New research reveals that many voters think that the Lib Dems joining the Coalition Government showed that the party was “prepared to take real responsibility, not just oppose from the sidelines.”
And 64 per cent of voters who considered voting Lib Dem, but actually decided not to, think that the party is “making an important contribution to the government of Britain”
The detailed private research was commissioned by political enthusiast and lifelong Conservative Lord Ashcroft, former treasurer of the party, who poured huge sums into the Tory general election campaign, so his personal comments are particularly interesting.
He writes: ” Before May, the Lib Dems were held back by two common views: that they were a wasted vote because they would never win, and that although they seemed terribly nice people their policies probably didn’t really add up. The party’s presence in government therefore offers at least the chance to overcome both of these barriers.
“At the same time, it could retain its two biggest strengths: the reputation of Lib Dem MPs as local champions, and the perception that they seemed more reasonable, and less inclined to indulge in partisan sniping, than the other two parties.”
Lord Ashcroft says that his research aimed to look deeply into the opportunities and threats facing the Liberal Democrats now in coalition. It also found that a “large bloc” of people voted for the party on the basis of local issues or candidates.