Friday, December 29, 2006
Is yet another round of in-fighting coming?
This mornings Communicate Research poll for the Independent newspaper has the Lib Dems down on just 14% and follows the YouGov poll that was in the Sunday Times at the weekend and had the Lib Dems at 15%.
With all the usual caveats about opinion polls a pattern has emerged. In December all of the main polling organisations showed figures representing a significant and sustained fall in support.
This is against their showing at the last GE with Kennedy still at the helm of over 22% - a quarter of Lib Dems appear to have deserted the party since Ming Campbell took over as leader.
What might provoke another round of jostling in the Parliamentary Lib Dem party is the bald fact that at this level of support as many as half the Lib Dem MP's currently in Westminster could be at risk of losing their seats (and, of course, their livlihoods), indeed according to Martin Baxters 'Electoral calculus' website such a result would leave the Lib Dems back where they were in the 1970's -down to just a rump of half a dozen MP's.
While no-one in Westminster belives the result likely to be that bad, there is nothing more potent to brew serious dissent in a political party than the prospect of losing.
I expect it to be a long cold winter for Menzies Campbell; and a bad result nationally for the Lib Dems in next Mays local elections could see a fresh challenge for his job.