It’s a sign of just how much both the Conservatives and Labour are flailing about at the moment that the latest polling from YouGov gives the Liberal Democrats better net ratings than either of those parties – and Vince Cable better ratings than either of their leaders.
The Conservatives have a net favourable/unfavourable rating of minus 39, Labour minus 37 and the Liberal Democrats ‘soaring’ at minus 33. That Lib Dem rating is minus 7 amongst Remain voters and minus 61 amongst Leave voters – a reminder of how much benefit there is for the party in targeting Remain voters.
When it comes to leaders, Corbyn is at minus 53, May at minus 39 and Vince Cable at minus 30 (minus 7 with Remainers, minus 53 with Leavers).
Whilst negative ratings are still negative, it’s a striking relative performance. It’s also another example of how the cliche about ‘the Lib Dems are badly tarnished by coalition’ is largely inaccurate. It’s not that the public hates the party for what it did before. It’s that the public isn’t clear enough about what the party stands for or why it is relevant.
That’s why it is only 1 in 5 voters who say they think the Lib Dems were wrong to go into coalition and also that they haven’t forgiven the party for doing so. Everyone else either doesn’t think it was wrong, or has forgiven the party. That matches other data, such as from the British Election Survey for the 2015 election which found that the reaction to the party’s record in coalition from voters was much more ‘meh’ than ‘aaargh’.
So why haven’t the party’s voting intention poll ratings done better?
That’s the issue I addressed when speaking recently at Kensington and Chelsea Liberal Democrats, including the role of campaigning such as that which we saw on Saturday, marching with those from outside the party to campaign on an issue that clearly illustrates the party’s beliefs.
Here I am setting out how the party can recovery further and fight the battle against Brexit more successfully by improving the party’s reputation and raising its relevance:
The core vote strategy of course features in my talk. You can read the pamphlet which kicked off the move in the party to such an approach here.
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