Revealed: What Lib Dem members think of Ed Miliband and David Cameron

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Over 500 party members responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

Miliband rating slips back again, to -84%, among Lib Dem members

LDV asked: Do you think Ed Miliband is doing well or badly as leader of the Labour party?

    0% – Very well
    7% – Well
    Total well = 7%
    47% – Badly
    44% – Very badly
    Total badly = 91%
    3% – Don’t know / No opinion

Will party members giving Ed Miliband a big thumbs-down keep the Labour leader awake at night? It seems doubtful. But there is nothing inevitable about his rating being as low as it is; after all, his net satisfaction has dropped from -61% five months ago to today’s can’t-get-much-lower -84%. Lib Dem members’ dim view of his leadership is simply a magnified version of the wider public’s. At the moment, such scores have little more than curiosity value. But with most polls pointing currently to a second hung parliament, the credibility of the Labour leader as a potential Prime Minister may become more significant.

Cameron ratings down 7% in a month

Do you think David Cameron is doing well or badly as Prime Minister?

    3% – Very well
    55% – Well
    Total well = 58%
    30% – Badly
    6% – Very badly
    Total badly = 36%
    6% – Don’t know / No opinion

There’s a small but noticeable slip in David Cameron’s ratings among Lib Dem members, with net satisfaction at his performance as Prime Minister standing now at +22% compared to February’s +29%. As with Nick Clegg’s ratings decline, I suspect this is largely down to opposition to the Coalition’s NHS reforms.

I’m sure, by the way, some journalist somewhere will look at our survey figures and *lightbulb moment* pen the headline, ‘Cameron more popular with Lib Dem members than Clegg’, as the Tory leader’s personal satisfaction ratings currently stand higher than the Lib Dem leader’s do. In anticipation, can I point out that Lib Dem members’ expectations of their own leader are set much higher than they are for the leader of the Conservative party. I’m pretty confident in saying Lib Dems would not like to swap.

And as I’ve noted before, rating David Cameron’s performance as Prime Minister is a different question from rating his performance as Conservative party leader (whether Mr Cameron’s ratings would be higher or lower among Lib Dem members if we asked that question, I don’t know).

• Over 1,300 Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with LibDemVoice.org. Some 507 responded to the latest survey, which was conducted between 4th and 8th March.
• Please note: we make no claims that the survey is fully representative of the Lib Dem membership as a whole. However, LibDemVoice.org’s surveys are the largest independent samples of the views of Lib Dem members across the country, and have in the past accurately predicted the winners of the contest for Party President, and the result of the conference decision to approve the Coalition agreement.
• The full archive of our members’ surveys can be viewed here

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.

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15 Comments

  • One can only assume that the 7% who think he is doing well are (i) Liberal Left, (ii) have a strong sense of irony, (iii) interpret it to mean well in the context of the Lib Dems, or some combination of the above.

  • I am always dubious of these questions, as there is always a likely ambiguity. Is a respondent answering on the basis of “X is doing well / badly according to the role or roles they have set themselves / are seen as occupying”, or “I like / don’t like the things they are doing”.

    If most people are saying the latter, I would be quite amazed at the Miliband huge negatives vs the Cameron positives from a group of Lib Dems (even those diluted by many on the left of our party either left or not playing an active part. In terms of the former type of answer, I do not see that Miliband can be quite as bad as people seem to be saying (or Cameron as good – unless people simply don’t see through the PR screen that Cameron uses). I would be very interested in other peoples’ take on this. With Nick, it is difficult to rate your own party leader as very poor – it has some reflected effect on your own self-perception.

  • On the bright side for Millibland I’m sure he’d score less well in a survey of Labour members!!!!

    He is dreadful, even where Cameron leaves huge open goals he is as good a shot as Torres has been since moving to Chelsea.

  • Yet poll after poll shows Labour with a clear lead….

  • @Tabman
    “One can only assume that the 7% who think he is doing well are (i) Liberal Left, (ii) have a strong sense of irony, (iii) interpret it to mean well in the context of the Lib Dems, or some combination of the above.”

    Or maybe they looked at the evidence of Labour’s five point lead over the Tories in the polls.

  • Timak – “Yet poll after poll shows Labour with a clear lead….”

    Labour have been very good at creating a client base, dependent upon them.

  • Stuart Mitchell 13th Mar '12 - 7:16pm

    Ed’s a nice guy but people don’t want nice guys in politics, they want sharks and PR men. Though Ed is not doing so badly nationally, his approval rating is only slightly better than Nick Clegg’s. One wonders how bad Ed’s ratings would be if he welched on a publicly signed pledge within months of an election.

    I’ve never felt that Ed is capable of becoming PM for the simple reason that people don’t like the way he looks and sounds. His enemies know this and gleefully publish only pictures of him which make him look particularly bad (scroll up this page for an example). I realise this is not the most insightful political analysis of all time – but I think there’ a lot of truth in it.

  • Simon Shaw wrote: “I think he’s an absolutely fabulous Labour Party Leader, and long may he continue in that role.”

    By the same token, Simon, I’m sure Labour Party members think Nick Clegg is doing a superb job as LibDem leader. In areas such as North East England , where the Tories are deeply unpopular, the Clegg-Cameron “love-in” is a surefire vote-winner for Labour when contesting LibDem council seats – and the shambles over the Health Bill hasn’t helped.

  • Tracy Connell 14th Mar '12 - 8:25am

    Stuart – the Labour Party actually introduced tuition fees and top up fees after a campaign promise that they wouldn’t. Why do people forget this?? Miliband isn’t your innocent saviour!

    The longer Miliband is leader of the Labour Party, the more chance there is of a hung parliament. Labour would never get a majority with him at the helm. #SaveEd. Not one single Labour activist/supporter that I have spoken to has anything good to say about Ed. they don’t want him and never did. Now the Unions are regretting electing him. He will NEVER be Prime Minister. Nick Clegg has more chance of being PM than Ed has.

    And like Tabman, my first thought when I saw the 7% for Ed in this poll was that it would be the Liberal Left votes. This showing, plus the handful of people at their fringe at conference, just goes to show they have little support within the party for their ‘movement’.

    As for Cameron. I don’t think he’s been doing particularly well lately. I think a lot of that may be due to the Health Bill situation.

    Nick Clegg is well respected in the party, which the vote to debate Shirley’s motion over the drop the bill one at conference illustrates, plus the 274 people who voted not to delete the two lines from it. Those that voted to drop those lines hardly had a landslide as the media tried to make out.

  • Bill le Breton 14th Mar '12 - 9:16am

    The ‘Squeezed Middle’ may yet become the most powerful concept raised in this Parliament. Of those who will vote in the next General Election 99% will define themselves as belonging to the squeezed middle. And they will be feeling very squeezed and victimized. Pay, standard of living, pensions, service quality, prices, bonuses, monopoly power, taxes, housing affordability and mobility – are all factors squeezing them.

    I don’t think Miliband will prove himself the spokesperson of the Squeezed Middle, but the politician and the party that can create a movement around the Squeezed Middle will have been signposted there by him. That’s no reason to vote for him, but it might be worth a hat tip.

  • Stuart Mitchell 14th Mar '12 - 7:55pm

    Tracy: ” the Labour Party actually introduced tuition fees and top up fees after a campaign promise that they wouldn’t. Why do people forget this?? Miliband isn’t your innocent saviour!”

    What has any of that got to do with Ed Miliband? He wasn’t even an MP at the time.

  • Stuart Mitchell 15th Mar '12 - 10:40pm

    @Oranjepan
    No, you are simply smearing Miliband by association. It would be utterly wrong to hold him to account for any decision he did not vote for or actively support – just as it would be wrong to condemn the 72 Labour MPs who voted against top-up tuition fees, the 139 Labour MPs who voted against Iraq, or even the 21 Lib Dem MPs who had the decency to stick to their pledge on tuition fees. Surely this is just very basic human civility; anything else is pure tribalism of the worst kind.

    I judge people on their individual actions, not on what party they happen to support. Name one major party that HASN’T made catastrophic decisions in government over the past few years.

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