Lib Dem leadership contest: what’s moving party members?

A fascinating set of answers to the question I posted on Twitter and Facebook:

Are you a Lib Dem members who has changed your mind so far in the #libdemleadership race – to/from Jo, Ed or undecided? If so, what’s your reason? Be great to hear more about what members are thinking.

My main takeaways from the answers so far are:

  • Very few members feel that a candidate would be a really bad choice for the party (and that’s also reflected in private replies as well as public comments). Far more so than I recall in previous contests, people say they’d be happy with either.
  • That, however, comes with a downside – it also shows that both are struggling to really distinguish themselves from the other.
  • Perceived gravitas is a factor for some in picking Davey over Swinson. Although that comes from both women and men, it’s worth bearing in mind how gendered the concept of gravitas often is.
  • Jo Swinson’s willingness to attack the SNP wins both plaudits and critics – the latter mainly being members in England who see the SNP as a fellow Remain party.
  • Ed Davey, though, is seen as having the more hardline stance about working with other parties – and several people have commented that as a result, they are backing Jo Swinson, preferring her more open approach to working with those outside the party or in other parties.
  • Perhaps because both have put the environment as their top issue other than Brexit, neither is making much headway in winning people over specifically with their green credentials.

For a more rigorous analysis of what members are thinking, I’ll be doing my nearly-traditional leadership election survey shortly. Sign up for Lib Dem Newswire to make sure you don’t miss out.

The 2019 Lib Dem leadership election is being covered by me both in podcast form with Stephen Tall in Never Mind The Bar Charts (subscribe here) and in email newsletter form with Liberal Democrat Newswire (sign up here).


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