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Someone or maybe a group of Lib Dems are spending serious money trying to oust Clegg

May 27th, 2014

But who is behind it and what’s the next step?

Hopefully later today ICM will release the detailed data from the private polling that’s splashed by the Guardian this morning. The broad message of what’s been leaked is that the party stands to do worse in four key seats that it already holds without a change of leader.

The choice of pollster is interesting. ICM has over the years tended to show the most favourable position for the Lib Dems.

What struck me are not just the numbers but the fact that serious money is being spent on the effort to try to get Clegg out.

Constituency surveys like this are just about the most complex and expensive political polling that you can do. They can only be carried out by phone and the bill for this job will have been tens of thousands of pounds. It also takes time and planning. It is not the sort of thing that could have been commissioned last week.

    The conclusion I come to is that someone, or maybe a group of people, are trying to create the environment that will make it even more difficult for the current leadership to carry on

    If so Clegg would appear to have an organised and well-funded rebellion on his hands

The polling goes to the very heart the party’s current perception about its GE15 chances. This is that although they’ll struggle across most of the country they are doing OK in their strongholds.

Under British Polling Council rules ICM will be required to publish the poll details but whether the funder’s name will be made public is a different matter. Who is it? I’ve got my suspicions but I’m not going to reveal them.

Update on my effort to identify who is behind the poll

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble