One in five Lib Dem voters would switch to Labour

New poll shows that Clegg’s party has lost the support of almost four in ten of those who backed it

The Liberal Democrats have lost the support of almost four in ten of the voters who backed the party in May, according to a new ComRes/Independent poll.

More than one in five people who voted for the Lib Dems say they would now vote Labour. This number has risen to 22 per cent, up from 15 per cent last month. A further 7 per cent would switch to the Tories. This echoes a recent Guardian/ICM poll, which also showed that one in five Lib Dem voters would defect to Labour.

The new ComRes poll showed that just 62 per cent of those who voted Lib Dem would do so again if another election were held today. Slightly down from the ICM poll, which showed that seven in ten voters would stick with the party, this is yet more evidence that Clegg's party will take a hammering in the next general election.

The number could fall further as Lib Dem activists begin to feel disgruntled. Last week, a survey of 600 party members showed support for the coalition falling to 45 per cent in August from 57 per cent in July, although generally support for its existence was high.

It's not all bad news for the Lib Dems, though -- the headline figures in the ComRes poll showed support for the party stabilising. Despite the increased number of voters claiming they would defect to Labour, Clegg's party still gained 18 per cent of the vote (compared to the 23 per cent they secured in the general election). This is a marked improvement on a YouGov poll last week, which put them on a low of 11 per cent.

Arguably, Labour is the real winner from this. Up 1 point to 34 per cent, they are just 4 points behind the Tories, who were down 1 on 38. Quite apart from the support the party is gaining from disillusioned Lib Dem voters, it is likely to benefit once the full pain of deep public spending cuts hits.

Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman.

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