Today’s Times (£) carries a new Populus poll detailing an “unhappy anniversary” for Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems. But the poll also shows that the public remains sceptical of George Osborne’s economic strategy.
When read out two different views about the economy – one corresponding to George Osborne’s plans to eliminate the deficit in this Parliament and the other in line with Alistair Darling’s proposal to halve the deficit in four years – excluding don’t knows, the public favour Darling’s approach to Osborne’s by 55 per cent to 45 per cent.
The Times highlights (£) that the remaining Lib Dem supporters are changing their view on this:
“One result that is likely to cause alarm in Downing Street is the first sign that Lib Dem supporters are turning their back on the coalition’s deficit reduction strategy. In February, 61 per cent backed the coalition’s speed and pace of deficit reduction, putting them broadly in line with support for the strategy among Conservatives.
“Now, the number of Lib Dem supporters endorsing plans to eliminate the current structural deficit within a Parliament has dropped to 46 per cent. Tory support remains largely unchanged.”
A recent YouGov tracker found net support for the coalition’s management of the economy at -12. This compares starly with the picture just 11 months ago, after Osborne’s emergency budget, when +25 thought the strategy was good for the economy.
Sadly, it seems that neither economic stagnation nor public opinion will shift the coalition’s determination to stick to Plan A.