LDV members’ survey (5): what you think of the Lib Dem shadow cabinet

by Stephen Tall on September 12, 2008

All this week, Lib Dem Voice is publishing the results of our September survey of party members conducted through Liberty Research via our private members’ forum. This is the second of our monthly surveys – if you have ideas for future survey questions, please email me at stephen@libdemvoice.org.

Today we turn our attention to the performance of the Liberal Democrat shadow cabinet. Reproduced below, in alphabetical order, are the full results of our survey, which shows how effective each member is felt by members to be, together with a net satisfaction rating (those who think they’re effective minus those think they’re ineffective). The list is a long one, so here’s the skinny:

Top 5

Vince Cable +96.9%
Norman Baker +63.6%
Chris Huhne +62.5%
David Laws +41.8%
Steve Webb +32.2%

Unsurprisingly, Vince tops the table with a Stalinist 97% approval rating. Norman Baker and Chris Huhne continue to show their popularity among party activists, both topping 60%, while David Laws and Steve Webb have (though probably perceived as being on opposite ‘wings’ of the party) both demonstrated a firm and popular grip on their respective portfolios which has earned widespread respect.

Bottom 5

Sarah Teather -14.6%
Roger Williams -14.6%
Michael Moore -20.8%
Nick Harvey -23.9%
Lembit Opik -35.4%

No real surprises here, either. Lembit, while he has his fans, is felt by many to distract from his housing role even when he is making very good points, while Nick Harvey’s defence of retaining Trident has marked him out among many. Michael Moore, though he shone briefly as Ming’s deputy at foreign affairs hasn’t quite found his shadow cabinet niche since. Roger Williams suffers from a low national profile, while Sarah Teather – though highly talented – seems oddly misplaced in her Business and Enterprise role.

Full results below.

Danny Alexander, Chair of the Manifesto Group
Very effective: 9.4%
Quite effective: 26.0%
Quite ineffective: 8.3%
Very ineffective : 6.3%
Don’t know / No opinion: 50.0%
Net satisfaction: +20.8%

Norman Baker, Shadow Secretary of State for Transport

Very effective: 27.1%
Quite effective: 46.9%
Quite ineffective: 8.3%
Very ineffective : 2.1%
Don’t know / No opinion: 15.6%
Net satisfaction: +63.6%

Jeremy Browne, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Very effective: 7.3%
Quite effective: 27.1%
Quite ineffective: 15.6%
Very ineffective: 6.3%
Don’t know / No opinion: 43.8%
Net satisfaction: +12.5%

Paul Burstow, Chief Whip
Very effective: 4.2%
Quite effective: 20.8%
Quite ineffective: 21.9%
Very ineffective: 6.3%
Don’t know / No opinion: 46.9%
Net satisfaction: -3.2%

Vince Cable, Deputy Leader and Shadow Chancellor

Very effective: 89.6%
Quite effective: 8.3%
Quite ineffective: 1.0%
Very ineffective: 0.0%
Don’t know / No opinion: 1.0%
Net satisfaction: +96.9%

Edward Davey, Shadow Foreign Secretary, and Chair of Campaigns and Communications

Very effective: 13.5%
Quite effective: 42.7%
Quite ineffective: 24.0%
Very ineffective: 12.5%
Don’t know / No opinion: 7.3%
Net satisfaction: +19.7%

Lynne Featherstone, Spokesperson for Youth and Equality
Very effective: 20.8%
Quite effective: 30.2%
Quite ineffective: 14.6%
Very ineffective: 7.3%
Don’t know / No opinion: 27.1%
Net satisfaction: +29.1%

Don Foster, Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, and Olympics

Very effective: 5.2%
Quite effective: 28.1%
Quite ineffective: 17.7%
Very ineffective: 14.6%
Don’t know / No opinion: 34.4%
Net satisfaction: +1.0%

Julia Goldsworthy, Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Very effective: 9.4%
Quite effective: 38.5%
Quite ineffective: 26.0%
Very ineffective: 7.3%
Don’t know / No opinion: 18.8%
Net satisfaction: +14.6%

Nick Harvey, Shadow Defence Secretary

Very effective: 6.3%
Quite effective: 17.7%
Quite ineffective: 26.0%
Very ineffective: 21.9%
Don’t know / No opinion: 28.1%
Net satisfaction: -23.9%

David Howarth, Shadow Solicitor General

Very effective: 13.5%
Quite effective: 29.2%
Quite ineffective: 9.4%
Very ineffective: 4.2%
Don’t know / No opinion: 43.8%
Net satisfaction: +29.1%

Simon Hughes, Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, and Party President

Very effective: 10.4%
Quite effective: 35.4%
Quite ineffective: 28.1%
Very ineffective: 14.6%
Don’t know / No opinion: 11.5%
Net satisfaction: +3.1%

Chris Huhne, Shadow Home Secretary, and Shadow Secretary for Justice
Very effective: 30.2%
Quite effective: 49.0%
Quite ineffective: 12.5%
Very ineffective: 4.2%
Don’t know / No opinion: 4.2%
Net satisfaction: +62.5%

Susan Kramer, Families Spokesperson, Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Very effective: 7.3%
Quite effective: 29.2%
Quite ineffective: 24.0%
Very ineffective: 5.2%
Don’t know / No opinion: 34.4%
Net satisfaction: +7.3%

Norman Lamb, Shadow Health Secretary
Very effective: 18.8%
Quite effective: 37.5%
Quite ineffective: 19.8%
Very ineffective: 6.3%
Don’t know / No opinion: 17.7%
Net satisfaction: +30.2%

David Laws, Shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families
Very effective: 18.8%
Quite effective: 41.7%
Quite ineffective: 10.4%
Very ineffective: 8.3%
Don’t know / No opinion: 20.8%
Net satisfaction: +41.8%

Lord McNally, Lib Dem Leader in the House of Lords

Very effective: 7.3%
Quite effective: 36.5%
Quite ineffective: 14.6%
Very ineffective: 5.2%
Don’t know / No opinion: 36.5%
Net satisfaction: +24.0%

Michael Moore, Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, and Shadow Secretary for Scotland and Northern Ireland

Very effective: 4.2%
Quite effective: 14.6%
Quite ineffective: 20.8%
Very ineffective: 18.8%
Don’t know / No opinion: 36.5%
Net satisfaction: -20.8%

Lembit Opik, Shadow Minister for Housing
Very effective: 4.2%
Quite effective: 19.8%
Quite ineffective: 17.7%
Very ineffective: 41.7%
Don’t know / No opinion: 16.7%
Net satisfaction: -35.4%

Willie Rennie, Chair of Parliamentary Campaigns
Very effective: 7.3%
Quite effective: 24.0%
Quite ineffective: 19.8%
Very ineffective: 7.3%
Don’t know / No opinion: 41.7%
Net satisfaction: +4.2%

Sarah Teather, Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

Very effective: 5.2%
Quite effective: 25.0%
Quite ineffective: 29.2%
Very ineffective: 15.6%
Don’t know / No opinion: 25.0%
Net satisfaction: -14.6%

Steve Webb, Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Energy, Food and Rural Affairs
Very effective: 19.8%
Quite effective: 38.5%
Quite ineffective: 16.7%
Very ineffective: 9.4%
Don’t know / No opinion: 15.6%
Net satisfaction: +32.2%

Roger Williams, Shadow Secretary of State for Wales

Very effective: 3.1%
Quite effective: 6.3%
Quite ineffective: 16.7%
Very ineffective: 7.3%
Don’t know / No opinion: 66.7%
Net satisfaction: -14.6%

Stephen Williams, Shadow Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills
Very effective: 5.2%
Quite effective: 16.7%
Quite ineffective: 18.8%
Very ineffective: 13.5%
Don’t know / No opinion: 45.8%
Net satisfaction: -10.4%

Jenny Willott, Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Very effective: 11.5%
Quite effective: 21.9%
Quite ineffective: 20.8%
Very ineffective: 8.3%
Don’t know / No opinion: 37.5%
Net satisfaction: +4.3%

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No comments

You wrote previously that “Given the tendency of party members to be critical … Nick can probably feel pretty relaxed” about his approval rating of 31%.

In that case, with 97% Vince Cable must be dancing on the ceiling!

by Clegg's Candid Friend on September 12, 2008 at 9:57 am. Reply #

Some very high Don’t know/No opinion scores for some there which suggests that they are simply unknown (or what they’re doing is unknown) even to the politically aware…
Not a great endorsement of them :/

by Tristan Mills on September 12, 2008 at 10:00 am. Reply #

Norman Lamb is doing really well – particularly in the area of mental health – he deserves to be up there.

by john on September 12, 2008 at 10:34 am. Reply #

I disagree, Tristan.

The DK/NO option is well understood to mean neither positive or negative, so until we can disentangle the two we simply cannot know whether the view is neutral or unknown.

However I tend to agree with you in that there is a strong link between ‘more communication’ and ‘better communication’.

by Oranjepan on September 12, 2008 at 10:35 am. Reply #

Tristan, we know these people, so we are bound to be more critical; bearing that in mind a positive rating is more difficult than you might think!

I feel this is very much what we would expect, isn’t it? I would agree that Sarah’s post is probably not where she would want to be or should be. I’m VERY PLEASED to see how well David Howarth, my local LD MP is doing – though not at all surprised! Steve Webb? The only one I would disagree on, I’m afraid. If Vince gets a net 96.9%, I’d expect to see Steve around 98.5%.

by Martin Land on September 12, 2008 at 10:35 am. Reply #

Tristan – to be fair that is the nature of online polls that include an “indifferent” option – most people do these in their coffee breaks and don’t want to spend hours agonising over each answer.

Makes sense to remove the option altogether.

As for Clegg’s rating, I’m surprised by the number of people who are rated higher than him.

by James Graham on September 12, 2008 at 10:40 am. Reply #

Couple of points :

I’m amazed that anybody outside the rarified atmosphere of Westminster and/or legal circles would have the faintest idea what a “Shadow Solicitor General” does, never mind whether David Howarth does it well !!! I met David during the C&N byelection, but don’t recall solicitor generalling being a big issue on the Market Square !!

One other (tongue in cheek) observation. Wonder if we have any members who would regard “quite” as a stronger position than “very”. Is xxxxx quite ineffective or very ineffective? ‘Oh, he’s quite ineffective’ [meaning totally ineffective, as opposed to meaning rather ineffective]. Such are the subtleties of your strange English language ……

by crewegwyn on September 12, 2008 at 11:01 am. Reply #

Julia Goldsworthy should be at the bottom of the list (is there a “below bottom place” category?). She is an authoritarian conservative in favour of marshal law for young people. What is she doing in the Shadow Cabinet in the first place? I thought our spokespeople were supposed to be liberals.

One or two comments:

Steve Webb has the handicap of a Birmingham accent. He is actually a lot better than he looks.

Norman Baker’s high rating is welcome. More power to his elbow.

Lembit has terrible judgment about women, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a good politician. When he opens his mouth he does tend to talk sense.

Jeremy Browne ought to do better. He suffers from a low media profile. Perhaps Mr Clegg should put him in the spotlight more.

by Sesenco on September 12, 2008 at 11:17 am. Reply #

Lembit may talk sense but being in the press for all the wrong reasons and being filmed doing, amongst other things, a flippin’ Segway advert and being on a TV show featuring – what was it? – a man playing a piano with his penis?

Had I my way, I know where I’d like to see Lembit Opik…Not in the House of Commons, for one…

by Liam Pennington on September 12, 2008 at 12:15 pm. Reply #

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