ICM poll says Nick Clegg is safe in Sheffield Hallam

The Guardian reports:

Nick Clegg is on course to be saved from defeat in his Sheffield Hallam constituency by a tide of Tory tactical votes, according to a special Guardian/ICM poll conducted in the deputy prime minister’s constituency.

The poll puts Clegg on 42%, seven points clear of his young Labour rival, Oliver Coppard, who is on 35%. Ian Walker, the candidate for the Conservatives, is on 12%.

But Clegg achieves his seven-point lead only because almost half the people (48%) who say their nationwide preference is for the Conservatives are planning to support the Lib Dem leader.

When ICM asked voters which party they would prefer if they put the local context and candidates out of mind, Labour is ahead on 34%, with the Lib Dems on 32% and the Conservatives on 21%.

* Newsmoggie – bringing you comment on the Lib Dems whether it's deserved or not

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57 Comments

  • Steve Comer 4th May '15 - 8:56pm

    Is this good news?
    A shedload of Tories switching to Nick to keep Labour out in Hallam?
    Clegg survvies – cue further culls of Lib Dem Councillors next May!
    And then what? Will a grateful Nick return the compliment by trying to get another coalition with those who slagged
    him off so mercilessly in the AV Campaign?
    An what happens then? EU referendum – no problem squire!
    Cuts to ‘welfare’ (as Tories like to call it) – well OK its in the ‘national interest’ isn’t it?

    Sometimes I really despair at the state of our national campaign and national party leadership.

  • If we can get those Tories to join the party then we can ensure that Nick will be safe from the Lib Dems, the following day.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 4th May '15 - 9:07pm

    Steve, I hardly think that the Tory voters in Sheffield Hallam and George Osborne and David Cameron are the same thing.

    I want to see Nick back in the Commons because he’s a good MP and I don’t want to see any Liberal Democrat defeated. You are also forgetting that the party has the final say over whether we go into coalition or not. You really think it would be easy to get all of that stuff through a special conference?

    You are doing Nick a massive disservice by suggesting that he has been in some way subservient to the Tories when in fact it was Cameron who was giving interviews saying he’d govern like a proper Tory if it wasn’t for the pesky Lib Dems. Sure there are things I’d rather we hadn’t agreed to but in general we have done a lot of good. It would be helpful if people who take a more critical stance could actually give some credit for that.

  • Dr Michael Taylor 4th May '15 - 9:08pm

    Oh come on Steve.

    Nick was never in any danger of losing. And in case you haven’t been following the stuff on LDV, he can’t do a deal with anyone unless 2/3 majority of a special conference agree. I don’t especially want another coalition – unless we get a huge amount of what we are campaigning for and even then… I’m a conference delegate and will be perfectly willing to vote down any deal that doesn’t help the people we represent. 2/3 is a big ask.

  • As Jennie said on twitter – Labour have spent the last 5 years telling people Clegg is a closet Tory: it’s hardly surprising that Tories in Sheffield feel comfortable voting for him. https://twitter.com/miss_s_b/status/595273900608598016

  • Question.

    Since when does the leadership do what conference says?

    I thought there had been plenty of policies that have been voted through in conference which the leadership ended up ignoring.

    Is there legislation that specifically says that the Liberal Democrat leadership has to accepts the will of conference or is there scope for them to either ignore or bypass conference altogether?

  • Peter Watson 4th May '15 - 9:17pm

    Apologies for repeating a post from earlier this evening, but it seems more appropriate in this thread …
    Regarding the polling in Sheffield Hallam, I am torn. In some ways, I would relish the schadenfreude of seeing Clegg lose the seat and creating a “Portillo moment” for the 21st century. However, I think it would be better for the Lib Dems if it were the party, rather than voters in Sheffield, who passed a verdict on the last five years of Coalition government. Whether the party decides to stick with Clegg or to replace him, it will either be a clear endorsement of his record or a decisive change in direction. A vacuum at the top of the party on 8 May just seems like a recipe for confusion and conflict.

  • Eddie Sammon 4th May '15 - 9:18pm

    This is very good news.

    Caron, the Independent have produced a good editorial. It is probably a bit too Con-Lib sympathising for your liking, but it is important to get across the message that the coalition hasn’t been evil. I feel that with the climate in British politics today this message isn’t getting across.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/editorials/in-defence-of-liberal-democracy-10224221.html

  • Tories in Hallam have two excellent reasons for voting for Clegg. One, they keep Labour out. Two, they inflict maximum damage on the Lib Dems. It’s a no-brainer for them really.

  • Stephen Hesketh 4th May '15 - 9:28pm

    Steve Comer 4th May ’15 – 8:56pm
    “Sometimes I really despair at the state of our national campaign and national party leadership.”

    Sometimes?

    “Is this good news?”

    That really depends on whether or not we have an interest in the survival of the Liberal Democrats as a radical party of the centre left or not.

    If we do not quickly regain the trust of our membership and traditional support base, I am afraid it is curtains for us. It’s going to be a long hard slog back from where we are today, goodness knows what happens in the event of Nick Clegg holding on or someone of a similar centre-right persuasion replacing him as leader. Project neuter accomplished?

  • An odd feature of this poll is that naming the candidates actually puts Labour up one percentage point. That is presumably because Nick generates an anti-vote, especially on the left and among students. That will not be the case with most other Lib Dem MPs. It won’t be the case with Lynne Featherstone, Vince Cable, Andrew George, Charles Kennedy, Michael Moore, Adrian Sanders, etc, etc. They all need a personal vote bounce, and look as if they might get one.

  • @Paul Walter unfortunately they’ll never listen to you

  • Happy for Clegg to win as long as he resigns the leadership after the election, based purely and simply on the number of MEPs, councillors and MPs we’ll have lost with under his leadership over a long period. He has worked hard but he is not the right person for the job. I want to see growth, not managed decline.

  • Agree with Alistair – really pleased if Clegg wins – it would be very damaging to the party if he loses. But we can’t go one with him after the election.

  • Stephen Hesketh 4th May '15 - 9:56pm

    Paul Walter 4th May ’15 – 9:17pm
    “One thing Nick Clegg should be given credit for is working hard in his constituency while he has been Deputy PM. He has held frequent community meetings with constituents, which is an example other MPs ought to follow.”

    I have absolutely no doubt at all that Nick Clegg has been a good constituency MP and I unreservedly do not wish to see any genuine preamble-supporting Liberal Democrat lose their seat.

    My problem is not over his personal survival as an MP but as our leader. I simply find it impossible to believe that if he continues as leader he will not also continue with his disastrous political course for the party.

    We need to start afresh while we still can. This is about the needs of the many over those of the few – in every sense.

  • @Dr Taylor how did you become a conference rep and how will you ensure that all viewpoints in your constituency party are reflected at the conference?

  • @Eddie Sammon you’ve not been paying attention … Clegg sold out the membership and the coalition is evil …. 🙄

    Meanwhile I am unsurprised at what the Independent wrote.

  • Can’t wait to see the smug self-satisfied smirks wiped from the Labourites faces when Nick wins.

  • Caspian Conran 4th May '15 - 10:25pm

    Reading this thread brings me back to my big problem with the Lib Dems, what do we think we are? I know parties are broad Church’s but we are on 8% in the polls; we should be more coherent than what we are right now with different members having radically different views on ideology and policy. It seems to me there is part of our membership who readily embraces our new found role as a party of government and is willing to work with anyone to advance our agenda, and then there are those who still have overt party preferences and preferred us being a protest party to the left of Labour.

    Until these conflicting opinions are reconciled I just cant see us moving forward. I think this party has so much to offer, I just hope we don’t let ourselves lose out.

  • Amazing, all the councilors, MEP’s and on thursday MP’s that the LibDems have lost under Clegg’s leadership and his seat might be save by Tories voting for him. No wonder the guy likes coalitions with the Tories

  • If Clegg stays leader it’s definitely going to be another Tory-Lib dem coalition. Everything about his demeanour indicates that he is comfortable with the Tories and I honestly believe he would resign rather than work with Labour. I think most voters know that and it is why Tories in Hallam are perfectly comfortable voting for him in large numbers. Hallam was always Tory before the Lib Dems, Labour only polled 13% there in 1997, so holding off Labour is hardly earth-shattering.

  • @Caspian fear not. The future’s bright, the future’s orange!

    There’s no future in being a protest group to the left of Labour. That position is already occupied by 3 other parties.

  • Stephen Hesketh 4th May '15 - 11:10pm

    Caspian Conran 4th May ’15 – 10:25pm
    “Reading this thread brings me back to my big problem with the Lib Dems, what do we think we are? … It seems to me there is part of our membership who readily embraces our new found role as a party of government and is willing to work with anyone to advance our agenda, and then there are those who still have overt party preferences and preferred us being a protest party to the left of Labour.”

    Caspian, sadly Nick Clegg and his inner circle have done much to polarise the party – to a far greater extent than I previously recall. I believe you are not correct though in believing that that social justice majority in the party do not wish to work with others in pursuit of Liberal outcomes and several of us have argued that should some form of arrangement with others be ‘unavoidable’ that this should be on the basis of the achievement of Liberal outcomes rather than simply with the party with the most seats.

    Regarding Labour, you may believe that party to be left wing but surely you don’t believe them to be radical?

    I would argue that have always been the radical reforming Liberal alternative to Labour. We will only lose out if we continue to undersell Liberal Democracy itself.

  • I am not an advocate of Nick Clegg, but in the face of continual loads of horse manure thrown his way he deserves credit. He is often accused as being a closet Tory and a self interested careerist, without reflecting how mindlessly contradictory the view is; Nick Clegg had ample opportunity to join the Tory party and to have been gifted an easy seat and an easy path into government.

    Calls for resignation would have been an admission of defeat and a gift to both Conservatives and Labour who would have wasted no time in characterising Lib Dems as not up to the job. Unfortunately the handling of the coalition in the early days was too starry eyed and not good. For me, I do not like Nick Clegg’s centrism and he has not been Liberal enough. We have failed too and been failed on the big issue of electoral reform.

    Electoral reform was the glue that allowed a coalition to form at the start. This time there is nothing comparable and the Party having mad huge sacrifices needs the space to be able to pick up the pieces. I am not expecting a new coalition and am not expecting Nick Clegg to stay on as leader and I do worry who can and who will replace him. Unfortunately my preference, from an outside perspective , may well not be re-elected.

    Time was when I would have welcomed a coalition with Labour, but Labour’s antics have persuaded me that they should be kept at more than arms length. Besides if Labour do make it to government , they will become rapidly very unpopular: a close association would do us no good..

    Although I do not expect him to be leader beyond this year, I do want to see him at the forefront in Westminster standing up for the Party speaking with the authority of experience.

  • @ Caspian Conrad
    “It seems to me there is part of our membership who readily embraces our new found role as a party of government and is willing to work with anyone to advance our agenda, and then there are those who still have overt party preferences and preferred us being a protest party to the left of Labour.”

    I don’t believe there are any members who wish to see us as a “protest party”. I haven’t met any. I know Nick Clegg said they exist but that doesn’t make it true. Why did so few members vote against being in coalition with the Conservatives if there was a large minority who just wanted to be a protest party?

    We didn’t become a party of government in 2010. We have been in government in Scotland before this. We have governed councils across the UK. In 1995 we governed my Borough Council with the help of another political party (until 2006). In 2010 there was a huge amount of experience in the party of working with other parties including the Tories but I don’t think Nick Clegg made the best use of all this experience of coalition government.

  • @MichaelBG “Why did so few members vote against being in coalition with the Conservatives if there was a large minority who just wanted to be a protest party?

    How many representatives attended the special conference? 1500? That’s a mere 2.5% of the then membership. We have no idea what the other 97.5% thought because they weren’t asked.

  • @John Roffey besides Caspians point is that it seems some might have liked the idea of government but hated the reality because governments do unpopular things and they’ve found that deeply unsettling. Principled impotence is consequentially more attractive.

    Others (like me) have felt liberated by the experience because the charge of irrelevance no longer applies

  • Could I respectfully suggest , that those who will attend on behalf of constituencies to the special conference(if needed) should be summoned to a meeting with constituency members(exec. committee etc) and take with them the views of said constituency instead of as last time many going with their own views and with little knowledge of what others views were.

  • whilst some posts here from people who hate Lib Dems ans some who have a hatred of Clegg within our party, I would hope all Lib Dems would rejoice if Nick is elected and as many as possible with him. Currently the polls suggest that Cameron will not win outright..goodbye David and Milliband cannot win an election which pundits 5 years ago said(that whoever wins 2010 would be out of government for 20 years) so its goodbye ed as well….happily Farage could be gone as well

  • matt (Bristol) 5th May '15 - 9:36am

    Can some people remember that there is a difference between supporting coalition with the Tories, supporting coalition with either party in principle if it works for us, supporting coalition with Labour, supporting abstention from coalition, and being a ‘protest party to the left of Labour’.

    I am not advocating being a protest party to the left of Labour, and I don’t think many people on here do. But I reserve the right – without being smeared or insulted – to pragmatically advocate not ‘being a party of government’ as the right course for the party if going into coalition with either side would leave us sh*fted.

    I would also like to point out again that ‘anchoring the country in the centreground’ theoretically rules out consistently going into coalition with the same party over and over again if that would shift the country’s centre of political balance signigicantly off where the centreground was at the start of the process.

    Anyway – good luck and best wishes to Nick Clegg in Hallam. I wouldn’t like any humiliating defeat to be played over and over again on telly over the next few years whenever the party’s fortunes are discussed. Like him or not, any shame on Clegg will be protrayed as shame on the party, whoever leads it next, and where we go politically.

  • Having read some of the contributions which ‘pass muster’ I am at a complete loss as to why my earlier post was removed….what IS the policy on here?
    Gratuitous insults by some posters seem to pass unremarked or, at most with a gentle reprimand, and yet others which do not offend anyone disappear…

  • @matt (Bristol)

    Your most welcome to advocate being a party of protest fellah, but with respect its governments that makes laws, not opposition. This Coalition has brought more Liberal policies into law than any in the last 30 years, from gay marriage to raising the tax threshold, enshrining foreign aid, to scrapping ID cards to reforming the pension system.

    I’d take all of that over any damage that has been done to the party.

  • Malcolm Todd 5th May '15 - 10:35am

    Gareth Wilson
    “This Coalition has brought more Liberal policies into law than any in the last 30 years”

    Really? So, Freedom of Information Act, devolution for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, removal of (almost all) hereditary lawmakers from parliament — these aren’t significant policies that liberals and Liberals had argued and campaigned for for years? Or am I just imagining that these things happened before 2010?

    Why should I give a flying fruitcake what party label the Minister for Hobnobs and Paperclips is wearing? It’s the policies enacted, whether as laws or practice, that matter, and the idea that you can achieve nothing in terms of influencing (or blocking) government policy and the law of the land unless you belong to a party that some of the Cabinet belongs to is just plain wrong, as has been demonstrated repeatedly over the years (that Emmeline Pankhurst never achieved anything until she joined the Conservative Party, of course) and explained repeatedly by myself and others on this site.

  • @bob sayer “Could I respectfully suggest , that those who will attend on behalf of constituencies to the special conference(if needed) should be summoned to a meeting with constituency members(exec. committee etc) and take with them the views of said constituency instead of as last time many going with their own views and with little knowledge of what others views were.”

    What’s to stop them just voting according to their own views even if they sound out local opinion?

    The only way to get an accurate reflection of membership views is to ask ALL of them.

  • matt (Bristol) 5th May '15 - 1:09pm

    Gareth Wilson, either I didn’t express myself well enough, you misread me or you decided to use my post as a vehicle for setting out views not directly relevant to what I was saying, or a combination of all of them.

    I’m not advocating being a party of protest. I backed the coalition, with moments of scepticism and disappointment. I feel it has made some positive moves, and held things reasonable steady in a difficult political situation, I feel reasonably positive about most of the things you mention, although I feel ‘most liberal for a generation’ is not a concept that responds to statistical analysis.

    I’m not even against future coalitions including with anyone, even, in abstract principle, the Tories (through gritted teeth).

    To say it again, clearer – I resent the implication that I felt was being made above (maybe I was wrong), that if I object to another coalition with anyone after May 8th, on any grounds, I’m somehow wishing to have us relegated to being only a party of protest’ and also that therefore those who are sceptical about this coalition or of another one – at this time – all subscribe to an economic point of view that is ‘to the left of Labour’ and can be dismissed as cranks and loons.

    I do not think Nick Clegg is a Tory conspiracy. I sigh when people on here argue he is. But I can still – from time to time – oppose him rationally from another position and anyone who does so, and tries to engage in the debate rationally within the party, deserves to have their arguments listened to and not dismissed.

    The statements by Caspian Conran (above 10.25pm, 4th May) are divisive, glib reductionism and display very little empathy as to how LibDem voters and members who are not him might think and act.

    We need at this time more than any other, detailed and nuanced argument.

    There are (or rather, may be – I am not yet privy to a detailed breakdown of the election outcome in all constituencies or of all parties’ negotating positions on 8th May onwards) perfectly rational arguments for not being in government this time. It is not inevitable that not ebing in government would immediately pitchfork us into total irrelevance and to argue from this presumption as if it were a statement of accepted fact is dumb.

    Good parties of government are also parties of constructive and careful opposition. In opposition they bide their time, build up their strength, size up their opportunities, exercise disipline and careful thought – and pounce.

    If the party is unified, the background is right, and the deal is right on this occasion, of course we should continue as a party of government. But if there are arguments for and against on all sides, rfor goodness’ sakes listen to those who oppose you, don’t dismiss.

  • John Roffey 5th May '15 - 1:47pm

    I wonder if Tory voters will be more reluctant to switch their votes as a result of NC breaking a confidence regarding Cameron’s fears?

  • Stevan Rose 5th May '15 - 5:01pm

    “The only way to get an accurate reflection of membership views is to ask ALL of them.”

    That’s a very slippery slope towards democracy and where would we be then if the great unwashed were to be allowed to influence direction. No, we must remember that our leaders always know what the people really want, even when the people accidentally articulate the complete opposite because they don’t understand how things really work. We need to support our leadership because they are acting in our best interests even if we don’t exactly know how. Baa.

  • @Stevan That’s a very slippery slope towards democracy and where would we be then if the non-councillor/activist members were to be allowed to influence direction. No, we must remember that our self appointed reps always know what the members really want, even when the members accidentally articulate the complete opposite because they don’t understand how things really work. We need to support our conference reps because they are acting in our best interests even if we don’t exactly know how. 

  • Peter Watson 5th May '15 - 5:31pm

    Will Sheffield Hallam tories be put off a tactical vote for Clegg by Cameron stating, “If you vote Liberal Democrat you don’t know what you are going to get. They are just as likely to support Ed Miliband and the SNP as they are the Conservatives.”? (https://www.politicshome.com/party-politics/articles/story/cameron-warns-lib-dem-labour-pact)

  • David Allen 5th May '15 - 6:02pm

    Peter Watson – What Cameron said (your quotation) is manifestly not true. The Lib Dems have made next to no preparations to consider a coalition with anyone else but the Tories. They are not “just as likely” to support Miliband.

  • Dr Michael Taylor 5th May '15 - 7:50pm

    @TCO. I was elected at the AGM of our local party as required by our rules. There are two ways I find out what people want. 1. I ask them. 2 I attend party meetings at both branch and constituency level.

  • Dr Michael Taylor 5th May '15 - 8:01pm

    @TCO. I am also a member of our policy working group ,open to all party members, who consider our view and responses to conference motions and amendments.
    @Matt. It’s in the constitution of the Lib Dems that there can only be a coalition with another party if -amongst other things – a special conference approves the deal by a 2/3 majority. However much you dislike Nick Clegg, he can’t override that.

  • @Dr Taylor it sounds like you must be a member in a large / active party. My experience of a moribund party is very different. A barely quorate AGM and unopposed appointments. I would imagine sadly that mine is more common.

  • Peter Watson 5th May '15 - 8:59pm

    @TCO “A barely quorate AGM and unopposed appointments. I would imagine sadly that mine is more common.”
    Was that always the case or has it worsened in the last few years?

  • Stephen Hesketh 5th May '15 - 9:20pm

    Peter Watson 5th May ’15 – 8:59pm
    [[@TCO “A barely quorate AGM and unopposed appointments. I would imagine sadly that mine is more common.]]

    “Was that always the case or has it worsened in the last few years?”

    Peter, are you wondering about a Clegg or TCO factor?

  • Peter Watson 5th May '15 - 9:30pm

    @Stephen Hesketh “are you wondering about a Clegg or TCO factor?”
    I’m sure that Terry’s Chocolate Orange would attract more people to meetings 😉

  • David Evans 5th May '15 - 10:02pm

    TCO – “A barely quorate AGM and unopposed appointments. I would imagine sadly that mine is more common.” It is so convenient that your imaginings reinforce your personal prejudices! 🙂 Try looking at the real world for a change! 🙂 🙂

  • What if Clegg (assuming he survives) were to argue that coalition with the Tories was just a continuation of the current situation, and therefore needed no vote?

  • @Peter Watson this was when Kennedy was leader.

    @David Evans. There are 45 000 members and 632 British constituencies. That’s an average of 71 members per constituency. Given that in seats where we hold an MP there are more like 500 members, and there will be ex held seats with large memberships, let’s say 70 seats with 500 members gives 35000 members in our held and target seats.

    That leaves 10000 members in the other 562 constituencies, giving an average membership in the rest of the country of 18 members per constituency.

    Yes – 18.

    How do you get a committee and conference reps from 18 members given at least half will armchair? Or a quorate election?

    Things may be fine and dandy in Farrons constituency but for the vast majority of the constituencies it is anything but.

    So perhaps you’re the one who should stop ” your imaginings reinforc[ing]your personal prejudices [and] try looking at the real world for a change”.

    Or at least do some simple maths before scoffing.

  • Stevan Rose 5th May '15 - 10:58pm

    Meetings? You have meetings? From what I can work out my constituency doesn’t have a constituency party let alone 18 members and an armchair. We don’t even have a working website. There is a nearby Liberal Club with 3,000 members though no longer political in nature. Perhaps that says something.

    Nick seems to be doing very well in recent days, getting a lot of news coverage and making more sense than all the other leaders put together. I would rather he had fallen on his sword over tuition fees but I have to give him credit for doing a great job at this precise moment.

  • I thought TCO stood for Total Cost of Orangebookism

  • @Alistair: always lectures incompetently, seldom thinks, and irritates readily 😉

  • David Evans 5th May '15 - 11:41pm

    TCO Simple maths depends upon sophisticated understanding, not made up numbers and the justification of existing prejudices. Sadly you seem to combine both. Suggest you start by reading the constitution and what happens to constituencies with less than 30 members.

  • @TCO – very good 🙂
    Clegg still needs to go though, asap. I wouldnt rehire a childminder who constantly loses kids and by the same token I dont want a leader who never misses an opportunity to lose elected representatives and shrink the party. Of course its the wrong time to be saying this but then the time was never right.

  • Stephen Hesketh 6th May '15 - 7:08am

    David Evans 5th May ’15 – 11:41pm
    “TCO Simple maths depends upon sophisticated understanding, not made up numbers and the justification of existing prejudices. Sadly you seem to combine both. Suggest you start by reading the constitution and what happens to constituencies with less than 30 members.”

    David, TCO appears never to have read and understood the Preamble let alone the actual constitution.

  • @Dr Michael Taylor

    ” It’s in the constitution of the Lib Dems that there can only be a coalition with another party if -amongst other things – a special conference approves the deal by a 2/3 majority. However much you dislike Nick Clegg, he can’t override that.”

    But Bill le Breton
    says on another thread

    “And secondly, Clegg willnot feel bound by either the FE or a special conference provided he wins the support of more than 50% of the new Party in the Commons. If he doesn’t get wider support he will rely on the constitutional status of an MP being responsible to his or her conscience, the needs of his or her electorate and therefore not bound by any Party constitutional niceties.”

    So I am confused, who is right?

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