It comes from Times Populus poll for February, details of which are now available. Voters were asked to judge how well or badly they thought the coalition government is doing on “cutting back on public spending in the right way”. Liberal Democrat voters were more prepared than others to give the coalition government the benefit of the doubt.
· 14% of all voters gave positive responses, and 16% of Liberal Democrat voters did so.
· 42% gave neutral responses and 55% of Liberal Democrat voters did so.
· 42% gave negative responses but only 29% of Liberal Democrat voters did so.
As for “sorting out the economy”:
· 21% of all voters were positive, as were 21% of Liberal Democrat voters.
· 46% gave neutral responses and 54% of Liberal Democrat voters did so.
· 32% gave negative responses but only 26% of Liberal Democrat voters did so.
YouGov polling data suggests that those who voted Liberal Democrat in 2010 but have since bolted are more likely to come from the left hand of the political spectrum than those who have stuck with the party. The new Populus data gives this theory some backing, but we shouldn’t get too carried away. For instance, 48% of all previous Lib Dem backers gave negative ratings to the coalition’s record on public spending but only 11% were positive.
All this comes with a health warning: the subsamples of Liberal Democrat voters, whether now or in 2010, were very small.