Poll: Cable could save nearly 20 Lib Dem MPs if he takes out Clegg

Another day, another poll to pile further misery on Nick Clegg and boost his main rival Vince Cable, reports Shamik Das.


Another day, another poll to pile further misery on Nick Clegg and boost his main rival Vince Cable.

Following the dismal Sunday Times/YouGov survey that showed a majority of voters find him untrustworthy, indecisive and weak, an ICM poll in today’s Guardian reveals public contempt for his Cleggapology and shows Cable would significantly boost their score.

The Guardian reports:

Replacing Nick Clegg with Vince Cable as the leader of the Liberal Democrats would restore their poll ratings to heights not seen since the honeymoon period after they entered coalition in 2010, according to a Guardian ICM poll which also gives the Labour party its strongest lead over the Conservatives since Iain Duncan Smith was Tory leader.

If Cable was leader at an election now, the Lib Dems would gain five points, three from Labour, plus one each from the Tories and the assorted minor parties, the Guardian/ICM poll shows. It would take their rating from the current 14% to 19% – only five points down on the 2010 election result…

Projections from the Electoral Calculus website imply that Clegg’s caucus would shrink from 57 MPs today to just 32 if there were a new election tomorrow. But if the leadership reins passed to Cable – who on Monday distinguished himself from his leader by speaking to the conference about “social democratic values” – then some 50 Lib Dem parliamentarians are instead projected to survive.

Adding of attitutes to the deputy prime minister’s tuition fees mea culpa last week:

The public is less than convinced by Clegg’s public apology last week for the party’s broken pledge on student fees. Asked whether this rare show of political contrition made them “more likely to listen to what he has to say in future” only 20% of voters agreed, as against 69% who said they were now “less likely” to listen. This overwhelming 49-point gap suggests the move backfired.

Another poll, by Populus for Edelman, is also unlikely do Cable much harm when it comes to winning round Liberal Democrat members in any leadership contest – though it could spell curtains for Danny Alexander.

As Chart 1 below shows, the survey of Tory MPs finds the Chief Secretary to the Treaasury, George Osborne’s deputy – who defended his boss’s economic policy to the hilt once again yesterday – to be the man they most trust; the business secretary, meanwhile, who yesterday reaffirmed his commitment to “liberal and social democratic principles”, is the Lib Dem minister they least trust. Quelle surprise.

Chart 1:

For politically principled and pollingly practical reasosns, it seems the choice for Lib Dem MPs is clear.

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.