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

by Stephen Tall on October 4, 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 550 party members responded, and we’re continuing to publish the full results.

Today 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:

LDV asked: 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 April 2011 ratings in brackets)

Top 5 Lib Dem performers in the Government:

  • Vince Cable +72% (+51%)
  • Chris Huhne +53% (+63%)
  • Steve Webb +47% (+53%)
  • Lynne Featherstone +46% (+49%)
  • Nick Clegg +40% (+18%)

Two changes of note in the six months since last we measured views of Lib Dem ministers. First, Vince Cable returns to the top spot after a year when his popularity took a nose-dive among Lib Dem members following his tuition fees U-turn — his vindication in blocking the Murdoch takeover of Sky has helped catapult his ratings back above +70%. Secondly, Nick Clegg yo-yos back to the top 5, having been in the bottom five back in April, with his net positive ratings soaring from +18% to +40%, his highest score since September 2010. Norman Baker, with a rating of +39%, is edged out of the top 5 as a result.

Bottom 5 Lib Dem performers in the Government:

  • Michael Moore +19% (+19%)
  • Nick Harvey +18% (+13%)
  • Danny Alexander +16% (+24%)
  • Jeremy Browne +14% (+15%)
  • Paul Burstow +11% (+3%)

Paul Burstow again props up the table, even though his ratings have actually improved quite significantly since last we asked in April — for many Lib Dems, he is closely identified with the NHS reforms which have divided the party. Many of the other names are stalwarts of the Bottom 5, though Danny Alexander is there again as a guest visitor: his ratings among Lib Dem members have fluctuated wildly over the past 15 months (and I suspect would correlate strongly with general economic confidence).

As I note each time: “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 satisfaction ratings, and have done since the beginning of the Coalition. It’s also noticable that, in the cases of both Nick Harvey and Paul Burstow, personal satisfaction ratings are higher than in April.

And here’s how other leading Lib Dems score:

  • Tim Farron +70% (+69%)
  • Simon Hughes +54% (+53%)
  • Brian Paddick +48% (n/a)
  • Caroline Pidgeon +36% (+31%)
  • Kirsty Williams +34% (+26%)
  • Willie Rennie +31% (+13% for Tavish Scott)
  • Chris Fox +21% (+17%)
  • Fiona Hall +14% (+14%)

Tim Farron’s first year as party president is meeting with acclaim by Lib Dem members: he has a Vince-like +70% net satisfaction rating. Not so very far behind him is the party’s deputy leader, Simon Hughes, on +54%. Then we have a new entry: Brian Paddick, the party’s recently selected candidate for Mayor of London. Two of the Lib Dems’ female leaders, Caroline Pidgeon in London and Kirsty Williams in Wales, record strong satisfaction ratings in the +30%s. Willie Rennie’s replacement of Tavish Scott as Scottish Lib Dem leader has been received favourably by members — his rating is +31% for his first appearance in our survey. Chris Fox leaves the party as chief executive with strong approval ratings; while Fiona Hall maintains her +14% score.

As promised, here are the results in full …

Lib Dem cabinet ministers and government ministers:

Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills
Very satisfied 36%
Quite satisfied 44%
Quite dissatisfied 5%
Very dissatisfied 3%
Don’t know / No opinion 12%
Net satisfaction +72% (+51%)

Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
Very satisfied 22%
Quite satisfied 46%
Quite dissatisfied 12%
Very dissatisfied 3%
Don’t know / No opinion 16%
Net satisfaction +53% (+63%)

Steve Webb, Minister of State to the Department for Work and Pensions
Very satisfied 22%
Quite satisfied 33%
Quite dissatisfied 6%
Very dissatisfied 2%
Don’t know / No opinion 37%
Net satisfaction +47% (+53%)

Lynne Featherstone, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Equalities) for the Home Office
Very satisfied 17%
Quite satisfied 39%
Quite dissatisfied 8%
Very dissatisfied 2%
Don’t know / No opinion 33%
Net satisfaction +46% (+49%)

Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister
Very satisfied 21%
Quite satisfied 44%
Quite dissatisfied 16%
Very dissatisfied 9%
Don’t know / No opinion 10%
Net satisfaction +40% (+18%)

Norman Baker, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department of Transport
Very satisfied 9%
Quite satisfied 41%
Quite dissatisfied 9%
Very dissatisfied 2%
Don’t know / No opinion 39%
Net satisfaction +39% (+44%)


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

Very satisfied 7%
Quite satisfied 34%
Quite dissatisfied 5%
Very dissatisfied 1%
Don’t know / No opinion 53%
Net satisfaction +35% (+33%)

Sarah Teather, Minister of State for the Department for Education
Very satisfied 13%
Quite satisfied 35%
Quite dissatisfied 12%
Very dissatisfied 5%
Don’t know / No opinion 37%
Net satisfaction +31% (+33%)

Edward Davey, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Very satisfied 7%
Quite satisfied 30%
Quite dissatisfied 8%
Very dissatisfied 2%
Don’t know / No opinion 53%
Net satisfaction +27% (+30%)

David Heath, Parliamentary Secretary (Deputy Leader) to the Office of the Leader of the Commons
Very satisfied 7%
Quite satisfied 19%
Quite dissatisfied 3%
Very dissatisfied 2%
Don’t know / No opinion 69%
Net satisfaction +21% (+26%)

Alistair Carmichael, Deputy Chief Whip to the House of Commons
Very satisfied 9%
Quite satisfied 17%
Quite dissatisfied 4%
Very dissatisfied 2%
Don’t know / No opinion 68%
Net satisfaction +20% (+22%)

Michael Moore, Secretary of State for Scotland
Very satisfied 4%
Quite satisfied 26%
Quite dissatisfied 7%
Very dissatisfied 4%
Don’t know / No opinion 58%
Net satisfaction +19% (+19%)

Nick Harvey, Minister of State (Minister for the Armed Forces) for the Ministry of Defence
Very satisfied 4%
Quite satisfied 24%
Quite dissatisfied 7%
Very dissatisfied 3%
Don’t know / No opinion 62%
Net satisfaction +18% (+13%)

Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Very satisfied 16%
Quite satisfied 34%
Quite dissatisfied 22%
Very dissatisfied 12%
Don’t know / No opinion 17%
Net satisfaction +16% (+24%)

Jeremy Browne, Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Very satisfied 5%
Quite satisfied 26%
Quite dissatisfied 12%
Very dissatisfied 5%
Don’t know / No opinion 54%
Net satisfaction +14% (+15%)

Paul Burstow, Minister of State for the Department of Health
Very satisfied 7%
Quite satisfied 30%
Quite dissatisfied 17%
Very dissatisfied 9%
Don’t know / No opinion 37%
Net satisfaction +11% (+3%)

Andrew Stunell, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State to the Department for Communities and Local Government
Very satisfied 4%
Quite satisfied 27%
Quite dissatisfied 16%
Very dissatisfied 5%
Don’t know / No opinion 49%
Net satisfaction +10% (+17%)

Other leading Lib Dems:

Tim Farron, Party President
Very satisfied 41%
Quite satisfied 35%
Quite dissatisfied 5%
Very dissatisfied 1%
Don’t know / No opinion 17%
Net satisfaction +70% (+69%)

Simon Hughes, Deputy Leader of the Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons
Very satisfied 25%
Quite satisfied 41%
Quite dissatisfied 9%
Very dissatisfied 3%
Don’t know / No opinion 22%
Net satisfaction +54% (+53%)

Brian Paddick, Lib Dem candidate for Mayor of London
Very satisfied 18%
Quite satisfied 37%
Quite dissatisfied 5%
Very dissatisfied 2%
Don’t know / No opinion 38%
Net satisfaction +48% (n/a)

Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of the Liberal Democrat group on the London Assembly
Very satisfied 14%
Quite satisfied 25%
Quite dissatisfied 2%
Very dissatisfied 1%
Don’t know / No opinion 57%
Net satisfaction +36% (+31%)

Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats
Very satisfied 13%
Quite satisfied 25%
Quite dissatisfied 3%
Very dissatisfied 1%
Don’t know / No opinion 57%
Net satisfaction +34% (+26%)

Willie Rennie, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats
Very satisfied 13%
Quite satisfied 24%
Quite dissatisfied 5%
Very dissatisfied 1%
Don’t know / No opinion 56%
Net satisfaction +31% (+13% for Tavish Scott)

Chris Fox, Lib Dem chief executive
Very satisfied 9%
Quite satisfied 25%
Quite dissatisfied 9%
Very dissatisfied 4%
Don’t know / No opinion 53%
Net satisfaction +21% (+17%)

Fiona Hall, Leader of the UK Lib Dem MEPs
Very satisfied 4%
Quite satisfied 17%
Quite dissatisfied 5%
Very dissatisfied 2%
Don’t know / No opinion 71%
Net satisfaction +14% (+14%)

  • 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