Recovery in Clegg’s ratings amongst party members confirmed but not back to 2010 levels

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.

As 2011 comes to an end, Liberal Democrat party members surveyed by Lib Dem Voice continue to back Nick Clegg, being in coalition and the government’s overall record. Support has generally increased a little during the year, but is still well below its levels in the second half of last year before tuition fees dominated the political agenda towards the end of 2010.

For Nick Clegg himself, 65% of members said they are satisfied with his performance as party leader, with the net score of +32% confirming the recovery from the lows of +19% and +17% early in 2011. The recovery still has some way to go to return to the net scores of over +60% he scored in the summer of 2010 however.

Just under two-thirds (64%) also think the party is on the right track, with the net score of +37% being typical for the scores through the year, though again down on the summer of 2010.

By contrast, approval for the coalition government’s overall record to date is, at a net +41%, nearly back to the levels of 2010 save for the immediate post-coalition survey. Similarly, 81% of party members support the party being in coalition with the Conservatives, with a net score of +68% also only slightly off the 2010 levels.

Given the recent olive branches towards the Liberal Democrats from senior Labour figures such as Douglas Alexander and Ed Balls, the views that party members have of Ed Miliband is of increasing relevance. So far, they are not impressed. Only 9% think he is doing well; 87% think he is doing badly. David Cameron comes out much better: 51% think he is doing well and 43% doing badly, although of course in both cases that is not necessarily a reflection of the degree to which party members agree with what they are doing.

 

  • 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 Co-leader of the party. He is editor of Liberal Democrat Newswire.

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16 Comments

  • Labour List took a similar survey of Labour members just before Xmas.The questions were different but the one on Ed Milliband was comparable – something like “doing a good/poor job”.
    The result was 41% Poor 26% Good.

  • jenny barnes 28th Dec '11 - 9:08am

    I understand from LD HQ that around half the membership (as of 2010) have left the party. Presumably that half of the ex membership has rather more negative views; and we should probably adjust these results accordingly
    For example: 65% satisfied with NC’s performance…means 35% of those left aren’t, plus the 50% who left the party, making 85% not satisfied v 32.5% (65/2) who are, a negative result of around -50%. But I suppose comparing like with like is less fun.

  • John Richardson 28th Dec '11 - 11:39am

    I understand from LD HQ that around half the membership (as of 2010) have left the party.

    Very unlikely. Membership was up between May 2010 and May 2011 so there would have to be literally no renewals in the last six months for that to be true. Also, it proves nothing but there are a lot more people responding to these surveys than in 2010. 564 on this one (from 1200+ eligible members) compared to 350 (from 1000+ eligible members) back in July 2010. If party membership had collapsed then you would expect some negative effect on the number of members of LDV (people are automatically kicked out when their party membership expires) and respondees.

    I’ve always replied with approval for Nick Clegg, I think he is doing a good job in impossible circumstances. Although after the autumn statement I no longer approve of the coalition’s “record to date”. We’re at the point where Osborne’s intransigence on borrowing is actually damaging the economy as well as being unnecessarily hard on the public sector. Liberal Democrats would not be voting for this economic policy from opposition – of that, I am certain. It’s important to differentiate the party from the coalition.

  • John Carlisle 28th Dec '11 - 12:33pm

    Nick’s ratings would fly up if we had a business/work-related economic policy that grew employment. bonus complaints, wealth taxes do not a policy make. We must say what a good, effective organisation looks like – whether it is making rivets, delivering retail goods or curing people. That should be the first topic at any conference if we are serious about increasing employment. It is not because our leaders don’t know that they don’t know!

  • If there was a like button for John Carlisle’s comment it would be working overtime. None of the three parties have a decent growth strategy.

  • “Labour List took a similar survey of Labour members … on Ed Milliband … The result was 41% Poor 26% Good.”

    Well, it’s come to something, hasn’t it, when we find Labour members doing better than Lib Dem members at seeing past the rose-tinted spectacles!

    Clegg’s management has been disastrous. Let’s suppose for the sake of argument that we all agree with his right-of-centre political stance and on the need for a semi-permanent alliance with the Tories. Even so, he should still have been sacked for signing a coalition agreement and then cheerfully accepting massive, unpopular changes to it. He should have been sacked again for signing the tuition fees pledge, and then failing to insist on keeping the promise. And he should have been sacked a third time for all his failures over AV.

    No football manager would have survived such a disastrous run of results. Nor, as Hague, Duncan-Smith and Howard can tell you, would any Tory leader.

    Why has Clegg led such a charmed life? Partly because so many Lib Dems have walked away in disgust, as Jenny Barnes suggests. Partly because so many ministers know that their positions on the payroll depend on not upsetting the applecart. Partly because we, who were once the least disciplined and most free-thinking of the three parties, have now become the most conformist and the least open to different points of view. And partly because so many people feel (as Andrew Rawnsley put it) “furious but trapped” within the coalition.

    So, we go into 2012 adopting the Hitch Hiker’s Guide philosophy of life. That is – when danger threatens, put a towel over your head, so that you can keep calm, because you can’t see danger any more!

  • “Let’s suppose for the sake of argument that we all agree with his right-of-centre political stance and on the need for a semi-permanent alliance with the Tories. ”

    Let’s suppose, for a moment, that it might make your arguments more persuasive if you didn’t use the old saw of setting up a straw man to then knock it down.

    Let us suppose, for a moment, that we were now in a rainbow coalition with the two Eds and massively uncontrolled borrowing

  • John Carlisle 29th Dec '11 - 1:13pm

    Dave Allen: “No football manager would have survived such a disastrous run of results.” Yes, I agree. However, no football manager would become one coming from having captained a First Division side where his energy had been focused on getting to the Premier Division, to running Man United with Wayne Rooney – and then finding there was no money buy new players or even pay the current rates! (I have now exhausted my knowledge of football. I hope I have got it right. Wayne Rooney does play for Man United, doesn’t he?)

  • Tabman writes: “Let’s suppose, for a moment, that it might make your arguments more persuasive if you didn’t use the old saw of setting up a straw man to then knock it down.

    Let us suppose, for a moment, that we were now in a rainbow coalition with the two Eds and massively uncontrolled borrowing.”

    With respect, you attack David Allen for setting up a straw man and then proceed to do the same yourself. Since when have the two Eds ever advocated “massively uncontrolled borrowing”?

  • Tabman,

    I’m not sure exactly what you think is my “straw man” argument. That Nick’s position is right of centre? Or that the rest of us might not take a similar position? Or what?

    Anyway, something I said there has clearly stuck in your craw. OK then. Please replace:

    “Let’s suppose for the sake of argument that we all agree with his right-of-centre political stance and on the need for a semi-permanent alliance with the Tories.”

    with

    “Let’s suppose for the sake of argument that we all agree with all of Nick’s political views”.

    Then please read on from there in the original post, and please read why I argue that even given those assumptions, Nick deserves the sack. Then let me know what you make of my main argument. (Or, were you perhaps trying to dodge it by picking a quarrel with my preamble instead?)

  • David Allen 30th Dec '11 - 1:04am

    Oranjepan,

    You appear to believe that you can dismiss criticism of Clegg because the critic has referred to “left” and “right” in politics. There are, of course, many potential pitfalls in using these terms. However, lots of people do use them, and most would agree that despite the pitfalls, it is wise to talk to those who use them. I don’t suppose you throw away your newspaper in disgust whenever a journalist uses these terms, do you? So, er, are you another loyalist who is grasping for an excuse to put that towel over your head?

  • John – “With respect, you attack David Allen for setting up a straw man and then proceed to do the same yourself. Since when have the two Eds ever advocated “massively uncontrolled borrowing”?”

    OK, to be fair, Milli-minor wasn;t really on the scene, but Mr Neo-Endogenous Growth Theory’s fingers are all over Labour’s borrowing splurge 2001-2010. By their works shall ye know them.

    David Allen – who would you have replace Clegg? And what policies would you have them pursue? And how, exactly, will this improve matters?

  • Tabman,

    “but Mr Neo-Endogenous Growth Theory’s fingers are all over Labour’s borrowing splurge 2001-2010.”

    Labour’s borrowing splurge created jobs and generated growth. Oh, and Labour had to bail out those paragons of free market virtue, the banks. A Conservative government would also have had to borrow massively resulting in a budget deficit of similar proportions – would you have let the banks collapse? What a Labour government (or Labour/Lib Dem coalition government) might not have done is cut too deep too soon, creating mass unemployment and stalling growth, which is what the present Tory government is doing right now, with Lib Dem support. Nick Clegg called this approach “irrational”, if you recall.

    “David Allen – who would you have replace Clegg?”

    I cannot speak for David Allen. He will do that very shortly, I imagine. What I would do is counsel against the temptation to chuck the blame for this dreadful mess squarely at Nick Clegg. Focussing on individuals is dangerous. The entire leadership supports this so-called “coalition”, the Special Conference approved it by a huge margin, and most members continue to consider it a great and noble venture, if the Members’ Forum is to be believed. Culpability must be fairly and democratically shared. Getting rid of Clegg and replacing him with Huhne or Farron will change nothing. That’s because it is the “coalition”, not the leader, that is the problem. We would still have the “coalition” whoever the leader was. And the electorate would still hate us.

    I am generous enough to acquit the leadership of everything except extreme naivety and maladroitness – which I summarise as follows:-

    (1) Going into the “coalition” at all was wrong in principle and disastrous in practice – both for the country and our party. It would have been far better to force the Tories to govern as a minority, the attendant risks notwithstanding.
    (2) Exaggerating our influence only makes the problem worse (eg, the 75% fantasy), as Matthew Huntbach has pointed out on these pages ad nauseam. It would be far better to minimise our influence and shy away from the cameras, except in those few instances where Lib Dem ministers do something positive.
    (3) Trading gerrymandered boundaries and fewer MPs for an AV referendum that the Tories and the media were never going to let us win must be one of the grossest single errors of political judgment in modern times. We should have joined with Labour and preserved the playing field.

    And I could go on.

  • David Allen 30th Dec '11 - 7:49pm

    Tabman,

    Instead of answering my question, you have chucked a question at me. Being a tolerant fellow, I have answered it. I look forward to you doing likewise. My answer is at:

    https://www.libdemvoice.org/who-said-this-26314.html#comment-192005

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