Populus’s monthly poll for the Times is published today. Topline figures with changes from last month are CON 37%(+1), LAB 39%(-1), LDEM 11%(nc). There’s no obvious sign of a post-election drop for the Lib Dems here, but it is the smaller Labour lead Populus have recorded since last year.

Populus also asked some questions on whether the Lib Dems entering coalition has had any positive impact on their image – 38% of people think that by entering coalition the Liberal Democrats have shown they are a “responsible party of government”, 37% think they have shown that “coalition governments can be strong and decisive”, 30% that the Lib Dems have made a difference and 36% that a vote for the Lib Dems is not a wasted vote. Compared to the proportion of the public who say they’d vote Liberal Democrat these are all very positive findings…alas, I expect we’ll find once we see the detailled tables that most of these warm opinions come from Conservative voters who may think it’s good of the Lib Dems to support a Tory government, but wouldn’t actually vote for them.

Finally Populus asked people too look at a list of words for the three party leaders and say which three they most associated with them. Alas, the Times presents the findings as wordles, rather than duller but infinitely more usuable tables, but peering at the font sizes it looks to me like the words most associated with Clegg were “Out of his depth”, followed by “Weak” then “out of touch”. Ed Miliband is most associated with the words “Out of his depth”, followed by “weak”, then it looks like a close call between “Out of touch”, “smug” and “weird”. David Cameron is the only leader to have a positive term in his top three – he is seen as “Determined”, followed by the far less positive “Smug” and “Arrogant” – I’ll have a better look at these once we get some numbers.

UPDATE: The tables for the questions on the party leaders are now up here.

The word most commonly associated with David Cameron was determined (34%), the only leader to have a positive term amongst the words most associated with him. It was followed by arrogant (29%) and smug (28%), then “stands up for Britain” (24%), competent (23%), “out of touch” (23%), “up to the job” (22%) – a pretty even mix of positive and negative views.

For Ed Miliband the most commonly picked phrase was “out of his depth” (41%), followed by weak (28%). Below that came smug (22%), “out of touch” (22%), weird (21%) then indecisive (18%) – all negative words. The most commonly cited positive words or phrases were determined (16%) and fair, likeable and principled (all down on 14%).

Nick Clegg had the most negative perceptions. 50% associated him with being “out of his depth”, followed again by weak (35%), then “out of touch” (24%). The positive phrase most associated with Clegg was being likeable (21%), but this was followed by indecisive (19%) and dishonest (17%).


409 Responses to “Populus/Times – CON 37, LAB 39, LDEM 11”

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  1. @Epochery

    “Whether a leader is liked, trusted, respected becomes irrelevant when people cast their vote. I dont think voters weigh up their choice based on these measures but on policy.”

    You obviously weren’t alive in 1992 :D

  2. ALEC

    Has the personation extended to registered posters? I thought the registration process made us pretty safe, but perhaps not so.

    As a fellow localist, I find your pro-BBC post hard to follow, although I’m sure your warning re the “highly distasteful No2AV campaign” will be taken on board by the pro-independence campaign when it is formed. It will, of course, include your own Scottish Green Party as well as the SNP and other Scottish parties.

    BBC Newsnight’s pro-union “take” on the independence debate prior to Paxo’s interview was so one-sided that I thought I had nodded off and woken up during Newsnicht, which to be fair was pretty balanced for once. The reason that “Sturgeon was singularly unable to offer any coherent idea of SNP policy in most of the practical questions asked” was that she was barely allowed to start a sentence before being cut off by Paxo and that the questions themselves related almost entirely to the referendum campaign proper, by which time meaningful numbers will be available.

    When Paxo finally accepted that he was on a loser in trying to get answers to hypotheticals, he was quick to cut Sturgeon off, perhaps recalling his last mauling by Salmond.

    Re your “in the last TV debate he [Salmond] appeared to suggest the referendum wouldn’t be in this parliament“, the video is still available on the STV website and I suggest you watch it again, since he made no such suggestion. More relevant, perhaps, was Gray’s assertion that “a referendum on independence would be a distraction” and Scott’s “every day for the next five years“. It does seem that the three unionist parties are doing their best to make those prophecies self-fulfilling.

    That said, it must be noted that post-Scott, the L-D’s are now denouncing Moore’s Scotland Bill and wanting to bring back the Steel Commission’s federalism.

    But for a balanced view, from a self-confessed unionist, it would be hard to argue with the closing para of Iain MacWhirter’s Unionists have a fight on their hands to beat independence in the Herald:
    Mr Salmond wants to put Scots in the position where remaining in the Union becomes more hassle than leaving it. Unionists have four years or so to prove him wrong.

  3. “I’m certain the SNP will face a ruthless campaign”

    While I’m certain trying the negative tactics of the AV referendum would backfire. Even Cameron seems to realise that as he stressed quite clearly at yesterday PMQ’s for a positive unionist campaign.

    One of the first people Cameron would have asked input from after the Landslide was Michael Portillo who had been following Salmond around the campaign for an upcoming documentary.
    He would have left Cameron in no doubt that the tenor of the campaign from the other three unionist parties was negative as usual and what the consquences of that were.

    “a ruthless campaign against which Salmond’s cheery optimism might well seem ill suited.”

    Again history tells us otherwise as the 2007 election was almost entirely focused on scaremongering about independence from the three unionist parties with almost every newspaper against the SNP. The 2011 campaign was also not short of the same scaremongering independence rhetoric we have grown used to, so to claim it wasn’t raised an issue would be wide of the mark.

    Those who think the AV campaign easily transfers over had also best be aware that Nick Clegg, David Cameron and Miliband are on the No side. Let’s just say on this issue they might not be an asset. ;-)

    “As I said, I think there is a reason why we haven’t seen more urgent pressure for the referendum”

    There was but he didn’t have the votes for it last time. You are confusing a timing of his choosing with a desire to have it. Salmond didn’t fall off the back of a bus and he isn’t going to have it when his opponents want. He is also going to choose the question carefully.

    You are also much mistaken if you think the timing is some fear of a ramapant No campaign raising Independence. Those famliar with Salmonds tactics know exactly why he’s waiting and it’s to do with getting more powers as a background to the devomax option and preparing the ground.

    Cameron and the scotland act are going to have to cede some power and the negotiations are happening right now.

    Meanwhile the other three scottish unionist parties who will be in the front line of the campaign are going to be rather busy trying to find a leader from their much diminshed pools for the forseeable future

  4. SocalLiberal

    “Having seen the very successful and highly distasteful No2AV campaign…”

    Did you also see the very unsuccessful and highly distasteful Yes2AV campaign?

    The fact that one prevailed over the ther does not mean that makes it more distasteful.
    (NB I received 2 things through the post from Tories, plus 2 emails, and none of these were distasteful. They were quite well done unlike Yes2AV, which never actually sent me anything despite spending more money on the campaign, but could have been improved quite a bit. However, didn’t see any of Chris Huhne’s ‘lies’ that he was getting desperate about).

  5. BILLY BOB
    Perhaps the lesson of AV was not to ask the question until a) the ground has been prepared, b) people were ready to say “yes”, c) the time (politically) was right.

    Spot on. Why the “bring it on” campaign has got into gear so quickly, perhaps.

  6. I meant No2AV’s “could have been improved quite a bit” although they already made some good points as well as weaker ones IMHO.

  7. @Crossbat11,

    Thanks for the reply and yes I agree with most of your comments. Yes, the 5th May should give us a better idea of the VI of those that bothered to turn out and vote. At the last GE turnout in Leicester South was above 61% I think. The point I was making is that perhaps there was some reluctance by LD and Con to vote at the BE and the locals in a ‘safe’ labour seat. That perhaps any such reluctance was probably greater than the zeal of Labour voters to re-elect a Lab MP and to give the Coalition as good a ‘thumping’ as possible. That latter idea could also have been persuasive for GE BNP and GE Green supporters to vote Lab since at this BE, where they had no candidate of their own parties to vote for.

    Perhaps caution towards the BE statistics being applied is warranted, especially as anything but a victory of this scale would have been very worrying indeed for Labour.

  8. @ BT

    “Did you also see the very unsuccessful and highly distasteful Yes2AV campaign?

    The fact that one prevailed over the ther does not mean that makes it more distasteful.
    (NB I received 2 things through the post from Tories, plus 2 emails, and none of these were distasteful. They were quite well done unlike Yes2AV, which never actually sent me anything despite spending more money on the campaign, but could have been improved quite a bit. However, didn’t see any of Chris Huhne’s ‘lies’ that he was getting desperate about).”

    That’s what Alec said, not me. I was quoting him and responding to his thoughts on a Scottish Independence Referendum. I’m sure all sides were distasteful and distorted actual facts. I saw a few of the ads and both sides had terrible ads. There was one ad from the No campaign that was half decent.

  9. John B Dick
    “In Shetland the issue is will opening a school for one pupil encourage repopulation? A London basd party will never understand that.”

    Whereas in Edinburgh they talk of little else.

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