What Lib Dem members make of the Coalition: our half-time survey summary

Throughout the life of the Coalition to date, we’ve been surveying party members to ask what you make of the party’s performance in government. There have been five questions we’ve asked each time. Here’s how views have changed in the past two-and-a-half-years…

Do you support or oppose the Lib Dems being in the Coalition Government with the Conservatives?

Do you approve or disapprove of the Coalition Government’s record to date?

Do you think, as a whole, the Liberal Democrats are on the right course or on the wrong track?

What is your view of Nick Clegg’s performance as Lib Dem leader?

Do you think the Coalition Government will be good or bad for the Lib Dems’ electoral prospects at the next general election?

* 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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21 Comments

  • Peter Watson 8th Nov '12 - 6:06pm

    Nice pictures.
    Now if only I could spot some sort of trend ;-)

  • Leekliberal 8th Nov '12 - 6:12pm

    I await a number of comments suggesting that the facts shown can be read as us disapproving of the coalition!

  • Polite comment to Stephen: Thank you for producing this but please could you write in “Dont Know” rather than put in DK because this looks too much like OK at first glance – yes I know that I need to get my eyes tested!

  • Richard Dean 8th Nov '12 - 7:59pm

    The trend is glaringly obvious from the rightmost part of the graph

    Good is going up
    Bad is going down
    Neither is going up a bit
    Dorling Kindersley is going down slightly, implying recognition is growing

    It just proves that someone is doing the right thing at last!

  • Richard Dean 8th Nov '12 - 8:00pm

    the LAST graph!

  • I demand to have some bar charts!

  • Leek Liberal – this survey is wildly unrepresentative when approving of the coalition, unless its disapproving of Clegg, in which case it is highly accurate ;)

  • Tony Dawson 8th Nov '12 - 8:18pm

    It is quite obvious that within that sample (and beyond) there are many people who agree that the Coalition was and is the only option – but who are not at all happy with the performance of one or both of the coalition partners.

  • Peter Watson 9th Nov '12 - 12:45am

    @Richard Dean “The trend is glaringly obvious from the rightmost part of the graph
    a.k.a. the dead cat bounce.

  • So called strong government can also be wrong government, with changes, as re opening the door to 49% privatisation of the NHS, that nobody voted for and for which there is no common consent in the population.
    How Clegg can keep banging on about clearing up Labour’s mess, while at the same time, endorsing and cheerleading economic policies, which have compounded and worsened the situation,is a mystery to many.
    I am afraid that it looks like hanging on to power, at any cost to the country, is what matters to the Liberal Democrats, power before principles and not looking to the good of the country, but what is in it for the Liberal Democrats.

  • Martin Pierce 9th Nov '12 - 7:54am

    Good news folks – the % of people who think the Coalition will be good for the Lib Dems’ electoral prospects is up to 10% while those who think it will be bad is down to only 70%. Given the experience of the US Presidential election (follow the data) you have to wonder whether the 30% thinking it will be either good or neither good nor bad have taken any account of Mark Pack’s monthly poll-of-polls averages that show that for the last 2 years we’ve been between 9 and 11% each month, whereas for the previous 237 months (that’s 20 years) we were never once in that range…

  • One foot note – this is a survey of all Lib Dem members like me/us who have stuck it since 2010, not the 25% (and counting) who have quit and who we need to win back to avoid a rout in 2015.

  • Long ago I was concerned that LibDems were being swamped by Tory propaganda and what LDs stand for was not being heard. I blamed the top of the party for being too coy. I wanted the LD policies to be heard and publicised – anywhere and everywhere. If Nick Clegg is going to respond to what I want to hear as he did at PMQs I will be delighted; if other prominent figures do the same I will be back to believing in the LD message getting across; I might even re-join the party, But first, let’s see if this new stance takes hold.

  • paul barker 9th Nov '12 - 8:20pm

    Martin Pierce, the average figures for Yougov % ICM are both about 3% down on where they were 5 years ago ( theres aneed to average over a couple of weeks because polls used to jump around a lot more than they do now).
    3% down is not a disaster, it would take us back to around 2001.
    Thats before we start to wonder if being in government has added an extra hit to our poll ratings as it usually does for labour & the tories.

  • @margaret
    saddam hussein was a strong leader with a strong government. personally I wasn’t a fan but i wasn’t in favour of lynching him.

  • Tony Dawson 10th Nov '12 - 9:33am

    @paul barker :

    “Martin Pierce, the average figures for Yougov % ICM are both about 3% down on where they were 5 years ago ( theres aneed to average over a couple of weeks because polls used to jump around a lot more than they do now).
    3% down is not a disaster, it would take us back to around 2001.”

    Funny, when I look at Mark Pack’s spreadsheets for 2001, (and for 2007) I do not see figures anything like yours n the ‘poll of polls’ averages.

    Where would you suggest we should all go to for pink-tinted sunglasses?

  • Paul Barker

    I think your approach is incredibly complacent. If you are right then all well and good but using, as justification, the past mid-term as the sole measure to predict the next election is flawed

    I have often seen thta the reason that the LD fell mid-term was lack of exposure – that cannot be said for now. Also, the party has been a home for those on the left who dislike the statism of Labour and have a more liberal outlook. Those voters are now highly unlikely to see you as an option in 2015

    Thirdly, the leader is very unpopular – not passively but actively. This will surely act as a suppressor.

    If you just have this complacent attitude then you could very well come unstuck.

  • paul barker 10th Nov '12 - 2:32pm

    Tony Dawson
    when comparing polls we have to compare like with like. Unfortunately that rules out using any “poll of polls” because the number of polls done by ICM for example has fallen substantially over the last 5 years while the number of Yougov polls has massively increased, to the point where more than 80% of polls are yougov. This matters because Yougov & ICM are at opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of the scores they give the libdems. We cant compare averages if the mixture has changed & it has.

    Bazzask
    We need to distinguish between what we know & what we dont. We know that in the past ( & the past is the only guide we have) Both governing parties & the Libdems see their polling go down in midterm. What we dont know is why
    My proposition is that currently Libdems are taking a double hit int he polls, the old one because we are Libdems & a new one, because we are in government. Theres no way to test that idea except by waiting for may 2015.
    Whatever happens we will never know why it happened.

  • Peter Watson 10th Nov '12 - 7:44pm

    @paul barker
    Whilst I do not agree with your optimistic interpretation of the polling figures, I do accept that poor polling figures now cannot be easily interpreted in terms of seats after 2015. Incumbent MPs might be safer than polling would suggest, tactical voters might return when faced with a stark choice over which party the dislike least, Lib Dems might be squeezed between Labour and conservatives, or pushed out by alternatives in Scotland, England and Wales.
    With the unproportional electoral system that we have been unable to change, the outcome after 2015 is too hard to predict whether or not Lib Dems recover support before then. But for me, Lib Dem MPs are not doing enough to win my vote back.

  • Paul Barker

    I do not disagree with the points you are making , except with your last few sentences.

    If you want to wait until 2015 you can do and it seems that is the approach of the party as well. I think the most important comment is the last sentence of Peter Watson’s post though, which I agree with 100%

    We will see in May 2015

  • “when comparing polls we have to compare like with like. Unfortunately that rules out using any “poll of polls” because the number of polls done by ICM for example has fallen substantially over the last 5 years while the number of Yougov polls has massively increased, to the point where more than 80% of polls are yougov.”

    Yes, but – the current UK Polling Report Average includes 15 polls. Admittedly 5 of them come from YouGov. But of the other 10, only one of them (ICM) rates the Lib Dems at more than 10%. 8 out of 9 of the pollsters represented show the Lib Dems at 10% or less. And 6 out of 9 show them at 9% or less.

    It’s fair enough to remind people that pollsters differ, but actually if you take YouGov out of the average the average is unchanged. It’s still 9%. ICM is currently the pollster that is out of step with all the others.

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