LDV members’ survey (1): 67% say Lib Dem general election result “disappointing”

Lib Dem Voice has been conducting a survey this week of party members registered on our members’ forum asking them for their views of the coalition, Labour leadership and the party’s general election result. Over 400 have responded, and here’s part one of what you’ve told us …

LDV asked: How would you rate the Lib Dems’ general election result?

Here’s what you told us:

1% – Very good
9% – Good
22% – Okay
52% – Disappointing
16% – Very disappointing

LDV then asked: Which of the following reasons do you think best explain why the Lib Dems did less well in the general election than opinion polls suggested? Please tick all that apply.

74% – Traditional two-party squeeze, with Lib Dems not seen as credible government
47% – Drip-drip effect of anti-Lib Dem stories in rightwing press
44% – Failure of party to rebut anti-Lib Dem propaganda effectively enough
42% – Larger resources of trade union-sponsored Labour and big business-supported Tories meaning we were out-campaigned
41% – Unpopularity of Lib Dem policies (eg, on EU, immigration, Trident)
38% – Public fear of hung parliament and unstable government
24% – Ineffective national campaign that failed to take advantage of Lib Dem surge
22% – Inaccurate opinion polls over-stating our position and hyping unrealistic expectations
20% – Over-ambitious targeting strategy which spread our resources too thin
11% – Decision not to rule out coalition leading to too much hung parliament speculation

Among other reasons put forward by party members were the following:

  • Small-c conservative voting, fear of change
  • just the usual effects of the FPTP system – our Party seems to have a ludicrously high expectation of what we can do through campaigning – yet when it comes to it its almost irrelevant – the surges of the other two parties simply washes right over
  • General Election and Council elections being held on the same day.
  • Disorganisation at constituency level
  • I think that we need to review our GOTV procedures. Labour are brilliant at getting their vote out and we lost out because of that in some places.
  • 18 to 25 year olds not turning out. In some seats (esp v Labour eg Oxford E, Islington S) we peaked in 2005 because of our opposition to the Iraq war
  • People wanted to vote for us, but in the end the fear of those on the left was a Con government and the fear of those on the right was a Lab government so people didn’t take the risk
  • Not having Chris Rennard running the campaign
  • Generally, we talked too much in the last two weeks about coalitions and hung parliaments and the overall messages got a bit lost…
  • Read more by .
    This entry was posted in LDV Members poll.


    • two things we did wrong!
      1/ we failed to take advantage of the surge to introduce our ‘cabinet of talent’ in waiting whilst in parallel stating that the more Lib Dems in parliament – the better for good government. On the street people even forgot that Vince Cable was part of the team – just Nick Clegg then! Election broadcast, billboards, adverts – were all under our control.
      2/ the best form of defence is attack! OK we came under attack when we looked like doing well – so we were prepared for that ? Not! For instance Brown’s attack on our Trident policy. “How you going to afford that Gordon – cut back on helicopters, armoured vehicles and body armour – just like you did before to pay for tax cuts whilst we were fighting two wars”! Etc, etc!

      we really have to toughen up and we must make the best of our opportunities.

    • Chris Rennard’s days as the campaign guru have been dwindling for sometime. Ealing was probably his last hurrah and campaigns need to wake up and realise that.

      Regional targetting is a joke… it consists of pouring scare resources into badly selected battlegrounds. We had an edict that on election day candidates had to drive for up to three hours to put in an hour shift in a target seat. I’d contend that if it is that tight then they are not targets.

      The truth is that we need to adapt or die. I got the same swing with a six week £10k campaign as a two year >£40k one did in a neighbouring constituency. Activists believed the hype and didn’t consider that in January we were looking at a wipeuout in the South. The bounce was there… but it kept us steady.

      We were wrong footed by the media and a naive presentation of policies. I got both Labour and Tories to back us… when I could spend five minutes explaining them properly on the doorstep. There was no way I could visit 72,000 people and spend 5 minutes with each of them. Game theory about how to manage scenarios is the way to go. Once “scrapping Trident” became the commonly believed message it needed an agressive rebuttal which never came. We need to promote “the team” to look like credible leaders and above all develop distinct policies. We will get nowhere placing ourselves between Labour and Tories.

      Forget “progressive”, think “radical”. and above all, take responsibility for your own campaigns. No one is going to come riding to the rescue. If I was asked how we should fight the next election, it would be to put Lynne Featherstone in charge. She is such a motivational character and the reason why two and a half years ago I was a deliverer and am now helping run the council.

    • As a lib democrat voter from 1997 to 2005 I returned to Labour because it was obvious before the election that Clegg would do a deal with Tories that didn’t even include PR. So glad I didn’t vote Lib dem and let the Tories in. I don’t agree with the Lib dems fipping on economic policy and think the argument about Greece to be trumped up to try and justify the flippng. I also don’t like the policy on rape and don’t consider the party has a mandate to promote this retrogade, sexist policy.

      I am very disappointed with Simon Hughes. He stole the Bernondsey by-election from Labour by allowing the candidate to be smeared as a homesexual when he himself was bisexual. Shame on him. I have only just read that he admitted this in 2006 and I am dumbfounded. I have to say i am very confused as to why the Lib Dems doesn’t seem to create an open and inclusive party for gay men and for women.

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