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

by Stephen Tall on August 11, 2013

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. More than 600 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?

Full results are published below, but here’s two key lists for those who want to cut to the chase… (with comparison to March 2013 ratings in brackets)

Top 5 Lib Dem performers in the Government:

  • Vince Cable +70%
  • Steve Webb +60%
  • Lynne Featherstone +56%
  • Norman Lamb +48%
  • Edward Davey +46%

No major changes in the top 5 most popular Lib Dem ministers since last we asked. Vince Cable tops the poll, as usual. Steve, Lynne, Norman and Ed continue to be highly-regarded by Lib Dem members. There’s more movement beneath the top 5, though. Jo Swinson bounces back to +40% net approval, after the dip she suffered in March following the publicity about her role in the allegations against Chris Rennard. Michael Moore, no longer in the headlines despite next year’s Scottish referendum, slips back to +37% (from +48% last October). And Norman Baker‘s ratings also slip, to +36% — he too had a +48% approval rating last October.

Bottom 5 Lib Dem performers in the Government:

  • David Laws +14%
  • Lord (Tom) McNally +9%
  • David Heath +9%
  • Baroness (Jenny) Randerson +9%
  • Jeremy Browne +7%

Jeremy Browne‘s move to the home office is not earning him much kudos with Lib Dem members. It seems the conservative/authoritarian measures continue to drip-drip from Theresa May’s department — those ‘go home’ immigration vans, ‘opt-in’ porn filters, the banning of ‘khat’ against expert advice — are tainting him: his net approval rating falls to just +7%. Lord (Tom) McNally, rated negatively at -2% in March presumably because of his support for ‘secret courts’, has recovered, though only slightly, to +9%. Baroness (Jenny) Randerson continues to be largely invisible to most Lib Dem members, while David Heath‘s approval falls further, largely due to the controversy over the badger cull for which he as farming minister has direct responsibility. Two stalwarts of the Bottom 5, Danny Alexander and Nick Clegg, both saw their ratings boosted since March and so have escaped, at least for this month.

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.”

I don’t often comment on the net approval ratings of other non-minister party figures. But deputy leader Simon Hughes‘s ratings have taken a big hit, down from +51% net approval to +29%, I’d imagine as a result of his controversial stance in abstaining on the third reading of the same-sex marriage bill, a decision he defended on LibDemVoice here. Tim Farron‘s ratings have also dropped, from +64% to +51%, perhaps also because of his decision to abstain on a key part of the same legislation.

As promised, here are the results in full …

Lib Dem cabinet ministers and government ministers:

Vince Cable: Secretary of State, Business, Innovation and Skills
32% – Very satisfied
47% – Satisfied
12% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
5% – Dissatisfied
4% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +70% (n/c)

Steve Webb: Minister, Department for Work and Pensions
33% – Very satisfied
35% – Satisfied
23% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
6% – Dissatisfied
2% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +60% (+2%)

Lynne Featherstone: Minister, Department for International Development
29% – Very satisfied
35% – Satisfied
27% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
5% – Dissatisfied
3% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +56% (n/c)

Norman Lamb: Minister, Department of Health
19% – Very satisfied
40% – Satisfied
30% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
9% – Dissatisfied
2% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +48% (+6%)

Edward Davey: Secretary of State, Energy and Climate Change
19% – Very satisfied
42% – Satisfied
24% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
11% – Dissatisfied
4% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +46% (-6%)

Jo Swinson: Minister, Business, Innovation and Skills
14% – Very satisfied
39% – Satisfied
33% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
9% – Dissatisfied
4% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +40% (+9%)

Michael Moore: Secretary of State, Scotland
13% – Very satisfied
30% – Satisfied
50% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
4% – Dissatisfied
2% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +37% (-6%)

Norman Baker: Minister, Department for Transport
12% – Very satisfied
36% – Satisfied
39% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
8% – Dissatisfied
4% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +36% (-6%)

Alistair Carmichael: Deputy Chief Whip, Commons
13% – Very satisfied
25% – Satisfied
48% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
10% – Dissatisfied
4% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +24% (-3%)

Tom Brake: Deputy Leader of the Commons
6% – Very satisfied
24% – Satisfied
63% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
4% – Dissatisfied
2% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +24% (n/c)

Danny Alexander: Chief Secretary to the Treasury
15% – Very satisfied
39% – Satisfied
13% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
19% – Dissatisfied
14% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +21% (+8%)

Don Foster: Minister, Department for Communities and Local Government
6% – Very satisfied
30% – Satisfied
49% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
12% – Dissatisfied
3% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +21% (-4%)

Nick Clegg: Deputy Prime Minister
18% – Very satisfied
36% – Satisfied
10% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
15% – Dissatisfied
20% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +19% (+17%)

David Laws: Minister, Department for Education (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
14% – Very satisfied
30% – Satisfied
26% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
16% – Dissatisfied
14% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +14% (+2%)

Lord (Tom) McNally: Minister, Ministry of Justice (and Deputy Leader of the Lords)
4% – Very satisfied
26% – Satisfied
47% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
13% – Dissatisfied
8% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +9% (+11%)

David Heath: Minister, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
5% – Very satisfied
22% – Satisfied
55% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
13% – Dissatisfied
5% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +9% (-9%)

Baroness (Jenny) Randerson: Minister, Wales Office
3% – Very satisfied
9% – Satisfied
84% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
2% – Dissatisfied
1% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +9% (n/c)

Jeremy Browne: Minister, Home Office
7% – Very satisfied
23% – Satisfied
46% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
15% – Dissatisfied
8% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +7% (-6%)

Other leading Lib Dems:

Tim Farron: Party President
28% – Very satisfied
37% – Satisfied
20% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
9% – Dissatisfied
5% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +51% (-13%)

Kirsty Williams: Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats
19% – Very satisfied
27% – Satisfied
51% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
2% – Dissatisfied
1% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +43% (+2%)

Willie Rennie: Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats
15% – Very satisfied
27% – Satisfied
52% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
3% – Dissatisfied
3% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +36% (-2%)

Caroline Pidgeon: Leader of the Liberal Democrat group on the London Assembly
12% – Very satisfied
25% – Satisfied
59% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
1% – Dissatisfied
1% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +35% (-3%)

Tim Gordon: Lib Dem Chief Executive
12% – Very satisfied
25% – Satisfied
55% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
5% – Dissatisfied
2% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +30% (-4%)

Simon Hughes: Deputy Leader of the Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons
13% – Very satisfied
36% – Satisfied
32% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
14% – Dissatisfied
6% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +29% (-22%)

Fiona Hall: Leader of the UK Lib Dem MEPs
9% – Very satisfied
22% – Satisfied
62% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
5% – Dissatisfied
2% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +24% (n/c)

  • 1,500 Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with LibDemVoice.org. Just over 600 responded to the latest survey, which was conducted between 19th and 23rd July.
  • 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.