Last November, I posed the question on pb2 “Who hates Nick Clegg?”
My analysis showed an intriguing split, with Labour supporters remarkably united in their disdain for the Lib Dem leader. If Nick Clegg is not going to add as a serious drag on his party’s polling, he needs to improve his public standing before the next election.
Have Nick Clegg’s ratings started to improve?
No. The two pollsters who regularly poll on the standing of the party leaders, YouGov and IPSOS-MORI, offer no comfort to Nick Clegg. Both have issued new polls on this subject this week. By 67% to 22%, the Great British public as polled by YouGov think that he is doing badly rather than well. According to IPSOS-MORI, 59% are dissatisfied with the way that he is doing his job as Deputy Prime Minister and only 31% are satisfied. These figures are actually considerably worse than in November last year.
Where has this deterioration come from?
Impressively, Nick Clegg seems to have been able to alienate still more Labour supporters in the last 10 months. IPSOS-MORI now find that fully 78% of Labour supporters are dissatisfied, up from 71%, and 90% of YouGov respondents with a Labour allegiance now think that he is doing badly, up from 87% last year.
He still gets the nod from the largest part of Conservative supporters with IPSOS-MORI (49% to 41%) and his figures are a respectable 39% to 51% with Conservatives with YouGov. But to put this in context, Conservative supporters still rave about David Cameron – fully 94% of YouGov Conservative supporters think that David Cameron is doing well and 78% of IPSOS-MORI Conservatives are satisfied with him. Nick Clegg is standing in his shadow, so far as Conservatives are concerned.
It gets worse. According to YouGov, 28% of current Lib Dem supporters now think the Lib Dem leader is doing badly. In November last year, this figure was 14%. So this has doubled in 10 months. IPSOS-MORI shows a less dramatic move in dissatisfaction among Lib Dem supporters – up from 34% to 42% since November. But it’s unlikely that Nick Clegg will take much comfort from that.
Has the intensity of anger diminished?
Not obviously. YouGov allow respondents to say whether they think Nick Clegg is doing badly or very badly. 59% of Labour supporters say that they think that he is doing very badly. That is actually a slight improvement on the 61% who thought this last year, but the Lib Dems would need to be very creative to turn that into a bar chart. Meanwhile, fully 36% of all respondents now think that he’s doing very badly, up from 27% last year.
Nick Clegg needs to improve his ratings from the very poor levels that they plunged to following the formation of the Coalition. But instead he is sinking further. He has 3 years and 9 months at most to see improvements. But given what has happened to his polling in the last year, it may already be too late. The public may already have made their minds up.