The short answer is yes, it has – the Lib Dems have taken as remarkable a hold on the British business community as on the electorate at large.
Research of over 1,000 owner-managers by Lindsell Marketing – an independent business analysis and marketing agency that isn’t affiliated with any political party – shows the Tories and Lib Dems neck and neck in front of Labour, which is trailing far behind.
The survey, conducted between April 18 and 25, asked businesses which party is best placed to give them the support they need for a quick recovery. The results show the Conservatives in the lead, with 30 per cent of the business vote, followed closely by the Lib Dems at 27 per cent. Only 17 per cent of businesses give Labour their support.
For David Cameron, this isn’t necessarily good news though, as a similar poll held in December 2009 put the Tories firmly in the lead. At the time, clear water was visible between the Tories (43 per cent) and the other two parties, with Labour on 18 per cent and the Lib Dems on 17 per cent.
Paul Lindsell, MD of Lindsell Marketing attributes this swing to the Lib Dems’ appearance in the TV debates.
“Following Nick Clegg’s performance in the recent televised leaders’ debates, and reflecting the opinion of the overall electorate, the business community has also experienced a surge of support for the Lib Dems. The race for business opinion in England appears to be largely a contention between the Conservatives and Lib Dems.
“Britain faces a £159bn government deficit, and the folk who are going to generate the economic growth to reverse this appalling situation are the country’s business people.
“Not only does their collective voice need to be heard, but the electorate should also be critically interested in their expert opinion on which party they feel most competent to get the country back in the black.”
So forget about it being a three horse race – it’s actually still a two-horse affair, just not who we all expected.