EXCLUSIVE: What Lib Dem members say about the party’s direction and Nick Clegg’s leadership

by Stephen Tall on March 12, 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. Over 500 party members responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

Big drop in satisfaction with party’s direction

LDV asked: Do you think, as a whole, the Liberal Democrats are on the right course or on the wrong track? (Comparison with December’s figures.)

    61% (-9%) – The right course
    31% (+10%) – The wrong track
    8% (-1%) – Don’t know / No opinion

This is a big turn-around from a month ago. In February, there was a net satisfaction rating with the party’s direction of +49% — this has now dropped to +30% in the last four weeks. It’s not hard to guess why: the unpopularity among many of the Coalition’s NHS Bill, and the inability of the leadership to persuade party members the reforms are necessary and right. It’s worth noting the +30% figure is lower even than it was in the immediate aftermath of the tuition fees debate (November 2010), when net satisfaction stood at +32%.

Nick Clegg’s personal ratings slump to lowest-ever level

What is your view of Nick Clegg’s performance as Lib Dem leader?

    17% – Very satisfied
    40% – Satisfied
    Total satisfied = 57% (-11%)
    24% – Dissatisfied
    >17% – Very dissatisfied
    Total dissatisfied = 41% (+11%)
    1% – Don’t know / No opinion

Again, our survey shows a big drop in approval. A month ago, Nick Clegg was riding high at +38% net satisfaction, his best figure since the tuition fees U-turn. But now his approval rating stands at just +16%, the lowest figure Nick has recorded as leader since LibDemVoice began surveying party members. This may be just a blip; the fact that our survey questions focused heavily on just one issue, the NHS, may have skewed results a little. We shall see in time. But for now the results shows the Lib Dem leader has a real job of repair to do among party members to restore confidence in his leadership.

• Over 1,300 Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with LibDemVoice.org. Some 507 responded to the latest survey, which was conducted between 4th and 8th March.
• 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 here

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and also writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.