Lib Dems plunge to new poll low of 11 per cent

How low will Nick Clegg’s party go?

Away from the excitement, despair and outrage over Tony Blair's memoir, politics continues as usual -- the Lib Dems have hit a new poll low.

The latest daily YouGov poll puts Nick Clegg's party on just 11 per cent -- a level of support not seen since the dark days of Ming Campbell's resignation in October 2007. The Tories are on a healthy 43 per cent, with Labour 5 points behind on 38 per cent. If repeated at the election on a uniform swing, the latest figures would see Clegg's party reduced to a rump of just 11 seats.

New Statesman Poll of Polls

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Hung parliament: Conservatives 14 seats short.

Lib Dem ministers will shrug and declare, "There's only one poll that counts, and that's on election day," but the party's terrible ratings are beginning to sap morale among activists and we can expect tensions to grow in the run-up to conference season.

For the Conservatives, the long-term fear is that the fall in Lib Dem popularity may eventually make the coalition unworkable, and that Lib Dem MPs, fearful of losing their seats, will begin to rebel to maintain their distinctiveness.

Ether way, both parties should prepare for much worse once those 25 per cent cuts kick in.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

Jeremy Corbyn, Labour leader. Getty
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Will Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn become Prime Minister after the 2017 general election?

Can Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn win the 2017 general election? 

Jeremy Corbyn could be the next prime minister. Admittedly, it’s highly unlikely. After less than two years as Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn is leading the party into a snap general election. Labour behind in the latest general election polls and underperformed badly in the recent local elections. But since the election was called, Labour’s position in the polls has been improving. Can we trust the general election polls?

This isn’t the first vote of national significance since his election, however, since he was in office during the 2016 EU referendum. It’s also not Corbyn’s first serious challenge: after the Brexit vote, his MPs voted “no confidence” in him and Owen Smith challenged him for the leadership. Corbyn saw off that threat to his position convincingly, so can he pull out another electoral triumph and become prime minister? 

Can Jeremy Corbyn become prime minister after the general election 2017?

Do the polls predict a Labour victory?

Since May 2015, the Conservative Party has consistently led in the polls. The latest polls give Labour ratings in the mid 30s, while the Conservatives are on the mid-40s. Recent improvements in Labour’s standing still leave Jeremy Corbyn a long way from becoming prime minister.

But should we believe the general election polls? Glen O’Hara, professor of modern and contemporary history at Oxford Brookes University, points out that the polls have been wrong before, and could be overstating Labour’s collapse. However, a 20-point gap is far outside the margin of error. A Corbyn win would be an unprecedented upset.

What is Labour's record on elections?

At the 2016 local elections, Labour did not gain any councils and lost 18 seats and 4 per cent of the vote. James Schneider, the co-founder of Momentum who is now Corbyn’s head of strategic communications, said this showed Labour was on the right trajectory, but it’s a disappointment for an opposition to make no gains. And at the Copeland by-election this February, Labour lost the seat to the Tories – the first government gain in a by-election since 1982.

Can Jeremy Corbyn become prime minister? The verdict

Jeremy Corbyn’s path to power would be one of the greatest surprises in British politics. But unlikely doesn’t mean impossible. It would take some extraordinary events, but it could happen. Check out the latest odds to see how the markets rate his chances.

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