Who’s up, who’s down? How party members rate the performances of leading Lib Dems

by Stephen Tall on February 17, 2012

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 570 party members responded, and we’re publishing 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 December 2011 ratings in brackets)

Top 5 Lib Dem performers in the Government:

  • Vince Cable +65% (+63%)
  • Lynne Featherstone +56% (+54%)
  • Steve Webb +45% (+51%)
  • Norman Baker +42% (+39%)
  • Edward Davey +41% (+39%)

The only change from December is… out goes Chris Huhne, and in comes Edward Davey! As I reported here, I ‘froze’ the ratings for Messrs Huhne and Davey the morning of Chris’s resignation (by which time 436 members had completed the survey), and it showed Chris’s support ebbing away over the past few months. This is the first time since LibDemVoice started measuring members’ ratings of individuals that Chris hasn’t been in the top 5. One other cabinet member who doesn’t quite make it into the top 5, despite scoring a net +40% favourability rating, is… Nick Clegg.

Two other Lib Dems also merit mention this month. First, Michael Moore, the Scottish secretary, who sees his ratings more than double from +18% in December to +39% this month — the result of his prominence in the debate on the Scottish independence referendum. And secondly, foreign affairs minister Jeremy Browne, whose ratings rise form +20% to +30%, assisted by his recent, deft performance on BBC1′s Question Time.

Bottom 5 Lib Dem performers in the Government:

  • David Heath +26% (+23%)
  • Danny Alexander +20% (+14%)
  • Nick Harvey +17% (+15%)
  • Andrew Stunell +10% (+16%)
  • Paul Burstow +9% (+14%)

It’s hard not to feel a little sorry for David Heath, making his debut in the bottom 5 despite having increased his ratings to a pretty respectable +26% in the dryly unglamorous role of ‘deputy leader to the office of the leader of the Commons’.

Danny Alexander is a stalwart of the bottom 5, dividing party members’ opinions having featured as both a favourite and a least favourite in our end-of-year survey. The remainder three are also bottom 5 regulars: Paul Burstow has been dogged by the controversial NHS reforms; Andrew Stunell likewise by the localism bill; and Nick Harvey at defence viewed sceptically by some members.

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.

And here’s how other leading Lib Dems score:

  • Tim Farron +58% (+61%)
  • Simon Hughes +47% (+46%)
  • Kirsty Williams +38% (+45%)
  • Caroline Pidgeon +38% (+33%)
  • Brian Paddick +33% (+32%)
  • Willie Rennie +28% (+30%)
  • Fiona Hall +14% (+15%)
  • Tim Gordon +8% (+17% for Chris Fox)

No major changes in this month’s survey, but we welcome Tim Gordon, the party’s incoming chief executive. His rating is unsurprisingly lower than for his predecessor Chris Fox, with (so far) 80% of members not feeling able to rate him.

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 27%
Quite satisfied 48%
Quite dissatisfied 7%
Very dissatisfied 3%
Don’t know / No opinion 15%
Net satisfaction +65% (+63%)

Lynne Featherstone, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Equalities) for the Home Office
Very satisfied 20%
Quite satisfied 44%
Quite dissatisfied 6%
Very dissatisfied 2%
Don’t know / No opinion 27%
Net satisfaction +56% (+54%)

Steve Webb, Minister of State to the Department for Work and Pensions
Very satisfied 21%
Quite satisfied 32%
Quite dissatisfied 6%
Very dissatisfied 2%
Don’t know / No opinion 39%
Net satisfaction +45% (+51%)

Norman Baker, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department of Transport
Very satisfied 12%
Quite satisfied 39%
Quite dissatisfied 8%
Very dissatisfied 1%
Don’t know / No opinion 40%
Net satisfaction +42% (+39%)

Edward Davey, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Very satisfied 16%
Quite satisfied 35%
Quite dissatisfied 8%
Very dissatisfied 2%
Don’t know / No opinion 39%
Net satisfaction +41% (+39%)
NB: result prior to Ed Davey’s promotion to the cabinet based on 436 responses. See here for details.

Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister
Very satisfied 22%
Quite satisfied 43%
Quite dissatisfied 15%
Very dissatisfied 10%
Don’t know / No opinion 10%
Net satisfaction +40% (+35%)

Michael Moore, Secretary of State for Scotland
Very satisfied 13%
Quite satisfied 37%
Quite dissatisfied 8%
Very dissatisfied 3%
Don’t know / No opinion 39%
Net satisfaction +39% (+18%)

Jeremy Browne, Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Very satisfied 10%
Quite satisfied 34%
Quite dissatisfied 9%
Very dissatisfied 5%
Don’t know / No opinion 41%
Net satisfaction +30% (+20%)

Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
Very satisfied 15%
Quite satisfied 40%
Quite dissatisfied 21%
Very dissatisfied 7%
Don’t know / No opinion 17%
Net satisfaction +27% (+42%)
NB: result prior to Chris Huhne’s resignation based on 436 responses. See here for details.

Sarah Teather, Minister of State for the Department for Education
Very satisfied 10%
Quite satisfied 35%
Quite dissatisfied 12%
Very dissatisfied 6%
Don’t know / No opinion 37%
Net satisfaction +27% (+27%)

Alistair Carmichael, Deputy Chief Whip to the House of Commons
Very satisfied 9%
Quite satisfied 25%
Quite dissatisfied 5%
Very dissatisfied 2%
Don’t know / No opinion 59%
Net satisfaction +27% (+26%)

The Rt Hon. Lord McNally, Minister of State for the Ministry of Justice
Very satisfied 7%
Quite satisfied 28%
Quite dissatisfied 7%
Very dissatisfied 2%
Don’t know / No opinion 55%
Net satisfaction +26% (+30%)

David Heath, Parliamentary Secretary (Deputy Leader) to the Office of the Leader of the Commons
Very satisfied 7%
Quite satisfied 24%
Quite dissatisfied 3%
Very dissatisfied 2%
Don’t know / No opinion 64%
Net satisfaction +26% (+23%)

Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Very satisfied 18%
Quite satisfied 34%
Quite dissatisfied 17%
Very dissatisfied 15%
Don’t know / No opinion 15%
Net satisfaction +20% (+14%)

Nick Harvey, Minister of State (Minister for the Armed Forces) for the Ministry of Defence
Very satisfied 2%
Quite satisfied 26%
Quite dissatisfied 6%
Very dissatisfied 3%
Don’t know / No opinion 62%
Net satisfaction +17% (+15%)

Andrew Stunell, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State to the Department for Communities and Local Government
Very satisfied 3%
Quite satisfied 27%
Quite dissatisfied 14%
Very dissatisfied 6%
Don’t know / No opinion 49%
Net satisfaction +10% (+16%)

Paul Burstow, Minister of State for the Department of Health
Very satisfied 7%
Quite satisfied 26%
Quite dissatisfied 15%
Very dissatisfied 9%
Don’t know / No opinion 42%
Net satisfaction +9% (+14%)

Other leading Lib Dems:

Tim Farron, Party President
Very satisfied 33%
Quite satisfied 36%
Quite dissatisfied 9%
Very dissatisfied 2%
Don’t know / No opinion 19%
Net satisfaction +58% (+61%)

Simon Hughes, Deputy Leader of the Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons
Very satisfied 19%
Quite satisfied 41%
Quite dissatisfied 10%
Very dissatisfied 3%
Don’t know / No opinion 27%
Net satisfaction +47% (+46%)

Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats
Very satisfied 14%
Quite satisfied 28%
Quite dissatisfied 3%
Very dissatisfied 1%
Don’t know / No opinion 55%
Net satisfaction +38% (+45%)

Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of the Liberal Democrat group on the London Assembly
Very satisfied 17%
Quite satisfied 24%
Quite dissatisfied 2%
Very dissatisfied 1%
Don’t know / No opinion 55%
Net satisfaction +38% (+33%)

Brian Paddick, Lib Dem candidate for Mayor of London
Very satisfied 12%
Quite satisfied 33%
Quite dissatisfied 8%
Very dissatisfied 4%
Don’t know / No opinion 43%
Net satisfaction +33% (+32%)

Willie Rennie, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats
Very satisfied 10%
Quite satisfied 25%
Quite dissatisfied 5%
Very dissatisfied 2%
Don’t know / No opinion 58%
Net satisfaction +28% (+30%)

Fiona Hall, Leader of the UK Lib Dem MEPs
Very satisfied 5%
Quite satisfied 20%
Quite dissatisfied 6%
Very dissatisfied 3%
Don’t know / No opinion 66%
Net satisfaction +14% (+15%)

Tim Gordon, Lib Dem chief executive
Very satisfied 3%
Quite satisfied 11%
Quite dissatisfied 4%
Very dissatisfied 2%
Don’t know / No opinion 80%
Net satisfaction +8% (+17% for predecessor Chris Fox)

  • Over 1,200 Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with LibDemVoice.org. Some 570 responded to the latest survey, which was conducted between 31st January and 4th 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.