Most Libdems have also started to shift against the cuts


11:30 am - February 14th 2011

by Sunder Katwala    


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The Independent on Sunday/Sunday Mirror ComRes polling yesterday brought bad news for the Coalition, as John Rentoul sets out, with opinion shifting against the government on every front.

The long lost “fair cuts” argument haemhorrages further. Trailing by 28-57% on whether the government is cutting too severely and too fast suggests the these ‘cuts are necessary’ case is in increasing trouble too.

A very narrow plurality of the public as a whole (41-38) now say that the governing parties are exaggerating the cuts for party political reasons. It is interesting that this is the only question in the poll where those voters who still intend to vote LibDem take the government’s side of the argument (by 51-31).

Also worth noting:

» Even still loyal LibDems break 35-50 against the government on the cuts being “too severe and too fast” (where Tories back the government 63-22). LibDem voters were split equally (42-42) on this question in November.

» LibDems break 25-55 against the government on the fairness of cuts across society (where Tory voters are content, by 55-26), with 60% thinking they poor will be hit worse (55% of Tories disagree). LibDems disagree by 50-26 that the vulnerable are being protected by the Coalition; Tories by 50-23 think the opposite again.

» By 38-28, LibDem voters think the Big Society is merely cover for spending cuts. Tories disagree by 15% to 46%. LibDems think the Big Society is a gimmick by 48-20%. (Tories just manage to reject this, 31-30). The party is committed to localism, but their voters do not think the big society will foster a culture of voluntarism (17-45) or redistribute power from central government to citizens (17-40). Tories think it might do both (tied 24-24 on voluntarism, and positive about a shift from government, 32-25)

» On all of these questions, the sharp polarisation of Tory and Labour opinion means that the attitudes of LibDem voters often fairly closely reflect the (government sceptical) views of the electorate as a whole.

A lot of attention has been paid to the loss of LibDem support in the polls from the 23% that they polled in May 2010. While the party is now on 11%, compared to 13% in the poll last November, today’s poll breakdown shows a shift against the government’s deficit strategy among those LibDem voters who remain.

Anxious LibDems (who agree with Labour rather than Tory arguments over the deficit) now make up a clear majority of those who still intend to vote for Nick Clegg’s party.


A longer version is at Next Left.

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About the author
Sunder Katwala is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He is the director of British Future, a think-tank addressing identity and integration, migration and opportunity. He was formerly secretary-general of the Fabian Society.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Conservative Party ,Libdems ,Westminster

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Reader comments


I guess one big outstanding question, then, is why still-loyal Lib Dems still (on the most recent evidence, hopefully it will be asked again soon) break for the Tories by about 3 to 1 on second preferences.

No doubt our ever so loyal Lie Dem, George will be along to rubbish this soon enough.

However as long as the Lie Dem politicians sing the Clegg song, nothing will change. Once they have had their referendum on the voting system some of them might decide to jump ship.

3. Dick the Prick

Anyone would think there’s an election coming up. As someone rightly pointed out, it must be damn strange for Libbers having to defend a position rather than play the crowd. The humanity…..

Let’s have a revolution, kick this lot out, the time is right…..

http://haringeygreens.blogspot.com/2011/02/revolution-will-be-televised.html

“why still-loyal Lib Dems still (on the most recent evidence, hopefully it will be asked again soon) break for the Tories by about 3 to 1 on second preferences.”

It isn’t in the interests of the lib dems to have an election now, as they would lose a substantial number of seats. It is in their interests to carry on in the coalition in the hope they get goodies by 2013/4 – and the ability to go to the electorate and say “we did that!”.

I think a lot depends on what happens with AV. If the referendum is lost, as I think it will be, then I can see defections starting to happen (certainly amongst the grassroots and local level) and the re-emergance of 2 party politics. Which will be very sad day. If that happens the combination of defections and by-election defeats may well end up crippling the coalition – but I suspect they’ll hang on Major style (with ulster unionist support) until 2015 but unable to do anything needing parliamentry approval.

There’s a big rift between LibDem MPs and the people who voted for them in the last election; many of whom did so in the belief that this would keep out the local Tory candidate in marginal seats. I’m sure this group must be horrified by the verbal somersaults that LibDem MPs now practice in their attempt to justify coalition policy.


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