23 August 2012

ComRes poll exposes Clegg's strategy

In all the discussion over the future (or lack thererof) of Nick Clegg in this week's Lib Dem Voice poll, one bit of opinion research has been somewhat glossed over.

Earlier this week ComRes published the results of a poll which asked:

'Do you agree or disagree that being in coalition with the Conservatives has shown the Liberal Democrats to be a credible party of government?'

This is in essence the strategy oft annunciated by Clegg and devised by his former adviser Richard Reeves.  Their argument is that years of opposition has meant that the voting public simply see the party as a repository of protest votes and a period in government is a the key to breaking the glass ceiling of around 25% support that the party has struggled to overcome.  The strategy is somewhat silent on what the party should do in its time in government - simply being in government is supposed to do the trick.

Well the voting public have sent Messers Clegg and Reeves a rather big rasberry.  ComRes found that just 18% of the voting public agreed that the Lib Dems are a credible party of government with 61% disagreeing.  Among those who voted Lib Dem in 2010, 33% agreed and 49% disagreed.

Being in government was never going to be enough - it's what the party does there that is vital.  The party needs a coherent message about what it is doing in government and why people should vote for more of it in 2015.  If it can't do that it will deservedly lose next time round. 

But the problem is when your so called strategist confuses means (being in government) with ends (what you do) it is impossible to answer the question.  Let's hope whoever replaces the hapless Mr Reeves does actually understand political strategy - but given the party's predisposition to employing policy wonks I fear it will simply carry on being in government until an ungrateful electorate throws it out in 2015.

1 comment:

  1. "the problem is when your so called strategist confuses means (being in government) with ends (what you do)"

    A lesson Labour has hopefully learned after the woeful and wasted Blair decade.