If Nick Clegg is looking for consolation after yesterday’s PMQs, he won’t want to begin with today’s YouGov poll. The poll puts the Lib Dems on just 13 per cent, their lowest rating since December 2009. Meanwhile (just to rub it in), the Tories have risen to 44 per cent, their strongest showing since October 2009.
That the coalition’s honeymoon is over, as YouGov’s Peter Kellner wrote this week, is particularly troubling for the Lib Dems, because it appears to be them, rather than the Tories, who are being punished by voters. And while 84 per cent of Conservatives approve of the coalition, only 40 per cent of Lib Dems do.
New Statesman Poll of Polls
Conservative majority of 14
Unless the Lib Dems’ ratings improve, we can expect tensions to grow in the run-up to the conference season. Fears that they are the convenient fall guys for George Osborne’s cuts are growing by the day.
The priority now for Clegg is to try, as far as possible, to maintain his party’s distinctiveness. A few more “gaffes” over Iraq and other issues would do the Lib Dems no harm. It might remind some people why they voted for the party in the first place.