The Wisdom Index again points to the Liberal Democrats performing better in a prospective General Election than convention polls, with Nick Clegg’s ‘apology’ over the manifesto promise not to increase student tuition fees, (which turned out to be something he could not deliver) helping to push up their vote share marginally. Perhaps as a result of his contrition, the Liberal Democrats pick up a point to put them on 18%, as a high as number as any ICM public opinion poll has given them since they hit 18% in ICM/Guardian’s February 2011 poll.
The lead between the two main parties is a 6-point Labour advantage, down 1-point on last month as a result of Labour (37%) having dropping an identical point off their share of the vote. After 4 waves of the Wisdom Index, we are now seeing the possible emergence of a trend down for Labour, with the Liberal Democrats rather than the Conservatives (who are rock solid on 31% share) being the beneficiaries.
The Labour lead is viewed consistently across different party supporters. Among 2010 Tory voters, the impression is that Labour hold a 5-point advantage, which only edges up to 7-points among Labour 2010 voters. With 2010 Liberal Democrats voters seeing the gap as narrow (3-points), the leading parties can be seen to be in a state of flux, with it all very much to play for.
Vince Cable has recently refused to rule out the prospect of a tilt at the Liberal Democrats leadership job, and few would blame him given a 11-point advantage he holds in terms of electability over Nick Clegg. The lead narrows to 7-points among Liberal Democrats voters, but clearly the prospect of a Cable challenge will be a real concern to the Liberal Democrats incumbent.
David Cameron also has battles to fight. His policy of ring fencing foreign aid money has little support among the public at large, with 64% saying he is wrong to ring fence this money while other central government departments suffer sizable cuts. Conservative voters are as opposed as anyone (63%) to this, with only one in seven (14%) Tories – and indeed 14% of the public at large – saying his currently foreign aid policy is the right course of action.
Given this, it is unsurprising that a full seven in ten (70%) think that the foreign aid budget should be scaled back from the 0.7% of GDP that is recommended by the United Nations, with 16% saying he should stick with the commitment.
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