondents thought that the Liberal Democrats were right to back the budget, this included 69% of their own voters. 17% of Lib Dem voters thought that they were wrong to do so.

Finally YouGov asked if people thought the economy would be run better if Labour had been in power instead, or if the Conservatives had obtained an overall majority. In both cases people expected the economy would have been run worse, and found the same when asked if Labour or Conservative governments would have looked after the poorer better, or would have better helped people like the respondent. Notably Labour supporters overwhelmingly thought that the Conservatives alone would have been doing a worse job, perhaps suggesting that the Liberal Democrats will be able to sell a narrative that they have tempered a Conservative government (in fact, even 22% of Conservative supporters thought that the Conservatives alone would not have been as good at protecting the poorest in society).

The poll was conducted between Tuesday evening and Wednesday afternoon, so not quite as rapid as some of the instant reaction polls we’ve seen after budgets in the past. All the same, at past budgets we have sometimes seen bad news from the budget emerge in the days that follow, which could alter the public’s reaction. The initial response, however, seems to be that people see the budget as pointing to hard times ahead, but are broadly supportive of it.


281 Responses to “YouGov’s post budget poll”

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  1. “We also have a problem with travelling people of various kinds setting up camp in chaotic conditions, excrement all the rest of it. I have just returned from meeting 180 of my very angry constituents. Our permanent travellers site is full … and it relies entirely on HB.
    As I say Osbourne etc don’t seem to understand any of this.”

    Perhaps he “understands” it only too well?

    Do I understand you to say that “travellers” sites are funded with HB ?

  2. @Eoin – “Cameron thus far has impressed with his understated style of leadership.”

    Nick Robinson’s blog (under New Kid on the Block) about downplaying expectations.
    The blog entry is significantly toned down from the report he gave on radio this morning which gave the impression that DC relies exclusively on briefing documents and is more concerned with appearing fresh as a daisy; compared to the previous PM, who was very much immersed in the detail and burdened by a global sense of responsibility.
    I have fears that ‘understated’ may at times even prove be a euphemism for blase or complacent.

  3. @Colin
    Yes I knew what I was saying here would rightly provoke. The legal position is that councils must provide sites. In our case and I suspect in most others the official sites for which councils charge are filled by travellers many of them old who no longer move. They are charged in our case about £70 /week which is mostly paid by HB. If there was no HB or even it was reduced the council would have to …do what? Evict? In which case where would they go? Come to the council? I am not supporting the current situation but pointing to the complications

  4. BILLY BOB

    “compared to the previous PM, who was very much immersed in the detail and burdened by a global sense of responsibility.”

    Are you sure you have not missed the image NR was actually trying to convey ?

    Let me help you -this is what he wrote :-

    “On the plane to a summit Brown would insist that world leaders had to do better and would soon be surrounded by a pile of briefing papers covered in his barely-legible scrawl in black felt tip.

    Officials would spend the entire journey working on Gordon’s latest plan to save the world. He would then come to the back of the plane to tell journalists of the pressing need to reform of the UN, IMF, G8 and G20 and any other global institutions he could think of.

    The hacks would listen, engage a little before realising that this would be of almost no interest to their news desks or that they’d written this before and that reform had proved a tad elusive.”

  5. Billy Bob
    Could “understated” become this generation’s euphamism like “tired and emotional”? Will Cameron become our Reagan, spending many a sleeples afternoon worrying about our problems. Mind you we now look to Reagan as an intellectual compared to what followed

  6. BARNEY

    “I am not supporting the current situation but pointing to the complications”

    Oh I’m sure there are complications.

    That’s what councils are elected to sort out-…..hence the anger you described perhaps.

    That’s what (some of us) have elected GO & his colleagues to do too.

    Maybe not shelling out HB to any old bunch of drifters who fancy an easy life in a mobile home, whilst the rest of us earn our living , or rely on the pension we paid for during a working life-is one of the things we want sorted out?

    Maybe we aren’t too interested in the “complications” it causes for officials who are paid to sort it out-or politicians who are elected to do so.

  7. @Colin

    I am begining to see Cameron as little more than a spokesperson. Perhaps he is good at delegation, but I see little imput from him in terms of policy. Understatement and lowered expectations for the UK’s place in the world.
    When under pressure he resorts to tired Blairisms (his model and ambition in all things) ;) At PMQs he has even taken to mimicing Brown as PM!

  8. Colin
    This is the big question underlying much of the postings since the budget. Perhaps you are right that Cameron really does mean what the figures say. The test will be if he moves to remove the mass of statutory obligations bearing down on local government and shrugs off the human rights cases etc.
    Most commentators can’t believe this. It was after all M Thatcher who started the HB ball rolling to smooth the social crisis of her policies.
    If he does mean it, we must hold on to our hats
    If he stops the cash flow but keeps the statutory requirements then I think he will have a problem in local elections, in attracting Cons and, god help us LD candidates. In other countries local council positions are often un-filled

  9. @Colin – don’t go all huffy Colin. As you know, I was very keen to boost exports, but all I said was that while the coalition has said the problems in Eurozone mean we have to cut faster, they’ve ignored the fact that this also means export growth on which they depend will be much slower and China can’t take up the slack. Like any good politician, they’re trying to have it both ways. They are taking a big risk, but I for one hope it works.

    @Barney (& Colin) – HB is one of those welfare issues that is a real problem. A simple cuts approach leaves the risk of homelessness, while not enforcing some kind of discipline and responsibility onto claimants gives us the benefits trap and is ultimately bad for the recipients.

    I don’t pretend to understand how the system works or what should be done, but I did ponder on here the other day about a benefits system that differentiates claimants depending on which way they are travelling through the system. Those going from benefits into work get to keep a decent proportion of benefits/tax credits for a suitable period to ensure there is always motivation to stat work or increase hours. Those coming out of work and into benefits get less, but can keep more of it if they start working.

    It means there would be no standard entitlement to any given level of benefit payments, but I can’t think up any other ideas.

  10. @ Barney Crockett

    “tired and emotional” :)

    Old tories have a very good expression to describe certain people… ‘so and so has no bottom’. I remember hearing this phase as a youngster and not really understanding what it meant.

    One commentator, I forget who, warned about the danger of electing ’empty’ politicians. (“compared to what followed”) The danger is that they become siezed, or filled by something that they are not equal to once in office.

  11. amber star & sue

    from amber
    “The coalition government is rethinking plans to introduce an immigration cap – a flagship Conservative policy during the election campaign – amid fears that it could damage the economy, it was reported today.

    The home secretary, Theresa May, will begin consultation with businesses on the policy next week.”

    from sue
    Before the election, I read an interesting article about Tory plans for Foreign Aid.
    Though ring fenced, the money would be used instead to train a “help workforce” of engineers, nurses, doctors, plumbers, builders etc to bring more expertise to rebuilding/building war torn or poverty stricken areas.

    I thought it rather a good idea, but have heard no more. Has anyone else?

    these two things are linked

    a lot of the third world is fed up of wasting money on training the professional people they need only to see them poached by richer countries, some european countries send out recruiting teams looking for health staff just to replace staff being poached by the us. this of course could easily develop into a race to the bottom, with no one prepared to train or educate for fear that their investment will just get pinched

    øf course it does make sense to spend money training people in Africa rather than the UK, 100 African plumbers for the same price as one british

  12. Apparently nice Vince Cable was very upset by Ed Balls’ attack on Question Time- for being a tory stooge

    A shape of things to come for the Whigs?

  13. alex

    universal benefits are the way forward, but they have to be introduced by the tories. “not possible” i hear you say and i would almost agree, but think about this; no adverse effects on the market, no army of public sector workers to administer the system(they could all get productive jobs instead), no double whammy of falling tax receipts and rising welfare costs(one side of the equation would be constant) and a certain amount of freedom to choose the work/education/family balance that is best for each individual at whatever stage of life they might be

    to me this sounds like a conservative policy

  14. Richard in Norway
    Does Norway pay universal benefits and if it did would you expect to get them?
    The big problem in Britain would surely be deciding on who would qualify …..which would mean bureaucracy?

  15. about neoliberalism being a religion

    i have all my religious books on the one shelf, such as the bible, capital, the Koran, the wealth of nations and the i ching among many others

  16. barney crockett

    no norway does not have a universal system but the system they have is quite good, last year i was laid off for four months during that time i received 70% of average earnings from the previous year, plus i was allowed to work up to 40% without losing the whole benefit (the state didn’t pay me for the days i worked). you can claim this benefit for 12 months after that i don’t know what happens

    i only advocate universal benefits for the UK because i conceive them as being a tory thing. i’m really not thinking about decent living wage type thing. but having been on the dole in the UK i can say that the most annoying and dis empowering thing about it was the multitude of catch 22 situations and the feeling that “they” wanted to give you as little as possible and make you grovel for every last cent; totally soul destroying, not to be recommended

    as for who would get a univeril benifit thats easy; every one from the age of 18 onwards no bureaucracy needed. ok there would be some problems which would need sorting out but i belive that such a system would employ less than 5% than the present system

    byproducts could include ;single mothers choosing to live together to share housing costs and child care, more homeless people, people free to work part time and pursue education and many more just use your imagination. but not all of the results would be good

  17. @Richard in Norway – your idea formed the basis of the Ecology Party’s (pre Greens) manifesto in 1983, so it’s been around for a while. The idea was that every adult gets a flat rate payment equivalent to the dole/basic pension/disability allowance etc.

    You get to keep this however much you choose to earn, but from memory I seen to recall the plan was for no tax free allowance so you started paying tax on anything you earned and the tax rates and thresholds would be tailored to recoup the costs, especially higher up the scale.

    In admin terms it would certainly be cheap to run, and it also has benefits in terms of reducing fraud. It gives everyone a stake in the welfare system and creates an environment where people can have greater freedom to choose how much or little paid work they wish to do.

    No doubt there are major problems with the idea, but then we know there are major problems with the current system.

  18. BillyB,

    a fair point when one contrasts him with Brown. I was contrasting him with his perceived heir.

    His television outings have thus far been with the Oasis brothers or Bono. His villa outings or club class travel to sunny destinations have also been minimal. Let’s hope both continue….

  19. @Eoin

    He seems to have jumped in with both feet on to Obama’s most sensitive policy issue with his remarks on Afganistan (UK envoy seems to have resigned out of loyalty to D Milliband’s nuanced and behind the scenes diplomacy). It looks like inexpirience and bluster to introduce added tension before the first meeting with a US President who already feels left in the lurch by the about face on matters economic .

  20. @ ALEC

    “Those going from benefits into work get to keep a decent proportion of benefits/tax credits for a suitable period to ensure there is always motivation to stat work or increase hours. Those coming out of work and into benefits get less, but can keep more of it if they start working. ”

    Alec-yes absolutely-it is blindingly obvious.

    On a tv forum with NR, DC & NC were taken to task about the benefits trap by a “hard working ” indfividual complaining about others.

    DC said-in terms-that they intend to introduce the system you outline. It is being “looked at”.

    Lets hope it actually emerges. I can’t see how any “welfare to work” reform can be effective without this component.

  21. @ BARNEY

    “The test will be if he moves to remove the mass of statutory obligations bearing down on local government”

    Yes-that seems a fair comment. I hope you get that.

  22. Gruniad have tables of stats on public spending and taxes.

    h ttp://www.guardian.co.uk/

    These show that the average public spend as % of GDP was 43.5 during 1979-1997 and 40.0 during 1997-2010.

    Taxes during both reigns were very close to 35% of GPD.

  23. @ BILLY BOB

    “I am begining to see Cameron as little more than a spokesperson. Perhaps he is good at delegation, but I see little imput from him in terms of policy. Understatement and lowered expectations for the UK’s place in the world.”

    I think you may be suffering withdrawal symptoms.

    You just have to forget the Brown model-Micro managing , restless tinkering, ideological, poor delegation, process obsessed , overblown sense of self importance , desperate to be seen to be “doing something”.

    Cameron is pretty much the antithesis of all these things:-

    Chairman rather than CEO , team leader & delegator,pragmatic, focussed on outcomes(1) not process , self deprecatory, desperate to achieve something .(2)

    In Canada he has :
    (1) Criticised failure to follow up on the Gleneagles commitments.

    (2) Said he would swap 10 years as a PM trying & failing ( a la TB !) for 5 years as a radical transformative PM.

  24. CHRIS LANE and COLIN

    A lot of Lib Dem MPs are going to get fed up with being called Tory stooges quite quickly. Recent Dave and Nick events on the TV have been very tellng with Dave rather patronisingly pointing out the odd policy concession here and there. Tory plans are clearly to string along the Lib Dems for as long as possible and try and implement as much Tory policy as possible whilst the coalition lasts.

    As for the statesmanlike qualities of DC, i am yet to be convinced and so far he strikes me as Blair-lite which is saying something.

  25. Billy Bob:

    … ’so and so has no bottom’.

    TB and all who are part of the PR/Media/Entertainment/politics elite. At the time, I thought Harold Macmillan was an old fuddy-duddy, but any of the generation who fought in the war had something lacking in the DC/NC/whoever pretty boys w have now.

  26. Colin
    Yes I thought we would agree on that
    Richard in Norway
    “everyone over 18”
    My point was who is everyone? Britain has a very fluid population. Does everyone include for example anyone coming from Ireland, the Polishworker laid off, a new arrival from Slovakia?
    Could people claim it who no longer live in the uk but on the Costas, in Ireland or in Bielystok?
    I think these considerations will be-devil any reform of the type you suggest

  27. DavidB/Billy Bob:

    TB lite, or Clem Atlee with modern technology?

    One of you is right, but though there are some pointers in each direction we don’t have enough evidence yet.

    That he could describe himself as “heir to Blair” is deeply worrying, not least in relatin to his competence in his former career in PR.

  28. The predictability of certain posts is laughable. Those who supported the previous government, made excuses for every dollop of bad news/bad government, constantly making light of debt figures which most of us cannot truly comprehend and supported a leadership which was found wanting in the extreme.

    Now, a new song to sing. A new administration, different ideas and a huge clean up job which involves saving a great deal of money.

    The whole reaction is utterly typical, having watched and supported a pyromaniac burning the village down,
    they now critisise the Fire Brigade’s methods of trying to prevent the fire spreading through the forest as well.

  29. @DAVID B
    I feel your character assassination of David Cameron is unkind. We know he is a smarmy little tosser who had the temerity to be born into money AND put his name down for Eton, however, it is unrealistic to expect any person to compare with the majestic human being ( a cross between Robert the Bruce and WSL Churchill, with some Einstein thrown in) who preceded Cameron.

  30. Interesting discussion on Housing Benefit, but with no mention of three elephants (if not blue whales) in the room.

    The first is of course the lack of housing in Britain. Over the last three decades a whole range of demographic factors have increased the numbers of dwellings required: general population growth; longer lifespan with the elderly staying in their homes for longer; couples living together earlier (even if marrying later); more students; immigration; greater female autonomy and so on.

    In the same time period, however, the number of properties has rarely matched the increase in need. Lack of development land caused by NIMBYism is the usual reason given, but I suspect the desire of developers to build the only most profitable properties doesn’t help either.

    As a result the number of households is now probably more than the number of dwellings. Now there actually needs to be surplus dwellings (about a million in 1981) to allow for turnover, renovation, holiday homes, local variations etc.

    The result, as ever when demand exceeds supply, is rocketing prices – that we all know. But there’s a nasty political twist to it. Because so many people’s wealth is tied up in property, ever-rising house prices is expected and hoped for by most voters and an indicator of prosperity. If somehow a million or two extra dwellings appeared in the right places, the result would be plummeting prices, cries of economic disaster and mass voter dissatisfaction. So it has become actually in politician’s interests to maintain a housing shortage.

    The second elephant is the lack of control on private rents (I actually typed “privateer” originally – Freud eh). Because market dogma regards effective rent controls with horror, HB has become a reliable cash cow to be milked in certain sectors of the housing market.

    The third elephant is the lack of social housing in particular good old fashioned council housing. I suspect historians regarding the last three decades will be struck by the endless political rhetoric of devolving power, combined with the stripping away of effective power from the locally elected people that already exist – councillors. Historically, for all its faults, council housing provided the efficient and cheaply run solution to alleviate housing problems. For ideological and often snobbish reasons that solution no longer exists and Councils no longer have the powers to help they did. But they still have the responsibilities.

    The truth is British governments have got themselves into a dreadful mess with housing. They can’t go on as they have without increasing HB costs and homelessness. They can’t change things without enormous cost and public anger.

    The chickens are coming home to roost and there ain’t no hen-house.

  31. It seems clear from recent opinion polls that the Tories are benefitting more from the coalition than the LibDems. The LibDem softening of Toryism is making the Tories look like they are not the nasty party they once were.

  32. ROLAND HAINES

    Irony can be very amusing, but I’m afraid you are not very good at it.

  33. How long will these poll results last (the honeymoon)?

    The VAT does not hit until January. Nor do many of the other proposals (including much of Labour’s NI hike) so could it last until next year about, say, March?

    What could unemployment have risen to and will it include more of the voting classes?

  34. Roger Mexico – Fascinating post on housing, thanks.

  35. @ Roger Mexico
    Wonderful post. Great insight. Best analysis I have seen in ages. IMHO both major parties have failed us on housing issues. Not sure what LD policy is / was.

  36. Derek,

    Yes, I agree with that entirely.

    Any softening of royal blue to sky blue which will almost surely be at yellow’s behest will with equal sureity be to yellow’s detriment.

    I see no propsect of the public ever grasping that nuance…

    The question is, how long will it take yellows (if at all) to do something about it?
    _____________________

    Personally, that softening is a comfort. These 5 years could have been a whole lot worse. Am I likely to look more favourably upon yellows? Of course not. Such is life. Politics is a very ruthless game.

  37. Sue and Cozmo

    Thank you kindly. :) Apologies for it being slightly out of sequence, but I started it last night, went mad trying to get comparison figures off the ONS site and didn’t pick it up again till today.

    The more I think about, the more I feel the solution lies with reinvigorated local authorities with money and enforceable targets from the centre. Unfortunately the “gentleman from Whitehall who knows best” hasn’t really gone away. he’s just been replaced by the gentleman from Ernst and Young.

  38. DAVIDB

    “Tory plans are clearly to string along the Lib Dems for as long as possible and try and implement as much Tory policy as possible whilst the coalition lasts.”

    I think you are quite wrong.

    All the evidence is that DC & NC-whether you -or I -like it or not, have found a close meeting of minds & working relationship.

    DC said just recently he hopes to realign British politics-not just manage a short term coalition.

    You may think that is a hopeless aspiration-I might agree with you .After all the LD Old Guard of hasbeens wanted to do it-so did some on the Labour side….and what happened to that?

    But there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever to support what you say.

  39. @Eoin
    The Tories are in a very good position – because any decline in the Lib Dem vote benefits them more than Labour in terms of seats won (about 2:1 ratio) – that is without the redrawing of boundaries which will also help the Tories. I would also suspect that in 2015 Lib Dems will find it easier to squeeze Conservative votes in Lib-Lab contests than they did in 2010. That depends of course on how the coalition ends.
    Cameron has pulled a master stroke – detoxified his brand and occupied the centre ground. Don’t think it is just five years you have to worry about!

  40. Johnty,

    “Cameron has pulled a master stroke”

    100% agreed…
    ________________
    I do not see any Lib ease of squeeze on blues… you must be assuming AV success and reasonable reds giving yellows second preference..

    Reasonable reds will prob look elsewhere to share their second preferences… Although I doubt very strongly if AV will succeed.

  41. @Roger Mexico

    The government did something very quickly to make it easier for councils to refuse brownfield developement (infill of large suburban gardens).

    My limited suggestion to a regional consultation was to preserve some of the old boatyards/canal interchanges in their old functions.
    Allow homeless/jobless or priced-out young people to participate in building their own home. There are large estuary areas which could be populated in temporary and low impact ways.
    A green transport infrastructure is already there (and is being increasingly used in large construction projects). This could be expanded by restoring redundant canals, along with the plans to improve navigability of rivers, which were shelved during the industrial revolution.

  42. @Roger Mexico
    “The more I think about, the more I feel the solution lies with reinvigorated local authorities”
    ————————
    I agree very much. Can’t see it happening though as over the last 30-40 years there has been a steady erosion of powers in town halls. Both major parties to blame in my book. It adds insult to injury that local councils are supposedly being given “more powers” when in truth what they get is more responsibilities ( and hence more blame ) but without the resources to deliver.

    My nephew will soon finish University. He is very much discouraged from applying for jobs in the public sector as he wants a career which will last, at least long enough to pay a mortgage off. I wonder how many more feel the same ?

  43. @Eoin – “softening is a comfort”
    ??
    If it is true that there has been a rightwards drift of the centre over the years, then there is penty of scope for new harshness obscured by less strident stylistic presentation.

  44. @ Roger

    You are right that various demographics have conspired with an appaliing record of new housebuilding to create the situation.
    However the situation is exacerbated by the regional differences due to imbalances in job creation. Some areas have weak housing demand such that the Housing Market Renewal was started 2 years ago. Govt has tried to entice people to move there but this cannot work without serious job creation. It is unappealling to go from a job with no home to a home with no job. Long term we need to address these regional imbalances.
    The simplest way to improve the situation in the short-term with no nimbyism involved is to bring some of the 600k empty properties back into use. Half of these have been empty for over 6 months and over 30k are council owned. Even London and the SE has 70k homes that have been empty for over 6 months.
    Some are empty for good reason such as renovation, planning and probate however any empty over one year have little excuse. Various measures are available to get these homes back into use but the message is very different across the country and even across town.They are sometimes empty because the owner cannot afford to do them up but won’t sell. There are councils that will help with grants on the basis that the houses are leased back to the local authority for a decent period like 10 years at a sub market rent. Keeping people in temporary accommodation is undesirable and very expensive.
    Some are kept empty purely for investment purposes so a financial disincentive should be provided. Council tax can increase after one year in proportion to time vacant. Outright CPOs are available but are expensive and would get a lot of political flak. They are unneccessary if a mix of carrot and stick is used. The govt has announced the removal of some ring-fencing restrictions on council’s use of funds which may give them more flexibility.

  45. BillyB,

    I am simply measuring against what could have been…. Douglas Howe ring any bells?

    With inflation now at 6% ish we are in bad times… VAT at 20% also has some similarities with the past…

    But these are partly tempered by the PTA rise…

    It is not ideal by any stretch of the imagination it is just better than it could have been

    That said, unemployment and recession are sure to follow so my thoughts are commentary of this moment in time… not a statement on 5 years…

  46. @Eoin – I appreciate the measured nature of your analysis, and don’t mean to jump at you. I can’t help living in the past *and* looking into the future. This a staggering reversal of policy that the new government has rushed through, with precious little mandate (even the tory part was not sufficiently cleared with the electorate). I see the LDs as basically in shock, and the tories suffering exhilaration/vertigo. This could be a precipice.

  47. I look at these figures and wish we could have had them before the election.
    Anyway, it could be that this will actually lead to the destruction of the Lib Dems that I would love to see.
    If voters like the government, they might reward the Tories with more support,
    if they don’t, they will support Labour.
    The LDs could lose either way.

  48. I think the LibDems if the situation continues for a couple of years could only choose a fusion with the Conservatives (or becoming a sister party as CSU-CDU), a part of the yellows not following this (or being expelled for breaching the coaliton agreement, voting against the party leadership, etc) will end up in Labour or Green.

  49. I agree with everyone that LD’s would appear to be on a loser either way, whether the Government is a success or otherwise. However this is under FPTP and if Eoin’s gut feeling forecast is wrong and AV referendum is positive, we enter a new ball game, even if the first result under it is not positive for LD’s but Labour recovers, perhaps needing LD’s for support next time. The march towards PR is a long one..

    It is where Labour recovers that will be significant.

  50. @ Éoin

    Under AV, it is not necessary to make a second choice. You can pick Labour or Tory (please don’t) & stop right there!

    LibDems seem to be under the illusion that a second choice is mandatory & this would benefit the Dems. It isn’t, so it wouldn’t. 8-)

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