LibDem poll support nears 3-year low

LONDON Sun Aug 1, 2010 2:35pm BST

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg answers questions at an election campaign news conference at the party headquarters in central London April 20, 2010. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg answers questions at an election campaign news conference at the party headquarters in central London April 20, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Toby Melville

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LONDON (Reuters) - Public support for the Liberal Democrat party, the junior partner in the country's coalition government, has fallen to its lowest level in nearly three years, a YouGov poll showed on Sunday.

The Liberal Democrats would get just 12 percent of votes in an election, according to the poll for the Sunday Times newspaper, barely half their support in a May 6 election which forced out the Labour Party after 13 years in office.

This represents a drop of one percentage point from the last YouGov poll conducted on July 26-27 for the Sun newspaper and the weakest LibDem support in a YouGov poll since October 2007.

LibDem leader Nick Clegg's personal approval rating slumped to 8 percent in YouGov's poll from 72 percent in April.

The LibDems enjoyed a surge in support in the run-up to the election after a strong performance in television debates by Clegg, who promised a new style of politics to voters jaded with Labour and the Conservatives.

Supporters have been disappointed by the LibDem coalition with centre-right Conservatives, which brought the party into government for the first time since World War Two but meant they agreed to 25 percent spending cuts for most government departments.

Conservative popularity was steady at 42 percent and 6 percentage points higher than at the election, while Labour support was up 2 percentage points from earlier in the week at 37 percent and well above the 29 percent recorded on May 6.

LibDem energy minister Chris Huhne played down the poll in a BBC interview on Sunday. He said support for both the LibDems and the Conservatives was likely to fall further when cuts were implemented, but that there was plenty of time for it to recover before the next scheduled national election in 2015.

YouGov interviewed 1,885 voters online for the poll between July 29 and July 30.

(Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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