LDV post-conference members’ survey (5): did the Lib Dem conference strengthen or weaken Nick Clegg’s leadership?

by Stephen Tall on September 27, 2008

Last weekend, Lib Dem Voice emailed the members of our private forum (open to all Lib Dem members) inviting them to take part in a survey, conducted via Liberty Research, asking a number of questions arising from last week’s party conference in Bournemouth. Many thanks to the 187 of you who completed it; we’ve publishing the results all this week on LDV.

In today’s final instalment we look at what impact you think the party conference had on Nick Clegg’s leadership. LDV asked: Nick Clegg’s leadership of the party has come in for some criticism from some sections of the media. Do you think his performance over the past week has strengthened or weakened his position as leader?

Here’s what you said:

> Strengthened it – 77.%%
> Weakened it – 10.7%
> Don’t know / No opinion – 11.8%

A resounding result, and one with which Nick has reason to feel pretty pleased. That doesn’t mean there was no criticism, though, not least of his pensions gaffe (one which Nick has fully ‘fessed up to). Here’s a sample of your comments:

“Unlike Cameron, Nick has stood up to his own party on a key policy and won.”
“I am still not convinced that he was the right choice for leader, but his performance so far is beginning to convince me that he is the right man for the job.”
“the pension thing really does seem to have stood out for those not at conference, even though it may only be a small area touched on. “
“One of the best leadership speeches in the last 30 years”
“Since the bearly [sic] registered on the national media barometer, his position will not have significantly changed.”
“he will be rightly annoyed with himself for such a glaring gaffe on pensions. He needs more media practice. “
“I voted for Nick as leader (first winning vote ever including John Pardoe/David Steel contest!) Good performance but not sure whether am going to agree with his politics”
“He’s trying to rid himself of democratic control. That will make him more powerful, and therefore a worse leader in my view.”
“Despite typically over-done attention given to the pension mistake, Nick Clegg has had a good conference and came across well.”
“despite the gaffe, he has by and large done fine. he needs to get the media to take more notie of him, but that is easier said than done. He has successfully repositioned the party, without too much fuss, and he has delivered a good conference speech to rally the troops. Clegg’s had a good week overall.”
“He won the first major test of his leadership – not by bullying and hectoring and arm-twisting, but by the force of argument. He made a couple of gaffes (notably the pensions one), but his strategic judgement has been vindicated.”
“I wasn’t previously a big fan of Nick, but I thought his speech was very good.”

LDV post-conference members’ survey (1): why you did – and didn’t – attend the Lib Dem conference.
LDV post-conference members’ survey (2): what you thought of the media coverage of the Lib Dem conference
LDV post-conference members’ survey (3): who you will vote for in the Lib Dem presidential race
LDV post-conference members’ survey (4): what you thought of Make It Happen’s tax-cuts