Here’s an interesting statistic from YouGov: more voters think the Conservatives have broken the coalition agreement than think the Lib Dems have failed to stick to it. When asked whether the Tories have ‘mostly kept to their side of the deal they made in the coalition agreement’, 51 per cent said no. For the Lib Dems, 45 per cent of voters thought the Lib Dems had stuck to the coalition agreement against 32 per cent who thought they had not.
It’s worth noting, though, that when you look at the breakdown of voting intention, it is Labour voters rather than Conservatives who think Nick Clegg’s party have stuck to their side of the bargain. Fifty per cent of Labour voters say the Lib Dems have mostly kept the agreement, against 34 per cent who do not. For those voters, it’s unlikely they’ll approve of the policies which the Lib Dems have had to take on the chin: tuition fee increases, NHS reform and welfare cuts. The Lib Dems’ own supporters don’t see keeping to the coalition agreement a positive thing, either: 67 per cent of Lib Dem voters said the Conservatives had gained more from it. When you ask Conservative voters who they think got the best deal in the agreement, 44 per cent think the Lib Dems benefitted most, and 35 per cent think the Tories won out.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Lib Dem voters are the least enthusiastic about the coalition ending immediately, with 22 per cent saying that’s the scenario they would prefer, against 28 per cent who want it to last until just before the next election. For the Lib Dems, that period of distinction from the Tories is desperately important in order to forge a solid Lib Dem identity rather than cobble something together once parliament has dissolved. But more Conservative voters – 34 per cent – want the two parties to remain linked right up to the end of this parliament than anything else, followed by 26 per cent of the Tory-voting group who want the coalition to end right now.Tags: Coalition agreement, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, opinion polls, UK politics