Political

Party/leader ratings for Lib Dems now better than Conservatives and Labour

Liberal Democrats banner on the Put It To The People march

It’s a sign of just how much both the Conservatives and Labour are flailing about at the moment that the latest polling from YouGov gives the Liberal Democrats better net ratings than either of those parties – and Vince Cable better ratings than either of their leaders.

The Conservatives have a net favourable/unfavourable rating of minus 39, Labour minus 37 and the Liberal Democrats ‘soaring’ at minus 33. That Lib Dem rating is minus 7 amongst Remain voters and minus 61 amongst Leave voters – a reminder of how much benefit there is for the party in targeting Remain voters.

When it comes to leaders, Corbyn is at minus 53, May at minus 39 and Vince Cable at minus 30 (minus 7 with Remainers, minus 53 with Leavers).

Whilst negative ratings are still negative, it’s a striking relative performance. It’s also another example of how the cliche about ‘the Lib Dems are badly tarnished by coalition’ is largely inaccurate. It’s not that the public hates the party for what it did before. It’s that the public isn’t clear enough about what the party stands for or why it is relevant.

That’s why it is only 1 in 5 voters who say they think the Lib Dems were wrong to go into coalition and also that they haven’t forgiven the party for doing so. Everyone else either doesn’t think it was wrong, or has forgiven the party. That matches other data, such as from the British Election Survey for the 2015 election which found that the reaction to the party’s record in coalition from voters was much more ‘meh’ than ‘aaargh’.

So why haven’t the party’s voting intention poll ratings done better?

That’s the issue I addressed when speaking recently at Kensington and Chelsea Liberal Democrats, including the role of campaigning such as that which we saw on Saturday, marching with those from outside the party to campaign on an issue that clearly illustrates the party’s beliefs.

Here I am setting out how the party can recovery further and fight the battle against Brexit more successfully by improving the party’s reputation and raising its relevance:

The core vote strategy of course features in my talk. You can read the pamphlet which kicked off the move in the party to such an approach here.

For more on this topic, sign up for my regular newsletter about the party, Liberal Democrat Newswire.

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4 responses to “Party/leader ratings for Lib Dems now better than Conservatives and Labour”

  1. Those coalition stats are very interesting Mark. Also worth saying that the 1 in 5 voters who haven’t forgiven us for the coalition will be largely made up of Labour/SNP/UKIP voters who would never vote for us in a million years, coalition or no coalition.

  2. Sadly the coalition stats are based on a flawed first question, and are interpreted to support an existing failed (and still failing) viewpoint, not to illuminate our analysis of what is still going wrong.

    The simple fact is that we had support of approx 20% to 25% of the population pre 2010. Now we have the support of about 10%. So whether they have forgiven us or not, or whether they don’t know whether we were right, don’t know whether they have forgiven or don’t know who the Lib Dems are, the simple fact is that they don’t vote for us. So a quick dog whistle “the 1 in 5 voters who haven’t forgiven us for the coalition will be largely made up of Labour/SNP/UKIP voters who would never vote for us in a million years” is sadly looking in the wrong place for personal solace.

    • One of the things picked up on by someone else that I’m repeating (from Mark Pack I’m sure) is a ‘section’ of the longstanding party support was angry at the system and were voting for us against Tories and Labour, without knowing LDs at all. As soon as we went into government they moved to other parties, either Green or UKIP. They never knew who we are other than ‘not the government’, however some will have been bought into the populism of Farage and others, so we may not be getting them back. A far better aim will be to find the people who have supported Labour or Tories and actually have values which align more closely with our party, and build up a core vote.

  3. What I cannot understand is why the Liberal Democrats are getting so little press coverage. Our MPs rarely if ever appear on Question Time or Any Questions and even the newspapers that have been broadly sympathetic to Lib Dems in the past rarely mention us at all. A recent Guardian article on the changing political situation (collapse of two main parties etc) made no reference to Lib Dems. ‘The country needs a moderate centre-ground party’, says Chukka Umunna. One exists already!
    We have a large and growing membership, hundreds of local councillors, an impressive range of well-researched policies but no coverage. What is the national party doing about this? What more can we do locally?

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