What the public thinks of… Cameron & Clegg for ditching Lords reform & boundary changes & of the Lib Dems in Coalition

by Stephen Tall on August 20, 2012

Here’s four intriguing findings from a ComRes poll for the Mirror and Independent released yesterday and conducted 15th-16 August…

By 34%-29% public thinks Cameron was WRONG to abandon House of Lords reform

Q: Do you agree or disagree that David Cameron was right to abandon the attempt to make changes to the House of Lords?

    Agree 29%
    Disagree 34%
    Don’t know 37%

Interestingly 21% of Conservative voters disagreed with their party leader’s decision. Also interesting: the views of Labour and Lib Dem voters on this question were near-identical, disagreeing with David Cameron’s decision to pull the plug on the Coalition Agreement’s promised Lords reform by 2:1 margin.

By 31%-29% public thinks Nick Clegg was RIGHT to veto boundary changes

Q: Do you agree or disagree that Nick Clegg was right to say that Liberal Democrat MPs will vote against the plans to reduce the number of MPs and change constituency boundaries?

    Agree 31%
    Disagree 29%
    Don’t know 40%

In spite of all the opprobrium that’s been thrown at the Lib Dem leader over the past fortnight by right-wing commentators (‘tantrum, betrayal, treachery etc’) his decision to go toe-to-toe with David Cameron, blocking boundary changes in response to the Tories torpedoing Lords reform, has not upset voters — in fact a narrow plurality of those with a view think he was in the right.

By 61%-18% the public don’t think the Coalition has shown the Lib Dems to be a credible party of government

Q: Do you agree or disagree that being in coalition with the Conservatives has shown the Liberal Democrats to be a credible party of government?

    Agree 18%
    Disagree 61%
    Don’t know 21%

For many of us who back the Coalition, the hope was that whatever unpopularity the party would acquire from being in government it would at least gain gravitas in the eyes of the public. Well, I don’t have an equivalent pre-Coalition figure to hand, but it’s hard to see this result in an optimistic light. The figure of 61% disagreeing includes almost half (49%) of those who say they voted Lib Dem in 2010.

By 43%-35% the public doesn’t prefer a Lib Dem / Labour coalition to the current Lib/Con Coalition

Q: Do you agree or disagree with the following statement, ‘I would prefer Labour and the Liberal Democrats to form a government rather than the present coalition between Conservatives and Liberal Democrats’?

    Agree 35%
    Disagree 43%
    Don’t know 22%

The current Coalition may not be popular, but there’s little clamour for the Lib Dems to align with Labour instead. Nor is this the result of Labour voters spurning Lib Dems in revenge: almost three-quarters (73%) of Labour voters would like the two parties to team up. So too would a bare majority (51%) of the Lib Dems’ 2010 voters. But an overwhelming majority (88%) of Tory voters oppose the idea, and a plurality (40% to 36%) of current Lib Dem voters don’t like it either.

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum, and also writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.