Revealed: What Lib Dem members think of Ed Miliband and David Cameron

by Stephen Tall on September 24, 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. Some 550 party members responded, and we’re currently publishing the full results.

Ed Miliband’s leadership gets massive thumbs-down from Lib Dem members

LDV asked: Do you think Ed Miliband is doing well or badly as leader of the Labour party?

    1% – Very well
    16% – Well
    Total well = 17%
    53% – Badly
    25% – Very badly
    Total badly = 78%
    5% – Don’t know / No opinion

Ed Miliband’s leadership of the Labour party gets short shrift from Lib Dem members — by 78% to 17% our sample believes Ed is doing badly after a year in the job. It’s true, of course, that Lib Dem members are not Ed’s key demographic, nor are we an unbiased bunch. Still, this is a highly negative net rating, and one which seems to be reflected among the wider public if today’s ICM poll, showing Ed Miliband trailing Nick Clegg badly, is at all representative.

Here are a few of your comments:

He just looks wrong, often like a scared rabbit in the glare of oncoming headlights.

His inadequacy is a huge obstacle to the development of a centre-left consensus for the next parliament.

In Cyril Smith’s famous phrase, Ed Miliband couldn’t make a bang if he had a firework in both hands. Labour’s strong showing in the polls in entirely down to dissatisfaction with the coalition rather than anything positive Labour has said or done.

Cannot control his party. They are making uncosted promises everyday and are acting in such a tribal way that there is no benefit to us trying to work with them to get the changes we need.

They chose the wrong Milliband for sure. Ed might be a nice guy and cosy with the unions, but he’s not as sharp as David. Sadly, I think the rest of us would have been better off with David as well – a decent opposition is always a good thing.

Not great, but thats all right isn’t it?

The wrong choice. Unable to set the agenda and provide a vision of a credible alternative to the government’s policies. Takes the wrong approach to Cameron, particularly at PMQs. Instead of hectoring, he should calmly make Cameron look ridiculous for his sometimes hysterical statements and expose him as a lightweight. His brother might have been able to do that.

Cameron scores net +34% rating from Lib Dem members

LDV asked: Do you think David Cameron is doing well or badly as Prime Minister?

    2% – Very well
    61% – Well
    Total well = 63%
    25% – Badly
    4% – Very badly
    Total badly = 29%
    8% – Don’t know / No opinion

So David Cameron is regarded by a majority of Lib Dem members, indeed almost two-thirds of us, to be doing a good job as Prime Minister (a subtly different question of course from asking if he’s doing a good job as leader of the Conservative party). It’s a stark contrast to Ed Miliband’s ratings, and shows our sample of party members is able to look beyond tribal preferences.

Mr Cameron’s positive net rating of +34% seems to stem from (i) the sense that he’s performing competently, (ii) recognition of his role in holding the Coalition together by pacifying the most right-wing instincts of his own party. Lots of respondents were keen to point out that, though they’d rated him positively in terms of an objective verdict on his premiership, that did not mean they agreed with him!

Here is a selection of your comments:

Well – though it pains me to say so.

I guess he’s doing OK as a right-of-centre PM – but that’s not what I want (or, I guess, most LibDems) want

Depends on your definition of well and badly. In terms of appealing to his own party members, aside from the RWNJs like Dorries he seems to be doing pretty well. If you mean is he behaving how *I* would want a PM to behave? No, he’s appalling

Depends what you mean. In his own terms, he’s peforming competently. In the end, he’ll be judged on the economic recovery (or lack of).

Largely getting on well with the job – the occasional unpleasant knee jerk speech reminds us he’s a Tory

He’s a pure populist and quite a skilled politician. Despite the unpopular policies of his party and the economic pain that they are causing many people, he seems to be keeping his party’s poll ratings respectable against a weak opposition. Standard Tory free market instincts but without any real vision. Not another Thatcher

  • Over 1,200 Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with Some 550 responded to the latest survey, which was conducted between 11th and 15th September.
  • 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.
  • The full archive of our members’ surveys can be viewed at