by Stephen Tall on December 19, 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. Some 750 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.
Members back Coalition with Conservatives by 80% to 17%
Do you support or oppose the Lib Dems being in the Coalition Government with the Conservatives?
80% (+1%) – Support
17% (n/c) – Oppose
3% (n/c) – Don’t know / No opinion
No matter what the travails of the Coalition — and there have been plenty in the past three-and-a-half years — the high support for the Lib Dems being in coalition with the Conservatives hasn’t shifted significantly. We’ve asked this tracker question 18 times, and the range has been 74% (September 2012, after Lords reform was blocked) to 85% (November 2010, our first post-tuition fees U-turn survey). This month’s is pretty much bang in the middle of those, at 80%.
Clegg’s leadership: net +12% satisfied
What is your view of Nick Clegg’s performance as Lib Dem leader?
13% – Very satisfied
43% – Satisfied
Total satisfied = 56% (+7%)
25% – Dissatisfied
17% – Very dissatisfied
Total satisfied = 42% (-6%)
1% – Don’t know / No opinion
Satisfaction among members with Nick Clegg’s leadership of the party has recovered this month: having plunged to just +1% in September, it now stands at +12%. As you can see, the afterglow of Cleggmania has long since been snuffed out, with his net ratings fluctuating in the range c.0-20%.
62% of Lib Dems say party on “right course”
Do you think, as a whole, the Liberal Democrats are on the right course or on the wrong track?
62% (+6%) – The right course
33% (n/c) The wrong track
5% (-5%) – Don’t know / No opinion
The overall net satisfaction rating of the Lib Dems according to party members has recovered to +29% – it had dipped to just +23% last time we asked before the Glasgow conference in September. It’s a long way off the +49% of February 2012, though: the month before the NHS Bill row. But it’s just as far off the +9% recorded in September 2012 after the collapse of Lords reform.
Net +27% approval rating for Coalition’s record
Do you approve or disapprove of the Coalition Government’s record to date?
58% (+2%) – Approve
31% (-1%) – Disapprove
10% (-1%) – Don’t know
There has been a small but noticeable shift in approval for the Coalition’s record in the last 9 months: the net +27% approval rating is the highest since June 2012 (+28%).
93% of party members expect Lib Dems to lose seats in 2015
How many Lib Dem MPs do you think will be elected at the next general election (expected in May 2015)?
3% (n/c) – More than current 57 MPs
15% (+1%) – Between 50 and 57 MPs
34% (-2%) – Between 40 and 49 MPs
29% (n/c) – Between 30 and 40 MPs
15% (+3%) – Fewer than 30 MPs
4% (n/c) – Don’t know
This is the fourth time we’ve asked this question. The first, in March, was immediately after the Lib Dems’ tightly-fought hold in the Eastleigh by-election: back then, 28% of party members expected the Lib Dem to hold at least 50 seats. That proportion now stands at 18%. A majority do, though, expect the party to hold at least 40 seats: 52% now compared with 56% last March; 44% expect us to have fewer than 40 MPs.
64% of Lib Dems say party achieving influence in Government
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.
1 = 0%
2 = 4%
3 = 13%
4 = 11%
5 = 7%
Lacking influence = 35% (-7%)
6 = 17%
7 = 27%
8 = 14%
9 = 4%
10 = 2%
Achieving influence = 64% (+6%)
By a pretty solid 2:1 majority Lib Dem members are more likely to rate the Lib Dems as achieving influence within the Coalition – the 64% saying this is the highest figure since June 2012. A year ago, December 2012, 49% thought the Lib Dems lacked influence while 50% thought we were achieving influence. Party members seem to be buying the differentiation strategy – the question is whether the voters will like it, too.
* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.