The Guardian today leads with a sorry tale headlined: Clegg taking Lib Dems to wipeout.
An unnamed Lib Dem supporter has commissioned ICM to carry out research in four key Lib Dem constituencies, including Nick Clegg’s own seat, and the report has been leaked to the Guardian.
Voters were asked how they would vote in a General Election if the party were led by Nick Clegg, Vince Cable or Danny Alexander.
The results seem to show that in the Labour facing constituency of Redcar, currently held by Ian Swales, support would drop from 45% to 15% or 16% whoever was leader, with the Lib Dems falling into third place behind UKIP. In Wells, where the Conservatives are the main opposition to Tessa Munt, support would drop from 44% to 21% under Clegg, 24% under Cable and 20% under Alexander.
The analysis of the other two constituencies is more complex because all three parties are in contention. In Julian Huppert’s Cambridge seat the 2010 vote share is Lib Dem 39%, Con 26% and Lab 24%. According to the research, these would become 28% / 17% / 41% under Clegg, 31% / 16% / 32% under Cable and 29% / 17% / 32% under Alexander.
In Sheffield Hallam, Nick Clegg attracted 53% of the votes in 2010 compared with 24% for Conservatives and 16% for Labour. The research claims that if he stays as leader the vote share would be Lib Dem 23%, Con 24% and Lab 33%. This would be 25% / 24% / 27% under Cable and 22% / 23% / 28% under Alexander.
If correct, a change of leader would only have a marginal effect on the Lib Dem vote share, but with more Don’t Knows under Cable or Alexander.
A word of warning – the poll was carried out before Thursday’s elections. A Liberal Democrat spokesperson is quoted as saying:
We have no idea where this polling comes from but it has clearly been commissioned and leaked for political purposes. It bears no relation to the result we saw on Thursday night, where Liberal Democrats secured 38.7% of the vote across Sheffield Hallam. Labour managed 23.6%, whilst the Tories came fifth with just 10.7%.
* Mary Reid is the Monday Editor on Lib Dem Voice.