The headline in the Independent today is “Lib Dem support hits all-time low”. This is based on a weighted average of the regular monthly polls showing Con 38%, Lab 40%, Liberal Democrats 11%, which the paper says is “its lowest level since the party was formed in 1988”.

Here are the actual voting intention figures from back in 1988-1990, as you can see, there are plenty of points (November 1989 for example) when the Lib Dems would have been averaging in single figures. Of course, the key point is that the Lib Dems are in a pretty poor way, but nevertheless, Lib Dem support is NOT at an all-time low.

(The mistake may have com about from adding up the support of the Liberal Democrats and Continuing SDP during this time – my tables only show support for the Liberal Democrats themselves post-1988)


130 Responses to “Lib Dem support NOT at all-time low”

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  1. RiN
    There are taxation issues with your suggestion, but it has some merit.

    Colin
    MPs sleeping in their offices? Ha, clearly the poor things aren’t getting enough sleep on the Commons benches.

  2. Are there, or are there going to be threads for the Scottish Parliamentary constituencies? They have not gone up yet in the other place, and it would be good to discuss them.

  3. Neil
    To my distress, Anthony has indicated there will not be Scottish Parliamentary threads.

  4. Barney

    Cue Ronnie Corbett in the Frost Report sketch – “I know my place.” :-)

  5. I wouldn’t like to libel certain ex SDP LibDem MP’s but maybe they’re looking for an incentive to continue to support the Coalition.

  6. On the expenses issue…..why can’t there simply be housing constructed for members of Parliament? You could construct multi unit luxury accomodations that would have 24 hour security, common ammenities for all th e residents, extensive services (things like room service, housekeeping, etc). You’d have units of varying size to account for the fact that some MPs are young and single and have no families, other MPs have large families. They’d all come furnished too. You’d hire an administrator to run the housing and then you’d have a supervisory MP board (you’d have three seats, one reserved for Labour, one for the Tories, and for the Lib Dems) where each caucus would choose a representative to monitor the housing. Then, you could get rid of expenses altogether (excluding things like reimbursement for air travel and things like that). There’d be no requirement that any MP live in this housing. If you’re an MP and you want something different though, you would have to pay for it out of your own pocket.

    As for the housing units themselves, you only live there for as long as you’re an MP (or if you’re within the MP’s family). Once you’re out of office, you have to move out. In that way, the housing becomes essentially the people’s housing.

  7. @ Mike N

    “MPs sleeping in their offices? Ha, clearly the poor things aren’t getting enough sleep on the Commons benches.”

    Do MPs really sleep on the benches? Lol. Don’t they at least have a coatroom in the back where they can catch a quick nap?

  8. @ Mike N

    Sleeping on the commons benches isn’t all that bad. It’s much worse if you’re a Supreme Court Justice and you nap through oral arguments (which, frankly, I don’t know how they do because in late 09′, I finally got to see the Supreme Court oral argument chamber and it’s very small and the Justices all sit next to each other on chairs that are very close together and don’t look like reclining chairs).

  9. socal

    there is a nice housing devolpment in peckham which would be ideal for parlimentery housing

    but you would have to persude the crack dealers to move out first

    or maybe not, it could be that mp’s on crack would be more effective

  10. @ Richard in Norway

    Don’t you guys have eminent domain?

    I think the MPs are in a tough position because they happen to work in the most expensive city in the world. Housing is already limited and even subpar housing is expensive. The problem though with expenses is that it’s taxpayer money that directly benefits individuals and those individuals only. If Ed Balls decides to buy a badet for his home, the badet is for him (and presumably Yvette Cooper) and not for any future MPs.

    So are elected officials entitled to a little luxury? I say yes. And given the expense of London, for an MP, help with housing becomes essential to ensure that a Parliament has a broad socio economic diversity in its membership where not only the wealthy can afford to serve. But if you give MPs money directly for this (rather than simply providing the services), they receive all the benefit and the taxpayers have subsidized rentals and personal home purchases. That’s the problem.

  11. @Socalliberal – ” … things like room service, housekeeping”

    You’re making things too easy for undercover NoW and Telegraph hacks. ;) I don’t like to think of what might happen with them all together after hours.

  12. so cal

    i would have no trouble getting by on 2 and a half times average earnings, if they are having problems the anwser is to change the country not the expences

    no mp’s would need to sleep in their offices if they had debates at a reasonable hour. no other parliment burns the midnight oil the way ours does

    whats with all the bars in the house, i think it’s more a case of …. i had to sleep in the office cos i was too pissed to go home

  13. @ Billy Bob

    “You’re making things too easy for undercover NoW and Telegraph hacks. I don’t like to think of what might happen with them all together after hours.”

    That’s nothing. Right after he was sworn into office, my mayor, who had a history of marital infidelity, showed up at a random condominium complex…alone…with take out food and a bottle of wine. People who saw him in the elevator knew what was up immediately. I said at the time “has he ever heard of room service sex!”

    The reason I suggest some perks of housing is to help alleviate some other expenses problems (all the house cleaning charges, cleaning supplies charges, etc, etc) But I think the problem is that it might be too impractical. And taxpayers may not enjoy footing the bill for all that.

    Btw, am I the only one (on either side of the pond) who still thinks that being an elected official is a noble calling? And that public service is something to aspire to (if you’re cut out for it)?

  14. Ooh, big swing back to Labour in tonight’s YG.

    C39 L43 LD7.

  15. Reckon yesterdays and today both at edges of moe and lead about 2% with LD9-10.

  16. Have we seen a 7 for LD before?

  17. @ Neil A

    I don’t remember an LD 7

    But let’s not get excited – the entire YG panel is culled from Labour identifiers, allegedly. ;-)

  18. C’mon, Amber, we all know you have 280 different YouGov accounts in different names….

    Still, it’s something to see the lower edge of LD support dip even lower.

  19. @ Neil A

    You’ve rumbled me. :-)

    Gov’t approval -20 is a new low, too (I think).

    It’s either MOE or VAT

    Anthony has a new thread up.
    8-)

  20. @Socalliberal – Your idea of a dedicated block of flats for MPs was floated by some in the commentariat at the height of the expenses scandal.

    Too many of them are overgrown public schoolboys as it is, the insulating effect of another dormitory would not help matters, I would aslo worry about whips wandering the corridors, security, punch-ups, scandals etc.

    If I understand “eminent domain” then we have some of those dotted around the West End for people who don’t want contact with people outside their tax bracket (or off-shore status).

    At the risk of being partisan, many Labour politicians seem to prefer North London (Islington, Highbury, Hackney even) because it is more diverse, and has a (slightly) more affordable housing stock.

    One perk I feel they should be allowed is 1st class rail travel, as I have seen at first-hand how prominent people are sometimes allowed no peace (or opportunity to work) on public transport

  21. It’s within MOE, but it’s been some weeks since we saw red +4 on blue.

    VAT and fuel increases a part. Possibly also the post-Bank Holiday blues affecting the government. I wonder if swine flu is also affecting people’s views.

    Oh, by the way, hi there, long time lurker, first time poster in these threads.

  22. Billy Bob, what the Americans call ’eminent domain’, we would call ‘compulsory purchase’.

    SoCal – yes we do have that here. Of course, the Crown and government have property around London that wouldn’t need a compulsory purchase to use, but I think that’s the least of the issues with the idea of MP dorms.

    In the late 90s they tried moving towards office hours at the HoC, but for some reason went back to late hours.

  23. Dannivon
    Welcome. Good to have you aboard. Most of these factors still have to come in to play. Can the lib dems go lower? I wonder what they will show in Scotland. Disappearing from the regional lists at this rate.
    Old Nat
    You are the very first one to notice my strange similarity to Ronnie Corbet. If the SNP find out…

  24. @ Billy Bob

    “Too many of them are overgrown public schoolboys as it is, the insulating effect of another dormitory would not help matters, I would aslo worry about whips wandering the corridors, security, punch-ups, scandals etc.”

    Really? That’s kind of a shame. The idea wasn’t so much a dorm but a series (spread out near Parliament for security purposes) of hotel style living that would ease elected officials in and out to account for quick transitions in UK politics. Kind of like a White House for MPs. But you make some valid points.

    “If I understand “eminent domain” then we have some of those dotted around the West End for people who don’t want contact with people outside their tax bracket (or off-shore status).”

    Not quite. Danivon explained it.

    “At the risk of being partisan, many Labour politicians seem to prefer North London (Islington, Highbury, Hackney even) because it is more diverse, and has a (slightly) more affordable housing stock.”

    It’s only natural that different political sets would appreciate different areas. But in terms of dealing with the problems of housing MPs and giving them expenses, the idea of MP housing seems reasonable.

    @ Danivon

    “Billy Bob, what the Americans call ‘eminent domain’, we would call ‘compulsory purchase’.

    SoCal – yes we do have that here. Of course, the Crown and government have property around London that wouldn’t need a compulsory purchase to use, but I think that’s the least of the issues with the idea of MP dorms.”

    Thank you. I appreciate your explanation and translation. Here’s a question. Why couldn’t some of the crown’s property be used to house MPs?

  25. @Socalliberal – “Really?”

    No, not really, but a little bit. I don’t like the idea of a MPs becoming a kind of cadre. The ‘Westminster village’ is inward-looking enough as it is. Let them fend for themselves to some extent in the hurley-burley of London, shut the front door and get some distance from the intrigue.

    I read a book once about the plans behind the layout of Washington DC, a very different environment. The word ‘senator’ has certain connotations, though I don’t know how dignified or rarefied the lifestyle is in practice.

  26. @ Billy Bob

    “I read a book once about the plans behind the layout of Washington DC, a very different environment. The word ‘senator’ has certain connotations, though I don’t know how dignified or rarefied the lifestyle is in practice.”

    Hmmmmm, not really. Senators obviously have more power than Congressmembers (plus bigger offices and more staff) but they’re still accountable to the public and they can’t do stuff without the consent of others. I would say that there has been an increase in millionaires in the Senate and I do think that this has been a negative development because the voice of the wealthy is starting to squeeze out the voices of everyone else. Generally speaking though, I don’t think there is a rarified lifestyle from being in the Senate alone.

  27. @Socalliberal – I get the impression (from movies probably ;) ) that because of the high degree of turnaround in administation appointees, there are residential areas in DC full of politicians/government employees and their families renting properties.

    I imagine the dynamic would be very different if the Capitol was wedged in somewhere among the skyscrapers of Manhattan

  28. @ Billy Bob

    “I get the impression (from movies probably ) that because of the high degree of turnaround in administation appointees, there are residential areas in DC full of politicians/government employees and their families renting properties.”

    Kind of not really. Capitol Hill obviously is a neighborhood where many members of Congress reside. If they decide to move their families to D.C., they generally don’t live in D.C and they typically don’t rent properties. Mostly they live out in the suburbs in Virginia and Maryland. Traditionally, Dems favored Maryland, Republicans favored Virginia. And they will buy homes in the area. I would also say that there really isn’t that high a turnover of cabinet positions (some positions like AG see high turnover).

    Where you get high turnover for rentals is generally from people who are coming in who work at lower levels. Congressional staffers, interns, short term hires, lobbyists, etc.

    “I imagine the dynamic would be very different if the Capitol was wedged in somewhere among the skyscrapers of Manhattan.”

    I would agree. And that’s why it’s not fair to make the comparison to MPs who have to deal with the expenses in London.

    And don’t worry about getting your impressions from the movies. All my impressions of the UK comes from Foyle’s War, Fawlty Towers, Absolutely Fabulous, and the 1961 animated version of 101 Dalmations. Well not really but as long as I know which constituencies these fictional characters come from and understand the political references, I am much more fulfilled.

  29. @ SoCal
    “Thank you. I appreciate your explanation and translation. Here’s a question. Why couldn’t some of the crown’s property be used to house MPs?”

    No problem. I’m used to discussing politics with Americans and at first had to have it explained to me in reverse. Odd that the modern republic uses the archaic terms and us fusty monarch-servants use the more prosaic form…

    I don’t know what it would take to transfer Crown property to Parliament. Could be simple, or it could require a lot of pfaff. I was really agreeing with those who have other objections to the idea. MPs work all in a few buildings. To have them all living together would make them even less like the rest of us than they already are.

  30. @ Danivon

    “No problem. I’m used to discussing politics with Americans and at first had to have it explained to me in reverse. Odd that the modern republic uses the archaic terms and us fusty monarch-servants use the more prosaic form…”

    Well we have linguistic differences too. Californians often speak a different language than other Americans do and have all sorts of terms (often in the legal area) that are different from what everyone else uses. So translating from proper English to American English to Californian English can be an interesting chore.

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