Greens would pick up most Lib Dem 2nd preferences under AV: LDV members survey

by Stephen Tall on May 1, 2011

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Over 530 party members have responded, and we’re currently publishing the full results.

38% of Lib Dem members would give Greens their second preference

LDV asked: Which party would be your SECOND preference if the system of Alternative Vote was introduced?

    10% – I would not use my SECOND preference
    14% – Conservative
    16% – Labour
    38% – Green
    1% – UKIP
    0% – BNP%
    3% – Northern Irish / Scottish / Welsh party
    19% – Other (please specify)

Nine-in-10 Lib Dem members would use their second preference if given the option under AV, with 38% plumping for the Greens, well ahead of any other party. Second preference support for the Conservatives (14%) and Labour (16%) is roughly level, with no other party gaining any real support. Almost 1-in-5 selected ‘Other’, with respondents saying it would largely depend on the candidates themselves, and indeed what the political landscape will look like in 2015.

It’s interesting to compare these results with ConservativeHome’s equivalent for Tory members, which showed high second preference support for UKIP. The reality is that these second preferences — whether for the Greens or UKIP — would probably not be counted under AV, except in those constituencies where they also obtained sufficient first preferences to make it to the final two. Which, of course, is partly why the Alternative Vote does not produce proportional results. In which case third preferences would come into play (see below).

I wonder, too, how similar the second preferences of party members are compared to those of voters? My guess is that among the electorate at large, Lib Dem / Labour / Tory would pick up a larger proportion of second and third preferences than polls of members suggest.

LDV asked: Which party would be your THIRD preference if the system of Alternative Vote was introduced?

    28% – I would not use my THIRD preference
    9% – Conservative
    22% – Labour
    16% – Green
    2% – UKIP
    0% – BNP
    2% – Northern Irish / Scottish / Welsh party
    20% – Other (please specify)

A higher proportin of Lib Dem members, 28%, would not use their third preference vote. However, it’s noticeable that among those who would Labour signifcantly outscores the Conservatives, 22% to 9%, and are ahead of the Greens. Again, a significant proportion said their third preference would depend on the candidates in their constituency.

Here is a selection of your comments:

Couldn’t possibly say. It would depend on the views of individual candidates and the policy offers of the parties at the general election. But I would always struggle to give any kind of preference to the Conservatives, and would never do so to UKIP or BNP.

Not sure. Loathe our conservative MP, and last year the Labour candidate put in a lot of work. But I’d probably lean Green.

My second sympathy is with the Greens but Labour are more likely to still be in the ballot. I would like Labour to be more apologetic for the mess they made of the economy though

I would choose based on the quality of the candidate and whether they were putting forward a costed plan. A moderate Conservative or a sensible Green would be my choice or perhaps a good Independent. Based on how I feel the Labour Party are behaving I would not be inclined to vote Labour at all.

Conservative or a sensible Green would be my choice or perhaps a good Independent. Based on how I feel the Labour Party are behaving I would not be inclined to vote Labour at all.

I would probably not use my 2nd vote but could conceivably use it tactically.

Labour or Conservative – which one would depend on individual candidate’s merits, party leader & manifesto.

I would almost certainly use my other preferences based on either tactical benefit, or on a good campaign/candidate – sometimes you really do want to acknowledge a strong independent or even a candidate for another party without giving them your vote.

I’m torn on this. My current Labour MP is a decent guy, and as a person I would give him my second vote – but I’ve become so thoroughly anti-Labour on economic grounds that I’m not sure I can stomach putting him above anyone other than the BNP.

This depends on the constituency, I have no objection to the Tory in my seat so I would likely put him as second preference

My second preference would be allocated to the candidate that most impressed me; too many voters vote along party lines rather than concerning themselves with the quality of the individuals on offer.

  • Almost 1,300 Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with Over 530 responded to the latest survey, which was conducted between 18th and 24th April.
  • Please note: we make no claims that the survey is fully representative of the Lib Dem membership as a whole. However,’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.
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