I’ve just been reading the latest government approval figures from YouGov, a bit of a wierd experience to be honest, probably because I’m not yet used to the Lib Dems being a party of government. The figures & Peter Kellner’s analysis make for interesting and slightly worrying (for the LibDems) reading.
Overall Coalition approval sitting at +4, with 22% unsure how they feel, LibDem Voters Approve/Disapprove of the coalition 40-36, with 24% undecided, we can probably expect both of those to go down as the cuts begin to bite.
Labour seems to be benefitting from the “anti-government” vote that seems to usually come our way & a moderate desertion of the let wing of our party, although it should be noted that by desertion, I by no means assert this is a permanent trend, that will depend on both how the Labour Party develops over the next 5 years under their new leader, whomsoever that may be and of course on how the Coalition & the Economy perform.
In my opinion, unless Labour keeps moving left (as Lord Prescott would have them do) & stays there (although not so far left as to leave their centrist supporters worried) and the economy doesn’t improve, or indeed gets worse between now and 2015, then it seems unlikely that the majority of that swing will remain with Labour.
Could make 2011 a problematic year for the coalition in the 3 big “regional” elections (Wales, Scotland & Northern Ireland), unless we see a big economic pickup, which again, seems unlikely at best.
This having been said, I don’t actually think our vote, will by majority go straight to Labour. Lets face it, they’ve only been out of government a few months and voters will remember what that meant. I actually suspect, that instead of voting for Labour, the majority of disgruntled LibDem voters, will by and large either not vote, since they don’t actually want a Labour government but want to voice their dissent for the coalition, or alternately vote Green, so that they don’t have to vote Labour.
The fact is, many Lib Dem Voters vote for us, because we are seen as not being of the big two parties, Labour are still one of the big two and now we’re tainted with government, I suspect LibDem Voters will be tempted more by a strong Green performance than Labour. Of course, when it comes to regional lists, how people will vote is anyone’s guess realistically, that could provide a fair few surprises!
So perhaps during the regional elections, we’ll see a boosted Green performance overall thanks to people being pissed at the LibDems, or perhaps I’m way off base and our votes will go to Labour & perhaps the Nationalists (in Scotland & Wales), I guess time will tell. But personally, I think disgruntled LibDem voters are less likely to vote for Labour, than the Labour party expects and that “smaller parties” will be the main beneficiary of anti-coalition anger. Of course such a switch would be hard to detect within polling data unless it was on a huge scale. At any rate, we’ll see in May 5th 2011. It’s a long time to polling day and it’s definitely all still to play for.
- Greg Foster