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

by Stephen Tall on June 13, 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 560 party members responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

Net satisfaction with party’s direction stuck at +31%

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

    62% (+1%) – The right course
    31% (n/c) – The wrong track
    7% (-1%) – Don’t know / No opinion

As recently as February, there was a net satisfaction rating with the party’s direction of +49%. This plummeted in the space of four weeks to +30% in the wake of the party’s decision (though not the party conference’s decision) to vote for the Coalition’s controversial NHS Bill. Satisfaction has recovered in the intervening couple of months — which included a second successive set of very poor election results — by the smallest of margins, to +31%. This figure remains lower even than it was in the immediate aftermath of the tuition fees debate (November 2010), when net satisfaction stood at +32%.

Nick’s personal ratings edge up… but only slightly

What is your view of Nick Clegg’s performance as Lib Dem leader? (Comparison with March’s figures.)

    11% (-6%) – Very satisfied
    47% (+7%) – Satisfied
    Total satisfied = 58% (+1%)
    24% (n/c) – Dissatisfied
    15% (-2%) – Very dissatisfied
    Total dissatisfied = 39% (-2%)
    3% (+2%) – Don’t know / No opinion

Again, our survey shows the big drop in Nick Clegg’s approval recorded in March has been sustained. In February, Nick’s net satisfaction rating stood at +38% net satisfaction. This more than halved to +16% by March. It is now exactly half, at +19%. True, his rating among members has been the same, or lower, a handful of times before (after tuition fees); and has subsequently bounced back (in autumn 2011). But each time Nick pushes the party to accept an unpopular policy not included within the Coalition Agreement his leadership is dented afresh; there may only be so much damage he can personally sustain.

  • Over 1,200 Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with LibDemVoice.org. Some 560 responded to the latest survey, which was conducted between 28th May and 1st June.
  • 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.