Is this Nick Clegg’s dilemma?

Is this Nick Clegg’s dilemma?


Is anything other than equidistance wrong for the LDs?

If other polls follow YouGov and we get near to hung parliament territory again there will be more focus on what other parties, notably the SNP and the Lib Dems, would do. Here the views of party supporters might be important.

The best regular guide of how Lib Dem voters view things comes in the monthly Telegraph poll with the detailed splits on their forced choice “Brown or Cameron” question. This has been asked in the same form for years and it’s interesting to look at trends and how supporters of other than the big two see the situation.

In the table above we see the outcome this month – Lib Dems supporters are split totally on what they would like to see with 41% saying a “Cameron-led Tory Government” and 41% saying a “Brown-led Labour” one.

To show how far things have moved on and to put the findings into context in February 2006, while Cameron was enjoying his media honeymoon, the YouGov split on this question amongst Lib Dems was LAB-Brown 52%: CON-Cameron 22%. That’s a huge improvement and indicates, perhaps, the success that Cameron has had making his party more attractive to the centre ground.

Nick Clegg and the rest of the Lib Dem leadership simply have no alternative – with their voters so split they cannot err on one side or the other.

I used to think that the party’s activist base was much more Labour-inclined than party supporters. Now I’m not so sure and I detect little enthusiasm for propping up Labour.

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