EXCLUSIVE: 84% of Lib Dem members continue to back Lib/Con Coalition

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. Some 550 party members responded, and we’ll be publishing the full results in the coming days.

Support for Coalition as high as ever

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

  • 84% – Support
  • 13% – Oppose
  • 4% Don’t know

This is the third time this year we’ve polled our sample of party members to ask about attitudes to the Coalition. In April, 83% supported it, and 12% were opposed; the same figures as we recorded in January. So there has been no real change in spite of the bruising the party took in this year’s English local and Scottish national elections, as well as the lost AV referendum.

And here perhaps is the explanation for this continuing high figure…

4-in-5 say Coalition implementing significant part of Lib Dem manifesto

LDV asked: Do you agree – yes or no – with the following statement: The Coalition is implementing a significant part of the Lib Dem manifesto.

  • 81% – Yes
  • 15% – No
  • 4% – Don’t know

We’ve asked this question twice before. In September 2010, a year ago, just 53% of of party members felt able to agree with the statement. In January 2011, this figure had grown to 66%. It now stands at 81%, an impressive shift in party members’ belief that Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems are really beginning to deliver in government.

However, that confidence in Lib Dem success does not translate into a confidence this will benefit the party…

Majority of Lib Dems think Coalition will be bad for the party’s prospects

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

  • 14% – Good
  • 59% – Bad
  • 17% – Neither good nor bad
  • 10% – Don’t know

Notwithstanding May’s dire results there’s been little overall shift in party members’ expectations of what the next general election will bring compared with April’s survey results. A majority believe it will be bad for the party, with just 14% expecting the party will benefit from being a party in government.


  • Over 1,200 Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with LibDemVoice.org. Some 550 responded to the latest survey, which was conducted between 11th and 15th 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 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 at www.libdemvoice.org/category/ldv-members-poll



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This entry was posted in LDV Members poll.


  • Now all you need to do is plot the result of these polls against current membership numbers and see if you observe a correlation.

  • Have you considered that this supposed increase in support could be down to a number of factors, such as disgusted lib dem members leaving the party after the passing of the NHS bill (for example), or that those members who actually are still motivated to engage in debate and visit the forums are more likely to be pro-coalition?

    Really, polling the members only forum of the webstie of a political party doesn’t show anything, because there are far too many possible influences to be accounted for accurately.

  • paul barker 17th Sep '11 - 6:34pm

    I am not surprised by members gloom about 2015 but I cant support it. With more than 3.5 years to go its just too soon to say. So far we have just 3 pieces of hard evidence, all results from one day.
    The Polls say very different things depending on whether they ask about Voting Intention or Leader Approval & “Experts” disagree which is more useful.
    Lets wait until we at least have 2 years Local Elections.

  • Rob says it here, 84% of those left agree. How many have left ?

    The Liberal Democrats members could have indicated to the Party and the Lords to stop the madness of the NHS bill. Not even a proper debate. Nothing PR spin and agrandisement of the leadership, who are leading the Liberal Democrats to ruin.

    By the time the next election comes, the liberal democratic local council base will have been decimated over successive local elections; maybe around 15 to 25 Liberal Democrat MP tops will be left after the general election. I am sorry for that, being able to say ‘I told you so’ will bring no pleasure. I am sorry for that the Liberal Democrats are enabling privatisation of our health service and the smashing of the social contract in our country on absolutely no mandate.

    Paul, with what the Liberal Democrats have done have, is too late. The rushed and terrible leglslation such as the NHS, and the damage being done will remind the electrorate over the coming years. 3.5 years will not be long enough to erase the memory of standing on an election platform and doing the exact opposite. 60 years it took to overcome similar actions in the 1930s.

  • I wish it were not so, and I do think the harshness of the judgement of what the LDs have done is to an extent unfair, but I tend to think Jack Timms will be right in his predictions for the future. The established narrative is too entrenched even if major LD victories occur regularly from now on, as the bad things and the slip ups to date that have caused voter abandonment will not, I think, be overturned in any significant manner, even if poll ratings are up from the hideously low bottom.

    Personally, even though I am not a LD member (there are too many things on which I do not agree with them, even of on balance I have to date judged them closest to my own sensiblities), I feel it will be a worry if they are decimated, but I cannot see a way to turn it around for those who have already left or are presently uncertain (I thought Nick Clegg gave a good political speech all told, but it will be useless in drawing in previous LD voters who have left or any new people, which is needed for a recovery). My only hint of hope in a strong Uk-wide third party remaining is that I am so pessimistic I assumed disaster as soon as the result of the GE was announced, before any coalition agreement; even if I am right on that, it does show I am inclined to the negative.

  • Isn’t Red Rag’s comment a key component of our problem as Lib Dems? I am sure RR is not a member of the nuLab tendency. There are many many people who yearn for a genuine “new politics”. These are not, repeat not, people who are looking for a version of the same thing as before. Many people warned, years before the 2010 Manifesto was published, that the Lib Dems were seeking to align themselves along similar lines to NuLab and Tory. However, similar rhetoric was used in the LD Campaign last year as had been before. When it became clear what was “being done in our name”, many were unhappy. The sort of announcements that are being made now at Birmingham are attempts to show these people that all is not lost. It is going to take a lot more than “announcements” to win these people (such as g) back. I may have said this before (!) but people who vote and work for the Libs or LDs over the years DO want to see a genuinely new politics, and by and large, do not want a new version of the old. We are not rvolutionaries, we know it will take a long time, but we must be moving in the right direction. Irrespective of these poll results, we are not currently moving in the correct direction, we are moving right, however!

  • This is tragic. It means that the doubters have quit. We needed new politics; we are left with the same old Tories, a wrecked third party and a Labour Party that has the capacity to offer something new [in terms of quality of thinking] but the institutional failings that almost guarantee this won’t happen.

  • I’m one of those who left the party last year after 15 years of membership and 2 stints as a councillor including one as leader of the opposition. Up to that point, most of the people I mixed with were either Lib Dems or very involved in politics; having pulled away from most of that, I’ve watched the poltical scene from a different persepctive. It’s been a real eye-opener.

    The party is in real trouble and I suspect Jack Timms is right – the next set of council elections will be disastrous. People do not forgive and forget easily, particularly where major issues are concerned, like tuition fees and the NHS. Think how long it took for the Tories to erase the memories of Thatcher and be seen as (almost) electable again. I’m not suggesting the Lib Dems are at that point, but Clegg is seen as a joke and the party as unprincipled – there’s a very strong sense of betrayal amongst those who thought the party really did offer something different.

    It’s hard to watch, particularly as I still have many friends very involved in the party, and the more I see comments on Facebook, like one this morning from a council leader saying “Danny Alexander applauded for appointing tax collectors. Lib Dems on the up!”, the more I just don’t think those in the bubble have grasped the gravity of the situation. It’s like one of those nightmares where you scream and can’t make yourself heard.

    I wonder where disaffected Lib Dem voters will go – that would be an interesting poll.

  • Bob, I’m amazed you think the Labour party have the “the capacity to offer something new”?

    The trade unions that fund them are baying for mass strikes and senior shadow cabinet members are still in denial about their role in the crisis. The shadow cabinet is largely former ministers of the last government and they all spend their time opposing cuts while the party is still officially being in favour of cuts in public spending. They oppose free schools which are an extension of their own academy programme which is still backed by the marginalised Blairites.

    Labour is currently imploding, I think it’ll take another general election to finish off the process, but regardless of what finishes it, the result will be a party that doesn’t rely on on trade unions, and a shadow cabinet which isn’t made up of failed ministers. Only then will Labour have an actual capacity to offer something new.

    Despite all the current predictions I don’t think Labour will do very well out of the next general election. They’ll find themselves able to rally their core vote against the evil Lib Dems and Tories, but I doubt they’ll be able to reach the general public, fighting a general election properly is beyond them.

  • All I can say is that of the Lib Dem voters I know, most are planning to vote Green or Labour in the next general election. There have been too many deal breakers. If the economy was picking up, it wouldn’t be such a problem. But it isn’t. So the central reason for the perceived voter betrayal is looking more and more like a political blunder.
    I’m not sure those votes will come back.
    The fact that 84% of party members support the coalition could reflect a smaller more loyal membership or genuine approval, but it could also reflect a kind circling-the wagons last-stand desperation.

  • ‘support for coalition as high as ever’

    well, yes, okay – presumably ‘as ever’ means 18 months though, since there was no coalition to support before then?

  • by the way guys, ‘decimated’ means being reduced by one in ten, it was the name for the traditional Roman punishment for cowardice and refusal to obey orders in the Legions – the punishment was that one man in ten was put to death, by his comrades. It was not, and is not, a word which implies a general slaughter.

    If next May only sees a decimation for the Lib Dems, I should feel that they got off very lightly indeed!

  • I am a party member (still) and I oppose the propping up of Cameron’s right-wing Tory government (aka “the coalition”). I have never posted on the internal members’ forum, and doubt that I would be allowed to. There must be many more like me, because I cannot imagine the many people I remember as a party activist (and councillor) falling for this collective insanity which is helping to ruin the country and will surely destroy the party.

    Let’s give Nick Clegg his due, though. He was right. He said that clearing the budget deficit during the lifetime of a single Parliament would stifle growth and increase unemployment. He was spot on, wasn’t he? But that was before the sudden and catastrophic collapse in the nation’s economy over the weekend following polling day that caused him to conclude that the Tory deficit reduction strategy (which he had called “irrational” just a day or two earlier) was right after all.

    We now have mass unemployment and near zero growth. I really hope those Liberal Democrats who still defend the “coalition” can live with that. Those consigned to a lifetime’s pauperisation may not.

  • I have just noticed an unattributed comment from a “very senior Lib Dem” in the Indy on Sunday that the “traditional left of the party will go off and do their own thing, but not until 2013, when the scale of spending cuts becomes too difficult to stomach”. This seems particularly relevant when we hear from the likes of Zezenko – stick in there, Zezenko, otherwise the nature of the party will change for good! I continue to post on the members’ only section, as do others who don’t agree with current Govt direction.

    Good to hear that Simon Hughes is still prepared to say he is in there batting!

    Alex – in the end, when making a judgment call that was poor, you do have to admit it – if you sit in there way after you realise it you look even more monumentally stupid!

  • toryboysnevergrowup 21st Sep '11 - 1:47pm

    So the LibDems only have 550 members – surely things are not that bad, yet?

    Yes it may be a ridiculous conclusion – but so is the extrapolation from such a biased sample I’m afraid.

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