Which four Liberal Democrat ministers have most improved their standings in 2011?

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 564 party members responded, and we are publishing the full results here over several days.

Jeremy Browne, Vince Cable, Ed Davey and Lynne Featherstone are the four Liberal Democrat ministers to have significantly increased their standing in the eyes of party members over this year, according to the surveys of party members carried out by Liberal Democrat Voice four times in the year.

When asked how satisfied or dissatisfied they are with a range of party figures, members have given this quartet significantly improved ratings across the year. For each, there is a slightly different story to tell.

Jeremy Browne used to be one of the ministers rated most poorly by party members, but has steadily improved his ratings, helped both by his sure-footed ministerial work in 2011 and also by being one of the keener ministers to communicate with party members, as shown by a series of guest posts on Lib Dem Voice during the year. With a year-end net score of +21%, he is still below the net +32% average, but no longer among the lowest rated.

In Ed Davey’s case, he too used to have much lower ratings though more due to being low profile rather than the positive controversy Jeremy Browne has generated. Helped by his own work on modernising the Post Office and regular appearances at local party events, he now has a net rating of +40%, not far off the sort that would put him in the top five. As with Jeremy Browne, he too may have benefited in a survey of Lib Dem Voice readers from recent positive coverage on this site, in this case from myself rather than him, but his ratings had already been improving since the general election.

For Vince Cable the start of 2011 was the nadir of his popularity with members, in the immediate aftermath of the tuition fees controversy. From a net +8% low in our first survey of 2011, Cable is now back to +63% and top of the ratings.

Finally, Lynne Featherstone – always one of the most highly rated Liberal Democrats in our surveys – has had a very high profile year with her equalities brief, pushing many high profile and controversial policies. Although since becoming a minister her blogging, including contributions to this site, has tailed off markedly, she continues to be one of the few front rank Liberal Democrats to communicate regularly via social media.

An honourable mention should also go to Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael who has a role that traditionally is only high profile when it is going wrong. However, thanks to his assiduous and funny use of Facebook, he has continued to see his ratings quietly move up through the year (starting at net +14% and ending at net +27%).

The two biggest fallers in the year are Chris Huhne, still at a net +43% but well down from +65% at the start of the year, and Party President Tim Farron, who likewise still has a very healthy net +60% but is down from +69% in our first survey of 2011.

The top five Liberal Democrats in the December 2011 survey, with their net scores, were:

1. Vince Cable: +63%
2. Tim Farron: +60%
3. Lynne Featherstone: +53%
4. Steve Webb: +51%
5.= Simon Hughes: +45%
5.= Kirsty Williams: +45%

The bottom five Liberal Democrats, with their net scores, are:

1. Nick Harvey: +16% (his scores have been fairly static all year)
2. Fiona Hall: +15% (her scores have been fairly static all year)
3. Andrew Stunell:+15% (his lowest score this year)
4. Danny Alexander: +14% (his lowest score this year)
5. Paul Burstow: +14% (though continuing to recover from his +3% low in early 2011)


  • Over 1,200 Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with LibDemVoice.org. Some 564 responded to the latest survey, which was conducted between 9th and 13th December.
  • 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

* Mark Pack is Party President and is the editor of Liberal Democrat Newswire.

Read more by or more about , , , , , or .
This entry was posted in LDV Members poll.


  • I was very impressed by Ed Davey’s speech at the Western Counties Conference last month. He seems to be quietly finding ways of implementing policies which come from core Liberal Democrat beliefs.

  • Matt Downey 29th Dec '11 - 3:43pm

    When do we get full results for all ministers etc?

  • Once the reality of the PO “modernisation” becomes apparent, I suspect both Ed Davey and Vince Cables rankings will Plummet

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • TonyH
    Yes Mark. I love your diary entries, but PLEASE stop calling him Boris....
  • James Fowler
    I'd agree with pretty much all of this. I'd only add that today's direct action by fuel protesters shows that the dire state of the state of the economy is cutt...
  • George Thomas
    I can't see where you've mentioned the climate change crisis, or the growing disrespect to devolution to Celtic nations within the UK, but am otherwise impresse...
  • Martin
    Peter Hirst: "souls, they arrive at the time of conception" It is a bit rough for identical twins with whom we can play the game of spot the soulle...
  • Jenny Barnes
    Yes indeed. With the price of oil over $100 / bbl, and the £ dropping v the $, the UK is about to hit the buffers big time. Once people have paid for essenti...