(Party) Identity Crisis - what do political parties stand for?
With much debate among political commentators and party supporters alike around what the main parties stand for in this new era of Coalition politics, the latest poll from Ipsos MORI shows that all the parties are having trouble convincing the public that they have a clear identity – but especially Labour and the Liberal Democrats.
Two in three people (64%) agree that they “don’t know what the Liberal Democrats stand for these days”, while 57% don’t know what Labour stands for and 44% are unclear about the Conservative Party. Despite a difficult few weeks for the government and the Conservatives in particular – our April Political Monitor shows satisfaction with David Cameron and the government falling to their lowest point since the General Election – the Conservative party appears to have the strongest identity among the public, although even for them the public is evenly split. We might expect it to be easier for a party of government to have a stronger identity than one in opposition, but it seems to be working more for the Conservatives than for the Liberal Democrats.
And the problem the parties have isn’t just confined to the public at large – around four in ten of each party’s own supporters say they don’t know what the party they would vote for stands for these days:
- 41% of Liberal Democrat voters say they don’t know what the Liberal Democrats stand for
- 37% of Conservative voters say they don’t know what the Conservative party stands for
- 42% of Labour voters say they don’t know what Labour stands for
Tom Mludzinski, Deputy Head of Political Research at Ipsos MORI said:
“There has been a great deal of debate since the forming of the Coalition over how the parties can have their own identities. Our polling now shows that the Liberal Democrats have the toughest task telling voters what they stand for while the Conservatives appear to have the clearest identity. However, even among their own supporters all three parties have some work to do getting across their identity.”
Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,014 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 17-19 April 2012. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.