EXCLUSIVE: How party members rate the performances of leading Lib Dems

by Stephen Tall on November 14, 2010

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum to discover what Lib Dem members think of a variety of key issues, and what you make of the Lib Dems’ and Government’s performance to date. Almost 600 party members have responded, and we’ve been publishing the full results of our survey over the past few days.

Today, in the final part of our survey, 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:

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 September 2010 ratings in brackets)

Top 5 Lib Dem performers in the Government:

  • Chris Huhne +68% (+59%)
  • Steve Webb +53% (+28%)
  • Vince Cable +47% (+60%)
  • Lynne Featherstone +43% (+54%)
  • Danny Alexander +40% (+26%)

Big changes this month compared with September’s figures — most notably, that Nick Clegg’s rating as deputy prime minister has plunged from +60% to +33%, seeing his position drop from 1st place to 6th, no doubt in large part thanks to his U-turn on tuition fees. Vince Cable has also suffered a fees backlash among members, with his ratings falling from +60% to +47%. Their relative fall from grace sees Chris Huhne top the popularity poll among members for the first time, followed by a big riser this month, Steve Webb, whose unlikely-but-solid partnership with Iain Duncan Smith appears to be winning plaudits across the political spectrum. Lynne Featherstone retains her fourth place, while Danny Alexander regains his position in the top 5 after relegation last month, perhaps in recognition of the relative relief that the CSR wasn’t as bad as many had feared.

Bottom 5 Lib Dem performers in the Government:

  • Paul Burstow +17% (+4%)
  • Alistair Carmichael +17% (+12%)
  • Nick Harvey +14% (+3%)
  • Jeremy Browne +7% (+11%)
  • Michael Moore +7% (+6%)

Little change here; simply a small reshuffle, with Nick Harvey climbing up from the bottom, perhaps in recognition of his work in ensuring Trident isn’t renewed on the Lib Dems’ watch. In fact, terming this a ‘bottom 5′ seems harsh this month, as all but one have improved their standing among party members — the exception is Jeremy Browne, whose BBC1 Question Time performance coincided with our polling, and may well have adversely affected his results. We’ll see in December if his riposte to his critics here on the Voice helps lift his popularity. As I have noted before: “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.” For the record, all Lib Dem government ministers are still showing net positive approval ratings.

And here’s how other leading Lib Dems score:

  • Simon Hughes, Deputy Leader +63% (+60%)
  • Ros Scott, Party President +27% (+30%)
  • Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats +27% (+18%)
  • Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of the Liberal Democrat group on the London Assembly +22% (+20%)
  • Chris Fox, Lib Dem chief executive +12% (n/a)
  • Fiona Hall, Leader of the UK Lib Dem MEPs +3% (+8%)
  • Tavish Scott, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats -1% (+2%)

Simon Hughes as Deputy Leader is now rated among the two most popular Lib Dems overall, with only Chris Huhne’s approval rating higher. Party members appear to approve his vociferous defence of Lib Dem values combined with trenchant support for the Coalition and Nick Clegg personally. As Ros Scott’s presidency draws to a close, she continues to enjoy positive approval ratings, albeit down from the +50% she was recording in spring 2009. Kirsty Williams’ ratings have had a boost this month, perhaps thanks to her visibilty at conference, while Caroline Pidegon’s popularity has also edged up. For the first time, we’ve asked members’ views of the performance of Lib Dem chief executive Chris Fox, who has a +12% approval rating in this debut appearance — of course, it’s likely members are judging not necessarily Chris’s personal performance but their general perception of the effectiveness of Lib Dem HQ. Fiona Hall and Tavish Scott both slip back, perhaps in part because more than two-thirds of members do not feel qualified to rate them at all.

As promised, here are the results in full …

Lib Dem cabinet ministers and government ministers:

Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
Very effective 31%
Quite effective 51%
Quite ineffective 10%
Very ineffective 4%
Don’t know / No opinion 5%
Net effectiveness +68% (+59%)

Steve Webb, Minister of State to the Department for Work and Pensions
Very effective 26%
Quite effective 36%
Quite ineffective 6%
Very ineffective 3%
Don’t know / No opinion 29%
Net effectiveness +53% (+28%)

Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills
Very effective 28%
Quite effective 43%
Quite ineffective 14%
Very ineffective 10%
Don’t know / No opinion 5%
Net effectiveness +47% (+60%)

Lynne Featherstone, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Equalities) for the Home Office
Very effective 17%
Quite effective 40%
Quite ineffective 10%
Very ineffective 4%
Don’t know / No opinion 28%
Net effectiveness +43% (+54%)

Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Very effective 25%
Quite effective 42%
Quite ineffective 14%
Very ineffective 13%
Don’t know / No opinion 5%
Net effectiveness +40% (+26%)

Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister
Very effective 16%
Quite effective 49%
Quite ineffective 22%
Very ineffective 10%
Don’t know / No opinion 3%
Net effectiveness +33% (+60%)


The Rt Hon. Lord McNally, Minister of State for the Ministry of Justice

Very effective 11%
Quite effective 31%
Quite ineffective 6%
Very ineffective 4%
Don’t know / No opinion 47%
Net effectiveness +32% (+18%)

Norman Baker, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department of Transport
Very effective 10%
Quite effective 38%
Quite ineffective 13%
Very ineffective 5%
Don’t know / No opinion 35%
Net effectiveness +30% (+28%)

Andrew Stunell, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State to the Department for Communities and Local Government
Very effective 10%
Quite effective 32%
Quite ineffective 14%
Very ineffective 5%
Don’t know / No opinion 39%
Net effectiveness +23% (+12%)

Edward Davey, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Very effective 9%
Quite effective 31%
Quite ineffective 12%
Very ineffective 5%
Don’t know / No opinion 44%
Net effectiveness +23% (+11%)

Sarah Teather, Minister of State for the Department for Education
Very effective 8%
Quite effective 39%
Quite ineffective 16%
Very ineffective 10%
Don’t know / No opinion 27%
Net effectiveness +21% (+23%)

David Heath, Parliamentary Secretary (Deputy Leader) to the Office of the Leader of the Commons
Very effective 12%
Quite effective 21%
Quite ineffective 8%
Very ineffective 3%
Don’t know / No opinion 58%
Net effectiveness +21% (+16%)

Paul Burstow, Minister of State for the Department of Health
Very effective 9%
Quite effective 29%
Quite ineffective 12%
Very ineffective 6%
Don’t know / No opinion 45%
Net effectiveness +17% (+4%)

Alistair Carmichael, Deputy Chief Whip to the House of Commons
Very effective 7%
Quite effective 19%
Quite ineffective 6%
Very ineffective 3%
Don’t know / No opinion 65%
Net effectiveness +17% (+12%)

Nick Harvey, Minister of State (Minister for the Armed Forces) for the Ministry of Defence
Very effective 6%
Quite effective 24%
Quite ineffective 11%
Very ineffective 5%
Don’t know / No opinion 53%
Net effectiveness +14% (+3%)

Jeremy Browne, Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Very effective 6%
Quite effective 21%
Quite ineffective 13%
Very ineffective 7%
Don’t know / No opinion 53%
Net effectiveness +7% (+11%)

Michael Moore, Secretary of State for Scotland
Very effective 5%
Quite effective 19%
Quite ineffective 12%
Very ineffective 5%
Don’t know / No opinion 59%
Net effectiveness +7% (+6%)

Other leading Lib Dems:

Simon Hughes, Deputy Leader of the Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons
Very effective 35%
Quite effective 43%
Quite ineffective 10%
Very ineffective 5%
Don’t know / No opinion 8%
Net effectiveness +63% (+60%)

Ros Scott, Party President
Very effective 19%
Quite effective 33%
Quite ineffective 18%
Very ineffective 7%
Don’t know / No opinion 23%
Net effectiveness +27% (+30%)

Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats
Very effective 12%
Quite effective 24%
Quite ineffective 7%
Very ineffective 2%
Don’t know / No opinion 55%
Net effectiveness +27% (+18%)

Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of the Liberal Democrat group on the London Assembly
Very effective 12%
Quite effective 20%
Quite ineffective 7%
Very ineffective 3%
Don’t know / No opinion 58%
Net effectiveness +22% (+20%)

Chris Fox, Lib Dem chief executive
Very effective 10%
Quite effective 20%
Quite ineffective 10%
Very ineffective 8%
Don’t know / No opinion 53%
Net effectiveness +12% (n/a)

Fiona Hall, Leader of the UK Lib Dem MEPs
Very effective 5%
Quite effective 13%
Quite ineffective 9%
Very ineffective 6%
Don’t know / No opinion 68%
Net effectiveness +3% (+8%)

Tavish Scott, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats
Very effective 3%
Quite effective 15%
Quite ineffective 12%
Very ineffective 7%
Don’t know / No opinion 63%
Net effectiveness -1% (+2%)

  • Over 1,200 Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with LibDemVoice.org. 580 responded to the latest survey, which was conducted between 3rd and 10th November.
  • 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 results of the contest for Party President, and 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