When will the Coalition end? Here’s what Lib Dem members say…

by Stephen Tall on October 11, 2012

Lib Dem Voice polled our members-only forum before conference to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. More than 550 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

Four-in-five say Coalition will be bad for Lib Dem prospects in 2015

LDV asked: Do you think the Coalition Government will be good or bad for the Lib Dems’ electoral prospects at the next general election? (Comparison in brackets with August’s figures.)

    6% (-3%) – Good
    79% (+2%) – Bad
    11% (n/c) – Neither good nor bad
    4% (n/c) – Don’t know / No opinion

This figure of 79% (taken before conference season) is the highest we’ve yet recorded. A year ago, in September 2011, the figure was 59%. Just over 1-in-20 members remains optimistic, and about one-in-10 reckons the outcome will be more or less neutral for the party.

Three-quarters say Coalition will last the course

(Comparison in brackets with August’s figures.)
LDV asked: How long do you expect the coalition government will last?

    0% (-1%) – It will end this year, 2012
    5% (-1%) – It will end in 2013
    18% (+3%) – It will end in 2014
    75% (n/c) – It will last the full term, until 2015
    3% – Don’t know / No opinion

Two-thirds want Coalition to go on into 2015

LDV asked: When would you like the Coalition to end? (Comparison in brackets with August’s figures.)

    12% (+2%) – As soon as possible, definitely this year
    5% (+2%) – It should end in 2013
    15% (+6%) – It should end in 2014
    38% (-2%) – It should stop shortly before the 2015 general election so the two Coalition parties can set out their different plans
    26% (-9%) – It should continue right up to the 2015 general election
    3% (n/c) – It should continue beyond the 2015 general election
    1% (+1%) – Don’t know / No opinion

It’s interesting to compare the two tables above asking, respectively, when people think the Coalition will end and when they would like the Coalition to end. The results aren’t all that different. Three-quarters, 75%, expect it to last a full term (exactly how that’s defined is a moot point) until 2015. A cumulative 67% would like it to last into 2015 or even beyond. Likewise, our most recent tracker question asking about support for the Coalition showed Lib Dem members remain in favour by 74%-21%. And as we see above 17% of members would like it brought to an end within the next 12-15 months — though only a minority (5%) expect that to happen.

For first time, majority of Lib Dems believe party lacks influence within the Coalition

How would you rate the extent of the Liberal Democrat influence within the Coalition Government, where 10 is highly influential, and 1 indicates no influence. (Comparison with August’s figures in brackets.)

    1: 1%
    2: 7%
    3: 19%
    4: 14%
    5: 12%
    Lacking influence = 53% (+10%)
    6: 18%
    7: 20%
    8: 7%
    9: 1%
    10: 1%
    Achieving influence = 47% (-14%)

This is the fourth time we’ve asked the question of what level of influence you think the party is exerting within the Coalition. This is the first time, though, that it has shown a majority of members (narrow, but still a majority) believing the Lib Dems lack influence in the Coalition by a margin of 53%-47%. As recently as June, our survey showed Lib Dem members believing the party was achieving influence by 68%-32%. That is a big turn-around in just a few short months. A blip, mid-term blues, or part of the long farewell to Coalition?

  • Over 1,200 Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with LibDemVoice.org. More than 550 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.