Monday, January 09, 2006
Kennedy Effect felt already
Disaster in the polls as Charlie says 'Bye Bye'.
A new poll for the Mail on Sunday has the Lib Dems shedding most of the support it has gained under Kennedy.
During the 1990's the Lib Dems had support levels in the late teens, but since Kennedy took over in 1999 their support has fairly consistantly been on or above the psychologically important 20% barrier.
But since the troubles in December began over Kennedy's leadership the Lib Dems have slumped and the latest crop show their support even lower; on 16%.
The poll shares are with comparisons on the last published BPIX poll in November are:
CON 38 (+3)
LD 16 (-4).
This poll, although very early, strikes me as a clear foretaste of what is to come.
I have always believed that although he is dismissed by many political activist as a bit of a lightweight, Chat Show Charlie has been a winner with the public, especially many of the less-than-engaged members of the public who have recently made up the bulk of Lib dem support.
Will the party choose someone with the same public appeal? Or will they go for someone like Menzies Campbell, a heavyweight in the studios of Newsnight and in parliament, but a big turn-off for the public at large?
I have noticed a tendancy among all the main parties to choose leaders who are in personality terms the opposite of their immediate predecessor - as indeed the Lib Dems did themselves when they put CK in after Paddy Ashdown.
On that basis, Campbell is a shoo-in.