After several days of pressure on Nick Clegg new YouGov polling for the Times suggests that most current party supporters want him to remain as leader. Even amongst those who voted for the party in 2010 he has a lead.
The point, of course, is that those still supporting the party are likely to be loyalists. Amongst all sampled, however, 42% say he shouldn’t remain with 30% saying he should.
As to whether the party would do better being led by Vince Cable, architect of the tuition fees policy and the Royal Mail sell-off, the poll finds that a switch would make no difference to the party’s GE15 prospects.
We’ve also now got the detail of the privately-funded ICM polling in four key LD constituencies in which the standard ICM voting question was put.
The experience from the extensive Ashcroft marginals polling is that you can get a very different outcomes when the two stage question is asked.
“1. If there were a general election tomorrow, which party would you vote for? Would it be Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, UKIP, Plaid Cymru [Cardiff(North(only] or another party? If ‘another party’: Would that be, the Green Party, the British National Party (BNP), or some other party – or do you not know how you would vote?
2. And thinking specifically about your own constituency and the candidates who are likely to stand there, which party’s candidate do you think you will vote for in your own constituency at the next general election? “
This teases out tactical voting and the incumbency impact which in LD-held seats can add 10 points or so.
Clegg has still got some hurdles to mount but as we’ve seen many times over with politicians deemed to be “in trouble” they generally have extraordinary resilience. Look out how Brown survived in the 2007-10 period or even John Major in the years leading up to GE97.
I’m not betting on an early Clegg departure.