The Evening Standard reports a poll which shows Nick Clegg having a far higher popularity rating amongst Tories than amongst his own Lib Dems. The Lib Dems, indeed, have had a battering as a result of their coalition decision, currently languishing at 15% in the polls. This is in part to do with a problem of identity - are they an indistinguishable part of a Tory government, or are they a distinctive party of the liberal-left? One Labour insider put it to me, rather gleefully I thought, that Clegg's real problem was that he had embraced the coalition, and his partnership with Cameron, much too enthusiastically. From the moment he appeared like a love-struck courtesan in the garden of Number 10 he was doomed. Had he suggested that it was only with real difficulty that he entered into coalition, and kept on showing real regret, perhaps even occasionally emulating Vince Cable's all too frequent look of utter despair, then anti-Tory voters and Lib Dems might have been prepared to accept he was sacrificing himself for the good of the nation. Unfortunately, he is enjoying power much too much to make a convincing martyr. Perhaps Clegg will in time see his future with the Tories, lead his coalition Liberals into a formal electoral pact, and eventually succeed Cameron as the next Tory leader?
While David Cameron's own position with Tory voters seems pretty solid - a 91% approval rating - it is hardly good news for his party that they are now level pegging with a Labour Party that is still essentially leaderless. Time for them to start praying for an Ed Balls victory.