Archive for the 'Pollsters/polling' Category


77% of non Labour voters say Labour has the wrong leader and 73% say Labour has the wrong policies

Saturday, February 25th, 2017

This poll, like the result in Copeland, is a harbinger of a truly awful general election result for Labour. When will Corbyn take responsibility?

ComRes have conducted a poll for The Sunday Mirror, and if you’re Jeremy Corbyn or a Labour supporter it makes me for painful reading, the poll shows

A damning poll after Labour’s by-election disaster shows more than a third of the party’s voters think Jeremy Corbyn should be replaced as leader.

And almost one in six believe the party does not have the right ­policies to win a general election.

A fifth of Labour voters feel the party is too left wing.

Among non-Labour voters the judgment on the party is even harsher – 77 per cent do not believe that Labour has the right leader and 73 per cent do not ­believe it has the right policies.

The poll found 71 per cent of this group believe Labour has lost touch with working-class people.

Almost half of those surveyed believe it should do more to “appeal to people’s aspiration and ambition.”…..

….The poll found 57 per cent of Lib Dem voters would switch to Labour if Mr Corbyn stood down.

And almost a quarter of UKIP voters said that move would change their minds. Even 34 per cent of ­Labour voters say they would be more likely to support the party with a different leader.

But more than half say a change at the top would make no difference, which makes some Labour MPs despair. One senior party source said: “I’m resigned to him leading us into 2020 and we all know what that’s going to mean.

“He’s not going anywhere. But Copeland was a Labour seat. That’s a seat we’ve held for 80 years. It’s not a marginal, no matter what people are saying about it. We’ve got no business losing a seat like that.”

But what about replacements for Corbyn, the polling also makes for grim reading.

The poll shows the most popular alternative to Mr Corbyn as leader would be London Mayor Sadiq Khan. 

However, while 19 per cent said him taking over would make them more likely to vote Labour, 23 per cent said they would be less likely.

Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn – widely tipped as a possible successor – showed up neutral with as many being put off voting Labour as being more inclined to.

Among Lib Dem voters, seen as a potential source of support for ­Labour, 47 per cent would vote for Mr Khan. Other popular choices would be Mr Benn (40 per cent), Mr Blair (34 per cent) and MP Chuka Umunna (36 per cent).

My own view is this part of the polling just doesn’t feel right, based on my instincts, apart from John McDonnell, Ken Livingston, and Tony Blair, most other Labour politicians would be doing better than Corbyn is currently doing,  they don’t posses the toxicity of Corbyn, but it is worrying indictment of the situation Labour currently finds itself in.



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.


As the Labour Party’s private research is leaked, there appears to be an inevitability about Corbyn departing before the general election

Sunday, February 12th, 2017

It feels like it is now a question of when Corbyn quits before the next general election, not if.

The Sunday Times have a copy of the Labour party’s internal research conducted by their pollsters BMG, it appears there is some succession planning taking place by Corbyn, with a focus group being undertaken on his potential preferred successors, John McDonnell, Angela Raynor, and Rebecca Long-Bailey.

A focus group conducted in Manchester last month found that voters think

  • Jeremy Corbyn is “boring”, appeared “fed up” and “looks like a scruffy school kid”
  • Angela Raynor “was judged to be “not likeable”, a “bit charity shop-looking” and “weird”, with one participant suggesting voters would not take her seriously.”
  • John McDonnell said  of him that “he looked “posh” and “confident”, others thought he looked “timid” and “nervous””
  • Rebecca Long-Bailey “emerged as the most credible figure with voters describing her as “passionate”, “genuine”, “sincere” and “very smart”, although some saw her as “aggressive” and “rough.””

As Ian Warren, the chap behind the Election Data twitter account, observed last night “If you’re running focus groups on your successor…….well, it’s indicative shall we say.” The focus grouping has been described as a routine event, but  one shadow minister said “They have been focus grouping who could replace him and gone for Becky — it is succession planning.”

The Sunday Times report that “This weekend one shadow cabinet ally suggested the “exhausted” leader would like to give up and “pass the Corbynite flame” to Long-Bailey or Rayner, but is carrying on from a sense of duty.”

All of this is bad news for those of us betting Corbyn doesn’t depart as leader in 2017/before the next general election. I suspect a peace deal between Corbyn and the Parliamentary Labour Party where Corbyn agrees to stand down if his favoured candidate gets on to the ballot paper will be the best way to get out of the pickle the Labour Party currently finds itself in. I think that peace deal will happen.


PS – This story should end any chance of Clive Lewis being next Labour leader, though some might see it as a hatchet job to stop someone who has been disloyal to Corbyn and or a real contender to be next Labour leader. I’m leaning towards the former.


Tory governments age well in the memory. Labour governments turn sour.

Saturday, February 11th, 2017

No recent Prime Minister was popular as they left office. Each of the last five had net satisfaction scores – the proportion satisfied minus the proportion dissatisfied – below minus 20 points in their final month, according to MORI’s satisfaction data.

Thatcher was the most unpopular, with 71% dissatisfied with the job she was doing. The least unpopular was Gordon Brown, who still had the support of 35% before the 2010 election.

If the Scotsman’s relative popularity seems surprising, that’s because of what’s happened since his defeat. In the time after each Prime Minister left office, the collective memory of their effectiveness has been transformed.

This week’s Opinium poll for the PB / Polling Matters podcast found that Thatcher has gone from being the least popular recent Prime Minister, when she left office, to the most popular now.

Over the same time, Blair and Brown have fallen from being the Prime Ministers with the joint-highest satisfaction scores (along with Major) as they were leaving Downing Street, to being seen as the ones that did the worst job.

With Cameron moving up the ranking, the picture is clear – Tory governments are remembered increasingly well over time, while Labour governments become less popular.

The reason for this is Labour voters. While current Tory voters have views that you’d expect – overwhelmingly believing Tory Prime Ministers did a good job and thinking the opposite of Labour ones – Labour voters are more reluctant to support their party’s leaders.

Only one in three Labour voters thinks Blair did a good job (he’s more popular among Lib Dems) while even fewer think the same of Gordon Brown.

This ambivalence does Labour no good. Tory voters can draw on several examples of what they consider successful Tory Prime Ministers. If even the now-diminished ranks of Labour voters don’t believe that past Labour governments were much good, it’s hard to see who will resist the charge that Labour administrations always spend too much for too little benefit.

Labour supporters might come up with many reasons to justify their unease about Blair and Brown’s governments. But Tory voters have overcome their previous reservations about the woman who left office as the least popular Prime Minister in recent history. If Labour is to become an election-winning machine again, it will need to do the same for its own past leaders.

Leo Barasi


Leo Barasi writes about public opinion at Noise of the Crowd.  Leo is co-founder of the Polling Matters podcast. Listen to the latest episode on this polling, Article 50, and the German SPD surge below.


The enthusiasm gap that spells doom for Corbyn and Labour

Sunday, February 5th, 2017

Tory voters love May whereas Labour voters are lukewarm towards Corbyn and that’s bad news for Labour explains Keiran Pedley

On this week’s PB / Polling Matters podcast we unveiled some new data courtesy of Opinium. Respondents were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with 6 statements related to Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn. By subtracting the number that disagreed with each statement from the number that agreed we could create a ‘net agree’ score for analysis purposes. The results made grim reading for Labour. May trounced Corbyn overall on a range of measures from strength, capability and electability and also being likeable and ‘in touch’ with people’s concerns too.

The above chart summarises these findings at an overall level and has been doing the rounds on social media this week. The sea of red for Corbyn is obviously not good. However, the really worrying numbers for Labour come when we look at the scores cut by Conservative and Labour voters. These are below.

Some of Theresa May’s numbers are astonishingly strong. The +86 score for ‘is a capable Prime Minister’ means that 88% of Conservative voters agree with this statement and just 2% disagree. In fact, when we look across the range of statements asked, the largest number of Conservatives you can get to disagree with one of these statements about May is the 5% that disagree that she ‘understands the concerns of people like me’.

In contrast, Corbyn’s numbers among Labour voters are much more varied. They generally like him, understand what he stands for and think he is in-touch (though not to the extent that Conservatives think these things of May). However, real doubts persist over his strength as a leader, capability as a Prime Minister and whether he can win a General Election. On the latter point, 32% agree and 35% disagree that Corbyn ‘has a good chance of leading Labour to victory at the next General Election’.

Labour is on the brink, so what happens now?

The upshot of these numbers is that whilst Conservatives are fully behind Theresa May, Labour voters lack confidence in Jeremy Corbyn. This is startling when we consider that Labour is languishing in the upper 20s in the polls and obviously needs to increase its support to avoid annihilation at the next election whenever it comes. It seems obvious, if it wasn’t already, that a change of leadership is needed. Whilst a new leader would not solve some of Labour’s more fundamental problems, it would at least give them a chance to solve them.

Could a change happen? It doesn’t seem likely any time soon. The PLP won’t risk challenging Corbyn again in a hurry. However, it is interesting that many on the left seem to be losing faith in Corbyn and drifting away from him. In private, many on the left support Clive Lewis taking over. In practice, manufacturing the circumstances where that happens is difficult. Corbyn’s opponents are better off waiting it out. Against my better judgement my hunch is Corbyn won’t lead Labour into the 2020 General Election but it will have to be his choice and that makes the timing of any change hard to predict.

Keiran Pedley

Keiran Pedley tweets about politics and polling at @Keiranpedley. Listen to the latest PB/Polling Matters podcast on the upcoming election in Northern Ireland, impact of Brexit on the province and the above poll below.


When Corbyn first became leader he said winning back Scotland would be a priority, SLAB are now in third place, 12% behind the Tories

Sunday, February 5th, 2017

From the graphic above, you can see how Scottish Labour have been eclipsed, a little over three years ago, Labour were polling 45%, now they have a third of that support, most of the collapse happened long before Corbyn became leader. I wonder if the Scottish precedent is playing on the minds of Labour MPs in England and Wales who find themselves on the wrong side of events after another referendum.

Ruth Davidson must be chuffed to see her party now essentially have swapped places with Labour after the 2015 general election. It is astonishing to think when David Cameron became Tory leader, the Tories had forty fewer Scottish MPs than Labour, now it appears very likely that at the next general election the Tories will have more Scottish MPs than Labour.

The SNP will also be quite delighted with this polling, we are now nearly a decade into the SNP being in power in Holyrood, and they are only 3% down on their 2015 general election score, this is usually the time when parties in government become unpopular, so to be only 3% down is impressive.

Hat-tip to Alastair Meeks for alerting me to this polling





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.



Lucian Fletcher on the latest Northern Ireland assembly poll

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

Arlene Foster’s personal ratings fall through the floor, but the DUP will bank on fear of a Sinn Fein First Minister to keep their position as lead party in Northern Ireland Assembly

The first LucidTalk opinion poll ahead of the 2017 Northern Ireland Assembly election has been published and one of the most obvious headlines is just how few people are planning on switching their first preference votes, despite the calamitous collapse of the Stormont Executive.

The DUP is down to 26%, just three points lower than they received in 2016. Sinn Fein is at 25%, up one.

This poll will be immediately pounced upon by the DUP and will adorn leaflets all over Northern Ireland as they seek to hammer home their message: “Vote DUP or the Shinners get First Minister”.

In fact, leaving aside the joint nature of the OFMDFM, the current boundaries make it highly unlikely that Sinn Fein will get more seats than the DUP unless they are well ahead in vote share.

The main Opposition parties UUP, SDLP and Alliance are all seeing a small uptick in their poll positions but not to anything like the extent that they would have hoped for, given the reasons for this election.

The leadership approval ratings are interesting. Arlene Foster, former First Minister, is at 22%. The most popular leader is Alliance chief Naomi Long, at 52%. All other party leaders enjoy ratings in the 40s. That the DUP remain as the lead party suggests that the St Andrews amendment over the nomination of First Minister is acting as a firewall for DUP support.

Respected unionist political commentator Alex Kane has also suggested that this race for the First Minister being so ‘close’ on this poll could shift some voters to both the DUP and Sinn Fein. There are more polls to come before the election, which could give some indication as to how far this descends to the usual orange/green headcount.

There is more analysis to be done in terms of transfers. Indications are being hinted at by LucidTalk that there is evidence that some people are more willing to vote tactically against the Executive, rather than along community lines. If the Greens and Alliance rack up decent totals in their weaker areas, so all their transfers are at full value, this could help UUP and SDLP. That final seat in most constituencies might end up being swung for one of the smaller parties. But without a move away from the DUP to UUP to a much greater extent than this poll suggests, the damage done to the DUP will be little more than a flesh wound.

I would suggest that the UUP and SDLP will be quietly devastated by this poll. The mud is being flung at the Executive, the DUP in particular, and is sticking, but most voters are so tribal that they just don’t care. The over-riding feeling is to beat the other side. Corruption is not seen as being quite so bad, as long it’s on ‘our side’.

One staunch unionist told me last week that the money thrown at ‘community halls’ by the DUP’s Paul Givan was well-deserved because ‘the Shinners gave loads to the GAA before’. This mindset is really difficult to grasp from Great Britain. We find it shocking. But this cynical self-interest or ‘cute hoorism’ is something that people in Ireland (both in NI and the Republic) really understand.

So what are my thoughts on the politics from this poll?

I think the DUP would end up somewhere around the 30 (key Petition of Concern number) mark, SF a few back, UUP and SDLP both losing seats with the SDLP worst off. Alliance will probably hold on to their 8 and others will lap up a few.

As I say, it might all look a little better for the SDLP and UUP once transfers are taken into account, but I wouldn’t be holding my breath.Both the UUP and SDLP have internal discontent issues. An election in these circumstances which produces nothing tangible for them could be disastrous.

Lucian Fletcher

Lucian Fletcher is a long standing contributor to PB who lives in Northern Ireland.