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

by Stephen Tall on July 1, 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.

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 comparison to March 2012 ratings in brackets)

Top 5 Lib Dem performers in the Government:

  • Vince Cable +80% (+60%)
  • Lynne Featherstone +55% (+55%)
  • Steve Webb +53% (+42%)
  • Edward Davey +47% (+44%)
  • Norman Lamb +44% (+37%)

One change since March: Norman Lamb moves up into the top 5, usurping Michael Moore from the quintet of fave Lib Dems after just a few months in Ed Davey’s old role with Vince Cable at BIS. And speaking of Vince… his Korean-esque +80% approval rating is the highest we’ve ever recorded, beating the previous record approval figure of +72% — which was set by Vince last September. Combine that with his strong showing in our hypothetical leadership contest, and the Lib Dems’ very own Sage of Twickenham is clearly man of the moment. Again.

Bottom 5 Lib Dem performers in the Government:

  • Nick Clegg +20% (+16%)
  • Nick Harvey +17% (+21%)
  • Danny Alexander +14% (+16%)
  • Andrew Stunell +10% (+11%)
  • Paul Burstow -2% (-4%)

Paul Burstow, the Lib Dems’ health minister, maintains his position at the foot of the list, still with negative net approval (just), and still the only Lib Dem minister to record a negative rating in our surveys since the Coalition began. Nick Clegg’s ratings as deputy prime minister have recovered slightly, to +20%, but that’s still well down on his net approval rating of +40% in February. Meanwhile Nick Harvey, the Lib Dems’ defence minister, resumes his position in the bottom five, with justice minister Lord McNally just escaping that fate this month.

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.”

And here’s how other leading Lib Dems score:

  • Tim Farron +67% (+62%)
  • Simon Hughes +50% (+42%)
  • Jo Swinson +38% (+42%)
  • Kirsty Williams +36% (+39%)
  • Caroline Pidgeon +34% (+37%)
  • Brian Paddick +31% (+42%)
  • Willie Rennie +31% (+33%)
  • Tim Gordon +27% (+11%)
  • Fiona Hall +19% (+13%)

Tim Farron, the party’s president, sustains his position as members’ favourite Lib Dem outside of government, though this month he has to take an overall second position to Vince Cable. Brian Paddick, the party’s 2012 London mayoral candidate, makes his final appearance (at least for now) in our list — despite running a much more high-profile campaign, and performing much better in the televised hustings this time round, Brian’s disappointing fourth place is reflected in the dip in his approval ratings. Perhaps most surprising of all (with no disrespect intended!) is the jump in party chief executive Tim Gordon’s approval rating, up from +11% in March to +27% now — he is clearly making a positive impression on party members so far.

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 51%
Quite satisfied 35%
Quite dissatisfied 5%
Very dissatisfied 1%
Don’t know / No opinion 8%
Net satisfaction +80% (+60%)

Lynne Featherstone, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Equalities) for the Home Office
Very satisfied 27%
Quite satisfied 38%
Quite dissatisfied 6%
Very dissatisfied 4%
Don’t know / No opinion 25%
Net satisfaction +55% (+55%)

Steve Webb, Minister of State to the Department for Work and Pensions
Very satisfied 24%
Quite satisfied 35%
Quite dissatisfied 5%
Very dissatisfied 1%
Don’t know / No opinion 34%
Net satisfaction +53% (+42%)

Edward Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
Very satisfied 14%
Quite satisfied 46%
Quite dissatisfied 10%
Very dissatisfied 3%
Don’t know / No opinion 27%
Net satisfaction +47% (+44%)

Norman Lamb, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Very satisfied 11%
Quite satisfied 38%
Quite dissatisfied 4%
Very dissatisfied 1%
Don’t know / No opinion 45%
Net satisfaction +44% (+37%)

Norman Baker, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department of Transport
Very satisfied 11%
Quite satisfied 36%
Quite dissatisfied 6%
Very dissatisfied 2%
Don’t know / No opinion 45%
Net satisfaction +39% (+39%)

Michael Moore, Secretary of State for Scotland
Very satisfied 8%
Quite satisfied 30%
Quite dissatisfied 7%
Very dissatisfied 2%
Don’t know / No opinion 54%
Net satisfaction +29% (+42%)

Sarah Teather, Minister of State for the Department for Education
Very satisfied 9%
Quite satisfied 37%
Quite dissatisfied 14%
Very dissatisfied 5%
Don’t know / No opinion 36%
Net satisfaction +27% (+25%)

Jeremy Browne, Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Very satisfied 10%
Quite satisfied 27%
Quite dissatisfied 8%
Very dissatisfied 4%
Don’t know / No opinion 51%
Net satisfaction +25% (+20%)

David Heath, Parliamentary Secretary (Deputy Leader) to the Office of the Leader of the Commons
Very satisfied 6%
Quite satisfied 23%
Quite dissatisfied 3%
Very dissatisfied 1%
Don’t know / No opinion 67%
Net satisfaction +25% (+22%)

The Rt Hon. Lord McNally, Minister of State for the Ministry of Justice
Very satisfied 7%
Quite satisfied 25%
Quite dissatisfied 7%
Very dissatisfied 2%
Don’t know / No opinion 59%
Net satisfaction +23% (+19%)

Alistair Carmichael, Deputy Chief Whip to the House of Commons
Very satisfied 7%
Quite satisfied 22%
Quite dissatisfied 7%
Very dissatisfied 1%
Don’t know / No opinion 63%
Net satisfaction +21% (+24%)

Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister
Very satisfied 15%
Quite satisfied 39%
Quite dissatisfied 20%
Very dissatisfied 14%
Don’t know / No opinion 13%
Net satisfaction +20% (+16%)

Nick Harvey, Minister of State (Minister for the Armed Forces) for the Ministry of Defence
Very satisfied 4%
Quite satisfied 23%
Quite dissatisfied 8%
Very dissatisfied 2%
Don’t know / No opinion 62%
Net satisfaction +17% (+21%)

Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Very satisfied 15%
Quite satisfied 34%
Quite dissatisfied 20%
Very dissatisfied 15%
Don’t know / No opinion 16%
Net satisfaction +14% (+16%)

Andrew Stunell, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State to the Department for Communities and Local Government
Very satisfied 5%
Quite satisfied 24%
Quite dissatisfied 13%
Very dissatisfied 6%
Don’t know / No opinion 51%
Net satisfaction +10% (+11%)

Paul Burstow, Minister of State for the Department of Health
Very satisfied 5%
Quite satisfied 20%
Quite dissatisfied 18%
Very dissatisfied 9%
Don’t know / No opinion 47%
Net satisfaction -2% (-4%)

Other leading Lib Dems:

Tim Farron, Party President
Very satisfied 34%
Quite satisfied 37%
Quite dissatisfied 11%
Very dissatisfied 3%
Don’t know / No opinion 15%
Net satisfaction +67% (+62%)

Simon Hughes, Deputy Leader of the Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons
Very satisfied 20%
Quite satisfied 43%
Quite dissatisfied 11%
Very dissatisfied 2%
Don’t know / No opinion 25%
Net satisfaction +50% (+42%)

Jo Swinson, Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister
Very satisfied 14%
Quite satisfied 33%
Quite dissatisfied 7%
Very dissatisfied 2%
Don’t know / No opinion 44%
Net satisfaction +38% (+42%)

Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats
Very satisfied 12%
Quite satisfied 28%
Quite dissatisfied 3%
Very dissatisfied 1%
Don’t know / No opinion 57%
Net satisfaction +36% (+39%)

Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of the Liberal Democrat group on the London Assembly
Very satisfied 16%
Quite satisfied 22%
Quite dissatisfied 3%
Very dissatisfied 1%
Don’t know / No opinion 58%
Net satisfaction +34% (+37%)

Brian Paddick, Lib Dem candidate for Mayor of London
Very satisfied 15%
Quite satisfied 33%
Quite dissatisfied 13%
Very dissatisfied 4%
Don’t know / No opinion 35%
Net satisfaction +31% (+42%)

Willie Rennie, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats
Very satisfied 13%
Quite satisfied 25%
Quite dissatisfied 5%
Very dissatisfied 2%
Don’t know / No opinion 56%
Net satisfaction +31% (+33%)

Tim Gordon, Lib Dem chief executive
Very satisfied 8%
Quite satisfied 24%
Quite dissatisfied 4%
Very dissatisfied 1%
Don’t know / No opinion 62%
Net satisfaction +27% (+11%)

Fiona Hall, Leader of the UK Lib Dem MEPs
Very satisfied 5%
Quite satisfied 20%
Quite dissatisfied 4%
Very dissatisfied 2%
Don’t know / No opinion 70%
Net satisfaction +19% (+13%)

  • 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.