Michael Gove ‘risks losing votes’ for Conservatives

Michael Gove's aggressive stance against the education establishment risks losing votes for the Conservatives even among the party's natural supporters, according to a new poll.

The education secretary's attacks against what he calls "the blob" are failing to convince the public with 46% saying that he should listen more to the concerns of unions and the educational establishment, according to a poll by Yougov.

Even Conservative voters are split on his stance, with a quarter now backing the "blob" over Gove.

His recent public spats with teaching unions and Ofsted appear to have damaged the education secretary with 57% per cent of all voters now say he is doing a bad job with just 21% saying he is doing well.

This amounts to a 22% drop in his overall ratings from March last year.

The poll found that even natural Conservative voters are increasingly split over his record, with 40% of their 2010 voters now saying he is doing badly, as opposed to 42% saying he is doing well.

Current Conservative voters are more supportive with 44% over 36% backing the education secretary.

However even this support has dropped. When YouGov asked the same question a year ago Gove had a 20% lead among Tory voters.

Gove's stewardship of the education department appears to have heavily damaged Conservative support among teachers.

In the run up to the last general election, the Conservatives held a narrow one per cent lead among all teachers.

However a poll last December found that lead had been converted to a 41% deficit.

The findings follow a series of public rows between Gove and leading figures in the education establishment.

In January, Gove fell out with history professors, teachers and some of Britain's leading comic actors after claiming that the classic sitcom Blackadder was responsible for spreading left-wing myths about the First World War.

More recently, Gove fell out with his Liberal Democrat schools minister David Laws over his decision not to reappoint Labour-supporting peer Baroness Morgan to the chair of Ofsted.

Friends of Laws accused Gove of trying to "politicise" the classroom by trying to replace Morgan with a Conservative-supporter.

YouGov's latest poll found that 72% of the public believe it is wrong for any government to appoint supporters to head Quangos like Ofsted.

However, they were more split over Gove's decision not to reappoint Baroness Morgan, with a narrow majority of 31% to 27% saying he was wrong not to do so.

A narrow majority of 19% to 17% also believed the last Labour government were more likely to appoint supporters to Quangos.

Almost half of voters said that both government's were "as bad as each other".