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

by Stephen Tall on November 10, 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.

LDV asked: How would you rate the performances of the following leading Liberal Democrats and government ministers?

This was the second post-reshuffle survey of what members think of the new Lib Dem ministerial team conducted almost two months after most took up new posts. A technical glitch meant respondents did not have the usual two options for registering dissatisfaction (‘Quite dissatisfied’, ‘Very dissatisfied’), but just the one: ‘Dissatisfied’. Theoretically this shouldn’t affect the net satisfaction results, but the fact that the available options weren’t mirrored this month could have affected the figures below. A glance down the results doesn’t present any obvious pattern, though, so I’m inclined to regard them as reasonable: most, but not all, net satisfaction figures are up a little, which is what you’d normally expect in the first post-conference survey.

Full results are published below, but here’s three key lists for those who want to cut to the chase… (with comparison to September 2012 ratings in brackets)

Top 5 Lib Dem performers in the Government:

  • Vince Cable +65% (DOWN 10%)
  • Steve Webb +57% (UP 3%)
  • Lynne Featherstone +53% (UP 5%)
  • Edward Davey +52% (UP 2%)
  • Michael Moore +48% (UP 23%)

Vince Cable tops our poll again with a net satisfaction rating of +65%, an impressive figure albeit some way from the +87% he reached a couple of months ago, in August. The other major change is Michael Moore’s impressive ascent into the top 5 following his canny negotiations to secure the independence referendum of the ‘Edinburgh Agreement’.

Bottom 5 Lib Dem performers in the Government:

  • David Heath +23% (UP 1%)
  • David Laws +19% (UP 12%)
  • Nick Clegg +16% (UP 12%)
  • Danny Alexander +14% (UP 12%)
  • Baroness (Jenny) Randerson +12% (UP 3%)

There’s no change at all in the bottom 5, though Jenny Randerson slips to the foot of the table owing to her low profile rather than any particular unpopularity. Interestingly, other than Michael Moore, the three ministers who register double-digit increases this month are the Lib Dem ‘half’ of the so-called Quad which oversees the Coalition: Messrs Alexander, Clegg and Laws have all seen a boost since the party conference.

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 +66% (UP 4%)
  • Simon Hughes +54% (UP 12%)
  • Caroline Pidgeon +39% (DOWN 3%)
  • Kirsty Williams +38% (DOWN 2%)
  • Willie Rennie +38% (UP 10%)
  • Tim Gordon +31% (UP 3%)
  • Fiona Hall +26% (UP 8%)

The ratings of most party figures rated here have stayed pretty steady, though both Tim Farron and Simon Hughes have recovered the drops they experienced in September. In fact, Tim was the top-rated Lib Dem this month, just edging even Vince — though I’m sure he’d be the first to admit that being in popular and in government is a harder trick to pull off! Willie Rennie’s high-profile support for home rule and savvy tormenting of Alex Salmond earns him a fillip.

As promised, here are the results in full …

Lib Dem cabinet ministers and government ministers:

Vince Cable – Secretary of State, Business, Innovation and Skills
Very satisfied 40%
Quite satisfied 36%
Dissatisfied 11%
Don’t know / No opinion 13%
Net satisfaction +65% (+75%)

Steve Webb – Minister, Department for Work and Pensions
Very satisfied 29%
Quite satisfied 34%
Dissatisfied 6%
Don’t know / No opinion 31%
Net satisfaction +57% (+54%)

Lynne Featherstone – Minister, Department for International Development
Very satisfied 25%
Quite satisfied 34%
Dissatisfied 6%
Don’t know / No opinion 35%
Net satisfaction +53% (+48%)

Edward Davey – Secretary of State, Energy and Climate Change
Very satisfied 20%
Quite satisfied 44%
Dissatisfied 12%
Don’t know / No opinion 25%
Net satisfaction +52% (+50%)

Michael Moore – Secretary of State, Scotland
Very satisfied 17%
Quite satisfied 38%
Dissatisfied 7%
Don’t know / No opinion 37%
Net satisfaction +48% (+25%)

Norman Baker – Minister, Department for Transport
Very satisfied 17%
Quite satisfied 37%
Dissatisfied 6%
Don’t know / No opinion 39%
Net satisfaction +48% (+46%)

Jo Swinson – Minister, Business, Innovation and Skills
Very satisfied 21%
Quite satisfied 34%
Dissatisfied 9%
Don’t know / No opinion 36%
Net satisfaction +46% (+45%)

Norman Lamb – Minister, Department of Health
Very satisfied 16%
Quite satisfied 36%
Dissatisfied 9%
Don’t know / No opinion 38%
Net satisfaction +43% (+34%)

Alistair Carmichael – Deputy Chief Whip, Commons
Very satisfied 15%
Quite satisfied 23%
Dissatisfied 6%
Don’t know / No opinion 56%
Net satisfaction +32% (+27%)

Don Foster – Minister, Department for Communities and Local Government
Very satisfied 8%
Quite satisfied 30%
Dissatisfied 8%
Don’t know / No opinion 54%
Net satisfaction +30% (+24%)

Tom Brake – Deputy Leader of the Commons
Very satisfied 7%
Quite satisfied 28%
Dissatisfied 5%
Don’t know / No opinion 60%
Net satisfaction +30% (+26%)

Lord (Tom) McNally – Minister, Ministry of Justice (and Deputy Leader of the Lords)
Very satisfied 9%
Quite satisfied 28%
Dissatisfied 11%
Don’t know / No opinion 52%
Net satisfaction +26% (+26%)

Jeremy Browne – Minister, Home Office
Very satisfied 11%
Quite satisfied 25%
Dissatisfied 11%
Don’t know / No opinion 53%
Net satisfaction +25% (+24%)

David Heath – Minister, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Very satisfied 8%
Quite satisfied 26%
Dissatisfied 11%
Don’t know / No opinion 55%
Net satisfaction +23% (+22%)

David Laws – Minister, Department for Education (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
Very satisfied 14%
Quite satisfied 28%
Dissatisfied 23%
Don’t know / No opinion 34%
Net satisfaction +19% (+7%)

Nick Clegg – Deputy Prime Minister
Very satisfied 17%
Quite satisfied 34%
Dissatisfied 35%
Don’t know / No opinion 13%
Net satisfaction +16% (+4%)

Danny Alexander – Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Very satisfied 14%
Quite satisfied 34%
Dissatisfied 34%
Don’t know / No opinion 18%
Net satisfaction +14% (+2%)

Baroness (Jenny) Randerson – Minister, Wales Office
Very satisfied 3%
Quite satisfied 12%
Dissatisfied 3%
Don’t know / No opinion 83%
Net satisfaction +12% (+9%)

Other leading Lib Dems:

Tim Farron, Party President
Very satisfied 36%
Quite satisfied 38%
Dissatisfied 8%
Don’t know / No opinion 17%
Net satisfaction +66% (+62%)

Simon Hughes, Deputy Leader of the Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons
Very satisfied 23%
Quite satisfied 41%
Dissatisfied 10%
Don’t know / No opinion 26%
Net satisfaction +54% (+42%)

Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of the Liberal Democrat group on the London Assembly
Very satisfied 15%
Quite satisfied 27%
Dissatisfied 3%
Don’t know / No opinion 54%
Net satisfaction +39% (+42%)

Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats
Very satisfied 16%
Quite satisfied 25%
Dissatisfied 3%
Don’t know / No opinion 56%
Net satisfaction +38% (+40%)

Willie Rennie, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats
Very satisfied 17%
Quite satisfied 27%
Dissatisfied 6%
Don’t know / No opinion 50%
Net satisfaction +38% (+28%)

Tim Gordon, Lib Dem chief executive
Very satisfied 12%
Quite satisfied 28%
Dissatisfied 9%
Don’t know / No opinion 52%
Net satisfaction +31% (+28%)

Fiona Hall, Leader of the UK Lib Dem MEPs
Very satisfied 9%
Quite satisfied 24%
Dissatisfied 7%
Don’t know / No opinion 61%
Net satisfaction +26% (+18%)

  • 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.
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  • * 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.