Sunday, 15 January 2012

Lib Dems lose support with the electorate

Future looks bleak.
Well it was bound to have happened. The Liberal Democrats are proving what political theorists have said for many years. If you're in Government you lose popularity, indeed tough decisions lead to losing votes - leave sprouting populist nonsense to the opposition parties who can promise the world and not have to deliver a thing. 
But the loss of 75% of support is a big knock. Three out of Four people who voted Libdem in 2010 would now vote elsewhere. ( 25% Labour 25% other 25% Don't know) That is a huge dent in party support. Also things look bleak for other reasons. Only 1% of voters who normally vote for the big Two had turned to the Lib Dems in 2010 and our protest vote status has fallen as 10% of protest voters have said they would still vote Lib Dem. If we were to hold a General Election now the party could, on paper, die in Parliament. Has Clegg led us to ruin? Have the Tories finally defeated their "Old Enemy" with Coalition? 

I would argue No, and that there is nothing to fear.

Firstly the Yougov poll only surveyed 4300 Libdem voters, from the entire nation, it is hardly representative of all the party's support from 2010. There are still large areas who are supportive of the party or atleast their MPs like Julian Huppert or Greg Mulholland where as supporters in Sheffield Hallam may be a little more lukewarm. The good thing about not having a PR vote is that it doesn't matter what opinion of Gillingham's citizens is when it comes to Greg Mulholland's election just the people of Leeds and as he and the afore mentioned Julian Huppert are doing good jobs for their constituency I'm sure that their party affiliation can be overlooked.
There is yet more good news in the form of a poll on Libdemvoice saw 564 Lib dems return the view that Nick Clegg is doing a good job and his personal standing had increased since the "Tuition" fiasco. This is backed up by another survey that shows his net satisfaction is up to +32 %! 

Our critics would say that there these party members are "Hard line Cleggites" but usually such surveys bring out the ney-sayers.
If "Hard line Cleggites" is the term then count me into that merry band. I still agree with Nick, and I think that, mostly, he is doing the right thing. 
Are we deluded?
I don't think so.
In 1781 Lord Cornwallis won a victory over the American Colonial armies at Guildford Court house with a pyric victory that cost his army dear. Taking the decission to march south to Virginnia and with the Colonial army of Green shadowing him Cornwallis burned the waggons of supplies so as to speed up the march and ordered the men to live off the land and forage as they marched. Cornwallis was loved by his men, he was a genius that was a soldiers soldier and who protected his men in battle to minimise losses.

Support for Nick is the same. Liberal Democrats know that the Coalition is not going to be easy. These are tough times politically, socially and economically. Tough decisions need to be made and have to be made and Nick is making those with you in mind at the expense of the Party's standing. How many other Politicians would do that or be willing to do that?
I know the Coalition isn't making all the right decisions -  which government ever does?

But Nick Clegg and the party did the right thing in 2010 and by working with the Conservatives they are doing good work. After all how much of the manifesto has been put into action? How much of a Liberal or Liberal Democrat manifesto has ever been put into action between now and 1914?  Have we not got in the Pupil Premium? Lifted people out of income tax? Fought for human rights? Done a lot of the things we promised to do?
A Lib dem Source was quoted in the I and sums it all up;
We always knew that, by going into Coalition with the Conservatives, we would lose some people who voted for us to keep them out. It is a long haul, but we think we can win people back by delivering in Government.

It is a long way to 2015, and as Ed Miliband said today, the current polls mean nothing and he's right. Although only 9% of surveyed Labour members think Ed is doing a good job at the moment and 87% think he is doing a bad job but show them a victory or a great speech followed up by substance, or capitalising on a slip by Cameron and members will flood back to him. It is the way of Human nature.
Of course I do believe we do need to look at ways of improving the Party's image on a National level, locally Councillors will continue to work hard and show their wards what they can do and prove they were a good choice. We cannot become to complacent as a party and it is up to us - the activists- to continue pushing the work we are doing and being a part of Tough liberalism.
Polls are only a snippet of opinion and cannot necessarily be taken as the view of the whole country. Only time will tell how we do in 2015 or whether Nick will stay at the helm. I'm not worried.

Lib Dems have lost three quarters of supporters, I, Andrew Grice, 6th-1-12


  1. Although a week is a long time in politics - I guess the Lib Dems will be down to 20 -25 seats due to the boundary changes & loss of % vote (15%) I predict. The Lib Dems wont die but will be out of the running locally & Nationally for quite a few years (10 years I predict - until 2025),

    1. hey you can say that, as we can be sure about anything in politics...