How Lib Dem members rated Chris Huhne and Ed Davey before the reshuffle

LibDemVoice is currently conducting one of our regular surveys of party members to find out views on a range of issues. One of the questions we always ask is how satisfied Lib Dems are with key figures in the party. Though the survey is still open, a couple are now out-of-date — specifically, what members’ opinions were of Chris Huhne and Ed Davey in the jobs they occupied until Friday. So here are their results…

Chris Huhne:

How would you rate the performances of Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change?

    Very satisfied 15%
    Satisfied 40%
    Total satisfied = 55%
    Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied 17%
    Dissatisfied 21%
    Very dissatisfied 7%
    Total dissatisfied = 28%
    Net satisfaction = +27%

In Chris’s final rating by party members — at least for now — he scored a net satisfaction rating of +27%. In a way, not bad, but it’s a big drop from Chris’s best ratings — back in November 2010, he was the top-rated Lib Dem government minister, with a score of +68% (though note we were then rating ‘effectiveness’ rather than ‘satisfaction’, a subtly different question). Here’s how Chris’s ratings have fared while in government:

    July 2010: +51%
    August 2010: +59%
    November 2010: +68%
    January 2011: +65%
    April 2011: +63%
    September 2011: +53%
    December 2011: +42%

The drip-drip of bad publicity over the past few months relating to the charges that have now been laid appear to have dented Chris’s popularity among party members — notwithstanding his lauded performance at the Cancun climate change summit in December.

Ed Davey:

How would you rate the performances of Edward Davey, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills?

    Very satisfied 16%
    Satisfied 35%
    Total satisfied = 51%
    Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied 39%
    Dissatisfied 8%
    Very dissatisfied 2%
    Total dissatisfied = 10%
    Net satisfaction = +41%

Ed finishes his time as Lib Dem No. 2 at Vince’s BIS empire with very positive ratings, testament to how he’s pushed through Lib Dem policy on a range of issues while offering a coherent story of liberalism in action. Here’s how his positive ratings have grown over the last 18 months of Coalition, from a relatively poor start, a legacy of what was judged to be a mixed performance as the party’s shadow foreign affairs spokesman before the election:

    July 2010: +9%
    August 2010: +11%
    November 2010: +23%
    January 2011: +24%
    April 2011: +30%
    September 2011: +27%
    December 2011: +39%

Ed will start the new role with a lot of goodwill behind him (though more than a few Lib Dems are unhappy that Nick Clegg didn’t take this enforced opportunity to create the first female Lib Dem cabinet minister), but will be very well aware he has big shoes to fill. If he makes a real success of the role, though, he may find journalists starting to ask him if he’d like to be party leader one day.

  • Over 1,200 Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with Some 436 responded to the latest survey between 31st January and 3rd February.
  • Please note: we make no claims that the survey is fully representative of the Lib Dem membership as a whole. However,’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

* Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from 2007 to 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall.

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This entry was posted in LDV Members poll.


  • A correction:
    Ed Davey “Net dissatisfaction = +41%” should read “Net satisfaction = +41%” – i.e. the “dis” is wrong!
    (happy to have this comment deleted when the correction is made)

  • MacK (Not a Lib Dem) 4th Feb '12 - 11:21am

    I was completely dissatisfied with Huhne because of his penalising of Solar Energy and his ambition to cover our
    beautiful countryside with wind turbine power stations. (notice I eschew the euphemistic “farms”.) I have no confidence that the policy will not be prosecuted with equal fervour by Ed Davey.

  • @MacK

    Penalising of Solar Energy? You mean removing an enormous tax-payer subsidy that paid home-owners to generate their own electricity while non-home owners have to make do with paying energy bills? It was just about the only energy policy this governments done right.

    I have to agree with you on the wind turbines though, the number of wind turbines required to actually make a difference to our energy generation would be an eye-sore, and every one of them represents a wealth transfer from workers to land owners.

  • Your Chris Huhne numbers don’t add up:

    “Very satisfied 15%
    Satisfied 40%
    Total satisfied = 65%”

    Total satisfied should be 55%, not 65%.

  • I agree with MacK about solar energy – the cancellation was far too sudden (but that did have mitigating reasons) – but I find it difficult to gel this with the irrational fear of wind turbines.

  • Sid Cumberland 4th Feb '12 - 3:52pm

    Henry – it’s anemogenní̱triaphobia!

  • @Henry

    You obviously don’t live in an area of wind turbine creep. I do not have an irrational fear of wind turbines: I simply object to the ruthless industrialisation of our beautiful countryside.

  • Liberal Neil 6th Feb '12 - 10:45am

    @Mack – I suppose it depends on your perspective.

    I see wind turbines as a modern version of windmills, a traditional part of our rural landscape.

    Living, as I do, near both Didcot Power Station and the windfarm at Watchfield I know which one I think is more of a blot on the landscape.

  • The Chris Huhne question was difficult as it was
    NO for the sudden with little notice withdrawal of the Solar Panel subsidy
    NO to supporting nuclear options
    YES to supporting wind farms ( people talking about blots on landscape haven’t lived amongst slag heaps)
    BIG YES to pushing the green agenda and how he has done well on this on an international level too.

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