Archive for the 'Leader approval ratings' Category


Both main party leaders have seen their ratings decline since the last conference season – Corbyn’s more May’s

Thursday, October 4th, 2018

Corbyn needs to turn things round for LAB to have a chance

The end of the Party Conference season is a good time to look back at the past year through the prism of the Ipsos MORI leader satisfaction ratings. This is part of the longest running polling series in the UK and is now in its fifth decade.

As can be seen from the chart both leaders have experienced a marked decline in the levels of satisfaction over the past year but the one that has suffered the most is Mr Corbyn.

It’s very easy to seek to correlate numbers like this with specific events and I am a great believer in the maxim – don’t confuse correlation with causation. But there’s little doubt that things turned for the Labour leader in March which saw the Salisbury attacks and Corbyn’s responses to that together with the emergence of anti-semitism as a big issue in the Labour Party.

At the moment it looks as though Corbyn will be the one of the two who will still be in place at the next general election with a large consensus within the Conservative Party that Mrs May will step down at some stage after Brexit next year.

We should expect any new leader and Prime Minister to get something of a ratings honeymoon as all the focus will be on him or her for the first few months. Remember what happened in 2007/8 to Gordon Brown during his first few months at Number 10.

I don’t need to remind PBers that I put a lot more trust in ratings than I do in voting intention polls when you are actually asking respondees not for an opinion but an indication of what they might do in a few years time.

Mike Smithson


TMay ends the week extending her satisfaction margin over Corbyn

Friday, September 21st, 2018

The latest numbers in what is by far the longest series of leader ratings in British politics, the satisfied/dissatisfied figures from Ipsos-MORI, are out and show TMay just about holding steady but with a sizeable drop for Corbyn. Fieldwork took place before yesterday’s EU summit in Salzburg.

As can be seen both are in negative territory but Corbyn’s on net minus 42% while TMay is at minus 33%. To put that into context – in July 2017 Corbyn was on a net minus 1 while TMay was on minus 25.

What’s really good about these numbers is that the pollster has been asking the same questions in the same manner for nearly five decades so we can make historical comparisons.

    Amongst LAB voters fewer than half, 48%, say they are satisfied with Corbyn compared with 44% saying dissatisfied. This might not fit with the narrative that his supporters try to generate.

By comparison the beleaguered Mrs. May has 56% of CON voters giving her a positive rating with 35% negative.

In all likelihood Corbyn will still be there at the next general election whilst TMay probably won’t.

Mike Smithson


Labour’s Oldies’ headache: Turnout levels reverting to GE2015 levels

Monday, September 17th, 2018

And will young voter enthusiasm be retained?

Unlike Alastair Meeks on the previous thread I am far less certain that Labour, certainly under Corbyn, have a good chance of winning most seats, let alone getting a majority at the next election.

The boundaries, the lack of any discernable progress in Scotland and the ongoing blowback from Corbyn’s cack-handed handling of the antisemitism issue are going to make it hard.

This thread is about another potential challenge – the changes in turnout levels between the last two election shown in the above chart. These were, of course, the reason why many pollsters got GE2017 wrong. Quite simply their turnout modelling was linked back to GE2015. As can be seen there was a huge increase in levels in the younger age groups which was combined with reduced turnout rates in the older ones.

This has been put down to a keenness at the time for younger voters to respond Labour, its manifesto and leader. There was also the Conservatives manifesto with, of course, Nick Timothy’s dementia tax. It was that move three weeks before polling that saw the huge turn around in the Tory standing, partly driven by lower oldie turnout that led to its failure to hold onto its majority.

But that is all history. A big question for the next election is whether turnout levels are set in strone or could we see a reversal back to GE2015? If older turnout levels return this is not good news for LAB. More oldies casting their votes means bigger CON shares.

At the younger end of the voting spectrum we cannot assume that Labour and Corbyn will retain the attractiveness of last time and retain the turnout levels that we saw in June last year. Certainly the latest polling suggests an easing off.

    The weekend’s Opinium poll for the Observer had just 38% of 18-34 year olds approving of Corbyn compared with 33% saying they disapproved. This compares with just 15% of oldies(65+) approving of Corbyn with a whopping 70% disapproving.

It is the same pattern with recent leader ratings from other pollsters.

Mike Smithson


Corbyn’s leader ratings have slumped sharply since the start of the year

Wednesday, August 29th, 2018

I’ve just discovered a Wikipedia page which seeks to record all the main leader ratings from the leading pollsters. The page describes itself as being confined to “approval ratings” which it doesn’t. Instead we see a range of four or five different formats.

Unfortunately the page isn’t quite as comprehensive as it suggests and I have had to add to the polls covered in my version of the spreadsheet above of 2018 ratings for Mr Corbyn.

The trend for the year is clear and there has been a marked negative movement for the current Labour leader since January. The latest numbers from YouGov have him at his lowest level since GE17.

Mike Smithson


Voting intention polls – the fools’ gold of predicting elections. Leader ratings do it better

Monday, August 20th, 2018

A week before GE17 and TMay’s best PM dominance is crumbling

4 days before GE17: few pay attention to Ipsos’s satisfaction numbers

PB regulars will know that every so often I have a little rant about how leader ratings are a far better guide to election outcomes than voting intention polls.

At the top I highlight Tweets by myself and TSE posted in the final week before the last election when almost all the polls were still showing the Tories with a pretty good lead and heading for a comfortable majority while the leader ratings were signalling that the Tories might be in trouble. In its final poll YouGov had Corbyn level-pegging with May for best PM.

It wasn’t as though this was a new phenomena. Two years earlier at the 2015 General Election the same thing happened. The voting polls had it neck and neck yet the leader ratings had Cameron maintaining a clear margin over Ed Miliband.

Four years earlier in 2011 the big news was the collapse of Labour in the Scottish Parliament elections and a majority for the SNP. Less that 10 weeks beforehand the voting polls were suggesting a LAB majority. The eventual outcome was all highly predictable, as I noted here at the time, because Alex Salmond was getting so much better ratings than his Labour opponent.

I could go back with example after example where the voting intention polls really were not a good guide to the general election. The most striking one was GE1992 when John Major had double digit lead over Neil Kinnock in the ratings but was level pegging in the voting polls. Major, of course, had his surprise victory and went on to win an overall majority.

    The reason I would suggest is that opinion polls are far better when they are doing just that – asking people their opinions. With voting intention questions respondees are expected to predict whether they will take part in an event which may be five years hence and also to indicate how they might make a choice. That I would suggest is a very difficult thing to get right.

I should say that the voting polls do often come good but if they are showing a different picture from the leader ratings go with the latter.

At the moment with the voting polls pretty much tied I would say the worry for Labour is that Corbyn is still quite some way down on the best prime minister ratings.

Mike Smithson


LAB voters have become much less enamoured with their leader since GE2017

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

The stance on antisemitism, Brexit or are other factors at play?

The chart above shows the net satisfaction ratings for Jeremy Corbyn from Ipsos MORI in every published poll since the last general election. Note how this was remaining relatively solid until April this year when there was a dramatic drop which has remained.

The trend refelects as well with Labours position in the national voting polls. From the general election until mid March Corbyn’s team were doing pretty well with leads over the Tories in most of the public surveys. Then it shifted down in late March where it has stayed

One of the dangers in polling analysis is to equate correlation with causation but two main political developments have had happened in the period: the increased clamour within the LAB movement over the party’s Brexit position and and, of course, antisemitism.

The latter became headline news towards the end of March when Corbyn’s approving comments on what was clearly an antisemitic mural was highlighted and sparked off demonstrations against the party and him. Since then we have had the efforts by LAB to narrow the definition of antisemitism which has produced a huge negative response from the Jewish Communities and others concerned with the issue.

We saw in the May local elections in London that the party did very badly in areas with largest Jewish communities and, in spite of a strong polling position in the capital failed to take a single Council.

I’m far from convinced that LAB would win a general election if it were to be called in the coming months.

Mike Smithson


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