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

by Stephen Tall on May 16, 2014

Liberal Democrat Conference 2011Lib 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 830 party members responded – thank you – 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 December 2013 ratings in brackets)

Top 5 Lib Dem performers in the Government:

  • Steve Webb +70%
  • Vince Cable +63%
  • Lynne Featherstone +63%
  • Norman Lamb +50%
  • Norman Baker +46%

Lots of changes in the four months since last we asked this question. The most notable is that pensions minister Steve Webb is now the most popular Lib Dem in government, boosted by a budget in which his pensions reforms featured prominently. He knocks Vince Cable off the top-spot, though the Lib Dem business secretary’s ratings are also up, just not by as much, suggesting party members aren’t fazed by the flak he’s copped for the Royal Mail privatisation. It’s three years since a Lib Dem minister other than Vince was the most popular among party members – Chris Huhne topped our survey in April 2011.

Vince ties with Lynne Featherstone, whose +63% is her highest ever rating. Two other stalwarts of the top 5, Normans, Lamb and Baker, continue to be well-regarded by party members, even if some of the initial excitement at Norman Baker’s appointment to the home office has worn off (his rating is down by 12%). One person who featured in December, but doesn’t this time, is Jo Swinson: on maternity leave, she was not included in this round of ratings.

Among the rest, Ed Davey recovers some of the popularity (up from +34% to +41%) he lost following his decision to push ahead with a new nuclear power station; but Alistair Carmichael takes a dip (down from +44% to +34%), possibly reflecting disappointment with the Better Together campaign. Danny Alexander‘s ratings continue to recover: last September, his net rating was +11%, but now stands at a far healthier +25%, reflecting the improving economic news.

Bottom 5 Lib Dem performers in the Government:

  • Stephen Williams +18%
  • David Laws +11%
  • Baroness (Jenny) Randerson +11%
  • Nick Clegg +10%
  • Dan Rogerson +6%

Baroness (Jenny) Randerson and Dan Rogerson continue to find themselves in the bottom 5 by virtue of their relative anonymity among party members: 79% and 70% respectively have no view about how they’re doing in their ministerial roles. Nick Clegg‘s rating (+10%) takes a tumble after the mixed reviews of his debates against Nigel Farage. David Laws has recovered from his paltry +2% rating, perhaps helped by the vigorous differentiation he and Clegg have maintained from some of Michael Gove’s pronouncements.

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.”

A point to note in the list of non-ministerial party figures: in his first appearance as Deputy Leader, Malcolm Bruce receives a +20% rating, down on the +31% Simon Hughes recorded in the role (and which has largely transferred to him in his new justice ministry brief). Also worth noting the continuing climb of Welsh leader Kirsty Williams, who now has a rating of +52% – if she were in the Commons, she’d be a good bet to become the next leader. As it is, perhaps the better bet is that she’s the next leader but one.

As promised, here are the results in full …

Lib Dem cabinet ministers and government ministers:

Steve Webb: Minister, Department for Work and Pensions
48% – Very satisfied
28% – Satisfied
17% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
4% – Dissatisfied
2% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +70% (+14%)

Vince Cable: Secretary of State, Business, Innovation and Skills
31% – Very satisfied
44% – Satisfied
13% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
8% – Dissatisfied
4% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +63% (+4%)

Lynne Featherstone: Minister, Department for International Development
32% – Very satisfied
37% – Satisfied
25% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
3% – Dissatisfied
3% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +63% (+7%)

Norman Lamb: Minister, Department of Health
26% – Very satisfied
35% – Satisfied
28% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
8% – Dissatisfied
3% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +50% (+2%)

Norman Baker: Minister, Home Office
18% – Very satisfied
38% – Satisfied
34% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
7% – Dissatisfied
3% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +46% (-12%)

Edward Davey: Secretary of State, Energy and Climate Change
17% – Very satisfied
43% – Satisfied
20% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
13% – Dissatisfied
6% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +41% (+7%)

Alistair Carmichael: Secretary of State, Scotland
15% – Very satisfied
32% – Satisfied
39% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
9% – Dissatisfied
4% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +34% (-10%)

Simon Hughes: Minister, Ministry of Justice
11% – Very satisfied
34% – Satisfied
38% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
11% – Dissatisfied
6% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +28% (+4% for Lord (Tom) McNally)

Baroness (Susan) Kramer: Minister, Department of Transport
7% – Very satisfied
31% – Satisfied
49% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
10% – Dissatisfied
2% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +26% (+4%)

Don Foster: Lib Dem Chief Whip
6% – Very satisfied
26% – Satisfied
58% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
5% – Dissatisfied
3% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +26% (+2%)

Danny Alexander: Chief Secretary to the Treasury
17% – Very satisfied
37% – Satisfied
15% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
15% – Dissatisfied
14% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +25% (+5%)

Tom Brake: Lib Dem Leader of the Commons
6% – Very satisfied
25% – Satisfied
61% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
5% – Dissatisfied
3% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +23% (+1%)

Lord (Jim) Wallace: Lib Dem Leader, House of Lords
7% – Very satisfied
24% – Satisfied
61% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
7% – Dissatisfied
2% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +22% (=)

Stephen Williams: Minister, Department for Communities and Local Government
6% – Very satisfied
23% – Satisfied
59% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
8% – Dissatisfied
3% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +18% (=)

David Laws: Minister, Department for Education (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
13% – Very satisfied
31% – Satisfied
25% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
18% – Dissatisfied
13% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +13% (+11%)

Baroness (Jenny) Randerson: Minister, Wales Office
3% – Very satisfied
13% – Satisfied
79% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
3% – Dissatisfied
2% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +11% (+2%)

Nick Clegg: Deputy Prime Minister
16% – Very satisfied
35% – Satisfied
8% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
20% – Dissatisfied
21% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +10% (-7%)

Dan Rogerson: Minister, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
3% – Very satisfied
15% – Satisfied
70% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
9% – Dissatisfied
3% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +6% (-1%)

Other leading Lib Dems:

Tim Farron: Party President
35% – Very satisfied
36% – Satisfied
15% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
9% – Dissatisfied
5% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +57% (-1%)

Kirsty Williams: Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats
22% – Very satisfied
33% – Satisfied
41% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
1% – Dissatisfied
2% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +52% (+4%)

Willie Rennie: Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats
16% – Very satisfied
28% – Satisfied
48% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
5% – Dissatisfied
3% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +36% (-1%)

Caroline Pidgeon: Leader of the Liberal Democrat group on the London Assembly
13% – Very satisfied
24% – Satisfied
58% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
2% – Dissatisfied
3% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +32% (-6%)

Fiona Hall: Leader of the UK Lib Dem MEPs
11% – Very satisfied
24% – Satisfied
56% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
5% – Dissatisfied
4% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +26% (=)

Malcolm Bruce: Deputy Leader of the Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons
7% – Very satisfied
23% – Satisfied
59% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
6% – Dissatisfied
4% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +20% (+31% for Simon Hughes)

Tim Gordon: Lib Dem Chief Executive
10% – Very satisfied
22% – Satisfied
56% – Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
8% – Dissatisfied
5% – Very dissatisfied
Net satisfaction +19% (-8%)