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

by Stephen Tall on September 23, 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 550 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

Sharp fall in net satisfaction with party’s direction to +9%

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

    50% (-9%) – The right course
    41% (+5%) – The wrong track
    10% (+5%) – 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 just +9% now satisfied — down from +23% last month, and from +49% as recently as February. A combination of the NHS Bill controversy, the botched Budget, and the continuing recession has led to net satisfaction plunging in the last six months. Here’s the trend over the first two-and-a-half years of the Coalition:

Nick’s leadership ratings go negative for the first time

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

    11% (n/c) – Very satisfied
    37% (-8%) – Satisfied
    Total satisfied = 48% (-8%)
    28% (+1%) – Dissatisfied
    22% (+6%) – Very dissatisfied
    Total dissatisfied = 50% (+7%)
    2% (+1%) – 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. This month is the first time, though, that the party leader’s net ratings have dipped into the negative zone. In February, Nick’s net satisfaction rating stood at +38% net satisfaction. Even last month they stood at +13%. Most of our survey was conducted before Nick’s broadcast apology (still less the remix chart hit!), so we have yet to see what impact that may have on party members’ perceptions. The party leader usually benefits from a post-conference boost in our surveys, so our post-conference poll will be an interesting test.

  • 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 19th and 22nd September. NB: most responses received before Nick Clegg’s apology broadcast.
  • 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 offered accurate guides to what party members think.
  • For further information on the reliability/credibility of our surveys, please refer to FAQs: Are the Liberal Democrat Voice surveys of party members accurate? and polling expert Anthony Wells’ verdict, On that poll of Lib Dem members.
  • 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.