Lib Dem conference

Anthony WellsHead of European Political and Social Research
September 20, 2010, 6:03 PM GMT+0

In advance of the Liberal Democrat's first party conference in power, (which finishes this Wednesday) we surveyed 566 Lib Dem party members. Members remain strongly supportive of the Government, Nick Clegg and the decision to go into coalition, but express concerns over economic policy, reject the idea of a pact with the Tories and, in an ideal world, would prefer a deal with Labour.

  • 58% of Lib Dem members approve of the Government's record, with 23% disapproving. David Cameron's approval rating is +64, Nick Clegg's +70 and Simon Hughes' +51.
  • Only 29% of party members fully agree with the Government's policy of cutting spending to reduce Government borrowing. 28% would like to see borrowing reduced more gradually, and 35% think the Government are right to reduce borrowing quickly, but would rather there were higher taxes and fewer cuts.
  • 78% of party members approve of the decision to enter into coalition with the Conservatives. Asked what the party should have done given the circumstances after the 2010 election 50% think a Conservative coalition was the best solution, 22% would have preferred a deal short of a coalition, 19% would have preferred a deal with Labour.
  • But in a hypothetical hung Parliament situation where the Liberal Democrats could form a majority government with either party, and both offered equally good deals, 46% of Lib Dem members would prefer a deal with Labour. Only 26% would go with the Conservatives.
  • A narrow majority of Lib Dem members (53%) expect the coalition to last the entire length of the Parliament.
  • Lib Dem members reject the idea of an election pact with the Conservatives at the next election by 21% to 66%.
  • On a left right scale 65% of Liberal Democrat members identify themselves as being left-of-centre, with an average score on a scale of -100 (very left wing) to +100 (very right wing) of -32. Nick Clegg is seen as more centrist, with a score of -7. Deputy leader Simon Hughes is closer to the average of party members, with an average score of -42.
  • Survey details and full results
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