What Lib Dem members think about the coalition government: LDV poll results

Lib Dem Voice has been conducting a survey today of party members registered on our members’ forum asking them for their views of the coalition government agreement betwen the Lib Dems and the Conservatives. Well over 550 have responded, and here’s part one of what you’ve told us …

LDV asked: How do you rate the perfomance of the Lib Dem negotiating team in reaching the agreement with the Conservatives?

59% – Very effective
36% – Effective
2% – Ineffective
1% – Very ineffective
2% – Don’t know

A whopping 95% of party members who responded to the survey, therefore, viewed the Lib Dem negotiating team as either effective or very effective – including a number of those who still disagreed with the coalition agreement anyway. Only 3% believed the team had played their hand poorly.

* You can read in full the comments of party members in response to this question in our discussion forum here.

LDV asked: Which of the following statements best describes your own view of the prospect of a Liberal Democrat / Conservative coalition government:

  • 22% – “I am excited and optimistic. This is a real chance to create a new politics and prove the Lib Dems are a serious party of government.”
  • 53% – “I am excited but nervous. There are big opportunities, but there is a very real risk to the Lib Dems.”
  • 19% – “I recognise this was the only realistic outcome. I wish it all the best, but will wait and see how the new government does before coming to a conclusion.”
  • 3% – “I am disappointed that we have gone into coalition with the Conservatives. I think we should have stayed in opposition with a minority Conservative government.”
  • 4% – “I cannot support this coalition government. I am seriously considering resigning my membership of the party.”
  • An interesting spread – some 75% of party members appear to be enthusastic about the coalition agreement to some degree; 19% view the agreement as inevitable, but are going to wait and see before passing judgement either way; while 7% of party members are disappointed with the deal, including a small minority who are considering leaving the party as a result.

    * You can read in full the comments of party members in response to this question in our discussion forum here.

    We will be releasing the result of the question ‘If you were able to vote, would you choose to support the motion proposing the Lib Dems enter into a coalition government with the Conservatives?’ later.

    Lib Dem Voice e-mailed the survey to over 1,200 party members registered on our members’ forum on Friday. As of 12 noon today, 556 (c.45%) had responded. Please note: we make no claims that the survey is representative of the Lib Dem membership as a whole. Indeed, the survey seems skewed towards male party members living in the south of England. However it is the largest survey yet published of the views of Lib Dem members.

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    This entry was posted in LDV Members poll.
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    19 Comments

    • Anna Hodgetts 15th May '10 - 12:51pm

      In Mid Sussex the Conservatives are the party we fight at every level. We hold one of three Town Councils, having lost a second three years ago after 20 years in control. We are in close contention on the District Council and well out-numbered in second place on West Sussex County, on May 6th we came 2nd with 35%. TThis means that there is strong tension between us and the Tories, and we intend to go on fighting hard at every level.

      Personally I dreaded a Tory government and am delighted that we look as thogh we’ll have enough influence to curb their more extreme policies. I am also thrilled that some of our more chgerished policies – green ,low tax, constitutional change- are going to be implemented, something I thought woe would not achieve for decades.

      My hope is that the high national profile will increase interest in our local policies and activity. Next year’s round of local elections will indicate whether the public are more inclined to listen to us, or think we have been “swallowed” and therefore have become irrelevant.

      Somehow we have all got to concentrate on becoming heard more – and if the national Party can make our views known as efefctively in coalition as Nick did in debate – we will all benefit.

    • I think there is a majority of the party who are willing to wait and see , and believe that the leadership has made the best decision possible under the circumstances – though i have to say it took me a while to get round to that way of thinking, with my initial reaction being “NO, Tories are all evil, EVIL…!!”. I Also thinks it’s indicative that the main RATM Lib Dem page has lost only about 1% of it’s members, and the new opposition page only has about 500…

    • Yes- there are more Lib Dem policies now changing the shape of UK government.
      Yes- there are now 5 senior Lid Dems in government.
      Yes- the Lib Dems now, finally, have some real power within the political system.

      However, you are not merely Liberals, but also Democrats. And so, as so many of you are only to willing to support your leader, Nick Clegg, ask yourselves- would Nick Clegg support me in the slightest moment of dissent? Should the leader of the third largest parliamentary party, according to the last general election result, become Deputy Prime Minister of this country? Is this how you imagined the coming of age of Liberalism to play out among the British people? Mr Clegg says he knows what voters meant- only in 2015 will we know if said ‘voters’ agree.

    • I am a tory voter and we lost our MP to the Lib Dems, it was pretty much expected as he wasn’t very well thought of. Anyway I am quite pleased with the outcome as I do feel it will temper the more extreme elements and policies of both parties.

    • Can we have a full explanation of the poll’s demographic?

    • How many will want to leave when they find out they’ve been conned?

    • Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity. But I, being poor, have only my dreams. I have spread my dreams under your feet; tread softly, because you tread on my dreams. (I wonder if WB Yeats was faced with a similar betrayal when he wrote those words?)

    • Unfortunately the coalition shows the worst side of Liberal Democracy. On the one hand we are the party which never had power, but always had principle – at the heart of almost every campaign to stop a school or hospital closure you would find the Lib Dems from the radical centre. But on the other hand there are people in the party who are ideology-free political junkies who only join the LibDems so that they can ‘do’ politics without any passion or drive: the worst of the soggy middle characature.

      I think the readiness to go into coalition with the Tories, and the squirmingly naff posh public schoolboys act between Nick and Cameron was far too much of the political junkie, power not principle, soggy middle.

      It may well be popular from the southern ex public schoolboy wing of the party, but is a disaster waiting to happen elsewhere.

      We really ought to guard our principles here. They are far more vauable than seats in the cabinet.

    • @Cowleyjon – What principles would that be? Perpetually sticking to rabid, rambling and useless – and if that is indeed what you think we should act like, frankly ridiculous – opposition, or actually seeing a large chunk of our policies actively carried out through participation in government?

      If you claim to be a Lib Dem supporter I suggest you bother to read our manifesto & if needed have someone explain it to you, because you appear to have decides that our principles must revolve around either

      a) Being useless whingers who will never be I’m government
      b) Being there to support Labour (we are a party of our own not a propper upper for a failed government!) or
      c) Being there to keep the Conservatives out.

      I admit our campaign leaflets were not always inspiring. But please refrain from telling us what our supposed principles are, based on your own skewed interpretation of our manifesto (and this is assuming you even bothered reading it!)

    • PS: Apologies for typos, typed that on my phone.

    • I’m (generally) a Conservative voter who has been tremendously impressed by the Liberal Democrats’ positive attitude to this coalition. I’m convinced that it has been done with the best interests of the country at heart in perilous economic times and is much more than a naked power grab for the sake of a few cabinet seats. I wonder if people inside the ‘political bubble’ realise how delighted those (many) outside that bubble are, that two parties have actually attempted to pool their talents to provide the foundation on which to solve those economic problems. What an opportunity!

      I hope LD activists do not despair about allying themselves to the ‘evil Tories’, and that they recognise the enormous potential of having been seen to have acted maturely and in the national interest when circumstances required it. Whilst the more tribal political types may desert the LDs in a huff, there is a far larger constituency out there that is longing for just this kind of co-operation and will in the longer run recognise and appreciate the risks that the LDs have taken on their behalf. I suspect that the party can gain far more credibility with the electorate in office than it ever has when in secondary opposition, particularly if it is demonstrably able to temper what some might consider Conservative excess with Liberal Democrat sensibility.

    • RichieP – I feel the same about ‘your lot’ – very positively impressed by the pragmatic and grown up attitude from both teams. And while I prefer the parties to retain their own personalities, I do hope this cooperation will last beyond the current Parliament.

    • Right I have just read the big coalition document and to my great disappointment I can find no reference to the bringing in of a statutory Youth Service. Labour made this promise and Jack Straw, the man who wrote it, could not remember his own policy when I asked him about it. No wonder Labour never brought it in it clearly slipped their minds!
      Now my own party have failed to honour its commitment on this one. DCs big Society and all the measures on youth and communities will fail, just as labours did on the simple inability of the Politicians to GET IT! These great ideas have to be delivered by Professionals on the ground with the skills and ability to do so. The lack of a statutory base for Youth & Community Work has seen the erosion of this provision over the last 30 years to a point now where it has not got the capacity to deliver the programs that the New Government wants. Labour found this to be the case and now the new Government will as well. While telling a politician, “I told you so!” Has some appeal to me it is the lost opportunity to improve the lives of some of the most deprived in our society that really angers me. Teen Pregnancy, youth on youth violence, the new national service at 16, community Volunteering, the list goes on all in danger of failure for the lack of a simple piece of legislation that most parties agree with! Such a simple act to pave the way for so much. Such a wasted opportunity once more!
      I call on Paddy Ashdown, Simon Hughes and all the other former Youth & Community Workers in my party to put this back where it belongs at the heart of our plans to make this society fair!

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