What Lib Dem members think about the way the Coalition is cutting spending to reduce the deficit

by Stephen Tall on May 22, 2014

Cut costsLib 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. Over 830 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

The economy is recovering but cuts to public spending are going to be with us for some time no matter who’s in government. I wanted to test attitudes among Lib Dems to how the cuts are being handled. The questions below mirror those which have been asked by YouGov since summer 2010 (you can access the results here, from page 27). This is the second time we’ve asked these questions, so responses are compared with the previous results (in brackets) from December 2013.

Thinking about the way the government is cutting spending to reduce the government’s deficit, do you think this is…

Good or bad for the economy?

    67% (+9%) – Good for the economy
    26% (-5%) – Bad for the economy
    8% (-3% – Don’t know

Being done fairly or unfairly?

    33% (-4%) – Fairly
    57% (+3%) – Unfairly
    9% (=) – Don’t know

Necessary or unnecessary?

    76% (+4%) – Necessary
    18% (-3% – Unnecessary
    6% (-1%) – Don’t know

Too deep, too shallow or at about the right level?

    30% (-6%) – Too deep
    7% (=) – Too shallow
    57% (+6%) – About the right level
    6% (=) – Don’t know

Being done too quickly, too slowly, or at about the right pace?

    27% (-7%) – Too quickly
    10% (+1%) – Too slowly
    57% (+6%) – About the right pace
    6% (=) – Don’t know

And who do you think is most responsible for the current spending cuts?

    20% (-5%) – The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition
    43% (+3%) – The last Labour government
    33% (+2%) – Both
    3% (+1%) – Neither
    1% (=) – Don’t know

The overall conclusion from these results seems to be… Lib Dem members generally approve of the way the government is cutting spending to reduce the deficit. Most think the strategy is good and necessary for the economy, about the right level and pace, and that blame should be laid at the door of the last Labour government. However, there is concern that the cuts are falling unfairly on the most vulnerable in society.

  • 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.

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    HowardLake