Lib Dem members back Coalition on economy – but real worries about impact on public services

by Stephen Tall on September 26, 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.

Large majority of Lib Dems back the Coalition’s economic policies…

LDV asked: On balance, do you agree or disagree with this statement: “In the long term, this government’s policies will improve the state of Britain’s economy”?

  • 69% – I agree
  • 19% – I disagree
  • 12% – Don’t know / No opinion

By a wide margin of 69% to 19% our sample of Lib Dem members is behind the Coalition Government’s economic strategy, and believes it will be for the long-term good of the UK. ‘Not the easy thing but the right thing’ — to coin a phrase. However, reading through the comments from respondents it’s clear there’s a good dollop of nervousness about the current economic woes in the US and across the Eurozone, and what they might mean for Britain, with many frankly admitting they haven’t a clue whether the policies will work (and they doubt the Government is much more confident in reality either).

… But significant number worried about public services under Coalition

LDV asked: On balance, do you agree or disagree with this statement: “In the long term, this government’s policies will improve the state of Britain’s public services”?

  • 34% – I agree
  • 44% – I disagree
  • 22% – Don’t know / No opinion

While our sample of Lib Dem members may back the Coalition on the economy, it’s a more nuanced story when we turn to public services — by 44% to 34% they disagree that the Government’s policies will be good for Britain’s public services. However, as respondents pointed out in the comments there’s a need to distinguish between two forces at play: (i) the budgets cuts which a government of any hue would have to implement and which will probably harm some public services, and (ii) those policies (such as the NHS Bill) which are the Coalition’s choice, and on which Lib Dem members are split whether they will help or harm.

  • Over 1,200 Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with LibDemVoice.org. 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, 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 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 www.libdemvoice.org/category/ldv-members-poll