by Stephen Tall on April 23, 2008
Last Friday, we published a link to an online survey being conducted by the new Politics Home website, asking a number of questions about what Nick Clegg should do about a range of issues: in the event of a hung Parliament, in establishing the party’s ‘brand’, and the Lib Dems’ strategic options.
Despite some reservations expressed in the comments thread about the questions’ wording, over 100 of you responded in double-quick time, and the results have now been made available to LDV. You can view the full breakdown here.
(I must of course enter the caveat that as the link was on the public blog, it was open to anyone to answer the questions, whether or not they support the Lib Dems; nor is the survey necessarily representative of wider Lib Dem views.)
Overall, it seems you’re an optimistic bunch: almost 80% of you believe the party will do at least as well and perhaps a little better at the next election than the Lib Dems did in 2005. Only 3% (trolls or pessimists?) thought the party would face a dramatic reduction in seats or a near wipe-out.
In answer to the perennial ‘hung Parliament’ question – what would the Lib Dems do? – Nick Clegg is advised to stick to what has become the established party line over the years: 39% say he should repeat ad nauseum that the arty will aim for “maximum votes and maximum seats”, and should avoid any discussion of hung parliament scenarios. 42% said the Lib Dems should state openly we will be willing work with the party that is most willing to implement key ingredients of the Lib Dem manifesto. In reality, those two statements are perfectly easily reconciled.
Following on from that, an unsurprising two-thirds of LDV readers agreed that, if a ‘hung Parliament’ does happen, Nick should work with the party that is most willing to implement key ingredients of the Lib Dem manifesto – whether Tory or Labour would be irrelevant. A significant minority (18%) thought that the Lib Dems should have no relationship with either party in the event of a hung Parliament’.
Readers were then asked to choose three policies which the Lib Dems would be wise to emphasise. Here’s your top six issues:
1. Civil liberties (chosen by 56%)
=2. Anti-corruption, anti-establishment (40%)
=2. Social justice (40%)
4. Green issues (34%)
5. Economic responsibility (32%)
6. Social liberalism (26%)
Perhaps surprisingly, health and education (17%), constitutional reform (16%), and ‘anti-war’ (11%) trailed the list.
There were then a series of agree/disagree questions:
– 70% think the Lib Dems as a team should be emphasised, rather than Nick Clegg only;
– 53% disagree (while 29% agree) that the next election should be seen as a consolidation election with nearly all resources poured into protecting existing seats;
– 83% of you rejected the idea of pursuing Ashdown-style cooperation with Labour now;
– 74% of you rejected cooperating closely now with the Tories;
– Large majorities of you rejected the idea of positioning the party either ‘right’ or ‘left’ to save/win seats at the next election – many of you, I suspect, baulking at the trite left/right divide of this question’s wording;
– Equally large majorities rejected the idea of styling the Lib Dems either as a competent version of a Brown Government, or a nicer version of Cameron Tories.
And, finally, when given two options of how best the party can present itself to maximise success at the next election, 86% of you opted for the Lib Dems to be “A party of radicalism, with a clear identity and bankable policies”; while only 4% of you plumped for “A moderate-sounding, ‘none of the above’ party for those unhappy with two main parties”. A predictable result given the highly leading language used.
Many thanks to those who filled in the survey, and to Politics Home for setting up the link for LDV readers. The survey was also completed by the site’s PHI100 panel – a politically representative group of 100 opinion formers – and their answers should shortly be published on the Politics Home website.