Who’s up, who’s down? How party members rate the performances of leading Lib Dems

Lib Dem Voice polled our members-only forum recently to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 500 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

Today we focus on the performances of the leading lights of the Liberal Democrats — those of our MPs in the cabinet, those occupying ministerial positions, and other leading Lib Dems.

LDV asked: How would you rate the performances of the following leading Liberal Democrats and government ministers?

Full results are published below, but here’s three key lists for those who want to cut to the chase… (with comparison to June 2012 ratings in brackets)

Top 5 Lib Dem performers in the Government:

  • Vince Cable +87% (+7%)
  • Edward Davey +62% (+15%)
  • Steve Webb +61% (+8%)
  • Lynne Featherstone +58% (+3%)
  • Norman Lamb +57% (+13%)

Maybe it’s the optimistic Olympic spirit — or maybe it’s the fact that fewer readers are around in August — but every single Lib Dem has this month recorded an increase on their ratings compared with June 2012. The top 5 remains unchanged, and as for Vince… his Korean-esque +87% approval rating is, once again, the highest we’ve ever recorded, beating the previous record approval figure of +80%… set by Vince in June. The 69 year-old Sage of Twickenham is once again the man of the moment.

Bottom 5 Lib Dem performers in the Government:

  • Alistair Carmichael +32% (+11%)
  • Andrew Stunell +24% (+14%)
  • Danny Alexander +23% (+9%)
  • Nick Clegg +21% (+1%)
  • Paul Burstow +18% (+20%)

Although all our featured bottom 5 recorded increases in their ratings compared with June, these positions are relative… so Lib Dem health minister Paul Burstow, though no longer negatively rated, still props up our list, the continuing consequence of his support for the NHS reform bill. Meanwhile, two members of the cabinet — Nick and Danny — continue to divide opinion within the party. Mention must be made of Lib Dem defence minister Nick Harvey, usually a staple of our bottom 5, who this month climbs to mid-rank respectability, at +36%, perhaps in part as a result of his increased communication with members through regular postings on LibDemVoice.

As I note each time: “the list stands as a reminder to all our Lib Dem ministers of the value of communicating effectively with party members about the work they’re undertaking on behalf of the party, even if it isn’t making the front pages.”

And here’s how other leading Lib Dems score:

  • Tim Farron +72% (+5%)
  • Simon Hughes +56% (+6%)
  • Jo Swinson +45% (+7%)
  • Willie Rennie +45% (+14%)
  • Kirsty Williams +45% (+9%)
  • Caroline Pidgeon +42% (+8%)
  • Tim Gordon +29% (+2%)
  • Fiona Hall +24% (+5%)

Tim Farron, the party’s president, sustains his position as members’ favourite Lib Dem outside of government, albeit now firmly in second position to Vince Cable. Again, you’ll see all party figures have recorded increases in their ratings, with Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie boosting his position by +14% over the past couple of months. Congratulations are due, too, to Lib Dem chief executive Tim Gordon; rarely a popular role within the party, his open and communicative style is earning him credit among members.

As promised, here are the results in full …

Lib Dem cabinet ministers and government ministers:

Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills
Very satisfied 67%
Quite satisfied 24%
Quite dissatisfied 3%
Very dissatisfied 1%
Don’t know / No opinion 5%
Net satisfaction +87% (+80%)

Edward Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
Very satisfied 29%
Quite satisfied 43%
Quite dissatisfied 8%
Very dissatisfied 2%
Don’t know / No opinion 17%
Net satisfaction +62% (+47%)

Steve Webb, Minister of State to the Department for Work and Pensions
Very satisfied 34%
Quite satisfied 33%
Quite dissatisfied 4%
Very dissatisfied 2%
Don’t know / No opinion 26%
Net satisfaction +61% (+53%)

Lynne Featherstone, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Equalities) for the Home Office
Very satisfied 33%
Quite satisfied 36%
Quite dissatisfied 8%
Very dissatisfied 3%
Don’t know / No opinion 20%
Net satisfaction +58% (+55%)

Norman Lamb, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Very satisfied 19%
Quite satisfied 43%
Quite dissatisfied 4%
Very dissatisfied 1%
Don’t know / No opinion 33%
Net satisfaction +57% (+44%)

Norman Baker, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department of Transport
Very satisfied 22%
Quite satisfied 40%
Quite dissatisfied 4%
Very dissatisfied 2%
Don’t know / No opinion 33%
Net satisfaction +56% (+39%)

Michael Moore, Secretary of State for Scotland
Very satisfied 14%
Quite satisfied 32%
Quite dissatisfied 6%
Very dissatisfied 2%
Don’t know / No opinion 46%
Net satisfaction +40% (+29%)

Jeremy Browne, Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Very satisfied 16%
Quite satisfied 33%
Quite dissatisfied 9%
Very dissatisfied 3%
Don’t know / No opinion 38%
Net satisfaction +37% (+25%)

The Rt Hon. Lord McNally, Minister of State for the Ministry of Justice
Very satisfied 15%
Quite satisfied 31%
Quite dissatisfied 7%
Very dissatisfied 3%
Don’t know / No opinion 44%
Net satisfaction +36% (+23%)

Nick Harvey, Minister of State (Minister for the Armed Forces) for the Ministry of Defence
Very satisfied 9%
Quite satisfied 34%
Quite dissatisfied 6%
Very dissatisfied 1%
Don’t know / No opinion 50%
Net satisfaction +36% (+17%)

David Heath, Parliamentary Secretary (Deputy Leader) to the Office of the Leader of the Commons
Very satisfied 10%
Quite satisfied 30%
Quite dissatisfied 3%
Very dissatisfied 1%
Don’t know / No opinion 56%
Net satisfaction +36% (+25%)

Sarah Teather, Minister of State for the Department for Education
Very satisfied 18%
Quite satisfied 34%
Quite dissatisfied 15%
Very dissatisfied 3%
Don’t know / No opinion 29%
Net satisfaction +34% (+27%)

Alistair Carmichael, Deputy Chief Whip to the House of Commons
Very satisfied 13%
Quite satisfied 27%
Quite dissatisfied 4%
Very dissatisfied 2%
Don’t know / No opinion 54%
Net satisfaction +32% (+21%)

Andrew Stunell, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State to the Department for Communities and Local Government
Very satisfied 7%
Quite satisfied 33%
Quite dissatisfied 11%
Very dissatisfied 5%
Don’t know / No opinion 43%
Net satisfaction +24% (+10%)

Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Very satisfied 21%
Quite satisfied 34%
Quite dissatisfied 19%
Very dissatisfied 13%
Don’t know / No opinion 14%
Net satisfaction +23% (+14%)

Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister
Very satisfied 19%
Quite satisfied 36%
Quite dissatisfied 11%
Very dissatisfied 23%
Don’t know / No opinion 11%
Net satisfaction +21% (+20%)

Paul Burstow, Minister of State for the Department of Health
Very satisfied 11%
Quite satisfied 30%
Quite dissatisfied 17%
Very dissatisfied 6%
Don’t know / No opinion 36%
Net satisfaction +18% (-2%)

Other leading Lib Dems:

Tim Farron, Party President
Very satisfied 48%
Quite satisfied 32%
Quite dissatisfied 6%
Very dissatisfied 2%
Don’t know / No opinion 12%
Net satisfaction +72% (+67%)

Simon Hughes, Deputy Leader of the Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons
Very satisfied 30%
Quite satisfied 37%
Quite dissatisfied 8%
Very dissatisfied 3%
Don’t know / No opinion 22%
Net satisfaction +56% (+50%)

Jo Swinson, Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister
Very satisfied 20%
Quite satisfied 34%
Quite dissatisfied 6%
Very dissatisfied 3%
Don’t know / No opinion 37%
Net satisfaction +45% (+38%)

Willie Rennie, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats
Very satisfied 21%
Quite satisfied 28%
Quite dissatisfied 2%
Very dissatisfied 2%
Don’t know / No opinion 48%
Net satisfaction +45% (+31%)

Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats
Very satisfied 20%
Quite satisfied 29%
Quite dissatisfied 2%
Very dissatisfied 2%
Don’t know / No opinion 47%
Net satisfaction +45% (+36%)

Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of the Liberal Democrat group on the London Assembly
Very satisfied 20%
Quite satisfied 26%
Quite dissatisfied 1%
Very dissatisfied 3%
Don’t know / No opinion 51%
Net satisfaction +42% (+34%)

Tim Gordon, Lib Dem chief executive
Very satisfied 11%
Quite satisfied 27%
Quite dissatisfied 5%
Very dissatisfied 4%
Don’t know / No opinion 53%
Net satisfaction +29% (+27%)

Fiona Hall, Leader of the UK Lib Dem MEPs
Very satisfied 9%
Quite satisfied 23%
Quite dissatisfied 5%
Very dissatisfied 3%
Don’t know / No opinion 59%
Net satisfaction +24% (+19%)

  • Over 1,200 Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with LibDemVoice.org. Some 500 responded to the latest survey, which was conducted between 3rd and 6th August.
  • 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
  • * 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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    5 Comments

    • Dennis Brown 19th Aug '12 - 10:26am

      My own rating of this web site decreases every time I see the “results” of a “poll”. “Polls” are a quick and easy way of filling pages and possibly of not much more value.

      I would question how far the “Some 500” are the same people who replied previously. If not, are the changes a reflection of the opinion of new respondents?

      But what bothers me most about any computer-based poll is not knowing the source of information on which people base their “judgements”. Is a poor score for an individual due to a failure to hear anything from one of our MPs (who may be quietly working away at some cunning piece of legislation) during the period between polls? Should the respondents source of information be questioned? For example “which paper do you read?” or “which TV source do you use – i.e. chat show or news?” or “was your score based on what was said by others in the pub?”

      Any current “Sampling” system is biased by those willing – with good, bad or indifferent information – to express an opinion. They survive by claiming to be a “cross-section” of the public. But they only reflect the opinions of those who read and reply to the particular system of “polling” being used.

      It might be worth asking respondents on what they based their judgement – e.g. what they have read or been told by the media, or they have been checking in Hansard, Lib Dem News (worth counting to see how many times the MP mentioned in the list appeared in Lib Dem News in the same period) etc.

      I am also not sure if a large number of respondents is always a good thing. Especially if the large number includes a greater percentage of “less well informed” respondents.

      Now please pass me the condiments, so I can have another pinch of salt.

    • Alun Griffiths 19th Aug '12 - 3:26pm

      “Any current “Sampling” system is biased by those willing – with good, bad or indifferent information – to express an opinion. ”

      Sounds a bit like an election really 😉

    • “Should Vince now be titled “The Great Vince” or “The Dear Vince”???”

      Sources close to Dr Cable say “The Young Vince” is the favoured nomenclature.

    • Eduardo Reyes 20th Aug '12 - 2:28pm

      I agree with Peter – and I thought this was an interesting survey. Of course it’s possible to pick holes in it by labeling those who answer as self-selecting. But isn’t it a feature of political life that self-selecting folk who can be bothered make the political weather?

      Professional polling outfits still have bad datasets for Lib Dems (a legacy of not taking us seriously for long years), so I think it’s silly to pretend this survey is anything other than an interesting part of the conversations we have as a party.

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