Reputation Survey: Liberal Democrats - Lib Dem ratings take a battering

Following the Liberal Democrats' conference last week, new research reveals that the public has a more negative view of the party since it formed a coalition with the Conservatives.

Nick Clegg: his popularity has fallen (Rex Features)
Nick Clegg: his popularity has fallen (Rex Features)

More than half of the public say their opinion of the Liberal Democrats has become more negative since the party joined the coalition Government.

The new research from PRWeek/OnePoll comes a week after the Lib Dems' party conference.

When asked the same question last year, soon after the Government was formed, 34 per cent said their opinion of the party was more negative. This year, ten per cent said their opinion had improved, compared with 19 per cent last year, while 39 per cent said it had remained the same.

The rest of the research does not make pleasant reading for the Lib Dems. Nick Clegg was named as the politician who had benefited the least from the coalition, with 44 per cent of the vote. Only one in ten thought he was doing very well or well in government, while 47 per cent thought he was doing badly or very badly.

Just six per cent said they thought the Lib Dems were making a major impact on government policy, and 15 per cent thought they had made no impact at all.

Forty-nine per cent said they did not think the Lib Dems were any more relevant now than when they were not in Government. And 49 per cent said the party had lost credibility when it formed the coalition.

But while the Government as a whole did better reputationally than the Lib Dems, 48 per cent said if the economy started to grow they would credit factors outside the Government, rather than any party in power.

Survey of 2,000 members of the public conducted by global research agency OnePoll

HOW I SEE IT

Dave McCullough, Account director, Insight Public Affairs

This is uniformly bad news for the Liberal Democrats, in particular for Nick Clegg.

The following figures will make for grim reading for party strategists: 52 per cent of respondents said the Lib Dems have had little or no impact on government policy and only five per cent would believe the Lib Dems were responsible if the economy started to grow again; 49 per cent said the Lib Dems had lost credibility when they joined the coalition and, worst of all, 47 per cent thought Clegg had done badly or very badly in government.

Clegg's ratings will take some rescuing, as 44 per cent believed he was benefiting the least out of all the politicians in the coalition Government.

It is clear that while 47 per cent have a negative opinion of the coalition, the Lib Dems are bearing the brunt of voter anger.

We hear a lot about what Plan B on the economy might look like - the Lib Dems should be thinking about what their Plan B is.

UNCLEAR ON POLICIES

70% of respondents said they either did not know or were not sure what policies the Liberal Democrats stood for

NO ALLIANCE

44% believed Nick Clegg was wrong to form an alliance with the Conservatives

PUBLIC SECTOR CUTS

40% believed the coalition Government was cutting from the wrong budgets

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