Revealed: What Lib Dem members think of Ed Miliband and David Cameron

>Lib Dem Voice polled our members-only forum before conference to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. More than 550 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

Miliband slips from -20% to -48% (but note the caveats below)

LDV asked: Do you think Ed Miliband is doing well or badly as leader of the Labour party?
(Comparison with August’s results in brackets.)

  • 1% (-1%) – Very well
  • 22% (-14%) – Well
  • Total well = 23% (-15%)

  • 50% (+4%) – Badly
  • 21% (+9%) – Very badly
  • Total badly = 71% (+13%)%

  • 6% (+2%) – Don’t know / No opinion

First important point to note: our survey was conducted before the Labour conference and Ed Miliband’s well-received conference speech. Second important point to note: though the figures show Ed Miliband’s ratings among Lib Dem members markedly down that’s compared to August — it may simply be a case that our survey at the height of the summer holidays, which was very positive for Miliband, was a blip. As with all the party leaders our first post-conference survey will be interesting to compare to this baseline.

Cameron recovers – slightly – from June’s lowest rating yet

Do you think David Cameron is doing well or badly as Prime Minister?
(Comparison with August’s results in brackets.)

  • 1% (n/c) – Very well
  • 33% (-8%) – Well
  • Total well = 34% (-8%)

  • 50% (+6%) – Badly
  • 11% (n/c) – Very badly
  • Total badly = 61% (+6%)

  • 5% (+3%) – Don’t know / No opinion

For the third successive survey, David Cameron’s net ratings among Lib Dem members is into the negative zone. Back in March, more Lib Dems were impressed with Mr Cameron as PM than were unimpressed by a margin of 58% to 36%, a net satisfaction rating of +22%. Since then, though, his smooth image and reputation for competence have taken a battering, and the position today is almost a mirror image: Lib Dems now think he’s doing badly by a margin of 61% to 34%, a net -27% reckoning David Cameron is doing a bad job as Prime Minister. As with Mr Miliband, we’ll have to wait til our next survey to see if his conference speech — liked by Tories which might have the opposite effect on Lib Dems — boosts his standing in our next survey.

As I customarily note, rating David Cameron’s performance as Prime Minister is a different question from rating his performance as Conservative party leader (whether Mr Cameron’s ratings would be higher or lower among Lib Dem members if we asked that question, I don’t know).

  • Over 1,200 Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with More than 550 responded to the latest survey, which was conducted between 19th and 22nd September. NB: most responses received before Nick Clegg’s apology broadcast.
  • 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 offered accurate guides to what party members think.
  • For further information on the reliability/credibility of our surveys, please refer to FAQs: Are the Liberal Democrat Voice surveys of party members accurate? and polling expert Anthony Wells’ verdict, On that poll of Lib Dem members.
  • 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.


    • ‘Not paid for by trade unions or millionaires.’

      ‘LibDemVoice is primarily funded by advertising.’

      An interesting distinction.

    • “Do you think Ed Miliband is doing well or badly as leader of the Labour party?
      (Comparison with August’s results in brackets.)

      •1% (-1%) – Very well
      •22% (-14%) – Well
      Total well = 23% (-15%)”

      Who are the 23%???

    • Peter Watson 11th Oct '12 - 10:38am

      I’m curious to know from what perspective your respondents are answering the question “Do you think Ed Miliband is doing well or badly as leader of the Labour party?”, and how we should interpret any results.
      If they think he is doing badly, are they imagining themselves as Labour party members who should be disappointed in him, or as Lib Dems who think he should really be kicking our a**es even more in the polls by now? Or do they mean he is a good leader for labour supporters and is therefore doing badly for the Lib Dems?
      It does seem to be an oddly-phrased question to ask supporters of one party about the leader of another? From our perspective, do we want a Labour leader that we think is good or one that we think is bad?
      You touch on that with your comment about David Cameron. Personally I want a good prime minister (because he represents me) but a lousy tory leader (because he doesn’t represent me). A difficult balancing act indeed, but it sums up for me the core problem with the unrepresentative two-party government-opposition system that we have.

    • I agree that Miliband’s speech was well-recieved. It had to be.

      Little Ed’s acolytes conducted a concerted PR campaign in an attempt to shore up his faltering leadership, but scrape away the superficial sheen with which it was presented and it was the day he consigned himself to defeat.

      He knew his neck was on the line, and his theft of tory ‘one nation’ clothes was a desperate last throw of the dice. He had nothing else to offer.

    • The other thing to point out, of course, is that post Labour and Tory Conferences, both Miliband and Cameron had a lot of exposure. The figures given by our members before that should be looked at in that light, and not as up to date views.

    • Sorry – Stephen put in that caveat in his text.

      Further to Peter Watson’s interesting questions about members’ perspectives it is also worth noting that there could well be a difference in perspective for our members between the expressed views about Cameron (with whom we are supposed to be allied) and Miliband (with whom we are not). There would also likely be a marked difference between people such as Oranjepan and Tabman, on various flavours of the right of the Lib Dems, who would place themselves somewhere in the centre ground politically, and the likes of Peter Watson and myself, who from our perspective would probably regard both as being to the right of us politically (but with Miliband moving on to our sort of territory). So in the light of all those issues, I wonder whether these results verge on the meaningless!

    • Tim13,
      you are very much mistaken if you think I consider myself on the ‘right’ of the party (not least because I reject the left-right axiom as inherently anti-liberal). I use my pseudonymous avatar for a specific purpose, that of providing greater balance to various discussions, hopeful with the effect of drawing out better comments. I’d be very worried if we all dogmatically agreed with each other in every detail.

    • I agree Oranjepan – it would not be good if we all agreed about everything! I know you have an interesting array of views, having read many of your posts over the months (years, probably now!) I am not surprised you don’t view yourself on the right of the party, and tbh, I think your views are not those of someone on the far right. And, yes, you can take “left right” too far in describing people’s views. Maybe I am wrong, then, but I would have placed you broadly on the right from my reading. Thankyou for your usually interesting contributions, I know they often do get people discussing.

    • Helen Dudden 14th Oct '12 - 10:52am

      It would be a thought for the future, not just MPs in a party of their choice but, MPs who are good at being just that, work hard for their constituants, and be respectful to those they they deal with.

      I feel sometimes that the party thing, just seems to take over.

    • Oranjepan – ditto, I would not place myself on the right for the same reasons. Similarly I am at heart a contrarian and feel the need to challenge what can look like anti coalition group-think at times! All sides to the debate get sharper when challenged.

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