The recent ICM poll, commissioned by the Guardian, has revealed that 30% of people blame the last Labour government for the recent economic slowdown, whereas only 24% blame the current Government’s cuts agenda with 19% blaming banks not lending and 18% placing the blame at the doorstep of the Eurozone. Now what this tells us is that Labour is losing the blame game. Whilst many felt they were tired of hearing the Government consistently refer to the “mess left by Labour”, it still seems clear that the sentiment actually rings true in the minds of many voters. However, this does not mean the voters are not willing to entrust Labour, as the party still has a 2% lead over the Tories in the same ICM poll (although this was shortened down from the previous 4% lead they held).
What is clear is that, although voters blame Labour for the state of the economy, it is not necessarily a game changer in the sense of whether they will reject them in a vote at the election in 2015. It would also be naive to say that anyone who blames Labour for the mess automatically support the cuts. However, regardless of what you may read into the poll it is still worrying for Labour who are losing the blame-game politics they have happily exploited on every possibly platform where the economy is discussed. My advice (which is, pretty much, irrelevant) is for Labour not to spend all time and resources into condemning the cuts programme but to spend more time plugging their own plans for the economy. If they want to stand a chance in 2015 they need to ensure the electorate have a clear idea of what an Ed Miliband lead Labour party would do for the country, because at the moment it seems like the “five-point plan” is heavily undermined by petty tactics and point scoring which are proving not to work.
Now, although the ICM poll continues to highlight the woes Britain faces economically, or at least what they people think Britain faces economically, there is a small consolation for the Liberal Democrats. The part is now up 1% to 14% which is a nice change to the onslaught of YouGov polls which have showed the party polling in single digits on many an occasion. The recent Populus poll for The Times also shows an improvement for the party as they increase their voting intention figures by going up 5% to 13%. Even within the margin of error of +/-3% this still signifies at least a gain of 2% on their previous polling figures. I know it seems almost pointless to take anything from polls so far away from elections, but as a party under such close scrutiny it is important to observe when support is mounting and when it is not. When we see poll leaps like these you need to consider why attitudes have changes and how we can build upon them. It has, by post-2010 Lib Dem standards, been a quiet few weeks since autumn conference and maybe there have been a series of quiet successes that have spurred on support. I would, personally, like to think this is all down to Baroness Shirley Williams and the other Lib Dem Lords pushing for fair change to the NHS Reforms in the Lords, but the likelihood is probably quite the contrary. However, it does raise the question that all this talk of “Cleggmania: Round 2” may not be too much of an outrageous thought after all? Time will tell, but this poll will give Lib Dems comfort, if only for a short time.
I’ll keep a close eye on any polls of interest and will try and update the blog with anything I see of worth. Hopefully next time (maybe tomorrow), I’ll post on the US Republican Presidential Primaries for 2012. Especially since the next debate is coming up.