Tonight’s YouGov voting intention has topline figures of CON 43%, LAB 38%, LDEM 11%. This is the lowest Liberal Democrat level of support recorded since straight before and after the resignation of Menzies Campbell, back in 2007. I’m slightly wary about focusing too much on extremes in polls, almost by definitions they are likely to be outliers, nevertheless, the downwards trend in Lib Dem support is there, slow but relentless.


337 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – 43/38/11”

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  1. Perhaps, the most important questions that arise out of the above are:-

    1) Can the Libs demonstrate good leadership whilst NC is their leader, or;
    2) Is it a party-wide problem (i.e. inability to connect with voters/communicate the party’s message)? and;
    3) Do people like/agree with core Lib values?

  2. If Clegg is now saying that the Dems are not particularly fussed about AV, will the Dems – & some Tory MPs who may lose their seats – join with Labour to defeat the electoral reform bill?

    Might this be the price of CK’s loyalty; that the Dems vote against a bill that will certainly cost them a few safe seats.

    Perhaps those seats didn’t matter when AV seemed popular & the Dems were polling reasonably well; well the landscape has changed. Dems could lose AV & lose about 25% of their safest seats in the MP reduction/ boundary changes.

    If the Dems decided to vote against, could the Green & Nats be persuaded to vote against too? Could they persuade enough Tories to abstain?

    I’d like to see every effort made to block this bill.
    8-)

  3. This ofcourse following on from the Lib Dems disastoruous poll last week for the Welsh Assembly election when they got only 10%.
    It is ofcourse though a long time before any election, so any comments will really not be relevent for 1-4 years times

  4. I’ll use Matt2 as my surname from now on to avoid confusion with Matt who posted at 1.56 am. Unless someone posted this just for a laugh! lol.

  5. @Matt

    You forget that the Liberal Democrat conference is this month.

    Should polling stay this dreadful, or get worse, the implications are concerning for the LibDem leadership. Should the Party Conference go into melt-down, all sorts of things could happen.

    And some of them could result in a snap election.

  6. “It is ofcourse though a long time before any election, so any comments will really not be relevent for 1-4 years times”

    It is relevant though IMO. Granted, not maybe as relevant given how far off the 2015 GE is and how polls change. However, it will concern many Lib Dems that public opinion towards them is so negative.

  7. “@Matt

    You forget that the Liberal Democrat conference is this month.

    Should polling stay this dreadful, or get worse, the implications are concerning for the LibDem leadership. Should the Party Conference go into melt-down, all sorts of things could happen.

    And some of them could result in a snap election.”

    I agree. The other Matt of 1.56 am is ignoring the fact that current opinion does matter for the reasons you have outlined.

  8. Amber

    Way things stand i don’t see there is any likelihood of AV. With Labour supporters as the swing vote there will be too much anti-LibDem sentiment by the time of any referendum for it to pass.

    I’m pro electoral reform (I prefer proportional representation though not AV).

    But I will still vote against just to protest against the Lib Dems stitching up the current coalition, abandoning their principles and not pushing for genuine reform.

    So I guess it would make sense for the Lib Dems to manufacture a way for this referendum to never happen because otherwise it could be quite an embarassing defeat for them and set back electoral reform for a generation.

  9. @Jay Blanc,

    If I were a Lib, I would be quite concerned at the moment. I wouldn’t be all doom and gloom, as many seem to be on here. But I would see the need for good leadership over the coming years. I’m not personally sure that NC can provide this.

  10. As for the short-term, I think the Libs can survive through their current polling figures. It may show widespread dissatisfaction with the Libs, as well as reflect voters’ tendency to punish the smaller coalition partner in polls – but as I said previously, voters are a fickle lot. They will hold the Libs (probably in 2015) to account by a) what the coalition has achieved and b) the Lib leadership/message close to the GE. By then, 2010 polls will largely be consigned to history (though only if the leadership/coalition survives that long, admittedly.)

  11. So, the polls are important in securing the party’s short-term political future. But they will have little, if any, effect on the 2015 GE, if the Libs manage to weather the storm, and the same leadership, as well as the coalition, remain intact.

  12. Matt

    “1) Can the Libs demonstrate good leadership whilst NC is their leader”

    They’re going backward fast – if the Lib Dems are still sinking this time next year then someone will try and throw the captain overboard.

    “2) Is it a party-wide problem (i.e. inability to connect with voters/communicate the party’s message)?”

    Lack of communication is always a problem for Lib Dems between elections – what will matter more is how the votes stack up at local / scottish / welsh and Euro elections when the Lib Dems will have had decent coverage.

    “3) Do people like/agree with core Lib values?”

    This might seem flippant but does anyone know what these core values are anymore?

    I’m a former politics student, and an admittedly very sad political addict, and I have no idea what they stand for as a party anymore.

    Under Paddy, Charles and Ming it was self evident that the Lib Dems had a gentle social democratic agenda. From an ideological standpoint they were soft-left.

    Now they are supporting some very right-wing policies and its difficult to know where the centre of gravity of the Lib Dems is anymore. Its certainly impossible to argue that they are ‘to the left’ of Labour as many people argued say in 2005.

    I know of a number of people who voted for them expressly for the reason that they thought this was the case (many of which now say they will never vote Lib Dem again).

    So I would argue that the biggest problem the Lib Dems has is that no-one actually knows just what they stand for anymore and they will have a hard time convincing people they are truthful about what they say at the next election after abandoning so many of their policies and beliefs this time.

    By the way – does anyone else think Cameron might look at the polls and decide to be tempted to call an election before the fixed term parliament legislation is agreed – the likelihood is that the Lib Dems would be wiped out and the Tories would certainly remain the largest party and possibly get a small majority based on recent polls. Especially as the Lib Dems and Labour would struggle to afford another election so soon.

  13. @Gary,

    “By the way – does anyone else think Cameron might look at the polls and decide to be tempted to call an election before the fixed term parliament legislation is agreed – the likelihood is that the Lib Dems would be wiped out and the Tories would certainly remain the largest party and possibly get a small majority based on recent polls. Especially as the Lib Dems and Labour would struggle to afford another election so soon.”

    The current political set-up is better for the Tories than having a small majority/largest party IMO. Being in a coalition means that the Libs insulate the Tories, to some degree, against a political backlash. Being the smallest partner means they take the worst hit. If the Tories were to govern alone massive cuts would make them more unpopular still. They would take ALL the blame and provide the public with a sole scapegoat in the coming years.

    The numbers also wouldn’t add up. I know the Libs are doing badly in the polls at the mo, but the arithmetic is still pretty sound. A small majority/minority government would be very dodgy for the Tories, especially during a time of massive public spending cuts. Good arithmetic is vital.

    “This might seem flippant but does anyone know what these core values are anymore?”

    I don’t, no. Though, I do think that this is a problem with UK political parties more generally, to be fair.

  14. The problem is that the Libs were saying one thing pre-election, and doing quite another post-election.

  15. Matt

    “So, the polls are important in securing the party’s short-term political future. But they will have little, if any, effect on the 2015 GE, if the Libs manage to weather the storm, and the same leadership, as well as the coalition, remain intact.”

    Hmm – yes and no. Like Dirk Gently I tend to believe in holisticism (the interconnectedness of all things). Or the butterfly effect.

    Anyway if the Lib Dems do appalingly badly now and get rid of their leader then that might have a huge effect on the coalition, the timing of the next election and of course the result.

    All ifs, buts and maybes but i’d be surprised if NC can survive forever if the Lib Dems’ poll ratings continue to dwindle as the unpopular policies start to bite.

    Even if he does survive just how damaged will he be and how damaged will the party be, either in terms of unity or the publics opinion of their effectiveness?

    Remember that probably the single most defining event that shaped the Labour Parties election win in 1997 was the 1992 ERM exit from which the Tories reputation on the economy never recovered.

    The public can have long memories when it suits them and events/opinion along way from an election can still have an influence.

  16. It’s very confusing having two Matts have an argument with each other. Can you at least use your last initials?

  17. Either that or we could all start calling ourselves Matt.

  18. @Gary,

    “Anyway if the Lib Dems do appalingly badly now and get rid of their leader then that might have a huge effect on the coalition, the timing of the next election and of course the result.”

    Yes, which is why I spoke of short-term versus long-term. The polls will only be damaging in the long-term if in the short-term the coalition collapses or they have a change in leadership. Otherwise, the polls of 2010 will not be that relevant to the 2015 GE. In other words, polls this far out are solely for the purpose of a) ascertaining current public opinion, and b) assessing the chances of the coalition/party leadership lasting.

    @Jay,

    “It’s very confusing having two Matts have an argument with each other. Can you at least use your last initials?”

    Might be someone just having a laugh. I’ll see if he posts again. If so, I’ll be Matt2.

  19. As it happens, I personally think the Libs will struggle at the next GE. But I am not yet at the point where I think the party’s (total) demise is guaranteed, as some are suggesting.

  20. @Gary,

    “Hmm – yes and no. Like Dirk Gently I tend to believe in holisticism (the interconnectedness of all things). Or the butterfly effect.”

    I think that’s true to a large degree. A party’s long-term performance depends on its short-term one. However, I add the one stipulation that if the said party does badly in the short-term polls but its leadership/coalition/party survives, then it needn’t necessarily be bad in the long-term.

  21. Anyway, thanks for the discussions everyone. I really ought to be off to sleep now.

  22. Matt

    “In other words, polls this far out are solely for the purpose of a) ascertaining current public opinion, and b) assessing the chances of the coalition/party leadership lasting. ”

    Just to play devils advocate I will also say that in 1984 / 1988 / 1993 / 1998 / 2002 and 2006 the opinion polls could all have been used to predict the next election result. (the party with the largest number of seats)

    I’m not saying that is statistically significant or will mean that next years opinion polls will determine the result of the next election but I think when you see the graphs of public opinion it is difficult to discount long-term trends as a fairly important factor (and often ironing out short term blips).

  23. I have just read the interview with Tony Blair in The Guardian.

    Love or hate him, he still has a level of gravitas that is quite special. Looking at the current scene, no-one from any party comes close to him in terms of Political domination. It may be sometime before we see his like again.

    As someone interested in politics I will be buying the book today. Despite my dislike for Mrs Thatcher, I did buy her book as whichever party you support, it is good to understand the inner workings of the great politicians.

  24. @ Gary

    “Under Paddy, Charles and Ming it was self evident that the Lib Dems had a gentle social democratic agenda.”

    ….which kept them in permanent opposition, as a repositary for protest…….and who kept changing leaders because they kept them in permanent opposition.

    ” From an ideological standpoint they were soft-left. ”

    …..or Not Quite the Labour Party……same problem-same outcome.

    “Its certainly impossible to argue that they are ‘to the left’ of Labour as many people argued say in 2005”

    Question is where do THEY want to be. Presumably they will decide at their Conference.
    To the left of the Labour Party might not be a good strategy if Labour itself moves left.

  25. I didn’t get a chance to see Marjory’s post before it got snipped, I’m sure for good reason. Could someone tell me the gist of it? A lot doesn’t make sense without knowing that!

  26. I don’t think the electorate take kindly to retired leaders of any party criticizing said party in public. IThe English public IMHO don’t like whinging old men.
    IThese figures don’t seem to be mirrored at local council by-elections where the Libs seem to be doing OK , it’s the Tories who are losing seats.

  27. Garry K.

    Just been reading it too-in THe Times.

    Rivetting stuff.

    His analysis of the defeat- the “Keynsian” approach on the deficit, rowing back on supply -side reforms in the public services, failure on welfare reform,higher taxes on income, loss of the business sector support etc etc.
    is absolutely fascinating.

    One is left wondering what would have transpired if he had replaced Brown, and unblocked the resistance to his ideas. He says-a left wing revolt lead by GB. But it might just have been a 2010 New Labour victory.

    Though Blair’s undoubted abilities in communicating, with & charming the public, had worn pretty thin by then.

    I note that he admits to the “neccessity” of lying as a politician-during the NI negotiations particularly.-something he learned from Mandela apparently ( always thought those feet had bits of clay attached).

    Lying to other politicians is one thing-lying to the public is something else entirely.

    Still-he was some politician-still is.

  28. Colin,

    If you scrutines the 2005 anifestos, I would argue yellow is further to the left than red. In fact I ight even speculate that the LD 2005 manifesto was the last socialist manifesto of our age. Where we are all headed how (and the 2010 manifestos) are those murky shallow torquoise waters that sharks enjoy basquing in.

    That is unless we are gonna count the greens.

  29. Colin

    “….which kept them in permanent opposition, as a repositary for protest…….and who kept changing leaders because they kept them in permanent opposition.”

    Well they actually had a better result in 2005 in terms of seats. The Lib Dems being in govt now has more to do with the random luck of their being a hung parliament than anything else.

    “…..or Not Quite the Labour Party……same problem-same outcome.”

    As I said, it worked for them at the previous two elections with them increasing their representation in parliament whereas they lost MP’s this time.

    “Question is where do THEY want to be. Presumably they will decide at their Conference.
    To the left of the Labour Party might not be a good strategy if Labour itself moves left.”

    I agree that they need to decide where they are politicallyy but people don’t just change long-held opinions overnight. Do the majority of Lib Dem members want to become a more right-wing party? Do their members? If they don’t will they object, defect, resign or stay quiet?

  30. I venture to say we should try a moratorium on discussing Blair. He’ll send some of us reds into a rage and I do not think that would be the best thing for UKPR.

    Embargo anyone?

  31. Gallup poll for America’s mid ters in November- bad reading for Obama

    h
    ttp://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jdYhCDudL0-EnMcIQkiTMB4jYU7w

  32. @AW
    re rule#1
    Understood, thanks.

  33. “Embargo anyone?”

    Censorship?-is that what you mean Eoin.

    Sending reds “into a rage” wouldn’t be the best thing for UKPR !!!!!!

    Well well well.

    No such censorship when it comes to sending “blues” or “yellows” into “a rage” it seems.

    What an interesting political insight. ;-)

  34. It is pleasing to see Labour doing so well without a leader. I am sure when the cuts really hurt the majority of the anti tory vote will join together to deal with severe financial pressures facing the country in a sensitive way that will unite the country and not do what Tories are doing just pandering to their core vote in mainly the south east of England.

  35. Colin,

    I know that Anthony has a particular wish that we do not debate TB. He has stated so in his commentaries several times.

    I could de-construct Blairism to the cows come home.

    That you call it censorship is regrettable.

  36. GARY

    “Do the majority of Lib Dem members want to become a more right-wing party? Do their members? If they don’t will they object, defect, resign or stay quiet?”

    That depends I suppose-on a number of things -on whether they agree with you about what is/is not “right wing” -on whether they are first and foremost “Liberal” -or “Left Wing”-on what those terms mean to them-on whether there is any incompatibility between them in the Labour Party-on what sort of Labour Party they would be joining-on whether they want to be in an independent party of uncompromised protest, or a force for change in government, constrained by compromise.

    Their Conference will be very interesting-but it will be THEIR Conference.

  37. I always viewed Liberals as the centre- that’s why I quite like them – and they became ‘left’ only due to new Labour hopping over them from Labour left to a rightwing party which forced the tories to be tending to far right (and unelectable).

    Now, with Cameron, Tories are back to mild right, Labour (New or Other) is confused and doesnt know where it sits until a new Leader may make a difference.

  38. Eoin

    “I know that Anthony has a particular wish that we do not debate TB.”

    Anthony has just reminded us Eoin, that this is not a “debating” forum at all.

    Nevertheless he clearly allows debate of all sorts, into lots of strange corners. I presume all the while his criterion is whether the subjects being discussed have impact on Public Political Opinion, and thus POlitical Opinion Polls.

    Anthony has allowed you, Eoin, and many others to “debate” the perceived virtues & otherwise of every candidate in the Labour leadership race. I can follow the logic of that . I cannot therefore follow the logic of not including the position, and views of the man who bulit the present Labour Party, and whose very inheritance is at the heart of this leadership contest.

    Still -if Anthony has done as you say -you will not discuss Blair’ s relevance to the Labour Party Leadership.

    In any event-you all may choose voluntarily ,not to discuss the impact of Blair’s views on the election.

    Those few of us left of the Conservative persuasion who still read,and ocassionally comment here; will draw their own conclusions from that.

  39. In the last ten years yellows have been at 11 on seven separate occasions. (This excludes today’s poll and it also excludes polls within a week of any of those listed below). An Anthony’s pointed out yesterday, they have not been at 10% for more than 13 years.

    Theres some good news and bad news in that for yellows. The bad news is that a 10% poll would be a 13 year low and put a lot of pressure on Clegg. The good news is that they have come back from this before.

    Gallup/Telegraph 07/03/2000 11

    MORI/Mail on Sunday 22/07/2000 11

    MORI/Sunday Telegraph 13/01/2001 11

    NOP/Channel 4 06/05/2001 11

    YouGov/Sunday Times 06/10/2007 11

    YouGov/Telegraph 24/10/2007 11

    Ipsos-MORI/ 11/12/2008 11

  40. Brown was loyal to ‘core’ labour values and this justified his decade long insurgency against Blair.

    Blair’s usp: New Labour, a recognition that a core strategy was doomed, meant that he was always in an antagonistic relationship to his party. eventually this translated into an attitude to the electorate (I have to persuade you, against your will, of the rightness of this course of action).

    The partnership worked for the UK in as much as Brown controlled spending, while Blair fronted the show. Downside was Blair only seemed free on the world stage, but became emeshed in a fateful relationship with Bush. No one could benefit from this. Dick Cheney wanted the US to remain on a permanent war footing (extraordinary powers for the executive) for 50 years or more.

    The strains were unbearable. Brown goes to Washington and threatens to break the furniture in Condi Rice’s office (!) on behalf of starving Africans.
    His reputation will go up in time. Great man, great flaws, and not sufficiently electable. Blair will have a large place in history, but the full story may not emerge for many years.

  41. Ooops! Please disregard my last post.

  42. Colin,

    Draw you own conclusions- by all means. Debate TB by all means. I posed a question in my original post. If it appears I am ignoring the debate, not that I am presuming that matters, please dont think I am being rude. ‘He’ is a live issues and certainly topical, so please do not take any account of my suggestion.

  43. Below are Labour’s lows. This time i picked the lowest per month. It seems their top ten lowest polls since 1987 all came last year. Other than Brown’s tenureship, it was rarely (correct me someone please) if ever, below 31% since 1988.

    Ipsos-MORI/ 31/05/2009 18

    Ipsos-MORI/ 21/06/2009 21

    ComRes 16/07/2009 23

    ComRes 27/09/2009 23

    Angus Reid/ 16/10/2009 23

    Angus Reid/ 23/11/2009 22

    Angus Reid/ 10/12/2009 23

  44. I can understand the focus on the bad LD score, but there has only been one remark so far on what a high score the Tories have amassed. 43% is back to the levels they were enjoying last year when they looked all-conquering (the difference obviously being that the Labour rally means they don’t have the large double digit leads they had then). It certainly looks for now as if the date at which Labour (inveitably) overhaul them in the polls has been pushed back a bit. Remember all the excitement last week about Labour and Tories being tied?

    I do accept that the Cameron baby is probably bumping the Tories a bit.

    As for the LibDems, all of this focus on whether their decision to enter coalition was good for them electorally (obviously not, at least in the short-medium term) rather ignores the point of what was “the right thing to do”. Britain needed a government. There was really only one stable government on offer. It was back the Tories or force another election. As I’ve said before, I expect the LibDems knew that the coalition agreement was going to eviscerate their support at the polls. They did it anyway. That’s principle, in my book.

  45. Neil A,

    You raise a good point. Blues have been higher than 43% on 122 occasions since the ’87 election. In fact they hit 52%.

    Blues are holidng up very well indeed, and will probably go even higher.

  46. Apologies if anyone else has already put this up whilst I was away ‘uitstappen’.

    h ttp://www.votematch.org.uk/

    Just a bit of geek fun like the political positioning quiz:
    * which Labour leadership candidate do you REALLY prefer ??!!

    It is basically for the reds.

    Though LD’s might like to do it as future coalition partners for Labour and Cons might like to do it to see which of the candidates they least dislike: and then pray he or she does not win 8-)

  47. Gary,

    You said “…So I would argue that the biggest problem the Lib Dems has is that no-one actually knows just what they stand for anymore and they will have a hard time convincing people they are truthful about what they say at the next election after abandoning so many of their policies and beliefs this time…”

    You make a fair point. After lying in 1997 about preventing a decade-long house price boom, lying in 2003 about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, lying in 2005 about a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty and lying in 2010 about supporting AV, it will be difficult to see how people will ever trust the LIBs again…

    …oh wait a minute: that wasn’t the LIBs, was it… :-)

    Regards,
    Martyn

  48. Rob S,

    Thank you for that.

    I got Dianne Abbot 71%
    Ed balls 61%
    Ed Miliband 45%
    D Miliband 21%

    that’s my kinda quiz :)

  49. Eoin

    mine was,er,

    Ed Balls: 56%
    Diane Abbott: 56%
    Ed Miliband: 56%
    David Miliband: 43%

    8-O

    I blame it on the oldsters !

  50. Diane Abbott 75%
    Ed Miliband 70%
    Ed Balls 57%
    David Miliband 41%

    :) :)

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