PollWatch: views of the coalition government and party leaders

by Stephen Tall on May 21, 2010

Two polls have been published this week offering some early sense of public perceptions of the Lib Dem / Conservative coalition government, and how they rate the party leaders.

Public views of the coalition government

Angus Reid discovered that, overall, 58% of the public strongly/moderately approve of the coalition, while 31% strongly/moderately disapprove – that’s a net +27% approval rating. Approval is, as you might expect, stronger in the south of England (+41%), weaker in the north of England (+14%) and marginally negative in Scotland (-2%).

This breaks down in party support as follows:

  • Conservative voters: 84% approve, 11% disapprove (net approval: +73%)
  • Lib Dem voters: 73%, 18% (+55%)
  • Labour voters: 26%, 65% (-39%)

YouGov asked not about the coalition itself, but whether the public approved of the coalition government’s record to date – hard to know how anyone can judge after just one week, so little surprise that 34% said they didn’t know. Of those who expressed an opinion, the public was favourably inclined by 43% to 23%.

As with Angus Reid, approval is strongest among Tory voters (+59%), with Lib Dem voters’ approval of the coalition government’s record standing at +24%, and Labour voters giving it the thumbs down (-20%); though interstingly Labour voters are most likely to be giving it the benefit of the doubt, with 41% don’t knows.

Public views of Nick Clegg

‘Cleggmania’ may have cooled somewhat, but Nick Clegg’s ratings have, overall, been considerably boosted by the general election campaign. Angus Reid asked, “Do you have a favourable or unfavourable opinion of Nick Clegg?” which showed Nick’s favourables at 55%, his unfavourables at 33% – a net favourability rating of +22%. This compares well with David Cameron’s rating of +11%.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Nick is doing much better with Conservative voters (+46%) than Labour (-34%) – while Lib Dem voters give him a +78% favourability score. Lib Dem voters do not return the favour to David Cameron: 49% view him favourably, but 46% unfavourably.

YouGov looks at the key leadership qualities associated with the leaders – “sticks to what he believes in”, “honest”, “strong”, “in touch with ordinary people”, “good in a crisis”, “a ntural leader”, “charismatic”. In every single one, percpetions of Nick Clegg have increased favourably compared to before the election campaign, albeit lower than at the peak of ‘Cleggmania’. Nick continues to out-rate Cameron on two measures: “honest” and “in touch with ordinary people”.