Revealed: What Lib Dem members think of Ed Miliband and David Cameron

by Stephen Tall on November 9, 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.

Miliband overtakes Cameron among Lib Dems for first time

We’ve been asking this question for a little over a year now — a year which has marked quite a reversal in fortunes for the two party leaders, as this graph illustrates:

Here’s the detail from this month’s survey…

LDV asked: Do you think Ed Miliband is doing well or badly as leader of the Labour party?
(Comparison with September’s results in brackets.)

  • 1% – Very well
  • 35% – Well
  • Total well = 36% (+13%)

  • 45% – Badly
  • 15% – Very badly
  • Total badly = 60% (-11%)%

  • 5% – Don’t know

This is the first survey of Lib Dem members we’ve undertaken since the party conference season — and it’s clear that Ed Miliband has benefited most. Better than Nick Clegg, and certainly better than David Cameron as you’ll see below. His ‘One Nation’ speech-without-notes impressed many who heard it and, combined with his more assured performances at Prime Minister’s Questions, questions about his leadership have receded. Before we get too carried away, mind, his ratings still stand at -24% among Lib Dems, and remain negative among the wider public as well.

Cameron plunges to lowest rating yet among Lib Dems

Do you think David Cameron is doing well or badly as Prime Minister?
(Comparison with September’s results in brackets.)

  • 1% – Very well
  • 26% – Well
  • Total well = 27% (-7%)

  • 55% – Badly
  • 14% – Very badly
  • Total badly = 69% (+8%)

  • 4% – Don’t know

This net negative rating of -42% is, by a long way, the worst yet for David Cameron among Lib Dems. I suspect he’s been hit by a double whammy. First, his approval among the public has been knocked by a general sense that he’s not got a tight enough grip on events (or, as I suggested here, that he’s sprawling ineffectively across too many issues). And secondly, his conference speech marked a reversion to traditional right-wing Tory values, with little of the moderate, centrist, small-l-liberal values in which he cloaked himself in his modernising phase leading the Tory party.

As I customarily note, rating David Cameron’s performance as Prime Minister is a different question from rating his performance as Conservative party leader (whether Mr Cameron’s ratings would be higher or lower among Lib Dem members if we asked that question, I don’t know. Though I could hazard a guess).

  • Over 1,200 Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with LibDemVoice.org. Some 550 responded to the latest survey, which was conducted between 28th and 31st October.
  • 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.