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

by Stephen Tall on August 16, 2012

Lib Dem Voice polled our members-only forum recently to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 500 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

Net satisfaction with party’s direction dips to +23%

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

    59% (-3%) – The right course
    36% (+5%) – The wrong track
    5% (-2%) – Don’t know / No opinion

There’s a sharp fall this month in the number of Lib Dem members satisfied with the direction of the party, with a net +23% now satisfied — down from +31% in June, and from +49% as recently as February. Unsurprisingly the figures closely mirror approval with the Coalition Government’s record which we reported yesterday. A combination of the NHS Bill controversy, the botched Budget, and the continuing and worsening recession has led to a halving of that net satisfaction in the last six months. By comparison, this figure stood at +32% in the immediate aftermath of the leadership’s U-turn on tuition fees. Here’s the trend over the first two years of the Coalition:

Nick’s leadership ratings down to lowest level yet

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

    11% (n/c) – Very satisfied
    45% (-2%) – Satisfied
    Total satisfied = 56% (-2%)
    27% (+3%) – Dissatisfied
    16% (+1%) – Very dissatisfied
    Total dissatisfied = 43% (+4%)
    1% (-2%) – Don’t know / No opinion

Just as satisfaction with the party has declined sharply over the past six months, so has satisfaction with Nick Clegg’s leadership of the Lib Dems. In February, Nick’s net satisfaction rating stood at +38% net satisfaction. At 13% in August, his rating is now almost one-third of that figure, and the lowest we’ve yet recorded. As I noted last time: “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.” Here’s the trend over the first two years of the Coalition:

  • Over 1,200 Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with LibDemVoice.org. Some 500 responded to the latest survey, which was conducted between 3rd and 6th August.
  • 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, a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum, and also writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.