How Lib Dem members rated Chris Huhne and Ed Davey before the reshuffle

by Stephen Tall on February 4, 2012

LibDemVoice is currently conducting one of our regular surveys of party members to find out views on a range of issues. One of the questions we always ask is how satisfied Lib Dems are with key figures in the party. Though the survey is still open, a couple are now out-of-date — specifically, what members’ opinions were of Chris Huhne and Ed Davey in the jobs they occupied until Friday. So here are their results…

Chris Huhne:

How would you rate the performances of Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change?

    Very satisfied 15%
    Satisfied 40%
    Total satisfied = 65%
    Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied 17%
    Dissatisfied 21%
    Very dissatisfied 7%
    Total dissatisfied = 28%
    Net satisfaction = +27%

In Chris’s final rating by party members — at least for now — he scored a net satisfaction rating of +27%. In a way, not bad, but it’s a big drop from Chris’s best ratings — back in November 2010, he was the top-rated Lib Dem government minister, with a score of +68% (though note we were then rating ‘effectiveness’ rather than ‘satisfaction’, a subtly different question). Here’s how Chris’s ratings have fared while in government:

    July 2010: +51%
    August 2010: +59%
    November 2010: +68%
    January 2011: +65%
    April 2011: +63%
    September 2011: +53%
    December 2011: +42%

The drip-drip of bad publicity over the past few months relating to the charges that have now been laid appear to have dented Chris’s popularity among party members — notwithstanding his lauded performance at the Cancun climate change summit in December.

Ed Davey:

How would you rate the performances of Edward Davey, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills?

    Very satisfied 16%
    Satisfied 35%
    Total satisfied = 51%
    Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied 39%
    Dissatisfied 8%
    Very dissatisfied 2%
    Total dissatisfied = 10%
    Net satisfaction = +41%

Ed finishes his time as Lib Dem No. 2 at Vince’s BIS empire with very positive ratings, testament to how he’s pushed through Lib Dem policy on a range of issues while offering a coherent story of liberalism in action. Here’s how his positive ratings have grown over the last 18 months of Coalition, from a relatively poor start, a legacy of what was judged to be a mixed performance as the party’s shadow foreign affairs spokesman before the election:

    July 2010: +9%
    August 2010: +11%
    November 2010: +23%
    January 2011: +24%
    April 2011: +30%
    September 2011: +27%
    December 2011: +39%

Ed will start the new role with a lot of goodwill behind him (though more than a few Lib Dems are unhappy that Nick Clegg didn’t take this enforced opportunity to create the first female Lib Dem cabinet minister), but will be very well aware he has big shoes to fill. If he makes a real success of the role, though, he may find journalists starting to ask him if he’d like to be party leader one day.

  • Over 1,200 Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with LibDemVoice.org. Some 436 responded to the latest survey between 31st January and 3rd February.
  • 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
  • * Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and also writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.