Others slip-slide away…
In one sense the latest batch of opinion polls is terribly dull although the ‘Others’ top-line support continues to slide slowly. The fact that it is the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats receiving benefit from this suggests that the people who drifted were mostly of the flaky ‘protest voter’ variety in any case. Politics will fall out of the news a little as the recess kicks in so I think it’s likely we will not see any dramatic stories from the top-line figures until the conference season kicks-in. The general pattern still remains that enough people are sick of Labour to give the Conservatives commanding leads and we are bobbing around the 20% mark, occasionally menacing the beleaguered government.
Besides the top-line figures there are the often much more interesting supplementary questions. Since Afghanistan has been a major topic of discussion in the dying embers of this Parliamentary term it is unsurprising there was one on that issue. You Gov found 72% thought ‘stabilising Afghanistan’ was a ‘worthwile aim’; hardly surprising since it is pretty much motherhood and apple pie. It is a bit like asking if stopping terrorism is a ‘worthwhile aim’, of course it is; however, the issue is the effectiveness of the policy being pursued.
Unsurprising then, given this rather prejudicial lead-in, that You Gov shows leaps in support for increased troop numbers from both Britain and other NATO countries. Com Res showed a contrasting picture with 64% agreeing that British troops should be withdrawn. In questioning the resourceing of the war both Nick Clegg and David Cameron have carved out a nuanced position for themselves within the general consensus supporting the war. However, how long this will last before the ‘drip-drip’ of bad news causes further and deeper questioning is debatable.
Whatever happens, I would seriously question the long-term viability and wisdom of Nick Clegg pinning his colours to the ‘liberal interventionist’ mast.