PollWatch: Lib Dems down at 18% with YouGov in Sunday Times

There’s a new YouGov poll in The Sunday Times, just published, and it shows:

    CON 40%(+1), LAB 32%(nc), LIB DEM 18%(-3)

A bit of a dip for the Lib Dems, with the party below 20% for the first time since ‘Cleggmania’ following the first televised leaders’ debate. Though before we grow too gloomy, the drop is within the margin of error.

Nick Clegg’s ratings remain high, with 59% saying he’s doing well as Lib Dem leader, and just 21% badly – a net approval rating of +38% (just behind David Cameron’s +41%). Interestingly, Nick performs marginally better among Tory voters (+83%) than he does among Lib Dem voters (+81%). Perhaps unsurprisingly, he’s viewed negatively (-25%) among Labour voters.

YouGov asked which areas voters thought should be targeted for public spending cuts – among Lib Dem voters, here are the results:

    53% – Welfare benefits for people of working age
    52% – International aid
    29% – Defence and the armed forces
    24% – Business support
    21% – Pensions for public-sector workers
    16% – College and university education
    10% – Housing

No other areas (eg, the environment, NHS, transport, etc) received more than 10%. Labour supporters were least likely to agree with cuts for welfare benefits (international aid was their top target), Tory voters least likely to support defence cuts (international aid also their top target).

13% of Labour voters opted for no cuts in any of the areas offered, much higher than for either the Tories or Lib Dems – suggesting the fingers-in-their-ears approach to public spending shown by the leadership candidates at least in part reflects their voters’ wishes.

There was more cross-party agreement on areas which shouldn’t be cut, with the NHS, schools, policing and state pensions all winning high support.

David Miliband remains the most popular Labour leadership contender, supported by 22%; Diane Abbott is runner-up with 13%; Ed Miliband, Ed Balls and Andy Burnham (in that order) score negligibly. Abbott and Balls are the two contenders thought most likely to be bad leaders.

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This entry was posted in Polls.


  • Andrew Suffield 12th Jun '10 - 11:01pm

    I wonder what people think could be cut from welfare benefits. They already force many people into low-level benefits fraud simply by being too low to live on. (The usual form of benefits fraud here is that people get minor one-off jobs on the side to supplement their benefits, and don’t declare these to the jobcentre, since if you do declare them then you lose whatever you earned and there was no point in doing the job)

  • Robert Eggleston 12th Jun '10 - 11:18pm

    Being the same polls that had us all going with the Cleggomania. Excuse me while I roll around in hysterics.

  • ROB SHEFFIELD 12th Jun '10 - 11:58pm

    Its early days yes: but do not try and imply that- were these polls showing you ticking up rather than declining in popularity after taking Daves lucre- you would not be crowing and paying more attention to them.

    18% takes you back to the average levels you were getting at the turn of the year….

  • ROB SHEFFIELD 12th Jun '10 - 11:59pm

    Amongst Labour supporters the figures are David Miliband 38%(+4), Ed Miliband 11%(-2), Diane Abbott 9%(+2), Ed Balls 8%(-2), Andy Burnham 6%(+2).

  • Anthony Aloysius St 13th Jun '10 - 12:15am

    YouGov asked which areas voters thought should be targeted for public spending cuts – among Lib Dem voters, here are the results:

    53% – Welfare benefits for people of working age
    52% – International aid


  • although I “understand” why people say International Aid (it doesn’t affect them.. well, it does in terms of immigration but people can’t think that far ahead), it’s silly to even ask about it anyway since it represent such a tiny part of the budget.

    Re Benefits: some are indeed too small on their own, but some people cumulate them to the point they get more money than someone working full time on well above the minimum wage (I know because I’ve seen figures in some of the jobs I held).. and that without needing to fraud.
    So if you ask about cutting benefits, it’s really not a simple question/answer.

    about our ratings, it’s early days. Nick’s ratings are good otoh so as long as we can show both progress and independence, I think it’ll pick up.

  • What this poll indicates if it indicates anything at all is that Labour is a decayed and possibly moribund force. It is in the process of being ghettoed in political terms with no movement out of its base areas possible. This does not surprise me at all as it fits into my interpretation of the likely political dynamics. I believe it can be effectively killed off if things are handled correctly.
    Another thing that this poll might indicate is that a ‘moderate’ Conservative Party is quite a lot more acceptable than a ‘normal’ Conservative Party. The increased support for the Conservatives appears to be bleeding from the LibDems which again is what I would expect at this stage. As long as the retrograde Tory ‘right’ is kept in check you can probably expect to bleed a little more in the Conservative direction. But that’s not a bad thing as it is all just noise at the moment and what the LibDems should be doing is broadcasting the message that THEY are the ones keeping the die-hard Tory right at bay. This result is a vote for the Coaliton not really the Conservatives.
    Lastly the thing that the LibDems NEVER want to do is allow a guy like Simon Hughes to indicate that he is the TRUE voice of the Party. He’s a loser. That is something you have to watch carefully in the future. You cannot ‘grow’ on the left because there is no left at this point. Reality has killed it. Hughes is just a pallbearer even if he can’t or won’t see it. He’s dangerous only in the sense that he can drive even more votes to the Conservatives under Cameron.
    The potential for any LibDem growth is to be the centre when the Tory right shows its true colours. Against Cameron, the LibDems have no room to grow but Cameron is not the whole of the Conservative Party.
    The last thing that this poll might indicate is that people do want the State cut back and will support that and that the ‘ring fence’ around Foreign Aid was a damn stupid idea. It is not supported by ANYONE. You might want to revisit that area before people start getting QUITE upset that their lives are getting less good while money you don’t have is being sent offshore to people they don’t care about .
    But again at this point as was said — it really means nothing now. The Coalition is merely trading numbers within a consistent range, which is about 60%. That’s pretty good considering that Labour is dead in the water and likely to stay right there.

  • Andrew Suffield is spot on about welfare benefits and the way that people who do the occasional job are forced into the black economy. However, I think the question was badly worded – ‘welfare benefits for people of working age’. It would be perfectly acceptable to cut benefits such as the winter fuel allowance and free bus travel for people like myself who are still in full time work as would lowering the threshhold for the working families tax credit.

  • I expect our Poll rating to be around 12-15% over the next few years – as many fair weather friends drift away. This is no bad thing as it is the longer term we must work towards & show/achieve.
    1. Helping save this country from total collaspe;
    2.Showing we can work with other Parties – even if we dont agree on important issues;
    3. We have quality MPs/Lords that can make this country a bettere more Liberal place to live;
    If we do do the above then we will have the opportunties to become the largest Party in 5- 10 years time.

  • George Kendall 13th Jun '10 - 10:21am

    Greenfield said “I expect our Poll rating to be around 12-15% over the next few years”

    I agree. As the cuts begin to bite, the next couple of years are going to be extremely testing, and we need to hold our nerve. To some, this may seem pessimistic, but we need to be mentally prepared for it ahead of time.

    To most voters, what makes the Lib Dems important is that we are keeping the hard right at bay. But, ironically, the hard right are less of an issue now than they will be after the next election, because whichever party were in power, their main focus would be on cutting the deficit (and thus cutting back the state). In five years time, the election will be about whether we should continue to cut the state beyond what the economics demand, It’s then that we’ll have differentiation from the Conservatives.

  • We must continue to support the view that reducing the deficit should be fair. I would go further and say that those who benefitted most in the last 10 years are the ones who should pay. Interestingly I see that cutting State spending will affect the poorest by some 12% whilst only reducing richest’s standard of liveng by 1%. We already live in one of the most unequal societies in the developed world, cuts in Public expenditure will only worsen the situation. Taxes should rise significantly for the wealthy and only waste in Government expenditure should be cut.

  • looks mildly concerning to me – especially in Wales and Scotland if you look at the breakdown of the polls there – we have an election in less than a year across the country and we are a party that relies on our fantastic local networks rather than our national power – if polls remain where they are we could really suffer some damage.

    I hate to be negative but so far we have:
    1) lost short money – £1.75 million of funding – we can’t compete against the Tories or Labour on funding and that was before.
    2) Had the Laws/Alexander catastrophe which can’t have helped.
    3) Have Simon Hughes talking of an effective shadow party – if there is one way to get a split then that’s it.
    4) Lost a quarter of our support in the polls.
    5) Have a steady (although luckily small) trickle of councillor defections – Exeter, North Norfolk etc.

    We need to either get out of this coalition or present some sort of clear difference to the Tories or we will be slaughtered next year and then we will have real problems.

  • Patrick Smith 13th Jun '10 - 5:11pm

    Nick Clegg has concluded in `The time has come for new alignment of progressive politics..’ (2009),

    `Progressive politics is the best hope for Britain,but it needs to be a new kind of progressive politics,built on empowerment,freedom and diversity.That is what the Liberal Democrat have always stood for,and it is why we are progressives` best and only hope today’

    I agree with Nick!

  • Anthony Aloysius St 13th Jun '10 - 5:23pm

    It’s always a hazardous business agreeing with what Nick said _last_ year, though.

    There’s been time for several major reversals of policy since then …

  • toryboysnevergrowup 13th Jun '10 - 7:52pm

    Some honeymoon! And the harsh reality of your new family life has still to hit home.

  • David Morton 13th Jun '10 - 11:29pm

    I’m pleased the thread has sobered up over the course of the day. I may have to eat my words but I’d prepare for some single figure polling during the mid term trough of unpopularity. The polls do matter even though, its said, that there won’t be an election for 5 years.

    1. They drive media narrative

    2. They efect morale

    3. A rising/ebbing tide floats/sinks all boats. WE have election of some sort every May or June over thre cycle and however good the ground war the national rating does have an effect.

    4. Refferendums ( and we are having one ) are often a judgement on national governments not the question at hand. Whether AV is approved or not may have quite a lot to do with how popular the coalition is at the time.

    5. They will effect the dynamic within the coalition and the strength of Lib Dem ministers bargaining. If ( on the basis of this single You Gov ) have lost 6% in a month and the Tories have put on three the idea that doesn’t alter internal dynamics is silly.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 14th Jun '10 - 12:19am

    “I may have to eat my words but I’d prepare for some single figure polling during the mid term trough of unpopularity.”

    Certainly this must be on the cards, considering that the ratings fell as low as 11% during the last parliament, when the party was in opposition.

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