Should this poll result worry us?

by Stephen Tall on March 26, 2010

Today’s BBC Daily Politics / ComRes poll asking which of the three major parties’ leadership teams is more trusted to steer the economy through the current downturn has caused a bit of a stir – it shows Labour’s duumvirate of Gordon Brown and Alastair Darling out ahead of the Tories, an about-turn on three months ago.

Here are the results:

    Putting your party allegiance aside, who do you trust most to steer Britain’s economy through the current downturn?
    Gordon Brown & Alistair Darling 33% (+7% on Dec 2009)
    David Cameron & George Osborne 27% (-6%)
    Nick Clegg & Vince Cable 13% (-6%)
    Don’t know 27% (+5%)

While it’s the Labour-Tory reversal of fortunes which is grabbing the attention, there is a noticeable drop in the proprtion of voters naming the Lib Dems’ team of Clegg and Cable as the pair most trusted on the economy. My guess is this has much more to do with a bounce in Labour’s perceived competence than it does in a sudden dip in confidence in the Lib Dems. This is, after all, in line with Labour’s climb above 30% in most of the opinion polls.

Vince Cable remains the choice of most voters as their dream Chancellor, according to two polls this week: one for PoliticsHome, the other for the Mirror. This is a quite remarkable accolade for a Lib Dem MP … but it doesn’t seem to translate into confidence in the Lib Dem leadership.

Some might argue that the logical conclusion is Nick Clegg is a drag on the leadership ticket. I don’t believe that’s the case, and the fact that polls consistently rate him the most popular of the three party leaders backs up that view.

But today’s poll does highlight, as Helen Duffett noted on LDV earlier this week, the challenge for Lib Dem campaigners in translating the popularity of St Vince into bankable votes.