Nick Clegg signalled today that he expects the Liberal Democrats to avoid another bloodbath in this week's local council elections.
The Deputy Prime Minister said he believed the mood in the country had changed since last year's elections when his party lost 800 councillors.
Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live's Breakfast programme, he acknowledged that the coalition as a whole was going through "tricky political times".
But he said that, unlike last year, people were prepared to listen to the Lib Dems' message.
"Of course we want to do better," he said.
"I have actually been round the country talking to many, many people and I actually find that there a different mood compared to last year.
"Yes, there is a lot of anxiety about the economy. Yes, there is a lot of uncertainty about what the future holds, but I actually think we are getting a hearing.
"People are listening to us this year in a way that wasn't always the case last year."