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  1. Politics
12 August 2010

Is this the week the Cameron-Clegg honeymoon ended?

By Jon Bernstein

Over at Liberal Conspiracy, Sunny Hundal says this is the graph that has the coalition worried. It comes from YouGov and shows how net approval ratings among all voters have declined over the past six weeks.

Net approval (those who think the government is doing a good job minus those who don’t) now stands at just 1 per cent, a reflection perhaps of what Mehdi Hasan calls the chaos of Cameronism in this week’s New Statesman. Accordingly, the Con-Lib coalition’s hyperactivity has led to a shambolic three months of U-turns, scandals and embarrassment.

The truth is that this second graph should be of equal concern to the coalition — or specifically the rather jerky yellow line that represents Lib Dem supporters’ attitude towards the new governement. The line is jerky because there are fewer Liberal Democrats in YouGov’s sample, so changes in sentiment are represented by more marked ups and downs. Regardless, the overall trend is downwards.

Over to Anthony Wells at UK Polling Report for some pretty astute analysis:

So the main cause of the big decline from the high government approval ratings in the early days of the government is just Labour voters going from “don’t know” to “disapprove” — a rather inevitable change. More significant is the slow decline since then. This has mostly been amongst Lib Dem voters, both the very gradual decline on the graph, but more important, something that isn’t shown on the graph — the change in the size of three groups that those lines represent. Lib Dem voters may be continuing to support the government, but at the same time the number of Lib Dem voters is in decline and that positive yellow line is representing fewer people.

It looks like the David Cameron/Nick Clegg honeymoon is over.

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