Coffee House

Voters doubt coalition will survive to 2015

13 August 2012

8:24 AM

13 August 2012

8:24 AM

If the coalition leaders had hoped that announcing the demise of Lords reform during the Olympics would mean the government would enjoy a slightly easier ride, a poll released this morning by The Guardian suggests they were wrong.

The ICM poll found that only 16 per cent of voters now believe the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats will stay in partnership until 2015. This has fallen from 33 per cent two weeks ago. Overall, 54 per cent of voters believe the government will collapse before the next general election, and only 19 per cent think the two parties will pull apart a few months before the election in order to campaign separately.


Last Monday’s announcement by Nick Clegg that the Conservatives had failed to persuade their MPs to support the House of Lords Reform Bill and that the Liberal Democrats would take revenge by destroying the boundary changes has catalysed a dramatic increase in the proportion of voters who no longer have faith in the longevity of the partnership. This poll found 43 per cent of voters thought the coalition would collapse over the next couple of years, up from 23 per cent a fortnight ago, while 11 per cent (up from 7 per cent) thought it would break up even sooner.

Clegg has insisted that instructing his own ministers to vote against the boundary reforms will not end the coalition, because they will not be sacked for enacting what he sees as a penalty for the failure of his House of Lords project. This has angered Conservative MPs, and at least one senior Lib Dem MP is uneasy about it, too. The new ‘uncharted territory’ that the coalition is in will give voters more jitters: expect even more public bickering and demands from backbenchers in both parties for their leaders to stand up to one another on other issues than constitutional reform.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • WIlliam Blakes Ghost

    I wonder if Clegg has realised there is likely not a cat’s chance in hell of him getting anything contraversial through ever again before his party sack him (either before or after the 2015 election). Everyone has been analysing Cameron’s woers but Clegg is now a dead man walking. No one is going to give him an inch. Cable must be lapping this up. How ironic it is that Clegg announced this ‘bombshell’ just after Vince and his pet vulture Oakeshott started going on manouevres……

  • 2trueblue

    Lets hope that Cameron can bring in a better team with his imminent reshuffle.
    Clegg wants a system that offers the Lib Dems and undemocratic advantage, yet is childish in his ‘tit for tat’ by equating it to binning the boundaries issue which allows a hugely undemocratiic advantage for Labour, 29.000 votes for a Labour seat yet 44,000 needed to win a Tory seat.

  • Coffeehousewall

    How does people’s views on the longevity of the coalition have any bearing on the longevity of the coalition? It’s like saying that people’s views of whether Chelsea will win the FA cup next year will have an effect on whether they win the cup. This is a pointless poll and so an analysis of it is even more pointless.

  • Fergus Pickering

    what on earth does it matter what ‘voters’ think about this? Voters thought the Olympics would be a shambles. The question is, what do voters know? In this case sweet fanny adams. Or how can voters influence this? Not much, I’d say I remember voters being sure that Brown’s government would collapse any week now. Ditto the euro. But the one staggered on and the other is staggering on. The coalition will cllapse when it is in the interests of one of the parties that it should do so.which is hardly likely to be soon, is it?

    • 2trueblue

      Surely it depends on the questions asked. In market research the client always has an agenda and discovering what exactly the public thinks is not always what the client wants.

  • TomTom

    Time for an Election just as it was every day since an inconclusive event in May 2010. The EU re-runs Referenda until the “right” result is obtained, but elections seem to be a step too far. This regime has no mandate for anything

  • Justathought

    If the boundary reform is scuppered then the relevant Conservative MP’s will need to cooperate with UKIP. But before that there is the European Parliament elections where UKIP will clean up and also the little matter of Scottish Independence.

    And expect little support from the Ulster MP’s as their nose is well and truly out of joint after being led up the garden path on the prospect of devolution of corporation tax (and which will serve as a warning to Scottish MP’s that jam tomorrow promised by Whitehall can end up on your face )

  • Gerry Dorrian

    Nick Clegg says he wants porportional representation, which tends to produce coalition governments. Hasn’t he noticed that the electorate, not trusting Labour but not trusting the Tories enough, produced a coalition government? What we have noticed is the effect of that coalition: every major party promised a referendum on Europe after the election, and it failed to materialise. In the face of these three parties’ backsliding, perhaps it’s time for a coalition of smaller parties?

    • TomTom

      If he wants PR let’s have it for LOcal Government

  • EC

    Turkeys voting for an early Christmas?

  • Nicholas

    Please no more features on Alex Salmond’s bid to create Croatia north of the Tweed. I don’t think I can take any more Anglophobe incontinence from his ambassadors flocking to denounce anyone who dares a good word for the Union. I already realised that we English are hated and that our past has been so constructed by evil that we do not deserve consideration as a nation people ourselves but even so the depth of vehemence and triumphalism expressed on these pages has been shocking and has changed my mind. The sooner these people find their own destiny and must look to some other nation than England to blame for all their misfortunes the better. England can never seek the resurgence it needs with this griping, interfering, socialist millstone around her neck. Sad but there it is.

    • Bruce, UK

      “look to some other nation than England to blame for all their misfortunes”

      I am afraid you really don’t know the Scots. For some, whatever happens, it will always be England’s fault.

  • Rhoda Klapp

    Just how many iterations of the coalition split story can we expect? Does this not seem facile and lazy, or is it me? (Yes, I know, nobody is more facile or lazier than I).

  • Mirtha Tidville

    I sincerely hope the voters are right………