Almost half (48%) of Liberal Democrat supporters say they are now less inclined to vote Lib Dem after the party’s ‘betrayal’ of a U-turn on VAT.
During the Liberal Democrat election campaign, Nick Clegg promised that, if elected into power, his party would not raise VAT, stating that to do so would constitute a ‘tax bombshell’. However, following the formation of the Coalition Government between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats and George Osborne’s Budget, announced last week, VAT has been increased from 17.5 to 20%. And Clegg, along with Osborne and Conservative leader and Prime Minister David Cameron, has been among the first to argue that the increase was unavoidable due to the poor state of the country’s finances.
This has contributed towards a drop in levels of support for the party, as 26% of those who voted for the Lib Dem say they are now ‘somewhat less likely’, and 22% saying they are now ‘much less likely’ to vote Liberal Democrat. Only nine percent in total say they would be more likely to vote Lib Dem.
This change in voter loyalty is likely to increase the pressure on the still-young Coalition, which, since its inception, has faced claims that it will not last a parliament. Watch this space to see if the opinion shifts any time soon.