Ed Balls is as unpopular as the Conservative Party with Lib Dem members.

by Stephen Tall on May 17, 2014

Ed Balls MP, Denton - (Labour Leadership Campaign) - 2010Lib 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.

95% of Lib Dem members view Ukip unfavourably, compared to 85% for Tories, 71% for Labour and 37% for the Greens

I’m a fan of the polling company ComRes’s ‘Favourability Index’, which asks the public whether they view the parties and their leading figures favourably or not. It gives a much more accurate read-out of perceptions, I think, than asking (for instance) if people think X is doing a good job as leader of Y. After all, it’s quite possible to think that Nigel Farage is doing a pretty good job for Ukip (the occasional interview car-crash excepted) while still never, ever wanting to vote for him.

So I thought I’d try it in our recent survey, asking our sample of Lib Dem members the following question – Please indicate whether you have a favourable or unfavourable view of each of the following political leaders and parties… – about the major parties (Conservative, Labour, Ukip, Green, SNP) and their leaders (Cameron, Miliband, Farage, Bennett, Salmond) as well as the Chancellor / Shadow Chancellor (Osborne / Balls) and Home Secretary / Shadow Home Secretary. (I forgot to include Hague and Alexander as Foreign Secretary and his shadow: will add next time we ask this question.)

Here’s the topline Net Favourability ratings – ie, the total number of people favourably inclined minus those unfavourably inclined. As you’ll see every party and every politician we asked about has a negative net favourability score among Lib Dem members:

lib dem members favourability index april 2014

No surprise that Ukip and its leader are viewed most unfavourably – though interesting that Ed Balls is rated only slightly more favourably than Nigel Farage and ties with the Conservative Party, both on -81%!

Overall, Labour (at -60% net favourability) is a little less unpopular among Lib Dems, though pretty much on a par with George Osborne, a result which surprised me. Ed Miliband, however, is less favourably rated than David Cameron.

The Green Party and its leader Natalie Bennett are the least unfavourably viewed pairing by some distance (though in the case of Bennett only 38% expressed a view at all).

You can see the breakdown of the favourability ratings in the graph below (red denotes unfavourable, green favourable):

lib dem members favourability index april 2014 - 1

  • 1,500 Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with LibDemVoice.org. 745 responded in full – and a further 87 in part – to the latest survey, which was conducted between 16th and 22nd April.
  • 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, 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.

    photo by:


    Harry Potts