LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Liberal Democrats are paying a high price for their place in coalition government, with most voters seeing them as divided and unlikely to keep their promises, a Reuters Ipsos/MORI poll showed today.
The Conservatives, the larger party in the ruling coalition, were seen as the most fit to govern and having a better team of leaders than their Lib Dem partners or Labour opposition.
The poll deals an untimely blow to the Lib Dems, enjoying a rare taste of power after entering coalition in May 2010, on the final day of their annual conference.
Sixty-five percent of Britons regard the centre-left party as divided and only 16 percent regard it as likely to keep its promises, according to newly released data from the Reuters/Ipsos MORI political monitor.
Support for the Lib Dems has plunged since they went into government, with the decision to reverse their opposition to higher student tuition fees particularly damaging.
Only 23 percent of those polled thought the Lib Dems were fit to govern.
Figures for the Conserva-tives were more positive, with half of Britons describing them as fit to govern.
In terms of leadership, 44 per cent said Prime Minister David Cameron’s party had a good team of leaders, against 34 per cent for Labour and only 30 per cent for the Lib Dems.
However, almost one in three thought Cameron’s party was extreme. Cameron has tried to rid the party of its “nasty” tag and has steered a centrist course, irritating some of his own grassroots supporters.
Labour, ousted from power in 2010 after ruling for 13 years, is regrouping under new leader Ed Miliband.
While his party is seen as “most likely to look after the interests of people like me” — 41 per cent, compared to 32 per cent for the Conserva-tives and Liberal Democrats, it trails the Conservative party on the key issues of being fit to govern and having the best team of leaders.
Miliband, who has struggled to make an impact since he pipped his brother David to the leadership a year ago, will seek to win over delegates at his party’s annual gathering in Liverpool next week.
Ipsos MORI said it interviewed a representative sample of 1,008 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain.
Interviews were conducted by telephone from Sept. 10 to Sept. 12. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.