I posted about this on the YouGov website earlier this week, but wanted to note it here too. A YouGov poll this week we asked about people’s opinions on the result of the 2010 election in hindsight. Do people think Labour deserved to lose, did the Conservatives deserve to come top, and would rather that Labour had won?

Firstly, YouGov asked whether people thought that Labour did indeed deserve to lose the election – 59% of people think that the did deserve to lose, 34% disagreed (this was, as you might expect, a largely partisan answer, although 16% of people who said they voted Labour in 2010 also said they deserved to lose. This is not necessarily an illogical stance to take; one might well think that a government has run its course and deserves to lose, but want to maximise their representation in opposition and prevent them losing too many seats).

The other side of the coin is whether people think the Conservatives deserved to come first in the General Election. Here only 38% of people agreed, while 53% disagreed. Unsurprisingly the vast majority of people who voted Tory in 2010 said the party deserved to come top (though 9% disagreed, and were presumably voting for the least worst option), majorities of Labour and Lib Dem voters thought the Tories did not deserve to come top.

Putting these together YouGov asked whether people thought that “with the benefit of hindsight and thinking about all that has happened since” it would have been better if Labour had won. 34% of people think it would have been better for the country had Labour won, 38% think the Coalition has done better job for the country than Labour would have.

In the same survey YouGov asked who people most trusted to make the right decisions about dealing with the government’s deficit. 38% picked the coalition to 29% for Labour, with 22% saying neither. This is interesting, considering other polls are now pretty consistent in showing that a majority of people think the government are cutting too fast, too deep or too unfairly – it’s a reminder than while people may be unhappy with the incumbent’s policy on an issue, it doesn’t necessarily follow that they automatically trust the alternatives to do better.

106 Responses to “The 2010 election in hindsight”

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  1. Ah the deficit, the deficit….I don’t remember anyone saying anything about the deficit when we were sending topps into Iraq. I don’t remember Churchill’s speech to the nation saying we cannot afford to go on presecuting the war…because of the deficit…

    I do remember Harold Wilson asssuring us all that if only we eliminated the trade deficit all would be well…we did; it wasn’t. I do rememeber Mr Heath telling us if only we joined the Common Market all would be well, we did; it wasn’t. I do remember Mr Healey assuring us that if ony we strangled inflation all would be well, we did; it wasn’t; I do remember Mrs Thatcher assuring us that if we deregulated all industry all would be well, we did ;it wasn’t.

    I could go on through back to basics and the cones hot-line into education, education, education…. So if we cut the deficit to nothing will all be well? I bet we will and it won’t.

    The over-simplicication of our problems by politicians anxious to cover themselves in glory has a a long a noble pedigree.

    Pretending complex problems are simple and then telling people you’ve a simple solution is, next a come-on line from a member one profession I won’t mention, the the oldest rhetorical gambit in the political world.

    …Thus, the benefit reforms aimed at modifying human nature by adding 35 pounds to the one hundred pound sum paid for human inactivity is doomed.

    The beleift that the poor will respond better to a big stick but rich to a big carrot despite its patent absurdity has enormous traction…Mr duncan smith isn’t the first nor will he be the last to grasp this intellectual fools gold…and shout it from the mountains…

    We always have vast resources to waste on doctrines reliant upon blind faith….For all our sophitsication those who govern us are always two generations behind those who really outght to govern us. The young have the alibi of hope being untarnished by experince….the rest of us ought to know better.

    And Mr Clegg continued with that long and noble tradition yesterday by selling AV as a blessing that will lead to everything from better MPs; better Parliaments and even governments than coalitions bring us as well as being a prerequisite for a happy after-life.

    It’s unlikely that an electoral system which will routinely ignore to votes of 49% of voters in a constituency where 51% have voted for a particular candidate will later anything much, even at the margins…let alone when based upon constituencies that are knowingly unrepresentitive of eligible electors and when the relative number of ministers has increased is increasing and ought to be diminished….

    This will merely deliver, at a small cost to the taxpayer disappointment on a scale to match the hyperbole of those advocating it.

  2. @NickP,

    I’m afraid as a cynical old plod I am used to hearing criminals say they “can’t remember” who they either received their criminal goods from or passed them on to.

    It’s a device to try and explain/justify/minimise your position in the crime without opening the can of worms that naming your accomplices would lead to.

    Caught with 4kg of cocaine in your car? “I’m just a courier, that’s all. I was given £200 to drive it from A to B. Who by? Oh some bloke I met down the Kings Arms, or was it the Queens Head? His name? Err, Dave I think. Or maybe Dan. Or Don? Can’t exactly remember. Where was I taking it? I don’t know. Dave/Dan/Don or whoever was going to give me a call to tell me where to drop it off. Have I ever done it before? Nah mate. My first time, ever. I just needed the £200 for Christmas presents for my kids”….. etc, etc…

    In my opinion, Mulcaire knows exactly who he was selling illegal phonetap information to, but doesn’t want to say. Like thousands of criminals before him he’d rather say “I can’t remember” than “I refuse to tell you”.

  3. @John,

    We’d only just opened up a deficit (again) when we sent troops to Iraq. Some might argue that it would be logical to trim spending elsewhere to compensate for the vast sums of treasure needed for armed conflict. But not with an election coming up, obviously…

    And Churchill talked a lot about the cost of war. Mainly in the context of “you can’t avoid it, it’s coming anyway, it will cost us less in the long run to prepare for it now”. And I think it’s right to say that he expected the public to make enormous financial (and other) sacrifices in support of the war. Not the best example…

    But I don’t think Roger was saying that the deficit was the answer to all our problems anyway. He was simply pointing out that it is, still, the biggest issue for the public and that this means that there is quite a lot of potential flux in public opinion. Labour have done a good job of convincing people that the government’s specific cuts are badly conceived, but they haven’t managed to switch the public’s focus away from the deficit completely. I think they recognise that, which is why Ed B made a fair few compromises in his position when accepting the Shadow Chancellor position.

  4. The Green Benches.

    You ask for AV choice.

    In this constituency, given incumbents and current PPC or past challengers it would probably be:


    Grn, SNP; SSP/Sol., LibDem, Con, Lab, UKIP, BNP


    Grn, SNP, SSP/Sol., Con, LibDem, UKIP, Christian, BNP, Lab

    SP Constituency (FPTP)

    SNP, Grn, SSP/Sol, LibDem, Con, UKIP, Lab, BNP

    There are several factors not related to left-right policy.

    SLAB needs a kicking.

    I couldn’t be more impressed by my retiring SNP MSP, Jim Mather, the mi or windmills. His likely successor will be good, but not that good.

    I’d support individual Cons, (we have two good ones on the list) but only in the SP constituency. A SP Con MSP is a rare breed and I would have a better chance of influencing a Scottish Christian Democrat than an English nationalist free market fundamentalist.

    Smaller parties are to be encouraged, but only for a first vote in AV

    I’d sooner see UKIP in the SP than at Westminster.

    I’d hate Lab to think that I preferred BNP but SLAB needs a kicking.

  5. Interesting that even unemployed people are backing IDS’s welfare reforms, such as this guy from another blog (anecdotal I know, but significant to me):

    “I am not a big fan of the conservitives but i thik this is fine im happy..no more than happy to do some community work or something like that for my benefit. Just because i am unemployed doesnt make me lazy like the majority of us are portrayed. And if this new system can help me find a job so i can give my kids a better life then im all for it.”

  6. An interesting question would have been to ask if people think a Labour-Lib Dem coalition would have done a better job. Although it would be accademic, it would still be interesting to see.

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