Archive for the 'Corbyn' Category


Polling boost for TMay as she takes a “best PM” lead amongst young voters for first time since GE2017

Monday, May 21st, 2018

Corbyn could be losing his advantages with the youth vote

The narrative that started following the shock general election result last June was that Corbyn and his party had managed tap into the youth vote who were turning out in greater numbers than at recent elections.

Much of this can be seen in looking at the age splits to leadership ratings and who would make the best prime minister findings from different pollsters since the election. Certainly up to now Labour and Corbyn have continued to attract the support of the young in greater numbers than the Conservatives.

But the detailed data from the Observer Opinium poll paints a very different picture. In every published survey since the election Opinium had found that the Labour leader had clear leads amongst the young segment to the “best PM” question when the options are TMay or Corbyn.

This had been narrowing, as can be seen in the chart, but Corbyn had retained a constant lead amongst the young until this latest one.

Now Theresa May is the top choice for the 18-34 year old segment with a lead of 4%. Quite why this should be is hard to say given that young voters are much more likely to be pro the EU and hostile to the referendum outcome.

It could be that Corbyn and his party are continuing to be damaged by the equivocation over Brexit and the ongoing difficulties in relation to antisemitism.

As we say with all polling analysis we need to look at further surveys before coming to firm conclusions but this is one to watch.

Mike Smithson


Corbyn’s Opinium net approval ratings trail both Cable and May by 10 points

Saturday, May 19th, 2018

The May Opinium poll for the Observer is just out including what is the only leader approval ratings series from any UK pollster.

The latest numbers are in the chart and TMay’s -8% is exactly the same as last month. Corbyn has improved a point to -18% whiule Cable sees his number move from -18% to -8%.

Opinium’s best PM ratings follow the trend of other pollsters with 36% saying they would prefer TMay as PM, against 23% for Corbyn. Mrs. May’s lead is up 1.

The voting numbers are CON 43 (+3) LAB 39 (-1) LD 6 (-1) UKIP 4 (-1)

Mike Smithson


Corbyn’s approach to Brexit risks alienating the enthusiastic young backers of a year ago

Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

But there are no signs that he cares

The above article is one of a number that have been appearing recently from people who backed Corbyn’s LAB at GE2017 about his approach to Brexit. In many ways why should they be surprised because the manifesto on which the party fought the election was explicit. Labour was for Brexit.

    One of the paradoxes of the surprise failure of TMay to retain the CON majority and the Labour recovery was that the party’s position on leaving the EU was totally at odds with a large proportion of those who voted for it – particularly the young.

We see in the consistency of responses of GE2017 LAB voters to the regular YouGov tracker that about 70% of them think that voting to leave the EU was wrong yet team Corbyn/Milne/McDonnell are pursuing a very different course.

The question is whether the red team can continue with their approach while retaining the voters of 2017. This from Rosie McKenna should be concerning the party.

“I’m a working class kid from a council estate, so Jeremy Corbyn’s promises and policies really spoke to me; the importance of a welfare state taking care of the most disadvantaged in society, funding for our national health service, and ensuring that education is free and accessible to all. They still do.

And yet. Young people like me have never been more disappointed in, and let down by the Labour party than we have post-Brexit. My generation voted overwhelmingly and enthusiastically to Remain – by margins of 4 to 1. We don’t just see the EU as a necessary evil, but a fundamental good. A champion for peace, prosperity and freedom of movement in a continent too often scarred by war and inequality.

Because let me be clear: there is nothing socialist about Brexit. The Labour party – my Labour party – shouldn’t be championing a right-wing Tory Brexit..”

Is pressure going to make a difference? I doubt it. Corbyn has had a fixed view for decades and on this we have learned is that he doesn’t change his mind.

The questions are whether, when and where this is going to have an impact electorally. The failure of the party to gain a council in London on May 4th has been put down to the antisemitism issue which might be masking supporters concerns about Brexit policy.

Lewisham could be interesting.

Mike Smithson


Hard to see how insulting key groups of voters helps LAB’s cause – but hey, the Gammon insulters don’t seem to care

Monday, May 14th, 2018

Mike Smithson


‘Peak Corbyn’ is a myth providing false reassurance to his opponents

Friday, May 11th, 2018

Last week’s local elections were underwhelming for Labour, writes Keiran Pedley but that does not mean Labour is heading for defeat.

As the dust settles on the 2018 local elections, it is clear that Labour did not hit the heights that they hoped to hit. A very strong showing in London offset somewhat by a frustrating lack of progress for the party in the rest of the country. The projected national vote share produced by the BBC suggested a tie, with a share of 35% each for Labour and the Conservatives (Rallings and Thrasher on the other hand gave the Tories a one point lead). A full recap of the results can be found on last weekend’s Polling Matters podcast at the end of this post.

Several leading elections analysts have shown why this result does not bode well for Labour’s hopes of winning the next General Election when it comes (see Matt Singh here and Steve Fisher here). The basic premise being that opposition parties producing the sort of performances that Labour produced last week do not go on to form governments.

History provides an ominous warning for Corbyn’s Labour party then. So how worried should they be?

Well, on the face of it, ‘very worried’ and there are signs that people within Labour are too. An internal Labour Party report, leaked to The Times today read “Overall these results are slightly worse than 2014 and nowhere near the level that oppositions have recorded before winning general elections.” The report goes on to say that, “Labour will need to improve significantly in the non-metropolitan marginals to have any realistic chance of a majority in a future election”. Public polling provides little solace for Labour either. A YouGov poll published on Thursday has the Tories 5 points ahead with May leading Corbyn on who would make the best PM by 14 points.

So all in all, not a lot of good news around for Labour and Jeremy Corbyn. These numbers have prompted some commentators to ask the question of whether we have reached ‘Peak Corbyn’? The idea presumably being that 2017 represented something of a high watermark for the Labour Party under his leadership that is now receding. In short, denying the Tories a majority in 2017 is as far as it goes for Corbyn. He will never be PM.

This may yet to turn out to be true but I think people are getting ahead of themselves by asking this question now. We have a long way to go. I wonder whether a lot of journalists and politicians that never thought Corbyn could win, or cannot reconcile themselves with the prospect, are lulling themselves into a false sense of security based on only a partial analysis of the current political situation. Put simply, the numbers look bad for Labour now but there are reasons to believe they might change in the future.

The problem with the ‘peak Corbyn’ analysis is it places far too much weight on past precedent and nowhere near enough on the political context of the time. The Tories may cheer last week’s local election results and their lead in the polls but the future may not be so rosy. There are still some fundamental facts of political life that they have to contend with. Firstly, they are a minority government negotiating Brexit – the biggest issue of our generation – with no consensus on what they want to achieve and no idea if the E.U. will give it to them.

Secondly, the next General Election will likely be fought by someone other than Theresa May and it is not remotely clear how a Tory leadership contest plays out or if the eventual winner will be any more effective at holding the party together or more popular in the country than May. Finally, politics in Scotland continues to look volatile and it is not certain that Ruth Davidson can sustain her heroics north of the border that kept the Tories in power in 2017 – though of course she might. The point is that the Tories face several major political hurdles this parliament, all in the context that the smallest of swings against them next time will leave them unable to form a government.

None of this necessarily means that Labour will win next time either. Indeed, a Labour majority government looks as far away as ever and the current numbers should be a cause for concern in the party. Nevertheless, we saw how volatile public opinion can be less than a year ago when Corbyn’s Labour dragged a hung parliament out of the jaws of a landslide defeat. The political conditions of our time are unpredictable. For the Tories to get through Brexit negotiations and a leadership change in one piece will be some achievement. If they do not manage it, then public opinion could look very different in a couple of years to how it looks now. Therefore, the idea that we have reached ‘Peak Corbyn’ feels very premature with a fair amount of wishful thinking thrown in for good measure.

Keiran Pedley

Listen to the PB / Polling Matters local elections recap below.


How Corbyn’s LAB compares with predecessors on local election performance

Tuesday, May 8th, 2018

The above chart was published earlier by the Lib Dem blogger Mark Pack who has compared the LAB party shares in all local elections while in opposition going back to Jim Callaghan’s time.

It doesn’t make comfortable reading for those JC supporters who seem to think that their man can do no wrong. For all their noise on social media the chart is pretty clear – Corbyn is even below Miliband on this metric.

I publish this here because of the extraordinary effort and extraordinary claims that some of the leader’s most enthusiastic supporters seem to be making to prove JC’s electability.

Mike Smithson


LAB supporters are deluding themselves if they think an anti-CON rainbow coalition would automatically back Corbyn for PM

Monday, May 7th, 2018

Corbyn’s poor leader ratings highlight the weakness

Ever since general election seat projections like the one from Sky above have appeared LAB supporters and Corbyn enthusiasts have been saying that last Thursday the party won LE2018 and if it had been had a general election then Corbyn would be the one being called to the Palace.

This is based on the unfounded and somewhat arrogant assumption by LAB that all the SNP, LD, PC and GRN MPs would simply line up behind Corbyn to form a workable government to stop the Tories.

There are two things wrong with this: there’s a lack of understanding of what drives other parties and LAB’s current leader has little appeal outside.

The LDs have had their own bitter experience of coalition and it is hard to see them backing LAB while Corbyn is equivocal on Brexit and there’s still the stench of antisemitism hanging over his party. How Labour responds to some upcoming Brexit votes in the commons could muddy the waters for years to come.

    Also leadership polling has consistently shows that LD voters are more hostile to Corbyn than to TMay. Thus the latest Opinium finds 18% of current LD voters saying they approve of Mrs May but only 9% say the same of Corbyn. Even at peak Corbynania last August LD voters were two to one against JC

There’s little love lost between the SNP and LAB and Nicola Sturgeon would surely want a huge concession from Corbyn on constitutional matters in exchange for its backing.

We’ve also got to ask whether Corbyn, given the difficulties he has demonstrated managing the coalition of interests that is the Labour party, has the skills to build and manage a group of other parties. I’d suggest he hasn’t and would find it difficult making the compromises to get and retain support from other parties.

Mike Smithson


Has Labour lost its momentum?

Saturday, May 5th, 2018

Are we past Peak Corbyn or was LE2018 just a bump in the road?

You can tell a lot about how well a party has done by where a leader goes to celebrate their election victories. Theresa May (no doubt unwittingly) re-emphasised her caution-first nature by travelling all the way to Wandsworth: a council the Tories have held since 1978. She could have gone to Nuneaton, where the Tories stripped Labour of a sizable majority (unlike Wandsworth, where it was the Tories losing seats), or to Redditch, Barnet or Basildon – but she didn’t.

Vince Cable, meanwhile, visited the wealthy Remain bastion of Richmond-upon-Thames, where the Lib Dems stormed to a tremendous win; one which by itself accounted for around one-third of their entire national net gains.

But the party HQ which must have had most re-planning to do was surely Labour’s. After ramping up their chances of taking Wandsworth and Westminster, they failed to take either. He could have headed for the former Tory northern jewel of Trafford but instead he headed off to Plymouth. That wasn’t an unreasonable choice – it was Labour’s only direct gain from Con this week – but that fact alone indicates Labour’s failure to move forward significantly.

And moving forward is what oppositions should be doing if they hope to win power at the next GE. Granted, Labour came very close to winning power last year but not only did they not do so but in relative terms, they went backwards on Thursday.

If you match their score against 2014, when these seats were last fought, then the 35-35 level pegging in this year’s national equivalent vote was two points worse than the Lab 31 Con 29 shares last time round (Labour is rather fortunate that a heavily disproportionate number of seats contested this time were in London, where it’s doing better than average, meaning that despite going backwards in the NEV, it ended up with more gains than the Tories). Labour was also two points ahead (37-35) in 2011 and one point ahead in 2016 (31-30), both one year into the new parliament.

Fervent Corbyn supporters will claim (and are claiming) that these historic parallels count for little, in the light of the extraordinary gains made by Labour during the last general election campaign. There’s an obvious truth that no measure of current opinion can accurately predict future elections – because minds do change between the poll and the actual vote and, in the case of local elections, because people are frequently voting on a different basis compared with a general election. Even so, the last two oppositions that went on to win a general election were to be doing much better one year into the parliament. Cameron led the Tories to a 13-point win in 2006, while in 1993, John Smith’s Labour was eight points up.

All of which begs the question: has Corbyn’s bubble burst? Is Labour incapable of turning those hundreds of thousands of members into new, additional votes, despite what ought to be opportune circumstances for an opposition?

As yet, the evidence is inconclusive. We do know that they made a difference when it really mattered last time – but is that a new rule or an aberration? What we do know is that the next election will be fought under different circumstances, with different levels of media coverage, different expectations and probably with a different prime minister and Tory campaign team. That should be enough uncertainty to place substantial question marks on both sides of the equation – but more so on Labour’s

David Herdson