Archive for the 'Leader approval ratings' Category


Mrs. May’s new PM ratings honeymoon is bigger than Thatcher’s, Cameron’s or Brown’s, but smaller than Major or Blair

Friday, August 19th, 2016

Putting the current ratings numbers into a historical context

With a lot of the non-LAB leadership politics discussion being on May’s polling honeymoon I thought I’d look back at the old MORI ratings to see how other new PM’s were doing at this stage in their occupancy of Number 10.

To its great credit Ipsos MORI keeps excellent historical records and has a whole section devoted to old polling data. So compiling the above has been easy.

Interestingly Mrs. Thatcher was only scoring a net 2% positive satisfaction rating in August 1979 which is the first rating recorded after her success in the election three months earlier. Even in June 1982 when she was basking in her Falklands triumph she only had a net positive of 23%.

At the end of her era John Major recorded the second best new PM ratings on record – a net 46%. This dropped rapidly in the years ahead as he sought to keep the party together over Europe and fight off the accomplished Tony Blair. The new Labour leader’s opening ratings in June 1997 top just about everything a net 59%.

Brown was a net plus 20% two months in after taking over from Blair in June 2007. Cameron, as can be seen scored a net +23% a couple of months after becoming PM.

All saw declines as the years went by and no doubt May will experience the same.

Mike Smithson


Introducing the PB/YouGov Favourability Ratings – a new development by the site

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

First survey has Corbyn ahead of Trump, Putin AND Cameron

As many will know I am a great fan of leader ratings which I believe are a better pointer to political outcomes than voting intention numbers. There are several different formats. Ipsos-MORI ask about “satisfaction”, Opinium goes for straight approval number while the standard YouGov question is asking the sample whether those named are doing well or badly.

The format I like best and the one which the standard in the US is favourability which I have been encouraging UK pollsters to adopt over the past few years. ComRes does them intermittently and occasionally Survation and Opinium have asked questions in this form but that’s about it. My view is that we need standardised favourability questions asked at regular intervals so we can make comparisons.

So I am delighted to announce that under an arrangement between PB and YouGov we will be able to have these on a regular basis and we will cover organisations like political parties as well. The net numbers from the first set are in the chart above.

One of the comparisons that is very striking is to look at responses based on EURef vote as in the table below. REMAIN and LEAVE voters have such a totally different view of the world.

The full data set from the poll should be published on the YouGov site later today.

Mike Smithson


Theresa May – the first national polling since she became PM

Saturday, July 16th, 2016


The first polling looks promising for TM


Jeremy Hunt is doing even worse than Corbyn and Osborne in the latest YouGov leader ratings

Monday, February 15th, 2016

Even CON voters give the Health Sec negative numbers

YouGov’s February leader ratings are out and the bad news for the health secretary is that 17% of those sampled said he was doing WELL compared with 65% saying BADLY. What’s even more striking is that amongst those who voted CON at the general election the split was 36% WELL to 49% BADLY. Generally party supporters rate their own positively.

The Hunt figures compare Corbyn’s 25% WELL to 59% BADLY overall. This represents an improvement from last month of a net +2% for the LAB leader. Also least he’s not getting negative ratings from LAB GE2015 voters. They split 43% WELL to 40% BADLY.

The onslaught from the Tory press against Cameron’s EU negotiations is seen in his worst set of YouGov numbers since the election. He’s at 39% WELL to 53% BADLY which is down a net minus 8% since January. Amongst CON general election voters the split is 76% WELL to 20% BADLY.

UPDATE ICM Phone poll for Feb

Mike Smithson


Gloomy numbers for LAB, Corbyn & even Cameron in latest ComRes online poll

Saturday, February 13th, 2016

Dave’s favourability ratings drop 7


ComRes online poll for IoS S Mirror VI
Con 41% +1
Lab 27%-2
LD 9%+2      
UKIP 15%-1
GRN  3%=

Just one in three thinks Dave will get good EU deal


Mike Smithson



This is the sort of leadership polling that’ll be seized on by Corbyn’s Labour opponents

Monday, December 21st, 2015

Why Opinium’s switched from approval ratings to favourability

If leader ratings really are the best electoral pointer then CON looks set to be in power until at least May 2025

From where I stand there are two ways that Corbyn could be brought down. The first is a growing realisation from polling and elections results that the Tories are a certainty for GE2020 and that the red team will be out of power till at least 2025. Nearly ten years is an awful long time.

The second is if the Corbyn clan do something that is so alienating to the mainstream of the party’s MPs that they say “up with this we will not put any longer”. Maybe doing something like admitting George Galloway back into the party, which is being discussed at the moment, could provide a trigger.

On the polling we are seeing an extra focus on leader ratings where Corbyn is doing particularly badly. Normally the first 100 days is a sort of honeymoon for a new leader. Not so with Corbyn who has seen some terrible numbers. This won’t be helped by Opinium’s decision to poll on leader favourability – a form that shows the new man in the worst light.

The firm’s Adam Drummond’s comment above is very telling about why this format is probably better in getting a proper sense of what opinion is.

I still think that Corbyn will survive. Inertia is a very powerful force particularly in the Labour Party.

Mike Smithson


The pre-Xmas polling rush continues with poor Corbyn Ipsos MORI ratings but LAB now just 4% behind CON with ComRes

Thursday, December 17th, 2015


Happy tenth anniversary David

Sunday, December 6th, 2015

Today is the tenth anniversary of David Cameron’s election as Conservative Leader, and what a ten years it has been. The above chart neatly encapsulates why David Cameron is seen as the Conservative Party’s strongest asset, for around 70% of his tenure, he has led his Labour opponent on this front. With Cameron not standing again, Labour might have a chance of winning the 2020 general election. We saw in May, under First Past the Post, a popular, competent leader can make all the difference.

In these ten years, we saw the first peacetime coalition in seventy years, Scotland nearly seceding from The Union, the rise of UKIP, the possibility of the UK’s exit from the EU. In that time, Cameron has faced a lot of leaders*, taking on, for Labour: Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Harriet Harman, Ed Miliband, Harriet Harman and Jeremy Corbyn**.

For the Liberal Democrats: Charles Kennedy, Vince Cable, Sir Menzies Campbell, Nick Clegg and Tim Farron.

For UKIP: Roger Knapman, Nigel Farage, Lord Pearson, Jeffrey Titford, Nigel Farage and Suzanne Evans.

For the SNP: Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon.

I think one of Cameron’s ‘greatest’ achievements in his first ten years, was his failure to win a majority in 2010, which led to a coalition with the Liberal Democrats, which turned out be disastrous for the Liberal Democrats. In hindsight the Liberal Democrats might be more upset at Cameron’s failure to win a majority in 2010 than most Conservatives were in 2010.


*I’ve included acting leaders.

**Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, I still struggle to comprehend that, and I don’t think I ever will