The Lib Dem HQ take on Nick’s poll ratings

Tom Smithard, the Lib Dems’ Parliamentary Campaigns & Intelligence Analyst, has been compiling an occasional polling report – collating interesting material from published polls and providing a bit of commentary – for internal use within Cowley Street since he started working for the party this summer. We’re publishing his latest assessment in two parts: yesterday focused on the Lib Dems’ poll ratings; today, the second anniversary of Nick Clegg’s election as Lib Dem leader, Tom looks at Nick’s personal ratings as leader.

Firstly, some very good news: for the first time Nick Clegg has scored higher than David Cameron on YouGov’s leader-rating question, asked every month on behalf of the Sunday Times. This means that Nick is now the most popular leader with the panels of both pollsters who regularly ask variants of the question, YouGov and Ipsos Mori. This is something worthy of celebration, and a great riposte to anyone criticising our leadership.

Here’s the comparator from the YouGov polls of the last few months:

Is X doing well / badly (total) as leader?
Sep 13 – Brown: 26 / 70 (-44); Cameron: 59 / 31 (+28); Clegg: 44 / 27 (+17)
Oct 18 – Brown: 28 / 67 (-39); Cameron: 58 / 31 (+27); Clegg: 44 / 31 (+13)
Nov 15 – Brown: 28 / 67 (-39); Cameron – 57 / 33 (+24); Clegg: 42 / 30 (+12)
Dec 13 – Brown: 28 / 68 (-42); Cameron: 52 / 38 (+14); Clegg: 45 / 30 (+15)

As we can see, David Cameron’s approval ratings have fallen off a cliff – halving in just three months. Both Nick and Gordon Brown have remained relatively steady during the same period, which just shows how much pressure Cameron is under now his party is facing proper scrutiny.

Labour’s crude attacks on Cameron’s schooling do not hit home (70% say his going to Eton does not make a difference) but people are more likely to agree with statements along the lines of Cameron’s privilege has left him out-of-touch and unable to represent “ordinary” people.

Until recently the Tories have believed that, no matter how unpopular their policies or frontbench team, in David Cameron they had a strong electoral asset. That is why he has acted almost as a lone spokesman for the party with few others allowed to announce policy.

No longer.

The shine has come off Cameron under sustained scrutiny – the closer we get to the election the more the public are thinking about what Cameron would be like as prime minister. They are not liking what they see.

Without Cameron as an electoral asset the Tories are left with very little other than a popular slogan in “Time for Change”. This is where Nick’s likability becomes a huge asset for us – we can both promise change and an acceptable figurehead to lead it.

A question asked by YouGov for the Daily Telegraph on what election result do people want to see also makes for interesting reading. There was no option for ‘a Lib Dem government’ but 36% of people wanted a coalition featuring us. That compares with 27% wanting a Tory govt and 19% wanting Labour. There is clearly a big desire to see the Liberal Democrats in power – it would be useful if pollsters could include us as an option in future to get the most accurate reflection!

On the economy and the Pre-Budget Report, a succession of polls shows there is a strong desire among the general public for a more progressive system of taxation in which the rich – particularly bankers – pay their fair share.

While Labour have their one-off bankers’ bonus tax, which polled very well, only the Lib Dems would introduce a systematic package of measures to achieve greater fairness in taxation. I’m confident these will poll very well. It’s a shame people aren’t being given these options alongside Tory and Labour policy, but by the election knowledge of our fair tax package will have trickled through and – judging from both recent economic polling and our opponents’ muted attacks upon it – is certain to become a big vote winner for us.

Read more by .
This entry was posted in Op-eds and Polls.
Bookmark the web address for this page or use the short url for Twitter and emails.


  • Why after the Lib Dem local party was shut down by your regional office
    is local officials writing letters in the Local Paper ie the Evening Herald
    running down region and national decsions
    this is bad for the party

  • John Griffiths 14th Mar '10 - 5:55pm

    Will you please tell me why you didn’t discuss immigration at your conference.
    Will you please reply to this email.

  • John – I don’t know the answer to the direct question but I’m sure you realise the difficulty of discussing every issue in one weekend conference. (As it was just before the election I’m not sure “conference” is the right term – weekend long rally might be more accurate!)

    The Conference committee can only put motions on the agenda that have been submitted – something any local party can do. Motions would also need to meet several qualifications to be accepted for debate including (IIRC) adding something new to party policy.

    All that said, we have discussed immigration several times over recent years and there is a pretty thorough outline of our policy at

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Recent Comments

  • User AvatarPaul Pettinger 25th Jul - 11:27am
    Today's GDP figures are testimony to the hard work and determination of businesses and employees. Britain's sluggish productivity growth - which I note the SLF...
  • User AvatarStephen Hesketh 25th Jul - 11:21am
    @Charles Rothwell25th Jul '14 - 11:14am - Excellent points Charles.
  • User AvatarStephen Hesketh 25th Jul - 11:19am
    @ peter tyzack25th Jul '14 - 9:56am " it is depressing how people take words and give them other meanings to suit their own distorted...
  • User AvatarCharles Rothwell 25th Jul - 11:14am
    Dav How I envy you your omniscience/ability to speak for the whole of England and the entire UK. Speaking as someone living in most of...
  • User AvatarJoe Otten 25th Jul - 11:13am
    Will, I refuse to accept that our policy was ever to be reckless with the economy. We have spilt blood for this and we deserve...
  • User AvatarCharles Rothwell 25th Jul - 10:59am
    The basic problem in electoral and social terms remains, however, that the benefits are not being spread equitably in geographical and social/demographic terms and that...