Archive for the 'Leader approval ratings' Category


TMay falls further behind Corbyn in latest YouGov favourability ratings

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

And CON voters are moving away from Boris

Mike Smithson


Labour’s Brighton exuberance over Corbyn isn’t supported by his leader ratings

Monday, September 25th, 2017

Things have barely moved since June 8th

Opinium – Leader Approval ratings

Ipsos-MORI – Leader Satisfaction Ratings

The former BBC Political Research chief, David Cowling, has produced the above tables so we can track how leader ratings have moved over the past six months. These are important because historically they have a good record on pointing to electoral outcomes. The GE2015 outcome would have been less of a shock if we’d tracked EdM’s personal numbers rather than the voting intention polls.

The mainstays of leader ratings, the pollsters that do it at least once a month are Opinium and Ipsos-MORI. The two ask a different question but the broad picture is the same on Corbyn. He’s slipped back from his post-general election high.

Meanwhile Mrs. May is making something of a recovery though her position is miles away from the 20% plus net positives that she enjoyed in the weeks after declaring her intention of holding an election.

It used to be that parties got polling boosts in the surveys immediately after their conferences. Whether that will hold good this tie we’ll have to see.

Mike Smithson


The Lord Adonis guide to predicting elections: The best leader wins – nothing else matters

Saturday, September 9th, 2017

The LAB peer and former cabinet minister, Andrew Adonis, has a fascinating essay in the latest edition of Prospect on the best guide to election forecasting. His conclusion is encapsulated in the headline above – the party with the leader perceived to be best wins and nothing else matters.

He opens by recalling a Guardian article by Jonathan Freedland when Brown was PM and when many in the Labour party were demanding a new debate on “the issues”

Freedland cautioned that “people do not believe in ideas: they believe in people who believe in ideas.” The moment I read those words, a penny dropped, and my conviction has become stronger with each passing year I have spent in politics, that the battle of ideas in politics—indeed in life—cannot be comprehended separately from the people who hold and espouse those ideas.

This is a view I have long espoused noting that the leader ratings in the elections where the polls were out on voting intention (1992, and 2015 for instance) were a better guide to the eventual outcomes.

Adonis has produced the above ratings on every UK and US election since 1944. The numbers for each main party leader/presidential are derived not from polling but his personal assessment. He notes:-

“. Instead, “leadership points” are given to the two individual leaders contending for power on a 15-point scale. Up to 10 points are awarded for raw leadership talent, and up to another five for fitting with the times. The “winner” is the candidate with most points.”

His ratings appear broadly about right though, no doubt, many would quibble.

So his overall verdict that only in one of all the US and UK election since 1944 did the person perceived as not the best leader win is derived from his own numbers. That does not make the analysis or the main point wrong.

Elections are about choosing those we wish to lead us and if we are broadly satisfied with someone on that count then we are generally more willing to accept policy positions that we are less happy about. We see this in those polling tests when we can observe changed levels of support for an policy if we link a leader’s name to the proposal. Thus in the run-up to GE2015 the EdM plan to bring in energy price controls attracted greater levels of support when his name was not linked to the plan.

Mike Smithson


The GE2017 gloss starts to come off Corbyn

Friday, August 18th, 2017

His YouGov favourability drops a net 13% on June

For only the second time since the shock General Election outcome YouGov has carried out a favourability poll on the main parties and their leaders and the contrast with the post election survey is striking.

Theresa May is moving up a notch though still in deep negative territory. She was a minus 34 – that’s down to 27%.

Corbyn is going in the other direction. He was level pegging in June and is now a net minus 13%. So overall the PM has moved a net 20 points closer.

Given his position on BREXIT Corbyn’s remain voter split is a surprising 53% favourable to 39% unfavourable. Amongst Leavers it is 68% unfavourable to 25% favourable – numbers which suggest that that Labour’s creative ambivalence is continuing to have a political impact.

The YouGov numbers also allow us to compare leader ratings with how the sample viewed their parties. Both LAB and CON rated higher than their leaders by 3 and 6 points respectively. The only recent leader who generally polled better than his party was Cameron.

Mike Smithson



At last! Mr. Trump shakes hands with a leader who has worse leader ratings than he does – Mrs. May

Sunday, July 9th, 2017

One of the most worrying features for Mrs. May following her failed GE17 gamble and her determination to stay in the job has been the sharp move downwards in her leader ratings. Whether the format has been about favourability, satisfaction, approval or doing well/badly she has seen a very sharp reversal since June 8th.

Trump has had poor ratings right from the start and in recent weeks the President has seen his net favourability numbers down at a net minus 25%. The trend is getting worse.

    But for all Trump’s numbers amongst US voters are poor he is not yet down at the levels being experienced by Mrs. May amongst British voters.

The post general election polling has been really bad for the Tories and TMay. Recent polling from YouGov had TMay’s favourability at a net minus 34% – a picture that is broadly the same as other pollsters. The latest ICM had just 28% say she was doing a “good job” as PM with 54% saying “bad job”.

I’ve long argued that the trend in leader ratings is as good, if not better, pointer to electoral outcomes than voting intention numbers. Indeed in the lead up to June 8th Corbyn enjoyed a significant boost in his numbers which were broadly over-looked because they did not fit the prevailing “CON landslide” narrative.

Mike Smithson


It is the trend in TMay’s YouGov “best PM” ratings that should really worry the Tories

Friday, June 23rd, 2017

The miniscule lead with YouGov that Corbyn now enjoys as “best PM” is not what should concern her party but the trend which is illustrated in my chart above.

It all peaked in the first polling after she made the brave, and in retrospect disastrous, decision in April to go for a general election three years ahead of schedule. Then she was a walloping 39% ahead.

As can be seen this has moved steadily downwards ever since and now she is behind.

    The election campaign exposed her weaknesses to such an extent that it is hard to see how she can recover.

Her attempt to avoid media scrutiny and the manner she merely repeated platitudes when pressed on key issues didn’t go down well. Not taking part in a leaders’ debate was a mistake as was avoiding programmes like Woman’s Hour.

My view is that TMay was not helped by the manner of her election as CON leader last July. If she had secured the post by going through the Tory members ballot her campaigning skills would have been enhanced and she’d have been better able to cope with the scrutiny of a general election campaign.

Andrea Leadsom pulling out after the race had been reduced to the final two in the MP ballots was bad news for her.

Her now poor leader ratings are going to be used against her even assuming that she gets through next week’s Queen’s Speech vote.

Will she survive? It is becoming less likely.

Mike Smithson


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.