Support for the Liberal Democrats has fallen to just 12 per cent, half the level the party secured in the general election, according to an opinion poll yesterday.
The YouGov survey for The Sunday Times also recorded a steep fall in the popularity of the party's leader, Nick Clegg, since he became Deputy Prime Minister in the coalition Government.
Mr Clegg's personal satisfaction rating was just eight points, compared with the 72 points he achieved after the first televised leaders' debate during the election campaign.
Yesterday's poll suggested that Tories have not suffered in the same way from going into coalition. David Cameron's party was on 42 per cent, up five points since the election, with Labour fast gaining ground, up eight points to 38 per cent. The Liberal Democrats' rating was the lowest since October 2007, when Sir Menzies Campbell was forced out as leader.
Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Energy, insisted that his party's fortunes would be restored by the time of the next election if voters could see that they had got to grips with the economic problems inherited from Labour.
"I can remember a time when we had opinion polls where we were just an asterisk. We were literally within the margin of error of zero. So, frankly, it doesn't worry me. I'm absolutely convinced...people will look back and say: 'They did the right thing: here we have a real recovery with lots more prosperity coming through.' People will turn round and say actually we deserve credit."
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