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Target voters readier to give Clegg the credit for Coalition's good things on NHS, environment, tax and schools

By Tim Montgomerie

The voters likeliest to support Conservatives at the next election - the people Lord Ashcroft labels "considerers" - are pretty supportive of the Coalition. Contrary to three other tests of public opinion, by 61% to 39% they'd prefer to vote for a joint Coalition candidate than for a Conservative candidate. The danger, however (again according to the Ashcroft mega poll) is that 16% of Conservative members would support a UKIP candidate if the Coalition candidate was a Lib Dem. Many Tory voters would also be attracted by UKIP candidates who filled the vacuum of not having anyone with a blue rosette on ballot papers.

The considerers were asked to identify areas of policy that might get better or worse if Cameron was able to achieve a Conservative majority. Perhaps, as expected, the Lib Dems are seen to be making the biggest difference on green issues and the NHS:


One of my main worries about the Coalition (from the beginning and stated in point three here) was that the Lib Dems would take all the credit for the compassionate things that David Cameron would have done if he'd won a majority of his own. This survey points to the real danger of letting the Lib Dems claim that initiatives like the pupil premium and extra apprenticeships are only happening because of their seats at the Cabinet table. It underlines the importance of the current NHS reform battle where the Prime Minister's commitment to the health system is being questioned by Nick Clegg.

The findings also reinforce the case for the kind of big compassionate conservatism message that I argued for yesterday. Until Cameron owns a compelling one nation message he won't get the credit for the compassionate actions of his government.


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