What Lib Dem members think of the Coalition & its record

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 560 party members responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

80% of Lib Dem members support the Coalition

Do you support or oppose the Lib Dems being in the Coalition Government with the Conservatives? (Comparison with March 2012’s figures)

    80% (-1%) – Support
    16% (+2%) – Oppose
    4% (n/c) – Don’t know / No opinion

Support for the Coalition remains high, at 80%, in spite of all the difficulties it’s endured in the past months, from NHS reforms to the budget to the ‘double dip’ recession. The net support rating, at +64%, is the lowest we’ve yet recorded, but not by much: it was +68% in December. Support for the principle of the Coalition has been above 80% ever since we started asking this question in our surveys in July 2010.

Approval of Coalition Government’s record dips to +28%

LDV asked: Do you approve or disapprove of the Coalition Government’s record to date? (comparison with March 2012’s figures)

    59% (-3%) – Approve
    31% (+1%) – Disapprove
    10% (+2%) – Don’t know / No opinion

However, the net approval for the Coalition’s record to date has taken a further hit, down from +32% in March to +28% now: that’s the lowest figure we’ve yet recorded in these surveys. As recently as February, net approval stood at a far healthier +40%.

  • Over 1,200 Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with LibDemVoice.org. Some 560 responded to the latest survey, which was conducted between 28th May and 1st June.
  • 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
  • * 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.


    • John Richardson 1st Jul '12 - 11:31am

      Could you post some comments to give a flavour of the conditions people attach to their support?

    • Tony Dawson 1st Jul '12 - 11:42am

      “the net approval for the Coalition’s record to date has taken a further hit, down from +32% in March to +28% now: that’s the lowest figure we’ve yet recorded in these surveys.”

      Can anyone ever recall any other Party in government in this country, at any time in history, one third of whose members were registering themselves as being unhappy with the government’s record overall? I was thinking Labour at the height of the Iraq war debate, maybe, but I would be interested in any ‘hard’ figures.

    • Simon Titley 1st Jul '12 - 11:48am

      I agree with John Richardson. I suspect most of that 80% support is heavily qualified. There’s a world of difference between “support” = “wild enthusiasm” and “support” = “there was no realistic alternative in 2010” or “the alternatives now would be even worse” or “we’re making the best of a bad job”.

      The next time LDV asks this question, I suggest it does so in a way that gives respondents a more sophisticated choice than the stark “support” vs. “oppose”.

    • I know you like to put a pro-leadership gloss on these results but surely the headline of your second section should be “Approval of Coalition Government’s record dips to +28%” rather than 32%.

    • paul barker 1st Jul '12 - 2:31pm

      So 4/5ths of us back the coalition, 3/5ths approve of its actions, even now. The argument seems settled as far as most of us are concerned & yet 3 of the first 4 comments are anti-coalition. Its a bit like Europe in the wider world, the antis are very anti & talk a lot while the pros tend to be moderate & quiet.

      Sorry if this is incoherent, I ve got a virus & a temperature.

    • Surely only a Lemming mentality would cause anyone to oppose being in coalition right now ? A new election, even accounting for the margin of error in opinion polls, would be a disaster.

    • paul barker

      The poll was of LD members and I have nver been, or ever will be a member. I am, however, a representative of that group of people so much more important ie a voter

      In fact, I have voted LD or equivalwnt in every election since 1987 apart from 1997.

      I will not do again. I think the Coalition is appalling and do not support it. I imagine the members who stay in the party are more inclined to be supporters, even if they are doing it whilst holding their noses.

      We have seen the impact of the Coalition on the LE results and polling VI (I know you don’t believe any of this but all the numbers seem to stack up) indicating a GE result in the low teens on current opinion.

      That suggests the voters are not so keen as the members.

      If the party still maintains this complacency and ignores what the voters are telling it then it deserves whatever happens to it.

      I still believe there is a chance to get us voters back but it is getting late in the day, and it involves listening.

    • John Roffey 1st Jul '12 - 10:08pm

      @ Bazzasc

      On QT last week Paddy Ashdown made a comment along the lines that, as a Lib/Dem, he is used to not being understood – implying an ‘oddballness’ about the Party. At the time I reflected on the fact that the nation is crying out for a centrist party – and one that had policies that met with the wishes of the majority to contrast with either the Thatcherites or Bank & Global Corporation loving Cameron/Osborne from the Tories and a devious Labour Party that has insulated itself from the wishes of its members.

      The Lib/Dems could play this role and change a certain election rout at the GE to probably something close to victory – but the determination to ensure the wishes of the majority are not met and that unwanted policies are forced upon a virtually defenceless electorate – burns as bright as ever.

    • Richard Harris 1st Jul '12 - 10:38pm

      Right now an opinion poll of Lib Dem members that shows strong support for the coalition seems an exercise in extreme vanity. By all means navel gaze, but its the Lib Dem voting non-members that will decide the party’s future influence and power. Try asking people who have voted LD at any time in the last decade. That’s the poll that should dictate your actions.

    • Hear hear, Richard Harris.

    • John Roffey 1st Jul '12 - 11:43pm

      Perhaps members of the party should have this as their homepage – to avoid delusion:


    • david partridge 2nd Jul '12 - 10:43am

      I agree with Richard!

    • I was against the coalition and nothing since has made me change my mind; I did not/do not accept that it ‘was the only game in town’.
      I see a bleak future for us (I still say us though, at the moment I am more likely to vote Labour/abstain than LibDem). The actions of our leadership, since joining the coalition, have alienated the ‘left’ and won no friends in the Tory party. I am not surprised by the figures quoted; to my mind, at least, many of those remaining in the current party would fit far more comfortably into the ‘Soft Tory’ bracket than in the LibDem party I voted for.

    • I am against the Coalition though I do understand why the leadership decided to do it. History, however, suggests that every time Liberals go into coalition with the Tories, it is the Liberals who end up the worse for it.

      Yes, yes, I understand that it was in the national interest to provide at least the semblance of stable government: nevertheless, genuine coalition government is only possible in conditions of integrity and honesty. Do we really think the Tories are exemplifying either quality in their dealings with us? At some point, a line has to be drawn and “Enough” said; I think this point has been reached.

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