Members of the public who believe Lib Dem MPs behaved worst over expenses? ZERO PER CENT

by Stephen Tall on October 16, 2009

PoliticsHome (yes, I’m still reading it, despite everything) published an interesting poll today, taking the temperature of public opinion on MPs’ expenses, post-Legg:

… [the poll] suggests that more than half the population believes the recommendations were ‘not tough enough’, 57% have ‘no sympathy whatsoever’ and 60% are as interested in the story as they ever were. The LIberal Democrat MPs are perceived to have behaved the best.

The survey is split down into categories of voter identification – Lib Dem, Labour, Tory, none – and generally there is little marked difference in the attitudes of party supporters:
>> Lib Dems are a little more inclined than others to believe Sir Thomas Legg’s recommendations were unfair (35% said it was: but this still left a big majority, 64%, saying he got it right or was too lenient).
>> Almost half (48%) Lib Dem supporters felt no sympathy whatsoever for those MPs having to pay back expenses that had initially been cleared (though one-third (33%) did have some sympathy).
>> And the vast majority of voters, no matter which party they support, are still interested in the MPs’ expenses story, though Labour voters were most likely to say they’d had their fill of it.

But the poll finding that stood out was this one – asked which party’s MPs it was felt had behaved the worst in the expenses scandal, not a single voter of the 1,154 who were polled answered that it was the Lib Dems. That’s right, zero (0) per cent of all voters felt the Lib Dems were most at fault. Maybe it’s not so suprising; but, still, I was surprised.

Overall, the public felt Labour had behaved worse (36%) than the Tories (21%), with 36% answering no party in particular. Unsurprisingly, the breakdown by party allegiance is more tribal, with just 1% of Tory supporters believing their party behaved worst, against 8% of Labour voters. Lib Dem voters were marginally more likely to believe the Tories were the principal villain of the scandal.