Archive for the 'Leader approval ratings' Category


If indeed GfK is part of a conspiracy against Corbyn then how come other pollsters have similar numbers?

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

There’s a fierce attack in the Canary on GfK and its research director known well to PBers, Kieran Pedley.

The chart says it all and shows all three sets of published leader ratings in March. And you know what – all the numbers are very close – the Canary favourite Corbyn is doing appallingly however you look at the numbers.

So if there is a conspiracy against Labour’s bed-blocker leader then Opinium and Ipsos MORI are involed as well.

The Corbyn cultists have simply got to accept that their man is electoral poison.

Mike Smithson


Fifty shades of grey voters. Corbyn’s punishing polling with older voters.

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

Corbyn is doing worse with older voters, and history shows older voters turn out to vote and are a growing demographic.

A few weeks ago whilst looking at the polling entrails I was struck by how much of a lead with older voters Mrs May was developing over Jeremy Corbyn in the best Prime Minister polling. As we can see with the chart above, there’s a clear correlation with the older you get, the more you prefer Mrs May as Prime Minister.

With the recent YouGov poll, just 7% of the overs 65s think Corbyn would make the best Prime Minister, whilst 75% thought Mrs May would be.

Whilst some of this is an incumbency bonus because Mrs May is Prime Minister, these figures are explained because of the poor esteem Corbyn is held in by the electorate as evidenced in most polls.

When looking at how the over 65s plan to vote at the next general election from the most recent polls in the chart below, there’s some occasionally eye watering figures that appear, as Ipsos MORI looking like an outlier, with four of the regular pollsters showing the Tories leading Labour by at least 41% with the over 65s. This is something I shall be tracking over the next few months on PB.

With the recent Opinium and YouGov polls, Labour are now in third place with the over 65s, behind UKIP. With YouGov Labour are only 3% ahead of the fourth placed Lib Dems.

Adam Ludlow of ComRes pointed out that by 2020 “people aged 65+ will make up a quarter of the adult population” and coupled with the greater propensity of older voters to vote, these figures tend to presage an absolute shellacking for a Corbyn led Labour party at a general election, to use a popular culture reference, at the next general election a Jeremy Corbyn led Labour party is set to play the role of Anastasia Steele to the electorate’s Christian Grey.


A couple of technical points about the second  chart. 

i) The ICM figure is from the VI before the spiral of silence adjustment, as the post spiral of silence figures are presented as headline figures and not broken down by demographics. The Tory lead with all voters over Labour before the spiral of silence was 20%, afterwards it became a 18% Tory lead.

ii) Ipsos MORI split their figures into two groups, 65 to 74 year olds, and 75 year olds and over, to ensure consistency for comparative purposes, I’ve averaged these two out to get an overall aged 65 and over figure.


Theresa May is still the only politician with a net favourable rating with the voters YouGov finds

Saturday, February 4th, 2017

YouGov’s latest favourable ratings follows the pattern from the end of November where Mrs May is the only politician with a net positive rating, her lead over Mr Corbyn has widened from 40% at the end of November to 46% now, mostly because Mr Corbyn’s ratings have moved from minus 35% to minus 40%, for this Labour leader it appears things can’t get only better for him and his party. The only positive Labour and Team Corbyn can glean is that Mrs May is down from her honeymoon high of 12% net favourability rating last Autumn.

The fieldwork for this poll was Thursday and Friday of this week, given all the publicity Trump’s had this week, his ratings have improved by 11% since the end of November, which might be explained by the positive pro Brexit comments/post Brexit deal comments President Trump has made.

Though Trumpers shouldn’t get too excited, his net rating of minus 51% is still pretty dire and only Vladimir Putin has worse ratings than Trump does, only Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer could put a positive spin on these figures for Trump.

If you want to sum up the difference in world views of Remain and Leavers, those that vote Remain, they have a net favourable rating of minus 84% of Trump, whereas with Leavers, Trump’s net rating is ‘only’ minus 22%.

For those betting on Sir Keir Starmer as next Labour leader (and those hoping inside Labour that he’s the man to replace Corbyn), Starmer’s rating don’t look that impressive, but he has the highest don’t know figure on this list, with 75% of voters having no opinion on him, the more higher profile he becomes, I suspect his ratings will improve.



Analysing the best PM polling – is it as good for Theresa as it appears?

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

Graphic: The most recent YouGov polling on who would make the best PM

It has become a regular occurrence.  At least once a month, YouGov release an opinion poll.  Each recent month, the Conservatives have recorded a very comfortable lead over Labour.  And each month, Theresa May has recorded an enormous lead over Jeremy Corbyn in the public’s assessment of who would be the best Prime Minister.  This has widely been taken to mean that the Conservatives’ position is even stronger than the headline polling suggests, given the quasi-presidential nature of the modern British politics. Is that true?

First things first, this is not generally thought to be the most reliable measure of a party leader’s standing.  The Prime Minister has the institutional advantage of actually being in the job, making it easy for the public to imagine them in the role.  For example, Gordon Brown still led by this measure in early 2008, well after the botched election that never was that was widely thought to have punctured his credibility.  But it’s worth looking at because it in part reflects the institutional advantages that any government has over the opposition.

When Theresa May took over as Prime Minister, the initial split on this measure when YouGov first polled in July 2016 was May 52% Corbyn 19% Don’t Know 30%.  In the most recent YouGov poll earlier this month, this had moved to May 47% Corbyn 14% Don’t know 39%.

It is perhaps not surprising that Theresa May has lost some of her early support – it is usual for the gloss to come off honeymoons slowly – but Jeremy Corbyn, far from profiting, has seen his own position deteriorate.  So both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn have lost supporters to “Don’t Know” at an equal rate over this period.

There has been much chortling among Conservative supporters about Jeremy Corbyn being outpolled by “Don’t Know” but this is not in fact unusual for a party leader.  In five years of YouGov’s polling, Ed Miliband never beat “Don’t Know” once (though he came within one percentage point twice).  David Cameron also spent most of the last Parliament lagging behind “Don’t Know”, after 2011 only clearly overtaking it in the last two months of polling.

Nor is Jeremy Corbyn’s 14% unprecedentedly low.  YouGov have been polling on this question since 2003 and Iain Duncan Smith twice recorded 14% on this measure, regularly lagging behind Charles Kennedy in third place.  This, however, is not perhaps a comforting example for Mr Corbyn’s supporters.

Two main things stand out about the party leaders’ respective standings on this measure.  First, Theresa May is polling at historically high levels.  It is rare for either party’s leader to poll in the 40s with YouGov, never mind the 50s.  The Conservatives can indeed be quite pleased about this.

Secondly and in my view more importantly, the “Don’t Know” levels are surprisingly high. They are not unprecedentedly high and indeed throughout the last Parliament they quite regularly topped 40%.  However, if conventional political wisdom is to be believed, Jeremy Corbyn is out of his depth, a joke and far too extreme for the British public.  Yet nearly 40% find themselves unable to give a preference for Theresa May, presumably finding this a difficult choice.  Considering this is a relative judgement not an absolute judgement, this suggests either that conventional wisdom is writing Jeremy Corbyn off too quickly or that Theresa May has so far failed to particularly impress large chunks of the public even when measured against a very undemanding target.  Since Jeremy Corbyn is only persuading 14% of the public of his relative merits, I lean towards the latter explanation.

YouGov’s approach is not the only measure of leadership popularity.  Ipsos MORI in particular have polled on satisfaction ratings for many years.  And on this measure also Theresa May’s figures, while good, are not that amazing for a newly-installed Prime Minister.  David Cameron, for example, had higher satisfaction ratings in his first few months in office (only coming to an end at the time of the university tuition fees saga).  Given the exceptionally weak opposition that she faces, she might have hoped to have been doing better still during her political honeymoon.

As the public are getting to know her, her net satisfaction ratings – as is to be expected – are starting to decline.  Those who previously gave her the benefit of the doubt while they were making their minds up have now decided to give her the thumbs down.  This decline will probably continue.

As always, you can look at the polls and see what you want to see.  But as I hope I have demonstrated, there is at least the possibility that Theresa May’s poll ratings flatter to deceive.  She’s safe enough while she’s faced with a useless opponent.  If she finds herself up against someone more competent, she might find herself struggling far more quickly than most pundits currently could imagine.

Alastair Meeks


New entrant Ed Balls moves immediately to 3rd place in latest YouGov favourability ratings

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

Both Theresa May & Corbyn see drops

Here they are – the latest YouGov favourability ratings, the polling where the site has chosen who/what should be included.

The first time we did this was in August and since then all the UK politicians have seen net drops. Ed Balls, included after his Strictly successes, was not part of the August list.

In the summer TMay was still enjoying her honeymoon and had a net +12%. That’s now down to +5% with 46% favourable to 41% unfavourable. Boris has seen a decline from -5% in August to -13% now (38-51). Meanwhile, just on his heels, comes Strictly star Ed Balls with 32-47%. So he’s in negative territory but nothing like as bad as Mr. Corbyn who has 26-51 representing a net move since last time of minus 10.

Tony Blair might be thinking of some sort of UK come-back but his ratings, 14-74 are awful and he is only just ahead of Putin and Trump.

Donald Trump gets the best numbers from GE2015 UKIP voters who split 45% to 49%. They also have the most favourable view of Mr. Putin.

Mike Smithson


Latest leader approval polling once again highlights Corbyn’s failure to make any breakthrough with his own age group

Monday, November 21st, 2016


Who should we include in the next PB/YouGov Favourability ratings?

Friday, November 18th, 2016


In August PB was able to have its own YouGov favourability ratings. I am pleased to say that we are now in a position to go forward with a similar survey.

Last time we had:-

Barack Obama
Hillary Clinton
Donald Trump
Vladimir Putin
Angela Merkel
Conservative Party
Labour Party
Liberal Democrats
Theresa May
Boris Johnson
David Davis
Phillip Hammond
Jeremy Corbyn
Tim Farron
David Cameron
MPs generally
Your MP

Clearly some of these are no longer relevant although I would like to continue with quite a few of them so we can make comparisons.

Just looking at the list who should be taken out and who should be included.

Your suggestions would be most helpful.

Mike Smithson


Analysis: Corbyn has the worst end first year satisfaction ratings of any LAB leader in opposition

Sunday, September 18th, 2016

Brown, who was of course PM, had the largest negative numbers

This last week has marked the first anniversary of Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour party and I thought it worth checking the standing of other LAB leaders at this stage.

As can been seen from the chart Gordon Brown was doing worse but of those who were in opposition Corbyn’s numbers are the worst.

Interestingly the LAB leader with the best ratings was, of course, Tony Blair and he was the only one to win working Commons majorities.

Mike Smithson