So, why do you like Vince Cable?

Two findings jumped out at me from YouGov’s recent poll of Liberal Democrat members, parts of which Stephen Tall covered last week.

One is the similarity in many of the findings between YouGov’s poll and the Liberal Democrat Voice surveys of party members, a similarity which we’ve found before. That’s good news – and reassuring too, given how often our surveys are now quoted by the media as being ‘what Lib Dems think’.

The other is that it means the YouGov poll mirrors both our own findings and my own experience talking to Lib Dem members in many different parties – and that is the popularity of Vince Cable. If you’ve been asleep or incommunicado for the last nine months you might wonder why I’d comment on Vince’s popularity – because after all, he’s Vince, isn’t he?

Vince Cable speakingBut in that intervening period there was the matter of tuition fees.

And it’s not as if that’s an issue that is over, done and forgotten.

Nor is it an issue that Vince was absent from. Far from it, he was at the centre of it in Parliament, in the media and in the party.

Yet the YouGov poll gave him a net +57% score on how well/badly members think he’s doing and the last Lib Dem Voice survey gave him a net +51% on how effective/ineffective members think he is.

It’s arguable that members could rate him as effective whilst still disagreeing with what he’s doing, but his score on that measure did plummet during the height of the tuition fees debates before then recovering – whilst of course YouGov’s wording is different.

Hence the question: why is Vince so popular with Liberal Democrat members? The comments thread awaits you…

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This entry was posted in LDV Members poll and Polls.


  • He comes across as being both inteligent and a fighter.

    He also has a kind of rogueish charm that makes you forgive errors but its hard to define

  • Because he refuses to (1) to pretend to love the Tories and (2) he refuses to keep his mouth about not liking the Tories.

    Would that we had more people like him.

  • He’s just lovely, isn’t he? The way he’s so bad at being a minister, he feels like what a Lib Dem in government should be. Awkward but effective.

  • gavin baylis 22nd May '11 - 8:41am

    Partly because he saw the debt bubble before it burst, and you’ve got to respect that. partly because he’s centre left but understands markets and why they might be useful. In coalition, as Lee says, because he doesn’t pretend too Agree with the Tories. More generally, because he’s more likely to say what he thinks – he never sounds like he’s spouting the same old various platitudes that some other politicians, nor towing the party line. What he has to say sounds reasoned and has substance, even if I don’t always agree.

  • Because his frankness – even though it comes with his old man’s vanity – gives him the capacity to sincerely apologize.

  • Simon McGrath 22nd May '11 - 10:58am

    @Robson “Because his frankness – even though it comes with his old man’s vanity – gives him the capacity to sincerely apologize”

    Did i miss his apology for the tuition fees disaster which was entirely down to him?

  • Don Lawrence 22nd May '11 - 12:35pm

    @Simon Mcgrath

    “Did i miss his apology for the tuition fees disaster which was entirely down to him?”

    By this are you implying that:-
    a) our negotiators in the coalition discussions, failing to get our tuition fees pledge into the agreement,
    b) many of our MPs who voted in favour of it (instead of abstain or vote against), and
    c) the wider party leadership,

    had nothing to do with it?

  • Vince is always the voice of reason and tells the state of the economy as it is. He seems to have been put in a corner like a naughty schoolboy by both his own party and the tories. Let him be the strong respectable voice that he was before and it would boost the lib dems credibility no end

  • Foregone Conclusion 22nd May '11 - 11:31pm

    Because he’s human – painfully so at times.
    Because he speaks to the public as if they were intelligent human beings.
    Because he says stuff about the Tories that we’re all thinking, but only he seems able to say (Clegg couldn’t, for example).
    Because we trust him.

  • orange_book_liberal 23rd May '11 - 4:02pm

    Because the Telegraph and the right-wing commentariat hate him.

    Because he understands that a booming financial services industry isn’t necessarily evidence of a healthy economy – as he said before the crash.

    Because he understands that in order to implement any form of progressive agenda (however one choses to define this) we need a healthy economy which requires freeing small and medium sized companies from excessive regulation and bureaucracy.

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