EXCLUSIVE: Lib Dem party presidency – first poll of Lib Dem members

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum to discover what Lib Dem members think of the early race for the party presidency, the London mayoral selection, Trident, and the Labour leadership. Over 400 party members have responded, and we’ll be publishing the full results of our survey in the next couple of days.

A fortnight ago, in a surprise announcement, Baroness (Ros) Scott said she would not seek a second term as Lib Dem party president, the only party post other than the Leader directly elected by Lib Dem members. Ever since there has been much speculation about who might contest the election, and take on the role of ‘champion of the membership’ while the Lib Dems are in Coalition.

First up, we asked: Some people have suggested the next President should not be a Parliamentarian (either from the Commons or Lords) in order to ensure they represent the party membership. Others believe the President needs the media profile and party experience that comes with being a Parliamentarian. Do you think the next President should be a Parliamentarian?

Here’s what you told us:

  • 13% – Yes, s/he should be a Parliamentarian
  • 18% – No, s/he should not be a Parliamentarian
  • 65% – It entirely depends on the person
  • 4% – Don’t know / No opinion

Perhaps unsurprisingly, two-thirds of Lib Dem party members in our sample did not want to define whether an individual could make a good or bad party president on the basis of the position they hold. Indeed, although 18% of members stated the president should not be a Parliamentarian, it’s interesting that 13% reckoned it would be an advantage: a pretty even split.

Of course, it’s early days, and the arguments have yet to be played out: it’s clear that as the only Parliamentarian in the running, Tim Farron will face the charge that (i) he won’t have the time to do the job in the way other candidates could, and (ii) as a member of the Coalition government, albeit a backbencher, he won’t have the same freedom to speak out. His team in return will, of course, point to his tireless campaigning, and that he is rarely seen as someone unable to speak his mind if he disagrees with the Coalition. Whether party members’ opinions of the ability of a Parliamentarian to do the job change in the next couple of months may be crucial indeciding the election.

Lib Dem Voice next asked: Four individuals, listed below, have so far publicly stated their intention of standing as Party President. Who would you be most likely to vote for as President?

Here’s what our sample of 400+ party members said:

  • 2% – Jason Zadrozny
  • 7% – Jennie Rigg
  • 30% – Susan Kramer
  • 27% – Tim Farron
  • 3% – Other
  • 32% – Don’t know / No opinion

What’s most obvious — both from the headline results, but also from the comments of respondents — is that this race is still wide open. Some 35% of those we polled either didn’t know, or had no opinion, or named a candidate who is unlikely to stand. And even among those who did choose one of the four named candidates, many stated that this was their current preference and might change. So I think it would be unwise to over-read this first poll — especially as, even since asking the question, one of the candidates (Jason Zadrozny) has dropped out, and is now endorsing Susan Kramer.

The most that can tentatively be said at this stage is that it seems clear there are two leading candidates, Tim and Susan, who at first glance appear to be pretty much level-pegging among party members. However, there is a long way to go, and Jennie Rigg can be encouraged that, though currently in third place, there are many minds still to be made up, many members who want to hear from all candidates before deciding.

Of those who chose the option ‘Others’, by the way: Evan Harris’s name cropped up more than once, as did Baroness (Floella) Benjamin; while a handful had a preference for an ‘elder states(wo)man’ figure — a Paddy or a Shirley.

Here’s a selection of some of your comments:

  • The role should be filled by an individual who can use the media effectively; but, so long as they’re competent I don’t care where they come from.
  • I recognise and know most of them, but will make a decision on the basis of their manifestos, which are yet to be released.
  • Needs to be a person with some character and charisma, and with something forceful to say
  • I just want the best possible person for the job!
  • I was unsure, but we need someone who is clearly outside the parliamentary party so they can freely criticise the government and not have to worry about parliamentary work
  • I don’t want our President to be a thorn in the side of the governmental element of the LibDems.
  • The role of President is about the members, not the media or other politicians. Respect will come from ability not previous position.
  • In theory any member should be able to be President but the President needs to be able to understand how Parliament works, this cannot easily be done wiothout direct experience and current involvement
  • I’m nowhere close to making a decision until I know who all the runners and riders are, and what they’re standing for.
Read more by or more about , , , or .
This entry was posted in LDV Members poll and Party Presidency.
Bookmark the web address for this page or use the short url http://ldv.org.uk/21249 for Twitter and emails.
Advert

2 Comments

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarT-J 26th May - 1:57am
    I have very strong feelings about this. In my opinion, the Commonwealth is the most meaningless of international organisations - if it did not exist,...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 26th May - 1:10am
    No, but I would if I could (no money besides debt). I suppose I need to give myself a renewed focus on sorting it out!...
  • User AvatarAndrew 26th May - 12:45am
    well, what I am doing is comparing today's graduates with previous generations... house price inflation has already made it almost impossible to get on the...
  • User Avatarbenj 26th May - 12:40am
    Fair economic system=fair distribution of the factors of production=aligned incentives=optimal economic efficiency. All the above are one and the same thing. Produced factors should remain...
  • User AvatarCaron Lindsay 26th May - 12:35am
    Have you rejoined, Eddie?
  • User AvatarManfarang 26th May - 12:29am
    "And then what is the point of allowing a vote to British people who’ve gone in their tens of thousands to Spain to live" Many...
Tue 26th May 2015
Wed 27th May 2015
Thu 28th May 2015
Fri 29th May 2015
19:30
Sat 30th May 2015
Sun 31st May 2015
Mon 1st Jun 2015
Wed 3rd Jun 2015
Thu 4th Jun 2015
Sat 6th Jun 2015
Wed 10th Jun 2015
Thu 11th Jun 2015
19:00
Fri 12th Jun 2015
Sat 13th Jun 2015
Wed 17th Jun 2015
Thu 18th Jun 2015
Sat 20th Jun 2015
Sun 21st Jun 2015