Saturday, September 24, 2011

Nick Clegg has better approval ratings than Ed Miliband, George Osborne and Ed Balls

We've been wanting a bit of good polling news for a while now - and we have it from this month's Guardian/ICM poll. Our poll rating of 14% would be in the ball park of what we would expect in opposition, let alone in Government at this sort of stage in a parliament. In July 2001, ICM had us at exactly the same figure at a time when we weren't in Government grappling with some serious issues. There's obviously a lot more to be done to get us back to where we were in the General Election, but we're in better shape than we were a year ago.

The good news, though, is that Nick Clegg has had the biggest positive change of all the leaders this month and has overtaken Labour leader Ed Miliband. He's still not quite got into the net positives, but he's not far away. He's gained 13 points in the last month.  More people think he's doing a good job than Ed Miliband. In fact, even George Osborne has a higher approval rating than the Labour leader and that will worry him. However, the Labour leader can take comfort from the fact that if we like him not much, we like his shadow chancellor and chief leadership rival Ed Balls even less. As Olly Grender said yesterday, Alistair Darling's memoirs have given  enough ammunition to quell any Balls coup attempt for some time.

I guess what's changed this month is that we've seen Nick Clegg out and about talking sense to counter the Tory nonsense on the riots. He bided his time. He didn't come out and pick a fight with Cameron in the midst of it all, but took a step back and talked about restorative justice and the importance of the Human Rights Act. He's come up with some good ideas, like the Summer school for those kids who need it before high school. 

It's also encouraging to see good results starting to come through in by-elections in places like Gedling and Eton. Even in Scotland, the recent poll in Highland, Perthshire ward showed that we are on the up. We took 12% of the vote, an increase of 4.8% from a poll in the same ward 3 years ago when there was no coalition to reckon with. And this was in the heart of John Swinney's constituency.

Obviously early days, but it shows that we just need to hit the streets and talk to people now, a lot, ahead of the local Council elections next May.


cynicalHighlander said...

LibDem attention seekers!

Dubbieside said...

Im sure you must have missed it or you would have put it in your comment in the interest of balance.

I believe there was a party in the Highland Perthshire poll who took 54% of the vote.

I have seen some clutching at straws from the Lib Dems recently but this must take the biscuit.

Some revival.

Munguin said...

Caron you know that you cannot compare these by-elections and your doing so is just political sophistry. P & K Ward 4 is ultra safe for the SNP returning 2 SNP and one Tory in 2007.

Let’s look at it in more detail then shall we? For a start in 2008 there was a Labour candidate and there wasn’t this time round, so that meant the Labour vote stayed away. Turn out in 2008 was 43.6% this time it was 37.4%. Also this time there were two Independents who are more likely to take votes from the SNP than the Lib Dems. The election was triggered by the resignation of an SNP councillor elected in 2007, supposedly to emigrate to Australia but there have been rumours of infighting within the SNP group so not the best start for an SNP campaign. One of the independents was a popular local man voted citizen of the year in 2008 by his local Rotary Club. Adding all this into the mix its surprising that the SNP still did so well with 54% of the vote. While the Lib Dems still trailed in third behind the Tories.

I’m sorry Caron but I’m not convinced that this result is the beginning of the Lib Dems comeback from the wilderness.

Caron said...

Munguin, why does that not surprise me? We picked up loads of 2nd prefs as in other by-elections so rumours of our toxicity are unfounded.

I think things may be about to get better for the Lib Dems as people get anxious about the SNP cuts which are coming. And the next by elections are where the single police force will not be popular.

cynicalHighlander said...

Cuts imposed by Westminster Caron as they have cut our pocket money.

If the LibDems are so clever can you please explain how cutting public services reduces the deficit?

Or in other words if you are in debt how does reducing your spending reduce your debt?

The only reason to cut public services is to privatise those jobs to make profits for the wealthiest in the UK.

Dan Falchikov said...

Cynical Highlander might want to withdraw his last comment. Only in the world of Swinomics can not reducing spending lead to a reduction in debt...

Mike Beckett said...

Great news Nick Clegg is doing the right thing, even though it is the hard path, thank you for your article.

I fear Ed Balls as he is a Labour enforcer and is zealous for his version of the truth and would seek to crush those he opposes. I am repulsed equally by Ed Miliband's (the less popular brother minibrand) and George Osborne as I see no wish to do hard things for long term gain, in both I see a lust for power, the wielding of which they appear to me to yet (if ever) prove worthy of. They both however seem preferably to Ed Balls.

I apologise on behalf of the bashing you have received above from SNP supporters, they must feel threatened to resort to such venom.

The SNP have a canny leader at the moment, they may be on the rise but sooner or latter I wager they will hit a high water mark. The Lib Dems are well known for their commitment to subsidiarity, community politics and decentralisation. I think Liberal Democrats activities value will grow with time. Interesting to see if Tory toxicity will re-emerge as a factor in England and Wales?

Munguin said...

Caron: second preference votes? I thought that the SNP candidate met the election criteria in the first round of 1332 and, therefore, the second preferences need not be counted. Looking at P & Ks website I cannot find the number for the second preference votes only the first. Can you give us all a steer to where that information is available?

Caron said...

Anyone who's been to a Council by-election count will see that we are still attracting a significant proportion of second preferences.

Munguin said...

Oh right I see. No figures validated by the returning officer then, just guess work by “someone” at the count? You will excuse me if I do not take hearsay at the face value given it by you. So sorry but I find recorded and validated facts so much more useful when quoting figures.


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