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PB GE2019 Analysis: Corbyn’s Satisfaction Ratings at elections

December 9th, 2019

I’ve written before about Jeremy Corbyn’s personal ratings difficulties, and they did not improve in the following months.

In September and October of 2019, he racked up satisfaction ratings of -60, the lowest any Leader of the Opposition has rated since Ipsos-Mori started polling it in 1977 (snatching the record from Michael Foot). In October that came from satisfied a rating of 15%, the third lowest rating on record (narrowly losing out to William Hague in June of 1997 and Michael Foot in the summer of 1982).

In September he scored a dissatisfaction rating of 76%, which is comfortably the lowest on record since no other LotO has ever gone past 69%. Corbyn has had eight ratings in 2019, the first seven were the seven highest dissatisfaction ratings recorded (his best rating of 68% tied for 10th worst ever). In the latest results collected up to the 4th December he rated at -44 on 24% satisfied, 68% dissatisfied, which was a big improvement for him and the 19th worst rating ever recorded (only Foot and Corbyn have rated worse).

The caveat hanging over Corbyn’s ratings is that during the 2017 election he produced the greatest rise in personal ratings of any election campaign (rising alongside Labour’s poll ratings). His rating in March 2017 (the last one before the election was called) was -41. Shortly before election day he was at -11 (and peaked a month later at -1). Leaders of the Opposition normally show a gain in the four months leading up to an election, but Corbyn’s rise is on a different level to any other on record.

Corbyn’s gain of 30 points in net satisfaction is on a different level to any other gain in, the next highest was +16 in 2015 and 2005 (where unfortunately we don’t have a rating close to the election to see if the rise would have continued). Corbyn’s rise also happened entirely during the election campaign itself which takes it even further out in front.

Corbyn’s October rating of -60 was taken just before the election was called, so he’s starting from 19 points further back than he did in 2019 and had less campaigning time to work with. Here’s a fun table.

Which makes it appear that Corbyn isn’t having as good a campaign as last time, a week out from election day he is rating much lower and improved much less. But what that misses is that in 2017 Theresa May opted for a longer election campaign in 2017 than is taking place in 2019. If we centre the ratings around the date the election was called, we get a somewhat different picture.

Corbyn’s ratings are actually improving at about the same incredible rate as in 2017, but he’s starting from a much lower point and has nine fewer days to work with.

His ratings performance in both his election campaigns is hugely better than his (awful) ratings performances outside of them, but in 2019 he started in a much deeper hole with less time to climb out of it. It leaves him heading into this election with the worst ratings of any leader of the opposition in the last forty years.

Tomas Forsey

Tomas Forsey is a longstanding PBer who posts on PB as Corporeal and tweets as PBcorporeal