Coalition approval falls after benefits rows


9:20 am - October 14th 2010

by Sunny Hundal    


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Net approval for the Coalition government has fallen sharply in the last few days after raging rows over the cut to child benefits and the expected rise in tuition fees.

YouGov’s daily tracker reported last night that approval ratings had gone from being positive to -7 pts rather abruptly (38% approve, 45% disapprove).

The latest polls are: Conservative 41%, Labour 40%, Libdems 11%.

No post-conference bounce for the Tories then.

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Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


I notice you didn’t report yesterday’s YouGov poll which gave the Tories a 7 point lead. Tony Wells thinks that was an outlier and that this could be one too, just in the opposite direction (too soon to say).

http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/2833

If you are going to cover polls you should try to do so in a balanced way, though that would defeat your object I think.

What I can’t understand is how much the Lib Dems are allowing the Tories to use them as the face of cuts rather than the Tories themselves. Are the Lib Dems that spineless?

2

Have you by any chance just emerged from a Chilean mine…?!

Yes, they really ARE that spineless, it’s just taken a while for a lot of their members and apologists to realise they’ve been pimped out by Dave.

I may as well have just come out of a mine 🙂 I think I have been hoodwinked by them especially Clegg. And they used to call Blair the poodle.

Net approval for the Coalition government has fallen sharply in the last few days

Or, as 1 says, in the last day given that Tuesday’s poll had a net approval of plus 7.

In any event, quite extraordinary that Labour aren’t in the lead yet.

6. margin4error

Really Tim?

It would be quite remarkable for a party heavilly defeated in May to have overcome both that defeat, its lack of leadership in the interim, and the inevitable rise in popularity that goes to a governing party – in the first six months.

I wouldn’t have expected Labour to rise to parity on a regular basis in such polls until early next year – and then a lead by next summer – which they would want to seek to grow as it would inevitably fall again before the next election.

That would be more normal as an electoral cycle for polling.

7. margin4error

Also

Anyone noticed the trend of falling support for AV and rise in support for FPTP?

http://today.yougov.co.uk/sites/today.yougov.co.uk/files/YG-Archives-Pol-Trackers-AVReferendum-041010.pdf

I don’t normally do “I told you so’s” – but I do feel a little vindicated over my claim that Clegg had sold out electoral reform in order to get a seat in cabinet.

7

Many people, including it seems most LD’s, believe Clegg got the best deal he could from the Tories, although I’ve always thought they sold themselves much too cheaply.

Whether experience of the Coalition will lead to a long term decrease in support for electoral reform is a difficult one; many will probably take the view that however tawdry the Coalition is, even AV is better than nowt!

Of course I’ll be one of the first to chuckle if the LD’s find themselves marginalised after the next election, especially if they are held under AV and they lose support to other parties.

I notice you didn’t report yesterday’s YouGov poll which gave the Tories a 7 point lead.

I cover stuff which breaks new ground or is outside the margin of error, mostly. That’s within the MoE. I’ve said the same in the past about Labour leads.

That would be more normal as an electoral cycle for polling.

The last time Labour lost power to the Conservatives they were back in the lead by the summer. Every political news story for weeks has been negative for the Coalition, and this will continue to be the case for months to come. I had anticipated Labour taking the lead at some point during the summer, and then being quite a long way ahead by the spring.

I still think they will be, and I’m honestly surprised that they aren’t ahead in most polls now.

Have to say I think that Labour should be doing better – the coalition is launching (at first guess) unpopular policies but staying put in the polls. If the situation does not change, then Labour may have to start worrying about having a maximum level of support.

Mind you, if Labour start getting much more support they will be heading towards 50%, which would be very odd for a party that has just come out of government with a bad record (at least in the last couple of years) – so it is possible Labour has about maxed out its support. If so, once the recovery kicks in (double dip or not) and the cuts become a more distant memory (say four and a half years time…) then Labour’s problem will be maintaining its current support. It will have the opportunity to draw on voters no longer seeing Labour as toxic as now, but I am not sure that there will be that many.

11 – Using a typically public school and elitist analogy, Labour have the Middlesex station and this is the first bend. They need to take proper advantage of it.

Tim J,

? My comprehensive school education means I can just about cope with the stations on the Monopoly board, and Westminster is not there…

13 – Sorry. The Oxford/Cambridge Boat Race.

http://www.theboatrace.org/

See – it really was public school and elitist. Although most of the actual rowers seem to be 6’8 German Olympians doing a BSoc these days.

14

Fear not Tim, the Coalition’s plans mean that elitism is likely to remain well and truly entrenched in unequal Britain… nothing like a huge hike in University fees to keep the oiks out don’t you know!

16. margin4error

Tim

1979 might be an exception – I genuinely can’t find consistent polling figures for the four months after the election.

But 2005 was more typical – with the tories staying pretty steady after the election and Labour rising marginally to 40% for much of the following months.

Only later in the year (after the tories had a leader) did they start to catch up with Labour – and only around the turn of the year did they start to hold relatively consistent leads.

We are seeing a similar trend with the tories now – holding fairly steady around 40% – marginally up from the election – but with Labour catching up somewhat sooner (perhaps reflecting a shift across from ex-libdems – or maybe because much of the antipathy towards labour was actually towards Brown)

So I would still predict the end of this year, start of next year as the point at which Labour start leading regularly.

17. margin4error

Galen

I tend to think the coalition government is much closer to Lib Dem leaders’ ideal government than a Lib Dem government would have been. The nature of coalition freed them to cast off a populist manifesto that they didn’t really believe in.

How that plays for AV though is different.

I blogged elsewhere at the time that Nick Clegg was selling electoral reform down the river because he knew referenda are a verdict on a government, but he wouldn’t have most government backers on side.

Many people who want reform won’t back AV because it’s a rubbish reform. And even of those who would, many will refuse to prop up a coalition deal that is attacking the poor and vital services.

The AV vote may just be a verdict on the Lib Dems – Hence the slide in support for AV.

And if that vote fails, what chance of another referendum this generation?

16 – Labour led the Tories by August in 1979, and by October were 5 points clear. By December 1980, they were up 56 to 32.

http://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/poll.aspx?oItemId=2449#1979

Governments which come in determined to do necessary but unpopular things, tend to lose their popularity pretty quickly. I’m surprised that this time round the Tories aren’t yet, though I agree that they will soon. None of it particularly matters until 2014 anyway.

Tim

Nice link – I’ll add that one to my favourites.

That said, I’m not sure a relatively fast lead taken by one defeated party at a very turbulent time over 30 years ago is the basis on which to judge modern trends.

As I say, it is more common for defeated parties to take until late in the year of the election to rally significantly.

http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/voting-intention/yougov (chart starts at election day)

That said, I’m not sure a relatively fast lead taken by one defeated party at a very turbulent time over 30 years ago is the basis on which to judge modern trends.

Well, you pays your money and you makes your choice. I have a feeling that it was the polling after 97 and 01 that was abnormal, and that historically oppositions have had substantial polling leads during Parliaments that then frequently evaporate in the run ups to elections. But we’ll see won’t we?

Incidentally, Sunny’s habit of highlighting daily polls as heralding definite conclusions (no post-conference bounce for the Tories) leaves substantial hostages to fortune.

Latest figures 14th Oct 2010; CON 42%, LAB 38%, LD 12%

OMG! Tories up, Labour down! Proof that…something or other must have gone down really well! It’s all just noise…

21. margin4error

Tim

Firstly – agree that generally oppositions take decent leads during mid-term – and that fades when elections draw close.

Also agree about the reporting of polls on LC being dangerous – though in defence of Sunny’s view – it is helpful to report watershed polls (so a new high or low that is achieved along an accuring trend)

Where we disagree is just the speed with which trends kick in after elections.

I would point out that even in 1997 and 2001 the trends were much the same as 2005 and 2010. The Labour starting point was so high and the tory start was so low, that the tories never established a good lead in midterm.

But – after all of those elections it took a few months before that normal trend to kick in. Immediately after the elections Labour’s support in polls actually grew – and the tories only started to surge (even to the limited extent that they did between 1997 and 2001) several months after the election.

Labour’s rapid recovery this time is probably a little exceptional – because of Lib Dem ignominy – and the dropping of Brown as an utter liability.


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