Compromise Coalition

May 26, 2010, 10:50 PM GMT+0

The majority of the British public (57%) thinks that the Coalition government between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats has to date proven to be successful and that the economy, immigration and banking are the top three issues it should be focusing on from here on in.

Given the current state of the nation’s finances, it comes as no real surprise that 63% of people think that the economy, in general, should be the new government’s priority when passing their first laws; with high priority being given by Labour (62%), Lib Dem (62%) and Conservative (70%) supporters alike.

However, while most people in the country agree that the economy is the most important issue that needs to be addressed by the government, it is interesting to note that Conservative and Lib Dem supporters - on issues such as immigration, the electoral system and Europe - disagree significantly despite the current coalition between the two parties.

Take for example the issue of the electoral system, one of the issues on which the two parties have had to compromise. We see that 26% of Lib Dem supporters have chosen this issue as one of the most important issues the government should be prioritising, compared to only six per cent of Conservative supporters. For Lib Dem supporters, electoral reform is the fourth most important issue after the economy, immigration and banking. For the Conservatives it is the eleventh, from a list of fifteen issues.

The same discrepancy is true on the issue of immigration and asylum too, as we see that 67% of Conservatives think that this is an important consideration, compared to 34% of Lib Dems. And on the issue of Europe, only six percent of Lib Dems see this issue as one worthy of government prioritisation while for the Conservatives it’s double: 12%. In fact, in almost all circumstances, the Liberal Democrats tended to have more in common with Labour supporters than did with the Conservatives, despite sharing a coalition with the latter.

This is obviously a somewhat sensitive situation for the coalition government: trying to reconcile the divergent opinions of its heterogeneous support base. What this will mean for the longevity of the coalition remains to be seen. At present however, the survey suggests that many Conservative and Lib Dem supporters will have to accept compromise as the new mainstay of the day.

Survey details and full results