Who’s up, who’s down? How party members rate the performances of leading Lib Dems

Lib Dem Voice polled our members-only forum in September to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Almost 700 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

Apologies: I failed to publish this list owing to the general hecticness of conference season. The reshuffle reminded me it needed doing as this is the last time this exact list will be published… Please bear in mind, though, the figures below are now a month old.

LDV asked: How would you rate the performances of the following leading Liberal Democrats and government ministers?

Full results are published below, but here’s two key lists for those who want to cut to the chase… (with comparison to July 2013 ratings in brackets)

Top 5 Lib Dem performers in the Government:

  • Vince Cable +66%
  • Steve Webb +53%
  • Lynne Featherstone +52%
  • Michael Moore +45%
  • Edward Davey +41%

The only change of note in the top 5, especially after this week’s news, was that Michael Moore moved back up. Indeed he was the second most popular Lib Dem cabinet minister among party members — but that didn’t stop him being sacked by Nick Clegg. His replacement, Alistair Carmichael, had a +29% rating for his behind-the-scenes role as Lib Dem Chief Whip.

Bottom 5 Lib Dem performers in the Government:

  • Baroness (Jenny) Randerson +8%
  • Nick Clegg +6%
  • Lord (Tom) McNally +6%
  • David Heath -3%
  • Jeremy Browne -18%

I’ve checked back through the records, and there’s never been a previous occasion when two Lib Dem government ministers have recorded negative figures in the same month. (Only Paul Burstow and Tom McNally have been in popularity deficit.) In September, though, both home office minister Jeremy Browne and rural affairs minister David Heath were rated poorly by Lib Dem members: they were the two victims of Nick Clegg’s reshuffle. David suffered by being associated with his department’s badger cull policy; Jeremy from his seeming lack of influence on the authoritarian measures coming out of Theresa May’s department.

As I note each time: “the list stands as a reminder to all our Lib Dem ministers of the value of communicating effectively with party members about the work they’re undertaking on behalf of the party, even if it isn’t making the front pages.”

A point to note in the list of non-ministerial party figures: deputy leader Simon Hughes has fallen to his lowest rating and now has a net popularity rating lower than Fiona Hall, Leader of the UK Lib Dem MEPs (whose figures are more due to relative anonymity than any unpopularity).

As promised, here are the results in full …

Lib Dem cabinet ministers and government ministers:

Vince Cable: Secretary of State, Business, Innovation and Skills
35% – Very satisfied
42% – Satisfied
12% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
8% – Dissatisfied
3% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +66% (-4%)

Steve Webb: Minister, Department for Work and Pensions
25% – Very satisfied
38% – Satisfied
27% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
8% – Dissatisfied
2% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +53% (-7%)

Lynne Featherstone: Minister, Department for International Development
24% – Very satisfied
37% – Satisfied
29% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
6% – Dissatisfied
3% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +52% (-4%)

Michael Moore: Secretary of State, Scotland
15% – Very satisfied
36% – Satisfied
43% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
3% – Dissatisfied
3% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +45% (+8%)

Edward Davey: Secretary of State, Energy and Climate Change
16% – Very satisfied
43% – Satisfied
23% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
13% – Dissatisfied
5% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +41% (-5%)

Norman Lamb: Minister, Department of Health
16% – Very satisfied
34% – Satisfied
36% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
9% – Dissatisfied
3% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +38% (-10%)

Norman Baker: Minister, Department for Transport
14% – Very satisfied
35% – Satisfied
38% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
9% – Dissatisfied
3% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +37% (+1%)

Jo Swinson: Minister, Business, Innovation and Skills
14% – Very satisfied
37% – Satisfied
33% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
11% – Dissatisfied
4% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +36% (-4%)

Alistair Carmichael: Deputy Chief Whip, Commons
12% – Very satisfied
25% – Satisfied
53% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
5% – Dissatisfied
4% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +29% (+4%)

Tom Brake: Deputy Leader of the Commons
6% – Very satisfied
24% – Satisfied
57% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
8% – Dissatisfied
4% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +18% (-6%)

Don Foster: Minister, Department for Communities and Local Government
5% – Very satisfied
29% – Satisfied
47% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
14% – Dissatisfied
4% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +16% (-5%)

Danny Alexander: Chief Secretary to the Treasury
13% – Very satisfied
35% – Satisfied
14% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
22% – Dissatisfied
15% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +11% (-10%)

David Laws: Minister, Department for Education (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
13% – Very satisfied
28% – Satisfied
25% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
18% – Dissatisfied
15% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +8% (-6%)

Baroness (Jenny) Randerson: Minister, Wales Office
3% – Very satisfied
9% – Satisfied
83% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
2% – Dissatisfied
2% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +8% (-1%)

Nick Clegg: Deputy Prime Minister
15% – Very satisfied
32% – Satisfied
11% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
21% – Dissatisfied
20% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +6% (-13%)

Lord (Tom) McNally: Minister, Ministry of Justice (and Deputy Leader of the Lords)
5% – Very satisfied
23% – Satisfied
48% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
14% – Dissatisfied
8% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +6% (-3%)

David Heath: Minister, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
4% – Very satisfied
19% – Satisfied
51% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
17% – Dissatisfied
9% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction -3% (-12%)

Jeremy Browne: Minister, Home Office
5% – Very satisfied
15% – Satisfied
41% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
20% – Dissatisfied
18% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction -18% (-25%)

Other leading Lib Dems:

Tim Farron: Party President
29% – Very satisfied
39% – Satisfied
18% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
9% – Dissatisfied
5% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +54% (+3%)

Kirsty Williams: Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats
16% – Very satisfied
28% – Satisfied
54% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
2% – Dissatisfied
1% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +41% (-2%)

Willie Rennie: Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats
18% – Very satisfied
26% – Satisfied
51% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
2% – Dissatisfied
2% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +40% (+4%)

Caroline Pidgeon: Leader of the Liberal Democrat group on the London Assembly
11% – Very satisfied
24% – Satisfied
60% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
3% – Dissatisfied
2% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +30% (-5%)

Tim Gordon: Lib Dem Chief Executive
9% – Very satisfied
26% – Satisfied
56% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
4% – Dissatisfied
4% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +27% (-3%)

Fiona Hall: Leader of the UK Lib Dem MEPs
8% – Very satisfied
22% – Satisfied
64% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
4% – Dissatisfied
2% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +24% (n/c)

Simon Hughes: Deputy Leader of the Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons
11% – Very satisfied
34% – Satisfied
30% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
16% – Dissatisfied
8% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +21% (-8%)

  • 1,500 Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with LibDemVoice.org. 696 responded to the latest survey, which was conducted between 11th and 13th September.
  • 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 offered accurate guides to what party members think.
  • For further information on the reliability/credibility of our surveys, please refer to FAQs: Are the Liberal Democrat Voice surveys of party members accurate? and polling expert Anthony Wells’ verdict, On that poll of Lib Dem members.
  • The full archive of our members’ surveys can be viewed at www.libdemvoice.org/category/ldv-members-poll
  • * 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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    5 Comments

    • Once again we see a split between the “verys” & the “fairlys”. For Nick Clegg the Verys are against by 4 to 3 while the Fairlys are for by 3 to 2. I would suggest that a big chunk of that 20% who are “Very Dissatisfied” with Clegg are members who were never reconciled to Coalition from the start.

    • I would suggest that some of us are just too keen to pretend there is no Nick Clegg problem. Whether it is the old error in interpreting statistics that leads to “Nick is more popular than the party” or this new one “It’s the fault of the voters,” some people just can’t accept that it is their hero’s management of being in coalition that is the problem, not the fact that we went into it.

    • There does seem to be an uncertainty whether NC is wanted as leader by the majority or not.

      Since a significant number of Party members read LDV and clearly, from the above, prepared to give their opinions – why doesn’t it do a far more simple survey asking:

      Would you like to see a leadership contest – Yes/No/Don’t Know

      Along with – if there were a leadership contest – who would you vote for [assuming they would stand] – Name/Don’t Know

      This should clear up the issue.

    • Liberal Neil 13th Oct '13 - 10:40am

      I remain solidly in favour of us being in coalition, broadly support the coalition agreement and think that the coalition has done a reasonable job in the circumstances.

      However I also think Nick’s leadership of the party within coalition has been very disapppointing.

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