Voters remain unconvinced by Miliband and Clegg
Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg are struggling to improve their image with voters while David Cameron remains almost twice as popular as his two rival leaders.
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The latest poll of polls for The Independent reveals that after a mini-revival early this year, the Liberal Democrats are back at the 11 per cent rating to which they slumped last year after their tuition fees U-turn. It is their joint lowest showing since last year's general election, when they won 23 per cent of the vote.
Labour (40 per cent) enjoys a four-point advantage over the Tories (36 per cent). But John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University – who compiled the figures – said such a lead was "far from sufficient" to suggest Labour can regain power in 2015.
The weighted average of surveys conducted by ComRes, ICM, Ipsos MORI and YouGov masks contrasting fortunes for the three leaders.
Mr Cameron, dubbed "Teflon Man" by Tory aides, appears to float above the political fray. Mr Clegg seems to be the fall guy for ministers' unpopular decisions while Mr Miliband makes little impact on voters. Mr Clegg's personal ratings have hit a new low. ComRes found only 21 per cent believe he is a good leader. Professor Curtice said: "There must now be question marks about Clegg's ability to recover from his unpopularity, which is beginning to be on a par with that endured by Gordon Brown. Leaders rarely recover popularity once most of the public have decided to write them off."
Only about four in 10 who voted Liberal Democrat last year now support the Coalition. Although Mr Clegg has sought to trumpet his party's policy wins, 71 per cent of these voters do not think the Liberal Democrats have enough influence and 53 per cent say they have little or none.
Seven out of 10 want the party to put more distance between it and the Tories, although only 13 per cent think it should leave the Coalition.
"The fact the party is now adopting a more robust stance may begin to lay foundations for some sort of electoral recovery," said Professor Curtice. "But it will have to secure some demonstrable wins that matter to voters if it is to begin to recover its fortunes."
The task will not be easy, as the Liberal Democrats appear to have lost credibility with many voters. Forty per cent agreed that the party "seems to chop and change all the time – you can never be quite sure what it stands for".
There is little either for Mr Miliband to celebrate. ComRes found only 22 per cent deem him a good leader, compared with Mr Cameron's 39 per cent.
Ominously for Labour, none of the last three opposition leaders with a negative satisfaction rating after eight months in the post – William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith and Lord Howard – went on to become prime minister.
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